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Monthly Archives: January 2020

Not Using Landing Pages in Your Ecommerce Email Marketing? Here’s Why You Should

Ecommerce emails not selling? Bump your conversion rate by sending email recipients to landing pages custom-built for each promotional offer.

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Social mentions 101: What are they and why they’re important

When creating a social media strategy for your brand, there are two things you want to focus on – how you’re talking to your Read more...

This post Social mentions 101: What are they and why they’re important originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

New decade, who dis?

We’ve officially turned the calendar to 201… er, 2020! First the first time in 10 years, we’ll all be writing a different numeral as that third digit. That’s a new habit that’ll take some getting used to. 

As B2B marketers, perhaps we can take advantage of this opportunity to form a few other new habits. Specifically, I’m talking about making adjustments to the way we approach our craft, so to align ourselves with the evolved marketplace of the 2020s. 

The New Year is always a fitting time for resolutions and aspirational goal-setting. With this particularly momentous milestone, I’m urging all my B2B marketing peers to think big and commit to some major shifts in mindset for the decade ahead.

These five habits ought to be left in the 2010s along with fidget spinners and the Mannequin Challenge.

5 Habits for B2B Marketers to Leave Behind in the 2010s

#1. The Desktop Mentality

Chances are, you spend your days creating content or managing campaigns on a desktop computer or laptop. As such, it’s all too easy to assume your audience will consume it in the same way. But, chances are, they won’t. 

The explosion of mobile usage has been among the most unmistakable sea changes of the past decade. In 2010, the iPhone was still a relatively new product and mobile accounted for 2.9% of all web site traffic. By 2018, that figure was up to 52.2%. Smartphone ownership rose from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019. Mobile overtook desktop in 2016 and there’s been no looking back. 

Despite this, I still routinely encounter websites, landing pages, and content experiences that look great on desktop and clunky on a smartphone or tablet. Too often, mobile is an afterthought. Instead, it should be our first thought. Bringing a mobile-first mindset into the 2020s will position marketers to be on the same page as the people they’re trying to reach.

What To Do: Scrutinize your most critical existing content assets — visuals, responsiveness, usability — on multiple different types of devices to ensure you’re delivering a quality mobile experience. Also, resolve to test all new content on mobile before desktop in 2020.

via GIPHY

#2. Aimless Creation

At the start of the decade, content marketing was in a relatively nascent stage. The primary objective for marketers was simply to produce, as reflected by the first-ever B2B content marketing benchmark report from newly established Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in 2010. In this report, the top-cited challenges were:

  • Producing engaging content
  • Producing enough content
  • Budget to produce content

All that production, so little direction… It’s a problem that hasn’t gone away despite content marketing’s maturation over the course of a decade. In general, there’s still too much focus on the creation and not enough on the strategy. In many programs, promotion and measurement take distant back seats. 

In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. A holistic approach to the discipline begins with documenting your content strategy and adhering to its vision, as will a robust list of content promotion tactics to draw from.  

[bctt tweet="In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

What To Do: Create or refine your documented content strategy. Take a gander at our top B2B content marketing trends and predictions for 2020 to ensure you’re fully up to speed.

#3. Email Abandonment

It’s been an interesting decade for email marketing. The tactic’s popularity endures – email newsletters were cited as the third-most common type of content for B2B marketers in the latest CMI benchmarking report – but confidence in this channel has evidently waned. 

According to research by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), only 55% of marketers believe more than half of what they send out is useful to subscribers, and more concerningly, only 14% of subscribers feel that way. 

I’m on record as saying email marketing is not dead, it just needs rejuvenation. I think the inbox will be in again in the 2020s, as practitioners get back into touch with the fundamentals that make it such a powerful communication channel to begin with. Through stronger segmentation, audience insight, and relationship-driven strategy, we can get back to capitalizing on a space where the average professional spends 3+ hours of their workday.

(Source)

What To Do: Subscribe to a few newsletters from leading brands to do some recon, and adopt the subscriber-centric practices you like best.

#4. Influence for the Sake of Influence

I wonder if we’ll all look back at the 2017 Fyre Festival fiasco – and the documentaries it yielded – as a turning point for influencer marketing. 

In a way, that whole ordeal was damaging, casting a light on the total fraudulence of paid Instagram celebrities hawking products they had no connection to, or understanding of, merely to seem hip and raise awareness. But I view it as more of a positive: That seedy side of “influencer marketing” needed to be exposed, enabling us all to acknowledge it and move past it.

Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. At TopRank Marketing, we have long asserted that relying on popularity metrics alone is a mistake, while aligning influencer type and topic is critical. 

[bctt tweet="Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

LinkedIn’s* Judy Tian recently shared her views on this essential nuance: “Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach ... the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

These are the true objectives of B2B influencer marketing. It’s influence with a purpose. And that mindset should drive our strategies in the years ahead.

What To Do: Review influencer lists to make sure expertise and credibility aligns with the audience for your campaigns, and start prioritizing relevance over reach for future initiatives.

#5. Talking About Ourselves

I’ll close with perhaps the single most important shift for B2B marketers in 2020 and beyond: Moving the spotlight from our own products and services to our customers. This is a crucial area where data tells us we’re coming up short.

A recent report from Forrester, titled Customer-Centered Messaging Helps Boost B2B Revenues By Motivating Buyer Action, shows that:

  • 88% of B2B marketers admit their homepages talk primarily about their companies, products, and services
  • 13% of B2B marketers use narrative to tell a story, walk buyers through a persuasive argument, or show some empathy with customer concerns
  • 28% of B2B marketers mirror the language that their target audiences and decision makers use when talking about those problems

These are troubling numbers. In the 2020s, we need to take the next step in customer-centricity, going beyond connecting our solutions to the audience by doing so from their point of view. It’s not an easy thing to master – as the Forrester report indicates – but it is a very worthy pursuit. 

We should all be striving to develop empathy, as it’s defined by Intuit’s Brian Hood: “Having such a strong understanding that it’s hard to tell the line between us and our customers.” And our content should convey it.

What To Do: Walk the walk when it comes to being customer-centric. Put customer insight in the driver’s seat for everything you create in 2020. Be cognizant of how often you’re centering the conversation on your brand and its solutions.

Here’s to a Decade of Dazzling Results

The next 10 years are going to be exciting and invigorating. Technology, creativity, and data-driven insight will commingle in new ways to reinvent what is possible for digital customer experiences. We’re excited to venture into this great unknown alongside all of our clients, partners, and peers. 

From my view, B2B marketers who are best-prepared for what lies ahead will be:

  • Mobile-first
  • Thoroughly strategic with creation
  • Adamant about energizing email engagement
  • Focused on influencer relevance
  • Keenly customer-centered in approach

Want to further ready yourself for the year and decade ahead? Check out our robust pieces on 2020 trends and predictions:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Develop a Unique Instagram Marketing Style

Are your posts getting lost in the Instagram feed? Wondering how to make your Instagram posts more recognizable to your followers? In this article, you’ll discover how to create an Instagram style that’s easy for fans to recognize. Why a Strong and Cohesive Instagram Feed Matters An Instagram user is scrolling through their feed and […]

The post How to Develop a Unique Instagram Marketing Style appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Twitter Adds New Ad Unit and Alters Core Features

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Twitter’s new Promoted Trend Spotlight ad unit, limits on tweet replies, and other upcoming changes to core […]

The post Twitter Adds New Ad Unit and Alters Core Features appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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The Power of Perceived Value: Discover how a well-marketed banana & roll of tape produced a windfall

If you are experienced in business, you have heard of using marketing tactics like scarcity, story and influence to increase your sales. But there is a right way and a wrong way to apply these psychological drivers.

The post The Power of Perceived Value: Discover how a well-marketed banana & roll of tape produced a windfall appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketing Outlook Study, Twitter Axes Audience Insights, Influencer Marketing Sees Growth, & TikTok’s Rising Revenue

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketing Outlook Study, Twitter Axes Audience Insights, Influencer Marketing Sees Growth, & TikTok’s Rising Revenue appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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YouTube Trends: What Marketers Need to Know

Do you use YouTube in your marketing? Wondering how often you should publish videos and what type of content works on YouTube? To explore the YouTube trends marketers need to know about, I interview Sean Cannell on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Sean is a video marketing expert, host of the Think Marketing Podcast, and […]

The post YouTube Trends: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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50+ Writing Contests in 2020 with Awesome Cash Prizes

So you want to compete in writing contests for prizes and recognition? Writing contests are a fun way to evolve your writing skills — and, yes, cash prizes are a nice bonus. But remember, the emphasis is on fun. If cash is your primary goal, you should focus your time and energy on landing freelance …

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The post 50+ Writing Contests in 2020 with Awesome Cash Prizes appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Content has many aims. It should inform. It should assist. It should entertain.

But as B2B marketers, doesn't it seem like if we don't deliver on the latter – immediately, and convincingly – we don't really get a chance to deliver on the rest? 

Given that our job is dependent on earning and keeping an audience's attention, marketers are wise to take cues from entertainment-focused content formats like films and music videos. Even more so, we're wise to take cues from the creators behind them. In a nutshell, that's why Adam Dunn offers a particularly valuable perspective for people in our line of work.

As a film and video director who has worked on numerous prominent music videos and Hollywood movies — including “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, for which he and his team won an Academy Award — Adam is fervently focused on creating content that is compelling and captivating for audiences. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve also had the opportunity to work with him on several video marketing initiatives, seeing first-hand how his expertise can take such efforts to the next level.

via GIPHY

[bctt tweet="It's often the thing that is imperfect that eventually becomes the thing people like the most, which is why Spiderverse became the thing that everyone loved. — @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

In this edition of Break Free B2B, TopRank President Susan Misukanis and I were thrilled to sit and chat with Adam about a variety of topics pertinent to marketers today. We asked which elements of his work tend to resonate most with audiences, what his recommendations would be for budget-friendly video content, how new technologies like live-streaming and VR are coming into play, and more.

This was actually the first episode of the show that was recorded, but we decided to warm you up with some rising stars and familiar faces in the B2B space first. Today we’re excited to share this conversation and branch out to more of an outsider’s perspective. 

(Note: There were some technical difficulties with the microphone on our end. But we didn’t want to let that prevent you from hearing Adam’s awesome insights; please bear with us!)

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Adam Dunn

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 0:30 — Adam’s background
  • 2:30 — Learning from failure and setbacks
  • 4:00 — Movies and music videos Adam has worked on
  • 6:45 Does “Into the Spider-Verse” represent a new visual frontier?
  • 9:45 — Learning to speak your audience’s language
  • 11:00 — The common traits of his most well-received work
  • 13:00 — The appeal of video marketing
  • 15:45 — Tips for creating video content with a finite budget
  • 18:00 — How will Twitch and live-streaming influence the future of marketing?
  • 21:30 — What is the role of VR and where is it heading?

Nick: As you look back at some of the things you've worked on — I'm especially interested in the music videos where there is a lot of content, a lot of competition, hard to stand out ... When you look at the ones that are the most well received, and gained the most traction, do you see any common elements that are making those resonate?

Adam: I don't know if there's one common through point. But I think the biggest thing from all the ones that I've had that are successful is cohesiveness of vision. 

So while all the videos are totally different, making sure your team is 100% on the same page when making the content is what makes the most successful stuff on my end, just because you know, there have been videos where things have been a little bit crazy and we haven't had we'd have a ton of time to shoot or anything like that, and we had to just kind of Helter Skelter, throw it all together to make something. And it doesn't come out nearly as cohesive as something where the whole team knows exactly where everything is going, all the pieces fit, and then you make this beautiful piece of art and everyone loves it … 

How that could translate into something like B2B would be like, when you do an explainer, making sure you have that exact A to B to C lined up, ready to go. And that way when you make the explainer, everyone knows exactly where all the pieces fit, everything looks beautiful, and you make this amazing piece of content.

[bctt tweet="I think the biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

Nick: We’ve had the opportunity to work with you on some B2B marketing projects. What interests you about video marketing and where do you see it going? 

Adam: I think video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. You bring in these experts and influencers who know exactly the topics are talking about — you get to meet them and watch how passionate they are about what they're involved in. So you get to learn this really cool stuff. 

Like, when I first started working with you guys, I didn't know a ton about B2B marketing, but I feel like I at least have a ground framework now from getting to be around a bunch of experts and talking to influencers and stuff. So that's what intrigues me about it from my own on my own personal level, is getting to see these people who are super passionate and know everything.

Nick: So for someone who's in B2B marketing and interested in doing video but doesn’t have an Academy Award winning effect specialist on hand, and maybe doesn’t know where to start … 

What would be some recommendations for those with a finite budget and limited resources to create something that is high-quality and looks professional?

Adam: I would say probably the very first place to start if you're looking to get started on doing video and you have a limited budget would be to invest as much money as you can into your kit, first and foremost, because that's the thing you're gonna have all the time. So your camera, the lighting gear, your microphones, those kinds of things. 

With cameras you can make a lot of really professional, nice amazing things even on an iPhone now, so for camera, you have the tools at your disposal. One of the things that trip people up in a professional environment is audio-related. It's like if you have something like tons of hum and pops and things like that, that's something that can trip up professionals. So getting a nice microphone is usually a good spot. 

But a really good thing just for starting, and what I say when I end up lecturing back at my old school, is always just start. Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you're never going to get great without just doing. So you need to do it in the early days and you know what if maybe the early ones aren't as great as the ones that happened later, and that's exactly what you want.

[bctt tweet="Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you're never going to get great without just doing. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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