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How to Build, Run, & Analyze Marketing Reports [Examples + Templates]

This may be of some interest.

As marketers, we’re making important decisions on behalf of our company and team every day. In addition to using our best judgment when it comes to making these decisions, it’s ideal to also utilize data and metrics when we can.

Now, you’re likely already tracking marketing metrics such as traffic, leads, and customers — these are all critical parts of the bigger picture of your marketing funnel and flywheel. But as critical as these metrics are, they’re not enough to inform broader marketing decisions that impact your entire organization.

This is where marketing reporting comes into play. This guide will help you further explore the marketing reports you can run to properly analyze your data and make truly informed decisions.

Marketing reports vary depending on what data you’re reviewing and the purpose of each report. They can assess where your traffic and leads are coming from, what content they interacted with, if and when they converted, and how long it took for them to become a customer.

Take our free, 20-minute HubSpot Academy course on marketing reporting to measure success and optimize your efforts.

To reiterate: Marketing reports inform decisions. You wouldn’t run a marketing report to review data performance or check on an ongoing goal — for these purposes, you’d glance at your marketing dashboards.

Let’s look at it this way. Compiling a marketing report for knowledge’s sake is synonymous with scheduling a meeting to simply review a project. Who likes to attend a 30-minute meeting to simply review what could’ve been shared via email? Not me.

The same goes for marketing reporting. Reports should help you make a decision or come to an important conclusion — similar to how a meeting would help your team deliberate about a project or decide between project resources.

In short, marketing reporting is a highly valuable process if used and crafted properly. In the next section, we’ll dive into how to build a marketing report.

How to Build a Marketing Report

As we said above, there are plenty of different marketing reports you can run; we’ll be reviewing some examples in the next section. For this reason, this section won’t focus on what specific data to put into your marketing report — that will depend on what type you decide to run. (Remember, if you’re building a marketing dashboard, that process is a bit different.)

We’re going to discuss how to build marketing reports that inform your decisions and benefit your audience (whether that’s your team, CEO, or customers).

Most of your marketing reports will contain a few of the same elements:

  • Title. What is your marketing report analyzing? Whether you’re running a report on campaign performance, quarterly blog performance, or monthly leads, be sure to title your report so the intent is clear. This is especially important if you’re sharing your report with people outside of marketing.
  • Reporting period. Your marketing report should reflect a certain time period. This period can be a few days, months, or even years. Analyzing your data within a time period allows you to compare performance to past periods.
  • Summary. Your report summary should reflect the key points of your report, including your wins, losses, and goals for the next reporting period. It’s basically the TL;DR of your report.

Next, let’s dive into the report specifics. Valuable, insightful marketing reports recognize two distinct components: purpose and audience.

Choosing a Purpose for Your Marketing Report

A marketing report should help you make a decision. Choosing the intent of your marketing report (i.e. the data you’re analyzing) is simple; however, it’s how you’re going to use this data to make a decision or draw a conclusion that’s more difficult.

This is true for two reasons:

  1. Marketing reporting is more often than not performed to simply review data, which is a waste of time.
  2. Data points can be used to draw multiple conclusions or make multiple decisions, so you should know precisely how you’re going to use the data before you draw it.

You should determine the goal of your marketing report before you pull any data. Once you make this impending decision, list all the data that might be relevant. From there, you’ll have a much better idea of what reports to run and how to use said data.

Choosing an Audience for Your Marketing Report

Marketing reports are highly valuable because they can inform so many different decisions — decisions made by a wide variety of people across your organization. Whether you’re delivering a marketing report to your team lead, department manager, or CEO, your marketing report must be tailored to whoever may be reading and using it.

Here are a few ways to do this:

    • Ask your audience what they need. If you know the decisions your audience needs to make, you’ll know what data you need to pull and analyze. Knowing this will also help you avoid running reports your audience doesn’t care about.
    • Speak in their language. Marketing involves a lot of acronyms and jargon. While your team members understand what you’re saying, your executive team and co-workers outside Marketing may not be so fluent. Consider your audience when writing your marketing report and be sure to choose words and descriptions that they’ll understand.
  • Don’t mix audiences. If you’re creating a marketing report for a mixed audience, it’s best to create separate reports for separate audiences. For example, you wouldn’t create the same report to give your CEO and Marketing co-workers; you’d likely break this into two reports with different data and verbiage. This will allow your audience to be able to focus on the data and analysis that’s most relevant to them.

Marketing reporting can take up a lot of your time. Here are some best practices to help you work smarter, not harder.

1. Schedule your marketing reports.

Whether you create a recurring reminder on your calendar or set your reports to automatically run, schedule your marketing reports ahead of time. This will take the guesswork out of when to run your reports and when to send them to the relevant audiences.

Schedule daily, weekly, or monthly reports and send them directly to your team’s inboxes with the HubSpot Marketing Hub Reporting add-on.

2. Collect feedback from your audience.

As you send out your marketing reports, ask for feedback from your audience. Whether you ask an open-ended question like, “How did this report help you?” or provide a short Google Form, gathering feedback from those using your reports can help you improve them in the future.

3. Create marketing report templates.

If your marketing report will be designed the same way each and every time you send it out, consider turning it into a template. This will save you time and energy building each template and provide a reliable, predictable report design for your audience to read.

Make your monthly reporting faster and easier with these free monthly marketing reporting templates.

4. Put your most valuable data first.

Long marketing reports are fine as long as all the data you include is valuable and helpful for whatever decision you or your team need to make. However, you should place the most impactful data first so that your audience can stop reading once they’ve made up their minds. Nobody wants to read an entire report to only utilize the final page.

5. Visualize your data as much as possible.

Did you know that humans process visual data 60,000x faster than written data? Illustrated data (e.g. graphs and charts) are also more believable, according to this study by Cornell University.

When possible, include visual data in your marketing reports. Not only does this help your reports pack a greater punch with your coworkers and executives, but it trims down the time and effort needed to digest your data. To do this, include charts from Excel or screenshots from your reporting tools (like HubSpot Marketing Hub). You can also use heat maps if you’re reporting on website performance.

Marketing Reporting Examples

There are hundreds of reports that you can run to dig into your marketing efforts. At this point, however, you’re likely asking, “Where should I start? What are those basic marketing reports I can run to get more comfortable with all the data I’ve been tracking?”

Well, we’ve pulled together these five marketing reporting examples for you to use to get started.

Note that you will need some type of marketing software (like HubSpot Marketing Hub) to do this. You should also make sure your software allows you to export the data from your software and manipulate it in Excel using pivot tables and other functions.

Learn how to create an Excel graph, make pivot tables, and use VLOOKUPS and IF functions with this free guide and video.

Since we use HubSpot for our reporting needs, I’ll show you how to compile these reports using the Marketing Hub tool. (The data below is sample data only and does not represent actual HubSpot marketing data.)

1. Multi-Touch Revenue

As a marketer, you’re a big part of your company’s growth. But unless you can directly tie your impact to revenue, you’ll be forever underappreciated and under-resourced. With multi-touch revenue attribution, you tie closed revenue to every marketing interaction — from the first-page view to the final nurturing email.

That way, marketers get the credit they deserve and marketing execs make smarter investments rooted in business value instead of vanity metrics. As a bonus, multi-touch revenue attribution can help you stay aligned with your sales team.

HubSpot customers can create multi-touch attribution reports quickly; HubSpot’s attribution tool is built for real people, not data scientists. (It also connects every customer interaction to revenue, automatically.) Navigate to your dashboard, and click Add Report > Attribution Report. Select from the set of pre-baked best-practice templates, or create a custom report of your own.

Note: Enterprise HubSpot customers can do this in their software if they have their Salesforce integration set up with Account Sync turned on.

multi-touch revenue attribution marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Revenue Reporting

To analyze revenue reporting, figure out what’s working and double down on it. Look at the revenue results from different channels and see where you had the most success. Use this information to decide what marketing efforts to invest in moving forward. For example, if you notice that your Facebook campaigns drove a ton of revenue, run more Facebook campaigns!

Multi-touch attribution reports should be run monthly to understand the broader business impact of your marketing channels. While revenue is important, you should also dig into some of your other metrics for a more complete picture.

2. Channel-Specific Traffic

Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you make strategic decisions as you invest in different marketing channels. If you see strong performance from one particular source, you may want to invest more resources in it. On the other hand, you may actually want to invest in some of the weaker channels to get them on pace with some of your other channels. Whatever you decide, source data will help you figure that out.

HubSpot customers can use the Traffic Analytics report (under Reports > Analytics tools in your navigation) to break down traffic by source.

Want to get an even deeper understanding of your traffic patterns? Break down your traffic by geography. (Example: Which sources bring in your most traffic, in Brazil?) You can also examine subsets of your website (like your blog vs. your product pages).

channel-specific traffic marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Channel-Specific Traffic

Take a look at what channels are performing well. Based on your goals, that could mean looking at the visitor data or focusing on the visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are a couple of different ways to think about your data:

  • If you get a lot of traffic from a certain channel, but the channel is not necessarily helping your visitors move down the funnel, it may mean that you should invest more in other channels or optimize that underperforming channel for conversion.
  • Think about how you can invest resources in your strongest channels. Did you run a campaign that helped the channel perform well? Was there a piece of content you created that set it off? Consider how you can replicate your past success.
  • If you haven’t worked on a particular channel, it could be a good time to test it out. Think about how you can incorporate multiple channels into the same campaign.

Pulling this data weekly will allow you to stay up-to-date on how the channels are performing. If a channel took a turn for the worse, you’ll have enough time to remedy the situation before it gets out of control or you waste resources. Pulling the report daily may be a bit overboard since some channels take multiple days to be effective and pulling it monthly would prevent you from responding with agility — so, weekly data is ideal.

3. Blog Posts by Conversion

Blogs have become a marketer’s best friend. There’s a direct correlation between how often a company blogs and the number of leads they generate (not just the amount of traffic they drive). So, it’s critical you monitor how well your blog is helping you grow that critical metric.

Reporting on your blog leads is a quick way to see how many leads you’re generating on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — and by what channel. This report is a great way to understand what channels are strongest for your blog, where you should spend more promotion time, and how well your content is performing over time.

If you’re using HubSpot, creating a blog leads report is easy. Navigate to Add Report from any of your dashboards, and choose Top blog posts by contact conversion. This report shows the posts that were most often seen by contacts immediately before filling out a form on your website.

top blog posts by contact conversion marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze Blog Posts by Conversion

Look at how many leads you’re generating from your blog over time. If you see spikes in leads, you know to dig into your content to see if certain topics are more successful at generating leads than others. The more you can run these reports to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, the better off your marketing and blogging will be.

This type of data should be pulled on a monthly basis to ensure you’re writing the most relevant content over time.

4. New Contacts by Persona

Every marketer needs to be well-versed in their buyer personas — but you need to do more than just understand them. It’s important to track how many new contacts you’re actually adding to your database based on each persona. This will help you determine how accurate your buyer personas are and how successful your marketing is in targeting and reaching them.

To report on this in HubSpot, plot your contacts by Create date, which will show the date on which you added a new contact to your database. Then, break down your report by persona.

contacts by persona marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze New Contacts by Persona

Did you run a marketing campaign around a particular topic? Did you focus on promoting your content through specific channels? What did you do that led to an increase or decrease in persona acquisition? Digging into this report can help you allocate resources more wisely to grow different segments of your business.

Pulling this report on a monthly basis can give you insight into how your campaigns affect new contacts by persona — and might even shed light on an imbalance in resources dedicated to certain personas.

5. Lifecycle Stage Funnel

Another way to segment your contact database is to look at how they appear by lifecycle stage. This will give you a sense of how many leads, subscribers, customers, and opportunities you have in your database in a certain time period. This data will help you understand if you need to generate more leads or if you should be more focused on closing your current leads. It will also give you a general understanding of the quality of your contact database.

As a HubSpot customer, create a funnel report by clicking Add Report from any dashboard, then choosing the Funnels category. Pick which stages you’d like to include, select your visualization, and you’re off and running.

lifecycle stage funnel marketing reporting hubspot

How to Analyze a Lifecycle Stage funnel

This report will give you an overview of how your leads are progressing through the buying process. Use this report to see what areas of your funnel you need to address for greater efficiency.

For example, if your report shows that you’re doing a great job of generating leads, but not converting any to MQLs, update and optimize your nurturing program. Pulling monthly funnel reports can help you stay on top of the efficiency of your marketing process

Marketing Reporting Helps You Grow Better

Marketing reporting is a vital part of your marketing efforts and the growth of your business. By understanding how efficient and effective your marketing is, you can better allocate time, resources, and money — and make well-informed decisions, to boot. Start with these marketing reporting examples and expand your reporting as you begin to utilize more data.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


Thank you for reading.

B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case

This may be of some interest.

20 Compelling Statistics About B2B Podcasting

20 Compelling Statistics About B2B Podcasting

Good grief, Josh, why can’t you shut up about B2B podcasting? Does the world really need another think piece, blog post, or webinar about the potential? Don’t people get it already?

I hear you, theoretical reader. And yet, I persevere. 

B2B podcasting today is where content marketing was a decade ago. It’s emerging as a marketing discipline. People are starting to get sophisticated about deploying and measuring podcasts. We’re seeing new tools to make it easier to launch, promote, and monetize. And despite the thousands of hours of audio out there already, there’s no sign that the market is satiated. 

I believe that if you’re not already thinking about podcasting for your B2B brand, you should be. But if my beautiful words can’t convince you, let the data tell the story:

B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Case

These statistics come from five different reports, all released in the last year. When you look at all five together, the picture is clear: We’re nowhere near peak podcast, and brand content is the next frontier.

Podcast Listenership Just Keeps Growing

Podcasting is a growth medium. More people are listening now than ever before. But what’s truly impressive is how many listeners are new to the medium. Even though podcasts have been around since the early 2000s, they have only reached a mass market audience in the past couple of years.

1: Nearly a quarter of all listeners started in the past 6 months. (2)

2: Globally, 36% of the sampled population has listened to a podcast in the last month. (1)

3: 51% of the U.S. population over 12 has listened to a podcast. (2)

4: 32% of the U.S. population over 12 has listened in the past month (90 million people). (2)

5: 22% of the U.S. population over 12 listen weekly (60 million). (2)

6: 62.6% of respondents said they listen to more podcasts now than they did a year ago. (3)

7: Only 3.1% said they listen less than they did a year ago. (3)

In summary: Podcasts continue to attract new listeners to their existing audience of 90 million people monthly. And, most promisingly, those who listen are far more likely to add new podcasts than cut down.

[bctt tweet=”Podcasts continue to attract new listeners… And, most promisingly, those who listen are far more likely to add new podcasts than cut down. @NiteWrites #B2BPodcasting” username=”toprank”]

Podcast Listeners Are Demographically Valuable

Okay, so millions of people are listening to podcasts. But are these people a worthwhile target audience for B2B marketers? 

The answer may vary depending on your most valuable audience, of course. But most B2B marketers are interested in targeting millennials. A recent survey found that at least 73% of millennials are involved in product or service decision making at work, with 33% reporting they’re the sole decision maker at their company. 

Basically, if you’re trying to influence B2B purchases, millennials matter. And podcast listeners are disproportionately affluent, social media savvy millennials:

8: 50% of listeners under 35 have listened to a podcast in the last month. (1)

9: 41% of podcast listeners make $75k a year or more, compared to 29% of the general population. (2)

10: Podcast listeners are more likely to be active on social media across channels and more likely to follow companies and brands. (4)

Podcast Listeners Are More Likely To Follow Companies and Brands on Social

Read: How to Promote Your B2B Podcast

Podcast Fans are Devoted Listeners

According to Google’s 2018 benchmarks, the average time on page for content from most industries is between two and three minutesMarketers can certainly make an impression in that amount of time. Even fifteen seconds is valuable to a savvy marketer with a good hook and strong CTA. But podcast listeners spend a great deal more time with audio content:

11: 76.8% listen to podcasts more than 7 hours a week. (3)

12: 61.2% spend more time listening to podcasts than watching TV. (3)

13: 52% of monthly listeners listen to the entirety of each episode. (2)

14: 70% of listeners say that, at least sometimes, they do nothing else while listening to podcasts. (2)

As that last statistic shows, podcast listeners aren’t the distracted, multi-tasking folks we might have imagined they are. If the material is engaging, they’re willing to devote their attention. Speaking of which…

[bctt tweet=”Podcast listeners aren’t the distracted, multi-tasking folks we might have imagined they are. If the material is engaging, they’re willing to devote their attention. @NiteWrites #B2BPodcasting” username=”toprank”]

Podcast Fans Want to Learn (In a Fun Way)

Back in the early days, podcasts were — in the best sense of the word — geeky. They were for highly techy types to share knowledge, teach and learn. While purely entertaining podcasts have seen plenty of success, at the root of it podcasts are an ideal medium for learning. 

People don’t just listen to podcasts for fun. The overwhelming majority want to feel smarter at the end of every episode. 

Think of all the subject matter expertise in your company. Now multiply that by the influential guests (e.g. your customers, prospects, and industry experts and peers) you’ll invite on to share their expertise.  It’s easy to see how a brand podcast can bring educational value to an audience that’s ready to learn.

15: 74% say they listen to podcasts to learn new things. (2)

16: 71% say they listen to be entertained. (2)

17: 59% say they enjoy podcasts because they make them feel smarter. (2)

74% of Podcast Listeners Listen to Learn New Things

The Business Podcast Market Is Ready for Lift-Off

There’s still a massive untapped market for helpful, informative business podcasts — exactly the type that B2B brands could develop, produce and promote. In fact, we can see that the ad revenue model for podcasting is expanding to include branded content. Right now, branded content is still a small percentage of overall podcast advertising, but it’s growing fast. 

18: There are avid fans of business podcasts in 13 million households. (4)

19: There are casual fans of business podcasts in 52 million households. (4)

20: Branded content has increased from 1.5% to 10.1% of podcast advertising since 2016. (5)

What’s more, podcasts offer a range of content marketing benefits, which can inform and bolster your broader digital marketing strategy.

Don’t Be (Pod) Cast Aside

The podcast boom continues unabated — and it’s grown from a strictly amateur platform to a sophisticated content marketing medium. B2B marketers who are creating any kind of audio content should consider podcasting as a channel to earn attention, deeply engage an audience, and ultimately drive measurable business results.

Ready to produce your own podcast? Check out our webinar on the 4 P’s of Podcasting.

Sources:

  1. Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019
  2. The Podcast Consumer 2019
  3. Podcast Trends Report 2018
  4. Nielsen Marketers Guide to Podcasting
  5. IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Study for 2019

The post B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

My 6-Step Content Marketing Formula That Drives 3,549 Visitors

This may be of some interest.

Writing a blog post is easy.

If you don’t write often, you may feel otherwise, but just follow this
and you’ll be good to go when it comes to writing. Or, you can just watch the
video below.

But still, you write a blog post and then what do you do?

Well, I’ll tell you this… most people forget the “marketing” in content marketing. Most people write content but don’t do a great job of promoting it.

Here’s the thing: I figured out the perfect formula to promoting content.

Best of all, it’s not complex. Heck, it doesn’t even take 30 minutes. It’s so easy that I broke it down into 6 steps.

And just to give you an idea before we dive into the formula, it’s so effective here is the traffic to my latest blog post.

35,492 visits in a week isn’t too shabby. The post didn’t do exceptionally well and it didn’t tank. It was just an average post.

Now you probably won’t see the same results as me as I’ve
been doing this for a long time, but your results will be much better than what
you are currently getting. Hence, I used the number of 3,549 in the title as
you should be able to drive 1/10th of what I am generating.

So, let’s dive right into the formula.

Step #1: Optimize your headline

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will click through on your headline to read the rest of your article.

No matter how well written your content is, promoting it won’t
be effective if no one likes your headline.

Now I know what you are thinking… I’ve already published my
article, is it too late to change my headline?

Nope, you can always change your headline, just try not
to change the URL of the article once it is already published.
And if you decide
to change the URL, use a
301 redirect
.

There’s a really simple way to come up with headlines that work. Heck, it doesn’t even take more than a minute or two.

Just head over to Ubersuggest and type in the main keyword or phrase your article is about.

You’ll see a report that looks something like this:

Now I want you to click on “Content Ideas” in the left-hand navigation.

You should now see a report that looks like this:

This report shows you all of the blog posts around the web
that contain your keyword or phrase within their title. And it breaks it down
by social shares, backlinks, and search traffic.

You can use this to see what is working in your space.

Ideally, you want to look for headlines that have thousands of social shares (or hundreds if you aren’t in a popular industry), at least 10 backlinks, and more than 100 estimated visits. Just like the example below.

Making your headlines similar to ones that meet those 3 criteria
will increase your odds of getting more traffic.

Step #2: Add 3 internal links

The easiest way to get your new content more love is to
build links.

Yes, links are hard to build, but internal links are not…
plus they are still effective.

I rank for competitive terms like “digital marketing”…

A lot of it has to do with internal links. I link to my main
digital marketing page within my sidebar and within my content.

Every time you publish a new blog post, I want you to go into your older content that is relevant to your newly published blog post and add a link to it. Do this to 3 of your older blog posts.

This helps with indexing and it also helps your new
content rank higher on Google.

Step 3: Share your content on the social web carefully

The problem with social media marketing is that people think they can just share their content on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn and it will automatically do well.

Sadly, it won’t because billions of URLs have been shared
already.

In other words, we just tend to ignore most of the links
people share.

But there is a simple way to stand out and get thousands of visitors from the social web, just like I get.

So, what’s my secret?

Well, I will give you a hint. Just look at one of my most
recent posts on LinkedIn:

And here is one from Facebook:

Do you notice a pattern?

I’m evoking curiosity. In other words, I am piquing your
interest and if you want to know the “solution” you have to click through to my
site.

With the LinkedIn post, I tell you that marketing is going
to change next year. I also make a point to say how it is going to change in a
way that nobody is talking about.

I do this because we all can assume marketing will change. But
by saying it is in a way nobody is talking about, it evokes curiosity. And if
you want to know how it will change you have no choice but to click through
over to my site to read the rest.

With my Facebook post, I also evoke curiosity. I talk about a Google algorithm update, but I hint that I have an answer to leveraging Google’s latest algorithm update. And if you want to know what it is, you have to click through over to my site.

Whenever you post on the social web, evoke curiosity if you want people to head over to your site.

The easiest way to do this is that every time you share one of your articles on the social web, add a few sentences above the link that helps pique peoples’ interest.

Step #4: Message everyone you link out to

It’s common to link out to other sites within your blog
posts.

Heck, sometimes I even link out to my competition.

If you don’t ever link out to other sites, you are making a
big mistake. It helps with authority and trust.

If you are using stats and data within your article, you
want to cite your sources. This brings credibility to you and it helps brand
yourself as an expert which can help with Google’s medic
update
.

Now, when you link out to a site, go and search their email
address. You can typically find their email address on their website.

Or if you can’t find their email address, look for a contact
page on their site, you’ll typically see a form that you can fill out.

Whether you find an email address or contact form, I want
you to message each and every single site you link out to with a message that
goes like this:

Hi [insert their first name],

I just wanted to say, I love your content. Especially your article on [insert the name of the article you linked out to].

I linked to it from my latest blog post [insert URL of your blog post]. It would make my day if you checked it out and even shared it on your favorite social network if you enjoyed it.

Cheers,

[insert your name]

When I send out these emails, I am getting 50 to 60% of the people to respond and share my content. But of course, my blog is popular, so for me, it isn’t too hard. But it hasn’t always been that way, and I’ve been leveraging this tactic for ages.

On the flip side, I also use this tactic on a few of my
blogs that are in other niches and don’t use my name (no one knows I own them)
and I am seeing success rates around 20%.

Just make sure you don’t use this tactic to ask for a link back.
Your success rate will be slim.

Step #5: Send an email blast

These last two tactics produce a large portion of my
results, and you shouldn’t take them for granted, no matter how basic they may
seem.

If you already haven’t, start collecting emails from your
site. You can use free tools like Hello Bar
to create popups or sliders.

Hello Bar will plug into whatever email provider you are
currently using.

Once you are up and running, every time you release a new
blog post, send out an email blast.

Here’s an example of one of my email blasts.

It’s so effective it generated 13,544 clicks.

I’ve found that you can drive good traffic from emails as
long as you do the following:

  1. Scrub your list – if someone doesn’t open your emails over the last 30 or 60 days, remove them from your list. It helps keep your emails in people’s inboxes.
  2. Send text-based emails – if you look at the email I sent, I keep it simple. No images, nothing fancy, just text and a link back to my site. It’s that simple.
  3. Evoke curiosity – just like how I explained with the social media posts, your emails won’t do well unless you evoke curiosity.

As you write more content you will get more traffic, which will cause your email list to grow. That will also cause you to get more traffic. 🙂

Step #6: Send a push notification

I don’t know why so few sites are leverage push notifications. It’s so effective I believe I will get more traffic from push notifications in 2020 than I will from email marketing.

To give you an idea, when I analyze my competitors in the
marketing arena, only 3 out of 19 use push notifications.

In other industries, the percentage is far worse, which means there is more opportunity for you.

Here’s how push notifications work….

Someone comes to your site and through their browser, they get a message if they want to subscribe to your site.

A portion of your visitors will click “allow”. With NeilPatel.com, roughly 5.4% of visitors are currently clicking “allow”.

You can send push notifications and get subscribers using a
free tool like Subscribers.com.

And then when you write a new blog post, you log into Subscribers.com and click on the “Create Notification” button. From there you will see a screen where you can enter the title and description of your latest post.

As you can see from the image above, you’ll notice that I use an “icon” image, a “large” image, and I show “custom buttons.”

Using those 3 elements is the key to getting the most
traffic from push notifications. Here are some of my stats from using
Subscribers.

I’m getting roughly 6,000 visits from every push notification
I send. That’s not too bad.

And if you are curious about what a push notification looks like, here’s what people get when I send it out.

What’s cool about push notification is no matter what
website someone is on, they will see a message similar to the one above, which
will bring people back to your site.

No dealing with spam filters or messages not going through. Plus, if someone isn’t online when you send a push notification, the next time they use their web browser they will see your message.

Conclusion

Promoting your content doesn’t have to be hard.

You don’t need “advanced” tactics or anything that is out of
the box. The basics work well, and I have been using the above formula for
years… literally.

Now, I know there are other things you can do to promote your content, but let’s be realistic: we are all strapped for time. And I’ve found the ones I’ve mentioned above to produce the biggest bang for the buck.

So, what other simple ways do you promote your content?

The post My 6-Step Content Marketing Formula That Drives 3,549 Visitors appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

6 Social Media Marketing Attribution Models and Tools to Help Marketers

This may be of some interest.

Do you want a better way to track your social media marketing conversions? Looking for tools that can help you better measure attribution? In this article, you’ll discover six attribution models and tools that can help you. Why Attribution Matters to Marketers One common challenge for marketers is performing in-depth analytics. You’re most likely marketing […]

The post 6 Social Media Marketing Attribution Models and Tools to Help Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

35 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

This may be of some interest.

Halloween is a fun holiday, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It doesn’t have recognizable songs or vacation days associated with it, and it falls on a busy time of year for most people in the workforce.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the festivities at your office Halloween celebration.

How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably just one — Halloween — and even then, it can be hard to know what’s office-appropriate.

We want you to have fun this Halloween, so we’re taking the work out if it for you. We’ve compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and perfect for the digital marketer or tech professional.

If your family and friends don’t get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.

29 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Computer or App-Related Costumes

1. Alt Text

Alt text isn’t just the metadata of an image published on the web — you could also say it’s an “alternative” fashion statement with the text to describe the era. This was HubSpot Director of Content Corey Wainwright’s office Halloween costume a few years ago. It’s great because you don’t even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.

To dress as alt text this halloween, break out your best 90s alternative garb — our coworker Corey went with black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel. Then, tape hyphenated text that best describes what you’re wearing, much like an image of your outfit would do online to help search engines read the file.

We edited a sash of alt text on to the alternatively dressed girl below, just to help you picture your awesome costume.

Computer costume of girl in 90s alternative outfit with alt text written across her shirtSource: That’s Life

2. SEO Ninja

Speaking of dorking out on SEO, you could be everyone’s favorite LinkedIn title — the SEO ninja. Dress in all black, buy a black ski mask, and tape keywords all over yourself. Voila … you’re an actual ninja — just one much more concerned with search engine optimization than lurking in the darkness.

seo-ninja-costumeSource: Pinterest

3. Mobile App

Wander around holding an appetizer — candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip … whatever you have on hand. Boom. You’re a mobile “app.”

This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.

mobile-app-costume.pngSource: Opportunity Max

4. Instagrammer

Want another way to turn handing out food into a costume? Dress up like a hipster and hand out graham crackers. You’re an “instant” “gram” cracker server — or, for short, an Instagrammer. Pun absolutely intended.

5. Ghostwriter

Have you ever written something for somebody else’s byline? Such is the life of a “ghostwriter.” Turn your author-less accomplishment into this year’s office Halloween costume.

To dress up as a ghostwriter, grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and boo — you’re a ghostwriter.

ghostwriter-costume

6. Whitespace

Whitespace on the internet might just denote all the blank space you use to help your design stand out, but on Halloween, “whitespace” isn’t just the absence of space.

Dress in all white — add white face paint and a white wig if you’re ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit, like a colored tie or scarf, or even a paint splotch. That color splotch will make the white space more prominent, transforming you into “whitespace.”

7. Error 404 Code

You’ve most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write “Error 404: Costume Not Found,” and tape it to your outfit.

 

A photo posted by RachAel Klopfenstein (@theklopf) on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

8. (Monty) Python

If you’re into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.

Then, to amp up the dork factor on this costume, add two coconuts or a gold chalice to embody Monty Python on his quest for the Holy Grail.

9. Facebook

Grab face paint or eyeliner and write “book” across your cheeks. Just like that, you’re the world’s biggest social network for Halloween.

And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:

Halloween-Jim_Bookface-Jim.jpgSource: AndPop

10. Unicorn

Here’s another tech-friendly, double-entendre costume: Be your own version of a tech unicorn. Here at HubSpot, we love this tech icon, and you can easily make your own version of a unicorn horn with help from this article.

aid2617087-v4-900px-Make-a-Unicorn-Horn-Step-10-Version-3.jpgSource: WikiHow

11. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are nothing to joke about — they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble. Check out an amusing version of this costume below.

Email phishing Halloween costume with fishing rod with Passwords label as baitSource: Car and Driver

12. Copycat

“CNTRL + C” is the popular keyboard macro allowing you to copy items from one place to another on your computer. Well, here’s a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you’ll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write “CNTRL + C” on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you’re a “copycat.”

Girl in copycat Halloween costume with black cat makeup and CNTRL + C labeled necklaceSource: BuzzFeed

13. The Blue Screen of Death

You know the screen, even if you don’t know the morbid nickname the tech world has given it. This classic error screen is known for signaling the end of a computer’s useful life, and you know it when you see it. It causes so much stress on site, in fact, that the color alone is scary enough for October 31.

Believe it or not, there are official T-shirts you can get with the blue screen of death copy printed on them. Want to make your own? All you need is a royal blue t-shirt and a printed version of this horrifying error message to pin to it.

T-shirt with Blue Screen of Death error message printed on itSource: Spreadshirt

14. GPS Costume

This will work best with two people. You can cut a Point A and Point B pin shape out of cardboard, paint both red, and simply write A and B on it. From there, you can personalize the costume whichever way you’d like. You can even get more intricate by finding a T-Shirt with a map on it. 

GPS office costume

Source: Pinterest

15. Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi 

Nothing is more terrifying than a dead battery or no Wi-Fi. This costume brings all of techy’s fears to life. It’s also pretty simple to create. Just tape or glue images of dead Wi-Fi and low battery signals on to a black shirt. To emphasize the low-connectivity fears, put on some zombie or skeleton makeup. 

Although this can work as a couples costume, this could also be a fun option for office colleagues. Since both costumes within the set don’t rely on each other to be understandable, an individual could also wear either the Dead Battery outfir or the No-Wi-Fi suit and still be easily recognized.

Dead Battery and Low Wi-Fi Halloween Costume

Source: Pinterest

Emoji Costumes

16. Information Desk Girl

This genius professional found a golden (or, rather, purple) opportunity to be the “information desk emoji, the many gestures of whom we’ve all come to know, love, and use at some point in a text conversation.

The best part about this awesome tech reference is that you don’t need to alter your regular attire to make it work. As Naomi shows us below, it’s all in the hand gestures.

17. Dancing Girls Emoji

If you’re the owner of one of the nearly more than 1 billion Apple iPhones sold worldwide, you’re probably familiar with the dancing girls emoji, shown below.

The easiest version of this costume is to find a buddy and dress all in black together. If you’re committed to emoji authenticity, buy black bunny ears to complete the look.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.13.14 PM.pngSource: Brit + Co

18. Heart Eyes

Are you just in love with Halloween? Prove it with this passionate emoji face. You don’t have to paint your entire face, chin to hairline, to get the Heart Eyes Emoji just right, but it certainly helps. It’ll also disguise your stress when you’re at your most focused during the day.

“This employee just seems to love her job, I can’t put my finger on why,” your manager will think … See how to paint this emoji onto your face below (you’ll need some help for this one).

Topical Office Costumes

19. Fully Vested

At work, “fully vested” usually refers to one’s ability to earn all matching funds of a 401(k) retirement plan. But for some, you just can’t help but picture someone wearing lots of sleeveless jackets at the same time. Now’s the time to personify that image.

If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that’s about it. You’re fully vested.

20. Nerd

What I love about the nerd costume is that it’s effortless and always unique — there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories, such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber, to complete the effect.

Worlds cutest nerd costumes. Erin Harrison and Chandler Abney everyone!! ;) Follow me for my next Halloween costume!

Source: Pinterest

21. A Solar Eclipse

Last year, the solar eclipse took over the internet — and the country. As millions of people flocked to the path of totality to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of this rare event without burning their corneas, millions more made jokes about it on social media.

To dress up as a solar eclipse for Halloween, you’ll need a work pal to dress up as the sun and the moon with you. One of you wears black, the other wears yellow, and you both wear dark sunglasses. Then, at the Halloween party, the one dressed in black spends the whole time standing in front of the one in yellow.

Two girls dressed in solar eclipse costume at an officeSource: Pinterest

22. The ‘Evil Kermit’ Meme

If you haven’t heard of this mega-popular meme this year, you’ve probably seen it somewhere: It features Kermit the Frog, face-to-face with his evil twin, Evil Kermit. Evil Kermit looks identical, except for the black cloak.

For this costume, you and a coworker can keep it simple: You both wear green shirts, and one of you wears a black hoodie or jacket on top. If you really want to commit to the costume, you’ll spring for some green face paint to complete the ensemble. Walk around the party together, facing one another, for maximum effect.

evil kermit halloween.png

23. Fifty Shades of Grey: PG Paint Swatch Costume

Want to do something cheeky, but still office friendly? This is PG pun costume shares the name of a popular romantic novel and film, “50 Shades of Grey.”

Go to your local paint or hardware store and buy 50 grey paint swatches. Then, tape them to a black shirt and tell your colleagues you’re, “50 Shades of Grey.” 

50 Shades of Grey Pun Halloween Costume

Source: Fox 24 of Kansas City

24. The “But That’s None of My Business” Meme

If you love Kermit the Frog, but don’t have a colleague to team up with for the “Evil Kermit” costume, consider going solo with a costume based off of the “But That’s None of My Business” meme, where Kermit is seen judgmentally drinking coffee.

All you have to do is stick a pair of eyes on a green hoodie and start sipping your tea or coffee. For an added effect, you can cut a white photo frame to hold in front of you so you can look like an image posted on social media. 

But That's None of My Business Meme Halloween CostumeSource: Pinterest

25. Eleven from Stranger Things

Eleven from Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it’s a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.

the-stranger-things-actress-behind-eleven-doesnt-love-eating-tons-of-eggo-waffles.pngSource: Business Insider

26. Scoops Ahoy Employee from Stranger Things

While Eleven, noted above, is an absolute classic Stranger Things character, 2019’s season inspired another great costume opportunity. During the newest installment of episodes, Stave, a main character played by Joe Keery, worked at an icecream shop called Scoops Ahoy. As a server, he had to wear a goofy sailor uniform alongside his coworker Robin

Since the season aired, the uniform has been regularly worn by cosplayers and at Comic Con as people mimic Steve and Robin.

Since it’s a pretty generic sailor uniform, you might be able to easily find one that’s similar in a variety of Halloween shops. This costume could work for both individuals or two colleagues. 

27. Pokémon GO Trainer

Pokémon GO had roughly 45 million people walking around in cities glued to their phones last summer (I, among them). To pay homage to the explosion of this tech trend, you’ll need a t-shirt that’s red, yellow, or blue. Using fabric paint or permanent marker, write Valor (for red), Instinct (for yellow), or Mystic (for blue) on your shirt.

Spend Halloween walking around pointing your phone at objects, and you’re the spitting image of a Pokémon GO trainer. Gotta catch ’em all, right?

 

A photo posted by Odinia (@marshmallowsie) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:44pm PDT

 

 

Group Office Costumes

28. The Sales Lifecycle

At HubSpot, we love embracing team costumes. In 2018, a handful of HubSpot employees grabbed some T-Shirts and wrote the stages of the sales lifecycle on them. Then they lined up accordingly and passed a fake prospect listing around to symbolize the process of making a sale. This was such an easy costume to coordinate that the team could even include an out-of-office employee over a video call. 

HubSpot Employee sales cycle halloween costumeSource: Maggie Bomze, Principal Customer Success Manager of Strategic Accounts at HubSpot

29. Social Media Channels

While this Pinterest image shows classmates posting as the major social media networks, this could easily be modified to fit the office setting. 

Simply pick out a solid list of the hottest social networks, then by blank T-Shirts that match the colors of each platform. From there, you can either draw, tape or glue the logos on to each shirt. If you’re not interested in the tutus worn below, you could also find matching pants, or just wear jeans and keep things simple.

Social Media Network team costumes

Source: Pinterest

30. Google Algorithm Update

Find a couple of office buddies for this one — one panda, one penguin, and one pigeon. You might be thinking, “what the heck is the pigeon algorithm update?” 1) It’s a thing, and 2) we checked Amazon for hummingbird costumes and there aren’t any cheap ones available.

google-algorithm-update-halloween-costumes.jpgSource: Opportunity Max

31. Black Hat and White Hat SEO

This is another SEO-related costume, and I think you can figure this one out on your own. I recommend wearing a black hat for one, and a white hat for the other, and having “SEO” embroidered on each one — which you can easily custom order.

Black hat with SEO label on topSource: SEO-Hacker

32. Snapchat Filters

Here’s another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat’s filters feature.

There are numerous options that you and your team can choose from to embody this costume. You could dress up as vomiting rainbows, cat and dog ears, a flower crown, or a face swap, and this could be as DIY or store-bought as you’re interested in pursuing. For example, here’s some inspiration for a couple of the dog filters:

snapchat filter team costumeSource: PopSugar

33. Snapchat Ghosts

Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. You’ll all need a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.

Snapchat Ghost team halloween costumeSource: YouTube

34. PAC-MAN and Company

Here’s yet another awesome ghostly costume idea your whole team at work can get in on. Have your team lead wear the yellow pie-shaped garb of PAC-MAN, with each team member dressed as the multi-colored ghosts that roam the screen in this vintage arcade game.

Just make sure the team lead doesn’t actually try to eat the ghosts — you’re in an office, and you’re all technically on the same team.

Group costume with PAC-MAN, four ghosts and fruit from the vintage arcade gameSource: Meningrey

35. Instagram Filters

For this group costume, you’ll need white t-shirts and fabric markers. Draw an Instagram photo frame on the front of your shirts, and each team member can write a different Instagram filter‘s name inside the photo frame. Or, create frame props with different filters on them like the group did below:

Instagram Filter Halloween costumesSource: Nails Magazine

The clothes don’t make the marketer, but the costume can certainly make the culture at your company. Find out what it takes to hire and train the best fits for your open roles in the free ebook, available below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 21, 2018 but was updated in October of 2019 for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

You might have a marketing problem

This may be of some interest.

Democracy is a marketing problem.

Health is a marketing problem.

Climate change is a marketing problem.

Growing your organization, spreading the word, doing work you’re proud of–these aren’t engineering problems or economics problems. They’re marketing problems.

That’s because humans make choices. If we live in a culture where people are free to choose, we’ve offered control over our future to others.

When humans make choices–that’s marketing. Marketing is the difficult work of telling a story that resonates, of bringing a consistent set of promises to people who want to hear them.

If you want to change things, it helps to understand how humans make choices. And if you’ve got a change in mind, I hope you’ll spend the time and effort it takes to get better at bringing your story to the people who need to hear it.

I’m thrilled that we’re launching the eighth edition of The Marketing Seminar today. My bestselling book This is Marketing (more than 250,000 copies sold worldwide in less than a year) is based on this workshop. Every time we run the seminar, it gets better and our participants find what they’re looking for. If you want to join the 8,000 people who have found a path forward, today’s the best day. Look for the purple circle to find a discount.

Marketing isn’t about shortcuts, hustle or deception. Marketing is the art (and the science) of serving the people you seek to serve, to do better work by finding and satisfying needs. Marketing is the practice of making things better by making better things.

Click here to find out more.

Thank you for reading.

B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ty Heath on Optimizing ABM & Social Sales with LinkedIn #mpb2b

This may be of some interest.

Ty Heath Interview B2B Marketing

Ty Heath Interview B2B Marketing

Ty Heath is one of those people whose reputation precedes them. I had heard of Ty as a marketing industry speaker and force for change working at LinkedIn before finally meeting her in person. The IRL Ty experience did not disappoint. Each time I meet with Ty, ideas pop like popcorn – who needs coffee with such inspiration around what’s possible?

Currently Ty is Global Lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn where she is responsible for scaling education on LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions product globally. She has previously worked for major brands including IBM, Nestle and over 7 years at Google – plus she’s had her own consultancy.

On top of that, Ty is Co-Founder of LinkedIn’s annual TransformHER conference, was a contributing author in the recently published books “The Professional Black Woman” and the “Black Female Leader” and author of the book, “Marketers of Tomorrow: A Step by Step Toolkit for Inbound Marketing“. Ty was also honored as one of the Top 25 Influential Women in Marketing Who Inspired Us in 2018.

One thing you may not know about Ty is that she is a two time Olympic Trials qualifier in track and field for the 800 meters.

I’ve known Ty for just over a year – we serve on an industry advisory council for The Digital Marketing Institute together and have many mutual friends and shared interests like B2B marketing, science fiction and brunch. That’s why I was very happy to interview Ty as a speaker at the upcoming MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference on all things ABM and Social Selling.

If you want to optimize your ABM and social sales efforts, be sure to see Ty in Washington D.C. during the Oct 16-18 B2B Forum. In the meantime, this video is a must-watch:

Ty Heath on the Growth of ABM:

Many folks have been thinking about making account based marketing part of their go-to-market strategy or maybe it’s already a part of it. I think the primary reason why that’s happening is because buyers expect more. We’ve all gotten used to the experience that Amazon and Netflix, and other companies have created.

Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content…and account-based marketing is a way to deliver on that. @tyrona

Even though we are in the space of B2B, that experience and those expectations are translating over from B2C. That expectation of personalization and level of knowledge around the buyer’s needs. So, I think ABM is in demand more because of changing business customer expectations and account-based marketing is a way to deliver on that.

Ty Heath on Alignment Beyond Sales and Marketing:

At the core of a powerful account based marketing plan is a team that is invested in sales and marketing alignment. And frankly, when you think about account-based marketing it’s not even just about sales and marketing. It’s about having your entire team oriented to connect with customers wherever they are in their journey, wherever they touch your business and have them make that the best possible experience. Sales and marketing tend to be the two groups within your business that are most oriented towards having those conversations and having those touch points.

Ty Heath on Ann Handley:

I’ve been following her for so long. That’s the thing. I’m one of the subscribers to MarketingProfs, but even before that, even earlier in my career as a marketer I read Content Rules. I read Everybody Writes. I’ve been following her for a long time. I think she is truly a pioneer as a woman in the space of B2B marketing. I think she’s an amazing storyteller. Her ideas are clear. She’s been an inspiration for me!

Thanks Ty! 

B2B Forum
Bound for B2B Forum: For more information about imagining what’s possible in B2B marketing including Ty Heath’s presentation, check out the MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference including agenda, list of speakers (including Ashley Zeckman and myself) and many other fun facts on the B2B Form website here. Also, get $100 off by using this mpb2b discount code: B2BFriends

You can find more information about Ty on her website The Spectacled Marketer and follow her on Twitter here: @tyrona

The post B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ty Heath on Optimizing ABM & Social Sales with LinkedIn #mpb2b appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results

This may be of some interest.

Do you need a better way to report on your Instagram marketing results? Are you looking for ways to measure your Instagram posts and stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to combine data from Instagram Insights and other third-party tools to get a complete picture of your Instagram marketing activities. #1: Compare Your Instagram […]

The post 5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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These Influencers Are Computer-Generated: The Future of Marketing, or Untrustworthy Advertising?

This may be of some interest.

More likely than not, you see influencer posts on your Instagram feed daily. In many ways, they become part of your life — influencing everything from exercise classes you take, to clothes you buy.

It’s undeniable that influencer marketing is powerful. In fact, over the past five years the tactic has quickly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Plenty of businesses, both large and small, use influencers across their social platforms to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and increase sales. Examples of successful influencer marketing strategies range from Stride Gum’s partnership with DJ Khaled to Glossier’s partnership with micro-influencers and “regular women”.

And, as influencer marketing grows, it’s no longer just limited to humans — as we’ve seen with Jiff Pom, a Pomeranian with over nine million Instagram followers.

But if any human (or pet) can become an influencer, it begs the question — do influencers even need to exist in real life?

In 2019, computer-generated influencers like Miquela Sousa might argue, “No.”

For instance, let’s take a look at this post by Miquela Sousa (@lilmiquela), an influencer with 1.6 million followers:

IMG_1554-1

By all accounts, the post looks real. Miquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian American model, influencer, and singer, is posting a #sponsored post for Calvin Klein and posing with fellow model Bella Hadid.

But Miquela is a computer-generated character, introduced by Los Angeles company Brud in 2016. Each month, almost 260,000 people listen to her music on Spotify. Miquela works with major brands ranging from Prada to Samsung, and she’s even given interviews at Coachella.

All of which raises the question — why should companies pay real human influencers to promote their products, when they can create their own personal influencer from scratch?

Lil Miquela, a Chinese News Anchor, and Colonel Sanders — Are Virtual Influencers The Future of Marketing?

Before we consider the pros and cons of virtual influencers, let’s explore some examples.

First, as previously mentioned, there’s Lil Miquela. When you scan through her Instagram posts, you quickly realize her captions make her sound like a regular teenager.

In fact, in the following post, she even sounds like she has real emotions, writing, “[One of angel boi’s friends] blew up at me at lunch and stormed out as I ugly cried in front of about 50 strangers … and now he won’t respond to any of my texts”:

4Max1

While her caption is fake, her followers’ comments are real — many of Lil Miquela’s followers respond with empathy or shared experiences, comments like “This same thing happened to me once, you’ll get through it”.

And then, there are Miquela’s “friends” — Bermuda (@bermudaisbae), with 170K followers and a bio that reads “Robot/Unbothered mogul with daddy’s PIN and a flawless highlight”, and Blawko (@blawko22) a self-described “Young Robot Sex Symbol” with 141K followers.

As Miquela writes on the following post: “Me and my mains! Always getting me through the roughest, there for all the highs, ride or dies … ILU guys!”

MkDFC

While these three are the only robots currently engineered by Brud, there are other “virtual humans” out there.

For instance, Xinhua News, a Chinese media outlet, unveiled an AI news presenter in 2018 who can work 24-hours a day without breaks, reducing news production costs. As the artificial news presenter stated in his introductory video, “I’ll work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”

Image Source

In another example, Balmain, a fashion label, commissioned photographer Cameron-James Wilson to create a diverse “virtual army” of models for Olivier Rousteing’s 2018 collection:

In a statement on the campaign, Balmain writes: “Anyone and everyone is always welcome to join Balmain Army’s growing ranks — they need only share our bold spirit of adventure as our new virtual icons, Margot, Shudu and Zhi who mirror the beauty, the rock style and the confident power.”

Of course, the campaign was met with mixed reviews — one follower wrote, “This is disgusting! I do not understand why they think these models are attractive”, and another commented, “As if Photoshop wasn’t enough, what’s wrong with this world?! #realpeople #realmodels please”.

And, last but certainly not least, there’s KFC’s Colonel Sanders, mocking the very trend of virtual influencers while taking part in it:

All of which is to say — are virtual influencers untrustworthy, or the future of marketing?

What Virtual Influencers Can Offer — and What’s Missing

There are some undeniable benefits to creating or hiring a virtual influencer.

For one, a virtual influencer isn’t human, meaning he or she won’t need breaks. Xinhua News, mentioned above, clearly saw the benefits of this — by using a virtual news anchor to cover breaking news 24-7, they lowered the cost of hiring real people to cover news throughout the night.

If you’re trying to work around-the-clock publishing and promoting content to raise brand awareness, then, it makes sense you’d consider using a virtual influencer, who can post and promote content without sacrificing human needs like … well, sleep.

Additionally, your virtual influencer isn’t as much of a PR liability as a real influencer is. For instance, Debra Davis, founder of NKLS — a company that researches, advises on, and invests in virtual and augmented reality — told WWD, “With a virtual influencer, so much more thought has to be put into the message. It’s not just someone with a Twitter stream. It’s more carefully constructed and thought through, and therefore can be controlled.”

Real influencers and celebrities make mistakes that could influence the public’s perception of your brand. With a virtual influencer, you don’t risk associating your brand with any negative press.

Additionally, it might cost less to hire a virtual influencer compared to a celebrity or supermodel. 

However, if your brand is considering hiring micro-influencers, you’ll more likely find a real micro-influencer for cheaper.

It’s also worth noting that much of what we see on Instagram is edited, filtered, and posed — so, really, is a real person’s highly filtered version of “real life” much different from virtual reality, anyway?

Lastly, a virtual influencer is incredibly rare and unusual, so it draws immediate attention to your brand. If your brand is trying to reach Gen-Z or a younger audience, a virtual influencer might be something that appeals to your intended demographic.

RqNPX

On the flip side, there’s still something uniquely powerful and engaging about real influencers connecting with their audience through social platforms. Virtual influencers like Lil Miquela can pretend they have human emotions, but that can just as easily backfire if her audience doesn’t trust the emotion behind it.

Ultimately, influencer marketing is about engaging in authentic, meaningful connections. How is an audience ever supposed to trust a promoted post when there isn’t a real human advocating for it?

Additionally, influencer marketing is often most successful when it’s seen as real and genuine. For instance, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier has become insanely successful due, in large part, to its authentic marketing strategy.

As Emily Weiss, founder and CEO, said during a live interview with Kara Swisher for the Recode Decode podcast, “At Glossier, something we’ve always stayed very true to, since pre-launch, day one, is that every single person is an influencer.”

You’ll notice Glossier adheres to this strategy on its Instagram page, which exhibits real women using Glossier products:

At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for brands that find real people to promote their products or services to other real people. Sure, there’s risk involved — but that risk is the same component that enables audiences to trust, listen to, and connect with those influencers in the first place.

Thank you for reading.

Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from Ashley Zeckman #CMWorld

This may be of some interest.

Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019

Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019

B2B content marketers have faced many epic foes over the last few years. There’s the nefarious Content Shock, the demoralizing Facebook Algorithm, and the destructive Google Search Update. We have battled them all and continued to thrive.

But now we face our most fearsome foe: The Dreaded Trust Gap.

Less than half of consumers trust brands. Seventy-one percent of buyers are turned off by overly sales-y content. Buyers increasingly prefer content from industry influencers rather than brands.

It’s a daunting problem that needs a bold solution: The Guardians of Content!

In her Content Marketing World 2019 presentation, our very own Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman explained how B2B content marketers can initiate and scale up a heroic influencer content program of their own. Here are a few key takeaways.

Three Common B2B Influncer Pitfalls

If you’re just getting started with B2B influencer marketing, there are easy mistakes to make. Most of them come from trying to emulate the B2C model: Transactional, glorified sponsorship rather than content co-creation. Here are Ashley’s three most common pitfalls and how to avoid them:

#1: A Disconnected Approach

Say you have a hole in your editorial calendar, so you ask an influencer for an interview. Then you need some quotes for an infographic, so you ask a few others for a nugget of wisdom. Then you reach out on social media to a couple of folks you admire. Then you ask a different set of influencers for quotes for an eBook…

You get the picture. Instead of a strategic campaign that can build into something bigger, you have a ton of one-offs. It’s inefficient. It’s inconsistent for your audience and for the influencers you’re courting.

Instead, Ashley says, aim for a strategic, connected approach. Plan in advance which topics you’re covering, which influencers you want to include, how you’ll use the content, and your plans for repurposing.

#2: Transactional Relationships

There are two ways that influencer relationships can get too transactional. The first is asking too much too quickly, while offering nothing of value in return. Imagine you got an email from a stranger asking you to help them move. Would you do it?

Now imagine an email from a friend asking for that help, and promising pizza and beer? Relationships matter. Take time to honor your influencers, follow them on social media, promote them and their work. Help them succeed, then start with a small ask, like a sound bite for a blog post.

The second way relationships can be too transactional is more literal. If you only work with paid influencers who promote content you wrote… well, that’s more endorsement than influencer content, and it can be less likely to find an enthusiastic audience.

While you may financially compensate some influencers, Ashley says, the emphasis should always be on content co-creation. You want influencers to feel ownership of the finished product – they’ll be much more likely to promote something they’re excited to have made.

#3: Lack of Measurement

Like any other marketing tactic, influencer marketing should be able to prove its worth. Many marketers fail to build in measurement at the beginning, and end up with nothing but vanity metrics to show.

It’s important to plan for measurement before you start. Lay the groundwork for the KPIs you plan to meet, and the metrics you’ll use to show progress. And don’t forget to set benchmarks!

Here are a few of Ashley’s sample KPIs:

Planning Content and Assembling Your Heroes

Keeping those pitfalls in mind, here’s how Ashley recommends designing and implementing an influencer program.

First, determine your topical focus. The topics you plan to cover should hit the intersection of your business priorities, search demand, and influencer expertise. It shouldn’t be too tied to your products and solutions. Think more about what you want your brand to be known for.

Use the same tools you use for content research to find the key terms where there is audience demand and competitor whitespace as well.

With topics in hand, you can start identifying your influencer mix:

You’re not looking for just the people with the largest audience. Instead, focus on people who are respected in their fields, shared interest in your topics, and the ability to actually move people to engage.

It’s also important, says Ashley, to find influencers who fit your content type. If it’s an audio or video asset, look for folks who have demonstrated a willingness an ability to provide that type of content. Beyond that, influencers should be reputable, practical, with real-life experience to draw from.

When you reach out to these influencers, remember to give before you ask:

The nurturing process helps prove your own credibility to influencers, showing you’re a trustworthy partner, and hopefully sparking interest in co-creating awesome content.

The Adventure Continues (and Continues, and Continues)

The ultimate goal of your influencer outreach and nurturing should be a connected universe of content (much like Marvel’s cinematic universe). Who would assemble a hero team and disband them after one adventure? Continue nurturing relationships with your influencers and encourage them to acknowledge and support each other, too. The goal is to develop a community of folks who are always up for another mission to save the world from boring B2B content.

Ready for a heroic influencer marketing success story? See how Alcatel-Lucent drove 6-figure leads with their campaign. Looking for more insights out of CMWorld 2019? Check out these other posts featuring several of this year’s speakers:

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Thank you for reading.