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10 Ways to Get Your Awesome B2B Content to Your Target Consumers

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So, you write great content and you have your buyer personas all worked out. But, do you ever feel like your content is getting published and it’s getting pushed out to the digital realm but not getting enough exposure? This is a frustration for many marketers and this post is going to help you get more views of your content. And not just any views, views from traffic that converts into qualified leads and eventually sales.

If you’re ready to get your content seen by the right people, then keep reading and implement the strategies that we’ve used in our own experience and have thoughtfully laid out in this post.

Email All of Your Blog Posts

About 75% of marketers who email their blog posts email all of their blog posts to leads, clients and subscribers. The other 25% email weekly or monthly digests. We recommend either one based on your content cadence. The point is, that every blog post should be emailed out and this serves many purposes including:

  • Lead nurturing
  • Increased views
  • More people sharing on social, especially with the right CTA
  • Humanizes your brand
  • Keeps your brand top-of-mind
  • Informs clients of best practices and makes them more loyal to your brand

We recently interviewed over 20 successful marketers on their strategies and best practices when it comes to emailing blog posts. It’s packed full of everything you need to know about emailing blog posts and you should take the time to read it here.

Maximize SEO Value

SEO is its own strategy and with Google constantly changing it’s algorithms, SEO best practices are constantly changing. But there are a few things you can do to make your blog posts SEO worthy and they are strategies that don’t seem to be changing any time soon.

Do your keyword research so that you know the volume of the keywords that resonate with your brand and find keywords that your target consumers are Googling for more often than others.

Use these keywords in your post titles, landing pages, headers in blog posts, your linked backed keywords in your guest posts, and in the meta description on your blog posts.

If you want to take your SEO strategy a step further, there are good posts that aren’t too overwhelming here and here.

Use LinkedIn Ads

Being a B2B brand, LinkedIn is going to be the strongest social media channel for your brand to push out content through. Of course, you’ll implement organic LinkedIn strategies like creating a company page and pushing out your content to your connections. But, you can affordably get more views of your content using LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn ads let’s you get uber specific with who you’re trying to reach including job titles, company size, location, etc. They also let you spend as little or as much as you want with your ad strategy.

Be sure to A/B test and put a small portion of your budget toward 2-3 different ads with different imagery and messaging. When you see which one gets the more clicks and/or conversions, ramp up your budget and put it behind on the post that is more successful.

Also, since this strategy involves using budget, so prioritize your downloadable pieces of content in your LinkedIn ads. This way your brand can capture the email addresses of your new viewers and add them to your lead nurturing program.

Create an Infographic That Like-Minded Brands Can Embed

Extract all the industry data in your brand’s vertical and put it all in a visually appealing infographic. This type of content is highly sharable and you can brand it with your brand’s logo and contact information.

The key is offering other content creators the embed code so that they incorporate it into their own contact maximizing exposure of your infographic and ultimately your brand.

After compiling the data and thinking through the structure for your infographic, hire an affordable designer on a site like Fiverr or even tackle creating it yourself with an easy-to-use site like Canva.

Work with Influencers

Influencers have the ability to reach audiences that your brand cannot reach on it own.

Identify influencers in your brand’s vertical with a tool like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo. Partner with them and provide them with relevant content that your brand has created and ask them to share it on their channels and link to it in their posts. It is always helpful to reciprocate the favor and share their content on your own social media channels.

Sometimes they will charge a fee for this so reach out, see what your options are, and budget accordingly if you need to.

Align with Sales

Sales is likely more client facing than marketing. So, create an internal content library so where sales can access your content to share with their leads. Organize it by industry, buyer personas, topic or whatever makes the most sense to your brand.

This will equip sales to be more successful while upping the views of your content by leads and hopefully your content will aid in the conversion process.

Experiment with Content Types

Don’t hide behind your keyboard and instead, go beyond the traditional social and blog posts with other forms of content. We mentioned infographics earlier but there are other types of content to consider such as:

  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Slide shows

Be sure to share these pieces of content on social, email and paid search so that they’re easy to find.

We’re all very busy and like to digest content in different ways so be sure to reach past that traditional written form content so that you’re appealing to all types of consumers and their content consumption preferences.

Make Your Content Accessible

Consumers are self-sufficient and often prefer to do their own research about a brand before reaching out for more information. This makes content accessibility crucial.

Be sure to feature your content on the homepage of your site, as a menu item in your main menu bar and consider some paid Google ads.

The goal is to help consumers move through the buyer’s journey with the help of your content because they are craving more information before they’re ready to discuss partnership with your brand.

Be sure to highlight UGC on your website because consumers trust 3rd party recommendations more than self-promotional information about your brand.

Survey Your Clients

Surveying your clients can be a gold mine when it comes to learning about your content strategy and how to refine it. Your clients can not only tell you which types of content piqued their interest in your brand but can also make suggestions/requests for future pieces of content that your brand creates.

Compile a short survey in SurveyMonkey and consider asking them at least the following questions to find out how content helped them become a client:

  • How did they discover your brand?
  • Which pieces of content did they consume during their research phase?
  • How did they find content about your brand?
  • What types of content do they want to see more of?
  • What is their favorite way to consume content for example blog, video, webinar, etc.?
  • Do they have a favorite piece of content that your brand has created?

The results from this survey should be taken very seriously and help form your content marketing program moving forward.

Make Sure Your Content is Sharable

To get your content in front of more people it must be easily sharable. It’s amazing how many brands overlook social share buttons on their content—don’t be one of them!

Inserting tweetable snippets into your content using Click to Tweet is another way to make your content sharable. This tool let’s readers tweet phrases and data from your content without actually leaving the content.

A CTA asking people to share your post in your blog post emails or at the end of your content isn’t a bad idea either.

Basically, readers are happy to share content that they admire when you make it as easy as possible for them to do so. We’re all busy and crave streamlined practices.

Are there any other strategies that we didn’t list here that you’ve found help get content in front of target consumers? We’d love to hear about your experience on Twitter @Feed_Otter

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9 B2B Content Marketing Tactics to Try in Q4

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In a world of adblockers and content saturation, it’s getting harder than ever for marketers to reach their target consumers. Content marketing offers an authentic way to entice new prospects and nurture existing leads but how does your content cut through all the noise in the digital world?

Many marketers stick with the same old strategies and don’t go outside their comfort zones to engage consumers in different mediums and during different stages of the buyer’s journey. They figure their content strategy is “good enough” when in reality, it could be much better.

So, we’ve come up with some new content marketing tactics that you can implement in Q4 and wrap up your end-of-year marketing program with a bang!

Use Your Paid Ad Budget Spend on Downloadable Content

Now more than ever, consumers scroll past google ads and look for websites and content that answers their questions. Instead of using your paid ad budget on Google Ads that direct to your company’s website, consider allocating it for a few months on a piece of downloadable content.

Titling the content with a question or common pain point that your target consumer experiences, will appeal to your consumers and increase your chances of generating more leads if you gate your content with a lead capture form.

Write 2 Case Studies

When analyzing the decision phase of the buyer’s journey, case studies are the highest converting forms of content that can convert a lead into a sale. These documents that showcase an actual experience that one of your consumers had with your brand makes your brand appear more reputable.

Sometimes it is hard to get clients to commit to participating in a case study, because after all, it takes time out of their busy day to do a case study interview. However, we’ve had luck incentivizing clients with $50 Amazon gift cards for their time.

Be sure to distribute your case studies with a great marketing promotion plan and equip your sales team with them so that they can send case studies to leads they are working on. Make your case studies easy to find on your website as well because consumers love the ability to be self-sufficient when doing their brand research.

Conduct an Industry Research Report

Consult your buyer personas and uncover a topic that they would be interested in learning more about based on the input of their peers. Survey your clients and leads using Survey Monkey and compile your results in a downloadable report.

This type of content not only generates leads, but it also promotes thought leadership and shines a favorable spotlight on your brand.

As an example, you can refer to this report on the state of B2B content consumption complete with their lead capture form that you can replicate.

Earn 5 Pieces of User Generated Content

It’s no secret that consumers rely on their peers for brand recommendations—not your brand. So, the goal is to is to seed the web with as much content as you can written about your brand from a third party. You can do this by working with influencers or incentivizing your clients to write blog posts about their experience with your brand. User generated content is great fodder to use on your website, paid social, marketing materials, etc.

Email Out All Your Blog Posts to All of Your Contacts

Emailing out all of your blog posts promotes thought leadership, nurtures existing leads, inspires consumers and gets your awesome blog content out in the world.

75% of marketers who email out blog posts email every post they create with the other 25% emailing a weekly or monthly digest of all of their blog posts in a single summary email. Maybe experiment with both options to decide what works best for your brand.

Be sure the experiment with subject lines and A/B test your messaging to see what gets the best results and continually refine your blog post emailing strategy.

Be a Guest on a Podcast or Webinar

There are several ways for consumers to digest content and one of those ways is to listen to thought leaders share their advice from the field on a podcast or webinar.

There are plenty of podcasts and brands that produce webinars in the niche your brand falls into. Locate these sources and reach out to them outlining your expertise and ask if you can be a guest on their podcast or webinar.

This is a great way to get in front of new consumers and position yourself as a resource in your industry.

Some brands will give you the contact information of the people who attended your webinar so it couldn’t hurt to ask and gather these new leads!

Create an Infographic

Infographics are a great way to visually display a lot of data in one piece of content. Pick a topic that would be of interest to your buyer personas and track down every single point of data pertaining to that topic.

There are sites like Canva where you can create your infographic yourself of you can turn it over to a designer to make sure that it looks great and represents your brand well.

You can embed your infographic in blog posts so a great way to promote it is to include in your brand’s blog posts as well as guest posting on other sites.

Join 3 LinkedIn Groups

There are multiple LinkedIn groups that align with every industry. In these groups you can network with likeminded marketers and share the content that you produce for your brand. Sharing your content in these groups means that the group members may share the content on their own social media channels. Be sure to return the favor and work out a deal where you’ll share their content if they share yours!

Crowdsource a Piece

Sometimes it can be hard to think of great content to constantly write about. Try reaching out to industry peers and influencers and have them weigh in on a topic. Compile their advice and best practices into a piece of content albeit a blog post or an ebook. As an added bonus, this content is very sharable because the people who weigh in for your content will be sure to share it on their social channels since you’re featuring them!

Here at FeedOtter, we recently crowdsourced a piece about emailing blog posts and compiled best practices and advice from over 20 marketers who weighed in on emailing blog posts and if you’re interested, you can check that content out here as a great example of crowd sourcing content.

Final Thoughts

In the content saturated digital world that we live in, it’s more important than ever to experiment with different content marketing strategies and content types. Be sure to track and measure the effectiveness of each strategy so that each quarter you can refine your strategy based on the data you gather from your content marketing programs.

Is there a type of content that you’ve found to be more effective than others? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter

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Should You Email Blog Posts in 2019? Marketers Weigh In

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It’s 2019, should businesses send regular blog emails to their subscribers?  I wanted to know how marketers truly viewed the topic of emailing blog posts in the modern marketing era so I spent the past month interviewing more than 20 marketing experts to find out how they perceive emailing blog posts in the year 2019.

 

So let’s dig in.

  1. Why Email and Blog Posts
  2. What is the ideal frequency to email blog posts
  3. What value does emailing blog post provide
  4. How to craft great blog emails
  5. Best practices for blog email subject lines
  6. How Much Engagement Do Blog Emails Receive?
  7. Increasing Website Traffic With Blog Emails
  8. Who Should Your Send Blog Post Emails To?
  9. How to use blog posts to nurture leads

 

Why Email and Blog Posts?

We are passionate about emailing blog posts because potential leads and subscribers are opting in to receive your content. Having subscribers is far more powerful than SEO and social media. They are opting into having your blog post delivered to them, so it’s a great way to generate new leads and nurture existing ones. Using email to distribute this relevant content is also great for retaining clients, as you’ll be producing thought leadership material in their field.

Spending money on creating awesome content but not distributing is a waste of your hard work because email is the best way to reach, touch and nurture leads and clients. Emailing your posts gets the most bang for the buck and ensures that your blog posts reach a wide audience. Be sure to include calls to action to bring traffic back to your primary website to convert leads into sales.

What is the Ideal Frequency to Email Blog Posts?

As marketers, we are always trying to walk a fine line of sending out blog posts while not bombarding our contacts with too many emails. One thing to remember is that your subscriber list will want your content as long as you’re producing quality content, so they’re certainly going to want your emails.

As a rule of thumb, we believe that brands should send no more than 2 blog posts out per week. If your brand produces more than that, it’s a good idea to roll them up in a newsletter. It should contain the list and teasers to all of your blog posts published that week, so your subscribers can pick and choose exactly what they want to read.

Based on the brands we talked to, we find about 75% of them email their blog posts every time they publish one regardless of post frequency, and about 25% send a monthly round up newsletter of all of their blog posts for the month.

75% email every blog post when it’s published

25% send monthly round-up newsletters

Katrina Niemisto from Marketo allows subscribers to choose how often they receive blog posts in their inbox since they publish 15-20 blog posts per month. She said

“By curating different cadences, we have the opportunity to provide readers with the experience they’re looking for. We have some loyal readers who digest every single blog post and some folks who are reading our blog for the first time when they sign up for our blog digest emails.”

Matt Diggity, who runs his own marketing agency says,

“I email every single post.  As long as you’re publishing quality content, your email list won’t be annoyed by the intrusion.  They’ll be grateful.” On the days he emails out his blog posts, he sees about 3 times more traffic to his site than on other days.

The key takeaway here is to give readers the option to either get every post in their inbox or a weekly/monthly roundup of posts. This will help you provide the most value to your readers and cut down on those unsubscribe rates. And be sure to have a regular cadence so that your readers can look forward do your posts. Your marketing automation tool will help ensure that every post or digest is sent consistently and reliably.

What Value Does Emailing Blog Posts provide?

One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is that you need to give these subscribers and leads something of value with every email.

Producing valuable content that targets pain points and addresses relevant topics for your ideal consumer will position your brand as a thought leader. When you’re viewed as a thought leader or a valuable resource, the people on your email list will look forward to your blog post emails.

Gregory Bullock from TheraSpecs relies on emailing blog posts for a number of reasons, saying,

“I would highly recommend it to others who have or seek to develop a catalog of great content. We have increased quality traffic to the TheraSpecs website, developed meaningful interactions with our subscribers, turned our top customers into our biggest fans and content promoters, and even driven additional bottom-line revenue.”

Marketing strategist Alexa Kurtz from Webtek capitalizes on her blog emails by featuring other offers.

“While the blog is the shining star of the email blasts, we also call in some ‘supporting roles’. For example, when we send an email promoting the blog, the article is front and center of the e-blast. However, we will often include a special offer, featured project, or highlighted product to give readers even more of a reason to click-through to the website.”

Jay Baer from Convince and Convert gets a few thousand visitors to his blog per week, and he values emailing out blog posts because

“it’s a big part of our ongoing relationship building.”

Doug Morneau shared his advice on why his strategy to email out blog posts is so successful.

“Figure out where your audience is, what their pain points are, and then develop a content strategy that will allow you to be a welcome visitor into their inbox every week.  Don’t just send buy my stuff emails, that adds no value to your subscribers.”

So the takeaway?  Marketers email their blog posts for the following reasons:

  1. Increase subscribers
  2. Increase blog traffic and overall website traffic
  3. Maintain relationships
  4. Create meaningful interactions
  5. Additional revenue

How to Craft Great Blog Emails

The email that accompanies each blog post is just as important as the blog post itself! The email should tease your readers and make them want to read your post. It should tell your readers what the post is about without giving too much away—it’s all about striking that right balance that leaves readers excited on clicking through to read your post.

Drew DuBoff, Growth Strategist, emails out all of his blog posts and is full of insight. He says,

“My emails establish trust with the readers as I try and prime them for my coaching program. I think this tactic is highly effective when done properly and disastrous when done improperly. If you approach your emails with respect and a genuine desire to get to know your readers more, then you will succeed. If you take the used car salesman approach, you’ll get a lot of unsubscribes.”

Jenni Lachner, the Content Marketing Manager for Portent, has some things to keep in mind when it comes to crafting successful emails that introduce blog posts:

  1. Think like your audience. Make sure the message in your email resonates with who you are speaking to.
  2. Get to the point. Think about how many emails you get in a day. A clear subject line and straightforward message will increase the likelihood that your email gets opened, and not immediately deleted because it looks like spam.
  3. Be consistent. With your format, with your message, and with your timing. Stick to a regular communication schedule and use the same layout/branding for your emails. Feature a steady tone of voice and message so you can establish trust and reliability with your audience.
  4. Don’t forget contact list maintenance. Check those bounces and unsubscribes regularly. Frequently cleaning up your distribution list ensures that your communications are reaching the right people at the right time, and you’re maximizing your ROI. And, taking the time to reach out to those folks who unsubscribed from your list can serve as a great lead nurturing touchpoint!

Nathan Piccini from Data Science Dojo has great advice about sticking to the point and creating engaging emails when sending out blog posts.

“Have an obvious title and a catchy image. People don’t want to try and decipher something in their email inbox. Make sure the title is going to make them understand what the post is about at a glance and the image reinforces it and grabs the reader’s attention. An image can speak 1000 words.”

Brandon Amoroso from electrIQ Marketing speaks to the value of experimenting with different types of emails such as plain text emails versus templates.

“Make them super personal. An email with no pictures and a simple ‘Hey, new post from electrIQ today about XYZ…let me know if you have any questions!’ has been way more effective.”

Best Practices for Blog Email Subject Lines

The subject line is crucial, and must stand out amidst the hundreds of emails that your contacts get every day. You want to be playful with your subject line without being cheesy. It’s your only chance for your blog post to make a first impression and make your readers want to open your email. Many marketers place significant emphasis on crafting the right subject line, and here is some of their advice:

Jonathan Branney, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Banc, speaks to how important the subject line is when emailing out blog posts.

“The hard work starts here when it comes to capturing the reader’s attention. We find that posing questions, being personal or making the subject actionable all boost the likelihood of click-through.”

Johnny Bolden with Off Road has experimented with subject lines and has some great insights.

“We have used A/B testing with subject lines using Emojis! We found that adding Emojis to
subject lines that are sent to a mostly mobile open segment can drive 37% higher open rates!
That’s huge! This is driven by the fact that someone opening a mobile email has less characters
that they see in the subject line and an emoji will stand out heavily.”

Jacqueline Tihanyi from Fisher Unitech also has applicable advice when it comes to subject lines for blog post emails.

“We use a subject line grader to make sure our subject line is spam-free to allow for high deliverability rate.”

The takeaway?  Great subject lines for blog emails:

  • Contain emojis
  • Are well-tested
  • Contains tangible date/topic information

How Much Engagement Do Blog Emails Receive?

Emailing blog posts is a compelling way to keep all of your contacts engaged with the brand. It’s a smart tactic to keep your brand top-of-mind without sending out “salesy” emails. Your blog posts should position your brand as a thought leader in your industry every time a new post hits their inbox.

Nate Fuller from Launch gets higher than average engagement when he uses this strategy, saying

“…emailing blog posts typically revives relationships with contacts in our database and helps bring new deals to the table. It reminds past prospects and customers that we are still knowledgeable in our field and that we are still around to meet their needs.”

Eric Dahl from Revmarka shares that

“…it normally takes 3-5 pieces of solid content before a customer is willing to engage in a sales conversation. If I’m sending out regular blog posts, I’m speeding up the law of averages while creating opportunity and top-of-mind awareness.”

Marine Klein of Commusoft has great advice when it comes to keeping the whole company involved with their blog.

“We work very close with sales and produce content according to what they know will be of interest to leads. It’s an effective tactic if you can find the right balance between keeping them engaged without veering into the type of pushy hard-sell that people dislike.”

Does Emailing Blog Posts Increase Website Traffic?

Distributing your blog posts via email is a guaranteed way to increase traffic to your blog. Ideally, those leads you attract also click around your site for more information about your brand, so emailing blog posts should increase traffic to your entire site, not just your blog.

Dorde Milivevic of Stable WP gets around 1,500 views of his brand’s blog every time he emails out a new post. He uses his blog to nurture leads, keep subscribers informed, and engage with current clients. Dorde says that emailing these posts consistently helps him hit goals in every stage of the sales funnel.

Using Google Analytics and UTM codes to track the website traffic your content emails generate is a great way to measure the traffic your content emails are creating.

Google Analytics Blog Subscribers

Who Should You Send Blog Post Emails To?

Many brands email their blog posts out to all of their leads, not just subscribers. However, when a lead subscribes to your blog, it can help gauge their interest in your brand.

If you do a weekly or month digest of your blog posts, readers may choose to receive each and every blog post as it is published. This is great news for your brand, as it signifies they like your content enough to opt in to receiving all your posts.

You should be cautious when emailing both subscribers and leads. Make sure they don’t receive your blog post emails twice for being a lead and being a subscriber. Your marketing automation platform should have a way to make sure this doesn’t occur if they exist in multiple lists.

Robert Katai of Banner Snack uses a landing page that contains 3 simple reasons why people should subscribe to his blog posts. He also emails his blog posts before he shares on social, creating some exclusivity to being part of his email list, and gets a 45% open rate.

Logan Allec from Money Done Right has valuable insight that every marketer who emails blog posts should keep in mind.

“I think the most important thing to remember is that you can’t ask for the sale in every email.  You have to start with building trust with each new subscriber and then gradually build up to asking for the sale.  Also, remember that each and every one of those subscribers is a real person sitting behind a computer or on a phone!  And they subscribed to your email list for a reason.  Don’t take that for granted.”

Nurturing Leads

Arguably, lead nurturing is the biggest benefit of emailing blog posts. Distributing this content establishes thought leadership, and gives your brand an excuse to email these leads and stay familiar with them.

Alexander Onaindia of Distinction Agency says,

“Our blog posts are intended to nurture leads by showcasing our team’s knowledge of various areas of marketing.”

Tamas Torok from Coding Sans uses blog posts as an effective way to nurture leads and says,

“After someone signs up for our newsletter we send our new subscriber a series of emails containing our best blog posts and gated guides. We segment subscribers based on their biggest challenges (they answer this question when subscribing) so our emails are well-targeted and relevant.”

Tabitha Oneill from BNC Systems explains how valuable emailing posts can be when it comes to getting their brand in front of the right leads at the right time.

“Blog and email are two very low-cost tools we use to bring in new deals. Sometimes they help with staying in contact with leads that have gone cold. Sometimes they reach people who previously refused to answer our phone calls. By demonstrating our knowledge, expertise, and value, we turn really cold leads into warm leads.”

Improving Open and Click-through Rates

It’s important to track your open and click-through rates, so that you can monitor which subject lines, topics and copy have the most impact on your readers. Be sure to record all of these details so that you can keep doing what works and discard what doesn’t. After you’ve implemented tracking and refine what works, you should start to see constant improvement with open and click-through rates when emailing out your blog posts.

Dolores Hirschmann from Masters in Clarity recommends “…having short emails that link to the blog, short teaser videos, and teaser copy” to engage and intrigue readers, and ultimately entice them to click-through to the blog posts.

Lauren Morley, the CMO of Techvera, uses data to power her strategy when it comes to these email campaigns.

“Looking at our analytics to figure out what the most popular content from each email is and designing more content around that has been the most helpful. It drives my strategies for future posts so that I’m writing on what our readers care about.”

Key Takeaways

We are throwing a lot of strategies and advice at you, so let’s pare it down to a checklist of things to consider when it comes to emailing your blog posts.

  • Find the perfect cadence to email your blog posts whether it’s every time you publish or a monthly digest of your blog posts
  • Be sure to bring valuable information to your audience and convey it in your emails
  • Craft personalized and powerful emails to engage your audience
  • Write subject lines that stand out
  • Segment your leads
  • Use blog post emails to nurture your leads
  • Monitor and measure open and click-through rates
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How to Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing with Content

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Sales and marketing departments need to work closely together and be in sync with each other like yin and yang. However, in so many companies, sales and marketing operate in separate silos. This separation yields less than desirable results and hinders much needed communication between the two departments to convert leads into sales.

But, what if we told you that you can fix this? And what if we told you that you can fix this with a more powerful content marketing strategy? Well, you can!

This post will explore 5 questions that your sales and marketing teams need to ask themselves to start down the path of bridging sales and marketing to turn more leads into sales.

So, get sales and marketing together in a meeting and go through each of these 5 questions together and make a plan so that your company can increase the effectiveness of each department and increase revenue!

Question 1: Where is the Gap?

The gap between sales and marketing usually exist when it comes to what happens after a lead is generated. Marketing may automatically put them in an email drip campaign and sales may reach out to the new lead directly. This comes across as unprofessional and could turn a potential client away.

So, marketing and sales needs to be on the same page when it comes to lead nurturing. There are two typical processes when it comes to nurturing leads and neither one is right or wrong—you just need to make sure sales and marketing are on the same page so they don’t inundate a new lead with too  many emails.

  • Marketing nurtures a lead with 5 thought leadership emails before the lead is handed to sales
  • Sales reaches out to a new lead right away to gauge brand interest

Question 2: How Do I Identify the Problems in My Workflow?

Now that sales and marketing is meeting and trying to bridge the gap, it should be pretty easy to identify where the hang ups are. If marketing is adding a new lead to an email drip and sales is contacting the lead right away, then you’re bombarding your new leads and are risking turning them off from your brand.

Or maybe the lead isn’t getting touched enough. Sometimes sales assumes that marketing is warming up the lead and trying to get them to convert while marketing assumes that sales is reaching out to every new lead.

Whether it’s an inundation of emails or not enough emails, most brands experience problems with their workflow as a result of sales and marketing not being on the same page. So, it needs to be determined who and how sales and marketing are going to provide relevant content to your new leads.

Question 3: What Does an Ideal Content Flow Look Like?

Ideally marketing warms up leads for sales to establish brand familiarity and thought leadership before sales reaches out. This type of nurturing increases conversion rates because trust is built with the new lead and your brand. The ideal marketing email contains great content as opposed to salesy self-promotional emails. Some things to consider dripping new leads are:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Like minded blog posts from other blogs
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Research reports

Once marketing has done the hard work generating a lead, they should send 4-5 emails of great content before marking the lead as sales ready. One option is  that the final email in the drip can even ask if the lead is interested in learning more about the brand and then marketing can turn that lead over to sales if they self-identify as being interested in your brand.

There are going to be many instances when a lead goes through the email drip but still won’t be ready to convert. This doesn’t mean that they should not be touched again. Once a lead goes through the drip, they should be moved over to an email process where they get emails once a week with your new blog posts. Emailing your blog posts to all of your leads is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your leads so that when they’re ready to convert they will think of your brand over a competitor.

Question 4: How Can Sales and Marketing Work More Effectively Together?

Documenting a process that both sales and marketing agree on is a great place to start!

Using your CRM and/or your marketing automation platform, both sales and marketing should keep up-to-date notes on the lead status. This way you can see where each lead is in the lead nurturing process.

If sales is going to reach out to new leads before marketing warms them up with content, then marketing needs to provide sales with content that they can use while they are “working a lead.” Thought leadership blog posts that solve specific pain-points a great and case studies are the highest converting forms of content to have when a lead is close to becoming a sale.

Question 5: How Can I Get Started on Bridging the Gap?

Even if marketing puts all new leads generated in an email drip campaign, there are the instances that a lead reaches out to sales directly or sales makes a cold call and starts working a new lead. For this scenario, like we just stated above, it’s important that sales is equipped with the right content to help move that lead through the conversion process.

It will be helpful for marketing to build sales a content library. You can do this on your website and set the page so it’s not viewable to anyone who doesn’t have the link making it only be an internal resource. In this content library you can provide links to blog posts organized by pain point or industry. You can also provide links to your best case studies. Marketing should keep this content library updated so sales can always share the latest and greatest content.

The key takeaway here concerning bridging the gap between sales and marketing is communication and the right type of content. Documenting a process, sticking to it, creating content for leads and keeping up with communication between sales and marketing will increase the success of your lead nurturing and converting strategy. Your brand will be sure to see an increase of leads turning into sales!

Do you have any advice when it comes to bridging the gap between sales and marketing? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

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10 Ways to Make Contacts Look Forward to Your B2B Marketing Emails

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With so many emails flooding people’s inboxes, it’s more important than ever to refine and create a strong email marketing strategy for your leads and clients.

Understanding what your contacts need out of your emails as opposed to what your business needs, you can create emails that offer value to your contacts and thus produce powerful emails that actually get opened. Once you’ve identified the types of emails that appeal to your contacts, your brand will get better results from your email marketing campaigns.

With email marketing offering a potential return of investment of 4400%, it remains a powerful way to attract and retain customers so let’s explore ways to create emails that your leads and clients look forward to.

Personalization

The more personalized your emails come across the better. Contacts want to feel like your brand understands their needs and can be turned off with mass emails. However, you can’t send different emails to thousands of people so there are a few ways you can make your mass emails a little more personalized.

Use HubSpot’s My Persona Tool to learn the different persona’s that you should be targeting your emails to and you can create different email buckets to send leads based on their persona.

Using a contact’s first name in the email can go a long way and this is pretty easy to insert with the right email  marketing automation tool.

Segment Your Lists

Segmenting your email lists goes along with personalizing your emails. If you segment your contacts into different lists, you can dictate the way you write your emails and determine what would be the most relevant emails to each email lists. Here are just a few ways you can segment your lists and adapt your email strategy accordingly:

  • Industry type
  • Where they are in the buyer’s journey
  • Leads versus clients
  • Company size
  • Purchase history

Add Value

Instead of just boasting about your brand and constantly trying to convert leads into clients, you want to send out emails that add value for your contacts. The goal of email drip campaigns is to keep your brand top of mind and establish thought leadership. So, the more resources and relevant strategies that you can provide for your contacts, the better!

If you’re dripping educational material and thought leadership strategies, your contacts are actually going to look forward to your emails. A few ideas on how to do this are ebooks, blog posts, tip of the week and more!

Special Offers

One way to definitely get contacts too look forward to your emails is to occasionally offer special offers. This can be anything from a free trial to a limited time discount or a free ebook.

When you offer your special offer be sure to put it in the subject line to convey to readers that your email is worth opening because it contains something for them.

Enticing subject lines

44% of consumers don’t open an email when the subject line doesn’t excite them. So, there is a lot of pressure to get creative with subject lines. Here are a few things to try with subject lines for your marketing emails and entice your contacts enough to get them to open your emails:

  • Ask a question in the subject line such as “did you know that 87% of consumers prefer this marketing automation software?”
  • Use emojis
  • “How to” subject lines answers a question that your contact might be interested in such as “how to create blog posts that increase sales”
  • An urgent subject line like “you only have 2 days left to get this free ebook” creates a sense of urgency
  • The announcement subject line such as “introducing our new iPhone app”
  • Research shows that subject lines with numbers in them perform better so try something like “30 new ways to build your email list”
  • Elicit curiosity with your subject lines for example “this little-known fact changes the email marketing game forever”
  • Insert your contact’s name into the subject line for more personalization

Know When to Send the Sales Pitch

Here at FeedOtter, we have a rule of thumb that each new lead gets entered into an email drip and receives a series of 5 emails. The first 4 emails establish thought leadership and offer intriguing recourses. Then, the 5th email is the one where we send the sales pitch after we’ve established trust and brand familiarity.

Once a lead makes it all the way through the initial drip campaign they are entered into a drip campaign that emails out weekly blog posts. Occasionally we will ask leads at the end of the blog post email if they want to try out FeedOtter. For clients, we ask how things are going with FeedOtter in an effort to retain them.

So knowing that the sales pitch should only come occasionally, you can plan your email drip campaigns accordingly.

Don’t Send Too Many Emails

69% of email recipients unsubscribe because they get too many emails from brands. Taking this fact into consideration, you should be really mindful of how often you send out your emails. While it might be tempting to send out emails every day, you should probably send out emails once a week.

One strategy you can implement is to ask your contacts which emails they want to receive. This way they can choose if they want to receive an email every time you publish a blog post or if they want a monthly round up of your blog posts.

Make Your Emails More Human

When writing your marketing emails, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re writing to actual people. Many brands make the mistake of making their emails too formal and robotic. You want your emails to be friendly and conversational in order to appeal to your contacts.

You can do things like use their first names in your emails and add a CTA to the end of the emails inviting them to reply to the emails if they have any questions for you. Inviting your contacts to reply with questions makes them feel like they can have an actual conversation with you and keeps them more engaged.

Automate Your Blog Digest Emails

In order to not email every blog post that you send out and turn off your contacts by emailing them too much, you can create a weekly or monthly digest of your blog posts. This way your contacts can choose which blog posts they want to read and you don’t overwhelm their inbox.

Luckily here at FeedOtter, we have a tool that allows you to automate your blog post emails whether you want to email every blog post or if you want to automate a digest of your posts. With beautiful templates, your contacts will enjoy receiving your blog post emails.

Do A/B Testing

A/B testing your emails can be done in any email marketing tool. So whichever tool you use, take advantage of the A/B testing feature. This allows you to try different messaging and subject lines to see what resonates best with your readers. Then, you can build off of what works and continue to refine your strategy so that it becomes exponentially stronger.

Final Thoughts

Your brand puts out great resources and has a lot to say in your email marketing campaigns. There are many strategies we’ve outlined here to make your strategy stronger when it comes to your email marketing campaigns. Having drips for leads and clients is great for customer acquisition and retention as long as you craft your strategy the right way.

Do you have any tips when it comes to your email marketing campaigns? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @Feed_Otter

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How to Measure Your B2B Blog Posts

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One of the biggest hang-ups when it comes to blogging isn’t writing content for the blog itself, but, measuring the blog and judging whether it is performing well or not. We hear from marketers all the time that they want to do a better job of measuring their blog posts, so, we created this post all about this important topic.

Before diving into this post, ask yourself if any of the 3 questions resonates with you:

  1. Do you ever feel like you’re running a company blog because you think you should but don’t know if the blog is actually lifting your brand?
  2. Do you have a weak grasp on how well your blog actually performs for your brand?
  3. Ever wish you could measure your blog to report on it’s success to your co-workers and/or boss?

If any of these questions sound like something you ask yourself, then this post will help you define and target which metrics you should measure for your blog and help you start measuring your B2B blog posts today.

Why Should I Measure My Blog Posts?

Defining metrics allows marketers to determine what components equates to success and track whether or not their blog is producing positive business outcomes.

Measuring blog posts on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis gives marketers tremendous insights on what is working and what is not working. This allows us to constantly refine on what is working to exponentially power our blogs.

Measuring your blog posts and having data to back them up also helps marketers make the case for more budget and time to spend on the blog.

Blog post analysis is just as important as coming up with great post ideas so let’s dive right in and look at the metrics that you should be tracking when it comes to your B2B blog and how to get started.

Traffic

Traffic is one of the most basic and important metrics to keep an eye on when analyzing the power of your blog. This simply shows how many people are viewing your blog in any given time frame and how they are getting to your blog post in the first place. Luckily, Google Analytics is free to set up and offers robust reporting when it comes to your blog.

There is a lot of information you can gather when referring to your blog’s traffic but there are two main metrics to pull about your blog:

  • Page Views: How many people are viewing each of your posts?
  • Traffic Source: How do your post visitors find your blog?

These metrics will help you identify your most successful blog posts so that you know what topics resonate the most with your readers. You’ll also be able to identify how people find your blog so that you can put more effort into those traffic sources whether it be social, guest posts, etc.

Social Shares

A social share of a blog post means that each person who shared your post on their social channels thought your post was good enough that they want to share it with their own followers. In a way, when someone shares a post, they are attaching their reputation to your post. So, it’s a big deal!

It’s the goal of a blog post to always be refreshing, new or educational. Looking at which blog posts get the most social shares let you know which topics your readers care the most about so you can refine the posts you publish.

There are a variety of tools out there to help you measure social shares of your blog posts but we recommend Nelio if you use WordPress to host for your blog.

Leads Generated

When a potential customer finds one of your blog posts, your blog may be the first time they hear about your brand. A well thought out blog post can represent your brand well and make them want to learn more so a blog is a source of lead generation.

We mentioned Google Analytics and we’ll mention it again here—you can track leads generated to their original point of entry to your site. This allows marketers to track how many leads their blog posts bring in in any given time frame.

This metric is key when showing the success of your blog to your team or boss because it shows that your thought leadership blog posts are getting the attention of potential new consumers.

Subscriber List

When someone opts into email updates whenever you publish a new post, they are telling your brand that they enjoy your blog posts. So, with each new subscriber, you should feel great about the work you do.

Each subscriber means that someone new is reading and maybe sharing your blog posts. Additionally, many brands put new blog subscribers into an email drip campaign, making a list of subscribers very valuable when paired with good email marketing.

Keeping a pulse on your subscriber list and tracking the growth can clue you and your brand into how much interest your blog is gathering.

Open Rates and Click Throughs

After you email your blog posts out with FeedOtter, monitor the open rates of your blog digest emails and links clicked.

It’s important to monitor your open rates and click throughs so that you have analytics to clue you in on your blog post strategy. Helpful hints will come in the form of how to write the most engaging emails that accompany your blog posts and to know if the topics you’re writing about make people want to click on the posts.

After monitoring open rates and click throughs, you’ll start to get a feel for what your audience wants to hear from you so these metrics should keep getting better.

Unsubscribes

When someone unsubscribes from getting emails about your blog posts, this means one of two things:

  1. That you’re sending out too many emails
  2. Your blog posts aren’t interesting to them anymore

Look and see when the spike in unsubscribes happens. Analyze your post frequency for that week and which topics just hit the blog. You may want to consider sending a blog digest of all your posts per month or changing the content you put up on your blog.

You want to keep your list of subscribers up, so, be sure to pay close attention when people are unsubscribing so you can remedy the issue quickly.

Post Popularity

Whether it’s in Google Analytics, WordPress, or a different tool, it’s easy to monitor to see how many views your posts are getting and sort out your most popular posts.

Keep track of your popular posts and try to find commonalities. Do you see common topics or industries written about in your most popular posts? Did you boost that post on social? Did you link to these posts in guest posts?

After identifying commonalities, you can create a recipe for all of your blog posts. This recipe should include producing engaging posts, a solid social share plan, a budget and a link-back plan.

Keep a running list of your brand’s top 10 posts and stick it on the wall so that you can refer to it when you’re planning your upcoming posts.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to justify the time, let alone a budget, for your blog if you don’t have data to back up it’s existence. Whether these metrics are for yourself to refine your blog or for your boss to get more budget for your blog—measuring your B2B blog posts is crucial.

Stop creating content for contents sake and develop a data driven strategy for your blog today. Start by identifying which metrics are the most important and how you’re going to track them. After implementing this approach, it should become easier to create posts that resonate with your readers and you should start to see metrics improving after building off of the data gathered.

What metrics do you care about when measuring your B2B blog posts? Let us know on Twitter @Feed_Otter as we would love to hear from you!

 

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The Dangers of Not Emailing Your Blog Posts

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Consistent blogging just makes good business sense. It increases SEO, establishes thought leadership, moves leads through the sales funnel and helps consumers establish a connection with your brand. To make the most out of your brand’s blogging strategy, it’s crucial to email your blog posts to keep your audience engaged. If you don’t email your blog posts, you could lose your connections with eager consumers, and you may miss the perfect opportunity to establish thought leadership.

Many brands make the mistake of posting their blog posts on their website, sharing them on a onetime  social media blast, and calling the job done. However, emailing these posts is the most effective way to get eyeballs on your content and nurture those leads and clients.

At the end of the day, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to position your brand as a thought leader if you’re not using the latest in email marketing technology. So, let’s explore why and how to ramp up your game when it comes to emailing your blog posts.

The Impact of a Blog

53% of marketers surveyed say that blogging is their top content marketing priority. This statistic tells us that blogging is key and there is plenty of room to reap the benefits of a blog. Here are just a few ways that a blog can power a brand:

  • Establishes thought leadership
  • Creates a trusting relationship with target consumers
  • Produces valuable lead-nurturing content
  • Has a dramatic impact with SEO
  • Offers engaging and entertaining material to share on social media
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase decision based on a blog post

Email Statistics to Take Note of

Email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent, making it an extremely powerful strategy when executed correctly. In case you’re not convinced that email is right for your brand, let’s look at a few statistics:

Combining Two Powerful Forces: Blog and Email

Now that we’ve established the impact of blogs and email marketing, let’s combine these forces to power each strategy. Emailing blog posts capitalizes on the benefits of a blog and caters to how consumers want to communicate with your brand.

By emailing posts, brands can have a reason to email clients and leads and offer thought leadership material to nurture them with. Consumers really do want to hear from your brand, especially when the correspondence offers educational material and resources (as opposed to self-promotional material). Emailing these types of blog posts bridges the gap between content and email marketing.

How to Build a Powerful Email List

The first step when setting up your strategy for any email marketing campaign is to build out a list. This will be an ongoing process, and, if executed well, will snowball and collect email addresses on an exponential basis. There are plenty of ways to build this list:

  • Add current clients and leads to your email list
  • Highlight an easy to use subscribe button on your blog
  • Purchase email blasts to promote your blog posts, and ask them to opt in to receive digests of your posts
  • Create a landing page for your blog on your website with a subscribe button
  • Incorporate your blog feed on your home page with a subscribe button
  • Share your posts on social with a CTA to subscribe to your blog

How Often Should Brands Email Their Blog Posts?

61% of consumers report that they enjoy weekly emails from brands, and 38% of those say they wish for more frequent emails. So, judging by this data and our own experience, we recommend that you send out an email every time you publish a new blog post. Whether your content calendar includes weekly or daily posts, it’s a smart idea to send them all out as you post them to keep your readers engaged.

If you find that your leads are unsubscribing, you can consider a weekly digest of your posts.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Blog Digests

Whether it’s a daily or weekly wrap up of your posts, you should create emails that present your readers with a teaser of what your posts are about, and how they’ll benefit from them.

You should always accompany your teaser content with an obvious link or button to read the post.

Try experimenting with different templates in your emails. A lot of brands report that sending a text only email increases open rates. You can A/B test the formats to see what works best for your readers.

In addition to A/B testing formats, you can experiment with subject lines as well. The main takeaway here is that you need to find what appeals most to your readers so you can build off of the best results.

Tools You’ll Need

To maximize the power of your blog and integrate emailing blog posts into your strategy, you’re going to have to navigate with a few tools and sync them up properly. Here are a few tools to consider:

  • A CRM for your blog post list such as SalesForce
  • A marketing automation tool like Marketo
  • A tool to automate emails for your daily or weekly blog post emails such as FeedOtter

The combination of these types of tools can help you put your email/blog strategy on autopilot. This will make your job easier while ensuring that your readers get consistent emails for all of your posts.

Final Thoughts

Emailing blog posts is a powerful way to generate and nurture leads. Consumers want to hear from your brand in a way that educates and entertains them, as opposed to sending out blatant self-promotional material.

Now that you have a handle on such a powerful strategy, you can sync up the right tools and start emailing your blog posts today. Sit back and watch your work in action!

Do you want to put your strategy for emailing blog posts on autopilot? Check out how FeedOtter can help!

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MarTech Interview: How to Create a Data-Driven Social Media Plan for Your Business

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Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to measure everything that happens on their websites.

For some reason, however, they’re less likely to take the same approach to their social media efforts.

In this article, we’re going to give you the tools you need to create a data-driven social media plan for your business.

Taking a Strategic Approach to Social Media

We wanted an insider’s perspective on this issue, so we reached out to Jessica Stephens, Inbound Marketing Director at Oktopost, an enterprise-level social media management platform used by brands like Fujitsu and Panasonic.

OktoPost Homepage Screenshot

As Stephens puts it: “People tend to treat traditional efforts — like their blog, email marketing, or even a press release — more strategically than their social media networks.”

Stephens’ advice is to create a social media plan you’d feel comfortable bringing in front of the C-level leaders — just like you would for any other major marketing effort. 

“We should be planning and playing the same way with social media as we do other marketing channels,” Stephens said. “We’re all so comfortable with social media, it’s easy to be dismissive with it and say, ‘Oh, that’s just fun branding, not lead gen.’”

But there’s another big reason that companies don’t track and measure the effectiveness of their social media strategy.

They often lack the knowledge of how to measure the ROI of their efforts.

Three Places to Collect ROI Data for Social Media

A data-driven plan starts with collecting data, which you can find in all three of the following locations:

  • The native analytics built into social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Google Analytics
  • The analytics built into social media management platforms (example: Oktopost).

First we’ll address collecting analytics from the source. Then we’ll dive into secondary sources like Google Analytics and social media management tools.

Collecting Data From the Native Analytics Built Into Social Media Platforms

The first place to look is the social media platforms themselves, some of which have reporting tools you can use to see what’s happening.

For example, here’s what the Twitter report looks like for a business profile:

Oktopost Twitter Analytics Report

A Twitter analytics report

And this is a standard report from a Facebook company page:

Oktopost Social Media Stats Dashboard

Image source: techcrunch.com

These stats are a good start to being more data-driven, especially if you’re mostly active on one platform. 

But they only show you what’s happening on the platform. By themselves, they don’t show conversion data from social media, and they’re not enough to prove ROI or create a data-driven plan across multiple channels.

The 2 Other Ways to Track Conversion Data

The next step in building a data-driven social media plan is gathering conversion data from your website.

You need to see:

  • How many people have come to your site from social media
  • How many converted to leads or customers.

There are two primary ways to collect that data:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. A social media management tool.

Using Google Analytics to Track Conversions

Google Analytics can show you how many people come to your site from different social media platforms.

If you have goals set up, it can also show you how many people from each platform visited your site and then converted into customers or sales leads.

It does not automatically break out the performance of individual social media posts, however.

To track individual posts, you’ll need to manually create UTM campaign tags using Google’s URL Builder (or a similar tool) for every link you place on social media.

 

Campaign codes give you the results of each individual post. 

Example of Google Campaign UTM Builder

Image source: Google Analytics Demos & Tools

Campaign codes give you the results of each individual post.

Google Analytics Campaign Tags

Image source: Marketing Land

This lets you see the performance of traffic to your site from individual posts on Twitter, for example — not just from all traffic coming from Twitter in general.

“You start to see which types of content are interesting, along with which personas are interested based on demographics and trends,” Stephens explained. 

The process is a great next step if you’re not measuring any kind of ROI from social media today.

Even so, it’s largely a manual process to set up and track links using UTM codes. If you’re publishing as often as you should be, you’ll have to build a new URL for every post. 

In addition to that, you’ll still be missing a large chunk of the prospect journey since you’ll only see the set goal metrics — often conversions. Any prospect engagement within the social platform is missed, including shares, retweets, comments, and likes.

How to Use a Social Media Management Tool to Connect Google Analytics and Marketing Automation 

Companies that track social media ROI using only Google Analytics often find they’re spending a lot of time pulling together data and setting up UTM codes.

When your company gets to that point, there are tools to help you automate the process — including the reporting of data not available using the usual measurement tools we discussed above.

Automating the Publishing of Posts

Social media management platforms will assign a UTM tag automatically to each post as you create it, relieving you of the need to track UTM codes manually.

The top social media management tools also offer data and functionality beyond what you can do using Google Analytics. 

For example, Oktopost can display the details of a social media follower that converted to become a qualified prospect or customer, including what posts they’ve clicked, what post they converted on, and any available demographic information.

Oktopost Post Details Screenshot

Octopost tracks and reports on the most engaging shared links, hashtags, and keywords, allowing users to see trends not only in engagement but also conversions.

Oktopost Top Engagement Dashboard

In addition to collecting this data, Oktopost goes a step further than other social media management platforms. 

It allows users to apply that social engagement data to an existing marketing automation journey, because Oktopost is integrated with the largest marketing automation platforms, including Marketo. 

This enables scoring, nurturing, attributing, interacting, and more within the automation platform. This in turn creates a quicker and more robust sales process while also creating a better customer and prospect experience. 

For instance, if someone likes a post about video marketing on LinkedIn, you can assign that prospect 10+ points and add them to a video marketing nurture stream in Marketo. It’s all automated. 

That’s it for collecting data from the various tools you have at your disposal.

The final step is this: using that data to create a social media plan based on the results you’ve collected.

Creating a Data-Driven Plan From the Analytics Data

Once you start tracking activity and conversions from social media, you’ll start to see what’s working in your social media efforts — and what isn’t.

From here, it’s a matter of cutting or changing the posts that don’t produce conversions and doing more of what works or shows promise.

Data from the platforms themselves will give you a starting point for tracking the activities of your social media followers. 

Google Analytics will show you what happens to these people once they reach your website, UTM campaign tags will show you the effectiveness of each individual post, and platforms such as Oktopost enable a comprehensive data-driven perspective to guide your strategy for keeping users engaged throughout their customer journey. 

The Benefits of a Comprehensive Social Media Plan

A data-driven social media plan can help you improve performance in a variety of areas in your business:

1. Increasing Current Customer Engagement and Retention

Are you keeping your current customers engaged with your brand? Tracking your customers’ engagement with social media can help you understand whether you’re posting content that appeals to them.

2. Qualifying Leads and Improving Conversions

As Stephens told us, “If the content team is producing interesting and well-written content, you may get thousands of impressions and thousands of likes, but you may not see conversions. This indicates that, while your content is great, your subject matter may be off, because you’re not resonating with your target persona.”

When your marketing team has goals of getting qualified leads to your sales team via social media, it’s important to know whether your campaigns are reaching the right people. You can dial this in with the analytics from a robust social media platform such as Oktopost.

3. Finding Better Job Candidates

For instance, your HR team can gauge whether posts on LinkedIn are appealing to viewers with specific job titles or in a certain region where you’re searching for new hires. 

“Think about the cost of the types of services you would seek out from  recruiters,” Stephens said. “If you use your social networks appropriately, have a strong employee advocacy program, and track your efforts, you could potentially save $100K annually by utilizing your team’s existing network, instead of paying a recruiter 20% per hire.”

Conclusion

Overall, Stephens explained, a detailed ROI analysis of your social media strategy will have a direct impact on how to spend your marketing budget. It can help you create and share better content that keeps customers engaged and new visitors converting, and it can make you more effective at gathering and utilizing user data.

“There are so many expensive channels in the average B2B marketing plan, and if organizations really evaluated the power of their existing social media networks, they would see the huge megaphone that isn’t likely utilized. Implementing an analytics-driven social strategy could completely change their success trajectory, and I would love to see more organizations embrace the opportunity.”

 

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8 Steps to Creating and Hosting a Webinar to Generate New Leads

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You’re in a pretty good spot. Your brand has a great product or service, loads of relevant content, and a top-notch team working with you. You are well-respected in your industry, and have great relationships with other like-minded brands. You also have a bunch of current and past customers who are happy with the work you’ve done with them. Now, if you could just find a way to use all these assets you’ve worked so hard to collect to promote your brand and generate more leads, your business could explode. It’s time to host a webinar.

Webinars give you a platform to use all of those assets, work with others, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. It’s not a terrifically difficult event to pull off, but you certainly need to plan carefully to optimize your success. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to make your webinar perfect.

Step 1: Pick a Date

As with any event, the time and date of your webinar is important. It needs to go live at a point where you’ll get the optimal amount of attendees and participants to join, possibly across several time zones. Be aware of holidays or popular vacation times like Spring Break, when folks are likely to be away from work. We suggest selecting a Wednesday or Thursday sometime around midday, depending on your time zone. Make sure to save the date company-wide, and start blocking off prep time for your team leading up to the event.

Step 2: Choose Your Topic

This may take some time, so be prepared for that. Think of an overarching topic that extends beyond (but still includes) your products and services, in order to get maximum participation. Consider sending an exploratory survey to other brands and potential leads to get an idea of which topics people want to know more about. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three topics, meet with your team and pick the one that everyone feels most confident in presenting; keep in mind that other guest presenters may need to feel comfortable with the subject matter, also. Again, you are looking to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry, so make sure there’s ample material to educate, enlighten, and motivate attendees that tune in to your webinar.

When picking your topic, you may also think of ways your topic can include influencers in your industry. Having guests in your webinar or even a panel of experts can really take your webinar to the next level.

Step 3: Set Up Your Platform

There are several different webinar platforms to choose from, so do your research, check reviews, and set up appointments to speak with representatives about what they can offer. We love GoToWebinar for its ease of use, event management experience, and incredible customer support. They offer email support, customizable templates, interactive dashboards, and engaging polls and surveys to keep your attendees entertained and present. Whichever platform you choose, make sure it has the technical support and capacity to ensure your webinar goes off without a hitch.

Step 4: Build a Landing Page

A customized landing page will serve as the nerve center for all your pre-event processes, so treat its creation with care. You will want professional design, slick graphics, ample branding, and well-worded copy. Make the registration process simple and easy to complete; too many fields to fill out can turn a lot of potential attendees off. Consider adding a countdown clock leading up to the webinar in the corner of the page to create some anticipatory excitement, and post news and updates (like a new guest presenter) to people who are checking back in.

Be sure to hook your landing page into your marketing automation platform so that registrants get emails leading up to your webinar and so that your new leads are marked properly for your lead nurturing campaigns. After all, the point of a webinar is to establish thought leadership and generate new leads.

Step 5: Promote and Invite

While these are two distinct tasks, you need to take a moment and determine the preparation and order of how you proceed. Timing matters, so we suggest starting the invitation process two to three weeks away from the live webinar. Thoughtful branding should make an appearance here in the form of hashtags, logos, and the language you’ll use in the invitations and social media blasts.

Start writing content for promotional purposes by way of blog posts, email campaigns, and social media posts. Make sure it is exciting and buzzworthy copy, but keep it concise and to the point. If you’ve seen that folks have viewed your invitation but haven’t responded, consider sending them a quick and friendly reminder as a follow up. Keep tabs on how your hashtag is performing on your social media channels, and stay flexible if it isn’t trending like you want it to.

Step 6: Create the Right Content

Now’s the time to get all your content in order. You’ll want to get a wide variety of presentations to keep momentum going throughout the event: spoken word, PowerPoint slideshows, and interactive surveys keep things interesting. If you are inviting guests to contribute, make sure you give them plenty of time and a reachable deadline, along with some friendly reminders to those who are cutting it close. You’ll also want to organize the themes and topics to make sure there’s no duplicate presentations or off-topic content. Again, you want to create a feeling of thought leadership and offer selfless resources for the benefit of all, all while motivating potential leads to sign up with your brand.

Step 7: Dress Rehearsal

As the webinar approaches, you need to make a few dry runs to ensure that all of your technical and logistical parts are working well. Keep your contact at your hosting platform on speed dial to be able to answer any last minute questions, and be certain that the entire webinar will be recorded for future viewings. Make sure all of your presenters have a firm schedule and start time, and be certain they don’t have any questions or technical issues. Send out a reminder email to everyone that’s signed up, and encourage them to share a link to the webinar with anyone they can think of. Get plenty of rest…you’ve got a big day coming up!

Step 8: Showtime!

It’s the day of the big event. Wherever you need to be to host this, make sure you’re there early, and have firm communication with the hosting platform. Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, and other necessities nearby…it’s going to be a long haul. Having a spare microphone, webcam, or headset available is a good idea, also; you never know when life can throw you a curveball. Keep an eye on any chats, and try to personally greet as many guests as you can as they join. Most of all, be present. Avoid distractions like checking your cellphone or email inbox, as you want to be on top of all presentations or questions. When it’s all over, make sure to thank everyone involved, and double check that the recording went well. The next day, send a follow up email with more thanks and a survey on how they liked it. Carefully read through any feedback you get…after all, if this webinar was a success, you’ll likely want to do it again!

Webinars are a great way to spread your messaging, network with other industry leaders, and grab a bunch of potential leads for your sales team. So, do your research, get all of your preparations in place, and put on an amazing show!

Do you have any webinar tips? We’d love to hear them on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

 

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How to Create a Powerful Guest Blogging Strategy 10 Steps

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Ready to promote your brand through thought leadership and increase the visits your get to your website? If so, you should implement a guest blogging strategy for your brand and this post will tell you exactly how to do it.

Guest allows brands to authentically promote their name and divert traffic back to their website and content assets. When brands publish thought leadership guest posts, readers establish trust and credibility with the brand which leads to high conversion rates.

A well running guest blogging campaign can bring in three times the amount of leads than paid advertising. So, we are here to make sure you have all the assets and steps in place so that you can see these results from your brand’s own guest blogging strategy.

Step 1: Identify the Right Sites

The first thing you need to do is hone in on the sites that your target consumers follow or visit frequently. You can do this by googling for blogs that focus on a certain topic or use an identification software like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo. One mistake brands make is thinking that there aren’t many blogs that coincide with their brand, but, we are here to assure you that there is a blog about any topic under the sun!

Creating buyer personas can help you determine which blogs to reach out to and here is a great free template to build out the personas for your brand. Identifying blogs that align with your buyer persona’s interests and pain points will ensure that your guest blogging strategy stays on track.

Step 2: Engage

After you identify the blogs you want to post on, it may be tempting to email them right away. But, you’ll get higher response rates if you establish brand familiarity first. This can be anything from leaving comments in the blog posts or sharing their posts on social media. You can even link to the brand in your brand’s blog posts. These engagement tactics can shed a positive light on your brand and lead to great response rates from bloggers.

Step 3: Finesse Your Pitch

Once you’ve established awareness about your brand with the bloggers, it’s time to send out your pitch. You want it to be personalized and outline your expertise as a thought leader. Here are some things to include in your pitch:

  • A catchy subject line
  • Why you want to write for their blog
  • Examples of your past work
  • Praise their blog and the work they do
  • Reference a post they’ve written to showcase the fact that you’ve done your research
  • Let them know the topic you want to write about
  • Assure them that you will share your post that you write for them on your own channels and in email

Step 4: Create Your Guest Blogging Hub

Organization is key to a successful guest blogging campaign. So, you want to create a spreadsheet or blogging hub consisting of the blogs you reach out to and what their response is. You should also list the topics you’ll write about for each blog to make sure that your posts are not repetitive. This spreadsheet is key to having a well-oiled guest blogging campaign.

Step 5: Come Up with Thought Leadership Topics

Through your guest posts, you want to exemplify your opinions and/or experience as it relates to different topics that align with your brand. The goal is to come up with thought leadership posts as opposed to posts about your brand. So, in your spreadsheet, you want to brainstorm a bunch of thought leadership posts for each blog that you write for.

If you need a little inspiration, look to posts the bloggers have written before. This can help you come up with ideas that will resonate with their audience.

Step 6: Write the Post

When it comes to getting your posts written, the first thing you need to do is decide if you, someone on your team or hired help are going to write the post. If you don’t trust yourself as a writer, it’s a good idea to hire a writer who is comfortable with ghost writing. You can look on LinkedIn, Pro Blogger, UpWork or any other sites that connect talent with brands. Be sure to vet their work and ensure that they’re comfortable with writing for your industry.

If you’re writing the post yourself, be sure to allocate 3 hours per post and give the bloggers an accurate timeline of when you can deliver the posts.

If you’re new to writing blog posts here is what the structure should look like:

  • Intro that explains what the post is going to be about
  • Headers for each topic to create a clear outline
  • Short and to the point sentences
  • A conclusion with key takeaways
  • Hyperlinks to any sources or references that you mention

When you’re writing your post, be mindful about link backs. You don’t want to come across as self-promotional so keep the buyer’s journey in mind and steer your readers to resources on your website like blog posts or case studies instead of linking directly to your brand. The direct link should be in your bio.

Step 7: Compose Your Bio

Your bio is important to give you and your brand credibility for your great posts. Rule of thumb is that your bio should be 2-3 sentences and highlight your expertise and your brand. Many bloggers don’t allo guest bloggers to link to their brand in the body of the post but rather in their bio so this is important for you to get your link back. We also recommend that one of your sentences talks about you as a person and your hobbies and/or interests to add a human element for your readers to connect with. Don’t forget to include a headshot for the blogger to add in your bio section.

Step 8: Share on Social and Email

To make the most out of your guest posts, it’s important to share them on your brand’s social channels and in any email newsletters or content digests that you send out. You want your guest post to benefit the blogger who is allowing you this generous opportunity so getting their blog in front of your brand’s own audience is key.

Step 9: Measure Your Success

As is the case with other content marketing strategies, you’re going to want to measure your guest blogging campaign to determine success. Some metrics to consider are:

  • Social shares of your posts
  • Traffic back to your website
  • New leads generated
  • New clients landed
  • Comments on the blog post
  • Number of pieces of content generated
  • An increase in SEO

We mentioned creating a campaign hub in a spreadsheet and this sheet is a great place to record your campaign metrics and links to the posts you create.

Step 10: Repeat What Works

Once you’ve measured and determined how your campaign is going, it’s time to repeat the strategies that are working for you. By analyzing which post topics are performing the best and which blogs are bringing in the most traffic, you can write more posts that are similar to the posts performing the best and ask the blogs if you can post on their blog again. If you’re sharing your posts on social and in email, the blogger is going to be more likely to let you post on their blog again.

Key Takeaways

If executed well, a guest blog post campaign can generate a lot of new traffic and leads for your brand. To condense all the steps we outlined, here is a check list that you can print out and hang on your wall!

  • Identify the right blogs
  • Engage with the bloggers before reaching out
  • Send your pitch email
  • Create a spreadsheet for all of your guest blogging opportunities and post topics
  • Brainstorm thought leadership topics
  • Write your post and stick to a timeline
  • Compose your bio
  • Share your post on social and in emails
  • Measure your campaign
  • Repeat what works the best

Remember, the goal of your campaign is to establish thought leadership and brand familiarity to gain new visitors and convert those visitors into sales. Good luck!

Do you have any tips for brands who are wanting to execute a guest blogging campaign? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter!