Only 6% of Fans Engage With a Brand’s Facebook Page, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

October 24th, 2012

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Many inbound marketers have reached the point where they’re actively using social media, business blogging, and working on their on-page SEO, but how do you take your marketing to the next level?

You’re smart for having that scaling mindset and wanting to do more, but the problem is keeping up with it all! Facebook and Google have been making some serious changes lately, and growing a following of loyal subscribers for your blog isn’t exactly something that happens over night. So how does a marketer do it all?

In this post, you’ll find the top 6 marketing stories and resources of the week to keep you updated and help you learn how to scale your online presence.

Google Searchers 3x More Likely to Be Logged-In Than Bing, From Search Engine Land

Have you noticed that social and search are becoming more and more integrated lately? Well, according to a recent survey from Search Engine Land, 62% of respondents reported they do not want or gain benefit from social results mixed in with search results. Whoa. That throws us marketers a bit off course, doesn’t it? Isn’t personalization a good thing? In the same survey, data also revealed that 61% of Google searchers are logged into a Google service when using the search engine, compared to 22% of Bing users. This shows that Google clearly has an advantage over Bing when it comes to collecting information about users, due to the high rate at which users are logged in to the search engine. Even if users aren’t certain they want social and search to be integrated, this data proves that users are still using it at an incredible rate, regardless of what they might want. To see more data on Google vs. Bing in their social integration battle, check out the full story here.

Google Launches Promotions on Google Shopping, Enables Distribution to Google Offers & Maps on Android, Too, From TechCrunch

Google recently announced a new feature for merchants called ‘Promotions,’ where retailers can add promotions to their product listings in Google Shopping, Google Offers, and Google Maps on Android. These new promotions are meant to encourage foot traffic to a retailer’s store through Google Offers, which, if you’re not familiar, is similar to Groupon and Groupon Now. Essentially, you can purchase a deal online and then visit the store’s physical location to redeem that deal. Additionally, retailers can now create promotion lists, map them to the right products in Google Shopping, and then upload them to the Google Merchant Center. With this system, users can also redeem special promo codes, allowing retailers to actually track and measure the performance of their brick-and-mortar promotions. If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s new updates for retailers, check out the full story here.

Facebook Launches Global Pages to Simplify Brands’ International Facebook Presence

Facebook has recently launched a new structure to business pages for global brands, called Global Pages. This change is aimed to provide a better, localized experience for international brands’ prospects and customers, while also consolidating a business’ global Facebook presence into one destination. Do you know of any brands with multiple Facebook Pages for different countries and languages? Well, maintaining these confusing, multiple pages will no longer be an issue with Facebook’s new updates. Now a brand can simply have one general Facebook Page, but also take advantage of the ability to automatically route visitors to the appropriate version of the page depending on their geographic location for a more personalized experience. Administrators can customize each variation to include different cover photos, profile photos, applications, milestones, ‘About’ information, and even news feed stories. Does this global consolidation sound like something you’d be interested in? Read the full story here to learn more.

EdgeRank: Doing the Right Things Doesn’t Solve the Bigger Issue, From Social Media Today

Have you heard of Facebook’s Interest Lists? According to Facebook, “Interest Lists are an optional way to organize the content you’re interested in on Facebook. You can create your own Interest Lists based on the things you care about, or subscribe to other people’s lists.” Sounds pretty great, right? They’re not a brand spankin’ new feature, but many brands have been recently encouraging users to create these Interest Lists, in hopes that the brand will appear more in users’ news feeds. Of course, this doesn’t solve the bigger issue of EdgeRank overall because, according to Social Media Today, Facebook is “deciding that my news feed is too cluttered and attempting to fix that for me (and you) by developing an algorithm and basically deciding for me (and you) what I’ll find interesting.” Big brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola get a great deal of fan interaction, so they generally have a higher EdgeRank. But what about the smaller brands? To learn more about the lingering EdgeRank issue, you can read the full story here.

Only 6% of Fans Engage With a Brand’s Facebook Page [STUDY], From Mashable

Oh, so hundreds of thousands of people ‘Like’ your Facebook Page? You must be getting so much engagement! Or maybe not. According to a study reported by Mashable, “On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via Likes, comments, polls, and other means.” Wow. So what does this mean for brands if 94% of people who Like your page are not engaging? Let’s look at this statistic from a positive point of view. Those 6% of people engaging are your “super fans,” which means they will gladly like, share, and comment on your page content, which helps boost your EdgeRank. In fact, “each month, the so-called super fan Likes 10 posts, shares five pieces of content, and comments once,” according to Mashable. So what you can do as a page administrator is leverage these 6% of engaged fans, and use them to your advantage. Make sure you’re catering to the needs of your core audience and you will build a much better, more prominent presence in users’ news feeds. To learn more about this study, you can read the full story here.

How to Grow & Scale Your Business Blog: A Guide to Increasing the Reach and Marketing ROI of Your Blog

You’re probably already aware that content creation is a very necessary function of successful inbound marketing. And for the inbound marketers who embrace that, a business blog is one of the most reliable and effective platforms for publishing your content. So wouldn’t it be great if you could scale the impact of your blog so it makes an even bigger, better, and more powerful dent in your marketing results? We recently released a new ebook that will teach you how to implement an advanced blog marketing strategy to help you grow, scale, and rethink the role of your business blog. Most importantly, this ebook will teach you how to actually convert blog visitors into dedicated subscribers. To learn more, download the free ebook here.

What other informative marketing stories or resources did you come across this week? Share them in the comments below!

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The Business Blogger’s Ultimate Guide to Mastering Lead Generation

October 24th, 2012

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Your blog is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful inbound marketing tools at your disposal. In fact, it’s practically a marketing Swiss army knife: it enables you to regularly publish content, boost your website’s search engine optimization, establish your industry thought leadership and expertise, and it also provides content fodder for your other marketing channels such as social media and email marketing.

But one of blogging’s biggest benefits is in its huge potential for lead generation and reconversion. So if you’re not taking advantage of all the lead generation opportunities your blog offers — and then optimizing those opportunities – you’re likely missing out on a huge piece of your company’s lead gen pie.

But have no fear! In this post, we’ll walk you through all the various lead gen opportunities you can take advantage of on your blog, and even give you some great tips for optimizing those opportunities to make sure you’re squeezing every last lead out of your business blog.

8 Lead Gen Opportunities for Your Business Blog

On Your Blog’s Homepage

There are three main opportunities to generate leads from your blog’s homepage — using top and/or bottom banner call-to-action (CTAs), sidebar CTAs, or through links to landing pages in your top nav, sidebar, or footer. These options will be visible whether your readers are visiting the homepage of your blog (e.g. http://blog.hubspot.com) or checking out the permalink of an individual blog article (e.g. http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33734/20-Common-Social-Media-Marketing-Myths-BUSTED.aspx).

Because these types of CTAs will be shown to visitors no matter what article they’re reading, it’s very important to either feature offers that you know are successful among a broader audience of visitors, or offer a variety of offers that most visitors would find at least one or two appealing. Use your landing page analytics to determine which of your top-performing offers have the best mass appeal and popularity, and feature CTAs for those offers on your blog’s homepage.

Here’s a closer look at how these types of CTAs might appear on your blog:

1) Top/Bottom Banner CTAs: These CTAs span the entire width of your blog’s homepage, so design them with those wide dimensions in mind. For HubSpot’s blog, we’ve found that banner CTAs that stand out from the rest of the page tend to perform the best. Choose bold background colors that pop out from the rest of your page. Select the offer for any top banner CTAs carefully, as these are the most prominent CTAs displayed on your blog’s homepage.

 

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2) Sidebar CTAs: These are smaller CTAs that appear in the sidebar of your blog’s homepage. While they’re a little bit more hidden than your banner CTAs and tend to generate a lower clickthrough rate, they can give your blog a little lead gen boost. Again, design these sidebar CTAs with their smaller width in mind.

 

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3) Top Nav/Sidebar/Footer Links to Landing Pages: You can also leverage any links in your top navigation, sidebar, or your blog’s footer to send direct blog traffic to landing pages. On HubSpot’s blog, for example, we use the links in our top navigation to send visitors to targeted landing pages that provide top-performing offers for the main topics we cover on our blog.

 

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Within Individual Articles

In addition to your blog’s homepage, lead gen opportunities abound within the blog articles you publish themselves. In fact, these are some of the more effective ways to leverage your blog for lead generation, because you have the ability to better target readers based on the articles they’re reading, which are the types of articles and topics that interest them.

For example, if you’re a unicorn breeder who typically blogs about 3 main topics — unicorn diet, unicorn grooming, and unicorn fitness/exercise — your blog articles will probably fall under these three main categories. If a reader is reading an article specifically about unicorn diet, you have the opportunity to feature a CTA for an offer specifically geared toward that very topic. Remember: relevancy increases conversion rates!

Let’s take a look at how these different types of lead gen opportunities might play out on a blog:

4) End-of-Post CTA Buttons: Your blog visitor just got finished reading your article about what not to feed your unicorn. What better time to promote your hit ebook, Everything You Need to Know About Healthy Unicorn Diets? The beauty of end-of-post CTA buttons is that they help you leverage the reader’s interest in that very topic — or a related one. Be sure to choose a CTA for the most relevant offer pertaining to the specific topic you’re blogging about for the best success with end-of-post CTA buttons. In terms of design, optimize these buttons for the width of your blog articles.

At HubSpot, again, we’ve found that bolder end-of-post CTA buttons that stand out from the rest of the content tend to perform best, but you should experiment with different designs to see what works best for you and your readers.

 

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5) Top/Mid-Post CTA Buttons: Besides end-of-post CTAs, you can also experiment with other placement of in-post CTAs if you want to take a more “in your face” approach. The key is to try to do this as unobtrusively as possible. Don’t go overboard — be subtle, and make sure the offers you’re promoting here are educational-focused so you’re helping, not annoying, your readers.

 

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6) Anchor Text Links to Landing Pages: Not every lead gen opportunity on your blog has to be achieved through button-based CTAs. Anchor text links to landing pages can be a great way to sprinkle a little lead gen fairy dust into the actual copy of your blog post — and at the same time, help you to optimize your landing pages for search! Link some of the keywords to relevant landing pages, as you can see in the first example below, which links to the landing page for our ebook on dynamic content. You can even be a little bit more obvious about it using a text-based call-to-action to download the offer, as you can see in the second example below.

 

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Off Your Blog

That’s right! There are opportunities to generate and reconvert leads from your blog even if a visitor isn’t physically hanging out there. Here are a couple of good ones to note:

7) In RSS Readers: Let’s face it — there is probably a good chunk of your blog readers who consume your blog content without actually visiting your website. People who subscribe to your blog via RSS may choose to add your blog’s RSS feed to an RSS reader like Google Reader, eliminating the need to ever come back to your blog. Don’t miss out on capturing these types of readers as leads! The good news is, if you’re already optimizing your individual articles themselves for lead gen using in-post CTAs, your blog will automatically be lead gen optimized for folks’ RSS readers since the full contents of the post will get pulled into those readers. Easy as pie! Furthermore, if you’re a HubSpot user, you can even customize your blog settings to add an additional CTA to your RSS footer, which automatically displays at the end of every post in RSS.

 

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8) In-Blog Subscriber Email Notifications: So what about all your email subscribers who read your new articles in full directly in their inboxes? Don’t worry — you can capture them as leads, too! And again, if you’re already optimizing your individual articles for lead gen, there’s no additional work needed on your part here either, since any CTAs or anchor text links will automatically get pulled into the email, too.

9 Ways to Optimize Your Blog’s Lead Gen Potential

Okay, so let’s say you’re already taking advantage of all these various blog lead generation and reconversion opportunities. What can you do to give it a little boost? Optimize, that’s what! Here are nine ways to improve you blog’s lead gen potential once you have the basics in place.

1) Replace Old CTAs With CTAs for New Offers

Offers, no matter how evergreen they are, tend to get stale and decrease in effectiveness after a while. If you’re using the same few CTAs over and over, there’s no doubt about it your overall conversions on that offer will decline. Make it a regular practice of updating old CTAs with new CTAs for new offers to keep your audience converting. This of course means you’ll need to be creating these new offers, too.

2) A/B Test CTA Designs

The design of your CTAs can also make or break whether visitors click. Experiment with various CTA designs to find out what resonates best with your audience. A/B test CTA button design elements like button color, language, imagery, tone, etc. to optimize for the most powerful CTA design. (Note: HubSpot customers can easily A/B test CTAs using HubSpot’s CTA tools.)

3) Refresh Designs Regularly

Just as it’s important to update the offers you’re featuring in your blog CTAs, even A/B tested and optimized CTA design can also get stale when used over and over again since readers get used to designs and train their eyes to gloss over them. Regularly refresh your CTA designs to keep readers on their toes, whether that means hiring a designer, outsourcing design work to an agency, or experimenting on your own with something like PowerPoint or HubSpot’s CTA builder.

4) Implement Smart CTAs

Most businesses will find that their blog tends to attract a lot of new traffic to their website. This makes sense, since articles commonly get indexed and found in search engines or shared through social networks. Because this is the case, it’s safe to assume that very top-of-the-funnel offers like educational ebook and webinars would make great blog CTA fodder, since most of your new visitors probably know little about your business and are just starting to get to know you.

That being said, don’t dismiss the fact that your blog also attracts repeat visitors (particularly if your content is top notch!). These repeat visitors may be a little bit more qualified (heck — they may already even be leads), and it might make sense to show them different CTAs based on what you already know about them. Enter Smart CTAs, or dynamic CTAs that enable you to automatically display different CTAs based on information about a lead and better nurture them with content that appeals to their specific interests and needs. To learn more about how to leverage Smart CTAs, check out this comprehensive blog post guide.

 

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5) Experiment With CTA Placement

Perhaps mid-post CTAs just end up annoying the heck out of your readers, or just never get clicked. What happens if you move up that sidebar CTA so it’s above the fold on your blog’s homepage? What if you had not one, but two sidebar CTAs? Experiment! You’ll never know how your audience reacts if you don’t try different things.

6) Optimize Landing Pages

Okay, so you’ve got some killer CTAs all throughout your blog, and people are totally clicking on them. Fantastic! So why the heck is your blog’s visitor-to-lead conversion rate so darn low? If you notice that your blog’s conversion rate is dismal, yet your CTAs clickthrough rate is stellar, then you likely have some landing page problems. Don’t neglect to optimize your visitors’ post-click experience. Spend some time diagnosing, analyzing, and optimizing your visitors’ landing page experiences. After all, if they don’t ever fill out that landing page form, all your blog lead gen optimization work is all for naught. Furthermore, make sure your blog’s CTAs are well aligned with the landing pages they’re promoting. The quickest way to facilitate landing page abandonment is by promising on thing on a CTA and sending visitors to a landing page that promotes something different.

7) Increase Blog Traffic

Hitting a lead gen plateau? Another way to increase your blog’s lead generation is not to focus on improving conversion, but rather to focus on generating more traffic. And if it’s net new leads you’re after, this means attracting new visitors. If you’re attracting a lot of repeat visitors who have already converted, it’s only natural that the new leads you generate from your blog will start to dwindle. Our new ebook, How to Grow & Scale Your Business Blog, offers some helpful tips for attracting brand new visitors to your blog. Some great tips include increasing the quality and reach of your blog content, seeking guest blogging opportunities, increasing the reach of your social media presence, and leveraging your evangelists.

8) Increase Blogging Frequency

Blogging frequency is an important part of the blog lead gen equation. In fact, according to the latest research compiled in our Marketing Benchmarks From 7,000 Businesses report, companies that increase blogging from 3-5x/month to just 6-8x/month almost double their leads. Furthermore, an average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50 articles, and the average company with 100 or more total published blog articles is more likely to experience continued lead growth. Remember, the more articles you publish, the more reasons there’ll be for visitors to come back and convert!

9) Convert Casual Blog Readers Into Dedicated Subscribers

Don’t overlook the importance of convincing your casual blog readers to keep coming back to for more. Convert your readers into dedicated subscribers who become fans and evangelists of your content, and share your blog articles with their networks of potential new visitors. To learn about the various steps you can take to convert visitors into subscribers, check out this post.

What other opportunities can you take advantage of to grow the lead gen potential of your business blog?

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20 Common Social Media Marketing Myths BUSTED

October 24th, 2012

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As the former dark horse of the marketing world (I think we’re past those days though, right?), social media has had plenty of time to accumulate some big, cuhraaaazy myths. Myths some marketers have held onto because, well, it’s just kind of hard to keep up to date on what’s really going on with social media.

So I donned my walrus mustache and beret (any Mythbusters fans out there?) and drudged up some of the most common social media myths out there … so I could officially bust them in this blog post. Let’s dive in to some social media myths we’ve all probably heard around the water cooler, and explain why they are now all officially BUSTED!

20 Common Social Media Myths BUSTED

1) My customers aren’t on social media.

Poppycock. Facebook has 1 billion active users, according to Yahoo! Finance. TechCrunch reports Twitter has 170 million active users, and Google+ has 100 million. You’re telling me your customers aren’t using any of those social networks? Or Pinterest? Or LinkedIn? Or YouTube? Or Quora? Or Meetup? Or ThirdAge? I can keep going

2) Social media is awesome! Join every network right now!

Just because I can name a lot of social networks, doesn’t mean I should set up a profile on all of them. By all means, research other social networks. Set up a company profile or page and give ‘em the old college try. But you may find that some of them aren’t really worth your time. That’s alright! The best marketers use data to identify which marketing activities yield the best results — if a social network isn’t helping you out, cut it loose.

For a little help evaluating the usefulness of new social networks, reference this blog post, “8 Questions to Evaluate Whether That New Social Network Is Worth Your Company’s Time.”

3) Google+ is dumb.

If you went through that new social network evaluation I just linked you to and you think it’s dumb, alright, I believe you. But don’t discount the tremendous SEO value in Google+. Posts from Google+ are being indexed in the SERPs, and authors’ Google+ profiles are showing up next to those results and improving clickthrough rates on listings. Even if you’re not seeing a lot of engagement on Google+, you might see a bump in your organic search rankings as a result of your activity there.

 

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4) Pinterest is only for B2C organizations.

It is totally awesome for B2C marketers, to be sure. But usually when someone says a channel is only for B2C, the B2B marketer in me takes that as a challenge to prove it’s not so. Turns out some of my colleagues feel the same way, because one of them wrote an epic blog post detailing exactly how B2B organizations can get value out of Pinterest. You can also check out the accounts of brands like GE, Microsoft, Econsultancy, and yours truly for some B2B Pinterest inspiration!

5) I should only try to get fans and followers that will become customers.

Quality is important, yes, but don’t underestimate the power of a large social reach. Remember some of these points next time you bemoan acquiring a fan or follower that lives outside of your sales territory or target demographic:

  • More fans and followers means you’re gaining access to their fans and followers.
  • If they’re an influencer, their clout transfers to you by association.
  • When they share your content, your SEO improves.
  • They may still refer business your way.

Learn more about why you need social media fans and followers who won’t even become customers in this blog post.

6) Social media is a M-F gig.

That might be when your community manager works, but that doesn’t mean it correlates to when people are using social media. Not exclusively, anyway. Our social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, found out that you might actually have more success if you embrace contra-competitive timing.

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7) If my friends and family Like every update, my social presence will rock.

You can’t just have your mom and uncle Like every post you put up on Facebook. The EdgeRank algorithm is a liiiiiittle bit more sophisticated than that. You need a variety of people interacting with your content — both to grow your reach, and to show up in users’ news feeds!

8) I have to respond to social activity immediately.

There’s no doubt a speedy response is appreciated, but it isn’t always required. People understand that you’re running a business. There are other things going on. If you get back in a timely manner, but not in mere seconds, it’s alright.

There are exceptions, of course. For instance, Verizon runs a few Twitter accounts … one is exclusively for support. The people who manage that account should be responding immediately to inquiries that come in, because, well, it’s the whole point of the account.

9) Social media is all about engaging conversation.

It’s not that conversations aren’t important. I mean, you can’t just ignore your fans. And it’s awesome to stimulate conversation among your fans and followers! It’s, you know, engaging. But it’s not the be-all, end-all, of social media marketing. Take a look at this data from Dan Zarrella, for example: 

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It shows there isn’t necessarily a positive correlation between the percentage of tweets that start with @ replies, and the number of followers these Twitter users have. Consider that social media is also (gasp!) a lead generator! If you share valuable, lead generation content, it won’t necessarily stimulate conversation … but people might eat it up. And so will your leads database.

10) Social media marketing activity doesn’t drive bottom line results.

Piggybacking off of the social-media-is-more-than-engaging-conversation thing, you can actually generate value beyond just “engagement” and “brand equity” from social media. Social media drives leads and customers, period. Don’t believe me? Here, I have a couple ebooks for you:

Oh, and a few stats from our own research, too:

  • Companies that use Twitter average 2X more leads than those that don’t.
  • Companies with 1000+ more Twitter followers get 6X more traffic.
  • 45% of marketers note social media has a below average cost-per-lead compared to other channels.
  • 62% of companies using LinkedIn for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 52% of companies using Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer from it.
  • 44 % of companies using Twitter for marketing have acquired a customer from it.

11) Do NOT get personal.

The content you publish in social media should always keep your target audience in mind — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also publish content that shows your brand’s personality. Or, frankly, even your community manager’s personality. There are people behind your company; don’t be afraid to show that with your own special brand of humor, pictures of people that work at your company, and links to news content that you find particularly entertaining … even if it’s not directly related to your industry.

12) Hashtags are wicked important.

You know those tweets that look like this?

Love this article on #socialmedia #marketing that talks about #pinterest and has an image of a #puppy #lol

The point of hashtags is that they join together common conversation threads. So while it’s nice to have a hashtag for an event, like a webinar or a trade show, don’t lose your mind if it doesn’t become a trending topic. It’s not necessarily going to blow your leads goal out of the water if it does … think of hashtags as a way to be more user-friendly for those following the hashtag, not a way to make all your marketing dreams come true.

13) Social media monitoring takes forever.

One social media monitoring scenario: Glue your eyes to your computer screen, open 5 tabs for each of your social networks, chug three espressos, click between tabs and hit refresh like a maniac.

Alternate social media monitoring scenario: Use social media monitoring software that alerts you when important terms are mentioned; check back to your accounts briefly every hour or two to see if you need to respond to anyone, follow someone back, etc.

That second one takes you, in aggregate, maybe 30 minutes a day. No big deal. Everybody breathe. Everything’s gonna be alright.

14) Your social media manager should be really young, they’re the only ones who “get it.” 

And the flip side to this absurd debate is that you could NEVER hire a young social media manager — you need someone who has been working in the industry for years!

There’s been a debate raging on the internet about whether it’s better to have a 21-year old social media manager who can’t remember a time before Facebook, or someone a little more seasoned. It’s a ridiculous debate. Being good at social media marketing has nothing to do with whether you’re 21 or 41 — you can learn the tools and strategies at any age, and muck ‘em up at any age, too. Instead, focus on finding someone who is both creative and analytically minded to manage your presence — with a flair for dealing with people, of course.

15) Social media is only for young people.

Those young kids and their newfangled myfaces and twitbooks!

That’s not really an accurate picture of social media users these days. If you think the only people using social media are millennials — and they’re just not part of your target audience — think again.

  • 40% of Facebook’s active users are over age 35.
  • 52% of 55-64 year old internet users have joined a social network.
  • 93% of U.S. adult internet users are on Facebook.

16) Social media is just a “get found” channel.

By “get found” I mean it’s only good for driving traffic — it doesn’t address the next stage of the funnel, where you have to convert and nurture those leads into customers. Not true! So not true, in fact, that we’ve recently rolled out a new feature in HubSpot’s software called “Social Contacts” that lets you use the data you’ve collected about your leads based on their social media profiles and interactions, and segment and nurture them with it.

Top-of-the-funnel, meet the middle-of-the-funnel. I always thought you two crazy kids would get together.

17) I don’t have enough content to feed the beast.

The thing with social media is that it moves really fast … so the things you put up there go away really fast. You can think of this as a problem — I don’t have enough content to post! — or remember that because social media moves so fast, you can repurpose content all the time. Because people missed it. Or forgot about it. Or it’s evergreen content, so it’s always useful! This doesn’t mean you should share the exact same link and update commentary day after day, but if a few weeks go by and you want to re-promote an evergreen ebook, then hey, go nuts! Just do your loyal fans a favor, and find a new interesting nugget of information to call out in your update.

18) Social media gives people a venue to publicly bash my company.

They already have a venue, and it’s called the internet. You not putting up a Facebook page isn’t protecting you from their angry wrath.

Instead, get ahead of the conversation by being aware that it’s taking place. And if you need some help dealing with those negative nancies, well, we’ve got a blog post that will walk you through the steps to calm her (or him!) down.

19) Social media is too fluffy to have solid metrics around.

Unless you have closed-loop reporting, that is. Again, social media isn’t about fluffy things we talked about earlier, like “brand equity” and “engaging conversation.” Yeah, those things ** happen ** but it doesn’t mean you can’t measure the effectiveness of your social media activities. With closed-loop reporting, you can identify exactly how much traffic social media drives to your website, how many leads social media generates, and how many of those leads become customers. From there, you can even calculate things like the average cost-per-lead and customer — across individual social media networks, and in aggregate — just like you do with every other marketing channel (right?).

20) Social media is free marketing.

It’s free to join, but it’s still a resource investment. Yes, it’s often cheaper — according to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 45% of marketers cite social media has a below average cost per lead, surpassed only by leads generated from their blog. But just like any other marketing channel, you’ll have to invest some resources behind social media marketing … and to really make it take off, it’s only natural you’ll have to up that investment. But, I am confident that investment is worth your while!

What other social myths are out there that are totally bunk? Any other myths you’d like busted?

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Why Thank-You Emails Are the Untapped Gold Mine of Email Marketing

October 24th, 2012

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In our Introduction to Email Marketing ebook, we discussed that there are several different types of marketing emails you can send to your contacts. Depending on what your business goals and needs are, you could be sending newsletters, digests, dedicated sends, behavior-driven emails, lead nurturing emails, and more. All of these different options have their purposes, yet many marketers overlook a particular type of email that tends to get a lot of traction — the transactional email. That’s right: Transactional emails are one of the most effective types of communication to engage your prospects with.

Transactional emails are the messages you receive from ecommerce sites like Amazon.com that confirm your order and provide shipment information and other details. These messages get triggered by a specific action your contacts have taken and can also be used to inform contacts how to complete that particular action. For instance, if you were to sign up for a webinar, you’d complete a form and then receive a transactional email, which would provide you with the relevant login information in order to join.

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So what’s the marketer’s equivalent to transactional emails? Thank-you emails, or the automated messages triggered when visitors convert on your landing pages!

The Benefits of Thank-You Emails

Recipients anticipate transactional/thank-you emails because they help them complete an action. It’s the main reason why recipients open and click on them. And as a marketer, you can easily take advantage of this dynamic by including highly customized calls-to-action in your thank-you emails to leverage the fact that the lead is fresh and already actively engaged with your brand.

Thank-you emails are effective for two main reasons:

  1. They place your content directly in the contact’s inbox. So even if he or she clicks away from the thank-you page they’re redirected to after completing your conversion form, they can still search their inbox and find the information they need to redeem the offer, such as the ebook’s download link, webinar login information, etc.   
  2. People will often share your content by forwarding it via email, so thank-you emails give you yet another opportunity to extend the reach of your content to a brand new audience.

An example of a simple thank-you email:

 

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As you can see, the thank-you email above includes two links: The first one links to the thank-you page for the offer advertised on the landing page, where the user can access the ebook; and the second one links to a secondary conversion opportunity of higher commitment and value, enabling us to move the lead further along in the sales cycle.

Thank-You Emails Twice as Engaging as General Marketing Emails

While we can easily theorize that thank-you emails would be beneficial to a company’s marketing mix, we at HubSpot wanted to analyze just how engaging they are in practice. To understand how effective thank-you emails are compared to other email sends, we decided to compare them to another type of email we commonly send: dedicated marketing emails, sent on an one-off basis.

Using HubSpot’s Email tool we dug into the open and clickthrough rates (CTR) of our thank-you emails. We took a look at 21 of our existing thank-you emails and found that, on average, they generated a 42% open rate and a 14% CTR.

For comparison, we then looked at the generic marketing emails we’ve sent to one group of our buyer personas. The sample used here was larger — 131 emails — which, on average, generated a 12% open rate and a 6% CTR. In other words, the simple, automated kickback thank-you emails generated twice the engagement of one-off, dedicated marketing emails. What’s even better — they tend to take half the time to create!

TY emails VS one off sends

Marketing Takeaways

Now that we’ve covered some of the fundamentals of thank-you emails and their effectiveness, here are some marketing tips you should start applying to your marketing today.

1) Use Simple Thank-You Emails

Starting with the obvious, if you aren’t yet using kickback thank-you emails that get triggered after prospects convert on your landing pages, start implementing them sooner rather than later. To take this a step further, you can even make these emails the first part of a more complex lead nurturing workflow so you can control what other communication that contact receives, continuing to nurture them over time and move them through your sales and marketing funnel. (Note: For HubSpot customers, these can both easily be set up using HubSpot’s Landing Pages and Workflows tools.)

 

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2) Optimize Your Thank-You Emails

This part is key. Make sure you’re also optimizing your kickback emails to encourage secondary conversions. In other words, include calls-to-action (CTAs) for high-value marketing offers that will move your leads further along in the sales cycle, such as a consultation with your sales team or a free trial of your product.

If you’re already adding secondary calls-to-action to your thank-you emails (well done!), take your skills to the next level by implementing Smart CTAs that adapt to your individual email recipients. Smart CTAs are dynamic CTAs that automatically change based on the person viewing them, creating much more targeted, segmented, and effective email marketing. To learn more about how to implement Smart CTAs, check out our ultimate guide to using dynamic, personalized CTAs.

3) Make Your Thank-You Emails Social Media-Friendly

As we already mentioned, one of the key benefits of emails is that they get forwarded and shared, helping your content reach a brand new audience. Encourage this sharing of your emails by making it extremely easy for recipients to share your email content with their networks. Include social media sharing buttons/links and language that invites your contacts to forward the message to others.

Have you been using thank-you emails in your marketing? What has your experience been with this type of communication?

Image Credit: Ben Fredericson (xjrlokix)





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Facebook Launches Global Pages to Simplify Brands’ International Facebook Presence

October 24th, 2012

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Are you a global business that sells to customers on an international scale? Have you struggled with the agonizing question of whether to set up multiple social media accounts on each social network to better support your various marketing initiatives geared toward different international markets? Well as it turns out, Facebook feels your pain.

Yesterday, Facebook announced the launch of Global Pages, a new structure to business pages for global brands aimed to provide a better, localized experience for international brands’ prospects and customers. The new structure consolidates a business’ global Facebook presence into one place while still providing a localized experience.

How Facebook’s New Global Structure Works

The idea is, rather than a global brand maintaining one general, broadly targeted Facebook page — or juggling multiple Facebook Pages set up for each different international market — that brand can instead maintain and promote one centralized Facebook Page URL. Visitors to that page will then get routed to the most appropriate version of a page based on their home country, where they will see a localized version of the page, which the administrator can customize to include different cover photos, profile photos, applications, milestones, ‘About’ information, and news feed stories.

The global marketer can set up their Global Pages structure to create localized pages for the specific markets (i.e. single or multicountry regions) they’re targeting. They can also set up a default page that all other users outside of these specific markets get directed to. If you’re familiar with LinkedIn’s targeted Product and Services Page variations within their Company Pages, Facebook is implementing a similar idea: Users get redirected to the version of the page that’s best suited for them based on their geographic location.

 

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Okay — so what’s the difference between a global marketer just setting up and customizing different Facebook Pages? In one word: centralization.

3 Key Benefits of Global Pages

  1. A Centralized Facebook Presence: No matter which version of the page a visitor gets routed to, all visitors will see the same page name (translated into their local language), fan count, and ‘People Talking About This’ counts.
  2. A Single URL: Rather than having to promote a different page URL for each localized page, global brands will be able to promote one single URL in all of their marketing efforts to promote their Facebook presence, since page visitors will be automatically be redirected to the appropriate version of the Page based on their goegraphic information.
  3. A Centralized Global Insights Dashboard: Rather than having to check the Facebook Insights for multiple pages, administrators of the main Global Page will be able to check Insights for all page variations in one centralized dashboard.

But What if I Already Have Multiple Pages Set Up?

It’s easy to see how this new feature can help global social media marketers who already manage one general page, eliminating the pain of geo-targeting every status update and page post — but what about the marketers who have already set up completely separate, country-specific Facebook Pages for each of their target international markets?

According to Facebook, it is possible for admins of multiple pages to transition to the new Global Pages structure, citing examples such as the global Walt Disney Studios team working on Frankenweenie, who were easily able to migrate their country-specific pages for France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to the Global Pages framework. Other brands, including the Holiday Inn and the Kit Kat team from Nestle have also successfully transitioned their various localized pages from regions around the globe to the new structure.

And that’s not all …

Facebook Also Promises Improved Global Benchmarking Data in the Future

Within Facebook’s announcement, the social network also mentioned they’re working on ways to make it easier for global marketers to measure their specific, localized audiences in each country — which will include country-level fan counts for both Global Pages as well as pages not yet transitioned to the new framework (coming later this year in its public API).

In addition, Facebook is working to provide a way for marketers to benchmark their brand against competitors, enabling global marketers to measure and analyze how each localized market is performing and compare that data on a country-specific level with other Facebook pages via Facebook’s API. 

Great News for International Marketers

This seems like a no-brainer for businesses who cater to a global audience. No more agonizing over whether to divide their Facebook presence in order to appropriately cater their content and updates to their inidividual, localized segments of their audience. No more time spent fiddling with geo-targeting every single status update. No more splitting up the overall reach and impact of their Facebook presence.

To get started with Global Pages, Facebook indicates you’ll need to get in touch with your Facebook client partner or account manager to discuss. If you’re not already working with Facebook, you can contact Facebook marketing solutions here.

To learn more about how to effectively implement a global social media marketing strategy, download our free ebook, The Complete Guide to Global Social Media Marketing.

If you’re a global marketer, will you explore Facebook’s new Global Pages offering?

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Google Launches New ‘Disavow’ Tool to Help Protect You From Bad Inbound Links

October 24th, 2012

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A couple months ago, we covered a pretty ridiculous story (well, most inbound marketers thought it was ridiculous) about a webmaster who was threatened with the long arm of the law if she didn’t remove an outbound link on her site. You know, despite the fact that it was a really high-quality link. I mean, most people jump for joy when they naturally acquire inbound links … ‘sup with the lawyers?

Well, this kind of story isn’t an anomaly. People send requests to webmasters to remove links all the time. In fact, we just got one the other day — and we complied, despite the fact that it was actually a really good link to their site with awesome anchor text. Whatever. As you wish.

And if there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about these link removal requests, it’s the fine folks over at Google. As post-Panda marketers, we all know that Google doesn’t look kindly on sites engaging in sketchy link behavior, and as such, many of us have gotten pretty vigilant at ensuring we don’t have a bevy of spammy links coming in to our site. It’s for this reason (and a few others, perhaps, which we’ll get into later in the post) that Google launched its newest tool, ‘Disavow Links,’ at the PubCon conference, which we heard about through Powered by Search. Let’s break down what this Disavow Links tool is, how to use it, and of course … whether you should even bother.

What Exactly Is the New Disavow Links Tool?

The Disavow tool is a Google Webmaster Tool that lets you ask Google to not consider links to your website that you think might be harming your site’s ranking. By “not consider,” I mean that by putting these links into the tool, you’ll tell Google, “Hey, I know this is a sketchy link and I wish it wasn’t linking to me, can you please not ding me for it when you’re figuring out where to rank me in the SERPs? That would be amazing!”

This is particularly important for low-quality links you’ve acquired over the years — for instance, if you’ve ever purchased a link (tsk tsk!) and want to remedy the situation before Google finds out and smacks you in the tush with a SERP penalty. Now, if you’ve already been dinged for those low-quality links in the past, it doesn’t work retroactively. But you can try to get ahead of Google by asking not to get in trouble. Here’s what the tool looks like:

 

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How to Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool

Sounds pretty legit. How would a fine marketer like yourself use it? Like so:

Step 1: Log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account. When logged in, you’ll see your website in the gray box. Click the red box that says, ‘Disavow Links.’

 

how to disavow links

 

Step 2: Click ‘Disavow Links’ again. Google wanted to have time to give you a warning (which they’ll give again in the next step) that using this feature incorrectly can harm your site’s performance in the SERPs. Because, obviously, disavowing links that are actually good can dry up that positive SEO juice.

 

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Step 3: In this step, you’ll actually upload the file of links that you want to get rid of. Click ‘Choose File’ and upload a plain text file (you can create this in something like Notepad) with a list of links that you want to disavow. Only include one URL per line.

Then click the blue ‘Submit’ button. And, of course, ‘Done.’ Because you’re done.

 

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If you’d like to disavow an entire domain, you can do that. Alternately, you can disavow just one link. If you’d like to add any notes to this document explaining why you’ve disavowed any links or domains, you can do that, too. Here’s what your final document might look like according to Google:

 

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In this example, the three pound signs are simply comments that Google ignores, but might help you with your record keeping. That line that says “domain:spamdomain1.com,” however, is an indication to Google — because of the keyword “domain” — that you want to disavow all links from that particular domain. Those last three URLs you see in the example above, however, are examples of a request to only disavow those three specific links, not all of the links that come from spamdomain2.com.

Google only supports one disavowal file per site. If you want to update the file in the future, you’ll need to download the existing file, modify it, and upload the updated one. The file size limit is 2MB. Hope you don’t need all of it — that’s one messy site.

Is it Worth Your While?

Meh. Depends. Do you know what you’re doing? Do you have a shady history of link building? Are you actually at risk of being dinged in the SERPs from low-quality inbound links? Like, for real? Here’s the thing:

Let’s start with the fact that using this tool doesn’t automatically mean Google will disavow the links. You’re asking them to, but it doesn’t mean they will — it’s simply, as Matt Cutts at Google puts it — “a strong suggestion rather than a directive.” They probably will follow your suggestion, but it’s not ensured.

But even if they do listen to your suggestion, are you sure you want them to? You better be. Absolutely. Positively. Sure. Like I alluded to in the introduction to this blog post, there are tons of cases of people requesting high-quality inbound links to their site be removed. Whether this stems from a lack of information on how inbound linking works or misinformation from a site crawler or other SEO tool telling them links are bad (that aren’t), it is a huge bummer to lose the link juice from high-quality links. Don’t use this tool — as Google warns you multiple times before you are allowed to officially disavow links — unless you’re sure you have some harmful links coming in to your site.

Now, if you do accidentally disavow links that turn out to be good, you can undo the process by downloading the file and re-uploading a new one with those good links removed. Just keep in mind that the initial disavowal proces could take a few weeks, so you might not notice a ding in your search rankings immediately upon uploading your disavowal file. And as such, reuploading the cleaned up file might not have an immediate effect on your search rankings — that could amount to a month or two of lost search rankings if you hastily upload a disavowal file.

Bottom line? Let’s default to Google. When asked, “Will most sites need to use this tool?” they responded by saying, plainly, “No.” They offer some sound follow-up advice, noting, “If you’re not sure what the tool does or whether you need to use it, you probably shouldn’t use it.” If you are considering using this tool, I recommend you read the entirety of the Q&A with Matt Cutts on this tool to ensure all of your bases are covered.

What do you think of this new Google ‘Disavow Links’ tool? Will you be using it to remove links to your website?

Image credit: JD Hancock





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12 Revealing Charts to Help You Benchmark Your Business Blogging Performance [NEW DATA]

October 23rd, 2012

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Most inbound marketers understand that business blogging is a critical part of a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. But how frequently does a blogger need to publish content in order to make a true dent in their marketing results? Furthermore, how does that vary between B2B and B2C companies, and smaller and larger businesses? Wouldn’t it be great to have some blogging benchmarks to go by?

You’re in luck, my friend, considering HubSpot just released its Marketing Benchmarks From 7,000 Businesses report, which provides helpful benchmarking data gathered from HubSpot’s more than 7,000 customers who do inbound marketing every day. In this post, we’ve pulled 12 charts and graphs that highlight some valuable blogging benchmarks to help you get on the right track with your business blogging efforts.

For higher quality versions of the following charts — in addition to even more data about the traffic/leads ROI of marketing assets like landing pages and social media — download our free report, Marketing Benchmarks From 7,000 Businesses.

The Effect of Blogging Frequency on Website Traffic

The first of our blogging benchmarking charts highlight the impact that the number of monthly blog articles a business publishes has on inbound traffic — overall, divided up by B2B and B2C companies, and split up by company size.

 

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After seeing these charts, you’ve probably never been more convinced that when it comes to the effectiveness of blogging in driving traffic to your website, frequency matters. In fact, according to the charts above, companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. And if you’re a small business, increasing your blogging frequency can move the needle even more. According to the third chart, small businesses (1-10 employees) tend to see the biggest gains in traffic when they publish more articles.

Make a commitment to regularly publishing content to your blog to reap the biggest rewards in terms of website traffic. To learn more about how you can boost your blogging frequency by never running out of blogging ideas again, check out this blog article.

The Effect of Blogging Frequency on Lead Generation

The following three charts feature the impact that the number of monthly blog articles a business publishes has on inbound leads — overall, divided up by B2B and B2C companies, and segmented by company size.

 

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As you can see, blogging frequency matters not just in terms of the impact blogging has on driving traffic to your website. It’s also critical when it comes down to the effectiveness of blogging in generating actual leads. In fact, companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads. And if you still need to be convinced that you should start a business blog to begin with, keep in mind that B2B companies that blog only 1-2X/month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. In other words, blogging even just a little bit can make a big dent on your leads goal if you previously weren’t blogging at all.

To get the maximum amount of leads from your blogging efforts, check out our ultimate guide to mastering blogging lead generation.

Blogging’s Overall Impact on Website Traffic

Our next three charts emphasize the overall impact of blogging on inbound traffic. In other words, how does the total number of blog posts you’ve published to your business blog — past and present — affect traffic?


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Remember, because the articles you publish get indexed in search engines and shared through channels like social media, the impact your business blog has on traffic isn’t just limited to the articles you publish this month. By committing to regularly publishing blog content, over time you’ll have built up a powerful arsenal of content, with each article you publish creating another inroad to your website.

Not convinced? As indicated by the charts above, an average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50 articles. And for all you B2C companies out there, keep in mind that B2C companies see a 59% increase in traffic after growing total blog articles from 100 to 200 total. Sure, blogging is a big time commitment, but sticking to it can generate tremendously valuable marketing results.

Blogging’s Overall Impact on Lead Generation

The last of our blogging benchmarking charts show the overall impact of blogging on inbound leads. That is to say, how does the total number of blog posts you’ve published to your business blog — past and present — affect lead generation?


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In a nutshell, making your blog a long-term asset by publishing a lot of content over time makes a big difference. This is evidenced by the fact that the average company with 100 or more total blog articles is more likely to experience continued lead growth, and even more compelling — companies with over 200 blog articles generate >5X the leads than those with 10 or fewer.

Are you making a big enough commitment to blogging regularly? To get more helpful benchmarking data about the effect of marketing assets like landing pages and social media on traffic and lead generation, download your copy of our free benchmarking report here.

Image Credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT



As humans we are creatures of habit.  I may be more habitual than most as I am someone that places a lot of emphasis on control and order.  In short, I like to know what to expect.

For example: I wake up at the same time each morning, but then I hit snooze so I can rest for 5 more minutes.  As I’m getting ready for work I am always tuned into Good Morning America, and then right before leaving I take my four-legged pup Kirby for a walk around the block.

As a marketer I have always been someone that is very interested in understanding why people make certain choices, how much of it is really within their control, and ways to train your brain to think differently.  I recently read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business by Charles Duhigg, which helped answered some of these questions for me.

It is much easier to fall into bad habits than it is to begin actively creating good habits in life and at work.  If you are ready to begin understanding (or acknowledging) what your bad habits are, and want to learn how to make new ones I have 5 tips to help you start on your journey.

Tip 1 – Be Honest With Yourself

Identifying your good habits, is just as important as recognizing those that are less than favorable.  If you can pinpoint what your motivation is for the good habits you have, you can begin working that positive association into altering your bad habits.

If you have a particularly difficult task that you dread doing and often put off until the end of the day, do it first thing in the morning.  Get the task out of the way and reward yourself with a 5-minute mental break or extra long gaze out the office window (whatever motivates you to continue making that choice) .

Even though this may be something as small as setting up your meetings for the week, responding to team emails, or scheduling social media posts for the day you’ll have a much greater sense of accomplishment if you get it off of your plate right away.

Tip 2 – Old Habits Die Hard

I’m sure this is an expression that we’ve all heard, if not said.  You cannot change habits overnight, it takes time and effort.  We may even need to remind ourselves on a daily basis for a while that we should not be falling into our old ways.

I for example obsessively check my email.  I have found that the amount of focus I can direct towards actual marketing activities is greatly decreased when I’m checking email every five minutes.

Unless I’m expecting a very important communication I will only check my email during certain points throughout the day.  I have setup calendar reminders that prompt me to check in and see what I’ve received.  But other than during those allotted times I make sure I keep the window closed.

Tip 3 – Don’t Try To Make Too Many Changes At Once

There have been a few times that I have tried to drastically alter the way that I organize my work-day and have been met with what I consider to be less than ideal, and nerve-wracking results.

If you can focus on changing one habit at a time, your chances for success are much greater.  Small habits you can begin changing today might include:

  • Getting to work 10 minutes earlier than usual for the next week
  • Organizing your tasks for the next day before leaving work
  • Talking a short walk during lunch time to clear your head
  • Trading that tempting donut for better brain food like a piece of fruit

Tip 4 – Cut Out Bad Outside Influences

We are influenced positively and negatively by those we spend time with.  So, if you are spending time with people that have many of the same negative habits as yourself, it’s time for a change.  Once you’ve discovered how to make the change yourself it is perfectly fine (and encouraged) to share with your team members how you turned a bad habit into a good one, and tips for them to do so as well.

Tip 5 – Wash, Rinse, Repeat, Adapt

The more you focus on changing your habits in a consistent way, the better your results will be.  After you’ve begun to notice a positive difference in the new habits you are forming, it’s time to apply the same logic outside of yourself.

  • Is the way that you’re interacting with your customers and prospects affected by other bad habits?
  • How much are these bad habits costing your company in productivity/dollars?
  • What can you do to better connect with them by changing these habits?
  • Can you help other team members become more productive by encouraging them to change habits?

Getting Started

Below are some helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Pinpoint three things that motivate you.  An example might be positive reinforcement from your boss or a co-worker
  2. Identify your bad habits.  Maybe you spend too much time on Facebook during the day and want to improve your focus.
  3. If you could change one habit immediately, what would it be?  (feel free to leave your answer in the comments below)

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Only 6% of Fans Engage With a Brand’s Facebook Page, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

October 21st, 2012

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Many inbound marketers have reached the point where they’re actively using social media, business blogging, and working on their on-page SEO, but how do you take your marketing to the next level?

You’re smart for having that scaling mindset and wanting to do more, but the problem is keeping up with it all! Facebook and Google have been making some serious changes lately, and growing a following of loyal subscribers for your blog isn’t exactly something that happens over night. So how does a marketer do it all?

In this post, you’ll find the top 6 marketing stories and resources of the week to keep you updated and help you learn how to scale your online presence.

Google Searchers 3x More Likely to Be Logged-In Than Bing, From Search Engine Land

Have you noticed that social and search are becoming more and more integrated lately? Well, according to a recent survey from Search Engine Land, 62% of respondents reported they do not want or gain benefit from social results mixed in with search results. Whoa. That throws us marketers a bit off course, doesn’t it? Isn’t personalization a good thing? In the same survey, data also revealed that 61% of Google searchers are logged into a Google service when using the search engine, compared to 22% of Bing users. This shows that Google clearly has an advantage over Bing when it comes to collecting information about users, due to the high rate at which users are logged in to the search engine. Even if users aren’t certain they want social and search to be integrated, this data proves that users are still using it at an incredible rate, regardless of what they might want. To see more data on Google vs. Bing in their social integration battle, check out the full story here.

Google Launches Promotions on Google Shopping, Enables Distribution to Google Offers & Maps on Android, Too, From TechCrunch

Google recently announced a new feature for merchants called ‘Promotions,’ where retailers can add promotions to their product listings in Google Shopping, Google Offers, and Google Maps on Android. These new promotions are meant to encourage foot traffic to a retailer’s store through Google Offers, which, if you’re not familiar, is similar to Groupon and Groupon Now. Essentially, you can purchase a deal online and then visit the store’s physical location to redeem that deal. Additionally, retailers can now create promotion lists, map them to the right products in Google Shopping, and then upload them to the Google Merchant Center. With this system, users can also redeem special promo codes, allowing retailers to actually track and measure the performance of their brick-and-mortar promotions. If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s new updates for retailers, check out the full story here.

Facebook Launches Global Pages to Simplify Brands’ International Facebook Presence

Facebook has recently launched a new structure to business pages for global brands, called Global Pages. This change is aimed to provide a better, localized experience for international brands’ prospects and customers, while also consolidating a business’ global Facebook presence into one destination. Do you know of any brands with multiple Facebook Pages for different countries and languages? Well, maintaining these confusing, multiple pages will no longer be an issue with Facebook’s new updates. Now a brand can simply have one general Facebook Page, but also take advantage of the ability to automatically route visitors to the appropriate version of the page depending on their geographic location for a more personalized experience. Administrators can customize each variation to include different cover photos, profile photos, applications, milestones, ‘About’ information, and even news feed stories. Does this global consolidation sound like something you’d be interested in? Read the full story here to learn more.

EdgeRank: Doing the Right Things Doesn’t Solve the Bigger Issue, From Social Media Today

Have you heard of Facebook’s Interest Lists? According to Facebook, “Interest Lists are an optional way to organize the content you’re interested in on Facebook. You can create your own Interest Lists based on the things you care about, or subscribe to other people’s lists.” Sounds pretty great, right? They’re not a brand spankin’ new feature, but many brands have been recently encouraging users to create these Interest Lists, in hopes that the brand will appear more in users’ news feeds. Of course, this doesn’t solve the bigger issue of EdgeRank overall because, according to Social Media Today, Facebook is “deciding that my news feed is too cluttered and attempting to fix that for me (and you) by developing an algorithm and basically deciding for me (and you) what I’ll find interesting.” Big brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola get a great deal of fan interaction, so they generally have a higher EdgeRank. But what about the smaller brands? To learn more about the lingering EdgeRank issue, you can read the full story here.

Only 6% of Fans Engage With a Brand’s Facebook Page [STUDY], From Mashable

Oh, so hundreds of thousands of people ‘Like’ your Facebook Page? You must be getting so much engagement! Or maybe not. According to a study reported by Mashable, “On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via Likes, comments, polls, and other means.” Wow. So what does this mean for brands if 94% of people who Like your page are not engaging? Let’s look at this statistic from a positive point of view. Those 6% of people engaging are your “super fans,” which means they will gladly like, share, and comment on your page content, which helps boost your EdgeRank. In fact, “each month, the so-called super fan Likes 10 posts, shares five pieces of content, and comments once,” according to Mashable. So what you can do as a page administrator is leverage these 6% of engaged fans, and use them to your advantage. Make sure you’re catering to the needs of your core audience and you will build a much better, more prominent presence in users’ news feeds. To learn more about this study, you can read the full story here.

How to Grow & Scale Your Business Blog: A Guide to Increasing the Reach and Marketing ROI of Your Blog

You’re probably already aware that content creation is a very necessary function of successful inbound marketing. And for the inbound marketers who embrace that, a business blog is one of the most reliable and effective platforms for publishing your content. So wouldn’t it be great if you could scale the impact of your blog so it makes an even bigger, better, and more powerful dent in your marketing results? We recently released a new ebook that will teach you how to implement an advanced blog marketing strategy to help you grow, scale, and rethink the role of your business blog. Most importantly, this ebook will teach you how to actually convert blog visitors into dedicated subscribers. To learn more, download the free ebook here.

What other informative marketing stories or resources did you come across this week? Share them in the comments below!

Image credit: Wim Vandenbussche





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Mobile Web Analytics Apps – Measure Web Stats on the Go – Google Analytics & Piwik

October 20th, 2012

Staying up to date with your website’s analytics can seem like a full-time job. If you use Google Analytics, this past summer you were forced to adopt the newest version. Google Analytics version 5 brought a new interface and new reports. For some, that meant learning where all the reports moved. Aside from the obvious learning curve, many people had to spend more time to accessing simple metrics.

Today’s fast-moving business sometimes requires you to do a lot more while you are on-the go. Unfortunately, like most Web-based analytics graphs, the graphs in Google Analytics require Flash to render properly. Adobe Flash doesn’t fare so well on mobile browsers, especially those mobile browsers running on Apple mobile devices. So how do you stay connected to your Web analytics while on the go?

Google Analytics Mobile App for Android

Earlier this Summer, just before Google retired the old version of Analytics (version 4), they announced their first official mobile app for Google Analytics for the Android platform. Boasting only four main categories, the app makes getting data about visitors to your site fast and easy.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2190634/Using-Custom-Alerts-in-Google-Analytics

The four categories include real-time information, a dashboard you can customize, standard and custom alerts.

If you can’t bear to be without your stats, the real-time stats will be your favorite page. Just as in your desktop browser, it displays the number of active visitors on your site, from which type of referring source. It also shows which pages are most popular among the active visitors browsing your site.

The dashboard allows you to select two of all the available metrics in Google Analytics. Each metric is  displayed on the mobile dashboard as a line graph. You can customize the graph and the view, just as you would in-browser.

For quick stats, you can view the standard alerts. Alerts are warnings Google provides. The warnings are typically set based on percentage change from a previous day’s stats. You can also customize your alerts from the admin area of Google Analytics in your desktop browser.  Any custom alerts you set will appear on the custom alerts page. While it sounds technical, it’s quite easy with these step-by-step instructions for creating custom alerts in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is Not the Only Fish in the Mobile Sea

Piwik is an open source competitor to Google Analytics.  Like Google Analytics, it uses JavaScript to track pages and has a web-based interface to viewing reports and graphs. Like Google Analytics, it also has a mobile app for viewing your Analytics on-the-go. Piwik has a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.

Piwik Mobile Analytics

Unlike Google’s mobile app, Piwik offers a full copy of each and every report. However, navigating the mobile reports is not as easy as with the Google app. Piwike Mobile Analytics offers a main menu, showing all the available reports. You can select a report to view the respective graph and supporting data. Then you must use your back button to return to the main menu.

Piwik allows you to plot any of the metrics as a line graph and customize your window of time. Unlike Google, all of Piwik’s reports are pulled in real-time. Visitor information is calculated on-the-fly. (Google Analytics shows some same-day information; most is calculated overnight).

Either way you slice it, you can certainly get your analytics fix on your mobile device. You’ll need an active Internet connection for both Google Analytics or Piwik Mobile Analytics. But these days, that’s almost par for the course. The data footprint required is very small which means accessing your data is fast whether you’re on high-speed WiFi or standard mobile speeds. Go ahead – get your analytics on!

Image provided via Shutterstock.


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© Online Marketing Blog, 2012. |
Mobile Web Analytics Apps – Measure Web Stats on the Go – Google Analytics & Piwik | http://www.toprankblog.com


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