Lets get real about this, to paraphrase Loren Feldman, “Twitter: people write stuff, people read stuff. That’s it”. There is no big social networking secret at work here. It’s simply a communication tool and not even a very good one. It breaks down more often than my first car, which I only paid $240 for. If you think using Twitter is free, you are insane. As a business person, you already realize that your time is money, so when you spend an hour on Twitter learning what people had for lunch, you are paying for that. When you think about it, you can apply that to everything. Even reading this post is going to cost you money, I just hope I can make it profitable for you. The above article was written in collaboration with Twitter is fantastic if you have a market which already uses the system. But ask yourself, do you need to reach out to that market? By the way, you can Building a following from scratch simply using Twitter is possibly not the best use of your time. A following on Twitter should be viewed as a by-product of success elsewhere. This only makes sense if your business is with the natural inhabitants of this system. You need to be able to connect with your customer base by giving them the least amount of hoops to jump through. Even RSS. How many normal people use an RSS reader? I live and die by RSS, but I am not normal. I live life on the cutting edging of Web 2.0. The truth is, twitter is for geeks. Actually, it’s not even for geeks, it’s for uber-geeks. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I use twitter myself and have at times been called a geek. But to someone who uses the Internet for business (gasp!) and to make money, Twitter is often just a distraction. company name on Twitter even if you don’t plan to use it, just in case. -Dharmesh Still not convinced? Still want to walk the soft sands and hoped you wont get sucked in? Then, by all means, Twitter away. Originally published Jun 12, 2008 12:47:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 , a social media marketing expert. Thanks, Lyndon! It’s something for the ADD crowd to cook up and inject into their veins. There is nothing wrong with using these systems. But what are you online for? Chat, make friends, make love? All good stuff, but are you online to make money? It’s important to get your priorities right. Is your market the uber geek? If so, dive in, Twitter is where your market is at. Twitter is addictive. Real people are using it to communicate, and that can be fun. If you are online to have fun, fine and dandy. But, if it’s profit you are after, you need to judge accordingly. Some have said it’s a great tool to use for list building. But when you absolutely need to build a list and be able to communicate with your market, a third party system is not it. Email is far more effective and people do not have to sign up to a third party system to use email. Unless your customers already have a Twitter account, forget it. If your customer base already uses Twitter, you may have already read numerous blog posts praising the system and are using it to your advantage. If so, that’s great. That is not what this post is about. Topics: But, if you own a small consulting firm or are the VP marketing for a medium-sized manufacturing firm, I doubt twitter is where your customer base will be hanging out. You need to identify and connect with your customers and potential customers, and Twitter is not usually the most efficient (or effective) way to do that. This post is not an anti-Twitter post, it’s not even a pro-Twitter post. It’s a “Do that which makes sense for your business” post, a reminder that there are black holes out there which will suck all your precious time from you and not give you much (if any) return. Lyndon Antcliff if you’d like, and I promise not to tell you what I had for lunch. And regardless, I still think you should reserve your brand name or To get real benefit from Twitter you need to build a following. Those who already have over a thousand followers can send a digg request or a “hey, check out this post”, and get a great response. But here’s the thing, that following has been built up over months or years, with hours worth of expended effort. People simply follow/fan/friend the same people whatever system they are in. The person being followed simply says, “check out this new system”, and they all go join and add the same people to their list. follow me on Twitter Twitter Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Linkbaiting often gets a bad rap, yet creating of Social Media Examiner social media Author: While Galen recognizes the importance of , creating linkbait content can not only drive inbound links but also retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook. Therefore, Chris highlights 15 linkbaiting techniques that can be very successful. Some include creating an infographic, getting an exclusive, launching a competition or having an argument. Author: 5. Join Bill Walton, Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott as they discuss effective marketing strategies from the Grateful Dead. 1. 4. The reason linkbaiting has become such a frowned-upon term is because some techniques used for linkbaiting include intentionally exaggerating opinion. Still, Chris points out that linkbaiting can be done honestly — simply by Marketing Takeaway: Creating great content is no crime. Remarkable content can be your ticket to social media success and inbound links. Web analytics 3. , his article first suggests doing research to define content demand. Once content demand is nailed down, the article then provides steps to winning fans through a content strategy. He also emphasizes that, because of 5 Steps to Winning Fans With Content Strategy social media for event marketing Rich Brooks Galen DeYoung Dean’s article explores the topic of popularity in terms of what makes the most successful blogs so successful. While he agrees that great content is evident in all Marketing Takeaway: Rich’s article serves as a comprehensive guide on the various ways you can use B2B marketing analytics , he also understands that not everyone always makes the best sense of them. His article discusses 3 common, faulty assumptions people make with analytic data and why you should avoid them. These 3 assumptions are: 7 Secrets of Running a Wildly Popular Blog High-volume keywords are the most important ones. The last click caused conversion. Because he believes remarkable content is the future of Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack inbound marketing 2. . Author: Chris Lake How to Market Your Business Like the Most Iconic Band in History 12 Ways to Market Your Event With Social Media successful blogs , he also believes that likeability — of the blogger’s attitude and personality — is also a major factor. Dean Rieck Marketing Takeaway: Make sure a likeable personality shows through in your blog (and create great content) to attract more readers. online marketing success Marketing Takeaway: Mike Corak 3 Faulty Assumptions to Avoid Making With Analytic Data Inbound Marketing of Search Engine Land great content that generates inbound links Author: are important. Spend the time to truly understand what they’re telling you and how they can help improve your marketing. While we’re on the topic of content, Mike shares his content relevance tips he’s learned through competitive research about tapping into consumer demand. Date and time: on the Econsultancy Blog Your analytics tell you what people are searching for. on Copyblogger on Convince & Convert Topics: Originally published Jul 26, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 creating quality content Our top So how does one become more likeable in order to create a more popular blog? Dean advises to have a conversation, lighten up, be yourself, be nice, get over yourself, help people and stop trying so hard. is hardly a questionable technique. Agreed? Use social media to create a more engaging experience for attendees of your live and online events. Author: Marketing Takeaway: Create remarkable content that suits the needs of your prospects for online marketing results. Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 12pm ET 15 Linkbait Techniques for SEO and Social Media Reserve your spot now! Whether it’s for an in-person event like a conference, tweetup or meeting, or a virtual event like a webinar, virtual conference or teleclass, using social media can be a helpful tool to generate buzz, attract registrants and create a more interactive experience. leading up to, during and following an event to achieve maximum results. article of the past week challenges the stereotype that linkbaiting is controversial and offers several great tips for creating link-worthy content.
A year ago, a big change occurred in the search engine market. Microsoft’s Bing started to power the organic search results for Yahoo search. And in the past 12 months, the two Bing-powered search engines have gained 4% of the search engine market share in the United States.However, what might be more interesting is, in that same period of time, Google slipped 6% points in search engine marketing share. This data comes to us thanks to the newest Experian Hitwise report.In August, Bing represented 28.99% of United States searches. This is up from 24.56% a year ago. At the same time, Google fell from 71.59% a year ago to 65.09% in August 2011. So what? Google still has the vast majority of the search engine market share, right? Yes. Although these changes are relatively small, they indicate major possible changes in the future. If Google can lose this much ground from one competitor in a year, what will happen when social networks like Facebook and Twitter become more competitive in search?Marketing TakeawaySearch engines and, subsequently, search engine optimization are changing. Yes, Google is still the dominant player today. But instead of focusing all of your search engine optimization strategy solely on search engine results rankings within Google, you must adopt a well rounded SEO strategy. Work on building authority to your business website by generating inbound links through blogging and other content creation tactics. Maximize the reach of your content by sharing it in social media to ensure that your content takes advantage of search engines using social signals to determine rankings. Are you focusing too closely on Google in your SEO strategy? Originally published Sep 9, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Search Engines
Switching to Inbound Marketing You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.But you can teach a good, old-school agency how to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and transform themselves into a sleek, high-performance inbound marketing machine. We know. We’ve seen it done time and again.And, luckily for you, we asked a half dozen of the top execs at some of these game-changing agencies to tell us how they did it. They answered — honestly, enthusiastically, and informatively. Here’s their advice for anyone looking to transform their agency from old-school, to inbound.How Real Agency Execs Transformed Into Inbound Agencies (And How You Can Do It, Too)Step 1: “Commit. Make a very tangible, meaningful commitment to inbound marketing.”- Greg Linnemanstons, President, Weidert GroupThis is the first step toward your transition, and its importance must not be understated. But it also must not be misconstrued. Inbound marketing is not something you tack on to your traditional marketing offerings; it’s an all-in commitment to a different way of approaching your business, and how you execute for both your clients and your own agency. (Inbound agencies must be their own best case study — but more on this in a later step.)When Linnemanstons arrived at Weidert Group in 2000, it was a 20-year-old agency doing the same old things in the same old ways as every other agency in town. “Our lack of specialized positioning was killing us,” Linnemanstons said. “We neglected to follow the same advice we gave our clients: Understand what your unique promise is, and then be laser-focused on communicating that message effectively. I think the most difficult challenge we faced was realizing we were operating as a commodity service provider with no market positioning to get us out of it.”So Weidert committed to change the way they sold their services, and was determined to take a more inbound approach to it, instead. He applied the inbound thought process to the questions he asked clients. One of the questions he started to ask that you might find helpful is “Are you getting all the new business that you want?” That led Weidert to a conversation that uncovered a client’s goals, what they have or don’t have in place to accomplish those goals, the challenges they’re facing, and what their timeline is.The company still offers traditional marketing services at its 10-person shop, everything from wrapping a car in collateral to creating a brochure. That is to say, you don’t have to abandon more traditional advertising and marketing service offerings to be an inbound agency. But by adopting inbound marketing at the core of every client they approach, you no longer have to compete for business in a limited marketing. “The whole world is our pie,” Linnemanstons says; he now competes for business far outside of Appleton, WI and its surrounding towns.“Commit,” explains Linnemanstons. “Embrace the approach wholeheartedly. That’s very different than adding some inbound marketing services to your offerings.”Step 2: “Get good at creating great content. If you’re not good at creating great content, hire an agency to do it. Then, get good at promoting content.”- Aaron Aders, Co-founder and Market Research Director, Digital RelevanceAn 85-person agency, Digital Relevance (formerly Slingshot SEO) was named the fastest growing private company in central Indiana by the Indianapolis Business Journal in 2012. Why? A nearly 3,600 percent growth rate over the past three years, much of which hinges on their commitment to content.If you’re staying up to date on SEO, you know that the Caffeine, Panda, and Penguin updates radically altered how Google’s algorithms determine search results. “SEO has undergone a steady revolution since the 90s,” Aders explains. “We realized we couldn’t create relevant brands for our clients without expanding our definition of SEO to include strategic content creation and distribution through blogging, social media, email, and media relations. Inbound marketing is the new SEO.” Today, the company has a marketing team of eight dedicated to promoting the agency, and its in-house social media team has grown to 30 staffers ready to blog, tweet, post, and otherwise create content for Digital Relevance and its customers.It’s important to reiterate that if content creation — or a certain type of content creation, like video content, for instance — isn’t your area of expertise, it doesn’t mean you can’t play in the inbound marketing ballgame. Get really good at outsourcing content creation, for yourself and for your clients. If you need some help transforming yourself into a content creation machine, check out this free ebook — it’ll tell you how we at HubSpot approach our own content creation strategy.Step 3: “Start learning about inbound marketing now.”- Bob Ruffalo, CEO and Founder, IMPACT Branding and DesignIMPACT Branding and Design began as a company that only designed websites for its clients. But after the work was done, clients soon came back to Ruffalo complaining that their websites were “broken,” which is to say they weren’t generating the amount of traffic they expected. Ruffalo realized that if you don’t offer marketing services along with website development, you and your clients were missing out on the real value inbound marketing generates.Within seven months of adopting inbound marketing methodologies and technology, IMPACT’s revenue’s doubled, and went from 1,500 monthly site visits to 27,000 a year and a half later — of which 600 turn into leads, and 50-100 become qualified leads to convert into customers.But what’s even more important is that now that IMPACT experienced how inbound marketing could work for themselves, they could now provide these types of service to their clients. That’s why it’s so critical agencies learn about inbound marketing — and implement it in their own agencies — as soon as possible. It allows them to then be able to provide these services to their clients, answering the demand for measurable marketing results that keep clients sticking around.Step 4: “The first think agencies need to think about is how to position themselves. If tomorrow you want to be an inbound marketing agency, you have to market differently, sell differently, and execute differently. A mandatory step in the process is doing inbound marketing for your own agency.”- Mike Lieberman, Co-founder and President, Square 2 MarketingOnce you’ve immersed yourself in the inbound marketing methodology, it’s crucial to not only implement it for your own business, but to demonstrate how inbound has impacted your business. In other words, be your own best case study. It’s not enough to show how you’ve helped other clients with your services — it’s incumbent on inbound agencies to practice what they preach, and communicate those results to potential clients.Acting as your own best case study will make the impact you’re promising seem attainable, and grounded in reality. Heck, you believe in it so much you rely on it for your own business growth — that’s a pretty serious testimonial. So put some numbers behind your own agency growth due to inbound marketing, and share those numbers and stories with your clients — current and potential. Square 2 Marketing, for example, is able to point to some serious traffic growth from inbound; it’s increased 359% through exclusively non-paid, web-based inbound tactics. This has also resulted in a 10X increase of inbound leads delivered to their agency. Being able to point to the lessons you’ve learned, the success you’ve had, and even the help you wish you had, will move the business growth conversation from the clouds to the ground.Step 5: “Create a pricing and service package model that allows you to provide retainer-based services.”- Paul Roetzer, CEO and Founder, PR 20/20Roetzer could see that transparency and trust are key to relationship-building in a world where customers own the relationship with their brands, and social media can set things on fire in an instant. With that transparency in mind, he started PR 20/20 with 105 fixed-price, a la carte services. Eventually, he began to bundle those services. That enabled him to build the business based on monthly retainers.“You could just bundle what you’re selling now, but chances are that won’t work,” Roetzer says. “Start small. Start with one proposal or one client who’s willing to experiment.”Roetzer tests every new service they intend to offer internally for months before offering it to clients. That enables them to their determine costs so can they properly price when the service is ready to be launched.If you’re looking to transform into an inbound agency, you’ll inevitably have some new service offerings that you’ll have to price and package. Take a chapter from Roetzer’s book, keeping an eye on crafting retainer-based services, and thoroughly experimenting with offerings before taking them live to clients.Step 6: “My advice is best framed by a quote from Ken Blanchard: ‘There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.’”- Tiffany Sauder, President, Element ThreeFocused primarily on B2B clients whose revenues ranged from $2MM-$400MM annually, Sauder found herself and her team constantly chasing data via spreadsheets provided by their clients. Data which, by the time they received it, was several months old … if they received it all. Worse, every client had their own marketing tools Element Three was expected to become versant in in less than 30 days — an impossible task.This was hard, but you know what? So is change. Sauder was successful transforming her business into an inbound agency, however, because she was committed to learning about and implementing closed-loop technology that brought everyone on the same page — client and agency alike.The commitment and up-front investment paid off. By 2012, 80% of Element Three’s business was on retainer. Client renewal rates soared from 37% in 2011 to 83% in 2012, client spend increased 91%, and revenues doubled, a feat they are on track to accomplish again in 2013.Step 7: “Be willing to make tough decisions and let money go. If you’re going to pivot your business model like we did, you’re going to have all of these legacy clients that don’t want to adapt. Let them go.”- John McTigue, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner, Kuno CreativeAs your positioning and service offerings are solidified, it’s important to remember what kind of agency you’ve transformed into. That might mean leaving money on the table, sometimes.In the mid-2000s, Kuno Creative was a traditional agency designing brochures, building websites, and executing direct mail campaigns. They also were not profitable, so McTigue and the agency’s owner, Chris Knipper, sat down to figure out how they could fix things. Today, Kuno is a full-service, enterprise inbound marketing agency that provides content, demand generation, lead nurturing, marketing automation, and analytics for mid- to large-size companies, primarily in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.After spending 2008 learning how to do inbound marketing, in 2009, McTigue began using blogging and social media to get Kuno found online. They soon realized this strategy was a real differentiator for them and they honed in on a handful of clients for whom they could apply their content creation strategies and skills. They became experts at creating effective digital content.“Then,” says McTigue, “we focused on learning how to sell inbound marketing services and to whom.” For Kuno, that meant letting go of smaller clients, or companies not willing to adapt. Instead of going for large volumes of customers, they would hone in on fewer, larger clients with the financial means and the will to make a commitment to inbound marketing.It worked. Kuno has gone from 300 smaller clients to fewer than 20, but those 20 pay the bills and then some, month in and month out.Are you looking to redefine the future of your agency and adopt more inbound marketing practices? Are you starting to provide more inbound service offerings? Share your transformation stories in the comments.Image credit: Jelly Dude Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Apr 8, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated April 08 2013
Originally published Jul 26, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Social media is the most volatile and unpredictable marketing channel we’ve ever seen. Each network is constantly being innovated, redesigned, or updated. It’s also one of the most powerful tools marketers can have in their arsenal — if you know how to use it right.The best and brightest minds in social media perfected and refined their skills by getting their hands dirty in social media. Whether they failed hard or succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, their first-hand experiences taught them invaluable lessons. Having been on the front lines of social media marketing for the better part of a decade myself, I’ve had plenty of failures and successes that completely blind-sided me.And I want to save you save you from the stress that accompanies some of those surprises. To help you avoid some common, and not so common, mistakes on social media, I put together this list revealing some of the hidden reasons why your social media efforts might not be working out exactly as you hoped.1) You’ve Assumed Your Audience Is All the SameWhile we may have incredible insight into our audience, we’ll never be able to make everyone happy at the same time. While marketing to the majority, you could lose sight of the impact the minority can have. Not pleasing every person in your audience is okay, but you still need to treat a one-to-one conversation with a follower like a real-life conversation. Social media software (like HubSpot’s Social Inbox) can make it easier to monitor and respond to relevant conversations with strangers, leads, and customers in your social media community.2) You Aren’t Paying Attention to the World Around You Breaking news may drastically affect how your content impacts your audience. Letting current events and product launches sneak up on you can make your marketing feel all out of wack. One news story could present a significant opportunity for your social strategy — so staying up on the latest trends is essential.3) It’s Not as Easy as It LooksSocial media is a full-time job — marketers who try to take it on as one of the many tasks on their to-do list might be surprised that they’re struggling to tread water. If you want to really generate and nurture leads through social media, do your brand a favor and find a smart, dedicated social media manager who knows how to use social media to form real relationships with your audience members. 4) The Same Piece of Content Isn’t Successful on Every PlatformThe best content creators in the world know that each medium requires a different approach; the same is true for social media. The copy you used for that incredibly successful tweet might not strike home with your Facebook audience, or your wildly successful Facebook meme could be completely ignored, or even despised, on other social networks. If you can provide engaging, relevant content to the right audience, on the right platform, at the right time, you’ll have hit the social media marketing jackpot!5) You’re More Clever Than You ThoughtSometimes a simple observation or just a unique choice of words is enough to set the social web off with uncontrollable laughter. Harnessing those clever thoughts, and your following might thank you for it.6) You’re Extrapolating Data Outliers to Guide Your StrategyJust because you had one post do really well — or totally flop — doesn’t mean that you should shift your entire strategy to mirror said post. Look at the data to find consistent trends instead of acting on a whim.7) You Find and Share Awesome ContentAs Steve Jobs said, creativity is just connecting things. You know that if you find something brilliant online that your fans would love — but maybe hasn’t gone mainstream yet — you should share it with them. Even heavy content publishers need to be curating content from around the web — and you regularly introduce your audience to great content. If you aren’t quite so awesome at quickly finding those hidden gems just yet, I recommend using tools like Flipboard, Lumi, and Feedly to follow and organize other people’s content.8) Your Brand Isn’t Human Enough Social media is always about human-to-human interaction. When brands fail to develop a personality and human interests they tend to be ignored. And if you can develop a human brand, it will be much easier to form genuine relationships with your leads and customers on social media. 9) Your Timing Isn’t Quite RightHumans are creatures of habit and tend to incorporate social media into their routine. This means that your audience will have certain times that they’re active and other times when they’re not. Use services like Tweriod to get a good idea of when your followers are most active, and don’t ignore the incredible data you have available in your social media marketing tools to find trends around post timing.10) You Underestimate the Power of Design Almost all social media channels have moved toward embracing visual content — both in the interface of the network itself and in the content shared. Successful visuals should be sized for the network you’re sharing them on and should also mirror a design style that matches your audience’s tastes. For example, a brand like Dollar Shave Club isn’t going to design content based on modern art styles and with detailed typography.11) You Aren’t Asking for What You WantIncluding a simple phrase like “choose your favorite” can make a HUGE difference when you’re looking for a specific action. Clear, low commitment calls-to-action will make more people in your audience engage with your content.12) Someone Really Influential Liked What You Had to SayIt’s unrealistic to hope for everything you post to go viral, but if the right person discovers your content, your traffic and leads could skyrocket. Obviously some of your posts will have more effort and resources behind their success than others, but that doesn’t mean someone with a huge audience won’t find something you shared and fall in love. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to turn an average tweet into your most successful tweet.13) You Don’t Create Original Content When I first started in social media, brands were just sharing anything they could find. They were all surprised when they found out that their bottom line barely moved — their audience was engaged with the content they shared, but not with the brand itself. Use your social media tools to monitor relevant conversations and find out what your audience likes. Once you have that data, it will be much easier to start blogging to build up original content on your site.14) You Achieved the Wrong GoalPost can be designed to address different goals. Sometimes a post designed to start a discussion will get you a lot of mindless engagement, or visa versa (likes, favorites, etc). While a lot of variables factor in to your posts’ successes, it might come down to the fact that you didn’t create content to achieve the right goal.15) Technology’s Acting Up AgainSocial networks have bugs and issues, (cue Twitter’s Fail Whale) and some days your profiles or social tools won’t work the way they’re supposed to. I’ve had 30+ scheduled tweets fail to send and 4 hour chunks of time where I couldn’t post to a Facebook page. A day of nothing is enough to drive any social media manager crazy, but try to breathe and just tell yourself that everything will be OK.16) Crazy Fan on the RampageDon’t ever assume that any post is safe from the legendary crazy fan. This person may have just had a bad experience with your brand or they might just be having a bad day, but the only thing you need to know is that they’ve dedicated a significant amount of their time to telling the world how unhappy they are with you. This may not make a post completely flop, but it’s important to know how to quell a full-blown crisis from happening. 17) Spelling and Grammar BlundersEven the best writers have days where the keyboard becomes their enemy. While your brain may be telling you that you typed exactly what you meant to type, your audience will see it differently. Read over your posts before you hit the magic button — or better yet, have someone else read it for you.18) The Press Is Talking About YouOccasionally your brand will receive good and/or bad press. Sometimes the publisher or team members may forget to give you the heads up. Now you have to drop everything you were doing and react. Of course, making sense of the madness when the press releases a story is made much easier if you have the right social media monitoring tool.19) It’s Just One of Those DaysIt’s entirely possible that there will be days where the majority of your audience happens to be busier than usual. Hope that those days don’t line up with your campaigns or best content and do your best to accept it for what it is.What other surprising lessons has social media thrown your way? Share your stories with us in the comments!Image credit: ssoosayEric Siu is the Chief Operating Officer at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. He previously ran growth at online education startup Treehouse. Social Media Fails Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 17, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated June 27 2019 Brand Awareness One of our main jobs as marketers is to acquire new customers. To start acquiring them, we need to get our company name out there. Or as marketers would say, “build brand awareness.”The tough thing about brand awareness is that it historically has been a lofty, fluffy goal that many executives don’t value … but it’s actually a crucial component of the buyer’s journey. So how do you actually make an impact on your brand awareness — and show your boss the difference you’ve made? Below I’ll walk you through the four most common mistakes marketers make when trying to measure brand awareness. (If you want to learn more about actually measuring brand awareness, check out the guide below.)Click here to download our comprehensive guide to effective and measurable branding.1) Not Agreeing on Exactly What Brand Awareness Means to Your CompanyBrand awareness means something different to everyone. Your boss might think it’s literally just getting your brand in front of as many people as possible. Your content strategist might want to target a specific subset of people, the ones most likely to turn into leads. Your PR team might want journalists and consumers to remember your brand name.Not agreeing with your team members on exactly how you’ll define brand awareness can misalign expectations and start your campaign off on the wrong foot. So before diving into campaign brainstorm mode, sit down with all the stakeholders and agree on one specific brand awareness goal.Here are some ideas of goals specifically defining brand awareness to get you started:Increase our brand’s external media coverage by X% by Y DATEIncrease brand recall and/or brand recognition by X% by Y DATELift brand conversation by X% by Y DATE (e.g. media mentions, social mentions, review mentions, etc.)Increase referral traffic by X% by Y DATEIncrease direct traffic by X% by Y DATE2) Trying to Make Your Content Achieve Too MuchWorking at an agency, I typically get client requests that look like this:We want to earn coverage on top-tier media sites and get a lot of social buzz about our new [INSERT PRODUCT, PROGRAM, AWARD, ETC. HERE], but we don’t want to do any newsjacking. This piece should be evergreen, and ideally it should bring in a steady stream of organic traffic over time versus just a ton of referring traffic on launch. And [laughs] you know this is all in hopes of increasing conversions. Can you get us some of those, too?Oh, and can you keep it under $[INSERT GROTESQUELY LOW NUMBER HERE]?Name three examples of content out there about a relatively unknown brand’s new product that gets a ton of social and media attention, earns a respectable amount of organic traffic over time, and brings in sales or leads … all while being affordable.Yeah. Me neither.There are three facts about achieving brand awareness:1) Your content needs to appeal to a large number of people.This is what ensures you get a lot of media and social coverage (if that’s how you’re measuring brand awareness). Most journalists and consumers will not write about your new product, service, program, award, etc. unless it’s applicable to them.At the end of the day, earning a lot of media and social coverage is part strategy, part a numbers game. You need to make content that is relevant to as many people as possible, while still being consistent with your brand.2) You can only choose a few key metrics, not all of them.Trying to achieve every metric possible makes it likely that your campaign will do a lot of different things only okay. It will appeal to some people, but not enough. It’ll be a great setup to rank for long-tail keywords, but its newsworthiness will be stifled because of this. Or it’ll be really useful, but no one will care about it because it’s too promotional or niche. These are all very likely outcomes if you try to attach too many metrics to a brand awareness campaign.What’s more, it puts a lot of unnecessary creative parameters on your brainstorm. While it is possible that you will develop a campaign that hits multiple metrics, it’s more likely you won’t. Approaching a brainstorm with a long checklist that each idea has to follow only makes it harder to ideate.3) Direct conversions usually aren’t a good metric for measuring brand awareness.Sure, your content may encourage visitors to purchase your product or sign up for your newsletter immediately. But it’s likely they found your content after seeing it on Facebook or their favorite blog. When they stumbled across it, they were in browse mode. Not research or buy mode.The chance that they are going to hear about your brand for the first time and decide to convert right there is very unlikely, so you shouldn’t measure the success of your brand awareness campaigns on this metric alone. You should definitely monitor your brand awareness campaigns to see if they’re contributing to conversions — direct or indirect — but using direct conversions as the sole short-term success metric can set you up for failure.3) Not Ensuring Your Brand Awareness Campaigns Are Influencing the Bottom LineYou might be thinking, “But Adria. You just told us not to measure conversions with our brand awareness campaigns.”This is still correct. I was advising against using direct conversions as the sole metric for each brand awareness campaign. You need to be able to attribute your brand awareness efforts to real business value at some point, just not right then for that one campaign.Rather, you should be measuring the direct and indirect conversions earned from all your brand awareness campaigns over time. This will paint a much more accurate picture of whether or not your efforts are contributing to the bottom line.When I say “bottom line,” ideally this would be sales or leads. You measure that “bottom line” with the help of attribution modeling, an analytics report that allows you to assign credit to different touch points along the conversion paths your consumers may take. (HubSpot Pro and Enterprise customers, you can use Attribution Reports to do this.) There are a lot of really sophisticated attribution models you can set up to help you measure how many people visited your brand awareness content and then came back to convert later on. Here are some resources to learn more:What Is an Attribution Report?How to Create an Attribution Report in HubSpotHow to Setup Meaningful Custom Attributions in GAGA Attribution Modeling: Beginner’s GuideMulti-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, Bad and Ugly ModelsYou should be setting up attribution models to get a clear picture of how your brand awareness campaigns contribute to revenue. This is what will justify your work and earn your boss’ buy in.However, if your brand awareness content isn’t contributing to revenue or new leads, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Brand awareness campaigns can only do so much — they only get your foot in a potential customer’s front door. To keep moving potential customers down the funnel, it takes a lot of sophisticated message mapping and testing.It’s very likely there are kinks in your conversion process, so at the very least you should be able to demonstrate that your brand awareness campaigns are earning meaningful traffic. This can be invaluable to discovering those kinks, and can help you prioritize future projects.Let me give you a real-life example. I worked with my creative team and one of our higher education clients to create an interactive career aptitude test. It ended up getting a ton of media and social coverage upon launch, and later became the landing page earning the most organic traffic to their site behind their home page.However, visitors to this test — despite staying on the page and engaging with the piece for quite a long time — weren’t clicking through to other areas of their site or converting. Does this mean our brand awareness campaign wasn’t successful? Does it mean it’s not contributing real business value?Absolutely not. This campaign was extremely valuable. It is still to this day regularly bringing new potential, qualified customers to the client’s site. There was just one fundamental issue: We weren’t making it easy for users to click around or convert. This traffic revealed a kink in our conversion process, which made it an even more valuable campaign.So, at the very least, regularly monitor your brand awareness campaigns for qualified traffic, both per campaign and aggregated. I personally prefer navigating my clients’ attention toward the aggregate lift, as some campaigns will always do better than others and I don’t want them to get distracted by minor setbacks that aren’t a true indication of overall performance.And don’t forget about influencing-but-not-direct increases in traffic, leads, or revenue. For example, your brand awareness campaigns could have increased your website’s authority as a whole, making it more likely to rank for unrelated keywords that bring in more organic traffic. Or, if one of your brand awareness campaigns was a referral program, your current customers might have forwarded the referral onto friends, but maybe those friends didn’t click through. Then maybe a few weeks later they remembered your brand and went directly to your site to convert, bypassing the referral campaign altogether.These examples and others like it should still be attributed to your brand awareness campaigns — you deserve credit where credit is due.4) Expecting Quick Results Rand Fishkin gave a fantastic presentation on why content marketing fails. One of his biggest takeaways is that companies have unrealistic expectations. Most companies get discouraged when they launch their first campaign and it doesn’t take off immediately. However, content marketing can be hard. It can take a lot of creativity, testing, and failures to get it right.Brand awareness campaigns are no exception. This is especially true when you first start out because you don’t have a built up community and “social proof” to demonstrate to journalists and consumers that you are legitimate (and thus your content is worthy of covering or tweeting). All of this is built up over time. Achieving big results right off the bat isn’t common. So stick it out and continue to track the aggregate results of all your campaigns before you decide to jump ship for another strategy.So How Do You Effectively Measure Brand Awareness?The key is to make sure all the stakeholders agree on exactly what brand awareness means to your company and what you’re trying to achieve. Then it’s a matter of:Identifying only a few key reporting metrics;Creating, launching, and promoting campaigns that you think will meet those metrics;Constantly monitoring your campaigns to see how these affect your company’s bottom line (which may require some analytics customization).Ready to dive into the numbers? I talk about how to specifically measure brand awareness in this short video.
Originally published Dec 1, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 As a marketer, you work hard every day to generate, qualify, and deliver leads to your sales team. You can’t afford to let your leads flounder after you hand them off.Unfortunately, thanks to today’s hypercompetitive sales landscape, prospects are inundated with more information and content than ever. In other words, your dry, jargon-filled deck isn’t going to cut it anymore. That’s why we’ve partnered with Prezi to bring you this free guide on creating sales presentations. It’ll walk you through how to build a dynamic sales presentation, provide tips and best practices, and introduce suggested layouts.Here are a few things you’ll learn:How to create an intro that commands attention Why social proof is so importantHow to make your ideal price point stand outThe best approach to competitive analysis, and how to use it to your advantageHow to seal the deal with a call-to-actionAnd even more about how to create a persuasive sales deck Topics: Click to Tweet: “Learn how to build a persuasive #sales deck & close more deals with this ebook from @Prezi & @HubSpot http://hubs.ly/H01q7k90” Ready to start turning prospects into customers? Click here to download the free guide. Inbound Sales (Marketing) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Meetings Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Apr 1, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Some meetings are a total waste of time.There’s nothing more frustrating than stopping your actual work to attend a meeting where everyone ends up staring at their laptops and nothing actually gets done.It’s crazy how many hours we waste in meetings like these. In fact, the average employee spends 31 hours in unproductive meetings every single month. That’s 31 hours per month that each of us could’ve spent on work that gets us closer to hitting our goals, developing our skills, and making meaningful connections.There are two ways to minimize that number. One way is to cancel meetings that don’t need to happen, or (politely) say “no” to meetings you don’t really, truly need to attend. The other is to make the meetings you do run and attend more effective.To learn how to make your meetings more effective and collaborate more successfully, check out the infographic below from CT Business Travel. It covers how to set your agenda ahead of time, what the optimal number of people in a meeting is, how to make sure attendees are taking away the key points from the meeting, and more.2Save2Save
Retargeting Originally published Apr 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated April 20 2017 Ready to learn how to implement your own retargeting? Download your free guide here. Don’t forget to share this post! If you’ve heard of retargeting and think it’s a strategy you want to invest more in, you’re in good company.According to a study by AdRoll, almost 90% of marketers are planning to increase or maintain their retargeting spend in the next year. Although it’s a popular tactic for marketers, if you’re new to retargeting, it can be tough to know how to get started.In this article, we’ll cover the basics of retargeting and the ROI, lead generation, and lead conversion benefits it can bring to your marketing efforts. The following is an excerpt from The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting, a free guide we created with the experts at Perfect Audience. If you’d like to access the full guide, click here.In the old days of advertising, the name of the game was reach and frequency. Brands preferred mass media vehicles like television and radio because they were the easiest means to reach large audiences and build brand awareness.Obviously, this meant the most effective advertising campaigns were dominated by the biggest brands with the largest marketing budgets.Now, the reach and frequency model has been turned on its head. Increased media fragmentation and new tools for reaching people — like retargeting — have evened the playing field.Even the smallest mom-and-pop-shop has opportunities to get in front of their target audience and drive awareness at a faster clip than some of the largest brands.What Is Retargeting & Why Is It Beneficial?If you were to look at your conversion funnel, how often would you find that a first-time visitor visited your website, viewed a product, and then made a purchase all on that first visit? Chances are you’d be lucky if you saw that behavior once.Making a sale is a process. Studies have shown that up to 98% of your visitors leave your website without converting. Another study on the conversion funnel by Google found that oftentimes, it takes several steps for a user to go from visit to conversion, and it’s actually not uncommon for a visitor to take more than 30 steps before making a purchase!Retargeting helps you tackle this problem head on. It allows you to target and serve ads only to people who’ve previously visited your website, used your mobile app, or in some cases, visited and bought something from a physical retail location. This means you can be very strategic and efficient about who you’re reaching and where you’re spending your marketing budget.Retargeting provides two primary benefits: It maximizes ROI and keeps you in front of prospects.Marketers don’t often think of retargeting as a brand-building tool, but this represents a huge missed opportunity. One of the greatest benefits retargeting offers is that it keeps your brand front and center with a targeted audience.Sometimes you might do this to try to drive a direct response, as we outlined in the section above. Other times, though, it also gives you an opportunity to build up your brand’s familiarity with your target audience and increase the likelihood of a future indirect action like a Google search or an organic site visit.These indirect effects can be significant. In fact, comScore found that retargeting campaigns led to a 1046% increase in branded search and a 726% lift in site visitation after four weeks of retargeted ad exposure.It’s a powerful direct response tactic that maximizes ROI.In the environment of conversion funnel chaos mentioned above, no other advertising tactic offers the return that retargeting does. Retargeting offers the most direct and effective means to:Reconnect with your highest value targets — people who’ve previously expressed interest in your offeringsRecapture their attention with an effective, compelling messageMove them further down the sales funnel Topics: