Marketing Automation Delivers Real Results To Marketers


There are no shortages of technologies to apply to marketing challenges but one key area that I see a rapid ROI on is the use of Marketing automation tools that truly move the needle on driving Leads down the funnel through quality nurturing programs that build a prospect relationship to the point of becoming a customer.
Marketing Automation For Leads Tops Buyers' Needs
According to The Center For Media Research & Software Advice, 91% of buyers are evaluating marketing automation software for the first time, with lead nurturing topping the list of desired capabilities among buyers, ahead of marketing analytics and lead scoring.David Raab, publisher of the B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool, provides further analysis of the study, and says “… today… there is more data available for buyer segmentation… higher expectations among buyers and prospects… an increasing need for a marketing automation solution… to manage these challenges…”79% of the buyers were already using some type of software to manage marketing operations, however, only 9% of buyers had a marketing automation system in place. Other systems in use included:

  • 48%% used some form of CRM software (either an integrated suite or a best-of-breed application, such as sales force automation);
  • 7% used an email marketing program, and;
  • 6%  used proprietary (i.e. home-grown) software.

21% of buyers used no software at all, instead relying on manual methods such as pen and paper, spreadsheets or one-off emails.

Buyers’ Current Method of Managing Marketing Activities
Method of Managing % of Respondents
CRM software

48%

Marketing automation

9

Email marketing software

7

Industry specific software

3

Proprietary software

6

Manual methods

21

Other

6

Source: Software Advice, February 2014

40% of buyers cited lead management as their company’s primary motivation to improve lead management nurturing buyers until they’re sales ready, and 30% of buyers cited the need to automate processes, such as sending triggered email messages based on customer behavior on their website.

Top Reasons for Evaluating Marketing Automation Software
Reason % of Respondents (rounded)
Improve lead management

40%

Need to automate process

30.5

Need more/better features

18

Unhappy with current system

10.5

Need better integration

8

Time to update/upgrade

5

Company growth/transition

4.5

Improve service to customers

2

Source: Software Advice, February 2014

Consulting companies voiced a need to improve the services they provide to customers, wanting the ability to manage their client’s email marketing campaigns as well as their lead scoring and nurturing strategy. Buyers were also seeking software to improve their ability to track which marketing campaigns and channels are most effective in order to demonstrate their ROI.

The top features buyers requested are consistent with their desire to improve lead management. 81% of buyers required lead management features, while 64% requested lead scoring.

Most Requested Marketing Automation Features
Feature % of Respondents (Rounded)
Lead nurturing

81%

Reporting/analytics

68.5

Lead scoring

64

Email marketing

47

Drip marketing

43

Inbound marketing

25

Campaign marketing

14.5

Social media marketing

7

Source: Software Advice, February 2014

Reporting and analytics was also a major focus, with 70% of buyers requesting these features in a marketing automation system. Buyers are seeking basic reporting features to track response rates across email campaigns and attribute revenue to a particular campaign, says the analysis. A small portion of buyers also evaluate these features to track campaign ROI, optimize spend and create fractional attribution models.

Email marketing was a highly desired feature, with 47% of buyers citing the need for this capability. On the other hand, although many marketing automation vendors now include social media marketing features within their platform, only 6% of buyers requested social media features.

High tech topped the industry respondents in the study, as the industry is known as an early adopter of marketing automation software, making up 23% of the buyers surveyed. Consulting and manufacturing were also among the top industries evaluating marketing automation, representing 11% and 8% of the sample.

85% of manufacturers in the sample cited the need to nurture leads due to relatively long sales cycles associated with their product. Several manufacturers also mentioned wanting to create a marketing branch within their organization in order to begin marketing their products online.

Company sizes in the sample varied, ranging from two to thousands of employees. 50% of buyers had fewer than 50 employees, but 15% had 500 or more. The prevalence of small companies in the sample is somewhat surprising, says the report, given that mid-size and large companies have more aggressively adopted marketing automation systems. However, many vendors are now focusing on selling to the small and mid-size business market.

The largest portion of buyers in the sample were small and mid-size companies. 76% generated under $50 million in annual revenue, while 18% generated $100 million or more. However, a greater percentage of large companies are replacing marketing automation software rather than buying for the first time. Considering only companies replacing the software, the portion of companies generating more than $100 million in annual revenues jumped to 30%, a 12% increase.

As the market continues to mature, Raab forecasts “… continued strong growth in marketing automation… over the next few years… as marketers become more familiar with how to use these systems… “

For additional information about the study, please go here to  Software Advice  (www.softwareadvice.com)

Snapchat Turns Down $3 Billion Offer From Facebook

Houston: Feeling the pulse of teenagers’ inactivity on its social network, Facebook has dangled more than $ 3 billion in cash to woo Snapchat, the popular photo-messaging start-up used by younger audiences.

However, the Los Angeles-based messaging app company, founded by 23-year-old Evan Spiegel, recently turned down the offer because it’s currently being courted by multiple investors, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The 2-year-old Snapchat has been approached with offers including an investment from China’s Tencent Holdings that would value the start-up at $ 4 billion.

Snapchat’s mobile app allows people to send text and photos that disappear in what has been hailed as all the rage in a next wave of private social sharing.

According to various media reports, Facebook made an offer of “$ 3 billion or more”, but Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel is opting to wait until 2014 in hopes of a better valuation for the company.

In October, Wall Street Journal put out a similar report, claiming that Facebook had offered to acquire Snapchat for $ 1 billion.

Still another report in October indicated that Snapchat was looking to raise a round of funding that would value the company at roughly $ 3.5 billion.

Snapchat has joined the list of tech companies — like Tumblr and Instagram — with no money coming in but multiple sky-high takeover offers. So far, Snapchat’s leaders have balked at the offers in the hope of landing an even more lucrative deal.

This Weeks Marketing Research Chart – What is the B2B Marketers Biggest Challenge?

SUMMARY: Blocking and tackling.

It’s not as sexy as scoring touchdowns or launching flashy new lead generation campaigns, but effective blocking and tackling often separates the champions from the also-rans.

In this week’s chart, we’ll take a look at the blocking and tackling of the B2B world – lead management.

Thanks again to MarketingSherpa for sharing with us this weeks marketing research chart:
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

“Lack of resources, as economic times force too few people to focus on too much work.”

That response is from a marketer discussing top obstacles to success from the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. No matter what the economic trends are, B2B marketers — along with accountants, primary care doctors, stay-at-home moms and everyone else living in the year 2013 — perennially feel challenged by a lack of time and resources.

So, to help understand how marketers prioritize their challenges, we asked them …

Q: Which of the following marketing challenges are currently most pertinent to your organization? Check all that apply.

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart
To help you understand the chart, in a previous Benchmark Report question, we asked marketers to describe the process their organization uses to plan, execute and measure the performance of lead generation, qualification, scoring, nurturing, hand-off/management and funnel optimization. The choices were:

  • Strategic — Formal process, thorough guidelines, routine performance
  • Transition — Informal process, few guidelines, sporadic performance
  • Trial — No process or guidelines currently

All B2B marketers are challenged by generating high-quality leads

As you can see in the chart, generating high-quality leads is far and away the top challenge identified in the Benchmark Report.

While some challenges varied in importance based on marketing maturity — for example, 62% of trial-phase marketers were challenged by generating a high-volume of leads versus only 43% for strategic marketers; 47% of strategic marketers were challenged by marketing to a lengthening sales cycle, while only 28% of trial-phase marketers responded similarly — the spread was much tighter for this challenge, ranging from 80% of trial-phase marketers to 75% of strategic marketers recognizing this challenge.

So, we all know what the problem is … what is the solution?

Generating high-quality leads is an immensely difficult and complex problem to tackle, illustrated by the range of marketers recognizing this challenge. The ways to address it are equally varied and complicated. I don’t want to belittle the challenges you face every day in your job by touting an easy panacea — even if that tends to make for compelling article headlines that get shared widely across the Web.

My goal with today’s Marketing Chart of the Week is to have you walk away and ask this question of yourself and your team …

How well do we perform the lead management blocking and tackling?

It’s easy to overlook. Everyone likes to focus on net new leads.

Let’s be frank, that’s one of the most fun areas of the job and it’s maybe even why you became a marketer. You get to forge partnerships, work with agencies on creative, even attend the Super Bowl if your budget and lead generation goals are big enough.

That would be all well and good if your only goal was generating mountains of leads. But, as you can see in the chart, that challenge is secondary to generating high-quality leads, because …

Sales doesn’t want leads

Your CEO doesn’t want leads, either. Also, your shareholders absolutely do not care about leads.

They care about paying customers.

Therefore, contact information from someone who filled out a form, downloaded a white paper, signed up for an email, attended a webinar or fits a certain demographic profile in and of itself has no value.

It takes blocking and tackling. It takes lead management. It takes not just capturing the leads, but qualifying them, nurturing them and delivering them to Sales in an effective manner to create that value.

Yet, elsewhere in the Benchmark Report we found that only 22% of marketers find lead hand-off and management to be a challenge. More marketers see the challenge in pieces of the process like lead nurturing (40%), but less so in connecting all the pieces together that make for a successful process.

Perhaps that’s because blocking and tackling isn’t as popular as buzz-worthy tactics like social and mobile and QR codes.

Perhaps that’s because marketers feel that CRM and marketing automation systems will do all of the work for them.

While these tools can be effective, the hammer is only as good as the carpenter wielding it.

So, let’s end on this note. Ask yourself and your team if you are taking your lead management process for granted. Because, as this marketer responded in the Benchmark Report, the challenge will only become more difficult …

“The decision pipelines for higher-end products are becoming narrower and longer with more controls at the corporate level. The slower economy and company resistance to spending not only make budgets tighter but funnel management slower.”

mCommerce Reports On Predicted $9 Billion U.S. Q4 2014 Mobile Spend

As we kick-off another holiday season of spending, look for Mobile to play a huge role this year.
Laurie Sullivan of mCommerce  reports eCommerce hits $53.2 Billion in U.S. for Q3 2013 and
an unofficial assessment for Q4 2013 mobile commerce could see the total climb to $9 billion in the United States — up from comScore’s $5.8 billion estimate for sales from tablets and smartphones in the prior quarter.

No official forecast yet on mCommerce, but Andrew Lipsman, VP of marketing and insights at comScore, said he expects it to come close to “$9 billion, with an outside shot of hitting $10 billion.”

comScore Friday said Q3 2013 U.S. desktop-based retail e-commerce sales grew 13% year-over-year to $47.5 billion, marking the sixteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and the twelfth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

Mobile commerce spending on smartphones and tablets grew 26% compared with the year-ago quarter, for a total of $53.2 billion in Q3 for digital commerce spending. Of the additional $5.8 billion in mcommerce, purchases from smartphones accounted for 62% versus 38% from tablets.

E-commerce accounted for 9.4 percent of consumers’ discretionary spending, the highest third-quarter share on record. comScore plans to preview insight into Q4 2013 desktop and mobile commerce, along with holiday trends, during the State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy through Q3 2013.

In Q3 2013, top-performing online product categories were Digital Content & Subscriptions, Apparel & Accessories, Consumer Packaged Goods, Consumer Electronics and Jewelry & Watches. Each category grew at least 14 percent versus a year ago.

A PM Digital report cites ecommerce as a driving factor for holiday sales, although the amount of organic traffic leading to conversions on brand Web sites continues to slip. Organic traffic share fell to 22.20% of the total, while organic search revenue slipped from 21.32% to 18.58% in Q3 2013.

Twitter’s scheduled and organic tweets, and Instagram paid posts, however, are tools that will help search marketers drive awareness up the funnel and increase purchase conversion rates through the final quarter of 2013.

Marketing Research Chart: Integrating email and search marketing tactics

This Weeks Marketing Chart Compliments of Marketing Sherpa

Commentary by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

“It’s growing in popularity, but the overall cost and time that it takes to achieve results is less appealing than emailing and prospect emailing.”

This quote comes from an e-commerce marketing manager responding to the MarketingSherpa 2013 SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey. It highlights the either/or view some marketers have of email and search marketing.

At first, there does not seem to be as obvious an overlap between these channels as there is with, say, search and social.

To identify areas of overlap, we needed to understand where marketers focused their search marketing time and resources. So in the survey, we asked:

Q: Which of the following SEO tactics has your organization used in the past year?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

At first glance, this chart highlights one of marketers’ key challenges. They’re doing a lot. Even the least used tactic — digital asset optimization — is being conducted by 45% of marketers.

Since many marketers find it difficult to do less or gain more resources for the current workload, the only other option is better integrating the work that is already being conducted. So take out your silo-busting sledgehammer, and read these three ideas for combining your SEO and email tasks to get more done in less time.

Combo #1. Keyword and keyphrase research is email send planning in disguise

I know of a company (that shall remain nameless) struggling with getting its weekly event promotion email out every Wednesday.

They’re too busy. Who has the time? Every week’s send is a last-minute scramble. No time to optimize or test … just get-the-send-out-the-door-fast!

However, if you are one of the 88% of marketers who are conducting keyword and keyphrase research (that number is even higher — 91% — when we break out the data to marketers who have a dual B2B/B2C audience), what you’re really doing is finding topics where you can fill into a send calendar to plot out your promotional and content emails for the next quarter or even year.

If that keyphrase is relevant enough to your audience that they’re searching for it, it should be relevant enough for their inbox, as well.

Once you have those topics planned (and last-minute tweaking is always possible, of course), you can start keeping your eye out for products, content, promotions, graphics, news stories, testimonials and the list goes on that you can slot into that calendar — so as the send approaches, you have a lot of information to work off of.

BONUS: Subject lines are one of the hardest things to get just right and can take up a lot of time with tweaking and last-minute refinements. People don’t just type keywords into search engines. The right keywords also reflect prospect interest. If you already have those in your email calendar, adding them to your subject lines (and even better, testing those subject lines) can lead to more opens and faster subject line writing.

Combo #2. Content creation feeds both Google and Gmail

Yahoo and Yahoo Mail. Bing and Outlook. I’m not trying to play favorites here. My overall point is that inbound and outbound can benefit from each other, will help you create one integrated process, and save you time.

A VP of Marketing responded to the benchmark survey by saying, “We don’t have a process as of now; we’re focused on outbound tactics. However, I have been reading about inbound and content marketing, which seems to have reached ‘frenzy’ status. We engaged in discussions and presentations with [vendor name removed] to replace our current email provider.”

If you’re among the two-thirds of marketers engaged in content creation for SEO, look beyond the landing page. Content is the perfect food for the ever-hungry beast that is your email list. Even promotional emails can benefit from some added content to increase perceived value before an “ask.”

This may involve such arduous tasks as cross-departmental collaboration, or even sharing budgets and resources. Or, worse yet, it could force different ad agencies to work together. But, the tough upfront work will pay off with a more streamlined workflow to make better use of the time and resources your company is already spending to create content.

Also, the content should flow both ways. If you have an established email provider and are focused on outbound email, before you rip and replace with a new type of platform, take a look at how you can add inbound and SEO to your current process and repurpose your email content.

This VP of Marketing sees the possible combination of using email to drive traffic to website content, “We view SEO as a longer-term strategy.

“As a relatively young company, we rely on inside sales [telemarketing] as our primary source for lead gen. The second priority is a combination of content marketing tied to email marketing and our website. The content will help drive traffic and we plan to publish new content on social media channels.”

Combo #3. SEO landing pages beg for some email capture

“SEO has actually gotten less important as we have switched to email marketing and affiliate marketing. We offer online conferences to psychotherapists and partner with presenters that have large email lists, thus improving our reach. The only one that cares about SEO is me, the co-owner, though I have not found just the right mix and offer for using it to increase our email sign-up list,” a company owner replied to the benchmark survey.

A little over half (55%) of marketers are building SEO landing pages, with the practice slightly more prevalent for B2C marketers (57%).

While those SEO landing pages can be used for a direct sale, many products would benefit from a little lead nurturing first. For example, through previous MarketingSherpa research, we’ve found that marketing departments with a lead nurturing campaign in place reported a 45% higher ROI than those that did not utilize a lead nurturing track.

So, you can test combining your SEO landing pages with your company’s list-building efforts by either making email capture your main goal, or perhaps an option in your sales process. This also opens up the possible use of retargeting for prospects that are interested in a product, but don’t pull the trigger to purchase.

BONUS: The re-use of work can flow both ways. You can use content from emails to build SEO landing pages. If the content only appeared in email, you don’t have to worry about any duplicate content issues with search engines. You may have some fresh, underutilized inbound-traffic-generating content that has been used once and forgotten in your email newsletters.

My overall goal with this week’s chart is to challenge you, the busy marketer — don’t only look at what SEO tactics marketers are engaged in, explore ways to integrate these tactics into your other campaigns, efforts, and work to create more efficient, effective campaigns.

After all, no marketing channel is an island. Your customers just want information and offers for products and services they are interested in. They don’t silo themselves into channels. Neither should you.

Content Marketing Tactical Approach

Marketing Sherpa is offering a new research report on  ‘ A Tactical Approach To Content Marketing” .

People research before they buy. The average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a
purchase decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources a year earlier, according to a study from Google and
Shopper Sciences.

Content marketing fits this trend. Marketers supply an assortment  of content pieces – from blogs and webinars, to whitepapers and
videos – to help shoppers and corporate decision makers solve  problems and learn how their companies can help.  Content marketing is not a direct sales strategy. It is a gradual and  ongoing strategy, which makes it harder to execute well and  measure effectively. Brands need to systematically work to
understand where their customers are in the buying cycle, where  they can insert their content, and what the return will be for their
efforts.

Bottom Line: the more relevant the content, the better the chance  of connecting with customers and improving results.
This Special Report looks at how marketers can develop a useful and tactical approach to content

marketing.
Highlights of this report include:
• An examination of content products in terms of usage, effectiveness and difficulty to execute
• The extent to which content improves organic search traffic conversion rates
• The role of content in high-performing lead nurturing programs
• A roadmap for identifying and fulfilling content needs
• Budget allocations for content and its inbound marketing counterparts – SEO and social media
• An approach to connect the dots and measure content marketing results
• Insights on marketers’ successes and challenges with content marketing

For the full report visit Marketing Sherpa at:

http://www.marketingsherpa.com/data/public/reports/special-reports/SR-A-Tactical-Approach-to-Content-Marketing.pdf

Next Generation Measurement – Word-Of-Mouth Metrics

According to the Center for Media Research a new study and development by ForSee, for the past decade, Net Promoter Score (NPS) has served as a leading metric used by businesses to measure customer recommendations and loyalty. After its introduction in 2003, NPS quickly became the most popular and widely adopted customer experience metric for U.S. businesses.

Research from the Temkin Group in 2012 supported the popularity, says the report, showing that 83% of companies asked their customers the Net Promoter question: “How likely is it that you would recommend (this product/service/brand) to a friend or colleague?” From 2011 to 2012, NPS was the fastest growing customer experience metric.

But business leaders incorporating NPS into their executive dashboard are constantly striving to innovate their analytics and not rely on status quo, says the report. According to ForeSee analysis and research, a more equitable method of deleting “detractors” from the measurement equation provides, as their analysts propose, a more accurate understanding of the word of mouth recommendation quotient.

The report says that ForeSee has collected more than 2 million survey responses over the last two years to research and develop a more accurate and precise way to measure both word-of-mouth promoters and detractors.

As a result, ForeSee conceived the Word of Mouth Index for the next generation. WoMI measures bothlikelihood to recommend and likelihood to detract from a specific brand by adding a second question: “How likely are you to discourage others from doing business with this company?” By measuring both positive and negative word of mouth, business leaders gain a next-generation metric that, when viewed within the context of the customer experience ecosystem of metrics, provides actionable insights that can help leaders improve key business outcomes, including word of mouth, says the report.

That having been said, there follows several top brand categories comparing the WoMi index to the current NPS index as of the third quarter of 2013.

Top B2B Brand Indices (Q3, 2013)
Brand WoMi NPS
3M

55

46

Cisco

46

34

GE

44

28

John Deere

59

47

Nokia

39

21

Oracle

39

21

Siemens

39

25

Xerox

39

20

Source: Forsee. October 2013

 

Top Computer and Electronics Manufacturers Brand (Q3, 2013)
Brand WoMi NPS
Adobe

45

31

Apple

65

54

Blackberry (RIM)

39

19

Canon

52

37

Dell

43

18

HP

57

42

IBM

41

30

Intel

44

38

Microsoft

40

25

Nintendo

52

40

Panasonic

51

39

Philips

43

28

Samsung

48

37

Sony

52

41

Source: Forsee. October 2013

 

Top Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Brands (Q3, 2013)
Brand WoMi NPS
Avon

61

52

Budweiser

44

25

Colgate

41

18

Corona

43

21

Danone

35

21

Gillette

42

24

Heinz

47

32

Johnson & Johnson

54

41

Kellogg

48

29

Kleenex

45

24

Nescafe

44

27

Nestle

44

28

Pepsi

40

17

Sprite

39

12

Source: Forsee. October 2013

The full report continues with Financial Services Brands, Retail Brands and Other Brands to not only provide comparative data with which to develop marketing strategy, but to review and consider improvement to the metrics of the proposed measurement methods.

ForeSee concludes that some organizations will continue to use word-of-mouth measurement as a satisfaction metric because of its ease of implementation, sharing, and understanding. Given this reality, organizations need to adopt measurement methodologies that provide more accurate pictures of the business world.

The report suggests that a system that significantly advances the measurement of the customer’s experience with primary benefits for businesses operating in today’s high-speed, word-of-mouth-driven culture would include:

  • Any measurement with one simple value that can be used to rally stakeholders (executives, employees, Wall Street, board members, etc.) around their customers’ experience and across an organization
  • An understanding of the difference between True Detractors and True Promoters to eliminate the risk of alienating customers who aren’t legitimate detractors
  • Adding a second question to understand what drives negative word of mouth as well as positive word of mouth to allow companies to take proactive measures to fix issues

To review the complete report in PDF format, please visit ForeSee here.

 

Average Organic Traffic Conversion By Industry Type

Research released this week  from Marketing Sherpa  provides insights into the conversion rates of organic search traffic by key industry type. There are a lot of variables that go into factoring conversion rates but this will provide you with some good data to consider.
Marketing Research Chart: Conversion rates on organic traffic
Q: What is your organization’s conversion rate for organic traffic?

Q: Which single category best describes the type of organization you work for?

CHART - MARKETING SHERPA

First, the grain of salt

Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content  adds the following commentary:
At MarketingSherpa, our goal is not only to provide marketing data that can help you do your job better, but help you understand the data, as well. We’ll discuss considerations for organic traffic conversion in just a moment, but first, a caveat to help you interpret the above data.

Take it with a grain of salt. It can give you a general idea of organic conversion rates, but we are in no way suggesting that any of these numbers are the exact, perfectly correct benchmark for your company.

For example, conversion can be defined very differently, even with the same industry. When we asked marketers in the same benchmark survey, “How does your organization define a conversion on your website?” here is how they responded:

    • Form completion with multiple data fields — 49%
    • Online sale completed — 25%
    • Form completion with one data field — 10%
  • Other — 17%

This may be why, for example, marketing agencies, consultancies, media and publishing companies report the highest conversion rates (20%), with retail, e-commerce, sales or wholesale distribution reporting the lowest conversion rate (11%).

At the high end of conversion rates, marketers in these industries are likely only looking for a lead form fill. In the case of media and publishing, often the conversion may simply be reading a free article — much like you’re doing now for MarketingSherpa … thanks for converting.

On the low end of conversion rates, these companies are likely looking for an actual online sale, which, all things being equal, will be harder to achieve than a simple lead form fill.

With that out of the way, let’s look at four factors to keep in mind for organic traffic conversion.

In general, organic traffic converts quite well across many different industries

Here is something interesting we can learn from the chart — overall organic conversion rates were much higher than the low single digits that are typical for direct mail, TV or radio.

So, if your organic traffic is underperforming conversion rates of other channels, it is worth exploring why that is. Do your targeted keywords not reflect your product, service or conversion goal? Is your meta description misleading? Do you have a technical error on your page? Perhaps prospects open several tabs in their browser and comparison shop.

Take a look at the SERP (search engine results page) results closest to yours, and see what those companies may be offering that you are not.

On the flip side, even though organic search traffic converts well, it is not so highly motivated that you can expect a 0% bounce rate. After all, a 20% conversion rate is great, but it still means 80% of traffic is not converting, so take heart when you see a non-zero bounce rate in your analytics.

Focus on the most effective keywords for each stage of the buying cycle

Broader, more general keywords (for example, “seeds”) tend to be used by prospective customers early in the buying process in the discovery and research phase, while longer, more complex keywords (for example, “organic purple carrot seeds”), also known as long-tail keywords, tend to occur later in the buying process, closer to final purchase. These long-tail search keywords may even include specific product names or model numbers.

Matching your conversion goal to the types of keywords used and the stage in the buying cycle can help conversion rates. For example, at the “seed” (general keyword) level, a simple email capture form to sign up for an email newsletter about gardening may be the most effective conversion goal.

However, at the “organic purple carrot seeds” (long-tail) level, an online sale may be the most effective conversion goal.

You can test which conversion goals will be effective for which keyword combinations, as this online marketing consultant explained in a benchmark survey response …

“We employ multiple phases of SEO. Once we establish an SEO plan, we verify the conversion rate of our keywords and direct response messages via PPC. It’s only after we have good conversion metrics that we activate our inbound marketing strategies.”

Landing page testing can help you discover the best ways to achieve your conversion objectives.

Conversion optimization can help you improve conversion on the traffic you’ve already invested in driving to your website

In a nutshell, conversion optimization (also referred to as conversion rate optimization — CRO — or landing page optimization — LPO) is the discipline of making intentional changes to your website and landing pages to improve conversion, conducting A/B split tests to see which changes work best, learning from those tests, and then continually making changes (and testing) in a virtuous cycle of conversion rate improvement.

Consider mobile users

So, what if your organic search traffic conversion rates are vastly lower than conversion rates from other channels? Or even vastly lower than the benchmarks above?

As I mentioned previously, one factor may be technology — either the rendering of a webpage or the tracking on that page. This is especially true with mobile devices, as this head of online marketing explained in a response from the benchmark survey …

“Tracking is still a big issue when it comes to mobile search, especially from a multichannel standpoint. Also, traditional optimization process does not work as effectively as desktops. You need to have a mobile first strategy with a fully optimized mobile website and campaigns in order to make a real difference which requires a considerable investment. Lastly, conversion is still a big issue when it comes to mobiles with the exception of tablets, of course.”

90% of B2C Marketers Using Content Marketing

Content marketing Image

According to the Center for Media Research, MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reporting their research into the emerging trends in the B2C content marketing space, it’s a good year for B2C content marketers in that 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing, compared with 86% last year. 34% consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 32% last year.

Adoption rates of content marketing are on the rise and confidence has grown:

  • B2C marketers have rated many tactics higher in effectiveness this year; in-person events and eNewsletters top the list of effective tactics
  • B2C marketers are using all social platforms more often, with LinkedIn use registering the biggest jump (from 51% to 71%)

This confidence in content marketing also shows in terms of investment: 60% of B2C marketers plan to increase the amount they allocate to content marketing. Surprisingly, says the report, the least effective B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets more than the most effective ones (69% vs. 55%), an indication that marketers believe in the principles of content marketing.

How B2C Marketers Rate the Effectiveness of Their Organization’s Use of Content Marketing

  • 5  Very Effective 7%
  • 4  27%
  • 3  44%
  • 2  20%
  • 1  Not as all effective 1%

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

39% of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy, and 60% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy, compared with 12% of their least effective peers. In addition, small B2C companies are more likely than large B2C companies to have a documented content strategy (46% vs. 41%).

Percentage of B2C Marketers Who Have a Documented Content Strategy

  • 39% Yes
  • 52% No
  • 9%   Unsure

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

85% of the most effective B2C marketers have someone who oversees content marketing strategy, compared with 50% of their least effective B2C peers.

Percentage of B2C Marketers with Someone Who Oversees Content Marketing Strategy

  • 67% Yes
  • 26% No
  • 6%   Unsure

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

72% of B2C marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago, while 77% of the most effective B2C marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago, compared with 64% of their least effective peers.

Change in Amount of B2C Content Creation (Over Last 12 Months)

  • 32% Significantly More
  • 40% More
  • 21% Same Amount
  • 4% Less
  • 3% Unsure

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

The report says that B2C content marketers have increasing confidence

in the effectiveness of all these tactics, with the exception of blogs, which is down two percentage points.  For the second year in a row, B2C marketers have rated in-person events as the most effective tactic. The most effective B2C marketers, however, rate eNewsletters as the most effective tactic (91%), followed by in-person events (81%).

Confidence Gap  Effectiveness Ratings of Tactics Among B2C Users 
Tactic Believe It’s Effective Believe It’s Less Effective 
In-person Events

74%

26%

eNewsletters

73%

27%

Videos

65%

35%

Social Media

63%

37%

Articles on Your Website

58%

42%

Webinars/Webcasts

58%

42%

Mobile Content

56%

44%

Online Presentations

56%

44%

Blogs

55%

45%

Case Studies

54%

46%

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

B2C marketers are using social media more frequently than they did last year, using an average of six social media platforms, vs. four last year.  LinkedIn had the biggest jump in B2C usage: from 51% last year to 71% this year.

Percentage of B2C Marketers Who Use Various Social Media Platforms to Distribute Content

  • 89% Facebook
  • 80% Twitter
  • 72% YouTube
  • 71% LinkedIn
  • 55% Google+
  • 53% Pinterest
  • 32% Instagram
  • 19% SlideShare
  • 18% Flickr
  • 18% Tumblr
  • 16% Foursquare
  • 16% Vimeo
  • 13% StumbleUpon
  • 13% Vine

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

Brand awareness is the top organizational goal for B2C content marketing, replacing customer retention/loyalty (which was 77% last year) as the top goal for B2C content marketing.

74% of the most effective B2C marketers cite engagement as a goal, compared with 43% of their least effective B2C peers.

Organizational Goals for B2C Content Marketing

  • 79% Brand Awareness
  • 71% Customer Acquisition
  • 65% Customer Retention/Loyalty
  • 51% Sales
  • 64% Engagement
  • 62% Website Traffic
  • 50% Lead Generation
  • 33% Thought Leadership
  • 28% Lead Management/Nurturing

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

For the second year in a row, B2C marketers have cited Web traffic and social media sharing as their top two content marketing metrics

Metrics for B2C Content Marketing Success

  • 66% Web Traffic
  • 52% Social Media Sharing
  • 46% Time Spent on Website
  • 44% Direct Sales
  • 43% Qualitative Feedback from Customers
  • 41%SEO Ranking
  • 40% Increased Customer Loyalty
  • 35% Subscriber Growth
  • 29% Benchmark Li_ of Company Awareness
  • 27%Benchmark Li_ of Product/Service Awareness
  • 27% Sales Lead Quality
  • 27% Inbound Links
  • 23% Sales Lead Quantity
  • 14% Cross-selling
  • 11% Cost Savings

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

60% of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, a higher percentage compared with last year (60% vs. 55%). 69% of the least effective B2C marketers plan to increase their spend, compared with 55% of the most effective.

B2C Content Marketing Spending (Over Next 12 Months)

  • 15% Significantly Increase
  • 45% Increase
  • 28% Remain the Same
  • 2%   Decrease
  • 10% Unsure

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

Lack of budget, while still an issue, is no longer the top challenge for B2C content marketers. The top three challenges last year were lack of budget (52%), producing enough content (51%), and producing the kind of content that engages (49%). B2C marketers are less challenged in all areas listed here than they were last year, except for lack of time (new this year), producing the kind of content that engages, and lack of buy-in/vision.

Challenges that B2C Content Marketers Face 

  • 57% lack of time
  • 51% producing the kind of content that engages
  • 48% lack of budget
  • 45% producing enough content
  • 36% inability to measure content effectiveness
  • 36% producing a variety of content
  • 33% lack of knowledge and training
  • 31% lack of integration across marketing
  • 23% lack of buy-in/vision
  • 14% lack of integration across hr
  • 13% inability to collect information from smes
  • 10% finding trained content marketing professionals

Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs, October 2013

For more from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, please visit here

 

Video Engagement Rates On Mobile Has Soared Over The Last 12 Months

Mobile Video ImageAccording to new data from Unruly, video engagement rates on mobile devices have soared over the last 12 months, as Online video viewers are almost three times more likely to click through to a brand’s website from their smartphone or tablet than their laptop or desktop computer.

Data collected from 3,000+ social video platform’s branded campaigns found that mobile interaction rates have more than doubled over the same time period. Engagement rates on desktops also increased during the year, but not at the same rate as mobile.

The key findings include:

  • The average CTR for mobile campaigns (13.64%) is almost three times that of desktop (5.45%)
  • The average click-through-rate of mobile video campaigns has increased by 265.7% over the last four quarters, rising from 3.73% in Q4 2012 to 13.64% in Q3 2013
  • Interaction rates for mobile have more than doubled in the last year (up 105.63%), to 22.64% in Q3 2013
  • In the last two quarters, click-through-rates on mobile are more than double what has been recorded on desktop (average rates of 11.18% and 4.25% respectively – an uplift of 163.05%)
  • Desktop CTR (up 151.15% to 5.45%), and interaction rates (170.74% uplift to 15.08%), have also increased over the last 12 months
  • Month-on-month mobile replay rates fluctuated throughout 2013, but year-to-date figures have still been one-and-a-half times higher than desktop rates

The report note that, according to the IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report, advertising revenue in the US from digital video reached $1.3B in the first half of this year – a 24% increase from last year. The report, compiled by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), also found mobile ad revenues jumped 145% to more than $3 billion in the first half of the year from the same period a year ago.

Matt Cooke, co-founder and CTO at Unruly, says “… mobile video consumption is exploding… an increase in brands requesting mobile-only social video campaigns… with short-form video formats… native to mobile… helping to drive this growth…. “

Cooke added: “… because it’s emotionally powerful and so easy to share, video is the most engaging format in the marketer’s tool box… “

For more information from Unruly, please visit here.