The news that Liverpool footballer Mamadou Sakho has tested positive for a banned substance comes as a shock to football lovers, and indeed, fans of sport around the world. Sakho tested positive after a Europa League match in which he played the full 90 minutes against Manchester United, helping his side to earn a draw, thus qualifying them for the next round. The banned substance has not been officially released, but information suggests that it is a ‘fat burner’ similar to the drug used by his friend and teammate Kolo Toure, who tested positive in 2011 and received a six-month ban. While Sakho is not banned by the administrative body controlling the Europa League (UEFA), he has been provisionally banned by his club, who now awaits the B sample result and the mandatory investigation. This blot on the integrity of sports is another in the spate of positives from icons in a variety of sports. In December last year, Pakistani leg spinner Yasir Shah tested positive for a banned substance (a diuretic and masking agent) after playing in a one-day international (ODI) against England in Abu Dhabi. Maria Sharapova, a tennis superstar, has admitted to using the banned drug Melindronate (Meldonium) “for years”. And the list seems to be endless. Everybody is looking for an edge. Elite athletes seem to be especially vulnerable to “expert” advice from confidants and medical acquaintances who promise a “boost” that is necessary to compete consistently at the highest level. It seems as if the standard advice from anti-doping agencies that you don’t need dope to cope is falling on deaf ears. The lure of these supplements seems to lie in the promise of “extra energy”, not weight loss as the name suggests. They work by increasing your heart rate and metabolism so that you feel less tired, and in the case of an elite footballer, these drugs allow you to play at a high level of output for 90 minutes. However, taken as supplements, these substances can have devastating effects. DMMA, (DimethoxyNmethylamphetamine and methylhexanamine) have been implicated in the death of a marathon runner in the 2012 London Marathon. I have noticed the spirited attempt at defending athletes who bought a supplement that supposedly guaranteed them faster sprint times but was found to contain methylhexanamine. These athletes were appropriately sanctioned, mainly in the hope of sending a message that would resonate in the local athletic community. One athlete, unfortunately, never competed again, but if memory serves me right, none of the other athletes affected in that sordid episode tested positive again. Message learnt! Sport fans around the world are very wary of some of the astounding performances that we see from time to time. Drug testers are under keen scrutiny as laboratories are being accused of reporting negative results on samples that contain banned substances, while one lab simply threw away the samples. Administrators, doctors, doping control officers, and chemists have all been named and implicated in protecting cheaters. But the fight for clean sport continues. Money seems to be the driving force in the continued effort to win at all costs. I do believe, however, that once anti-doping agencies are given the requisite funding and an appointment to these positions is no longer in the hands of politicians, the fight can be won. Clean sport is possible. Those who are caught cheating have no business in sports. Life bans, after investigation and hearings, must be the new international order.
Africa’s biggest retirement fund administrator, Alexander Forbes, on Thursday became the 11th company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this year.The company’s return to the bourse’s main board followed its delisting in 2007, when it was bought by a private equity consortium for R8.2-billion.It listed with a market capitalisation of around R10.9-billion – putting it into the top 25% of companies listed on the JSE – and saw its stock jump by 14 percent to R8.55 a share by 9.15am.The listing was preceded by a R3.7-billion public offering last week – South Africa’s largest flotation in four years, according to news agency Reuters.“Investors were drawn by the regular income from its pension management and insurance businesses, and the potential for growth in sub-Saharan Africa, where financial services are still developing,” Reuters reported.The company is a leading employee benefits consulting, actuarial, investment and administration services provider and retirement fund administrator, with R275-billion in assets under administration as at the end of March this year.Alexander Forbes brings the number of financial services companies listed on the JSE to 28. “We are delighted to welcome Alexander Forbes back to the JSE, where it lists in the financial services sector, one of the most vibrant on the JSE,” JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King said in a statement.Statistics South Africa (SSA) estimates that the country’s financial services sector created 13 000 new jobs in the 2013/14 financial year, and currently employs over 1.8-million people.The JSE is Africa’s biggest bourse, and one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation.SAinfo reporter
A recent whitepaper on B2B search revealed some interesting statistics about B2B purchasers and how they search, which reveals a lot of really useful insights for B2B marketing. A couple days ago I found a blog article on this topic and posted it on DailyHub next to a bunch of other interesting marketing and business articles.Here are some of the stats I found particularly interesting in the whitepaper:• Over 70% of B2B buyers use a search engine at the start of their purchasing process• About 75% of B2B prospects click on the organic results• Less than 19% of B2B buyers click on search ads• 77% of B2B prospects prefer Google over any other search engine (see chart)Key takeaways for B2B Marketing:1) Your B2B company needs to be able to be found in search engines. Over 70% of your prospects are looking for you there, right at the time when they are ready to buy, so this is probably more important than any other marketing activity for your company.2) Make sure your B2B company is listed in the Google organic results for the right search keywords. You can probably ignore the other search engines for B2B marketing purposes since Google has 77% marketshare for B2B purchasing.3) Consider bidding on paid search terms in Google as well, but watch your ROI. The organic results matter most, since the ads only get you access to 19% of B2B prospects.For a free analysis of your website’s marketing effectiveness and tips on how you can be better found by your B2B prospects in search engines, visit www.websitegrader.com. Originally published Jun 5, 2007 1:03:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Measuring SEO Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
I’d also recommend using an outside consultant that clearly practices what they preach. Getting advice from an experienced blogger/social media participant can save time, embarrassment and money. That’s a big part of what TopRank does in our blog and social media marketing practices: serve as a guide to help clients help themselves. If you search Google for “marketing blog” chances are you’ll find A: Measuring the return on any marketing investment starts with setting goals. Knowing the audience, your objectives, a strategy and mix of tactics for reaching those objectives all lead up to the measurement piece. Internet marketing offers amazing metrics, far beyond what many offline marketing and advertising expenditures return. Webinar: Blogging for Business Digital PR and SEO: Social Media Monitoring A. Online Marketing Blog has been instrumental in growing our business. It generates daily new business inquiries, weekly inquiries from the media as well as candidates and marketing partners. Over 5 years we’ve posted over 2,000 articles on internet marketing topics and have been recognized in many ways for that besides growing revenue, which of course, is what pays the bills. A: We manage a list of over 500 blogs on our Q. In addition to advising companies on business blogging, your company offers search engine and social media marketing services. That’s a lot of different things. Do you advise clients to get involved in all of them? Is there one channel that’s best? Or most important? so I have a lot more than 5 favorite blogs. Originally published Jan 16, 2009 8:52:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 A: In terms of traffic, “25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog” posted in We identify expectations, business needs and reconcile those with goals for a marketing program. SEO is easier to measure in terms of a direct association with revenue. Blogs can be measured in that way too. Getting ROI measurements out of social media and blogging efforts most often comes from an association with other known channels. For example, if a blog ranks well in search engines, then the cost per click can be identified for those keyword rankings and a valuation can be calculated. If social media or a blog post result in media coverage, then a value for what it would cost to hire a PR firm to earn that coverage can be associated as a return on the social media or blogging effort. Content Distribution Networks A: Great question. Running our business in terms of day-to-day operation has little to do with our blog. In terms of marketing and building thought leadership, it would certainly be possible to have a successful marketing program without a blog. It would involve other social media communication channels that allow two-way communications, frequent updates, engaging information sharing, etc – many features of a blog. However, with all that functionality contained right within blog software, I’d prefer to use blog software as a preferred way to create and promote content that inspires the kinds of conversations leading to new business, improved credibility and confidence in the TopRankMarketing.com brand. Q: Could you run your business without your blog? A: Within our organization my functional responsibilities involve our organization’s business strategy, business development, some training and marketing. Most operational duties are handled by my business partner, Susan Misukanis. The marketing portion of my job is to be the public face of our organization speaking at about 15 events a year and being social on the web via TopRankBlog.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BIGLIST Q: What do you tell your clients when they ask about the ROI of social media, blogging or SEO investments? Q: What’s the most popular blog post you’ve ever written? A: Sometimes blogging and social media do not make sense for reasons other than a specific industry mis-match. If a company doesn’t have the resources or appreciation/understanding of how blogging and social media work – tech biz or not – it shouldn’t bother. At least not until they make efforts to get up to speed with internal staff and/or via outside resources. Back to your question. Wherever there are people talking online about a topic, there is an opportunity for blogging and social media. Industry is irrelevant to predicting the viability of incorporating social media into an organization’s marketing and communication efforts. It’s the customers that matter and if customers or potential customers are involved with and influenced by blogs and social media, then companies that serve those customers should participate. If not, their competition will. Q: When you’re not blogging, you run an internet marketing business — can you describe what you do? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Download the free webinar Q: What advice would you give to a small business owner or professional marketer who’s just starting out with blogging and social media? has been the most popular. interviews we’ve done with SEO and social media people
Today, Twitter announced an exciting new partnership with media measurement and analysis company Nielsen.Aside from the fact that this partnership totally makes sense — social media marketers are constantly struggling with showing the ROI of their social media efforts, and social media platforms are struggling to show it to them (especially when it comes to advertising) — this partnership will also deliver a pretty groovy new Twitter feature: Twitter Surveys.This feature is still in beta, being tested with a select few advertisers before it rolls out to more brands in early 2013. But here’s what we can tell you about Twitter Surveys before it rolls out on a larger scale — that way you’re prepared, and know what the heck you’re looking at if one of those surveys pops up in your own Twitter feed.What You Need to Know About Twitter SurveysTwitter surveys may be popping up in a news feed near you, and they’ll look just like Promoted Tweets if you’ve jumped on that bandwagon. Here, take a look at an example from Twitter’s blog post announcing the surveys: Originally published Oct 3, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 What’s really cool about this is that “1 of 3” questions part; that means you don’t have to limit the length of your survey … although it’s not clear if there’s an upper limit, or what the suggested upper limit is. After all, Twitter users likely have a much shorter attention span than those completing a survey on, say, your website. But I guess these are the questions they’re trying to answer in this beta testing, eh?This new feature is meant to help companies measure their brand impact on Twitter, something Nielsen has been called on to do with Facebook in the past, as well. Twitter said, “Building on Twitter’s mobile heritage, we’re giving brands the ability to deliver and measure the impact of mobile and traditional desktop campaigns through these surveys. This is a native experience for the user, and we believe it will give brands better insights to determine purchase intent, overall awareness, and other advertising metrics and analytics that can lead to greater engagement on Twitter.” Hey, any tools out there to help marketers better measure some of the softer and fluffier metrics we deal with — brand impact being at the top of that list — is a welcome addition to our social media toolkit.What applications do you see for these Twitter surveys? Would you use them when they come out of beta?Image credit: BeauGiles Twitter Updates Topics: The tweet shows up within a user’s timeline, on both desktop and mobile devices. Notice that the tweet doesn’t come from the brand itself — it comes from the Twitter handle @TwitterSurveys. Twitter’s blog post seemed to imply they might allow these tweets to come from brand names depending on the results of the beta testing, because they were quoted as saying, “Users may see a Tweet by @TwitterSurveys.” Or maybe I’m just reading into that “may.” Anyway …What’s pretty cool about this is that, in the past, most brands would include a link within a tweet to have someone fill out a survey — one that lived on another web page hosted off of Twitter. One could still do that, of course … and it’d be free to boot. But with this survey feature, a user is invited to fill out the survey right in the Tweet itself. And less clicks means more people submitting their answers and opinions! The survey looks a little something like this: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Once viewed as a niche player in the social space, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks ever, harnessing both an increased user base and its exponential growth as a referring site to become a considerable force in the marketing world.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for BusinessEqually important for businesses to consider is the buying power behind Pinterest: Pinterest users purchase items more often and in greater quantities, spend more money, and shop more frequently than any other social network. So if your initial trial of using Pinterest for business has yielded positive results and you think Pinterest is a viable social media marketing platform for your business, you know what the next step is, right? Optimization!To get you started, below we’ll outline 10 great tips to optimize your business’ Pinterest presence for search. 1) Choose an Optimized Company UsernameIn November 2012, Pinterest finally launched Pinterest business accounts, which make registering for a business account (or converting a personal account into a business account) easy and painless. Going the “business” route also makes it easier to verify your website, add links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and add Pinterest buttons and widgets to your company site or blog. For more detailed information about how use Pinterest’s new business accounts, check out the free HubSpot ebook, A Guide to Pinterest’s New Business Accounts here.The first thing you should do to optimize your Pinterest business account for search is to make sure your company name is straightforward. The field to indicate your company name has no character limit; but the challenge often comes with your username, which is confined to 15 characters. If your full company name fits — fantastic! But if it doesn’t, choose something memorable, keyword-conscious, and easy to spell that is also clearly associated with your business. For example, The New York Times has amassed over 44,000 followers using the username “NYTimes,” while Martha Stewart Weddings in the Middle East chose “MSWeddingsME” to differentiate itself from other Martha Stewart properties, but still capitalizing on search traffic for weddings.Furthermore, be sure to verify your website. Log in to your Pinterest account, and go to ‘Settings.’ Check to ensure you’ve listed your website here before clicking the ‘Verify Website’ button.2) Optimize Your Page’s ‘About’ SectionThe Pinterest ‘About’ section provides you with 200 characters of prime keyword real estate, so use this space wisely. In addition to being descriptive and keyword-sensitive, your ‘About’ section should also be simple, succinct, and specific. Two hundred characters is plenty of space for a keyword-rich overview that covers the who, what, and where of what you do, so use it smartly — and don’t forget to add your website URL in the space provided!3) Include Links Back to Your Website Pinterest re-pin links used to be “dofollow” links, but last year, following standard practice with other social networks in the space, Pinterest adopted “nofollow” links. In other words, these links do not pass any SEO authority. But even those these links won’t give you any extra oomph in terms of SEO, we still recommend optimizing for user experience and brand awareness. After all, what good is search engine optimizing your Pinterest presence if you’re not ultimately driving users back to your website?Always include a reference link back to your website with your pins, and if you re-pin a post that features your content or products, edit the description to include a full link (just don’t use a URL shortener here, as Pinterest is known to mark pins containing shortended links as spam). Including a link back to your website will not only reinforce that the image is associated with your brand, but it will also open up a direct pathway to purchase (for ecommerce) or learn more (for services).Etsy is a great example of a Pinterest presence that excels at mixing great content from other sites with products featured on its own site. In doing so, Etsy always includes a direct link to purchase the item on their site along with the username of the specific Etsy shop owner. A great example is Etsy’s pin featuring a humorous burrito card, which includes a brief overview of the card under the image and a direct link to see the product on Etsy in the link’s description.Think of links in Pinterest as providing the next step for pinners — where they can find the image they loved enough to click, re-pin, Like, or comment on. Use links to make that distance between the pin and the content/product as short as possible so you can improve the experience of your users and eventually drive more traffic and awareness to your site — social signals that search engines may end up picking up on in their algorithms over time.4) Differentiate Your PinboardsBy default, Pinterest offers some general pinboard options to get users thinking about how to bucket and organize their pins into different boards. For businesses, however, getting more specific and unique in your board descriptions is critical to helping you get found on Pinterest. According to a study by RJ Metrics, more than 3% of pinboards are titled “For the Home,” followed by “My Style” and “Products I Love,” all three of which are default board names recommended by Pinterest.Break through the pinboard name clutter and be specific and keyword-conscious in the selection of your board names. If you’re an interior designer, replace “For the Home” with “Modern Kitchens” or “Children’s Bedrooms” so that potential search terms align more closely with what end users might be looking for and increase the likelihood of standing out from the massive clutter of default –or just plain unoriginal — board names.5) Speak Your Customers’ LanguagePinterest is not a place to play inside baseball and use expressions that are unique to your company. Your ‘About’ sections and board names should all be optimized using terms your target customers and buyer personas actually use in their everyday lives. Being relevant on Pinterest means understanding what your customer is looking for, what he or she is most interested in buying or pinning, and what related industries or topics the pinner might be seeking out. It should not feel like an advertising board for your products; instead, it should feel like a comfortable space that’s curated around the style, needs, and lifestyle of your potential clients.One great example of speaking your customers’ language is fashion brand 2 Penny Blue. 2 Penny Blue is a high-end fashion brand specializing in blazers, but instead of only pinning items they make and sell, the company’s Pinterest boards are centered around the types of style and advice that 2PB clients might want to emulate, including a board called “Style Muses” featuring Audrey Hepburn and Gwenyth Paltrow, accessory boards packed with current trends, and pins like a guide to navigating champagne cocktails.When you think about your Pinterest boards, consider your customers’ buying habits, average age, and lifestyle, and build your pinning strategy around their terminology, interests, and potential search terms. For example, if you’re a real estate broker, Pinterest is a great place to pin images or videos with helpful tips for buying a home, but it’s also a great place to showcase your knowledge of your community. Boards featuring local schools, attractions, restaurants, and parks will help potential customers understand the markets where you sell and build trust that you understand their needs. Create authentic boards that connect to your clients and how they live, and use terminology that is straightforward and relatable. The search engines, your audience, and Pinterest will thank you for it!6) Use Your Pins’ Descriptions WiselyThe biggest opportunity for text-based content on Pinterest is the description area for each individual pin. Here, the platform gives you 500 characters to work with, which users can fill with anything from recipe instructions, to notes and commentary, to credits for other vendors, to location and usage information … and more. When describing your pins, include terms that your users will relate to and use on their own, add links to the original product or content, and consider adding instructions on product usage or care. The great balancing act with descriptions is ensuring that you include relevant keywords, relatable context, and easy-to-follow links to the content featured in the post. For example, real wedding website Style Me Pretty has almost five million followers on Pinterest and some of the most liked and re-pinned content on Pinterest. In addition to choosing beautiful imagery that’s relevant to their audience, they also tailor their descriptions perfectly for SEO. Their pin showcasing do-it-yourself noisemakers includes a link to the Style Me Pretty website for instructions, links to the photographer and stylist, and a quick overview of what pinners can expect (DIY noisemakers and escort cards) when they click through on the pin to the website.One of the single biggest mistakes companies make on Pinterest is being lazy about their pins’ descriptions. Ignoring the descriptions altogether, using language that your customers don’t understand or relate to, linking to irrelevant content (or not linking out at all), or just repeating keywords over and over again is a great way to get lost in the SEO shuffle. Instead, focus on creating remarkable descriptions that help you stand out from the pack.7) Make Sure the Images You Pin Have Descriptive File Names & Alt TextGiven that Pinterest is a highly visual platform, using interesting imagery that is formatted and named correctly can have a significant impact on the success of your boards — and individual pins themselves. Many companies make the mistake of uploading photos using their default names. For example, an image named 1.13.13ShootImage722.jpg doesn’t help you at all in search, while a clearly named “Boston-townhouse.jpg” can help a search engine decipher what your image is about much more easily. Furthermore, if you pin an image from your website, make sure that image has clear alt text associated with it. The same rule we talked about with pin descriptions also applies here: Use naming conventions your customers will identify with. If a product you’re pinning has an obscure name that isn’t broadly known or intuitive, skip it in favor of a potential keyword search term.In addition, make an effort to size your images optimally for Pinterest. Pinterest does not place any restrictions on the height of an image, but it does constrict the width of images to 554 pixels. Dan Zarrella’s analysis shows that taller images are more re-pinnable — likely because they take up more space in users’ Pinterest feeds — so use that to your advantage. Make sure your images are properly sized for use on Pinterest, use high-quality, beautiful imagery, and keep in mind that in this case, height is a distinct advantage, so if you’re assembling a “recipe for technology implementation success” or an inspiration board of your company goals for 2013, create an image that is tall, visually interesting, and aptly named using appropriate keywords.8) Incorporate HashtagsThat’s right! Hashtags are no longer just for Twitter. In fact, hashtags on Pinterest not only allow you to organize pins by a specific theme or campaign, but they also make your pins a lot more searchable. For example, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida knows that wedding planning is one of the most common uses of Pinterest. As a result, pins on their “Weddings @ Rollins” board, which includes photos of alumni getting married in various locations throughout campus, are organized using hashtags such as #RollinsCollege, #Knowles Chapel, and #Winter Park to ensure that brides searching by city, college, or a specific destination on campus can easily find images of their potential venue.This maximizes awareness of Rollins College’s wedding venue offerings while staying top of mind for brides searching for those terms. And these integrated efforts have definitely paid off: The Weddings @ Rollins board ranks on the first page of a Google search alongside its homepage for the search term “florida wedding rollins,” giving engaged couples great visual content to drive interest and purchase intent as they plan their weddings.9) Leverage the Long TailAs we know from the success of big brands like Amazon, Google, and Netflix, the long tail isn’t just a niche strategy for small businesses. Take a page out of their books when you put your pins’ descriptions together. For example, according to Repinly, food and drink still represent more than 11% of all pins, so if you’re trying to get found by pins about chocolate chip cookies or wine, just writing a short, literal description of your pin is not going to help you cut through the clutter and stand out from the pack. Instead, identify niche, long-tail terms that your customers might pin around, and get more granular with your descriptions.Stumped about how to get more specific? Consider adding your location, product use case details, or the audience you’d like to target to help you master the long tail. Here are some examples:Location: Mistral Boston includes its restaurant name and location right within its Pinterest username, then adds even more clarity by identifying its neighborhood (South End) and style of cuisine (French Mediterranean). Doing so helps them stand out in the space and assists pinners who are looking for great, high-end restaurants in the Boston area.Use Case: RELAX Wines fills its Pinterest account with food recipes that pair well with their wines, backyard entertaining ideas, and even ideas for how to put your finished wine bottles to good use (e.g. wine cork ornaments, garden torches, etc). Help people understand creative ways to use your product or services — it will improve your SEO while also providing followers with more context around usage.Audience: The Seattle Seahawks football team is one of the top sports brands on Pinterest. By outlining specific gift ideas for men, women, and kids, they leverage the fact that 44% of NFL fans are now female to market holiday products, gift ideas, and specific, targeted holiday promotions, all of which helps fans and non-fans alike identify wish list items for their favorite Seahawk supporters.When it comes to descriptions, think about long-tail keywords for your business and industry. Identify keywords that are slightly more specific than “chocolate chip cookies” or “insurance companies” to help people find you more readily, and to help you stand out from the crowd in search results. For more information about the long tail, check out our ultimate guide for mastering long-tail search.10) “Pinjack” Relevant Search Terms and ImagesAlthough the number and engagement of male users on Pinterest is growing, Pinterest’s core user base demographics skew toward female users, so “pinjacking” trends and events relevant to avid pinners can be a great way to increase your organic search. For example, one of the top organic Google search results for “DIY Halloween Costumes” comes not from Walmart, Target, or some costume shop, but from Goodwill Industries of Western Michigan.By combining highly shareable imagery from other highly trafficked sites, trendy costumes, and great board descriptions, Goodwill Industries has managed to improve its overall online presence and increase visibility outside of traditional terms like “Goodwill locations” or “shopping at Goodwill” by taking advantage of pinjack-able trends (think newjacking, but for Pinterest!) and timing around Halloween to maximize their online awareness and traffic.The role Pinterest plays for businesses is growing every day. With 11 million users and growing, the network provides a unique opportunity for companies to leverage visual content, quality descriptions, and insight into customers’ lifestyles and needs while growing their reach and improving their organic search results. Just as with any website, your focus as a business should be on creating remarkable content and a strong community around your product, services, and brand. Happy pinning!Image Credit: Peter Alfred Hess Originally published Jan 11, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Pinterest 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 Topics: Raise your hand if you hate filling out forms!So if I had to guess, I’d bet that a lot your hands are raised right about now. Heck, so is mine! But any savvy inbound marketer knows that forms are the way of the online conversion world. After all, how would we generate and reconvert leads as effectively without them?Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.But as you can understand from all the hand raising, from a website visitor’s perspective, forms are a rather annoying part of redeeming offers on the web.Surely, there’s a way we can make the form completion requirement a little bit easier on them. It’s about creating lovable marketing after all, right?Advances in marketing technology to the rescue!Depending on the sophistication of your marketing software, you may already know about what we at HubSpot like to call Smart Forms — dynamic forms that leverage the power of context and adjust in length based on whether a visitor has already completed one of your forms in the past. In other words, Smart Forms know if someone has already filled out the form fields you’re asking for, and thus asks only for the critical information (which is usually even pre-populated) you need to ensure your contacts database stays up to date. But there’s another dynamic content kid on the marketing block, and his name is Progressive Profiling. Let’s talk about what makes this guy so awesome, and how you can leverage him — err, it — to help you increase your website’s conversion rates and capture even more valuable lead intelligence along the way.What Is Progressive Profiling?Progressive profiling technology, a feature that is usually an extension of dynamic form fields, allows you to set up iterative forms that enable you to designate which questions appear based on what you already know about a particular lead. That way, every time a lead fills out a form, you are progressively collecting valuable new information about them while keeping your forms short and easy to complete. This enables you to build up the amount of information, or intelligence, you collect about your individual leads without causing more friction in the conversion process. Ultimately, progressive profiling technology enables you to collect the right information from your leads — at the right times.While the specific setup process will largely depend on the capabilities and nuances of your marketing software, it will typically involve specifying which questions you want to be included in your progressive profiling queue — and in what order they should be shown to your leads. These questions will be shown only when other Smart Fields have already been completed by that particular lead. Let’s talk a little bit more about why progressive profiling is so beneficial, and how you can leverage it in your marketing.Why Is Progressive Profiling Beneficial?I’m so glad you asked! Progressive Profiling is beneficial for a number of reasons …1) Shorter Forms Lead to Increased Conversion RatesYou mean shorter forms mean higher conversions? No surprise here! Just like with regular Smart Forms, progressive profiling technology enables you to keep your forms short and sweet, without ultimately sacrificing valuable lead intelligence. Instead of asking for someone’s information all at once, you can iteratively ask different questions over time while keeping your forms short, meaning you don’t have to squeeze everything you want to know about your leads into the very first form they see.Because of this, the use of progressive profiling technology can decrease some of the friction associated with form completion, and as a result, increase your website’s conversion rates. After all, would you prefer to fill out a form with 4 fields, or a form with 14? Judging by all those raised hands earlier, I’d bet on the former. 2) Progressive Profiling Avoids Repetition If your business has gained a reputation as an industry thought leader and a provider of valuable content, chances are that new visitors aren’t the only people redeeming your offers. This means you probably have existing leads — people who have previously converted and are already in your contacts database — filling out your forms, too. So what’s the point of asking them to answer the same exact set of questions every time they’re looking to redeem one of your offers? To us, that seems like quite a lost opportunity.With Progressive Profiling, problem solved! Instead of being repetitive in the questions you ask, you can ask new questions every time a lead converts, enabling you to ask the right questions at the right times. Which leads us to benefit numero three … 3) It Allows You to Capture More, Valuable Lead Intelligence Over TimeIn an ideal world, you’d have tons and tons of information about each of your leads so you can better segment your marketing campaigns and nurture your leads — and so your sales team has more lead intelligence that enables them to sell to those leads more effectively. And while sophisticated marketing software can help you capture behavioral data about your leads over time — such as the types of content they’re reading or downloading, and the pages they’re visiting on your site — sometimes the most effective way to learn about a lead is to directly ask them the questions you want to know about. But as you can imagine, asking them for all this information at once can lead to some pretty lengthy forms which will destroy your conversion rates — leaving you with absolutely no lead intelligence at all.So why not spread out your ideal questions over time and in a way that aligns with the lead’s stage in the sales cycle? With progressive profiling technology, you can do just that, asking for just the critical information the first time a lead converts, and then progressively asking for more detailed information over time as they become more qualified. For example, on a lead’s fourth or fifth visit to your site, you can pose more sales-centric questions, such as “Are you currently evaluating vendors?” or “What other products are you using?” As a result, progressive profiling can even help you shorten your sales cycle, as you can more accurately pinpoint which leads are sales-ready.It’s for the very same reason you wouldn’t bombard someone who has never visited your website and doesn’t even know what you sell with a call-to-action for your ‘Contact Sales’ offer. Again, it’s about asking the right questions at the right times. In this way, progressive profile allows you to build a more complete profile for each lead over time. 4) It Saves You Time Last but not least, progressive profiling technology can also save you the trouble of creating separate forms tailored to different landing pages on your website. For example, you might think that someone who ends up on your product demo request landing page is further along in the marketing funnel, and as a result, you might want to display a form that asks some more sales-specific questions. But with a progressive profiling tool like HubSpot’s, you can reuse the same forms across many different landing pages and rest assured that the right questions are being asked at the right time. This can save you a ton of time from creating a variety of specifically targeted forms.How to Leverage Progressive ProfilingThere are a number of ways in which progressive profiling can help you improve your marketing. Let’s talk about a few powerful use cases as well as some progressive profiling best practices to consider if you’re just getting started.Great Progressive Profiling Use CasesMaximize the Impact of Your Secondary Calls-to-Action: Offering secondary calls-to-action (CTAs) can be a great way to reconvert and nurture your leads, especially if the CTA is for an offer that naturally progresses the lead through the sales funnel based on their previous conversion event. But because a lead has already converted, Progressive Profiling will enable you to optimize your form for that second conversion, allowing you to capture additional lead intelligence you can use to better segment, nurture, and sell to that lead in the future.Improve the Effectiveness of Lead Nurturing Workflows: Naturally, you’ll also want to surface different fields for the leads in your lead nurturing workflows that appeal to their varying stages in the sales cycle. As you can imagine, Progressive Profiling makes this extremely easy and helps you get more lead intelligence out of your nurturing campaigns — which can be extremely helpful for your sales team. Push Referral Traffic Further Down the Sales Funnel: Driving traffic to your landing pages from external sources such as PPC, organic search, or social media sites? Because Progressive Profiling will show a set of very broad questions to new visitors and more specific questions for visitors who are already familiar with your content and company, you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns for both high conversion rates for new visitors and lead quality for known contacts.Use as a Survey Tool on Your Blog: Because a business blog typically attracts a lot of repeat visitors, consider embedding a progressive profiling form on the sidebar of your blog that acts as a survey, asking readers iterative questions about your blog, such as the types of content they’re interested in or other types of reader feedback that can help you improve your blog’s strategy and performance. It’ll never ask visitors the same questions twice! Progressive Profiling Best Practices Ask the Most Critical Questions First: While it may be tempting to make the first version of your form extremely short and sweet, make sure you’re still asking for the critical information you need to properly contact, segment, and nurture that lead in the future. After all, you’ll still want to be able to send them relevant content even if they never come back and convert on your website again organically.Start Broad and Then Get More Detailed: As you’re planning the order of your Progressive Profiling fields, start with the most broad questions first and then get to the more detailed, product-focused questions later when you have a stronger, more familiar relationship with the lead. Think about how you would logically conduct a conversation with a lead. You wouldn’t ask what their budget is before even determining if they’re a good fit for your product, right?Align Questions With Leads’ Likely Stage in the Sales Cycle: As your ordering your questions, also think about what stage in the sales cycle a lead would typically be in at this particular conversion. It might be helpful to conduct some analysis into your customer base about their average number of conversion events before closing as a customer, as well as the average length of your sales cycle. This can help you figure out the right questions for particular points along leads’ conversion path.Tailor Progressive Profiling Form Fields to Various Buyer Personas: Finally, consider crafting different Progressive Profiling form questions based on different segments of your leads. Then add these forms to any segment-specific landing pages you may be using on your website or in your lead nurturing workflows to enable you to capture the lead intelligence that’s specifically beneficial to that audience — making future segmentation and sales follow-up even more effective.What do you think about progressive profiling technology? How else can you leverage it to improve the context and personalization of your marketing? Originally published Feb 7, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 28 2018 Lead Generation
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) Originally published May 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated April 06 2018 Topics:
It’s always valuable to look at how other organizations within your industry get things done every day. And It’s particularly valuable to look at how an organization you admire, or aspire to emulate, has nailed what they do.When we read in 2016 that BuzzFeed was changing the entire way its content creation team was structured, it made us curious about how we were creating our own content. Were we dedicating enough resources to video content? Was our social media strategy as built out?HubSpot doesn’t operate at nearly the same scale as BuzzFeed, and we aren’t a strictly media company, but it made me wonder how our industry peers are getting the job done. So I asked some of my friends in the B2B marketing space, “How do you create content every day?” Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. In this post, we’ll discuss how different content teams are structured — and what wisdom you can take away for staffing your own team.How 4 Content Marketing Shops Staff Their Content Teams1) TrackMavenTrackMaven is a marketing attribution analytics software company, and I asked Senior Director of Marketing, Kara Burney, about her team’s unique approach to structuring the content marketing team of “mavens.”Over the past year and a half, we flipped our content creation hierarchy from an exclusively in-house model to a primarily freelance-based model. The impetus was to divide and define the responsibilities of content creation, content distribution, and content reporting.While we still oversee social media and advertising in-house, we now manage a consistent cadre of freelancers: four to five writers, one to two videographers, and two to three designers. As a result, our team is able to focus on the distribution and ROI of each content asset, while benefiting from the expertise of specialized freelancers.”Takeaway for Marketers: TrackMaven structured its team to best prioritize everyone’s time according to their strengths. TrackMaven consists of experts in content distribution and proving ROI, so its content team focuses on those parts of the content creation process — and leaves the actual creation to freelancers to free up time and energy.And according to our research, this is a smart move: The 2017 State of Inbound report revealed that some of marketers’ top priorities include proving marketing ROI and content distribution/amplification.2) BufferBuffer is a social media scheduling app that creates a ton of useful content and research on its different blogs, so I asked its Director of Marketing, Kevan Lee, how the content team is assembled to produce so much.We have nine people in total on our marketing team: one director, one content writer, one blog editor, one community builder, one loyalty marketer, one PR marketer, one bottom of the funnel marketer, one digital strategist and social media producer, and one product marketer.We all create content in some way, at some time. We’ve built the team based on the marketing channels that we’ve been able to validate. So, at first, when our team was one or two people, we went after a wide range of marketing channels to see what worked. Content marketing yielded some huge results, so we hired a content writer to go deep on that channel.As channels get validated, we try to move people into those roles so they can maximize the impact we can have on that channel. In our case, blogging has been highly validated as a strong referral source for us, so we have multiple people working on content marketing. Video is showing lots of potential, and we’re definitely doing more there — it just hasn’t quite reached the peak validation of content marketing for us yet.”Takeaway for Marketers: Buffer’s marketing team waits for channels to start to drive meaningful results before dedicating staff members to leading the charge, which makes a lot of sense. In this way, Buffer can use ROI to make intentional and impactful choices about where to dedicate resources to get results — and fast. Buffer has consistently seen blogging move the needle for its outcomes, so it built out the blogging team to constantly keep the content engines running.3) MozMoz sells SEO, link building, and content marketing software. I asked its Audience Development Manager, Trevor Klein, about how Moz creates the Moz Blog, Whiteboard Fridays, and other great content.Moz doesn’t actually have a single full-time content creator. We do have a content team of four members. One marketer is in charge of our content experience, ensuring we’re addressing the needs of our audiences and offering them the right paths (and the right stops on those paths) to get the value they need. We also have our blog manager, though her purview extends to strategy for all of our educational content. Our video wizard — with expertise in both video strategy and production — helps teams throughout Moz make the most of a complicated medium. And I manage the team and set overarching strategy.We also, though, have a handful of other Mozzers who devote some of their time to creating content, including several Moz Associates — industry experts with whom we have ongoing contractual relationships.Our team is structured in a way that encourages each individual to contribute in their most meaningful ways, working as much as possible with our wonderful community of contributors. We divide the creation and editing responsibilities among several people instead of retaining full-time writers, and that gives us two important benefits. For one thing, it affords us great flexibility. We don’t have to wait on a bottleneck or get stuck because someone is on vacation, and it allows us to play off each writer’s individual skills for different content needs. This works out well, as Moz’s priorities are in a near-constant state of flux. It also ensures that work never gets too monotonous for anyone on the team. Some people enjoy writing things all day every day, but those folks are few and far between. Splitting the creative work among several people encourages coordination and allows us all to spend some time on other things.”Takeaway for Marketers: Moz’s approach to content creation is smart — it maximizes and takes advantage of employees’ strengths and talents, and it makes the entire publication process a collective team effort. And by training the whole team to fulfill writing, editing, and publishing roles, the team is more nimble and adaptable to institutional or industry change that might drastically alter priorities and goals.4) HubSpotHere at HubSpot, our content creation is spread over many different teams — in fact, we like to say that everyone at HubSpot creates. Within our “strictly” content team, outside of the HubSpot blogs, where we have four full-time writers creating daily content, we have a team of three multimedia content creators, a researcher, two podcast producers, and two social media and video content producers. Additionally, we have a team that creates co-marketing content with our partner organizations, a team that creates ebooks and content offers designed to generate leads, and specific blogs and dedicated to recruiting prospective employees and providing valuable insights to our partner marketing agencies and our various clients’ verticals.In short, the official content engine is made up of nearly 20 employees, but everyone at our organization has the expertise and ability to create content — whether it’s a blog post, a Facebook Live broadcast, or a podcast recording.Takeaway for Marketers: We recommend creating opportunities for all employees to be a part of the content team — team members in other departments have valuable insights and data that can be adapted into relevant content for your audience, so don’t be afraid to grow its size to meet your traffic goals.How is your company’s content team structured? Share with us in the comments below. Originally published Jun 9, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Marketing Jobs Don’t forget to share this post!