Archive for the ‘marketing tactics’ tag
Where do advertorials, also know in politically correct terms as “native advertising”, fit into the content marketing toolkit? To answer this question, we first have to understand what advertorials are – and also that the definition of content marketing itself is a hotly contested topic.
Adam Stetzer of HubShout, in his recent investigation into the purported Google penalization of Interflora for employing advertorial content, insists advertorials are NOT content marketing.
“Advertorials are advertisements, regardless of how you try to dress them up”, he says, “while content marketing is educational. Advertorials are biased; content marketing is free of any bias. The two may share a commercial motive, but are completely different and should be treated as separate entities”.
However, Lewis DVorkin, Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, defines content marketing as “Brands using the tools of digital media and social sharing to behave like original-content publishers.”
His definition of content marketing includes AdVoice, the Forbes service he was speaking of at the time. “First launched 20 months ago, it’s a fully transparent way for marketers to publish and curate content on Forbes.com and in our magazine.” In fact, Lee Odden was included (unbeknownst to him) in a recent Forbes AdVoice article published by CapitalOne, “Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business” which looks and reads pretty much the same as regular Forbes content.
It seems, then, that DVorkin’s vision of content marketing is not restricted to the unbiased, but that advertorial content is acceptable where parties ensure transparency for readers. “Content is content,” he says, “and transparency makes it possible for many different credible sources to provide useful information.”
Are Advertorials Evil By Their Very Nature?
Marketers like John Bethune at B2BMemes take exception with DVorkin’s definition. In a post questioning this expansion of content beyond owned into paid, he asks, “When a publication buys content (from staff writers or contributors), that clearly counts as editorial. But when the publication is paid to publish it (by advertisers), is it still editorial?”
It’s a valid question.
Advertorials have been around since the 1940s, when savvy newspaper publishers realized the potential of ad content posing as editorial. Then came infomercials, those wonderful paid programming spots that helped networks fill the dead air and increase their off-time revenue.
Fast forward to the modern web; advertorials might also be known as native advertising, or more commonly, sponsored content. They typically appear in blogs as well as print and online magazines and newspapers. Sponsored content allows brands to reach beyond their own audiences, to inform, engage and convert readers through content that (ideally) reads as editorial despite the underlying advertising message.
Google itself has pushed the envelope as far as clearly indicating which of their content is organic or paid and has had many conversations with the FTC as a result. So while some have rightly questioned whether Google’s stance on advertorials is a move designed to cut their paid advertising competitors off at the knees, it doesn’t seem so. The penalization of flower brand Interflora for participating in BBC advertorials seems a natural extension of their paid links policy. As Stetzer points out in his evaluation of the situation, penalization for advertorial content can be prevented/remedied by ensuring all links in the content are no-follow and do not pass PageRank.
Still, we have the ethical question: do advertorials have a place in your strategy as one of the content marketing tactics to consider?
Are Advertorials Even Content Marketing At All?
When Lee Odden recently asked his social network of marketers to share their definitions of content, the range of answers was surprising:
- Information designed for consumption, seasoned for enjoyment, and packaged to share.
- Content comes in any form (audio, text, video), and it informs, entertains, enlightens, or teaches people who consume it.
- Content is high quality, useful information that conveys a story presented in a contextually relevant manner with the goal of soliciting an emotion or engagement.
- Relevant, compelling, timely and valued knowledge and/or entertainment.
- Original and opinion-charged copy with a focused message and personalized voice.
In fact, after perusing the 40+ definitions of content, I don’t see anything about paid content falling within the bounds of content marketing territory. Then again, I see nothing definitively excluding it as a viable tactic, either.
When Advertorials Are Okay:
Unfortunately, many online marketing tactics that show promise are milked to death and taken way too far by overzealous marketers. Instead of an outright ban on advertorial content, maybe what we need is a set of common sense, ethical guidelines for its use.
“With today’s savvy consumers, sponsored content, native advertising and advertorial isn’t effective unless it provides valuable and useful information,” TopRank CEO Lee Odden recently told a German business magazine. “With reputable publications, similar, if not the same, editorial standards apply as they do for pure editorial content. The only difference is the means of inclusion: payment or editorial.”
With that in mind, here are some common sense guidelines for advertorial, native advertising or sponsored content:
- Top quality – never forget the “editorial” part of the equation. Your competitors may have former journalists and professional editors at their disposal, as should your brand.
- Avoid overtly promotional language because it’s ineffective and makes you look silly.
- Aim to inform, educate, and/or entertain readers, as with other types of unpaid content.
- Offer transparency and does not attempt to trick readers into believing they are reading unbiased, journalistic content.
- Use no-follow links to avoid passing PageRank and falling outside Google’s guidelines.
- Serves its purpose through careful planning and alignment with your business goals.
- An accurate reflection of your brand voice, company culture and capabilities.
Advertorial content has been a sticky topic lately, although it doesn’t have to be dismissed without consideration. If sponsored content makes sense as a marketing tactic for your company and you can find an opportunity for placement with a reputable publication and measurable ROI, it may be worth considering. Just remember that content, whether it’s published purely based on editorial merits or as part of an advertising program, isn’t effective unless it creates value for the reader.
Are you using advertorial content as part of your marketing strategy? Share your tips or thoughts on the practice in the comments.
© Online Marketing Blog, 2013. |
Do Advertorials & Native Advertising Fit In Your Content Marketing Strategy? | http://www.toprankblog.com
Create An Online Marketing Bucket List – What Would You Do If Your Marketing Plan Options Were Limitless?
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “If only we’d had more time/money/resources we could have knocked that project out of the park!”?
Some marketers are great at brainstorming great ideas and have trouble implementing, while others are more task oriented and have a hard time seeing the big picture. Whether you relate to one of the two types mentioned above or fall somewhere in the middle there is always an opportunity for growth and discovery.
Often we can find ourselves getting caught up in the day-to-day minutiae of completing tasks related to our structured marketing programs. While creating an executable and realistic content plan is an essential part of implementing a successful marketing strategy, I think there is another very important and often overlooked option as well.
A few months ago I started putting together what I call my “Internet Marketing Bucket List”. This list is constantly growing and is a compilation of marketing tactics and ideas that I want to execute but may not be realistic right now. I’ve found that this exercise accomplishes a few objectives:
- Central place to store ideas & concepts
- A great creative outlet
- Helps me think outside the box
In this post I have included tips for drafting your own list, as well as some questions to get you started. Time to begin thinking about what you would include on your very own Marketing Bucket List!
Start Brainstorming & Documenting Your Ideas
One of the toughest parts about creating this list is getting something down. If you’re like me, sometimes you have to be in the right creative frame of mind to work on this type of project. Don’t worry about creating the whole list at once. I continue to add marketing items to my list whenever I think of them. A few additional tips would include:
- Write everything down, even if you think it might be a bad idea
- Include ideas you think are realistic and those that may seem like a long shot
- “Borrow” ideas from other companies
Don’t Limit Yourself
Depending on your role, you may be responsible for a segment of marketing, or marketing as a whole. Say you’re responsible for social media but also have some ideas that would lend themselves to a content marketing plan, get it down. What are the benefits of thinking outside your job function?
- You can become a resource for other team members
- A unique or perspective can often solve a difficult problem
- Your value as an employee can dramatically increase if you think outside the box
Collaborate & Share Your Ideas
Some people like to organize all of their thoughts and have a structured plan before sharing ideas with anyone else. I on the other hand prefer to bounce ideas off of my team as I’m jotting down ideas. Who knows that small conversation may spark additional ideas.
The Marketing Bucket List is not a project that has to be completed on your own. Perhaps you have a weekly or monthly team meeting and could use a portion of the time allocated to brainstorm with your fellow employees.
15 Questions to Jumpstart Your Marketing Bucket List
Below I have listed some questions you can ask yourself to jumpstart the creative juices and begin your very own bucket list.
- How are you going to store the information? (I use Google Docs)
- What are some small tactics you could implement today but simply don’t have the time?
- What are some bigger ideas that may not be possible to implement with current budget and resources?
- If money were no object what sort of campaigns or events would you like to have?
- Can you find examples of marketing that you appreciate from other companies, even if they are competitors?
- What tactics have you always wanted to try but have been too timid to move forward with?
- What sort of marketing inspires you as a consumer or purchaser?
- Who do you think would be the best target market for your marketing ideas?
- What is something you’ve implemented before that didn’t work as well as you had anticipated?
- What would you have done differently?
- Who would be a good person within your organization to discuss your marketing ideas with?
- Are there areas within your field that you need additional education on? (social media, email marketing, blog writing, press releases, etc.)
- Is there a skill or area of marketing that you’ve mastered and want to share with the rest of your team?
- What is your end goal with implementing these new tactics?
- Can you estimate what the ROI would be for your company?
The best advice I can give is not to over-think what you’re writing down. Keep your Marketing Bucket List in a location that is easy to access at your desk or on the go. You never know when a good idea might pop up. As you work through your list cross of those you’ve been able to complete, and add additional ideas as needed.
© Online Marketing Blog, 2012. |
Create An Online Marketing Bucket List – What Would You Do If Your Marketing Plan Options Were Limitless? | http://www.toprankblog.com
Wherever I speak around the country, I always like to share a handful of amazing content marketing resources with the audience as homework assignments. Here they are for your reference all in one place.
Content 2020 from Coca-Cola
Quick Overview: Two videos totaling 17 minutes that detail Coca-Cola’s strategy to move to what they call liquid storytelling.
- Coca-Cola states a wish to move from creative excellence to content excellence.
- They seek to develop content that makes a commitment to making the world a better place and to develop value and significance in people’s lives…while at the same time driving business objectives for Coca-Cola.
- Through the stories they tell, they hope to provoke conversations and earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.
Google’s Zero Moment of Truth
Quick Overview: ZMOT (as it’s called) is the Google eBook based on their research of Internet buying patterns. ZMOT is the idea that brands can win over the consumer when they are researching products or services online.
- Specific to content marketers, the amount of content that shoppers engage with before making buying decision doubled from 2010 to 2011.
- If we needed any more proof, the consumer is in complete control.
2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Study
Quick Overview: Research from CMI and MarketingProfs from over 1,000 business marketers detailing content marketing spending patterns, usage and challenges.
- 9 out of 10 organizations market with content marketing.
- On average, B2B marketers employ eight different content marketing tactics to achieve their goals.
- Marketers, on average, spend over a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing.
Red Bull Media House
Quick Overview: Red Bull Media House is the center of the Red Bull content marketing empire.
- It’s evident when reviewing the content assets from Red Bull that they are a media company that just happens to sell energy drinks.
- Red Bull is one of the few non-media brands that actually syndicates its content assets to drive ancillary revenues.
Most forms of online B2B marketing and advertising focus on attracting and engaging business customers through a sales cycle to create awareness and interest, through consideration and ultimately to purchase. That’s reasonable since there’s a clear investment and return.
While a lot of social media-savvy business to business companies are leveraging social channels to engage with communities and for customer service, most implementations of corporate social media marketing are no different than any other sales-focused marketing effort. Expectations are high to influence a social return on investment (ROI).
In fact, a recent survey by PulsePoint Group and The Economist Intelligence unit reports that, “Executives who said their companies had established an extensive social media presence reported a return on investment that was more than four times that of companies with little or no social network engagement activity.”
However, is the traditional B2B sales cycle still the most relevant way to think of online marketing tactics like social media, search, and content marketing? Isn’t there more to the brand and customer relationship where content and social media play an active role?
Business customers are empowered to publish now more than ever and increasingly expect social interactions from industry peers and the companies they do business with as well as their friends and co-workers. These expectations and interactions occur beyond the path to purchase and provide companies with an opportunity to leverage social content and engagement beyond the sales cycle to retention and advocacy.
Advocacy is the best form of advertising. Inspiring word of mouth referrals through optimized social content can amplify the benefits of a more holistic approach to B2B content and social media.
Companies and individuals interact on social networks and media-sharing sites and the outcome is often content, but how effective is that content at inspiring action? There are many ways to be more effective with social content creation, sharing, and engagement beyond the typical sales cycle. How do you find and take advantage of those opportunities?
You can start by answering some important questions about the relationship between your brand and your customers:
Audit Brand and Customer Interactions
- How do you connect with customers online with content throughout the lifecycle? Awareness, knowledge, consideration, selection, satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty.
- What do your customers think of those interactions?
- How do they respond?
- How does the brand measure up? What is the sentiment?
- What are the brand opportunities to improve those interactions for mutual benefit?
- Where is the brand missing out on interactions because there is no content being published for that phase in the customer relationship?
- How can existing social media and content marketing strategies be extended beyond the buying cycle to advocacy and loyalty?
By digging into how existing customer and brand interactions occur, companies can optimize their content marketing strategy to better leverage social media. It also sets the stage for a more strategic approach to leveraging content in the social media marketing mix.
Besides an online marketing strategy, there’s an operational aspect to being more strategic about social media marketing across the customer lifecycle. Here are a few important considerations:
Strategic Approach to Optimizing Connections Between Customers and Brands With Content
- Win internal support, develop effective process, and share a vision on how to scale.
- Communicate goals to the teams involved and executives that need to approve.
- Assess readiness and skills internally.
- Develop training, process, and support.
- Create feedback mechanisms to inspire continued participation (internally and customers).
- Conduct customer research: segments, profiles, and personas.
- What are customer behaviors and expectations?
- What preferences do they have for information and interaction throughout the lifecycle relationship with the brand?
- Develop a content strategy that identifies editorial, promotion, and PR efforts.
- Coordinate paid, owned, earned, and shared media according to your approach for customer lifecycle marketing.
- Make sure content is findable, shareable, useful, and actionable across the spectrum.
- Establish monitoring and measurement initiatives to track progress and analyze results.
- Develop a process to bring real-time insights from monitoring and analysis from interaction data back to the planning process for a continuous process of optimization.
How will you know your efforts to optimize content and social media interactions from awareness to advocacy are achieving your goals? By assessing the signals that represent productive customer lifecycle interactions and success. Social media content is better viewed as the assist to sales vs. the channel for sales.
Key Performance Indicators
- Social KPIs. Fans, friends, followers, comments, likes, shares, votes, and ratings (benchmark, trends, growth, and quality).
- Social topics. Used in relation to brand name and sentiment (relevance to brand USP and key messages, relevance to what customers care about, and pain points and solutions).
- Search KPIs. Brand vs. non-brand search keywords and website content (product/sales info, HR jobs, news, customer service/support/FAQ/knowledge base).
- Business outcomes.
- Sales. Inquiries, up-sell/cross-sell, upgrades, order frequency, volume, and net profit.
- Social engagement. Trend of brand mentions, referrals, endorsements, links/shares, and sentiment over time.
- Public relations. Unsolicited MSM news pickups, online media blogs, media inquiries, and analyst inquiries.
- Human resources and recruiting. Candidate inquiries from search- and social-optimized content.
- Customer service. Rate of traditional support inquiries vs. web visits to support content, and service solutions delivered via social channels.
The rush to revenue with social media and any other content-focused Internet marketing approach can compromise innovation and shortcut the long-term value of more meaningful (vs. mechanical) social media marketing and community building. Consider the entire spectrum of how your brand can create awareness and interest, influence transactions, and continue in a cycle to retain and advocate referrals for awareness to even more new customers.
Do the homework and continue to study how your brand can continuously and holistically optimize content and social media participation to attract, engage, and inspire your customers. The result? More sales and longer, more meaningful customer relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared in my ClickZ column, Social Media Smarts.
At SES San Francisco, I will be giving a presentation that implements many of these perspectives into a B2B Content Marketing context:
Optimize B2B Content Across the Sales Cycle
Wednesday, August 15 - 9:00am
With today’s fast moving search and social web, content flows in every direction throughout a variety of platforms, formats and devices. The mass adoption of social platforms has facilitated a revolution of B2B information access, sharing and publishing. Now more than ever, guiding business customers on their journey through the sales cycle requires an integrated approach to content, optimization and social media marketing. This session will help solve that challenge by providing:
- A framework for sales funnel optimization for specific customer segments
- Case studies on developing content, optimization, promotion and measurement for search and social media
- Practical examples for optimizing Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy
- Key performance indicators that lead to business outcomes with an integrated approach
I hope to see you there!
© Online Marketing Blog, 2012. |
How to Boost the ROI of B2B Social Media? Optimize Across the Entire Sales Cycle | http://www.toprankblog.com
This article will discuss opportunities around the convergence of email with social and mobile, and give you insights and practical tips on how to integrate and manage your cross-channel voice and leverage these tools in unison to get better results.
Let’s get practical
While it’s easy for marketers to understand why they should be integrating email, social, and mobile, the real challenge remains how to do it.
At its most simple level, it’s merely about taking all the basic principles of email campaigns and consistently applying them to newer channels and platforms.
Start by embedding social media links into your emails
Social sharing is becoming a part of the web’s DNA.
According to a new study by website monitoring service Pingdom, 24.3 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world now feature some form of official Facebook integration. When you also include basic links to Facebook, the number goes up to 49.3 percent. Twitter is featured on 10 percent of homepages in the top 10,000 and over13 percent of the sites surveyed in this study used Google’s +1 button on their homepage. Counting all kinds of links and official widgets, Pingdom saw 49.3 percent for Facebook, 41.7 percent for Twitter, 21.5 percent for Google+, and 3.9 percent for LinkedIn.
The use of social sharing via widgets is also one of the best email marketing tactics. Still, to avoid getting the cart before the horse, you’ll need to lay a solid foundation in social media.
It’s critical to identify where your customers are rather than making assumptions. There are many free third party tools that can provide insight about social site traffic by industry sector — to help you prioritize your social initiatives — such as Compete and Hitwise.
You can also make use of a data provider, like Rapleaf, who will append social data to your opt-in mailing list. This information is delivered at the individual email address level and gives you a snapshot of each consumer; including whether they are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goolge+ and so on.
Discover how your brand is being discussed and in what context
Is there a buzz around a certain product or promotion? Are there complaints that need to be resolved? Are there suggestions or comments waiting to be addressed?
Start by monitoring blog posts and social conversations by setting up Google alerts and using a service such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to see what content of yours is being shared and talked about on social networks.
Next you need to look at what draws your customers in and brings them back for more — in other words, the “sticking points.” This is what ultimately brings home the bacon and is the most important information you can have at your disposal to run successful cross-channel marketing campaigns.
Use Google Analytics to see which parts of your website are the most active and which links, content, referral sources, or conversations generate the most traffic.
Once you have taken these measures, you can identify what motivates your audience and therefore design even more attractive campaigns in the future. With this data at your disposal, you can also start thinking about deploying segmentation tools that will enable you to tie in campaigns across email, social, and mobile channels based on individual preferences and analytic indicators.
For example, you can segment by gender, age, geographic location, or by preferred channel — which is critical to know when you’re looking to communicate with a specific customer.
Stay consistent from one platform to another
Email should work hand-in-hand with various digital messaging channels, and the efforts made on each one should complement initiatives on the other.
Here’s a simple structure for how to achieve integration:
Step one: Create your email campaign and define the message with your subject line
It all starts with a well-made marketing email. One point to focus on especially is crafting a short and sharp subject line, at 50 characters or less; which should clearly state what your readers can expect from your email, what’s in it for them or what you want them to do as a result.
Step two: Translate your message to social
If you have discovered that your subscribers are active on Twitter and Facebook, your task is then to convey the same message to this audience in a style that is appealing, according to the unique attributes of each platform.
By taking that message to the 120 character frame in Twitter, you can create more interest and clarify your call-to-action. Add a #hashtag and use a shortened URL to save on character count.
A Facebook post gives you the opportunity to entice fans even more by expanding your message to 150 characters. Remove the #hashtag you used in Twitter and add a compelling graphic.
Step three: Take your message mobile
Every email and social marketing message presents the chance to provide relevant motivators in a contextual setting to your mobile-oriented consumers. However, it’s often difficult or too expensive for smaller brands to have their own mobile applications developed.
The cheaper route is to look for a suitable mobile marketing service that offers mobile site creation and hosting tools. Some of these services let you build as many mobile sites as you want, with editors that make it easy to upload videos and images — often rendered automatically to the appropriate size and weight per device type.
The key principle is to reduplicate your website experience to make it appropriate for the small screen, for readers who may be checking your emails on a smartphone and looking to check what’s on your domain for further information (in which case you will want to optimize your email for the mobile format.)
It’s really that simple. If you start with email as a campaign root, you have all the tools and resources already at hand to reach audiences anywhere and everywhere, with no need to create anything new.
So the question now remains; how do you effectively re-shape your emails for the mobile medium?
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“Three arrows joining in a point” image via Shutterstock.
We’ve all done it. You know, used that shameless little marketing tactic that catches the attention of your audience and gets them clicking because, well, they just can’t help it. Admit it. Or don’t — you know who you are. Last month we wrote about 7 of the most shameless tactics marketers use to lure their audiences. But you know what’s even better than writing about them? Visualizing them!
I’m not sure whether this qualifies as an infographic (it is a graphic with info on it though, right?). Call it an entertaining, pretty image if you want. All I know is that you’ll likely nod your head in agreement as you breeze through it. Either you’ve employed these marketing tactics yourself, or fallen victim to another marketer’s seduction. Am I right?
(Click the infographic for a full-sized version.)
Have you ever made use of — or fallen victim to — any of these shameless marketing tactics? And as always, feel free to shamelessly share away!
It’s not often that we write a post specifically about our software. But today, we’re celebrating our 6th birthday. And like any bright-eyed six-year-old, we’re pretty proud of how we’ve grown. Part of that growth has been in the software itself, and that growth has led to what we care most about — the growth of our customers’ businesses.
HubSpot started out of a desire to help companies leverage technology to get more out of their marketing. We saw, and still see, a lot of challenges in the field:
- Marketing tactics that interrupt rather than assist prospective customers.
- A slew of disconnected marketing tools that made for fragmented, impersonal communications.
- A lack of a clear view into what’s actually driving a return on investment.
We built HubSpot software as a way to help marketers overcome those barriers. Today, as we celebrate our 6th birthday, we wanted to walk you through the thinking behind it.
Using HubSpot to Get Found Online
As it turns out, getting found online comes down to two key things: Being relevant and saying something that matters. So when we built HubSpot, we focused on providing customers with a set of integrated tools that would make that much easier.
Search Engine Optimization
Relevancy means knowing what your prospective customers search for when they first venture online to find a product or service. HubSpot has integrated SEO best practices across our entire suite of tools. So not only do you find them in SEO-focused apps like Keywords, a tool that helps you identify your best search terms, and Pages, a report that diagnoses SEO shortcomings on your site, but you also get as-you-type SEO suggestions in our blogging tool and a report on how many customers you’ve generated through search in our marketing analytics.
SEPCO, a solar energy company is one recent example of this. A year after starting with HubSpot, they went from 13th to 1st in the search rankings, moving from page two to the very top of page one for one of their core keywords.
Blogging and Social Media
The other essential component of getting found online is creating useful content and making it easy for your readers to spread it. A user of our own software, we built a blog that adapts to the writer as you type, offering useful suggestions about how to optimize for search and the reader. We also knew that for content to spread quickly, social media had to be built into the entire platform. Marketers shouldn’t have to log into a slew of different social tools every time they want to promote a piece of content! So we built in:
- A social media scheduler with suggested times
- Auto-sharing and follow-me buttons
- Reports on social media reach and ROI
Using HubSpot’s blogging platform, Weidert Group, a marketing agency, has seen their blog subscribers increase by 500%.The social media suite of tools enabled FireRock, a manufacturing company, to grow their social reach by 330% in five months.
Using HubSpot to Convert More Leads into Customers
You can’t force a conversion any more than you can force someone to pay attention to you. You have to provide value throughout a prospect’s decision-making process. We believe, in the middle of the buying funnel, providing value is all about understanding your leads and adapting to their needs.
Contacts – The Marketing Database
The brain of our software is in the central marketing database, something we call Contacts. It’s where we store the history of every email subscriber, every lead, every opportunity, and every customer. Each individual that you come across has had a different set of experiences with your company, and is at a different stage in the buying cycle. Contacts enables you to tailor communications and create segments based on those experiences, which means your emails will get a lot more relevant and your sales team will have a greater understanding of who is ready to buy, and who needs more time.
Email and Lead Nurturing
Because it’s fully integrated into the Contacts database and can be connected to a CRM, you can send emails that reflect the true interests and experiences of your leads. You can even set up a series of lead nurturing emails to warm up your leads over time and adapt to the actions they take. We’ve found that lead nurturing emails generate an 8% click-through rate compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% click-through rate.
Each email can be personalized down to the flavor of their favorite ice cream with simple personalization tags. On the recipient’s end, the experience is of a company that really knows their interests and gives them only the information they need, when they need it. It also means never sending another irrelevant or unnecessary email to clutter their inbox, because Contacts will automatically opt them out of emails they don’t need.
Marketing Automation Through Workflows
Workflows in HubSpot allow you to have a much tighter understanding of where leads are in their decision-making process. Workflows are essentially a set of rules that will trigger communications or update a lead’s profile information based on their behavior over time. Through workflows, you can make sure that you only transfer leads to sales once they’ve hit a certain criteria, freeing up your sales team to focus on only the best leads.
Using HubSpot to Measure Marketing ROI
Call me a data junkie, but one of the biggest differentiators between HubSpot and any other marketing software out there is the fact that data from every one of your marketing channels are integrated into one master marketing analytics platform. That means you’re able to understand the impact that search has had on a given landing page or campaign, and finally see the number of customers, not just visits, generated through any given channel, like social media or organic search. Because there is a unified stream of analytics under everything you do and that data is tied into your CRM, your return on investment is crystal clear.
Scott Johnson, Marketing Specialist at Tufts Medicare Preferred, is using HubSpot’s multichannel analytics to get a clear view of what channels are best at delivering leads and customers. He told us, ”The analytics that you can achieve using the HubSpot platform are far greater than anything I’ve had before. It breaks it down in a much easier way and I believe a more specific way.”
Using HubSpot to Unite All of Your Marketing in One Place
Over time, marketers have had to deal with an increasingly complex amalgamation of tools — SEO vendors for SEO, external blogging platforms for blogging, highly technical marketing automation tools for targeting email communications. None of these disparate tools talked to each other, which made for more and more fragmented marketing and a day-to-day schedule that became more about importing and exporting than about communicating with customers. HubSpot was built to simplify all of that. And because integrating tools together actually makes them smarter, for once, simpler means more powerful too.
One of our favorite customer stories is from Dan Moyle of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Dan credits a lot of their success to the all-in-one nature of HubSpot. “The success we’ve seen with HubSpot would take a dozen people on a team, finding each tool, and all of the instruction/advice/guidance from a dozen separate sources,” he said. “Instead of piecing it all together slowly with multiple sources, I get to do it all with fewer people and one platform.”
Those are the kind of stories we like best. It’s been an incredible six years for HubSpot. We’re grateful for the opportunity to look back at all we’ve built and the customers that have brought these tools to life through their own strategies and hard work.
And, to add a little party to this birthday post … here’s a HubSpot Birthday Mix from none other than HubSpot’s DJ David Gallant. We’ll be playing it in the office today — won’t you join us? The folks in the next office over will LOVE it.
We could talk about inbound marketing software for days. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to talk about HubSpot software or inbound marketing in general! Thank you for being a reader and supporter of HubSpot.
Image credit: Www.CourtneyCarmody.com
The convergence of digital media and disciplines has driven tremendous demand for best practices integrated marketing and strategy. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Optimize provides – a launching point for how to develop a roadmap and tactics that bring search, social media, content and online PR together to reach business goals.
In concert with book promotions like the sold out Optimize Minneapolis event next week, we’re conducting a survey of business, marketing and communications professionals to gain insights on how organizations are using internet marketing tactics like search, social media, online PR and content marketing together.
The Optimize Book Integrated Marketing Survey covers some really important questions that will get you thinking about integrating digital marketing and communications tactics. How effective are these tactics, what’s the organization’s expertise and future investment intentions? What role does customer data play for integrated strategy and execution?
Taking the survey will help us all gain valuable insight into the current state of integrated online marketing that we can share with you, our readers here at Online Marketing Blog. Those insights can help you compare your own efforts to those of your peers resulting in a more effective approach.
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Change has been on my mind a lot recently.
Often times good, but almost always painful, CMI is going through some positive change right now. We’ve had the privilege of working with Jay Baer (part of our content marketing consulting group) and his team to help shore up our overall strategy. Normally, this type of audit is what we help larger organizations with, but we (the CMI staff) all agreed it was important to get an outside perspective on something so critical to our business.
As part of the audit and setting new goals, we are focusing a number of key areas where we want to improve. Here are five key content marketing tactics that are really standing out for us, and possibly for you as well.
Review, Edit and Re-position Print Content for the Web
Traditionally, our practice for print content marketing has been to repurpose the content, barring some design changes, as is on the website (see CCO Magazine here). Unfortunately, this has led to under-performing content. What we’ve clearly found is that content that is fit for print is often times not fit for the web.
To combat this, we are working on a number of initiatives, including:
- Planning for multiple-purpose usage of a printed article at the beginning of the planning stages, not after the article is written.
- Making decisions that some print content isn’t suitable for the .com site.
- Creating a process of heavy editing to turn print-oriented content into content that will be better engaged with online and on mobile devices.
- Developing a total content process that integrates all content marketing under one person, regardless of channel distribution.
Identify Best Converting Content
We’ve been monitoring our best performing content, in terms of share-ability and analytics, for years now. We’ve suspected for some time that our most popular content is not necessarily our best performing content (in terms of the goals for the page). Through our most recent audit, we now know this to be true.
We’re taking steps to track every piece of content individually and mark the goal upfront as to the particular call to action we want. Once we set that process in place, we can now determine what content performs the best to drive the business in the right direction.
Navigation Should Mirror Goal Weight
In general, our site navigation for both Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World has been what we “thought” made the most sense. Unfortunately, we didn’t clearly run the site navigation through our goal set for the site, as well as for each individual type of content we create.
This means we need to adjust our site strategy with the following:
- Create a site navigation that completely syncs with the goals for the site.
- Begin looking at each page as it’s own and not blindly attaching a general sidebar to all pages and blog posts. This means we will start developing dozens (if not more) content templates for our content.
Not Just Photos, but Shareable Design
I’m sure we are not alone on this, but often our editorial team comes to the “choosing of the obigatory image” last when creating blog content. That means that many times we are not satisfied with the image, which in turn does not drive our share-ability goals for Facebook or Pinterest.
This is a longer-term process issue, but we are looking into the creation of our own art and design, moving away from stock art altogether if we can. Our best performing posts are often ones where some people share because of the textual content, and others share for the design. By developing a piece of content without a strong design component, we are missing out on number of social media opportunities. Stay tuned for more on this one.
More Bricks, Less Feathers
I’m completely stealing this one from Jay, who uses this analogy all the time.
There are two types of content: feathers (passing/common) and bricks (lasting/uncommon). We have lots of feathers, but not enough bricks.
Our content team is now tasked with baking more bricks.
- Repackaging multiple feathers into bricks.
- Analyzing current content opportunities (events, webinars, etc.) for possible brick creation.
- Taking a look at old bricks to update into new and improved bricks.
Would love to get your take on these or any content marketing strategies that you are struggling with at the present time. Please let me know.
The original post is titled 5 Critical Content Marketing Tactics to Consider Now , and it came from The Content Marketing Revolution .
Should you ever bring up the topic of email marketing, you will certainly hear people complain about the hundreds of emails they receive on a daily basis. They will tell you sob stories about the endless “junk” they receive and how they try to opt-out from all of that “spam” — all to no avail! They might even give you a strange look (after all, you did bring up email marketing at a party) and start asking you if you are “one of those people” who sends huge volumes of email.
With increased postage rates and the desire to reach your prospect when they are attentive, email has increasingly been the solution. The most recent challenge has become: With so many businesses sending messages, how should you stand out in the crowd? How can you ensure that your message actually gets noticed?
Now more than ever it is essential to have an edge with email marketing when you want to reach new prospects for your business. To cut through the spam filters and be sure that your message is one that someone truly wants to read, consider the following:
The success you will enjoy with email starts with your offer
When business owners want to improve their success with email marketing, they immediately look at what they are sending. Whether your database holds 200 emails or it holds a million emails, look at how people have come to find out about your company or product before looking at the content of your emails.
Did recipients originally sign up for a newsletter? Did your prospects sign up for information on a specific product line? Did they sign up for a white paper to learn more about a particular offering or service? Far too often the same email messages are sent to every prospect in a database. The person who signed up for the newsletter is looking for something entirely different than the person who signed up for a white paper.
Look carefully at what prospects sign up for and you will start to uncover the issues with your response rates. Look even deeper into your offerings to ensure that they provide enough value so you are actually providing prospects with “real” email. The better you make your offers, the more responsive your prospects will be through email.
An interest-piquing subject line can save the day
Most business owners take the time to carefully review their marketing pieces before they go out. They might work with a designer on color details for their website or change the layout of a brochure multiple times before it lands in the hands of a potential customer, but what about the time they spend looking at the subject line of an email?
Open your email right now and take a look at the volume of messages. How quickly do you scan the list to determine if you should delete the message, save it for later, or actually read it? Five seconds? Ten seconds? You have just a few seconds to grab a prospect’s attention, which means taking the time to craft a powerful subject line is worth the investment.
Try challenging your original thought as you look to craft engaging email subject lines by asking yourself these questions:
- Interest piquing: Is there an element of curiosity to the subject line that would make prospects want to find out more?
- Pain: Does the email subject alleviate pain or pound on a bruise that is bothering prospects?
- Benefit: Will your prospect experience a benefit of time, money, or wellbeing if they read on?
Take time to craft your email subjects and watch as your response rates increase.
Not just any email will do; each touch must add value
While the goal of email is certainly to bring more customers into your store, encourage more prospects to call for assistance, and push potential customers to purchase more of your products online, that can’t be what your emails are all about. Sending emails that are only about sales, new products, or services is a sure-fire way to ensure that your messages are quickly deleted. Look at the content of your emails and ask yourself a very simple question: If I were opening this email as a total stranger, does it add any value to my day?
For most emails received, the answer is that the message adds no value at all. It’s merely an advertisement delivered digitally. Regardless of your industry, it is crucial to create emails that add real value. For example, if you sell clothing, you could share fashion tips. If you sell exercise equipment, you could share fitness tips. Don’t try to disguise helpful tips as sales letters; add real value and your emails will be eagerly anticipated by your prospects — and that’s a win for everybody.
How many emails are you sending?
Even with a database that has a few million records, sending a big “blast” email is not likely to help you achieve your goals. Instead of periodically blasting your database of prospects with offers, consider developing an email follow-up sequence that will keep prospects engaged until the moment they are ready to take action.
A good email follow-up sequence will appear personal, add value, and can allow you to stay in-touch with a prospect for a number of years. In the best cases, you will have a different email follow-up sequence for those that have purchased a product or service versus the ones that have not yet purchased anything.
The more time you invest in your email marketing, from crafting subject lines to offering quality content, the more success you will enjoy from your efforts.
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“Attractive artwork of communication concept” image via Shutterstock.