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Tag Archives: software

How to do keyword research for SEO and beyond

It’s common knowledge that keywords help you find a place in search engine results. But improving search engine visibility isn’t their only purpose. Keywords Read more...

This post How to do keyword research for SEO and beyond originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Tales from the Trenches: How to Transition from Marketing Doer to Marketing Leader

I was roughly five years into my marketing career when I began managing my first direct report. It was the biggest challenge I faced yet. I was now being evaluated on the actions, successes, and failures of another person—and I also knew it was my responsibility to give them the support and tools they needed to have more successes than failures.

I felt as if I didn’t know how to influence, motivate, or persuade another person. But I was given the opportunity to try and to learn. I had a great group of bosses, mentors, and peers giving me advice, listening to my concerns or wins, and allowing me to make mistakes.

Quite a few years (and many direct reports) later, today I have a much better handle on how to manage a team. And as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that my job isn’t just to manage people, time, projects, or priorities, my job is to lead.

But it can be hard to make the transition from a “doer” to a leader. And the stakes are high. In fact, a recent study from TINYpulse found that nearly 50% of employees have quit a job because of a less than stellar manager. In addition, those who don’t feel recognized for their work are two-times as likely to be job hunting.

Whether you’re stepping into your first management role, moving onto middle management, or you have your eye on the CMO office, as a leader it’s your job to inspire, motivate, and grow a happy and high-functioning team. The insights below are designed to help guide you down a successful path to a fruitful career and happy, supported, and motivated employees. 

Tip #1: Understand the landscape

Whether you’re managing one team member or an entire department, you’ll be setting goals and playing an integral role in setting the marketing strategy your team is responsible for driving results with. But to do that, you must understand the broad and niche context in which your organization, department, or service line operates. This means getting to know your customers, prospects, and competitors more deeply, so you thoughtfully can guide and educate your team:

  • Seek out opportunities to hold monthly or quarterly one-on-one calls with your priority customers. Ask them what they value most about your organization or product, as well as where you can do better. 
  • Regularly research your competitors. Subscribe to emails, follow them on social media, and attend industry events where they might be speaking. This will give you unique intel that you can bring back to your team.
  • Get out of the marketing silo. Brainstorm with the sales team. Talk to your customer service team. These teams are intimately familiar with the challenges your customers and prospects face.

Tip #2: Set goals … and exceed them

Yes, you’ve probably be setting goals at all stages of your career. As an individual contributor, your goals were likely focused on what you could individually achieve. In a leadership role, you’re likely responsible for setting goals for your team that will ladder to corporate goals. If you are new to a leadership role, achieving goals that map directly to the success of the company, can be a quick win to build trust within leadership and grow your team and influence. 

  • Keep your goals top of mind. Discuss progress, roadblocks, and wins with your team, your boss, and other leaders. The more discussion around goals, the more likely you and your team are to remain focused and accountable on achieving them. 
  • Incentivize if you can. Big and small incentives can keep your team motivated to achieve their goals.
  • Make it a number. In my experience, setting and achieving a numerical goal has more impact on the organization and is generally more impressive than an accomplishment-based goal. For example, make the goal double MQLs, instead of rolling out a new marketing automation system. The marketing automation system is a stepping stone to reach the goal, not the actual goal. 
  • Set goals quarterly. Ninety days is long enough to achieve something big-ish, but short enough to keep you focused. We’ve found quarterly goals helps us track for the year and keep the team more motivated. 

[bctt tweet="The more discussion around goals, the more likely you and your team are to remain focused and accountable on achieving them. @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Tip #3: Focus on scalability

Once it’s time to step out of day-to-day execution and supervision and into leadership, you should focus more on optimizing and solving issues on a systematic basis, rather than local basis. When I was a new manager, I found myself constantly on the run putting out fires as they would pop up, instead of focusing on why it started and how to prevent it going forward.

  • Create make-sense processes. Identify the things your team does over and over again such as campaign launches, attending events, or adding new content to the website. These are replicable events that you can create process around and then optimize for efficiency, results, and so on.
  • Don’t feel like you have to stick to the status quo. Just because the marketing team has always had six copywriters, two content strategists, and an analyst, doesn’t mean that’s the ideal structure. Document the needs and functions of the organization and then map out the most make-sense roles to those needs. For the sake of the exercise, take the current situation out of it. You can employ a phased approach to get you from current situation to ideal. 

Tip #4: Shift the spotlight to your team

As you’re moving into leadership, you’re likely trying to build trust and show value to upper leadership, and it can be easy to lose focus on serving your team. Fostering a happy, well-functioning team is your top priority. Not only can you not do your job without them, but it is one of the best indicators of success to your boss and your boss’s boss. 

  • Shift how you find personal value from work. Most of us have moved into leadership, after being highly successful individual contributors and supervisors. As leaders, we must find more value from the task, result, or project we helped someone else achieve, rather than the work we did ourselves. 
  • Clear obstacles. Be transparent when you can; have your employees’ backs. These things build trust and create a secure, happy, and productive team. 
  • Cultivate the next round of leaders. Understand what your team wants to achieve personally within their careers within the next five or 10 years, and help them do that. As leaders, we should always be identifying and growing the team members who want to move to the next round in their careers. 

[bctt tweet="Most of us have moved into leadership, after being highly successful individual contributors and supervisors. As leaders, we must find more value from the task, result, or project we helped someone else achieve. @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Tip #5: Stay fresh on the job

At all levels of my career, I’ve found the best way to build trust with a team is to help them solve a problem. The more you understand your team’s job function, the more able you will be able to help them solve problems, innovate, and provide feedback to improve the function of their performance. 

  • Stay fresh. I find the best way to do this is to jump in and help execute from time to time. So, write a blog post or create the tactical plan. This keeps you from getting rusty, but also helps you empathize with your team and the challenges within their roles. 
  • Ask questions. Sometimes you won’t understand the details of what they’re working on, particularly if you’re leading a cross functional team. But ask questions. Help them look at the problem critically, and it’s likely you’ll guide them to their own answer. 

Tip #6: Be the leader

One of the toughest transitions from individual contributor to leader, is owning your role as the leader. For the first few years that I was managing a small team, I was more likely to be found deep in the weeds, doing the tasks I did in my previous job titles, than actually doing my work as a leader.

There were a couple reasons for this. It was comfortable doing the work; I already knew how to do it and I was good at. I also felt like I was most helpful to my team if I was helping them get the work done by actually doing the work. 

This was not true. See tip No. 3. You (and I) are most helpful to your team when you’re solving systematic problems, optimizing workflow and production, and creating a happy and secure work environment. If you’re always in the weeds, all you can see is the weeds. 

[bctt tweet="You're most helpful to your team when you’re solving systematic problems, optimizing workflow and production, and creating a happy and secure work environment. @Alexis5484 on being a #marketing leader" username="toprank"]

Tip #7: Keep learning

The leaders I am most inspired by inside and outside of my organization are probably the most voracious learners. Continuous learning through a variety of mediums will help you continue to evolve your skill set, bring in fresh ideas, and help you be inspired to test something new. Here are a couple of the resources that I go to:

  • Read: HBR is a go to for great content on how to lead, manage and shape a business. 
  • Listen: Dear HBR has a great Q&A format about navigating workplace challenges. 
  • Attend: Industry events are great for providing outside perspective, networking with other leaders and inspiring the evolution of your tactics. MarketingProfs is a great event for marketers.

Take Your Place at the Leadership Table

Each stage of your career offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The way in which you handle those situations—tackling them head-on or leaving them for someone else—has the potential to make or break your success in that position… and the one that may or may not come after. Keep these pieces of advice in mind as you work to build your team, your organization, and career as a leader.

Looking for more tips on how to inspire, motivate, and build a more effective marketing team? Check out our tips for getting your marketing team to work better together.

The post Tales from the Trenches: How to Transition from Marketing Doer to Marketing Leader appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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4 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Do you use LinkedIn ads? Wondering if you’re making costly mistakes? In this article, you’ll discover four LinkedIn advertising mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Why Use LinkedIn Ads? In the past, reaching people with your messaging on LinkedIn was almost easy. Compared to quickly growing platforms such as Facebook, the LinkedIn feed was […]

The post 4 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How to write a blog post that people will actually read and share

If you’re not 100% sure how to write a blog post that clicks with readers, don’t sweat it. The reality? Blogging is a major Read more...

This post How to write a blog post that people will actually read and share originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy

Earlier this year, Salesforce made waves by announcing a policy that compelled retailers to either stop selling military-style rifles and certain accessories, or stop using its popular e-commerce software. 

For a massive brand like this to take such an emphatic stand on a divisive social issue would’ve been unthinkable not so long ago. But in today’s world at large, and consequently in the business and marketing environments, it’s becoming more common. This owes to a variety of factors, ranging from generational changes among consumers to a growing need to differentiate. 

But, like so many other trends and strategies we see emerging in digital marketing, I think it mostly comes back to one overarching thing: the trust factor.

In this installment of our Trust Factors series, we’ll explore why and how brands and corporations can take a stand on important issues, building trust and rapport with customers and potential buyers in the process.

The Business Case for Bold Stances

Executives from Salesforce might suggest that it made such a bold and provocative move simply because they felt it was the right thing to do. (CEO Marc Benioff, for instance, has been outspoken about gun control and specifically his opposition to the AR-15 rifle.) But of course, one of the 10 largest software companies in the world isn’t making these kinds of decisions without a considerable business case behind them.

Like many other modern companies, Salesforce is taking the lead in a movement that feels inevitable. As millennials come to account for an increasingly large portion of the customer population, corporate social responsibility weighs more and more heavily on marketing strategies everywhere.  

A few data points to think about:

  • Research last year by FleishmanHillard found that 61% of survey respondents believe it’s important for companies to express their views, whether or not the person agrees with them.
  • Per the same study, 66% say they have stopped using the products and services of a company because the company’s response to an issue does not support their personal view.
  • The latest global Earned Brand Report from Edelman found that 64% of people are now “belief-driven buyers,” meaning they will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
  • MWWPR categorizes 35% of the adult population in the U.S. as “corpsumers,” up by two percentage points from the prior year. The term describes "a brand activist who considers a company's values, actions and reputation to be just as important as their product or service."
  • Corpsumers say they’re 90% more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, and 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.

(Source)

What Does It Mean to Take a Stand as a Brand?

Admittedly, the phrase is somewhat ambiguous. So let’s clear something up right now: taking a stand doesn’t necessarily mean your company needs to speak out on touchy political issues. 

When Dave Gerhart, Vice President of Marketing for Drift, gave a talk at B2BSMX last month outlining his 10 commandments for modern marketing, taking a stand was among the directives he implored. Gerhart pointed to Salesforce’s gun gambit as one precedent, but also called out a less controversial example: his own company’s crusade against the lead form. 

I think this serves as a great case in point. Lead forms aren’t a hot-button societal issue that’s going to rile people up, necessarily, but they’ve been a subject of annoyance on the consumer side for years. Drift’s decision to do away with them completely did entail some risk (to back up their stance, they had to commit to not using this proven, mainstream method for generating actionable leads) but made a big impression within their industry. Now, it’s a rallying cry for their brand

From my view, these are the trust-building ingredients, which both the Salesforce and Drift examples cover:

  • It has to matter to your customers
  • It has to be relevant to your industry or niche
  • It has to entail some sort of risk or chance-taking on behalf of the brand

Weighing that final item is the main sticking point for companies as they contemplate action on this front.

Mitigating the Risks of Taking a Stand

The potential downside of taking a controversial stand is obvious enough: “What if we piss off a bunch of our customers and our bottom line takes a hit?” Repelling certain customers is inherent to any bold stance, but obviously you’ll want the upside (i.e., affinity and loyalty built with current customers, plus positive attention drawing in new customers) to strongly outdistance the downside (i.e., existing or potential customers defecting because they disagree).

Here are some things to think about on this front.

Know Your Audience and Employees

It’s always vital for marketers to have a deep understanding of the people they serve, and in this case it’s especially key. You’ll want to have a comprehensive grasp of the priorities and attitudes of people in your target audience to ensure that a majority will agree with — or at least tolerate — your positioning. Region, age, and other demographic factors can help you reach corollary conclusions.

For example, our clients at Antea Group are adamant about the dangers of climate change. In certain circumstances this could (sadly) be a provocative and alienating message, but Antea Group serves leaders and companies focusing on sustainability, who widely recognize the reality and urgency of climate change. 

Not only that, but Antea Group also employs people who align with this vision, so embracing its importance both externally and internally leads to heightened engagement and award-winning culture

As another example, retailer Patagonia shook things up in late 2017 when it proclaimed on social media “The President Stole Your Land” after the Trump administration moved to reduce a pair of national monuments. In a way, this is potentially off-putting for the sizable chunk of its customer base that supports Trump, but given that Patagonia serves (and employs) an outdoorsy audience, the sentiment resonated and the company is thriving

Know Your Industry and Competition

On the surface, Salesforce taking a public stand on gun control seems quite audacious. The Washington Post notes that retailers like Camping World, which figured to be affected by the new policy, are major customers for the platform. What if this drives them elsewhere?

However, peer companies like Amazon and Shopify have their own gun restriction policies in place, so the move from Salesforce isn’t as “out there” as one might think. When you see your industry as a whole moving in a certain direction, it’s beneficial to get out front and position yourself as a leader rather than a follower. 

Actions Speak Louder

Empty words are destined to backfire. Taking a stand is meaningless if you can’t back it up. Analysts warn that “goodwashing” is the new form of “greenwashing,” a term that refers to companies talking a big game on eco-friendly initiatives but failing to follow up with meaningful actions.

According to MWWPR’s chief strategy officer Careen Winters (via AdWeek): “Companies that attempt to take a stand on issues but don’t really put their money where their mouth is, or what they are doing is not aligned with their track record and core values, will find themselves in a position where the corpsumers don’t believe them. Fifty-nine percent of corpsumers say they are skeptical about a brand’s motives for taking a stand on policy issues.”

Be Transparent and Authentic

One interesting aspect of the aforementioned FleishmanHillard study: 66% of respondents say they’ve stopped using the products and services of a company because the company’s response to an issue did not support their personal views; however another 43% say that if company explains WHY they have taken a position on an issue, the customer is extremely likely to keep supporting them.

(Source)

In other words, transparency is essential. If you fully explain the “why” behind a particular brand stance, you can score trust-building benefits with both those who do and do not agree. 

Where We Stand at TopRank

At TopRank Marketing, we have a few stances that we openly advocate. 

One is gender equality; our CEO Lee Odden noticed many "top marketers" lists and editorial collaborations were crowded with men, so he (and we) have made it a point to highlight many of the women leading the way in our industry, both through our content projects and Lee's annual Women Who Rock Digital Marketing lists (10 years running!).

Another is our commitment to serving a deeper purpose as a business. Of course we want to help our clients reach their business goals, but we also love working with virtuous brands that are improving the communities around them. We strive to also do so ourselves through frequent volunteering, donations to causes, and charitable team outings. These include packing food for the hungry, renovating yards for the homeless, and our upcoming Walk for Alzheimer's participation.

The Worst Stand You Can Take is Standing Still

Trust in marketing is growing more vital each day. It’s not enough to offer a great product or excellent customer service. Increasingly, customers want to do business with companies they like, trust, and align with. Those brands that sit on the sidelines regarding important issues are coming under greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, those with the guile to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.

To learn more about navigating these waters without diminishing trust or eroding your brand’s credibility, take a look at our post on avoiding trust fractures through authenticity, purpose-driven decision-making, and a big-picture mindset. Or check out these other entries in our “Trust Factors” series:

The post Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create an Instagram Stories Content Plan: A Guide for Marketers

Want to do more with Instagram Stories? Looking for a useful guide to help plan your Instagram stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to plan, create, optimize, and schedule Instagram Stories content for your business. #1: Establish a Theme and Style for Your Instagram Stories Content As with most of your online marketing efforts, […]

The post How to Create an Instagram Stories Content Plan: A Guide for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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New Keyword Tool

Our keyword tool is updated periodically. We recently updated it once more.

For comparison sake, the old keyword tool looked like this

Whereas the new keyword tool looks like this

The upsides of the new keyword tool are:

  • fresher data from this year
  • more granular data on ad bids vs click prices
  • lists ad clickthrough rate
  • more granular estimates of Google AdWords advertiser ad bids
  • more emphasis on commercial oriented keywords

With the new columns of [ad spend] and [traffic value] here is how we estimate those.

  • paid search ad spend: search ad clicks * CPC
  • organic search traffic value: ad impressions * 0.5 * (100% - ad CTR) * CPC

The first of those two is rather self explanatory. The second is a bit more complex. It starts with the assumption that about half of all searches do not get any clicks, then it subtracts the paid clicks from the total remaining pool of clicks & multiplies that by the cost per click.

The new data also has some drawbacks:

  • Rather than listing search counts specifically it lists relative ranges like low, very high, etc.
  • Since it tends to tilt more toward keywords with ad impressions, it may not have coverage for some longer tail informational keywords.

For any keyword where there is insufficient coverage we re-query the old keyword database for data & merge it across. You will know if data came from the new database if the first column says something like low or high & the data came from the older database if there are specific search counts in the first column

For a limited time we are still allowing access to both keyword tools, though we anticipate removing access to the old keyword tool in the future once we have collected plenty of feedback on the new keyword tool. Please feel free to leave your feedback in the below comments.

One of the cool features of the new keyword tools worth highlighting further is the difference between estimated bid prices & estimated click prices. In the following screenshot you can see how Amazon is estimated as having a much higher bid price than actual click price, largely because due to low keyword relevancy entities other than the official brand being arbitraged by Google require much higher bids to appear on competing popular trademark terms.

Historically, this difference between bid price & click price was a big source of noise on lists of the most valuable keywords.

Recently some advertisers have started complaining about the "Google shakedown" from how many brand-driven searches are simply leaving the .com part off of a web address in Chrome & then being forced to pay Google for their own pre-existing brand equity.

Categories: 

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New Facebook and Instagram Shopping Ads

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 new shopping ads for Facebook and Instagram and Facebook Dating with special guest, Amanda Robinson. Tune In […]

The post New Facebook and Instagram Shopping Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: Google Phases Out Search Console & Adds Bidding Options, Marketing Business to Gen Z, Instagram Post Study & More

2019 September 13 Campaign Monitor Chart

2019 September 13 Campaign Monitor Chart

The rise of Spotify as an advertising channel
Spotify has over 217 million users, and the music and podcasts they increasingly listen to have brought greater attention from marketers. ClickZ takes a look at how marketers are embracing Spotify for advertising. ClickZ

Ad Revenue Holds Steady Despite Recession Worries
Digital advertising spending was up nearly 20 percent in the second quarter of 2019, according to newly-released study data that also highlights the comparatively greater number of small-to-medium size firms using digital versus traditional formats. Broadcasting & Cable

Google’s First-Price Auction Switch Is Making Header Bidding Partners Win More
Google has moved to implement a full launch of its previously-announced unified first-price ad auctions, a move that will take place in the coming weeks, bringing new options for digital marketers who use Google Ad Manager. AdExchanger

Forrester: How Amazon's ad growth will threaten Google, Facebook, agencies and ad-tech
Forrester Research has released a new report looking at the strong growth of Amazon ads and how the company's rise is affecting an array of rivals from Facebook to agencies and ad-tech firms. Marketing Dive takes a look at the report and how Amazon's ad growth may also affect marketers and vendors. Marketing Dive

Mozilla flips the default switch on Firefox tracker cookie blocking
Firefox web browser creator Mozilla has released a new version that enables anti-tracking settings by default, a change from its previous optional default setting, and TechCrunch looks at how the switch may affect digital marketers. TechCrunch

Gen Z Marketing: How to Market Your Business to the Next Generation [Infographic]
Only 14.4 percent of Gen Z survey respondents between the ages of 14 and 26 use email for work, with 68 percent opening emails that include sales or special offers, while 85 percent use YouTube — several of the recently-released statistics from Campaign Monitor of interest to online marketers. Social Media Today

2019 September 13 Statistics Image

How Consumers Really Feel About Ads
74 percent of survey respondents implemented strategies to avoid ads, up from 64 percent in 2018, and a newly-released eMarketer podcast looks at consumer sentiment and how it relates to ads, especially what drives attempts to block them. eMarketer

Older Consumers Embrace New Media, Tech In Big Way
84 percent of millennials and 74 percent of Gen Xers use Facebook, while their older demographic counterparts the Baby Boomers and those in the Silent Generation have seen the biggest rise in usage of the platform over the past four years, some of the data from a Pew Research Center study examining technology usage. MediaPost

Saying goodbye to the old Search Console
Google has bid adieu to longstanding portions of its Search Console, as the search giant continues work on the newest incarnation, and this week it completely shut down its old Google Search Console. Google Webmaster Central

New Study Looks at How Emojis, Videos and Caption Lengths Impact Instagram Post Performance
Business Instagram usage was the focus of newly-released study data examining over 5.4 million posts from some 34,000 firms. The report from Quintly revealed that over 68 percent of posts consist of single images, among other findings of interest to digital marketers. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2019 September 13 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at big data promises by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Apple Reveals New iPhones At Yearly September Event — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing & Lane R. Ellis — Total Annarchy Ann Handley newsletter edition #43 — Ann Handley
  • Lane R. Ellis & Lee Odden — Brett Tabke on Pubcon Turning 20, Anger at Google & The Power of Content [PODCAST] — Search Engine Journal
  • Lane R. Ellis — What’s Trending: Learning on the Job — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — How to Create More Content Marketing Impact with Conference Presentations — LinkedIn (client)
  • Ashley Zeckman & Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 4 — SocialAnimal
  • Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 3 — SocialAnimal
  • Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 2 — SocialAnimal
  • Nick Nelson — Use These 10 Expert Tips to Improve Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • Nick Nelson — Is AP style on the decline? Also, why your audiences are ghosting you, plus Rose McKinney of Pineapple RM (Ep. 119) [Podcast] — Hanson & Hunt Talking Points Podcast
  • Alexis Hall — How Data Visualization Improves PR Communications — William Comcowich

Have you found your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week?

Thanks for joining us, and we hope you'll come back again next week for more top digital marketing industry news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Google Phases Out Search Console & Adds Bidding Options, Marketing Business to Gen Z, Instagram Post Study & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Personal Branding: How to Successfully Build Your Brand

Do you want to build a personal brand? Wondering how to create a viable business around your personal brand? To explore what marketers need to know about building a personal brand, I interview Rory Vaden on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Rory co-founded the Brand Builders Group and is the host of the Influential Personal Brand […]

The post Personal Branding: How to Successfully Build Your Brand appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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