Why your Marketing should be YOURS and not rented from somewhere else

Generally speaking, digital marketers are pretty skilled ball-jugglers. We constantly balance competing deadlines, extract value out of less-than-ideal budgets, and generate instant search engine visibility under pressure.

We have a few tricks up our sleeve for doing that, including online ad networks such as Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising and LinkedIn Ads.

AdWords has been at the top of its game for the past 15 years for good reason – it offers a chance to be on Page 1 of Google in 15 minutes or less, and you only pay for actual eyeballs. Great deal, right?

In fact, using display ads, paid search or paid social as a way to generate instant results for brands or organizations is increasingly popular.

Don’t believe me? Wrap your head around these figures:

  • In its Q4 2016 fiscal year results, Google’s parent company Alphabet reported a whopping 17% increase in advertising revenue compared with the same period the year before.
  • When Facebook published its fourth quarter and end of year results, it also reported an increase in revenue from advertising, up 12% year on year.
  • Statista estimates we’ll all be spending more this year – with paid advertising expenditure soaring to $92.4 billion worldwide in 2017.
  • Marketers are now branching out to new ad formats, with the IAB calculating that mobile advertising grew massively in the first six months of 2016, with a total spend increase of 89% or $15.5 billion.

Big numbers, for sure, but are we missing a trick here?

While there may be plenty of plus points to paid advertising and paid social – and it most definitely plays a role in a well-executed marketing strategy – it might be time to take back ownership of your marketing.

I think so, anyway. In this blog, I’ll explain why you should own your marketing instead of renting it.

Ad space is rented, but content is owned

Getting the balance right between paid, earned and owned media is tricky, but in the long run, content is the clear winner.

That’s because whatever type of advertising you invest in – whether it’s sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram adverts or a paid search campaign with Google – the space your advertising occupies is only rented.

This means that when your budget runs out, your advertising disappears.

Can you afford to have that happen?

Paid advertising is undeniably great for short-term visibility or when you need a last-minute fix to support other marketing efforts, but it creates the risk of leaving no digital footprint at all.

Investing your money in content, on the other hand, means that you’ll always have marketing assets that belong purely to you.

Sure, you may have to pay a copywriter or freelance blogger to draft up the relevant copy, but it will always be yours.

In other words, there’s no prospect of the gas meter running out or the lights suddenly switching off. This advantage is known as compound returns: it’s permanent rather than temporary.

Content can deliver better returns

According to Entrepreneur, content marketing has a better rate of return than many other forms of marketing. This makes sense when you consider the fact that once you have that piece of content in hand, there are no limits to how often you can re-use it, how widely you can share it, or how much you can repurpose it.

If you were to write an ebook for example, it’s easy to magnify that initial investment in content ownership to create multiple other assets. Off the top of my head, that might be:

  1. A blog post
  2. A podcast
  3. A slideshare
  4. A series of social media posts
  5. An infographic
  6. A landing page
  7. A lead generator
  8. A YouTube video

That’s eight different ways that owning your marketing can mean getting more from it. In contrast, if you put budget towards a paid ad campaign, the only way you can extend its reach and see your ad on other sites or in other formats is to spend more. It’s never really your own, whereas that ebook (and its eight possible uses) are.

You control your own spend

Paid advertising is just like property rental in that you have to pay the market rate. Whether that’s the cost per click in AdWords or the fixed fee to have your display ads run on a site of your choice, you are told how much you need to spend. There is no guarantee that your return will outstrip your spend, but you’re powerless to determine the going rate.

When you opt to own your marketing with content, you’re in the driver’s seat. You get to determine exactly how much time and how much money you spend. This gives you more flexibility and means your marketing can work for you, rather than placing a strain on your budget.

Guest Author: Sian Lenegan is a marketer and the managing director of Sixth Story, a branding and digital agency. Her focus is on helping businesses ignite growth through the power of branding.

Article Source: http://www.jeffbullas.com/2017/05/27/own-your-marketing/
On – 27 May, 2017 By Sian Lenegan

Some of the Top Challenges Internet Marketers are Facing Nowadays

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Every internet marketer faces different challenges. Although we typically share similar goals, some teams are stuck on hiring top talent, while others are having trouble finding the right technology for their needs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s always at least one area that you can stand to improve. In other words, there’s always room to optimize the various components of your strategy and turn your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator.

Curious about what kinds of obstacles other internet marketers are up against?

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We polled thousands of internet marketers on the challenges they face, as well as the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on. Here are some of the most common challenges marketers reported struggling with … and their solutions.

The Most Common Marketing Problems We Face, According to the 2017 State of Inbound Report

According to our report, generating traffic and leads and proving ROI are the leading challenges internet marketers face. Here’s a look at this year’s data:

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Image Credit: The 2017 State of Inbound Report

Let’s go through each of these top challenges and how internet marketers can address them.

1) Generating Traffic and Leads

Why It’s a Challenge

Generating enough traffic and leads was the top marketing challenge, according to the 2017 State of Inbound report. We started asking this question with this answer as a new option last year — and we’re glad we did.

Clearly, internet marketers are struggling with producing enough demand for their content. And as the years progress and competition stiffens, this will only become truer. With so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and even more ways to promote it, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, internet marketers should ask themselves two questions: Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?

For example, HubSpot Research has found that 43% of consumers want to see more video from internet marketers in the future, while only 29% want to see more blog posts. To learn more about how the way people are reading and interacting with content is changing, check out this HubSpot Research report.

Once you know you’re creating the type of content your audience wants, the focus shifts to promoting it in a way that makes your audience take notice. More than ever before, people are being flooded with content. Consumers don’t have to use a search engine to find answers. Instead, articles fill their news feed or buzz in their pocket via mobile notification.

Needless to say, the content promotion playbook is not the same as it was five years ago. To make sure your traffic and lead numbers continue to rise, check out this comprehensive guide to content promotion.

2) Providing the ROI of Your Marketing Activities

Why It’s a Challenge

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge year-over-year. But, it also continues to be a vital way for internet marketers to understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign, piece of content, etc.

Plus, proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget.

But tracking the ROI of every single marketing activity isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales reports.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to providing ROI, there’s a strong case to be made for dedicating time and resources to establishing links between marketing activities and sales results. This means using both marketing software (like HubSpot) and a CRM solution (like HubSpot’s free CRM), and then tying them together to close the loop between your marketing and sales efforts with a service-level agreement (SLA). That way, you can directly see how many leads and customers are generated through your marketing activities.

We’ve found there’s no better combination than having an SLA and doing inbound marketing. According to this year’s report, inbound organizations with SLAs are 3X more likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective compared to outbound organizations with misaligned marketing and sales teams.

(Use this ROI calculator to simulate the potential ROI you could realize by conducting inbound marketing.)

3) Securing Enough Budget

Why It’s a Challenge

Securing more budget is a pressing challenge for marketing globally. And often, getting more budget is easier said than done — especially for smaller organizations that aren’t working with sizable nor flexible marketing spend.

But the key to securing more money for your team might not be that complex. Here’s what you can do.

What Can You Do?

The key to unlocking budget lies in being able to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. According to our report, organizations that can calculate ROI are more likely to receive higher budgets.

Again, success with inbound marketing also plays a large role in driving higher budgets. Effective strategies obviously produce results, and our data shows those who feel confident in their marketing strategy are more than 2X as likely to get higher budgets for their marketing teams. But remember, inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off — in fact, you might consider doubling down.

4) Managing Your Website

Why It’s a Challenge

Managing a website was the fourth biggest challenge for marketers in 2017. And chances are, your website’s performance is high on your list of priorities. It’s an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals, after all.

Issues with website management include a variety of different factors, from writing and optimizing the content to designing beautiful webpages. Here are a few things internet marketers can do to deal with this challenge.

What Can You Do?

First, read this report to see how your website stacks up against over 1 million other websites. It also includes a deep analysis on the four most critical elements of website performance and design, from average load time and website securityww to mobile friendliness and SEO.

If your primary challenge with managing a website has to do with the skills and resources you have available, you aren’t alone. This is especially true for small companies who don’t have all the talent in-house required to cover content, optimization, design, and back-end website management.

One solution? Hire freelancers and agency partners. To find freelancers, we recommend:

  • Tapping into your personal and professional network by posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks with a description of what you’re looking for.
  • Browsing freelance writers and designers based on their portfolios and areas of interest. For writers, check out Zerys and Contently. For designers, check out Behance & Elance.
  • Browsing HubSpot’s Services Marketplace, which lists a wide variety of designers from partner companies and agencies we’ve deemed credible.

Overall, you can make website management easier on your team by hosting your website on a platform that integrates all your marketing channels like HubSpot’s COS.

Finally, for the projects you want to keep in-house, here is a list of ebooks and guides that might be helpful to your team:

 

Article Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33820/5-major-challenges-marketers-face-and-how-to-solve-them.aspx
On – 26 May, 2017 By Lindsay Kolowich

Use these 6 Snapchat Tools and Increase the Marketing of your Brand

Snapchat has quickly become one of the world’s most influential social media platforms. The once “novelty messaging app for teens” is now a staple for over 166 million daily active users who check the app, on average, over 18 times a day. Together, they send over 2.8 billion Snaps every single day.

While the social aspect of the platform is great for consumers, brands and influencers are chomping at the bit, excited to leverage Snapchat as a prosperous marketing channel to connect with their audiences.

So what makes Snapchat so lucrative?

Stories! Stories, first invented and popularized by Snapchat, have revolutionized the way companies can share messages and build relationships with their users. They are a fun and mobile-friendly content format that resonates well with the tastes and preferences of Gen Z and millennial consumers.

While Snapchat has become an extremely attractive place to build your brand up and broadcast messages, standing out and building a large audience is still not easy. Luckily, there are a few tools and resources that can help you better understand exactly how to grow your companies’ following.

Here are 6 of the best.

1. Storyheap

Storyheap is an in-depth analytics and management platform for Snapchat and Instagram Stories. It’s a solution for brands, agencies and influencers when it comes to measuring the performance of posts & campaigns. With unique features such as uploading, scheduling, multi-platform synchronization and web-based story editor, Storyheap is truly one of the easiest ways to measure and manage successful stories.

2. Pepper Filters

Geofilters are one of the coolest parts of Snapchat’s platform, but their native tools are often not customizable and creative enough to create something magical. Pepper filters is quite simply the easiest and most stunning method for any brand to create a geofilter. They have thousands of combinations to choose from that are perfect for any occasion – from a birthday party to a wedding, they’ve got you covered.

3. Naritiv

Recently acquired, Naritiv is a campaign management platform that has partnered with hundreds of top influencers. The site acts much like a marketplace, connecting brands and influencers to create marketable branded content for Snapchat. Naritiv’s campaign dashboard gives brands insights into how their Influencers’ stories are performing. For a generation that does not even know what cable means, influencer marketing is a great way to connect.

4. Fastory

While Snapchat’s built in camera is great for consumers, it lacks enterprise-grade power and accessibility. Fastory is a platform for brands and media agencies to design full-screen stories, optimized for mobile. With their web app, you can efficiently design branded stories that differentiate your content. Fastory is still in beta, but given their early traction, we can expect big things!

5. GhostCodes

GhostCodes is an active database of the world’s top Snapchatters. Ranging from entertainment to foodies to fitness, they have indexed a complete diversity of Snapchat influencers across every industry. Since Snapchat’s official app lacks any form of User search, GhostCodes is especially helpful for brands looking to connect with influential Snapchatters to partner with.

6. Delmondo

Delmondo is riding the stories wave, all in on helping brands and influencers create and measure content for their Snapchat Stories. They help brands, like Marriott, monetize their social video by providing audience insights and cross-platform analytics that automate the collection of key campaign metrics.

Follow me on Twitter @ajagrawal24.

Article Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2017/05/25/6-snapchat-tools-to-level-up-your-brands-marketing/
On – 25 May, 2017 By AJ Agrawal

Check out the Trends that give Self-Made Entrepreneurs new Possibilities

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you must constantly search for innovations to grow your business even more. It’s always a good thing to start testing ideas. There’s just one problem: Many of these new technologies will flop, costing you time and money.

When something works, though, you’ll gain the unfair advantage of being the leader — the first — in your industry. What if you could skip through the noise, learn what’s working for companies in different industries, and implement those tactics in your business?

These five trends might not all work for you, but they’re definitely worth a look. They’re trending now, which means you should consider adding them to your toolkit before they become standard operating procedure and you’re the one left behind.

1. Facebook bots.

This is the hottest topic in the industry right now. Facebook bots are becoming more popular, especially now that we’ve entered the era of artificial intelligence. Many companies have incorporated some form of Facebook bots in their processes. Others focus the bots’ capabilities on their email lists, though I would question the wisdom of such a move in many cases.

DigitalMarketer CEO Ryan Deiss predicted Facebook bots will be the industry trend in 2017, ramping up to compete with email. The best part: It’s become easier for people to develop sophisticated bots without the need to code. ChatMatic, Chattypeople and ManyChat all are doing great work in this area, and I expect more competitors to enter the market in the near future.

2. Business texting.

Business texting made a big splash years ago, but it faded. New technologies have fueled its strong return. The average person carries his or her phone 90 percent of the time. And people respond more readily to texts than calls.

If you want to keep connected with customers and get higher response rates, consider making business texting part of your strategy — even if it’s a small portion to start. Text Request and other services make it easy to launch and test your messages.

3. Smart segmenting.

Your customers don’t want to receive the same message everyone else does. They want specific, highly tailored messages that speak to their experiences and needs. You need to build your business on that demand.

Quizzes and gamified info-gathering content will get you only so far. It’s what happens next that matters. Show your potential customers how you’re working to learn about them and their challenges. Segmenting involves a lot of moving parts, so it’s best to start learning now about this powerful technique.

One service provider is creating a program to help make it easier. So far, it’s available only by invitation.

4. Recurring revenue.

Netflix’s success has other leaders rethinking their approach. Instead of offering a product or service at a larger, one-time fee, many business owners are seeing the benefits of swtiching to a smaller, monthly fee. Recurring revenue is an asset that can drive your growth for years to come.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290872

On – 26 Apr, 2017 By Ahmed Safwan

The 2017 Guide for Social Media Marketing

Are you one of the thousands of brands getting overshadowed by businesses that are Insta-famous? You don’t have to get lost in the shuffle on social media – nor do you need to devote tons of hours and resources to your efforts.

There is a happy medium that can help you master Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram without breaking a sweat (or the bank). As a small business, optimize your endeavors to see a real impact from social media marketing in 2017.

The Realities of Social Media in 2017

According to a new survey by Clutch, 24% of small businesses do not use social media, with 8% stating they will likely not use it in the future.

These are surprising statistics in a world seemingly dominated by social news and accounts. Numerous studies have proven the effectiveness of social media marketing in terms of boosting brand awareness, gaining popularity, targeting customers, and cutting marketing costs. Yet almost one-fourth of small businesses have yet to jump on the bandwagon. This begs the obvious question – why?

It appears that many businesses are drastically underestimating the abilities of social media to improve sales, acquire leads, and seal conversions. Some brands have gotten stuck on the idea that social media “likes” don’t matter, and thus this type of marketing is a waste of time.

Others may mistakenly believe their target audiences do not use social media – a harmful misconception many studies disprove. Pew Research Center reveals 69% of the public uses some type of social media, with usage by older adults increasing in recent years.

Regardless of the reasons, in 2017 small businesses have no excuses not to join social media. It’s free, easy to use, and can lead to incredible returns on time and energy investments.

With the right tips, tricks, and tools, your social media marketing campaign can be the best thing your company does for brand awareness all year. At the heart of successful social media marketing lies the ability to balance your time – spend enough to see a real impact, but not so much that you let your other efforts fall on the backburner.

Spend the Right Amount of Time on Social Media

While scrolling through social media, you’ve likely noticed certain brand names appear over and over again, while others become lost in the fray. These are the companies that have struck the ideal balance between spending too much and too little time on social media.

Many small businesses dedicate enough time to social media to say they have a presence, but not enough to see a genuine impact from their social media efforts. Here’s how to solve this problem:

  • Allot time to each account. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for how much time to spend on social media. Analyze your social media marketing success on each account and dedicate a corresponding number of hours to each. If you believe spending more time on Twitter will help those numbers catch up to your Facebook account, make a change accordingly.
  • Keep up with the hottest social media platforms. Since the shutdown of Twitter’s video platform, Vine, many people have expressed concern over the future of Twitter. Meanwhile, Instagram’s audience has grown to more than 600 million users. Keep up with the latest social media news and trends to make sure your brand is posting on the latest and greatest platforms of the day.
  • Test and make adjustments. The social media sphere is constantly changing. Take an analytical approach to how often you share content on social media. Start by posting frequently, then gauge the engagement of your audience and the effectiveness of your efforts. Scale back or ramp up your social sharing according to your data. Constant vigilance is key to staying on top of your social media game.

Knowing how often to post on business social media accounts is not an exact science. It depends entirely on your brand, the success of your past efforts, and how much time you’re willing to put into this type of marketing.

However, marketers universally acknowledge the importance of not letting your accounts become inactive. An inactive account can hurt your brand, as it may make users believe your brand has gone out of business or does not care about its followers.

Make the Most of Your Time on Social Media

Once you’ve joined social media, don’t waste time on efforts that won’t make a real impact on your company’s success. Instead, maximize your returns on investment with smart social media marketing. Social media success centers on shareable content. The more users share your content, the wider its reach and impact. Content shares broaden your audience, improve word-of-mouth advertising, and make your brand more popular organically. Tips to create shareable content include:

  • Tailor content to your audience. Personalize your content for a specific niche or audience to improve the odds of sharing. If readers feel you’re writing for them, they will share it with their friends and family because it’s relevant to their lives.
  • Provide tips and solutions. Readers love a good tips list. They’re browsing the web searching for solutions to common problems. When in doubt, go with a simple “How To” article, or one that lists tips for problems your target audience faces.
  • Make sharing simple. Make commenting and sharing easy by linking your site with all your social media accounts. Use hashtags to make it easy for readers to comment on the topics you are discussing. Facilitate sharing in all possible ways.

The key to social media success is engaging with readers and encouraging them to share, like, and comment on your posts. Brand engagement is what drives new leads, conversions, and consumer loyalty. Consumers want a brand they can connect with on their favorite social media platforms, comment on, and start a conversation with. Be this brand by posting shareable content.

Decide if Other Efforts Make More Sense for Your Brand

There is no debating the importance of social media marketing for modern brands. However, there is a fine line between effective social media and a waste of time. Some small businesses confuse engaging an audience with posting frequently.

The amount you post will not matter if your users don’t respond. Instead of obeying the school of thought that more is more, review your social media efforts and use data analytics to decide just how often you should post. You may come to the surprising conclusion that your time is better spent elsewhere.

Do not ignore other marketing channels in lieu of social media. Email marketing, for example, is excellent for generating more leads, improving sales, boosting conversion rates, and reducing marketing costs. For some companies, email marketing is a better investment than social media since it is more direct.

For others, focusing more on face-to-face marketing and customer service may be a better option than spending hours optimizing social media accounts. This is not to say you don’t need social media marketing – simply adjust your efforts according to your specific needs and business goals.

Source: https://speckyboy.com/social-media-marketing-2017/

On – 16 May, 2017 By Stephen Moyers