Category Archives: Monetization

Straight talk on Patreon and patronage for content

As seen on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/markgrow/~3/LYprsr1KsyU/

patreon

I’ve been writing a lot lately about pressures on monetizing content and new monetization ideas. Recently I wrote about a new service called Patreon, which allows fans of your content to say “thanks” with a small monthly donation.

I decided to implement this on my site for these reasons:

1) I saw a friend, Scott Monty do this and I thought it was an interesting idea. I love Scott’s content and gladly pitched in for the great value I was receiving from him. I welcomed the opportunity to say thanks and thought others might appreciate this opportunity on my site, too.

2) Honestly, the time I put into blogging is probably out of whack with the needs of the business. In other words, I could cut back, cut out comments (like many others) and still have a viable busin…

Four Things we Taught at Top Earner Mastermind

top earner mastermind

top earner mastermindThis weekend we had our Top Earner Mastermind where we train entrepreneurs and network marketers from all over the globe how to better market themselves.

Today I will share four key concepts we taught that may benefit you.

What is the Top Earner Mastermind?

Technically we call it Top Earner’s Club but you can also call it the Top Earner Mastermind. It is a 12 month program that we offer that is designed to help entrepreneurs and network marketers build their online brand and learn marketing that works.

We share all the marketing strategies we have personally tested that have worked to help us build our brand, grow our team and make money selling coaching, affiliate and our own products.

This past weekend we had awesome people from all over the US, Canada as well as Germany, Serbia and Portugal.

Four Things we Taught

Lead Generation. We have built an email list of over 130,000 people by focusing on ONE thing…solving problems. IF you want to generate leads for any niche or marketplace just focus on the needs of your target market. What do they struggle with? What are the problems that need to be solved? What can YOU share that will make a positive impact on that target market?
Why you need to sell your products/opportunity or coaching. A big mistake that many online marketers make is they create great content but don’t want to sell anything. They create blogs, videos or social media posts or maybe even webinars that get them followers but don’t make them money. Two key points we taught in regards to this is 1. A single book, webinar or even keynote speech will NEVER change someone’s life, you MUST get them into some long term continuity or into some course that will walk them through what they need to do. IF you aren’t selling products or getting people into your team where they can have a chance to get around you or someone else’s magic for an extended period of time, you are working for applause, not impact and 2. IF you are going to be teaching people how to do what you do (like we do), then you need to become profitable so that you can teach others how to become profitable.
Despair is really only an impact prevention mechanism. If you are down in the dumps about your results, life or circumstances, then you are so focused inward and on you that you are unable to impact or help anyone else. If you want to feel better about yourself, go help someone. Create a helpful video, call some leads and try to help them or run a webinar teaching someone something. The more time you spend in despair…the less impact you will make.
Our entire marketing blueprint. We have been very blessed to earn over one million dollars in network marketing, affiliate marketing, coaching and selling our own products respectively. The way that we created the ability to accomplish that was through creating free content like blog posts, periscopes and podcasts all with the intention of building our email list. If you focus on the needs of your target market (who you are trying to attract to you) and you do it in a structured way, you can very easily build a following of people where a percentage of them will either want to work with you or buy products from you.

top earner clubNeedless to say it has been an awesome weekend and today is our final day where we go and do adventure day. Last night we took the Top Earner Mastermind to Epcot via a backstage, VIP entrance and had a private dinner with a VIP viewing of the amazing fireworks. A lot of lives have been changed this weekend and we hope these tips may help you to change yours!

Did This Help You? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you commented below and shared on Facebook

mlm blog

Ray Higdon’s Network Marketing Blog
Skype: ray.higdon
Email: RayHigdon@RayHigdon.com
Periscope – Ray Higdon on Periscope

Considering Coaching? Check out my Work with Me tab and Survey where we Help People Everyday.

PS: If Your Upline Does Not Have a Step-By-Step Blueprint For ONLINE Marketing Success, Check This Out (Unless You Already Have Too Many Leads) – Click Here For Instant Access

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Analytics for Teams: How to Collaborate using Google Analytics (plus, a sample agenda for marketing meetings)

Analytics is everyone’s job. It shouldn’t be delegated to one person or a separate team. Everyone in marketing needs to be able to see their results. And to find answers to questions about their audience.

In sports, there isn’t one player in charge of the scoreboard. Everyone can look up and see how the team is doing.

But the best teams collaborate. They make decisions together. They hold each other accountable. They coordinate their efforts. They win or lose together, as a team.

Here are the five tips for getting the most out of Google Analytics as a team.

Bonus! At the bottom of this post, we’ve got something extra for you: a sample agenda for great marketing meetings.

Tip #1: Give Access to Everyone! Adding Users in Google Analytics

First, we need to make sure everyone on the team can get in. Access can be granted at three different levels: Account, Property or View.

Internal team members (employees) can be given access to the entire account, which automatically grants access to every property and every view. They will show up in the user management screen at every level.
Third-party team members (marketing vendors or partners) can be given access to just the property or view relevant to them.

ProTip: See some old user accounts in Analytics? Delete them if they’re not on the team!

1-user-management

When adding an account, you can select one or more of four different permissions:

Manage Users: In other words, do exactly what you’re doing now
Edit: This permission grants the power over everything but users. That means creating or changing accounts, properties, views, filters, goals, etc.
Collaborate: Ability to manage dashboards and annotations, plus see reports.
Read & Analyze: Ability to see the reports, but do nothing else. Users with this access can create filters, segments, secondary dimensions, etc. But they can’t save or change anything.

The manager of the team needs the ability to manage users and edit accounts, properties and views. Internal and external team members need to collaborate, read and analyze.

Everyone on the roster? Great. Let’s start collaborating.

Tip #2: Add Annotations to Your Timelines

Ever look at Analytics, see a spike or a drop in traffic and wonder what happened on that day??

2-annotations

Did something go viral? Did the site go down? There’s a story here, but Analytics isn’t talking.

There’s a simple little way to add notes that tell the story. They’re called, “annotations.” They’re just tiny notes under your timeline.

Annotations are very important for teams because they tell everyone what happened on that day. Here are six good reasons to add annotations:

A newsletter was sent
You launched a major marketing campaign
Something happened in the media, like a major press mention
Advertising was turned on or off
Something very bad happened (the site was hacked!)
Major changes were made to the site (navigation was changed or the site was relaunched)

When adding annotations, it helps keeps things organized if you use a little naming convention. For example, start every newsletter annotation with “newsletter” This makes them more scannable.

Tip #3: Create and Share Dashboards

There are 100+ reports in Analytics. It’s easy to get lost. A quick way to help you and your teammates find things is to use dashboards.

A dashboard is just a combination of reports, all in one place. You can add timelines and tables from any report you’d like and share them with your team. Here’s how…

Go to your favorite report (or any report that gave you an “A-ha!” moment)
Click the “Add to Dashboard” button at the top of the page

3-addtodashboard

You can add the report to an existing dashboard or create a new one. Give it a name that will inspire your team.

4newdashboard

Each table and timeline is added as a “widget.” Now that you’re in your new dashboard, you can add all kinds of different widgets in any layout you’d like.

5-newwidget

Finally, click share to make it public for your team!

6-sharedashboard

Bonus! See that little “Email” button next to the share button? Click this to automatically email your dashboard to anyone at any frequency. That’ll keep your boss off your back!

7-emailreports

No time to “check Analytics?” No problem. Have your dashboard email itself to your inbox. Now Analytics is coming to you …life just got a little easier.

Tip #4: The Analytics Solutions Gallery – A Gold Mine for Collaboration

There’s a community of GA experts who create and share dashboards (as well as segments and custom reports) in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

You can get to these right from the dashboards section. After clicking +New Dashboard, press the Import from Gallery button.

8-import

Now you have access to 12,000+ dashboards for social media, keywords, advertising and anything else you can imagine.

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Find one you like? Add it to your Analytics with a single click on the “Import” button.

This kind of sharing is possible because all of the info about a dashboard can be contained in a single URL. So any dashboard you create can be easily shared just by emailing or posting a link.

Example: if you’d like the dashboard I created in the example above, just click that link and it’s all yours: Analytics All Stars Super Charts!

Got a dashboard you’re proud of? Share it in the solutions gallery. Now, others can use it, review it and leave comments. It’s like having thousands of Analytics pros on your team.

Tip #5: Take (and share) Fast Screenshots of Any Report

Here’s a trick that I use every day. In fact, I’ve used it half a dozen times already while creating this post.

Instead of answering a question or making a point with words, do it with visuals. It just takes a second, and it makes a stronger point. Compare:

Text:

“Traffic from mobile devices went from zero to 50% over the last five years.”

Visual:

10-visual

The visual is more convincing, more compelling.

A report is worth a thousand words. It’s also more credible and easy to make. Here’s a screenshot of me making that screenshot using a free tool called Jing.

11-jing

I added text, boxes and arrows with that little toolbar on the left. It took a total of seven clicks and a bit of typing.

Snagit ($49.99) and Sketch ($99) are other, more powerful tools for capturing and marking up screenshots.

The fastest way to make a screenshot of that Analytics report? Use the tools built into your computer. They don’t let you draw boxes and arrows, but they’re fast and free.

Screenshots for Mac users
Press command + shift + 4 and turn the mouse cursor into cross hairs. Click and drag to select any part of your screen and it will save as a .jpg to your desktop.
Screenshots for PC users
Use the Snipping Tool to create a “snip” of any part of your screen or press alt + prt scr to create a screenshot of any window.

Bonus! Sample Marketing Meeting Agenda

bonus-featured

Great meetings are well organized. Bad meetings are a waste of time. To make sure your marketing meetings are productive, use an agenda. And to make sure that you’re making good decisions as a team, build the Analytics collaboration into the meeting.

Here is a sample agenda for a 59-minute weekly marketing meeting. Items that involve Analytics collaboration are shown in blue.

0:00 – 0:10 Brief updates from teams

These might be individual people or entire departments. It could be the client and the vendor. It could be the social media community manager, the PPC partner, the freelance blogger and the marketing director.

Any major issues?

Any victories to celebrate?

Report on the big picture? Review Dashboards

0:10 – 0:40 Review Current Activities

Take a close look at where your time, effort and budgets have been focused since the last meeting.

What are the outcomes of the actions we are taking? Is it worth the time/cost? Reports and Analysis

Should we adjust our approach? Need more time? Continue or discontinue that activity?

Did everyone complete their action items from the last meeting? (accountability)

Does anyone need help? Can anyone support anyone else’s efforts?

Are we confident as a team that we’re going in the right direction?

0:40 – 0:55 Consider New Initiatives

Just knowing that there’s a time and place to bring up new ideas will keep people from distracting each other during the week.

Anyone have any new ideas?

Is there evidence that this effort will be worth the time/cost? Reports and Analysis

Schedule more time to weigh pros/cons and then decide/delegate?

0:55 – 0:59 Action Items

Expectations for everyone should be crystal clear when they walk out of the room or hang up the phone.

Who is going to do what before the next meeting?

Tip! For meetings at Orbit, we use Google Docs to manage agendas and take notes. It’s a place for everyone to add items at any time during the week, knowing that they’ll be addressed at the meeting. I put screenshots and questions into these meeting agendas all week long.

Tip! For remote meetings, use a free screensharing tool like Join.me to review those Analytics reports together.

Visibility is Accountability

Analytics is a way to discover the truth. It makes the outcomes of our actions visible, which means we can hold our teams, our budgets and ourselves accountable for our marketing efforts.

But beware, the pretty charts in Analytics don’t actually affect our marketing. Only actions affect outcomes. So get together with your team, ask questions, find answers, and work together to drive measurable results.

“Creatrix victoriam per consortium” were the famous words spoken by Julius Caesar, upon uniting the ancient world into a single empire. [citation needed] The translation from Latin applies to marketing teams today…

Creative victory through collaboration.

How to Use Google Custom PPC Ads to Make Money

A few weeks ago I was talking with one of my favorite PPC marketers about new trends we were seeing with AdWords.  While everyone’s been busy talking about Custom Audiences for re-marketing and display, he’s been focusing on the other tools like Custom Ads.

Although he couldn’t give a lot of details about the results, we went over what he had been doing and did a brainstorm for new ways to use them specific to his and my own clients.  Although my campaigns haven’t launched yet, I’m in love with the idea that you can target and focus your ads to specific queries and for specific needs without having to create a million ads.

So what is the Adwords Custom Ads tool and how can you use it?  If you want to know how to set it up, Google does an awesome job explaining it on this post.  If you want to know how to implement campaigns for your business, check out the section most relevant for you below.

Side note: Before I give some examples, the basic rundown is that it works by using dynamic inserts.  i.e. you need to be cautious of character counts.  For example, you can use inventory levels, prices, deals/discounts and anything else you want to add to your feed, but if any of the combinations go over the character limit, your ad won’t work.  

google custom ppc adsBy OutStyle from DepositPhotos.com
How to Use Custom PPC Ads

Brick and Mortar (Local Businesses)
Ecommerce Shops
Leads or Service Providers

Brick and Mortar (Local Businesses)

This is really cool for retail and brick and mortar stores.  Because you can add locations, product quantities and countdowns in real time, you can bring in foot traffic looking for specific products, offer local deals and even test different types of offers for different local markets.  Here are a few options.

Bring foot traffic into your store – By adding your product inventory and using the product names in your ads, you can now run ads for people who need a product in a hurry.  Suppose it’s the holidays and there’s no time left to shop.  You have 5 blue widgets in stock so someone searches “where can I find a blue widget?”.Now your ad will have the insert to let the shopper know that you have 5 left and you’re local to them.  If you want to go a step further and you have geotargeting set up, you can add the city or location name as a column and an insert and now show product inventory by location to the ad.
Add a deal with a time stamp (sense of urgency) – If you have a day where there is a lot more traffic on your site, but the store is down, or you notice more people are outside your location, but not coming in, try using the countdown and deal inserts.Now as people are searching where they can find a great lunch, for a last minute gift, or even a specific ingredient for a recipe, you can have the dynamic inserts show that you have the solution they need, it’s on sale and they have XY minutes or hours left to get to you before you close or the sale ends.
Restaurants with breakfast, lunch and dinner or signature dishes – By using the dynamic inserts you can show off what you’re featured dish for each meal is.  You can also display what time breakfast, lunch or your early bird ends, and you can run ads saying you still have XY time to get here before XY meal ends (this is especially good for cities where brunch is popular, tourists oversleep and want breakfast or seniors want the specials during slower hours).  You can also do dynamic inserts to show off specific featured meals for people looking for your signature dish.

Ecommerce Shops

This is one group who can benefit a lot from Google’s custom ads.  They can help you move product quickly and do custom deals and offers in real time based on products and days, without creating a million different ads.

Hour long sales – By using the countdown feature as an insert and combining with with specific products or categories in another field, your ads will now show sales in real time as people search for products and services.  You only need to load the ads to the adgroups (brand trademarks or product specific), include the countdown insert and the sale ad will start showing with how long the person has left to get the deal.  This could be a great tool for holiday shoppers or when you really need to move inventory and know that people are in a hurry or respond well to a sense of urgency in messaging.
Sales by product name & quantity – By adding columns for % off and a column with the product name you can now have the insert to show blue widgets at 30% off and red widgets at 20% off or free shipping.  You could do this with different ads in different ad groups, but you’ll spend a ton of time trying to do this.  Custom Ads also lets you change based on queries and keywords so you also don’t have to break your adgroups into more targeted and smaller ones saving you more time so you can focus on other aspects of your campaigns.Simply update the feed one time and then set up your ad to have the top line be product name and the sale for the dynamic inserts. Now upload one of these ads for each of your adgroups or use the cross campaign settings (I haven’t done this yet but Google has a guide for it) and your ad will automatically update so you don’t have to create a unique sales ad for each one.

Leads or Service Providers

Regardless what your service is, you can drive quality leads and offer custom deals in real time by using Google’s Custom PPC Ads. Because you can add custom columns to your feed (yes you’ll need to create a feed), you can add dynamic inserts into the ads to make them even more relevant.

Deal by Service – To show a discount by a service, simply create a column for deals and a column for services.  Now as the ad is triggered, you can use the dynamic insert to show a service and specific offer without having to create the ads for each individual adgroup.
Problem & Solution (by query) – This is one that can be really cool.  If you help repair broken copper pipes, you can now do inserts for the specific issue like fix a insert problem here and the service which can be insert service name.  If you want to go further, you can add another column to your feed for deals and have it combined with the service and issue combinations.  By basing this off of your margins and demand (seasonal or in general) you may be able to bring in more leads and offer unique deals or discounts by problem.

Those are only a few of the ways that you can mix and match items from your product feed to create highly targeted and extremely relevant ads for your new potential customers.  The ads can help move product quickly, drive foot traffic into your store and let you show customized ads for almost any service or product you offer.  You can even have them customized to the search query without having to create a million ads and based off of your margin for each product so you can create more unique deals and ads in real time.

The post How to Use Google Custom PPC Ads to Make Money appeared first on Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC..

How to Bond With Blog Readers & Make Money

When some bloggers ask me about why they aren’t making more money from affiliate marketing through their blogs, the answer might not be bad programs that allow sites to rank for the merchant’s URL + coupons or use toolbars.  Instead it could be something as simple as they don’t relate or cater to their readers and probably didn’t realize it.

The trick is to give alternate options to create solutions for the majority of people who will find your content.  One reader might not have access to specific ingredients if they don’t live in your area.  Other times they may not have the budget or be able to wear the same size clothing as you.

I tend to ramble a lot so I’m listing the sections here so you can reference if you want to come back or re-read something.

Your Readers Are Not You
Excluding Readers Based on Budget & Location
Freebies, Giveaways & Contests

By @RukaNoga / purchased from DepositPhotos.comBy @RukaNoga / purchased from DepositPhotos.com

Three Ways You Could be Excluding Your Readers and Not Making Money
Your Readers Are Not You

My plus size lingerie affiliate program does very well for affiliates across the board.  What a few of the top performers discovered was that their readers aren’t always them.  A few of them talk about fashion, but they themselves are not plus size or they are plus size but don’t share smaller alternatives.  They didn’t mean to discriminate and many talk about style and being body positive no matter what size or shape you are.  The trick is knowing what the topic of the post is and if it is specific to you, or if it is something that can be used by others.

If your posts are about color combinations and trends, these don’t only apply to you.  It could be about specific styles of shoes to make your legs look longer or how a specific color combination is what everyone will be wearing this (insert season).  If your post is about a trend, product, style or color, share options for all sizes and body shapes.  If you only share solutions for your personal body type, you’re eliminating new readers, potential newsletter subscribers and commissions by not providing something that new potential fans can use.

If your post is specifically about you and your own needs, then you can keep it about yourself (although that could be a missed opportunity as well).  If it is generic in nature, make sure to add options for people with other needs.  This applies to almost every niche.

If you have a recipe site, think about alternatives for a product that has a high allergy rate like Gluten and link to that through an affiliate link.  If you have a tech blog and are providing a solution for a common computer issue, make sure to provide solutions for PCs if you have both MAC and PC sections and vice versa.  If you talk about what length of black dress is appropriate for what type of cocktail party, give options for each length and style for plus size, slim, petite and tall people.  By doing this you may also be able to create a resource instead of a blog post which can gain backlinks and also help boost your SEO.

Excluding Readers Based on Budget & Location

One thing that I find are bloggers who go to the wrong blogging shows and end up sharing a million coupons or only talk about locally available products.  Not everyone cares about saving .20 on XY product.  Others need to be more budget conscious.  Sometimes you can also get stuck in your own local area because you love something that is produced and only available there.  Because it’s in season, you may end up talking about it more.

Although sharing coupons and deals or locally produced products isn’t bad, on it’s own it can be really boring for a lot of readers who came to you for your solutions that do/don’t need to be frugal or who are not local and cannot access the same products as you.  That’s why it’s important to provide options for people to discover the content they want easier.

Deals and Discounts

The first thing to do is to think about how to segment your blog for these two types of people.  You can create categories, homepage navigation with images and also create newsletter opt in options for both.  To take it a step further, have sections for local coupons and national or brand coupons.  Now your local readers can find local deals and your non-local readers can find coupons and deals that they can use.

Now the people who want deals, discounts and coupons can access them while the people who want your content about how to find XYZ can go directly to that section.  You don’t want to chase either of the groups off, but you do need to make sure they can easily access what they come to your website for.  If you started by sharing how to make XYZ foods or plan XY events, but now share tons of coupons, you could have chased off your original fanbase.  I’ll get to this in the next section.  This also leads to one more common problem.

When you start sharing local deals, products (produce, goods or services), you now eliminate readers who are not in your area.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your friends new store around the corner or something that is produced locally that you love. Instead you may want to try to provide solutions for other budgets and locations when possible so that your readers can create the same.

Not Having Access to Your Local Products and Services

If you’re a cooking blogger and want to use something that is only locally available like a mix or powder created by a store in your neighborhood, let your readers know it won’t be the same but give them an ideas of how to make it or an alternative that they can purchase online.

If it’s a photography workshop about how to shoot XYZ, provide a solution to a site that offers equally good options and has a national presence.  I live in DC where we can buy fresh blue crabs all summer.  This isn’t easy in the midwest which is why I found a couple of retailers that can ship fresh blue crabs overnight to anywhere in the US making my recipes now available to them.

Think about the solutions you provide and how to make them accessible to everyone.  If you decide to take the coupon and deals route, make sure to be able to separate your site and the deals for your different types of readers.  Some may want the crafts and decor posts you started out posting before you fell for coupons & deals, share while others only want the posts featuring discounts.  By letting them get newsletters or having a clear way to find the content they come to you for, you can now help to make your blog more relevant for them.

Freebies, Giveaways & Contests

This is a big killer for sites that once only created content that provided solutions.  There are a ton of freebie, deal and coupon sites out there and the traffic you get by changing over is fairly useless if you want to keep your current reader base.  I tested a couple of these on different blogs that I run (including this one) and what I found was that people create Facebook profiles, email addresses, etc… only to enter a ton of contests and giveaways.

When my real readers started seeing a bunch of giveaways and contests, although they were excited, they also started to unsubscribe and complain because I wasn’t giving them the content they signed up for.

Their comments got drowned out by “freebie readers” (I don’t consider them real since they only want freebies and to win contests, not my solutions and they almost never shopped through my links on real posts.).  They also made my real readers felt alienated from me.

It doesn’t mean you should stop doing them, but make sure that when you do a giveaway or a freebie you always empower your loyal and real readers first.  You also want to make sure that at least some of the contests are only open to your real readers and followers so that they can have a better chance at winning.  It’s a way that you can reward them for their loyalty.

You can do this by having a membership section.  By selling access to specific categories on your site and only entering them into the contest.  You can also do it by seeing when they subscribed to your blog or newsletter and if possible, how many newsletters they’ve opened and comments they’ve left on non contest posts.  As with any contest or subscription, I am not a lawyer or able to give legal advice, so you will need to contact a licensed attorney to verify if the above is legal for you to do or not with contests and giveaways.

The thing to learn from this post is about how to be more inclusive of all of your readers.  If you’re doing a holiday gift guide, offer gifts across a price range and also don’t forget to include other major religions.  If it’s a “holiday gift guide”, Hanukkah is a holiday as well.  If you’re talking about fashions for Thanksgiving dinners, make sure to give an alternative for people with different body types.  If you have locally produced foods that you use in your recipes, add in an alternative so that people who live in other parts of the country can create the same solutions that you talk about in your post.

The post How to Bond With Blog Readers & Make Money appeared first on Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC..

The right recipe for digital marketing success this Thanksgiving

The table is set. You have your turkey in the oven. Your family is on their way.  But you forgot all about the sides! You place so much focus on the largest aspects of your holiday feast but a true Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without a few sides.

Is your holiday marketing program also missing some key components?

Surely your long-lead marketing communications have been planned for weeks, if not months. But sometimes, the side dishes that come together at the last minute are what really bring a meal together. How can you create and implement last minute tactics as part of your digital marketing campaigns to yield results? Here is a recipe for success this holiday season:

Ingredients

1 handful of listen
1 dash of respond
4 tablespoons of cause marketing
1 dash of last minute in-stock
2 cups ease and convenience
1 handful of everyday

Directions

1 handful of listen and a dash of respond

Listening and engaging to social media conversations around the holidays can seem daunting, but a little advance prep here can make all the difference in the world if you’re strategic about your approach.

For example, plan to listen to and engage with social media conversations on peak shopping days – like Black Friday – as they’re happening. As top items sell out on these days consumers will want insight into where they’re available. Most retailers know what their top SKUs will be (a small number of top performers will be your low-hanging fruit; don’t worry about your entire catalog). Arrange in advance to have internal visibility into regular (hourly or more frequent) inventory updates on these top SKUs throughout the day. Since you can likely predict that consumers will be talking about top items, through proactive social conversations you can be prepared to let them know where you have them in stock. Consider the customer experience you’ll offer when your holiday social media war room guides a customer right to your door for that hot toy or gift on Black Friday or another peak shopping day.

4 tablespoons of cause marketing

‘Tis the season to being thankful and for shopping; and to the season of giving. 50% of millennials reported that they would be more willing to purchase from a company if the purchase supports a cause, and 37% said they are willing to pay more if it supports a cause they believe in. Now is the time to promote philanthropy and celebrate the good work that your brand supports. Philanthropy efforts create delicious content and storytelling for brands. Mix these key ingredients with sharable photos, videos and customer testimonials to create organic virility that promotes positive sentiment within the marketplace.

The holidays are also a great time to cook up favorite childhood memories. Encourage millennial moms to take a time out with the family by using nostalgia and “sadvertising,” or emotional ads, to tug at moms’ heartstrings. Allow consumers to voice their opinions, especially millennial moms, or hear from their peers through user generated content across all digital channels.

A dash of last minute in stock

As the season wears on the hottest gifts will disappear from shelves and products will be out of stock. You likely know when your next shipment is scheduled to arrive, so why not leverage the opportunity to create an event around in-stock merchandise.

Use your digital channels like email and SMS messages to let customers know you’re restocking the shelves. Include details to make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for, such as online availability and/or personalized store location and hours. Make sure all communication is well integrated and not repetitive or siloed, which can be more harmful than helpful to your consumer.

Keep stirring the gravy! Stay on top of the social conversations to remind customers that top products are available again, especially if they’re not engaged with other channels like email, as we know this time of year, their inbox can be quite overwhelming.

Dig in to your data and drive urgency. Send personalized and targeted messages to highly engaged and interested customers about restocked items and highlight benefits of arriving early (online or in-store) to help ensure they get what they need.

Two cups ease and convenience

Let’s face it; holiday shopping can be a hassle for consumers. Anything that you can do to make their shopping experience easier could be a difference maker this holiday season. Consider offering curbside pick-up or buy online, pick up in-store to create convenience for your customers. As brands promote “keeping it easy & simple,” don’t forget to encourage consumers to be heard.

Some spices to consider are compelling cross-sell product ideas or suggestions based on past purchases, such as your husband’s favorite team jersey to go along with those upcoming game tickets you bought. Leverage data to make customer’s lives easier with any last minute gift giving or shopping.

One handful of everyday

The holiday shopping season can be a stressful time for consumers, and sometimes their everyday needs can get lost in the noise. Groceries, household products and Spot’s dog food all need to be replenished amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Home improvement projects don’t take a break just because it’s December (in fact, homeowners probably want them done before the holidays). Don’t lose sight of the opportunity to market towards these everyday needs. As you plan your integrated marketing communications, be sure you include messaging and promotions that make your customers’ everyday lives easier.

Don’t Forget to Stir the Gravy

While we’ve been focused on new holiday communications, let’s take a moment to remember your existing automated messages. Now is a great time to refresh these communications with seasonal content for communications such as on-boarding, transactional (order/ship confirmations), abandon cart/browse, etc. Consider bounce-back coupons, personalized offers and loyalty/rewards messaging to incentivize repeat purchases within the holiday season.

Make sure your creative rings with holiday cheer; include memorable images and descriptive calls to action. Highlight holiday benefits including special holiday hours, shipping cut-offs, return policies, and gift-wrapping. Take a moment to update your onboarding communications to ensure that one and done holiday shoppers clearly understand your brand’s year-round value.

As you think about the last-minute tactics you can incorporate into your holiday marketing recipe, don’t forget to revisit your changes before the New Year – it’s a clean table ready to be set.

What’s your recipe for success this holiday season? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Wili Roberts also contributed to this piece. 

The post The right recipe for digital marketing success this Thanksgiving appeared first on A brand new view.

Black Friday is Dead – Long Live Cyber Monday

Black Friday is a violent mess, and so many of the items are instantly sold out. Why do people subject themselves to it when the following Monday is way easier?

I Love Cyber Monday

Dealing with big traffic and crowds just to find that the stuff you wanted is sold out (if it was ever even available), and then resorting to impulse buys, since you don’t want to waste the trip.

It’s a lost day.

Then you’ve got Cyber Monday – convenient, quick, and the ability to easily comparison shop.

And no crowds. No chance of fighting over junk you don’t really want. Oh yeah, and home delivery.

I like to let UPS do the driving, instead of me.

Happy Cyber Monday.

The post, Black Friday is Dead – Long Live Cyber Monday by Shawn Collins, was originally published on the Affiliate Marketing Blog.

How to Create a Holiday Marketing Campaign: A Step-by-Step Guide

The malls are decked with holly, your inbox is filling up with holiday-themed promotions, and you’ve deemed it socially acceptable to start listening to your favorite holiday playlist on Spotify … or maybe that’s just me. 

Either way, the holiday season is here, and marketers are gearing up to finish off the year strong. But just like shopping for gifts, planning your holiday campaign is something you don’t want to shove off until the last minute.

There’s going to be a lot of spending going in over the next month or so, which is why it’s important to have a plan for reaching your customers and prospects before your competitors do.

Haven’t started planning your campaign yet? Don’t panic.

We’ve mapped out a comprehensive guide with everything you need to launch a holiday marketing campaign this season. From offer templates to free holiday-themed stock photos, we’ve peppered this step-by-step guide with resources designed to get your campaign up and running right away.

Download more holiday marketing resources to help your business succeed this season from HubSpot’s #HolidayHub.
Step 1: Create Your Campaign and Offer

While creating content has become ingrained in the day-to-day lives of most inbound marketers, launching a campaign is a little different. Unlike a tweet or an infographic, campaigns require you to align all of your marketing channels around one specific goal or message.

Holiday campaigns — like all campaigns — typically run for a concentrated period of time. Depending on your industry, they can start as early as October and often spill over into January.

Now that you know what you’re in for, let’s not waste any more time. Below we’ll kick off this process by walking you through establishing your campaign and offer.

Decide on your campaign goals and audience.

Before you start creating an offer, you need to determine what it is that you’re looking to achieve. What is the ideal outcome of this campaign? 

Once you define your focus, you can begin to create goals that will be used to benchmark your campaign’s performance once it’s wrapped. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals, for short). Here’s an example of how to structure this type of goal:

Generate [number] leads focused on [topic/product] by [date]

Depending on what you want to get out of your campaign, your goals might look something like this:

Generate 1,000 leads who are interested in our annual holiday sale by December 5, 2015.
Generate 5,000 sign-ups for our holiday shopping app by November 30, 2015. 
Collect $50,000 in donations for charity XYZ by December 20, 2015.

To help you better align your marketing efforts with SMART goals, check out this free goal setting template. You can use this template to summarize your goals, calculate your greatest marketing need, and set deadlines.

With goals in place, the next step is to define your target audience. The more information you can gather about the people you’re trying to reach, the better. Where are they hanging out on social media? Do they prefer to consume information on their desktop or mobile? This will help you make smarter marketing decisions when it comes time to create content and plan promotions.

If you already have a few buyer personas in place for your marketing efforts, you’ll want to start by narrowing your focus. Does your campaign pertain to all segments of your audience? If not, you’ll need to immediately weed out the folks who you don’t want to include.

If you don’t already have buyer personas or would like to create campaign-specific personas, we recommend you check out our free buyer persona templates. These templates will make it easy for you to build out and organize your persona data.

Create an offer.

The offer that you create will serve as the center point for all of your campaign initiatives. Typically offers take shape in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, templates, online courses, videos, tools, etc. While there are a lot of options to choose from, we advise you to run with an approach that makes the most sense for your intended audience. 

Think about it: If you know the people you’re trying to reach are typically strapped for time — particularly during the holidays — you might want to create a set of easy-to-use templates instead of a lengthy ebook, right?

The former is what my colleague Susannah decided to do when she recently launched a holiday campaign around a 2015 ecommerce marketing calendar. In doing so, she created a one-page printable calendar and an installable calendar for Gmail and Outlook detailing all of the important holidays and shipping dates for this season.

If you decide to take the ebook route, we can help — you can download our free, customizable ebook templates. We’ve already taken care of the design element, so all you have to do is focus on writing the content. And if you’re in search of some compelling visuals to use throughout your offer, download our 250 free holiday stock photos here. 

Create a landing page.

Once your offer is created, you need to provide a place for it to live. This is where the landing page comes in. 

Considering your landing page is the page that you’ll be driving traffic to, it needs to be convincing. Here’s a list of some of the essential elements you should include:

Compelling headline. This is how you’re going to capture the attention of potential visitors. For tips on how to craft the perfect headline, turn to this guide.
Interesting visuals. Your landing page shouldn’t just be a jumble of text. Think about how you can provide visual context for your offer.
The benefits of your offer. This typically takes shape in a bulleted list. The goal here is to drive home what the visitor can expect to get from this offer, and why it matters.
A form. This is how you’ll collect information in exchange for the offer. Keep in mind that there’s no magic number for form fields. In fact, the amount of information you need to ask for on a form will vary from business to business. That said, if you don’t really need a piece of information, don’t ask for it.

Here’s a look at the landing page Susannah created for her holiday calendar offer:

If you need some more guidance as to what goes into a great landing page, check out this roundup of 15 brilliant landing page designs. 

Step 2: Design a Promotion Plan
Email Marketing

If you already have a list of people you know will be interested in your offer, that’s great. If you want to slice and dice your database to go after a more specific group, you should take care of that segmentation first. For HubSpot customers, it’s easy to segment your database using a smart list in the Lists App. (Here’s a resource to help you get started.)

During the holiday season, we’d argue that segmenting your list is more important than ever. Due to the increased number of incoming promotions and the limited amount of time busy shoppers have, well-targeted emails will often take priority over mass messages. 

Once you’ve squared away your recipients, you can kick off the actual email creation process. Here are some noteworthy elements to keep in mind while crafting your email:

Subject line. Focus on what the offer solves. Check out this helpful post for tips on improving your subject lines.
Body copy. The body of your email should be short and sweet, much like the copy on your landing page. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate personalization using personalization tokens. Here are some great examples to get you thinking about personalization opportunities. 
Sharing Options. Don’t forget to add buttons to your emails that allow recipients to quickly pass your offer along to their network. 

To give you a better sense of how to structure your email, refer to this sample email from my colleague’s holiday calendar campaign:

HubSpot customers: Thanks to the folks at Brand Builder Solutions, you can get your hands on three awesome, festive email templates for free. Check out HubSpot’s Template Marketplace to find the one that fits your needs. 

Blogging

Once you’ve sent an email to get your offer on the radar of your intended audience, it’s time to build out your reach even further. Blog posts serve as an effective campaign element for attracting people to your offer, and can be approached in a couple different ways. 

One way to use your blog to promote your offer is to create a simple “promo post” — that’s what we call them, anyway. This post is typically very short, only offering a quick introduction to the offer, a few value-driven bullet points on what people can expect to learn from it, and a compelling CTA to drive people to the landing page. 

According to a 6-month analysis of HubSpot’s Marketing Blog run by my colleague, Ginny Soskey, promo posts proved to be the most effective lead generators out of the seven post types we typically publish. While this may vary depending on your industry and audience, it’s certainly a type we’d encourage you to explore on your own. (Want to know how we format them? Check out Susannah’s promo post below about her holiday calendar.)

Promo posts aside, it’s also a great idea to add a CTA for your offer to a post that aligns with its subject matter. You can create an entirely new post and revisit older, related posts to swap out their CTAs. This way, if people who reach the end of your post are looking for more information or a deeper dive into the subject, they can click through to the offer.

Social Media

Now that you have some tangible promotional material in place, you can start promoting it through your social media channels. Whether you share the related blog post or a link to the landing page, be sure that you’re switching up the messaging so you’re not repeating the same tweet or Facebook post over, and over, and over …

You’ll also want to tailor the post to the platform you’re posting it on. For example, maybe you create a teaser video for your offer to promote it on Instagram and then use a colorful visual when you serve it up on Twitter:

The holidays are only weeks away! Don’t wait to start planning your marketing: https://t.co/ttsZQ71Ixx pic.twitter.com/cK794XcEDh

— HubSpot (@HubSpot)
October 26, 2015

The holidays provide an interesting opportunity for businesses looking to explore platforms they wouldn’t typically try. With busy consumers looking for holiday help and inspiration in all corners of the internet and social media, you may find that it’s worth promoting your campaign on a wider variety of platforms. 

Wherever you’re sharing your content, you’ll need a place to organize and plan your distribution strategy. For that, check out this free social media content calendar. 

PPC

Paid advertising can be a great tool to boost some of your inbound efforts — especially around the busy holiday season.

If your budget allows, you may want to experiment with putting a little money behind some of your campaign assets to promote them on social media. For advice on how to create successful paid advertising campaigns across the three main social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — check out this free guide.

Interested in Google AdWords? We can walk you through that process, too. Download our beginner’s guide to get started.

Step 3: Create Lead Nurturing Paths

What will happen to your leads once you’ve generated them? And once the holidays have come and gone, what will they mean to your business?

Before you launch your campaign, it’s best to design a plan for qualifying and developing your leads once they’ve filled out your form. With marketing automation software, you can use email nurturing to keep leads engaged with your business and move them closer to a sale. 

Email Nurturing

Before you can begin creating emails and workflows, you need to take another look at your list to determine if there are opportunities for segmentation. Dividing your list of leads will make it easier for you to deliver more contextual follow-up emails, which will help you separate yourself from holiday inbox chaos, and ultimately help recipients see the value in your relationship.

Next, determine what content you’ll use to nurture your leads. You can narrow your focus by honing in on what your goals are for this nurturing process. Do you want them turn these people in sales? Subscribers? Are you looking to direct them to a particular page? 

For a campaign like the holiday calendar we’ve been referencing throughout this post, it might make sense to re-engage those leads with more helpful, related resources, such as:

The Ecommerce Guide to Holiday Shopping & Marketing
Is Your Website Ready for Black Friday? 7 Last-Minute Tips to Prepare
Ecommerce Holiday CTA Templates

And to track your progress, make sure you set a goal for your workflow. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can do so in HubSpot’s Workflow App, which makes it easy for you to gauge the performance of your email sequence. 

Step 4: Take the Campaign Live

Now that you’ve got everything in place — offer, landing page, blog promotion, nurturing workflows, etc. — it’s time to take your campaign live. 

We recommend issuing a “soft launch” before you initiate any promotion, as this will provide you with an opportunity to run through all of the steps yourself to ensure that everything is functioning as it should be. If you can get a few colleagues to fill out the form and run through the stages too, it’ll be much easier for you to spot any glitches or missed marks. 

Once you know everything is sailing smoothly, it’s time to kick up promotion and start driving traffic to your landing page. 

Step 5: Measure and Report 

This is the final — and arguably the most important — step in the process. Once your campaign has had some time to gain traction, you’ll want to dive into its performance and see what you can learn from it. 

Remember those goals we set all the way back in step one? Now is the time to determine if you actually hit them — and if you didn’t, identify what might have prevented you from doing so. Analyzing where people dropped off in your workflows, blog posts that flopped, or areas of your offer that fell a little flat might reveal what held your campaign back from reaching those numbers. Take note of these details, and use them to inform your next campaign strategy.

If you need some help defining what numbers you should actually be concerning yourself with, check out this introductory guide to inbound marketing analytics. This resource will walk you through how to effectively analyze the following: your website and landing pages, search engine optimization, paid search, blogging, social media, email marketing, and lead nurturing and automation.

Another helpful resource to make your marketing reporting a little easier is this collection of Excel templates. Rather than having to start a sheet from scratch, these templates come complete with useful functions and formulas for keeping tabs on our goals across many different channels.

Are you running a holiday campaign this season? Share your favorite tips in the comments section below.

Visit the holiday resource hub for all your holiday marketing needs.

Native Advertising: Understanding the Basics

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You’ve heard it a million times, native advertising is the next big thing. But what exactly is native advertising, and why is it causing such a stir for brands, agencies, and publishers alike?

For publishers in particular, native is a chance to put editorial expertise to work for advertisers and brands. This provides a more trusted and valuable, channel to reach readers as compared to banner or traditional display advertising. In fact, according to our most recent research, 54% of publishers cite sponsored content and native advertising as the revenue streams poised to increase most in value over the next two years. 

For more on why exactly native advertising is poised to succeed, and what can publishers do to help, take a look at the infographic below from The Huffington Post. Native-Age-FINAL.jpg

Want to learn more about native advertising and the state of digital publishing? Download our Digital Publishing Benchmarks Report below for the most up-to-date industry insights.

free guide: why publishers need to think like marketers

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Does IQ Matter in Business?

What determines success in the business world?

Is it your leadership ability? Negotiation skills? Unique perspective? What about your IQ?

While it’s likely that most businesses don’t require employees to take an IQ test as part of the application process, IQ tests and scores have long been used as a measure of a person’s intelligence and predictors of their success.

Although many would argue that it’s a trivial number, IQ scores actually do matter to some groups of people. For example, a child’s IQ score might affect whether they’re placed in a special education program, while someone who wants to join the military’s IQ score might affect whether or not they’re eligible. 

But what about in the business world? Can a number on a scale from 0–200 accurately predict someone’s success in the real world? The question it all boils down to, really, is this: What measures real-world success, and to what extent does what IQ measures play a part in it?

What Does IQ Measure?

IQ stands for “intelligence quotient,” and it’s meant to measure a person’s ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

That first part — the ability to acquire and apply — is key. IQ doesn’t measure a person’s general knowledge of facts and figures, like whether they know the capital of Russia. It’s meant to measure intelligence functions like problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, mathematical logic, and finding connections among verbal concepts.

For example, you might see a world analogy problem on an IQ test, like: “Kitten is to Cat as Puppy is to _____.” To solve this problem correctly, you’d need to understand the relationship between a kitten and a cat, and then apply that relationship to that of a puppy and a dog.

Other questions look for spatial reasoning skills. For example:

iq-test-sample-question.png

Image Credit: Pearson Clinical

(Don’t worry. I’m not testing you on this one.)

So where does the “quotient” part of “intelligence quotient” come from? From how IQ scores are calculated. The original IQ tests, developed in France in the early 1900s, were meant to help predict which children were most likely to experience difficulty in school. 

IQ was originally calculated by dividing your “mental age” (measured by the test) by your actual age, and multiplying the resulting quotient by 100. That resulting number is your IQ score, and it’s compared to that of the rest of the population on a scale of 0–200. 

While many tests have been developed since then, the major thing all IQ tests have in common is that they measure a person’s cognitive ability — but specifically their ability to solve simple and theoretical problems. 

Many questions on an IQ test for how well a person can learn new information, for example. The test might do this by teaching the test-taker new information in a simple format, and then seeing how well they retain that information. While this works well for simple information like recalling word lists and retelling simple stories, Psychologist W. Joel Schneider warns that it’s difficult to design a test that measures retention of complex information (like a person’s memory what happened in a long, complicated board meeting) without the test being “contaminated by differences in prior knowledge.”

While IQ tests are still mostly used to study children, many have wondered aloud whether adult tests have a predictive power that’s useful in the workplace, too — particularly when it comes to hiring new people or predicting performance. 

Does IQ Matter in Business?

The problem with relying on IQ — or even IQ-style, theoretical questions — to predict business success isn’t with what IQ actually measures. In fact, cognitive ability is certainly important for many jobs. Rather, the problem is with what IQ doesn’t measure.

Your IQ score won’t tell you (or your boss, or your hiring manager) anything about your emotional intelligence, your creativity, or your practical intelligence, i.e. “street smarts.” As much as we sometimes wish they did, real business problems don’t always have a single right answer reached by a single method, and they aren’t removed entirely from outside experiences.

Real business problems — practical problems — require you to recognize the existence of a problem, seek out information to help solve it, gather various acceptable solutions, and evaluate those solutions in the context of prior experience and relationships. They also require you to be motivated and involve yourself personally.

While the cognitive intelligence and specific skill sets you might need to score high on an IQ test may correlate to some success depending on your job, there are other, sometimes more important ways to measure success in the business world.

If Not IQ, Then What?

One major example of an alternative indicator of success? Your emotional intelligence. This refers to your ability to identify and monitor emotions — both your own and others’. It’s critical for problem solving and relationship building in the business world. It doesn’t matter if you can stand up and recite the Fibonacci sequence on the spot; if you have trouble handling change and developing and managing productive relationships, you’ll find it challenging to find major success in many business roles.

While there’s still disagreement on exactly how much emotional intelligence contributes to career success, even the most skeptical studies find that emotional intelligence is “probably as valuable as your intellectual and technical skills.”

Another interesting measure of success? Something called “grit.” Studies at the University of Pennsylvania found that students who don’t have the highest IQs in their class but still received high grades share “grit” in common.

What’s that? Grit is less about cognitive ability and more about cognitive control; i.e. your ability to delay gratification in pursuit of your goals, control your impulses, effectively manage upsetting emotions, hold focus, and possess a readiness to learn, according to Psychologist Daniel Goleman.

What’s more, a 30-year study of more than 1,000 children found that cognitive control predicted success better than a child’s IQ, and better than the wealth of the family they grew up in.

There’s decades’ worth of research out there on the many factors that contribute to a person’s success, whether that means financial success, fame, or something else. We have an affinity toward measuring things — even things as intangible as intelligence.

To that end, I like the way Schneider puts it: “Our society at this time in history values the ability to make generalizations from incomplete data and to deduce new information from abstract rules.”

These deductions are what lead to scientific breakthroughs, and they serve as an amazingly helpful jumping off point. But that doesn’t mean your IQ score will tell you with much accuracy whether you — or your next hire — will be successful at a job.

By itself, a high IQ won’t guarantee you’ll rise above your peers. Success relies on much more than that. 

What do you think: Do IQ scores have a place in the business world? What other skills do you correlate with business success? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

productivity tips