Archive for the ‘several different ways’ tag
There might be a new new iPad soon. Apple is reportedly retooling the new iPad to feature a different battery and LCD backlighting scheme, resulting in a device that’s less hot and with the thickness and weight similar to the iPad 2. This new model will hit sometime before the holiday season and, since we’re already aboard the rumor express, let’s assume it will launch alongside the iPad mini, also rumored for the same time.
The word comes from Digitimes relaying several Chinese news reports. Apple is apparently looking at several different ways to reduce the device’s internal temperature. Reportedly, this upcoming model will employ an improved battery and a single LED backlight rather than the two used in the new iPad. The report’s sources indicate that this shouldn’t impact the luminosity and clarity of the iPad’s Retina display.
In addition to the slight reworking of internal components, the so-called iPad 3.5 will use Sharp’s IGZO touchscreen rather than a Samsung-sourced panel like in the current model. This matches up with the reported component lists of the heavily rumored iPad mini.
If this rumor turns out to be correct, it would mark a stark departure from Apple’s usual release cycle, which through the first three generations had a yearly release cycle. It’s entirely possible that this full-size iPad update was not planned, but rather in response to the harsh criticism to the new iPad’s excessive heat and slightly thicker design. It’s a different story for the iPad mini, though, which if it really exists, was likely in the pipeline for more than a year. Either way, you might want to leave a spot open at the top of your Santa wish list ’cause all signs point to some sort of iPad launching prior to the holidays.
Closed-loop reporting is one of the most powerful tools that we online marketers have at our disposal. Not only does it allow us to demonstrate our work’s value to our bosses, organizations and clients, but it also enables us to improve our marketing.
In this blog post, which is an excerpt from our Introduction to Closed-Loop Marketing ebook, we will review several different ways in which closed-loop reporting helps you attract more high-quality leads and become a smarter marketer.
What Is Closed-Loop Marketing?
First, let’s clarify what closed-loop marketing is. Closed-loop marketing is marketing that relies and on data and insights from closed-loop reporting. “Closing the loop” just means that sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understand their best and worst lead sources. Typically, this involves connecting your marketing analytics software with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. With closed-loop reporting, marketers are then able to plan more strategically for the future by focusing on their best lead sources — those with the best conversion rate to customer. To help you understand how closed-loop marketing works, refer to the visualization below, or download our closed-loop marketing ebook for a more detailed explanation of each step in the process.
Now that you’re more familiar with how closed-loop marketing works, let’s dive into 6 ways it can help you improve your marketing.
1) Focus on the Right Channels & Offers
Closed-loop marketing directs your attention to the most powerful conversion events and channels. By looking at the sources and offers that traditionally brought in new customers for your organization, you will be able to identify the behavior you need to engage in to qualify leads and push them through the sales funnel.
For instance, by looking at a tool such as HubSpot’s Sources, which uses closed-loop reporting, we are able to compare the efficiency of different channels in respect to customer acquisition. In the screenshot below, we are comparing the number of sales from social media marketing to the number of sales from email marketing. It becomes clear that email marketing has a higher lead-to-customer rate than social media. This insight can then help us take action: nurture the social media leads with targeted email messages.
The same type of intelligence will direct you to the content you can use to build your lead nurturing communication. With closed-loop data, you can compare the effectiveness of different marketing offers in respect to customer acquisition. In the screenshot below, we have used HubSpot’s Landing Page Dashboard to compare the performance of two ebooks in their ability to generate new customers. This information helps us decide which of these ebooks to use as a call-to-action when we are trying to push a lead through the sales funnel.
2) Deliver Clearer Results to Your Boss
The data you can gather thanks to closed-loop marketing will also help you build your authority and support the decisions you make in front of your boss. It shows that your strategy is driven by evidence and doesn’t rely on abstract theories or assumptions. It also enables you to build powerful marketing presentations for company-wide meetings or when jumping into co-marketing partnerships. For example, consider how much more impactful it would be to tell your boss that since you started blogging, you drove 45% more traffic to your website, and of that traffic, you generated 15 new leads and 3 new customers. What better way to both validate your inbound marketing efforts and show your worth?
3) Gain Insights About Your Target Audience
By gaining a 360-degree view of your sales cycle — looking at a user’s first visit to your website, browsing through their activities and identifying their last conversion event — you collect insights about the ideal prospect. So using this information can help you build a target persona!
As we have already discussed on this blog, personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
Analyzing the path that prospects take on the journey to becoming a customer is a great way to get insights about the needs and challenges of your target audience. Such lead intelligence will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your ideal customers and ways to nurture your new prospects. Take a look at the content your prospects download, for example, to zero in on their pain points. Compare that with their form data to see if certain subject matters appeal more to leads from a certain business size, from a certain geographic location, or of a certain demographic. This is how you’ll begin to get progressively more specific — and more accurate — with the personas you’ve created. And that just means even better lead nurturing results!
4) Shorten Your Sales Cycle
By learning more about your leads and targeting them with smarter communication, you decrease the amount of time it takes them to convert into customers. If a prospect with specific characteristics (e.g. a B2B company with 100 employees located in Northern America) follows a certain trajectory of actions to turn into a customer, then you can take that path and apply it to a larger segment of that demographic profile.
As an example, let’s explore the lead intelligence of a company that became a HubSpot customer.
We see that, initially, the prospect became interested in our ebook, 101 Awesome Marketing Quotes. A few days after they downloaded that ebook and converted into a lead, they visited HubSpot’s product pricing page. That behavior, combined with the customer’s demographic data, could dictate our behavior-based communications with similar type of companies. In other words, based on this insight, we might want to encourage new leads of this type to visit our pricing page to get some information about HubSpot’s software. You can learn more about specific ways to accelerate your sales cycle with lead nurturing in this post.
5) Set the Right Goals & Expectations
By knowing precisely what your visitor-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates have been historically, you can set the right goals and expectations for your marketing team and sales organization each month. To ensure that you are moving in the right direction, you should also compare your current performance to last month’s and create a daily or a monthly leads waterfall.
Wondering how to build a daily leads waterfall graph? Check out this blog post. Authored by Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s CMO, the post will walk you through the steps of setting up your own waterfall chart.
6) Keep Your Cost-Per-Lead Low
As we already mentioned, closed-loop analytics gives you insights about your most powerful inbound marketing offers and enables you to set realistic goals for both Marketing and Sales. These two factors are key to helping you determine which channels to spend your inbound marketing budget on.
For instance, if you were looking to host a trade show, you could easily decide which type of offer you’re going to promote at the event. You have already identified what content helps you convert more leads into customers; now you just have to think of a creative way to present it to your audience.
Similarly, you could do paid advertising efficiently. Just take the ideal lead demographic information that you discovered thanks to connecting your marketing software to your CRM, combine that with your best performing offers, and you will be sure to attract some new sales without wasting marketing budget on content and channels that don’t yield an efficient return on investment.
How do you use closed-loop data to improve your marketing? Share your suggestions in the comments!
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This post was written by our Social Media channel sponsor Full Sail University.
In a previous post here on Marketing Pilgrim, I wrote about personal branding from the perspective of how social media can help (or hurt) in finding a job. That article focused on the basic tactics like setting up professional profiles and who to follow. In this post I’d like to get into the strategy behind personal branding a little more.
The basic tenet behind developing a strong personal brand – or any brand, for that matter – is providing your audience with something of value to them. Online, that’s largely about content, and just as businesses should have a solid content strategy, so should you as an individual.
Developing a Personal Brand Content Strategy
Step 1: What’s your goal?
A content strategy is simply a plan for effectively using content to reach your goals. Are you looking for a job? Trying to position yourself as a leader in your industry? Launching a new business? A student looking at potential opportunities down the road?
Step 2: Who can help you reach that goal?
Once you are clear about your objective, your content plan begins with understanding the audience you are trying to reach. If you’re a job-seeker, that may be others in your industry, recruiters, or industry veterans. If you’re a business owner, your target audience might be potential customers, vendors, other businesses in related industries, or even competitors. Give some serious thought to this step, but don’t get too hung up on it; building your base of connections will be an ongoing process.
Step 3: Get out – and stay out – of the Step 2 mindset.
Now, stop thinking about what’s in it for you, and start thinking about what you can provide that’s of value to your audience. The saying that it’s better to give than to receive is nowhere more true than in developing your personal brand.
Types of Content
There are several different ways you can share content online:
- Original content is anything you create yourself. Always be sure that it reflects well on the brand you want to be; everything you put online is part of the cultivation of your personal brand, from comments on a blog to a full-scale article. Make sure it’s written well and is informative. And please remember to proofread, edit and spell-check, no matter how small the exchange.
- Shared content is anything that you are willing to promote that was created by someone else. This can take many forms, from retweets to social media shares, likes and plus ones. Remember that everything you share, even if you didn’t create it, also reflects on you. Be judicious, and always consider the value to your audience.
- Curated content can include both original and shared content. It allows the ‘curator’ to pull together information in a way that may be valuable to the audience. It’s a big web out there, and sometimes having someone gather the best of the best for you is a big help in parsing all that information. Curation can be useful because, as Brian Solis said, the “…thoughts, words and ideas of others can be helpful to establish yourself as a value added resource and as a place or destination for information.” With curation, though, be careful not to just rehash things your audience has likely already seen. (For example, if you’re a marketer, don’t just share every single thing Seth Godin says; it may be smart, but your audience probably already sees it directly.)
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Which type of content works best? The answer depends on your goals, your positioning, and your skills. If you’re a student or breaking into a new industry, for example, 100% original content may not be the best choice, since you’re not (yet) able to speak from a place of experience. However, perhaps some content curation that exemplifies your interests and goals would also be of value to members of your audience.
Notwithstanding the comment above, you should consider creating at least some original content for a few reasons:
- It’s good practice, especially writing.
- Just sharing and curating content may not be enough to establish your credibility.
- Your audience could most likely get all the content you share from the original source.
It’s Not Just About Text Any Longer
Many people think of content as just textual, but that’s no longer the case. Here are just a few types of content you could create that might allow you to engage your audience effectively:
- Text – Text does remain the most widely distributed form of content online, from Tweets to full-scale multi-page articles in online journals. Other forms of text-based content include blog posts, social media entries, comments on blogs/forums, and even shares, likes, plus ones and retweets.
- Photos – A picture can be worth a thousand words, if done well. The important thing is that it provides value to your audience and moves you closer to your goal.
- Videos – For some, online videos are a quick and relatively painless way of creating content. They can showcase your personality even more than most other mediums because viewers get the experience of ‘almost being there.’
- Audio – Podcasts and other forms of audio can be used to share information in a medium that works well for some.
Anything you do to communicate with others online is content, and content should always be considered in the context of your goals. Developing a strategy allows you to be conscious in your choices and puts you in a better position to succeed.
Rob Croll is Department Chair for the Internet Marketing Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs at Full Sail University, and the Course Director for Search Engine Optimization there. He also owns Marlannah Digital Marketing, a consulting firm that works with small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Rob was named one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter and has had numerous articles published both online and in print on a variety of Internet marketing topics. You can follow Rob on Twitter @rcroll.
The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Marketing Pilgrim.
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If you pay attention to how we categorize content here at Marketing Pilgrim you can get a good idea of where we feel a story fits in the Internet space. Most stories can be categorized in several different ways but there is usually one specific area that truly defines the story. In the case of the Louis CK experiment it’s all about a pretty successful job of content marketing.
For those of you who don’t know who Louis CK is, he is a comedian. He is funny. Very funny. He is also very crude at times so you have been warned. We have noted his great bit about how spoiled we are (see the end of this post if you haven’t enjoyed it already). He now is also a content marketing pioneer as explained here at The Next Web
Comedian Louis CK has announced some numbers related to his recent experiment to sell his latest comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater, for $5 online, instead of offering it through a distributor.
In the post, he says that the special, which went on sale, Saturday, December 10th, had sold 50,000 ‘units’ and earned $250k, covering the production costs. As of today, 110k copies had been sold, for a total intake of over $500k, bringing him a profit of $200k so far.
The experiment was remarkable because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom about video distribution on the web. The offering is simple, $5 via PayPal (or credit card) and you would receive two streaming views and two downloads of the special. There was no DRM restrictions and no special preventative measures taken with regards to piracy.
This was quite an undertaking and if you want the real details check out Louis CK’s own take on the success of this endeavor. Here is a sample of his recap. It’s an interesting read for sure.
People of Earth (minus the ones who don’t give a s&$! about this): it’s been amazing to conduct this experiment with you. The experiment was: if I put out a brand new standup special at a drastically low price ($5) and make it as easy as possible to buy, download and enjoy, free of any restrictions, will everyone just go and steal it? Will they pay for it? And how much money can be made by an individual in this manner?
It’s been 4 days. A lot of people are asking me how it’s going. I’ve been hesitant to share the actual figures, because there’s power in exclusive ownership of information. What I didn’t expect when I started this was that people would not only take part in this experiment, they would be invested in it and it would be important to them. It’s been amazing to see people in large numbers advocating this idea. So I think it’s only fair that you get to know the results. Also, it’s just really cool and fun and I’m dying to tell everybody. I told my Mom, I told three friends, and that wasn’t nearly enough. So here it is.
Read the rest at his site. It’s worth it.
So how does this impact marketers? It’s just evidence that content sells and it can be used creatively to get your message out. Of course, not everyone is a comedian with a TV show. Many of us are trying to sell “stuff and things” that don’t merit the kind of attention that an entertainer does. So what?! There are people out there that buy your stuff isn’t there? If there wasn’t you wouldn’t have work. As a result, there are human beings spending their or their company’s money to get what you have and they might actually be interested in something more than just a purchase.
Maybe, just maybe, you could get creative and make something happen that wouldn’t have otherwise. It doesn’t mean you are going to hit a home run every time but if you don’t swing you’re not going to hit anything at all.
I found this whole Louis CK experiment to be a fascinating lesson in looking for other ways to do things. Looking for ways that might look risky but are interesting enough to maybe do something special. As marketers we all should be taking more risks shouldn’t we? Otherwise we all start to act and sound the same. Now, that would suck.
Enjoy Louis CK’s take on the world of non-contributing zeros. You’ll laugh.
So you’re a LinkedIn user. You’ve populated your profile and joined groups. Maybe you’ve even started discussions and been answering some questions. Your primary goal is simple — to use LinkedIn to stay connected with existing customers and generate new leads and customers.
Here’s a detailed, 7-step program to get you going. Each of the steps discussed below is designed to be very specific, so do your best to follow the plan.
7 Steps for Generating Leads With LinkedIn
Step #1: Commit that each Wednesday, you’ll connect with 5 current or former business associates. When you connect with people, you and your business jump to the top of their mind. When that happens, they may remember you when someone they know needs the product or service you provide. Connecting = Top of Mind = Leads.
Step #2: Over the course of the next 30 days, join 17 Groups. Why 17? Because it’s not 2 or 3, which is the number most people join. Your goal is to spread your visibility online, and the best way to do that is by joining many Groups, not just 2 or 3.
Step #3: Start a discussion in each new Group every day for 5 days after you join them. After doing it for 5 days, you’ll have made a few new friends in the group. If possible and appropriate, your discussion should include a link back to your website or a specific piece of content so people can download a whitepaper or sign up for your e-newsletter. When they download your whitepaper or sign up for your e-newsletter, you’ve captured their data so you can re-market to them in the future.
Step #4: Go to LinkedIn’s Answers section, and answer 2 questions a week. The trick here isn’t to answer a ton of questions all at once. The trick is to answer 2 a week…consistently. Similar to your strategy for LinkedIn Groups, include links back to content when possible to help you generate leads. Also, keep in mind that turning Answers into leads is a long-term strategy. It may take 5 Answers to generate a lead, or it may take 25 or 50. The key is to stay at it consistently over the long haul.
Step #5: Create a DirectAd. The key here is to have a landing page on your website where you can sell something directly or collect people’s contact information when they sign up for something you’re offering, like free content. If you’ve already got a landing page on your site, go into the DirectAd function and create an ad for it. It’s surprisingly simple, and it might only take you about 30 minutes to an hour to write.
Step #6: Add applications on your Profile Page. If you’re interested in making your Profile Page as engaging as it can possibly be, then applications are the way to go. The ReadingList app by Amazon and the WordPress application are two of the best and most popular. But don’t stop there — take a look around and add your favorites.
Step #7: Rinse and repeat the above steps. The key to making LinkedIn work is consistency. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s easy or that you can get rich quick doing it. The secret is to be there regularly so you can build a following and an audience. Once that happens, you’ll generate a steady stream of inbound leads.
These 7 steps are designed to help you get started with LinkedIn lead generation. As you take a deeper dive into this platform, you’ll find hidden LinkedIn nooks and crannies that can help you improve your results. The key is to execute these fundamentals over and over again. As you do, your results will start to snowball, and that’s what it’s all about.
Do you have a plan for generating leads from LinkedIn? For more information and advice on using LinkedIn for lead generation, download a free copy of our new ebook, How to Generate Leads Using LinkedIn.
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