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Sep

15

2016

How to Use Digital Marketing to Transform Your Business

IbJK5etSN6dH6jAF4U0U_DSC_0280-1-192084-edited.jpgIs your company fully embracing the digital age? Is your team engaging digital transformation beyond updating your website every 6 months? For many companies, failure to adapt to new technology means getting left behind and losing business. Your prospects and customers are researching and buying online, so why aren’t you focusing on marketing to them via digital channels?

Ask any millennial about Kodak and they will struggle to tell you more about what it does. For many of us however, Kodak was a household brand and a former heavyweight in the analog film business. Kodak not only missed the boat on digital but also acutely misunderstood the ways consumers wanted to be engaged, interact with their photos and the technologies involved. As a result, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

For companies like Kodak, to stay in business, they are forced to make desperate cost cutting measures starting with employee layoffs. Often, these layoffs start from traditional cost centres like IT, Human Resources and Marketing. During layoffs planning, the company looks at departments that are unable to prove return on investment (ROI) and are adding to the cost of running a company.

When the marketing department gets downsized, it can be difficult for marketers like us to accept. After all, marketing has always been in charge of bringing the product to market. The reality for most marketing departments is that they have a long list of complex strategies influenced by a mix of internal and external stakeholders. We are bogged down with a host of business functions such as increasing brand awareness, product adoption & pipeline creation, resulting in being tied down with more projects than we can handle, which means proving the ROI can get left behind.

But how do you know what’s working for your business if you can’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?

Let’s compare this outlook with the sales department, which operates under a constant sense of urgency because they are always working to meet a predetermined sales quota. This sense of urgency is exacerbated by the fact that their compensation is tied to meeting or exceeding those quotas. This gives them an extraordinary sense of focus around measuring their results and reviewing their strategies.

There’s no reason why marketing can’t work towards targets in the same way sales does.

Work Out What to Focus On get-distracted-prospects-to-focus.jpg

In order for marketing to be empowered as a function, we need to cut out the noise and confusion that can make it difficult to focus on objectives that matter the most; those that ultimately drive sales and prove ROI. At a high level, these objectives should address the Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU):

  • TOFU — If you need to increase traffic to your website, utilize tactics like blogging, Search Engine Optimization & Social Media
  • MOFU — While blogs are very effective at bringing visitors to your website, they won’t help you qualify prospects or make a sale. To turn visitors into leads, MOFU tactics like ebook offers & webinars will help you get there
  • BOFU — By the time a lead reaches the bottom of the funnel, they are ready to buy and the only question is who they will buy from. This is the chance for marketers to add more qualified opportunities to the sales pipeline by using tactics like lead nurturing through email marketing & case studies

Once these objectives are top-of-mind, the marketing department can devise a strategy that turns them from a cost centre into a profit centre, fully capable of explaining results and impacting the company’s growth.

Set SMART Marketing Goals 

To do all that, we first need to develop  measurable goals that allow for strategy changes and reviews along the way. Measurable goals also help us prove how effective we are and spur on improvement.

However, goals are useless if they’re not realistic. That’s why it’s critical to set SMART goals. Here’s how you can set a SMART goal:

  • Specific — Set real numbers with real deadlines
  • Measurable — Make sure you can track your goals
  • Attainable — Work towards a goal that is challenging but attainable
  • Realistic — Be honest with yourself, including what your team can or cannot do. Address the challenges that might come up
  • Time-bound — Give yourself a deadline, “sometime down the road” is not specific enough

To help you do all that now and eliminate the confusion on setting goals, HubSpot has put together a free goal setting template. With this template, you will be able to find out how far off you are at from your year-end goals so you can put in place a strategy to make this your best year yet.

If you’re eager to learn more about digital marketing and how you can build a truly effective digital marketing strategy for your business, check out The Simple Guide to Digital Strategy in 2016.

free guide to digital strategy

Sep

11

2016

21 Revealing Statistics About Content Marketing in Asia Pacific in 2016

APAC-Content-Marketing-Report-2016

Do you know how your content marketing efforts stack up compared to other companies in Asia, Australia and New Zealand?

To make content marketing work for your company, it’s useful to have some idea of how other businesses are succeeding.

It helps you find and fix gaps in your own approach to content strategy, content creation and content promotion, and helps you to develop a realistic view of how you should budget and plan.

To help out fellow marketers in Asia Pacific, our Australian and Singaporean teams dove into some data on the state of content marketing in APAC. Alongside SurveyMonkey, we surveyed over 700 marketers across Asia, Australia and New Zealand to see where they’ve been focusing their efforts, where they’re struggling, and what their plans are for the remainder of 2016 and beyond.

To learn about these findings in more detail and get access to insights and tips from local content marketing experts, download the full Asia Pacific Content Marketing Report 2016 here.

21 Revealing Statistics About Content Marketing in Asia Pacific in 2016

1) Key Statistics Revealing the State of Content Marketing in Asia Pacific in 2016

Marketers in Asia Pacific believe in the power of content marketing to generate ROI.

  • Marketers in APAC believe content marketing to have the most commercial impact on their business.  Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 49% of businesses in APAC intend to increase their content marketing resources during the rest of 2016. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

Businesses in Asia Pacific are doing content marketing, but haven’t quite cracked it yet.

  • 70% of APAC businesses feel their content marketing efforts are limited, basic, or inconsistent. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 62% of APAC businesses are creating more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 50% of businesses in APAC are doing content marketing, but have no strategy. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

The key issues with managing content marketing in this region are the creation of quality content and developing a strategy.

  • 57% of APAC marketers say producing quality content is an obstacle to their success. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 56% of marketers in Asia Pacific struggle with content strategy. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 53% of marketers in APAC struggle to produce enough content. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

APAC marketers are finding success with blogging and paid promotion on Facebook.

  • 47% of marketers in APAC have the most success with blog posts and articles. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 35% of APAC marketers rate e-newsletters or online magazines as effective forms of content marketing. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 37% of marketers in APAC find Facebook advertising to be the most effective form of paid promotion. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

Asia Pacific marketers are focused mainly on top-of-funnel when it comes to measuring the success of their content marketing.

  • 69% of APAC businesses use website traffic to measure of content marketing success. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 62% of APAC marketers measure their content success using social shares. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

2) Key Statistics on the State of Content Marketing in Australia & New Zealand 2016

  • 52% of businesses in ANZ are convinced of the value of content marketing & can measure its ROI. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 71% of businesses in ANZ said they are producing more content in 2016 than in 2015. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • Almost a quarter of marketers in ANZ are planning to increase resources to assist with content marketing. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 68% of marketers in ANZ plan to increase investment in promoting their content via earned media (PR & social sharing).Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

3) Key Statistics on the State of Content Marketing in Asia 2016

  • Only 40% of businesses in Asia are convinced of the value of content marketing & can measure its ROI. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 62% of businesses in Asia struggle to create sufficient volumes of quality content. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 51% of marketers in Asia plan to increase investment in promoting their content via earned media (PR & social sharing). Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png
  • 58% of marketers in Asia struggle to define the best content & influencers to build reach and support conversion. Tweet this stat Twitter_Logo_Blue-6.png

Want to see more data on the state of content marketing in Asia Pacific alongside commentary from some of the region’s best content marketers? Check out the full report here: The Asia Pacific Content Marketing Report 2016.

free 2016 APAC content marketing report

May

18

2016

How We Grew Inbound Traffic by 300% in 6 Months

During the second half of 2015, we put together a plan to dramatically increase the amount of inbound traffic to our software as a service (SaaS) company’s website. In April we were averaging roughly 3,000 visits a day; all of this was coming via existing inbound marketing. We knew that if we could increase our traffic numbers, our daily customer signups would follow the same trajectory. But how could we do this?

Analytics Growth

Our initial goal was to double this number in just 6 months, so by the end of 2015 we would have roughly double the number of users hitting our site, and double the number of users signing up to use our product, Gleam. Our plan was to attempt to do this with entirely organic growth. No paid acquisition sources, just traffic that we could scale without needing to scale ongoing budgets.

But where do you start? What kind of activity do you focus on? How much content should you write? Most SaaS businesses have many different levers that they can pull to influence growth. In this post I’m going to share with you our favourite inbound tactics that helped us overachieve our rather optimistic goal by more than 50%.

Rethinking Our Approach To Blogging

When we first launched our blog we focused on the fairly narrow topic of sweepstakes marketing. Whilst meaningful to some, we ended up alienating much of the marketing world looking for actionable advice (and crossover into commonly used techniques). We made the decision to rebrand and focus on tactics anyone can use to grow your business. This instantly opened up to a much wider variety of possible content ideas, and really ignited a fire inside the team to build a blog that was both engaging and useful, and helped grow our business.

Growth Blog

We didn’t write a large volume of articles, but set ourselves the task of writing at least two really epic ones per month. One way we thought about it was to create evergreen articles that would be as relevant yesterday as they are tomorrow — which means it will consistently bring value for years to come. Much of our new content was built around these 5 content pillars: Engaging, Inspiring, Emotional, Trusted and Simple. Our most successful articles got upwards of 100K views over several months!

So how do you get there? In addition to keeping the 5 content pillars in mind, here are some specific tactics you can use to determine a good topic:

  • Use a tool like SEMRush to identify what users are searching for
  • Write good long-form articles (at least 1500 words) addressing users’ search terms. Get tips on how to get the formula right here.
  • Take the time to get your headline right — they say don’t judge a book by its cover but if your title doesn’t grab attention immediately you won’t get that click through. Use a tool such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to help you here. Here’s one we optimised:

Ranking in Google

  • Make your posts actionable — give users something to do
  • Use imagery: visuals break up your content and provide additional color to your content

The result of implementing these tactics drove 40k visits per month to our blog (and it’s growing by around 10% each month).

Want ROI? Use Evergreen Content.

I mentioned evergreen content previously, I think it’s important to go into this type of content in more detail – if done right it can provide huge ROI. evergreen Content is content that will always be fresh, or can easily be updated to stay fresh based on market changes. Our product focuses on lost of different market segments. Growing your business on social networks, building your email list or just marketing your business. A quick search on Google Keyword Planner reveals that there’s just over 6k monthly searches for keywords relating to “How to Grow Your Business”.

 Growing Your Business

Once you know the area you want to tackle you now need to think about the sort of content that will provide huge value for that search. For evergreen content this can usually come in the form of a list or a long-form article.

When writing your own evergreen content try to come up with the ten most important words you’d like to rank for in search engines. Then, start building your content around those topics. Your top evergreen content will drive steadily growing traffic to your blog each month — so invest in it. In fact, our evergreen content makes up over 80% of our total blog visits.

Nurture Your Email Subscribers

Now that we were seeing an increase in blog traffic, we needed a way to continually engage and market to those users. The absolute best way to do this is to pay attention to your email subscriber list. We have grown our own list from 2k to 10k subscribers in the last 6 months. How did we do this?

You need to provide value for the subscriber. What are they going to get from you that will help them?

Gleam Growth Popup

We decided to see how well our product performed by implementing it on our own blog:

  • We created a Growth Tips Newsletter, in which we send out the best tactics to grow your business each month
  • We display how many other users are members of our list for social proof
  • We make the list feel like an important members only club

Gleam Growth Newsletter

  • Creating in-post notifications with bonus content
  • Creating educational pop-ups that show when users have engaged with a specific article
  • Incentivizing users to leave a comment with prompts at the end of the post

Optimising this workflow allowed us to increase our opt-in rate by 1000%: before we were collecting around 10 emails per day via traditional opt-in forms, whereas now we consistently do over 100 (sometimes 500 when running a contest).

Leveraging Integration Partners

We are lucky to have the resource to focus heavily on Integrations. We currently integrate with over 50+ services – including social networks and email providers. But when you integrate with another business there’s a couple of ways you can approach it.

  • You can silently announce the integration without their knowledge
  • You can attempt to work with their marketing department to do a joint launch

One of these methods works much better than the other (guess which one), but also takes a lot more time and effort to execute. Launching an integration properly can allow you to:

  • Get exposure on the partners’ site
  • Get featured in newsletters to increase your reach
  • Get the integration announced on social media
  • Do joint webinars or case studies

Our current most popular integration has over 5000 joint customers using it.

In fact, you can see a HubSpot writeup their experience with our product. This wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t already have a HubSpot integration. Integrations can also allow you to break into adjacent markets. These are new verticals with new types of customers that use your product in a slightly different way, or a complimentary way (when combined with another service). A good portion of our growth can be attributed to tapping into some of these markets in the last 6-12 months:

  • Event Marketing (We added an Eventbrite integration)
  • E-Sports (We added Steam + Twitch integrations)
  • Subscription Boxes – We had the this happen organically via a few big Reddit Posts

Kick-ass Product Guides

An important part of growing your business is understanding the type of content that your core demographic is looking for. For us, many of our customers are looking for guides on how to run a contest. So we built out a whole section with really in-depth guides on what people are looking for.

Gleam Guides These guides are read by more than 50k users every month. We also focused on writing guides that show people how to use our product. You’ll notice above that one of the guides has been read over 100k+ times in the last 6 months. We link to this guide in:

  • Almost every email that we send
  • On all social media channels
  • In employee email signatures
  • In nearly every support email
  • Even in our Linked-in profiles

Linked-in Growth Links

It is vitally important that you have guides that show users the potential of your product.

Write Compelling Case Studies

I don’t know about you, but I usually find most case studies really boring. We purposely wanted to make our case studies engaging, so we decided that we would add 5 Key Growth Takeaways to each. Quite often these takeaways are completely unrelated to our product, but they really add value to the case study and make it much more actionable and enjoyable to read. Here’s a quick example of just one of the takeaways in a case study:

Instagram Bio Hack

This has really helped our case studies be….less like case studies.

Run Promotions Utilising Your Product With Partners

Where possible we always try to use our own product to an advantage. This means that if ever there’s a partnership opportunity we will try to do some joint marketing or giveaway our own products.

Why do this, I hear you ask? It’s possibly the cheapest form of marketing you’ll ever do, if you can get free exposure to another businesses entire customer-base and also provide huge value to them. Then it’s a huge win win situation. Gleam makes it super easy to do partnership marketing campaigns, just work with your partner to decide on the prize, how you want users to enter. Then get everyone involves to promote the campaign.

If you’re stuck for ideas we’ve created this huge guide on promoting these types of campaigns. Our most recent contest drove over 10k social actions in just 24 hours, with an actual monetary outlay of around $500. When we compared this to the ROI on what we spend on Google or Facebook Ads it outperformed them as a channel by 500%.

Maximise Your In-App Branding

Probably our biggest driver of growth involves users that are exposed to our campaigns that contain branding. This accounts for over 30% of referrals to our marketing site. Over a year ago we split tested our footer branding to see what could be better than Powered By Gleam.

Then we spent almost 6 months split testing which combinations of branding would get the most benefit out of this traffic. We knew as we added more customers we would see the incremental gains come in (and be able to forecast easier).

In-App Branding

Things we tested included:

  • Widget branding
  • Links in emails
  • When users interacted with our demos
  • Notification emails post entry
  • Examples in our guides or blog posts

One caveat here is that this entire marketing channel is much easier to optimise when you have a free user-base. But the downside is that you increase your support costs, your running costs and a number of various other factors to consider. For Gleam though, this method drives an additional 1M+ visitors through our inbound marketing channels every 6 months.

What Can You Do To Get Similar Results?

Obviously every business and website is completely different. My biggest suggestion is to continually test what you think might work, then scale all the things that do work as hard as you can. Here’s a quick list of ideas to try:

  • Get better at collecting emails
  • Get better at sending emails to customers/prospects
  • Write more engaging content that is actionable
  • Build great docs that really teach your customers how to use your product
  • Work on your on-boarding to increase conversion rates
  • Build dedicated landing pages for key terms that users search to find your products
  • Write guest posts for other blogs in your industry
  • Convert your popular posts to slideshare presentations
  • Run regular webinars to educate potential customers

Now get to it, and have fun growing your own business! Here’s a more detailed look back at how we grew our business in 2015 ?


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