Posts in Learn
What is GDPR and How Does it Impact My Small Business?

By now, you might have heard some rumblings online of something called the GDPR. What you might not realize is that if your business has a website, or it uses email marketing, analytics, advertising (like Facebook Pixel), or other third-party tools, you might need to make some changes. Before we go over that, let's dial it back a bit, and start from the beginning.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. It enhances data protection for European Union residents and provides a framework to guide business usage of personal data across the EU. 

The GDPR comes into effect May 25, 2018. It was designed to give individuals more control over the use of their personal data. And, as previously mentioned, it doesn't only affect email — it includes monitoring of behaviour, which most websites and apps do automatically.

It includes three main points:

  1. That individuals provide consent for the processing of their personal data such as their email, phone number, address, and financial info.

  2. That they have a right to have their data erased at any time

  3. That they will be notified in a timely manner if a data breach occurs

does the GDPR still impact my small business?

It might! If your business is marketed to European clients, or if your business holds data for individuals living in the EU, you will need to ensure that you are compliant to the GDPR. 

What does this really mean?

If you meet any of the following, you need to make changes:

  • Your website is visited by those living in the EU

  • Your email list contains information for individuals living in the EU

  • You otherwise market or advertise to those living in the EU

How do I comply with the GDPR?

There are three fairly simply changes we recommend making. This is regardless of whether or not you offer products or services to anyone in the European Union. We think it's better to be safe (and smart) than sorry!

The first is to add a pop up to your website. Let your visitors know that your website uses cookies and that if they continue to use your website, they are consenting to your privacy policy. Make sure that your popup includes a link to your privacy policy and a continue button.

The second is to update your privacy policy to be GDPR compliant. You are welcome to copy ours, though be mindful of any changes you might need to make to tailor it to your own small business.

The third is to ensure that your email marketing practices are up to date. Ensure that you have double opt-in setup. This means that in order to be fully subscribed, one must confirm that they want to join your email list (usually with a checkbox). They are then sent an email confirming that they wish to subscribe. You also have to ensure that one can unsubscribe within any marketing email, or if they email you, that you will delete them from your list within a reasonable time frame. 

What are the consequences of not complying?

Data protection officers are being appointed to oversee compliance in all countries, not just the EU. Those found guilty of non-compliance will face hefty fees.

More serious infringements can result in a fine of the greater of 20 million Euros, or 4% of the total annual worldwide turnover of your business.

Lesser infringements can result in a fine of the greater of 10 million Euros, or 2% of total annual worldwide turnover of your business.

In summary, if there is any chance that visitors from the European Union are interacting with your website, email marketing, or other online service providers, it's best to make sure that you are GDPR compliant.


If you have any questions, or would like our help in ensuring that your website and other properties are GDPR compliant, please leave a comment below or feel free to email us at hello@bartoncreative.co

 

 

Facebook Advertising for Beginners

Facebook has over 1 billion active users and offers an amazing opportunity to inexpensively expand your audience size and grow your sales through targeted advertising.

However, while large businesses and marketing agencies are having great success with Facebook advertising, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are not — either because they have been too intimidated to start, or because they are implementing the wrong strategies.

In this guide, I will walk you through the basics of the Facebook Pixel — a free tool and resource that will allow you to collect data, build an audience, and more effectively sell your products and services. I will also provide a breakdown of a simple 3-step advertising strategy.

Why Facebook Advertising?

Before we dive into the guide, let's start at the beginning.

Why is Facebook advertising a good fit for your business?

Facebook advertising is a great fit for many small businesses and creative entrepreneurs because of the ability to target your ideal audience. This means that when your ads are set up correctly, you are spending smart money only on people that have shown an interest in your business. 

Imagine discovering a magic ATM machine...

You put $20 in, read your account balance, and notice an increase of $40. The next time you stop by, you deposit $100. This time your balance reflects an increase of $300. A third time, you deposit $500 and your balance increases by $2000. That would be amazing, right?

Now, what if I told you that was possible with Facebook advertising?

With the right strategy, and creative testing, you'll start earning a healthy return on your investment. As your earnings increase and your strategies are refined, your ROI will continue to grow until you have a healthy monthly ad budget. Once that happens, we recommend connecting with a Facebook advertising expert. They'll bring the advanced strategies that will continue to scale and grow your business, in terms of audience and earnings, while you retain your time and efforts for the parts of your business that you love best.

But for now, let's dive into how to get yourself set up, starting with the Facebook Pixel.

What Is A Facebook Pixel?

A Facebook Pixel is really just code, a special set of instructions that Facebook interprets and acts upon. This code is integrated with your website, allowing it to track the data of your visitors, which you can then use to build and optimize targeted audiences.

In simpler terms, it looks like this...

Facebook Pixel Code | Facebook Pixel and Advertising 101: A How-To Guide for Small Businesses | Barton Creative Co.

...and it collects data on people who use your website and interact with your ads.

Why Do You Need A Facebook Pixel?

If your business or brand includes a website, and you currently use (or are curious about using) Facebook advertising to grow your client base and increase your sales, you're part of the 99% of entrepreneurs and small business owners who would benefit from a Facebook Pixel.

Not only can you target users on your website based on specific actions (like visiting a page, or leaving an item in their shopping cart), you can track these conversions. This gives you the ability to troubleshoot and really improve your ROI. For example, if your ads are getting lots of clicks but no sales, your ad is working — but your offer or landing page likely needs some work. You can then learn from this and adapt and refine your process, whether it's updating your copy and offer, improving your branding, or designing a more effective landing page. 

How To Create A Facebook Pixel

Before you create a Facebook Pixel, I recommend creating a Facebook Business Manager account if you don't already have one. This account will unlock more secure options for managing your business and Facebook advertising needs. You can set up your account by visiting business.facebook.com, which looks like this:

Facebook Business Manager screenshot | Facebook Pixel and Advertising 101: A How-To Guide for Small Businesses | Barton Creative Co.
 

To get started you simply need to click Create Account. You can then enter your business name, connect your primary business Page, and enter your name and work email. 

Once your Business Manager account is set up, the next step is to create your ad account. If you already have an ad account, you can bring it into your Business Manager.

To do this, or create your new ad account, click Business Settings, then Ad Accounts, then Add New Ad Accounts

Facebook Business Manager Ad Account settings | Facebook Pixel and Advertising 101: A How-To Guide for Small Businesses | Barton Creative Co.
 

You'll then have 3 options: Add Ad Account, Request Access to an Ad Account or Create a new Ad account. Choose Add or Create. Once your ad account is ready, we can move on to creating your Facebook Pixel.

Still under Business Settings,  this time select Pixels. If your business doesn't already have a pixel, you can easily create yours with the Create a Facebook Pixel button. Please note that each business is allowed one pixel to track their audience's activity. If you have multiple businesses, each needs to have its own pixel in order to ensure that the data collected is targeted to the right audiences. Otherwise your ad performance will be negatively affected.

Facebook Business Manager Pixel settings | Facebook Pixel and Advertising 101: A How-To Guide for Small Businesses | Barton Creative Co.
 

Once your pixel is created, click on it to visit its Events Manager. Now that you have a pixel, it's time to add it to your website so that you can track your web visitors activity.

Installing A Facebook Pixel

Once you're in the Events Manager, click on Set Up to get started. 

Facebook Business Events Manager Pixel settings | Facebook Pixel and Advertising 101: A How-To Guide for Small Businesses | Barton Creative Co.
 

You have a few options to install your Pixel code. You can use an Integration, which I recommend if you are using one of the bolded services, like Squarespace. With an integration, Facebook will help you automatically install the Pixel code by connecting your accounts. If you are using Wordpress for your business website, select Copy and Paste the Code. You can then follow the directions on this page to finalize basic setup on your website. 

Retargeting for Beginners

While it's helpful to be able to communicate with your web audience as a whole, it's even more effective to be able to retarget these individuals based on the actions they took. Not everyone that visits your website wants to purchase your services, but by setting up custom conversions with Event Codes, we can target individuals who are showing the right kind of interest. More importantly, as your tracked audience grows, you'll have the ability for Facebook to connect you with a look-alike audience, people who haven't interacted with your website or services but are likely to purchase them nonetheless.

Below I've listed some common event types you can track, and examples of how to use them. You don't necessarily use all of these — only the ones that are most beneficial to your business type.

Search

Track web visitors who are interacting with specific search terms. 

Example: You sell shoes. You notice that your website is getting a lot of recent search results for sandals. You then create a Facebook ad, targeting everyone who searched for sandals with a coupon or other high-value offer. Your ROI will be higher because of your ad's specificity.

View Content

Track views of specific content, like a blog post, or product.

Example: You write a blog post that offers something of value to your ideal client base, preferably something related to one of your paid products or services. Promote that blog post, and your Pixel will track the views. Now you can follow up with a targeted ad, offering a special promotion. Because you've already shared value, you'll increase your conversions.

Add to Cart

Track when a customer adds a product to their cart.

Example: You release a new product and notice that a bunch of people have added it to their cart, but haven't actually purchased. You can create a Facebook ad targeting only these individuals with exclusive coupons or other high-value promotions to finalize the sale.

Purchase

Track people who have already purchased from you.

Example: You have a new product coming out in a few weeks. You create a series of ads targeting customers who have already purchased from your website for instant sales.

Lead

Track people who completed a contact form, or signed up for your newsletter.

Example: You recently surpass 1000 newsletter subscribers. You target them with a series of Facebook ads, offering high-value content like blog posts to boost your credibility. You then create an ad for an entry-level paid service or product to convert some of your readers into customers.

Complete Registration

Track customers and clients who registered for a service or event.

Example: Your upcoming local event is fully booked, and you have an idea for an experience upgrade that you'd like to offer. You create an ad, retargeting those who have already signed up (your leads) with your deal. A number of registrants upgrade, improving your earnings.

3-Step Simple Facebook Advertising Strategy

Alright, it's time for some action!

Let's pull all of these pieces together in a simple but effective 3-Step Facebook Advertising Strategy. This strategy is best suited for local businesses but can work in other niches too. The key here is that if you are trying to jump into advertising your offer without any lead-up, or strategy, it's no surprise that you will struggle to see any success with Facebook Ads. But, if you take the time to really nurture your audience, and provide the right value, you can build relationships, inspire brand loyalty, and improve sales of your products and services.

The Breakdown

STEP 1 — Awareness Campaign. You'll grow brand awareness by providing free value.

STEP 2 — Authority Campaign. In this stage, you will establish yourself as a local expert.

STEP 3 — Offer Campaign. This is when you convert your audience into paying customers.

The Awareness Campaign

The goal of this stage is to make people aware of your business. By "warming" them up to your brand and offerings, you can effectively lower the cost, and increase the success and conversions of the next two stages of your Facebook advertising.

This is a fantastic example of an Awareness Campaign by SkyTeam. They have featured a video Q&A, which not only introduces their brand to an audience, but offers value too.

This is a fantastic example of an Awareness Campaign by SkyTeam. They have featured a video Q&A, which not only introduces their brand to an audience, but offers value too.

 

Something light and engaging, like a blog or video, can work perfectly for this step, as long as it aligns with what you are offering. Content that performs well at this stage is usually educational and entertaining and fits in well with normal Facebook content.

You will need to use some initial ad targeting that aligns with your ideal client in the broadest sense. For example, targeting by location, age, gender, earnings, or other helpful factors. Any individual that clicks on these ads will be added to your initial ideal client audience.

The Authority Campaign

The goal of this stage is to establish your authority in your niche — whether that's because you're an expert at your profession, or because you have the best product or service out there. The easiest way to establish authority at this stage is to provide a higher-value piece of content. What's most important is that you are sharing content of value to your ideal audience and not simply making content that you feel has value. In order to determine the difference, it's really important to do some research on what your ideal client's needs are. What can you offer them that will not only provide value, but demonstrate your expertise too?

This is a fantastic example of an Authority Campaign by Grace Lever. In this example, she's offering a mid-size e-book on Automation. By providing a ton of value to her ideal audience for only $4.95, she can demonstrate the value of her programs and other paid offerings. This is a newer ad, hence the lack of engagement, but in general, Grace's ads perform very strongly!

This is a fantastic example of an Authority Campaign by Grace Lever. In this example, she's offering a mid-size e-book on Automation. By providing a ton of value to her ideal audience for only $4.95, she can demonstrate the value of her programs and other paid offerings. This is a newer ad, hence the lack of engagement, but in general, Grace's ads perform very strongly!

 

If these new, higher value ads, don't get engagement you aren't offering the right value. If you get engagement, but no conversions, your content might not be aligned well with your paid services, or it could be that your landing page needs some copy or imagery updates. 

Whereas the last ad campaign targeted a broad ideal client audience and only some people clicked through, this ad will specifically target the individuals who DID click and showed their interest. Depending on how much data your pixel has collected, it's also possible to add a look-alike audience at this stage.

The Conversion Campaign

Now that your audience is familiar with your brand, and you've taken the time to establish your authority and share real value, you are positioned to run your conversion campaign. This is where you will pitch an offer, or call to action, which should be proportional to the value provided thus far. For example, you shouldn't pitch a multi-thousand dollar service, when your audience hasn't yet invested in your more affordable starting products. 

This is a wonderful example of a Conversion Campaign. HubSpot regularly shares high value content for free in their other advertised posts. The difference is that this one has a conversion in mind. This ad offers a 30 day free trial to see if their social media tools are a good fit for their target audience. If someone gives their social media tools a try, and find them helpful, they have a new monthly user and will easily make back their ad + offer initial investment.

This is a wonderful example of a Conversion Campaign. HubSpot regularly shares high value content for free in their other advertised posts. The difference is that this one has a conversion in mind. This ad offers a 30 day free trial to see if their social media tools are a good fit for their target audience. If someone gives their social media tools a try, and find them helpful, they have a new monthly user and will easily make back their ad + offer initial investment.

 

Some examples of offers for this stage include signing up for a free 30-minute consultation, registering for an upcoming workshop or webinar, or offering a free trial or 3-day money back guarantee — essentially any kind of high-value activity that will convert a targeted individual into a paying customer for your higher-priced offerings. These individuals have already become familiar with your brand. They see you as an authority, and if you did your research and listened to their needs, you've been proving your value all along. They are now now much more interested, and cheaper to advertise to, than if you had pitched them your offer right off the bat. 

Remember: slow and steady wins the race. You only want to ask for small commitments from your audience — a blog post here, a video there. A webinar or consult. Then a sale. If you approach it with the right mindset, of creating a community based on value, your brand will only continue to grow as your audience and sales do too.

SEO for Beginners

One of the topics we are most frequently asked about is how is to improve SEO.

Many of our clients understand the importance of ranking high on Google, but they don't know what SEO is, or how it relates to their business. In other cases, they are familiar with SEO but feel intimidated as to how to use it effectively. I'll just say this — if your business has a website, SEO is an extremely important strategy to address. The higher you rank on search engines like Google, the more free traffic will be sent from searches to your website, increasing your opportunities for brand awareness, list growth, engagement and sales.

Unfortunately, many people expect SEO to be a quick fix to their website's traffic problems. The truth is, SEO is a long-term strategy, and it's always going to be most effective when it's practised consistently. You don't have to waste time or money on SEO experts if you understand how Google works and what practices you can implement to improve your ranking.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, a collection of strategies that are used to improve your site's ranking on search engines like Google. 

Anytime anyone searches a topic on Google, Google "crawls and indexes" (analyzes) pages, based on the chosen keywords, displaying a list of results based on what is most relevant. 

The closer you rank to the top, the better, and here's why:

Some interesting facts about Click-Through Rates

Ignite Visibility, an award-winning SEO company,  released a case study in 2017 on click-through rates. They analyzed over 5,000 searches to discover more about how often the page 1 links (top 10 search results) are clicked in comparison to one another. 

They discovered:

Nearly 50% of clicks go the top 3 search results.

20.5% of the total clicks go the #1 search result.

If half of all clicks are going to the top 3 results, and you aren't ranked in those top 3 results, your business is missing out on a ton of traffic. Thankfully, we have the perfect solution:

The secret to SEO is Content.

In fact, we would argue that content is the most important component of your website. Content not only aligns you with your audience and ideal client, it affects your ranking too. 

You can load up your website with all the right keywords, but if you aren't providing the right experience, and offering the right value with your content, your keywords won't convert.

Which is why we believe the best way to improve your SEO is to focus on creating and sharing content that's relevant and of high-value to your readers. And Google themselves agree:

Google SEO starter guide excerpt: Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website [...] Even though this guide's title contains the words "search engine", we'd like to say that you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what's best for the visitors of your site. They're the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work. Focusing too hard on specific tweaks to gain ranking in the organic results of search engines may not deliver the desired results.

They also share the following in their Webmaster Guidelines: Give visitors the information they're looking for. Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. this is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. [Create] a helpful, information-rich site [with] pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic.

Content is key because you're writing for people, not search engines.

If you provide value, traffic and rank growth will follow.

The SEO Foundation You Need

While content is the most important ongoing strategy to implement to increase your growth, there are some important foundational steps that you should implement first.

Step 1 — Submit your website to Google

Google offers a number of ways to submit your content and increase your visibility. One of the first ways you can ensure that your website is visible is by submitting your URL.

Visit the link above and click Add your URL to submit your website.

Get your content on Google | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Step 2 — Add Your Sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools helps you monitor your website's health and standing. It's not required to rank on Google, but does offer opportunities to improve your ranking. 

Before you can access these resources, you need to verify your website.

Google Search Console | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click Add a Site and enter your website URL. Now let's submit your sitemap. This will provide Google with a virtual map, allowing them to more accurately rank your website.

Search Console Sitemap Submission | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click on your domain name to access your Site Dashboard. You should see a panel of options on the left, click Crawl, then Sitemaps. You should see a big red button that reads Add/Test Sitemap. Squarespace users can type in sitemap.xml and then click Submit to finalize.

Step 3 — Check Your Status with Fetch as Google

If you have any concerns, or would just like to check how your website is being analyzed, you can use the tool Fetch as Google under the Crawl section of the dashboard.

Search Console Fetch as Google | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click Fetch for a quick check or use Fetch and Render for a more detailed one.

You can learn more about Google and SEO with their free SEO Starter Guide.


Now that you've established a foundation for your website's SEO, it's time to switch your focus to creating SEO-friendly content of high-value to lure in more of your ideal audience.

Want to learn more about SEO? We'll be back with more posts soon, on topics like SEO for Squarespace, and How to Create SEO-Rich Content that actually Converts. 

In the meantime, I'd love to know — what's one new thing you learned about SEO?