Friday, 26 May 2017

How Data Helps Influence Reluctant Buyers

Yes, maybe, or no.

For reluctant buyers, they aren’t quite certain whether your product works for them. The consumer isn’t sure if the product’s features will actually help them.

Tackling this segment of buyers is an issue facing most SaaS companies. The competition and the demand for the new best thing makes consumers apprehensive about purchasing.

“Ever since SaaS products emerged on the scene, they seem like they are constantly being replaced with something shinier and newer. Buyers hesitate to upgrade because they worry the new solution will be obsolete within a few years. Switching solutions is a significant hassle for many companies,” states Krishna Shastry, CEO and co-founder at Lander.

It’s time to give your audience that extra nudge to buy your SaaS product. Check out these five data-driven strategies below.

1. Customize the Product Demo Experience

Show, don’t tell is the underlying principle of engaging potential customers to learn more about your products. It’s not enough to just list your features and benefits on your website.

Purchasing a SaaS product is a big deal for most buyers. If they’re the end user, your product will solve their immediate needs, and if they’re purchasing software for their business, your product is supposed to help their company operate more efficiently.

To ease reluctant buyers worries, you need to give them an inside look of how your product moves them forward in their endeavors. You can start by asking them specific questions before the product demo.

How will they use your product? What do they hope to gain from the software? Who are the stakeholders involved in this purchase?

You also may want to analyze the most used featured by your top customers. That way, you can show reluctant buyers how others derive benefit from your product. It may offer clarity to the buyer’s particular situation.

One gripe amongst reluctant buyers is how they sign up for product demos. It’s important to dedicate a page for people to request demos. In the image below, sales engagement platform Outreach uses persuasive copy, along with a prominent call-to-action button to entice consumers.

Image Source

Before your next product demo, ask buyers questions to customize the experience. A unique presentation will pique their interest and may lead to a new sale.

2. Segment Buyers to Email Exclusive Offers

As a consumer, you’ve probably asked for something extra with a purchase. Maybe it was extra pickles on your burger or an extra discount on a pair of designer jeans.

Well, while your SaaS product may be better than a gourmet sandwich, the same thought process about getting something extra may exist for your customers. Your buyers may expect a bonus to come along with your product no matter what.

However, exclusive offers aren’t created for every single buyer. You only want to deliver VIP treatment to a select group of reluctant buyers.

These individuals have expressed a strong interest in your product and just need one additional reason to say yes. It’s possible to tease these reluctant buyers with exclusive bonuses to get them to the shopping cart sooner.

Email is an effective tool for communicating this type of message. With built-in tracking capabilities, email service providers can tell you who opened your emails, what links they clicked on in a message, and the time they read the message.

And no more sending generic emails to your entire mailing list. Based on your buyer’s behaviors, you can use email segmentation to send tailored messages to different target audiences.

For instance, your data may reveal that reluctant buyers who participate in a product demo and request two content upgrades are more likely to buy with a bonus. Your team then can deliver a customized message with a bonus straight to their inboxes.

Let your consumers’ actions determine your bonus system. Then, you can execute your plan to capture those lingering sales.

3. Simplify the Checkout Experience

SaaS companies get so bogged down with improving their products that they forget to polish their websites. You’ve probably experienced a few buggy sites from your own experiences. If you get confused for longer than a minute, you quickly exit the brand’s website.

On top of that, consumers hate wasting time looking for your prices. And if your prices are too complicated to understand, they won’t continue with the process.

The reluctant buyer already has concerns; therefore, the checkout process shouldn’t scare them away. Below is an example of a pricing page from LiveChat. It’s easy to read and gives pertinent details about each plan to diminish uncertainty.

livechat pricing 2017

By observing your site behavior, you can identify the friction points causing buyers to bounce. Do they leave after viewing your pricing page? Or do they exit when it’s time to enter a credit card?

“Understanding [your customers’] big issues like discomfort with technology or over-reliance on legacy solutions is important, but it’s also important to understand the day-to-day barriers to a sale,” writes Ashley Minogue, marketing strategist at OpenView Venture Partners.

Your buyers are reluctant for a reason. Find out if the issue is your checkout experience.

4. Monitor Online Communities

Community engagement is a key part of selling in today’s economy. Consumers like talking about their experiences—bad and good—with their peers.

Online communities give customers the space to praise how they used a product and to offer advice on how the SaaS company can improve. There are also online groups dedicated to helping people learn the basics of a product.

For the reluctant buyers, these communities offer invaluable content. In their eyes, they get to hear the truth. And for proactive SaaS companies, it’s a chance to persuade potential buyers.

For example, with a Facebook group, your team can track post and comment activity to learn what customers enjoy about a feature or the different uses of how your product helps people. Plus, as the admin for an online community, you can guide the conversation of your consumers.

That social listening data prepares your team for sales objections from reluctant buyers. If someone hates that you offer no phone support, you can point to how current customers get more value from your email support.

You want to give reluctant buyers peace of mind. Show them a thriving online community that supports your product and brand.

5. Select the Best Customer Testimonials

Social proof is an irreplaceable asset for persuading SaaS users to purchase products. Influencers and peers can convince consumers to decide between competing brands.

So it’s natural for reluctant buyers to seek out customer testimonials before they make a purchasing decision. Radha Sarma, marketing director at Luit Infotech, offers her insight:

“Referral programs and customer stories are incredibly effective for selling SaaS software. Reluctant buyers are more likely to go straight to your existing customers and ask for their feedback or refer to testimonials and reviews on your website, because they rely on that a lot.”

To get the most from your customer stories, it’s best to analyze your data to find the testimonials with the highest traffic. You want to learn what makes consumers gravitate to one story more than another. Is it the particular customer? Were the results phenomenal?

From that information, you can produce similar case studies based on the reluctant buyer’s circumstances. You want to purchasers to imagine themselves as the next success story.

And of course, you want to continue to post these testimonials in easy-to-find areas on your site. Datanyze offers a quick format of their case studies for buyers to read.

What do reluctant buyers want to achieve? Aim to gather case studies displaying the many facets of your product solution.

Harnessing Data to Influence

Nurturing reluctant buyers requires strategic effort from your team. SaaS companies can use their data to influence consumers to purchase.

Your team can personalize the product demo experience for your audience. When necessary, simplify the checkout process by eliminating friction. And don’t forget to use customer testimonials that fit the potential consumer’s current situation.

Shake off your buyer’s hesitation. Let data influence your next sale.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.



from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/influence-reluctant-buyers/

7 Ways To Boost Your Organic Reach On Facebook

Yes, you’re not imagining it, it’s becoming even harder to get your company Facebook posts seen. Facebook has published some information (via their blog) on their changes in January & May, but savvy observers have noticed changes every month of 2017 so far. We’ve also seen other social networks take steps in the same direction: winnowing down organic posts seen by users to include only the timeliest, most relevant, or those in a preferred format.

What does that mean for a social media marketer? Your organic Facebook posts may be seen ONLY by your hardest-core followers (your most devoted fans) who have a history of reacting to and sharing your content. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for responding to Facebook’s 2017 algorithm changes and get the best mileage out of your posts:

Do—Try Livestreaming a Video

Among other recent changes, Facebook says it is favoring video in the News Feed. For example, if a user watches all or most of one particular video, they are more likely to see similar videos in their feed. Also, videos now play with sound defaulted to ‘on’, if the device isn’t in silent mode. Maybe this is the right time for you to post more videos and/or try Facebook Live? Maybe stream a discussion or interview with a subject matter expert instead of (or in addition to) writing a blog?

Don’t—Go Live, If You’re Not Truly Live

If you do “Go Live,” it had better be actual live video, not just looping animation or a poll that’s trying to rack up engagement. Facebook has caught on to those tricks and is no longer rewarding them. They’re also cracking down on the use of live video to share violent scenes (to the tune of a few thousand new employees tasked with seeking out and removing such content).

Do—Encourage Employees to Share Your Posts With Their Networks

Facebook says the News Feed favors a user’s family, friends & “core value” content. They tell us those user-generated posts get 7 times more engagement than a typical post from a brand. This could be a great reason to implement or re-energize your employee-advocacy program, where you encourage employees to share your posts. Don’t just stop at Facebook, be sure to include other networks while you’re at it.

Don’t—Trick Users Into Visiting a Website Full of Ads

The Facebook algorithm now actively downgrades sites with little content and “disruptive, shocking, or malicious ads”, typical of fake news sites and click bait posts. So, if your site looks anything like this, it’s time to make a change:

Ad Heavy Site

Do—Think Outside The Box & Try To Solicit Reactions Besides “Like”

Reactions OTHER than likes may be better for you. Even an “angry” response is taken as a sign that people are engaging with your content, not just skimming by and clicking ‘like’. Maybe you’ll have success with #FridayFunnies that generate some “Ha Ha” responses. When I noticed a new “thankful” reaction the other day with a flower image, I wondered if we’d start seeing posts on what companies are thankful for, just to take advantage of it. But it seems that option was a short-lived test.

Don’t—Ask For Likes or Shares. EARN Them

Be both relevant & engaging, or at least have a great offer. It’s a twist on the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say …”. It’s better to post a bit less often, but have quality content when you do share it. If followers ignore your posts, that’s not great. But if they hide them because they’re too promotional and not useful, that’s even worse.

Do—Include Your Followers in Relevant Ad Campaigns

To those in a cynical mood, it certainly seems like Facebook is strongly encouraging ads/boosted posts, if not flat-out requiring companies to spend money for distribution that used to be free. If you’re already advertising, it may be worth including your existing followers in your audience targeting. If they engage with your boosted content enough, Facebook may determine that they want to see your organic posts, too.

I hope you find these tips helpful, but they’re just a start. Surely Facebook (and other networks) will continue to evolve how they determine which content gets substantial distribution. We’re in a phase now that will remind some of SEO’s somewhat wild past (e.g. keyword stuffing and thousands of backlinks stopped getting rewarded), so stay tuned for more changes!

The post 7 Ways To Boost Your Organic Reach On Facebook appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.



from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/05/7-ways-boost-organic-reach-facebook.html

8 of the Top Marketing Challenges Marketers Face Today [New Data]

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Every marketer faces different challenges. Although we typically share similar goals, some teams are stuck on hiring top talent, while others are having trouble finding the right technology for their needs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s always at least one area that you can stand to improve. In other words, there’s always room to optimize the various components of your strategy and turn your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator.

Curious about what kinds of obstacles other marketers are up against?

soi-anchor-cta-2017

We polled thousands of marketers on the challenges they face, as well as the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on. Here are some of the most common challenges marketers reported struggling with ... and their solutions.

The Most Common Marketing Problems We Face, According to the 2017 State of Inbound Report

According to our report, generating traffic and leads and proving ROI are the leading challenges marketers face. Here's a look at this year's data:

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Image Credit: The 2017 State of Inbound Report

Let's go through each of these top challenges and how marketers can address them.

1) Generating Traffic and Leads

Why It's a Challenge

Generating enough traffic and leads was the top marketing challenge, according to the 2017 State of Inbound report. We started asking this question with this answer as a new option last year -- and we're glad we did.

Clearly, marketers are struggling with producing enough demand for their content. And as the years progress and competition stiffens, this will only become truer. With so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and even more ways to promote it, it's hard to know where to focus your efforts.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, marketers should ask themselves two questions: Are you truly creating high-quality content -- the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?

For example, HubSpot Research has found that 43% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future, while only 29% want to see more blog posts. To learn more about how the way people are reading and interacting with content is changing, check out this HubSpot Research report.

Once you know you're creating the type of content your audience wants, the focus shifts to promoting it in a way that makes your audience take notice. More than ever before, people are being flooded with content. Consumers don't have to use a search engine to find answers. Instead, articles fill their news feed or buzz in their pocket via mobile notification.

Needless to say, the content promotion playbook is not the same as it was five years ago. To make sure your traffic and lead numbers continue to rise, check out this comprehensive guide to content promotion.

2) Providing the ROI of Your Marketing Activities

Why It's a Challenge

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge year-over-year. But, it also continues to be a vital way for marketers to understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign, piece of content, etc.

Plus, proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget.

But tracking the ROI of every single marketing activity isn't always easy, especially if you don't have two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales reports.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to providing ROI, there's a strong case to be made for dedicating time and resources to establishing links between marketing activities and sales results. This means using both marketing software (like HubSpot) and a CRM solution (like HubSpot's free CRM), and then tying them together to close the loop between your marketing and sales efforts with a service-level agreement (SLA). That way, you can directly see how many leads and customers are generated through your marketing activities.

We've found there's no better combination than having an SLA and doing inbound marketing. According to this year's report, inbound organizations with SLAs are 3X more likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective compared to outbound organizations with misaligned marketing and sales teams.

(Use this ROI calculator to simulate the potential ROI you could realize by conducting inbound marketing.)

3) Securing Enough Budget

Why It's a Challenge

Securing more budget is a pressing challenge for marketing globally. And often, getting more budget is easier said than done -- especially for smaller organizations that aren't working with sizable nor flexible marketing spend.

But the key to securing more money for your team might not be that complex. Here's what you can do.

What Can You Do?

The key to unlocking budget lies in being able to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. According to our report, organizations that can calculate ROI are more likely to receive higher budgets.

Again, success with inbound marketing also plays a large role in driving higher budgets. Effective strategies obviously produce results, and our data shows those who feel confident in their marketing strategy are more than 2X as likely to get higher budgets for their marketing teams. But remember, inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off -- in fact, you might consider doubling down.

4) Managing Your Website

Why It's a Challenge

Managing a website was the fourth biggest challenge for marketers in 2017. And chances are, your website's performance is high on your list of priorities. It's an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals, after all.

Issues with website management include a variety of different factors, from writing and optimizing the content to designing beautiful webpages. Here are a few things marketers can do to deal with this challenge.

What Can You Do?

First, read this report to see how your website stacks up against over 1 million other websites. It also includes a deep analysis on the four most critical elements of website performance and design, from average load time and website securityww to mobile friendliness and SEO.

If your primary challenge with managing a website has to do with the skills and resources you have available, you aren't alone. This is especially true for small companies who don't have all the talent in-house required to cover content, optimization, design, and back-end website management.

One solution? Hire freelancers and agency partners. To find freelancers, we recommend:

  • Tapping into your personal and professional network by posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks with a description of what you're looking for.
  • Browsing freelance writers and designers based on their portfolios and areas of interest. For writers, check out Zerys and Contently. For designers, check out Behance & Elance.
  • Browsing HubSpot's Services Marketplace, which lists a wide variety of designers from partner companies and agencies we've deemed credible.

Overall, you can make website management easier on your team by hosting your website on a platform that integrates all your marketing channels like HubSpot's COS.

Finally, for the projects you want to keep in-house, here is a list of ebooks and guides that might be helpful to your team:

5) Identifying the Right Technologies for Your Needs

Why It's a Challenge

Finding the right technologies was the fifth biggest concern for marketers this year. Oftentimes, this is because feedback on technology is scattered. Marketers might turn to colleagues, friends in the industry, and/or analyst reports to figure out which technologies best fit their needs -- only to find that feedback is spread across emails, social media, and so on from people of varied reputability.

When you're looking for a tool, software, or piece of technology to solve a specific marketing problem, where do you go to find it?

What Can You Do?

For those of you looking for a tool, software, or piece of technology to solve a specific marketing problem, we recommend taking a look at Growthverse: a free, interactive, online visualization of the marketing technology landscape that focuses on the business problems marketers are trying to solve, and leads them to specific pieces of marketing technology that aim to solve those problems. We've found it to be a really well-visualized map of carefully curated marketing technology resources.

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It's worth noting that the main tool in top marketers’ arsenals is a platform for automating their team’s marketing efforts. We found that although our respondents indicated using an array of specific products, the larger trend was telling: The top marketers use marketing automation software in some form or another. Meanwhile, 40% of marketers cite marketing automation as a top priority for the next year.

6) Targeting Content for an International Audience

Why It's a Challenge

Targeting is a key component of all aspects of marketing. To be more effective at targeting, one of the first things any marketer needs do is identify their buyer personas to determine who it is they should be marketing to. If you're expanding internationally, it can be a big challenge not only to figure out the best ways to market to an international audience but also to organize and optimize your site for different countries.

What Can You Do?

Download our free ebook, The Global Marketing Playbook. There are some really helpful tips in there that'll help give you some direction on global marketing, including how to identify your top three growth markets, how to explore local trends, and tips on choosing the best localization providers.

Remember, your website visitors might speak a plethora of different languages and live in totally different time zones. To make your content appealing to a wide audience, you'll need to keep your global visitors top-of-mind when creating all your content. This means being aware of seasonal references, translating units of measure and monetary references, and giving translators the tools and permissions to customize and adapt content for a specific audience when they need to.

Finally, be sure you're optimizing your website for international visitors, too. For more tips and resources on global marketing expansion, browse our international inbound marketing hub.

7) Training Your Team

Why It's a Challenge

As companies scale and technologies continue to evolve, training your team will become a greater challenge for marketers. Whether it's training them on the concepts and tools they'll be using every day or making sure they're achieving their full potential, the struggle is real across the board.

To combat this, I’ll share some tips I’ve used during my trainings to make sure the concepts and tool tips stick and have a lasting effect on your team and your marketing.

What Can You Do?

To get an overall idea of where your team stands, take a few minutes to assess each of your team members' marketing strengths and weaknesses, levels of expertise, and passion/commitment to your company. Then, objectively rate the priority (or level of importance) of their expertise and their contribution to bottom line objectives (ROI) to date. Here's a simple assessment tool from Lean Labs to help you evaluate your team so you can figure out who needs recognition and who needs coaching.

Next, check out this awesome resource from HubSpot Academy, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Training. It's a guide that'll help you navigate all the marketing training options you have, from quick daily habits to more rigorous, career-launching investments.

You also might consider requiring your team members to rack up some online marketing certification. HubSpot Academy, for example, offers certifications, documentation, and training programs to help people master the basics of inbound marketing. Google also offers training and certifications on analytics with their online Analytics Academy.

What about new hire training, specifically? We recommend creating a training plan for new team members. Here at HubSpot, each new marketer is given a 100-day plan like this one to lay out specific goals and help new hires demonstrate their effectiveness.

8) Hiring Top Talent

Why It's a Challenge

Hiring top talent was the eighth biggest challenge marketers reported experiencing this year. Why? Many companies are shifting more resources to inbound marketing, which means higher and higher demand for top marketing talent. But supply simply isn't keeping up. From sourcing the right candidates to evaluating for the right skills, finding the perfect person could take months ... or more.

What's more, the type of marketing talent companies are looking for is changing, too. In Moz and Fractl's analysis of thousands of job postings on Indeed.com, they concluded that employers are seeking marketers with technical and creative skill sets. And the quick rate at which the demand for these jobs are rising has caused a marketing skills gap, "making it difficult to find candidates with the technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing."

What Can You Do?

Employers are looking for marketers with a diverse skill set that includes digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing. To find the best inbound marketer for your team, the first thing you should do is decide what that person needs to be able to achieve for your business.

Ask yourself: What will the new marketer's tasks and duties include? What skills do those tasks and duties require? What goals or challenges will the new marketer face? Use your answers to these questions to write a compelling job description. (Here are 37 pre-written marketing job descriptions to help you get started.)

Next, post your jobs where talented inbound marketers will find them. While traditional job sites like Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, or LinkedIn will help you cast a wide net, we recommend checking out Inbound.org, which is the only job listing service in the world that's exclusively focused on inbound marketing and sales jobs.

Finally, focus your job description and new hire 100-day plan what people value most in their careers. This year, the data shows that 58% of people consider opportunities for growth when looking for a new job, while 50% are looking for a good work/life balance.

Does Your Company Face Any of These Marketing Issues?

A thorough analysis of your marketing strategy and its current performance will help you discover where your biggest marketing opportunity lies. This will allow you to focus on improving the areas that need the most attention, so you can start making your marketing far more effective.

If you're faced with a challenge and want ideas on how to best tackle it, you can always consider getting some help by any of the various types of marketing training that are available. Learn more about what other organizations are prioritizing and tackling in the 2017 State of Inbound report.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33820/5-major-challenges-marketers-face-and-how-to-solve-them.aspx

How to Get Started With Paid Search [Free Guide]

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In 2016, 96% of Google's revenue came from paid search (or pay-per-click) advertising. Clearly, marketers are taking advantage of AdWords, but what does a great PPC campaign even look like? How do you ensure it drives ROI for your company? How do you even do a Google AdWords campaign?

To help you get started the right way, we're breaking down the basics of how to use paid search below.

The following is an excerpt from the ebook How to Use Google AdWords, just one of the resources included in The Ultimate Free Google AdWords PPC Kit we created with our friends at SEMrush. The kit includes the full ebook, a template, and a checklist -- everything you need to manage keywords, campaigns and ad groups successfully. If you'd like to access the full kit, click here.

How to Use Paid Search

All too often, companies -- small businesses especially -- think that if they just pay to be on a search engine, they don't have to invest time and resources in search engine optimization to rank higher organically. 

It's important to make clear that paid search is not a replacement for anything, but should instead be used to complement other inbound marketing strategies. Paid online advertising takes a lot of time and effort, a lot of resources, and a lot of management, and it's something you really need to invest in.

Let's take a look at some of the useful things you can do with paid search.

Landing Page Testing

One great way to use paid search is for testing and optimizing your landing pages. So, for instance, here's the search engine results page for "cat food for older cats", and you see some paid results for this specific search query:

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You can take that one ad and actually set it to go to two different destination URLs, and therefore, to two different landing pages.

So for a cat food ad, you could have one ad going to a page with one offer (a guide on feeding techniques for your older cat), and the other to a page for another offer (an actual product page for cat food).

You could also have the ad go to two different landing pages that are for the same offer. For example, if you wanted to test a feature of your forms, you could have two versions of the same landing page, each with a different form layout, and send the ad to each of those. This is called A/B testing, a very important and highly recommended practice for optimizing your landing pages.

Paid search is a great way to do landing page A/B testing because it allows you to direct traffic to your choice of pages, split this traffic to different pages, and ultimately find the pages that convert at the highest rate.

Finding New Keywords

In addition to landing page testing, you can also use paid search to find new keywords for your campaign. Google AdWords generates a Search Terms report that displays all of the keywords for which your ad has been displayed.

In other words, if you are bidding on the keyword "red shoes", Google might serve your ad when someone searches "red tennis shoes." Even though you did not bid on the exact word, the keyword "red tennis shoes" will be included in this report because that's what the user searched. The report also contains information about the performance of each of the keywords, so you can determine if it's worth adding that keyword to your campaign.

Below is a sample Search Terms report. On the left hand side is the list of keywords. The ones that show the green "Added" box next to them are the ones that are already in this paid search account.

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The keywords that don't say "Added" next to them are not currently included in the account. Again, this is a list of the keywords that people are actually typing into the Google search, so it is extremely valuable information.

Take, for instance, the keyword "search engine optimization tutorial'" from the list above. That is an excellent keyword for my campaign, and I'm not buying it yet. Not only that, but I wouldn't have known about that keyword unless I had generated this report! And to top it all off, I'm able to see that when somebody searches for this keyword and clicks through to my ad, they convert on one of my offers at a rate of 21%.

Now, this high conversion rate tells me not only that I should be buying this keyword, but also that maybe I should consider using this keyword for search engine optimization as well. Maybe I should make a landing page geared toward this keyword, or an offer built around this keyword.

You should use the information in these Search Terms reports, and also in Google AdWords' Keyword Planner, to discover new keywords that will help you further optimize all of your SEM campaigns. For more information on keyword research, check out this blog post: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner's Guide and the Ultimate keyword research checklist.

Getting in the Game

Another great way to use paid search is to, as we say, "get in the game" and rank higher than your competitors. Let's look at PetSmart.com, which holds the number one ranking in the organic search results for the phrase "cat food".

For the phrase "dog food", they don't rank number one, but they're still above the fold, meaning that you don't have to scroll down to see the result when the page comes up. This is great, of course, but their high rank for these keywords does not mean they shouldn't bother running any paid search ads.

If you do a little research, you'll find that "pet food" is also a big keyword in this space, and PetSmart ranks far below the fold for it. On top of that, they're not running a paid search campaign with Google AdWords either. But their competitor, Petco, does have a paid search campaign, and so their ad appears on the results page, while PetSmart does not. So this is a sample instance where running a paid search campaign makes a lot of sense.

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Paid Search Can't Stand Alone

When you think about how you should use paid search, one of the best ways to think about it is to use it as a complement to your inbound marketing efforts. You can use paid search to maximize your coverage on the search engine's result page (SERP).

For instance, here we have the search term "inbound marketing." You'll see that there's an organic search listing for HubSpot that ranks second on the page (just after Wikipedia), but we're also buying the keyword "inbound marketing," which displays our paid search ad for it.

So now we have that natural search ad, the paid one, and, if you scroll down the page, you'll find yet another organic search listing for HubSpot via SlideShare. This widespread coverage on the search engine results page for "inbound marketing" helps to establish HubSpot as an authoritative figure for inbound marketing, and drives more traffic to our pages.

The good news is -- you can do this for your business as well! Take the opportunity to establish your company as a leader in your industry by increasing your presence on search engines with paid search campaigns.

Ready to get started with the full ebook, template, and checklist? Click here to access the complete Ultimate Free Google AdWords PPC Kit. 

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/managing-and-organizing-google-adwords-campaigns

The Harmful Effects of Sleeping With Technology [Infographic]

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Did you know that the average technology user in the United States spends nearly 11 hours per day looking at screens?

Sure, a lot of that time is spent at work on computers and mobile devices, but the rest of it is spent at home. And as it turns out, exposure to screens and other technologies can have adverse health impacts -- especially if it's too close to bedtime.

Two-thirds of Americans report that they have trouble sleeping, and too much technology could be the cause. Webpage FX created the following infographic that outlines how technology is being overused, the health impacts it can cause, and how you can improve your sleep habits with a few simple changes.

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free trial of HubSpot's Website Platform



from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/sleeping-technology

Thursday, 25 May 2017

How to Create Your First Kissmetrics Campaign

With the launch of Campaigns this month, we have given our users incredible flexibility to create any automated, behavioral emails they can imagine. If you already have sophisticated behavioral email programs up and running, then…good news…you don’t have to read any further.

However, if you are just getting started with your behavioral messaging programs, this post should really help. The goal is to highlight some basic email campaigns that will serve as good starting points for your behavioral programs.

How to Organize Your Behavioral Email Campaigns

A good way to frame your potential email campaigns is by using your business’s growth funnel.

If this represent the major steps of your growth funnel, you should plan to have behavioral email campaigns for each of these steps – the goals of each being to try to get people to the next step. Eventually, you will have multiple campaigns for each step in the funnel (because you are likely breaking down each step into more granular elements), but as a start – this serves as a very good framework.

And that’s just how we’ll organize the suggestions in this post. See below for sample campaigns – and specific emails – for each step in this growth funnel.

Specific Campaigns

Acquisition campaigns

aquisition-campaign-email-icon

These are emails built to turn hot prospects into actual customers. Obviously, you can’t email people for whom you haven’t captured an email address – so for these campaigns, you will be targeting those prospects who have become engaged enough to provide you with an email – whether that be by signing up for your newsletter, downloading a ebook, or signing up for a free trial of your product.

Once you capture that email address, you can start driving those prospects toward purchase. Here is an example of a specific message you can send in this phase:

Email: Need help deciding? email
This email is designed for people that have shown a high-level of interest in your marketing site and seem on the verge of making a decision.

Video of setting up these rules: http://recordit.co/NdroOgLpna

Activation campaigns

activation-email-campaign-icon

Once a user signs up and begins to use your product, they enter an “activation” phase. The goal of any email that you send during this phase, is to guide them through initial setup and usage. Many times, you will be trying to get a user from signup to “first value.” For example, Facebook is famous for trying to get users to invite 7 friends in 10 days because that is what they know will lead to activation and long-term engagement.

Some people might call emails during this phase ‘onboarding emails’ – which is fine. We prefer to tie the messages to a goal of activation, but either is fine. Typically these emails will come in a series (or a ‘drip’) based on (a) when a user signs up; and (b) what activities they have – or have NOT – completed. An example, 3-email, drip might look something like this:

Email: Welcome email
This email is sent upon a new user signing up. The goal is to introduce the user to your product and/or help them take their first step toward activation. This is a very important email – not only does this email help to get your users close to becoming active with your product, but it also introduces them to your brand. In many cases, this will be the first time your users will have received an email from your company.

Video of setting up these rules: http://recordit.co/LwmAZFAd6f

Email: Follow-up 1a – after user successfully takes next step in activation
If your Welcome email is successful and your users take the next step in your activation process (this could be by creating a profile, adding a friend, connecting data – or whatever is the important next step for your product), you will likely want to send an email to get them to the next step.

Video of setting up these rules: https://cl.ly/0W1v35151z3b

Email: Follow-up 1b – to users who did NOT successfully take next step
For those new signups that DON’T make it to the next step, it is important to give them a reminder – a little nudge – to get them beyond a simple signup.

GIF of setting up these rules: https://cl.ly/3x0C3Q2e1q41

Of course, these activation drip campaigns can (and should) be much longer than this example. The length and nature of your activation campaigns will be dependent on your product and the specific steps your users will need to take in order to become “activated.”

Ongoing engagement campaigns

ongoing-engagement-campigns-icon.jpg

Once you have activated users, the next challenge is to keep them fully engaged so that they stick around for a long, long time. Ongoing engagement emails go beyond just simple activation messages and work to get your users engaged with all your important features.

A typical email for ongoing engagement would be a feature release announcement.

For any feature announcement, you shouldn’t settle for just one email. You should always schedule follow-up messages – both for users who have tried the feature and for those who haven’t. You could even have a third group of users who just kicked the tires – (ie – those users who only used the feature once).

Video of setting up rules: http://recordit.co/RfuqITX9Ih

Video of setting up rules: http://recordit.co/1xLaRcUZfW

Ongoing engagement email campaigns will be your main channel for communicating with your existing customer base. Doing this effectively – using actual product usage to target them in a relevant way – is essential for driving continued loyalty and engagement.

Re-engagement campaigns

re-enagement-email-campaign

Yes, it’s true. Every software product has inactive users. It’s just a reality.

Which makes re-engagement campaigns an essential part of any messaging program. The goal of re-engagement campaigns is to – you guessed it – re-engage customers who have potentially lost interest and become inactive with your product.

There are many different approaches for re-engagement campaigns. Some companies use these emails as a last-ditch effort to try to show an inactive user the value of their product; others use discounts or other offers to entice people back; others try to get inactive users on the phone with a sales or customer success rep; and others accept the loss and use a re-engagement email as a way to gather feedback from an inactive user (in a somewhat subtle way to try to…re-engage them).

You should choose an approach that works best with your product, but whatever you do, don’t ignore re-engagement emails. It’s very important that you leave customers – even those ‘on their way out’ – with a positive experience. Their reasons for leaving may have nothing to do with your product. Yes, there is a small chance they will be back – but there is a significant chance that they will talk to future potential customers of your product.

Spend time building out good re-engagement campaigns. Your immediate conversion rate will be low, but they will pay off in the long-run.

An example re-engagement email:

Video of setting up rules: http://recordit.co/1xLaRcUZfW

Reward emails

Reward emails are an oft-overlooked, but highly effective emails. Unlike win-back emails which you target users when they are inactive, reward emails target users when they ARE active. In fact, they are designed to reward users based on their activity. Reward emails are meant to make the recipient feel good about their activity. They should generate a shot of dopamine, generating positive feelings toward your brand.

Reward emails can be triggered based on specific activity, like using a feature for the first time; or based on time, like an anniversary. When used effectively, reward campaigns can be some of the most engaging programs you will run. We highly recommend building some reward campaigns into your engagement plans.

Next Steps

We hope this post has helped offer some ideas for starting points for your engagement email programs. The next step is simply to start building…and start shipping. All the emails described here are completely possible with Kissmetrics Campaigns. You can find more details on building your first campaign in this help doc, but it should be very straight forward.

Go forth and engage!

About the Author: Derek Skaletsky is the Head of Product and Services at Kissmetrics.



from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-create-your-first-kissmetrics-campaign/

How to Create a SMarketing Service Level Agreement

Marketing-Service-Level-Agreement-compressor.jpg

At most companies, it can feel like marketing and sales are far from being on the same team. According to the 2017 State of Inbound report, fewer than half of marketers would describe their respective companies' Sales and Marketing teams as "generally aligned."

And that's a problem.

Here at HubSpot, we're lucky to have a strong, healthy relationship between marketing and sales. Our marketing and sales executives started out on the same team in the company's earliest days, and that collaboration has trickled down throughout the organization as it continues to grow. But it wasn't just luck, of course.

That alignment -- which we call "Smarketing" -- is largely the result of a conscious decision to work together, set goals, and create agreements between both teams.

soi-anchor-cta-2017

One of the most critical steps, it turns out, is creating a service level agreement (SLA). Traditionally, an SLA serves to clearly define exactly what a customer will receive from a service provider.

But we suggest creating a Sales and Marketing SLA: An agreement that details both marketing goals (like number of leads or revenue pipeline) and the sales activities that will follow and support them, like following up on leads qualified by marketing. Both teams use this document as a commitment to support each other, based on concrete, numerical goals. And guess what -- 81% of marketers whose companies have this type of SLA have an effective marketing strategy.

SOI_SLA.png SOI_SLA2.png

But if you don't have a Sales and Marketing SLA in place, fear not: We've outlined four steps to create one below, as well as ways to get started on aligning your sales and marketing teams.

How to Create a Sales & Marketing Service Level Agreement

Aligning Marketing and Sales

Before you begin to draft your SLA, you'll have to make sure your Sales and Marketing teams are aligned -- or, as we put it before, achieve harmonious Smarketing. That's accomplished in two main parts.

1) Have Marketing commit to a number.

As a marketing department, not only should you have a concrete strategy and reporting goal, but also, you should have a concrete numerical one that aligns with the sales team's mentality.

Sales professionals are greatly driven by their quotas -- the numerical goals that correlate with their compensation and job security. If Marketing commits to a similar, related numerical goal, it shows that the team is being held accountable in a manner similar to Sales.

2) Communicate, celebrate, and address the achievement -- or lack thereof.

Maintaining strong communication regarding how each team is performing on goals boosts transparency. If either team isn't reaching their goals, addressing that confirms their importance, while celebrating hitting those goals can aid motivation.

If you're not sure where to begin when it comes to setting these goals, check out our free Marketing & Sales Lead Goal Calculator, designed to help you determine and track the goals that will eventually become part of your SLA.

How to Make an SLA

1) Calculate the Marketing Figures and Goals

In order to calculate the marketing side of your SLA, you'll need the following four metrics:

  • Total sales goal (in terms of revenue quota)
  • % of revenue that comes from marketing-generated leads (as opposed to sales-generated ones)
  • Average sales deal size
  • Average lead-to-customer close %

Then, it's time to do some calculations.

  • Sales quota * % of revenue from marketing-generated leads = Marketing-sourced revenue goal
  • Marketing-sourced revenue goal / average sales deal size = # of customers needed
  • Customers / average lead-to-customer close % = # of leads needed

It might also be a good idea to reevaluate the marketing side of the SLA each month, as a variety of factors can change the numbers used in your calculations over time. To do so, create a document that tracks your SLA calculations by month, which should include the following metrics:

  • # of marketing-generated leads
  • # of those leads that became customers
  • Revenue from those closed customers
  • Total revenue closed that month from marketing-generated leads only
  • Total revenue closed that month

You will also need:

  • The average sales cycle length

With the figures above, you can re-calculate the metrics you started with on a monthly basis, or whatever timeframe is used in your business -- quarter, year, etc. Just make sure the same measure of time is used for both Sales and Marketing to maintain alignment. Have a look:

  • # marketing-generated leads that became customers / # marketing-generated leads = lead-to-customer close %
  • Revenue from closed customers / # of marketing-generated leads that became customers = sales deal size
  • Total revenue closed from marketing-generated leads / total revenue closed = % revenue from marketing-generated leads

You could also take it one step further, and incorporate quantity and quality into these metrics. The above calculations provide you with a quantitative volume goal of marketing-generated leads. However, we know that not all leads are created equal, and as a result, some may be considered higher- or lower-quality than others.

For example, a decision-making executive might be a more valuable contact than an intern. If that's the case, you can do the above analysis for each subset of leads, and set up separate goals for each type/quality level.

Want to take it even further? Measure in terms of value, instead of volume. For example, a CEO may be worth $100, for instance, while a director is $50, a manager is $40, and so on.

2) Calculate the Sales Figures and Goals

The sales side of the SLA should detail the speed and depth of following up with marketing-generated leads. A few years ago, HubSpot enlisted an MBA student's help in performing an analysis to determine the optimal number and frequency of follow-up attempts for each lead -- if you have the time and resources for that, great. But many businesses don't. According to the InsideSales Fall 2016 ResponseAudit Report:

  • If leads are responded to in fewer than five minutes, the chances of actually contacting them are 100x higher than waiting 30 minutes. On average, only 7.7% of leads are contacted within the first five minutes.
  • In terms of follow-up, "the best practice is 6 phone calls, 3 voicemails, and 3 emails, for a total of 12 touches."

Not all leads may be fit to send to Sales immediately. Perhaps they need to meet some minimum level of quality, like reaching a certain activity level, which can only take place after being nurtured by Marketing. That's perfectly fine -- as long as your leads get some immediate follow-up.

The first moments after lead conversion are critical in maintaining a relationship with your leads, and either Sales or Marketing should take action to start building that relationship, make nurturing easier, and set up the sales rep for success when she eventually does reach out.

But this advice is futile if you don't consider the bandwidth of your sales reps. Sure, in a perfect world, they'd make six follow-up attempts for each lead -- in reality, though, they may simply not have enough hours in the day to do that. For that reason, you'll also need to factor in the number of leads each rep is getting (based on the Marketing SLA), how much time they spend on marketing-generated leads versus sales-generated leads, and how much time they have to spend on each one. If you're looking to conserve time, some of the follow-up -- email, in particular -- could be automated, so look into options there.

3) Set up Marketing SLA Reporting

Now that you have your SLA goals, it's time to track your progress against that goal -- daily.

To start, graph the goal line. Multiply 1/n -- n is the number of days in the month -- by your monthly goal. That should determine what portion of your monthly goal you need to achieve each day. You'll want to graph that cumulatively throughout the month and mark your cumulative actual results on the same chart. We call that a waterfall graph, and it looks something like this:

leads-on-track-2.png

4) Set up Sales SLA Reporting

For the Sales SLA reporting, you'll have two graphs -- one monitoring the speed of follow-up, and the other monitoring the depth of follow-up.

To graph the speed of follow up, you'll need the date/time the lead was presented to sales, and the date/time the lead received her first follow-up. The difference between those two times equals the time it took for Sales to follow up with that particular lead.

Take the averages of lengths of time it took for Sales to follow up with all leads within a particular timeframe -- day, week, month -- and graph it against the SLA goal.

speed-resized-600-2.png

To graph the depth of follow-up -- e.g., the number of attempts -- look specifically at leads that have not been connected with, since the goal of the follow-up is to get a connect. For leads over a certain timeframe that have not gotten a connect, look at the average number of follow-up attempts made, and graph that against the SLA goal.

lead-attempts-1.png

And One Last Step

When it comes to what should be in your service level agreement, there's one final piece: Review these metrics on a daily basis to monitor your progress, and make sure both Sales and Marketing have access to the reports for both sides of the SLA.

This step helps to maintain accountability and transparency and allows for both teams to address issues -- or congratulate each other on productive results.

What best practices have you observed in creating a service level agreement within your organization? Let us know in the comments.

soi17
free traffic and leads calculator


from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34212/how-to-create-a-service-level-agreement-sla-for-better-sales-marketing-alignment.aspx

What Does Your Desk Say About Your Marketing Style?

Did you know that your desk could be saying a lot more than you think?  Not to be judgy, but whether or not you have considered your workspace and how it reflects your marketing style, your co-workers have.

Often the first place coworkers tend to look to get a general perception of who you are and your skills is your desk. As a Marketo Business Consultant, I see many marketer’s desks when I visit with customers.We know that marketing professionals are busy and pulled in multiple directions. So, when we see a workspace that looks, well, ‘worked,’ we tend to smile. It’s not so much the tidiness factor, but what you’re projecting to your team and whether that image will help you build upon your fundamental marketing skills. In fact, the article, “Clean Your Messy Desk, Lest Ye Be Judged,” reported that almost 60% of people had judged a co-worker based on their desk. Noting that a clean desk conveyed ‘accomplishment’ while a disorganized workspace implied ‘an out of order life.’  Positive or negative, your co-workers could be (read: are) analyzing your work based on your desk.

Marketing teams are made up of an array of diverse talents. So whether you’re a creative, an analyzer, or an intellect, it’s important that the skills you bring to the table and your personality are reflected, visually displayed, and nurtured by your workspace. So given that people are making assumptions about your personality and work style based on your desk, how can you use your desk to really reflect your personality and represent the skills you possess? In this blog, we’ll take a look at three workspace styles that I’ve seen, what they say about you, and the kind of work they are most likely to inspire.

Organized Chaos

A famous example of what a workspace says about a person occurred when Einstein passed away on April 18, 1955. Journalists immediately made their way to the Princeton Hospital, but one photographer split off from the pack and made history. Ralph Morse side-stepped the crowd at Einstein’s office at the Institute for Advanced Studies and snapped, what is now, an iconic picture. In the famous photo of Einstein’s office, there’s not an inch of desk peeking through the papers and books, and he liked it that way.

Einstein's Desk

Photo credit: Ralph Morse/Time

Einstein’s office had a reputation that preceded itself. His desk was judged as ‘messy.’ His response was simple: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”

As one of the greatest minds we have known, Einstein was a creative and a creator. Like many modern marketers, it’s common to find that the creative-types have desks or offices that reflect their fast-paced environments and minds. While it’s easy for others to judge based on the (organized) chaos, psychologist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, wanted to see what the typical reaction was to a little bit of chaos.

In her study, Vohs placed people in either a tidy or a messy room in order to determine if their environment affected the choices and decisions they made. The results were surprising, the people who were surrounded by tidiness chose things that were ‘classic’ or ‘conventional.’ While the other half, surrounded by messiness, made decisions based on novelty, and looked for the ‘new’ or ‘innovative’ option. In conclusion, messiness has value. The study demonstrated that mess or chaos does increase creativity and maybe, encourage a bit of rebellion against the norm.

A little chaos can go a long way. It can help us reflect on our creative side and uniqueness rather than conformity, which is good for marketers. Finding inspiration in a little disorder is a marketing style that conveys you’re innovative.

So when it comes to your workspace, it’s all about cultivating what makes you unique as a marketer. If you prefer a workspace that encourages creativity, then try adding inspirational objects to spark your creative side. Even if it’s not your norm, or comfort zone, you could try to create a space that will help foster the traits you want to cultivate. For example, you could prop up your favorite book on your desk, or a word puzzle or game that is inspiring.

Neat as a Pin

We all know a marketer who has a desk that should be in a magazine. Everything is perfectly placed as if they are always ready for a photo opp. They probably take inspiration from Mary Kay Ash, the president of Mary Kay cosmetics. A famous example of a clean workspace was Mary Kay’s home office in Dallas, Texas on New Year’s day in 1982.

mary kay ash office tips

Photo credit: Associated Press

In the picture, Mary Kay rests on one elbow with a phone glued to her ear while intensely working. Her surroundings are calm with a neatly stacked calendar, a cup of pens, and even a place for paper clips. Being coined as a master marketer in her industry, Mary Kay had an image to uphold. Photos of her in action are examples of how life and work can reflect one another.

If you’re customer facing, like Mary Kay, tidiness can help you project your productivity and ambition. Some offices have mandated a ‘clean desk policy’ to ensure people clean their spaces, believing a clean workspace reflects ‘professionalism’ and ‘competence.’

A tidy workspace can help you stay ahead of the game. There is something to be said for a marketer that knows where everything is and can provide resources in a blink of an eye. To accomplish this, you could have an organizational strategy to help you stay productive. For example, you could use file folders for daily tasks, sticky notes, or a whiteboard to keep your workspace clear of clutter. Having a workspace set up for success conveys that you’re ready for every marketing opportunity and challenge.

To improve your already professional demeanor and workspace, you could spend less than five minutes each day straightening their desk before you head out. Putting dirty cups in the break room, wiping down spills, and throwing away trash. That way you can keep your desk organized and looking sharp. It’s then a workspace that conveys you’re ready for anything, no matter how your day unfolds.

Professional Disruptor

There’s a new kid on the block. The marketer who performs in highly agile work environments, disrupts the norm, and spends most of their time working. Sound familiar? It should because most of the desks we’ve bumped into as consultants are designed for these types of workspaces. The professional disruptors are easily recognizable as the ‘middle of the road’ between organized chaos and neat as a pin.

For inspiration, we look no further than Mark Zuckerberg. Many photos taken of him in action show an office that is what you’d expect from a busy business tycoon. While it’s not as chaotic as Einstein and not as immaculate as Mary Kay, it does show a style that is more focused on work rather than status or control and order.

Mark Zuckerberg: tumblr.com

In one photo of Zuckerberg’s workspace, it shows a desk that has wires coming out of every direction, a cereal box, and a half-drunk bottle of soda as he intensely works on a laptop. So this sounds like, at least for me, it could be most of our desks after a long day at the office—right?

With this style of desk, a marketer can get the best of both worlds. They get to surround themselves with things that inspire them and spark their creativity and they have some sense of organization, which allows them to know where everything is and be able to gather it in a flash.

To achieve a marketing style like this, you can pick a day to organize, most likely the end of the week. Then throughout the week, you can leave everything where it is and focus on your tasks and projects instead. You can express your marketing style as innovative while still conveying professionalism through your workspace by keeping everything where it needs to be and adding one of two things that make you feel inspired.

Your Style Can Be Flexible—Choose What Works For You

To wrap up, it makes sense to stick with the style that aligns most with your talents and displays them to your team. It’s about being clear about who you are and what you bring to the table. Though if you want to try a different style to nurture new skills, by all means, forge ahead—there are definitely benefits to each type.

If you’re making a change, start small at first. If you have a clean workspace and want a little more inspiration, try adding a few distinct pieces that encourage your creativity. Or if you typically operate in an organized chaos space and want to project more professionalism through your workspace, try tidying up a bit each day. You can always take the middle of the road and focus on your work and less on your workspace throughout the week.

Ultimately, your work—marketing—should always come first. The goal is to create a space that demonstrates and reinforces what a stellar marketer you are. Look around the office and take note of the top three workspaces: organized chaos, neat as a pin, and professional disruptor. What style do you think helps foster your marketing?

The post What Does Your Desk Say About Your Marketing Style? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.



from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/05/desk-say-marketing-style.html