7 Essential Gifts For Small Business Owners. (Or you)

7 essential gift ideas for any small business owner

The holiday season is upon us, and that means you are probably buying someone in your life a gift.  If that particular person is a small business owner, I recommend getting them something practical.

Small business owners wear many hats.  We plan. Create. Post. Order. Sell. Design. Call. Email. Network. Provide customer support. And occasionally sleep. We don’t need more stuff. We need tools to help make our life easier.  

I compiled a list of some life-changing items that help me function more efficiently as a business owner.

They all deliver tremendous value at a low price.  

 

Building A Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller – $16.99 (as of 12/3/18)

7 Essential Tools For any Small Business Owner Blog PostEvery business has a story.  But do they know how to tell it so customers will listen?  Most companies intuitively make their story about them, but Donald delivers an easy to digest approach to making it about your customers.  Essential reading.

 

 

 

 

Everybody Writes – Ann Handley – Hardcover $17.00 (as of 12/3/18)

Everybody Writes - Ann Handley Content MarketerI received this book as a gift last Christmas.  It took me six months to pick it up (I was already reading two books at the time).  If I had known how engaging and insightful it is before reading, I would have put down the other two books.

Ann has a way of speaking to you through her writing that makes you feel like you’re buddies from college.  She simplifies the process of writing, anything.  The chapters are short and packed with actionable items to take your content marketing from stagnant to stellar.

Read it.  Practice.  Become ridiculously good at marketing.

 

Hemingway Editor$19.99 (As of 12/3/18)

Hemingway Editor application for desktopIf you write anything online, the Hemingway app will be your new best friend.  If you struggle with grammar, sentence structure, formatting, active and passive voice, or boring writing, You will love this editor!

 

 

Adobe Spark Post –  Monthly subscription $9.99/month – Spark Post is an easy to use social media graphic, video, and single web Adobe Spark Logopage creation tool.  They offer a free two-week trial so that you can check it out yourself. There are no long-term contracts.

What I love most about this tool is the ability to batch produce images or videos for sharing on social media.  A mobile app is available, but I prefer the desktop version.  The choice is yours.

 

Lavalier Lapel Microphone by PoP Voice – $11.99 (as of 12/7/18)

Lavalier Lapel MicWe live in a mobile-first world, and if you are recording videos for your business, you probably use your phone.  This lapel mic plugs into the microphone jack on your phone and makes your videos sound professional.  If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you’ll need an adapter for the headphone jack.

 

Iphone headphone jack adapterI picked up this one up for $11.00 on Amazon.  Your total investment for the mic and adapter is $23.00.

 

 

 

Sticker Mule Custom Stickers, Magnets, Buttons, Packaging, and Labels – Prices vary by quantity

Sticker Mule stickersSticker Mule creates high-quality products and their customer service rocks!  Orders typically ship within four days, for free.  You can order samples to see what your finished product looks like before placing a large order.

Creative branding is everything and makes a lasting first impression.

 

 

Covax Laptop Backpack – $17.99 (as of 12/3/18)

Covax business laptop backpackI recently discovered this backpack while searching for a for a better fitting bag for my laptop.  If you are tired of having your work bag hanging to one side and pulling on your shoulders, here is your solution.

This stylish bag hugs your body and has numerous sections and compartments.  Did I  mention it’s only $17.99?

 

The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell MorePrices Vary (but they are under $20.00)

Go Giver Book seriesThis book series will change your business approach.  Every business owner should read it and heed the message.  What’s the message?  If we shift our focus from getting to giving, consistently add value, and focus on relationships, we will thrive as business owners.

The story is powerful.  The message is simple. You already possess the necessary tools.  Now, Go Give.

I recommend reading the Go-Giver first and then Go-Givers Sell More.  Want more?  Check out The Go-Giver Leader and Influencer (not pictured).

If you could change the life of another person and help them succeed in business for under $30.00 wouldn’t that be the best gift ever? 

Need more ideas?  Check out my 5 practical Gift Ideas from last year.

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Don’t Spend a Dime On Facebook Ads Until You Read This

Christopher Pagli Teaching Facebook Ads Class

Facebook ads are some of the most targeted forms of advertising your money can buy online.  But before you spend your hard- earned money, there are a few things you should know about social advertising and choosing the right objective.

Almost every day someone asks me what the difference is between boosting a post and creating an ad through the Ads Manager.  Some people don’t even know the Ads Manager exists.

Below I will explain the difference. We will walk through the essential elements of an ad and the best practices to make yours remarkable.

Every Facebook page admin or business owner should take a class on digital advertising before embarking on their first campaign.  

 

Let me explain.

The Ads Manager is a sophisticated tool, and if you are new to using it, you can get lost very quickly.  Having someone with experience guide you through it and the essential elements of an ad are well worth your time and money.

Facebook makes it very easy for you to click buttons and spend money.  I want you to have an informed approach, so you don’t waste yours!

We’ll get to those essential elements in a minute.

 

Creating an ad campaign in Facebook Ads Manager:

Facebook Ads Manager Screen shot by Christopher Pagli

This tool requires more skill and patience but opens you up to a world of greater possibilities with targeting, ad creative, objectives, placement, and insights.  If you are comfortable with technology and the creative side of advertising, this is your best option.

You can access it by clicking the drop-down arrow in the upper right corner of your homepage.  You will have to set up your account and add a credit card for future payment.  Facebook will walk you through the process.

You are creating a campaign and should be clear who your target audience is and where they are in the buying process to choose the right objective.  This process requires research and will help you make better decisions down the road.

Your ad account is connected to your business page so you will have the option to promote page posts here as well.

 

Boosting A Business Page Post:

 

Facebook page boost photo christopher pagliBoosts are best for getting more eyeballs on your posts from people who already like/follow your page or a lookalike audience (similar people to the ones who currently like your page).  

Your current followers have a direct interest in what you do because they chose to support you.  

Pay particular attention to them before promoting your posts to their friends, who may not care about your business.

If you don’t have the patience for creating ads and want the easiest solution, this is your best option.  The boost tools have improved over the past year.  Experiment with different audiences to drive familiar and new traffic to your page.

 

Best Practice: You should only boost your best performing, informative content.  Offers and sales are ok from time to time. When you create a new post, let Facebook distribute it for 24-48 hours to see what kind of engagement it receives.   If it performs well, you know you have something interesting.

 

Social advertising is a campaign for trust and adding credibility to your business.  Most people use social media to be social not to make purchases. Don’t expect customer conversions instantly.  Especially with people who don’t know you or your business.  Create a campaign that educates and inspires your audience before hitting them with an offer.

There is more to successful advertising than choosing a post you think is fantastic, targeting people you feel will be interested in and throwing a bunch of money at it.  Yes, you can boost a post for as little as $5.00 but how far do you think that will take you?

You don’t need to spend a fortune but come up with a realistic monthly budget.  Facebook is providing with you a direct road to your ideal customer based on their specific interests, job titles, and behaviors.  What’s that worth to you?

Here are the necessary steps to take before creating your first campaign:

 

  1. Determine your goal.  Do you want to drive traffic to your website or build brand awareness?
  2. Identify your target audience. What is their age?  Interest and behaviors?  Location? Needs and wants?  Create 5-10 audience segments.  what you advertise to someone int he awareness stage is different then those who are ready to buy.  
  3. Set a budget.  – The more you spend the further your ads will go.
  4. Choose relevant, thumb stopping visuals or content.  What will resonate with your audience the most?
  5. Be patient, open-minded, consistent, and experiment.  There is a lesson to be learned in successful and unsuccessful ads.  If they don’t work, you did something wrong.

 

Recommended advertising book fromChristopher Pagli

There are many touch points in an ad, and all of them are there to get the viewer to take action, the first action.  You are responsible for the following elements:

 

  • A catchy headline – research from Campaign tells us that 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only two will read the copy.  Sell, don’t tell what’s in the ad.
  • Choose eye-catching, relevant visuals that will stop them in their tracks (or their thumb).
  • Writing persuasive ad copy that addresses your audience’s needs and speaks directly to them.  You must plant seeds of curiosity and create a slippery slope. There are many books you can read about persuasive writing.  One of my favorites is the Adweek Copywriting Handbook by the legendary Joseph Sugarman, and Everybody Writes by Ann Handley.
  • Adding a clear call-to-action to your ad.  What action do you want the viewer to take and how?  If you are creating ads on social media platforms your call to action should direct customers to your website or landing page with an email sign-up page.
  • Choosing the right audience – this is the one thing people get wrong more often than not.  Sometimes the most obvious option is too broad. Facebook lets you narrow down or excludes people to create a hyper-focused audience.  Create a custom audience by uploading your email list or installing the Facebook Conversion Pixel on your website.  Here’s how to create and install it.  

All of these elements will affect the relevance score that Facebook assigns each ad.  According to Facebook:
 “Your relevance score estimates how well your ad is resonating with the people you want to reach. The higher your ad’s relevance score, the better it’s considered to be performing.”.  

A lower score, 1-3 means your ad is deemed irrelevant to your audience and will impact the cost and deliverability of your ads. To learn more, visit the Facebook help section.

 

People who have voluntarily given you their email address and visited your website are your most valuable audience.  

 

Best Practice: A/B split test your ads.  Split tests are the process of creating two different versions of the same ad.  You will create two different headlines, visuals, and ad copy to see which performs better.  Facebook will distribute your budget between the two ads and report back with the results.

 

Conclusion

As a small business owner, you have a lot of choices to make.  You have to create, sell, market, provide customer service, and advertising.  If you choose to take these roles on and not outsource them, you should understand what goes into each task.  You have enough information here to get started.

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and experiment. Experimentation is the only constant in marketing and advertising.  The education you will gain is invaluable.  

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