Monthly Archives: August 2011
It’s more effective to do something valuable than to hope a logo or name will say it for you.
- Jason Cohen
This is a guest blog post written by Jamie Turner, founder of the 60 Second Marketer. He is an in-demand marketing speaker who is currently writing a book entitled “Go Mobile” with Jeanne Hopkins, director of marketing for HubSpot.
I’m currently at Dreamforce in San Francisco reporting on some of the new and innovative concepts that are being discussed here. Dreamforce is hosted by Salesforce.com, which is an unusually forward-thinking organization that was recently ranked by Forbes as the most innovative company on the planet.
As you know, innovation is the fuel that drives any successful company. Oh, sure, there are other things that make a company successful, like a great sales force, a terrific marketing department, and a finely-tuned lead generation program. But innovation is what keeps successful companies one step ahead of its competition. Without it, the company will gradually lose steam and, eventually, fade away.
When Forbes was analyzing the world’s most successful companies, it arrived at five key skills that separate the most innovative companies from the rest. Which of these skills are you incorporating into your corporate DNA? The more of these you’re practicing now, the more likely you’ll be successful in years to come.
This skill allows employees to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities. Do you encourage your employees to ask “Why?” Do you reward them for coming up with new ways to solve old problems? If so, then you’re practicing the art of questioning, which is a skill the most innovative and successful companies use to stay ahead of their competitors.
Are you so focused on meeting deadlines that you don’t have the time to observe the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies? If the day-to-day grind is pre-occupying you, then it might be time to step back and observe how companies outside your industry are solving problems. Forbes found that the world’s most innovative and successful companies took the time and the trouble to step back and observe the world around them.
Are you using certain inbound marketing techniques simply because it’s what your competitors are using? It’s time to question that tactic. Better still, try exploring what it would mean to do the exact opposite.
Furthermore, when was the last time you observed what it was like to be one of your customers? Have you called your customer service line to see what your customers are experiencing? Have you conducted a secret shopper test to see what it’s like to buy your product or service? When you observe all the little details, you’ll find little tweaks that can make a big difference in your customer’s satisfaction.
This is a form of idea-sharing that can help your company grow significantly. Networking allows you to generate new solutions to your problems by sharing ideas and swapping concepts with others. The trick is to network inside and outside your industry. After all, if you only network with people inside your industry, eventually you’ll just be sharing the same ideas. The big idea is to get outside your industry to see what you can incorporate from unrelated professions.
If you’ve only surrounded yourself with people from your company or your industry, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to generate new ideas for your inbound marketing program. Network with people outside your industry, and see what’s happening. Then, incorporate those ideas into your own strategies.
The most innovative companies are constantly experimenting with new concepts and new ideas. They’re taking things apart and putting them back together again in unexpected ways. Do you encourage experimentation within your organization? If so, then you’re practicing one of the skills the world’s most successful companies use to grow their businesses. Keep it up!
5. Associative Thinking
This is the technique of drawing connections between the questions, observations, networking ideas, and experiments you came up with in steps 1 through 4. Associative thinking may be one of the more challenging items on the list, but it can also be one of the more rewarding because it’s how awesome things like the iPhone, Wikipedia, and Netflix were invented.
Associative thinking happens when you’re able to step back and take a look at how everything fits together. Sometimes, the best way to do that is to take a break and get away from the office. In fact, many of the world’s most successful CEOs make a point of taking extended vacations – it’s where they’re able to put associative thinking to work for their business.
Putting It All to Work
It’s one thing to understand the skills and concepts outlined above, but it’s another thing entirely to put them all to work. In the end, you can talk about innovation all you want, but if you don’t put it into action, then you’re just blowing hot air. The truly successful companies do two things: 1) They generate innovative ideas, and 2) they execute them.
What are you doing to encourage a culture of innovation at your company? Better still, how are you using your new and innovative ideas to drive new leads to your business? That’s where the truly innovative companies stand out from the rest.
Image Credit: Matthew Wynn
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This is a guest blog post written David Kirkpatrick, B2B and consumer marketing beat reporter for MarketingSherpa. He is covering HubSpot’s participation at Dreamforce ’11 and offering insights on the various speakers and events.
I’m in San Francisco with 42,000+ attendees at Dreamforce ’11 as a guest of HubSpot this week (thanks a million, guys!), and for some reason, I keep seeing unicorns everywhere. In fact, three are resting on the table in front of me right now as I type.
The first presentation I caught was HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan’s “Killing It: How Inbound Marketing Can Help Your Company Crush the Competition.” His opener? “The traditional marketing playbook is broken.”
By that, he meant that you no longer need big money to be a successful marketer.
Brian said that at one point in time, you could buy your way to success with ads, lists, and more. Today, new marketing is about creativity and — using a term Brian borrowed from Seth Godin — “being remarkable.”
TOFU is Brian’s term for top-of-the-funnel marketing activities, and TOFU can be broken down into three steps:
1. Create content. This includes blog posts, videos, and releasing presentation slide decks on SlideShare.
Brian pointed out that content can come from unexpected places. For example, at Dreamforce, HubSpot’s event marketing team is using its free tool called Website Grader to provide competitive analyses of attendees’ websites. Website Grader is actually a tiny snippet of HubSpot’s paid software, and it’s also part of HubSpot’s content marketing.
“Each piece of content is a little mini magnet that draws people to you,” Brian explained.
He added that inbound links are the currency of the internet.
2. Optimize content. SEO (search engine optimization) is of course important, but don’t forget about SMO (social media optimization).
Brian offered two pieces of actionable advice: using great titles to drive social media sharing and adding “new blog post” and “please retweet” to Twitter posts to help drive viral tweets.
3. Promote content. Very simple actionable advice here: promote your original content across all social media platforms. Once that content is created, get the word out.
As you might have guessed, this is middle-of-the-funnel activity. And as Brian put it, consumer marketers are MOFU geniuses. By that, he means B2C marketers do a great job of personalizing the online user experience, and he added that B2B marketers need to be more like consumer marketers in this regard.
He used Amazon and Netflix as examples of this personalization. For B2B marketers, the goal should be that the more often a visitor (or customer) comes to your website, the better their experience should become.
And increasing your total web users (and all that data that comes with them) should allow you to better refine the experience for each visitor. Essentially, your site should be collecting user data that allows you to continually optimize the overall user experience and personalize the visit for each individual visitor.
He presented a circular feedback loop to illustrate this point:
users > better personalization >
better value > better conversion >
back to users
Building a Killer Inbound Team
Don’t hire by pedigree, particularly for those old marketing skills like experience in buying television ads, billboard ads, and even Google ads.
You want to hire people who are D.A.R.C.:
- Digital – You want marketers who speak the digital language.
- Analytical – There’s a lot of data out there, and your marketers need to be able to make sense of that information.
- Reach – Rolodexes are now for chumps. Social media reach is what’s important.
- Content – Hire stellar content creators.
Along with hiring content creators as marketers, allow your entire organization — sales, IT, support, etc. — to contribute to the company blog and be active in social networks.
Crushing the Competition
There are metrics to look at with new marketing:
For TOFU marketing activities, these metrics include number of web visitors and web traffic rank, number of Twitter followers, number of pages on your site, number of domains linking to your site, blog statistics, etc.
MOFU metrics include turning visitors into leads, conversion percentages, and the overall shape of your sales funnel. (Hint: trending up is good.)
Brian concluded his presentation by emphasizing that inbound marketing, social media reach, and incoming links help create a “moat” around your brand that makes you difficult to compete with. A killing inbound marketing strategy is a great way to create competitive advantage.
What do you think is needed to crush your competition?
Image credit: photosteve101
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Many of us know that social media marketing is an important part of a solid inbound marketing strategy. However, sometimes we need some backup when speaking with others who might still be struggling to understand how social media fits into the overall marketing mix. This post is for them — and you. Even if you are a veteran inbound marketer, these stats will get the gears in your head turning about the still limitless possibilities that the internet provides.
13 Mind-Bending Social Media Marketing Statistics
8. Every day, 2,300 new Wikipedia articles are created, adding to its 17 million articles, with contributions from 91,000 active contributors. (Source) Tweet This Stat!
9. 1.4 million new blog posts are created every day. (Source) Tweet This Stat!
What is your favorite social media related statistic?
Photo Credit: cjc4454
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Facebook Ads allow you to promote your business, attract more fans for your business Page, and drive more leads for your sales team. Are you experimenting with Facebook ads to help supplement your organic Facebook marketing efforts?
Facebook Ads allow you to advertise a website or content you manage on Facebook (like a Group, Page, or Event). The ad creation and management tools are very similar to the Google AdWords interface. If you’re not already testing out Facebook ads in your marketing campaigns, this step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started.
1. Get Started
To get started, visit http://www.facebook.com/advertising, and click “Create an Ad.” (Note: You must be logged in to create an ad.) Follow the step-by-step instructions to create your ad. You can choose to create a Facebook ad or a Sponsored Story.
First, choose your destination URL. This can be an external website or something you already own Facebook, such as a Facebook Page, Group, or Event.
Next, choose your ad type. ‘Sponsored Stories’ generate more distribution for News Feed stories within Facebook. ‘Facebook Ads’ allow you to promote a Facebook entity on your own website.
For Facebook Ads:
- Choose your destination tab. This is the landing page that your ad will point to.
- Choose your ad’s title. Choose an eye-catching, concise title.
- Create ad copy for the body. Create compelling copy to promote your ad.
- Choose an image. Images are highly recommended, as they increase your ad’s click-through rate.
- Preview your ad. Then make changes as you see fit.
For Sponsored Stories:
- Choose your story type. You can select a “Page Like Story,” a “Page Post Story,” or a “Page Post Like Story.” Click the question mark icons on Facebook next to each option for further clarification.
- Preview your story.
2. Specify Ad Targeting Preferences
The second step is to choose your targeting options. Your ad is more likely to perform better and continue running successfully if it’s being displayed to users who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. Select the country you would like your ad to be displayed in. You can choose up to 25 countries, but note that if you target more than one country, you won’t be able to refine your targeting to specific cities. Next, choose the demographics you would like to target. You can also target people by likes/interests, and connections on Facebook.
3. Set Your Campaigns, Pricing, and Scheduling
For the last step, select a payment type and budget for your ad campaign. Scroll down to the “Pricing” section and click on the “Set a Different Bid (Advanced Mode)” link. This will show you a suggested range of bids that are currently winning the auction among ads similar to yours. If you would like to set a different bid, you can do so here as well.
You can choose CPM (Pay for Impressions) or CPC (Pay for Clicks). Because click-through rate is usually low (< 0.1% for most ads), the “Pay for Clicks” option will offer the best value for the cost.
Once you’ve made your specifications, click “Review Ad” to see a preview of your ad before you publish it.
Facebook has built-in analytics to help you track ad performance in terms of number of impressions, clicks, and click-through rate. Run multiple ad variations at the same time and use the Ads Manager to determine which ones deliver the best results for your business.
Are you using Facebook’s advertising platform to complement your business’ Facebook marketing efforts? What kind of results have you seen?
This post is an adapted excerpt from our ebook, “How to Use Facebook for Business: An Introductory Guide” for 2011. Download your free copy today to learn more about how to use Facebook for business and marketing.
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It’s Wednesday, or Hump Day, as some call it. You’re just about halfway through the workweek at this point. How about an extra little push? No, we’re not talking about a second — or third — cup of coffee. What about some funnies?
Over the past few years, we’ve published 45 marketing cartoons. To be honest, it’s actually one of our favorite types of content to publish. After all, cartoons are…well…fun! So to help you cut back on your caffeine intake today, give you a few little chuckles, and offer you some social media marketing knowledge along the way, here are our top 10 marketing cartoons.
What other social media or marketing cartoons have tickled your funny bone? Which of our top 10 is your personal favorite?
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What we’re following:
- Irene is 10th billion-dollar weather event of 2011
- Tropical Storm Katia gaining strength
- CEOs earn more money than firms pay in U.S. taxes
And did you see…
- Automation in the air dulls pilot skills
- U.S. Continue reading
This is a guest post written by Jonathan Hosier, MarketingSherpa Marketing Manager. Use HubSpot’s Promo Code 159-ST-1004 to receive $500 off your B2B Summit ticket.
The performance of B2B marketing tactics in this downtrodden economy has turned some of the best marketing plans into haphazard stabs in the dark. There is no secret about how the B2B marketing effort starts. It all begins with lead generation at the top of the funnel. The idea is, when you put more leads in, you get more customers out. Does that sound like an optimized or effective strategy to you?
That’s the thing — due to smaller budgets, trimmed manpower, and time contraints, many marketers have just looked for a quick fix to their lackluster lead gen performance.
According to a recent market analysis performed by MarketingSherpa‘s Senior Research Manager Jen Doyle, 68% of organizations do not have a clearly defined marketing funnel, and only 27% of B2B inquiries are qualified before they are turned over to Sales. “The truth is, in order to get results and convert modern buyers in a struggling economy, we have to address the full spectrum of the funnel,” Doyle explains.
Defining your funnel is important. It will prove to be a trusted friend and will yield the numbers your organization has set out to attain. You must also remember that like any good friendship, there is a dynamic relationship there. You must constantly interact with the structure of the funnel, and as it is put into practice, you must continually optimize its application. According to recent marketplace research performed by MarketingSherpa, the optimization of a funnel occurs in five tiers.
The Five Tiers of Funnel Optimization
1. Target the Most Valuable Leads: The first tier of funnel optimization suggests that marketers focus on targeting the most valuable leads by examining how customers sought the information to begin with. Value propositions that resonate with select groups will facilitate the differentiation of these targets. This can be the most effective when exemplified by website design, management, and optimization.
2. Optimize Content: Within the second layer of the funnel, optimization takes place within 3 specific content generation tactics: utilizing a multi-channel messaging strategy, improving thought leadership positioning, and segmenting the content’s delivery.
3. Qualify Leads: This is where optimization takes place in the third tier of the funnel. On average, only 27% of B2B inquiries are qualified before they are given to the sales team.This should not be the case.
4. Improve Lead Nurturing: Moving on to the fourth tier, the spotlight moves to making improvements to one’s lead nurturing process. Market analysis shows that only 56% of organizations verify valid business leads before they are handed over to Sales.
5. Measure Success: Once you have optimized to this point, on average, 20% of your leads will have converted into sales. This number is even more important when you realize only 32% of organizations have actually identified their marketing funnels.
“There is no doubt that B2B marketing is immensely challenging right now, but for those who do break through boundaries and put in the work, there is great opportunity to become true contributors to success, recognized leaders in the industry, and champions over the competition,” concludes Doyle.
For more information on optimizing your B2B marketing funnel, visit MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011. Use Promo Code 159-ST-1004 and receive $500 off your ticket price.
Image credit: Oliver Le Moal
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Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.
- Jack Dorsey
Conversation with Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis: Creating a Life of Creativity, Income, and Sweaty Palms
I first met Chase Jarvis at a Summit Series dinner in Washington, DC. It was sensory overload from the beginning: Olivia Munn was seated on my left, Mark Cuban was across the table, and everyone was drinking too much wine. Then, a Polaroid camera appeared in my hand (thank you, time travel) — in fact, [...] Continue reading
Who clicks on Facebook ads? Apparently women. Well, at least they click more than men. Some new research from Facebook marketing agency Social Code correlated click-through rate data with gender information of the audience that viewed the ads.
The results were quite interesting:
1. Facebook users over the age of 50 are 28.2 percent more likely to click an advertisement than 18 to 29 year-old users.
2. Women age 50 and older are even more likely to click advertisements, at a rate of 31.2 percent higher than young adults.
3. Older Facebook users are nine percent less likely to click the Like button on an advertisement.
4. Men over 50 years old have an 11 percent lower Like rate than younger males and a nine percent lower Like rate than people from all age groups.
Facebook ads work differently for certain audiences and businesses. Have a clear understanding of your audience before starting a Facebook advertising campaign. Once you begin a campaign, monitor data and response rates closely to determine how your ad copy might need to be updated or tweaked to improve performance. Additionally, don’t rely only on Facebook ads. Also try organic methods such as contests and content curation.
Do you use Facebook’s advertising platform in your Facebook marketing? What kind of results have you generated?
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