8 Free Links to Promote a Blog

first_imgDo you have a new blog? Want to get 8 free links to your blog? Here is a list of free links in blog directories that you can get for your blog, along with the Page Rank of the blog directory (read this article to learn more about Page Rank: The Importance of Google PageRank: A Guide For Small Business Executives).So far, none of these links have driven a ton of traffic, however, more inbound links do help you a lot in terms of search engine optimization (read this article to learn more about linkbuilding: Executive Summary: Linkbuilding and SEO for the Internet Marketing Neophyte).We have submitted our own blog to each of these blog directories and can confirm that they are quality links from reputable sources, and they are all free and do not require a reciprocal link.8 Quality Blog Directories with Free, No-Reciprocal Links Page Rank  PR: wait… I: wait… L: wait… LD: wait… I: wait…wait… C: wait… SD: wait… Blog Optimization 3 Globe of Blogs 6 5 Bloggernity Did you like what you read? Want more? Get automatic updates by subscribing to our RSS Feed or Email List (top right hand side of this page). SuperBlog Directory 3 7 BlogFlux 6 Blog Listing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Bloggapedia Blog Directory Blogarama Topics: Originally published Nov 28, 2007 12:18:00 PM, updated October 18 2015 4 6 Bloggiolast_img read more

Help! No One’s Searching For My Products and Services

first_imgExcept… nobody’s actually searching for that phrase (except you, when you’re checking your keyword rank). You’re not getting any traffic or leads or customers – so who cares that you’re the #1 result? First, you’re optimizing your website for the wrong keywords. “But we sell [insert your esoteric term of choice here]”. Yes, but no one knows what that is and no one’s searching for it. At this point we say, you need to go through a full . They know they need to do this “Internet marketing stuff”. process to identify the best keywords for you business – those that have a high number of monthly searches, are relevant to your business, and are actually within your reach to rank for in the first 10 organic search results on Google. We still call ourselves an inbound marketing system. But we know it requires explanation. We recognize people are looking for an Internet marketing solution and so that’s where we meet our market in the middle. We go to them, understand their problems and needs, and explain how what we do solves their problems. The focus here is changing from yourself to your customers. Because otherwise you’re just standing alone on that soapbox of yours shouting to a nonexistent crowd. keyword research and start blogging generate leads online ” meant? Still, a lot of people say, “inbound market-wha?” It takes some education. But what we did is we took the perspective of our buyer. He knows he needs to and SEO get found in search engines inbound marketing Topics: The second problem is, well, these words we found – the high volume, less difficult, somewhat relevant phrases – aren’t exactly what you sell, that’s not how you would describe what you do. This is a tricky problem. Your customers don’t know they need your product, but you know it solves such-and-such problem that they have. Well, in this case you need to educate your customers on what you do. Six months ago do you think anyone knew what ” to grow his business. She knows she needs to Photo Credit Thomas Hawk Originally published Aug 28, 2008 9:10:00 AM, updated July 08 2013 monitor her company’s web presence There are two problems here. 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

5 Steps for Creating Successful Lead Nurturing Campaigns

first_img Topics: When it comes to effective marketing automation, one of the best steps you can take is making sure your emails are properly set up for lead nurturing success.Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure you generate more customers through a lead nurturing campaign.1. Define Your Audience and SegmentCompanies usually have more than one type of customer. Why do most companies only market to one type of buyer then? In order to set up a lead nurturing email campaign, you first need to know who needs nurturing. Once you’ve defined your ideal customer types, you should then segment them before you start creating campaigns.2. Offer Something of Value First, Not a Sales PitchJust because someone converts on your page doesn’t mean you should jump straight into sending them an email about requesting a quote or a demo. You need to nurture them through the sales funnel first to make them readier to buy. Instead of pitching your product as the greatest thing ever, you should first offer value. Examples of valuable offers include webinars, ebooks, and whitepapers. You don’t have to create new content for your lead nurturing emails — if you have a backlog of content, utilize those assets. If they’ve been successful converting leads in the past, there’s a high chance the leads you’re nurturing will find value in them, too.3. Set Objectives and Goals for Each EmailSo now you know you should be sending content first, not sales quotes. But how do you know what type of content to send? And what should that content’s purpose be? Ultimately, you should be picking offers that will appeal to your chosen audience segment with the intention of moving them further down the sales funnel and closer to the customer stage.A good example of how to do this is in the chart above from one of HubSpot’s customers. Not only do they provide information about their offers and goals for each email, they also include the subject line and CTA they’ll use to entice the reader to accept the offer. This type of chart is a great way to help you organize your campaigns and make sure you’re implementing goals to reach that final step — the sale.4. Set Up a Timeline for Your EmailsYour business has a typical sales cycle, and so should your lead nurturing campaigns. Typically, it’s a good idea to send 2 to 3 emails to your prospects in a lead nurturing campaign. Try to space out your emails accordingly. For example, if your typical cycle runs 30 days, you may want to set up a campaign for emails to be sent out the 1st, 10th, and 20th days after a conversion. With lead nurturing, patience is a virtue. It’s important to remember not to rush into the sale. Instead, let it take its natural course.5. Evaluate Your Success, and OptimizeAs your campaigns run, make sure to experiment with the offers you send, the subject lines, and the calls-to-actions found within the email. There’s always room to improve your campaign. Make sure you take advantage of testing and experimentation to better nurture your leads.Lead nurturing can be ineffective if done incorrectly, but if you put the time into your campaigns and follow these steps, you’ll be more likely to drive more lead-to-customer conversions for your business!How are you using lead nurturing campaigns as part of your inbound marketing strategy? Lead Nurturing 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 Oct 11, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

7 Questions Marketers Should Be Asking Their Sales Reps

first_img Originally published Sep 4, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 All too often, we think of marketing and sales as separate entities within an organization. As marketers, we just have to generate the leads and hand them over to the sales team. And that’s it, right? Well actually, no. In fact, as marketers, it’s our job to make sure that we’re not only generating leads for the sales team, but that we’re also generating high quality leads that our sales team can close as customers at as high a rate as possible.We’ve discussed the concept of “smarketing” in the past — aligning sales and marketing to make both teams stronger and more effective. And while there are a number of ways to do this, a good place to start is simply having a conversation with your sales reps. You’d be amazed how much insight you can glean about your marketing, your leads, and all the pieces of your strategy from any given member of your sales team.So go ahead, grab one of your sales reps for a half hour-long chat, and take some detailed notes about their answers to the following seven questions.7 Questions to Ask a Sales Rep Right Now1) What does your sales process look like?Okay, this one may seem a little rudimentary if you already know the basics of how your sales team operates. But first of all, a little review never hurts, and second, you may be missing important pieces of the sales process that you hadn’t realized.For example, do you know how your sales reps begin a conversation? Do you know how — and how quickly — they work in information about your product or service? How much time do they spend on the phone with a lead? How long does it take the sales rep on average to get your product in front of the decision maker at the lead’s company? It’s critical to develop a strong understanding of exactly how your sales team works your leads. That knowledge should be used as the foundation of your strategy, and it will prove immensely valuable for increasing your marketing effectiveness, since you’ll have a better understanding of how you can create marketing campaigns that complement — not counteract — the sales process.2) What qualities make a lead good or bad?Now, you may already have a lead scoring system in place (and if you don’t, you might want to consider it), and that’s a great tool for qualifying leads, but it’s still important to get detailed feedback from your sales reps about what they think makes for a particularly strong or weak lead. Your reps may also have different opinions about what qualities are most indicative of a lead that will most likely close or a lead that most likely won’t, based on their various experiences and techniques. Find out what factors they look for when they’re deciding which of their leads to call, and figure out how you can generate more of those kinds of leads for them.3) Are there specific marketing offers that signify a particularly strong or weak lead?This one goes along with number two, but it will give you a narrower focus on the actual content you’re using to generate leads. Let’s say you’re creating ebooks and hosting webinars as part of your lead generation strategy. Are leads more likely to convert into customers if they downloaded an ebook or attended a webinar? What about if the ebook was intended to teach readers about your specific product versus a facet of the broader industry?You should already be tracking this data so you can analyze your marketing offers to know which ones convert at what rates, but you may also find that your sales reps can provide additional insight into which offer topics and formats work best. Ask them which types of conversion events they like to see when they decide which leads to call. Are there any offers that make it particularly difficult or awkward for them to start a conversation? Use this feedback to make your offers stronger so you can generate the kinds of quality leads that your sales team likes to work.4) Do leads typically have the right expectations about what they’re getting?Messaging is a core part of marketing. You need to make sure you’re setting expectations correctly. Check with your sales reps to see if the leads they’re calling actually know why the rep is getting in touch with them in the first place. Are they aware that they’ve requested a demo of your product? Maybe your calls-to-action are unclear. Maybe your landing page copy needs rewriting, or your email subject lines are misleading. If you’re sending your sales team leads that didn’t intend to sign up for a free trial, and a rep calls them, saying, “I see you’ve requested a free trial,” not only is that embarrassing, but you’re also wasting your rep’s valuable time.5) What is the number one thing leads like and dislike most about our offers?Are your reps conducting demos of your product? Providing free trials? Maybe assessments of some sort? Find out how these offers are performing from the rep’s perspective, and ask your reps to shed some light on how helpful these offers are from their leads’ perspectives, too. What do people enjoy most about the demo or assessment? How valuable are they finding your ebooks, webinars, or other downloadable content? What are a few pieces of criticism the rep has received? Understanding what your leads do and don’t like about your marketing offers will help you improve both their format and delivery, as well as your ability to effectively position these on the marketing side.6) What are the top reasons a lead doesn’t close?This is a big one. As marketers, our job is to not only generate new leads for sales, but to also nurture leads who are not yet qualified, which include ones that reps have attempted to work but were not yet ready to buy. Instead of just throwing all of these not-yet-ready leads into one bucket, ask your reps about the most common reasons why those leads were not ready to buy. Let’s say the top 3 reasons are budget, timing, and not seeing the value of your product. That’s extremely valuable information to you as a marketer, because now you can segment those leads accordingly and target your nurturing campaigns to address their specific pain points. The more effectively you can nurture these leads, the more effectively you can get them to be sales ready and hand them back to your reps to close.7) Are there any ways marketing can help or do better?It’s good to get a general idea of how your sales team feels your marketing team is performing, but chances are, they’ll have some specific points of feedback that could be really useful to both you and them. Don’t forget — they have insights into the qualities, needs, challenges, and behaviors of your leads and their sales cycles that you most likely don’t. Maybe there’s an opportunity to hand a certain type of unqualified leads back over to Marketing to nurture. Maybe a new type of lead-gen offer, a different positioning of your product, or a new angle for your follow-up messaging might be more effective in getting your leads to be sales ready. Let your sales reps share their ideas, and see which ones make sense to implement.It’s easy to get caught up in your own strategy. And while you should absolutely be conducting your own analyses to figure out what works and what doesn’t, your sales reps are the ones who are actually talking to your leads, and taking it from where you leave off. A short conversation can go a long way. So go grab a rep, grab some coffee, and make your marketing — and your smarketing — way more effective.What other questions do you ask your sales team to help improve your marketing strategy?Image Credit: Collection Agency Inbound Sales (Marketing) 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

Facebook Launches Global Pages to Simplify Brands’ International Facebook Presence

first_img Originally published Oct 18, 2012 12:21:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Facebook Business Pages Topics: Are you a global business that sells to customers on an international scale? Have you struggled with the agonizing question of whether to set up multiple social media accounts on each social network to better support your various marketing initiatives geared toward different international markets? Well as it turns out, Facebook feels your pain.Yesterday, Facebook announced the launch of Global Pages, a new structure to business pages for global brands aimed to provide a better, localized experience for international brands’ prospects and customers. The new structure consolidates a business’ global Facebook presence into one place while still providing a localized experience.How Facebook’s New Global Structure WorksThe idea is, rather than a global brand maintaining one general, broadly targeted Facebook page — or juggling multiple Facebook Pages set up for each different international market — that brand can instead maintain and promote one centralized Facebook Page URL. Visitors to that page will then get routed to the most appropriate version of a page based on their home country, where they will see a localized version of the page, which the administrator can customize to include different cover photos, profile photos, applications, milestones, ‘About’ information, and news feed stories.The global marketer can set up their Global Pages structure to create localized pages for the specific markets (i.e. single or multicountry regions) they’re targeting. They can also set up a default page that all other users outside of these specific markets get directed to. If you’re familiar with LinkedIn’s targeted Product and Services Page variations within their Company Pages, Facebook is implementing a similar idea: Users get redirected to the version of the page that’s best suited for them based on their geographic location.Okay — so what’s the difference between a global marketer just setting up and customizing different Facebook Pages? In one word: centralization.3 Key Benefits of Global PagesA Centralized Facebook Presence: No matter which version of the page a visitor gets routed to, all visitors will see the same page name (translated into their local language), fan count, and ‘People Talking About This’ counts.A Single URL: Rather than having to promote a different page URL for each localized page, global brands will be able to promote one single URL in all of their marketing efforts to promote their Facebook presence, since page visitors will be automatically be redirected to the appropriate version of the Page based on their goegraphic information.A Centralized Global Insights Dashboard: Rather than having to check the Facebook Insights for multiple pages, administrators of the main Global Page will be able to check Insights for all page variations in one centralized dashboard.But What if I Already Have Multiple Pages Set Up?It’s easy to see how this new feature can help global social media marketers who already manage one general page, eliminating the pain of geo-targeting every status update and page post — but what about the marketers who have already set up completely separate, country-specific Facebook Pages for each of their target international markets?According to Facebook, it is possible for admins of multiple pages to transition to the new Global Pages structure, citing examples such as the global Walt Disney Studios team working on Frankenweenie, who were easily able to migrate their country-specific pages for France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to the Global Pages framework. Other brands, including the Holiday Inn and the Kit Kat team from Nestle have also successfully transitioned their various localized pages from regions around the globe to the new structure.And that’s not all …Facebook Also Promises Improved Global Benchmarking Data in the FutureWithin Facebook’s announcement, the social network also mentioned they’re working on ways to make it easier for global marketers to measure their specific, localized audiences in each country — which will include country-level fan counts for both Global Pages as well as pages not yet transitioned to the new framework (coming later this year in its public API).In addition, Facebook is working to provide a way for marketers to benchmark their brand against competitors, enabling global marketers to measure and analyze how each localized market is performing and compare that data on a country-specific level with other Facebook pages via Facebook’s API. Great News for International MarketersThis seems like a no-brainer for businesses who cater to a global audience. No more agonizing over whether to divide their Facebook presence in order to appropriately cater their content and updates to their inidividual, localized segments of their audience. No more time spent fiddling with geo-targeting every single status update. No more splitting up the overall reach and impact of their Facebook presence.To get started with Global Pages, Facebook indicates you’ll need to get in touch with your Facebook client partner or account manager to discuss. If you’re not already working with Facebook, you can contact Facebook marketing solutions here.To learn more about how to effectively implement a global social media marketing strategy, download our free ebook, The Complete Guide to Global Social Media Marketing.If you’re a global marketer, will you explore Facebook’s new Global Pages offering?Image Credit: Sudhamshu Don’t forget to share this post! 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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

Two Critical Metrics for Measuring Your Fundraising Performance

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 Originally published Apr 3, 2014 11:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Marketing Metrics I believe that performance measurement is the most important tool in every nonprofit’s fundraising toolbox. In order to improve the outcomes of your fundraising efforts, you need to measure performance, analyze results, and improve performance over time. But this begs the question … What should your organization measure?Well, it depends on your fundraising goals and strategies. Measurement should always be determined by your unique fundraising plan and the validation you need to improve your fundraising performance. This may include measuring the performance of your marketing channels like your website, social media engagement, and direct mail performance, as well as other efforts like special events, peer-to-peer fundraising, and major gift fundraising performance.However, underlying all of these channels, efforts, and activities are two metrics that lay a foundation for fundraising performance measurement: return on investment and cost per dollar raised.These two metrics are powerful because they allow us to start answering some very intriguing questions, like:We raised “X” dollars from this fundraising strategy, but what does that mean?  Was that fundraising strategy more or less effective than the same strategy last year?How does the performance of that fundraising strategy compare to our other strategies?  More importantly, we can answer strategic questions that drive fundraising improvement and growth. The most critical of these strategic questions are: Are we raising money or losing money? and How do we know if we are raising money or losing money?FundamentalsReturn on investment and cost per dollar raised can be calculated from two variables: revenue by strategy and expenses by strategy.Return on investment is the amount of revenue you generate for a given strategy divided by the expenses required to generate that revenue. Return on investment calculates the total yield for every dollar expended to produce that yield. If the outcome of this calculation is greater than one, the strategy produced a return. If the outcome of this calculation is less than one, the strategy produced a loss.    Cost per dollar raised is the inverse of return on investment. Cost per dollar raised is the total expenses allocated to a certain strategy divided by the total revenue generated by that strategy (revenue could also be replaced with “raised” funds to alter the focus of the metric). As opposed to return on investment, cost per dollar raised calculates the total cost to yield a single dollar of revenue. If the outcome of this calculation is greater than one, the strategy produced a loss; and if the outcome of the calculation is less than one, the strategy produced a return.In order to calculate these two metrics, we need two things: an aggregate sum of all revenue generated for the strategy we want to measure, as well as an aggregate sum of all expenses for that strategy. The “strategy” is the specific fundraising effort, activity, or tactic. You can be specific or broad in how you bucket revenue and expenses under a strategy, but with both metric calculations you must use a ratio of revenue and expenses that are associated with the same strategy.If we measure revenue and expenses for each strategy, we can improve return on investment and cost per dollar raised performance by improving each variable in the calculation. There are three scenarios that lead to increased performance in these two metrics:While holding expenses constant, we increase revenue.While holding revenue constant, we decrease expenses.We increase revenue and decrease expenses at the same time.Key PointsIn addition to the fundamentals of these two metrics, there are three key points that can improve the accuracy and value of your measurements.1) Filter down to the micro-level.While you can generate return on investment and cost per dollar raised for annual fundraising performance on the macro-level, both metrics become more valuable as you evaluate performance on the micro-level.Tracking and calculating performance for these metrics on the micro-level requires a segmented fundraising plan with specific and discrete strategies. Filtering your strategies down to the sources, channels, and methods of fundraising you employ makes it easier to find the weak points in your strategy and make changes to improve your fundraising performance. When you run these metrics in a macro view, it’s challenging to determine where improvements can be made. Specific micro-level segments allow you to pinpoint exactly which strategies and tactics are effective, and which ones aren’t.  2) Collaborate across the organization.For most organizations (dependent on your organizational setup), your development staff and your finance and accounting staff must work together to produce these metrics. Generally the development staff will have data on the sources of revenue and can attribute revenue to specific fundraising strategies, while the finance and accounting staff will have data on the expenses and can attribute those expenses to specific fundraising strategies.As a result, it’s important that these two functions collaborate to produce these metrics. It’s also important that both functions track revenue and expenses using the same specificity and granularity. Without clearly defined tracking and coding of revenue and expenses across both functions, you cannot generate accurate or relevant ratios for these two metrics. 3) Track time and apply as an expense.Including time in your return on investment and cost per dollar raised metrics is a “game changer.” If you’ve been tracking return on investment and cost per dollar raised for your fundraising strategies, but haven’t been adding time as a part of the expenses variable, try running your metrics again including time.It’s very easy to think about time as a free resource, but we all know time is a scarce resource and is therefore valuable to your organization. Time is a direct expense. If it takes one hundred hours of prep for your development director to plan and coordinate a special event, there is a cost for that time. The direct cost of time will depend on who expended the time, how it was expended, and how your organization values that time.Time is also an opportunity. Depending on how time is spent, there could be more valuable uses of time that generate higher returns for the organization. Adding time to your measurement of return on investment and cost per dollar raised gives you a true measure of fundraising performance.Practical Tip: Try tracking time for specific fundraising strategies. Start out with an isolated experiment of one or two strategies. Use a time tracking software like Harvest, RescueTime, TSheets, or Toggl; or keep track of your time in an Excel spreadsheet. Then calculate return on investment and cost per dollar raised two ways. Calculate one set of these two metrics with time included as an expense (valued at a particular rate) and one set without time included. The difference should be evident.Take Action How do we put these metrics into practice? How do we apply them to real-life scenarios, and actually use them to improve fundraising performance?1) Invest in what works; put fundraising dollars toward effective strategies.Fundraising budgets have limits. There isn’t an endless pool of funds to invest. As a result, we need to be selective, strategic, and smart in where we invest our fundraising dollars.Where should we spend our fundraising dollars to generate the highest return? If you use specific, granular details on the micro level of your fundraising strategy to calculate return on investment and cost per dollar raised, you can identify the best fundraising opportunities. Identifying effective opportunities can focus your organization on shedding waste (which are those activities that don’t produce a return) and investing in value (which are those activities that do produce a return).In addition, both of these measures allow us to create “baseline” metrics. Baseline metrics are comparable across incomparable strategies. For example, you can compare the returns from your direct mail campaign to the returns from your special event using these metrics. You can also compare the returns from your social media efforts to your major gift personal solicitations. If we base our comparisons on revenue or expenses by themselves, we cannot compare unlike fundraising strategies. However, as a ratio we can compare these strategies to uncover those that are most effective. Note: While a particular strategy may be highly effective based on these measures, it may not scale. For example, you may find that your event is less effective than a direct mail campaign, but the event’s scale cannot be matched by your direct mail efforts. Scale is an important factor to consider when investing in effective strategies. The correlation between scale and effectiveness, as it pertains to developing a cohesive fundraising strategy, is an important consideration when deciding how to invest limited fundraising dollars to produce maximum return. 2) Test and experiment; test smart, learn, and adapt.It’s important to remember that if you’re measuring these metrics for the first time (especially if you include time in your expense calculations, which I highly recommend), the results may be enlightening or shocking. Something you thought was high performing may be generating poor performance. This is why it’s important to test strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy, and learn.  However, testing and experimenting have limits. Again, our budgets aren’t infinite. We need to be smart in our testing approach. Jim Collins states it best in his book Great by Choice, “fire bullets then cannonballs.”Because time and money are scarce and valuable, Collins uses this premise as a method to validate strategies and learn. “A bullet is a low-cost, low-risk, and low-distraction test or experiment. Based on empirical validation that the bullets are hitting their mark, then concentrate resources on a calibrated cannonball. Calibrated cannonballs enable large returns from concentrated investments.”Don’t waste resources by firing uncalibrated cannonballs when you don’t know if you will actually hit your target. Test and experiment by firing bullets until you feel confident you’ve fine-tuned your methods. Then fire a cannonball when you’re confident you’ve dialed in performance with the right specifications to make the biggest impact. You can use return on investment and cost per dollar raised to validate your strategies and then scale those strategies into larger fundraising efforts once they’re proven. 3) Turn the dial up; improve the return of each fundraising strategy.Lastly, with these metrics you can improve performance. If you understand the drivers that affect these two metrics, you can “crank up” the return on each fundraising activity by improving similar fundraising strategies over time.For example, if you run the same event every year and calculate the yield of that event based on the return on investment and cost per dollar raised, you can strategically improve performance for that event in the upcoming year. Employ the three scenarios described earlier:Increase event revenues while holding expenses constant.Decrease event expenses while holding revenues constant.Increase event revenues and decrease event expenses at the same time.If you can improve any one of these scenarios, you can yield higher returns for the upcoming event than the past event. The fundamentals of these two metrics allow you to squeeze more value from your fundraising efforts to generate more return with less cost, while contributing to your organization’s year-over-year growth.These aren’t the only metrics you should be tracking, but they can get you started. The goal of any development professional is to invest in positive fundraising projects. Fundraising success is directly correlated to managing a portfolio of projects that yield positive returns as standalone efforts and as a total, combined portfolio of fundraising projects. By measuring a spectrum of macro- and micro-level returns using these two measures, you have a litmus test for whether your fundraising strategy is contributing positively to the growth of your organization. Topics:last_img read more

The Best Cold Email Pitch I’ve Ever Gotten

first_imgHubSpot gets a lot of pitches in our inbox every month. Even though we have specific guidelines on pitching us, most of them are duds. Maybe once in a while, we’ll get a gem … maybe. But often, we’re passing on most of the pitches in our inbox.We pass on most because we want to make everything you read worth your time. Since you — yes you, the person reading this very post — have taken time out of your day to visit our site, we better make sure we’re giving you something that’s up your alley. So that’s why we’ll pass on most of what comes through our inboxes.Download our free email productivity guide here for even more time-saving email management tips. But this last month, we got one of the best pitches I’ve ever seen. It was so good, I couldn’t not share it with you all. Because if you’re trying to grow your business, chances are you’ll need to pitch someone at some point — so get out your notepad. Meet Bryan Harris, founder of Videofruit. You’ve probably already seen what came from this pitch. If you’re interested in an in-depth look into how he preps to pitch people, read his post here. Basically, his method is based on Gary Vaynerchuck’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right-Hook methodology. Instead of pitching people directly, he gives value without getting anything in return. His first attempt of this methodology, he gave an iPhone app to bestselling author Jon Acuff — for free.  “It’s just like interacting with your neighbor across the street,” Bryan told me. “If one day I asked her for an egg, she’d come running. It’s basic human behavior. If you give someone something, they’ll want to give you something back.”  Now, I’m the neighbor here to tell you the other side of the story. I’m here to tell you why his “pitch” was just so engaging and convincing. We can’t guarantee every pitch will work, but following Bryan’s lead will give you a much better chance of being noticed (in a good way). How Bryan Hooked MeThis is the email Bryan sent me:Just a few lines of text. Nothing too apparent from the get-go that would indicate this pitch was amazing and wonderful. But if you look closer, you’ll see why it hit the nail on the head. Here’s why Bryan’s pitch got my attention. He wasn’t a stranger.Sure, we had never met or talked before, but Bryan wasn’t a stranger. He had been reading and interacting with HubSpot content for almost two years. How do I know? I’m a creep, and I looked up his contact record in HubSpot. I could see he wasn’t some random stranger out to get backlinks. He knew us as well as anyone can without actually meeting — and that knowledge transferred into the rest of the following bullet points. He knew our tone.Because he wasn’t a stranger, he knew how we write on the blog. We’re conversational. We’re casual. We try to be fun (or at least punny). We’re definitely not a buttoned-up jargon factory.So Bryan mirrored our tone. There’s no fluff. No pitch red flags like “keyword rich” or “original content.” Nada. Just a normal, conversational tone that makes us know that there’s a real human behind the other end of the screen — not some SEO robot. He knew our peers.I’m a big fan of KISSmetrics. I think they have some of the best content on the web for marketers. So the fact that Bryan mentioned them — and had actually worked with them — definitely caught my eye.I don’t want you to think that this was the only reason we accepted Bryan. It’s not. We’ve been pitched before by lots of wonderful people who have worked with companies we admire and respect. This was the cherry on top of all of the other reasons we mention in this post — this reference (and link to his work there) solidified an already-strong feeling I had about him. He knew our weaknesses. If you poke around the blog, you’ll notice that we don’t do a ton of video. We have little bursts here and there, but it’s by no means something we do on a regular basis. We’re a small team here, so getting dedicated video resources on a consistent basis is difficult. That’s what made Bryan’s pitch that much more awesome: His content could fill a need we had. We hadn’t come out and said it directly, but by doing his research (which he did), he would know that we would be interested in video content. He kept it short and direct. Bryan hooked me in seven sentences. He didn’t beat around the bush — he introduced himself, showed us what he could offer, and asked us if we were interested. This was like a breath of fresh air among the other pitches we’ve gotten that could masquerade as novels.Being direct saves everyone time. You don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours writing a pitch and we don’t have to spend the same amount of time reading it. Win-win. He went the extra 5K … and it was awesome. From the screenshot above, it’s not evident how much work Bryan put into this pitch. Let me fill you in: He created a custom, minute-long sample for us of the type of video he’d create. You can check it out here. That’s not easy — it’s not like whipping up 500 words on a topic. You’ve got to write the script, shoot the video, edit it, and upload it. That’s a lot of effort for potentially zero payoff. But because the topic was spot on and video was very, very well put together, I was sold. He went more than an extra mile — maybe as far as an extra 5K — and it paid off. He asked at the right time. Being in the right place at the right time isn’t something that you can control — sometimes it’s just luck. Bryan had some luck in this equation, too. I had the bandwidth to work with a contributor and my boss was totally on board with the project. Sometimes when pitching others, you won’t be quite as lucky (and I’m sure this has happened to Bryan before). So if it’s not a great time at the exact moment you email, but you have the rest of these elements down-pat, chances are the person you’re pitching will ask you to follow up with them in the future. I would have done that with Bryan.So the reason we accepted Bryan’s pitch wasn’t just because of one detail. All of these little nuanced elements came together at once to be one of the best pitches I’ve seen, hands down. Think you can top Bryan’s pitch? Feel free to send us one.  Guest Blogging Originally published May 2, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 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

Dear HubSpot: I Have to Market My New Business. Where Do I Start?

first_img Business Blogging Dear HubSpot is a weekly column that we do to answer people’s most burning questions about inbound. If you want to submit a question to be answered, click here. This week, we hear from an entrepreneur who is just starting his own company and wondering where to focus his marketing efforts in the very beginning. Dear HubSpot,I’ve got an excellent business idea for a career consulting service. I’ve already set up a webpage and social media profiles, but how do I ACTUALLY start marketing it? With only one Like on Facebook and two followers on Twitter, do I need to buy advertisements? If so, which ones? It’s just me and my buddy running the company so far, and we’re not sure which steps to take first to gain some traction online. We need a little direction because we don’t know where to start. We’d appreciate your help!Sincerely,Starting From Scratch in San AntonioHey SSSA,First of all, great job taking initiative on your business idea by setting up your website and social media accounts. Execution is what differentiates a great thinker from an entrepreneur. We’re hoping your two Twitter followers aren’t your parents ;). I’m kidding, but even if they were, everyone starts somewhere — and you’re right in saying your top priority right now should be building and growing your online presence.To help you get your marketing efforts off the ground, I’ve written up a short to-do list for you. Each step is in order. You mentioned advertising, for example — you’ll soon notice that advertising is step three in your to-do list, so don’t be tempted to jump right in to that right now. Without further ado …Your to-do list, in order:Step 1: Make a list of relevant keywords.Before you build the house, you need to lay the foundation — and for your brand, that foundation is the keyword list that you’ll use to write the content of your website, blog, and social media posts. It’s important that you come up with these keywords first so you don’t find yourself stuffing your content with keywords later, which can look forced and unnatural, and even get you penalized by search engines.The best search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is to focus the copy of your website on key phrases or topics that are important to people who will end up buying from you and relevant to what you are selling. Start with a topic close to the core of your business that you really want to rank well for on search engines — for you, it might be “career development.” Then, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. What would they search for on Google, Bing, or Yelp that would bring them to your website? What questions or challenges might they have that you can help address? Some ideas that come to mind are “resume examples,” “how to get a promotion,” or “how to get a job in new york city.” As you can see, keywords can be words, phrases, sentences, and partial sentences — it’s basically anything someone might type into a search engine. Brainstorm a list of 40-50 keywords and phrases to start.Once you have these keywords, it’s time to start creating content for your website based on those keywords to increase the likelihood of potential customers finding you on search. Which brings me to Step 2 …Step 2: Set up a blog and start writing blog posts.Once you’ve researched the keywords that are important to your audience, create a blog and write blog posts based on those keywords. This will help you increase the odds of getting found on search engines because each new post you create gives you another opportunity to be indexed. For your audience, blog post topics could be “8 Myths About Cover Letters Every College Graduate Should Know” or “How To Get Into Finance Without a Business Degree.” (Get blog post topic ideas from our Blog Topic Generator.)Over time, your blog will drive traffic to your website, help you convert traffic into leads (if you’ve placed calls-to-action on your blog posts — which you should do), help you establish authority, and drive long-term business results. (You can learn more about the benefits of business blogging here.)But slow and steady wins the race — and blogging does require patience. Don’t expect to see success overnight since you’re just starting out. Did you know that HubSpot started blogging before we even had a product? It took 12 to 18 months for us to see results from our blogging efforts, but it’s definitely paid off in the long term. As long as you blog consistently (at least twice per week, but the more the better), you will see that long-term payout. When you’re ready to set up your blog, this post on how to set up business blogs will be a great resource.Step 3: Use PPC advertising as a supplement.Notice that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is #3 on the list, not #1. No matter how big your budget is, you should focus on content creation and SEO first, and then start using PPC to amplify those efforts. PPC will help you much get quicker returns on your blogging efforts, but those quick returns cost money and you have to keep paying for them to keep seeing the returns (unlike blogging itself, where your finished posts keep working for you over time).But a little PPC is good for getting some traffic to your website and blog right away when no one really knows who you are — it might even help you rank a little bit faster on search engines.To create your PPC advertising plan, follow the five steps in our introductory guide to PPC for startup marketers. When you’re ready to make PPC ads, check out this post on how to make PPC ads people will actually click on.Step 4: Use social media as a distribution channel.Working on your social media strategy is the next step, and it looks like you’ve already created those accounts. The first question you should ask yourself is, which social networking sites do your potential customers spend time? If you want to market to college students or recent college graduates, you might spend more time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you want to market to older professionals with 10+ years experience, you should focus on LinkedIn and Twitter first.Once you’ve picked two or three channels to focus your social media marketing efforts, optimize those profiles. Include a short bio and a link in your profile, find influencers and follow and engage with them, reply to other users, and start sharing that awesome content you created in step two. Do not buy random followers or Likes! It won’t help your business and it’s a waste of time. Your social media accounts are only valuable if your followers are actually interested in you.Finally, don’t make the common startup mistake of promoting your consulting service too much. Remember, people don’t know about your product or service at this point — but they do have career problems they want to solve. Offer what people are interested in, and they’re more likely to click on and engage with your posts. The 80/20 rule is a great way start: 80% of the content you post to social media should be helpful and valuable to your audience, and 20% can be self-promotional.One last word of wisdom: Move and learn quickly. Experiment a lot — do more of what works, and eliminate what doesn’t. Remember that everything can change on a dime.Best of luck with your business!Sincerely,Got a specific question about inbound you’d like answered? Submit it here. You may be featured in a future blog post (complete with your special pen name, of course).  Originally published Jun 20, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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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