Archive for August, 2012

33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Given the widespread adoption of social media marketing practices, the “if” and “when” questions seemed to have now been resolved by most midsized and larger companies (and a lot of small companies as well).

Many social media marketing questions remainHowever, as the posts and articles highlighted below show, plenty of questions remain, such as how much should we budget for social media? What’s the best process for developing a social media marketing plan? How should we staff for this and train current employees to contribute? How do we demonstrate the ROI of social efforts?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost three dozen of the best social media tips, how-to guides, lists and reports of 2012 so far.

Social Media Marketing Tips, Tactics & Techniques

Dr. Seuss’ 7 social media lessons by Ragan’s PR Daily

The delightful Heidi Cohen presents seven social media marketing tips in Dr. Seuss style, among them “‘Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.’ Be yourself on social media platforms and reveal your true essence…Show who you are with your avatar and profiles. Include information that proves you’re human.”

9 social media hacks you need to embrace now by iMedia Connection

Astutely noting that “Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s just different expensive. To do it well requires a tremendous time commitment, and regardless of what your life and lifestyle entails, the time you spend on social comes with an opportunity cost price tag,” Jay Baer offers six tips for getting more done in social media in less time, such as listening to podcasts while commuting or working out, and utilizing tools like Buffer and If This Then That.

Five Types of Social Media Influencers by Intelegia

Raymond Morin presents both Klout’s 12-type matrix of social influencer types as well as Lisa Barone’s simpler model of five types, including the networker (“one who has the biggest contact list and found on all platforms. He or she who knows everybody and everybody knows him or her”) and the sharer (“one who distributes information to the bloggers to journalists through the specialized webzines. He or she usually amplifies messages”).

Brands Face Stream Fatigue as Consumers Look Beyond Gimmicks in Social Networks by Brian Solis

“Businesses are interacting with consumers to socialize rather than learn about customer expectations to in turn, deliver tangible value, improve product experiences, and invest in long-term relationships,” writes Brian Solis, who then details an experiment by Andrew Blakeley in which he spent a week as a “social consumer.” Blakeley concluded that “the online experience for consumers was undefined or uncharted, leaving consumers to fend for themselves to find relevance within the engagement without any reinforcement to brand value or story.” Don’t be one of those brands.

What Marketing Questions Are Worth Asking in Social Media Listening? by MarketingProfs

David Rabjohns says that the top five questions Fortune 500 companies are asking about social media are:

  • • Where are people talking about my brand?
  • • How should I change my messaging?
  • • How much buzz do I have vs. competition/trend?
  • • How do they feel about us vs. the competition?
  • • Quantify the biggest brand topics.

Why Now Is The Time To Build Your Personal Brand by B2B Marketing Insider

You want loyalty? Get a dog. Michael Brenner notes how recession, downsizing, the end of pensions and other developments (the accelerating pace of technological change) have made the implicit employment “contract” that existed for much of the last century obsolete, and offers four tips for building a brand that will enhance your professional success and influence.

29 Social Media Leaps of Faith by Heidi Cohen

Heidi lists 29 helpful “leaps of faith to help you build your social media presence and activity,” such as building your social media tribe, introducing your connections to each other (where is may be mutually beneficial), and guest blogging.

3 Steps to an Effective Social Media Strategy by Social Media Examiner

Amy Porterfield outlines a “three-step plan designed to help you develop an effective, streamlined road map for social media success,” beginning with an assessment of where you are at today and working through ongoing monitoring, measurement and continual improvement.

How to create and edit articles for Wikipedia by Web Ink Now
***** 5 STARS

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the web, so getting exposure there is incredibly valuable. But the site is not of course, and shouldn’t be, a marketing tool. Content needs to be informational and neutral in tone. David Meerman Scott explains how to properly write for Wikipedia here.

How to Train Employees to Manage Social Media [infographic] by WordPress Hosting SEO

This infographic explains why existing employees may make the best social media managers, how to divide employees into different training groups most appropriate to their skills, and recommendations for handling personal social media use at work.

How To Write Your Social Media Plan in 8 Steps by Social Media Today

Mike Thimmesch lays out an eight-step process for drafting a social media plan, starting with painting “The Picture of The Big Opportunity of Social Media” and finishing with an urgent call to action (“While similar to how you started your plan, you want to finish with some more strident points that create a sense of urgency”).

7 tips to take social to the next level by iMedia Connection

Erick Mott walks through the definitions of and process of creating owned, paid and earned media followed by seven tips for developing and implementing a social plan, among them “Staff up your social media roles with a distributed workforce that can collaborate and perform in real time. Plot where your organization is, which will help inform strategy and budget and hopefully help you secure what you need for the next phase.”

21 Tips to Balance Social Media Addiction, Tweets, Life and Real Work! by The Marketing Nut

Pam Moore supplies 21 tips for keeping the “social” in social media marketing, developing “a plan that includes objectives, goals, and knowing your audience” without spending excessive time (though noting that sometimes such activity will necessarily take longer than you expect). Among her tips: “Use time blocks. If you struggle with controlling your time enjoyed (or wasted) on social media then set time blocks for engaging, writing blog posts and other tactics.”

14 Ways to Build Strategic Relationships With the Who’s Who of Social Media by Copyblogger

Tom Treanor shares 14 “secrets” to building relationships with industry influencers, though he acknowledges the simple truth that “Networking is 98% about being a nice person and having good manners.”

What exactly is a social graph? by Biznology

Writing that “one thing I don’t like (about social media) is that technical people like to make up new fancy words to describe what they make, even if no one knows what they mean,” Mike Moran explains in plain words what a social graph is and what its limitations are.

Social Media Metrics and ROI

101 Examples of Social Business ROI by Dachis Group

Despite the fact that “quantified results in social business and brands willing to stand behind them are difficult to find,” Peter Kim manages to compile a list of more than 100 real-life examples of social media ROI, such as Blendtec (“Viral videos increased company sales +700%”) and Epson (“Reviews drove 98% higher revenue per visitor for Epson”).

The Social Media Metrics That Truly Matter by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis proposes a matrix model for identifying and monitoring meaningful metrics for your company, based on which platforms are most relevant to your target audience, your objectives and goals for each, and important secondary KPIs to consider.

The Real Secret To The ROI Of Social Media by Social Media Today

Koka Sexton explains why “The real ROI of social media is the moment you realize that you can’t stop the spreading of your content even if you tried. It would be like trying to unpull a trigger…ROI is most importantly the cultivation of relationships and capturing the positive word of mouth recommendations from your community. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

CMOs Say Social Media Spending Will Surge 46% in the Next Year by Mack Collier

Mack reports that although spending on social media marketing is set for another year of strong growth, many companies still struggle to measure or prove the ROI, because, in Mack’s words, “shockingly, most customers don’t want to be marketing mouthpieces for brands.” Therefore, transferring traditional value measures from other media won’t work in social networks; that doesn’t mean ROI can’t be measured, it just can’t be measured using the same criteria.

Social Media Facts and Stats

Companies Struggle To Manage Social Media by MediaPost

Mark Walsh reports the findings of an Altimeter Groups study showing that “global corporations are now struggling to manage an average of 178 business-related social media accounts, spanning Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Foursquare, among others…Social media has often been harnessed haphazardly for marketing, sales, customer support and product development. While 70% of businesses said social media efforts met company objectives, only 43% had a formal strategy to address how social will meet specific business goals…(social media management is) exacerbated at a scale CMS didn’t have to deal with (as large) companies typically oversee 39 Twitter accounts, 32 blogs, 30 Facebook pages and 29 LinkedIn accounts.”

Social Media Jobs Salary Guide by Onward Search

Promising “a comprehensive look at the best US job markets, the most in-demand social media jobs, and the corresponding salary ranges for each profession,” this informative infographic reveals findings such as that Minneapolis ranks #13 in number of social media job postings (New York is #1), the highest salaries are generally paid in San Jose, and the most common position is content writer.

Digital Smackdown: “digital dinosaurs vs. digital natives” by Forbes

Reporting that “77% (of consumers) are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles (and) 94% say C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image,” according to a recent Brandfog survey, Rhonda Hurwitz advises senior C-level executives to learn social media tools instead of over-delegating.

Search and Social

Using Social Buttons to Enhance Search Engine Optimization by Practical eCommerce

It’s no secret that social signals are playing an increasing role in search engine rankings, but Jill Kocher provides additional detail behind the trend and recommendations for how to capitalize on it.

Social Media Tools

New technologies to manage social by iMedia Connection

Josh Dreller lists almost 200 tools for every aspect of social media marketing from managing multiple social networks, managing Twitter and searching social networks to apps for social analytics, media relations and video/photo sharing.

YouTube Tips & Tactics

Set Up Your YouTube Channel for SEO Success by The YouMoz Blog

Pointing out that “YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine,” Joel Chudleigh steps through the process of optimizing a YouTube channel for usability and findability, from properly setting up your profile and editing your channel to sharing videos through social networks and measuring results.

B2B And A Resistance To Video Marketing by B2Bbloggers

Observing that “B2B companies have long resisted video as a means of marketing, but that medium is gradually becoming more accepted,” Chris Peterson provides half a dozen valuable tips for technical optimization as well as four practical suggestions for producing effective, non-cheesy b2b videos.

Pinterest Tactics & Techniques

Why Pinterest Should Be of Interest to Brands by MarketingProfs

Amanda DiSilvestro explains how Pinerest works, how to get started with it, and four ways that brands can benefit from the visual social sharing site, including “Visibility and SEO: Every image that is pinned will include a link back to the website where it originated. This helps to spread the word about your company and what your company can offer” (in addition to building links, though these are now no-follow).

10 Tips for Pinterest Search Engine Optimization by ClickZ

Sage Lewis first explains why optimizing for Pinterest is important (e.g., to ” take up greater search engine results pages real estate) then provides 10 optimization tips such as posting original images, giving them search-friendly file names and using keywords in your description.

6 Compelling Reasons You Should Use Pinterest for Marketing by HubSpot

Claiming that Pinterest is “not ‘just another social media site.  This one is different. Pinterest is doing a great job of driving traffic, leads, and sales,” Jesica Meher outlines six benefits of Pinterest, from generating inbound links to integration with existing Twitter and Facebook accounts.

103 Resources For Becoming a Pinterest Expert by KISSmetrics

Zach Bulygo shares more than 100 tips for capitalizing on Pinterest, helpfully arranged in categories like Background and Basics, How-To Articles, Lessons to Learn, Marketing with Pinterest, and Similar Sites.

Why I’ve Resisted Pinterest by MediaPost

The brilliant Ryan DeShazer likely speaks for more marketers than he knows in this thoughtful essay outlining his personal and professional reasons for not yet jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon. Among his personal reasons: “#1 – My guy friends would make fun of me. I’m serious. You will never catch me at a dinner party commenting that, ‘I just pinned the most incredible thing today.’ #2 – This smells like social scrapbooking. I don’t scrapbook. My mother does.”

Tumblr and Google+ Tips & Tactics

How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand by Search Engine Journal

Writing that “According to comScore’s State of the U.S. Social Network Market, Tumblr is one of the most consistently growing social networks out there…But this is not just about sheer number of visitors. The amount of time that visitors spend on Tumblr averages around 2.4 hours a month, making it only second to Facebook in terms of user engagement,” Neil Patel explains what Tumblr is, who uses it, how to get brand exposure there and how to use Tumblr to drive traffic to your other social media platforms.

10 Brands Who Stand Out on Google+ and How They Do It by GigCoin

The prolific Debbie Hemley showcases 10 major brands (including ESPN, Wired magazine, Starbucks, Pepsi and Android) that stand out from the crowd on Google+ and what makes each brand page remarkable.

Post to Twitter

How to Optimize for “Direct” Website Traffic

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

One of the most valuable features of Google Analytics is the ability to drill into detail on traffic sources; not just how much traffic came from search or social media, but how much came from each specific search engine or social networking site.

Direct Website Traffic ShareBut for most b2b websites, one of the top three sources of traffic—and often the largest single source—is “direct” visits. What’s behind this number and what factors affect it?

First off, by definition, direct traffic is all visitors who “arrived at your site directly (by typing the url) or via a bookmark.” Technically, there are other possible sources for direct traffic as well such as clicks on links within an Outlook email signature or Word document, but direct entry in a browser address bar or bookmark click account for the bulk of direct traffic.

Second, direct visitors fall broadly into one of two groups: let’s call them “old friends” and “new friends.” Old friends may include, among others:

  • • Current customers (for example, clicking on a bookmarked link to your support page or user community area)
  • • Partners (channel, technology, implementation services, etc.)
  • • Vendors
  • • Investors
  • • Employees (accessing the site from outside the corporate network, e.g., from home or on the road)
  • • Media and analysts already familiar with your company

“New friends” are (generally) predominantly sales prospects, but also include potential future employees, media who are new to your company, prospective investors and/or partners, vendors and other influencers. The “root” sources for this traffic may be online or offline.’

Online Direct Traffic Sources

PR / media relations: media exposure builds brand recognition. Visitors may type your URL into their browser address bars based on seeing a company profile, product review, news release pickup, subject matter expert quote or other mention in industry media.

Social media: social networking and content sharing also builds brand awareness and credibility. A click directly from Twitter, Facebook or another social media site will be recorded in Google Analytics as a social media visit of course, but there’s now question that some percentage of direct visits are inspired by exposure through social bookmarking and other social media activity.

Industry presence: listings in industry-specific directories, trade show sponsorships, industry association memberships and other similar industry presence links can lead directly to referral site traffic or build brand recognition that leads to direct visits.

Offline Drivers of Direct Visits

Face to face meetings and other “business card events”: the most prominent source of these direct visits is trade shows, but other venues may include Tweetups, conferences at which a company executive or subject matter expert speaks, social media breakfasts or happy hours, business networking events or anywhere a representative of your company is able to give out or exchange business cards with prospective buyers.

Printed media: yes, people do still use media like print advertising, direct mail and sales collateral. In fact, in a crowded online world, a well-crafted direct mail piece can make your company stand out–your prospects’ “real” mailboxes today are likely far less crowded than their email inboxes. An ad in an actual printed publication, a clever direct mail piece (more creative than a simple letter or postcard), or even a leave-behind or brochure handed out at a trade show can often lead to a “direct” website visit.

Old-fashioned word of mouth (WOM): while so much attention today is lavished on social media marketing (and not unrightly so necessarily), the fact is–people still talk.  Particularly at the executive level. Whether at a breakfast, mixer, phone call, golf outing, conference or other event, executives and subject matter experts talk. If you’ve captured their interest and are relevant to someone else’s needs, your name is likely to come up. There’s no way to measure the effect precisely, but equally no doubt it affects those direct visit figures.

The segment of direct traffic worth optimizing for is of course prospective buyers. While it’s impossible to separate out this group with precision, it is possible to quantify and analyze the behavior of this group roughly be creating a custom segment in Google Analytics that excludes certain pages more likely to be visited by non-prospects (e.g., the media page, careers pages, and support area of the site) and known customers based on their network name.

Optimizing for direct traffic then requires a mix of online and offline tactics. Utilize best practices in social media marketing and online PR. Be active in industry groups, trade shows, conferences and local events where you can meet people in real life. And considering that paper production is actually up 180% in the past five years, don’t completely over traditional marketing channels like trade media advertising and direct mail.

Post to Twitter

79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Note: a slightly shorter version of this compilation was recently published as a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ blog.

Social media and inbound marketing techniques have been a boon for marketers. Not only do leads generated through social and content marketing cost half as much as traditional outbound-generated leads (see below), they also close at higher rate (again, see below).

Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics 2012And social media isn’t just about lead generation of course. While prospective buyers are using search and social to research products and services before making purchase decisions, marketers and PR professionals can use those same tools to research buyer wants and needs. And their competition. And…even social media itself.

Which brings us to this post. Wondering which social network is most effective at generating b2b leads? What marketing technique generates leads with the highest close ratio? What the best day of the week is for Facebook posting? Which U.S. city produces the largest share of “pins”on Pinterest?

Find the answers to those questions and many, many more in this collection of 72 fascinating social media marketing facts and stats for 2012.

Social Media / Social Networking

1. The average midsize or large company (1000 employees or more) has 178 “social media assets” (Twitter handles, employee blogs, etc.)–yet only 25% of companies offer social business training to their employees. (Marketingeasy)

2. B2b marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most imporant factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%). (BtoB Magazine)

3. Although Facebook is the most important social media lead generation tool for b2c marketers (with 77% saying they had had acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% for a company blog), among B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% having acquired a customer through the professional network, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%). (Marketing Charts)

4. The best way to “go viral” is to engage millions of users, each of whom share through small networks. “Online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers…Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinarily people sharing with their friends…the median ratio of Facebook views to shares (is) merely 9-to-1. This means that for every Facebook share, only nine people visited the story. Even the largest stories on Facebook are the product of lots of intimate sharing—not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking.” (Ad Age)

5. LinkedIn generates more leads for b2b companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs. Yet only 47% of b2b marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook. (Social Media B2B)

6. One-third of global b2b buyers use social media to engage with their vendors, and 75% expect to use social media in future purchases processes. (Social Media B2B)

7. “Best in class” b2b companies are significantly more likely than average firms to integrate their social media efforts with their email marketing (65% vs. 51%), SEO (61% vs. 49%) and webinars (47% vs. 31%). (MarketingProfs)

8. As for “best in class” practices, 51% of best-in-Class companies use website social sharing tools, compared to 36% of average firms while 49% use keyword-based social media monitoring, compared with 39% of their more average peers. (MarketingProfs)

9. Top executives need to be involved in social media. 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. And 82% of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media. (eMarketer)

10. 70% of marketers plan to increase the number of different social platforms they use in 2012. (ClickZ)

User Experience

Want more registrations on your website? Consider offering a social login (i.e., the ability for visitors to register at and log in to your site using one of their existing social network profiles rather than creating a new login):

11. 86% of people say they are bothered by the need to create new accounts at websites. (MarketingSherpa)

12. 77% responded that social login is “a good solution that should be offered.” (MarketingSherpa)

13. 21% of “best in class” companies use social sign-in, compared to 8% of average-performing firms. (MarketingProfs)

Lead Nurturing

14. Only 27% of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated. This makes lead nurturing essential for capitalizing on the other 73%. But 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing campaigns. (MarketingSherpa)

15. SEO-driven leads have the highest lead-to-close rate (15%) among common lead generation sources. Paid search leads average a 7% rate, while outbound marketing leads (e.g., direct mail, telemarketing) close at a 2% rate. (Econsultancy)

Facebook

16. B2C Facebook interaction is 30% higher than average on Sundays. (Mindjumpers)

17. Though nearly every large charity and university in America has a Facebook presence, less than 60% of the Fortune 500 do. (Mindjumpers)

18. 95% of Facebook wall posts are not answered by brands. (Mindjumpers)

19. Though Facebook continues to add users, U.S. members are becoming less active there. Between mid-2009 and late 2011, “messaging friends declined 12%, searching for new contacts fell 17% and joining a group of Facebook users dropped 19% in the U.S.” (MediaPost)

20. 70% of local businesses use Facebook.The U.S. has the largest number of Facebook users. The country with the second-largest Facebook population: Indonesia.  (Jeff Bullas)

21. Facebook is the leading source of referred social media traffic to websites, at 26%. Twitter is second at 3.6%. (Pooky Shares)

22. Facebook marketing is a specialized skill. For those looking to outsource this function to a professional consultant, expect to pay $500-$1,500 for initial page setup and anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per month for ongoing content management and curation. (Mack Collier)

23. 52% of consumers say they have stopped following a brand on Facebook because the information it posted had become “too repetitive and boring.” (SMI)

Twitter

24. There are now roughly 100 million active Twitter users (those who log in at least once per day). (Mindjumpers)

25. 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed deals. (Mindjumpers)

26. 40% of Twitter users rarely post anything but primarily consume content there. 55% access Twitter via a mobile device. (Mindjumpers)

27. 92% of retweets are based on “interesting content.” Only 26% are due to inclusion of “please RT!” in the tweet. (Mindjumpers)

28. Twitter now has 200 million users, including 8% of the U.S. population. About one-quarter of all users are considered “extremely active,” checking in several times per day. (Jeff Bullas)

29. 55% of all Twitter users use the service to share links to news stories, and 53% retweet others. (Jeff Bullas)

30. 77 of the world’s 100 largest companies maintain a corporate Twitter account. But media outlets are the most active users. (Jeff Bullas)

31. Meanwhile, 62% of the Fortune 500 have an active Twitter account. (Business Insider)

32. Most professional consultants charge $500-$1,000 to set up a Twitter account (optimized bio, custom background etc.) and $500-$1,500 per month for ongoing management (dependent on level of activity and amount of content). (Mack Collier)

Google and Google+

33. Google’s search engine is used by 85% of global Internet users every month. (MediaPost)

34. Google+ is expected to reach 400 million users by the end of 2012. It’s membership is 63% male, with the largest cohort in their mid-20s. While the largest block of users by country are in the U.S., the second largest is India. However, only 17% of users are considered “active.” (Jeff Bullas)

35. Google+ is the tool that most marketers (70%) say they want to learn more about in 2012, following by blogging (cited by 59%). (ClickZ)

Pinterest

36. The image-based social network has grown 4,000% in the past six months, now boasts more than 4 million users, and keeps those users engaged: the average Pinterest user spends nearly an hour-and-a-half per month on the site, behind only Facebook and Tumblr. (Jeff Bullas)

37. 83% of Pinterest users are women. In the U.S., the most popular categories are Fashion, Desserts, Clothes and Birthdays. (MediaPost)

38. But in the U.K., the five most popular topics on Pinterest are Venture Capital, Blogging Resources, Crafts, Web Analytics and SEO/Marketing. (Pooky Shares)

39. 22% of all pins come from New York, followed by Los Angeles at 15%. A higher percentage come from Minneapolis (10%) than from San Francisco (8%)–even though Pinterest is based in Palo Alto. (MediaPost)

40. Pinterest is virtually tied with Twitter (at 3.6%) for the amount of referred social traffic it sends to websites. (Pooky Shares)

Tumblr

41. Tumblr grew 900% in 2011 and now has 90 million users. However, just 2% of members account for more than 40% of all traffic. (Jeff Bullas)

42. The five most popular tags for Tumblr posts are GIF, LOL, Fashion, Art and Vintage. The U.S. has the largest share of users, followed by Brazil. (Jeff Bullas)

Mobile Marketing

43. 4.8 billion people now own mobile phones. Just 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. (Mindjumpers)

44. One-third of smartphones globally use the Android OS. (MediaPost)

45. The number of tablets in use in the U.S. rose from 34 million in 2011 to 55 million this year and is expected to reach 108 million by 2015. (TMGmedia)

46. Mobile commerce is projected to ten-fold from 2010 ($3 billion) to 2016 ($31 billion). (TMGmedia)

47. While three-quarters of b2b marketers are aware of the growing importance of mobile devices, only 23% rate mobile search as either “important” or “critical” to their search marketing objectives. (BtoB Magazine)

48. Just 16% of b2b marketers are producing mobile-specific content as part of their content marketing efforts. (Smart Insights)

49. Although the percentage of visits to b2b websites coming from smart phones has increased nearly 50% in the past year, they still represent only about 1 out of every 24 sites visits on average. (Webbiquity)

SEO and Search Marketing

50. 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals. (Mindjumpers)

51. Though half of all b2b digital spending is focused on search and most websites are organically optimized, only 65% of b2b marketers have ever used pay-per-click advertising. (BtoB Magazine)

52. Search provides the highest quality leads. According to research by HubSpot, “SEO leads have a 15% close rate, on par with the close rate for direct traffic, and ahead of referrals (9%), paid search (7%), social media (4%), and outbound leads (2%).” (Marketing Charts)

Blogging

53. Social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. (Mindjumpers)

54. Social networks and blogs account for 23% of all time spent online — twice as much as gaming. (Mindjumpers)

55. “Increased frequency of blogging correlates with increased customer acquisition, according to…HubSpot. 92% of of blog users who posted multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog, a figure that decreased to 66% for those who blogged monthly and 43% for those who posted less than monthly.” (Marketing Charts)

56. The most popular frequency for blog posting is weekly (60% of bloggers). Just 10% post daily. (Marketing Charts)

57. Blogs are the single most important inbound marketing tool. “When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered them either important (34%) or useful (22%)” for a total of 81%. (Marketing Charts)

58. B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Social Media B2B)

59. For those looking to outsource, a professional consultant will generally charge $1,000-$3,000 for setting up a blog, $1,000-$3,000 per month for ongoing content development/editing, and ballpark of $200 for a single guest post. (Mack Collier)

60. The average budget spent on company blogs and social media has nearly doubled in the last two years, and two-thirds of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business, since 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. (Business2Community)

61. Only 23% of the Fortune 500 (largest companies) maintained a blog in 2011, while 37% of the Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) did so. (Business Insider)

Video and SlideShare

62. 52% of b2b marketers use video as part of their content marketing mix. (Smart Insights)

63. Video production costs vary widely, depending on length, quality, type of content and other factors. High-end animated videos can cost $20,000-$30,000, while simpler interview-type videos can be under $1,000. Common 2- to 3-minute videos with a mix of live action and simple animation typically cost $2,000-$5,000. (Mack Collier)

64. SlideShare draws 60 million visitors per month; but most importantly for b2b marketers, it attracts 3X more traffic from business owners than any other social media site. (Jeff Bullas)

Social Demographics

65. On social networking sites, men and women are about equally willing to share their real names (both about 87%), political and religious affiliation, and the brands they like (~77%), but men are far more likely than women to share their physical address (11% vs. 4%), their current location (35% vs. 20%), their phone number 15% vs. 4%), and their income level (16% vs. 5%). (AllTwitter)

66. Contrary to what you’ve probably been told, longer format video may actually drive higher engagement: “different types of content yield different sharing behaviors. Breaking down video behavior within StumbleUpon, videos viewed between two to three minutes found a spike in sharing out to social media, whereas videos viewed beyond four minutes see direct shares increase by five times. Longer, arguably more involved, content may drive viewers to more intimate sharing routes.” (Ad Age)

Inbound and Content Marketing

67. 90% of b2b marketers do some form of content marketing. 26% of b2b marketing budgets are invested in content, and 60% of b2b marketers say they plan to spend more on content marketing in the coming year. (Smart Insights)

68. The most popular content marketing tactics used by b2b marketers are article posting (used by 79% of b2b marketers), social media excluding blogs (74%), blogs (65%) and enewsletters (63%). Just 10% use virtual conferences. (Smart Insights)

69. The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373). (Econsultancy)

70. Small businesses, on average, spend twice the share of their lead generation budget (43%) on inbound marketing as do large companies (21%). Small organiations spend more than twice as much on social media and 3X as much on blogging as their larger counterparts, while big businesses spend three times as much on trade shows and nearly twice the share of their budget on direct mail as do smaller firms. (Econsultancy)

71. More is (often at least) better. Businesses with 40+ different landing pages/offers generate 10X more leads than those with five or fewer landing pages, and those with 200 or more total blog posts generate 3.5X more leads than those whose blogs have 20 or fewer posts. (Econsultancy)

72. 84% of b2b companies are using some form of social media marketing. However, “best in class” companies generate over 3X their share of all leads (17% vs. 5%) from social media as do average performing companies. (MarketingProfs)

73. 90% of b2b marketers are doing some form of content marketing, and b2b marketers spend on average 26% of their marketing budgets on content. The most effective content marketers spend twice as much as their less effective peers on content development, and consider buying stage when developing content. (B2B Marketing Insider)

74. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but content has to be good in order to be effective. B2b buyers say that less than half of vendor content is useful–and vendors who produce such low-value content are 27% less likely to be considered and 40% less likely to win the business. “Good” content is concise, entertaining (includes stories), more educational than promotional, and is contextually personalized. (B2B Marketing Insider)

75. 59% of marketers plan to increase their frequency of content publishing this year. (ClickZ)

76. Why content marketing matters: 44% of traditional outbound direct mail is never opened, which is a waste of budget, paper and postage. 86% of people now skip through television commercials with a DVR. And 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have exited a favorite website because of an irrelevant or intrusive ad. (Business2Community)

Media and Online Advertising

77. Most “national” newspapers are still quite regional: the Chicago Tribune gets socially shared at above average levels only in Illinois, the Washington Post only in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, and the New York Times only in a clump of northeastern states and Hawaii (though the Wall Street Journal is very popular in Arizona). Fox News is most popular in the southeastern U.S. plus Nevada and Alaska, while the Huffington Compost is widely share along the Interstate 35 corridor (Minnesota to Texas), Florida, Oregon, Maine and the rustbelt. (Forbes)

78. Online CPM rates have little correlation with actual advertiser value delivered. Nearly one-third of all display ads are never seen (defined as 50% of the pixels in view for at least one second). But contrary to popular belief, “below the fold” ads don’t necessarily have lower impression rates than those placed high on the page. (MediaPost)

79. Leaderboard (728 x 90 pixels) and medium rectangle (300 x 250) ad sizes have the highest view-in rates. Coupon and directory sites have the highest ad view rates, both over 80%. In contrast, a sponsor’s ads had just a 27% likelihood of being seen on pet-oriented sites. (MediaPost)

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Top 5 Reasons Web Marketing Now Relies on Content Strategy

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Guest post by Celina Conner.

It’s very rare that anyone prefers the packaging of an item to its contents. Consider for example, a bottle of a wine or the cover of a book—sure, what’s on the cover or label may be what initially appeals to you. But it is only when you taste the wine or read the book that you know what’s good—and what’s not. So while appearance is important, content is still king.

content-strategySimilarly, in web marketing and everything on the social web, visitors read content, search engines refer to content and determine the ranking of your website. Will it be a hit or miss? The result depends a lot on your web content strategy. With this in mind, here are five perhaps obvious reasons why online content strategy has now become so important.

Top 5 Reasons and Tips for Improvement

1. The Advent of Social Media

Social media is crucial in getting your content in front of your intended audience. People now dictate what’s great. They like and recommend on Facebook, re-tweet and quote on Twitter, plus one in Google+, and share links through other sites. They also forward emails, share their RSS feeds, participate in online forums and promote content through word-of-mouse-advertising among their peers. Maximize this opportunity to get their attention. You just have to identify and focus on your niche and target market. Research where your target customers are most active, then respond and address them correspondingly.

social cloudIn social media, what appeals is that you are a person and not a bot. One tip for writing your content conversationally is to use a tone like you are talking to one specific person only. Tell a story like you’re speaking over a cup of coffee. Comment like they are your friends and don’t treat them as customers in a formal business setting.

2. Google Algorithm Updates

If you chase Google’s algorithm to optimize your blog and content, you’ll be frustrated. Google is finding and implementing ways to improve its code and with its most recent updates, Panda and Penguin, ranking of websites is becoming more unstable. Rather than obsessing over specific tactics, focus on writing high-quality, relevant content for your audience and building links through social sharing. A blog content strategy which entails goals such as lead generation, traffic generation, link building and branding will support both search and business objectives over time.

3. Information Era

As the amount of content online has exploded, quality has become more critical. To build traffic without spending excessively on online advertising, it’s vital to keep publishing unique, quality content. Identify the subject-matter experts within your organization and supplement their knowledge with outside writing, video and graphic design expertise as needed. Having cornerstone content is future-proofing your site. Make sure that you deliver what yours customers view as valuable.

4. Competition for Attention

Content marketing is more than just the latest catchphrase. Competition is not just about the best product, lowest price or biggest ad budget, but about who can provide prospective buyers with the most compelling and search-worthy content. If your website provides substance, you’ll establish a reputation as a trustworthy source of information. When customers trust you, then Pagerank and other such measures matter far less. Market confidence in your content will be reflected in social shares and search results.

Content Strategy5. Thirst for Updates

Regular content updates give visitors a reason to return to your site. In addition, major search engines value fresh content. Create an editorial calendar that reasonably reflects your ability to produce new content. Break longer content into a series of shorter posts. Blog post and social status updates must be written clearly and concisely.

Conclusion

Excellent content doesn’t magically appear, it requires hard work and carefully planned strategy. Creative content, aligned with your overall business goals, will attract readers and turn them into buyers.

About the Author

Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, an alumna of Marketing Management at Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes.Follow her adventures on her Twitter.

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Book Review: Revenue Engine

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

In the foreword to Revenue Engine: Why Revenue Performance Management is the Next Frontier of Competitive Advantage by Steve Woods and Alex Shootman, Eloqua CEO Joe Payne writes that “This is not a book about marketing. It’s not about sales. This is a book about the only thing that matters: revenue.”

Revenue Engine by Steve Woods and Alex ShootmanWoods, CTO and co-founder of Eloqua, a provider of marketing automation software, and Shootman, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, present a bold and comprehensive framework for realigning sales and marketing groups around a data-driven process for maximizing revenue. The authors rather audaciously position the concept of revenue performance management (RPM) as “the final frontier for transformative investment,” following in the footsteps of the development of the principles of scientific management, total quality management and supply chain management.

Whether or not readers are ultimately persuaded by the authors’ arguments, there’s no question that their diagnosis of the changing landscape for b2b and considered consumer purchases hits the mark. Buyers now control the process; through search and social channels, buyers now complete 70% of their decision process before making their first contact with a sales person.

Yet at the same time, marketing and sales professionals now have access to far more data about what types of information buyers are seeking, where they are looking, what questions they are asking and what sources catch their attention, than ever before. Woods’ first book, Digital Body Language, explained how to capture and interpret that data; this book carries the process through to its conclusion, showing how to tailor content and communications based on that data to maximize sales revenue.

After examining the changing landscape and explaining why the traditional separation of sales and marketing functions no longer makes sense, Woods and Shootman delve into the buyer behavior and psychology, and what can be learned about these elements through online data collection; a framework for optimizing media and content investments; and how clean, high-quality data provides the foundation for the revenue engine.

Part 2 of the book, sub-headed “Stop Crunching Numbers—Start Crushing Them” delves into the detail of data collection, cleansing, benchmarking, optimization and utilization. It’s a practical field guide to building and running a revenue engine, though this isn’t an exercise to be taken lightly. It is in many respects a fundamental reordering of marketing and sales functions based on observation, testing, measurement and continuous improvement.

Among the insights offered along the way:

Search and social must work together to connect buyers with content: “The resulting challenge for marketers is interesting. If searches become more precise, we must strive to create a wealth of interesting, relevant content at all phases of the buying process. Similarly, as search results are increasingly guided by social influence, we must also build influence and reputation among the appropriate audiences so that our results are found to be relevant.”

Understand your primary marketing challenge in order to fix “leaks” in the buying process. Most marketing challenges fall into one of three broad categories: the Flying Car (“your business can solve a problem that most of the world is unaware can be solved…so potential buyers blindly continue with their inefficient processes…and do not actively look for a solution:);  the Wallflower (“you are not a vendor that comes to mind when prospective buyers look for alternatives”); or the Red-Headed Stepchild (“you are evaluated when potential buyers look for solutions, but buyers rarely select your solution”).

Your marketing emails had better provide value. “One or two uninteresting or non-valuable messages from a particular source will quickly lead the user to to reflexively delete or ignore any future content. This is known as an ‘emotional unsubscribe’—the recipient has effectively tuned out of the communication.”

Provide prospects with multiple methods for direct contact. “Active searches for information also occur when prospects call a vendor organization, submit an online request for information, or attend a tradeshow seeking answers to specific questions” (or engage directly in an online conversation with a vendor representative).

Understand who the key influencers are in your market and engage them. “The most reliable way—indeed, perhaps the only way to ensure your messages are fully discoverable in social media is to build strong relationships with the influencers in your space who are more likely to share those messages and ensure that your messages are sufficiently interesting, relevant and non-salesly.”

Use multiple methods to help prospects discover your solutions. “There are three primary avenues for buyers to become aware of your company and solutions: by actively seeking information (often via search), passively encountering information (often via ads), and being influenced to consider new information (often via social media).” PR can help with any of these methods as well.

And there’s much more.

Smaller companies with modest lead flows may find that this motor has more horsepower than they need, but marketing executives at mid-sized and larger b2b firms should give the Revenue Engine a test drive. They may just find it to be the key to a faster and more efficient vehicle for accelerating sales growth.

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