How to Generate Leads with Video

By James McKinven, Inbound Marketing Specialist

In 2018, video is too big to ignore. Whether your business is big or small, B2B or B2C, tech or retail, your customers and prospects will be expecting you to be producing some sort of video content.

The good news is that video is now incredibly accessible and easy to create, with a vast array of tools at your disposal to start filming and editing some really nice videos.

What do your customers want to see?

It sounds simple but you would be surprised at the number of people who make videos that aren’t relevant or interesting to their audience. You should take note of your customer pain points and create videos to address them.

Before kicking off any video project, think about the nature of how video is consumed, and how it has been for years. People watch it on their TVs, laptops and phones in their spare time, primarily to entertain themselves. They aren’t going to watch your videos if they don’t find them entertaining.

Build a plan

You’ll need to write everything down in a plan or you’ll get caught out. One of the more frustrating things for your audience will be seeing you make one really good video, but then see nothing else for two months because you forgot to plan out how long it would take you to make all the videos.

Being consistent and uploading content as regularly as you can has excellent exposure benefits, but it can have the opposite effect if you don’t. Build your video plan out in a Google Sheets or Excel (if you want to be fancy you could use Notion, Airtable or Dropbox Paper – we use Notion for ours).

What to put in your plan? Go with the topic, synopsis, people required, filming date & publishing date as a minimum. Consider other logistical things you might need such as booking a room or hiring the gear.

Aim to educate and inform

Have a think about the sort of videos you watch personally. It will usually fit into one of three categories: entertainment, education or information. So try and fit your content into one of these categories. If people think that you’re trying to sell to them, they’ll switch off and find someone else who makes videos that do fit into one of those buckets.

Take a step back and think about how you can educate and inform your audience. Can you bring them news about a tool or industry that no-one else is providing? Maybe a weekly round-up video covering the latest industry news, or a series of educational videos or tutorials about a tool that you use often in your industry. It’s vital to find a niche that you can make your own and encourage people to keep coming back for more.

Provide value

Following closely from educating and informing, you should look to provide as much value as possible with your videos. Again, there are so many brands producing videos in 2018 that you have to ensure you’re staying ahead of the game as your consumers have so much to choose from. If you’re providing genuine value to your prospects then they are likely to keep coming back.

Invest in gear

This is not so important but can help you stand out among the rest. If your content is highly-produced and well-polished, your audience will know that you are serious about making video. You could start with your phone camera, sure, that would be a great start, but with just a £1000 investment in a camera, some lighting and audio gear your production will start to look a lot more professional. Not looking to purchase straight away? Why not hire some gear from your local camera shop or use Cameraworks, they’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Tell a story

This was one of the key themes at Inbound (the Annual HubSpot Conference) in 2017, and it still rings true. Telling stories captivates audiences, and if you can captivate your audience with your brand then your leads are going to skyrocket. A recent example of this is Wistia’s One, Ten, One-Hundred series, a four-part documentary about the process of hiring a production agency to make $1,000, $10,000 and $100,000 adverts and the story behind each.

#ad

Add lead gen functionality with Wistia

So you’ve built your plan, bought the gear and started producing incredibly captivating, engaging and informative videos, but how do you start capturing leads with them? Well, luckily our pals at Wistia have you covered. We’ve been a big fan of Wistia for a while as their main goal is to help other businesses succeed with video, so they’ve built lead gen functions straight into their video players.

I’ve often seen brands publish videos on YouTube but not enjoy the traffic to their website that they’d hoped for, but with Wistia you can natively post your videos to your website, capturing leads straight from the video player itself. It’s got other handy features like adding CTAs throughout and adding chapters in your video so you can break down longer bits of content.

Share everywhere!

I think this is quite obvious, but you’re not going to generate any leads if you don’t shout about your amazing content! Post it to as many different platforms as you can and cut it into bitesize chunks to post to Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook. Get all of your staff members to share that video content to ensure everyone is on board with the cool stuff you are producing.

So that’s it, that’s how you start to generate leads using video content. We hope this helps you start on your video content journey and if you’ve got any questions, make sure you send them our way. 

 

If you want more info on how to get leads rolling in using video content, check out firstbaseinbound.com 

8 Best Channels for New Audience Acquisition in B2B

By Julian Kramer, Search Marketing Manager

Every B2B marketer will have been faced with the question of which marketing channel to use to reach their ideal buyer audience. The trouble is that there is a multitude of channels to choose from, each with its own advantages and pitfalls. Being able to filter which channels to use for maximum audience impact is therefore an essential skill for marketers. So which criteria should be applied for channel selection?

Don’t worry, we at FBU Towers are here to help educate and enlighten you! We’ve weighted up the pros and cons for the eight most popular channels for B2B acquisition to aide your decision-making. Prepare yourself your favourite hot drink and enjoy!

1. Webinars

Webinars are an excellent way of engaging with your target audience. The basic concept of a webinar is to provide valuable advice or content in a live session which is streamed over the Internet. Webinars typically have a well-planned structure to help the viewer better understand a topic and lead them towards some form of action.

Advantages:

You are in full control of your content and therefore can go into greater detail about your product than you could on a mere landing page. You can engage your audience through interactive polls and by giving a live demo of your product.

Disadvantages:

Webinars usually require a lot of preparation. You might not have the technical or marketing nous to organise a well-planned webinar with all the automated aspects of marketing build-up and follow-up that should go with it. The good news is that specialised agencies can help you to organise and run a successful webinar from scratch.

2. Content Syndication

The concept behind content syndication is that you give valuable content to a specialised third party provider who then obtains leads using the content as a hook, usually through email marketing. Syndication therefore helps increase the exposure your content receives, even if you haven’t already developed a subscriber audience. Do make sure to check the provider’s GDPR compliance credentials before signing on the dotted line.

Advantages:

The content syndication provider will guarantee a specific number of leads for your budget. Cost per lead will be quoted based on your targeting criteria – it will be higher for C-Suite audiences, and it can also vary significantly between different countries.

You can also be very specific about the job titles that should be targeted as part of the campaign.

Disadvantages:

You do not have control over the lead generation process as such, and are therefore dependent on the provider to be able to draw the audience you desire. You don’t have the same visibility to the data as you would in your own campaigns and so might be missing opportunities for enhancement.

3. Google Ads – Search

Google search advertising is based on a set of keywords which you specify in your account which are then matched with the search terms people are typing in on Google. To get the most out of Google ads you should put sufficient time in upfront for keyword analysis to make sure you know which commonly-searched terms best relate to your content.

Advantages:

You can test different keyword variations to see which searches are giving your product or service the best traction. You have complete control over the entire lead generation process, from testing different keywords and ad variations to trying out different landing page variations.

Disadvantages:

It is hard to predict what cost per lead you are going to get until you are actually running your campaign, especially if you have never done so before. Without proper planning and budgeting, you risk exposing yourself to higher costs than you would have anticipated.

Also, if you sell a very niche product it can be hard to get enough search volume in which case you need to start thinking a bit more laterally and use more generic keywords. However, it is best to use keywords which are as closely matched to your product as possible. Otherwise, you will set wrong expectations and end up paying over the odds, as Google penalises advertises for what it deems irrelevant advertising by charging a higher cost per click.

4. Google Ads – Display

You can use text or banner ads which Google either places algorithmically on what it deems relevant websites (tread carefully with this: several high-profile brands have found their ads placed on sites displaying explicit or extremist material without their knowledge!) or else you can pick your placements individually.

Advantages:

This will be your go-to channel if you have little or no brand recognition in a market. Google display advertising offers wide reach on a variety of digital properties including websites and apps. It allows you to combine a number of targeting options including keywords, topics and in-market audiences.

You can also exclude underperforming placements and whole categories of websites, for example sites containing content that’s deemed inappropriate such as sexually suggestive, tragedy and conflict, profanity and rough language etc. This is an important aspect in protecting your brand’s reputation.

Disadvantages:

This is not the most refined approach to targeting your best audience and so you may find yourself going too broad and subsequently receiving little engagement. For example, in Google display advertising you have no way of specifically targeting senior IT decision-makers and are therefore reliant on your keywords and topics hitting the right job roles.

5. LinkedIn – Sponsored Content

LinkedIn remains the most popular professional-oriented social network. With this form of advertising you sponsor a specific post on LinkedIn so that it goes out to as many people in your targeted audience as possible.

Advantages:

LinkedIn gives a number of targeting options which are specifically tailored to B2B marketing. For example, you can target by job title, company size, seniority or education level, giving you a greater level of confidence that your content and messages are reaching your prospective buyers.

Disadvantages:

LinkedIn is one of the more expensive B2B marketing channels, with cost-per-click rates (CPCs) going up year after year. This should be factored into your budgeting from the beginning, or else you may find you receive a nasty shock when it comes to campaign evaluation. Furthermore, compared to Google you may find that the LinkedIn ad set up can be a little fiddly, though LinkedIn has made strides recently to improve this.

6. LinkedIn – Sponsored InMail

In a nutshell, InMail is a customised message which is delivered straight to the LinkedIn message inbox of your target audience. You do not need to have a prior connection with this person, allowing you to reach those out of your current professional network.

Advantages:

You have decidedly more space for your message than you would have in a Google ad or a LinkedIn sponsored post (up to 200 characters in the subject line and up to 2,000 characters in the body). This means you have a greater opportunity to explain why you are contacting them and why your product, service or event is relevant to them. You have all the usual LinkedIn B2B targeting options at your disposal (job title, company size etc.) and so can ensure that your emails are carefully tailored for your desired audience.

Disadvantages:

As with LinkedIn’s sponsored content service, InMail sits on the pricier side of the B2B marketing channels. Essentially, you have to pay a premium for more granular targeting options.

7. Twitter – Website Cards

On Twitter you typically target people based on whom they are following – e.g. if you are selling products or services in data security then you could target followers of key data security influencers, security media or followers of your competitors.

Advantages:

Twitter operates with fairly low CPCs compared to the other marketing channels. Twitter is one of the biggest social networks worldwide with more than 336 million monthly active users worldwide.

Disadvantages:

Twitter does not provide the detailed targeting options that LinkedIn offers. The social networking site typically captures less contextual information about its users, and therefore is limited in terms of accuracy or targeting.

8. Banner advertising – one of the major trade journals in your vertical

Most industries tend to have one or more publications that report specifically on the sector, bringing regular visits and subscriptions from interested professionals. Advertising on these sites is a good way of raising awareness of your product or service with the right audience. You buy an advertising slot directly through the publication’s sales team and most bigger publications have readily available rate cards.

Advantages:

You can be sure to reach people in the vertical you are aiming for, therefore limiting the element of ‘waste’ in your campaigns. You will get exposure for a guaranteed cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM).

Disadvantages:

With banner advertising you have no way of targeting by seniority, meaning you cannot be sure whether the buyers and decision-makers are actually consuming your content. Some publications have minimum spend requirements which can be a put-off to some advertisers. Moreover, you can only really know what cost per lead you are going to get once you actually start to advertise, and rates can differ significantly from advertiser to advertiser. This makes accurate budgeting quite tricky.

Finding the right channels for your marketing

In summary, your choice of B2B marketing channel depends on a number of factors including your marketing budget and expertise, your cost per lead targets and your target audience.

Here is a quick reminder of the pros and cons of each of the channels:

  • Webinars: excellent for engaging your audience but require advanced MarTech skills
  • Content syndication: gives you guaranteed number of leads for your budget, however control of the full marketing funnel is out of your hands
  • Google Ads – Search: leaves you in full control of your marketing funnel but no guaranteed results
  • Google Ads – Display: gives you wide reach, but limited targeting options
  • LinkedIn – Sponsored Content: great B2B targeting options but comparatively high CPCs
  • LinkedIn – Sponsored InMail: gives you ample space for customised messaging but again not the cheapest option
  • Twitter – Website Cards: no specific B2B targeting options but low CPCs
  • Banner advertising in trade journals: will get you in front of the right vertical but not as targeted as LinkedIn; can have high minimum spend.

 

Five killer steps to improving your lead gen CRO

By Chris Smith, Campaign Manager

The ongoing High Street crisis, which saw a record 5,855 shops close down in 2017 alone, is placing more importance than ever before on improving the traffic to your website. People are now able to get the goods and services they once had to trek into town for from the comfort of their home, and the competition online is heating up.

With that in mind, I find it astonishing that so many businesses still don’t have any form of strategy to capitalise on the potential traffic. You could have millions of people visiting your site, but still fail to reap any value from it. Simply put, if your website isn’t optimised to convert your traffic, your inbound marketing efforts are wasted.

This is where conversion rate optimisation (CRO) comes into play. Improving your CRO is vitally important to improving your lead generation, enhancing user experience, creating more leads and increasing revenue. Sounds great, right? But it’s not quite as easy as it sounds, and eight in ten businesses (78%) are still dissatisfied with their CRO performance.

Fear not, here are five easy CRO steps that will quickly help boost your lead conversions and improve your ROI. Next stop? World domination…

1. Build better landing pages

Landing pages are the holy grail of conversions. They are pages specifically built to capture marketing information by hosting content or offers. It goes without saying, then, that your first step to improving your CRO is improving your landing page performance.

A landing page that looks clunky and poorly designed is a major turn off, your prospects will simply click away in seconds. Remember, you want them to ‘want’ to give you their valuable data, so you need to put the effort in to get the conversion over the line.

After nice design, focus on ease of use. Nobody wants to spend more than a few seconds filling out a form. Make it simple and easy, but keep the essentials like name, email address and phone number (if required). Additionally, make sure the form is easy to spot. Too many landing pages have the form hidden at the bottom – you can’t expect your time-pressed prospects to hunt about for the form so don’t bury it.

Lastly, the content on your landing page needs to be short, concise and informative. If you want a conversion, tell them exactly why they should fill out the form. There are tools out there like Instapage, Unbounce and Leadpages that make it easy for you to create landing pages that convert well.

2. Convert in real-time

This is my favourite technique of them all. Is there a better way to boost your CRO than by converting in real-time? I don’t think so. And best of all, there are loads of tools readily available to help you do so, from HubSpot to Intercom to Drift.

My favourite is Drift, which allows you to have live chats with your web traffic via your mobile device – aptly named ‘conversational marketing’. You can solve customers’ pain points and specific challenges while they’re on your website and provide them with the content they need via live chat.

If you still aren’t convinced, live chat platforms can help you increase conversions by 4-8x. While ‘conversational marketing’ also enables you to ditch the need for forms, as you can capture conversions on the chat platform rather than ask prospects to give up their information.

3. Mobile first

Mobile traffic now counts for the vast chunk of traffic on your website, so failing to optimise for mobile is a major fail. You will lose visitors and see increased bounce rates (the number of visitors who immediately click off your page). Mobile users are expected to go beyond the five billion mark by 2019, and two-thirds of users (67%) are more likely to convert from a mobile-friendly site, so you should be taking this very seriously. If anything, today’s sites should be more mobile-friendly than desktop!

For a smooth mobile experience, make sure your pages are responsive, tailor your content offerings for mobile and make sure your pages load quickly.

4. Nail your CTAs

Call-to-actions (CTAs) are the action-orientated copy designed to make people proactively do what you want them to do, i.e. click a button to download a guide. If you get them wrong, it will put your visitors off.

Naturally, active words work best – ‘download now,’ ‘get your free guide,’ or ‘find out more,’ for example. You should also create a sense of urgency for particularly compelling offers, such as a one-off product deal or an upcoming webinar. Like your landing page forms, your CTAs should be highly visible (next to the form if on a landing page).

5. Bring them back with remarketing

The goal of remarketing is to bring back the 98% of website visitors that don’t convert the first time. It’s an essential lead generation technique to help grow your business.

Remarketing helps you save money, get more leads and conversions, see higher audience engagement and maximise your ROI. It’s all about re-engaging with those who have previously visited your website – as an added bonus, remarketing ads are also pretty cheap!

Go drive conversions

While the High Street may be fading in importance, online commerce is going nowhere, and you need to ensure your business is in the best position possible to capitalise.

These five steps to improving your CRO will help drive conversions and increase your lead gen ROI. The more conversions you make, the more sales you can make. In general, the websites with the best CRO rates are quick to load, easy on the eye, simple to navigate and optimised for search engines.

For more information on what CRO is and how important it can be, check out HubSpot’s blog here. Or contact us to see how we can help!

 

This article was originally posted on firstbaseinbound.com

GDPR advice

Data D-Day is coming: Here’s our GDPR advice.

I want to start by saying I am not a legal expert on the GDPR. However, I have certainly learnt a few valuable lessons on my GDPR learning curve. In this blog, I want to try and capture:

  • What impact will the GDPR have on marketing?
  • Why is it an opportunity?
  • My tips for compliance.

So how does the GDPR, which comes into force on 25th May 2018, impact us? Well, any business that collects, stores or processes the data of EU citizens will soon be held accountable under the new data laws in a bid to give EU citizens greater power over how their data is stored and used.

The regulations will give people more control of their data, maintain ‘consent’ standards across all EU countries (which essentially means offering consumers a choice and giving them the control) and make businesses far more accountable about how they use personal data. And non-compliance comes at a significant cost, both financially (a maximum of 4% of annual turnover or £20m) and in regards to the inevitable damage to corporate reputation.

Ultimately, too many businesses have been misusing customer data. The GDPR, and the knock-on effect it will have on marketing communications, will help give customers their digital privacy back. The primary outcome will be the fundamental change in the way businesses treat their customer’s personal information and put the customer in the driving seat. Power to the people!

Why it should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat.

The GDPR, broadly speaking, should be seen as the perfect opportunity for all businesses to upgrade their data security, accountability, transparency and customer engagement.

The new regulation presents a refreshingly new approach to data compliance. Customers should benefit significantly as organisations adapt to better focus on their needs. And those businesses that embrace the regulations and champion privacy and value will be able to establish stronger relationships with consumers on more common ground. The result? Customers will be able to put more trust in the businesses they love, safe in the knowledge that the personal data they are sharing with them is secure and the businesses will put maximum effort into actually providing valuable, authentic content.

If you don’t know where to start, here are my tips for compliance:

Appoint someone responsible for the data: Appoint a Data Protection Officer (if an issue arises, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will look for every business to have someone who is accountable).

Start auditing your database immediately: Remove anyone who you can’t be 100% sure has opted-in to hear from you. For best practice, any new subscribers should receive an automated email to confirm they want to join the mailing list – known as a double opt-in (if you want to know how to do this in HubSpot, here is the link). An expected 75% of marketing data is expected to become obsolete when the regulation becomes law.

According to the DMA UK, a good data audit should answer the following questions (this should be written down and kept on file in case it’s ever needed):

  • What data do you hold and why?
  • How do you collect the data?
  • How and where is the data stored?
  • What do you do with the data?
  • Who owns and controls the personal data?
  • What are your steps for retention and deletion?
  • Who is responsible for the data?
  • Define what consent/legitimate interest is (it is different for every brand).

Review your current data collection set up: Stop buying data lists. Delete the majority of purchased contacts (determined by audit) and analyse how you are getting new marketing contacts. Wetherspoons, the UK pub chain, actually took the unprecedented step of deleting their entire email marketing database (over 650,000 contacts). While that might seem extreme, the key (and the main opportunity) is you will then have a guaranteed engaged and interested audience. Basically, you need to be sure that every name and email address in your database has given permission to market to them. Ignoring it or failing to audit is asking for trouble.

Create content tailored to potential customers: Focus on a content marketing strategy by creating assets that prospects can access and download in exchange for them sharing their contact information. You need to show the value you are providing your customers with in exchange for their information. Additionally, spend time improving your SEO rankings with a focused blog/inbound strategy.

Add a privacy policy on your website: Every business must link to a privacy policy page for compliance. You can start with this template, however, ‘you will, of course, need to adapt the privacy policy to suit your website and business’.

Think about social selling: Educate your sales team about social selling techniques. They won’t be able to cold email prospects as they used to anymore, but they can connect with them on social channels and share relevant content. If cold emails are the lifeblood of your business, follow this guidance:

  • You should have a strong reason to contact a prospect. Your cold email should be logically connected with their business statute.
  • Invest a lot of time in a more precise targeting of your campaigns; make sure both sides are likely to benefit from that potential business relationship.
  • Customise and personalise your email and send it only to people at carefully chosen companies matching your own business.
  • Any personal data for your contact lists should be obtained in a legal and transparent way.
  • You should be able to explain how and why you decided to process personal data.
  • Give your cold email recipients a clear way to opt out from further correspondence.
  • Do not follow up without consent. Additionally, you don’t own the personal data you process so don’t share it with other people and companies.

There are my tips! The GDPR is going to be a revolutionary change for marketers, but the most important thing the ICO wants to see is businesses making a conscious effort to clean up their data and act. The businesses they want to go after are the ones who are misusing the data they have and making no effort to sort it out.

If you take one thing from this blog, let it be this: If you don’t have opt-in permission from your contacts, don’t send them marketing emails. If you do, you are breaking the law.

If you want to find out more about what the GDPR means for your marketing activities, and how you can adopt best-practice techniques, get in touch!

MAKE YOUR SEO SIZZLE IN 2018

Staying on top of Google algorithm changes can seem a laborious task, even for the most seasoned of marketing professionals. So let me summarise for you what has happened in 2017 and what the SEO future has in store for content marketers.

Make your content mobile friendly

2017 started with Google introducing a mobile intrusive interstitials penalty. Showing a pop-up on mobile covering the main content of the main page will hit your rankings. If you do not fall foul of this rule, though, pop-ups on a landing page can be a smart part of your inbound strategy. After all, inbound marketers love to generate leads for their sales teams!

Google rolled out its Mobilegeddon algorithm update in the spring of 2015. Since then it has been using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. So in 2018 more than ever, you should put in place a responsive website which renders well on mobile devices.

Serve growing demand for voice-based search queries

At least one out of five queries on Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches now. Queries are becoming more and more conversational and longer tail. This means that you should focus less on a handful of lead keywords and more on relevant topics. Then invest in creating high-quality content on these topics in a conversational style. This will also take care of any relevant longer tail searches.

Offer a secure browsing experience

October 2017 saw the launch of version 62 of Google’s browser Chrome. This marks HTTP sites with password or credit card fields as “not secure” in the address bar. As a result, companies with an HTTPS site carry a significant SEO advantage over those with HTTP sites.

Get the basics right

In this fast-moving world, you will still get the best results investing in “classical” SEO. Here is a roundup of the most important ones:

  1. Focus on quality rather than quantity of inbound links. Invest in high-quality content which will make people want to link to it. Bad inbound links should also be high on your SEO to-do list. You should at least disavow them and get them removed completely, if possible.
  2. Meta descriptions have no bearing on search ranking but do affect click-through rates. Make sure you make them descriptive and inviting to the user.
  3. The H1 is no longer as important as it used to be for SEO. Search engine algorithms recognise these days the primary purpose of an H1 tag, that being to reference font styling and size. It is far more important to place your most important concepts and message at the top of your content.
  4. Images represent a huge SEO opportunity. Give them an alt text and relevant file name to ensure Google know what the image is about.

All of these factors combined will give your SEO scorecard a massive boost and should set you up for success in 2018.

LEAD YOUR PAID MEDIA PLANNING WITH COST PER LEAD

Here’s the story of the ultimate chicken and egg in the world of paid media lead generation: how do you forecast your cost per lead (CPL) when you don’t have any historical account data as a benchmark?

Let’s establish why it’s important to set firm CPL targets in the first place, even where no prior data exists. First, a concrete plan to achieve expected revenue or profit goals will focus everyone’s mind and provide a tangible target to work towards. Including a CPL target is an integral part of this plan – after all, if you don’t have this defined there is very little basis determining the level of budget you should be using to achieve your business targets.

Planning any paid media campaign without a CPL target is like driving blind (and without any sat nav to guide you).

There are numerous blog posts and other sources on the internet which will at least give you a rough idea of a typical CPL benchmark for your vertical, or tap into your LinkedIn network or peer groups to get hold of this information.

A second important aspect to note here is that CPL varies considerably by channel for instance, across AdWords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn or Twitter advertising, so don’t assume one size CPL fits all. Thirdly, consider the type of brief your paid media campaign is working to – prospecting will require a much bigger investment per lead than remarketing. And fourth and finally, do make sure your conversion tracking is set up correctly before your campaign launches.

Once you have worked out this detail it is critical to devise a good strategy for how you are actually going to achieve your CPL target – for example by continuously adjusting your bids based on campaign performance, so that you are not paying top dollar for traffic which doesn’t deliver on efficient conversion.

Fast forward a week or two: you’ve written your battle plan including a CPL target; you have launched your campaign – now you can use the data that is streaming in to resolve initial challenges, helping you to troubleshoot and fix them early on in the campaign cycle. For example, is your CPL a lot higher than you had anticipated? Is this driven by a particularly costly but under-performing keyword? Are you using engaging and relevant ad copy? Are you making it as easy as possible for your potential customers to turn into a lead?

Based on the performance data the forecasting should be adjusted on a quarterly or ideally monthly basis. There will be external factors such as advertiser competition which will affect your cost per click (CPC) and ultimately your CPL, so it is, therefore, important to tweak your targets and be as relevant and realistic with it.

It’s a simple story, in the end, to plan based on CPL. But don’t just make yours a work of fiction – bear in mind that an ambitious CPL target can spur you on, but an unrealistic is more often counterproductive for you and the business in the end.

IS BING DIGITAL ADVERTISING GAINING GROUND ON GOOGLE?

The digital advertising space has become very competitive over the last few years. As more and more advertisers weigh in and Cost per Click’s (CPCs) are rising, marketers are looking for viable alternatives to the behemoth that is Google.

Bing Ads has emerged as an attractive contender for many who are looking for a high return on ad spend and comparatively low CPCs.

Here is a quick recap of how Bing Ads evolved(1): Microsoft was the last of the “big three” search engines (the two others being Google and Yahoo!) to develop its system for delivering PPC ads. Until the beginning of 2006, all of the ads displayed on Microsoft’s MSN Search engine were supplied by Overture (and later Yahoo!).

As search marketing grew, Microsoft began developing its system, MSN adCenter, for selling PPC advertisements directly to advertisers. As the system was phased in, MSN Search (now Bing) showed Yahoo! and adCenter advertising in its search results. In June 2006, the contract between Yahoo! and Microsoft expired and Microsoft was displaying only ads from adCenter until 2010.

In January 2010, Microsoft announced a deal in which it would take over the functional operation of Yahoo! Search, and set up a joint venture to sell advertising on both Yahoo! Search and Bing, known as the Microsoft Search Alliance. A complete transition of all Yahoo! sponsored ad clients to Microsoft adCenter occurred in October 2010.

On 10 September 2012, adCenter was renamed Bing Ads, and the Search Alliance renamed the Yahoo! Bing Network.

In April 2015, the Yahoo! partnership was modified; Yahoo! Search now only has to feature Bing results on the “majority” of desktop traffic. Additionally, Microsoft took over as the exclusive seller of ads delivered through Bing; Yahoo! now sells its ads through its in-house Gemini platform.

In September 2016 Comscore reported that Bing had surpassed 20 per cent market share in the UK, outpacing Google for growth, making it a force to be reckoned with for UK digital marketers (2).

Setting up campaigns on Bing used to be cumbersome and laborious, but that is a thing of the past now with the capability to easily and quickly import campaigns from Google AdWords. A word of warning though: not all campaign types offered on AdWords are also supported on Bing Ads, for example, Dynamic Search Ads or Smart Display campaigns. Remarketing lists can also not simply be shared between the two platforms. I have also found that daily budgets are not always imported correctly. Apart from these caveats, this functionality is a great time-saver.

When it comes to editing the campaigns once they have been imported, the latest version of Bing Ad Editor is also fast and intuitive to use. So even for the most task-rich, time-poor digital marketer, there are quick wins here, and a few hours spent copying your most profitable campaigns over to Bing could be a very shrewd investment.

 

Sources

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_Ads#cite_note-tc-changes-14, accessed on 5 September 2017
(2) http://www.netimperative.com/2016/09/bing-gains-google-20-uk-market-share/, accessed on 5 September 2017

KICKING OFF A NEW CAMPAIGN? 11 STEPS FOR A PERFECT FORMATION

As the new football season approaches, and our favourite teams embark on another campaign of ups and down, the same old questions all fans have remain the same. Who’s in, and who’s out before the transfer window closes? Will Mr. Wenger finally silence his critics? And who’ll be the first managerial casualty?!

Whatever happens from now until the start of the season, one thing’s for sure; from the coaching staff to the players on the pitch, the setup and strategy will be paramount to their success. The same can be said for businesses of all shapes and sizes that are embarking on a new marketing campaign. The preparation and planning required to succeed can boil down to a range of factors, all of which need careful attention long before the first ball is kicked.

As a demand generation agency, we often work closely with our clients on not only the execution but the planning and implementation in the build-up to the big event. There’s a lot to consider, and not all of it will be areas every team is comfortable in tackling. Luckily, that’s where we come in, and below is our ‘one-to-eleven’ that covers some of the main areas you’ll need to consider. And, as with all good footy teams, we’ll start from the back with possibly the most important aspect of all. Strategy.

  1. Strategy

Get your strategy right and the rest will follow. It’s important to gain a deep understanding of your buyers and unravel what truly matters to them, to define buyer personas, mix in your objectives and then plan and translate your goals into long-life marketing programmes. Why? To help you build momentum over time and ensure you get from where you are to where you want to be, taking prospects and buyers along every step of the way.

  1. Content

Content marketing demands a value exchange – you have to offer your audience something helpful in order to earn a click. And it’s not about what’s important to you; it’s about what’s important to your buyers. Content can help you connect with buyer needs, present answers to their questions and help them find solutions. If your content is half-baked, we can help you turn up the heat.

  1. Design

Good design serves a greater purpose than to just look pretty. It inspires thought and action, emotionally engaging audiences to drive an action. That’s why we take it seriously. It’s important to honour the principles of design in order to develop creative concepts that catch the eye, complement content and visually communicate your messages and values.

  1. Inbound

Ensuring the right potential buyers actually see your content is as important as developing compelling content in the first place. We build targeted paid and organic acquisition programmes for search and social marketing to connect you with buyers that choose to ‘opt-in’. SEO then ensures your digital infrastructure is at the top of its game and implements ongoing strategy to build authority and compete for the traffic you want.

  1. Outbound

‘Batch and blast’ tactics have long since expired and relying on email alone is a fast way to go nowhere with buyers. There’s a place for outbound, but careful segmentation and strategy for developing nurture and trigger emails is vital. Scintillating email subject lines and crisp copy are still important, but timing and targeting are also crucial. And it doesn’t have to be just email. An outbound call to qualify a prospect in or out is a powerful way to accelerate progress and improve conversion.

  1. Lead Generation

Delivering a constant stream of high-quality marketing leads (MQLs) can be a challenge for marketing teams, but it isn’t impossible. We know the hard sell doesn’t work, and you have to allow buyers to self-select into your sales funnel. You can use content for inbound acquisition to capture the imagination and interest, then engage and nurture prospects through the stages of the buyer journey with planned content, all the while qualifying their readiness to buy.

  1. Web & Digital

Content marketing goes hand in hand with digital. A ‘fit-for-purpose’ website is essential to engaging buyers beyond a landing page, delivering the information they seek and inviting them through a content journey. Analytics provide the critical visibility to track buyer behaviour and to benchmark and monitor ongoing marketing performance. It’s important to also connect and select the right tools and technologies to see what’s happening with your marketing and to make informed decisions.

  1. Social

If you’re still not sure social has a place in B2B, stop reading now. We think it’s transformative. Consider social as the new alternative to email, helping you raise awareness, extend your reach and acquire the right audiences, including C-level, and to build segmented paid and organic outbound campaigns that deliver your message through opt-in channels.

  1. Events

Seen by some as an old-school form of marketing, events are still an effective way of engaging with your customers, both past, present and future. Plus, events these days come in a number of guises. Webinars and live streams are becoming ever more popular and if a more traditional face-to-face event doesn’t fit with your strategy then perhaps a more digital approach would work better? They can also align with other channels such as social and email, providing great content in unison.

  1. Email

Still an important marketing tool, and alongside social and paid-for it can provide invaluable support as part of an ongoing campaign. It is still to this day a low-cost marketing tool, helping you to communicate with fans of your brand that have at some stage taken the conscious decision to receive communications from you. They’re easy to create, share and analyse and can run simultaneously with other channels such as social media that will feed off of your content plan.

  1. Marketing Automation

Last but not least is marketing automation. With all of the above to think about, putting it all together can often be the final hurdle for many marketing departments. Marketing automation is here to help with that and consists of software that helps automate such tasks as email, social media, and sales in a more joined-up and cohesive way. Ultimately, marketing automation allows companies to nurture prospects and convert them into customers so as to generate new revenue and a far better return on the investment.

 

So, there you have it. It’s by no means an extensive list, and your formation could be a defensive 5-4-1 or a more attacking 3-3-4, but either way be sure to start from the back and get your strategy right. The rest should then fall nicely into place.

If you’d like to chat about planning for your next big campaign, please feel free to get in touch at hello@hitfirstbase.com or call us directly on 0203 542 6644.