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A Continual Supply of Useful Information through a Blog

Problogger.com wrote a post on What’s a Blog. Read it here: https://problogger.com/what-is-a-blog/

Benefits of a Blog

Blogs have multiple benefits for you and your potential clients. Sharing useful information in your blog is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients. And build your credibility. Your reputation grows. You rank better in search engines because of the constant stream of new content published to your blog.

Your target audience has access to useful and helpful content. When the time comes to make a purchase your potential clients will think of all the useful content you’ve provided in the past.

Blogs have another purpose too. By studying the comments made on your blog, you can reap valuable insight as to what your clients are thinking, what bothers them, what they are really looking for, etc. You might say a blog is a built-in marketing focus group at your disposable.

Example of a Good Blog

Qlik.com blog provides a pleasing appeal with three column format, showing off the latest content and offering other helpful resources on the right. As an added bonus, they even tell the reader how long it will take to read the post.

That’s great news for those who like to skim through content or don’t have much time to read long-winded posts. In addition to the time it takes to read the blog post, they make the content easily shareable. The key is sharing useful information in your blog. This is to your advantage as well. If readers like your content they will want to share it, so make it easy for them to do just that!

FIGURE 9 QLIK’S BLOG

Do you have a blog setup but don’t know what to share on your blog?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to Social Media to engage with them.

Connect with Your Ideal Clients on Social Media Today

The internet has made it easy to connect with your potential customers.  Now connecting is just a click away. You can stay in direct contact with your customers through social media.  But you might be wondering which social media platform should you be on?

SmartInsights.com publishes a report each year to monitor social media platforms.  Maybe some of their charts may help you determine that.  Let’s look at a few.

Which social platform is the most popular?

I’ll give you one guess. Yes, it’s Facebook of course.

FIGURE 1  SOCIAL MEDIA RANKED

What’s the frequency of use on each social platform?

Looks like most users access their social networks daily.

FIGURE 2 FREQUENCY OF SOCIAL MEDIA

What is the average age of user on each social platform?

It looks like the 16 to 24 group and 35 to 44 group have the largest percentage across all social networks.

FIGURE 3 DEMOGRAPHICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

 

So now you know which platform is the most popular. And how much time the average user spends on that platform. And the average age of the user by platform.

Does this help you figure out which platform may work for your business?

As you can see from the last chart above, there are many different Social Media platforms out there. And new social platforms are emerging every day.  Don’t let this discourage you!

This doesn’t mean you need to be present on all of them.  You just need to be on the one your clients are on most of the time!

When you’ve found the right social media platform for your business, prominently displaying your company’s social media networks will help your customers find you and engage with you.

Let’s look at three companies who prominently display their social network links on their websites in different ways.

Board.com appears to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube as shown in the picture below.

FIGURE 4 BOARD SOCIAL MEDIA

Qlik prefers the social icons to represent their social network profiles as seen on the left in below picture.

FIGURE 5 QLIK SOCIAL MEDIA

GoodData displays its icons in the footer as well.

FIGURE 6 GOODDATA SOCIAL MEDIA

What Social Networks are you on? Are you sharing your Social Network links on your website?

Need help figuring out where to share your Social Network links?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to use User Groups to engage.

Build Repeat Customers through User Groups

User groups are primarily for existing customers. However, having a user group will help prospective customers feel they will have the necessary methods of support should they need it.

Benefits of User Groups

  • Creates a sense of belonging which enables loyalty.
  • Direct communication with actual users of your product helps with product development of new products.
  • An ongoing source of feedback for marketing purposes.
  • A resource to provide better customer service.

These are but a few of the benefits of having a user group community for your clients.

Successful Examples

Let’s look a few of the leaders in business intelligence industry to see how they use user groups.

Oracle provides a number of User Groups and Communities promising the user will be heard when they get involved.

FIGURE 1 ORACLE USER GROUPS

Alteryx allows users to locate user groups by area and posts upcoming Alteryx User Group meetings.

FIGURE 2 ALTERYX USER GROUP MEETINGS

Do you offer a user group community to your customers?

Need help sharing user group community updates on your website? Contact me at

Contact me to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out Special Reports.

3 Statistics That Prove Special Reports Are Needed Now

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).

These two statistics prove it makes sense to use Special Reports in your marketing strategy.

Why Use Special Reports?

Special reports are a great way to get people to start the journey of getting know more about you. The first statistic says 96% of B2B buyers are looking for you, the industry thought leader!

The report itself is meant to educate the reader.  It highlights a particular problem your product or service can address although it’s not primarily a sales piece.

What is a Special Report?

A special report is written as an informative piece to provide insights on how to solve a particular problem. It’s written very specifically, although generic enough that it isn’t selling them on your solution.

It generally outlines the problem and steps on how to solve a particular problem. And only at the close of the report, do you even mention a product or service of yours that supports the story you just shared.

Who Uses Special Reports?

From the research I’ve done, all of the Business Intelligence companies in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant utilize Special Reports. That’s because it’s another tool to grow your connection with a prospective client.

Typically, your audience has to provide their email address in exchange for the Special Report. Once you have their email address, you can contact them again over time.

So let’s look an example from the company called Tibco.

Below you see Tibco’s special report on Selecting an Integration Technology. It’s a free report in exchange for a name, email, and phone number. This not only provides value in educating the customer, it also increases Tibco’s email list so further marketing can be done later.


FIGURE 1 TIBCO SPECIAL REPORT OPT-IN

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)

So what about you and your business?

What problems does your audience have?

What problems do your products or service solve?

What Special Reports should you write to address those problems?

Need help writing a Special Report?

I’d be happy to help. Contact me to get started on your next Special Report.

For other ways to grow your thought leadership, check out industry conferences.

Grow Your Thought Leadership Through in Industry Conferences

To become a thought leader in your industry, you need to participate in industry conferences. Participating or even hosting and providing information about industry conferences helps prospective customers believe your company is a thought leader and strategic player.

This helps build trust and reputation.

Benefits of Attending Industry Conferences

As discussed above becoming a thought leader is helpful in building your brand. One way to do this is to attend industry conferences. There are several benefits of doing this:

  • Continued learning keeps you on top of your game.
  • Networking with industry professionals keeps you in the know.
  • Engaging with prospective clients attending can grow your business.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending industry conferences to grow your thought leadership.

Now let’s look at some examples.

SAS participants in various Industry conferences, such as these mentioned on their site:

FIGURE 1 SAS INDUSTRY CONFERENCES

InformationBuilders.com provides a convenient list of industry conferences.

FIGURE 2 INFORMATION BUILDERS EVENTS PAGE

 

Alteryx promotes industry conferences and events by showcasing them on the main home page.

FIGURE 3 ALTERYX CONFERENCES

 

What conferences occur in your industry? Do you speak at these conferences? Are you promoting these conferences on your website? How are you making your target audience aware of these valuable conferences?

Need help sharing conferences on your website? Contact me  to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out case studies.

Share Your Experience Today, Become a Thought Leader with Case Studies

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

One way companies are viewed as thought leaders is by solving customer problems and documenting them in a Cases Study.

What is a Case Study?

These special stories highlight how you and your products or services helped solve a problem a customer had. These stories are powerful testimonies which help prospective customers understand you’ve done this before and get great results.

How Do Share a Case Study?

Case studies should be shared freely on your site with no opt-in needed. These special stories are used as the top of the sales funnel marketing material.  The purpose of is build trust and demonstrate your know-how.

You can never have too many case studies.

Who Uses Case Studies?

Just about every business under the sun uses case studies.  Anytime you have solved a customer’s pain point and provided the solution, it should become a case study.

For example, a business intelligence company called Targit.com provides generous amounts of Customer Case Studies.  This is important for helping prospective customers feel comfortable with their decision to go with Targit.

FIGURE 1 TAGIT CASE STUDIES

Another company called Board.com has many Case Studies which demonstrates they’ve been in business for quite a while. They even group the case studies by industry, making it easier for prospective customers to get the information they’re looking for faster.

FIGURE 2 BOARD.COM CASE STUDIES

So what problems have you solved for your current customers? Have you crafted those success stories into Case Studies yet?

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’re like the 61% of B2B marketers who lack resource, contact me to let me help you get started.

Read more on how Special Report can develop your Thought Leadership.

Need Credibility? Try White Papers Now

There are many forms of lead generation tactics: newsletter, special reports, blog posts, articles, webinars, videos, case studies, white papers, and more.

Although, one tactic stands out – White Papers.

Why Use a White Paper?

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

And because White Papers have a dual purpose, on one hand, they offer helpful information on a particular topic. On the other hand, White Papers help position you as an expert in your field. This builds creditability and trust among your potential clients.

What is a White Paper?

A White Paper is a type of a report. It’s written as an educational piece. Typically describing a particular problem in a specific industry. It describes how people have tried to solve that problem and failed. It also shows how the problem is finally solved, along with a subtle mention of a specific product that solved the problem.

When is a White Paper Used?

At the top of the sales funnel you find lead generation pieces to get people into the sales funnel. Once a prospect has entered your sales funnel, you will nurture them with content. This allows you to overcome any obstacles preventing a future sale.

This middle portion of the sales cycle is where we help a potential client get to know your company has the potential for solving their problems.

What is Gated Content?

When content within a White Paper is highly valuable, it should never be shared for free. This is called gated content because one must pass through the gate of an  “Opt-In” to receive the information requested.

The content shared in the White Paper should be so compelling your potential client has no qualms about entering their name and email address to get this content.


Let’s a take a look at a couple business intelligence companies to see how they use White Papers in their marketing strategies.

Qlik.com has multiple White Paper opt-ins throughout their site. Below you’ll see one specific to Qlik Sense Architectural Overview.

FIGURE 1 QLIK WHITE PAPER OPT IN

Panorama is bucking the industry norm by giving away their White Papers with no email opt-in. While this may be helpful for the customers, this is definitely not best practice. Panorama is losing valuable marketing opportunity here.

FIGURE 2 PANORAMA WHITE PAPERS

What topics in your industry would make a useful White Paper?  What problems does your product or service solve? Can you write a compelling White Paper to convey how to solve that problem?

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’d like help with White Papers, contact me today.

Learn how to increase your thought leadership with webinars.

Why Webinars are a “No Brainer” for Instant Credibility

Part of your marketing strategies should be efforts to build your credibility and reputation as a thought leader. That’s where webinars come into play.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar is an online seminar. People opt-in to join the online meeting.  Those who join are sent an email with instructions on how to join and a link to “enter” the seminar.

What Tools Are Available for Webinars?

Teleseminars, Google Hangouts, and Webinars are wonderful methods to build your reputation as a thought leader.

There are many options to choose from.  According to Best Webinar Software 2017 article, Go To Meeting, Webinar Jam, Sleath Seminar, Google Hangouts, and Cisco WebEx are the Top 5 Webinar tools to use.

Regardless of which platform you use. You can produce both live and recorded sessions. Both are equally powerful to your target audience.

What Do I Share on a Webinar?

Let’s face it, you have valuable information to share with your target audience.  What do you know that can help a potential client solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal? What things have you learned that could shorten someone’s learning curve?

The internet has made it possible for your reach more of your target audience without spending a fortune to do it.  So get out there and start sharing what you know!

Who Watches Webinars?

People in just about every industry are willing to watch a webinar or two to gain insight on a particular topic.

55% of people consume video content thoroughly. (HubSpot, 2016) and 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot, 2016 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Why Host a Webinar?

When you host the webinar you are setting yourself up as the expert and trusted advisor. This puts you in a place of authority where potential clients will trust you more. Being a host of a webinar sets you up as a thought leader in your industry.

Let’s look at one business intelligence company called InformationBuilders.com. They do a good job at sharing their webinars and podcasts, as the picture below displays. You can even search for upcoming events.

FIGURE 1 INFORMATION BUILDERS EVENTS

What do you know that your target audience needs to know?

Have you scheduled a webinar yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Your audience needs your information. Don’t let them find a competitor just because you haven’t produced a webinar yet!

Need help scripting a webinar? I can help with that. Contact me to get started on your next webinar project.

How to crush it with video to reach your audience.

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

 

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