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11 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Need to Avoid in 2020

This may be of some interest.

For many businesses, the key to making sales is to first generate leads.

Leads are valuable because they’re the people who have indicated organic interest in your content and your business by giving you their information in some way, whether it’s by filling out a form to download an ebook, completing an online survey, or something else.

But leads don’t grow on trees. Some marketers have trouble generating enough leads to feed their sales team. Others generate plenty of leads, but they’re not good leads, and your sales team is having trouble closing them into customers. Others just have no idea where their leads are coming from.

These are all common problems marketers have with lead generation. In this post, we’ll go over many of these problems and talk about how to fix them. We’ll also highlight a few tips directly from HubSpot acquisition experts.

11 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Should Avoid

1. You’re buying leads, not generating them organically.

If you’re having trouble generating leads, it can be tempting to buy email lists so you can feed your sales organization with something — anything. But buying or renting contacts out of desperation will cause you more long-term (and short-term) harm than good.

There are a lot of reasons buying email lists is never a good idea. Not only will sending emails to purchased lists harm your email deliverability and IP reputation, but there’s a good chance the people on your purchased list have never heard of your company — making them far more likely to mark you as spam. They’ll also think you’re super annoying. And you’re not annoying, are you?

Bottom line here is that quality email addresses simply aren’t for sale. The whole point of generating leads is to eventually nurture those leads into customers. In order for your leads to become customers, the leads you generate need to actually want to hear from you.

How to Fix It

Your leads need to opt in, plain and simple. This means your contacts chose to give you their information in exchange for something valuable, like a content offer, webinar, event, and so on. Focus on creating offers that are valuable in some way for your target audience, and then package that value and put it behind a lead capture form.

Growing a healthy, opt-in email list takes time, but it’s worth its weight in gold down the line. And once you have people to email, be sure you’re creating remarkable email content that makes people want to actually open your emails and stay subscribed.

2. You don’t offer lead-gen content for people in different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Not everyone who visits your website is going to be in the same stage of their buyer’s journey. Think about the folks who are landing on your website for the very first time. Do you think they’re ready to see a demo of your product? Or do you think they’d be more likely to want to download a helpful piece of content, like a step-by-step guide?

Some of your site visitors might be ready to buy, but most won’t — and you need to give them the opportunities to learn more about your business and what you’re selling before asking them take any sort of purchase action.

Creating valuable content to teach and nurture your leads down the funnel is time-consuming, which is why so often you’ll browse a business’ website and see nothing but “Buy Now!” and “Click Here for a Free Demo!” all over the place.

How to Fix It

There is no one-size-fits-all CTA for everyone who visits your website. To maximize clickthrough rates, you’ll want to cater to visitors who are at all different stages of the buyer’s journey using CTAs.

So, yes — you’ll need to spend time creating a variety of offers you can put behind landing page forms that cater to people at different stages. Folks who are just starting to get to know you might be interested in offers like checklists, contests, and templates. Visitors who are a little further down the funnel might be interested in email courses, kits, and whitepapers. Folks even further down might be ready for a demo.

Make sure you’re creating content that cover the whole funnel, and that you’re offering this content on your website so there’s something for everyone. (Need ideas for lead gen content? Here are 23 ideas for you.)

If you want to take personalization a step further, use smart CTAs. Smart CTAs are CTAs that change depending on the person viewing the page — his or her interests, location, pages viewed already, items or services bought before, and so on. Unsurprisingly, personalized CTAS actually convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. They make for a better user experience for your user, and higher conversion rates for you: a win-win! You can learn more about smart CTAs here.

3. You aren’t using your blog to generate leads.

HubSpot’s blog is responsible for a significant percentage of our marketing team’s incoming leads.

In fact, at one point, we found that 76% of our monthly blog views come from “old” posts (in other words, posts published prior to that month). We always joke that if the entire blogging team went on vacation for a month, we’d still hit a good portion of our leads goal.

“At HubSpot, we have an entire team dedicated to continuously optimizing our blog conversion strategy,” says Carly Stec, HubSpot’s Team Manager of content acquisition. “This group works in lockstep with our SEO team and writers to provide insight into the topics that are converting well to ensure a well-rounded editorial mix.”

“This level of alignment allows us to provide blog readers with helpful next steps based on their intent,” Stec adds.

Despite blogging’s many lead generation benefits, we find that marketers aren’t fully taking advantage of this tactic as a lead generation powerhouse. Either folks aren’t blogging at all, or they’re not putting lead capture forms or CTAs on their blog — sometimes because they don’t have any valuable content offers to put behind a form.

But, still one of the biggest benefits of business blogging is converting the traffic it brings you into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. Here’s what that looks like in numbers: If each one of your blog posts gets about 100 views per month, and your visitor-to-lead conversion rate on the blog is about 2%, then you’d get two leads from a single blog post each month. If you write 30 blog posts per month, you’d get 60 leads in a month — two from each blog post.

Keep blogging consistently like that for a year, and thanks to each blog post’s compounding value over time, each post you write will drive value for you in the form of traffic and leads. By the end of 12 months, you’ll end up getting 4,680 opt-in contacts per month, not just 720 opt-in contacts (60 leads*12 months).

blogging_compounding_returns-5.jpg

How to Fix It

Generating leads from your blog posts is simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post. Most of the time, these CTAs will lead to landing pages offering free content like ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, webinars, free trials, and so on. Promote your content offers by blogging about subject matters related to them, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.

What that CTA looks like on your blog posts is up to you. On HubSpot’s blog, we use three main types of CTAs on our blog: end-of-post banner CTAs on every single post, and slide-in CTAs and anchor text CTAs on select posts. Read this post to learn when it’s appropriate to use end-of-post banner CTAs, anchor text CTAs, or both.

end-of-post-cta-banner-1-1.png

anchor-text-cta (1).png

As for slide-in CTAs, we’ve found these to perform better than end-of-post CTAs — which makes sense because visitors see them sooner since they slide in at about 25%-50% of the way down the post. Learn how to add slide-in CTAs to your blog posts here.

slide-in-cta-example-1.png

4. You aren’t using the best lead generation tools.

You know that people are coming to your website, but do you know who they are? How about what they’re doing once they get there, or what they’re doing before and after taking certain actions? If you’re unable to answer these questions, then you’re going to have a hard time connecting with the people who are visiting your site or learning what’s resonating with them and what’s not.

But these are questions you can and should answer — but you need the right tools to do it. There are some great tools out there that can help you learn about your website visitors and convert them into leads.

How to Fix It

The trick is finding the best combination of tools that’ll give you the most insight and the best bang for your buck. There are a few different tools and templates out there that’ll help you create different lead gen assets you can put on your site.

At the simplest level, these 50+ free, customizable CTA Templates will help you create clickable buttons you can put on your blog, your landing pages, and elsewhere on your site. Use them to create CTAs that lead to a landing page form.

Speaking of forms, a form embedding tool will come in handy when it comes to actually collecting information from your site visitors and converting them into leads. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create and embed forms using HubSpot. Non-HubSpot customers can use a tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use Leadin’s free Collected Forms tool to automatically capture these form submissions on your website.

Finally, a lead capture and contact insights tool like Lead Flows by HubSpot (which is free) will help you capture leads using pop-ups, dropdown banners, or slide-ins. It’ll also scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database.

Here’s an example of a slide-in CTA created with Lead Flows, HubSpot’s free conversion tool:

slide-in-lead-flow.gif

5. You have a “right vs. wrong” testing mindset.

Knowing that you should test your website and constantly work on improving it is one thing. What most marketers have trouble with is seeing testing and experimenting not as a way to prove your ideas, but as a way to find something better.

I like the way Andrew Anderson put it in his post on ConversionXL: “The real challenge is in getting yourself and your organization ready to accept one really simple truth: Being wrong is far more valuable than being right.”

Often, this will manifest itself in someone having an idea for how to improve a part of their website. Perhaps they think removing distractions from a landing page will increase conversion rates on that page, for instance. What happens here is that most marketers will limit what they test in a way that skews the data to help them reach that conclusion, often without meaning it. After all, it feels bad — and might look bad — to have an idea or make an assumption and have it proven totally wrong.

How to Fix It

“The first and most vital step to dealing with this is to focus all discussions on the comparing of actions and not on validating opinions,” writes Anderson. “It isn’t about if Tactic A or B works, it is how well does Tactic A or B or C or D and so on compare to each other.”

In other words, treat every idea that’s brought to the table the same, whether or not you think it’ll “win.” This makes the testing program less personal and encourages a more holistic approach. Remember: by nature, a program that tests your website is meant to prove yourself and others wrong, and that’s a good thing.

You and your teammates need to check your egos and adopt this mindset to avoid finger-pointing. Instead of rewarding people for being right, which reinforces that toxic mindset, focus on the system and the outcomes more holistically.

6. You aren’t optimizing your top pages for lead generation.

Not all webpages should be treated the same. In fact, if you look at traffic numbers to specific pages on your website, you’ll probably find that the vast majority of your traffic is coming in to a few, very specific pages — maybe your homepage; your “Contact Us” page; maybe one or two popular blog posts. With so many people landing on those pages, why would you treat them like any other ol’ page on your website?

Because so many people are landing on those pages, it’s very important that you create opportunities for people to convert on those pages, lest you leave potentially massive lead numbers on the table.

How to Fix It

First, figure out which of your webpages are the four or five most popular for traffic. (HubSpot customers: You can do this in HubSpot by going to Reports > Page Performance, then filter the report by Views.)

Then, optimize those pages for leads. This means making sure you create calls-to-action (CTAs) that stand out from the page, and then place them where people naturally look on your website. Our natural eye path starts in the upper left-hand corner of a website and moves on from there, according to an eyetracking study.

Another way to increase the conversion rate on a page that already gets a lot of traffic? Create special offers specifically for your most popular pages, and gate them behind landing page forms. I know, I know, creating a brand new offer can time-consuming — but it could be much more effective for lead generation than optimizing button color, language, images, and so on. For example, the folks at Eastern International College created a quiz for students on which college major they should choose, which they linked to on their popular Careers page.

eastern-international-college-quiz.png

At the end of the quiz, they promised to send the quiz results in exchange for people’s name, phone number, and email address as a lead capture tactic.

Read this blog post for more tips on how to generate leads from your most popular webpages.

7. You’re ONLY optimizing your top pages for lead-generation.

Yes. When you have a page that earns high traffic, it might also win over a lot more leads. However, AJ Beltis, a HubSpot marketing manager who specializes in content creation and lead acquisition, says you might be missing solid opportunities by only optimizing high-traffic-getters.

“It’s tempting for content marketers to immediately go to the most-viewed blog posts and try to convert their viewers into leads. High traffic means high potential, so it makes sense to look at these posts first,” Beltis says. 

“However, those most-viewed posts are often on topics that cast a wide net and might not tie directly back to your product or service,” Beltis explains. “Instead, try focusing on blog posts or topic clusters that may not have the most views, but have a clear path for conversion.

“After all, what’s better – a 5% conversion rate for a blog post with 50,000 views, or a 1% conversion rate on a blog post with 100,000 views,” Beltis concludes.

How to Fix It

Finding posts with conversion opportunities that don’t pull in major traffic can take a bit of research.

Using HubSpot, or other data-tracking tools, consider creating and analyzing a conversion rate optimization report that highlights each post’s conversion rate, number of new contacts, and lead goal. This will allow you to see how each post is performing and help you zone on posts that are pulling in a solid number of contacts. It will also allow you to see how traffic impacts a conversion rate.

For example, if you see a low conversion rate on a post but a high number of contacts, this could mean the post has many leads due in part to its traffic. On the other hand, if you see a post with a lower contact number but a higher conversion rate, this could be a lower traffic post with a higher chance of pulling in leads. 

Aside from using the reporting tools you have at hand to learn from your own data, you could also ask yourself a few topic-related questions like:

  • What are our audience’s interested in learning more about?: Sometimes, trends that impact people in your industry might be highly discussed on social media, but haven’t yet gained enough search volume to pull in high traffic. Are there trend-related blog posts and content offers you can create or update that can tie well together, provide value to your audience, and get them to convert?
  • Do we have any tactical posts that relate strongly to our product or current offers?: For example, if you sell a task-management software, a post on how to multitask, how to organize your office, or how to create a project schedule might not be shareable on social media or pull in huge traffic, but it still could align well with an offer related to your product — such as a free trial.

8. You’re not using social media strategically for lead generation.

Although social media is most effective for top-of-the-funnel marketing metrics like traffic and brand awareness, it can still be helpful as a source for lead generation — and a low-cost one, at that.

If you’re finding that social media isn’t generating very many leads for you, there’s a chance you’re not doing it strategically enough. At least that’s what Jeremy White, a serial entrepreneur and conversion consultant, wrote in a post on CrazyEgg’s blog.

“It’s not that you can’t get leads on social media; it’s that we’re not taking what’s there,” he wrote. In other words, you might be doing it wrong. If your social strategy is to post your new ebooks to all your social media channels and that’s about it, then don’t expect to bring in a whole lot of leads from those posts. The spray-and-pray technique isn’t enough.

How to Fix It

One way to generate more leads from social media is to sprinkle blog posts and offers that have historically generated higher-than-average leads numbers for you in with the new posts and offers your team is creating.

At HubSpot, we’ve found that one of the best ways to generate leads is simply to link directly to landing pages for blog posts and offers that have historically performed well for lead generation. (Learn how to do your own blog lead generation analysis here.)

We’ve also found that linking directly to an offer’s landing page can be more effective — as long as your post copy sets the expectation that you are, in fact, sending people to a landing page. In the Facebook post below, we set that expectation by putting “Free Template” in brackets in front of the offer title.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using some of the features on each social network that are specifically designed to help you generate leads.

On Twitter, your lead gen tweets should contain a value proposition, a short URL linking to the landing page with a form, and an image to ensure the post stands out. (Here are some social media image templates you can use to create those images.)

Twitter also offers lead generation cards that can help you generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. Twitter cards let you embed rich media that don’t count toward your tweet character limit that allow your fans and followers to do things like download an app, visit a landing page, give over their email, or use a coupon — all without leaving Twitter. (HubSpot customers: You can connect your Twitter lead gen cards to HubSpot by following these instructions.)

On Facebook: There are a number of great ways to generate leads from Facebook, the best of which I’ve rounded up in this blog post. For example, one way to easily generate leads is by simply using the call-to-action feature available for Pages. The feature lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, and it can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to lead generation forms like landing pages and contact sheets.

Here’s an example from Tough Mudder’s Page, and you can learn how to insert your own Facebook CTA button here.

tough-mudder-facebook-for-lead-gen.png

On LinkedIn, B2B businesses can take advantage of the perception that LinkedIn is the most sophisticated of social platforms, and a place where B2B relationships are most likely to be built. Like on Facebook, you can publish your lead-generating content directly to your business’ Facebook Page alongside actionable copy and a compelling image.

9. Your forms are too long or too short.

How long should your lead capture forms be? Striking a balance between asking too much and too little on your forms is a common problem marketers gripe with.

If your form’s too short, more people might be willing to fill it out, which is great for leads numbers — but the quality of those leads might not be very high. If your form’s too long, though, fewer people might be willing to fill it out, meaning you’ll get fewer leads out of it. On the bright side, the people who do submit their information could end up being higher quality leads.

So what gives? What’s the “magic number” of questions to ask on your forms?

How to Fix It

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many fields to put on your forms. Your “sweet spot” will depend entirely on your goals: Do you need more leads, or do you need better leads? Essentially, the length of your form will lead to a tradeoff between quantity and quality of the leads you generate. In general, shorter forms usually result in more overall leads, while longer forms will result in fewer, but higher quality leads.

“Think of every field in your checkout as a hurdle your prospect has to leap over,” writes Copyhackers’ Joanna Wiebe. “Then ask yourself if it’s worth the possibility of losing a sale — or thousands of sales — because you want to fill a database.”

You can’t possibly know how many form fields you can pull off without conducting conversion research and running your own tests. Even then, you have to compare the ROI of additional information with the ROI of increased conversions. How much does having a phone number really help the sales team? Is it enough to warrant a potential decrease in conversions?

It’s important that you don’t make this decision without involving your sales team. They have a better idea of what information will actually help them close deals. How much does asking for a phone number actually help your sales team — and is it enough to potentially lose leads over? Speaking of talking with your sales team …

10. Your definition of a qualified lead isn’t well communicated with your sales department.

You know the definition of a lead in the general sense of the term: It’s a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service by giving you their information in some way, like by filling out a form to download an ebook or completing an online survey.

A marketing qualified lead, or MQL, is a lead that’s been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads, based on lead intelligence. MQLs have metaphorically raised their hands and identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready contacts than your usual leads, but who have not yet become full-fledged opportunities. In other words, from a marketing perspective, your sales team should be talking with them.

But sales teams tend to have their own system for qualifying leads. Sales qualified leads are leads your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up. Agreeing on that quality threshold is where things tend to get muddy. Both the quantity and quality of leads needed and the sales process are mutually agreed upon by both Marketing and Sales.

How to Fix It

That’s exactly where the conversation begins. To align Marketing and Sales on what constitutes a qualified lead from both sides, you’ll have to learn to speak each other’s language. Similar to your marketing qualified leads, Sales has its own definition of “qualified”: sales qualified leads are leads they’ve accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up.

Both teams need to align on their definitions of a marketing qualified and sales qualified lead. And there’s no one-size-fits-all definition for one, either — an MQL at one company may be completely different than an MQL at another company. You should do your own internal analysis of your leads and customers to create your business’ definition of an MQL. Read this post to learn how to get started defining an MQL for your business and communicating that definition with Sales.

Avoid Losing Great Leads

There are plenty more lead generation mistakes we could add to this list, but these are some of the most important ones we see marketers make every day. For our readers out there who want to get more and better quality leads, we hope this post will help you prioritize where to focus your time and resources.

Now that you’ve had time to read up and reflect on some of the most common lead-generation mistakes, we’d love to hear from you. Vote in this completely anonymous poll to tell us which mistake you or your company have commonly made, or check the results to see how others voted.

 

If you want to learn more about creating an effective conversion rate optimization strategy, check out these beginner’s guides on conversion rate optimization and lead generation.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in October 2016, but was updated in July 2020 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

Thank you for reading.

TikTok Self-Service Ads: What Marketers Need to Know

This may be of some interest.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore an update of TikTok’s self-serve ad platform, how businesses are developing content on TikTok, and much more […]

The post TikTok Self-Service Ads: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest

This may be of some interest.

It’s been more than a year since I launched the “new”
Ubersuggest.

And over the last 12 months, I have made a lot of progress.

Just as a quick recap: Ubersuggest went from a basic keyword research tool to now containing backlink data, rank tracking, content ideas, site audit reports, and many more features.

If you haven’t played with Ubersuggest in the past few months, give it a try. Type in a URL or a keyword and click around.

The reason I am asking you to give it a try is that I need your help to determine what I should develop next so I can help you improve your traffic and rankings even more.

But before we get into that, let me first tell you what I am releasing in the next few months.

Upcoming features

So, let’s break it down by section as I am making a lot of
small changes that should not only improve the data, but also the usability of
the product.

Funny enough, there will be changes to every section of the
tool.

Keyword research

Over the next month, the keyword overview is going to change in which I will start to tell you demographic data. You’ll see what percentage of the searches are done by males or females as well as the average age range of a searcher.

You’ll also see what portion of the clicks for any given keyword go to SEO results, ads, or result in no clicks.

I am also going to break searches down by mobile versus
desktop.

More accurate data

Another big change that is happening, and this one won’t be
visual, is all of the data will become much more accurate.

From traffic estimations for a domain, to even keywords,
you’ll start seeing a more accurate database.

For example, when I look at all of the keywords
neilpatel.com ranks for, a lot of them are junk keywords that don’t drive much
traffic.

Sure, the report still provides value as a lot of the keywords are good and can provide good SEO insights, but with more accurate data it should make your job easier.

New backlinking data

Another feature that I am excited about is the new backlink charts.

I’m adding historical link data over time as well as a
snapshot of daily new and lost links.

In addition to that, you’ll start seeing more data on anchor text or link distribution.

Alerts

A huge problem with Ubersuggest is that you have to continually come back to get value. In the next month or so, you will start seeing email alerts that will tell you what’s happening with your site and what you should fix.

The overall purpose is for you to not have to come to
Ubersuggest to figure out what you need to fix.

Usability fixes

The biggest problem with Ubersuggest is people don’t know
what to do with the data or how to improve their rankings.

This will be fixed in the upcoming months.

From an education center and demos to tutorials and more, we are creating a guided path so you can see better gains in your search traffic.

Alright, so now that you know what I am working on, I now need your help to figure out what I should do next.

Where do you want me to take Ubersuggest?

I have a few options for you, but I am not sure what you
want me to do with the tool.

Sure, I know you want more free features and I will do that,
but what’s going to provide you with the biggest gains?

Here are some options…

  1. Automated SEO – would you like me to focus my efforts on automating your SEO? All you would have to do is add a javascript to your site like Google Analytics and it would automate 40 to 50% of your SEO tasks. It would even adjust your code for you automatically no matter what CMS you use. Again, it would ONLY automate 50% or so of your tasks, I can’t automate all 100%… yet.
  2. Ad management – do you want an easy to use ad management system? From Facebook and Google to even smaller sites like Quora, there are tons of ad opportunities. I could create an easy to use system that helps you find all of the ad opportunities and optimize/manage them for you in an automated way.
  3. Free email marketing – I know there are tools like Mailchimp that are great, but what if I made it so you can send an unlimited amount of emails to an unlimited number of contacts for free?
  4. Chrome extension – what if I took extensions out there from tools like Moz, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, and SEMrush and combined the best features and made it free?
  5. Or do you have any better ideas? I am open to anything.

Conclusion

I can take Ubersuggest in many different directions. There isn’t really a right or wrong approach and, wherever I take it, I will make sure that the product is still really easy to use.

The question is, what do you want me to focus on first?

That’s all that matters in the grand scheme of things because I am building this for you.

So, if you can, leave a comment below letting me know where you want me to take Ubersuggest. It can be one of the options above, or if you have a better idea, I am open to that as well.

The post I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

This may be of some interest.

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

In honor of it’s fifth anniversary, LinkedIn has released a revamped edition of The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. The eBook features a powerful array of digital marketing smarties, each who shared their insights and practical advice on how to get the most out of LinkedIn—from optimizing your profile to expanding your network.  The TopRank Marketing team was privileged to work with LinkedIn team to identify, engage, and gather fresh insights from these brightest marketing minds.

If you’re anywhere near the B2B marketing world, social selling or recruiting, getting to know LinkedIn is more essential today than ever. Why? Check out these statistics:

  • With over 610 million members in over 200 countries and territories, more than 1 out of every 3 professionals worldwide is on LinkedIn.
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • LinkedIn counts executives from nearly all 2018 Fortune 500 companies as members
  • More than 30 million companies are represented on LinkedIn

There simply isn’t another social network with that kind of community and momentum for business professionals. And while most professionals have been using LinkedIn for years and may see it as a jobs marketplace, many simply haven’t taken the time to optimize or maintain their profiles. They also haven’t discovered all the ways you can capitalize on LinkedIn as a marketing and social selling tool. The good news is that quite a few people have.

In The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, there are 55 pages of advice on reaching the right people and taking your marketing to the next level directly from marketers within LinkedIn, as well as some of the top B2B marketing professionals in the business.

There’s also an excellent list of 24 B2B marketing experts in the U.S. that LinkedIn suggests we get to know, selected by staff at LinkedIn—and that’s where we’d like focus today. Many of the names on the list will be familiar to you, such as our own CEO Lee Odden. But some are likely to be new discoveries.

Congratulations to those on the list and to anyone who downloads and reads The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.

24 B2B Marketers LinkedIn Says You Need To Know


Robert Rose
Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory
Twitter: @Robert_Rose
LinkedIn: /in/robrose


Aaron Orendorff
Founder, iconiContent
Twitter: AaronOrendorff
LinkedIn: in/aaronorendorff

Ryan Robinson
Ryan Robinson
Content Marketing Consultant
Twitter: TheRyanRobinson
LinkedIn: in/theryanrobinson/

Carla Johnson
Carla Johnson
Chief Innovator, Type A Communications
Twitter: CarlaJohnson
LinkedIn: /in/carlajohnson

Allen Gannett
Allen Gannett
CSO, Skyword
Twitter: Allen
LinkedIn: /in/allengannett

Shane Barker
Shane Barker
Co-Founder and CEO, Content Solutions
Twitter: shane_barker
LinkedIn: /in/shanebarker

Ann Handley
Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Twitter: MarketingProfs
LinkedIn: /in/annhandley

Katie Martell
Katie Martell
Marketing Consultant, On-Demand Marketing
Twitter: KatieMartell
LinkedIn: /in/katiemartell

Mandy McEwen
Mandy McEwen
Founder and CEO, Mod Girl Marketing
Twitter: MandyModGirl
LinkedIn: /in/mandymcewen

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Twitter: BrennerMichael
LinkedIn: /in/michaelbrenner

Lee Odden
Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Twitter: LeeOdden
LinkedIn: /in/leeodden

Nancy Badillo
Nancy Badillo
CEO, NancyBadillo.com
Twitter: NancyBadillo13
LinkedIn: /in/nancybadillo

Jay Baer
Jay Baer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Twitter: jaybaer
LinkedIn: /in/jaybaer

Jason Miller
Jason Miller
Brand Marketing Lead, Microsoft
Twitter: JasonMillerCA
LinkedIn: /in/jsnmiller

Vin Clancy
Vin Clancy
Founder, Magnific
Twitter: vincentdignan
LinkedIn: /in/vincentdignan

Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis
Keynote Speaker, Monumental Shift
Twitter: DrewDavisHere
LinkedIn: /in/drewdavishere

Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock
CMO, Engagio
Twitter: HeidiBullock
LinkedIn: /in/hbullock

Gina Schreck
Gina Schreck
CEO, SocialKNX
Twitter: Ginaschreck
LinkedIn: /in/ginaschreck

Doug Kessler
Doug Kessler
Creative Director and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
Twitter: dougkessler
LinkedIn: /in/dougkessler

Gabe Villamizar
Gabe Villamizar
Global Sales Evangelist, Lucid
Twitter: gabevillamizar
LinkedIn: /in/gabevillamizar

Suzanne String Nguyen
Suzanne String Nguyen
Video Evangelist, Shootsta
Twitter: StringStory
LinkedIn: /in/stringstory

Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn
Director, The Creative Penn
Twitter: thecreativepenn
LinkedIn: /in/joannapenn

Janet Murray
Janet Murray
Content Marketing Expert
Twitter: jan_murray
LinkedIn: /in/janet-murray74

Julia McCoy
Janet Murray
Content Marketing Expert
Twitter: JuliaEMcCoy
LinkedIn: /in/juliaemccoy

No list is ever perfect, so who would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

If you’re ready to dig in to the 2019 The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, start now and grab your own copy here:

2019 The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn

The post LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Need a Breakthrough? Find the Right Balance of Creative and Strategic Thinking

This may be of some interest.

For the marketing writer or business owner in 2019, deciding between strategic and creative is a luxury we can no…

The post Need a Breakthrough? Find the Right Balance of Creative and Strategic Thinking appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Want to Prove Content Marketing ROI? You Need an Actionable Marketing Dashboard

This may be of some interest.

Why You Need an Actionable Content Marketing Dashboard

Why You Need an Actionable Content Marketing Dashboard

Content marketers are believers. We believe our content brings real value to our prospects, clients, and partners. We believe our content is essential for driving demand. And we believe that content marketing is essential for bolstering our company’s bottom line.

However, we’re also realistic; as it’s often said: Seeing is believing. So, we need to be able to show proof of content marketing ROI to get our key stakeholders to believe, too.

And to do this, we need a source of truth that artfully and easily shows how we’re performing against our benchmarks, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as where we’ve identified opportunities to improve results. We need an actionable content marketing dashboard.

To put it simply, when set up right, an actionable dashboard allows us to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?

How does this help you identify, show, and prove ROI across the organization? Let’s dive in.

How Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards Can Inform, Inspire, & Show ROI

What are the benefits of an actionable content marketing dashboard? All the fun and exciting benefits that come from knowing how your content is performing at a granular level aside, there are a ton of benefits that come from a holistic content marketing dashboard—especially when it comes to getting stakeholder engagement and buy-in.

An actionable marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest.

[bctt tweet=”An actionable #marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest. – @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

Highlight the Bottom Line for Leadership

The executives hold the purse-strings. And they want to ensure the budget you’ve been given is being put to good use.

With an actionable dashboard, you can avoid the awkward “What have you done for me lately?” conversation with your leadership team by easily showing them how your content marketing efforts tie back to overall business objectives.

With the right data and insight readily available in your dashboard, you can showcase performance from visit to sale, so when they ask: “Is this content getting us an ROI?” Your answer can be: “You bet. In fact, overall our content marketing efforts drove 200% ROI in 2018 and we’re trending to exceed that benchmark in 2019 based on our goals.”

Of course, as a general rule, you don’t lose marketing funding for something that pays for itself and more.

Inspire Your Peers Inside & Outside the Marketing Department

When your marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level.

In addition, if you’ve been working with an internal subject matter expert such as your human resources director or sales manager to create content, showcasing how their contributions are making an impact will make them more open to ongoing collaboration—which can help all parties reach their goals.

As a little tip, consider making a leaderboard in your dashboard so contributors can easily track how the content they’ve contributed to is performing. Adding a little competition based on objectives is a fun way to level-up performance. (Betting on this performance is optional.)

[bctt tweet=”When your #marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level. @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

Set New Hires Up for Scalable Marketing Success

Another key benefit is that actionable marketing dashboards can help you scale your content marketing efforts. For example, if you find yourself proving so much ROI that you need to expand your team to keep up with demand, you can easily transfer knowledge to your new hires about what kind of content works and doesn’t work, and how they can know the difference.

This kind of results-focused training and new hire orientation helps keep your full team aligned around what really matters—creating and marketing quality content that exceeds your benchmarks and blows your goals out of the water.

Strengthen Relationships With Clients & Influential Collaborators

Whether you’re working with industry influencers to co-create content or you regularly engage clients to provide testimonials and case studies, you have the opportunity to use your marketing dashboard to show them not only how valuable they are to your marketing efforts, but the mutual value being incurred.

For example, let’s say a client helped create a testimonial or case study that saw a 300% increase in visibility over benchmark for that content type. Your message to them can be that together you’ve driven an incredible amount of brand awareness for both of your organizations.

Your Actionable Next Step? Create Your Content Marketing Dashboard

The performance of your content marketing means much more than traditional success metrics—it can mean visibility for your business, strength for your bottom line, and alignment for your internal teams.

If you’re ready for more visibility and creating a stronger business case for your efforts, the first step is to create a dashboard of your own, tailored to your marketing and business objectives.

Again, when properly set up, an actionable dashboard should allow you to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?

Wondering how to create this magical dashboard? Check out our guide to marketing dashboard essentials to get started on your path toward data-driven success.

The post Want to Prove Content Marketing ROI? You Need an Actionable Marketing Dashboard appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.