HubSpot has released its 4th annual State of Inbound Marketing. Have you seen it yet? Here are my key takeaways, including 6 charts I found particularly insightful.
First some remarkable stats:
Of the 3,339 marketing professionals surveyed, 60% are doing inbound marketing in 2013; they have allocated 34% of overall marketing budgets to inbound tactics (11% more than on outbound tactics); 48% intend to increase their committment to inbound marketing.
Furthermore, those surveyed report that inbound marketing, compared to outbound marketing, delivers more leads at less cost and which convert at higher rates.
My interpretation of all this is that marketers are reacting to traditional marketing performing less effectively than in the past. They are increasingly seeing the value of being intensely customer focused. They are applying that customer focus to their online strategy via inbound marketing. They are seeing results in terms of increased traffic to their website, greater conversion of traffic into leads, and eventually into customers.
Inbound Marketing Definition
After all, as the report reminds us, the definition of inbound marketing consists of the following:
"Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven strategy that involves attracting and converting visitors into customers through personalized, relevant information and content – not interruptive messages – and following them through the sales experience with ongoing engagement. Over the past five years, marketers have witnessed a tectonic shift in strategy, from campaign based interruption marketing, to a consistently measured, closed-loop inbound marketing strategy – one that pulls interested customers to your company and creates lasting relationships."
Why Do Inbound Marketing?
I'm a big believer in the effectiveness of Inbound Marketing. Intuitively, inbound makes sense. Fueling that belief is what I observe about how customers interact with marketing messages, companies and brands when seeking information. They want to learn more; they educate themselves online; they look for credible sources for that education. Social networks and online resources play a significant role in educating them and validating perspectives. (For more on that, read Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?.)
Add to that the focus on data, testing and analysis, and integrating marketing activities into overall business strategies to drive results and I can't imagine not embracing inbound marketing! (Here's more on that: Inbound Marketing Definition: Build Trust, Generate Leads and 21 Inbound Marketing Definitions vs. Outbound.)
As page 120 of the report explains,
"Your website is the hub of all marketing efforts. All of your email, social media, and back-end SEO magic will ultimately point your audience to a page on your website to convert. As a consequence, your website conversion rate – how effectively your website does what you want it to do – is a major factor in determining your digital marketing success. You may have exceptional content and a killer strategy, but if your website is confusing, you will never achieve your inbound marketing goals."
Based on the 4th Annual State of Inbound Marketing, I'm not alone. Which I find wonderful! I hope it means that the days of interruption marketing are numbered; instead interested prospects can opt-in to company communications based on their level of interest and the relevance (and remarkableness) of the content.
Which places the responsibility on marketers to deliberately identify what pain points customers face, how to help them, how to educate them and demonstrate value for them. Easy, right?
Here are 6 visuals from the State of Inbound Marketing which I found insightful:
1. Blogging Improves Inbound Marketing ROI
(Note: rather than read yes/no, the legend should read Overall, B2B, B2C - I think.)
2. Interruption Marketing is Losing Market Share
What have you noticed in your markets? Is traditional advertising as effective as it was for you? What are you doing instead?
3. Google Analytics Tops Marketers' Software Resources
What analytics are you using? At the very least I hope you have implemented Google Analytics. Otherwise, how can you monitor, let alone measure your inbound marketing.
4. Website Conversion Rates Are Within the 8% to 13% Range
What is your website's conversion rate? How do you rate compared to these averages?
5. Social Media Consumes Most Personnel Resources
Page 150 explains,
"The chart above looks at both the time and budget marketers allocate to their various strategies. Clearly, maintaining a regular social media presence takes some dedication, but it also requires less budget influx than other marketing tactics. Further, the 16% of marketers who dedicate their time to social media in 2013 will also deliver the highest proportion of leads, at 14%. Similarly, while blogs require roughly 9% of marketers’ total full-time staff dedications, they also demand just 7% of marketers’ total budget outlay this year. This chart looks terrific when you consider 43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog with less than 10% of total time allocation."
6. Blogs, SEO Cost Marketers Time, But Not Money
This chart further supports the reality that inbound marketing, content marketing and digital marketing take time. However, they represent cost-effective uses of time as they help companies connect with customers and generate business results.
I encourage you to read the entire State of Inbound Marketing (only 175 pages). Let me know which charts and observations you find most insightful.
At Surfaces 2013, Sarah Kelly and I teamed up for the second year to discuss social media and how to apply it to business. We had a blast!
At the end of it all, Dave Foster from TalkFloor found us and asked us a few questions.
The result is a 15:50 minute video titled "Whittemore & Kelly on Social Media, How-To for Business".
Here is Dave Foster's description of the interview:
Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now and Sarah Kelly, Marketing Department from Surfaces 2013 discuss the seminar they led during the show’s educational program entitled: Social Media, How-To for Business.
As always with Dave, we had fun responding to his questions! Here's a recap of the questions I enjoyed most.
What about managing time? How can a business owner find the time to do social media?
If social media is integrated with the overall business strategy, it will be much easier for a business owner to prioritize and find time for social media.
Success with social media - and all online tools, including a company website - has to do with understanding customers and how you provide them with value. If you understand that, you'll be able to create a content strategy that will make participating online and in social networks much easier.
Start with the basics: understand what your business is about. Realize that your online presence is the equivalent of your physical store or office presence. Think about what you tell people in real life; how do you guide them through the purchase process? What questions do you need to answer? How do you educate them about your product category, your business and the solution you offer to their problems. That's what you'll want to do online.
Consider involving the entire organization. You have many people talking to customers; get them involved. Find out what are the questions that are being asked?
What's the greatest benefit for a business to get involved with social media?
If you're involved in social media, you have a greater opportunity to get found in online search. That's a great motivator! The more active you are online - updating your website, publishing blog articles, participating in social networks - the more likely you are to show up online in searches when people begin the purchase process researching solutions to their problems.
Consider your online presence a business asset and make the most of it. After all, people start the purchase process online even if they purchase in-store.
If you think of your online assets and how they support your offline business assets, you'll spend time thinking how to strengthen both.
The more aware you are of your customers, where they are in the buying cycle, and what words they use to describe the issues they face (aka their 'pain points'), the better you'll be able to proactively create content that you can use online. You'll also find that what you create online will end up being incredibly useful offline - for email follow up communications with prospective customers, for example.
When it comes to social media networks, you'll find it's valuable to do lots of listening so you can insert yourself in a conversation in a natural way.
Remember that not all social networks are created the same. You'll notice - if you're paying attention and listening - that each is different. Even if the topic is the same, you'll notive different conversations depending on where you are. For that reason, rather than automate across networks, you'll want to customize the voice and the content per network. It's not too different from IRL (in real life). You speak differently in grocery store compared to a department store, or a McDonald's compared to a fancy restaurant.
As you listen and observe prospective customers, you'll notice that many may use smartphones to research, shop and do social networking. Is it all shopping? Probably not. It may just be about social inteacting with friends. Respect that and figure out how to become part of the social conversations without selling all of the time.
Always step back and think about the customer: what value do you offer him or her? How are you different from the other options s/he has? Use social and online tools to express how much you care and how you are different from your competition.
Remember that social tools can be used in a traditional way. The power of social media for business comes from using them to connect on a personal level with, build relationships with, and figure out how to help answer questions for customers. Do that rather than worry just how many followers you have.
Where is social media for business headed?
Networks like Pinterest and the increased focus on images in Facebook and Google+, even Twitter, suggests that there's an evolution toward more visual content happening in social networks. Visual content is often easier to consume.
With the overall increase in content, it will be really important to ensure that content remains relevant to prospective customers. We don't want to overwhelm them with useless information and lose them!
There will definitely be new social networks developing, and it's important to keep up. At the same time, it's important to understand where customers spend their time so you can focus on the right networks.
Thank you, Dave!
What questions do you have about social media for business? Let me know in the comments!
Social media isn't only for networking. It's also a powerful tool for gathering insights and observing results that specific search terms generate. Consider it social listening or even social trend gazing. Although all social networks offer perspectives, in this case I'll focus on social listening with Pinterest.
Why Pinterest for Social Listening and Trend Gazing?
Why Pinterest? Because it's visual and easy to use. Simply 'pin' images you like from sites you visit to your virtual bulletin or pin board. It's possible to search through boards without having to be friends with or followers of someone. It provides you with a window on what inspires people and on what captures their fancy on a broad range of topics.
(BTW, if you still don't believe that social media has merit and can be effective in tracking trends, check out How to Predict Trends with Social Media Monitoring about Sickweather which predicts illnesses based on analyzing Facebook and Twitter updates.)
What Got Me Started on Social Listening with Pinterest?
The article that first got me thinking about Pinterest for social listening and trend gazing was Pinterest Data Reveals The Most Common Home Decor Colors on PSFK based on an "infographic design project that mines Pinterest data to find the most common colors in homes by room." (More visuals are available on Colour and Space by Jotun.)
Shortly after that, I found Pattern Pulp: Finding Color Inspiration On Pinterest - PSFK which suggests that Pinterest could become "an influential source for designers and artists alike." I agree!
I decided to explore the topic of social listening and look for specific instances of Pinterest offering consumer insights...
Using Pinterest for Social Listening and Trend Gazing Examples
- Model Home Merchandiser aka the Lifestylist uses Pinterest to research trends, learn what consumers want and sharing the resulting observations with clients in Trend Tracking with Pinterest.
- Perhaps my favorite so far is Tracking Food Trends with Pinterest which observes which foods are becoming more popular (e.g., Kale and Quinoa). This article also refers to shared boards.
Shared or group boards are fascinating: others are invited to pin images based on a common theme. For example, American Made Products is a group board Kronotex USA is a part of. It has 653 pins and 1274 followers, supporting that "Made in the USA" is back, baby and more than a fad!
Putting Social Listening and Trend Gazing into Perspective
Social Media Examiner's 7 Social Media Trends for Consumers: New Research mentions that Social Listening is a Key Consumer Activity. That's right. It's not just for marketers; it's also for consumers.
"Social media is transforming the way consumers around the globe make purchasing decisions. Consumers are using social media to listen and learn about other consumers’ experiences (70%); find more information about brands, products and services (65%); and compliment brands (53%)."
Pinterest: when listening is more about seeing offers wise advice: "What so many people are forgetting is that you don't need to look at this platform as yet another way to shout your message to your consumers, but rather, that it's a remarkably elegant and real way to listen to your consumers."
Grant McCracken says it best in Pinterest as Free Market Research: "Pinterest is a treasure. It's a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat.... Pinterest helps us build and share these categories and to specify what we mean in a medium more telling than language. And this makes Pinterest an observation platform from which to study a culture that becomes ever more liquid, responsive, crowd-sourced and generally speaking dynamic. And thispotentially makes Pinterest a place to detect early changes and to get early warnings, a pretty useful thing as our culture accelerates."
Do you use Pinterest? Have you observed valuable trends from social listening on Pinterest? Le me know what you've discovered and how you've used the information. I'd love to hear!
I'm preparing for a presentation next week about how your website is your most valuable marketing asset. After all, it works 24/7, it's the digital equivalent of a store front or office location and can be the most effective means for getting more business - assuming you do things right.
Here's my thinking on the matter.
Just as hanging your shingle outside your business or having a catchy sign can draw the attention of potential customers, so can a website. The added bonus is that your website can communicate a great deal more about you and your expertise than a store front, a phone message or a sign.
In fact, your website can communicate as much or more than your most talented business representative... It can focus 100% of each individual visitor without interruption, and it does so on your visitor's schedule rather than yours.
Your website, if it includes the means for doing so, can capture pertinent information about prospects, including the web pages that were most informative and the terms used to find your site. It does so without requiring that a person actively be present to record the data. Let Google Analytics be your resident retail anthropologist!
What's not to like!
In order to get more business, though, comes a certain responsibility for ensuring that your website is -well- alive, active, up-to-date, informative, focused on customers... In other words, it needs to be an extension of your overall business, not an afterthought. I consider my website to be the hub of all of my marketing activities!
Consider this real world vibrant business analogy:
- Would you allow the lights in your display sign to stay burnt out for an extended period of time?
- Would you ignore trash accumulating by your front door?
- Would you forget about cleaning your bathrooms?
- Would you only hand out dated and irrelevant brochures and materials to prospective customers?
I don't think so.
The same thinking applies to your digital store front aka your website. It needs to be fresh and up to date. It needs to work and support your business.
Just as you think through the steps a prospect takes in real life to become a customer, you would anticipate the actions a visitor takes on your website and be prepared with content to answer their questions, establish trust and begin relationship so they return and eventually buy. Right?
If you're serious about your website and how it can help you get more business, take the following 7 tips to heart:
1. Have you installed Google Analytics? If not, do so. It's free and powerful.
2. Identify goals for your website in Google Analytics. Consider time on specific pages, completion of your contact us and newsletter subscription forms.
3. Be thoughtful and thorough about your website's SEO [see SEO Tips: Having Fun with Title Tags and Meta Descriptions].
4. Make sure that your website answers the questions your customers have. Be thorough; link to relevant resources so you truly deliver value to visitors. The information on your website can play a dual role. When you follow up with customers in your store, showroom or office, you can refer them to that same content via links in an email for example.
5. How dynamic is your website? Have you established a schedule for updating and refreshing your content - as you would in your store, showroom or office? Have you made someone responsible for doing so?
6. Use your website as a hub from which to send probes via email, through social networks, in person, via Adwords campaigns and traditional advertising with invitations to return to your website to explor content. This allows you to test how effective your site is.
7. Analyze your data regularly. Learn from the data. Be constantly testing your ideas.
How do you use your online presence to anticipate and respond to customer inquiries? What have been your greatest successes? What about your greatest flops? Let me know!
As important as SEO is, would you agree that there's a hair shirt quality to it all? It's technical, it's geeky and abstract, awkward to access and doesn't seem to visibly add to the user experience.
Furthermore, it often gets ignored because identifying meaningful title tags and meta descriptions aren't necessarily an IT function, or the role of a website developer to complete, and the marketer overlooks it because it's part of the website infrastructure and not always easily accessible.
Regardless, title tags and meta descriptions need to be taken care of so they can support your website, and offer up tantalizing clues about your business to prospective customers.
I'm here to remind you that you can have fun with title tags and meta descriptions. After all, SEO is part of your content marketing! And your content is your opportunity to share with prospects and customers your passion for how your products and services offer them solutions!
Examples of Having Fun with Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
In the process of exploring and researching, and finding examples to share in presentations and articles, I've come across clever, even humorous approaches that companies I admire take with their SEO and digital marketing, as well as their content.
Rather than be grim, boring and utilitarian, they express delight and pleasure. Or they offer really valuable information. They start the magic for visitors at the search engine results - which is where meta descriptions in particular go to work. You can tell that they view these details as part of a bigger content picture.
Let me share with you a few favorite examples.
Zappos Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Zappos doesn't just sell shoes. It sells clothing, handbags, shoes and more online. Zappos is known for removing the hurdles associated with buying shoes (and more) online. It offers a 1 year return policy and the friendliest, most passionate customer service around.
Here's Zappos' title tag and meta description content:
Shoes, Clothing, and More | Zappos.com
Free shipping BOTH ways on shoes, clothing, and more! 365 day return policy, over 1000 brands, 24 7 friendly customer service 1 800 927 767
Helpful. Descriptive. Succinct. Hugely relevant to the Zappos customer. Highlights how Zappos is different. Would you change anything?
Apple Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Apple - iPad
iPad is a magical window where nothing comes between you and what you love And it comes in two sizes
I love the use of 'you' in the description. Apple is looking to connect with a specific customer who already knows about Apple and iPads. Would you change anything?
Birchbox Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Discover the best beauty, grooming and lifestyle products | Birchbox
Birchbox delivers luxe beauty samples to your door each month Find out what you love, and buy with confidence
I love the inclusion of a verb - discover - in the title tag. The meta description explains what Birchbox offers - luxe beauty samples and confidence. Would you change anything?
Crocs Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Are you familiar with Crocs? I consider them a lifesaver for trade shows where I walk more than a mile. Comfortable, cushiony shoes in really fun colors and patterns, and accessories [Jibbitz], too. [BTW, Croc also does a wonderful job with its email marketing. See Customers Are People: Tips For Getting More Customers!]
Crocs™ Official Site | Shoes, Sandals, & Clogs | Free Shipping
Crocs official website Go ahead, walk a mile in our shoes Comfy and colorful Order direct!
Notice that Crocs includes 'free shipping' in the title tag. And look at all the information in the meta description! Comfy, colorful, order direct. An active invitation to 'walk a mile in our shoes.' Would you change anything?
Amazon Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
I confess. Amazon disappointed me. However, I rarely go to a search engine to find Amazon. I simply type amazon.com into the URL and search from there.
Despite the disappointment, Amazon represents a great example for highlighting best practices.
Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more
Online shopping from the earth s biggest selection of books, magazines, music, DVDs, videos, electronics, computers, software, apparel accessories, shoes, jewelry, tools hardware, housewares, furniture, sporting goods, beauty personal care, broadband dsl, gourmet food just about anything else
Compared to the previous examples, notice how both title tag and meta description are wordy. More specifically, the title includes 83 characters and the meta description includes 293 characters. Also, no verb! I would remove the reference to 'amazon.com' in the title; or move it to the end. What else would you suggest?
SEO Tips for Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
I offer you the following SEO tips for title tags and meta descriptions:
- Your titles and meta descriptions should be succinct.
- They should include keywords or search terms relevant to your visitors.
- Be sure to place your most important search term at the beginning of your title and description.
- Each page of your website needs to have its own unique page title and meta description.
- The page title and meta description needs to relate to the content found on that web page, too.
Here are length guidelines:
- Page title: 70 characters
- Meta description: 150 characters
Any longer, and the remaining content will be cut off. Hence the recommendation to have important search terms at the beginning rather than at the end!
(If you haven't already, definitely read through Google's SEO Starter Guide. It's filled with examples and explanations.)
Are you ready to have fun with your title tags and meta descriptions? Go check out your favorite sites and explore their meta data [to view, right click and select 'view source']. Do you like what you see? Which ones are most intriguing? Then, go search for them and see how that information is presented in search results.
By the way, I refer above to SEO being part of your content marketing. Check out Content Marketing Optimization rather than SEO... Intriguing, no?
I'm so excited! After months thinking about it, I've finally published the content marketing guide I've been dreaming about since before Bathroom Blogfest and Hurricane Sandy.
The guide came out of several blog articles published here on Content Talks Business and many requests from business owners wanting guidance on how best to embrace content marketing for their business.
The end result is a 12 page guide which outlines what I consider to be the major pillars of content marketing: personas, keywords and the buying cycle.
I invite you to download this Content Marketing Guide [note: you will need to complete a form] and read the guide.
Then, let me know what you think!
Tell me what resonates most for you and your business. Let me know what you consider easiest to implement, and what you would do differently given your industry and business dynamics.
I believe that content marketing is relevent to all businesses, regardless of industry. It represents an opportunity to educate prospective customers without using hard sales techniques. It means that your digital presence can truly support your business objectives regardless of business hours and location. It amplifies your marketing - when done correctly with the end customer in mind.
This content marketing guide offers fundamentals so you can get started and be successful.
Thank you for downloading and reading. I look forward to hearing from you!
Have you wondered how you might use social media to connect with customers? You can find out how during Surfaces 2013 during a panel discussion I will moderate.
You can also glean tips from this blog article!
You see, in anticipation of “Social Media in Action: Retailers Share Best Practices for Connecting With Customers” on 1/28/13, I'm sharing highlights from conversations and interviews with my panel participants and social media practitioners.
Next are 8 tips on using social media to connect with customers from Robert Banks, Executive Officer, Co-founder, BuildDirect.
What's particularly fascinating about this panel discussion is that, although Nufloors and BuildDirect represent different business models for flooring, both Rob and Cynthia share a passion for finance and business development. They are methodical in how they approach business. They also share a strong commitment to delighting customers. They are willing to talk about their experiences and share tips for success.
BuildDirect is a 13 year old company with deep roots in the industry. It represents an unique business model that is scalable across a broad range of categories; it has developed a predictive data model which identifies demand by market, geographic bias, economic sensitivity, and measures customer intent and barriers to purchase. Its predictive data analytics accurately forecasts manufacturing requirements. Furthermore, real time data provides early indicators which result in efficiencies back into manufacturing cycle and distribution channel.
In other words, not your typical flooring company! (See BuildDirect Uses Google Analytics To Get Found Online.)
BuildDirect and Rob participate actively in social media (see BuildDirect's Co-Founder Rob Banks on Mashable). Rob shares the following 8 tips for success using social media to connect with customers:
- Hook into your own expertise, find ways to honestly and efficiently express it. ‘Don’t soar like eagles, when you’ve got perfectly designed fins’.
- "Don’t follow the shiny new thing.” Be open-minded about the latest trends, but be discerning about them enough to know how you will apply them to your established plan. One size doesn’t fit all.
- Be inclusive. Let everyone within your company contribute their own ideas/expertise to a social media program. Know the difference between consistent voice, and iron-fisted control. This is the scary part.
- Be consistent. Don’t post once every 6 months and fool yourself into thinking you have a social media strategy
- Be authentic.
- Have empathy. In all customer interactions always think about their situation first… people want to buy from people who care about them. There is no way to fake this, be genuine.
- The conversation is happening whether you participate or not. Do you want to participate when people are talking about you?
- Don’t suck! Be great at what you do otherwise your social strategy doesn’t mean anything
If you can't join us in Las Vegas, please do share your successes and best practices for using social media to connect with customers in the comments.
Have you wondered how you might use social media to connect with customers? If yes, consider attending “Social Media in Action: Retailers Share Best Practices for Connecting With Customers” with Cynthia Dean, Nufloors Coquitlam, and Robert Banks, BuildDirect, on 1/28/13 from 3:30pm to 5pm in Las Vegas during Surfaces 2013.
In anticipation of the session, Cynthia Dean, CGA, General Manager, Nufloors in Coquitlam, BC, whom you may remember from Customer Satisfaction: Do You Assume or Have you Asked? and What Goes Into a Thoughtful Retail Experience? took part in the following interview.
C.B.: Cynthia, tell me about yourself and your company? How are you different from competitors/What’s most important about the retail experience you offer customers?
CD: I have been with Nufloors Coquitlam for almost 5 years. My role as General Manager has allowed me to apply more than 20 years corporate experience to how we have set up our infrastructure. Ensuring our processes are solid, and by focusing on continuous improvement, means that we can do our best at ensuring the customer experience is positive. I firmly believe that managing customer expectations throughout the buying and installation process will result in increased customer satisfaction, and fewer process issues.
CB: How do you use social media in your business?
CD: We view social media as another way to build relationships with our current and future customers.
CB: How do you integrate it with the rest of your business?
CD: It is important to ensure that how you present yourself in social media matches the store experience. In addition to posting lots of pictures of flooring room scenes, we also try to post about the people in our store and the things we are doing in the community. We want people to see us as part of their local physical community as well as their social media community.
CB: What do you like most about social media?
CD: Ease of use and low cost. I love it when one of our posts get a lot of comments and shares. We have discovered that people love to see stuff about themselves. We try and post pictures of our installations from time to time – both on Facebook and on our web-site. Our hope is that our customers will direct their social media network to our sites…what a great referral process!
CB: What do you like least about it?
CD: Trying to find enough interesting things to post.
CB: What’s the hardest part?
CD: Ensuring enough time to keep up with posts. We are in the process of introducing a company ‘Social Media Policy’. I recently read several examples of companies who had PR nightmares because of inappropriate posts by their employees, sometimes inadvertently. We need to remember that anyone can post on the internet and we need to make sure that how our employees represent our company is how we want to be represented.
CB: How do you determine success in social media?
CD: It is difficult to measure the success of social media. It is important to view the analytics available, but you need to remember that social media is all about building relationships with customers.
We know in our business that our Facebook ‘fans’ seem to really like pictures of room scenes. People are always looking for new ways to decorate (just look at the success of HGTV). The best way to look at social media is as branding, rather than advertising. We are trying to make sure future customers are familiar with our ‘brand’ so that when they do decide to renovate, we are at top of mind.
CB: What are your tips for being successful?
CD: Here are my three tips:
1. Social Media is not a place to ‘sell’. Think about it as enhancing your brand.
- From our research, it can take over a year for the purchase decision. Social media is a great place to start the relationship with your future customer.
- Bonus: it is way cheaper than traditional advertising!
2. Create a Social Media Plan.
- Creating a one page plan for your on-line material and assigning it to specific people means it will more likely be kept up-to-date.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment!
- Post unusual pictures, comments, links, etc. Try different formats, contests, surveys, etc.
- Review your analytics regularly to find out what is catching people’s attention
- Remember that Social Media is two-way; make sure you are interacting in a positive way
CB: Fantastic! Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing such valuable advice. I look forward to our panel discussion session about Social Media in Action at Surfaces 2013!
(Note: also see Social Media in Action: FLOFORM Countertops Connects With Customers.)
How does your business use social media? Have you found it effective for connecting with customers?
I confess. 2012 was a blur. I had trouble keeping up with the marketing brilliance and goodness that many I admire shared. For that reason, I'm grateful to Denise Lee Yohn - whom I got to meet in person during BRITE 2011. She has created a list of blogposts worth reading from 2012!
Denise is intensely focused on the brand experience, the customer experience and helping companies bring those two together seamlessly. [Here's a project Denise and I collaborated on re: the customer retail experience. See Trader Joe's Where Less is More: Brand As Business Bites Guest Post and REI Makes Choosing Easy By Denise Lee Yohn.]
Denise captured what I consider intense marketing goodness from 17 blogs she reads regularly. Her Slideshare presentation is titled Blogposts Worth Reading (12.12 Edition) by Denise Lee Yohn It's filled with wisdom guaranteed to inspire your marketing in 2013!
[Disclaimer - Denise has included me in this list; I'm thrilled to pieces!]
- By Becky Lang, writing on the Zeus Jones, Politeness Theory and the Millennial Style of Customer Service.
- By Steve McKee, writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You'd Do It.
- By Maz Iqbal, writing on The Customer Blog, What Does It Take To Be A Leader and For Leadership To Show Up part iii
- By Noah Brier, The Safety of Brands
- By Tom Fishburne, Location Marketing
- By Jason Fried, writing on Signal + Noise, Pruning Makes Room for Something New
- By Shawn Parr, writing on the Bulldog Drummond Blog, Operate Courageously and with Convinction.
- By Rosabeth Moss Kanter writing on HBR Blog Network, Ten Reasons People Resist Change
- By Annette Franz Gleneicki, writing on CX Journey, Continuous Improvements of Olympic Proportions.
- By Steve Portigal, writing on All This Chittah Chattah, Act Now Pay Later Here Come the Offsets
- By John Moore, writing on Brand Autopsy, Episode #29 | Talkable is Operational
- By Peter Romeo, writing on Restaurant Reality Check, Concept Restaurants of the Future
- By Les McKeown, writing on The Synergist at Inc.com, How to Hire Great People--Every Time
- By Tom Asacker, writing on A Clear Eye, If You Want People to Think You're Funny, Don't Tell Them You're Funny, Tell Them a Joke You've Probably Heard.
- By C. B. Whittemore, writing on Simple Marketing Now's Content Talks Business Blog, Remarkable Customer Experience Pike Place Fish Market Style
- By Tony Schwartz, writing on HBR Blog Network, The Art of Letting Go
- By Roger Dooley, writing on Brainy Science at Forbes.com, Why So Much Market Research Sucks
Do check out Denise' presentation. She includes a quote from each highlighted blog article, succinctly capturing intense inspiration you'll enjoy for 2013.
Thanks, Denise, for sharing these great brand marketing resources and for including me.
After the intensity of a full work year, it's fun to look back on it all and evaluate the content that has attracted the most readers.
You'll find here the top eleven articles published on Content Talks Business, organized by category.
[By the way, I'll do a similar listing on Flooring The Consumer.]
Social Media and Content Marketing Examples
100+ Case Studies: Social Media Marketing Examples
200+ Case Studies: Social Media and Content Marketing Examples
Practical Wisdom for Success With Digital Marketing
How Do I Get More Business? 13 Tips
How To Do Bad Social Media: 10 Examples
Why Get Found Online With Blogs vs. Facebook or Twitter?
Urban Outfitters: Online Marketing Advice
How the Zero Moment of Truth Fits Into Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?
Why ZMOT is Relevant for B2B Marketing: 4 Data-Based Reasons
Connecting With Customers
Connecting With Customers and Communities
Remarkable Customer Experience, Pike Place Fish Market Style
Crafting Contagious Content Marketing: Jonah Berger's ASPECTS
Would you like more of the same for 2013? Or, do you have new burning questions? I welcome your questions and ideas for content to highlight in 2013.
Thank you for reading.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2013!