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Are you analyzing and optimizing your sales pipeline?

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, Web publishers

Post by Megan Totka

MeganTotkaYour bottom line lives in your sales pipeline. Do you know where it’s breaking down? The sales process starts at first contact, when a customer browses your website. That first contact may initiate from a web search, a social media connection, or a marketing strategy. From that moment, you need to be nurturing your relationship.

While every buyer is different, you can use your data to analyze patterns and find out where you’re losing sales, and what buyers are likely to do next. Understanding the buyer decision process is the first step.

Your customers want to know how your offering fits into their lives

The wealth of information and ease of ordering almost anything online provides both great opportunity and intense competition. Winners and losers are often determined by the kind and amount of attention customers receive. Here are the best practices for nurturing different types of leads.

The first contact. When visitors come to your website for the first time, will they find what they came for? Product or service information might not be enough. Your customers want to know how your offering fits into their lives, they want to know they can trust you, and they want to feel good about buying from you.

Start your journey by offering in-depth information, case studies, user reviews, and customer recommendations. Give them an opportunity to opt in for more, and when they do, send them a warm welcome and an offer of help.

The unknown. The most common way to lose sales is through lack of data tracking. When your web analytics are on point, you have a wealth of information about your visitors: where they came from, what they did when they reached your page, what interested them most, where they went next.

Comprehensive web data analysis can help you redesign your website based on what visitors respond best to; add the kind of content they spend the most time on and refine your marketing efforts to maximize click-throughs.

Understand your customer to personalize the offers they get

Customer data fills in the rest of the blanks. Collect information from every source in your CRM (customer relationship management system), including social media, invoices, your sales and customer service departments. The more you understand your customer, the more you can personalize your offers.

The dropout. Study data trends to see where you’re losing warm leads. Follow up with people who chose to buy from somewhere else, and find out why. Once you’ve found the answer, fix the problem … and lure lost sales back with a highly targeted, personalized content.

Fixing the holes in your pipeline will take dedicated sleuthing. You’ll have to ask some uncomfortable questions, follow up with uninterested people, and check the notes in your CRM for comments from disgruntled customers.

The drifter. Potential customers can simply drift away over time. Keep their interest with well-timed contact, social media touches, and exclusive events. FOMO (fear of missing out) can be your best friend when consumers lose interest. Offer great deals for very limited times, on goods or services you know they are interested in.

Cross-channel marketing is especially useful here. By connecting with leads across on the social media channels they call home gives you unprecedented access to making the kind of emotional connection that leads to a deep customer relationship.

The sleeper. Old customers who bought once and haven’t returned could be a hidden goldmine. You know them, and they know you. You should have all the information you need to regain their interest and pull them in for a new offer. Even though most companies focus their spend on acquiring new customers, repeat customers are more valuable.

Never forget to show customers you value their business. This is where great customer service and personalized content comes in. Without overwhelming your contacts with invasive emails or other touches, offer them tips and updates, and ask for feedback. Keep in touch regularly, but don’t overdo it.

The secret to lead nurturing in any stage of the pipeline is targeting. Your emails and offers have to be interesting, and for that, make sure your email list is properly segmented. Consumers are bombarded by offers and accustomed to ignoring them. To get their attention, your offer has to be exactly what they want and need, timed to reach them when they are most likely to be interested.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

Source: Social Media

Post by Adi Englander


In the six years since its launch, Instagram has become a dominant photo sharing platform. Its more than 500 million monthly active users share more than 95 million images each day.


Engagement on Instagram is astounding, making it a visual marketer’s dream. Instagram users like shared photos 4.2 billion times a day. With a global community like this, it’s no surprise that brands are increasingly excited about the advertising opportunities and business opportunities found on Instagram.

The company has released a number of advertising options for brands in recent months that advertisers love. Instagram’s ad formats have evolved to encompass truly compelling paid conversion mechanisms, such as call-to-action buttons. In addition, innovative third-party tools have developed solutions that leverage Instagram’s advertising API to allow people to create engaging promoted posts that convert more effectively than conventional ads.

Here are a few tips for successful Instagram ad strategies, to help you launch captivating ad campaigns on this hugely popular social platform.

  1. Leverage UGC as Ad Content

Instagram was built on its users’ beautiful photos and has become even more compelling since rolling out video options and Instagram Stories. There’s an authenticity to user-generated content (UGC) of this type that professional production photos can’t match.

Visual marketers who find the most success on this social channel know how to create photos and videos that are highly engaging, particularly when they are carefully curated or produced. They are also a perfect medium for connecting with fans and cultivating strong communities of interest.

The potential for brands is remarkable. Social recommendations are powerful forms of marketing. When someone you admire and respect recommends a particular product or service, you’re more likely to buy it, aren’t you? Imagine the impact of that simple, social dynamic applied to Instagram, and you have a sense of how effective Instagram ads can be.

Yotpo Ads

Yotpo-generated Instagram ads are powered by real UGC

Image source: https://www.yotpo.com/yotpo-ads/

One company, Yotpo, has blended social recommendations with Instagram’s ad products to create an innovative solution. Using Yotpo, brands can invite their customers to share reviews and images of the products they love. Those recommendations and visuals can then be shared on Instagram as well-designed ads.

  1. Select the Right CTA

Unless your goal is simply to increase brand awareness with your Instagram posts, it’s important to remember that a strong call-to-action (CTA) is essential. A CTA’s purpose is to give prospective customers an opportunity to engage with you in a specified way. It may be to find out more about your product or service; make a purchase or sign up for more information and become part of a more engaged direct marketing channel.

Although organic posts on Instagram don’t allow you to include clickable links in their captions and comments, brands now have a variety of paid CTA buttons to choose from. Among others, these include:

  • Shop Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Sign Up
  • Learn More
Clickable CTA

An ad for the Job Today app uses design elements to draw the eye towards a clickable CTA

Image source: https://business.instagram.com/#case-studies

Instagram’s solution takes care of the design aspects of the CTA and has pre-defined the CTAs you can use with your ad. The real challenge on Instagram is to pick the best visual to capture a prospective customer’s attention and motivate her to click on your CTA. In general, the best images are those that evoke strong emotions. Use high-quality, authentic-feeling images to create compelling, bite-sized experiences and that your audience won’t be able to resist. This is a great tool to use to quickly connect people with your products.

  1. Keep Your Visuals Simple

With visual content being the primary communication medium on Instagram, it may be tempting to use the platform to replicate ads you may be accustomed to seeing elsewhere. This is probably not the best strategy to use on Instagram.

Remember that at its core, Instagram is a platform for people like you and me to share photos and videos that are meaningful to us, with our communities. The Instagram crowd values genuineness and creativity. Content that is too obviously advertising will stand out as forced and won’t be nearly as engaging. Obvious advertising includes photos with blatant branding or images with banner text. Instead, keep it simple and aim for in-the-moment, real-life content.

Instagram Ads Sparkle Pink

Children’s clothing brand Sparkle Pink’s Instagram ads look like they could have been shot by doting parents

Image source: https://business.instagram.com/#case-studies

Another effective tactic is to work with popular influencers who are passionate about your brand to help you spread the word. RhythmOne published a study revealing that influencer marketing on Instagram can have as much as eight times the impact of an equivalent Facebook campaign. A benefit of collaborating with Instagram influencers is that they often have deeply passionate followers, and their posts retain an organic feel that resonates well on Instagram.

  1. Make Sure Your Ads Are Seen

It sounds obvious, but you need to ensure that people actually see your Instagram ads. Even though your focus is on sharing great photos and videos as the basis of your ads, there is much you can do with captions and comments to help more prospective customers discover your promoted posts and entice them to engage with you.

To begin with, use hashtags in the text that accompanies your visual content. Think of hashtags as a quirky equivalent of SEO keywords. Instagram allows you to add as many as 30 hashtags to your posts, and the right combinations can go a long way towards making sure your ads come up in popular search results.

Qantas Sponsored Post

Qantas uses a hashtag and an extremely brief caption in a sponsored post

Image source: https://business.instagram.com/#case-studies

When it comes to your ad copy, those descriptions themselves, the optimal length seems to be around 40 characters (about the same as a Facebook post). Yes, that’s extremely short, but bear in mind that your customer’s focus will be on the visual element of your ad.

Getting Started

Because Instagram is part of Facebook’s corporate family, brands have the power of Facebook’s ad targeting options available to them. Advertisers on Instagram can use the same Ad Manager they use for Facebook ad campaigns.

You can reach prospective customers based on their age, gender, location and a myriad other signals, which Instagram receives through those people’s interactions with other users. It is a truly powerful toolkit that will help you reach the right person with the most relevant ads.

Instagram’s origins as a popular photo-sharing social network have positioned it as a compelling platform for innovative brands. It has complemented its photo sharing base with video ads, Instagram Stories and CTAs that promise increased engagement and higher click-throughs.

Its huge appeal as a way to share great visuals with communities highlights Instagram’s potential impact as a means for brands to connect meaningfully with passionate fans and drive more sales through social recommendations and creative flair.

Source: Social Media