10 Benefits of Consistent, High-Quality Content Marketing

In this competitive B2B marketing landscape, businesses make substantial investments in building content marketing programs.Why? Content marketing has been proven to deliver resounding success.

As one of the most effective methods of growing audience engagement, developing your brand presence, and driving sales, content marketing is a mission-critical growth method for most businesses.

Below, let’s review content marketing — the benefits of producing consistent, high-quality content, and how to measure success.

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According to the State of Inbound report, content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers. Moreover, on average, content marketing accounts for26% of B2B marketing budgets.

Consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts audience decision-making more than any other technique.

Consistency in brand messaging is one of the many factors that determine the growth and success of your business. Big brands know how to portray their brand consistently and at every customer touchpoint.

The same reasoning applies to content marketing — your content needs to carry a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across all distribution channels.

Content consistency establishes your credibility, builds trust, and strengthens your reputation.

So, we know the content you create has to be consistent. However, why is content marketing so beneficial in the first place? Here are the top benefits of content marketing.

Benefits of Content Marketing

benefits of using content marketing

1. Your audience will stick around longer.

Great content is an important asset. It has the ability to create positive experiences for your potential customers and compel them to come back for more. It’s your ticket to capturing your audience’s attention and continually reinforcing a positive brand impression.

2. You’ll have better traction on social media.

It’s one thing to increase your social media followers across channels, but it’s quite another to create trendy content. If you’re one of those businesses that doesn’t see much traction despite having a huge following, it’s time to use content marketing to your advantage. Quality content can help your business gain traction on social media.

Track the performance of your content campaigns using HubSpot’s analytics software.

3. Your audience will trust you.

Creating content helps your business build a relationship with your audience. You can answer their questions and interact with customers. When you create value without taking anything in return, your audience is more likely to trust your advice and recommendations.

Ultimately, when your content shows up at the right place and at the right time with the right audience, it’ll improve your brand’s reputation. The more quality content customers see, the more likely they will have a positive association with your company.

4. You’ll generate more and better leads.

Content marketing can also generate leads. When your audience views your content, they’re more likely to purchase from you in the future. Additionally, calls-to-action (CTA) placed directly in your content can generate new leads for your sales team.

So, how can content generate leads?

According to Lindsay Kolowich, the team manager of the HubSpot Academy Acquisition Content Team, “content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.”

5. Original content can improve conversions.

The content you post influences conversions. It helps your audience connect with you and gives them the information needed to make educated purchases.

Even more, if you’re using blog content to bring in traffic, consider using original graphics rather than stock photos, as marketers report the former as least effective in helping them meet their goals. 

Additionally, your content should always include a CTA and guide your reader on what they should do next.

6. Your business will become more visible thanks to SEO.

The more consistent, high-quality content you produce, the better it’ll be for your SEO efforts.

For example, your content should help your business become visible online and build trust and authority with your audience. In addition, with a developed content strategy, such as the pillar/cluster model, your content should help you rank higher in search engines.

7. Great content can position your company as an authority in your industry.

Creating quality content will also help build your authority online. If your business is established as a credible place to get information, you’re more likely to rank higher in search engines.

Plus, your customers are more inclined to trust you if they view you as an industry expert. Your content should demonstrate your expertise in your field and provide valuable answers to your audience’s questions.

Overall, content marketing is important. But, how can you be successful at it?

One way to tell is to assess the quality of your content. One particularly beneficial assessment of quality is content scoring.

As more businesses increase their content marketing budget, there’s never been a better time to incorporate content scoring metrics into your marketing campaign.

With the help of content scoring, you can measure and improve your content marketing performance and offer great value to your audience.

8. Quality content can build brand awareness.

Sure, anything can build brand awareness, but content marketing can do it in a unique way.

Our HubSpot marketing experts have written about something called Surround Sound strategy.

In a nutshell, this content strategy does more than just rank your blog article on page one. It makes your content (and therefore your brand) appear everywhere your potential customers are looking for your product.

To execute this strategy, write about topics your customers are interested in so they begin to associate your great content with your brand.

9. You’ll cultivate loyal brand fans.

Taking brand awareness a step further, all the people who raved about your content and associated all those great feelings with your brand are very likely to become brand advocates before ever purchasing your product.

Wait, what?

It’s true; brand fans can be just as loyal and influence their friends and family’s buying decisions as potential consumers see that a business provides value to its current audience. One of the more successful ways companies can do this is through content marketing.

For example, while I may not be in the market for children’s meal plans because I don’t have children yet, I am obsessed with the Kids Eat In Color blog and Instagram content. I recommend it to my friends and family who have children with picky eating habits. See how well that can work?

10. You’ll save money on your marketing strategy.

Since HubSpot first assessed the cost of content marketing ten years ago, the practice has remained the most cost-effective marketing strategy available.

Upfront costs for content appear steep, and that’s a fair point.

Estimates for blog content range from $150 a post to $3,000 for a freelance writer, but you could go the route of hiring a full-time staff writer to create content for you on a regular basis.

In the long term, when compared to paid advertisements, video marketing, and traditional marketing, content wins the battle with Frank from finance every time.

What is content scoring?

Content scoring is the process of assessing and quantifying the true potential of content by tracking how individual content pieces perform in generating and converting leads.

As an innovative content marketing metric, content scoring helps marketers prioritize only the assets that have a higher probability of generating and converting leads.

In addition to delivering a scientific method of assessment to writing, content scoring is a reliable and predictive method of evaluating the engagement potential of an individual piece of content before it’s published.

Improving the quality of your content is pivotal to the success of your marketing campaigns.

The quality of your content is relative to your audience’s profile. With a better understanding of your customer’s needs, you can offer content with higher resonance. But improving your content is a gradual process, and you need to continually measure and analyze your audience’s responses to understand and improve on the elements that matter most.

How to Score Your Content

Writers and content creators often find it difficult to quantify what recipe works for their content and their audience. By scoring your content, you’re able to objectify that process and use the same recipe repeatedly to create similarly successful content.

Here’s how to score your content:

  • Establish scoring criteria. To develop an effective content scoring system, you need to establish a foundation built on whichever engagement metric has the greatest impact on your content. For some, it may be page views, for others it could be shares on social media.
  • Create a campaign. Once you’ve identified which metric matters to you most, create a campaign and add the successful content that meets your threshold. For example, if you decide that 1,000 page views is high performing, include all the content assets that meet said criteria.
  • Monitor content performance. Measure how each new piece of content you create is performing. As certain content assets meet your success metric — 1,000 page views, for example — add them to the campaign. Continue adding content to build a small sample size of high-performing content. Use HubSpot Analytics to track the performance of this content.
  • Evaluate what works. Now that your high-performing content is segregated, you can further analyze what makes your content perform. Although it’s difficult to quantify, you can discover patterns within your content that you can then replicate.
  • Rinse and repeat. Although these patterns are always changing, this manual process is an effective way to score your content and take action on your insights in the future.

This can be a tedious process, and it only scrapes the surface of a true content scoring system, but it’s a thorough and important process to implement. For more effective and efficient results, you can use an automated tool like Atomic AI to help you score your content in more granular patterns.

Content scoring helps your brand set a benchmark for itself, moving you closer to understanding customer’s buying stages and expectations. When you’ve established the content types that work for a specific customer segment, you can easily replicate your success over and over again.

Start Creating Consistent Content

Creating a content marketing strategy is one of the most important steps you can take for your marketing team. To do so, take an audit of your current content and figure out what works for your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why Marketers Should Leverage Subject Matter Experts for Audience Growth

No matter the format, message, or style of online content, everyone’s striving to reach the largest possible audience with the best possible content.

Making that a reality requires companies to create something that answers an audience’s most pertinent questions, is presented in an engaging way, and maybe even offers some new ideas no one’s hit on before.

As content marketers aim for these goals, one ingredient can distinguish popular content from something that barely gets noticed: the input of a subject matter expert (SME). Partnering with an SME can strengthen content’s credibility and value, in turn helping audience growth.

In this post, we’ll review what a subject matter expert is, how to become one, and why your company should leverage SMEs in your content marketing strategy.

→ Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh  Shah [Free Guide].

Businesses might leverage an SME to integrate new software, fix technical issues, design their website, extract and format data, and provide insight. Additionally, a company may hire a subject matter expert to have on retainer as an ongoing consultant. When that’s the case, you might be wondering what that job looks like. Let’s dive in below.

Subject Matter Expert Job Description

While people can become SMEs no matter what their official job title and description are if you’re a subject matter expert looking for a job, you might find a job that reads something like this:

At ‘Company X’, we are looking for a subject matter expert in social media to help us develop an end-to-end social media strategy. This person will be responsible for creating our social media strategy and managing it on a daily basis.

As the social media subject matter expert, your duties will include evaluating our current social media content and recommending new strategies and trends to lean into. To ensure success, our social media subject matter expert should possess an exceptional track record of increasing engagement and pioneering multiple successful social media campaigns.

Job requirements:

  • Master in Social Media Management
  • Demonstrable credentials as a leading social media Subject Matter Expert.
  • 10-15 years of experience working in a relevant area of expertise.
  • Advanced knowledge of project management and social media management.
  • Advanced ability to recommend and implement social media campaigns.
  • Exceptional leadership and mentorship abilities to introduce and implement new strategies.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Now that we’ve looked at an example of a subject matter expert job description, let’s review what the roles and responsibilities of this individual might be.

Subject Matter Expert Roles and Responsibilities

The typical roles and responsibilities of a subject matter expert will vary greatly depending on the type of position you’re applying for. You could be an in-house manager or a hired consultant to specialize in helping a company grow in a certain area.

Going along with our social media subject matter expert example above, typical roles and responsibilities might look something like this:

Roles and responsibilities for a social media subject matter expert:

  • Analyzing the company’s current social media content and activities to identify areas where new solutions would improve performance
  • Providing a new strategy for each platform that you find is most important and appropriate for our audience
  • Creating a process for content creation and scheduling content
  • Making recommendations for social media platforms, content, and hashtag ideas
  • Validate requirements and deliverables required for our social media team
  • Consulting and collaborating across teams to create useful content

At this point, you might be thinking, “This is great. How can I become a subject matter expert in my field?” To become a subject matter expert, you’ll need to develop your expertise in your discipline over a long period of time. Below we’ve outlined some good steps to take.

1. Obtain advanced degrees in the area of specialization.

The first step to becoming a subject matter expert is studying the area that you want to specialize in. You can obtain advanced degrees and spend time writing dissertations in your field. This will require years to obtain degrees, certifications, and study your industry.

2. Maintain current knowledge in your area of expertise by continuing education.

Once you’ve obtained your degrees and been studying in your field, it’s important to continue your education. As the world continues, your industry will evolve and you should be consistently maintaining your current knowledge by reading current news and trends.

3. Consistently consume and create content and remain up-to-date on current industry trends.

Another great way to become a subject matter expert is to consume and create your own content in your field. Write about what’s going on with current industry trends and be an active part of the conversation.

4. Experiment with your own ideas.

Besides participating in the conversation, you should be working on projects and experiments in your field as well. This will continue your education and develop your skills even further. Plus, you might find new learnings and be able to write and discuss what you’ve found.

5. Participate in social media community forums.

To participate in your community, you should be active on social media and community forums where your industry discusses industry news. Interact and engage with other subject matter experts and don’t be afraid to share your opinion — bringing me to my next point.

6. Share your expertise.

When you’ve experimented and been studying, it’s important to come to your own conclusions and test your hypothesis. Then, share that news and your findings with others in your community by participating in speaking engagements, participating in social media, etc.

7. Remain credible and value your reputation.

To truly be considered a subject matter expert, your reputation and credibility are of the utmost importance. To hold on to this, try to remain neutral and seriously consider other people’s thoughts and opinions.

8. Become a person of authority in your space.

The last step of being a subject matter expert is becoming a person of authority. Whether that means working your way up at a company and holding a position of leadership, or running a freelance consulting business.

Now that we’ve learned how to become a subject matter expert, let’s look at some examples of what this looks like in action.

Examples of Brands That Use Subject Matter Experts

1. HubSpot

A great example of a brand that uses subject matter experts is HubSpot itself. On our blog, we work with thought leaders and subject matter experts to grow our audience and provide as much value as we can in our content.

For example, review some of our thought leadership blog posts below:

2. Backlinko

Backlinko is the brand from subject matter expert, Brian Dean. As Brian Dean has become an SEO expert, he decided to share his thoughts and research experiences on a blog called Backlinko.

A few great examples of thought leadership posts that are written from the SME perspective include:

1. More attention will lead to better results.

It’s not a stretch to say an SME will offer immense benefits to a content project. When a well-known name is attached to a project, whether it’s a downloadable ebook, video, or series of articles, attention will inevitably result. Just as a popular novelist can earn pre-sales purchases months before a book is even published, name recognition can lead to an automatic buy-in from a community of enthusiasts.

2. Know and understand current industry trends and challenges.

An expert can also serve as a source for up-to-date knowledge and news on an industry. He or she will be able to convey the biggest challenges, the latest breakthroughs, and future concerns around a particular subject. This kind of information will allow you to shape the direction, message, and format of your project.

3. Spread the news and reach more people.

Then once you’ve completed a project, an SME can also play an important role in helping spread the news about it with his or her social media followers. With a well-known expert, your content promotion efforts have the potential to reach a huge community of enthusiasts, fellow experts, and industry leaders. Awareness of your content, and your brand, can reach an unprecedented level of exposure when you take advantage of the social channels an SME can bring to the table.

Leveraging a Subject Matter Expert in Your Content

A subject matter expert’s insights and perspective can take a piece of content from being one-dimensional to a complete and nuanced portrait of a topic or event. Taking on some of the fundamental tactics of a journalist entails researching who would be the best choice of experts, reaching out to them, scheduling a time to speak, devising some effective questions, and then conducting the interview itself.

As any journalist could tell you, conducting an interview is much more than just asking questions. The best interviews require thorough planning and shouldn’t be done in a lockstep Q&A fashion. Being able to ask spontaneous questions or ask an interviewee to elaborate on a statement can help ensure the discussion is a meaningful one.

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What Is Content Intelligence?

All marketers want a content marketing strategy that helps them generate influence and a large audience. Case in point — “how to develop a content marketing strategy” was the fifth most searched question about content marketing in 2020.

Unfortunately, no concrete formula will help you generate incredible content with consistent results, yet it is essential to create incredible content with consistent results. Competitive intelligence poses a solution to this issue, yet only 23% of marketers leverage it in their content creation strategy.

In this post, discover what content intelligence is, and the benefits that it will bring to marketers leveraging it as a tool to create their own content marketing strategy.

It is essentially a GPS that leads you to a high-quality content strategy that drives leads, conversions, and revenue. You don’t have to guess what will be of interest to your audience because the data shows you what performs well with your audience based on market and competitor analysis.

Why is content intelligence important?

benefits of content intelligence

Many marketers use content marketing to communicate with their audiences and draw them in, and content intelligence helps them do so effectively. Some additional benefits include:

  • Generating a deep understanding of your target audience and the type of content they enjoy based on competitor data and analysis.
  • Data from market research helps you create content that is entirely centered around your users and what they enjoy.
  • Gain insight into various content types and how they should be created, like video content intelligence that lets you know actions within videos that drive results.
  • AI analyzes content for style, tone of voice, and other important metrics to eliminate guesswork and the trial and error that often goes into creating content.
  • Ability to predict the effectiveness of your content based on the historical performance of your competitors.
  • Generate authority in your niche through high-quality, informative content that helps you get more visitors, increase conversion rates, and gain visibility in search results.

 

Content Intelligence Software

While it’s possible to conduct competitive intelligence on your own, software automates the process and generates results quickly. Let’s go over some high-quality tools you can leverage in your process.

1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo uses a strategy of research and discovery to obtain insights about the content created by your market and industry competitors to help you understand what performs best with your audience.

The tool analyzes a variety of social media feeds and web content to provide you with viral trends to leverage, business-related content you should consider covering, and target keywords to use when you begin creating.

content intelligence software: buzzsumo

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2. Contently

Contently uses StoryBook™, its proprietary technology, to analyze and predict the content that will have the most significant impact on your business. This data will then help you create a content strategy that aligns with your audience interest — SEO, voice and tone, and your brand guidelines are all considered in every recommendation. Then, when you create your content, you’ll get analytics to show what performs and drives ROI to further focus your efforts.

content intelligence software example: contently

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3. Curata

Curata’s self-learning engine helps you discover the best performing content and understand why audiences like it and how you can create your own top-performing content. You’ll also get SEO assistance to help you curate your content and share it in the most relevant and impactful channels.

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4. Crayon

Crayon’s software provides you with competitive intelligence that will help you use actionable insights to create a high-quality content strategy. You’ll gain an understanding of what works for your competitors, from social channels to review sites, and discover key messaging that performs best that you can adapt to your content strategy.

content intelligence software example: crayon

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Over To You

The content strategy you choose to create should depend entirely upon your business needs, but it can become even stronger if it’s made using content intelligence tools. Pick a software option that’s right for you, and begin generating your influence.

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What Responsive Display Ads Are + How to Create Them [Step-by-Step]

Imagine spending time and resources to create an ad campaign just to get meager results. It’s can be discouraging but also difficult to assess.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could mix and match different ad components and see which one performs the best without dishing out more time and resources?

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

With responsive display ads, you can.

Discover how they work, what you need to get started, and the steps to launch one in Google Ads.

Benefits of Using Responsive Display Ads

One of the biggest advantages of using responsive display ads is that it can help you reach a broader audience.

Because you can adjust various elements in your ad, you can maximize where it can be seen by your target audience.

Additional benefits include the following:

  • You can use video – When you use responsible display ads, you can add video and use that in place of images when appropriate.
  • It’s a time-saver – Don’t have to keep creating new ads, can let Google Ads create combinations based on its algorithm and what can produce the best results.

It’s great for small businesses that may not have the in-house team or the resources to create multiple ad images, sizes, etc. With responsive display ads, the work is done for you.

The major downside to using responsive display ads is that you lose some control. Google chooses the ad combination and it may not represent your brand to its fullest potential.

For instance, your ad may have little to no branding and seem generic, which also means it may be harder for it to stand out and get clicks.

What You Need to Create a Responsive Ad on Google Ads

Before you can run your responsive ad, you must first upload your assets: your visual elements and your text. Let’s get into the specifics of each.

1. Visuals

With responsive display ads, you can have up to 15 images in your ads.

Google Ads recommends having at least five images, as that can lead to higher conversions. Here are a few more tips on image ads:

  • Have high-definition sizes.
  • Use the most popular sizes:
    • 300 x 250
    • 728 x 90
    • 160 x 600
    • 320 x 50
    • 300 x 600
  • To create interactive or animated images, use HTML5.

If you do not add upload a logo (you can add up to five), Google Ads will provide a neutral one, which can be an icon or the first letter of your brand name. As for the aspect ratio, upload 1:1 and 4:1 versions with transparent backgrounds.

If you don’t upload a video, you can choose the advanced format option in which Google generates a video based on the visual and text assets you have on file.

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2. Text

  1. Headlines – For your ad, you can have up to five short headlines of 30 characters or fewer. You can also have a long headline up to 90 characters long. One thing to note is that your headline will not always show up with your description, so it should be compelling enough to attract clicks.
  2. Descriptions – You can create up to five descriptions that will be shown based on what Google believes will perform best.
  3. Call-to-actionYour CTA should be action-oriented (ex: Join Now) or value-oriented (ex: Start Learning Today).
  4. A business name – This should be the name of your brand, spelled and capitalized correctly.
  5. A URL – This is where users will land after clicking on your ad. Google Ads allows you to add tracking or custom parameters to your URL for better reporting.

If your ad is dynamic, you can also add promotion text and a price prefix to potentially increase conversions.

Your ad may get rejected if:

  • You have text that covers more than 20% of the image.
  • You have content that is:
    • Irrelevant
    • Misleading
    • Sexual
  • Your images are low-quality.
  • You don’t follow trademark use policies.

Responsive ads are a great opportunity to diversify your ads in a cost-efficient way. Whether you’re a small business with limited resources or a larger brand with low ROAS, it’s a strategy worth considering. 

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7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2021

How many times have you seen a killer marketing strategy and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I would’ve thought of that!”

(Glossier, I’m looking at you.)

We’ve all been there. The truth is, when you’re just starting out, it can be tough to know whether your strategy is as comprehensive and powerful as it can be.

→ Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we’ve created this guide that’ll show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.

Let’s dive into the critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2021, followed by some examples for further inspiration.

The Importance of Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy Steps

A robust marketing strategy will reach your target audience – this includes those who have never heard of your brand all the way to those who have purchased from you before.

Without a defined strategy, you’ll essentially be throwing things to the wall to see what sticks. And it’s costing you cost, time, and resources.

A marketing strategy will:

  • Align your team to specific goals.
  • Help you tie your efforts to business objectives.
  • Allow you to identify and test what resonates with your target audience.

There are seven key steps to crafting a successful marketing strategy: Build your marketing plan, create your buyer personas, identify your goals, select the tools, review your existing resources, audit and plan media campaign, and lastly, execute your strategy.

Let’s get into the details of each step in the next section. Or you can jump to the section you’re most interested in.

1. Build a marketing plan.

Wait, I have to make a plan for my strategy? What’s the difference?

Your marketing strategy provides an overview of the reasons why your marketing team will need certain resources, take certain actions, and set certain goals over the year. Your marketing plan is the specific actions you’ll take to achieve that strategy.

Not sure where to start? This free marketing plan template can help.

how to create a marketing plan

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The right template can help you build a marketing plan that identifies your budget for the year, the initiatives your marketing organization needs to tackle, and the marketing channels you’ll use to implement those initiatives.

Plus, it’ll tie everything back to a business summary, to keep you aligned with overarching company goals.

2. Create buyer personas.

If you can’t define who your audience is in one sentence, now’s your chance to do it. A buyer persona is an example of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy’s could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30’s living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macy’s Marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information, including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don’t have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it’s really fun).

Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

You can also use a platform like Versium, which helps you identify, understand and reach your target audience through data and artificial intelligence.

3. Identify your goals.

Your marketing strategy goals should reflect your business goals.

For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online registration by 10% at the end of the month to stay on track.

Other marketing goals might be to increase brand awareness or generate high-quality leads. You might also want to grow or maintain thought leadership in your industry or increase customer value.

Whatever your goals, identify what they are and how your marketing organization can work to achieve them over the next year.

4. Select the appropriate tools.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals.

Online software like social media schedulers gives you analytics to help you keep track of what your audience likes and doesn’t. Alternatively, you might consider Google Analytics to measure blog and web page performance.

Additionally, make your goals SMART – to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template].

Here are a few tools that can help you track and measure the success of your marketing goals:

HubSpot Marketing Hub

The Marketing Hub allows you to consolidate all of your marketing tools into one centralized platform.

hubspot marketing hub dashboard

Too often, you’ll find a tool that’s powerful but not very easy to use. With this tool, you can attract users with blogs, SEO, and live chat tools. You can then convert and nurture those leads through marketing automation, the landing page builder, and lead tracking features.

With custom reporting and built-in analytics, you can analyze your data and plan out your next move. Plus, HubSpot Marketing Hub integrates with over 500 tools.

Pricing: Free; Starter, $45/month; Professional, $800/month; Enterprise, $3,200/month.

Trello

trello-for-marketing-planning

Trello keeps your marketing team on track and openly communicating about the projects they’re working on. Create boards for individual campaigns, editorial calendars, or quarterly goals.

Built-in workflows and automation capabilities keep communication streamlined, and simplicity keeps your marketing team focused on the work that matters.

Pricing: Free; Business Class, $9.99/user/month; Enterprise, $17.50/user/month for 100 users.

Monday.com

monday.com hubspot integrationEverything on Monday.com starts with a board or visually driven table. Create and customize workflows for your team and keep groups, items, sub-items, and updates synced in real-time.

You can also transform data pulled from timeline and Gantt views to track your projects on Monday.com and ensure deadlines have been met. Plus, with more than 40 integrations — from SurveyMonkey to Mailchimp and, of course, HubSpot — you can visualize your data and ensure your whole company is collaborating.

Pricing: Basic, $8/month/seat; Standard, $10/month/seat; Pro, $16/month/seat; Enterprise, contact for pricing.

SEMrush

semrush dashboardSEO continues to be a huge factor in the successful ranking of your website.

SEMrush allows you to run a technical SEO audit, track daily rankings, analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy, research millions of keywords, and even source ideas for earning more organic traffic.

But the benefits don’t stop at SEO. Use SEMRush for PPC, building and measuring an effective social media strategy, content planning, and even market research.

Pricing: Pro, $99.95/month; Guru, $199.95/month; Business, $399.95/month.

Buzzsumo

buzzsumo marketing strategy tool

BuzzSumo allows you to analyze data to enhance and lead your marketing strategy, all while exploring high-performing content in your industry.

Use the platform to identify influencers who may help your brand reach, monitor comments, and find trends to make the most of every turn.

As your needs evolve, you can also leverage their crisis management and video marketing tools.

Pricing: Pro, $99/month; Plus, $179/month; Large, $299/month; Enterprise, $499+/month.

Crazy Egg

crazyegg website optimizationNeed to optimize your website this year? Consider getting started with Crazy Egg. You’ll be able to identify “attention hotspots” on your product pages, track ad campaign traffic on your site, and understand if shoppers are clicking where you want them to.

You can even make sure your “Buy Now” buttons are in the best place.

Crazy Egg also offers recordings, A/B testing, and more to help ensure your website is offering the best user experience.

Pricing: Basic, $24/month; Standard, $49/month; Plus, $99/month; Pro, $249/month; Custom options available upon request.

5. Review your media.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories – paid, owned, and earned media.

  • Paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. This includes offline channels like television, direct mail, and billboard to online channels like social media, search engines, and websites.
  • Owned Media refers to any of the media your marketing team has to create: pictures, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, etc.
  • Earned media is another way to say user-generated content. Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your brand are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in each media type and consolidate them in one location to have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate them to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that’s rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers might then reTweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded marketing strategy.

If you have resources that don’t fit into your goals, nix them. This is a great time to clean house and identify gaps in your materials.

6. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you.

Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let’s say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona’s challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don’t have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your product is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include topic clusters, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it’s solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

7. Bring it to fruition.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed – and by which teams.

The final step is to bring that all together and assign actions to your plans.

Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let’s go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be as well. As long as the strategy includes the pertinent details outlined in previous sections, you’ll be set.

Now that we’ve explored the critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let’s look at some “Why didn’t I think of that?” strategies to inspire your own.

Examples of Successful Marketing Strategies

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: Owned media

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even renaming its Twitter account to reflect the spirit of the season. This “Monster Madness” poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal’s content:

regal movies' owned media

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Regal’s tweet is an example of owned media because the company was in full control of the answers followers gave (and, apparently, American Werewolf didn’t stand a chance).

Regal effectively kept true to their brand by using only classic movies in their poll while still putting a modern spin on it.

This is also a good example of how retweets don’t necessarily equal success. While four retweets aren’t that big of a deal, check out the votes: 461. That means there were over 400 interactions with a single tweet.

2. Pipsnacks

Digital strategy: User-generated content, earned media

User-generated content is one of the best ways to gain traction in your strategy.

It demonstrates your appreciation for loyal customers and also incentivizes other users’ to promote your products for the chance at a similar shout-out.

Plus, sometimes the content your brand loyalists create is really, really good.

pipcorn marketing strategy example

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In this case, the consumer is praising the brand’s product. Doesn’t get better than a fantastic review like that.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: Event marketing

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?

small girls pr twitter

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Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company’s talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example, as it boosts awareness for your brand and offers social proof by featuring a public figure.

4. Superside

Digital strategy: Paid media

Design agency Superside launched an Instagram ad to promote a lead magnet: Their digital ad design guide. While the brand may have created the guide specifically for paid promotions, it’s also possible that they repurposed a high-performing blog post into a downloadable ebook.

marketing strategy paid media example

In this case, all they had to do was repackage their current content, build an ad around it with creative assets, and run it.

In previous sections, we discussed the power of leveraging multiple forms of media in your marketing strategy. This is a great example of it.

5. Target

Digital strategy: Paid media, Twitter cards

If you’ve got the budget for paid media, take full advantage of it.

Paid media is when you pay social channels, like Twitter, to promote your content on their site. By doing this, your content reaches new audiences you might not be able to reach organically:

target marketing strategy example

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This inclusive ad from Target about fall shopping uses Twitter cards to promote the brand and make shopping easy with the click of a button.

More social channels are offering ways for shoppers to purchase in-app or close to it, driving sales and boosting exposure for brands.

What to Expect After Following Your Marketing Process Steps

Ultimately, creating a complete marketing strategy isn’t something that can happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to ensure you’re reaching your ideal audience, whenever and wherever they want to be reached.

Stick with it (and use some of the resources we’ve included in this post), and over time, research and customer feedback will help you refine your strategy to ensure you’re spending most of your time on the marketing channels your audience cares most about.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019. It has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

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Why P2P Marketing Is a Good Alternative to Influencer Marketing

To understand what peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing is, let’s start with an example.

Recently, I was looking for a new face moisturizer. Of course, I could’ve trusted the numerous influencers I follow on Instagram, all with strong opinions regarding the “best, most effective” options available.

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But I wasn’t convinced these influencers had my best interest in mind. Yes, most influencers’ (and micro-influencers) are successful because they promote valuable products. But they’re getting commission off those posts, too.

So I handled my problem the old-fashioned way — I texted my friends and asked what products they use.

This isn’t to say influencer marketing is ineffective. Quite the opposite: When done right, influencer marketing is a fantastic opportunity to expand your brand’s reach and increase sales.

But depending on your team’s budget, influencer marketing could be limiting. Plus, influencer marketing inhibits your brand from reaching those consumers who still trust their peers above all else.

Enter: P2P marketing.

Why is peer-to-peer marketing effective?

Given 93% of consumers trust friends and family over all other influences (including review sites, blogs, and social media platforms), it makes sense why P2P marketing works.

And P2P marketing, a form of word-of-mouth marketing, isn’t new. People have been giving personal opinions about their favorite — and least favorite — brands, products, and services long before social media.

If you’re learning about P2P marketing for the first time, you might be wondering — why invest in P2P marketing, instead of more traditional forms of influencer marketing?

And what’s the difference, anyway?

Why Peer-to-Marketing Is Simply Better

Over the past couple of years, influencer marketing has been one of the most popular and effective opportunities for brands to reach new audiences by leveraging those influencers’ built-in communities.

However, as mentioned above, consumers still trust their own peers more than anyone else. And influencers can often feel like celebrities to the general public — in fact, sometimes, they are actual celebrities, like George Clooney with Nespresso. This removes a level of authenticity you might be striving for as a brand.

Additionally, many small and medium-sized businesses can’t afford the typical influencer cost. Celebrity or macro-influencers charge between $3,000 and $500,000 for a single post — and while micro-influencers are undoubtedly cheaper, they can also charge upwards of $500 per post.

Ultimately, P2P is a form of marketing that can feel increasingly trustworthy and authentic through real, genuine reviews from peers who have no incentive to promote businesses they don’t care about.

To further explore the difference between P2P marketing and influencer marketing, let’s consider an example.

Peer-to-Peer Marketing vs Influencer Marketing Example

P2P marketing example: Briogeo

Briogeo, a haircare company, has a referral program in which they credit existing customers 500 points for each invited friend who makes a purchase. This is an example of P2P marketing.

Briogeo’s influencer marketing campaign, on the other hand, refers to the influencers on Instagram (as well as other social platforms) who tag posts with #briogeoambassador, signifying the post is sponsored by Briogeo.

These are both equally valuable marketing options, but they achieve different goals. Briogeo’s P2P marketing initiative (in this case, the referral program), aims to tap into the company’s existing consumers to reach new prospects.

The company’s P2P program is likely more narrow in reach, but has the potential to convert more quickly than influencer marketing, since it’s leveraging the power of an existing relationship between customers and their friends or family. The influencer marketing program, alternatively, is meant to spread brand awareness about Briogeo to a wider audience.

How to Start Peer-to-Peer Marketing

You can increase P2P marketing by selling a fantastic product that your customer can’t help but recommend to others. But even if you do have a fantastic offering, it’s not guaranteed that your customers will recommend them to their family and friends.

Here’s how to prompt P2P marketing the organic way.

1. Ask for customer reviews and recommendations — always.

Some older forms of P2P marketing include Yelp, reviews on personal business’ websites, and good old-fashioned conversations between your consumers and their friends and family. You can still take advantage of these traditional avenues by asking for customer reviews and recommendations. Even if a customer doesn’t post a review online, they may feel compelled to share the product with those around them just by having that reminder.

2. Leverage referral marketing tools to increase peer-to-peer word-of-mouth.

You don’t have to rely on luck and hope that your customers will recommend your products and services. You can prompt them to do so using new tools to leverage P2P marketing on a broader scale.

Geniusreferrals, for instance, helps businesses generate customer reviews and referrals, guarantee event attendance, or even increase in-store foot traffic. The tool ultimately relies on the premise of P2P marketing: That there’s nothing more powerful than peer recommendations.

Other tools, like Higher Logic, work to establish a sense of community among existing consumers, and increase brand loyalty — a critical component of P2P marketing. (Since consumers won’t refer products or services towards which they don’t feel loyal.)

Peertomarketing.co has an excellent directory of P2P marketing tools for any budget and company size.

3. Carry out NPS® surveys to find out how your customers feel about you.

Finding out how your customers feel about your product is instrumental for increasing peer-to-peer marketing. While you could carry out a traditional survey with many questions, you can capture your customer’s sentiment by asking the classic Net Promoter Score question:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”

The moment you know your NPS score, you can implement strategies to increase it — and find out what, if anything, is preventing your customers from recommending your business or product to their peers.

4. Incentivize referrals by offering discounts and freebies to your customers.

While customers don’t trust influencer marketing because they know influencers get commission, the same effect doesn’t apply when it comes to their peers. Even if you offer account credit or free products in exchange for a referral, your customer’s identity as a friend or peer will be enough to sway the referred customer to make a purchase.

After all, you wouldn’t just recommend any product to your friends and families in exchange for a discount, especially if that product doesn’t work for you. But by referring other customers, your customer is giving you a vote, making it easy for others to accept the referral and make a purchase.

Peer-to-Peer Marketing Is a Winning Marketing Strategy

P2P marketing can take different forms depending on your brand and business goals. You can create a referral program, encourage reviews on your site in exchange for a small discount or prize, or organize events meant to increase brand awareness to the larger community.

Ultimately, P2P marketing comes down to increasing the incentive for your consumers to share your product or service with friends and family, which is undoubtedly one of the best long-term strategies for success.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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8 TikTok Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Brand in 2022

According to HubSpot’s social media team, the video-based social app TikTok has serious growth and engagement potential for brands.

The platform, which allows users to make short, looping videos with special effects and musical overlays, is booming with more than 1 billion users.

While Gen-Z uses the platform to show their creative side, some brands on TikTok use the platform to build brand awareness, engage younger audiences, and reveal a lighter side of themselves through funny videos and challenges that drive social media trends across other platforms.

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In this post, we’ll discuss why you should leverage TikTok marketing in 2022 and how smaller companies can build a scalable, fun, and creative strategy on the platform. We’ll also cover eight brands that have gone viral on TikTok.

What is TikTok Marketing?

Although TikTok might feel like a hub of strange posts, its popularity and video-driven content provide a variety of unique marketing opportunities.

Marketers can leverage TikTok in three main areas:

1. Influencer Marketing

A great way to leverage TikTok is by engaging with the influencer community. Because influencers have a solid understanding of the platform, they can transform stiff brand messages into fun and creative videos. This type of marketing is particularly effective at opening your content to a new audience and boosting brand awareness.

2. Original Content

Although fans of TikTok love original content, you don’t need to spend hours coming up with the next viral trend. Often, the best performing TikToks are ones that replicate or recreate a current trend. Start by exploring the app, its trends, and where your brand can join the fun.

3. Paid Ads

TikTok ads are a relatively new addition to the platform. Powered by their own advertising platform, TikTok For Business, brands can run in-feed ads or create branded hashtags and video effects.

Although many of the first brands to join TikTok were large, well-known companies, it can still be helpful for small businesses to look at why brands of all sizes are joining the platform.

Why Brands Should Leverage TikTok Marketing in 2022

TikTok has seen a growth spurt over the past few years. The app has over 1 billion users and overtook Facebook as the most downloaded app of 2020.

With its stellar growth, there’s a large audience ready to be wooed by innovative and fast-thinking brands.

TikTok’s playing field is also fairly level when it comes to achieving viral status on the app. Unlike other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, even accounts with a handful of followers can spark millions of views on a great video.

Since TikTok is quirky by nature, brands need to be creative to truly gain their audience’s attention. A simple ad or sponsored influencer endorsement might not cut it on this fast-paced app.

Let’s look at eight brands who nail TikTok marketing with creative content that draws attention.

1. NBA

Unlike its Instagram channel, which focuses purely on basketball games and highlights, the NBA’s TikTok posts show a lighter side of the organization. For example, they’ll often post videos of players working out to music, dancing on the court, or answering fan questions.

In this video, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors busts a move from the sidelines after his teammate scores:

@nba

Get you a friend like Steph 🤣 @warriors #nba #friendship #celebrate

♬ Nobodys Fool – Seven11

And check out this funny montage of Chris Bosh photo-bombing his teammates (including LeBron James) throughout his career:

@nba

The video bomb king, Chris Bosh, will be enshrined in the Basketball HOF this Saturday, September 11 🏀 🤣#21HoopClass #MiamiHeat #Basketball #Hoops

♬ ALL FALL DOWN – Turreekk

While you might expect the NBA to focus more seriously on stats and games, it uses the app to lighten up the branding and make its athletes look more relatable. While the videos still promote basketball, they also fit with other funny posts on TikTok feeds.

In other business settings, making your brand feel more personal can have the same effect. For example, if your restaurant’s TikTok account posts funny videos of waiters dancing, viewers might think the restaurant has pleasant and happy staff. This might make them want to eat there because they can picture themselves having a fun dining experience.

2. Fenty Beauty

One of the most popular types of content on TikTok is tutorials. Some brands lend themselves to this more than others, but a great example is Fenty Beauty, which uses TikTok to show makeup tutorials, wear-tests, and product launches.

@fentybeauty

How to #Contour a Soft Baby Face ✍🏽 @kali.ledger KILLIN the assignment w Truffle Match Stix 🤌🏼✨ #fentybeauty #beautyhacks #makeuptutorial #makeup

♬ original sound – Fenty Beauty

Tutorial-based videos can fit a variety of brands. For example, a clothing store can show how to style certain pieces of clothing. A hardware store can show how to build, restore, or paint something using its tools. Even a gym can offer a demonstration on how to use different equipment.

Start by brainstorming all the ways someone could use your products or services. If you can break a task into steps that last no more than 60 seconds, it may make for a great TikTok video tutorial.

3. Dunkin’

Dunkin’ was one of the first brands to employ influencer marketing on the platform by partnering with TikTok megastar Charli D’Amelio.

Together, they launched new menu items at Dunkin and collaborated on several videos.

@dunkin

So official, we put it in writing @charlidamelio. Order ‘The Charli’ on the Dunkin’ app!🙌 #CharliRunsOnDunkin #TheCharli #Dunkin

♬ original sound – Dunkin’

After posting content about the partnership, Dunkin saw a 57% spike in app downloads and a 20% sales boost for all cold brew coffees.

Influencer marketing is powerful because it taps into word-of-mouth marketing and social proof. But if you believe you need to partner with a famous TikToker for it to work, think again.

When it comes to influencer marketing, relevance is more important than reach. Rather than partnering with an influencer based solely on vanity metrics (such as follower count), look for micro-influencers who have a niche audience that aligns with your own. Research shows that influencers with less than 1,000 followers receive more engagement than their more popular counterparts.

4. Milk Bar

TikTok videos thrive with music, and Milk Bar knows this too well. The bakery chain does an exceptional job at capitalizing on popular TikTok memes, formats, and audio.

Here’s Milk Bar putting a spin on the “Have you ever been in love?” video trend:

Check out another funny video that uses the popular “Oh Lord” audio clip:

TikTok makes it easy to add music to video clips, which could result from having made legal arrangements with major music companies. Maybe this is why it’s nearly impossible to scroll through TikTok without seeing users dancing or lip-syncing to music.

Viewers like to see brands joining in on current trends or putting a unique spin on an existing one. When brands take the time to understand TikTok and keep a finger on the pulse of the platform, it becomes easier to join trending topics, challenges, and memes. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out TikTok’s Discovery Page for inspiration.

5. Chipotle

Since joining TikTok in 2018, Chipotle has set the standard for how brands can grow their brand presence while engaging the TikTok community in a fun and authentic way.

Chipotle opts for a more casual vibe, often posting dance challenges and fan-made content, such as videos of people sharing their favorite Chipotle recipes and hacks. Here’s an example of a Chipotle “menu hack” for spicy queso, which has over 300,000 likes:

@chipotle

Dragon sauce walked so spicy queso could run. Try the Quesabrisket ft. new Smoked Brisket on the #Chipotle app or site. #chipotlehack #brisket #queso #quesadilla

♬ original sound – Chipotle

Chipotle also showcases behind-the-scenes footage from real crew members in real Chipotle kitchens. Check out this “vlog style” video of a former Chipotle employee revisiting her job and interviewing her coworkers:

@chipotle

If you’re into taste testing guac, join the team! You can now use #TikTokResumes to start applying to Chipotle. Link in bio. (via @muslimthicc) 🥑

♬ original sound – Chipotle

If you need a creative way to spread brand awareness quickly, taking a note from Chipotle and sharing personable behind-the-scenes footage might be a great experiment. Also, lean into your brand advocates who may be willing to share their experiences on social media.

6. Gymshark

Gymshark is one of the leading fitness brands on TikTok, reaching 2 million followers in only six months. Gymshark caters to fitness fanatics by posting workout challenges, inspirational health journeys, and relatable fitness humor that makes the gym feel less intimidating.

Here’s one of those relatable fitness videos:

@gymshark

Expectation vs reality 😂 @jonnyhammond__ #gymshark #running #runningmeme

♬ original sound – Gymshark

One of the brand’s most notable TikTok campaigns was the 66 Days: Change Your Life challenge, which highlights the fact that it takes 66 days to form a habit. TikTokers submitted videos of their own workout journey in hopes of winning a Gymshark membership.

The campaign was an overwhelming success, with the hashtag #gymshark66 generating 193 million views.

Challenges are one of the biggest trends on TikTok, and innovative brands are using them to fast-track their growth and connect with millions of users on the app. Consider creating your own challenge or putting a unique spin on an already existing one.

7. The Washington Post

The Washington Post was one of TikTok’s earliest brand adopters. Those who haven’t seen their videos might be anticipating investigative or serious content. Surprisingly, the newspaper actually uses its account to post comedic skits about the latest breaking news.

These videos fit in perfectly with the platform because they’re funny, timely, and embrace some of TikTok’s weirdest special effects. Check out this skit about Delta Airlines’ PR department struggling to write a press release about the COVID-19 delta variant:

@washingtonpost

Delta Air Lines will require employees to be vaccinated or face weekly testing and a $200 monthly surcharge for health insurance.

♬ original sound – We are a newspaper.

The Washington Post displays how brands can succeed on TikTok by talking directly to its specific audience — young viewers who want to laugh.

Because The Post has a long history of groundbreaking, award-winning, and intellectual journalism, this comedic approach might also attract young readers who want to follow the news but used to worry that content from a newspaper would be too advanced or out of touch for them.

If your brand is in publishing, academia, or similar industries, testing out a video strategy that shows off your lighter side could be an interesting experiment. It might make your content and brand feel less intimidating and help you gain attention from newer audiences.

8. San Diego Zoo

Everyone loves a cute animal video. The San Diego Zoo’s TikTok account pleasantly takes advantage of this well-known fact.

The zoo’s strategy is simple: Post videos of cute animals with fun music. And with over 2 million fans, it seems to be working. How could anyone not want to follow them after seeing this video of an adorable red panda?

If that cuteness wasn’t enough, the zoo has also dueted with other animal-friendly accounts, like the Monterey Aquarium:

Not only is this appealing to penguin lovers, but it’s also a great example of how two similar brands can cross-promote using TikTok features. Because of the zoo’s tagging strategy, this video might be seen by fans of the aquarium and the zoo. This way, zoo followers might gain more interest in the aquarium and vice versa.

TikTok Marketing Tips

While it might be challenging to get your content to go viral like the bigger brands, TikTok could be a great tool for getting in sync with younger audiences.

If you think TikTok might be part of your marketing strategy soon or in the future, now would be a great time to get ahead of your competitors by downloading the app and investigating what similar brands or potential audiences are doing there.

If you’re raring to go on a TikTok strategy, here are a few tips and takeaways that we’ve gained from looking at the brands that have already done well on the app.

  • Show a different side of your company. The app is a hub for creativity and humor. Embracing a more personal tone or a behind-the-scenes approach could make your company appear more relatable or trustworthy to potential customers.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Unlike platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, there aren’t as many norms, best practices, or rules about what works and what doesn’t. If you think something might be interesting or funny, try it and see if it gets any likes, comments, or shares.
  • Engage with your audience. Between challenges, duets, likes, comments, and shares, there are plenty of ways to engage with other TikTok users — even if you don’t know them. Try to come up with videos, challenges, or duets that aim to interact with others. As with other platforms, the more you engage with people, the more your fan base could grow.
  • Don’t shy away from marketing your products, but make sure you do it in a creative way. Try your hand at tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to content that showcase the best parts of your products or services.
  • Tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing with influencers. But remember that relevance is more important than reach, so partner with niche micro-influencers who share a similar audience.

It’s getting difficult for marketers to ignore the popularity and influence of TikTok. Joining the platform offers an opportunity to reach younger audiences and increase brand awareness in a highly playful environment. But succeeding on TikTok relies on creating exciting content — so prepare to put your creative hat on and experiment with new formats.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Automate Your Business’s Reporting Workflows

In business, we all love to have insightful reporting dashboards at our fingertips. When done well, they show us where the business is thriving, which areas are struggling, and if we’re on track to reach our goals.

That said, creating reporting dashboards can be incredibly time-consuming. It takes time and effort to compile up-to-date, accurate, and meaningful data, not to mention the learning curve required to understand what data to collect and how to do so.

This is why reporting is one of the most effective areas of your business to automate.

What’s more, it doesn’t have to be complicated to implement automated reporting workflows.

Here’s how to automate your business’s reporting workflow for dashboards that are continuously updated, without you needing to lift a finger beyond set-up.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Reporting Workflows

So you know that you want to have good data reporting in your business. But what does this actually look like?

Take a look at the characteristics below and identify how your business’s data workflows are currently performing.

The Good

You can identify the most effective reporting workflows by looking for:

  • Clear tracking of the most important KPIs, without clutter and vanity metrics
  • An automated dashboard that your team can view on any device
  • Frequently updated data that doesn’t require manual, time-consuming, and error-prone imports and exports

The Bad

By contrast, reporting workflows in need of optimization and automation look like this:

  • Reports that depends on you (or anyone else) to trigger updates
  • A lack of certainty if the data in your business reports is accurate
  • Siloed reports that only certain people can easily access

The Ugly

And, here’s what to really avoid if you want to save time, improve data accuracy, and fix efficiency leaks:

  • Manually importing and exporting data between apps, or copying and pasting data between sheets and presentation slides
  • Out-of-date or overly complex dashboards that don’t provide any real value, or lacking any clear data
  • Knowing that the data on your dashboards is inaccurate

Our Pick of the Best Options for Automated Reports

How can you achieve more of the good and less of the ugly in your reporting? Here are some of the best ways to automate your reporting and create insightful dashboards with the most relevant and up-to-date KPIs, ordered from basic to highly customizable:

  • Built-in reporting for your CRM and key apps
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Data Studio
  • Supermetrics

1. Built-in reporting for your CRM and key business apps

Many comprehensive CRM options on the market have excellent reporting capabilities. Some also have native integrations to pull data from other key apps.

For instance, HubSpot connects to Google Analytics to enrich the data you already have inside the CRM. This makes it simple to display website engagement analytics alongside lead and customer data.

HubSpot automated reporting dashboard

As a simple solution for automated reporting, check your CRM’s scope for creating up-to-date dashboards that share your business’s key data.

Tip: For the most accurate and enriched data insights in your CRM, sync it two ways with your other business apps that collect data.

2. Google Analytics – for an up-to-date view of your website data

If you want to automate reporting on website engagement and conversion goals, Google Analytics provides a simple, yet robust, framework.

To begin, optimize the data you’re collecting. Make sure the tracking code is properly added to your website, and look into setting up Events to track the conversions that matter to your business, such as ecommerce transactions or a visitor landing on your sign-up confirmation page.

You can then add these key metrics to your dashboard as custom widgets and choose how they are visualized. With custom dashboards, you can customize your reporting for the best overview, taking into account the most important KPIs for your team.

It’s also worth creating a simple process to share or export your dashboard, such as with a link that anyone in your team can use without logging into Google Analytics. Or, you could take your automation even further by automating Slack notifications that share the GA dashboard every week.

Custom Google Analytics Dashboard

3. Google Sheets – for a simple spreadsheet powered by Google Analytics

Google Sheets is a very simple but effective solution for automating your data reporting.

The main scope for automated reporting with Google Sheets is by enabling the Google Analytics add-on and automatically pulling data in.

Here’s an example of a report that’s straightforward to create in Google Sheets using Google Analytics data:

Automate Google Analytics data in Google Sheets

You can enable your reports to update automatically (and avoid having to click “refresh” to bring in the new data from Google Analytics) by selecting Add-ons > Google Analytics > Schedule Reports from the menu bar.

Another great option for automated reports in Google Sheets is the Supermetrics integration with Google Sheets that also enables you to connect data from your non-Google business apps.

Tip: If you use Google Slides to present business meetings and reports, you can automatically sync charts and data views in Google Sheets with Slides (and Docs) to avoid manual copy and pasting before every meeting.

4. Google Data Studio – for highly customizable visualizations using data from multiple apps

Google Data Studio enables you to connect, visualize and share your business data on one platform. It’s fairly straightforward to set up, but there’s huge scope for customization and complexity if that’s what you’re looking for. With the tool, you can:

  • Connect data from the apps you use every day via built-in and partner connectors. The 500+ data sets include built-in connections with Google products like Google Analytics, Sheets, and Ads, plus partner connections with apps such as Copper, Mailchimp, or Facebook Ads.

  • Visualize your data in compelling ways with interactive reports, charts, and dashboards.

  • Share your reports and dashboards and collaborate with individuals, teams, or the world with public visibility. You can also embed your Data Studio reports on any web page.

To get started with Google Data Studio, first choose which data sources you want to connect:

Automate reporting with Google data studio

Next, decide how you want to visualize and share your reports.

Google Data Studio reporting templates

5. Supermetrics – for a scalable solution that takes Google Sheets, Excel, or Google Data Studio further

Supermetrics is a scalable solution designed to bring all of your marketing metrics together in one place, including PPC, SEO, social, and web analytics.

You can use Supermetrics alongside these tools to bring all of your marketing data insights directly onto each platform:

  • Google Data Studio
  • Google Sheets
  • Excel

Here’s an example of a report using Supermetrics data in Google Sheets:

Automate Google Sheets reports with Supermetrics

Best Practices for Automated Reporting

Regardless of the tools and processes you choose to automate your business reporting workflows, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to achieve the best results.

When creating your reporting automation, focus on these three goals:

  • Simplicity: The most effective reporting workflows and dashboards are often the simplest. What’s the most valuable data for your business to track? Keep the focus on a few KPIs and make sure the data is automatically updated, accurate, and accessible.

  • Accessibility: Avoid keeping your reporting in silos. Ensure your team members can easily access the data they need to track performance and do their best work, such as with a public dashboard that is pinned in a Slack channel.

  • Data accuracy: Even the best automated reporting workflow will fail if the data in your source apps is inaccurate. Take the time to clean up your databases and use an iPaaS to instantly sync data between your apps using conditional rules.

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37 Tasks Every Marketer Should Automate

As a marketer, you’re busy. And, even though you probably already know that automating tasks and workflows can free up a lot of time, it takes a lot of focus to set up, right?

Well, not necessarily.

With all of the marketing automation tools at your fingertips, it’s simpler and speedier than ever to streamline your workflows.

To maximize your automation strategy, we’ve compiled some of the best marketing tasks that you should automate in your workflow.

Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

35 Marketing Tasks to Automate

Email Tasks

1. Delivering Content Downloads

One of the most effective areas of your marketing strategy to automate is email. As one example, you can set up automated emails to deliver content opt-ins such as reports, ebooks, and free templates.

This can be instead of (or as well as) triggering the download in the person’s browser. It also has the added benefit of enabling you to add a ‘next step’ CTA in the email body.

Automated content download email

2. Email Newsletters

There’s a wide spectrum of what you can do to speed up the time you spend on email newsletters.

You can start by streamlining simple things such as creating email templates or easily duplicated header designs to speed up your production process.

But your automation options don’t end there. There’s plenty of options of complex automation you can implement to suit your specific needs.

Automate Mailchimp newsletter with blog RSS feed

3. Drip Campaigns

Email drip campaigns are a pivotal part of any digital marketing strategy. By automatically enrolling contacts in a campaign based on defined criteria (such as opting into your mailing list or purchasing a specific product or service), you can automatically send tailored content at set intervals.

Most drip campaigns work effectively when there’s a ‘goal’ for the lead to reach — such as subscribing to one of your paid plans. When they reach this, you can automatically unenroll them from this drip campaign and even enroll them in another one instead.

Here’s a simple example of a drip campaign made with GetResponse:

GetResponse simple drip campaign

4. Smart Personalization in Emails

All top email marketing platforms offer personalization tokens to customize your content for every recipient.

Take a closer look at your automated emails and regular newsletters to identify where and how you can put them to the best use.

5. Cart Abandonment Emails

Savvy marketers know to keep an eye on leads that are nearly converting but need a nudge to cross the line.

If you have an ecommerce store, this can be enabled with an automated cart abandonment email, just like what Shopify offers:

Shopify abandoned cart email

6. Customized Email Campaigns

Rather than having email drip campaigns for only one stage of your funnel, take time to create customized email campaigns for the entire customer lifecycle journey. You can create campaigns that share:

  • Top-of-funnel content for new leads unfamiliar with your product or service
  • Middle-of-funnel content that mentions your product and shows ways it can help them to solve their pain points and reach their goals
  • Bottom-of-funnel content with a deeper product focus

When these three types of campaigns are used together, you can seamlessly guide new leads to become paying customers — at the right pace and without more manual work on your plate.

7. Email Follow-Up

Fed up of manually chasing people who haven’t got back to you? Many CRMs enable you to automatically follow up after a set interval (such as one week) so you don’t have to spend hours on tedious follow-up.

Lead Generation Tasks

8. Minimalist Lead Generation

If you prefer a subtle approach to automated lead gen, there are countless tactics and brands to inspire your strategy.

On their simply-designed website, podcasters and writers The Minimalists show that lead gen doesn’t have to be sleazy. It can be, well, minimal:

Minimalist lead gen

9. Website Banner Promotions

Got a webinar coming up or an offer expiring soon? Pin a minimally intrusive banner to the top of your website to feature an offer to visitors who land on your website.

10. Landing Page CTA’s

Ask yourself: how can you encourage your website visitors and blog readers to stick around and explore other pages?

This “New here? Click me” button on the bottom right of Marie Forleo’s blog headers is a good example of finding creative solutions to boost time-on-site:

Blog automate next steps

11. Recurring Webinars

The online business platform Kajabi offers daily educational and Q&A webinars to provide trial users with more value.

This can be a really effective way to convert more people into customers — especially if you can introduce automation to boost ROI.

Many of Kajabi’s sessions are automated, including weekly sessions for ‘Create and Sell a Product’ and ‘Marketing Pipelines.’

Automated webinars example

12. Dynamic CTAs

One of the most powerful features in HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is Smart CTAs. By adding a Smart CTA to your website — such as in a blog post or sidebar — you can display the most relevant call-to-action to every visitor.

You could promote a product-focused webinar to sales-qualified leads while showing new visitors a more top-of-funnel content upgrade.

HubSpot dynamic CTAs for automated lead gen

14. Slide-in CTA’s

If you have created downloadables such as ebooks, worksheets, templates, or other resources, you can use these as a powerful tool for automated lead gen on your blog posts. One way to capture new leads and get more downloads is with a slide-in CTA connected to a form.

Social Media Tasks

14. Facebook Bots

An impactful and highly personalized way to automate lead generation is with a Facebook bot that guides new leads through a conversion process.

This example shows a simple use case that automatically delivers a content upgrade via Facebook Messenger:

Facebook bot for lead gen

15. Social Media Scheduling

A super helpful way to save time scheduling your social media posts in advance is with a social media management app like Buffer.

In your Buffer Analytics, there’s also a handy ‘Share Again’ button that you can use to reschedule the same posts that worked well the first time.

Buffer share again feature

Content Tasks

16. Dynamic Content

With dynamic content on your website, you can boost conversion rates by automatically showing the most relevant content to each individual lead.

As one example, with HubSpot you can add smart content to your emails, website pages, landing pages, and templates.

HubSpot smart content website pages

After adding a smart content area, you can then automatically show different content based on:

  • Country
  • Device type
  • Referral source
  • Preferred language
  • Contact list membership
  • Contact lifecycle stage

17. Content Production Queue

Trello is one of the most popular and straightforward ways to manage your team’s content queue. But did you know it also provides a ton of options to automate project management, including keeping your content pipeline on track?

With Butler, Trello’s automation feature, you can create hundreds of rule-based and if-this-then-that automation to keep your content team on schedule.

Trello automated project management

SEO Tasks

18. SEO Site Audit

Not every marketing team has the resources to hire an in-house SEO specialist. Even if you do, there are many tools to help you streamline your SEO and stay on top of website problems and opportunities.

Although it’s not the cheapest on the market, Ahrefs is one of the most popular and feature-rich SEO tools to optimize your search presence.

As one stand-out feature, it delivers a Site Audit to crawl every area of your website, list all issues, and categorize these by type and priority level. You can then resolve these one by one and re-run the Site Audit when you’re ready to check for improvements.

Ahrefs site audit

19. Keyword Research

Another area where Ahrefs shines is keyword research. It’s super simple to track the keywords you’re currently ranking for, look for opportunities related to your relevant topics, and even identify what your competitors are ranking for that you aren’t.

Automate keyword research

Marketing-Sales Tasks

20. Upselling Customers

Marketing isn’t just about leads, it’s also about your existing customers. Automation is a powerful ally when it comes to upselling customers at the ideal time with products and services similar to those they have already gained value from.

21. Live Chat

Live chat has moved from being a nice-to-have to a must-have for many businesses. Your customers and potential customers want to easily and quickly get in touch with you.

With live chat apps such as what Drift offers, you can create automated chatbots that are configured to bring in marketing leads, not just sales-ready prospects.

Drift for marketing lead gen

22. Lead Qualification

GetResponse is another handy tool for strengthening your marketing team’s bridge to sales and helping them identify quality leads.

With a marketing automation platform, you can make sure your leads are sales-qualified before proceeding through a pipeline.

GetResponse confirm CRM qualification template

23. Lead Scoring

With lead scoring tools, you can effectively track engagement and know which leads to follow up with or enroll in a workflow that’s further down the funnel.

ActiveCampaign makes it easy to reward points and deduct them based on specific behavior and engagement, such as when a lead downloads content or visits your pricing page.

Active campaign lead scoring

24. Good-Fit Leads

ActiveCampaign also notifies you when leads are becoming more engaged. It automatically triggers email notifications and assigns tasks based on lead score changes.

ActiveCampaign lead score notifications

25. Automated Product Demo Video

As an example of automated sales-qualified lead gen, Marketo gates its demo video behind a form to collect data from qualified leads.

Marketo gated demo video for lead gen

26. Lead Assignment

With sales automation you can automatically distribute your new leads and deals based on:

  1. An evenly distributed round-robin
  2. Based on value (to ensure all sales reps get about the same amount of value over time)

ActiveCampaign automated lead distribution

27. Trial Extension Offers

If someone signs up for a trial of your product but doesn’t convert, consider sending them a trial extension offer.

This effective example from Kajabi is generous and highly personalized to encourage conversions.

Automated trial extension offer

Management & Organization Tasks

28. Contact Management

Your losing a lot of time in your workday if your business doesn’t have an automated way to organize contacts from all channels

Your answer to this is a cloud-based CRM system with built-in pipeline management and automation capacities, such as what Copper, HubSpot, and Pipedrive offer.

29. Inbox Filtering

You don’t have to reach inbox zero, but you can clear up a lot of the chaos in your inbox using automated inbox filtering. Here’s a quick WikiHow tutorial on how to use Gmail’s priority inbox feature.

Gmail priority inbox

30. Sync New CRM Leads

Two of the most important tools in your marketing stack are your CRM and email marketing app.

Your CRM works best when it’s at the center of your stack with contacts from other apps instantly synced. It’s also important to ensure that the right leads are in your newsletter list. You can achieve both of these goals by keeping your CRM and email platform in sync.

As well as syncing relevant new CRM contacts with your newsletter list, you can also instantly remove leads from your mailing lists if they opt-out in another app.

31. Marketing Reports

It’s easy to spend a lot of your workweek on reporting: finding the right data, creating visualizations, and sharing these with your team.

With tools like Google Data Studio and Supermetrics, you can connect all of your marketing data for reporting in one platform.

Here’s a free Google Data Studio reporting template that shows how you could automatically connect your data.

Google Data Studio reporting templates

32. Updating Meeting Slides

Instead of manually updating Google Slides with the right data ahead of meetings, you can automatically sync charts and data views in Google Sheets with Slides (and Docs) to free up time and reduce scope for error.

Google sync chart with Slides

33. Slack Reminders

If you’re a regular Slack user, you have lots of automation options to streamline your workflows. You can take advantage of this by setting up a weekly Slack reminder to prep for upcoming team meetings.

34. Team Progress Updates

Another example of how to take advantage of Slack automation is by asking for updates on important projects at the start of every week. Similar to Slack reminders, you can message your team on a recurring basis so you’re always in the loop.

35. Project Management

Like Slack, Trello is another app that you can quickly level up with automation.

For instance, if your editorial team has a content planning board, whenever a blog post is moved to the ‘Editing’ column on Trello, the due date is automatically updated and the right team member is assigned to make sure each piece is edited on time:

Trello automation change due date

Data Tasks

36. Contact Data Enrichment

Do you find yourself having to manually find out information about a new lead? Use Clearbit to automatically enrich the data you have for every new lead that enters your CRM and marketing apps.

37. Automated Data Syncing

Manually exporting and importing data between apps will never be the highlight of any marketer’s day.

To free up time for what really drives your KPIs while improving data quality in all of your marketing apps, set up a two-way data sync between your apps. This will keep the customer data in sync not only across your marketing apps, but throughout your entire tech stack, too.

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5 Ways iPaaS Tools Can Increase Employee Satisfaction

Look at any business and you will likely see customer care professionals on the frontline. Whether they are in customer service or account management, these people set customers up for success, keep them happy in the long term, and make vital contributions to the business’s sustainability.

However, despite its value, customer success is one of the most challenging roles at any company.

According to Pega’s ‘The good, the bad, the ugly: 2019 global customer service insights’ study, 79% of 70,000 customer service employees reported that they experience multiple pain points when doing their job. Customer service also has one of the highest turnover rates of all departments.

Why is customer service so challenging? 

Let’s review some of the common pain points for customer service teams below.Access Now: Customer Support Strategy Template [Free Tool]

Common Pain Points for Customer Care Teams

Many common pain points cited in Pega’s study come down to a combination of poor tools and processes that harm the customer experience. These include:

  • Having to pass customers between teams and departments (a pain point for 43%)
  • Having to manually enter the same information in multiple locations (a pain point for 32%)
  • Having to prompt customers for information they’ve already supplied on another channel (a pain point for 24%)

These are problems for a lot of businesses, but the good news is that they are easily avoidable and fixable with iPaas.

How iPaaS Improves Employee Satisfaction

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) connects and integrates your business apps so you can keep data updated across multiple tools. It also provides an easy way to centralize data in one place, like your CRM.

iPaaS tools are great for improving customer experience, but they also boost employee satisfaction and reduce turnover – especially in customer-facing roles – by resolving the pain points that affect nearly 80% of these employees.

If you want to reduce the turnover of your customer service employees, read on for five common problems to easily avoid and fix with iPaaS.

Problem #1: Passing Customers Between Teams and Departments

As a customer, there are few things worse than being redirected to what feels like hundreds of different people in a business. In fact, 69% of customers expect a connected experience when they engage with a company, but few of them get it.

When you’re working in a business with disconnected customer service, it’s also demotivating for the employees. You want to provide a seamless customer experience, but the infrastructure isn’t there for you to do so.

The Solution:

Use an iPaaS tool to sync all customer data to a centralized CRM tool, so any team member can find timely customer data and take immediate steps to help the customer.

Problem #2: Manually Entering the Same Information in Multiple Locations

Repeating the same manual work again and again sucks. For many customer-facing teams, it can seem like part of the job to spend hours of your day inputting the same data into a CRM, project management tool, invoicing system, and Slack to share data with colleagues. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Solution:

Set up a two-way sync so your contact data can instantly flow to all of the right places. Set up rules to automatically attach the right segments, labels, and notes and you’ve instantly saved your team a lot of time and hassle.

Problem #3: Prompting Customers for Information They’ve Already Supplied on Another Channel

One sure-fire way for a business to annoy its customers is to ask the same questions multiple times. 78% of customers expect consistent interactions across a company’s departments. This requires your employees to know what’s already been asked before and what the answer is.

The Solution:

Store customer data properly the first time and sync it across all tools so anyone on the team can access it at the right time, no matter what system they’re looking at.

Problem #4: Using Outdated Tools That Hold Back Your Team

Despite all of the excellent cloud-based systems on the market, not all teams benefit from these products. It’s all too easy for customer care departments to remain stuck with a tool that no longer serves them because change seems like a lot of hassle.

The Solution:

Take time to pause and look at all of your business’s core systems from a bird’s eye perspective. Ask yourself: What tools are you currently using? And, how do they fit together?

Problem #5: Burnout From Lack of Automation

If your customer service and success teams aren’t using automation tools, they’re most likely overworked. Quite simply, automation provides a solution to the tasks that no one likes to do.

Think manually sending the same emails several times a day, judging when to follow-up with customers, and searching for the right customer data to pass to a coworker.

The Solution:

Add automation to your customer service processes. To get you started, here are some of the best tools for customer service teams.support plan

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