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If you’re implementing a new CRM, here’s how to do it right the first time.

Nearly every business collects the contact information of its leads and customers, but what you do with that information can be the difference between middling sales and booming success. How and where you store your contact information can make a huge difference in what you are able to do with the data you collect. 

Are you ready to take your marketing and sales tactics beyond the basic mailing list? You’re going to need a scalable, flexible solution for storing, sorting, and tracking the activity of your contacts. If you’re struggling with trying to maintain your contacts in a Rolodex, spreadsheet, or through your email inbox address book, it’s definitely time to implement a CRM. 

What is a CRM?

A customer relationship management software solution, known as a CRM, is a tool used to organize your contact info and manage your relationship with current and prospective customers, clients, and other contacts. There are a TON of CRM providers — at Denamico, we specialize in using the Hubspot CRM — but all of them provide a digital space to hold your contacts and track your interactions. 

The Benefits of Implementing a CRM

With a CRM, not only will you be able to store more information than just a Google Contact record or line in a spreadsheet, but you’ll also be able to see the big picture view of your leads and customers’ activities. You’ll be able to identify trends and make decisions based on actual data rather than gut feeling alone. 

A digital record of your customers will also allow you to sort them into targeted groups for marketing purposes. Whether you are interested in doing a mailing to a specific geographical area or sending an email to a specific interest segment of customers, you can create lists based on any property you collect information about. 

The best CRMs will integrate with your existing systems to streamline and automate your business processes, making sure that none of your potential customers slip through the cracks. And, there's no need to have someone replying to every single incoming lead — the CRM will collect the lead’s information and automate a follow-up email, nurturing the relationship with the customer automatically. With a small amount of set up, you’ll reduce your daily maintenance work significantly and eliminate friction for the customer. 

So, if you’ve decided to jump in to a CRM, whether this is all new or you're trying to revive your old CRM system, here are our top tips to ensure that your implementation goes smoothly. 

8 Tips for Implementing a CRM 1. Senior leadership should be a champion for the change

While your CEO is likely not going to be using a CRM system on a daily basis, it’s crucial to get the support of the corner office to ensure the success of your implementation. 

A CRM Landmark study states that “The greatest likelihood for success is found among companies that see CRM as ‘critical’ or ‘strategic.’ Affording CRM a lesser level of importance, the study says, ‘actually detracts from success because it sends the message to employees and middle management that CRM is not a priority.’"

The trickle down effect is real. If your senior management is committed to and excited about your new CRM system, you are more likely to succeed in company-wide adoption and consistent use.  

2. Get buy-in from the end users by involving them in the decision and rollout process

Despite its strategic purpose, any new tool can appear to be an unwanted shake-up if the end users are not consulted. In order to avoid being perceived as a burden, allow your end users to voice their opinion on which CRM system you choose and provide insight as it is being set up. If the end users feel as if this change is being forced upon them, none of them are going to maintain it or use it to its full potential. 

You will experience less resistance when you are more transparent about the transition to a new CRM. As you progress through the implementation process, take the time to explain what stage your business is at in the transition, what employees can expect in the next phase, and how they can prepare for the change. 

3. Define first, implement second

It’s a common mistake: You get so excited about the possibilities of a new CRM that you create properties and set up operations processes without even stopping to consider your existing systems. This can leave your system jumbled and your staff confused. Instead, begin by mapping out all of the established terms and core processes that your team uses which will now be handled in the CRM. By keeping your departments’ established naming conventions and process stages, your employees will be more likely to embrace the change and quickly adjust to working in the system on a regular basis. 

As you assemble the CRM system, it is essential to establish internal usage guidelines. If everyone who uses the CRM sets up their own properties instead of using the established company-wide values, you’ll end up with a system that’s cluttered and not useful to anyone. To prevent this from happening, you can assign one member of each department to act as a “super user” who can act as a gatekeeper to identify potential duplicate properties and run proposed adjustments past the system administrators. 

4. Clean up your import 

For better or worse, your CRM system is only as good as the data you put into it, so it’s essential to clean up your data before you upload it to the system. A fragmented import will lead to a CRM that is disorganized and difficult to use.

A clean CRM is essential to ensuring that none of your contacts slip through the cracks. Your CRM will be most useful if you keep the values in a property all in one format. For example, you should make sure that all of your contacts’ addresses include their home state in a single format – either spelled out (Minnesota) or abbreviated (MN) – so that it will be easier to pull and sort your mailing lists.  

Names are especially tricky to manage. A standard way to organize names is to have separate properties for first and last names, but some organizations may need additional name categories on record like title or informal address for mailings or nametags. No matter how you decide to divide up your properties, the values in a single category should be uniform in format across your contact records so that you can easily filter and search your database. 

5. Utilize segmentation

As you collect information about your leads, look for opportunities to further target your messaging and actions. If you have an opportunity to identify your customer’s job title, demographic, or what products they are interested in, take advantage of it. 

Use what you know about your leads to build and deliver content that will appeal to them directly. Using your CRM, you can filter your leads to create segmented lists and send targeted content to potential buyers. As a result of your attention to their individual interests, your customers are more likely to engage with your brand. 

6. Use the right tool for the right job

Your new CRM is a powerful tool, but you should take care to leverage its new functionality correctly. Make sure you are using the correct type of property to collect your data in forms.  

Whenever possible, avoid using a blank text field to collect information that needs to be in a uniform format for filtering inside your CRM. For example, if you are asking people to input their home state, give them a dropdown bar to select their answer instead of a blank text field so that the submissions are in your established uniform format. Your ultimate goal is to gather information while keeping your data as clean as possible so that you don’t have to clean it up later.  

7. Integrate with your other applications 

Just because you are using a CRM doesn’t mean you have to give up the rest of your tech stack. As much as you can, make sure your systems are talking to each other. Nobody wants to do manual entry or weekly uploads if they don’t have to. 

Integrate your CRM with your other applications using tools like Zapier, piesync, or if you are using the HubSpot CRM, you can use one of the 308 different technology integrations already established across 15 categories, including lead generation, ecommerce, and calling. These tools exist to make your work easier, so let them do the work of communicating with each other whenever possible. 

8. Provide adequate training

Frustrated employees might just throw up their hands and refuse to use the CRM if they feel that they did not receive enough training to understand how to use it. Schedule a block of time for your employees to meet and learn the system together. Make sure there is enough time to walk through the software and to answer questions. 

Depending on how quickly your employees pick up the system, you might want to have a second training and additional training sessions throughout the next year for those who need a review or have just joined the company. Additionally, you can assign and train an adept employee from each department to act as a “super user” to provide hands-on advice and on-the-spot answers for the rest of the department throughout the onboarding process and beyond.

Big changes are worth it

There are many reasons to implement a CRM, but ultimately, having a digital record of your customers that is integrated with your existing systems will streamline and automate your business processes while making it easy to nurture your customer relationships. You might experience some resistance, but by using the tips above you can be sure that you’re setting up your CRM the right way the first time!

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The number of companies with dedicated oversight on customer experience (CX) increases daily, with over 40% of leaders reporting directly to the CEO, according to Gartner. This level of CEO oversight is reflective of the importance of customer experience and the impact it has on a company’s bottom line.

Data plays a critical role in helping companies make informed decisions that drive the business forward. Customer success metrics can help you:

  1. Evaluate & improve key parts of your customer journey
  2. Expedite customer support interactions with the most frustrated customers
  3. Operationalize proactive support
  4. Test different support strategies

But how do you measure and gather quantitative data on a qualitative concept like customer experience and customer loyalty? That’s the question we’ll answer in this post.

How to measure customer experience
  1. Identify key areas of your customer journey to measure
  2. Create customer satisfaction & feedback surveys
  3. Set up triggers and timing of survey ‘sends’
  4. Set up automation to take action on unsatisfied and satisfied customer feedback
1. Identify key areas of your customer journey to measure

It’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than retaining the one you already have, and one way to gain an understanding of whether or not you’re going to keep a customer is by looking at data.

Customer success metrics, typically gathered using customer feedback surveys, give you an unfiltered evaluation of your performance and customers’ level of happiness, so it’s critical to collect data at key areas of your customer journey - for example, after completing the on-boarding process or engaging with your customer support team. You should also consider collecting feedback on any educational or support resources your team has built out, like articles in your knowledge base, to measure how helpful they are to your customers.

2. Create customer satisfaction & feedback surveys

Customer feedback surveys can help identify where and when you need to focus your attention on a particular customer to correct a wrong & make it right, helping you maintain a positive relationship with that customer.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), calculated using customer feedback surveys, measures how satisfied a customer is with your product or services immediately after a specific experience or engagement, such as completing the onboarding process, reading an educational or support resource on your site, or chatting with customer support.

CSAT can be collected and measured by setting up customer experience surveys in HubSpot.

It’s important to note that how you ask a question affects the answers you’ll receive, and thus the quality or legitimacy of your data. We won’t bore you with the psychology of it all, but we recommend a simple, open-ended question like, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with your experience today?”.


To measure how you’re doing, calculate the percent of customers who rated themselves as (very) satisfied - you should aim for 80% or higher. If you’re using HubSpot to measure customer success, you can add pre-built reports on customer experience and CSAT ratings to your reporting dashboard (more on that in part 3 of this series).

3. Setup triggers & timing of survey ‘sends’

Customer satisfaction surveys should be sent via email as soon as possible following an interaction with your customer support team, but they can also be triggered to go out after a set period of time has passed after a prospect becomes a customer or at the key stages of your customer journey to measure how satisfaction varies throughout a relationship.

Customer feedback surveys can also be delivered via pop-ups on pages of your website - these can be a great way to measure customer feedback on support resources or educational content, like knowledge base articles, that your team has created to help customers with common goals, needs, challenges, or questions.


Set up automation to drive action on unsatisfied and satisfied customers

Quick action to address unsatisfied customers needs is critical. Using HubSpot workflow automation, build out a strategy that alerts and empowers your team to quickly act on customers in need of additional attention or support.

Data is intended to be used to inform business decisions that drive your company forward. As you build out customer feedback surveys, ask yourself “If a customer provides feedback x, what should our team do with that information?”. Responding to valuable customers who complete a feedback survey, even if action isn’t warranted, is the most important and most frequently skipped part of a successful customer success strategy.

How to Measure Customer Loyalty

Studies have shown that customer loyalty increases as customer experiences improve, and corresponding satisfaction scores (like CSAT) can be a predictive indicator of how loyal a customer is to you.

Source: Qualtrics; ROI of Customer Experience, 2018

Customer experience data, collected immediately after an engagement occurs, can inform action to right a wrong and help predict customer loyalty. You can also measure customer loyalty on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis through Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys.

NPS is the percentage of your customers who would recommend your company to their friends, family, or colleagues. NPS scores, typically measured on a scale of 1-10 with a survey that asks, “How likely are you to recommend this business?”, provide a lagging indicator of how happy your customers are with your product or services. You can calculate your NPS score using customer loyalty surveys in HubSpot.

Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the Detractors (scores 0-6) from the Promoters (Scores 9-10) and can be used to identify those who are most likely to stick with you and provide you referrals. Your aggregate NPS score provides you an immediate health check and longitudinal metric you can track and work to improve over time. You should aim for an average score above 50, but companies nailing customer success are pushing a score in the neighborhood of 70.

Source: Retently

You can also measure customer loyalty by looking at customer retention and revenue growth with existing customers through metrics like:

  • Expansion revenue: The percentage of revenue coming from expanding product or services sold to existing customers
  • Customer churn rate: The percentage of customers who quit using your products or services
  • New MRR churn: The percentage of revenue growth achieved - companies performing at the highest level will grow by 129% annually without acquiring a single new customer.
    [Calculate: Revenue lost from customer churn & down selling - expansion revenue in a given month / Revenue you had at the end of the previous month]

[Calculate: New revenue from upsells & cross-sells in a month / Revenue at the end of the previous month]

[Calculate: # of customers you lost in a given quarter / # of customers you had at the end of the previous quarter]

 

Simply collecting feedback and measuring customer success will help you better understand how you’re performing and improve your customer experience through better insights and actionable takeaways. But developing and implementing a customer success strategy takes time, so it’s important to put the data to use and help inform business decisions. In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss automating reporting on customer experience in HubSpot.

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According to Forrester Research, 95% of businesses said their number one priority for 2019 is providing a great customer experience.

Why?

Customer experience drives customer success, and customer success can be a major competitive advantage for companies. Successful customers are happy customers, and happy customers are more likely to stick around longer and invest more money than those who aren’t.

What is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty is earned by providing customers with perceived value, satisfaction or success from your product or service, and making positive emotional connections. It relies on providing enjoyable, trust-building experiences that help your customers grow and succeed as a result of working with you so that they become loyal promoters of your brand.

Why does Customer Loyalty matter?

More than ever before, customer loyalty is paramount to the success of your business. It’s easier than ever for a customer to find and leave you behind for a competitor, and unhappy customers can tarnish your reputation with a 20-second post online or third-party review.

It’s no secret that the cheapest customer to acquire is the one you already have — up to 25 times cheaper, but the value of helping your customers succeed and keeping them loyal to your brand is paramount to your future growth with new (prospective) customers, as well.

Referrals and online reviews of your product or service from successful, loyal customers can grow your company faster than any in-house sales or marketing. 72% of consumers say that "reputation influences buying decisions," and even more say that they turn to reputation to break a tie between otherwise equal products or services.

The bottom line: the future success of your business relies on the success and loyalty of your clients today.

How to Gain Loyal Customers 

Loyalty, like revenue, grows when you focus your business strategy on your core market – solve their needs, exceed their expectations, and provide valuable benefits through quick and easy to find information on your website, educational resources, (of course) your sales or customer support teams, and everything in between.

Although, a business strategy centered around exceptional customer experiences doesn’t come easy; it relies on you building out efficient and sustainable support operations that:

  1. Solve customers’ challenges

  2. Answer customer questions

  3. Provide helpful information

  4. Respond quickly to negative experiences

This type of support doesn’t have to come solely from interactions with your team, nor should it - some people prefer to engage with you digitally, rather than with a person. The key is that you listen to your customers, help them succeed, and provide quick solutions to the challenges they have. Let’s look at some ways to produce positive customer experiences that help your customers succeed and turn them into loyal promoters of your brand.

Solve customers’ challenges

The first and most important thing you need to do is effectively solve the challenges your customers face. Provide your customer support and resources as they work through their challenges, or work towards achieving their goals, using your product or service. It’s important to make sure you get confirmation these solutions align with their expectations, needs, and preferences.

Answer customer questions

Solving your customers' challenge is step one, but questions are guaranteed to arise — it’s important to guide them to easily accessible resources when they come looking for them.

HubSpot utilizes the HubSpot chatbot functionality on their website to guide customers to resources or people that can answer their questions, rather than leaving them on their own to search the pages of their site to find what they’re looking for.


Here at Denamico, we use the Knowledge Base functionality in the HubSpot platform to create a resource database full of content and how-to instructions that customers can turn to and search to find answers to common questions.


Provide helpful information

In addition to answering common questions, content that educates your customers in areas your product or services has a direct impact can be a great way to help your customers grow. Providing advice and recommendations that align or can be executed through your product or services is a great way to coach your customers on their journey, provide value, and help them achieve their goals.  

Databox, a business analytics platform, created a template gallery full of proven, pre-built reports built out by their community of experts, which customers can use and customize to simplify the creation of their own reporting, or simply browse to get their own ideas flowing.


Outreach, a sales engagement platform, consistently publishes blogs that educate their customers on sales tips and tricks to help improve sales strategies.


Drift
, a conversational marketing platform, has built a resource library full of content to help their customers better understand conversational marketing execution strategies through education on how to build a chatbot, how to talk to different types of website visitors, and more.


Quickly resolve problems

A critical aspect of customer experience and success is being immediately available and responsive to problems if and when they do come up. A lot of trust can be gained from admitting your mistakes and doing everything you can to jump on making them right. The worst thing you can do is let a negative comment, review, or customer go unnoticed. Be human — listen to their feedback, be genuine, and communicate clear expectations around how and when you’ll have their issue resolved.

Data helps business managers improve efficiency, increase profits, and make informed decisions about future business growth opportunities that drive the company forward. You must track your customers’ experiences and perceptions to measure loyalty to your brand and to quickly identify and take action in situations where you’re falling short.

Tracking and reporting on customer feedback and loyalty can, and should, be used to make strategic decisions about your business.

In our next blog, we’ll dive into how you can leverage HubSpot to support, automate, and measure your customer experience and loyalty, and use that data to make informed business decisions to grow.


 

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Benefits of social media

At this point in the game, social media has become a part of our daily lives. Almost 70% of Americans are on social media and that number continues to grow every year.

With so many people spending their time on social platforms, it’s crucial for businesses to join in as well.

By using the social media channels where your current customers and potential prospects already choose to spend time, you’ll be able to boost brand awareness, engage them with interesting content, and earn their trust as a relevant brand.

But with the plethora of social platforms out there, it can seem like a daunting task to tackle all of them. Creating engaging social content is a challenge, and the thought of taking on the myriad of mediums is enough to make many small business owners throw in the towel.

But just remember, it’s not so much about being on all the platforms, it’s about being on the right platforms — the ones where your customers are.

If you’re using social media for your business, you can relax — there’s no reason to be active on every single social platform. The key to success is maintaining a consistent presence on the select channels that appeal to your target audience.

How to determine which social media platform(s) to use

Before you decide which platforms to use, you should take a step back and look at your company’s unique position and objectives.

You can narrow down your options by evaluating these four elements: your goals, audience, content type, and ads.

1. Determine your main goal

What is your main goal? Do you want to boost brand awareness? Encourage active engagement? Provide product updates? Answer customer questions? Drive traffic to your website?

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of potential goals, think about what you’re trying to achieve and make sure that the social platform(s) you choose are going to help you reach that goal.

2. Identify your target audience

What age is your typical customer? Are you a B2B or B2C business? If you are focusing on social platforms where your target market isn’t spending their time, you are wasting yours.

3. Pinpoint your preferred content type

What kind of content do you want to post — Video? Photos? Text? How frequently do you intend on posting — Weekly? Daily? Multiple times a day?

While you want to create an engaging experience for your audience, don’t set yourself up for failure by committing to a content type that you can’t create or a schedule that is too aggressive for you to maintain.

4. Evaluate your ad options

Do you want to run ads? Some platforms give you options ranging from simply boosting posts to executing complex targeted strategies.

How much do you want to spend? The cost of advertising varies from platform to platform, but a highly targeted campaign on the right platform might be worth a higher cost if you’re sure to reach exactly the right demographic.

Once you’ve determined your audience and objectives, you’ll have the tools to identify which social platforms are perfectly suited to help you reach your customers and your goals.

Social platforms to use

While there are many options, you should make sure that the social platforms you choose are a good fit for your business goals, target audience, content type, and ad preferences that you’ve identified.

No doubt, you’ll be familiar with some (if not most) of the platforms on the following list, but you might not have considered how they could be used for business. Consider the benefits and disadvantages of each platform as you evaluate which ones line up with your ongoing business strategy.

Facebook

Facebook was introduced in 2004 and quickly established itself as one of the top social platforms. The most widely used social platform today, it also allows you to share a variety of content types.

Advantages of Facebook:
  • Largest consumer reach – as of Q4 2018, Facebook had 2.32 billion monthly active users
  • Users of all ages and backgrounds
  • Lots of content options – video, photo slideshows, stories, post sharing
  • Highly targeted advertising options, which are generally quite affordable
  • Ability to provide customer service via Facebook Messenger
Disadvantages of Facebook:
  • Decreasing use among Gen Z – while many baby boomers have taken to this social platform, unfortunately many under age 25 are abandoning the site so they aren’t on the same platform as their parents and grandparents
Instagram

Instagram launched in 2010 and has since grown into one of the largest social platforms in the world. Businesses can use it to share visually engaging content.

Advantages of Instagram: Disadvantages of Instagram:
  • If your products or services don’t lend themselves well to visual content or you don’t have a dedicated designer or photographer on staff, it may be challenging to produce content that will engage your target audience
Twitter

Twitter launched in 2006 and is now one of the leading news and social networking sites. It’s ideal for businesses wanting to update and engage with their customers and prospects in just a few characters — 280 to be exact.

Advantages of Twitter for businesses:
  • 321 million monthly active users, with approximately 46% of users visiting the platform daily
  • Short posts allow you to be hyper-relevant and live-tweet events
  • Great way to provide customer support – 85% of SMB Twitter users provide customer service via the platform
Disadvantages of Twitter:
  • Users expect frequent posting
  • Scheduling time to tweet can often interfere with daily on-the-job activities
YouTube

YouTube is the top social site for videos and is now owned by Google. Businesses can take advantage of YouTube by posting helpful videos and embedding them throughout their site or on other social platforms.

Advantages of YouTube: Disadvantages of YouTube:
  • Difficult to stand out as there are so many content creators using the platform
  • Advertising can be pricey
LinkedIn

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is a great way for businesses to network, look for new employees, and post relevant industry and company information.

Advantages of LinkedIn:
  • 260 million monthly active users
  • Professional audience – reach senior-level influencers and decision-makers
  • #1 social channel for B2B marketing – 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • Advertising is highly targeted – enables you to reach extremely specific audiences with ease
Disadvantages of LinkedIn:
  • Advertising is expensive
  • Requires a learning curve to learn the ins and outs
Pinterest

Pinterest launched in 2010 and is a visual social platform that serves like a digital scrapbook. Businesses can use the site to highlight highly visual content like photos, illustrations, and infographics.

Advantages of Pinterest: Disadvantages of Pinterest:
  • Disproportionate number of female users – 41% of women say they use the site versus just 16% of men
  • Not ideal for all industries – popular content revolves predominantly around food, fashion, decor, and makeup
Snapchat

Snapchat, released in 2011, is a popular multimedia platform for businesses to showcase timely content. The platform’s format of shared images and videos that disappear after a short period of time promotes daily user engagement.

Advantages of Snapchat:
  • 301 million monthly active users
  • Great for reaching young customers – 82% of Snapchat users ages 18 to 24 say they use the platform daily, with 71% indicating that they use it multiple times per day
  • Geofilters offer opportunities to increase user engagement
  • Average daily active users open the app over 20 times per day and spend an average of 30+ minutes on the app each day
Disadvantages of Snapchat
  • Relatively homogenous user base – features a niche demographic of 13 to 34 year olds, and about 70% of that demographic are women. If your business doesn’t have a target audience in this demographic, Snapchat may not be the appropriate platform
Yelp

Since 2004, Yelp has functioned as a local search service powered by crowd-sourced reviews. While it isn’t a place where users necessarily go to interact with each other, it is a platform where customers can interact with and reach out to your business.

Advantages of Yelp:
  • 145 million monthly users on average
  • Allows you to create a reputable brand image
  • Reviews boost SEO and account for 8.4% of organic results
  • Utilize reviews to grow your business – 89% make a purchase within a week of visiting review sites and 29% will do so within a day
  • As a paid option, an enhanced business profile allows you to block your competition's ads from appearing on your profile page and lets you place ads on your competition's profile pages (unless they have also paid the fee).
Disadvantages of Yelp:
  • Advertising is expensive
  • Enhanced business profiles start at $300 per month
  • No control over posted reviews, though you can respond to them

Industry- and demographic-specific suggestions

Even if you’ve evaluated your business goals, target audience, content type, and ad preferences, you might still be stuck — and that’s okay. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • In the B2B or SaaS industry? Start with LinkedIn to reach a business-focused audience.
  • Interested in reaching a local audience? If your retail outlet, restaurant, or service center needs a boost, start by showcasing your business on Yelp and Facebook.
  • Want to share beauty or fashion content? Pinterest and Instagram are a great place to start.
  • Trying to reach a younger audience? You might want to try your hand at Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Got video content to share? Get it out quickly on Facebook. Is your video horizontal? Make sure you upload it to YouTube. Is it vertical? It’s perfect for Instagram!
Your social strategy should be as unique as your customers

It is worth mentioning that the list above is by no means comprehensive. While we think that these few platforms might be key for most businesses, your niche audience might be found on other platforms like Periscope, Tik Tok, or Reddit, to name a few. In fact, by the time this is published, there will probably be a few more new platforms to consider!


No matter which social media platforms you choose to use, what really matters is that you focus your efforts on creating quality content that will engage your customers.


You are the expert on your unique customer base, so you’re in the perfect position to determine which social media channels will allow you to connect with them best while fulfilling your business goals. Go forth and be social!

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Mobile devices are the new preferred method of web browsing and shopping. Is your digital content ready?

If you’re reading this, you probably own a smartphone. You might even be reading this ON your smartphone! With the power of the internet in our pockets, today’s consumer is empowered to make informed decisions on the spot, without having to step into your store or talk to a salesperson. So how can you reach into those pockets? With your not-so-secret weapon: your website.

In 2018, BrightEdge reported that nearly 60% of its clients’ web traffic came from mobile devices, and that number can be even higher in certain industry categories like Food and Beverage according to a Hitwise report. With those statistics in mind, is your digital content ready for mobile traffic?

Your website is your best salesperson — available 24/7 to your potential customers. But if it isn’t user-friendly on the device that a visitor is most likely to use, what good is it? As online browsing and commerce shift to smaller screens, it’s important for businesses in all categories to consider mobile optimization.

What is mobile optimization?

Mobile optimization is a strategy for making your website and other digital content compatible for mobile phones to provide an optimal user experience.

While mobile browsing is convenient for potential customers, there are some limitations to working within the mobile medium such as limited screen size and performance due to network lags.

So, with these hurdles in front of you, why should you bother investing time and effort into mobile optimization? The answer is simple: Optimizing for mobile should be important to your business because it is important to your customers and the search engines that serve them content.

Why is mobile optimization important to potential customers?

Visitors to your website are there for a reason — they want to see your content! But when your potential customers encounter poor layout, frustrating navigation, and images that won’t load, they are likely to bounce away from your page.

The stats speak for themselves: 43% of consumers are unlikely to return to a slow-loading mobile site, and 40% of consumers will go to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience on your website.

When someone visits your store, you wouldn’t make it difficult for them to get in the door or display your products on broken racks, so why would you present your business online any differently?

Your website visitors are potential customers, so you should present them with an exceptional experience, no matter the device they are using.

Why is mobile optimization important to Google?

With so many people browsing on mobile, it’s imperative for Google to prioritize the devices that most of its visitors are using.

Google’s ranking system determines what gets shown in search results, and Google has begun mobile-first indexing. This means that Google’s algorithms are primarily using the mobile version of your website to rank it for search results.

It’s in the best interest of Google and other search engines to provide their users with the best possible experience, so of course they are going to serve up results that align with those goals. If you want you want Google to serve your content to its users, you should make Google’s goals your priority. This means having a website that’s well optimized for mobile.

Mobile Optimization Best Practices

Because user experience is so important and most visitors to your site are viewing it on a mobile device, it’s in your best interest to follow mobile optimization best practices. We’ve gathered our top 10 here for you:

 1. Make your website search engine friendly

This gets a bit technical, but it all comes down to this: when you help Google, Google helps you. By adding descriptive information to the backend of your website, you create additional structured data to help search engines crawl and rank your site.

Because search engines benefit from serving their users the highest quality information possible, any additional header tags, meta descriptions, or schema markups that you provide can give the search engine “bots” more of a structure to grab onto while crawling the code of your website.

Why does this matter? The more the search engine knows about your site, the more it can serve your site to users with queries that match your content.

 2. Adopt a responsive website design

While you can change up your existing desktop website design to be more mobile-friendly, a responsive website is the real key to user-friendly content viewing.

Responsive site designs will automatically resize and adjust your content to accommodate the size of the screen it is being displayed on, reducing the need for excessive zooming or horizontal scrolling. This can include simplifying menus and rearranging on-page modules to better display your content without taking away from the user experience.

3. Optimize for load time

The time that it takes for your page to load on a mobile device can be a deciding factor in whether or not a visitor will stay on your page or bounce.

Ideally, your site — or, at the very least, the content above the fold — should load in 1-2 seconds. Google reports that 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Not only does page loading speed matter to your users, it’s also a factor in search engine ranking. Google wants to send its users to pages where they will have a great user experience. So, if your lagging site is going to frustrate viewers, Google’s algorithms will be less likely to recommend your site to users by displaying it near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

You can take steps to reduce your load time by performing site optimizations like minimizing redirects, removing extraneous code and scripts, resizing and compressing content, and leveraging caching.

4. Streamline your content and navigation

On small screens, real estate is limited, so make the most of what you’ve got. Every piece of content should contribute to your message — focus on the value of your content rather than the volume. As the old adage goes, sometimes less is more.

While you are making the most of a small space, don’t forget to consider your navigation. Most mobile users can intuitively navigate using a simplified menu, but you should make it easy for them to get back to your homepage if needed. Above all, make sure that your simplified navigation is consistent across your site.

5. Make sure your text is large and legible

No matter how good your viewers’ eyesight may be, if the text on your website is small it will be downright tiny on a mobile device.

You can avoid frustrating your visitors by limiting the number of fonts on your website and using a simple, sans-serif, non-stylized font that’s at least 14 point size for your main blocks of text. If your viewers have to zoom in on your text to be able to read it, it’s too small.

The amount of text on your page also plays a part in optimization. It can be disorienting and frustrating for viewers to navigate an enormous block of text with no breaks. Keep your text blocks bite-sized and consider using bullet points to break your content into smaller chunks.

You can also try breaking up text with strategically placed whitespace, imagery, taglines, or testimonials. Your readers will thank you!

 6. Optimize your images and videos

Images and videos are powerful marketing tools, but you’ll need to be careful to ensure that they enhance — not overpower — your visitors’ mobile experience. In order to optimize for load times, as mentioned above, you’ll want to size and compress your images appropriately and be selective about how many photos you use.

You should also keep user experience top of mind. An image that is too large to fit on the screen or too small to serve its purpose of showing product detail doesn’t help your potential customers. You can resolve this issue by implementing a responsive design, which will automatically resize your images to fit the viewer’s screen, and making product images expandable to show greater detail.

Video should also be used strategically. Keep in mind that most mobile browsers don’t support Flash videos, so avoid using this outdated technology. A responsive video player is also key for user experience. If your video loads at full size without adjusting for screen size, it may be too large to view and can slow page load times.

7. Design your site for touch navigation

Since your users are using their fingers, not a mouse, to navigate your site, it’s essential to make clickable elements just the right size and far enough apart. It’s annoyingly easy to accidentally click on elements if they are too large or in the path of a scrolling finger, and just as frustrating to attempt to click on tiny links that refuse to engage.

When designing your site, keep touch screen navigation in mind so that your users don’t lose theirs!

8. Simplify all forms

If your page contains forms, keep them short with as few fields as possible. If your form creates too much hassle for the visitor, they might choose to abandon your page altogether.

Additionally, you can reduce friction by removing unnecessary form fields, which can give your conversion rate a boost. Even marketing guru Neil Patel saw his conversion rates increase by 26% when just one form field was removed.

If you must collect information beyond the bare essentials you need for marketing, make it clear which fields are optional so that visitors can self-select how much information they want to share.

9. Avoid intrusive pop-ups

It’s happened to everyone — you are trying to read an article or examine a potential item for purchase when you’re interrupted by a huge pop-up advertisement blocking your view. It’s annoying, right?

Your visitors came to your page for content, not ads. When used in the right way, pop-ups can provide helpful information or deals that visitors might be interested in. However, these are best implemented when they don’t block users from viewing your site or interrupt an otherwise pleasant user experience.

Not only are pop-ups annoying to your visitors, but as of January 2017, Google also penalizes intrusive website pop-ups with a decreased ranking. It’s in Google’s best interest to provide its users with an optimized browsing experience, so if you’re still using full-screen pop-ups, Google is less likely to send its users to your site.

Certain pop-ups are still admissible if they are required by law, such as age verification or GDPR compliance cookie opt-ins, but if you absolutely must have a pop-up ad or prompt for newsletter sign-up, make sure that it is small enough that it doesn’t detract from the content on the page.

10. Add a click to call option

In the digital marketplace, potential customers are likely to research your business online before visiting your store or reaching out to you, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to get in touch with you. Make it easy for them to reach you by including a click-to-call link or button in your contact information.

No one using their smartphone is likely to write down or remember your number long enough to manually type it into their touchpad. By making this a one-click process, you reduce friction and increase the likelihood that potential customers will commit to purchase.

Don’t forget about email

While your emails aren’t going to affect your search engine rankings, you should still consider your audience when creating email content. According to Adestra, in 2017 global trends showed that mobile was the preferred method for opening emails, hovering around 60% of all opens compared to desktop and webmail.

Image sourced from Adestra 

Many website optimization principles can be applied to emails as well. Keep the mobile experience in mind at all times — simplify your designs, pare down your text, and create clear and clickable calls to action.

It’s all about the viewer

While you might want to cram your website full of awesome info about your product or service, you have to think about what device your viewer is using and how that device will affect their experience visiting your site. By optimizing for mobile, you are actually optimizing for business overall. 

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Content marketing isn’t just nice to have these days, it’s an essential component of successful marketing strategies.

In 2019, 84.5% of US companies with at least 100 employees will utilize digital content marketing strategies, as reported by eMarketer.

Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 81% of businesses who document their content marketing strategy align their teams around two things: a common mission statement and goals. An additional 81% said that recording their strategy makes it easier to develop and produce content.

Creating a strategic content marketing plan takes time, but when done well, not only will content creation be easier, you’ll achieve your goals faster!

Use these 7 tips to develop an effective content strategy:

1. Create authenticity through subject matter expertise

When it comes to content, authenticity is key. If your content does not showcase your brand personality or the value you provide to your customers, it’s time to make a change.

Companies that are not authentically themselves — in all aspects of their business — will eventually suffer. Potential clients and customers will see right through the fluff and lose trust in your brand.

While creating your content, provide value by aiming to educate or engage your prospects. In doing so, you will establish trust and credibility with potential customers.

Ways to incorporate authenticity into your brand:
  • Align your content with your company’s mission
  • Infuse your brand’s personality into your writing without adding industry jargon
  • Engage with your audience to further build trust
  • Write with people, not just search engines, in mind
  • Identify subject matter experts within your organization and ask them to write on topics they know well

At Denamico, we like to have our team write content on subjects they know well. For example, our Business Development Manager, Emily Hulstein, has been working on a three-part blog series on how to measure customer loyalty and success. Emily’s knowledge of sales, marketing, and strategy makes her a subject matter expert and the perfect team member to write about customer loyalty.

2. Produce relevant content

According to the Marketing Insider Group, “Nearly half of consumers won’t spend time with branded content if it’s not relevant to their interests.”

As a marketer, it’s essential to create high-quality content that is relevant to potential customers in order to gain their attention and establish trust. If your content is not relevant to your target audience, it will be nearly impossible to convert visitors into leads.

In a world filled with content, it can be a challenge to gain and keep your audience’s attention. Creating content that is useful to visitors will vastly improve your chances of building brand awareness and moving potential customers further through the buyer’s journey.

When creating content, always keep your persona’s preferences, behaviors, and pain points in mind. Think about what questions they have and seek to answer them through your content. Doing so will help you to differentiate your brand, engage your audience, and increase prospects’ and customers’ trust in your company.

Finally, when creating content, consider the stage of the buyer’s journey your reader is in. You want to produce vastly different content for someone who was previously unfamiliar with your brand than someone who has engaged with it several times.

3. Incorporate video and other multimedia into your content

Multimedia is paving the way in content, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. For example, video consumption is up to almost 75 million viewers each day in the US alone.

To boost engagement levels, use:
  • Interactive text
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Images
  • Animations

One of the most common ways to incorporate multimedia into your content strategy is through the use of video. However, audio content is growing in popularity as well. Take podcasts, for example. Nearly 6 million Americans listen to their favorite podcast weekly, and 40% of those 6 million listen to more than one show.

Incorporate audio and video into your content marketing by:
  • Investing in video marketing and using it in blogs, on your website, and on social media. Start small with simple FAQ videos, live video, and social media stories to get branded video content out there without breaking your budget.
  • Creating a podcast that educates listeners about topics within your industry or area of expertise is a great way to add multimedia into your content. For example, communication software company, Slack, offers podcasts on communication and collaboration, while marketing experts Neil Patel and Eric Siu post short podcasts for marketers in their Marketing School. Neither one tries to sell listeners on their products, but rather provide valuable information so that when listeners have a need or are ready to make a purchase, their brands are top of mind.

Here at Denamico, we use video throughout our website and in our blog posts. As video continues to grow in popularity, make sure you include videos on social media, your site, and anywhere that you distribute content.

4. Collaborate more with others

In content marketing, we’re seeing a massive rise in collaboration. More and more businesses are teaming up to utilize backlinks, feature their subject matter experts, and reach a wider audience.

Two companies who know how to capitalize on collaboration are Databox and SnapApp. They produce well-informed content with a wide variety of responses from industry experts to leverage their audiences and boost reach and engagement.

One of the best things you can do when collaborating is to ensure you’re partnering with the right company. Partner with brands that offer complementary products or services, or that target the same audience, but aren’t necessarily your competitors. You'll find that those partnerships can help grow your audience. HubSpot does a great job highlighting well-known, co-branding partnerships while showcasing how partnering with the right company can be successful for your business.

Additionally, Databox and SnapApp recently partnered with one another to create a two-part guide series about advanced B2B blogging strategies. You can read part one and part two for tips and tricks on improving your marketing strategy.

Increase collaboration through:
  • Guest blogging
  • Social media “takeovers”
  • Interviews

At Denamico, we collaborate with other companies because we love to #growtogether! Check out Emily’s tips on integrating digital and traditional marketing tactics featured by Databox, or a fun SnapApp tip about how to align your sales team from our President, Kristin Dennewill.

5. Capitalize on micro-moments

Modern consumers want fast, easy-to-digest information. To accommodate this, content marketing needs to produce “micro-moments” — a term coined by Google to describe four “moments” when a person wants to know, go, do, or buy.

  1. Know: Someone who is researching, but not ready to purchase
  2. Go: Someone who is considering buying a product or service locally
  3. Do: Someone who may need help completing a task
  4. Buy: Someone who is ready to purchase

Marketers are now developing “knowledge bases” and other informational resources to help guide potential customers to the information they want to know.

Add micro-moments to your content strategy by:
  • Creating FAQ pages
  • Building knowledge bases
  • Using Stories on Instagram or Facebook
  • Producing snippet information for search engines

Make sure these pieces are short and easy to understand. Provide an answer in under 30 seconds, so that your potential customer can continue on their buying journey.

6. Content marketing is now marketing

When thinking about how much content marketing has grown in recent years, we must look at how this form of marketing has shifted to just marketing.

Marketers used to looked at content creation as a side project — something to do when they had time to kill — but now content creation is a central component of all successful marketing strategies.

Content helps companies:
  • Communicate directly with their target audience
  • Create brand recognition
  • Generate qualified leads
  • Build trust
  • Increase site traffic
  • Increase social media following
  • Drive conversions
  • Educate existing customers
  • Move prospects through the buyer’s journey
  • Improve search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Increase revenue

Today, content marketing is marketing. Understanding that content creation is vital to effective marketing will set your business up for success.

7. Be strategic about your content

It’s essential for marketing strategies to include content creation. While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to ensure success, you can start with your overall business goals and work backwards to determine appropriate content creation goals to set yourself up for success.

Common goals include:
  • Generating more leads
  • Increasing web traffic
  • Establishing thought leadership
  • Growing your brand’s social media following

Determine what your company’s goals are and then use those goals to inform the content you put out.

Other things to consider when creating content:
  • Web crawling algorithms for SEO
  • Building long-form and short-form content
  • Distribution of content via multiple channels to create an omnichannel experience

Remember, keep your content and messaging consistent across all channels. By aligning your messaging, goals, and design with your target audience’s preferences and behaviors, provide a better overall brand experience that increases the likelihood of converting leads to customers.

Add content marketing to your strategy

As content continues to evolve, brands will need to refine their strategies to keep up. Adapting to relevant industry trends like the seven tips outlined above can help businesses succeed.

Learn how easy it is to get your whole team on board with content marketing using our helpful guide: How to Pitch Content Marketing to Your Boss

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HubSpot has stated, “People have been talking about the ‘year of video’ every year since 2006.” It’s true — video content continues to dominate the digital realm. Marketing strategies that center around video are helping companies of all sizes grow and succeed.

Wyzowl reports that in 2017, “63% of businesses were using video as a marketing tool.” In 2019, that number has grown to over 87%.

“87% of people would like to see more video in brands in 2019.” —Wyzowl

The statistics in Wyzowl’s 5th Annual State of Video Marketing Survey show that video marketing has seen steady growth over the last few years.

But, it’s not the fact that marketers are using video in their strategies, it’s how they are using it.

The key point in all of this is the effect video is having on consumers and companies’ bottom lines.

“83% of marketers now say that video gives them a good ROI, up from 78% twelve months ago.” —Wyzowl

The stakes are being set in the marketing world. It’s no longer about producing video for the sake of having video content. Instead, it’s about creating videos that address consumer needs and pain points.

Next, there should be a strategy for distributing these videos through multichannel marketing (websites, landing pages, social media, etc.) while also creating a seamless experience (desktop, mobile devices, storefront, etc.).

We live in a digital world. Fast, digestible information is what consumers want. By providing quick, easy-to-understand information, you’re helping build trust with your audience and guiding them through the buyer’s journey.

Here is our recap of Q1’s Twin Cities HubSpot User Group (TC HUG) event hosted by our friends Media Junction at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory on Wednesday, March 26, 2019.

How to get started with video marketing

It’s important to understand that video isn’t going away. However, how you use video will be the determining factor of your success moving forward.

So, how do you get started incorporating video into your marketing strategy?

While video can seem like a big undertaking, it really isn’t. Creating video comes down to simply having a content strategy and then filming. So as Nike would say, “Just do it.” Get out there and start shooting your videos.

Here are some items you’ll need in your video tech stack:
  • Collaboration and communication (Google docs, Slack, Skype)
  • Camera (Sony, Nikon, Canon, smartphone)
  • Teleprompter (Prompt Smart, Cue Prompter, etc.)
  • Video hosting platforms (Wistia, Vidyard, HubSpot, etc.)
  • Video communication (Zoom, etc.)
  • Video recorder (Soapbox)
  • Video transcriber (Rev)
  • Video editor (Adobe Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, After Effects, Frame.io, and iMovie)
  • Analytics (23, Databox, HubSpot, etc.)

Stop overthinking video. People don’t expect your marketing video to be a Hollywood blockbuster. Videos are created for one purpose: to engage your current and potential customers. As long as it accomplishes that, you’re on the right track.

1. Turn questions into killer content

One of the easiest ways to work video into your content strategy is to start small.

Respond to commonly asked questions with video content. If you’re not sure what else to produce, frequently asked questions can drive your video strategy. All you need to do is find someone who is an expert on the question at hand, sit down with them in a well-lit area, and start filming. You may find that in one or two takes you have something that can be distributed across your various digital platforms.

FAQ videos aren’t the only type of video content that provide value and engage consumers.

Here are 8 types of video that drive engagement:
  1. Demo videos
  2. Brand videos
  3. Explainer videos
  4. How-to videos
  5. Animated videos
  6. Case study videos
  7. Live videos
  8. Micro social videos

You can start adding these into your video strategy today. All you need to do is pick up the camera and start filming!

2. Target your ideal personas

Use your audience to guide your video content creation strategy. Your ideal personas are who you want to direct your attention to.

When determining what type of video content to produce for your ideal customer, consider the following:
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • What does your ideal customer want?
  • What does your ideal customer need?
  • What steps do they take before making a purchase decision?
  • What type of video content is most likely to engage your ideal customer?

Videos can make a significant impact on your customers. Start by interviewing experts on your team, using transcripts to make your audio content readable, and cutting your videos into shorter, more digestible chunks.

Remember: the shorter your video, the easier it will be for your audience to consume the information, process it, and then relay that information to others via word of mouth.

3. Analytics facilitate business growth

Take a look at the stats of your video and see if you notice any trends. You can use these observations to tweak your video and improve its performance going forward. Analytics insights like these will be a key part of your overall strategy to help you boost the performance of future videos.

Make sure you’re keeping tabs on:
  • Who views your material
  • How long someone watches the video
  • Where people are dropping off within your video
  • CTA clicks
  • At what point they decide to purchase your product or service

These points can help you understand which direction to take for your next video and how to better engage your audience.

Questions for the panel of experts

There were quite a few questions asked about video strategy at the HUG event. Below, we’ll highlight our top 5 questions and answers.

1. When it comes to video hosting sites, what is the best practice? And if you use hosting sites, can you still use YouTube?

You can always use YouTube, but HubSpot could be a better option as they’ve just added video functionality (although it’s pretty simplistic right now, but that may change in the future). At Denamico, we use Wistia for our video hosting and repost to YouTube.

When creating and hosting your videos, just make sure your videos are branded and that they are optimized with calls to action, appropriate tags, and custom thumbnails.

2. Video production can be expensive, what portion of my marketing budget should go to video?

You don’t need to spend a whole lot of your marketing budget on videos. Take a quick inventory of your current content creation budget — both in time and dollars. Depending on how much you are spending, a portion of that budget could be allocated elsewhere.

As an example, if you’re spending a lot of time creating blogs or eBooks, look at swapping out one of those pieces for video and repurposing the video’s transcript for your written component.

Think about how you can add one or two videos per quarter into your budget. If you were going to write a blog about a common question asked by prospects, consider creating a video response instead. You can easily simplify the concepts of very complex topics in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

3. We’ve talked about videos for marketing, but how can you use videos with sales enablement and how does that fit in with the overall strategy?

This is a great question! There are many different ways you can add videos into your sales strategy.

Personalized videos of general or targeted topics can be sent via email to customers or prospects. This type of personalization can also be carried through to your email signature with videos instead of just a stagnant logo or name. When your sales team adds these functions to their email correspondence, your audience will get to know your brand and your sales team better.

You may also want to consider creating videos for how-to’s, service tickets, proposals, playbooks, and knowledge base articles to improve your customer experience. That way you’ll humanize the sales process and strengthen your customer experience at the same time.

4. Can you embed a video into an email campaign or newsletters within HubSpot?

Unfortunately, the short answer is not at this time. However, you can embed graphics, gifs, photos, and more into your emails and newsletters.

We recommend in your email or newsletter to link from a video still image to a landing page which then transfers people back to your website where the video is located. That way, people can still interact with your email, and it gets them back to your site — a double whammy!

5. How do you set up the project scope appropriately (outside and internally), so that there aren’t too many people involved?

Video projects come with a lot of buzz, especially for clients, so it’s important to set expectations right away. You may even have to over-communicate your expectations. From there, you can decide who will be the specific group of people to sign off at each step of the process.

By creating a solid plan from start to finish, the execution of the project (and the scope) won’t be blown out of proportion or have too many cooks in the kitchen.

Top 3 takeaways from Q1 TC HUG
  1. Identify frequently asked questions, find an expert, and start filming.

Keep your videos informative, short, and sweet. Don’t let the message get lost in the overall scale of the production.

  1. Just get out there and film.

Video doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be effective in reaching your audience. Identifying the “who” and “why”should inform your video content and distribution.

  1. Use data to learn and improve.

Look towards analytics to see where you can tweak or change your strategy (views, calls to actions, drop off times, etc.) which overall can be beneficial to your company.

See you at the next Twin Cities HUG event!

The Twin Cities HubSpot User Group (TC HUG) is a community of HubSpot users, inbound marketing professionals, and business owners.

Join us for the next HUG if you’re seriously into:
  • Harnessing those “aha” moments
  • Learning about what works for other businesses in the metro area
  • Connecting with like-minded marketers, insightful speakers, and inbound marketing peers

Stay tuned for more information about 2019’s Q2 TC HUG event!

 

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HubSpot Impact Award Case Study About

Company: Sunspace Twin Cities

Location: Edina, Minnesota

Founded: 2009

Industry: Home Improvement

Specializing in Sunspace porch windows, Sunspace Twin Cities provides luxury porch windows to homeowners and contractors in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Customers can experience a customizable and innovative selection of porch options without sacrificing the “outdoor feel” of a screened-in porch.

Sunspace approached Denamico in early 2018 to help them overhaul their website and achieve revenue growth.

Overview Increase in site traffic helps improve revenue

Committed to inbound marketing, Sunspace Twin Cities wanted to continue to leverage HubSpot for their digital marketing efforts.

However, Sunspace has a business to focus on. Their time is best spent having conversations with potential clients, closing sales, and delighting customers rather than working on optimizing their website or creating new content offers and setting up workflows.

When it came time for business growth, Sunspace Twin Cities knew they needed an experienced partner with a deep understanding of HubSpot.

Sunspace decided to work with Denamico to optimize and automate their sales process, update their website, improve conversion rates, and help them achieve their revenue goals.

The Challenge Poorly designed website needed a major revamp

Years prior to approaching Denamico, and after researching and deciding on HubSpot, Brandon Williamson, the owner of Sunspace Twin Cities, built his own website.

However, he soon realized that he didn’t have the time or energy to manage his site and all the moving parts of an inbound marketing strategy. Not wanting to invest in a full team of employees, Brandon decided a marketing agency could help him achieve his goals.

Initially, Brandon was working with a less experienced HubSpot agency. However, he continued to have issues with his website and wasn’t getting the results he desired. His initial website had a poor user experience (UX) and led many potential customers astray before converting them to contacts or customers.

The previous agency had merged together Brandon’s original site and a new site they created. Merging these two sites resulted in a hodgepodge of design and incongruent user experiences. The effect was almost Frankenstein-like, making it very hard to navigate for both homeowners and contractors. 

Sunspace’s website pain points included:
  • Terrible UX and design
  • Confusing navigation
  • Overwhelming amount of product offerings
  • No way to segment personas (homeowners vs. contractors)
  • Lack of branding for Sunspace products

On top of the poor UX and design, the website was not properly optimized for search engines. Eventually, frustration took over. That’s when Sunspace turned to Denamico — an experienced growth agency focusing on HubSpot inbound marketing. 

Denamico’s Solution A four-phase solution improves Sunspace’s bottom line

To help Sunspace succeed, we knew our solution needed to alleviate their existing pain points.

Denamico’s execution included four phases:
  1. Redesigning the website to vastly improve UX and design
  2. Adding custom functionality and aligning brand with luxury feel
  3. Streamlining product offerings and segmenting personas: contractors and homeowners
  4. Incorporating video content throughout the website

Phase 1: Delivering a quality website in a short timeframe

With a major trade show coming up, Denamico had a four-week timeline to improve Sunspace’s website.

After an initial audit of their existing website, we determined it would be best to start from scratch. It was a bold decision given the short timeframe, but we knew it was necessary in order to help Sunspace attain their goals.

In four weeks, we would plan, design, and develop a completely new website for Sunspace.


Website redesign needs:
  • Improved UX design and updated style guide to align with Sunspace’s high-end brand
  • Custom features to generate and capture leads
  • Streamline product offerings to feature the top three products
  • Segmentation of personas throughout the site 

Denamico delivered a brand new, highly visual, conversion-based website — within four weeks. The website was ready in time for Sunspace’s big trade show, and, as a result, Sunspace was able to direct offline traffic into their inbound-ready website with confidence.

What’s more, the new website now reflects the same quality that Sunspace’s products provide.


Phase 2: Adding custom functionality and a touch of luxury

Next, it was time to focus on adding custom functionality to improve lead generation and capture.

To do this, we would need to implement additional features such as a quote request form and lead generation offers. At the same time, we continued updating the site to include a more luxurious, high-end feel that aligned with Sunspace’s products.


Website updates included:
  • Creating graphics to illustrate the various products and options for customization
  • Outlining the product selection process in simple, easy-to-understand steps
  • Adding professional photos throughout the site
  • Including photo galleries to highlight Sunspace’s portfolio of projects
  • Writing and designing a new content offer
  • Updating the contact page to include persona-specific forms

By improving UX and incorporating custom functionality and visually appealing elements that align with Sunspace’s high-end product offering, we helped improve visitor engagement and were able to attract more qualified leads.


Phase 3: Making the website work harder

After improving website engagement, we knew we needed to make some strategic changes to help guide visitors through the site in a more intuitive way.


To do this, we took a two-pronged approach:
  1. Simplified product offerings to focus only on porch windows
  2. Segmented visitors into two paths based on persona: homeowners and contractors

This streamlining of product offerings and segmentation of audiences allowed us to provide more relevant, persona-specific information to both homeowners and contractors.

These two groups of customers tend to use different terms while searching for products, have distinct paths to purchase, and different questions along the way.

We created two separate webpages to outline the product selection process: one for homeowners and one for contractors. Each respective webpage provides resources and clear next steps for potential customers to request a quote online or to contact Sunspace.

By segmenting personas, we were able to move into content creation that directly focuses on each specific audience. 


Phase 4: Adding video to create engaging content

During our website build, we decided to update the blog layout in order to better target potential clients. The updated layout includes a sidebar featuring recent posts, post categories, and a blog subscription form.

All of these elements work together to make it easier for potential customers to engage with Sunspace.

After updating the blog layout, it was time to work on adding video content to Sunspace’s website. To showcase Brandon, also known as “The Porch Guy,” as a thought leader, we used videos of him highlighting the various types of porch windows.

We also developed tutorial-style videos as resources for homeowners to reference when making a purchase decision and beyond. 

Along with adding how-to videos throughout the site, we implemented vlog content to further drive engagement and answer frequently asked questions. 

 Adding this new content to Sunspace’s site has made it easier for potential customers to access relevant and valuable information. Providing qualified leads with helpful content also helps build trust and move them further along the buyer’s journey.

Sunspace is now able to identify who their customers are, where they are coming from, and then segment them accordingly.

The Results Increasing revenue significantly in one year

The decision to completely rebuild their website paid off for Sunspace Twin Cities.

Now, more than a year later from the initial launch, Sunspace has seen immense growth in traffic, engagement, and conversions on their website.

We improved year-over-year growth for Sunspace Twin Cities:
  • Sessions up 79% since February 2018
  • Visitors up 101% since February 2018
  • New contacts up 194% since February 2018
  • Increased revenue by 40% from February 2018 to February 2019

Comparing data between February 2018 and 2019, Sunspace saw an increase of 80% in new contacts as well as a 79% increase in website traffic. These results, combined with ongoing inbound sales and marketing consulting positioned Sunspace to increase revenue.


1. Sessions

Before: With their old website, Sunspace saw a decrease in sessions from early and mid-2017 to late 2017. In February 2018 there were 550 sessions.

After: Within a year of launching the new site, Sunspace had increased its monthly website sessions by 79%, totaling 986 sessions in February 2019.


2. Visitors

Before: 345 new monthly visitors in February 2018 via their old website.

After: 693 monthly visitors in February 2019 via their new website — an increase of 101% from the previous year. 

3. New Contacts

Before: The old website generated 78 new contacts from February 2017 to February 2018.

After: The new website generated 200 new contacts from February 2018 to February 2019 — a 194% increase in new contacts and potential customers. 

  

Since the site launched, a year's worth of analytics have shown us that Sunspace Twin Cities’ contacts have grown significantly, providing many more opportunities for revenue growth.


4. Revenue

Beyond an increase in website traffic, from 2017 to 2018, Sunspace Twin Cities signed more project contracts and increased their revenue.

This was the case in the span of February 2017 to February 2018. During this time, the total number of projects increased by 37.5%, and the average revenue per project also increased. As a result, Sunspace saw their revenue increase by 40%.

Sunspace’s revenue numbers have continued to grow well into this year, and we’re eager to help them achieve additional growth throughout 2019 and beyond.


“I came to Denamico with needs for re-doing my business website and help with implementing Hubspot’s inbound marketing. They exceeded my expectations with the website, both in quality of design and in the timing of completion. This is a great company to work with! They have creative ideas and a great staff of people that really know inbound marketing.”
— Brandon Williamson, Owner, Sunspace Twin Cities
  Ongoing Services Profitable growth sets the stage for bigger goals in 2019 and beyond

As Sunspace Twin Cities gears up for their busy season, they’ll be focusing on one of their key sources of revenue: trade shows and events.

At Denamico, we’ll be focusing on helping Sunspace continue to grow their business through inbound marketing. By employing advanced strategies and best practices, we’ll ensure Sunspace has qualified leads coming into their pipeline from multiple sources.

We’ll spend the remainder of Q1 and Q2 working to improve on-page and off-page SEO to boost Sunspace’s organic search rankings. At the same time, we’ll continue our content marketing efforts, including video production, to increase engagement and drive conversions.


A successful partnership

Brandon at Sunspace Twin Cities has always appreciated that Denamico is proactive and strategic. By not sacrificing Sunspace’s long-term goals for the fact that we had a short timeline, we were able to maximize results.

By helping them achieve profitable revenue growth from February 2018 to February 2019, Sunspace Twin Cities is now able to be more selective about the projects they take on. As a result, their per-project revenue is higher and they are better able to maximize profitability.

Through the implementation of HubSpot and inbound marketing strategies and best practices, we’ve helped countless businesses like Sunspace improve their revenue year over year and reach their growth goals.

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With trendsetting brands embracing this new marketing tool, make sure you join the pack while the playing field is still relatively uncrowded.

You may have heard of digital “Stories” on social media platforms, but what are they and how can they be leveraged to promote your business?

As digital marketing continues to evolve, businesses must also evolve, utilizing new ways to visually attract customers to products and services. A quick way to do that is by maintaining business profiles on social platforms and incorporating Stories into your marketing strategy.

Snapchat’s ceiling-smashing Stories feature, introduced in 2013, revolutionized the way that people could interact with their friends and businesses could reach their customers. Later that year, Snapchat surpassed Facebook in number of daily shares with 400 million snaps. Many other social sharing platforms like Instagram and Whatsapp hopped on the bandwagon as quickly as they could and built video sharing functions similar to Snapchat.

What are Stories?

The concept of Stories is pretty simple: a user posts a photo or a video to a platform’s Stories feature. These captured “moments of time” are showcased for only 24 hours, whether other users have seen them or not. From the social media platform’s perspective, it's a rather clever trick to keep people coming back to the app and staying there. From the perspective of promoting your business, it’s a great tool to engage and delight your customers in an approachable, creative way. And, because Stories are only visible for 24 hours after they are posted, they allow you to publish content that is hyper-relevant to your audience during a specific time period or current event.

For example, a home improvement company could include Stories in a social media strategy both in the showroom and on the jobsite. Short video snippets are a great way to demonstrate what it’s like to work with them or to showcase their completed projects. For retailers of any product, from cars to clothing, Stories are a great way to show off new inventory, highlight specific features, and announce sales and other events.

It’s pretty clear that videos are replacing photos as today’s most attention grabbing medium. But the most important medium change is not video upstaging photos, but instead the shift in how quickly can you create and distribute content to your target audience that will engage, capture, and delight them.

Stories on the ‘Book

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, although they continue to distinguish themselves as distinctly different social sharing platforms. Instagram introduced their version of Stories in 2016, and Facebook incorporated the coveted feature just a year later.

While Facebook was initially built on users sharing original content (uploading photos and videos, creating notes, etc.), in the past few years it has suffered from a decline in content creation and a rise in sharing outside articles, news, and links. By introducing the Stories feature, not only are users encouraged to create original content — enhancing the consumer experience — but also to use the Facebook app daily in order to see their friends’ Stories.

At the end of 2018, Facebook had roughly 2.32 billion monthly active users and Instagram surpassed 1 billion, a number that continues to grow. While it’s clear Facebook still has a larger user base, it’s shrinking overall. As a result, Facebook is taking a page from Instagram and Snapchat’s book. You might choose to use one platform or both depending on where your target audience spends their time, but no matter which platform is the best fit, the Stories feature is worth exploring.

The Benefits of Using Stories for Your Business

With trendsetting brands embracing this new way to market, it’s imperative that your business joins the pack while the playing field is still relatively uncrowded.

"The biggest benefit of Facebook Stories right now is that hardly anyone is using them,” … “this gives your content a better chance of being seen. You really have first-adopted advantage right now." Carolyn Mann, marketing strategist at Larch & Lake Consulting Inc.

Whether you choose to use Instagram or Facebook, you’ll encounter a similar format but with a platform-distinct flair. You can find group Stories on Facebook, where users can create and add their own content to businesses’ group pages and events. Instagram’s version includes features like adding gifs, polls, stickers, and more to help businesses increase their engagement and reach.

“Users have adopted Instagram Stories with enthusiasm, and businesses of all sizes have followed suit," said Nick Verlaney, social media strategist at DEG Digital. "The key for businesses to use stories effectively is to appear authentic with content."

So how can Stories help your business? Here are our top 5 reasons why Stories are a business boost.

5 Benefits of Using Stories for Marketing Your Business

1. Create and post original content with ease

On every platform, Stories are a fast, simple way to create content without too much effort. Within a few seconds, your business will have produced original content ready to post and engage your customers. For small business owners, whose time is already limited, Stories are especially helpful as they bring the company’s products or services to life with just a few minutes of effort.

2. Increase brand awareness through storytelling

Storytelling is one of the best ways to draw attention to your brand, and it’s easy with the use of Stories. Stories help businesses share a snapshot of a day in the life at the company, how their business operates, and company culture through a continuous string of content. Using different post functionalities like inserting polls, gifs, and notes onto a story, companies can create engaging content and remain top of mind with their target audience base.

3. Take a human-centric approach

By creating unfiltered content on the fly, companies appear more authentic and human. When companies behave more like people, it builds trust and customers are more likely to treat them like their friends, returning day-after-day to consume interesting and relatable content from your brand. For SaaS businesses, Stories create a softer, more human side to a technologically advanced brand.

4. Engage with others in your industry

Following other people or companies in your industry will give you insight into what is going on in your space and help you stay up to date on relevant trends. Sharing helpful content builds your reputation as a thought leader in your industry, and by engaging with others experts, you expand your potential audience of readers through cross traffic.

Our friends at HubSpot do a great job of engaging fellow marketers through their Instagram Stories. HubSpot calls out leading brands, quotes industry influencers, and engages their followers with fun facts, helpful tips, and sharing useful content created by others.

5. Share highly interactive content

By the very nature of social media, the content that you create is easily shareable and highly interactive. Social content is an easy way for your customers to get acquainted with your products and services while also enabling them to share your content with their network.

You can also engage with your customers through posting, commenting, resharing like-minded posts, and creating fun industry and company hashtags for your customers to use and interact with.

If you build it, they will come

It’s evident from this list that there are significant benefits of using Stories as a large business — staying top of mind, announcing limited-time deals, promoting an event, and humanizing your brand.

For smaller businesses, the impact will be limited at first, especially if you don't have a huge online following, but creating content will draw in more followers. The Inbound Marketing Philosophy is built on the idea that useful content will bring in leads. It’s been said, "if you build it, they will come," and nowhere is this adage more applicable than content creation.

Stories: Insulated from the ever-changing algorithms

The hardest part for businesses, big or small, is navigating a platform’s algorithms. These notorious algorithms can hinder a company’s social reach by making it harder for their organic posts to be seen on timelines or dashboards. Despite the algorithms, the Stories feature still has the advantage of being displayed at the top of the screen in both mobile apps and desktop platforms, giving content shared in Stories a boost over feed-based posts.

Tell Your Business’s Story

There are many successful brands on Facebook and Instagram who are taking advantage of the relatively uncharted Stories feature, and they are clearly succeeding. By recognizing the potential of Stories, these brands are benefitting from a relatively uncrowded playing field. Your business could be one of them.

As Pete Caputa, CEO of Databox, says, “In general, consumer brands love Instagram, local businesses obsess over Facebook, e-commerce companies pine over Pinterest, B2B companies love Linkedin, early adopters use Snapchat and no one expects much from Twitter anymore.”

The real key to marketing success is knowing how to use these platforms effectively to be a thought leader in your community and reach your target audience where they already spend their time — on social media. Static content has a hard time engaging today’s consumer, but by embracing visually stimulating social content and leveraging Stories, your company can boost brand awareness and bring in more leads.

 

Images sourced from screenshots and/or recordings taken of HubSpot's mobile Instagram Stories and desktop version, and Facebook's desktop version of Stories.

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READERS NOTE: This is the second blog of a 3-part blog series on the business case & guide to using HubSpot to measure, automate, and report on customer loyalty; Read Part 1 - Customer Loyalty: What is it & Why it Matters, here.

Part 2: Measuring Customer Experience & Loyalty

The number of companies with dedicated oversight on customer experience (CX) increases daily, with over 40% of leaders reporting directly to the CEO, according to Gartner. This level of CEO oversight is reflective of the importance of customer experience and the impact it has on a company’s bottom line.

Data plays a critical role in helping companies make informed decisions that drive the business forward. Customer success metrics can help you:

  1. Evaluate & improve key parts of your customer journey
  2. Expedite customer support interactions with the most frustrated customers
  3. Operationalize proactive support
  4. Test different support strategies

But how do you measure and gather quantitative data on a qualitative concept like customer experience? That’s the question we’ll answer in this post.

How to Measure Customer Experience & Support
  1. Identify key areas of your customer journey & customer success strategy to measure
  2. Create customer satisfaction & feedback surveys
  3. Setup triggers and timing of survey ‘sends’
  4. Setup automation to take action on unsatisfied and satisfied customer feedback
1. Identify Key Areas of Your Customer Journey & Customer Success Strategy to Measure

It’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than retaining the one you already have, and one way to gain an understanding of whether or not you’re going to keep a customer is by looking at data.

Customer success metrics, typically gathered using customer feedback surveys, give you an unfiltered evaluation of your performance and customers’ level of happiness, so it’s critical to collect data at key areas of your customer journey - for example, after completing the on-boarding process or engaging with your customer support team. You should also consider collecting feedback on any educational or support resources your team has built out, like articles in your knowledge base, to measure how helpful they are to your customers.

2. Create Customer Satisfaction & Feedback Surveys

Customer feedback surveys can help identify where and when you need to focus your attention on a particular customer to correct a wrong & make it right, helping you maintain a positive relationship with that customer.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), calculated using customer feedback surveys, measures how satisfied a customer is with your product or services immediately after a specific experience or engagement, such as completing the onboarding process, reading an educational or support resource on your site, or chatting with customer support.

CSAT can be collected and measured by setting up Customer Experience surveys in HubSpot.

It’s important to note that how you ask a question affects the answers you’ll receive, and thus the quality or legitimacy of your data. We won’t bore you with the psychology of it all, but we recommend a simple, open-ended question like - “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with your experience today?”.

To measure how you’re doing, calculate the percent of customers who rated themselves as (very) satisfied - you should aim for 80% or higher. If you’re using HubSpot to measure customer success, you can add pre-built reports on customer experience and CSAT ratings to your reporting dashboard (more on that in part 3 of this series).

3. Setup Triggers & Timing of Survey ‘Sends’

Customer satisfaction surveys should be sent via email as soon as possible following an interaction with your customer support team, but they can also be triggered to go out after a set period of time has passed after a prospect becomes a customer or at the key stages of your customer journey to measure how satisfaction varies throughout a relationship.

Customer feedback surveys can also be delivered via pop-ups on pages of your website - these can be a great way to measure customer feedback on support resources or educational content, like knowledgebase articles, that your team has created to help customers with common goals, needs, challenges, or questions.

Set up Automation to Drive Action on Unsatisfied and Satisfied Customers

Quick action to address unsatisfied customers needs is critical. Using HubSpot workflow automation, build out a strategy that alerts and empowers your team to quickly act on customers in need of additional attention or support.

Data is intended to be used to inform business decisions that drive your company forward. As you build out customer feedback surveys, ask yourself “If a customer provides feedback x, what should our team do with that information?”. Responding to valuable customers who complete a feedback survey, even if action isn’t warranted, is the most important and most frequently skipped part of a successful customer success strategy.

How to Measure Customer Loyalty

Studies have shown that customer loyalty increases as customer experiences improve, and corresponding satisfaction scores (like CSAT) can be a predictive indicator of how loyal a customer is to you.

Source: Qualtrics; ROI of Customer Experience, 2018

Customer experience data, collected immediately after an engagement occurs, can inform action to right a wrong and help predict customer loyalty. You can also measure customer loyalty on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis through Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys.

NPS is the percentage of your customers who would recommend your company to their friends, family, or colleagues. NPS scores, typically measured on a scale of 1-10 with a survey that asks - “How likely are you to recommend this business?”, provide a lagging indicator of how happy your customers are with your product or services. You can calculate your NPS score using Customer Loyalty Surveys in HubSpot.

Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the Detractors (scores 0-6) from the Promoters (Scores 9-10) and can be used to identify those who are most likely to stick with you and provide you referrals. Your aggregate NPS score provides you an immediate health check and longitudinal metric you can track and work to improve over time. You should aim for an average score above 50, but companies nailing customer success are pushing a score in the neighborhood of 70.

Source: Retently

You can also measure customer loyalty by looking at customer retention and revenue growth with existing customers through metrics like:

  • Expansion Revenue: The percentage of revenue coming from expanding product or services sold to existing customers
  • Customer Churn Rate: The percentage of customers who quit using your products or services
  • New MRR Churn: The percentage of revenue growth achieved - companies performing at the highest level will grow by 129% annually without acquiring a single new customer.
    [Calculate: Revenue lost from customer churn & down selling - expansion revenue in a given month / Revenue you had at the end of the previous month]

[Calculate: New revenue from upsells & cross-sells in a month / Revenue at the end of the previous month]

[Calculate: # of customers you lost in a given quarter / # of customers you had at the end of the previous quarter]

 

Simply collecting feedback and measuring customer success will help you better understand how you’re performing and improve your customer experience through better insights and actionable takeaways. But developing and implementing a customer success strategy takes time, so it’s important to put the data to use and help inform business decisions. In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss automating reporting on customer experience in HubSpot.

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