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Basic Social Media Strategy

The numbers can be all over the map. Facebook app costs can range from as little as $60 to as high as $50,000 depending on your idea and what you want the app to do.

To answer this question in more detail, we need to take a look at what is involved in developing, marketing, and maintaining a Facebook app. While there are a variety of models used to price application outsourcing services, the most prevalent model involves the following components:

  • A fixed monthly charge for application support
  • A fixed monthly charge for a baseline number of application enhancement hours (typically included as part of the fixed fee for application support), with authorized incremental hours charged on a time and materials basis
  • A framework for pricing significant development work on a project-by-project basis on a fixed fee, capped time and materials, or straight time and materials basis

Some developers want to be paid by the hour, and some prefer to be paid per project. The more accurately you can describe the project to the developer, the more accurately he can estimate the price.

For example, Bahndr, by Blue Label Labs, is a $30,000 social game built from scratch with completely custom graphics; it could have cost double that had the project been given to a larger shop.

On top of this, you can expect to spend $8,000–$30,000 on QA testing, depending on the app. The more changes you need to make, the more you will need to spend for your programmers to get rid of any bugs and improve usability.

Beyond development, there are costs associated with getting your app into relevant online stores and marketplaces:

  • Launching the app: $99 on the App Store, $25 to register on Google Play
  • Infrastructure, servers, and other backend support: $100–$200/month
  • Social media integration: $500–$1,500
  • In-app purchasing: $1,000–$4,000
  • Game Center: $1,000
  • Marketing: $1,000–$3,000 on initial marketing campaigns

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Start with the free stuff. Maybe that’s all you’ll ever need, and maybe you’ll hit a limitation at some point and need to switch to a commercial alternative. Facebook and YouTube have free metrics built into their services. Use those to their full extent. Google Analytics is both free and effective, and can be implemented on a number of different websites. You can nab a ton of great information from this tool that most other web analytics packages provide only at a price.

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The problem with measuring social media success, and why it’s often so difficult for business owners and marketers, is that we look at it in social media terms rather than in business terms. One of the top mistakes that businesses make is focusing on indirect successes like how many followers, fans, and shares they have, when really they need to be looking at the same old metrics that they use in traditional marketing: revenue, cost, and sales volume.

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There are some metrics that marketers and business owners tend to pick up on and know that they have to measure, like the number of visitors you’re getting from social media and customer conversions. But there are other metrics that you should be looking at too:

  • Lead conversions (both hard and soft conversions)
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per click
  • Cost per inbound link
  • Cost per site visit

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Segmenting your leads is basically taking the leads you have and separating them into groups. Segmentation allows for more exact and effective targeting, and enables you to send unique messages. For instance, you can segment by social behavior, geography, and website interactions.

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Yes! If you want to run an effective online marketing campaign, and if you want to be able to accurately go about measuring your social media ROI, then you need to segment those leads. Segmenting your leads allows you to know not only what their motivators and problems are, but also what sort of content you need to produce and post to social media in order to move them along the sales cycle and increase conversions.

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One non-intrusive way of following a post and its comments is to “like” it. This will give you any notifications of its changes. However, if you don’t want to make it known you are following a thread, click the small gray down arrow in the upper left corner. This will prompt a small dropdown menu beneath it. The first option, “Turn on Notifications” is what you want. This will have the same effect as commenting or liking, and will send notifications to you upon any change or update in the thread.

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A few times per day is ideal for optimal customer engagement. Especially on time-sensitive social media feeds like Twitter and Facebook, people are going to see the fresh stuff, so you want to be sure that a wider net of social media users get to see that content.

My team has developed a social media calendar with a formula that we’ve found works for us. We use a combination photos, videos, polls, news updates, a funny quote, a customer feature, anything to change it up and keep the customer interested. By varying it a lot, you’ll eventually find out what speaks to your audience base the best. At the end of the day, this ideal formula is going to change according to your specific audience. Test it out and analyze the data.

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Marketing Strategy: Physical Goods

The number of likes or friends doesn’t represent your actual reach. Posting something on Facebook puts it only on a small fraction of those 500 News Feeds. If there is some initial engagement, the reach expands to a larger percentage. Those first few likes and comments determine whether more people are exposed to your content.

That’s pretty frustrating, isn’t it? It’s a catch-22.

You may not be posting content that is interesting enough. It may not be engage-worthy. Ask questions that people will want to answer. Let them speak out about something. If you’re selling cellphone accessories, post a photo of an old rolodex and ask people what they did to stay in touch with friends before they had a cellphone. If you’re selling beauty products, ask your fans what makeup items they carry with them at all times.

Always include an eye-catching image. They’ll be seeing your post in their newsfeed and you need to catch their attention and pique their interest. Another way you can increase engagement is to ask folks to play fun games like “Name a city in California that doesn’t have an i in it.” Theme your posts, like Hangman Wednesday. Those are the types of posts that are engaging and will get comments.

You may not have done anything wrong in setting up the ad. The problem may lie in your headline, image, ad copy, or call-to-action. You should get in the habit of splittesting your ads to discover the best performing variants.

Content must be more than just interesting. Many people are content to sit back and read interesting content, but unless it inspires engagement, they aren’t going to interact with you.

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Maybe. Google+ interaction is heavily skewed in favor of picture posts and other things that people can admire at a glance and click +1 on. There’s a good opportunity to reuse content that you post to Instagram here. You can also host all of your pictures in Picasa (the picture app built into Google+) and pin them or link out to them elsewhere (as opposed to hosting them on Flickr or Facebook).

Maybe pictures of puppies aren’t such a bad idea. Borrow someone’s puppy and pose it with your product. Make LOLcat memes about your brand.

Or you could have your girlfriend run your Google+ campaign for you. Clearly she has some natural talent!

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Well, start with a Facebook page. Get Twitter going as well; follow people you want to get the word out to and start interacting with them. Facebook and Twitter should always form the foundation of a bare bones social framework. Once you’re in motion, start promoting your ebook through social media. Choose days to give it away for free.

Make the first video in your video course free on certain days, and make sure everyone knows how much it would have cost otherwise. Offer some of your clients a free personal coaching engagement, with the condition that you be allowed to film parts of it for a promotional YouTube video. Start a free monthly podcast where you talk about client successes with your product. Do product demos on YouTube. Get product endorsements from clients; take photos of them with your product and put them on Instagram, or create a Pinterest board for client successes.

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Marketing Strategy: Digital Goods and Services

I haven’t seen your landing page, but I’m betting it’s got some kind of problem. Have you tested it on mobile devices and multiple desktop browsers? How’s the load time?

Beyond the obvious technical stuff, you’re going to have to look at your web visitor stats to see if there are more clues. A high bounce rate, for instance, can suggest a number of things (slow load time, poor design, content that’s not interesting enough).

If you’re sure that your server and content are in top shape, then look next to your sales process. It’s got to be a one-click, low-impact buy. Simplify and shorten this process any way you can. If it’s longer than one click, then make your landing page into an opt-in page with as few fields as possible. Lots of opt-in fields will chase people away. We suggest a name and email address only, and possibly a password if you’re creating a personalized on-site account for each visitor.

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This is a tough one because fiction is, and has always been, very expensive and/or time-consuming to promote, and the results are never guaranteed. If there were a perfect formula for this, every major book publisher would be using it to make everything a bestseller. Instead, only a tiny percentage of fiction books go beyond their advance.

We’ve actually dedicated an entire chapter to this subject later in the book. Here’s some quick advice before you skip ahead to it, though. First, don’t openly promote your novel; people don’t seem to respond well to that. Instead, talk about the themes indirectly. For instance, let’s say the movie The Matrix never existed, and you just wrote it as a science fiction novel. Put up a web page that shows the synopsis, the first chapter, any art that is associated with it, and links to all of the major sites that sell it (e.g., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo). Create a Facebook page for the book and a Twitter account for you as an author, and link out to your book page prominently there. Get some good Facebook ads going on a budget of $10–$20 per day to gain more page likes. Every day on your Facebook page, you would offer a paragraph or so on the nature of reality, Turing test theories, artificial intelligence, Buddhist philosophy as it relates to the plot, computer hacking, the semantics of hacker handles, news stories that deal with any of these subjects, and so on. On Twitter, you would post questions to your followers about these same subjects. You’d follow actors from science fiction shows and engage with them. You’d try to find people who talk a lot about science fiction and have a lot of followers, and try to get them to notice you (refer to Chapter 13 for more information on influencer outreach).

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Local Services and Storefronts

That’s a complicated question, and we’re going to address it as best we can in the next chapter. There’s a ton of experimentation and testing that has to happen before you can start thinking about an ad budget. If you’ve already got some ads going, then our basic suggestion is to start at $10 or $15 per day and see how that goes. If it’s successful, try doubling it for a day and see what happens.

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Compete! Surely you have some advantage over your competitors; otherwise, you wouldn’t be in business. Follow the advice in this chapter, make your social media pages look clean and professional, and move forward. Post, engage, and persevere.

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You can certainly give it a shot. Keep in mind, though, that a large part of the reason why you may be doing well locally is that you’re selling something that your customers want to be there in person for. On the Web, you’re competing against hundreds or thousands of businesses that are selling most of the same things, and they’ve probably managed to do it at a lower price. If you feel you can compete in that space—if your costumes are so good that you can compete on quality alone—then it’s worth exploring an expansion to ecommerce. This is a big task that involves payment processing (your existing credit card processor will probably work), web design (you’ll probably have to hire that out), web hosting, and product fulfillment (you’ll probably need at least one new employee to help with that). That’s a bit beyond the scope of this book. However, if you’re already set on all of those aspects of ecommerce, just follow the directions in Chapter 4, and keep your online marketing strategy separate from your local strategy.

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Designing and Testing Ads on Facebook

There are three different placements for ads: Mobile News Feed, Desktop News Feed, and Right Column of Facebook. The key distinction is that Right Column ads do not show up on mobile devices; therefore, you lose 50% of your prospects. According to Facebook, as reported by SocialMediaToday, 48% of daily active users and 49% of ad revenue come from mobile. However, we’ve been involved in campaigns where 60% of our daily active users and our ad revenue came from users on mobile devices.

News Feed ads are in your prospective customer’s News Feed. In general, they are more social and more effective than the other ad placements. Plus, you can populate the News Feed with great images—it is much easier to grab attention in a News Feed. The reason you see Suggested Post on some of the posts in your News Feed is because the owner of the advertisement has targeted you—either you have an interest in the subject matter and/or you fit its target demographic. The reason you see Sponsored at the bottom of an ad just means that it is a paid advertisement. And, no, one is not more expensive than the other.

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This is because as soon as one ad gets a click, Facebook floods that ad with impressions, and the other ads are ignored. The best way to handle this is to pause all other ads in the campaign, and let the first one run for a day or so. Then pause the first ad and reactivate all the others until one of them pulls ahead. Repeat this process until you have at least three ads with decent CTRs. Then pause everything and let those three run simultaneously. You’ll find that all three will get equal impressions, and you can run a proper split test.

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Three days is the longest I’ve ever waited, but that was a rare case. It is possible that your landing page is holding things up. You might want to check to see if your page conforms to Facebook’s guidelines. If the Facebook Ads rep who reviewed your ad saw anything questionable there, he might have placed you in a “holding pattern” for a supervisor to review.

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These big banner ads are a form of malware and are not hosted through Facebook. If you see these, your operating system or browser has been infected with adware. You should run a virus scan and/or clear all cookies from your browser right away.

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No. Don’t even try it. Never use anyone’s image, name, or likeness in an ad without that person’s written consent.

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Potentially a lot of things. Are you targeting the same people? Are there more than 200,000 people in your target group? What is the reach of your campaign? Has most of your target group already seen your ad at least three times? Can you set up two landing pages for opt-in content, and split-test them? Have you tried setting up a new campaign with new images, headlines, and ad copy, but with the same landing page? Conversion is a complex process with many factors. It’s important to dissect as much as possible to understand what is going wrong. New campaigns can cure many ills. On the other hand, maybe the whole thing was a coincidence, and you’ve already reached all of the people who are willing to participate in your target audience.

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It depends on your market. Some demographics have CTRs hovering around 0.4%, while others are lucky to get above average (0.02%). If you have good competition, it’s going to be tough. In untapped markets, Facebook ads have a great CTR. Personally, we wouldn’t run an ad with a click-through-rate below 0.9%—we find that the ads are no longer profitable when CTRs fall below 0.9%.

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If you’re not getting any impressions, you will need to either increase your spend or check your targeting. Maybe you are bidding too low to be clickable. After a certain amount of time, if the impressions aren’t coming, it’s time to test some new ads.

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There are two ways you can bid on traffic in a Facebook campaign. One is CPM (cost per mille—your ad gets shown 1,000 times) where you pay for impressions, and the other is CPC (cost per click) where you pay per click, or each time someone clicks on your ad. You can also let Facebook automatically bid for you, or you can manually bid CPM or CPC. Facebook gives you a suggested range and you just put in an amount that is the maximum you are willing to pay for the click. According to Facebook, the suggested bid range is there to help you pick a maximum bid so your ad will be successful.

It’s based on how many other advertisers are competing to show their ad to the same audience as you are. You don’t have to pick a bid in this range, but you can use it to help you pick a bid that will result in a decent-sized amount of impressions and clicks. According to Facebook, you will never pay more for an impression or click than necessary, so entering your true maximum is the best way to make sure you don’t miss out on impressions and clicks you could have received. That being said, we always bid manually, because that is how we find our ROI in advertising. However, when you’re doing a “LIKE” campaign (a campaign for “Like Us” clicks only), this is automatically set up as optimized CPM by Facebook.

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What type of ad are you running? It’s generally harder to get impressions on a socially recommended ad (so a page post ad or page ad that includes stories about their friends liking it); if you have it socially recommended, try removing that and see if you get more impressions.

Try this: start a new campaign with an identical ad. Facebook Ads doesn’t show an ad to all 155,000 users at once. Your targeted users have to log into Facebook to view the ad. So it will take time to reach all users. You can try raising your bid even higher for a few days; that might get you more impression share. Put it at $1.25 and let it run on a $30 per day budget. A higher bid, even beyond the actual cost, can increase impressions by quite a bit. Facebook Ads wants to see how high of a CTR your ad is going to get, so it will deliver a high amount of impressions until it has an estimate. If your ad doesn’t get a high CTR, Facebook drops your impressions in favor of an ad that does. The higher the CTR of an ad, the more Facebook makes per impression.

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This can change drastically from moment to moment. Facebook is guessing the CTR of your ads and weighing it against the average ad CTR. This is no different from other popular ad systems on other networks. It starts at the average CTR in the marketplace, then gives a CPC estimate and uses that to establish a ballpark CPM. The CPC price adjusts as your ad history gathers more data. No data (on a new ad) means an almost certainly inaccurate estimate, so plan on running the ad for a day or so, then adjusting your bid at regular intervals.

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You’ll know this only from testing. It’s different for every product, market, service, and offer. It depends on how much your product costs and how much you spend on your ads. Spend a few bucks, and then pause and assess the results. It’s impossible to give accurate figures for CTR and purchases unless you compare against someone in the same vertical.

Expect to see lower CTR and purchases from Facebook than from a search engine ad campaign. When people surf Facebook, they are not intending to buy something, even if they click on your ad. Mostly they want to see what is new with their friends.

If someone searches for a term related to your product or service on Google or Bing, then she has intent and is more likely to click on the ad and then purchase the product.

So rather than focus on expected purchase rate, just focus on return on investment. As long as you have a positive ROI, keep running your ads and landing page, and ramp up your spending while continuously testing variations to attempt to improve CTR and purchases. If you have a negative ROI, make changes quickly or abandon the campaign and move on to another product or media venue.

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All markets can benefit from having a solid Facebook presence, even ones you wouldn’t expect. Search engines are giving more weight than ever to social cues. Having said that, the best markets for Facebook ads are: entertainment, gossip/tabloids, employment, fitness, health, travel, personal and household services, self-improvement, ecommerce for physical goods, webinars, and live events.

With today’s advanced targeting and the gigantic Facebook user base, any vertical has potential to benefit from Facebook Ads. Any product or service that can be marketed via traditional media can be marketed via Facebook.

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It depends on your target audience. Is this a local business, nationwide, worldwide? Ideally you should find 200,000 people to target. This keeps Facebook sending enough impressions for a while, so your ad stays alive longer without going beyond your targeted audience. However, if you are a local business with a very specific niche demographic, then don’t try to go beyond that targeted audience, and compensate for that limitation by refreshing your ads more often.

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Bidding can be tricky because it changes based on day, time, niche, demographic, location, account age, and other factors. Some people have a policy to start low (which you’ve done) and increase the bid until you get a decent number of impressions. In our businesses, we start high. We normally double the low end of the suggested range. We never pay that much, but it helps to ensure that our ads get shown quickly.

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If your CTR is above 0.020%, then you are above the stated average. That doesn’t mean that this is as good as it gets or that you should be satisfied. As we’ve mentioned before, in our businesses, we pull any ad that has a CTR below 0.09%—it just doesn’t produce enough of a return. Certainly, keep an eye on your CTR and start creating new ads with different (but similar) photos. Test a few ads at a time, with the goal of getting a higher CTR and conversion rate. Try different photos first, then different headlines.

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This is called retargeting, and it can have a huge positive impact. Google definitely does retargeting on Facebook. You just have to put a Google AdWords retargeting cookie on your Facebook landing page; then your ads can follow those people around the Web.

This is excellent for product launches and affiliate offers. It helps create social proof—many images of your product increase your authority and credibility. This helps to ensure that customers buy from you instead of your competitors.

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If you’re using Promoted Posts, your results may improve if you change your photo/image regularly. Just because a formula was getting crazy clicks in the beginning doesn’t mean it can always sustain for long periods. New, fresh images can make a dead campaign come back to life. You can go back and edit your post to test headlines, new images, new call-to-action, and continue your multivariate testing to keep those hot results.

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There’s no super secret formula. Run a direct Facebook likes campaign. For it, you’re going to need top quality content that is not just well-made, but speaks to the audience you’re targeting. Make sure it is also highly image driven. You’re going to want to especially multivariate test images for this type of campaign. At the same time, cross-promote your Facebook page on all of your other social channels.

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Unfortunately, there is no tried-and-true method that will always work better than the rest. Fortunately, there are ways to find out which works best for you! Facebook Retargeting has been pivotal in our team’s ability to test and analyze sales funnels.

Facebook Retargeting pixel is a specific feature you add to your website; it creates a list of who visits your site from an ad. That way, you can use this info to track conversion for each case: sending the audience to a blog post, to an opt-in page, or to a video. Those stats will show the winner for conversion.

What we do know is that if you’re trying to sell a tripwire, focus on that. Doing a tripwire campaign as well as a Facebook likes campaign or a boosted post often just doesn’t work out. Multi-tasking promotion work leaves more room for making errors.

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Try directing the traffic to a content page on your site (one that will likely have a better rating). Then, put a Facebook retargeting pixel here, and drop a link to the seminar there. It is a workaround to be sure, but could be an effective second option.

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If you’re targeting a group that is hard to refine a list of, say you’re trying to target a very audience, say that you are going for wives of military men. You can go and set up a quick, very basic viral Facebook with tons of photos that prompt likers to “share if you agree”. For example, “Share if you married a hero”. Then, use the “likes” list to target to a very homogenous group.

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It all has to do with your WOT (web of trust) score, which is a regulated score that Facebook uses to identify potential spam. It boils it down to a score of red, yellow, or green. Anything not green is going to give you problems. Hosting the Leadpage on your own site can often alleviate this problem (if your site doesn’t have authority problems).

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Guerrilla Marketing

No. Everyone will know that they are marketing material, you’ll be downvoted and ridiculed, and your reddit account may be banned for spamming. Don’t try to game reddit in any way. If you want to post something there related to your business, make it a news story on a reputable news media site. The possible exception is if you have a genuinely funny or intriguing viral video. Think along the lines of “Will It Blend?” Are your videos that interesting? If not, then don’t try to post them.

In general it’s a better strategy to get lots of fans, friends, and followers on social media, and then post your video there and let other people submit it to reddit.

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Wikipedia logs IP addresses of users who are not logged in. If your new article or edit traces back to an IP block associated with your company, you will be found out. It’s not worth the risk.

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Post a note to the “Talk” page for your article explaining the situation: who you are, what you need changed, and why (back up your facts with sources). Factual inaccuracies are easily addressed this way. Other changes/additions may prove much harder. If you aren’t getting any response/action after a month or two, post a note about your needs on the Conflict of Interest notice board in Wikipedia.

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Professional Presence and Damage Control

First of all, let’s make one thing clear: this is not about you. People who post hateful comments are usually angry at Facebook for interrupting their Facebook experience with an ad. They don’t seem to understand that Facebook chooses where and how often to display ads.

You can respond politely and explain how Facebook makes money. You can ignore or delete the post. If you love inflaming the situation, and controversy is your thing, then absolutely follow your instinct and argue with the haters. Personally, we don’t have time or interest in this. However, it can be a useful tactic because the more comments you have on the post, the better—Facebook will see your post as being very popular, and relevant, and will show it more often.

Let’s assume that you want to be civil, though, because your question implies that. You can mitigate the problem by choosing different options for your ads. When advertising and promoting your content, select Current Fans Only instead of Friends of Fans. This way, only the people who already know your product or company will be able to comment.

Sometimes Facebook will automatically promote your content to Current Fans and Friends of Fans. You have the option to delete the Friends of Fans ad units inside your Ads Manager.

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Having a corporate social media presence is about relevance, not about showing or hiding things. Your clients don’t need to see photos of your dog, or whatever else is on your personal Facebook page. They don’t need to know which politicians you voted for —that’s an easy way to lose clients!—or which football team you support. Bring people together instead of forcing them apart. Get people interested in your products, services, or events, not your personal life.

Corporate doesn’t have to be boring. Show us your personality—your company culture is a big part of who you are. Give customers insight into how things run at your HQ.

Show them the backstage pass type of experience: your office coffee machine getting a good workout, a new delivery of iMacs, a photo of a new or long-term employee, an introduction to Bob in the warehouse, and so on.

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Virtually no review site will remove a negative review just because you asked it to. If it did, who would trust its reviews? However, most sites that post user reviews will correct, redact, or remove content that contains factual errors or lies. There may even be a legal obligation to do this, in some jurisdictions. You can’t just point your finger and call someone a liar, though; you must provide a good reason for the site to go back to the reviewer to ask for more details. So dispute every fact in the review and ask for proof of the claims. Ask to see a copy of the receipt, or provide a tracking report from the shipping company that shows the product was delivered—ask for proof and provide proof. Since the reviewer deleted his account, he probably cannot be contacted to validate his claims, and you may be able to have the review deleted on these grounds. Amazon, for instance, has in the past removed negative reviews if the reviewer deletes his account or fails to respond to inquiries from a seller.

Make sure you do this under the pretense of good customer service. You want to resolve the issue with the customer, not just nuke every bad review you find. Even if your true focus is removing that review, keep in mind that if you are successful and the customer is still upset, he’ll just go somewhere else and post his review plus a follow-up that paints you as a vindictive and predatory business. When it comes to online reviews, if you fight fire with fire, everybody gets burned.

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Keeping Up with Changes

This is one of the most common questions we hear, and it’s a lot like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” A lot of things could be the problem. Maybe you got priced out of your market all of a sudden, or maybe your audience is tired of your ad, or perhaps your CTR was too low so Facebook decided to stop showing your ad. Maybe your ads had a red border that made them stand out, right up until everyone else saw your success and copied you. Maybe your target audience has seen your ads so many times that it just ignores them.

Who knows? Whatever the reason, you need to start over. The good news is, it’s much easier now because you know that the results are possible, and you know that you have achieved them in the past. You’ll want to show all new ads to all new people to bring life back into your advertising.

Begin a new campaign. Create brand-new ads with new images and headlines. Go back to your initial market research and see what likes/interests you might be able to target with your new campaign.

It’s important to make sure that all of your pages and links actually work. Sometimes a server goes down or a redirect fails. Sometimes Facebook changes its code or policies and things stop working. So, you’ll want to check that you are advertising according to its current Terms of Service.

Next, check your campaign bidding strategy and make sure you’re not priced far above or below the suggested bid. If you’ve been outbid to the point where your ads are not relevant, then you can try to wait it out and see if the higher-priced competitors go away after a few days. But if not, try increasing your maximum bid until you begin seeing a steady flow of impressions.

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Prepare before attending a conference. Know exactly what your outcomes are going to be, so when it’s over, you can know that it was worthwhile. Identify your key objectives before you attend the conference. Are you going in order to learn something in particular, meet key players in your market, find new customers for your business, or just to have a good time?

For a lot of people, a conference is a huge investment. You’re taking time away from your business and family. You’re forking over huge sums of cash for the event, hotel, food, drinks, flights, transportation, and more.

Most conferences are composed of a show floor with vendor booths, and various conference rooms where talks, keynote speeches, and presentations are given. The booths and hallways outside the conference rooms are great opportunities for networking.

That’s where you see what is new in your market, discover what your competitors are doing, and interact with potential clients and vendors. Some conventions are so large that you can’t expect to cover the whole convention floor in a single day.

Each convention day starts off with a keynote speech, and then every available room is filled with speakers and presenters. You also can’t expect to attend every presentation. It’s important to choose the sessions that will help you reach your objectives. You’ll just have to get a schedule and figure out which talks are going to be most valuable to you.

Then, arrive early, have your notepad/iPad ready to go, and take great notes along the way. Stick around after the presentation, and you might be able to get some time with the speaker and get more in-depth or personalized information.

Some conferences offer paid seminars that are much more in depth. The authors of this book regularly teach seminars like this. Depending on the content, the size of the venue, and the expected audience, seminars can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000 per person. Usually you can expect A-list material delivered by the industry’s foremost experts, but research the speaker before writing a check.

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Well, what’s your time worth? How much do you make an hour, when you break down your salary and work hours? Is that time best spent on social media marketing, or on other things? This isn’t meant to be a rhetorical question; perhaps it really isn’t worth the money. Some firms prefer to have fewer, higher-profit clients so that they can spend more personal time and deliver better service. That’s not a bad thing, but it might interfere with your budget and marketing goals. If you can hire a skilled social media person for less than half your hourly rate, you probably should.

If you’re the CMO, then you should be able to make the case to the CEO that it’s worth it to outsource this work. If you’re the webmaster, IT manager, or UI developer, it may not be possible to make the financial case right now, but you may want to make a more practical case that your job involves mission-critical systems that need proper maintenance and attention that you can’t focus on while you’re messing with Twitter posts.

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Book Promotion

It isn’t. It’s exactly the same as social media for anything else. You want to engage your audience. You want to generate interest and participate, not just push your links out there to everyone. That is where you will generate the community and engagement from your audience.

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Hopefully, you’ve been continually engaging your audience since the first book, and haven’t let it go stale just because you’re not launching a book. If you let it rot, then you’ve got some repair work to do.

If you’ve kept your community going, then you will have that groundswell behind you each and every time you launch a new book. All you have to do is keep going, except now you’re going to focus on the new book.

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Start by proving that you’re a decent speaker. Make a video that shows that you can present an informative, intelligent, and entertaining talk. Then post it on YouTube and promote it a little. This gives you social proof, and supports your application to speak.

You can also reach out to satisfied clients and ask for recommendations. If they attend industry conventions, they may have the opportunity to tell the event organizers that they want you to give a presentation at next year’s conference.

Before you hit the big convention circuit, you might want to build your speaking résumé by presenting at smaller or regional events. There are many industry or topical groups, such as Java User Groups (JUGs) and Linux User Groups (LUGs), that actively seek people to give short presentations at monthly local meetings.

Some conferences take public requests for speaker pitches. This usually has to be done far in advance of the actual conference date. To speak at Search Marketing Expo (SMX), for instance, go to the SMX website and fill out the pitch form. SXSW has a panel picker on its site.

Some conferences do not take open requests. If that’s the case, contact the conference organizer and give your pitch directly.

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Absolutely. There is nothing wrong with doing this. Not only will you get a commission for your own book, you will also get affiliate credit for anything else that reader purchases from Amazon that day, even if he doesn’t buy your book. The Amazon Associates cookie is valid for 24 hours.

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You are not doomed. Instead of making a fancy, well-produced video, you can do a live interview or webinar with a simple webcam in the lead-up to the book launch. You can do this as a Hangout on Google+, or by using a screencasting service. You can interview key experts that you used for the book, experts in the field whom you know, or you can have someone interview you. Take questions from your live viewers, and show video of your face. Then, later, you can promote the replays of these interviews for people who discovered you afterward. Or make an animated video, whiteboard video, or screencast. All three create easy opportunities for hooking in an audience.

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Event Promotion

Sure. Here are some webinar recording and delivery services that we’re aware of:

  • Autopilot Webinars
  • StealthSeminar
  • Evergreen Business System
  • WebEx
  • GoToWebinar
  • Join.me
  • Google Hangouts

In general, webinar software and services used to be very expensive, but they have reduced in price quite a lot, and continue to get cheaper with time. Google Hangouts, for instance, is an excellent tool for giving webinars, and not only is it free, it’s also connected directly to a major social network.

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Maybe. If you have already had success with your previous traditional marketing efforts, then absolutely don’t abandon them! Rather, select some of the things we’ve talked about in this chapter that you can easily add to that strategy, and see what happens.

Now, if you’ve seen rising costs and diminishing returns in traditional advertising, then you should think about cutting back on the parts of it that aren’t working, and ramping up your social media efforts. The world in general is moving toward social media and away from old-style media.

For products and services that have a long or detailed sales process, or are very complicated and/or expensive, webinars tend to convert very well to sales, more so than a plain old landing page. Definitely go for the sale during the presentation, but don’t show or provide the “buy” button until you get to the “bonuses” for fast-acting buyers.

The strategy for promoting a webinar is pretty universal, no matter where or how you’re doing it. It’s just a lot easier, quicker, and cheaper online if you focus on social media. When you’re promoting your webinar, foster a sense of urgency and scarcity. There are only so many seats, slots, or tickets. Show a countdown timer, or show the exact (low) number of available free tickets. Offer people the chance to win something extra by signing up early (“The first 20 people to sign up get this extra”), such as a free ticket to another event, free access to bonus material or other recordings of expensive events, or free product giveaways.

LeadPages has premade templates for webinar registration pages that are incredibly quick to fill in.

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It’s just something to keep in mind for marketing purposes. A live event is going to generate more interest than a prerecorded event, so you’re going to want to advertise that fact. You also don’t want to mislead people; if you advertise something as live, but it is actually automated, it could backfire and generate a significant amount of negative buzz for future events if you’re found out.

If your event is prerecorded or automated, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to have to focus on a good value add. The recorded content is only part of the value. It may be prerecorded, but there is still someone there to field questions afterward, or there is some other interactive element to it that makes the fact that it’s not live a nonissue. Or maybe the content is so good and so unique that you can do it live once and resell the recording a few times for people who couldn’t attend the first event.

Another way to advertise or set up a prerecorded webinar is to tailor it for new customers or qualified prospects. Tell them that you have a webinar coming up in the near future, and then arrange to deliver it at that time. This can be done on an ad hoc basis, or you can schedule the events regularly.

Even though you’re not going to lie about a webinar being prerecorded, you probably don’t want to make it obvious that it is—you still want to give the appearance of it being live. Even if your attendees are aware that it’s prerecorded, a well-configured presentation will still put them into the same mode of thinking as if it were live. For instance, if an attendee is late, don’t let him start watching from the beginning of the presentation; make him miss the beginning and pick up where and when he joined, just as though it were live. The Q&A portion of the webinar should always look live, even if it’s not. This may require you to handle the Q&A in a separate service or session. You can also allow new questions to come in during the prerecorded Q&A session from the original live event, and say at the end of the session that you will reply to all other questions via email.

If you offer to do that, though, make sure you collect those questions and reply to them personally.

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First, make sure the event is worth going to. The launch event of a weekly or monthly group meeting has to have some spark and incentive in order to get off the ground. If you can affordably cater the event (offer free food), that will help quite a lot. In your case, one of the signature events of a LUG is an installfest where Linux experts help Linux newbies install a desktop distribution on their computer in a dual-boot configuration, or they set up a USB drive to provide an alternate boot option. If you can afford to cover the cost of pizza and soft drinks for the attendees, and offer to perform free data backups to DVD (bring a spool of blank DVD-R discs), those would be two excellent, inexpensive incentives that would drive participation.

Think about the subject of an installfest. You need people who know Linux, and people who want to learn Linux. Where would you find people who have interest on both sides of that operation? Computer repair shops, perhaps. Can you post a sign or flyer there? What about at computer stores? Perhaps the owner of a small local shop will even offer to cover the cost of the refreshments if he’s allowed to bring some demonstration models and service flyers to the event.

It’s possible that you can leverage an existing technology-oriented group on Meetup.com as well. Search through the site and see if you can find related groups, then contact the group organizer and see if she’s amenable to your hosting your own event through that group.

In general, local events have gotten a little tougher to promote because local periodicals have lost a lot of popularity and relevance. You can’t take out an ad in the newspaper and expect results from it anymore. However, there’s Craigslist—that’s free, and has a lot of reach in the metropolitan areas that it serves. Post an ad there and keep it current right up until the actual day and time of the event. Then for the next meeting, post a different ad with photos and praise from the attendees of the inaugural event—social proof that this is a fun and interesting group that real people attend.

Also try to reach out to local bloggers; search all of the blogging services (e.g., WordPress, TypePad, Blogger) for people who are in your area and might have an interest in your event. For technical events, look for local blogs through Technorati.

Create a Facebook group for your meeting, and on the night of the event, take pictures and short videos and post them to that group. While you’re among the attendees in person, go around with your smartphone or tablet and invite each of them to the Facebook group and ask them to post something and invite their friends. After the first event, you should have enough momentum to see a benefit from spending a little bit of money ($20–$50) promoting your Facebook group to continue to improve attendance. Remember: you’re always looking for new members, even if you feel that you’ve achieved your attendance goals!

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Social Search Engine Optimization

If it’ll help drive sales, sure. Keep in mind, though, that social media is mostly for marketing—that is, for getting people to become aware of your brand and products.

The destination is your ecommerce site, so the endgame is to get someone from a social network to your site and then to make the sale. It doesn’t make much sense to send her back to social media once she’s where you want her to be.

Having said that, in some cases it might make sense. If it’s a tough sell, like if you are selling something that is expensive and a lot of visitors are interested but unsure about spending that amount of money, then it might make sense to embed a YouTube video showing a success story or a demo, or customer testimonials on Facebook.

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Influencer Outreach

Become somebody first by building up your own social media presence; that makes you somebody. Before starting outreach, you must be established. The more followers you have, the better your response rate will (probably) be.

Old or infrequent content can be a problem for someone investigating your social media worth. You may need to remove dates from old articles on your blog, or backdate them to show a longer history of established content. If you’re trying to bring attention to your blog, then you’re going to need to host it on your own domain name (not as a subdomain of WordPress.com or blogspot.com). You don’t want to look cheap and amateurish.

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Three is the outside figure, over a period of a week or two. People are busy, especially entrepreneurs.

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Search for your keywords on social networks and see who’s most active for those terms or hashtags. There are some people who write about different stuff each week, and some people who specialize in one topic. You can do a Twitter hashtag search or a Facebook page search. Twitter searches are good because you can search by keywords (not just hashtags) on people’s profiles. You can also try LinkedIn, especially for anything related to B2B. Look for people who are speaking at conferences in your market.

For Google Blog Search, you won’t want to use search terms like “fashion blogger” or “fashion blog”—look for the subject “fashion,” or something more targeted, like “winter fashion,” and then find bloggers therein. For a Google web search, “fashion blogger” or “fashion blog” are fine. Specific long-tail keywords are better than broad keywords.

When you’re writing your articles for outreach participation, focus your content on issues and subjects that apply to these targeted bloggers. The bloggers who write about broad topics are swamped by a lot of junk content, so it’s harder to get through to them.

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There are firms that do this for you. There are also products that make the whole process much easier and provide a single interface for everything. Pitchbox is a great example of this chapter’s entire process folded into one web application.

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Affiliate Marketing and MLM

It depends on what you’re selling. If you’re with a huge MLM provider, then there’s going to be a ton of tough competition. However, that in itself creates a new market that you might be able to sell to. Surely, there are many things you’ve learned about MLM success; you can sell these tips to people with less experience via webinars, training courses, and other gated content.

This might not be the answer you’re looking for. However, if you’ve already exhausted your ability to develop creative ads and social media pages, then it’s time to consider a different approach. If you’re not selling to the long-tail of the MLM market, then perhaps the solution is to look at emerging and niche social networks where there will be less competition.

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It depends on the offer. Clickbank stuff can be tricky sometimes. We use redirected traffic in client ads every day.

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