10,000 marketers descended on this year’s Inbound 2014, in the heart of downtown Boston. With nearly double the attendance of last year, this turnout legitimizes the acceptance of the inbound methodology and the shifting power of consumers. Providing education and value to your audience continues to be the foundational element of a solid content marketing strategy, and topics such as personalization and real-time marketing have gone from experimental to mainstream. The sessions were jam-packed with brilliant marketers, industry thought leaders and marketing automation experts. We’ll be sharing more of our favorite strategies, tips and tricks from the conference in the coming months.
This year’s kickoff keynote speaker was Guy Kawasaki on The Lessons of Steve Jobs. A few of our favorite takeaway lessons included:
- “Design counts”: Steve’s commitment to design is clearly evidenced in his diehard commitment to the most nuanced details of design.
- “Use big graphics and big fonts in your presentations. Nothing else”: Steve was a story-teller and used simple, yet powerful slides to engage his audience without distraction.
- “Change your mind. This is a sign of the intelligence.” – While stubborn, when Jobs threw out the Lisa project to work on the Macintosh, it was one of the most important decisions he’d ever make.
Simon Sinek kicked off the full day of sessions with a discussion about leadership, which is the topic of his latest book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Many know Simon for his TedTalk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, one of the most-watched Ted Talks of all time. Watching and listening to Sinek is in and of itself a lesson on presentation. He commands the room and his audience, leaving listeners hanging on his every word while he deftly moves from stories of a Marine battlefield under heavy fire to a board room full of a team of chemically unbalanced employees.
Sinek investigates the chemical composition of individuals and businesses based on primary hormones that significantly impact our daily working lives. The development of strong leaders who create circles of safety and healthy culture is more important than ever to ensure the health of individuals and the health of a business. He goes on to say that culture is not simply Ping-Pong Wednesdays and Casual Fridays, but how your employees feel when they think of coming to work, interacting with others, managing conflict and sharing praise. We can all be leaders, and it’s our responsibility to do so for the goodwill of our teams. One of the quotes included in Sinek’s newest book on leadership is from John Quincy Adams who stated: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader”. This succinctly defines Sinek’s view of true leaders.
Malcolm Gladwell, another epic storyteller interested in using lesser-known stories to brilliantly illustrate his findings, discussed the importance of attitude, courage, urgency and imagination for achieving the remarkable.
Steve Jobs was again noted, this time for his “theft” of the idea for the first computer mouse from Xerox. Few people would ever associate Xerox with the computer mouse and Apple is now one of the best known computer brands in the world. Xerox, not Apple had the smartest computer scientists of the day, and the greatest facility in the world. So, how did Steve Jobs beat Xerox to the punch?
Jobs toured the Xerox Corporation’s research division called Xerox PARC, where engineers had been developing a mouse-controlled computer for years. Xerox had some of the brightest innovators in the world—who were technically far wiser and more experienced than Jobs. But what Steve Jobs possessed was a sense of urgency and instinct that Xerox did not have. Jobs ran with the “inspiration” he gained while on the Xerox tour, and later launched the first mouse-controlled computer.
Malcolm’s takeaway? “Transformative innovators have a sense of urgency”, and that urgency can have an impact that can change the world. Stay tuned for more stories, strategies, tips and tactics that we learned from this year’s HubSpot 2014 Inbound.
Read How to Attract Visitors and Convert Them into Qualified Leads
The ultimate goal for marketers has always been to create the right offer, at the right time and to the right people. As customers now have unprecedented amounts of information to sift through, a brand’s inbound strategy plays a critical role in leading the customer successfully through each stage of the buyer’s journey to maximize success. Modern marketing must rely on the awareness, interest, consideration and delight phases of the customer’s path to purchase. Marketing Automation platforms, including tools such as Marketo, Hubspot, and SharpSpring, help to coordinate and manage your marketing efforts. In the first articles of a two-part series, we will teach you how to attract the right audience, and convert visitors into qualified leads.
Tools: Inbound Website, Optimized Blog, Social Media Listening System, SEO Researched Keywords, Strategically-Placed Calls-to-Action
Providing educational content and becoming a knowledge-repository to reach a wide, and dedicated audience with contextually relevant information is the goal of this phase. Did you know that 68% of all organic links go to the top three search results? Blogging about questions that your target segments are asking, engaging on social media with industry thought-leaders and keyword optimized websites will help you build a solid base, and keep you well ranked.
Website: Your website should be clear, concise, include relevant calls-to-action and be optimized for performance. The purpose of your site should be prioritizing the paths of your target audiences. At this stage it’s useful to consider the following questions: What are my customer’s pain points, and how can I quickly and easily offer a solution?
Tip: Read our latest blog post on specific tips for effective homepage design.
Blog: Share relevant, high quality content in an optimized blog. Keywords are now only part of SEO and search engines are looking for the most relevant and most desired blog content. Search engines also take into account “social signals,” which encourages the sharing of content on social networks to improve organic rankings. The more you blog, the better it is for your SEO – delve into different ways to optimize your blog for your audience. For example, companies can expect a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50.
Tip: Blog at least once per week and create blog titles that include SEO-researched target keywords.
Social: No matter what industry you are in, your customers are present on social media. In fact, the role of social in the modern sales cycle is quite significant: Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing efforts. During the awareness phase, social media is particularly valuable for building trust because it is a great place to access customer service, reviews and testimonials. It is important to have optimized and active channels to help your customers find you and remain engaged.
Mambo recommends: Choose your level of involvement based on available resources. It is better to have one great social channel and weekly blog than several channels that post inconsistently and a blog that never gets updated. Once you develop a plan, research the best times to post, trends in the industry, and look for quick fixes to optimize your website, like fixing broken links or adding images to text.
Tools: Secondary Calls-to-Action, Landing Pages, Forms, Contact Profiling, Dynamic Segmentation
After showcasing your thought leadership by providing valuable and relevant information to potential leads as well as anticipating and pre-emptively offering solutions to their problems, you should be reaching people who are actively looking for this type of information. In the beginning of the relationship with your brand, it’s important to provide high-value, top-of-the-funnel content, like a white paper or an eBook. This offer should be tailored to the individual and should reflect where the lead is in the buyer’s journey. You can capture information from leads by gating content on a landing page and implementing clear calls-to-action. By using relevant forms to progressively profile leads and capture necessary information you can effectively qualify and prioritize them in your nurture process. Companies that increase their number of landing pages from 10-15 see a 55% increase in leads.
When it comes to creating your landing pages, keep it simple. On a great landing page the value proposition and purpose should be very clear and easy to consume. Users should be able to instantly identify why they are there and what they are getting. Keep everything above the fold, eliminate distractions like excessive external navigation (you don’t want to make it easy to leave!), and design the experience around guiding the user to complete your forms.
Mambo recommends: Visitors to your site may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Have a wide variety of content available on your page to cater to all of those personas. For example, someone who is in the beginning stages will be interested in a one pager or a white sheet, while someone who is farther into the journey will be more interested in an eBook or a demo. Don’t be afraid to reuse and repurpose old content! When developing your landing pages, a good rule of thumb is the “7-second test.” Someone who has never seen the page should be able to understand what they’ll be getting and the value they’ll gain within 7 seconds.
The process of attracting visitors and converting them into qualified leads is all about connecting your audience with valuable information that intelligently addresses their questions and concerns. It is an ongoing effort and requires continual evolution and innovation. Stay tuned for part two to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help you close sales like a pro and delight your customers.
If inbound marketing and automation interest you schedule a consultation with us today.
“I regularly hear members rave about our services, but engagement in our social communities doesn’t reflect this enthusiasm.”
“We offer online registration for all of our events, but the majority of people still prefer to call or come in to register.”
If you are a brick and mortar business, translating a successful offline experience to the online world can be a challenging task. The key to success lies in understanding the essence of your brand–what your target audience loves about your brand, product or service–and extrapolating that to an online environment. Uncovering what motivates and delights your customers will help you evolve a digital strategy that will yield results.
Here are a few steps to get started:
1. Conduct research: Listen to your audience to understand the true value of what you are delivering and use the insights you uncover as the guiding strategy for building your online space. Talk to a wide group of people in a number of different settings and conduct ethnographic research. Try to step into your audience’s shoes to understand their motivations, thoughts and feelings. Focus not only on what people are saying, but why they are saying it and how they feel about it.
Tip: Asking open-ended questions allows people to steer the conversation and elaborate on their personal experience. Above all, listen closely and it will lead you to valuable insights.
2. Analyze feedback: Segment your interview responses and research observations into what your customers find frustrating and what they find delighting, especially as it is unique to your organization.
Tip: Be sensitive to where your audience is on the technology adoption curve. Is your audience on par with general trends or is there something unique about the group? For example, you may find that while your audience may be tech savvy and comfortable on mobile devices, they prefer to use technology only for staying in touch with family and not for the type of service you provide.
3. Develop a strategy: Determine your goals with respect to what you want your audience to do and match them with the digital tools to make that happen. Pairing the right tools with the behaviors you desire will help create the type of community you want. For example, if you want people to share your events and get their social circle involved, implement click and text to share functionality. If you want members to register for events online, create a clear call-to-action.
Tip: Once you have developed your strategy on a tactical level, identify the right KPIs to measure user actions against goals and collect data. Regularly monitor user paths, measure success and consider refinements.
Listening to your audience is the only way to really understand what motivates their hearts, minds and actions. Being able to deliver the same brand experience they love in the offline world by leveraging online tools to streamline processes, encourage the discovery of new and wonderful aspects of your business, and personalizing their overall experience, will help you translate your offline success to the online world.
Read more on obtaining valuable customer insights.
“Going into the website redesign, we did not have a clear vision of what we needed, but Mambo was able to guide us through the process of creating the optimal solution for our audience within the confines of our budget.” – Rob Warmack, VP Market Development, Compli
When planning a website redesign, it’s important to evaluate the target audience, the desired user experience, and the strategic goals and objectives of the website. Our client, Compli, a compliance software company, approached Mambo Media to update the current look and feel of their website, and implement features that could capture, nurture and convert sales leads.
Take a look at the before and after transformation of the main sections of Compli’s website!
With the continuous shifts in technology and design, a website’s life span is typically 3-5 years. In order to stay optimized for search your content must be timely and frequently updated, and to stay ahead of competition, design and navigation should be prioritized on the user and your ultimate business goals. So, how do you know your website it ready for a revamp? Here are a few quick hints that you’re in need of a change:
- Your website is not mobile friendly
- Content is outdated or limited
- Your web pages are slow to load
- Your important content consists only of Flash
- You have high bounce rates on key pages
- Users are confused when trying to find what they need
- Your website doesn’t have call to actions
- Your social icons aren’t highlighted
- There are too many different colors and fonts
- Your design is cluttered
- You’re not really sure what the purpose of your website is
Let Mambo Media modernize your website and give you a tool to take your business to the next level!
Click here to read more about modern web design.
Do you hear the wedding bells?
Our Digital Media Specialist, Amanda, got engaged during her vacation in central Oregon last weekend. Amanda started at Mambo through our Digital Marketing Internship Program in 2013 and was hired after her WSU graduation this January. Her specialties include inbound marketing, email and software implementation.
Heading into her vacation, Amanda had no idea her boyfriend of four years planned to propose. While floating down the river they approached a bridge where their families were waiting holding signs that read, “Will you marry me?” Stunned and surprised Amanda leapt out of her inner tube, falling back into the river to find Brad down on one knee.
A Mambo wedding is in the works and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and presents a powerful, personable way to connect with your audience. With 50% of visitors using it to watch business related videos and 75% of users visiting the marketers’ website after viewing a video, it is the prime platform to share valuable content related to your brand. So how does one harness the power of this search engine? By creating a video library!
Here are 5 questions to consider before embarking on this expensive and time consuming venture.
1. What do I want to accomplish?
Articulate what you want to achieve through the video library. Do you have upcoming campaigns that would benefit from video assets? Are you trying to flush out content gaps on your website? Are you releasing a new product that would benefit from a video tutorial? Asking these questions first will help you create a framework for the process and better help you achieve your business objectives.
2. Who am I trying to reach?
Did you know that 90% of marketing respondents use video content and prefer it to whitepapers, case studies, free trials and eBooks? Consider your audience and what needs or pain points you are trying to address. Identify and segment your audience for the overall library and for each video to help craft and deliver your message. Define the primary objective, key messaging, and success metrics for each video. At this time it is also helpful to consider style: for example, will it be more effective for your audience to hear a scripted message or a conversational interview? If you are unsure of what style to consider, take a look at how your competitors or similar organizations have approached the issue. Look for what speaks to you, and be sure of what you want before starting any shooting.
3. What do I want to say?
Identify a theme that relates back to your overall project goals. In a robust library each video offers unique insights and perspective to address a variety of audience needs. For example, a college creating videos for prospective freshman might include testimonials from current students, interviews with faculty, and highlight campus wide events to showcase their engaging and unique freshman experience.
4. How can I be efficient?
Creating a video library is an expensive and involved process. Identifying and consolidating efficiencies across videos, setting clear expectations, and being prepared for the unexpected will help limit cost.
- Set expectations: Be mindful and up-front about what your budget constraints are for both shooting and editing the library. Allocate your resources toward what is most valuable and relevant for your goals. For example, if music is not the most important but is still a consideration there are plenty of websites that give lots of options at a cheap cost. When defining expectations for the editing process consider how many stakeholders will be involved, the number of reviews that will be acceptable, and set limits accordingly.
- Create a formula: Set parameters for style, tone and music across a group of videos to cut down on post processing decisions and edits.
- Build a shot plan: Identify all the shots you need and consider shots you may already have (from a previous campaign or library). Is there anything you can re-use? For example, if video 1 and 5 need B-Roll shots of people walking then you only need to capture that scene once. Some detailed questions to ask include: Do the shots need to be indoor or outdoor? What does the set- up involve? What does the weather need to be like? Do we need to include people? Cars?
- Prepare: On the day of a shoot prepare by mapping out locations, checking for weather changes, anticipating and allowing extra time for last minute challenges. If your video has a lot of moving parts, give yourself enough time to get the material that you need. For example, you may only need 10 seconds of people walking down the street but it may take 30 minutes to get a good shot. If you are interviewing people build in extra time make sure you stay on schedule. Request interviewees to come 15 minutes early so they can get oriented, and prepped. Allow time for nervousness, rambling, and finding that perfect sound bite. Be mindful of who you are working with and adjust expectations accordingly.
- Edit with discipline: The most popular videos on YouTube are less than 2 minutes in length, so be aware of the most critical information to include. If you are forced to decide between adding length or cutting content, you should probably cut content.
5. How should I share my library?
The answer to this question varies on what type of content you are sharing and what you hope to accomplish. If you want to share valuable product information like specifications, tips and tricks, and how-to tutorials then it would be beneficial to create a library where all of your audience segments can find the information most useful to them. However, if you are planning on using your videos in a campaign, you may want to plan a slower and more calculated release so your audience feels like they are getting a first glance at new content.
Video content provides a powerful way to connect with and pass on valuable information to your audience on a platform that most emphasizes a person-to-person connection. While creative a video library can be an involved process, being prepared and asking the right questions can help you minimize stress, delays, and help you create more impactful content.
To learn more about the importance of visual social content click here.