My Thoughts on Periscope

Periscope, what in the world is it and why are people using it?  I know, it’s not a new phenomenon but I hadn’t really looked into its functionality and capabilities.  Until last week all I knew was that it was another video platform and that the Today show was using it to share some quicky videos.  So research it I did and here are my thoughts.

I’m really not sure how long this platform will stick around.  But, while the fad lasts, I do think that a lot of brands can jump on the bandwagon.  I don’t suggest creating videos of what people already see, i.e. the Today show hosts videoing a live broadcast…but I do suggest creating new unique videos of the things people want to see, i.e. video shorts of how your product is used, or of your customer service department, or QC department or a customer using your product and making it into a sort of “day in the life of” type of scenario.

What do you think? What are you using Periscope for?  Are you using it at all?

Tackling Your 2016 Marketing Initiatives

You’re just trying to get through these last two short weeks of the year but 2016 is peeking its nose out at you.  You have to start thinking about how you’ll tackle your 2016 marketing initiatives, if you haven’t already begun to.  I would start by looking at your newly minted yearly roadmap & marketing plan that you’ve created with the sales team, as well as any other stake holders in the organization, and look at your low hanging fruit opportunities as well as your big ticket items.

I know that you’ve also set realistic goals for your initiatives, which tie in to the sales goals…which then tie into the greater business goals, which you’ll be measuring your success against.

But how can you truly plan out your year? And then not only manage your task list, but also execute against it? 

I suggest to look at things quarterly, and then monthly.

Step one, in the past, I would divvy things up by month, and then color code by quarter (along the left hand side of an Excel spreadsheet).  I would then take this a step further and list out all the various initiatives I needed to tackle (social, PR, advertising, tradeshows, SEO, newsletters, brochures, etc) and at the end have a big ol’ column for the whole year that was titled “Big projects” (along the top rows of my Excel spreadsheet). This way, while focusing on the day to day, I also had the big yearly task list in front of me every time I would open my document.

Step two, I would then share this roadmap with the appropriate parties on a quarterly basis – sales team, PR team, internal stake holders – so that everyone knew exactly what was going on in terms of support from marketing.

But let’s break things down…

Look at the biggest thing(s) you need to accomplish in the first quarter.  Is it a new video, brochure, web update, case study/testimonial piece, or tradeshow? What do you need to get going on now to ensure that things go off without a hitch?  Who do you need to work with to get the job done?  Do you need to involve any outside vendors?  Do you need to do any preliminary work prior to handing it off to a vendor? Create a mini task list to keep yourself, and others, on track.  Be real about progress and status reports.

Look at what processes need to be improved, created, or reinvented in order to manage through your projects and initiatives.

Look at what you can prep ahead of time. Can you get going on content now? Is there some low hanging fruit that you can tackle right off the bat? Can you look at SEO on your website and improve Google search results before you dive into a big web update project?

Prioritize. Again, be realistic about deadlines, expectations, and commitments. You don’t want something to fall through the cracks simply because you wanted to say “yes” without really thinking through the steps of what it would take to get the project done.

Analyze. Metrics are golden. What you’re doing needs to be done for a reason. What goal does your new content meet?  Does it help bring people to the site? Does it help build your search rank? And lastly, as well as most importantly, does doing what you’re doing make sense? Is it worth the time and monetary investment?

Regroup. Don’t step into the following quarter without having had the proper time to evaluate what you’ve done. It’s ok to switch gears for the right reasons, it’s not ok to just assume everything is status quo without making sure that that is indeed the case.

Good luck in 2016!

SEO for B2B in 2016 Webinar by Digital Reach Agency

I love webinars.  Webinars allow you to surround yourself with the most knowledgeable folks in the industry and learn about the latest industry news.  So yesterday, I once again looked to another B2B SEO agency to get a feel for what 2016 will bring in terms of SEO developments.  I listened to webmarketing123’s take on this earlier this month but everyone has their perspective.

Yesterday, Digital Reach offered their tips for the 5 things you must get right in 2016.

Let me know if you want the recording of this webinar.

They opened up the webinar with covering some of what we’ve seen take place in 2015 when it came to SEO, such as the Panda update as well as how SEO was approached earlier on in its days, through link building strategies, versus how it is approached now, through high quality content for the right audience.

A bigger focus on search is also “…critical to the new B2B  buyer. ‘On average B2B buyers do 12 searches before engaging on a brand’s site.'” Google/Millward Brown, B2B Path to Purchase Study. This means that customers are doing non branded searches so it is critical to optimize for keywords that they are searching on rather than focusing on your brand keywords.

As for the 5 critical things you must get right in B2B SEO in 2016…

  1. Make a business case for SEO* (stick with me in this blog post as I’ll share the most interesting thing I learned at the end of the post) : It is critical to educate and create a true business case for your SEO efforts.  Show what it will mean if you don’t invest in the effort and don’t focus on improving your search results.  What will it mean to the business if you’re not ranking on the first page?
  2. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: It seems simple enough but not enough businesses are doing this.  You need to focus your efforts on what your customer is searching for rather than reinventing the wheel.  Don’t use internal jargon when it comes to optimizing your website, but rather use terms that are searched for and optimize your meta description, title tags, alt tags, etc, with those keywords.
  3. Make it easy to convert: Again, it seems like a simple enough tactic but it’s easy to get intricate in your conversion path.  Make sure that it’s easy for a customer to click through to where you want them to end up.
  4. Set goals & track them: Compare previous year’s numbers with this year on a monthly basis.  How are you looking on the following: website visits, organic search, % of keywords in the top 10 Google search results, number of leads
  5. Have a project plan!!!: You won’t get very far without a plan.  So create a case for SEO, set your goals, figure out how you’ll measure success against those goals and start executing against the strategy you’ve set.

* So now for the really good stuff…the stuff that will truly help you build your business case for SEO investment.  The webinar went through a pretty comprehensive way to calculate what not being on the first page of Google search results may mean to your business.  They used rough industry averages but you should be able to get the picture with my rough notes below.

So to start, you need to know that there is a very wide range, read 2-30%, for click through rates for search results that come up on the first page of a Google search result.  The moderator went with a rough 7% average CTR.

  1. the total # of monthly searches for your keywords x the average CTR = the # of potential website visitors
  2. the # of potential website visitors x 1-3% (the percentage of visitors that result in a true lead) = the # of potential new leads
  3. the # of potential new leads x 15% (the percentage of raw leads that become qualified leads) = the # of potential new qualified leads
  4. the # of potential new qualified leads x 10% (close rate) = the # of potential new deals 
  5. the # of potential new deals x average product cost = monthly cost of not ranking on the first page
  6. monthly cost of not ranking on first page x 12 (months in a year) = yearly cost of not ranking on the first page

Pretty wild right? I would suggest taking the percentages with a grain of salt as your business may be in a different realm but the numbers don’t lie, and that’s what you need to build your business case!

I hope this post has helped.  Now on to finding new industry leaders to surround myself with and learning something new!

Thanks again Digital Reach! Follow them on Twitter for the latest blog posts and webinars!

Marketing + Sales = Growth

I read a great article yesterday titled, Should I Be Focusing More on Marketing or Sales Strategy?  It was a quick and very to the point read that I encourage everyone to click through to as it addresses how a business should address some of the key marketing related questions we all typically ask. The writer gave two choices of how to deal with setting and executing a true marketing & sales aligned strategy.

Option A) “Should you decide to hire a marketing manager, be sure that the individual has the necessary background and skill set to develop and align a marketing and sales strategy and possess the applicable skills to implement the tactics involved.”

Option B) “If you choose to hire a marketing agency to develop a strategy, be aware that the process to provide an approach typically ranges from 6-10 weeks. While you’re left with a strategy, you need to have a plan to implement the tactics involved.”

In my past, I’ve been in the option A category.  The businesses I’ve worked for have had marketing departments that were responsible for helping grow the business through a variety of marketing efforts.  We also teamed up with strategic partners to get some of this work done, but the overall strategy was run by the marketing department, which in a couple of instances I was lucky enough to manage.

There are a variety of tactics I have seen work, and not work, in marketing but the key to all of our efforts was to ensure that what we were doing aligned with sales and their goals.  We were there to support the sales team and they in turn supported us when it came to getting some key customer testimonials or case studies set up.  The KPI’s I created were always aligned with those of the sales team, which aligned with the overall business goals.  It was a cascading, or X matrix, approach that seemed to work well and kept everyone accountable for their work.

How is your business run and will you choose to bring in a seasoned marketing professional who can not only set a strategy and execute it, or will you rely on strategic partnerships to help your business grow?

 

My Marketing Focus Areas for 2016

To keep on trend with all the other marketing blogs and bloggers I keep tabs on I would also like to share some of what I’m looking forward to diving into in 2016.

  1. Email: There is so much potential in e-mail communication, and unfortunately there are so many ways to use this channel incorrectly.  I want to keep exploring the various ways to best track and analyze e-mail communication.  I want to know best practices when it comes to improving open & conversion rates as well as what kind of user experience works best in terms of layout.
  2. Content Marketing: Content marketing is another high potential area.  The key however comes from ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to creating a content strategy. I want to continually explore the best kinds of content that a B2B & B2C business can create as well as how often the content should be created and where it should be compiled and shared.
  3. Web: User experience is key, especially when it comes to mobile. I want to learn more about mobile web experiences and how to improve a user’s experience on a mobile device.
  4. SEO: SEO, as well as all other marketing areas, are ever changing. I want to continue to learn more about SEO as well as the brand new Penguin update.
  5. Video: Video is also ever changing, due to today’s technology.  You no longer need fancy equipment to create quick videos that can be easily manipulated by non multimedia backgrounded marketing folk. However, what do people want more of? Informational videos? Quick video shorts? Interactive videos? The possibilities are endless!

And lastly…I would really like to look into monetizing this blog.  It’s been nearly 6 years that I’ve been blogging and I think it’s time to put what I know to work for me personally and explore Google Ad Sense and Google Analytics for personal interest.

There are so many more things that I want to learn about and get exposed to but I wanted to be real and pick a few key areas that I want to grow in and explore.

What are you looking forward to learning about in 2016?

 

Medical Device Marketing Strategies

The medical and health industry is a bit of a different animal when it comes to marketing.  But I do also say that with a grain of salt as the goals and results that are tied to marketing efforts in these industries are largely the same as anywhere else:

  1. Increase lead numbers
  2. Increase sales
  3. Get more demand generated for the sales team (or healthcare professionals) to follow up on and convert
  4. Grow brand awareness for a particular service or product

However, some strategies do need to be looked at differently.  Although information is still found online for the most part, the kind of information that is searched for isn’t to the tune of “sandwich recipes” or “best tool to use for…” it’s more along the lines of “best cure for…” and “how should I treat…”  My point is, these searches are, I’m assuming, a bit less “popular” than their former counter parts HOWEVER, they are so much more important than the former searches to the people who are looking for that kind of help.

So how do you create the right marketing strategy to help your sales team, and the marketing team, meet their goals?

I would tackle this feat the following ways:

  1. Identify your key audience(s) as well your key market(s) and what their needs are
  2. Talk to your sales team and understand what their needs, opportunities, and challenges are when talking to those key audiences
  3. Take a look at the competition, what are they doing that blows you away?
  4. Take a look at your brand with fresh eyes, where do you se some low hanging fruit?  Is it in the form of SEO? How about video? Or social? Or PPC?
  5. Take a look a your content and see what can be prettied up before you take on the bigger task of creating something that’s new
  6. Regroup with the sales team, and anyone else that is a stakeholder in this endeavor, and make sure that the ideas you’ve come up with not only fit the needs of brand awareness and lead generation but also fit the needs of your sales team and the customers you all serve

Here are some key marketing related areas I always look into, no matter the industry:

  1. The website & its functionality
  2. SEO
  3. Content & how often it’s generated
  4. Sales & customer collateral
  5. Digital & social  – think social media, of course, but also video, and anything web related
  6. Creative media – infographics, shareable & easily digestible content, advertisements
  7. PR
  8. Advertising as a whole
  9. Customer outreach – it can be a lot of the above as well as e-mail communication
  10. Internal communication & ensuring everyone is on the same page of what’s going on, why, and what purpose it serves for the business

However, I’m by no means the expert in the medical industry, so here is some reading material from people who know more than I do.

Medical Device Marketing Plan: Strategy Questions

The Most Underrated Medical Device Marketing Strategy

Marketing Medical Devices – This article is “really” old in marketing terms, think 2008, but it still has some relevant information

How to Focus your Medical Device Marketing Strategies?

Good luck!

Google Analytics News

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I’ve been making sure to stay on top of marketing news in order to stay relevant and fresh in my field of work…and to have something to write about of course!  Well, in my searches on MarketingLand.com I came across a recent article that talked about some great changes to Google Analytics.  For those of us who live and breathe this stuff, it’s exciting. This is especially exciting for those with an e-store component to their site. 

The change at hand has to do with calculated metrics & creating your own unique metrics that apply to your needs.  The best thing yet is that you can now see, without necessarily having to go into your CRM, what revenue you gain per user.  You don’t even solely need to be US based as you can create a currency conversion metric as well.  This is all that marketingland.com got into but I decided to do a bit more digging and I found an article from cmswire.com…

CMSwire.com also write about this update and had the following to say in their article, Google Analytics Introduces Calculated Metrics, “The most beneficial immediate use of this tool for marketers and analytic practitioners is as a means to create custom reports for specific audiences. Consider the stakeholders who will view the report, what metrics matter the most to them, and place your calculated metrics accordingly.”

I’m sure that not all of you are seeing these changes, but I did want to share them with you as Google Analytics is a huge part of our tracking. 

P.S. If you’re still trying to figure out how to get in to the weeds on tracking your ecommerce, I encourage you to read this article – Google Analytics: Ecommerce metrics to track daily, weekly, monthly.

Webmarketing123’s – Top 3 SEO Predictions for 2016!

Road to SEO predictions in 2016

It’s a two a day kind of day.  I just wanted to share some information I gathered from a webinar I listened in on hosted by Webmarketing123. Today’s webinar focused on the top 3 SEO predictions of 2016, although the webinar is over I’ll share what I jotted down. If you want a downloadable copy of the slides just let me know.

Here is what Webmarketing123 thinks will happen in the SEO world next year, so get prepared!

  1. Penguin 4.0 update.
    1. Here you’ll need to focus on GOOD link building.  Also, make sure the content you share is good and relevant and not spammy.
    2. Make sure to analyze your competitor link building strategies & get a list of inbound links from the Google Search Console.
    3. A new Google Onsite & Offsite Search Ranking patent will look at how functional and optimized your whole site is, rather than just the page you’re linking to. So make sure that your site is improved overall & don’t just piece meal things together.
  2. Prepare for rich answers to get even bigger.
    1. Look into Google’s Rank Brain.
    2. Make sure that your schema markup is on point to improve your rich answer results.
  3. You’ll truly need to optimize for a better UX experience, especially across all devices.
    1. Make sure to look at your overall behavior flow in Google Analytics.
    2. Don’t ignore, but also don’t solely rely on, bounce rates, pages per session, traffic, & ctr rates.
    3. Check out ampproject.org –>this is Google’s anticipated mobile improvement initiative for early 2016

That’s all folks!  I hope this helps you prepare and taught you something new.  Thanks webmarketing123!

P.S. Looking for other predictions?  Here they are:

jeffbullas.com offers 3 more key SEO predictions for 2016 –>these were also shared on business2community.com

lifehack.org has 5 SEO predictions

Marketing to a New Industry

As I always say, at the end of the day…marketing is marketing.  And good marketers know how to adapt to customer needs and how to provide them with the right knowledge about their brand, in the way that the customer chooses to gain that knowledge.

So in reality, it’s all about adapting to new marketing techniques, new customer demands, new technologies, and new ways of thinking.  Hence why working in a new industry has not been daunting to me in my past, nor do I see it as a hindrance for my future. If I as a marketer need to be able to adapt to all of what I mentioned above then I better be able to adapt to new industries and figure out the best way to reach the customers in those industries.

I come in to any new role the same way.  Learn the ropes from self education as well as gaining knowledge from internal personnel that know the industry, the customers, and can give me an insight in to challenges and opportunities.  From there, I can get a better sense for how to go about my marketing initiatives, how, when, and where to execute them and what kinds of metrics to set.

So don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, because I’d bet…you’d only become a better marketer for it!

P.S. I’m looking for some good, and free, online courses.  So far I’ve earmarked some time for additional education on email marketing and Google Analytics but I’d love your tips!

Webmarketing123’s 2015 State of Digital Marketing Report

To keep on my trend, here is a recent report that I received from Webmarketing123.  Please click the image above, or THIS LINK HERE, to download the full report.  For those that download these things but never have time to go back and read them, I will focus on the areas I found most interesting.

  • “It’s clear marketers continue to face one major, overarching challenge this year: Revenue-driven marketing is the goal, but not always the practice.”
  • While most marketers recognize “driving sales” as a top priority, it’s also the #1 challenge for over 27% of marketers…”
  • Sales is the #1 B2C and #2 B2B objective for the second year running. “
  • “Digital gets the buzz, but not the budget. While overall digital marketing spend is increasing YoY, marketers struggle to win more budget because of their continued inability to tie ROI to digital. As a result, about half of marketers spend less than 25% of their total budget online. “
  • For B2B marketers, ‘measuring and proving ROI’ emerged as a major pain point with a sharp 46% increase YoY. ”
    • “[Meanwhile] B2Cs struggle to convert leads to customers.”
  • “When it comes to allocating budget, it seems many marketers still rely on ‘gut instinct’. Ability to prove ROI does not correlate with the channels used. Although 9% more marketers have invested in revenue reporting this year, 38% still don’t have an attribution model at all. “
  • 3 out of 4 marketers (B2B & B2C) use video in their marketing mix, and 7 out of 10 believe it’s the most effective content marketing tactic, trumping eBooks, case studies, infographics, webinars, blogs, and mobile apps. “
  • “Surprisingly, only a single digit percentage of marketers (B2B & B2C) believe display is effective. “
  • “Just 29% of B2Bs practice account-based marketing, but a whopping 95% of those that do find it effective.”
  • Of the 36% of B2B marketers who still lack a mobile-friendly site, 3 out of 4 plan to invest in responsive design this year.”
  • “Lead generation is the #1 B2B digital marketing objective for the fourth year running.”
  • “Sales is top priority for B2Cs again this year.”
  • “Almost half of marketers spend only 25% or less of their budget online.”
  • A whopping 93% of B2B marketers practice email marketing.”
  • Social media is the most commonly used B2C marketing channel. “
  • Nearly 1/3 of marketers don’t know which channel makes the biggest impact on revenue.”
  • “B2C marketers are gaining confidence in paid search and SEO…”
  • Nearly 20% of marketers still rely on “website traffic” to measure success.”
    • 25%–>conversion rate
    • 20%–>website traffic
    • 14%–>total lead volume
    • 12%–>not sure
    • 10%–>total revenue
    • 7%->cost per lead/return on ad spend/cost per acquisition
  • “The overwhelming majority of B2B marketers use social media, yet only less than 17% can prove ROI.”
  • “38% of marketers still lack an attribution model.” –> Check out my blog post on this.
  • LinkedIn is the best social channel for driving B2B revenue, while Facebook takes the cake for B2Cs.”
  • “36% of B2B marketers continue to ignore mobile.”
  • B2Bs have fully bought into content marketing: 60% of B2B brands have a blog compared to only 49% of B2C marketers.”
    •  “60% of marketers (both B2B and B2C) with a company blog post at least once a week.”
    • “Video is the most widely used and the most effective content marketing tactic according to both B2B and B2C marketers. “
    • “B2B marketers favor infographics more than their B2C counterparts do.”
  • “Even given the crowded space, only less than half of marketers (both B2B and B2C) have a marketing automation system in place.”
  • “67% of B2B marketers use lead scoring compared to 47% of B2Cs.”
  • “Marketing personas get a big thumbs up from both sides.”

So once again…I hope that this “summary” has helped but as always, do me a solid and download the full report by clicking the main image or on the link at the top of this post.

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P.S. I will be on blogging hiatus through next week.  Don’t miss me too much!