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The 8 Best Small Business Podcasts (and What They Taught Us)

I refuse to watch Game of Thrones.

Why? Because a surefire, tried-and-true way to guarantee that I won’t watch something is to tell me that I have to watch it.

Oh, do I have to watch Game of Thrones? Do I really? Is it really that important that I consume one of the most critically acclaimed, universally adored, and culturally relevant pieces of entertainment of this decade?



My refusal to watch the things people tell me to watch is probably tied to some deep, unrelenting psychological drive to maintain complete control over my own life. But that’s neither here nor there.

I’m breaking my own rule today. Although it’s something I’ve championed against for several years now, I’m going to recommend some podcasts I think you’ll all appreciate.

Do you have to listen to any of these? Nah. Would it behoove you to check some of them out? You better believe it, pal. Each one brings unique experiences and perspectives to the table, thus giving you tons of new ways to think about growth, marketing, and management.

Here are eight podcasts from which marketers and small business owners alike can glean actionable insights and, generally speaking, improve their lives—both professionally and personally.

1. The Growth Lab

We’ll kick off this list the same way my mom liked to kick off the weekends at Stonehill College: with the new kids on the block.

Launched in February 2019, the Growth Lab is the official podcast of LOCALiQ—a digital marketing firm that helps businesses grow online.


It’s a weekly podcast (available for download every Tuesday morning) hosted by SMB experts Tracy Oswald and André Archimbaud. Each week, they sit down with someone who’s achieved long-term success with his or her own business.

You can expect to walk away from each installment with at least one strategy or idea that you can implement at your own company.

I certainly did. The inaugural episode features an interview with Bryan Kramer—an American businessman and author who’s perhaps best known for initiating the H2H (human-to-human) movement in business.

Over the course of this episode, Tracy and André talk to Bryan about branding. More specifically, they discuss various strategies that SMBs can implement to focus less on selling products or services and more on making connections with people.

They recommend this approach for a number of reasons. Most importantly: prioritizing connections over sales helps differentiate you from your competitors. If you go the extra mile, you’re bound to stand out from the pack.

The conversation reminded me of something WordStream CEO Howard Kogan consistently talks about: customer-inspired growth. It’s a simple concept, really. Listen to what your customers (and prospective customers) are saying, and let that inform your strategies—whether it’s your sales strategies, your content marketing strategies, or your products or services themselves.

2. HBR IdeaCast

Co-hosted by Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch, IdeaCast is a Harvard Business Review podcast that aims to inspire people at every stage in their career paths with diverse and exciting stories from across the business world.

I use the word “diverse” because Alison and Curt cover a ton of different topics. Whether you want to learn more about the connections between sleep and efficiency or the identity-shifting strangeness of retirement, IdeaCast has you covered.


I recommend the episode titled “How One CEO Creates Joy at Work.” It features a 30-minute conversation between Curt and Richard Sheridan, co-founder and CEO of Menlo Innovations and author of Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.

Sheridan reflects on the first decade or so of his professional life, marked by years of misery in workplaces that discouraged new ideas and tried to motivate employees with fear.

Ultimately, thanks to his wife’s frank observation that he looked tired and unhappy, Sheridan struck out on his own and founded Menlo Innovations—an enterprise software company named after Menlo Park, the site of Thomas Edison’s famously joyful laboratory.


Just guys being dudes. Via Rutgers University.

Throughout the interview, Sheridan talks about his ongoing drive to foster a healthy and happy workplace in which employees are encouraged to try new things and admit when they’re unsure of what to do next. He recalls the lessons he’s learned along the way and provides suggestions for others who want to proactively improve their everyday work lives.

3. She Did It Her Way

A few years ago, Amanda Boleyn, like Richard Sheridan, was unhappy at her corporate 9-5.

So she quit. She started doing full-time freelance work, and along the way she decided to launch a podcast called She Did It Her Way.

To use Amanda’s words, it’s a podcast “dedicated to helping you launch a business that allows you the freedom to create from anywhere, to design your own schedule in a way that supports you, and to pursue what it is that lights you up.”


At this point, Amanda works full-time helping women transition from their 9-5 jobs to running their own businesses. Accordingly, each episode of She Did It Her Way features a conversation between Amanda and another woman who’s successfully launched her own company.

The episode titled “How One Woman Created a Thriving Business by Solving Her Own Problem” features an interview with Poorvi Patodia, a food & beverage industry vet who launched Biena Snacks—the fifth-fastest growing business in Boston—in 2012.

Patodia’s story is a great one. One day, during her pregnancy, she realized that she wasn’t eating quite as healthy as she wanted to. Thanks to her Indian heritage, she had grown up eating a lot of roasted chickpeas. She did some research and walked away with two key pieces of information.

One, cultures all around the world eat chickpeas. Two, in terms of nutritional value, chickpeas check pretty much every box that Americans are looking for nowadays.

That was enough for Patodia to strike out on her own and build a healthy snack brand. The tale of how she took Biena from her kitchen—standing at her counter, unemployed, trying to figure out how to make a chickpea taste like a potato chip without sacrificing its nutritional value—to the Inc. 5,000 list is beyond inspiring.

And, yes—men should check out this podcast, too.

4. Duct Tape Marketing

Ever heard of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History? It’s, as you can probably surmise, a history podcast.

I have a lot of respect for Dan Carlin, but I have to say—the dude is insane. Each episode is at least four hours long. In fact, each one is such an undertaking that he only released two in 2018.

John Jantsch is the antithesis to Dan Carlin, and I mean that in the best way possible. He’s the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, a digital marketing agency and consulting firm that helps small businesses strategize and grow through website design, SEO, and PPC.

Jantsch is renowned for his public speaking engagements, his workshops, and his best-selling books. Once or twice a week, he releases a new, bite-sized episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast.


Nearly every episode centers around a conversation between John and a marketer or a business owner. Because each episode is relatively brief (somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes), the conversations typically focus on a single topic in particular.

John had a great conversation with Pamela Wilson in early 2019. Wilson is the founder of BIG Brand System, a consulting firm that helps people grow their businesses and establish differentiated, sustainable brands. She’s also the author of Master Content Strategy, a book dedicated to helping marketers and business owners develop content strategies that drive returns.

John and Pamela spoke about content for 15 minutes or so. The goal of this episode is provide marketers and SMBs with tips as to how they can successfully implement content into their broader marketing strategies.


Via OptinMonster.

For those who are just getting started with content, Pamela recommends writing one new article every week. She has a system to get each article done in four days. Day one, you craft your headline and subheads. Day two, you write the first draft. Day three, you polish the first draft into a final draft. Day four, you publish and promote the article.

Pamela emphasized that supplementing written content with videos and podcasts is a terrific idea for those with the time, resources, and skill sets.

5. Online Marketing Made Easy

Amy Porterfield has a story similar to Amanda Boleyn’s.

She was a marketer, working long hours to create and launch campaigns for massive brands like Harley Davidson. Eventually, despite the potentially tremendous opportunity costs, she left her firm in pursuit of running her own business.

Now, like Amanda, she makes a living as a mentor and a resource for other entrepreneurs. An important piece of her mission to help small business owners is her weekly podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy.


The goal, of course, is to demystify online marketing and to make it accessible to business owners, thus enabling them to run more effective campaigns and generate more revenue.

Episode 235, titled “How to Identify Your Ideal Customer Avatar,” is all about building an archetype of the person who needs and loves your product or service the most.

You need an ICA because otherwise you won’t have the focus required to launch and run a successful business. You need to create an experience that makes your ICA feel as if he or she has found the perfect solution to whatever it is he or she has been struggling with.

Accordingly, as Amy discusses at length, your ICA needs a lot of detail. You need to know her strengths, her weaknesses, her interests, and her pain points.


In other words: You can’t simply create something, go to market, and hope it works out. You need to first get a strong sense of what people are demanding and go from there.  

Importantly, creating an ICA doesn’t solely inform your product or service; it informs your content, too. How can you expect to write engaging, insightful content if you don’t know what your ICA needs help with?

6. Social Media Marketing

Michael Stelzner is the founder of Social Media Examiner, a wonderful website that produces tons of awesome content dedicated to helping marketers and business owners better understand social media.

Stelzner is also the host of Social Media Marketing—a weekly, 45-minute podcast that anyone in any vertical can learn from. Each episode, Michael interviews a leading marketer and talks to him or her about specific platforms and strategies. The goal of the show is to provide insights we can all use to more successfully market on social media.


The episode titled “Phrases That Sell: 8 Copywriting Tips” features an interview with renowned copywriter Ray Edwards. Edwards is the author of How to Write Copy that Sells and the host of a podcast called the Ray Edwards Show.

As the episode title suggests, Stelzner and Edwards walk the listeners through eight strategies they can apply to their copywriting to more effectively move prospects to action.

As great as their recommended strategies are (and we’ll get to a few of them), I think the most important takeaway from this episode is what Edwards considers copywriters’ biggest mistake: forgetting about the pain point. Edwards explains that people are more inclined to eliminate pain than they are to pursue pleasure. As such, he says, copywriters need to address the problem before claiming to have the solution.


This Search ad addresses the pain point of payroll fees.

The first strategy Edwards recommends is the “if … then” template. For example, good copy for an exercise bike ad would be something along these lines: “If you’re determined to get in shape but you’re not ready to join a gym, then the Super Bike 3000 is just for you.”

Edwards also recommends using the word “imagine.” He uses the example of a purple elephant in a pink tutu wearing a party hat to illustrate the point that people will imagine something if you tell them to. So, if you sell deodorant, incorporating something like “Imagine smelling irresistible to everyone around you!” is a great idea.

7. Entrepreneurs on Fire

Fair warning: If you decide to check this one out, you’ll have to hear a man say the words “fire nation” way, way too much. That’s how he addresses his audience, I guess. It’s a minor thing, but I couldn’t stand idly by and say nothing.

During each episode of Entrepreneurs on Fire, host John Lee Dumas (affectionately known as JLD) interviews a successful entrepreneur with the intent of providing actionable insights to aspiring business owners.


Impressively, Dumas drops two episodes per week and sprinkles in some bonus episodes throughout the month. Episode 2048 centers around an interview with Ethan Sigmon, the founder of a Facebook Messenger automation software called Opesta.

The focus of the episode is what Sigmon calls the Flawless Facebook Ads Formula. He developed it out of necessity, really. The Facebook Ads agency he had started was gaining traction he hadn’t expected, and he had to figure out how to scale his operation.


He quickly learned that hiring an experienced Facebook Ads account manager is extremely expensive. So he took a different route: He hired someone who knew almost nothing about Facebook Ads and taught them himself.

Eventually, he had to streamline his teaching process. Hence, the formula.

Sigmon warns against what he calls the “shotgun method” of Facebook advertising. With this approach, you run a bunch of different ads, take note of which ones work the best, and pause the rest. The problem with this method is that it tells you nothing about why some ads worked and some ads didn’t.

Accordingly, Sigmon’s formula is all about testing, interpreting, and optimizing. Unfortunately, we don’t get it in full during the episode (you have to download the rest). But Sigmon certainly provides some useful insights as to what it takes to launch and scale a digital marketing agency.

8. StartUp

Branded as “a podcast about what it’s really like to start a business,” StartUp is a bit confusing.


For one thing, it’s organized by seasons rather than simply by episodes—not something you see every day in the podcast realm. The first season focuses on the story of Gimlet Media—the podcast network that owns StartUp (and that was acquired by Spotify in early 2019)—and the second season discusses a company called Dating Ring.

The show pivots for seasons 3, 4, and 5, shrinking some companies’ stories down to single episodes and talking a bit more about Gimlet Media.

Ready to get meta? Season 6 of StartUp is about the making of the (now defunct) TV show that’s based on the podcast. Talk about multi-purpose content. And, finally, season 7 is a return to the show’s roots, focusing solely on the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City.

StartUp is hosted by Alex Blumberg—founder and CEO of Gimlet Media—and Lisa Chow, former editor of FiveThirtyEight and reporter for NPR’s Planet Money.

Regardless of the confusing format shifts, StartUp is a good listen for entrepreneurs and business owners alike. I think there’s value in case study, and the good people at StartUp know how to present a compelling company profile.

If you’re looking to dive right in and go for a ride, I recommend the episode titled “New Money.” It tells the (initially happy but mostly sad) story of a messaging app called Kik.


Via Kik.

At the heart of the Kik story is a pretty daunting question: What’s it like building a social media company in a world dominated by Facebook?

The short answer: difficult.

Ted Livingston launched Kik in 2010. Fast forward through a couple years of incredibly strong user growth and a lot of fundraising and it’s valued at $1 billion. What could go wrong?

How about Facebook buying rival messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 while simultaneously building out Messenger?


As you can imagine, Kik’s user growth took something of a nosedive after that. Livingston knew he had to get creative, and boy oh boy did that guy get creative.

His plan: an initial coin offering, typically shortened to ICO. Basically, Kik raised $100 million in two weeks by selling a cryptocurrency called Kin, which would allow those who had it to make purchases within Kik.

In essence, Livingston tried to create a small economy within his social messaging app. Like I said—it’s a ride of a podcast episode. It’s an exercise in boundary-pushing creativity (read: throwing a hail mary) that any business owner can appreciate.

* This article was originally published here

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages: Which Is Better? [Data]

Internet Marketing Blog by WordStream
Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages: Which Is Better? [Data]

A couple weeks back, I presented some new data around Facebook Lead Ads at Mobile Monkey’s 2019 Facebook Ads Virtual Summit. Facebook advertisers have two main options when running lead gen campaigns: using the Conversion campaign objective to send prospects to landing pages or using the Lead Generation objective (and lead ads) to convert leads within Facebook.

Here at WordStream, we wanted to find out which method was more effective. We pulled the data, presented it, and offered some strategies to help Facebook lead gen advertisers get way more out of these campaign types.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

In the weeks that followed, we received numerous emails from those among the over 16,000 registrants (and from those who heard about the event after the fact) asking for a recording of the content. That recording currently lives with Mobile Monkey (you can access all 10 of the sessions for a very reasonable $49); so for those who didn’t catch the session, we’re going to give you an in-depth (and free!) rundown of the content here today on the WordStream blog.

Let’s dive in!

Background: Facebook Lead Ads in a Nutshell

Facebook lead ads are nothing new. They’ve been around for two or three years. When we talk to Facebook advertisers, however, we typically get the sense that lead ads do not yet enjoy universal usage—that there are a lot of advertisers out there that are still not leveraging lead ads to their max potential.

What exactly is a Facebook lead ad? It looks like this:

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

You’re looking at three main components when you’re running this ad type.

The prospect scrolls through her News Feed. She clicks the call to action, which in this case is a Subscribe button, but could be any one of eight total options depending on your goal.
A form opens up within the ad. The prospect enters her information into the form. Here that’s just her name and email, but there are a number of other fields you would have her fill out if you really wanted to qualify her.
She submits her information and becomes a lead.

On the back end—this is what that’s going to look like for the advertiser. At the campaign level, you’re choosing the Lead Generation objective.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Campaign

At the Ad Set level, you’re connecting your Business page, choosing your targeting and placements, and setting your budget and bid strategy.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Ad Set

Next, at the Ad level, things start to look a little different. You have your creative, your ad text, your headline copy, and your eight options for a CTA button; at the bottom, you’re also going to see this “Instant Form” field.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Lead Ad

The instant form is what makes the lead ad a lead ad. This is where you, as the advertiser, specify what kinds of information you want to collect from your prospect.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Lead Form 2

You do that by either using a saved form, creating a new one from scratch, or working off an existing form and just changing certain information. Let me explain each of these customization fields:

Form Type. This is where you’re choosing to optimize your form for either more volume or higher intent. Facebook accomplishes the higher intent piece by adding a review step that gives prospects a chance to confirm their information before they submit it.
Intro. This appears right at the top of your form and gives prospects more descriptive information about your form.
Questions. Here you’re specifying which contact, demographic, and employment information you want from your prospects, and you’re also adding any custom questions that are necessary for you to qualify your leads.
Privacy Policy. Because you’re collecting people’s personal information, you have to link to your company’s privacy policy.
Thank You Screen. This is where you’re customizing what people see after they submit their information.

To give you a look at what this looks like in the wild, here is a lead ad from our account where we’re promoting our Hacking Google Ads guide as a way of generating leads.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Conversions

You can see it looks pretty much like a standard ad. But then it opens up to this nice lead form where we have an intro explaining what’s in the guide, and we’re able to ask all the questions we know we need to ask in order to qualify our prospects.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

And then finally we have the customized thank you screen from which our newly acquired lead can easily download the guide.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

That’s Facebook lead ad creation in a nutshell! And what makes this user flow so unique? The prospect never has to leave the Facebook app to give us their information. The prospect doesn’t have to go to a landing page in a new window and doesn’t have to wait for that landing page to load. This is hands down the biggest advantage of using Facebook leads ads.

It takes six to eight touches to generate a viable sales lead. And when you start to think about all the steps a prospect has to go through in your own organization before they become “viable” or “qualified,” that number might seem pretty conservative. It takes legitimate time and effort to get quality leads. Any time you can streamline that process, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage.

The Alternative: Conversion Campaigns and Landing Pages

If you’re a lead gen advertiser on Facebook, your alternative to Lead Generation campaigns is going to be Conversion campaigns. If you’re selecting Conversions as your campaign objective, your conversion goal is to acquire a lead, and in order to acquire that lead, you’re sending prospects to a landing page to fill out a form. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using conversion campaigns if you’re a lead gen advertiser. In fact, most of the advertisers we talk to give us the sense that they still rely pretty heavily on conversion campaigns to meet their targets. It’s just a more traditional way of doing things.

In the WordStream account, for example, we’re using conversion campaigns to promote the exact same guide, Hacking Google Ads, with pretty much the exact same creative. As you can see, it’s pretty hard to tell these ads apart in your News Feed.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

Even my mom, who is seriously tech savvy, couldn’t tell the difference!

The main difference we’re interested in here is the user flow. When you’re running conversion campaigns, you’re always going to be sending your prospect to a landing page. And as you can see, we ask pretty much the same questions and provide pretty much the same bullet points on our landing pages as we do in our lead ads.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

So the main difference here, again, is just the process of physically redirecting the user out of Facebook.

Intuitively, this might seem like a disadvantage. Redirecting to a landing page means a longer wait time, more touches, and more information to digest before your prospect can become a lead, right? But—what are some reasons this user flow could work in our favor? Well, all the same reasons!

Longer wait time. If your prospect is willing to sit through a page load before entering their information, they are probably going to be a more qualified lead.
More touches. A prospect who clicks eight times before entering their information is probably going to be more invested in your brand than a prospect who clicks just three times.
More information. A prospect who digests more information about your business before becoming a lead is probably more likely to convert to a sale.

The real issue here is not, Are conversion campaigns more effective than lead generation campaigns? It’s that Facebook lead gen seems to exist on this spectrum where the more we focus on increasing lead volume, the more we run the risk of losing quality; vice versa, the more we focus on quality, the more we run the risk of losing volume. And it seems at first blush like conversion campaigns and lead generation campaigns exist at opposite ends of this spectrum, right? Lead ads might allow you to get more leads, but those leads might be higher in the funnel than you’re really looking for. On the flip side, landing pages might allow you to get more quality leads, but you’re going to be generating way less of them.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Spectrum

Quite an unhappy dilemma! Or is it? Let’s dive into some of the data we pulled around these themes.

The Data: Leads Ads vs. Landing Pages

Here at WordStream, we wanted to test this proposition that generally speaking, lead ads convert to leads at a higher clip than landing pages. We also wanted to look at the relative cost of acquiring a lead in each campaign type. So we set out to measure conversion rate and cost per action for both lead generation and conversion campaigns, and we did so by pulling the data of all WordStream clients that were using those campaign types in the past 60 days. Our data set spanned over 3,000 campaigns and about $9.5 million in spend.

Here’s a look at what we found:

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Data

Campaigns using lead ads had an average conversion rate of 12.54%, and an average cost-per-action of $17.98. Campaigns using landing pages had an average conversion rate of 10.47%, and an average cost-per-action of $13.26. So while cost per action was higher, the takeaway here is that lead generation campaigns convert to leads (from clicks) at a 2.07% higher rate than conversion campaigns. Which, due to the more streamlined user flow, is something we expected!

But this data only tells half the story, right? Because it doesn’t tell us anything about the quality of leads being generated from each campaign. 

To get our data on quality, we decided to look at a lead-gen-specific business that not only has a massive data set, but also accessible CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data. That would allow us to see how well leads from each Facebook campaign type were performing on the sales side. Where could we find such a data set? Our in-house account here at WordStream!

We used the same time period (60 days). And to give you an idea of the scope of the data we looked at, we accrued over 40,000 link clicks in that time period across the lead generation and conversion campaign types. What did the data tell us?

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

Just like we saw in the customer data, lead generation campaigns converted to leads at a higher rate—this time, an 11.7% higher rate. However, when you take into account what our business defines as a “qualified” lead, the story begins to skew pretty heavily toward conversion campaigns.

Conversion campaigns had a 5.7% higher conversion rate to a “qualified” lead, and a 1.4% higher conversion rate to a demo. A “demo” is when a lead ultimately requests a call from our sales team to demo our software. Given the importance of that action to our business, that 1.4% increase is pretty huge!

We also noted that cost per quality lead was significantly lower in the conversion campaign group.

The takeaway? Lead generation campaigns seem to be more effective across the board at converting clicks to leads. But conversion campaigns seem to take the cake when it comes to generating quality leads at a lower cost.

How to Drive Quality AND Quantity from Lead Ads

Remember that dilemma we looked at earlier, where we had lead quality and lead volume locked in a mutually exclusive proposition? Taking the data into account, we’ve seen that landing pages correlate to better quality leads; maybe we’re not hemorrhaging volume quite as much as we thought. On the flip side, we’ve seen that lead ads definitely convert to leads a little bit more effectively, but maybe we’re not leaving as much to be desired in the quality department as we once thought. So maybe these two campaign types are not as far off in performance as we once thought, and the model looks something like this: 

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

The question I think this poses is not how do we run campaigns that don’t sacrifice lead volume for lead quality? The question is this: How do we flip this model on its head and start running campaigns that get volume and quality running in the same direction?

Let’s talk about some tactics that will help you do just that! And because we think lead ads are sophisticated enough at this point that you can really be discerning with the quality of leads your bringing in while still maintaining that easy, lightning-fast user experience, we’re going to forget about conversion campaigns for a moment and focus on strategies that can help you optimize your lead ads for both volume and quality.

Tactic #1: Lookalike a paying customer

It stands to reason that if you want leads that ultimately convert to sales, you need to target Facebook users who are similar to your existing customers. Remarketing to your 30-day site traffic is great; creating lookalikes based on existing leads is even better. But if you can build a prospect pool that consists of people who share the same traits as the people who have already purchased your product or service, you’re giving yourself the best chance to generate new leads that will turn into new customers.

To underscore this a little more: Let’s say you have three seed audiences, 60-day traffic to a product page, past webinar registrants, and an existing customer list.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Lookalikes

You can hope that the prospects who look like the 60-day product people will convert to sales, but you can’t expect them to, because they’re derived from an audience of people who have browsed your website, not bought your product or service. Same with the audience based on webinar registrants. You can hope that your lookalike is going to download that whitepaper, read it, then click that free trial CTA, but you can’t realistically expect them to.

Then you have the customer list. This is the beauty of lead ads. The format is so streamlined for lead collection that it gives you the luxury of being able to forget about how you can get a given prospect to become a lead, and start focusing on how you can get that same prospect to become a customer. And when you leverage lead ads in conjunction with a lookalike audience based on your existing customers, that’s exactly what you’re doing—you’re putting that streamlined user experience in front of the people who are most likely to be in the market for your product or service at the time they see your ad.

Let’s see what creating a customer lookalike looks like on the back end. First you have to create your custom audience, which is pretty simple. Just head to the Audiences tab in Ads Manager…

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

Click the Create Audience button, then select Custom Audience.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

And select Customer File.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Customer File

From there, if you’re a MailChimp user, you have the option to just import email addresses.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Import

But for most of us, we’re going to be clicking the first option here where we’re just simply uploading a spreadsheet.

After you upload your email addresses, you’re going to wait one to six hours for Facebook to build that custom audience for you. When that’s done, head back to Create Audience >Lookalike Audience…

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

Find your new custom audience in the source field, layer your location targeting, and set your audience size.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Audience

It’s really that simple!

For audience size, I would recommend starting with 1%, which is the percentage of the population that most closely matches your existing customers, and then working out from there if your audience is too small.

You can use this strategy with any campaign type, but it’s so effective with lead generation campaigns specifically because, again, when you combine that streamlined lead ad experience with this kind of tight targeting, you no longer have to choose between volume and quality.

Tactic #2: Animate your creative

When I say animate here, I don’t mean Mickey Mouse! I mean you should make your stuff move. I can tell you firsthand that every time our in-house acquisition team meets with the people at Facebook this is the number one tip they give us. We have implemented animated creative over the past six months and seen improvements across the board—so much so that we rarely opt for static creative now when we’re creating new Facebook ads.

You have probably heard the tip implement video creative in your marketing campaigns a thousand different times in a thousand different ways, but let me tell you—it doesn’t even have to be a video. Here are a couple examples of animated creative we’ve used in lead ads over the past few months:

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing PagesFacebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

These are both gifs; we simply took some static elements and animated them (harder than I’m making it sound, but more on that in a second). But as I said, this is pretty much our modus operandi now whenever we come out with a new ad concept. We still will use static creative, but more often than not we are using some sort of short animated gif or video. We know it increases performance, so it’s worth it for us to put that extra effort into designing it. What you’re basically doing is giving your ads that thumb-stopping power everyone loves to talk about. You’re differentiating yourself from the rest of the static elements in your prospect’s News Feed.

Gifs are great, but this is not to say that video doesn’t have a place! While any animated creative is going to give your ad that thumb-stopping power, only video is going to allow you to control the story, and controlling the story is a crucial part of qualifying leads.

What do I mean by that? Let’s say you’re a car dealer and you invest in a 15-second ad spot for your Audi convertible.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

It’s nothing too complex, just a short clip of the car in motion, some of the interior features, and maybe a suave-looking guy behind the wheel in sunglasses. What you’re doing by making that video is making an investment in your story; making an investment in your story means making an investment in your prospect. Investing in your prospect is so critical when you’re serving lead ads. Because it’s already going to be super easy for this prospect to become a lead, you want to make sure it’s just as easy for him to become a sale.

It’s easy enough for a prospect to see this Audi convertible in his News Feed, see the Get a Quote CTA, and say, Hey, I wonder just out of curiosity how much my monthly payment would be if I financed this thing, I’m going to submit my info. But by investing in video, you’re allowing this same prospect to see himself behind the wheel of the car. Ok, now he understands some of the interior features. Ok, now he sees how fast the thing is on the open road. This prospect understands the product, understands what he’s clicking on when he clicks that Get a Quote CTA, and is much more likely to buy. 

A Quick Shameless Plug

Shameless plug time!

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

And I only offer this plug because I truly know how difficult it can be to create animated ad assets in-house—especially if you’re a small business owner, but even if you’re an agency or you have a bigger team. At WordStream, we have a super useful tool within our software that helps advertisers get up and running with animated creative quickly and painlessly. It’s called Smart Ads. If you’re an advertiser, all you have to do is enter your URL, and we scrape your site for images and text to make super dynamic HTML5 ads. That basically means that we take your static creative and set it in motion. It looks like this.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages

You can add your new dynamic ad to your Facebook and/or Display campaigns right from within the software.

And then the other feature I would mention here is Smart Video Ads, which exists within the Smart Ads suite. This is where we template the entire video creation process out for you, give you music to choose from, and all you have to do is drag and drop your images and type in your copy. The final product is a super dynamic, super engaging video ad that, again, you can implement right in your Facebook lead ad campaigns. This will go a long way in helping you control your story, qualify the leads your generating, and make it really easy for that prospect to become a sale after he becomes a lead.

Tactic #3: Ask the right questions (and the right amount!)

The instant form within your lead ad can have up to 15 custom questions and up to 21 questions total. Now obviously, if you can get a prospect to answer 21 questions before tapping submit, you are going to know everything about this person—from their favorite color to their first girlfriend’s name to how they take their coffee. But your prospect’s not going to want to answer all those questions. And not all those questions are going to be absolutely vital to your sales process. This is where asking the right questions, and asking the right amount of questions, is absolutely critical.

Let’s look at a bit more data. AdEspresso ran a really cool study a year or so back where they looked at how the amount of questions you ask in your instant form impacts your cost-per-lead. Their conclusion, which goes with our theme, was that the more questions you have on your lead form, the higher your cost per lead will be. Conversely, by removing too many barriers between the user and conversion, you run the risk of attracting low-quality leads/conversions.

Facebook Lead Ads vs. Landing Pages Data

This is nothing novel, and it goes back to that inverse relationship between quality and volume we presented earlier. But the interesting thing for me here is that when you look at the numbers, cost-per-lead rises astronomically after five questions. It’s like people are totally fine with answering five questions but then if you ask them to answer one more they’re like, “Oh no, I’m going to make you pay for that.”

I think five questions is a good benchmark to go on here, but what I really think this data is telling us is this: Understand the objective of a given lead ad campaign, and how the leads you’ll get from that campaign fit into your sales funnel. Then, ask the fewest amount of questions possible to get the most vital information you can.

So for instance, if you’re running a top-of-funnel lead gen campaign, and you know you’re going to be sending those leads to your nurture team for further qualification, then just ask for a name, an email address, and whatever other vital information your email marketing team needs to blast those leads. If you think you have a really good offer and really good creative, on the other hand, and your goal is to send leads right to your sales team, then ask for the information you know your sales team needs to segment those leads and hit them with calls. You’re going to generate a ton of leads with these campaigns—we saw that with the conversion rates. But extra leads is not a problem if you ask the sorts of super discriminating questions that are going to make it easy for your team to push those leads through the funnel. 

If there’s one thing you should take away…

Facebook lead ads are heavily underutilized. Because conversion campaigns have traditionally been the way of doing things, lead ads haven’t achieved that ubiquitous status yet. And that means that, for all you advertisers reading this, you can use those conversion rates we talked about to generate more leads than your competitors. And you can combine them with some  tactics we talked about today to generate the kinds of leads that are going to make you a profit.

Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: Time-Saving SEO Hacks

SEMrush blog
Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: Time-Saving SEO Hacks

Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: Time-Saving SEO Hacks

In this Weekly Wisdom video, Ross will go through ways you can save time on SEO tasks. With some of these tips and hacks, as well as some tools that we used to kind of cut the fat, so we can get the data in and analyze it, and more importantly, get it live on our client‘s site so we can start ranking them.

Google Ads bringing click share to Search campaign competitive metrics

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing
Google Ads bringing click share to Search campaign competitive metrics

Google Ads bringing click share to Search campaign competitive metrics
The rollout of click share can be seen as a follow up to the position metrics Google introduced last fall as average position has become less useful.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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