Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy https://www.convinceandconvert.com Mon, 19 Oct 2020 10:20:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cropped-convince-convert_C-orange-32x32.png Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy https://www.convinceandconvert.com 32 32 Five Steps to Generating & Converting More Leads in 2021 and Beyond https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/generate-convert-leads/ Mon, 19 Oct 2020 10:20:40 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156500 Digital marketers tend to focus on acquiring traffic to a website. This is where marketing budgets are usually spent. Yet, making the most of that traffic you acquire is a much smarter (and a more effective) marketing strategy. First of all, it doesn’t require huge on-going budgets (unlike building traffic). In most cases, on-site tactics […]

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Five Steps to Generating & Converting More Leads in 2021 and Beyond

Digital marketers tend to focus on acquiring traffic to a website. This is where marketing budgets are usually spent.

Yet, making the most of that traffic you acquire is a much smarter (and a more effective) marketing strategy.

First of all, it doesn’t require huge on-going budgets (unlike building traffic). In most cases, on-site tactics are either free or much less expensive than trying to drive new clicks from outside. All you will definitely need is time.

Secondly, investing in generating and nurturing leads allows you to understand your target audience better and accumulate your own data, which will help your marketing strategy in the long run.

Here are five ways to generate and nurture more leads from your existing traffic.

1. Start Building Sustainable Customer Relationships

This is the most fundamental step here, but it is also the one you need to handle first. Unless you have a well-defined customer relationship management system and marketing automation platform, there’s no point in acquiring new leads.

The moment a new lead comes in, your team needs to start developing on-going relationships with them. Otherwise, you will lose those leads, which are so hard to get!

Investing in a customer relationship building software is almost always a good idea here. You may think that your sales team will be able to handle it manually, but you will really see the difference when you empower them with a solid tool.

Featured tool: Super Office is one of my most recent discoveries because it makes the process very well organized and consistent. For each lead out there, you know exactly:

  • How and when a lead was acquired
  • How many touchpoints were there (and when)
  • Which touchpoint are still coming (and when)
  • Which sales managers were in touch with that lead so far

On top of that, you will have a detailed customer profile (the company they work for, their budget, their contact information, etc.)

Of course, there are more CRM solutions out there, including Freshsales and Zoho CRM, so do your own research and pick the one that best fits your needs.

2. Match Your Content to Customers’ Expectations

Building a site that attracts already pre-qualified leads is key to your lead generation success, especially when it comes to organic search traffic.

Imagine someone searching for something that has a direct relation to your business. More often than not, it is pretty obvious what they need to find. And this is not just the actual answer they were looking for.

It is also about the format and the action they intend to take when finding what they need.

For example, if they are searching for [best CRM software], they are shopping for one. These searchers are very close to a sale. But if they are searching for [CRM examples], they are likely to be at the very start of their research. They need answers.

Now, if you are selling a CRM solution, you will want both of those groups of searching, but you may want to refrain from active selling to the latter one. So, in this case, you need two types of landing pages matching both of these searchers, their expectations and their closeness to a sale.

This is the fundamental search intent optimization we already talked about in much detail. The fundamental step many businesses are still missing.

Using your own common sense and trying to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes is the first important step to optimizing for search intent. Searching Google is another great idea as Google offers a lot of clues as to what its users are seeking.

Search Example

Finally, using intent optimization tools is another great idea.

Featured tool: Text Optimizer searches Google for your target query and applies semantic analysis to identify related and underlying concepts to help you meet searchers’ expectations when creating your copy.

TextOptimizer Example

3. Customize Returning Users’ Experience

As SEOs, we tend to get obsessed over attracting new visitors to our sites. In many ways, our returning visitors are often neglected, which is a shame because people who chose to come back to your site are generally likelier to convert into leads or customers.

  • They already know your brand (and likely trust you)
  • They already know what they want

Unsurprisingly, historically returning visitors have always converted better. Back in 2017, Barilliance published a research study claiming the conversion rate of returning visitors was almost twice higher than that of new site visitors.

Conversion Rate Statistics

The conversion rate of returning visitors is almost twice higher than that of new site visitors.

Do you know how you can make this number even higher?

Try on-site remarketing.

Basically, a remarketing (or retargeting) strategy means customizing your site users’ experience based on their past interactions with the site. For example, if there was a dedicated campaign on Facebook and one of your leads came to your site twice as a result of it, it is very likely that that person came back for what they initially saw in the ad. So, customize your CTAs to match that old campaign of yours.

This increases your chances to catch their attention and finally get them to convert.

Featured tool: Finteza can help you set remarketing campaigns catering to returning visitors based on their past interactions with your site. Simply set up your goals (visited pages, email sign-up, etc.) and then define banners and CTAs you want these site users to see when they come back.

Finteza can help you set remarketing campaigns catering to returning visitors based on their past interactions with your site.

The beauty of the tool is that it is very easy to use, so you may need to invest in third-party services to set your remarketing campaigns up.

4. Create and Market More Videos

Videos have long been found major conversion boosters, and they are only becoming more effective:

  • Using a video on a landing page can increase conversions by 86%.
  • In a survey, CharityDynamics found that 60% of millennials prefer watching videos over reading newsletters. This survey was done in 2017, so the number is surely even higher. Not to mention the younger generation, which operates almost entirely through video.

Featured tool: Editing doesn’t have to be a hassle either. Tools like InVideo are full video makers with a low subscription price and will help you along the way. Simply select a template and customize it using their visual editor to add your text, images, branding elements and transitions.

Invideo example

Invideo is a great solution for easily creating and editing videos.

Hosting your video is also free. Both Youtube and Vimeo provide free video hosting, and I’d recommend using both.

5. Create More Engaging Landing Pages

Finally, here is a super simple test that can give you a peek into your audience interest in your content: does it catch the eye in five seconds or less? Headlines are incredibly important in online content because they are all you have to hook your readers right away.

Email newsletters, blog posts, and even social media posts need to make an impression in those 5 seconds, or the person will just keep skimming. Just think of all the content they have to choose from, all the stimulation and distractions. Without a catchy headline, you don’t stand a chance.

While headlines are what make your landing page stand out, social proof is what persuades visitors to act. In fact, 37% of the most successful landing pages on the web have testimonials.

However, remember that your customers’ testimonials should showcase how your customers or partners have benefited from working with you. What exactly did they love about your product or service?

Only use the testimonials that are descriptive enough to reveal essential benefits. Otherwise, they won’t work. For example, take a look at this website’s main page where you can find the following section with testimonials.

Social Proof Example

Featured tool: Try Five Second Test to see what people immediately associate your landing page with. It’s a great way to generate immediate user feedback.

5 Second Test Example

Try Five Second Test to see what people immediately associate your landing page with.

Conclusion

Lead generation takes time and effort. You should always fine tune your process and test new tactics. Hopefully, the above tips will give you new ideas and allow you to convert more of your current traffic.

The post Five Steps to Generating & Converting More Leads in 2021 and Beyond appeared first on Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy.

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Top 20 Best Content Marketing Examples of 2020 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/best-content-marketing-examples/ Thu, 08 Oct 2020 17:00:22 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156380 Every year, countless companies create “best of” lists. There’s the best songs of 2020 (a classic). The best pork sausages of 2020 (yes, a real thing). The best sipping tequilas of 2020 (my personal favorite). The best paint colors of 2020. And now, of course, the best work from home tech gear of 2020. So […]

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Best Content Marketing Examples

Every year, countless companies create “best of” lists. There’s the best songs of 2020 (a classic). The best pork sausages of 2020 (yes, a real thing). The best sipping tequilas of 2020 (my personal favorite). The best paint colors of 2020. And now, of course, the best work from home tech gear of 2020.

So when we decided to do our own list of the best content marketing examples of 2020, we didn’t want to simply throw together a hodgepodge of the first examples we could find. We decided to find the best examples from our own work and brands we admire that follow the strategies we recommend to our own content marketing consulting clients.

These examples include content we created with and for our clients (yes, we do that soup-to-nuts, in partnership, or in a strategic role), content we created for ourselves, and other content we love (like the Lunchables phone hotline—WOW!).

If we can help you create your latest report, launch your next video series, or create your next content marketing plan (that you’ll actually execute), let us know by setting up a quick call with a content marketing strategist on our team. We’d love to see you on this list in 2021.

With that, let’s dive in now to the best content marketing examples of 2020.

Part 1: Content Series

Content Marketing Examples 1-5

The most successful content marketers think like a TV network and don’t create random acts of content.

What does this mean? They give their audience a chance to find content in their preferred channel and format, and deliver it to them in a steady stream over a period of time. You can’t simply post one video or article and expect to get customers. Marketers must stop random acts of content and, instead, have a rich, nuanced plan to create less but better content and to deliver that content more frequently to your target audience.

Think about it. The most effective marketing and advertisements are experienced over a period of time. It takes about 7 impressions for a display ad to sink in and about 5 drip emails to warm up leads. It’s also why you see the same commercials over and over again.

The first 5 examples are wonderful examples of a successful content series.

1. Podium Press Send Webinar Series

Brand: Podium

Content Type: Webinar Series

Industry: Martech

9 new, related webinars over 9 months, promoted as live and on-demand

In this 9-month webinar series, Podium tackled a new customer experience and business communication challenge each month. By selecting a new, timely topic each month, attendees built their knowledge over the course of the series. Each month, Convince & Convert’s very own Jay Baer joined one of the Podium team experts, as well as another leading author or marketer in the space. With a conversational tone, each webinar flew by and gained additional on-demand viewership after the live broadcast as well.

Content Marketing Example: COVID-19 webinar

See It Live 👉Back to Basics: Reopening Business in a COVID-19 World

Content Marketing Example: Marketing Webinar with Podium

See It Live 👉 Turn Your Customers Into Marketers with Word of Mouth

Content Marketing Example From Podium

See It Live 👉 Own Your Market: How to Outshine Your Competitors with Speed

2. SharpSpring Agency Acceleration Series

Brand: SharpSpring

Content Type: Webinar Series

Industry: Martech

14-part series, from August 2020 to December 2020; promoted as live, virtual series, with access to on-demand sessions

For this 14-part series, the Convince & Convert team recruited the world’s best marketing and agency experts, including Ann Handley, Seth Godin, Shama Hyder, Jason Swenk, Karl Sakas and many more to create sessions and participate in live-streamed Q&As with agency owners across the U.S. and globe. Each bi-weekly session is streamed on SharpSpring’s own YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter channels and features tons of interaction and questions from the audience.

For SharpSpring, supporting agencies is a critical part of their digital marketing approach, and the virtual event series has helped the company generate thousands of new leads and customers.

This is a content marketing example from SharpSpring

Every 2 weeks, there is a new session with a live Q&A.

Content marketing example from SharpSPring

The sessions are streamed on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and are available on-demand. You can see this one has over 1200 views on YouTube alone.

See It Live 👉 SharpSpring Agency Acceleration Series

3. Oracle’s “On The Fly”

Brand: Oracle

Content Type: Video Series

Industry: Martech

30-part video series, with new videos launched throughout 2019 and 2020; promoted via social, YouTube and the Oracle blog

“On the Fly” is Oracle’s video series with small bites (two mins or less) of marketing and customer experience advice from experts.

2020 marks the second season of this video series. Each week, a new 2-minute video is released with a marketing leader sharing a quick tip for other professionals. The original idea for “On the Fly” was marketing tips while traveling. In April 2020, that shifted to “marketing during disruption.” The videos are casual and authentic, but there is still some post-production polish to make sure the branding is consistent and strong.

Oracle shares the “On the Fly” videos on YouTube, via social, email and on their website.

Each short video stars an influencer, sharing their best marketing tips.

See It Live 👉 Oracle’s On The Fly

4. New School Rules and 1-877-BTS-RULZ Hotline

Brand: Lunchables

Content Type: Video Series and Kids Hotline

Industry: Food Processing

Educational video series and choose-your-own-adventure hotline

To help kids adjust to a new kind of school year, Kraft Heinz’s Oscar Mayer brand, Lunchables, launched a choose-your-own-adventure, audio experience hotline and a video series about safety called “New School Rules”.

By calling the 1-877-BTS-RULZ hotline, kids (with parent approval, of course) can decide how to start their day and which characters to play, while also learning about new safety rules for COVID-19 school reopenings.

The cartoon video series, “New School Rules,” has tips on handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing.

Content marketing example: new school rules

This video from Lunchables teaches kids how to practice good hand hygiene.

See It Live 👉 Lunchables’ YouTube Channel

5. “See You Soon” video series

Brand: Visit California

Content Type: Video Series

Industry: Travel & Tourism

Video series continues connections and builds the anticipation of travel during shutdowns

Without a doubt, one of the industries that has been hardest hit from the pandemic is travel and tourism. Visit California’s mission has always been to openly welcome visitors to the state, but with the shutdowns, they had to quickly pivot to a new approach of building the anticipation of travel when the time was appropriate and safe. They did this by repurposing stock aerial footage of 12 iconic California locations and adding a “see you soon” text message thread from Visit California. The simple campaign was powerful, giving people hope and something to look forward to during the initial COVID-19 peak.

See It Live 👉 See You Soon from Visit California

Part 2: Research, Reports and Data

Examples 6-9

Of the 3,000+ blog posts we’ve published at Convince & Convert, the best-performing are almost always articles about research and statistics.

Why?

Because people want answers and facts.

Now more than ever, with the world all topsy-turvy, yesterday’s “best practices” may not be “best” any more. Which is why new research, studies, and statistics are perhaps the very best way for you to create new leads, nurture existing leads, and strengthen relationships with current customers.

The next content marketing examples are the ways smart organizations are using research and data to generate leads, attention, and connection.

6. The 2020 State of Email

Brand: Litmus

Content Type: Research Report

Industry: Martech

Annual report, updated for 2020

Convince & Convert and Litmus teamed up to create the sixth version of one of the largest reports about email marketing.

For this version of the report, Convince & Convert worked with the Litmus team to bring in an executive viewpoint, inviting VPs and C-level marketing executives to participate in the research.

Over 2,000 marketing professionals weighed in on what’s driving their email strategies and what they think the future of email looks like. The annual survey had 100 questions about day-to-day operations, tactical execution, and the strategy and tools driving major email initiatives, and was released in September 2020.

See It Live 👉 The 2020 State of Email, Fall Edition

7. 2020 State of Account-Based Marketing by Terminus

Brand: Terminus

Content Type: Research

Industry: Martech

New research for a new world

With the world changing in the blink of an eye, all marketers have to change their approach almost as rapidly.

While account-based marketing has been on the minds of marketers for years, we recently worked with Terminus and Salesforce to launch a short survey to B2B marketers to see just how close they are to launching an ABM effort.

We supported the research by weighing in on question depth and also invited our audience to participate. We are unveiling the results during a webinar this month — stay tuned for your invite to that! To increase participation in the survey, we offered fun and relevant prizes, including a Flowbee and a guest-starring role on Social Pros or the FlipMyfunnel podcast.

Content example from terminus

The State of ABM will be live soon!

8. Linode’s GPU Price-Performance Benchmarking report

Brand: Linode

Content Type: Research

Industry: Software/hardware

For the GPU Price-Performance Benchmarking report, the team at Linode commissioned an independent, enterprise cloud consulting company to understand how various GPU-based workloads perform on Linode, compared to hyperscale CSPs that also offer GPU-based VMs.

This report accompanied Linode’s launch into the GPU market as one of the first Alternative Cloud providers to offer this capability to the masses. By showing its capability in an eye-catching, digestible format, Linode utilizes a diverse set of examples and clearly displays how its performance stacks up against the competitor set. Note that Linode isn’t always the clear winner, further demonstrating its transparency and authenticity in the approach.

The key takeaway: your research and content doesn’t have to show you’re always the best. The trust you build by being transparent will help your audience decide that on their own.

Linode Price Performance Report

See It Live 👉 GPU Price-Performance Benchmarking report

9. COVID Watch Arizona App

Brand: University of Arizona

Content Type: Research

Industry: Higher Education

Leveraging research, data and mobile technology to safely open campus in a COVID-19 world

The University of Arizona told the world it planned to return to campus this Fall with enhanced health and safety measures outlined in its Test, Trace, Treat program.

Part of that program includes the brand-new Covid Watch Arizona COVID-19 exposure notification app. The more people that use the app, the better it works. To gain maximum program participation and get as many app downloads as possible, The University of Arizona needed to adopt a content marketing approach and messaging that was timely, accurate and consistent, and rooted in student/staff perspectives, self-interests, language, and tone.

To do this, Convince & Convert strategists leveraged a wealth of information, including The University of Arizona’s own research, surveys and on-campus polls about returning to campus, along with trusted third-party research. We also conducted our own research and surveys as well.

The result was a set of clear-cut personas and tested messages that were deployed to support the launch of the app. Within the first 48 hours of launch, and before classes were even back on campus, the University saw almost 5,000 downloads. Within just three weeks, the University hit its download goal.

The Covid Watch App

The Covid Watch campaign includes social content on Facebook and Twitter.

 

The Covid Watch website

The key takeaway: the most successful content is backed by research and a comprehensive content strategy.

Part 3: Customer-Centered Content

Examples 10-12

People believe other people more than they believe companies, so let your customers tell your story.

These content marketing examples demonstrate how organizations are engaging their audience through customer-centered content.

10. Webbula’s 5 Unbreakable Commandments for Email Marketing and Data Enrichment

Brand: Webbula

Content Type: eBook

Industry: Martech

Customer-focused eBook generates leads and customers for leading email data firm

Our client, Webbula, has been in business for more than 10 years. They do important work by helping their clients with email list hygiene, data appends and email verification. We are actually a client of theirs as well. Keeping our email database healthy and growing is mission critical.

For this eBook, we teamed with Webbula to interview five of their clients to understand how they were approaching email list health, how and why they became a Webbula client, and how improving list hygiene has helped their marketing.

We love to tell client stories in different ways, and more times than not, asking clients to participate in a 30-minute interview is a welcome invitation.

Webbula content example

See It Live 👉 5 Unbreakable Commandments for Email Marketing and Data Enrichment

The key takeaway: interview your customers and make them the hero of your stories.

11. What Top Teams Do Differently to Optimize Digital Customer Experiences from Decibel

Brand: Decibel

Content Type: eBook

Industry: Martech

Interviews answer the key questions businesses face today

We approached the Decibel project like an author with a hot manuscript at a top publishing house, on a smaller scale. First, we established a narrative around the unparalleled transformation in online encounters, and how it has created a disruption in way customers make purchases and interact with brands.

To investigate what top teams are doing differently to optimize UX, we interviewed eight leading brands, representing categories from banking and bracelets to burritos. Together, we worked to address the key questions businesses face today, using their examples to bring the narrative to life and showcase Decibel’s expertise in digital experience analytics, a fitting protagonist for this story.

Content example from Decibel

See It Live 👉 What Top Teams Do Differently to Optimize Digital Customer Experiences

The key takeaway: think like a journalist and interview the smartest minds in your industry.

12. Protect Purdue

Brand: Purdue University

Content Type: Video

Industry: Higher Education

Staying connected while staying apart

This Protect Purdue video creates a connection with the institution and the nostalgia and pride that comes from attending Purdue. As they look to reopen campuses with COVID-19 restrictions, they tell their story in a touching and emotional way.

See It Live 👉 Protect Purdue on Instagram

Section 4: Content with a Twist

These content marketing examples take an existing type of content or piece of content and mix it up.

13. F*ck It Won’t Cut It

Brand: Boston University

Content Type: Video and Social Media

Industry: Higher Education

Student organization gains the attention of students by using clear and obvious language

In this totally out-of-the-norm promotion, a student-led initiative at Boston University gained the support of school leadership by taking a page – or a phrase – from the student population directly. The “F*ck It Won’t Cut It” campaign gets right to the heart of returning to campus during COVID-19, and students are listening.

The key takeaway: Use the words that your audience uses.

See It Live 👉 F*ck It Won’t Cut It

14. Rollworks’ Short Webinine

Brand: Rollworks

Content Type: Webinine (short webinar, usually around 9 minutes)

Industry: Martech

What we love about this webinine is two-fold:

1. It maximizes our short form webinar format by taking an existing eBook and transforming it into a multimedia presentation

2. It’s a webinine about how to make your webinars UNSUCK. How’s that for meta? One of our favorite tips from this webinine is to let your registrants decide if they want to show up live or just get the recording. #genius and your audience will thank you.

See It Live 👉 4 Steps to Resurrect Your Failing Webinar Strategy

15. Marketing & Margaritas from Terminus

Brand: Terminus

Content Type: Webinar

Industry: Martech

Who says a webinar has to be during “normal” work hours and free of adult beverages? Not us! We shook up the format with our marketing and margaritas (actually a series now too!) by doing a webinar at 5:30pm and mixing in some of the best tequila and margarita trivia from our own tequila aficionado, Jay Baer. With prizes for the most correct answers and a full conversation about ABM, we made the most of this hour and heard rave reviews from our attendees as well. Our new hashtag #margeting says it all.

See It Live 👉 Marketing & Margaritas

16. Getty Museum Challenge

Brand: Paul Getty Museum

Content Type: User-generated content

Industry: Museums

In this out-of-the-box campaign, the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles turned a seemingly simplistic idea into a user-generated content marketers dream. By issuing a simple challenge— to recreate art masterpieces with common items found in your home—the response has been noteworthy and fun.

See It Live 👉 The Getty Museum Challenge

17. Met Opera Nightly Streams

Brand: The Met Opera

Content Type: Video

Industry: Entertainment/Culture

A slightly different take on “shorten & spice up the format” theme, the Met Opera is repurposing their existing content and making special online streams available for a limited 23-hours at a time.

According to their website, “During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.”

The key takeaway: repurpose and remix your existing content to extend the life of it and engage new audiences.

See It Live 👉 Met Opera Nightly Streams

18. Chipotle’s Tony Hawk Burrito

Brand: Chipotle

Content Type: Twitch integrated campaign

Industry: Fast food and quick service restaurants

Chipotle spiced things up this summer with an innovative content campaign melding delicious food, X-treme skateboarding, video gaming, and the celebrity star power of Tony Hawk. (Yeah, he’s a thing to this highly sought-after demographic.)

Introducing the Tony Hawk Burrito. The user experience combines food purchase via the Twitch (announced with push notifications), and special access to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 And 2 Warehouse Demo game.

“This first of its kind menu integration gives our fans a chance to eat like the greatest skater of all time and get access to the demo for one of the summer’s most anticipated video game releases,” said Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer.

Double-powered brand appeal, exclusive access, bragging rights, gamification, time-scarcity, word-of-mouth (couldn’t resist), and really, really good food; that’s a smart content mash-up!

See It Live 👉 Tony Hawk Burrito

19. How to Unsuck Your B2B Webinars and Virtual Events

Brand: Convince & Convert with Brian Fanzo

Content Type: Webinar

Industry: Marketing & Advertising

An unconventional message generates engagement and attendance live and on-demand

It’s easy for brands to stick to the status quo. It’s harder to take risks. But for our webinar with our friend Brian Fanzo, we decided to take a risk with the title and content, and it totally paid off, with over 1,000 attendees for the live event and a continuous stream of on-demand viewers, too.

See It Live 👉 How to Unsuck Your B2B Webinars and Virtual Events

20. 5 Hours of Webinar Series

Brand: SEMrush

Content Type: Webinar

Industry: Martech

5 hour deep dives into specific topics educate and inform marketers on search and content best practices

While short webinars can be incredibly effective ways to inform and engage, extra-long webinars can be effective, too. We are big fans of SEMRush’s “5 Hours of Webinars” series.

SEMrush regularly hosts these “5 hours of” webinars, and the extra-lengthy content is an excellent way to build a library of on-demand content.

The key takeaway: Don’t assume that your audience is too busy to tune in to hours worth of content. If you’re educating and providing value, your audience will make the time.

See It Live 👉 5 Hours of Content Marketing

Need help with your content strategy or content creation? Let’s connect. From ebooks to webinines to year-long webinar series, we’d love to help you create amazing content in 2021. Check out our 2021 media kit and set up a time to chat now.

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How to Include Your Customer Support Team in Your Marketing Strategy https://www.convinceandconvert.com/online-customer-experience/customer-support-team-marketing/ Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:19:56 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156336 Organizational silos tend to be one of the biggest issues that prevent large and small businesses from innovating. That is quite understandable: it is hard to innovate your business or marketing operations when information exchange among different departments rarely happens. It is especially sad when your customer support team is isolated as that team is […]

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Organizational silos tend to be one of the biggest issues that prevent large and small businesses from innovating.

That is quite understandable: it is hard to innovate your business or marketing operations when information exchange among different departments rarely happens.

It is especially sad when your customer support team is isolated as that team is likely to have crucial insights to share with the rest of the company. 

After all, your customer team is always at the forefront of customer interactions. They see and talk to your target audience on a daily basis.

Information exchange is crucial to a successful marketing strategy, and yet, the overwhelming majority of businesses (about 80% of those surveyed) say they do not have an efficient process for cross-team information exchange.

If you really want to create a customer-centric marketing strategy, start by including your customer support team in that strategy.

1. Get your customer support team’s input on your buyers’ personas

Obviously, your customer support team talks to your customers on a daily basis. They are likely to know your target audience best!

With their help, you can make better informed decisions when creating your buyers’ personas.

UXPressia offers a free persona building tool that includes a collaborative feature, enabling various teams to work together. The collaboration is real-time, and several people may work on the same persona simultaneously.

UxPressia team building module

Additionally, you may want to involve your customers in more activities to help create more detailed personas:

  • Surveying your customers: Here is an easy and free way to create surveys and collect answers
  • Getting access to basic analytics reports: Most customer support teams are completely unaware of how much traffic the site is getting and where it is coming from. Yet, having that information may help your team better understand your customers, and hence relate to their struggles and needs. Tools like Whatagraph allow you to put together easy-to-digest visual analytics report and email those to your various teams:

Whatagraph Analytics Report

Whatagraph makes web analytics reports visual and easy to understand. It is a good idea to set up weekly reports being sent to your team for them to know the basic demographics of your site visitors and how they engage with your pages.

2. Make your customer support team part of your content creation process

Customer-centric content strategy should include diverse content types targeting your customers’ interests and answering their questions.

Customer-facing content types include:

These need to fit your buyer personas.

Your customer support team should contribute their insight on each stage of customer-centric content production:

  • Brainstorming: Encourage your customer support team to keep a record of all questions they are receiving via email, phone, or on social media. These questions can be turned into great content ideas!
  • Creation: Ask your customer support team to supplement existing content ideas you are planning to develop with additional questions, ideas for visualizations that may be helpful, etc.
  • Revision: Get your customer support team’s feedback on already written pieces and ask if they feel those would answer your customers’ questions in full

Going forward, you may want to turn multiple individual content assets into a lead generation project, like a course or a wiki. Here’s a nice collection of themes, plugins, and tools to create a knowledge base, a wiki or a FAQ section.

DeskPress themes, plugins, and tools

3. Include your customer support team into your social media marketing

These days the majority of your customers are very likely to choose social media to publicly request help or ask for help understanding your site. In fact, providing customer support through social media has lots of benefits:

  • Increased brand loyalty: Promptly answering a complaint increases customer advocacy by 25% (while failing to respond decreases customer advocacy by 50%)
  • Saving some money: Solving an issue on social media has been found 83% cheaper than doing it through a call center interaction. (Source)
  • Higher ROI: When a customer hears back from a brand on Twitter, they’re willing to spend 20% more on a product in the future. (Source)

When trying to use social media as a customer support channel, businesses are always faced with one problem: How to get the customer support team on social media without them having to spend hours trying to find actual customer support questions.

Agorapulse is a powerful platform that solves that problem by turning your social media listening process into a task management dashboard. With it your social media marketing team can do their job of promoting brand awareness while assigning social media mentions that sound like customer support questions to your customer support team:

Agorapulse social media management

It is also not a bad idea to include your customer support team into your competitor monitoring for them to know how they are handling public customer interactions.

Bonus: Keep an eye on your team’s progress.

Finally, you are pretty sure your customer support team is both busy and efficient but just how busy and efficient are they?

Email Analytics is an easy way to analyze your team’s activity. It connects to your Gmail or G Suite account to pull some data and turn it into graphs. The tool shows:

  • Which days of the week are the busiest in terms of emails received and replied
  • Which days tend to be the slowest (these are the days when you may want to include your team into your marketing efforts by asking for their input on content planning).

The tool will also help you identify less efficient team members and how fast your team tends to reply to your customers.

Email Analytics

Use the Email Analytics tool to identify which team members may be good candidates to be included in your marketing strategy.

Conclusion

In fact, your customer support team is likely to be your company’s biggest asset: After all, they talk to your current buyers on a daily basis accumulating priceless knowledge of what worries and triggers them. 

I like how Kristen LaFrance put it when discussing holiday marketing commerce strategy:

48% of 2018s BFCM sales came from existing customers, not new customers. Don’t risk a good chunk of these sales by focusing too heavily on “the industry” and turning a blind eye to your own customer base.

Trust your own customers, trust your customer knowledge

In our times of deep data access and easy access to industry trends and competitive intelligence, it is too easy to forget that what matters most is your actual customer and your company’s unique knowledge of them.

And who may possibly have more customer knowledge than your customer support team?

It is a shame they are so often disconnected from the rest of the company.

Use the ideas and tools above to include them into your marketing strategy and you may find them even more efficient and motivated!

The post How to Include Your Customer Support Team in Your Marketing Strategy appeared first on Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy.

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5 Account-Based Marketing Statistics You Need to Know https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/account-based-marketing-statistics/ Sat, 26 Sep 2020 11:15:43 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156305 The concept of account-based marketing (ABM) was introduced by ITSMA in 2003. ABM made the first appearance on Google Trends in 2013. In the past few years, the number of ABM software companies has skyrocketed, along with agencies that specialize in ABM, and B2B companies that have adopted ABM programs. ABM is here to stay, […]

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Account-Based Marketing

The concept of account-based marketing (ABM) was introduced by ITSMA in 2003. ABM made the first appearance on Google Trends in 2013. In the past few years, the number of ABM software companies has skyrocketed, along with agencies that specialize in ABM, and B2B companies that have adopted ABM programs.

ABM is here to stay, and it continues to gain traction as an initiative that can capitalize on high-value accounts, shorten the sales cycle, and align efforts of sales and marketing teams.

How are marketers gaining a competitive advantage with their ABM strategy?

A new Ascend2 research study, Account-Based Marketing Approach, asked 261 marketers to provide their experiences and insight on ABM.

Here are five noteworthy account-based marketing statistics and findings from the Asend2 research study:

34% of marketing professionals are planning for ABM in the future.

Only 22% of companies report having a measurable ABM strategy in place. Another 14% are rolling out an ABM pilot program. and 34% are planning for ABM in the future. Even though ABM has seen dramatic growth, there is still a lot of growth to come. If you feel like you are too late to start an ABM program, you may be timing it just right, as more tools are available, case studies and blueprints to follow, and experts to assist you in the process.

ABM strategy statistics

Status of ABM strategy according to research

65% of marketing professionals describe their ABM strategy as somewhat successful.

If you are a B2B company with a complex sale, ABM works. About two-thirds (65%) of marketing professionals describe their ABM strategy somewhat successful at achieving the primary objectives set for it. Marketers representing companies with strategies sophisticated enough to be considered “best-in-class” represent about one-quarter (22%) of those surveyed. The key takeaway here is that ABM works.

65% of marketing professionals consider their ABM strategy to be somewhat successful.

37% of marketers find it challenging to get adequate budget and resources dedicated to account-based initiatives.

37% of marketers find it challenging to get adequate budget and resources dedicated to account-based initiatives. Marketing and sales alignment is also a top challenge for 32% of marketers who recognize that the two work in harmony is essential to the success of an ABM program. Data quality issues also present an obstacle for 29% of marketers to overcome.

Don’t underestimate the importance of marketing and sales alignment. Both groups need to be working together to choose target accounts, determine what content to produce, improve the quality of data, etc.

ABM Challenges Chart

ABM Challenges

Lifetime customer value is the most vital data to acquire and track on an account, according to 41% of marketing professionals.

ABM relies heavily on using data to personalize the experience for contacts from targeted, high-value accounts. But which data is most important to keep track of? Lifetime customer value and an account’s financial information are the two most important pieces of data to collect and track for ABM according to 41% of marketers.

ABM data

Lifetime customer value and financial information is critical to track on accounts.

Target account revenue generated is the number one success metric for ABM, according to 44% of marketers.

Measuring return-on-investment for ABM is essential to strategic success. Metrics based on the account level, such as target account revenue generated and target account engagement are reportedly the most helpful in measuring the success of an ABM program according to 44% and 42% of marketers, respectively.

ABM Success Metrics

These are the top ABM success metrics.

Ready to get started? Here are the 10 steps to launching your own account-based marketing program.

  1. Do your homework and formalize a plan before you start. Download the Account-Based Marketing Approach report, other research studies, case studies, and how-to articles.
  2. Get buy-in from the executive leadership team and the sales department.
  3. Set goals so everyone knows what success is and works together to meet the goals
  4. Identify high-priority target accounts.
  5. Develop a profile of decision-makers and influencers that you will need to engage with at your target accounts.
  6. Create the content needed to engage with your target accounts and contacts.
  7. Choose the proper channels and tactics.
  8. Choose the proper technology.
  9. Plan and execute campaigns.
  10. Measure, analyze, and optimize the program.

 

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The Ultimate Webinar Gear List: Recommended Equipment for a Flawless Event https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/webinar-gear-equipment/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 20:53:45 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156162 Whether you’re creating a webinar for the first time, or trying to take your webinars from boring to badass, you need the right setup and set of webinar tools. Along with my friend Brian Fanzo, we created this list of webinar and virtual event essentials to help you make sure your next event goes off […]

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Ultimat Webinar Gear List

Whether you’re creating a webinar for the first time, or trying to take your webinars from boring to badass, you need the right setup and set of webinar tools.

Along with my friend Brian Fanzo, we created this list of webinar and virtual event essentials to help you make sure your next event goes off without a hitch.

Let’s Dive in Now to the Best Webinar and Virtual Event Tools

Virtual and Webinar Event Setup and Tools

My new webinar/virtual event setup.

Mix Your Media

  • Prezi Video: the easiest way to add pizzazz to virtual events — we are big fans and use Prezi all the time (side note: they are a sponsor here at Convince & Convert, but even if they weren’t, we’d still use Prezi).
  • Ecamm Live: for powerful broadcasts and presentation integrations.

Legitimize Your Lighting with the Best Webinar Lighting Tools

Awesome Your Audio with the Best Webinar Audio Tools

  • Airpods: make sure you hear your host and co-presenters, and look cool while doing it.
  • Lavalier: lots of great microphones out there, but this is the one I use.
  • USB Microphone: the Yeti is a classic, and popular on our team too.
  • Dynamic Microphone: a little more professional than AirPods, for sure.
  • Mic Cable : this cable creates a reliable, high-quality connection for optimal audio.
  • Audio Interface Box: give your recordings a brighter and more open sound.
  • Sound Shield: tune out all the screaming kids and barking dogs.
  • Krisp: Krisp will help you eliminate background noise while you WFH (affiliate link, FYI).

Elevate Your Inteactivity

  • Wheel of Names: load up your attendee list here and pick random winners. Books are usually a good giveaway and a good incentive to attend live. You can include the giveaway opportunity in promotion emails and on the landing page too.

Prepare to Practice

  • Sky Cam Drone: Consider the sky cam drone if you really want to up the ante.

Virtual Event Consulting

Virtual Event Keynote Speaker

  • Jay Baer: 👋 Yup, that’s me. And I’d love to work with you to make your next event amazing.
  • Brian Fanzo: My good friend Brian Fanzo is an incredible, captivating speaker, and you should consider hiring him too.

Virtual Event Emcee or Host

  • Jay Baer and Brian Fanzo: Both Brian and I frequently emcee or host events (used to be both in-person and virtual, but now strictly virtual, of course). How can we help you increase registration rates and attendee happiness?

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Programmatic Advertising: What It Is and Tips to Get Started https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/what-is-programmatic-advertising/ Mon, 14 Sep 2020 11:30:25 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156168 Have you ever been to a public auction or estate sale? I’ve done it and it is a lot of fun. You find the item you want, the auctioneer starts the bidding process, and you start to bid. The bidding goes back and forth until someone is the high bidder and takes home the prize.  […]

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What is programmatic advertising?

Have you ever been to a public auction or estate sale? I’ve done it and it is a lot of fun. You find the item you want, the auctioneer starts the bidding process, and you start to bid. The bidding goes back and forth until someone is the high bidder and takes home the prize. 

At a public auction, the bidding process may take a few minutes. But in the digital age, the bidding can take a fraction of a second. 

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is the process of using technology to automate the buying and selling of online advertising. It is a real-time buying process of ads, and it is extremely effective.

With advancements in the online ad-buying process, small and mid-size businesses (SMB)s now have access to tools that give them the ability to harness the power of data and apply it systematically to increase conversions from online ads.

How are small and mid-size businesses are using programmatic advertising?

To help answer that question, Ascend2 and Perfect Audience joined together to field a survey and published the findings in a report titled The State of Programmatic Advertising from the Small and Mid-Size Business Perspective. The survey was fielded in June 2020 and a total of 213 marketing professionals from businesses with fewer than 500 employees participated in the survey. 

Here are a few noteworthy findings from the research study and some practical strategies and tips on how to apply the research to influence your marketing programs.

#1: Programmatic Advertising Budgets Are Increasing

Programmatic advertising can stretch often limited ad budgets further than traditional options. Despite uncertainty across many industries, about two-thirds (65%) of marketers report expecting an increase in budget for programmatic advertising in the months ahead. 

Programmatic advertising budget

How programmatic budgets are changing

Quick Tip from the Research: Programmatic advertising is based on real-time bidding, allowing for a faster, more efficient, and less expensive advertising experience. Given the built-in benefits of programmatic, it isn’t surprising that budgets are increasing when most marketing budgets are decreasing during the COVID-19 economic crisis. 

#2: Start Your Programmatic Advertising Program with the End in Mind

What are the primary objectives of your programmatic advertising program? 

For results-driven small and mid-size businesses, a well-executed programmatic advertising program provides a channel for increasing their bottom line with maximum efficiency. Driving sales and generating leads are top priorities when executing an online ad-buying program for 57% and 48% of SMB marketers surveyed, respectively. 

Objectives of a programmatic advertising program

Objectives of a programmatic advertising program

Quick Tip from the Research: When determining your primary objectives, you must define the purpose of your campaign. Campaigns should have a single objective (drive sales, generate leads, brand awareness), and each objective requires a specific strategy. Each program requires a unique ad set, landing page, call-to-action, and metrics to measure success. 

#3: Programmatic Advertising Is Challenging (but worth it)

Serving the right ad, to the right person, at the right time requires an enormous amount of data, tracking, and technology. That is why 46% of small and mid-size businesses report that audience targeting is a top challenge when it comes to programmatic advertising. Allocating enough budget to execute their strategy is also an obstacle for 37% of those surveyed.

Programatic advertising challenges

Programatic advertising challenges

Quick Tip from the Research: Follow the ROI and data to find your best audience to target. Did you know that with Facebook and Google you can only reach half of your audience? 

Programmatic advertising platforms will help you reach the other half of your audience. The webinar, Retargeting Beyond Facebook and Google, provides additional information on how to reach a larger target audience. 

#4: Audience Targeting is the Most Effective Tactic for a Programatic Advertising Program

A powerful targeting solution is critical to the success of a programmatic advertising strategy. Audience targeting is considered the most effective tactic for a programmatic advertising program to a 72% majority of small and mid-size business marketers. Keyword targeting is also a tactic that 40% of those surveyed have experienced success with.

Programatic Advertising Tactics

Quick Tips from the Research: Don’t overlook the success of retargeting. The average CTR for retargeting ads is 0.7% compared to 0.007% for display ads. Retargeting is serving ads to customers after they leave your website. It allows you to show your visitors relevant ads when they visit other sites. 

Here are a few of the benefits of retargeting:

  1. Higher brand lift: Four weeks after implementing a retargeting campaign, marketers found an average increase of 1046% in searches for branded terms. The performance was more than twice as effective as audience targeting without retargeting.
  2. Improved click-through and conversion rates: Three out of five viewers notice and consider ads they’ve previously seen at another source (eMarketer). Retargeting has a click-through rate that’s 10 times higher than a typical ad (Wishpond). Visitors who are retargeted are also 43% more likely to convert than those who aren’t. (Criteo) 
  3. Better value for money than other advertising methods: 91% of marketers who’ve used retargeting find it to perform same or better than search, email or display (IAB)

91% of marketers who’ve used retargeting find it to perform same or better than search, email or display
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#5: Return on Investment (ROI) Is the Most Important Metric of a Programmatic Advertising Prorgram

Measuring the impact of advertising campaigns is critical to optimizing a programmatic strategy. Return on Investing (ROI) and Return of Ad Spend (ROAS) is the most meaningful metrics for tracking success according to 58% and 36% of those marketers working with businesses with up to 500 employees. 

Programmatic Metrics

QUICK TIP from the Research: What is the difference between ROI and ROAS? ROAS is a subset of ROI and tells you if an ad campaign is working. ROI tells you if your entire program or department is profitable. Here is a video that provides more detail on the differences between ROI and ROAS (start at minute 2:55 of the video). 

Here is a link to the entire report, The State of Programmatic Advertising from the Small and Mid-Size Business Perspective. 

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How to Convert Free Opt-in Trial Users into Paying Customers https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-convert-free-opt-in-trial-users-into-paying-customers/ Mon, 14 Sep 2020 11:00:33 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156186 Getting people to subscribe to your free trial is only half of the battle. The more important task is to get them to upgrade because this is where your revenue comes from. What is a good free-trial conversion rate? In 2016, Totango surveyed over 300 SaaS professionals and concluded that, on average, only 20% of […]

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 How to Convert Free Opt-in Trial Users into Paying Customers

Getting people to subscribe to your free trial is only half of the battle.

The more important task is to get them to upgrade because this is where your revenue comes from.

What is a good free-trial conversion rate?

In 2016, Totango surveyed over 300 SaaS professionals and concluded that, on average, only 20% of free trial users upgrade to a paid plan.

Think about this for a moment: 80% of free trial users never pay.

But that is actually the best-case scenario. In truth, free-trial conversion rates can vary from 1$ to 25%:

How is your free trial structured?

Your free trial conversion rate depends on how you structure your free trial. There can be two ways to approach it:

  • Opt-in: Users sign up for free, no strings attached, no payment details provided. When the free trial expires, they are asked to pay to continue using the platform.
  • Opt-out: Users sign up for a trial and provide credit card details (or agree to sign a PayPal agreement) to be charged when the trial expires. There are two types of opt-out trials:
    • Free until it expired: Users are charged nothing until the trial expires
    • “The first month is almost free”: Users are charged a nominal fee ($1) for the first month.

Consequently, the free trial conversions increase from the top:

  • Opt-in trial: The lowest conversion rates (15-20% at best)
  • Opt-out “Free until it expired”: This is when you pay nothing the first month, but you add your payment details to register. You are charged automatically once the trial period is over. The conversion rate is significantly higher since you charge your users automatically, but it also comes with an increased risk of refund requests and chargebacks.
  • Opt-out “First month is almost free”: The nominal payment “verifies” the readiness of your trial users to paying, so the conversion rate remains high while the risk of higher refunds/chargebacks is lower. Yet, not many people will want to sign up for this type of free trial, so you risk losing the vast majority of leads.

You may have seen the opt-out trials a lot these days as most entertainment (like Hulu) and food (like Green Chef) subscription services.

Free trial page example from Hulu

Free trial page example from Hulu

For the sake of consistency, I’ll focus on increasing conversions of the opt-in trials, as:

  • When you have your customers’ payment info, the switch from the trial package happens automatically. There’s not much to optimize for.
  • The opt-out trial structure has many other problems to solve – beyond conversion optimization – like managing the customers’ expectations and avoiding chargebacks.

Six ways to convert more free trial users

If you provide a free trial period that requires no credit card to sign up, here are a few ideas helping you to increase conversions.

1. Shorten the trial period.

More often than not, the majority of SaaS companies offer a 30-day trial period.

Well, this may be too much.

In fact, most free trial users make up their minds within 3 days, so by offering them a free trial for too long, you simply make them think twice.

Shortening your free trial means accelerating your sales, in many cases.

It is recommended to keep your trial no longer than 14 days.

At the very least, this is something to test.

2. Send trial ending notices.

Boost your free trial conversions by sending “trial ending” emails.

Using PayKickstart, you can automate this step by using the “trial ending” sequence. The email is triggered one day before the user’s subscription trial ends.

It will notify the user the trial is expiring and include a direct link to add their billing information to process the payment.

Many of the WordPress-based membership site solutions come with this option. Just don’t forget to set it up.

3. Create an exhaustive knowledge base.

The last thing you want to do is to have your trial users wonder how to find a certain feature or how to use it. The moment they leave your site to research, they may be lost forever, as this is when they are likely to come across your competitor.

Keeping your site clear and clean is one of the most important steps in boosting your conversions.

Collect your users’ questions and answer them diligently on your site. Keep your on-site knowledge base ever-growing. Here’s how to create a searchable knowledge base on your site to have all your users’ questions answered.

For SaaS platforms, it is also a good idea to answer all the questions in the video format for the users to have an easy walk-through. Renderforest is a helpful video creation platform that will help you put words into videos. They have lots of templates and tools to allow you to create whiteboard videos, slideshow videos, and more.

 

Renderforest is a helpful video creation platform that will help you put words into videos.

Renderforest is a helpful video creation platform that will help you put words into videos.

4. Run (seasonal) special offers.

Creating special offers is always an effective way to boost conversions, and free trial conversions is no exception.

With PayKickstart, you can create coupons to offer your free trial users a discounted price for the first month.

To create a sense of scarcity, you can also set the end date for your discount to work and market it as a limited-time offer.

5. Mind your CTA placement.

There’s a fine balance between reminding your free trial users of the need to upgrade and getting annoying to the point when your free trial is not even usable.

I have personally quit on many SaaS free trials because they got me to close off the popup demanding me to upgrade on each and every step.

I get it: You want me to upgrade but give me at least some time to browse around and make an informed decision.

There’s no single answer to how to position your CTAs so that they remain effective without being utterly annoying, so you will need to experiment.

It is a good idea to use tools that analyze user journeys, for example:

Both methods will help you better understand how your free trial users are interacting with your site.

Monitoring your conversions and user paths through the site will help you set up your “Upgrade” page in the most efficient way. Try using Finteza for your sales funnel monitoring — it is incredibly easy to set up and use. It doesn’t slow your site while allowing you to analyze your sales funnel data.

 

Try using Finteza for your sales funnel monitoring — it is incredibly easy to set up and use

Try using Finteza for your sales funnel monitoring — it is incredibly easy to set up and use

6. Simplify your upgrade options and/or options.

Making your users think twice is never a good marketing strategy. Your free trial period is designed for them to know what they want.

If you see too few people upgrade, the answer may be that you’ve made it too complicated.

It may be about making your upgrade options fewer. Or it may be about clearly explaining the difference.

In fact, simplifying their pricing and adding a comparison chart to their “Upgrade” page increased Groove’s conversions by 16% (and revenue by 25%).

Never complicate what you can simplify. Especially if your competitors are simplifying. Making your customers work to understand your pricing is never the right approach”.

In fact, simplifying their pricing and adding a comparison chart to their “Upgrade” page increased Groove’s conversions by 16% (and revenue by 25%)

Simplifying pricing and adding a comparison chart to their “Upgrade” page increased Groove’s conversions by 16% (and revenue by 25%).

Another idea is to use a gated approach: segment your free trial users before they sign up for the free trial by having them choose the options.

Another idea is to use gated approach: Segment your free trial users before they sign up to the free trial by having them choose the options:

Segment your free trial users before they sign up to the free trial by having them choose the options.

Once they sign up, you will already know their needs and budget and will be able to sell them a plan they are more likely to need and be able to afford.

Conclusion

I hope these ideas will help you to get more of your free trial users to upgrade. Good luck!

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COVID-19: What It Means for Your Marketing (Research and Reports) https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/covid-19-marketing-research-reports/ Mon, 31 Aug 2020 11:00:22 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156126 It’s not post-pandemic, its intra-pandemic. We’re still in it, and the implications to marketing are long-reaching. One of the ongoing regimens we maintain at Convince and Convert is the continual review and analysis of research reports from dozens of sources. It’s part of what allows us to base our ideation and recommendations on data as […]

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covid-19 marketing research and reports

It’s not post-pandemic, its intra-pandemic.

We’re still in it, and the implications to marketing are long-reaching.

One of the ongoing regimens we maintain at Convince and Convert is the continual review and analysis of research reports from dozens of sources. It’s part of what allows us to base our ideation and recommendations on data as opposed to just good ideas. It comes as no surprise this year, the annual glut of, “What new in [insert topic here] for 2020” articles and trend analysis were quickly rendered obsolete by early March. The majority of the data collection for all the year-end research reports happened in the third and fourth quarter of 2019 to capitalize on the typical New Year’s planning frenzy and publishing cycle. COVID-19 changed everything.

Marketers were starting from scratch and all our  previous “norms” were tossed out the window,  whether we believed it or not.

All those thoughtfully administered surveys, painstakingly analyzed, identifying the key take-aways, all those beautifully designed charts and graphs, and the upcoming predictions became largely null and void. Marketers were starting from scratch and all our previous “norms” were tossed out the window, whether we believed it or not.

We are beginning to see the arrival of newly updated research reports and survey results being published intra-pandemic. We review and curate the best into the database we maintain for our ongoing consulting work. I’ve selected five of the best, newly released, intra-pandemic research reports that have recently come across our home-office desks.

  1. The State of Digital 2020 — Global Q3 Update: A Comprehensive Look at the State of the Internet, Mobile Devices, Social Media, and Ecommerce
  2. The Annual CMO Spend Survey Research 2020-21 [Part 1]
  3. The New Consumer Mindset: How a Global Pandemic Could Change Consumer Attitudes for Good
  4. Social: GlobalWebIndex’s Flagship Report on the Latest Trends in Social Media
  5. Social Media Audience Trends During the Pandemic

1. The State of Digital 2020 — Global Q3 Update: A comprehensive look at the state of the internet, mobile devices, social media, and ecommerce.

Published by Hootsuite and We Are Social, July 2020, 186 pages, link to Global Q3 update and regional reports

Research Overview:

covid-19 global report from HootsuiteThese Digital 2020 reports show digital, mobile, and social media have become an indispensable part of everyday life for people all over the world. More than 4.5 billion people are using the internet at the start of 2020, while social media users have passed the 3.8 billion mark. Nearly 60 percent of the world’s population is already online, and the latest trends suggest that more than half of the world’s total population will use social media by the middle of this year.

This is an amazing collection of information. This links to an index page containing Hootsuite’s collection of Global State of Digital reports. Additional country-specific reports are also available (e.g., USA-specific as of January 2020.) Some of them were not downloadable at the time of this review. (Tip: go to the SlideShare and from there you are able to print PDFs of the decks) This is a gold mine — just be willing to dig a little.

Key Takeaways:

  1. From a variety of perspectives, the impact of COVID-19 across all digital channels has impacted behaviors and consumption. Details are in dozens of the slides/charts.
  2. The global lens on all of this is valuable and may be best when contrasted against the corresponding USA or other country-specific reports (also available from the linked index page).

2. The Annual CMO Spend Survey Research [2020-21 Part 1]

Published by Gartner, June 2020, 27 pages, link to the full report

Research Overview:

gartner CMO study - COVID-19 researchAs CMOs respond to the COVID-19 crisis and social tensions, this year’s survey captures strategies, budgets and priorities at a time of upheaval. This report, one of a two-part series, also examines ways CMOs plan to maintain and grow revenue into 2021.

Additional recommendations for CMOs are sprinkled within. This is good guidance for larger organizations, or to bolster forward-looking marketing recommendations. Also a helpful perspective if you are planning market expansion, product launch or M&A. Part two of the series is here.

Key Takeaways:

  • CMOs dismiss economic pessimism as 73% expect COVID-19’s near-term negative impacts to be short-lived, at odds with the expectations of C-suite colleagues. 
  • Despite their positive outlooks, almost half of CMOs (44%) are facing midyear budget cuts in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eleven percent expect their budgets to face significant cuts of more than 15%. 
  • To reconcile their economic optimism with their budget limitations, CMOs continue to pursue relatively conservative growth strategies, with 79% primarily relying on existing markets to fuel growth.

3. The New Consumer Mindset: How a Global Pandemic Could Change Consumer Attitudes for Good

Published by GlobalWebIndex, July 2020, 14 pages, link to the full report

Research Overview:

global webindex covid-19 researchThis consumer report is on the changes to know during coronavirus distills global data into the facts to know. You’ll uncover the freshest market research, collected up to April 2020, to reinvigorate your marketing strategies.

It is an enlightening, quick look at five areas of changed consumer mindset each with a graphic and more details. The charts and underlying data are dynamic and you can access them via the PDF and drill down for further analysis. That is pretty slick for you data-junkies! (Free account required.)

  • The status quo of privacy, and how consumers feel.
  • Ways in which personal outlook is impacting brand needs and purchase drivers.
  • The impact of a slower lifestyle on consumers’ interests and media.
  • The psychographic insights you should be following.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Data for Good—Personal Data Concerns Are Down
    Internet users appear willing to suspend their usual concerns with personal data to assist contact tracing software. It may also bring us closer to fair monetization of personal data in the long-run. (slide 5)
  2. Exclusivity Excluded—Exclusivity, Status, and Reputation are Much Less Relevant
    Consumers will be less likely to want to stand out from the crowd, and will want more solidarity within the collective. Focusing on values, purpose, and a brand’s contribution to the common good may be received better than strategies that try to put consumers apart from the pack. Emphasize practicality over exclusivity where possible over the coming months.  (slide 6)
  3. Life in the Slow Lane—Free Time, and Screen Fatigue Creates Space for Offline Activities
    Be aware of media fatigue caused by the creation of new free time. Consider how to engage and support consumers wanting to look away from their screens, as McDonald’s and Kraft Heinz have through branded jigsaw puzzles. (slide 7)
  4. Tightened Purse Strings—The Post-Affluent Mindset
    Consumers may become more cautious and discreet when spending. Sellers of non-essential goods may have to find ways to make their products seem like essentials, rather than extras. (slide 8)

Comparing year-over-year stats is meaningless. Don’t bother.

4. Social: GlobalWebIndex’s Flagship Report on the Latest Trends in Social Media

Published by GlobalWebIndex, June 2020, 32 pages, link to the full report

Research Overview:

Global web index social media research for COVID-19This is another very good research report from a global perspective. As above, the charts and underlying data are dynamic and you can access them via the links PDF and drill down for further analysis. That is pretty slick for you data-junkies! (Free account required.)

This report focuses on: 

  • Post-COVID perspectives on social media—how has the pandemic built upon or reversed key attitudes toward social media? 
  • The social media landscape—which social platforms are most popular, and have made the most headway in recent months? 
  • Social media behaviors—how have social media behaviors changed over the last year and since the outbreak? 
  • The social purchase journey—how is the momentum for social commerce looking, both before we started seeing the pandemic’s impact on media habits, and since?

Key Takeaways:

  1. Social media has become the bedrock of our digital news habits
    Staying up-to-date with news and current events is the most commonly cited reason for using social platforms, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the global trend of relying on these sites for information updates.
  2. Digital consumers are using social media for entertainment purposes on a greater scale than before the outbreak
    But recent events have given the more “social” elements of social media a new lease of life. 
  3. Younger consumers are understandably using social media, messaging services and apps more due to the outbreak
    But there are signs of Gen Z reverting back to old usage habits, as baby boomers continue to diversify their behaviors over the course of the pandemic. 
  4. Many younger consumers have taken to livestreaming in the last few months
    The question is whether livestreaming is a likely post-pandemic game changer for certain industries. With 23% of consumers planning to continue watching more videos post-outbreak, the future of livestreaming looks promising. 
  5. Social media ads have brought consumers closer to brands during the pandemic, but closing sales remains a challenge
    With only 13% saying a “buy” button would most increase their likelihood of purchasing, it’s clear that an uncommitted approach to social commerce won’t be enough to put the spending wheels in motion.

5. Social Media Audience Trends During the Pandemic

Published by Talkwalker & Trust Insights, April 2020, 42 pages, webinar and link to full report

Research Overview:

trust insights COVID-19 reportTalkwalker and Trust Insights teamed up to analyze day-by-day data for over 60 different social networks, from the biggest tech companies to niches you’ve probably never heard of. 

In this report, you’ll learn which networks grew the most in the early weeks of the pandemic, which networks are holding onto their audiences, and the three big trends to take advantage of as we navigate the ever-changing situation: ​gaming, YouTube video, and home-based niches.You’ll see practical examples of brands and techniques, Action Steps and takeaways at each major trend, and ways to pivot your marketing.

This is an excellent compilation of changes in social network usage pre- and intra-pandemic (data gathered during the initial six week period). It contains good insights and rationale for tactical changes to capitalize on those user behavior changes.

Key Takeaways:

We can broadly classify the platforms that have shown growth and strength in three general categories: ​gaming, video, and home-based niches. 

Gaming 

  • Identify the gaming franchises your audience participates in, then match rewards/giveaways to that franchise if possible to engage your audience. 
  • Identify influencers for your gaming franchise of choice based on audience feedback, and cross match them to your existing influencers and brand guidelines.

Video

  • Benchmark your current YouTube performance, if available, based on the engagements/views ratio above. If your videos are underperforming, consider changing YouTube content strategies.
  • Identify, using a media monitoring tool like Talkwalker, who the top creators in your industry or niche are, and start building relationships with them.

Home-based Niches 

  • With the home-based niche network you’ve identified as resonant with your audience, scan content trends and start creating appropriate content to share with your audience and the network at large.
  • Stimulate community discussions with known relevant topics based on niche social network conversations.

Comparing year-over-year stats is meaningless. Don’t bother. The old paradigms got tossed and it’s time to deal with the new paradigms. It’s a lot of work to revamp the marketing plan going forward, but at least now there is new, highly relevant data and research becoming available. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal and make data-informed plans and decisions.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Visual Marketing Results https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/5-ways-to-boost-your-visual-marketing-results/ Sat, 29 Aug 2020 11:00:55 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156118 Marketers have long been talking about the power of visual content, both for attracting attention and for engaging your audience. Yet, with the emergence of visual-only social media networks — like Instagram and Pinterest — visual marketing stopped being a nice-to-have and became a must-have. Without high-quality visual content, there is no brand presence on […]

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Visual Marketing

Marketers have long been talking about the power of visual content, both for attracting attention and for engaging your audience.

Yet, with the emergence of visual-only social media networks — like Instagram and Pinterest — visual marketing stopped being a nice-to-have and became a must-have.

Without high-quality visual content, there is no brand presence on some of the most powerful platforms, including Instagram and Pinterest. While you can promote links and text on those networks, non-visual content is likely to go unnoticed.

While video is important, simply publishing videos is not going to be enough. Every other brand is doing that, and the consumer’s eye is pretty used to bright, flashy images by this point.

What you need is to stand out — which is getting more and more challenging in our era of visual web.

So what can you do to embrace a more effective visual marketing strategy?

It’s all about ingenuity and experimentation, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Turn your social media images into artwork

Make your social media images impossible to miss: it is as simple as that.

Well, it does sound simple, and it will obviously boost your content performance – but how exactly can we do that?

Luckily, there are tools for that, so it’s also quite doable.

Quickart by Lightricks is my most recent discovery and it was an instant hook. The app allows you to apply artistic patterns, filters and effects to create memorable visual content that is impossible to miss:

Image source: theverge.com

My favorite thing about this specific app is that it is insanely easy to use. You don’t spend hours figuring out any super-advanced photo-editing instruments, like layers or mask tools, but the result is always unique and creative. Also, it is free.

2. Brand your images well

People are highly visual. Our brain relies on images and visualizations, which makes visual marketing so effective.

Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and retains 80 percent of what we see versus just 20 percent of what we read.

Source: Scientific Reasons Visuals Increase Engagement

When we think, we tend to picture things. Our brain easily brings up colors and shapes, rather than text or numbers. We visualize associations and connections among different concepts and entities.

Through the creation of visual connotations, images make any information more memorable, and this is where the real power of visual marketing lies…

Visual content makes your brand more memorable and recognizable, which, in the long run, brings better click-through and higher conversions.

Branding your visuals is an important step – but one not to be taken lightly. You do want people to recognize your brand just through your assets – and yet you cannot make your images all about you, as your audience will quickly lose interest.

That said:

  • Use recognizable color palette
  • Place your brand in an interesting and creative context
  • Make sure that each individual asset contributes to one unified narrative you want your brand to be associated.

If you are looking for some examples of effective – yet not overwhelming or boring – branding, check out the Instagram account of Boxed Water. They turn each picture into a story that tells the same narrative: “Life is good and nature is awesome so long as you save this planet”.

Visual Content Example from Boxed Water

Visual Content Example from Boxed Water

However avoid:

  • Creating self-centered images
  • Using too much of your logo (watermarks? Not a good idea for Instagram content, for example)

3. Repurpose your images everywhere

With your branding being consistent from asset to asset, bring your strategy to the next level: Attach all your channels with each individual asset.

This is a great way to create that “My brand is everywhere” illusion which ensures your audience remembers you well: Your customer sees your image on Facebook, clicks your link, sees the same (or similar) image on your site, and finally sees it again when searching Google (and that’s where they can no longer resist).

To build this #beeverywhere strategy, carefully use consistent images and visual elements everywhere. For example, Leadpages features matching visual elements (visual identities) on their Instagram feed and their site:

Leadpages features matching visual elements (visual identities) on their Instagram feed and their site.

And UPRIGHT uses the same visual elements in both their Instagram ad and the linked landing page:

 

upright

This way, by using non-intrusive visual branding, the brands instill confidence in their users landing on their site and create some sort of brand cross-channel recognizability.

To take this idea even further, searching Google for something relevant, we should be seeing the matching image or element that would instantly catch our attention and prevent us from going elsewhere:

 

How can this cross-channel recognizability be achieved?

By using a consistent repurposing strategy, including:

  • Reusing social media images on your site
  • Using the same image (in different dimensions) across multiple channels
  • Applying fundamental image SEO practices when publishing those visuals on your site and social media channels (this includes using optimized alt text, a variety of hashtags, and description (or immediate context). There are lots of tools helping bloggers do this right.

This is where I always use Text Optimizer because the tool allows you to broaden the list of keywords your image is going to show up for. The tool uses semantic analysis to identify related concepts, and entities for you to use in the image description / caption, tags / hashtags, etc. when publishing each image anywhere. For example, here are semantically-related concepts for [skyscraper]:

The tool also pushes you to diversify your tactics and avoid keyword stuffing by suggesting you use related and synonymous words in your copy.

Bonus: Embrace visual advertising

You do need all the above steps to do this one right: You need to create effective visuals, brand them in a non-intrusive way, market them across multiple channels, and then start investing in visual advertising.

Luckly, you have quite a few options, including:

  • Instagram ads
  • Pinterest ads
  • Facebook ads
  • TikTok ads

Also emerging are more innovative options like Unsplash advertising that focus on shifting brand perception and building brand associations rather than clicks and views.

Conclusion

Visual marketing can boost the performance of many – if not all – other promotional tactics you are currently implementing, including content marketing, traffic generation, SEO (or rather on-SERP marketing), etc.

The best part about visual marketing – in my opinion – is that you never are actually done. You always have to be innovating, trying new tools and discovering new tactics in order to stay ahead – or at least abreast of your niche.

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How to Implement Marketing Automation https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-implement-marketing-automation/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-implement-marketing-automation/#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2020 13:27:14 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156068 This is the final installment of our three-part series delving into the process for selection and preparation for CRM + marketing automation implementation. Part 1 of 3:  How to Choose a Marketing Automation Platform Part 2 of 3: How to Collect the Right Data to Boost Your Marketing Finally, the implementation journey is about to […]

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How to Implement Marketing Automation

This is the final installment of our three-part series delving into the process for selection and preparation for CRM + marketing automation implementation.

Part 1 of 3:  How to Choose a Marketing Automation Platform

Part 2 of 3: How to Collect the Right Data to Boost Your Marketing

Finally, the implementation journey is about to begin. But you are not ready. There is a lot that can and should be done before anyone starts loading software onto servers (or, in the cloud)!

In the first two parts of this series, we covered a lot of steps and processes to identify and select CRM + marketing automation, the importance of data and data integrity, and even how to rethink CTAs. Let’s dive into the next part.

The most important part of marketing automation implementation is content.

It would be nice if we could just tell the CRM/MA integration team to throw the switch and turn it on, but there is actually a huge chasm that still has to be mapped and crossed. It may be easy for some and daunting for others. It’s called “content.”

We’re making the assumption that somewhere during the implementation process, you’ve mapped out all the lead types, the journey maps, the possible interactions, the rules and conditional logic being applied to those interactions, and the tracking. Once that is all done (it never really is, but work with me), there is one major matter the CRM/MA provider or third-party integrator cannot do. And that’s to catalog and probably create new, compelling content the whole system will rely on.

Where does mapping your content fall in the overall marketing automation implementation process?

Mapping your content should happen right at the beginning. It may seem odd to hold off mentioning it until part 3 of this series, but I wanted to lay the foundation first.

The process we prescribe can actually begin even during the CRM/MA evaluation process because regardless of what platform or tools are ultimately selected, content will still be required. Think back to part one of this series, where we identified the Four Pillars of Nurture Program Success. Content is one of those essential pillars.

We use another 4-step process to map out a content plan to identify what we have, what we need, priorities, and how we’re going to develop the missing parts.

Four Phases of Content Development

The first part of the process is to perform a content audit based on what we call the 5x5x5 content needs assessment. In summary, the 5x5x5 approach is: 

  • Determine the number of personas (assume 5 for the math here)
  • Determine the number of stages in your consideration funnel (again, assume 5 for the math here, which works in most cases)
  • Determine the 5 key questions at each stage that must be answered in order to move the prospect further down the consideration funnel.

5 x 5 x 5 = 125, which is approximately how many content marketing topics you’ll need to cover—just to address the known and inferred customer needs. But don’t despair; much of that content is likely dual purpose, and some probably already exists.

Next, perform a content audit to identify the gaps between the 5x5x5 and the existing content library. The outcome isn’t always a binary, “Yes we have that covered” vs., “No we don’t have that content.” The particular piece of content is often buried, needs to be updated, it’s in the wrong modality, or needs to be cobbled together from several disparate sources. Even if the core content is there for a particular piece of content, it often needs work. That takes time and resources.

When the content is blatantly missing, that’s actually the golden opportunity—a blank slate—to create what we really want and need to be highly relevant to the audience. This typically requires some combination of internal and external people skilled in:

  • Content creation, copy or script writing and story-telling
  • Graphic design, including, motion graphics
  • Videography and editing
  • Audio recording and editing
  • Brand management and oversight
  • Possibly gamification, assessments, online calculators, product selectors, and other interactive content assets
  • And maybe even legal review.

This necessitates a content calendar to organize the workflow of what content will be produced, in what order, and on what schedule. You can Learn How to Build a Content Calendar (plus a free downloadable template) to get started. 

Clearly, content is as important as any of the other pillars for overall project success. Yet, it’s probably the most under-prioritized from a workload and timeframe standpoint. Some companies and organizations will have much or most of this buttoned-up—they already have their content-creation machines running at full speed and high quality. Others will be starting from nearly zero. In those cases, we often recommend turning to contract or freelancers to help with the heavy lifting.

With all the content creation and production being done, is there anything else to do?

Of course, there is. No initial CRM + MA launch is flawless once activated. No content library is perfect.

Ramp up your A/B testing and interval testing. The never-ending next step is ongoing optimization based on performance metrics. That’s where we get to see the return on all this investment in time and money and be sure, people within your organization will be looking for a positive ROI.

That topic will have to wait for another series. There are so many interesting ways to look at soft engagements, hard conversions, deciding which KPIs really matter, assisted conversion and attribution models, and the big one — educating the executive team and managing their expectations.

If that sounds daunting, is it even worth doing?

That really depends. It’s a smart question to answer upfront. A bit of not-too-complex math will usually give us an answer and a likely timeframe. It all comes down to total investment, volume projections, short-term revenue and customer LTV, and the expectations for break-even and ROI. Those variables are different for every company or organization. There’s no viable substitute for not doing the math upfront, or even reassessing where you are now in your current CRM+MA journey.

The entire marketing automation/CRM selection and implementation process can be overwhelming. But it really is a linear process with a few concurrent initiatives running at the same time, A good plan, enough people, and the right people, greatly improve the likelihood for a successful outcome.

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5 Data-Driven Content Marketing Tips You Need to Use Now https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/data-driven-content-marketing-tips/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/data-driven-content-marketing-tips/#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2020 12:30:21 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156076 These days, marketers have access to powerful competitive research tools that reveal almost everything about competitors’ marketing tactics: what search keywords they focus on, how they build links, and even how much traffic they are able to generate. The bad news is there’s an opposite side of that coin: your competitors have the same amount of […]

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Data-Driven Content Marketing

These days, marketers have access to powerful competitive research tools that reveal almost everything about competitors’ marketing tactics: what search keywords they focus on, how they build links, and even how much traffic they are able to generate.

The bad news is there’s an opposite side of that coin: your competitors have the same amount of insight.

In other words, you and your competitors are operating based on the publicly available data, which makes it even tougher to succeed.

As we all know, a smart approach to content marketing is a data-driven approach. Yet, the smartest approach to marketing is to prioritize your own data —something no one else has.

Instead of going after your competitors and trying to emulate their success, use your own data and let them follow your footsteps.

Here are five types of internal data that will help you create a unique, effective SEO and content marketing strategy that puts you ahead of your competition.

1. Create an effective dashboard to consolidate different data points

I am a self-proclaimed control freak, so the first step in setting up any strategy is always getting organized.

If you are a marketer dealing with large websites (or many large websites), as well as numerous paid and social channels for promoting your owned media assets and sales touchpoints, it is important to aggregate multiple data sources to capture unique patterns and insights.

However, the more data you have, the harder it is to make sense of it. This is where AI-enhanced business intelligence solutions like Sisense come into play, allowing marketers to consolidate, visualize, analyze and report on data from multiple sources.

Sisense dashbaord

Sonsolidate, visualize, analyze and report on data from multiple sources with solutions like Sisense.

In addition, Sisense allows you to create your own custom data reporting apps that you can embed as analytics dashboards and interactive reports for internal use — or even as part of the value you offer to external stakeholders.

Once you create your dashboard, decide what kind of data you should be monitoring in order to create a better performing content marketing strategy.

Here’s where you can start…

2. Update your best-converting content

In most cases, around 20%-30% of any website’s content is responsible for 70%-80% of its traffic.

And that is ok.

Generally speaking, it may be wiser to get your best-performing content perform to perform even better than fruitlessly trying to get your weaker content to start delivering results.

At the very least, optimizing your best-performing content is actually the the lower-hanging opportunity not to miss.

Finteza is a web analytics suite with a strong focus on conversion monitoring. You can set up multiple events you want to be tracked on your site to evaluate your content performance. Finteza helps you identify content that does the best job converting your readers into buyers or subscribers.

  • Select your primary event you want tracked on your page.
  • Click the “Pages” report, which will be sorted based on how well it converts your site visitors.
Finteza

With Finteza, you can see the page that do the best job converting your site visitors—these are the pages you want to focus on ranking higher.

3. Monitor your site internal search

While your Google rankings are publicly known (thanks to all the smart competitive intelligence tools out there), your internal site search is your own data source no one else has access to.

And yet, it is one of the most under-utilized data sources out there, with few publishers paying attention to what their readers are searching for.

Your internal site search is like a map of everything your target audience wants and whether your site satisfies their needs, especially if you are using the right tools.

Google Analytics offers a robust on-site search analytics option which also comes for free. There are also a variety of WordPress plugins that enhance your site search functionality as well as reporting on what is being searched and how the search results seem to satisfy the site users.

Internal Site Search: Google Analytics

Screenshot source: Internal Site Search Optimization: Best Practices for Your Site (which is also a great guide to bookmark)

4. Re-optimize for your most clicked keywords

Approximately half of Google’s search results are comprehensive and interactive enough for users never to click elsewhere. In other words, Google’s SERPs are sending fewer and fewer clicks to publishers.

Yet, Google remains the most effective traffic source out there. According to various case studies, organic search optimization can bring about a massive increase in ROI. ClickMatix, an Internet Marketing agency based in Melbourne, cites an average of 30% increase in revenue and up to 150% increase in conversions within about 6 months after implementing a SEO strategy.

Your SEO strategy should be all about targeting rankings that send clicks.

This means that not all rankings are worth fighting for.

But how do we know if a particular search query is going to generate traffic until we actually get our page to rank there?

The first step is to take publicly available data into account (search volume and more). The next step is to review SERPs prior to optimizing for them. In many cases, as a searcher, you can tell whether another user would feel compelled to scroll down and click organic listings. For example, in the case below, the need to scroll beyond the first image results is very slim.

clickable search results example

There’s no need to scroll beyond this view.

But your most reliable source of data is — again — yours.

Google’s Search Console allows you to identify search queries that send you clicks — even when your page isn’t normally ranking #1. These are rankings you want to rank higher for. If you are getting clicks when you rank #3 or lower, rest assured the traffic will be much better when you rank #1-#2.

Google Search Console example

Look at your keywords with the highest click-through rates in Google Search Console, and identify the search queries that send you clicks, even when your page isn’t at position #1.

5. Create content to address your branded search queries

Finally, check to see how your future and current customers are searching for your own brand — this will gives you a lot of insight into how they perceive it.

Are searchers having trouble navigating your site or finding some particular information? Do they search for reviews? Are there any negative terms (scam, bad, etc.) that happen to be searched alongside your brand?

Again, Google’s Search Console gives you access to that data. Make sure to use “Query” filter to narrow search queries to those including your brand name.

Branded Search Queries example

In Google Search Console, filter by query and review your branded search queries.

Conclusion

These days, content marketers have access to more data than they care to use, which is unfortunate because knowing which data to use and how to use may put you ahead of your competition. Hopefully, the tools and ideas above will get you started!

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4 Noteworthy Lead Conversion Trends: Research and Charts https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/lead-conversion/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/lead-conversion/#respond Mon, 03 Aug 2020 10:00:27 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156045 With a myriad of marketing tactics at our disposal, cool marketing technology that can track performance and automate campaigns, and countless strategies and processes to optimize marketing, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. For many marketers, we think in terms of leads (impersonal, just a number) and not relationships (personal and real).  […]

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Lead Conversion Trends

With a myriad of marketing tactics at our disposal, cool marketing technology that can track performance and automate campaigns, and countless strategies and processes to optimize marketing, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.

For many marketers, we think in terms of leads (impersonal, just a number) and not relationships (personal and real).  Sometimes we miss the obvious: successful marketers build relationships. We must remember that a lead is a real person, and to be a successful marketer, we need to build a relationship with prospects.

A new research study by Ascend2 is Building Relationships for Lead Conversion. The survey was fielded the week of June 8, 2020, and a total of 263 marketing professionals participated. 

Considerable shifts in the way businesses operate are leading marketers to re-examine the way they approach lead generation. Building meaningful connections with buyers is now a critical part of generating and nurturing leads that convert.

How are marketers building relationships for maximum lead generation and conversion? 

Here are a few noteworthy findings from the Asend2 research study, as well as insight from marketing professionals.

1. Marketers are struggling to generate enough relationships as they shift marketing efforts to more digital-forward initiatives.

Half (50%) of marketing professionals report struggling to generate enough relationships as they shift marketing efforts to more digital-forward initiatives. Building meaningful relationships with new and existing leads requires appropriate allocation of budget and resources, which 42% of marketers report is a top challenge for lead generation success.  

lead generation challenges

Top Challenges of Building Relationships for Lead Conversion

Jeff Haws, Senior Marketing Manager, Messagegears

Jeff Haws, Senior Marketing Manager, MessageGears

How can you generate stronger relationships? An important first step is to know more about your ideal audience and give them something of value based on their needs.

Jeff Haws, Senior Marketing Manager at MessageGears, explains, “one of the keys to effectively building relationships is to identify your ideal audience and tailor your messaging and targeting to them. Eliminate as much noise as possible by developing a laser focus on those people who will benefit the most from your unique value, and make sure marketing and sales are on the same page about who those people are.” 

2. Social media, email marketing, and website/SEO lead the way as the most effective channels for building relationships for lead conversion.

Social media (58%), email marketing (49%), and website/SEO (44%) lead the way as the most effective channels for building relationships for lead conversion. Developing an overall strategy of how all of your marketing tactics connect and work together as part of the customer journey is an important step to building stronger relationships. 

Most Effective Channels

Most Effective Channels for Lead Conversion

Mike Grehan

Mike Grehan, CMO & Managing Director, Acronym

It is helpful to consider the customer journey when looking at channels. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Where does the journey start? Where does the journey end?

According to Mike Grehan, CMO & Managing Director at Acronym, “the customer journey most frequently starts with search and very often ends with search. Many brands are loaded with content for the transactional part, but seem to lack content for the early stage. This is why SEO is still so important. Well-crafted and optimized content for answering questions and solving problems creates brand affinity much earlier instead of trying to battle for attention at the checkout.”

3. Content in video format is most effective at building relationships to generate leads that convert.

When building loyalty and trust with an audience to build relationships, creating and distributing content is essential. Forty-one percent (41%) of marketing professionals agree that content in video format is most effective at building relationships to generate leads that convert. Educational content types such as webinars and original research are also effective, according to 36% of those surveyed.  

Most effective B2B content

Most Effective Content Types for Lead Conversion

Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN

Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive, PureVPN

There are many format options to consider. Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN explains, “written content is undoubtedly useful, but today, visual materials such as infographics or videos are outperforming for marketing and relationship building purposes, and they will continue to be one of the most frequently used marketing strategies for 2020.”

Dan Bailey, President at WikiLawn shares another content strategy. “Our lead generation strategies now focus on providing free, high-value content as part of a sales funnel. We create articles, videos, and other content, and put that content behind a landing page where the user has to enter their email address to get access. We run Facebook ads to direct people to this landing page, and once they’re on our list, we continue to build a relationship with them.”

4. Lead generation budgets are being redirected to social media and website/SEO improvement.

Many marketing dollars previously allocated to in-person events and direct marketing efforts are being redirected. Over half of marketers say that much of their lead generation budgets will be attached to social media (54%) and website or SEO improvement (51%). Another 44% report that email or automation will account for a significant amount of budget in the year ahead. 

Lead generation budgets

How Lead Generation Budgets Will Be Allocated

Building relationships is especially challenging right now with the cancellation of live events and employees working remotely. How can you replace that face to face experience?

Joaquim Miro

Joaquim Miro, Chief Growth Officer, Hoppin’ World

Joaquim Miro, Chief Growth Officer at Hoppin’ World, said that “being able to be face-to-face with a prospect is always the best way to convert them into a client. Therefore, looking for options that allow this to happen remotely is an important next step.”

Use technology to do virtually what you would do in person: train, give guided tours, have Q&A sessions, and more. Be creative to build a relationship with your prospects and don’t let challenges stand in your way.

How are companies reallocating their budget?

Quincy Smith, Founder of ESL Authority, reveals how his organization is shifting budgets. “We’ve reallocated our in-person budget (previously used for job fairs, campus visits, etc) into online retargeting,” said Quincy. He continued, “we’ve always had significant organic traffic, but are only now attempting to retarget it given that we cannot do much in person. So far it’s very much trial and error, we’ve done paid ads before but not for this purpose so we’re still testing messaging, platforms, and imagery.” 

Sunny Ashley, CEO at Autoshipinvoice

Sunny Ashley, CEO, Autoshipinvoice

Sunny Ashley, CEO at Autoshipinvoice, has moved a bulk of its marketing budget and efforts to SEO and content marketing. Sunny explains, “there are 3 main reasons why: 1. SEO can be done relatively cheaply, for the cost of time and labor in writing content. 2. SEO best practices are ever-evolving; this means there is always something new to learn. Since marketing now has more time and flexibility without the need to plan for physical events, now is the time to try new SEO techniques and experiments. 3. SEO takes time. If direct marketing methods aren’t as effective right now while our customers have less budget, now is a great time to build a catalog of content that will grow in influence over the coming months. As business begins to return closer to normal, our SEO efforts will hopefully be peaking.”

Joaquim, Quincy, and Sunny are all finding ways to understand their target audience, reallocate budget based on what is working, and focusing on building relationships that convert.

Conclusion

Building relationships takes time. Marketers need to listen to their prospects, analyze the data, test new tactics and strategies, optimize existing tactics and strategies, and be flexible and agile in what you do to build relationships that convert.

Here is a link where you can download the entire report, Building Relationships for Lead Conversion. 

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How to Write Perfect Page Titles and Headlines (7 Tools to Help Make it Happen) https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/how-to-write-titles-and-headlines-tools/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/how-to-write-titles-and-headlines-tools/#respond Mon, 27 Jul 2020 12:07:18 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=156019 What’s your biggest challenge when writing an article? If it’s crafting a great headline (which is also going to be the page title), then this list of tools is right for you! The page title is the most important on-page element that is prominently visible anywhere your page is shared or linked: More often than […]

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How to Write Page Titles & Headlines

What’s your biggest challenge when writing an article?

If it’s crafting a great headline (which is also going to be the page title), then this list of tools is right for you!

The page title is the most important on-page element that is prominently visible anywhere your page is shared or linked:

  • More often than not, the page title is the most visible (and clickable) part of the search snippet
  • Unless otherwise specified, the page title is what shows up in the link preview when anyone shares your article on social media
  • The title of the page shows up in any browser tab. So in many cases (when there are many tabs open), this is what may drive the reader back to your tab.

Page title

No wonder writing an effective title is so challenging: you have to achieve so many goals, from creating a keyword-focused headline for higher-rankings to making it interesting and creating enough to trigger a click!

There’s a no single formula of an effective page title, but here are some tools to help you come up with your own style and method. Let’s dive in now:

1. Find the Best Keyword for Your Titles: Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a multi-purpose SEO suite with one of the most powerful keyword research tools.

There are a few ways to identify your keywords:

  • Enter your core term (your general topic) there and then click through to “All keyword ideas”
  • Type your competitor’s domain and see which keywords are driving traffic for them (and which ones you can center your content around).

Ubersuggest

The beauty of this tool is that it’s very easy to use. All you need to do is type in a keyword, and it will show you the URLs that are ranking for it so you can see your competitors at a glance.

You can also limit results by “SEO difficulty” which reflects the organic competitiveness of each keyword. This allows you to discover keywords to use in your title that are easier to rank high in Google search.

Best of all, the tool is free and there is a ton of data available in the free version, so there is no excuse for not trying it!

2. Create a Question-Based Title: Text Optimizer

Crafting your title as a question is a great way to get more people to click it. Human beings have that natural instinct of trying to find an answer whenever they see a question, so search and social media users will be more inclined to click your title when it is written as a question.

Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that lists popular questions for any keyword you enter:

Text Optimizr questions

The tool ranks the questions by popularity and organic competitiveness. Clicking any question takes you to a semantic analysis of that particular question, allowing you to discover related concepts to include in your title or the page copy.

Text Optimizer

The further semantic analysis allows you to pick up even more content ideas and angles, as well as improve your current title.

Another great source of niche question inspiration is, of course, Google’s “People Also Ask” boxes.

3. Analyze Your Title: Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer

Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule analyzes your title based on multiple criteria, so you are likely to find the analysis quite eye-opening.

  • Word choice analysis (an analysis of the overall structure, grammar, and readability of your headline.) The tool breaks your word choice into motional, common and power words to ensure you have the right balance of everything.
  • Sentiment analysis: headlines that convey strong positive or negative emotions tend to perform better
  • Headline length analysis determines if your title is too short or too long (in characters and words). Overall, titles that are 6-8 words long tend to earn the highest number of click-throughs.
  • Analysis of the first and last three words of your title. The idea is, when skimming content, most readers tend to read the first and last three words of a headline.
  • Searchable keyword analysis: headlines should include searchable keywords and phrases so that readers can find your content easily.

Headlin analyzer

Even running the tool just once will give you a ton of ideas on how to improve your strategy going forward.

4. Preview the Facebook Snippet: Facebook Debugger

Would you like to know what your title will look like when shared on Facebook? Use Facebook’s official tool called Facebook Debugger.

Just enter your live URL to the “Preview” box and scroll down to “Link Preview” section:

Facebook preview

From here, try to decide if your title is inviting a click or if it needs some improvement.

5. Preview the Twitter Snippet: Twitter Card Validator

Twitter feeds have become richer than they were when the platform launched. Twitter now generates “rich tweets” showing the link preview whenever there’s a link included in a tweet.

If you want to see what your title looks like when your article is tweeted, use Twitter’s “Card Validator”.

Twitter preview

Here’s also a solid guide on adding Twitter cards to your site for your content to generate rich tweets.

6. Preview on Mobile: Google’s Speed Insights

Now that most people are reading blogs from their mobile devices, it is important to make sure that your title will look nice, as it is often the first thing that loads.

Google’s Speed Insights allows you to preview your page title on a mobile device and shows how fast it took to load it.

Google preview

7. Preview Google Snippet: Google, Yoast, and More

Finally, I bet you’d want to know what your title would look like in search results, and it is quite doable too!

Don’t get me wrong: no tool will guarantee that your search snippet will look exactly like what they show, but you can rest assured that it will be quite similar.

Yoast Plugin (as well as several solid alternatives) generates the search snippet preview when you are still typing your article in WordPress editor.

For published and indexed article, use Google’s SITE: command to see what its snippet looks like:

Google SITE command

There are also a few search snippet generators — including this one — that do a pretty good job:

search snippet preview

Conclusion

To create a well-performing title, you need to balance several goals and tasks, including:

  • Making sure you know which keyword you are focusing on
  • Avoiding getting too wordy: Shorter titles perform better
  • Wording your title as a question
  • Making sure your title looks good (and doesn’t truncate) in search and on social media.

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How to Collect the Right Data to Boost Your Marketing https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-collect-the-right-data-to-boost-your-marketing/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-collect-the-right-data-to-boost-your-marketing/#respond Sat, 25 Jul 2020 14:00:36 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155970 This is the second of a three-part series delving into the process for selection and preparation for CRM + marketing automation implementation. In this installment, we delve deeper into the importance of data, the four categories of data, and how this will cause you to rethink your CTAs and webforms. In the first series in […]

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How to Collect the Right Data

This is the second of a three-part series delving into the process for selection and preparation for CRM + marketing automation implementation.

In this installment, we delve deeper into the importance of data, the four categories of data, and how this will cause you to rethink your CTAs and webforms.

In the first series in this installment, I explained how to choose a marketing automation platform and the four essential pillars needed to support an effective marketing automation plan. The first pillar was data. To elaborate on that, given all the attention and resources applied to the collection and analysis of data, one would think this is pretty well buttoned-up. But in practice, we often see major chasms across the data landscape.

For now, let’s narrow our focus to just the data collection that directly impacts marketing communications.

There is a litany of breakpoints we typically see, including things like:

  • Poor Data Integrity—data that is not uniform in structure within the data collection points or once in the CRM system. That make using the data more difficult or ineffective.
  • Poor Data Hygiene—data that is outdated, inaccurate, missing, or duplicated. Ask yourself when was the last time your prospect or customer data was screened to de-duplicate and consolidate records? It should be a regular, ongoing process, but too often, it is not.
  • Data Silos—we see this one a lot (we’re looking at you Higher Ed institutions), where decentralized organizations aren’t well set-up to share and consolidate data, even though different divisions and departments have common goals. Ironically, smaller operations are usually better at this, often only one database of record for the entire enterprise. But as the size and complexity of the business increases, those bridges to and from the data silos are often overlooked or in disrepair.
  • Data Apathy—which include records that aren’t updated with actions or inactions, source tracking on those engagements, no record of content consumed, and we won’t even start on lead scoring and attribution models. We’d need a whole new interview series on that.
    The larger, all-encompassing CRM + MA platforms can do a pretty good job here. But we often see gaps in the implementation of those systems, or internal—misuse is maybe too strong a term—inconsistent procedures to maintain all the desired flows of data to and from external and internal systems.

If access to good data is such a foundational element, where should someone begin to sort that out?

Let’s start by taking a step back and looking at the types of data, of which there are four types or categories available. If your organization isn’t using data from all four categories, ask yourself, “Why aren’t we?”

Take a look at this table and add/edit/delete specific data points that are relevant to your organization. The categories will probably work as-is, but the specific bullet-point examples should reflect your current state, and ideally your desired future state.

data collection for marketing

Not every organization will need to exhaustively pursue every potential source of data, that’s not practical. The benefit of this exercise is to look at what data you collect now, how actionable is it, and is it being utilized to achieve an optimal outcome? If not, determine what additional data collections and data bridges need to be inserted into the process.

And optimal outcome means optimal for the customer or prospect, the sales, marketing and customer service teams, finance and management. When done correctly, everyone benefits.

Data is the key to relevancy.
And relevancy is the killer app!
—Jay Baer, Founder and CEO, Convince and Convert

Jay has espoused this truism from stages and keynote addresses across the country for the past several years, and it is still true today. I’ll paraphrase here: 

Marketers all tell themselves a big lie. They tell themselves our prospects and customers are just too busy to read and consume all the fantastic marketing materials we make available to them.

And it’s just not true. We all have the exact same 24-hours in each day. What everyone does is prioritize how that time is spent. And when it comes to the consumption of marketing material, if it is not relevant here and now to that individual, it quickly plummets off any priority list. Data is the key to relevancy. And relevancy is the killer app! Good data is the linchpin for relevancy.

Why Good Data Collection Drives a Rethinking of Calls-to-Action and Form Design

Take an intentional backwards approach and begin with the desired future-state of what we envision our CRM + marketing automation should do.

It ties back to the “features and functional requirements” process we cover in the first part of this interview. But it’s data and content that are the keys!

As a simple example, recently, several clients expressed a desire to introduce text messaging as part of their marketing automation channel expansion. However, none of their lead-gen forms were set up to facilitate text messaging in such form. The change is simple, really, but they have to collect the data and permission before implementation is even possible. That’s why we work backwards—the data has to be acquired before the utilization of the data can ever materialize.

Another example we see too often: brands and organizations want to personalize emails with the first name of the recipient. But their data collection forms have only one field, labeled, “Name”. That’s a non-starter for the data integrity because you get an array of inconsistent input on that field.

  • Sam
  • Sammy
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sammy Hagar

This should be an easy fix to make on the forms and within the database, and many others once you define what that desired future state looks like. And when you do it, go back through all the currently active records and update those fields accordingly. Always keep in mind data integrity and data continuity.

At Convince & Convert, we personalize emails with first name data when it’s available (standard default is “friend”). We make sure to collect this on as many lead-gen forms as possible. Personalized emails have significantly higher response rates, so it’s worth it to us to collect first name (and possibly decrease conversions a tiny bit).

Lead Gen Form with First Name

Lead Gen Form with First Name + Email

 

Personalized Email Example

Personalized email example

 

Updating Calls-to-Action for Data Collection

It’s not uncommon for the primary, or only CTA to be “Buy Now”, or, “Enroll Now,” or “Schedule an Appointment Now.” Basically, down-the-funnel CTAs that are premature in the upper stages of the customer journey.

We like to invent new, top-and middle- of the funnel CTAs that ease the prospect into the journey. We apply a bit of progressive disclosure to it and learn what is relevant to each prospect. That, in turn, allows us to home in on relevancy. It drives the marketing automation process, the conditional logic, the content created or offered. That data is at the core of everything and too few led-gen processes we see take advantage of this.

If you ask an interested prospect a few questions to help him/her get fewer communications from you and more relevant ones when they are sent, most people will buy into that. It’s analogous to dating. But that’s yet another article. Here’s a quick example of our own Email Preferences Update Form (you’re welcome to fill it out yourself).

Preferences Example

Example of a Form that Collects Frequency and Industry Data for Leads Already in Our Funnel

We’ve got some great examples of how we introduce non-obvious CTAs, all new CTAs, that fundamentally changed the way a business looks at lead-gen. Feel free to reach out, and I’ll share them with you.

In Part Three of this series:
The implementation journey is about to begin. But you are not ready. There is a lot that can and should be done before anyone starts loading software onto servers.

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B2B SEO: Three Essential Strategies to Generate High-Quality Leads https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/b2b-seo-strategies/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/b2b-seo-strategies/#respond Sun, 28 Jun 2020 13:00:45 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155964 Organic search has an amazing ability to send targeted traffic on a continuous basis, but it is getting harder and harder to build an organic search presence. There are many factors at play here, including the higher competition in just about any business sector, plus Google’s growing unwillingness to send clicks elsewhere, instead of keeping […]

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B2B SEO Strategies

Organic search has an amazing ability to send targeted traffic on a continuous basis, but it is getting harder and harder to build an organic search presence.

There are many factors at play here, including the higher competition in just about any business sector, plus Google’s growing unwillingness to send clicks elsewhere, instead of keeping those users engaged with search result pages.

So if your B2B business is seeing less and less of Google traffic, you are not alone.

Using the tactics below, you can remedy the situation and improve your Google rankings.

Here are three essential SEO tactics for B2B business to generate high-quality leads from organic search:

1. Get Your Site Discovered at All Stages of the Discovery (Pre-Buying) Journey

While B2C sales are often driven by impulse shopping, B2B buyers are willing to do their homework prior to making the final decision.

In B2B, content is the most important component of the buyers’ journey, which can directly influence purchasing decisions. More than half (62%) of B2B customers admit they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based solely on digital content.


More than half (62%) of B2B buyers admit they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based solely on digital #content.
Click To Tweet


According to a 2015 Forrester study, 74% of B2B buyers spend more than half of their time researching a product online before buying it offline.


74% of #B2B buyers spend more than half of their time researching a product online before buying it offline.
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This means that B2B SEOs must pay close attention to both:

  • Search queries with informational intent to create optimized “problem -> solution” type content
  • Branded search queries (those that include their own brand or product name, as well as that of their competitors’)

Here’s a great example of a SaaS brand doing that right — take a look at PayKickstart. They have separate landing pages optimized for:

  • Niche, specific landing pages that explain how the platform helps businesses in each sector they target (Example)
  • Competitive landing pages (explaining why their platform is better than that of a competitor: Example)
  • “Problem -> Solution” landing pages (explaining how the platform solves an existing specific problem in their niche: Example)
Landing page example

An example of a B2B landing page driven by competitive branded keywords

This SEO strategy serves a target customer at each of their research stages:

  • Planning stage: Initial research — when the customer is only looking for possible apps to set up their digital entity
  • The decision stage: When the customer has collected possible options and tries to make a choice
  • Set-up stage When the target customer is in the process of set-up and facing a specific problem.

Your keyword research and content optimization strategy should address all of these stages that normally include the buying journey in the B2B sector:

The stage in the buying journey Keyword research tactic
Initial research (planning) Core term extension (traditional keyword research)
Decision / choice making Branded keyword research (including your and your competitor’s brand names)
Set-up stage Niche question research

2. Plan a Separate SEO Strategy for Each Possible Decision Maker

In B2Bs sales and marketing, there’s almost never a single decision maker to target. Nowadays, the decision making unit (DMU) usually consists of about 7 people which is more than a few years ago. Harvard Business Review reported the DMU growth back in 2017:

“The number of people involved in B2B … purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”

In many industries, a decision making unit may include at least the head of marketing, the head of operations, and the head of sales. And let’s not forget multiple people who may be doing initial product research and presenting the options to the actual decision makers. You need to target those people too.

Google’s study confirms that purchase decision-making process may include lots employees beyond the Csuite (i.e. executive-level managers).

Decision making

Research from Google confirms that purchase decision-making process may include lots employees beyond the C-suite (i.e. executive-level managers).

Obviously, all the decision makers will all have their own needs for any product they are researching. All these diverse opinions and priorities should be addressed in the SEO strategy.

All the possible decision makers are likely to discover your product through different paths and different landing pages, so you need to plan your SEO strategy accordingly:

  • Work with your sales team to better understand the decision making unit of your target customer
  • Research your competitor’s traffic-driving keywords and organize those keywords based on your identified decision makers
  • Plan an SEO content strategy accordingly to match each identified search query to a person within your target customer’s DMU to a landing page tailored to that particular decision maker.

For example, let’s say your B2B product is a lead generation platform that enables businesses to capture and organize lead information. You would need to develop a SEO content strategy to identify key, organic competitors and gather keyword data through tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush:

From there, you would create a spreadsheet with your findings and include:

  • The stage in the pre-buying journey (see tip #1)
  • The actual decision makers / personas that are likely to be use this search query
  • The landing page this search query needs for our own tool to be findable through it:

keyword spreadsheet

Each content piece should target a specific decision maker and keyword, and needs to keep that persona in mind, including the search intent behind the query.

To help with search intent optimization, use Text Optimizer which uses semantic analysis to help you better understand the topical relevance and underlying concepts:

Text Optimizer

3. Get Your Brand Associated with Your Competing and Related Entities

Making sure your brand is placed inside Google’s “map” of your niche is important for Google to know what other entities (brands) it is associated with.

Google’s Knowledge Graph (i.e. Google’s understanding of the world) is a crucial ranking factor. You need to be connected to other brands in the niche for Google to know where you belong.

Google’s Knowledge Graph

Getting your business into Google’s Knowledge base is an on-going process that consists of:

  • Email outreach to get your brand included into listicles featuring (or ranking) your competitors
  • Publishing your own listicles, including your brand alongside your better-known competitors
  • Creating a detailed, semantically optimized About page
  • Making sure your brand is featured wherever your competitors are featured, including conference websites, awards, etc.
  • Creating optimized content for branded queries including [your brand vs. competitor] and [competitor alternative]

Bonus: Monitor Leads, not Just Organic Search Clicks

Finally, your clicks from organic search may still be lower than a few years ago, but what really matters for a B2B business is leads.

Make sure your goals are set up properly inside Google Analytics for you to be able to monitor your conversions.

Google Analytics

Another useful tracking tool to use to monitor your organic traffic performance is Finteza — it allows you to build conversion reports based on multiple criteria, including the traffic source, landing page, and audience demographic:

Finteza

There are even more customer journey analytics tools for you to try, so you definitely have some options here.

Conclusion

B2B SEO may take a lot of time, but it is well worth your (team’s) time because your organic presence is something you can keep building on, without the need to continually invest in it.

By using the ideas above, you will create a powerful SEO strategy, ensuring long-term findability of your business and products. Good luck!

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How to Choose a Marketing Automation Platform https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-choose-a-marketing-automation-platform/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/how-to-choose-a-marketing-automation-platform/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 14:17:36 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155894 One of the initiatives I work on with our clients here at Convince & Convert is marketing automation vendor selection. Based on our experience in this space, here is the process we use to choose the best marketing automation platform for your business. This is the first in a three-part series delving into the process […]

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How to Choose a Marketing Automation Platform

One of the initiatives I work on with our clients here at Convince & Convert is marketing automation vendor selection. Based on our experience in this space, here is the process we use to choose the best marketing automation platform for your business.

This is the first in a three-part series delving into the process for selection and preparation for CRM + Marketing Automation implementation.

Let’s start with the basics and define what marketing automation and CRM is.

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) usually refers to the database of record for prospects and/or customers. They come in many varieties and specialized versions, so we use the term generically.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing Automation (MA) refers to the suite of tools and capabilities that allow for automated, triggered events including email, text messaging, variable content, lead scoring, conditional logic rules, communication workflows, etc. These two sets of capabilities, (CRM + MA) can reside in one all-encompassing platform or two (or more) systems that exchange data bi-directionally. There is no one-size-fits all solution. That’s part of the challenge in selecting the best systems(s) for your specific needs.

The combination of a CRM system or database of record and a process to automate marketing messages enables you to communicate based on individuals’ attributes, reactions, engagement and channel preferences. That a long way of saying, “Speak with individuals as individuals in ways that are most relevant to each of them.”

There is a key principle that everyone in the decision-making process needs to be aware of. It’s analogous to the four pillars holding up the roof to the whole CRM + Marketing Automation process. It looks like this:

Management has to be clear and committed to all four pillars to achieve success.

The Four Pillars of Nurture Program Success

Four Pillars of Nurture Success

Four Pillars of Nurture Success

Take a close look at that. If you remove, or even short-change any one of those pillars, the whole marketing automation is doomed to a sub-optimal outcome. This is to become the lifeblood of most organizations’ sales funnel and revenue. This is not the place to cut corners. Management has to be clear and committed to all four pillars to achieve success.

I can write a whole post just on data, and that’s super important. I’ll hold off on that for the second installment in this series.

The most important thing to remember when undertaking a CRM + MA upgrade is probably what not to do.

How to Consolidate and Improve the Entire CRM and Marketing Automation Process

For those who have some sort of system and tools cobbled together, where does one begin to consolidate and improve the whole process?

First, let’s agree we are talking about improving the whole process for everyone: the prospects/recipients, the marketers, the tacticians, and the management. When done correctly, everyone wins.

The most important thing to remember when undertaking a CRM + MA upgrade is probably what not to do. Do NOT go out and start looking demos of different systems. They all have shiny, wiz-bang demos and colorful charts and seemingly simply drag and drop GUIs, but that’s the wrong way to go about an evaluation. In fact, Trust Radius lists 130 individual Marketing Autonomation platforms! There’s no way anyone has the time to demo a meaningful number of those.

The Best Way to Demo Marketing Automation Solutions

The correct way to demo marketing automation platforms — the way that is far more likely to yield a successful outcome — is to do this:

  1. Document your current capabilities, break points, shortcomings, and limitations (this is your current state)
  2. Document the features and functionality you want to have in the future (future-state). It’s ok to stretch a bit here; you may not get everything you can dream of, but still look forward a few years.

This list of future-state capabilities should be comprehensive, but not necessarily exhaustive. More on that in a moment.

How to Evaluate Marketing Automation Solutions

Step 1: Add to your list of Features and Functional Requirements interview questions, including:

  • The number of reviews and cumulative rating score (G2, Trust Radius, Capterra)
  • Company size, number of employees, and how many are in customer service
  • Capitalization structure (VC funded, latest round, privately help, publicly traded, etc.)
  • Implementation time
  • On-boarding process: does it include data migration?
  • The underlying database product (Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Salesforce, or proprietary?)
  • Are there specialized products for your particular industry? (e.g., higher education, homebuilders, non-profits and fundraising, etc.)
  • And don’t worry about pricing at this stage. Don’t even bring it up. (More on that below)

Step 2: Next, filter through the list of candidate CRM + MA packages and develop a short-list of no more than 10. 

Step 3: With these 10 candidates, initiate the sales process with each, by:

  1. Scheduling a call with their sales rep to confirm if it is a candidate for your particular business
  2. Send over your list of functional requirements asking them to check the boxes and fill in any notes or explanations
  3. Schedule your first of two demos, 90 minutes (it’s impossible to do an adequate job in less time, and there will need to be a second demo when you get down to your final two or three).

Step 4: Evaluate the Solutions Internally for a Minimum of 3-4 Weeks

Now, this is going to take some time. In our experience, it’ll take two full weeks minimum to go through the dialog, checklists, scheduling the demos, follow-up questions, etc. And you probably can’t get 6-10 done within a two-week time frame if you and your team already have day-jobs. So candidly, plan on a minimum of 3-4 weeks.

Once you get to this stage of analysis, we’ve got some good processes that help streamline things. We built out a feature and functionality set of criteria and applied it against each candidate platform. Contact us and I’m happy to share those; it just doesn’t make for good reading here.

How to Choose Your Marketing Automation Solution

Once you get the short list down to 1 or 2 candidates, then what?

If it’s down to a list of one, your job is really simple. Anything more than one, and you’ll have to dig a bit deeper and tease out the differentiators. There are probably no non-starters by this stage, or they wouldn’t be in the final list. This is where talking with reference customers and price negotiations come in. And pricing models vary greatly. You should be prepared for multiple licenses, user fees including admins, marketers, clerks, or whatever they each name their seat and access level licenses, and some might even be fixed rate. 

We always ask for a fee structure covering each of the first three years. Year one is always the most expensive because migration and implementation services are usually all rolled up in that first year. So, three years gives a better look at annual cost of ownership. And it is a negotiation point. That the best reason to have at least two in your final list of candidates.

Part Two of this series: How to Collect the Right Data to Boost Your Marketing
We delve deeper into the importance of data, the four categories of data, and how this will cause you to rethink your CTAs and webforms!

Part Three of this series: How to Implement Marketing Automation
The implementation journey is about to begin. But you are not ready. There is a lot that can and should be done before anyone starts loading software onto servers! (or, in the cloud)

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2020 B2B Content Marketing Statistics: Charts and Data https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/b2b-content-marketing-statistics/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/b2b-content-marketing-statistics/#respond Sun, 21 Jun 2020 22:27:22 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155935 Your B2B marketing 2020 efforts must align with what the audience wants and needs. Keeping that in mind makes it easier to make content marketing creation plans that have a high likelihood of paying off. To help guide your B2B content marketing strategy, let’s take a look a closer look at the 2020 State of B2B […]

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B2B Content Marketing Statistics

Your B2B marketing 2020 efforts must align with what the audience wants and needs. Keeping that in mind makes it easier to make content marketing creation plans that have a high likelihood of paying off.

To help guide your B2B content marketing strategy, let’s take a look a closer look at the 2020 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand report, published by NetLine Corporation.

Here are eight B2B content marketing statistics from that report worth knowing.

11.42% of C-Suite Executives Open Content at 10 a.m

“What is the best time to email content to C-Suite executives?” is a common question. As it turns out, 10 o’clock a.m. is the sweet spot for timing if your goal is to get in touch with C-Suite executives. More specifically, researchers found that 11.42% of people in that segment opened the material at 10 a.m.

The percentage is small, but that also means you have the flexibility to send the content out at a different time if that works better. For example, noon was the next best time, with 11.12% of people reading the content then — possibly while starting their lunch breaks.

Remember that your target audience could behave differently from the norm, so the best way forward may not be to stick to the timing mentioned here. Consider offering the material at a set time for a defined period, then track open-rate metrics over that period to see what kind of response you get.


11.42% of C-Suite executives open content at 10 a.m #email #B2B
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B2B content marketing statistic about c-suite

C-Level content consumption by hour. Source: All images from NetLine Corporation study linked above.

Executives and Leaders in Most Job Categories Took 8% Longer to Open Requested Content Than Others

The consumption gap represents the time between someone requesting the content from a company and their opening it. The main takeaway is that people don’t typically ask for content at the precise moment when they’re ready to read it.

Outside of people in contracting and consulting roles, most people in executive and leadership positions took 8% longer than individuals in other categories to start looking at their B2B content after asking for it. The report’s creators recommend that you don’t solely focus on people in the C-suite.

They may be the ones who ultimately give the go-ahead for purchasing your products. Still, other people in lower-level positions may open your content faster, thereby starting their educational journey before their superiors do. There’s no harm in tailoring some content to the C-suite, but don’t make them your only targeted group. People in other positions appreciate high-quality content too, and they may influence those higher up the company.


Executives and leaders in take 8% longer to open requested content than others. #B2B #content
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B2B Content Consumers Access Material From Desktop Devices 68.1% of the Time

Statistics gathered for reasons not related to this report show that people are more likely to access the internet from their mobile phones than from desktop computers. The B2B audiences studied here don’t follow that trend, however.

The breakdown showed that 68.1% of people look at B2B content on computers. Then, 28.7% of the total used their phones to engage with it, and 3.2% of the pool accessed the material from tablets.  The report did say, though, that the percentage of people on mobile phones grew by 10% between 2018 and 2019.


B2B content consumers access material from desktop devices 68.1% of the time. #B2B #content
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Another thing to keep in mind is that the report’s authors believe the percentage of people viewing B2B content on mobile devices will go up as more Generation Z members enter the workforce. They’re more likely to have more capable, ultra-modern smartphones to keep pace with the increasingly mobile world. Marketers should still accommodate the smaller screen sizes and make smart decisions to keep the content mobile-friendly.

B2B content consumption device usage

Consumption of B2B content by device

27% of the Active Audience for B2B Content Came From Organizations With Fewer Than 25 Employees

NetLine defines its active audience as people who requested B2B content. The data showed that 27% of the people who actively consumed B2B content worked at organizations with 1-24 employees. That statistic remained flat compared to last year’s report.

It may also come as a surprise that companies with 1-4 workers accounted for 15.62% of the 27%, segment making them the largest individual group in that percentage. If smaller companies are one of your targets, these findings strongly suggest that you should keep smaller companies in mind while creating your content. Think about the needs they likely have and how your brand could meet them.

Network Security Experts Are 87% More Likely to Enjoy DIY Projects Outside the Office Than Other Professionals

The report also discusses affinity categories. The goal is to remember that your readers are real people who have diverse sets of interests spanning outside your company or products.

One of the related B2B content statistics was that network security professionals are 87% more likely to engage in do-it-yourself projects outside the office than other professionals. That may mean you offer content that introduces them to tech projects they could do at home and ties into your company somehow.

The buyer affinities chart includes a wide variety of subtopics, though. That diversity indicates you should not shy away from creating interesting material that covers some other topics and themes not strictly related to your company. You may find that this approach leads to more repeat site visits because people are eager to see what you’ll publish next.

B2B - buyer - affinities

B2B buyer affinities

E-Books, White Papers and Guides Comprise Roughly 56% of Inventory in the Market

If you’re wondering what kind of content to create as part of your B2B marketing 2020 plans, e-books, white papers and guides are good options to go with first. Statistics show that approximately 56% of all the inventory in the market is one of these kinds.

Concerning the kind of content requested, people wanted e-books most often, followed by white papers and guides. NetLine’s analysts point out that e-books are exceptionally versatile. You could use them to feature case studies, show thought leadership or call attention to any other factors that could drive sales.

Notice, too, the educational nature of those top three content types. Your B2B audience is ready to learn, and you can help them do that with high-quality material that caters to their needs. In any case, ensure that your content marketing strategy serves a defined purpose and is goal-driven.

B2B content statistics - Content Type

More Than 30% of Demand for B2B Content Comes From the Information Technology Sector

More than 30% of the overall content demand comes from audiences in that sector. That change represents a 3% rise from 2018 numbers.

IT professionals took the top spot for audience demand, but other sectors wanted content, too. For example, audiences in the accounting and finance industries collectively gained half a percentage point in the desire for relevant material, showing the biggest growth across all job areas.

Job Types

Effective ways also exist to capitalize on the B2B marketing statistics here if IT is not your main focus. For example, if your company sells a product geared towards several industries — information technology among them — consider creating a newsletter or online content hub for tech professionals.

The High-Tech IT Industry Has the Most Active Audience

You learned earlier that IT professionals make up nearly one-third of the total content demand. A related fact is that the high-tech IT industry showed the most active audience. This means people in that group were the most likely to request and engage with the material.

The report’s authors noted that people working at high-tech IT companies must stay educated on the latest developments. New content could make it easier for them to do that.

B2B Content: Most Active Audiences

Most active industries for content consumption

Consider how you might create or adapt content to make it maximally appealing to people working with advanced tech. You might gather expert perspectives about the future of a broad but relevant topic, such as cloud computing or automation, to help readers learn what’s on the horizon.

NetLine B2B consumption and demandGrab Your Free Copy of the Report Now

Note from our editor: If you haven’t already, please grab your own copy of the 2020 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand report from our friends at NetLine Corporation. Tons of useful data to guide your strategy in 2020! 

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What Is Content Curation in Social Media? https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/what-is-content-curation-in-social-media/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/what-is-content-curation-in-social-media/#respond Wed, 10 Jun 2020 23:40:12 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155898 One question we often hear from our social media consulting clients is, “what is content curation in social media?” and “how can I do it the right way?” Let’s dive right in with Convince & Convert strategist, Lauren Teague. What Is Content Curation in Social Media? Content curation in social media is the premise that […]

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What is content curation in social media?

One question we often hear from our social media consulting clients is, “what is content curation in social media?” and “how can I do it the right way?”

Let’s dive right in with Convince & Convert strategist, Lauren Teague.

What Is Content Curation in Social Media?

Content curation in social media is the premise that you don’t actually have to write or produce all of the content that you publish.

Curating content is finding the content that your audience will find important or useful, and repositioning that in a way that serves both your organization and your audience.

To curate content that your audience will enjoy, start by looking through your email newsletters, searching social media, following relevant hashtags or other keywords, and signing up for Google Alerts for relevant terms.

Save that content for future use — use a swipe file or your social media management system. Get it ready to add to your social media and content calendar in the future.

Why Should You Curate Content for Social Media?

One key benefit of sharing curated content, instead of only content you create, is that that curated content helps you keep up with the demands of social media algorithms and the frequency of content that you need. For example, the half-life of any tweet is less than 20 minutes. If your objective is to stay present in your audience’s Twitter feed or other feed, and your content expires within 20 minutes, then you need enough content to share every hour of the time that you want to be present in your audience’s feed.

It’s nearly impossible to create 12 or 24 pieces of content a day without taking advantage of content curation, such as retweeting content or republishing a link, a photo, a video— or another great piece of content that you found.

What Are the Keys to Successful Content Curation?

The content you curate must be useful and relevant to your audiences. While it’s fun to curate cat memes, your audience may be horse owners, and cat means won’t really speak to them—that type of content is irrelevant. Soon enough, they will tune you out, your content will be less engaging, and the algorithms will adjust how they’re showing content accordingly.

The content that you curate needs to be just as relevant and informative as any content that you would aim to publish. In addition, you don’t want to simply link to someone else’s content. You need to add context around why you are sharing it.

For example, if you’re writing content for an email newsletter, you can include an intro sentence or two that talks about why you included a certain link or why someone should click on it. The same thing goes for social media. If you’re curating and sharing, take the time to explain why it’s relevant and why it caught your interest or attention and. Use 140 characters or the caption space to explain why. That gives you a chance to put your own take or spin on the content — whether you agree or disagree with it.

What Is the Ideal Mix of Curated vs. Original Content?

The ideal mix of how much content you should produce originally vs. curate can vary.

Don’t be afraid to publish and share more curated content, especially when you’re focusing your efforts on creating longer pieces of rich, original content. It will help keep your feed up-to-date if you can curate set-it-and-forget-it content.

It is reasonable for your social publishing schedule to be 80%, 70%, or 60% curated content vs. 20 or 30% of your own, especially if you do the things that we were just talking about, like including a sentence or two of your own thoughts about why you’re sharing, retweeting or reposting a piece of content. It’s a great way to be visible, but not feel the stress of producing so much original content to keep up with the algorithms.

Conclusion

Curating content is a really great idea for social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, and of course, Pinterest is all about curation. As you move forward, you can bring content curation into your own website content and your email newsletters. Remember, collect and share  the best of what’s on the internet and always make sure sure it’s totally relevant to your audiences.

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9 Key Discoveries in 2020 Social Media Research  https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-research/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-research/#respond Wed, 10 Jun 2020 12:00:01 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155886 2020 social media research demonstrates that platforms like TikTok and WhatsApp are starting to make their mark on young audiences and are becoming the hottest social networks. Recently, our friends at Edison Research and Triton Digital released their 2020 Infinite Dial report—the annual report on social media usage patterns among Americans. Fun fact: the Infinite […]

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Social Media Research

2020 social media research demonstrates that platforms like TikTok and WhatsApp are starting to make their mark on young audiences and are becoming the hottest social networks.

Infinite Dial Research 2020Recently, our friends at Edison Research and Triton Digital released their 2020 Infinite Dial report—the annual report on social media usage patterns among Americans. Fun fact: the Infinite Dial report also happens to be the current longest ongoing survey of digital media consumer behavior. (See our 2019 social media research recap here.)

The report showcases the emerging shifts in users’ preferred platforms of choice, as well as what’s to be expected this year in terms of growth.

I highly recommend you grab the entire 2020 report, as the highlights covered here are just a small selection of interesting statistics and user behaviors included in The Infinite Dial 2020.

Here are the nine crucial 2020 social media research trends that this report uncovered, based on a survey of 1,502 Americans, ages 12 and up. 

Social Media Usage Continues to Flatline

While the report shows social media usage has increased by 1% this year, the growth rate of social has stayed relatively consistent for Americans since 2016.

Instagram Is Approaching #1 Fast

While social media usage has stayed virtually unchanged, Instagram continues to see significant growth among users, falling just behind Facebook in popularity.

Social Media Brand Usage

Instagram Is Taking the Lead for Younger Demographics 

For ages 12-34, Instagram continues to hold the top spot (over Facebook) as the most frequently used platform. Instagram continues to see increased growth with this demographic, while Facebook growth mostly remains static. 

Social Media Brand Usage

Live Video Game Streaming is Gaining Traction

Up from last year’s report findings, 9% of the total population 12 or older reports playing a live streamed video game—an increase of 28% since 2019. Due to the rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, it’s made live streaming more accessible to all. 

Live Streaming Video Games

It will be especially interesting to follow this statistic into next year, with an overall increase of live streaming platform-wide due to the coronavirus pandemic 

TikTok Has Made Powerful First Impressions

TikTok is hot on the scene for users aged 12-34 and has already achieved considerable growth. Among this audience, 29% report using TikTok and 4% state that it is their most used social platform. 

Though TikTok has a way to go before competing with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, it is certainly on the upswing. 

WhatsApp Is Attracting More Users 

Like TikTok, WhatsApp usage increased by 26% in users aged 12-34 over the past year. Interestingly, WhatApp’s percentage of users among this demographic is now equal to that of Twitter. 

Social Media Brand Usage

Snapchat Is On the Decline 

Compared to last year’s report, Snapchat usage and favorability has fallen significantly among all audience demographics. 

This is most likely due to Instagram advancing its stories functionality with a wide range of filters, stickers, and visual tools, while Snapchat has stayed relatively unchanged with its capabilities. 

Social Media Brand Usage 

Facebook Continues to Rise Among Gen Xers

After two years of no user growth for 35-54-year-olds on Facebook, in 2020, usage by this demographic increased by 7%. This makes this age group the widest users of Facebook from any other American audience. 

Younger Audiences Have Returned to Facebook

Though not a substantial difference from 2019, Facebook users aged 12-34 have increased by 3% in 2020. This is surprising because Facebook was losing users from this demographic the past few years. 

Facebook Usage - 12-34

These are nine key discoveries from this year’s Infinite Dial 2020 report. But there are many more to discover. Grab the full, 78-page report and give it a look through. 

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Social Media Listening for Non-Profits: A How-To Guide https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-listening-for-non-profits/ https://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-listening-for-non-profits/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 12:00:24 +0000 https://www.convinceandconvert.com/?p=155884 For non-profit organizations, every marketing task can be a serious challenge. Many have limited budgets and small teams, but raising awareness about the causes and collecting donations takes a lot of work. Getting people to see the organization and trust it enough to donate their time or hard-earned money also takes great effort. In this […]

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Social Media Listening for Non-Profits

For non-profit organizations, every marketing task can be a serious challenge. Many have limited budgets and small teams, but raising awareness about the causes and collecting donations takes a lot of work. Getting people to see the organization and trust it enough to donate their time or hard-earned money also takes great effort. In this post, I’ll explain how social media listening can help with all of that.

The existence of social media is a gift to nonprofits. Surely, it’s a gift to anyone, but in particular to companies with small budgets. We know that social media works well for nonprofits: 55% of people who engage with causes via social media are inspired to take further action, like donating money (68%), volunteering (53%), donating items (52%) or attending an event (43%). Plus, social media exposure is “free.”


55% of people who engage with causes via social media are inspired to take further action, like donating money (68%), volunteering (53%), donating items (52%) or attending an event (43%).
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Or at least it used to be “free.” With the algorithms evolving, less and less traffic is reaching business pages that don’t pay for social advertising. This means less awareness, fewer donations, and fewer volunteers.

While the majority of nonprofits have dedicated pages on social networks and do some social media marketing, in the year 2020, this is not enough. You have to either throw your money into social advertising or get creative.

Social listening is for the ones that choose to get creative. It’s not an obvious solution, and it’s not widely popular among nonprofits. But it can help achieve many goals that nonprofits usually have:

  1. Raising awareness of the organization and its cause
  2. Increasing donations and participation
  3. Building a loyal community
  4. Managing your reputation

So here comes the big question.

What is social listening?

Social listening is the process of finding mentions of keywords on social networks, news, blogs, forums, and the web using a social listening tool (e.g., Awario, Brandwatch). Social analytics, which usually follows social listening, is responsible for analyzing this data to give you the answers you need.

Keywords can be anything, such as“Syrian refugees”, “animal rights”, or “Save The Children”.

Questions that one needs answers to can also be very different. Usually they are:

  • How popular is our organization?
  • Is our organization getting more or less popular? What does this depend on?
  • Does our organization have a good reputation?
  • How much do people talk about our cause?
  • Is the talk about the cause increasing or decreasing? What does this depend on?
  • Where is the talk happening? Which geographical locations and where on the internet do people talk about the cause?
  • What else do they say when they talk about our cause? (e.g., do “climate change” and “recycling” go hand in hand in people’s conversations?)
  • Who can help promote the cause?
  • And so on.

So let’s get to the how-to part and start with the first two goals.

Raise awareness and increase donations/participation

Why do these goals go together? Because the workflow is the same for both. First, you find people that are already interested. Then, you take what you can from them—either their money/time or their word. This is how you do it:

1. Find out who already talks about your organization.

First, you need to know who is already there for you in order to know what kind of people to reach out to in the future. You hopefully already have the stats on your regular donors and volunteers.

To add to that, find people online who’ve mentioned your organization and look at their analytics: what is their demographic? Which locations do they come from? Which social networks do they use?

While they might be the people who talk and not actually help you in any solid way, they are still important. You simply need people to spread the word on social media. The word may finally meet the ones who will provide help.

Also, the conversations signal that these people are interested in the topic — they might just not have enough resources to contribute right now. But that might change, so you better put these people aside for future targeting.

2. Find people who talk about your cause.

To reach more social media users that could donate or help your cause, you’ve got to find people that are interested in your cause. Luckily, with social listening, this is just as easy as finding mentions of your organization: you use the same tool to find people that talk about your cause by monitoring that cause.

Then, go through the data to discover who these people are where they hang out, and reach out to individuals, telling them about your organization and explaining how they can help. These people are “hot leads” — you already know they are into the topic — all you need to do is convince them to act on it. This sounds like it’s still a challenging task, yet it’s much easier than convincing “cold leads” — people who are usually approached on the street by non-profit employees.

Find People Who Talk About Your Cause

Mentions feed for the keyword “animal rights”. Screenshot from Awario.

3. Find influencers and brand advocates.

In both groups of people described above, you’ll have influential authors: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users with millions of followers, Reddit anonymous authors, famous bloggers and more. Most social listening tools will show you \ lists of people with the large following: some will have just over 5K and some will have millions of dedicated listeners.

The first group (the ones that talked about your brand) is a group of your potential brand advocates. They’ve talked about your organization once or twice  — they can do more of the talking and help spread awareness.

In the second group, you’ll find your social media influencers. They care about the cause, they talk about it, they probably advocate for some other nonprofits. No harm in reaching out to them and asking whether they would also spread the word about your organization.

Influencers Report

Instagram influencers for keyword “animal rights”. Screenshot from Awario.

4. Find relevant journalists and media outlets.

Social listening is a huge help when it comes to PR because social listening tools find media outlets and individual journalists who are already interested either in your organization or in your cause.

For PR, you should simply choose a social media listening tool that monitors news and blogs, narrow your search to only these resources (hence, excluding social networks and the rest of the web), and create alerts for your organization’s name, other nonprofits in your niche and your cause. Once you have a list, you can reach out to the sources and journalists that have either already mentioned your organization or a similar one or that often talk about your cause.

Find Journalists

Influential Media for the keyword “PETA”.

Build a loyal community

So far we’ve talked about finding different kinds of people on social media that are interested in your cause and potentially interested in participating and reaching out to them asking to mention your organization to their followers, or to donate their time/money/clothing, etc.

While these people might agree to it once, it would be better if they could contribute regularly and inspire their friends to do the same. To do that, nonprofits should do their best to show that they don’t perceive the contributors as cashpoints. And this is all about creating engagement.

Firstly, of course, you have to engage with people that are already your followers on social media. You have to post content, ask questions, reply to comments — let your followers know that you’re interested in their feelings and opinions. Ask why they chose to support your cause, what brought them to your organization. Ask for their stories.

Secondly, join the conversations that you’ve found through social listening. Talk not as a marketer, but as a friend. Social media is a place for discussions, for ideas, for fun — no matter how serious the cause is.

Asking people for money always comes second. First comes the engagement.

Keep an eye on your reputation

For nonprofits, there’s nothing quite as vital as reputation management. All success depends on how much people trust the organization with their money. And at the same time, plenty of nonprofits get accused of doing something wrong. Their reputation goes up and down, and sometimes, the organization isn’t even aware of the causes and the changes happening.

With social listening, it’s possible to monitor the sentiment and the topics discussed about the organization in real time. Every time there’s a spike in negative mentions, a marketer or a social media manager will notice it, dig into the mentions that have caused the spike, and see what the negativity is about. This gives the organization a chance to reply in time, explain the situation or solve a problem, and stop the escalating crisis.

Similarly, one can react to individual negative and positive questions, keeping an eye on the issues surrounding the nonprofit, and showing appreciation to the ones spreading the good word about it.

Social Listening Example for Animal Rights

Dashboard for the keyword “animal rights”. Screenshot from Awario.

Tools used for social listening

There are plenty of social listening tools on the market. I’ve picked three awesome social listening tools that offer discounts for nonprofits.

Awario

Awario is a social media listening and analytics tool that tracks mentions of any given keyword on all major social networks, as well as news, blogs, forums, and the web. It has a Boolean search option, so no matter how challenging your organization’s name is, you can still find relevant mentions of it online.

The tool analyzes mentions’ growth, sentiment, reach, major topics that surround your keywords, locations & languages, sources etc. It also finds social media influencers and PR opportunities. And you can engage with social media users straight from the app.

Pricing: $29/mo for the Starter plan, $89/mo for Pro, and $299/mo for Enterprise. Saves 2 months with a yearly plan.

Non-profit discount: 50% off Pro and Enterprise. Apply here.

Mention

Mention is a social media and web monitoring tool. It finds mentions of any keywords, analyzes them, and provides you with insights into mentions’ growth, sentiment, locations & languages, surrounding trends, etc. Mention also has social media management features.

Pricing: Solo is $29/mo, Pro is $99/mo, and Enterprise is $450+/mo. All yearly plans save you 2 months.

Non-profit discount: 20% off yearly subscriptions.

Agorapulse

Agorapulse is a social media management and listening platform. It has publishing and scheduling features; lets you assign roles to the members of your team; shows trends, sentiment, and other insights into your audience; identifies influencers.

Pricing: Medium is €99/mo, Large is €199/mo, X-Large is €299/mo, and Enterprise is €499/mo. Yearly plans save you to 20%.

Non-profit discount: 25% off monthly and 15% off annual subscriptions.

Conclusion

Social media listening is a powerful method. With its help, you can find like-minded people wherever they are. You can let the online public know how you’re making the world a better place. And you can inspire people to do the same.

The post Social Media Listening for Non-Profits: A How-To Guide appeared first on Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy.

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