Top 10 Tips Before Implementing Marketing Automation Into Your Business

What is marketing automation? Marketing automation is a category of software. It streamlines, automates and measures marketing tasks. It can help operate marketing tasks more efficiently.

Marketing Automation isn’t just for large companies, SME’s are also using it as well. B2B and B2C businesses are using marketing automation to help nurture, maintain and extend customer relationships.  It can also help with ROI measurement.

Top 10 Tips Before Implementing Marketing Automation Into Your Business

Some of the features that I have been using are:

  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Lead generation
  • Social marketing
  • Marketing analytics

Scoring and maintaining leads can help marketers do more with limited resources. The marketing automation technology can help you do this by automating the leads that you gather and help maintain them. Without the help of lead scoring and analytics, all leads look similar.

Instant email

A lot of your leads will not be sales ready when they convert on your website or landing page. An instant email should be sent to these leads and they should be put on a nurturing track. This will enable you to further qualify your leads but also free up marketing personnel who in earlier times did this task manually.

Landing page

Your landing page is crucial for your marketing and sales process because there are four diverse groups of people who will interact with your landing page that I have listed in order below:

  1. Visitors that leave within 10 seconds of arriving at your landing page make up the vast majority of  viewers
  2. Visitors that may leave when they decide your landing page is not convincing them enough
  3. A quantity of visitors attempt to fill out your form but fail or give up and then drop off
  4. A small percentage of your visitors successfully convert and become leads.

Top 10 marketing automation tips

To help try and grab each of these 4 groups I will list my top ten tips to help boost the effectiveness of your landing page:-

  1. Keep your pages clean and branded – Viewers should know your landing page is a part of your website at a glance and identify what you are offering. For example, if you have a picture of yourself on the landing page. Have the same picture on all your social media platforms.
  2. Your landing page should have 1-1-1 rule – 1 call to action, 1 value proposition and 1 form. This should help keep your page simple and easy to navigate. Giving your viewers too much to read might be a bit overpowering and may result in them not doing what you want them to do.
  3. Keep forms short – This will help with visitors who aren’t fully committed to obtaining your information. All you really need is the name and email address. You’re more than likely going to have their company name or full name in their email address so you can do more research then.
  4. Keep visitors on your site – Prospects can easily get distracted and click away from your landing page, preventing you from collecting information. Once a form has been completed, you can display links to additional, relevant content to keep your visitors on your site. Maybe a blog post you have written to offer them something valuable.
  5. ‘Content is king’ – Instead of attacking prospects with a series of ads and direct mail, attract them by creating useful and interesting content that is relevant to their interests. Customers have a lot of choice and can be picky if they want by having good content can help motivate conversions.
  6. Use landing pages and forms to provide a variety of different pieces of content – white papers, products trials and contact forms. This can help you collect information from prospects in all different stages of the buying process. Have freely accessible content on your website also. On each page of your website you can have a link to a blog post with a relevant topic that you are talking about on that page, this will provide the viewer with more information on the product or service you are offering.
  7. Don’t lose track of a prospect after a form is filled out – The best way it to present the content in a tracked email. Use a program that monitors visitors actively on your site, you will be able to see if the prospect opened the email, clicked on the link and how much time they spent reviewing the content.
  8. Validate email addresses -Sending emails can also allow you to eliminate prospects that may not be serious by determining if they provided you with a false email. With most marketing automation software, you will be able to validate email addresses to make sure they are real.
  9. Progressive profiling – Progressive profiling is an interesting way of collecting additional data points from your prospects. You can designate secondary fields called conditional fields which only appear if the prospect has completed your basic form. Progressive profiling allows you to build your relationship with a prospect naturally over time.
  10. Test your landing page – A/B testing can help you continuously improve your landing page. The marketing automation platform you will use can do this for you. If you aren’t getting enough traffic, examine two different designs for your landing page. Testimonials and companies you’ve worked for are a good way to make your page more reputable. Try not to make these testimonials anonymous and also have a picture of the person who gave the testimonial.

A good landing page is crucial for converting site visitors into leads. Your landing page should be highly focused. Think about your prospect and what you want him or her to do. Then design your landing page around that prospect.

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Top 10 Social Media Monitoring, Analytics Tools

Social media is quickly becoming a main focus of marketing for businesses. Social media can be an excellent tool to build a community around your product or service, expand your target market, and to listen to what your customers want. It’s clear that social media is valuable, but measuring  ROI proves to be a challenge.

And, with all of the statistics available, it can be difficult to distill what is most important and useful. It can also be out of budget for many businesses to employ an expert or any of the robust reporting tools that are available.

There are some simple ways for monitoring activity on social media platforms.

Some obvious ways are internal methods such as monitoring Facebook likes, retweets on Twitter, basically tracking what your customers are interested in and changing what isn’t working. I would suggest making a weekly or a monthly plan out-ling status updates and competitions etc.

My recommendations for useful external sites that can be used to analyse social media:

Social Mention

Social Mention will allow you to track and measure who is talking about you, your company, your product, or any topic related to your industry. Social Mention pulls data from hundred + social media platforms to give you the most accurate, real-time information landscape in real-time.

Tweet Deck

TweetDeck is an effective and useful tool that allows you to arrange feeds from all of your social networks in one place using the TweetDeck dashboard. You can also schedule tweets and set-up customizable feeds for your social search needs. Lists can also be created of the people you follow. These lists can allow you to manage different target groups you want to interact with and keep an eye on what’s being tweeted about.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is my personal favourite. It’s easy to use and allows you to organize and execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Hootsuite enables organizations launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences.

Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and  Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and more.

Hootsuite’s geo-location and geo- targeting can help get your business more seen on social media platforms. HootSuite also offers tools to help multiple collaborators be assigned to manage your social media accounts more securely. Analytics tools are also available on Hootsuite to get more of an insight into your businesses participation on social media platforms.

Twilert

Twilert is a Twitter monitoring application that monitors all mentions of your chosen keywords across the Twitter-sphere. What’s best about Twilert is that it doesn’t simply monitor @mentions or hashtags, but monitors all words within a tweet. So you will never miss out on anything you are searching for. It’s an easy platform to use for social analytics. You can sign in to Twilert with your Google or Twitter account. The keywords you search can be sent directly to your email address.

What’s great about Twilert as well is that you can do an advanced search for any topic. You can choose a particular geographical area. Maybe a certain target audience you haven’t quite targeted yet that you want to do some market research on, to see if your product or service meets their needs.  You can search by people’s attitude either positive, negative or asking a question.  This could be quite useful. See the picture below to get a better understanding of the advanced search tool for Twilert.

0511ja-twilert-advanced-search

Sprout Social

Sprout Social lets you monitor your business& manage conversations with one simple marketing analytics tool. Publish & schedule updates across social channels with a single click. Manage teams, large social channels, tasks and assignments to make life a bit easier.

Sprout Social allows you to monitor your business efficiently and effectively and help manage & grow your social presence across different platforms. Sprout Social integrates with Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, FourSquare and other networks where your target market could be engaging with businesses similar to yours. Other useful tools on Sprout Social are contact management, competitive insight, lead generation, analytics.

Sprout Social offers a thirty-day free trial. So give it a try if you think it would be a useful analytics tool for your business.

Social Oomph

Social Oomph is a useful marketing tool especially for Twitter. Twitter is an excellent way for a business to build relationships with customers and assist in retaining them as well

There are different tools that will let you manage multiple Twitter profiles and you can configure lots of features such as Auto Direct Message, Auto Follow and Auto unfollow.

If it’s suitable for your business then I would suggest sending an auto direct message to all your new followers. You have more than likely been sent one by someone you have followed. Here an example: Thanks for connecting here on Twitter, will love to see you on Facebook [Link]

Twitter users will usually follow you because you follow them back and later on if they unfollow you. Social Oomph’s Twitter auto unfollow tool will come in handy to help clean up your newsfeed.

Sysomos

Sysomos another great social media analytics tool for businesses. Sysomos is the greek word for “everything together “. You will be provided with intelligence and insights needed to measure results and ultimately make decisions about what’s working and what’s not working.

Sysomos collects data from blogs, Twitter, social networks, messages, boards, wikis and major news sources. Sysomos give you the ability to notice the tone of conversations and identify opinions by gender, age and location.

Some of Sysomos’ products include: Heartbeat,  a social media monitoring and measurement tool. Heartbeat provides constantly updated snapshots of social media conversations delivered using a variety of user-friendly and intuitive graphics. Sysomos MAP, and Traffic Analytics. You can request a demo here

Brand Monitor

Brand Monitor is an easy-to-use social media monitoring and engagement platform. Brand Monitor provides a powerful blend of consumer brand choice, multi-dimensional insights and relative acumen. A dashboard is available for you to view weekly trends, reaction meter, posts volume, reaction graph and top referrals. A graph with positive and negative response trends for the past month can also be viewed.

Sentiments can be manually updated and Brand Monitor is capable of learning this and using this information to assign sentiment for future posts.. An email can be sent to you daily, weekly and monthly that will keep you updated. Dashboard Charts and other data can be easily exported into an editable Excel sheet or CSV file.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and easy to use analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and analytical marketing purposes. There is an endless amount of data available to analyse on Google Analytics. I will recommend some resources that will be beneficial for your business.

  • Monitoring, Traffic Sources: Tracking which keywords are driving the most traffic to your website is essential. Using these keywords then throughout your website will help you rank higher in SEO.
  • Monitoring, Referring Sites:  Understanding which websites are sending the most quality traffic to your website will allow you to focus more effort and time on those sites, and less of your time on under performing websites.
  • Monitoring the types of visitors:  Analyzing how much of your website traffic is new visitors against returning visitors? This information will help you run certain marketing activities aimed at news visitors or returning visitors. A dedicated part of your website could be created to inform returning visitors of new products or services available by your business.
  • Monitoring popular pages.  Analyzing what pages are performing best on your website will give you an idea to what your visitors are most interested in and what needs work on your website.
  • Monitoring visits. Analyzing what days visitors are coming to visit your website will allow you to publish new content or launch a new marketing activity on those days in order to attract the most attention
  • Monitoring geographical location. Google Analytics presents data that will let you analyze the top ten countries that visit your page. This could be useful data for your business that may help you decide on entering into a new market or increase your product or service offering in a new market.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is another effective monitoring system to analyse social media. You can track anything you want. It can be a useful way for finding out what’s being said about you or your company. You can keep track of articles you write under your name; monitoring the competition or simply to keep up to date on any given topic.

You can set up Google Alerts to monitor certain keywords, such as your blog name, your business name and your personal name, and you will receive an e-mail anytime they find those keywords in their search. With Google Alerts, you can be instantly notified when and where any bad content was placed on any social media platform and be able to respond accordingly.

It is essential for every organization to monitor and track what is being said about them. It is especially important to interact with customers through social media platforms and analyse any areas of their social media platforms that need to be improved and essentially keep up to this on this very fast paced environment.

Twitter, where is the business model?

TWITTERTwitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the trade of quick, frequent messages. It enables users to write short text-based updates known as tweets of 140 characters or less. Tweets are displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as follower. Tweets can be written exclusively for a follower or followers, or they can be written openly.

Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Twitter has gained worldwide popularity and prominence. Without a doubt it is a disruptive product. It is currently the 3rd most used social networking site. Twitter has been the fastest growing major website in the UK over the last 12 months, and certainly the most talked about. The noticeable thing about twitter’s growth is that the vast majority of it – 93%, in fact – has occurred during 2009.

It is suggested that twitter has about 55 million monthly visits but if anything, it is even more popular than the numbers imply. Sites such as Hitwise and Comscore only record traffic through the twitter website, they don’t factor in Twitter Apps. Evan Weaver, Twitter’s lead engineering  its services team tells the Guardian that:
“only 20% of its traffic comes from the Twitter website; the other 80% (logically) comes from third-party programs on smartphones or computers. So if you’re looking at twitter stats on your website, you’re probably underestimating that source of traffic by a factor of five.”

This means that everyone has been grossly underestimating twitter usage. Twitter global monthly traffic could now be sitting as high as 200 million monthly visits.

Twitter is disruptive because it shifts the way we engage and communicate; setting off a whole range of endless possibilities. Twitter has proven to be a fantastic source of traffic for content driven sites, and the media companies with a strong presence on the service are using it to great effect. A most notable example would be Dell which claims to generate $3m via twitter

The new marketing program was, of course, announced on twitter, as well as on this Direct2Dell blog post:

Beginning today, Dell will offer deals from the Dell Outlet exclusive to Twitter in the U.S. With over 11,000 followers, our team wanted to show their thanks to the Twitter world through these new deals which will continue each week.

Clever companies are tuning into these micro-conversations to get early warnings of problems and to collect feedback on product issues or ideas. This may perhaps reduce the use of companies googling for feedback and issuing questionnaires and surveys looking for customer feedback.

Social-Media-Marketing-Results

Without a doubt as I’ve outlined above why twitter has an extremely disruptive nature. Although it must be highlighted that its disruptive nature is far more social than technical. Disruptive nature in terms of technology “ occurs when an innovation in technology or business model unexpectedly displaces an established one.

Is Pinterest Just For Girls?

Pinterest is a photo sharing website which allows users to upload, save, sort and manage images known as pins on a virtual pinboard.  These images vary in anything from fashion/ health/decor and more. A Picture paints a thousand words” has never been a more accurate statement in describing Pinterest.  It is currently the third largest social media site behind facebook and twitter. “It has been reported that 56% of British users are male, however despite these findings Pinterest is still very much a female social media site.  The majority of its users are female and curent surveys confirm that at least 60% (some claiming up to 87%) of its total users are female.

The people who Pin

I personally believe that pinterest is definitely aimed at the female population, everything from its design to the colours used (red script logo) are extremely feminine.

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest itself reinforces this gender imbalance in it’s about section by stating that “Pinterest lets you organise and share all the beautiful things on the web.”  Furthermore it goes on to describe that “people use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes and share their favourite recipes”.  On reading these statements and also quickly browsing through is most popular pins one can quickly determine that this site is purely targeting the female demographic.

Numerous copycat sites mimicking the Pinterest theme have sprung up recently having identified a niche in the market for a male alternative to Pinterest. The concept behind Pinterest is excellent however it is currently failing to attract male users. These sites such as Manteresting and Dartitup  have adopted the Pinterest theme but made their sites more “manly”.  Their use of phrases such as “Nail it” (Manteresting) or “Dart it” (Dartitup) teamed with their categories such as Tech toys, Sports sections or Gross will appeal to a far wider male demographic than Pinterest http://manteresting.com/

Many local and international media have also focused on Pinterest being to “Girly” and have released articles offering more “Manly Alternatives”  

Many believe that because Facebook had the ability to expand as a site which was once only available in Universities that Pinterest will also be able to follow suit and expand into the male market.  I do not believe this to be the case as Pinterest from the outset have disadvantaged themselves by being gender biassed. Social media sites such as Facebook and twitter have always been gender neutral sites allowing them to consistently expand through different sectors.  However with Pinterest having distinguishing themselves from the outset as female site they have already isolated themselves from 50% of the population.  This I feel will be too difficult a market section to recover from along with the fact that their website does not in any way entice male usage.

I personally feel that Pinterest should embrace its new-found status and focus on its seducing its existing users further rather than focusing on breaking the male market.  The site is currently a female haven where women can share ideas without being ridiculed by male comments or judgement. This I feel is one of the main reasons the site has become such a success in the first place.  I feel that an upset in the current format or becoming more male orientated would be detrimental to its current female based clientele.

The Future Of Facebook

Facebook is a social networking service launched in 2004. Since September, Facebook has over one billion active users. That’s nearly 14% of the worlds population!!

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. We love spying on long-lost loves, communicating with friends and viewing/sharing photos. But most of us get annoyed at political rants and silly statuses (“I had a sandwich for lunch!”).

Cliff Lampe, assistant professor of information at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, says those who abandon Facebook are doing so as the result of a single, uncomfortable event like a difficult interaction with an ex. A smaller segment of the population is discontinuing membership as a result of privacy concerns.

Facebook went public just three months ago with an initial share price of $38. Less than two months later, it’s trading for $18.75. Why is Facebook in a slump? It has been suggested  that reasons include poor investor relations, lack of revenue, and expiring lockups. It has been argued that perhaps CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who built Facebook from the ground up, isn’t up to the task of managing a large company.

Mark Zuckerberg announced in September that the social network is staking its future on mobile devices, but admitted that he bet on the wrong technology to get there.

Over the next few months, expect to see a lot of the cool stuff people have been working on,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ve transitioned, and are now a mobile company.”

Questions about how Facebook will make money from its mobile users, especially through unproven advertising programs, helped torpedo the most anticipated initial public stock offering in tech history.

Facebook went wrong two years ago by building mobile apps that can run on many types of devices, instead of writing code for specific operating systems.

“That is one of the biggest mistakes, if not the biggest, strategic mistake we’ve made, but we’re coming out of it now,” Zuckerberg said.

There has been talks of Facebook being the next Google, but Zuckerberg stated “if you want to be the next Google, you’ve got to have more than 30 percent growth.”

2012 has been an eventful year for Facebook on all fronts. From the introduction of Timeline for Brands to its push towards mobile advertising, Facebook will have to innovate, improve and adjust its strategy to stay ahead of the pack.

Pinterest, a useful platform for business

First of all for people who don’t know about Pinterest, It’s basically a a virtual pinboard that gives people an easy way to share, discover and comment on interesting content found on the web. I have been using it for a while now and I have to say I’m hooked. I love looking at the latest technology, interesting quotes and fashion trends. Pinterest has something for everyone.

Pinterest allows you to pin items from around the web, and everything is represented through images. The visual appeal of the site is what seems to have triggered its immense growth. (it’s the fastest site in history to reach 10 million unique visitors per month).

So, how can a business use Pinterest to mazimize their business potential?

Pinterest can help you promote your site, expand your network and even to make some money directly with it. It can help you inspire customers, give them more of an insight into your company by maybe creating a board with images from your head office and staff.

Businesses should not just pin their own product or service for example, a technology company that post their laptops should  post laptop bags from another company. Pinterest users may be able to spot a business that is to self focused with a board full of their own products.

Businesses could also run a contest through Pinterest, in which participators must pin content from your website or repin images that link back to your webpage, can also increase traffic wildly. The travel deal site, Jetsetter, saw a 150% increase in their page’s traffic after running a contest via Pinterest.

A well known brand, Victoria Secret launched a Summer competition through Pinterest. They called it “My Victoria Secret Summer”

Entrants had to create a Pinterest board and name it “My Victoria Secret Summer”  they had to pin images from their facebook page, at least three images from victoriasecret.com and summer-inspired pictures from their pinboard. The finalists entries were displayed on the Victoria Secret Facebook page and visitors voted for the grand-prize winner.

To register for Pinterest, you must receive an invitation from a friend already registered on Pinterest or request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website.

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QR Codes Are An Effective Way To Promote Your Business.

 What is a QR code?

QR codes are a type of 2D barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone. Information can automatically be accessed, for example, a website or a video.

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If you want to be seen as a forward thinking company then QR codes are definitely the way forward. QR codes are a type of 2D barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone. QR codes can be put on business cards, leaflets, products and billboards and by scanning the QR code you could be taken to a company’s website, social media pages, dial a telephone number, send an email or send a text message.

A business might not have the space on their leaflet to tell a customer everything about their product, therefore a QR code is a great way of telling a customer everything about their product by leading them to their website.

A QR code would be useful for a non-profit organisation. The QR code could lead a person to make an online donation payment page.

QR codes are a convenient one-step process for directing users to a website.QR codes are cost effective, they cost nothing to produce; their use is only limited by a businesses marketing strategy.  They’re measurable as actions can be traced with web analytics or other tools for marketing campaign measurement.

Loreal used QR codes during New York fashion week. They placed their QR code in taxis so customers could browse and shop while taking a ride. This five-day campaign produced a 7% purchase conversion rate from the QR codes and download of the loreal app increased by 80%.

Another example of a company who used QR codes effectively is Heinz. They placed QR codes on ketchup bottles which linked to a website that taught people about the eco-friendly packaging the company had started using, and that also gave clients the opportunity to gain prizes by engaging in various activities, such as quizzes or games. Over one million people scanned the Heinz codes. People who scanned the ketchup bottles did so because they had time, either because they were sitting in a restaurant waiting for their food to be served, or by their dinner table where the QR code became a topic of discussion.