Posts Tagged ‘Shelley Pringle’
Search engine marketing (SEM) accounts for roughly three out of every eight dollars spent on digital advertising, with Google alone commanding 31% of the market.
That share is even larger within the b2b marketing space, and for good reasons: 88% of b2b buyers conduct online research before making business purchasing decisions, and nearly half of b2b tech buyers say they’ve discovered brands they weren’t previously aware of through a search engine.
While organic search traffic still drives roughly half of business website traffic, paid search accounts for 10%—and it enables marketers to guarantee first-page presence even for highly competitive search phrases that are difficult to optimize for organically.
So how can search engine marketers maximize their click-through rate (CTR) and conversions from paid search? Which tools and reports are most helpful? How and when should marketers use retargeting and ad extensions? What common SEO pitfalls and mistakes should they avoid?
Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best guides to search engine marketing of the past 18 months.
7 deadly sins of Google AdWords by iMedia Connection
Calling AdWords “both an easy-to-get-started and difficult-to-master tool for online advertisers,” Sheri Firstenberg takes a “look at seven AdWords sins that could be killing your ROI,” among them using search network with display select as your campaign type (search and display work differently and campaigns should be managed separately); dropping the ball on ad extensions; and ignoring match types and negative keywords.
Miranda Miller writes that Google’s recently introduced Callout extensions enabole “you to add more text to your ad to spotlight free shipping, discounts, price matching and more. Callout extensions are similar to sitelinks, but without the links,” then explains why advertisers may want to use them, how to get started, and tips & tricks.
10 ways to get the most from PPC in a small-keyword category by eConsultancy
Using the category of home insurance as an example, Malcolm Slade demonstrates how “how search marketers operating in a highly-competitive category can achieve visibility and acquire new customers without simply increasing their paid search bids,” through tactics like remarketing, ad extensions, and social proof.
Once you get past the obnoxious pop-up ad here, Gary Victory reviews nine helpful tools for paid search keyword research, including KeywordCompetitor (which shows “your competitors’ paid keywords, ads, and landing pages”) and iSpionage (“allows you to gain insight into competitors’ effective keywords, ad copy, and ad budget”) as well as popular tools like SEMrush and SpyFu.
Adam Kreitman explains what the Google Display Network is (“a huge network of websites—from the New York Times site down to tiny sites hardly anyone knows about—that run Google ads”); how it can help search advertisers expand impressions, clicks and conversions; and how to use keyword targeting and management placements. Additional targeting options are explored in part 2 and part 3 of this series.
Emma Welland identifies four reports within Google Analytics that search engine marketers should be reviewing, and the value provided by each. For example, the Keyword Positions report (found at Acquisition>Adwords>Keyword Positions) reveals which ad positions actually provide the highest conversion rate (it’s not always the top spot).
Help! I Raised My AdWords Bids and Got LESS Traffic! by WordStream
Andy Stefano does the math to show how increasing bids can actually reduce clicks, how quality score can increase clicks without increasing the budget, and strategies to address different search marketing goals (branding, traffic, conversions, or ROI).
AdWords Keyword Diagnosis Report: Diagnosis Statuses Decoded by Search Engine Journal
Reporting that “AdWords provides a keyword diagnosis tool inside the user interface that few people know about, and even those who do use the tool may be surprised to learn the tool is quite robust,” Heather Cooan explains what each keyword status means, from “ads showing now” (what you’d like to see for every keyword phrase) through “low quality score,” “low search volume,” “keyword disapproved,” “excluded” and more than a dozen others.
John A. Lee looks into the implications of changes to search engine results pages like product listing ads (PLAs), knowledge graphs, and suggested searches (less space for ad units and higher CPCs), and what search advertisers can do to try to retain top exposure for their ads.
Maximize Your Click Through Rate: Tips on Writing Killer Ad Copy by Vertical Measures
Natalie Barreda explores how to optimize ad copy, from the headline to ad extensions, competitive analysis, and ad body text: “The absolute, most important component when writing ad text to ensure quality clicks is the call to action in the ad. Another important thing to note is the ad relevancy/keyword use within the actual ad copy.”
Going Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Ads with 3x the Average CTR by WordStream
***** 5 STARS
In this long and detailed post, Larry Kim goes step-by-step through a process to “ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.” Along the way he spells out the difference between average and exceptional campaigns; the intricacies of AdRank; dynamic keyword insertion; ad extensions; and much more.
The Ultimate List to Clean Up Your PPC Accounts for the New Year by Search Engine Watch
Joseph Kerschbaum details 16 elements that search marketers should review periodically to keep campaigns running in top form, among them geographic tarketing and bid modifiers; ad scheduling; ad rotation and delivery; ad copy; landing pages; and shared negative keyword lists across campaigns (“make sure all of your negative lists are targeted to the proper campaigns. You might be surprised at what you find”).
Rethinking Your Paid-Search Presence by MediaPost
Writing that “Unfortunately, many marketers look at their paid-search keywords in a silo. They get stuck in the channel. They may realize that certain terms work better in paid search, increasing conversions, customers and revenue, but they stop there, rather than integrating these terms across all marketing initiatives — which would provide a far greater impact,” Elizabeth Dillon explains how marketers can and should rethink paid strategies in terms of optimizing overall web presence.
New AdWords Ad Ranking Formula: What Does It Mean? by Search Engine Land
Larry Kim (again) demonstrates how AdRank works in AdWords and how Google uses it to determine “the order in which competing ads should be ranked on a SERP.” He also points out that AdRank “plays a huge role in determining the actual cost-per-click that your competitors [ITALICS] pay when someone clicks on their ads,” and delves into what search marketers should be doing to optimize AdRank given Google’s latest changes to this algorithm.
The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Quality Score by PPC Hero
***** 5 STARS
This long, detailed, and outstanding guide is designed to “help you understand the different types of Google Quality Score, why they’re important, the misconceptions about Quality Score, and it will provide you with a checklist of actions you can take to help raise your Quality Score.” This is one worth bookmarking for long-term reference.
Top 5 Ways You’re Leaking Money in AdWords by WordStream
Noting that small businesses typically waste 25% of more of their AdWords budget, Erin Sagin identifies five “culprits” that unnecessarily drain those dollars, and how to deal with each one. For example, not using negative keywords: “If you detect that a searcher is looking for something that you do not offer, eliminate the possibility of showing your ad to them by setting a negative keyword.”
A Guide to Retargeting (Remarketing) for B2B Marketers by KoMarketing B2B Online Marketing Blog
Joseph Vivolo defines what remarketing and retargeting (which are pretty much synonyms) is; dispels common misconceptions (“The biggest misconception is that retargeting is a form of stalking…[but] no matter what, you will find ads on webpages as you browse the web. The only difference with retargeting, is that the next time you see an ad, it will most likely be something that you are interested in”); explains the value of retargeting for B2B marketers; and lists several best practices.
Search Remarketing: What You Need To Know by MediaPost
Contrary to the post above, Jeremy Walker writes that “While each serves to more accurately reach specific audiences, search retargeting and search remarketing are two very different practices.” He goes on to explain the distinctions, benefits, considerations (be prepared for much lower volume), and mistakes to avoid when using search remarketing.
Infographic: Nearly 1/3 of consumers click on paid links by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
Jim Dougherty presents an infographic from DMNews containing a number of interesting SEM-related stats, such as that paid search has a higher average conversion rate (2.6%) than organic search (1.9%), and that paid search accounts for 44% of all search engine traffic revenue for online retailers. The figures may or may not be spot on, but the underlying message that marketers shouldn’t ignore paid search is spot on.
Should Every PPC Expert Know CRO? by PPC Hero
Calling conversion rate optimization (CRO) a”a fundamental part of PPC,” Sam Owen lays out the five principles of how good websites work, then explains how to improve your CRO skills using the DHAES approach (for data, hypothesis, approach, experiment, and statistical significance: typically you “need at least 50 conversions per test page”).
Laurie Sullivan writes that “The Estimated Total Conversions AdWords tool estimates online sales and conversions that require multiple devices to complete,” and explains how this tool works to “give advertisers a complete view of all conversions driven by Google search advertising…(including) metrics based on phone calls and store visits.”
The 10 DOs & 10 DONTs in Google AdWords by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS
Rocco Baldassarre helpfully provides a reference-worthy list of 10 things advertisers should definitely DO in AdWords (e.g., utlize the keyword planner, hone your ad text, use tightly themed ad groups) and 10 practices to avoid (such as paying “too much attention to keyword popularity metrics,” trying to outbid competitors, and neglecting geographic targeting).
After noting that optimizing AdWords quality score can reduce CPC by as much as 50%, Elisa Gabbert explains three ways to gradually improve quality scores, from using site extensions (like sitelinks and call extensions, which are “especially key for mobile ads, allowing people to call you with one click and get what they need right when they want it”) to bidding on brand terms.
Every Adwords Campaign will have its Day by KKSmarts
Writing that “By combining their adcopy with that time their ad is running they will definitely stand out from the other adverts and, as we know, ads that stand out usually get clicked on!,” Mike Seddon proceeds to explain how to use ad scheduling to separate your ads from the pack and increase CTR.
Shelley Pringle shares 10 key considerations for designing an effective landing page, from making the offer clear and “answering, the question: what’s in it for them?” and keeping the form short to using the “blink test” and optimizing your post-submit thank-you page.
10 Alternatives to Google AdWords by PPC Hero
While Google AdWords is by far the largest PPC network, there are times when marketers may need to use other networks in addition to or in place of AdWords. In this post, guest blogger Aleh Barysevich details 10 alternatives, from the obvious Yahoo! Bing Network to AdRoll, “a retargeting platform, which is one of the top third-party tools officially approved by Facebook.”
As the old b-school maxim goes, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” One of the attributes of the web that marketers love most (and occasionally hate most) is its nearly infinite measurability.
Which sources sent the most traffic to your site last month? Which converted at the highest rate? What are the trends over time? Which content seemed to make visitors stick—and which pages drove them away? Which metrics are most important to business executives? To PR professionals? To bloggers?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in ten of the best posts and articles about web analytics from the past year.
9 downloadable custom Google Analytics reports by iMedia Connection
Rachelle Maisner serves up a “four course meal” of custom GA reports, progressing from acquisition metrics (visits and goal conversions by traffic source) as a first course through behavior metrics, conversion measures, and for dessert, site diagnostics including average page load time, bounce rate, and page views.
Google URL Builder: How to Track Links Shared by Razor Social
Want to track how many people clicked on key links shared across social media channels, email, news releases,and other distribution points? Writing that “The Google URL builder was developed to support this problem. When you create a link using the URL builder you can tag on additional information to the link that describes what the link is about, where the traffic came from when it lands on your site and much more,” Ian Cleary walks through what the URL builder does, how to use it, what happens when you share the link, and how to analyze the results in Google Analytics.
Know Your Social Traffic With These 3 Google Analytics Powerviews by Search Engine People
Ed Baxter details the social metrics available through Google Analytics and how to use this data to gain a richer perspective of the value and activity of social web traffic. For example, “Knowing which pages visitors look at in a tabular view is helpful but with the Visitor Flow report, we can begin to truly understand where people are landing on our site and how they process through it, highlighting potential trouble areas like never before within Google Analytics.”
How to Filter Bot Traffic From Your Google Analytics by LunaMetrics
Noting that “Bot visits skew your data, artificially inflating visits and unique visitors, increasing bounce rate, and decreasing pages/visit, average visit duration, goal conversion rate, ecommerce conversion rate, etc,” Jim Gianoglio shows how to create filters and custom segments within Google Analytics to prevent bot visits from skewing your (real) visitor data.
Dan Friedman unveils the new Paid & Organic report for AdWords advertisers, explaining that “Previously, most search reports showed paid and organic performance separately, without any insights on user behavior when they overlap. The new paid & organic report is the first to let you see and compare your performance for a query when you have either an ad, an organic listing, or both appearing on the search results page.”
Three Data Points to Measure Your Blog Efforts by Spin Sucks
The delightful Gini Dietrich steps through the process of setting up Goals in Google Analytics to track “how engaged the readers are (even if they don’t comment), whether or not they’re big readers, and increases in subscribers” (or any type of conversion action, such as white paper or ebook downloaders for example).
The metrics that will make your CMO love you by iMedia Connection
Well, competitive multi-channel marketing metrics are what will make your CMO truly love you, but John Ellett makes an excellent case here for three categories of measures: revenue contribution metrics, customer feedback metrics, and marketing effectiveness/efficiency metrics.
Periodic Table of Google Analytics by Jeffalytics
***** 5 STARS
As a result of “working on a project to categorize and visually display all of the powerful options available within Google Analytics,” Jeff Sauer came up with this brilliant guide in the form of a periodic table, in both clickable interactive and printable PDF formats. Worth bookmarking.
The public relations pros’ guide to Google Analytics by Polaris B
Writing that “In today’s converging marketing world it’s especially important for public relations pros to understand the ins and outs of Google, SEO and online analytics. If your mandate is generating media coverage and you understand GA, you’ll be abe to show the benefit of the coverage you’ve secured that goes beyond audience impressions,” Shelley Pringle shares an infographic to guide PR pros to helpful Google Analytics-related resources based on their needs and level of analytics knowledge.
Google Analytics Regular Expressions Cheat Sheet by Cheatography
Get your geek on with this helpful cheat sheet from Jay Taylor, listing Google Analytics regular expressions for character classes, filter group accessors, quantifiers (e.g, zero or more), ranges and groups, and more—along with sample patterns showing how these expressions can be used.
As marketing becomes more data-driven, it’s vital to use data to keep up with trends, competitor strategies, and developments in your market. To that end, 94.7% of all marketers love blog posts about marketing statistics.
For example, 93% of marketers use social media for business. But how do marketers and consumers view social media differently? How do top executives use social media? Small businesses? Rapidly growing companies? B2b vendors? What are the best days and times for Facebook updates? What’s the average click-through rate of a link shared on Twitter? What tactic do 92% of SEO professionals view as effective? What percentage of queries on Google each day are new to the world (i.e., won’t show up in keyword research tools)?
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here in 101 vital social and digital marketing stats for (the rest of) 2013.
Social Media Facts and Statistics
93% of marketers use social media for business. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
Social media has reached middle age(d). The fastest growing segment of social media users is now adults aged 45-54%. 55% of this age group now have a profile on at least one social network. (State of Search)
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the most popular social networks with search engine marketers. The second-most popular tier includes YouTube, blogging and LinkedIn. The least popular major networks are Flickr, Tumblr and StumbleUpon. (B2B Infographics)
Marketers aren’t like ordinary people. (A pause here while you absorb the shock of that statement). While 86% of marketing professionals have “liked” at least one brand on Facebook, just 58% of consumers have done so. And the gap is even more dramatic on Twitter, where 61% of marketers but just 12% of consumers follow at least one brand. (Thought Reach)
Furthermore–75% of social media users “object to major companies and platforms using their personal information for commercial purposes.” And just 12% admit to having their purchases influenced by Facebook “Likes” or Google “+1s”.(Relevanza)
How big are these networks? As of January 2013, the five largest social networks based on active monthly users were: Facebook (1 billion), YouTube (800 million) and Google+ (343 million) followed by Twitter and LinkedIn with 200 million active monthly users each. (TECHi)
Social media users are more social than non-social-media-using-internet-users in real life too: social networkers are 18% more likely to work out at a gym or health club, 19% more likely to attend a sporting event, and 26% more likely to give their opinion about politics and current events. (TECHi)
Half of all social media users under age 35 follow their online friends’ product and service recommendations. (TECHi)
Three-fourths of marketers planned to increase strategic efforts on social media and social networking sites this year, with 68% also focusing more on SEO and 63% on blogs. (eMarketer)
One in five married couples met online. But…20% of all divorces are blamed on Facebook. Coincidence? Hmm. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
As universal as business use of social media can seem to be, 26% of companies still block access to social media sites in their workplaces. 31% have no social media policy in place. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
54% of consumers say that “smaller communities have greater influence on a topic than larger ones.” (MarketingProfs)
Social media…to engage or to advertise? Turns out agencies are slightly more likely than in-house marketers (81% vs. 75%) to advertise on social networks, while corporate marketers are significantly more likely to utilize “free” social media tools (89% vs. 71%). (Heidi Cohen)
70% of brand marketers (and 60% of agency professionals) view social media advertising as more valuable for building brand awareness than for driving direct response. (Heidi Cohen)
But–contradicting the statistic above–66% of brand advertisers want to see a measurable sales bump from social media advertising. (Heidi Cohen)
How C-Level Executives Use Social Media
82% of buyers say they trust a company more when its CEO and senior leadership team are active in social media. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
77% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company if its CEO uses social media. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
And yet – 36% of executives say their CEO “either does not care, or cares little, about the company’s reputation in social media.” (Polaris B)
It helps having a woman at the top. Female small business CEOs are 78% more likely to say social media is highly valuable to their firm’s growth (20.8% vs. 11.6%), and 43% less likely to say it isn’t valuable (14.2% vs. 25%). (Marketing Charts)
Email is still the most effective way to reach top executives; 90% say they check their inboxes regularly. 64% use LinkedIn on a regular basis, while 55% say the same for Facebook. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
How the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies Use Social Media
Only one-third of the companies in the Inc. 500 say they can adequately determine ROI for the social media spending. (Relevanza)
Yet 35% of marketers say ROI is the most important measure of inbound marketing success. 24% say marketing’s influence on sales and 16% cite conversion rate as the key metrics. (Marketing Charts)
90% of Inc. 500 companies use at least one major social media platform. And 62% say social media is either “somewhat” or “very” necessary to their growth. (Heidi Cohen)
But just 44% of Inc. 500 companies maintain a blog. “This low number is a surprise since blogs drive social media, content marketing and search.” (Heidi Cohen)
How Small to Midsized Businesses (SMBs) Use Social Media
21% of small businesses plan to increase spending on social media advertising this year. (eMarketer)
92% of small businesses say that social media is an effective marketing technology tool. They are evenly split on the effectiveness of social media for attracting new customers vs. engaging existing customers. (e-Strategy Trends)
A whopping 95% of small businesses view blogging as an effective marketing technology tool–second only to email marketing. 15% say blogging is most effective at engaging existing customers; 11% value it more for attracting new customers; and 69% say blogging is equally effective for both objectives. (e-Strategy Trends)
Facebook Facts and Statistics
Obsession? 23% of Facebook users check their accounts five or more times every day. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
But it’s vital for businesses to have a Facebook presence: 80% of Faceook users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
47% of Americans say that Facebook has a greater impact on their purchasing behavior than any other social network. (State of Search)
Facebook = mobile. More than half of all Facebook members have used the social network via a smartphone, and 33% use a phone as their primary means of Facebook access. (State of Search)
67% of b2c marketers have generated leads through Facebook. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
33% of milennial consumers are more likely to buy from a company if it has a Facebook page. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
The best time and day for Facebook postings? Saturdays at noon. To maximize sharing, post to Facebook 3-4 times per week. (Visual.ly)
56% of Facebook users check in at least daily. 7% say they would check a message “during an intimate moment.” Awk-ward. (TECHi)
Half of all mobile web traffic in the U.K. goes to Facebook. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
48% of consumers who follow brands on Facebook do so in order to take advantage of sweepstakes and promotions. 18% follow to complain about a product or service. (MarketingProfs)
67% of the Inc 500 use Facebook, a decline of 7 percentage points from 2011. Facebook “demands dedicated resources” but doesn’t always show a comensurate return. (Heidi Cohen)
While 75% of internet users over age 45 prefer to share information using email, 60% of those under 30 say the same for Facebook. (Relevanza)
LinkedIn Facts and Statistics
97% of business executives have used LinkedIn. (Search Engine Journal)
LinkedIn rules for business owners. Asked which social media tool had the greatest potential to help their firms, 41% of small business owners chose LinkedIn. More CEOs chose LinkedIn than chose Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest combined. (Marketing Charts)
LinkedIn is the “social platform of choice” for companies in the Inc. 500, the index of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. 81% of these firms use LinkedIn, compared to 67% on both Facebook and Twitter. (Relevanza)
80% of LinkedIn users are at least 30 years old. (Relevanza)
Twitter Facts and Statistics
On Twitter, frequency (and quality) matter: 71% of all tweets are ignored. Just 23% generate a reply. (Search Engine Journal)
Worse, 56% of customer tweets to companies are ignored. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
69% of follows are based on recommendations from friends. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
34% of marketers say they have generated leads using Twitter. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
53% of Twitter users have been using it for less than one year. (State of Search)
50% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
The average click-through rate (CTR) for a link shared on Twitter is about 1.6%, BUT—the average CTR drops as one’s number of Twitter followers increases. Accounts with 50-1,000 followers generate a better-than-6% average CTR; the rate drops to less than 0.5% on average for accounts with 10,000 or more followers. (Bit Rebels)
During the work week, Tuesday has the highest CTR (1.8%) and Friday the lowest (under 1.5%). (Bit Rebels)
During the day, CTRs are highest between 8:00-10:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm. (Bit Rebels)
When planning timing of tweets, keep in mind that almost half of the U.S. population lives in the eastern time zone, and 80% of Americans live on eastern or central time. (Visual.ly)
Maximum CTR on tweets occurs between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Unless you are particating in a Twitter chat, there’s no point in tweeting more than four times per hour. (Visual.ly)
Nearly 40% of top executives say they check Twitter regularly. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
67% of the Inc 500 use Twitter. Though valuable for content marketing and customer service, it is labor-intensive. (Heidi Cohen)
Pinterest Facts and Statistics
Women still constitute 80% of Pinterest users. (Search Engine Journal)
50% of users are parents. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
80% of pins are repins. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
Pinterest and Tumblr are among the “stickiest” social media sites, each accounting for, on average, 89 minutes of time spent per month per user. That compares to 21 minutes monthly on average spent on Twitter, 17 minutes on LinkedIn, and just three minutes on Google+. (TECHi)
25% of all female internet users in the U.S. use Pinterest–compared to just 5% male web users. (eMarketer)
Google+ Facts and Statistics
Google+ has attracted users, but not engagement. Non-mobile users spend an average of just three minutes per month on the site, and 30% of users who make a public post never make another one. (Search Engine Journal)
40% of marketers use Google+. Two-thirds plan to increase activity there over the coming year. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
This doesn’t count as an official statistic, but in the process of collecting 100+ social media stats and facts, only the two above related specifically to Google+. For whatever that’s worth.
Blogging Facts and Statistics
B2b companies that maintain blogs generate, on average, 67% more leads per month than non-blogging firms. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
57% of marketers have acquired customers via their blogs, and 52% of consumers say blogs have impacted their purchasing decisions. (B2B Infographics)
Just 44% of Inc. 500 companies blogs – but that is up from 2011. (Relevanza)
Blogs are rated by consumers as the third-most influential category of sites influencing purchasing behavior (after retail sites and brand sites) – yet they garner just 10% of social media budgets (comnpared to 57% for Facebook). (Pamorama)
Blogs are the fifth-most trustworthy source overall for online information (ahead of Google+, forums, online magazines, brand sites, Twitter and Pinterest). (Pamorama)
86% of “influencers” blog. (Pamorama)
23% of top executives say they read blogs regularly. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
Content Marketing Facts and Statistics
Content marketing works. 70% of marketers say that content marketing has increased their brand awareness; 59% believe it supports sales growth; and 45% say it has reduced their advertising costs. (iMedia Connection)
92% of SEO practitioners say content creation is an effective SEO tactic, and 76% regularly invest in content creation. (B2B Infographics)
Marketers spend most of their time producing blog posts, article and guides, social media updates, e-newletters, and news releases; they spend the least on podcasts, polls and surveys. (B2B Infographics)
While 90% of companies are engaged in some form of content marketing [http://webbiquity.com/book-reviews/book-review-content-rules/], just 36% believe their efforts are highly effective. (Polaris B)
Images are (important!) content too: 94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images. Using photos provides a 37% increase in Facebook engagement and 14% increase in news release pageviews. (Heidi Cohen)
B2B Marketing Statistics and Facts
Social matters in b2b. 53% of b2b buyers follow social discussions about vendors they are considering. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
The role of sales has changed. 67% of the typical “b2b buyer’s journey” is now done digitally. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
Google accounts for 90% of search traffic to b2b websites. (MediaPost)
Average conversion rates for different types of b2b web traffic: 1.60% overall; 2.89% for email; 1.04% for referral visits; 1.96% for paid search; 1.80% for branded search; 1.65% for direct visits; 1.45% for non-brand organic search; and 1.22% for social media. (MediaPost)
The biggest challenges for b2b content marketers? 64% struggle to produce enough content, while just over half (52%) find production of “engaging” content a challenge. (imFORZA)
More than 80% of b2b marketers use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to distribute content. 61% use YouTube and 39% Google+. The least popular channels (all with single-digit percentage use) are Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr and Quora. (Polaris B)
SEO is for traffic, social is for leads? Organic search accounts for, on average, 41% of traffic to SMB b2b websites, but just 27% of leads. Social media, in contrast, supplies just 2% of visits but 5% leads. And email accounts for just 1% of web traffic on average, but 9% of leads. (eMarketer)
Breaking that social traffic down one level, Facebook accounts for 54% of b2b website social media visits, but just 9% of leads; Twitter, on the other hand, provides less than a third of social visits but a whopping 82% of social leads. (Really?) (eMarketer)
SEO Statistics and Facts
Search produces quality traffic. SEO leads have a 14.6% sales close rate on average, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads (e.g., from direct mail or print advertising). (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
Search is the top traffic driver to content-oriented websites, producing on average nearly four times the traffic of social media (41% from search, 11% from social). (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
Another study found an even more dramatic advantage for search, with organic search supplying 40% of all traffic (and Google alone accounting for 36% of visits) to b2b websites, while social media accounted for just 5% of traffic. (Forbes)
Keyword research only goes so far: 16% of daily Google searches, on average, have never been seen before. (War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing)
Remeber when Google first started “hiding” the exact keywords used in organic search, and promised this would only affect a small percentage of search traffic? It now hides, on average, keyword data for 41% of all organic searches. (MediaPost)
For b2b websites, on average, the split between branded and non-brand search traffic is 31%/69%. (MediaPost)
6 of 10 organizations plan to increase SEO spending this year. (imFORZA)
One-third of searches are location based. (imFORZA)
71% of marketers say that content marketing has helped inprove their site’s ranking in organic search, and 77% say it has increased website traffic. (iMedia Connection)
Nearly a quarter of U.S. small businesses plan to spend more on their web presence this year–as well they should. As of early 2013, “More than 60% lacked an address on their homepage, and nearly 50% did not provide a contact number…47% were not present on Google Places, and 35% did not have a Bing Local presence.” (eMarketer)
Don’t forget to optimize videos for search. YouTube is the second-largest “search engine” by volume of searches. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
Top brands spend, on average, 19% of their digital marketing budgets on search, vs. 14% on video content and 10% on social media. But the largest share (41%) goes to display advertising. (MarketingProfs)
Mobile Marketing Statistics and Facts
25% of all internet searches last year were made on mobile devices. And 25% of all U.S. internet users are mobile only (includes tablets). (imFORZA)
More than three-quarters (77%) of mobile users use their smartphones and tablets for searching and social networking. (imFORZA)
While mobile marketing is by no means unimportant, it may not justify quite the attention it gets. Marketers have a disorted view of the market because while 90% of marketing professionals own smartphones, but half of consumers do. And while 41% of marketing professionals say they have made a purchase based on information on Facebook, less than a third of consumers with smartphones–and just 12% of consumers without smartphones–have done so. (Thought Reach)
Forget the app, just use email. 33% of consumers say the email is the most effective tool for building loyalty, vs. 26% of marketers. On the other hand, 23% of marketing pros believe that custom apps are most effective at loyalty building; just 7% of consumers agree. (Thought Reach)
Asked how their marketing strategies would change in 2013, the largest percentage of marketers (82%) planned to increase their focus on mobile media. The largest decreases were expected in newspaper and magazine advertising. (eMarketer)
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?.”
Email marketing is like the car my teenagers drive (and you thought there were no original analogies left!)—it’s been around for 20 years and there’s nothing flashy about it, but it’s reliable, effective, and there’s at least a 50-50 chance it will continue to do it’s job for quite some time to come.
In spite of all the abuse of the medium that’s been perpetrated over the years either maliciously (in the case of spammers) or simply as a result of ineptitude by well-meaning but ill-informed marketers, consumers and business decision makers alike continue to be willing to exchange their email addresses for the promise of valuable information on a regular basis. But both groups have become more sophisticated; more wary of subscribing in the first place, and quicker to unsubscribe if they don’t perceive value in a sender’s communications.
That means email marketers need to be more thoughtful and creative in terms of attracting subscribers, crafting email subject lines that will lead to opens and click-throughs, designing messages that are distinctive yet clear on any device, and most importantly, creating content that both provides value to the recipient and achieves organizational goals.
How can you make sure your emails avoid the spam filter and actually reach their intended recipients? What are the most effective techniques for building an opt-in email list? How can you minimize unsubscribes? What’s the best day and time to send emails? How can you craft killer subject lines that maximize open rates?
Find the answers to these questions and more here in two dozen of the best email marketing guides from the past year.
General Email Marketing Tips & Techniques
The key to maximizing your email open rates is to write great subject lines, but before recipients will even see your subject lines, your messages have to get by spam filters. Karen Rubin lists nearly 400 words and phrases to avoid in subject lines in order to improve deliverability, such as “order status,” “home based,” “lowest price,” “free offer” and, of course, “Viagra.”
Email Marketing: Avoid the pitfalls of a direct-mail mindset by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton advises marketers not to treat email like direct mail, for example by avoiding segmentation: “In direct mail, segmentation is used to keep costs down…When email came along, direct mail marketers saw a bonanza. An email cost less than a penny to send. Companies stopped seeing the point in segmentation.” That’s the kind of thinking that produces spam.
10 Unsubscribe Page Best Practices by Betterment
Writing that “Catching your precious subscriber with one foot out the door isn’t the same as permanently bidding them arriverderci. Handled correctly, your unsubscribe page can actually snatch a loyal subscriber from the jaws of…whatever the opposite of that is,” Jason Amunwa lists 10 techniques to win back unsubscribers, among them giving your readers options (such as changing message frequency), letting them know you’re a person, and not using one-click unsubscribe.
Why you should measure email ROI by iMedia Connection
Mitch Lapides explains why measuring email ROI (and not just metrics like open rates) is important, how to measure it, and the four main categories of factors that can affect ROI, such as list hygiene: “a high number of inactive users—subscribers who have stopped opening your emails but haven’t unsubscribed—can hurt your email deliverability. Between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of a typical email list becomes inactive each month. And it’s not unusual to find between 30 percent and 60 percent of an email list inactive, especially if an organization hasn’t removed inactive subscribers or run a re-engagement campaign in a few years.”
Allyson Galle answers the top questions posed following a popular email webinar, such as: should emails come from the company or from an individual name (answer: it depends, test); how long should subject lines be; what constitutes a decent click-through rate; and what’s the best day and time to send emails?
7 Steps to a High-Converting Email Marketing Campaign by The Daily Egg
Sherice Jacob provides an “’email marketing campaign checklist’ of how to not only launch a profitable mailing list, but keep subscribers hungry for more,” from creating your signup form and determining the optimal placement for it on your website to personalizing email subject lines and continually testing.
Shelley Pringle shares a dozen best practices for effective email marketing, from having a clear goal for each message (“Every marketing email you send should include a call-to-action. If there’s no link in the email, you won’t be able to track or measure your campaign, including the open rate, and more importantly, the click-through rate”) and segmenting your list to focusing on benefits and keeping your messages brief.
How to Combine Email and Social
Email and Social: A Killer Combo by ClickZ
Robin Neifield offers a dozen tips to help “integrate email and each of the major social properties,” such as, on Facebook, “Definitely use your status updates to tease upcoming emails—especially if you have an offer or promo. Provide a link so users can sign up for email if they are not already on the list.”
An inside look into the convergence of email and social by iMedia Connection
Wikus Engelbrecht offers “insights and practical tips on how to integrate and manage your cross-channel voice and leverage (email, social and mobile) in unison to get better results.” For example, create integrated messages: start by crafting “a short and sharp (email) subject line, at 50 characters or less; which should clearly state what your readers can expect from your email, what’s in it for them or what you want them to do as a result…By taking that message to the 120 character frame in Twitter, you can create more interest and clarify your call-to-action. Add a #hashtag and use a shortened URL to save on character count. A Facebook post gives you the opportunity to entice fans even more by expanding your message to 150 characters. Remove the #hashtag you used in Twitter and add a compelling graphic.”
Email Marketing Benchmarks, Facts and Statistics
Is Email Dead? Nope [INFOGRAPHIC] by eStrategy After Hours
A great infographic to share with the “email is dead / social media is the future” crowd. Among the facts David Erickson shares here: three times as many people have email accounts as are on Facebook, and compared to Twitter the ratio is ten to one. There are 60 million Facebook posts each day—but 188 billion email messages sent. Email volume continues to grow, and more than half of marketers still say that email is popular in business.
Gavin O’Malley reports that less than four out of five marketing emails actually make it to the recipient’s inbox, and the rate is trending downward. He also explains why more messages are ending up in spam folders and what marketers can do to improve their deliverability rates.
Email Campaign Volumes Surge, Open Rates Stronger by MarketingProfs
Research from Epsilon shows that average email open rates increased in the past year, while typical click-through rates fell slightly (from 5.5% to 5.2%). Among other findings: messages from banks and general retailers garner the highest average open rates (34%-36%), while emails from consumer publishers and apparel retailers are most likely to be ignored. By type, service-related emails have the highest open rate (46%) while editorial emails average 33% and marketing messages just 20%.
Infographic: Email open rates by time of day by MarketingSherpa
David Kirkpatrick shares an infographic that breaks down common patterns in email open and click-through rates to try to identify the best time to send emails. Among the findings: emails are most likely to be opened between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and again between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Also, nearly a quarter of all commercial emails are opened within one hour after sending. After 24 hours, the open rate is near zero.
B2B Email Marketing Best-Practices and Trends by MarketingProfs
According to a study by Pardot, only 30% of B2B marketers use email as a primary lead generation tactic; most consider email to be a more valuable tool for lead nurturing. The majority of B2B marketers (65%) spend less than 25% of their budgets on email. Tuesday is generally viewed as the best day for sending B2B emails, and Friday the worst. And there’s more.
Email List Building Tips
Constantly adding new names to your subscriber list is crucial, because as Andrew Pitre reports, “your email marketing database degrades by about 25% every year. Your contacts’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another, they opt-out of your email communication, or they abandon that old AOL address they only use to fill out forms on websites.” He then offers more than two dozen tips to help keep your list growing, from QR codes and online contests to ebooks and videos.
5 Ways to Generate More Email Sign Ups by Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch steps through five tactics by building an email list, such as feature with content: “Many WordPress theme frameworks today (Genesis and Thesis) allow for what are being called ‘feature boxes.’ These feature boxes make it easy to place a sign up box at, say, the end of each blog post or top of your blog home page. Placing your email offer where people are reading and enjoy your content improves uptake.”
Email Tips for Lead Nurturing
Corey Eridon advises that “If you’re interested in starting or improving upon your existing lead nurturing campaigns, make sure you incorporate these 6 types of emails into your lead nurturing mix to help move your leads swiftly through the sales funnel,” including emails that are personal, that educate, and that help recipients improve some aspect of their lives.
Noting that “The idea behind lead nurturing is to provide your leads with valuable content that targets their needs and goals in order to guide them through your buying cycle until they are sales-ready,” Sarah Goliger serves up seven tips for more effective nurturing emails, from communicating to your prospects based on information you already know about them to putting the emphasis on helping your prospects—not yourself.
Email Design Tips
It’s Not You, It’s Outlook – The Complete Guide for Email Marketers by VerticalResponse Marketing Blog
Noting that Outlook has numerous problems rendering HTML emails properly–“If you’re an email marketer… you’ve probably encountered some form of Outlook error. Your email looks pristine on your shiny iPhone, Android device, or web-based email client, but suddenly blows up when you open it up in Outlook”–this post details HTML elements that Outlook does not support, and provides recommendations for work-arounds.
Lauren Smith reviews the basics of email design: color, typography, layout, and device-awareness. That last consideration is easy to overlook, but “rather than focusing on creating emails that look great in one particular environment, emails should be optimized for all inboxes,” particularly since only 3% of recipients will typically bother trying to read your email on more than one device.
How to Write Awesomely Effective Email Subject Lines
14 Email Subject Line Hacks by ClickZ
***** 5 STARS
Noting that “If our email is to be read, our subject lines must save our recipients from mindless autonomy,” Brian Massey lists 14 helpful “hacks” for creating compelling subject lines, such as shock and awe (example: “Media Measurement: Science, Art or a Load of Crap”), make up words (“The Making of Twittamentary”), and metaphors and similes (“Snackable Content: Working in a Bite-Sized Future”).
The Subject Line Strategy That Gets 541% More Response by AWeber Communications
Amanda Gagnon reports on an extensive test conducted to determine which type of email subject lines (clear or creative) perform better in terms of comments, tweets, Facebook Likes, traffic and subscriptions. And the winner is…
Use web analytics to choose email subject lines by WhatCounts
Christopher S. Penn provides step-by-step instructions one how to use Google Analytics data to identify high-volume, high CTR search queries you can test as email subject lines “to see if your audience is as interested in your emails as they are in what’s bringing them to your website.” Note that you’ll need to have your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools accounts linked in order for this to work.
Although she acknowledges that “there’s really no such thing as the perfect subject line—or, if there is, it must be hiding with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster,” Justine Jordan nevertheless takes a shot at that process with this helpful infographic. Among the tips: ask questions; keep subject lines short (40 characters or less if possible); focus on being relevant, specific and timely; and always be testing.