It’s Tougher Than Ever To Advertise on Facebook. What Should Small Businesses Do?

Facebook offers more control to users on what they want to see on their newsfeed; it will start filtering out ads and content they’re not interested in. This came as a response to the growing concern with regard to social media’s role on our society’s well-being.

In this article, we’ll talk how putting more emphasis on community-building over competition for viewer’s attention on social media can benefit small businesses.

Why a Change in Focus is Vital for Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have changed the way people interact with each other. They paved the way for communities of like-minded people to share life’s experiences and interests over the internet.

Since then, users have always thought of getting more people to like their posts, and it wasn’t long before sharing became attention-seeking. Internet marketers quickly saw its potential for marketing and spared no expense getting more ‘likes’ and comments to stay on top of everybody’s newsfeed.

Other businesses won’t just stand and watch while competitors get all the attention on social media. Facebook ads, page boosts and paid ‘likes’ soon became the norm in social media marketing, and staying on top became increasingly difficult (and expensive) as more and more people and companies fight for user attention.

Ads were just one of Facebook’s many problems. They also have to deal with fake news, scams, clickbaits, and viral posts which doesn’t serve its users. Changing Facebook’s algorithm gave users a much better experience. (Notice how your friends’ most recent posts always come first. Same goes for more informative posts; irrelevant posts are demoted or removed completely.)

Facebook is getting more serious about its purpose as a company. Mark Zuckerberg is a little concerned and vows on “protecting the community” which he believes is “more important than maximizing profits.”

Facebook’s Focus on the Community

Most of us can only look back when YouTube was totally ad-free before Google bought it for 1.65 billion USD in November 2006. It soon turned into a money-making social media platform with ads taking the likeness of TV commercials but with some degree of user interaction. Remember how quickly you skipped the ad as soon as it starts, or piqued when forced to watch all 20 seconds of it?

Facebook went down the same path when it started Facebook Ads, paid likes, and page boosting. However, after dragging users into countless hours of endless scrolling and passive consumption, they’ve decided to redeem themselves by giving more attention on things that matter most – meaningful social interaction.

This might cost Facebook a lot of money, considering most of their income comes from advertising. To get around this, Facebook might give users the ability to choose ad-free subscriptions on a monthly basis for a fee which is approximately the price per user paid for by advertisers on Facebook. Another option is to provide premium accounts the ability to fine-tune their viewing experience and exceed certain limitations not accessible in free accounts.

From the standpoint of a social media marketer who rely on Facebook ads for traffic and customer acquisition, this can be somewhat unappealing, since most of their high-end clients and potential customers who can afford ad-free subscriptions would be out of reach by then, and they would have to settle with what’s left of Facebook’s free user base.

Having an ad-free, community-centered Facebook for users is much more complicated than we think. Facebook’s intention to take away distractions from the user experience is a noble one, although much of it remains to be seen. As with any kind of business, it has to somehow generate income in order to survive, i.e. by giving “free access” to services, paid for by advertising.

What This Means for Small Businesses

One of the biggest advantages of small businesses over large companies is the community that was built around it. Creating and maintaining customer relationships is much easier on a tightly-knit group of customers than having to deal with a very broad audience. Instead of social media being used as the battleground for people’s attention, it will become a truly engaging, interactive space where real businesses and customers with common interests can share their ideas.

Paid advertising will always have its place in the marketing mix, but social media is not really about throwing your ad into a prospect’s face. Be genuine with your customers, speak to them on a personal level and they will refer you to their friends. That’s the power of Facebook, not trying to outspend the competition.

Big businesses who rely heavily on advertising might have to take their outbound marketing strategies elsewhere. And what better place to advertise than Google? This way, we won’t have to worry going against these giants on an ad-free social media. We can devote more of our time and resources building a community of customers and growing our businesses through customer referrals, word of mouth, and other networking strategies.

Having your own site where you can take your customers for a brief tour of your goods and services is the next big step after you’ve accumulated enough audience from social media. This is where your business starts experiencing exponential growth through organic searches and visits driving more traffic to your site.

As a small business, we need to start somewhere, and social media could be one of those places where we can grow our audience. Creating and maintaining customer relationships has always been the key.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Fixing the Gaps in Your Sales Funnel

sales funnel

Sales funnel is a marketing tool designed to convert leads into buying customers in a systematic way which involves several stages.  The concept of a ‘funnel’ is based on the fact that for every sequential stage in the sales process some percentage of leads get through while others are lost or stay behind.

For businesses, it is reliable indicator of marketing success, or failure. It tells them exactly which part of the sales process is connecting with the audience and which part isn’t

Identifying Problems in the Sales Funnel

A sales funnel can make or break a company. It’s imperative you analysis each part of the funnel to see what is working and what isn’t.

If part of your sales is a landing page that doesn’t convert, then you need to analysis what isn’t working. It could be that the lead acquisition is too generic, or maybe 50% of all the visitors leave without even looking or clicking on your sign up button.

Low click-through rates  against a high number of visits on a landing page, could also be a sign. Something isn’t “speaking” to your customers.

The first step is to identify which part of your sales funnel people are dropping off or not responding to.

Read: What Sales Experts Do to Keep Their Sales Pipeline Up and Running

Fixing the Problem with Lead Acquisition

Marketers use inbound and outbound marketing approach to get people to their site. Some examples include landing pages, surveys, and opt-in subscription to newsletters or free content.

Traditional outbound marketing use advertising such as Google AdWords to generate leads. However, this method doesn’t always guarantee a high volume of qualified leads as this can be exploited for financial gain.

Other companies create a buyer persona to guide them at this stage because it helps generate more responses using the concept of an ‘ideal customer.’

The most common problem at this stage has to do with high bounce rate and getting a high number of low-quality leads. Online analytics tools such as Google Analytics reveal how many visits a page has vs. the percentage of those who have taken action.

Experimenting with the client acquisition tool might help solve the problem. A/B testing or split testing, for instance, can help you pinpoint which specific feature or element in your client acquisition tool has the greatest impact in getting  more response from your target audience.

Studies have shown that even slight changes in page layout, content, or CTA can influence viewer perception and user experience.

Landing pages should also address specific ‘pain points’ or areas of interests instead of being vague or too generic. Unique value proposition’ (UVP) or ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP) helps create a distinction between you and your competitors, and makes your business stand out.

Fixing the Problem with Lead Nurturing

 Nurturing leads is just as important as the initial stage of acquiring them. Unfortunately, this is where most sales funnels start to atrophy and experience massive loss of volume.

This can be attributed to an inefficient email marketing strategy or not being able to follow up with potential customers in a timely manner.

Setting up an email automation can help simplify the task for you. However, to be effective, you need to segment your prospects to stay relevant with them and not sound too generic.

Fixing the Problem with Lead Conversion

Converting leads into buying customers shouldn’t be too difficult if you didn’t have any issue with the acquisition and nurturing stage.

Problems arise when a company tries to fast-track its conversions by skipping other processes. This is usually the case with most traditional outbound marketing which attempts to speed up the sales cycle by hard-selling their leads and prospects.

Companies should  be able to provide potential customers with alternatives  when making buying decisions. Upselling and cross-selling are among the best and effective ways to seal any gaps in your sales conversions.

Call to action words and phrases (CTA) can also influence the way customers respond to an offer or invitation.

Unlock the Power of CRM for Your Small Business

Being able to monitor your sales funnel and fix the gap between customer acquisition and lead conversion is what elevates your company from all the rest.

Small Business Dream is built around this concept of sales funnel, which involves customer acquisition, maintaining customer relationship, and driving sales. It’s a sales and marketing tool aimed at helping small business owners like you. We’ll be looking forward growing business with you.

Marketing Opportunities to Help You Stay Ahead

Every time a company misses out on a marketing opportunity, competitors will try their best to seize the initiative. In order to win in a fiercely competitive environment, businesses must learn to look out for missed opportunities and seal the gaps in their marketing strategies.

Some of the most common missed opportunities are surprisingly simple but can have a huge impact in promoting businesses. It also shows that with a little bit of creativity and by being sensitive to our customers’ needs, we can create meaningful connections and make our products and services closer to them.

How Businesses Are Taking Advantage of Customer Data

 Businesses that’s been around for quite some time have the advantage of being able to track customer activity and see the whole picture of what’s really going on with their sales and marketing strategy. This enables them to map out their next strategy based on current trends and make some slight adjustments for future customer engagements.

Customer data allows businesses to identify their weak spots, i.e. missed opportunities, and use that information to gain the advantage in the marketplace. Most of these marketing opportunities are fairly common but has the potential of improving sales significantly.

Startup companies can also take advantage of big data from another source such as Google Analytics and Adwords along with other free data tracking tools. But to really understand and appreciate customer data for marketing solutions, a good CRM service or application should be in place.

Practical Marketing Solutions

 Missed marketing opportunities are essentially like blind spots; they’ve been there all along but we can’t see them through our peripheral vision. Marketers can get too overwhelmed with the numbers that they often overlook even the most basic, yet very effective marketing strategies that stood the test of time.

These marketing opportunities include:

Although not generally regarded as a primary marketing tool, it could still contribute to your overall marketing efforts as much as 20 percent.

Timing is key here. On average, it would only take three to five hours for a status update or post to reach peak activity, followed by a steady decline in viewer’s interest. Peak hours will differ from country to country and marketers will have to experiment different posting times.

The old practice of buying ‘likes’, ‘fans’, and ‘followers’ had already lost its popularity, and social media marketers are now re-focusing their efforts in sharing timely and relevant information, upcoming events, contests, collecting data from fans and followers, and extending their reach through multi-channel marketing.

  • Cross-selling & Upselling 

This strategy is usually practiced during the final stages of the buyer’s journey in the sales pipeline or during follow-ups with regular customers. This allows you to get an additional 10 to 30 percent increase in revenue.

It opens up more options for buyers and potential customers, especially those related to their purchase which they have missed or left out unintentionally.

For instance, you’re running a carpet business and your clients have shown interest in buying one of your carpets. You may suggest buying a carpet cleaner along with the carpets to save more money on carpet cleaning services (cross-selling).

Another example is when doing B2B like providing office supplies to a certain company. You can suggest personalizing some items (pens, notepads, etc.) with their company logo or brand name at just a fraction of the cost (upselling).

  • Maintaining Customer Loyalty

Customer retention allows your company to save 5 to 10 times in marketing expenses than having to look for new customers every now and then. In fact, existing customers account for 65 percent of the company’s income.

Businesses are now stepping up on improving customer retention and are starting to cut down on advertising expenses and promotional ventures. More emphasis is now given to customer loyalty since they are less expensive to maintain and has the potential of producing leveraged income through customer referrals.

To achieve this, they also need to increase their marketing capabilities through marketing automation to cope up with the growing number of customers.

  • Mobile Marketing

Recent statistics reveals that as of 2016, mobile users have grown to 4.61 billion. That’s more than half of the world’s total population. Missing out on this one meant giving away a large portion of potential customers to your competitors.

Mobile marketing has already been employed by a lot of companies successfully to promote their brand, collect customer information, and maintain customer relationship.

One great example is through their use of free mobile applications on mobile platforms such as Google Play and iTunes which allows companies to collect important relevant information about the mobile users.

Businesses can also employ this strategy for mobile CRMs to link up with their customers and prospects on the go. Another advantage of mobile marketing is that it gives them the ability to send push messages and notifications which is a common feature in most modern mobile devices.

  • Improving the Company’s Visibility

Aside from improving a website’s visibility, some of the ‘old-school’ marketing strategies are still as effective as today’s modern marketing approach.

This is especially true with brand awareness. However, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on posters, print ads, and billboards, you can give little items with your personalized logo, brand name, or website as giveaways to your loyal customers and on-site visitors.

Things like pens, golf pencils, umbrellas, wristbands, caps, t-shirts, and other memorabilia are inexpensive yet effective marketing tools which can be used to promote your business. It doesn’t cost too much, but you’ll be surprised how even simple things like these can help endear your customers to your business.

Other ideas include coasters and tent cards if you’re into local restaurant business, or perhaps giving a mint or two with your personalized packaging as a way of saying ‘Thank you,’ to your valued customers.

It only takes a little bit of creativity and keeping your eyes open on the most recent marketing ideas and tools to stay ahead of the competition. The key is to never stop looking for more opportunities, because if you do, your competitors will do their best to catch up on you.

It pays to remember one important rule in life as it is with business: “In life there is no security; there’s only opportunity.”


Creating a Detailed Buyer Persona to Guide Your Marketing Efforts

Businesses are always upgrading their strategies to increase ROI. The buyer persona epitomizes their constant efforts to stay relevant with their customers by creating an idealized customer to guide their marketing efforts.

The shift from generalized, stereotypical advertising to individualized customer engagement is one the most important milestones that changed the way companies and businesses market themselves to world.


Buyer Persona vs. Stereotype

Buyer persona is coined from the word ‘persona’, often associated with psychology and literature. When applied to business, it means an ideal customer with the most desirable traits suitable for marketing.

This ‘model customer’ serves as the basis for the company’s design, production, and marketing efforts from which they can generate income. Different industries can have several buyer personas, each having unique, individual characteristics that mirror their real-life equivalents.

A common misconception about the buyer persona is the old practice of stereotyping customers popular among traditional businesses. They would try to fit every customer into a category based on assumptions and generalizations.

The fundamental difference between a buyer persona and a stereotype is the understanding of the circumstances that revolve around the customer – his work, lifestyle, education, hobbies, expertise, expectations, buying habits, etc.

A stereotype barely scratches the surface and provides an incomplete picture of your target market, while a buyer persona goes deeper by creating a life-like representation of your ideal customers based on facts and research.


The Buyer Persona’s Role in Business

Marketing efforts gravitate on the customer’s ever-changing needs embodied by the buyer persona. Without a proper understanding of the customers, all efforts from production, marketing, and sales are irrelevant.

A well-researched buyer persona protects their investments by guiding them on what products or services – with their many variants and slight nuances – to provide their customers and how they can successfully market them across different channels.


Creating a Buyer Persona

The first step in creating an all-inclusive buyer persona is to collect every available information from customers through research, surveys and interviews .

Sources include demographic information of a particular area, CRM data, emails, social media, and Google Analytics. These data will serve as the building blocks of the ideal customer’s ‘DNA’.

Coming up with an accurate representation of the ideal costumer takes time. In some instances, it is necessary to create two or more personas if data points to more than just one type of customer.


What to Include

Business firms compile different information from various sources and creates a unified picture of their imaginary customer. The following information will help you throughout the process.

Demographic information
•   Age bracket
•   Gender
•   Country/Nationality
•   Language

Personal information
•    Educational attainment
•    Profession/Occupation
•    Civil Status
•    Income Level

Customer information
•   Buying History
•   Buying Motivation
•   Buying Preference
•   Average Spending

Specific Skills and Interests

Acquiring firsthand information can take time because it involves actual conversation with people and encouraging them to participate in surveys.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is a treasure trove when it comes to personal information, skills, and interests about your customers. Some companies collect information about their fans and followers as part of their marketing strategy.

If your company doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, consider social media marketing as a way of gathering relevant information about your target market.

You can also learn about their specific interests through your landing pages and opt-in subscriptions to your weekly or monthly newsletters. These data can be acquired more easily using ‘call to action’ (CTA) links or buttons within the page or email.

When it comes to customer records of previous and current customers, nothing comes close to CRM customer data because it allows businesses to stay up-to-date with its constant supply of data from day to day transactions.


Look for the Right CRM Service to Guide You

Small Business Dream offers a suite of tools which include customer acquisition, sales funnel, and sales and marketing automation for small business owners like you.

Learn more on how Small Business Dream can help you with your marketing efforts by visiting our website at

How Technology Is Changing Sales Forever

Technology has shaped the way we do business, especially in the last fifteen years. Over the course of its transformation, the sales and marketing aspect of business has evolved from one mode of customer engagement to the next.

This paradigm shift has had a lot of implications in many of today’s small to medium enterprises. Accessibility to products and services coupled with the growing number of online users also meant that the competition for customer attention will be more relentless than ever.

There are number of ways our recent technology in sales and marketing has affected the business sector. However, our focus will be the most prominent ones and have the greatest impact to customer engagement and sales on a global scale.


Major Shift from Traditional Marketing to Omnichannel Marketing

Before PCs and smart phones were adapted for consumer use, customers had no way of interacting with the businesses since everything was basically a one-way communication between the company and the audience (also known as traditional outbound marketing).

But as more people are starting to gain access to online services, this type of customer engagement had slowly become a thing of the past.

Some companies took their old marketing approach and moved it online (YouTube commercials, online ads, online stores, etc.). However, unlike traditional media, online consumers are able to make their voices heard through the social media, comments section, forums, online reviews, vlogs, and the list goes on.

This sparked a new era of customer engagement and the birth of omnichannel marketing. Businesses are continuously harnessing the potential of social media, blogs and online sites, using the latest CRM technology to manage their contacts and maintain customer relationship.


Bigger Opportunities for Small to Medium Enterprise

Big companies used to occupy a large portion of the market until the Internet reached full status at the turn of the 21st century. They stayed top-of-mind through promotional ventures and ads, while small businesses struggled to make an impact.

But with the major shift from traditional marketing to online customer engagement, things are about to change. Today, it is not uncommon to find multi-million dollar businesses with a solid online presence coming from the lower echelons of the business sector.

Social media, email marketing, content marketing — to name a few — enable business owners to expand their borders far beyond the reaches of traditional marketing.

However, unlike TV ads and other promotional material, it is by far the most cost-effective method when it comes to promoting brands and maintaining customer loyalty, so much so that even long-established companies followed suit and retrofitted their businesses with online marketing strategies.


More Businesses Competing for Online Space

Competition is the natural outgrowth of this technological innovation in customer engagement.

During its infancy the Internet relied heavily in physical servers to create a virtual space for users worldwide.  When cloud computing went full swing, this limitation was done away with.

Consequently, competing businesses have also grown by the millions using the Internet as the battleground for online supremacy.

To see just how much competition we’re dealing with, try searching the word ‘car’ in the Google search bar and you’ll find over 5 billion search results just for the word.

Assuming that you’re doing car sales, this meant that establishing your online presence would be an uphill battle unless you have the technical know-how to outmaneuver and bury your competitors.

Because competition is so fierce, businesses must continue to innovate and find new ways to stay relevant. Content marketing has become a buzzword and now businesses are flooding the market with blog posts, podcasts and videos. But because there is so much content, it is hard to stand out with a simple 500-word post.

Kijiji featured some up-and-coming rap artists in one of its campaigns. A Montreal rapper made a song called “Gotta sell my stuff” which received over 830,000 views on YouTube.  This is the type of content marketing that will be successful — fun, entertaining, and inclusive. Content marketing is not about talking to your customers. It’s about including them into the conversation.


Improved Customer Service through CRM

Since the advent of customer relationship management tools, customer service has improved by leaps and bounds. Companies don’t have to pull numbers out of thin air when trying to figure out their customer’s specific ‘pain points,’ creating value for their customers, and improving customer experience.

Mobile CRMs such as Small Business Dream features customer acquisition tools, including sales funnel, card scan function, survey engine, Google Analytics, coupled with an efficient follow-up system to keep track of every customer engagement, upcoming calls, or scheduled appointments.

By emphasizing a customer-driven approach to sales and marketing, businesses are able to keep a steady flow of qualified leads and repeat customers.

Visit our site at and experience the power CRM technology for your small business.