Originally published Oct 31, 2007 9:30:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Today we released a 2008 Presidential Candidates Internet Marketing Report, which analyzes how the major candidates in the upcoming election are using Internet marketing to promote themselves. Nothing in this report or post is meant to be a political statement, so please keep the comments on marketing related issues. Below are some of the findings from the report that I thought were surprising.2008 Presidential Candidates Internet Marketing Report – 2 Mistakes the Candidates are Making Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blogging – Most of the candidates websites have blogs, usually written by staffers who talk about the campaign in general terms. But blogging is a lot more about a personal connection and discussion than preaching from the safety of an ivory tower. Only Mitt Romney uses blogging to create a personal connection with the audience. Mitt’s wife and sons frequently post to the blog, and Mitt himself even writes some entires. John Edwards and his wife and daughter do have “diaries” but the posts are very infrequent. All the other candidates are missing out on a huge opportunity to personally connect with voters – which is important.SEO – The search engine optimization performance of the candidates is pretty weak if you ask me. They have tons of inbound links, lots of people in the blogosphere who love them, and they are just not doing the things they should do to get qualified traffic from search engines. How cool of a PR stunt would it be for one of the candidates to dominate the first page of google for “President” or “Best President”. Plus, if someone is researching “war in Iraq new policy” and I were running for president, I would be pretty pissed if I was not mentioned in the search results.If you want to see an older post I wrote that inspired some of this analysis, you can read Presidential Internet Marketing – Data Comparing Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani and McCain. And again, here is a link to the full Presidential Candidate Internet Marketing Report and the Press Release about the Internet Marketing Report announcing the report and results. Did you like what you read? Want more? Get automatic updates by subscribing to our RSS Feed or Email List (top right hand side of this page).
When I started writing frequently for this blog, I thought most posts would be pretty much the same: Concise, concrete tips about how to do You’d expect the articles that got the most traffic to also get the most inbound links. But that’s only true in one case. Both metrics are important, so you need to create different types of content. Eric Hamilton to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Post small business blog. small business blog Top Posts by Page Views (Last 3 Months) small business blog The takeaway here is clear: Just like a venture capitalist or a movie studio executive, you never know which projects will be most successful on your medium or , this blog thrives on a healthy mix of content. Photo: Forget Community. Forget Conversation. Business Blogging Is About SEO. and how companies can use it to market their medium and . They thrive on their mix. Their homepages are grab-bags of news, features, videos, pictures, graphics and who-knows-what-else. Even if you have a small team working on your Twitter in Real Life: The Follow Back [cartoon] blog analytics tool WSJ.com Did You Graduate From Link Building High School Yet 6 Tips for Making a Business Marketing Video Page Views , you can post multiple types of content for your readers. All Hail The (New) Twitter Elite List State of the Twittersphere – Q4 2008 Report small business blog Inbound Links 11,270 8,768 .) . The only way to deal with such uncertainty is to create a portfolio of different posts — you gotta mix it up! Top Posts by Inbound Links (Last 3 Months) The report, the video and the cartoons are not surprising, but the others are. It’s hard to tell how these posts are any different from the dozens of others like them that we ran over the past three months. Topics: 20 Post 33 Webinar: Blogging for Business 8 Marketing Tips From An Olympic Gold Medalist Want to learn more about publishing a small business blog on your business website? There are cartoons, a big report, a viral video, how-to stories and some bigger thought pieces. Social Media Marketing Madness [cartoon] 6 Tips for Making a Business Marketing Video You can also see this by looking at the posts that succeed on this blog. Below I’ve listed our top articles over the past three months, sorted by inbound links and page views. (I pulled this data from HubSpot’s 4,137 Looking at this data, three things jump out: 21 Originally published Jan 19, 2009 8:23:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Inbound Marketing While that may be a consistent theme of posts on this blog, there is no single type of post that succeeds. Like any medium or You can see the importance of varied content on large news sites like You Oughta Know Inbound Marketing NYTimes.com (1) Lots of different types of articles. Download the free webinar 7,498 4,211 27 (3) Lots of surprises. or (2) Little overlap between the two lists. I was wrong. inbound marketing 23 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Earlier this week, you determined what organic search keywords and referring sites Finally, figure out which of your inbound links or sites that link to you frequently could ask to link to your new page. While on-page optimization and a good internal linking system are helpful to having a quality page that ranks, ultimately Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , let’s develop a plan for recovering your search traffic. You first need to select a page from your existing website to optimize for one of your fallen words, or create a new page on your site. It’s best to create a new page if you can – Adding pages to your site is crucial to increasing your search rankings, and it can make it easier to start fresh if your other pages are already ranking and getting traffic. Don’t forget that if you have a blog on your website, a blog entry could fulfill all of these items – Attractive, interesting content that is well optimized for search and inbound links. search engine strategy and guidelines Also think about your page content, because it will both help this page rank well, and give your viewers something interesting and useful to read once they’ve arrived on this page, including a call to action to one of your landing pages or offers that can bring in your lead. Photo Credit: to your page to make it rank well. Having some really great and novel content on the page that people will want to link to helps a lot here – It’s always easier to get people to link into your site if they like what you have to say. Tell us your story of your best-optimized page. How you got it to rank in the comments? For the last step that’s directly on your website, think about the other pages on your site that could link into this page. Depending on your phrase, they might be product pages, your homepage, or other particular pages on your site. Add links on those pages with the link text of your crucial keyword, otherwise this page will be like an isolated island that no one can get to. Originally published Feb 2, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: alwaysmnky First Recovering Search Traffic Plan For the keywords where your search traffic has declined, let’s create new a new page on your website optimized around each word. For tips on how to optimize a page well, there’s plenty of content available on to make sure that you hit on your website. The major things to think about are simple though: Your page title, page address, the H1 headline on the page, and the meta description for your page. Make sure that they are all around the one keyword that you’re optimizing this page for, or one or two close variations off of that word (like a plural form). Measuring SEO you’ll need inbound links
. He’s launched Project Awesome, a social media experiment to find a new job opportunity. *photo credit to EmailStatCenter.com Topics: In this episode, we chat about: Email marketing takeaways he has gained over the years A community manager needs to know how to communicate Tips on Growing your email list Community managers also have to be able to respond well to a crisis and be comfortable being on the front lines. his blog DJ is the former Director of Community at Blue Sky Factory. He’s also worked at Bronto, an email service provider. He’s a professional speaker in the social media and email marketing industry and an all around nice guy. Enjoy this episode? Check out the other 29 here. If you’re making the commitment to have an active Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn company profile, etc, then it’s time to hire someone to manage those things because you need to be all-in when it comes to social media. People can tell when you’re not making the effort (e.g., haven’t tweeted in a month). Growing Your Email list and Community Management Tips with DJ Waldow For the full transcript of the show head here: Connect With DJ Online Project Awesome Also consider how relevant your emails are to subscribers, and the timeliness of those emails. Always keep in mind what is valuable to subscribers (not just what you think is valuable). It should be a mix of marketing and educational content. . Project Awesome! There are two big things that drive the open of an email. The first is an appealing email subject (something to catch the eye of the person who’s scanning their inbox), and the second is knowing and trusting the sender. The response has been impressive, with over 6,000 views of his resume, over 600 views of the video, and over 60 people who have gotten in touch with DJ. ! A good email open rate depends on a lot of factors – if your list is segmented and targeted, if the email was just sent to the whole list, etc. The further out the person is on the purchase cycle (e.g., they haven’t bought from you in a year), the lower the email open rate. Improving Email Open Rates Only ask for essential information (email address, name, etc) from people. After people sign up, send them to a page that confirms their sign-up. Also, send them a confirmation email so they know they’re signed up. You can follow DJ on Twitter “I knew that I wanted to do write a blog post and say, ‘I’m available.’ I’ve seen people do that before. It’s interesting, but if you’re not hiring, who cares?” . Don’t hide your subscription form on your website. Make it plainly visible. his interactive resume social media and inbound marketing podcast currently on the job hunt “You want to know the number one way to grow your list? It’s to put it on your website.” – whether that’s via writing, speaking, tweeting, blog posts, webinars, etc. You need to be able to hold intelligent conversations on a variety of platforms. Email Marketing Takeaways A good place to get email marketing statistics is “If your title has social media or community in it, you have to know how to communicate.” Growing Your Email List DJ is You should only send emails to people who want to receive them. These are people who have opted in and volunteered to engage with you this way, and who are excited about it. What it takes to manage a community DJ Waldow joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s “The number that we bat around a lot is 20% as an average open rate. If you’re above 20%, you’re probably doing better than average. Below, you may want to think about it.” How to improve email open rates Email Open Rates “I think the key really is to send timely, targeted, valuable emails to people who want them. It’s easy to say. It’s not necessarily easy to do.” CSpenn “The first thing is a subject line. The second thing is trust and knowing the sender.” @djwaldow What to think about when hiring a community manager and on He put together a video montage of recommendations from heavy-hitters (like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, and Peter Shankman). He created an interactive resume. He also created a voiceover of his resume and talked people through it. Being and Hiring a Community Manager Originally published Jul 21, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 . Also, check out Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post!
As the newest marketing weapon in your social media arsenal, Google+ Pages provide businesses with yet another powerful opportunity to connect with fans, prospects, and customers, as well as promote content to generate new leads. But let’s face it: starting a brand new social presence from scratch is kind of a pain. And without an ample following, all the time and effort you put into your presence is ultimately a waste.To help you start getting the most out of your new Google+ business presence, here are 10 guaranteed ways to attract new Google+ Page followers.10 Tips for Attracting New Google+ Page Followers1. Optimize and Populate Your Page With Content First: It’s never a good idea to start promoting something before it’s truly “ready,” whether it’s a new blog, a new campaign, or a new social presence. Spend some time optimizing your Google+ page and building it up with content and posts before you start promoting your presence. This way, when new visitors land on your page, they’ll have a rich, positive experience that engages them. The best way to convince new page visitors not to add you to their Circles is to welcome them with a blank slate. Where’s the value? You need to convince them that your page offers such remarkable value that they’d be missing out by not following you.2. Promote Your Presence in Other Social Networks: Once your page is ready for prime time, use the other weapons in your social media arsenal to promote your new Google+ presence. Leverage the reach you’ve already built up on these other channels to encourage fans and followers to check out your new Google+ Page and follow you there. Chances are, if people are following you on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, they already find value in the content you’re sharing and the discussions you’re generating. This makes them great potential Google+ Page followers, too!3. Write a Blog Post About Your New Google+ Page: Speaking of leveraging your current reach in other channels, why not use your blog to promote your presence, too? Write a blog post about your new Google+ Page, what you’ll be sharing there, and why your blog readers should want to follow you.4. Make Yourself Eligible for Direct Connect: Direct Connect is one of Google+ Pages’ unique features. It allows businesses to become eligible for various search capabilities, such as being easily findable using the +[Page Name] search operator in Google.com search, as well as the ability to get Google+ Page posts pulled into organic search results. These Google+ search results are also accompanied by an option for the searcher to add your page to their Circles directly from the search results, increasing your chances of generating new page followers. While Google is currently only granting certain businesses with Direct Connect status, make yourself eligible for it by installing the Direct Connect code on your website so you’re prepared for these new features when Google releases them to all. Installing the code verifies that your Google+ page is the “official” page for your business.5. Add the G+ Follow Button to Your Website/Blog: During the Direct Connect setup process, Google+ also offers you the option to generate Google+ follow buttons (AKA badges) for your page. Take advantage of them, and install the buttons on your website and blog to help you convert website visitors into new Google+ Page followers. You can create a button for your page here.6. Encourage Current Followers to Share Your G+ Page/Posts: Remember the research HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella conducted about adding “please retweet” to your tweets? Remember how it works? Adopt this methodology for your Google+ Page and posts as well, and ask your current followers to share your page and your content with their Circles if they think it’s valuable. This will increase the visibility of your page to new Google+ users who may be interested in your content and therefore potential followers of your page, thus expanding your reach!7. Use Topic Circles to Target Content: We recently wrote about businesses that are doing creative things with their Google+ Pages. One awesome example highlighted Time magazine’s page, which is testing out the concept of ‘topic Circles’ to share more targeted content with its followers. To experiment with this yourself, post a message that you’re testing it out and ask followers to comment if they’re interested in being a part of a particular topic Circle. Then create a Circle around this topic, add the users who expressed interest (Note: You’ll only be able to add users to a Circle if they’ve already added your page to their Circles), and start sharing targeted content around that topic just to that Circle. The outcome will be that you’ll create a more personalized experience on your page that provides even more value to your followers. And a page that’s valuable will organically attract new followers!8. Share Your Awesome Content: Another way to create a truly valuable Google+ Page that naturally attracts followers is to share remarkable content — blog articles, links to landing pages for ebooks, webinars, etc. Pay attention to what types of content your followers are responding to, and adapt your strategy to include more of that content. Engage your followers in discussions by asking questions and requesting feedback.9. Be Visual!10. Leverage Hangouts: One thing we’ve learned about Google+ is that it likes to dangle awesome new features in front of us but doesn’t let many of us leverage them … yet. One of these cool features is ‘Hangouts on Air.’ Think of it as livestreaming video via Google+ (10 people can participate in the video chat, and an unlimited number of people can view the video chat). Hangouts on Air is only available for use by certain business pages, but currently, pages can leverage Hangouts without this livestreaming component, allowing 10 people to participate in a group video chat. There are a lot of creative ways to use that in itself. Consider offering an opportunity to participate in an exclusive video chat with your business’ CEO about an important industry topic (first come, first serve). Or perhaps use Hangouts to conduct focus groups with some of your fans or customers. And cross your fingers for the day when Google+ enables Hangouts on Air to all!What other tactics can you use to generate more Google+ business page followers? Oh, and … have you followed HubSpot’s Google+ Page yet? ;o) Topics: Originally published Nov 16, 2011 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Social Media Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: There have been a number of major developments in the world of online advertising recently. As inbound marketers, we know the potential of targeted advertisements and how effective they can be when positioned correctly.It’s essential to marketers to be able to effectively target, deliver, and track the variety of ads we use over all our different networks and marketing assets. With the growing demand for more sophisticated, automated, and farther-reaching ad services, a number of companies are making serious moves to give marketers what they want. This week’s marketing round-up will fill you in on what you need to know about upcoming products, and changes to existing social networks around mobile and social advertising. Facebook Prepares to Amp Up Its Ad War With Google With Atlas, From CNETThe social networking giant, Facebook, is expected to purchase an extensive ad-serving technology known as Atlas, from Microsoft. The advertising platform will be tasked with handling Facebook’s ever growing advertising empire in an effort to overthrow Google as the current king of display advertising. This purchase will allow Facebook to deliver socially powered ads outside of the social network and tap into a much larger market of advertisers.Marketers can expect this deal to bring powerfully targeted advertising capabilities fueled by social data. Facebook already owns an enormous amount of user data about who we are, who we know, and what we like. This information, coupled with an advertising platform with the ability to reach an audience beyond the social network, will allow advertisers to utilize social data for targeting visitors on popular sites.For now, Facebook won’t be able to tap into the full potential of its upcoming purchase. The level of integration required to connect the social network and Atlas is quite complicated. It could take months or even years before Facebook can provide marketers with a truly desirable tool that offers wider distribution and improved targeting. To learn more, read the full story at CNET.Twitter Prepping Bigger Ad Play, From Ad WeekWith social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn offering ad APIs of their own, Twitter has decided to jump on the display advertisement bandwagon. Twitter will be turning up the heat on its advertising platform by introducing its new ad API this quarter. The product will allow brands to create and run a variety of ads in a more automated and sophisticated manner, like they would on Facebook. Twitter has been busy promoting its ad API to a number of agency execs and social ad firms in preparation for its launch.The launch of its new ad API will open up a new stream of revenue and attract a huge number of new advertisers to the social network. Marketers will be able to use Twitter to run targeted ads with a wider reach across the social network. With Twitter’s plans to go public this year, the potential growth in revenue and user activity will bode well for them. One issue that Twitter may run into? The new ad API could over-saturate the social network with new ads that overwhelm its users. In the past, Twitter has been very careful about the number of ads that populate a user’s stream. This may become increasingly more difficult as it opens up its network to new advertisers. Read the entire article on AdWeek to learn more.Social Authority: A Measure of Twitter Influence, From SEOmozSEOmoz has recently announced the release of “Social Authority,” their new metric for determining the influence of Twitter users. Social authority’s metrics are based on the number of retweets a user receives. The metrics give users a number of features that include ordering all active Twitter users by influence, dissecting your social graph, and finding new followers who are most important. The score is broken into three core components:The retweet rate of a few hundred of the measured user’s last non-@mention tweetsA time decay to favor recent activity versus ancient historyOther data for each user, such as follower count, friend count, and so onAccording to SEOmoz, retweets are a scarce commodity and represent the universal social networking concept of circulating someone else’s content to your own networks. Whether or not social authority will prove to be the determining metric for social influence on Twitter, it will still be a beneficial metric for marketers to keep an eye on. Head over to SEOmoz for more information on social authority.Free Ebook: How to Attract Customers Using Twitter and VineWith Twitter making some serious additions to its social empire, marketers have to wonder if they’re prepared to utilize the full power its latest and greatest features. One of Twitter’s most mention-worthy additions is its new video sharing community, Vine. With the ability to shoot and share any variety of six second long videos, marketers have been eagerly tapping into this new social network. Luckily, we’ve been working hard to keep marketers in the know, and have updated our popular Twitter ebook with the tips and tricks you’ll need to know to dive right into Vine. Make sure you’re not caught off guard, and have the knowledge you need to adapt your strategy to the ever changing world of social media. Download the free ebook here to stay up to date.Salesforce Alums Raise $3 Million to Bring Analytics to Stores, From MashableIt’s no secret that brick and mortar retailers sometimes lack the tools they need to track and nurture their customers like online retailers are able to. Marketers for e-retailers can tap into a number of metrics to ensure their marketing is working. That’s why it’s pretty cool that a company called Nomi is stepping up to the plate and offering brick and mortar retailers a solution to this problem. Nomi has created a platform designed to “track customers’ movement across online, mobile, and in-store channels.” The company was founded by three Salesforce alums in August of 2012, and has raised $3 million in funding from various investors to get the product off the ground. Nomi’s product will be set up by retailers using an existing internet infrastructure and pick up wi-fi signal from smartphones to track the time spent per visit, frequency of visits, type of mobile device, and percentage of passersby that enter the store. As Nomi continues to develop its product over the next few months, they will be working on integrating the product with apps from several major retailers. Not only does Nomi promise to deliver a better shopping experience for consumers, but it should provide marketers with great insight into their target audience so they can better tailor their marketing and advertising content. Catch the full story at Mashable.HubSpot’s Weekly Marketing Update Podcast With Mike VolpeInterested in hearing what the CMO of HubSpot has to say about the stories in this week’s round-up? Check out our Marketing Update podcast below. You can also subscribe to this weekly podcast through iTunes … you know, to start your week off right, with some amazing insight into the world of inbound marketing!What other stories from the past week were interesting to you as an inbound marketer? Share with us in the comments!Image credit: jbcurio Twitter Updates Originally published Feb 17, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
The sales connect is the most transferrable skill to master. If you master the connect, you can begin mastering so many other important life skills — sorority rush, dinner party schmoozing, networking events, and even the first date.In sales, the connect is your opportunity to make that first impression on your prospect — the first time that you’re catching someone live on the phone. And the last thing you want is for it to be the last time. So, what should you say?Free Download: 101 Sales Qualification QuestionsA connect call is about getting to know your prospect. Think about when you meet someone new at a dinner party — the first conversation you have is about introductions and learning the basics without being overbearing or creating a tell-all confessional too soon. Similarly, in the sales world, we use a connect call in order to begin understanding whom we’re talking to, what she cares about, and whether we have anything in common that we can get value out of discussing. We ask questions to find out what she’s working on, how that fits in with her company’s greater business goals, what’s tough about her day, whether that’s something we can help with, and whether she even wants anyone’s help in the first place.The goal of a connect with any person is to strike up a good conversation, get to know what makes them tick, and walk away knowing whether you want to continue that conversation at a later point in time. The goal of a sales connect call is exactly the same, with an added emphasis on determining whether there’s any way you can help a prospect with a need that her business has prioritized addressing.A Few ClarificationsBefore we jump into the methodology for running a sales connect, it may be helpful to describe some common pitfalls that should not find their way into your connects. OR … before discussing what a connect actually entails, let’s highlight what it should never become.The connect is NOT an opportunity for an elevator pitch. Remembering this takes discipline, because many times the prospect will insist that you provide one. If the prospect asks you for a high-level sale, give them a high-level overview instead. Resist the urge to talk about your product for 20 minutes straight. Practice conveying what you do in 2 sentences or less; then learn how to pivot back into your intended playbook.Secondly, this is NOT an opportunity to budget-qualify someone as quickly as possible. There are no shortcuts in a strong and thorough sales process, so I’d encourage you to over-invest in the front end of the sales process here. The last thing you want to do is to pass on a potentially qualified opportunity because you’re trying to cut to the chase too quickly. How would you feel if you met someone at a party and they asked you what your salary is within the first few minutes of conversation? Keep that in mind, and don’t jump the gun.The Connect Call PlaybookThe art of the connect is to uncover a prospect’s pain points and determine whether there’s any way you can help address these struggles. This is achieved through a combination of expressing genuine interest, active listening, and abiding by the guidelines in the following playbook:1) SalutationsKeep your introductions short and sweet: “Hi, this is Dannie calling you from HubSpot.” (PAUSE)A brief pause after stating your company name allows you to gauge your prospect’s reaction to/familiarity with your company. Does he sound happy to hear from you? Does he recognize your company name? Does he sound like he’s anticipating a sales pitch?2) Address ResistanceWhen you’re calling someone who’s not expecting your call, her natural reaction is to feel guarded. She is assuming you’re calling with an agenda, and will often be eager to get off the phone. Addressing resistance allows us to earn permission to continue the conversation, despite this initial reaction. Try the strategy of ‘going negative’ on a prospect from the very outset of the phone call by saying something like “sounds like I caught you at a bad time.” Nine times out of 10, they’ll swoop in to save you and insist that now is actually an okay time. At that point, you’ve earned yourself permission to continue the conversation.3) Leverage Past Prospect ActivityHow did you find this prospect? Had she downloaded a whitepaper from your company’s website? Use the prospect’s recent actions as a conversation starting point: “I noticed that you downloaded our ebook on XYZ best practices. What were you looking for help with when you stumbled upon that ebook? What’d you think of it?” By referencing something the prospect has done, you are creating relevancy and are showing her that you’ve done your research and reminding her that she was, indeed, looking for help with something your company created content around. 4) Build RapportBe a human first, and a salesperson second. Your prospect’s day may be extremely monotonous, and your phone call should be an opportunity to liven it up. Spend some time building rapport by bonding about anything you can find in common (and do your very best to find some unexpected commonality that’s more creative than today’s weather). If you have your prospect’s website open, look at what city they’re located in. Have you traveled there recently? Did you go to any fun restaurants while in town? Did you notice anything particularly charming about the architecture? Did your prospect grow up there or relocate for work? Have some fun getting to know the stranger on the other end of the phone. The more you can establish some sort of commonality, the easier it will lower the prospect’s guard and ask some probing questions down the road.5) Gather ContextNow that you’ve built some rapport with the person on the other end of the line, take the opportunity to naturally segue into some questions about their business and their job role. Here’s an example: “So like I said, I’m on your website, and now I’m checking out your services page. Looks like your company specializes in XYZ services, is that right? What’s your role at the company? How long have you been there? Are you liking it? Interesting — so what does your day typically entail? Does your company focus on selling to any specific industry verticals? Interesting — how’d you choose those?”The more context you have, the better you can paint a picture of the world your prospect is operating in. Who do they like doing business with? Can you help get them in front of businesses like that? You need to be able to visualize as much of their business context as possible in order to choose which positioning statements have the best chance of resonating with them — and in order to keep the rest of our conversation as relevant as possible to their priorities.5) Introduce Positioning Statement(s)The purpose of a positioning statement is to make your prospect say, “That’s me. How did you know?”Positioning statements help you show your prospects that you understand their pain points. You’re showing them that you’ve been around the block and that you’ve seen similar companies go through similar struggles. The implication is that you’ve found a way to help them through that struggle. This should pique a prospect’s interest and convince them that they could learn from you. Here’s an ad-lib example: “A lot of time, when I talk to companies like yours, they’re really good at ________, but they struggle to ________ for the following reasons: _____, _____, or _____.”Positioning statements are not one-size-fits all, and it’s all too possible that the one you tried out doesn’t resonate with the prospect. Have a list of three to four different positioning statements on hand, and use them as a chance to do two things: 1) show active listening by paraphrasing their current situation as they described it, and 2) determine whether they can relate to scenarios you’ve helped similar companies address. Use tie-down questions at the end of a positioning statement to determine whether you’ve successfully identified a pain point worth digging into. For example: “Can you relate to that? How so?” Now it’s time for the prospect to do some more of the talking.6) Dig Deeper Into Pain PointsWhile positioning statements may lead the prospect to certain conclusions, short, open-ended follow-up questions allow prospects to continue the conversation and articulate their struggles in their own words. The shorter the question, the more freedom you provide your prospect for putting things in her own words. Here are some good ones: “How so? Tell me about which part of that statement resonated with you. Is that a big problem? Do you have a plan to fix this? Do you think that’ll work?”Asking an open-ended question after you hear a prospect affirm that a positioning statement resonated with her allows her to open up and do some talking about her challenges. This helps paint a picture of the context they’re operating in, and allows you, the salesperson, to start getting a better idea of how you may be able to help the prospect.7) Validate Desire for Help”That’s something that I’ve helped a lot of similar companies overcome. If that’s something we could give you some guidance about, would you be open to receiving and implementing our help?”Use a soft tie-down to make sure that you’re not about to spin your wheels providing unsolicited advice in follow-up calls or meetings. You will be using different forms of tie-downs throughout the sales process to confirm that whatever you’re about to help the prospect with is a top priority to invest time and money into, and this is your first shot at getting this affirmation.If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can even ask the prospect what’s held him or her back from getting any help up until now. This will begin to help answer the critical question: “Why now?”8) Suggest Concrete Next StepsBe specific here. Set expectations properly. If you operate on a monthly sales cycle, encourage the prospect to take a follow-up call that same week. If you’re going to set up a GoToMeeting for your next phone call but don’t intend to demo your product, make sure the prospect knows what you do plan to cover during the next call and why that will ultimately be valuable for him. Try this: “I hope this conversation was valuable to you. Do you want to schedule some time on Thursday of this week to dig a little deeper into what you’re hoping to achieve within this facet of your business? That can give us a better opportunity to mutually assess if and how we might be able to help.”See what you did there? You reminded the prospect that this conversation was about him, not about you. You set expectations about what you’ll cover during the next call. And even more importantly, you pointed out that sales is a two-way street, and that both parties should be mutually assessing one another to determine if it’s a good fit.Practice Makes PerfectThe more you practice the connect playbook, the more you’ll realize that every connect call can really follow a similar methodology. If you’re nervous about trying it out on a prospect first, then try applying the connect playbook to a real-life situation as you’re making new friends or forging new business connections. When you’re ready to practice the connect in a sales setting, use this methodology to structure your notes. Are there parts that you find yourself repeatedly leaving blank? That’s probably an area that feels a little less comfortable for you, and therefore an area that’s worth doubling down on during practice. No two connect calls will ever be exactly the same, but mastering a repeatable structure should make every new sales job a little bit easier.Have some tactics that have worked for you? Disagree with any part of this methodology? Share your comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 21, 2013 6:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Inbound Sales (Marketing) Topics:
Topics: Customer Delight The inbound methodology is focused on three principles: attract, engage, delight.At its core, the inbound experience is a customer-focused way of doing business that is centered on helping people and solving their problems in the ways they want them to be solved. Marketing and Services drive the “attract” stage that draws customers to your business. Marketing and Sales then “engage” the lead and motivate them to convert. Finally, Sales and Service complete the flywheel by delighting the customer with a great purchase and fantastic customer support.Sounds simple, right?Well, not quite. In a truly successful inbound organization, customer “delight” is everyone’s responsibility — not just those people your customers may come into contact with after buying something from you.The concept of delight — providing a remarkable experience to users that focuses on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand — isn’t just limited to customers. Great inbound companies focus on delighting potential and existing customers from their very first interactions with the organization — and you should, too.Start solving for the customer today with these 17 templates. Customer Delight DefinitionCustomer delight is exceeding a customer’s expectations to create a positive customer experience with a product or brand. By going above and beyond to create a memorable customer experience with things like discounts, gifts, promotion, or spontaneous outreach to your customers, you can foster an emotional connection and sense of good-will that will make them more likely to be loyal to your brand long-term.Creating an inbound experience whose goal is both pre- and post-sale customer delight can be a competitive advantage for many businesses because happy customers stick around longer than those who have a neutral or negative experience. Simply put, customer delight is to please your customer. Sounds easy, right? But in the context of business, how do you really please someone?In such a competitive modern business world, you can’t afford not to make your customers happy. It’s easier than ever for your customer to switch using products or services if you don’t meet their expectations, and they can publicly share their negative feedback about their experiences on platforms like social media, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Their expectations are tougher than ever, and their recommendations to family and friends are the difference between your business growing or struggling.In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses 6-7x more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But despite that fact, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations The writing is on the wall: Successful inbound organizations don’t just focus on attracting qualified visitors, converting them into leads, and closing them into customers. Instead, they aim to provide an all-encompassing remarkable inbound experience for potential and current customers, too.We advocate for doing four things consistently well during the customer’s experience to delight them and keep them coming back:Answering their questionsSolving their problemsHelping them reach their goalsBeing enthusiasticDo you do all four of these things exceptionally well, across every single interaction a person has with your business? These delight moments can range from someone visiting your blog, to someone checking out your website’s pricing page, to chatting with a salesperson, to figuring out how to use your product for the first time, to asking for help using your product, and everything in between.Customer success is all about helping customers see value in your product to help them achieve their goals. So think of customer delight like this: how can you best, most effectively provide value to someone so that they can extract value?Creating a great customer experience means that you’re building trust with people so that they stay loyal to your brand and products for a long time. You build trust with people by consistently making the people you’re here to serve successful. Let’s discuss the four must-haves to delighting and building trust with your customers.How to Delight Your CustomersSolve customers’ problems.Be timely.Be helpful.Help customers succeed.Listen to customer feedback.Be enthusiastic.Be unexpected.Build a community. 1. Solve customers’ (and potential customers’) problems.The first (and perhaps most important) thing your organization needs to do is solve the problems your potential and current customers bring your way. Offering your customers a solution to the problem they face or a way to achieve the goal they’re working towards is, after all, why they’ve come to you in the first place — so don’t leave them hanging. Offer your customers the solutions that most align with their individual wishes, needs, and preferences.The same goes for prospects. Even though they aren’t paying customers just yet, potential customers require that you solve their problems as well. You can use free tools like chatbots and a knowledge base to address this customer segment without making a major financial investment.The reasoning here is multifold and gets back to the golden rule: help people and they’ll help you. If you can prove to your prospects that you’re trustworthy and effective when they’re not yet even paying, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with your organization down the road. All that goodwill generated pre-sale goes a long way towards easily transforming customers into positive promoters post-sale.2. Be timely.A critical aspect of solving problems is responding to them ASAP when they crop up, so a big component of customer delight is being available and responsive whenever they reach out. Whether the issue is big or small, show your customers that you’re prioritizing them by responding quickly. Even if you can’t solve the issue right away, letting them know that you’re working on it or escalating it will give your customers confidence that you’re their advocate.Adopting a customer relationship management software, or CRM, is a great way to start managing customer interactions. Using a CRM, you can record and log emails, as well as set up reminders to follow up with clients. Tools that are set up for conversational marketing can sync your customer service cases to your CRM. This allows you to keep pace with all customer communications and provide a more delightful customer experience.3. Solve for the present and the future.Solving your prospects’ and customers’ problems is great in the short term, but what will happen next time they encounter a similar problem or are looking to accomplish a related goal? Going beyond just solving peoples’ problem and handing over information helps them deal with similar challenges down the road.Empowering both potential and existing customers with education, making recommendations, and helping them succeed are essential to building an inbound experience at your organization. For example, HubSpot offers an academy program that provides free inbound and product lessons for its customers. The benefits of enabling people to reach their goals and solve their problems instead of just arming them with facts are far-reaching for both your organization and the individual themselves.If your prospects and customers get a constant, positive reminder of your company each time they use your advice and recommendations, your company will become known as a helpful, remarkable organization that customers want to do business with. You can achieve this by writing blog posts, sharing tips on social media, and creating a self-service knowledge base.4. Help customers succeed.Make sure you understand why people are buying your product or service so that you can figure out how to help them succeed. By understanding what people need from a product or service, your team can exceed customer expectations. Creating buyer personas and mapping customer journeys are two effective ways to build this type of focus on customer success. You need to be constantly innovating your products, your processes and the overall customer experience to truly delight people. Innovation can be large-scale, like a new product or a whole new way to get help with your product. It can also be on a smaller scale, like how you train new employees to handle customer questions or the content formats you’re using to help people see value in your product.The other thing you need to be focused on doing well is providing education to people and communicating with people in a way that gets them answers to questions and solutions to problems. You should also be helpful the way your customers want to achieve their goals — whether that’s through multichannel customer service options or a self-service knowledge base.5. Listen to customer feedback.It can be tough to take critical feedback, especially if it’s coming from a customer you’ve built a relationship with. But sometimes the feedback from a customer you’ve known a long time can be the most valuable.So if a customer comes to you with a complaint, or even if they come to you ripping you and your company apart, take a breath, don’t take it personally, and listen closely to what’s behind the complaints. Remember, your customer has likely paid your company a lot of money over the time you’ve worked together, so when things break or go wrong, they want the inconvenience to be understood and acknowledged with empathy — and maybe with a discount or kind note thanking them for their patience.One way to effectively manage difficult feedback is to provide automated software to collect it. Customer feedback software allows you to create and customize surveys that can be linked to the customer’s record in the CRM. This gives your customer service team time to research the customer’s history with your company, and come up with an effective response before reaching back out. 6. Be enthusiastic.Make sure that in every interaction with potential and current customers, your company’s voice is enthusiastic, fun, and welcoming. Precisely what ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘fun’ mean for your organization depends on your particular business and industry, but the take-home message is this: if you want to create an inbound experience that truly delights, don’t be a dictionary — instead, provide a real, warm, personalized, human interaction that respects your user’s time and leaves them happy, satisfied, and educated.7. Be unexpected.If you want your company to stand out from its competitors, then it needs to make a lasting impression on your customers. While your primary goal is to solve the customer’s problem, you can create a memorable experience by giving the customer more than what they initially anticipated. Customers expect to see their needs fulfilled, but are truly delighted when your team goes above-and-beyond in the customer experience. You can do this by personalizing each customer interaction, and ingraining a customer-centric culture within the company. For example, personalization software can be used in emails and on web pages to make content feel like it was designed for an individual user. By creating one-of-a-kind customer experiences, your business has a better chance of improving overall customer loyalty.8. Build a community.People enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community or group. Your company can supplement this positive feeling by creating a user community that benefits your customers. This community can be used as a resource for sharing useful information or act as a medium for users to submit customer reviews. By fostering a space for customers to interact with one another, your business is adding value to the customer experience both before and after the purchase. When considering a purchase, customers primarily trust other customers, so they can use this sponsored community forum to help guide their decisions.Take HubSpot’s community for example, where HubSpotters can post and share questions about different HubSpot products. HubSpotters are great at finding unanticipated uses for certain tools, and often share these discoveries on the forum for other users’ benefit. HubSpot’s engineers love this as well because they use this feedback to guide product development for future add-ons.To learn more, read our ideas for demonstrating customer appreciation. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 13, 2019 6:02:00 PM, updated February 19 2019
846Save Social Media Engagement Originally published Feb 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: You know by now that posting on social media is one of the best ways to amplify the awesome content you’re creating. But it isn’t enough to simply post content to social whenever you feel like it.Think about it: Is your audience spreading their time spent on social media equally throughout the day? Of course not. Every social network has higher and lower traffic times throughout an average day and an average week. Posting strategically at higher traffic times will help drive traffic to the content you’re sharing on social.Download our free social media content calendar template here to plan the timing of all your social media posts.So, when are the best times to post to each of your favorite social networks? Check out the infographic below from QuickSprout to learn when to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+846Save
Originally published Apr 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketing Metrics The internet has an infinite amount of benefits, but one in particular that has wholly disrupted business operations. See, the world wide web allows for equal and fair access to websites, which means that startups and small businesses are essentially on an equal playing field with their big box competitors when it comes to ecommerce.This makes for a monumental advantage when it comes to smaller ecommerce shops. Through an easy checkout process, excellent customer service and a smooth delivery experience, startups and small businesses can oust competitors who have long been household names.This is exactly what Warby Parker did, ousting Luxottica, or what Rent the Runway did, ousting David’s Bridal, among others.Of course, as legacy brands become more and more educated to the power of ecommerce, their large budgets follow. And, more often than not, those budgets are going toward analytics platforms that help these brands optimize for repeat customers and quickly notify them to what is working on their sites and what is just sitting in inventory.In other words, legacy brands do have a leg up on smaller retailers when it comes to ecommerce and it’s in the amount of intelligence they are using to drive conversions and increase revenue.That said, data and analytics should be democratized throughout the ecommerce space, and no, Google Analytics isn’t enough. Your big box competitors aren’t simply monitoring new and repeat visitors, or from where their web traffic comes. No, they are using enhanced ecommerce analytics to push visitors down a purchase funnel from the moment they land on the site.Below, the top metrics these retailers are using and how you should be using them, too.Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC)Before customers can begin purchasing on your site, you need to get them there first. Big box brands have an advantage here in that they have marketplace name recognition. In other words, people will simply type their name into Google and land on their page.For smaller retailers, you’ll likely need to spend some cash to get your target customers to your site. The cost of acquiring a customer metrics, or CAC, reveals how much money you spend throughout the acquisition funnel, from creating an ebook or promoting a post on Facebook, to having a visitor come to your site because of the ebook or promotion, all the way through to their finding a product they like and finally checking out.The cost of customer acquisition is the amount of money you have to spend to get one customer. The lower the cost of acquisition, the better: i.e., you always want your cost of acquisition to go down. As a quick example, your CAC is $40 if you need to spend $200 to get five visitors to buy on your store.You may employ different techniques to bring in those visitors — SEO, paid ad campaigns, high-quality content, social media — but all of them cost you either in terms of money or time.There are a lot of factors that affect your cost of customer acquisition, but it is important to get an accurate number here. As a best practice, you should always try to find marketing outlets that lower your CAC valuation.Conversion RateOnce your store gets traffic, you need to see how many visitors are buying. Conversion rate reveals just that.Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who end up buying from your store. The higher the conversion rate, the better. When it comes to conversion rate, you always want it to be going up. As a quick example, your conversion rate is 2% if 2 out of 100 visitors buy from your store. According to this recent Marketing Land article, one way to improve conversion rate is to add video to a majority of your product pages; retailers adding video reported conversion rates close to 9%.There are hundreds of articles out there on how to improve conversion rates –– because it is just that important. There’s so much emphasis on conversion rate because it directly affects your business’s bottom line. Regardless of how much effort you spend on driving traffic to your store, if most visitors don’t end up buying, it’s all wasted. That said, it’s really important to make sure you know what your conversion rate is at all times and keep tabs on whether it’s improving and if you should stay the course or not.Shopping Cart AbandonmentWhen your conversion rate is low, you need to understand how many visitors had an inclination to buy. To do this, you’ll want to examine your store’s cart abandonment. This metric indicates the percentage of visitors who added products to their shopping cart but did not complete the checkout process. The lower your cart abandonment rate, the better. As a quick example, your shopping cart abandonment is 75% if 75 out of 100 visitors with a cart leave without buying.Cart abandonment is the closest you come to earning real customers before they leave your site. Adding to the cart typically indicates an intent to purchase. The fact that they leave without buying means you lost potential customers. It gets especially bad if you paid a lot of money to get these visitors to your store. Making sure your cart abandonment is low is key to improving your conversion rate.Average Order ValueYou should monitor how much money each order brings in to see how much revenue you can generate. That’s what AOV tells you.This is the average size of an order on your store. The higher the average order value, the better. For example, your AOV is $35 per order if you made $140 from 4 orders.By monitoring AOV, you can figure out how much revenue you can generate from your current traffic and conversion rate. Being able to predict revenue is a big deal for any business. If most of your orders are really small, that means you have to get a lot more people to buy in order to achieve your target. It’s important to have at least a few high value orders so that your overall average is on the higher side.ChurnIf your LTV is low, it could be that many of your customers buy once and never return. This is measured by what is referred to as “churn.”Churn is the percentage of your customers who do not come back to your site. The lower the churn, the better. For example, a churn rate of 80% means 80 out of 100 customers do not come back to buy from your store.As we have seen, to ensure a high profit, it’s important to influence your customers to keep coming back to purchase. That means you want your churn to be low so that once you acquire a customer, they continue to come back and purchase again and again. Lower churn means higher LTV and a healthier business overall.Once you start measuring your ecommerce store performance and using data to drive your business decisions and strategies, you’ll be well on the way to enterprise-level success! No big box retailer takes action without measuring the impact and neither should you. Monitor your metrics, pivot when and where necessary and make the most of your both your time and money in order to build a successful brand.