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Seeking A Higher Algorithm

  
  
  

Seeking a Higher AlgorithmI've never been one to announce my New Year's resolutions, but this year is different. This year I resolve to abolish the whole idea of New Year's Resolution in favor of "Seeking a Higher Algorithm." Let's face it, there is an algorithm for everybody and everything, making us all increasingly predictable. As a marketer I am a contributor to this revolution via the data-driven marketing practice known as "Personalization." In this week's Sunday Business section of The New York Times, I was reminded of personalization that targets... me, which I have to admit I found a little irksome.

In the article, "Listen to Pandora, and it Listens Back," the author, Natasha Singer, discusses how Pandora, the internet radio service, is moving beyond aggregating my "Thumbs Up" rating of songs in order to increasingly serve music to my liking. Not surprisingly, they are now mining my musical data in order to serve me more targeted ads, to improve the quality of my interruptions.

Online ad customization, known as Behavioral Targeting has been around awhile but Pandora, with more than 200 million registered users, has an enormous proprietary database tracking people's musical usage habits at an individual level. Pandora's algorithms will correlate my musical tastes and figure out that I am a political independent with a left wing zip code, a Jew with Buddhist leanings, am happily married and other inferences based on lyrics and musical patterns that statistically apply to the many individuals like me. I'm having a passing thought that maybe I'll go on a Hip-Hop binge or start listenining to Christian Gospel music and really throw them off, but my guess is that like the stock market, I'm in for the long haul and they will seek and find my level.

It's been the guiding principal of my life and thirty plus year career to take the independent path, to marry a free spirit and be a capitalist, to maintain a foot in the art world but run a business, to be conservative on some issues and liberal on others and never belong to either political party, to follow intellectual pursuits and enjoy B action movies — to avoid being stereotyped. So as the industrial era recedes further in the rearview and technology makes us smarter and faster, I realize that as much as I've tried to think unique thoughts and try different things, while I may not have ended up a carbon copy of my neighbor, I'm every bit as predictable.

So this year, I'm going to work on my spiritual life and getting in shape and when I see Groupon ads on my Facebook page for discounts on biking trips to meditation retreats in Thailand, I will have reached a higher algorithm. But first I'd have to spend time on Facebook, which is entirely too predictable.

The Power of Video and Images in Content Marketing

  
  
  

videoiconWhile marketers have come to recognize the power of content marketing and the need for it to be strategic, web visitors and social media users have begun to wonder what to do with so much content. So how can marketers get the attention of people who are becoming saturated with so much relevant content?

We’ve been researching this question, reading analytics and attending numerous seminars and events. Here’s what we think works best and is not going to require a big budget or more staff.

HubSpot, one of the most vibrant marketing software B2B’s around, analyzed whether using visuals increased click-through rate. They found that, “Marketers who are using interesting images to their advantage can increase traffic to their websites -- just as long as they remember to include links!

Another powerful tool for boosting website traffic is video. Marketers may think production cost is too expensive but videos don’t need to be television-quality. In fact, a video shot with a pocket video camera that looks less commercial will feel more personal.

In a recent Marketing Sherpa article, “Content Marketing: Videos attract 300% more traffic and nurture leads,” a case study of a B2B company that posted videos regularly demonstrated:

  • site traffic spiked;
  • average time-on-site per visitor increased;
  • time spent on pages with video was about twice as long as without video.
So, how can marketers best use images and video to engage users?
  1. Use an image, or even better, a video at the start of your blog posts. According to an Oracle/Eloqua newsletter, “Videos tagged with metadata about a specific topic within a post can help your SEO efforts. Google recognizes pages where a click leads to longer time spent on a page, so a video capturing viewers’ attention on your blog for even two minutes longer can make your content more sticky and more likely to show up in Google search results for a particular topic.”
  2. Use video in email campaigns. Email campaigns can serve as tremendous opportunities to leverage your video marketing for lead nurturing. In a GetResponse study of nearly a billion emails, those containing video had a 96% higher click-through rate when compared to non-video emails. 
  3. Use video (and interesting images) in social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Hubspot found that compared to text-only posts, Facebook posts that included interesting images received 84% more link clicks.

For help on how to include video in your email campaigns, here’s a useful link:

http://www.vidyard.com/blog/how-to-use-video-in-email-marketing/

At a recent Boston Business Journal event we attended that featured a discussion about winning practices for social media, panelists concurred on this point:

The best marketing is marketing that does not "sell," but instead promotes the experience that the business has to offer.

By showing photos and/or video of customers enjoying a particular brand, marketers can combine best practices for offering up strategic content marketing that gets readers’ attention.

I was so captivated by a photo a friend posted on facebook of museum goers experiencing a recent installation at the Guggenheim, that I went to the museum website, clicked on a link to the video, and proceeded to buy tickets to for the exhibit.

James Turell's "Light" exhibit

 

People experiencing James Turrell's "Light" exhibit
James Turrell's "Light" exhbit at the Guggenheim and people "experiencing" the exhibit

Featuring video and photos on your website and periodically providing links to videos on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can increase site traffic. And the image or video needn’t be as arresting as the Guggenheim clip. Videos of product demos, customer testimonials, introductory explanations and interviews offered on a straightforward b2b site, can be used to draw in and develop leads. And repurposing video across marketing tactics can make them an even more successful means of content marketing. For more tips on how to use video:

http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11007/four-tips-to-improve-your-video-content

http://goo.gl/qmUspn

http://moz.com/blog/building-a-video-seo-strategy

http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/videos-attract-300-more-traffic

To YouTube and Beyond! 5 Places Where Including a Video Will Boost Results

http://www.vidyard.com/blog/how-to-use-video-in-email-marketing/

 

 

 

 

Do B2B Brands Need to be "Ideals-Driven?"

  
  
  

L to R: Selina Yoon, John Canestraro, Jim Stengel, Paul RegensburgRainCastle is pleased to be working with Jim Stengel, former Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble, and an industry leader in the fields of Marketing, Brand and Business. 

While everyone has come to recognize the power of brands, it can still be challenging to quantify the value one's brand adds to the bottom line. Jim Stengel, through extensive research, identified the connection between financial performance and customer engagement, loyalty and advocacy. Essentially, he found that the companies with the best financial performance are what he calls "ideals-driven companies," i.e., ones in which the mantra of "improving people's lives" is indigenous to their vision, values and culture.

When I asked how the idea of an ideals-driven brand plays to B2B, Jim said many of his clients are B2B companies and the notion of improving people's lives just takes a different form than with a consumer company, such as Nike or Apple. His contention is that people are people and will always feel empowered when feeling that their product or service has a deeper purpose than its immediate function. IBM's "Let's Build a Smarter Planet" is one example of a B2B that has embodied their brand ideal. And at the end of their TV commercials, the voice over proclaims, "I'm an IBMer," giving the ideals-driven brand a personal touch and making us feel that everyone at IBM is united in the mission to build that smarter planet. 

HubSpot for blog"Creating Marketing People Love," is marketing software vendor, HubSpot's tagline. HubSpot is one of the most vibrant B2B's around and it is plain to see that they are an ideal-driven brand whose financials have grown at an enviable clip. Their tools help businesses increase leads and convert those leads into happy customers — a sure way to improve people's lives. HubSpot puts an enormous amount of passion and energy on educating their partners and customers, providing white papers, eBooks and webinars, so their customers will be successful.

describe the imageBrands are often described as needing to satisfy a balance of rational and emotional needs. One might sound the familiar refrain that B2B markets and their decision making process are necessarily more rational than in consumer markets, because they are often selling higher value products or services, which require many decision-makers. But it still comes down to people selling to people. And people are moved by emotional ideas. This means that a strong B2B brand is expected to posess all of the rational attributes, but will truly rise above by offering an emotional benefit found in authentic brand ideals.

In the B2B world, How important do you think ideals-driven brands are?

Creating Websites People Love

  
  
  
We create websites people love. Of course I can't say that officially — although it's true — as HubSpot has already created a great campaign around "love."
describe the image I admire HubSpot's website because it says in big bold letters, "Create Marketing People Love." Then it qualifies that brand statement with a "here's how we help you do it" statement: "Use HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing software to consistently generate more visits, leads, and customers." HubSpot has not only managed to create a product people find useful, they've created a brand and a culture associated with a powerful human emotion, love.
As we've been designing a new website for ourselves, we've been giving thought to what makes a website people love. The obvious answers are that it generates leads, is easy to use and maintain, performs well, contains relevant content and looks good. Marketers might add that it needs to be interactive, have calls-to-action buttons and enable users to interact. While we focus intently on all of that, we have found that what makes a website people love is to bring emotion and a sense of purpose to the web experience, which is derived from a supporting brand that embodies these deeper attributes.
describe the imageIBM's "Let's Build a Smarter Planet" is another example of a B2B company that has created a culture not around technology or services, but a collaborative goal of building a better planet, something everyone can feel good about.
Our recent work for AirStrip, a mobile healthcare company is an example in the HubSpot/IBM mold. AirStrip is filled with passionate physicians, technologists and other healthcare professionals who have a sweeping vision for improving the American healthcare system through mobile technology. We harnessesd that passion into a powerful tagline, "HealthCare Transformation is in the Air," which distilled their passion and goals and tied back to their name and to mobility. What makes the AirStrip website "loveable," aside from the increased traffic they've seen, is that the brand tagline spawned a whole language, i.e.,RainCastle website for AirStrip
  • Healthcare mobility is in the Air
  • Better Quality Care is in the Air
  • Clinical Efficiency is in the Air
  • Improved Performance is in the Air
As web designers, we see our job as "bringing company brands to life... on the web." More often than not, we are provided copy, which is written by engineers or others steeped in the one hundred percent buzzword compatible terminology dictated by financial goals, product details, perceived customer expectations, loss of objectivity or leadership that hasn't articulated a higher purpose. Even great graphic or interactive design can't transform mundane language or undifferentiated notions. People see right through that. Our most successful website projects are collaborations with organizations that have articulated, or are open to doing the work to articulate, a brand that in some way can be associated with improving people's lives, and carries both emotional as well as business weight.
Send quote to a friend
images 2"All our words from loose using have lost their edge." So said Ernest Hemingway, probably at a Spanish bar one night in the company of other inebriated literary elite. I imagine if he could see the current state of B2B marketing content, he would have the smug smile of the prescient. In 2013, there is still no more powerful communication tool than your website. It is also true in 2013, as the cliche goes, that "content is king." But it's not just the quantity of content, it's the quality. The best way to create websites that people love is to start with content that rises above and touches people on a human level, conjoining them with your mission.
Want people to love your website? Give us a call!

What Makes a Good infographic?

  
  
  

Infographics are taking over the earth! At least it seems that way. There has been an explosion of infographics on the web — in both B2C and B2B — literally illustrating that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. But before we get into what makes a good one, let's define what an infographic is and why they have reached the tipping point.

Infographics are graphical representations of content that would alternatively require a lot of words or that would be difficult to glean without previous knowledge of the subject. So, it is essentially visual shorthand for weaving a qualitative story, often from quantitative content.

The facility for rendering complex data in simpler terms is a coveted skill. The way in which people absorb content on the web these days is like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Attention spans are short and getting shorter as is time to focus and reflect. If content creators can distill complex narratives into compelling, easy-to-comprehend visuals, visitors to their websites are more likely to engage with them.

Infographics can be a part of any digital marketing campaign. With Javascript animations, strong use of color and fonts, intuitive icons and illustrations all optimized for Search, infographics can build your backlinks, improve organic traffic, wow your audience and strengthen your brand.

The key ingredients of a good infographic are:

  • A cohesive and coherent story line
  • A series of concise, clearly worded headlines from which one can "get the gist"
  • Simple storytelling graphic style, Icons can work very well
  • Simple, clean font style, avoid lots of flourishes
  • Not trying to do "too much"
  • Test out the graphic among lay people before releasing to a wider audience

Here are a few infographics I've come upon lately, which do a particularly good job making a lot of content easy to digest.

describe the imagehttp://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32700/The-10-Best-Marketing-Infographics-of-2012-So-Far.aspx 

Not surprisingly, HubSpot has created and compiled a top ten collection of cool infographics related to the field of marketing. Each represents a different concept and is rendered in a different visual format. The configuration of text, graphics, fonts, icons and colors is chosen specifically to solve the visual problem. The great thing about Infographics is that they grow organically from the data so developing one is a unique creative experience yielding a unique result. Because of their custom nature, most infographics are not template based, although I've seen a few starter infographic toolkits mostly directed toward non-designers. These may be helpful for people not comfortable visualizing, but tend to yield more cookie cutter solutions.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672218/tidemarks-infographics-could-change-how-your-business-is-run?utm_source=twitter#1 describe the image

This Fast Company interactive infographics depicts the multiple ways a business can rank its profits, such as by project, by state, by customer and so forth. This one is actually a collection of single infographics representing one view of company profits at a time, which can be accessed by simply clicking an arrow.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672218/tidemarks-infographics-could-change-how-your-business-is-run?utm_source=twitter#1 

For sports fans, this infographic provides 10 years of data on whether spring training improves batting averages.

infographic Bball 50213You can see that whatever the quantitative problem, there is a unique and compelling way to simplify and visualize it in an infographic. Have you seen any cool infographics lateley? Please share.

 

Four Signs Your Marketing Strategy is Outdated

  
  
  

It's 2013 – do you know where your marketing is? The thought should scare you, a bit. Or at least scare you into action. Chances are, your prospects are online, and if they're not, they will be soon. In the meantime, there are still people online talking about your brand, services, successes, and shortcomings. Why risk your reputation by ignoring this community or by alienating them with outdated marketing techniques?

Inbound marketing gives you all of the tools necessary to move your company forward in harnessing this opportunity. But first, you need to assess where you could be falling short in your current marketing strategy. 
 

1. Messaging

Outdated: You're stuck on communicating “How good we are”
Modern: You help your prospects determine “What’s the right solution for you?”

push marketing resized 600

Put quite simply: the internet has created empowered consumers. They now have the time, ability, resources, and interest in researching every option before making a decision – it's all at the tip of their tablet-driven fingers. With this shift in perception, site visitors are now looking at your company with one goal in mind: determining if you have the right product or solution to meet their needs.  

Despite this, too many businesses are still approaching their marketing strategy with the old mentality of "we need to showcase just how good our product is." And while in the time of baby boomer marketing a flashy "come see how shiny this is" strategy was enough to sway your audience, today, it will only alienate them. Because today, deciding on a product or service is no longer about choosing the one you've seen the most commercials for, but is rather about choosing the one that best meets your needs.

This decision is hardly made solely on outbound marketing anymore; it has shifted to organic search, online reviews and recommendations, active social relationships, and valuable content that shapes the purchasing decision. Your website messaging, social media participation, SEO, and content marketing strategies should all be founded on a new goal of informing the visitor. Because in the end, an informed prospect is going to a smart prospect, and will lead to high quality retainer relationships for your business. 

You want the consumer who wants you, not the one that is unsure. 

 

2. Discovery

Outdated: You employ keyword stuffing and empty link building
Modern: You understand the importance of creating relevant content 


HubSpot SEO Juice resized 600Things that Google does not factor into its algorithm: overdone on-page keyword copy, keywords in meta descriptions

Things that Google flags as negative or punishes in its algorithm: keyword stuffing, faulty or spam link building, non-relevant page copy, pages with too many ads, content farms

Things that Google awards in its algorithm: page freshness, specific, targeted URLs and page titles, human-like copy, relevant content, social media sharing

As a search engine, Google's #1 prioirity continues to be rewarding content that is written for the reader and not for the ranking. It is always crucial to set your site up properly for SEO and to maintain important keywords to inform messaging and traffic patterns. But these SEO tactics must be used in tandem with original, fresh content creation that benefits the searcher, not to trick him or her into visiting your site. And certainly not to trick Google into ranking your site higher.

These outdated SEO are no longer sneaky enough to outsmart the system. They are also a waste of any good marketer's time or effort. Instead of compiling your Black Hat SEO Playbook, concentrate on creating the kind of content that will be naturally rewarded for its successes, and that will maintain the reader's interest because it (point #1) gives them a solution, or at least a little education. 
 

3. Awareness and Retention

Outdated: You rely on push marketing techniques alone (ads, direct mail, cold calling)
Modern: You embrace online engagement
 

Push vs pull marketing

Billboards, magazine ads, commercials, radio jingles, brochures, telemarketing – all push marketing techniques, all things that are hard to measure, show little ROI, and can be an annoyance or turn off. And through it all, have you actually ever spoken to a prospect?

Great marketing (and new business development) only grow from facilitating relationships online. Top companies use social media to pose questions, share knowledge, create discussion, and provide human resource support. They blog often, provide personalization, and use marketing automation or actual sales and marketing team members to communicate with prospects, leads, and customers, pinpointing exactly what kind of resource is needed at each turn. 

Once a potential client is familiar with your brand and willing to purchase your product or service, social engagement must continue to be a main point of communication, and especially reflect the previous points of providing the right content and value. It's also about continued listening: 70% of brands ignore complaints on Twitter, and yet 83% of socially savvy consumers have walked away from a purchase in the past year after a negative customer service experience – compared with 49% of everyone else (The Social Skinny). And while the risk factor is great, the reward is even higher: according to the same source, 55% of people share their purchases socially on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites, essentially, doing your marketing for you. 

 

4. Analysis

Outdated: You count too much on your CEO's gut feeling
Modern: You actively harness critical behavioral data
 

gut feeling1 resized 600The emergence of website analytics does not mean creativity in marketing has died; it means it has been validated. A/B testing, page performance, sharing statistics, conversion rates – all of these available analytics serve to prove all that your creative (visual or content-based) can accomplish. They also serve to make it better. 

Human intuition, humor, and the creative process are brilliant things to bring to the table, and should never be taken for granted. But now, when it comes to creating effective marketing campaigns, the behavioral data available today is one of the most powerful tools you can use to build upon these initial intuitive ideas.

Now it's possible to improve campaigns continiously, to funnel leads and grow sales, to fine-tune your website and branding according to user interaction, and to show proven results at the end of the day. It's no longer about basing your marketing entirely (and blindly, I might add) on your CEO's gut feeling of what works from his or her perspective, but rather about considerately tapping into the analytics at hand to build a comprehensive and successful marketing program. 

A Marketer’s Education and the 2012 B2B Demand Generation Survey

  
  
  

Demand Generation Survey 2012 resized 600In the ever-expanding world of internet marketing, data is becoming increasingly available and valuable. Analytics are the benchmark of good reporting and proof of that ever-pesky ROI, and are even useful in highlighting more qualitative results, like brand loyalty and emotional connection.

In 2012, what is a marketer without data to streamline engagement, acquisition, and retention of customers and clients?

And, in 2012, what is a good marketer without the thirst to hone his or her craft by harnessing more effective data?

This is where B2B marketers especially have the ability to learn from each other’s experiences and accumulate shared perspectives. 

In a partnership with Eloqua and CMO.com, research firm Software Advice has launched a 2012 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey to ask questions on the future of lead generation, focusing primarily on:

  • What demand-gen channels do your peers find most successful?
  • Will they be spending more or less on leads next year, and for what channels?
  • What content and offers deliver the best results?

Utilizing the input of B2B marketers, the report generated from the survey will highlight demand-gen programs compared across industry peers and experts.

As a marketing agency that continues to learn and evolve with each new project and client, this kind of crowdsourced data provides us an opportunity to compare our understanding with others in similar situations. As a result, we have an enhanced ability to improve upon our programs and client work. 

Yes, this is all relatively straightforward. But so is this survey – hence the beauty in participating. And at times it’s important to remind ourselves of the resources at hand, and that there is still so much still yet to learn.

The 5 Aspects of a Strategic Inbound Marketing Campaign

  
  
  

Inbound marketing is often passed over in favor of traditional marketing because it seems too complex or involving too much time. But in most cases, inbound marketing is more cost-effective, measurable, and successful… when done correctly.

As with any marketing effort, these campaigns must be based on a larger company marketing goals and planned with the right resources. In essence, they must be strategic in order to be successful; we’ve outlined five things needed to create those programs.

1. Clear sales and marketing goalsmarketing strategy icon resized 600

A bit of brutal honesty: your marketing goal cannot be “to generate more leads.” It cannot be “to gain more customers.” When a waiter asks what you want at a restaurant, you do not say, “Yes, I would like some food.”

Specific goals are the foundation of successful inbound marketing campaigns: “I want to generate 100 new qualified leads through our free trial program in September” will make for a stronger program because of its definability. This definition grows not just from revenue goals, but also from a larger marketing strategy. As a company, what are your goals for growth, culture, and brand awareness?

Similarly, this marketing goal has to align with sales efforts: what is the minimum number of leads your sales team can and should be following up on? What does each department need to bring to the table in order to combine efforts seamlessly? Internal alignment of goals and strategy is integral first step in producing a great campaign.

2. An understanding of key metricskey metrics icon resized 600

Like establishing well-defined marketing goals, outlining the right success metrics allows for clearer tracking and measurement. In other words, these metrics should quickly and easily track positive campaign results.

What are the 5-10 key metrics that would best highlight these results: number of leads, cost per lead, total customer conversions, content downloads, blog subscribers, website visits? Identify these prior to launch so that you can implement all of the necessary tracking analytics and create a benchmark report for your current site performance.

3. Resources and responsibilityresources icon resized 600

We hear again and again that the biggest roadblock in launching successful inbound marketing campaigns is a lack of company resources. There are simply not enough people to create content, actively monitor analytics and create reports, and tweak campaigns during the length of the program.

Thankfully, this is why you have a partner.

Chief tasks, including content creation and measurement, can be delegated to members of your marketing team, company services specialists, your partner marketing agency, or outside copywriters and brand journalists. It’s not just a matter of responsibility, but also one of curating new ideas on content topic, formatting (eBook, webinar, blog post), and marketing channels. Use your team’s best assets to delegate appropriately and maximize output.

4. Supporting data and measurementmeasurement icon resized 600

Another factor in resources is ensuring the ability to monitor measurement and maintain a set standard of data. Think of data as part of the flow, not an end point: data is used to show concrete results; results are used to determine goal completion; goal completion is used to measure campaign effectiveness; campaign effectiveness is used to evaluate current and future marketing strategy.

Data should not sit stagnant in your Google Analytics account; it should be your most powerful tool in ensuring a successful campaign. Did it meet expectations? Where were there surprises, weaknesses? Do the numbers reflect your initial goals and expectations? Active measurement ensures that your campaign is performing to the best of its ability, or, if not, leads to point #5.

5. Continuous improvementimprovement icon resized 600

Content and campaigns need to be improved, using key analytics, to keep you on track with your goal. The most effective way is to look for lagging points in the data and make tweaks to the content, offer, requirements, and channel distribution accordingly. This is a surprisingly easy way to progress your inbound marketing programs in a timely fashion.

But those aren’t the only aspects of improvement; those are just the tactical ones.

Improvement is also based on analyzing the completion and results of your campaigns and evaluating leads and customers. Where is the quality? Is this the right audience? Was the sales process longer than anticipated? Analytics from hard data are a great way to measure a campaign’s effectiveness; but as a company, you must look holistically at how these inform your marketing goals to the point where they reflect the bigger picture of your brand and clients or customers.

What have you found are indicators of success in your marketing campaigns?

How to Best Market Your Tech Product (or Service)

  
  
  

Leading technology companies today face one undeniable marketing fact that many other industries can conveniently ignore for the time being: in order to highlight your technology as the best in the field, you must have a substantial online marketing presence.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m a strong believer in internet marketing for all businesses.

I’m saying it because as an avid consumer of modern technology, apps, marketing analytics and platforms, and contemporary gadgets, I expect a higher lever of online culture and communication from companies that I identify as savvy tech leaders.

So, how do you approach marketing your tech product online? We've outlined four intial strategies to get you started.

Market Ahead of Time

Building anticipation can be an often-overlooked tactic in successfully promoting a tech product or app. During development, identify where your target audience spends time online and what they are looking for in terms of a tech solution. Create introductions through forums, news sites, and with clever banner ads and online announcements.

Maintaining mystery and creating intrigue will create a demand for your product before it’s available to the public.

If it fits properly with your overarching launch goals, you can also introduce the product or service initially by invitation only. Google+, Pinterest, and flash sales sites like Gilt and Rue La La have garnered an incredible amount of clout and a clamoring of customers by launching initially exclusively by invite.

Get an Invitation to Pinterest

Invest Heavily in Social Media and Online Communities

If your audience is consistently using an app, purchasing high-quality tablets, smartphones, and laptops, and integrating technology into their online and offline lives fluently, you can bet they are simultaneously: following their favorite brands and products on Twitter, expecting exclusive content on Facebook, and looking for the most up-to-date industry information on your blog.

As a tech leader, your audience is expecting you to be accessible and active through all popular social media platforms. Similarly, they are expecting immediate answers to questions and posed problems. This can be done successfully through social media sites, but also through online communities like Quora, which serve as discussion platforms.

If you have the funds, invest in creating your own online community were customers can come for immediate and expert service, and where they can share their experiences and stories about your product or service.

Evernote, the leader in organizational apps for businesses on the go, has a solid, branded Twitter presence with an abundance of followers that is posted to regularly and is a source of news and information.

Evernote twitter page

In addition, the company has an interactive blog with a number of sections, including one called “Our Notes,” which serves to update customers on updates, down times, and product use suggestions.

Evernote blog notes

Prioritize Dynamic Content

Videos, Infographics, Quizzes; these are some of the highest lead-generating content tools at your disposal today.

To illustrate this, here’s an infographic from Smart Insights.

inbound marketing funnel resized 600

Think of PR, Reviews, and Link Building as One

Garnering online reviews from tech journals, articles from news sites (like Mashable and TechCrunch), and blog posts from industry leaders may have all fallen under the umbrella of public relations in the past, but now, are part of a larger strategy of gaining PR online whilst simultaneously working on gathering strong referral links back to your website to drive traffic and qualified leads to becoming customers.  

Referral links not only funnel visitors back to your site who are interesting in your product and content, but give your website strength, and validate it as a strong source of related information in the eyes of Google.

TechCrunch reviewed app giant Instagram back in 2010 before it officially launched (double whammy: early promotion for interest generation + high-profile online review).

TechCrunch Instagram review

So, have you been successful in employing these tactics? Are there any you would recommend?

Six Easy Ways to Refresh Your Website

  
  
  

We like to say that your website is a living, growing thing; it's not static, but rather constantly changing. Many people believe that maintaining a website is a lot of unnecessary work, so we've brainstormed six quick ways to revitalize your website that will improve your design, marketing, and visitor engagement.

1. Update your SEO

If you’ve got your company name in every page title on your website, you’ve got a problem. Take a look at your organic search and see what opportunities you’re missing. Revitalizing your website SEO can help bring in new traffic and potential customers, and strengthen your existing site in the eyes of Google.

2. Create simple calls-to-action

Adding calls-to-action on your homepage and select secondary pages is a great way to reflow traffic, bring in new leads, and spice up your current design with minimal effort. It shows that your business is on top of modern marketing practices and draws the eye in a distinctly visual way. Our blog post on what makes an effective call-to-action is a good place for inspiration.

Do this:

Innosight call to action

Not that:

bad online ad

3. Make sure latest content is highlighted on the homepage

Haven’t updated the “news and events” or “articles” section on your homepage in months? Yeah, your visitors have noticed. It’s a good bet that your homepage is the most viewed page on your site. Instead of thinking of it as a welcome mat, think of it as a welcome center – a place where visitors can come for the most up-to-date information about your business, employees, and industry. Engaging visitors here means higher site engagement and a lower bounce rate.

4. Add current case studies and client projects

Chances are, potential customers are visiting your website to see your portfolio and examples of past projects. Seeing success stories from a couple years ago won’t inspire confidence in your current offerings. Updating your case studies with stories, findings, and photos is a simple way to generate more interest and remain current.

5. Revise the copy on secondary detail pages

Things change, and if you’re in an industry that is constantly developing, revising copy on your important secondary pages is a great way to stay fresh for your visitors and for Google. It’s also a great opportunity to update your internal links to other pages on your website or to your partners and clients. 

6. Update your website images

Do your website images look like this?

Old website photo

Or worse, like this?

bad 90s stock photography

Old images, bad stock images, or a lack of images can all hurt your website. They instantly make a site look outdated and unprofessional. Changing up your images with professionally photographed company events or well-chosen stock photography gives the appearance of a redesign without any of the work.

Once you have a plan for all of these elements in place – fresh content, calls-to-action, improved SEO, and quality images – you can easily maintain the habit of updating your website and keeping it current, engaging, and interesting for your audience.

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