When companies engage in content marketing they are building their online presence – one piece at a time. By consistently creating noteworthy blogs, articles, white papers and e-books, companies position themselves as industry experts, outshining their competition. When embarking on a content marketing plan, there are eight primary goals that will lead to creating every marketers objective - passionate evangelists of your brand.
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well." -- Jeff Bezos, founder Amazon.com.
When you are beginning your content marketing plan the first goal is brand awareness. You may build the best boomerangs in the business, but unless your prospects know you’re there, they’ll go with the competition. Start off by building your buyer personas – knowing your buyers will make creating your content that much easier. Begin to create brand awareness by consistently writing 2-3 blog posts a week, commenting on industry and fan blogs, publishing white papers on your industry award winning performance and e-books that showcase the different levels and uses of boomerangs available.
“Call to actions promoting ebooks get almost twice the click through rate as emails promoting webinars.” (Source: HubSpot)
You’ve got them to your site to read all about your superior boomerangs. How do you draw them in to download a white paper on their construction or e-Book about the rules of boomerang competitions? Create compelling, relevant content. Product pages should have complete descriptions and specifications, but not be too wordy. The typical internet browser lands on a page for just a few seconds. Insert eye-catching call to actions with action verbs, graphics and colors that catch the eye. Grab their attention quickly and get them to complete a form asking for more information or download an e-Book.
“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.” (Source: Forrester Research)
Once you have their contact info you can begin the process of lead nurturing – sending them periodic email newsletters, short messages and special offers. The ultimate goal of lead nurturing is to achieve that first sale after they’ve visited your site. Be sure to schedule your messages to fit your customers’ normal boomerang buying cycle. If you’ve completed your buyer personas, you know how often they buy and if they browse and buy immediately, do more extensive research or if it is a longer sales cycle.
“If content is king, then conversion is queen.” -- John Munsell
When you pay close attention to your data you’ll notice a pattern. Sometimes you are lucky and a customer will visit one or two pages on your boomerang site and make a purchase. But most of the time, they’ll browse around, reading testimonials, product info, return policies etc. But then they click “Buy”. WooHoo! You’ve made a sale! Congratulations on converting that prospect into a customer! But your work is not done.
“Three out of four consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences.” American Express 2012 Customer Survey.
Good customer service pays off. It’s not just about selling the product and you’re done. If you’re truly trying to become a stellar content marketer and create brand awareness – being known for your customer service is priceless.
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” -- Jeffrey Gitomer
If you have a customer that never shops around and always visits your website to order their boomerangs, you’ve achieved loyalty. Those customers have decided that price is not the deciding factor in their purchase decision. You’ve proven that your product is superior, and your customer service always leaves them with a smile. Be sure to stay in touch with your loyal customers – send them an email at least once a month spotlighting new product releases or industry awards.
“Do you want fries with that?” – every McDonald’s employee – ever
Once a prospect has become a customer, the opportunity to sell them MORE than what they came looking for has arrived. If they’ve ordered your top of the line boomerang, perhaps they’d be interested in a display case? Or a soft sided carrying sleeve? The possibilities are as many as what you have to offer. But don’t forget to ask.
“They know your target audience better than you because they are the target audience!” -- Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists
The ultimate goal for any brand is to create evangelists. By creating a group of people that will share positive news about your company or product online via Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Yelp, or other community boards you will have the ultimate in testimonials working for you. But be cautious and take care of your evangelists, for they can quickly become your biggest critics.
As you begin or revise your content marketing plan, keep in mind the goals that will get you to the space from brand awareness to brand evangelists. Need help in meeting these goals? Contact SmartBug Media, we’ve been named in the top 1% of inbound marketers by Hubspot.
Which goal of content marketing do you need assistance with?
How does your business get feedback from its customers? If you answered, “I don’t know,” then you could be missing out on crucial information that can increase customer satisfaction and revenue.
Online surveys are a quick and easy way to engage with your customers and gain insight about how they view your business. Survey results will help your business to refine its offerings and better meet customer needs.
The Benefits of Online Surveys
Use a survey to ask customers for feedback about your customer service, shipping, pricing, products and services. A good time to ask for general feedback is right after a purchase or shipment receipt.
Content marketers can use surveys to find out which topics readers want to read about in future blog posts and articles. Or a survey can reveal how new customers found out about your business. Now that Google withholds information about its logged in users, many businesses see their biggest source of online traffic listed as “not provided” in Google Analytics. An online poll can provide more insight into where these “not provided” visitors are coming from.
Finally, a survey can help segment an email marketing list. Find out more about your email subscribers, including what types of messages they are most interested in receiving. This will decrease unsubscribes and increase email click-throughs and conversions.
4 Tips for Building Successful Surveys
When you are ready to implement surveys as a part of your online marketing strategy, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Keep it Simple and Focused
Think about what you want to learn with a survey. Work backwards from your goals and only include questions that target your desired information. For example, if your goal is to improve your shipping costs and times, then don’t ask questions about the customer’s social media usage. Limit extraneous questions and form fields, which may deter customers from participating.
2. Phrase Questions Objectively
Many marketers fall into the trap of writing emotional or confusing questions that lead to skewed results. When writing questions and answers, try to be as unbiased as possible. This post from SurveyMonkey, an online survey-building platform, shares best practices for effective survey construction.
3. Incentivize Participation
To increase the number of survey participants, offer a discount code or give away a high-value item to one lucky participant. Customers who see a free iPad giveaway or an offer for 20 percent off will be more motivated to participate. If you don’t already have a comprehensive customer email list, a survey linked with a contest or give away can help you to capture more email addresses.
4. Say Thank You
When a customer completes a survey, they’ve spent time thinking about your business and engaging with your brand. Say thank you! Send the customer an email with a note of thanks and an offer code for a discount or free ebook or content download. This will leave the customer with a lasting positive impression of your business.
To get started with online surveys we recommend the following form providers: SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and Wufoo. What will you ask your customers about first?
At many companies, a single marketing person or small staff carries responsibility for all the marketing including long and short term planning, PPC, web page editing and creation, print materials, event planning, social media and blogging. Too often the blogging will take a back seat to the higher priorities (aka “the squeakiest wheel”). But in 14 years of blogging evolution, it has become what should be the cornerstone of any company’s inbound and content marketing plans. Now is the time, as a marketing professional, to push back when sales and management refute the effects of blogging on inbound traffic and leads. Show them these 4 reasons you get more with frequent blogging:
Get MORE Visitors
Companies that regularly blog receive 55% more visitors than those who don’t (Source: Hubspot). The more you blog, the more you provide relevant information to your prospects and customers. Google places high value (and gives higher rank to) companies that add new content to their website regularly.
Get MORE Content
The goal of any company is to create MORE. MORE information for browsers to do research with, MORE reassurance for those on the cusp of making a purchase and MORE validation for customers who have done or are currently doing business with you. More content equals a company that is moving as fast as their customers are – always looking to provide MORE.
Get MORE Leads
Businesses that consistently blog realize 126% higher lead growth than those that don’t. (Source: Hubspot). The more articles you write, the more your visitors get to know you, have more confidence in your company and products/services and become leads. According to Hubspot research, “B2B companies that blog only 1-2X/month generate 70% more leads than those that don't blog at all”. If your bandwidth is just tapped out, start with one or two articles a week – it WILL make a difference. Make sure to track the traffic and results from those articles. It’s great ammunition for future meetings with sales and executives. When you increase blogging you will enjoy MORE leads.
Get MORE Credibility
Blogging does more than just generate traffic. Blogs allow you and your firm to develop credibility online and within your industry. Not unlike the world of academia, the more you publish the more your reputation grows as an expert in your industry or niche. “Companies with over 200 blog articles generate >5X the leads than those with 10 or fewer.” (Source: Hubspot)
Blog posts allow you to offer up YOUR relevant content across the social media platforms by promoting them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. All of these are opportunities to connect with your customers. While they may not be reading your blog yet, they may follow you on Twitter, or follow someone that retweets your post. They’ll read the article and if they like it, they may sign up to be emailed when you publish a new one and BAM! MORE Credibility.
If your company knows that blogging must become a priority, but you just don’t have the bandwidth to create 2-3 blog posts per week, contact SmartBug Media. We have quality writers specializing in industries from high tech to senior care. We are here to help our customers create content to share regularly as outstanding bloggers.
How many times a week do you blog?
When done well, buyer personas give you insights into the way your customers think and act. This information is priceless, but a surprising number of marketers do not take the time to develop buyer personas.
Even the smallest business can benefit from interviewing customers and creating profiles for the various consumer types that most frequently make purchases. For those businesses that use inbound marketing to generate new leads, creating buyer personas is essential in developing a campaign strategy.
Why All Marketers Should Use Buyer Personas
You can't effectively market a product or service if you don't know whom you are trying to communicate with. It's true that you might reach some potential customers and convert a percentage of those leads simply by casting a wide marketing net. However, you won't get the best return on your investment unless you conduct the fundamental research that tells you which customers are most likely to make a purchase and what you can say or do to increase the likelihood of a sale.
Creating buyer personas offers three primary advantages for marketers:
- Strategic marketing - Most businesses have limited marketing funds that are allocated to different tactics. Personas allow you to develop the most cost-effective marketing strategy based on how potential customers are most likely to act. For example, if you know that the majority of your audience reads online and not print news, you can allocate your budget accordingly.
- Objective planning - Creating marketing messages and materials for a specific target audience can be difficult (or impossible) if you don't understand how that audience is likely to respond. A buyer persona gives you the information and perspective you need to make objective decisions about how to craft your marketing messages.
- Strong messaging - Of course you want your marketing messages to reach as many people as possible. However, the more diluted a message gets, the fewer people it actually reaches. Buyer personas allow you to truly tailor your marketing messages so you can get the best possible response.
Although these three advantages apply to all types of marketing, inbound marketers have even more reasons to engage in the persona development process.
Why Inbound Marketers Should Use Buyer Personas
Your goal as an inbound marketer
is to 1.) capture new leads and 2.) convert them to loyal customers. Each of these critical steps requires understanding how your ideal customer thinks. The only way to do this is by creating buyer personas.
As you develop new inbound marketing campaigns, you can use personas to help you:
- Invest in the most appropriate media channels
- Use the tone that is most likely to generate a response
- Develop content that will attract new leads
- Create calls to action that are truly effective
- Tailor your leads funnel to get the best conversion rate
Virtually every decision you make when creating inbound marketing campaigns should take personas into account.
How do you use personas in your inbound marketing strategies?
Content marketing is no longer a foreign term to business executives. It may even be a part of your overall marketing strategy. But are paid search and other methods eating away at budget you could be using for inbound and content marketing? Part of the content marketer’s job is to champion the value that content has on the bottom line of any business, and explain its benefits in a clear, compelling way in order to get the sign-off and budget necessary to move projects through to execution.
It’s easy for executives to grasp the “soft” benefits of content marketing – engaging prospects, build a following and educating clients. But what about ROI? In order to move your company away from methods and into the future of marketing you’re going to have to do some work. Put together a presentation, have your facts in order, schedule a meeting and justify the costs, benefits and necessity of content marketing to your C-Suite executives.
What’s the competition doing?
Your CEO may know some of the marketing techniques the competition is utilizing. If they are just sending mass email campaigns, buying PPC or other display ads, participating in trade shows, or using product listing services, they are behind the times. They may have realized that they need to optimize their website for search engines, and have coded the static pages properly. But are they utilizing content marketing? If they’re not it’s your chance to surge ahead of them, if they are, you’d better catch up – fast.
Content Marketing vs. Paid Search
The data keeps mounting that the ROI of content marketing far out performs Paid Search. Content marketing costs significantly less than paid search per lead and the graph from Content Marketing Institute demonstrates the 31-41% savings.
Content Marketing vs. Display Ads
How often does your executive ACTUALLY click on display ads for real purposes? We’re not talking about wondering about what the competition is doing or just curiosity, but for real purchasing or research? According to Hubspot, “the average banner ad has a 0.1% clickthrough rate (CTR), and the standard 468x60 banner has a 0.04% CTR”. Here are a few shocking stats shared by Hubspot on the effectiveness of display advertising:
You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.(Source: Solve Media)
Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren't even humans!). (Source: comScore)
The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%. (Source: DoubleClick)
You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media)
So now you’ve presented your case of why marketing budget being spent on display, paid search and other traditional methods is not the best use of resources. How you do persuade them that content marketing is the right direction? Show them how it works!
Create their personas
Try creating personas based on one or two members of your executive team. Craft the two or three emails that would be directed at their persona to demonstrate how this part of the process works. Not sure how to start? Here’s a great guide to help you learn more about personas. Be sure to show how content marketing makes the shift from price-sensitive selling to positioning the executives to become trusted advisors and strategic partners.
Demonstrate the staying power
One of the major goals of any marketing department is to reach more prospects. A well executed content marketing program gives a company that very opportunity – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unlike trade shows or in person seminars, the content that is created on your blog, in white papers and e-books now has staying power, continuing to drive opportunities years after you initially create it. Do a live search during your presentation and show how solid content that was created weeks, months or even years before still resides on page one of Google – because it is still relevant.
Share expert advice
Start sharing articles on the benefits of inbound and content marketing. Subscribe to blogs providing analytical proof of content marketing's value. You will be able to share these blog posts with your executives that will lend credence to your proposal.
Demonstrate the real time effectiveness of content marketing. Write an article, comment on other blogs, or do a guest post and start to show the impact that those little tactics have on traffic and lead flow. If you can show the CEO how these work with real numbers, you gain more credibility and budget to execute it.
For any executive it is ultimately about the bottom line. “How will this increase revenue, decrease costs and drive sales?” The presentation you make and information you share will give them the hard data that they need to invest in content marketing. Need assistance with your content marketing plan? Contact SmartBug Media. We help companies generate leads, increase awareness and build more brand loyalty.
What content marketing would you like to start doing?
A quality marketing campaign is made up of several components, but the foundation for success lies in truly understanding your customer. If you don't know what your ideal consumer buys, how they make purchasing decisions, or what they need to fill the gaps in their lives, you can't effectively reach the people that are most likely to become your most loyal customers. If you want to be a successful marketer, ensuring that you understand the persona of your ideal customer is the first step.
What are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona is essentially a profile that describes your ideal customer. Most marketers are familiar with demographic profiles that include the following types of information
- Employment status
- Marital status
- Income level
These details can certainly provide some insight into your customers, but a buyer persona takes it to another level. When developing a buyer persona, actual customers are interviewed to get a more detailed picture that can help you make important marketing decisions. A buyer persona will include information such as:
- Daily activities
- Frequent challenges or pain points
- Why certain purchasing decisions are made
- What makes a person decide between your business and a competitor
- How purchases are made
- The questions they frequently ask
- What might make their life easier
The list goes on, but the point is, buyer personas tell you much more about your target customer than a simple set of demographics.
Most businesses actually find that they interact with multiple personas; it is important to develop profiles for all of these different customer types.
Why You Should Use Buyer Personas
Virtually every inbound marketing
strategy can benefit from using buyer personas. Understanding your customer can help you make the following types of decisions:
- What type of marketing content to produce
- Which media outlets to target
- What elements to include or exclude from your sales process
- What products or services you should develop
Almost every marketing decision you make should start with an evaluation of how your buyer personas are likely to respond. Over time you may find that some tactics are more effective than others, allowing you to refine your marketing strategy and get a better return on your investment.
Do you use buyer personas in your current marketing strategy?
Your elusive website's traffic. You know people are out there in need of your service or product, searching through Google and poking around your website, but how can you hook them, reel them in and convert them into a lead? And once they convert, what on earth do you do with them to turn them into a qualified lead that makes your sales team happy? Should you just send everything you get to sales and hope one buys?
Firstly, the answer to the last question should be a resounding "no". The last thing you want to do is send every inbound lead you get to sales. Why? Because the leads are not ready to be sold. Inbound leads are different than traditional outbound leads. But tha'ts ok! There are several ways to take your inbound leads and qualify them so that your salespeople love you.
Tip #1: Simplify Your Persona's Decision Making Process
One of the biggest challenges companies face is creating a clear conversion path for their traffic. More often than not, people fall into the trap of offering too many calls to action at once or worse not enough calls to action. The result is a website that resembles time square with so many ads that your personas' don't know where to look and can't concentrate long enough on one to decide if it's right for them, or your website is a desert with no water. So, what do you do?
- Align your webiste navigation aligns with your persona's needs: Navigation is where all of your website visitors look first. By adding a solution to your persona's most common problem in your navigation you save them time and in turn build trust.
- Strategically place calls-to-action (CTAs) that lead to landing pages on your website and align with the stages of the buying cycle: Creating a clear conversion path for your personas will guide them through your website and help you determine where they are in the buying cycle when they convert into a lead. When deciding where to place CTAs:
- Follow the typical thought process of your lead.
- Have a downloadable piece of content anywhere your persona needs it
- Put a CTA on every page of your website (where it makes sense)
- Link all CTAs to a landing page. This page is where you will gather information via a form. This is the only practical way to convert website traffic into inbound leads
- Be upfront about the benefits of your offers:
CTAs need to actionable and state exactly what the offer is. If you have a button on your website that says "whitepaper", what does that communicate? Not much except that you have a button that says whitepaper. So remember:
- Add actionable text like download, try, learn, discover, etc to your CTAs, making traffic click and taking them to a landing page; repeat this process on your landing page when you'll collect their information on a form.
- Explain what the offer is about and the benefits of downloading it. Many times marketers try to describe what the offer is about instead of the benefits your potential leads gain from downloading it. Always talk about the benefits!
- Deliver what you advertise - no bait and switch tricks! This is especially important in email marketing. I'm sure you've seen subject lines that are simply catchy; they have nothing do to with the email inside. What do you do when that happens? Yep. You delete it or mark it as spam. Be up front. If it's a qualified lead they will want what you're offering.
TIP #2: Offer Content They Can't Refuse
What's the major theme in any inbound marketing strategy? You got it! Great content! Content is what drives people to your website. Content allows you to convert visitors into leads. Content is what drives leads back to your website and will ultimately help them decide to become customers. Plain and simple - content is king.
A few types of content to include in your content strategy are:
- Guides, whitepapers, ebooks, or any other downloadable PDF about your product or service and industry. Industry topics are key here. Most people need to learn a bit about your industry before committing to purchasing a product or service in your industry. Educate your potential leads through whitepapers, ebooks, and other references to build trust and encourage them back to your site and down the marketing funnel.
- Tips and tricks about your industry, product or service that teach something new, or confirm knowledge. This should be done in any piece of content you create.
- Testimonials and customer case studies to build trust with your new audience. Once I've learned everything about your industry and now I'm deciding between you and your competitor, testimonials and case studies become extremely important. If you don't have them yet, ASK your past customers or clients. Always ask. Someone will help you.
- Blogging, blogging, and more blogging. I can't stress this enough. Blogging is what keeps your website fresh. It's where your new visitors typically land first. Blogging helps to educate your potential leads at a high level and guides your visitors to landing pages where they can become leads. You need to blog - end of story.
TIP #3: Nurture Your Leads Down the Conversion Path
Now that you have traffic and you're getting leads from your downloadable PDFs, what happens next? You and I both know that a lead that converts on a whitepaper they saw on blog is most likely not ready to buy. They are researching and digging for more information about how to solve their problem. So, how do you get them to a place where they are ready to buy?
Consider the following:
- Do your marketing offers follow the stages of the buying cycle? - you probably know that you need to have offers people can download on your website, but what kind of offers are you giving to your potential customers? Layout your content. If everything falls into one phase of the buying cycle, you're missing something. How can you engage your prospects and leads with one kind of offer? You can bet they will not want to receive the "Buy Now!" offer over and over again.
- Are your forms asking the right questions at the right time? - one of the most important components of lead generation is asking the right questions. What qualifies a lead? Is it their industry, their age, their yearly revenue? If you're not asking these questions throughout the conversion process it will be extremely difficult to segment the hot leads from the so-so leads. Additonally, you want to make sure your forms align with the buying cycle. Think of it like dating - you don't ask the entire personal history of a person on the first date, but as things get more serious and you build trust, ask away!
- Are your email campaigns segmented by persona and stage of the buying cycle? - email is a powerful and useful tool. More often than not marketers send promotional email campaigns to their entire contact database. Stop doing that! You're probably thining, What!? Is she serious? Yes, I'm serious. It's true, sometimes promotional offers make sense to send to everyone (like when a product launches) but it shouldn't be your only strategy. You have different kinds of personas. You have different kinds of offers that relate to different phases in the buying cycle, so utilize them! Start segmenting your leads based on who they are and what they want. Only email offers that help move each persona down the buying cycle. Appeal to the persona's needs and reap the rewards!
By now you’ve either created a mobile website or optimized your main site for mobile users. But have you just created it and let it be or are you continuing to develop it for the ever changing needs of mobile users? According to Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers and renowned internet guru, global mobile internet traffic reached 13% in November of 2012. She predicts by 2014 that smart phones and tablets will overtake desktops and laptops in accessing the internet. When a prospect or customer accesses a website on a phone or tablet they are most likely on the go. They want the information they are looking for – fast and concise. Here are some key ideas to keep in mind when you’re stepping up your mobile marketing game.
- Less is More
Although mobile is increasingly becoming the method of choice for accessing internet sites, content and information should be scaled to fit the screens and patience level of users. Immense landing and product pages, over-run with hi-res images and paragraph after paragraph of keyword-filled text will not win mobile fans. Ensure that your mobile site is free of Flash and optimized for fast accessibility on mobile devices. Keep the content clean, concise and uncluttered for fast access.
- Know Your Visitors
Google Analytics provides critical data to analyze your website’s mobile traffic. It can help you understand which pages are successful and resonating with mobile users and what platforms they are using to reach your site. It can show you how your site is performing, which mobile platforms are working best, and where your traffic is coming from. All of this information will help you tailor your mobile website for the traffic you’re receiving or even help you figure out what you’re missing.
- Make It Easy
According to Hubspot, 76% of users want to get location or operating hours from a mobile site. Be sure that is the first information that they see. They also want to be able to quickly call or email so “click-to-call” or “email us” buttons that are conveniently located will ensure that they don’t bounce out of frustration and go to a competitor.
- People Want a Deal
Do you have an offer or coupon? Have customers opt-in to receive text or email messages when new deals are made available. Be sure to include links prominently on your mobile website for them to get the coupon or code. If you’ve sent out an email with links to the offer make the email clean and easy to read for mobile and tablet viewers.
- Apples and Oranges ARE Different
Make sure your mobile content is viewable on multiple platforms. What works for an iPhone may not be functional on a Samsung. Test, test, test to determine the right balance of hi-tech and functionality for different levels of technology adoption.
Transitioning from a traditional image and text heavy site to fast paced, easy-to-read mobile site may be difficult for some, but when you master the art of “Less is More” you’ll come to appreciate the clean lines and direct flow of your mobile site. Not sure where to begin or need some assistance in your mobile website development? Contact SmartBug Media, we’ll help you create a mobile website you and your customers will love.
What challenges you the most when reaching out to mobile users?
Social media has gotten a reputation for being a powerful marketing and sales tool. The biggest challenge for any business using social media is finding time to manage and prioritize each of the social channels available to your company. Social media posts are shared nearly every second. How can you possibly monitor it all? How do you know which posts are the most important?
Additionally, most marketers agree that social media marketing is incredibly difficult to accurately meaure the return on investment (ROI) of their social media efforts. Even the best social marketers are laden with disconnected interactions and the inability to show actual results from their many hours of browsing and organizing junk communication. How do you prove what you're doing is working?
Enter HubSpot’s Social Inbox
What HubSpot is doing is revolutionary. They've turn social media from the bratty sibling you have to take care of into a contextualized part of your marketing, sales, and customer service strategies. Here are a couple of things you can expect to do with this tool:
- HubSpot has turned social media into a powerful and useful contact database with Social Inbox (what marketer doesn't love that?!)
- Social Inbox enables you to create highly targeted segments of leads and customers (extremely important!)
- You can now send alerts to sales reps when a high-scoring lead mentions a competitor (creating a sense of urgency...we like it!)
- You can turn a one-time social interaction with a customer into a series of follow up emails. (Email marketing at its best!)
What features are included in Social Inbox?
- Monitor your smart lists. For example, you can get a view of just your qualified leads on twitter.
- Get email alerts for when a lead, customer or other targeted contact mentions a certain keyword or a competitor.
- "Contact match" search to help you find the twitter handles of more contacts.
- Assign or forward a tweet for response. And see a history of responses.
- See lifecycle stage and salesforce owner of each social contact, then click through to see the full profile.
- Social Media Monitoring and Publishing in the iPhone and Android App
How does Social Inbox improve the ROI of your social media efforts?
HubSpot is always trying to solve for the problem of a marketer. What's awesome about Social Inbox is that you're not only segmenting your prospects, leads, and customers. You're also able to segment for different roles at your company.
For example, your social media marketer needs to find and attract prospects in need of your product or service. Through the Social Inbox monitoring tool this is done seamlessly. You can track and monitor anyone who mentions your company, industry terms, or figure heads. This allows your social media marketer to respond to prospects quickly, thus getting leads to your sales team even faster.
Another team in your company that will appreciate Social Inbox is your sales managers. Sales managers need to address the needs of their most qualified leads. It's tough to do that currently with social media given the challenges mentioned above. However, Social Inbox improves the quality of social leads for sales managers tremendously by tracking leads in a smart list paired with email notifications that are sent when a warm or hot lead mentions the company or product. With this feature, sales managers can follow up on these leads quickly thus making the sale happen sooner.
Lastly, we all know that customer service teams benefits from social media. The whole purpose of customer service is to delight customers and help them succeed. It's very difficult to navigate the waters of social media when so many messages are being sent and received. Not only that, it's challenging to solve a customers problem in 140 characters or less. Social Inbox solves this issue by setting up automatic email alerts that can be sent to customers who interact with you about customer service issues on social media. The reaction is immediate thusly making your customer feel valued. Job well done HubSpot!
The entire feature set of Social Inbox enables you to measure the true ROI of your social media efforts. From marketing to sales to customer service HubSpot shows you how many leads and customers were generated through social media and who they are. What more could you want in a social media tool?
Not sure if you need HubSpot's Social Inbox? Request a free personalized marketing assessment to help you evaluate the pros and cons.
Content marketing is the core component of inbound marketing. It consists of creating pertinent and compelling content – consistently - for carefully targeted buyer personas. It focuses on all stages of the buying process, awareness through to brand evangelism. When you have compelling content on your website and are promoting it via email, news releases, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, you will make real connections with your prospects and customers. But how do you go from so-so content to compelling content? Try these six steps:
- Know Your Personas
It is probably not the best use of resources to create an amazing web page or blog post customized with bright colors and busy fonts with pictures of females ages 15-25 when your product is a hair loss cream. According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is defined as “…. fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.” Need help in defining your personas? Hubspot offers a free template to help walk you through the process and create a presentation to share.
- Connect Via Their Problem
Traditional marketing spent much of its time touting the wonders of their brands and products. Today’s savvy consumer doesn’t care if you’ve got the prettiest logo, website or brochure. They want to know if you can resolve their problem, fix their pain or provide what they need. Post a link to your problem-solving blog post on Facebook and Twitter. Upload a picture of a happy customer on Instagram. Pin that gorgeous product shot on Pinterest with a link to the product page or a blog post. Create the connection and show how their problem will be solved.
- Tell A Story
Testimonials are gold for marketers. If you can create product evangelists, they will share the good news of the pain that your product or service resolved on all their networks. They will recommend your firm when their friend posts, “Does anyone know a good……?” Ask satisfied customers if they’d be willing to write a testimonial that you can post on your website and share on social media. Most consumers and professionals are aware that it’s not just good publicity for you – it’s good for them.
- Visuals Rock
According the Nielson/Norman Group, when a customer or prospect lands on your web page, you have 10-20 seconds to catch their attention or they are moving on. With approximately 65% of the population labeled as visual learners, creating a good balance of text content and creative visuals is essential to ensuring a lower bounce rate. Great visuals can include photos, infographics, charts, graphs, drawings, calls to action (with text and graphics). Be sure to work with design professionals to create compelling and balanced layouts and color schemes. Just because your favorite colors are brown and yellow, it doesn’t mean they should be the colors of your website and other visuals.
- Make It Emotional
“The idea that business is just a numbers affair has always struck me as preposterous. For one thing, I’ve never been particularly good at numbers, but I think I’ve done a reasonable job with feelings. And I’m convinced that it is feelings—and feelings alone—that account for the success of the Virgin brand in all of its myriad forms.”
— Richard Branson
Making an emotional connection with your audience can be the difference between building a loyal following and a customer that buys once and never returns. Gallup scientists, in fact, have found “without a strong emotional bond, satisfaction is meaningless.” So how do you make that emotional connection? Create and actively participate in the places that your customers frequent – be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn or industry specific blogs and forums. If your company is viewed as one that will communicate with and take care of its customers you will begin to create that emotional bond that consumers search for and companies covet.
- Set Goals - And Blow Through Them!
Some goals you can set are quantitative, some are more esoteric. The C-Suite will appreciate the quantitative ones and you can demonstrate the effectiveness of the developing relationships with connections that you build. Content marketing goals be annual, quarterly, monthly or daily and can include:
- Attract XX new prospects
- Participate in XX discussions
- Earn authority
- Form XX strategic partnerships
- Improve search ranking by XX%
- Generate traffic with XX inbound links
- Listen to and learn from customers
- Build customer loyalty
- Test XX new ideas
When you consistently create compelling content and utilize it across all mediums content marketing can make all the difference. Need help in developing a content marketing plan? Contact SmartBug Media. We’ll help you make the connections.
What content marketing method has been successful for your firm?