Executable campaigns are a powerful new feature designed to allow you to make your campaign logic modular, reusable and maintainable. However, staying within the limit of three nested executables can be difficult when your campaign trees get complicated. This article describes a simple method of classifying your executables into three categories to help you stay within the nesting limits while also remaining productive.
Three Categories for Executable Campaigns
This classification system has three categories with simple definitions:
Tier 1: These campaigns may not be executed by other executable campaigns
Tier 2: These campaigns may not execute other Tier 2 campaigns
Tier 3: These campaigns may not execute any other campaigns
By classifying your campaigns in this way, and abiding by their restrictions, you can avoid bumping up against the nesting limit.
Now we have a way to avoid the nesting limit, but how should you map your existing campaign logic and lifecycles into these categories? Let’s look at Tier 3 first, as it is the foundation of this model
Tier 3 – Task/Unit - May Not Execute Any Other Campaigns
Tier 3 cannot execute any other campaigns, and this is where individual tasks should be implemented. Your organization can define what a task is in this context, but I think that it is useful to borrow the definition of unit from software development: A unit is the smallest testable part of any software. In the context of Marketo, a unit is the smallest testable part of any campaign.
Let’s look at a common example for lead lifecycles: Taking a country input and outputting a country code to a different field.
The above is an abbreviated example using flow-step choices to match the value of Country to a particular country code. Supposing we wrote a test for this, we would expect a lead who enters the flow with an empty value of “United States of America” to receive a Country Code value of “US”.
This or similar steps could be a unit for your business, but you do not need to limit your units to single steps. Your Tier 3 task campaigns should tend to be short sequences of work which are used in multiple contexts
Tier 2 – Orchestration – May Not Execute Other Tier 2 Campaigns
Tier 2 (as well as Tier 1) are more flexible than Tier 3 campaigns as they can execute other campaigns themselves. These executables can be used to string sequences of other campaigns together alongside standalone flow steps. An example would be a Standard Data Enrichment campaign. Where normalizing a country code is a unit or task, this is a sequence of one or more data enrichment tasks that can be maintained and modified separately from the logic of the individual tasks themselves
Tier 1 – Last-Mile – May Not Be Executed by Other Executable Campaigns
You may find that your business does not need to use Tier 1 campaigns, and that you can satisfy your organizational needs with just Tier 2 & 3 campaigns. However, Tier 1 campaigns allow an additional layer of flexibility for you to manage your campaigns. Typically, one of these campaigns will call a mix of individual flow steps, and Tier 2 & 3 campaigns to assemble a flow for a typical lifecycle event, like a Standard New Lead Flow. These typically include data enrichment, normalization, scoring, and routing flows, which can be created as tier 2 or 3 campaigns.
[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.
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!
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.
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.
By: Jamie Lewis Did you know that there are over 300 million active Twitter users? That’s a HUGE market for your business. So it goes without saying that I am a (vocal) advocate of all companies (B2B and consumer-geared alike) using Twitter as a marketing channel. I myself have had some pretty compelling results with Twitter. For example, I recently tweeted a link to a faux movie trailer that was used to advertise a product that was retweeted 198 times (impressive, I know), netting me dozens of new followers (which I immediately think: potential leads?). With the median Twitter account having about 100 followers, this particular piece of content had the potential of being retweeted nearly 20,000 times! Over time, I have learned through careful, and not so careful, trial & error how to be relevant to my particular audience, and I am achieving better results because of it. Cultivating a strong presence on Twitter has many benefits: you support your organization’s marketing efforts, you can use it to sell socially, you can build your personal brand, or any combination of these things. With all these benefits, I have wondered, why do some of my fellow marketing and sales professionals still struggle to gain traction on such a promising channel? Based on my first-hand observations, marketers and sales-people don’t treat their personal brand enough like a real brand. Here are four common mistakes they make when using Twitter and how to correct them: 1. They don’t pick a specific target audience This often overlooked task is actually pretty easy—just pick one or more of the top target audiences from your other channels and start from there. If you fail to properly identify your audience, your messages will not resonate with the majority of people who see it. The right message may be very different for a business audience and a consumer audience, executives and practitioners, and so on. Selecting an audience is important, because once you have identified a target audience you can address what exactly they’re looking for. Some audiences will be interested in product discounts, others in entertainment, and others in exclusive content. Having a clear idea of the audience and their wants and needs is crucial for capturing their attention. 2. They don’t create a compelling account In order to harness the true power of Twitter, you need to have the right people listening to your messages. This means that you have to be strategic about creating a highly networked account—one where you are following the right people and the right people are following you. With that in mind, I recommend you start by simply searching on Twitter for people to follow for 5-10 minutes a day, every day. Set yourself up for success by finding interesting content and contacts. Pinpoint people your target audience would be interested in, such as industry thought leaders, cultural icons, contemporary movers & shakers, and brands themselves. Next, start listening to those people by reading and engaging in their conversations for at least a few minutes per day. Begin by sharing some witty comments or valuable links and see what happens! Here you’ll learn what type of content is captivating to your core audience. It’s important to remember that Twitter is a social network, but often marketers and salespeople forget to be social on it—so, make sure you participateand listen. 3. They don’t create a logical posting plan A posting plan should be based on your overall Twitter strategy with the goal of engaging your target audience. First, you need to have business outcomes in mind for why you are using the channel to begin with. It could be for personal branding, lead generation, or customer service, to name a few. Make sure you know what the goal is! Then, determine when the target audience is listening and schedule posts accordingly. This is very important, because, according to Quora, retweets peak between the hours of 2pm to 5pm EST. If the target audience is listening during the afternoon, then why post first thing in the morning? Lastly, you should aim to create a detailed editorial calendar for your Twitter messages. This will allow you to create a series of related messages that work together in a coherent, branded pattern which makes sense to your audience. You might think “That’s just for brands”, but really an editorial calendar is for anyone who wants to be successful; often brands are. One more tip—when you post, ask for a retweet. Be explicit and actually spell out this request: “Please Retweet.” According to Fastcompany.com, you are 23x more likely to get a retweet when you do! 4. They aren’t using promoted tweets Promoted tweets are ordinary tweets that get a boost by an advertiser who wants to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers. Anyone can be an advertiser and most platforms (including Twitter) offer tutorials on how to get started. It is important to use promoted tweets regularly to ensure that messages are seen by the largest audience possible, especially your most important messages. While a regular tweet is only seen by a fraction of the target audience, promoted tweets stay at the top of the Twitter feed for an extended period of time, guaranteeing that more of your target audience (follower and non-follower) see them when they log in. This is vital for growing a Twitter account and finding new followers. Promoted tweets are also great for testing your content types, time of day, and target audience, because the advertising platform gives you data on the success of your tweets. Lastly, explore the different ad options. Once you’re familiar with the Twitter advertising platform, try out other products like promoted Twitter Cards. These types of posts allow you to embed graphics into the tweet for an eye-catching effect. So, by correcting these four mistakes, you can harness Twitter to grow your audience, reinforce your personal brand, and support your organization’s marketing efforts. And remember, always observe the activities that brands do to be successful on social media and apply them to yourself—you’ll be surprised by how often they translate. Happy tweeting! Do you have any other tips for mastering Twitter as a marketing channel? Let us know in the comments below! Jamie Lewis s a Senior Solution Consultant at Marketo and has been in the CRM and marketing automation space for over 15 years. He works closely with marketing agencies and MSPs who leverage Marketo to provide state of the art marketing services to their clients. His focus is consulting on engagement marketing strategies and best practices, in particular regarding top of funnel lead generation using social platforms.
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.
Once a week or so , we will try and share 'what's in the news' about Marketing Automation, Digital Marketing and Engagement Marketing... Maybe even Big Data too. How Marketers Can Seize the Mobile Moment CIO A new report by Forrester says marketers and advertisers cannot afford to shun mobile. People are consuming mobile content more than ever. However, only two percent of online shoppers want to see offers from brands on their mobile devices. One of the mistakes marketers make is delivering content that markets products. The smartphone is very personal, and mobile users don't want to turn their device into a billboard for advertisers. Marketers who don't heed this advice are doomed to get abysmal conversion rates. How to Create a Data-Driven Marketing Team Computer World To succeed as a data ready enterprise, companies are faced with the imperative of building a data-driven marketing team that can put massive amounts of data to work. Interestingly, the biggest obstacle to creating a data-driven culture is a lack of leadership. Most people are afraid of data and are afraid of being involved in situations where they don’t know the numbers and don’t understand how the data represents their business. 80 Percent of Marketers Will Increase Digital Budgets in the Year Ahead Direct Marketing News According to the Direct Marketing Association’s “2015 Statistical Fact Book,” four out of five marketers will increase their spend on digital this year and 45 percent will focus on social media marketing as their biggest area of opportunity. Email marketing came in second as it was seen as continuing to deliver exceptional ROI because people continued to respond positively to the commercial messages that reached their inboxes. Most importantly, 77 percent of respondents said they'd likely buy more if their mail was personalized, and 69 percent said they were willing to share more personal information in return for that relevancy.
Note: This content was provided by our Partner, Elixiter, Inc. What are Media Queries? Media queries act as a trigger for a conditional portion of CSS (cascading style sheet). They have three main components: the media type, the text expression (condition), and the styles to display if the condition is met. Let’s break down the media query into its parts: Media Type The media type has four main options: all, print, screen, and speech. For email, you will be using the “screen” option to target specific devices. Condition Think of the condition as your “if” statement. For example, “if screen size is less than 480px, then display these styles.” Your condition can be based on multiple features such as: width, height, aspect-ratio, device-width, and color. For targeting devices, you will most often use width (max or min), device-width (max or min), and device-pixel-ratio (aspect ratio). Styles The styles that you place within your media query function the same as any styles outside your media query. However, these styles will only be applied if the condition of your media query is met. Why Use Media queries? With Marketo’s lack of support for regular conditional CSS statements, many of us are required to build fixed width emails, rather than a mobile-first approach. Media queries allow us to target mobile devices, so even though we are building for desktop, our emails still render nicely on mobile devices. The most common issue with mobile emails is horizontal scrolling; the email renders too widely to fit on our devices screen all at once. This can easily be remedied with the use of media queries by making the container of our email fit to 100% of the width of our screen. Now that our email fits nicely across the width of our screen, our text appears very small and difficult to read. Thankfully, with media queries we can target and increase the font sizes used throughout the email. A more advanced use of media queries allows us stack content, and even make some content appear or disappear depending on the device. For example, loading an animation on devices that will render it, while ignoring that animation for all other devices allows for the best degradation. Proceed with Caution As with most features in email and websites, media queries are not supported everywhere. The majority of mobile device’s default email clients will support media queries, while a number of webmail apps for the different operating systems lack support for the feature. It is important to know where your clients are opening your emails to know whether or not media queries are the best fit for your email design.
Making the decision to ramp up content production and promotion is the first (and in some ways, easiest) step. There’s a LOT to do once that decision is made, and it’s important that you don’t run out of the steam midway through the effort. A good content program is a train that keeps on going, a car that needs constant refueling, the truck that keeps on trucking—okay, enough, you get the point. For content to be a successful element of your marketing, you have to come up with a plan from the get-go for how you’re going to keep this thing running. This is where most companies falter. Everyone gets really excited at first, no one really owns the who/what/when/where/how/why aspect, and suddenly you’re down to producing sporadic content when someone finally remembers you haven’t done anything in a while. Don’t let this be you. I know you can be better than that. And here, I’m going to help you with a few tips to keep you on the right track (apparently I’m full of endless transportation metaphors). 1. Establish who is / will be involved Don’t get caught in the infinite “it’s not my job” loop. Identify which team members will handle things like writing and designing the content, posting it or distributing it, and creating the follow-up funnel sequences. Make the expectations clear upfront so everyone knows who’s responsible for what. This step also helps you determine what you can handle in-house and where you might need outside help. 2. Determine who / how outside writers and resources will be managed Make sure you create a plan for this. Someone should be responsible for securing vendors, working with them, reviewing their work and generally managing the relationships as a whole. Try to keep this streamlined—it can be difficult for contractors to have to deal with several people within your organization, rather than just one point of contact. 3. Make a plan Know when, where and how content will be distributed or pushed. Be sure to create thoughtful follow-up communications where it makes sense, one that keeps content consumers in your nurture loop. 4. Create clear processes and workflows This is so important. Like, I can’t stress how important this is. You need a simple way of managing all of your content projects and all the elements involved in each one. Luckily, there are so many sophisticated solutions out there for managing content workflow, and you’ll definitely want to use one of them. At LeadMD, we really like using Kapost , which lets us manage task assignments, deadlines and even ideas for everyone involved in content projects. 5. Create a content-driven culture The people around you have great ideas for content—they just might not be thinking about it that way. Creating a content culture kind of changes your business a bit. Suddenly, interesting little tidbits become fun ideas for an infographic. A random comment could inspire a great blog post. Consistent questions from customers might make a good white paper. You never know when inspiration might strike, and you should not only encourage people to contribute ideas, but give them an outlet to do so. I mentioned Kapost before. One of the cool things in Kapost is that there’s an actual idea hub where people can contribute ideas, and the content manager can review and approve the ones that work. The road ahead might be bumpy, but with clear directions for how to get on your way, you can help ensure your new content program will never hit a dead end. (Just when you thought I was out of metaphors!)
This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. http://launchpoint.marketo.com/sprinklr/1746-sprinklr/ Landscape overview of social media content today, current challenges facing brands, tips for making your social media content stand out. Plus, articles from content marketing influencers like Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute), Jason Miller (LinkedIn), and Michael Brenner (NewsCred).
Note: This guide was provided by our partner, Cake. Topic: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. It is important for every marketer. Understanding mobile analytics is still a challenge for most companies. This white paper aims to outline the new and emerging challenges facing those hoping to monetize the incredible potential of mobile tracking techniques.
Author: Ellen Gomes According to Statista, there are approximately 1.2 million apps in the Apple App store and 1.3 million apps in the Android App store. So it’s no longer news that there is an app for everything, but it might make you wonder, “Do I need an app?” A question that’s often followed by the conundrum of what app to build, followed quickly by how to build an app and then “what’s my role in building an app?” Don’t let those questions or puzzlement be a deal-breaker or a barrier for you as a mobilemarketer. In this blog, I’ll walk you through evaluating how you can (and if you should) use an app to support your business and how to get the project moving along. Why Build a Mobile App? There are a ton of reasons, but let’s start at the top: mobile apps can support your business goal, whether it’s to extend your product, drive engagement, or support commerce. They provide an opportunity to drive deep engagement with your customers on the device that they use most (who else feels lost without their phone? I know it’s not just me…). Introducing a mobile app into your marketing plan is a critical and strategic move. It’s vital that you integrate its creation into your marketing strategy and that you’re involved in some of the technical aspects of the mobile app creation and implementation. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that the app includes multiple engagement touch-points that create a personal and relevant experience for your customers. Set Your Stakeholder Team So how do you get started? App marketing starts with creating a strategy that addresses and supports your mobile and organizational goals. The first step is evaluating whether a mobile app is right for your business, but to do that, you need to assemble a cross-functional team of stakeholders to determine whether an app will deliver the right type of value. First, you need to assemble your app team. This is often a large committee of involved stakeholders for key decisions, but you may also want to split into sub-groups focused on individual tasks. For example, maybe your engineering and user interface teams act as a sub-committee to project manage the development of your app, while marketing and sales works together to create an effective launch plan for your app. As you think about whom to include in your committee, here is a list of stakeholder groups you should consider: Executive Leadership (CMO, CEO): Supports the initiative with vision and buy-in. Marketing: Supports the initiative with go-to-market planning, app marketing strategy, and customer insights. Sales: If you have a sales team, make sure they support the initiative with customer knowledge and requests. User Interface and User Experience Experts: Support the initiative by providing app flow guidance and design expertise. Product: Supports the initiative by sharing data-based customer insights and market data. They may project manage the app build. Engineering: Supports the initiative by either building the app or helping source good developers to build your app. They may project manage the app build. Determine Your App Goals After you’ve defined your team, the next step is to reach a consensus and define your app’s goals. Defining the goals is important because it will shape how you make key decisions. To start, you and your team need to understand why you want someone to use your app. What is the purpose? The majority of apps boil down to trying to achieve one of these three goals: Acquisition: Your app provides useful functionality in exchange for the user providing contact information. These types of apps are typically promoted in the app store and via paid channels to drive downloads and subsequent sign-up. Engagement: The activities and associated actions in your app drive the user to engage with the app and your brand. These types of apps build relationships and loyalty. Conversion: The activities and actions in these apps may have components of engagement, but ultimately, they drive conversion. Get Started! Once you have determined the primary goal of your app, you and your stakeholder committee have important questions to evaluate and decide. These questions will shape how you go about the production, development, and promotion of your app. These key questions include: What type of app best fits your organization? How should you price your app? Will you design your app in-house or through an app design firm? What is your app development timeline? How will you take your app to market? How will you handle continued feedback and development of your app? I hope this gives you a good start in how to get started in evaluating if a mobile app is right for your business. Interested in learning more about creating your mobile app roadmap? Check out “A Mobile App Primer” for more info on how to get started. Have you created a mobile app? I’d love to hear about your process and how it was similar or different in the comments below.
By Sean O’Neill Many industries felt the impact of our recent financial crisis, including automotive. Traditionally an integral part of our economy and culture, car sales in once strong markets are in decline due to lack of consumer confidence and changes in the way people buy. Today, more and more people conduct research online instead of visiting car dealerships. These changes in the way people buy have affected the marketing landscape across the board, not just in automotive. With industries such as media, retail, finance, and education, the internet has changed the way people buy and has also led to increased levels of competition. As a result of this surge of information available online, the average buyer now spends more time independently researching purchases instead of visiting more traditional shop-fronts like dealerships. Today, as consumer spend is returning, consumer marketers of luxury goods must do more to attract and engage buyers and maintain loyalty with their brand. For example, one report from management consulting firm McKinsey showed that for an average automobile purchase there are now as little as 1.6 visits to car dealerships compared to the average of five visits from buyers 10 years ago. This is reflective of the challenge for marketing luxury consumer products across the board, where customers are now on multiple channels such as social, web, mobile, and email. In this environment, the physical store has become less important for information gathering. Consumer marketers now need to be wherever their customers are, not just in-store. They need to tie up all those data points and go beyond simply collecting information about potential customers to really keeping these potential customers engaged with the brand over time. To adapt to this changing market, here are three actions marketers can take to maximize the potential for growth: 1. Get Timely Data Like all marketers, those involved in leasing cars, selling insurance, and taking out contracts over several years find a lot of potential for generating new business from targeted and timely messaging. As a consumer marketer, you can align your sales and marketing process in such a way that cross-channel visits are tracked, messaging is automated, and persona-based and timely alerts are sent to sales for follow-up. The best way to do this is by using a marketing automation platform. For example, a challenge like creating an automated process to reach out to lease holders can be solved with marketing automation technology. In this case solving that challenge means that opportunities to help customers find a new car when their lease was coming to an end don’t fall through the cracks. Instead, a marketing automation platform can automatically generate a lead for each lease approaching maturity and send an alert to the account manager involved. So by using the right technologies to analyze interest and interaction and by triggering the right flow of content to engage the buyer, you can significantly increase customer retention. 2. Engage in Linked Multi-Channel Marketing Across almost all industries we see that customers use multiple devices to research and connect with products and services. This is particularly relevant when it comes to consumer-geared businesses; however, aligning a consistent message across all devices—led by insight and tracking all of that data—continues to be a big challenge. In many large organizations, there is often a hodgepodge of different tools, all operating in their own communication silos. By using a full marketing automation suite and not simply a standalone email marketing system, you will create a consolidated approach where it’s possible to connect with potential customers across all of their channels and build a profile based off of all of their interactions. Having this profile in one place helps you communicate with your audience more effectively and personally, making it more likely that they will take action and purchase. Let’s use the example of an automotive dealer. Say it wants to run a campaign targeting those who have purchased cars within a certain timeframe, interested in upgrading their vehicle. The first thing is to send some information on why it would be beneficial to change and what kind of deals they could get. If the dealer relies solely on email, then the messaging might not be consistent when the buyer visits the dealer’s website or social media pages. And if the buyer accesses the content via mobile it should be optimized for mobile. So, the best thing for the dealership to do in this case is to provide consistent and engaging messaging to the user across all of these channels, taking into account the actions they have taken previously. Without linking up all of these channels into one system, the communications will not be personalized and consistent with buyer behavior. If the buyer has received an email and then clicked on the website and then shared a picture of a car with their social network, then they should receive messaging personalized for their stage of the buyer journey. This can only be accomplished by mapping the entire journey. Here’s how this journey can be illustrated: 3. Perform Enhanced Analytics Increasingly, emerging markets are where businesses are now experiencing growth, which means they must improve segmentation by splitting their database into the most meaningful audience for each campaign and deliver more location-specific information. Behavioral data, such as understanding click-through rates, keywords, time spent per page, and repeat visits, is a vital part of creating targeted messaging. With traditional markets slowing, it is more important than ever to find ways to entice potential buyers and upsell to your existing client base. You can do this by tracking both demographic and firmographic data and understanding the value of your content not just at a first touch but at a multi-touch level. First touch attribution is great at giving an indication on campaign performance and how many potential customers have been brought in due to that campaign, but this can give misleading data in today’s world, where buyers don’t engage straight away with the business. Instead, these prospects often touch multiple channels before they engage. So only multi-touch attribution can show marketers the true value of their content on influencing deals over time. Tying It All Together There are several ways to get timely data, implement a multi-channel strategy, and monitor buyer behavior, but by providing one system of record for all of your customer engagement, marketing automation software provides marketers with an easy, centralized way to gain insight into your customer journey. By showing you which content is working for you and what can be enhanced, this will help you decide the best strategies to optimize revenue and accelerate growth for your business. How are you engaging with your customer in a coordinated, cross-channel way? Where are you struggling? Please share in the comments below.
Author: Elaine Ip Halloween has come and gone, but the fright isn’t over just yet. With its passing grows a sense of panic among consumer marketers everywhere. We are now in the busiest selling season of the year, with advertisements hitting consumers left to right. From those eagerly anticipated holiday sales to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumers are receiving floods of communication every day. What will make your message stand out from the masses? Determining how to nurture your customers is a good start, but for your message to really catch their eye, you need to have compelling content. Follow these 4 guidelines to create content that resonates with your customers : 1. Trust is a Must Without any personal affiliations with your customer, your words (in this case, your content) are what they hold you to. And nothing speaks louder than words than your actions. Make sure that your marketing strategy and activities deliver on what you promise. If you offer them a coupon, fulfill it. If your customer asks to be unsubscribed from your mailing list, remove them. If you don’t, not only will it hurt your credibility, but you’ll start to see less engagement and, ultimately, less conversions. 2. Identify Your John and Jane Doe Understand who your target audience is so you can tailor your content to be relevant, interesting, and timed specifically for them. In this new digital age, customers share their information with you and in turn expect you to use it wisely. Use the data you’ve collected to properly segment and target your audience in order to build trust and relevance. Given the upcoming holidays and my affinity for buying beauty products, Sephora has nailed this down–targeting their audience *raises hand* with the right content. On the flip side, I’ve been receiving emails lately with the subject line: Senior Apartment Listings in Your Area. Since it’s outside my demographic, you can probably imagine how annoying these have been. Impersonal and poorly timed messages make your customers question whether you even know who they are or understand them. Relevant customer nurturing is all about timing and the ability to demonstrate that you understand your customer. 3. Be in the Right Place Consumers shift across channels throughout the day. Fine-tune your customer nurturing strategy for multi-channel engagement. Remember to be mindful of the content you put out on each channel to ensure that your customer experience is optimized and personal. Customers expect their experience to be a seamless, continuous conversation across channels and it’s your job to ensure this happens. In the example below, you can see the shoe retailer Sole Society advertises their Cammila loafer to a select audience on Instagram. Then later on Facebook, their ad targeting offers me the same shoe in a different pattern. Instead, I clicked on a Business Insider article and Sole Society was there once more via another advertisement to continue the conversation with me–finally convincing me to click through to shop. One of my favorite (and most dangerous) pastimes is online shopping. There’s nothing better than having access to a plethora of inventory at just the click of a mouse. Once in a while, even if I’ve already decided to buy an item, something comes up that distracts me and I won’t follow through and check out. With multi-channel marketing, I’ll receive an email a few days later reminding me about my abandoned item. “Still thinking this over? You have some great stuff in your Shopping Bag.” Thank you Nordstrom, I think so too! Time to check out! 4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Justify your marketing spend. Your customer nurturing program needs to be measurable so that you can consistently track your progress and look for ways to improve it. Define the right set of metrics, review and adjust your nurture tracks along the way, and finally report your success. Since email is a large part of most customer nurturing programs, here are the 7 most common email metrics that you may want to track: Sent – emails that actually moved through your engagement marketing platform Delivered – emails that were sent and not rejected by a receiving server Bounced – messages that were permanently rejected (hard bounce) and messages that were temporarily rejected (soft bounce) Opened – recipients who opened (viewed) the email Clicked – subscribers who clicked on a link, button, or image within your message Unsubscribed – contacts who clicked the “unsubscribe” link in an email and then followed through to successfully opt out Marked as Spam – subscribers who reported your email as spam Take a step back and test your content on yourself. If you had received this from another company, how would you respond? Does it tell a continuous story? Would you open it and click through? Or would you unsubscribe or mark it as spam? Let’s not be biased here. By checking your content for these measures, you can ensure that your nurture campaigns aren’t going to waste. With customer nurturing, you can build effective relationships with consumers throughout their buying journey. Embrace these best practices and watch your customers move along the purchase cycle! For a comprehensive description of customer nurturing best practices, check out our Definitive Guide to Customer Nurturing. Have you seen an example of excellent customer nurturing in action? Or do you have tips to add? Please share them in the comments section below.
By: Crystal Vaughan Posted: December 15, 2015 | Modern Marketing If building a customer community for an organization were like planning a wedding and inviting guests, customer communities often are the second cousin who’s invited only when slots open up on the attendee list. But take it from me (I’m in the middle of planning my own wedding), they really should be a guest of honor. The Importance of Building a Customer Community Many companies see communities as a ‘nice-to-have’ and not as critical to the organization as sales and marketing, but the reality is that a customer community is a critical direct line to your customers and has the power to build your brand with your most powerful advocates. 2016 is the age of the customer, as the market moves at a speed not yet seen before, driven by customers’ high expectations for personalization of their journey. Businesses will need to realign and reorient their strategy specifically around the customer or risk losing out on developing and fostering a valuable channel as customers form communities of their own. During the last few months, I’ve researched and planned for the 2016 execution of an online community for Invoca. At the same time, I’ve also been planning a wedding and actively applying the lessons I’ve learned along the way to help lay a successful foundation upon which I’ll build Invoca’s community. Below, I share my advice on the three most important things I’ve learned from wedding planning that’s helped me assemble an online community proposal : 1. Get Executive Buy-In Early On While the tradition of asking the bride’s father’s permission before proposing is somewhat outdated and not as frequently used anymore, asking permission and getting buy-in is still a vital part of a community-building process. Getting internal buy-in and support is a rule of thumb within organizations as they build large initiatives. But, like a nervous fiancé about to ask permission, I bet you’re wondering: what’s the best way to set yourself up for success when you ask? Start by doing your research. Then create a project plan and define methods to measure your results—think about what success looks like for this initiative and ask yourself the hard questions you’ll likely get. Then present your plan to an executive sponsor. Their buy-in as you build an online community will help support your goals and guide you with your project plan, ensuring you stay in alignment with the overall business objectives. It will also assist with defining exactly what is being built and the importance of the initiative to the rest of the organization. 2. Customer Experience Matters Just like you have to understand your wedding guests and gauge their interest in the different elements of your wedding (did someone say photobooth?), you’ve got to gauge the level of interest your current customers would have in an online community. This may not be the main channel they are interested in actively participating on–perhaps they interact more with your brand on your blog or want instant support via chat or a Twitter account. But can you incorporate these elements into your community so they can get everything in one place? Getting consensus on what your customers want before throwing money into developing an online community should be part of your research. You want to establish a channel that supports development of the customer and helps them get value out of their current investment, while also ensuring you see a return from your investment. Establishing this type of customer experience broadcasts that you are listening to what they want and creates a strong foundation for your first interactions with them. So set up a primary channel to communicate with them and nail it. 3. You Need a Team to Bring It to Life When you’re planning a wedding, you’re either one of two brides: a bride that thinks in siloes or a bride that thinks all-encompassing. Those that think in siloes are the equivalent of marketers who have “tool bloat”, needing a decorator for wedding decor, florist for floral arrangements, and caterer for wedding menu. However, in my experience, I’ve found if you bind everything together, it’s a great way to indirectly support the main initiative. For instance, find a venue that incorporates catering, décor, lighting, floral, all in one complete package, and you’ll have an entire team working toward one main goal instead of trying to coordinate between all of them. The same goes for building an online community. Many think online communities are strictly for customer marketing, upsells and advocacy, and as such, marketing-owned. But it is much more than that–they allow for instant, unlimited communication and unparalleled networking, giving customers a chance to build stronger relationships with each other and the business. If your community is going to be a success, it needs to be rebranded internally, adopted widely and owned company-wide. Sales, marketing, customer success, product development and even finance need to work together in order for the business to have a successful community. By putting together a cross-functional team of champions, each person will be able to promote and indirectly support the online community. Aligning the goals of the community with the goals of all your organizational stakeholders is vital. When companies align the community goal across all departments, employees know to make decisions that put the customer first and are more likely to contribute to the world-class customer experience you are trying to build. Ready, Set, Plan The online customer community is often a neglected opportunity. Businesses that incorporate the launch of customer communities in their plans and immediately hire customer community managers know community is a strong driver of business value and revenue. When community is seen as an actual product of the business, organizations will invest in it because they understand that building engaged communities will keep their customers happy, which results in lower churn. Businesses that don’t incorporate communities into their plan will need to play catch up quickly in order to remain competitive in a customer dominated world. In 2016, my prediction will be that organizations will begin to reinvent themselves to focus on the value of loyal relationships and critical real-time customer engagement over resolutions and transactions. I want to invite you to join me as I traverse through the world of the online customer community (sorry, unfortunately, my wedding guest list is already at full capacity!) If you haven’t already, consider building one out yourself. It’s a great time to be a community manager! And if you’re already on top of it, leave me some feedback below on how you have built out your own community, what tips and tricks you can offer, or any other comments you may have!
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.
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.