How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder


How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

How to Maximize Your Blog and Work Smarter, Not Harder

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve heard the mantra, only now it doesn’t just apply to saving the planet. This mantra can also be applied to marketing, specifically digital marketing. Rather than ramping up content creation, it’s time that digital marketing professionals work smarter, not harder.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize the content on your blog and work smarter.

Build Themes into Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is not merely a holding place for blog topics and content ideas. It’s the ideal place to put down in writing the overall trajectory of your content marketing strategy.

Start by building themes into your editorial calendar. The easiest way to do this is to pick a larger topic for each month and have all the blogs for that particular month address certain aspects of that topic.

For example, an editorial calendar for a corporate recruiting firm may cover resume writing in May, preparing for an interview in June, and negotiating benefits in July. In May, the four blog posts will cover the main things to include in a resume, common resume mistakes, tools for checking grammar in resumes, and unique takes on resumes. Each of those blog posts will roll up to the general topic of resumes for month.

Repurpose Blogs into Downloadable Guides

A successful content marketing strategy does not rely solely on creating blogs. Rather, it incorporates multiple types of content to appeal to a variety of potential clients.

Instead of starting from scratch for each ebook, case study, white paper, or how-to guide you create, look to your blog. You can take content from a blog, especially a popular or well-received blog, and repurpose it into a white paper that can be gated and downloaded from the website. Or if a particular blog discusses what works, use a particular client to demonstrate how those approaches work and create a new client case study.

Turn a Blog into a Visual

Many marketing departments are fully utilizing their awesome designers or design team. Take advantage of their wonderful skills by having them turn a blog or ideas from a few blogs into a visual, like an infographic, tip sheet, or chart. This is one of the easiest ways to repurpose content, mainly because it requires chopping down content to the very basics so that the visuals tell the bulk of the story.

A great opportunity to create a visual content piece is a how-to article. How-to blog posts are the easiest to convert into an infographic or a presentation because a visual can take the place of a 200-word description. For example, if the recruiting firm creates a blog on what to include in a resume, they can work with a designer to turn it into a downloadable visual that a job seeker can reference while drafting his or her own resume (without writing new content!).

Use Analytics to Pick Topics

When topics aren’t resonating with prospects, ditch them. Stop covering topics that prospects and clients don’t care about. Eliminating the topic duds is a great way to streamline your process and focus on what matters to your potential clients.

The only way to know the difference between a dud and a winner when it comes to your blog posts is by reviewing the analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website or blog, take a look at the traffic and track the downloads of your content pieces. We always suggest looking at a couple of months of data to weed out seasonal traffic spurts.

If a particular blog post does well, add more topics to your editorial calendar that address different aspects or takes on that particular topic. Using the recruiting firm again, if they wrote a topic on how to dress for an interview and it got 2x as many views as a topic on how to clean up your social media when job hunting, they should add more topics that discuss dressing the part for an interview.

Not sure where to start with Google Analytics, you're not alone?  Take, Getting started with Google Analytics, to learn to identify your preforming channels, and how to optimize them. 

Promote Your Blog Posts

It’s very rare that a blog post goes viral after sharing it on one social media channel. Don’t produce 20 blog posts hoping to hit on a topic that will have a viral reach. Instead, focus on producing 5 – 10 quality blog posts and spend time promoting them.

First, share them on all your social media channels. If you have multiple blog posts to share, be sure to share each post multiple times (at different times and days of the week). This will enable you to reach a higher portion of your audience and put more eyeballs on your blog posts.

Next, pay to promote your posts. Sponsoring your posts on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest enables you to reach users that aren’t part of your existing audience. Allocating a portion of your budget to promotion enables you to maximize the value of your blog posts. Even a small budget can have a dramatic impact in helping your post reach a brand new (targeted) audience.

Want to learn more about how to get the best visibility for your blog posts?  Take Getting Your Blog Content Shared On Social Media, for practical tips that work really well to get more of your blog content shared.

In an ideal world, you have the bandwidth to create a ton of blog posts, but in the real world, there just isn’t time. By following the tips here, you can maximize the blog posts you are able to create and increase the ROI of each one.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

Jeremy Durant About the Author: Jeremy Durant is Business Principal at Bop Design, a B2B web design and digital marketing firm. Jeremy works closely with businesses in need of a website, marketing and branding strategy, helping them to develop their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. Jeremy received his BA from Merrimack College and his MBA from California State University, San Marcos.


The VCR Is Dead, But Video Is Fast Forwarding



The last remaining VCR manufacturer ended production last month, signaling the end of the Be Kind, Rewind Era.

To be honest, news that VCRs were still on assembly lines past the century mark is shocking, especially with the rise in digital video viewers. Even more remarkable are the advances we are seeing this year with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), underscored by the massive Pokémon Go audience.

It seems pretty clear that our methods of delivering video content have changed drastically. What hasn’t shifted over time is our fascination with video itself.

A Look at Video Today

Adults in the U.S. now consume 99 minutes of digital video each and every day. That’s 38 more minutes than just a year ago.

To date, live streaming video is available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – with Instagram and Snapchat releasing their own versions of collected videos from live events. Two million VR headsets will be sold by the end of this year. Though, to be fair, this medium isn’t expected to go mainstream for another six to eight years. In technology, that feels like a lifetime.
Augmented reality, however, soared past virtual reality this year with the introduction of Pokémon Go. This location-based mobile app blends the real world and the fictional world for some insanely impressive video gaming. Some are concluding the gloss is fading, but 9.5 million users can’t be wrong…right?

From live streaming to virtual and augmented reality, I think it’s fair to say we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Where Video is Headed

Digital video natives are leading the way, tapping into cord cutter audiences that abandoned cable television for online and streaming programs.

Tastemade, the fifth-largest video publisher on Facebook and born from a tiny YouTube channel, now amasses triple the number of viewers as The Food Network. Apple announced recently it’s working on augmented reality behind the curtain, calling it a “core technology.” Amazon is working on original VR and AR content, because of course they are.

The VCR has left the building, but I predict we are only at the beginning of the future.

New video technologies are gaining traction, reshaping not only how we watch videos but also how we become a part of them.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics blog.


How to Increase Your Content Visibility in Google Knowledge Graph




Varun Sharma is a digital marketing expert and a director of the fastest-growing digital agency in India, KVR WebTech. You can also subscribe to Varun's personal blog at

As a digital marketing expert, I inevitably find myself struggling to keep up with the happenings around the world. I’m always keen to grab more and more knowledge from everything I come across, but it can be difficult.

I wonder about the enormity of the human mind. From the day we are born till the moment we die, our brain collects, loads, and stores everything. This immense knowledge aids us in dealing with our routine.

What’s even more exciting about our minds is that we can think of one thing, and thousands of other relevant thoughts will pop in our heads. It’s amazing how our mind is reshaped by the information it grabs every minute.
thoughts-process-answers-processThe way our mind acquires, operates, and responds reminds me of the Google Knowledge Graph.

Google Knowledge Graph is the largest warehouse of knowledge in digital history—and it’s doing it with your help.2 (highlight to tweet) This revolutionary system has changed the definition of the online search process.

What Is Google Knowledge Graph?

Google launched a new system in 2012 to improve its search process, Google Knowledge Graph, aiming to provide an enormous amount of information in an organized way and make it accessible universally.

In a nutshell, Google knowledge graph is a systematic way of organizing facts, people, and places to improve the relevancy of search outcomes. With this approach, users now get quick access to surplus information and the option of exploring related subjects within that search.

At the launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google Product management Director Johanna Wright said, “We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to becoming a knowledge engine, and these enhancements are one step in that direction.”

Google Knowledge Graph does this by organizing information into “Entities” and the “Relationships” between them.

How the Knowledge Graph Works

When you look up a person on Google, say “Barack Obama,” Google will refer to its data bank (the Knowledge Graph) and will display everything about Obama. Google’s Knowledge Graph is its own pool of data, where all the information is collected from authoritative sites. The search results are presented based on a user’s search patterns.

This is similar to how our mind functions. When we think of a person in our life, say our best friends, our mind immediately presents a picture carousel before us comprised of their names, faces, families, good and bad moments we shared together, etc.

Here, the data we look for is known as “Entities.” Knowledge Graph revolves around these entities and their “Relationship” with one another and utilizes them to organize relevant data for presenting in the search result. These entities real-world things, including individuals, places, organizations, works of art, movies, and so on.

Google no longer takes a search query as a string of keywords, but rather as distinct entities.

Below is a simple Entity Relationship Diagram:

While “Barack Obama,” “Oval Office,” “USA,” and “President” are entities here, they are related to each other through relationships: “Work In,” “Located In,” “Lives In,” and “Designation.”

If you want to know the different entities on your web page, read this comprehensive post from Barbara Starr.

The Significance of Google’s Knowledge Graph

There are several English words with multiple meanings. Interpreting such words depends on their context. Till now, Google ignored the actual context used in phrases. With the launch of Knowledge graph, Google has greatly improved its semantic search; it can actually understand the meaning of a given word and its relationship with the entities.

Gone are the days when the Google search process was based on keyword match. The Knowledge Graph works just like our mind and is easily able to distinguish between the various search queries and their meanings. With the Knowledge Graph, Google has now become more flexible. It is now capable of understanding the objective of a particular search query and answering successfully by refining the search result.

5 Types of Knowledge in the Knowledge Graph

Google divides the Knowledge Graph into five main types.

The Google Knowledge Graph is smart, and you’ll need to get smart as well to utilize it in the most efficient way. You’ll need to cultivate a better understanding of how users can get things they’re looking for in the search. Here are six tips for increasing your visibility in Google Knowledge Graph.

1. Build Your Brand Presence in Wikipedia

Knowledge Graph collects information from authoritative sources in order to ensure data reliability and accuracy. And what could be more promising than Wikipedia?

Having your brand on Wikipedia hooks your online presence up to a high-value online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is an influential data source, open for all, but it does follow strict guidelines on what information it accepts. To get listed your page on Wikipedia, follow these tips:

  • Get mentioned in third party sources like newspapers and magazines.
  • It’s important to have multiple users contribute to the page.
  • Collect and include references to other reliable sources
  • Get referenced in other Wiki pages. This helps to bolster your notability.
  • Encourage an active discussion page.

If you can create a Wikipedia page for your brand successfully, you’ve got a higher chance of increasing your content visibility in GKG.

2. Register Your Brand in Public Data Centers

Besides Wikipedia, Google also refers to sources like to retrieve relevant information about entities. acts as a secondary repository for Wikipedia and Wikisource that records statements and their sources, which in turn helps in reflecting the diversity of information available and ensuring that it is verified.

Similarly, the CIA World Factbook is a reference resource that offers detailed information about the demographics, geography, government, communication, economy, and military of the 267 international entities around the world.

Registering your brand on these data centers ensures Google will collect verified information about your business.

3. Organize Your Content by Schema Markup

Schema markup is a set of predefined code that defines elements of your webpage and support search engines to return the best search results to users for a given query. Schema helps search algorithms understand your page content and provide additional information about the entities in an organized way. This is what the GKG demands.

If you really want to increase the visibility of your content in the GKG, put effort into defining important things on your website. Structured data can be used to mark up all kinds of items, including products, places, organizations, individual, events, and even recipes
implement-google-knowledge-graphYou'll Also Like

4. Make Your Social Media Profiles Optimized

Your social media presence serves as evidence that your business is an online entity. When you stay updated on your social profiles with regular posts and reviews, it informs Google that you’re actually using your page. Moreover, Google Knowledge Graph displays information about your social media profiles when displaying information about your business in the search result.

Also, make sure to have a Google+ page for your business. Out of all the social media channels, Google+ has the most impact on Google Knowledge Graph. In order to create your knowledge graph, Google will use the information obtained from your Google+ profile much more extensively. In addition, use Google+ author relation tag to make your recent posts and other valuable information visible.

5. Get More Mentions

A mention from the right blogger can trigger a cascade of great press for your business. Getting more mentions on the web helps you increase your brand awareness and credibility, which ultimately gets you more traffic. The more you get mentions, the more chances your business has to be recognized by Google Knowledge Graph. Sharing great content with consistency and regular tweeting are just some of the ways you can get more mentions on the business.

6. Optimize Your Google Local Business Page

According to Google, over 73% of online activities are associated with the local search. In order to learn and evaluate the companies in their area, customers often turn to local search. By appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph, you can keep your business at the top of the local search results and can get the maximum traffic.

Make sure that your Google Local business page has a 100% score, with all the information filled in completely. This means in addition to filling in the required text fields, you should fill in the optional ones as well. Your page should also contain product or service keywords in the description, customer reviews, and your contact details. This will help Google get complete and viable information about your business.

While it’s your job to provide as much information possible about your business, your place in the Knowledge Graph also depends on the Google’s ability to synthesize the information it receives over the web. Still, when it comes to user search queries, Google Knowledge Graph can have a huge impact on your content visibility.

Google Knowledge Graph is not about quick wins and tricks—it’s about high-level reliable marketing efforts. The basic aim of Google Knowledge Graph is to give useful information to the readers and allow them to make the best decision.

This article was originally published by


Over 90% of Companies Lack Digital Skills – And What You Can Do About It


Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 1.26.02 PM

What is the digital talent gap?

According to a study done by Capgemini Consulting in conjunction with MIT Center for Digital Business, they uncovered some staggering stats that will help us understand the phenomenon.

  • Over 90% of companies lack digital skills
  • 77% of companies considered ‘missing digital skills’ as a key hurdle to digital transformation
  • 87% of companies believe a digital transformation is a competitive opportunity
  • Only 47% of companies are investing in developing digital skills
  • Only 4% of companies are ensuring their training efforts are aligned with their overall digital strategy
  • Companies are spending no more than 20% of their training budget on digital
  • Only 30% of organizations mentioned HR as being actively involved in skills development

Companies across the globe felt the biggest holes in digital skill sets across their organization in the following areas: social media, mobile, internal social networks, process automation and analysis.

According to the same 2013 study, the below skills are most relevant for the digital age:

  • Big data analytics
  • Social media
  • Mobile devices
  • Cloud

To get a bit more granular, skills in this area range from light tech to heavy tech-centric skills. Light tech skills in the digital age include things like social media management, brand building online, online community management, virtual (webinar, presentation, etc.) facilitation, writing for different digital mediums, marketing automation tools management, customer service and public relations. Heavy tech skills in the digital age include things like user interface design, mobile device management, mobile device security, data analysis, app management and design, and much more.

The second half of the puzzle lies in corporations needs to match tech skills with business acumen. The true value of digital skills are born when they are combined with a deep understanding of the business. This is leading to an increased need for employees who have both technical skills plus business and leadership abilities.

So - what can companies do to ‘plug the skills gap?’

Let’s first take a look at what some companies are currently doing. Google partnered with P&G to implement an employee exchange program to help teach their employees how to sell things online. They focused on digital and search marketing to help bring their e-commerce into the 21st century. Nike partnered with Techstars in an incubator program to create new products.

Upskilling employees is an ideal way to empower those who already know your business, with the digital skills needed to close the gap in your organization.

And, this upskilling does not need to be ‘Google-sized.’ Small and medium sized business have options. There are ways to invest in current employees that don’t require you to be P&G or Nike.

Organizations, like ours - offer affordable options for digital and online training for companies of all sizes. We’ve been training teams since 2007 and have supported corporate teams as large as 10,000 employees, and as small as 10. We offer fully customized eLearning programs with the added benefit of leveraging over 400 + hours of existing high quality content taught by Digital Marketing thought leaders, authors, and leading practitioners.

We begin with an assessment to test employee’s digital knowledge to help us build a program to fill your skills gap and augment your employee strengths. We’ll then help design a custom based learning pathway comprised of classes that fit your organization's’ particular skill(s) gap. We also offer LMS integration, marketing support, reporting dashboards, and robust user role access to support any size organization.

We’d love to help you empower your team. Visit our Corporate Training Page or send us an inquiry.



Why You Should Use A/B Testing to Refine Your Online Marketing


For those of us who work in marketing, we know the value of a hunch. That gut-feeling. We use it a lot to brainstorm new campaigns, solve problems, and direct our social media posts. There’s merit to the gut-feeling technique, it’s true. But there’s a downside too – your hunch might not always be right. In reality, it may always be wrong. That’s where A/B testing comes in.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of something (an email, a landing page, an ad, etc.), so that you can use analytics to determine which version is most successful. A/B testing isn’t unique to online marketing, but it is particularly helpful in this field, and in eCommerce especially. Here’s why.

When you’re putting together a website or ad campaign, there are many subtle changes and tweaks to make along the way. You choose what color to make the “Add to Cart” button. You opt for one image over another for your PPC ads. You change the copy on your landing page slightly. These choices might seem minor, but studies have shown again and again that customer behavior is majorly affected by them.

How Can A/B Testing Help?

A/B testing is actually ideal for trying out these kinds of changes. It’s a test for refining your online marketing, not completely overhauling it. Any eCommerce whiz can tell you that even small changes to the sales funnel can make big waves on the other end. Do you want to make those changes based on your hunch of what color looks best? Or your personal opinion on which text flows better? Or would you rather test out both options so you know for a fact that you’ve optimized in every way you can?

The real problem with relying on your gut is that it’s yours. Other people react differently to colors, words, images, even fonts. Your feeling about a certain choice might not be the majority’s reaction to it, and that’s who you should be trying to please! Even minute changes can be the difference between a considerable sale and an abandoned shopping cart, and I know which you’d prefer.

Email Marketing: A/B Testing in Action

Let’s look at an example of how A/B testing can help your email marketing strategy.

For many of us, our email marketing follows a standard schedule: weekly mailers with sales/offers, monthly newsletters, follow-up emails to encourage returning customers, etc. This probably means you’re pretty set in your ways – do your emails always go out at 11 a.m. on a Monday? Do they always have roughly the same subject line? Is the format the same?

You could be missing out on a chance to maximize the sales benefit for each email you send – but you’ll never know unless you use A/B testing to try out some changes and analyze the results.

Landing page test

First, you’ll need to decide which metrics matter the most to you for determining ‘success.’ You might want to track whatever constitutes a conversion for your business, whether it’s a sale or just downloading a free white paper. Click through rates are another good measure of your recipients’ interest, or you could track how many use a discount code included in the email. If you’re trying out different subject lines or timing, your open rate might be all you need to see results. Related Class: Metrics-Driven Demand Gen in a Multichannel World

The next step is splitting your mailing list into two groups – let’s call them A and B, for obvious reasons. If you’d like to compare two new ideas, you could send new, different versions to both groups. Or if you’re just looking to see how your current newsletters stack up against a slightly updated version, you could keep group A as your control group, and send group B the new email.

The key when making changes is to keep it minimal. Choose ONE aspect to change. This is important because at the end of the day, you’re looking for actionable results that can guide you going forward. If you change half the email, you won’t be able to put your finger on the one thing that really matters for increasing sales, conversions, CTR, etc.

A few easy things to test: if you usually email at 4 p.m., try 10 a.m. instead. If you usually use a standard greeting in the subject line, try something more discount/offer oriented. If you usually include a voucher code for a percentage off, try a buy-on-get-one voucher code instead. If you usually offer 15% off for returning customers, try 20% off instead.

Google Analytics Measurement for AdWords

The last step is sitting down with a big cup of coffee and all your analytics. Did the changes improve your key metrics? Or make them worse? Did offering a deeper discount pay off overall, or did you shrink your profit for nothing? Read over your results, compare outcomes, and then form steps or recommendations based on your data. It shouldn’t be surprising that continuing your A/B testing over a longer period will help you get more accurate data, less likely to be affected by random highs or lows on a certain day.

Goodbye to the Marketing Hunch

Overall, the clear lesson here is that if you’re not A/B testing changes to your website, sales funnel, or marketing techniques, you’re just relying on your own feedback to make decisions. Gather more feedback through testing, and it’s like a free focus group for your online marketing efforts! If you don’t have the time or personnel to manage A/B testing yourself in-house, there are many tools and services that will do the dirty work for you, for a fee.

Want to learn more about A/B testing for website design changes? See it in action and play along in this class, “10 A/B Test Studies.



How A/B Testing Strategies Can Help You Make Better Decisions


A Q&A with Chris Goward, Author of "You Should Test That!"

This week, we are sitting down with Chris Goward, the author of "You Should Test That!", a book that teaches the processes, frameworks and techniques of scientific marketing to make better decisions and achieve industry-leading results. Featuring case studies of real tests plus many more examples of how companies are succeeding and failing in their websites and their marketing, we're eager to learn more.

What’s the premise behind your book, “You Should Test That!” ?

Too many businesses still use antiquated methods for decision-making with their marketing. They seek out so-called “best practices”, copy competitors tactics, and redesign their websites without A/B testing, to name just a few examples. I wanted to write a book that would provide a dose of inspiration in the new scientific marketing discipline as well as practical processes and frameworks marketers can apply directly to their marketing strategy. It really does contain detail on a lot of the methods WiderFunnel uses to consistently achieve winning results for our clients.

You’ve become a regular speaker at the top online marketing conferences. How did you get into conversion optimization?

I’ve always questioned current ways of doing things. In the early to mid 2000’s, I wondered why marketers accepted the status quo where ad agencies used their clients’ budgets to create self-serving campaigns aimed solely at winning awards for cleverness. I couldn’t understand why digital agencies were creating websites that ignored direct response principles and really couldn’t be more than poor copies of the old TV world.

I left the agency world in 2007 to create WiderFunnel based on the belief that agencies should prove their value. Since then, we’ve been running thousands of A/B tests on hundreds of websites across all industries to discover consistent persuasion and user experience principles that maximize companies’ online profits.

Related Class: Integrating SEM, Testing, and Analytics for Improved ROI

What are the biggest mistakes you see marketers making today?

There are so many!

  • Implementing the latest “tips & tricks” they see on blog posts. I’ve already said many times why tactical marketing tips and “best practices” don’t work. The problem is that they ignore your unique business context.
  • Consensus decision-making.
  • Getting stuck behind organizational barriers. I’ve seen turf battles, silos and competing priorities hamstring some very promising potential A/B tests.
  • Acting on usability testing or other qualitative methods to make website changes without testing those insights. I’ve covered before, the many reasons that usability testing alone is not reliable.
  • Testing too conservatively.
  • Not prioritizing effort correctly and wasting time optimizing inconsequential areas.
  • Using “before & after” testing rather than correct controlled test methods.
  • Drawing conclusions from inconclusive data. Often, it’s difficult for the conversion champion to hold off the pressure to make decisions without enough data.
  • Taking advice from “experts” who don’t do a ton of testing. If their primary business isn’t testing, testing and more testing, where is their advice coming from? You might be surprised at how little testing some of the industry’s pre-eminent figures actually do.
  • Over-emphasizing optimization tool selection before developing a strategy and process for optimization. Tools don’t solve marketing problems. Smart marketers with great strategy and ideas do.

What are the biggest challenges businesses face in adopting marketing optimization as a strategy?

I’ve been running an ongoing poll of marketers asking a similar question since 2012.

Interestingly, in 2012, most respondents said they faced resistance within their organization for conducting testing. This year, that’s the least likely challenge. Companies now know conversion optimization needs to be prioritized and there’s senior-level support for the strategy.

The biggest challenges marketers face in 2014 are in getting great results from their program. They either don’t have staff with deep testing experience, don’t have a reliable process, or face technical barriers. So, it’s good to see the market evolving to having support for the strategy. Now, the challenges are more about how to get consistent results.

eConsultancy did their own survey of companies doing conversion optimization and found that those who reported having a “structured approach” to their program were twice as likely to see large increases in sales. The disciplined, rigorous process alone determines a great deal of the success.

Related Class: eCommerce Testing to Dramatically Lift Sales 

What are your favorite website elements to test?

Really, I like any testing any area that gets results. And, that can be different for every website depending on where the conversion barriers are. Every website design, structure and target audience is slightly different. Some companies are adopting WiderFunnel’s PIE Framework for prioritizing tests to answer this question based on their unique context.

That being said, however, we’re having a lot of success this year adding the “Evolutionary Site Redesign” strategy to conversion optimization for our clients.

It’s a strategy any (and I believe every) company should use. Essentially, it means we’re testing the site-wide website templates in a methodical way. It results in a redesigned website without the risks of traditional “flip the switch” epic redesign. Using A/B testing of the overall design elements, companies are finding sometimes huge revenue improvements from improved navigation, information architecture, design credibility, merchandising, etc. and the resulting design changes can be just as dramatic.

In this class, 10 A/B Test Studies, you’ll encounter 10 such tests and can guess which page won. The answers will surprise you and the knowledge you’ll gain about how to conduct these tests and what makes some pages better than others will make you a more effective marketer.   


Predictive Intelligence: The Fuel for Successful B2B Marketing


Consider this scenario: A regional bank is evaluating providers to help it migrate its financial management applications to the cloud. The cross-functional decision-making team is spread across offices and communicates heavily over tools like Skype. In addition to the time team members spend evaluating the websites of you and your competitors, they also search, read blogs and publisher websites, tweet, share research, and meet to discuss in person.

Research from Google/Corporate Executive Board and SiriusDecisions suggests this buyer decision-making process is the new normal and that means your marketing team is challenged to not only have adequate visibility into these activities but to also effectively influence each prospect across as many channels as possible. Oh, and then there is the sales team hungry for new leads down the hall…

Today, a new category of predictive intelligence beyond lead scoring provides marketers with the data, insights, and recommendations they need to understand today’s disjointed buyer’s journey and drive measurably better sales results.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Math

Through a combination of data sources and modeling methods, predictive intelligence tells marketers which companies are in the market to buy, which products and services they need, and when they are likely to make a purchase. The accounts and contacts are then scored and that information is delivered directly into systems like marketing automation, CRM, CMS, and ad buying tools for companies to take immediate action.

What might seem too good to be true is built on machine learning and data science. Predictive intelligence ties together data from sources like marketing automation, CRM, past bookings, buyer profiles, and web activity across your site and thousands of others. The blend of static data (e.g., company size, revenues) and behavioral data (e.g., prospects downloading white papers) not only identifies which companies are in market to buy now but also uncovers accounts previously unknown who are looking for what you sell. One SiriusDecisions ABM Campaign Of the Year award winner says these early insights on what prospects do before they reach a salesperson gives their company an “unfair advantage.”

Applying Predictive Intelligence Data to Marketing and Sales Channels

Let’s revisit our bank: Through email campaigns over the last several years you have obtained several contact records inside your marketing automation database. From what you can tell its interest is limited to a case study registration a quarter ago. And what you don’t know is that the bank’s IT team is moving closer to a vendor recommendation for the application migration. Team members attended multiple webinars in the last month, spent days researching across the web, and held a lengthy conversation on a tech forum. Is your typical quarterly investment in email, lead gen, and advertising enough to identify and create a sales opportunity with this company? Predictive intelligence can help ensure it is by tying together all the activity into one predictive score.

web analytics truths

Let’s look at some of the ways marketers can use predictive intelligence data to improve nurturing and create opportunities with companies like our example bank.

  • Call center: Create call scripts tailored to your prospect using company and category intelligence and improve lead qualification rates.
  • Marketing automation: Route prospects to the right campaign and ensure communications are properly personalized based on company size, industry, job role, and level of interest in your products.
  • Advertising: Only advertise to key companies and adjust messaging and landing pages based on purchase intent and company attributes.
  • Retargeting: Stay visible to your prospects after they reach your website. Tailor messaging according to the intent they show at your website and across the rest of the B2B web.
  • Social media: Only target ads to prospects at key companies when they are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • List acquisition and lead generation: Educate and nurture prospects from key companies while building your database with net new contacts.
  • Website personalization: Make each visit as useful as possible by integrating audience data from predictive intelligence scoring into your content management system, personalization and testing tools.
  • Sales calls and conversion: Help reps prioritize the right prospects and arm them with the intelligence to secure meetings, RFPs, and close deals.

The use cases are many and the impetus is here: savvy buyers warrant savvy marketers. Before launching another half-baked campaign where your prospects run you, consider how predictive intelligence can help you gain insight into your audience so you can blow away your benchmarks.

Data sources, modeling techniques, systems integration, marketing tactics: What areas would you like to learn about most? Let us know, and we’ll follow-up in future posts.

To learn more about today's advances in predictive analytics can give marketers competitive insight on which contacts and accounts to target; what the right cadence of touch-points is; and which channels should be used for maximum message delivery impact, join the Online Marketing Institute and 6Sense on Monday, August 18th at 2:00pm ET for a free webinar, “How To Increase Your Digital Marketing ROI Using Predictive Analytics”.  



How To Use Predictive Intelligence to Target the Right Buyers and Close More Deals


With 60 to 90 percent of buyers making their purchase decisions before they hit an organization’s sales funnel, marketing and sales are turning to predictive intelligence to capture unknown prospects and target the right leads. As I have been working with enterprise companies on their lead generation pain points for over 14 years, there are several questions about predictive intelligence solutions that I’m regularly asked on the front-lines.

On July 9th, Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, and I will be leading a discussion on how you can use predictive intelligence to target the right buyers and close more deals. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to learn as we address these questions during the webinar. 

How do you know you’re not just applying the tip of the predictive analytics iceberg?

Image source: Econsultancy  

Which types of data uncover the most business-growing insights?

In an interview with CMO Eric Siegel, founder of Predictive Analytics World and author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die, he commented: “It’s the holy grail of marketing—to proactively pounce on every individual customer opportunity.” By leveraging the sheer amount and variety of data accessible today, marketers and sales can not only “pounce,” but can accurately “pounce” on data-backed leads—a significant change from traditional lead scoring, which uses only a fraction of the data of predictive intelligence. So, what types of data lead to the most accurate prediction of buyers? Heinz and I will discuss the differences between external vs. internal data; behavioral vs. attribute data; and known vs. anonymous data to help you make an informed decision.

What kind of results can you expect to see from predictive intelligence?

Early adopters of predictive intelligence, like Cisco, have already seen promising results from their initiatives. Beyond sales and marketing efficiency gains, predictive intelligence has the potential to improve your business across a number of KPIs—from conversions, to time-to-close, to revenues. I’ll be discussing what results you can and should expect from predictive intelligence, including:

-        Improvements in accurate sales forecasting

-        Growth of deal sizes

-        Closing more accounts

-        Personalization of marketing outreach

-        Maximization of budgets

What are the differences among predictive intelligence solutions?

It’s critical to evaluate predictive intelligence solutions by how they align to your specific business objectives. Different needs—for example, prioritizing existing leads vs. finding net-new leads—warrant different approaches. Here are a few guiding questions to help you gauge what sort of solution will work for your company. Prepare your answers to these questions ahead of the webinar to find out what solution fits your needs.

  1. Are you having trouble locating net-new leads? How important are they to achieving your sales pipeline this quarter or year?
  2. Are you satisfied with current lead scoring processes? What would you like to see improved?
  3. Are you struggling with low marketing-to-sales qualified lead conversions?
  4. How much return are you getting from your content marketing? Are you satisfied, for example, with your ad click-through rates?
If you work in demand generation, marketing, or sales and you’re not sure how to apply predictive intelligence to what you do, register for the webinar today to learn all about it. Have specific questions you want addressed during our webinar? Tweet them to us early at: @6SenseInc


6 Facebook Page Statistics You Need to Know, Part 2


Last week, we shared with you the first part of our blog installment, 6 Facebook Page Statistics You Need to Know, based on our conversation with Emeric Ernoult, CEO of Agorapulse. See a full recap here and the continued list below.

Facebook metric #4: Storytellers

What is it?

The “Storytellers”, called “People Talking About This” in the old insights, represents the people who have liked, commented or shared a post. The engaged users are all the users who have clicked anywhere on your post, the storytellers is the portion of these users who have clicked on like, comment or share.

As opposed to just clicking on a link, a picture or a video, liking, commenting or sharing a post will generate a story that will be published on Facebook for our friends to see.

What makes the “Storytellers” different than the mere engagement metric is that engagement in this case potentially generated a publication by that user showing his engagement to his friends.

Where can I find it?

Here again, go to your insight interface at the same place where you spotted the organic reach and the engagement and look at the “Engagement” column after having selected “likes / comments / shares” in the drop down menu. Easy.

Why it matters?

This is the “viral” metric. Going back to the roots of your motivation for investing in a Facebook page was probably the dream that you could connect with the friends of your existing fans for free! That metric is the best one to measure how many people are willing to spread the word about you to their friends.

In plain English, if a user likes, comments or share a post on your page, Facebook may publish to his friends that this user (their friend) liked, commented or shared a piece or content from your page. I emphasize the “may” because Facebook is limiting the reach of these stories very seriously. That is probably why if you used to see in your newsfeed that such and such friends had liked, commented or shared a piece of content from a page, you probably see less and less of that today.

So, even f you still need to follow that metric, don’t expect too much from it. Facebook is still the best place to leverage virality, but it’s not the eldorado it used to be.

Facebook metric #5: Clickthrough rate (or “consumption”)

What is it?

Here comes a metric that you are used to! CTR, or Click Through Rate has been around for years on the web and is used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing, banner advertising, search engine ads such as adwords campaigns or landing page quality.

The good news is that it means the same thing within Facebook. This will tell you the number of people who have clicked on a link in your content, watched your video or viewed a larger version of your photo.

Where can I find it?

Go to your page insight interface, click on the “posts” menu and you’ll find the number of users who have clicked on your content.


Why it matters?

It is nice to know how many people have potentially seen your content (the reach metric), even nicer to know how many of them were interested enough to act on it (engaged users), but the bottom line is really to know how many people were actually interested enough to pay real attention to your content. And that means watching your video, looking at your photo or checking out your link.

That is the bottom of your “content quality” funnel. Keep an eye on it.

Facebook metric #6: Negative Feedback

What is it?

Negative feedback is a “negative” action taken by a fan on your piece of content. It can be hiding that specific post, hiding all future posts from your page, unliking your page or worse, reporting it as spam. Simply put, it counts the number of users who really did not like your content or the fact that it appeared in their newsfeed.

Where can I find it?

Go to your page insight interface, click on the posts menu and look at the “Engagement” column after having selected “Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlikes of Page” in the drop down menu.

Why it matters?

Since September 2012, Facebook has given much more weight to the negative feedback metric. In other words, posts with a high negative feedback will have much less exposure through edgerank and, pages with an average negative feedback that remains high will have less and less reach over time.

Needless to say that if you want to stay in the game of Facebook marketing, you need to keep that number as low as possible.

Conclusion: Measuring your Facebook page performance may seem like a daunting task if you have to do it manually from the Facebook insight interface or the Excel download, but it is good to start doing it that way to really have a feeling of where the data come from and what they mean.

Once you start being familiar with them, you can use third party tools that will help you save time and get right to the point. One free tool Emeric recommends l is the Facebook page barometer, but for more detailed metrics, you can also try the Facebook page management suite at

What metric are you paying attention to and why? Do you do that on Facebook directly or do you use a tool?

Like what you see here and interested in learning more? Join OMI and Agorapulse for a free webinar, “Facebook Metrics: Measuring Your Content’s Performance”, tomorrow  Thursday, June 12th at 11:00 am ET.


6 Facebook Page Statistics You Need to Know, Part 1


You’ve created quality Facebook content, but now what? How do you measure the performance of your Facebook Page? With so many metrics to track, it can be hard to break through the clutter. To determine the metrics that really matter, why, and what they can teach you, we spoke with Emeric Ernoult, CEO of Facebook marketing firm, AgoraPulse, for his insight on the subject.

What he’s uncovered are the 6 key metrics you need to follow to really understand how your Facebook page is doing, where to find them, and what they mean for your Facebook performance and why you should care. In Part 1 of this blog installment, we’ll cover the first 3 of the top 6 Facebook Page statistics you need to know. Like what you see here and interested in learning more? Join OMI and Agorapulse for a free webinar, “Facebook Metrics: Measuring Your Content’s Performance”, next Thursday, June 12th at 11:00 am ET.

Facebook Page Statistic #1: Fan Reach

What is it?

Fan Reach = the number of fans of your page who have seen any given post.

Where can I find it?

The Fan Reach metric is now available in the Facebook statistics interface. The “Fans reached” metric is easy to spot in your Facebook insights. In the posts menu, click on the top left arrow and select “reach: Fans / Non-Fans”. Then, hover to each graph and you’ll see the number of fans reached for the concerned post.


Why does it matter?

The Per-post-Fan-Reach is the most important metric because it is a key indicator of your content’s appeal to your audience and the quality of your audience. The higher the quality of your audience and the more interesting your content is, the greater the increase in percentage of fans reached will be — and vice versa.

Facebook Page Statistic #2: Organic Reach

What is it?

Organic Reach = the number of people, fans and non-fans, who have seen a given post.

Where can I find it?

From your Facebook Page, go to your insights, click on “posts”, scroll down and you’ll see the “reach” number for each post. Hover your mouse on the bar chart for “organic” and you’ll see the Organic reach number for that post.


Why does it matter?

Organic Reach can replace fan reach in the metrics you are interested in, but only if the average difference between organic and fan reach is not too high in your case.

Otherwise, it can help you identify ways to improve your content’s organic visibility. For example, an organic reach that is very close to a fan reach typically means that someone cannot be exposed to your content if he or she is not already a fan. If you have a website, a blog and a newsletter and no or very little difference between your organic and fan reach, it probably means that you are not attracting a new “non fan” audience to your content. If that’s the case, try to better promote your page on these other channels and you should see your organic reach going up.

Facebook Page Statistic #3: Engagement

What is it?

Engagement = the number of people who clicked anywhere in your post. That means liking, commenting and sharing, but also people who’ve viewed your videos, clicked on your links and photos, and also, clicked on a commenter’s name, liked a comment, clicked on your page name and even those who gave negative feedback by reporting your post.

Reach tells you how many people have potentially seen your content, whereas engagement is the number of people who have acted on that content.

Where can I find it?

Go to your Insights at the same place where you spotted the organic reach. The number of people who “engaged” with your content is in the “Engagement” column. To see the total engagement though, you’ll have to add the number of post clicks and the number of likes, comments and shares.


Why does it matter?

Engagement, whether it implies “acting” on your post by commenting, liking or sharing it, or is “passive” such as watching the video, zooming on a photo or clicking on a link, is probably the second most important metric to focus on if you are serious about measuring your page’s performance.

It is not enough to be viewed by a lot of people, you need to make sure that what you offer them as content will trigger some kind of interest. And engagement is the only measurable sign of interest. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series,  6 Facebook Page Statistics You Need to Know, Part 2.

Interested in learning more about the tools and techniques that can help you fine-tune your Facebook Marketing Strategy? Join the Online Marketing Institute and AgoraPulse on June 12th at 11:00am ET for a free webinar, “Facebook Metrics: Measuring Your Content’s Performance”. View the event here for more details and to register!