Category Archives: Business

In : Business Comments : 0 Author : Ashlee Davidson Date : 03 Jun 2020

You could be reaching two billion people every month. How is this possible without having a million dollar marketing budget, you ask? The answer may surprise you:  Facebook advertising. 

Here are some stats behind that two billion people claim: 

  • 22% of the world’s population is made up of active Facebook users, including 68% of adults in the United States.
  • 76% of users look for interesting content on Facebook and content consumption on Facebook has increased 57% since 2014.
  • 66% of social media users log on to learn about new products and services.
  • Customers who like a business on Facebook are 79% more likely to make a new purchase than non-fans.
  • A 2015 study found that 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook when making both online and offline purchases—and rising.
  • Facebook’s hyper-targeted Custom Audiences feature lets you advertise so specifically that advertisers have seen their new customer acquisition costs decline by as much as 73%.
  • When it comes to building awareness, the average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for Facebook ads is around $7.29 versus upwards of $35 for television commercials.
  • Facebook is also useful in the B2B realm—73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (Source)

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, running ads on Facebook is budget friendly and cost effective. In fact, it is the least expensive form of advertising right now. This allows you to reach a larger audience with more content quickly to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and generate new leads. These can be directly correlated to increased revenue and sales, but it doesn’t stop there. Facebook ads encourage and drive repeat business.

Facebook ads are one of the best, cost-effective, and quickest ways to build engagement, cultivate leads, and foster business. 

But how do you set up ads on Facebook? How do you run effective campaigns? 

Facebook’s Ads Manager Platform is a self-service advertising tool that offers detailed analytics reports to track the performance of each of your campaigns. It also provides access to Instagram advertising. 

Set Up

Step one is to create a page for your business, after which you can set up a business manager account. The next step is crucial: Install the Facebook Pixel on your website. This allows Facebook to identify who visits your website, allowing you to create custom audiences, and then showing ads directly to those individuals. Create Audiences to target your specific customer avatars and then start creating ads! 

Three Ways to Leverage Your Budget and the Facebook Algorithm 

  1. Research competitors within your market – Using Facebook’s Pages to Watch and the Facebook Ad Library, you can assess what your competitors are doing, what content is getting engagement, and what typical calls to action look like. Pro Tip: The longer an ad has been running the more likely it is to be working for them, so pay attention to the dates of their posts/ads.
  2. Use the new ad features – New features are being rolled out all the time.. and Facebook rewards those who use them! Investigate how major brands are using new features to see what it does. This includes instant experiences, slideshows and story specific ads.
  3. Share your content with clients and prospects – You can increase your sales conversions and keep your customers longer by engaging with them online. If you have your list of leads and customers set up as a custom audience, you can spend as little as $1/day just keeping related, branded content in front of them.

Best Strategies to Move Forward

  • Provide free content to warm up your audience
  • Retarget website visitors with quality content (through the Facebook Pixel)
  • Create engaging videos that attract new customers and nurture your contacts

Campaign ROI Tips

  • Track using Facebook’s Pixel and Google Analytics
  • Build Ad Campaigns around your goals and key business objectives
  • Get creative with targeting, but don’t over target (the smaller your potential audience typically the more expensive it is to reach them)
  • Test, test, and test again to see which ad types, objectives and messaging works the best

Ad Content Best Practices

  • Use images of people who resemble your target audience
  • Grab attention with the headline 
    • Ask a question 
    • Command an action 
    • List a benefit 
    • Inspire curiosity
  • Use clear, to-the-point copy
  • Include a call to action (it doesn’t always have to be a button, you can add a URL in your video as an overlay or place it in the primary text of your post)

Where Should I Put My Ads?

  • Newsfeed ads – These are placed “in stream” with users timeline where they are scrolling. Therefore, they typically have higher click-through rates and lower costs per conversion.
  • Right column ads – These are placed in the sidebar of the users feed and are only visible on desktop. Because they are a little out of the way they typically have a lower conversion rate, but they also have a lower cost per impression so they are a cost-effective method of staying in front of your audience.
  • Audience Network – This type of ad placement puts your ad in front of your target audience across many different channels like games and news platforms. While these ads are typically cheap for impressions, they have the least amount of engagement and conversion rates. You also can’t retarget video views of these placements as Facebook doesn’t own the channels. I would only recommend these if you are doing a Brand Awareness campaign.

Mistakes to Avoid

⛔️ Don’t use poor quality images → First impressions are important, use Canva or outsource graphics to make a good one.

⛔️ Don’t put offers in front of cold audiences → That’s asking for marriage on the first date.

⛔️ Don’t test too many ad variations at once →  If your budget doesn’t spread well across all the variations, you won’t get enough data or reach to know if it’s working. 

⛔️ Don’t make changes too quickly → Give it at least 3-4 days before you make any significant changes. As ads get engagement and Facebook starts learning more who is engaging, your campaign will be optimizing. 

⛔️ Don’t put too much text on the ad image → Facebook will either reject or limit it’s reach.

⛔️ Make sure you are directing to a GREAT, brand-consistent landing page → If the exterior of the house is gorgeous and modern, but the cabinets and bathroom tile are from the 70s, the buyer is more likely to walk away.

In : Business Comments : 0 Author : Molly Richardson Date : 08 May 2020


Times Are Changing

No matter how uncertain the times are, we are all still trying to figure out ways to continue to support our customers. For many, this is an opportunity to revamp and optimize your current marketing and business systems. Some even call it a silver lining! 

Your marketing efforts should be pivoting right alongside your business operations. You may be focused on moving your operations to the digital space, keeping your customers updated and informed, growing your audience, and figuring out how to get ahead and stay ahead of your competition. You aren’t changing what you are doing, but you are shifting your message and discovering how to position your offers in a way that is relevant to the current situation. 

Calling All Leaders


This is also the time when your clients/patients need the most support. They need certainty and guidance, and there are a number of ways you can offer that:

  • You can coach your clients on the exact same changes you have had to make.
  • You can offer instruction on how to take advantage of technology and the “new” normal. 
  • You can fill the gaps on missing information to aid them in shifting their own message.

Your task right now is to figure out the problems your clients are dealing with and solve those problems

Our Top 5 Strategies to Becoming an Effective Leader


  1. Always Be Learning: Study what is going on in your area and industry. Pay attention to those who are at the top of your field. See what works for them. Check out Simon Sinek’s discussion on how leaders are constantly in a learning process
  2. Share Your Knowledge: Become an expert in your field, get involved in your industry’s community, and showcase your expertise. Knowledge sharing with your team is key to building trust and increasing performance. This thesis is a bit dated now but still a relevant and interesting read. 
  3. Be Open-Minded: Your team is on the front line and they may have some good ideas. Be open to trying new things and listen to your team’s (and client’s!) feedback and input. This article talks about ways you can be more receptive to new ideas.
  4. Communication: Clear, effective communication is a key trait in leaders. Keep your team and customers updated about their projects and about your overall vision. Here are five tips for learning how to communicate like a leader.
  5. Lead With Passion: Energy is contagious, and when you are passionate about your mission, your team and customers will be as well. The best leaders are those who inspire others. 

Top Book Recommendations for Leaders


radical-candorRadical Candor by Kim Scott 

The idea is simple: You don’t have to choose between being a pushover and a jerk. Using Radical Candor – avoiding the perils of Obnoxious Aggression, Manipulative Insincerity, and Ruinous Empathy – you can be kind and clear at the same time.

Kim Scott was a highly successful leader at Google before decamping to Apple, where she developed and taught a management class. Since the original publication of Radical Candor in 2017, Scott has earned international fame with her vital approach to effective leadership and co-founded the Radical Candor executive education company, which helps companies put the book’s philosophy into practice.

Radical Candor is about caring personally and challenging directly, about soliciting criticism to improve your leadership and also providing guidance that helps others grow. It focuses on praise but doesn’t shy away from criticism – to help you love your work and the people you work with.


priciples-dalioPrinciples by Ray Dalio 

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and has grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater’s exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency”. It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio – who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood – that he believes are the reason behind his success.

In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency”, include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.


Essentialism by Greg McKeown  

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you often busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist. The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us. Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. It’s about doing less, but better, in every area of our lives. Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.


Dare to Lead by Brené Brown 

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.  

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.  

But daring leadership in a culture that’s defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start. 


4-disciplines-of-executionThe 4 Disciplines of Execution by Jim Huling, Sean Covey, Chris McChesney 

The 4 Disciplines of Execution provides a simple, proven formula for achieving the goals that every individual or organization needs to reach. From Marriott to the U.S. Navy, Covey and his team have worked with more than 200,000 people in hundreds of organizations to improve performance, identifying and honing four secrets of perfect execution: Focus on the Wildly Important; Act on the Lead Measures; Keep a Compelling Scoreboard; and Create a Cadence of Accountability. By allowing teams to separate those urgent tasks that demand attention merely to keep a company alive – called the “whirlwind” – from new, “wildly important” goals that promise to break new ground, these disciplines empower leaders to accomplish what is by far the most difficult aspect of creating results: executing a strategy that requires a change in behavior. Simply put, this is a work that no business, however small or large, can afford to pass up.

Personally, I haven’t read any of these, but they were great listens!

In : Business Comments : 0 Author : Molly Richardson Date : 20 Apr 2020
Facebook Advertising Huntsville Alabama

Running ads on Facebook is one of the best things you can do to grow your business.

Eighty percent of all Internet users are on Facebook (Source), which means the chance of your customers having an account on the platform is high. Facebook ads are one of the most targeted forms of advertising, allowing you to narrow in on your exact audience. 

Running ads on Facebook is budget friendly and cost effective. In fact, it is the least expensive form of advertising right now. This allows you to reach a larger audience with more content quickly to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and generate new leads. These can be directly correlated to increased revenue and sales, but it doesn’t stop there. Facebook ads encourage and drive repeat business.

Facebook ads are one of the best, cost-effective, and quickest ways to build engagement, cultivate leads, and foster business. 

If you have been considering Facebook advertising, now is the time to invest in this invaluable marketing tool. Right now, Facebook has created a $100 million grant program to support small businesses during the economic crisis. The cash grants and ad credits being offered with this program can keep your workforce going strong, help cover rent and operational costs, and support you in connecting with more clients. 

To qualify for the grant, you must:

  • Be a for-profit business
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges due to COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Applying for the Facebook Small Business Grant in Huntsville, Alabama

The application process for the grant is open now.  Applications are opening by location:

  • April 18th: New York City and Seattle
  • April 20th: San Francisco Bay Area
  • April 22nd: All other US cities (including Huntsville, Alabama)

You will have 2 weeks to apply before the application deadline. The review process will take a few weeks, and you may be asked follow up questions.

Before starting your application, make sure you know and are ready to explain to Facebook how you will use your grant funds to make an impact on your business or in your community, e.g. to continue paying employees, etc. 

When you begin the application process, you’ll need at least one of the following documents:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Partnership documents
  • Business license
  • Proof of incorporation
  • Official registration

View the Application Guide here, and don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Apply Now
In : Business Comments : 0 Author : Molly Richardson Date : 16 Oct 2017

As I was hustling to still accomplish everything I needed to WHILE traveling for a business conference this past weekend, I realized how valuable some of the apps I have are. A business owner who is on the go a lot HAS to be able to keep their business running. So here are the apps I use for communication, networking, marketing, project management and content curation!

Slack (Communication)

Our team uses this to communicate and stay on top of what’s going on with all of our different clients and projects. It works best when you set up your channels in a simple way so that it is easy to find things and keep conversations organized. For example: we set our Slack up with a channel per client, one for internal marketing, one for each of our internal projects, and so on. That way everyone on the team can know exactly where to go to find the information they are searching for or where to start a conversation.

How do you communicate with your team? Could you be communicating more effectively? If everyone in your business was on the same page, how much smoother would your business run?


LinkedIn (Networking)

LinkedIn can be a great tool for expanding your business when used in small doses. (Aka… don’t get on and scroll your feed for an hour!) I like to get on the app for around 10-15 minutes a day to make meaningful connections with new people and find inspirational and educational articles that I save (See Pocket below) to send to my team and in our email newsletter.

Are you growing your network daily? If not, you should be! It can take as little as 5 minutes a day… and for me LinkedIn is the place to be. So go and start making those connections now… but finish reading this first 😉


Facebook Ads (Marketing)

If you manage Facebook ads for yourself or others, you have probably gotten that frantic call from someone wanting to change the creative, increase the budget, or pause the ads all together. And of course it has to happen right now and your computer is nowhere nearby! This is where the Facebook ads app comes in. It’s surprisingly easy to use and has a lot of functionality so you can accomplish those simple changes on the go.

If you are running Facebook ads, download the app now and know you’re covered. If you aren’t and want to, schedule a call with me.


Asana (Project Management)

Asana keeps our office running. We use it for all things task management. Our project manager set it up in a Agile Project Management format with an implementation board for the current week, then individual client lists to house all backlog tasks. Every morning, each team member checks their task list so they know what to do for the day. No bottlenecks or time spent wondering what to tackle next! We also recommend daily huddles reviewing everyone’s day so no one is confused or held back.

How are you currently managing your projects? Are they individual task lists on sticky notes? Does everyone on your team know what to do? What to do first? Find a task management tool that works for you and that your whole team can (and will) use.


Pocket (Content Curation)

This is a lesser known app that can save you a ton of time. It allows you to save articles on the go so you can read or share them later. I recommend tagging them so you can filter by category later (ie. marketing, business, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc). Sharing content on social media is a great way to stay top of mind with your prospects and customers to build your authority.

How are you currently saving articles as you come across them? Are you sharing good content with your team? Your customers?Your followers? Download Pocket or similar tool so you can store and distribute your favorite articles.


What mobile apps are you using to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine on the go? Let me know in the comments!