Posts Tagged ‘Ardath Albee’
As Wallis Simpson, Dutchess of Windsor, famously said, “You can never be too rich or too thin. Or have too many social media marketing statistics.”
Well, she actually only said the first part (which is debatable), but certainly would have said the second part (which isn’t) had social media been around in the 1930s.
How effective is social media in comparison to other digital marketing channels? Do consumers actually listen to brands? Do brands actually listen to consumers? How does B2B social media marketing differ in effectiveness from B2C use? Which network drives half of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs?
What type of posts generate the most engagement on Facebook? What do 91% of consumers check daily? What do more than half of marketers identify as their most critical areas of focus over the next 12 months?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in 106 digital marketing facts (well, mostly) and statistics from two dozen sources.
21 Social Media Statistics
1. 54% of B2B marketers said they have generated leads from social media. (CMO)
2. Among the largest social media sites, YouTube drives the most highly engaged website traffic (with visitors overall spending on average nearly four minutes and visiting three pages on target sites), followed in order by Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Reddit and StumbleUpon drive the least engaged visitors. (VentureBeat)
3. Is the value of social media marketing for b2c brand overrated? 68% of U.S. consumers say they “mostly” or “always” ignore brand posts on every social network. And 83% of consumers say they have had a “bad experience with social media marketing.” (Experience: The Blog)
4. Brand ads on social networks were among the least trusted form of advertising, significantly lower than trust in ads viewed in traditional media. (Experience: The Blog)
5. Among “prestige” consumer brands, over the past four years, less than 0.25% of new customers were acquired through Facebook and less than .01% from Twitter; this compares to almost 10% for paid search and 7% for email marketing. (Experience: The Blog)
6. And yet – 80% of brands advertised on social media sites in 2014. (DashBurst)
7. But – social media can be effective for selling things to marketers. Marketing professionals are 50% more likely than consumers in general to like a brand on Facebook, 400% more likely to follow brands on Twitter, 100% more likely to make a purchase as a result of seeing something on Facebook, and 150% more likely to have completed a purchase as a result of a tweet. (Experience: The Blog)
8. Only 20% of CMOs use social networks to engage and collaborate with customers. (MarketingLand)
9. But 24% of brand say they do “social listening.” (DashBurst)
10. Just 18% of consumers trust posts by brands or companies on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. (MediaPost)
11. While 78% of companies now have a dedicated social media team, only 26% integrate social media fully into their business strategies. (DashBurst)
12. Yet 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media- because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements. (#Socialnomics 2014)
13. 82% of hyper growth SMBs say social media is effective for generating new leads. (Business 2 Community)
14. 58% of marketers indicate that their social media efforts have generated leads. (Believable.) Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC. (Not as believable.) (Business 2 Community)
15. You’ve likely seen the statistic that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third-most populous on earth. What you may not know is that WhatsApp would be #5 (followed by the U.S.), Google+ #7, LinkedIn #9, and Twitter the 10th largest country. (#Socialnomics 2014)
16. For online merchants, the average order value influenced by social media last year was $143.46. (AddShoppers)
17. Though 60% of people say they get their news from TV and 29% from newspapers, social media comes in third as a news source at 28%. It’s followed by radio at 19% and other print media at 6%. (Digital Information World)
18. Though most customer service requests (40%) still come through call centers, 18% now originate via email and 13% through “eService” (web, social and chat). Customer service requests through that eService channel are expected to grow 53% in the coming year. (Bluewolf)
19. 90% of enterprises say they use social media to respond to customer service inquiries–yet 58% of consumers who have tweeted about a bad experience never received a response from the offending company. (Bluewolf)
20. When they do respond, the average response time of brands on Twitter to user comments or complaints is nine hours. (Social Media Slant)
21. 75 of the top 100 brands have a presence on Google+. (Social Media Slant)
5 Digital Marketing Statistics
22. For the first time, marketers spent more to advertise on the Internet (a total of $42.8 billion) than they did for broadcast television in 2013. (MediaPost)
23. U.S. marketers spent $12.8 billion on online display (banner) advertising in 2013–30% of the total online advertising spend. Retailers are the biggest spenders on display ads, accounting for 21% of total spending. (MediaPost)
24. However–just 32% of consumers say they trust online advertising of any type. Consumers trusted the messages in text message ads the least at 12%. (MediaPost)
25. 81% of marketing professionals believe that digital marketing technologies will cause their role to change within the next three years, but just 14% know how to “reinvent” themselves. (FierceCMO)
26. 76% of marketers say they need to be more data-focused to succeed, and 74% agree that “capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.” Yet only 39% report using customer data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past year. (FierceCMO)
8 Content Marketing Statistics
27. Marketers identified content marketing and social media engagement (each at 36%) among their top three digital marketing priorities for 2014. 31% included conversion rate optimization. Just 9% placed video marketing, and 2% connected TV, in their top priorities. (B2B Marketing Insider)
28. Consumer marketing is about mobile, B2B is about content. Asked what their organization’s “single most exciting opportunity” was for 2014, 22% of consumer marketers cited mobile, while just 10% of B2B marketers concurred. However, 24% of B2B marketers identified content marketing as their most exciting opportunity, compared to just 11% of B2C counterparts. (B2B Marketing Insider)
29. B2B purchasing decisions in general are taking longer and involving more people on the buying team. 58% of buyers say they spend more time researching than in the past; 53% rely more on peer recommendations; and 65% said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact. (Marketing Interactions)
30. 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection, yet just 9% of respondents think of vendors as trusted sources of content (ouch!); the most influential types of content across both the awareness and evaluation phases of the buying journey are third-party validated research reports and studies. (MediaPost)
31. 68% of business buyers start their content sourcing at search engines and portals, 40% go to vendor websites (why, if only 9% trust them? Hmm…), and 25% are activated by an email from a trusted source or peer. (MediaPost)
32. The three most sought-after types of content by business buyers are comprehensive industry/category surveys and studies (52%); technical details about products and solutions (44%); and analyst reviews or recommendations (43%). (MediaPost)
33. Content plays a pivotal role in add-on buying decisions or supplemental purchases following an initial contract; 86% of B2B buyers frequently or sometimes use digital content to identify complementary or add-on products. (MediaPost)
34. B2B marketers spent an estimated $16.6 billion in 2014 on digital content publishing to acquire business leads, influence customer specifications, and educate and engage prospects. (MediaPost)
22 B2B Marketing Statistics
35. LinkedIn is the only platform the majority (62%) of B2B marketers consider to be effective; in second place is Twitter, with 50% of saying it is effective. (CMO)
36. Only 16 percent of B2B consumers prefer live webinars. (CMO)
37. The average B2B marketing budget is about 2% of revenue. (CMO)
38. Metrics matter. 88% of B2B CMOs say their C-suite peers turn to them for data and insight needed to strategize and plan, and 78% agree that marketing’s influence on corporate strategy is greater today than it was just two years ago. (CMO)
39. The highest paying marketing jobs are in B2B. (CMO)
40. 60% of all social media traffic to business to business websites come from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (SteamFeed)
41. 34% of tech companies have reduced their traditional advertising budget to fund digital marketing activities. (Only 34%?) (SteamFeed)
42. Just 6% of b2b buyers say that a prospective vendor’s social media activity has “a lot” of impact on their purchase decisions. 30% say it is “important but not a deal breaker.” (Content Marketing Institute)
43. On the other hand, 55% of buyers will eliminate a vendor from consideration if contact information and a phone number are not easy to find on the vendor’s website. (Content Marketing Institute)
44. The vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent). Just 17% want to use live chat and 9% social media. (Content Marketing Institute)
45. After visiting the home page and products/services pages, the most important next stop for b2b buyer’s is a prospective vendor’s “About Us” page. (Content Marketing Institute)
46. U.S. B2B marketers are projected to spend more than $100 billion on social media advertising by 2017. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
47. The top social networks and social media tactics used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn and Facebook (each used by 86% of marketers), followed by Twitter (81%), blogging (64%), annd YouTube (53%). At the other end of the spectrum, less than 10% use Foursquare, podcasting, or Quora. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
48. More than 80% of B2B marketers say their top goal in social media is increased brand awareness. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
49. 53% of B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation. (Marketing Interactions)
50. 63% of industrial supplies buyers say they purchase online, making it the most popular purchasing channel. Paper catalogs are least important. (Internet Retailer)
51. 54% of B2B buyers say they spend half or more of the industrial supply budgets online, and 39% say they plan to increase the amount they spend online in the coming year. (Internet Retailer)
52. 67% of industrial buyers say it is “very” or “extremely” important for suppliers to offer the ability to purchase on their websites. Just 7% say this is “not important.” (Internet Retailer)
53. Emotion plays a surprisingly large role in B2B purchases. Even when buyers see the value to the business, only 14% perceive a real difference in supplier offerings. (Business 2 Community)
54. But 71% of B2B buyers who see a personal value will buy a product. (Business 2 Community)
55. And 68% of buyers who see a personal value will pay a higher price for business product or service–but just 8% of buyers who see no personal value will pay the higher price. (Business 2 Community)
56. More than two-thirds of tech B2B searches occur outside of North America. (Social Media Slant)
6 Twitter Statistics
57. “Twitter users who see tweets from B2B tech brands are more likely to visit the sites of these brands. A recent study found that Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate (59%) compared to average Internet users (40%), illustrating the strong presence of a B2B audience on Twitter. (CMO)
58. There is 50% crossover of members on Instagram and Twitter. (SteamFeed)
59. Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21% higher average engagement than those with none; but tweets with more than 3 hashtags get 17% less engagement. (SteamFeed)
60. Grandparents are the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter. (#Socialnomics 2014)
61. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users. (Social Media Slant)
62. 53% of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some time. (Social Media Slant)
7 LinkedIn Statistics
63. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for distributing content. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
64. For B2B websites and blogs, 90% of social traffic is driven by the big three networks–with half of it coming from LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)
65. 83% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing. (Business 2 Community)
66. 93% of B2B marketers find LinkedIn the most effective social network for B2B lead generation, and 77% say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)
67. Each second, two new members join LinkedIn – the equivalent of the entire enrollment of the Ivy League joining every day. (#Socialnomics 2014)
68. There are, on average, eight new LinkedIn groups created each week, and 200 group conversations per minute. (Social Media Slant)
69. LinkedIn (74%) and Tumblr (54%) are the only social networks that U.S. users access predominantly via desktop. (Social Media Slant)
5 Facebook Statistics
70. Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement. (SteamFeed)
71. Nearly half (45%) of B2B marketers say their company has gained at least one new customer through LinkedIn. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
72. 52% of digital news consumers say they get at least some of their news from Facebook and Twitter. (Digital Information World)
73. Facebook has 802 million daily active users–609 million on mobile devices. (Social Media Slant)
74. Posting to Facebook on Fridays is likely to result in better engagement: 17% of weekly comments, 16% of weekly likes and shares, and 25% of videos played occur on that day. Updates posted on Sundays generate the fewest comments. (Social Media Slant)
2 YouTube Statistics
75. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults 18-24 years old than any cable network. (SteamFeed)
76. U.S. marketers spent $2.8 billion on online video advertising in 2013. (MediaPost)
6 Pinterest Statistics
77. Pinterest outperforms Twitter and LinkedIn in the time spent on each network. (SteamFeed)
78. Almost half of all Pinterest activity is on tablets. (SteamFeed)
79. For online retailers, Pinterest (24.3%) and Facebook (24.2%) drive the highest share of social revenue. (AddShoppers)
80. Pinterest now hosts roughly 30 billion pins on 750 million boards. (Social Media Slant)
81. 100,000 of Pinterest’s members are retailers. (Social Media Slant)
82. 92% of all pins are posted by women, and as of April 2014, there were 15 times more pins by women than by men. (Social Media Slant)
5 SEO and SEM Statistics
83. One-third of all organic search clicks on Google are on the first result. (SteamFeed)
84. 43% of all online advertising dollars are spent on search ads. U.S. marketers spent $18.4 billion on paid search ads in 2013. (MediaPost)
85. 72% of PR agencies are now offering SEO services. (MarketingProfs)
86. Each day, 20% of the terms typed into Google have never been searched before. (#Socialnomics 2014)
87. By 2018, one of every $10 spent on digital marketing services will be spent on SEO. (MediaPost)
7 Email Marketing Statistics
88. By industry, the highest average email click-through rates are in media/publishing (20%), software/SaaS (19%), and technology equipment/hardware (14%). The lowest are in real estate (8%) along with education/healthcare and nonprofits (both at 7%). (MarketingSherpa)
89. As of 2013, there were 3.6 billion email accounts (roughly one for every two people on earth). (HubSpot)
90. 91% of consumers check their email daily. (HubSpot)
91. 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email. (HubSpot)
92. Suppressing anyone in your list who hasn’t engaged with your emails in over a year increases your deliverability rate by 3-5% immediately. (HubSpot)
93. For ecommerce merchants, the average value of Twitter share is 85 cents and the average value of a Facebook “like” is $1.41. But the average value of an email share is $12.10. (AddShoppers)
94. Also for ecommerce merchants, email subscribers convert at more than twice the rate of those reached through Google+ or Facebook shares. (AddShoppers)
12 Mobile Marketing Statistics
95. Half of all clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (SteamFeed)
96. CMOs say their top two areas for digital technology investments over the next 3-5 years are mobile applications and advanced (predictive) analytics, each at 94%. (MarketingLand)
97. U.S. marketers spent $7.1 billion on mobile ads in 2013–more than double the amount spent in 2012. (MediaPost)
98. 61% of marketers specify social media as the most critical area of focus over the next 12 months, followed closely by mobile at 51%. (FierceCMO)
99. 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices. But only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile. And 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile. (HubSpot)
100. 25% of emails are opened on iPhones. (HubSpot)
101. As of January 2014, 58% of American adults owned smartphones and 42% owned tablets. (Pew Research Center)
102. By the end of 2015, 81% of all U.S. cell phone users will have a smartphone. (Social Media Slant)
103. 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online; 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones. (Pew Research Center)
104. 81% of cell phone owners use their phones for text messaging; 74% use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location; and 52% use it to send or receive email. (Pew Research Center)
105. Many mobile marketers still don’t get it though. Nearly 70% of cell phone owners say they receive unwanted sales/marketing calls, spam or text messages on their phones. 25% say they receive these unwanted calls and texts at least weekly. (Pew Research Center)
106. Mobile sharing grew 2.6 times faster than desktop sharing through the first part of 2014, and now accounts for the majority of social actions. (Social Media Slant)
Much has been written about how the internet in general, and the explosion of content marketing in particular, has changed the nature of b2b marketing. In less than a generation, information has gone from being scarce to overabundant. Today’s b2b buyers are typically 70% of the way through their purchase process before they contact a vendor’s sales team.
Information proliferation means buyers are better-informed than ever about potential approaches to solving problems, and the related product and service alternatives. But the increased availability of data means vendors are also more knowledgeable about what matters to buyers, how they conduct research, which content resonates with prospective customers (and what types of content fall flat), how to refine and act on key measures and metrics, and most importantly, how decisions are ultimately made. The old “sales funnel” model is giving way to more sophisticated analytical frameworks.
How should b2b marketers adjust their strategies to keep up with this evolution? What types of messages matter most to today’s buyers? Which long-held beliefs of b2b marketers need to be discarded? What do elite marketers do well that their more average counterparts don’t?
Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than a dozen insightful guides to b2b marketing strategy from the past year.
How To Market For the Top Four B2B Business Growth Strategies by g2m Solutions
Sarah Pern examines “four major business growth strategies identified by the Ansoff Product-Market Matrix and shows you how to develop marketing strategies that are aligned with achieving the business goals you want.” For example, recommended marketing strategies for the business growth approach of market development include market research to help develop rich buyer personas, and awareness building using “online advertising…PR, SEO, Social Media, attending exhibitions, sponsoring events” (basically all of the elements of the web presence optimization framework) plus outbound tactics.
How To Do It Right: Demand Generation by Forbes
Patrick Spenner brilliantly makes that case that b2b marketers should focus on “improving the connections among stakeholders at customer organizations” rather than those between the supplier and individual stakeholders. He astutely notes that personas are often created as isolated individuals, with the connections between the different stakeholders who make up the B2B customer buying team left unexplored and unaddressed.
Glenn Taylor reports on the disconnect between what B2B companies tend to say about themselves and what potential customers want to hear (that is, what types of messages contribute most to perceived brand strength. He advises vendors to take the “opportunity to dig into your positioning and try to tell your story and the ‘why’ of what you do. Statements like ‘driver of innovation’ or ‘leader in our field’ are over done and past their prime. Most marketers cannot deliver on these and almost no customer believes them.”
John Lee details four practices used by the most successful social brands in B2B, such as using measurement to drive integration (“Lack of measurement is the number one reason that social fails…Nearly 90 percent of brands measure volume and engagement (likes, followers, etc.), but only 31% measure it against revenue”), and developing individual strategies for each social media platform.
B2B Marketing Trends That Will Shape Your Strategy by Anders Pink
Noting that B2B marketers have been gradually shifting effort and budget from outbound to inbound marketing channels “as buyers increasingly manage the early stages of the buying process without contacting vendors by reviewing websites, talking to peers in the industry and reviewing resources. This allows them to often filter and shortlist without ever talking to a sales rep,” Steve Rayson details eight strategy-shaping trends, including changes in buyer behavior, SEO, and corporate websites, along with the growth in content marketing and social media.
B2B Marketers Need To Step Up Emotional Connections by MediaPost
B2C marketing is often perceived as emotion-based, while B2B buyers decide based on facts and logic. The reality turns out to be quite different though; Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research which found “Emotional connections are much more ‘intense’ for business-to-business clients compared with B2C…Between 40% and 70% of customers feel emotionally connected to brands like Oracle, Accenture, FedEx, SAP, and Salesforce, compared with between 10% and 40% for CVS, L’Oreal, and Wal-Mart.” B2B marketers need to become more adept at presenting the professional, social, emotional, and personal value of their products and services.
Expanding on the findings reported in the post above, Scott Gillum reveals that “The company customers say that they are most emotionally connected to is…Cisco.” B2B purchases involve professional risk, particularly for the internal champion, and Cisco is very good at reducing risk for buyers. Furthermore, “Cisco is able to create…’personal value’ consisting of four parts: professional, social, emotional and self-image benefits.”
6 Persuasion Techniques: Science in B2B Marketing by Ideas@Work Blog
Following up on the post above, Vann Morris describes half-a-dozen techniques for tapping into B2B buyer emotion, such as liking: “Research shows that we are more likely to say yes to people we like, and we tend to like people who are similar to us, people who complement us, and people who cooperate with us toward a common goal.” Creating the vision of that “common goal” (and the buyer’s emotional attachment to it) is a powerful marketing technique.
7 Tactics that Are Working for B2B Lead Generation Today by CustomerThink
Louis Foong shares seven tactics that work in b2b marketing today, among them lead scoring using behavioral data (“For example, when a prospect signs up for a free trial, you should attach a higher score to that behaviour than when a new subscriber gets added to your email newsletter list”); progressive lead profiling (asking for new, additional information each time a specific prospect converts); and social retargeting (“If a prospect is just about floating at the top of the funnel, gated content won’t work—you need to give away something valuable, easily, with no strings attached. Gated content will work for prospects that are already quite convinced that your company has the knowledge to educate them on specific problems they are challenged with”).
The Myth of the Infinite Selling Universe by DemandBase
The always-insightful Ardath Albee exposes the myth (often used when raising venture capital) that the pool of prospective buyers for a company’s product or service is infinite; why this myth is dangerous (“it costs more to generate more leads. It costs more for salespeople to spend more time following up with more leads. This increases the cost per opportunity.”); and suggests how marketers should focus their time on the small set of ideal prospects.
Five Ideas on the Business-to-Individual Concept for B2B Marketers by MarketingSherpa
Reflecting discussions with industry experts including Brian Carroll and Brian Solis, David Kirkpatrick offers “five lessons on why you should be marketing to the individual, even as a B2B marketer,” among them: “Creating relationships should be a philosophy, not just a marketing strategy”; relevance matters; and the customer is now completely in charge of the buying process, so b2b vendors must “make it easy for those prospects to conduct self-discovery and self-service…provide content and tools that enable those potential prospects to make the decision to buy from you.”
5 Buyer Behaviors Reshaping B2B Marketing by iMedia Connection
Frequent best-of honoree Tony Zambito delves into five buyer behaviors that marketers need to be aware of and respond to, including that buyers embrace collaboration; they want to be involved in the co-creation of products and services; and “buyers want less content – yet desire smart content.”
B2B Marketing’s Measurement Problem by B2B Digital Marketing
Writing “It is called a complex sale for a reason, but B2B marketers keep trying to fit it into a simplistic measurement framework: where did we get that lead?,” Eric Wittlake explains why simple B2B marketing metrics are not just ineffective but also misleading, and offers recommendations on how to “more effectively measure the impact of marketing on your business.” (We would agree that a new breed of marketing metrics is needed to understand cross-channel impacts.)
The Forgotten Stars of B2B Lead Conversion by Business2Community
Warning about the dangers of forgetting the “less glamorous but vitally important tactical elements that do a lot of the the hard, relentless work of attracting and converting visitors to real leads,” Christabelle Tani outlines three simple yet vital components of lead generation, including social proof (“evidence that other human beings are advocating your company and what you sell”) and their role in each stage of the sales funnel.
Each year, the #Nifty50 awards honor 50 men and 50 women who actively engage on Twitter. 2011 was the inaugural year. In 2012, the #Nifty50 recognized the top men and women on Twitter in the technology realm.
The purpose of the award is to acknowledge the contributions of honorees to their fields, as well as their level of engagement on Twitter; to encourage interaction with these leaders; and to expand social networks. When the timing is right, the #Nifty50 will be expanded to include an element of social good—the #Nifty50 Kids project, which will provide access to advanced technologies for low-income children.
This year’s #Nifty50 highlights men and women who write—more specifically, who regularly produce some form of business-related online content (blog posts, news articles, videos, infographics, etc.)—and who actively engage on Twitter. The honorees include both full-time (e.g., journalists, authors, or PR professionals) and part-time writers (e.g., bloggers).
Since the first awards, the #Nifty50 hashtag has been tweeted and retweeted nearly 7,000 times, with a total exposure of more than 50 million people, according to Topsy. The #Nifty50 was also featured in the new book by Mark (@mnburgess) and Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess), The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) How Great Companies Make Social Media Work – Success Lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, and Domo on building a social culture.
For 2013, we’re pleased to honor 50 women (below) and 50 men (in a post on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog) who are both outstanding writers and content producers and active social media connectors and engagers. Beyond their professional lives, the interests of these women range from the fairly conventional (travel, food, wine, health, fashion, family) to the unexpected (Star Wars, Milk Duds, beer, Swedish fish).
We’re proud to acknowledge these 50 women from 48 different organizations as the top #Nifty50 women writers on Twitter for 2013. You can find and subscribe to or follow the entire list on Twitter here.
(Editor’s note: Though I’d be proud to claim her as a member of my extended clan, I’m fairly certain that Marissa Pick and I have no familial relationship.)
Meghan M. Biro
Anne Deeter Gallaher
Esta H. Singer
Again, you can find and follow the entire 2013 #Nifty50 Twitter women’s list here.
Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.
Content marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.
Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”
Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?
Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.
Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics
5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed
Helpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”
Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute
Patricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.
Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel
Noting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.
Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog
Though the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”
Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today
Steven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).
Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations
Rebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”
5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog
Jon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source. What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”
Noting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.
What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.
Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail
Christina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.
Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association
Sherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”), Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).
Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:
- • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
- • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
- • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.
J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.
Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.
4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection
Writing that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.
Because not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Marty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.
Content Marketing and SEO
10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.
How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs
This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.
Noting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.
Infographics, Images and Video
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”
Infographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.
The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.
Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa
Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”
The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.
7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends
Lisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”
Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS
Michael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.
How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club
Mireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.
The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”
Expert Copywriting Tips
Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”
Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company
Former McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.
25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS
Heather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.
Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).
Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute
Roger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”
As figures below show, email marketing remains a vital element of modern B2B and B2C marketing programs. More than four out of five internet users check their email first when they go online for business each day, and nearly three-quarters check email six or more times per day. Email messages generate 15 to 20 times the response rate of traditional paper direct mail—while costing much less and being more environmentally friendly.
Email and social media play well together. 81% of marketers are now using social media to expand the reach of their email content, as businesses that combine their email and social media efforts see faster list growth and higher click-through rates than those using email alone.
With that in mind, what are the best practices for combining email with social media marketing? What are the most effective tactics for growing a relevant opt-in subscriber list? How can marketers determine the best frequency for their email campaigns? Write subject lines that increase open rates? Avoid common mistakes that make their messages less impactful?
Find the answers to these questions and many more here in some of the best email marketing guides, articles and blog posts of the past year.
Email Marketing Tips & Tactics
How Uncoordinated Emails Can Kill Off B2B Prospects by MarketingProfs
Frequent best-of honoree Ardath Albee explains how email programs can go wrong when a customer or prospect receives email messages from multiple departments for different purposes, and the efforts are improperly (or not at all) coordinated–and how to avoid losing subscribers as a result.
Common HTML Email Design Mistakes by In The Box
Noting that “While HTML emails may appear to be miniature web pages, they possess a unique set of quirks and limitations,” Chelsea Rio details six common email html mistakes (e.g. over-reliance on images, particularly large images) and how to avoid them–assuring that what you intend is what your readers actually see.
20 Tips for developing a Successful Email Marketing Campaign by Web SEO Analytics
Dimitris Zotos provides 20 helpful email marketing tips here, from using A/B testing (to test styles, colors and fonts in order to optimize your subscription page) to having clear policies about privacy and sending frequency to adding sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content.
5 cardinal rules of email etiquette by iMedia Connection
Writing that “businesses need to be mindful of a few best practices before engaging via email, as it is a very personal channel and one misstep can cause a customer to hit the unsubscribe button,” Craig Fitzgerald presents a few simple email etiquette rules such as respecting frequency: “You don’t want to over-saturate email inboxes, but you also don’t want consumers to forget about you.”
6 Tactics to Determine B2B Email Frequency by Mass Transit
Adam Q. Holden-Bache passes along six methods for determining the right email frequency for your audience, so that you maximize potential returns without over-communicating and alienating your subscribers. For example, check your metrics: “If you see open/click rate drop-off and lowering conversation metrics, that will tell you that recipients aren’t responding to your campaigns. If you see steady or increased activity from your emails, then its likely you’re campaign schedule is at worst at an acceptable level.”
5 Tips To Dive Into Email Metrics by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Reporting that “when trying to communicate with prospects, organizations are using e-newsletters most (72%) vs. social networks (48%) and blogs (46%),” Nathaniel Cramer advises email marketers on how to take action based on common email metrics list open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates.
The State of Email Marketing (Infographic) by Constant Contact
***** 5 STARS
Discover why email marketing remains popular, based on hard data: 74% of online adults say email is their preferred form of commercial communication. 83% report that email is the “first tool they check when going online for their business each day.” 72% say they check their email six or more times per day. And “even Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that email is the first thing she checks in the morning and the last thing at night.”
How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines
How to Write Better Email Subject Lines by The Lunch Pail
Pointing out that “Email marketing is only as strong as its open rates,” Patti Renner explains the “5 C’s” or great email subject lines and throws in some additional tips, such as keeping it short, avoiding redundancy (e.g., “If your From line includes your business name, your subject line doesn’t need to repeat it”) and using acronyms and jargon carefully.
The 4 Words That Will Get Your Email Opened by Copyblogger
Sean Platt reveals what these four words are, what kind of results they can generate, why they are so effective, and how to support those words in the body of your email message, no matter what type of product or service you sell.
Best Practices for Integrating Email and Social Media Marketing
5 Email Marketing & Social Media Musts For 2011 by iMedia Connection
Curt Keller offers some outstanding guidance on how to integrate email and social media marketing activities, such as “Run through your social media presences with a magnet, grab every comment that praises your brand to the high heavens, and stuff them in your next email: either as a section or as the focus of an entire newsletter.”
Email Plus Facebook Marketing: Fresh ideas from FreshPair by MarketingSherpa Blog
Daniel Burstein interviews Lindsay Massey, Marketing Director at Freshpair about integrating Facebook and email marketing activities, because as Lindsay notes, “We look at email and social as great complements to each other, and we definitely don’t see email as ‘dead.’ After all, how does Facebook notify you that you have new comments or messages? Email!”
How to Grow and Manage an Opt-In Email Subscriber List
10 Effective Ways to Get More Email List Subscribers by KISSmetrics
Sherice Jacob provides 10 tips to maximize the quality of subscribers on your email list, not just the quantity. Included on her list: make your submit button interactive, encourage readers to forward your newsletter, and offer special deals to new subscribers. Not included (thankfully)–displaying an annoying pop-up box to new site visitors.
21 Awesome Ideas to Grow Your Email List by HubSpot Blog
Michael Redbord lists almost two dozen “ideas for offers that can help dramatically increase the size of your email list and lead conversion volume,” such as education (eBooks, whitepapers, buyer’s guides), free stuff, and online tools (e.g. ROI calculators, “grader” apps).
You Bought a List… Now What? by iMedia Connection
Gary Halliwell shares five tips for effectively using and managing a purchased list for B2B marketing purposes, starting with effective planning: “List buying should be part of a larger strategic plan. Lay out the full plan on a whiteboard, and include everything from initial touch-point, to sales accepted lead, to closed deal. Define the metrics that help you track success of your campaign over a reasonable amount of time.”
The 7 High-Converting Places to Add Email Sign-Up Forms to Build Your List by Social Triggers
Derek Halpern identifies seven places (well, six places plus, in Derek’s own words, “The Dreaded Lightbox Pop-up…The Lightbox sign up form is a GREAT way to grab emails. However, depending on your niche, it may not work. In some niches, the light box pop-up can KILL your conversions because it’s annoying.” Pop-up boxes suck.) to add an email signup form in order to maximize subscriptions.
Mobile Email Marketing Tips
Mobile Email Marketing – What You Need To Know by Modern B2B Blogs
Contending that “Originally thought to be more effective for B2C markets, mobile email marketing is fast becoming an effective way to communicate with B2B prospects and boost lead generation,” Maria Pergolino outlines four key best-practice areas for mobile email marketing, including formatting (it’s “best to send critical email marketing messages as text instead of html allowing the email to be readable on any mobile email client”) and design considerations.
How to Create Mobile Friendly Emails by Site Reference
Misti Sandefur reports that “31% of people view their personal emails on their mobile phones,” and that figure is increasing. She then provides seven tips for creating mobile-friendly emails, from creating a mobile-specific template and keeping subject lines short to sticking with single-column, left-aligned text.