Marketing isn’t just about campaigns, content, and creativity. There’s a whole lot of “getting things done” that needs to happen behind the scenes for campaigns to roll out on time and performance to scale.
This is where marketing operations comes in. Also called marketing ops or MOps, marketing operations is how a marketing team is run. It’s the processes, technology, data, and people that power a marketing strategy.
Of these key pillars of marketing operations, data sounds like the most abstract one. But getting the data right in your marketing ops is crucial.
How do you do this? By cleaning, organizing, and enriching the data in every app as well as integrating data between your apps.
An increasingly important role for any team or Marketing Operation Manager is maintaining data quality and connectedness. This not only includes marketing apps but also bridges to other departments in the organization.
Let’s dig into how to make this happen so you can scale the impact of your marketing ops.
What Are Integrations?
Integration brings different pieces of software together and enables their data to interact.
When done well, integrations enable your marketing team to:
- Create the most holistic marketing ops strategy across your software ecosystem.
- Allow data to seamlessly flow between key platforms and enrich each one.
- Automate more tasks and free up time.
- Provide stronger customer experiences with more accessible and insightful data.
- Remove data silos and other barriers to collaboration.
- Deliver accurate insights, reporting, and decision making.
As an example of a valuable integration, think of your CRM and email marketing app. A good email list is a marketer’s most treasured possession, but for your email marketing to be successful, you need accurate and in-depth insights into each contact’s interests, behavior, and communication preferences. You can solve this by integrating data from your CRM.
The integrations that matter most to your marketing operations depend on your organization and industry.
That said, there are certain integration best practices that businesses with strong marketing operations follow. Let’s explore those.
1. Understand the Ecosystem Your Marketing Data Lives in
A strong marketing stack that your team loves using is a pivotal part of your marketing operations management.
This can include an all-in-one marketing platform or individual systems for:
- Content management
- Marketing automation
- Lead Generation
- Email marketing
- Analytics and reporting
- Project management
One of the first steps to perfect your marketing ops is understanding the ecosystem your marketing data lives in. Some valuable questions to ask are:
- What data are we collecting in each app?
- How should data interact with other apps?
- How can we sync apps to enrich the data in each one?
With answers to these questions in mind, you can decide how best to integrate your apps and allow data to flow between them.
2. Ensure Clean, Up-to-date Data in Every App
To get the best results from integrations, you need high-quality data in every app. Dirty data in one app is bad, but the negative impact is multiplied for every new app it enters.
To prevent this, clean up the data in every app before adding new integrations. This includes:
- Duplicate contacts
- Inaccurate contact data
- Bounced email addresses
With clean data in every app, you can seamlessly integrate your marketing platforms and create the most streamlined and effective marketing ops.
3. Make Your CRM the Heart of Your Marketing Ops
There’s a high chance your sales team is already using a CRM to store all of the key insights about your customers and their interactions with your business. That’s because centralizing your data in your CRM is one of the best things you can do for strong contact management.
One way to test the strength of your CRM is by checking if anyone in your business can answer questions about a contact and their interactions with your business – whether in sales, support, marketing, or billing – just by glancing at their contact record.
To make this happen, you can use integration to bring data from other apps into your CRM. The inverse is also valuable: syncing your CRM data with your marketing apps to enrich the data in those places.
Alongside syncing names and emails, you can choose which other information makes sense to have available in your other marketing apps. This could include:
- Lead status/stage
- Customer Success Owner
- Business size
- Communication preferences
4. Use Contact Segmentation
Segmenting your contacts using lists, tags, and properties is a fantastic way to deliver the most personalized customer experience. But it’s also a key ingredient for effective integrations.
With an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solution like PieSync, you can create customized workflows and sync data based on specific conditions. That way, you maintain the segmentation of your database across tools. These specific conditions could be configured according to If-this-then-that rules. For instance:
- IF a contact’s Lifecycle Stage is ‘Lead’
- THEN sync the contact to your email marketing tool and add to the list ‘List of leads’
If the contact stops being a customer, you can automatically reflect that in your email marketing app, remove the ‘Customer’ tag, and no longer send relevant communications.
To create powerful if-this-then-that rules, first segment data in individual apps, and then create connections across your ecosystem.
5. Create Strong Alignment With Sales Via Integrations
Your marketing operations strategy isn’t just about marketing. It’s essential to look at the other teams in your organization and understand how to create the strongest alignment.
The most important bridge for marketers to maintain is with sales. By working collaboratively instead of in silos, marketers can deliver the perfect leads for sales and both teams can share what’s working as well as opportunities.
To optimize your bridge with sales, you can integrate your marketing software with sales apps such as:
- Sales CRM
- Contact Management
- Live chat software
- Sales automation software
- Integrations between your marketing apps and customer support software
With your marketing and sales apps in sync, both teams are in the best position to exchange data, deliver unified reporting, and do their best work both independently and together.
6. Integrate Customer Data with Your Marketing Apps
Although marketing usually has the strongest alignment with sales, make sure not to forget about your service team.
If your data is siloed, you run the risk of the nightmare scenario of sending a promotion offer to a customer who subscribed a week ago at full price.
With integrated apps and data, you can keep your customers in mind for every marketing campaign and create personalizations based on the products, services, and upgrades that are most relevant to them.
You can align your Marketing and Service team with either:
- All-in-one CRM with support functionality
A good starting point is to make sure that all customer interactions and support requests are synced with your CRM. Marketers can then easily use this information to personalize campaigns and workflows.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Integrations
You can measure the impact of integrations in your marketing operations strategy by asking if:
- Your data is accurate, enriched, and reliable in every app.
- You have a centralized contact database that quickly gives you a 360-degree view of each contact.
- Your marketing team is aligned with sales and can quickly collaborate.
- You have removed all data silos.
- You can personalize marketing campaigns for customers or exclude them from certain messaging.
- You have clear marketing reporting that brings together data from all channels and apps and highlights key areas for optimization.
As you optimize your marketing operations, remember to look at the holistic view of your marketing stack and the individual pieces of the puzzle. By paying attention to the two in tandem, you can understand where to connect the dots for the best overall outcomes in your marketing team and throughout your organization.
This post is a part of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is an EU law that protects the personal data of EU users and regulates how businesses process and handle this data.
GDPR has been around since May 2018, and per the European Council ruling on October 1, 2019, businesses — including HubSpot — can only drop cookies once a user has given explicit consent (i.e., clicked “Yes” on a cookie banner).
In short, you can’t imply consent if users take no action on the banner and continue to browse the site. Before a site visitor has taken any action, you can only drop “strictly necessary” cookies — cookies that make your website function, such as a shopping cart.
Once the new GDPR ruling was introduced, businesses scrambled to understand how to become GDPR-compliant. This process raised another concern about how the regulation would impact the overall reporting process.
The HubSpot analytics team was no exception when it came to these concerns. We had to brainstorm innovative solutions that could help the team better track users’ data to provide a more intuitive website experience — while still remaining GDPR-compliant.
Before GDPR, HubSpot used Google Analytics (GA) for website reporting and insights for all HubSpot domains — specifically, to track various metrics related to page sessions, button clicks, freemium signups, campaigns, A/B testing, and more.
On October 26, 2019, in response to GDPR, HubSpot implemented a new and improved cookie banner, making our sites fully compliant with the GDPR and cookie consent laws in the EU. This action meant we couldn’t gather data on EU users that accessed a HubSpot website until they explicitly provided consent by clicking “Yes” on the cookie banner.
The table below highlights how HubSpot’s traffic was impacted by GDPR. These calculations are estimates based on how many users visit the HubSpot domains from both within and outside the EU.
% Traffic from Outside EU
% Traffic From EU
Impact on Overall Traffic Per Google Analytics
|HubSpot.com||83%||17%||Drop by 15-20%|
|HubSpot.de||13%||87%||Drop by 60-70%|
|HubSpot.fr||19%||81%||Drop by 55-65%|
|HubSpot.jp||99.86%||0.14%||Drop by 5-10%|
|br.HubSpot.com||97%||3%||Drop by 15-20%|
|HubSpot.es||86%||14%||Drop by 12-17%|
How HubSpot Adjusted Our Reporting Process After GDPR
The HubSpot Analytics team decided to use a mixture of HubSpot Analytics tools and Google Analytics to adjust for the new GDPR policies. Here’s how:
- We used HubSpot Analytics as a source of truth for reporting as HubSpot is GDPR-compliant
- We used Google Analytics to see all data trends.
- We used a multiplier to estimate the traffic we’d inevitably lose and not be able to track in either HubSpot Analytics or Google Analytics.
In response, we had to estimate the loss of those non-tracked users on the HubSpot website. We did that by calculating an estimation multiplier. Here’s how:
We assumed that our Accept (31%), Decline (6%), and no action (63%) rates remain the same for the short-term.
- We took into consideration historical traffic from GDPR/EU countries on every HubSpot domain from Google Analytics.
With this information, we calculated the multiplier for recovering the loss of traffic (based on users without cookies).
For example, for HubSpot.com, we got a multiplier of 1.17:
Users with Cookies
Users Without Cookies
Estimated Traffic Loss
For example, if reported traffic for hubspot.com was 1,000 after the GDPR implementation in Google Analytics (November 1 to November 30), the estimated total traffic would be 1000 x 1.17 = 1,150.
The above method has helped us to estimate traffic loss and minimize the impact of GDPR on our reporting, which has allowed us to keep using Google Analytics for better insights and reporting.
These simple adjustments in reporting using HubSpot Analytics and estimation for Google Analytics helped the HubSpot Analytics team get a better idea of our true website traffic — whether or not visitors took action on the cookie banners.
We hope these suggested methods can help you and your team adjust your reporting and minimize the impact of GDPR.
The seasonal subscription box I’m subscribed to gives me a little something extra to look forward to every couple of months, and the company has a knack for making me feel like a valued customer.
In my opinion, it starts with the website. Every time I log on, the homepage is configured to my account, browsing history, and activity:
The dashboard greets me by name and gives me an update about my next box, like when it’ll be shipped. Next to that, I can look at order history and manage account settings. Underneath, I can look at what I received the previous season with the option to purchase something I really love.
Websites that are designed to adapt based on previous behavior make me feel like a valued customer. Every time I visit FabFitFun, I know I won’t have to follow multiple links for updated shipping information because it’s displayed at the top of the page. This tells me that the company thought of a question I might have and solved for it beforehand.
If you’re one of the 63% of marketers ready to update their website, let’s talk about an essential: personalization. Personalized websites deliver a customized experience to visitors. They configure based on a visitor’s behavior on the website, demographics, and interests.
88% of marketers believe that customers expect a personalized website experience when they visit. Static, generic websites are becoming a thing of the past. Given these figures, a multi-channel personalization strategy should be among your top priorities.
However, only 12% of marketers are satisfied with their personalization efforts. Personalization helps with traffic, customer retention, and sales. But if you aren’t experiencing that with yours, it can be easy to think you’re doing something wrong.
Maybe there’s something you can be doing better. Let’s look at examples of personalized websites that are doing it right, and tools that’ll help you deliver the best visit possible to customers.
How does website personalization work?
When I visit Disney+ or Hulu after a long day of work, I don’t feel like searching for new things to watch; Instead, I’d rather jump right back into The Bachelor. Hulu tracks which shows I’m currently watching and my homepage configures accordingly — so I can quickly play them without having to go to the search bar. When I do want to browse my options, though, the recommendations based on my interests have me covered.
Hulu’s team thought about the intentions I might have for streaming, like to unwind after a long day, and streamlined the process of catching up on shows by offering them on my homepage. This makes me feel like a valued customer, and knowing I can easily jump back in makes me want to stay a customer. And, when I’m browsing my options, I spend a lot of time going through my recommendations, increasing my time spent on the service.
My challenges are solved before I identify them, making me an advocate for the service. This is how website personalization adds to the customer experience — by making the consumer’s life easier.
You can use website personalization to give customers recommendations based on what they like, and offer premium content to repeat visitors. Ultimately, it tailors content based on your buyer personas to delight your audience.
Website personalization happens with data. Data that’s collected by the website is then used to add unique features to homepages, enhancing the browsing experience for the visitor. For example, you may be recommended products on an ecommerce website based on your past browsing history the next time you visit.
Customers want their website visit to be individualized because it makes them feel valued. Having the security of knowing that I can easily repeat an order on Amazon makes me feel as if they know what I want — it’s the joy of being a “regular,” just online.
Personalization can happen in a variety of ways; It’s not just regulated to a fancy homepage. Having CTAs that are relevant to a specific audience is personalization. Product recommendations and location-based copy are also examples.
Even though subscription services and streaming platforms are probably the most prominent examples of website personalization, nearly every company can benefit from having it on their website. Let’s look at some ways B2Bs, ecommerce, and software websites are using it to engage audiences.
1. English Tea Store
I’m a huge loose leaf tea fan. Unfortunately, new flavors are hard to find — so I decided to get international with my next purchase. That’s how I found English Tea Store, which offers a variety of teas, tea accessories, and sweets.
Today, I visited the website for the first time, and I explored how the ecommerce experience was personalized for leads. When I found a tea I liked, I was brought to a page that was full of customized options:
Teas I might like based were displayed to the right, catching my attention. Additionally, I was given a special offer as a lead: I could sign up for the website and use the special code for a percentage off of my first order. A completed form is one way websites collect data to improve future visits.
I appreciated having a discount offer right off the bat; it gave me an incentive to complete that form. The recommendations streamlined browsing the products on the website. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the many offerings, I was able to navigate through a smaller set of recommendations.
If your business has a large array of products like English Tea Company, use personalization to offer recommendations based on the products viewers are exploring. To gain leads, consider adding a special offer to first-time visitors like a discount — give them an incentive to fill out the form.
2. HubSpot Academy
Every quarter, I challenge myself to learn something new. Online courses like HubSpot Academy make that easy for me with personalized homepages.
When I log into the Academy homepage, this is what I see:
The page greets me by name and lists the courses in progress. Unlike the first example, I’ve been using Academy for a while, so every time I come back, I can quickly jump right back in where I left off.
Personalization doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you’re a B2B marketer that prefers minimalist design, think about simple elements that will still give you the results you need. Greeting the user by name and showing previous interactions are great ways to make the customer feel valued.
Every morning, I check the weather so I can dress accordingly. Even though I work from home, I like to match my wardrobe with Boston’s unpredictable forecasts. On AccuWeather, I don’t have to type a thing to find what I need.
AccuWeather’s website uses location data to automatically generate the current forecast in that area. This is a great example of how a company guessed what visitors would want to know, then used personalization to cater to them.
If location-based data is huge for your company’s offerings, like Zipcar or Airbnb, offer visitors suggestions based on where they are in the world. It’ll make them feel like you’re an expert in offerings that only locals know.
4. Google News
If I’m on a website I visit frequently, I instantly go to the section marked “For you.” Google News is no exception. This app looks at my browsing history on Google and pulls relevant, recent news articles that I may like in the “For you” section.
For instance, I’ve been really into searching for sci-fi movies and pasta recipes lately, so I had quite an interesting mix of articles for today:
Google pulls from different sources, including websites I visit, to give a range of options for me to read. Remember, personalization doesn’t have to be limited to one goal. You can use the data you have from customers to think of new content to offer them.
Online shopping for clothing is tough sometimes. Often, it’s hard to know what you’re looking for with so many options. Especially if you don’t know your sizes. That’s why I really like Topshop’s personalization.
The website has a quiz that gives visitors an entire edit, wardrobe, and outfit recommendations based on the answers. The quiz asked me to choose clothes I liked, what I wanted suggested, and my budget. For sizes, I go to choose from competitors I frequent, like Forever 21 and H&M, and use their sizing details to inform Topshop of mine.
After taking the quiz, this is the screen I saw (Not before creating an account, so the website could store my data):
I loved that my wardrobe had a name. Plus, I liked the organization — I could choose recommendations by piece, season, occasion, or outfit. It was also cool to see what closet staples to have and avoid.
Topshop’s team thought about the worries I have about online shopping and solved it with a quiz that personalized my visit. Offer a quiz or chatbot that answers questions and uncertainties first-time visitors might face. Use them to create a page just for that visitor or lead them to the one they need.
We’ve seen how personalization can look when it’s done well. So next, let’s talk about some best practices to keep in mind when you’re setting up personalization on your website.
Personalization Best Practices
When website personalization works, it can account for a delightful, interactive website visit for visitors. But what about when things don’t work so perfectly?
For example, what if a repeat customer visited your website and got an offer for leads? Or, what if your website gives inaccurate recommendations to audience segments? Websites that are personalized, but done poorly, may result in a loss of leads or customers.
To make sure your website aces personalization, let’s look at some best practices.
1. Solve for your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictionalized accounts of your ideal customer. They help you identify challenges, interests, and demographic information about your audience. Figuring these things out helps you improve the effectiveness of marketing messaging.
Use personalization to create content that will be valuable to your personas. To illustrate, let’s say you’re part of a computer company and you have two buyer personas: The university student and the professional.
The university student is looking for an affordable, functional laptop that’ll allow them to complete assignments without hassle, while the professional is looking for a sleek computer with all the bells and whistles.
To personalize your website for those personas, you can create two content offers for each; One that advertises an upcoming webinar, “Choosing Your College Computer,” and one that promotes an ebook for the best professional laptops by industry. That way, when these personas visit your website, they’ll see special offers that are specific to their needs.
When you personalize according to the challenges, or needs, of your personas, they’ll feel like a valued advocate for your company.
2. Make the design simple.
Poor personalization can be a result of too many moving parts at once. Would you want a first-time visitor to access your homepage and be bombarded with content offers, their name plastered across the banner, and product recommendations from every section of your website?
All of these functions, while helpful, can be overwhelming when working together — and lower the load time of the webpage. To avoid a busy webpage, keep your personalization simple. Choose one or two elements that will be the most useful for your company and audience.
Think of Amazon or a streaming service. The personalization tool, recommendations, used on homepages are usually separated into minimal, relevant categories. Keep categories based on genres or audience preference — Like “Horror movies” or “Based on your last purchase.”
3. Keep your goals in mind.
Identify the reasons why you’re personalizing your website. In addition to thinking of your customers, keep those goals at the forefront of personalization decisions.
Let’s say one of your goals is to increase customer retention. How can you keep customers coming back, outside of retargeted ads and emails? Design webpages for returners that feel familiar to them and are easy to navigate.
Save login information, make the homepage greet a customer by name, and display recommendations based on their recent purchases. That way, when customers return to your site, they’ll find it easy to navigate and repurchase. In addition, they’ll recognize that your company wants its audience to feel catered to directly, even online.
The ease and delight of your website will keep customers coming back for quick purchases. Because you made personalization choices based on your goals, you were able to delight your customer and accomplish your company’s objectives.
4. Make sure your data is quality.
We know by now that website personalization is powered by data. This data needs to be accurate to make an impact. When you make forms, add fields that will give you the right information for personalization.
One way to do this easily, especially if you have an ecommerce website, is to use chatbots or quizzes. Think back to the style quiz from Topshop and how the questions were related to products and preferences. Use chatbots to answer FAQs leads might have.
These tactics will give you the data you need to make accurate personalization choices. If you don’t know about your audience’s interests, it can be hard to know which strategies you should implement with your design.
The right data helps your audience do what you want them to, and nurture them along in their buyer’s journey. You’ll have those insights about what they want and how you can help.
5. Pick the right tools.
Behind every great personalized website is fantastic software. Choosing the right software is important — it’s what powers those beautiful web pages. A CRM and a CMS work together to make this happen.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is what you’ll use to manage and organize customers, leads, and your relationships with them. It’s what will store that quality data you need.
This data can range from completed forms and chatbot conversations to lead tracking. Look at the pages your visitors are returning to often and the time spent on pages to personalize offers.
Then, your content management system (CMS) will allow you to implement what you’ve gathered on your website. It will change based on the data it has about specific customers. Data, like location and returning visitors, can be logged by a CMS.
Next, let’s talk about some software options you can use to build your website.
Website Personalization Tools
For ease, look for software that has a CRM and CMS rolled into one, like HubSpot. Software should be simple to operate and its tools should be useful to your customers and business goals.
HubSpot’s CMS allows you to build and manage a stunning, personalized website. You can also leverage forms and chatbots to enhance the options you give customers to customize their experience with the software.
The drag and drop editor in HubSpot’s software makes it easy to add smart rules or personalized features. Using the CMS, you’ll collect data about the behavior of website visitors and use those insights to enhance your website.
You can also test different web pages to find out which options are the most valuable for customers. This can help you decide on a final personalization design that’s exciting and functional. If you’re looking for an all-in-one software package that’s easy to use and scalable, check out HubSpot.
Price: Contact for pricing
Ecommerce platform Barilliance offers tools to personalize online storefronts. Options, like relevant recommendations, can help reduce shopping cart abandonment and close more sales. With Barilliance, you can optimize and customize shopping trips for every visitor.
Pushys website was created using Barilliance. In the image above, notice how you can add relevant product recommendations to fit the visitor’s interests. There are two categories that show off the expansive catalog of Pushys’ health products.
If you have an ecommerce website that you want to tailor to every visitor, consider using Barilliance’s campaign and website features to make that a breeze.
Price: Contact for pricing
Personalization using Qubit is just as unique as the websites you can create with the software. Offerings are categorized into three parts: Start, Grow, and Pro. These categories target company goals and are separated by experience level.
Qubit Start is for those who just want personalization foundational tools, like chatbots or recommendations. Grow is meant for solving more specific goals — for instance, integrating customer data across platforms. Pro, on the other hand, offers different packages for you to choose.
Every Qubit category comes equipped with the same base features: tests, integrations, recommendations, and omnichannel personalization. If you’re looking for software that has tools fit for your skill level and business size, look into Qubit.
Price: Contact for pricing
If user behavior is one of your biggest goals, SiteSpect is a great option. Its tools offer personalization that is based on user data, like previous visits, sessions, and omnichannel behavior.
This data is collected by SiteSpect, which you can analyze and use to customize web pages for audience segments. When you create segments with the software, choose from an array of factors that will enhance the impact of your site, like location and device type.
Home decor company, Temple & Webster, uses SiteSpect. The “Room ideas” tab offers tons of different rooms styled using the company’s products. As you scroll down the page, you can see similar ideas based on the one you chose initially.
This website’s personalization features are very interactive and cover a range of decor styles, so it’s easy to find furniture attuned to your interests.
SiteSpect can help you build a website like Temple & Webster’s — and track their effectiveness among your visitors. When you analyze campaign performance, you can know what’s working and what’s not, to better configure your design for customers.
Price: Starts at $29/mo.
If your company is a B2B, Hyperise was created just for you. With it, you can use hyper-personalization (using data to recommend products) to boost conversions, all without coding experience.
You’ll be able to use tools that nurture leads such as IP lookup and form completion. For company branding, you can add your logo, profile images, and dynamic text. Additionally, you can create multiple, custom, CTAs to engage your audience.
This software lets you pull data from your CRM and upload it into Hyperise, so the platform is highly integratable. Hyperise also offers an extension you can download to make it easy to continue on website building.
Maybe you’re in search of a personalization tool that will integrate with your HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, or Google Sheets account. For that, Hyperise could be the solution.
When you visit sites that give you an amazing personalization experience, what about it makes it great? Pull influence from your favorite brands if you find yourself stuck. But ultimately, personalization allows you to take a decent website to one that behaves like customers expect it to, every time.
My subscription box order shipped today, and I can see when it will arrive from my homepage. While I excitedly await its arrival, I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your shiny, new, personalized website.
Creating powerful, newsworthy, and informative content is the goal, but it can be hard to achieve if it’s not data-driven.
After creating content for seven years, our team fully believes that having data as the driving element in your content campaign is the differentiator between good content and newsworthy, link-worthy content.
Coming up with creative sources for your data-driven content can be difficult sometimes, especially if what you want to examine with your content can’t be revealed through a survey methodology or an existing data set.
There are hundreds of sources of data you can use to shape your content, but the type of data I’m focusing on today can be collected from scraping publicly available information from social media platforms.
Social media platforms offer something unique that other data sources cannot. When you scrape a social media platform with intention, you have the opportunity to acquire massive amounts of information from real people, in a matter of minutes.
With the right analysis, this information can glean insights into your topic of choice that the public wouldn’t have otherwise known. Any new, surprising, or controversial information you infer from the analysis will have journalists begging to take the exclusive and cover your content marketing campaign for their publisher.
In this post, I’m going to share five examples of social media scrapes that earned top-tier publisher press, and why they worked. But first — what does social media data scraping mean, anyway?
What is social media data scraping?
Social media data scraping is a methodology that incorporates third-party technology to automatically scrape data from a website such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
By using third-party data scraping tools such as Octoparse or Parsehub, you’ll receive your data in a neat excel package that will then allow you to analyze it however you wish.
Popular aspects to analyze with social media data sets include conducting a sentiment analysis, analyzing volume and frequency of certain words or symbols, and looking at patterns of individual words with location data.
Next, let’s dive into how you can use the data you scrape as inspiration for future content.
How to Use Social Media Data as a Source for Your Content
1. Peruse Instagram to come up with fun content ideas.
In our first example, we’ll look at a content campaign called #SexiestLocations on Instagram.
The execution of this project was fairly simple: our research team collected over 4 million posts on Instagram that contained the hashtag #sexy. They then analyzed the posts that included a geolocation tag. From this, they were able to glean the “sexiest” countries in the world, as well as U.S. states.
Safe to say, publishers ate it up.
While it’s actually impossible to truly learn what the sexiest place in the world is (sexy is a subjective term) our team produced a fun campaign for our client that used geo-bait to appeal to light-hearted online sites, like Glamour, E! Online, Women’s Health, and Elite Daily.
2. Explore Twitter to learn more about a pressing topic.
In our second example, we’ll look at a campaign covering a much different topic: college drinking habits.
In this methodology, rather than exploring Instagram, the team analyzed Tweets from Twitter instead. The researchers looked at tweets within a 1.5 mile radius of the center of small, four-year colleges and universities that included the keywords “drunk,” “drinking,” “alcohol,” “booze,” “beer,” or “wine.”
There are official rankings that come out every year that pit universities in America against each other for the top “party school” in the nation. This project speaks to this notion in a new way, by looking to data from Twitter to back up those claims.
This campaign speaks to the ongoing conversation about the problem and prevalence of dangerous levels of college drinking in America. Again, using geo-bait and highly targeted digital PR outreach, this campaign was able to earn coverage at the Huffington Post, Adweek, Elite Daily, and BroBible.
3. Don’t overlook niche social platforms, like Yelp.
You don’t just have to stick to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram when creating content from social media data. There is a world of niche community platforms that can give you so much unique, interesting information that you can’t find anywhere else.
For instance, this content example uses popular restaurant review platform Yelp to glean insights about Americans’ dining preferences. What are the most popular cuisines in different cities across America? Using Yelp’s Fusion API, this study analyzed more than 120,000 restaurants in the U.S. with their ratings, pricing, and restaurant categories.
Yelp turned out to be a treasure trove of solid data. This visualization shows viewers the most unique restaurants for each city, the number of restaurants, and more. From this, you can see that Boston has more bagel restaurants than other cities, per capita.
This project saw a lot of success very quickly — once the exclusive went live on the Temple University section of ULOOP, it quickly syndicated to other U.S. university sites and earned over 100 pieces of unique media coverage.
4. Analyze tweets for advanced textual insights.
There are times when using a Twitter scrape just isn’t enough, and you need external analysis. In one of the coolest uses of Twitter data I’ve seen, a campaign called “Most Powerful Women” does just that.
IBM Watson Personality Insights is a free online tool by IBM that allows you to analyze text for prevalence of character traits. Typically you might use this tool to analyze speeches that people have given, or articles they’ve written. In the absence of that, you can use their own personal Twitter timeline to get samples of their writing.
The study sought to find out what the similarities and differences are between some of the top 100 “most powerful” women in the world. From Oprah to Queen Elizabeth, the takeaways gleaned from this study are numerous.
The exclusive to this project went to Bravo, a site that often covers powerful women for their audience, anyway.
For those of us who want to be powerful women too, we can learn which traits will take us all the way to the top, based on the most common traits shared by these famous and powerful women.
5. Conduct a survey for more actionable insights.
In my final example, we’ll look at #AdAnalysis, a campaign that combines an Instagram scrape methodology with a survey of 1,000 Americans to derive fascinating insights on the topic of influencer marketing on Instagram.
The campaign researchers sought to answer a few questions: What types of photos are popular for advertisements, and which demographics respond to promoted posts the most positively?
The first question was answered with a data scraping, and the second was answered with a survey.
Combining the two methods of research allowed the campaign to offer more well-rounded and actionable insights to journalists and news publishers.
Best Practices for Scraping Social Media for Content Marketing Campaigns
After producing over a hundred social media scrape campaigns over the past seven years, we’ve learned first-hand what types of social media campaigns excel during digital PR outreach.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Yelp all have their unique benefits and can offer valuable insight into topics across the spectrum.
In this post, I walked through five campaigns that used social scraping as a methodology. All three campaigns represented diverse subject matter: college education, sex and relationships, food, leadership, and advertising. This methodology can clearly be used across all verticals — for nearly any brand in any niche.
Here’s some tips to keep in mind when producing content with a social media scrape.
- Hashtags are typically subjective, so keep projects lighthearted in nature in order to earn major coverage.
- Stay away from using social scrape methodologies to talk about things that are scientific or close to health topics — people looking for health advice should get information from licensed professionals.
- Make sure that no matter the topic, whatever you produce contributes to an ongoing conversation.
- Exercise caution when combining newsjacking and the scrape methodology, because trending news topics can become old very quickly if you don’t earn coverage immediately.
Twitter was one of the first social media platforms I ever joined, but it wasn’t nearly as fancy as it is today. Now, there are a variety of features you can use to take your ecommerce business to the next level.
In fact, according to Twitter, its users are 2.7x more likely to purchase a product after seeing it on the platform. Partner with influencers and that purchase intent increases by 5.2x! Needless to say, Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool for your business, whether you’re new to the platform or growing steadily.
Without further ado, let’s walk through some strategies and examples to help you perfect your Twitter presence
Twitter Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
1. Design an eye-catching profile.
To start, your Twitter profile should be optimized to make a great first impression and eventually generate sales. To do this, you’ll need consistent branding across your profile layout, which means your cover photo and profile picture should be complementary and visually appealing.
The profile picture will likely be a picture of your logo or something that represents your business while the cover photo will further communicate your brand, mission, or message.
As for your bio, this section is like the elevator pitch of your business. Think of this section as another opportunity to spark interest in those who come across your profile. You can use keywords relevant to your business here for a more targeted approach. Also, don’t forget to add a link to your ecommerce site so people know where to find your products!
Lastly, you can use the pinned tweet feature to keep a tweet at the top of your profile. This feature is great for emphasizing a message or promoting new products.
Here is an example of a well-optimized Twitter profile from Away, a travel & luggage ecommerce company:
2. Engage with your fanbase.
What’s great about Twitter is that it’s made for 24/7 interactions and constant activity, whereas very frequent posting from brands on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook may feel disingenuous and spam-like.
This perk means you should always be interacting with your followers and fans. To do this, keep an eye out for your mentions (tweets including @yourusername) and respond to them. You can also retweet and favorite mentions to give a nod to these users.
Another way to engage with your fanbase is by sending interactive tweets. Question prompts or Twitter polls, tweets where you can create polls and see instant results, are perfect for this.
You can ask about topics related to your product or even something entertaining relevant to your industry. Polls are also another way to gather opinions, so there’s some bonus market research! Here’s an example of a poll that Old Spice included in one of their Tweets:
Are you Ultra Smooth or After Hours #SmellLikeYourOwnManMan
— Old Spice (@OldSpice)
January 23, 2020
3. Grow your following.
Beyond your existing followers, it’s also important to grow your audience to increase your brand awareness and attract more customers to your ecommerce store. From a technical standpoint, having more followers also allows you to distribute your content and get the word out about whatever it is you sell faster.
Garner new attention by participating in Twitter conversations relevant to your business. A strategic way to be part of the conversation on a large scale is by using trending Twitter hashtags. With trending hashtags in your tweets, you’re tapping into an entirely new network of people who may find interest in what you have to offer.
On a smaller scale, you can reach new users by searching keywords relevant to your ecommerce business using Twitter’s search function. You’ll find conversations and questions about these keywords that you can offer some value in, which may lead someone to tap on your profile and give you a follow in return. You can go about this practice yourself, but here are some social listening tools to lend a hand.
To acknowledge new followers, set up your account with automated direct messages, which send new followers a customized message. Your message should be friendly, welcoming, and show appreciation for the new follow. An automated DM that feels sincere can begin a relationship and move a prospective customer forward in their buyer’s journey.
4. Schedule your content.
With Twitter, the more active you are, the better. Having constant activity boosts your brand reputation and keeps your business top of mind for prospective customers, assuming your tweets are meaningful and speak to the audience. You can enlist a social media management tool to help you maintain your presence by scheduling your posts in advance.
There are also optimal posting times on Twitter you can take advantage of when scheduling your content. B2C companies experience higher clickthrough rates on weekends while B2B companies see more success on weekdays. B2C companies also find the best times to post in the day to be 8 to 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 7-9 p.m.
Scheduling your content is also a great way to plan ahead for special occasions such as holidays and cultural events. Joining conversations regarding these topics is another opportunity to promote your ecommerce business, so think in advance of how you want to craft your message.
Though scheduling your content can make your workflow more efficient, it doesn’t mean you can just schedule and forget. Twitter is a platform that is very much about the here and now as news and trending topics change by the hour. A mix of scheduled posts and live tweets are a perfect combination to grow your exposure.
5. Make the best of Twitter Ads.
Twitter offers a variety of ads depending on your objective. For ecommerce, the best types of ads are awareness and website click campaigns which promote your brand and generate conversions respectively.
For awareness ads, you will be billed for every 1,000 impressions and for website ads, you will be billed for every click to your website. You can also use remarketing in your ads to target people similar to those who have visited your website.
When creating ads, there are several tips to keep in mind for best performance. Twitter users crave short and sweet content, so keep your ads concise and to the point. You also want to make sure your ad copy is friendly, human, and approachable to match Twitter’s conversational atmosphere.
Beyond text, visuals are also a helpful tool to use since images and videos can speak louder than words. They can also be a great way to provide better context for your audience. Below is an example from Daily Harvest of a website click campaign so you can see how all of these characteristics of an effective Twitter ad complement each other:
Skip the shopping, chopping, and prepping and stock your freezer with delicious, good-for-you food built on organic fruits and vegetables. Delivered & ready in minutes.
☑️$25 OFF your first order
☑️Dairy-free & gluten-free
— Daily Harvest (@DlyHarvest)
May 6, 2020
For a step-by-step outline on how to set up Twitter Ads, check out our simple guide.
Twitter Ecommerce Marketing Examples
Amassing 1.1million followers, Amazon’s Alexa is a fan favorite on Twitter for its funny and conversational tweets. Just a look at Alexa’s profile can provide a good idea of the account’s personality.
To break it down, the branding of this account is well done because the bio is written in such a human tone and is comparable to the typical Twitter bio of any other person. Additionally, its Twitter handle, @alexa99, is like what you would find of the average Twitter user handle, making the account much more relatable.
Alexa is also no stranger to sending polls and asking prompts to create engagement with its fans. Its prompts are also personal and lighthearted, so users who choose to share their opinions are happy to do so and feel like they are part of the conversation.
dance when Alexa plays music
What song are you asking DJ Alexa to play? 💬🎤
— Alexa (@alexa99)
May 14, 2020
Zappos is known for its phenomenal customer service, which certainly carries over to their Twitter. The Zappos Twitter account managers focus on social listening and reply to their mentions or relevant tweets almost every hour, allowing them to win over new fans and continue to impress loyal followers.
Below is an example of how Zappos uses social listening:
We will let you in on a secret… Santa works for us over summer because he’s bored. *DO
— Zappos.com (@Zappos)
June 22, 2020
Although Zappos was not directly mentioned with an “@,” they were still quick to hop in and provide a solution for the potential customer. Zappos also put the cherry on top by providing a direct link to solve the customer’s problem, accelerating the customer’s buying process while standing out against its competitors.
Above is another example of Zappos keeping in touch with customers. They replied in a witty way and also retweeted the customer’s mention. It may be easier to leave a satisfied customer be, but why not join the party and celebrate their satisfaction with them?
3. Warby Parker
Beyond celebrating customers, it’s also important to show customers your values and your support for them. In light of the continuing Black Lives Matter movement, Warby Parker has used Twitter to show their stance through words and actions.
— Warby Parker (@WarbyParker)
June 13, 2020
The above shows Warby Parker’s statement on the Black Lives Matter movement. The company not only shows solidarity but has also gone beyond performative activism by sharing what actions they will take to tackle the issue.
As a business with influence and power, their allyship and support for anti-racism speaks volumes to their target audience and has the potential to dramatically improve their customer and employee relations.
4. Fenty Beauty
Right off the bat, Fenty Beauty differentiates itself by using a hashtag in its bio. This makes the brand easier to find for people who are searching for cruelty-free beauty products on the platform. However, if you choose to put hashtags in your Twitter bio, one is enough. Try not to flood your description with hashtags since it can be off-putting.
What the Fenty Beauty Twitter account does well while selling beauty & cosmetics products is show real use cases of their collection that other customers can relate to.
— Fenty Beauty (@fentybeauty)
June 21, 2020
In the above example, Rihanna, founder of Fenty Beauty, shows a short demo of one of the company’s lipsticks. This video is an effective way to reel in people who may be on the lookout for similar products. On top of that, video content on Twitter is a useful tool to cut through the text-focused platform and grab the attention of more potential customers.
For your ecommerce business, consider how you can show your audience why they should care about your product through your tweets. This could be in the form of video demonstrations or perhaps a before and after comparison.
Chewy is an online one-stop-shop for all pet needs, from pups to lizards. Chewy’s Twitter account lives up to its slogan and brings together pet owners of all kinds. Pet owners tweet at the account and, similarly to the previous accounts we reviewed, Chewy replies in a way that feels personal. Here’s an example of what I mean by this:
Hey Teri, we’ll always be here to help with anything and everything you may need. Losing a furbaby is never easy, but we hope the memories you two built together over the years can continue to bring comfort and warmth to your heart. We’ll continue to be here for you, too. ❤️
— Chewy (@Chewy)
June 24, 2020
In this customer interaction, Chewy was able to provide a solution while showing empathy, something customers often crave from businesses.
Chewy also takes advantage of their large Twitter following to promote their blog posts, which provide helpful information for the various types of pet owners their target audience includes. Their insights are relevant, valuable, and prove how much the company cares for pets and parents.
While we’re all wishing for the return of afternoons spent at the dog park, it’s important to ease your pet’s reintegration into the outside world.
We hope you continue to find moments of comfort with your pet.
— Chewy (@Chewy)
May 23, 2020
Phew! That’ll give you plenty to think about. If you want more examples of successful Twitter accounts, we’ve got you covered here. At the end of the day, Twitter is a top social media platform that can bring your business values and mission to life.
It’s also a powerful marketing tool to tune into your audience, build relationships with your followers, and boost sales. For more detailed information on exactly how to raise brand awareness and increase sales on Twitter, see our ultimate guide to Twitter marketing.
Right now, Account-based Marketing (ABM) is the hottest B2B ticket in town — with 87% of marketers stating that it delivers better ROI than other marketing activities.
While for many people it may be a relatively new strategy, it has in fact been around for many years in different guises. In fact, you might’ve already heard the term as Key Account Management, Key Account Marketing, or Client-centric Marketing.
The objective of ABM is, quite simply, to treat one account as a market of one, i.e. to focus all your energy (and resources) on engaging, winning, and maintaining one named account.
Expanding on this, ABM has four underlying principles:
- Client centricity and insight
- Partnership between sales and marketing
- Focus on reputation, relationships and, ultimately, revenue
- Tailored programs and campaigns
Simple right? Well, the reality is that to justify this level of effort and resources the prize must be sufficiently large enough to warrant this expenditure. ABM therefore is best suited to complex, high ‘ticket price’ solutions with longer life-cycle sales, and where typically multiple stakeholders are involved.
Strategic ABM (one-to-one) and one-to-few (clusters of 15-20 accounts with shared commonality, i.e. vertical, industry, pain, challenge, etc.) have defined ABM for the last few years.
But there is a new ABM kid on the block who is shaking things up: one-to-many ABM.
The Rise of the ABM Tech Stack
One of the key reasons why ABM has become so popular and now forms a key part of any B2B marketing and sales playbook is the use of technology to automate and target those accounts (and individuals) you are looking to influence and convert.
The rise of one-to-many ABM programs targeting hundreds (and even thousands) of accounts has been largely possible due to the technological and data advances that are now available to B2B marketers.
Quite simply, one-to-many ABM would not have been possible several years ago.
Bev Burgess, one of the world’s leading ABM authorities, recently stated “One-to-many ABM now allows companies to have an ‘Always-on’ strategy to those accounts that are of interest to you'”.
What is Account-based Advertising?
The analogy most commonly used to describe the difference between ABM and Inbound Marketing is fishing with spears vs. fishing with nets. As the image below shows, ABM is the inverse of Inbound Marketing:
Account selection is the starting point. As such, being able, from the outset, to target named accounts and the relevant Decision Making Unit (DMU) within the account is the foundation of any successful Account-based Marketing program.
And this is where Account-based Advertising comes in. Account-based Advertising allows you to hyper-target and hyper-personalize digital marketing campaigns to these named accounts.
Simply put, account-based advertising means your digital advertising campaigns are highly focused and centered on only those accounts you wish to engage, penetrate, and win.
Account-based advertising allows you:
- Amplify your digital advertising campaigns to increase the chances of winning a deal. Expanding your retargeting from the original website visitor to the wider DMU will increase your chances significantly.
- We’re familiar with the large number of target account contacts involved in a decision making process (6-10 according to Gartner). Digital advertising allows you to reach and influence this wider important group.
- Focus your marketing spend and drive higher ROI of your digital advertising budget by targeting those accounts that display intent signals.
How to be Successful with Account-based Advertising
Let’s take a look at what makes up a successful account-based advertising campaign.
1. Consider your account-based advertising options.
There are many digital advertising options available (and the number is growing). There are a large number of digital advertising partners and ABM platforms that can provide access to these channel tactics.
Ensure you carefully choose your tactics and channels, based on your marketing budget, messaging, and audience.
A) Programmatic Advertising
Many of us are familiar with this form of advertising. These advertisements are generated via cookie-based targeting and the advertisements appear natively in-channel, delivering a far more natural impact. The ads are served up on websites and apps through online platforms such as Google, Avocet, or AdRoll publication networks.
A subset of Programmatic Advertising allows you to target the actual device that conducted the search, as well. This is a step forward from traditional IP-based targeting, particularly in light of the explosion in remote working in the last few months which will undoubtedly continue for some time.
B) LinkedIn Paid Advertising
LinkedIn has become a major player in the digital advertising arena. They offer a (growing) number of formats and options for you to target the Accounts and/or Persona of interest to you:
Advertising options such as Sponsored Content allow you to deliver content to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who are following you or your company — which enables you to target specific prospects within target Accounts. The important benefit is specific content can be delivered at-scale.
Additionally, LinkedIn paid advertising allows you to test different ad units depending on the campaign objectives, which stage of the funnel to which you’re looking to promote, and the scale of the tactic/channel.
C) Content Syndication
This is a common awareness stage tactic you might use for one-to-many ABM to promote your content across a wide B2B content syndication network of websites, blogs, social media, etc. (To learn more about how to syndicate your content, take a look at Content Syndication: What It Is & How to Do It Successfully).
We’re all familiar with retargeting, although we may not know it. Did you ever notice that ads appear related to your recent searches when you’re reading your favorite blog content or perusing Facebook? This is thanks to retargeting.
Retargeting is a feature that lets you customize your display ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site, and tailor your ads (using dynamic retargeting) to these visitors when they browse the web and use social media apps.
The key here is not to tire your audience with the same ads but to constantly refresh and always be relevant to your audience.
2. Keep your audience and persona top-of-mind when personalizing content.
Data-backed buyer persona research is the foundation of any ABM campaign and this is certainly true with any digital advertising campaign that accompanies it.
Personalization is key. Desk research and in-depth insight reports will shine a light on the account and the industry to which it belongs. Further research into the DMU and named individuals within the account will inform your messaging and digital advertising strategy.
Keeping your audience in-mind will ensure your content resonates.
Remember that your message will be read by human beings who are facing specific challenges, so make it a priority to understand their pain points and challenges.
Always ensure that your message is empathetic, builds rapport, and focuses on how you can help solve their challenges — rather than how great your business is.
Putting your personas at the heart of your campaign strategy will help you see success with your Account-based advertising campaign. Always review which of your previous campaigns have resonated strongly with your audience — what content formats and language do they respond to best?
3. Make your messages as relevant as possible to your target audience.
With an ABM one-to-one campaign, you should research the target company in detail to make sure your messaging is as relevant as possible, speaking to both the challenges of the persona and the organization at-large. With a one-to-few program, you might customize the message by industry vertical or sales challenge.
Even at the one-to-many level, consider how you can add light-touch personalization and keep it relevant. Review whether the advertising tactic/channel you choose enables you to add some helpful personalization tokens, including first name, last name, company name, job title, and industry.
As a general rule, it’s best not to get too carried away with the number of CTAs you use. Rather than presenting users with a short message and five CTAs, start by compelling them to take the most important action first (such as downloading an ebook) and then stagger the additional options using the sequence to ensure there’s enough context around each offer. The ‘ask’ should be crystal clear!
4. Consider your searcher’s intent and use the right keywords to match it.
Intent data can provide valuable insights to help you ensure that you target only those Accounts that are in an active buyer’s journey. The image below illustrates the process to narrow down an initial ‘in-house’ Target Account list by a) looking at your first party data — who is engaged with your brand? and b) using intent data to see which Accounts are in an active buyer journey.
This intersection of first and third-party data is the sweet spot and where your Account-based Advertising can be deployed at will.
Equally, when it comes to the topics and messaging you’ll be sharing, intent data can ensure they will resonate with your intended audience. What keywords are they trending around and does your messaging answer the questions they’re actively trying to solve?
Work any relevant keywords into your sequence … without going overboard with buzzwords, of course!
Even though your audience may be trending around multiple topics, it’s best to keep your messaging focused on just one topic to avoid confusion. This ad format works especially well when you have multiple assets around a single topic — for instance, an ebook, video, and blog article. This enables users who aren’t ready to convert yet to explore some of your other content and increases your brand awareness within the audience.
It’s All In Your Hands
Account-based Marketing is clearly here to stay, and more and more organizations will adopt or expand their existing ABM programs.
Data and technology now open up a myriad of opportunities to B2B marketers to deliver a hyper-personalized experience that will only increase as new ways are discovered to seek out and target the accounts you wish to win or grow. Account-based advertising will be a thrilling area to watch over the coming months and years.
Cooking is my favorite pastime. It’s so much fun to find new recipes and learn about new ingredients. Plus, (usually) the results are delicious. Finding new recipes and ingredients is nothing short of delightful.
One meal I love to make is grilled cheese — but not just any ole’ grilled cheese. Instead, I use plant-based ingredients and add two condiments: butter, and mayonnaise (trust me).
If I were making grilled cheese for me, I’d have to add some things. First, all of my ingredients have to be plant-based due to my dietary restrictions. Second, I’d add two more condiments: butter and mayonnaise (trust me).
On its own, cheese and bread is a great duo. But with a few additions, a nice duo becomes an excellent mix — one that I’m always excited to eat.
Like a perfect sandwich, every marketing structure calls for good strategies, or “ingredients,” that make it great. Those “ingredients” are generally referred to as a marketing mix, and can be summed up in four categories: Product, pricing, placement, and promotion.
While the marketing mix describes the basics for product marketing, it doesn’t have room for services marketing. That’s where the extended marketing mix comes into play. And, just like my vegan grilled cheeses, a few additional changes can elevate your service marketing structure to the next level.
Here, let’s dive into what extended marketing mix means, and how it can help
Extended Marketing Mix vs. Marketing Mix
The marketing mix pillars work together to help you make business decisions that’ll define marketing strategy and activities. Identifying these pillars points out what you need, where your company excels, and where it can improve.
The four pillars of the original marketing mix are as follows:
- Product — This is what your company sells.
- Place — This identifies how you will sell the product to customers in their preferred way to shop. For instance, will you sell your product on a website, or in a brick-and-mortar shop?
- Price — This determines how much money you need to sell your product for to hit revenue goals while remaining within price ranges determined by the industry at-large.
- Promotion — This is where you flesh out the methods you use to engage customers. Promotion, selling, PR, sales, and ads are how businesses commonly communicate with their target market.
Notice how the marketing mix naturally works together. Products need a price, place to be sold, and promotions to reach an intended audience. Promotions need a product, price, and place to make that messaging effective. Ultimately, any way you look at the mix, you’ll find how the other three fit.
On the other hand, the extended marketing mix is just that — an extension of the original pillars. Instead of just four components, there’s an additional three. These three allow for a more complete, updated mix.
The extended marketing mix came along when marketers noticed the original was outdated and needed a few extra pillars. With the additions, the marketing mix now allows for services marketing.
- People — Describes the people behind the company. No matter the role, the people working with the product are as essential as customers. They advocate for the company and communicate the business’ value to their customers.
Example: The baristas at my local coffee shop create an exceptional customer experience. Of course, the lattes are good, but my favorite barista greets me by name and knows my order, and that ultimately keeps me coming back. A company is only as good as the people behind the scenes.
- Processes — Identifies how you will meet customer expectations. Outline what you will do to deliver a fantastic consumer experience every time. Consider creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to solidify processes.
Example: Let’s revisit the coffee shop scenario. Baristas have a recipe to follow when making various drinks that make sure the customer gets their order the way they expect.
- Physical Evidence — Notes the physical elements needed to complete the mix. Even if a company provides services, there are physical aspects that companies use to delight customers and set themselves apart from competitors, like promotional materials.
Example: The coffee shop in my neighborhood thrives and defines itself with being a local business among the mass of coffee chains in my area. Everything is local — the beans, the mugs, and the decor comes from the Boston area — and that’s how it’s different from a massive chain.
The extended mix, like the original, works with the rest of the mix.
First, let’s talk about how the three Ps can intertwine. People at your company have to follow the processes set in place, using physical evidence. We can also say the processes set in place define the role of people and physical evidence.
If we look at the both mixes, we see the same. Companies need the right people to execute promotion of the product or service. To put the connection between the mixes in a different way, the extended mix is a customer-facing toolkit for enhancing the marketing mix.
The extended marketing mix helps companies define their marketing strategy in a well-rounded system. Identifying each portion of the mix gets you one step closer to a functional, complete marketing plan.
Consider using the extended marketing mix to help you make business decisions that sets your company apart from competitors. For instance, fleshing out the tools needed for promotion involves coming up with an individualized marketing campaign audiences love.
Marketing mixes are considered a foundational part of any organization. If you are just starting to define a business plan, use this strategy to help with budgeting for marketing. The different elements of the mix helps figure out costs.
Every pillar, especially price and promotion, help you determine where to allocate your budget. For example, you have to determine a fair price for your product, and finalize how much you’re willing to put towards other factors, such as promotion and physical evidence.
Now that you know a little more about the extended marketing mix, are you going to use it to figure out your next campaign’s expenses? Remember, this strategy isn’t just for start-ups. If you’re struggling to define a successful strategy, identifying these pillars can be a helpful organizational tool.
Marketing mixes and their extension. Cheese and bread. Chai leaves and hot water. Duos are best when they work together — how are you going to make your marketing mixes work together for your company?
Believe it or not, driving traffic to your website — albeit challenging — isn’t enough to sustain your business. In an effort to truly leverage that investment in traffic, marketers must use conversion rate optimization, or CRO, to convince said traffic to complete a desired action.
In some cases, these optimization techniques might be as basic as changing the color of a CTA. In other cases, there’s a lot more that can be improved.
The list below outlines a ton of helpful tools for marketers who are looking to optimize their conversion rates. To help you understand which tools are used for what, we’ve also broken this list into a few major categories: Lead capture tools, research tools, analytics tools, mouse tracking and heat maps, feedback tools, and experiment tools.
From high-level changes like landing page and email design and inspiration to in-depth insights on how your visitors navigate through your content, these tools will help you improve the performance of your site.
Ready? Let’s get converting …
Lead Capture Tools
These are the tools that you will use to capture more leads on your site, thus improving your CRO. While most conversion-focused content has a built-in form or CTA, these tools act as additional lead capture mechanisms to boost the number of leads that convert on your content.
Picture Google Analytics meets SumoMe meets a CRM. Sounds cool, right? It starts with an exit intent popup CTA, then sync with your website’s existing forms to learn about your site visitors and their path through your pages.
HubSpot’s tools give you in-depth contact insights on prospects and current contacts in your database, and also pairs its contacts database with a dashboard that shows you on a high-level view of which marketing efforts are paying off and converting, and which ones aren’t.
Price: Free plan, or $29-$49/mo.
HelloBar is a lead capture tool that allows you to add a popup form to your website to grow your email list, promote your social pages, showcase a sale, or other lead generation strategies. The free version allows you to create one modal that’ll be shown to every tenth visitor. However, premium plans offer more advanced call-to-action options.
Price: Free plan, or $49/mo.
Sumo offers a suite of free tools to help you increase your site conversions. For lead capture, it offers a “Welcome Mat” popup CTA, a “Smart Bar” to increase email subscribers, a scroll-triggered box, and a “Contact Us” form.
Along with their Google Analytics research tools, the Sumo suite helps you gain on-page insights and increase your email list.
Before you create any content, you’ll want to call upon these tools to draw inspiration and check out what other smart marketers have seen success with in the past.
The best content is the content that gets shared and linked to the most. So what better way to gain preliminary insights than to compile all of the most shared content on your particular topic?
With BuzzSumo, all you have to do is enter the keyword or topic. Then, it’ll pull together the most shared and linked to content on that topic. Time frames range from the last day, week, month, or year.
So if you’re trying to optimize the landing page for your new webinar on cat fashion, all you have to do is enter “cat fashion,” and BuzzSumo will give the best articles, resources, videos, and more on the fascinating topic of cat couture.
You’ll then be able to dig in and explore some of the key elements that made these pages popular so that you can go back and incorporate them into your own content.
Price: Contact for pricing
Knowing where your website visitors came from can (and should) have a big impact on the type of content you create. With SimilarWeb, you can see where your traffic is coming from, which keywords are fueling your organic traffic, and what other sites are considered most similar to yours.
With this information, you’ll be able to optimize content for your biggest traffic sources, and dig in to see what competitor sites and doing to drive conversions.
If you’re creating a landing page from scratch, getting started can be difficult. Luckily there’s Land-book: A free collection of the web’s best designed landing pages.
With Land-book, you can explore the ways that top companies are using elements like copy, positioning, layout, and design to drive conversions. Pick and choose your favorite elements from the Land-book database, and then incorporate them into your own landing page.
In today’s marketing landscape, if you want to get your message across, you’d better know a thing or two about visual communication and design.
Don’t know a thing or two about either? Enter: Really Good Emails.
Similar to Land-book (see above), Really Good Emails is a database of the web’s best designed emails from the world’s most innovative companies. Use this as a resource to see how you can design your email to get your message across in the best way possible, as fast as possible.
(Check out this post for even more resources where you can find great marketing examples.)
When sending email, the subject line can either make or break your performance. Before you choose which ones to ship, check them out using this awesome resource.
SubjectLine.com has tested over three million subject lines and has a tool to evaluate your potential options. It gives a deliverability and marketing score, plus advice on improving.
CoSchedule’s headline analyzer gives a score of 1–100 to gauge the effectiveness of titles. The score is calculated based on word usage, grammar, vocabulary, which type of headline it is, as well as character and word count.
The tool shows you what your headline looks like on Google and in an email subject line. This tool serves as a great litmus test to generally know how well your headline will perform.
These are the tools that you will use to measure and track your content’s performance. You can use them to fully analyze the dips, jumps, and fluctuations in your conversion rate.
Price: Contact for pricing
Kissmetrics is a complex tool that integrates with your email service provider to make it easy for you to analyze your audience and email them in specific cohorts.
With Kissmetrics, you can learn the path that your customers have taken through your website, conduct A/B tests, build data sets (without SQL), and figure out the ROI from your campaigns.
11. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free way to track your website visitors. You can see how long it takes visitors to bounce from your pages, if visitors complete goals from a certain path, and which sources are bringing people to your website.
What’s great about Google Analytics is that is allows you to see which keywords people are searching to find your page, track which device people are searching for your website on, and uncover demographic data. However, there are no specific emails/contacts associated with your site visitors.
Website Grader is a great way to get a quick snapshot of a website’s overall performance. It gives insights on performance factors (including speed, page size, and page requests), mobile responsiveness and appearance, SEO (page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and site map), and security.
From there, the tool devises a grade and provides suggestions on how to improve, which makes it easy to come up with some quick wins that’ll help you boost conversions.
Mouse Tracking & Heat Mapping Tools
These are the tools that you will use to see how people are interacting with your content, including how they scroll and where they click.
Price: Free for Basic, $29/mo.
Once you’ve nailed the basics like landing pages, CTAs, popups, and content, you’re ready for some more advanced conversion rate optimization. Hotjar offers heat maps and screen recordings, which enable you to track how much of your page is being viewed, as well as how visitors are navigating your website.
Like the screenshot above, Hotjar also offers analytics, so you can see how well your pages are performing. This is helpful to see what is and isn’t working, and what you can change to increase conversion.
Price: Contact for pricing
Clicktale is similar to Hotjar, as it also offers heat maps to help you determine the most valuable real estate on your pages, scroll depth (where is the “fold” on your website?), click tracking, and also link analysis.
Using these tools, you’ll have the information you need to organize content, CTAs, and page design in a way that makes the most sense for engagement.
Price: Free plan, or $9.99-$149/mo.
Clicky gives you real time analytics on the visitors on your website. It tells you where people are accessing your site from, how long they’ve stayed on each page, and how many visitors are actively online. The resource also offers heat maps and scroll tracking.
Clicky is an excellent one-stop shop for customer behavior. You’ll have multiple formats at your disposal to leverage for optimizing the performance of your website — so you can convert as many leads as possible.
16. Crazy Egg
Price: $24 – $249/mo.
Crazy Egg offers a full suite of heat maps and click tracking, with the additional functionality of being able to segment clicks by source and evaluate link effectiveness.The basic package is fairly inexpensive and gives great insights on how effective each page of your website is.
Price: Free plan, or up to $100/mo.
Heatmap.me is a great free option for anyone looking to start exploring heat maps, responsive web design tests, and real-time page statistics. Heatmap.me can also track dynamic elements on your site in the heat map tool — think: slider bars, photo galleries, and other interactive sections.
When you use the tool, you’ll be able to see real-time analytics. It gives you the data you really care about, such as CTR and page performance. They’re easy to analyze for beginners, and provide the numbers you need to enhance success.
These are the tools that you will use to engage and receive feedback from your visitors. Feedback tools include surveys, polls, messaging, and user testing programs.
You can use chat tools to both acquire new customers and chat with existing customers.
As a CRO tool, you can use Intercom to communicate with website prospects to learn if they need additional help, find out how their experience is going, and learn how you can improve. It also allows you to track leads and use a shared inbox with your team.
Using chat windows doesn’t have to be limited to just being live. In fact, Qualaroo proves that. It offers popups to collect live feedback from website viewers.
With this information, you can tailor a site experience, target certain customers, and learn what issues people may be experiencing. This tool is extremely helpful at all stages of the funnel, and is especially utilized in the ecommerce space.
SurveyMonkey has a free option for those just starting out with survey research. You can use this tool to learn demographic information, discover which types of content your prospects and blog subscribers prefer, and get product feedback.
Survey your customers about their satisfaction. You’ll get great insight, straight from the source, about what draws your audience to your company. From these results, you can work on improving conversion methods.
21. Five Second Test
UsabilityHub has an awesome community-fueled tool called 5 Second Test that allows users to upload a product, app experience, or design and have the community test it before launch. For example, one of the tests you can run is a click test, which will give you a heat map of page performance.
You get responses about recall, general feedback, and UI thoughts. This is a great way to have opinions. Five Second Test also offer click tests, preference tests, question tests, and navflow tests for other website and UI questions. You can also design surveys with the tool.
These are the tools that you will use to manage, plan, and execute A/B and multivariate tests. Some of these tools will help you turn ideas into experiments, while others will help you create the variations and run the actual tests on your site.
Price: Contact for pricing
Testing is hard: It’s hard to come up with a good control group, find a large sample, and determine if your experiment is statistically significant. Luckily, Optimizely helps a lot with all of that … and then some. With Optimizely, you conduct tests across all devices and platforms, then figure out if it is significant or not. The software offers A/B, multiple page, and multivariate tests.
Optimizely’s tool gives you a full, robust report of test results, like shown above. You’ll see how interactions, and best of all — sign up clicks. Your report will tell you how many leads each test variant earned, so you can choose the best.
Price: Contact for pricing
Effective Experiments is a concise way to track all of your experiments. If you have tons of Excel spreadsheets cross-referenced with Google Analytics data, you are probably going crazy trying to keep track of everything. This tool puts it all in one place and helps you determine statistical significance.
Now, you’re armed and ready to start improving conversion rates across your website and marketing efforts. These tools range from free and for beginners to robust and more advanced. Feel out which options seem right for you and soon you’ll be upgrading to the more complex tools when you’ve mastered the basics.
Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, businesses have had to reckon with its economic impact for over a full quarter.
For the last several months, we’ve been publishing weekly cuts of data on core performance metrics, to provide business owners with useful benchmarks as they adapted to circumstances that were changing by the day.
Now that businesses have closed the books on Q2, we wanted to take a step back and assess where our customers are, four months later. How does the state of business compare today to where it was in March? How have teams changed their behavior to adapt to the new economic climate? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? And what changes are here to stay?
This retrospective takes a deep dive into buyer interest, marketing and sales outreach, and sales outcomes (spoiler alert: there’s a lot of engaged prospects out there, but sales teams have work to do in capturing that interest). We examine how different industries, regions, and company sizes have been impacted by COVID-19, and offer suggestions for investments that make sense right now.
HubSpot can’t make predictions about what will happen, and nobody knows what the future looks like. But we hope this report from our customer base provides a helpful reference as businesses enter the next quarter, and that the insights are useful to you in some way. To explore the accompanying dataset on your own, you can find our interactive microsite here.
This data is based on benchmarks calculated using weekly averages from Q2 vs. post-holiday weekly averages from Q1. Because the data is aggregated from our customer base, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors. While certain data is reported by industry, please note that we do not track all industries, and that HubSpot’s industry classifications may not correspond with standard industry classifications.
What We’re Seeing Today: A Q2 Snapshot
When COVID-19 began shutting down economies in Q1, businesses that already had an online presence were at a distinct advantage. The data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and that businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.
The story gets a little murkier once buyers actually start to engage with companies. Marketing teams have risen to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in a messy, chaotic crisis and met an audience of buyers who suddenly spend all day at their computer. While email volume has risen significantly — typically a no-no for teams hoping to keep their open rates up — open rates have risen faster than volume has grown, demonstrating that teams have been successful at providing relevant and helpful content.
On the sales side, things aren’t going so well. We at HubSpot are wholly empathetic to the uncertainty of buyers everywhere and the stressful situation salespeople work in right now — and that stress has been reflected in an explosion in prospecting activity. Sales teams sent up to 60% more email than pre-COVID benchmarks. But response rates have been dismal. Marketing teams have been able to connect, but sales teams haven’t. This is a huge area of opportunity for businesses as they enter the next quarter of COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Impacted Businesses in Q2
1. Buyer Interest
Website traffic has been one of the strongest-performing marketing metrics over the last three months. As buyers have moved their purchasing online out of necessity, businesses with an established digital presence have reaped the rewards. Global site traffic increased by 16% during Q2 compared to Q1. Traffic started increasing the week of March 9 and peaked during the week of April 20, at 24% above the benchmark. The metric then settled in the 15-20% range throughout May and June, and currently sits at 20% above the pre-COVID benchmark. Since we saw a similar drop for this metric at the end of Q1, we hope that site traffic will rebound again in July.
With the exception of last week, construction is one of the few industries where website traffic has risen consistently, increasing by 28% since Q1. In fact, traffic to construction websites was almost 50% above the benchmark at the start of June, before coming down a bit later in the month. Computer software followed a similar trend until late April; its positive momentum stalled during May, but rose again in early June. Both industries plateaued last week, but are still trending around 40% above the benchmark.
All other non-structurally impacted industries are following the global trend at just above or below the benchmark. But this average is a tale of two pandemics — some industries are overperforming, while others are lagging far behind. Industries like human resources and manufacturing are seeing similar traffic patterns to pre-COVID, and have remained consistent throughout May and June. Travel, an industry that was structurally impacted by COVID-19, has recovered a remarkable 40% since the week of March 30. Its site traffic is now just below the benchmark at -1%.
Since the business world has suddenly shifted to a remote setting, chat volume has soared. Sales teams have pivoted to chat to grow their pipelines, while customer service teams are leveraging this medium to manage the increased demand for support.
With the exception of two weeks, chat volume has steadily risen week-over-week since the beginning of March, peaking at 45% above the benchmark in late-May. Total chat volume in Q2 outpaced Q1 by a notable 31%. As restrictions on businesses continue to be lifted around the world, it’ll be interesting to see if chat volume maintains this steady growth.
Every industry is trending above the benchmark when it comes to live chat. This is a positive sign that buyer interest is increasing, and that people are engaging with companies more frequently. The industries that have seen the strongest performance in Q2 are construction, consumer goods, human resources, and manufacturing, which all grew by 25% or more during this last quarter. Consumer goods and construction were certainly outliers in Q2, with both industries seeing a bump of 45-50% in volume.
2. Buyer Engagement
Global marketing email sends rose significantly during the week of March 9, and stayed at elevated levels throughout Q2. Marketers sent 21% more emails during Q2 than Q1, and email sends have recently peaked at 36% above the benchmark during the week of June 15. This elevated volume is the basis for one of this report’s most surprising findings — open rates have not only remained steady relative to the increased send volume, they have actually gone up. The world has only gotten noisier since COVID-19 shut down business as usual, so this is a real testament to marketing teams that have been able to remain relevant and top-of-mind in a stressful time.
Email open rates have hovered around 10-20% above the benchmark throughout Q2. Currently, marketing email open rates sit at 18% above pre-COVID levels. It’s clear that marketing email has been a reliable outlet for engagement during the pandemic, leaving it up to sales teams to capitalize on these opportunities.
It’s also interesting to see how companies of different sizes pivoted their approach to email marketing during COVID-19. For instance, companies with 0-200 employees experienced the most growth in terms of marketing email sends during the past few months. In Q2, 0-25 employees grew 31% compared to Q1 and 26-200 grew 21%. Companies with 201+ employees sent 14% more emails in Q2, and currently this metric sits at 23% above the pre-COVID benchmark.
Even as open rates reached unexpected highs, one rule of marketing email remained true — companies that sent less email got more opens. Companies with 201+ employees had the smallest increase in email volume, and saw consistently higher open rates, currently performing 25% above the benchmark at the end of Q2. 0-25 and 26-200-employee companies also showed a strong end of June, with open rates roughly 15% above benchmark. These numbers are likely trailing behind larger companies because 0-200 employees are sending a lot more emails to a smaller customer base.
All the industries we’re tracking seem to be following the same global trend for marketing email sends, with the exception of human resources, which is sending 81% more email than pre-COVID levels. However, open rates have been quite volatile since late March, calling into question how effective their strategy has been. Right now, open rates for human resources are trending 4% below benchmark, consistent with the maxim that companies should be using email to communicate with customers, but not overusing it to the point where it’s ineffective.
If Marketing’s job is to identify buyer interest, Sales is responsible for finding the prospects in that pool who will eventually become customers. While sales outcomes are improving (more on this later), sales prospecting has fallen short of its potential.
The number of emails sent by sales teams experienced an immediate and dramatic uptick following the pandemic declaration. From early-March to late-April, sales teams pushed hard to generate pipelines, leading to a 42% increase in email volume. Compared to Q1, sales teams sent 44% more email in Q2. Today, global sales email volume is at an eye-popping 59% above the pre-COVID benchmark.
The problem is that customers aren’t responding to sales emails the same way they’re responding to marketing ones. Like marketing, sales teams increased their email send frequency following the pandemic declaration. But, unlike marketing, their response rates fell significantly during the week of March 16, and have hovered at 25-30% below the benchmark ever since.
Response rates dropped 24% in Q2, even as email volume fluctuated throughout the quarter. As sales teams increased email sends, customers began to tune these messages out or even mark them as spam in their inboxes. So far, it seems if email send rates remain this high, we can expect response rates to trend in the opposite direction.
Two industries — construction and consumer goods — have really stood out. In Q2, both more than doubled the number of sales emails sent compared to Q1, are still well above the benchmark despite some decline in volume during June. Their response rates have been correspondingly lower than the global decrease, with both industries receiving 33% fewer responses in Q2 than Q1.
These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It’s easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn’t personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data. At this point, sales teams should be working closely with marketing to understand how they can improve their email engagement rates, and sending far less email.
As both marketing and sales email volume went up globally, call prospecting plummeted, falling to a low of 27% below the benchmark by the week of April 6. This has been trending upward since, as call events are now at 9% below pre-COVID levels. However, the total number of prospecting activities (email and calling) has increased by 19%, and the shifting ratio between calling and emailing is revealing. In Q1, the ratio was closer to 1:1 while in Q2, sales people sent more than twice as many emails as they made calls. Sales teams will need to return to their pre-COVID balance in order to see improvements in response rates.
All regions have demonstrated overall positive momentum since the week of April 27. EMEA is the furthest below benchmark at -18%, while NORTHAM and APAC are close to pre-COVID levels, trending at 6-7% below the benchmark. LATAM is currently the closest to the benchmark at -2%, following a recent rise in call activity in June. We hope to see these numbers continue to trend in a positive direction as we move into the start of Q3.
3. Sales Outcomes
New deal creation took a nosedive in March, as companies paused “business as usual” to understand what cutbacks and operating changes they’d need to weather the pandemic. Globally, the number of new deals created was at its lowest point the week of April 6, where 30% fewer deals were created compared to pre-COVID levels. Overall, the number of deals created in Q2 is 8% less than the number of deals created in Q1, and this trend is reflected in all regions and company sizes.
More recently, this metric has been on an upward trajectory globally, though this growth has been volatile. In the 11 weeks since April 6, eight weeks have seen week-over-week growth in deal creation, while three weeks have seen week-over-week decline. The number of deals created have increased for each of the last four weeks, and businesses are hoping that this trend will hold.
All regions are trending positively and are re-approaching pre-COVID levels. APAC, the region that was first impacted by COVID-19 and has to date been relatively successful at containing the virus’ spread, created 5% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1. North America created 6% fewer deals in Q2, and EMEA and LATAM trail the group at 12% below Q1 averages.
All company sizes are on a similar upward trend, though none have returned to pre-COVID levels. Companies with more than 200 employees are leading the pack, creating just 2% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1. Compared to Q1, companies with 0-25 employees are down 8%, and companies with 26-200 employees are down 12%.
Unsurprisingly, deal creation cut by industry is seeing the most variability. Travel and entertainment, the two most structurally impacted of the industries we’re tracking, are still far below pre-COVID benchmarks (35% below and 27% below, respectively). Consumer goods is 11% below benchmark, human resources is 10% below benchmark, and computer software is 3% below benchmark. The two industries that are outperforming pre-COVID levels are manufacturing (6% above) and construction, a whopping 36% above benchmark.
Globally, the number of deals won is trending upward as well, and was 8% above benchmark the week of June 22. Like deal creation, this metric has been highly variable since its lowest point — also the week of April 6, when it was 36% below pre-COVID benchmarks. Deals won has seen week-over-week increases for 10 out of the last 11 weeks.
When comparing Q2 to Q1, this metric lagged slightly behind new deals created in its climb toward pre-COVID levels. There were 11% fewer deals won in Q2 compared to Q1, with variability among regions, industries, and company sizes balancing out to that number. As deal creation is a leading indicator of future revenue, this trend is to be expected.
By region, APAC has made the best recovery, with only 6% fewer deals won in Q2 than in Q1. EMEA is the farthest behind at 17% fewer deals won in Q2, while LATAM and NORTHAM are on par with each other at 13% and 9% below Q1 volume, respectively.
Companies with 0-25 employees are closest to Q1 volume, at only 5% fewer deals won in Q2. Companies with 26-200 employees won 17% fewer deals in Q2 than in Q1, while companies with 201+ employees won 16% fewer deals.
As with deal creation, deals won is the most variable when viewed through an industry cut. Four industries are closing more deals than pre-COVID, while three are still far below. Here’s how each industry we’re tracking shakes out:
Above pre-COVID benchmarks:
- Construction: 24% above benchmark
- Computer software: 14% above benchmark
- Manufacturing: 13% above benchmark
- Consumer goods: 8% above benchmark
Below pre-COVID benchmarks:
- Human resources: 20% below benchmark
- Entertainment: 21% below benchmark
- Travel: 29% benchmark
Perhaps more than any of the other metrics covered in this piece, the long-term health of both deal creation and deals won wholly depends on how the biological reality of the pandemic unfolds. It’s also important to remember that this data should be viewed not as a commentary on the overall health of the economy, but rather as a snapshot of how businesses are behaving right now. Because our data is pulled from HubSpot customers, it is not reflective of the entire economy and does not capture the economic circumstances of any individuals or HubSpot’s own business.
1. Invest in chat.
As many businesses move online for the first time, live chat numbers have skyrocketed in a few industries: construction, consumer goods, and manufacturing. The next few months of the pandemic are, by all expert accounts, uncertain. But we can say that there will be a significant change in how structurally affected industries operate in the future. Many companies who have transitioned online recently will remain online in the future, and this is an investment businesses will be thinking seriously about.
Investing in chat is not only a way to capture the significant uptick in online buyer interest, it’s also a long-term play to help scale your business. Even simple chatbots can take the manual work of basic qualification screening, meeting booking, lead routing, and even simple customer service tasks off your team’s plate, leaving them free to focus on higher-value activities.
Resources to Help:
- Learn how chat should and shouldn’t work in this blog post
- Get up to speed with this beginner’s guide to conversational marketing
- Learn how marketers are using conversational marketing in 2020
- Get your sales team started by learning how to add live chat to your website
Free Software to Get Started
- Free conversational marketing tools are included in HubSpot CRM
- Facebook Messenger integration with HubSpot
2. Shift prospecting away from quantity and toward quality.
The ratio of call prospecting to email prospecting was almost 1:1 before the pandemic. Now it’s closer to 1:2. But response rates are historically low for the non-holiday season, a disconnect between marketing and sales performance that cannot be explained purely by the economic downturn. Salespeople are prospecting 19% more than they were in Q1, and the quality of that outreach has suffered as activity has increased.
Calling is inherently a forcing function in quality sales prospecting. It’s almost not worth it to get on the phone unless you do some research, and that background is key to building rapport, qualifying (and disqualifying), and connecting with buyers. In the age of COVID-19, your entire qualification framework should change — a product that would never have been considered pre-pandemic could be business-critical today, and vice versa. Rethink what a “good fit” looks like right now, create crisp disqualification frameworks to work through leads efficiently, and reprioritize prospecting appropriately. Sales should also be borrowing tactics from marketing — personalization through content, adding a personal touch through video, and prioritizing help over selling.
This ratio also reveals a broader principle sales leaders would do well to remember. Part of sales will always be a volume game, and it’s pointless to deny that. Adopting automation and software cuts down on the time the team has to spend manually sorting leads, and frees them up to feel secure in taking a slower approach to prospecting. Prospecting must be worked from an individual and an operational perspective, and can’t succeed without investment in both processes.
Resources to Help:
- Use these prospecting strategies to find new channels to engage your prospects
- These phrases that top salespeople use can help your team build customer rapport
- Watch the replay of our Adapt 2020 webinar on selling through uncertainty
- Refresh your email outreach with these sales templates
- Start using video in your sales outreach to engage more prospects
- Use this guide to increase your sales close rates
- Lead with empathy in sales emails to build rapport and increase response rates
- Equip your team with these essential inside sales technologies
- Streamline your sales process with this guide to frictionless selling (and this course)
Free Software to Get Started
- HubSpot CRM is free and comes with included advertising and sales acceleration tools, including free 1:1 video, meetings, and chatbot tools
- Gmail and Google Calendar integrations with HubSpot
- Zoom integration with HubSpot
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration with HubSpot
- Check out what HubSpot’s app partners are offering at this time with this list of relief initiatives
3. Invest in online discoverability.
As a company that sells software to help businesses grow online, we’re witness to a unique moment for our industry. Huge numbers of businesses and buyers shifted online out of necessity, many for the first time. Because this data is reflective of our customer base, which contains companies that have chosen to invest in their online strategy, we don’t have a clear picture of what these numbers look like for businesses that are still 100% offline. But one thing is clear: Businesses that already had an online presence in March were at an advantage.
For most of us right now, our business’s online presence is our business. Whether it’s through a website, a landing page, or a business run through social media, buyers need to be able to find you online. Prioritizing relevant and helpful content, investing in SEO, or taking advantage of a cheaper-than-usual ad marketplace (global ad spend is 8% below pre-COVID levels, and fewer buyers means cheaper keywords), are just a few of the many options you have to reach the right buyers at the right time.
For businesses that do not already have online presences, it may seem intimidating to think about building a website. But the ubiquity of CMS software in 2020 means that it’s possible to stand up a simple site in half a day, for free. And social accounts take even less time. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution — if a website is too daunting right now, it’s perfectly fine to start with just one account and go from there. Any move to online will be more valuable than relying exclusively on analog methods of growing your business.
Resources to Help:
- Create an effective SEO strategy using this helpful guide and template
- Prevent traffic loss altogether using this guide to predictive SEO
- Use this editorial calendar template to plan educational content
- Get started writing with these blog post templates
- Optimize content and get found online with our guide to SEO
Free Software to Get Started
Sign up for this week’s webinar for more insights surrounding our three-month COVID-19 retrospective.
In 2020, brands are increasingly growing global awareness with international marketing strategies. And, one major way they’ve driven traffic from different regions to their site is through international SEO.
But, like any marketing campaign, SEO is not always a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, every country is diverse, uses the internet a little differently, and might have different sets of regulations. Not to mention, audiences in one country might have vastly different interests, cultural backgrounds, and values than audiences in another region.
As a marketer, your biggest goal should be to know your audience. And, according to HubSpot SEO experts, this is no different when it comes to building an SEO strategy for your international or multi-language website.
“When you run a multi-language version of your website and you’re serious about delivering best-in-class, high-quality content to audiences around the globe, you should invest in an international SEO strategy that will rely strongly on a proper technical structure and global content strategy that considers local nuances,” advises Karolina Bujalska-Exner, HubSpot’s international SEO manager.
But how do you create a winning international SEO strategy? First, it’s important to identify how SEO, search engine algorithms, and search platforms might vary from region to region.
To help those interested in gaining global online awareness, I spoke with HubSpot’s SEO experts to learn how optimization strategies differ around the world. Here are four things to know.
4 Ways SEO Varies Around the World
1. Your search competition might vary in different geographies
When you’ve only marketed your brand in one country, it will take time to get a social media following, email subscribers, traffic, and other metrics from a new international audience. This is because people around the world are just getting familiar with your brand for the first time.
Although SEO focuses on search, it will similarly take time to grow awareness on another country’s Google or Bing domain.
“Every region of the world has its own Google ccTLD (for example, Google.com, Google.es, Google.fr, Google.jp, etc). Each Google domain follows similar — if not identical — algorithms, but each one is ultimately its own market with its own economy of publishers,” Becker explains.
“A different Google site doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be starting with zero domain authority if you were to expand your content to other regions,” Becker adds. “But it does mean your brand might not have the same awareness it has on Google.com. Therefore, traffic growth may be a bit of an uphill battle as you establish an audience.”
Even though you might be ranking on the U.S. version of Google, keep in mind that audiences on Google.fr in French territories might not know you exist just yet. As you create more content for these markets, they’ll get more chances to click on your content and boost your website’s authority. However, when you start with no SEO or content strategies catered to this market, it will take time to get traffic needed to rank quickly.
2. A region’s language and local nuances can impact your rankings in that territory.
If you’ve done any research on SEO, you probably know that keyword research is a vital way to create and optimize content so it ranks on Google. This is no different in other regions where English or your website’s language might not be as smoothly translated.
“When serving content in different languages, translations or localisations sometimes might not be enough to win rankings or get valuable traffic from another locale,” says Bujalska-Exner.
“Why? Even when the most amazing content is optimized for one region, it might not have a similar meaning or wording when translated to another regional language.”
To mitigate translation issues, Bujalska-Exner says, “It’s important to do your keyword research in the target language so you can find the best regional opportunities for main and long-tail keywords.”
“The same goes for search intent. One term might have completely different intent in another country,” Bujalska-Exner adds. “The way SERPs look varies across the globe. Some countries have more specific search features present than others. This should always be taken into account when deciding how to structure your content.”
As you do international keyword research, Bujalska-Exner advises, “Remember that some SEO tools offer more accurate results for search volumes in specific languages or regions than others. Test several tools before implementing one that provides the most accurate information for your target language.”
Aside from doing research, another helpful way to optimize content for one region is by writing it in that locale’s language from the start.
When you have a regional creator write your content in their language, the writer can better ensure that content is “optimized, helpful, and engaging” to the regional audiences. They can also use their knowledge of the area and audience to include “local examples and ideas,” Bujalska-Exner says.
“There are many ways to set your website for an international audience. The most common are separate ccTlds, subdomains, or language folders.” Bujalska-Exner explains. “Each of those has advantages and disadvantages. You should choose your strategy based on what you want to achieve. You have to think of your SEO needs, the resources you have or might invest in, and choose the best option for you.”
For a technical comparison of ccTlds and international subdomain options, check out this guide.
3. The top search engines in some regions might not be Google or Bing.
While search engines behave similarly internationally, it’s important to know that some of the major sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo are rarely used or banned in other countries. When marketing web content in these areas, you might need to consider an alternative other than optimizing your site for major search platforms.
“One very clear difference that does exist globally is a search engine’s share of voice in various countries,” Becker explains. “Most search engines you’ve heard of — Bing, Yahoo, Google — have similar algorithms and ranking factors. Therefore SEO for one engine will benefit you across multiple engines. However. some national markets operate on a completely different set of rules “
As our SEO experts have revealed, you don’t have to dramatically change your SEO process, or learn about a whole new list of algorithms to rank on Google in different countries.
But, while the foundation of your keyword research and SEO strategy could be similar from country to country, you’ll still need to identify how search behaviors vary internationally, which languages will be key to your SEO, and local topics that certain international markets might be more heavily searching.
“When discussing SEO, we usually think about optimizing for Google. But, there are many countries in the world where Google’s market share is actually very low,” Bujalska-Exner explains. “Instead there are other regional alternatives that are used as primary engines. For example Yandex is used in Russia and Baidu is primarily used in China.”
Although search engines like Baidu, shown below might look similar to Google, they don’t necessarily act the same, according to our experts.
Becker, who also points out China as one region with its own search engine, adds, “China is unique in that Google does not have a presence in this country at all. The primary source of information in China is from Baidu, which does not resemble the ranking factors that marketers are familiar with from Google.”
4. SEO isn’t that different around the globe — but you still need a strategy for each country.
Because platforms like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are still present around the world, optimizing your website for them won’t be that different from country to country. According to Braden Becker, a senior SEO strategist, there are a number of strategies that will work for these search engines in many different countries.
“SEO isn’t really something that differs globally, but rather extends globally,” says Backer. “In the case of HubSpot, we have an SEO strategy that is both native to each region, but also follows a number of universal SEO techniques that marketers need to know in order to do international SEO successfully.”
Yes. If you want to develop audiences in international territories, you’ll need to keep in mind that people in other regions will be searching for different phrases in different languages. This instantly will make keyword research and SEO strategies different in each area.
However, the ranking algorithms that major search platforms, like Google, use in one country aren’t much different in another. So, if you have SEO specialists in different locations, they might use a similar keyword research and SEO optimization strategy. However, they’ll likely discover different lists of keywords and different blog posts to optimize based on what people in their area are looking for.
Navigating International Marketing
Like any other international or audience growth marketing strategy, you’ll ultimately need to know your target audience, give them content that they enjoy, and encourage them to visit your website more often. As you gain traffic to your international website, you’ll gain brand awareness as well as ranking authority from these markets.
For more international marketing tips, check out this post on social media platforms that weren’t founded in the U.S., as well as this list of brilliant international marketing examples.
Want to dive deeper into international SEO? Here’s a technical guide on how to optimize your site for global search engines. Or, worried you’ll make a major global SEO mistake? Read this post to discover how you could sabotage global SEO.