ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), Explained in Less Than 500 Words

With over 7,000 MarTech companies battling each other to win a spot in the technology stack of businesses today, sticking out from the crowd has never been more difficult. Almost every industry under the MarTech umbrella is saturated, so traditional inbound marketing can only turn so many heads.

Fortunately, computer hardware, operating systems, and cloud platforms have decided to help their smaller tech counterparts out. In recent years, these platforms have built marketplaces where MarTech companies can offer their software solutions to the platforms’ unique customers, which has increased a lot of MarTech companies’ visibility and, in turn, their revenue.

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These MarTech companies who partner with computer hardware providers, operating systems, and cloud platforms to resell their software solutions on their marketplaces are called independent software vendors. Read on to learn exactly what an ISV is, what it means to be ISV certified, and what an ISV partner is.

For instance, any company that offers their software solution on a marketplace like HubSpot Connect or Salesforce AppExchange is an ISV.

For example, Microsoft, a company that develops computer hardware (Xbox), operating systems (Windows), and a cloud platform (Azure), offers silver and gold ISV certifications to independent software vendors whose products can pass their rigorous quality tests and prove they can offer the top software solutions to Microsoft’s customers on each of their marketplaces.

For instance, if you want to get into Dell’s or Red Hat’s ISV partner program, you just need to verify your organization, apply to the program, get accepted, agree to their terms and conditions, and stay in good standing with the platform to maintain your membership.

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The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Using APIS

Even if you don’t know what an API is, you’ve undoubtedly interacted with one.

Today, we take connectivity between technology largely for granted. For instance, we don’t question when we use OpenTable to make a reservation at a nearby restaurant.

Alternatively, if you use Kayak.com to book flights, you’ve probably never wondered, Wait a minute … how does Kayak know JetBlue has an open seat in 27A?

Ultimately, any time you need applications to communicate with one another, you need an API, or application programming interface.

Here, we’re going to explore what an API is, and why you’d need to use one. Even if you’re not a programmer and don’t need to know extensive technical jargon, you should still understand the basics, since nowadays, integrations between technology are often critical components of anyone’s job.

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What is an API?

At its most basic definition, an API lets one piece of software talk to another piece of software.

To understand an API in action, let’s consider a real-life example — HubSpot’s integration with Typeform. Typeform, a tool that supplies mobile-ready quizzes, contact forms, and signup forms, needs to integrate with HubSpot’s Forms API to to interact with the forms tool and seamlessly send submissions from Typeform forms into the HubSpot CRM.

To do this, Typeform’s API and HubSpot’s API need to talk. An integration can act as a translator, ensuring each API’s information is correctly translated for the other application — in this case, the integration may ensure that Typeform form fields are correctly mapped to the corresponding HubSpot fields.

Isaac Takushi, a HubSpot Developer Support Specialist, explains — “You can think of APIs and the ‘endpoints’ they comprise as access points for different information. Each API endpoint may only have one specific job. When combined, however, different endpoints can support powerful, multifaceted integrations.”

Kayak.com, for instance, needs some API to communicate with JetBlue’s systems. When you search “Boston to Charlotte” in Kayak, JetBlue’s booking API will essentially receive this request from Kayak, pull up information related to that request, and send it back. However, Kayak will need its own API or code to understand and act on the information the JetBlue API returned.

To use an API, you’ll want to check out the API’s documentation for access requirements. For instance, HubSpot’s Contacts API requires authentication:

Similarly, you’ll need an API key to access Google’s API, Facebook’s API, and Twitter’s API.

Once you have access requirements, you can use a tool like Postman or Runscope to manually interact with an API. These third-party tools, or “REST clients,” allow you to make one-off requests to API endpoints without coding. They’re great for getting a feel for what your backend systems may do automatically. Check out this resource on how to make your very first API request with Postman.

If you’re not quite ready to jump in on the deep end with a REST client, try punching the following into your browser:

https://restcountries.eu/rest/v2/name/united

This is a public API endpoint from the free REST Countries service. Specifically, we’re using the “Name” endpoint, which accepts country names as search queries. A successful search will return potential country matches, along with key information about each nation. In this case, we’re searching for countries with names that contain the word “united.”

You should see following block of JSON data returned:

Congratulations! You just made an API request from your browser!

The endpoint returned raw data (formatted in JSON) on countries with “united” in the name.

It may not look pretty, but remember that APIs are designed for applications, which don’t require the styling humans expect on an HTML web page. While you can easily Google “countries that begin with ‘united’,” applications cannot. They might have to rely on services like REST Countries to look up that information.

If you’re unsure whether you should use your in-house developers to create APIs or look externally, check out First vs. Third-Party APIs: What You Need to Know.

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How to Get Off an Email Blacklist (By Avoiding It In The First Place)

In the MLB, or Major League Baseball, players who have used performance enhancing drugs have also tainted their careers. Even if they slugged the most home runs in the history of the game, like Barry Bonds did, or won the most Cy Young Awards ever, like Roger Clemens did, their accusations of steroid abuse will most likely block their path to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For years, many baseball players abused steroids, and it sparked an aggressive campaign to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from the game.

In 2006, the MLB set up a drug policy that suspends first time drug violators for half a season, second time drug violators for an entire season, and third time drug violators for their entire lives — three strikes and you’re literally out.

In the email marketing industry, sending spam, or unsolicited bulk messaging, is a lot like using performance enhancing drugs in the MLB. Any organization who is a known spammer has tainted their brand. And, similar to a suspension, mailbox providers will filter their messages to the spam folder or block them altogether.

These “suspended” brands are on lists called email blacklists, and they can tarnish your sender reputation in the eyes of mailbox providers worse than steroid use can taint a once-presumed Hall-of-Famer’s career in the eyes of the Baseball Hall of Fame voters.

Click here to download our free beginner's guide to email marketing.

However, not all blacklists are created equal. Some blacklists, like Spamhaus, are credible and widely trusted, so if a brand is on one of these blacklists, it’ll heavily impact their sender reputation. Other blacklists, like Lashback, NoSolicitado, and Spam Cannibal are less credible and trusted, so if a brand is on one of these blacklists, it won’t affect their sender reputation nearly as much.

In other words, when referencing blacklists to determine a brand’s deliverability, mailbox providers weigh their influence by credibility — and not just if they’re listed on them.

How to Avoid an Email Blacklist

A wise email deliverability consultant at HubSpot named Jess Swazey once told me, “The easiest way to get off an email blacklist is to never get on it in the first place.” In light of this Yoda-esque wisdom, here are four best practices for avoiding email blacklists.

1. Only email contacts who have subscribed to your email program — and never email contacts scraped from websites, third-party sources, or purchased contact lists.

It seems obvious, but the easiest and most crucial step you can take to avoid email blacklists and getting a Scarlet “S” slapped on your brand’s breast pocket is emailing people who actually subscribed to your emails. Because in a world where only 4% of the public believes marketers practice integrity, the best way to build a contact database is the hard and honest way — collecting email addresses organically.

Plus, if you decide to scrape contacts from old, expired, or abandoned websites, third-party sources, or purchased contact lists, most blacklist operators have already placed pristine spam traps, which are email addresses created solely to catch spammers red-handed, in all three of these locations. So collecting and emailing contacts who never subscribed to your email program in the first place is a one-way ticket to getting blacklisted.

2. Clean your email lists on a regular basis.

Building a hefty email list might make you feel accomplished and proud, but if it’s filled with dead weight, or unengaged contacts, it’s better to trim the fat than to stick with your pride.

Most mailbox providers decide if you’re actually a reputable sender and deserving of a high deliverability score by keeping an eye any inactive email addresses that have been converted into recycled spam traps and dinging any IP address or domain that sends emails to them. In your database, any contact that hasn’t engaged with your email program or opened one of your emails in a year could possibly be a recycled spam trap.

To avoid sending emails to recycled spam traps and getting blacklisted, run one-off reengagement campaigns with your inactive contacts. It’s up to you to decide how long a contact’s disengagement with your email program deems them an inactive contact, but if they don’t open your reengagement email, it’s probably a sign to scrub them off your list.

3. Never manually enter email addresses into your database or mass email these types of contacts.

After industry events, some sales team collect business cards from prospects, manually plug each contact’s email address into their database, and send them a mass marketing email.

This can also be a one way ticket to getting blacklisted.

These people might expect an email from one of your company’s salespeople, but they never opted into receiving messages from your email program, so they’re likely to never open them or, even worse, flag them as spam, which will lower your deliverability and heighten your risk of getting blacklisted.

There’s also a chance your sales team could make a typo while manually entering email addresses into your database and, in turn, send emails to addresses that don’t exist. This will increase your email bounce rate, which will also lower your deliverability and heighten your risk of getting blacklisted.

If you want to plug these contacts into your database, tell your sales team to connect with each of these prospects through their personal inbox and direct them to an offer, landing page, or form where they can opt themselves into your email marketing list. 

4. Validate your new subscribers’ email addresses.

Sometimes, people will try to subscribe to your email program but make a typo when entering their contact information in your form. Other times, if your business model requires people to manually enter their email address into a device, they can make typos too.

Unfortunately, mailbox providers will bounce any email sent to addresses that don’t exist. So even if the people who own similarly spelled email addresses actually want to receive your emails, emailing these addresses will still lower your deliverability and heighten your risk of getting blacklisted.

To avoid this subtle yet potent blacklisting trigger, use email address verification tools like Kickbox to validate each email address you collect from your subscription forms.

How to Check If You’re On an Email Blacklist

Sometimes, a pristine or recycled spam trap can slip through the cracks and get you blacklisted. Fortunately, your email service provider will usually notify you when this happens, but if you want to be absolutely sure that your IP address or domain isn’t on a blacklist, use blacklist checking tools, like Sender Score or MX Toolbox.

How to Get Off an Email Blacklist

If you send emails through one of your email service provider’s shared IP addresses and it gets blacklisted, it’s your email service provider’s job to delist the shared IP address. However, one domain that sends spam from a shared IP address can blacklist the entire shared IP address, so if your actions blacklist your shared IP address, your email service provider has the right to cancel your subscription or require remediation.

On the other hand, if your dedicated IP address or domain ends up on one or multiple email blacklists, it’s your job to get it off them. Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet for getting your domain delisted — you need to follow a different protocol for each blacklist you’re on in order to get off of it. However, there are two general best practices for delisting that are great starting points for any email program.

1. Spam Rehab

To get off most blacklists, you need to work directly with the blacklist operators and prove to them that you’re actually a trustworthy sender. You can do this by following email best practices for a certain period of time, which is kind of like entering a spam rehab program.

2. Permission Pass Campaigns

Another way to delist your domain is running permission pass campaigns. When you get blacklisted, your email service provider will pinpoint the campaign that triggered it, allowing you to identify the email list in your database that has spam traps. Once you find this list, you can run a permission pass campaign, where you send a one-off reengagement email to the list’s contacts who haven’t interacted with your emails in a long time.

These contacts are most likely the spam traps that triggered your blacklisting, so make sure you weed out all the accounts that don’t engage with your permission pass campaign. Otherwise, an emotional attachment to a large yet unengaged email list might never let you delist. 

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Everything We Know About Instagram Local Business Profiles [Up-to-Date Guide]

Undoubtedly, your online local presence can have a big impact on your company’s bottom line — in fact, 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases.

But local SEO is nothing new. Businesses have been using Google My Business for years. Yelp’s been around since 2004. And now, you can even use Facebook to find local businesses, like when I search “Mexican restaurants nearby”:

If you have a presence on each of these big players, you might be thinking you’re all set for local SEO. However, there just might be another major opportunity coming your way — Instagram.

Here, we’re going to tell you everything we know about Instagram’s local business pages. Instagram hasn’t formally announced or rolled out local business pages across the app yet, but we want to make sure you’re prepared for when it is.

New Data: Instagram Engagement in 2019

To consider how Instagram’s local business profiles will work, let’s take a look at Google’s Local Knowledge panels, which are incredibly similar in nature:

As you can see, when you search for a local business on Google, you might find a Local Knowledge panel, which is essentially a box of information regarding the business, including images, location, hours of operation, and website.

Now, let’s take a look at Instagram’s version of local business profiles:

instagram-local-business-profile

instagram-local-business-profiles

Images courtesy of Raj Nijjer

Pretty eerily similar, right?

Instagram’s local business profiles will include your business’s address, hours of operation, website, phone number, and a “View Profile” link to your business’s Instagram account — all within the app.

With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram provides you with a ton of potential reach. Ideally, these local business profiles will help your business get found even more easily.

Allegedly, users can claim an Instagram business profile if they also have access to that business’s Facebook page. Since Facebook owns Instagram, it makes sense that the two networks would be linked.

For the time being, Instagram hasn’t made an official statement on local business profiles, and the feature isn’t rolled-out globally. It’s still being tested, which is likely why only select users (like Raj Nijjer) are able to see these local business profiles.

However, to prepare for your business to have a local business profile, it’s critical you ensure your Facebook’s business page is up-to-date, since at this point we’re assuming your business’ basic information will be taken from Facebook business pages.

Additionally, it seems that Instagram’s local business profiles will pull your most recent three consecutive images, as it did for The New York EDITION:

instagram-business-profiles-1

instagram-local-business-profiles

Once Instagram’s local business profiles is fully launched, you’ll want to pay attention to your current images to ensure you feel the content rightfully represents your brand. In a complete Instagram feed, you might feel like one image isn’t a big deal — but for a new visitor spotting an image in a business profile, it’s critical the content convinces them to click-through.

Finally, note the “Claim” button in the top right. If you “Claim” the page, you’ll be able to edit the associated business information. This should put you at ease — it means you’ll have control over your local business profile, once the feature is launched.

Right now, Instagram’s local business profiles is still in beta testing. However, to prepare your business for a local business profile, make sure you have an Instagram business account, as well as a Facebook business account.

Additionally, while unverified, it stands to reason posting local content, using local geotags, and reposting other local business’s content could help Instagram more quickly determine your business’s location when they roll out local business profiles globally.

Learn how to set up an Instagram business account in The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.

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What Is a Landing Page? All Your Questions, Answered

If you could do one thing to dramatically improve your marketing ROI today, would it be to use landing pages on your website?

If you’re trying to generate leads for your business, and you don’t have at least a few landing pages on your website, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to turn website visitors into something more.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a page on your website where you can offer a resource from your business in exchange for a visitor’s contact information. Marketers can capture this contact information using a lead-capture form, where visitors can enter details like their name, email address, and job title.

Build landing pages that convert visitors for free.

A good landing page is focused on a particular stream of traffic — say, from an email campaign that’s promoting an ebook. Because the landing page is targeting just people who are (presumably) interested in this ebook, and because this ebook has exclusive information that elaborates on a topic your audience cares about, you can convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads whom you can then follow up with.

Landing pages have one chief purpose: to generate leads for your business. However, you can define those leads in a number of ways and offer more than one type of content or experience through this landing page.

Here are some of the ways you can use a landing page to start a relationship with your future customers:

Ebooks and Whitepapers

If you wrote a blog post that introduces a topic relevant to your audience, you can satisfy deeper interests in that topic by elaborating on the subject in an ebook or whitepaper. Using a landing page, you can “gate” this resource behind a lead-capture form for people to download.

Email Newsletter Subscription

Let’s say you write a lot of blog content on a similar topic. Sure, you can develop an ebook or whitepaper that elaborates on specific details, but you can also offer your readers an email newsletter they can subscribe to for the latest content around your industry. On various blog posts, use a call-to-action (CTA) to invite readers to subscribe to your blog. This CTA can link to a separate landing page where they enter their contact information for addition to your email list.

Online Course Enrollment

Whether you’re in the education industry or you offer various skill-based certifications to your audience, online courses should have their own landing pages, too. Using these pages, you can invite new students to sign up for a class you offer and capture information on them that can lead to a customer relationship that goes beyond the courses they take with you.

Event Registration

Similar to online courses, industry events require you to collect information on your audience so they can receive updates prior to the event. An event, as well as its various sessions and keynotes, can have their own individual landing pages to turn event goers into event attendees and business leads.

Free Trial of a Product

Offering people a free demo of your product? Your demo offering could use its own landing page. Bring users to a page where they can sign up for a free trial of your software using their name, email address, job title, and any other information you deem necessary to give them the best customer experience.

Community Membership

If your business thrives on conversation among your audience — perhaps you have a website dedicated to dialogue between users — there’s no harm in making it invitation-only. In fact, it’s a great way to generate leads through the people who want to become members of your community. Create a landing page that lets website visitors sign up to become a bigger part of your business.

App Download

Developing a mobile app for your product doesn’t just improve your customer experience — it also gives you another avenue to capture leads from your audience. A lead-optimized landing page that invites users to download an app is quite common in the app-maker community.

Why are landing pages so critical?

Too many companies send their advertising, email, or social media traffic to their homepage. This is a huge missed opportunity. When you know a stream of targeted traffic will be coming to your website, you can increase the likelihood of converting that traffic into leads by using a targeted landing page.

For example, imagine you have a Google AdWords PPC ad running for one of your best keywords. Even if you advertise how great your company is (an off-putting brag in the eyes of your customer) and someone still clicks through on that ad, do you want to send them to your homepage? When they land on your homepage, what are they supposed to do? What do you want them to do?

Once you figure out what action you want a visitor to take, make it easier for them to do just that. Send them to a landing page that prompts them to complete that action. You’ll see the effectiveness of your online marketing improve dramatically.

What makes a landing page most effective?

Ready to create your first landing page, or improve on a landing page you already have? Here are some of the most important elements to make sure your landing page is working hard for you:

Limit Navigation

You’ve brought your targeted traffic to a page where they can take your desired action. Don’t distract them! Limit the number of exits from your landing page so that your visitors are focused on filling out your form. A key part of this is to remove the website navigation elements on landing pages. This helps put the focus back on the content you’re offering.

See how the landing page below does this — aside from the HubSpot logo, there are no navigation buttons to confuse or distract visitors.

landing-page-no-navigation

Enable Sharing

Tap into a huge community of your best (and free) marketers: your audience. Add share links to your landing page to encourage your website visitors to share your content with their audiences.

Deliver Value

First and foremost, if you have a valuable offer, your visitors will give up their contact information in exchange for your offer. Ask yourself if your offer is compelling to your audience and make sure your landing page demonstrates that value. One way to ensure your landing page adds value is to show your audience the content they’re going to receive — directly on the page. See how this can look in the example landing page below.

landing-page-product-showing-value

Keep it Short

The longer your landing page and form, the more friction you add to the lead-generation process. Keeping your lead form short and straightforward will increase your conversion rate.

Here’s a tip: Put as many contact fields as you can on the same line. Shortening the height of your lead-capture form helps you limit the more trivial fields you might be tempted to include, and prevents your landing page visitors from getting spooked by a form that’s asking too much of them. As shown below, sometimes all you need is a first and last name, followed by an email address.

landing-page-short-form

Test, Test, Test

As many best practices as you may read about online, your landing page can always use more testing and improvement. Make sure you have a landing page creation tool that allows you to create and test many different landing pages to see what works best for your business.

Are you a landing page guru? Check out some of our advanced tips and data around landing page best practices on effective calls to action and the best/worst button text (hint: don’t use “Submit”). Do you need to make any of these 10 Quick Fixes to Build Killer Landing Pages?

If you’re working hard to drive traffic to your website, don’t make the mistake of not capturing that traffic as leads.

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How to Run Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Facebook

When setting up a paid Facebook ad, there are a lot of boxes to be checked.

Are you targeting the right people? Are your image dimensions to scale? Are you running the right type of ad? If we’re being honest, it can get a little confusing.

With more than 2.3 billion people using Facebook every month, and nearly 1.6 billion users every day, Facebook offers up a unique opportunity for marketers to augment their organic efforts. The trouble is, with both an investment of time and money on the line, there’s not much room for oversight.

Free Lookbook: 50 Facebook Ad Examples That We Actually Clicked

To help, we’ve put together a checklist to help you keep all of your campaign details straight. Or watch this short video on how to increase the effectiveness of your ads and budget. These will help ensure that you’re tapping into the right audience with the right ad at the right time.

How to Run Facebook Ads

Facebook offers a variety of paid ad options and placements, but all ads can be broken down into three elements:

  1. Campaigns. The campaign houses all of your assets.
  2. Ad sets. If you’re targeting separate audiences with different characteristics, you’ll need an individual ad set for each.
  3. Ads. Your actual ads live within your ad sets. Each ad set can hold a variety of ads that vary in color, copy, images, etc.

With that terminology out of the way, let’s dive in to creating an ad.

Start creating an ad through Facebook’s Ads Manager.

You can create a paid ad on Facebook using Facebook’s Ads Manager.

Once you log into this page, you’ll see a performance dashboard where all of your campaigns, ad sets, and ads will be listed including the results they’ve driven for your Facebook page. Unless you’ve already created an ad for your Facebook page, this dashboard will be empty.

To create a new campaign, ad set, or ad through the Facebook Ad Manager, tab over to the type of ad you want to create and click the green “Create” button to far left of these ad types, as shown below. You can see from this screenshot that we’re currently set to create a new campaign.

facebook-ad-manager

Choose an objective.

Facebook’s Ads Manager, like many social media advertising networks, is designed with your campaign objective in mind. Before getting started, Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign:

facebook-ad-campaign-objective

There are 11 different objectives to choose from. The list includes everything from general brand awareness, to getting installs of your app, to increasing traffic to your online store.

By choosing one of these objectives, you’re giving Facebook a better idea of what you’d like to do so they can present you with the best-suited ad options. As shown in the screenshot above, Facebook’s ad options include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales
  • Store traffic

Let’s say, for sake of this blog post, you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website. When you select this option, Facebook will prompt you to enter the URL you’re looking to promote. If you’re using marketing automation software, be sure to create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters for this to ensure that you’ll be able to keep track of traffic and conversions from this ad. For HubSpot customers, this can be done using the Tracking URL Builder.

Once selected, Facebook will then display the ad option that makes the most sense in terms of achieving this objective.

Choose your audience.

Your next step is to configure your target audience — you can do this for each ad set that belongs to the same campaign. If you’re just starting out with paid advertising on Facebook, it’s likely that you’ll have to experiment with several different targeting options until you reach an audience that fits just right.

To help you narrow your focus, Facebook’s targeting criteria are accompanied by an audience definition gauge. This tool — located to the right of the audience targeting fields — takes all of your selected properties into consideration in order to come up with a potential reach number.

If you’re wavering between choosing a specific audience over a broad one, consider your objective. If you’re looking to drive traffic, you’ll probably want to focus on the type of people you know will be interested in your offering. However, if you’re looking to build brand awareness or promote a widely appealing offer, feel free to focus on a more general audience.

Audience creation page in the Facebook Ad Manager

Facebook’s built-in targeting is vast, including options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

You also have the option to select a Custom Audience — this allows you to target people on Facebook who are in your company’s contact database, visited a page on your website that has a tracking pixel, or use your app or game. To learn more about how to set up an Custom Audience on Facebook, check out these instructions. (And for more on the specifics of these criteria, visit this Facebook targeting resource.)

Once you find a group that responds well to your ads, Facebook allows you to save these audiences to be used again later — so you may not need to dive into this step once you’ve been running Facebook ads for a while.

Set your budget.

Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Here’s how they differ from each other:

  • Daily budget. If you want your ad set to run continuously throughout the day, this is the option you’ll want to go for. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that the minimum daily budget for an ad set is $1.00 USD and must be at least 2X your CPC.
  • Lifetime budget. If you’re looking to run your ad for a specified length of time, select lifetime budget. This means Facebook will pace your spend over the time period you set for the ad to run.

facebook-ad-budget

To further specify your budgeting, turn to the advanced options — this option is linked at the bottom of the screenshot shown above. This section allows you to specify a few things:

Schedule

Choose whether or not your want your campaign to run immediately and continuously or if you want to customize the start and end dates. You can also set parameters so that your ads only run during specific hours and days of the week.

Optimization & Pricing

Choose whether or not you want to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. (This will alter how your ad is displayed and paid for.) By doing so, you’ll pay for your ad to be shown to people within your target audience that are more likely to complete your desired action, but Facebook will control what your maximum bid is.

If you don’t want Facebook to set optimal bids for you, you’ll want to opt for manual bidding. This option awards you full control over how much you’re willing to pay per action completed. However, Facebook will provide a suggested bid based on other advertisers’ behavior to give you a sense of what you should shoot for.

Delivery

Delivery type falls under two categories: standard and accelerated. Standard delivery will show your ads throughout the day, while accelerated delivery helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads (Note: this option requires manual bid pricing).

Create your ad.

What do you want your ad to look like? It all depends on your original objective.

If you’re looking to increase the number of clicks to your website, Facebook’s Ad Manager will suggest the Clicks to Website ad options. Makes sense, right?

This ad option is broken down into two formats: Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad (Links) or a multi-image ad (Carousel) with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

A Links ad will be displayed like this:

Facebook Ad with link to Shop Now

A Carousel ad will be displayed like this:

Example of a Facebook Carousel Ad with images of Grand Canyon

Once you decide between the two, you’ll need to upload your creative assets. It’s important to note that for each type of ad, Facebook requires users to adhere to certain design criteria.

For single image ads, Facebook asks that users adhere to the following design recommendations:

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Ad Headline: 25 characters
  • Image ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image resolution (including CTA): 1080 x 1080 pixels

For multi-image ads — also known as Carousel Ads — Facebook provides the following design recommendations:

  • Recommended image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
Your image may not include more than 20% text.
See how much text is on your image.

Keep in mind that these are the ad options for the “Traffic” objective.

If you selected “boost your posts,” you’d be presented with different ad options like the Page Post Engagement: Photo ad. This ad has a unique set of design recommendations. To explore all of the ad options and their design specifics, refer to this resource.

Once you select an ad type, the Ads Manager will prompt you to identify how you’d like to display your ad. The options they provide are as follows: Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed, and Desktop Right Column.

Here’s how each ad would appear:

Desktop News Feed

Facebook Ad with single image on a desktop news feed

Mobile News Feed

Facebook ad with single image on mobile news feed

Desktop Right Column

Facebook Ad with single image on desktop right column

Be aware if your ad isn’t associated with a Facebook page, you’ll only be able to run Desktop Right Column ads. To leverage all three display locations, you can learn how to create a Facebook Page here.

Report on your ads’ performance.

Once your ads are running, you’ll want to keep an eye on how they’re doing. To see their results, you’ll want to look in two places: the Facebook Ad Manager and your marketing software.

Facebook’s Ad Manager

Facebook’s Ad Manager is a sophisticated dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns.

Upfront, the dashboard highlights an estimate of how much you’re spending each day. The dashboard is organized by columns, which makes it easy to filter through your ads so you can create a custom view of your results. Key numbers like reach, frequency, and cost are readily available, making reporting on performance a no brainer.

According to Facebook, here are some of the key metrics to look for (and their definitions):

  • Performance. Can be customized further to include metrics like results, reach, frequency and impressions
  • Engagement. Can be customized further to include metrics like Page likes, Page engagement and post engagement
  • Videos. Can be customized further to include metrics like video views and avg. % of video viewed
  • Website. Can be customized further to include metrics like website actions (all), checkouts, payment details, purchases and adds to cart
  • Apps. Can be further customized to include metrics like app installs, app engagement, credit spends, mobile app actions and cost per app engagement
  • Events. Can be further customized to include metrics like event responses and cost per event response
  • Clicks. Can be further customized to include metrics like clicks, unique clicks, CTR (click-through rate) and CPC (cost per click)
  • Settings. Can be further customized to include metrics like start date, end date, ad set name, ad ID, delivery, bid and objective

Your Marketing Software

While there are certainly a lot of details to keep straight when planning a paid Facebook ad, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of the big picture. Reporting on clicks and conversions from Facebook is important, however, if you’re using URLs with specific UTM codes, you have an opportunity to measure your ads’ full-funnel effectiveness using your marketing software.

Tracking URLs will help your marketing software keep track of how many leads, or better yet, how many customers you’ve gained from your advertising efforts. This information is useful in determining the ROI of this source, and can also be used to inform your overall Facebook marketing strategy.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create unique tracking codes for your Facebook campaign by navigating to the Tracking URL Builder on the Reports Home page. All you’ll need to do is plug in the URL, attach a campaign, and choose the source you want the URL to be attributed to in your Sources Report. Once your ad launches and you start getting traffic and conversions on your website, you’ll be able to easily track how many visits, contacts, and customers you’re generating.

FB Ad Examples

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How to Use Ancient Design Thinking to Transform Your Business & Your Life

“Do what you love, and the rest will follow” always sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?

But what happens when you’re doing what you love and it leads to great things, like a successful, profitable business that serves many high-profile clients … but eventually brings you to the brink of a nervous breakdown?

That makes me think of another old adage — “Victim of your own success.”

Not too long ago, that was me. My company was designing amazing digital experiences for brands and their customers worldwide, which was all I’d ever dreamt of doing. But one day I woke up only to realize I was no longer happy — in fact, I was miserable. I couldn’t even remember why I was doing what I was doing anymore.

Cue The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony“.

I was so busy designing my life around what I thought others wanted or expected from me that I managed to earn myself a dreaded spot on the lonely, exhausting hamster wheel of endless emails and tasks.

Perhaps you can relate?

Download our complete guide to productivity here for more tips to improve your  productivity.

My unhappiness was obvious to everyone around me, both at work and at home. Fortunately, my brother intervened by giving me Nightline anchor Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier. Harris is a guy, like me, who realized that the very habits that paved the way to his success were also habits that led to anxiety. Mindfulness was his lifesaver, and it’s worked for me, too.

Don’t panic — I promise I’m not going to get all New Age-y on you here. But I will say this opened me up to explore other existential practices and philosophies to find a more authentic and upbeat life.

To be completely honest, this was actually the perfect challenge for me. After all, I’m in the business of designing human experiences for complex systems, and what’s more complex or human than me — and you?

To find newfound joy in my work, I ultimately turned to Okinawa, Japan — a town that boasts the largest population of people who live to 100 or older. Known as “the land of the immortals“, the people of Okinawa have cultivated design thinking that can help you learn how to “do what you love” without inevitable burn-out.

Here, I’m going to tell you how.

Ancient Japanese Wisdom for Modern Times

There’s a term for this Okinawan secret sauce — Ikigai. While there’s no direct word-to-word translation in English, it’s essentially your reason for living, and the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning.

Needing something more than a strong cup of coffee to take on the day is not a new concept. In fact, according to a research paper cited in a BBC article on Ikigai, the term dates back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). Even from early times, the Japanese were driven to find value in work.

Ikigai ultimately integrates all aspects of daily life that provides people with a sense of purpose.

In other words, to get to the deeper meaning of your life beyond the superficial — which includes money, fame, and status — you have to engage in a multifaceted exploration of what drives you.

However, it’s not all hearts and rainbows. Psychiatrist Mieko Kamiya, author of a classic book on ikigai published in 1966, points out that the concept provides a more nuanced version of happiness. Ikigai is what helps you set your sights on a brighter future.

The Ikigai Framework

Now that we’ve explored the history of Ikigai, let’s try a fun yet complex mapping exercise where you can apply the concept of Ikigai to your own life. It combines the aspirational with the practical, and grounds the spiritual in reality. So, the “do what you love” bit (your passion) is only one small piece of the puzzle.

There are other things you have to look at, such as:

  • What your mission is (how you can serve the world’s needs)
  • What you’re good at (your talent/vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

From this framework, it’s easy to see how passion is just one petal on the flower that is Ikigai. You need all the other aspects to create the critical piece that allows the buds to bloom — you need to find the intersection of it all.

Change Your Frame and Watch Your Game Change

Ikigai is undoubtedly human-centered design at its finest — it considers your needs and desires within the context of a wider humanity.

It’s all about connection. It’s not this or that, it’s this and that. That’s where you find the juice necessary to become more adaptable, take more risks, and increase your productivity.

Plus, you can minimize the stress and anxiety you currently feel in the workplace.

Ultimately, Ikigai helps you construct the best version of yourself.

How to Find Your Ikigai — And Your “&”

To start, all you need to do is come up with a few honest lists:

  • What you value
  • What you like to do
  • What you’re good at

It can be as simple as typing them up or putting pen to paper, but I’d recommend doing it on whiteboard, so you can go nuts with the Post-it notes.

For example, here’s a short overview of my lists:

  • Value: Innovating technologically-driven solutions to make things better for others, honoring diversity, embracing creativity, and creating opportunities.
  • Passion: Problem-solving, designing, coding, hacking, and finding strength and inspiration in the intersection of science fiction, technology, and culture.
  • Good at: Ideation, design, development, collaboration, and having the heart of a growth-hacker (scrappy).

Which brings me to my Ikigai:

What I care about, what I like, and what I’m good at is all about design, technology, and problem-solving.

What the world needs, in my opinion, is forward motion — evolution through innovative solutions.

This leads me to my mission: To be a force for positive change in people’s lives.

Then, there’s profession, which a couple of years ago was the wilted petal that was destroying the whole arrangement. I was so immersed in doing what I thought was necessary to build my business that I stepped away from the work that brings me true bliss.

Bliss, by the way, isn’t some kind of frivolous hysteria. Instead, it’s a state of being completely content with where you’re at.

Getting in touch with my Ikigai reminded me that in order to align my profession with the overarching goal of making a difference in people’s lives, I had to get back to my roots.

Today, I can clearly and easily assert my profession as technologist, designer, developer, and business leader.

As you might imagine, it’s not static, nor is it merely one thing. The beauty of Ikigai is that it’s an ever-expanding spectrum. You can express it in ways both large and small. It’s all happening in the here and now, reaffirming the other age-old Eastern adage: “There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.”

For the record, the Japanese don’t have a word for retirement. Work is the sum total of our days, so the point is to be sure it all adds up to meaning and purpose.

So … what’s your Ikigai?

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Marketers Aren’t Using Their CRM Correctly. Here’s How to Change That

Picture this: You’re an email marketer for Run Central, a mid-sized athletic company selling running sneakers, clothes, and gear. You love your company, team, and customers.

As an email marketer, you’re responsible for creating the content that goes out to all your customers, prospects, and leads. You write copy, segments lists, think about conversion opportunities, and report on monthly metrics. It’s a big job — and it keeps you very busy. You can spend hours crafting the perfect email.

In fact, you spend so much time planning and executing on the email strategy, you hardly ever connect with the other marketers on your team who manage the company’s blog and content, social and chat, website, video strategy, events, PR, and more. And this isn’t unusual.

Traditionally, marketers focus on the details — they sweat the small stuff and divide to conquer. One marketer may be in charge of improving conversion metrics, while another focuses on SEO and someone else optimizes product pages. You might even have an intern creating some Instagram stories.

But when marketers complete these tasks in isolation, prospects and customers are left with a disconnected experience.

Marketing is about more than single, solitary interactions — it’s about building a
complete customer experience.

 

 

If you want your business to succeed, you need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. How do all your marketing activities connect? What do your customers really experience? And how can you keep your team working towards the same goal? Let’s find out.

Your Customer Journey Isn’t As Linear As You Think

It’s easy to imagine that the customer journey is like a well-traveled, east-to-west road trip, following a single, straight highway from awareness to consideration to purchase.

Buyers start with an ad, check out a blog post, visit a website, sign up for emails, talk to a rep, and end with a purchase. Mission accomplished.

And sure, sometimes prospects take the most direct route on the buyer’s journey highway, but most of the time, they take a few detours.

By trying to force the customer journey into a linear, step-by-step mold, you risk losing prospects that don’t fit your design. Consumers want information before they buy, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for getting it.

The truth is, the customer journey is messy and can be difficult to predict — everyone’s is a little different. Some customers may look for information about your brand through search, while others may click on an ad, an email, or seek out reviews from friends.

And the journey doesn’t stop there. Marketers shouldn’t stop interacting with customers as soon as they click “buy” — if you want to maintain and nurture unique relationships, you need to continue to interact with customers after you make a sale. That’s why it’s important to connect the dots between your marketing efforts to build one cohesive brand experience.

How to Connect the Dots

I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done, right? But there’s a pretty simple solution, or at least there are some tools that can help. Let me explain.

As a marketer, you’re probably used to using multiple tools and point solutions to connect with prospects and customers. Not only is this method inconvenient, but if all your marketing efforts aren’t connected by a customer management solution, or CRM, it also creates a disjointed experience for customers. Marketers need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. If you want to build a complete customer experience, focus on connecting your marketing software with the tool that should be at the core of your marketing efforts: your company’s trusty CRM.

CRMs are traditionally considered a tool for sales teams to track leads, prospects, and customers. With them, reps can see every interaction a contact has had with a brand. Everything from calls with a sales rep to website visits are tracked and logged in a contact record.

While you may be familiar with a CRM, you probably aren’t using it to its full potential. Masters of email marketing, live chat, ads, and social media tools they may be, marketers rarely use a CRM for anything other than creating email lists, if at all. Think about it. You probably stress over the last-minute details of a campaign and track its success, but I’m guessing you rarely check to see how your campaigns are influencing individual contacts, or who’s consistently engaging with your marketing efforts.

Your CRM is your single source of truth — it connects all of your customer information and allows you to take strategic action.

By putting it at the center of your marketing strategy, you can truly personalize your messaging. You can use any data point or marketing engagement metric to segment contacts beyond lifecycle stages. This allows you to create more targeted, meaningful content and ads and expedite the sales process, helping your entire company grow better. Without a CRM, your personalization efforts are smoke and mirrors at best, and insufficient at worst.

How Your CRM Works With Other Tools

Of course, your CRM is only as strong as your other marketing tools. When paired correctly, it helps eliminate friction and save time so that you can focus on building a complete customer experience.

CRM and Email

How many times a week do you email your customers? How many of those emails do your customers actually read? With email and your CRM, you can go beyond first name email personalization — segment your contacts into different lists based on any CRM data point like location, page interactions, and more. And it doesn’t stop there.

Combining a CRM with your email tool allows you to use personalization so that each email recipient receives updates and information that are relevant to them. Not only can you personalize text, but you can also switch up CTAs to send a contact to a different landing page based on CRM data you’ve collected. By sending relevant, personal emails, you can build trust and provide value to customers and prospects.

A CRM can also help you and your team save time. Avoid exporting and importing lists of contacts into your email service provider (ESP) — when your email is connected to your CRM, all of your contacts live within one system. This keeps all of your contact information up to date, helping your team stay compliant with CAN-SPAM laws, send segmented emails easily, and effortlessly report on email deliverability.

Exporting and importing contact lists from your CRM into an email tool may not seem like a hassle, but it really impacts your ability to send the best and most relevant emails to your prospects, customers, and fans. For example, if you export a segmented list from your CRM on Monday and three of your contacts opt out of emails on Tuesday, they’re probably going to be pretty annoyed if they see your name in their inbox on Wednesday. Similarly, if a contact visits your pricing page or shows interest in purchasing after you’ve already exported a list from your CRM, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to convert. Exporting and importing lists excludes the level of detail required to build a complete customer experience unless you have a unified database.

That’s why it’s so important to connect your CRM and marketing efforts. With a fully integrated system, you can skillfully market to the right contacts with minimal effort. You can establish rules that automatically sort a prospect or customer into the appropriate list when they move into a different stage of the customer journey, allowing you to send targeted emails based on their previous brand interactions.

Not only does this help your team, but it also removes friction from your brand experience. Instead of adding to your customers spam folder, you can use CRM data to send personalized emails about brand events happening in their area (not across the country), product information based off of ads they’ve clicked on (not a standard sale promotion), and content suggestions that align with other posts they’ve read on your website. You can provide value and increase delight. 

Many of our customers are using HubSpot CRM and Marketing Hub to create better experiences for their own customers. Thomas Berry of Picmonic says, “As a startup, we’re always looking for new tools that will help us make an impact on a smaller budget. We often end up signing up for lots of disjointed tools, which can make it tough to get a full view of the customer journey. With HubSpot’s email tool, we’re able to combine those automation tools with the insights we gather in the CRM. We always aim to put our customers first and with these powerful tools, we can provide them with an even better experience.”

Best of all, when your CRM connects your entire company, you can see how your email strategies are impacting your customers in the context of all your other marketing, sales, and service efforts, helping your team to set clear goals, maintain alignment, and adjust your strategy in real time.

CRM and Ads

Using a CRM with an ads management tool is the best way to leverage your customer data and create high-performing audiences at scale. While third-party data helps you reach a broad persona, the first-party data you get from your CRM lets you target a hyper-specific group of people. It allows you to create relevant ads for any audience, no matter what stage they’re at in the buyer’s journey.

For example, you can create a custom audience of all the contacts in your CRM who viewed a certain product. Based on this audience, you can then create an extremely specific ad that provides information about that product to propel them along their buyer’s journey. You can then see exactly which contacts in your custom audience interacted with your ads, not just an aggregate number, helping you create even more relevant content.

This make a big impact on your customers. Seriously. Think about how many ads they see in a day. How many of those do you think are actually relevant? By promoting highly targeted ads, your customers won’t be surprised or frustrated when they see one in their feed. The ad won’t feel promotional or gimmicky — it will be familiar and helpful because they’ve interacted with similar content in your emails, on your website, or in other marketing efforts.  

Jamie Hall and the team at My Arsenal Strength have the right idea. They’re using HubSpot’s ads tool to fill their CRM with leads, and understand exactly how their contacts are interacting with their ads. “Adding the HubSpot Ads Tool has been a very valuable tool for our company,” says Hall. “We are able to analyze various details, such as seeing where our contacts interacted with our ads, which helps us determine next steps with various ad campaigns. It’s also helpful as we utilize social media outlets to have those leads generated automatically into our HubSpot CRM.”

Connecting your CRM and ads tool also allows you to attach deals to your ads attribution and report on the true ROI of your ad spend, helping you set and allocate budget for future ad buys.

CRM and Your CMS

Finally, if your customers interact with your email, ads, and social, they’re going to expect that you recognize them once they get to your website. For example, if a customer has read an email about a specific product and liked an ad about the same product, they’re going to be pretty frustrated if they can’t easily find that product when they visit your website. Similarly, if a customer purchased a product from your site in the past, they won’t want to re-enter all of their shipping data when they make their next purchase. 

Your website shouldn’t be flat and impersonal — it should be dynamic and conversational. That’s where your CRM comes into play. 

By connecting your content management system, or CMS, to your CRM, you can become the architect of your company’s flywheel — and create personalized site experiences. Conversations with prospects begin on your company’s website. You can manage those conversations, at scale, by using contextual data to share relevant content, create streamlined interactions and sign-ups, and route questions and inquiries to the appropriate department. 

Integrating your CMS and CRM also allows you to access the data you need for a complete view of your visitors’ interactions with your site. Based on that and other general information from your CRM, you can adapt your site to each visitor by optimizing website content, forms, and more.

What Success Looks Like

CRMs serve as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. It is the one place where everyone across your entire organization can view metrics, track progress, and optimize strategies for success.

When used appropriately, it allows you to connect the dots so you can create the complete customer experience your customers crave.

Combining your marketing efforts with a powerful CRM helps you eliminate friction and build your brand — and because it spans so many business functions, it provides the transparency your team needs to stay on top of their goals. Imagine not having to worry about disjointed or competing marketing efforts, conflicting goals, and wasted time — with a CRM, your contacts can view a blog article, an Instagram post, a product page, or any other piece of marketing at any time and know that it’s coming from a single trustworthy company. That’s the power of a CRM.

When marketers leverage their customers’ data for good, they can craft remarkable customer experiences. Learn how you can improve your customer journey with the HubSpot CRM and Marketing Hub.

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5 Professional Business Proposal Examples to Inspire Your Own

Throughout the buyer’s journey, content obviously plays a huge role during the beginning and middle stages. At the last stage of the buyer’s journey, though, it can be somewhat overlooked.

A lot of marketing teams are focused on creating the beginning- and middle-stage content that brings in the views and leads most sales teams are focused on closing during the final stage of the buyer’s journey. So, in a nutshell, marketing teams don’t create enough content for this stage and sales teams don’t leverage them enough during it.

However, one of the most important pieces of content any organization can create and leverage really only gets used during the final stage of the buyer’s journey — the business proposal. By outlining your organization’s value proposition, highlighting how your product or service can solve your prospect’s specific problem, and listing your pricing, your business proposal communicates crucial information your prospects need to know before they even think about doing business with you.

Fortunately, to help you create an engaging and convincing business proposal, we’ve rounded up the best business proposal examples we could find on the Internet. Read on to learn how to start writing business proposals that will win you contracts and grow your organization.

Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

5 Professional Business Proposal Examples to Inspire Your Own

1. “How to Write a Business Proposal [Tips & Examples]” | HubSpot

In her thorough blog post about writing a business proposal, Meredith Hart, a Junior Staff Writer for HubSpot’s Sales Blog, fleshes out the fundamental elements included in most business proposals and even created a business proposal example in Canva to give you even more insight on how to craft a compelling one.

After reading her informative blog post, you’ll learn about the fundamental elements you should include in your business proposal, their purpose, how to write each element, overarching tips for creating a top-notch business proposal, and some business proposal examples for web design, SEO, and sales.

2. “How to Write a Business Proposal (The Modern Way) | PandaDoc

One of the most robust business proposal examples on this list, PandaDoc’s guide on writing a modern business proposal will help you chip away at this daunting task one step at a time.

In their guide, they cover the structure most business proposals follow, the ten sections to include in your own, what information to include in each section, an example of each section, some quick tips for improving your business proposal, and what you should do after you send your business proposal to a prospect to help you anticipate any follow up questions they might have and, in turn, boost the odds that you close them as a customer.

3. “Business Proposal For PDF & Word” | HubSpot

In HubSpot’s flagship business proposal example offer, they provide you with a fully customizable sample template that gives you detailed instructions on what sections to include in your business proposal, the information to include in each section, and how you can write each section in a convincing fashion.

Since their business proposal template is completely customizable, you can also replace their instructions with your own information, add additional information and sections, and add your own branding and logo. Additionally, you can download your finished business proposal as a Word or PDF file, print it, and email it to your prospects.

4. “How to Write a Business Proposal in 6 Steps” | Fit Small Business

Fit Small Business’ business proposal example is the most fleshed out example on this list. Not only do they cover what exactly a business proposal is, the steps to writing a successful one, and provide an example of one, but they also describe the best methods and tools for sending a business proposal, how to follow up, and what to do after you win a contract.

Additionally, Fit Small Business provides you with some design tips for your business proposal, the best business proposal formats to use (with examples), and answers to frequently asked questions about creating effective business proposals.

5. “HubSpot Partner Agency Proposal Examples” | HubSpot

To help marketing agencies write better business proposals, HubSpot teamed up with four of their agency partners to create four downloadable proposal examples for each of the agency’s specializations.

After downloading it, you’ll have access to proposals created by agencies that specialize in inbound marketing, growth content strategy, industrial manufacturing marketing, and digital solutions and consulting marketing. Since your organization operates in its own specific situation, you can sift through each example to see which one best meets your needs.

Business Plan Template

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Twitter Marketing in 2019: The Ultimate Guide

Whether pop-culture, local or global news, work, or the brands I use and wear, Twitter is a powerful social networking tool and search engine in which I can typically find the latest information about virtually any topic. This also includes updates from the companies and businesses I care about.

Businesses, like HubSpot, are able to market on Twitter to engage users and followers, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and more (we’ll discuss the “more” shortly). Twitter makes it easy to distribute content. And, there are over 326 million average monthly Twitter users globally for you to share that content with.

The thought of reaching hundreds of millions of leads through a free social media platform sounds intriguing, right? But how do you actually ensure you’re generating fantastic content those people will want to interact with?

In this guide, we’ll answer that question along with some others including what a Twitter marketing strategy is, how you can use Twitter for your business, and what tips and tricks you can implement to help you improve your marketing efforts on the platform.

Let’s get started.

What is a Twitter marketing strategy?

A Twitter marketing strategy is a plan centered around creating, publishing, and distributing content for your buyer personas, audience, and followers through the social media platform. The goal of this type of strategy is to attract new followers and leads, boost conversions, improve brand recognition, and increase sales.

Creating a Twitter marketing strategy will require you to follow the same steps you would if you were creating any other social media marketing strategy.

  1. Research your buyer personas and audience
  2. Create unique and engaging content
  3. Organize a schedule for your posts
  4. Analyze your impact and results

So, you might be wondering what makes Twitter unique. Why would you want to actually invest the time in creating a profile and content for the platform?

Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.

What makes Twitter unique?

Twitter is a great marketing tool for a number of reasons. The platform …

… is free to use.

… allows you to share and promote branded content in seconds.

… expands your reach.

… allows you to provide quick customer service and support.

… works as a search engine tool for you to search for your competitors and their marketing content to see which tactics they’re using.

… can be used as a search engine tool for prospects to find and learn about your company.

… allows you to converse with your followers, share the latest updates about your company, and address your audience.

Now that we’ve reviewed what a Twitter marketing strategy is and what makes the platform unique, let’s cover the ways in which you can use Twitter for your business. These tips will help you boost conversions, create lasting relationships with your followers, and improve your brand awareness.

As you begin using Twitter for your business, there are some steps you’ll want to take to ensure you reach your target audience. Depending on your goals, company size, and industry, you may or may not choose to work through each of the following steps (or you may have already completed some of them), so tailor them to your needs.

Learn how to use Twitter for business to better share, engage, and market on the platform.

1. Customize and brand your profile.

When someone looks at your company’s Twitter profile, you want them to automatically know it’s yours. Meaning you should customize and brand your Twitter profile with your logo, colors, and any other recognizable and memorable details you want to incorporate. There are a few locations in which you can customize your profile.

  • Handle: Your Twitter handle is your username (for example, our handle is @hubspot) — this should include your company’s name so your followers, customers, and fans can easily search and find you on the platform. You create your Twitter handle when you sign up for an account.
  • Header: The header on your Twitter profile is your background image. You might choose to create a unique image for your header, use your logo, or another branded image.
  • Profile picture: Your Twitter profile picture represents your company’s every move, interaction, post, and tweet on the platform. It’s the image that sits above your bio and might include a picture of your logo, company’s initials, or CEO.
  • Bio: A Twitter bio provides everyone who visits your profile with a brief synopsis of what they’re about to see in 160 characters or less. It might include your mission statement, a blurb about what your company does, or something humorous and engaging.
  • Website URL: Beneath your profile picture and bio, there’s a location where you can include your URL to direct traffic straight to your website.
  • Birthday: In the same location as your URL, you can insert your company’s birthday — or the day when the company was founded — so your audience gets to know your business on a more personal level.

Twitter-profileSource

2. Create Twitter Lists.

A Twitter List — which any user has the ability to create and view — is an organized group of Twitter accounts you’ve selected and put together in specific categories. For example, at HubSpot, lists include Leadership Experts, Top Marketing Experts, Top Business Podcasters, and more. When you open a Twitter List, you only see tweets posted by the accounts on the list.

Twitter Lists are great if you want to follow only specific accounts. You might segment your lists into groups such as business inspiration, competitors, and target audience so you’re able to easily review their posts, interactions, and content.

Twitter-lists

Source

3. Host a Twitter Chat.

You can schedule and host a Twitter chat to engage your followers, discuss a topic, create a sense of community, and ask your audience for their opinions or input on something you’re working on.

To host a Twitter Chat (or TweetChat), you’ll need to choose a topic, set a time and date for the chat to occur, and create a hashtag for the chat. You can share this information with your followers in a tweet, on your website, in your Twitter bio, and wherever else you choose.

Everyone who wants to participate in the Twitter Chat should then be able to view all responses, questions, and comments regarding your topic of choice by searching your unique hashtag, as well as sharing their own comments and thoughts by adding the hashtag to their tweets.

Twitter Chats promote interaction and engagement on your profile and get people talking about your brand. It also creates a more personal experience between your audience members and your business.

Twitter-chat

Source

4. Advertise on Twitter.

Advertising through Twitter is a great way to reach your audience. This will make your tweets easily discoverable by thousands of people, helping you increase your influence and following. You can do this through promoted tweets or Twitter Ads.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets make your tweets appear in the Twitter streams or Twitter search results of specific users. This is a great option for anyone looking to get more people on a specific webpage. Your business will pay a monthly fee as long as you’re promoting a tweet.

Twitter will put your promoted tweets in a daily campaign targeting the type of audience you want to reach as previously indicated in your settings. All Twitter users have the ability to interact and engage with Twitter Ads the same way they would with your organic content.

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads is a great option if you’re using different types of tweets to achieve one goal for your business. It’s ideal if you’re looking to grow your base of followers and brand awareness significantly through the platform.

Your business can decide between different objectives when it comes to your Twitter ads including app installs, video views, and website conversions, as well as audience targeting for your campaigns. This decision will impact the price you’ll need to pay to run your ad.

5. Drive traffic to your website.

Twitter can help you direct traffic to your website — there are a number of ways to include your website’s URL on your profile as well as add links to your web pages and blogs in your tweets. Here are some ways you can use the platform to direct traffic to your website to help you increase your conversions and sales.

  • Add your website URL beneath your bio on your Twitter profile.
  • Incorporate links to your website in your tweets.
  • Retweet any content that includes direct links to your website and/ or blogs other people have shared.  
  • Embed tweets on your website with a Twitter Timeline.
  • Set up Twitter Ads to drive users to a specific landing page on your site.

6. Use Twitter Moments.

Twitter Moments are collections of tweets about a specific topic or event. They’re like a “best of” collection of tweets regarding your topic of choice. For example, Twitter’s Moments section includes “Today”, “News”, “Entertainment”, and “Fun.”

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You can also create your own section of Moments for your followers to view on your profile.  

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You might organize your Twitter Moments into groups of tweets to help you market your business’ events and campaigns or related industry news. They also help with your marketing tactics by providing your business with an engaging way to promote the discussion of specific topics and/ or events that matter to your company to help you share your brand image with audience members.   

7. Get verified on Twitter.

You might choose to apply to get your Twitter profile verified depending on the size of your company and your industry. Twitter states they typically only accept requests for account verification if you’re in “music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.” If Twitter accepts your application and verifies your profile, a badge with a blue checkmark inside of it will appear next to your handle. This symbolizes an authentic account.

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Being verified prevents your audience members from following and being confused by impersonator accounts or accounts with similar content, usernames, and handles to yours. A verified account also makes your business look more legitimate and trustworthy.

8. Focus on building your follower count.

Needless to say, the more Twitter followers you have, the more people there are looking at and interacting with your content. You’ll have a better chance to improve brand awareness and direct more traffic to your website when you build your follower count on Twitter.

Learn how to get more Twitter followers, fast.

There are a number of ways you can increase your follower count on Twitter — here are some to get you started:

  • Ensure your content is shareable.
  • Use unique hashtags.
  • Create engaging content (giveaways, contests, questions, surveys).
  • Enlist the help of Twitter (social media) influencers.
  • Include links to your Twitter profile on your website.
  • Interact with your current followers and retweet their content so they’re more likely to do the same for you.

Now that we’ve reviewed how to use Twitter for business, let’s cover some tips and tricks you can apply to your profile to improve your marketing efforts on the platform.

The following Twitter marketing tips are universal, meaning they’re applicable to any type of business, in every industry..

1.  Use keyword targeting in your Twitter Ads.

Keyword targeting on Twitter is component of Twitter Ads. Keyword targeting allows you to engage Twitter users through the different words and phrases you’ve included in your content and they’ve searched for on the platform. This means you’re able to reach your target audience at the exact time your business, content, and services are most relevant to them.

On Twitter, there are two types of keyword targeting you can use including search and timeline.

Search Keyword Targeting

Search keyword targeting allows you to make your tweets show up for users who are searching for the topics that you determined relate to your business. For example, if you sell gluten free cookies, you can target users searching for tweets about baking, cookies, gluten intolerance, or Celiac Disease.

Timeline Keyword Targeting

Timeline keyword targeting allows you to act on users’ specific feelings, thoughts, actions, and emotions they’ve tweeted about. For example, if you’re a running gear company, you might target keywords and phrases users tweet about such as, “running a race”, “race day tips”, or “training for a marathon”.

2. Implement hashtags.

Did you know tweets with hashtags receive two-times as much engagement as tweets without them?

Adding hashtags to your tweets is a great way to expand your influence on Twitter. However, there are some guidelines you’ll want to stick to when using hashtags to ensure that you reach the largest number of people possible.

  • Create a hashtag that’s unique to your business so your followers and target audience can easily find you and your content.
  • Create relevant and memorable hashtags for other groups of tweets such as ones related to a specific campaign you’re running.
  • Use Twitter Analytics to review your most successful hashtags so you can ensure their use in future tweets.
  • Don’t overuse hashtags — this may feel and look spammy to your audience (not to mention it isn’t aesthetically pleasing). Also, tweets with more than two hashtags see a 17% decrease in engagement than those with one or two hashtags.

3. Organize a content sharing schedule.

As you grow your base of followers, you’ll need to post on a regular basis to ensure they stay engaged with your business and content. Not only do you want to tweet regularly, but you also want to tweet at the right times of the day. Here are some details about the best times (on average) for businesses to share their Twitter content:

  • Between 8–10 AM and 6–9 PM (in correlation with commuter schedules) on weekdays
  • Around noon or between 5–6 PM on any day of the week
  • For B2C companies, the best days to tweet are weekends
  • For B2B companies, the best days to tweet are weekdays

In terms of how often you should post your content on Twitter, there’s no real rule — it’s more about ensuring the content you’re sharing has a purpose and meaning. You can also review Twitter Analytics to take a deep dive into what your engagement looks like on the days you post more or less content to determine what’s working well for your specific audience.

Once you’ve determined when and how often you’re going to post your content, you can enlist the help of a social media management tool. This will allow you to both create your tweets and schedule them in advance so you can focus on other tasks you have to complete.

Here are a few examples of popular social media scheduling tools you can use for your Twitter marketing strategy:

  • Sprout Social provides you with a range of features to help you reach your target audience and buyer personas through Twitter including platform analytics, engagement tools, scheduling capabilities, and details about the type of content your audience wants.
  • Twitter Analytics allows you to analyze your tweets, understand which content is helping your business grow, and learn about your followers.
  • HubSpot has a social tool which allows you to schedule posts in advance, connect directly with your audience, and understand how your Twitter interactions are helping your business’ bottom line.

4. Create a Twitter campaign.

Social media marketing campaigns of any kind are a great way to reach your audience, drive sales, and increase your website traffic. You can create a social media marketing campaign specifically for Twitter to target users and increase your base of followers all while raising your brand awareness through the platform.

To create a Twitter marketing campaign, you’ll want to follow the same steps you would with any type of social media marketing campaign.

  1. Research your competition
  2. Determine how you’ll appeal to your target audience
  3. Choose the type of content you’ll create
  4. Share and promote your content
  5. Analyze your results

5. Write a strong profile bio.

Writing a strong and memorable bio for your Twitter profile is crucial. This is because your Twitter bio is the first thing a profile visitor will read about your company — it’s your written introduction and should briefly explain what visitors can expect from your page and content. You only have 160 characters to do this, so choose your words wisely to ensure your bio successfully represents your brand and reflects who you are as a company.

6. Use images and videos.

When possible, try to include quality videos and photos in your tweets. It’s been proven that tweets with images outperform tweets strictly made of text. Photos and images provide an eye-catching and engaging element in your content as Twitter users scroll through their feeds. Videos are proven to actually outperform tweets with images as well. In fact, tweets with videos are likely to get an average of six times the amount of engagement than tweets without them.

Videos and images are a great way to show your audience your product line or how to use an item you sell as well as make your content feel more personal. Plus, images and videos in tweets are proven to help you increase your engagement — and who wouldn’t want that?

7. Interact with your followers.

Remembering to engage with your followers as your business grows and Twitter follower count increases is crucial. This will help you create experiences for your followers and audience members that feel personal and keep them coming back to your profile all while fostering a sense of brand loyalty. For example, if someone retweets your post or comments on your tweet, you can “Like” that person’s interaction or even tweet back to them with a response.

8. Share media mentions.

If your business is mentioned in the media, share the article, video, URL, or image on Twitter. It’ll make your business feel more legitimate to anyone checking out your profile as well as show prospective followers how many other people already know about your company and are enjoying your products and services.

This is an exciting way to broadcast your success to your audience. It also provides you with a way to incorporate backlinks in your tweets which, when clicked, take your audience members to the original source of the mention. Meaning you’ll also drive traffic to the website of the media outlet that mentioned you, likely boosting their follower count and/ or brand recognition. This could potentially help you become mentioned, shared, or featured in one of their pieces of content again in the future.

9. Keep an eye on your competitors’ Twitter accounts.

Twitter is a great way to keep an eye on your competitors’ marketing efforts. You can follow them or simply search them to see what they’re posting. You can also view basic details about their engagement such as their number of retweets, comments, and responses. This is a simple way to see some of the Twitter marketing strategies your competitors are implementing and whether or not they’re working.

10. Focus on followers’ interests and needs when creating content.

If you want to reach your audience members and ensure your content resonates with them, you’ll need to focus on their interests and needs— whether that’s in relation to the way you share content, what you share, or how you present it.

When you meet the needs of your target audience and buyer personas, they’ll be more likely to continue to follow and interact with your company. As you study your buyer personas and target audience, you’ll be able to determine the type of content they’re likely looking for you to share. Additionally, you can always tweet questions, send out surveys, ask for feedback, or even create a Twitter Chat to get more ideas about the type of content your audience is looking for from your business and Twitter profile.

11. Promote your events.

Twitter is a great way to promote your business’ events. Similar to the way you might for a Twitter campaign, you can create a unique hashtag for various events (such as launch parties, giveaways, and contests) or schedule a variety of tweets (using one of your social media management tools) to promote any special occasion your company is hosting. This way, audience members — whether or not they’re your followers — will have the opportunity to learn about your event and get all of the details they need to sign up, be in attendance, or participate.

12. Check your direct messages regularly.

Like other social media platforms, Twitter provides users with a Direct Message inbox where they can contact you in a private message regarding any questions, concerns, or comments they have. So, be sure to check your inbox regularly as this can contribute to the type of customer service and support your business is known for, as well as the type of care you provide your followers and customers.

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13. Keep track of your analytics.

With all of the work you’re putting into your business’ Twitter marketing, you’ll want to ensure your efforts are successful in reaching your goals whether they’re related to directing more traffic to your website, increasing conversions, or improving brand awareness.

You can determine your Twitter marketing success in these areas (and many more) by analyzing your work. To do this, you’ll want to consider which metrics matter to you and then determine how you’re going to track them.

Which Metrics to Track on Twitter

Due to every business being unique and having different goals, you might not be interested in tracking all of the following Twitter metrics (or you might be looking to track additional metrics). However, we’ve compiled the following list of possible metrics for you to consider to get you started.

  • Engagement: Look at the number of retweets, follows, replies, favorites, and click-throughs your tweets get (including all hashtags and links they include).
  • Impressions: Review the number of times your tweets appeared on one of your audience members’ timelines (whether or not they’re actually following you).
  • Hashtags: Look at which of your hashtags are being used most frequently by your audience and followers.
  • Top tweets: Review your tweets with the most engagement.
  • Contributors: Keep up with the level of success each of your contributors — the people you give admin access to on your account — are having with their tweets so you can implement some of their tactics more regularly or remove them completely.

How to Track Twitter Analytics

There are a number of social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, HubSpot, and Hootsuite, with analytics features automatically built in. This is convenient for those of you who were already planning on choosing a management tool to assist with the scheduling of your posts. However, one of the most common analytics tools for Twitter is the one created specifically for the platform: Twitter Analytics.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics helps you understand how your content impacts your audience and the ways in which your activity on the platform can help you grow your business. The tool is free, accessible to all users, and includes information about your Twitter engagement rate, impressions, tweet activity, and information about your followers.

Depending on your business’ needs, you have the ability to incorporate Twitter Ads (if you pay for the option) data in Twitter Analytics as well. Lastly, there are a number of other third-party resources and apps you can download and use along with Twitter Analytics to take a deeper look at specific types of data such as detailed hashtag performance information or how other Twitter handles in your industry are doing.

Start Marketing on Twitter

Twitter is a powerful marketing tool and social media platform any business can take advantage of. It has the ability to help you direct more traffic to your website, improve brand awareness, engage your audience, create personal relationships with your followers and customers, boost conversions, and increase your sales. So, consider the Twitter for business tactics as well as the marketing tips and tricks mentioned above and get started sharing content on Twitter to help you grow your business today.

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