Technology: Commoditization Strikes Again? — Is Virtualization a Victim?

first_imgAt some point, all technology eventually becomes either obsolete or commoditized, one or the other.  For vendors of the affected technology, neither outcome is pretty, although commoditization as an outcome is probably better than being totally run out of town as the world moves on past your obsolete product.  Commoditization levels both brands and monopolies, and with that, what once were expensive products become cheap.Consider this.  38.9% of all servers within all of the enterprises surveyed were virtual and 86.5% of all enterprises are using some amount of virtualization.  Gartner has Virtualization high on it’s list of top 10 technology trends to watch for in 2012.  That doesn’t exactly sound like the description of a technology that’s about to meet the fate of commoditization.  It sounds more like a scenario where you’d expect innovation to be thriving and where quality products would command high prices.  But despite that, there are signs that the virtualization market may be on the brink of a shakeup that’s being driven by rapidly shrinking prices.The recent V-Index survey results reported by Veeam Software finds that as many as 38 percent of enterprises are planning to dump their current virtual machine software over the next year and switch to lower cost alternatives.  That result has raised some eyebrows.  Swapping virtualization technologies is a huge change in infrastructure and doing something like that comes with risks.  It implies there must be compelling reasons to make the change.Nearly 60 percent of organizations considering swapping say the main reason for moving to a different technology would be cost.  But this behavior implies that virtualization has become a commidity.  When customers change from a brand-name item to a no-name one or to one from a less well-known maker for reasons of cost, that is commoditization.   Or perhaps more likely, this is the first step of competition in the marketplace that will ultimately lead to commoditization.  But if that’s true, what is truly amazing is the compressed timeline for the life of virtualization technology, going from a relatively unknown technology five years ago to one that saturates IT shops today and is considered to be a commodity.But some analysts think that it’s easy for customers to say they plan to swap out their VM with another.  Acting on that is another thing.  Bruce Hoard of Virtualization Review for example, , wrote that “It’s not that users can’t just convert a VM, because vendors provide suitable tools for that task. The issue is the operational software–backup, security, capacity management and configuration management–that gets tied into the hypervisor. How do you untie those knots?”After cost, other reasons cited by customers for wanting to move from current virtualization products are features offered by alternative virtualization software, different licensing models, and increased maturity of the alternative products.last_img read more

Philly 360° Playlist: Singer/Songwriter Guordan Banks’ New Single “Good At What You Do”

first_imgGuordan Banks(M. Edlow for GPTMC/Philly 360°) Dreamchasers signee Guordan Banks is back with a new single entitled “Good at What You Do” from his highly-anticipated EP, I Wanna Sing for Oprah. The talented writer serenaded his way onto the Philly 360° playlist with his clever lyrics and undeniable melodies. In this smooth mid-tempo track, Banks sings of the woman with enough appeal to make him forget about all the “Rihannas, Teyannas, and Ciaras” of the world. The synth-driven track was produced by Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Ivan Barias. Banks is slowly teasing fans with great records from his upcoming release. It was first his Meek Mill assisted “Where Are We,” then “We Might Die” which featured a stunning visual shot by Spike Jordan. Though there hasn’t been a release date announced yet, we know many are hoping it will be sooner than later. First garnering attention as a songwriter with credits boasting Keyshia Cole, Vivian Green, John Legend and more, Banks stepped out into his own solo artistry once signed with Philly’s own Meek Mill. He was the featured artist on Mill’s “Used to Be” from Dreamchasers 2 which had over 2 million downloads in one day on mixtape website, Dat Piff. From working with top artists in the game like 50 Cent to performing around the country, it seems that Banks could easily be a part of the artists that lead the frontier of R&B music within the next few years. He shows his diversity as an artist by being able to exhibit his vocal ability while staying relevant with catchy hooks and concepts. Check out the latest single “Good at What You Do” below and let us know what you think about it! Remember Philly supports Philly, so encourage your local artists.last_img read more

Unholy Baba: Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s fall from guru to rapist

first_imgTwenty years of hard labour and a Rs 30.2 lakh fine for two counts of rape and criminal intimidation. His jail term, the judge told Singh, would be extended by an additional four years in the event of any default in depositing the fine. What occurred next is most revealing:,Twenty years of hard labour and a Rs 30.2 lakh fine for two counts of rape and criminal intimidation. His jail term, the judge told Singh, would be extended by an additional four years in the event of any default in depositing the fine. What occurred next is most revealing: an apparently devastated Singh turned remorseful. “Mujhe maaf kar dijiye (please forgive me),” bawled the convict, who only days ago was the omnipotent spiritual guru of Dera Sacha Sauda, with a claimed following of 70 million doting adherents. Eyewitnesses-jail guards present at the hearing-say Singh wailed and needed to be physically removed to the prison cell that will be his home for the next two decades. The fateful afternoon at the model jail outside Rohtak city, safely distant from the dera followers concentrated largely in Sirsa and Punjab’s Malwa region, was a huge comedown from the massive power, influence and political clout that was at Singh’s command while he was still a free man.”Hamein maarna apne aap ko maarne ke barabar hai (To kill me is akin to killing yourself).” This opening line of the trailer of MSG: The Messenger of God, Singh’s cinematic debut in January 2015, was meant to be a grim warning to all those who opposed him. The message: it would not be easy to take him down. And he wasn’t too wrong. After all, it took 15 years, over 200 court hearings and the dogged perseverance of the two young sadhvis (one of them a minor) who first accused Singh of raping them. “There is no doubt that I am God,” the beastly baba had said to ‘Prosecutrix A’, the young Kurukshetra girl who courageously described her torment in a 2002 letter to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.advertisementPhoto: Milind Shelte In the three-page letter she wrote to him, the young girl stated she wasn’t Singh’s only victim. Blowing the lid off a sordid saga of rampant sexual exploitation of young disciples, she wrote: “If the press or some government agency” were to investigate her allegations, “40 to 50 girls living on the Dera Sacha Sauda campus would come forward to reveal the truth”. CBI officers who investigated the case reportedly tracked down 18 of Singh’s victims. But having escaped his clutches, most of them had got married and settled into a life safely away from the dera, and none but the two sadhvis, who stayed until his conviction, agreed to testify. Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, editor of the Sirsa-based newspaper Poora Sach, who had more than a fair notion of the sordid goings-on inside the dera, prominently published the sadhvi’s ‘cry for help’ in his newspaper. He was threatened, allegedly by Singh’s henchmen, but he refused to be cowed down, instead launching a campaign against Sacha Sauda. Chhatrapati was murdered in cold blood.Months before, Ranjit Singh, once a part of Singh’s inner coterie at the dera but also brother of one of the sadhvis who were raped, was shot dead in the fields outside his village in Kurukshetra district.Also probed by the CBI, the trial against Singh and others in Ranjit’s murder is in its final stages, with the next hearing on September 16.The contrast between these dark and sordid crimes and the garish mix of buffoonery, spiritualism and showmanship with which ‘Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’ made himself known to the world at large is stark. But behind the self-fabulism of the guru and the self-delusion of the flock of ‘millions’ lies a grittier story. A story of our times.Gurmeet Singh is the only child of Maghar Singh and Naseeb Kaur, a land-owning Jat Sikh couple of Gurusar Modia village in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district, who were devout followers of the then dera head Shah Satnam. Singh’s village schoolmates remember him as a “distinctly precocious and confident young lad, extremely fond of sport and very good in studies”. But there is evidently a generous proportion of ‘alternative truths’ infused into the narrative about him. There are also memories in Gurusar Modia of Singh ‘misbehaving with girl students’, ‘failing his final exams’ and eventually being ‘expelled’ while he was in Class 9. ‘Initiated’ into the dera when he was just seven years old, Singh went on to inherit its leadership when the ageing incumbent, Shah Satnam, “voluntarily” proclaimed him his successor and passed him the gaddi on September 23, 1990. Anointed a ‘saint’, he was thenceforth called ‘Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’. His supporters at the dera immediately proclaimed Singh the reincarnation of Beparwah Mastana Balochistani, who founded the sect in April 1948 and prophesied in January of 1960 that he would be reborn after seven years. Gurmeet Singh’s birth on August 15, 1967 proved convenient to his ascendancy. But here too, there’s an alternative, albeit carefully whispered, sequence of what may have actually transpired. Gurjant Singh alias ‘Rajasthani’, chief of the dreaded Sikh terror outfit Khalistan Commando Force and Gurmeet Singh’s longstanding friend, used to frequently drop by at the dera in Sirsa. Former Punjab Police intelligence officers say he even used the sprawling premises to stock arms and, on occasion, as a hideout. Rajasthani was there when Singh was anointed as the ‘third Master’, and according to one persistent rumour that has always been vehemently, sometimes violently, discouraged within the dera, “a revolver pointed at Shah Satnam-ji’s temple” was enough for him to pass on the mantle.Rajasthani was gunned down in an encounter with the Punjab Police in Mohali on August 31, 1991. But by then, Singh was in complete control of the dera, having resolutely stamped out every slightest sign of dissent. And that is also when he set about expanding Dera Sacha Sauda to achieve the huge power and influence it would eventually come to wield.advertisementWhat used to be a relatively humble ashram expanded to more than 700 acres with scores of new buildings-rows of shops, schools, three state-of-the-art hospitals, seven schools and colleges, two posh hotels for paying devotees, even two petrol pumps. And at the centre of it all, Singh’s own gufa (cave)-an ultra-luxurious abode with access zealously restricted to just a select few, other than the unfortunate young sadhvis. Unverified video images on social media, showing Haryana policemen entering the gufa on August 29, depict expensive, gilt-edged furnishings and air-conditioned chambers with larger-than-life pictures of the ‘guru’ adorning virtually every inch of wall space. The man clearly liked looking at himself.Singh also succeeded in growing Dera Sacha Sauda far beyond its modest beginnings in Sirsa. A list of the dera’s assets compiled by CBI investigators shows properties in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, as well as overseas centres in Victoria (Australia), Italy and the UK. A compilation of the dera’s assets still under way in Haryana and Punjab, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has revealed over 230 premises, mostly naam charcha ghars (congregation centres). Not counting assets held in cash, bank accounts or other securities, the Punjab administration has conservatively valued the dera’s prayer centres at approximately Rs 60 crore. Adding to this, the takings from the dera’s hotels, sales from MSG Foods (an online groceries store) and sale of products to devotees at its many centres are estimated to be worth Rs 1 crore per day.But apart from all his wealth, the dera chief’s massive political clout also came from his mushrooming following. Consider this: from a relatively meagre ‘subscriber base’ of under a million adherents when he grabbed the gaddi in September 1990, the dera claims its following swelled over 70 times under Singh’s leadership. “Nearly a third of Guruji’s followers are youth who have chosen to forsake intoxicants, non-vegetarian food and immorality,” the dera’s chief spokesman, Aditya Insan, told india today months before Gurmeet Singh’s current troubles.advertisementIt was the burgeoning population of youth in his flock that led Singh to song, dance and eventually cinema. “It is a sugar-coated pill of quinine to attract the youth,” he admitted to a reporter in one of his first media interactions in November 2014.MSG: The Messenger of God was an over-the-top rendition of the Bollywood formula blockbuster, about truth triumphing over evil. It was an overdose of rock and rap music, dance and action sequences. His people proudly said, “Guruji writes his own lyrics and has arranged the musical score for each one of his songs.” Lead actor, co-director, lyricist, playback singer, set and costume designer for his movies, Singh plays himself, depicted as a larger-than-life protagonist pulling off impossible stunts while riding a series of custom superbikes, all-terrain vehicles, even hopping on and off helicopters, possibly inspired by a mix of James Bond and Akshay Kumar movies.His four subsequent movies- MSG-2: The Messenger, MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart, Hind ka Napak ko Jawab and Jattu Engineer-have been equally outlandish, but each one was lapped up by his followers. Together, Singh and the dera reportedly raked in over Rs 1,000 crore from the films.Despite, or perhaps in preparation of, his impending reckoning with the law, the dera under Singh also accumulated a long list of ‘achievements’ that would leave most other social outfits gasping. As part of 133 ongoing public welfare projects, voluntary blood donation campaigns run by Dera Sacha Sauda have collected more than 300,000 litres of blood (the dera’s website claims 35,000 units of blood are collected every year at the Sirsa premises alone), bringing in three successive Guinness world records. The dera also claimed to have won 22 Guinness awards for de-addiction, ophthalmological, diabetic and cardiac clinics, tree plantation and cleanliness drives. Also, from the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, devastating floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 to the floods in Kashmir in 2014, the Shah Satnam Ji Green ‘S’ Welfare Force Wing, by now a 70,000-strong collective of trained volunteers given to martial uniformed parades, has delivered disaster relief in some of the most adverse conditions.Singh and his supporters have long been insisting that the allegations of rape, murder and 400 forced castrations against him are false. He points to “conspiracies” by liquor and drug cartels and their political masters who, according to him, are losing business because of the dera’s sustained campaign against alcohol and narcotics.As per its own claims, the dera-since Singh assumed charge in 1990-has “rescued close to 65 million people from the clutches of alcoholism and drug abuse”. But wait, that adds up to more than the entire population of Punjab and Haryana put together!There was a clear and deliberate attempt to exaggerate the truth. Take the 22 Guinness records, most of them awarded to the ‘Rev. Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan’, for instance. They include awards for some decidedly trivial accomplishments-the largest poster, largest finger-painting, most people sanitising hands, even the most (32,207) birthday videos received in a single day-which dera spokesmen seldom talk of to outsiders. The dera’s smartly designed website ( is most revealing. It is mobile-ready, besides serving as a one-stop shop for everything, from healthy living tips to information about upcoming discourses to diet charts to shed flab. The portal also carries PDF files of 20 separate ‘pledge forms’ that devotees can sign and submit-to take an oath against female foeticide, volunteer as a blood, eye, skin, bone or whole body donor, surrender subsidies, promise never to tease girls, even, believe it or not, to quit homosexuality!There’s more. An entire section on ‘miracles’ performed by Gurmeet Singh, unbelievably, features testimonies crediting the godman with everything from “curing cancer and mental illness to restoring eyesight, even averting accidents, reviving a dead child and guaranteeing the birth of a boy”. Based on the pledges since Singh assumed the mantle, spokesman Aditya Insan, who’s been slapped with sedition charges following the August 25 Panchkula violence, claimed in a conversation with india today that the dera was the biggest repository of “human skin (for grafting), bone (as a cheap alternative to joint surgery), corneal eye tissue, and volunteer organ donors”. He also claimed that the dera has been the “single largest blood donor to the Indian army since 2006”. However, no offer was made to verify the claims. Pleading for a lenient sentence in the makeshift court in Rohtak jail, SK Garg Narwana, the dera chief’s longstanding legal counsel, predictably invoked Singh’s claimed social welfare enterprises. “The convict is running social work in Haryana, especially when the government of Haryana has failed to do such works,” Narwana told the court, adding references to Singh’s contribution to drug de-addiction and motivating his followers to marry “even prostitutes”. Judge Jagdeep Singh was not impressed.Dera Sacha Sauda’s claimed following of 70 million adherents in India and abroad is, in all probability, similarly overstated. But even if grossly exaggerated, the numbers have been more than sufficient to bring politicians of all hues flocking to Singh-seeking his blessings, but more importantly, his benevolence prior to an election.Gurmeet Singh’s spectacular rise and fall from grace may seem uniquely lurid, but his story is closely enmeshed in a larger and equally disturbing sociological phenomenon. In recent decades, Punjab, Haryana and other north Indian states have witnessed a growing ‘dera culture’ amid the mushrooming of socio-religious sects invariably headed by self-styled godmen. Their followers transcend religion and caste, but are largely from the economic and social margins of society. Dalits comprise 32 per cent of Punjab’s population. In Punjab and Haryana, a significant section of them is affiliated to some dera or the other.Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh launches a cleanliness drive in Delhi with the BJP’s Manoj Tiwari and General VK Singh. (Photo: Ramesh Sharma / Mail Today) Dera Sacha Sauda, like some 3,000 other deras in the region, draws adherents from among Hindus, Sikhs, backward caste converts to Christianity and Muslims. Pramod Kumar, political scientist and director, Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), Chandigarh, describes deras as “poor cousins of institutionalised religion”. He says their popularity is rooted in the region’s religious tradition where rather than engage with scriptures, devotees prefer listening to discourses delivered by glib-talking gurus or spiritual leaders. The rise of deras, however, is also a consequence of the failure of institutionalised religion (Sikhism in Punjab) to embrace such people as well as the inability of the state to guarantee a dignified living and security. Jawaharlal Nehru University sociologist Surinder S Jodhka says: “Deras offer a sense of security to their followers and a personal touch, which is completely missing in mainstream gurdwaras and temples.” Womenfolk, particularly, are fervent supporters. Apart from discouraging drinking and running successful de-addiction programmes, deras like Sacha Sauda have accumulated extensive wealth, which is spent on the welfare of followers. Kumar says deras provide followers everything that the state denies them. Since early 2000, the expanding base of six of Punjab’s biggest sects-Dera Sacha Sauda, Dera Baba Jaimal Singh of the Radha Soamis, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan at Nurmahal in Jalandhar district, Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar, the Namdharis and the Nirankaris-have brought their leaders extensive political clout. Sacha Sauda has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to swing elections in 27 assembly seats in Punjab’s Malwa region. An IDC study shows the Radha Soamis can influence outcomes in 19 assembly segments, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan and Dera Sachkhand Ballan in eight each, the Nirankaris in four and the Namdharis in two constituencies. Most deras don’t proclaim their political preference, but Sacha Sauda changed that in the 2007 Punjab polls, announcing support to the Amarinder Singh-led Congress. It backed the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP in 2012 and 2017. And though Singh had always insisted that he has never directed his followers to vote for a particular politician or political party, the dera’s political wing, the Saadh Sangat Rajnitik, would invariably send out a clear signal on the preferred political direction ahead of any state assembly or Lok Sabha election. Just days before voting in the Haryana assembly elections in October 2014, Dera Sacha Sauda’s political wing declared support for the BJP. This after Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party’s election in-charge for Haryana, met the dera chief with 40 BJP candidates. Significantly, the decision to support the BJP was preceded by PM Narendra Modi’s public praise for the dera’s cleanliness drives, during an election speech at Narnaund.The quid pro quo with deras means political parties are unwilling to or incapable of acting against dera leaders, as evident in the case of Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar government. While Punjab (where the ruling Congress doesn’t enjoy the dera’s support) cracked down on troublemakers in the aftermath of Gurmeet Singh’s conviction, Haryana not only permitted some 100,000 dera supporters to gather in Panchkula, but also assured the courts that everything was under control-until, predictably, all hell broke loose.Sadhvis at the Dera ashram in Sirsa. (Photo: Ravi S Sahani)  But all that is history now. While Singh’s 82-year-old mother Naseeb Kaur, on August 28, proclaimed his son Jasmeet Insan as the new custodian of the dera, this is certain to be challenged by Honeypreet Kaur aka Priyanka Gupta, a young woman Gurmeet Singh adopted in 1999. There is also a third contender in 34-year-old Vipassana, a young woman who is close to Singh and who was until now responsible for the day-to-day running of the dera. However, there may be no ‘spoils’ to share. A full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, consisting of acting Chief Justice SS Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan, has ordered Punjab and Haryana to compile and attach all assets of Dera Sacha Sauda while also barring any transfer, sale or mutation of such assets, including bank accounts. This, the bench said, would be used to pay for the damage caused by dera supporters in Panchkula and elsewhere.Dera Sacha Sauda ashram in Sirsa. (Photo: PTI) And while many of the dera’s now disillusioned adherents might well go their way, even perhaps returning to the fold of mainstream religions, more trials await Rohtak jail’s ‘Prisoner number 1997’-Gurmeet Singh.Apart from charges related to his role in the 2002 murders of journalist Chhatrapati and of Ranjit Singh, the CBI has also been probing allegations that Singh ordered the forcible castration of 400 followers. Trials in all these cases are expected to conclude by the end of this year.last_img read more

How Many Visitors Should Your Site Get?

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketers and small business owners we speak with at HubSpot often ask how many visitors their site should be getting.The answer depends on several variables including size of company, industry, and the type of product or service the company is selling. To provide a general benchmark, I pulled together some aggregate data on website traffic based on company size and type.The chart below shows the median weekly unique website visitors for 1,324 HubSpot customers for the 7 days ending September 10, 2009. So, if you’re a 6-10 person B2B company and you’re getting 124 unique visitors a weekly you’re about average for similar companies.A few notes on the data: The median was used as opposed to the average since a few sites with large numbers of visitors skewed the average up in each category. Therefore, the median serves as a better benchmark for typical companies in each segment. I broke out the data by size of company based on number of employees and also by whether the site is for a B2B or B2C company. Not surprisingly, companies with more employees tend to have more website visitors. Also, B2C companies have more visitors than B2B companies regardless of size. However, it’s interesting to note that the difference in visitors between B2C and B2B sites seems to be more pronounced in larger companies:• B2C companies with over 200 employees had 203% more unique visitors than the B2B with over 200 employees.• B2C companies with 1 to 5 employees had only 67% more unique visitors than the B2B with 1 to 5 employees.Two groups of customers were filtered out of the analysis:• Customers with less than five unique visitors per week were filtered out of the analysis since those customers often have not fully launched their websites or have not installed the HubSpot tracking software.• HubSpot customers that signed up after 7/31/09 were excluded to ensure that the tracking software was fully installed and functional at the time of measurement. How to Generate Leads for Small Business Originally published Sep 22, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Web Analyticscenter_img Topics: Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools.Download our Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar.last_img read more

4 Tactics for Finding Meaningful Conversations on Twitter [@InboundNow #34]

first_img , find, and participate in relevant industry conversations on Twitter? are social media tool Originally published Aug 18, 2011 11:02:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Runtime: 12:25 Inbound Now is currently in booking mode for upcoming episodes! Is there a certain topic you would like covered or an expert you would like to see come on. Contact me on Twitter Using What other tactics do you use to to see a ton of options and start getting rid of some of the noise. Reach out in a genuine way and start sharing their content on a regular basis. There monitor To view more episodes of Inbound Now, You can add questions to a to-do list to answer later, or forward them to a colleague and help them connect with relevant Twitter users. 4. Find Relevant Tweeters in Your Space , we share some advanced Twitter search tips to help you wade through the fire hose to find relevant conversations and filter out useless noise. Topics: advanced search link Here are some other examples of other common search modifiers, courtesy of the Twitter application, HootSuite: Regardless of the tool you use, centralizing information in one place is critical to saving hours of time and your sanity. Key Point: The tools you are using aren’t as important as the smart searches you are using to find the useful needles in the proverbial Twitter haystack. . keyword ? -http is a great site to scan Twitter bios for relevant keywords. It may take a little digging, but once you find some influential people in your space, make sure to start following them and connect. gets rid of all the auto-posts from blogs and people’s RTs, which can be helpful when you are looking for statements and questions(?) around your keywords (a.k.a. conversations). keyword suggest -http keyword anyone -http keyword recommend -httpcenter_img SEO and Social Media is a great way to start learning the advanced search queries Twitter has to offer. Click on the -http conversations happening and questions being asked about your industry. The trick is finding them in an efficient way. Would you like to see a particular marketing mastermind on the show? You need to set up a place to centralize all your queries in one place. I prefer to use HootSuite, TweetDeck, or Sendible for this. HubSpot also has a pretty nifty It never hurts to have an influencer on your side, and they can be instrumental in helping you spread your messages when the time comes. Give, give, give, before you ever try and ask for anything. (This is the Golden Rule in social media). . social media and digital marketing podcast The 3. Set Up a Listening Station Twitter @DavidWells or drop me a line on our contact page helps you take your monitoring to the next level by providing a browser plug in/extension that notifies you of any new conversations happening around one of your advanced search strings. 1. Use Advanced Search Modifiers click here In this episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s Four awesome search modifiers for Twitter are: 2. Leverage InboxQ to help keep tabs on conversation. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Social Media Lead Nurturing Debuts, And Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Topics: Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Gather round, inbound marketers. I have a story for you.Actually, I have like 5 stories for you. But I didn’t write any of them — these are the best stories from around the interwebs this week that you may have missed. Which is totally understandable, because holy cow do people pump out a lot of content these days (that’s good though; keep doing that inbound marketers).Without further ado, here are the inbound marketing stories that tickled my fancy this week, and I think will help us all be better inbound marketers. And as always, share your own favorite industry stories with us in the comments!HootSuite Partners With HubSpot to Offer Social Media Lead NurturingI had to start with this one, because it is so cool! We all use social media to generate traffic and leads; we spend time and effort nurturing those leads to become customers; then we rely on closed-loop reporting to tell us how we did. Wouldn’t it be great if all those activities were more integrated though, and you could actually monitor your very own leads’ activity in social media so you can nurture them right then and there? You bet your buttons it would be — which is why we at HubSpot partnered with HootSuite to make that possible. Read more about the partnership in this blog post!LinkedIn’s Security Woes Pour Salt on Social Media’s Exposed Wounds From MarketingPilgrimBy now you probably know about LinkedIn’s security breach in which 65 million passwords were leaked. If not, well, go change your password and then come back.Everything good?Awesome. Frank Reed at MarketingPilgrim took the coverage a step further with an insightful assessment of the state of the social media security union. He believes security is at the crux of social media’s success … and you can read the post to learn why some current social media giants should invest in it lest they meet an eventual demise.Google Finally Takes a Clear Stance on Mobile SEO Practices From Search Engine LandWe’ve talked a lot about the importance of investing in mobile marketing; and I think most inbound marketers are already sold on how critical a strong organic search presence is. This article from Barry Schwartz helps us bridge the gap between the two with his report on Google’s official stance on mobile SEO. It’s not that the topic of mobile SEO hasn’t been covered before — but this time, it comes straight from the horse’s mouth.The 2012 Shopping Behavior Insights Study From Parago Marketers waffle back and forth on what really motivates shoppers to buy. If you have a great brand experience, will that trump cheaper prices from a competitor? Just how much of a role do coupons and discounts play in the buyer’s decision-making process? Their importance may be bigger than you think (they were bigger than I anticipated, at least). Take a look at that and other insights in Parago’s newly published study with data-backed insights on shoppers’ behaviors.Don’t Like Snake Oil? Stop Buying It From SEOmozTo be clear, SEOmoz isn’t selling snake oil. That header is a tad misleading. (On a side note, maybe we should start adding commas into these headings … well, next week is another week.)Now that that’s cleared up, Dr. Pete at SEOmoz comes to the defense of SEOs everywhere who have been given a bad name, usually by people who don’t really know what SEO is. Or, by all those grey- and black-hat people who call themselves legitimate SEOs (tsk, tsk). This post tells everyone who practices SEO how to stop feeding into the stereotype by being well-informed and learning how to work well with clients and bosses who are demanding results in the SERPs.What else happened in marketing this week that we should know about?Image credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchiveslast_img read more

5 Key Characteristics Every Social Media Community Manager Should Have

first_imgSocial media is an effective tool to engage your target audience, drive website traffic and, ultimately, boost sales; so why do so few companies employ a social media community manager? You know, the person that manages the whole thing? . Some of our clients even have Tomorrow People presence, as well as many other companies we work with — and they’re all seeing great results from it. So how do social media not . 3) Grows the Network It seems crazy, in the midst of a global financial crisis, to suggest that companies should go to the expense of hiring a community manager to oversee their social media presences. But at our company, By employing a team of full-time and part-time community managers, we’ve cut down on the number of sales people we need to employ because the inbound leads we’re producing are highly qualified. We’re doing the same for our clients, such as LinuxIT and Workbooks; by engaging effectively with communities online, their sales teams are more efficient because they’re receiving far more These tasks detract from the central role, but are all too often lumbered on community managers. Email marketing A community manager isn’t responsible for: do? Twitter 2) Listens to the Buzz Lead nurturing make the leap? This post will tell you everything you need to know about integrating a community manager into your marketing department. Quantity is important to establish reach We have packaged the model into a 5-step methodology we call Zoober: listen, create, engage, transform, grow. This is a process of continuous improvement, where we constantly measure and amend our approach. Our community management team delivers the ‘Engage’ stage of this model — telling people what we’re doing and bringing them to our website. , we apply the lean manufacturing continuous improvement methodology Six Sigma to our internal processes, assuming the leads are the final output. We use HubSpot to measure our traffic and social media engagement. This should include blogger outreach, too — finding the right person to get to know and ask for guest blogging opportunities. You could also consider reaching out to the publications, forums, and Q&A sites your target audience uses. 5) Joins the Conversation and you What are a community manager’s roles and responsibilities? Google+ . Additionally, our average money hiring sales people or in other marketing hires. Develop a process or methodology to ensure you continually improve your social media results each month, and document & review those processes every month. Give your community management team great tools & remarkable content to get the best results. Managing social media communities is a highly skilled, challenging role — which is why we’re amazed how many companies think they can get their intern to do it in their spare time. , but just transfer this step to whatever tool you use — and ensuring profiles are standardized and present the company in a professional light. They should also increase your Facebook fans and What does the community manager Community managers should also investigate the various social media automation tools available, and stay up to date with technology, marketing, and industry news. 4) Distributes Content A good community manager should then grow your networks by engaging every day online (via forums and owned communities) and offline (via events, conferences, and meet ups). They should also, of course, craft status updates, posts, and tweets — because like most of your other marketing channels, social media also depends on sharing excellent content.center_img Originally published Oct 9, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 We’ve also noticed that Twitter and LinkedIn contacts. Your community manager should promote your blog and website content to your network. They should help your company foster meaningful business discussions that will allow you to reach your target audience and gain more clients. It’s about dialogues, not monologues. employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website every month It’s definitely worth the effort for us — and we’re sure it could be worth it for you, too! Too many companies don’t bother with social media engagement, or engage with it in an ad hoc fashion. Simply asking your copywriter to tweet every now and again, or getting the intern to update your company LinkedIn profile, won’t cut it; you need people who can focus on this role strategically and consistently to engage your online audience effectively. The benefits are clear — but the process requires a professional. generate more leads , we’ve been developing our community management team and processes to real effect over the past 16 months. I also know that HubSpot invests in employees dedicated solely to managing their no This involves replying to online questions and comments immediately, giving your brand a face, and creating a relationship with prospects. The community manager should represent the client’s voice, but should also be able to get their individual personality across. Especially in blogger outreach, conversation should come naturally to them — they shouldn’t be struggling to find a voice when contacting strangers. A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online — finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? Who are your rivals? What are they interested in? When are they most likely to read a tweet, or an update? Are they aware of your brand? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with? Marketing strategy quality First, what are the benefits of having a community manager? 1) Sets Up and Manages Profiles Content creation we use HubSpot . You should also remember that while hiring a community manager is certainly an expense, you could visitor-to-lead conversion rate for our B2B clients is 8% Topics: qualified leads sales people, as they sell online: so the community managers are driving their sales directly! Alistair Norman is the Marketing Director of HubSpot’s International Partner Agency of the Year 2012, the UK inbound marketing agency Tomorrow People. Alistair is also an auditor of the MA/MSc programme at Birmingham City University’s New Technology Institute. Follow Alistair on save For us, it has made sense to hire a community management team, but it may make sense for other companies to retain these skills — it’s all about finding people with the right skills and enabling them to develop a community for you in the long-term. Building efficiency into our process to Is it worth it? Where does the community manager role fit? Nothing makes your company look like it doesn’t care like half-filled in, out of date employee and company pages on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our community management team sets up and manages our company and employee social media profiles and groups. This involves setting up the content within our social media publishing tool — Community Management , but your community manager should also focus on creating a larger base of high quality social media fans and followers. A thousand Facebook friends from the wrong industry may not be as valuable as 20 very influential friends with the right connections. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

They Grow Up So Fast: How 7 Brands Made It Big Practically Overnight

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Any business owner will tell you: Overnight success can happen — it just takes 5 to 10 years of work first.Stories of companies with meteoric rises abound, and it may seem like they’ve been fated from the very beginning.For many, however, growth hasn’t always been straight and even. These companies just made some smart marketing decisions that led to some serious growth spurts along the way.  Let’s take a look at some of the decisions that proved to be watershed for seven companies and led to major increases in traffic, revenue, and brand evangelism.1) UberWhen Boston Public School buses went out of commission in early October due to a worker strike, thousands of parents were left trying to find alternative avenues for their children to get to school. Uber, a mobile app that connects riders to taxis and car services, took this event as an opportunity to help.After the idea was first raised by an Uber user on Twitter, the company began offering free rides to Boston Public School students stranded by the strike. The good gesture resulted in news coverage from major publications, including the New York Times, Venture Beat and, of course, the Boston Globe. It also exposed a new audience to Uber: parents in need of a safe way to transport their children.  This isn’t the first time that Uber has offered to help out during a time of crisis. In March, after a fire left a massive section of Boston without power and caused subway service to halt, Uber offered rides out of the darkened neighborhood for half off. Also, after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Uber provided free rides to area hospitals.Through these standout actions, Uber has ingratiated itself in the local community, spread brand awareness, and grown significantly as a result. In the last year, according to Inc. Magazine, Uber has expanded rapidly from 12 to 35 cities and grown its revenue by 18% a month. Takeaway: It’s essential to pay attention to current events and where your business can fit in.2) FeedlyIn March 2013, Google announced plans to shut down its beloved RSS reader, Google Reader. The decision left millions of Google Reader users abuzz with concern. Where would they go? Would they have to rebuild all of their feeds?Feedly, an upstart RSS reader, jumped on the opportunity to win over the Google Reader expats. It announced a one-click migration and pursued a number of thought leaders to try their service out. The company spoke directly to the Google Reader audience and created a ton of content for likely searches, such as “Google Reader Alternatives.”By the end of the campaign, Feedly had secured the lion’s share of Google Reader customers and its user numbers tripled from 4 million to more than 13 million. A day after the paid tier became available, the company sold out of its 5,000 Pro accounts.Takeaway: Change is your friend. Be watchful of an evolving marketplace and be quick to act on new partnership opportunities or sudden needs (even if you don’t have all of the answers figured out).3) PinterestIf there was ever a case for an overnight success, it would be Pinterest.In 2011, the social medium’s traffic grew 40x in six months. Pew Research shows a 286% increase in Pinterest use between 2011-12. The site skyrocketed from 700,000 users to more than 20 million, with 15% of Internet users now on Pinterest.But even Pinterest’s founders will tell you that success was 4 years in the making. Even still, how did Pinterest accumulate such wide use in such a short amount of time? The answer is layered, but key to it was how deeply the company built social sharing into to the product.  Social media wasn’t an afterthought with Pinterest — it was a central artery of the way the site operated. When you join Pinterest, you automatically sync up with your connections from other social media networks, enabling you to avoid the cold-start syndrome of having to build a community from scratch.The company also made sharing content on its site exceedingly easy with a bookmarklet and social sharing integrations. According to ShareThis, this year, Pinterest is closing in on email as the third-most popular way to share behind Facebook and Twitter.  Takeaway: We can’t all have our own share buttons, but what can we learn from this? For starters, think about sharing as an integral part of the website visitor experience. Identify the natural places where sharing could occur (e.g. after a purchase or consumption of a piece of content) and make sharing an easy and nearly intuitive part of that interaction. 4) FireRockExponential growth isn’t reserved for web-based companies alone. FireRock, a HubSpot customer, saw significant bursts in growth after getting serious with its social media strategy. FireRock manufactures high-quality, pre-engineered masonry products, including indoor and outdoor fireplaces, chimneys, outdoor ovens, and fire pits.Beyond having a useful blog, FireRock has one of the best Pinterest accounts I’ve seen from a B2B company. It helps that the company creates really beautiful stone fireplaces, so the imagery is captivating, but it also knows how to optimize Pinterest for its business. FireRock smartly tags its posts by geography and focuses on visual content that spreads well. Five months after it began focusing its social media strategy, FireRock increased its reach by 330% and saw a related increase (189% over eight months) in website visits.Takeaway: Know your channels. FireRock knew it had the sort of visual content that would do well on Facebook and Pinterest and targeted its efforts there. You may have content better suited to LinkedIn, Twitter, or another network. 5) ROGETECHFounded in mid-2011, ROGETECH is an IT distribution company specializing in industrial barcodes, tablets, and scanners. The company is also a very new company competing in an older market with established brands. At launch, it knew it needed a way to differentiate from all the other IT distribution companies. The company was starting from scratch, with no email list, domain authority, followers, or fans. In short, ROGETECH knew that to unseat the incumbents, it’d need to win at the search box. It started a strategy of blogging and content creation around a very strategically cultivated keyword list. Not knowing what kind of results it’d see, the company decided to run it as a three-month experiment.Andre Jensen of Inbound MD, an inbound marketing agency that worked with ROGETECH, explains: “We started blogging in mid-December 2011. The month of December 2011, they had 77 unique visitors from organic traffic. After just one month of blogging, they had 695. Two months after, 2,296 organic visits. Three months, they reached 3,454.”  The company centered its posts around technology trends, IT distribution, and tips for successful purchase in the IT industry. This way, it had posts that were both industry-specific and appealing to the masses. One of its most popular blog posts, “What is the Barcode and How it Works,” talks about what a barcode is, how it works, and how a computer interprets it. The company didn’t blog haphazardly. Instead, it stuck to a schedule and well-researched key search phrases.In one year, as a result of all of its efforts, its traffic grew 4,000% and it found that 84% of it was being generated organically through search results, without additional cost to the company. The firm also built a great foundation for future growth, climbing to the number-one rank on Google for nearly all of the products it sells.Takeaway: Know your competitors’ weaknesses. If no one is really dominating the search results for your key terms, go after them. Make a plan to unseat bigger, more established companies with agile content creation. ROGETECH Organic Traffic Growth for 20136) The Rodon GroupIt’s amazing what can happen when a marketing campaign taps into a larger cultural issue. The Rodon Group, a HubSpot customer and manufacturer of plastic injection molding services, was an unlikely candidate for the national spotlight, and yet, after a brief campaign focused on U.S. vs. overseas production, that’s exactly what the company got.  In 2012, The Rodon Group’s president, Michael Araten, drew media attention to what he saw as a trend in manufacturing contracts coming back to the U.S. due to supply chain complications and shipping expenses. “We’re in year three of what I think will be a 10-year transition back to U.S. manufacturing as a world leader,” he explained to Businessweek.His interviews with Businessweek were accompanied by others, including ones with CNBC and The Today Show. The Rodon Group was even visited by President Obama, where he spoke about the importance of keeping American manufacturing and family-owned businesses competitive.But how did he get the national spotlight to begin with? It all started with a campaign the company ran to promote U.S. manufactured plastic injection molding as more affordable than using overseas companies in China. The campaign was anchored on an ebook entitled “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Bring Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” and supporting posts and materials to compare and contrast its services with those of overseas companies.Takeaway: This campaign worked for a couple of reasons.It struck a national chord: The campaign was about more than the company. It focused on an emerging trend that could affect the economy, jobs, and entire industry. It can be easy to get caught in the day-to-day of your job, so try to keep an eye for the larger context in which your company is working. It was well-timed: With national elections coming up, the company knew all eyes would be on the economy and jobs. What external milestones could help bump up the newsworthiness of your company or products? 7) Human Rights CampaignNonprofit organizations and political action committees are among the best at galvanizing wide support in a targeted amount of time. There is perhaps no better example of accumulating momentum around a given event than the United For Marriage campaign run by the Human Rights Campaign in 2012.The campaign, which ran for two weeks, leveraged the timing of an impending Supreme Court deliberation to launch a major public action campaign.  Core to the virality of the campaign was the freedom its audience had to adapt its logo and materials to reflect themselves. Business partners — from Bud Light, to Bonobos, to HBO, to Smirnoff — all adapted the iconic logo with their own. The campaign not only put a message out, but it also gave people the platform to personalize that message.  Much like The Rodon Group campaign, the HRC campaign had a concentrated timeline that hung on a major Supreme Court decision date. The timeline upped the urgency for action and gave participants a sense that this would be a limited-time activity. The company’s results were outstanding. Below is just a segment of its results — you can find the full results here, which include this stat: 700,000 unique visitors were recorded for the campaign website, 86% of whom were brand new to the organization. Takeaway: Give your campaigns a clear start and end date and funnel your entire marketing focus into them. By concentrating all channels and activities toward one goal and milestone, you can increase the urgency and reasons for involvement. There’s no such thing as luck in marketing — only opportunities spotted and acted upon. These companies range wildly in size, mission, industry, and audience, but one commonality that unites them all. They paid attention to the world around them and the experience of their users or customers. They noticed trends, gaps, and opportunities and they were strategic in how they tackled them.The combination of observation, action, timeliness, and measurement are at the heart of each of these efforts. What can your company adjust to better position yourself to do the same? Let us know below! Originally published Oct 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Case Studieslast_img read more

The Essential Guide to Creating an SEO-Friendly Customer Journey

first_imgThink about the last time you made a major purchase online. Was it a plane ticket? An espresso machine? A pair of sneakers?Now, think about where in your buying process the company you bought from made themselves digitally present. If you bought a pair of sneakers, perhaps you found them by searching “best sneakers for marathons” or “sale on running shoes.” If Google was the first place you went to find the product or service you wanted, then you’re a very typical buyer in today’s internet-driven world.When a customer takes a certain route on his or her path to conversion then, logically, the company he or she is buying from needs to be digitally present along that path. If not, then the customer’s journey will veer off to a competitor. Or, worse, the customer won’t be able to find his or her way, and will end up frustrated and bereft of the product or service. In order to accommodate the customer’s journey, the business needs to guide the way by being proactively present from an online search standpoint in order to guide the way. That’s where your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy comes in — getting found online can become an integral part of your customers’ journey.The question is: How do we take a theoretical framework of a customer journey and integrate it into the tactical strategy of SEO implementation?That’s what I’ll dive into in this post. First, I’ll define the two marketing activities that we are discussing: The customer journey, and then SEO strategy. Then, I’ll show you how to implement a successful SEO strategy aligned with a typical customer journey.First, what exactly is a customer journey?A great way to understand a customer journey is to visualize it using a customer journey map. Marketing Consultant Kerry Bodine recently defined the customer journey map in a brilliant way: “Really simply, all a journey map is, is it’s an illustration that shows all the different steps that your customers go through as they do business with you over time.”She created a video on the subject that I think is a must-watch — because you’ll discover not only what a journey map is, but how to make one. Win-win. Here it is:A customer journey map fulfills two primary objectives, according to UK-based customer data thinktank CustomerChampions:It maps the experience that you want to provide to the customer.It maps the experience that the customer would like to receive.These two objectives are integrally connected to the other in the first case, company services customer; in the second, customer receives service.The great thing about customer journey maps is that they put customers first. By sketching this sticky-note map of people progressing through a theoretical funnel, you are putting the focus on customers. Isn’t that the way every organization should function — elevating, honoring, and giving pride of place to the customers? I tend to think so. You might be wondering at this point whether a customer journey map is the same thing as a sales funnel. The answer is no — sales funnels provide a broad-based sketch of a process, but they don’t actually map the journey. Although a customer journey map can theoretically be placed within a funnel, they are two separate things serving two separate purposes.Okay, what does a customer journey look like?Let’s take a look at four examples of real customer journey maps.Example 1One of the best examples of a customer journey that I’ve found is from Their customer journey map, pictured below, holistically maps the customer’s stages (you’ll see some funnel elements here), their actions, their thoughts, and their feelings, and how it all integrates with their engagement with the company.Example 2Don’t worry about the small print on this map — I’ve included it here to show how the funnel provides a diagrammatic structure for the journey as a whole. The circles — “awareness,” “research,” “purchase,” — are a rough parallel to the sales funnel. Originally published Sep 24, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Buyer’s Journey Example 3Some customer journeys are largely offline, like the one diagrammed below. However, even when 90% of the journey is offline, the critical starting point is online — when the customer first searches in Google. There is no way that the journey below could take place unless the initial phase were successful. In the map below, the company calls this initial stage simply “Found via Google” (see the red arrow I’ve added in below).Let’s all take a step back and think about that for a second, shall we? This is an example of the necessity of integrating the customer journey with an SEO strategy. How does the customer “find via Google” unless the company’s journey strategy is connected to the SEO strategy?Example 4The importance of search optimization integration is really driven home with the journey map below. Notice how this particular customer journey begins with a YouTube video, continues through a PPC ad, and progresses to the end entirely online.So once your customer journey is in place, you’re ready to deliver to the customer in the area of search engine optimization. Rubber, meet road.Now that we know what a customer journey might look like, what does the SEO strategy look like?An SEO strategy is the implementation of search engine optimization techniques to guide a customer to the targeted web page. Laura Lippay, former Yahoo marketing manager, traced out an 8-step strategy in a series of Moz articles. Here are her eight steps:Define Your Target Audience and Their NeedsCategorized Keyword ResearchFinding Gaps and OpportunitiesDefine CompetitorsSpying On (and Learning From) Your CompetitorsCustomized SEO Strategy & RecommendationsMust-have SEO RecommendationsPrioritize and SummarizeClick here if you’d like to learn more about SEO strategy — but since I’m talking to a pretty SEO-savvy audience already, I want to instead show a few specific cases of how an SEO strategy intersects with a customer journey map.Here, I’ll use an example of a health insurance customer journey map, which shows how tightly integrated SEO is with the customer journey. My annotations — the red arrows — indicate areas in which search engine optimization will affect the journey.The example above is built on a purchase environment that is mostly centered online. But do you remember the example from earlier of an offline customer journey map? Getting found on Google was where it all started, which places SEO in a critical part of the customer journey.Let’s be honest, though. Google doesn’t give the customer a solution; you give the customer a solution by being present in Google’s search results. In other words, you need to optimize your content for SEO in order to get in front of the user on their journey in the first place.A Simple Model for Implementing SEO Along the Customer Journey.Now that the stage is sufficiently set, I want to discuss the actual implementation. How does one add a layer of SEO strategy atop a customer journey map?The ModelThe model is very simple: The phases of the customer journey that involve online search must, by necessity, involve one of three types of search actions by the customer: navigational search, informational search, or transactional search. Each of these phases is correlated with a different type of search query. In order to tailor your SEO strategy to the customer journey, your SEO strategy must feed into each of these three types of searches. To help you understand this, let’s take a look at a few examples of specific stages within customer journey maps, and point out the type of search involved in these’s customer journey involves searches for their own brand’s website (navigational), and queries involving information on organic food recycling and its benefits. In both cases, wants to gain this level of search traffic in order to invite customers on the also seeks transactional searches when customers look for coupons. Queries like “coupons for rehash” or “organic food recycling coupon” are considered transactional.Below is a portion of the customer journey map for a suburban mom preparing for a family vacation. This is how Donna’s search type coincides with her journey:The sample buying process diagrammed in the journey map below also involve each of the types of search queries:You’ll notice that customer journey maps have a lot of variation in terms of how they are laid out and displayed: it may be simple or complex; it may indication a customer’s experience; or it could simply show the customer’s actions. The journey map might be vertical, horizontal, or circular. Regardless, each journey map will somehow include one or more of the search queries: Navigational, transactional, and/or informational.Putting This All Into ActionNow that we know what a customer journey map is, and we know what an SEO strategy is, and we know that they’re connected by means of three search query types — navigational, transactional, and informational — it’s time to put the plan into action. Here are the four steps to follow:1) Create your own customer journey map.The more detailed this map, the better. I again refer you to Kerry Bodine’s Customer Journey Map video.2) On your map, identify the specific points points at which a user is conducting one of the three types of search queries (navigational, transactional, or informational).A single phase or point in the map may involve more than one search type. For sake of brevity, Kerry’s map was pretty simple. The first step in this process — ”searches for shoes” — could involve any of the three types of queries.3) Make a list of keywords/queries for each point in the customer journey that involves a specific query type.On your customer journey map, you have a series of points where the journey involves a query type. Use this query type to develop a list of keywords for each one.For example: Donna, the suburban mom, is planning her famiy’s vacation. She’s at an early point in the journey — just getting a sense of costs. At this point, she is conducting informational searches. Here is the information you have:Type of website: Family vacation planning serviceCustomer: Suburban mom planning for family vacationPoint in customer journey:  Getting a sense of travel costs for her upcoming family vacation.Query type: InformationalPossible Keywords: family vacation costcost for family of 4 to go to disney worldvacation cost calculatorhow much vacation can I affordaverage vacation cost for family of 4average vacation costcost vacation irelandcost vacationlow cost family vacation ideas4) Connect each keyword to a specific method of SEO strategy.Now, take those keywords and plug them into your SEO strategy. How? Let’s take one keyword from the above example — “how much vacation can I afford?” Here’s what you might do:Create a page on the websitePage title:  “How much vacation can I afford? | Vacation Planning”H1:  “How much vacation can my family afford?”Article: Discuss answers to this question in the article, and provide a CTA at the end.Create a series of four evergreen blog articles that deal with this question. Use this keyword, and any longtail variations of ”how much vacation can I afford?”Create an infographic that answers the question “”how much vacation can I afford?”Interview several experts on vacation affordability, and post a video series on YouTube.After conducting an effort like that, you will start to dominate that keyword. More to the point, you will also dominate this phase of the customer journey. Whenever the potential customer engages in the informational search for this phase, they will likely see your website in the search results.Let’s review the process to make sure you really know it:Create a customer journey map. Brainstorm. Have fun. Use sticky notes. Drink coffee.Draw out the points in the journey where a customer is conducting a specific search query type. Draw a circle around it. Put a sticky note above it. Write “transactional,” “navigational,” or “informational.”Write down a list of keyword for each point. More sticky notes perhaps?Direct each keyword into a specific method of SEO strategy. Do awesome things.In a nutshell, if you’re interested in making your marketing better, and you don’t yet have a customer journey map, then you’re going to want to make one.But don’t stop there. A customer journey map is an excellent exercise, but without SEO implementation, it’s going to be less than productive. As Kerry Bodine explained in her video, “The interesting thing is that not only do marketers need to care about these journey maps, but everyone else in the organization does as well.” That includes SEOs and other digital marketing movers and shakers.As you shift your customer journey map into the realm of SEO, you’ll start to see a major uptick in traffic, conversions, and all those other good things.Your turn. What do you think? How does a customer journey map influence SEO, and how should you bring the two together?Image Credit: Service Design Tools, via Tumblr, marcommmusings,,, Service Design Platform, Experience Matters, Big Scary Craniumcenter_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Thom Yorke, BitTorrent, and Content Marketing’s Magic Moment

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack These days may go down as the best of times and worst of times for the corners of the internet that are usually too shadowy for the general public.BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that’s been used to power hotbeds for pirated content like Pirate Bay, is relishing the present. Last week, Thom Yorke, the Radiohead front man who is nearly as well known for his pay-what-you-want pricing experiment as he is for his music, issued an announcement that took the music and technology industries by storm: He would self-distribute a solo album exclusively on BitTorrent.Coincidentally, BitTorrent is enjoying a PR coup while other fringe communities, namely the lurid 4Chan and its geeky distant cousin Reddit, have found themselves tangled in controversy surrounding the distribution of intimate photos stolen from celebrities. While Reddit has been turning on itself, others have been so outraged by 4Chan that they’ve orchestrated elaborate hoaxes in attempt to shudder the site entirely. If appealing to the mainstream factored into either site’s growth plan, it could be time to consider Plan B.No such plan is required for BitTorrent. Thanks to Yorke’s win-the-internet announcement, which threatens to cut the middlemen like iTunes and Spotify out of music distribution while simultaneously positioning BitTorrent’s new Bundle product as a way for artists to profit from their work and connect with fans, the public is seeing the technology company in a very different light. Talk about a turnabout for a brand that was once so associated with illegal file-sharing that it blogged in late 2012, “Does BitTorrent = Piracy?” (Spoiler: The answer it gave was, “No.”)Turning Around BitTorrent’s ReputationAnswering common questions isn’t all BitTorrent was doing to turn around its reputation at the time. According to the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, it wasn’t much later that the company began conversations with Yorke, discussions that eventually led to last Friday’s news. Kaykas-Wolff explained that two years ago this Christmas Eve will mark the anniversary of a conversation over tea in London between BitTorrent’s Chief Content Officer (then VP of Marketing) Matt Mason, Yorke, and his management. The two sides enjoyed what Kaykas-Wolff termed “an ideological match” in that they both felt the internet wasn’t helping artists and fans to connect in the way it should.  Yorke and his manager recognized BitTorrent’s potential to distribute recordings directly to fans and not only monetize the transaction, but also give the artist access to everyone who downloaded the files. Eventually, Mason spun up a new product, called BitTorrent Bundle, which Kaykas-Wolff describes as “a record store for the internet generation.” Files can be email-gated or pay-gated. Yorke’s solo effort, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, is the first pay-gated torrent.In time, the PR frenzy will subside. It always does. The BitTorrent-Yorke agreement marks a moment that runs much deeper and endures much longer than any news cycle. Simply, BitTorrent has fused its product together with content. “This (partnership) is an absolute form of content marketing. It’s all about supporting the artists and matching it to what the BitTorrent community has said it wants,” said Kaykas-Wolff. And he’s right. The Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes release isn’t entirely unlike a marketing technology company running a popular blog on its own software — it becomes difficult to distinguish the product from the content. And that’s exactly the point.Yet although the BitTorrent partnership is structurally similar to what business-to-business marketers have been doing for a few years, it would have been easy for Mason to have been so blinded by tried-and-true content marketing programs that he could have overlooked the larger opportunity presented by Yorke.When asked about his company’s willingness to “think big,” Kaykas-Wolff responded, “Everyone is following the content model taught by marketing technology vendors. There needs to be room to experiment with different formats, different ideas, and reaching different audiences that you didn’t have access to previously.”So if any marketers are looking to experiment with large, multimedia files in their content mix, I know a popular protocol that’s ideal for distribution. It’s also suddenly a highly trusted brand.Image credit: BitTorrent Originally published Sep 30, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Content Marketinglast_img read more