How to Turn Online Marketing Leads into Online Marketing Sales

If you’re doing online marketing right, you should be driving a steady stream of inexpensive, qualified leads to your sales team.

That means tons of sales and profit for your business, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Often, you may be sending all the right leads to your sales team, but they simply aren’t turning into sales.

What’s going on?

Is it a problem with your sales team? A problem with your leads? Maybe, but often, the problem is simply a marketing-sales mismatch.

When Things Go Wrong

A few months back, we were using paid search to drive leads for a client. We thought we were doing a pretty good job, but there was a problem—our leads weren’t turning into sales.

To be honest, this came as a surprise.

We had a lot of experience in this particular industry, so we knew our campaigns were driving a lot of high-quality leads.

In fact, from a marketing perspective, our campaigns were a hands-down success! We were sending hundreds of high-intent leads to their sales team at a great cost-per-lead.

What more could you ask for, right?

In our experience, they should have been closing at least 10% of these leads…but they weren’t. As it turned out, they were only closing 1% of their paid search leads.

wait-what

What were we doing wrong? 

On paper, everything looked great, so I called the client to get his thoughts. His answer was both candid and insightful:

“Jake, the leads are great. We don’t have a lead problem. My sales team just doesn’t know how to close these leads.”

Now, this problem isn’t unique. I’ve seen it before. Great online marketing can get leads in the door, but it can’t make them close.

That job rests on the shoulders of the sales team.

So, if you want your online marketing to yield great results, your job doesn’t end with lead generation. You need to make sure your sales team knows how to get those leads to close.

Turning Leads Into Sales

With online marketing, you control all aspects of the lead generation process: targeting, ads, landing page content and call-to-action.

The problem is, while you may intimately understand your leads, your sales team might not really know where your leads came from, why they reached out and what they are looking for in a business.

And, unfortunately, if your sales team doesn’t really understand their leads, they are going to have a hard time closing them.

In order to successfully close online marketing leads, your sales team needs to understand a couple of key things about their leads:

You’re Not the Only Business After Their Business

When it comes to online marketing, you can’t expect leads to sit still.

If someone is interested enough in what your business has to offer to reach out, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ve reached out to your competition, too.

However, first to call is first to close.

In fact, 50% of leads end up choosing the company that reaches out first

New leads are also 100x more responsive if your sales team reaches out in 5 minutes instead of 30 minutes and several thousand times more responsive if you’re reaching out within 5 minutes vs a day or two later.

Fortunately, most of your competitors wait hours or even days to respond to new leads, so if your sales team is quick on the draw, they have a good chance of being the first to respond, make contact and close the deal.

The Internet is a Distracting Place

When it comes to online leads, you can assume that by the time you reach out, they’ve already moved on to something else.

Maybe it’s a competitor’s site. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s back to whatever they were doing before your ads caught their attention.

Whatever the reason, they usually aren’t sitting around waiting for your call.

That means your leads are probably distracted and might miss (or ignore) your first few contact attempts. So, if you want to get a hold of your leads, your sales team can’t just send one email and call it quits.

In fact, it takes a minimum of 8-12 contact attempts to get a 90% contact rate. Even if you’re only after a 50% contact rate, your sales team will still need to make at least 6 contact attempts.

The only problem is, most reps only make 1-2 contact attempts per lead. As a result, internet leads are only contacted about a quarter of the time.

You fight tooth and nail to get those great leads in the door and sales only contacts 25% of them?

epic-fail

Imagine what would happen if your sales team started reaching out 8-12 times and achieved a contact rate of 90%. That would increase your contact rate by 360%.

If your sales team’s contact-to-close rate stayed the same, contacting 3.6x more leads would result in 3.6x more sales. Can you imagine how that would affect your business?

Getting Marketing and Sales in Alignment

In addition to giving your sales team insights into what tactics work best for online marketing leads, there are a couple of things you can do on the marketing side to improve sales performance.

Talk to Sales!

Online marketing leads convert because they believe that your company has the solution to their problems. Your sales team’s job is to confirm that belief.

However, if your sales team isn’t making good on the promises of your marketing, your customers will feel betrayed and they won’t want to buy.

To avoid this, your sales team’s message needs to match your marketing message.

Yes, that means you’ll have to talk to your sales team about the intent, pain points and goals of your leads, but guess what? The better your sales team understands where their leads are coming from, the more effective they will be at closing sales.

In my experience, getting marketing and sales on the same page will make your online marketing effects far more effective and can drive millions in added revenue for your business.

There is Such a Thing as Too Many Leads

If you’ve got your campaigns set up right, online marketing (especially pay-per-click marketing) is pretty simple.

Insert the money, out come the leads.

Now, you and I both know that there’s a ton of work behind that equation, but if you’re feeding too many coins into the marketing machine, the resulting surplus of leads can make your sales team a little lazy.

As a result, ambitious sales reps might be tempted to sift through your leads to pick the ones that will be easiest to close.

They’ll look like superstar salesmen, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that their lead-to-close rate is actually terrible.

Even though these “rockstar” reps look like they are closing a lot of deals, they waste a ton of expensive leads. In many cases, companies will end up paying more for those wasted leads than they’ll earn off of that “all star” rep’s closed sales.

So, how can you avoid this?

Easy, just keep your sales team hungry.

If you’re putting less money into the marketing machine, your sales reps will pay more attention to the individual leads they’re getting. 

However, you want to be careful with this tactic. Give your sales team too few leads and you’ll hurt productivity and morale.

So, if your sales team is begging for more leads, up your marketing budget. On the other hand, if you’re not getting any requests for more leads and your close-to-sale rate isn’t doing so hot…you might want to dial back your marketing spend.

Conclusion

It’s hard to make a profit off of online marketing if your sales team doesn’t know how to close your hard-won leads.

But, if you’re willing to work with your sales team, your marketing campaigns will not only produce profitable leads—they’ll produce profitable sales.

And isn’t that what online marketing is all about?

You’ve heard my two cents, now it’s your turn.

In your experience, how have sales short-changed your online marketing efforts (or vice versa)? How have you helped your sales team work more effectively with paid search leads?

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

9 Different Types of Lead Magnets You Can Create Using Blogs You Already Have

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Lead magnets are an effective technique for gaining a prospect’s contact information. The problem is that these magnets can take a lot of time and energy to produce. Podcasts, e-learning courses, video series, and contests all sound great but seriously, who has time for that?

In this article, I want to show you nine different lead magnets that you can create today by recycling content that you already have.Every blog post in your archive has the potential to generate new leads for your business so let’s make sure that your blog is a lead generating machine.

1) The Mini Ebook

The mini ebook is perfect when you have a series of blog posts about a related subject. For example, if you were running an online pet store then you might pick out the following five posts from your blog to combine into an ebook:

  • The 5 pieces of equipment that every puppy needs
  • The ultimate guide to housetraining a puppy
  • The first 6 months: what you can expect from your new puppy
  • The puppy nutrition guide: what your dog should and shouldn’t eat
  • The 7 things you should never do when training a puppy

These posts could be logically compiled into an ebook entitled “The Puppy Planner: Everything you need to know to prepare for your first puppy”.

This type of ebook is effective because you are making life easy for visitors to your website. Rather than asking them to find all this content one article at a time, you’re packing it up into a convenient bundle that they can keep and refer back to. The most successful lead magnets offer an irresistible and instant reward to your visitors and the mini ebook certainly ticks that box.

2) The Ultimate Guide

If you’re in an industry that is already well established then it can be hard to come up with original content. Sometimes other people have covered a subject in such detail that it’s almost impossible to add extra value. In this situation I would recommend producing an Ultimate Guide.

An Ultimate Guide is a comprehensive collection of the best articles about a particular subject. The main difference between this and a mini ebook is that you are not recycling posts from your own blog but rather linking directly to other sites. It’s important that you don’t copy and paste someone else’s content into your guide but rather just include a link back to the original article.

In this example Brian Dean from Backlinko.com produced Link Building: The Definitive Guide

UltimateGuide.png

Link building is a complicated and broad subject so Dean’s definitive guide saves his audience a lot of time looking for this content. And since so many other experts have written fantastic content about link building Dean also saved himself the time of competing with content that already exists.

Rather than just listing the links, Dean adds extra value to his audience by categorizing them and including a brief introduction for each category. This guide has also been well designed, reiterating that this a valuable resource that should be kept and referred back to.

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Do you work in an industry that is already bursting with quality content? Why not think about making your own Ultimate Guide.

3) The Bonus Pack

Offering additional content that is not included in the original blog post is the perfect way to reward readers who opt-in. If you have an article titled “The 5 Pieces of Equipment That Every Puppy Needs” then you could offer readers an exclusive PDF with a few more pieces of equipment that may have come on the market since the original post was published.

In his article “How to go from one Facebook ad to $197 in less than 60 seconds blogger Bryan Harris took this one step further and combined a PDF version of the article along with 5 links that weren’t in the original post – people only got these bonuses when they subscribed.

BonusPack.png

This lead magnet was so successful that 42% of the people who saw it opted-in to receive the Bonus Pack. Imagine the leads you would have if almost half the people who visited your website gave you their email address!

4) The Resource Guide

If you have written a strategic blog post then you might want to consider offering a Resource Guide as a lead magnet. A Resource Guide is a collection of things that help people achieve results.

Dean used this strategy in his post “Seo Tools: The Complete List.” He offered a free download that detailed the 153 tools featured in his post – the perfect resource for a reader to keep and refer to whenever they need.

ResourceGuide-2.png

The Resource Guide could be as simple as list of five books or apps that you recommend. Since it is easier to buy a tool to get results than it is to actually implement a strategy, your readers will love this.

What resources could you recommend to a potential customer that would help them to achieve better results?

5) The Checklist

Instructional blog posts are just waiting to be turned into Checklists – and they couldn’t be easier to create. Just take your blog post and simplify it into a series of bullet points. Next, remove any points that don’t contain actionable advice. Split the list into several numbered steps to make the outcome more achievable.

Bonus points if you offer the Checklist in a printable format so people can physically tick-off as they go. That sense of achievement is a great feeling that people will attribute back to you.

This Ultimate Webinar Checklist from HubSpot is an incredibly valuable lead magnet because of how practical it is. Hosting a webinar involves balancing a lot of different tasks coming together at the same time. This checklist informs you about everything you need to watch out for from pre to post webinar. 

6) The Workbook

The Workbook is an incredibly effective lead magnet, especially for service businesses. In its simplest form a Workbook is a download-and-complete resource that helps people to apply the principles of your blog post to their business.

Neil Patel offers this highly practical Workbook for writing blog posts that rank in Google. It includes exercises like planning your blog post structure and experimenting with different introductions.

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Patel’s example is brilliantly simple in its execution. He keeps the design to a minimum so people won’t worry about their ink running out when printing and he has left plenty of room for people to write their answers.

The goal of a Workbook is to have the participant learn by doing. As the teacher in this scenario you are positioning your business as an expert on the matter at hand. With that in mind you want to choose the exercises that you set in your Workbook carefully. Ideally you want to gradually tease information out of the participant so that at the end of the Workbook they can combine their short answers into a comprehensive piece of work – in Patel’s case the participant would have had a complete blog post written by the time they finished.

A Workbook is the perfect stepping stone to your premium products or services so be sure to include a strong call to action at the end which clearly tells the participant how you can help them to apply their new found knowledge.

Is there a particular subject that you could help you audience understand more clearly with a Workbook?

7) The Secret

One of the best lead magnets that I have ever seen was produced by Tim Soulo. It was so effective that I immediately opted-in without thinking. Suolo had written a blog post about sending an outreach email to well known blogger Rand Fishkin. His call-to-action was:

TheSecret.png

This call-to-action was pitch perfect because it got me curious. I just had to know what the email subject was. I also knew that it would be a relatively short read so I wouldn’t have to commit to a lengthy ebook – lazy I know but that’s human nature sometimes!

Secret2-423377-edited.png

Suolo’s lead magnet is just 1 page and was just made with a standard Word Processor. There was no point in spending time or money on the design in this case because the secret is the only thing that matters.

I blurred out the tell-tale image and text in the above screenshot – if you want to know Suolo’s secret then you’ll just have to download the lead magnet!

Do you have any behind the scenes insights to a blog post that are compelling enough to offer as a downloadable secret?

8) The Cheat Sheet

If your blog post covers a complicated topic then it might be a good idea to offer readers a one-page sheet that they can refer back to when they need to refresh their memory. This could be a glossary of terms or just a brief summary of some key points.

This type of download-and-keep resource takes the pressure off readers so they don’t have to memorize or implement your strategy immediately. It does compel readers to opt-in to your list though which is the ultimate aim.

In this example, Jay Acunzo offers a Visual Cheat-Sheet for Editing to Help You Move Faster. The goal here is to help his readers to edit their work while still moving quickly through the process. A Cheat Sheet is the perfect resource here because the compact format means that people can quickly glance at it while they are going through the edit process. It really is a complementary tool for an existing process.

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9) The Guestbook

If you have used guest blogging as a backlink strategy then you probably agreed to not republish that particular post on your own blog. This is fairly common as Google punishes sites that duplicate content so it’s in nobody’s best interests.

What you can do though is compile all these guest posts into a book format. Since the content will be gated behind a lead capture form there is no risk of Google flagging it as duplicate content and you get to squeeze a little bit of extra value from that content you worked so hard on.

Conclusion

There you have it, nine ways to recycle your existing content into lead generating assets. Since you already have the content, each of these lead magnets should take no longer than 20 minutes to produce. Just think of the all the extra leads you could generate if you added a lead magnet to each blog post in your archive.

Beacon Ebooks

NEW: Rank Beyond 10 Blue Links with SERP Feature Tracking in Moz Pro

Posted by Dr-Pete

From Featured Snippets to In-depth Articles to Knowledge Panels, Google SERP features have remade the search marketing landscape. After three years of planning and many months of work, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of advanced SERP feature tracking in Moz Pro, available immediately to all customers! Using the most comprehensive data set on the market, Moz Pro now provides advanced analysis of the 16 features listed below:

Try it out now under the [Rankings] tab within any campaign, or read on for a walk-through of the new features. New to Moz Pro? Take a free 30-day trial!


Stage 1: Awareness

At MozCon 2013, I gave a talk called Beyond 10 Blue Links, documenting the diversity of Google features surrounding organic results. Many of us at Moz felt strongly that the world of SERP features could have a profound impact on search marketers, and so we started to catalog Google’s changes and collect the data to find out just how much SERPs were evolving.

In early 2014, we built a prototype to better understand how we could help customers track SERP features, but we discovered that most of our customers were unfamiliar with them. None of us knew, at the time, exactly what impact SERP features were having or how we should adjust our tactics. The idea of tracking possibly dozens of types of results was daunting, especially in an industry where most of us already wore too many hats.

So, we kept tracking the data, and we learned along with the industry. We also, I hope, contributed to that education. We built the infrastructure we knew we’d need down the road (much credit to our Silo team), even if we weren’t sure when the turn in that road would come. Eventually – and in large part due to the growth of Featured Snippets – we knew that our customers were ready.


Stage 2: Acceptance

As of August, 86% of the SERPs in our 10,000-keyword tracking set had some kind of non-organic feature (a Knowledge Panel, a Featured Snippet, Rich Snippets, a Local Pack, etc.). If you count ads and shopping results, that number goes up to 97% – the days of 10 blue links are long gone.

We recently did an analysis of over 400,000 search result interactions (thanks to Russ Jones) and found that SERPs with rich features send 28% fewer clicks to traditional organic results. At the same time, many of these features, including Featured Snippets, create new opportunities for non-traditional clicks. Either way, the impact on your SEO is very real, and it’s essential to understand what you’re up against.

The challenge in tracking SERP features, as an SEO, is that which features matter to you can vary wildly with your niche. I’ve seen a single feature radically impact traffic for some sites, while that same feature may have little or no impact on others. Once you’ve accepted the reality of SERP features, you have to understand how the landscape looks for your own industries and sites:

One of the first things you’ll see on the new SERP Features page is the overview. This graph shows the presence of features across your campaign, as well as the proportion of features that you’re listed in (where applicable). At launch, we support the 16 highest-impact desktop SERP features. Click on the pull-down above the graph, and you can pull up a Trended Analysis for any feature. Good news: we’ve already got a 60-day history available at launch.

It’s time to accept that SERP features really do exist, and dive into the details. Scrolling down, you’ll see a comprehensive list of your Campaign keywords along with your current ranking, plus the features those keywords displayed the last time we checked them:

The keyword list shows all of your campaign keywords, along with their rankings and a list of icons signaling which features appeared on those SERPs. Blue icons indicate that your site appears in the feature, red icons indicate your competitor is in it, and orange icons mean that you’re both listed (this might occur in multi-listing features, such as News Packs).

At the top of the page, you can narrow your list by keyword, label, location, or feature. Let’s say you just wanted to see keywords with Featured Snippets. Next to the funnel icon at the top, click [+], then select “SERP Feature” and choose one from the list:

The overview graph and keyword list are both filtered now, and you can explore whatever features are most applicable to your work.


Stage 3: Opportunity

So, what do you do with this knowledge? We’ve developed an insights system to help you answer that question. For example, if a keyword in your campaign currently displays a Featured Snippet, and you rank in the top 5 organic results, you’ve got a decent shot at being able to compete for that snippet. So, we call that out:

Click on any keyword with “Insights” to see possible opportunities. At launch, we highlight keywords with Featured Snippets, News Packs, Reviews, Videos, and Site Links (if you’re not currently listed in them). We hope to add more insights in the near future.


Bonus: Questions in KWE

Want to put this to the test today? Here’s a way to easily start tracking Featured Snippet opportunities. Go to Keyword Explorer, enter a term, view all results, and then, in the first pulldown select [are questions]. You’ll get a list of question suggestions related to your chosen search term:

Now, select the questions that interest you, and add them to your Campaign. We’ll start tracking Featured Snippets and other SERP features, and soon you’ll be discovering new opportunities to stand out from your competition.

Thanks to everyone involved on the Product and Design teams, and special thanks to our Silo team for putting the pieces in place over the past year to make tracking features possible. Please reach out to us with any comments or suggestions, and we hope you enjoy the new features!


Join our Launch Day Twitter Q&A Party!

Try it today and tweet questions (the occasional comment or rave also welcome!) to @Moz with #OwntheSERP. Questions will be answered in real-time throughout the day (ok, technically between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm US-PST) by one of our pros: @RandFish, @Dr_Pete, @BritneyMuller, @JontheExiled.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

How to Create an Engaging Snapchat Story: A Start-to-Finish Guide

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With the average attention span dipping to just 8.25 seconds — as short as that of a goldfish— today’s marketers are tasked with creating content that’s engaging enough to appeal to distracted consumers.

With that in mind, Snapchat — a real-time messaging and multimedia app — has become an increasingly attractive channel for those looking to engage the 18-34 year old demographic and grow their brand’s social media presence.

This is largely due to the fact that Snapchat content is inherently time-bound: Snapchat Stories disappear after just 24 hours. This constraint helps command the immediate attention of an audience, while forcing brands to master the art of succinct, interesting content. Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. 

And while many brands are hitting the nail on the head in this space, it’s not easy. That’s why we put together this guide to dive into the nitty-gritty of how to create an effective Snapchat Story — and why it’s a feature should be leveraging.

What is a Snapchat Story?

Before we get started, let’s review the differences between a Snap and a Story:

  • Snap: A direct photo or video message from one Snapchat user to their Snapchat Friend (or several). Snaps disappear 1-10 seconds after they are first opened, and they can be customized
  • Story: A photo or video message Snapchat users can view for 24 hours and as many times as they choose within that timeframe. Brands share Stories to engage with a larger audience for a longer period of time.

In this post, we’re going to specifically zoom in on what goes into creating a successful Snapchat Story, but you can refer to our Snapchat for Business ebook for a more comprehensive look at Snapchat strategy.

How to Create a Snapchat Story

Before You Share

1) Experiment.

My colleague, HubSpot Social Media Manager Marissa Breton, recommends that before stepping behind the helm of a brand’s Snapchat, users play with the Snapchat sharing and editing functionalities with a personal account.

The most engaging Snapchat content is authentic to the voice and personality of a brand, so experimenting with what Stories your personal Snapchat friends engage with will be great preparation. To learn more about opening a personal or brand Snapchat account, check out Breton’s article on how to use Snapchat for business.

2) Adjust your privacy settings.

Additionally, you should change your Settings so Everyone can see your Stories, instead of just My Friends to promote greater visibility for your brand.

You can navigate to your Settings by pressing theGhost_white_icon-863326664.png icon at the top of your Snapchat view, then by pressing the gear icon, then adjusting who can view your Story under “Who Can…”

Creating a Snapchat Story

1) Take a Snap.

Snapchat opens to the camera view, so you can tap the Camera_circle_icon_small-595773352.jpg icon to take a photo or press and hold it to record a video.

You can add a lens if you are sharing a photo or video selfie by pressing down on your face until different lens options appear, such as the one pictured below:

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Source: Snapchat

2) Customize your Snap.

Now comes the fun part: Deciding how you want to make your Snap Story unique.

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Source: Snapchat

Once you take a Snap, you have a few options:

  • Discard your story by pressing the “X” icon in the top left.
  • Add emojis by pressing the post-it icon, then choosing a fun icon that fit your brand’s voice.emoji.jpg
  • Add a caption by tapping on the image or video and typing into the gray bar.

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  • Add a doodle by tapping the pencil icon and using your finger to scribble on the screen.

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  • Add a filter by swiping left on your Snap. (Pro Tip: If you want to use two filters on a photo or video, hold one thumb down on the first filter, then continue swiping left until you decide on the perfect filter combo.)

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There are more filters to choose from based on where you are located while Snapping. These are called Geofilters, and they provide another layer of individualization and connection with your local audience. To access this feature, you’ll need to adjust your setting first, as shown below.

You can also pay to make a custom, on-demand Geofilter using your own design. This is a great way to engage your followers if you host an event.

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Source: Snapchat

  • Adjust the duration of how long your Story plays using the stopwatch icon. The maximum length of an individual Snap is 10 seconds, however you can create multiple Snaps to add to your Story to achieve a longer effect.

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  • Save your Story to your phone’s photo album by clicking on the icon indicated below:

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  • Share the Snap to your Story by clicking the icon indicated below. This will share the photo or video with your Snapchat friends, or anyone if you made your account public.

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  • Send your Snap to Friends and share it on your Story by tapping the blue arrow.

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When you publish a Snapchat Story, it lives on your profile for 24 hours, during which viewers can check it out as many times as they would like. Most brands and individuals publish multiple images/videos in a string that can serve as the narrative of their Story, live-sharing, or simply a fun collage.

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Source: Snapchat

You can also publish your Snapchat Story on a Live Story, a compilation of Snaps and Stories submitted by users at different events worldwide. If you’re near a location or event that is being featured on a Live Story by Snapchat, you have the option to select “My Story” and “Live Story” when selecting the blue arrow to share your Snap. If your Story is selected for the Live Story, anyone will be able to view your photo or video, and more people will be exposed to your brand.

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Source: Snapchat

After You Share

1) Save your Story.

Snapchat recently introduced Memories, where you can save Snaps and Stories to your account to prevent them from disappearing after 24 hours. From Memories, you can share new Stories, edit and view past ones, and re-share past Stories on your profile (for example, to commemorate events).

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Source: Snapchat

2) Track your results.

Breton notes in her article that one of Snapchat’s weaknesses is its analytics: The only data you can pull refer to views (Screen_Shot_2016-05-09_at_12.36.07_PM.png), replies, and screenshots (Snapchat_screenshots.png) — and those numbers are only available within the 24-hour timeframe of you publishing a Story.

To view your own Story and to pull these numbers:

  1. Swipe left on the Camera screen to reach the Stories screen.
  2. Tap the circular thumbnail of your Story, or the three gray dots on the right-hand side.
  3. Tap each individual Snap to view the number of views and screenshots.

By tracking these numbers for each Story, and viewing how they evolve over time, you can glean a rough idea of how your Snapchat influence and following is growing.

Breton suggests analyzing clickthrough rate to determine how many people are viewing every image or video that you share in your Story through to the end. Are some viewing the first Snap or two, but not the entire series? Analyzing these numbers will help you decide which types of content perform best, and how many Snaps you should be publishing in your Stories to best connect with your audience.

4 Tips for Creating Great Snapchat Stories

Content creators and community managers, rejoice: With only 10 seconds available per Snap, your Story won’t require the production lift that’s typical of blog posts, ebooks, or social media campaigns on other networks.

Take advantage of the extra time Snapchat allots you to strategize how to make your Stories as strong and engaging as possible. Here are a few suggestions to get you headed on the right path:

1) Experiment with the format.

Breton suggests taking advantage of the ease of Snap Story production by experimenting with how different types of Stories perform when you first start sharing. Test how your followers engage with:

  • Videos vs. photos
  • Selfies vs. shooting other subjects
  • Background sound vs. no sound

2) Change up the theme.

Be sure to show your followers different things each time you publish a Story to keep them wondering what’s next. Ideas for creative Snap Stories from brands include:

Spotlighting events that you’re hosting or attending to give your followers a look into the innovative ideas your brand is creating or promoting. Here’s an example from the social media team at Marie Claire (@MarieClaireMag) taking a tour of NFL Headquarters:

Teasing product launches to generate buzz and drive engagement using sneak peeks, like the folks over at Everlane (@everlane) did with their Story about denim: 

Providing a behind-the-scenes look into your organization’s culture and products to give your followers “insider” status. Here, the Taco Bell (@tacobell) team showed their followers a list of “menu hacks” so they could create their own unique, off-menu dishes:

Getting out of the office and enlisting colleagues and partners traveling on behalf of your brand to share Stories from unique locations for an added “cool” factor. For example, Marriott Hotels (@MarriottHotels) filmed a team member traveling to different boutiques in Atlanta:

Performing mini-interviews with colleagues or visitors to get a look at the faces and personalities behind the brand, as Teen Vogue (@teenvogue) demonstrates in their Story’s Q&A:

Creating how-to videos showing followers how to use products to drive engagement. In their Snapchat Story, Bustle (@bustledotcom) shared a step-by-step guide to an at-home beauty solution and used emojis and doodles to provide specific instructions:

Highlighting “newsjacks” covering breaking news in your industry that your followers will be interested in, too. TrackMaven (@track.maven) publishes a weekly Story that covers marketing news, such as the one below:

3) Have fun with stickers, filters, and doodles.

Don’t forget the editing features when you’re preparing to share your Story. Thrillist’s Dave Infante recommends using emojis as props to add an additional dynamic layer to your Story, like this:

meowtains-810665652.gif

Source: Snapchat

4) Don’t say too long, but don’t leave without saying goodbye either.

The time limit on each Snap in your Story is 10 seconds, but you can publish a series of Stories that work together to create an interesting narrative for your followers. That being said, don’t tell a story that requires too many Snaps. 

When a Story includes too many Snaps, it becomes hard to follow along with, so stick to the highlights. And don’t forget to sign off: Infante suggests a final, closing Snap at the end of your Story to make your conclusion very clear to your followers.

Ready to Get Started?

Now that you know how Stories work — and what goes into a great one, check out this post to brush up on what some of the best brands are doing on Snapchat. And if you want an even deeper dive into Snapchat strategy, download this free ebook.

(P.S. – Keep up with HubSpot on Snapchat (@hubspotinc) to see what we’re saying, too.)

What content do you like to share in your brand’s Snapchat Story? Share with us in the comments below.

free guide: how to use snapchat for business  

How to Create an Engaging Snapchat Story: A Start-to-Finish Guide

Snapchat_Story.jpg

With the average attention span dipping to just 8.25 seconds — as short as that of a goldfish— today’s marketers are tasked with creating content that’s engaging enough to appeal to distracted consumers.

With that in mind, Snapchat — a real-time messaging and multimedia app — has become an increasingly attractive channel for those looking to engage the 18-34 year old demographic and grow their brand’s social media presence.

This is largely due to the fact that Snapchat content is inherently time-bound: Snapchat Stories disappear after just 24 hours. This constraint helps command the immediate attention of an audience, while forcing brands to master the art of succinct, interesting content. Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. 

And while many brands are hitting the nail on the head in this space, it’s not easy. That’s why we put together this guide to dive into the nitty-gritty of how to create an effective Snapchat Story — and why it’s a feature should be leveraging.

What is a Snapchat Story?

Before we get started, let’s review the differences between a Snap and a Story:

  • Snap: A direct photo or video message from one Snapchat user to their Snapchat Friend (or several). Snaps disappear 1-10 seconds after they are first opened, and they can be customized
  • Story: A photo or video message Snapchat users can view for 24 hours and as many times as they choose within that timeframe. Brands share Stories to engage with a larger audience for a longer period of time.

In this post, we’re going to specifically zoom in on what goes into creating a successful Snapchat Story, but you can refer to our Snapchat for Business ebook for a more comprehensive look at Snapchat strategy.

How to Create a Snapchat Story

Before You Share

1) Experiment.

My colleague, HubSpot Social Media Manager Marissa Breton, recommends that before stepping behind the helm of a brand’s Snapchat, users play with the Snapchat sharing and editing functionalities with a personal account.

The most engaging Snapchat content is authentic to the voice and personality of a brand, so experimenting with what Stories your personal Snapchat friends engage with will be great preparation. To learn more about opening a personal or brand Snapchat account, check out Breton’s article on how to use Snapchat for business.

2) Adjust your privacy settings.

Additionally, you should change your Settings so Everyone can see your Stories, instead of just My Friends to promote greater visibility for your brand.

You can navigate to your Settings by pressing theGhost_white_icon-863326664.png icon at the top of your Snapchat view, then by pressing the gear icon, then adjusting who can view your Story under “Who Can…”

Creating a Snapchat Story

1) Take a Snap.

Snapchat opens to the camera view, so you can tap the Camera_circle_icon_small-595773352.jpg icon to take a photo or press and hold it to record a video.

You can add a lens if you are sharing a photo or video selfie by pressing down on your face until different lens options appear, such as the one pictured below:

Lenses-595464068.gif

Source: Snapchat

2) Customize your Snap.

Now comes the fun part: Deciding how you want to make your Snap Story unique.

SendSnap-700022002.jpg

Source: Snapchat

Once you take a Snap, you have a few options:

  • Discard your story by pressing the “X” icon in the top left.
  • Add emojis by pressing the post-it icon, then choosing a fun icon that fit your brand’s voice.emoji.jpg
  • Add a caption by tapping on the image or video and typing into the gray bar.

caption.jpg

  • Add a doodle by tapping the pencil icon and using your finger to scribble on the screen.

doodle.jpg

  • Add a filter by swiping left on your Snap. (Pro Tip: If you want to use two filters on a photo or video, hold one thumb down on the first filter, then continue swiping left until you decide on the perfect filter combo.)

filter.jpg

There are more filters to choose from based on where you are located while Snapping. These are called Geofilters, and they provide another layer of individualization and connection with your local audience. To access this feature, you’ll need to adjust your setting first, as shown below.

You can also pay to make a custom, on-demand Geofilter using your own design. This is a great way to engage your followers if you host an event.

Geofilter-625472783.gif

Source: Snapchat

  • Adjust the duration of how long your Story plays using the stopwatch icon. The maximum length of an individual Snap is 10 seconds, however you can create multiple Snaps to add to your Story to achieve a longer effect.

duration.png

  • Save your Story to your phone’s photo album by clicking on the icon indicated below:

save-1.png

  • Share the Snap to your Story by clicking the icon indicated below. This will share the photo or video with your Snapchat friends, or anyone if you made your account public.

story.png

  • Send your Snap to Friends and share it on your Story by tapping the blue arrow.

IMG_1260.png

When you publish a Snapchat Story, it lives on your profile for 24 hours, during which viewers can check it out as many times as they would like. Most brands and individuals publish multiple images/videos in a string that can serve as the narrative of their Story, live-sharing, or simply a fun collage.

ViewStory-attempt-265385176.gif

Source: Snapchat

You can also publish your Snapchat Story on a Live Story, a compilation of Snaps and Stories submitted by users at different events worldwide. If you’re near a location or event that is being featured on a Live Story by Snapchat, you have the option to select “My Story” and “Live Story” when selecting the blue arrow to share your Snap. If your Story is selected for the Live Story, anyone will be able to view your photo or video, and more people will be exposed to your brand.

live_story-183971940.gif

Source: Snapchat

After You Share

1) Save your Story.

Snapchat recently introduced Memories, where you can save Snaps and Stories to your account to prevent them from disappearing after 24 hours. From Memories, you can share new Stories, edit and view past ones, and re-share past Stories on your profile (for example, to commemorate events).

Memories_Resend_Snap-202194416.gif

Source: Snapchat

2) Track your results.

Breton notes in her article that one of Snapchat’s weaknesses is its analytics: The only data you can pull refer to views (Screen_Shot_2016-05-09_at_12.36.07_PM.png), replies, and screenshots (Snapchat_screenshots.png) — and those numbers are only available within the 24-hour timeframe of you publishing a Story.

To view your own Story and to pull these numbers:

  1. Swipe left on the Camera screen to reach the Stories screen.
  2. Tap the circular thumbnail of your Story, or the three gray dots on the right-hand side.
  3. Tap each individual Snap to view the number of views and screenshots.

By tracking these numbers for each Story, and viewing how they evolve over time, you can glean a rough idea of how your Snapchat influence and following is growing.

Breton suggests analyzing clickthrough rate to determine how many people are viewing every image or video that you share in your Story through to the end. Are some viewing the first Snap or two, but not the entire series? Analyzing these numbers will help you decide which types of content perform best, and how many Snaps you should be publishing in your Stories to best connect with your audience.

4 Tips for Creating Great Snapchat Stories

Content creators and community managers, rejoice: With only 10 seconds available per Snap, your Story won’t require the production lift that’s typical of blog posts, ebooks, or social media campaigns on other networks.

Take advantage of the extra time Snapchat allots you to strategize how to make your Stories as strong and engaging as possible. Here are a few suggestions to get you headed on the right path:

1) Experiment with the format.

Breton suggests taking advantage of the ease of Snap Story production by experimenting with how different types of Stories perform when you first start sharing. Test how your followers engage with:

  • Videos vs. photos
  • Selfies vs. shooting other subjects
  • Background sound vs. no sound

2) Change up the theme.

Be sure to show your followers different things each time you publish a Story to keep them wondering what’s next. Ideas for creative Snap Stories from brands include:

Spotlighting events that you’re hosting or attending to give your followers a look into the innovative ideas your brand is creating or promoting. Here’s an example from the social media team at Marie Claire (@MarieClaireMag) taking a tour of NFL Headquarters:

Teasing product launches to generate buzz and drive engagement using sneak peeks, like the folks over at Everlane (@everlane) did with their Story about denim: 

Providing a behind-the-scenes look into your organization’s culture and products to give your followers “insider” status. Here, the Taco Bell (@tacobell) team showed their followers a list of “menu hacks” so they could create their own unique, off-menu dishes:

Getting out of the office and enlisting colleagues and partners traveling on behalf of your brand to share Stories from unique locations for an added “cool” factor. For example, Marriott Hotels (@MarriottHotels) filmed a team member traveling to different boutiques in Atlanta:

Performing mini-interviews with colleagues or visitors to get a look at the faces and personalities behind the brand, as Teen Vogue (@teenvogue) demonstrates in their Story’s Q&A:

Creating how-to videos showing followers how to use products to drive engagement. In their Snapchat Story, Bustle (@bustledotcom) shared a step-by-step guide to an at-home beauty solution and used emojis and doodles to provide specific instructions:

Highlighting “newsjacks” covering breaking news in your industry that your followers will be interested in, too. TrackMaven (@track.maven) publishes a weekly Story that covers marketing news, such as the one below:

3) Have fun with stickers, filters, and doodles.

Don’t forget the editing features when you’re preparing to share your Story. Thrillist’s Dave Infante recommends using emojis as props to add an additional dynamic layer to your Story, like this:

meowtains-810665652.gif

Source: Snapchat

4) Don’t say too long, but don’t leave without saying goodbye either.

The time limit on each Snap in your Story is 10 seconds, but you can publish a series of Stories that work together to create an interesting narrative for your followers. That being said, don’t tell a story that requires too many Snaps. 

When a Story includes too many Snaps, it becomes hard to follow along with, so stick to the highlights. And don’t forget to sign off: Infante suggests a final, closing Snap at the end of your Story to make your conclusion very clear to your followers.

Ready to Get Started?

Now that you know how Stories work — and what goes into a great one, check out this post to brush up on what some of the best brands are doing on Snapchat. And if you want an even deeper dive into Snapchat strategy, download this free ebook.

(P.S. – Keep up with HubSpot on Snapchat (@hubspotinc) to see what we’re saying, too.)

What content do you like to share in your brand’s Snapchat Story? Share with us in the comments below.

free guide: how to use snapchat for business  

5 Ways to Control Your Email Addiction [Infographic]

Control_Email_Addiction.jpg

If you’re among the 50% of us who check email from bed when we should be sleeping, then you know: We, as a society, are completely addicted to our email.

And you can chalk it up to dopamine — the neurotransmitter that makes us keep doing stuff that feels rewarding. Back in the day, those were things like eating, or having a nice conversation.

But now, says psychologist Dr. Laurie Paul, “the brain can become addicted to other things, such as the internet.” That means getting unread email notifications can trigger the same dopamine path. So we repeatedly check it, hoping for the same reward.

Want to kick the habit? This infographic below from Headway Capital has some helpful tips. (And to make the most of your time, check out our free ebook, 27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive.)



How-to-beat-your-email-addiction.jpg



free email productivity tips

Reaching Your Golden Influencers with Content Through LinkedIn Ads

Posted by WilcoxAJ

We’re all well aware that the tides have shifted in SEO. Building links for the sake of building links is no longer the best strategy.

We’ve all heard the gospel of great content being preached: “Just create great content, and the links will naturally come.” While this may be true for brands with existing followings, it’s often a very different story for most SMBs.

The fact of the matter is that if a brand lacks social presence and followers, it may get more eyeballs on its great content by printing a copy, and stapling it to a tree.

For that reason, you need to pay to get that great content in front of the eyes that are most likely to share/blog/mention it. I’m going to show you how to do this using LinkedIn Ads.

LinkedIn, the resume site?

“LinkedIn?”, you say? “Why would I share content on LinkedIn?”, you ask? Very good question!

Everyone’s favorite professional social network is very well known for its ability to host your resume, as well as its usefulness in finding your next job. What you may not have noticed is that LinkedIn has been making great strides towards becoming a content hub, and it began back in 2012.

In 2012, LinkedIn released their Influencer program. It allowed business celebrities like Bill Gates and Richard Branson to publish long-form articles, and it allowed the likes of us peasants to follow that content without requiring said celebrities to accept our connections.

In 2013, the network announced its acquisition of Pulse, a news and content engine, which can push you content based on your industry, seniority, etc. It then released a new ad unit called “Sponsored Updates,” which allows advertisers to put content in front of the right eyes.

In 2014, long-form posting (such as the likes of Arianna Huffington and Barack Obama enjoyed) was then released to all LinkedIn members.

You can see how, gradually, the professional network positioned itself to become the place you go for your business news.

Getting started

By now you may realize how helpful LinkedIn advertising can be for your content marketing efforts, but you don’t know how to get started. No problem! Here’s what you need:

1. Company page admin access

Sponsored Updates (the native ad unit that was built for sharing content effectively) require a connection to the company page. First and foremost, you’ll need to have an existing administrator of your LinkedIn company page add you to that as well.

Here’s that process:

Have your existing admin go to www.linkedin.com and search for your company name

Click on the result that is labeled “Company Page”

Click the button at the top that says “Edit”

Scroll down to the section called “Company Page Administrators”

Type in the name of the person to be granted access (you, presumably). In order to add someone, you must be connected already on LinkedIn.

Click “Publish” at the top of the page

If your company has not yet created a company page, that’s no problem either — they’re quick and easy. You can create your company page for free.

2. LinkedIn Ads account access

If you have an existing LinkedIn Ads account, here’s how to get access:

Have an account manager navigate to LinkedIn.com/ads

Log into LinkedIn with personal credentials

Select the company’s account

Click the cog wheel at the top-center of the page and click “User Access”

Click “Add User”

Type in the name of the person to be granted access (presumably you) and grant “Account Manager” (administrator) permissions

If you don’t already have an existing account, here’s how you do it:

Navigate to LinkedIn.com/ads

Click “Get Started”

Sign in with your LinkedIn credentials

Click “Add Account”

Begin typing the name of your company name in the “Company Name” field

Create an account name (simply the name of your company is best, but anything to help you recognize which account you’re accessing if you manage several

Why use LinkedIn Ads?

Although the ads platform may not be pretty, or have the feature set we in PPC have come to expect, its granular control over B2B targeting can’t be beat. I’m certain you can see the value in being able to reach someone by:

  • Job title
  • Seniority level
  • Department
  • Industry
  • Company
  • Etc.

Who should I target?

That depends. Who would you get the most value out of seeing your content? Here are a couple angles that I’ve used:

1. Venture capital hack

Is your company getting ready to raise a round of funding? You could target those within the “Venture Capital & Private Equity” industry. The fact that potential investors have heard of you could mean precious increase to your valuation.

Here are the targeting settings where I did just that for a client:

vc pe canva.png

2. Publisher hack

Do you want to get your content linked to? How about targeting those that buy ink by the barrel? Here’s what I’ve used for just such an occasion:

publishing media targeting canva.png

By reaching those with seniorities of manager and above in the publishing industries, you’re able to get your content in front of those who could cite, publish about, or otherwise authoritatively share your content.

Attitudes toward native ads

How do we feel about advertising? Savvy consumers are suspicious and skeptical of advertisers. The fantastic part about sponsoring content is the vast majority of consumers don’t view it as an ad. When you ask customers how they found you after arriving through sponsored content, you’ll get answers like “A friend shared…” or “I came across…”

Of course, if your sponsored update feels like an ad, you’ve shot all of your blissful goodwill in the foot.

What does it cost?

Depending on the audience, I’ve found LinkedIn clicks to cost between about $4–8. That being said, sharing content carries with it a huge advantage.

For those familiar with the AdWords auction system, it will come as no surprise that you can get significant discounts on your cost-per-click (CPC) if your click-through rate (CTR) is high.

For the uninitiated, each time a LinkedIn user loads a page on the site, there is an opportunity cost associated with showing an ad. Advertiser A may be willing to bid $20 per click, but if their CTR is .1% the platform would make, at most, $20 from showing the ad to 1k visitors. Contrast that with Advertiser B who is only bidding $3, but has a CTR of 1%, which results in a maximum of $30 to the platform for showing ads to those same 1k visitors.

This means that LinkedIn maximizes its revenue when advertisers have great CTRs, so it lowers costs of high CTR performers in order to reward them for their profitability.

The advantage, then, of sharing content that’s low in friction and high in interest is that it garners high CTRs, and therefore lower CPCs than content that presents more friction.

Remember that you’re targeting your ideal audience here, and getting as many of them as possible to your content/offers will likely pay significant dividends in the future.

Added bonus!

Remember in the section above when I mentioned getting your ideal audience in front of your content pays significant dividends? This is where I get more specific.

You’ve got your ideal audience to your site now, and you paid between $3–7 per click to do it, which is costly in many verticals. Do you keep relying on $3–7 clicks to continue to bring them back until they’re raving fans and ready to talk to your sales team? You could, but then your cost per engagement will look sky-high.

Contrast this with the possibility of placing your LinkedIn traffic into AdWords, Twitter, and Facebook retargeting audiences (tutorial here). You can even name those audiences after the persona you drove there (i.e. Media, or Venture Capital) to make interpretation of the accounts easy.

For instance, if your LinkedIn campaign is targeting media, then call your retargeting audience “Online Media Professionals” or something to that effect.

How much do you normally pay for retargeting traffic? $.60? $1? Less? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be a huge discount compared to your original source of the traffic, and the big advantage to you is that everyone in that audience, you got to qualify through the most effective B2B targeting.

Staying on top of your ideal audiences’ minds with banner ads is great and all, but what gets even more exciting is then using those retargeting audiences as persona development.

Persona development

From following the retargeting strategy above, you know that you’ll end up with a retargeting audience that contains your ideal audience. This allows you to serve a lot of impressions very inexpensively. Use this to your advantage to test content titles, etc.

Are you interested in finding out whether the phrase “data-driven” is more engaging than “big data?” How about testing colloquial messages as opposed to more formal? Try running different versions of the content in image A/B tests to test what resonates most with your persona!

As you test against this audience, you’ll start to find out how best to talk to them, and what types garner the greatest results. After all, you’re paying for the traffic, so you might as well get all the use out of it you can.

Recap

To sum it all up, start by gathering a significant announcement, and decide the influencer who would have the greatest sway over publishing/funding it. Target those folks using LinkedIn’s powerful ad targeting. Then retarget those visitors using your favorite retargeting channels to further invest in the influencers. Then watch business results happen, in a truly scalable fashion!

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