Author: Fire Path Digital

5 Factors to Consider When Segmenting Your Customers

Everyone knows all the usual suspects for customer segmentation. Easily collectible demographics data such as age, gender, and location, are easy wins for companies looking to personalize their marketing materials. In the next few years, the tools that we use for segmentation will give companies an even more significant understanding of each customer on an individual level. Machine learning and automation are increasingly being used to improve data analysis. These tools will quickly become the norm for any digital business. Still, there are some common misconceptions about the best practices for segmentation.

In this blog, I’ll show you five factors to consider before you begin your segmenting your customers. 

Customer Behavior is Just as Important as Customer Details

Effective segmentation digs deeply. It involves an analysis of customer behavior, not just quickly available data like customer details. What actions are customers taking once they hit your website? Do their actions resemble those of other customers? Does there seem to be a trend? Not many brands dive into segmentation as customer actions as thoroughly as they should. For example, many companies sort customers based on who abandons their cart on ecommerce sites. In these cases, companies might offer a discount or reach out to ask if they had any questions about the product.

But what if you segmented that group even further? Further segments could include those for customers who never entered their credit card information, customers whose credit card has been denied, or customers who failed to enter a single detail after adding a product to their cart. By tracking and sorting customers based on their behavior on your site, you can better inform your marketing materials and customize your messages for each customer type. You can then design your landing pages to target specific customer types. Landing page builders like Unbounce are helpful tools for this since they let you design your landing pages and other marketing materials according to your segmentation of customers.

Automation and Machine Learning are Inherent Parts of Effective Segmentation

A big reason so few brands haven’t used segmentation to its full potential is that sorting through all that data can be tedious. It can take days to sift through data by hand and properly adequately categorize each person to ensure your assessments are accurate. And accuracy is important here: you wouldn’t want to send out customer emails only to find that you have miscalculated or missed a data point.

Automation and machine learning have re-shaped digital marketing and segmentation in particular. An excellent engagement platform can provide hyper-targeting that examines the customer journey and then automatically optimizes your marketing materials for specific customer types, helping you interact with customers on a more personal level. These tools will become the standard for all brands doing serious business online, simply because of the added value they provide.

Micro-Segmentation Builds Trust

Customers love brands that understand them. That’s why it’s so important to speak to their pain points in every piece of marketing that you create. Customers want to know that companies understand their needs, pains, and desires. They also want to be assured that the product you offer will solve their relevant problems.

Micro-segmentation is about sorting your customers into more specific categories. In typical segmentation, you might have customer segments based on who lives in Denver, who has a job title of Vice President, or who is above the age of 50. An example of a micro-segment would be a segment that includes all three—50+-year-old VPs who live in Denver.

According to an Infosys survey, 78% of customers stated that they’re more likely to buy from a company that sends them more targeted offers. Building that initial trust is incredibly important—customers who have been buying from a company for 30 or more months spend 67% more per order than they did on their first purchase. Micro-segmentation helps you win that trust by allowing you to speak to customers’ most significant concerns.

Segmentation Research Should Inform Product Development

At its core, segmentation begins with learning more about your customers. After all, the more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your marketing to their unique problems, preferences, and desires.

Segmentation data should go beyond marketing; it should also be used to inform product development. Startups often pivot to find a market that needs solutions, and proper segmentation can help them pinpoint the best market. While no established business is going to do a full-fledged pivot in the same way that a startup would, many could benefit from more customer data involvement in product development.

Since detailed customer data is one of the most powerful tools available to companies, companies should design a product based on data-informed facts, rather than on their own assumptions.

Customer Needs are Not Static

A big mistake that brands make during the segmentation process is to stop their analysis as soon as they place customers in their respective segments. These customers will forever remain in that segment—even if additional data is collected in the future.

The problem here is that customer needs and preferences change over time. Today’s customers might be in a completely different place in life than they had been a year prior. Continuously working to correctly categorize customer types will help you more accurately target customers in your marketing and sales strategy.

Personalization is the Future

In-depth segmentation of your audience gives you more opportunities for personalization. It allows you to gain a detailed analysis of each customer so that you can tailor your sales and marketing efforts accordingly. While segmentation itself isn’t a new concept in digital marketing, the tools that we have available are making micro-segmentation increasingly feasible for companies of all sizes.

Segmentation can make or break your business. As more companies move toward the possibility and potential of an audience segment of one, it is paramount to create segmentation that can scale. How have you utilized segmentation to improve your customer’s experience? What tips will you implement from the advice given in this blog? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.

The post 5 Factors to Consider When Segmenting Your Customers appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/5-factors-consider-segmenting-customers.html

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Does Business Blogging Still Get Results in 2017? New Data from 1,000 Bloggers [Infographic]

2017 marks the fourth consecutive year Orbit Media Studios has tapped the insights of 1000+ business bloggers to publish a research report on blogging statistics and trends.

In some cases, the annual blogger survey reflects subtle developments, but in others it reveals some significant changes. However, with four years of data in the books, a theme has clearly developed:

“Bloggers are reporting stronger results from content marketing,” says Orbit Media’s co-founder Andy Crestodina.

“When asked to report on the effectiveness of their efforts, almost 30% of respondents reported ‘strong results.’ The vast majority of bloggers are seeing rewards from their efforts and meeting their goals, whatever they might be.”

Each year, Andy delivers the survey’s findings in a meaty post detailing the data and expressing his conclusions. This year, the survey breaks down into 11 questions across three categories:

  1. Changes in the blogging process
  2. Blog content trends
  3. The promotion and measurement tactics business bloggers employ

Andy and I also collaborate each year on an infographic (see below) to present the most interesting findings in simple terms.

At the risk of reducing the suspense, the answer to the headline above (and headline of the infographic), “Are bloggers still getting results?” is …

Yes.

85% claim their blog delivers strong results or some results. The number represents a 6% increase compared to the year prior.

Peruse the infographic below to discover more about the tactics business bloggers used in 2017 and how it compares to years past.

blogger-survey 2017-infographic-final.png

Want some historical context? Last year, HubSpot’s post Which Blogging Tips Get Results? features a summary of Orbit Media’s findings from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

 

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/does-business-blogging-still-get-results-in-2017-new-data

How to Manage Marketing Campaigns like a Financial Currency Trader

KPIs are due EOD.

Profit and loss statements need to be generated.

Budget status updates have been requested.

Juggling multiple marketing campaigns is stressful. But more importantly, it’s also incredibly risky.

Soon enough, you’ve depleted your budget to the last few cents, and you have nothing to show for it.

Or worse, you didn’t spot the right trends in a successful tactic before spending too much on the underperforming ones.

And now you don’t have enough money to re-allocate to top-tier mediums.

Curiously enough, adopting the same methodical mindset of a financial currency trader can help you better manage results.

Here’s how.

Start With a Currency Arbitrage Mindset

Here’s the problem with digital marketing.

It changes every day. Old stuff gives way to new stuff.

And you never really know how a campaign will perform until you try it.

That saying (1) is unhelpful and (2) requires extra money to experiment with potentially budget-draining activities.

But it’s true.

You really don’t know which playbook, game plan, or actionable tip is going to work until you experiment. The stuff that worked last year almost certainly won’t work the same this year.

Not to mention that every business is structured differently. Each caters to diverse audiences. So copying your competitors or that awesome tactic you read about is also out.

What works for Company X might bankrupt Company Z.

If there were set-in-stone tactics that produced million-dollar businesses overnight, every dude on GrowthHackers.org would be rich.

PPC might be amazing for your friend’s business. But that doesn’t mean investing in PPC is instantly going to turn you into the next Zuckerberg.

So where do people turn when they hit this realization? A/B testing.

You all know those case studies that promise a mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

I did X and generated a 40000000000% increase in conversions!

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s not that far off.

Most A/B tests fail, though.

They take too long to get results. Plus that whole “bias” thing. And of course, sample size.

You need a minimum of 1,000 conversions monthly for statistical significance.

So what should you do instead?

Implement a currency arbitrage mindset.

Currency arbitrage is a strategy in which the trader takes advantage of different spreads offered by brokers for a particular currency pair by making trades.

Different spreads imply a gap between the bid and ask prices. Meaning, they can buy and sell pairs to make more money.

What does this mean in English?

Place lots of small bets on different tactics, channels, platforms, and mediums so that you can evaluate their effectiveness in real-time.

Once you see specific trends developing (either positive or negative), you double down on the winners and cut your losses on the rest.

This way, you can test multiple experiments at once without the bias and lack of statistical significance that comes with A/B testing.

You get in and out fast. And you come out on the other side with specific campaigns to focus on rather than a mixed bag.

For example, you can’t always control the end result. But you can control the inputs that eventually get you there. And you can monitor, forecast, or predict where those will fall based on just a few days’ worth of performance.

Then, you can fine tune and adjust each ‘level’ accordingly to squeeze out the best results.

Adjusting Your Budget Based on Market Movement

The first banner advertisement ever appeared on HotWired in 1994.

Look at this gem:

Image Source

By today’s standards, it looks like a joke, right?

Is that tie-dye? Yes, yes it is.

But it gets worse:

See that subliminal “YOU WILL” message on the right???

Super subtle. Lord have mercy on us all.

But guess what?

This banner ad debuted with a click-through rate of 78%.

Yes, you read that right. Seventy. Eight. Percent.

If you told any marketer today that your banner ads are getting a 78% CTR, you’d get laughed out of the room.

Why? It’s inconceivable. It’s probably impossible in today’s world.

Today, the average display ad CTR is 0.05%.

Image Source

This all brings me back to one concept coined by Andrew Chen:

The law of shitty click-throughs:

All marketing strategies over time will result in shitty click-through rates.

As more and more people use these tactics, the market becomes saturated.

Users get sick of it, and they don’t click. Or they go banner blind.

You can see trends that follow this concept with almost any marketing activity.

Remember the good old days when Facebook organic reach was insane?

You paid nothing and reached thousands or millions of eager users.

Now, organic reach is almost nothing:

Image Source

As more and more marketers use the concepts put in place, it results in fewer and fewer results.

This is a perfect example of market movement and active management in currency trading.

You can’t hold certain trades forever and expect exponential performance.

Just because something is generating an insane ROI now, doesn’t mean you can ride it off into the sunset.

Markets are constantly shifting, just like marketing tactics.

What was hot one day (banner ads) isn’t now.

If you don’t adjust your strategy based on analytic research and forecasts, you risk declining performances associated with passive management.

Passive management is when you sit idly by and attempt to cruise to the finish line on your current strategy.

Active management relies on analytical performance data over time to spot trends and make informed decisions about what needs to change.

If you notice a decline in organic reach on Facebook, you probably shouldn’t be dumping your campaign dollars into it.

Unfortunately, us marketers (including me) fall into this trap more often than we’d like to admit.

You log in to Google AdWords or Analytics and see some great conversion data:

Your plans are working as you’d hoped.

But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let the good times roll.

Sure, you can do that for a little bit. But over time, as markets, tactics, and consumers shift, you’ve gotta take an active role in managing campaigns.

Adjust based on trends.

A great way to do this is by analyzing specific topics on Google Trends:

Or even keeping up to date with the latest studies on popular marketing tactics by conducting a basic Google search:

Stay up-to-date with market movement and look at the underlying trends or patterns. Because when people are blogging about it, tweeting it, favoriting it, or liking it, it’s already too late.

Be Cautious in a Bull Market

When everything is running smoothly, it’s referred to as a bull market.

Investor confidence and financial optimism are at an all-time high.

On the surface, everything is running like a well-oiled machine.

Unemployment is low. The economy’s GDP is growing steadily. Stocks are rising.

And your marketing tactics are getting more traction.

But with all of this surface-based optimism comes serious potential side effects:

It now becomes difficult to predict potential shifts and trends or when tactics might change.

Facebook’s organic reach was booming just a few years ago. Until, of course, it didn’t.

Image Source

Now? Good luck. We’ve crapped out.

There is actually a pretty easy explanation for it. Simple supply vs. demand.

User growth is slowing while the number of content pieces has exploded exponentially. Too much supply, not enough demand.

Guess what’s going to repeat now on Instagram?

Right now it’s the place to be for your content. Just give it a minute.

And don’t get swept up by the bull market.

Find your own Big Short

Have you ever seen The Big Short?

If not, I highly recommend it. It’s a great movie.

Not just because it’s an incredible, intense account of the 2005 housing crisis.

Mainly because it features Steve Carell:

via GIPHY

Inspirational as always, Prison Mike.

In all seriousness, it’s a great movie that heavily relates to digital marketing.

The main concept of the movie was based on the true story of Michael Burry, a hedge fund manager who shorted the housing crisis of 2005.

He believed there was a housing bubble, leading him to short sell and bet against the banks who thought he was a chump, taking his deals like candy.

The idea of short selling is motivated by the belief that a security’s price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price point for maximum profit.

And people thought Michael (Burry, not Prison) was insane.

Who in their right mind bets against the housing market when prices are nearly doubling year after year?

But Burry noticed a few troubling trends. He saw that subprime home loans were in danger of defaulting. And many adjustable rate mortgages with balloon payments were all adjusting around the same time.

He decided to throw more than one billion dollars into credit default swaps.

It’s safe to say that the banks weren’t too happy in the end.

Here’s the moral of the story:

Very few people believed him. But Burry discovered the mystical unicorn that most marketers strive to find.

The main point as it relates to marketing campaigns is this:

You need to find your own big short.

Your own diamond in the rough that you can tap into before anyone else.

Your own display ad invention that generates a 78% CTR.

Finding the tactic that brings your conversions up by 10x.

Sounds wonderful. But you know it’s not easy. Because it hasn’t been blogged about or shared at conferences just yet.

But examples of it do already exist in the marketing world today.

For example, Brian Dean of Backlinko raised the link-building bar with his skyscraper technique.

He took a spin on a classic link-building tactic that increased his search traffic by 110% in just two weeks.

Image Source

On top of a massive increase in traffic, he generated countless backlinks from thousands of different referring domains:

referring domains from backlinko blog postImage Source

He effectively took his link-building strategy to the next level by going against the grain.

He didn’t sit back and ride the wave of guest blogging or other outdated, declining strategies.

He found his own big short.

While small marketing tactics like A/B testing and creating new ads or creative for your campaigns is a step in the right direction, it isn’t the end-all-be-all. Small bets don’t move the needle.

They merely help you figure out if you’re on the right track (or not). And help to show you when it’s time to go all-in.

Conclusion

Managing marketing campaigns is a stressful task.

Big, splashy, high-budget campaigns have high expectations. Bosses and clients expect big, lofty performance to go with it.

Money can get away from you fast if you aren’t careful.

Even worse, you can get so caught up in data that you miss the right trends.

Trends that tell you which aspects of your campaign are winning and which are losing.

Instead of flying blind or crossing your fingers, think like a financial currency trader.

Analyze the data with a currency arbitrage mindset. Keep up with market movement by taking an active management role in your campaigns. Be cautious in a bull market when everyone’s saying the same things.

And don’t be afraid to bet big when the time comes.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/financial-currency-trader/

Three Tips to Create Sales Personalization at Scale

As a sales development representative, I am rejected on daily basis. Some leads are kinder than others and let me down easy. Others are short and direct in their response. Now, I get it, we have all experienced the unannounced sales call, interrupting our daily routing to sell us products we neither want nor need, thus making it easier to empathize with the frustration asserted by the voice on the other side of the phone line.

But when it comes to turning a few of those “no’s” into a “tell me more,” there are a few tricks that I have learned that other sales representatives can adopt to turn their luck around.

In this blog, I’ll give you three tips to create sales personalization at scale to help you move from rejected to connected.

Make the Sale Personal

As sales representatives in today’s day and age, we are fortunate enough to have a wealth of information at our disposal thanks to the internet. From individual prospect information to company/industry updates, there is almost no limit to the amount of personalization ammunition we can use at our disposal. But when it comes to delivering this level of individualized communication scale, via either telephone or email, we must be strategic.

Most organizations use sales enablement tools to equip their sales team to deliver mass and quick communication. But, before pressing send on those pre-constructed, vanilla emails, use this opportunity to add a little spice to the mix. Quickly adding a dash of personalization to your email can go a long way to increase their response rate. Looking for ways to personalize? Think industry specific news, noting their expressed interest in your product, or even a commonality about their professional career make-up.

By adding even a tiny bit of personalization to a specific campaign can drastically increase your outreach efforts and show that you have actually taken the time to learn about your prospect, and have earned the time to speak with them. Don’t jeopardize hurting your brand by sending mass, insincere, sales campaigns that not only waste your time but annoy your prospects, pushing them farther away.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key when you convince a prospect to buy or even consider buying your product. When it comes to selling the pleasure of your product, versus selling to pain, John Barrows clearly defines our problem as “the main reason most of us are stuck in the world of selling pain is because, unfortunately, most of us get stuck selling to people below the ‘power line,’ or non-decision-makers.” Selling to pain can have its benefits, by focusing on the time-consuming, menial processes that are eliminated by the implementation of the product. Showing empathy for daily frustrations and offering tangible solutions creates a level of desire for the product.

Yet, when it comes to selling to those who are outside of your product’s daily sphere of interaction, that is where you sell the hopes and dreams of grander marketing opportunities. Especially when you are looking to convince a company to invest a significate amount of capital in your product, showing them tangible and meaningful impact your product can have on their growth and long-term success, outside of feature/functionality, is going to be the ultimate decision maker.

Strike When the Iron is Hot

Staying top of mind is key for sales representatives to be successful in their space. With so many companies competing for an individual’s attention at any given moment, waiting too long to connect with an interested individual could mean losing their attention altogether. Now, I am not so much referencing the leads that are hot, reaching out to you to buy your product. That is a given fast-mover. I am more so suggesting the leads that are engaging with your brand, yet need a little nurturing, and a little push, to get them qualified to be a sales-ready lead. By being able to understand how a prospect is engaging with your brand in real time, you can leverage their attention to push that conversation and meet them half-way through their solution search. A timely interaction could just make the difference between, now and never.

When it comes to sales, there is no magic formula or secret sauce that makes a prospect reply to your outreach. Even a poetic and personalized email cadence can still land in the deleted folder, and a prospect who regularly visits your website could declare themselves uninterested in a purchasing conversation. Certain tricks work for some representatives, while others are left with negative returns. That is why the real secret to sales is that if at first, you don’t succeed, try again—but maybe this time with a different subject line.

With these three tips, you’ll move from rejected to connected in no time. Tell me about your tips and tricks to stay top of mind as a sales development representative. I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

The post Three Tips to Create Sales Personalization at Scale appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/three-tips-create-sales-personalization-scale.html

7 Questions to Ask Before Working With a Micro-Influencer

The way we ask for recommendations has evolved.

Whereas once upon a time we may have asked a neighbor to recommend a product or service, 47% of millennials now turn to social media for recommendations and reviews before deciding on a purchase.

But these consumers aren’t always going to the social media accounts of brands. Much of the time, they’re visiting the profiles of a special breed of social media personalities: influencers.

Consider this: Close to 40% of Twitter users alone have made a purchase as a result of influencer marketing — and that’s excluding the influence, if you will, of personalities on other channels, like Instagram.

And when we think of influencers, for many of us, A-list personalities and celebrities come to mind. Take Kylie Jenner, for example, who helped catapult the brand Fashion Nova into a favorite online retail brand.

 

#ad Obsessed with my new @fashionnova jeans 🍑Get them at FashionNova.com 😍

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Dec 27, 2016 at 6:57am PST

Sure, celebrities might significantly help boost your sales and achieve your marketing goals. But let’s face it: most of us can’t afford their price tags. After all, it’s reported that Kylie Jenner gets $400,000 for a single promotional Instagram post.

The good news is that marketers and startup business owners now have another option that will allow them to tap into the power of influencer marketing without putting their ROI in jeopardy.

This option comes in the form of a unique group of social media users collectively known as micro-influencers.

Why Use Micro-Influencers?

At first, opting to use micro-influencers for your marketing campaign may sound counterintuitive. Would it be more beneficial to tap an influencer with millions of followers, as opposed to getting a micro-influencer with just a few thousand followers?

Not necessarily.

That’s because when it comes to influencer marketing, the level of engagement is more crucial. It is one of the key metrics that will help you gauge the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign.

In a study done by Markerly, a converse relationship was discovered between the number of followers an influencer has, and the level of engagement each post gets. In other words, as the number of followers increases, the engagement rate decreases.

Macintosh HD:Users:adeleyuboco:Downloads:Screen-Shot-2016-04-11-at-3.44.27-PM.png
Macintosh HD:Users:adeleyuboco:Downloads:Screen-Shot-2016-04-11-at-3.44.59-PM.png
Source: Markerly

In its own study, Expercity found that micro-influencers not only generate 22.2X more conversion than the average social media user, but that 74% of them are rather direct in encouraging their followers to buy or try a product or service they’re endorsing. That communicates credibility and transparency, which can help to build a loyal following.

Cost is another reason why many brands are now turning to micro-influencers. According to a study done by Bloglovin’, 97% of micro-influencers charge $500 and below for a sponsored post on Instagram.

Macintosh HD:Users:adeleyuboco:Downloads:1*SoYJLiz3vcTbEIGL8GTnLg.png

Source: Influence

Additionally, 87% micro-influencers charge $500 and below for a sponsored blog post.

Macintosh HD:Users:adeleyuboco:Downloads:1*Wmgc1Mj6lG-zPqEU_2Gb3w.png
Source: Influence

Finding the Right Micro-Influencer for Your Business

With so many micro-influencers out there, it’s no surprise that 73% of marketers point to finding the right one as one of their biggest challenges.

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Source: Econsultancy

Of course, you can choose to hire an influencer marketing agency to help you find the right micro-influencers for your campaign. But if you want to be more hands-on in finding the right micro-influencer, here are seven questions you’ll need to answer very carefully.

1. What are your goals?

The first thing to consider when finding the right micro-influencer is to look at what you’re aiming to achieve. Do you want to generate more leads for your business? If so, look for micro-influencers that frequently host contests or giveaways on their social media accounts — especially if they involve encouraging their followers to sign up in exchange for free trials, products or access to an exclusive event.

2. Who are the micro-influencer’s followers?

When reviewing the followers of the micro-influencer you want to reach, look at to how well they align with your brand’s buyer personas. Some of the things to consider are:

  • Where are the majority of the micro-influencers’ followers based (geographically)?
  • Are they mostly male or female?
  • Which type of posts resonates with them the most?

3. Is the micro-influencer already a fan?

Working with a micro-influencer that’s already using your product or service has several benefits. For starters, he or she might already be posting about your company and products — so a partnership is more natural and appears more genuine to followers.

Also, micro-influencers who are fans of your products and brand are more likely negotiate lower fees. Some may even be willing to collaborate with you in exchange for some free products or services.

One way to find these micro-influencers is to perform a general search for blog posts mentioning your brand. Since Google ranks sites based on content quality, there’s a good chance that the first two or three results belong to a micro-influencer in your niche.

Another is by using a tool like Gatsby.ai (which has an integration with HubSpot) to your website. Gatsby helps you search through your customer database for micro-influencers that have bought your products, and help you quickly retrieve their information so that you can reach out to them.

4. How engaged is the micro-influencer’s audience?

As I mentioned earlier, a micro-influencer’s engagement rate is one of the key metrics that will help you determine the success (or lack of it) of your influencer marketing campaign.

Review the social media accounts of the micro-influencer to see how many likes, comments, and shares each post gets. Although likes are good, I often recommend that my clients focus more on the number of comments and shares a post receives. That’s because it requires more effort for a follower to leave a comment on or share a post than it is to click on the like button. Often, followers will only leave comments when they find the post compelling enough for them do so.

5. What kind of content does the micro-influencer produce?

Micro-influencers create their posts based on their own brand and image they want to convey to their followers and compare this against the image you want your audience to associate with your brand. There must be alignment between your perceived brand image the micro-influencer’s, in order to ensure that the posts he or she creates for you don’t look like a mismatch. Followers tend not to appreciate that — after all, they follow this micro-influencer for relevant content.

6. Are they working with your competitors?

If you’re seriously considering using influencer marketing, there’s a chance that your competitors are also doing the same. Take some time to review the posts of the micro-influencers you want to work with, and see if they’ve worked with any of your direct or indirect competitors.

If so, how did the audience respond to the post? Was there anything mentioned by the micro-influencer about your competitors’ products that you can leverage?

7. How many platforms do they use?

Although 80% of micro-influencers point to Instagram as their preferred platform for creating and publishing content, many of them are equally active on their own blogs and in other social media channels. Some even have access to traditional media like TV and magazines. The more platforms a micro-influencer can use to promote your content, the better for you.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/micro-influencer-questions

How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions

A unique selling point (USP) defines your company, highlights the advantages of doing business with you and sets you apart from the competition. It also gives your company focus, because you won’t try to be everything to everyone. To reap the best business benefits, you need to fulfill your own unique USP.

Today’s business landscape is oversaturated in nearly every industry. For example, if you sell web hosting services, you have a lot of competition, and there are only so many ways to differentiate yourself. The best thing to do is to survey your competition. What is the USP for each of those businesses? How can you stand out from the crowd, provide something unique? Your USP can be anything from the best customer service around to a specific specialty area.

In this blog, I’ll explain five ways to show off your USP to gain conversions and stand out from the crowd. 

1. Solve a Problem

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is to solve a problem for the consumer. For example, if you run a blog about jewelry, what is one issue that people who buy or own jewelry have? Perhaps it is figuring out what their jewelry is worth and you can offer an online estimate tool.

Figuring out a problem to solve is as easy as polling your current customers. Ask them what questions they have. You also can search on forums related to your topic to see what people are posting and asking questions about.

Take the meal kit delivery service, Blue Apron, for instance. Their USP is, “Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered To You.” They have provided all of the ingredients in the right proportions to take all of the guesswork and grocery store headaches out of cooking.

2. Collaboration

Even though you might think you should just stick to a single niche, sometimes the way to differentiate your business is to collaborate and provide one or two solutions even better than one company could offer alone. Being one of the first to offer A and B will be your USP. Your selling point is being a one-stop solution for both things.

You have a couple of options here. You can either bring both solutions to the consumer yourself, or you can collaborate with another company to offer a package deal. The key here is to bring two solutions or benefits to the table for consumers. If you can do it for a reduced price, so much the better.

One example of such a collaboration is the Honeywell and Lear Corporation. The two companies have come together to try to create some security solutions for autonomous vehicles. One concern consumers have about automated cars is the possibility of hacking into the computer system. The two companies are working together to overcome this concern and provide security to companies who build these cars.

3. Make Your Proposition Visual

Visual marketing is powerful. 37% of marketing professionals indicate that visual marketing was the most critical type of content for their business marketing. According to FastCompany, this is likely because site visitors share and remember more images and info on social media.

Another advantage to creating a visual element to your USP is that you show other businesses instead of just telling them. So, instead of just telling another company your USP, you would perhaps provide a detailed chart or image.

SpeedPro doesn’t just show off which products they provide for other businesses to grow through text, but they also make the entire process visual for the business owner. If a business was looking for an event graphic, they could see at a glance what types of items SpeedPro provides.

4. Find a Specialty

As a business, it is crucial that you find a niche area. This allows you to really hone in and specialize on that one unique area and develop a USP around it that will let you come up with unique taglines, marketing materials, and advertising that shows off your expertise in that area.

You can find your niche by thinking about what you do best. Next, look at your competitors who offer the same thing and figure out how you can specialize even more. What is still unique about you or what can you make unique?

Just because you have a specialty area doesn’t mean you can’t ever branch out, though. It’s okay to grow your business and offer more products and services, but always consider how they meet your USP and how the new additions can shape your business and allow it to fulfill its potential. Once everything is running smoothly with the first niche, you can add more.

Intermedia offers cloud IT management for businesses with a niche focus on cloud-based business IT services. They seem to have figured out that a problem for medium-sized businesses is managing their IT needs and have come up with a simple solution.

5. Staying Current

When it comes to showing off your USP, you need to stay on top of the newest trends and ideas in your industry. It doesn’t do you much good to hit a unique point only to discover that no one cares any longer. Or, your competitors may be copying what you do, making your unique selling point not so unique.

However, if you’re consistently studying the markets, new trends, interviewing customers and potential customers, and watching the competition, you will always be a step ahead. You’ll come up with new ideas faster than your competitors can copy your ideas, which is key to your success as a business owner.

Flowcrete offers some interesting flooring options, particularly for businesses. One way that they keep their site current is to provide a flooring blog. The blog is mostly a collection of short stories written for B2B decision makers. They show customer projects, share reviews and offer inspiration. It’s a pretty unique and interesting take on a blog.

Define Your B2B Business

Defining your USP is vital for both business growth and developing brand loyalty. Because you’ll have a narrow focus, you can concentrate on building your customer base within that niche. A clearly-defined USP is one that will stay with possible customers. When they need that specific need filled, they’ll think of you first, and you’ll watch the conversions roll in.

What is your brand’s USP? Has it changed throughout the development of your company? Tell me about it in the comments.

The post How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/show-off-usp-unique-selling-point-gain-conversions.html

3 Ways Working a Job You Hate Can Benefit Your Career

“We’ll miss you, Cliff.” said Andy, my manager. His face looked long when he was sad. We were both working for a company that just experienced a major product failure, and, unfortunately, it prompted a massive round of layoffs. Since I was just an intern, Andy left the decision to leave or stay up to me.

I decided to leave.

“I’ll miss you guys, too,” I replied. “Thanks again for the opportunity. Let me know what you end up doing after all this chaos dies down.” We both shook hands. “Will do,” he responded. “Keep in touch, Cliff.”

After I packed up my things and said goodbye to the remaining employees, I headed out the office and into the elevator.

As soon as the doors closed, a feeling of liberation washed over me. I let out a booming “Yes!”, followed by a triumphant fist pump. I was finally out of that place. I had dreaded going to work everyday. At the same time, though, I felt a little regretful.

I realized I had essentially just wasted two months of precious internship experience. The company had fired their entire marketing team a week before I started, so I was the only marketer in the office. There was no one to learn from, and I barely had anything to do. Half my time was dedicated to playing ping pong and watching office drama escalate on Slack. Amusing for sure, but not really beneficial for my skillset.

My colleagues jokingly called me “CMO Intern”, but I didn’t think it was funny. If I was the only marketer at the company, who was going to mentor me? And how was I going to develop my skills? It was one of the most frustrating few months of my life.

But even after the pang of regret I felt walking out, I would do it all over again. I’m glad I accepted that internship. I didn’t gain the valuable marketing experience I was expecting, but I did walk away with some surprising career lessons. And without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now, working a job I love

If you currently have a job you’re not too fond of, don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all been there. It hurts, but your suffering will help you figure out what you actually want from your career.

A lot of times, working a job you hate can actually lead you to the one you love. Read on to find out how.

3 Ways Having a Job You Hate Can Benefit Your Career

1) You’ll figure out what you like to do — and what you don’t like to do.

There are a lot of variables that influence your satisfaction at work. And sometimes, you won’t discover what you actually like doing until you figure out what you really don’t like doing.

If you can identify your favorite and least favorite aspects about your current job, you’ll know exactly what to look for in your next job. Ask yourself the following questions to learn more about your personal work preferences:

Do you like your role/department? If you just jumped into a new role or department and you realize you aren’t really enjoying it, then it might be worth exploring different career path entirely. You should also reflect on your favorite aspects about your previous and current jobs, and pursue opportunities that let you do those things.

Is the company too big or too small? -Do you find solace in the financial stability and stockpile of benefits an enterprise company provides? Or do you prefer the passion and hustle it takes to build a startup? Or maybe you favor a blend of the two, at a medium-sized company? If you feel like your current company doesn’t have enough resources to support your growth, then maybe a bigger company is better for you. If your company isn’t challenging you enough, then you could pursue opportunities at a smaller company, where you’ll get more responsibility.

Are you genuinely interested in your company’s industry? When you write blog posts about your company’s industry all day, it’s a lot more enjoyable if you actually like learning about the subject matter (trust me on this one). Work becomes a chore when these topics don’t pique your interest. Whether you work in marketing, sales, product, engineering, or support, if you’re not excited about your company’s industry, it’s tough to stay engaged and satisfied at work. Try pursuing a job in an industry that you’re passionate about, even if it means taking a lesser role or making a lateral move.

Do you feel supported by the company’s culture? Does work run your life? Is the office cliquey? Do people appreciate your work, or does your manager take all of the credit? If you don’t like these things (most people don’t), then you’re better off at a company that treats their employees well. Use Glassdoor to read a company’s employee reviews and evaluate their culture.

2) You’ll learn to appreciate your worth.

When you work for a sub-optimal company, team, or manager, you’ll notice they either don’t give you fulfilling work or don’t know how to leverage your skill set to its full potential. This makes you feel misunderstood or undervalued, and work becomes incredibly frustrating.

But their neglect also teaches you how to gauge your professional value. It helps you recognize your needs and capabilities. By honing your self-awareness, you can determine whether upcoming job opportunities are worth it or not and trade up for the best fit job in the future.

3) You’ll learn how to persevere through tough times — and appreciate the good times even more.

A lot of times, getting better at your passion requires you to do the challenging things instead of the enjoyable things, like polishing a blog post in lieu of a post-work gathering.

In your career, you’ll encounter times where you absolutely hate your job. But if you can persevere and produce results in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’ll enhance your work ethic and truly crush it when your morale is much higher in an ideal situation.

A couple of years ago, I camped out in Florida’s Everglades for nine days, where I paddled over 100 miles through alligator infested waters and only ate dehydrated food.

When my trip ended, I was so grateful to be back in civilization (and safe from alligators). I almost forgot what living in a city was like. But the thing I looked forward to the most was eating a real meal. My friends and I all agreed we would stop at the first restaurant we saw, so when we spotted a Subway, we immediately halted. I ordered a chicken bacon ranch sub, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I ate another one later that day too.

Losing access to everyday things like normal food, electricity, and community has made me incredibly grateful for them.And I try not to take them for granted anymore, which makes me happier in life. This phenomenon can also happen when your current job situation is less than ideal. You’ll be grateful for the privileges you might not have anymore, and when you exchange that dreaded job for your dream one, you definitely won’t take its perks for granted, enhancing your gratitude, happiness, and performance at work.

A job you hate doesn’t have to be a waste of time.

It’s inevitable, at some point in our lives, we’ll all have a job that we hate. But if you can view this experience as a life lesson and discover what you actually want out of your career, then there’s a good chance the job you hate will eventually lead you to the one you love.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/3-ways-having-a-job-you-hate-can-benefit-your-career