Month: March 2013

Top 5 Webinar Tips for B2B Marketing

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B2B webinar tipsWebinars are fast becoming one of the favorite ways for B2B marketers to reach new customers and build strong and enduring relationships with existing customers. According to the 2012 study by the Content Marketing Institute, 46% of B2B marketers are using webinars and 70% believe that webinars are either a “very effective” or “effective” content marketing tactic. That’s a higher percentage than other popular tactics, such as white papers, social media, videos, and blogs.

Successfully creating and running regular webinars are a great way to build your brand and raise both your profile and credibility among your target market. It is not only a strong customer acquisition vehicle and lead generator, but it is also a solid customer retention strategy and method to establish your company as a thought leader in your industry.

Here are some of my favorite tips gleaned from hosting dozens of webinars over the past year:

1. Select a good technology provider.

  • WebEx, GoToMeeting and ON24 are some leaders. There are other new platforms, including ReadyTalk and BrightTALK, but this is one area you do not want to be cheap about. Find something that works for you price wise, but if you have to splurge a bit, do so.>
  • Test drive the platform before making a commitment to see if it works for your organization.
  • This is the #1 factor in running a smooth webinar. I cannot stress this enough.

2. Send invitations and reminders early.

  • Attendees may need to install plugins for your webinar platform, so to advise them on what they will need. Let them get this step out of the way early so they can attend with a minimum amount of frustration.
  • Make sure to be clear about your webinar time zone, and to repeat this in reminder emails. Most webinar platforms clearly state the time zone, but oftentimes attendees may overlook this when signing up. Stating the time in multiple time zones helps to eliminate this confusion

3. Preparation is key.

  • If your webinar platform requires uploading your presentation, then do so ahead of time and check it, as sometimes fonts and slide transitions can get mangled.
  • Test your headsets or phone microphones to ensure clarity, without background noise or echos. This step is critical, whether your presenters are physically located in your office or dialing in remotely.
  • Appoint a moderator and empower this person to be the “MC” of the webinar. They will be responsible for orchestrating the event, keeping track of time, moderating questions and avoiding “dead air”.
  • Rehearse the presentation with all presenters. Provide speakers with guidelines for smooth content delivery, and schedule a dry run to help them get comfortable with the material and any speaker transitions.

4. Maintain a steady but interactive pace.

  • Don’t make your slides too dense, as you can lull your audience to sleep, but also don’t make them too sparse, as you may have part of your audience on slower connections so quickly reloading slides can make for a frustrating experience. I like to target a minute per slide and gear my content accordingly.
  • If possible, use attendee polls to provide an interactive element during the presentation. A multiple choice format frames the conversation and allows for a quicker response rate.
  • Encourage attendees to submit questions. This helps to personalize the content and maximize value for attendees and allows you to connect with your audience.

5. Remember to follow up.

  • Take the day to relax, but then follow up and engage your audience again via email.
  • Include a recording and copy of the presentation, as well as other white papers, case studies or relevant resources.
  • Invite attendees to connect with you on social media as well (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) as building your audience is key.
  • Include a quick 5­-10 question survey to improve upcoming webinars and shape new content
  • Include a link to your next webinar to encourage future attendance.

I'll write a post in the future about driving attendees to your webinar, but the above tips should help you with your next webinar.

Do you want to nurture more leads to revenue with relevant content?

Watch the OMI class, "Content is Opportunity: Developing Content for Each Stage of the Buying Cycle". This class is available with a FREE, 7-day trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Activate trial now.

 


5 Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook Fan Pages

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Whether you have 1,000 Facebook Fans or 1,000,000 Facebook Fans, only a fraction of your posts reach your audience. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine what shows up in News Feeds, and only the best posts with high engagement make the cut. According to Facebook, roughly 16% of your fans will see your company’s content on any given day. PageLever estimates the numbers are even lower at 3-9%.

PageLever Facebook Research

Developing engaging content is the key to reaching more Facebook Fans. Posts that have been shared, liked, commented on, and those that have high click-through rates are more likely to make it into your Fans’ News Feeds. At the same time, when your posts are consistently interacted with over a period of time, new posts will be more likely to appear in the News Feed, as well.

In the popular OMI class, Tips and Tricks of Successful Facebook Growth, Ekaterina Walter, Social Media Strategist at Intel and author of best-selling book Think Like Zuck, shares her best advice for boosting engagement on Facebook. In no particular order, here are 4 of my favorite tips from the class: 

1. Get to Know Your Audience

The first way to increase engagement is to make sure you truly understand your Fans and know what they are interested in. Relevancy rules all when it comes to Facebook.

If you’re not sure who your Fans are or what they are interested in, try a Facebook poll. Conducting a Facebook poll is one of the best ways to learn about your current Fans, and the insights that you collect can help shape your content strategy. In her class, Ekaterina explains the results they achieved from the below poll.

2. Ask Questions

Asking simple questions is another great way to learn about your Fans, while driving interaction at the same time According to research by Likable Media, posting questions can boost engagement by more than 6X. For example, if your company sells cookies, you could ask, “What was your favorite cookie as a child?”. Not only will you drive interactions and engagement, but you’ll also start to develop a more meaningful relationship with your audience, and they will start to associate your brand with good thoughts—family, cookies, memories, etc.

In the example below from Ekaterina's class, Intel asked Fans what they are interested in. Not only did they get valuable feedback on their audience, but they also drove 97 comments, as well.Facebook Question Intel

3. Keep It Short

The shorter the status update, the likelier it is to be interacted with. Posts should be less than 250 characters and optimally around 90 characters. A study by Buddy Media found that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less had 27% higher engagement rates. In fact, when posting an update, you don’t even need to finish your sentence. Fill-in-the blanks tend to do extremely well on Facebook with 90% more engagement than regular text posts (source: Facebook).

4. Include Images in Posts

Images in posts have a better chance of getting noticed in the newsfeed.. According to Facebook, brands get double engagement when they use visuals. Photos can be used to help tell your company’s story or to show fans an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the company. Creating a custom image is also a great way to commemorate company milestones and thank fans for the part they played in achieving them.

In her class, Ekaterina shows a great example of how visual stories drive engagement. When Intel posted a photo album of its museum redesign, they drove 17,000 Likes and over 1,000 comments—without a single word of text.

Facebook Photos

5. Include a Call to Action and Ask Your Audience to Interact

The easiest way to get your audience to do what you want them to do? Ask them! If you aren’t already, simply requesting "Likes" can increase engagement up to 5X.  For example, if you post new research or a quote, you can include “LIKE if you agree” in that update.

Do you want to grow your Facebook audience?

Watch Ekaterina's entire class now—Tips and Tricks for Successful Facebook Growth. This class is available with a FREE, 7-day trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Activate trial now.

 


4 Ways to Improve Performance Marketing on Facebook

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improve resultsIn the quickly advancing world of performance marketing, Facebook has now become an essential part of the overall marketing plan. In a recent panel, direct response experts met at Facebook headquarters to discuss best practices on how performance marketing on Facebook drives conversions and lowers cost per acquisition (CPA). The panel shared easily implementable strategies to convert high value prospects on Facebook. Learn how to improve your performance of marketing campaigns on Facebook by utilizing these four levers:

1. Placement

Traditionally, Facebook advertisers have used domain ads on the Right-Hand Side (RHS) of the page for placement. However, with the variety of new advertising placements available now, multiple ad placements drive better conversions to meet performance goals. Ads placed in the News Feed alone are eight times more engaging than ads on the RHS and the only way to reach mobile users. Be sure to publish engaging content with good images and use many variations of creatives to get the best results.

2. Ad Format

So which ads work best in the News Feed? Susan Buckner, Product Marketing at Facebook, encourages the following News Feed placements to drive conversions:

  • Photo Page Post Ad – This placement is the largest and designed specifically for the News Feed. When images are attention grabbing and important to your message, this placement works best. By using shortened URLs in the text of the ad, marketers see more traffic offsite.
  • Link Page Post Ad – With more real estate dedicated to going offsite, this placement is best to use when imagery is less important.
  • Sponsored Stories – Built around user engagement, Sponsored Stories are messages coming from friends about their activity with a Page, app or event that an advertiser highlights for better visibility. The goal of paid promotion of organic user activity is to leverage the effectiveness of social context to get more users to take the same action that a friend has.
  • Offers – When users claim offers, the promotion is shared on their wall, so virality can be ignited with this placement. It’s a great way to increase distribution and customer base.
  • Mobile App Install Ad – To drive users to app installs and downloads, this ad type works best. It can be effective across verticals and allows for creative optimization.

3. Targeting

Facebook connects you to the right people more efficiently. In fact, the platform is 90% more accurate in finding the right people, compared to 50% on other channels. This difference of better targeting equals 44% in cost savings, whether you are prospecting or remarketing. Depending on your objective, these targeting tools can help you to drive business.

  • Native Targeting – Use common attributes, such as interests or relationship status, to find Facebook users. This tool works best for prospecting.
  • Custom Audience – Whether you are prospecting or remarketing, use information you know about customers offline, such as their email address or phone number, and reach them on Facebook.
  • Facebook Exchange – Highly effective for remarketing, you can find users who have indicated interest in your brand on other websites and find them on Facebook.

4. Optimization

Standard cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) bidding works well for basic campaigns or micro-targeting; however, Facebook recommends using its proprietary Optimized CPM (oCPM) bidding option to reach the users most likely to take a specified action. Research shows that testing more than 50 creative combinations per campaign and investing in the ones with the best performance maximizes results. Creative combinations include mixing lifestyle with product images, customizing images to target audiences, or promoting prices, special offers, and discounts in ad text. Focus on quality creative in News Feed.

"Social discovery is driving product recommendations and clicks offsite. And [Facebook] is emerging as a key way for people to discover what to buy, so advertisers need to have a voice in it."- Lindsay, Facebook Business Marketing

Utilize these four drivers of performance marketing success on Facebook to create rich experiences that generate engagement. Prepare your performance marketing plan by identifying key performance indicators, setting up click tags and view tags, and ensuring a process for delivering enough creative combinations. Once you are ready to execute the campaign, conduct low-cost tests and repeat. Facebook’s community of Preferred Marketing Developers has exclusive access to Facebook’s API and can help you test and optimize your campaigns.

RELATED CLASS: 7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook Marketing

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Facebook Graph Search: First Impressions

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I just got the notification that made my week: I got access to the Facebook Graph beta. I logged into Facebook and was greeted by the revamped search bar at the top of the page. 

Facebook Graph Search

First Impressions

Of course, I took the tour. Facebook’s tour of Graph Search is pretty quick (it does take about 2 minutes!) It first shows you different ideas of searches you could do, with examples that Facebook knows are relevant to you. For example, for me, it searched “friends who went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill”. Upon performing this search, Facebook showed me the friends in my network who went to my alma mater.

The Really Cool

Graph Search works like a collective memory. Its a great way to search old times, sifting through piles of data to know when and where I might have taken a picture with one of my friends (yes, the potential for embarrassment exists!) I enjoyed doing searches on several of my old haunts and took a trip down memory lane.

A New Way to Search

The tour gave me a couple ideas for some searches of my own. Since I am soon travelling to New Zealand, I decided to search for “Queenstown, New Zealand”. In addition to the Wikipedia page for Queenstown, Facebook also rendered “Photos of my friends in Queenstown, New Zealand”. Graph Search showed that one of my friends had taken a picture at a burger place I was thinking about trying; now I know to ask her about it.

However, I know of my friends is a Kiwi who was born and raised in Auckland. Yet, because she hasn’t tagged herself or her photos with this information, she did not show up when I did a search of “Auckland, New Zealand”. Ultimately, the success of Facebook Graph search will depend on how detail-oriented users are with their profiles, and whether they update their profiles over time. Read more about Optimizing Your Facebook page for Facebook Graph.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

One of the other tough things to deal with is the problem of old data. Some users like myself were introduced to Facebook in college many years ago, so let’s face it: tastes change over time. Most people do not bother to “unlike” something, so that information grows stale over time. This will likely create “noise” in search results. 

A Good Deal for Bing?

While Bing does not power Facebook Graph Search, it does power Facebook’s web search. For example, if a search on Facebook Graph Search does not render any results, Facebook will direct you to a web results on Bing. Thus, if more people start searching on Facebook, searches on Bing might increase as well.

Conclusion

I think the potential is there for Facebook Graph to be incredibly powerful, but it is dependent on your network, and how active your friends are. Enormous amounts of content are added to Facebook daily that is mostly not exposed to existing search products, which gives Facebook a great opportunity. I think there are kinks to work out, but you can start to see the possibilities quite quickly. Will it change how people search?  Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see.

Have you tried Graph Search?  What are your thoughts?

RELATED CLASS: 7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook Marketing

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5 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Content

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Content marketing should first start on your own website, but once you start publishing blog posts on a regular basis, the next step is to start driving traffic to your site.  My favorite method for driving traffic to the content on my blog is through social media.  There are many other channels with existing traffic and the key is to create content that will drive that traffic to your site.  Let’s take a look at some of these channels.

Traffic Channel #1: Amazon and Kindle

Most marketers and small business owners are familiar with the concept of giving away an e-book in order to generate leads.  We see this all the time.  Website owners create an opt-in form and in exchange for an email address, you can get a free e-book.  This is fine as long as you have traffic on your site.  But if you need to or just want to leverage the traffic powerhouse of Amazon, then consider giving away free e-books on the Kindle platform.  When you upload a book to Kindle, you have the option to sell it or give it away.  By giving your book away you have the ability to get your message out to more people, but you do need to be creative about how to capture the leads.

Once someone downloads your e-book, unless you have an incentive for them to visit your website, you have lost them as a customer.  Many traditional book publishers have known this for years.  Historically in the back of books, there have always been order forms to be able to contact the publisher to order other books or other books in a series.  You need to look at this the same way.  Put together a bonus material such as a webinar, video, or other supplemental material and place strategic call to actions throughout the book to get the reader to go to your landing page to get the offer.

Traffic Channel #2: Youtube

Videos are the best way to allow your customer to connect with you before deciding to make a purchase.  Think of unique ways to use videos.  Maybe on your “About Us” page you can put a video with your story.  Create a testimonials page and put up videos of customer testimonials.  If you sell a product that requires technical expertise to use, create how-to videos.

Your youtube channel should represent the culture of your company, but also drive leads.  In everything you do, always be sensitive to think up ways to drive traffic back to your main hub: your blog.  Even though the video may be embedded on your blog, consider that the primary posting will be on Youtube.  On Youtube, people spend hours surfing and watching funny and entertaining videos.  If your company culture allows, try to break down that corporate wall and just share YOU with your tribe. Learn more about Marketing on YouTube.

Traffic Channel #3: Slideshare

If you are selling business to business, check out slideshare.net.  You can put up videos, ebooks, powerpoints, pdfs, and more.  Strategically you should use this as a sales mechanism.  Don’t just be giving away content to give away content.  Create shortened versions of live presentations and create call to actions.  You can always offer the full version of your presentation on your site behind an opt-in form.

Traffic Channel #4: Outbrain

You have most likely seen Outbrain without even realizing it.  Outbrain offers paid placement of headlines on major websites such as CNN.com.  You see it in the area of “From around the web” on the bottom right nav of their website and many others.  Even though you can’t technically publish your content on Outbrain, you can drive traffic to your blog using this paid service.  You can set it up so that the headlines of your blog posts show up so the key here is to create great headlines! The cost per click is as low as .10-15 cents and with a minimum spend of only $10 per day, it is a very economical solution to drive traffic.  The key in content channels is to get your content placed where traffic already exists.

Traffic Channel #5: iTunes (Podcasts)

The last channel I want to cover today is iTunes.  Videos are great but not everyone wants to sit in front of a computer to watch them.  The more you can connect with your target market, the better!  You need to create 10 episodes to go live on iTunes so the first step is to start creating some episodes!  Once you have your first 10, you can create an account and go live.  Podcasts are just like webinars or videos… but without the visual aids so you will need to learn to speak more visually.  Learn to describe what you are thinking and trying to share in a way that your audience can connect with you.  Think of this as your own personal radio show that people can take with them and listen to at any time.  Again, be sure to have a call to action in every show and give people a reason to come back to your site to get more information or free product or service or maybe even a simple link out to a resource.

RELATED CLASS: How to Leverage Blogging for More Traffic, Leads, and Sales.

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5 Ways to Improve B2B Landing Pages

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You can't nurture what you don't convert.

According to a survey by BtoB Magazine, 59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel for generating revenue. However, more than 60% of B2B marketers report that their greatest marketing challenge for 2012 was generating more leads. To efficiently boost revenue in 2013, focus on generating more leads by improving your landing pages.

1. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

I've created and tested many B2B landing pages—and I can you the absolute #1 most important element of your landing page is the message. Your headline and body copy must be clear, not clever, and focus on benefits, not features. I know you love your product (hey, I do too!), but strip your page of copy that focuses on features or company jargon. Instead, use the jargon that your target audience uses, and speak directly to them.

In this example below from one of our own campaigns, the headline and copy focus on clear and obvious benefits, and the page converts at over 60%. 

B2B landing page

The benefit-focused message of this page is clearly presented in the header, headline, and throughout the copy.

2. Match the Message of Your Ad to the Message of Your Landing Pages

Ensure that the message on your landing page clearly matches the message of the ad or offer that got the visitor to click. The more tightly aligned they are, the higher your conversion rate will be. If you're managing a large scale or more sophisticated digital program, this means creating tens, if not hundreds, of unique landing pages.

3. Reduce Required Form Fields

After just 1 click, visitors are just not that into you (yet). Require the least amount of fields possible, and built a relationship with them over time through lead nurturing.

The less form fields you require on your landing pages, the higher your conversion rate will be. Lengthy forms with too many fields (example: state, revenue, industry) require visitors to reveal sensitive information about themselves before you've gained their trust and built a relationship with them. In addition, these fields take up valuable real estate on your landing page, and overwhelm visitors who just aren't that into you (yet).

If the objective of you landing page is to generate leads for lead nurturing, I recommend only collecting first name, last name, and email address. This allows you to cast the widest net possible, and nurture cold leads to hot with a targeted lead nurturing program. In addition, you can begin to gather more information on your leads over time with progressive profiling.

Now, if your sales team or other members of the marketing team are hesitant to remove other fields, propose to A/B test the page. Once you can demonstrate the significant increase in lead quantity (and maybe even quality, because your best leads may be hesitant to share information), they'll agree to collecting less information initially.

In this example below, I clicked on an ad after searching for "landing page testing tips", and was taken to the below page that offers a white paper. There is a tremendous opportunity for the advertiser to generate a higher quantity of leads and increase revenue by reducing the number of required form fields and THEN nurturing those leads over time with a lead management program. Learn more about lead management.

This lead generation landing page would convert significantly better if it only required 3-5 fields, instead of 12.

4. Keep Your Design Simple

As I explained above, the most important element of your landing page is an effective message with a clear and obvious value proposition for the user. It's important that the design of your page supports, and not detracts, from that message. For B2B lead generation, I've found that simple, well-branded pages with strong call-to-action, short form, and image that represents the offer (ex: white paper cover) work well.

5. A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Now that you've got the message down, the best way to see a continuous improvement in your conversion rate and lead quantity is to A/B test your landing pages. If you're not testing your pages already, it's always best to begin by testing the element that you think will have the biggest influence on conversions.

My favorite elements to test and constantly improve are:

  • The headline: David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” In my experience, simply testing your headline can result in a conversion increase of 100%.
  • The call-to-action: Along with the overall message, your call-to-action is critical to the success of your landing page. The more specific the call-to-action, the better. Clearly state the intended goal of the page, and guide the visitor to complete the action that you want them to do.
  • Design: Your design should enhance the message and support the goal of your page, not detract from it. A pretty page with a lousy message is far less effective than a boring page with a great message. But the real gold is when you combine a great message with an effective design. And the best way to find out which design supports your goal best is through testing. Start with high-contrast A/B tests, find champions, and go from there.

In the B2B landing page test below from ion interactive, A/B testing the design and adding an image of the white paper resulted in an increase of lead capture conversions of 17%, helping to save the advertiser over $100,000 per year and increase their ROI by 291% (including services costs). Learn more about conversion optimization.

Version A won and resulted in $100,000 in savings.

If this advertiser was able to save $100,000 by running a simple A/B test, just imagine what YOU can achieve by allocating more time and effort to improving your landing pages. Exciting, right?

RELATED CLASS: B2B Landing Page Best Practices for Success