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There’s a lot to say when it comes to how to do email marketing well. We could talk for days about the most critical components of an optimized email, common email marketing mistakes you might be making, and examples of brilliant email marketing that will inspire you. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how optimized your emails are if you can’t see the results of your efforts — not to mention measure whether email is helping you hit your goals.
So before sending your next email, pause for a few minutes and ask yourself: What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?
Whatever you decide your goal is (and you can have more than one), the next thing you need to do is figure out which metrics you’ll need to track in order to determine how you’re progressing toward that goal.
Let’s take a look at the metrics you should be paying attention to in your email marketing efforts. We’ll start with the metrics every email marketer should be tracking, and then we’ll take a look at how to tie certain metrics to your specific goals.
1. Clickthrough Rate
- What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.
- How to Calculate It: (Total clicks OR unique clicks ÷ Number of delivered emails) * 100
- Example: 500 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered emails * 100 = 5% clickthrough rate
(Using either total clicks or unique clicks in the calculation above works, as long as you use the same approach consistently.)
Clickthrough rate (CTR) is likely the first answer you’ll get when you ask an email marketer what metrics they track. It’s what I like to call the “day-to-day” email marketing metric, because it lets you easily calculate performance for every individual email you send. From there, you can track how your CTR changes over time.
CTR is also frequently used for determining the results of A/B tests, as these tests are often designed with the intention of finding new ways to get more clicks in your emails. Clickthrough rate is a very important metric for all email marketers to be tracking, as it gives you direct insight into how many people on your list are engaging with your content and interested in learning more about your brand or your offer. Read this blog post to learn what a “good” clickthrough rate is, according to industry benchmarks.
(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to easily set up click tracking in your emails using HubSpot.)
2. Conversion Rate
- What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form or purchasing a product.
- How to Calculate It: (Number of people who completed the desired action ÷ Number of total emails delivered) * 100
- Example: 400 people who completed the desired action ÷ 10,000 total email delivered * 100 = 4% conversion rate
After an email recipient has clicked through on your email, the next goal is typically to get them to convert on your offer — in other words, to take the action that your email has asked them to take. So if you’re sending an email to offer your audience the chance to download, say, a free ebook, you’d consider anyone who actually downloads that ebook to be a conversion.
Because your definition of a conversion is directly tied to the call-to-action in your email, and your call-to-action should be directly tied to the overall goal of your email marketing, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for determining the extent to which you’re achieving your goals. (We’ll discuss more specific goal-related metrics later.)
In order to measure conversion rate on your emails, you’ll need to integrate your email platform and your web analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for your email links that identify the source of the click as coming from a specific email campaign.
3. Bounce Rate
- What It Is: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox.
- How to Calculate It: (Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) * 100
- Example: 75 bounced emails ÷ 10,000 total emails sent * 100 = 0.75% bounce rate
There are two kinds of bounces to track: “hard” bounces and “soft” bounces.
Soft bounces are the result of a temporary problem with a valid email address, such as a full inbox or a problem with the recipient’s server. The recipient’s server may hold these emails for delivery once the problem clears up, or you may try re-sending your email message to soft bounces.
Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address, and these emails will never be successfully delivered. You should immediately remove hard bounce addresses from your email list, because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Having too many hard bounces can make your company look like a spammer in the eyes of an ISP. (Read this blog post to learn more about the difference between hard and soft bounces.)
4. List Growth Rate
- What It Is: The rate at which your email list is growing.
- How to Calculate It: ([(Number of new subscribers) minus (Number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100
- Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate
Aside from the call-to-action metrics (CTR, conversion rates), you’ll also want to be keeping tabs on your list growth and loss. Of course, you should be aiming to grow your list in order to extend your reach, expand your audience, and position yourself as an industry thought leader. But believe it or not, there’s a natural decay of your email marketing list, and it expires by about 22.5% every year — which means that it’s more important than ever to pay attention to growing your subscriber list and keeping it at a healthy size.
5. Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
- What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network, and/or who clicked on a “forward to a friend” button.
- How to Calculate It: (Number of clicks on a share and/or forward button ÷ Number of total delivered emails) * 100
- Example: 100 clicks on a share/forward button ÷ 10,000 total delivered emails * 100 = 1% email sharing/forwarding rate
The rate at which your email recipients forward or share your email with others may not seem all that significant, but it’s arguably one of the most important metrics you should be tracking.
Why? Because this is how you generate new contacts. The folks on your email list are already in your database. So while conversion is still a primary focus, this doesn’t help you attract new leads. Encourage your readers to pass along your email to a friend or colleague if they found the content useful, and start tracking how many new people you can add to your database this way. (Read this blog post for tips on getting people to forward your emails.)
Keep a careful eye on your sharing rates to discover which types of articles and offers tend to get shared the most, and use that insight when you plan email campaigns in the future.
6. Overall ROI
- What It Is: The overall return on investment for your email campaigns. In other words, total revenue divided by total spend.
- How to Calculate It: [($ in additional sales made minus $ invested in the campaign) ÷ $ invested in the campaign] * 100
- Example: ($1,000 in additional sales – $100 invested in the campaign / $100 invested in the campaign) * 100 = a 900% return on investment for the campaign
This is the most basic formula to calculate ROI — but there are several ways to approach calculating the ROI of your email campaigns. Depending on your type of business, you might prefer a different one.)
As with every marketing channel, you should be able to determine the overall ROI of your email marketing. If you haven’t yet, set up an SLA system whereby you assign different values to various types of leads based on their likelihood to generate revenue for your company.
How many of each of these types of leads did you generate via email marketing? How does this translate to potential revenue? Actual revenue? These are the types of metrics that will help you show your boss and your sales team how valuable email marketing is as a channel that drives real, tangible results.
7. Open Rate
What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who open a given email.
Most email marketers are still bent over backwards trying to optimize their subject lines for higher open rates. While this can have a positive impact — and more opens are a great thing — they really should be focused on optimizing their clickthrough rates, instead.
The fact of the matter is that open rate is actually a very misleading metric for a few reasons. Most importantly, an email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient also receives the images embedded in that message. And a large percentage of your email users likely have image-blocking enabled on their email client. This means that even if they open the email, they won’t be included in your open rate, making it an inaccurate and unreliable metric for marketers, as it underreports on your true numbers.
You can get some value out of open rate as a metric if you use it as a comparative metric. For instance, if you compare the open rates of this week’s email send to last week’s email send (both to the same lists) it might give you some insight since the variables are somewhat controlled.
8. Unsubscribe Rate
What It Is: The percentage of email recipients unsubscribe from your send list after opening a given email.
As with open rate, the unsubscribe rate isn’t a reliable picture of the health of your email list. Many subscribers who are tired of receiving email messages from your brand won’t bother to go through the formal unsubscribe process. They’ll just stop opening, reading, and clicking on your email messages.
That’s why it’s much more effective to measure subscriber engagement by clickthrough rates and conversion rates. From there, you can keep an eye out on unengaged subscribers so you can consider removing them at some point, like we went over earlier. Checking your monthly unsubscribe rate is helpful for calculating your overall list growth rate, though, so do keep an eye on it every once in a while.
How to Know Which Email Metrics to Track, Based on Your Goals
The goal of your email marketing may be very different from the goals of another company like yours, and may even vary within your own company over time. But again, it’s crucial that you determine exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve with your email marketing before you begin (or continue) to send and measure your emails.
Here’s how you can align your specific goal with key metrics.
Subscriber List Growth Rate
If your focus is on growing the top of your funnel — attracting more visitors to your site, signing up more blog subscribers, getting more people to use your free tools, that kind of thing — your goal will probably be growing your subscriber list. Your emails will likely contain calls-to-action such as “Subscribe to Our Blog” or “Join Our Weekly Email List.” So of course, the most important metric you should be tracking for this goal is the growth rate of your subscriber list. (Read this blog post for more detailed tips on how to grow your subscriber list.)
Just as you want to track and grow your subscribers, it’s also important to keep an eye on your unengaged subscribers — and consider removing them from your list altogether. Why? Because sending emails to people who aren’t engaged with your emails (called “graymail”) can hurt the deliverability of your email overall. Email clients might get tipped off by low engagement rates and deliver email from known-graymail senders straight to recipients’ “junk” folders, meaning your emails will technically get sent and delivered, but won’t necessarily be seen.
Here at HubSpot, we deliberately unsubscribed 250,000 people from HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, which included people who had opted in to receive emails about new content we published on the blog. This subscriber purge brought our total subscriber count from 550,000 down to 300,000. Read this blog post to learn more about why and how we purged our subscriber list, and why you might consider doing the same.
Number of New (or Total) Leads Generated
Maybe instead of focusing on subscribers, you’d like to work on growing lead generation. If this is the case, you should be sending emails that offer lead generation content — in other words, content that requires the viewer to fill out a lead capture form in order to access it.
If the goal of your email marketing is lead gen, you should be tracking how many leads you’re capturing every day, and every month. You can decide to focus on all leads generated, or only new ones added to your database, depending on your priorities.
Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
Finally, let’s say you want to focus more toward the middle/bottom of your marketing funnel, and convert more of your existing leads into customers. If this is your goal, the emails you’re sending will likely provide content more closely related to your business and your product or service. Your calls-to-action may include “Get a demo,” “Watch a Video of Our Product in Action,” or “Start a Free Trial.” If this is your goal, you should be tracking changes in your lead-to-customer conversion rate.
As obvious as this all seems, you’d be surprised how many email marketers determine their goals and then don’t bother to track their progress against them. Make sure that you’re able to track how closely you’re trending toward your goal at any point during the month, and that you’re looking carefully at any changes in these metrics month over month.
Navigating Email Marketing Metrics
The bottom line? Be smart about which metrics you’re tracking, and make sure you’re able to effectively measure your individual email performance, the health of your email list, and your progress toward your overarching goals. As long as you’re able to determine each of those, you’re on the right track for more effective email marketing.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore what global spikes in social media usage mean for marketing strategies and LinkedIn’s new conversation ads format […]
The post Social Media Use Surges: How Marketers Should Respond appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
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Say you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones or a new guitar tuner. Where would you start your search? Google, right?
Not so fast. Amazon came away with nearly 40% of the US ecommerce market in 2018. Google still remains the top search tool for B2B purchases and services and informational queries that lead to purchases, but Amazon is the dominant front runner in ecommerce.
Need help getting started with inbound ads on Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, or Facebook? Book a free meeting with The Center for Inbound Advertising here.
So what does this mean for you?
When you’re thinking about your online advertising strategy, you want to meet your consumers where they are. And if you’re an ecommerce company, that place is — more likely than not — Amazon.
That’s where Amazon advertising comes in. Amazon has several advertising programs to choose from, but the best one to get started with is Amazon Sponsored Products.
Amazon Sponsored Products
Sponsored Products on Amazon are pay-per-click (PPC) ads that appear in strategic locations on Amazon, giving your products more visibility and purchase opportunity. You select the products you want to boost, set your bid and daily budget, and write an ad to entice shoppers to click.
The Sponsored Product ads are really just image ads — similar to display ads in Google Ads — but the cool thing is that they appear in search results on Amazon right next to the searched products. So, when I search for “acoustic guitars” in Amazon I get this:
Does Amazon Advertising Work?
According to Ad Badger, the average cost per click (CPC) for Amazon PPC is $0.97. This is on par, if not less, than similar advertising on Google and other platforms, which means that there is opportunity for success using Amazon ads.
The real question is “Will Amazon advertising work for me?” Even more specifically, you should be asking “Will I make more revenue than what I spend on the ads?”
The success you have on the platform will depend on a number of factors, including:
Imagine that you have the perfect product and the perfect ad. Then, imagine that you spend too much of your marketing budget on irrelevant keywords. On the other hand, you could also bid on keywords that are too broad and competitive when cheaper and better suited keywords are out there.
It’s your responsibility as you advertise on Amazon to continually optimize your ads for performance. Use “negative keywords” to exclude irrelevant traffic (and minimize wasted spend). Try out different keyword strategies, and be sure to create well-structured campaigns and ad groups within your ad account. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you.
PPC is a great model because you only pay for each person who clicks your ad. The higher your budget, the more potential clicks you’ll receive. When you’re evaluating your goals for Amazon ads, you’ll want to ensure that your budget matches your expectations. Here’s how you can do that:
- Log in to Amazon Seller Central
- Navigate to Detailed Page Sales and Traffic Reports by Child Item
- Find the Unit Session Percentage column (This is your conversion rate per item)
This number signifies the average percentage of visitors who actually converted. That means that, with some quick math, you can estimate how many purchases to expect from the amount of clicks you expect. This will help you reverse-engineer how many clicks it will take to turn into sales and, in turn, how much budget you should allocate to achieve that goal.
Ad and Product Page Copy
In-person sales have the benefit of a sales or customer service representative who can position the product/solution, remove roadblocks to buy, and answer questions. If you’re selling on Amazon, however, you don’t get to provide those personalized touch points. That job rests with your copy.
Your ad copy must do its best to convince shoppers that the product meets their needs and compel them to click on the ad. This improves the ad’s performance.
Also keep in mind the old marketing adage “A confused mind says ‘no.'” That means that the copy on your product page must also remove roadblocks and answer any anticipated questions a shopper might have. If prospects are confused or unsure, they will not click your ad, your conversion rate will suffer, and you will not achieve the ROI you want from your ads.
Online shoppers aren’t able to hold your product in their hands before making a purchase. Even if you have the most awesome item to ever hit online shelves, you won’t move much of your inventory if your photos are unattractive or unclear — no matter how much you put into advertising. This is why product photography is so important when it comes to Amazon advertising and conversion.
In addition to following Amazon’s compliance requirements, images on ads and on product pages should showcase features, action shots, and different angles… all in a visually appealing way that grabs the prospect’s attention and entices them to buy.
Just because someone clicks on your ad doesn’t mean that they’ll buy — shoppers aren’t necessarily loyal. Buyers shop around; if your positioning in the marketplace doesn’t match the quality of your product or provide competitive pricing, you might actually lose out on sales.
Imagine this scenario:
A shopper is searching for a product and discovers your ad. They click on the ad and view your product page. On the same page is a “Sponsored products related to this item” section where they see the exact same product… only 25% less expensive. With all other things being equal, they are likely to bounce off your page and purchase the less expensive item.
Imagine another scenario:
Your product averages 3.7 out of 5 stars based on customer ratings. Another seller offers a similar product, only theirs averages around 4.7 out of 5. With all other things being equal, the shopper will go with the safe bet and purchase the product with the higher rating.
There are a number of positioning factors that will affect your sales, including the sales you drive from your Amazon sponsored product ads. The best thing you can do is provide stellar customer service and keep an eye on the competition to ensure that your brand positioning is helping you rather than hurting you.
Will I See Better Results on Amazon vs. Google Ads?
A major difference between Google Ads and Amazon Sponsored Products is where people are in the purchasing process when they search on each platform.
People searching on Amazon are more likely to be at the end of the buyer’s journey (i.e. closer to a purchasing decision). On Amazon, they know what product they want, and they are just looking for the right deal and provider.
On the other hand, Google has more of a mixed bag of search queries, encompassing all stages of the buyer’s journey. This means your ad strategy can be much more flexible, targeting earlier stages of the buyer’s journey. That being said, not everyone searching in earlier stages of the buyer’s journey will be ready to make a purchase in the near future (if at all).
Many product-based companies have no need to target those individuals, making Amazon just fine (and perhaps ideal) for their advertising strategy where the goal is to put a product in front of interested shoppers.
Getting Started With Amazon Ads
Now that you know the variables that can make your ad successful, you can get started with your Sponsored Products campaign. Here are the steps:
- Sign up for Seller Central and follow the steps to create your account.
- Create your Sponsored Products campaign.
- Choose the products you want to promote with your ads.
- Decide which keywords you want to target.
- Determine your budget.
- Create your first ad.
Unlike other Amazon ad types, Sponsored Products are launched immediately upon completion. For more information about account and campaign setup, visit the Amazon Advertising page.
Here are a few additional tips for getting started with Amazon Ads:
1. Win the Amazon Buy Box
The Buy Box is the box on an Amazon product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping carts.
Since many sellers may end up selling the same item, not all sellers are eligible to win the Buy Box. Amazon only awards it to sellers who meet their minimum requirements, are selling at a competitive price, and have excellent seller metrics.
According to BigCommerce, 82% of Amazon sales go through the Buy Box, so it’s essential to earn it from Amazon. This can be done by performing in a few key areas, including shipping time and price.
2. Implement a Cohesive Structure in Your Ad Account
Within your Ad Account, you’ll be able to build campaigns. Understanding the basic organizational structure within your Ad Account will help you optimize for performance. Here are the definitions for each component of Amazon’s tiered structure:
- Account – Your account is the place you’ll go to access any of your campaigns and seller tools. Think of it as the biggest bucket.
- Campaign – It’s a great idea to build a campaign for each product category you’re targeting.
- Ad Group – Each ad group will contain the ad that you’ve built and the corresponding keywords you’re targeting with that ad. The best practice is to be as specific with each ad group as possible to improve the performance of the associated ads.
3. Learn the Strategy Behind Keywords and Bidding
Just like Google Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products uses keywords to trigger your ads. Automatic targeting — allowing Amazon to choose your keywords for you — is often the right choice for new advertisers. If this does not appeal to you, or once you’ve accumulated some data from a running campaign, you can choose manual targeting where you pick your own keywords.
There are three types of keyword matching:
- Broad Match – The prospect’s query matches your target keyword, including misspellings, synonyms, variations, and different word order. This is the most flexible and non-restrictive.
- Phrase Match – The prospect’s query must precisely match the target keyword, or the prospect’s query must contain the target keyword.
- Exact Match – This is the most restrictive type. The prospect’s query must match exactly to the target query. Your ad will not show with “similar” matches, only “exact” matches.
Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you determine what keywords and keyword matching to choose in order to boost your ad’s performance.
4. Utilize Reporting in Amazon Ads
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In order to make the best choices for your campaign, you need to use a data-driven approach and monitor your results.
Amazon provides advertisers with data about searches for particular keywords. Similar to Google Ads, you have to be an advertiser to get access to this informative data. The data includes which search terms are performing the best, enabling you to add new keywords and refine the performance of your campaigns.
For each keyword, the search terms report will include data on:
- Ad group
- Click thru rate
- Cost per click
- Conversions/number of orders placed
- SKU for the sale
- And more
If you have a product to sell, now is the time to consider using Amazon Sponsored Products ads. You’ll enjoy a reasonable cost per click and have a chance to promote new products at the top of an Amazon search.
The trouble with search engine optimization (SEO) is that it takes a long time to work and doesn’t come with any guarantees. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, on the other hand, can provide results a lot faster. For companies that have no organic presence and need ROI fast, a paid ad is sometimes your best bet for driving traffic to (and conversions from) your website.
The problem is that your competitors are using the same search terms and keywords you will. Not only do you need to know how to build a campaign through Google Ads, but you also need to know how to stand out from the crowd.
What Is a Google Ads Campaign?
Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) system for advertising in the search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google. You can create Campaigns, which are used to organize groups of similar ads. Your Google Ads account can have one or many Campaigns running at a time.
Let’s start with a few real examples of Google Ads campaigns — a service formerly known as Google AdWords — and then throw in some pro tips for succeeding with your own search engine marketing (SEM) strategy. By the time we’re done, you’ll be an expert.
- New Breed Marketing: what is inbound marketing
- Nettitude: cybersecurity
- Rock Content: content marketing course
- Destination Canada: cheap holiday destinations
- FM Training: LEED certification online
- LeftLane Sports: hiking boots for women
1. New Breed Marketing
Search term: what is inbound marketing
Some searchers are experiencing a pain that’s led them on a path to purchase, but they may not be clear on what it is that will solve that pain. That’s the thinking behind the first Google Ads campaign example above.
New Breed Marketing, an agency partner of HubSpot, is an inbound marketing service provider. Because New Breed’s customers might not know what they’re signing up for with “inbound marketing,” the company sought to define the term for them — helping buyers confirm that inbound marketing is indeed what they’re looking for.
New Breed Marketing’s Google Ads result above is as simple as search engine marketing gets. The meta description is just one sentence long but indicates to searchers that inbound marketing is a “process” to be invested in.
Meanwhile, the blue link, called a Site Extension, itself promises to explain inbound marketing in the form of a downloadable “guide.” This ensures those who click through to the website are prepared to submit their contact information and become a lead in exchange for that guide. Remember, Google Ads campaigns cost you money every time somebody clicks on one of your ads — you need to get something out of those clicks.
Search term: cybersecurity
In general, the broader the search term, the less likely the searcher will want to buy something right away (a pay-per-click concept called “match types“). In the Ads campaign above, however, Nettitude bid on a broad, one-word search term — “cybersecurity.” While this broad search term doesn’t target a specific searcher, the details of their Google Ad ensures the link can satisfy many different types of searchers no matter what their interest was when they typed in the word.
Nettitude’s AdWords campaign, above, does two things well:
First, its meta-description has several value propositions that most cybersecurity customers would be receptive to. This includes a “2 hour response time” and a “free initial consultation” to make a prospect’s initial outreach convenient and low-commitment.
Second, the ad displays a phone number directly on the page. When you bid on a search term that yields such a broad, diverse group of people, getting them on the phone is often the easiest way to nurture their interest so they don’t wander off to another search result and forget about you.
3. Rock Content
Search term: content marketing course
Rock Content, an agency partner of HubSpot, is a content marketing service based in Brazil.
Its Ads campaign bid on a search term that’s only somewhat related to the service Rock Content is offering on its landing page. Here’s why it works.
The search term “content marketing course” is intent on finding classes that help marketers increase their content marketing knowledge. Rock Content looks to pivot searchers from taking a class for improving their content knowledge to entering an “evaluation” for determining how much they already know.
This evaluation might not satisfy every searcher, but it is a smart way of pivoting their interest to a related service and introducing them to Rock Content’s offerings at the same time.
4. Destination Canada
Search term: cheap holiday destinations
Canada Destination’s Google Ads campaign above uses a searcher’s general interest in taking a holiday trip to advertise all the fun parts of Canada. Similar to the third example on this list, the strategy is to pivot off of a broad search term to drive value into its own offering. It’s not a casual article, but it’s also not a flight itinerary — that middle-of-the-funnel space is what makes this campaign work so well.
The link above also uses two sub-links beneath the main Site Extension, highlighting the key subjects covered in the website to maximize the ad’s click-through rate.
When people search for “cheap holiday destinations,” it can be hard to gauge their level of interest just right. When launching a Google Ads campaign, you don’t want your ad to be too broad to convert customers, but you also don’t want to be so close to the cash register that your searchers aren’t ready for what you’re offering them. Canada Destination’s digital tour of the country captures that middle ground perfectly, holding users’ interest without chasing them away with overly specific content.
5. FM Training
Search term: leed certification online
FM Training is a certification hub for facility managers (FMs), the same people who work to make their building facilities LEED-certified. Lots of coursework can go into earning this certification, but it can be a challenge to find curricula that caters to these professionals.
FM Training’s Ads campaign makes sure FMs know they’ve come to the right place.
While the five Site Extensions beneath the ad help users jump directly to the information they’re most interested in, the first sentence of the meta-description is what really reaches out to this audience: “FMs …” — the audience is clearly stated in terms they’d understand — “… see a salary increase of 6% or more within 1 yr.” The ad uses the limited space it has to send a message designed to encourage clicks and make the ad worth the investment.
6. LeftLane Sports
Search term: hiking boots for women
This campaign by LeftLane Sports is an example of local business advertising done right. The company doesn’t even need people to click on the link to make money from it.
If prospects in the Boston area search for “hiking boots for women,” they won’t just see a paid result by LeftLane Sports; they’ll see where the brand’s nearest storefront is and how long they’re open. It’s the perfect way to drive website traffic to the appropriate product pages and promote a local presence in the process.
How to Create a Google Ads Campaign
- Get a Google Ads account.
- Set your Campaign Goals.
- Complete the “Describe your business” section.
- Designate your geographic area.
- Set up keyword themes.
- Write your ad.
- Set your ad budget.
- Complete the “Budget and review” section.
- Double check your double check.
- Set up billing.
- Hit Submit.
1. Get a Google Ads account.
Before you can do anything, you’ll need to visit the Google Ads website and sign up for an account.
As part of signing up for a Google Ads account, Google will automatically take you through the process of creating your first campaign, so be prepared with your financial information. Google takes its fee with each click, so your banking credentials are required during the setup process.
Note: There’s no need to worry about getting charged for ad spend as you go through your first campaign setup. You can always turn it off once you get through the registration process.
2. Set your Campaign Goals.
The Google interface will prompt you to select a goal type from the following three options:
- Get more calls
- Get more website sales or signups
- Get more visits to your physical location
This goal will be tied to your advertising campaign, so you’ll want to choose the one that most closely represents the results you want to see.
3. Complete the “Describe your business” section.
The Google interface will prompt you to select a goal type from the following three options:
- Get more calls
- Get more website sales or signups
- Get more visits to your physical location
This goal will be tied to your advertising campaign, so you’ll want to choose the one that most closely represents the results you want to see.
4. Designate your geographic area.
In this section, you’ll designate where you want your ads to appear. This is particularly helpful for local businesses.
At the same time, if you are an online shop, you may be less concerned about geographic constraints. It’s still not a bad idea to consider where, exactly, the majority of your audience lives. If you don’t know, you may want to back up a step and consider your buyer personas first. Why spend money advertising to people in the Midwest if the bulk of your customers live in the Northeast?
You can also reach other countries if your company serves international buyers. Just be sure you’re prepared for any of the buyers who come your way as a result of your ads. You might pay a lot of money for visitors who can’t make a purchase if you’re not careful.
5. Set up keyword themes.
Google will determine different themes based on your website content. You can customize your keywords based on their suggestions as a jumping off point for your campaign.
Keep in mind you’ll be competing against many other companies for the same audience when choosing keywords for which you want your ad to show up. Take some time to think of the keywords that will reach people who are ready to buy. For instance, instead of using “luxury shoes” in your PPC ad, you can use keywords such as “red leather heels.” Maybe you’ll miss out on people who are looking for shoes of all types, but you’ll snag those who have a particular shoe in mind. They’ll be more likely to make a purchase if your ad leads to a landing page with red leather heels, and that will more than pay for their click.
You can also use negative keywords and save a lot of money on your clicks. These tell Google what you don’t want your ad to show up for. In other words, you can use keywords such as red leather heels, not stilettos.
6. Write your ad.
This is the most important aspect of your Google Ads education. The copy you use is what will convince potential buyers to click. You want to attract plenty of people, yes, but you also want those people to buy. If they don’t buy, you pay anyway.
In this section, you’re setting up the headlines and meta descriptions for your first ad(s). Note that you can choose to set up multiple ads in a single campaign, though Google starts you off with one.
For each add you create, you have three considerations:
- Destination URL
Start with a great headline that uses search terms that will reach your niche. Google splits the headline up into three sections of 30 characters each, so make each character count. You might even need to use abbreviations, or you can search for shorter synonyms.
After the headline, you get another 90 characters for the first description. Use this space to highlight any benefits. How will the product solve your buyers’ pains? Then, in the second description, you can capitalize on a feature.
Be ready to change these if you notice your ad isn’t gaining a lot of traction, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
This is where you can choose where clicks on your ad go to. Just choose the page you want them to land on and paste the URL in the field.
7. Set your ad budget.
Here, you’ll be designating your daily budget.
You want to include enough money to make a difference, but you really don’t want to break the bank. You can manually set the bids for clicks, which gives you more control. This also means your ads will stop showing once your budget is spent. That means you won’t end up with a shocker of a bill later.
Once you start to review the results from your campaign, you can always adjust the budget.
8. Complete the “Budget and review” section.
In this section, you’ll be reviewing your campaign settings. It’s best to double check each of the following:
- Your daily budget
- Your monthly budget
- The impressions you’ll get for that budget
- The clicks you should expect based on the impressions
- The location you’re targeting
9. Double check your double check.
It’s always a good idea to check over everything one more time before you set your ad in motion. Is everything spelled correctly? You’ll miss out on keyword searches if there’s a typo one of them. When you’re sure you did everything correctly, then take a deep breath and move on to the next step.
10. Set up billing.
Because Google charges per click, it needs the payment information during the Google Ads account setup. By providing your payment information, you’re giving Google the ability to charge accrued advertising costs from your campaign.
11. Hit Submit.
By doing so, you’ve set up your first Google Ads campaign.
To create additional campaigns, perhaps with different or tighter keyword groups, you’ll want to select Campaigns from the page menu on the left. Then, click the blue plus button and choose New campaign. The Google interface will walk you through the additional steps.
Beyond setting everything up correctly, you’ll also want to A/B test your results often. Change headlines, introduce new features, focus on different benefits — and then take note of the number of conversions. There’s always a way to make your ad perform better.
Wondering how to use video to build stronger connections with your customers and prospects? Looking for a process to follow for your next video? To explore how to create emotional connections with video, I interview Matt Johnston on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Matt is a former journalist turned video marketing expert and founder of […]
The post Creating Social Videos That Grow Strong Connections appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
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When I was younger and I listened to Hannah Montana sing “The Best of Both Worlds,” I didn’t fully understand what she meant.
Now, as a marketer, I get it.
Having the best of both worlds is the feeling you have when your company’s marketing automation software and CRM work in tandem.
But it’s not just about how much easier it makes your job. When the two software work together, your company will convert more MQLs to SQLs and make more sales.
That’s why marketing and sales teams need to integrate their software and work together.
Below, we’ll review what marketing automation and CRM software do and why they need to be integrated.
CRM and Marketing Automation
Before we dive into why marketing automation and CRM need each other, let’s discuss what each software does.
To start, marketing automation software helps marketers automate some of their processes such as sending email campaigns or posting social media posts.
Marketing teams use automation software to produce and promote content.
Additionally, this software includes reports and analytics for when leads visit your website, open an email, fill out a form, or read a blog.
Ultimately, the goal is to streamline the process of taking a lead, nurturing them, and moving them to a sales qualified lead. Essentially, it’s all about lead generation and personalization.
If your team needs more marketing qualified leads, a way to distribute content, or has a large email list, it’s time to invest in marketing automation software.
On the other hand, a CRM is a software that helps sales teams manage their pipeline and lead qualification processes.
A CRM will track customer data, including dates and notes of phone conversations, past purchase records, and emails.
Essentially, with this software, your salesperson can see the full picture of who a prospect is and their history with your company.
Ultimately, a CRM helps sales reps take prospects from sales qualified leads to customers.
If your salespeople lose track of prospects, forget to follow up, or you’ve outgrown your lead tracking system, it’s time to look into CRM.
HubSpot is one of the best choices because the HubSpot Marketing Hub includes the foundational CRM functionalities, so you have both software in one.
Now that we’ve discussed what each software does and how they can help your team, you might be wondering, “Why do these need to work together?”
Well, when marketing automation and CRM software work together, they provide a seamless journey for your customers as they go from visitor to MQL to SQL to customer.
Additionally, integrating the two software will give your sales reps the full picture of a prospect’s interaction with your company. Your sales rep will know the marketing history of their prospects.
Plus, when marketing automation and CRM are integrated or in one software, your marketing and sales team can provide consistent messaging.
Let’s go through a tangible example of how the two software can work together.
To start, let’s say a marketer attracts a lead through a blog post, much like this one.
After taking enough action, that lead becomes a marketing qualified lead. After a while, let’s say they request a demo and are officially a sales qualified lead.
Once this happens, the sales rep who’s responsible for the demo goes to the marketing automation and CRM software to gather information on their interactions with the company.
They find out what offers the prospect has downloaded, what blogs they’ve read, who they are, and what company they work for.
This information informs the reps strategy for the demo call, so they’re prepared to answer the right questions and personalize the sales call.
If the marketing automation and CRM weren’t connected, your sales rep wouldn’t be able to find that information easily. Perhaps they even ask the prospect during the demo call, which irritates the prospect because they’ve already given your company that information and they’re repeating themselves.
That’s why the two need each other.
While you might have a system or process in place for lead tracking, it’s probably a manual process that comes with human error and prospects slipping through the cracks. You can’t scale a system like that.
Your marketing automation and CRM should be connected so your sales team has the right tools to close a deal.
Additionally, by integrating marketing automation and CRM software, your marketing and sales teams can work together.
For example, your marketing team might leave notes for your sales reps in a contact record about a previous interaction.
Or maybe your sales reps help your marketing team determine which content leads find the most helpful.
Integrating these systems should help you understand the gaps and friction points in your marketing and sales process. It can help you discover why leads aren’t moving from MQL to SQL or why prospects aren’t closing.
Ultimately, by integrating your CRM and marketing automation software, your team can:
- Generate more qualified leads
- Offer better visibility to marketing and sales teams
- Shorten the sales process
- Provide consistent messaging
- Unify your data management
- Improve the customer relationship
- Enhance pipeline management
- Develop cross-department relationships
Overall, integrating your CRM and marketing automation will make your marketing team, sales team, and customers happier, by streamlining the marketing and sales process.
As a marketer, it’s undeniably critical you’re fully aware of your own budget and resources, and use that information when making decisions.
For instance, let’s say you’re a marketer at a startup, and have decided to propose investing in Twitter Ads to the decision-makers at your company.
Of course, one of the biggest questions you’ll be asked is, “How much is this going to cost?”
If you’ve prepared a marketing budget, you can refer back to it for the answer. A budget shows how much you have to spend on campaigns overall, and the ‘Paid Advertising’ section shows how much you intend to spend on social ads.
With numbers from the budget, you can demonstrate how Twitter Ads fit into the overall strategy, and prove your team can afford to make those purchases.
Additionally, when you know the revenue available for marketing efforts, you can then decide how to maximize your spending to align with your goals.
Marketing budgets are imperative to a company’s success. However, if you work for a smaller startup, resources and money can be tight, making it difficult to determine how much should be spent on marketing.
Here, let’s explore the typical budget for marketing teams at start-ups, so you have a ballpark to consider when determining your own team’s marketing budget.
Marketing Costs for a Startup
When your company is new it can be confusing to determine an initial marketing budget. In some cases, budget decisions are top-down, inspired by competitors, or made by setting a goal. If all of those routes don’t fit your startup’s operations, begin with just one thing: revenue.
Later, we’ll explore a few more expenses to take into consideration when planning your marketing budget, but first let’s talk about how you can use revenue to start fleshing out how much you can spend.
Figuring out your gross revenue and how much of that is going to go towards your marketing budget is going to be your biggest asset when figuring out how much you’re going to spend.
You’re going to use money from your gross revenue to fund your marketing budget. So, how much of your gross revenue will you need? Well, according to a recent survey, the average marketing budget for startups is 11.2% of overall revenue, in order to have enough to build brand awareness and start attracting leads.
To find your gross revenue, calculate your total number of sales. From there, you can figure out how much you’re going to spend on your budget. For startups that don’t have gross revenue yet, estimate how much you are expecting to make over a year and use those numbers as benchmarks.
For another resource to help calculate revenue, try an online calculator, like this one from Small Business Association. The process of building a budget based on revenue is helpful for startups because it’ll give you a bird’s-eye view of how much you’re making, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Now that we’ve gone over how to make a budget, let’s go over some considerations to take into account once you’ve solidified your budget.
Startup marketing budget considerations
So, what should you even put into your budget?
Once you’ve got the overall budget of your company’s total revenue, you can break down the costs. Think of factors that will come up naturally in a marketer’s day-to-day, and what resources you’ll need to make that happen.
You can put this information in a spreadsheet, or you can always use a template, like these free marketing offerings from HubSpot. There are no rules with budget design, as long as it’s comprehensible and detailed enough to be useful.
For instance, it’d be smart to include factors such as:
- Technology — When you are creating campaigns, factor in the technology you need to use, such as software to build and maintain a product page.
- Research — If you haven’t yet discovered your target audience, you may need to invest in market research. This doesn’t have to be an expenditure if you don’t have the resources, though. For instance, this post shows you how to conduct market research yourself.
- Automation — Services exist to automate most of the marketing process for you, like organizing leads and website management. This can be advantageous to businesses who don’t have the resources to spend money on extra hands to complete projects.
- Production — In this category, note any expenses for what you need to create marketing messages, such as graphic design, photography, or videos. Instead of paying for multiple different services, you could hire a freelancer to fit these roles. They wouldn’t be a permanent new addition, but could use their expertise in a pinch.
- Paid Advertising — Are you planning to run ads on TV, radio, or online? This is the category where you factor in those costs. Remember, you can find figures on how much you can expect to spend on paid ads — take a look at our Advertising guide to explore prices on anything from PPC ads to social media ads.
- Branding — These are assets you use to build the first impression of your company, like business cards, signs, billboard ads, or laptop stickers.
- Content Marketing — This section will detail how much you’re going to allocate to the content you will deliver. This is also an area where you don’t need to shell out a ton — between automation services, like HubSpot or Sprout Social, and content ideas you can produce for free, you can flex your budget to fit your financial needs.
- Traditional Advertising — If applicable to your business, make a section for traditional advertising methods. Paid advertising occurs mostly online, but traditional advertising refers to marketing efforts outside of that. Factors to include in this section are print, billboards, etc.
- Unexpected — Things break, don’t work, or sometimes take more time than projected. When you figure out your budget, be sure to plan for costs that may come up unexpectedly, such as extra fees from advertising.
Once you’ve chosen your sections, you can start deciding how much of your budget will be beneficial in each area. As a guide, think about your business and campaign goals. From those goals, choose the sections you want to invest the most in.
Working from your business goals helps you make guided budgeting decisions. For example, if your campaign goal is to increase brand awareness, you’ll probably want to devote the most to branding, content marketing, and paid advertising.
You may not need to factor all of these expenses into your budget — or, you might need to factor all of them. It depends on the needs of your business, but remember that you can play around with free methods for most of these costs, if even periodically.
For example, if you are certain that automated software will help your startup, see what software offers free trials or free services that you can use to see if it’s worth the cost for you later on..
Making a budget helps the growth of your business. Your marketing budget keeps track of your expenses and allocates funds towards essential resources. Additionally, it enables you to plan for the future based on campaign goals.
To make sure your spending is under control, having a marketing budget is critical, and gives you the reassurance that you won’t put the company in danger with every marketing decision you want to make.
As companies adopt inbound marketing as a way to generate more leads, the importance of having an effective lead nurturing strategy becomes very clear. In most cases only a relatively small percentage of your inbound leads will be ready to make an immediate purchase, leaving upwards of 90% of your inbound leads on the table.
Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy can have a huge impact on the results of your inbound marketing strategy.
In 2018, lead generation, sales, and lead nurturing were the top three organizational objectives for content marketers.
How to Nurture Leads
Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging a defined target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
You want to actively move the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become paying customers. Some tactics on how to nurture leads are through targeted content, multi-channel nurturing, multiple touches, timely follow-ups, and personalization.
Despite the clear benefits of lead nurturing, marketers can struggle to build the right strategy around it. According to the 2019 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Survey, 60% of respondents gave their nurture programs a failing grade.
There’s a huge opportunity for savvy marketers like you to implement effective lead nurturing strategies and gain an advantage over your competition.
So you are probably wondering…
- Which lead nurturing tactics work best?
- What do super successful marketers do differently?
- Or how do I get started with lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is of course just one component that goes into executing an inbound marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn what super successful inbound marketers are doing differently to attract traffic, convert leads and close customers you can check out this comprehensive resource – An Epic Guide to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Now let’s get down to it – we’ve read through dozens of reports, dug into the most recent data about lead nurturing and compiled this list of the seven amazingly effective lead nurturing tactics.
7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics
1. Leverage targeted content.
When it comes to lead nurturing, one size certainly does not fit all. As the research proves, strategically nurturing your leads using targeted content can significantly improve the results of your inbound marketing strategy.
Using targeted content for lead nurturing may seem obvious, but it’s something that marketers are struggling with. Last year Forrester Research reported that 33% of B2B marketers cite “targeted delivery of content” (i.e., delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time) as their biggest lead nurturing challenge.
There are a few prerequisites for using targeted content for lead nurturing. First of all, you need to understand each of your unique buyer personas. Of course, you then need to create an assortment of targeted content designed to nurture each of your personas based on their interests, goals, objectives, and marketing triggers.
Lastly, you need to have a marketing automation platform in place to help you identify, segment and target your unique buyer personas as you scale your inbound marketing strategy.
2. Use multi-channel lead nurturing techniques.
In the past, most lead nurturing strategies involved setting up a simple email drip campaign that would send out generic emails to a list of prospects.
Today, marketers like you are looking for new lead nurturing tactics and technologies that go beyond the limits of email. With the help of powerful marketing automation platforms, savvy marketers are now executing multi-channel lead nurturing strategies.
Effective multi-channel lead nurturing most commonly involve a combination of marketing automation, email marketing, social media, paid retargeting, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach. Because there are so many tactics involved, to execute this properly, you really need to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are well aligned and working cohesively.
3. Focus on multiple touches.
While the buyers journey for every product and service can be quite different, research from the Marketing Lead Management Report indicates that on average, prospects receive ten marketing touches from the time they enter the top of funnel until they’re a closed won customers.
Interestingly, another research study from Demand Gen suggests that 49% of marketers include less than five touches in their lead nurturing programs. If you’re in this category, it might be time to revamp your lead nurturing efforts a bit.
As you can imagine, the most successful lead nurturing strategies deliver content that helps prospects progress through the buyer’s journey by addressing common questions and concerns. In addition to email tactics, consider how you can use a mix of content types like social media, blog posts, whitepapers, interactive calculators, or even direct mail, to nurture your prospects into customers.
4. Follow up with leads in a timely manner.
The benefits of immediate follow up calls seem quite evident, but most organizations still aren’t acting very quickly. A recent article in Harvard Business Review highlighted the surprisingly slow response times of most US based companies. Here are a few benchmarks from the study which included feedback from more than 2,240 US companies:
- The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours
- Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
- 24% of companies took more than 24 hours
- 23% of the companies never responded at all
Automated lead nurturing can help you reach large groups of prospects, but a timely followup email or a phone call is still quite often the best way to convert inbound leads into qualified sales opportunities. As several research studies have shown, the odds of converting a lead into a sales opportunity are exponentially higher when the lead is contacted immediately following a website conversion.
When you make a timely, well researched call to an inbound lead it’s far more effective than any volume of cold calling. You know exactly what the prospects is researching based their recent browsing behaviour and you also have enough information about the prospect to do some initial research about the organization they work for and their specific role within the company.
5. Send personalized emails.
Several research studies indicate that email marketing continues to be the most effective tactic for lead nurturing.
The research also consistently shows that personalization tends to produce significantly better results than generic marketing. A study by Accenture found that 41% of consumers switched businesses due to a lack of personalization.
As highlighted in this helpful blog post, there are all kinds of ways you can personalize your emails to improve your lead nurturing strategy. You can send triggered emails when someone downloads your gated content, clicks on links in your emails, visits certain pages on your website, or when they demonstrate a high level of engagement.
When you combine the power of marketing personalization with behavioral triggered emails you can deliver the right marketing messages to the right people, at exactly the right times.
6. Use lead-scoring tactics.
For those who are new to the concept of lead scoring, it is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.
Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to certain website browsing behaviors, conversion events, or even social media interactions.
The resulting score is used to determine which leads should be followed up with directly by a sales rep or which leads need to be nurtured further down the funnel.
Based on this research, it seems as though lead scoring is an effective lead nurturing tactic that most marketers simply aren’t taking advantage of yet.
7. Be sure your sales and marketing strategies are aligned.
According to a study by market research firm CSO Insights, when both sales and marketing share responsibility for lead nurturing, companies experience a significant financial boosts. In fact, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.
In order for both sales and marketing to contribute to lead nurturing you’ll need to identity when prospects should be transitioned between teams as they progress through the funnel. In creating your lead nurturing strategy, think about how you can use triggers like lead scoring, page views, workflow enrollment, conversion events or sales contact to transition leads from automation to direct one-on-one outreach.
The shared expectations, responsibilities and goals for this collaboration between sales and marketing should be outlined in a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA). Creating a formal sales and marketing SLA will help the two teams hold each other accountable for converting leads and effectively nurturing them into paying customers.
Leveraging Lead Nurturing Tactics
In review, let’s quickly recap the seven most effective lead nurturing tactics:
1. Targeted content: Content intrigues, entertains, and delights audiences that could become qualified leads.
2. Multi-channel lead nurturing: Try to reach your audiences on multiple online channels, rather than just relying on email.
3. Multiple Touches – Prospects receive an average of 10 touches from the time they enter the top of the funnel until they’re a closed-won customer.
4. Timely Follow Ups: The odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are much greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website.
5. Personalized Emails: Personalization benefits both your marketing and your customer retention.
6. Lead Scoring: This strategy helps you determine which leads you should really take time to follow up with.
7. Sales and Marketing Alignment: Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in March 2016, but was updated for comprehensiveness in March 2020.
Let’s imagine you manage a balloon animal artist collective in Omaha, Nebraska. You notice your company’s growth is plateauing. You mostly serve a strange crop of repeat customers who throw a lot of parties and really like balloon animals, but they can only do so much for you.
You realize you need new business and decide a base of interested contacts would be a great place to start. In other words, you need to generate new leads, but you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do.
Your company isn’t some multinational balloon animal conglomerate — it’s just a collective that features three of the top ten most celebrated balloon animal artists in the greater Omaha area. And you only book customers in Douglas County (that’s where Omaha is — I just looked it up.)
If you’re trying to generate leads for your business, it doesn’t make sense to employ the same lead generation strategies as companies that operate on a global scale. Instead, you would do something called local lead generation.
Let’s get a picture of what that concept is and how to do it right.
What is Lead Generation?
Before understanding what local lead generation is, it might help to know what lead generation itself is. As per HubSpot’s own definition, “Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting a strangers and prospects into people who have indicated an interest in your company’s product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.”
A solid lead generation strategy is an invaluable asset for a business of any shape or size. So that brings us to the point of this article — how can doctors, dentists, smaller law firms, contractors, construction companies, and any other business that operates regionally turn prospects into leads?
More bluntly, how can a local business construct and leverage an effective lead generation infrastructure?
Local Lead Generation
On a fundamental level, local lead generation is just another category of lead generation. That might sound obvious, but it’s still helpful to keep in mind. You’ll be using the concept’s same core principles, but you’ll apply them within specific parameters. Here are some important factors and tactics to consider, and what they mean in the context of local lead generation.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the process of expanding a company’s visibility in the organic search results on engines like Google. Its endgame is to drive more visitors to a company’s site, increasing chances for more conversions.
Ranking well on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is one of the most important factors for local lead generation, but ranking locally is a different process than ranking nationally.
To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
There are several strides you can take to ensure that your local SEO strategy is optimal and effective. These steps include improving your website’s internal linking structure, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, engaging with customers on social media, and ensuring your contact information is consistent online.
This is obviously a very high-level overview of local SEO. For a more thorough, technical explanation of the optimization process, check out this article.
HubsSpot defines SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, as “using paid advertising to ensure that your business’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query.” In a nutshell, it’s the process of placing targeted advertisements on search engine pages.
The practice can be leveraged by businesses of any size and provides another excellent avenue for local companies to generate leads. Like SEO, targeted search engine ads are rooted in search interest — meaning high ranking SEM ads generally bring in already engaged prospects.
If your ad placements can rank well for regional search inquiries and keywords, you should be in a good position to generate local, interested leads. To learn more about SEM, check out this article.
Landing Pages, Forms, and Offers
Landing pages — website pages specifically dedicated to turning visitors into leads — are central to almost any virtual lead generation effort. A landing page contains lead forms that ask visitors for their contact information, but they won’t give that information up for nothing.
The process is transactional. Prospects can’t be expected to dole out their phone numbers or email addresses without receiving something in return. That “something” is known as an offer. It’s some sort of incentive that is designed to drive interest in a company while establishing its credibility.
Offers are often content-based. Whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars are all examples of potentially compelling offers. But offers don’t always have to be content-specific — particularly when it comes to local businesses.
Local companies might get more out of offering a discount or a free consultation in exchange for a prospect’s email. No matter how your business operates, well-constructed landing pages and compelling offers are crucial when it comes to converting an interested website visitor into a legitimate lead.
There are also various kinds of software available to aid your local lead generation efforts.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub’s suite of features can assist with your audience targeting efforts. It contains resources that provide real-time SEO suggestions to help you tailor a content strategy to your local audience.
It also enables more sophisticated and effective promotion over social media and other online marketing avenues. Businesses can also leverage the platform to design compelling calls to action and personalize messaging based on location, traffic source, buyer persona, and more.
Ultimately, The HubSpot Marketing Hub is an affordable option for local businesses looking to attract and garner interest from prospects. It provides the necessary resources for any local business to get a picture of who its customers are, how they’re interacting with its marketing efforts, and what it can do to translate prospects’ interest into legitimate leads.
Google Search Console can be an invaluable asset to any local SEO strategy. The software brings data about where your content appears in Google’s search results to light and shows how often search visitors are interacting with your site when it appears on search result pages.
The console’s reports provide legitimate, quantifiable visibility into the impact of your content marketing, considering factors like clicks, impressions, and page rank. It also offers insight into keywords or phrases people are searching for when your site appears on the results page — a powerful resource for coming up with new content ideas based on the keywords your prospects are actually searching.
OptinMonster is a conversion optimization toolkit that features resources to generate leads, gain subscribers, and ultimately provide sales opportunities from your site’s traffic.
It contains templates to create offers and a powerful targeting and segmentation engine — taken together, these tools can identify when to show the right visitors offers relevant to their interests. It also has analytics resources to measure the efficacy of your campaigns.
4. Google Ads
Google Ads can be one of the most mission-critical components of a local business’s SEM efforts. And the software’s HubSpot integration allows companies to identify and reach highly-targeted local audiences.
It can use any CRM data point to serve as a reference for targeted messages — an asset to local businesses looking to pinpoint who and where their potential customers’ interest is coming from.
It also lets small businesses set their own advertising budgets by offering insight into which ads are most effective — allowing local companies to keep careful tabs on the ROI of their paid ads.
Typeform allows you to capture more leads with engaging interactive forms. The software features mobile-ready contact forms, surveys, quizzes, and more — all from premade or custom templates.
Its automatic tracking tools allow you to pinpoint where your most engaged audience is coming from — whether it be specific social media channels, your website’s home or contact page, or any other source that feeds leads to your business.
No matter the shape, size, or nature of your company, gaining exposure to interested prospects will always be in your best interest. Local businesses still need to grow, and new customers are central to that process. Companies with any sort of online presence should always be looking to generate new leads — no matter how far or wide their geographical reach extends.
So when you’re ready to take your balloon animal collective to the upper echelon of the Omaha, Nebraska novelty party entertainment scene, be sure to look into the different local lead generation strategies explored in this article.
To create the optimal customer experience, it’s undeniably critical your sales and marketing teams are well-aligned.
If you don’t, your prospects will suffer.
For instance, imagine this: your prospect has been researching a new video conferencing tool for weeks.
She’s finally found one company she’s extremely interested in — yours.
Before calling a sales rep, your prospect decides to read numerous blog posts on your website. She also downloads an ebook, watches your company’s YouTube videos, and even chats in a few of your community forums.
Once your marketing materials have convinced her your product could be a good fit, she decides to call one of your company’s sales rep.
Unfortunately, the sales rep has no background knowledge on the content with which the prospect has already interacted. The sales rep begins a generic introductory sales pitch, not realizing your prospect is almost ready to buy — she just has a few final questions.
This results in a less-than-ideal user experience for your prospect, who won’t feel valued as someone who’s been interacting with your brand’s content for weeks already.
Additionally, it isn’t an ideal experience for your company’s sales or marketing teams, either. If the sales rep was aware of the content with which the prospect has interacted, they’d have an easier time connecting with the prospect and understanding her needs upfront.
Ultimately, well-aligned sales and marketing teams have a major impact on your business’ bottom line. In fact, companies with well-aligned sales and marketing teams generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts.
However, if your marketing and sales teams are primarily remote or operate out of different locations, it can be more challenging to align the teams than it would be in-person. That’s where good remote leadership comes into play.
Here, I’ve spoken with Debbie Farese, HubSpot’s former Director of Sales Enablement and current Director of Global Web Strategy, and Matt Hambor, HubSpot’s Corporate Sales Manager, to gather insights into how you might align your own distributed marketing and sales teams.
3 Tips for Aligning Distributed Marketing and Sales Teams
1. Ensure your goals are aligned across distributed marketing and sales teams.
Ultimately, to align distributed marketing and sales teams, it’s critical you ensure both teams have clearly identified mutually-beneficial goals.
Debbie Farese told me: “Goal alignment is the best way to ensure sales and marketing teams are aligned, no matter where they sit. For marketing, this means looking at metrics that factor in the quality of leads generated, not just the quantity. Examples are lead-to-qualified-lead rates, close rates, revenue per lead, etc.
Farese added, “For sales, this means committing to working the leads that marketing generates and tracking this along with success in closing deals. Examples are work rates, productivity per rep, etc.”
Ultimately, it’s not enough to say you’ve aligned goals across teams. Instead, you need to prove it, with some of the metrics Farese mentions above. And, whether your team is remote or in-office, you’ll want to continue to foster meetings that allow both teams to pivot if your current strategy isn’t enabling the teams to work hand-in-hand effectively.
For instance, let’s say your sales team has identified “inform customers of new product features” as a major 2020 goal. However, this goal hasn’t been properly communicated with the marketing team.
Undoubtedly, this causes friction for the prospect. A prospect might receive tons of high-quality marketing materials before speaking with a sales rep — including ebooks, blog posts, webinars, newsletters, and YouTube videos — but they’ll feel caught-off guard if most marketing materials don’t mention the product’s new features.
It makes it easier for both your sales and marketing teams to effectively perform their roles if both teams are well-aligned in a few critical goals.
And, most importantly, it makes it easier on your prospects and customers if your teams are aligned. You don’t want your prospects to feel like your company is disorganized, or that they’re receiving disparate information from different teams within your larger organization.
2. Have your marketing team listen to sales calls or join Slack conversations.
If your sales team is largely remote, that likely means your sales reps function primarily via video or conference calls to close deals, rather than in-person customer meetings. This could make it easier to integrate marketing into the sales process, or enable marketing leaders to listen, on occasion, to prospect conversations to ensure the marketing team is delivering relevant content.
For instance, Farese told me, “Through remote work, it’s easier than ever for marketing to listen in on customer and prospect calls to understand their persona even better, develop empathy for sales reps, and get an understanding for what content and messaging really resonates.”
Additionally, Matt Hambor mentioned as a leader of a remote team, it’s critical you “encourage everyone to contribute to communication via Slack, email, or text. If you hear a good idea or success story from a member of your team, encourage them to share it with the larger group.”
This concept can also help align your marketing and sales teams — for instance, you might invite members of your marketing team to your sales team’s Slack channel, so they can take note of customer concerns and successes and consider using those stories as Case Studies or by highlighting the customer in a company newsletter.
3. Create both formal and informal opportunities for sales and marketing to collaborate.
Matt Hambor, who’s been managing a majority remote sales team for over two years, told me a few tactics he’s used to facilitate team bonding and cross collaboration. Hambor says, “Setting clear expectations and being transparent when dealing cross-functionally is critical with any type of collaboration, but even more important when it’s remote.”
You might try implementing a few cross-department virtual meetings once a month, or once a quarter. Hambor’s team, for instance, meets with a HubSpot Marketing Manager once a month for a standup meeting in which both teams are able to ask questions and ensure their priorities are well-aligned.
By ensuring your sales team is able to glean insight into marketing strategies and priorities, you’re ensuring your sales reps have a firm understanding of your prospects’ entire start-to-finish buyer’s journey, so they can better meet prospects wherever, and whenever, they’d like to be met.
Additionally, Hambor mentions he often hosts weekly happy hours, contests within the team, and other more casual events to facilitate team bonding. To align your sales and marketing teams, then, you might try creating a quarterly remote happy hour, trivia game, or cross-department bonding activity.
Ultimately, whether your teams are remote, in-person, or a mixture of both, Hambor says it’s vital as a manager that you show you care about your employees’ well-being. Hambor says, “It’s important you ask how your employees are doing … and actually care. They could be going through things you don’t have exposure to. It’s important you have a genuine interest in their well-being and success. The last thing you want is your remote teammates feeling isolated and insecure reaching out and asking for help.”
Once you’ve implemented some strategies mentioned above, consider sending a survey to your sales and marketing teams to gather insights into other potential opportunities for cross-department collaboration and partnership. Your marketing and sales teams will thank you — and so will your prospects and customers.
As marketers in 2020, there’s one major thing that we have in common: We’re driven by data.
Regardless of whether we’re copywriters, social media managers, videographers, or web designers, data is key to helping us determine which projects are successful, which strategies might require more of a budget, and which tactics we need to leave behind.
But those who thrive on data also know its one major downfall: it can take hours to collect and organize.
Even if you have an analytics software that tracks a campaign’s traffic, engagements, ROI, and other KPIs, you’ll likely still need to take time to organize these numbers, analyze them, and come up with an understandable way to report on your projects to your team or clients.
In the past, marketing firms and agencies tasked full-timers with reporting-related duties. And, although much of the data collection process has been automated by various analytics software, marketing teams and firms are still losing countless hours on manual data reporting.
This is a problem that my Cleveland-based marketing firm, PR 20/20, ran into a few years ago.
As part of our process, we create monthly performance reports for each of our clients. When we create them, we pull the data from HubSpot and Google Analytics. Then, we write a report to explain the data to our colleagues, clients, and project stakeholders.
These reports allowed our clients to make better sense of the numbers they were seeing and formulate their strategies around where they performed well or needed improvement. But, although they were helping our clients, creating them was holding our team back.
While our clients found the reports valuable, the process of pulling the data, analyzing it, and drafting the reports easily took five hours per client, per month. This took our marketers away from tasks that could have been productive in the long run, such as brainstorming new ideas and strategies that could noticeably help their clients.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to streamline reporting with AI, using our own experiment as an example.
How to Streamline Your Reporting Processes with AI
Step 1: Research your AI software options.
Whenever you’re attempting to experiment with or implement a new strategy, you’ll want to research the topic thoroughly.
For example, you’ll want to recognize your budget and then look into software that fits into it.
You’ll also want to determine the pros and cons of any software you consider. This will help you better familiarize yourself with the world of AI and which tools can actually help you. Because the topic of artificial intelligence comes with a lot of online hype, thorough research will also help you to distinguish which products are actually worth investing in and which are overhyped and overpriced.
Prior to deciding that we wanted to streamline our reporting strategy, we’d been researching AI through resources at our Marketing AI Institute.
The Institute is a media company that aims to make AI more approachable for marketers. Since we launched the company, we’ve published more than 400 articles on AI in marketing. We’re also tracking 1,500+ sales and marketing AI companies with combined funding north of $6.2 billion.
We became obsessed with how smarter technology could increase revenue and reduce costs.
In the process, we found natural language generation (NLG) technology that wrote plain English automatically.
Essentially, NLG takes structured data — such as information on spreadsheets — and turns it into written or spoken language. You’ve encountered NLG anytime you’ve used Gmail’s Smart Compose feature. Or, when you hear Amazon’s Alexa respond to your voice queries.
Once we discovered a potentially helpful NLG software, we decided to run an experiment to see if the AI technology could partially or fully automate our performance report writing process.
2. Pick software that works best for your team.
After doing your research, you might learn the basics of how AI technology such as machine learning or NLG works.
Now, the next step is to search for software that works for your business. Here are a few things you’ll need to consider:
- The cost: You’ll want to consider the cost of any of the software’s subscriptions or fees, as well as the cost to implement it. For example, you may need to contract or hire an engineer to prepare your data and take any steps to make sure the software works smoothly.
- Maintenance needed: While higher-priced software might be intuitive enough to require lower maintenance, others may need to be monitored and updated by someone who’s very tech-savvy. Be sure to understand what you’ll need to do if something isn’t working properly so you don’t incur any emergency costs.
- Usability: As a marketer, you won’t want to rely on a full-time engineer to use AI software to run your reports. You’ll want to shop for software that your less tech-savvy team members can eventually get trained on and learn. For example, a software that lets you adjust your settings or make basic adjustments in an easy to understand dashboard will be effective for multiple team members and require fewer software experts to manage.
As you pick out software, you’ll also want to track down case studies, reviews, or user testimonials that describe how a company used the software to run reports or complete a similar activity. This will give you an idea of if the product you’re considering has a good track record or credibility in the AI software industry.
When it comes to finding affordable AI-powered software, there are a number of service providers that similarly use NLG to draft analytics reports or generate dashboards that you can then share with your clients or stakeholders. Here are two highly-regarded examples:
Domo is a data visualization and reporting tool that integrates with major data and analytics platforms including Google Analytics. Once you connect these platforms, you can use a dashboard to set up and generate data visualizations or reports for your clients. These visualizations include pie charts, other graphs, and word clouds.
Preparing the data that Domo will report on also requires minimal maintenance. The platform offers guides on how to create datasets or spreadsheets that its algorithms will recognize as well as a drag and drop guide which asks you to upload specific information such as “Monthly Budget.”
Here’s a quick demo that shows Domo in action:
This reporting software allows you to generate reports or reporting dashboards that your team and clients can edit and cross-collaborate on. Like Domo, it also includes a handful of data visualization capabilities.
Aside from data visualizations, you can also add boxes to your dashboards that show you scorecards that note whether you’re hitting your goals or not, as well as filters that help you drill down on specific aspects of your project. Here’s a demo explaining how small businesses such as nonprofits can benefit from the software’s dashboard reporting features:
3. Prepare your data so your software can understand it.
Regardless of which product you choose, you’ll likely need to prepare your data in a way that your software’s robot or algorithm could easily recognize and analyze.
For example, before beginning our own experiment, we needed to prep the data by structuring it in a way that was compatible with the very basic NLG software we used.
The software required structured data in columns and rows to generate text. So, first, we had to pull HubSpot and Google Analytics data into spreadsheets.
Because doing this manually would take too much time and limit the potential time saved with automation, we used APIs and built our own algorithm using Google Apps Scripts to pull data into a Google Sheet.
Next, we standardized how each performance report would be formatted. We knew NLG software would be unlikely to handle completely custom reports well. So, we created a template for these reports that didn’t change each month.
To create a format for each report, we identified a set of 12 common questions we were trying to answer for clients each month:
- How much traffic came to your website, and how does that compare to the previous month? Last year?
- How engaged was last month’s website traffic?
- What were the top traffic-driving channels?
- Was there fluctuation in overall traffic, and if so, what caused it?
- How did the blog perform last month?
- How engaged was blog traffic?
- What were the top-performing blog posts?
- Were there any changes in blog traffic last month, and if so, what caused them?
- How many goals or new contacts were generated last month?
- What were the top converting pages?
- Where did goals or new contacts originate?
- Was there any change in total goals or lead volume, and if so, what was responsible?
4. Develop a template or set up a dashboard for your reports.
A good AI software will either allow you to create documents or even dashboards, as your reports. These assets can then be sent to your team or your clients so that they can easily look over and make sense of what all the data you’ve collected means.
Once we’d structured our data and developed a standard report format, we had to translate our standard report format into an NLG template.
The template was essentially a completed version of a performance report. When the NLG software runs, this report gets copied into the NLG software. Then rules are applied to the copy to programmatically update what’s written based on the structured data provided. Specifically, we assigned:
- Variables: Parts of the template that are swapped out with a data point.
- Conditional Statements: Branching if/then logic that selects the appropriate wording to
- Synonyms: To give the content some variety, synonyms can be added to vary the words or phrases used in the report. The NLG software will randomly insert one from a list of options that humans create.
Rather than the NLG software solely writing out a report, which could result in incomprehensible sentences that poorly discussed the data, we created the template so that the software would merely fill in the blanks of each report with specific data points.
The end result was a template that, when paired with a spreadsheet, automatically produces a unique report for each client. The final output could be a CSV, Word, or Google Doc file.
5. Test the software before implementing it.
Even if you’re working with a credible AI software, you’ll still want to test it and troubleshoot any issues that come to light. This prevents any AI-related incidents from occurring when the tool is actively being used by employees or on tight deadlines.
We ran hundreds of tests to guarantee the reports came out accurate and read well. And we eventually perfected the process to consistently produce clear, accurate automated performance reports.
If a software provider that you work with offers a trial or discount for testing out their product, leverage it. This will allow you to witness first-hand if the cost of the product outweighs its benefits, or give you time to identify if there is a more suitable product that you should be using.
6. Once implemented, measure your results.
Like in the testing phase, you’ll want to monitor how well your tools are working when they are actually implemented in your office.
When you do this, here are a few things that you’ll want to evaluate:
- The amount of time that the software is saving employees, or if there were any bugs, how much time the software cost.
- The amount of other productive or revenue-generating tasks your team was able to get done with the extra time you had.
- The ability of your team members to be trained and adapt to the new software and reporting processes.
As we tracked our new automated performance reports, we found that our tools took a fraction of the time to produce the same report that we took hours to create. Additionally, the level of detail in our client reports is now consistent across all accounts.
Before we implemented AI tools, the reports were only as strong as the account team’s comfort level of analyzing marketing performance reports.
Now, at midnight on the first of the month, our reporting program starts to pull in the data, communicates with the NLG system, and then automatically creates Google Docs with the fully written report.
The only manual part of the process now involves spot-checking the data for accuracy, applying some styling, and then sending.
What once took us five hours per report now takes 10 minutes. While the original process needed to be managed by multiple teammates, only one staff member is needed for spot-checking.
In this scenario, our company benefited from NLG technology because our new process allowed us to increase revenue from happy clients, improve the quality of our data reporting, and reduce costs of time and labor originally associated with reporting.
Resources for Automated Reporting
Although our team is able to access AI providers and experts for our in-office experiments, other small business marketers can also take advantage of this strategy somewhat affordably.
However, keep in mind that AI implementation can take time. For us, we needed to put time into building structured datasets, as well as our Report template so that our AI software could read our analytics and draft reports properly.
If you’re interested in testing out your own AI experiments, but don’t know where to start, check out the HubSpot Academy course, “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Marketing: Live from MAICON.” It will teach you how to apply AI in marketing using a holistic framework and begin conversations around piloting AI in your business.
Welcome to 2020. In a recent survey conducted by HubSpot Research, 63% of marketers responded that they are looking to make a website upgrade this year. Are you?
The discussion of web strategy can take many directions, from copywriting to conversion paths. When we consider website optimization and overall web strategy, accessibility should be one of your main objectives in 2020 and onward.
Accessibility is a broad term, but there are a few main things I will focus on in this article: a continuous monumental shift to mobile devices, transparency and disclosure of information, and properly interpreting user intent. In 2020, build your web strategy around your audience’s needs first. Providing a great user experience will allow you to more easily deliver your message and meet your business goals.
Keep Being Transparent: If People Can’t Find It on Your Site, They’ll Find It Elsewhere
Continue to lead with transparency. Websites have come a long way from just pretty online brochures — done right, they’re now your best tool to build trust and credibility with prospects and customers. Users want to feel that they are in control of their site experience, so help them get there by sharing more, not less. Public-facing pricing pages are a great example; making your pricing readily available to your customers lends credibility to your brand, and qualifies/disqualifies prospects for you. Additionally, help them find your pricing quickly by including it in your primary navigation and on your home page. Make your pricing easy to understand and have clear call to action to complete the sale.
One B2C company that sets the standard for this is the clothing company Everlane. On all of their product pages, they have a section that looks like this:
This honest and revealing approach to their pricing builds trust in their brand and makes the customer feel more in charge of their purchasing decisions.
Product reviews are also a valuable tool; your prospects generally trust other customers’ opinions, so use that to your advantage. By proactively disclosing this and other information, you get to lead the narrative and tell your story your way.
Prospects will find honest reviews about your product whether or not you choose to feature them on your site, so taking the lead and featuring them on your product pages helps keep them on your site and builds credibility in your brand.
Pricing pages and product reviews are just two ways that you can use your website to persuade buyers, encourage advocacy, and decrease the friction in your sales process. If you can keep a potential buyer on your site, rather than looking for this information elsewhere, it’s a better experience for them and you.
Start Solving for Mobile and Accessibility First, and the Rest Will Fall Into Place
Mobile usage rates continue to rise, including a huge shift in business-to-business in just the past year or two. Overall web traffic from mobile devices now represents 52% of web traffic worldwide. At HubSpot, 46% of our blog traffic comes from mobile.
If you have not yet embraced a mobile-first approach, now is the time. By approaching copy, design, and conversions with a mobile mentality, you will improve your desktop experience as well. This approach will force you to be more thoughtful and concise with content creation.
I’m not suggesting you create less content; instead, focus on clarity and conciseness. Bite-size information is always best for grabbing attention and enticing your audience to read more.
Slack has done a great job with this. Their mobile site is fast, beautiful, has concise messaging, and features custom smart CTAs for whichever type of phone operating system you are visiting the site from.
As you start to think more about mobile, you also have to focus on accessibility.
At HubSpot, accessibility is a focus in 2020. We run our site on HubSpot CMS, which has made it easy for every marketer to create and edit content, and we’re working diligently to improve our website accessibility for all.
To help us, we spoke to Christina Mallon, the Accessibility Design Lead at Wunderman Thompson. Christina started her presentation with “What if I told you that your marketing content was excluding an audience of roughly 61 million people in the United States? 1 in 4 people live with a disability in the United States.”
This further enforced our belief that accessibility should be a requirement for every marketer going forward. We aren’t perfect, but we have put together a task force to improve our process.
If you’re looking for a starting point, try studying the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure your process for web design and content production is inclusive.
Be mindful of font and type size to help drive better user experience. Ensure hyperlinks are easily identifiable. What types of content could you add to consider more users? Maybe you could add subtitles to your videos for the hard of hearing. Or, perhaps you could add a page reading feature to your blog. Making experiences accessible for those who need it makes them better for everybody — design for the edges and the rest falls in.
Stop Giving Users Limited or Outdated Choices
As the saying goes, it’s not about you. Stop forcing your site visitors down the conversion path you want them to take. A classic example: You visit a site, and the only call to action is a “Contact Us” link that sends you to a form and (potentially) into the void. Instead, ask yourself — what is best for your audience? How and when do they want to interact with you?
Start by making the effort to understand users’ intent. Different visitors are looking for different types of information based on their familiarity with your business and position in the buyer’s journey. Perhaps it’s educational resources or a support center for customers, or maybe it’s someone who was referred to you by a friend and is ready to talk to your sales team.
You should be able to create a general website map that connects the most appropriate calls-to-action for different sections of your site, and you can run experiments over time to optimize the best user experience and conversion rates for your business on specific pages.
Oftentimes, different visitors on the same pages have different preferences or needs, so don’t limit them to just one choice. You don’t need to throw away that “Contact Us” page with a form — try adding the phone number for your sales line or online chat — you can use a chatbot if you don’t have live chat agents available. At HubSpot, we’ve seen great success with our calendar tool that lets users schedule a meeting to talk to sales at a time that’s convenient for them. Another great example of this is Salted Stone’s contact us page.
Give your audience an opportunity to get in touch however and whenever they choose.
My Recommended Web Strategy Resources
Here are a few of my favorite tools for improving our web experience:
Stark: Contrast checker and colorblind simulator
WAVE: Web accessibility evaluation tool
Lighthouse: Good for testing page load time
BrowserStack: App and browser testing
Take a Deep-Dive Into the State of Web Strategy
I’m excited to see where you take your web strategy in 2020. Remember, lead with the user, and if you need some data to help guide these decisions, get access to over 70 data points and trends from over 3,400 marketers around the world. Dive deeper into HubSpot’s survey data by downloading the full “Not Another State of Marketing” Report.
Braden Becker’s journey to becoming an SEO specialist at HubSpot is a slightly unconventional one. In college, he studied Writing & Rhetoric, which helped him land his first job as a copy editor at a B2B trade publication. As he progressed through his career, Braden pivoted to content marketing, where he worked as an editor at a SaaS company and then as a content manager at the world’s largest environmental services firm.
You might think someone like Braden would continue to climb the creative career ladder in content marketing. But today he actually spends more time in Ahrefs than he does in Google Docs. As the historical optimization lead on HubSpot’s Blog Team, Braden’s main responsibility is to identify blog posts that are falling in organic traffic and optimize them for search engines to rank higher on Google. He’s even sharpened his SEO chops enough to co-create the SEO strategy for all of HubSpot’s blogs.
Traits of an SEO Expert
As a writer and editor for most of his career, SEO had always been in the periphery of Braden’s work — as it was a subject he had a solid grasp on but not necessarily a lot of expertise in.
Today, though, SEO is his central focus.
Some SEO specialists don’t start out with the intention to dedicate their careers to SEO. Some start completely by accident. Let’s go over how HubSpot experts started theirs, and what you can do to start yours.
1. Develop your skills.
“Getting a job in SEO ideally requires two things: content creation skill and analytical skill. Most SEO professionals today have one of those and develop the other,” Becker says.
SEO experts are skilled writers with creative instincts. It’s helpful for those in the SEO profession to have a strong writing background because it takes creativity to optimize content in a way both Google and audiences will comprehend. In fact, Becker has noted that his writing background helped him get his start in the SEO industry.
“My background in writing and editing helped me get my foot in the door, but a willingness to focus on the structure, mechanics, and intent behind my writing is what I think secured my role as an SEO specialist for HubSpot.”
Braden’s story of pivoting from a creative career in content marketing to an analytical one isn’t as rare as you might think. Before Aja Frost became a senior SEO strategist at HubSpot, she was the editor of HubSpot’s Sales Blog.
“I taught myself how to do keyword research and competitive analysis as the Editor for HubSpot’s Sales Blog,” Aja says. “The Sales Blog’s traffic had been flat for a year and a half — I noticed that the only posts that consistently generated views for us were getting all of those views from search. So I began looking for sales-related keywords we could rank for that would help boost organic traffic.”
So, how do you start developing your skills to be SEO-ready? Here’s what Aja had to say about her strategy for keeping her SEO skills sharp.
“To refine my SEO expertise, I constantly read. I’m really interested in technical SEO, so I look for blog posts, white papers, and research about site architecture and navigation, website speed, and everything that goes into that, including structured data,” she says. “SEO by the Sea, Sistrix, and Blind Five Year Old are all great technical SEO resources, along with (unsurprisingly) the Google Webmaster Blog. I’m a member of a few SEO subreddits (/seo and /bigseo are the most active). And I follow a ton of SEOs on Twitter — they drop random factoids or insights all the time.”
Like Braden mentioned, a lot of SEOs start with one skill and start developing others. So, whether you’ve got an analytical mind and want to start a blog to practice writing, or you’re a seasoned writer looking to train your technical mind, having a balance in both will help you in your SEO career.
2. Research the field.
In addition to initial research about SEO, it’s essential to keep up-to-date on the latest industry changes, so you aren’t using outdated optimization techniques Google doesn’t understand.
For example, when Aja noticed the Sales Blog traffic was flat, starting SEO research helped her uncover why: she wasn’t delivering content audiences searched for.
Aja doing research about SEO led her to discovering ways to improve the blog’s performance.
SEO is always changing, so it’s crucial to keep updating your knowledge on the topic.
To build his fundamental knowledge of SEO, Victor Pan, the head of technical SEO at HubSpot, cites reading as one of the best habits he’s gotten into.
“I used to be a voracious reader on all publicly available information on SEO. I had an RSS feed of search-related blogs and news websites I would go through for a whole hour every day,” he says. “Mere exposure to ideas makes unknown problems in SEO easier to tackle when you have other people’s experiences or frameworks to build from.”
For Victor, reading was one of the best ways to develop his SEO fundamentals. Alternatively, Aja took courses to broaden her knowledge. How will you use your time to research SEO?
3. Regularly test your SEO knowledge.
Putting theory into practice gives you the practical knowledge and experience needed to level up as an SEO. In this way, SEO is kind of like playing a sport. You can read all about hitting a baseball or throwing a football, but if you never practice, you’ll never reach your full potential.
To stay ahead of the curve in any industry, reading the latest news and research is hugely beneficial. But as an SEO, when everything is constantly changing, reading isn’t enough. To gain the practical experience that’ll truly take your SEO skills to the next level, you need to constantly test industry assumptions and your new ideas.
“I test a lot of things to refine my SEO expertise. Should your brand be in your title tags? Is internal anchor text worthwhile to still do in 2020 to move rankings? What happens when you purchase fake social “signals” — do you see an increase in organic traffic?” says Pan.
“Failed experiments taught me just as much as successful ones, and it made me a much more confident SEO whenever I would make any improvements to content. Just because, in one instance, making a change resulted in an improvement, doesn’t mean that change in another place will also result in an improvement— which is why we have to test and grasp causation over just correlation.”
4. Take a course and get certified.
Earning a certification ensures that you have the proper knowledge in a certain area to successfully practice on your own. It also gives you credibility when you network on professional sites such as LinkedIn. When doing initial SEO research, Aja found courses she could take in order to get a certification for SEO, which opened up more doors.
“This led me to experiment with SEMrush, AnswerThePublic, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and of course, HubSpot’s own SEO tools. I read a ton of blog posts and eventually got my Google Analytics certification.”
If you decide to take a course, discover which one will provide you with the skills you need to advance in your SEO career. For instance, if you find that a certain course doesn’t go in-depth about subjects you need help in, it’s probably not the course for you.
To get a head start on courses you can take, here is a list of three, two of which are part of a certification track for content marketing and inbound marketing.
5. Find a method/tool that works for you.
Similar to finding resources that work for you and your skill set, it’s imperative to find an SEO routine or tool that will become your foundation. For keyword research, SEOs like to reference their personal arsenal of tools.
For example, in addition to HubSpot’s SEO tools, some of HubSpot’s SEO experts also use tools, such as SEMrush, for additional research.
You don’t have to use every single tool that exists to conduct your SEO tasks, you just have to make sure the tools are helping you accomplish your goals and giving you accurate practice with the subject.
If you don’t know where or how to start searching for tools, here’s eight you can check out. Remember, you don’t have to commit to eight, just to the one(s) that’ll get your job done. Use what will keep your research well-rounded, accurate, and easy to comprehend.
6. Grow your network.
Becoming an expert in SEO also means growing your network of fellow SEO professionals. There’s SEO groups on LinkedIn you can join, subreddits Aja mentioned, like SEO, and conferences you can attend. Broadening your circle of SEO experts grows your knowledge and credibility in the field.
If you become enough of an expert, you can also speak at conferences in the industry. For example, Braden and Victor led a session at INBOUND — their presentation, “How to Grow (Your Organic Traffic) Better” introduces SEO changes, how to adapt to them, and how to use some basic SEO methods to optimize content.
To get started building your network, look at the resources you have available. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can start making those industry connections. You can also watch YouTube videos for quick SEO tips and engage with other learners in the comments to pick up tips from peers.
Based on Braden’s, Aja’s, and Victor’s stories, becoming an SEO expert doesn’t mean you have to start and finish your career as an SEO. Pivoting from one role to an SEO role and developing your expertise from then on is entirely possible — you just need to be willing to learn and adapt.
Every day, thousands of publishers benefit from a recurring cash inflow by partnering up with other companies via affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, especially when you don’t sell products or services. Joining an affiliate program can get you exclusive access to new content and special deals for your audience — all while earning you more money.
To further understand affiliate programs, let’s consider an example — Wirecutter.com, a New York Times company, is a website that lists product recommendations for shoppers. Wirecutter largely earns commission based on affiliate relationships with retailers.
Wirecutter’s affiliate program might make you doubt the legitimacy of Wirecutter’s recommendations — but, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Wirecutter only makes commission when a reader purchases a product from an affiliate retailer and doesn’t return the product. Wirecutter, then, has no incentive to promote inferior products — if they did, they’d make less money and turn away readers.
There are many different types of affiliate programs, ranging from online courses to website builders to marketing and business affiliates. Here, we’re going to explore the 30 affiliate programs with the highest earning potential to ensure you’re able to make money off the content you provide.
But first — what exactly is an affiliate program?
What is an Affiliate Program?
Simply put, an affiliate program is an agreement in which a business pays another business or influencer (“the affiliate”) a commission for sending traffic and/or sales their way.
This can be achieved through web content, social media, or a product integration. The affiliate gets a unique link (an “affiliate link”) from which clicks can be tracked — typically using cookies.
You will often come across the terms “cookie length” or “cookie life”, which simply define how long the cookie will be tracking the user’s online activity.
For example, if a cookie has a 30-day life, your referral needs to make a purchase within 30-days of clicking your affiliate link in order for you to get paid — otherwise the lead will no longer be trackable.
A B2B audience can be particularly valuable, since they are the same customers who are willing to drop hundreds of dollars for a product or service that will help them make money. How could you not capitalize on that?
Of course, there are different types of affiliate programs, and you’ll want to ensure you pick the one best-suited for your business. Let’s dive into types of affiliate programs, next.
Types of Affiliate Programs
If you’re looking to promote your products or services, there are a few affiliate programs you can consider. When choosing an affiliate program, you’ll want to keep in-mind the avenues or platforms your audience spends the majority of their time — for instance, does your buyer persona typically read blog posts, scroll Facebook, or use search engines when researching new products?
Alternatively, is your buyer persona someone who’s always looking for a good deal, and would appreciate a link on a coupon site? Or are they more interested in doing tons of research before purchasing, making your promotion efforts more worthwhile on a review site?
While those are questions you’ll have to consider for yourself, let’s take a look at some general types of affiliate programs so you can begin brainstorming potential avenues for your own marketing efforts:
Search affiliates: With this program, you’ll have freelancers or entrepreneurs pay their own money to promote your offer on search results or other online advertising platforms like Facebook Advertising. While you’ll want to ensure your partner is following search and advertising guidelines, this could work in your favor if your partner has an SEO background and wants to A/B test to see which ads result in the most referrals for you — and most ROI for them.
Bloggers/influencers:If there are impressive bloggers or social media influencers in your industry who engage with your ideal buyer persona on a regular basis, you might consider partnering with them. For instance, if you sell kitchen appliances, it might be good to reach out to bloggers or YouTube influencers who post recipes, and ask if they’d feature your product as a “recommended tool” in their next recipe post. Ideally, this would result in your target audience taking a look at your website, and if they like the products you offer, could provide additional revenue for the influencer.
Review sites: If you offer a product or service that is more expensive or niche, it’s likely that most of your buyers need to conduct research on that topic before purchasing — if that’s the case, it might be a good idea to research the top review sites related to your product or service, and reach out to the business or writer who published the piece, asking whether they’d be interested in providing an affiliate link to your product or service in the text.
Coupon sites: If you’re offering a new product or service that isn’t popular in the marketplace, you might try creating an affiliate partnership with a coupon site for a limited time. While you don’t want to lose money by giving your product away at a discount, it could be effective at getting some first-time buyers to check out your website and become brand advocates.
Email marketing: This is best in small doses. You don’t want any partners sending out bulk emails to customers who aren’t interested in your products or services, but with proper consideration for who’s receiving the email, this could be an effective method. For instance, if you sell design tools, you might reach out to marketing agencies and ask, if they’re working with a specific client on a design project, whether they might consider sending a URL from your site within the body of the email. This could help their clients leverage your tools to create higher-quality content, while giving agencies an added source of income.
Next, let’s explore the 42 affiliate programs that pay the highest commission.
Best Marketing and Business Affiliate Programs
Commission: Flat rate — up to $1,000 per product purchased
Cookie life: 90 days
HubSpot’s mission is to help millions of organizations grow better. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot’s award-winning growth platform gives thousands of companies the tools they need to manage the customer experience — all the way from awareness to advocacy.
As a HubSpot affiliate, the commission you’ll receive will depend on the product tier of each product your referral has purchased:
- Starter: $250
- Professional/CMS: $500
- Enterprise: $1,000
Keep in mind that you can earn up to $1,000 for each product purchased. It is not uncommon for customers to buy more than one product at a time. So, in reality, you could very well earn up to $3,000 if your referral were to purchase the Enterprise Growth Suite.
When you join HubSpot’s affiliate program, you gain access to a large creative inventory, including demo videos, banners, and copy examples, all designed to help you earn the most commission possible. Plus, you can cultivate a one-on-one relationship with the HubSpot affiliate team, who are all dedicated to helping you succeed.
If you have a large business audience or want to monetize your content, then our affiliate program is likely well-suited for you. (You can learn more about HubSpot by reading HubSpot reviews.)
Commission: 30% recurring
Cookie life: One year
AWeber has been the autoresponder of choice for over one million businesses and entrepreneurs since 1998. It’s a great tool for newsletter and email drip campaigns.
Affiliates of AWeber can earn substantial income through two different channels:
- Their in-house program offers a lifetime 30% commission. Plans typically range from around $20 to $150/month, so the payout can add up.
- Alternatively, you can earn up to $300 per account through CJ Affiliate. However, the cookie life with this option is only 45 days, rather than one year.
Commission: 30% recurring
Cookie window: 30 days
A new up-and-comer in the email marketing field, ConvertKit helps its customers grow their customer-base via landing pages, forms, and email drip campaigns. (You can learn more about ConvertKit by reading reviews.)
ConvertKit’s affiliate program is primarily addressed to existing ConvertKit users who feel their audience could benefit from email marketing products. The program offers a lifelong 30% commission for every referred paying customer or webinar subscriber.
With plans ranging anywhere from $29 per month all the way to $2,000+, the income potential is a very attractive offer, and it costs you absolutely nothing to join the program. The program does not, however, offer any special deals or discounts for any product the affiliate might promote.
Commission: 30% recurring
Cookie life: 30 days
LeadPages is an online tool that lets you create easy-to-customize landing pages to collect contact information and boost your conversion rates. (You can learn more about LeadPages by reading reviews.)
Their affiliate program is only open to LeadPages customers. Each paying customer referred brings in a lifetime commission of 30%. Membership prices range from $25 to $200 per month.
LeadPages will sometimes run special offers, such as a $5,000 bonus for affiliates who drive 10+ sales by a given date. All affiliates get access to banners, sidebar images, and social media-friendly links. You also have the option to share a unique link to a free content page (like a blog post or video) rather than a product page.
Commission: 33% recurring
Cookie length: 120 days
Along with email marketing, GetResponse offers landing pages, opt-in forms, webinar hosting, a CRM tool, and plenty of other marketing automation tools. (You can learn more about GetResponse by reading reviews.)
Just like AWeber, GetResponse has two affiliate programs you can choose from (or, you can join both!):
- Their self-hosted program offers a 33% recurring commission. With plans ranging anywhere from $15 to $1,200/month, the payout can be pretty substantial.
- You can also earn $135 for every sale referred through CJ Affiliate. However, the cookie life is only 30 days, rather than 120 offered in the in-house program.
Commission: 40% recurring
Cookie life: 10 years
BeRush is the affiliate program for SEMRush, a SaaS company that specializes in SEO and competitive analysis tools for digital marketers. Their affiliate program offers a 40% recurring commission over the lifetime of a referral’s subscription, which translates to up to $160 per month per referral. Plus, they offer a very generous 10-year cookie life.
Plus, since BeRush functions under a first cookie attribution model, if a referral were to cancel their subscription and sign up again in the future (within 10 years), you still get commission on that second subscription.
Exclusive SEMRush promotional material is available in five different languages and applicants are automatically pre-approved, so the sign-up process is only a few minutes, enabling you to get started right away.
Best Online Course Affiliate Programs
Commission: 30% recurring
Cookie life: 30 days
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that lets users create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and design the perfect website.
The Kajabi Partner Program is currently only open to Kajabi users. As an affiliate, you’ll receive a 30% lifetime commission for any new member you bring to Kajabi that stays active past their trial period. What’s more, you will be treated to special rewards as you progress. Each level unlocks exciting bonuses only available to Kajabi Partners.
Cookie life: 30 days
Coursera offers over 1,000 courses and specializations ranging anywhere from Digital Marketing to Applied Data Science and Personal Development. Each course consists of pre-recorded videos, puzzles, and assignments.
Coursera’s affiliate program runs on the Linkshare network and offers a commission ranging from 20% to 45% with bonuses for strong performance. Courses and Specializations are generally priced between $29 and $99. As a Coursera affiliate, you get access to professionally-designed banners and a monthly affiliate newsletter with curated content recommendations.
Commission: 30% recurring
Cookie life: 90 days
Teachable helps you create and sell beautiful online courses. With over 18 million students and 186 thousand active courses, Teachable is one of the most reputable e-learning platforms. Plus, it’s heavily endorsed by Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
Ranging from Facebook ads to cake decorating tips, Teachable is suited for a variety of niche subjects. Teachable’s affiliate program pays a recurring 30% commission on the referral’s monthly subscription fee. Plans can go anywhere from $29 to $499 per month, meaning you’ll be able to earn up to $150 a month per sale.
Best Website Builder Affiliate Programs
Commission: 200% or $1,500 per enterprise customer
Cookie life: 90 days
Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is an online store builder that powers thousands of e-commerce stores in over 150 countries. It serves a wide variety of industries, including fashion, automotive, manufacturing, food, and health.
When you refer visitors to BigCommerce, you earn 200% of the customer’s first monthly payment (that’s up to $500 per referral!), or $1,500 per enterprise customer.
Cookie life: 30 days
With over 500,000 Shopify stores worldwide, Shopify has truly proven itself as a market leader in the drop shipping industry. Shopify has everything you need to start your online store, including website builders, shopping carts, web hosting and store management tools, analytics features, payment processing, and much more.
If your audience is all about e-commerce and needs help setting up an online store, Shopify’s affiliate program just might be for you. Affiliates earn a whooping 200% commission on the cost of a monthly subscription (that’s up to $2,400!). Additionally, when a referral signs up for a Shopify Plus account, you get paid a flat $2,000 bounty payment.
On top of the money, as a Shopify affiliate, you get priority support for your own Shopify store, as well as free Shopify content to promote to your audience.
Joining the program is absolutely free. The main drawbacks may be that the target for this program is quite niche, since you’ll need an audience that sells products online and doesn’t already have a solid e-commerce platform.
Cookie life: 45 days
3dcart is an e-commerce platform with a high focus on SEO. It provides you with all the tools you need to build, promote, and grow your online store. Users can use 3dcart to start an online business, add a shopping cart to an existing site, or replace their current shopping cart platform.
Affiliates earn a 300% commission on each referred customer — which is up to $687 per referral. Their affiliate program runs on both the Commission Junction and ShareASale networks, and both offer the same commission and cookie life, so it’s up to you to decide which platform you like best.
Cookie life: 45 days
Volusion is an e-commerce solution that enables small businesses to create, manage, and expand their online stores. They provide customers with exports to help them every step of the way, including help with domain purchase, web design, cart integration, SEO, and security.
Affiliates get paid a 200% commission on the referred customer’s first monthly payment, which can range anywhere from $29 to $299 (or, go even higher with their Prime custom tier). As an affiliate, you get access to marketing material to assist in your promotional efforts.
Best Web Hosting Affiliate Programs
14. WP Engine
Commission: $200+ per signup
Cookie window: 180 days
There are millions of websites on the internet, and 30% of them are built on WordPress. WP Engine provides super-fast web hosting for thousands of WordPress websites around the world.
WP Engine’s affiliate program runs on the ShareASale network. By promoting WP Engine plans, you can earn $200 per signup or 100% of the customer’s first monthly payment — whichever one is higher. You gain access to exclusive affiliate discounts you can offer to your audience.
You can also promote StudioPress themes and earn 35% of the sales generated. These purchases get 60 days of cookie tracking.
It’s important to note — WP Engine’s affiliate program is two-tiered, which means that you’ll get paid not only for referring customers, but also for referring affiliates. You get $50 for each of their referrals.
While it may not be easy to find an audience looking to build a new WordPress website, when you do find those users, the profits can be huge.
Commission: Up to $500 per referral + 10% recurring
Cookie life: 60 days
Kinsta was founded in 2013 by veteran WordPress developers “with a desire to create the best WordPress hosting platform in the world.” They strive to offer WordPress hosting that is fast, secure, and reliable.
Kinsta’s affiliate program pays an initial commission, followed by a recurring 10% monthly payment. Affiliates can earn up to $500 initially, depending on the type of plan the referral has purchased:
- Starter: $30
- Pro: $100
- Business: $150
- Enterprise: $500
While 10% may not seem like much, your referrals are likely to have a high lifetime value, thanks to Kinsta’s high customer retention rate of 95%.
Commission: 300%, up to $500 per referral
Cookie life: 90 days
As another dedicated WordPress hosting solution, Flywheel aims to take away all the hassle that comes with web hosting so users can focus on doing what they do best — creating and designing websites.
Flywheel affiliates can earn up to $500 per referral. You get access to tons of creative assets, from banners to co-branded landing pages pages to stylish social images. The Flywheel team will even work with you to create custom images that can take your commissions to the next level.
It’s worth noting that there is no minimum threshold limit to receive a payment.
Best Retail Affiliate Programs
Disclaimer: You’ll notice that commissions for retail stores are much smaller than what is offered by B2B because the purchase price is much smaller. But this also means that it’s easier to get your audience to buy those items (low price = low commitment), which could translate into high conversion rates and higher returns.
Commission: 1-10% (depending on the product category)
Cookie life: 24 hours
Amazon is one of the most popular online shopping platforms, so if you’re looking to buy something, chances are you’ll find it on Amazon.
Amazon Associates pays commissions between 1% and 10%, depending on the category the product purchased falls under. The most valuable items to promote are clothes and luxury beauty products, both of which can earn you a 10% cut on the price.
One of the main advantages of doing affiliate marketing with Amazon is that people already know the company and love to shop there, so it’s not a hard sell. The company has very high conversion rates, especially around the holidays. And because the product selection is so vast, it fits most kinds of businesses.
If you write about animals, for instance, you can promote cat treats or dog toys. If your audience is interested in cars, you can recommend jumper cables — you get the idea.
Additionally, if someone ends up on Amazon through your link and buys something other than what your content links to, you still get commission on the user’s entire cart.
Ultimately, the only downside is some categories have particularly low commissions, such as video games and electronics.
For businesses with large audiences, Amazon recently launched their new Amazon Influencer Program as an extension to the Associates program for social media influencers. You get similar benefits to the online Associates program, as well as your own page on Amazon with a unique URL to showcase the products you recommend to your followers.
Currently, you must have a YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account to qualify. Amazon looks at the number of followers and other engagement metrics of your social media accounts to determine whether you’re eligible for the program.
Commission: 50-70% of auction fees (depending on the product category)
Cookie life: 24 hours for “buy it now” items, 10 days for auction items
With over one billion listings from a wide range of product categories, eBay’s affiliate program shares a lot of the same advantages as Amazon’s — well-known, high conversion rates, and a diverse selection of products.
The eBay Partner Network pays a commission of 50% to 70% of auction fees — not the sale price. For each item sold, eBay gets a cut by charging the seller an auction fee. You then earn a percentage of the revenue eBay earns from that purchase, based on the product category.
High-ticket items to promote are those falling under Parts & Accessories, or Fashion. You can have a look at the complete rate card here.
Commission: 1-8% (depending on the product category and sales volume)
Cookie life: 7 days
While it doesn’t offer as specialized a selection as Amazon or eBay, Target remains a highly recognizable brand with a variety of different products.
Target’s affiliate program operates on a volume-based commission structure, meaning that your commission increases as the number of items purchased increases. Sadly, a product category that does not benefit from this model is the Health and Beauty products — the commission on this category caps at 1%, regardless of volume.
It’s also critical to note — most people tend to prefer buying Target products in-person, rather than online, so this could have an impact on your returns.
Best Beauty and Cosmetic Affiliate Programs
Cookie life: 7 days
Howard Murad, M.D. has devoted his life to the science of skincare, and is one of the country’s top skincare authorities. After treating individuals with various skin concerns, he began developing targeted formulas to treat skin conditions. Today, Murad is one of the leading companies in skincare products, and is popular for its treatments for acne, anti-aging, cellulite, age spot treatments, and more.
Murad’s affiliate program pays 11% in commissions. With an average order size of $90, affiliates can expect to earn close to $10 per referral. You are provided with dynamic banners and text links to promote Murad products. The company has on-going promotions, including free shipping and free products, to help you drive more sales.
21. Yves Rocher
Cookie life: 30 days
Yves Rocher offers a wide selection of botanical beauty products, including skin & body care, makeup, and fragrances. Additionally, they offer superior customer experience — for instance, they offer a free gift with any purchase.
Yves Rocher’s affiliate program offers a generous 15% commission rate on all sales (which is a relatively high rate in the retail B2C space). Like most programs, affiliates get access to promotional banners and other creative assets to use on their sites and social media accounts.
Cookie life: 45 days
Born out of frustration with expensive perfume bottles collecting dust on a dresser or cabinet, Scentbird offers a delivery subscription service that gives you access to a 30-day supply of over 450 top designer fragrances. The subscription service lets you “date” fragrances before committing to “marrying” them.
Affiliates earn $14 for every subscription sales generated through their link and gives access to links and banners, fresh blog content, seasonal ads, and coupon codes to help them perform to the best of their abilities.
23. BH Cosmetics
Cookie life: 60 days
Born and raised in LA, BH Cosmetics is one of the leading companies in the beauty industry. They are passionate about creating new and innovative beauty trends and dedicated to bringing customers the best in cruelty-free cosmetics. They also run promotions and sales regularly to help convert those leads.
BH Cosmetics affiliates receive an 8% commission on purchases made within 60 days of the user’s visit. The site has an average order value of $38 and an on-site conversion rate of 6.46%.
As an affiliate, you’ll get exclusive access to coupons and banners you can use on your website, blog, or emails. You’ll also receive monthly affiliate newsletters. Plus, their dedicated in-house affiliate team runs monthly incentives and affiliate contests to encourage you to perform at your best.
Best Travel Affiliate Programs
Commission: 20% + 10% for returning customers
Cookie life: 30 days
If you think your website visitors might be interested in chartering yachts, you might want to join Boatbookings’ affiliate program. Boatbookings specializes in luxury yacht chartering, boat rental, and sailing & motor yacht vacations.
On the charter value of a boat, Boatbookings receives commission on the net charter value (not including APA or any additional items ordered). On this commission, affiliates will earn 20% as a base rate, with a possibility for escalating rates if referring multiple clients. When customers return to Boatbookings, affiliates receive an additional 10% commission on that second purchase.
Cookie life: Session
Crowned the “world’s largest travel site”, TripAdvisor provides travelers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do, and where to eat. The site helps you compare prices from 200+ hotel booking sites so you can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for you.
Powered by Commission Junction, TripAdvisor’s affiliate program pays a 50% commission off the revenue generated from a user clicking on links and/or ads that send them to a TripAdvisor partner site. Which means, unlike most other affiliate programs in this list, you don’t have to wait for your referral to make a purchase to earn your commission. As soon as someone comes from your website and clicks on one of the ads or links on the TripAdvisor website, you get paid.
On average, affiliates will earn between $0.15-$0.75 per click-out. While it may not seem like a lot, since your revenue is only dependent on clicks (and not purchase), this can add up quite nicely.
Commission: Flat rate — up to $0.45 per click-out
Cookie life: Session
Cheapflights is a travel comparison site that helps users find the cheapest plane tickets.
Cheapflights is another company that rewards its affiliates not for bringing paying customers, but for sending traffic to their partners.
Affiliates are paid a flat fee when a user clicks through — $0.45 per click-out for desktop and tablet, and $0.25 for mobile.
As an affiliate, you get access to various creative assets, ranging from banners to search boxes and travel widgets, that allow your visitors to conduct a search on your site and display flights results on Cheapflights’ page. This is their most popular travel affiliate tool and generates the highest revenue per visit.
Commission: Flat rate — up to $0.65 per click-out
Cookie life: Session
Momondo is a global travel search site that compares cheap flights, hotels, and car rental deals.
Each time someone clicks on a flight on Momondo’s website from your site’s link, you will earn $0.65 for desktop and tablet users, and $0.45 for mobile users.
28. Sandals Resorts
Cookie life: 60 days
Sandals is one of the most well-recognized names in Caribbean resort travel. The 15 Sandals Resorts offer luxurious vacations for couples and families traveling to Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, and more.
The Sandals affiliate program pays you a commission for referring users to book either a stay in one of the Sandals Resorts, or booking an activity. While 4% might seem like a small percentage, these luxury resorts have daily rates that range from $150 to over $2,000 per person — which means, if a couple were to book a romantic week in a Sandals Resort at $500 per person per night, you would earn a commission of $280!
This program is only worthwhile, however, if your site and audience has a true interest in luxury travel to the Caribbean.
Best Personal Finance and Investment Affiliate Programs
Cookie life: 365 days
Capitalist Exploits provides trade recommendations for investors and anyone looking to outperform the market by sharing only the best low-risk/high-reward opportunities to subscribers.
If your target audience consists of investors, high net-worth individuals, people interested in investment, financial advisors, or wealth managers, then this program might be for you.
Capitalist Exploits pays a 50% commission on any referred sale with absolutely no limits. Their products range from $1,575 to $3,499. This means each referral brings you a minimum of $787.50. Affiliates also receive exclusive access to paid membership trials for your audience.
Commission: $250 per qualified lead
Cookie life: Unknown
Kabbage connects small businesses to capital. Small business owners can apply for up to $250,000 in funding.
Affiliates receive $250 for every referred customer who qualifies for the loan, and get an additional $50 when the referral gets approved. Each small business you refer will also receive one $50 gift card once they’re approved by Kabbage. There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make, or the amount you can receive.
Commission: $65 per sale
Cookie life: 45 days
Bluehost, a web hosting platform that supports more than 2 million websites, offers a phenomenal affiliate program for any business or entrepreneur looking to monetize their blog or website. If you promote Bluehost’s products or services on your own blog or website (either through custom banners or links), you can earn anywhere from $65 to $130 per sale generated from your website — an incredibly high fee.
Best of all, it’s free to join their affiliate program, and Bluehost offers reliable tracking to ensure you get credit for each lead you provide them. Plus, Bluehost offers affiliate managers who can offer support or personalized advice.
Commission: $65 to $125 per signup
Cookie life: 60 days
Hostgator offers both web hosting and building tools, and is incredibly low-cost for startups or ecommerce businesses with limited budgets — for instance, a starter plan costs only $3.84/month.
It’s free to become a Hostgator affiliate, and their tiered payouts are substantial — you can make $65 per signup if you provide Hostgator with 1-5 signups per month, and up to $125 per signup if you provide Hostgator with over 21 signups. You can either embed tracking links on your site or create a custom coupon code. Since Hostgator provides a 45 day money-back gurantee, it’s low-risk for your website visitors to try it out.
Commission: $50 for one sale; up to $100 for six sales
Cookie life: 30 days
GreenGeeks, an eco-friendly, secure web hosting platform, allows you to earn up to $100 per sale. They have a tiered program that pays generously — including $50 for just one sale, and $100 for six or more. Additionally, the company provides a selection of creatives, content, and banners to ensure you’re proud of the link or banner you include on your website or blog.
If you believe your blog readers or website visitors are interested in exploring web hosting platforms (for instance, if you write content for freelancers), this could be a good option to explore. Best of all, the company promotes eco-friendly alternatives, so you can feel good knowing you’re spreading a positive, “green message” to your site visitors.
34. Sage Financials
Commission: $10 per Cloud subscription sale, $7 for all other sales, $5 for free trial
Cookie life: 30 days
Sage Financials, a cloud accounting solution built on Salesforce that provides accounting, analytics, and reporting tools for small and mid-sized businesses, has an impressive affiliate program that includes a dedicated support team, commission paid directly into your bank account (and currency of choice), and detailed reporting on your performance and earnings.
Best of all, you’re able to receive commission even from free sign-ups Sage receives from your website or blog. If you feel your website visitors or blog readers are interested in accounting tools, this could be a good partnership to explore.
Commission: $100 per Premium sale
Cookie life: 30 days
If you’re interested in unlimited payouts with minimal effort, Wix could be for you. The web development company is one of the most popular web hosting platforms, and offers $100 per Premium referral with no limit on the amount of people you can refer (which means, if you refer 10 people, you’ve already made $1,000). Additionally, Wix provides links and creatives, including banners and landing pages in all languages, to make it easy for you to include their link on your site.
However, it’s important to note, there is a minimum sales target you need to reach to get paid — $300 per month (if you make less than that, your earnings will stay in your account until you reach that benchmark). If you feel your website, blog, or social channel is visited on a regular basis by prospects who might be interested in creating their own website on a hosting platform, this could be a good program for you, but if you’re unsure if you can meet the mimimum sales target for a while, you might want to reconsider.
Commission: $15-50 for Fiverr CPA, $10 CPA + 10% RevShare for Fiverr Hybrid, or 30% of every Fiverr Learn course order
Cookie life: 30 days
Fiverr has a few products you might promote on your own website or blog — including Fiverr (the freelance marketplace with digital services for everything from marketing to tech), Fiverr Pro (access to hand-vetted talent trusted by major brands), and Fiverr Learn (courses for freelancers and businesses looking to expand skills).
If you work with clients who might need to hire a freelancer for marketing, design, or tech skills, or you write a blog for entrepreneurs and want to promote Fiverr Learn, you might want to consider partnering with Fiverr. The popular site, with over 5.5 million users, offers affiliates a dashboard to manage and monitor campaigns, and creative assets to help you promote their services. Of course, commission varies depending on the service you want to promote — take a look at their full offerings here.
Commission: 20% of recurring revenue for every customer you refer
Cookie life: 90 days
This popular landing page platform — used by brands such as Campaign Monitor and Zola — helps users design high-converting landing pages for SaaS businesses, ecommerce sites, and agencies. Additionally, Unbounce’s Affiliate program is impressive, with the opportunity to earn 20% of the recurring revenue for every customer you refer to Unbounce.
Plus, your site visitors or social media followers get 20% off their first three months using Unbounce, making the exchange valuable for them, as well. Unbounce provides you with plenty of tools to succeed using their Affiliate program, including a Partner coach, custom dashboard to track progress, and training and promotional materials to ensure you’re promoting their business as effectively as possible. If you’re a marketer hoping to help clients increase conversions on their landing pages, this partnership could be a win-win for you both.
38. Invoice Ninja
Commission: 50% on all referrals for four years
Invoice Ninja, a free open-source invoicing app for freelancers and businesses, offers a Ninja Pro Plan for just $10 a month — and, as an affiliate partner, you can make 50% on all referrals for four years. That means, if you refer 100 Pro users, you’ll receive $5,000 every year for the next four years.
Additionally, any user can start free and upgrade when they decide it’s worthwhile, so it’s easy for your site visitors to give the tool a try. You can provide their affiliate link in your email signature, on a blog post, or in an email newsletter, and Invoice Ninja provides both logos and ads to make it easy to promote their tool. If your social media followers or website visitors are typically online entrepreneurs or freelancers, this could be a good partnership to consider.
39. Constant Contact
Commission: $5 for each referral that signs up for a free trial, and $105 when your referrals pay for a new account
Cookie life: 120 days
Constant Contact offers powerful email marketing tools for small businesses, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Among other things, users of Constant Contact can use the tools to create Instagram and Facebook Ads, automate their email marketing campaigns, or target new ecommerce customers and send follow-up emails to increase revenue to their online stores.
The company’s affiliate program enables you to earn $5 for all qualified leads, and $105 when the referral becomes a customer of Constant Contact.
Additionally, you’ll receive promotional materials, a tracking dashboard, and personalized support to help you succeed with the affiliate program. Constant Contact is used by major brands including Facebook, WordPress, and Shopify. If you believe your clients or prospects could benefit from email marketing tools, this is a good partnership to consider.
Commission: 10% off subscription; no limit on referral discounts
Cookie life: Unknown
Typeform, which offers conversational forms and surveys including Contact Forms, Employee Satisfaction Surveys, and Event Lead Capture Forms, doesn’t offer commission on referrals, but the company does deduct 10% from your own account when one of your referrals subscribes to a paid plan. That means, with 10 referrals, you can deduce your Typeform bill to zero dollars.
Additionally, it’s important to note — your discount doesn’t expire. You’ll continue to receive 10% off your subscription for each referral that joins Typeform for as long as that referral keeps their own account.
Commission: 8% on any sale
Cookie life: 30 days
Hammacher Schlemmer is America’s longest-running catalog with a lifetime of over 150 years, and continues to successfully sell items ranging from electronics to travel to outdoor living. Additionally, the company offers an impressive affiliate program with the potential to earn incredibly high commissions.
They offer 8% commission on any product you’re able to sell through your own website or blog. While 8% might not sound like a lot, consider some of the higher-priced items they sell, including a Muhammad Ali Autographed Photo Collage for $5,000, or the Full Immersion Professional Racer’s Simulator for $65,000.
Ultimately, if you’re able to find products or services on Hammacher Schlemmer’s website that align well with your own core offerings or might interest your buyer persona, you might consider partnering with the brand.
Additionally, this affiliate program could be a good idea for an ecommerce business interested in expanding their offerings. Hammacher Schlemmer provides tools (including password-protected online reports) and content to help your online store succeed.
Commission: 20% per Bronze subscriber; 25% per Silver subscriber; 30% per Gold subscriber (up to 445.50 per subscriber)
Cookie life: 90 days
Spocket, a dropshipping supplier, wholesaler, and distributor of high-quality United States and European products, enables entrepreneurs to choose products to sell from thousands of dropshipping suppliers around the world. They also offer an incredibly impressive affiliate program — you can make up to $450 for each customer you find for Spocket, and you’ll continue to collect commission off your referral’s Spocket account as long as they remain a customer.
Their program will also provide you with the tools and resources you need to successfully promote their business. If your website visitors are entrepreneurs or ecommerce businesses, this is a good affiliate program to explore.
Ultimately, when deciding which program to choose, there are many key elements to keep in mind, including how established your online following is, and how much you want to earn.
And, most importantly — who is your audience, and what are they interested in?
Think about what your website visitors or your social media followers need and could benefit from, and choose an affiliate marketing program that will let you promote products in support of that.
You might also want to consider affiliate networks like LinkShare or CJ Affiliate that offer many different programs to choose from. There are no limits to the number of affiliate programs you can join.
Social media is no longer a marketing afterthought for companies and organizations. Every major brand is present across the major social media platforms, and they are actively planning strategic campaigns around social activity. Companies from every industry have made the leap into social media, but healthcare lagged behind. In fact, a survey by Greystone in 2015 reported that most healthcare marketers considered their efforts behind the curve compared to other industries.
The good news is that there has since been a large adoption of social media since this report with 96% of respondents (up from 80%) showing an active Facebook account at the very least.
Why so late, though, when social media has been a viable market strategy for much longer? Part of the reason was a lack of understanding about what social media is and how it integrated with current healthcare marketing efforts. Another part was a fear of how it affects patient privacy and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA.
Healthcare Social Media Marketing
With the internet and social media, patients are more empowered than ever to make their own healthcare decisions. With 72% of adults actively using social media in 2019 and 47% of internet users making health-related searches (according to Pew Research), social media marketing is more important than ever to healthcare providers.
Pros and Cons of Social Media in Healthcare
You might be considering whether or not social media is right for your practice or organization when there are so many other less risky channels. At the same time, it seems as though the good might outweigh the bad.
- Increasing professional network
- Attracting higher patient count
- Increasing awareness for health topics and issues
- Connecting patients with health education
- Disseminating information quickly
- Maintaining compliance
- Balancing professionalism while being engaging and approachable
- Avoiding negative responses
All of this means healthcare social media marketing is a growing opportunity for providers. However, it must be done right. Here are some tips that you can implement into your social media strategy today:
Best Practices for Social Media in Healthcare
- You still have to comply with HIPAA.
- Give your organization a voice.
- Educate your audience.
- Counteract misinformation.
- Share public health and crisis monitoring information.
- When it does come time to promote your services, don’t be afraid to advertise.
- Take every opportunity to engage.
- Share resources and support.
- Give your audience content they can’t get elsewhere.
1. You still have to comply with HIPAA.
Always remember that to comply with HIPAA regulations, as well as medical ethics codes, you must protect the privacy of your patients at all times. Don’t share any information about patients, or information that could potentially identify patients, such as physical descriptions or mannerisms.
2. Give your organization a voice.
Healthcare companies can come across as a bit sterile, which is great when they’re talking about the cleanliness of the equipment but not so great when communicating with patients and the public. Here are some tips to liven your social media copy:
- Use social media as a way to interact and engage with your patients or customers.
- Show a bit of personality by choosing a specific tone and using language that provides levity.
- Humanize your organization by showing the faces behind the organization.
- Respond to all reviews and inquiries.
3. Educate your audience.
One interest most of your audience has in common is health and fitness, yet the human body is complex. Social media is a great way to inform individuals about health, reduce risky behavior, and help prevent or reduce the effects of disease and other health hazards.
Don’t solely create self-promotional posts when you can focus on ways that you can help your audience. Making your organization a rich resource establishes trust, which is great positioning once it’s time to find a healthcare provider.
4. Counteract misinformation.
There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet about health and fitness. In fact, a study in 2019 found that the top 50 viral news articles perpetuating fake health information earned more than 12 million shares, comments, and reactions. This free information age is largely a good thing, but it has led to serious issues with false narratives in healthcare, which can be extremely harmful. Think about ways in which your organization can combat this and use social media to positively impact patients and the public.
5. Share public health and crisis monitoring information.
According to Pew Research, social media outpaced print newspapers as a news source in mid-2016. In 2018, 20% of U.S. adults said they get their news from social media, making it a prime platform to distribute critical information. As a healthcare professional, you may find yourself in a unique position to provide information in times of breaking news or crisis. Just remember to keep the health and safety of your audience in mind.
6. When it does come time to promote your services, don’t be afraid to advertise.
Apparently, the average young American is projected to spend nearly 7 years on social media during their lifetime. It’s kind of a no brainer, then, that advertising online is a sustainable way to reach your audience now and in the future. On many platforms, sponsored content outpaces organic reach by a significant amount. On Facebook, for example, the organic reach of a post is just 6.4% of a page’s likes. This almost necessitates a pay-to-play strategy to expand your reach to new and existing audiences.
Your social media ads need to be relevant, well-written and accompanied by an image that will grab your audience’s attention. In addition, you must ensure that any content you produce and promote is HIPAA and FDA compliant (not to mention compliant with each platform’s terms of service regarding health content).
7. Take every opportunity to engage.
Instead of publishing into the void, ensure that you take the time to foster connections with those who engage with you. Responding to their comments, posting polls, and asking them open-ended questions related to your content are all ways to get social media users to stop and consider your content and your brand. A smaller engaged audience is much more valuable than a large unengaged audience. Fostering a relationship leads to trust, and as mentioned earlier, trust leads to business.
8. Share resources and support.
A section of your audience may very well include some of our community’s most vulnerable members or even individuals just looking for help. As you choose to produce content that serves a purpose for your audience and helps them, you might want to include promoting awareness for support and resources.
For example, your organization may have resources already in place that you can promote such as free or low-cost classes, seminars, or webinars around related topics. You can also consider boosting local charity organizations or support communities. As some individuals may be dealing with stress related to their health situation, having access to this information may be a source of relief and have a positive impact that they won’t forget.
9. Give your audience content they can’t get elsewhere.
The sky is the limit here: video tutorials for how to use at-home healthcare monitoring devices, product demos for equipment that you’re selling to hospitals, and infographics with tips and fitness exercises for wheelchair-bound patients are all great examples of helpful content.
No matter which industry segment your healthcare organization is in, whether it’s patient-facing or B2B, whether you’re a company selling state-of-the-art stethoscopes or a hospital performing cutting-edge surgeries, you have something unique to offer your audience. When it comes down to it, this is what will get you shares, likes, retweets and favorites.
Social media isn’t so scary once you get started. If it helps, monitor other healthcare companies on social for a month or two first, and see what they post. Make notes of what resonates with you and their audience. From there, you can build your own voice and start engaging with your audience on social media.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Apr 3, 2015 but was updated on Mar 25, 2020 for comprehensiveness.
I love learning, and recently, I’ve been pondering taking an online course or two at a local college, just to sharpen my marketing and communications skills.
When I started doing some research, like typing in local colleges and looking at courses, I took a break periodically to check social media.
Surprisingly, as I was perusing Facebook, I noticed I had a brand new Reach Ad on my news feed:
I knew this was a Reach Ad by the way it’s designed. The copy is short, but it provides actionable language and was shown to me as a response to my recent search queries.
Ultimately, the ad is incredibly effective. My high-intent while searching for education courses in my area makes me an ideal candidate to receive this sort of message. After seeing the ad, I immediately clicked the “Learn more” CTA.
This is an example of Facebook’s Local Awareness Ads. Here, let’s explore what Local Awareness Ads are, and how you can use them to take your marketing strategy to the next level.
You can use Reach Ads to let customers know about a promotion or upcoming sale, giving audiences an incentive to visit your website. Reach Ads can also build interest in a time-sensitive event, such as a happy hour or special offer, and make the content shareable.
Reach Ads are also helpful for building your brand’s ties to the community. An ad can be created to share your business’s origins and how your company is connected to the area.
Let’s talk about some of the features that make these outcomes possible.
One spectacular ad feature is the four different types of call-to-action buttons, each with their own purpose:
- Get directions — This CTA button help users find your business from their device. If you want to increase foot traffic to your business, this is the button for you.
- Call now — In general, think of this as your “build customer relationships” button. A customer can tap on this button to call your business, helping you facilitate sales conversations.
- Send message — When users click this button, they can send a direct message to your business, so this CTA is a great way to increase leads.
- Learn more — If raising webpage traffic is one of your biggest goals, this CTA button will send users directly to your website in order to learn more information.
These CTA options are one of the ways Reach Ads helps with exposure. When developers at Facebook talked with advertisers, they learned that the number one driver for in-store traffic is reach, which became the developers’ focus when building the ad tool. Advertisers can select locations for their ads instead of specific users, to respect the users’ privacy.
When advertisers select audiences, Facebook doesn’t note how many people are in an audience, and users will only see ads if location services are enabled on their device because that’s how Facebook tracks a location.
Now that you know about Reach Ads, and how they can help you out, let’s explore some tips to make your ads shine in your users’ news feeds.
Tips for local awareness ads.
Every local business has a story to tell. In order to help businesses share that story to the correct audience, Facebook created Reach Ads. Here are a few ideas you can use to make sure your ads have the biggest impact.
1. Follow Facebook’s Recommendations For Reach Ads.
When you’re formatting your ad, pay attention to the structure. Does it fit Facebook’s recommended optimization ratios?
If, after you create your ad, you notice you have 130 characters for ad text or a 25 character description, don’t sweat it. Those characters are flexible, but make sure your image size is always the highest resolution available, so your media element is visually pleasing to customers.
2. Use Reach Ads To Increase Brand Awareness.
The marketers at Canadian communications company, Rogers Communication, wanted to increase awareness of its new data plan by connecting with family-oriented audiences on Facebook.
One of their methods included using the “Learn More” CTA button (remember, this button is great for building customer traffic) on their ad. This encourages prospective customers to call and visit the website to learn more about the plan.
After using Reach Ads to connect with their target audience, the campaign reached 65% of their total audience, as well as a six-point lift in intent to purchase. The ads were fast-paced videos that showcased the advantages of an unlimited data plan, like the one Rogers was offering, and connected with their audience.
3. Use Facebook Retargeting To Engage Visitors.
When you use Facebook retargeting for ads, you are using a tool that encourages visitors who leave your site before converting to stay a little longer. The way this happens is by showing them a personalized ad to introduce the conversion opportunity.
In general, using a Facebook retargeting campaign lets you remind potential customers about your business.
I recently browsed some products at a few clothing and beauty stores. When looking at my sponsored content on my Facebook news feed, I can see which businesses’s decision-makers have chosen a retargeted campaign:
I added products to my cart from both of these stores, and based on my Facebook searches, these are the retargeted ads Facebook is choosing to show me.
These dynamic ads engage with leads who have interacted with your brand already, such as email subscribers or previous customers. These leads already know about your brand, so they’re closer to conversion than customers who haven’t interacted with your brand yet.
Engaging visitors with a retargeting ad boosts the effectiveness of your Reach Ads, personalizing the customer journey for leads with a further step.
4. Include Reach Ads In Your Sales Strategy.
Reach Ads can drive sales.
For instance, when the marketers at lifestyle magazine Essence began planning a campaign that would boost ticket sales to their festival, Essence Fest, they decided to use Reach Ads, and found phenomenal success by doing so.
Essence’s team found that Facebook’s ad options provided the necessary solutions they needed to make a dynamic campaign with creative elements that helped them exceed their ticket sale goal.
The campaign used videos, slideshows, and retargeting for their campaign. A video from this campaign showed Facebook users past performers, the festival’s message, and included a CTA to get customers to buy tickets.
Since this was Essence’s first time using a strategy as expansive as this one, they were very interested to see the results of their campaign. After two months, the campaign earned Essence 1,600 ticket sales from Facebook ads.
You can use Reach Ads to drive in-store sales by using the “Get Directions” or “Learn More” CTA buttons and changing up the language in a current ad to encourage more action to purchase.
5. Encourage Customer Attendance At Your Store.
Home furniture retailer Pier 1 used Reach Ads as part of a marketing campaign to increase foot traffic at physical locations. The goal was to gain more visitors over the winter holidays using a mix of video and photo ads.
When decision-makers at Pier 1 saw that brand loyalty was dropping, they decided to use the winter holidays to launch a campaign on Facebook to get more people in stores. As a result, the campaign used copy that invoked action.
Notice how the ad makes use of the “Get Directions” CTA button, reinforcing easy options for potential visitors to find their way to a store.
From a carousel ad that showed new collections, an emphasis on current sales and the Pier 1 brand, the company’s dynamic campaign, running from November—December 2018, earned a 5% increase in in-store traffic.
6. Analyze Reach Ad Performance To Measure ROI.
Tracking the performance of ads is an essential step in running a campaign. Ad insights lets you know if your ad was profitable and successful. The key metrics of an ad’s campaign gives you an idea of how to make improvements for more effective ads.
Facebook has an Ads Manager that provides insights and metrics about all of your ads, including all of your Reach Ads. You can track the exposure your ad is getting and how frequently people are seeing your ad.
To illustrate these tools, here is a screenshot from Ads Manager showing the amount of money being spent on an ad by the account holder. The next tab will show how many audience members are being reached with that ad spend.
Ads Manager also shows you ROI data in the form of cost per 1,000 users reached. This metric will show you the costs of current campaigns compared to previous ones, and provides metrics to help you maximize ad spend.
Last but not least, Facebook’s Ad Manager shows you button clicks at the end of your campaign. Button clicks will tell you how many people interacted with your CTAs. If you test out different buttons for different Reach Ads, you can infer which types of buttons are more successful and keep those in future campaigns.
Even though Reach Ads have been re-named to better explain their purpose, they’re synonymous with the concept of local awareness. They are a cost-effective way to spread the story of your business without traditional advertising channels, like newspapers. The precise capabilities of Facebook’s Reach Ads improve the number of customers who are more likely to interact with your business.
When I moved to Chicago two years ago, I knew very little about the city and my new neighborhood. As I got comfortable and established myself as a new Wrigleyville resident, I made a very important friend in Google.
Google helped me find the businesses, vendors, and specialists I needed in a new city — from a hair salon and gym to an appliance repairman and locksmith. But Google couldn’t have helped me discover these folks without those businesses investing in local marketing.
Did you know that 97% of people learn more about a local company online than any other medium? In fact, 88% of mobile online searches for local businesses result in either a call or business visit within one day.
If your business caters to a local audience, has several service areas, and/or has a brick and mortar location, local marketing is a must-need strategy. In this guide, we break down local marketing and a slew of helpful strategies to help you get started.
What is local marketing?
Local marketing is a marketing strategy that targets consumers and customers within a certain radius of the physical location(s) of a business. Local marketing is also known as neighborhood marketing or local store marketing.
If you have at least one brick-and-mortar business location (this applies to both local businesses and chains), local marketing is a marketing strategy you should consider adding to your arsenal. Local marketing can work for any brand that has a physical location, but it’s especially important for locally-based businesses whose primary business happens in-person (versus online, where consumers in any location can make purchases).
Local marketing allows you to hone your resources on a select audience — one that can actually respond to and shop from your digital and print advertisements.
The key to successful local marketing is accurately defining your buyer personas. This process helps you better understand your target audience’s demographic and psychographic information, including their geographic location(s). This location data is how you can pinpoint where you can funnel your local marketing energy.
If local marketing sounds like an approach you’d like to apply to your own business, make note of these strategies. You may be able to attract new local customers by implementing these for your company. (Hey, sometimes small local businesses have the biggest viral marketing campaigns.)
Here are 9 local marketing tactics that you can use to attract new business from your local area and surrounding neighborhoods. Don’t hesitate to combine these strategies to strengthen the impact of your local marketing.
1. Confirm your website is mobile-friendly.
You probably aren’t surprised that over half of worldwide internet traffic happens on mobile devices.
But did you know that 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site? A mobile-friendly site is critical to attracting new business, especially local customers.
Mobile-friendly sites load seamlessly when accessed on a mobile device. They often show bigger text, form fields, menus, and buttons, making it easier to browse site information on the go.
2. Localize your website.
Localizing your website involves making your web content relevant to your local audience and consumer base. First, add location-based terms to your website. For example, instead of “vegan bakery,” your homepage could read “best vegan bakery in Wrigleyville”.
Localize your web content wherever relevant, and keep this language consistent between your website, social media, and digital ads.
Secondly, add location pages to your website. This is especially important if you have more than one brick and mortar location. These pages publish your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant store information; they also help you rank on local SERPs.
3. Claim your local listings on third-party websites and directories.
There are numerous third-party websites, directories, and review sites that highlight local businesses and educate consumers on where to shop. As a local business, you don’t want to miss out on this traffic (both digital and foot).
These sites are important for SEO and search intent purposes; for example, consistency between your name, address, and phone number information (referred to as NAP) is extremely important, and these directories help you establish that online.
The most important listing you’ll want to claim is Google My Business. This will allow your business information to show up accurately when people search for your name, industry, products, or all the above.
This process will also equip customers to start leaving you reviews — another critical component of drumming up local business. Visit Yelp, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau (BBB), and Foursquare to claim/create these listings, too. Tools like Moz Local simplify this process so you don’t have to do it manually.
Setting up these listings legitimizes your business’s online presence and improves your search engine rankings. Most importantly, however, these websites also fuel word-of-mouth marketing — today’s strongest marketing strategy by far.
4. Invest in local SEO.
Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within 24 hours. But this wouldn’t be possible without local SEO. Local SEO is optimizing your website to rank for locally-relevant terms and keywords. Google Trends is a helpful tool here for identifying what terms are popular in your location and for your industry.
In addition to localizing your website, create local content. Promote local gatherings, neighborhood events, and industry listings from your area. This type of content helps localize your website and paint you as a local authority.
5. Localize your paid advertising.
Local advertising is another powerful way to reach your local audiences. Not only does this strategy target specific audiences and personas (hint: based on their location), but it also involves adding relevant keywords to your ad content.
Include terms like your city or neighborhood to your listings and incorporate location data where possible.
6. Go local on social media.
Social media is arguably the quickest and most efficient way to connect with local and global shoppers alike. Most social platforms provide plenty of localization options, from setting a location in your profile to tagging the location of each post.
You can also share local hashtags in the caption or comments.
7. Be active in your community.
People are proud of the cities, towns, and neighborhoods they live in, including their local businesses and organizations. When you support your community as a business and employer, your community is likely to support you, too.
Get active with non-profit activities, local sports teams, community school events, county fairs or expositions. If you can’t physically attend, consider sponsoring an event to get more eyes on your brand name.
8. Don’t forget your local media.
Local news consumption is still alive and well. Consumers trust local media to keep them updated about their communities and neighborhoods, and that includes business and economy-related information.
Invest in radio advertising, take out an advertisement in the local newspaper or find your way on your town’s morning news show. Whether you’re marketing your grand opening or simply want to get your brand name out there, any exposure through the local media can help bring new customers to your door.
9. Leverage your ecommerce activity.
Ecommerce and local marketing don’t have to be mutually exclusive; both can bring in new business and provide excellent experiences for your customers. In fact, you can use ecommerce to boost your local business (and vice versa).
For example, consider offering an in-store coupon for every online purchase or providing free in-store pickup or returns. These strategies get customers in the door and browsing your store — even those who discovered you online.
These local marketing ideas put the above strategies to work. Consider adding some of these ideas to your next round of marketing efforts.
1. Distribute local print marketing materials.
Design and print high-quality business cards, postcards, and flyers — even car magnets. Not only will these be a physical piece of your brand for customers to hold onto, but they can equip your customers with the tools to market on your behalf. Bonus: Include a small discount or freebie coupon on your business card to bring customers back.
2. Become a local sponsor.
Get your business name in front of new customers by sponsoring a local sports team, school event, or non-profit fundraiser. This strategy allows you to showcase your brand on signage, marketing materials, and even uniforms.
3. Invest in booth space at local events.
Another way to get new eyes on your business is by purchasing a booth at a local event. The price for booths range depending on the event and anticipated attendance, but it’s always a good investment — you can give away branded merchandise and connect with more members of your local community.
4. Hold a contest on social media.
Use digital channels like social media to increase your foot traffic. Consider holding a contest through which participants can enter on social media and collect their prize in person. You can also offer discounts or free giveaways if shoppers engage with your social media profiles, share their purchases, or tag the business on Facebook or Twitter.
5. Use a sidewalk sign.
Nothing gets the attention of local shoppers like signage. Set up a sidewalk sign outside your business to attract shoppers that are walking or driving by. Be sure to include your business name, “open”, and perhaps your business hours. Another option here is billboard advertising, especially if you’re marketing in a heavily trafficked area.
6. Set up a suggestion box.
You’ll never know how to better attract customers if you don’t ask them. Set up a suggestion box in your business to give visitors an anonymous way to share feedback about their experience. Check this box weekly and implement anything new you may learn.
Local Marketing Helps You Grow Better
Local marketing helps you reach new audiences, boosts your search rankings and online traffic, and helps establish your business in your local community. Invest in these local marketing strategies to bring new customers in your doors today.
There are few times more exciting in a company than during a product launch. Anticipation brews and a sense of optimism emerges around the prospect of a growth in market share.
Still, a question always arises when a new product launches: do enough people know about this product launch for it to be successful?
There are multiple avenues to communicate through during a product launch — ads, social media, PR, and blog promotion, to name a few. Yet one of the most underrated and effective communication methods to alert internal and external stakeholders is a product launch email.
Not only can product launch emails be used for raising awareness of the product launch outside of your company, but they can also be used to communicate vital information about the launch to those inside of your company.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps for writing three different types of product launch emails, include some suggestions for your product launch email subject lines, and outline the ideal product launch email sequence.
Featured Resource: Product Marketing Email Templates [Download Now]
HubSpot’s Free Product Marketing Kit is full of the organizational templates you’ll need to spread the word about your product, including email templates. Why waste time starting from scratch? Click here to download the templates.
Internal Product Launch Email
You’ll want to share an internal product launch email with your entire company on either the day of or prior to your product launch. With this email, you’ll want to turn all of the employees at your company into an enthusiastic, well-informed word-of-mouth marketing team by providing them with:
- An overview of the product.
- Why employees should be excited about it.
- “Lazy copy” for email and social media that employees can copy and paste.
Here’s an outline of an internal product launch email. You can also download it as a template with more details.
1. Subject Line and Preview Test. Keep the subject line at or under 12 words. We’ll provide a list of examples below.
2. Greeting and Tl;dr. Just like you, the employees at your company are busy, so capture their attention with a quick hello and a 1-2 sentence overview on the product launch.
3. What is it? Give your readers the very basic info on your product, like what it’s called, what it does, when it’s available to the public, and how much it costs. You should also include an image so readers have a visual reference.
4. Why it Matters. Why should your employees be excited about this launch? You can go a little more in-depth here, so explain what void this product fills in the market and what opportunity you’re seizing on to expand your market share, delight more users, and expand your customer base.
Some questions you can answer in this section are:
- Does this update address a common customer complaint?
- Are you bringing your product up to par for the market you’re in?
- Do you have statistics or revenue projections to prove the importance?
5. How it Works. In this section, give a brief overview of the steps required to get or use this product/feature. How do your customers sign up? Are there any usage limitations? Anticipate frequently asked questions — particularly from salespeople, marketers, account managers, and support reps — and try to reduce confusion upfront.
6. Who It’s For. If you haven’t already covered it, say who the intended audience for this product is, or if any users will automatically see this new feature. This section is particularly important for regional or language-specific products.
7. Where to Go With Questions. Provide the contact info and name of the person or people who are best equipped to answer any questions about the product, its launch, or its promotion.
8. Lazy Copy. You’ll want to make it as simple as possible for employees to share the product launch over email or social media. Provide sample text and URLs that can be copied and pasted — or better yet, pre-made social links from a site like Share Link Generator.
Here’s an example of lazy copy for every situation.
- Twitter: We’ve just launched [Product Name] here @[Company Name]! This new feature will let you [List Main Benefit]. Click here to learn more about it >> [Insert URL].
- LinkedIn: It’s an exciting day here at [Company Name]! Today, we’re announcing our launch of [Product Name] – a new product that [List One or Two Major Benefits or Features].
We’re thrilled to finally share this with our customers. Learn more at our website, and reach out to me if you have any questions about the new product! [Insert Product Page URL]
Hi [First Name],
Exciting news! I’m reaching out to let you know that [Company Name] has just launched our new [Product Name]. This feature will [List One or Two Major Benefits or Features].
If you’ve been struggling with [Issue this Product Solves], I think [Product Name] would be a big help. If you’re interested in learning more about it, feel free to reach out to me to set up some time to chat. You can also learn more about it on our website here >> [Insert Link].
Let me know if you have any questions or want to talk more.
Internal Product Launch Email Subject Lines
Need a good email subject line for your internal product launch announcement email? Try one of these on for size.
- It’s Time! [Product] is now live. Click to learn more!
- We just launched [Product] – And we need your help
- [NOW LIVE]: [Product] is available to the public
- [Product] launches today. Here’s what you need to know.
- The moment you’ve all been waiting for: [Product] is here.
- [PLEASE READ]: Everything you need to know about [Product].
- [Product] goes live today. Help us spread the word!
Internal Product Launch Update Email
The internal product launch update email is best shared with direct stakeholders in the product launch. For example: product marketers, product managers, designers, and social & PR.
These emails should be sent routinely leading up to the official product launch (every week, every other week, etc.) and provide readers with actionable steps on what has happened since your last email, what needs to be done, and whether or not you’re on track for launch.
Here’s an outline of what your internal product launch update email should look like. You can also download it as a template with more details.
1. Subject Line and Preview Text. Keep the subject line at or under 12 words. We’ll provide a list of examples below.
2. Days Until Product Launch. Reiterate the scheduled date of the product launch in addition to how many days remain.
3. Major Updates. List out any major updates that have occured between the previous email and this one. For example: a bug was fixed, final designs were approved, or you secured placement in a leading circuit on announcement day.
4. Resources. Link out to shared documents, the campaign planning spreadsheets, or any other resources that your team may need to reference this week.
5. Progress Against Goals. Remind your team of the overarching campaign goals in this section and provide a status update (complete, meeting, exceeding, or lagging).
6. Updates by Team. Run through brief status updates and developments from each team. This is also a great place to share each team’s focus for the upcoming week.
7. Questions or Comments. Encourage recipients to reach out to you directly with any questions.
Internal Product Launch Update Email Subject Lines
Choose a subject line for your internal product launch update emails and make it the standard for whenever you send out your updates.
- [Date] Bi-weekly [Product Name] Update
- [#] Days Until [Product]: This Week’s Update
- [Product] Launch Status: Today’s Action Items
- New from [Company]: A Solution for [Main Problem]
- [Product]: A Solution to Your [Problem]
- Available Now: [Product], the Solution to [Problem]
- [Product] is Now Available. Here’s How You Can Get it.
- Problems With [Problem]? Try [Product] – New from [Company]
- At Last – A Solution to Your [Problem]
- Meet [Product]: A New Product to Help You [Benefit]
External Product Launch Email
The time has come to share your exciting new product with the world.
If you have an established list of loyal contacts in your CRM, create a list of the recipients you think would benefit from the product launch email. While you can send out a mass email to all of your contacts, it makes sense to group your contacts together by their lifecycle stage or their interests so that you’re prioritizing customers who would be most interested or ready for your new product.
Here’s how you might want to format an email to your contacts to encourage them to buy or learn more about your new product.
1. Subject Line and Preview Text. Keep the subject line at or under 12 words. We’ll provide a list of examples below.
2. Greeting and tl;dr. Like your fellow employees, your customers are also very busy. Don’t bury the lede — start the email off with the big news! Buzzwords like “new,” “big news,” or “now available” would be good to implement here, alongside a quick overview of what the product is called, what it does, and an image of the product.
3. Overview of the Product. Provide a high-level summary of what the product is, why it was made, and what it does.
4. Key Features. List the key features or benefits of this offer. If you have a product demo video, you may want to link to it here.
5. Call-to-Action. Leave your contacts with an actionable next step. Do you want them to reply to you with questions? Sign up for a demo? Check out the new product page on your website? Whatever your desired next step is, make it abundantly clear with a link or by bolding the action.
External Product Launch Email Subject Lines
Want to grab the attention of your contacts? Try one of these product launch email subject lines:
- New from [Company]: A Solution for [Main Problem]
- [Product]: A Solution to Your [Problem]
- Available Now: [Product], the Solution to [Problem]
- [Product] is Now Available. Here’s How You Can Get it.
- Problems With [Problem]? Try [Product] – New from [Company]
- At Last – A Solution to Your [Problem]
- Meet [Product]: A New Product to Help You [Benefit]
Product Launch Email Sequence
To spread the word for your product launch more efficiently, consider enrolling your contacts into an email sequence in your email marketing software. Here are the steps you might want to follow:
Internal Product Launch Email Sequence
- Introductory Email: Alert the employees the product development is in progress and why.
- Pre-Launch Email: Let employees know when the product is set to be launched and what is expected of them on launch day.
- Launch Day Email: On the day of the product launch, alert all employees the product is available to the public and provide share links.
- Follow-up Email: After some time has passed, send employees an update of your performance against goals, and a reminder of how employees can help the product launch be more successful.
External Product Launch Email Sequence
When you want to build anticipation among your contacts, consider an external product launch email sequence. This can be used to gradually increase your prospects’ interests before and after the product comes out.
Remember: you may only want to enroll people in this sequence that meet certain qualification criteria.
1. Pre-Announcement Email. This email comes once you feel the product is in a good place and you’re comfortable announcing its release date to the public. It should include a basic description of the product in addition to an expected time frame. We’d suggest not identifying an official launch date unless you are absolutely confident the date you have chosen is accurate — you never know what could go wrong between now and then, so it’s best to play it safe.
2. Announcement Email. This email should be the official email announcement of your product. We’ve outlined what should be included in this email in the section above, but remember to keep the content in this email short, informative, and actionable.
3. Follow-Up Email. This email should be sent to the contacts you feel would be a good fit for your new product but didn’t follow up with your original email. Kindly remind them that you think they would benefit from this new product and you’re excited to hear if they’re interested.
How to Know When to Delay a Product Launch
To understand when, and why, you might hold off on a product launch, I spoke with Alex Girard, a Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot. Girard told me there are three key reasons why you might want to delay a product launch, including:
- When your product itself isn’t ready, and you need to change your timeline to create the best customer experience possible.
- If a situation occurs where your current customers are having a less than optimal experience with one of your current products. Before launching and promoting a new product, you should make sure your current customers are satisfied with your existing product offering.
- If something occurs on an international, national, state, or local level that requires your audience to readjust their priorities and shift focus away from your company and its product launch. Make sure that when the time comes to launch, your target audience is ready to learn about your new product.
Product Launch Email Templates
Remember, you can save time by using product launch planning and email templates. You can download free product marketing email templates here in our Product Marketing Go-To-Market Kit.