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Have you heard of account-based marketing, or ABM? This new style of marketing to your clients has big benefits- for the right SaaS company. Not everyone will benefit from ABM; its effectiveness depends on your ideal clients, and for some companies, it’s just too specific. But ABM for the right SaaS provider can give your company’s marketing and sales a big boost.

Here’s the long and short of it: inbound marketing is like going fishing. You could fish from a specific pond, with a specific fish in mind, but at the end of the day, you’re casting your line into the lake waiting for the fish to come to you. ABM marketing is like golf. You’re out on the driving range with multiple balls, aiming for one specific target.

With account-based marketing, you’re using multiple strategies to target specific accounts. You’re not waiting for leads to come to you. Instead, you’re out there going to them.

Target a Well-Defined Audience

Does your company have a few large accounts that are key to your business? Or a multitude of accounts? If you said option A, a few key accounts, then account-based marketing is for you. To clarify, account-based marketing works for a specific niche audience. For example, your product is geared specifically towards IT decision-makers who work for the government. There are only so many branches of government and only so many IT departments for the government out there. Your audience is much narrower than someone whose product is geared towards retailer, for example.

If this is the case for you, then ABM for SaaS providers is a great option.

With account-based marketing, you can market directly to those few key decision-makers with a wide variety of tools. For example, you can launch a direct mail campaign, a social campaign, and a Google Adwords campaign that is targeting your specific list of contacts. You’re out there going to these individuals through a multitude of channels to get them to work with you. No longer are you stuck with campaigns that are too broad, targeting an entire geographic area and some keywords. You know you’re reaching your customers because you’re targeting specific contacts.

Clear Data to Build From

With such a well-defined audience, ABM for SaaS offers you clear-cut data that lays a foundation for the campaigns of the future. For example, maybe your targets are responding much better to the LinkedIn campaign than to the Google Ads. Now you know exactly how to reach your target audience. Without account-based marketing, you could see that the LinkedIn campaign performed better than Google Adwords, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was targeting your exact customers- only that it was targeting IT professionals. For all you know, your LinkedIn campaign got so many clicks because Joe Schmoe the computer guy really enjoyed the image. Maybe his boss (your buyer) never saw it.

Collecting such clear-cut data puts you at an advantage against competitors, too. Too often the power of data is underestimated. Through an ABM campaign, you could discover that the content of your website isn’t on target. It needs to be re-written to be more like the messaging of the LinkedIn campaign. Data collected through an ABM campaign could change your entire marketing program for the better.

Opportunity to Personalize Marketing Content

Have you ever gone to a website where, instead of seeing a generic home page, you’re greeted with a line that is personalized to your company? For example, instead of “The Microsoft Solutions Provider You Need” you see “Microsoft Solutions to Increase [insert target company’s name here] Efficiency.”

The difference is astounding. All of a sudden, the customer’s interest is piqued. This company is here for them, working to solve their problems. An ABM campaign for SaaS providers allows you to personalize your marketing content down to the company level. Because you’re targeting specific known contacts, you can redesign your content to display personalized messages to the people within your email list.

ABM’s personalized touch adds humanity back into digital marketing. You’re working with people again— not the world wide web.

Integrate Seamlessly with Your Sales Team

Now’s your chance to integrate your marketing directly with your company’s sales team. After all, who knows these contacts better than your sales team? They should be familiar with the companies, the position, and the industry. While marketing should also have knowledge of this, working together will provide you with more information to go off of.

Your marketing team should be able to work closely with the sales team to map out goals, remain aware of any ongoing sales initiatives, and identify what contacts they’re currently working or have worked with in the past. Collaboration is essential in order for the marketing and sales teams to present a unified message.

Black-and-White Goal Setting

Going into your ABM campaign, you should have set goals. How many leads would make this campaign a success? Is there one company that’s more important than another? What’s the time frame for the campaign?

With an ABM for SaaS campaign, you’re not trying to grow your email list or explore new industries, your goal should be to bring in new leads for large accounts and close them. The small set of target accounts allows you to more easily track how many leads originated from which account and which channel they came from. ABM campaigns should be relatively black and white. You either hit your goals or you didn’t. With great data to pull from, you’ll be able to track what went wrong and why.

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I don’t know about you, but if you’re on Facebook and some other social media platforms, you probably have noticed that things are getting a little ugly and divisive, meaning that people are picking sides, picking fights, and things just are not happy. I have been spending time trying to figure out how to post things that are positive, including positive stories from my life, positive quotes of the day, funny things, trying to do something positive to counteract all this negativity floating around the Internet. So I thought I’d do a post about a counterpoint, and this is what I’ll call “The Seven Deadly Sins Verses The Viral Virtues of Marketing”.

Don’t hit the back button in your browser or close the tab…. this is not about religion. It’s about posting on social media, and the seven deadly sins are things that I see people doing on the social media and the viral virtues are things that we can do to counteract that.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing

Let me lay out first the seven deadly sins. They are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. That’s what’s laid out in the Bible. Now, I was born and raised so New York Catholic that my mother was a travel agent for guilt trips… (It’s a joke, people.) Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with religion. It’s about the tone in which we compose our social media posts.

  1. The first one is pride. If you’re going on social media and only talking about yourself all the time, people will not pay attention.
  2. Number two is greed. Are you focusing on profits over people?
  3. The third one is lust. Now, this usually talks about sex, but when it comes to social media, talking about sex or gender or religion or politics will often create division, and a lot of times, it’ll piss off 50% of your audience.
  4. The next one is envy, where you’re beating down the competition. You’re talking about how people are doing things wrong.
  5. The next one is gluttony. It’s constantly posting over and over and commenting on everything. Now, I’ve been known to do that a few times, but I am working on it.
  6. The next one is wrath, posting angry replies to comments or posts, and I see this all the time when it comes to politics or religion or any kind of controversial posts. I mean, think about lately; have you seen the fact that there is a controversy over a mermaid? Seriously. It’s amazing how amped up people get about some of the simplest crazy things.
  7. The last one is sloth. Sloth is not interacting with your audience. It’s being too lazy to actually engage with people. You just want to post and run.
Reverse The Curse

Now, let me give the antithesis of those. These are what I mean by the viral virtues. These are the counterpoints to those seven deadly sins (in my humble opinion), and these are humility, then abundance, purity, kindness, order, peace, and action.

  1. Let me start with pride. I consider the antithesis humility, and that is doing something, instead of for yourself, but for the betterment of all.
  2. The next one if greed. That one would be abundance. In other words, you’re not worried about what you can get, but what you can give. More importantly, are you giving your best? Are you showing people everything without worrying about being taken advantage of?
  3. The next one is lust, and I look at that as purity. Do you have a heart to serve people? Is your heart in it to help?
  4. The next one is envy, and the opposite of that is kindness. Are you helping to build up, not only your community, but when you go into other groups or comment on stuff, are you building up people within that community?
  5. The next one is gluttony, and the opposite of that is order. What I mean by this is, it’s not just posting and posting and posting and posting, but doing it in small, digestible bites, something that people want to consume. You may know a lot, but are you sharing it in a way that lets people take a pause and breathe and think about what you’re saying? Don’t over-complicate it.
  6. The next one is wrath, and the opposite of that is peace. Are you creating content that creates conversations, that encourages people to comment, and that encourages a group of people to engage with each other.
  7. Then, the final one is sloth, and the antithesis of that is action. Are you creating content that promotes next steps? Are you encouraging people, energizing them, and getting them to act on it? One of the biggest things that I try to do is find a way to create a sense of accountability by asking questions, by checking in with people. Make sure that what you’re posting is being acted upon.
Recap

I know that 14 topics is a lot to talk about, but let me go through those one more time.

  1. Pride: Instead of pride, be humble.
  2. Greed: Instead of greed, give abundance.
  3. Lust: Instead of lust, be pure. Think about how you can help people.
  4. Envy: Instead of envy, show kindness.
  5. Gluttony: Instead of gluttony, do things in small bites. Create order.
  6. Wrath: Instead of wrath, invoke peace.
  7. Sloth: Instead of laziness, promote action.
Final Thoughts

I want to leave you with a quote and a couple of final thoughts. This quote is from a blog post from somebody named Katherine Hurst, and I actually converted it and put it into a meme on Facebook, and here it is. “Connection, not competition. Truth, not things. Fulfillment, not a career. Abundance, not wealth. That is where true happiness and the very greatest riches in life can be uncovered.”

Finally, if you’ve never read the book, The 100/0 Principle by Al Ritter, I strongly suggest it. It’s an easy read and says, “Give 100% of yourself 100% of the time. Expect nothing in return, and watch what happens.” I have tried it and I’m here to tell you it just works.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer’s in full swing. If you’re anything like me, the warm temperature and glorious sunlight has erased the appeal of anything that doesn’t involve drinking outdoors and listening to OutKast’s catalog on repeat.

As tempting as it is to grab an overpriced sixer and throw on Stankonia, you’ve still got leads to generate and sales to make. Even if you’ve created watertight keyword lists and razor-sharp lookalike audiences, something still stands between your prospects and your business: ad copy.

A beaut. Value prop, social proof, sitelinks—we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

At the end of the day, you need people to click on your ads—awareness campaigns on YouTube and the GDN notwithstanding. To be more precise, you need the right people to click on your ads. In order to make that happen, you need to elevate your copywriting game.

Writing ad copy for Facebook isn’t quite the same as writing ad copy for Google—different platforms favor different techniques.

1. Align your messaging with the customer journey

Google strives to serve users the most relevant search results possible. When judging the relevance of the various ads competing in a given auction, Google relies on keywords. In a nutshell, keywords help Google determine which ads are relevant to a particular query. That’s why it’s considered best practice to target specific keywords with your ad copy.

Now—I’m not about to argue that you shouldn’t include target keywords in your ad copy. However, I am of the opinion that keywords shouldn’t be your main focus when writing ads. Instead, you should be focused on meeting the unique needs of whoever’s searching for something related to your business—and that means aligning your messaging with the various stages of the customer journey.

Here’s what I mean by that. Across the pool of search queries triggering your ads, the users making those searches are at different stages in the customer journey—the path people take from the realization of a problem to the purchase of a solution. Whereas someone at the very beginning of their customer journey—known as the awareness stage—is mostly interested in learning more about the options they can choose from, someone nearing the end of their customer journey—known as the conversion stage—is far more likely to make a purchase.

TripAdvisor’s ad is perfect for someone at the beginning of their customer journey.

When evaluating the search results and deciding which one to click, users are guided by whatever it is they need to accomplish at that moment in time. Therefore, enticing users to click on your ads requires writing ads that help them do what they need to do. Often, this commitment to aligning your copy with the stages of the customer journey means being a bit more relaxed about keyword targeting. And that’s okay.

Think of it this way: Nobody clicks on an ad because they’re impressed by its keyword density. Instead, they click on an ad because it makes a compelling offer.

2. Tell people why they shouldn’t click on your ad

Wait—what? Aren’t we here to talk about writing ads that entice people to click? Why the heck would I tell people to not click on my ads?

Because sometimes your ads will be triggered by people who are more likely to forge a friendship between Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher than become your customer. It seems absurdly obvious, but it warrants boldface text: You don’t want users to click on your ads unless there’s a chance they’ll eventually become your customers. Otherwise, you’re spending money on clicks that offer nothing in return. That’s … less than ideal.

In a perfect world, there’d be a surefire way to completely eliminate any chance of attracting unqualified clicks. Although, sadly, that’s not the case, there are copywriting strategies you can use to reduce the risk of those budget-draining clicks taking place. The most straightforward way to do this is using your copy to tell users who your product or service is for—thus communicating who it’s not for at the same time.

If you’re not a student, you wouldn’t click this ad, would you?

For example, let’s say your company sells specialty skin care products for women. In order to drive high-funnel website traffic and fill your remarketing pool, you’re bidding on the modified broad match keyword +skin +care +products. There’s a problem, of course: The ads you’ve tied to this keyword can easily be triggered by male users. Because your products are exclusively for women, you don’t want men clicking on your ads. So what do you do? Simple—you include the phrase “for women” in your ads’ headlines and descriptions. Although this tactic won’t eliminate all clicks from male users, it will certainly reduce them.

2 tips to write your best Facebook ads ever

Although Google has certainly stepped up their audience targeting game over the past few years, Facebook is still the platform to use when setting your sights on specific groups of people. As powerful as that is, getting your messaging in front of the right prospects is only half the battle; the messaging itself is still extremely important. Here are two of our best tips for writing the best Facebook ads you possibly can.

1. Test, test, test

Being a digital marketer—or a business owner who moonlights as a digital marketer—means making assumptions. When we advertise in the Google search results, we assume that the keywords we’re targeting reflect the level of intent we’re looking for. When we create a Facebook custom audience, we assume that the users we’re going after will be interested in our offer. And when we write ad copy, we assume that it will resonate with our prospects.

We hate to break it to you, but that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes, the Facebook ad copy you’ve agonized over will miss the mark—as indicated by a low click-through rate (failure to entice the right users) or a low conversion rate (failure to ward off the wrong users).

Although you can’t get around making assumptions, you can turn those assumptions into valuable learning experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to run A/B tests.

An A/B test, quite simply, is an exercise that compares the performance of two ads. Although you can use this strategy to optimize a range of Facebook advertising assets—your target audience, your call to action, etc.—A/B testing works especially well when refining your ad copy. Ultimately, you want to answer a single question: Does a particular style of messaging resonate with our audience significantly better than another style of messaging?

Changing “viral growth” to “10X more traffic” could move the needle. Only one way to find out.

Here’s a simple example. You’re just getting started with Facebook advertising and you want to find out which tone—casual or professional—your target audience prefers. For one week, you could target that audience with a casual-sounding ad. The next week, you could target the same users with a professional-sounding ad. If one version performs significantly better than the other, you’ve got yourself an actionable copywriting insight!

2. Do your best to blend in

Unfortunately, we’re going to be the bearers of bad news once again: Generally speaking, people don’t like being advertised to—especially when they’re just trying to post some photos or check in on their friends’ status updates. In fact, Facebook has taken this into account with their ad auction algorithm. The less engagement Facebook expects your ad to get—that is, the less Facebook expects your target audience to like your ad—the worse you’ll perform.

Does this mean you should give up altogether? Of course not—Facebook advertising works really well. What it does mean is that you need to write ads that create a good experience for the users you’re targeting—and that means blending in with your surroundings.

Believe it or not, writing Facebook ads that don’t disrupt the user experience is simpler than it sounds. All you have to do is think carefully about what your target audience wants to see. Remember what we said earlier about writing Google Ads copy that matches your prospects’ stages in the customer journey? You can use that same basic philosophy to create effective, relevant Facebook ads that blend seamlessly into your prospects’ News Feeds.

Not to get too meta on you guys, but … this is a great ad.

Let’s use another example. You’ve been advertising on Facebook for a little while now and you’re eager to introduce your business to a new crop of users. So you create a lookalike audience based on the people who’ve clicked on your ads in the past. Taking into account that this is the first time these users will be engaging with your business, asking them to sign up for a free trial of your product is a surefire way to not blend in; that ad would stick out like a sore thumb. Alternatively, asking them to check out a video or a blog post is totally appropriate—so appropriate that some users may initially realize that it’s an ad! That’s a winner.

This post was co-written by Holly Niemiec and Conor Bond.

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At the heart of every inbound marketing strategy, the intent is the same: we’re looking to reach best-fit personas for our brand and nurture them with helpful content until they are shouting our brand name from the rooftops. In the B2B world, however, it is important to remember the size of the organization you are trying to reach because it can have many implications for the success of your outreach.

Some strategies are very well suited to reach SMBs, but those same strategies just may not carry the same weight when you’re going after Fortune 500 companies. If your team is heading upmarket and looking to reach more enterprise customers, there are a few key considerations you should make when assessing and reconstructing your marketing plan.

Three Considerations to Inform Your Marketing Action Plan 1. Longer sales process

In most situations when seeking out enterprise clients, you should expect a longer sales cycle—especially when you’re talking about a larger potential deal size. This is crucial for your sales/marketing teams to anticipate so you can plan your touch points and develop properly timed lead nurture workflows.

2. Different personas and decision-making team

At an SMB level, there may be one decision maker who has a budget and can quickly sign on with your product or service. At an enterprise level, however, there are likely multiple departments who will weigh in on the decision-making process—and, depending on the financial investment, the decision may need to go through legal, as well.

3. Type of content

In inbound marketing, we talk a lot about sharing “helpful content.” In this instance, the content will only be helpful if it applies to the buying process at hand. At an enterprise level, you may need more documents to help gain buy-in from other team members, even though that may be completely unnecessary at an SMB level.

Enterprise clients also tend to ask the question, “Who else is using your software/service/product?” When this comes up, it’s helpful to have a few case studies in your back pocket.

If you keep these three considerations in mind, you’ll have no problem revamping your marketing strategy and action plan to better attract enterprise-level clients.

Rethink Your Marketing Plan to Reach Enterprises Prove Your Credibility

At the enterprise level, prospects will want to know that you have credibility in the space. Prove this through strong partnerships with other companies and brands in your industry. Do what you can to get out there and establish your team as thought leaders early on, so the brand name will carry itself.

Additionally, identify your champions—they’re the ones who will gladly play a role in increasing awareness so other companies see your value, too. A steady investment in PR is another way to carry this credibility and tell your brand’s story. The more frequently you can get bloggers and outlets talking about your brand, the better.

Develop Tons of Content

One easy way to show your credibility to enterprise clients is through the content you create. Make sure that you are regularly producing blog content and premium offers, then share the heck out of them on social. Additionally, invite experts from your industry to contribute content through blogs, webinars, social-exclusive content, and podcasts.

Your enterprise audience will be happy to see that these prestigious voices are tied to your brand, and may have an easier time buying in. As mentioned previously, another easy win is focusing on creating case studies and success stories about your product that demonstrate ROI. These materials have the potential to speak volumes about your brand and are crucial in the consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Expand Your Reach

Further building on your credibility and brand awareness, think about how you’re leveraging those partnerships digitally to drive strong backlinks to your site. Guest blog posts go a long way in terms of link building, but even more importantly, they show your prospective enterprise customers that you are an expert in this field. Pursuing opportunities to speak at industry-specific conferences and trade shows will perpetuate this expertise, as well.

Consider Account-Based Marketing

It’s not always easy to determine who the decision makers and champions are at an enterprise level. If you find that your team is running into trouble with this, it may be worth thinking about adding account-based marketing to your marketing mix. This can help you expand your prospect outreach while also gleaning better insight about your target audience that can inform your marketing in the future.

Remap Your Sales Process

Knowing that you are (most likely) dealing with a longer sales cycle, marketing and sales will need to put their heads together to create a robust process that works for your enterprise buyers. If you are using a CRM such as HubSpot to track your deals, consider adding in any additional stages needed, such as “With Committee” and “Legal Review,” to account for the entire decision-making process. From there, you can start to reverse engineer and allocate your touch points so you are staying helpful and top of mind during the entire decision-making process.

Conclusion

The shift to attract more enterprise-level leads is certainly within reach—you’ll just want to be intentional about how you access this new market. Once you get the right action plan in place and your team is on the same page, you’ll be on the right path to head upmarket.

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Tasked with generating demand? Need to send qualified leads to your sales team?

If you’re working to be a black belt demand gen ninja, you’ll need to make sure you’re tracking the most important metrics, the best key performance indicators (KPIs).

What does that look like? What kind of dashboard should you build?

Some of the answer depends on exactly what you’re tasked with, but a few KPIs are universal when you’re in charge of demand gen.

With so much data at our fingertips, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to measure, how to report on it, and what to do with it all. Metrics and data are useless unless they’re presented in the right context and provide actionable insights into your demand gen operations. That’s why it’s important to define a well-rounded approach for evaluating your demand generation efforts.

Let’s start with an overview of the types of metrics you can track. Then you can choose the key metrics for your demand gen efforts.

Here are some of the more popular metric categories for demand gen:

Engagement metrics. This is where you measure how your leads and prospects respond to your communications. They should include metrics like site traffic, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and read rates.

Performance metrics. Performance metrics are excellent for evaluating the effectiveness of your funnel holistically. These metrics should include a look into marketing qualified leads, sales-accepted leads, and sales cycle length.

ROI metrics. What’s your return on investment? This category is the hard money stats and dollar values that your marketing efforts generated. They will include data like customer acquisition cost, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and total revenue generated.

A well-rounded demand gen strategy will take metrics of each type into account to paint a complete picture while identifying areas for improvement.

This is how you become a demand gen ninja.

Traffic – More than a Vanity Metric

Let’s start at the beginning. Without visitors coming to your website, you’ll have nothing to measure. You can’t end here, and hang your hat on “Well we have 10,000 visitors a day!” when none of them convert. But you have to at least monitor the health of your website views and your social media presence. Traffic is important. Once you have that as a constant awareness, it’s time to dive deeper.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a critical metric for understanding your marketing ROI. After all, if a campaign doesn’t generate revenue, then it isn’t successful for your business.

Many engagement metrics are great leading indicators of success, but CPA is the financial metric that speaks to the heart of your revenue generation efforts.

CPA is essentially the cost to acquire a single paying customer through a specific campaign or channel. You can also use a similar metric, Cost per lead (CPL) to track your overall spend on a lead-by-lead basis, which is important for knowing how much you have to spend to keep your funnel full.

Calculating CPA

Luckily, calculating your CPA for a specific campaign is relatively simple. It doesn’t require a detailed algorithm or a degree in statistics to calculate and understand.

Calculate your CPA by dividing all of the costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired during the period in which the money was spent.

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Voice search smart assistants Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are making us rethink how we should do our SEO strategy

In a recent article published by TechiExpert, Amazon’s Alexa is changing how organic searches would appear in search engines. While SEO has been long dominated by Google Search, technological developments would inevitably change that—namely voice search.

While I myself use Samsung Bixby to start up my day, I didn’t think that my questions and requests would reflect my “consumer intent”. If you’re familiar with marketing strategies, you would know that SEO involves finding out what the customer wants by using the keywords they use to search on Google. And sometimes Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. But most businesses overlook that and we know why (honestly you shouldn’t).

What’s Voice Search Got to Do With It?

Customer intent is strongly emphasized based on the amount of searches on these engines. In line with that, Alexa is said to recommend a product or two after voice searches. While you may think that’s something that wouldn’t matter in a few years. You should consider looking at this data.

Blue Corona on Voice Search Marketing

Blue Corona, a premium digital marketing agency based in the United States, said that voice search is growing. Apparently, you and I are not alone. A lot of people had fun using Siri and Alexa that some people find it essential in their daily lives. As I’ve said, Alexa recommends a product or answers a query after a voice search. I would it imagine it would go like this: “Siri, are boba milk teas part of a keto diet”. Now, imagine if you are a startup company for a “keto version” of boba milk tea, you can already sense buying intent from the customer. Wouldn’t it be nice if you’re company came up first in that search? Voice search makes that’s all possible.

It’s good to note that Amazon looks into more than just traffic and SEO strategies. They look into the best selling products, too. This means it’s more than just clicks and keywords.

Why the Current SEO Strategy Just Isn’t Gonna Work

Simply put, writing and speaking are different. When you type something Google, most of the time you’re already looking into buying something. But a conversation can just merely pose a question. “How much does a bottle of sauvignon wine cost?” would sound different on paper and on voice. The text search would expect a list of brands and price comparisons. The voice search would expect a response from a robotic voice merely telling the price. The same thing applies for SEO strategies.

Also, people wouldn’t type ‘how much does a bottle of sauvignon cost’. The keyword would mostly be ‘sauvignon wine price’ or ‘sauvignon best price’. That doesn’t sound human at all. Voice searches would transform into long tail questions. The tone of the search would be more natural and conversational. This also means that your business, your website, and your content should sound more like that.

Artificial Intelligence for Voice Searches Looks Into Your Content

Just like how Amazon doesn’t care solely about your traffic, voice searches function using artificial intelligence that looks into content. This means black hat SEO or exact match tactics that you and I know so well wouldn’t work as much. What they look into are fast homepages and websites, related blogs about services incorporating the SEO strategy for voice search I stated above.

Voice search marketing also makes use of the featured snippets. Featured snippets are the bane of existence for organic traffic. These are the featured content found on top of the top 10 Google search results for specific queries. Basically, searches can be reduced to just one top content. And that makes Google even harder to rank into.

Nevertheless, this means your content should show more authority in a specific question. The good thing about these featured snippets is that there is reportedly higher conversion among customers. So, if we can make use of it. We should.

How Does Voice Search Work for SEO Strategies

While voice search is still a nascent concept for online marketing, your content could be optimized for voice search. These are some of the things you should consider when doing voice search marketing:

  • Try a normal sounding voice: And this one you sometimes forget. ‘Sauvignon best price’ doesn’t necessarily work grammatically in a sentence. In fact, it’s just chopped words used for search engine queries. Even ‘#1 Sauvignon best price’ won’t sound right in voice searches. So try sounding like a human for once when creating content.
  • Use question phrases: Because voice searches are mostly used for questions. “How much do Agatha Christie novels cost?” “What’s the weather today?” “How much does sauvignon cost?” You get my point.
  • Long tail keywords are your friend now: And while the usual SEO puts this into the conversation. Most people don’t really take note of it. Voice searches would make use of this more as questions are mostly long tail.
  • Focus on user intent: Think about what they want and how your content will match with it. ‘Emergency car locksmith services’ and ‘car locksmith services’ are vastly different by urgency and intent. If you’ve created multiple blogs about ‘getting locked out of your car’ and ‘locksmith tips and tricks’ then you’d most probably pop up in the first search. Remember, the AI looks into your content.
  • Again, Optimize: While some marketers think voice search could be the death of SEO, current practices are still applicable in some ways. SEO would help you narrow down that intent into conversion. Still.
  • Trust and transparency: Make sure your business profiles and contact information are filled in. That’s just another common thing people look for in voice search. Do you really open your business at 8am? Make sure that’s accurate. Or you’ll be losing customers when Siri gives them your business number and you’re out of reach.
  • Lastly, make sure your website ACTUALLY loads: Voice search are fast. And when they search for a website, yours must get to work quickly. If not, then you should really do something about it.
Why You Should Consider Optimizing for Voice Search Marketing

At this point, you might be thinking, why does it matter to me? Well…

  • 61% of users aged 21-64 said they would most likely use voice search in the future.
  • 57% of teens also say they would most likely use voice search. By 2020, an estimated
  • 50% of all searches would be done by voice search.

Again, some experts think that voice search marketing could be the end of SEO. I think otherwise. Online marketing and marketing strategies change over the years. There is an emerging channel for search intent with voice search. And should be considered with marketing strategies.

Voice Search for Future Marketing Strategies

The advent of voice search could put some marketing tricks at risk. But it also gives a clear picture of what customers really want. They want convenience. They want answers. And they want it fast. Nothing speaks louder as a concrete answer than the voice of the customers themselves.

Voice search should definitely be up your sleeve. It’s not gonna go away anytime soon as more and more people are getting into it. Voice search acts like a medium of instant answers. So if you’re going to optimize for voice, make sure speed is one of your priorities. According to data, the longer your website loads, the faster customers leave. If it takes 10 seconds to load, that customer is 123% gone.

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Are you speaking to me? Woah, for a second there I thought you were looking over my shoulder.

Not sure if you are reaching “the” customer, a “group” of customers, or “all” customers with your current messaging? It’s high time you figured that out.

As marketers, we want customers’ attention, but also know that we need to respect their time. If your messaging is more cringe-worthy than relevant, you risk losing that customer through annoyance, app uninstall, or lost sales opportunity. None of which will help your growth goals.

We know from Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer that 57% of mobile users are okay with sharing their personal data, and 77% will “choose, recommend and pay more” for personalized experiences … but, only 22% of users are satisfied with the personalization they receive. This is a giant business opportunity for brands, because time on mobile continues to increase for every generation. How can you grab a user’s attention on their most omnipresent device?

Accenture has done similar work on the value of great, personalized experiences. Core findings are that 75% of customers are more likely to buy from an organization that:

  • Recognizes them by their name
  • Knows their purchase history
  • Recommends products based on past purchases

Now, it’s not really surprising that customer satisfaction around personalization is low, because it’s actually hard to do well, and at scale. There are many components to Personalization, and to execute a highly personalized campaign, you’ll need to consider:

  • Who you are reaching: A list or segment
  • What you are saying: Your offer or creative
  • When to deliver it: The best time to engage
  • Where to deliver it: The channels
  • How often: … i.e. frequency, to balance persistence and annoyance

Those decisions touch a lot of individuals and departments, and coordination can be a challenge. But the rewards can be tremendous.

In this blog post, and also in a recent webinar, we highlight how marketers can quickly identify the “what” of the personalization formula. That begins with predictive product recommendations — which was the third bullet of Accenture’s great customer experience research above.

Predictive Product Recommendations

You’re likely familiar with this as a consumer. You buy or look at one item, and you get a recommendation for similar items you may need or enjoy. This is the digital backbone of Amazon’s growth in some ways.

In fact, many of our customers who use predictive product recommendations, typically see results 2-4x greater than standard campaigns. And at the heart of all this is personalization.

For example, using Localytics, you can come to these conclusions about the relationship between a series of products:

In your dashboard, it would look like this:

And your end user? They’d get this:

You know they’re 54% more likely to buy this product, so the push they receive is truly tailored to them and based on data.

It’s beyond just push, though. With the Localytics platform, you can also engage with users in-app, in-Inbox, geo-based (“check out the store near you for this deal,” etc.), and via web push.

What you’re doing here is using a personalization strategy, backed by data, to drive intelligent product recommendations and operate at scale. And it works: as we noted in our recent webinar on predictive product recommendations, one client of ours saw a 111% uptick in Annual Revenue Per User (ARPU), with a corresponding 68.8% lift in transactions per user.

Is it hard to get started with these strategies?

No, not at all. It only takes about 21 days to go-live, following this timeline:

Beginning with data, you define the rules by Day 3, then approve the rules within four days of that. Once the rules are approved, you can create campaigns within a week, and launch those campaigns within another week. While there are always competing priorities in a business, we’ve seen this timeline work with multiple clients. That means that from “data investigation” to “go live” is only about 3-4 work weeks; manage multiple predictive campaigns at once as you get better at defining rules, and you’ll see growth across multiple products within months.

If you’d be interested in talking more about setting up some basic predictive campaigns for your product suite, let’s start a conversation. I would be happy to help you learn more about delivering Personalization that delivers these same results for your organization.

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Are you trying to figure out how your leads or Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) fit into an account-based strategy? You’re not alone – it’s one of the questions I hear most often.

Many marketers believe that making the switch to ABM means they have to sacrifice all of the traditional marketing metrics they’ve become accustomed to: form fills, leads, etc.

But ABM doesn’t have to be a “this or that” strategy – you can still incorporate leads into your account-based approach by simply adjusting a few things.

How Do Leads Fit Into Account Based Marketing?

It is a common misconception that leads are bad in an account-based strategy. Yes, bad leads are bad. But if you were to ask any salesperson if they want a good lead, the answer is probably yes. What you have to ask yourself is, “What is a good lead in modern B2B marketing?”

Is your definition of a lead simply a form fill? That might be too restrictive in today’s B2B space as there are many ways that people can engage with your brand – your new definition of a lead should reflect that. Did someone engage with you through chat, watch a video on your site, or read an ungated ebook?

Many of the tools you use today to host content, such as Vidyard or Uberflip, are able to send information back to your marketing automation system. This allows you to track known contact activity, add them to a campaign, and alert sales without using a form.

If someone did any of the items above and they’re from a good-fit account, you should think of them as the equivalent of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

Incorporating Leads Metrics Into Your ABM Program

Once your organization makes the switch to account-based marketing, you’re faced with the challenge of figuring out what to do with one of the most important metrics in traditional inbound marketing: leads.

For years, traditional businesses have been able to create very predictable pipelines based on lead metric targets; for example, by doing a historical analysis, a business could benchmark an average 5% conversion on leads becoming an MQL, and from there they could benchmark an average 50% conversion to SQL, and so on. This historical conversion data would allow them to build predictive pipeline reports.

While you’d always expect for there to be fluctuations based on seasonality, competitive pressure, or other outside forces, this kind of predictive modeling made it a bit easier for marketers to measure themselves based on their ability to make incremental gains in any of those lead-based metrics along the path to revenue (or a newly acquired customer).

It also gave sales the ability to easily scale hiring needs based on lead consumption rates and pipeline velocity.

But the problem with lead-based marketing is that, while the end result is predictable, you can also predict one other important thing: you’ll probably have to deal with a lot of unqualified or bad-fit leads.

Switching to account-based marketing filters out those bad-fit leads because you’ve narrowed your focus to your total addressable market and/or your ideal customer profile. This requires a mindset shift because you’re essentially asking your marketing team to either ignore or deprioritize the gross acquisition of leads, or severely discount their impact and learn to focus on entirely new metrics (like revenue). Scaling your sales team based on consuming bad-fit leads also makes the sales org more expensive without the same return on investment.

Tools like a marketing automation system can filter out incoming leads that don’t match your ICP, and because you’ve already done the legwork in advance to identify your ideal customer, when contacts from target accounts lean in and self-identify (via a web form, etc.), you can immediately move them into your marketing qualified lead bucket.

The benefit of ABM is that, in theory, you can “skip” the lead stage and move contacts into an MQL or SQL status. Because bad-fit leads shouldn’t be entering the pipe at all.

So where do traditional inbound metrics fit into account-based marketing? Essentially, you’re going to stop paying attention to the very top of the funnel – you just cut it out of the reporting. Instead, you’ll focus on marketing accepted leads or sales accepted leads, because that’s what ABM will help you drive more of.

Turning Anonymous Account Engagement into MQLs

Engagement is currently a big word in ABM and B2B marketing. Unfortunately, people sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to make it tangible, especially if they are still measured by leads or MQLs. Overall, we feel that measuring marketing’s success based off of engagement is far more valuable than MQLs, but we don’t want you to throw the baby out with the bathwater or suggest that someone transform their marketing measurement model before they are ready.

Just because marketing’s performance is measured by leads, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of engagement. When you see that a good-fit account is engaging with your brand, you can add that account to a marketing program or campaign. You could create retargeting audiences based on good-fit account visits to your site. You could start proactively advertising to a whole department in an account that has visited your site. You could send a direct mail, invite them to an event, or create a personalized landing page. All these tactics will help you attract more high-quality leads.

Summary

It’s not only untrue that leads don’t fit into an account-based strategy, but it’s also pretentious and dangerous to continue evangelizing this notion. Not everyone is ready to completely transform their go-to-market teams from lead-based to account-based, and most organizations should never completely make that transition.

What is important is to evaluate how to transition your organization to start focusing on target account leads. Start slowly by showing the success of account-based strategies and proving the value of your ABM campaigns with small pilot programs. Then, if and when you’re prepared to make a larger transformation, you’ll be ready.

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It may be clear you need help promoting your company, but how do you know if a marketing agency is a good fit for your business? Choosing which firm to trust is a big decision. You want to pick an agency that will help you effectively reach your marketing goals, be easy to work with, fit your budget and more. What should you specifically look for?

Here are 10 questions to ask when choosing a marketing agency.
  1. What is the vision?

Begin by establishing marketing goals. A great way to create a strategic vision is to use SMART goals. Here are the basics to take into consideration:

  • Specific. Define exactly what you are looking to accomplish.
  • Measurable. Are you able to track the progress of your goals?
  • Attainable. Is it realistic? Choose a goal that can be easily reached.
  • Relevant. How does your goal directly relate to your marketing needs?
  • Timely. Make sure you set a timeline for achieving your goals, and that you give yourself enough time to produce quality work.

As you evaluate your marketing goals, put them through the method above. For example, “more website visitors” isn’t a SMART goal. A goal of a 10% increase in website traffic by next year is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

After setting your SMART goals, you can search for a marketing agency that can help you reach them.

Not all marketing firms are the same, so share your goals with the agency and ask how they’d achieve them. Does their vision align with yours? While it’s important to be flexible and keep an open mind, you should end the meeting with a general idea of the time and energy that would be spent on your account to achieve your goals.

If your visions do align, confirm your timelines do too. Some agencies are balancing a large pool of clients, and you want to make sure they can get started on and maintain your account in a reasonable time. If you have a specific marketing goal or campaign that needs to be started or completed by a specific date, choose a company that can confidently meet those deadlines.

  1. How involved is the marketing agency in your brand?

It’s important to hire a marketing firm that represents your company in a way that aligns with your brand.

While some businesses don’t mind making it known they hired an outside marketing agency, others prefer to keep their content and sources as internal as possible. Determine your needs and ask if the company can provide the right amount of involvement in your brand you desire. For example, would you be comfortable being a featured client on their website and other materials?

  1. What type of content will the marketing agency produce?

Have a clear understanding of what kind of materials you can expect from the marketing agency you partner with. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation settling for less than you expected. In fact, we always recommend everything be detailed in writing so both parties fully understand expectations.

When asking about the types of services you are paying for, make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.

    1. Will the content reflect your businesses’ personality and values?

Content is king! Define how it will be incorporated into your marketing strategy.

Find out how personalized your content will be!

You want to confirm that the materials being created or shared are not also being used by other businesses. If a marketing agency does use cross-content, you need to be clear about your expectations for content that is exclusive to your branding needs as well.

The way you engage with your audience on one network does not necessarily guarantee it will resonate with your audience on another. If you don’t have custom content for different situations, it will lack personality and be difficult to connect to. Having variety and diversity in content are important in highlighting different aspects of your business and maximizing your return on investment.

Hiring a marketing agency can elevate your marketing assets, but you also want to confirm who ultimately owns the content that is created. This is an important clarifying question to ask as well, so you can be sure what they create for your brand isn’t turned around and used for another client down the road.

  1. How are updates, images and other content developed for my brand?

You want to make sure you are hiring a marketing agency with the proper skill set to efficiently create and carry out your marketing materials.

Marketing agencies should be up to date on the latest industry trends and technologies as well as the evolving concepts in the field as well. It is important to ask how social media updates, images, and other content are produced for your brand and if they keep up with the latest in the industry to ensure your content is relevant.

The point of hiring a marketing agency is to maximize your return while minimizing the amount of time it takes you. While you may need to be at least a little bit involved, you also don’t want to be stressed out from a lot of additional work. Find out what kind of content you personally need to produce or provide and which the marketing agency will take care of. Ask them how much time you should expect to put into reviewing content and what your responsibilities would be during your working relationship. Marketing campaigns should promote your business as much as possible, but you also want to make sure you have the time and resources to provide support for a smooth working relationship.

  1. How is a typical strategy developed?

Evaluate and create a strategy to maximize results.

Running head-first into something without a plan is a recipe for disaster. The clearer your strategy is from the beginning, the more successful you’ll be. Having a strategy written down is also crucial to tracking long-term data and results. By being able to refer to consistent plans you can directly compare metrics with ease.

Ask if there will be a strategy in place and how it will be developed. This will give you an idea of how knowledgeable you’ll be about the content your marketing agency is creating and keeps you informed on how it is being used across different platforms. A well-defined strategy is critical for organizational purposes. Having a clear, easy to understand plan saves you time by making it easier to refer to ideas and content later.

  1. How will the marketing agency keep you informed about the content being produced?

You want to be aware of what is going on with your account, without spending a lot of time following up with your marketing agency. Confirm how often you will receive materials for approval, how long the approval process is, and how edits and revisions can be made. Don’t be caught off guard with a misdirected message – be well informed about everything!

With ongoing or long-term projects, it is important to confirm how often you will receive updates. Confirm that you will not only regularly receive content for review, but that you are also being updated about the status of projects. This not only gives adequate time for editing and scheduling but also helps keep you up to date on the status of work that affects and represents your business.

  1. What expectations should I have?

While you want to be realistic about growth and exposure when setting your goals, you want a marketing agency that helps you reach those targets. Being regularly updated on progress is important, but you also want a clear idea of when you can start seeing results.

Ask them how long it will take to get set up, start developing content and see results from their activities. Depending on the tactics, don’t be surprised if it takes as long as 12-18 months to start seeing a positive return on your investment.

  1. Who will be managing my account?

Progress can take time but have a plan to track your marketing strategy’s return.

Ask who will oversee your materials and platforms. Who will be involved in your account at the marketing agency? How often will you hear from them? If you have questions, comments or concerns about materials you want to be able to know that you have a reliable contact to reach.

You also want it to be clear who is managing what. For example, if your marketing agency is managing your social media pages, you want to make sure you have someone that is monitoring your account to quickly respond to, help or redirect a customer. Is that something that falls to you or your account manager?

  1. Are you able to follow up on the marketing agency’s experience?

Does the marketing agency have the evidence to back up their experience? Ask for some examples of their work, the results of some of the other campaigns they’ve worked on, and references that you can call and check.

Navigating who to trust with your business needs can be difficult. Make the process easier by considering these 10 vital questions on your search for the perfect marketing agency for you. Take your brand to the next level and be assured your marketing agency has your back the whole way.

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geralt / Pixabay

We are now half-way through 2019 and we are skating toward 2020.

It’s time to get serious about marketing strategies and take full advantage of the latest trends and techniques.

Here are the Top 5 Strategies, according to Digital Success, to incorporate into your marketing plan.

1. Optimizing for Voice Search

Voice search optimization can no longer be ignored, especially if you are a local business looking for new customers. According to BrightLocal, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year and 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.

Get more specific information on how to optimize your content and website for voice search here.

2. Creating Original & Relevant Content

Relevance and originality are important to a successful, revenue generating campaign. 78% of consumers state that relevant content (website/blog/Social updates) increases interest and purchase intent. The average person consumes 4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision.

Learn more about content and see a few examples of effective content themes here.

3. Measuring Engagement & Interaction

Reach and engagement of content is a good way to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Measuring purchases based on content is obviously a good indicator of the success of your campaigns. However, measuring how far your content reaches, how many new people see it, how many people like it and interact with it is a great measurement of your visibility and brand recognition.

If people don’t know you are there, you will never find new customers. Measure your campaigns reach and interaction and build on it to expand your audience even further.

4. Incorporating Video & Audio Content

Using videos and podcasts are a popular way to reach an audience. In fact, Half of all 18-to 34-year-old YouTube subscribers would drop what they are doing to watch a video by their favorite creator and 40% of Millennials trust videos more than other content.

32% of the population tunes into a podcast at least once a month. Podcasts are an excellent way to build a better relationship with your audience and also create trust with the brand represented.

5. Integrating Artificial Intelligence & Chatbots

It is predicted that chatbots will be used first to place an order, anything from pizza to a hotel room. Chatbots enable users to do this without downloading an app. According to a study out of LivePerson, only 19% of the 5,000 people surveyed had a negative perception of chatbots. 33% had a positive view.

Chatbots could mean the difference between closing a sale or losing a consumer to a service with a chatbot, most especially for food delivery.

A version of this post originally appeared here.

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