Sy Syms had it right: an educated consumer is our best customer. And that’s truly the role of Content: providing education to the reader so that intelligent decisions can be made.
Why would the reader want to read your Content? To learn and to understand, and if you’re able to position your Content as the best source of knowledge, you can shape their understanding and POV.
That makes you the Dean of your College of Content. You determine the majors, the curriculum, the requirements, the courses. You are the person responsible for setting forth what knowledge is needed for the visitor persona to consume. You’re the one laying down the path for the persona to generate his/her POV regarding your market space.
What’s your College of Content’s agenda?
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Featured Marketing Automation Article
Suppose one day your CEO, CFO, or COO asked you what they’re getting for the money they spend on marketing automation?
Here’s the part that should hit home: what your execs needs to know about marketing automation that too often goes unspoken:
- If you don’t use marketing automation, and your competitor does your business is probably losing ground.
- It takes people — smart people that are hard to find to set it up and get it working right (that last part – getting it right is where I have seen a lot of companies miss the boat)
- Its software that touches all the important moving parts of your business; applications, data, revenue, sales, finance, marketing (yes, that too) and customers.
- If you don’t have your business processes figured out and defined, marketing automation will probably do more harm than good. Automating any businesses process that’s broken or undefined never works—marketing automation is no exception.
- Along the same lines, if you don’t have your basic marketing blocking and tackling figured out, marketing automation won’t do you much good. That means you know your buyers, messaging, markets, strategy, content – all of it.
- Nothing changes faster than marketing, so be prepared to continuously give your marketing automation tool a lot of love, care and feeding and an occasional kick in the pants.
- It’s a really smart way to get more revenue out of your sales because automation continuously surfaces and ranks leads for sale reps. Marketing automation lets you take advantage of volume and velocity, without it you’re flying blind.
The response to the blog title should be quantitative (you’ve got the data: use it). But the post’s larger issue is a warning for the users of marketing automation: it takes time, effort and expertise, as does all marketing technology components. As you reinvent your marketing blueprint, you already know that the human element needs modification.
Predictive Apps: The New Design Paradigm
The answer to developing apps that dazzle the digital consumer and making your company stand out from the competition lies in what Forrester calls predictive apps. Forrester defines predictive apps as:
Apps that leverage big data and predictive analytics to anticipate and provide the right functionality and content on the right device at the right time for the right person by continuously learning about them.
Four Design Principles Distinguish Predictive Apps
To build anticipatory, individualized app experiences, app developers will use big data and predictive analytics to continuously and automatically tune the app experience by:
- Learning who the customer (individual user) really is.
- Detecting the customer’s intent in the moment.
- Morphing functionality and content to match the intent.
- Optimizing for the device (or channel).
This requires new components and a new architecture to make it happen.
You know how big I am on predictive, and you can search the “predictive” tag in the Alert. It’s coming to a CRM system near you (although it SHOULD be incorporated into MA).
“We can help you increase the percentage of online visitors that actually complete a purchase by 10 to 15% by making it easier for them to find what they are looking for.”
This approach puts things in context that an e-commerce site owner, or business manager, would care about (increase % of purchases), while also giving a little detail to back up the claim (“making it easier for them to find what they are looking for”). Its about value, not about technology.
By leading with this outcome, you are encouraging the buyer/reader to say (or think) “Tell me more.” It is Progressive Engagement in action. And now, that the outcome is in their mind, you can tell the rest of the story, using the classic S-I-R Model (Situation-Impact-Resolution).
It’s not really a secret, but most technology marketers act like it is. So let me lay it out simply.
- Lead with the Outcome (Make them say/think “Tell Me More”)
- Provide some context by introducing how you can deliver the outcome (“What you do”)
- Explain why this is important and something they need to prioritize highly (The situation and the impact)
- Walk them through how you do it —either at a business level, or a technical level–depending on the audience.
Bad copywriting seems to be a continual theme, especially in the world of technology. It’s never what you do, but what you deliver.
Learn what an email workflow is, and figure out if you should be using them in your marketing.
An email workflow is series of automated emails that will be sent — or not — based on a person’s behavior or contact information. With workflows, you can trigger actions based on any information you have about your leads, allowing you to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
Basically, the benefit of email workflows is twofold: You can 1) better engage leads (and turn them into customers) through relevant, targeted emails, and 2) save time by automating the whole process.
Indications It’s Time to Use Workflows:
- You’re generating leads but ignoring the ones that are not immediately ready to buy
- Your sales team is unhappy with the quality of the leads you’re sending them
- You’re sending the same emails to your entire list
- You’re collecting valuable lead information, but not using it for segmentation
- You’re not targeting your offers and messaging based on your leads’ needs
- You’re sending or following up to all of your emails manually (and it’s getting unwieldy)
Honestly, you should have a workflow in place for every campaign!
Lessons on making data useful from inside The New York Times.
We are documenting every tweet, retweet, and click on every shortened URL from Twitter and Facebook that points back to New York Times content, and then combining that with the browsing logs of what those users do when they land at the Times. This project is a relative of the widely noted Cascade project. Think of it as Cascade 2.0.
We’re doing this to understand and predict when an online cascade or conversation will result in a tidal wave of content consumption on the Times, and also when it won’t. More importantly we are interested in how the word-of-mouth conversation drives readership, subscriptions, and ad revenue; how the Times can improve their own participation in the conversation to drive engagement; how we can identify truly influential readers who themselves drive engagement; and how the Times can then engage these influential users in a way that complements the users’ own needs and interests. Do it, and we can turn that statistical analysis, as you’ll see below, into elegant, artistic real time data streams.
Handling the streams, archiving the sessions and storing and manipulating the information are in themselves herculean tasks. But the even bigger challenge is transforming beautiful, big data into actionable, meaningful, decision-relevant knowledge. We’ve found that visualization is one of the most important guideposts in this search for knowledge, essential to understanding where we should look and what we should look for in our statistical analysis.
Still, the visuals cannot tell the whole story. We see some clear correlations here, but complex conditional dependencies and temporal and network autocorrelation make it necessary to build more sophisticated causal statistical models that will generate true, reliable insights about word-of-mouth influence.
In the forthcoming era of Big Data, is Data Visualization the first step? We’ve always collected, collated and analyzed the data, then created graphics to explain. Are graphics now the first step? Is this a way to use both sides of the brain to gain a greater understanding of what the data is telling us?
And can data lead to the creation of art?
I gathered a list of 7 growth hacking tactics that can be applied directly to how you use landing pages.
- Discovery: You could setup a landing page that targets the market that you think will be interested in your offering, but with a small twist. Add Qualaroo to your page so that you can interact with the visitors and ask them questions that gauge their interest level, finds out what demographic they are actually in, and other things which are important for your personal customer discovery process.
- Forget Lead Gen: Atlassian, which is an incredibly fast growing software company has decided to give away the kinds of information that would normally be worth an email address. Simons, Atlassian’s president, believes that the benefit of educating potential users is more important than capturing information on a landing page.
- Copywriting: If you are asking for a lot, write a lot. If you are asking for little, write little.
- Contests: The best contests allow you to have a single entry into the contest for your email address, another entry for a social share, and even more entries for passing the contest link onto your friends email addresses.
- Humanize: Rawness and transparency have a magical quality to them. When someone is brutally honest, it can inspire people to do all sorts of interesting things.
- Forms: Sometimes you do need someone to fill out a lot of forms, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you need your landing page visitors to fill out a lot of forms, then don’t ask the difficult questions at the beginning.
- Design: The easiest thing that you can do to create the biggest impact is to understand spacing. If you find a landing page that you particularly like, then pay close attention to the spacing. Where is the logo? How far apart are the paragraphs? How much room is between the copy and the forms. This may seem juvenile, but a beautiful design, if it is not appropriately spaced, will look like garbage.
The suggestion regarding Qualaroo is tremendous.
Think Facebook is no place for B2B marketing? Well you’re thinking wrong, says SimplySocial CEO Tyler Arnold who offers 7 tips for B2B marketers who are just getting started on Facebook.
In the B2B world, Facebook is highly underutilized. Even though 39 percent of B2B marketers have used Facebook to generate leads, studies show that LinkedIn is the most-used social platform for B2B companies. Facebook is more difficult to engage with as a business platform, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it.
[Tip 6] Engage with other businesses. Make your page interesting for other businesses. You can catch their eye by sharing industry news and your opinions in an engaging way. Be sure to like other businesses and post on their pages if allowed. Share the useful information you have and keep an eye on whatever they’re doing. There are businesses out there that need you – go out and find them on Facebook.
Alternate view to the adjacent scoop (fair and balanced). However, 6 of the 7 tips are generic, and could be applied to any social media channel. You know where I stand with this.
Should you use Facebook for your B2B marketing strategy? The facts tell us that it’s not the best use of your resources.
Bottom line excerpt…
I’d recommend focusing your efforts on blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare for your B2B marketing!
Hallel-friggin-uiah! I’ve been saying this for a year, and now I have Gerry Moran saying the same thing!!! Focus your efforts on the more important channels!!
Learn how LinkedIn’s new University Pages will help you boost your university’s social presence.
Ready to give your university’s social presence a boost? You’re in luck! Last week, the professional social network LinkedIn announced University Pages.
A platform for universities to share information, connect with prospective students and their parents, and retain communication with alumni networks, University Pages are “one cornerstone of our strategy to help students at every critical milestone from campus to fulfilling, successful careers,” said LinkedIn Director of Product Management Christine Allen in the blog post announcement on August 19th.
While University Pages are currently only available to a limited number of universities, LinkedIn indicates that thousands more schools will be given access to their University Pages over the next few weeks.
University Pages are not just a breakthrough for high school students starting their college search; they’re also important for your university’s internet marketing strategy for several reasons. Most notably, your school’s marketing department now has the ability to connect with prospective students and their parents during the earlier stages of the college search. Historically, your school could communicate with those who had shown interest in information on your website or at a local event.
But starting September 12th, LinkedIn will begin allowing high school students to create their own LinkedIn profiles, instantly creating a new channel of online communication between your university and high school students conducting early research about colleges they may want to apply to in a few years. That’s a whole new world of content, information, and interactions for your school’s marketing team to consider and leverage. And the nature of LinkedIn allows more formal conversations and interactions to happen, compared to the informal/friendly nature of Facebook and the character limitations of Twitter.
We have more than a few readers from the education vertical, so this is scooped especially for you. But we are also scooping this for the recruiting/HR function: own the student/unversity, and you own the entry level recruiting environment. Fascinating approach by LinkedIn, and talk about a long term strategy. Smart, smart, smart.
You don’t need more content. You need old content. I know, that’s not what you usually hear, so stick with me and we will look at some numbers to see why it is so important.
Old content is the reason content marketing takes so much time, in months or years of calendar time, not in hours of effort, to reach its potential. And it is why you need to start now, before all of your competitors get their old content established.
How big of a difference does old content make? Let’s look at it two different ways.
1. Search Results
Here’s how the 29 first page results break down [of three B2B marketing oriented searches]:
- Only 6 are current pages (content from within about the last month or fixed pages for this year, such as current award pages)
- 8 are between 1 month and 1 year old.
- 15 of the first page search results are for pages that are more than a year old!
More than half of the search results were for content that is more than a month old, and less than 25% was for current content!
2. Increased Site Traffic
Not only does old content continue to capture search traffic, the library of content you have created over the years will become a key driver of traffic and growth. This is the real reason why it takes calendar time for your inbound or content marketing program to deliver on its full potential.
[SEE CHART] In 20 months, monthly pageviews on new content increased by 130%. In contrast, monthly pageviews on old content increased nearly 10x!
Build, build, build the foundation. Don’t expect overnight results: as it is with SEO, it takes time.
Marketing Automation. Rankings and reviews of best marketing automation software and marketing automation tools.
August, 2013 update. Ingest with a substantial amount of sodium. Regardless, a point of reference, but David Raab has the best data.
Pardot continuing its assault on the basics.
Customer Behavior – Technology buying decisions made by small businesses are influenced more by attitudes and beliefs than by demographic factors such as industry, revenue, and years in business, according to a recent …
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