April 26, 2015 by
Measure of success conceptual using measuring tape
- 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a company or brand through original articles rather than through ads. (Entrepreneur)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional forms of marketing. (DemandMetric)
- 61% of consumers report feeling better about a company or brand that offers custom content – and are more likely to buy from them. (Content Marketing Institute)
These facts suggest relevant content, after the product or service a company offers, is a brand’s most valuable asset.
Content marketing takes many forms from blogs, case studies, emails, guides, how-to’s, infographics, interviews, podcasts, product reviews, videos and even native ads. A brand should have a strategy for content marketing specific to the desired business results and then choose tactics.
Are there metrics to guide your company on effectiveness of the business strategy for content marketing? Ones that are most likely to give insights and serve as an actionable scorecard?
Here are 20 data-driven metrics every content marketer should know.
- VISITS AND UNIQUE VISITORS: The latter refers to the number of distinct individuals visiting your website during a given period; the former the number of times a site is visited, no matter how many visitors make up those visits. These are foundations for awareness. They let you know the size of your audience and if it is increasing or decreasing month to month.
- TRAFFIC SOURCES: Tell you where your audience is coming from: Organic search, paid search, social media, other websites or coming direct, typing your website URL in their browser. This helps you learn if you’re attracting the type of people you want and if it is in line with how you are spending your time and/or money.
- LINKS: Come from other websites, blogs or social network pages that mention your content with a link. It is not only a measure of your awareness; it is a measure of your level of authority on a particular topic.
- KEYWORD SERP RANK: 54% of people find a website through a search query. 34% click on the first website listed in organic search; 90% of clicks occur on the first page (source: Forrester). If your Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) is high for a particular keyword, consumers are likely to be aware of you on a particular topic.
- KEY CONTENT: Is the best indicator of content on your website that visitors find unique and differentiating.
- FAN AND FOLLOWER COUNT: 37% of consumers use social network sites for research to obtain information and feedback (source: Marketing Land). Social network followings are a source for awareness.
- BOUNCE RATE: Is the percentage of visitors who enter your site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing. It is a key measure of the relevance of your website, content and ability to engage your audience.
- SHARES: Measure content that consumers find most interesting. They also are a means of showing the value of your “earned” media.
- COMMENTS: Are important for lead generation, building relationship and finding your advocates and influencers.
- SUBSCRIPTIONS AND REGISTRATIONS: From email newsletters, ebooks, webinars, subscriptions and registrations are a key lead generation vehicle in a content marketing program.
- KEY INFLUENCERS: Are valuable in promoting your content. They are the people who share, comments, like, and re-tweet your content as well as people you might seek out through tools like BuzzSumo, PeerIndex or Klout who others turn to on topics important to your brand
- EMAIL OPEN RATES AND CLICKS: Represent the percentage of your audience that usually opens what you send or clicks on actions you want them to take. These metrics also come with their email addresses.
- DOWNLOADS: Usually occur for more content rich pieces like ebook, product information or a podcast. They measure the most interested segment of your audience as well as people who might share your content with others.
- RETURN RATE: If you send a survey out, hold an event or conduct a webinar, the return rate is a valuable measurement for seeing the percentage of people who express interest and respond.
- UNSUBSCRIBES AND OPT-OUTS: It’s as important to know the percent of your audience you may be annoying as interesting with your content and to keep at a minimal level.
- SALES: Are the most important conversion. But, so is understanding buying behavior and the buying cycle which all of the above help to do. For many content marketing programs, there are often “micro” conversion as well as macro conversions. That is, smaller actions that are often predictive of major events.
- QUALITY LEADS: Is a metric relative to the segment of your audience most likely to take desired conversion activities
- PIPELINE GENERATED: As is it likely other sales and marketing activities are used to generate quality leads and sales, the pipeline from content marking should also be evaluated relative to its value.
- PRODUCTION COST (TIME AND MONEY): Whether it’s time or money (or both) that are being invested, the human and dollar value should be calculated.
- RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Just like any other investment, from the metrics above, the return on investment of content marketing can be calculated.
No business should take any major initiatives without an actionable scorecard. Do these data-driven metrics convince you of the measurement value of content marketing? Are there others metric you would include? Do you need help measuring content marketing?
April 21, 2015 by
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.” – Seth Godin
- 91% of people want brands to enable their personal goals (source: Edelman)
- 87% expect brands to share their interests (source: Edelman)
- The most recommended company in its category grows 2.5X or 250% faster than the category average (source: Bain & Co)
The facts say:
- Consumers choose, support and recommend brands that share their interests, values and goals
- Social currency is a major factor in brand selection
- Small, daily interactions build stronger relationships than big, monumental events
What’s the best way to build a brand in the channel where this happens most frequently?
Here are 10 best practices of great digital brands.
- SEGMENT THE MARKET: For every brand, there is going to be a wide disparity between best and worst customers. If your audience wants your brand to enable their personal goals, it’s safe to say don’t go after everyone. Define and segment your audience in specific terms based on what you will do for each other. Because, when you succeed with key segments, they will spread the word for you to a larger audience.
- CREATE BUYER PERSONAS: See and know your audience members as individuals. Create Buyer Personas, so you can identify their needs and more effectively communicate. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll find it easier to develop creative marketing strategies that reach and motivate your target.
- CONDUCT COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: In almost all categories, product proliferation and market fragmentation are increasing. This puts more pressure on innovation and price. But competitors provide the means for differentiation and discovery. In the digital channel, use tool like Compete and Alexa to understand your competitors web presence, their audience, influencers and links. Use this information to discover your brand’s differentiation and audience.
- IDENTIFY KEYWORDS FOR CONTENT CREATION: Keywords are the currency of the internet. Find the keywords that are being searched for your category and product through Google Trends and their specific monthly search volume through the Google Keyword Planner. Use these keywords for the content and conversations your brand has with its audience.
- SHARE YOUR VALUES: If you want to build a community around your brand, you have to give them the ability to feel more connected to your brand. Affinity is built through continued conversation and engagement. For example, Walmart’s social connection to its community, whether it is on Facebook or Walmart Moms, is to express ideas and content for saving money and represent the voice of its customers.
- FIND KEY INFLUENCERS: One of the most important quests is to find key influencers, trusted industry voices with a weighty follower range. They help endorse your brand, share your content or promote your efforts. Tools like BuzzSumo, PeerIndex and Marketing Grader for links help identify who are key influencers. The best digital brands begin to build one-on-one relationships from there.
- GET PERSONAL: By taking these steps, you’ve gotten to know your audience on an individual basis, now connect with them. Speak to them by name, offer them content you know they’ll appreciate and test offer through A/B Testing that improve your ability to create better personalized brand experiences.
- USE ONLINE TACTICS TO DRIVE OFFLINE ENGAGEMENT: As strong as the digital channel is in branding brands, for sales to occur, you’ll have to drives consumers an offline environment. Consider email, events, local promotions and direct contact that can direct your audience to the offline environment where you want them to go.
- LISTEN AND LEARN FROM THE DATA: Find out what is being said, who is talking and how is it influencing success. Identify Key Performance Indicators as your actionable scorecard. Consider tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian6 as listening tools.
- BE CONSISTENT: Regular interactions convince your audience your brand will do what is says it will. Be consistent. Consider a Content Calendar. Manage the relationship your brand has build with content and conversations.
Do you think these are best practices of great digital brands? How many of these best practices is your brand doing?
April 12, 2015 by
- 79% of Inc CEOs have an active social media presence
- 30% of Fortune CEOs have an active social media presence
- 50% of these CEOs are most active on Twitter, 47% on LinkedIn and 45% on Facebook (source: CEO.com)
The 10 most active Social CEOs are:
- Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
- Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
- Msrissa Meyer, CEO, Yahoo
- Adriana Huffington, Group President, AOL
- Elon Musk, Chairman/CEO, Tesla Motors
- Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD, Mahindra & Mahindra
- Kaifu Lee, Chairman/CEO, Innovation Works
- Jeff Immelt, CEO GE
- Jack Welch, CEO, Welch Management Institute
- Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group (source: BBC)
Key attributes of Social CEOs are:
- Insatiable curiosity
- DIY mindset
- Bias for action
- Relentless givers
- Connect instead of promote
- Company’s #1 Brand Ambassador
- Lead with an open mindset (source: Harvard Business Review)
These stats, examples and character traits indicate Social CEOs are different than CEOs in general. Not only are Social CEOs different, but, as a result of their social media participation, so are public perceptions of their companies.
How do Social CEOs change a company culture, perceptions and workplace? Here are 21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs.
- 87% of US employees and 79% of UK employees agree that having a social media policy in place allows a company’s leadership team to be proactive rather than reactive in response to company challenges (source: Brandfog)
- 85% of US employees and 75% of UK agree social media is a valuable public relations channel for managing brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
- 84% of US employees and 76% of UK believe that social media is an effective way to monitor conversations about a brand online and to help brands prevent potential reputation crises (source: Brandfog)
- 83% of US employees and 73% of UK believe that CEO participation in social media builds better connections with customers, employees, and investors (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of US employees and 71% of UK believe that CEO engagement on social media helps to communicate company values and shapes a company’s brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of US employees and 71% of UK overwhelmingly believe that executive use of social media raises brand awareness (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of customers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team are active on social media (source: Adweek)
- 81% believe CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the modern world (source: Brandfog)
- 79% of US employees and 68% of UK believe that having a socially active C- Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs (source: Brandfog)
- 77% of US employees and 69% of UK agree that executive use of social media fosters brand transparency. (source: Adweek)
- 75% of US employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
- 67% of UK employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
- 67% of US and UK employees agree social media has become an essential aspect of PR and communications strategy for C-Suite executives (source: Brandfog)
- 61% of US employees and 50% of UK are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through executive leadership participation on social media (source: Brandfog)
- 55% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good communicator; this compare to 38% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 52% of employees feel inspired by CEO participation in social media (Weber Shandwick)
- 51% of employees with Social CEOs believe their social media participation is not risky (source: Weber Shandwick)
- Between 2012 and 2013, the perception that C-Suite and executive participation in social media leads to better leadership increased from 45% to 75% (source: Brandfog)
- 48% of employees believe a Social CEO is open and accessible; this compares to 37% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 42% of CEOs participate in social media today; 63% are estimated to be participating in social media in 5 years; that’s a 50% increase (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 37% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good listener; this compares to 29% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
Below is an infographic that shows some of the facts about Social CEOs.
Do these facts about companies with Social CEOs surprise you? Do they change your perceptions? Does your C-Suite and CEO need help learning how to participate in social media to realize these Social CEO benefits?
April 04, 2015 by
“If you ain’t first you’re last” said Ricky Bobby.
What’s true for race car drivers with NASCAR is true for businesses online with search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ongoing process of uncovering and discovering non-branded keywords that are driving organic search traffic and conversions, then publishing content optimized for those keywords.
What makes SEO worth the effort? Why should businesses think about SEO like Ricky Bobby?
Here are 31 stats on SEO that show what Ricky Bobby knows.
- #1 driver of traffic to a web site is organic search (source: Search Engine Journal)
- Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t. And companies with more indexed pages get far more leads (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 98% of all business to business relationships are traced back to a search on Google (Source: MarketingSherpa).
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 91% of US internet user search every month (source: HubSpot)
- 88% of mobile search is for a local business or establishment (source: Digital Marketing Philippines)
- 88% of search engine optimization marketers believe optimizing for mobile will be more important this year (source: BrightEdge)
- 86% of internet traffic is generated through search engines (source: Google)
- 81% of search engine optimization marketing believe integrating marketing data and measuring cross-channel return on investment will be more important this year (source: BrightEdge)
- Mobile search traffic is growing at a rate of 125% while desktop search traffic is growing at a 12% rate (source: Visual Solutions)
- 80% of smartphone searches are spontaneous; 44% are goal-oriented (source: Visual Solutions)
- 70-80% of users click on organic search results rather than paid search (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 75% of clicks on a search engine page are on the Top 5 results (source: HubSpot)
- Over 70% of users find a website via a search engine (source: Optimus)
- 75% of users never scroll based the first page of search results (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 70% of the links search users click on are organic (source: Search Engine Journal)
- 68% of search engine optimization marketers believe optimizing for video will be more important this year (source: BrightEdge)
- 63% of search engine optimization marketers believe search engine ranking will be more important this year (source: BrightEdge)
- Just having the word ‘video’ in a search result title or meta description improves click through rates by an estimated 55% (source: eMarketer)
- Over 50% of online buyers purchase products from websites found via search engines (source: Optimus)
- 50% of search users begin their search on a mobile device (source: Digital Marketing Philippines)
- 50% of mobile search users who search for a local business visit that business within the same day (source: Digital Marketing Philippines)
- 50% of consumers who visit Amazon conduct an online search first (source: Compete)
- 45% of US marketers spend more than 2 days per month researching and learning about the latest trends in SEO (source: Moz)
- 40% of users click the first ranking site on search engines (source: Optimus)
- 40% of users change their keyword search if they cannot find what they are looking for on the first page of search engines (source: Optimus)
- 25% of Google search are for local businesses or establishments (source: Chikta)
- 4.9 billion internet searches every month (source: comScore)
- $2.2 billion will be spent on search engine optimization in 2016 (source: BrightEdge)
- 133 million unique searches each month (source: comScore)
- Video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results (source: Forrester)
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes research, effort, tracking and, most important, identifying goals at the beginning. But being first while it’s never easy, it’s usually worth the achievement and definitely has its rewards.
Do these stats show you what drives SEO? Do you need to be shown how to drive SEO for your business?
March 29, 2015 by
Americans spend more time on social networks than any other internet activity, including email (source: Business Insider).
This fact may be a key reason many brands pursue social media, but it’s an even better reason why they should have a social media engagement plan, first.
Social media engagement is communicating in a distinctive way so your audience pays attention and has a relationship with your brand in a two-way conversation. A recent survey of 45 CMOs found the majority of CMOs don’t know the definition of engagement.
How to brands practice social media engagement? Offer customer support, attract and retain valuable employees, show they have a sense of humor, distribute relevant content, ask for user generated content and say they’re sorry in a heart-felt way that wins customers when they make mistakes.
Brands that are successful with social media engagement define a purpose and role for social media, first; one that gives them both a business and relationship building reason for being there.
Here are 10 best brand examples of social media engagement.
- BISSELL: The vacuum cleaner company knows how to crack a joke from time to time on its Facebook page. What’s great about Bissell’s humor is that it never sacrifices brand relevancy, as is evident by this smartly funny Facebook post.
- CHOBANI: One of the most popular greek yogurt brands embraced digital storytelling offering to publish users stories. Real fans made original videos, creative photos, and left praise on social media channels about their favorite greek yogurt, supplying Chobani with an impressive amount of UGC to use for marketing purposes. Tweets were put on their billboards. Videos were featured on their website, and others were sent out to their social media followers.
- CLEVELAND CLINIC: In a regulated industry generally far behind the content marketing curve, the hospital delivers posts that help people deal with chronic diseases, overcome depression, and the battle to live a healthier life. And all of the content is written by physicians who practice there. No wonder a regional hospital has more than 1.2 million Facebook Likes.
- ORACLE: The Instagram profile of Oracle consists of photos from company events and conferences around the country, while providing an inside look at what it’s like to work for the company. Their team’s dedication and enthusiasm is reinforced with employees commenting #proudtobeoracle consistently across photos. This transparency allows other businesses and prospects to experience the company’s highly engaged staff. The company also shares short video clips with their followers to better tell the brand’s story.
- KRAFT MAC & CHEESE: How do make an ordinary noodle into something customers want to have a relationship? By giving it some personality so it the kind of brand you’d like to sit down and eat with, just like the team at Kraft does with endearing posts?
- SALESFORCE: The Facebook business page of Saleforce shows an active and engaged community. Tabs are set up which allow visitors to explore and learn about the company’s offerings, such as their CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, without a single high-pressure sales message. Their posts, which average one per day, ask thought-provoking questions and share their own and others’ blog posts.
- TIME: If you’re going to practice social media engagement, you’re going to deal with disgruntled customers. Here’s how Time magazine does it. Don’t just say the words but mean it. Come right out and say “I made a mistake and I am sorry for that.” Apologising and admitting to an error are not bad things and will not result in you looking weak.
- T-MOBILE: In an attempt to steal away customers from it’s competitors, T-Mobile offered to pay the contract cancellation fees of any person who “broke up” with their existing cell phone service and switched to T-Mobile. They launched an ‘Un-Valentines Day’ with a Facebook App that let people create a custom break up letter to their carrier and print it out or share it on their social networks.
- WHOLE FOODS: Would you “Holla for Challah bread”? Whole Foods wants you to, and that’s just one of its witty little Facebook updates. Mainly sharing recipe and food ideas through its Facebook page and Twitter feed, Whole Foods adds a dash of humor that makes it a lot more fun to follow than your average recipe source.
- X-BOX: Anyone who’s owned a gaming system knows they can be buggy at times. What makes them stand out is that they’re not just an intermediary between the user and the call center; they actually troubleshoot and solve problems on Twitter when possible. No waiting on hold. Instant customer service and expectations exceeded.
Do these examples show you the value of social media engagement? Do you have a plan for social media engagement?