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Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

This may be of some interest.

Everyone can acknowledge the importance of a mobile-friendly website, especially after Google’s Mobilegeddon algorithm update.

Mobile optimization is here to stay, and it’s demanding more and more of businesses and their websites. But mobile optimization is about more than just a responsive website design.

In this article, we tell you why and how to adopt a mobile-first mindset for your website.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm change in 2015 (and a few more since then) was evidence that the search engine recognizes its responsibility to surface websites that painlessly get users what they need at the time that they need it.

Google doesn’t want to send mobile users to websites that provide a frustrating browsing experience — that would damage its promise to its users to always deliver helpful, relevant content.

Moreover, this algorithm change was and is a signal of a much larger shift that’s afoot — consumer behavior is changing, and it’s your job to adapt.

Building a mobile-friendly website is step one, but tweaking your website will not keep you ahead of consumers’ changing behavior and expectations.

In short, you have to infuse your marketing strategy with a mobile-first mindset. Here’s how.

1. Map your customer journey.

Imagine the experience of Sally, a young marketer who has just moved to Chicago. While out for a walk, Sally passes by a hair salon and realizes she needs a haircut. She pulls out her phone a search for hairstylists in Chicago who specialize in curls and color. Her Google search pops up Joann’s Stylez.

She flips through the website quickly and wants to research more, but it’s too hard while on the move — so she texts herself a link. When she gets home, she opens her texts on her tablet and quickly checks Yelp reviews, examines her calendar, and then books an appointment using the simple form on the Joann’s website.

When Sally loads up her laptop later that night to check her email, she discovers an email from Joann’s that confirms her appointment and gives her the option to add it to her calendar. The next day, 30 minutes before her appointment, she receives a push notification on her work computer reminding her of the appointment.

The next day, Sally receives a mobile email asking for feedback on the cut and offering to set up a recurring appointment at a discounted rate. She’s sold.

Sally’s experience is illustrative of the cross-device, omnichannel journey that many customers now make as they move through the marketing funnel. Every day, consumers switch a handful of different devices when completing common tasks such as online shopping, readying blog posts, booking appointments, or communicating with each other.

HubSpot’s Blogging Software equips you to publish relevant, conversion-optimized content you can preview on any device — allowing you to engage with customers wherever they are.

Consumers now expect this type of experience from all of their digital interactions. They want to be able to accomplish whatever fits their fancy on whatever device is at hand. This means that simply adapting your site to look nice on different devices is not enough. As a marketer, you must dig deeper into your customers’ and prospects’ lives.

For example, at HubSpot, we know that a visitor on a mobile device is very unlikely to fill out a long form on one of our landing pages. So we started using Smart Content to automatically shorten the form when a mobile viewer is looking at it. By doing this, our mobile prospects increased by 5x.

2. Seize intent-rich micro-moments.

You’ve likely already developed a strong set of buyer personas. You’ve conducted user research and testing to understand which content and CTAs to present to each persona as they move down the funnel. You must now go a step further. You must understand both the rhythm and rhyme to when, why, with what, and from where people are interacting with your website and content.

Google encourages marketers to identify the “micro-moments” in a customer’s journey:

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.

A number of brands have figured out how to anticipate and capitalize on these micro-moments. Apple Passbook loads up your Starbucks card when you’re near a coffee shop. Hertz sends you an email when your plane lands to let your know that your car is ready. Starwood allows you to check in and open your hotel room with your smartphone.

Consumers are increasingly becoming acclimated to companies offering such intimately responsive experiences. 59% of shoppers say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from, and 39% of smartphone users are more likely to browse or shop a company or brand’s mobile app because it’s easier or faster to make a purchase.

How can you figure out these micro-moments and design your content to meet prospects’ intent? Tap into your data. Here are three analyses you should start with:

  • Search: Which queries, ads and keywords are bringing users on different devices to your website and landing pages? Once they land on your site, what types of searches are users on different devices performing?
  • Content: Examine the content that users access by stage in the funnel and by device. Is there a trend around what prospects on their phones are downloading? Sharing?
  • Flow: Dig into a flow analysis segmented by device. What is the path mobile-using prospects follow? What is the path tablet-using customers follow? From what sites and sources are these visitors arriving?

After building your trove of micro-moments, it would be easy to think: “Okay, we just need to strip our website down to the specific things our visitors will mostly likely want to access on the go.”

But mobile users are not limited to completing short, simple tasks. The device does not directly imply location or intent.

A busy professional may use her commute time to conduct in-depth industry research on her phone, process her email inbox on her tablet while watching a movie with her family, and browse the websites of potential contractors while flying across the country.

Confirming this intuition, the Pew Research Center’s study of U.S. smartphone found that 99% of smartphone owners use their phone at home, 82% use their phones while in transit, and 69% use their phone at work each week. (This study was conducted in 2015, but we believe it’s still relevant, if not more so, today.)

People don’t want a stripped down set of content. Instead, they want quick and easy access to the materials they need on whatever device they happen to be using.Thus, while you want to optimize your site, landing pages, emails, etc. for micro-moments, you do not want to force visitors into a box from which they cannot escape.

3. Consider (and reconsider) your metrics.

The metrics you established in the desktop-centric days may not seamlessly translate to our new multi-device, micro-moment world. For example, you might have fought tirelessly to find ways to increase visitors’ time on your site, recognizing that more time means higher engagement, which translates to higher conversion.

The micro-moments you identify for mobile visitors, however, might suggest that you want a lower time-on-site. A prospect visiting the website of a consulting firm may be looking for:

  • An infographic they want to show a coworker
  • The bio of a partner with whom they are about to meet
  • A case study to read while traveling

In order to meet this prospect’s expectations for their mobile experience, you must design your website to quickly and intuitively help them find the specific piece of information for which they are looking. If their mobile visit is distracting, frustrating, or too time consuming, you’ve damaged their perception of your brand.

4. Embrace the intimacy of mobile.

For better or worse, I go to bed with my phone (reviewing tomorrow’s schedule and reading a nighttime meditation) and I wake up with my phone (silencing the alarm and checking the weather). I communicate with my partner and my best friends everyday — all through my phone. When my MBA classmate sends a GIF of Tyra Banks being sassy, I turn my phone to the person next to me, and we have a good laugh together.

Day-in and day-out, these interactions create an intimate connection between my phone and me. And I’m not alone: Most consumers imbue their mobile experiences with more intimacy than desktop experiences. The Pew Research Center found that Americans view their smartphones as freeing, connecting, and helpful, and associate their phones with feelings of happiness and productivity. These associations can inspire greater engagement with and interest in content.

As marketers, we should take advantage of these trends and consider how to make our prospects’ mobile experience more personal and social. Perhaps change your website to increase the proportion of social CTAs you display when someone arrives on mobile.

5. Remember the basics and think ahead.

Overall, embracing the mobile mindset means ensuring that the entire customer journey is responsive, relevant, actionable, and frictionless. As a marketer, you want to help consumers quickly and easily find what they want to find and do what they want to do. Again, this means thinking ahead, understanding when, with what device, and from where your prospects will interact with your content.

This can seem daunting, but mostly it means diligently applying the basics across channels. For example, since nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile, ensure your emails are mobile optimized. We recommend doing the following:

  1. Use large, easy-to-read text.
  2. Use large, clear images and reduce file sizes.
  3. Keep layouts simple and invest in responsive templates.
  4. Use large, mobile-friendly calls-to-action and links.

Recognizing the personal associations people have with their phones, you’ll want to ensure that the “From” name is familiar and that the preview text is inviting. And think ahead: Don’t email a link to a form or an event registration landing page that is not mobile-friendly.

Use HubSpot’s Free Landing Page Builder to launch landing pages that look perfect across devices and automatically change content based on who’s viewing your page.

Over to You: Time to Optimize

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to living the mobile mindset and weathering the change in consumers’ digital behavior. Move quickly and your organization could be at the head of the pack.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

Sustainable Link Building: Increasing Your Chances of Getting Links — Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Link building campaigns shouldn’t have a start-and-stop date — they should be ongoing, continuing to earn you links over time. In this informative and enduringly relevant 2018 edition of Whiteboard Friday, guest host Paddy Moogan shares strategies to achieve sustainable link building, the kind that makes your content efforts lucrative far beyond your initial campaigns for them.

Sustainable Link Building: Increasing Your Chances of Getting Links

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. I’m not Rand. I’m Paddy Moogan. I’m the cofounder of Aira. We’re an agency in the UK, focusing on SEO, link building, and content marketing. You may have seen me write on the Moz Blog before, usually about link building. You may have read my link building book. If you have, thank you. Today, I’m going to talk about link building again. It’s a topic I love, and I want to share some ideas around what I’m calling “sustainable link building.”

Problems

Now, there are a few problems with link building that make it quite risky, and I want to talk about some problems first before giving you some potential solutions that help make your link building less risky. So a few problems first:

I. Content-driven link building is risky.

The problem with content-driven link building is that you’re producing some content and you don’t really know if it’s going to work or not. It’s quite risky, and you don’t actually know for sure that you’re going to get links.

II. A great content idea may not be a great content idea that gets links.

There’s a massive difference between a great idea for content and a great idea that will get links. Knowing that difference is really, really important. So we’re going to talk a little bit about how we can work that out.

III. It’s a big investment of time and budget.

Producing content, particularly visual content, doing design and development takes time. It can take freelancers. It can take designers and developers. So it’s a big investment of time and budget. If you’re going to put time and budget into a marketing campaign, you want to know it’s probably going to work and not be too risky.

IV. Think of link building as campaign-led: it starts & stops.

So you do a link building campaign, and then you stop and start a new one. I want to get away from that idea. I want to talk about the idea of treating link building as the ongoing activity and not treating it as a campaign that has a start date and a finish date and you forget about it and move on to the next one. So I’m going to talk a little bit about that as well.

Solutions

So those are some of the problems that we’ve got with content-driven link-building. I want to talk about some solutions of how to offset the risk of content-driven link building and how to increase the chances that you’re actually going to get links and your campaign isn’t going to fail and not work out for you.

I. Don’t tie content to specific dates or events

So the first one, now, when you coming up with content ideas, it’s really easy to tie content ideas into events or days of the year. If there are things going on in your client’s industry that are quite important, current festivals and things like that, it’s a great way of hooking a piece of content into an event. Now, the problem with that is if you produce a piece of content around a certain date and then that date passes and the content hasn’t worked, then you’re kind of stuck with a piece of content that is no longer relevant.

So an example here of what we’ve done at Aira, there’s a client where they launch a piece of content around the Internet of Things Day. It turns out there’s a day celebrating the Internet of Things, which is actually April 9th this year. Now, we produced a piece of content for them around the Internet of Things and its growth in the world and the impact it’s having on the world. But importantly, we didn’t tie it exactly to that date. So the piece itself didn’t mention the date, but we launched it around that time and that outreach talked about Internet of Things Day. So the outreach focused on the date and the event, but the content piece itself didn’t. What that meant was, after July 9th, we could still promote that piece of content because it was still relevant. It wasn’t tied in with that exact date.

So it means that we’re not gambling on a specific event or a specific date. If we get to July 9th and we’ve got no links, it obviously matters, but we can keep going. We can keep pushing that piece of content. So, by all means, produce content tied into dates and events, but try not to include that too much in the content piece itself and tie yourself to it.

II. Look for datasets which give you multiple angles for outreach

Number two, lots of content ideas can lead from data. So you can get a dataset and produce content ideas off the back of the data, but produce angles and stories using data. Now, that can be quite risky because you don’t always know if data is going to give you a story or an angle until you’ve gone into it. So something we try and do at Aira when trying to produce content around data is from actually different angles you can use from that data.

So, for example:

  • Locations. Can you pitch a piece of content into different locations throughout the US or the UK so you can go after the local newspapers, local magazines for different areas of the country using different data points?
  • Demographics. Can you target different demographics? Can you target females, males, young people, old people? Can you slice the data in different ways to approach different demographics, which will give you multiple ways of actually outreaching that content?
  • Years. Is it updated every year? So it’s 2018 at the moment. Is there a piece of data that will be updated in 2019? If there is and it’s like a recurring annual thing where the data is updated, you can redo the content next year. So you can launch a piece of content now. When the data gets updated next year, plug the new data into it and relaunch it. So you’re not having to rebuild a piece of a content every single time. You can use old content and then update the data afterwards.

III. Build up a bank of link-worthy content

Number three, now this is something which is working really, really well for us at the moment, something I wanted to share with you. This comes back to the idea of not treating link building as a start and stop campaign. You need to build up a bank of link-worthy content on your client websites or on your own websites. Try and build up content that’s link worthy and not just have content as a one-off piece of work. What you can do with that is outreach over and over and over again.

We tend to think of the content process as something like this. You come up with your ideas. You do the design, then you do the outreach, and then you stop. In reality, what you should be doing is actually going back to the start and redoing this over and over again for the same piece of content.

What you end up with is multiple pieces of content on your client’s website that are all getting links consistently. You’re not just focusing on one, then moving past it, and then working on the next one. You can have this nice big bank of content there getting links for you all the time, rather than forgetting about it and moving on to the next one.

IV. Learn what content formats work for you

Number four, again, this is something that’s worked really well for us recently. Because we’re an agency, we work with lots of different clients, different industries and produce lots and lots of content, what we’ve done recently is try to work out what content formats are working the best for us. Which formats get the best results for our clients? The way we did this was a very, very simple chart showing how easy something was versus how hard it was, and then wherever it was a fail in terms of the links and the coverage, or wherever it was a really big win in terms of links and coverage and traffic for the client.

Now, what you may find when you do this is certain content formats fit within this grid. So, for example, you may find that doing data viz is actually really, really hard, but it gets you lots and lots of links, whereas you might find that producing maps and visuals around that kind of data is actually really hard but isn’t very successful.

Identifying these content formats and knowing what works and doesn’t work can then feed into your future content campaign. So when you’re working for a client, you can confidently say, “Well, actually, we know that interactives aren’t too difficult for us to build because we’ve got a good dev team, and they really likely to get links because we’ve done loads of them before and actually seen lots of successes from them.” Whereas if you come up with an idea for a map that you know is actually really, really hard to do and actually might lead to a big fail, then that’s not going to be so good, but you can say to a client, “Look, from our experience, we can see maps don’t work very well. So let’s try and do something else.”

That’s it in terms of tips and solutions for trying to make your link building more sustainable. I’d love to hear your comments and your feedback below. So if you’ve got any questions, anything you’re not sure about, let me know. If you see it’s working for your clients or not working, I’d love to hear that as well. Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021

This may be of some interest.

Colorful running shoes, water bottle, and headphones image.

Colorful running shoes, water bottle, and headphones image.

What will successful B2B marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can we as marketers do today to be as ready as possible?

Here are 28 quotes from some of the best in the B2B marketing business, taken from our two seasons of Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episodes, that will help keep your efforts on track, energized, and filled with the subtle humanizing elements sometimes neglected in the B2B landscape.

Keep posted for the launch of an all-new season three of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, and now let’s dig right in with an array of B2B marketing insights to help you prepare for a successful 2021.

1 — Hal Werner of Mitel

Hal Werner
Global Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy
Mitel

Break Free B2B Interview with Hal Werner of Mitel

“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it? If you don’t truly believe that you can outdo your competitors in the space for that function, then what are you wasting your time on?”

“Whether you earn it or whether it’s paid for, you’re going to need more voices putting out there what you’re about so that not only people see you, but you begin to be associated with that thing at a critical mass.”

[bctt tweet=”“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it?” @halwerner” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Hal in “Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics.”

2 — Stephanie Stahl of Content Marketing Institute

Stephanie Stahl
General Manager
Content Marketing Institute

Break Free B2B Interview with Stephanie Stahl

“As content creators, sometimes we try to do everything that we possibly can on every channel. I think it’s important for content teams and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that really isn’t giving us the result that we’d like? And how can we then focus more on the things that are working?’ So ask yourselves, ‘What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at?’”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s important for content and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that isn’t giving us the result we’d like? How can we then focus more on the things that are working?’” @EditorStahl” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Stephanie in “Break Free B2B Series: CMI’s Stephanie Stahl on Data-Driven Event Planning and Promotion.”

3 — Jon Miller of Demandbase

Jon Miller
Chief Product Officer
Demandbase

Jon Miller

“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?”

[bctt tweet=”“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?” @jonmiller” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Jon in “Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together.”

4 — Adi Bachar-Reske of 20x

Adi Bachar-Reske
Founder and CMO
20x

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

“These days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence.”

[bctt tweet=”“The way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and digital presence.” @AdiBacharReske” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Adi in “Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing.”

5 — Emily Thompson of EST Creative

Emily Thompson
Owner
EST Creative

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them. Especially with digital, it’s very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new way of communicating to someone. Let’s say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let’s say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message? The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new.”

[bctt tweet=”“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” @BosCreativeCopy” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Emily in “Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care.”

6 — Margaret Magnarelli of Morgan Stanley

Margaret Magnarelli
Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing
Morgan Stanley

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

“We have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can, and take them as close to the line of purchase — to the experience of purchase — as we can.”

“People can see through fake attempts to build trust. It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.” @mmagnarelli” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Margaret in “Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing.”

7 — Gary Gerber of nClouds

Gary Gerber
Head of Product Marketing
nClouds

Gary Gerber

“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype. If you’ve built that trust and you’re adding that value to them that they trust you’re interested in their success, and you’re providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype.” @Gary_Gerber” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Gary in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus.”

8 — Kelvin Gee of Oracle

Kelvin Gee
Senior Director, Modern Marketing Business Transformation
Oracle*

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.”

“Once you consolidate all your data silos onto one bed, so to speak — in this case a customer intelligence platform or customer data platform or whatever you want to use — once you combine all that data, that’s when you start to see all the insights of your customers. All marketers should have empathy. What drives customer-centricity is empathy.”

[bctt tweet=”“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” @kgee” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Kelvin in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Oracle’s Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM.”

9 — Danny Nail of Microsoft

Danny Nail
Account Based Engagement
Microsoft

Danny Nail

“Historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together. The key to that is understanding the sales cycle, and understanding how sellers think and what they’re up against. The continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale.”

“You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that.”

[bctt tweet=”“You have to let go of templatized old ideas to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them and start digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient and effective.” @DannyNail” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Danny in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail of SAP on Creating a Global ABM Platform.”

10 — Julie Brown of Johnson Controls

Julie Brown
Institutional Market Leader
Johnson Controls

“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?”

[bctt tweet=”“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?” — Julie Brown” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Julie in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Julie Brown of Johnson Controls on Proving the EBIT of Your Marketing.”

11 — Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet

Andre Ortolon
eCommerce and Marketing Manager
Dell Outlet*

Break Free B2B Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Image

“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

“You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can’t always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you’re developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You’ve got to think about your strategy and make sure you’re still aligned with that in what you’re doing day to day.”

[bctt tweet=”“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.” — Andre Ortolon” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Andre in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content.”

12 — Amanda Todorovich of Cleveland Clinic

Amanda Todorovich
Senior Director of Digital Marketing Health Content
Cleveland Clinic.

“I think it’s really important content marketing is not a campaign, it’s not a project, it’s not a one-off. We like to talk about our content channels and process like products, you know, you really need to invest in them. It’s a long-term strategy. It’s something that you really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with that user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.”

[bctt tweet=”“You really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with the user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” @amandatodo” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Amanda in “Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off.”

13 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba

Amisha Gandhi
Vice President of Influencer Marketing and Communications
SAP Ariba*

Break Free B2B Interview with Amisha Gandhi

“Do not just start calling influencers and say, ‘I’m doing this campaign, do you want to be a part of it?’ and be very prescriptive. You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.”

[bctt tweet=”“You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Amisha in “Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing.”

14 — Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

Brody Dorland
Co-Founder
DivvyHQ

An Interview with Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

“The holistic content marketing world, which is non-campaign focused, continues to proliferate. It’s going to get better, but most agencies out there are still so campaign focused — that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do. Not to say that agencies can’t continually be involved in longer-term content marketing engagements, but it’s just it’s a different beast, a different animal than the typical world that they’ve been in for decades.”

[bctt tweet=”“Most agencies out there are still so campaign focused —that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do.” @brodydorland” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Brody in “Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy.”

15 — Clare Carr of Chief

Clare Carr
Vice President of Marketing
Chief

TopRank Marketing Interviews Clare Carr, VP of Marketing at Chief

“It takes a human element that cannot be taken out of this equation. If you can make data something that people associate with you, they trust you more, you can connect with them more, and you can tell better stories. All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.”

[bctt tweet=”“All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.” @clareondrey” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Clare in “Break Free B2B Series: Clare Carr on Using Data to Drive Content Marketing Success.”

16 — Janine Wegner of Dell Technologies

Janine Wegner
Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager
Dell Technologies*

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Janine Wenger of Dell Technologies

“What’s the customer journey? And what are the content pieces we want to develop? And what are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?”

[bctt tweet=”“What are the content pieces we want to develop? What are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?” @JanineWegner” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Janine in “Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers,” and in our Inside Influence series with “Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations.”

17 — John Joyce of Brennan Industries

John Joyce
Global Marketing Director
Brennan Industries

“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship, from the first time they go to the website – oh yeah, this is really good. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and knowledge I need, it’s saving me money”

[bctt tweet=”“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and the knowledge I need, and saving me money.” @mrjohnjoyce” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with John in “Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics.”

18 — Judy Tian of LinkedIn

Judy Tian
Marketing Manager
LinkedIn*

“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

[bctt tweet=”“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users?” @judytian07″ username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Judy in “Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing.”

19 — Maliha Aqeel of Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel
Director of Global Communications
Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel

“Focus on culture. There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. But culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand.”

[bctt tweet=”“There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with a brand.” @MalihaQ” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Maliha in “Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture.”

20 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data

Tom Treanor
CMO
Arm Treasure Data*

Tom Treanor

“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.”

[bctt tweet=”“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.” @RtMixMktg” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Tom in “Break Free B2B Series: Tom Treanor on Perfecting B2B Marketing Personalization.”

21 — Zari Venhaus of Eaton

Zari Venhaus
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications
Eaton

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

“I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech. We learned that it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process.”

[bctt tweet=”“The IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech.” @zvenhaus” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Zari in “Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling.”

22 — Adam Dunn, Oscar-Winning VFX Editor

Adam Dunn
Oscar-winning VFX Editor
Evil Ice Cream Productions

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.”

[bctt tweet=”“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.” @adamjdunn” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Adam in “Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B.”

23 — Carol-Lyn Jardine of Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine
Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity
Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine

“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.”

[bctt tweet=”“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.” @cljardine” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Carol-Lyn in “Break Free B2B Series: Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst on Effectively Managing Change in B2B Marketing.”

24 — Sruthi Kumar of Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar
Associate Director of Field and Partner Marketing
Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar

“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them. I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.” @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Sruthi in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences.”

25 — Latané Conant of 6sense

Latane Conant
Chief Market Officer
6sense

Latane Conant

“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon. I think the challenge that we have is only 13 percent of sales and marketing teams have any confidence in their data.”

[bctt tweet=”“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon.” @LataneConant” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Latane in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Latane Conant of 6sense on Reinventing the CMO Role.”

26 — Mark Bornstein of ON24

Mark Bornstein
Vice President of Marketing
ON24

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

“It’s the experience you give, it’s the way you’re able to connect and interact with audiences that matters. Because that’s where you’re going to get the real data. That’s where you’re going to learn a lot about them. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience.”

“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt into our marketing. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away. We need to bring them back in through more authentic, more human, more experiential marketing.”

[bctt tweet=”“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt in. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away,  we need to bring them back in through more authentic, human, and experiential marketing.” @4markb” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Mark in “Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences.”

27 — Sofia O’Malley of Dell Technologies

Sofia O’Malley
Global Marketing Director
Dell Technologies*

Sofia O’Malley

“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution. Be very much aware of the environment and the key nuances that are needed to effectively drive marketing in a region.”

[bctt tweet=”“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution.” — Sofia O’Malley” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Sofia in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sofia O’Malley of Dell Outlet on Creating a Global B2B & B2C Marketing Team.”

28 — Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet

Sean Crowley
Leader of Integrated Marketing and Sales and Marketing Solutions
Dun & Bradstreet

Break Free B2B Sean Crowley Image

“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market. Ensure that you have consistency of messaging to a target persona and target audience, regardless of what channel they’re choosing to interact with you on.”

“The balance of power of information has shifted from the vendors to the consumers, to the buyers, and they can now go and search for information much more readily — much more freely — and they want that choice of how and when they choose to interact with you.”

[bctt tweet=”“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market.” @seantcrowley” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Sean in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code.”

Embrace An Energized 2021 B2B Marketing Landscape

via GIPHY

Use the energizing advice we’ve highlighted here from 28 B2B marketing innovators to spark your own marketing ideas that will take you to electrifying new heights in 2021 and beyond.

One powerful way to combine many of these energizing marketing elements is by harnessing the power of B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

Contact us to find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

* Oracle, Dell Outlet, SAP Ariba, Dell Technologies, LinkedIn, Arm Treasure Data, are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Time to cozy up your outdoor living space (psst, for less than $150)

This may be of some interest.

Let’s face it: We’re not ready to go inside.

The summer is winding down and there may be a crisp breeze incoming, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and head inside. It’s time to weatherize that outdoor space you’ve been enjoying these past few months, so you can stave off cooler temps and still enjoy some fresh air. A few small, affordable upgrades will keep you outside longer without breaking the bank. You can get (almost) everything on this list for less than $150—and most of it even rings in at under $100. A small price to pay for three extra months of cozy evenings spent outside, right? So, stock up and get ready for with fall these four extra cozy additions.

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11 Ad Design Tips to Help Your Brand Cut Through the Noise

This may be of some interest.

Before your copy can persuade an audience to buy your product, your design must persuade them to buy your copy. In advertising, your design catches your audience’s eye and points their attention to your copy. Then, it’s your copy’s job to hold your audience’s attention.

To help grab people’s attention in your advertisements, we’ve put together a list of seven ad tips, supported by examples, that’ll help give you ad design ideas to your brand cut through the noise. 

Advertisement Design Tips

Read on to learn how to craft creatively refreshing ads that will convert your audience into customers.

1. Stand out from the crowd.

In a world where countless brands fight for a limited amount of attention, the only way your advertisement can grab people’s attention is by being original.

As a marketer, though, it can be tempting to leap onto the latest trend that all your competitors have already pounced on. If everyone else is implementing the latest tip or trick, it must work, right? To captivate an audience, though, you must resist this urge.

Cliches repel attention. They sap your advertisement’s creativity and can’t activate the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for experiencing emotions. But how exactly do you create an original advertisement? Consider one of Estée Lauder’s print campaigns from the 1960s.

Back then, Estée Lauder’s main competitors like L’Oréal, Revlon, and Helena Rubinstein all ran vibrant, colorful ads in magazines. Every makeup ad was beautiful and rich. But even though they seemed eye-popping at first glance, audiences became accustomed to these types of ads — they all looked the same. They started blending in with each other.

Realizing that no one could differentiate between the brands running full-color makeup ads flooding magazines during that time period anymore, Estée Lauder did something so controversial it was deemed “radical”, “stupid”, and even “ugly”: they ran their ads in sepia.

Estée Lauder’s print advertising move received its fair share of criticism, but they’re ability to be original helped them immediately stand out from the crowd and rake in 25% more responses than their previous color print campaigns.

2. Focus on benefits and not just features.

A feature is an attribute or aspect of your business that distinguishes it from others in the space. Features are important for consumers as they compare providers and make purchasing decisions. However, in advertising, you are often marketing to a wide audience, many of whom may not be familiar with your organization or know they have need for your goods or services.

For this reason, advertising features can be ineffective and overly salesy. The benefits of a product, on the other hand, can be far more persuasive and impressionable to a wide audience.

Tide exhibits this idea well with their Superbowl commercial.

They could have demonstrated the features of their product by showing a dirty shirt becoming clean again.

Instead, they focus on the advantage: clean and crisp shirts.

They even use a bit of humor while calling out this approach as #NotaTideAd.

3. Use humor.

Speaking of humor, it is an effective tool in advertising because it evokes positive emotion.

The best thing advertising can do is make your solutions memorable. The second best thing it can do is associate that memory with positive emotions.

Zola uses this in their wedding website ad. Weddings are already associated with love and happy times, but Zola differentiates their approach by flipping the script on audience expectation with a silly situation.

Instead of imagining somber heartfelt “I dos,” the couple talks through logistics, which Zola can help with.

4. Convey one message — and one message only.

Eco-Drive ad that reads "A watch that never needs a battery" alongside an image of a watchImage Source

Sometimes, marketers think the more benefits and features they include in their ads, the higher their conversion rate will be. But trying to read a jumbled ad requires a lot of thought and energy, so cramming an ad with a bricks of copy doesn’t actually grab people’s attention. It repels it.

To immediately hook people and persuade them to read the rest of your ad, consider conveying one message per ad. Spotlighting your product or service’s main benefit or feature will make it easy for your audience to understand its value and increase the likelihood of doing business with you because they’ll leave your ad remembering only one message: your product’s or service’s main feature will benefit their lives somehow, someway.

For example, in Citizen’s ad for their Eco-Drive watch, they only use a single line of copy and a simple image to convey their product’s value to their audience — a watch that never needs a battery.

5. Make it visual.

When we were babies, we relied on vision to associate objects with behaviors, like a ball meaning play time. Vision was the only way to learn about the world.

That’s why you can understand visual information in 250 milliseconds and why your visual system activates over 50% of your brain. Visual storytelling is the best way for people to grasp concepts and data easily.

For instance, in LEGO’s ad, they only use two images, a simple lego creation and a shadow of a dinosaur, but you can instantly form a concrete understanding of its core idea — with Legos, you can create anything.

6. Know your market.

You can’t hope to capture your audience’s attention if you don’t know who they are.

Pop Fit is a leggings company that makes apparel for all sizes and body shapes. A good portion of their target audience is women who are rarely represented by models, particularly in the health and wellness space, and have difficulty finding athletic wear. For these women, an ad that shows people who look like them is a show stopper.

7. Leverage hyperbole.

Nikol Paper Towels Ad that shows dried grapes, implying it sucked the moisture out of them to turn them into raisins

Image Source

Exaggerating your product’s benefits, in a clever and obvious way, is one of the best methods for slipping some humor into your advertisement, which can capture your audience’s attention and trigger an emotional response from them.

For instance, Nikol’s paper towels obviously can’t turn grapes into raisins, but this ad highlights the product’s absorbent powers in such a clear and artful way, they didn’t need to write a single line of copy.

8. Show, don’t tell.

Showing your audience something is much more engaging and interesting than telling them it. Relying on implication to convey a message is mysterious, making it more fun for your audience to figure out.

For example, in Siemens’ creative ad, they show the benefits of their product by unexpectedly placing their washers and dryers in a library to show you that they’re so quiet, even a librarian wouldn’t need to shush them.

9. Swap connotations.

heinz ad that shows someone holding the ketchup bottle with an oven mittImage Source

In relation to food, the word “hot” has multiple meanings: having a high temperature and being spicy. Heinz brilliantly used the connotation of high temperature to highlight the spiciness of their ketchup, and their creative method of communicating the value of their product helped them instantly attract people’s attention.

10. Be authentic.

Planet Fitness is a brand that has long worked to make fitness less scary and more accessible to people, as evidenced by their “judgment-free zone” policies.

Part of that mission means encouraging people to be themselves. True to form, as many of their facilities open with new sanitizing procedures, they released this video ad announcing their policies. In it, Planet Fitness employees dance with inhibition. This fun and authentic ad supports who Planet Fitness is as a company.

11. Turn your ad into a game.

The brain is wired to predict things. It’s an evolutionary trait that allows us to anticipate what’s going to happen next and quickly react to it. That said, advertisements that are predictable only require a shred of thought to understand, so they’re too easy to grasp and, in turn, too boring to engage anyone.

With this in mind, if you can scrap predictability from your advertisements, you force your audience into a deeper level of thinking to digest your message, compelling them to pay more attention to it.

One of the best ways to ensnare your audience attention and get them to interact with your advertisement is by turning it into a game. By framing your advertisement like a game that can be beat, just like Mazda’s ad, above, your audience has the opportunity to earn an intellectual reward if they spend just the right amount of mental energy playing your brand’s game and grasping your advertisement’s message, which is something most people won’t ever pass up.

1. Canva

Canva is one of the premier free design platforms, available on both desktop and via a robust mobile app.

As an online ad maker, Canva provides a large library of pre-designed templates, 1 million stock images, and drag-and-drop design building. It can also integrate with HubSpot so that you can access Canva directly within the CMS.

2. DesignWizard

DesignWizard is another great option with integration capability. With pre-made templates across multiple sizes and dimensions, you’ll find attractive designs for any need — print and digital. Unlike other online ad makers, Design Wizard also offers free easy resizing so you can quickly create across multiple formats with less hassle.

3. Bannersnack

If you’re creating ads for PPC display campaigns, Bannersnack is a must. Since display ads come in so many shapes and sizes, Bannersnack allows you to create one ad and then generate several more based on the original design but with different dimensions, taking “resizing” features to another level. The only downside is that the free plan limits the number of designs you can create. However, the premium upgrade is reasonably priced.

4. Visme

Step up your social ads game by tapping into Visme’s library of templates for ads and posts for:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin

Pick from millions of free photos, icons, shapes, and animations to convey what your brand has to say.

5. Snappa

If you’ve ever struggled to remove a background from a brand photo in an expensive photo editor, you’ll be relieved to know that Snappa can do it in one click.

Add this capability to a library of templates, 3 million quality stock photos, 100,000 shapes, and over 200 fonts — you’re on your way to unhampered creativity.

6. Lucidpress

Lucidpress is one of the more versatile platforms on this list, with capabilities ranging from graphic ad design to asset management and direct mail. The free version does limit functionality and the number of designs, though, but Lucidpress’s design environment includes layouts for every type of print and digital use possible from social media ads to flyers and coupons.

7. BannerBoo

BannerBoo is unique in that you can make animated banner ads with their easy-to-use HTML5 ad builder. All ads are responsive, and you can choose from their library of animation effects and transitions. The free plan does contain a watermark, however.

With the inspiration from this list and tools that can help you create amazing ads, there’s nothing stopping you from creating an advertising plan that will help you drive brand awareness and generate revenue for your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Adapt Your Content Into an Instagram Story, According to HubSpot Marketers

This may be of some interest.

If you’re a marketer, at some point, it’s likely you’re going to be asked the question, “Is it on brand?”

This is especially true for social media content. Companies with social media pages generally have a theme that relates to the organization. The use of colors, sensory details, and styling all contribute to the overall theme of a page. I, for one, love thematic Instagrams — they’re so aesthetically pleasing.

When the colors, text, and photos all fit, I find myself going through all the content because it’s so easy to look at — the same is true for Stories.

Sometimes, I come across posts that make me think, “How did this marketer turn a simple content idea into this engaging Instagram Story?” And, as always, curiosity got the best of me. I had a question, and I was ready to search for the answer.

Fortunately, I knew exactly who to look to for help. I wanted to know just how social media marketers choose the right pieces to include in Stories, so I turned to the experts. I asked HubSpot’s marketers this question and compiled their tips.

Let’s see what they had to say.

1. Look for buzzy, trendy content.

When choosing content to add to Instagram Stories, HubSpot Audience Growth Writer Pam Bump, asks herself a question: “Is the content buzz-worthy?

“Trend or buzz-worthy content usually relates to a topic, trend, or piece of research that people in my industry are talking about or sharing on social media,” she says. “If a topic is already being widely discussed and shared, it might be more engaging as a story on a social platform.”

For instance, if you find that a hot topic in your industry is, say, personality tests, and you have a blog post all about them, think about how you can adapt that into a story.

Check out this example from HubSpot:

Example of content broken up in a story.

 

This story corresponds with a post about free personality tests. It takes the main ideas from the article and uses short, digestible sentences to recap the content. Additionally, the story’s following tiles included a few of the options outlined in the blog:

Example of reforming content into an Instagram story.

This tile includes a “Swipe Up” function, so audiences can see the post and get details about the test. Remember, the swipe-up tool is a great one to use for backlinking. You can bring new browsers to your website without making them exit the app.

Sharing buzz-worthy content will throw your company into the conversation and keep the content fresh and topical on your page.

2. Choose media that’s easy to comprehend.

When you want to adapt content, think about what can be split up into small, comprehensive pieces. If an audience member is scrolling through Instagram during their lunch break, it’s likely that they’re not interested in reading Stories that are full of text.

“Odds are, much of your audience is on Instagram looking for quick entertainment during a work break or daily commute,” notes Kelsey Yamada, one of HubSpot’s social media managers. “This is why my most important tip is to start your story actively rather than passively.”

Yamada suggests that, to keep audiences engaged, “Grab the reader’s attention with an interactive element, interesting fast-fact, a video, or eye-popping graphic. Then, use the following pages of the story to go into depth about the topic.”

Let’s look at a visual:

Example of starting a story interactively.

This first tile asks the reader a question to get them thinking. The Story doesn’t use much text, and instead, includes an interactive function — the emoji slider sticker. The next tile gives survey data to add background.

How to present data in an Instagram Story.

This content is easy for audiences to engage with as a quick brain break from their busy day. It takes data that was previously collected by HubSpot and turns it into a visually appealing guess-and-check for marketers.

You can use stats, like survey data, for Instagram Stories. Use short questions to engage users right off the bat, then use the following tiles to give them the full story.

3. Think about if you can make the story interactive.

One question Bump asks herself when choosing content for Stories is, “Can I make this content interactive?” For instance, you might have some less-than-glamorous topics covered on your blog or web pages, but take a look at them from a different perspective.

Bump notes, “Even a bland topic can be zested up with a quiz or poll. For example, sometimes, when adapting a post with heavy research into an Instagram Story, we’ll format the story like a quiz. Then the last page will offer readers the ability to swipe up to read more about the answers.”

For example, this story was adapted from a post about the difference between millennials and Gen Z:

How to capture audiences with statistical content in an Instagram Story.

It might not be the most exciting topic, but using Instagram Stories can make the content interactive, raising the interest level of audiences. If I were to see this story before the blog post, I would stop in my tracks and ask myself, “I think I know the difference, but what does HubSpot have to say?”

Alternatively, if I saw the blog post, I might not want to engage. But this story makes the content fun, gives the value of the post, and brings readers to the content in a new format. If the last tile included a link to the post, you could boost the number of reads.

4. Decide if you can make the text sparse and actionable.

“One thing the social media teams I’ve worked with are mindful of are the amount of text and the amount of pages in each story. I’ve seen that more than a paragraph of text on one story page can result in reader fatigue, which, in turn, could cause people to drop out of your story,” notes Yamada.

Remember, it’s likely that your Instagram audiences are checking their feeds as a quick brain break or a source of entertainment. Bombarding them with text-filled stories will take away from that experience.

Instead of using a paragraph of text, include bullet points. This will break up text and allow for emojis, stickers, or other content that will make a story visually appealing.

Example of a story with little text.

“If you can include a swipe-up with more content, consider a less-is-more approach where you include a quick tip, poll, or quiz related to a topic. Then, encourage the reader to swipe-up to learn more about the topic,” recommends Yamada. “If you can’t, but the story is more complex, consider breaking it up into a larger amount of pages.”

5. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

What works for HubSpot’s socials might not be the case for companies in different industries. So, remember to experiment with your content to find what works the best for your audience.

Bump recalls, “While you should do research and keep social media manager guidelines in mind as you craft a story strategy, don’t be afraid to try something different. For example, if you have a low drop off rate and most of your audience gets to the end of your Stories, you could experiment with a longer story to see how far they’ll get.”

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Sometimes, new ideas are the ones that will be the winning ticket to better engagement. That sales metric that you’re unsure about sharing? Experiment with it, and see if you can change the wording to make it enjoyable.

“Regardless of which experiments you do,” Bump continues, “Be sure to start with a hypothesis, know which metrics you’ll be monitoring, and identify what you’ll do if the experiment works or doesn’t work. This will allow you to develop a strong set of learnings around your audience and their behaviors.”

As for metrics to look for, Bump recommends looking at story views, impressions, swipe ups, and exits. Outside of the app, analyze overall Instagram traffic, or use a tracking URL. ” If you include a swipe-up to your full web content, use a tracking URL, such as one made with HubSpot or Bit.ly, as your swipe-up link,” she says.

“A tracking URL will allow you to see how many page views you received from the story. If you have a CMS with an analytics dashboard that can distinguish social media sources, like HubSpot, you can also see how much traffic your post has coming from Instagram.”

6. Be mindful of story length.

We’ve talked a bit about keeping the audience’s attention. The length of your story could impact their engagement. So when you’re choosing content, think about how many tiles it would take to convey the message. Can you do this in less than five?

Yamada says, “If someone doesn’t get to the end of your story where a swipe-up link is located, they won’t swipe up. So, I try to keep Instagram Stories content within 4-5 pages if it will include a swipe-up.”

Remember, in our personality test example, the story had five tiles. At the end of the last tile, there was a link to the corresponding blog post. This captures the reader’s attention quickly and backlinks the source before they exit:

How to shorten content for an Instagram Story.

“Do your best to cut the content down to the biggest takeaways. If your audience wants all the details, provide a link to the source material in a swipe-up or in the DMs if anyone reaches out. If a piece of content can’t be summarized and cut down, it’s not the best fit for Stories,” Yamada explains.

In the example above, the content explains a test the audience can take, where they can find it, and how to get more information. Basically, the story is used as a “preview” for the rest of the content. Is there content in your arsenal that’s similar — like a study you just performed?

7. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes.

Keeping your audience in mind is at the forefront of content creation. Remember to think about their motivation as much as their interests.

“Whenever I’ve adapted long-form content into Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook Stories, I’ve tried to imagine what my audience will be doing and thinking when they aimlessly tap through Stories and come across my brand’s,” states Yamada.

Think about how you interact with Stories on Instagram. A story that’s short, simple, and includes visual elements probably keeps you more interested than a story that’s too busy, with a lot of moving parts. It’s jarring to tap to a story and see a huge video with no explanation, right?

To choose content that your audience will be intrigued by, Bump encourages marketers to “Think about what your audience likes to see from you on Instagram. If you get a ton of engagement on sales-related content, for example, try adapting a blog post about sales into a short-form story.”

As Yamada notes, “Adapting your existing content into stories will give it the opportunity to provide value on a different platform to a different audience.” If your audience misses content you want to boost, or you want to present it in a different way, take to your Stories to give it more exposure.

Adapting your content into stories gives audiences a rounded view of what your brand is about from a different perspective.

“Why shouldn’t more people see the awesome content you’ve already worked on creating?” she asks. “You’ll also find yourself saving time when adapting content, as you won’t have to create a whole new piece just for Stories. A win-win!”

These tips made me excited to jump into my content and see what I could turn into the next high-performing story. I can’t wait to find new data or research that I can make more engaging with a few emojis. Plus, I feel more confident about what I can put out there. Knowing I have a solid direction now, I’m ready to be bold and experiment.

Thank you for reading.

This DIY mask test kit finds that your neck fleece isn’t really helping

This may be of some interest.

Scientists developing a tool to help mask manufacturers make sure their cloth masks actually work found some masks work better than others, and one kind works particularly badly.

If you buy a cloth mask online—whether from Amazon or Etsy or a large manufacturer such as Adidas—you’ll see a warning reminding you that what you’re buying isn’t medical grade. And while the evidence continues to mount that cloth face masks work, it’s also true that every mask isn’t equally effective, and many companies now making masks are doing it for the first time. In the absence of regulation for cloth masks, as shortages of more proven N95 masks continue, how can consumers or the manufacturers making masks know how much protection they offer?

Read Full Story

Thank you for reading.

How to Find Your Target Audience

This may be of some interest.

Target Audience

When I first started out in marketing, I thought traffic was everything.

I wanted to be as big as companies like HubSpot. Just look at the image above and you’ll see how many visitors they are getting.

They generate 29.61 million visitors a month from 11.74 million people. And those visitors produce roughly 10 billion dollars of market cap.

Now, let’s look at NeilPatel.com. Can you guess how many visitors I’m getting each month?

I’m generating roughly 8.717 million visitors a month from 3.616 million people.

When you look at it from a unique visitor perspective, HubSpot is getting 3.24 times more unique visitors than me.

So, in theory, I should be worth roughly 3 times less than them, right? Well, technically I’m not even worth 1/10th of them. Not even close.

Why is that? It’s because I didn’t go after the right target audience, while HubSpot did.

And today, I want you to avoid making this massive mistake that I made. Because marketing is tough, so why would you start off by going after the wrong people?

It will just cause you to waste years and tons of money like it did with me.

Defining your target audience is the first and most essential step towards success for any company or business, especially if you are just getting started.

So before we dive into things, let me first break down what you are about to learn in this article:

  • What is a Target Audience?
  • The Difference Between Target Audience and Persona
  • The Importance of Selecting Your Target Audience Correctly
  • How to Define your Target Audience: 6 Questions to Help You
  • Creating Customized Content for Your Audience

Let’s get started!

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a share of consumers that companies or businesses direct their marketing actions to drive awareness of their products or services.

I know that is a tongue twister, so let me simplify it a bit more…

The intention here is to target a market with whom you will communicate with. A group of people with the same level of education, goals, interests, problems, etc. that will need the product or service you are selling.

Basically, you want to target people who will buy your stuff.

If you target people who don’t want to buy your stuff, you might get more traffic to your site… but it won’t do much for you. And you’ll be pulling out your hair trying to figure out why none of your visitors are buying from you.

Now before we dive into the details on finding your target audience, let’s first go over “personas” because many people confuse them with a target audience and if you do, you’ll just end up wasting time.

The difference between a target audience and a persona

You already know the definition, so I won’t bore you with that again.

The most commonly used data to define the target audience of a company are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education background
  • Purchasing power
  • Social class
  • Location
  • Consumption habits

Examples of a target audience: Women, 20-30 years old, living in Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree, monthly income of $4,000 – $6,000, and passionate about fashion and decor.

If you start a company without knowing your exact target audience, you could end up like me instead of HubSpot… we wouldn’t want that now. 😉

And here is another example. Let’s say you have a business that sells educational toys. So your target audience might be children, mothers, education specialists, or teachers.

Or you have a motorcycle business. Your audience will definitely not be people younger than 18, right?

There is no point in trying to reach everyone in order to increase your chances of sales and profit. It will actually cost you more and decrease your profit margins in the long run.

Now let’s go over “personas”…

Persona

In marketing, personas are profiles of buyers that would be your ideal customers.

Personas are fictional characters with characteristics of your real customers. They’re developed based on target audience research and may help you direct your marketing actions better.

A persona is a person that may be interested in what you have to offer since they’re very connected to your brand and you must make an effort to make them a client and retain them.

A persona involves much deeper and more detailed research than the target audience since it includes:

  • Personal characteristics
  • Purchasing power
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Engagement in social networks
  • Professional information

Persona example: Mariana, 22, blogger. Lives in Miami, Florida. Has a journalism degree. Has a blog and posts makeup tutorials and tips about fashion and decor. She always follows fashion events in the area and participates in meetings with other people in the fashion niche. As a digital influencer, she cares a lot about what people see on her social network profiles. Likes to practice indoor activities and go to the gym in her free time.

If I had to define the main difference between persona and target audience, I’d say that the target audience considers the whole, in a more general way, while the persona has a more specific form.

And if you want help creating personas for business, check out this article about creating the perfect persona. But for now, let’s focus on finding your right target audience.

The importance of choosing your target audience correctly

The big mistake I made was that I didn’t figure out my target audience when I first started. I just created content and started marketing to anyone who wanted traffic.

But that is a bit too vague because not everyone who wants more traffic is a good fit for my ad agency.

They could just want to be famous on Instagram or YouTube, which is a lot of people, but that doesn’t help me generate more income.

Funny enough, there are more people who are interested in getting Instagram followers than people who want to learn about SEO.

But once you know your target audience, it’s easier to find and perform keyword research. For example, I know that I shouldn’t waste too much time writing articles about Instagram or Twitch even though the search volume is high.

It will just cause me to get irrelevant traffic and waste my time/money.

And that’s the key… especially when it comes to things like SEO or paid ads. The moment you know your target audience, you can perform keyword research correctly and find opportunities that don’t just drive traffic, but more importantly, drive revenue.

Now let’s figure out your target audience.

How to define your target audience: 6 questions to help you

Figuring out your target audience isn’t rocket science. It just comes down to a few simple questions.

6 actually, to be exact.

Go through each of the questions below and you’ll know the exact audience you are targeting.

1. Who are they?

When thinking about who might be your target audience, you must consider who are the people who identify with your brand.

One way to find out is to monitor who follows, likes, shares, and comments on your posts on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.

If someone is willing to engage with you, then chances are they are your target.

But in many cases, your ideal audience may not always be on the social web. They might be inactive on social media but buy from your company frequently or sign up for your services.

Even those who bought from you only once must be considered a part of your target audience, as someone who bought once might buy again.

There is no point in making a great effort to sell if you don’t make a similar effort to keep the customers you have already gained.

Customers like to feel special, and that is why the post-sales process is so important. Your relationship with the customer must remain even after the purchase is completed.

2. What are their greatest difficulties, problems, or desires?

What is cool, interesting, and good for you might not be for the customer.

You can’t think only of yourself when it’s time to define the difficulties, problems, and desires of your target audience. You must put yourself in their shoes.

Don’t make offers based on what you think. Make them according to research grounded in data, previous experiences, and analysis of your potential customers’ behavior.

Understand the greatest difficulties your audience faces to try to help solve them.

3. Where do they find the information they need daily?

Everyone needs information.

Every day you are surrounded by tons of information on the channels that you follow, but when you need it the most, where do you go to find that information?

Identify the communication channels most appropriate to your target audience and try to talk to them using a specific language from their universe.

For example, I know my target audience will either read marketing blogs or spend a lot of time on social sites like YouTube and LinkedIn consuming information.

4. What is the benefit of your product?

Everyone wants solutions for their problems and to make their lives easier. This is a collective desire and it’s no different for your target audience.

Think a little about your product and the problem of your target audience. What benefits does your product or service offer? What can it do to solve those problems? What is the main value offer?

With so much competition, you must try to find your competitive advantage in your niche and always try to improve your product, offering something extra that others do not.

5. What draws their attention negatively?

Being optimistic helps a lot, but thinking about the negatives can also help, especially when we talk about target audiences.

Better than considering what your audience wants, you can consider what it definitely doesn’t want, what it considers negative, and what it avoids.

With this powerful information in hand, you may have more chances to captivate your potential customers.

Avoiding what they consider negative is the first step to gain their approval. After that, you only need to apply other strategies to do efficient marketing.

6. Who do they trust?

Trust is everything to your target audience. No one purchases a product or service from a company they don’t know or trust.

This is why reviews on Amazon are read and so important for sellers. They know it builds trust… it’s also helped Amazon become a trillion-dollar company.

Even though this is the last question to define target audiences, it is one of the most important ones.

This is why the reputation of your company is so important. Taking care of the relationship with your customers is essential as they will spread information about your brand on the internet and to their friends and family.

If you get good reviews, have positive comments, and garner a great reputation, this will be the base for potential customers to feel motivated to buy from you.

Creating customized content for your audience

Now that you know your audience, let’s get to the fun stuff. Let’s create content for them.

Everyone creates content, right? Just look at Google if you don’t believe me.

You just have to put a keyword on Google and you will see thousands if not millions of results for each keyword.

When you research “best earbuds” on Google, this is what you see:

Content Customized for your Audience 1

First, there are options of products from Google Shopping, with ads and prices for different earphones for various audiences, needs, and tastes.

Next, there is a list of sites and blogs with information about different types of earphones and comparisons:

Content Customized for your Audience 2

There is no shortage of content about this subject or any other that you can search for. Anyone can create and publish text with no barriers.

The question is how you can make this content more personalized and attractive for your consumer.

Everyone produces content. Millions of publications are posted every day.

The secret though is to create content that targets your ideal customer and no one else. Generic content may produce more traffic, but it will also produce fewer sales.

To find what your target audience is searching for, you can use Ubersuggest. Just type in a keyword related to your audience.

target audience ubersuggest 1

From there, on the left-hand navigation, click on “keyword ideas.” You’ll then be taken to a report that looks like the one below.

Content Customized for your Audience 2

You now have topics to choose from. Not all of them will be a good fit but some will.

I recommend that you go after the long-tail terms, such as “best earbuds for running” (assuming your target audience is active). The more generic terms like “best earbuds” will drive traffic and a few sales, but it won’t convert as well as more specific terms.

The same goes if you are doing keyword research for the service industry or even the B2B space.

Types of content to create

Once you have a list of keywords you want to target, you might be confused as to what type of content you should be creating.

You’ll want to create content based on your funnel. In essence, you want to cover each step of the funnel.

target audience sales funnel

The top of the funnel involves content created for visitors and leads, that is, people that might access your site, blog, or social networks by chance.

When thinking about the top of the funnel, the idea is to create materials with more general subjects, with clear and easily accessible language.

It could be educational content, including clarifications or curiosities about your product or service or something somehow related to your industry.

The middle of the funnel is when the conversions happen. In other words, in this stage, the person who has a problem and the intention to solve it considers the purchase of your product or service.

It’s the middle of the road, but it is not the sale itself, because it’s still only about ideas. It’s in the middle of the funnel that you get closer to your target audience and generate more identification.

Next: bottom of the funnel content. This content focuses more on your product or service.

Here you can introduce details about functions, benefits, and other direct information about your product or service.

It is far more likely to convert here as this particular audience has practically decided to buy already and you are only going to give them a final push.

Conclusion

I’m hoping this article saves you from making the big mistake I made.

But knowing your target audience isn’t enough, though. It doesn’t guarantee success. You still need to create and market your content. That’s why I covered keyword research in this article as well.

Once you create content, you may also want to check out these guides as they will help you attract the right people to your site:

So have you figured out your target audience yet?

The post How to Find Your Target Audience appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

6 Connectors to Spice Up Your Reporting: Introducing Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT

This may be of some interest.

Posted by brian.ho

Data visualization platforms have become a vital tool to help illustrate the success of a body of work. Painting a clear picture of your SEO efforts is as important as ever, whether you’re reporting out to clients or to internal stakeholders at your own company. More and more SEOs are turning to data visualization tools to do so — pulling in data from across multiple SEO tools, blending that data in unique ways, and helping to pull back the curtain on the mystery of SEO.

Platforms like Tableau and Google Data Studio are becoming more commonplace in the SEO community as we seek better ways to communicate with our teams. We’ve heard from a number of folks in the Moz community that having a central dashboard to present data has streamlined their own reporting processes. It’s also made information more digestible for colleagues and clients, as they can see everything they need in one place.

Thanks to the helpful feedback of many, many STAT customers, we’ve been hard at work building six Google Data Studio Community Connectors to help pull STAT data into Data Studio. Fortified by beta testing and your thoughtful input, we’re excited to launch the six connectors today: Historical Keyword Rankings (site and tag level), Share of Voice (site and tag level), and Ranking Distributions (site and tag level).

If you’re already using STAT, dive into our documentation in the Knowledge Base to get all the nitty-gritty details on the connectors. If you’re not yet a STAT customer, why not chat with a friendly Mozzer to learn more?

See STAT in Action

Want to hear a bit more about the connectors and how to implement them? Let’s go!

Historical Keyword Rankings

Tracking daily keyword positions over time is a central part of STAT and the long-term success of your site. The Historical Keyword Rankings connectors send historical highest rank data to Data Studio for every keyword you’re currently tracking in a site or a tag.

You can start out with a simple table: perhaps if you have a group of keywords in a dynamic tag, you might want to create a table of your top keywords ranking on page one, or your top keywords ranking in positions 1-3.

Turn that table into a line graph to understand average rank for the whole site or tag and spot trends:

Find the Site Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here and the Tag Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here.

Share of Voice

In STAT, share of voice measures the visibility of a group of keywords on Google. This keyword set can be keywords that are grouped together into a tag, a data view, or a site. Share of voice is calculated by assigning each ranking a click-through rate (CTR) and then multiplying that by the keyword’s search volume.

It’s important to remember that share of voice is based on the concept that higher ranks and higher search volume give you more share of voice.

The default chart type will display a doughnut chart for current share of voice, and a line graph will show share of voice over time:

Find the Site Level Share of Voice connector here and the Tag Level Share of Voice connector here.

Ranking Distribution

Ranking Distribution, available in the Daily Snapshot and Ranking Trends views in the STAT app, shows how your keyword rankings are distributed across the top 119 Google results.

View your top ranking positions as a bar chart to easily eyeball how your rankings are distributed, where shifts are taking place, and where there is clear opportunity for improvement.

Find the Site Level Ranking Distributions connector here and the Tag Level Ranking Distributions connector here.

Getting started with the connectors

Whether you’re a Google Data Studio pro or a bit newer to the tool, setting up the connectors shouldn’t be too arduous. Get started by visiting the page for the connector of your choice. Authorize the connector by clicking the Authorize button. (Tip: Each connector must be authorized separately.)

Once you authorize the connector, you’ll see a parameters table like this one:

Complete the fields using the proper information tied to your STAT account:

  • STAT Subdomain: Fill in this field with the subdomain of your STAT login URL. This field ensures that the GDS connector directs its request to the correct STAT subdomain.
  • STAT API Key: Find your API key in STAT by visiting Options > Account Management > Account Settings > API Key.
  • STAT Site/Tag ID: Retrieve IDs through the API. Visit our documentation to ensure you use the proper API calls.
  • Allow “STAT Site/Tag ID” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to edit the site or tag ID from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector.
  • Include Keyword Tags: Tick this box to add a column to your report populated with the tags the keyword is a member of (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).
  • Allow “Include Keyword Tags?” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to turn the inclusion of the Keyword Tags column on or off from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).

Once you’ve filled in the table, click Connect in the top right.

Confirm which columns you’d like to include in the report. Review the columns, and click Create Report.

Once you’ve created a report, the exciting part begins! Whether you’re pulling in your STAT data for a fresh report, adding it into a report with other pieces of data, or using Data Studio’s data blending feature to create compelling views of your search presence — there are so many ways to slice and dice.

Ready to put the connectors into production? We can’t wait to hear how your Google Data Studio reports are strengthened by adding in your STAT data. Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Not yet a STAT user but curious how it might fit into your SEO toolkit? Take a tour of the product from your friendly neighborhood Mozzer:

Learn More About STAT


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How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products

This may be of some interest.

Want to promote your products and services with Instagram Stories? Looking for actionable tips to create intrigue and excitement via Instagram Stories? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Instagram Stories features to create a sense of urgency and leverage scarcity for limited products or offers. To learn how to use Instagram Stories to […]

The post How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Thank you for reading.