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In September of 2014, Canon Imaging launched a brand, spankin? new printer — the MAXIFY. As part of their launch strategy, they reached out to a handful of small business influencers to help them get the word out to their communities. I was happy to be a part of a team that included John Jantsch, Barry Moltz, Alexandra Levit and celebrity entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran.

Each month, each of us created content, sponsored by Canon that featured practical strategies and advice on how to become more productive, and efficient; they key message behind the new Canon MAXIFY printer.

But the BEST — and I meant absolute BEST part of this entire campaign was giving away Canon MAXIFY printers to ?unsuspecting? small business owners who engaged with my content on DIYMarketers and on my social media channels.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be featuring some of the DIYMarketers’ Canon MAXIFY Campaign winners. These “Main Street” business owners really exemplify the Canon Philosophy of “Yours to Make” — that speaks directly to the scrappy DIYMarketer in all of us.

CitySpeakez Knows How to Dig Deep and Connect With Potential Customers

joecarson

Let’s start with Joe Carson and John Matthews Co-Owners of CitySpeakez.com?.Joe and John created CitySpeakez in New York City because they were looking for a more fun and interactive way to learn a language.

aboutcityspeakez (1)

I can relate! When I lived in Germany, I was in an immersive German course with 30 young professionals who each spoke several languages (but German was not one of them) and I have to say that we learned MORE German by going out and having fun together than we did in class. So Joe and John were definitely on to something. But their big challenge was sharing this new kind of language learning with the Greater New York Metro area.

They tried all kinds of advertising strategies, but the ones that worked best involved using YELP reviews and Google Adwords.

YELP is a great promotion tool when you provide a unique experience

I did a Google Hangout with Joe and John where they discussed their YELP strategy. You can check it out here:

The one thing that might surprise you is the TELLING folks to rate them was not nearly as effective as providing a killer experience that spontaneously prompted their students to leave stellar reviews on YELP.

Now that YELP is working for them, they’ve moved on to Optimized Google Adwords Facebook Ads and social media as a form of advertising.

Here are a few of their tips for creating high conversion Google Adwords and Facebook Ads and social media engagement.

  1. Get your hands dirty with the data. Dig into the details, test, measure and tweak until you get it right.QUICK START TIP: Check out this super video and article from QuickSprout on how to test your Google Adwords.dig in (1)
  2. Know your conversion rate. Be sure that you know how many touches it takes (with your existing marketing) to convert a prospect to a customer.QUICK START TIPS[Tweet “If you want to set a baseline or figure out what kind of conversion rate you need, try this Conversion Rate Calculator from Entrepreneur Magazine. http://www.entrepreneur.com/calculators/conversionrate.html”]Entrepreneur Magazine has a super conversion rate calculator you can use to identify your conversion rate goals.[Tweet “If you think a 2% conversion rate sucks, you’re right – here’s how to outperform 75% of your industry http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/03/17/what-is-a-good-conversion-rate”]

    Don’t resign yourself to thinking that a 1% or 2% conversion rate is ok — you can do WAY better! Check out this article that analyzes the highest converting web sites and shows you how to increase your conversion rate.

  3. Use retargeting. ?This is is a way to capture users that come to your site and then target them big time so they get hit with your(our) ads over and over(while on other sites). Has been big for us, since our product generally takes 5-7 touches to complete the sale.remarketing1
  4. Use images in all your ads. We found that using images significantly increased our click through rates.foreman_dillards[Tweet “Which Images work best on Facebook? http://searchengineland.com/3-types-of-facebook-image-ads-that-work-80162”]Use pictures of happy women, colorful logos and headshots on Facebook.
    [Tweet “What sized images convert best? http://blog.wishpond.com/post/63575637531/6-facebook-ad-image-best-practices-that-will-send-your/”]For all ads, Facebook recommends your image be 1200 pixels wide, and no smaller than 600.

    Be sure to use landscape images that are simple, clear and clever.

  5. Use your team to start social media conversations.? This is HUGE! Joe says, “We found that our best social media engagement comes from our teachers and their students, not us. Our teachers start the conversations, our students jump in and then?their networks jump in!” ?Encourage your employees to share their experiences and create social conversations.-Let your employees and customers start (1)QUICK START TIP[Tweet “To drive interest in your business start a Facebook conversation with a picture and ask a question or opinion; “How do you say cheers in French”?”][Tweet “Share an industry statistic or trivia with a comment – that will get the social convo going.”]

Joe Carson and John Matthews are the poster dudes for the true DIYMarketers entrepreneurial spirit — they saw an opportunity, they created a business and they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in the process (through testing, that is).

Don’t be afraid to pursue your idea and create an experience that is so unique and engaging that people will be compelled to review you on YELP and share their experiences with their friends.