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Build Confidence in Your Products through User Communities

User communities are similar to user groups, wherein the user gets to interact with other users around the world. This forum is helpful to prospective clients as they can join user communities to gain a sense of how well a company’s products performs based on the feedback they read about in the communities.

Benefits of User Communities

Building a sense of belonging among your current customers is a necessity in today’s digital world. There are so many ways to connect. Providing one place to connect with your brand and other users of the brand is yields many benefits. Below are just a few of those benefits:

  • Creates a sense of belonging which in turn builds loyalty.
  • Robust user feedback is priceless for product development.
  • Direct communication with users enables marketing to understand user’s perspective.

Examples of User Communities

Qlik.com has its own user communities which are both productive for users and Qlik’s marketing purposes as they can listen to the voice of their customer.

FIGURE 1 QLIK

Tibco has Communities and User Groups for just about every product they make.

FIGURE 2 TIBCO

SAS offers many communities and user groups as well.

FIGURE 3 SAS

Do you have user communities for your existing customers? Are you promoting user communities on your website?

Need help figuring out how to promote user communities on your website? Contact me today to get started.

Read more about how offering Free Trial of your product can improve customer engagement.

Increase SEO Rankings Fast with Unusual Type of Ads

Internal Linking with Ads

Placing Ads on your site actually increases SEO ranking and the type of advertisement I’m talking about may not be what you’re thinking of.

You might be thinking why would I want to put ads on my site?

I’m not suggesting advertising other people’s services. Rather you should advertise your own products and services.

Benefits of Internal Linking

By advertising your own products and services through the use of Ads on your web pages, it accomplished three things:

  • Keeps your audience reading.
  • Increases visitor length and page view.
  • Reduces bounce rate.
  • Increases your SEO rankings.

When you build a webpage that has a link to another page on your site you are creating something called “interlinking.” A good interlinking strategy helps the customer find information faster. And it notifies the search engine your site is worth ranking well. Keeping your prospective customer on the site longer is the main purpose of these “Ads.”

The more helpful information, links to other pages, suggested videos, or even opt-in forms for special reports you provide, the more chances you have of capturing the attention of that potential customer.

This inter-linking to other pages on your site is not only helpful for your prospective customers, but it also helps you rank better with the search engines.

Examples of Good Internal Linking

Let’s look at three examples from business intelligence companies on Gartner Groups Magic Quadrant report below.

The first example is from  http://www.tableau.com/learn. On the right-hand side of the page, Tableu includes pictures with links to a powerful customer story and Tableau Software Certification.

FIGURE 1 HTTP://WWW.TABLEAU.COM/LEARN

The second example is from Qlik.com.  Qlik does a good job of showcasing additional resources multiple ways, as the picture below highlights.

FIGURE 2 QLIK.COM

Our last example is from Oracle, who shows off its “Ads” on the right side of its pages as seen below:

FIGURE 3 ORACLE.COM

What about your business?  What resources, products, or services do you offer that could be promoted on other pages of your site?

Thinking about your on products and services, what “Ads” should you be showcasing on your website pages?

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

If you find yourself with the 61% of B2B marketers who lack resources, contact me today.

Read more about how your website copy can help you build engagement.

Proving the ROI of Your Marketing Activities

Why is Return On Investment (ROI) so Difficult to Calculate?

If you spend $1,000 on a writing service, you want to know you’re going to make $10,000 is sales as a result. Well, it doesn’t work that way. And this is where the ROI problem is detected.   Content marketing is not necessarily tied directly to sales.  It’s more indirect. We know it helps but it is difficult to concretely say this piece of content contributed to the actual sales transaction.

We all know that B2B buyer’s journey includes much online research before a sales person enters the picture. We also know that no one buys a product after reading a single blog post.  Rather it is a stepping stone leading them closer to the decision to buy.

There is the problem with ROI tied directly to each piece of content created. It’s impossible to know for sure. That is unless you asked your customer about every step of their research that lead them to the purchase in the first place.  That’s not a likely scenario.

So how do you measure the effectiveness of a content piece?

Start with measuring what can be measured. Things like the number of visits, number of likes, number of shares, number comments, the number of sign-ups, or number of click-throughs, etc.

At least you’ll know whether a piece is being read. This means you’re increasing your visibility and brand awareness.

Here’s a simplistic example.

Let’s say you write a blog post with a call to action leading the reader to a Landing Page. Let’s say the reader clicks the call to action to go to the Landing Page. Once on the Landing Page, the reader signs up for the offer.

The blog post’s job was to get readers to click the call to action. So did it do its job? Yes.

And did the Landing Page do its job to get the visitor to sign up for the offer? Yes.

By accepting the offer, the reader/visitor is now considered a warm lead or customer depending on your business. Now you have the ability to count the number of sign ups as warm leads or customers.

The scenario described above is a simple one. There may be multiple content pieces used to drive traffic to the landing page. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to know which piece of content lead the reader to the landing page.

“If I can say what is the number one way to measure marketing effectiveness it would be two things: Marketing Metrics and Predictive Analytics. First, marketing metrics is important because they tend to measure output things in terms of effectiveness. The second is a new trend: Predictive Analytics. Predictive analytics involves using statistics to examine and determine patterns in data.” says D. Anthony Miles, a nationally known expert in the fields of Entrepreneurship and Marketing. (Docurated.com)

There are ways to determine it though. With creative codes embedded in the piece and relying on the reader to enter such code when they get to the landing page is one way.  You can imagine how complicated that may get if you have multiple step process before the landing page.

Now let’s look at a more realistic B2B Buyer’s Journey example.

Think about a typical B2B buyer’s experience. They have a problem they need to solve. They begin by researching on the internet who else has this problem and how did they solve the problem. The buyer finds user groups and communities of users who have the same problem and talk about their trials at solving the problem. Maybe they find a White Paper that explains the problem in detail and offers generic means of solving the problem. Next, the buyer stumbles upon a case study providing hope their problem can be solved. Further research, lands the buyer on an article addressing the very thing they are researching with a call to action to sign up for a webinar to learn more. After attending the webinar, a follow-up email is received with a call to action to download a demo or schedule a consultation.

As you can see this is a long process that happens over a long period of time. Decisions are not made instantaneously. How would you measure every step in the process described above?  How would you tie each step together to see the whole path the B2B buyer went through?

Ryan McKee, Director of Brand Engagement at MEC shared the example below shows a typical user having 37 interactions before purchasing skis, bindings, and backpack.

There is definite value in having all these content pieces. For without them there would be no stepping stones for the B2B buyer to follow. But knowing the exact return for each piece is tricky.

How to Calculate ROI for a Content Piece According to InboundMarketingAgents.com

Step 1: To calculate true ROI, you need to know how much it costs you create content in the first place. Not just the content, but defining the strategy, the planning time involved, and the execution times too. What’s the total overhead of creating a content piece?

Step 2:Next you’ll need to calculate the value you place on goals or conversions, and what achieving those conversions is worth.”

Step 3: Now take the revenue that can be attributed to the content piece, and divide it by the cost to produce the content piece.

If the result is less than 100%, then you still have work to do.  If it is 100% or greater than you’re making more money than it took to create the content piece and you are profitable.

While the above is one way to calculate ROI, also consider ROI may mean more than dollars.  You may want to measure brand awareness, security risk mitigation, or customer experience. All of these may not translate to specific dollar amount earned.  So don’t get stuck on focusing on dollar only ROI calculations.

Select metrics that help you achieve your objectives and goals. Then establish discipline around analyzing your results and using those results to improve marketing efforts you implement.

In Conclusion

There will be times when ROI will be hard to measure. In those situations, you can always keep an eye on sales as you measure all the other things mentioned in this article. While it may be difficult to tie directly, there should be a correlation to sales. If you notice sales increasing, check out the other measurements to see if there’s an increase also. Talk with the sales department to determine if they ran any special promotions during that period of time, if not, chalk it up to your awesome marketing abilities.

 

Sources:

http://www.docurated.com/all-things-productivity/whats-your-1-way-to-measure-marketing-effectiveness

http://www.inboundmarketingagents.com/inbound-marketing-agents-blog/bid/364737/Proving-ROI-Proves-to-be-Marketers-Biggest-Challenge

https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/measure-marketing-roi/

Prove the ROI of Your Social Strategy Webinar hosted by HootSuite June 24, 2017

 

18 Ways to Generate Traffic Without Paid Ads

There are plenty of ways to generate traffic to your website. Many would say the first place to start with paid advertisements. But I disagree. I like to utilize all my free options before I spend a penny. So here’s a list of free things you can do to increase traffic to your website. Enjoy!

1. Identify Content Themes in Your Content Strategy

Consider your buyer’s journey. At each step in their journey, they need to know certain things. Identify them.  Identify the type of content needed at each stage in the buyer’s journey.  For example, if I needed to buy a new car I might start by thinking about what features I need in a new car. I might need to know which brands/models have those features. I might want to know who has the best feedback from others who bought the same car as I’m considering. I might want to know who has the most awards around the top features I care about. I might need to know what dealers have inventory, etc.

Industry trends, how-to suggestions, problem/solution, power stories, and case studies are a few of themes that might be applicable in your market.

As the MarketingProfs graphic below suggests, there are several tactics for sharing those content themes.

Figure 1 MarketingProfs infographic on Content Marketing Stats

2. Write Compelling Content that resonates with your target audience.

The content you provide needs to tap into the specific things your target audience is dealing with. If you know their pain points, you can create content to help them solve those pain points.  This will draw the readers to your website for more great content.

Interview industry experts who can speak to specific topics your audience cares about.

MarketingProf infographic shows 69% of B2B marketers focus on creating content for their audience versus their brand.

Figure 2 MarketingProfs Infographic stat of audience vs brand focus

Content that resonates with your audience will be content focused on the buyer’s journey.  Information that helps them make a more informed decision or guides them in the way to solve their problem.

3. Create Only Great Content

So what makes content great? Several things actually.  Let’s start with a strong headline, one written to peak interests, adds urgency, is useful and totally unique. Remember the Power of One principle when writing a piece. The entire piece should be focused on one main thought. Weave in the promise you offer as well as the benefits they get from taking advantage of your promise. Then offer enough proof and credibility to your claim. Close with a solid call to action to move your reader to take action. Content should be written in a conversational tone. After all, you’re writing to one person. If it doesn’t sound like you talking, go back to the drawing board. There’s much more that goes into the making of great content. If you starting implementing these, you’ll be on the right track.

MarketingProfs infographic shows 76% of B2B marketers prioritize delivering content quality over quantity.  And you should too!

Figure 3 MarketingProfs infographic stat on quality vs quantity

4. Utilize Social Networks to Reach Your Target Audience.

Great content won’t be effective if you don’t get it in front of your ideal clients. Find out what social networks your target audience uses. Get active on those networks. Share your awesome content written specifically for your ideal client.

Wordstream suggests “Twitter is ideal for short, snappy (and tempting) links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalized search results and seems especially effective in B2B niches. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find great traction with image-heavy social sites like Pinterest and Instagram.”

5.Optimize Everything For SEO

When I say optimize everything, I mean everything.  From content titles, post descriptions, image names, image descriptions, page title, page descriptions, snippets, and all the meta tags should utilize the specific keywords or phrases people search with.  Don’t underestimate the power of SEO. When done properly your content will rank better in the search results. This means more people finding your content and ultimately your website.

Here are 7 trends in SEO you need to stay on top of in 2017

6. Utilize Influencer’s Networks

An influencer is someone in your market that your target audience listens to. Anyone who generates content in your market that your audience readers would be an influencer.  Cozy up to them. Get to know them.  Offer your content they can share with their network.

Note: You can’t just give them any ol’ content. It needs to helpful to their audience. It must add value otherwise there would be no reason for sharing it.

7. Invite Others to Write for You

Identify the leading blogger’s in your market. Contact me and ask them to contribute content to your website. This will help bring their following to your website.

8. Increase Your Share Ability

Every page on your website should be shareable.  Consider adding social share buttons on every page.  Make it easy for people to share your content on whatever social networks they want.

9. Increase Your Rankings With Internal Links

Create a linking strategy inside your website. Include call-to-actions on every page that link to other pages on your website. This helps increase the time on your website and search engines like it.

10. Offer a Free Newsletter

Add an email opt-in form to your website to allow potential customers to sign up to receive updates from you. Remember people want to get to know you better before doing business with you. This is your chance to communicate with them.

11. Make Your Website Responsive and Fast

Your website must be easy to use on every platform. Not an easy task! With the ever increasing types of devices, how can you stay current? The answer is with a responsive web design. If you don’t have one, get one.  Your website needs to be fast, too. No one wants to wait around while your bulky images take forever to load.

12. Share Your Content With Others

Content aggregators help get your message out there. There are many to consider. Look for those in your market that share content similar to you.  Sharing your content with content aggregators will also help your SEO ranking, as reputable links to your website are good for you!

13. Use Video Everywhere You Can

With today’s always-connected users, a video is the leading type of content people are consuming today.  Think about ways to incorporate more video. Share case studies of how you help your clients. Share helpful ways to solve problems. Create videos to help your prospects get to know you more.

If you haven’t considered using videos yet, you might want to check out this infographic from HubSpot.

14. Face to Face Networking

There is nothing better that meeting people face to face. This builds trust faster than anything. So look for opportunities to meet people face to face. Check out MeetUp.com. They offer “meet up” opportunities for just about any interest out there.

There are several ways to get face to face with people.  Consider professional associations, such as American Marketers Association at https://www.ama.org/Pages/default.aspx Find one that is specific to your industry and join it.

Figure 4 AMA logo

Look for groups meeting in your area. Take advantage of the https://www.meetup.org/ to find meetups on various topics, industries, or niches in your area.

15. Host Webinars

Potential clients love to sign up and watch webinars as part of their buyer’s journey. This is a good way to get your name and expertise out there and draw people back to your website for their next steps in getting to know more about you.

16. Go to Industry Conferences

While this is similar to face to face networking, it is a little different. For one, you’re likely to meet industry experts who you can partner with. You’ll also meet prospective customers who are researching in your field.

17. Comment Your Way Into Their Hearts

Look for user communities and other online groups you can join. Then get active commenting where you can. As you comment more, people will see your name and the wisdom you share. This helps build an audience who will then click back to your website to know more.

18. Submit Your Sitemaps Regularly

Don’t forget to submit your sitemaps to the search engines on a regular basis. Remember search engines always want the latest and greatest information. If you provide your sitemap updates regularly then search engines will be able to index you quickly.

 

As you can see from this list there’s a lot to do. You might feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t be. Pick one or two items to implement and start with that. But if you find you’re like most B2B companies where resources are tight, I’m happy to help you get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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