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