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Every 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 marketers are up against?
We polled thousands of 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.
According to our report, generating traffic and leads and proving ROI are the leading challenges marketers face. Here’s a look at this year’s data:
Image Credit: The 2017 State of Inbound Report
Let’s go through each of these top challenges and how marketers can address them.
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, 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.
When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, 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 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.
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 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 marketers can do to deal with this challenge.
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:
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
In the last decade, online shopping has grown from a convenience to a necessity. Before the internet, shopping involved a process of getting ready, driving through traffic and navigating through a crowded retail store that may or may not have the necessary item. The digital age has changed everything about shopping. Now, shoppers don’t even need to get out of bed to get the items they want.
Shoppers today have the ability to look for any sort of item they want while comparing pricing and quality across a wide range of sources. There are a number of different tools that allow them to find the best deals. For example, Dropio is an app that notifies the user when the best available price of an item drops so they can lock in an order at the perfect time. With an infinite supply of online retailers, it can be stressful and time consuming to get your products or services to sell. Whether you are trying to sell one item or a thousand, there are a number of easy steps to take that will increase sales.
Knowing your brand’s audience is the most important ingredient to achieve success in any aspect of business. Different generations have different ways in which they absorb information. Gearing your online shopping options to the right demographic is key to driving digital sales. For example, millennials tend to gravitate towards more visual content when shopping whereas older generations typically prefer more informational, text based content. Consider your product and to whom it appeals. Then research their buying habits and figure out the best strategy to use on the website.
When you are selling products online, it is all about creating a positive, one-stop customer experience in order to keep them coming back. Keeping the shopper’s browsing and buying options quick and easy to navigate is beneficial to both parties. A long, complicated buying process will turn users away from your website and give them time to reconsider their purchase. Amazon does a great job in letting the user save their payment options and allow one-click buying to make shopping as easy as possible.
One of the biggest advantages consumers see in online shopping is the ability to view and assess previous customer reactions. Shoppers are becoming more dependent on reviews when considering a purchase. Having a product review section is an easy way to generate user content and can be a key motivator in getting new shoppers to buy.
Running a blog about your product or service is an extremely effective way to drive content marketing. Producing free, limitless content will do wonders to create trust while keeping users informed. A great way to get started blogging is to think up all possible queries a customer might have and answer each one in detail with its own article. As the business advances, there will be more opportunities to blog and create content to make the shopping experience as informative as possible.
Online influencers can play a huge role in determining your business’ success. Once you have identified your target market, find the influencers within the respective community. This can be anyone such as a journalist, blogger, or public figure. A way to get on their good side is to give them a free sample of your product or service prior the public release. This gesture will let them know you respect their work as well as gives them an opportunity to talk about you within their community with an open mind. A potential shout out from a key influencer can not only provide measurable results, it will help to boost the status of your business to customers and drive online sales.
Attracting positive media attention is an amazingly effective way to increase sales in the digital age. A well-executed public relations stunt can be a difference maker in propelling your brand to worldwide recognition. Typically, a PR stunt will be something fun and outrageous that conveys your brand’s interests to a wide audience. Be sure to have a clear call to action that will bring traffic to your website.
When people shop online, they want a sense of security before they buy; offer reassurance if their needs are not initially met. A great way to offer comfort to shoppers is to have a money back guarantee. If they are not satisfied with their purchase, give them a refund and ask them about their experience. It will help to improve your website. Be sure the entire process is as stress-free as possible. The last thing a frustrated customer wants is to to do is jump through a bunch of hoops in order to reverse their decision. Remember, this is the last impression of a transaction. Make sure it’s a good one.
Building up a list of previous and potential buyers means you have a way to gauge reactions and inform them about new products. Following up with a shopper a few weeks after an online purchase is a great way to gain an insight on what buyers think of your business. As discussed earlier, customer reviews are very important in motivating others to buy. Reaching out after the fact to ask for their thoughts will build creditability while letting buyers know you value their experience.
Shopping attitudes and preferences have changed drastically in the last few decades. To survive in the digital age, businesses need to know how to effectively sell products online. In an increasingly interactive marketplace, creating an outstanding customer experience is essential in driving online sales for years to come.
On – 22 Apr, 2017 By Sheila Eugenio
Over just the last month I’ve connected with three entrepreneurs who told me they rarely did any marketing for themselves or their small business.
I was really surprised. One is a freelance writer, another owns a PR agency and the third runs a software firm. Each is successful but all of them cited a lack of time as the main reason why they weren’t doing any marketing. They aren’t alone.
According to Infusionsoft, nearly one in five owners of small businesses has no plan to use any digital marketing in 2017. Of those who do, 49 percent handle marketing on their own along with their other duties.
I argued to each of my three new contacts that ignoring marketing in the long-term is a bad idea, potentially slowing the growth of their company. Here are four tips I shared with my colleagues to help them better market themselves for just a few minutes every day.
Before you can effectively market with just a few minutes a day you have to spend a few hours brainstorming what you are looking to achieve. You need a plan to guide how you’ll do marketing every day. Identify what your goals are and potential tactics for executing them.
You might be trying to get more leads, establish authority in your niche or attract more customers, which requires learning where they hang out online. Let’s say there are certain blogs your target audience reads. It would only require a little time each day to comment on the articles, share some on social media and network with the writers and editors.
That’s what I did by regularly writing for publications read by marketers and business owners, taking my time to become active with these communities while networking. But before I dived into writing for marketing-focused blogs, I had a plan of action. I took a purpose-driven approach to marketing. You need one too, otherwise your approach risks being aimless.
In the beginning, eliminate excessive options and focus on just one marketing channel and one activity. Focus on a single channel, such as only marketing on LinkedIn, a podcast or Quora. Focus on a single marketing activity like interacting on behalf of your business with relevant Facebook groups.
I’ve seen small businesses focus primarily on an email newsletter to build a dialogue with their target audience, while others have spent their time being interviewed on multiple industry specific podcasts. This approach takes little time, allows you to focus on your leading priorities and gives you a timeline to dive deep into one tactic.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. You have to determine what marketing works for you. When you are seeing results scale up your marketing efforts to a few channels and tactics at once, but only when you’ve got more bandwidth.
It’s easy to neglect marketing when business is good. Fit in 15 minutes of marketing work daily to make marketing a consistent habit.
Try working on your marketing efforts at the same time of day every day. This way it’ll be easy to remember the task and more likely that it’ll become part of your regular routine.
Making the process frictionless will make it more likely you’ll stick with your marketing while you’re still forming the habit. This might mean buying a tool to automate part of the process or doing research to understand alternative ways of executing a certain tactic.
Regardless, try to identify and manage any issues that make marketing your business clunky or irritating to improve the likelihood you’ll continue to invest in the practice.
To stay excited about your daily marketing habit, reward yourself after you’ve achieved a particular milestone or have consistently dedicated time to marketing your business for a set period.
You could reward yourself with chocolate (which usually doesn’t hurt) but I recommend you instead slightly expand your investment in marketing to further support your progress. Whether you’ve built an email list of 800 subscribers or have successfully promoted your business for six months, allocate a portion of your budget from elsewhere to expand your advertising efforts or experiment with a new tactic you want to try.
Give yourself the opportunity to either test something new or boost what’s already engaging you and the audience you’re trying to reach. With each achievement, slowly scale what you’re doing with marketing to see continued results for your organization in the long-term.
On – 05 May, 2017 By Brian Honigman
May 9, 2017
Everyone wants to be creative, yet many of us are too fearful to pursue our most creative ideas. Why? Our fearful reaction is not a matter of choice — it’s often a knee-jerk reaction that can be attributed to our biology.
According to Adobe’s State of Create report, “At work, there is tension between creativity and productivity.” That could have something to do with previous research indicating that there’s a natural association of uncertainty with ideas labeled as “creative,” and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
So when you’re pursuing a creative path, this hurdle can feel insurmountable. How do you tackle and, ultimately, dismantle it?
In my experience — and that of many creative professionals — the most familiar form of fear come is really that of failure. It’s a hesitancy to branch outside the norm and risk exposing yourself to the judgment of others. But that fear alone is not what inhibits your path to creativity. Not acknowledging is what’s truly damaging. Nelson Mandela summarized that notion quite well:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
The traditional narrative about the creative process tends to leave out fear. We hear about and romanticize the lone genius’ bursts of inspiration but that isn’t always accurate. As David and Tom Kelley note in Creative Confidence, “A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail.” They go on to cite UC Davis Professor of Psychology Keith Simonton, who found that many of the world’s most famous creative people — like composer Wolfgang Mozart and scientist Charles Darwin don’t give up at the first sign of failure. Rather, they keep experimenting until they find what works.
That’s one of the things that makes fear a necessary and important part of creative work — learning how to work with it. Unfortunately, in many organizations, fear tends to dominate, often stifling what could have been some of our most creative work. Only 4 in 10 employees would even describe themselves as creative, and out of those who do, less than half think they’re “living up to their creative potential.” Those are forms of fear, and even if you’re not aware of it, you’ve likely let it take control before.
But how do you recognize it? Here are some familiar “traps” you might be falling into.
In the middle of a brainstorm, someone pitches an off-the-wall idea that the whole team thinks is edgy and hilarious. These ideas are often followed by a flurry of enthusiastic statements that start with things like, “what if we….” or, “imagine if…”. Despite the team’s excitement, you decide the client will think it’s too offbeat, so you pitch your safer — a.k.a., less creative — plan B.
When you focus on what seems like the safer path and make decisions purely based on risk-avoidance, you lose sight of supporting your actual objective. That’s common in group dynamics, and even has a name: Groupthink, which occurs “when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation,” according to Psychology Today. It’s often masked as rational thinking, but playing it safe is actually the enemy of good creative work — the more you stay in the same place, the less effective your work becomes. Conversely, doing good creative work requires comfort with risk.
Your competitor releases a new product or service, or updates its branding/website, thereby staking its claim as the industry leader. Your fear of being outshined prompts a response focused solely on beating your competition, instead of doing what’s going to benefit your customers — and therefore, your business — the most.
While most people are aware that their respective brands must constantly innovate and evolve, letting fear control your efforts is also dangerous. When fear fuels your motivation and objectives, your work can become less meaningful due to a lack of passion or enthusiasm behind it. Plus, spending an unbalanced amount of time trying to keep up on every trend saps your resources and focus. When you succumb to fear, you often end up paying the price in the long run, with results like a bad user experience or looking like a copycat. As Karen Martin wrote in her book The Outstanding Organization, “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”
Yes, there is a right way to fail. When you creatively experiment — just as Mozart and Darwin did — there are times that you will fail. But when you fail in this manner, you learn from it. For this reason, it is important to accept and even honor your creative failures. View them not as a hindrance to creative success, but as a powerful conduit that gets you closer to your goal next time around. Accept that failure is an option, and one that you are quite capable of recovering from, with the right perspective.
In my experience, the only way to overcome your fear — or at least prevent it from sabotaging your day-to-day — is to reframe it. When you think of the framework for failure, replace the word “failure” with “learn.” That approach encourages confidence and a willingness to learn, which are vital for high-quality creative work.
At my company, C5, our vision is to help build a world where everyone can have a healthy and fulfilled life. We take this mission seriously in the work we create, the clients we work with, and the way we interact with each other. But “healthy” and “fulfilled” don’t have to translate to “rainbows and sunshine.” Fulfillment really comes from the fruit of your labor, which only grows through hard work and, sometimes, results that you weren’t hoping for. Knowing that, we believe that sometimes rising to the challenge is its own reward.
In our organization, we are pursuing an effort to remove unnecessary sources of fear and anxiety from how we approach our work. Letting our creativity come to front doesn’t mean we do things flippantly, take uncalculated risks, or play roulette. But we do cultivate environments in which we can take intentional risks.
We’ve outlined some of the pieces that, to us, comprise a calculated risk.
Naturally, your actions are influenced by your goals. But creativity can always be cultivated within confines. In fact, structure is often beneficial. Just because you have always done something one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it. When strategizing how best to achieve a goal, consider alternate solutions, try new methods, and conducts A/B tests. For example, when Microsoft Internet Explorer requested an infographic from our agency, we ended up pitching a video concept, instead, because we felt it would deliver the message more effectively. The client agreed, and the “Child of the ‘90s” spot we created for them garnered over 49 million views.
If you have a unique or unusual creative idea, lead with confidence. Whether you’re pitching it to a client or trying to secure budget from management, if you drown in self-doubt at every stage, it’s likely to show. You should certainly listen to valid objections, but remember that passion and enthusiasm are contagious. Again — Microsoft would have surely rejected our pitch had we not made a well-supported, confident case for it.
Nurturing an environment that not only encourages but demands experimentation is vital to push your creative boundaries. You can help cultivate this at every touch point in your organization, whether it means building out longer timelines, schedule regular out-of-the-box brainstorms, or encourage employees to work on their own passion projects. Pushing your team to experiment will only benefit you. Our agency has even closed up shop for a “hack day,” during which everyone — from accountants to designers — collaborated on creative solutions in a consequence-free environment.
As you face creative challenges, I encourage you not to give into fear — in fact, give it a chance. Without fear, there is no bravery. And without bravery, no risks are taken. And you can’t improve if you aren’t taking risks. Learn from what doesn’t work, and use it to build something even better.
Article Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/why-creative-work-relies-on-failure