If Clayton Christiansen were running Apple Computer, then…

first_imgAs a follow-up to my last article on the decentralization of the economy from one of a relatively large number of very large businesses and a relatively few number of small businesses to a relatively few number of very large businesses and a very large number of small businesses. As you may recall, I talked about how the advent of networks (railroad->telephone->highway->airline->fax->email->internet) has overall lowered the “transaction costs” between businesses which increases the likelihood of a decision to outsource a task versus hire additional employees leading to an overall economic decentralization. One of the problems with this model is that it’s a bit hard to know where your industry is in it’s development. For example, Apple has been earning huge profits on its itunes/ipod business for several years now — are there many more years to come or are they facing near-term de-centralization as the buying criteria shifts from simplicity to something else (i.e. price, features, other)? It is likely doing its best to keep the interfaces between the pieces of the value chain locked up (trade secrets, patents, exclusivity with parts suppliers, etc.) and keep customers locked in, but how long can they hold on? At some point in time, there may be another disruption in the computer industry that will cause it to consolidate again. For example, the buying criterion moving to a new price point to serve underdeveloped countries might end up creating a new integrated player in the pc space who controls the boundaries of a new device that can be sold for $100 or less. I suspect that we will see a similar decentralization in the online music industry. Just as they did in the PC industry 20 years ago while the category was in the “not good enough” phase, Apple has seized control of the subsections/interfaces between the components within the mp3 player (ipod), the music delivery application (itunes), the music itself, and the distribution (Apple stores). As they did with the pc, they are optimizing around the buying criteria of ease of use because prior to ipod/itunes, “you’d have to be a high school student” [I borrowed that line from Christiansen] to figure out how to make this type of stuff work. By not having to worry about designing the boundaries (api’s), Apple lowers its “transaction costs” and can innovate quickly. We are still in the early phase of this industry and Apple is earning the lion’s share of the profits. It will be interesting to see who the winners are as the industry decentralizes. In particular, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft’s strategy plays out. From my perspective, Microsoft is making a mistake by trying to play the same game as Apple here and controlling the end-to-end experience, rather than sticking to it’s knitting and trying to control a strategic layer that enables this industry to split apart. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Today, I want to talk a bit about centralization/decentralization within industries. I think Clayton Christiansen does a pretty good job of explaining the centralization/decentralization of industries and where the profits flow in the value chain depending on where the cycle is. Basically, his thesis is that vertically integrated firms take the lion’s share of the profit in an industry when the products are not that good (i.e. pre-chasm). They generally have a big advantage because they do not have to worry about defining boundaries (i.e. api’s) between subsections of their products and can just focus on innovating. This is something that Apple has proven they are exceptionally good at. They first proved it with the PC back in the 1980’s where they controlled the subcomponents including the operating system and while the industry was in its infancy, it accrued major profits on Mac’s using that integrated approach. As the industry matured, the buying criteria started changing to price and the “boundaries” between the subsections were detailed sending the profits away from independent architecture providers like Apple to multiple tiers in the value chain, such as Microsoft, Intel, memory companies, disk drive companies, etc. It is probably helpful to think a bit about what’s happening in your industry? Are the profits centralized around integrators of functionality? Are the boundaries between the subsections of your industry starting to break down? Is there reason to believe that a disrupter could be coming along at the low end? The following is Christiansen’s specific take on the how the value chain in the computer industry has changed. It is most interesting to see how much the industry has decentralized over time and how the profits now accrue to the subsections in the value chain versus the integrated suppliers, such as Apple. Originally published Feb 13, 2007 11:50:00 AM, updated July 11 2013last_img read more

How to Master Twitter for Business in 2011 [Free Ebook!]

first_imgWho knew that 140-character messages could do such wonders for your business? The fact is, when used effectively, Understand Twitter’s role in social search Track and analyze your campaigns How to Use Twitter for Business ” is a free introductory guide that covers everything from getting started with tweeting to generating leads on Twitter. It was specifically written for users who are getting started in 2011, and by reading it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Twitter rockstar! Twitter can have a number of business benefits Start unlocking Twitter’s business potential today by learning how to leverage Twitter’s 200 million users to improve your marketing and business results. Specifically, the 40-page guide will teach you how to: Topics: Originally published Jul 5, 2011 11:42:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Luckily, we’ve just released a new ebook to guide the way! ” Download your copy here! Twitter Marketing Businesses of all sizes in various industries are discovering the power of tweeting as a way to achieve their business goals, but if you’re just starting out, it may be tough to know where exactly to begin. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , like helping you develop and promote your brand and content, interact and support your customer base, monitor social media, develop online relationships, and yes, even generate leads! Use Twitter for business, marketing, lead generation, PR, and customer service Optimize your Twitter profile for business Find the right people to follow and attract new followerslast_img read more

2 Goals of Paid Ads and How to Measure Results [Marketing Cast]

first_img Originally published Sep 6, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 In marketing, it’s easy to just throw money at a problem and hope it to go away. But if this is your strategy, soon enough, you’ll exhaust your resources and be left with no effective long-term solutions.So if you are going to spend the money, spend it the smart way—track the results of your marketing efforts, and design a strategy to make the most of your investments.That is definitely the approach David Meerman Scott recommends you take with paid advertising. If paid ads are working for you, that’s great. But there is only one way to find out if they are—by measuring results. Here are two goals you should aim to achieve in paid advertising and how you can measure whether you’re being effective.1. Paid Ads Should Generate Leads and RevenueThe first purpose paid advertising serves is to generate leads and sales for your business. How can you measure whether ads are successful at bringing in new leads and sales? You need to keep track of the click-through rate of your ads and then monitor the conversion rate of the landing pages to which you are sending traffic. Don’t forget—traffic should always be targeted to places where you can capture more visitor information, like landing pages.2. Paid Ads Should Result in Brand AwarenessThe second goal of paid advertising is to increase brand awareness for your business. When launching such campaigns, you should measure whether more people have become aware of your brand from that campaign. While this is a bit more difficult to track than lead generation, there are still ways you can do it. It’s important to follow the correlation between ads for brand awareness and your other marketing channels. For instance, are more people searching for your company’s name in search engines? Or are you attracting more of a following on your social media channels? If so, these are good indicators that your company’s brand awareness is increasing.Ads can play an important role in a mixed marketing strategy, but they shouldn’t dominate it. “Ultimately, the best way to generate attention is to create content yourself rather than paying for attention through advertising,” says David.Are you using paid advertising to complement your overall marketing strategy? How do you effectively measure results? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Advertising Best Practiceslast_img read more

20 Variables Every Marketer Should Be Testing

first_img Originally published Oct 7, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Topics: We talk a lot about how marketing analytics is key to inbound marketing success. Another concept that goes hand-in-hand with analytics is testing. Contrary to popular practice, testing in marketing expands beyond email marketing and can be applied to practically every other inbound marketing tactic — social media, business blogging, landing pages, lead generation, and lead nurturing — there’s virtually nothing you can’t test in your marketing.Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.While we believe marketers should constantly be testing their marketing, the first step is identifying the different marketing variables you can test. And because so many of these variables are applicable across channels, you’ll likely never run out of tests to run or experiments to try. The following 20 testing variables can lead you to discover valuable opportunities to optimize and improve the performance of your marketing initiatives.20 Variables to Test in Inbound Marketing 1. Layout: Test the layout within individual content items like blog posts, email marketing messages, lead nurturing emails as well as website pages like landing pages, your main website homepage, your blog homepage, etc. Move elements of your pages around, and test the performance of one layout vs. another.2. Calls-to-Action (CTAs): CTAs offer a number of testing opportunities. Test the performance of different calls-to-action based on their placement on various pages of your website and within certain pieces of content like blog posts, ebooks, and webinars. 3. Content Offers: Calls-to-action are made up of different offers, such as an ebook, a webinar, a free trial, etc. Test calls-to-action in terms of different offer topics in your industry and various formats (video vs. webinar vs. ebook vs. free trial, etc.). Do certain offers focused on a particular topic or in a specific format tend to resonate better with your audience? These types of tests can help you indentify the wants and needs of your prospects and customers and help you create content your audience cares about.4. Color: Test the color of your call-to-action buttons. You can even just test the overall color scheme of your website or blog. Do certain colors elicit a better response than others?5. Size: Sometimes, just making a CTA button, an image, or a headline a few hairs bigger can make a huge difference. Maybe your headline isn’t prominent enough to catch the site visitor’s attention. Or maybe your call-to-action is too small to stand out. Test the sizing of different website and content elements.6. Email Subject Line: In your email marketing and lead nurturing emails, test different versions of subject lines to determine which results in the best click-through rate. Do you find that a more actionable or sensational subject line performs better than others?7. Blog Titles: Similarly, do some testing and analysis of blog titles. Do numbers in your titles produce better results? Over time, can you notice a pattern of specific words that have consistently attracted lots of views?8. Email Sender: Test various versions of how you present your email sender. Does a stand-alone name of one of your employees work better than your company name? What about a combination of the two?9. Email Templates: Create a few different email templates, and test their effectiveness over each other in your email marketing and lead nurturing messages.10. Length: Test the length of your landing page copy and forms (shorter forms may be better for your business than longer forms, or vice versa), your content (do your readers prefer shorter or longer blog posts with more copy?), your email messages, and social media updates like tweets, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates.11. Messaging: Have you varied the way you position your message? Try a different angle, and see what effect it has.12. Tone: Test different tones in your writing and positioning. Does a more serious approach work better than an edgier one? Be careful with this one though — once you’ve done some testing and defined your most effective tone, stick with it. Your company should have a recognizable, consistent voice across all your messages and content.13. Images: Test how people respond to different types of images — in your blog posts, your email messages, your landing pages, your CTAs, etc.14. Timing: Do your tweets get retweeted more in the morning or the afternoon? Do certain days of the week make for better Facebook engagement? Perhaps your email marketing is more effective on Saturdays and your blog posts generate more views during the middle of the week.15. Frequency: Is your particular audience receptive to more or fewer updates from you, whether it be via email, tweets, blog articles, Facebook posts, etc.? Test the frequency of your updates in various channels and take notice of what works best.16. Keywords: Test the performance of your keywords. Can you generate more traffic from a long tail keyword than you’re generating from a more general keyword?17. Paid Search: While not a variable in itself, there are a number of variables and combinations of variables you can test in your paid search efforts, too — keywords, messaging, imagery, offers, etc.18. Targeting and Personalization: Another variable you can test in paid search is targeting! Furthermore, you can test different targeting methods on your homepage, on your landing pages, in your email marketing and lead nurturing, etc.19. Privacy: Does adding a note about protecting visitors’ privacy to certain pages of your website impact your results? Test adding some language that indicates protection of privacy to your landing pages, and see if it results in higher conversion rates.20. Data Visualization: What’s the best way for you to present data? In a pie chart? A graph? An infographic? Try different ways to visualize your data, and see what works best!Regularly testing elements of your marketing can be a great way to identify ways to improve your existing marketing efforts. What other variables can you test in your inbound marketing?Image Credit: [F]oxymoron A/B Testing Don’t forget to share this post! 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Take the Inbound Marketing Personality Test

first_imgPopular in the field of psychology, the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is the world’s most widely used personality assessment test. The questionnaire is designed to measure personality by evaluating preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions, and it is based on 4 scales: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. While some people fall at the extreme ends of these scales, it is also common to fall somewhere in the middle. Now, as an inbound marketer, is it better to have one personality type or another? Should you be more extraverted or introverted? Judging or perceiving?Well actually, a good inbound marketing strategy has at least one quality of each of these personality types. Let’s take a look at what each end of these scales contributes to a solid marketing personality. And when you’re done, take this quick quiz to determine whether you’re more of an introvert or extravert in your inbound marketing methods!ExtraversionExtraverts are action-oriented. They are often full of energy, and they use that energy to accomplish things. They are also very social and people-oriented.Marketing Lesson: You should always be injecting more energy into your campaigns. It’s important to keep your marketing efforts constantly active in order to keep driving more leads, but also to keep your fans and prospects excited. Be social! Engage your followers. Connect with your customers. Make your next email send a bit more personable. Your marketing will do a whole lot better if you let people really get to know your company.IntroversionIntroverts prefer more substantial interaction over more frequent interaction. In other words, quality over quantity.Marketing Lesson: You should be careful to maintain high-quality relationships with your prospects, leads, and customers. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, always looking to drive more Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and blog subscribers – and don’t get me wrong, you should definitely be doing that – but don’t let the quality of your posts, content, and engagement suffer. Focus on building deeper relationships, not just more of them.SensingSensing types look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data.Marketing Lesson: As a marketer, data should be a critical component of every decision you make. You should always be measuring, analyzing, and optimizing your landing pages, keywords, paid search campaigns, and more.  It is essential to track the ROI of your marketing efforts, and in order to do that, you need to keep a sharp eye on the numbers.IntuitionIntuitive types look at the wider context or pattern and are more interested in future possibilities.Marketing Lesson: While analytics are crucial for informing your decisions, it is also important to zoom out and look at your strategy as a whole. Are you heading in the direction you want to be heading? Are your short-term plans aligned with your long-term goals? Don’t get too caught up in the weeds, or you might miss the big picture.ThinkingThinking types make decisions based on what is reasonable and logical, and they like to follow given sets of rules.Marketing Lesson: It’s always a good idea to do a little research before you try out something new, like customizing your fan page or setting up a Facebook contest. See how other companies have done it. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. Then use these guidelines to help you be more successful and effective when you try it.FeelingFeeling types make decisions based on what will achieve the greatest harmony, consensus, and fit. They consider the needs of the people involved.Marketing Lesson: As a marketer, you should always have your audience in mind. Consider their needs in conjunction with your own. Target your content more closely to your audience, and you’ll find that you can convert more prospects into leads and more leads into customers.JudgingJudging types enjoy structure, and they focus on making decisions.Marketing Lesson: Maintain an organized system that allows you to track your marketing efforts and access the information you need in order to make decisions going forward. Don’t leave major decisions open-ended or fluctuating for too long – stay focused on moving forward.PerceivingPerceiving types are curious and focus on taking in information.Marketing Lesson: While structure is important, a big part of marketing is being creative and thinking outside the box. Take what you know works, and build on it. Be innovative. Explore new territory. Being different will set you apart from other companies and give you a competitive edge.Is your marketing personality well-rounded? How would your marketing strategy score on the MBTI? Take this quick quiz to determine whether you’re more of an introvert or extravert in your inbound marketing methods! Personality Types Originally published Oct 13, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

6 Reasons Great Content Fails

first_img Originally published Nov 10, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 That’s right. Sometimes truly great content flops. And to be honest, it’s a big disappointment (and a damn shame). The silver lining is, there’s usually a pretty good explanation for why that particular piece of content failed to spread, and understanding some of the top reasons why great content fails can put you on a righteous path that enables you to succeed with future pieces of great content.And if anything positive can come from failure, it’s a good lesson or two. We’ve come in contact with a few content failures in our experience as content creators, so we’ve nailed down 6 compelling reasons — and lessons to learn from — why great content fails.1. The Topic Isn’t Appropriately TargetedWhen it comes to successful content, the topic/idea is everything. You can write the most amazing piece of content and make it the best it can be, but that doesn’t mean it will be enough. One of the core reasons great content fails is because the topic was the wrong one. It could be “wrong” for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s not a topic that is appropriately targeted toward the audience it’s being presented to. Maybe it’s targeted, but it’s just not a topic your audience would necessarily think is interesting.How to Avoid Failure: Spend the time to make sure the topic and idea has the potential to be successful. A major part of this is truly understanding your target audience and marketing personas, and analyzing the topics and ideas that have resonated with that audience in the past. Your analytics are your best friend here, so leverage them!2. The Title or Headline is CrappyA great piece of content hidden behind a crappy title or headline is just that — hidden. The title of your content is a potential reader’s first impression of that content, whether they find a link to your content in social media, search results, or via email. If you’re headline isn’t enticing enough to get that reader to click on and view your content, it’s doomed to fail.How to Avoid Failure: Put some solid effort into learning how to write awesome titles for your content. A great headline is actionable, brief, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing. Master the art of exceptional blog titles, and you’ll be one step closer to preventing content failure.3. There Is No Attention to DetailThe topic of your content, the ideas you present, and the way in which you present them may all be top-notch, but it’s amazing how simple details like spelling and grammar can easily ruin an otherwise amazing piece of content. Don’t undermine the importance of paying attention to these types of details when pulling together a final draft of your content.How to Avoid Failure: Always, I repeat, ALWAYS have a colleague or teammate (preferably one who has an eye for details) proofread and edit your work. It’s stupidly silly to let a great piece of content go to waste because of a few easily preventable typos.4. It Isn’t PromotedTrust a recovering content marketer –if you build it, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. Without any promotion, your awesome content is basically stuck on an island. And the only thing it will have to keep it company is the other lonesome content on your blog or website. Don’t fall victim to the common assumption that great content will just naturally get stumbled across. In order for great content to be truly successful, it needs a little help.How to Avoid Failure: Get your content out there, for goodness’ sake! Send that awesome new ebook you wrote to your email database, and share your latest blog article with your fans and followers in social media!5. It’s Not Socially EnabledSuccessful content isn’t just proactively promoted by its author. It’s also promoted by readers who love the content and want to share it with their networks. Successful content makes it easy for readers and viewers to share in the first place by offering social media sharing buttons in obvious places.How to Avoid Failure: Add social media sharing links/buttons to every piece of content you produce in obvious places. People are lazy. Make it mind-numbingly simple for them to share if they want to. Chances are, if you put the buttons right in front of them, they’ll use them, giving your content more exposure to potentially interested content consumers. Research shows that including a Twitter share button on your content leads to 7x more mentions!6. It’s Not Optimized for SearchOne of the best ways to generate organic visibility for your content is to make sure it’s optimized for search. Your prospects are looking for and finding content via search. If your content isn’t optimized well enough to show up in their search results, it’s not going to get found there. Without proper search engine optimization, your content is at great risk of failure.  How to Avoid Failure: Conduct keyword research to identify appropriate keywords for your business. Then search engine optimize your content by sprinkling those keywords throughout — in page titles, header tags, and throughout the body of your content.What are some other reasons great content fails to spread?Image Credit: Kevin Jarrett Content Creation Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Pinterest Lead Generation 101: Best Practices and Hacks That’ll Make You a Pro

first_img Topics: In marketing, there’s still a huge misconception about Pinterest. Some marketers think that it’s useless — just another fad network that people are getting in a tizzy about. But that’s not quite accurate any longer.While Pinterest may not be perfect for every marketer in every industry, it does offer a huge opportunity for most. It has more than 70 million users and a growing international population. Plus, Pinterest users spend the most money of users on popular social networks — nearly double the amount of money spent from Facebook users and triple the amount from Twitter users. This means that there’s lots of potential leads and customers just waiting to be engaged and converted who will probably spend a decent amount with you. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, but thinking about generating leads … and actually generating leads on Pinterest are two very different things.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for BusinessThe good news? Pinterest is actually a fairly simple social media network as far as lead generation goes, because there’s really only two ways to generate leads right now. So we’ll walk you through both types of lead generation and how you can optimize pins to make the most of those lead generation opportunities. Types of Leads You Can Generate on PinterestOn Pinterest, there are two types of leads you can generate: direct and indirect. It all boils down to where Pinterest is on the conversion path. Here’s the difference between the two:Direct Leads: Direct leads are generated through content on Pinterest that links directly back to a landing page on your website. On that landing page, visitors can share their personal information (a name, email address, phone number, etc) in exchange for an offer — whether that be an ebook, coupon, infographic, or any other piece of content.Indirect Leads: Indirect leads are generated by using Pinterest on the path to conversion — but it’s not the final destination before someone gets to a landing page. For example, if you shared a blog post that had a call-to-action to a landing page at the bottom of the post, your initial pin is helping direct visitors to that landing page.Make sense? Pretty simple stuff. Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest really only has a one effective place where you can generate direct or indirect leads: through pins.Yes, you can technically include links to lead gen material in boards and even in your profile, but those are considerably less effective than through pins. There’s two reasons why: 1) Links in Board and Profile descriptions don’t automatically hyperlink (thus decreasing the possibility of someone clicking on them dramatically), and 2) Most people are spending time pinning (this includes repins) so they probably aren’t taking the time to check out your page or board description for extra, juicy, non-visual content. So if you have limited time (like most of the marketers I know), it’s best to spend your time where it will count.So, to help maximize the ROI of Pinterest, you should spend time creating and optimizing pins to get clicks, repins, and likes — all things that will help drive your lead generation growth. Let’s break down each part of the pinning process so you can squeeze the juice out of all of your Pinterest lead generation opportunities.How to Optimize Your Pins for Lead Generation1) Create a board that your Pinterest audience can — and will want to — discover.Pinterest is famous for having an audience obsessed with food, fashion, and DIY goodies — which makes marketers think that we all have to produce those three things to be successful. And while we all don’t have businesses built around those three things, there is a huge opportunity on Pinterest to tap into the last obsession.Show people how they can make something or give them the tools to do it — no matter what industry you’re in — and Pinterest users will love it. They like helpful, engaging content that just happens to be visual. So think about a board topic that can feature helpful content that will also generate leads. We’ve done this on our own Pinterest page by making a board purely for templates — but there are lots of other ways you can make that same idea work for your company and Pinterest board. Once you pick a board topic idea, be sure that it can be easily found through search (both Pinterest and otherwise). Leave the jargon out of your board names and go with something clever, yet tightly aligned with how your users speak and think. Besides that, if you want a more in-depth Pinterest SEO guide, check out this blog post.2) Create images that Pinterest users naturally notice. Now that you’ve got your board idea, you’ve got to fill it with pins. Whether you decide to create an image yourself or source one (legally) from the internet, there’s actually some science to choosing pins that people notice, and click on. Here are a few data-backed pin composition tips:Tall images get repinned more. Think about it — they get more space in the news feed when people are scrolling, so people have more opportunities to engage with you. In fact, the 2:3 aspect ratio works better than super skinny, yet tall images.Reddish-orange images get 2x the repins as blueish images. Think warm colors, and the leads could start pouring in a bit faster than usual.Brand images without faces get 23% repins than those with faces. So cut the faces out of your images, if possible. (Harsh, I know.)Photos with medium lightness are repinned 20x more than very dark images. So keep it bright, people.Use this data as a jumping off point, but definitely keep testing to discover what your audience likes to discover, like, repin, and click.3) Don’t use UTM parameters or shortened links in your pin URL.Editor’s note: Since publishing this post, Pinterest has allowed UTM tracking codes to be included on pins. If you need a refresher on UTM codes, click here.Adding a link to your landing page or other piece of content is crucial to generating leads, but unfortunately, Pinterest strips UTM parameters after the campaign source parameter. Also, Pinterest warns users that all shortened links could lead to spam, so your best bet is just putting in a simple URL in the URL box and trying to measure success in other ways. 4) Use your description wisely.Next up is your pin’s description. Keep the copy short and sweet — usually between 100 and 200 characters works best — while also making room for a shortened URL. This is the place where you want to include a shortened, trackable URL in your pin, as Pinterest doesn’t restrict these links like it does with the actual pin URL. Providing a link in the description gives your followers even more opportunities to click, and maybe even become a lead.5) Add a hashtag, if relevant. Let people discover your pins more easily by including a relevant hashtag or two. Don’t go overboard though — Salesforce has found that on Twitter, tweets with one or two hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags. Obviously, Twitter isn’t Pinterest, but it is a good practice to take cross-platform.6) Rinse, repeat. And you’re done with making pins — so keep following steps two through eight until you have a robust board. 7) Promote your pins elsewhere. To get the most out of your pins, you gotta get outside of Pinterest. Just like you would with any other content platform, you’ve got to promote your boards and pins to really make the most of them. There’s lots of things you can try here — from sharing links to individual pins on other social networks to embedding your lead generation boards on your website or blog, the world is your oyster. You might even So go on, get creative — the more eyeballs you can get on your pins, the more leads you can generate.8) Keep track of your success with a few different tools. Obviously, when you’re trying to generate leads on Pinterest, your main metric will be leads. But, there’s lots that happens before people become leads, so if you’re finding your lead generation number staying stagnant or decreasing, check for holes in the proverbial Pinterest bucket by looking deeper into referrals and clicks. Unfortunately, because of the way that Pinterest strips URLs, it’s not quite as easy to get a definitive number of success through referral traffic, but here are a few metrics you should keep an eye on to get a general understanding on how your Pinterest lead generation strategy is working:General Pinterest Referral Traffic: You can find this metric in your marketing analytics software. (HubSpot customers, you’ll find this under the Sources report.) While this also loops in traffic from pins outside of your board, it’s a good idea of how well the Pinterest audience enjoys your content. If you’re finding lots of referrals from Pinterest but few clicks on your board, you might want to switch up what you’re pinning.Pinterest Analytics Clicks: If you have a verified business account, you can access these metrics directly in Pinterest’s dashboard. It’s not clear whether clicks are just for the URL clicks or for the whole pin (which includes clicks on the description), so you will have to do some data slicing and dicing. Regarldess, this a great metric to have in your back pocket. Shorted URL Clicks: You can see this metric by putting the shortened URL in your browser followed immediately by a + sign (ex: http://hub.am/19zv6PY+). If you want to isolate clicks purely on the link in one description, this is a great metric. UTM Parameters: You can see this metric if you dive deeper into your marketing analytics software than the general referral traffic (usually placed under “campaigns”). This metric can help track how well your Pinterest descriptions are doing at sending you traffic. This way, you can figure out if including a shortened URL even makes a difference — or adds clutter to your description. Gotta test these things out for your self, even if they are general best practices! ;)And once you have all of this data, use it to help you iterate on your strategy. Pretty soon, you’ll have leads flowing in — the proof you need to keep up with this hot social network. So go on — get to it! Originally published Oct 10, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 27 2018 Pinterest Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Small Business Saturday: What Shoppers and Businesses Should Know #ShopSmall

first_img Originally published Nov 29, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Entrepreneurship Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ah, the holiday season. Spending time with friends, family, and 10,000 of your closest friends at big box stores racing to win one coveted item at an unparalleled discount. Nothing like that warm, fuzzy Black Friday feeling to start the season off right. For context, up to 140 million people plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend. 69.1% of these shoppers plan to leverage Black Friday, which is essentially a holiday unto itself for avid deal hunters.  Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. With all of that money on the table, it’s tempting for any business to want to get in on the action. The question is how? Consider the following: In the fourth quarter of 2012, Toys “R” Us spent $88.3 million to rent the attention of consumers vying for deals and toys for their kids. Unless you have 90 million smackeroos hanging out in your back pocket, chances are you won’t be able to outspend big box retailers to get customers’ attention this holiday season. Enter Small Business Saturday, a vision conceived by American Express in 2010 to help consumers locate and shop from vendors in their neighborhood. In essence, Small Business Saturday is the ultimate example of an inbound marketing campaign. American Express started with a remarkable concept: Take a weekend owned by massive big box retailers and create a window of attention and engagement for small business owners without the budget to compete on spend. They marketed the event leveraging a combination of content, social promotion, and paid advertising efforts. The results speak for themselves: Last year, 213,000 tweets included the hashtags #smallbizsat and #shopsmall, and the movement’s Facebook page garnered 3.2 million likes. Most importantly, the 2012 campaign generated 5.5 billion in revenue for independent retailers nationwide.Not convinced yet? Here are ten compelling reasons you should consider shopping small on Small Business Saturday:1) Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.2) While overall sales growth is up for all retailers, sales for companies with less than $5 million in revenue is down in recent years, so Small Business Saturday can provide smaller businesses with a much-needed boost.3) 77% of shoppers who are aware of Small Business Saturday plan to shop this weekend. You’re already out. Why not visit a small business?4) There are 23 million small businesses in the United States, so you have a wide range of options to choose from, whether you live in Beaufort, South Carolina, Brooklyn, New York, or Bellevue, Washington.5) Half of all new establishments survive five years or more and only one-third survive ten years or more — so don’t wait to support your local bookstore, bakery, or guitar store.6) The average cost of filling a 500 foot, mid-sized retail store nets out to $20,000, so the day-to-day costs to keep the items you care about is significant above and beyond startup costs. Want your corner book store to keep stocking your favorites? Support them this weekend to encourage them to do so.7) The fastest growing sectors for freelance businesses in 2011 included beauty salons, dry cleaners, and auto repair shops. Consider a local vendor for a treat or a tune-up: Small Business Saturday goes beyond Christmas giving.8) Although the initiative was started by American Express, Small Business Saturday is payment-agnostic, so whether you choose cash, check, or credit to purchase your merchandise, your neighborhood will benefit.9) Some of America’s best-loved toys still come from small businesses that care deeply about their employees. Need proof? Radio Flyer gives new employees a wagon full of fresh flowers when they start, and their CEO calls himself the “Chief Wagon Officer.” Small businesses are exceptional places to work, and often pave the way with trends adopted at larger institutions, as well.10) On the first Small Business Saturday, revenues for SMBs grew 28%, so what may seem like a small expense to you has a huge impact on a business owner.Now that we’ve made the case for why people should shop local, here are three keys for businesses to succeed and thrive with Small Business Saturday:1) Plan Beyond PriceChances are, big box retailers near you can afford to discount items more heavily than you can, so compete on more than cost. Instead, focus on creating memorable experiences. Can you cater to children with a storytime series at your bookstore, or host a hot chocolate tasting contest at your coffee shop? If you’re a home furnishing store, can you host a seminar on first-time home decorating or a free Pinterest inspiration board to customers who support you on Small Business Saturday? Experiences don’t have to be expensive to be worthwhile, so consider what you can do to win customers’ attention beyond just the price tag.2) Co-marketThere is no better time to co-market than Small Business Saturday because you’re automatically part of a group of organizations with a similar goal. Identify a business you admire, either based on their proximity to your business, the crossover between your customer base, or the complimentary nature of your products (you sell floral arrangements, they sell wedding supplies, so there’s heavy overlap). Whether you choose to co-market on social media, through a joint event, or a collaborative email, spread the co-marketing love to increase your reach.3) Don’t Forget Your Thank You NotesLet’s face it: Attracting customers to shop at your small business can sometimes be a challenge, particularly in the wake of Black Friday. Far too many businesses overlook an important component of the day, which is thanking people who take the time and energy to participate in Small Business Saturday. Consider practicing random acts of gratitude, sending an email with a gift card to a loyal customer, tweeting to thank visitors for their patronage, or delivering a coffee or personalized thank you note to the first person who ever supported your store. Personal touches are yet another way small businesses differ from mass retailers, so delight your customers with gratitude; they’ll return the favor by coming back.At HubSpot, we are proud to be huge supporters of small businesses. We are proud to call companies like Boston Appliance (here in Massachusetts) and Holden Luntz Gallery (in Palm Beach, Florida) customers, and to encourage employees, customers, and followers alike to shop small this Saturday. We’re also taking our efforts a step further by creating a live tweet stream to make it easy for businesses to post what they are doing for Small Business Saturday, as well as for shoppers to post what they are most excited to buy or receive from their holiday wish lists. Whether you’re shopping or selling this Small Business Saturday, we hope Santa is good to you and look forward to seeing your photos, successes, and gifts on Twitter!Tweets about “#shopsmall” Topics:last_img read more

25 Demand Gen Resources, Stats, and Visuals Worth Bookmarking

first_imgReading this headline, you might be thinking, “What is demand gen, and what does it have to do with what I’ve spent the last few years doing with my marketing strategy?”Don’t worry. Your instincts are dead-on. The marketing world is jam-packed with jargon, and yes, demand gen is yet another term to know.But it’s more than a buzzword. The concept is foundational to your marketing, and even though you may not realize it. Here’s how I defined the concept in a previous blog post:“Demand generation captures the umbrella of marketing programs that get customers excited about your company’s product and services. Demand generation programs can help your organization reach new markets, promote new product features, build consumer buzz, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers. Demand generation, however, is more than just a branding concept or early funnel marketing tactic. Demand generation programs are touch points throughout the conversion optimization and sales cycles.”The following list can help you explore the idea of demand gen and develop a full-funnel picture for your company’s marketing strategy:Ebooks, Articles, and Talks: Resources to Guide You1) What Is Demand Gen? – This blog post will walk you through the basics of what this term means and why it matters to marketers. 2) How to Harness Social Networks to Drive Growth – This video will teach you learn how to harness OPNs (other peoples’ networks) to drive demand and growth for your business.3) How to Sell $500,000 in Tickets with Zero Reputation – This blog post will show you how one entrepreneur generated demand for his events company.4) You’re Doing It Wrong: Demand Generation – This article explains why conventional marketing advice may be steering you down the wrong path.5) Why Your Content Marketing Plan Can’t Focus on Both Lead and Demand Generation – What the difference between these two strategies? According to the SlideShare presentation, “Demand generation is focused on shaping the audience’s perspective, while lead generation is focused on capturing their information.” Read the post to learn how to shape your marketing for both types of strategies.6) 6 Ways to Supply a Social Boost to Demand Generation – This slide show will teach you how to integrate your social media campaigns with effective demand gen strategies.7) From Demand Generation to Revenue Generation: How to Become a Revenue Driven Marketer – This article will help you transform marketing activities and efforts into high-impact revenue engines. The focus is on ‘teaching through examples’ with learnings from today’s top marketers.8) Make Your Demand Generation Strategy More Efficient With These 3 Processes – This blog post will teach you how to develop a buyer persona, define the buying process, and develop a content framework.9) How to Design a Compelling Demand Gen Strategy for the C Suite – This blog post will teach you what you need to know about reaching a c-suite audience.10) Demand Generation and Marketing Automation: A #CMWorld Chat with Carlos Hidalgo – This blog post will help you learn about demand gen via tweets.Demand Gen Stats You Should Know11) U.S. inbound marketers spending more than $25K per year saved $14 dollars for every new customer acquired vs. those relying on outbound strategies. (Source: HubSpot)12) Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads. (Source: HubSpot)13) Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC. (Source: HubSpot)14) Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate. (Source: HubSpot) 15) 43% of all marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn in 2013. (Source: HubSpot)16) 36% of all marketers have found a customer via Twitter in 2013. (Source: HubSpot) 17) By spending as little as 6 hours per week, over 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Source: Social Media Examiner)18) 74% of marketers who spend 40+ hours using social media per week earn new business through their efforts. (Source: Social Media Examiner)19) More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least three years report it has helped them improve sales. (Source: Social Media Examiner)20) 49.7% of companies using inbound marketing increase sales within 7 months. (Source: HubSpot)21) B2B companies that blog only 1-2X/month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. (Source: HubSpot)22) Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads. (Source: HubSpot)Awesome Infographics for More Inspiration23) The Blogging Food Groups – This infographic from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions explains the elements of a well balanced blog.24) Geosocial Universe 3.0 – This infographic illuminates how mobile plays a role in today’s social media trends.25) Building the Sales and Marketing Machine of the Future – Learn how marketing and sales teams can effectively join forces to fully engage prospect and customer bases.What is the coolest demand gen resource that you’ve encountered recently? Share what you’ve found with your fellow readers in the comments section below. Originally published Aug 6, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Lead Generationlast_img read more

How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Invitation [Template]

first_imgImagine you’re at a networking event. You’re milling around and meeting people, cheese cube plate hand, when you spot someone across the room. Oh! Is that the woman who wrote that awesome article in Business Insider? You walk up to her, extend your hand, and say (drum roll please):”I’d like to add you to my professional network.”Sounds ridiculous, right? That would never happen in real life. So why would you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn with an introduction like that?Download our ultimate guide to LinkedIn here for even more tips to master professional networking.When you want to connect with someone professionally, especially someone who doesn’t really know you, you need to introduce yourself and explain why you’d like to connect with them. Were you inspired by their latest article or blog post? Did you want to pitch a co-marketing partnership with them? Are they perfect for a job opening at your office?Your message should show them that you actually care about connecting with them — you weren’t just trolling LinkedIn, hoping to get your connections past the 500 mark. Otherwise, you’ve missed an opportunity to connect on a deeper, more personal level. (Plus, I know plenty of people who ignore every non-personalized LinkedIn request.)So, what does a perfect custom LinkedIn invitation actually look like? Check out our example below to find out. (You only have 300 characters, so make them count!)166Save Topics: 166Save1) Professional PhotoYour profile photo is the first thing a person sees on your LinkedIn invitation, so make it a good one. Be sure you’re the only person in the photo, you haven’t just cropped yourself out of a group photo, it’s not a selfie, and you look professional. And please, no creepy profile pictures.2) Personalized GreetingBegin your message with a “Dear [name]” or “Hi [name]” — and make sure you’ve spelled their name correctly.3) How You Know ThemDid you chat at a conference? Did a friend recommend that the two of you connect? Are you following each other on Twitter? Remind the person how s/he knows you somewhere in the message.4) Why You’d Like to ConnectIt’s really important to explain why you want to connect with them so they don’t think you’re just out to increase your number of connections.5) What You DoEven if you’ve met the person before, there’s a chance they won’t remember who you are. Always include a one- or two-sentence tidbit on what you do.6) Kind Parting WordsIt’s always nice to include a few kind parting words about their work, job experience, or company.7) Sign OffDon’t forget a warm sign-off! It’s a small detail that can make your invitation feel much more welcoming and personal.Whether you’re recruiting someone, complimenting them on their work, or telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them at yesterday’s event, a personalized LinkedIn message with the elements we listed above can go a long way.What other tips do you have for creating LinkedIn invitations people will want to accept? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Sep 8, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 LinkedIn Marketinglast_img read more