the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

SEO Tips for 2014: Look Way Beyond Keyword Optimization

Posted by Ellie Becker on Sun, Jan 19, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

As we launch into 2014, the biggest opportunity we still see for companies seeking to build their businesses through inbound marketing is optimizing their websites and content assets. Why do we think this?

Every new client engagement we begin includes a competitive analysis. I have yet to compare how a client's competitors are optimizing their sites without discovering that my client has the potential to leapfrog the competition -- large and small -- by better optimizing their sites to improve their search engine rankings.SEO Tips for 2014

SEO according to best practices is still critical to attracting qualified Web traffic. However, what's changed in the past year is how you must go about doing that. Although search and SEO practices have been evolving continuously, prior to 2013 we still focused primarily on keyword research to determine what search terms were generating search volume, i.e. people actually searching for those terms, and which we had a chance to rank for.

We made sure that our chosen search term for a given page or piece of content appeared in certain places on the page and in the page source code in accordance with Google's stated preferences of the moment. That's about all it took to start ranking for a variety of search terms.

No longer is that true. In 2013, Google made a number of changes to both its search algorithms and its overall strategy. The end goal is its march towards contextual search, where the search engine better understands the user's needs and delivers ever more meaningful results.

I recently read an article from The Financial Post that gives a terrific wrap-up of the most significant of Google's changes. It's reprinted with permission at the end of this blog post. Please read it if you want a good understanding of the topic.

Here's the big take-away: SEO is no longer a stand-alone keyword and coding operation.

Search rankings now depend on:

  • A strong focus on content, i.e. creating content that is truly useful to your audience/s. It helps if your content is diverse -- blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, related images with alt text, video (Google owns YouTube, remember), webinars.
  • Having social proof of your credibility as a thought leader and content creator, i.e. followers on social media, 'Likes' and '+1s' on your content

Although what a prospect types into a search field is still at the heart of online connection, today companies must move way beyond a keyword mentality. I believe that 2014 is the year that inbound marketing will come into its own. It's the year when companies are beginning to wake up from their tactical approach -- put up a Facebook page, write a blog targeted to who knows who, call in an SEO expert to 'solve their problems'.

Google -- rightfully so, in my evolving opinion -- is making changes that will force us to become more strategic and successful online marketers.

By the way, for those of us who suffer from a lack of time to focus on our content creation duties, the Financial Post article reprinted here is an example of a new tool for content creators. A client of mine iCopyright.com has launched a new service called repubHub where you can get free, fully licensed content to embed on your website like you would embed a YouTube video. Check it out for yourself at www.repubhub.com

Sharing this article is a way to provide you with great additional information, as part of this brief piece of original content that explains my take on the evolution of SEO. And you don't have to leave my blog to read it. It's a tool that I intend to use for myself and my clients to provide more content.

I would love to hear about your SEO and content strategies for 2014 in the comments. Of course, feel free to ask your questions, too.

Enjoy the article. BTW...It's ad supported. The ads being served are supposed to be relevant to the content, so please let me know if any ads are served that you find distracting or offensive and I'll feed the info back to my client. If you scroll down, you'll see that you also have the option to reprint the article on your own website.

Five biggest changes in search and digital marketing for entrepreneurs in 2013

Topics: Inbound Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing

Online Lead Generation: Match the Quid to the Pro Quo

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Online Lead Generation: Match teh Quid to the Pro Quo

In online or inbound marketing much of lead generation strategy has to do with establishing a quid pro quo – this for that. We offer useful information about a product or service in exchange for a prospect’s contact information.

When a website visitor types their name and email address into a form in order to download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar, they go from being an anonymous prospect to being a known lead who has opted onto our marketing list. This is known as conversion.

Now, not every visitor is at the same stage of the purchase process, which can be visualized as a funnel. Someone who is just starting to gather information about an item or service they’re thinking about maybe buying will want information, but be unwilling to give up much information in return.

These visitors are considered to be at the top of the sales funnel – or ToFu. Our job is to engage them appropriately at this early point in their exploration and then build a relationship that pulls them through the bottom of the funnel to a purchase.

The focus of this post is the top of the funnel and ToFu content offers. If we fail to match the TOFU content offer with what we’re asking for in return, we lose opportunities to convert visitors to leads. Here’s an example of what can happen.

Recently, we worked with a client to develop a webinar and a related email campaign to introduce their service to a hard-to-reach audience. It was clearly a ToFu content offer. We created the webinar content and the email announcing it, which was sent to a qualified list. The client’s in-house marketing team created the registration landing page.

The client was delighted that 25 participants signed up for the webinar. However, when we got the final statistics from the webinar service provider, we learned that more than 100 recipients of the email had clicked through to the registration landing page but failed to sign up.

Obviously the webinar offer was compelling and reached the right people. So why did we lose more than 75% of their potential attendees?

I asked two questions:

  • Did the registration landing page re-state the offer?
  • Did the contact form require more than the name and email address?

The answer to the first question was, “No.” Only the day, date and time, and the name of the webinar were re-stated; but not the key agenda and take-away points or information about the presenter and his qualifications.

The answer to the second question was, “Yes.” The registration form also required a phone number.

Unfortunately, the wrong answers.

When someone clicks to get a piece of content or register for a webinar, it’s important that the landing page re-state the offer to reinforce the action we want them to take. And more important, it’s critical that the required fields in the contact form are appropriate to the level of the offer.

In this case – a ToFu offer -- potential participants would probably not be ready to part with a phone number. They wouldn’t want to receive a follow up call. However, they would be okay with getting additional information via email, which calls for less commitment. The required phone number field - along with a lack of information on the landing page -- likely caused 75 potential leads to leave without registering.

So, as this example clearly illustrates, matching quid to pro quo is the path to more productive online lead generation.

How are you converting leads using online content? Click the button below to get more lead generation info.

 

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The image is from Jon Gosier's Flickr photostream under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Marketing Strategy, Lead Generation

Social Media Strategy Requires a Strategist

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 @ 20:02 PM

Social Media Needs Strategy

I recently read highlights of a survey by Ragan Communications and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions assessing how some 2700 organizations – for-profit, non-profit and government – are implementing social media. The study makes clear that, in general, the respondents are taking a tactical approach. There is very little strategy.

This is because it seems that they are not recognizing the value of having a social media specialist – let alone a strategist -- handle this part of today’s marketing mix.

Here are two pieces of data that are particularly interesting to this inbound marketing consultant.

  • Sixty five percent of the surveyed organizations pile social media on top of other responsibilities, while only 27 percent have someone who focuses exclusively on social media.
  • Seventy percent of respondents are either "dissatisfied" or only "somewhat satisfied" with how they measure their social media efforts, compared to a mere 31 percent who are "satisfied" or "very satisfied." Many don’t make the time and resources available to track data and/or admit that they don’t even know what to track.

The scary part of this for marketers and those charged with getting bottom line results is that social media constitutes only a fraction of the marketing mix in our digital age.

According to colleague Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of PR 2020 and author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, this is all part of a larger issue – a talent gap that’s impeding successful marketing implementation – for both marketing agencies and their clients.

Today’s marketer needs to be a hybrid beast – a copyrighter, an analytics expert, a Pay Per Click advertising pro, a website designer and user experience consultant and much more. The hybrid marketer doesn’t have to DO everything – that’s impossible.

But they have to understand the big picture and know what to assess, what channels should be considered for a particular campaign or an overall marketing plan. They need to understand how Buyer Personae figure into targeting and messaging and brand positioning.

Paul Roetzer addressed a bunch of his fellow HubSpot partners last week on this talent gap topic and cited an eye-opening statistic: Consumers consult 10.4 information sources before making a purchase as opposed to half that number in 2010.

This means that companies have to get their acts together to intersect with customer journeys – the cross channel, multi device paths that customers control and that lead to their buying decisions.

That’s what Inbound Marketing does. And it takes more than someone in marketing communications being tasked with ‘doing social media’ on top of their other responsibilities.

There are increasingly robust tools available to leverage lean in-house resources. Check out www.blueconic.com -- an enterprise level tech platform that can continuously profile millions of website visitors and use the information to fuel in-the-moment dialogues that guide the customer journey.

But before you can implement the right tools, you need to understand why you need them in the first place. This requires acknowledging that marketing has changed, and that we need different talent to create and implement winning programs.

Part of it is evolving hiring criteria for in-house and agency resources. Companies also have to create silo-breaking training for marketing personnel that makes seeing the big picture the foundation for success.

While you're here download our Social Media Whitepaper with our compliments.

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The image at the top of this post is from the Flickr Photostream of cambodia4kidsorg under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing Strategy, Social Media Strategy, BlueConic, Paul Roetzer

A Content Marketing Lesson from Jazz and the Superbowl

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 09:02 AM



This weekend I experienced two live performances that made me think about why the communication in our content marketing should be direct, useful and, above all, personal.

The first performance was a jazz concert at the Nyack Library in Nyack, New York featuring the wonderful Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and two masters of Brazilian guitar, Roni Ben-Hur and Paul Meyers. The setting was the library's charming and intimate Carnegie Room, which seats maybe 150.

The two sets that comprised the evening were as much conversation with the audience as concert. For example, during the introductions the emcee had a memory lapse concerning the many top performers Roditi has played and recorded with. Audience members began to help, shouting out favorite collaborations.

I contributed singer Mark Murphy to the list. Roditi played on a marvelous album called Night Mood, the music of Brazilian composer Ivan Lins. When the players took the stage, Roditi asked, "Who just mentioned Mark Murphy? Last week I listened to the album I made with him. Hadn't heard it for years and man it was a good session!" Listen to a cut here with a great Roditi solo. docs/02 - Madalena.mp3

That was only the beginning of the musicians' connection with the audience. The entire evening was a conversation on many levels. The music was incredible and included well-known standards, as well as original compositions.

We also heard behind-the-scenes stories about life on the road with other jazz greats. We learned about Roditi's musical influencers and interests. There was fun and humor. The audience was fully engaged. When the call to action came before the intermission to buy CDs, dozens of hands went for wallets.

On Sunday evening Jeff and I watched the Super Bowl, both for the football and Beyonce's half-time show. Even though it was happening live, the game had the trappings of a recording. By the third time the sound-enhanced graphic of the SuperBowl trophy whooshed onto the screen between plays, I wanted to run into the kitchen and make popcorn to escape. But at the heart of the game was a rivalry of cities and brothers and the drama of a power outage caused by human error. Salvation.

Beyonce's performance was electric and overly produced, but her singing was authentic – quashing the criticism that she sang to a pre-recorded track in her far more human and emotional performance at the presidential inauguration two weeks before. According to reviews, the most human moment – Beyonce’s reunion with the members of her original group Destiny’s Child – was the crowd favorite, trumping pyrotechnics and special effects.

Oh…and let’s not forget the Super Bowl commercials. According to USA Today’s Ad Meter, the top five ads as voted by almost 8,000 viewers all used humanity and gentle humor to engage.

  • Budweiser – The tale of a man and the Clydesdale he raised from birth and their subsequent emotional reunion. (Watch above if you haven't seen it yet. Get a tissue first.) By the way the YouTube version includes a call to action for further engagement - Name the Baby Clydesdale.
  • Tide – Gentle humor when a football fan finds a ‘miracle salsa stain’ of Joe Montana on his football jersey which his wife, a Baltimore Ravens fan, washes out with Tide – ending media fame and fortune.
  • Chrysler Ram Trucks – Paul Harvey’s ode to the American farmer reprised in magnificent photography from the heartland.
  • Doritos – In Fashionista Daddy a father and his burly football friends play princess dress-up with his daughters in exchange for Doritos. Silly and heartwarming fun.
  • Jeep – A tribute to our servicemen and women fighting overseas.

I think you get the message by now. The most engaging formula for creating successful content is to connect authentically and personally. Share your business knowledge and expertise, your products and services. But do it with humanity. That’s what makes people want to buy from you.

What are your favorite content marketing take-aways from the Super Bowl? Thanks for reading and sharing in the comments. Please take home some Lead Generation Tips while you're here.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, E.R. Becker Company, Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Claudio Roditi, Beyonce, Super Bowl 2013

Inbound Advice: Collaboration Ain’t Always Pretty, But It's Beautiful!

Posted by Ellie Becker on Sun, Jan 20, 2013 @ 19:01 PM

Anyone who’s read my posts over the years knows I’m a huge fan of jazz – and often use it as a metaphor in discussing business and marketing issues. Playing jazz at a high level is all about successful collaboration. A set I heard last night at the well-known club Jazz Standard in Manhattan made me think about the nature of successful marketing collaboration, including a wonderful one I’m currently involved in.

Please invest a few minutes to read about the jazz experience that sets up the marketing story. You’ll pick up some usable ideas for how to collaborate to make your marketing much better – and learn a bit about America’s Music in the 21st century as a bonus.

The set at Jazz Standard was a ‘big band’ gig led by drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts’. He’s a collaborator of Wynton Marsalis, a composer of original music and is married to horn player and arranger Laura Kahle who created the arrangements – or charts, in jazz parlance – for last night’s performance. The set was spectacular to me for two reasons:

  1. It took place in an extremely intimate setting. The tiny stage is right up close and personal to the audience and was packed with about 15 musicians. We had to move our table so that the first row of players could squeeze into position. We literally felt part of the band. This happens rarely.
  2. Every player was a leader and star in his or her own right and it was the first time they’d all played together. If you’re not familiar with jazz and its top artists, just Google these names from the lineup and you’ll have a clue about the magnitude of that performance:

Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; Lew Soloff, trumpet; Frank Lacy and Conrad Herwig, trombones; Marcus Strickland, Yosvany Terry, Jacam Manricks, Claire Daly, saxophones; Don Byron, clarinets; Paul Bollenbeck, guitar; Chris Smith, stand up bass; and our good friend David Budway, piano.

There was well-earned ego in evidence to be sure. For example, Frank Lacy’s trombone slide almost clocked Don Byron sitting in front of him. Byron shot a dark look and made an exaggerated effort to get out of Lacy’s way. But ego was put aside in favor of their incredible professional chops and their overarching dedication to creativity and delivering to the audience a performance worthy of the collaborative tradition of their art form. Plus they know and like each other and so there was delightful camaraderie, too.

The delivery was messy and delicious like the Chipotle chicken wings and collared greens I feasted on prior to the show. No pristine bandstand with logo-laden music stands and matching band jackets. Each musician brought individual style, talent and experience to the stage and gave us an unforgettable hour of incredible music, fun, humor and the sense that we were part of something unique in that moment.

Now, as an example of how collaboration is critical to successful marketing today, let me tell you about the greatly rewarding collaboration I’m involved in with Rhonda Hurwitz of HMR Marketing Solutions.Ellie and Rhonda collaborators

She and I have known each other for several years and transitioned in tandem from traditional marketing and PR to inbound marketing.

We both have family background in marketing. We come from different experience. I have been on the agency/consultant side. Rhonda comes from the corporate side and is now a consultant. She hired vendors like me. I sold to and served clients like her. Our combined experience is pretty powerful in putting together strategic plans and implementing them for clients.

We really respect each other. I think she’s incredibly smart and an exceptionally good writer. (“Takes one to know one,” I say with zero humility.) We also trust each other. We see each other as equals and, in certain respects, we see each other as more than equal.

That said, we are messy like that band last night. As we engage in the work of helping our shared clients succeed, it’s not always pretty. We butt heads over ideas. But neither of us is bull-headed. We try to confine our brainstorm interactions to our private conversations, but sometimes they spill over into discussion with other collaborators and even the clients.

We can’t help it. We’re both passionate about reaching our clients’ goals within the realities of running our businesses. So if you’re a client and at some point it seems that we’re not on the same page, take heart. We are. We’re on your page and will risk shaking things up with each other to help you succeed.

Like the jazz guys last night, this takes a certain courage. It’s uncomfortable in the contentious moments, my friends. But because we trust and respect, we synthesize and process. I give ground, Rhonda gives ground. Or when neither of us can give ground, we keep generating more ideas and find something that we both like better than our initial concepts. It’s rewarding to us and it’s really important to the results we get for our clients.

We also plan for continuous improvement like the band did last night. At the end of the last number of their set, someone said – a la Count Basie – “One more time!” And then they did another take on the ending of the tune. After that, they did it one more time again.

When we asked one of the musicians about it later, he said, “We haven’t played together before. And since you guys were having such a good time, we figured you wouldn't mind if we tried to make it better for the next set!

The video at the top of the post is Jeff “Tain” Watts with the Danish Radio Big Band, with which he collaborates. You’ll get a flavor of last night’s music.

The image of the two little superheroes is Rhonda’s collaborative contribution to this post. She received it in an email from eloqua.com and thinks it’s hysterical! I agree. Especially since she made it funnier by tagging it!! Not sure who to credit for the image. If it’s yours please give me the appropriate attribution or let me know the cost of licensing it for this post.

Would you share your collaboration success stories in the comments? Thanks!

If your appetite is whetted for more inbound marketing info take advantage of this complimentary content download and subscribe to the blog for automatic delivery of future inbound-i posts to your inbox.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Ellie Becker, E.R. Becker Company, Jazz, Inbound Advice, Collaboration, Jeff Tain Watts

How Inbound Marketing with HubSpot is Like Time-Lapse Photography

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 @ 18:01 PM

 

Last week I was doing a demo of Hubspot for the marketing team of a former PR client. During our meeting, I had an experience that I'd like to share with you. HubSpot, for those new to the inbound-i blog, is the all-in-one inbound marketing software I use for E.R. Becker Company and re-sell to other businesses.

Let me set the stage with some background. When you log in to HubSpot, you land on a dashboard that lets you know how you're doing with your inbound marketing efforts. Two key measurements featured on the dashboard are website traffic and number of leads generated from that traffic.

When we started the demo, my traffic count was 90 visits so far this month - up 85% over the same date last month.  (Yes, I admit that I fell behind in my blogging over the holidays.) It was early in the month and I hadn't yet converted any traffic to leads.

I had published a blog post the evening before and publicized it automatically in HubSpot to all of my social networks and to select LinkedIn groups. The blog post was optimized for two of my important keywords and had a call-to-action (CTA) at the end, inviting readers to download a social marketing eBook, in exchange for which they would leave me their contact information.

As I demonstrated the many features of HubSpot, I spoke to the marketing team about the importance of blogging, SEO and social media to driving traffic. I showed the team how driving targeted traffic to landing pages and providing useful content offers through strategically placed CTAs is the path to generating leads.

The demo took about 30 minutes and in Q&A, one of the team members asked if we could go back to the dashboard. We did.

"Wow! You already have 30 more visitors!" someone shouted out. "Look! You have a lead, too!"

Sure enough, the traffic count was up to 120 and one of the new visitors had downloaded the social media eBook, converting from a visitor to a lead. It reminded me of a piece of time-lapse photography I've seen showing the building of a skyscraper condensed from years to a few minutes.

While inbound marketing results take time to build, it's motivating to see the growth before your very eyes. After this dramatic end to my demonstration, I told the group the following:

When I was providing PR services to your organization, even though we got great results, I could not and would not ever guarantee those results. In PR we work to present your information in a way that earns a media outlet's valuable space for editorial coverage. But we don't own the space and can't give it away.

With inbound marketing I WILL guarantee you that if you blog regularly in the online space that you own, sharing useful information based on your expertise, if you publicize your posts in social media and optimize the content for search engines, you WILL grow your traffic. If you provide further remarkable content and CTAs, you WILL convert traffic to leads. If you analyze your results with software like HubSpot or Google Analytics, you WILL be able to see the growth of your marketing skyscraper as it builds steadily toward success!

As a consultant, it feels great to offer a process that makes me feel comfortable guaranteeing success! If you've experienced your own inbound marketing time-lapse moment, thank you for sharing in the comments.

Learn more about marketing with HubSpot by clicking the CTA button below and if you have 2-an-a-half minutes, enjoy watching the YouTube video at the top of this post depicting the two years of construction of the Denver Spire condensed via time-lapse photography.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, E.R. Becker Company, Lead Generation, HubSpot

HubSpot3: Beyond Lead Generation

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:09 PM

HubSpot3 Love 255

 

So far this year, the 8000+ users of HubSpot have generated more than 35,500,000 leads using the all-in-one inbound marketing software. Its creators have just launched HubSpot3 – a powerful new version – which promises to exponentially increase both HubSpot users and lead generation.

Inbound Leads Generated by HubSpot

If you’re a small or mid-sized business or even an enterprise level company trying to use Internet tools to generate leads, you owe it to your business to look into HubSpot3. In fact, this version not only helps you generate leads, but provides new methods of interaction, CRM integration and analytics -- all designed to move you beyond lead generation to closed business.

We’re still within a window of opportunity for those companies that adopt Inbound Marketing before their competitors do. Most businesses are still stuck on figuring out how to drive traffic to their websites (read “Home Pages”) without a fundamental understanding of how to convert web traffic to leads and then to sales.

HubSpot allows you to both understand and implement the process. The most important aspect of HubSpot3 is that it organizes the inbound marketing process far more intuitively than its initial release, while providing and demonstrating new ways to connect disparate online activities to drive results.

For one example, when I log into the Contacts section of my HubSpot -- which is at the heart of the new release -- and click on a specific individual, I can now see the social media he or she is active on – including handles. I can click to go direct to their social profiles and follow them right from HubSpot.

This allows a new level of proactive engagement with those who choose to provide their email to download a piece of content from my website. I can now create a social media conversation, with their past interactions with my site as a starting point. As contacts continue to interact with my business over time, their profiles automatically update so that I can segment them for additional engagement based on selected criteria.

One of the most powerful features of HubSpot for larger companies with outside sales departments is a more robust integration with Salesforce.com and other major CRM systems. The result is that sales people can become stakeholders in the marketing process and leads get turned over to them when they’re far more purchase-ready, making for a more efficient and productive sales process.

eMail in HubSpot3 is arguably the most effective email marketing software available today. An array of templates, customization and personalization capabilities (even custom personalization fields) help create appealing and audience-appropriate emails. Open rates and other stats are incorporated into overall analytics and contact profiles. Subscribers now have the ability to opt in or out of various email offer types.

Those marketers charged with creating emails and email campaigns can view page-development progress in an on-screen preview panel. Lists can be easily segmented and contacts assigned to specific salespeople for personalized responses.

At the Professional and/or Enterprise levels of the HubSpot3 product, email can drive clicks to Smart Landing Pages that adapt automatically based on browser and device, as well as previous contact interaction and behavior. Full campaigns can be launched from landing pages.

Marketers can also embed smart forms which remove fields a contact has filled out previously and Smart CTAs (calls-to-action) that adapt to the individual contact’s interests based on previous actions. It’s easy to imagine how such individualized user experiences can build relationships with leads and encourage them to become buyers when they’re ready.

Get a sneak peak of HubSpot3, which will roll out between now and early 2013. Get a jumpstart on next year’s marketing plans! eMail me at ellie@erbeckercompany.com for a demo.

Also...Learn more about generating leads online and download your free Lead Generation Tips here.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, HubSpot, HubSpot3

Breaking Inbound Marketing News: HubSpot3 Launches

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

 HubSpot Dashboard

Dear Readers of the inbound-i blog,

You are among the very first on the planet to get groundbreaking news about the present and future of marketing. Culminating a year of intense development, HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have just rolled out HubSpot3 a powerful new version of its software that even more fully integrates and analyzes the many functions of successful Inbound Marketing.

HubSpot3 Just Announced at Inbound 2012

The announcement came minutes ago during their keynote presentation here at Inbound 2012, a gathering of HubSpot users, Inbound Marketing agency partners and those interested in learning more about Inbound Marketing and evolving their marketing for the way both B-to-C and B-to-B customers buy today. A number of new features – particularly those that provide Smart/Dynamic delivery of content, forms and calls to action -- fulfill the vision that Brian Halligan put forth at last year’s Inbound event: To enable marketing segmentation to the individual level.

HubSpot3 provides marketers unprecedented control and ease of implementation of all aspects of Inbound Marketing. If you had to cobble it all together yourself, you’d have to purchase at least eight separate products and then try to get them all to talk to each other effectively. And you still wouldn’t have as elegant and impressive a solution.

Any business owner or corporate marketer who has looked at HubSpot in the past must take another look now. Some of the new elements are available across all levels of the HubSpot product – Basic, Professional and Enterprise. Some features are available only at the Professional and/’or Enterprise levels. These decisions were based on providing features of greatest importance to each HubSpot persona group at realistic pricing levels for each customer type.

What's New in HubSpot3?

We’ll be blogging more about the specifics of the new HubSpot3 platform, but here are the highlights of what’s rebuilt or is brand new in HubSpot3 as provided by the HubSpot team:

HubSpot Logo

The following new or rebuilt elements in the release of HubSpot 3 join blogging software, CMS, SEO tools, Marketing Analytics and other tools (including the marketplace) to make up the complete HubSpot 3 Platform:

  • Contacts Database: Originally released to a small audience in June, Contacts is an ever-evolving information portal on a company’s audience (Prospects, Leads and Customers). Contacts is really the brain of the new platform with lead and customer profiles automatically adapting and updating based on changing preferences and interactions with the company.
  • Email: Also released to a small audience in June, the email system is closely integrated with the contacts database, workflows social media, dynamic content and a company’s CRM system. It enables greater personalization and deliverability than ever before.
  • Workflows: Workflows leverage the enormous amount of data in the Contacts database and a series of rules set by the marketer to create dynamically evolving segments and automate marketing actions. More than email automation, workflows enables marketers to trigger campaigns, change contact profile properties, score leads, send notifications, and sync to a CRM system based on when a lead has met a set of conditions.
  • Landing Pages: Landing pages have been rebuilt to be closely integrated with the Contacts database, CRM systems, email, dynamic components, and social media. Using the new landing pages, marketers can build, implement, and measure a full multichannel campaign in one place. A/B Testing is built in (at the enterprise level) and the new landing page templates have responsive design to optimize for different devices and browsers. Because of Smart Forms and Smart CTAs (See these points below), HubSpot's landing pages are also among the most adaptive on the market.
  • Smart Forms: Smart forms adapt and minimize over time. As a company gathers contact information about a given lead, the forms remove fields that have been filled in during previous submissions, making for a better user experience. For example, any of you who have filled out the same long form in HubSpot every time you want to download a piece of content will never have to do so again.
  • Smart CTAs (Calls to Action): Built off the Contacts database, HubSpot 3 enables you to show images and CTAs that adapt in real time to the interests of each visitor based on previous interactions with your website. This is AWESOME and cutting edge!
  • Smart Lists: Smart lists are continually evolving contact lists based on a set of criteria. Each time an individual meets the rules of a smart list, they are added. You can have an unlimited number  of Smart Lists that are segmented based on the value of a contact property, being a member of a static list, or having ever filled out a specific form.
  • Social Media: With a new integration directly into Contacts, HubSpot Social Media now enables you to view a lead's social activity and create dynamic segments based on your most engaged social media followers. In addition to that functionality, called "Social Contacts," HubSpot social media now has an in-app view of all your Twitter and Facebook interactions and enables you to respond, follow or other action.
  • Mobile App: Available for free in the apple store, HubSpot has added a mobile application to enable marketers to keep tabs on their lead generation and customer conversions on the go. The mobile app includes a view of Sources, Marketing Grader and Contacts.
  • Salesforce.com Integration: HubSpot 3 brings you an even stronger Salesforce.com connector than ever. (The software also integrates with other CRMs and software platforms via plug-ins and interfaces developed on the HubSpot API.)

The evolution of the HubSpot software was enabled by significant investment in the past couple of years by online marketing giants Sequoia Partners, Google and Salesforce.com. Some of the features – like the new email product -- are already available to new customers and are being rolled out to existing customers. Other features will be rolled out over time. A new pricing structure has also been rolled out – effective September 1. Contact us for more info and demos at info@erbeckercompany.com. 

If you're still not sure what Inbound Marketing is or how it can help your business, download our free Inbound Marketing fact sheet here.

 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, Inbound 2012, HubSpot3

Inbound Advice: Don't Run Away From "Home"

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:08 PM

Keep Home in Navigation

Somehow a trend has developed that threatens website user experience. Mess up a visitor’s ability to easily navigate your site and you can rest assured that it’s costing you business.

What’s the trend? “Home” is disappearing from navigation bars. I suspect that this is the result of a move to horizontal navigation – across the top of the Web page. Horizontal navigation is limited. So developers are trying to find space to accommodate more categories on the nav bar.

What they’ve decided to ditch is a navigation tab for “Home”. On many sites Home has been replaced by a link from the company logo. This is confusing to many visitors who are not mouse-ing around a page looking for what they can click on.

Most visitors are looking for the text, the words, the links that will take them where they want to go.

What's my inbound advice? Even though I regularly counsel clients not to be Home Page-centric – to recognize that if their site is properly optimized, visitors may enter the site from any page. But they also shouldn't run away from home.

The home page is still the spot on a website where there’s an overview. It’s where key messages are introduced and where look and feel and brand identity are the strongest. Home is still the gateway to the company and people want to see Home pages. Home is the hub of the site from where you can navigate everywhere (one hopes).

Don’t give up a Home tab in deference to design and space issues. Challenge your web developer to come up with something less restrictive than a main navigation across the top of the page.

I’m very resolute on this topic, having engaged numbers of web searchers on the topic. When asked how they would get to the home page on a site where Home is not in the navigation, most have given up trying to figure it out in exasperation.

Why set up your visitors for frustration? Why design a higher bounce rate into your site? Make it easy for visitors to get everywhere on your site – especially to your Home sweet Home.

While you're here, take advantage of a free opportunity to learn more about Inbound Marketing.

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Image is from the flickr photostream of Diana Parkhouse under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Website Development, E.R. Becker Company, Web design, User Experience

Online Lead Generation: Blogging Builds Business

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

Online Lead Generation Blogging Builds Business  When I say, “Blogging Builds Business,” I say it   with certainty. Why am I so sure? Because, I’ve personally built business through blogging. For online lead generation, blogging is an undeniably powerful and essential tool.

With consistency – at least one post per week -- I’ve seen my website traffic grow continuously. I share my blog on social media and almost always offer another piece of content with each post via a call to action button. And my business has grown.

In fact, I’ve become so busy implementing inbound marketing programs for clients, that I’ve further proved the value of blogging to build traffic and help convert traffic to leads. This time it’s a negative proof.

As my blogging consistency has waned, so has my traffic and so has my online lead generation – dramatically. I know this because I track my marketing progress through my HubSpot analytics.

So, this week I’m doing what I recommend to my clients: Sit down at your computer and take a bit of time to share what you know about your business. In today’s marketing environment, content publishing is the Holy Grail. We ignore it or abandon it at our own peril, and that of our businesses.

Fortunately my online community, those I respect and whose blogs have inspired me in the past, reminded me that I just have to rededicate myself to my blog and online marketing efforts. Ironically today, both Chris Brogan and Mark Schaefer had posts that got me to sit down first thing and share these thoughts with you. Please be sure to read them for some great advice.

I expect that with a few extra blog posts, my traffic will build pretty quickly. I’m also going to spend part of today creating a new piece of content to offer on a new landing page to help my blog visitors engage with my company. These efforts will also make my site more enticing to search engines as they continuously seek fresh information to provide to those looking for it online.

Even as someone who understands and believes in the value of inbound marketing – and the critical role of blogging, I’m no different than any small business owner trying to take the best care of clients, while continuing to market and build business. These activities are not mutually exclusive and both are critical to success. So I stand by the advice that I offer to you and to myself. Start blogging. Keep blogging.

How will you get your online lead generation on track?

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The image Keep Up and Blog On is from the flickr photostream of futureshape under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, HubSpot, Online Lead Generation

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