[FAQ attached below this article]
On August 31, 2020, Marketo Engage will implement a new retention policy specifically for Sent & Delivered Email activities. Under this policy, data for these two activity types will be stored for a rolling 90-day period from the activity date for use in Smart Lists. This is a change from the current default retention period of 25 months, and from the current Extended Data Retention subscription option period of 37 months.
Upon the policy taking effect, data older than 90 days for these two activities will be deleted and no longer available for export. Any Smart List with the “Was Sent Email” and “Was Delivered Email” filters (including NOT Was Sent and NOT Was Delivered) should be updated to ensure the maximum lookback date is 90 days. If the lookback date is greater than 90 days, the Smart List will continue to function, but only activities that are 90 days old or less will qualify.
In 2020, we are improving critical parts of the underlying Marketo Engage infrastructure, including Batch campaign processing, similar to the Trigger campaign improvements made in 2019. This new infrastructure, in combination with the new retention policy, is expected to result in shorter lead time with large email sends and faster segmentation processing to deliver significantly faster processing to our customers. Note, the revised retention policy is one, among several, aspects that come together to deliver this improved performance, but broadly speaking reduced retention helps with faster database look ups and search across the run-time infrastructure.
What's NOT Changing?
Aggregated data – including Reports, Dashboards, and Analytics – will not be affected by this change (unless they reference a Smart List with these activities). The new policy will not affect any activity type other than Sent and Delivered (for example, Was Opened activity data is not affected). Further, this change does NOT affect Engagement Program casts.
What Customer Actions Are Needed?
First, you'll want revisit where and how you're using these two activity types. Audit your Smart Lists and ensure the date ranges for these two activity types are less than 90 days - if you must use a date greater than 90 days, we suggest running a process to export to an external system. You will need to create this before the new retention policy takes effect on August 31, 2020. Information on how to export activities using APIs can be found on our Developers Documentation website.
We appreciate you understanding as we move toward an enhanced Marketo Engage experience for all customers. Please download and review the FAQ attached below for further suggestions, workarounds and additional information.
Hi Community, I recently worked on a template to prove my social media ROI to my boss ! And I want to share it with you here because I need some feedback on this job For french readers here is the complete article which explains the purpose, and the template : [Template] Le ROI social media enfin démontré à ton boss | LinkedIn (I will translate it soon) If you need more information, you can ask me at : firstname.lastname@example.org Or add me on Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/marineboussat/ Thanks !
By: Nick Westergaard Posted: August 1, 2016 | Digital Marketing Digital marketing isn’t going anywhere. However, new technologies bring about constant shifts, making it hard to keep up without the right strategy. Recently, I hosted a webinar with Marketo on how to create a smarter digital marketing strategy that allows you to optimize your campaigns, even with a tight budget or resource constraints. In this blog, I’ll answer the top seven questions that I received from our attendees: 1. What does it mean to be scrappy? Scrappy means a lot of things to different people, but to me, scrappy comes down to doing more with less. It’s an alternative to checklist marketing, which consists of just checking things off a list instead of doing what makes the most sense. Scrappy marketing means: Putting brains before budget Being both efficient and effective Seeing ideas everywhere When I was talking to the team at Schwinn Bicycles about the scrappy concept, marketing manager Samantha Hersil said, “You know what, we could all use a few people and a few dollars more.” That’s the bottom line. No one has unlimited resources these days. As marketing continues to change, we have to come up with smarter systems for getting the work done. 2. How do the scrappy strategies apply to B2B marketers with longer sales cycle? For all marketers, strategy is a critical first step. But the longer the sales cycle, the more you have to do with less to continue to keep your buyers engaged over time. Marketers with longer sales cycle, which include B2B marketers and consumer marketers selling considered purchase products, need to focus their scrappy strategy on what they’re trying to do, who they’re trying to reach, and when they’re trying to reach them. Strategy first. Always. 3. For a company that markets to both businesses and consumers, how do you differentiate between multiple audiences? Once again, differentiate with strategy. Sketch out a scrappy strategy that answers the following questions for each audience: Why are we doing this? What are we doing? When does this happen? Where does this happen? Who does this involve? How do we get it done? You may find areas of overlap, but you also might find areas where you can focus your efforts even further. 4. How do you recommend looking at other brands in your industry to see what’s working best? Seeing ideas everywhere is one of the key concepts in the scrappy mindset that I outline in my book. In this day and age, we rely a little too heavily on case studies. We wait to see what a company like ours, with a CEO the same height as ours, is doing. Instead, we need to get better at looking at other marketers in other industries. What’s working for them? Could you drop that into your industry? 5. Using people power requires a change in the work culture. How do you go about getting management’s buy-in to change the culture? Too often, we spend too much time talking about people problems and not people power. People are one of your biggest assets, and c ulture is one of the single most important factors in marketing success. To change your work culture, you have to start with buy-in from the top and work your way through management and finally to individual team members. It’s important to remind management and HR that talent isn’t about finding “unicorns.” Especially for social media, engagement and people skills are sometimes more important than technical skills, which can easily be taught. Getting buy-in isn’t easy, but the impact can be potent. Back to strategy—make sure you start this process by sharing your strategy both up and down your org chart. Your people can only help you if they know what it is you’re trying to do. 6. For a lean team or smaller company, what should be the top priorities to get started in digital marketing? Think about business objectives that you can ground in your strategy with (e.g. branding, community building, public relations, market research, customer services, leads and sales). I know I sound like a broken record here, but a small team has to focus on strategy. You can’t afford to do anything that you don’t have the resources for. Who are you trying to reach? What action do you want them to take? Work on answering these simple questions and you’ll be on your way to creating scrappy marketing. 7. What are your best social media tips, specifically for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest? For all social media platforms, remember that whether you’re marketing to consumers or businesses, they are still people. They can still be reached with emotional appeals. Take advantage of the visual platforms of Instagram and Pinterest. For consumer marketers, they are valuable platforms for them to connect with their audience on. However, these sites are just as critical for B2B marketers, who may struggle with trying to market rather technical subjects. Images and videos allow your audience to easily digest your content. Facebook is the 800-lb gorilla in the social media marketing conversation. Both B2B and consumer marketers need a robust plan for all aspects of this platform—both organic and increasingly paid, due to Facebook’s constantly changing algorithms. We have to look for ways to focus what we’re doing and simplify our marketing for the long haul. Were these tips helpful? Check out the on-demand webinar Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small if you’re interested in learning more. And if you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
By: Mike Stocker Posted: July 29, 2016 | Digital Marketing Facebook’s recent announcement of their new Offline Conversions API generated a lot of buzz and excitement among marketers and for good reason. The new API provides stores and retailers with a way to see how many people made offline purchases after seeing a Facebook campaign—connecting offline conversions to digital campaigns. They can then use these offline activities to optimize their ad campaigns and ad spend. As a Facebook marketing partner, Marketo was excited to be a part of their launch announcement. Even more exciting is that our integration enables an expansion of this offline conversion concept to a much broader set of use cases that apply to all marketers, B2B marketers included. Before I get into the details of how you can use the new Offline Conversions API with Marketo, let’s start with some basics. What is an offline conversion event? In this case, an “offline” conversion event happens when a contact in your database performs a desired action on a channel not measured by Facebook. When Facebook made their announcement, most business publications (Forbes, AdWeek, etc.) focused on the retail use case. While that is certainly a huge use case for an offline conversion event, I’d argue there are a lot more potential “offline” conversion events that impact marketers. In fact, offline conversion events can give marketers a complete omni-channel view of all the sales and conversions attributable to Facebook, regardless of location, channel, or campaign. Here are a few examples of offline conversion events that come to mind: MQL (marketing qualified lead) SQL (sales qualified lead) Event attendance Target account Onsite sales consultation Automotive test drive Sports game attendance Demo given Content downloaded Score threshold met Call occurred Call duration Postal mail/package received More specifically, here are four unique ways to use offline conversion events to improve your marketing campaigns: 1. Increase MQLs Let’s say that you’re a B2B marketer on the demand generation team for a SaaS company. If your team buys Facebook Lead Ads to drive top-of-funnel growth, you shouldn’t just optimize your campaign based on form submissions. Instead, tie it to a metric that’s measured internally: the number of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) it drives. All leads are scored within Marketo based on pre-defined criteria to determine if they are ready to be passed to the sales team, and they are considered MQLs only if they meet the right qualifications. This is an important metric to track, since MQLs that are further qualified by sales become SQLS (sales qualified leads), which can ultimately translate into new opportunities and revenue. In the image below, an example revenue model, you can see how leads come in at the top-of-the-funnel as names, then progress further into the funnel as they continue to engage with your company. By optimizing your Facebook campaign for MQLs and not form submissions, you can increase the number of conversions that drive more qualified leads down the funnel. 2. Optimize Your Scoring Model For B2B marketers, and even some consumer marketers, it’s likely that you have (or would) set up a scoring model within Marketo to qualify incoming leads or contacts. Scoring models attach values to various online and offline engagement events between your brand and the buyer. With the integration of Facebook’s Offline Conversions API and Marketo, you can optimize your scoring model so that when a lead has reached a specific lead score as the result of a combination of different interactions, it’s defined as a conversion event. This way, a lead doesn’t need to, for example, download content or attend an event for it to be considered a conversion. The example below shows how a revenue cycle might be modeled within your marketing automation platform, governed by how each buyer interacts with your brand—their behavior across channels, their engagement with your campaigns, their lead score, and even data changes in your CRM system. By tracking when a lead hits a specific score that signals a conversion event, you can optimize your campaigns to tailor your ads to them appropriately. For example, for existing customers who have a score much higher than a MQL, you’re still able to identify scoring thresholds that signals they’re ready for cross-sell. 3. Boost In-Home Appointments If your company sells products that require in-home consultations, such as window treatments, you may want to optimize your Facebook Ads towards the number of in-home appointments it generates, rather than the number of online appointment requests. It’s likely that there’s a discrepancy between the number of online appointments booked and the physical appointments completed, but previously, this type of data was hard to track and made it hard to follow up on. Now, because of this integration, your sales consultant can log physical in-home appointments into Marketo and that data will be sent as an offline conversion event to Facebook. Then, your paid media team can re-evaluate their campaigns to understand how to optimize their ad spend to drive more completed in-home appointments. 4. Track Follow-Throughs For a digital marketer at a car dealership, one of your initiatives probably include increasing the number of visits to your show room and test drives by prospective customers. Previously, you might’ve used Facebook Ads to encourage prospective customers to fill out their info in forms online, but it was tough to tie those initial interest requests to actual test drives. Now, with Facebook’s Offline Conversion tied to Marketo, you can capture how Facebook Ads results in in-person interest and test drives—connecting your Facebook ad spend directly to a test drive of a car so you can better optimize to ultimately improve sales. As you can see, Facebook’s new Offline Conversion API can be used for a whole variety of broader use cases for ALL marketers, not just retail and physical purchases. In conjunction with Marketo, you can drive alignment between your paid media campaigns and other campaigns to improve results and ROI and offer a better customer experience. Have you set up Facebook Lead Ads within Marketo yet? I’d love to hear your use cases in the comments below!
By: Ashika Balani Posted: July 25, 2016 | Mobile Marketing With rapidly evolving digital marketing and the proliferation of devices, marketers are faced with the challenge of staying ahead, or simply keeping up, when it comes to capturing and keeping their audience’s attention. How can they do it? Take a page from Hollywood, which understands that they need to be on top of the latest trends in order to create compelling content that captivates their audience. Looking at the pictures below from popular films and television shows over the past decades, what do they all have in common? You go it—the use of a mobile device. Over the decades, the telephone has evolved from car phone to cellphone to smartphone, and as consumers adapt to these changes, marketers should too. In fact, in the U.S. alone, 75% of citizens over the age of 13 have a smartphone, and there are more mobile devices in the world (7.8 billion) than people (7.1 billion), due largely in part to our voracious appetite for “new.” That’s a huge audience you’re missing out on if you don’t have a mobile marketing strategy in place. Mobile phones have progressed from being used as a way to communicate with our friends and families and coordinate destinations, to a comprehensive tool for messaging, emailing, web browsing, time management, and everything in between. They’ve changed the way we live and communicate, not to mention they have reinvented our language (emojis, anyone?). Mobile devices are now the key entry point to the digital world and it’s up to marketers to understand how to stay ahead of the game to keep their buyers engaged. As you’re building, or improving, your mobile marketing strategy, here are three things to keep in mind: 1. Think About the Big Picture As you’re planning your mobile marketing strategy, consider how it fits in with your initiatives on other channels and how each channel will inform the other. Identifying this information will inform how you should adapt your message to each channel and individual. Mobile devices give you access to billions of users on their most personal device, and with that comes billions of different data points from their interactions. Because of this, it’s critical to integrate mobile interactions within a unified, single view that spans the channels where your audience engages. Even mobile-only companies, like Uber, can benefit from a multi-channel strategy. For example, Uber uses app engagement to inform their email communications, sending disengaged users new offers to reactive them. For your own strategy, consider how a buyer’s actions on your website or email can be used to trigger a relevant response on their mobile device, and vice versa. After all, as modern marketers, we’re increasingly the stewards of the customer journey and therefore responsible for meeting users’ expectations of a personalized and seamless experience—wherever they are. 2. Acquire the Right Users It’s expensive to acquire new users in a highly competitive mobile atmosphere—the number of new users has gone up more than 84% over the last year, according to research from Fiksu. So, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure your acquisition efforts are not wasted on users who will not remain loyal or engaged. To avoid wasting your effort, dollars, and resources, conduct research upfront to build a solid profile of the right user. Understand what makes your current users loyal and profile their unique demographics and interests. This insight allows you to more quickly and effectively target the right people—those likely engage with your app and stay loyal over time—bringing in higher levels of engagement, lower cost per install, stronger reviews and referrals, and new user growth. Once you’ve identified the right audience, leverage your different channels to drive acquisition. You can run an install campaign to your existing marketable email database to drive awareness of your mobile app among contacts that haven’t downloaded it yet. You can even offer exclusive information or a particular motivation to download. Another option is to detect users coming to your website from mobile devices and encourage them to download your app. For example, while Bank of America’s website is mobile optimized, a CTA appears to download the app, with the incentive to be able to connect directly to a customer service rep by downloading and using it. 3. Focus on Long-Term Growth A growth mindset goes beyond a narrow focus on acquisition. A solid mobile marketing strategy engages users from the second they’re aware of your brand to long after they’ve converted into users or customers. For example, in the case of mobile app marketing, this would entail the key mobile customer lifecycle stages of acquisition, engagement, retention, and reactivation (for those who stray). By understanding where a user is in the mobile app lifecycle, it provides you with the opportunity to automate and trigger relevant activities to encourage lasting user engagement. You can do this by tapping into mobile signals and insights to deliver relevant responses, which include: Timing: Deliver messages at the moment a user interacts with your brand, whether that’s in a mobile browser or your app or on your mobile site Behavior: Present content and messaging based on a user’s actions or inactions on a device Proximity and location: Leverage technologies like GPS, iBeacon, and geo-fencing to deliver relevant messages or offers Stage/sequence: Track specific actions to deliver messages that are meant to accelerate conversion or drive a specific behavior Even if mobile is not the primary way your brand interacts with your buyers, it’s a key component within a holistic customer journey, one that each of your buyers will go through. An effective mobile marketing strategy boils down to understanding how it fits into your overall marketing strategy, understanding who your target audience is, and engaging them long after acquiring them. Ready to take your mobile marketing to the next level? Download our ebook on Best Practices for Mobile Marketing: How to Acquire, Engage, and Retain Users.
Inga and Jason are leaders of the New York and Silicon Valley Marketo User Groups for a hip-hop themed look at how you can use Marketo to grow your expertise, influence and ultimately your career. We’ll put the East Coast-West Coast rap feud to bed and share three tangible ways you can immediately step up your game. You'll learn: How to quickly deepen your Marketo experience - “(I) Get Around” (2Pac) How to easily get plugged into the Marketo Community - “Get Involved” (Q-Tip) How to simply understand your worth in the market and maximize it “Get Money” (Biggie) You can find the video recording here The Essentials of Account-Based Marketing
By: Nick Westergaard Posted: July 19, 2016 | Content Marketing Content is king! Content rules! No one is going to tell you in this day and age that you need to create less content. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 80% of marketers across all sectors (B2B, consumer, nonprofit) are using content in some form. Of those same marketers, 74% have plans to produce even morecontent in the year ahead. And yet, 57% of marketers report that creating content consistently is a top challenge. As very few organizations claim content creation as a core competency, many are wondering how they should go about developing all of these new ebooks, newsletters, blog posts, videos, and images required to engage today’s buyer. Content creation can get real complex, real fast. In my new book Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small, I outline several frameworks, strategies, tactics, and hacks for helping today’s frustrated marketers do more with less. Let’s take a look at four content creation hacks that should be in every marketer’s toolbox, including yours: Hack #1: Relentlessly Repurpose Content In Content Rules, Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman encourage brands to be a “content chop-shop” by always looking for ways to get multiple uses out of a particular piece of content. You should strive to relentlessly repurpose all of the content you create. You can start small by combining smaller pieces like photos, cheatsheets, and blog posts into something larger like an ebook or whitepaper. You can also take a larger piece of content apart and create blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media updates. The possibilities are endless, so get creative! Pew Research Center does this by sharing individual data points on Instagram, which point to a longer article about the research, which then invites you to download the entire report. As expensive as formal research is, it makes sense to repurpose it as much as possible. This also provides an opportunity for you to reach your audience across multiple channels and get your team involved. For example, you can make re-imagining your content an internal challenge by encouraging others to offer ideas on additional forms of content you can create. Hack #2: Utilize Historical Content If your business has been around for a while, chances are there are old photos laying around in some closet or storage facility, or stored digitally. One of the scrappiest things you can do is to digitize this old-school content so that you can give it new life online. Whether it’s #ThrowbackThursday on Instagram or populating Facebook’s timeline feature, these content classics can be a tremendous asset. For examples, check out what Herman Miller is doing on Pinterest with their history board “107 Years and Counting.” Even your old marketing collateral and advertisements offer some nice history. Southwest Airlines has a Pinterest board dedicated entirely to their old photos and ads. Hack #3: Curate Content Beyond finding ways to repurpose as much of your brand’s internal content as possible, there are other sources you can leverage outside of your organization through content curation. With budgets spread thin, curation is a viable part of the mix for many. Some examples include a blog post or email newsletter that rounds up the best articles on a particular subject important to your buyers or industry. There are several tools that can help you streamline the task of finding good content. Some are free or low-cost—like Feedly, Scoop.it, Newsle—and some are geared more toward the mid-market or enterprise level with more functionality and features, such as Curata and TrapIt. One word of caution: Avoid thinking of curation as simply a low-cost alternative to content creation. Bothshould be viewed as complementary approaches to the same overall strategy—providing your community with useful content. Hack #4: Encourage User-Generated Content The final external source for content is from your own community. User-generated content is valuable in more ways than one. First, it’s content you don’t have to create that you can turnaround and share again, which brings me to my second point. User-generated content is powerful as it demonstrates in a very public and authentic way that your audience is engaged. A common misconception is that user-generated content just “appears.” Like all things involving others, it starts with a request from you. Remember, no one (your buyers and community included) will know what to do unless you ask them. More often than not your community will participate if you ask them. For instance, after seeing their fans share photos showing their love and happiness around their product, Ben & Jerry’s put out a call for fans to share their best euphoric photos by using the hashtag #CaptureEuphoria, with favorites featured in print and digital ads for the brand. As you work to do more with less when it comes to your content marketing, these four scrappy content marketing hacks—relentlessly repurposing content, utilizing historical content, content curation, and user-generated-content—deliver big results. Looking to get scrappy with your other marketing initiatives? Register for my upcoming webinar Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small to learn how to create a scrappy marketing strategy to win in today’s complex digital world.
Our sales team is very new to Sales Insight, so I did a training with them last week to show them some of the features and how they can use it to interact with their prospects better. I figured this is probably something a lot of us have to do at some point, so I am attaching my powerpoint that anyone can adapt to use for their own sales teams. Warning: it has many gifs and memes. Our sales team is very young, so I knew this would keep their attention also, my gif game is strong. Some of this is specific to our instance - for example, I created a marketing suspend campaign to allow them to suspend a prospect from marketing for 30 days if they are actively working a deal or about to do a demo - but it can probably be adapted for anyone.
By: Aleece Germano Posted: June 21, 2016 | Marketing Metrics As a digital marketer, you might be asking yourself this question: “Where’s my (social) ROI?” Your boss is asking you for it. You see ads following you on the web trying to help you calculate it. Your peers tell you it’s impossible: “You want to attribute revenue dollars to social? Good luck with that.” So what’s a data-driven marketer to do? When it comes to attributing ROI to a top-of-funnel social media strategy, the challenge is often in having access to enough data points to correctly understand its impact on revenue. While a sale may not result directly from a social engagement, social may have served as the initial entry point (discovery) or a point of reference (consideration) multiple times along the buyer’s journey. In this case, attribution requires analysis across multiple touchpoints, using multi-touch (MT) attribution, rather than only looking at first-touch (FT) attribution or last-touch (LT) attribution. Let’s start by looking at an example: Marketing is creating approved content for the sales team to distribute across social networks in order to start and nurture conversations as part of their social selling strategy. On some teams, sales uses Twitter to search for buzzwords and chat with potential leads. How can you track a conversation on Twitter all the way through to a closed-won deal? Before we get started, let’s take a look as some assumptions I’ve made about your marketing and sales technology: Your sales team is using a customer relationship management (CRM) system and your marketing team is using a complete marketing automation platform. Your sales or marketing team is using a social relationship platform (SRP) such as Hootsuite, Synthesio, or Sprinklr for social publishing and/or listening on social networks. Now, let’s explore how to measure the ROI of B2B social campaigns with multi-touch attribution: 1. Connect Your CRM and SRP to Your Marketing Automation Platform First, you need to integrate your solutions so that data can flow in and out properly. Some marketing automation solutions may offer a native integration with your CRM that syncs the data on a regular schedule. Or you might build your own connector via open APIs and/or middleware partners. Check to see what integrations may be available for the SRP you are using. If you’re using Marketo, you’ll need to configure an easy, out-of-the box integration with your CRM and SRP. (Details in our LaunchPoint ecosystem.) Now, when your sales team publishes content via the SRP and it ignites a conversation on social, they can send that data into your marketing automation system. Here’s a peek at what that looks like using the Hootsuite integration for Marketo (of course, your exact solutions may differ): 2. Identify a Match or Create a New Lead Next, a complete marketing automation solution can check to see if there’s a match in the database. If not, as you can see below, it will identify whether that person is a new lead. Awesome! You just created a lead from social. 3. Measure Your ROI Now, as you run campaigns with your marketing automation platform, your lead may convert, and her email address and other form data will be appended to her record in your database. From here on, your marketing automation system will track every interaction along the funnel to a closed-won opportunity. In the meantime, you will want to track the program costs simultaneously as part of campaign creation. Time to run some reports. A solid marketing automation platform will allow you to measure multi-touch attribution, so that you can understand which programs are most influential in moving people forward in the sales cycle over time. In Marketo, you can run the Program Analyzer to see which channel drove the highest ROI. From a first-touch perspective, you can see that social as an acquisition channel brought in 1,367 new names (leads) and produced an ROI of 108%. That’s not bad, but what if you look at this from a multi-touch perspective? From a multi-touch perspective, you can see a different story emerge which helps you understand how social impacts middle-of-the funnel activity, as reps continue to nurture and engage leads on social. Here we see the true ROI as 142%–a higher ROI for a much lower cost than other marketing programs. Now that you’ve proven your social ROI, you can confidently ask for more investment. Let’s take an even closer look at social so that we can understand the ROI of paid vs. organic. By drilling into the Social Media channel (below), we can view our ROI at a more granular level—in this case, organic posts and conversations on Twitter drove an ROI of 106%. Before you celebrate your victory and go on to optimize your social campaigns, here’s a quick recap of how you can consistently measure your social programs: Use multi-touch (MT) attribution to understand the revenue impact of your top-of-funnel strategy. Connect your CRM to a complete marketing automation platform, and connect your marketing automation platform to your SRP. Track your program/campaign costs in your marketing automation platform. Use multi-channel analytics in your marketing automation platform to compare the ROI of one marketing channel or program over another. Budgeting is easy when you have marketing ROI data at your fingertips! Marketers can show the revenue impact of their efforts on social, and across other channels. Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll cover a new attribution use case to solve. What are your marketing attribution challenges? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
By: Russell Banzon If your company is anything like some that I’ve seen around Silicon Valley, your sales reps see their quotas increase quarter after quarter. With lofty goals, every sales rep needs to utilize all the tools he has at his disposal to close the deal. While social media sometimes gets a bad rep among professionals due to the endless posts about difficult math problems and memes, when done well, social media can be one of the most effective and underutilized channels for sales teams. In this blog, I’ll cover five strategies to use LinkedIn to drive significant revenue for your company: 1. Add Prospective Customers and Share Their Content with Your Network This may be obvious, but a reminder never hurts: you should always connect with your leads! Having access to the content that they like and share is paramount to having a strong conversation with them. This is especially important to do if your lead is publishing original content on LinkedIn. Why? Because re-promoting their content by sharing it shows your support. Personally, I absolutely love when one of our vendors shares my content. It shows me that the rep is actually interested in having a relationship with me and that I’m not just closed won business. Remember though, when you invite your prospect, always send them a tailored request to connect. Selling is way better received when it feels like a 1-to-1 relationship, rather than a blanket message to all people. As social selling magnate Nancy Nardin would say, “Social is personal!” Here’s a basic example: From the short message above, you can tell that whoever the requestor is (me, in this case), really dove into the person’s profile and even pointed out that the person had something to gain by connecting—content they might be interested in! Once you begin connecting with prospects, their activity will show up on your feed. You’ll be able to find even more prospects because of this. When your connection, say a sales ops professional, likes another sales ops professional’s content, you’ll find yourself with another lead opportunity. 2. Warm Introductions Even more powerful than a custom invitation to connect is a warm introduction. As you access people’s profiles, on the top right hand side, LinkedIn will automatically find people who you and your prospect have in common. They even tell you what your connection and your prospect have in common! Let’s look at another example: In this example, I would be the sales rep and Elaine would be the prospect I’m looking to reach. Once I see that Sharon is a joint connection, I could reach out to Sharon and ask her if she would be comfortable with giving me a warm introduction to connect with Elaine since they went to the same college. After this introduction, I can steer the ship—but this makes reaching Elaine much easier than coming in cold. 3. Find the Right Leads with Sales Navigator If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn Sales Navigator yet, you may want to check it out. There are numerous benefits to going premium on LinkedIn, from account filters that show you your target leads at your target companies to the social selling index that measures your social selling effectiveness (which I’ll cover towards the end of this blog). So how do you get started? First, build out your account lists in Sales Navigator. Following accounts in Sales Navigator will provide you with up-to-date information on what is happening within that company. It gives you updates on what the company is sharing so that you know what your prospects truly care about and what their company is focusing on. Then, you can act on key events, such as funding announcements, to engage in meaningful conversation with your prospects. Being able to kick start a conversation with “Congratulations on the recent funding round” is much stronger than “Hey, I’m Russell.“ Oh yeah, and did I mention you can build lead lists in your target accounts? If you already have your target persona, such as those built to segment and target audiences within your marketing automation platform, take advantage of all the filters the LinkedIn premium account offers to create targeted lists. This comes in handy when you need to, for example, find all the VPs of Sales in your region within your account tier, but don’t have a complete list of company names. You can go even deeper with profile filters such as keywords, seniority level, and industry. If you already have a target account list, you should do some account specific profile searching by using the “current company” filter. 4. Build Your Account Contact List with “Export to CRM” One of the most painful things as a sales rep or business development rep is manually updating your CRM with new leads, which is equally important for your marketing automation platform since often the two platforms integrate seamlessly with the right solutions. Many times you’ll want to do prospecting in LinkedIn, but your CRM is your single source of truth (“If it’s not in the CRM, it never happened” type scenario.) Save additional time by adding in the “Export to CRM” Chrome extension to your browser. This allows you to easily create a contact in your CRM using someone’s LinkedIn profile. This is especially helpful for the marketing team, who’s always on the lookout for new names to add to the database. Once they’re in the database, the marketing team can then support the sales team by plugging that contact into different, relevant, campaigns. Keep in mind that these contacts may not have opted-in to receiving email communications from you, so you may need to target them in other ways. 5. Measure Your Success with the Social Selling Index (SSI) This last tip makes social selling even more fun. LinkedIn provides a way for you to be graded on how well you use the platform to do social selling. There are four criterion that go into this rating. The social selling index (SSI)“measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships.” These factors impact your social selling index: The amount of content you share The number of connections you have with your target audience How often you click on insights on your feed How much you interact with others If you’re someone who manages social selling, sales enablement , or social media at a company, you can easily get people excited about their SSI score with a sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) and giveaways. Doing a major team-wide competition of who can raise their SSI score to the highest in a specific month can not only help your sales team sell better, but also help you get more brand exposure. These social selling strategies are a win-win situation, helping you connect with more prospects and develop more meaningful relationships with them. Pretty soon, it won’t be considered “social selling,” it will simply be a part of “ selling .” What other tips do you have to boost sales through LinkedIn or other social platforms? Share them in the comments below!
By: Divya Dutt Posted: May 3, 2016 | Social Media In the last year or so, advertising on social channels has changed tremendously. Lately, major networks have changed their algorithms to give their users a better experience—one with less promotional content and more relevant content that they want to see. Because of these changes, as a marketer, you need to supplement your organic posts with paid promotion to get your posts seen by your audience. In fact, eMarketer reports that by 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion worldwide. As marketers are increasingly spending more on social platforms, it’s more important than ever to have the right strategy in place, track all of your paid social campaigns , and gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Only then can you understand the return on ad spend (ROAS) from your campaigns. In this blog, I’ll be walking you through how to put together a paid social campaign from start to finish for optimum results. Here are five steps to amplify your paid social campaigns: 1. Define Your Goals It’s important to understand your goals for each paid social campaign upfront because your strategy and key performance metrics will vary depending on the goals you’re aiming to achieve. Your goals will help you map out the most relevant offers and content for your objectives—whether that’s brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, customer acquisition, retention, advocacy, or a combination of these. For instance, if your goal is to acquire more leads, you will probably want to share whitepapers or other gated content that people will need to fill out a form for so you can collect lead information. But if your goal is brand awareness, you might want to share ungated content such as an infographic or a fun video. 2. Identify Your Audience Just as you would with any marketing campaign, you need to know who you are trying to reach with each of your paid social ads. You may already have buyer personas for your company’s target audiences that you can pull from (in some organizations this may come from the product marketing team). Once you understand this, you will need to decide who your exact audience for your social campaigns will be. There are a lot of great ways to target specific audiences on various social platforms, but if you don’t know who you’re targeting, you won’t be able to take advantage of the targeting options. 3. Pick the Right Channel and Content The audiences on each social media network are different, and while some overlap across channels, their expectations of the type of content they’ll see on each channel is also different. So, you not only need to understand the networks your audiences are on and how to reach them there but also engage them with the right content. For example, ads about industry-focused events will probably do well on LinkedIn if they are targeted to a specific industry, but may not perform as well on Facebook. 4. Select Targeting Options Once you have determined which social media channels you will advertise on, it’s time to get familiar with the targeting options on each of those channels. Social networks are getting more sophisticated with their targeting options, and you can target based on different fields: interests, skills, titles, company names, and even lists from your marketing automation platform —for example, people in your database with certain characteristics. LinkedIn, for example, lets you target people based on their titles, skill sets, company, and even degree, while Facebook allows you to target people based on their demographics, behaviors, and interest levels in certain topics or products. LinkedIn’s Targeting Options: Facebook’s Targeting Options: Aside from targeting specific groups, you can also exclude certain audiences that you don’t want to serve specific content or ads. These people might not be the right fit for your ads, so excluding them will help you make the most of your marketing dollars by only putting your ads in front of the right audience. You can exclude people based on their emails address, interests, actions they have taken, and more. This comes in handy when you don’t want to advertise a product or service to a customer who’s already purchased it or to your competitors. 5. Create and Measure Your Campaigns A good campaign structure will help you measure and report on different initiatives that are going on. You can build separate campaigns around all the products and services you want to measure and report separately, which will help you identify the audience that is most likely to respond to a certain product and serve relevant content or ads that resonate with them the most. This is a lot harder to accomplish if you have everyone grouped together in the same campaign. However, in some cases, it might be wise to start with a broader audience. For example, if you’re launching a new product or service and are not sure who will be most responsive or if you have a niche audience, you might not want to get too specific so you can achieve a broader reach. Then, you can track the campaign data to identify which audiences responded the most. There are a few different ways to track the performance of your social campaigns. If you are using a marketing automation platform , then you can create campaigns that track not only form fills, but pipeline and revenue generated per campaign as well. Another way to measure your campaign performance is to set up unique URLs for each campaign. Depending on how granular you want to get, you can track your activity at a campaign level or within the campaign at a product or asset level. For instance, if you want to track how many people filled out a form to attend your company event, you can create a unique URL or marketing automation campaign to track visits to that event. However, if you were running three different paid ads to promote the event, you would probably want to know which one drove the most registration. Ultimately, your goal is to find out which event and ad drove pipeline and revenue. This knowledge will help you shift your budget away from lower performing events, assets, and paid ads towards the ones that are showing return on investment. Are you putting paid promotion behind your social media campaigns? I’d love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments below!
FYI: This article originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review When business leaders talk about going digital, many are uncertain about what that means beyond buying the latest IT system. Companies do need assets like computers, servers, networks, and software, but those purchases are just the start. Digital leaders stand out from their competitors in two ways: how they put digital to work, especially in engaging with clients and suppliers, and how intensively their employees use digital tools in every aspect of their daily activities. Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference. Digital assets across the entire economy doubled over the past 15 years, as firms invested not just in IT but in digitizing their physical assets. Digital usage in the form of transactions, customer and supplier interactions, and internal business processes, grew almost fivefold — and over the entire period, the leading sectors maintained an enormous lead in usage over everyone else. But the biggest differentiator of all comes from having a digitally empowered workforce. Over the past two decades, the leading sectors’ performance on various digital labor metrics — such as the share of tasks involving digital tools and the number of new digital occupations — rose eightfold, while the rest of the economy barely ran in place. It is becoming clear that some parts of the economy are playing in an entirely different league. Our research included a new Industry Digitization Index, the first major attempt to measure digital progress and adoption in each sector. The results show uneven progress: The technology sector comes out on top — no surprise there. Right behind it are media, finance, and professional services, all of which have far more sophisticated digital capabilities than the rest of the economy. On top of these macro-level differences, we see that even lagging sectors may have standout firms that are pushing the frontier forward for everyone else. Let us look at each of our three broad index categories in turn. First, digital assets. To benchmark them, the index measures how much companies invest in hardware, software, data, and IT services (whether through outright purchases or contracting with third parties to fill in gaps). We also look at the extent to which companies are digitizing their physical assets — that is, whether they have smart buildings, connected vehicle fleets, and big data or IoT systems that get maximum performance out of equipment, systems, and supply chains. To some extent, digital assets are a story that has been playing out since the 1960s. Retail and financial firms were among the first movers, while today we see mining and manufacturing firms adopting digital technology in a purposeful way, with mobile-enabled tools and IoT-powered devices. One example is Caterpillar’s new S60 smartphone, which comes with built-in thermal imaging capability and is useful for builders, electricians, and utility workers. The focus has also shifted from making long-term capital investments to flexible usage-based operating systems, which explains the rapid growth in cloud-service offerings launched by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Our second category, digital usage, measures the extent to which companies engage digitally with customers and suppliers. Companies in the leading sectors make more extensive use of digital payments, digital marketing, and design-led product development. They are more likely to use software to manage their back-office operations and customer relationships. They take advantage of e-commerce platforms — and may even operate their own. Their underlying business processes make use of social technologies to interact with customers and partners. Burberry, for example, has set the bar among retailers by seamlessly integrating social media and immersive experiences into its physical stores. These usage-related innovations are likely to have profound implications on business models and economics across the value chain in the coming years. What really sets the leaders apart, however, is the third category: the degree to which they put digital tools in the hands of their employees to ramp up productivity. To get an accurate picture, we evaluated more than 12,000 detailed task descriptions to identify those associated with digital technologies. We also estimated the share of workers in each sector in technology-related occupations that did not exist 25 years ago and looked at digital spending and assets on a per-worker basis. The gaps are huge: companies in leading sectors have workforces that are 13 times more digitally engaged than the rest of the economy. In lagging sectors, the digital engagement of the workforce can be erratic; some organizations have made progress in certain areas but have not yet addressed foundational tasks their workers perform. Many health care organizations, for instance, use incredibly sophisticated technology in diagnostics and treatment but substantial parts of their workforce use only rudimentary or no technology. Fewer than 20% of payments to health care providers and their suppliers are done digitally, for example. The striking gaps in digital labor at the sector level, revealed by the Industry Digital Index, are playing out every day at the company level as well. Technology still hasn’t penetrated much of the everyday work performed by many Americans, which means that most businesses are missing opportunities for greater efficiency and better customer experience. Many still need to break out of their old habit of housing “digital talent” in a separate department. Companies increasingly need each employee to bring greater digital skills to bear on every activity. That’s the only way to unleash innovation and capture efficiencies at an institutional level. In some cases, new hires may be necessary, but investing in ongoing employee capability building and cultural change could pay real dividends. For executives, the first step is to identify digital priorities, keeping in mind the overall business transformation needed to maintain a competitive advantage. This requires a renewed external focus to understand more deeply how peers in the industry are digitizing, how customer expectations are changing, and which companies from within or outside the industry can best meet those expectations. Once the gaps are identified, management teams can design strategies to deliver near-term financial impact while starting the process of renewing the digital core. Such a renewal is only possible when leaders take a holistic approach to their companies’ digital assets, usage, and labor. Prashant Gandhi is the global chief operating officer of McKinsey Digital. Somesh Khanna is a director at McKinsey and leads McKinsey Digital in financial services. Sree Ramaswamy is a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.
Author: Matt Zilli The marketing organization has been in a renaissance, moving from a model where every type of marketing is handled in a silo toward a more holistic model that’s structured around the customer lifecycle. It’s about time. Traditionally, customers have come to us with marketing departments organized in every which way. In the long run, the model that’s proves itself time after time is a marketing department structured around the customer experience, one that makes sure that customers get consistent and progressive messaging from their first touch all the way through their entire journey—no matter where that journey takes them. In other words, marketing organizations have to be nimble enough to allow for a panoply of customer experiences—sort of like those “make your own ending” storybooks where every choice reveals a new plotline, which is essentially what each buyer experiences with your brand. Making this a reality involves ensuring that you have the right strategy in place and dollars to back it up. Point-to-Point Engagement? Or One Hub to Rule Them All? The hub-and-spoke system used by many airlines today was one of the greatest innovations in the airline industry. However, when airlines like Southwest successfully implemented point-to-point systems at lower costs, it put pressure on hub-and-spoke airlines to adapt. A similar story is unfolding in how marketing organizations handle the rapid explosion of marketing channels. If you’re in marketing, you know how overwhelming the sheer number of channel choices can be these days. The pressure to have an effective, dynamic presence on every single digital platform can be crippling to busy marketers who can barely keep up with just social media posts. And let’s not get started on the responsive, personalized website you need to have if you want to appeal to your audience. According to Content Marketing Institute’s annual B2C Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, of the 12 tactics consumer marketers consider most effective, a healthy nine of them are digital marketing approaches: email newsletters, social media, mobile apps, videos, online presentations, microsites, website articles, webinars and webcasts, and blogs—with the rest being in-person events and creatives (photos/illustrations and infographics). And their B2B report echoes similar results, with the most effective digital marketing tactics being webinars/webcasts, email newsletters, blogs, videos, and online presentations. Their other tactics, aside from in-person events, involve different forms of content that can be hosted online: case studies, whitepapers, research reports, and infographic. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional organizations are stuck in hub-and-spoke mode, with email marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing arms simply tacked onto their traditional core marketing department—which is often most adept at legacy mass marketing that’s becoming ever less relevant. Some organizations with this old-school approach refuse to see the marketing experience through the modern customer’s eyes. What Exactly Is Your Customer Looking For? Customers don’t think of themselves as “email customers” or “Facebook customers” or “mobile customers.” They expect and deserve open access to the same information on any platform, a unified, omni-channel experience that unfolds organically wherever they are. If they see a post on Facebook about a great deal on a product, but didn’t have time to click “buy” before they walked out the door, they want to be able to go right to your website from their smartphone while they’re standing in line at the post office and get the same deal without having to go back and scroll through their Facebook timeline (in fact, this happened to me recently). But when marketing organizations are siloed, the customer experience becomes disjointed. The social media department can’t always coordinate with the website department to ensure that your customer sees the same information on every channel. Customers are apt to receive duplicate or even conflicting messages, and once they’re stuck in the quagmire of your duplicate marketing messages, they quickly lose faith. To give your entire team insight into the whole customer experience, you need a marketing organization devoted to that experience—and you need the tools to support it. Both your internal organization and your technology must allow you to read/listen and respond to customer behavior in the moment. Why You Need to Spend Even More on Digital Marketing Of course, to reorganize your marketing team, you need the budget. Less dollars are going into traditional offline marketing channels, and are instead going into digital marketing. And unless your company has been hiding under a rock for most of the last decade, you’ve probably already increased your digital marketing budget pretty substantially to accommodate the need for a website, social media presence, and email marketing campaigns (at the very least). In fact, Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2015-2016: Digital Marketing Comes of Age , published November 2015, reports that digital marketing budgets increased 10% from 2014 to 2015, and this amount will continue to increase this year, primarily going to social marketing, digital commerce, marketing analytics, customer experience, and advertising operations. These days, digital marketing is marketing. In fact, 98% of marketers acknowledge that the online and offline channels are merging and a third of marketers already have their digital techniques fully incorporated into their marketing operations, according to Gartner. And here’s why: Your customers are online, so that’s the natural place to talk to them. Pew Research Center reports that 84% of American adults use the internet, with adoption increasing over the years across all age groups, and a fifth of Americans go online almost constantly. Digital marketing is faster than offline channels. In a world where buyers demand immediate, relevant information, it’s infinitely easier to fulfill those demands via digital channels because we can listen to the requests and automatically respond. Even the best direct mail piece still takes a few days to arrive. Besides putting money where it counts, spending on digital marketing makes for better tracking of marketing ROI. Finally, marketers can justify where, how, and why they are spending their money. The bottom line? Even companies that don’t think of themselves as “digital businesses” are taking their marketing efforts online. You have to meet your customers where they are. Digital is no longer a marketing niche—in fact, the phrase “digital marketing” will soon be considered redundant. We’ll all just say “marketing,” and that will be that. If your organization hasn’t gone digital, you can lobby for change and be the marketing hero. Begin your campaign for change by defining what customer engagement means to you. Is it all about customer retention? Repeat purchases? Social advocacy? Perhaps it’s all, which for many it should be. Next, hone in on a set of customers you can identify as a prime engagement target and then engage them with that content, while measuring how their response is impacting your goal. Just think—it will be dawn of a new day for your marketing organization.
By: Brit Tammeorg Posted: March 18, 2016 | Mobile Marketing Businesses large or small can benefit immensely from mobile marketing. SMS marketing, otherwise known as text message marketing, is one of the most personal ways to communicate with your buyers. After all, what other marketing tool do you know of that allows retailers and business owners to have virtually immediate contact with their customers? More than 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes, according to a study by MobileSquared. And while email inboxes can get clogged with spam and unwanted promotions, customers are very careful about opting in to text message updates, which means that your message will reach the right person who is actually interested in your offerings. But simply investing in an SMS marketing program isn’t all it takes to reap the rewards. SMS marketing, like any other campaign, requires time, attention, and the occasional tweaking for your business, budget, and customers. Whether you’re already running an SMS campaign or you’re looking to start one, here are four tips to get the most out of SMS marketing for your business: 1. Comply with the Laws Text message marketing is a privilege for businesses, not a right. Each country adheres to a specific set of laws, so if your business’ SMS campaign has a global reach, make sure you understand the laws in each country. In the U.S., aside from the basic law that you must have the consent (opt-in) of your recipients to send them promotional texts, there are a few other laws that you should be aware of: Opting in can’t be a condition of purchasing. In other words, you can’t force anyone to consent to receiving SMS messages from you by barring them from buying unless they agree to opt-in. You need to include a “Help” function if you anticipate that your recipients may need additional information about your message. That way, they can ask technical questions about texting and get useful answers. You need to include an opt-out or “STOP” function that’s clear and easy for your recipients to do, and that works. Don’t tell them they can opt out by sending “STOP” to 9876 and then keep sending them messages after they’ve followed your instructions to opt-out. Don’t end up like Jiffy Lube with a $47M lawsuit settlement for sending unsolicited texts to customers or Papa John’s whopping $250M suit for the same reason. Not to mention Life Time Fitness’ recent settlement $15M for sending unsolicited marketing text messages. Bottom line: Make sure you’re compliant. Companies of all sizes get sued for the misuse of SMS marketing all the time. 2. Build Your Subscriber List So how do you encourage your prospects and customers to opt-in to receiving your SMS messages and comply with the law? There are several ways to build your SMS subscriber list by making the opt-in function more visible throughout your marketing channels. Take a look at some of the channels below to determine where you can add SMS opt-in information: Facebook: Add a “Mobile Number” field to any Facebook page sign-up and an “Opt-in” button for them to sign on to your SMS campaign. Make sure you validate the number before you add this person to your campaign. If they entered the wrong number, you could potentially be sending text messages to someone who didn’t authorize them. Website: Include SMS opt-in instructions on your website. Email: Make SMS opt-in visible on your newsletter. Direct Mail: All snail mail should have instructions for SMS opt-in printed on it. Mobile: Send an opt-in text, such as “Text YES to receive discounts and promotions from XYZ company.” Additionally, all of your customer-facing employees should be trained to ask for a customer’s permission for opt-in. This means that they need to be able to explain the benefits and details of your SMS campaign (coupons, discounts, appointment reminders, events, etc.). 3. Write Great Messages Text messages take a different form than emails and other channels of communication, so be mindful of how your message will be viewed. Your subscriber will see your message on a screen smaller than a computer, so keep your messages short and straightforward. But cutting down on the quantity of content doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality as well. Remember, your main objective is to give your subscribers information that they can understand quickly and easily. You can try to be clever or humorous as long as your customers are get it. The key is to follow the voice of your brand and be personal. Address your subscribers by their name and understand their behaviors (interactions with your brand, purchase history, downloads, etc.) and what stage they are in their unique customer journey. Then, use this information to send relevant text messages that hit the target. For example, if you’re a massage clinic sending a message to a new customer, text him with “Hi Kevin, thanks for coming in today. Enjoy %15 off your next sports massage with discount code: 15OFF” to keep him coming back. However you choose to shape your messaging, be sure to avoid these SMS sins: Don’t spam. Don’t send several texts a day to your subscribers. Depending on your business, an SMS campaign of 4-12 total messages per month should be sufficient. Don’t send off-target offers. Offer your subscribers something of value. If you constantly send them texts about products or services that aren’t relevant to them, you may lose them as an SMS subscriber or even as a customer. Don’t wake them up. Ideal texting time is between 9am and 8pm. Anything sent before or after that treads the line of being intrusive. 4. Measure Your Results Like your other marketing channels, you’ll need to understand how to measure your SMS marketing results to track the success of each campaign and learn how to optimize them. Track the following metrics and repeat periodically to continue to enhance your campaign: Calculate your churn rate. Take the number of your people who unsubscribed from your SMS campaign and divide it by the total number of customers who initially opted in. This will reveal how quickly your subscribers are leaving your campaign. Determine your redemption rate. Take the number of your subscribers who responded to call-of-action and divide it by number of total subscribers in your program. This indicates how successful your campaign was at generating responses. Calculate the cost. Take the cost of each SMS message and divide it by the redemption rate (calculated above). Based on how much you invested, did it perform well? SMS is quick and effective way to reach your audience wherever they are. By following the tips above, you can get your SMS marketing campaign off on the right foot. Understand the laws, build your subscriber list, craft great messages, and measure and analyze your results. Have you already started on your SMS marketing journey? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments section below! For more on SMS and mobile marketing, check out The Definitive Guide to Mobile Marketing.
FYI: New Virtual User Group on Community: Real Time Personalization Virtual User Group ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By: Ellen Gomes Posted: March 9, 2016 | Targeting and Personalization Would you send the same email to your entire database? You could, but with a database made up of multiple segments and different types of customers (some very new to your product or service and some long-standing customers), sending the same communication to all of these folks would not be effective. Marketers now know and understand that effective email marketing is targeted and personal. Unfortunately, this vital learning is not applied equally across channels and programs, especially on websites. Every day, marketers are ignoring their own best practices and offering the exact same experience to every website visitor, every time they arrive—regardless of their behavior or attributes. Magnify that by thousands, sometimes millions, of visits, and marketers are missing a huge opportunity to truly connect with their audience as individuals—which makes a real impact on their revenue. And that’s where web personalization comes in. What Is Web Personalization? Web personalization helps marketers make their websites as personal and targeted as their other communications and activities. Specifically, the term web personalization refers to creating a dynamically personalized, highly relevant website experience for your website visitor (anonymous or known), based on their behavior, location, profile, and other attributes. Done right, web personalization means understanding and meeting your visitors’ interests, tailoring your website to fit their profiles, and ultimately providing them with a relevant experience—whether that’s a message, visual, content, or offer. Today it’s a mission-critical marketing activity that creates a more meaningful experience for your visitors and also generates better business results. Personalization is not just a ‘nice-to-have’; it’s a necessity in today’s market where your visitors are not only self-directing their customer journey (the majority of their research is done before you ever know them), but they are overwhelmed with messages on a daily basis. In order to break through and get your visitors to engage, you must offer them a relevant and personal experience. In fact, according to recent report by VB Insight, 87% of companies see a lift in key metrics (such as conversion rates, engagement rates, and lead generation or average order value) when they employ personalization. The Benefits of Web Personalization At the highest level, web personalization helps marketers address their website visitors in a personal and relevant way online—while also helping marketers reach their goals faster. But to break it down further, web personalization helps marketers in seven key ways: Build brand preference: You can use web personalization to strengthen how a visitor feels about you online and offline. For instance, you can use what you know about an individual (gathered from their interaction with your website) to tailor the messages you send on other channels and create content that resonates with them—making your marketing more personal and effective across the board. Understand visitors: Web personalization helps marketers understand the personas, demographics, and behavioral and firmographic data that represents your target audience and is most likely to result in conversion. Convert visitors: While many of your marketing efforts bring visitors to your site, the majority of those visitors—a whopping 98%—are anonymous when they arrive and remain so after they leave. Web personalization helps marketers track demographic and behavioral data, and unmask, engage, and convert prospective customers as they arrive on your site. Nurture and engage: While you are probably familiar with email nurturing, web personalization allows you to nurture customers on the web by continuing the conversation with them through targeted, relevant offers, content, and calls-to-action. Using web personalization, your website becomes another one of your cross-channel tools to accelerate customers through their unique buyer journey. Cross-sell and upsell: Understanding your customer segments and the types of offers, messages, and content that motivate them is a huge advantage that web personalization offers. If you have customers that have already purchased from you, you can sell them more by recognizing them as existing customers and segmenting them to receive offers on complementary products based on their past purchases. Optimize your campaigns: As you run web personalization, you can collect valuable information from your visitors about who they are and what offers, messages, and content resonate with them. These learnings can disseminate across your programs and cross-channel campaigns, making them more effective—both in terms of engagement with visitors and overall cost. Increase revenue: When you better understand your online visitors, buyers, prospects, and decision-makers—in other words, when you nurture and educate them based on who they are and what they do, and then present the most appropriate offer—you are improving your ability to drive revenue. Learn more about these benefits and how to create a comprehensive web personalization strategy by paging through The Definitive Guide to Web Personalization. This comprehensive 100+ page guide covers everything from how to develop a web personalization strategy, to sourcing the content for creating a personalized website, to testing and optimization and more. The Definitive Guide to Web Personalization is your guide to creating a strategic and dynamic personalized web experience. Download it today!
By: Ellen Gomes Posted: March 4, 2016 | Content Marketing Last October, Facebook quietly launched Instant Articles for iPhone, “a beautiful new way to read articles in the News Feed that is faster and more interactive than ever before,” according to the company. This product is aimed at being a game-changer for the publishing industry by offering a solution to what Facebook and publishers identified as a problem of slow loading times and whether publishers could bring their own advertising to the table or would have to use Facebook’s ad network. Initially, it was rolled out to a select group of premium publishers—think along the lines of National Geographic, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. Now, after about 10 months since its launch, Facebook announced it will open Instant Articles to all publishers on April 12 at their F8 conference—raising the question for content marketers everywhere, “Is this for me?” This blog will take a look at whether Instant Articles applies to brands and content marketers, and what this change might mean for them. Let’s dive in: Are We Invited? Brands today know and benefit from the power of social media. On Facebook alone, the user base has expanded to 1.04 billion daily active users and 934 million mobile daily active users as of December 2015, allowing companies to connect with their audience at scale. And with 63% of Facebook users getting their news through their social networks, according to Pew Research Center, content marketers everywhere are looking into how they can participate in the new Instant Articles feature. This begs the question, “Is it even open to us?” And that can be a complex answer depending on where you look. Officially, on the Instant Articles site, Facebook discloses that this product will open for all publishers. But how are they defining publishers? A magazine, journal or newspaper? That wouldn’t be great news for brands. What about as anyone who creates and publishes content? Now that would be awesome. Brands are ready to sign up—like yesterday. And whether they’ll be eligible or not is a question everyone is asking. In fact, Contently contacted Facebook for clarification on who qualifies as a publisher and received the following answer: “In April, Instant Articles will be open to any publishers that wish to join, but it is primarily designed for news publishers. While other types of publishers will have the option to create Instant Articles, in many cases there are other formats on Facebook that will better serve their needs.” This makes it sound like a yes—brands will indeed be able to publish Instant Articles, with the disclaimer that there may be more suitable formats available. So how do you determine if this is right for you? A New Way to Content in Unknown Territory Facebook Instant Articles presents a new opportunity to deliver content—whether you’re a publisher or brand—especially via mobile (a channel that has experienced almost nonstop growth since its inception). Because people face such an onslaught of messages—from their inbox, to social media, to offline communications—content that captures the interest of your audience and offers true value is now, arguably, the only way to capture their attention on any channel. Content marketing is now a familiar marketing activity that most marketers practice, and Instant Articles offers an immediate way to deliver content to an interested audience with faster load times—reportedly as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web—and without the need to navigate to a new channel. As a content marketer, the idea of a new platform for you to deliver your content to an interested audience can be both exhilarating and terrifying. There are so many places and platforms to disseminate your content today, but the promise of hosting your content on a platform that gets about one billion visitors a day is enticing, to say the least. But it’s OK to feel wary of an unknown platform and process, especially if you’ve developed a seamless way to publish and measure the impact of your content on other channels and programs. I’d encourage you to not let that stop you, as Facebook’s Instant Articles allows you to customize the typeface, color, and layout of your content to keep it on brand and use your existing analytics platforms to measure its success. It even allows you to serve adson your content, opening up a new advertisement channel. So if you have your content measurement down already—from early stage metrics like downloads and shares to late stage metrics like first-touch and multi-touch pipeline and ROI—you may still be able to apply these practices to the new platform to understand its impact, not to mention to optimize your results. Prepare Yourself, Instant Is Coming The Instant Article product itself is defined by its ability to instantly load with rich images, interactive content, and auto-play video. Today, this content is demarcated to users by a small lightening bolt icon in the corner of the article. Image: Courtesy of The Atlantic With this new product and its instant content feature, marketers face two challenges: Whether or not to be an early adopter How to adapt their content to fit the cadence and quality needed to succeed in this new environment There is definitely an advantage to being an early adopter of these products. Often, you gain more attention from your audience because the functionality is new and novel, and that’s worth something. Additionally, you usually have an opportunity to deliver feedback and learn with the product. But this can all come down to a matter of comfort and resources. Do you have the bandwidth to learn (probably a pretty intuitive) new platform and then add that step to your content publishing process? The second challenge of adapting your content to the platform is one that may affect lean or small teams the most. It will be interesting to see if brands, that have other objectives for their content (like demand generation), will have to adjust their content strategies to incorporate Instant Articles as a “new” type of content or if it will simply be an extension of what they are already doing and have planned to in their editorial calendar. Because this product is centered around delivering a high-quality experience to the user—with fast load times and interactive visuals—its success may force content marketers to redirect some of their attention toward tailoring content and interactive experiences for this platform, where they didn’t have to before. A Demand Generation Machine Finally, Digiday recently reported that Facebook is allowing some publishers test newsletter sign-up messages with their Instant Articles—trial publishers include The New York Times and The Washington Post. This is an interesting move for publishers whose biggest caveats when it came to publishing on a separate platform were ad revenue and audience ownership. With the possibility of reaching your audience on email through newsletter sign-ups, Facebook may solve both. For brands and the marketers alike, this could make a huge impact. If and when Facebook opens this feature up to brands, it will act as an extension to their customer acquisition activities for any brand, from consumer to B2B. It will be interesting to see how Facebook users respond to these new marketing opportunities—whether they will interpret articles from brands as marketing or as an improved experience. And for marketers, especially content marketers, as the digital landscape continues to change, the best advice is: Stay tuned and get ready! It seems that the downside to publishing on Instant Articles is almost negligible when contrasted against the benefits. What do you think about Instant Articles? If it opens up for brands, will you be on board?
By: Frank Passantino Posted: February 22, 2016 | Mobile Marketing Ad Tech (paid media) has been around for quite some time—with advertising on social networks and popular ad platforms like Google AdWords—but it has historically been seen, and treated, as its own category. A big shift that we’ve seen over the last year or so is that Ad Tech and MarTech are gravitating closer and closer together as a response to the demand from the market for connecting these two technologies. Looking at the combination of these two technologies and the continued migration towards a more mobile world, we start seeing opportunities for new types of paid media that help marketers create seamless, end-to-end experiences for their target audiences. This blog post will examine a new type of ad that blends the elements of Mobile Ad Tech and MarTech. The More Modern Ad Let’s take a look at a new solution—Facebook Lead Ads. A Facebook Lead Ad is a new type of ad unit that Facebook announced in mid September last year that’s designed specifically for the mobile channel. This ad unit allows a marketer to specify a set of questions via a form to capture a person’s information inside of the Facebook mobile app without the person ever having to leave the app. Imagine scrolling through your Facebook news feed on your mobile device and coming across a newsletter subscription ad that interests you: You tap on the subscribe button because you’re interested in receiving the personalized newsletter. Next, you’re presented with a form (inside your Facebook app on your mobile device) that the marketing team has built to capture data on the your interests and communication frequency preferences. The examples below show what this flow looks like. Now, you’re able to choose the content you are interested in hearing about—in this case, it’s Web Personalization—and how frequently you want to hear from the advertiser (once every two weeks). That’s it, with a few quick taps you can submit your details and the company is now able to effectively deliver personalized content to you based on the terms you specified. Mobile Ad Tech + MarTech = Better Mobile Marketing As you can see with the example above, Facebook Lead Ads allow marketers to seamlessly capture information about a person with just a few taps on their mobile device. When someone engages with a Facebook Lead Ad, they are presented with a form that is pre-populated with information they have already shared with Facebook, such as email address (work or personal as specified by the marketer building the form), phone number, mailing address, etc. This makes the form submission process quick and easy. No more re-directing people to a mobile version of a form on a mobile version of a landing page that requires multiple taps and manual data entry. Instead, the person filling out the form has a seamless experience with the brand with minimal interruption. The best part? Your marketing automation platform can continue the seamless experience once someone has submitted a form. The answers to custom questions, like frequency of communication or specific interests, can be transferred into your marketing automation platform’s database and then used to inform your marketing programs for instantaneous responses and continuous engagement. This shifts the focus from outbound marketing and webpage sign-up forms to mobile inbound inquires, email subscriptions, sign-ups, registrations, and so on. Now, marketers can trigger a sequence of events based on an in-app form fill out. Take the example above. The marketer may want to trigger an immediate email response based on the prospect’s interest. Using the example above, let’s assume Marketo has already set up a nurture track for Web Personalization. Upon subscribing to Web Personalization content via the Facebook Lead Ad form, Marketo can then add the people who submitted the form to the relevant nurture track in order to continuously deliver specific content the person has requested and engage them based on the frequency that they specified. Together MarTech and Mobile Ad Tech improves a marketer’s ability to offer a more relevant experience to their audience. How are you using Mobile Ad Tech in conjunction with your marketing automation? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2016 Author: Daniel Kushner Social media marketing, for B2B companies, often means one thing: generating new leads. But what do you do with these leads? At some point, you’ll want them to visit your website and other web properties, where they can be exposed to more of your content, become a captive audience, and enter your sales funnel. The trick is, your social marketing should ensure this happens. Just because you’re finding prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter doesn’t mean they’ll seriously consider your products and services unless they’re directed to do so. With a shrewd social media management strategy, you can create an experience for your followers that naturally funnels them towards what you have to offer, ultimately increasing your web traffic. Web traffic is a key metric factoring into social ROI—in fact, Shareaholic reports that social media drives nearly a third of all traffic to websites—and all signs indicate it’s an increasing trend. Thus, social traffic is something that B2B marketers need to get right. Here are 3 ways you can increase web traffic via your social marketing efforts: 1. Make your web properties social media-ready Chances are you already have a web presence. And if you do, you have some copy throughout your site that was created to introduce prospects to your products and pre-sell them on the benefits. You’ve also probably created a fair amount of material for your company blog. But none of these things should exist in a vacuum. Even with careful SEO optimization, you still need to build awareness of your presence on the web, and social media is often the perfect means to that end. A plethora of potential buyers interact every day on social channels, and the companies that are engaging them are drawing them to their websites. So, why not you? This can include your company, as well. But first, your web presence must be social media-ready. Here are some ways to make that happen: Use social sharing buttons on your blog content. These buttons allow your readers to share your content with a simple click to their social network of choice. The result? Your prospect’s network will see your content and might be curious enough to click through. Include calls-to-action for your blog readers to share your content. Blog readers can very easily skip over the social sharing buttons, so it’s up to you to make it clear that sharing should happen. Some plugins, for example, encourage your readers to “Tweet this,” to share your content and increase your visibility on Twitter. Also consider plugins that incorporate pop-ups or fly-overs encouraging shares. Allow blog comments—and be responsive. Some company blogs still make the mistake of not allowing comments. While it can be a little bit of a hassle to deal with spammers, you want to invite prospects to respond to your content as part of an evolving relationship. Once your readers are engaged and they notice you responding back in turn, they are much more likely to become loyal followers and share your posts with their peers and colleagues on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other outlets. Link naturally to your social profiles and/or discussion groups in your content. If you happen to have ongoing, natural discussions with customers and prospects via social channels, there will be opportunities to subtly build some buzz about it in your blog posts. When and where appropriate, mention that you have private discussion groups on the likes of LinkedIn or Google+, or link to a high-performing social post. Share social links everywhere. Social links aren’t just for your blog posts. Let your customers and prospects know, in every piece of content they encounter, that you have a social presence. You can do so with links next to videos, in email newsletters, in infographics, and other pieces of content. Remember, the more engaged social followers you have, the more roads you’re building back to your content. Determine from the start that all your web properties will connect with your social presence, with full integration across outlets. Not only do prospects want and expectthis, but it leverages whatever traction you have on social and places it within an ecosystem that funnels prospects toward your website. 2. Gear your social posts towards increasing web traffic Once you have infused your website with your social profiles, it’s time to take the next step: look at your social posts themselves, and making sure they’re primed to bring your followers to your site. Of course, you want to achieve a balance between active participation and the “hosting” of your brand’s presence on each network, while steadily drawing your followers into your sales funnel via your website. Nonetheless, here are some tips for making sure your social posts are pushing traffic your way: In native social posts, direct social traffic towards gated content. Your in-depth material, whether it’s ebooks, white papers, or informative research reports, is what will get your followers to invest more in your brand and think of you as an industry leader. And how can they get to this content? Via a social post that takes them to your landing pages. Review your social media calendar and make it a point to incorporate posts specifically targeting gated content. You might even take the bold step of creating content that can onlybe accessed via social—look at your customer profiles and best-performing social outlets for engagement and conversion rates, and consider whether it’s worth it. Use keywords. The use of keywords and phrases in your social content can help interested prospects find you when they use the search functions of those networks (not to mention the peripheral SEO benefits), which can lead to increases in social traffic. On Facebook, you can search for specific industry-relevant phrases to see which ones are the most popular, revealing both which keywords you might want to use in your content and prospective customers to connect with. For Twitter, sites like hashtags.org let you qualify hashtags by popularity, so you know exactly which relevant hashtags are getting the most traction. Use advertising. Social media ads are an immediate way to get traffic to your website. If you’re looking to jumpstart social traffic from a particular outlet, create an image-based post that catches your prospects’ attention with a relevant headline. 3. Optimize your website and social strategy based on your results After implementing the above, you now have a website that’s connected in every way to your social profiles—your leads can’t miss it if they tried. And, you have some results on social media posts that are specifically engineered to drive leads to your site. Now, it’s time to optimize on both fronts. First, you’ll want to revisit your website to make sure it’s doing its job in converting prospects into interested, qualified leads and then customers. Using your website analytics, consider your highest-performing blog posts and highest traffic webpages for indications on which content comes out on top, and focus future writing efforts on creating more of the same type of content. In addition, it’s always smart to conduct A/B testing on your web copy, specific elements of your landing pages, and other aspects of your site to make sure every detail is as efficient as a conversion-driver should be. When it comes to evaluating social media ROI, there are three (among many) useful metrics to take note of: Social traffic: Plain and simple, your social traffic numbers tell you which social posts are driving the most traffic to your website, and how much. Click-through rate: This tells you which posts garner the most clicks. Are some underperforming, contrary to expectations? It might be worth tweaking your headline text, adding an engaging image, or changing some other element to pique your followers’ interest. Conversions: Every good marketer knows how much a lead is worth to them. By tracking conversions from social, marketers can determine how many leads, and how much money, social media is generating for them. A highly effective social media analytics tool (especially one that “talks” to your marketing automation platform) is your perfect companion in assessing the impact of your social media initiatives on web traffic. Increasing social traffic = proof of social media promise Increase the amount of qualified, targeted web traffic, and you’ll score brownie points for an effective digital marketing initiative. But if you can demonstrate that the traffic is coming in from social, you can equip yourself with solid evidence that social media marketing is worthwhile. Leads will convert to customers, and company sales will rise. And with enough marketing “elbow grease,” social traffic can become a self-sustaining driver of growth for your brand.
Author: Koustubha Deshpande These are exciting times in the mobile app industry. Marketers have never had such an abundance of data and insights available to them–mountains of information to help support strategy and deliver success. But, in spite of this, one of the most common mistakes mobile app marketers make is that they treat their users as numbers or installs, rather than people. Increasingly, we’re hearing marketing experts talk about the importance of having a 360-degree view of your user base. What does this mean, and why is it important? What is a 360-degree view? Of course, the term takes its name from the number of degrees in a circle, and, in essence, refers to utilizing a broad, complete, and “all-around” view. It’s a panoramic view as opposed to the traditional narrow approach of sampling select data, such as downloads and uninstalls. In mobile marketing terms, a 360-degree view is all about understanding the people using your app. How do they use it? When are they most active? Why do they use it or, in other words, what value are they looking for from your app? How often do they use it? And, when users delete your app, what is the trigger? By gaining a nuanced view of your user base, you can effectively tailor your efforts throughout every stage of your relationship with them for maximum success in user acquisition, engagement, and retention. This helps you stay away from guesswork and pursue the tactics that work best for your specific user base. To channel the spirit of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for a moment, a 360-degree view can help you manage each phase of your app’s performance–the past, the present, and the future: Past: Understand historical trends By better understanding the journey your users undertook when they first found your app, you can establish which techniques really work and adjust your user acquisition strategy accordingly. For example, if a high number of users found out about your app via social media, you could allocate more funds to run paid campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, scaling back on other tactics that don’t quite work as well. Equally, if you can ascertain what keywords those top-of-funnel app users are searching for and what visuals capture their attention, you can optimize your App Store presence by incorporating high-performing keywords and switching out your creatives. Try out different icons, preview modes, videos, and screenshots of your app. Understanding your users’ pain points, motivations, and their unique journey gives you power to replicate the stuff that works and, ultimately, acquire new, highly-engaged users. Present: Build a relationship first Once users have downloaded your app, don’t market to them immediately. Build your cohorts to understand how they really use it. For instance, for an e-commerce app, are they comparing products found via the direct catalog or search feature? Profile your users and their usage patterns. Once you understand your users’ habits and usage patterns, you can incentivize them to share your app, rate it, or upgrade their membership. Some apps have a free version with limited capabilities and a paid version with the full set. These types of questions are the nuts and bolts of your app’s engagement metrics, but, without scratching the surface first, you’ll always be relying on guesswork. You need to first understand your users and their behaviors, thenmarket to them. Future: Predict and personalize Crucially, taking an interest in the behavioral patterns of users who churn gives you the power to intervene beforehand and stop other users from doing the same. Take a look at metrics like the drop-off rate from app install to sign-up, time spent in the mobile application, push notification opt-in rate, and the number of new vs returning users per day. If users are churning on the second or third day after you send an onboarding push notification, you may need to revise your messaging or delivery time, or fine-tune your targeting. Whether it’s through push notifications or personalized emails, you can reach out andengage these users as soon as you identify when they’re at risk of leaving. Take it full circle As in any industry, the better you understand your customers, the better you can anticipate and respond to their needs. A 360-degree view of your mobile app users gives you the best possible chance of delivering what they want, when they want it and, ultimately, will drive your app to be as profitable and successful as it can be. What other tips do you have for incorporating a 360-degree view of your mobile app users? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
By: Kylie Ora Lobell Posted: February 1, 2016 | Content Marketing Great content should be at the core of your marketing initiatives, but to produce this content, you need to hire talented creators. If you own a small to medium-sized business, you may not have the budget to take on a staff of full-time writers, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, or developers. This is where freelance employees come into play. With freelancers, you can save money on operational costs since you don’t need to provide benefits or workspace. Plus, you can pick and choose whom you want on your content creation team from a pool of freelancers around the world. By not depending on local workers, you’re able to put together a diverse team from a variety of backgrounds and niches. However, if you’re going to be integrating a number of different freelancers into your company, you need the right tools to manage them efficiently. These are five types of tools that you can utilize to ensure that your content marketing campaigns stay organized and drive results : 1. Finding freelancers Doing a Google search or finding referrals for freelancers is a time-consuming process. Instead, you can look at job boards where top talent congregates. One example is the Upwork platform, which gives you the opportunity to find freelancers for every type of content creation. There are more than 10 million independent workers from over 180 countries on the site. Once hired, you can message back and forth with your freelancers, create milestones they have to meet, and pay them through the site. Another site for finding workers is MediaBistro, where you can either post jobs or browse through the talent on the site. All freelancers list their resumes, samples, and experience, which means you can vet them before making contact. To find freelance bloggers specifically, try ProBlogger, where you can list your jobs and gain access to bloggers who are actively looking to be hired. 2.Blogging Without a solid content management system in place, you’ll have a difficult time overseeing all your freelancers and their work. Going back and forth through emails and Google docs won’t cut it. Instead, you need to find a blogging platform that works for you and your team. WordPress is a classic choice for content creation. Aside from being free, it includes a variety of plugins that optimize your blog for SEO and promotional purposes. All your freelance writers have to do is log into your website’s WordPress account, copy and paste in their work, and fill in all the correct SEO information through the Yoast SEO plugin. Then, the post will show up in your queue. Once it’s submitted, you and your editors can go in, edit the piece, and hit publish. This way, your writers don’t need to email you their work, which ends up making more work for you because you have to manually load it in. Also, it’s much easier to organize all the work your freelancers have completed. An alternative to WordPress is Google’s Blogger, which is also a free and simple to use platform. It contains gadgets as opposed to WordPress’ widgets, and includes Google integrations like AdSense and Analytics, allowing you to easily monetize your company blog and monitor traffic. 3. Invoicing and tracking hours Working with so many freelancers can become complicated, and it’s important for you to evaluate how much money is being spent vs. how much is being generated through your efforts. Without a centralized platform, you’re going to be lost. One option is Due.com, which can assist you with the logistical side of overseeing your freelancers and their pay. This platform has time tracking and invoice tools that allow you to view how many hours your freelancers are working and what invoices you need to take care of. It also generates detailed reports so you know where you are in terms of your finances. Another platform for managing freelancers financially is Zenefits, which gives you peace of mind that your independent contractors are being paid on time. You can input how much time freelancers spent working and make sure they’re receiving their benefits (if you provide any for them). If you’re running a small operation, Zenefits eliminates the need for hiring HR talent. 4. Managing projects If you have multiple freelancers working on one project and there are many different elements to keep track of, you need a project management system. BaseCamp is a popular choice for project management. Through this tool, you and your team can upload files and store your collective to-do lists. It shows who worked on which project and when. Whenever a project is updated, those that are involved are sent emails so they can go in and complete their assigned tasks. You might also want to try Smartsheet, which is customizable project management software used by companies like Hilton, Groupon, and Netflix. It’s a great option if your business is utilizing spreadsheets in order to complete projects. Another option is Zoho Projects (pictured below), which comes with a timeline that’s similar to a social media feed. You can quickly scroll through it and see where you’re at with tasks. You can also integrate it with Dropbox and use it on your Android or iPhone. 5. Tracking blog posts and progress If a project management system is too complicated for what you want to do, you can work on a free or low cost tool that is strictly used to oversee your blog. Trello is a simple tool if you’re just getting started with freelancers. It’s also perfect for small teams. All you do is create boards for your freelancers and then make individual cards to ensure that each project is progressing. This platform lets you drag and drop files and include pictures and links, so it’s easy to use even for those who aren’t technologically savvy. You might also want to look into BamBam!, a platform that includes milestones and newsfeeds for your projects and is free for 10 users or less. If you’re a startup but you want project management that’s suitable for the corporate world, BamBam! may be the right choice for you. Of course, there are more robust content platforms that integrate with your marketing automation platform and offer two or more of these capabilities with one piece of software. These platforms often are an investment worth making because they will scale and grow with your business. Freelancers can greatly enhance your content creation campaigns. Once you have the best tools in your back pocket to manage them, you’ll be on your way to coming up with successful ideas that produce a huge ROI for your company. What other tools do you use to manage your freelance team of content creators? Let me know in the comments section below.
By: Sarah Quinn Posted: December 17, 2015 | Content Marketing Do you spend a lot of time crafting the perfect piece of content, only to find that it barely generates any shares, let alone drive leads? As a fellow content marketer at a B2B company, this is hands down one of the most challenging things about my job. We know that content marketing can generate more leads, but according to Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of marketers consider themselves to be effective. What’s the missing link? It’s time to go back to the basics. The problem may be in your promotion strategy or your lack thereof. Unless you have an audience that seeks out your content en masse, promoting your content is the only way that your audience is going to see it. But aside from simply posting it across your social media channels, what else can you do? Let’s take a look at 10 tactics that are essential to expanding the reach of your content : 1. Get an outsider’s buy-in Before you publish your content, you may want to think about ways that you can make it even more shareable. One of the best ways to do this is to find influencers, bloggers, and other sources within your industry and ask them for a quick interview surrounding the subject of your content. That way, you can sprinkle quotes from them throughout your content and its promotion, which will not only give it more validation, but will likely lead to your influencer sharing that piece of content with their own followers. How to find sources to interview: You’ve probably heard of great platforms such as BuzzSumo or BuzzStream, where you can search for influencers within your industry, but have you ever thought about using HARO? Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has more than 475,000 sources and 35,000 journalists that you can use to ask questions surrounding your content. You’ll be able to collect various quotes from relevant sources to give your content more value, thus making it more impactful and shareable. 2. Use the Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) formula on social media Have you heard of the PAS formula? It stands for Problem-Agitate-Solve and it’s the copywriter’s secret weapon. PAS is a common technique that’s used when creating content, but it can also work to encourage more clicks back to your content when you post on social networks. To see this in action, imagine you’re writing a blog post. You would begin the post by identifying the reader’s problem, you would then agitate that problem, and then finish the article by providing the solution. How to use PAS on social: Let’s say your video teaches a person how to cook healthy pancakes. Using the PAS technique, your social snippet could be: “Love food but not the weight gain? It’s a daily struggle for everyone! Learn how to make yummy, guilt-free pancakes with this video.” And that’s the PAS technique working in less than 140 characters (for all you Twitter enthusiasts). Take a look at a post from Innocent Drinks—a healthy beverage company—for the perfect example. They’ve started their tweet by identifying the problem: that we don’t consume the Government recommended 5 fruits and vegetables per day. They go on to address the fact that people find it difficult to eat that much fruit and vegetables, and then they offer a solution to that problem at the end of the tweet by linking to their drinks. 3. Create social banners Do you change your social banners to promote your content? While it’s a tried and true tactic, not that many businesses will change the covers on their social pages to promote content. But it makes an impact because it’s the first thing that your audience will look at when they visit your page. Create an engaging image and include the address within the image so that your audience knows where to find the content. How to create a social banner: Take advantage of free resources to design the banners yourself like: Canva, GIM, Inkscape, and Pixlr. Social banners work best if you’re promoting big pieces of content like an ebook that’s designed to drive leads. In the example below, Wyzowl created a social banner for their Facebook page to promote their ebook. 4. Post in content communities A community that is dedicated to the type of content you’ve created is perfect place for promotion. You should be able to find various communities within your industry where you can post your content where it will offer value and not appear too “salesy”. If you are just getting started, check these places out: Visual.ly for infographics, YouTube/Vimeo for videos, Publi.shfor ebooks, and Medium for blogs. 5. Pin it to your Twitter feed Did you know that you can pin a tweet so that it appears at the top of your page? Similar to your social banners, this simple trick will help draw attention to people that visit your Twitter page because it’ll be the first tweet they see. You can remove it or change it whenever you like, and it’s perfect for promoting any type of content, including blogs, videos, infographics, or ebooks. How to pin a tweet: Find the tweet that you want to Pin, right click on the ‘more options’ icon (the three little dots under a tweet) and select to ‘Pin to your profile page’ and it will then appear at the top of your page. Take Moz for example. They’re promoting an upcoming event so they created a banner for it and pinned it to the top of their feed—highlighting its importance and driving registrations. 6. Mix up your snippets When it comes to promoting your content you shouldn’t just publish it just once on social media and hope for the best. To effectively promote your content, you need to put effort into testing out what works best for each of your different channels. By creating a variety of intriguing snippets, you’ll encourage a larger click-through to your content by delivering copy that appeals to a larger audience. How to mix up your snippets: Include a popular quote or saying Include an interesting statistic Include an engaging image Test out hashtags to increase the reach of your content 7. Include sources when sharing If you’ve cited sources in your content, then they are definitely worth mentioning when you post on social networks. The idea is that by crediting them on social media, you will encourage these sources to check out the content and share it with their followers. As you research for your content, keep track of bloggers and influencers within your industry. How to get sources to share your content: Including influencers that are active on social media, and crediting them on social can translate into a more widely shared piece of content. Take this tweet below as the perfect example. It doesn’t give too much away about the content, but simply tags a few sources within the tweet. 8. Reach out to people who have shared similar content This one isn’t exclusive to influencers, but rather peers who may help share your content for you. If you find people that have shared content around a similar topic as yours, the chances are they wouldn’t mind sharing yours as well since most people are actively looking for content to share. One of the best ways to cultivate these relationships is by reciprocally sharing and commenting. Another way is to understand their audience and make sure that your content offers value to them. You can be direct, and send them a message sharing your content with them and ask them if they would mind sharing. Or, you can follow them and slowly build a reciprocal relationship by sharing and engaging with their content and getting to know their audience before you ask for them to share—this often works best. How to find people that have shared similar content: Visit a website like BuzzSumo—a social media influencer insights platform— and type in the keywords surrounding the content that you’ve created. You’ll then find a list of articles that will be relevant to that content. Next, post the links of those articles into your search bar on Twitter and you’ll find a stream of people who have shared that very content. 9. Link from your best performing content As a metrics-driven marketer, you understand what your most successful content is. This underused tactic leverages your best performing content and its significant traffic, to promote new and related content. After you identify your best performing content, place a link from that content to the new piece that you want to promote. If you have a content recommendation engine, you may be able to automate this process. How to effectively link from your best performing content: One way to implement this is to use relevant keywords or phrases from your best performing posts, and create new content that is relevant to those keywords so that you can link to it. By doing this, the link will feel natural and relevant to your audience, rather than promotional and out of place. 10. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your best performing content Chances are that your best performing content is effective at engaging your audience. Take advantage of their interest and include a CTA for them to act on. Let’s say the content that you want to promote is an educational, downloadable piece designed to generate leads. With this tip, once again you use the power of your best performing content to help drive traffic and attention to the new content you want to promote by including a call-to-action. How to include a CTA in your best performing content: The first step is to set up a landing page for the content that you want to promote so that when you include a CTA in your best performing content it points to the new asset. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, this technique really works and he suggests using the CTA closer to the top of the content to help encourage more clicks. You can also design stand-out banners for the side bar and at the bottom of the post to really draw attention to your new content. Content marketing can be a tough gig—from content ideation to creation and promotion—but with the right tactics across various platforms, you’re far more likely to increase the chance of prospects seeing it, sharing it, and becoming your latest lead. Do you have any more tricks to promote your content? Let me know in the comments below.