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.

How Smart Companies Use Small Business Dream Data to Predict Customer Orders

Being able to predict customer orders based on real-time information is one of the keys to your sales success in today’s competitive market.

Today, almost every company has developed its own way of establishing meaningful customer relationships, including loyalty programs, customer referrals, or even network marketing to some extent.

We’ll take a look into customer relationship management (CRM),  particularly Small Business Dream, and how it helps smart companies to predict customer orders and stay ahead of the competition.

Getting Down to the Facts about Your Customers

Collecting important information about your customers is the starting point in developing a strategy to determine what your customers would be interested in.

Small Business Dream’s client acquisition tools provide companies with a very efficient way to collect customer information from high-quality leads.

Small Business Dream accomplishes the task in two ways:

  • card scan function
  • sales funnel

To get only the best, high-quality leads, we need our client acquisition tools to target specific type of customers based on their needs and interest.

A walk-in customer who gives away his business card or contact information is  interested to know more about the company and what it has to offer.  It’s the same thing with online visitors and customers signing up to the mailing list on a website’s sales funnel.

As more information about your customers becomes available for the company using Small Business Dream’s follow up and customer feedback tools, you can start analyzing the data, connect the dots, and predict customer orders.

The following information from Small Business Dream’s customer data is crucial for anticipating customers’ response and buying habits:

  • Time/Date. What particular time of the month or year do they usually make these transactions? What particular time of the day or week do they prefer scheduling their appointments? This information will help you when preparing your next inventory or accommodating old and new customers days or weeks ahead.
  • Frequency. How often do they make their purchase or avail of theservice? Do they take action to your drip campaigns and surveys often or does it take them weeks or months? Noting this customer habit will help you determine the likelihood of having repeat customers or converting new ones.
  • Customer response. Your customers may not always give a direct response whether or not they are likely to buy the same product or use the same service, and some might respond better with more subtle ways like asking them if they would recommend using your product or service to anyone or asking their own honest opinion about it.

Big companies use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to know exactly which products and services are frequently bought or used.

Small Business Dream allows tech-savvy users to accomplish the same with just a little trick using Excel spreadsheets. Customer information can be  easily downloaded in CSV file, and users will be able to process and analyze all the data presented in exquisite detail.

The big advantage of CRMs like Small Business Dream over ERPs is that it lets business owners and sales agents deal with every customer on a personal level, make their own assessment about the customer,  and set priorities based on how they respond to the call.

Small Business Dream uses a scale of 0-10 to indicate which customers need more attention and which ones require less. However, it’s important to never prejudge your prospects based on customer data alone as there are cases when low priority clients make major buying decisions out of the blue.

Enhance Customer Engagement with Small Business Dream

The ability to record conversations with your prospects and customers, make notes, set priorities, and schedule next upcoming events all in one place makes Small Business Dream extremely valuable for both online and offline businesses.

This CRM feature makes real-time customer engagement possible for tech-savvy companies, especially those with salespeople working in shifts who need to get the facts right about each individual customer on the spot.

Small Business Dream makes it all possible by allowing business owners to categorize each customer for an easy lookup if they want to check on a specific type of customer only.

For instance, they can view just the customers who have subscribed to any of their email drip campaigns and check on whether they wanted to know more or if an upcoming purchase is already in order.

Another feature which makes Small Business Dream such a jewel in predicting customer orders is its ability to create highly personalized surveys through the survey builder. You can embed a tracking code for Google Analytics into your surveys to monitor real-time statistics about your prospects and customers.

Although Google Survey offers the same functionality, they are not as flexible as Small Business Dream’s survey builder. Moreover, Google will also require some fees to access some of their premium features, and are limited as to the number of surveys that can be done each month using its free service.

Choosing the Right CRM to Predict Customer Orders

With plenty of CRMs to choose from on every turn, you might be thinking which one will actually help you to predict customer orders. Small Business Dream offers a helping hand to every business owners who want to grow their business FAST without spending a lot of money in the process.

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.

What is A/B Split Testing and Why Is It Important?

All too often, marketing plans look good on paper until they come in contact with real-life users and customers. The only way to determine its effectiveness is to test it on real-life subjects.

A/B or Split Testing is one of the more scientific and objective way of dealing with sales and marketing strategy by experimenting with different variables that can affect customer behavior.

How well a certain page, email, or call to action (CTA)  is at acquiring and converting leads depends on how prospects respond to your message.


The Relevance of A/B Testing in Marketing

Split testing is a quantifiable way of determining the effectiveness of a marketing tool by implementing two slightly different versions (A and B) and testing it on the market.

Depending on which version gains more widespread acceptance, the more effective version will be adopted for large-scale and long-term marketing goals. Even if one does prove to be extremely successful, you should continue to A/B test because you can always hone your marketing message.

Rather than waiting and hoping for a landing page, website or email to get views and responses over extended periods of time, split testing allows us to measure the performance of each marketing tool at a given time frame or with a specific number of test subjects as in the case of email, social media, landing page and others.

This method not only reduces the amount of guesswork, but over time the information gathered on how customers react to a certain feature or characteristic can be used to better improve marketing efforts in the future.

Thus, we are able to continuously develop a very solid marketing plan and at the same time keep our businesses attuned to our customer’s ever-changing needs.


Factors That Can Affect Response Rate

Why does one version get more response than the other? In some occasions, there is very little difference that can be correlated to a particular element or feature. Nobody knows with absolute certainty if a certain color is better or a button should be on the left-hand or right-hand side.

Split testing is not entirely error-free when it comes to drawing conclusions. It’s more about consensus and knowing what really speaks to the audience based on response rate.

  • User experience – the first 3 to 8 seconds are critical in eliciting positive response from the audience. Changes in a website’s or landing page’s look and feel will impact the way customers react and base their judgment on how quickly and easily they can navigate through the page and the feeling that it conveys (e.g. bright themed vs. dark themed pages).
  • Text color, style, and length – reading use up more time than any other activity on a given page (not including viewing or listening to a video or audio clip). Depending on the purpose or intent of your readers, they might respond more differently, say reading a copy or reading a long-form article, blog, or newsletter. Readability, amongst other things, is vital when trying to get a positive response from the audience.
  • Call to Action (CTA) – these features will trigger a response from your audience. Even as simple as changing the size, shape, color, or CTA phrase (e.g., “Subscribe” vs. “Learn more”) can already make a big difference. This, of course, goes hand in hand with an effective content marketing strategy and proper use of words and phrases.
  • Timing and Frequency – Different posting times and email frequency may also affect the number of responses from a given audience. People tune in at certain days in a week or at a particular time of the day.

Results from these tests could vary from one type of page to another. It is much more felt in social media or newsfeed where activity is mostly high but not very much with stationary or static web pages.

As with mailing frequency, it would depend on which stage of the sales funnel your target audience is currently in. Same applies to email marketing during the latter phase of customer engagement.


Small Business Dream helps business startups to keep track of their marketing efforts through its sales funnel which integrates analysis tools to help make the right business decisions.

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.

How Sales People Can Look Desperate and Some Tips to Avoid It

Sales people are constantly under pressure to perform within the company’s standard. Attrition rate in the sales department is fairly high — as much as 50% a year in some companies.

Most of the time, they would resort to desperate measures in a last ditch effort to reach the monthly or weekly quota. But as we know these futile attempts made no difference other than making them look desperate.

Surviving this job requires persistent effort and a high degree of salesmanship acquired from years of experience and training.

What Persistence is Not

One of the roadblocks to becoming a successful salesperson is the lack of understanding of the customers and the sales process. In order to succeed in a highly competitive market, a salesperson should know the difference between persistence and pushing too far.

Here are some telltale signs that a salesperson has already crossed the line:

1.     Salesperson does all the talking.

Sales people can become overly enthusiastic to the point where they start taking up most of the conversation. This usually puts customers on the defensive, especially if they don’t have any intention of buying the product. Some salespersons are not so conscious about it, but it’s actually off-putting to most customers.

2.     Salesperson offers ‘solutions’ prematurely.

Businesses provide solutions to their customers’  ‘pain points’. If it’s something that has real value to the customer, it won’t be too hard to make the sale.

However, giving ‘unsolicited advice’ by offering a ‘solution’ too soon can be misconstrued as pushing the sale.  Although not necessarily wrong, it would be much better if they would hear from the customers first before going any further.

3.     Salesperson gets too ‘salesy’.

Nobody likes a pushy salesperson and people’s natural reaction is to back away if a sales person tries to tell the prospect what is good for them, even if the prospect wants what the salesperson is selling.

Be honest about your product or service and never over-promise — and definitely never lie. A salesperson needs to lead the prospect to water, not try to drown them.

4.     Offer discounts too soon.

If not done correctly, offering discounts right off the bat can actually send a different message to the customers. It could  mean one of two things — it’s cheap quality, or it’s previously overpriced.

Either way, customers will have a negative impression about the offer, especially those who prefer quality and value over price savings.

5.     Criticize others.

Badmouthing other companies betrays a lack of confidence and could undermine the company’s reputation.  However, it doesn’t mean sales people couldn’t give their honest opinion about a certain product or service. They just have to put it in context and not use it to promote their own.

Lead Them in — Don’t Push!

The notion of smooth-talking salesman has long been gone. It’s no longer just about the personality or creating a good first impression.

We now live in an era where customers make buying decisions based on facts and not just on some 30-second TV, or YouTube commercial. Hence, we don’t expect customers to just pour in or take the bait right then and there.

We need to cultivate their minds and educate them about the benefits of using our products or services instead of shoving them down their throats.

Converting leads to buying customers doesn’t have to be that hard, if we only take time to nurture them. There are 3 ways you can accomplish this:

  • Know your customers better. Contacting each potential customer at random will only lead to frustration. You need a tool that allows you to keep in touch with all your contacts and be able to sort them out in the most efficient way. CRM applications like Small Business Dream can make this all possible with less effort.
  • Follow-up your leads. Your initial contact with your customers can give away some clues about the things that they like or are interested in.  Have them fill up a quick survey and ask some basic information, or you can invite them to your mailing list for a weekly or monthly newsletter to learn more about the benefits of using your product or service.
  • Be patient. Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t get the sale on the very first engagement. On average, it takes around 4 to 7 engagements before a deal is made. So be patient and wait for the right opportunity. You don’t want to annoy your prospect with your incessant calls or reminders about the offer. But if your leads are already ripe for the picking, by all means get to them and close the deal as soon as possible.

Being a salesperson doesn’t have to be too difficult with today’s latest innovation in sales and marketing. Small Business Dream simplifies the work for you, so you won’t have to sweat it out just to get things done.

Visit us at to learn more about our suite of tools which include sales funnel, survey engine, email autoresponders and more.