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Oct

22

2015

How to Use LinkedIn for Business, Marketing, and Professional Networking [Free Kit]

Guide-LinkedIn

With over 380 million registered users in over 200 countries and territories, more than four million companies with LinkedIn Company Pages, and professionals signing up at a rate of more than two new members per second, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. 

Have you created a presence for you or your company on Linkedin yet?

Whether you want to connect with industry professionals, network, attract talent, establish thought leadership, or generate prospects and leads (or indeed, all of the above), LinkedIn should be an integral part of not just your social media marketing strategy, but also your overall inbound marketing strategy.

To help build out your LinkedIn strategy, HubSpot and LinkedIn created How to Use LinkedIn for Business, Marketing, and Professional Networking. From how to optimise your LinkedIn profile to advice for building relationships to which features you should be leveraging, this kit serves as your one-stop shop for all things LinkedIn. 

In terms of resources, here’s what you can expect to receive:

  • Three comprehensive guides: How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile, How to Use LinkedIn for Professional Networking, and How to Use LinkedIn for your Business
  • Six PowerPoint & Photoshop templates to make your profile look beautiful
  • An infographic from LinkHumans that depicts the perfect LinkedIn profile — a sneak peek of which is below:

Linkhumansinfograph_sneakpeek

So just how much do you know about LinkedIn and its power to help you grow as a professional and a business? Download How to Use LinkedIn for Business, Marketing, and Professional Networking to find out.

free guide to using linkedin for business, marketing, and networking

Oct

15

2015

How to Teach Yourself SEO in 30 Days

Search engine optimization is complicated.

For many, it’s considered a dark art, peppered with unknowns and uncertainties. And while some marketers consider it an exciting challenge, others back away from it in fear that they’ll simply never get it right. 

However, the truth is, if you are doing any kind of online marketing, having even a basic understanding of SEO can help you deliver more successful strategies and campaigns.

So to help set you up for success, we’ve put together a 30-day plan designed to give you a better sense of how SEO works, how it fits into your strategy, and what tools you can use to measure and report on your efforts. While this post won’t turn you into an SEO pro overnight, we promise it’s full of resources that will make your life as a digital marketer just a little bit easier.

Let’s get started. 

Section 1: SEO Concepts

After completing days 1-4 you’ll have a basic understanding of how search engines work, a clear sense of the difference between on- and off-page SEO, as well as an overarching understanding of how Google’s algorithmic updates have shaped how people approach SEO today.

Day 1: Learn about how search engines work.

Before you start digging into SEO concepts, you’ll need to develop your understanding of how search engines work.

To ease yourself into your 30 days, sit down and watch this video by the former head of Webspam at Google, Matt Cutts. By the end of it, you should have a better understanding of how search engines work.

Day 2: Build out your SEO reading list.

SEO is a constantly evolving phenomenon. For this reason, a huge part of being “au fait” with SEO is reading. Thankfully, there are a number of really great SEO blogs out there that can help you keep on top of the ever-changing SEO landscape.

Here are some blogs you should bookmark right now. We encourage you to make some time each day to visit at least a few of them:

Day 3: Learn about SEO’s role in inbound marketing.

SEO and inbound marketing are part of the same ecosystem. The relationship between them is symbiotic — SEO aids the success of inbound marketing by ensuring content is found, and inbound marketing enables SEO by creating relevant quality content that people want to link to.

To really understand how to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, inbound marketers must understand where SEO fits with inbound marketing.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification is a free and comprehensive way to learn the basics of SEO and how it fits within Inbound Marketing.

inbound-certification-1

Here are two other great resources for helping you understand this important relationship:

Day 4: Learn the basics of on-page SEO.

For most, on-page SEO is the easiest part of SEO to understand because you can actually see and control it. On-page SEO refers to what search engine crawlers can discern from the content and structure of your site. These elements include the following:

  1. Content (both design and words)
  2. Title Tags
  3. URLs
  4. Image Alt Tags
  5. Internal linking
  6. Schema Markup
  7. Site architecture 
  8. XML sitemaps

To learn more about on-page SEO, check out this comprehensive guide from the folks at Moz.

Day 5: Learn the basics of off-page SEO.

This is the side of SEO that breaks people out it a cold sweat. It shouldn’t.

Off-page SEO factors largely revolve around links. They encompass anything that affects your search engine visibility outside of the information that can be read on your website.

At this stage, you just need to develop an overarching understanding of what’s involved in off-page SEO. (You’ll learn more about link-building later on.)

This handy resource from Search Engine Land lists all the factors related to off-page SEO.

Day 6: Become familiar with the Google zoo.

Google algorithm updates are a headache for search engine optimists. In fact, they are a headache for all digital marketers.

That said, it’s helpful to become familiar with the major updates: Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Pirate. Again, Moz has a great resource which documents and details all known algorithmic updates since the year 2000.

To better understand if and how these updates affect your website, try checking your site using Baracuda Digital’s Panguin tool.

panguin-tool

Section 2: SEO Tools

Before you get your hands dirty with SEO, you need to have your analytics tools all set up and ready to go. At the end of this section, you’ll have done just that.

Day 7: Set up your analytics.

Take the time to set up your analytics package of choice. Google Analytics tends to be the most popular choice of in terms of analytics packages. (If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate Google Analytics with your portal.)

For more on how to configure your Google Analytics for SEO, follow this guide.

Day 8: Set up the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) for your site.

If you’re serious about wanting your website to rank in Google, the Google Search Console is essential. Essentially, this tool helps you see your website as Google sees it by giving you insights into pages that have been indexed, links that are pointing to your site, popular keywords, rank positions, click through rates, etc.

search-console

Take some time to set up your Search Console and dig into the data. Once you become familiar with it, you can also go ahead an install Bing’s Webmaster Tools for further insights.

This beginner’s guide to the Google Search Console from Moz has everything you need to get started. 

Section 3: Competitor Analysis & Keyword Research

Competitor and keyword research is an essential ingredient for implementing successful SEO strategies, as well as overall content or blogging strategies. For this reason, you should spend ample time developing your skills in this area. This will take some time, so have patience. The goal here isn’t to copy or replicate what the competitors are doing, but rather, it’s to make sure you’re doing more, doing it more effectively, and providing a better solution for your visitors.

Follow the steps below and you’ll have the basic skills required to execute successfully.

Day 9-15: Turn yourself into a keyword research pro.

There’s nothing quite like learning how to do keyword research on the fly. However, a really great resource to help you do so is Nick Eubanks’ one-week course on mastering the skill.

After signing up to this course, you will receive one email per day for seven days explaining how to implement different stages of keyword research. It’s very practical — so much so that at the end of the seven days, you’ll have completed your first keyword research project for your business.

The course does cost $127 (you can get a starter version for $67), but if you have the budget, it’s an investment that’s totally worth it.

If you don’t have the money to spend on the course, check out this really great 50-minute keyword analysis tutorial from Matthew Barby. It brings you through a full process for carrying out extensive keyword research for blogs, along with all the different tools that you can use — both free and paid.

Day 16-19: Run a competitor analysis.

Running a competitor analysis is an essential part of defining an SEO strategy. Competitor and keyword analysis go hand in hand, and in many ways, they provide the basis for a solid SEO strategy.

During your SEO analysis, you’ll need to uncover answers to the following:

  1. Who are your main competitors?
  2. What do their traffic levels look like? 
  3. What keywords and phrases are they ranking for?
  4. What does their backlink profile look like?
  5. What kind of social media presence have they got?
  6. What does their content strategy look like?

Here are some resources that will help you to get started:

Section 4: Link Building

Link building remains at the heart of SEO. At the end of this section, you should have made a start on developing your own link-building strategy.

Day 20: Develop an understanding of link building.

Link building – a term synonymous with off-page SEO — refers to the practice of acquiring links from other websites to your own.

The number of high-quality links linking to your website remains one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. There are many techniques for building links, but it is by no means an easy job. It’s both challenging and time-consuming. However, by creating great content you’re likely to attract many links organically, without actually having to spend time looking for them.

This ebook by Paddy Moogan of Aira explains the importance and art of link building.

Day 21-23: Start developing a link building strategy.

This does not mean finding out where you can purchase a million supposedly high-quality links to your blog.

After reading Paddy’s ebook, you should have a thorough understanding of the importance of link building, as well as a good idea of how to do it. Now it’s time to take that to the next level.

Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO, has put together a comprehensive list of link building tactics. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with them (there are lots of them), and figure out how you can go about implementing some of them into your own strategy

Section 5: Local SEO

Day 24-26: Educate yourself on local SEO.

Local SEO is something that more and more people have started to speak about and specialise in over the last couple of years. It’s different from organic, traditional SEO, as it is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.

For example, if I search for ‘best pubs’ on my desktop right now, Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.

best-pubs

The best place to start with local SEO is Google My Business, where you can begin by claiming your page.

Once you’ve done that, check out our Introductory Guide to Improving Your Local SEO.

Other great resources include this guide from eConsultancy and all these SlideShares by Local SEO expert, Greg Gifford. Here’s one of my favorites that presented at BrightonSEO earlier this year:

 

Section 6: Measuring SEO

Measurement is essential for implementing successful SEO strategies. You’ll need to track data around things like rankings, referrals, and links in order to analyze your SEO strategy and optimize it for success.

Day 27-29: Learn what you need to measure.

The first step towards successful measurement is finding out exactly what you need to measure. Here’s what we recommend you start with:

  1. Search engine share of referring visits
  2. Search engine referrals
  3. Visits referred by specific search engine terms and phrases
  4. Conversion rate by search query term/phrase
  5. Number of pages receiving at least one visit from search engines
  6. Rankings

Another really important thing to note here is that you should try to align your SEO metrics against business objectives. If your goal is to generate more email signups from blog content, then the search visibility of long-tail keywords coming through to your blog content should be high on the list. Having such clear objectives will make it very easy to deem the success or failure of your SEO strategy.

To get started, follow Neil Patel’s guide to measuring SEO success.

Day 30: Relish your newfound knowledge.

Looking for more SEO tips? Tune into Marketing Grader Live on Wednesday, October 21st (4pm BST/11am ET) to see HubSpot’s Kieran Flanagan and the king of SEO, Rand Fishkin, grade three websites LIVE in 24 minutes.

save your seat for Marketing Grader Live

May

20

2015

Competing With Content Marketing: 7 Steps to Success [Infographic]

content-marketing-infographic.jpeg

Today, succeeding in inbound marketing means putting content at the heart of your communications strategy.

This is no secret, of course. Content marketing is now a well-established technique and the space has become pretty competitive. So, the question is, how do you invest wisely in content marketing to improve your capabilities so that you can compete and stand out from the noise?

It’s predicted that 59% of B2C marketers and 55% of B2B marketers are increasing their spend in content. With more and more companies developing a content marketing plan for their business, it’s important to understand how you’re performing against industry standards. That’s why we joined forces with Smart Insights and surveyed over 700 marketers across Europe to see how they’ve been aclimatising to the new age of content marketing.

The survey revealed a number of interesting trends. For example, nearly three quarters (71%) of businesses are creating more content in 2015 compared to 2014  and only 12% feel they have an optimised content marketing strategy .

Alright. I’m going to grab a coffee and let the graphic do the talking from here. 

(And feel free to download the full report here.)

Content-Marketing-success-survey.jpg

Please feel free to share this infographic on your own site — just copy and paste the embed code below!

<p><strong>Please include attribution to hubspot.com with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing-success-infographic’><img src=’http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/53/Driving_Content_Marketing_Success/Content-Marketing-Europe-infographic.jpg’ alt=’Content marketing success’ width=’600px’ border=’0′ /></a></p>

free european content marketing benchmarks report

Apr

29

2015

The Finance Marketer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing [Free Ebook]

FinanceBlog_header

The finance industry is just one of those industries that’s REALLY difficult to work in as a marketer. You can’t be creative nor imaginative. Your hands are always tied. There’s simply no place for inbound marketing. … Right?

Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

If ongoing research is anything to go by, finance is one industry that’s seeing an increasing level of demand for engagement over the internet. From formal customer service to helping people research specific services or just providing some useful and relevant advice.

And sure, marketing within the finance industry can be challenging. In many cases, it’s highly regulated and sales can be very complex. But nothing is impossible. With some of creativity, company support, and the bandwidth and permissions to be a little bit gutsy, you can make some serious advances — and the challenge should be embraced as a priority.

To help finance marketers overcome these marketing challenges, we’ve put together an ebook tailored specifically to marketers in the finance industry. It covers everything you need to get started with inbound marketing — including blogging, downloadable content, email, social media, and calls-to-action. It also includes a ton of detailed case studies from all types of organizations within the finance industry.

Download your free copy of The Little Book of Inbound for Finance Marketers here.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why blogging is essential for the growth if your business online. One company increased its lead flow by 80%, driven primarily by its blog.
  • How downloadable content can supercharge your lead flow. One company developed an online course that’s had over 10,000 sign-ups in two years.
  • How social media can build your reach online. One company is increasing its social following by around 300 followers per month.
  • How email marketing can be used for more than just operational notifications. One company is achieving consistent lead nurture email open rates of around 75%.
  • How CTAs can bring your lead gen to the next level. One company increased its lead flow by 196% in 6 months by testing different CTAs.

Inbound marketing holds a lot of potential for finance marketers in all types of companies, from insurance to banking to investments. Learn how by reading the full ebook here, and take note of all the helpful advice from the finance marketers presented in the case studies.

twitter-logo Click to Tweet: 

“The Little Book of Inbound for Finance Marketers: http://hubs.ly/y0KWsG0 via @HubSpot

CTTFinance_blog-1

free guide to inbound marketing for finance marketers

Mar

18

2015

11 Expert Tips for Growing Your Company’s Blog

blogging-tips-inboundrank-experts

Most marketers dream about the day their blog has “made it.” 

How we define “making it” differs. Maybe it’s when we reach a certain traffic or lead goal. Maybe it’s the day one of our posts finally gets shared by an influencer. Or maybe, it’s when your blog makes a “blogs to watch” roundup.

However you define “making it,” we can always learn from those who’ve done it before. Recently, we launched a new ranking tool called Inboundrank — using different parameters like traffic, domain authority, and social shares, we ranked the top marketing blogs in the U.K. To learn what made the top blogs on the list so successful, we reached out to some of the marketers who run them. Below are some of their tips for building a highly successful blog (regardless of whether you blog about marketing or not). 

(And if you’d like to see how your blog stacks up, you can find your Inboundrank here.

Graham Charlton, Econsultancy

1) Remain consistent.

To build and keep an audience, you need to set expectations around the quantity and frequency of articles. Many business blogs just post an article or two, then nothing for three months — and then probably don’t see the results they’d hope.

If you only have time to post once per day, that’s fine. The key is to remain consistent with your blogging efforts. At Econsultancy, they aim to post 5-7 articles per day. The blog’s audience knows that they’ll find something new and valuable every time they visit the site — that’s why they keep returning.

2) Build a bank of evergreen content.

Evergreen content refers to content with a longer shelf life than simple news updates. It provides traffic over a longer period of time, has greater SEO benefits, and is generally more rewarding to create.

For the folks at Econsultancy, detailed tips and advice, how-to guides, and insightful interviews remain relevant long after publishing. Roughly a third of their monthly traffic comes from blog posts written months and years ago. 

Graham_Charlton_Quote

[Click to Tweet]

Dr. Dave Chaffey, Smart Insights

3) Define your online value proposition, and stick by it.

You need to define your Online Value Proposition (OVP) to help you stand out in a unique way.

Dr. Dave Chaffey believes in taking a “less-is-more” approach. At Smart Insights, they aim to filter out the noise by curating alerts on the digital changes and updates that marketers really need to know about. They also provide benchmark stats to help marketers compare themselves to their competitors. Finally, they provide practical how-to posts, covering digital strategy and optimisation. Plan, Manage, Optimize! is their strapline, and they have worked to develop a tone and style of voice that shows their passion for digital marketing.

DaveChaffey_Quote

[Click to Tweet]

Matthew Woodward, MatthewWoodward.co.uk

4) Devise a solid traffic and promotion strategy.

A common hurdle for new bloggers is building sustainable traffic to their blog. When you’re starting out, the key is to keep things simple. 

Start by scanning forums for content ideas. What problems or hurdles are people facing? Create blog content from these. Then, go back and engage with these people, giving them a link to your blog post. You should also scan social media for relevant questions and jump in to offer help/advice, linking to your blog posts where relevant. 

Create a presence in relevant communities by helping people. Spend time crafting genuinely helpful replies to people — don’t just go dropping links all over the place. Building those relationships with people will carry your blog forward at a rapid pace. It is critical that you are helping people rather than focused only on driving traffic and metrics.

Matthew_Woodward_Quote

[Click to Tweet] 

Stephen Kenwright, Branded3

5) Don’t use cheesy stock photography.

Use stock photography sparingly — or at least choose “less stocky-looking” photography. Visitors can spot it a mile away, and it can result in an increased bounce rate, (which could have an effect on how you rank in search).

Stephen suggests that to make your blog successful, you need to add some value for a visitor that they can’t get anywhere else. If you’re framing your post with an image that the searcher has already seen, you’re missing a chance to show that you’re offering something unique. 

If you have access to professional photography or designers, use them. Also try adding captions under the images you use in your posts. They can be read more frequently than body copy. Stephen also advises using your caption space for something important, like a CTA or a link to where you can read more about the subject featured in the image.

6) Build strong relationships.

Building relationships are key when it comes to blogging, particularly when it comes to building those all-important links to your blog. It would be naive to think that your blog posts will gain links by themselves.

Stephen advises against sending cold emails to people asking them to link to you. If you want to be someone who people link to often, you have to show willing to link to other people who you think deserves it — and share their stuff too. Stephen believes that blogs should be seen an extension of your social channel, and you should treat it as such — a place to build relationships.

Stephen_Kenwright_Quote

[Click to Tweet]

Linda Bolg, SocialBro

7) Research your audience.

Great content is only great as long as it resonates with your target audience.

Take time to really understand your readers. Research their challenges, create buyer personas, and most importantly, create content that’s relevant to them. Social media is a great and cost-effective way to find insight about your audience.

8) Maintain a content schedule, but remain flexible.

Maintaining a consistent schedule ensures you always have fresh and interesting content on your blog … but it’s also important to be flexible. Be ready to jump on breaking news stories when they arise. Being the first to cover a news story relevant to your audience could give your blog a competitive advantage.

9) Test, test, test.

Always be testing. 

Linda recommends experimenting with blog headlines on social media — the feedback is instant and you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make to your blog readership.

LindaBolg

[Click to Tweet]

Dan Sharp, Screaming Frog

10) Invest in quality over quantity.

Posting a couple of really unique pieces of content a month that your audience wants to share can be much better than forcing yourself to write a couple a week that are lower quality. 

Dan believes that content should be created when you have something valuable to say — not because an SEO, your boss, or a calendar says to do it. Create as much content as your resources allow. 

11) Don’t use your blog for selling.

Remember the aim of your blog should be to help your audience and provide content that is of interest to them. Dan advises against being overly promotional or ‘sell’ all the time on your blog. Nobody wants to read sales pitches.

Dan Sharp

[Click to Tweet]

Have you found out how your marketing blog stacks up? Discover your rank on Inboundrank.co.uk.

rank your blog in the uk

Feb

28

2015

New European Social Media Benchmarks: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

European social media stats

Do you spend hours reporting on your monthly marketing activities, but are not really sure how you’re performing among your industry peers? Do you find it difficult to find social media stats related to your industry? Are you currently developing or revisiting your social media strategy, and unsure of how many times you should post or what to include in your posts?

If you share any of these uncertainties or challenges, you’re not alone — many other marketers also worry about the performance of their social media accounts. European marketers, in particular, often find it especially frustrating when searching for industry-relevant benchmark data.

That’s why we decided to take a close look at our customer data and compile top industry trends for European marketers in one, easy-to-reference place. Check out this website to quickly learn how your peers are performing on social media. Here’s a snapshot of some of the benchmark data you can expect to find there:

  • The average number of social media posts posted by B2C companies in 2014 was 1,114 — that’s 22 social media posts per week! [twitter-logoTweet This]
  • A typical social media post published by companies in the non-profit/education industry in 2014 got, on average, 6 interactions per post. [twitter-logoTweet This]
  • Most social media posts posted by companies in the marketing industry in 2014 included links — 9 in 10 posts to be exact! [twitter-logoTweet This]

Want more European social media benchmark data for your industry? Click here to get more social media benchmarks. And don’t forget to share this resource with your friends and colleagues using the click-to-tweet links below.

twitter-logo Click to Tweet: 

 “European marketers! It’s time to benchmark your social media activity >> http://hubs.ly/y0yn930 via @HubSpot

European Social Media Benchmark Statistics 

free social media benchmarks report

Feb

24

2015

8 Rookie Mistakes You Might Be Making With Buyer Personas

buyer-persona-mistakes

Creating buyer personas is an essential part of building a successful inbound marketing strategy. Buyer personas help you better understand your current and potential customers, what their pain points are, what information they need, and how you can position your offering to meet their needs.

Without documented buyer personas, essential inbound marketing tasks such as creating engaging content can be challenging. And since creating engaging content is a top challenge for marketers, there is good reason to invest the time and resources into researching and developing your buyer personas.

When it comes to putting together buyer personas, there is no one correct way to do it. There are, however, some simple mistakes you can avoid making during the process. Below are some of the most common mistakes people make — and how to avoid making them yourself.

1) Too many personas.

Creating too many personas can be really tempting. You might think you’re doing yourself and your team a favour by defining a bunch of personas, but having too many can be harmful. Chances are, with many personas, there won’t be a clear delineation between them all — making it really hard for you to actually attract, engage, convert, and delight any of them.

So start with one core persona and build up from there. Once you start to analyse the data based on your most successful customers, you will start to see where one persona ends and another begins. There should be clear differentiators between each persona — the whole idea of creating personas is to create an experience that resonates with each of them. This will lead you to having a far clearer picture of the persona your marketing should be targeting.

Pro tip: Be ruthless when creating your personas. If you don’t have enough information on a particular persona, remove it. In fact, don’t be afraid to add or remove personas over time — this guide will help you understand how and when you should do so.

2) Not thinking about negative personas.

There are people who you won’t want to target — they may not have budget, they may be students, or they may be far too expensive to acquire as a customer. To identify and understand these kinds of people, you need to create a negative (or exclusionary) buyer person. It may appear counterproductive to spend timing getting to know people who will never be your customers, but, it will save you and your team time and money in the long run, as you will not waste time marketing and selling to these people. 

Pro tip: One of the biggest challenges when creating buyer personas is knowing where to start your research. A great place to start for your negative personas is by interviewing a sample of customers who closed, but they had a very low average sale price. You could also speak with some customers with low customer satisfaction scores, which might be an indication they were never really a proper fit for your company. Our guide on creating negative personas will walk you through the whole process.

3) Thinking personas are only for Marketing.

This is one of the most common attitudes when creating personas. Creating personas is not one of those one-off exercises that your team does (and then promptly forgets about). Implement the persona across your entire funnel strategy and let everyone in the organisation know who they are dealing with, especially those in Sales and Services.

Pro tip: It’s easy to see personas as something on a one-off item on your team’s to-do list. If your entire company starts using your personas as soon as you have them created, you will develop good habits from the beginning. If you need inspiration on how to get started with them, we’ve put together this guide on ways to get use out of them. 

4) Thinking personas are an individual person.

Personas are generalisations of your ideal clients — they are not specific real people. Rather than identifying the challenges, goals, desires and needs of only one individual (such as Tom who works as a marketing executive in the printing shop down the road), aim to gather a collective of characterisations about your ideal customer. 

This means, for example, that you can group multiple titles or job roles into one persona. At HubSpot, one of our primary personas is Marketing Mary, and we know that she typically is a Marketing Manager or a Director of Marketing. A real person can’t be both — but because Mary is a fictional representation, she could occupy either role. 

Pro tip: A great place to start is by grouping your personas based on individual goals, as we do with Marketing Mary. Check out this great example of a buyer persona from Visual Creatives. Note how it includes all the roles and responsibilities an agency owner/founder might have. Going into such detail can really help your content creation and strategy, as you will know what your audience’s everyday challenges are. 

agency-owner-founder-1

5) Describing an aspirational persona.

Instead of identifying the type of person or business you are currently making money from, a common mistake is to describe the person you dream of making money from. Try to stay grounded and realistic, and describe the person you are currently serving the needs of. It’s fine to have a persona created that describes the person you want to target in the future, but keep it at a high level until you feel like you have the resources to reposition yourself to be more attractive to your ideal audience.

Pro tip: Rather than relying on internal opinions and beliefs to guide your personas, allow your personas to be data-driven. Dig into your CRM, look for trends, and survey your current or past customers. This will mean your personas are more factual and current. Use tools such as Survey Monkey to help you gather the data. Not sure what questions to ask? This guide will steer you in the right direction.

6) Basing your personas on old-school demographics.

Sure, demographic information is important to include, but it’s not the information that should differentiate your personas. Psychographic information is what makes your personas so powerful.

So, rather than defining your personas like “male, 30-45 years old, urban, mid-salary role,” think more about what the persona does, how their day looks, how they consume media, what challenges they face, and how they measure success — and define your personas around this information. Allow this to define how and when you interact with your audience — if it’s a mid-level business person based in London, for example, you may want to post mobile-friendly content between the hours of 7 and 8 a.m. local time for their morning commute. 

Pro tip: Prioritise understanding what your persona’s typical day looks likes, and use that as the core of your document. Referring back to our example from Visual Creatives above, you can see how they’ve broken down the “Story” part of their persona, which accurately profiles persona challenges, desires, and daily life.

Persona-psychographics-1

7) Not knowing how to research your personas.

Not knowing how to practically research personas can be a barrier to creating buyer personas for many marketers. Many start with jotting down what they think their buyer personas should be, or relying on anecdotal input from their team. This results in a very one-sided view of a company’s buyer personas, and it might not be that realistic. 

Pro tip: Thoroughly researching your buyer personas should include everything from speaking to your sales team to speaking with your current customers (long-term and new) to researching current marketing trends to diving into your analytics. You can also develop and add to your personas as time goes on — they don’t need to be “complete” from day one.

8) Thinking persona development is difficult.

Some people think persona development is a massive job, and they don’t see the benefit in investing time into creating them. At the end of the day, persona development really doesn’t take that long. You don’t need to go into great detail when you are starting off, and remember you can add to them later if you like.

As for not seeing the benefit in the time investment, remember that your personas are going to be a massive help to your content creation, SEO, and social media strategy. It will save you time in the long-run and ensure that you attract the right people to your business, helping you grow much faster and better than you would have otherwise.

Pro tip: Whether you’re just getting started with personas or if you’ve already begun your research, try out our free new persona generator here. It will help you focus, simplify and streamline your persona development. 

free buyer persona generator

Feb

18

2015

How to Set Up Multi-Product Ads on Facebook [Quick Tip]

facebook-MPA

In June of last year, Facebook announced a new ad format called “multi-product ads” that caught the attention of many Facebook advertisers. This new format was designed to do three things: generate more website visitors, drive better conversion rates, and improve remarketing results. 

Quick movers were able to make the most of the new ad format using the Facebook Ads API, but others had to wait for Facebook to fully incorporate the format into its advertising product. Last week, Facebook started to do just that, making multi-product ads easily available to some advertisers in the Power Editor. 

If you’re one of those lucky advertisers or simply want to be prepared for when it gets rolled out to your ad interface, keep on reading. We’ll walk you through exactly what multi-product ads are, how to set them up, and how you make use them in your marketing.

What Are Multi-Product Ads?

This new ad format allows up to three items in the same ad unit — which is referred to as a “carousel.” This carousel appears below a typical-looking status update, and each item within the carousel has its own title, description, and destination link.

This solution may sound as if it’s specifically for ecommerce, but Facebook advertising evangelist Jon Loomer has used it to promote his Facebook advertising blog, and we’re also trialing it for our ebooks. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

FacebookMultiProductAd-egs

How Do You Create Multi-Product Ads?

Want to set up your very own multi-product ad? Follow these steps.

1) Log in to Power Editor.

2) Create a basic ad the way you normally would, choosing “Clicks to website” or “Website conversions” as the campaign objective.

3) In the “Create Ad” section, select “Multiple images and links in one ad.” 

Note: if you don’t see this option, you have not been granted access to this ad unit yet.

How_To_Set_Up_Facebook_Multi-Product_Ads__Quick_Tip__-_Google_Docs4) Complete all fields for each of the three ads you’d like to include in your carousel, including a destination URL, headline, product description, and an image.

Tip: Click on the numbered panels to navigate between items.

Setting_up_multi-product_ads_on__Face

5) If you want Facebook to determine the best order to show your ads in, check “Automatically select and order images and links.”

This ensures that the item that is receiving most engagement always shows first.

6) Under “See More URL” enter the destination URL for final panel in your ad.

For example, if you were displaying ebooks on the topic of social media, your “See More URL” could be a page displaying all your social media-related ebooks.

7) Under “See More Display URL,” enter the See More URL you want to show in the ad.

Facebook-MultiProduct-Ads_Seemore

8) If you are using any custom tracking tags or parameters, enter those in the “Tracking” section.

tracking_pixel_multiproduct_ads

9) Click “Upload Changes” on the top navigation to save your new ad.

How Can You Make the Most of Multi-Product Ads?

Early results and case studies have suggested that Multi-Product Ads are leading to above-average clickthrough rates and below average cost per click. For example, ecommerce company Nomorerack used Multi-Product Ads and saw its clickthrough rates increase as much as 42% and its cost per acquisition decrease between 42% and 45%. 

But how can you make the most of this new ad format? How can you use multi-product ads to generate leads for your business?

There are a number of options when it comes to retargeting using multi-product ads. Here are a two get you started:

  1. Combine multi-product ads with Custom Audiences. This allows you to do a number of things, including retargeting to people who didn’t make a purchase with similar products to what they showed interest in.
  2. Showcase your top three best sellers. This could increase your chances of getting clickthroughs. Try targeting these at Lookalike Audiences of people who have converted or simply people who fall within the parameters of your target customer base.  

Remember, the early bird catches the worm when it comes to new ad units. Don’t wait for other people to try and test them — do it yourself!

Stay tuned: Yesterday Facebook also launched dynamic product ads, which will allow advertisers to upload entire product catalogues to Facebook. In turn, Facebook will then generate ads for the advertisers (in the multi-product ad format), much like Google’s Product Listing Ads. Facebook will also recognise when products are out of stock, and stop showing ads. These ad units have not been rolled out in Power Editor just yet, but they sure do look like a game-changer for retailers.

Have you tried these new ad units yet? In the comments below, let us know how they are working for you.

learn how to double your lead flow in 30 days

Feb

18

2015

How to Set Up Multi-Product Ads on Facebook [Quick Tip]

facebook-MPA

In June of last year, Facebook announced a new ad format called “multi-product ads” that caught the attention of many Facebook advertisers. This new format was designed to do three things: generate more website visitors, drive better conversion rates, and improve remarketing results. 

Quick movers were able to make the most of the new ad format using the Facebook Ads API, but others had to wait for Facebook to fully incorporate the format into its advertising product. Last week, Facebook started to do just that, making multi-product ads easily available to some advertisers in the Power Editor. 

If you’re one of those lucky advertisers or simply want to be prepared for when it gets rolled out to your ad interface, keep on reading. We’ll walk you through exactly what multi-product ads are, how to set them up, and how you make use them in your marketing.

What Are Multi-Product Ads?

This new ad format allows up to three items in the same ad unit — which is referred to as a “carousel.” This carousel appears below a typical-looking status update, and each item within the carousel has its own title, description, and destination link.

This solution may sound as if it’s specifically for ecommerce, but Facebook advertising evangelist Jon Loomer has used it to promote his Facebook advertising blog, and we’re also trialing it for our ebooks. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

FacebookMultiProductAd-egs

How Do You Create Multi-Product Ads?

Want to set up your very own multi-product ad? Follow these steps.

1) Log in to Power Editor.

2) Create a basic ad the way you normally would, choosing “Clicks to website” or “Website conversions” as the campaign objective.

3) In the “Create Ad” section, select “Multiple images and links in one ad.” 

Note: if you don’t see this option, you have not been granted access to this ad unit yet.

How_To_Set_Up_Facebook_Multi-Product_Ads__Quick_Tip__-_Google_Docs4) Complete all fields for each of the three ads you’d like to include in your carousel, including a destination URL, headline, product description, and an image.

Tip: Click on the numbered panels to navigate between items.

Setting_up_multi-product_ads_on__Face

5) If you want Facebook to determine the best order to show your ads in, check “Automatically select and order images and links.”

This ensures that the item that is receiving most engagement always shows first.

6) Under “See More URL” enter the destination URL for final panel in your ad.

For example, if you were displaying ebooks on the topic of social media, your “See More URL” could be a page displaying all your social media-related ebooks.

7) Under “See More Display URL,” enter the See More URL you want to show in the ad.

Facebook-MultiProduct-Ads_Seemore

8) If you are using any custom tracking tags or parameters, enter those in the “Tracking” section.

tracking_pixel_multiproduct_ads

9) Click “Upload Changes” on the top navigation to save your new ad.

How Can You Make the Most of Multi-Product Ads?

Early results and case studies have suggested that Multi-Product Ads are leading to above-average clickthrough rates and below average cost per click. For example, ecommerce company Nomorerack used Multi-Product Ads and saw its clickthrough rates increase as much as 42% and its cost per acquisition decrease between 42% and 45%. 

But how can you make the most of this new ad format? How can you use multi-product ads to generate leads for your business?

There are a number of options when it comes to retargeting using multi-product ads. Here are a two get you started:

  1. Combine multi-product ads with Custom Audiences. This allows you to do a number of things, including retargeting to people who didn’t make a purchase with similar products to what they showed interest in.
  2. Showcase your top three best sellers. This could increase your chances of getting clickthroughs. Try targeting these at Lookalike Audiences of people who have converted or simply people who fall within the parameters of your target customer base.  

Remember, the early bird catches the worm when it comes to new ad units. Don’t wait for other people to try and test them — do it yourself!

Stay tuned: Yesterday Facebook also launched dynamic product ads, which will allow advertisers to upload entire product catalogues to Facebook. In turn, Facebook will then generate ads for the advertisers (in the multi-product ad format), much like Google’s Product Listing Ads. Facebook will also recognise when products are out of stock, and stop showing ads. These ad units have not been rolled out in Power Editor just yet, but they sure do look like a game-changer for retailers.

Have you tried these new ad units yet? In the comments below, let us know how they are working for you.

learn how to double your lead flow in 30 days

Jan

29

2015

13 Bright Ideas for Running Smarter Retargeting Campaigns

retargetingideas

According to retargeting platform AdRoll, only 2% of shoppers typically convert on their first visit to an online store. That’s a lot of people slipping through the cracks. What’s a marketer to do?

Enter retargeting. Retargeting allows you to zero in on those 98% of visitors, giving them a second (and in some cases third, fourth, and fifth) chance to convert. Here’s how retargeting works: It allows you to show targeted ads to potential customers via search, social media, and other websites. They see them, click back to your website, and then (hopefully) convert. Retargeting helps you stay connected and engaged with your audience, and increase brand recall and conversions — feeding all stages of your marketing funnel.

With so much opportunity with retargeting, it’s hard to decide on which types of campaigns to run. To help, we’ve put together a list of things you should try to maximise the effectiveness of your retargeting strategies. Check them out below.

Pixel-Based Retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting is a way to redisplay your material to any anonymous site visitor. This is the most common form of retargeting, and will be familiar to anyone retargeting through Google’s display network (Note: Google refers to retargeting as ‘remarketing’). Pixel-based retargeting is also available on Facebook and Twitter. It is also more accessible for new inbound marketers, as list-based retargeting (discussed below) really relies on you having a large list of email addresses.

1) Promote your best content.

Traditionally, retargeting ads are used to push products — but that’s not the only thing you can use them for. Why not use retargeting to drive people towards blog content, for example? After all, that’s where many of your leads are likely to originate, right? Larry Kim of Wordstream reported a 50% increase in repeat visitors, a 300% increase in time on site, and a 51% increase in conversion rate by promoting his content using retargeting.

Below is an example of Irish Digital Marketing agency, Wolfgang Digital, using retargeting to promote a new piece of content. They targeted everybody who visited the website and then excluded those who had already read the study. The retargeting ad below was combined with contextual targeting, which meant the ad was only shown to the user when they were reading relevant content. Some of these ads got a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 0.8%, which is double what some industry experts suggest you should aim for.

Contextual_retargeting

But how do you figure out what content should be promoted using retargeting ads? Simple.

Sure, you can use your brand new content in your retargeting, but you should also dig into your analytics and figure out which pieces of content are most popular in terms of social shares and conversion rate. You can then include these in your retargeting ads.

2) Promote specific content based on the types of pages people have visited on your website.

Imagine you’re a clothing retailer. Why not create lists out of your product categories? For example, you could create a retargeting list for those who visit any page within the shoe category and another for any page within the jackets category. You could then deliver ads showing shoes to the first list, and jackets to the other. This ensures you’re always delivering relevant content to the right people — which improves the ROI of your retargeting efforts.

You can also take this a step further. By using services like AdRoll’s Liquid Ads, you can also ensure that past visitors are shown the exact items they were looking for. This can be incredibly effective, especially in ecommerce. Apparel company Cubbies Shorts has seen great results with these kinds of ads, seeing a 10.5X lift in ROI, as well as a 33% lower cost per acquisition (CPA) than industry average. This means that compared to other channels, the cost to get a website visitor to complete a purchase on the site was lower with retargeting. One campaign in particular delivered a 35.5X lift in ROI.

Chubbies LiquidAds 728x90

There are other ways to implement this type of targeting — this is just one way you could do it.

3) Pull people through the funnel.

Imagine this; a person visits your a page on your website that’s about an industry topic, but the person doesn’t convert. These people are still very much at the top of the funnel. Why not set up retargeting ads on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google to drive these people to a blog post on that same topic? If they get there, but still don’t convert, try retargeting to them to drive them to a downloadable ebook on the same topic. If they don’t convert at this stage, drive them to a consultation or a free trial. 

This is a really simplistic way of mapping out a retargeting path, and you can add more steps to it depending on your funnel. Nevertheless, it is a strategic and smart way to use retargeting rather than focusing on just the top or bottom of the funnel.

4) Capitalize on events.

In marketing, time is always of the essence. Online flower retailer, 1-800-Flowers, saw great success capitalising on Mother’s Day using Twitter retargeting ads, seeing a significant drop in cost per acquisition (CPA).

This can also work well for events. Consider HubSpot. We could run a retargeting campaign in the run up to our Inbound15 event. We could retarget people who have visited the Register page but not registered, and offer them a discount. This can work for all types of industries – just think about how you could leverage your products at different times of the year. It can also be a good strategy to keep in mind when retargeting using lists, which is discussed below.

5) Exclude visitors who have spent less than 10 seconds on your site.

People who spend a short amount of time on your site are unlikely to be as interested in what you have to offer as someone who spends a minute on your site. Therefore, by retargeting to them, you could be wasting budget.

Test different time frames here — if you’re going through your budget quickly with poor results, increase the time parameter. You could also exclude people who have bounced from your website, as they — compared to people who haven’t bounced — are more likely to be more interested in what you have to offer.  

To do this, you will need to set up some Google Analytics lists and import them into your Google Analytics account. This takes a little extra work, but you can create some really sophisticated lists using this method. Google has a really good guide on how to do this, which you can read here.

6) Target people who open your emails.

By dropping your retargeting pixel into the HTML template or signature of your email, you can target people who open your emails. This is effective as you are targeting people who were interested in you enough to open your email in the first place. This can be done quite simply using retargeting platforms such as Perfect Audience.

There are also some more advanced ways you can use email retargeting, especially for cart abandonment in e-commerce. Moz has a great post full of case studies on how some businesses have increased conversion rates by up to 200% using email retargeting.

List-Based Retargeting

You can also use lists of your existing contacts for certain types of retargeting ads. The way that works is you upload a list of the email addresses to a retargeting campaign platform (usually on a social network like Facebook or Twitter), and the platform will identify users on that network who have those addresses and serve retargeting ads just to them.

List-based retargeting comes with a caveat, however. It relies on you having the email addresses your prospects use to manage their social media. Much of the time, they’ll use one email address for social media and another for everything else. For this reason, list-based retargeting relies on large email address lists to be effective — the more email addresses you have, the more likely you are to find matches. 

7) Exclude customers, subscribers, and/or people who have already converted.

This is the first thing you should do when you’re setting up a list-based retargeting campaign, but many people don’t even think about doing it. If you are building a lead generation campaign, add your current list of customers, subscribers, and converted contacts as a negative retargeting list. This will ensure that you do not waste budget on an irrelevant audience. 

8) Feature a familiar name and/or face.

If you have a salesperson who has been in contact with lots of people who haven’t converted, you could create a list of these people and target ads at them. Your ads could feature a picture of the sales person with messaging such as “Ian is still here to answer your questions” and a call-to-action (CTA) to request a callback.

FBAd_retargeting

9) Use price sensitivity.

If you have lots of people in your database marked “closed/lost” you know the reason for losing was based on price, and you have the ability to discount products, you can do some really smart retargeting offering a price discount. For the first week, it could be 10%. If they still don’t convert, the following week, the discount could be 20%. (Just don’t forget to exclude converted contacts from your list.)

10) Reward your top customers/brand evangelists.

If you have customers who are very loyal and spend lots of money with you on a regular basis, you could target these people by offering them a repeat purchase or renewal discount via a retargeting ad. Likewise, you may want to reward people who share your content all the time in a similar way.

11) Cross-sell and upsell to customers.

Imagine you are a HR software provider. You have a list of customers who have purchased your recruitment software. You could use their email addresses to create a retargeting list and show them ads driving them towards considering your talent management software.

Or imagine you are a health insurance provider. You offer three plans; gold, silver, and bronze. You could target the silver customers with ads as they come close to their policy renewal to push them towards considering the gold package.

Note: This is just one way of using retargeting to cross-sell and upsell to customers. It is also possible using pixel-based retargeting.

12) Target people who don’t open your emails.

If you have a list of contacts who are not opening your emails, a smart strategy is to retarget those people using Facebook Ads. They may just be missing your emails due to them going into the promotions tab in Gmail, or into their spam folder. Simply upload your contact list to Facebook ads to create a Custom Audience and create your ad. Using Facebook Exchange, it is also simple to target those who open your emails. Jon Loomer has a great guide on how to do this.

13) Target your LinkedIn Connections.

It’s a well-kept secret that you can download a list of your LinkedIn connections and their email addresses. You can then use this list to create a Custom Audience for your Facebook or Twitter ads and drive them towards a landing page on your website.

Do you have any smart retargeting tips? Share them with us in the comments below.

learn how to double your lead flow in 30 days