Archive for May, 2011

Living Without a Net: Join the Marketing Fight Against Malaria

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

describe the imageMalaria kills more than two million children each year.

This fall, The Domino Project, in collaboration with non-profit Malaria No More and Box of Crayons, is putting together a book of stories and insights from authors, speakers, and c-level executives to raise money for the prevention of malaria. This is different from previous Domino books — it’s larger, it has multiple authors, and it’s designed as a fundraiser, with every penny they receive after paying printing costs going toward the purchase of bed nets.

Malaria kills more than HIV/AIDS.

Although malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, every year 781,000 people die from infection. What’s most disturbing is that children under 5 years of age account for 85% of malaria deaths.

All revenue, minus what it costs for Amazon to print the books, will go toward the purchase of mosquito nets to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. “We’re hoping to raise over a million dollars in a month and fully expect that this will be the fastest-selling book of its kind,” says Lauryn Ballesteros, VP of strategic development for The Domino Project.

Malaria is caused by a female mosquito that bites at night.

There are more than 50 contributors so far, including brands like Google, Adobe, and Ebay, alongside thought leaders such as Seth Godin, Roger Martin, Tom Peters, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Pam Slim.

Sponsors will also benefit from their substantial promotional vehicles (social media, website, email lists, an online telethon, and traffic driven by 50+ celebrity contributors, etc.).

The Domino Project is looking for 6 sponsors, and sponsorship packages range from $25,000 to $75,000, with all sponsor contributions applied directly to the purchase of bed nets. We asked Lauryn if she would consider taking on sponsors at a lower price point, and she said yes.

If you are interested in learning more, send an email to Lauryn@TheDominoProject.com. She could use your help.

Full disclosure: HubSpot is thrilled to be a sponsor of this project. In addition to the ability to help contribute to an important cause, HubSpot also benefits from being featured alongside the best-selling authors and brands already in the book. In addition, brands like ours will receive public credit for the distribution of the book and be identified as an industry leader on the book’s homepage and in their social media outreach.

Now that’s a marketing program with a purpose!

Image credit: iStockPhoto

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Twitter Launches New Follow Button for Websites

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It just got a whole lot easier to increase your Twitter following. Today, Twitter announced it has introduced its new, official Follow Button.

twitter follow button example resized 600

The new button makes it easy for website visitors to start following the Twitter accounts that are most interesting to them. For marketers, it offers an easy way to generate new followers and, ultimately, increase social media reach.

So far today, Twitter has reported that more than 50 sites have added the new button. Want to increase your business’ reach on Twitter? Start by adding the new button to your website and/or blog!

How to Add the Twitter Follow Button to Your Site

It’s extremely easy to configure:

  1. Visit http://twitter.com/followbutton
  2. Complete the form with your Twitter username, background color preference, whether you want your follower count to show, and language choice.
  3. Copy the button’s code and paste it into the HTML of your website or blog where you want it to appear.
  4. Watch the new followers start rolling in!  

follow button resized 600

Voila! The new button, similar to how the Facebook “Like” button works on websites, enables users to start following your business’ Twitter account with a single click. Visitors never even have to leave your web page, enhancing their user experience and allowing you to increase the number of new Twitter followers you generate from your website.

Why Increasing Reach Is Important for Marketers

People who follow your social media accounts are more likely to engage with your brand, retweet your content, and become fans and evangelists for your company. Don’t miss out on easy steps like this that you can take to increase your business’ reach in social media.

The better your reach, the more likely people will find you online and share your content with their followers. This gives you access not just to your network of followers, but also your followers’ network of followers!

Will you add the new Twitter Follow Button to your website or blog? Why is increasing social media reach important to your business?

Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR

twitter for marketing and pr

Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR?

Download the free webinar for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter.

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Website Grader Tips From the Pros

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

HubSpot’s partners are professional inbound marketers who know a thing or two about how to get great scores on Website Grader. Lucky for you: they’ve been so kind as to share a lot of their great tips with the world, right here! Read on to learn about what the pros think you should do to ace your website exam. 

Create Content – Blog!

All of our partners agree that creating lots of content is important. Partner Top Line Results say they notice “a significant jump in Website Grades when the sites’ total number of pages hits 200,” and their answer to how to do this is simple: “Create pages. There’s no magic here. Blog, blog, blog.” 

Mark Lennon of Espresso B2B Marketing backs them up by pointing out some brand new HubSpot data that shows “businesses that blog have 55% more website visitors than companies that don’t blog…and B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads each month than companies that don’t blog.” 

Blogging Generates More Leads sm

If that doesn’t convince you that blogging is a great idea, Lynton Web lets us know that “crafting a useful blog is a surefire method for generating more inbound links to your website. By writing blogs that are informative and engaging, other bloggers will want to reference and include a link to your article on their blog.”

The folks at Union Street Media also point out recent updates to the Google algorithm that indicate Google “continues to reinforce the value of original content….and when you consistently blog with sticky, relevant content, your site will not only score highly on website graders such as with HubSpot, but it will also be able to weather the storm of updates from Google.” 

Set a Schedule for Content Creation

Creating content is a great way to get ahead online, but sometimes it’s hard to get started. HubSpot Partner Digget explains that they “know the value of consistently creating fresh content, but when it gets busy around here, scheduled blogging is the first thing to slip. So we knew we had to establish an editorial calendar and appoint one staff member the task of keeping everyone else on schedule.” Greg Elwell at B2B Inbound had a great suggestion, with instructions, to create a blogging worksheet to keep you on topic and on schedule. 

Optimize & Promote Your Blog

The Brightfire Marketing Blog points out that maintaining a great blog is a good start, but “optimizing on-page elements such as page titles, meta descriptions, and images with your keywords helps your content get found by search engines.” Additionally, they recommend that you “promote your content across social media and encourage people to share your content. This will result in more web traffic as you drive people to your blog.” Union Street Media agrees and also suggests that “having ways to share your content at the click of a button makes it more likely to be shared and socially promoted.” 

Collect Links From Other Sites

Growing your online footprint is one the key reasons to blog; another is that blog posts are great places to collect links. As Martine Hunter of the B2B Ideas @ Work blog explains, “Inbound links are links from pages on external sites that connect back to your site, and they are key factors in off-page SEO. Search engines place emphasis on the authority of a web page to determine search rankings. Inbound links have real influence on a website’s authority and its ability to drive traffic.” 

She goes on to say that “the best way to build inbound links is to create remarkable and relevant content.” However, sometimes links aren’t as quick to come as you would like. Digget explains that, “instead of bemoaning our lack of links, we’re starting to share our content in more ways, and in different places.” They go on to recommend guest blogging. One great approach to getting guest blog post opportunities is described by Hunter, who asks if “you frequently read blogs relevant to your website? If so, offer to write a series of blog posts for the owner, and ask for some links in the published post in return. Very few blog owners will refuse free and unique SEO content.”

Ray Wright at Maastary also explains that you can look at the links of your competitors to find new websites to target for link building opportunities. He goes on to outline how to find out where your competitors links are coming from and even offers to help out if you are just getting started. 

Pull It All Together

In all their advice, our partners manage to outline a very good inbound marketing plan. The secret to Website Grader success isn’t really about the grade you get, it’s about the overall benefits to your business as the visitors and leads start rolling in. However, if you are a perfectionist, or your boss really wants a 99, Spot has the answer. On the Inbound Marketing Blog by Spot, he outlines a full approach to increasing your Website Grader score as much as possible. 

Grade Your Website and Win $100

Grade Your Website and Win $100

Tweet your Website Grader results and get entered into a drawing for $100!

Grade your site now and get inbound marketing tips as well as a chance to win

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68% of Marketers Did a Website Redesign in the Last 12 Months [Data]

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Another statistic that shocked me while doing my research for the Science of Website Redesign webinar was that 68% of marketers said they redesigned their website in the last 12 months – 34% in the last 3 months plus another 34% from 4 to 12 months ago.  And, the marketing teams are the ones driving the majority of the website redesign projects, 55% of the website redesigns were initiated by the marketing team.

website redesign timing data graph hubspot resized 600

who starts website redesign projects hubspot

 

Are we as marketers in a constant state of website redesign?  Why?  Is this good?  Is this bad?  What do you think?  Leave a comment below to discuss, and join my Science of Website Redesign for more research like this, plus tips and tricks on what you should be doing with your website.


New Webinar: The Science of Website Redesign

New Webinar: The Science of Website Redesign

Learn everything you need to know before you embark on the path of redesigning your site.

Register for this free webinar so you can construct your website in the context of a greater Internet marketing strategy.

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Can Small Businesses Really Do Their Own SEO

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Post image for Can Small Businesses Really Do Their Own SEO

Recently, during the Q&A part of a conference session I was attending, someone asked, “Can small businesses do their own SEO?” It’s not an easy question to answer but, in a post Panda Update world … I think the answer is no.

There are lots of things small businesses can do. I’ve mentioned some of them in ways to promote your small business for free and promote your small business for $888. But once we get past the basics, unless the small business owner has time to devote themselves to learning and implementing SEO, it’s almost a necessity to have someone on staff or to hire a consultant.

Probably the biggest hurdle for most small businesses is site design and site architecture. They will choose a web designer who is, at best, ignorant of SEO best practices or who, at worst, gives them bad or outdated SEO advice. I can’t tell you how many visually stunning small business websites I’ve seen over the years that are so image heavy, they are invisible to search engine spiders or, worse, are completely uncrawlable, And let’s not even bring up the subject of flash.

For small business owners with limited time resources and/or limited budgets who can’t hire a full time consultant to work directly on their project, my advice is to arrange a telephonic consultation with someone. Find a consultant who will have a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly call with you and your team (hopefully with someone who can make the changes needed). The arrangement should include an initial review or site audit. Every call should include a review of the last call, any changes to be made, and a review of any new development or changes in the SEO world. Lastly, the call should include discussion about plans for the future.

What types of future planning should your consultant talk with you about?

  • Content creation: Blogging, how-to articles, Linkbait, etc.
  • Link building: What are you doing to build links, how can you target higher quality links.
  • Social Media: Social media is filled with opportunies for small businesses.
  • Media,Press, and Public Relations: These are all part of your overall marketing strategy, and your SEO should give you recommendations about how to maximize the SEO value from it.
  • Technical Issues: Hopefully after the initial review these will be minimal, but things do crop up from time to time.

photo credit: Photospin

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Can Small Businesses Really Do Their Own SEO


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12 Essential Facebook Stats [Data]

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It’s no secret that Facebook has a massive and highly engaged audience—but just how big, how active, and how valuable for small businesses and B2B companies is a much-debated subject.

“Should my B2B company have a Facebook page?”

“My customers and prospects don’t use Facebook.”

“Our Facebook page only has a few hundred fans, so why bother?”

There are just a few of the questions and comments we frequently hear.

To help you make an informed decision about your company’s Facebook strategy, we’ve compiled the following 12 Essential Facebook Stats that cover all of these questions and more:

1. 93% of adult US Internet users are on Facebook. (source: BlogHer, April 2011)

2. One out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook. (source: ComScore, February 2011)

3. The average Facebook user spends more than 11 hours per month on Facebook. (sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2010 & Facebook Press Room, 2011)

4. Facebook is overtaking Google and Yahoo in total time spent online. (source: ComScore, August 2011)

5. Facebook has become the top choice for social sign-in. (source: Janrain, April 2011)

6. Facebook has become the preferred way to share content online, second only to email—for now. (source: Chadwick Martin Bailey, September 2010)

7. The average number of “likes” per post on a brand’s Facebook page is 54. The average number of comments per post is 9. (source: Visibli, April 2011)

8. More than half of B2B marketers agree that Facebook is an effective marketing tool. (source: Outsell, December 2009)

9. More than half of small businesses agree that Facebook is beneficial to their business. (source: Ad-ology, November 2010)

10. More than 1/3 of marketers say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

11. The number of marketers who say Facebook is critical or important to their business has increased 83% in two years. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

12. 67% of B2C and 41% of B2B companies that use Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer through this channel. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

Flip through the deck below to get a closer, more visual look at this data in chart format or download all of these slides (and many more!) here.

Free eBook: 2011 Facebook Marketing Guide

Free eBook: The Facebook Marketing Update

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Social Media Consultants, Experts & Gurus – Oh My!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Photo Credit: ISD 191 Performing Arts Programs

Most of the people that I know who are really making an impact for companies in the social media space see themselves as marketers, vs. singling themselves out as specific to social media. Obviously the demand for social media specific expertise is high, so one must self-identify with that area of focus.

But when it comes down to providing social media consulting, it’s part of an overall online marketing strategy that involves social media, SEO, email, display, PPC etc as appropriate to reach business goals, not just “social media”. Granted, there are changes in social consumer behavior and technology that must be accounted for, but an adaptive online marketing strategy accounts for those changes anyway. Focusing solely on social media or as an independent activity is a disadvantage.

Like many bloggers that have started to experience increased influence, credibility and authority, so too have consultants that work with social media applications and communities. Jason Falls pointed out in his BWE NY presentation that while this newfound importance seems significant to the individual, it’s nowhere near what most brands find useful.

There has been a bit of “big fish, small pond” syndrome going on with a lot of the consultants and agencies that self-identify as experts or gurus in the social space, when really, they’re more like super users vs. social strategists. Not only is effective social media marketing strategic, it’s also a team effort.

Being a “super user” of social applications is a very valuable skill and essential for many roles like Community and Social Media Marketing Manager.  However, social media application super user skills are most valuable when directed by an approach of aligning target audience needs with business goals – i.e. a sound marketing strategy.  They’re mistakenly useful when used to create uncoordinated Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Bookmarking and other social destinations.

For example

Brand: We need a Facebook Fan Page, our competition has 1,500 fans already.  Let’s hire a social media expert.

Social Media Expert: Let’s set up a landing page for people who haven’t “liked” you yet, add “like” “share” and “send” widgets to your website and start a few contests and promotions to attract fans. Schedule useful posts at ideal times of the day and run Facebook ads to drive traffic to your page. We can also run a few promotions to your prospect or client email list to attract fans.  You’ll be at 1,501 fans in no time!

What’s wrong with this example? As a tactic, not much. But when you extend this process between a brand and internal or external social media experts, each setting up social applications for the company and focusing on superficial KPIs like Fans, Friends and Followers without coordination between them, lack of ROI or competitive business value is inevitable.

Many social media experts (but certainly not all) will respond to the brand’s request and make them exactly what they asked for – without seeking to understand where the tactic fits within the overall strategy or what business outcomes should occur as a result. Why? The social media consultant doesn’t want to lose the consulting project, they don’t know how or don’t have the backbone to push back and take a position to educate the brand about a more strategic approach.

Another example:

Brand: We need a Facebook Fan Page, our competition has 1,500 fans already.  Let’s hire a social media expert.

Social Media Expert: Why?

From there, the brand and the social media expert can have a discussion to understand  what the brand is really after. Is it really 1,500 fans or is it being useful and creating more value for a quantity of qualified Facebook community members?

What happens at 1,500? What about 15,000? What business goal will be affected? Is Facebook the best way to achieve that goal? Can Facebook work more efficiently and effectively in concert with other social promotions to achieve said goals? Who will be involved internally? How will you measure? What are the benchmarks and milestones? Who will sponsor? What are the short term and long term wins? There are many questions to answer and if your social media consultant is weak, they’ll pooh pooh the need to think about the bigger picture in favor of “crack-like” spikes in FFF counts.

What I’m getting at with this post is simply: Companies that want to explore and succeed in social business can approach it as a series of disconnected experimental tactics and evolve through social media expert “super user” expertise. Or they can approach their social media marketing efforts as a component within the overall marketing strategy with coordinated and connected efforts that are designed to directly achieve and/or influence business goals both in the short and long term.

From the brand point of view, this can feel like more than what marketing departments can get approved, so they go after tactics instead – hoping some measure of success can justify increased budget and program growth.

From a consultant point of view, going through a few siloed tactical implementations are necessary to gain the brand’s trust in your social media marketing expertise so you can grow the program into something more strategic.

Can we have our cake and eat it too? Can wise social media marketers provide both tactical execution advice to build a business case at the same time as strategic marketing and change agent services to determine where social fits within overall marketing strategy?


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“Sexy MPs” Website (and goodnight from me)

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011


If you want to see the future (or, more depressingly, the present) of media circle jerking and thin content shills, you can do a lot worse than check out the ‘sexy mps’ website. Frankly, I’m not going to grace it with a link. The BBC breathlessly notes that the owner Francis Boulle, “the entrepreneur who’s [...]

“Sexy MPs” Website (and goodnight from me) is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.


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New Data Proves ‘Please ReTweet’ Generates 4x More ReTweets [Data]

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

For more new data like this and to learn about the Science of Social Media, register now for The Science of Social Media 2011 webinar.

For some time now, I’ve had data that has shown that including “Please ReTweet” in tweets works, but I’ve gotten some questions recently that made me really want to put forward the most conclusive evidence I could find to address this point.

Therefore, I gathered a statistically significant sample set (see below for confidence intervals) of more than 10,000 tweets that did not start with an “@” sign, and I did some analysis.

First, I looked at the percentage of tweets that were retweeted and found that 51% of tweets that included “Please ReTweet” were retweeted more than once, 39% of those including “Please RT” were retweeted more than once, and only 12% of tweets that included neither were retweeted more than once.

This data shows, with 99% confidence, that tweets including either “Please ReTweet” or “Please RT” are more likely to get retweeted than tweets without those phrases. I’ve listed the plus-or-minus ranges below to a 90% confidence interval so you can see just how significant this data is.

please retweet binary

Then, I looked at the number of times the tweets in my sample were retweets, and what I found was a little surprising.

As I said, tweets that included either “Please ReTweet” or “Please RT” generated more retweets than tweets that didn’t use those phrases. Surprisingly however, “Please ReTweet”-containing tweets were retweeted 20.9 times on average, whereas “Please RT”-containing tweets had an average of only 6.1 retweets. Tweets including neither phrase returned an average of 4.2 retweets.

The graph below shows the distribution of retweet counts for each of the three tweet types and shows that “Please Retweet” gets far more retweets than “Please RT” does.

please retweet dist

What do you think this data means? Will you start including “Please ReTweet” in your tweets to generate more retweets?

Free Webinar: The Science of Social Media 2011

Free Webinar: The Science of Social Media 2011

Learn how to build your reach, engineer contagious ideas, and measure your results through data-backed, scientifically proven best practices.

Register now to reserve your seat for the biggest webinar ever!

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Who Should You Outsource Social Media to? [Marketing Cast]

Monday, May 30th, 2011

In the previous episode of the Weekly Marketing Cast we discussed whether businesses should outsource social media marketing. The topic sparked a healthy discussion, leading to more than 20 thoughtful comments by our readers!

Some said that real industry experts should be the ones sharing content. Others pointed out some legitimate concerns with outsourcing. Let’s continue this discussion with a slight twist: if you decide to outsource your social media marketing, who would you hire?

Don’t Outsource to Marketing Experts 

Marketing experts are good at hyping product. But this is not what you need, says David Meerman Scott. You need someone who is good at telling stories. This is the backbone of inbound marketing—creating valuable content to attract visitors to your site and to convert them into leads and customers.  

Hire Journalists

If you need some help with content creation and social media marketing, David recommends hiring a journalist. You could outsource to a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer or a photojournalist. “Those people know how to tell a story,” David says. They work well on deadlines and are able to tackle different stories with skill.

Who would you outsource your social media and content creation to – marketing experts or journalists?

Free eBook: How to Monitor Social Media in 10 Minutes a Day

Free eBook: How to Monitor Social Media in 10 Minutes a Day

After reading this eBook, you’ll know how to successfully streamline your social media monitoring to save you time!

Download the Free Social Media eBook Now!

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