The Buyer’s Journey

I recently finished my Inbound Certification from HubSpot. What is the inbound methodology?

Inbound Methodology covers the entire buyer’s journey from attracting visitors, to converting them to customers and finally to delighting them so they help you attract new visitors. HubSpot is an expert in Inbound marketing and offers a variety of training. The Inbound Certification has eleven classes that give a good overview of inbound marketing tactics and best practices. It’s also free for anyone to take.

Inbound marketing focuses on attracting prospects and converting them into customers instead of using interrupting prospects with unwanted pitches. How do you do this?

Start by thinking of the buyer’s journey. Hubspot divides the buyer’s journey into three stages: awareness, consideration and decision. Hubspot recommends you create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

The awareness stage is when you realize you have a potential problem or opportunity. Let’s say your dishwasher broke so you start looking up information on dishwashers or you go to a friend’s apartment and see their shiny dishwasher and realize you want one. At this stage you might be looking at lots of information. What kind of content might be helpful? How are about an article on What to Look for in a Dishwasher?(http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/productreviews/appliances/dishwasher-reviews/dishwasher-faqs-0903)

The consideration stage is when you’ve done some research and now the problem or opportunity clearly defined. Perhaps after doing your initial research you now know you want a dishwasher and you’re looking at what’s available. You are deciding what features are important to you. Should it be portable or built in? Is it worth the extra money to get one that is energy efficient? Articles like this one might be helpful- Before You Buy a Dishwasher-Dishwasher Buying Tips. (http://housewares.about.com/od/dishwashers/bb/buydishwasher.htm)

The decision stage you’ve identified solutions and you’ve done your research. You have a clearly defined idea about what you want. At this stage you’re almost ready to buy. An article like this could help- Buy the Best Energy-Efficient Dishwasher (http://www.motherearthliving.com/home-products/buy-the-best-dishwasher.aspx)

When you create content for your business keep in mind where your prospects might be in the buyers journey. You will help you keep your content relevant to your prospects.

Making Social Media Manageable

Social media is a lot of work. It’s a whirlwind of creating and searching for content. It may seem like it’s mostly resizing images and uploading posts, but it’s your company’s voice. How do you make it manageable, especially when you’re running a small business? Try these tips.

1. Use scheduling software for social media.

Good options include Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck. I use Buffer to manage Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can also add a LinkedIn account. A basic account is free. Buffer allows you to post to multiple accounts at the same time and allows you to schedule posts in advance. If you are having issues finding content Buffer has a tab with suggested posts based on what you’ve shared in the past.

2. Break it into small chunks.

Some experts recommend planning out social media once a month. This means compiling a month’s worth of social media posts at one time. That’s way too daunting for a lot of small business owners. I try to do it every morning. It’s part of my morning routine like drinking coffee or making breakfast. I just sit down for about fifteen minutes and do it. That’s it, fifteen minutes a day. I often post ahead of time for the weekend or if I know I will be traveling. I don’t like setting up posts to far in advanced because I like sharing content that was written in the past few days, not from last week or last month.

3. Create a content calendar.

Follow the  80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the content should be from outside sources and should not be directly about your company or product. You can find this content by following influencers in your industry on social media, by searching the internet and by following industry publications. You want to pick content that is fun and that you think is shareable.  Twenty percent of the content can be sales based. This twenty percent deals directly with your brand or product. This content is usually written by your company.  Your own content can include blog posts, white papers, landing pages, infographics, press releases, videos, podcasts and more. This content should educate the consumer about your product or company in a fun and engaging way. Creating content takes time so schedule out some time to create it.

4. Share content multiple times.

Keep a spreadsheet of the content you create. This should include a title, description, type of content, author and URL. You can and should repost old content. I would recommend experimenting with the wording of your posts. Post with pictures tend to get more engagements than posts without. Research what keywords, hashtags and topics are trending on social media. You should also find new ways to reintroduce old content. Write a fresh headline for an older post or update the post to reflect recent events.

5. Use pictures and quotes in social media

Every post does not have to be a link to an article. Social media is suppose to be fun and it should showcase your company’s personality. Find cool quotes and make quote pics for social sharing. People love getting an inside look at your business. Do you have a cool desk you can take a picture of? Did you just remodel the office? Is there a great view from your desk window or did you just redo your store window? What about pictures from your Christmas party? Make sure whatever pictures you post show you and your company in a positive light and then get creative.

womenoncomputer

Image courtsey freeimages.com, photographer unknown

How to Build a Keyword List

Keywords are word or phrases that a user puts into their search box. Before you start jotting down a bunch of keywords I would recommend you take a step back and start thinking of your customer.

Who is your customer?

So who are your current customers? Are you B2B, B2C or both? Are they male or female? Young or old? From a certain part of the country? Once you have your target audience in mind start writing down keywords. You want to have your customer in mind because you want to use the same language as the customer. Is your customer searching for a “trip”, a “vacation” or “getaway”? What is the searchers intent? Can you modify search terms by adding words like family fun getaway, or kid friendly vacation?

For illustrative purposes let’s say I have a resort in Hawaii. Most of my customers are families with young kids. Search terms they would use would be “Hawaii resort”, “kid friendly Hawaii resort”,  “Hawaii hotel” and so on.

Make a list of words or phrases that closely describe your products or services. Start testing those keywords by typing them into the search engine. What’s coming up? If your competitors are coming up you’re doing good. You might want to incorporate geography into your keyword search. If I have a hotel in Hawaii I want to include Hawaii, but I might also want to include the name of the village it’s in and local larger villages.

Generic terms

You don’t want to have too many generic terms and you want to be testing your keywords. Hawaiian hotel has 45,300,000 results, Hawaiian resorts has 19,400,000 results. So there’s a huge different between the search results for those two words. You are better off ranking for keyword with less traffic. Generic keywords are to broad and to competitive to gain keyword ranking

I plan to post more on SEO soon. Please check back.

SEO outline

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cheap and Free Places to Pick Up Digital Marketing Skills

I’m a big believer in picking up skills on the cheap. Learning a new skill shouldn’t take a large chunk of your income. I’ve highlighted a few options here for picking up digital marketing skills for very cheap or in some cases for free.

Lynda.com

Lynda.com is an online education company that offers thousands of online video courses on topics ranging from business skills (Small Business Techniques) to design software (Adobe) to office software (Microsoft) and everything in between. It’s only $25 a month.

When I first tried this I was skeptical. I was accustomed to viewing YouTube videos on Photoshop and web design whenever I got stuck on a project. The videos are very professional. The instructors seem to know their stuff and the material is divided into easy short chapters. You should be prepared to invest some time in it. I found that I have to pause the video often to take notes and to preform the exercises along with the instructor. When you finish with a course you get a certificate of competition. Certificates can be printed or shared via e-mail, URL, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and they can be embedded in WordPress.

With Lynda.com there is no testing mechanism. However there’s nothing to stop you from taking that knowledge and producing an example of it. At $25 a month it’s a great deal.

Treehouse

Treehouse like Lynda.com is a learning library with videos. At Treehouse (http://teamtreehouse.com/) you can learn HTML, CSS, iPhone apps and more. It looks like a great resource for coding and web development. The pricing is the same as Lynda.com at $25 a month. I haven’t tried Treehouse, but it looks interesting.

Local Events

Check out Meetup (www.meetup.com) and look at the various groups. I’ve gone to Meetups for WordPress that have been great. The Meetups I’ve been to in the Boston area have been free. Some Meetups do charge a small fee. Also a lot of times they have events in local restaurants or bars so you might want to factor in some money for buying a drink. Meetups are also good networking opportunities so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Networking Groups

Are you part of a local networking group? I am and it’s a great to meet new people, find clients, leads for jobs and learn new skills! A lot of networking events feature a speaker. I try to join groups relevant to marketing in my area. A lot of times there is a small fee to attend events and some groups may have dues, but usually it’s very affordable.

Colleges

Are you in a college town? Great. You can check out classes at your local community college. Are you a graduate of a local college? Even better. My alma mater lets me attend technology seminars for free. Sometimes you can also audit courses for a discounted rate or for free.

Interning

Interning is a great way to build your portfolio and learn new skills. If you have some skills and want to pick up more you can often get one that pays. The one drawback is the time commitment, but if you are trying to break into a new field it can be an invaluable way to gain experience, build connects and learn something.

Anyone want to share cheap ways they have picked up some new skills? Please share in the comments!

office women typing

Image courtesy of stock images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Goal! Marketing and The World Cup

The World Cup is big business. I grew up in a World Cup household. My father and sister held a fascination with soccer I will never understand. I started paying attention to this World Cup. This one’s different.

Twitter

There are 350 thousand tweets per day about the World Cup. Top hashtags include #worldcup, #brazil2014 and #brazil. Right now  @FIFAWorldCup has 2.22 million followers on Twitter. This year the World Cup introduced hashflags. If you hashtagged the FIFA three-letter code for one of the 32 World Cup countries, a little flag appears in your tweet. Twitter has created a dedicated feed #WorldCup which features tweets from the media, FIFA and selected clubs.

Facebook

The first week of the World Cup (June 12-18) Facebook had 459 million posts, likes and comments on Facebook. (source: Facebook) That’s compared to 185 million interactions about the Super Bowl, 50 million for Sochi Olympic Games and 25.4 million for the Academy Awards. A photo posted by Pitbull who performed the opening ceremonies 1.2 million interactions.

Pinterest

Ben Chiaramonte of Pinterest reached out to Jon Rogers to create images of Pinterest. Chiarmonte saw an opportunity for Pinterest to be a great tool for showcasing World Cup greatness. He worked with Jon Rogers to create a Pinterest page – all the best place to watch the World Cup. The site showcases Pinterest’s “Place Pins” a relatively new feature that helps pinners make travel plans on a map. Some of the images mimimick luggage tags. Many of the images have a “vintage” feel. The broad covers over 439 locations in the US and 53 in Brazil.Pinterest took it a step further and sent out decal stickers to many of the locations featured so they can put them up in their businesses. Businesses have posted them up and tweeted pictures of them!

Here’s the link http://www.pinterest.com/watchworldcup/

watcher

 

Sources:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3032072/most-creative-people/how-pinterest-tapped-world-cup-enthusiasm/

http://www.offerpop.com/resources/blog/2014-marketing-world-cup-infographic/

Have you seen good examples of social media campaigns for the World Cup?

 

Building a Facebook Fan Page

Why Facebook?

Facebook reaches a huge audience. Over a billon people use it. Facebook is on three of every four smartphones. (Source: Comscore Moblie Future in Focus, Feb. 2013)
More than half of people on Facebook visit every day. (Source: Facebook for Business)

The Fan Page
A fan page is for your business and is totally separate from your personal page. You can use your fan page to post press releases and updates. Your Facebook page should be treated as a live document. It needs be updated regularly. Nothing turns me off more than checking out a company’s Facebook page and seeing it hasn’t been updated in months.

1.Log into Facebook.
So if you have a personal Facebook page log into the account. If you don’t have a personal Facebook page I recommend you build one first.

2.Select Create a Page
The top right hand corner there is a drop down menu. Select Create Page

3. A list of options comes up. If you pick local business or place Facebook will turn your page into a place so don’t pick this unless you have a brick and motor storefront.

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4.Pick a category from the drop down menu. Underneath the category there is a place to type in brand/product name. This will be the name of your page. If you are an established business with a clear-cut name it’s an easy choice. If you don’t you can change it up until you have 200 fans or “Likes”. Facebook makes you capitalize the first word of the page name and limits it to 200 characters. You have to agree to Facebook’s terms and conditions.

5. This brings up a new page with several tabs.

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The first tab is the about section. Here you can write a few sentences about your business, which will show up under your header and profile picture on your page. There is a 155 character limit. Directly underneath that is a space for you to put the url for the company website. Finally there is a place to pick your Facebook web address. Once this is set it can be changed only once.

6.Pick a profile pic. You can upload it from your computer or import it from your website. It should be 180 by 180 pixels. The profile pic appears next to every post you make. (*Small note here: When I did this my profile pic would not load at first. I reopened my pic (JPEG) in Photoshop and resized it to 180 by 180 pixels and saved a new JPEG, which loaded. If you are having issues loading a profile pic I would recommend editing it to the proper specifications- file format and size and try reloading it). You can change your profile picture later if needed.

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7.After clicking next you have the option to add to favorites. This means that you can easily access the page from your personal Facebook page. It will be listed in the Favorites column.

8.You now have the option to purchase advertising from Facebook. You can click skip at the bottom it you want to. I did.

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9.Your page is set up! You are invited to “Like” your own page. You can invite your e-mail contacts or to skip it. You might want to leave this step until you have some good content on your page. You want to give your customers a reason to read your Facebook page.

10. Start using Facebook. Choose a great cover photo to capture people’s attention and then start posting. Keep an eye out for more blog posts on Facebook.

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Awesome Twitter Accounts

Starbucks

Starbucks’ Twitter feed is filled with little, beautiful pictures of coffee, tea and snacks. They don’t just showcase the drinks, they happily share their knowledge about all things coffee. Who doesn’t want to run out and order “a shot in the dark” (black coffee plus a shot of espresso). Haven’t you always wanted to know what a ristretto or lungo shot of espresso was?  (It’s a short shot and long shot respectively) . At the end of 2013 they launched Tweet-a-Coffee that allows you to buy a $5 Starbucks card for a friend via Twitter. How cool is that?

starbucks twitterLululemon Athletica

Lululemon Athletica sells yoga and running gear. I’ll be honest, the idea of looking at a Twitter feed for a company that sells yoga pants brings up images of skinny girls in spandex. There’s none of that. This Twitter feed rocks. There are healthy recipes to try out. Do you want healthy apple pie for breakfast? Yes, please. What about some kettlebell exercises to mix up your routine? Want to know more about scaling volcanoes in Indonesia? Lululemon Athletica makes me feel inspired to workout. They also use Twitter to promote their blog, YouTube videos and more. They’re a great example of integrating Twitter with other social media channels.

Lululemon Athletica Twitter

H&R Block

H&R Block is one of the largest tax service providers. Their Twitter feed is full of great information about how to do your taxes. They use Twitter to respond to customer questions and complaints. Twitter has a “Get it Right Community” , which is made up of over 1,000 of their tax professionals. You can connect with this community on Twitter and they can answer your questions.

H&R Block TwitterWhat Twitter accounts do you think are awesome? Feel free to leave it in the comments.

 

 

 

“Funeral” by DDB Agency 1969

Can funerals be funny? The ad “Funeral” by DDB Agency is the answer to that question. Watch the clip above if you haven’t already.

The sharp contrast is of course what works in the ad. The last thing you are expecting is humor. It’s not just a funny ad; it ties into Volkswagen’s economical message. Volkswagen was known for being cheap and dependable. DDB was known for treating consumers like they were intelligent. They joked with consumers and played tongue-in-cheek.

“I stopped at a light and saw a funeral cortege. At once I thought a funeral would be the last thing to base an ad on. But then I thought why not? It was relevant. It was full of cars. It was also wrong and irreverent which was of course the point.” -Roy Grace

Volkswagen at that time was no easy sell. Sales of the Beetle when it was introduced in the US were non-existent. In the US the first year they sold 2 units. Yes, 2. It was Adolf Hitler’s “people car.” DDB relabeled the Beetle the “Type 1.”  Under DDB Volkswagen sales in the US soared. DDB ran a series of print ads, “Lemon” and “Think Small.” The the TV ads, ”Funeral” and “Snowplow” are still studied today.

For more information on this topic I recommend Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall and Comeback of Volkswagen in America by David Kiley.

The Introverted Marketer

Part One

I was always the girl reading the newest Stephen King hardcover book in the corner. In college I started out as an English major and took an Intro to Management class on a whim. It seemed interesting and I knew I should build some “hard skills” while in college. In retrospect being an English major was one of my greatest assets, making each employer automatically check off the “good at proofreading box” in interviews and helping me build writing skills.

I knew when I walked in my first business class at Simmons that these people were different. They were talking more. They were raising their hands in class even when there wasn’t a question being asked- just to contribute voluntarily. At first I kept my head down. Soon I felt myself being drawn into discussions. I quickly became a double major in Management and English.

As I went through college I became more vocal. I took a job at the Simmons College Phone Program. I was calling alumna two nights a week talking to someone wonderful women and securing gifts for the college. I left the program, but the experience was helpful. My first “real” job after graduation I had to pick up the phone again.  I was following up on trade show leads and trying to get them to try a demo of the software. Rejection was plentiful and often rude, even when you explained they had actually given our company their business card at a trade show. I learned to dust myself off. My boss was good about letting me work on other marketing tasks after having a bad call. I learned a lot about pitching over the phone and thinking on my feet.

Now I’m doing the networking route. I’m looking for new opportunities and I want to meet new people. It’s always intimating walking into a room full of strangers. I go to events alone and often don’t know anyone. The hardest part is just breaking into a group and saying hi. Introductions are made and after a few seconds of conversation I realize I can do this.

Can you be an introverted marketer? After getting a degree, a certificate in Graphic Design and working in the field for over six years then I would say yes you can. It does get easier with time.

If you’re an introverted marketer- hopefully I’ll see you at the next networking event.

girl reading

Image credit: Benjamin Miller from freestockphotos.biz

Samsung Galaxy S4: The Smart Phone Line

I love creative advertising. In my mind if it’s not creative it’s not spreading fast enough through social media and not catching on. I want to write about a great example of creative advertising: the marketing campaign for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Colenso BBDO created an interactive marketing campaign that rewarded fans for promoting the Galaxy S4. They started out by offering their customers a way a claim a spot “in line” to purchase the Galaxy S4 through their Facebook and Twitter. Every day for the two weeks leading up to the launch they gave the fans new features they could promote using their social networks. The more they promoted the launch the more they moved up in the line. “Promoting” included sharing with friends, reposting and commenting.

The “smart phone line” was broadcast live on a large electronic billboard that reflected the virtual line with avatars of the fans in line. Fans could see face superimposed on an avatar in line. Avatars moved, waved, put up umbrellas and went under blankets and sleeping bags. Speech bubbles even appeared above the avatar when the person in line shared information about the Galaxy S4 through social media. Crowds gathered to watch the “smart phone line.”  The three fans who “promoted” their way to the front of the virtual line got a new Samsung Galaxy S4 and a weekend in Auckland.

The campaign had great results. Twelve thousand people joined the line. Fans shared 85,000 stories to over three million people with an organic reach of fifteen million people. Congratulations to Colenso BBDO who came up with the project.