Advanced Marketing: New Research Report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

Technology is a funny thing. The way it changes the world we live in is a bit like waking up one morning and looking at all of your most familiar things through a kaleidoscope. Your bed, your favorite chair, the books on your shelf – they’re the same, sort of: the things themselves haven’t changed. But they’re also very different, so different you might not recognize them at first glance. Even though the settings are familiar, you have to change the way you look at these everyday things in order to find the familiarity in them again.

The changing marketing landscape is the same: technology can make it seem as though we’re looking at the buying cycle through a kaleidoscope. Becoming familiar with today’s buyers starts with putting them at the center of your marketing strategy and implementing new technologies like marketing automation and analytics to leverage their data and create a customized customer experience.

But what do you do if your organization hasn’t made the technology you need available to you? What about making sure that your team has the skills you need to manage a complex web of customer data? And what do the highest performing teams – the advanced marketers do to set themselves apart? We wanted to know how B2B marketers were adapting to the lightning changes taking place industry-wide, so working together with the Harvard Business Review Analytics Service, we compiled a report that examines the techniques of B2B marketers across the spectrum to see how they face the challenges of a modern marketer.

Just 15% of survey respondents have widespread use of advanced tools, analytics, and practices to better leverage data in their marketing and sales efforts.

 

What Makes Advanced Marketers Different

The 15% of marketers who are using advanced tools, analytics, and practices across their organization are considered advanced marketers. These are the teams able to go beyond the immediate buyer-seller relationship and are able to think about how their strategies impact the customer journey. They’re able to develop their processes to cultivate better relationships with customers, and have a much closer alignment with their sales teams to make sure that customers experience the smoothest transitions through the sales cycle.

So what makes advanced marketers different? The report found that these teams were able to implement accessible, easy-to-use technologies across their entire business, allowing them to accurately measure and analyze buyer data, and leverage it to create customized, targeted campaigns. Some success metrics such as revenue are shared by both marketing and sales teams in the organization, fostering collaboration as both teams share responsibility for targets, and greater flexibility so that overall goals can be met.

56 % of marketers surveyed said that technology is extremely important at every phase of the buying process, yet less than a quarter (23%) say they use technology extensively to manage customer relationships, and only 38% say their marketing tools are integrated into their CRM.

 

Getting The Technology

That said, many organizations face the challenge of implementing the right technology and ensuring that it’s accessible and easy to use. Having access to technologies like Marketing automation is increasingly necessary in an age when the customer cycle is digitally driven, and heavily buyer-focused. Automation means marketers are more efficiently able to collect buyer data and pass qualified leads to sales. The report found that almost half of manual marketers who do not use marketing automation are passing all of their leads to sales – unqualified.

Passing qualified leads is critical to ensuring that your sales teams spends majority of their time closing deals, not chasing up cold leads. Automating your marketing boosts the efficiency of your sales team and your marketing efforts to ensure that you’re reaching buyers when they’re ready to buy.

72% of advanced marketers reported that marketing metrics were easily understood by all users, while only 39% of limited marketers and 30% of manual marketers made the same claim.

 

Building The Right Team

The report also found that a significant skill-gap exists between manual marketers and advanced marketers where marketing metrics and data analytics are concerned. Marketing teams increasingly need to expand their skillsets to include the ability to “interpret” data. The need is for a marketer who can examine the behavior of clients and prospects and the data collected through their interactions with campaigns, and then understand how it maps to the team’s overall metrics and KPIs.

Technology is still changing the marketing landscape. Being able to keep ahead means that marketers need to adapt new methods, skills and technology, and grow and evolve their teams at the pace of change.

Read the full report for more insight into how the changing landscape of B2B marketing requires a connection between technology and analytics, and marketing and sales.

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Marketing Automation – Pardot

What’s New in the World of Social Video?

2016 has been dubbed the year of video marketing.

So far, we’ve seen everything from videos in paid search results to interactive video ads on Snapchat. Notably, the month of June has brought some serious developments in the world of social video. Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook have all introduced new capabilities that continue to change the face of video marketing and engagement on social media.

So, what’s new?

Twitter now supports 140-second videos.

“Video Tweets on Twitter have increased by over 50% since the beginning of 2016,” explains Twitter’s Jeremy Rishel in Tuesday’s blog post announcing the update. In light of the popularity of videos on Twitter, it only makes sense that the previous 30-second time limit is extended. Not only that, but Twitter has also made it easier to explore videos on mobile with a fullscreen view complete with suggested videos.

Live streaming has come to Tumblr.

Tumblr has taken a different approach to live streaming than some of the other social giants. Instead of hosting videos on Tumblr itself, the site will allow users to share external content from sites like YouTube and Kanvas. They’re also working with publishers like Mashable and HuffPost to push live streams of their events — and it’s just a matter of time before other companies follow suit.

Facebook has started allowing video comments.

Earlier this month, Facebook introduced the ability to leave video comments on posts. Brands can take advantage of this new feature if they want to get personal. Consider running a contest that encourages your Facebook fans to leave a video comment. Alternately, leave (relevant, not spammy!) video comments on industry influencers’ posts to build a one-on-one relationship with them. The possibilities are endless!

What’s next for social video?

What’s next for live streaming and social video? Will we take cues from South Korean mukbang stars, who have made serious bank by recording themselves binge eating? Will Periscope become a primary medium for political engagement, with politicians live streaming events as members of the U.S. Congress did today during a contentious House sit-in? Will social media platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest jump on the native video bandwagon?

With the introduction of 5G internet, videos will become easier to upload, stream, and download on the go. And if Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook’s latest updates are any indication, social video capabilities will continue to expand — rapidly. I think we can expect to see more social media, messaging, and marketing platforms supporting live streaming and native videos in the next few months. But binge eating for the camera here in the States? The jury’s still out on that one.

Ready to put these updates to use in your marketing strategy? Learn how to drive more engagement on all your marketing channels during B2B Engagement Fest, a day of webinars that will help you build customer relationships at every stage of the buying cycle. See you there!

Content Marketing – Pardot

You Can Now Do More with Google Plus in Hootsuite

Hootsuite has long allowed anyone with a Google+ page to post to Google+, making it easy for brands and businesses to manage all of their social channels from one place.

While this has been valuable for Google+ page owners, folks with Google+ profiles haven’t been able to post from the Hootsuite dashboard. That is, until now.

With the release of the new Google+ API, it’s now possible for anyone to post to Google+ from Hootsuite, whether you’d like to post via a Google+ page or profile.

Now all Google+ users will be able to:

  • Cross post to their Google+ pages or profiles right from Hootsuite
  • Schedule posts in advance
  • See detailed analytics on their Google+ posts and better understand their audience
  • Share the good stuff they find while browsing the web with Hootlet, Hootsuite’s Chrome extension

Scheduling posts, viewing detailed analytics, cross posting to other social channels—this level of functionality has never before been available to Google+ profiles. Now whether you use Hootsuite to manage your Google+ page or profile—or both!—you’ll have the same great functionality available to you.

This is just one of many recent updates to Google+, which back in November 2015, was redesigned to make it easier for people to discover unique and interesting things related to their interests.

The redesign focused the product on two major features, Collections and Communities. Collections allow you to follow and share around specific topics, so it’s easy to see updates related to just the things you’re into. Communities make it easy to connect with people who are interested in the same things you are. Recently, that new experience became the default for all Google+ users.

Schedule posts and manage your business’ Google Plus presence with Hootsuite. Try it free today. 

Learn More

The post You Can Now Do More with Google Plus in Hootsuite appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

Hootsuite Social Media Management

Video Marketing How-To: A Year of Videos

Hello and welcome to a special episode of Video Marketing How-To! It’s been just over a year since I started putting these things together, so today I want to look at whether this video series was actually successful, or if my mom is the only person who really watches these How-Tos!

First off is the big question – is anyone actually watching all these videos? Thankfully, the answer is yes! By analyzing the last nine videos I published, I can see big spikes on the days they launched, and sadly, diminishing returns in the days after. So the content is popular, but our promotion strategy needs some work. The most popular video was Filming Outside the Studio – which, coincidentally, was also the most fun one to film!

Next, I took a look at a few individual videos to see how well things are going. Here we can see that our drop-off rate is around 50% by the end of the videos. That’s actually pretty good, but I’d like to strive for 60% or higher. It looks like 60% drop-off happens around a minute and ten seconds into the videos, so from now on I will strive to keep these around that long.

Then, I took a look at whether the blog posts themselves are performing well. As we can see from Google Analytics, Filming Outside the Studio yet again topped the list, and had a really high average time-on-site as well. Getting the Most From Your Video Production Agency also ranked pretty highly, so these are excellent topics to explore for future posts. One thing that is important to note is that Performing a YouTube Channel Audit is still in the top five, and that was the first video I published. That’s content with longevity!

Now, the big lessons I take away from this are, you fantastic viewers are looking for more actionable tips and shorter videos. So, with that, I invite you to tune in next month for a quick explanation on how I create fancy transparent overlays. See you then!

The post Video Marketing How-To: A Year of Videos appeared first on Vidyard.

Blog – Vidyard

25 Inspirational Resources for Copywriters

copywriter's workstation
Image via Shutterstock.

As a copywriter, you need to be immersed in what’s going on in the world, even when those things seem completely unrelated to what you’re doing. Why? Because you’re writing for real people, who may end up being customers if you treat them right. We’re all just people, and what we really connect over is stuff which makes us go, “Woah!”

For example, did you know that the poster for Netflix’s nostalgic 80s sci-fi series, Stranger Things, was designed using an iPad Pro and Apple pencil?

Stranger Things poster made on ipad
Image via Kyle Lambert.

That may not seem relevant when you’re building out marketing campaigns and landing pages, but when you understand how people are thinking, and what they’re doing with technology, art and words, you have a better toolkit for building conversion-friendly content.

Here are 25 inspirational and practical resources, aimed at expanding your mind and copywriting toolkit. If you think we’ve missed one, drop us a comment below and help us to grow this list.

Technical and grammar

Interesting reads on writing well, and how not to use the semicolon.

1. The Writer — readability checker

The team at The Writer are all about making your words work harder. There’s plenty of general advice there for strengthening your copy, but what I really love is their readability checker, which gives you instant feedback on how readable your copy is, on a scale of Harry Potter to Harvard Law Review.

2. The Oatmeal (posters)

I wish they’d do more of these posters, because not only are they funny, they’re also genuinely useful.

The Oatmeal semicolon poster
Check out the one on semicolons: “Using a semicolon isn’t hard; I once saw a party gorilla do it.”

3. Mary Norris, Comma Queen (The New Yorker)

One of my absolute favorite resources is the Comma Queen series by Mary Norris, copy editor at The New Yorker. In her witty, to-the-point style, she’ll teach you how to properly use commas and semicolons, and how to understand the difference between lie and lay.

4. The Unbounce Dejargonator Extension

There are ways to writing convincingly, without using heady, technical jargon. When you’re speaking to people who aren’t marketers — or even if they are — it’s really beneficial to speak like a human being. Simple, right? This awesome extension for Chrome helps you do just that, by suggesting changes to your landing page copy. It’s like having an Unbounce editor all to yourself, you lucky sausage.

5. Ellen Brock, Editor

Ellen Brock is a freelance novel editor, but her advice is extremely valuable for all kinds of writers. When you understand story arcs and how to prioritize your work, you can apply those skills to your marketing copy.

6. Thesaurus.com

No, it’s not just a website for looking up synonyms, Thesaurus has a bunch of other really useful articles and tools for improving your writing. Between it and Dictionary.com there’s a lot of information on the difference between the likes of Who and Whom, and commonly misunderstood words.

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Content marketing

Using what you write to inform, entertain and convert.

7. Shopify Blog

A little bit like Entrepreneur, only focused entirely on e-commerce. If your landing page is for an online store, what you learn from Shopify could help to make sure customers stick around and spend once they arrive.

8. Copyblogger

Really more of a general content marketing blog these days than straight copywriting advice, Copyblogger is a great resource for anyone in need of specific know-how, or just a bit of inspiration. Well-written, engaging posts and updated regularly.

9. Copyhackers

If you’re a new freelancer, or new to content marketing, Copyhackers is the place to go for fundamental advice on running your show. Even if you’re an experienced writer or marketer, if you need trusted advice in a hurry, bets are that Copyhackers have covered it.

Whether you’re a new or an experienced copywriter, this comprehensive guide to freelance copywriting is a cracking place to start. And then there’s the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Facebook Ads.

10. Ceros Blog

Another gem in the world of content marketing, the Ceros blog features loads of examples of effective creative content, in the form of opinion pieces and big brand analyses.

Reading and culture

Get outside the world of click and convert for a bit, and see what words can do for your soul.

11. Stephen King — 20 Rules for Writers

I hate seeing the words rules and writing put together, but King’s top 20 — let’s call them guidelines — can help to get you on track, or back on track depending on where you left off.

Stephen King
Image via Ashley Conti/Bangor Daily News.

12. The Electric Typewriter

Feed your soul at The Electric Typewriter. Possibly the internet’s most delicious collection of articles, essays and short stories from the world’s best journalists and authors. This is online reading for connoisseurs.

13. Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

Here’s something for when you need some downtime. Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury’s brilliant collection of short stories, The Illustrated Man. I’m a big fan of short stories, and I believe that reading and understanding them can help you to craft more potent copy. Why? Check out this post “For More Meaningful Copy, Think Like a Fiction Writer”’ to find out.

14. The short stories of O. Henry

Henry is considered a legend amongst short story authors. His command of simple language, and how he used it to offer incredibly short, but always poignant ideas makes his work a good body to study if you’re trying to learn how to be more economical with words.

15. Brain Pickings with Bob Dylan

A little off the beaten track here, but in this interview with the singer-songwriter, Dylan muses on the value of new ideas and what it takes to create something with real meaning. Lofty, for sure, but like I said at the start, it’s good to know what’s going on in the world.

16. Stephen King, On Writing

In relation to my last point, if you’d like some advice on writing fiction, then Stephen King’s On Writing is a fabulous resource.

17. How To Format a Screenplay

Here’s a fine example of stepping outside your comfort zone. Writing exists in so many formats, and screenplays for TV and movies are one of the most technical and, in my opinion, difficult examples of the craft. Approach this as a pencil illustrator might approach drawing with ink for the first time, and enjoy it, it’s an interesting read.

Journalism

To-the-point advice from leading journos and editors at The New York Times.

18. The Opinionator blog, NYT

Plenty of musings on the technical and metaphysics of writing from opinion writers at The New York Times. Interesting reads, and the occasional gem of inspiration or practical advice to be had.

19. Writing rules and advice from the NYT

If you really want to write well and effectively, then taking heed of how (arguably) the world’s best newspaper does it is smart.

20. After Deadline blog, NYT

A more technical, nerdy look at The New York Times’s approach to copy and editing. An interesting blog to scan over in your lunch break. Keep it bookmarked and build up a vast knowledge of copy-related wisdom from seasoned writers and editors, which might come in handy one day.

Video

Talks and interviews with linguistics experts, authors and journalists from around the world.

21. Charlie Rose interviews

Charlie Rose is arguably the greatest interviewer of all time, and he’s had some of the most famous and influential people at his table over the past 25 years. I’ve linked here to his segments with key journalists, but you’ll also find talks there he’s done with well-known authors, including David Foster Wallace and Stephen King.

22. TED playlists

Inspiring talks from authors and linguistics experts on how to tell stories, how language evolves and even the origins of words themselves. Look out for The Mystery Box talk from Star Trek director J. J. Abrams, in which he talks about how to effectively draw your audience into a world of possibilities — exactly what you want from your landing pages, right?

  • 10 talks from authors
  • How to tell a story
  • Talks for people who love words
  • How language changes over time

Typography

Get to know the letters which form our words and shape our world.

23. I Love Typography

You click, you change the font, you click, you change to another font. Typography affects readability, emotional impact, tone and whether people stick around long enough to click, or buy. Take a dive here into the completely nerdy world of typography.

Advertising

When words become household sayings.

24. Fast Company, “The Best Advertising Slogans of All Time”

My all-time favorite slogan has to be the one Toys R’ Us used for a period in the 1980s — “You’ll Never Outgrow Us.” Creepy as hell, right? Here’s Fast Company’s round-up of the most popular advertising slogans of all time.

Bonus

25. 10 Best Copywriting Books from the 10 Best Copywriters

Unbounce veteran contributor Aaron Orendorff recently tweeted this top 10 list of copywriting books by copywriters. I’ll confess that I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but Aaron knows his stuff, so you should check these guys and girls out.

That’s it for now, but we’d love for this list to grow. If you have an awesome resource that you’d like to share with your fellow writers, drop it in the comments below, and we’ll add it to the list.

Blog – Unbounce

7 Thank You Pages That Take Post-Conversion to the Next Level

thank you page
You can do better than that. Image source.
Psst: This post was originally published in 2014, but we recently gave it a refresh during our two-week publishing hiatus. Since launching the Unbounce Marketing Blog, this post has become one of our top-performing posts of all time. We hope you enjoy the read.

As conversion-oriented marketers, our focus is typically on persuading traffic to take action once people visit our landing pages. The Holy Grail is getting the click (sale, subscription, etc.). And – once that happens – many marketers simply thank the customer and happily walk away with cash in hand.

Big mistake.

Thank you pages are much more than pieces of virtual real estate on which to display gratitude and order numbers. These pages are an integral part of an optimized conversion system that, when used properly, can continue to boost your revenue.

Here are several examples of thank you pages that do an outstanding job of taking post-conversion to the next level.

1. Jigsaw Health – Limited Time Offer

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There’s no better proof that visitors are in conversion mode than when they click the buy button. You’ve earned their trust, explained the benefits of your offer and persuaded customers to action. Don’t lose the momentum with a lax thank you page.

Premium dietary supplement manufacturer Jigsaw Health provides extremely limited-time offers to returning visitors, as shown above.

In addition to the standard handshake and order number, Jigsaw draws out that buying mindset by enticing shoppers with deep, short-lived discounts that are hard to pass up.

The countdown timer (under the clock on the right) compounds the sense of urgency, as the red copy immediately gets the point across that 43% savings are about to slip away. And therein lies the psychological trigger this thank you page is based on: Loss aversion.

As the customer watches the seconds tick past, she feels the pressure mounting: “Is this something I take every month?” “Will the supplement expire before I use it?” “43% is a big discount!” All these questions and thoughts can easily bring the visitor to yet another buying decision.

Because Jigsaw Health’s shopping cart has the ability to simply add the upsell to the existing order, it’s a quick, one-click add-on.

2. AWeber – Social Sharing

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What’s the biggest challenge marketers face when leads sign up for something free? Is it customer support issues? Maybe it’s delivery hurdles?

Nope! The problem comes in actually getting leads to consume the freebie they signed up for.

List management software company AWeber has some simple but effective ways to urge people who have registered for a free webinar to actually attend.

The problem lies in the fact that there is nothing vested in the transaction. Yes, the lead committed (sort of) to attend when they registered. But since most companies offer video recordings these days, that commitment holds little weight. Leads expect to be able to watch the webinar later. Some do, most don’t.

Through a combination of calendar tools and social sharing on their webinar thank you page, those who signed up will be reminded of the event via their own tools (Outlook, etc.) or will have shared a post saying they will attend. That one-two punch reinforces their sense of obligation.

Interested in learning more about landing page optimization?

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3. Unbounce – Driving Subscriptions

webinar-marketing-post-conversion

AWeber isn’t the only SaaS company that knows how to rock a webinar thank you page. Unbounce, the landing page builder you know and love, employed a list-building strategy that ramped up their blog subscriber base by 60% in just two (yes, two) webinars

Leads that register for a webinar are already tuned into the content you’re offering. It only makes sense that they would get excited about receiving more top-notch info from you if given the chance. So give them the chance!

Unbounce put this simple subscription option on their webinar thank you page and got huge results. I’ve also been using this list-building method for years. It’s one of the highest-converting tactics I’ve ever tried.

4. Social Triggers – Building Relationships

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While you might expect a social media pro to incorporate social aspects into his site, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers goes a step beyond asking people to click a share or like button. He encourages those who have downloaded his free ebook to start a mini-community right on his thank you page.

Derek uses his knowledge about social proof to get thousands of mini-testimonials and referrals right on his thank you page by using a simple WordPress plugin. The timing is perfect, as these smiling, happy people have just downloaded a freebie they are excited about.

In addition, this strategy gets huge engagement scores on Facebook and (so far) has enlisted the help of over 1,200 people in spreading the word (and growing Derek’s list!).

5. Spanish Pod 101 – Facilitating the Upsell

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Sure, anybody can type the words “thank you” on a web page, but Spanish Pod 101 verbally expresses their gratitude in a video with 29 different languages. In addition, they include a 30% discount on other subscription learning programs.

I have to admit I was intrigued by all the languages and faces in the video, so this unique twist had me engaged. Eventually, I began to scroll as curiosity about the discount kicked in. Talk about a 1-2 punch.

The feature/benefit list and comparison chart help customers quickly choose the program that is right for them. And, of course, trust symbols, such as the 100% guarantee, confirm that this is a risk-free purchase.

6. RoboForm – Incentivizing Referrals

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When customers upgrade, it’s a pretty good indication that they are satisfied. RoboForm takes advantage of that state of contentment when users download the latest version of their software.

On its thank you page, the password protection company offers an easy way to share with friends and get a little something for yourself, too.

After all, satisfaction is a good reason to share products and services with others, but getting free stuff is much more compelling! Are you having flashbacks from the holiday season?

Many retailers use this same approach to sell gift cards. How many times have we seen promos that advertise a $ 10 card for you when you buy two $ 25 cards for others?

Although the denominations may vary, these offers have proven to work well season after season. Now we see online companies putting that same idea to work every day.

7. James Grandstaff – Piquing Curiosity

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Most marketers who offer free ebooks, white papers or reports leave the heavy lifting to the report itself. Email marketer James Grandstaff does an admirable job of piquing curiosity on his thank you page and driving post-conversions sooner rather than later.

Considering that the majority of leads who download a free report never open it, this is a brilliant move to push hot leads further along in the process faster than usual.

What Shape Are Your Thank You Pages In?

There’s no time like the present. Take a few minutes this week to evaluate your own thank you pages. Check the ones associated with:

  • Newsletter/Blog subscriptions
  • Sales pages
  • Free downloads
  • Webinar registrations
  • Live demo signups
  • Ecommerce shopping carts
  • Quote requests
  • Online banking transactions

Even the thank you page for your lowly contact form can probably use an overhaul.

Instead of straight lines and dead ends, think circular when it comes to thank you pages. By providing another touchpoint, you can nudge your customers along the marketing funnel faster than you might think.

Blog – Unbounce

5 Ways Marketing Automation Can Make Your ROI something to Celebrate

There are few metrics that cause B2B marketers more headaches than ROI. As B2B marketers, this metric is one of the most important for justifying our efforts (and budget requests) to senior management. If you’re deciding whether to pitch a marketing automation system to your c-suite, here are five ways that marketing automation can help you boost your ROI. 

1. Nurture Prospects

Nurturing prospects to a sales ready state is a necessity now that customer relationships drive the buying cycle. It’s no secret that nurturing will get you a bigger return – and with a marketing automation platform, you can automatically add prospects to nurtures based on their interactions with your content.

The proof is in the pudding: 15-20% of leads that were “not yet ready to purchase” wound up converting after being nurtured. (Gleanster)

2. Identify Warm Leads

Knowing when a lead is sales-ready is probably the most important thing when trying to boost your conversion rates and increase your ROI, and it’s also something marketing automation is good at: you can track prospects’ activity across your website and ensure that when they’re ready, you’re ready. Scoring and grading take the guesswork out of determining sales-readiness by assigning prospects a letter grade and a number score based on each unique interaction they have with your content

Did they visit the pricing page? Watch a video? Download a white paper? You can set up each of those actions to add to or subtract from a prospect’s score and grade, and when they’re both high enough (you can determine what that should look like), then you can pass them on to sales.

3. Get Qualified Leads to Sales More Quickly

50% of Buyers go with the vendor who responds first (InsideSales) so making sure that warm leads get passed to sales quickly means a higher chance of closing the deal and a greater ROI. How do you automate such a delicate process? Have your leads automatically passed to sales when they reach a certain score or grade. Sales will then receive an alert that a new lead has been assigned, and a prompt to follow up as soon as possible.

4. Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales

When marketing and sales are aligned they work as a team to move leads through the funnel, educate prospects and maintain relationships with clients, which leads to a higher ROI overall. Marketing automation opens up the lines of communication between marketing and sales. Marketers can provide sales with the content they need, and keep tabs on sales’ communications with clients by creating templates that save time and stay on-brand. Cold leads can then be bumped back to marketing to be warmed up in a nurture and sales can spend more time focusing on warm, qualified leads.

5. Drive Epic Lead Generation

Give your lead-gen efforts a boost by creating forms and landing pages that can funnel data straight into your marketing automation platform. Map out your campaigns based on the potential actions a prospect might take and be ready with the right nurture, case study, or offer.

Fancy seeing what your ROI would look like with a marketing automation solution? Try out the ROI Calculator.

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Marketing Automation – Pardot

Optimize Your Campaigns By Testing Content

How do you know the content you create really resonates with your buyer? How can you make sure it does when 64% of marketers say their single biggest challenge is producing enough content (Content Marketing Institute)? Meet the concept of Campaign Optimization. Campaign optimization takes traditional testing methods like A/B testing or multivariate testing a step further. Let’s dig in!

Choosing the right “flavor” of Content for your Audience:

Traditionally, marketers create an asset and then multivariate or A/B test the email that they use to promote it. Think about the last email campaign you created: you probably spent time testing variables like color and text. But, what if it was the the asset itself that wasn’t anywhere near “optimal”? Only testing around one asset in your campaign is like taking your audience to an ice cream store for the first time and letting them choose any flavor of vanilla. What if they’d like chocolate better? Testing a selection of different campaign “flavors” and measuring your buyer’s response will give you a much better chance of striking the right balance.

Campaign Optimization in Action

Marketers who leverage campaign optimization use different variations of a campaign, and then split test these campaigns with a sample of their audience and gauge results the same way you would for an email. They can then dig into these results to learn what voice, design and messages work best for their target audience by segment, industry and persona.

Once the marketer knows which version of a campaign is performing best, they can fine-tune it with traditional testing techniques to further optimize it.
If you’re looking to give your lead-gen efforts a boost, testing your content to ensure it resonates with your target audience is a good way to add value to your campaigns. On average, campaign optimization produces a 47% improvement between the lowest and highest performing variations of a campaign (Campaign Stars Annual Customer Survey) and affords you rich insight into the messages, design and concepts that most appeal to your buyer.

Content Marketing – Pardot

10 Ways Small Businesses Should Be Using Video (with Examples!)

In my last post, I dove into the 17 reasons why small businesses need video and promised that I would share the how, or the best ways small businesses could incorporate video into their marketing plan. Here it is!

There isn’t much more preamble needed, really (if you’ve read the previous post, that is). So let’s dive in.

1. Introduce Yourself

The combination of both audio and visual stimulation in video makes describing complex concepts much easier and more importantly, easier to understand.

Try using a video on your homepage that outlines what you do and what problem you solve for your customer in less than 90 seconds. You’ll find this is a lot more effective than trying to cram these same explanations into the first headline and paragraph of your home page … all above the fold.

A great example of an explainer video that speaks to a problem and how the company solves it is this original one from PadMapper:

And no, it doesn’t have to be an animated explainer video. But this is definitely a good and affordable (most of the time) place to start.

For a non-animated version, recall the ultra-famous Dollar Shave Club video:

2. Share the Details of What You Do

While one overview video on your website home page or Facebook page (or both!) is a great way to introduce people to your company and what you do, you’ll often need a little more description to win your audience over. A few, more detailed videos that explain the details of your product’s features or the different services you offer is a great way to provide more information and help your audience decide to buy.

3. Give Third-Party Proof (a.k.a. Customer Testimonials)

Get other people who love your product, service, or company on camera and do it now! It’s so much more effective than hearing you tout your own winning characteristics. And let me tell you: video testimonials are way, way, way more believable than:

“I couldn’t believe what ABC company did for my wedding!” – Sally, NYC

Know what I mean?

4. Empower Your Leaders to Educate Your Audience

One of the most effective ways to show your company as a leader in your space — and knowledgeable as heck — is for your leader to share their own knowledge and educate your audience. Think Moz’s whiteboard Fridays, which Rand Fishkin started a long time ago when the company was just starting out.

Maybe you’re not a technology company, but don’t think this can’t still apply to you. You might share how to arrange flowers, or how to save money on your taxes, etc. There are endless educational topics in your space that your audience will find useful. Plus, this will help them build respect for and knowledge of your brand, which never hurts!

5. Show Off Your Culture

You’ve probably heard about “culture content” before. But what is culture content? It’s content that shows who you are as a business. And yes, before you ask … yes, buyers care. Especially for small businesses, buyers want to like who they’re buying from, even if this is a subconscious desire.

So show off who you are. Maybe you’ll have quick chats with people on your team, or show a time lapse video of your office for the day, for example.

6. Share Your Creation Story

This is a particularly relevant one for small businesses, even more so than larger corporations. Just like I mentioned in culture content, people are often very interested in how the small business they buy from was founded. Oh and also … people love stories. It’s in our DNA.  

The Founders Brewing Company has a great example of this, especially because they really found the perfect balance between telling their story, sharing where they came from, and making it relevant to their customers and employees.

7. Blog in the Medium Your Audience Craves

It’s amazing how many people love to watch video content. Like really … it’s the medium buyers crave. And they’ll click on that little triangular play button any chance they get.

So why not add more of the content they like to your blog to get them coming back for more? Video blogs don’t have to be Hollywood-style production value. Record a video blog by using your webcam while sitting in your office or a meeting room. Or even use your iPhone to record some thoughts while you’re walking down the street!

8. Thank Your Customers

Loyalty is critical to the sustainability of your business. Keep your customers around by making them feel loved and send them a reminder every so often that you’re thankful for them and their support!

This type of video definitely doesn’t have to be super high production value either (although, no one’s going to penalize you if it is!).

Check out Janet Wakeland’s video from remARKably Created as an example:

9. Show Your “Production” Process

Did I mention that your audience cares about who you are as a business? Showing “behind-the-scenes” is another way to give them a real picture of who you are and where their purchase is coming from.

Here’s a great example from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams making their decadent, drool-worthy ice cream sandwiches:

While at first, this may seem to apply only to companies selling physical products, you could certainly adapt this video type for a service-based or software company by showing a timelapse of your developers working all day (and having nerf-dart fights, of course!), for example.

10. Interview Experts and Spread the Reach

The last video type, at least for today, is to interview partners or influencers in your industry for thought leadership content to again, educate your audience.

Our Wise Words series, is an example of this, where we chat with other marketers about how they’re using video in their own business!

Which video types have you tried? Share with us or link to them in the comments!

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