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B2B Social Media: 4 steps to get your listening dashboard started

September 18th, 2012 1 comment

The Internet has a wealth of free, public information that could help you uncover sales leads, get closer access to industry influencers, monitor your competition, and curate news for content marketing.

One way to tap into this wealth of data is with a listening dashboard. At one of the roundtables recently held during the B2B Summit 2012 in Orlando, Nancy Chou, Senior Director of Customer Success, LeadFormix, shared a presentation on how B2B marketers could use social media to generate leads by creating a “listening dashboard.”


What is a “listening dashboard”?

A listening dashboard is ultimately a customer intelligence gathering strategy that consists of collecting and combining together smaller pieces of information to produce a larger and more insightful picture of a given topic, brand or prospect.

Here are some of the benefits Nancy listed that a listening dashboard can offer:

  • Hear what people are saying, and uncover sales leads whenever people discuss relevant keywords
  • Gain closer access to the industry influencers through the article and blog posts they write
  • Monitor your competition, gather sales intelligence and beat your competition by following discussions in real time
  • Share fresh news and content from industry thought leaders with prospects and customers


How to set up a listening dashboard

If you’re interested in building your own listening dashboard, Nancy provided four steps for building a listening dashboard for free:

  1. Create a list of the RSS feeds you typically read
  2. Gather additional newsfeeds on specific keywords using sites like alltop for newsfeeds and technorati or Google blog search to gather blogs written by industry thought leaders or topics of interest
  3. Start following influential people on Twitter using search engines like listorious and wefollow that categorize Twitter users by keyword
  4. Set up a Google Alerts account to be notified whenever a keyword, industry topic, competitor or thought leader releases new content

The steps above will get you started; however, if you need more sophisticated social media monitoring and tracking services, fee-based tracking tools are available.


Related Resources:

How IntraLinks Used Social Media to Generate Twice as Many Sales-ready Leads as Any Other Channel

B2B Lead Generation: 6 social media tactics from 7 experts

Social Media Marketing: 9 tactics for B2B social channel advertising

B2B Social Marketing: 4 ways to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers

Social Media Metrics: Three touchy-feely numbers to help you benchmark and improve

September 14th, 2012 No comments

It’s no gigantic secret that marketing has taken a turn decidedly toward the more empathetic, conversationally oriented initiatives in the last decade. The days of corporate marketing czars sitting high atop the hill of commerce, and sipping Scotch while devising cleaver ways to manipulate consumers, have come and gone.

If you want to play the game in this new social marketing environment, you’ve got to learn how to engage people in meaningful conversations.

Given a Facebook page, the average marketer figures he or she is more social than a hipster with a smartphone. They’ve checked the social “box,” and now it’s time to return to the magical land of value propositions and conversion rates because, when measured within the context of the traditional marketing paradigm, there isn’t much return on the effort of being “social.”

Of course, we know social media marketing is valuable. For example, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook, 85% of marketers surveyed said social media is increasing in importance as a lead source, while most marketers found tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and trade shows to be decreasing in importance over the last 12 months.


Social media metrics

The problem lies in the metrics we use to measure that value. The traditional “how many, how much” metrics of historical Web analytics simple won’t do. And, while the goal of any marketing program is ROI-based metrics that truly show impact on the bottom line, many social media marketers struggle with making the transaction all the way from a top-of-the-funnel activity, like social media marketing, to revenue recognition.

So, don’t overlook the touchy-feely metrics of the social sphere to help you understand where you are and what you can do to improve. Social media isn’t paid media advertising. It isn’t a one-way conversation. Here are three metrics to get you started evaluating if you’re taking advantage of the social nature of social media:

Read more…

B2B Social Media Marketing: 5 career killers and how to overcome them

August 28th, 2012 No comments

Day one of B2B Summit 2012 has finally arrived.  Today, I had the opportunity to listen in on the panel discussion “5 B2B Social Media Career Killers … and how to overcome them.”

This session went beyond simply helping your company, and on to improving the future of your personal career.

MECLABS Director of Editorial Content Daniel Burstein moderated the panel of three B2B social media experts: Eddie Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Topsy Labs; Chris Baggott, Chairman, Compendium; and Nichole Kelly, President, SME Digital.



With the introductions made, they jumped straight into the first B2B social media killer …

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Lead Generation: Trends in 2012 marketing budgets

August 24th, 2012 2 comments

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link), 71% of survey respondents indicated that generating high-quality leads was a top challenge.

So, in today’s blog post, let’s look at lead generation budget trends (hint: money is moving to online tactics) and provide some resources to help you make wise use of that budget.

To help you get the most effective use of your budget, here are several case studies and how-to articles for some of the tactics mentioned in the above chart.

  Read more…

Class Is In Session: Q&A with Web analytics professors about Optimization Summit 2012

August 14th, 2012 No comments

You network with the most interesting people at a MarketingSherpa Summit, and Optimization Summit 2012 was no exception for me. I caught up with one of the top optimizers from Denmark and a nonprofit marketer heavily engaged in A/B testing, and I also met two professors in the increasingly popular Web analytics field.

With our next event, B2B Summit 2012 in Orlando, just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to look back at our last event in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post and share an interview with those professors, who can provide a unique viewpoint on Internet marketing.

With their experience teaching others in the classroom and having to convey overall marketing principles, they are a step removed from the average in-the-trenches, brand-side marketers, overly focused on the “putting out today’s fire” crises that sap so many marketers’ attention.

And, since they’re not vendors of platform providers, well, they’re not trying to sell you on their unique marketing buzzword approach that just happens to map very nicely to the products and services they are trying to sell.

Ray Lam and Victoria Harben are adjunct faculty and teach Web Analytics, a graduate-level course in University College at the University of Denver. During Optimization Summit 2012, they live-tweeted the event to their students from @COMM4324.


MarketingSherpa: What were the top lessons you learned at Optimization Summit that you think could be helpful to brand-side marketers?

Victoria: The main point that was reiterated throughout Optimization Summit was to always test; don’t rely on assumptions, intuition, guesstimations, or theory — rather, get out there and test it. It’s always best to back up a hunch with data, and that’s exactly what the Summit instilled in me: test, test, test! We’re teaching a Web Analytics class at DU through the New Media and Internet Marketing program, and this is the first thing we tell our students.

Ray:  The top lesson I learned was Dr. Flint McGlaughlin’s conversion formula: C=4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a. Where m=motivation, v=clarity of value proposition (why), i=incentive to take action, f=friction elements of the process, and a=anxiety about entering the process. This simple formula helps marketers think about the different elements that need to be considered when constructing a landing page.

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Social Media Marketing: 7 steps for using contests and sweepstakes to promote your brand

August 9th, 2012 No comments

Bribe them and buy them. That was an old-school marketing technique to acquire customers when the value proposition of a product just wasn’t strong enough to pull in enough interest of its own.

Do corporate social media accounts face that challenge? While many Facebook pages and Twitter accounts offer strong value (news, humor, insider information, etc.), the average corporate account can find it challenging to develop a following without an incentive.

One incentive that works well for many marketers is a sweepstakes or contest. (While those terms are often used interchangeably, technically the winner of a sweepstakes is decided by random chance, and a contest is decided by skill and competition.)

“Some of the main benefits of a social media-based contest are fast time-to-market, immediate responses/results, low-cost and no-cost program options, and measureable ROI,” said Sandra Fathi, President, Affect. “I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.”

Sandra pointed out that even the President is holding an online sweepstakes to help with fundraising efforts.


The goal of online sweepstakes and contests

 While online sweepstakes and contests can help boost your social media following, they can help you meet other objectives as well.

“The goals of any marketing effort should align directly with business goals – and the same holds true for social media promotions,” Sandra said. She provided some example objectives:

  • Accelerate social media adoption/participation
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads/sales
  • Drive product/service usage
  • Recognize or reward customers/prospects

However, sometimes it pays to think outside the box.

“For example, we launched the New York Intern Project as a recruiting tool that also provided ancillary benefits, such as doubling our social media following, generating media coverage and new business opportunities with clients who were interested in hosting contests of their own,” Sandra said.

Here are a few mini-case studies to help you visualize successful sweepstakes and contests, and then we’ll review seven steps for launching your own sweepstakes and contests.

Read more…

Digital Marketing: Understanding customer sentiment

August 3rd, 2012 2 comments

Yuchun Lee, Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Marketing Management Group, IBM, understands analytics and metrics are, as he puts it, “a huge part of marketers’ lives.”

He says the question then becomes, “How much time and energy should marketers spend checking out metrics and worrying about the analytics of their efforts?”

Yuchun adds, “I think the market trend has been moving towards incorporating more and more data and analysis of customers.”

This includes learning what messaging is relevant to your customers.

“Being able to analyze the data to understand a customer becomes paramount for every business,” explains Yuchun.

This data analysis allows you to determine consumer sentiment, which in turn provides a framework for relevant communications. 

Read more…

A/B Testing: 4 tests from a crowdfunding site with double-digit results

July 26th, 2012 2 comments

Before you start an optimization program, you have to be clear on what you are trying to optimize. Or, as Brad Damphousse, the CEO of GoFundMe, a crowdfunding site, puts it, “What’s the one thing that really matters?”

The GoFundMe team determined that, for its site, it had to focus on making it easy for anyone to receive donations. To achieve that goal, the team would have to optimize for both of its customer segments (which are essentially on both sides of the transaction): users asking for donations and donors making those donations.

So, Brad launched a series of A/B tests to help convert more new users and to gain more donations from donors.


Test #1: Sell the service

For the first test, the team mapped out its funnel and identified where leaks were occurring.


Click to enlarge

Read more…

How Can We Make Email Summit 2013 More Helpful to You?

July 24th, 2012 No comments

Our job is to help you do your job better. One way we do that is through events, like the upcoming Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas.

You can help make this event more valuable for yourself and fellow marketers by taking a few minutes to fill out the survey below.

As a thank you, you’ll receive a FREE copy of MarketingSherpa’s 30-Minute Marketer: How to Segment Your Email List for Better Results.


Related Resources:

Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, Feb. 12-15, 2013

Email Summit 2012: Top 5 takeaways from the industry’s largest research-based event

Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Lead Generation: 5 steps for managing cost and quality of leads

July 19th, 2012 No comments

Organizations target quality, but they don’t pay for it. That is one of the latest discoveries from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report (free 10-page excerpt at this link). Let’s take a look …


Click to enlarge


“In the past, it may have been acceptable to assume that if an organization can lower their upfront cost-per-lead, they will also increase lead generation, improve ROI and drive revenue,” said Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS.

“This makes sense when calculated on a spreadsheet, but when rolled out in an evolved marketplace with an empowered buyer, it’s going to take a lot more than simply lowering the cost-per-lead to achieve the goals of today’s CMO.”

So how can you balance cost and quality of leads?

  Read more…