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Can Your Brand Get Any Love at SXSW?

This year, more than 30,000 of us made the trip to SXSW (South By Southwest) 2014 Interactive. A diverse group descended on Austin to immerse ourselves in all things tech—not necessarily to find the next Twitter or Foursquare—but to hear and see what all the hype will be about later this year, when the rest of the world catches up.

Attendees like to think that we’re the ones to know first. Luckily, we often are. If the big 2014 wearable tech launch is actually a dud, for example, or whether drones are just a fly-by-night fad.

There was a lot of competition for attention in Austin, a lot of companies trying to make a big splash to get all eyes on them. This, of course, brings with it the potential for the not-so-great attention-grabbing ideas to get bad word of mouth.

This year, there were over 800 different sessions (including a dozen or more with Adobe employees), the SXSW Accelerator competition, Adobe’s own Creative Camp (our annual SXSW program where attendees learn and play with our web tools), in addition high-profile appearances by Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and near-constant opportunities for inebriated socializing.

The question for my social team was this: Could we be Adobe product-agnostic and add yet another activity to the already long list to create some Adobe brand love with the people in Austin?

Adobesxsw

Our ultimate goal was to get higher share of voice in the SXSW social conversations compared with 2013, spanning very different communities—from creative people in the Web and video world to marketers and social media managers.

We needed to bridge our creative and marketer stories. To do this, we partnered with Razorfish, the digital agency responsible for the infamous tweeting bikes at last year’s SXSW, and created a unique social experience for 2014. We set up shop in an Airstream trailer at the #UseMeLeaveMe Digital Campground and invited people to star in their own Austin-themed videogram.

This is the video invite we posted the day after we arrived to get the word out for people join us.

When people arrived at the Airstream, we put them on a stationary bike in front of a green screen, and our director screamed actions for them to play out, which coordinated with the animation (which they couldn’t see) behind them. Our editor then used Premiere Pro to create the final 15-second video right in front of everyone’s eyes on a 42-inch screen. In just minutes, our actors got the video via email and could share to their favorite social networks.

Did We Break Through the Noise?

We had more than 500 people come through our Airstream trailer making digital mementos, and more than 25 percent of the videograms were shared publicly on social networks. The top Instagram post was “hearted” 64 times and got 26 comments.

Overall, there were 115 percent more posts about Adobe on social channels compared with SXSW 2013. And all of Adobe’s combined efforts in Austin created the kind of brand affinity we wanted, with 10 percent positive sentiment overall—twice as high as it was in 2013 and many times higher than it measures on average. We reached these numbers with no paid social media on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else.

The Most Important Thing We Learned?

Physical activations at SXSW are a great opportunity for brands. We received loads of kudos from just about all of the 500 people who entered the Airstream because it gave them an experience they hadn’t had before.

In your own efforts, be sure to have a clear social call to action if you want lots of public sharing of your experience. Most people who created a videogram said they were sharing the videos, but we have to take their word for it because, if they didn’t use Instagram, Twitter, or share their post publicly on Facebook with the right hashtag, we couldn’t measure it.

Did you go to SXSW and connect with a particular company? Share your experience in the comments.

The post Can Your Brand Get Any Love at SXSW? appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.

Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe

Does corporate trust have to be an oxymoron?

Brands are based on trust. Corporations extract enormous value from the relationships they have with suppliers, employees, partners and customers. Yes, it’s possible to trust a corporation, we do it all the time. But it’s not free.

The two key choices a brand makes to be trusted in the long run:

1. You will postpone profit-taking. There are always shortcuts available to you, always ways to make money sooner rather than later, plenty of chances to do a little less or charge a little more.

2. You will do things that are difficult. We know it’s not easy or convenient for you to keep every promise, especially the little ones. That it’s expensive or a hassle or emotionally risky for you to extend yourself and your brand, but that’s where the trust is earned.

And so, when people on your team say things like, “due to unusually heavy call volume,” “we sold your data, the fine print in our terms and conditions says we can,” “I’m sorry, but my hands are tied,” “Well, because you complained, just this one time I’ll have our executive response team get involved, but don’t ask us to do it again,” “It doesn’t matter what the contract says, this is all we can do,” “I know Bob told you that, but he doesn’t work here anymore,” “Sure, we used to do that, but too many people took advantage of us and we can’t do it for you,” or, most common of all, silence, then yes, we trust you less. That’s because we really prefer to trust people, and when people act to deny their humanity, we trust them less.

It’s easy to seduce yourself into believing that you can be trusted at the same time you take short-term profits and cut corners when it suits you. Alas, that’s not going to happen. 

Trust is expensive and trust is worth it.

       

Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing, tribes and respect

Social Media Lead Generation: Best Tips From The Experts

22 Experts: How To Use Social Media To Generate Leads

Social Media Lead Generation-21 expertsFor some marketers social media and lead generation seem like an oxymoron.

Why? Because social media tends to be oriented to personal use and lead generation tends to focus on B2B businesses. 

The reality is that employees’ personal knowledge and experience influences their business decisions. Employees use social media to gain insights and research B2B purchases. This is why many B2B buyers tend to be 70% of the way through the purchase process before suppliers realize it. 

Conversely, when making major purchases, consumers act more like businesses in terms of how much research they do and the amount of time they spend making up their minds.

22 Experts explain social media lead generation

Here’s what 22 social media experts say is the best way to use social media to generate leads.Social Media Lead Generation-21 experts

1. Connie Bensen, Global Social Media, Dell @CBensen
Slideshare is my favorite platform for using high performing content to capture B2B leads using the Pro account. In my previous company, at Alterian, we had the highest success rate with European countries which was an early success in social marketing in Europe.

2. David Berkowitz, MRY, @DBerkowitz,
This will always vary based on the goals of the marketer and campaign, and who the target audience is, but two good starting places are Pinterest for B2C marketing and LinkedIn for B2B marketing. Pinterest is a place where people share what they love, so product promotions fit in well. And LinkedIn is a media company targeting business professionals, with a lot of tools marketers can use for lead gen.

3. Bernie Borges, Find and Convert, @bernieborges
In B2B, my favorite approach is organic social sharing on LinkedIn through status updates from employee brand ambassadors combined with sponsored updates through the LinkedIn company page. Recently, one of our client’s webinars had 340 registrations, half of which were new contacts using this approach.

4. Michael Brenner,  SAP and B2B Marketing Insider, @BrennerMichael
Social media is not the best platform to generate leads. It is the best platform to engage with your future customers and to make them aware of your brand. If you can find a way to provide value and build trust, then you can earn the right to develop them into sales leads.

5. Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide, @HeidiCohen
Social media sites provide a platform where businesses, either B2B or B2C, can interact with prospects, customers, fans and the public in either real or lapsed time. Through this engagement, companies can build deeper relationships with prospects as well as offer sales related information that ultimately leads to sales.

While LinkedIn and SlideShare tend to be the core B2B social media lead generation platforms, don’t underestimate other sites, including Facebook. This is particularly true for companies that operate outside of the US where sites like Facebook may be the only social media option.

As social media platforms continue to evolve, it’s important for businesses to support social media efforts with advertising and related marketing activities and budget.

Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of using a variety of social media platforms to extend the reach of your content marketing distribution.

6. Jeffrey L. Cohen,  Ball State University and B2B Social Media, Co-author of The B2B Social Media Book,  @JeffreyLCohen.
The best way to use social media to generate leads is to create a business blog that answers prospects’ questions and solves customers’ problems. These blog posts need to relate to longer form content, like ebooks and webinars, so visitors can click through to a lead form and provide their contact information in exchange for the asset. It is better to focus your lead generation program on a platform that you own, like a blog, and use social media channels to expand your reach, grow your audience and amplify your content.

7. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media, author of Content Chemistry, @Crestodina
In our business (web design) people just don’t need us that often. It’s usually once every 3-5 years. And it’s really hard to keep in touch with thousands of people. That’s where social comes in.

After a meeting or speaking engagement, I try to connect with people on at least one social network (ideally, two). Next I fill my social streams with a steady mix of our own content, marketing tips and industry news. The goal is to stay visible with lots of people over a long period of time.

It works. Whenever I get a lead from social media, I take a screenshot of it. I keep them in a folder so I can show the doubters of the world. Many of these leads mention how they were grateful for the advice we shared over the years.

Social media (along with email marketing) is back-burner autopilot lead generation for companies with long sales intervals and sales cycles. I don’t know what we’d do without it…

8. Mike Delgado, Experian-North America, @MikeDelgado.
B2B companies need to spend time building communities on LinkedIn – and getting their employees involved in sharing important posts. I’ve been very impressed with the reach and engagement on LinkedIn, and the ability to share custom content to targeted followers. If you’re a B2B marketer, take a close look at the opportunities to reach your target audiences either organically through your company pages and groups – or through paid efforts (e.g. partner emails, ads, and sponsored posts, etc.).

9. Ric Dragon, DragonSearch, Author of Social Marketology. @RicDragon
Step one: really think about, and dig into what your business is about, what you’re trying to achieve, and who your customers are. Step two: find out where they’re playing, and what hidden needs they might have.  Step three: go and be generous, and give them what they need.  Adopt a “pay it forward” mentality, and don’t stop and evaluate each interaction for its potential value to you.

This is a whole different approach to lead generation; a whole different process than the traditional process of identifying leads, and running them through a filter.

For our own organization, Twitter has been a great place to connect with people who share the passion of what we do, and it’s in that environment that I’ve adopted an ethos of generosity.  Many of those relationships made there become deepened with in-person meetings, and ultimately, have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars of business.

10. Jason Falls, CafePress, Author of  No Bullshit Social Media @JasonFalls
Building an event (webinar, live event, meet-up) or information product (webinar, white paper) and publicizing it to an existing social audience, or through social advertising to a relevant target audience, to pull in the contact information you need to follow up. Examples would be every webinar or white paper you see from software companies like Salesforce or HubSpot or ExactTarget and so on. Give them your email address and some cursory job/company info and you get access to the content. They have your contact information and can follow up if you fit what they’re targeting.

11. Barry Graubart - Content Matters LLC @Graubart
For the most part, I don’t believe you can “use social media to generate leads”. Instead, what I have seen work is to use content as a means of engaging users, driving leads. In my experience, social media is simply a channel to bring users to that content and allow them to engage.

There are exceptions, of course. For example, when a customer is already familiar with your brand and you use social media to promote deals, for example. If you’re posting last-minute travel deals on your Twitter or Facebook feed, you can expect that the people who follow you will be leads. But, I view that more as transactional, than lead gen.

12. Dave Kerpen, Likeable Media, author of Likeable Business & Likeable Social Media
The best platforms to use social media to generate leads are Twitter and Slideshare. Take advantage of Twitter’s lead-gen email cards advertisements and Slideshare’s lead-collection ads to directly drive leads from each platform.

13. Alan K’necht , Digital Always Media Inc., @AKnecht
Start to participate within Social properties where your target audience is. You then will develop trust and a relationships. Leads will find you.

As an example, during a recent #SocialChat ( TwitterChat I co-host) we were approached to have Elissa Shevinsky from WeNeedGlimpse as a guest, on a suggest topic of Social and Privacy. After reviewing her credentials, we agreed. During the Twitterchat, Elissa answered our questions and that of participants on the subject and where appropriate referenced tool her company had recently released that addressed some of the issues we brought up. Plus she participate in the chat on the brands Twitter handle (@WeNeedGlimpse). She was able increase the number of followers plus I suspect, generate some sign-ups (aka leads).

14. Arnie Kuenn Vertical Measures, author of Accelerate,  @ArnieK
In terms of generating leads, I have to shine the light on LinkedIn. Often thought of as just a job networking site, there is so much more potential to be found on LinkedIn. You can publish your content to a targeted audience segment, participate in group discussions to grow your reputation, share information and ideas about a specific industry, make great connections, and more. If you’re a B2B business with a strong niche and powerful content, this is a great place to start for lead generation. It really works.

15. Jason Miller, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, @JasonMillerCA
This boils down to three things: people, process, and technology. If you are serious about using social for lead gen, then you need to have budget and headcount dedicated to content and social. Content fuels social for lead gen, without the right content you will not get results. So start by creating content that answers your prospects question along their buyer journey from early to late stage, then target that messaging both organically and paid within the various social platforms (preferably LinkedIn : ). The next step is to track, respond, and scale your efforts. For this you will need some sort of marketing automation software. Once these leads come in you will need to score them, pass along the sales ready ones, and move the others to an appropriate nurture track. Keep in mind that leads coming in from social are likely not ready to buy since they are probably in their research stage at the top of the funnel. It’s vital to have a process in place to keep the lines of communication open with these prospects via nurturing campaigns. There are a lot of folks out there that are overcomplicating this process. At the end of the day you really only need three things: content, native advertising, and marketing automation. This is the best way to generate leads from social.

16. Jesse Noyes, Kapost
There are some obvious – and true – answers to this question. We’ve had a lot of success driving leads to our content by using targeted promoted tweets. Ads on social sites like LinkedIn, SlideShare and even Facebook can be great tools if targeted to the right users and pointing to some independently valuable content, rather than pushing product.

But one of our best social lead drivers is actually organic. We host a LinkedIn group called Content Marketing Academy, which has almost 10,000 members all interested specifically in content marketing. The group has been successful because our community manager Andrew Coate established guidelines to keep discussions lively, relevant and free of spam. For one, you can’t just post a blog post or whitepaper in the discussions, but instead have to use the promotions section for that. There’s even a limit on when you can link to content outside the group when responding to discussions (it has to be super relevant to the topic and not self-promotional).

With these rules in place, you’d think it be hard to generate actual leads. But by keeping the community active many interested people naturally find us and seek out our content, both gated and ungated. The result is not only leads, but leads that have already engaged with us and seen our leadership in the content marketing space.

17. Phil Paranicas, ThomasNet
Generating leads via social is tricky business. Why? People are generally not engaged in social to be sold something. They are there to learn, network with peers, engage in discussions and share their views. In the B2B/manufacturing space, LinkedIn has been the best producer of leads. It makes sense, since this is where professionals with buying power tend to go. Most leads are generated through genuine group participation. By genuine – I mean making a commitment to participate and listen in a group over the long term. This means offering, helpful commentary and advice. By establishing your expertise in these groups, you can build trust – the core value of all good relationships. There’s absolutely no room for snake oil pushers here. Further, for larger organizations, LinkedIn’s new Showcase Pages allow marketers to develop brand specific communities. This creates outstanding opportunities for targeted marketing. If people are engaging with the narrowly-focused content on these pages, with a little bit of TLC, the leads are sure to follow. 

18. Dayna Rothman, Marketo, Author of Lead Generation for Dummies, @dayroth
For Marketo, Facebook and LinkedIn are our highest performing social lead generation channels. We love Facebook because they have impressive ad targeting capabilities and can get very granular to ensure we are reaching the right audience. LinkedIn is also highly targeted. Plus, since LinkedIn is a professional network, you can target based on demographic criteria like job title, location, company size, etc, which for many B2B companies are the primary pieces of information they seek to determine lead fit.

19. Neal Schaffer – Maximize Your Social, Author of Maximize Your Social, @NealSchaffer
The best way to generate leads is to utilize sponsored posts on the relevant social media platform where your customers are utilizing best practices for that platform. Social networks are in business and want you to be successful in your advertising. Assuming that you have a conversion system in place, ads are a completely trackable form of paid media that can ensure you can both measure leads generated and sales converted. Sure, you can obtain leads organically, but considering that social media was made for people and not businesses – and you want to generate leads – I really do think the paid approach will end up being the most effective method for most businesses today.

20. Stephanie Sammons,Wired Advisor and Sammons Digital, @StephSammons
I believe the best platform for lead generation is your owned platform: your website or blog. Showcase your value via social channels to build influence with your network and drive targeted traffic back to your site. On your site, have ONE primary and compelling “value offer” that your visitors can opt-in for. Minimize your required fields to no more than a first name and email address. 

21. Jim Siegel, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, @MeaningComfort
My colleagues and I have used Twitter and targeted Linked In groups to promote B-to-B visibility and credibility and interest for the educational and research programs of our nonprofit organization HealthCare Chaplaincy Network.

Also, March 31-April 4, 2014, we ran the first global research conference on spiritual care in healthcare attended by 325 health care professionals in-person or via webcast. Participants were from throughout the US, the UK, Australia, Belgium, India, Ireland, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia. We established an intensive Twitterchat with the hashtag #HCCNcon immediately before the conference and through the conference generating 2,442 total tweets by 123 participants, generating  1.5 million impressions.

22. Deborah Weinstein, Strategic Objectives, @DebWeinstein

The “best platform” for lead generation depends on the type of business you operate, what you sell, and how you define your target clients. Each social network has different features.

  • If you’re an online retailer, especially targeting women. Pinterest offers an unprecedented click-through-rate, from social network through to final sale, and is one of the best social networks to improve social referral traffic.
  • For B2B organizations, LinkedIn is to offer content to business professionals and high-level executives. LinkedIn is the new “business card” and an opportunity for business leaders to connect and reaffirm their real-life relationships.
  • Google+ is the best social network for a male-focused, tech-oriented organization.
  • Twitter is the perfect place to find news junkies, influencers and individuals who share a high volume of content. Twitter is where news happens 24/7. Twitter is every business’s early-warning system for issues, and customer, reputation management.
  • With more than 1.3 Billion users, Facebook, is a great social network to cast a wide net and reach a wide audience. But your brand must be prepared to support your lead-gen activities with advertising dollars.
  • Instagram is a great to attract the young, mobile, on-the-move audience. Instagram is good for highly visual brands looking to connect with millennials.

 

To use social media lead generation, you must assess your target audience and the social media platforms they use. Social media isn’t a one-size fits all strategy.

Depending on your products and services, social media can be useful to engage prospects to build and deepen relationships with prospects, customers and fans (who in turn recommend your business.)

Additionally, incorporate social media into your content marketing distribution plans. The objective is to expand your reach both directly and through your followers’ shares.

Since social media and customers continue to evolve, it’s critical that you keep testing what works best for your business.  Based on your results, adapt your social media strategy to maximize your effectiveness.

What has your experience been using social media to generate leads?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Join me & Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing World 2014CMW14_468x60Meet me in real life at CMW 2014 in Cleveland.

BTW – Don’t fret if you missed my session last year: Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

 

 

Related Articles

  • How To Make Your B2B Lead Generation Work Harder
  • How To Turn Your Blog Into A Lead Generation Machine

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Note: All book links are affiliates.

Updated April 21, 2014 – 2:00pm to include Jim Siegel

 

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Heidi Cohen

Gain Competitive Advantage with Attribution: Predictions from Adobe Summit

src="http://www.getelastic.com/wp-content/uploads/blue.jpg" class="alignleft" />A key takeaway from this year’s Adobe Summit is that if your business can capitalize on things that are out in the marketplace right now – sensors, mobile, social, wearables – you will be able to establish an immense competitive advantage and potentially radically shift your business model into something you may not even have conceived of yet.

Peeking into the crystal ball was Tamara Gaffney, Adobe’s chief Digital Index prognosticator, and Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, who hosted an enlightening session on Adobe’s latest insights and what they might mean to the marketer.

The Funnel is Dead

With the proliferation of channels and devices, today’s customer journey is increasingly complex – spanning mobile, social, online, offline, wearables, time and location to name just a few. As such, customer experience is no longer a linear engagement; it is now a “continuous continuum of customer experience happenings” that looks more like a 3D spatial map when all the data points are lit up rather than the traditional funnel of yesteryear.

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To better understand the complexity of a customer’s engagement map and establish ROI on marketing spend, Gaffney’s advice was that Attribution Modelling should be a top item on an enterprise’s to-do list in the next two years.

Attribution is Key

Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding of what combination of events influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion.

In layman’s terms, attribution is determining exactly where people are coming in from (laptop, tablet, mobile, wearable and/or geolocation) and what is bringing them in (social, YouTube, referral, direct, email, organic search) and then using data models or algorithms to detect interesting patterns in engagement and conversion maps.

The Power of Attribution

While Gaffney’s advice is sound, each enterprise will have different requirements as to what they put into an attribution model. As Avinash Kaushik writes:

There are few things more complicated in analytics than multi-channel attribution modeling. A lot of that is because of all the stuff we don’t know. There is lots of missing data. And as if that were not enough, there is lots of unknowable data.

Ultimately, attribution is going to come from multiple sources but some attributes are going to be more valuable than others. Knowing this might change your business models entirely and is the reason Gaffney lists it as a priority.

Changing Forms, Changing Behaviors

Adobe Digital Index also looked at how different interfaces and levels of connectivity were changing people’s behavior. Those who had a smartphone with a 5-inch-plus screen said they do more social media on their mobile phone now versus their tablet and they browse less on their tablets than they used to do because now they have a device that’s more connected.

Video to the Rise

Gaffney predicted video is becoming much more important to customer engagement, driven by sports viewership, bigger screen size with phablets and faster bandwidth speeds, with gaming console posed to be one of the biggest consumption platforms.

Gaffney’s advice for videos? Keep it under 2 minutes, even under 60 seconds to optimize for short attention spans, precious bandwidth and small screen size.

Prediction about the Internet of Things

According to both Gaffney and Wong, the Internet of Things is going to matter immensely. While the market for Google Glass is still exceedingly small, Adobe’s data shows it’s the fastest growing new device accessing web content, mostly for sports viewership.

Wang also offered some timely advice for those thinking about engagement strategies with beacons. He recommended businesses figure out which sensors they want to work with, what offers they want to put into place for people to respond to and at which points do they want to collect data.

Big Data: Real Time and Relevant

Wang counselled that the data beacons are going to bring in will provide the marketer with valuable information which can be leveraged to produce real-time mass personalization and contextual relevance. For example, a marketer can design an experience with specific content based on where the customer is because location comes into play.

However context is not only just about location or time variables. A marketer might also want to think about the existing relationship already in place with the customer: What is their previous purchasing history? Their average order value?

This data is going to change the way offers are served up, with “right time, real time” fully contextual offers becoming increasingly important.

It’s all about Big Data

Gaffney and Wang predicted that every business is going to come down to big data – the digital exhaust that people leave behind. All this metadata that is sitting there contains contextual clues that are essential to capture because this is what is going to help you figure out attribution, click through and conversion rates.

It is also the secret to improving your customers’ experience of your brand by allowing you to create a more frequent and more personal relationship with them.

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5 Ways to Generate Content Marketing Revenues

Content Marketing Sales: Why Great Content Is Not Enough

Content Marketing Revenues93% of B2B marketers are investing in content marketing to build their brands and produce leads according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research.

Unfortunately only 42% of these marketers believe their content is effective. This is a problem because businesses invest money to generate sales.  (Note: Although 90% of B2C marketers use content marketing, only 34% find it effective.)

Marketers are so focused on producing sufficient, great, high-quality content that they overlook the need to drive revenues. Your content must move a portion of your audience to close the deal and purchase your product or service.

If their content is so great, why isn’t it effective?

  • The content is of poor quality containing me-too information or wrong ideas.
  • The content is poorly targeted to meet customer needs.
  • The content is poorly distributed and/or not optimized for consumption and findability.

But the biggest issue keeping you from succeeding is that you need a (better) process to convert prospects into customers.

5 Ways to generate content marketing revenues

Here are 5 ways to make great content into content marketing revenues.Content Marketing Revenues

1. Always incorporate at least one call-to-action.

Remember your audience lives in a content rich world. Once they’re finished with your information they’re onto the next piece unless you prompt them to act.

  • Make your call-to-action stand out from the rest of your content. You don’t want readers to assume that it’s more text.
  • Target appropriate next step(s). Don’t assume prospects are ready to purchase. Rather balance the subsequent action based on their needs, not yours. Also, bear in mind that prospects may not be ready to share what they deem to be personal information.
  • Make every piece of content an entryway to your offering. Since prospects can be over 70% through the purchase decision before marketers realize that they’re in-market, you must ensure that your content supplies access to the information they seek. Allow for different purchase paths.

2. Use relevant landing pages.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to landing pages. When prospects click on a link or call-to-action, the next piece of content they view must be related and similarly branded or you risk loosing them.

  • Continue the information scent. This is based on the Eisenberg brother’s book, Call To Action. Keep the look and feel of your content consistent so that readers don’t think that they’ve wound up on the wrong page.
  • Create targeted landing pages where possible. Within your budget limits, tailor your landing pages and microsites.

3. Streamline the buying process.

All of your great content effort is for naught if your purchase page(s) aren’t optimized to convert.

  • Eliminate extra steps. Be ruthless in getting rid of extraneous processes and irrelevant data collection that isn’t required to close the sale.
  • Don’t force prospects to register and sign in. This only works for Amazon which has built customer trust over time. Doing this hurts your conversion rate.
  • Offer multiple sales channels. Let customers purchase when and where they want. This is particularly true for millennials who expect a consistent cross-platform experience. Allow customers to buy via your website, mobile device, phone or in-person.

4. Test your content marketing for optimal outcomes.

Continually test each element of your content marketing. Don’t assume that what worked last year is still the most effective way to present your information. There are new trends and platforms.

  • Start by testing the elements that yield the biggest impact. This means your calls-to-action and your purchase process. If these don’t get leads into your sales pipeline, then you’re significantly limiting your revenue potential.
  • Plan your testing. While assessing content marketing results when there’s an issue is necessary, to ensure that you’re optimizing your content marketing budget, have a strategy associated with your marketing and editorial calendars.
  • Allocate appropriate budget for testing. This includes different creative and distribution as well as metrics.

5. Measure your content marketing results.

Don’t forget to keep score of your content marketing’s effectiveness in driving sales.

  • Set goals for each piece of content. Don’t just create information and pray that it will achieve your objectives.
  • Track content marketing metrics. Skip the vanity metrics like shares. Find out what is driving leads and prospects and what actually converts them into customers based on your business goals?

Want your great content marketing to drive sales? Then ensure that you incorporate the appropriate elements to convert readers into prospects and ultimately customers.

How do you drive content marketing revenues?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Join me & Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing World 2014CMW14_468x60Meet me in real life at CMW 2014 in Cleveland.

BTW – Don’t fret if you missed my session last year: Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

 

 

Related Articles

  • The Future of Content Marketing
  • 5 Ways to Make Money With Content

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Heidi Cohen

Afraid to Delegate? How to Get Over It and Get More Work Done

At first glance, not doing something yourself feels risky: What if it doesn’t get done? What if it’s not quality work? But done correctly, delegating can actually lower the risk in your business.

By delegating, you’re decreasing the chance that you’ll burn out and that important activities only you can do won’t get done. Real control comes from managing risk and releasing control in appropriate ways. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

Here’s how to change your approach to delegation to maximize business results:

Identify where to focus

To help you let go of projects other people can do, you need to understand what exactly should fill the majority of your time. Where can your contribution make the biggest impact? For most business owners, these activities include strategic thinking about new business opportunities, building relationships, sales and specific elements of operations.

Unfortunately, most owners find that the most essential business-building activities never happen because they get so swallowed up in day-to-day operations. Take a moment to step back and think about where you can provide the highest value. Everything outside your core strengths and role should be activities that others can do.

Name the fear

Vague feelings of discomfort can stop us from moving forward. But when we clarify what actually bothers us, we can then address the issue and break through to the next level. Name your fears. To help you get started, I’ve listed out some common concerns in each category:

Delegating the work:

  • The work won’t get done.
  • The work won’t get done well.
  • I feel bossy/mean.
  • I’m worried I’m inconveniencing others.
  • I feel out of control.
  • The work won’t get done the way I like it to be done.

Doing the work yourself:

  • I feel stressed.
  • I feel sleep-deprived.
  • I’m frustrated.
  • I feel like my opportunities for growth are lost.
  • I am out of control.
  • I’m limiting others’ growth.

After each bullet point, name in specific detail the perceived risks associated with both allowing others to participate and doing the work yourself.

Minimize the risk

Once you have a detail list of perceived risks, take the opportunity to address each issue. Figure out how you can minimize the risk when someone else does the work. This will allow you to put the appropriate checks and balances and safeguards into place.

For example:

Perceived risk: The work won’t get done.

Risk mitigation strategy: Set up a follow-up system for each task. Make a running task list or hold meetings to review deliverables. Use tools like followupthen.com to remind yourself to ping someone.

Perceived risk: The work will not get done well.

Risk mitigation strategy: Take time to think through the work you pass off to others. Identify whether you’re in the direction, coaching, support or straight delegation stage. — both with the individual and with the task. Tailor your management approach accordingly. Always factor in buffer time for work to be reviewed and edited.

By following this three-step strategy, you can delegate effectively and invest your time in growing your business — without burning out.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E®, a time coaching and training company, and the author of The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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The post Afraid to Delegate? How to Get Over It and Get More Work Done appeared first on Brazen Life.

Brazen Life

Beyond Push Notifications: What Can Beacons Do For Retail?

src="http://www.getelastic.com/wp-content/uploads/ibeacon.jpg" class="alignleft" />The obvious application of beacon technology is to push content – be it welcome greetings, discounts and special offers, product information, branded content or other alerts.

What else can beacons offer in-store? Based on the research in Forrester Research, Inc.’s March 2014 report The Emergence of Beacons in Retail Get Elastic believes there are 5 reasons retailers should look into the technology.

Customers as beacons

Beacons can facilitate person-to-person communication, which can be helpful for paging sales associates from within an app, rather than wandering around (like Uber for shopping!) Smart stores will dispatch sales associates to the right “department” based on their areas of expertise.

In-store navigation

Beacons can also support turn-by-turn directions to locate products. Combined with a voice or text search function, this can be very helpful for speedy grab-and-go shopping.

In-store nav can be useful if you have an app downloaded that syncs your Wish List or favorites, the ability to locate which ones actually exist in store, and to guide you to which products you’d like to view or purchase that day.

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There’s also potential for “gamification,” such as Easter egg hunts.

In-store analytics

Retailers are no doubt chomping at the bit to collect more data on in-store behavior to optimize merchandising. While there are many ways to do this currently, the connection to mobile has potential for tying habits to customer segments, such as cross-channel buyers, frequent visitors, customers of a certain age or sex, or out-of-town visitors.

Point-of-sale

PayPal Beacon notifies a retailer when an app-wielding customer enters the store, and a beacon located near point-of-sale interacts with the customer’s phone app to complete the transaction.

Cross-channel attribution

Beacon technology is a step towards closed-loop channel attribution where a marketer can measure the impact of mobile advertising exposure on in-store sales. For example, an ecommerce platform (through its mobile touchpoint) could pull location data based on a customer’s proximity to a beacon, and match it to previous exposures of an ad.

There remain a couple challenges here: 1) attribution can only be made across the segment of opted-in, tracked customers (incomplete data), and 2) beacons can’t track attention. Proximity to a beacon does not mean attention, neither does exposure to mobile advertising.

Retail beacon hurdles

Despite its potential, the biggest hurdle for retailers is perceived privacy. The success of beacon marketing and merchandising relies on enough opted-in users. Some studies suggest customers are highly resistant to being tracked in-store, even if it improves the customer experience.

Beyond privacy, beacon relevance and usability is also important.

Journalist Sébastien Page recounts his underwhelming experience at a Californian Apple store. Beacons welcomed him 5 times at different points in the store (including upon leaving), and product information did not come up when and where he expected.

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Before implementing in-store beacons, it’s imperative to determine what content is most appropriate and relevant to deliver (and where), what the customer expects/wants (and doesn’t want) from the experience, and what veers into the gray area of spammy notifications. Your strategy should be informed at least in part from real customer input and testing.

Get Elastic Ecommerce BlogGet Elastic Ecommerce Blog

4 Mega-Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make On Your Resume

Spelling and grammar errors. Gaps in unemployment. Vague job descriptions.

Most job seekers are well aware of the major no-nos on resumes, but here’s the bad news: your resume probably has other red flags you’re not aware of. Here’s the worst news: There’s no way to know for sure what they are.

Why? Because every recruiter and hiring manager has a different approach, and every company has different needs. A red flag for one position is an asset for another.

What’s a job seeker to do? Well, if you’re a mind reader, that’s a big help. Otherwise, you have to rely on learning about industry norms and consider what you want in a job and a company. Here are a few common red flags:

1. No social media presence

While you should never include a link to a personal profile, not having one at all can also raise concerns. In most positions, technology plays an important role, and your ability to maintain a social media account shows a level of comfort employers want to see.

For many creative jobs, such as Web design, photography or writing, it’s expected as a way to gain access to a portfolio of your work. Depending on your industry, this can be done through a Flickr account, a blog or even a Twitter feed.

For jobs that rely heavily on your ability to network and develop relationships, such as marketing and sales positions, showcasing your large social following can be an asset. For many online marketing positions, it’s a requirement, whether it’s stated upfront or not.

Not sure what the standard is for your industry? In almost any job, it’s a safe bet to include your LinkedIn profile. (Click here to tweet this thought.) A great place is in your header under your email address. It’s unlikely a hiring manager would toss your resume for including it, and you’ll avoid being overlooked because someone assumes you’re a techno-phobe.

2. Too few job changes

You probably know that job hoppers are frowned upon, but staying in one place for too long can also hurt you. Many employers want applicants with a wide range of experience. They may question the depth of your knowledge of the industry or wonder why you didn’t take initiative to find more opportunities for growth.

This is particularly true for any industry that requires a diverse set of skills and expertise, such as technology-related fields and project management positions.

What’s a loyal employee to do? If you changed positions or were promoted, break up those different titles into separate sections. Be sure to highlight any changes in department or location as well.

If you haven’t moved around, it’s even more important to highlight specific accomplishments and continuing education to alleviate any concerns. And before you panic, consider this:

If you’ve been in one position for a long period of time, it’s likely you valued that company’s loyalty to you as well. If a new potential employer thinks loyalty is a weakness, it may not be the right match for you anyway.

3. No hobbies or additional interests

Nine times out of ten, including this section on your resume is a bad idea. Employers don’t care about your life outside of work. (Many of them would probably prefer you didn’t have one at all.)

That being said, for some jobs, it’s crucial to showing why you’re the right candidate. If you’re applying for a position at a surfboard company, the fact you can ride a wave is definitely relevant.

A veterinarian’s office is likely to be impressed by your volunteer work with the local shelter and your three dogs, two cats, one gerbil and tank full of fish. In these instances, not including information about your personal life is a mistake.

Also, some workplaces — particularly younger, tech companies — make a point to showcase their employees’ hobbies and personal accomplishments. For instance, they might post on their blog about an employee winning a chess tournament or share the results of their annual table tennis competition.

It’s about showing that you’re not just qualified, but also a match for the company culture. It’s unlikely your resume would be thrown out for omitting this information, but its inclusion can move you to the top of the pile.

4. You’re too qualified

If you seem too good to be true, employers often assume it’s all false. Even if they believe you, it can bring up questions about why you want the job in the first place and how long you’ll stay if you get it.

This can be particularly frustrating for applicants actively seeking a less stressful position or trying to change industries. Take it down a notch. Look at what’s required for this particular position, and make sure you’re showcasing just those qualifications (and maybe just a bit more).

Don’t be afraid to tone down position titles, too. It’s not lying to list your position as marketing if you were the marketing manager, but that extra word can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.

Also, be careful about over-explaining your positions as this can be seen as overcompensating. The key is to focus on achievements in a clear but concise way.

What concerns do you have about the impression your resume gives employers? Share in the comments.

Juliana Weiss-Roessler is a professional resume writer based in Austin, TX. She’s also a contributor to JobTonic.com, where you can perform a job search and apply directly to multiple top job search sites in one easy location.

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Brazen Life

Three Types of Marketing Success Metrics.

Assessing the results of interactive marketing campaigns

Success_MetricsFor some marketers, the mere mention of analytics instills them with fear. That’s why an interactive marketing analytical framework is needed. For, as you move from one marketing campaign to the next, you need a basis for assessing each campaign’s effectiveness in achieving their intended business goals in order to ensure continued success.

To help you understand how this works, this article provides a detailed conceptual approach for assessing an interactive marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

First, it’s important to define success metrics. These are the scorecard of any online marketing program. They provide a concise, abbreviated format that shows how well your marketing helped accomplish your company’s goals. Often, this translates to increasing profitability.

At their core, success metrics fall into three major categories: counting things, developing rates, and assessing things over time.

Counting Things

These metrics provide a straightforward answer to the question: how many? They cover at least the following four categories. At a minimum, track the totals for each type:

  • Sales. The number of dollars generated from a campaign. Acquisition campaigns may be allowed to lose money, since the long-term relationship is worth more than the initial cost. In the long run, all marketing must eventually yield revenue:
    • Gross sales. The amount of money brought in by a campaign. It may also be known as top-line sales.
    • Returns. The items customers send back, generally because they’re inconsistent with the marketing presentation or they don’t fit. If this is a significant amount or a number that’s out of line with past results, it indicates a problem.
    • Net sales. Gross sales minus returns. This is the amount of revenue the company retains to apply to various costs.
  • Purchasers. The people who ultimately purchase from your company. Important categories to track include:
    • Contacts. The number of people who see your advertisement. This can be expressed as impressions, e-mail, or mailed pieces.
    • Prospects. The people who respond to your marketing but who haven’t yet purchased. This measures the effectiveness of your advertising and its ability to attract an audience.
    • Customers. Actual buyers of your product. They have been converted from prospects. Additional marketing may be required to convert prospects.
    • Advocates. Folks who promote your products and brand. They may do so in a directly measurable way, such as forward-to-a-friend messages, or less directly measurable ways, such as old-fashion word of mouth.
  • Costs. Money outlaid to purchase and market the product:
    • Variable costs. The cost of goods, fulfillment (from taking the order to getting the product out the door), and bad debt (including credit card processing fees and returned product that can’t be restocked).
    • Fixed costs. Marketing, such as media, premiums (incentives that get customers to buy), creative, and overhead.
  • Items. The number of things purchased that may be broken out by product type or category, depending on the business.

Developing Rates

Put the things in relationship to each other to better understand the marketing effectiveness. Among the dominant factors to track are:

  • People:
    • Response rate. The number of people who took action from a single marketing piece: total prospects/total contacts.
    • Conversion rate. The number of people who ultimately purchased or took an action, depending on the campaign type: total buyers/total prospects.
  • Items:
    • Order rate. The average number of orders per buyer: total orders/number of customers.
    • Unit order size. The average number of items sold: total items/total buyers.
  • Sales:
    • Sales/customer. The revenue generated by each buyer: total sales/total customers.
    • Average sale. The average revenue per item purchased: total sales/total items.
    • Average order value. The amount customers typically spend: total sales/number of orders.
  • Costs:
    • Costs/media viewer reached (CPM). Assessment of the media expense. It is often stated in terms of cost per 1,000 views and is generally only for the media cost (vs. fully loaded, which includes other related marketing expenses): media cost/[contacts/1,000].
    • Costs/buyer (CPA). Assessment of the cost to acquire a new customer: total costs/total buyers.
    • Costs/contact. Often an assessment of costs for contacting existing customers: total costs/total contacts.

Assessing Over Time

Measuring things that happen over a defined period on a continuous basis allows you to determine trends in your business. Tracking periods may be in terms of hours, days, weeks, months, years, or marketing campaigns. What’s determined depends on your business. The periods must be of sufficient size to gather representative results that are significant to manage your business.

While it’s important to track your business against its past performance to determine how it’s doing against prior periods and budgets, remember to use third-party data for a competitive assessment of your performance.

 
This metrics framework presents a simplified way of accessing important business indicators and should always refer back to your business objectives. Depending on your business, more elaborate measures, such as lifetime value and contribution margin, may also be needed and can be included in your ongoing analysis.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Join me & Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing World 2014CMW14_468x60Meet me in real life at CMW 2014 in Cleveland.

BTW – Don’t fret if you missed my session last year: Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/colleenmorgan/2434324189

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Heidi Cohen

Rise of the mobile-first social network: US stats

The majority of social media sites are seeing far more traffic and time spent coming from mobile devices than from desktops.

According to comScore’s latest research, of the largest social networks, only LinkedIn and Tumblr maintain a majority share on desktop. Newer social networks like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat are almost exclusively used on mobile.

That probably seems a little bit obvious when you consider the fact that those networks are almost entirely camera dependent. In fact Vine only launched a desktop site at the beginning of the year and neither the Vine nor the Instagram desktop sites are particularly user friendly.

As you can see Facebook now has a majority of its audience accessing it through mobile. Although this figure of 68% isn’t quite as high as the 78% that Facebook itself published last August.

Unique visitors on social networks

Instagram is ranked as the third most popular social network in the US, just behind Facebook and Twitter. In fact it only narrowly lost to Twitter by 600,000 unique visitors. 

Instagram is leader of the mobile-first social network gang, especially now that it has introduced video functionality. Vine had a pretty glorious USP with its short-form video capture, but thanks to Instagram’s update last year, Vine’s growth has been curtailed. 

In fact you can see from November 2013, just after the time of the Instagram update, how Instagram has grown in contrast with the dip in Vine’s popularity. 

Instagram already had 130m incumbent users that theoretically no longer need to adopt another short-form video platform because they already have one.

Prior to this, Vine had grown 403% between Q1 and Q3 in 2013 and was the fastest growing app of 2013. In August 2013, Vine had 40m users, tripling its base since June 2013. It seems that access to Instagram’s filters and editing tools may prevent further accelerated growth, especially as the two platforms share largely the same demographic.

Snapchat increased growth over 2013. By December 2013, 44% of 18-24 year-old internet users accessed Snapchat. As I reported in November in Is Snapchat right for your brand? Snapchat has edged out Facebook in being the most frequently used platform to upload photos. 

Out of 809m daily photo uploaded in November 2013 Snapchat had a 49% share (accounting for approximately 400m daily uploads), with Facebook at 43%. 

Snapchat’s appeal is in the ephemeral nature of its content, which is only available to viewers for 10 seconds before the message disappears. This seems to be a popular trend for younger demographics that don’t necessarily want to leave behind an online footprint for all to see for an undetermined amount of time.

The comScore research is available here: US Digital Future in Focus.

Posts from the Econsultancy blog

Be a speaker of your Niche AND Intensify your wealth, brand power and whole system

No speechlessness while speaking in front of a wide audience;

No hesitance while narrating when all eyes are set on you;

No crumbling while speaking under time pressure;

These are the true qualities are expected of a professional speaker.

Being a professional and qualified speaker on a podium that keeps people involved and interested who are strongly willing to get to the top in the domain of business or life which you have already excelled is awfully unappreciated and even the well-versed professional & experts are earning a little less just because they fail to recognize the significance of public speaking.

If by any chance, the domain of public speaking appeals you or it is something you would like to give atleast one try. Here are the top reasons on, how exactly public speaking can intensify wealth and business prospects. First and foremost, you need to know public speaking about your business is nowhere a cheap PR. Amazingly, the key-points about public speaking are:

  • An awesome tact to empower one’s self-esteem
  • An excellent way to make new contacts and develop a great network.
  • If you wanna change the world, the most effective idea to spread revolutionary ideas is public speaking.

Why should you be the speaker? What are business benefits, if I am the speaker?

Structure your business brand

Structuring a bond, an affinity and a connection with the audience, people or the spectators, while talking to them about your professional proficiency or personal experiences presents you as a person, who knows what is he talking about, which empowers the audience to relate and associate YOU wth your Brand.

Business Promotion

What about organizing a speaking event, paper reading, extempore or a debate, and discussing about your products and services through such events brings more power to the brand. Moreover, especially for the audience who aren’t actually aware of you, your brand, your product –n-services, and your proficiency of being an amazing public speaker on wider platforms is a great way to introduce the audience about your brand and eventually grow a stronger customer base.

Boosts up the confidence

Phobias, fears, it is like stating the obvious that death is people’s no.1 fear. Ever wondered what is the 2nd, dear fellow readers, its public speaking. Even though public speaking stands steady at no.2 position, it is very much possible to get rid of it with smart preparation and practices. Initially, the responsibility of speaking publicly in front of the press, hundreds of audience appears a daunting task. With the advancement of time, when you have learnt the essentials of public speaking, the talks will become seamless and natural.

Growth of contact network

Growth of business depends greatly on network of contact. An event with a professional keynote speaker is like digging a gold mine of contacts. These contacts are great business prospects by being:

  • Associate Partners
  • Joint Venture
  • Customers
  • Eligible potential employee

Making More Money

None can deny business is all about reaping more and more money. But exactly how?

  • Say you are sales rep but also a great speaker that means you can easily convince people to buy the products or services you are offering.
  • Say you are a manager but also a great speaker that means you can keep your team motivated to achieve the set goals.
  • Say you are a CEO but also a great speaker that means while giving an interview on a national channel, you know what to speak and how it.

It's worth mentioning that when you're a high profile figure, you may be targeted in ways you had never expected. We've been talking to local criminal solicitors based in Birmingham, Hussain Solicitors and they have informed us of the best ways possible to protect yourself from any fraud, scams or even criminal issues. Contact; Hussain Solicitors, 481 Coventry Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, B10 0JS. 24hr Telephone: 0121 766 7474.