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Jul

16

2015

CMO Tip: How to Make Sure Your Team Is Getting the Most Out of a Conference or Event

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I have a lot of folks ask me if our INBOUND event (coming up Sept 8-11th) is valuable for them and their teams to attend.

(SPOILER ALERT: It’s insanely valuable.)

And ever since I started managing marketing teams, I’ve had people ask me if they could attend conferences and events. Some VPs and CMOs I know evaluate each event individually and make a judgment call each time they are asked by someone on their team. However, I have always felt as though it’s better to let people on your team decide for themselves.

And if and when they do decide to attend, I simply ask them to do a few things to ensure that they get the most out of it. This approach has proven to work out great for many members of my team … and it just might work for yours.

With that said, below you’ll find the six most important things I ask my team to cover every time they attend an event. 

Not managing a team of your own? No worries. You can use these same tips to convince your boss to sign off on your trip to #INBOUND15

6 Tips for Making Sure Your Team Is Getting the Most Out of a Conference or Event

1) Create a plan. 

Ask your employee to create a plan of the sessions they will attend, what they are looking to learn at those sessions each day, and five speakers they want to meet in person (and what they want to talk to them about).

This shows they have researched the agenda and have thought about the conference content in detail. This can be important for events at resorts or especially fun cities to visit because people may be focused more on the trip than the conference.

Once you approve the trip, they should reach out to the five speakers they want to meet and try to set up times to meet with them. A few of my top picks of people to see at INBOUND are Daniel Pink, Scott Stratten, Ann Handley, and Michael King — and we created some recommended agendas for different types of attendees. 

2) Write a report.

I love asking people who attend events to write up a summary of what they learned in each session, some interesting observations from talking to people at the event, the most interesting people they met, and the key takeaways overall from the trip. You can also ask them to present this summary at your next team meeting, which is great for developing presentation skills on your team.  

If anyone from your team attends INBOUND, I would expect them to have some interesting ideas about both your overall marketing and sales strategy, as well as tactical tips and hacks that will help improve the day-to-day things they do.

3) Implement a change.

A lot of people leave events energized and ready to conquer the world, but then get back to the office and fall into the old routine.

One way to combat this is to ask people who attend a conference to pick one new idea from the conference to implement when they get back, and hold them to doing that in the 90 days after the conference. This helps make sure the conference trip ended up making a positive change in how your team works.

4) Recruit new hires. 

As a team leader you probably know that hiring is the hardest and most important thing you do.

Conferences are a great place to network and meet people you might want to hire. Personally, I’m always thinking about hiring opportunities every time I meet someone — especially at conferences.

You can ask people from your team to come back with a list of the best people they met at the conference and then decide if you should try to recruit and interview them.

5) Hold customer, prospect, and partner meetings. 

Most companies have customers, prospects, or partners in many different locations. Use the trip to a conference as an opportunity to have folks from your team meet with them the day before or the day after the conference.

Meeting customers is always a good idea — especially when the cost is just one more night of hotel.

6) Create content about what you learned. 

Most events will have speakers that can inspire content you can use in your own marketing.

At INBOUND, you’ll find not only content about marketing and sales, but also leadership, communication, management, and more. In other words, for pretty much anyone you sell to, there’s a session you can attend that will teach you something you can apply to a valuable piece of content. 

To ensure that your team makes the most out of each session, ask them to use the conference as an opportunity to create one or two pieces of new content to use in your marketing.

Do you have any other ideas to help your team get the most out of attending a conference? What about ideas on how to convince your boss to let you register for INBOUND (or another event)? Let us know in the comment section below.

register for INBOUND 2015  

 

Jun

16

2015

How to Create a Traffic & Leads Waterfall Chart to Track Your Marketing Progress

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Being able to consistently hit your website’s traffic goal and provide the right number of quality leads to your sales team are two of the most crucial responsibilities of a marketing team.

But without the right tools in place, you could have wild variations in the number of visits or leads you actually generate. At the end of a month or quarter, you could end up way ahead or (more likely) way behind your goal.

Using daily traffic and leads waterfall charts is a great way to ensure you never fall far behind the pace you need to stay afloat. 

If you are a HubSpot customer, your marketing software has these reports built in. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post for more information on how to get them set up. If you’re not a customer, don’t worry. I’ll show you how to set up each of these waterfall digrams in Excel. 

First, download our free traffic and leads calculator to help determine your goals.

How to Create a Traffic Waterfall Chart in Excel

The purpose of the traffic waterfall graph is to compare your actual traffic to your traffic goal on any given day and month. Here’s how to set this up in Excel.

Step 1: Set a traffic goal for the month.

I recommend basing it on past traffic numbers and your SMART marketing goals. Our traffic and leads calculator can also be helpful here.

Step 2: Calculate a daily traffic goal.

A simple way to do this is to start with a total traffic goal and divide that by the number of days in the month you’re measuring. Boom: Your daily leads goal.

If you want to set a more realistic daily goal (which I’d recommend), then you can cater this daily goal to whether each day falls on a weekday or a weekend.

For example, let’s say there are 30 days in the month, and 22 of those are weekdays and 8 are weekend days. Let’s also say that, in the past, about 85% of a given week’s traffic comes during Monday through Friday. Finally, let’s set your monthly traffic goal at 8,000 visits.

  • Calculate the percentage growth you need to see on a weekday to hit your goal. Multiply your cumulative monthly traffic goal by the percentage of traffic comes on weekdays — in this case, 85% or 0.85. Then, divide that number by the number of weekdays — in this case, 22. So: (8000*0.85)/22 = 309 visits per weekday.
  • Next, calculate the percentage growth you need to see on a weekend. Multiply your cumulative monthly traffic goal by the percentage of traffic that comes on weekends — in this case, 15% or 0.15. Then, divide that number by the number of weekend days — in this case, 8. So: (8000*0.15)/8 = 150 visits per weekend day.

Step 3: Create the daily traffic waterfall.

Use this graph to plot your progress on a daily basis — not just at the end of the month or quarter. In addition, share this with your marketing team so everyone can check on the team’s progress and assess their own contributions. 

If you’re using Excel, create a table with the following columns:

  • Date: Dedicate a cell to each day in the month.
  • Weekday/Weekend: Label each day as a weekday or weekend day.
  • Daily Actual Visits: Plug in the number of visits you actually get each day.
  • Cumulative Actual Visits: Add that day’s actual visit number to the number of visits you’ve gotten so far that month.
  • Daily Goal Visits: At the beginning of the month, plug in your daily visits goal, depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend. 
  • Cumulative Goal Visits: At the beginning of the month, sum your daily visits goal day over day. 

Here’s what it might look like:

daily-traffic-waterfall.png

Each morning, plot your progress by plugging in the actual visit number from the previous day and adding it to the traffic you’ve earned over the month in the “Cumulative Actual Visits” column.

Next, create a graph from this spreadsheet to create your daily leads waterfall graph. First, hide the “Weekday/Weekend” column by right clicking on the column and choosing “Hide.” Then, highlight the rest of your data, including the titles of your rows and columns but excluding the “Total” row that’s at the bottom. Click the “Charts” tab at the top and choose “Line” and then “Marked Line.”

You should see a graph that roughly resembles this one:

daily-traffic-waterfall-excel.png

From there, you can add a title, label the lines, and change other visual elements. (And if you want more details on how to make a graph in Excel, this video tutorial is very helpful.)

Pro Tip: If you’re finding that your “Cumulative Actual Visits” line is extending beyond the current date (i.e. that line drops to zero for all future dates), then set the proper date range by right-clicking on the white space in your graph and choosing “Select Data.” Select “Cumulative Actual Visits” from the Series box, and edit the Y-values to only include the dates up until that day. Note that you will have to manually update this each day.

How to Build a Daily Leads Waterfall Chart in Excel

This process is very similar to setting up a traffic waterfall. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Decide on the definition of a “lead.”

First thing’s first: You’ll need to work with your sales team to agree on the definition of a “lead,” the qualifying factors for a lead to be handed off from marketing to sales, and what leads “count” toward the goal.

To help you get started with this, check out these three resources:

Step 2: Set a monthly or quarterly goal for the total number of leads.

Whether you need to calculate monthly or quarterly lead goals, start with your sales goals and your conversion rates, and then work backwards to determine your lead goal. For instance, if you know you need 7 new customers next month and roughly 5% of your leads become customers, then you need 140 leads next month to hit your company’s sales goals.

To learn how to calculate a monthly lead goal in more detail, read this blog post.

Step 3: Set a daily leads goal.

Just like you did with the traffic waterfall, you should calculate how many leads you need to generate per day to hit your monthly or quarterly leads goals. Use the same process I outlined in the traffic section to find out how many leads you need each day.

Step 4: Create the daily leads waterfall graph.

Like with the traffic waterfall, use this graph to plot your progress daily, and regularly share it with the team. This is a great graph to share with your sales reps so they have a clear and realistic idea of what to expect from marketing.

If you’re using Excel, create a table with the following columns:

  • Date: Dedicate a cell to each day in the month.
  • Weekday/Weekend: Label each day as a weekday or weekend day.
  • Daily Actual Leads: Plug in the number of leads you actually got each day.
  • Cumulative Actual Leads: Add that day’s actual lead number to the number of leads you’ve gotten so far that month.
  • Daily Goal Leads: At the beginning of the month, plug in your daily lead goal, depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend. 
  • Cumulative Goal Leads: At the beginning of the month, sum your daily lead goal day over day. 

Here’s what it might look like:

leads-waterfall-graph-1.png

Then, you can graph it in Excel in the same way you created your traffic waterfall graph. You should see a graph that roughly resembles this one:

daily-cumulative-leads.png

From there, you can add a title, label the lines, and add other visual elements. (And here’s that video tutorial on how to create Excel graphs again, in case you need a refresher.)

How to Use the Daily Traffic & Leads Waterfall Graphs

If Your Traffic or Lead Flow Is Below Goal

Unfortunately, this means you’re not on track to hit the traffic or leads goal, and you’re at risk of letting the sales team down. What to do?

It’s time to invest in some extra work. Try to come up with additional marketing offers, create more content on your blog, step up your social media engagement, repurpose some content on new channels, and generally increase the promotions you’re doing. To stay safe at all times, you may find it helpful to always have backup lead generation content you can publish at a moment’s notice.

In addition to pumping up your inbound marketing activities, you can also keep a reserve of cash around to give a boost to some of your paid marketing campaigns or supplement your inbound efforts when you’re falling behind the leads goal.

If Your Traffic or Lead Flow Is Above Goal

Congratulations: You’re ahead of the game! This gives you an opportunity to start planning more for the future.

Maybe you can push some of your planned activity for this month off until next month. For example, maybe you hold off on publishing that blog article right away and instead schedule it to be published a few weeks in the future. In the future, you may not find yourself so ahead of the goal line, so take this time to prepare a backlog of content and promotional components. 

How to Set Up Traffic & Leads Waterfall Graphs in HubSpot

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you’re in luck: HubSpot has a built-in waterfall chart template that will generated these graphs for you.

To track traffic, you can find the waterfall report right on your portal’s Dashboard in the Marketing Performance section. To create custom goals, simply select “Goals” from the graph’s dropdown menu, and click “Set Goals” when it appears.

set-custom-goals.png

Your HubSpot-generated traffic waterfall chart will look something like this:

traffic_waterfall.png

To track leads, you can set up an Attribution Report by going to “Reports” and then “Reports Home.” Here are specific instructions for how to set up an attribution report in HubSpot. You can also set up automated emails that send this report out to specific contacts (like your sales and marketing teams).

Your leads waterfall chart will resemble this …

lead_waterfall.png

Do you track your traffic and/or lead flow daily? What techniques do you use to make sure you support the sales team properly?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free traffic and leads calculator

 
free traffic and leads calculator

Jun

4

2015

5 Ways Marketing Can Help Sales Through a Tough Month

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A company won’t survive if it doesn’t meet its revenue goals. That’s why revenue isn’t just the sales team’s problem — it’s every department’s problem. An effective marketing team will set up the sales team for success by generating valuable leads and nurturing them until they’re ready to be passed to sales reps.

But the partnership doesn’t end there. When the sales team is struggling to make its goal towards the close of a tough month, marketers shouldn’t just stand around and twiddle their thumbs. They should get in the trenches and help their colleagues any way they can.

When the going gets rough, Marketing should have Sales’ back. Not sure how marketers can support salespeople when it gets down to the wire? Here are five ideas for how to support reps during crunch time.

5 Ways Marketing Can Help Sales

1) Jump on a call.

Are you a product expert? Get on a call. An industry veteran? Get on a call. An influential executive? Get on a call.

Depending on a prospect’s needs, one of the best ways you can help a rep struggling to close a deal is by joining a call and sharing your perspective. Consider setting up a system that allows sales reps to book people in the marketing organization or other departments based on their expertise. Sometimes all it takes to get a contract signed is 10 minutes with a subject-matter expert.

2) Do a demo.

Towards the end of the month, a rep might be so swamped that they can’t keep up with all their prospects. In this case, volunteering to give a demo is akin to a godsend.

Conducting a demo is also helpful if a prospect has technical questions that surpass the sales rep’s knowledge. If you’re a product expert, guiding or joining a demo can significantly accelerate the decision process. (Read this post for tips on how to give a great demo.)

3) Introduce prospects to customer references.

Maybe a prospect just needs to check your references before signing on. If Marketing sets up a shared document or calendar listing customers who are available to chat, sales reps can easily connect prospects with references. If Marketing does the legwork in identifying customers and managing their schedules, Sales can bring in the deals.

4) Crowdsource answers.

Occasionally, a prospect will have a question that the sales rep can’t answer. In these scenarios, it’s very helpful for a marketer to track down the correct response on the rep’s behalf so they can keep selling. A smart way to do this is to set up a dedicated email address sales reps can send their toughest questions to, monitored by someone from the marketing team.

5) Show love on social.

Who doesn’t like getting a shoutout on social? If a deal wavering in the balance might benefit from a little public recognition, implore your social media manager to send some love the prospect’s way. Highlight a recent company accomplishment, or help get the word out about a new initiative. Any way you can use your social reach to help your prospect achieve their objectives will be much appreciated. In addition, a social shoutout demonstrates the level of support and care the prospect can expect if they become a customer.

Growth is a team sport. At the end of the month, it doesn’t matter if you’re in marketing or sales: Everyone is on the same team working towards the same goal. Make sure your sales organization knows they can count on Marketing when the going gets tough, and they’ll have your back when the situation is inevitably reversed.

free sales and marketing alignment ebook

 

May

7

2015

What Our 15,000 Customers Taught Us About Business

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As you may have seen, we shared some exciting news this morning: More than 15,000 customers now use the HubSpot Marketing Platform. As this is a pretty big milestone for the inbound marketing community, we wanted to make sure that we took the time to celebrate and thank all of our fantastic customers appropriately. 

So we got 15,000 ping-pong balls and decided to have some fun. As we set out to put together the video below, I started thinking about all the great insights we’ve learned from our customers over the last eight years. I decided to ask around: What was the most memorable thing you’ve learned from our customers? 

Check out the video and lessons below to find out what we’ve learned.

1) Even when you don’t think you have anything to teach, you probably do.

“Whenever people tell me they don’t have anything to blog about, I tell them something that one of our customers (Tom at GoodbyeCrutches.com) told me: ‘What’s obvious to you is completely new to me. Don’t try to teach yourself, try to teach me.’ We’re all experts on things we don’t even realize, and odds are that even if something is obvious to you, it’s completely new information to your prospects.”

– Sam Mallikarjunan, HubSpot Labs

2) Inbound allows you to invest in the best people.

“In 2013, I had a call with a customer that’s stuck with me ever since. Steve at Yale Appliance told me about how inbound changed his business — not because he could turn the cost savings into profit, but because he could reinvest the savings in his team. He’s invested in better equipment, better training, and better people, and found a lot of ROI from all of those, too.”

– Rosalia Cefalu, Marketing

3) How your customers really use your product might be different than you imagined. (And that’s okay.)

“One of my customers (Seth at Longitude Media) uses HubSpot in an innovative way to not only to benefit his own businesses but to advance his customers as well. Seth uses HubSpot product to execute inbound campaigns that provide more qualified leads for his customers to nurture and close — completely transforming many of his longstanding partnerships.”

– Tim Cormier, Services  

4) Where there’s a will, there’s a way (to do inbound).

“I love working with customers who don’t have a marketing background, but are crushing it with inbound. I have one customer who’s a percussionist, but also a very successful with the HubSpot software. People like him have taught me that it’s less about how much you’ve been taught about marketing, and more about how much of a will you have to share everything else that you know.”

– Jill Fratianne, Sales

5) People will always be the key to success.

“People talk about business as business, but our customers teach us that it’s all personal. Many of our customers have built their own successful businesses because of the personal attention they give it, and they’ve told us that they chose HubSpot because we have the same philosophy from our support team all the way to our CEO.”

– Katie Burke, People Operations

6) You can get a great waffle at the Eiffel Tower.

“Last April I was flying to Paris to visit a friend. I emailed one of my favorite customers, Julie of Hoi Moon Marketing, because I knew she lived in Paris. I asked Julie how to get to my hostel from the airport. Instead of giving me directions, she came to the airport to pick me up and show me in person. It was incredible. She came and got me on the train, showed me how to buy a ticket, how to navigate the trains, and then took me to the Eiffel Tower for a waffle. She taught me a lot about Paris, and also gave me a huge reminder that our customers are the best!”

– Rachel Decker, Product

We still have a lot left to learn.

At last year’s INBOUND conference, we included 143 suggestions from our customers in our product updates. We love to learn from our customers, whether it’s about inbound marketing, the ins-and-outs of Paris, or how to make our product better. We’re very excited to learn even more together.

Apr

2

2015

Making Cents of Inbound Marketing: An Interview With HubSpot’s CFO

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One of the toughest challenges CMOs face is getting buy-in on new programs and initiatives from the rest of the executive team — especially from the CFO. A lot of CMOs feel like they’re begging for money each month. And if the money ends up going to something that doesn’t quite pan out, their budget is on the chopping block.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways CMOs can improve their relationship with their CFOs, and the best way to get started is to figure out how your CFO thinks. What do they really think about marketing? What’s the best way to get buy-in on a new marketing program? How do they decide how much budget marketing gets?

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a kit on how to prove the value of inbound to your executive team. In this kit, I’ve placed special emphasis on the CMO-CFO relationship — which means, of course, that I’ve spent some quality time hashing it out with my own CFO at HubSpot, John Kinzer.

If you’ve ever wanted to get inside the head of a CFO, now’s your chance. I sat down with John to talk about the CFO perspective on marketing — from the approval process for an inbound marketing program to how the marketing budget is decided. Below are some excerpts from our conversation, which you can use as guidance for building a better working relationship with your own CFO.

An Interview with HubSpot CFO John Kinzer

Q: How effective do you think inbound marketing is, from your own experience?

From my own experience, I do think it’s effective. I’ve seen it’s success firsthand. For one, I personally don’t respond to cold calls or anything like that. And I always try to research things before I buy anything.

Here’s a great example. Last year, I bought a zipline for my three daughters. Literally, I searched the internet for “zipline” and I found this company called Zipline Gear. They had a great blog and YouTube videos that I learned a lot from. I’m not sure they were the least expensive, but they sounded like they knew what they were doing — so I ended up buying a zipline from them. That’s just a small example of how inbound marketing has worked on me. 

Q: Do you think most CFOs think that marketing drives value?

To some extent, I’m sure we all do — but we also tend to view marketing as a black hole of expenses. We’re more apt to quote the classic line, “50% of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which 50%.” As a CFO, you’re always trying to get better metrics around marketing.

Fortunately, inbound marketing can give us those metrics. When I came to HubSpot, I saw that the marketing team does an amazing job of tracking what works. They track MQLs, SQLs, and marketing CAC across all markets. Knowing these metrics makes investing in marketing far more palatable for a CFO. I can see how marketing drives leads and produces customers. I can connect the dots and see that the marketing team really is driving value. So from that standpoint, marketing doesn’t seem like a black hole.

Q: CMOs often say their CFOs love PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising because it’s predictable and measurable. But they also say it’s hard to get their CFO’s buy-in to reallocate dollars from PPC to inbound marketing. What are your thoughts on PPC?

At previous companies, we didn’t use PPC that much because we had a clearly defined market. And, personally, I’ve never really clicked on PPC ads.

The way I think of PPC (and hope other CFOs would as well) is that PPC is like renting space on somebody else’s site. Blogs and other content you create, on the other hand, are assets you own that have a long shelf life. I know because at HubSpot, we get leads from blog posts written four to five years ago!

I think that the concept of renting versus owning really resonates with CFOs. If you’re doing inbound and building assets your company owns, you know that if you stopped doing any more blog posts, you’d still be generating leads for the foreseeable future. Whereas, once you stop funding PPC advertising, leads stop. Inbound marketing is also sort of like creating an annuity. It returns interest or leads ongoing without putting in more investment.

Q: Is it fair to say that inbound marketing has a compound interest effect?

Yes, especially because it brings in other people from social media. When that happens, new leads and markets can be discovered that we would never have encountered otherwise. A blog can be spread out all across the web and bring in referral links from all kinds of blogs, publications, and social media sites. That’s an amazing potential impact and a cost-effective way to attract qualified leads.

Q: In what ways do CFOs participate in marketing planning?

From a planning process, we do both bottom-up and top-down analysis. From the top-down perspective, we look at what comparable companies are spending on sales and marketing.

From a bottom-up perspective, we look at metrics such as CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), which we separate between sales and marketing. We then compare that to the LTV (Lifetime Value of a customer). The higher the LTV to CAC ratio, the better return we’re getting on our investment.

When we start planning, as long as we can keep marketing CAC in a range that leads to these returns, then we’re comfortable. We’re especially lucky to have a financially savvy CMO like you, who’s very bottom-line driven. So, as long as you stay in that range, we know you’re making good one-off decisions and we don’t need to micromanage how you’re spending that money.

We also look at MQLs and SQLs. As long as our Senior VP of Global Sales, Hunter Madeley, is getting enough leads for his team to hit their sales targets, we know the process is working and the company is doing well. In summary, I look at high-level metrics and then let you (the CMO) manage how you spend the budget.

Q: How do you decide what budget to approve for marketing?

First of all, we come up with sales goals and customers necessary to hit our growth goals. We then back into the marketing budget necessary to drive those customers using the historical CAC. It’s then up to you as the CMO to put together a budget that fits into that framework and we iterate from there.

Q: If you were at another company and the CMO came to you wanting to invest in a new program focused on inbound, how would you go about approving that?

I’d say, “You have a budget you need to stay within and you know what leads you need to generate, so if you can fit it within your marketing budget, I trust you will make the right decision. If you can’t, and you’re asking for more money, then we have to look at all the new things we want to fund. We’ll have to analyze what will produce the highest ROI for monies spent. If you can make a good business case, and we can afford, you’ll get it.”

The good news is at HubSpot, we know from the MIT Sloan MBA Study that after a year, customers see on average over 3x more visitors and 4.77x more leads. And 72% of customers see an increase in revenue within one year.

Q: Are other CFOs starting to pay more attention to marketing ROI?

Yes, more so every day. The problem is that in the past you couldn’t do it with marketing in a non-digital world. The digital world makes it much easier to measure and CFOs are becoming more attuned to it.

free kit to convince your cfo to adopt inbound

Jan

22

2015

Free Advertising on Google

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It may surprise some, but many small businesses new to inbound marketing are unaware that you can get some free advertising on Google through Google My Business (formerly known as Google Places) instead of paying for pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google.

And because Google is always looking to increase the value of its local search results — as well as its Google Maps application — the search engine giant has a simple way for you to provide them with that valuable information about your business, which it infuses straight into its search engine results.

The benefit? Basically, a way to advertise your business on Google for free. And honestly, who doesn’t love some free advertising? This not only helps your business get found through searches; it can also help you get more traffic, leads, and customers.

(To learn how to advertise on Google for free and take advantage of Google’s other marketing tools, download our free guide here.)

Google My Business: Free Online Advertising

Consider this example: When you search for “hotels, boston,” the Boston Harbor Hotel ranks #1 in the Google My Business search results. Not too shabby a setup, is it? Especially considering it’s totally free!

boston-harbor-hotel-listing2

So, are you ready to get some free online advertising in Google? Let’s get started.

How to Advertise on Google for Free

In order to set up your Google My Business free listing, you’ll need the following information at hand:

  • A brief description of your business.
  • Your phone number, address, website, hours of operation, and any other contact info you want to advertise.
  • A logo or image that represents your business (for example, a picture of your office, store, or restaurant).

To set up a Google My Business listing, follow these simple steps …

Step 1: Set Up Your Account

Visit http://www.google.com/business. To set up your business on Google My Business, click the ‘Get on Google‘ button below the text, “Get your business on Google for free.”

get-on-google-1

Keep in mind that your Google My Business account will be connected to your Google account. First, search to see if your listing already exists. Keep in mind that you can edit a current listing at any time to display new information about your business — you just have to access the Google account used to create the listing, or request access from the owner. If you don’t yet have a listing, create one from scratch by clicking ‘Add your business.’

claim-business

Step 2: Provide Your Business’ Location Information

Once you click ‘Add your business,’ Google will initially prompt you to provide the location information for your business as well as your business’ main phone number and category.

add-your-business

If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront (for example, if you’re an online business that sells goods and services to customers at their locations), check the box at the bottom of the form to list your company as a service area business on Google. This will enable you to set up service areas based on either the zip codes or cities you serve, or within a given area around your location. Then, when people search for a business similar to your listing, your business will appear on a map within this specified range.

If your business serves only certain cities or areas within a city, you can choose the first option and pick only the areas you serve. This option can be helpful for companies that are only able to serve a certain area (such as a pizza delivery company) or operate in a very niche market (like a jet ski company on a beach). 

service-areas

Step 3: Confirm Your Business & Agree to Terms of Service

Before you complete your business’ full listing (which Google allows you to manage as a Google+ page), you’ll need to confirm that the information you’ve entered up until this point is accurate, as well as agree to the Google My Business Terms of Service.

confirm-business

Step 4: Verify Your Business

Before Google can make your listing visible to the public, it needs to verify that your business is legitimate. This helps Google avoid fake listings and advertisements. Google will mail you a postcard in 1-2 weeks with verification information and next steps. As an alternative, you can verify your business via phone. (Here’s how.)

You can skip this verification step for now if you want, but ultimately, you’ll need to verify your business if you want your free Google advertisement to be live.

verify-business

Step 5: Complete Your Business’ Listing Information

As I mentioned earlier, Google now uses the information from your business’ Google+ Page to power its Google My Business listings in search results, so the next step is to start editing your Google+ Page. Click the red ‘Edit‘ button at the top of your page to get started.

mike-fake-bakery-google-plus-page

Then, start filling out your business’ details. Here is a full look at the type of information you can include:

edit-business-profile-1

Some of these details will automatically populate from the information you previously provided in Step 2. You’ll also want to add your website, hours of operation, the profile photo for your business (for example, your logo or a picture of your storefront), and an “introduction.” Your introduction should be a brief description of your business. Think of it as a tagline. Be sure to add keywords you want to get found for in search, and try to keep your introduction short and sweet so it doesn’t get cut off in Google My Business search results.

Step 6: Optimize Your Business’ Google+ Page

While the information you provided above is all Google needs to include your business among its Google My Business listings in search results, it’s wise to take some extra time to optimize your business’ Google+ Page. To optimize your Google+ Page, click on the drop-down arrow at the top left next to ‘My Business‘ and select ‘Google+ Page.’

optimize-google+-page

What to Optimize on Your Google+ Page:

  • Cover Photo: Upload a high-quality, compelling image as your page’s cover photo. This image should be representative of your business as well as eye-catching and visually appealing. Download a pre-sized template to create your Google+ cover photo here.
  • Your Story: Think of this as a mini ‘About Us’ page, and use it draw your visitors in with a clear and concise explanation of your business. Elaborate on your business’ description and the products/services you provide, and include any keywords you’re hoping to get found for in search.
  • Links: Add any additional links you want visitors to check out. In addition to your business’ website, do you have a blog you want to point people to? An event you’re trying to drive registrations for? A particular landing page you’re promoting?
  • Photos & Videos: To make your page more interesting to visitors, add photos and videos of your business, the products/services you offer, or anything else related to your company. If you own a restaurant or another business that lends itself to a virtual tour, you can hire a Google-certified photographer to create a virtual tour for your business that can be featured on your page as well.
  • Status Updates, Events, and Polls: Keep your business page fresh by regularly sharing status updates, posting about events your business hosts, and engaging with your followers by publishing polls.  
  • Reviews: Respond to reviews left about your business.
  • Settings: Manage your page’s settings via the left-hand drop-down navigation. Here, you can set up notifications, edit your page’s managers, etc.

To learn more about optimizing your Google+ Page and building a following for your business, download our free Google+ ebook here.

Google My Business allows marketers to provide existing and prospective customers with the information they need in the first place the majority of people look: Google Search. Good luck!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2007 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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Nov

17

2014

How to Structure a Marketing Team of Any Size

build-team-structureA few hours after giving my session at INBOUND 2014 on how to build an inbound team, a colleague of mine told me there was one slide in my presentation that caused around 80% of the audience to stand up and take pictures with their phones.

The slide illustrates exactly how marketing leaders should structure their teams in different team sizes and stages. This subject clearly struck a nerve with the audience in the room, so I’d like to address it here in more depth. (I’ll also be hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday, November 20, 2014 — click here to register for it.)

When it comes time to adding headcount to your team, marketing leaders want to know which specialties they should hire for — and, more importantly, in what order they should hire them.

The question of who to hire next requires you to first take a look at your current team. Try placing each member of your team into the first three stages in the inbound marketing methodology: attract, convert, close. Here’s an idea of which roles belong where:

  • Attract: Your content writers, designers, SEO specialists, and social media managers.
  • Convert: Everyone involved in conversion optimization, including landing pages, calls-to-action, lead scoring, and nurturing.
  • Close: Your sales enablement marketers helping the sales team close opportunities.

Once you’ve categorized each person, you’ll have a better idea of which parts of the funnel you have been prioritizing when hiring. Next, compare your current team distribution to how you should organize a team of your size (this is that slide from my INBOUND presentation I mentioned earlier):

organizational-structure-slide

Notice how many fall under the "attract" bucket. Chances are this isn’t what your team looks like right now.

The biggest mistake I see marketing leaders make is over-investing in marketers who specialize in the bottom of the funnel. In fact, the best way to help your sales team is to build brand awareness and create content that generates a lot of leads over time. An increase of twice as many leads means twice as many quality leads — as long as you have software that lets you filter those incoming leads efficiently. That’s how you build a successful sales and marketing machine.

So if your team has three people on email marketing but only one content creator — who probably also runs social media and puts together design hacks on the side — then you’re not investing enough headcount in the "attract" stage. Your next hires should be top-of-the-funnel marketers. The more helpful and compelling content your team produces, the more effective you will be at driving traffic to your website and building a base of loyal followers and fans who eventually convert into customers.

No matter how small your marketing team is, build your "attract" team first and fastest. The long-term payoff of content is enormous. I promise you’ll kick yourself later if you aren’t investing in content now, for the same reasons you’d kick yourself for not contributing to your retirement fund until you’re 40.

Register for my webinar "Building and Scaling an Inbound Marketing Team" this Thursday, November 20 to learn more about structuring and growing your organization at every stage. At the end of the webinar, there’ll be a Q&A where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Looking forward to chatting with you.

learn how to grow an inbound marketing team

Aug

15

2014

CMO Warning: Don’t Tie Marketing Incentive Compensation to a Metric

Published by in category Management | Leave a Comment

dangling-carrotThe conventional wisdom around compensation is that you should tie it to specific, measurable goals to get the best results. And a lot of traditional marketing automation vendors and thought leaders will tell you this means a CMO should set a goal for number of leads generated, amount of marketing-influenced pipeline created, (more…)


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