Are You Tuned In? Marketing Insights From An Amazon Bestseller

first_img do Originally published Jul 2, 2008 9:13:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 on September 8 in Cambridge, MA. :  Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs Seems I’m not the only one that liked the book.  “Tuned In” climbed the charts to #1 last week and is New Rules of Marketing and PR .  That’s impressive. David recently co-authored a new book: 16.  Ask yourself:  Is the problem you are solving urgent?  Is it pervasive in the market?  Are buyers willing to pay to have this problem solved? For those that follow this blog, you know we’re big fans of David Meerman Scott.  We think his best-selling book ” David Meerman Scott useful 12.  Nothing important happens in the office; the answer you’re looking for is outside your building.  Go talk to potential buyers. you increase your chances of building a runaway success of a business?  in the Amazon Top 100 bestsellers.  Not in the business category, but 15.  Data trumps opinion every time. 1.  The tuned in company constantly listens, observes, and understands the problems that buyers are willing to pay money to solve. So, my advice is to go read ” 13.  Don’t use your salespeople for conducting buyer interviews.  Great sales people are great at sales — not necessarily figuring out what How In the meantime, I have captured some of the key points from the book that I found particularly useful.  Apologies if some of them don’t make the most sense out of context (did the best I could while still being reasonably pithy). 6.  Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.  8.  Communicate directly with your potential customers.  It’s hard to get “tuned in” if there’s someone in the middle. .  And, it addresses a question I have struggled with for years:  will Tuned In 5.  Existing customers frame their view of your future based on incremental improvements to their 2.  From the makers of the market-leading “Victor” brand of mouse-trap on the failure of a new “better mouse-trap” they launched to beat the Victor:  “We should have spent more time researching housewives, and less time researching mice.” Tuned In Building A “Tuned In” Business 18.  Tuned in companies think like a publisher and create compelling online content. speak live at the Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Inbound Marketing Summit 11.  Semantics can make a difference.  Disney does not build rides, it “creates adventures”.  It calls employees “cast members”.  They wear “costumes”, not uniforms.  They serve “guests”, not customers.  3.  Focusing on your competitors is a tit-for-tat game that rarely produces a market leader.  4.  Your existing customers represent a small percentage of your opportunity, they have different market problems than non-customers.  “. sell.  14.  Absent any real data, conference rooms are just full of opinions. experiences. You can see still 7.  Don’t assume that because you’re an expert in a market or industry you know more than your buyers about how your product can solve their problems. overall 10.  You don’t have to be the first to identify a market opportunity.  The founders of Intuit (makers of Quicken) joke about having had the 47th mover advantage. 17.  It is too easy to build marketing programs around what the organization wants to say rather than what the buyer wants to hear. If you’ve read the book or have comments on some of the above points, please leave a comment and extend the conversation.  — ” is a must-read for all modern marketing mavens.  past I had the opportunity to review an early draft of the book several months ago (I read it on my last trip to Mumbai, India).  It was riveting.  And, I’m not just saying that because David is an advisor to HubSpot (which he is) or because he mentioned HubSpot in the book (which he did — thanks David!) but because the book is insightful and 9.  Most businesses try to buy their way in with expensive advertising or beg their way in by convincing media to write about them.  Be different.  Say something useful and interesting.last_img read more

Read More

5 Marketing Lessons From the First Inbound Marketing University

first_img Download HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training program IMU includes 11 free webinar classes and note sheets . The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Earlier this summer HubSpot, along with ten fantastic professors and eight stellar partner organizations , hosted the first Inbound Marketing University .This free series of 11 webinar classes helped folks make professional contacts, find new job opportunities, and learn skills to better themselves at their current marketing jobs.In total, we provided 13,000 hours of free class time, 1,000 people took an inbound marketing certification exam at the end of the classes, and there are now 500 Inbound Marketing Certified Professionals around the world. In the process of organizing IMU, I learned a series of new marketing lessons myself. Here are a few of the most important ones: 1) Partner with stellar organizations to increase promotional reach. When we started organizing the class topics for the program, we contacted the best-of-the-best for each subject. By inviting thought leaders on each topic, the program had the best possible content, increasing program value. Partners valued the opportunity to internact with a large audience passionate about marketing, and helped expand this audience with their own networks. 2) Do everything you can to enable interaction among participants. We did this by creating a hashtag ( #IMU ), setting up a ” Student Bulletin Board ,” and encouraging people to ask and answer questions in the InboundMarketing.com Forums . We also wanted to add value by helping them grow their own networks, while creating a resource where folks could ask questions and help each other out. 3) Have personal contact with your community. I feel like I personally got to know a lot of the folks who participated in IMU, and they got to know me. Adding a personal touch added to the community and enhanced the experience overall. In the event that people had feedback, questions or wonderful compliments, they felt comfortable enough to tell me directly. 4) Listen and integrate your participant’s ideas. A few days into the first program, a handful of folks mentioned on Twitter that they would love a LinkedIn group exclusive to IMU students and alumni , which was something I hadn’t even considered! Folks also chimed in with great feedback on how to improve the PDF certificate. Thanks to the great suggestions from the first class, IMU2 should be even better. 5) Offer an opportunity for participants to learn about your company, but don’t push it. At the end of the first IMU program, we invited students to another webinar that taught how folks could implement their new inbound marketing skills with the HubSpot software . Some attended the webinar; some sent the invitation along to a friend; and some appreciated the invitation but chose to pass. Very few found the invitation pushy. They already knew that we had organized and provided IMU, and they appreciated the value the program gave them. That’s true inbound marketing! And now I invite you to attend the new IMU2 program yourself! Visit http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university to register for the new live webinars and/or take the inbound marketing certification exam.IMU2 will include two fantastic new classes — one taught by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications and one by Laura (@ Pistachio) Fitton, co-author of Twitter for Dummies . (You also can catch up on the webinars from IMU1 anytime you want .) So, what do you think? What marketing lessons have you learned–or would you like to learn–from Inbound Marketing University? Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training Program Originally published Aug 5, 2009 8:01:00 AM, updated October 20 2016center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

Why Controlled Content Loses and Free Content Wins

first_img force DVD renters to watch movie trailers?  Is 2010 the year to start clamping down on the distribution and availability of your content?  In a world that gives movie enthusiasts a plethora of ways to view movies, some legal and some illegal, I would argue; “no”.  .  Thank you for helping to make the world just slightly worse. Content Marketing Warner Brothers decided they wouldn’t just settle for a degraded user experience, they also wanted to make inroads in decreasing the distribution of their product.  Back in January, Warner successfully executed an agreement with Netflix (a company that has experienced huge success by making it easier to rent DVDs) that prevents Netflix from renting Warner movies until four weeks after they have been released.  A similar deal was signed in February with another innovator in the movie distribution space, Redbox, also preventing them from renting movies until four weeks after the initial release. night when a Warner Brothers marketer decided to deliberately and abruptly interrupt me.  After hitting “play” to watch the movie seems to think that is a dumb trend and is headed in the opposite direction. I sat down with my wife to watch a rented movie on Friday The DVD business is struggling right now.  According to the I would also like to give a special shout-out to Philips for inventing the technology specifically designed to prevent you from skipping DVD ads, patented here: Fine, I figured I would just skip the trailers one-by-one by pressing the skip chapter button; “cannot operate”.  Some swearing ensued followed by a desperate attempt to outsmart the DVD by ejecting the disc and then restarting it while pushing the menu buttons really fast.  No dice.  The only thing I could do was play each trailer at 3x speed, one-by-one, as each new trailer would put an end to my fast forwarding.  There is nothing more emasculating than not being able to control your own DVD player. , instead of South African rugby I was greeted with a barrage of unskippable movie trailers. Then in March, Warner Brothers decided to embrace the least innovative movie distributor in the space, Blockbuster, by actually signing a new contract allowing them to continue to rent DVDs immediately after they are released.  It’s almost as if they noticed that Blockbuster lost $435 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and thought: maybe we shouldn’t hurt the people who distribute our product. Is it really good for business to , first quarter of 2010 data show that “U.S. DVD rental revenue fell 14% from a year ago” and DVD sales were down 13% in 2009. The economy is being blamed, and of course piracy is always an easy excuse.  In any event, forcing customers to watch commercials they don’t want to see on DVD’s they could only rent from one store cannot be helping. k8marieuk http://bit.ly/9MFNe0 I tried in vain to push all the buttons on the remote that might enable me to get past the unwanted nuisances.  I pushed “Top Menu”; no luck.  How about “Pop-Up Menu”?  Nope.  A simple message would appear on the screen saying: “cannot operate”.  Did the DVD magically and suddenly forget what the menu button is supposed to do?center_img Marketing Takeaway Inbound Marketing Originally published Jul 7, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated July 11 2013 Topics: Inbound Marketing Today, huge quantities of content are available free of charge everywhere.  To compete, create high quality content and then give people a great user experience by making it easy to find and consume the content.  There are plenty of options out there and anything less will send potential customers elsewhere to get a more gratifying experience. Warner Brothers, go read Photo Credit: Warner Brothers In a world with ever increasing choice of quality content, Warner Brothers has made a decisive move to worsen the user experience of their product.  There is only one reason to disable the DVD functions during the previews; to try to force people to watch ads that they don’t want to see.  Where is my “unsubscribe” button?  Where is my do not call list?  Why can I not opt out of this unwanted advertising? Never in the history of the world has it been easier to get incredible content inexpensively and conveniently.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack LA Times and I want my 5 minutes back. Invictuslast_img read more

Read More

How to Add Email Lists in Facebook for Page Promotion

first_img 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 Dec 3, 2010 1:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Facebook Reach If your business is using Facebook as a part of its inbound marketing strategy, then it is likely that a goal of your marketing team is to expand your reach by attracting more people to like your Facebook page . For a long time marketers have faced a challenge in inviting new users through Facebook. While they have been encouraging people to visit their Facebook Fan Pages , it hasn’t been easy to do the reverse–get email addresses into Facebook and send invitations through Facebook’s messaging system.This process has now changed. This week, Facebook has enabled business page administrators to import email addresses into Facebook to invite people to like their page. Check out the rest of this post for a walkthrough of these process! Step 1: Go to your Facebook Business Page and click “Edit Page” Step 2: Click on “Marketing” and then select “Tell your Fans.” Step 3: Upload your email list and invite fans.Have you used this feature to tell more people about your Facebook page? Topics:last_img read more

Read More

10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered

first_img as part of our software package, guaranteeing that your posts are well-optimized and social media-friendly. blogging platform . More than 3,000 people from all around the world attended the webinar, posting over 1,000 questions during the webinar. . That is why we wanted to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions during the webinar and continue the discussion here! Topics: in the sphere of marketing, 6. Is it good to have a Contact Form page on my blog? The Science of Blogging ( here 8. Is it better to include personal bylines for company bloggers? and HubSpot’s inbound marketing experts will be happy to help you out! Don’t divorce blogging from link-building strategies. Your blog provides the perfect opportunity for building inbound links—sharing insights about your industry prompts people to refer to your expertise from their sites and social media profiles. Also, covering certain people and organizations in your posts will help you develop relationships with them. In order to start driving traffic to your blog, you will need to carve out a niche—focus on your industry and optimize your blog posts around specific industry key phrases. Figure out which keywords you would like to rank high for and concentrate on creating content around them. Use your blog to demonstrate your thought leadership in that subject and reach out to fellow experts. Another effective way to attract traffic is by answering questions that your customers are frequently asking (e.g. in the way we are doing with this post!). . Duct Tape that is specific to the content of the post. You can implement the social media sharing buttons directly from Facebook and Twitter. You can customize your Facebook “Like” button and get the code When creating calls-to-action, use active voice and verbs that convey educational offers. For instance, strong calls-to-action often begin with words like “find out,” “learn” and “try out.” Also, as Dan mentioned in his research, the most linked-to words in blogs include “recent,” “insights” and “answers.” These phrases also emphasize the marketing power of learning opportunities. Twitter request a free website assessment 5. What are your thoughts about moderating comments? dominant one 10. What are some blogs that do it right? Contact forms are not the best performing elements you can add to your blog (or, for that matter, to any other web page). Today your community can reach you instantly using social media, a practice that made contact forms even clumsier and more obsolete. So make sure you add social media sharing buttons to your blog. 3. Are there trigger words that make your calls-to-action more effective? in the eCommerce industry. All three share similar characteristics–frequency of publishing blog posts and inclusion of social media sharing and RSS feeds. Most importantly, they feature valuable content, varying from interviews with industry experts and actionable tips to discount offers. in the construction industry and 7. How much time per week should we allocate to maintaining the blog?center_img business blogging Originally published Dec 10, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Allocating time to blogging depends entirely on your previous activities and existing resources. If you already have writers or if you have content that you can develop into blog posts, then it shouldn’t take you long. If, however, you are starting from scratch, allocate at least 2-3 hours per week for blogging. Consider accumulating blog posts and use Some terrific blogs to examine for best practices include #BlogSci Dan’s research to publish them on best days Our policy at HubSpot is to let everyone comment on our blog articles and create an open space for authentic conversations. Even negative comments provide great opportunities for businesses to share something of value in the public domain and show personality and humanness. By allowing unfiltered comments in blog posts, your company will convey that it welcomes different opinions and embraces transparency. Yesterday Dan Zarrella expanded his scientific webinar series with a presentation analyzing among these remains WordPress, with its various plug-ins and options for customization. HubSpot also offers a But if you want your blog readers to take a specific type of action, then make that clear with a targeted form (not a generic “Contact Us” button). For instance, at the end of each of our blog articles, we include a Some of the most recognized (and free) blogging platforms you can use include WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. The . 4. Where can we learn how to add the Like and the ReTweet buttons? 9. What do you consider the best blog platform to use? Lauren’s Hope River Pools and Spas ) quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, highlighting people’s strong interest in the science behind blogging for business call-to-action Starting and maintaining a business blog should not require any technical background—you only need to be immersed in your industry and willing come up with interesting content ideas around it. If you are interested in getting a personal blog review, feel free to 2. What has a greater effect on SEO: blog links or link building strategies? also allows you to pick from three different Twitter sharing buttons that count your ReTweets straight from each blog post, thus encouraging people to keep sharing. 1. How do you drive traffic to your blog? Including writer bylines in your company blog posts is definitely a good idea because it highlights the unique personalities of your writers and allows your readership to create comfortable habits. For instance, if the same blogger is posting an article every Monday morning, then your audience will start expecting to see her name and contribution at that specific day and time. This is a great way to build following and also motivate employees to contribute blog posts on a regular basis. Business Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

The Key to More Leads? Create More Targeted Conversion Opportunities! [Data]

first_img Originally published Jun 7, 2011 8:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017 HubSpot’s latest research, ” Lead Generation Lessons From 4,000 Businesses ,” reveals that the more landing pages a business has on its website, the more leads it generates. Specifically, our research found that businesses with 31 to 40 landing pages generated 7 times more leads than businesses with only 1 to 5 landing pages. And the numbers get even more impressive: businesses with over 40 landing pages generated a whopping 12 times more leads than those with only 1 to 5 landing pages.   So how do you go about creating an arsenal of landing pages? By creating an arsenal of offers! First, think about all the different types of offers you can create: Ebooks/whitepapersIndustry research reportsLive/archived webinarsRecorded videosDownloadable kitsFree trialsProduct DemosPersonal Consultations Offers Relative to the Sales Cycle The beauty of providing a variety of different offers on your website is that you’ll tremendously increase your chances of generating leads, and here’s why…First of all, not everyone who visits your website is at the same point in your sales funnel. A first time site visitor, for example, might not be ready to jump into a full blown product trial or demo but might be quite content to download an instructional ebook. Similarly, a frequent visitor might be further along in the sales cycle and be totally ready for that personal consultation you’re offering but not very interested in downloading yet another ebook or webinar. Consider this when creating offers and offer a good balance of both top-of-the-funnel and middle-of-the-funnel offers. Similarly, consider also offering a healthy balance of content offers (like ebooks, webinars, kits) compared to offers that involve human interaction such as demos or consultations. Offers Relative to Customer Personas Sure, you could create a separate landing page with a form for each of these types of offers to increase your chances of converting site visitors into leads, but that’s only the beginning. What about getting even more targeted?Face it: your target customer isn’t exactly very one-size-fits-all. While you may have a pretty good sense of the types of customers your products and services attract, chances are there is still some variation among them. This is where marketing personas are helpful. To use HubSpot as an example, we have identified two main types of customers (marketing personas) that are a good fit for our marketing software : Owner Ollie (small business owners) and Marketing Mary (marketing managers in companies with dedicated marketing departments). Understandably, a Marketing Mary might not be particularly interested in the same topics an Owner Ollie is interested in, and vice versa.Now, think about all the different types of offers we just talked about. Can you create an ebook that targets one of your specific marketing personas? Or maybe an opportunity for a different marketing persona to request a specific type of demo relative to their interests? What about one of each? Or one of each for each type of offer? Holy cow — the possibilities are endless! The Benefit of Personalized Offers The good news is that, by offering a variety of different types of offers that appeal to different points in the sales process or different customer personas, you’ll maximize your lead generation efforts with the ability to capture even more site visitors as leads. And as an added bonus, with all the dedicated landing pages you’ll be creating to house your multitude of offers, you’ll also be giving Google and other search engines more website pages to index, giving your website a boost of SEO juice.The personalization of marketing is a hot topic lately, and more and more marketers are beginning to understand the value of more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns . So, are you getting personal enough in your business’ marketing? How else can you vary your offers? Have you noticed a causal relationship between the variety and wealth of offers you create and the number of leads you generate? Photo Credit: cliff1066 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: Lead Generationlast_img read more

Read More

How to Be a Better Community Manager w/ @DJWaldow [@InboundNow #30]

first_img . 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.center_img 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!last_img read more

Read More

6 Ways to Establish Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader

first_img Leadership ? Launching a blog Publishing longer form content such as ebooks, whitepapers, and even webinars shows prospects and customers that your knowledge about given topics expands beyond 600-word blog posts. By publishing well-crafted, educational ebooks or other downloadable content, you’ll demonstrate that you’re capable of thought leadership on an even higher scale. 5. Speak at Conferences/Events: 6 Ways to Become an Industry Thought Leader I’ve said it a few times throughout this blog post, but it’s important to emphasize that one of the keys to becoming an authentic thought leader in your industry is to leave promotion at the door. Even the tiniest inkling of being too overly promotional can seriously undermine your credibility as an industry expert. … that covers important topics relating to the industry in which you’re selling is perhaps the best way to establish and uphold your image as a thought leader. A well-written blog will make prospects and current customers confident that the products and services they buy from you are created using industry expertise. Not only will maintaining an active business blog reward you with a more credible industry presence, but when done right, it will also afford you additional business benefits such as In what other ways can you and a boost in search engine optimization. 2. Contribute Guest Blog Posts: gain credibility as an industry thought leader 4. Launch Your Own Podcast: content creation Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 1. Maintain an Active Business Blog: 3. Publish Long-Form Content: Your thought leadership doesn’t have to be limited to the web. Live, in-person conferences and events are valuable marketing assets, and a presence at these gatherings can be valuable to any business’ marketing efforts. Apply to speak at these types of industry events. Start with smaller events to introduce yourself into your industry’s speaking circuit, and work your way up to larger, more prestigious events once you’ve gained more experience and respect as a speaker. Once you’ve secured speaking engagements, always be sure to make your presentations as educational and non-promotional as possible to achieve maximum credibility. is the perfect platform for this, allowing you to search users’ questions by industry and topic. Also consider using Twitter Search to find users’ questions on Twitter. Quora and Facebook are also great places to search. Once you’ve identified questions for which you can provide a helpful response, answer it in an informative, non-promotional way. (Bonus points if you can link to a blog post you’ve written that expands on the topic in question!) This is perhaps one of the easiest thought leadership tactics to keep up with on an ongoing basis. Social media is littered with people trying to learn more or find answers to questions they have. LinkedIn Answers improved lead generation Photo Credit: An alternative or complement to blogging, launching a regularly scheduled audio or video podcast is another great way to exhibit thought leadership. Consider discussing important industry-related topics or news and inviting other industry experts to join you as guests to create an even deeper level of credibility. Leave Promotion at the Door So how exactly do you ? Here are 6 things you can do to start establishing yourself as a trusted expert in your industry. It’s no surprise that they all have to do with Once you start gaining traction as a credible business blogger using your own blog, it’s also a great idea to seek opportunities to contribute guest articles to the blogs of other industry thought leaders. Being recognized by already-established thought leaders as a credible source and contributor will further legitimize your industry expertise. Originally published Aug 9, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 6. Answer Questions in Social Media: exhibit your industry thought leadership On the other hand, if people start to trust you and respect you as an industry thought leader, the indirect result will be greater trust in the products and services you have to offer, and ultimately, more business! sites for industry-related questions can help you identify opportunities to share your expertise. Topics: Monitoring social media Jacob Boetterlast_img read more

Read More

How to Build Better Buyer Personas to Drive Killer Content

first_img Buyer Personas Originally published Jan 25, 2012 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Pick any day of the week, and there’s one thing on every inbound marketer’s to-do list:  creating new content . Marketers used to create content only when it suited their company’s internal needs – say, when they had a new product to promote. Well, inbound marketing forces you to give up that approach. But constantly coming up with new content can be overwhelming, and if you panic and start pushing out content that’s a bad fit for your audience, you risk attracting the wrong kind of visitor while driving away high-quality prospects.That’s why, like publishers, inbound marketers must have a detailed picture of their target audience in order to create optimal content for them. The best way to understand your audience is to build buyer personas with these 3 steps: segment by demographics, identify their needs, and develop behavior-based profiles. 1. Segment by Demographics Who are your ideal customers and prospects? What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests? Where can you reach them – on search engines , social media , or blogs – and what kinds of content do they prefer? These types of questions will help you develop buyer personas. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.Start developing personas by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.For example, a community bank’s biggest customers may include small business owners and mothers managing the bank accounts for a family of four. In this case, the bank’s marketers might name these personas “Business Owner Bob” and “Martha, the Busy Mom,” and extrapolate details about their responsibilities, the typical size of their business or household income, what geographic region they’re in, and so on. 2. Identify Their Needs Based on those profiles, you can outline the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona by asking yourself several important questions: What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they typically searching for? What trends are influencing their business or personal success? Analyzing the path that prospects take on the journey to becoming a customer is a great way to get insights about the needs and challenges of your target audience. If you use a marketing platform like HubSpot , you can see which search terms brought prospects to your site, how long they stayed on your site, which pieces of content they viewed, and which forms they’ve filled out. Such lead intelligence will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your ideal customers and ways to nurture your new prospects. 3. Develop Behavior-Based Profiles Next, develop a profile of each persona’s typical online behavior. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others. Here are suggestions of the questions you should ask:What do they do online? Do they read blogs? Are they active on  Twitter , Facebook , or other social networks? What kind of search terms do they use? Are they email newsletter subscribers?What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Educational pieces? Trend articles? Interactive tools like calculators or worksheets? Do they watch videos or listen to podcasts?Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?The result of this process should be a detailed description of your personas’ demographics, needs, and behavior. The more detail you pack into your persona development, the easier it will be to create content for each of your target customer segments and know where to promote it.Don’t look now, but you just put yourself on the path to a killer content strategy. This post is an adapted excerpt from our free ebook,  A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content .  To learn more about keeping those great content ideas flowing,  download the free ebook here! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

A Look Back at 20+ Years of Website Design

first_img Website Design Examples Web design has come a long way since 1991 when the first ever website was published.Exclusively text-based, this first website marked the beginning of what would become a digital revolution. And while recollections of “under construction” GIFs and blinding background colors make me thankful for just how far web design has come, there are some historical web design choices that actually demand a nod of respect.Want to see what an old website looked like at any period since its launch? Enter a company domain name you want to see old versions of into the Wayback Machine. Then, select a date to see a cached image of an old web page from that time period.I took notes on my favorites, below. Here’s a fascinating look at old websites over the last 20 years, and how web design has evolved (for better and for worse).Early 1990s: AntiquityPrior to the late 90s, there was no such thing as “high-speed” when it came to internet connections. It was dial-up modems, or it was nothing. Therefore, websites from this period needed to be built for less-than-stellar connection speeds. They were largely comprised of text, and what we now take for granted as “design layout” did not exist.While later versions of HTML allowed for more complex design capabilities, they were still extremely basic, consisting mainly of tags for headers, paragraphs, and links. Visual considerations such as typography, imagery, and navigation were still things of the not-too distant future.21st Century Takeaways:While the function of these early sites was purely informational, there are some design elements from these days of antiquity that still apply today. These old web pages were very lightweight, optimized for that slow internet connection we all remember. These design considerations took user experience into account — something websites today don’t always remember, even with our faster connection speeds.Yes, today’s internet can handle media-rich websites … but it still has some limits. Large media files and heavy graphic design can contribute to high bounce rates when load speeds aren’t as fast as we expect. Keep your user in mind when considering complicated design, and remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid).Mid-1990s: The Middle AgesThe middle ages of web design were plagued by on-site page builders and spacer GIFs (better than an actual plague though, right?). By the mid-90s, web design had evolved both in terms of structure and appearance. Designers began to use table-based layouts to organize their content, allowing for greater flexibility and creativity. Sites were still quite text heavy, but this text could now be divided into columns, rows, and other navigational elements.Graphical design elements also quickly grew in popularity. Page hit counters, animated text, and dancing GIFs are just a few of the graphical elements that mark this period in web design.21st Century Takeaways:Today, there are plenty of reasons why table-based design is not the best choice for your website — the extensive markup, slow page-load times, and visual inconsistency are just a few of the pitfalls of this method. Regardless, this development was an important one in the evolution of web design. It was the beginning of a concerted move toward page structure. Different elements could now be positioned in different sections of a web page, so designers had to consider the best way to present their information to the user.Today, page structure remains important and becomes critical when thinking about such design elements as navigation, content, calls-to-action, and trust signals. The positioning of these elements will determine how a user experiences and interacts with your site. While these considerations might not have been at the forefront during the middle ages of web design, they are certainly important today.(P.S. If you want to learn more about usability, one of our partners, Callia Media, has an excellent ebook on the subject; specifically, how to align it with inbound marketing.)Late 1990s: The RenaissanceRenaissance. Rebirth. Web design has had its fair share of reimaginings, but one of the first occurred with the introduction of Flash. Developed in 1996, but made popular a couple of years later, Flash opened up a world of design possibilities that weren’t possible with basic HTML. It was the marriage of virtual graphics and interaction.While many of the same design elements of the previous period were still present, these were enhanced (and I use the term loosely) with new features such as color-changing navigations, tiled background images, neon colors, 3D buttons, and the ever-popular splash pages. It marked the beginning of visitor-focused design. Structure and navigation became important considerations and design began to zero in on appearance and usability.21st Century Takeaways:Seeing as Flash has been deemed one of the biggest SEO sins of all time, we’ll take this era as an example of what not to do. While the increased use of multimedia content was intended to attract more visitors, it likely had the opposite effect. Some of the biggest misuses of Flash today come from incorrect scripting. Making this mistake across an entire site is extremely detrimental to SEO, so you might be better off just avoiding it. If you still feel compelled to utilize Flash, however, do so correctly. Even better, opt for alternative applications such as JavaScript or HTML5 to get similar effects.Y2K: The EnlightenmentThe early 2000s brought with it an increase of support for CSS, which allowed for the separation of content and design. This gave greater creative freedom to both web designers and content developers — content could now be developed exclusively from design, and vice versa. This made websites easier to maintain (less code and complexity), more flexible (div tags are independent of one another), and quicker to load.Better understandings of color also saw the increase of whitespace and the decrease of garish colors, like neons. Links began to be attached to icons rather than just text, resolution and pixilation became more important concerns, and considerations over the placement of content also grew. Overall, it was a period when usability started to become more important than other design elements.21st Century Takeaways:People typically scan websites, looking only for the information they need — so any site that makes this job easier as a user gets a giant check-mark. A savvy web designer is aware of the fact that most users don’t read everything on a website, and understand how readers take in information.Therefore, intuitively placed information, visually accentuated links, and a straightforward navigation are just a few best practices today’s websites should adhere to. Always design with usability in mind!Mid-2000s: The Industrial RevolutionThe Industrial Revolution of web design begins with the birth of Web 2.0; it’s at this time things really begin to move toward the modern web. The growth of multimedia applications, the implementation of interactive content, and the rise of the social web are a few definitive features of this period.Moreover, these features largely dictated the way web design was … well, done. Aesthetic changes included better color distribution, increased use of icons, and greater attention to typography.More importantly, design became about content and, apart from that pesky Flash, content became about SEO. With the user now firmly at the center of design, selling products (at least explicitly) became the secondary function of websites.21st Century Takeaways:As mentioned above, the evolution of Web 2.0 saw the growth of SEO as a consideration. While these techniques have obviously been adapted over the years, thinking about your website in terms of SEO is still central to people’s minds today.SEO demands content, and content largely became the focus of web design during this era. Keyword optimization, inbound and outbound linking, authoring, tagging, and syndication technology such as RSS became natural design elements. While link spamming and keyword jamming soon exploited these techniques, these black hat methods are no longer effective and (I hope) have largely fizzled out.Web Design TodayToday, over two decades after the publication of the first website, web design has firmly established itself as an irreplaceable component of every good marketing strategy.In terms of modern aesthetics, we have seen the proliferation of minimalism, flat graphics (so long, 3D buttons!), blended typography, and large background images. In addition, UX has taken center stage, giving way to such design features as infinite scrolling and single-page design.The explosion of the mobile web has been another important consideration for site development. This recent digital revolution has given way to the popularization of responsive design and has called for a re-evaluation of the way websites are structured. This is one area of web design that still has a ways to go in its development, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves over the coming years.Regardless, there is one factor that has informed every single one of these developments — content. Every design element here has been adapted in such a way to bring the most relevant content to the user in the most efficient and effective way. Notions of accessibility, adaptability, and usability truly define this era of web design.Looking at how web design has progressed thus far, it’s exciting to think about where it will be in the next 20 years.Myia Kelly is a marketing assistant at Powered by Search, a Toronto SEO and inbound marketing agency. She specializes in content and social media marketing. 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 Jul 10, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated March 02 2018 Topics:last_img read more

Read More

How to Master the Connect Call

first_imgThe 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:last_img read more

Read More

New Social Media Image Templates, #INBOUND13 Wrap-Up, and More in HubSpot Content This Week

first_img Topics: It’s no secret: We produce and publish a lot of content here at HubSpot. 20+ blog posts a week. Nearly 10 free ebooks, downloads, and webinars a month. And don’t forget the couple SlideShares we put together every week or so. Yup, we have kind of a “content machine” thing going on.But producing all of this content means that it’s easy for some blog posts to get lost in the sauce. So we’re going to try something a little different for these Sunday roundups to help solve this problem — each week, we’ll resurface some HubSpot content from the past week that you may have missed. This is a little experiment we want to try, so definitely let us know if you’re digging the new format or not. So without any further ado, here are five pieces of content we put out this past week that you may not have read yet.  1) The #INBOUND13 Experience: Inspiring Insights From Exceptional Keynotes (Plus a Bonus SlideShare)Have you heard? INBOUND 2013 happened. It was an exciting four days packed to the brim with marketing takeaways.Whether you’re reeling from all the craziness after attending the conference or you’re bummed because you wish you could have attended, you’re in luck. My fellow HubSpotter Katie Burke put together a recap of our five keynote presentations, complete with an interactive SlideShare that I’ve embedded below. Check out Katie’s post to hear what Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, Nate Silver, Scott Harrison, Brian Halligan, and Dharmesh Shah spoke about at INBOUND this year. Originally published Aug 25, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Inbound Marketingcenter_img INBOUND 2013 Keynote Takeaways from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software2) Free Download: The 7 Elements of Context MarketingOn the heels of the announcement of our brand new Content Optimization System, we released an ebook all about delivering the right marketing messages to the right person at the right time … what we call context marketing. In the ebook, we’ll walk you through what context marketing actually means, give you examples of companies that are already using context marketing, and then explain how you can get started with it in your own marketing strategy. Download our ebook here to get the rundown on all things context marketing.3) Make Images for Social Media Images in Just a Few MinutesYou know visual content is hot on Facebook, but not all of us were born to be designers. Or have large budgets to hire one. So what’s a marketer to do?Lucky for us, there are some free templates that can help you design images for social media in just a few minutes. Earlier this week, we showed the step-by-step process for making social media images from free downloadable templates. Check out the post, download the templates, and you’ll be posting original images to social media in no time. 4) How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 MonthsDon’t you just love when you can make one little change to your marketing — but get huge results? That little change for us was the result of a “duh” moment — we added a new check box field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click. Here’s what it looks like:We were pretty pumped about this small change (and the big results it generated), so we had to share how to implement this on your own site if you’re using the new HubSpot COS. Check out the step-by-step guide to setting it up, and then watch your subscriber base skyrocket.5) What Is CRM?Sometimes you need to take a step back from your day-to-day job and get back to the basics. With your head down in projects and the inbound marketing industry flying by at a crazy pace, you’ve got to make sure you have a solid inbound foundation set. On Tuesday, we did just that by explaining what a CRM is on the blog. (Spoiler alert: The acronym does not stand for Crazy Red Monkey). So head over to the blog post to make sure you’ve got one of your marketing basics covered. And that’s it for this week’s HubSpot content roundup. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.Image credit: tallkev Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

Content Mapping 101: The Template You Need to Personalize Your Marketing

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack “When mapping out content for your site’s visitors, it’s important to remember that when it comes to purchasing decisions (BOFU conversions, especially for B2B and high-priced items), there are some personas out there who would rather speak to someone on their terms rather than fill out a form for a consultation. Understanding how they are most comfortable when it comes to making decisions can help you understand what points of conversion will be the most relevant and successful for that persona.Optimizing your site pages (landing and thank you pages, as well), TOFU & MOFU offers, and workflows with direct contact information (phone #, email, etc.) is a great way to ensure that visitors, prospects and leads who may shy away from form submissions still have readily available, alternate means of converting.” – Marc Herschberger (Inbound Coordinator, Revenue River Marketing)”Mapping out buyer personas and lifecycle stages is extremely important when creating content. In terms of buyer personas, it’s easy to see that a Marketing Director will have different questions, information needs, and interests compared to a CEO. Both of these personas may be searching for your product or service, but they’ll be looking for different topics. By creating content that appeals to each audience, you can be more effective in attracting that specific audience.By the same token, each persona of yours may be in a different stage of the buying process, so it’s important to think through and create content that appeals to someone looking for basic, high-level information such as an ebook, as well as specific information like a pricing guide or case study.One tip I’d suggest for anyone with pretty different personas would be to dedicate an entire section of your site to each audience. That way, when you pull in your audience, all the content is directed toward them. We actually took this concept and went a step further by creating unique brands for each one of our vertical markets. Each brand has its own section of the website, its own blog content, and its own premium content (downloadable offers). It’s really helped us attract and convert visitors at a higher rate because all the content is more relevant to that persona.”- Spencer Powell (Inbound Marketing Director, Inbound Educators)”By taking the buyer and buying stage into account when creating content, you can be sure that you’re designing content to help move them through the buying process. In addition to mapping content to the buyer profile and buying stage, we regularly pull topics from the sales process. Then we offer the content in later sales calls. This helps us not only evaluate the relevancy of the content but also the interest of the buyer. We encourage clients to do the same.”- Diona Kidd (Cofounder, Knowmad)  Buyer Personas What is a Content Map?A content map is a plan to deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Content mapping takes into account the characteristics of the person who will be consuming the content and their lifecycle stage.Marketers hear it all the time: The content you create needs to be personalized. It needs to be aligned with the wants and needs of your customers (and prospective customers). It needs to resonate with them. It needs to feel like it was created just for them.Plan your content for every persona and stage of the buying cycle. [Free Content Mapping Template]On its surface, this sounds like great advice. Personalization, giving people content that they’re actually interested in … it makes perfect sense. But coming up with the actual topics that make for a highly targeted content strategy isn’t that easy. To help you brainstorm and map out content ideas for targeting specific segments of your audience, we’ve created a new free template resource: Content Mapping Template: Using Buyer Personas & Lifecycle Stages to Create Targeted Content.I’ll talk more about how you can use this template in a bit. But first, let’s take a look at how this whole “content mapping” business works. And when think you’ve got this concept down, you’ll want to check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page to learn how to map a content strategy for your business.What Is Content Mapping?When it comes to content, one size rarely fits all. To ensure that your company’s content is effective at generating and nurturing leads, you need to deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Content mapping is the process of doing just that. With content mapping, the goal is to target content according to:The characteristics of the person who will be consuming it (that’s where buyer personas come in).How close that person is to making a purchase ( i.e. their lifecycle stage).Buyer PersonasBuyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or dozens. If you’re just getting started with personas, don’t go crazy! You can always develop more personas later if needed.Lifecycle StagesThe buyer persona you target with your content is just one half of the content mapping equation. In addition to knowing who someone is, you need to know where they are in the buying cycle ( i.e. how close they are to making a purchase). This location in the buying cycle is known as a lifecycle stage.For the purposes of our Content Mapping Template, we’re divvying up the buying cycle into three lifecycle stages: Awareness, Consideration, & Decision.Awareness: In the awareness stage, a person has realized and expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity.Consideration: In the consideration stage, a person has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity.Decision: In the decision stage, a person has defined their solution strategy, method, or approach.By combining buyer personas with lifecycle stages, you can really hone in on specific segments of your audience and tailor content to resonate with each of those segments. How to Use a Content Mapping TemplateFor our Content Mapping Template, we created a simple grid system, putting buyer persona (and a key problem or opportunity that persona is struggling with) along the y-axis and lifecycle stage along the x-axis. As you move from left to right, you’re effectively moving down the funnel. Your awareness stage content should target the top of the funnel (TOFU). People in this segment are just becoming aware that they have a problem. At this stage, don’t try to beat them over the head with product-focused content. Instead, think of how your content can help people become more informed about the problem in general, and you’ll (hopefully) find that they continue moving down your funnel as they search for solutions.Your consideration stage content, in comparison, can more explicitly mention how your product or service could potentially solve a problem. Keep in mind, however, that at this point in the buying cycle, people are still evaluating their options. So while case studies and demo videos are fine, save your more sales-focused content (estimates, free trials, etc.) for the next stage.At the decision stage of the game, you can really lean into marketing your products or services. If someone has reached this stage, they’ve already identified a problem and a solution, and are now getting ready to pull the proverbial trigger.Not quite convinced that content mapping is worth it? Let’s hear from some marketers who are actually doing this stuff …Content Mapping Tips From the Pros”The best part about inbound is that you can give your prospects the information they are asking for before they even ask for it. Buyer personas and lifecycle stages allow you to be one step ahead of the game by mapping out what your prospect’s next steps are and delivering them the content from numerous different avenues.We create buyer personas as part of our onboarding process and everything we do from content offer to daily tweets is centered around that document. We also always ask ourselves, ‘Would business owner Bob open this email, click this tweet, download this offer, etc.?'”- Laura Hogan (Marketing Manager, OverGo Studio) center_img Originally published May 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated April 06 2018 Topics:last_img read more

Read More

Go Beyond Good Enough: How to Delight Your Customers

first_img 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.center_img 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 2019last_img read more

Read More

5 Little Lead Generation Experiments You Can Run Right Now

first_img“We need more leads.” Pretty much every B2B marketer has heard this phrase from their sales team at some point in their career. And after hearing it, most marketers are left in a sticky situation: They suddenly have to do more with the same budget and the same number of hours in a week. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to generate leads without breaking the bank or working every single weekend.Try out our free marketing tool that helps you test out various types of popup CTAs and gives you information about your site visitors. In the SlideShare presentation and post below, we’ll go over five quick and easy methods that can boost your lead flow with very little time investment. And if you want even more tried and tested tactics for lead gen, sign up to our free four-week email course Double Your Lead Flow in 30 Days.1) Use subscribe forms at the end of your blog posts.Test: To increase conversions, we tried embedding a subscribe form at the end of each blog post rather than a CTA button.Results: Conversions increased by 20%.How to do it:Don’t use a CTA button like this one:Instead, try embedding a one-field form like this one using a tool Lead Flows by HubSpot (which is free). 2) A/B test your content titles.Test: We changed the title of an ebook from “The Productivity Handbook for Busy Marketers” to “7 Apps That Will Change the Way You Do Marketing.” Result: We increased leads by 776%.How to do it: Every time you create a new piece of content, come up with 10 of the best titles you can think of.Once you have your 10 titles, get into a room with several of your peers and whittle them down to the two strongest.A/B test both titles on a smaller sample of people and then go with the winning title for your larger promotion. 3) Use Facebook dark posts.Test: Jon Loomer tested Facebook dark posts (News Feed-style ads that don’t actually get published to your Page’s News Feed) with a small budget to calculate potential ROI.Result: He saw a 35x ROI from investing the better part of his $279.96 Facebook ad investment in dark posts.How to do it: Facebook Dark Posts are a great way to get really targeted with your Facebook ads. Our partner, Duct Tape Marketing, has a really great blog here to help you get set up with your first one. You can also read Jon Loomer’s success story here. 4) Use progressive profiling on landing page forms.Test: ImageScape reduced the number of form fields to see if a client’s conversion rate would increase.Result: They improved a client’s conversion rate by 120% by reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4.How to do it: To reduce the number of form fields on landing page while still collecting the information you need to rotate leads to Sales, you can use progressive profiling. Progressive profiling is a feature that detects whether the user has already filled out another form on your site and lets you replace previously captured fields with a new set of fields.The specific setup process will depend on the marketing software you have in place, but it will typically involve specifying which questions you want to show to your leads and in what order they should be shown. Read more on progressive profiling here.5) Test the color of your CTA buttons.Test: We tested a green CTA button against a red one to see what effect it would have on conversions. Result: The red button outperformed the green by 21%.How to do it: Use your marketing software to run the same A/B test. Test a strong, contrasting color against one that fits in the theme of your landing page — usually, the former will perform much better.  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 4, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 27 2018 Lead Generation Topics:last_img read more

Read More

The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Other Top Social Networks [Infographic]

first_img846Save 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 SlackSlackcenter_img 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 last_img read more

Read More

How to Send Group Direct Messages on Twitter [Quick Tip]

first_imgHow to Create a New Group Message From ScratchSending a DM to multiple users on Twitter is very similar to sending a DM to a single user. Here’s what you need to do.Step 1: Click the envelope icon, labeled “Messages.”On desktop, this is at the top left of your screen. On mobile, this is at the bottom of your screen.Step 2: Click “New Message.”On mobile, this is the chat bubble icon at the top right of your screen.Step 3: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send a message. When you’re done, click “Next.”Step 4: Type out your message and click “Send message.”Group DMs, like one-on-one DMs, have a 140-character limit. You can add photos to group DMs just as you can with one-on-one DMs.How to Add Members to a Pre-Existing Group MessageStep 1: Click the envelope icon, labeled “Messages.”Step 2: Click on a group message to open it.Step 3: Click the ellipsis in the top right-hand corner and choose “Add people” from the menu that appears.On mobile, you’ll have to click into the tweet to see the ellipsis. You can also view all users in the group and leave the group by way of this menu.Step 4: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send a message. Click “Done” to add them to the group message.They will not be able to see previous messages exchanged before they were added.How to Share a Tweet in a Group MessageWhile public tweets are great places to have conversations, they’re also a great place to find conversation starters, writes Kamdar in his blog post. He urges users to “spark conversations and support your points of view by sharing tweets from your timeline, even if they’re from people who aren’t part of the direct message.”Here’s how to share tweets with a group.Step 1: Find the tweet you want to share, and click the ellipsis below the tweet. (On mobile, you’ll have to click into the tweet to see the ellipsis.)Step 2: Choose “Share via Direct Message” in the menu that appears. Twitter’s direct messaging feature (“DM” for short) has long been a way for users to communicate privately in one-on-one conversations with their followers. But recently, Twitter launched an update to the DM feature that allows for group messaging with multiple users — up to 20 in one message.In this post, we’ll talk about the details of the group message function. Then, we’ll go over how to create a group message from scratch, how to add members to a pre-existing group message, and how to share tweets in a group message. Let’s get to it.The DetailsIn a blog post on Twitter’s official blog, Product Director Jinen Kamdar reiterated the importance of direct messaging: “Private conversations on Twitter are a great complement to the largely public experience on the platform. You might prefer to read (or watch) tweets but converse about them privately.”Now, you can expand the conversation to an entire group of users at once. Here’s what you need to know:The group message function allows Twitter users to communicate privately with up to 20 users within one group.If a DM has fewer than 20 participants, additional users can be added to the conversation at any time and by any group member — not just the user who started the group.While you can only start group conversations with your own followers, not everyone in the group has to follow one another in order to chat.When a user gets invited to a DM, they’ll receive a notification that they’ve been included.Both group and individual DMs now support pictures, links, emoji, and tweets in addition to text. Twitter Marketing 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 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 Topics: Step 3: In the address box, enter the name(s) or @username(s) of your followers to whom you want to send the tweet. Then click “Next.”Step 4: Add a personal message to send along with the tweet if you’d like. Click “Send message” when you’re done.Your accompanying message has a 116-character limit.That’s it! Want to learn more about direct messages on Twitter? Click here.last_img read more

Read More

What Social Selling Isn’t

first_img Originally published Feb 11, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Social Selling This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.Just like anything shiny and new, social selling suffers from a fair amount of hype. And with hype comes misunderstanding.Sales reps and leaders eager to embrace the next generation of selling tactics often jump in with both feet. While this enthusiasm is great, sometimes they dive in before they understand what social selling really is, or what they’re trying to achieve. This is a recipe for disaster.So instead of another piece listing the benefits of social selling and the results that can be reaped through social selling tactics, I thought I’d combat some of the hype by writing on what social selling isn’t. Then business leaders can go in with a clear understanding of what they’re getting into — and what they’re not.Social selling isn’t outsourcing to Marketing.Social selling is about curating and sharing content. Since content is generally Marketing’s job, some companies think social selling falls under their jurisdiction. Wrong. How can salespeople connect with their buyers through social and become known as thought leaders when they’re not actually doing the work themselves?Social selling isn’t about automation.Setting up salespeople’s social accounts so the same piece of content is shared at the exact same time looks inauthentic and fake. Don’t do it.Social selling isn’t a one-time event.You can’t just share one article or favorite one buyer’s tweet and then be done with it. Social selling is a continuous journey. Salespeople must commit to infusing social media into their daily routines for social activity to have an impact on revenue.Social selling isn’t immediate.Don’t expect to see major results after one week. Social selling is a marathon, not a sprint.Social selling isn’t about selling.If you’re using the same hard sales tactics on social that you’ve always used, you’re doing it wrong. LinkedIn messages aren’t just another avenue to send your cold pitch to buyers. Social selling is about nurturing relationships over time. Connect with and socially surround your buyers.Social selling isn’t modern trickery.If done right, it’s about creating genuine relationships with people. Nothing tricky or underhanded about that.Social selling isn’t the new channel for spam.If you’re mass sending your cold email pitch through LinkedIn messages or Twitter DMs, you’re doing it wrong. Spam — regardless if it’s sent through email or social channels — is still spam. That’s just #SocialStupid.Social selling isn’t cold calling.It’s way more fun than that.Social selling isn’t about sharing as much content as you can.Nobody likes someone who won’t shut up, and it’s the same on social media. Social selling is just as much (if not more) about listening to buyers to discover their interests as it is about becoming an effective content curator and thought leader.Social selling isn’t replacing face-to-face interaction.In person meetings will never die in sales. But modern salespeople should strive to be in all the places their buyers are. And that includes social media as well as trade shows.Social selling isn’t magic.If your company has a lackluster product or service, social selling isn’t going to change that. Don’t expect it to.Social selling isn’t stalking.Don’t favorite, retweet, share, or comment on every single post someone puts out. That’s just creepy. Show a sustained interest without crossing the line into stalker territory.Social selling doesn’t replace phone and email outreach.It’s strictly additive.Social selling isn’t about media.Getting involved on a social platform for the sake of being seen on the platform doesn’t make sense. Don’t forget the “social” in social selling — networking and connecting with people should be the crux of your strategy.Social selling isn’t right for everyone.If your buyers aren’t on social, I’m not sure why you would need to be there. Be where your buyers are — whether that’s on social media platforms or groups, or somewhere else entirely. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More

8 Ways Home Builders Can Use Houzz for Lead Generation

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you have business partners like interior designers or landscapers that are also on Houzz, it’s helpful to request reviews from them, as well. Providing reviews for your partners will help motivate them to provide reviews for you. This will help both of you rank higher for your services and geographic locations.3) Link Projects to Blog PostsWhen you add a project to your Houzz profile, you can include an external link to provide more information on that project. Therefore, we recommend creating a blog post on your website that expands on each Houzz project. You can then include the link to that blog post in the actual Houzz project. This strategy will help increase traffic to your website, provide additional blog content, and encourage people to learn more information about your company beyond what’s in your Houzz profile. It could also lead to new blog subscribers. Plus, if you include calls-to-action in your blog posts, you will encourage lead generation. By including a call-to-action that links to a landing page with a form to download a piece of valuable content (such as a buyer’s guide), you may generate tangible leads that you can follow up with. 4) Engage Users Through “Questions” and “Advice” FeaturesHouzz provides a “Questions” feature that allows users to ask you questions about your projects. Be sure to monitor your Houzz profile closely so you can respond to questions in a very timely manner. Timeliness is key for turning someone who has posed a question into an actual lead. Responding quickly shows you are a tentative builder that cares. It also helps you ensure you connect with the user when they are still in the right mindset. If you respond several days after the question is asked, the user may have received his answer somewhere else, or he may have become preoccupied with something else. Responding in a detailed and thorough manner is also important because it shows you are an expert. This is why the questions feature is so valuable. It helps you show that you are a tentative, caring, expert home builder. And who wouldn’t want to hire a home builder like that?Houzz also offers an “Advice” feature. Engaging in discussions here helps you obtain additional exposure and establish your expertise. Spend time answering questions and contributing valuable insight to discussions. Both the “Questions” and “Advice” features allow you to engage one-on-one with users, and start building relationships. 5) Utilize Bookmarks for CRMThe “Bookmarks” feature allows you to keep track of your favorite discussions on Houzz. If you are communicating with potential leads in discussions, it may be helpful to note that in your CRM software. Bookmarking your discussions will allow you to easily return to those discussions and review your interactions so you can record information about the contact in your CRM system.6) Add a Houzz Badge or Widget to Your WebsiteAdding a Houzz badge or widget to your website’s home page will help boost your ranking in the Houzz directory. There are several badges to choose from, including a badge that simply indicates you have a Houzz profile to badges that indicate any special Houzz recognitions you may have received.Houzz also offers widgets that will allow you to display your Houzz reviews or add a slideshow of your Houzz projects to your website. Adding these features to your website will help demonstrate your company’s status and expertise to visitors who enjoy and trust Houzz as a resource.7) Submit a Project to be an Editorial FeatureSubmit one of your projects to Houzz’s editorial review team for a chance to be become the subject of a featured article on Houzz, such as their “Room of the Day” or “Kitchen of the Week” articles. If you are selected, you’ll receive free national exposure from one of the most important websites in the home building industry. These articles are based solely on merit; no one can pay to be selected. So, they act as a great indicator of your company’s expertise and creativity.  If you are selected, you can promote the article via your other marketing channels such as social networks, email marketing, and your blog. 8) Complete Your Profile in DetailThis may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth stating. The goal of completing and maintaining your profile isn’t to get it done so you can move on to something else. The goal is to ensure your target audience finds you on Houzz and then takes an additional action like visiting your website or contacting you. So, invest the time into filling out your profile in detail. Be sure you take advantage of the opportunity Houzz gives to link to all your social networks. If people begin to connect with you in other social networks, they will discover your blog posts and other valuable content. This will help drive them to your website and engage them in lead nurturing.  The Bottom LineIt’s not necessary to be active in all social networks; just the networks that are most effective for your industry. For builders, Houzz is arguably the most important social network for driving website traffic and leads. As we’ve described, it can also help increase your search engine and media exposure. These eight tips will help you get the most marketing leverage and lead generation potential out of Houzz. Topics: Lead Generationcenter_img Since its inception in 2009, Houzz.com has quickly become a valuable tool to help home builders increase online exposure. According to Houzz, the site is home to 25 million users looking for unique home design ideas and possessing an average household income of $125,000.For home builders, there’s no question the target audience is there. The challenge lies in maximizing Houzz exposure to convert Houzz users into leads you can actually follow up with.These eight tips will help you go from simply having a Houzz profile to managing a Houzz presence that produces tangible leads. 1) Include Strategic KeywordsBe sure your target audience discovers your profile when they search Houzz for terms that matter to them by including keywords in your business description and your projects. For example, a Dallas home buyer in the market for a custom builder may want to see examples of unique exteriors on Houzz created by Dallas-area home builders. To find these examples, they might search “Dallas exteriors.” If you’re a Dallas builder, you would want to appear in this search. Therefore, builders should include relevant geographic terms in addition to terms that describe the nature of the project or photo. For example, instead of titling your project “Kitchen Remodel”, consider calling it “Dallas Kitchen Remodel.”When you add a project, there is a specific section to include keywords. To add keywords to an existing project, simply click “edit” on any photo and you will see the keywords section appear. Houzz provides a quick and easy YouTube tutorial to help you add keywords correctly.Take time to add as many relevant keywords as possible in this section. Be sure to include the same type of relevant keywords in the “Description” field of your projects. Be as detailed as possible with these descriptions. It takes time but it’s worth it because it will help more people find you. Keywords are also important because Houzz profiles are indexed by Google. So, when someone searches a term like “Dallas builders” in Google, Houzz’s list of Dallas builders shows up in search results. When someone clicks on that search result, they see a list of local builders with reviews and examples of work.So, it’s extremely valuable to appear in these Houzz lists. It’s even more valuable to appear in a high position. One of the best ways to improve your ranking in these lists is by increasing your company’s reviews on Houzz. 2) Increase ReviewsThe best sales leads have always come from word-of-mouth referrals. Online reviews are often almost as valuable as a friend recommending your company to another friend. Today’s consumers conduct a lot of research before making purchases. Online reviews are one resource that people regard heavily when making a large purchase like a home.  Houzz reviews are no different, and the more you receive, the higher you are likely to rank in the Houzz directory for your geographic area. Therefore, you should encourage your clients to submit reviews. Houzz makes this really easy with their “Get Reviews” feature.  You can send an email straight from the Houzz platform to your clients requesting a review. The email contains a link that will take your client straight to the location where they can submit a review. Houzz provides a quick YouTube tutorial for this feature, as well.  Originally published Apr 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated March 31 2016last_img read more

Read More

What Makes a Team Truly Great? 9 Defining Traits [Infographic]

first_img2K+Save What makes a team truly great?Is it the mix of personalities? Is it how teams are measured and rewarded? Does the team leader ultimately determine their success?Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of all-stars.There is a lot of research and opinion on what ingredients are necessary to build a high-performing team because it is one of the most difficult things to do — you are essentially forcing people together — but it’s one of the biggest drivers of success in an organization. A poor performing team can negatively impact an entire organization, not to mention be the cause for missing goals or revenue targets. Weekdone created the below infographic detailing some of the defining characteristics of great teams. Learn what you should look for in a high-performing team and how to recruit to create your own. 2K+Save Topics: Originally published Jan 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Collaboration/Teamworklast_img read more

Read More