3 Reasons Why You Should Build Your Website With WordPress

3 Reasons Why You Should Build Your Website With WordPress

OCTOBER 15, 2016 by

3-reasons-why-you-should-build-your-website-with-wordpressIf you didn’t already know, WordPress powers more than a quarter of all the websites on the Internet. There’s a reason why and if you are still on the fence, here’s why you want to use WordPress.

Abundance of Help

Because of its popularity, you can find all sorts of help on WordPress. Free discussion forums, tutorials, virtual assistants, and developers. Plenty of people out there providing help or some sort of service related to WordPress.

If you are the DIY-er, that means you are rarely without guidance. If you prefer to outsource, guess what? There are plenty of people who are familiar with it and can work on it for you. This means you don’t have to train them. That is a bonus.

The last thing you want is to pay someone to learn how to use an obscure software. I’ve been there and done that. It kills your momentum and happily gobbles up your profits.

Beyond that, many popular web hosting companies today support WordPress. The more your host understands your software, the better off you are.

Highly Customizable

Apple used to have an iPhone commercial that said, “There’s an app for that”. Well, with WordPress, the same is true. Just about anything you want to do on your site, there’s a plugin for that.

What this means for you. You rarely need to hire people to create custom solutions for you. Bottom line, you spend less creating that solution and you don’t have to maintain it. That again saves you money in the long run.

Ownership

This is so important. There are many all-in-one services out there. You host with them, use their software. They may even be easier to use. But when you want to migrate after you have outgrown it? Perhaps not so easy.

These services may tell you that your content belongs to you. That may be true, but what they don’t say is, they may not provide the tools to export your content. In short, they try to lock you in. It’s more common than you think.

According to one developer, a client tried to move away from one such service. The site has years of content, both text, and pages. Turns out, the service would only allow her to export textual content, not their images.

Sure, WordPress is not perfect. No system on the planet is. However, it is the right answer for most use cases. That is close to perfect in an imperfect world.

6 Tips to Help Secure Your WooCommerce Website

6 Tips to Help Secure Your WooCommerce Website

 

Here’s something you already know: keeping your e-commerce secure is a vital part of running your online business. If you don’t keep customer data safe during and after the transaction, they’re much less likely to do business with you again.

But technology, especially security technology, is constantly changing, which can make it hard for business owners to keep up.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to protect your site—and your customers—if you’re using WooCommerce. There are simple steps that are well worth taking for any WooCommerce site owner.

Even though securing your site is a multi-step process, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you follow our simple steps.

1. Use a host that does security leg-work for you

As mentioned above, there are people out there (not you) whose job it is to know the ins-and-outs of security. And many of them work at hosting companies. That’s why a simple and easy way to protect your site is to choose a host that makes security a priority.

When choosing a web host, look for ones that offer:

  • Monthly backups: these will help you get back online fast in the event of an attack.
  • Automatic updates: these help patch security holes as soon as they’re discovered, keeping your data safe.
  • Restoration services: along with backups, these help you get back online in case something goes wrong.

2. Prevent Brute Force Attacks

Still the most common way to break into sites, brute force attacks refers to a simple yet effective method of simply guessing combinations for passwords or security keys until one happens on the correct series of characters.

Fortunately, as the method is relatively simple, there are relatively simple ways you can prevent them.

  • Limit login attempts: Brute force only works if the bad guys (or really their computers) can try and log in millions and millions of times. Fortunately, there are many WP plugins out there that limit those very attempts. For your WooCommerce site, we like: WP Limit Login Attempts and Login Lockdown

  • Use a password manager: Password managers help create incredibly difficult passwords for you, and then automatically enter them when you’re on the appropriate site—provided that you know the master password. It’s a great way to make passwords that even sophisticated attackers will have trouble cracking.
  • Use 2-Factor authentication: 2-factor authentication is another smart way to keep your website safe. With 2-factor authentication, even if bad guys have guessed your username and password, they’ll still have to gain access to another password on another device (typically contained on an SMS sent to a personal cell) to get past the second layer of protection.

3. Get yourself an SSL certificate

Here’s the thing: if you’re accepting credit cards, you need an SSL certificate. They encrypt your customer data—most commonly credit card details—when people send you info over the internet.

4. Always keep a backup

Look, we know we just said choose a host who provides daily backups, and that’s all well and good. But at the end of the day, you have no guarantee that your host will backup daily for you. Only you can guarantee that you’re keeping backups.

That’s why you’ve got to keep your files backed up yourself, too. Backup the backups, if you will!

There’s a good number of WordPress backup plugins that offer this invaluable service (really, don’t skimp on this!)!

5. A.B.U. (Always Be Updating)

Remember above when we talked about how there are smart people whose job it is to know about security? Another good chunk of those people work at places like WordPress, and they’re constantly coming out with new WordPress versions that have fixed previously-undiscovered security holes.

And so when you log in to WooCommerce and you’re prompted to update, you might think, “Ugh, again?” but really, this is for the good of you and your business.

If your web host has automatic updating, you might not have to worry about this. But if it doesn’t, you need to be updating whenever you’re prompted.

6. Let your customers know they’re secure

While it’s one thing to protect your customers (and your business), it’s another thing entirely to let them know that you’ve got their backs.

Why would you want to do this? Because customers who feel safe are more likely to buy and recommend your site to their friends, increasing your bottom line and growing your business.

McAfee SECURE is not only an easy way to increase your website credibility but it also provides a number of other services for premium members including site reviews, diagnostics, sitempas, search highlighting, shopper ID protection and more.

Conclusion

Most of these steps are as easy as installing a plugin on your WooCommerce site. They don’t require a ton of technical knowledge, and it’s beyond worth your time to take an hour or so to get this all done and then get on with what you do best — selling.

How Powerful Will Video Marketing Become?

How Powerful Will Video Marketing Become?

video-infographic-cover

By 2019, consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all internet traffic across the world. Video will dominate the internet. Video will be the primary medium for how internet users will consume information. Consumers will also demand high definition. For an illustrated look at how powerful video will be, have a look at this infographic created by One Productions.

Video traffic forecast

Video-on-demand traffic will double by 2019 and high definition (HD) will be 70% of this. Social media will be a major driver of video distribution. Facebook and Snapchat are leading this charge.

video-infographic-forecast

Consumer attitudes towards video

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, so producing low quality explainer videos will undermine sales. For videos to connect with their target audience, they need to be:

  • entertaining,
  • informative,
  • inspirational.

For example, almost two in three people say they would share a video if it was informative. More than half of users say they would share a video if it was inspirational.

video-infographic-customers

Video marketing impact on brands

Video will be key to effective marketing strategies and brands who do them well will increase brand engagement. In fact, more than half of all companies are using video in their marketing strategies. Brands who switch from text based display advertising to video advertising have the best chance of converting leads to sales. Especially if this is done on mobile platforms. It is evident when we consider that 18 to 24 year olds spend 36 minutes per week viewing video content on smartphones, the most of all age demographics.

This Millennial generation is set to become the dominant consumer group as Baby Boomers retire in their masses over the next few years. So Millennial generation will become a key consumer group for brands to focus on.

video-infographic-impact

The future of video infographic

video-infographic-full

SEO And Internet Marketing Basics

SEO And Internet Marketing Basics

By

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Internet Marketing is just a really scary way of saying “Promoting Your Blog To Get More Traffic.”

When you start a new blog it’s unrealistic to expect that you’re going to become a marketing expert or that your blog will be #1 in Google with millions of hits per month. If that’s what you’re thinking, *sigh*…

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is the practice of getting your blog to rank better in the search engines. There are many types of SEO, from the words in your posts to the way other sites link back to your site, and even making sure that the search engines can find the information on your site.

Search engine companies spend a lot of time making sure that their results are relevant, useful, and accurate. What that means to you is that you need to make your blog’s content relevant, useful, and accurate.

Want a successful blog? Your goal is very simple…

“Become a trusted source of high quality information for your readers.”

Top 3 Ways To Market Your Blog

One of the best things that you can do to show the search engines that your blog is important is to promote yourself. That means getting your blog out there and sharing your posts with other people.

In Content SEO

In content SEO is structuring your posts and using the right words so that the post gets ranked in the search engines. The words we use and how we use them in our blog posts are critical components in our SEO strategy.

Social Media

Social media is here to stay, so if you’re not already active on social media sites, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get busy.

Email List Building

You may not think that having an email list is important, but it’s still the best way to share and communicate with your audience and time after time, when it comes to making money with your blog, the money is in the list.  So start building your list now.

Why Mobile Internet Marketing Matters

Why Mobile Internet Marketing Matters

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Mobile Internet marketing has become a major buzzword in the internet marketing community. Everyone is talking it up and hyping the latest product designed to help website and business owners to increase their level of exposure on different mobile marketing channels. But why is it worth it? In this article we will discuss a few reasons mobile marketing will continue to become ever more important in the coming years, but first, let’s talk about how we got here.

The Evolution of The Phone

It was not that many years ago that cell phones were a rarity. Do you remember the big car phones everybody had for while? We have definitely come a long way since those days!

As cell phones became more popular, they also started to get smaller. We were able to keep them in our pockets after a while, and the battery life kept getting better. The signals and the networks continued to grow to the point that we expected our phones to work virtually anywhere.

Once cell phone networks began to get more sophisticated, they started rolling out new features. The first, and still ever so popular, was of, course, text messaging. Many of us now use our phones to send text messages just as much as, if not more than, we use them to actually call someone.

Then, as the phones became even more like computers, they began to get more and more features, such as the mobile web. Initially, the mobile web was pretty slow and did not display the full internet, only different content that was set up on specific networks designed to work only for certain cell phone companies.

Finally, fast forward to today. Cell phones are basically smaller versions of computers, and the internet is almost as (if not more) accessible on our phones as it is on our computers. Smartphone apps give us access to many of our favorite sites, games, etc., without even having to go on the web. One of the last things people do with their smartphones is actually talk on it!

Now that we spend so much time on our phones (even if we are not actually talking on them), the opportunity for websites and businesses to market on this platform continues to grow, and will likely continue to become more and more important.

Using The Mobile Web

Many smartphone users now turn to their phones before their computers when it comes time to look up something on the internet. This means that those companies and brands that have a strong mobile presence will be more likely to get the business of these users, as these companies will get the most eyes on their offers.

As more and more people continue to use the mobile web on their phones, and as a generation of people conditioned to mobile web use reach the age where they have income to spend, being in front of these people when they are on the mobile web will become more and more important.

Many companies are trying to make sure they have a mobile marketing presence by making sure they have a mobile version of their sites. They have a mobile version in order to attract visitors from this phone.

This will be much more important as mobile web use increases. Every website owner should really make sure they have a mobile optimized site, because it does appear very certain that more and more people will be using their phones to access the web.

The Growth Of Mobile Apps

Smartphones are not the only opportunity for mobile marketing. Almost every type of smartphone – iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc., has a seemingly unlimited number of apps, or applications, designed just for that particular operating system. Many users turn to these apps before they actually even use the mobile web.

Why is this important for your business or website? Imagine if a competing business or website has an app on the major phone platforms, and you do not. If potential customers can easily get that app, who do you think they will purchase from first?

It is actually getting much easier to develop these apps these days, so if you have the resources, hiring someone to build an app for you may be a great idea!

Other Mobile Devices

Tablet computing is now starting to change the mobile marketing game as well. With the advent of the iPad and Android tablets, people are now moving away from computers even more.

A few years ago, people would have taken their laptops out with them to do schoolwork or work on their latest project at the coffee shop. Now, people take their tablets with them instead.

Again, you can see the power of this platform for mobile marketing. If this is where your potential customers are, you will want to be there, too! Typically, if you have a mobile optimized website, it will work on a tablet as well. Also, most smartphone apps will work on tablets as well.

Text Message Marketing

These days, many marketing emails get discarded or ignored by potential customers. Text messages, however, get read almost 100% of the time. These days, there are a number of text messaging platforms that businesses can use to reach out to their customers.

Customers have to opt in to these programs, so companies usually have to offer some kind of incentives to get sign ups for text messages, and people do not want to be bombarded by messages, but the well placed tweet with an announcement or a discount can definitely drive traffic to your business!

In conclusion, mobile marketing is an ever growing market that will continue to be more and more crucial for companies to gain and keep their market share.  As more traditional forms of advertising go out of favor and have smaller returns on investment, companies and websites that make the move to a strong mobile marketing presence will likely see a stronger return and market share than their competitors who choose to keep with the status quo in their marketing methods.

5 Tips For A Spectacular Video Marketing Campaign

5 Tips For A Spectacular Video Marketing Campaign

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Marketing with video has become one of, if not THE best, promotional strategies on the web. More and more people are moving away from text-only websites and are gravitating towards videos.

Videos are a preference for people for a whole lot of reasons. For one, it’s easy to kick back, relax and watch videos rather than to strain your eyes and read pages of text. Videos also has a greater potential of at least being somewhat entertaining, and who doesn’t like to be entertained? Video marketing is also a whole lot more personal, or at least is perceived that way, by the viewer.

In the wide and wild world of the Internet, most people are faceless. But now you can give yourself, your company, your product or your service a “face” on the Internet. And that is exactly how you can start to build trust. Starting up a marketing campaign isn’t the easiest.

Truth be told, there’s a whole lot of competition out there. It’s not as easy as you sitting in front of your webcam and telling people about yourself or your company. That’s not what’s going to increase your conversion rates and have you seeing more dollar signs. We’ve listed some of the best tips you’ll find on having a successful and spectacular video marketing campaign below.

1. Consider The Length Of Your Video

One of the most common follies that inexperienced marketers make is creating long videos. Who wants to sit through a 5 minute video? Hardly anyone. Though 5 minutes may seem like a short period of time, in the world of instant information, 5 minutes is a lifetime. If what you have to talk about is going to take any more than 2 minutes, then make shorter videos. Create a series and make sure that the first one is really engaging so it will draw people in.

TIP: One of the best ways to draw people in is to post your first one to a social media site, like Facebook video. Post your other videos in a series to your actual website so that viewers who are hooked in by your first one will stop by your site and check it out.

2. Videos should be on Multiple Sites

As somewhat of a follow-up to the last point, don’t put all of your videos in one basket. This means not just uploading your videos to Facebook video or to YouTube; post your videos to Facebook, toYouTube, to Hulu, and to many of the other popular video websites out there so that you can reach a broader audience. Some other sites include:

  • MetaCafe
  • DailyMotion

3. Give Your Video A Good Title

The titles that you give to your videos means a whole lot more than you’ll ever know. Having a catchy, enticing and engaging title is what’s going to get people to click on your videos. If you have a boring one, as in “(enter product name here) Product Review,” people are going to immediately glance over it and forget that your video even exists.

Make sure that you have  catchy titles, and make sure that they are relevant to your videos. Sure, your videos can be about products you’re promoting, but think about what will get people to view your videos. Something like an offer “Find out how to get this product for FREE” or a teasing title will get you a lot of attention.

TIP: If you are uploading your videos to Facebook, take advantage of the areas where you are able to enter in a title and a description for your video. This can also potentially help you in search rankings.

4. Mix It Up

Your videos don’t have to all be about your product or services or your company. Change it up and create some that are a response to a blog, or simply share videos that you have found on the web that you find to be interesting or funny (just a note of warning: make sure the videos are tasteful! Otherwise you may lose a whole lot of customers and potential customers rather quickly).

Having different videos on your site will help draw more people to your blog or website. People love watching funny videos or informative video clips. If they watch that video and enjoy it, there’s a high chance that they’ll then check out a few of your other video clips, too.

5. Refer Back To Your Website

When it comes down to it, what’s the point in having  fantastic videos on the web if they do not even reference back to your website or to your blog? You want to make sure that anyone who is watching your videos is able to tell just where it came from, who created it, and where they could potentially find more.

One of the easiest ways of doing this is to add your website name and/or link at the bottom of the video while it’s playing. You should also include your blog link and name in the “comment” area for any video so that people can quickly reference where the video originated from (this is also good forSEO purposes). Add pop-up bubbles and links to the video if possible (such as in YouTube) that will direct them back to your blog to check out more videos like the one that they just saw, or encourage them to visit your blog. The best way to do this is to put an offer on the table, like you have a piece of information that THEY NEED in order to be successful at something, or that you know of a great deal on an item that’s related to your blog or website’s niche.

TIP: It’s a great idea to have all of your videos on a YouTube channel, but make sure that the YouTube channel will also easily direct anyone coming through back to your website.

The Importance Of Branding In Internet Marketing

The Importance Of Branding In Internet Marketing

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What To Expect...

Internet marketing is by far the best way to make money online. The problem with Internet marketing is the same as with every business: there are people that are making no money and there are people that are making a lot of money.

Working your way up from somebody that is making no money from Internet marketing to somebody that is making a lot of money is not going to happen overnight. You have to put in the time and work and you have to make realistic goals. One of the best ways to establish yourself as an authority online is to develop your brand name.

Your brand name is going to determine whether or not people will come to your site and subscribe or leave and never come back. Brand names should be trusted, which means you’ll need to deliver honesty throughout all of your posts. Here are a few suggestions and how to develop your brand name to succeed with Internet marketing.

3 Words Or Less

Brand names make Internet marketing a lot easier. When somebody is familiar with the brand name they do not worry about trust and they know they are getting honesty throughout each and every post. Your brand name should be three words or less so that it is easily remembered by all of your customers and readers.

Choosing a brand name that is three words or less is vital for Internet marketing. Let’s take a blog about weight loss as an example. There are thousands of possibilities for creating a brand name around the niche of weight loss. Some examples could include “Weight Loss Tips,” “Weight Loss Products” or “Lose Weight Now.”

Logo

One of the best ways to start establishing your brand is to have a logo designed. It doesn’t matter if you are using a web template, a blogger account, a free WordPress site or subdomain of a free host. Having a custom-designed logo is a sign that you take your website seriously.

Getting a custom-designed logo doesn’t mean that you have to go through in SEO company or a marketing firm. There are a lot of graphic designers that work freelance and can easily get you a great-looking logo for very little money. Sites like eLance and Guru have thousands will of freelancers who will design a logo for around $20-$40. Once you have your custom-designed logo you can upload it to the top of your website page and it will appear on each page of that site no matter what post or article a reader has come to.

Tag Line

A tag line is another aspect of your brand name that should be taken seriously. Internet marketing relies on readers remembering your brand. Coming up with a tag line for your brand is a great way to incorporate your niche into your reader’s memory. Tag lines can also be implemented into your logo to further establish your brand.

Tag lines are usually very short and catchy. Make sure that the tagline is unique and does not infringe upon other websites. There are tons of websites that are devoted to every niche possible online. In order to make your website standout among the rest, you need to have a great tag line along with your logo.

Goals

Setting credible goals for your online business is essential to keeping the brand name professional while accomplishing tasks in a time frame that is realistic. You are not going to get your website on the first page of Google within the first month. Developing realistic goals such as getting to page 3 or 4 within a six-month period for low competition keywords is essential to not only making progress but also keeping your spirits up.

Many people believe that making money online happens in a short timeframe. The fact of the matter is that it takes months or even years to establish a brand and start getting regular traffic. Once you have your goals set you will be able to see what is realistic in getting your ranks up in order to set goals for the future.

Marketing Materials

Marketing your site is one of the most important aspects of getting regular followers. Employing different marketing methods such as Facebook, twitter, RSS and Linkedin accounts is essential to getting back links to your site while marketing to a large customer base. If you are going to use social media and RSS for your website it is also a good idea to create an opt in list for e-mail marketing campaigns.

E-mail marketing can offer your readers insight into upcoming posts or promotional deals for your website. Your logo should be incorporated into all of the marketing materials. Marketing is essential to getting your brand name out to readers in order to establish authority in your niche.

5 Ways To Boost Your Internet Marketing Campaign

5 Ways To Boost Your Internet Marketing Campaign

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Internet marketing is what you need to start increasing your sales figures. Given that more and more businesses by the day are flocking to the Internet to broaden their customer base, it’s all the more important that anyone who is planning on having any type of business on the Internet to plan a well thought-out Internet marketing campaign.

If you’re just getting started, this may seem a bit overwhelming. After all, when it comes tomarketing on the web, there are a ton of different choices you can make on how to run your campaign. We’ve listed some of the more effective ways for internet marketing below, but we must stress that not every business is the same. You need to monitor and keep track of how well the campaign’s doing and adjust accordingly. Using a tool like Google Analytics and GetClicky will help you keep track of a number of different things that will help you determine the success of your internet marketing campaign.

1. Video Marketing

The best way to give your business a real boost is to start up a video marketing campaign. Think about it: when you actually see the face of someone behind an online business, you immediately feel more connected to the brand and the product. You feel as if they’re more trustworthy. Plus, if you actually are able to see the product or the service in action, you feel more assured in your choice for buying that product or service than if you were to look at a flat image on the screen.

Time and time again video marketing has shown that it will help you increase your conversion rates. But even if you aren’t selling anything on your website, having videos will help build trust with your visitors and regular followers. People also tend to prefer watching a video over reading text, so you can get your message out faster and reach a broader audience.

2. Blogging

When people start up a blog, they see themselves as a professional when it comes to whatever niche they are blogging about. But it’s not only you who sees you as a professional. Other people who visit your blog will come to see you as an expert in your niche topic as well. People trust experts, so if you make suggestions that they view, check out or even eventually purchase an item that you recommend, they will be more likely to do so.  WordPress is built for bloggers.

Blogs are also a great way to direct people to other sites related to your business, such as the company website and to your social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter. Just make sure that you update your blog regularly with fresh content (there should be a new post at least 3-5 days a week). If you start to run a bit dry on content, ask someone to guest blog on your site and you can guest blog on theirs. There is a mutual benefit in this. The host will get fresh content, and the guest blogger will receive a backlink from the host, thus giving them an SEO boost.

3. Social Medial Marketing

Have an online business? Then you need to have a Twitter and a Facebook account for social media marketing. You can also consider opening up accounts on sites like Google Plus and LinkedIn too. Search engines are putting more and more emphasis on how popular links that are shared through social media outlets when it comes to SEO. It’s become a form of “link building”, which will definitely increase your website’s ranking in search engines.

But here’s the tricky part: how do you get people to share links that you post that are related to your business? The challenge that most businesses face is learning how to create content that is of value and therefore worthy of being shared. Twitter and Facebook are very different social media platforms too, each requiring a different technique. Try to entice the viewer with a great offer (50% off!), put in a call to action (Only until midnight EST!) and then include a link (for Twitter, there are tools that will give you a “tiny URL” so that you take up less character space).

4. Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click has been around longer than most of these other marketing strategies. It’s still incredibly relevant in that it helps create awareness about your company, product or service, and it does produce high quality, targeted leads.

When you start with a pay per click campaign, you want to keep your target audience in mind. What do they like? What is their age demographic? Use jargon and images that you think would appeal to your target market.

Pay per click is also highly valuable in that it will help you determine which keywords bring in the most traffic to your site. Not sure which keywords are worth using? Don’t take a guess at it. Use tools like the Google Keyword tool to help figure it out. And as always, monitor, monitor, monitor! Keep track of how successful or unsuccessful your campaign is. Be prepared to change it up from time to time.

5. Mobile Marketing

Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. If you want to stay relevant and on top of the Internet marketing trend, then you have to appeal to mobile marketing as well. This means using QR codes, social media, and SMS or text messaging marketing. Get peoples’ phone numbers and send them deals directly to their phone in the form of a text message!

Create an app for your business that will make shopping online with you and breeze. Release video and audio content online so that those who are on a smartphone can easily put on their headphones and watch and listen while they’re on the go. Mobile is the way of the future, so if you want to make it big with Internet marketing, start exploring your mobile marketing options too.

48 Social Media KPIs You Need to Know (Key Performance Indicators)

48 Social Media KPIs You Need to Know (Key Performance Indicators)

social media kpis key performance indicators

There are a lot of things you can measure about you social media efforts. I have compiled a list of 48 KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can consider for you specific activities. One thing to remember is that you should set at least some metrics that indicate if you are turning profit. Otherwise you can reach your KPIs and still loose money.

Now, before you begin be sure to set the baseline. Look at the set of your chosen social media KPIs and and record the current value. These numbers are important but the rate of change is the main indicator for most of these metrics. For example it’s fantastic if you get 1000 followers in a day but not so if you get them over the year.

Concentrate on the rate of change of your chosen key performance indicators. This can be also expressed as a frequency of events. For example you could measure how many comments you get on Facebook per day, week or month.

You can combine several KPIs into one that is more meaningful for you. Ratios, such as comments per blog post, retweets per followers, help you measure audience activity and engagement.

Distribution

What social media channels are you using, how can people reach you, are you visible?

  • Followers
  • Fans
  • Number of mentions
  • Reach
  • Social bookmarks (SumbleUpon, Delicious)
  • Inbound links
  • Blog subscribers

Interaction

How likely are followers going to engage, spread your message and interact with eachother?

  • Retweets
  • Forward to a friend
  • Social media sharing
  • Comments
  • Like or rate something
  • Reviews
  • Contributors and active contributors
  • Pageviews
  • Unique visitors
  • Traffic from social networking sites
  • Time spent on site
  • Response time

Influence

How do attitudes change due to the social media activities? This is the branding value that should convert into sales.

  • Share of conversation vs competitors
  • Net Promoter
  • Satisfaction
  • Sentiment positive, neutral or negative
  • Number of brand evangelists

Action and ROI

How many sales and other real world result do you get from social media?

  • Conversions (email subscriptions, downloads, install widget or tool, etc)
  • Sales revenue
  • Registered users
  • Issues resolved and resolution rate
  • Number of leads (per day, week, month)
  • Cost of lead
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Cost of sale
  • Revenue (per follower, lead, customer)
  • Lifetime value of customers
  • Support cost (per customer in social channels)
  • Share of repeat customers (from social media vs other channels)
  • Transaction value per customer
  • Money in the bank, net profit, etc

Internal

The raw output of your social media team. It is important to measure if increases in your input produce similar or better increase in the other KPIs. And, of course, your boss probably wants to know how much are you spending

  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Facebook updates
  • Tweets
  • Forum posts
  • Social media marketing budget
  • Social media staff payroll
  • Social media development costs

You can get most out of these social media metrics if you benchmark them against you competition. Whenever possible try to find out the competitor’s numbers and you get a better insight of your performance. If you have 3,141 followers on Twitter the the number is meaningless, but in context of your competitor having 2,718 you may get some insights.

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Image credit Brooks Elliott

From Prospect To Customer: How Content Influences the Entire Sales Process

July 25, 2014 // 10:00 AM

From Prospect To Customer: How Content Influences the Entire Sales Process

Written by Jonathan Pavoni | @

489775189

The heart of the inbound marketing is about attracting strangers from across the internet and nurturing them into delighted customers.

The question becomes how do you attract these strangers, and then build the necessary credibility and trust that is essential to a long term business relationship? The answer is content.

Content is all of its forms, e-books, white-papers, blogs, case studies, videos, and infographics are how organizations are capturing attention, building credibility, and eventually closing sales. In this blog post I would like examine how you can use specific types of content to positively influence the sales process at every level.

Mapping Content To The Buyers Journey

To effectively use content throughout the buying process you must first understand the stages that your buyers go through when making a purchase decision. These purchase categories can be broken down into three basic levels:

  1. Awareness Stage: In the awareness stage the prospect realizes that they have an issue that needs to be resolved. So they start researching to better understand and frame their problem.
  2. Consideration Stage: In the consideration stage the prospect has a clearly defined idea of the problem. Additionally, they have researched all of the potential solutions to the problem that they are facing.
  3. Decision Stage: This is where the buyer has evaluated all of the different solutions and now has to choose a vendor to help them solve their problem.

Understanding the high level stages that your buyers go through allows you to better mapcontent to each one of these stages. Individuals that are working through a purchase decision will be looking for different types of content depending on where they are in their research process.

Content for the Awareness Phase

In each stage the buyer will be looking for different types of information. So knowing the type of content to produce for the: awareness, consideration and decision stage is essential. As stated above, the awareness stage is when the prospect realizes that they have a problem. Additionally, this is when the prospect starts researching the issue that they are facing.

At this point the prospect is looking for educational content to help them frame the issue. So it’s essential for marketers to produce content that will help the prospect better understand their problem. Content that helps advance the buyers goals at this stage are things like:

  1. Ebooks
  2. White-papers
  3. Research reports.

This content helps to educate the prospect and brings context to the issue at hand. This higher level content will be important for things like: “top-of-the-funnel” lead generation, elevating the organization’s search engine rank, and increasing credibility within the industry.

Content for Consideration Phase

Once the prospect has a clearly articulated idea of the problem they are facing they move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. At this point they are looking for content related to solutions.

The prospect wants to understand their all of their options as it pertains to their issue. What are the different ways that they can go about handling their problem? Do they need to purchase software to find a resolution, do they need to hire someone in-house, or can they outsource to fix the problem?

So as a marketer we must be producing content that speaks to issue resolution. Content like:

  1. Webinars
  2. Case Studies
  3. Podcasts.

By producing this “middle-of-the-funnel” content we help further educate prospects on potential solutions.

Content for Decision Stage

The final stage in the buyers journey is the decision stage. At this point in the buying cycle the prospect clearly understand all aspects of their problem, and potential solutions for helping them resolve their problem. It’s the decision stage where the prospect makes a determination on the right vendor to help them solve their problem.

In this phase marketers need to be producing content that speaks to the differentiating factors that make their organization unique. Content like:

  1. Vendor comparison guides
  2. Feature differentiator sheets
  3. Granular product literature

This content will help you posture your product or service against competitors.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the purchase process has completely changed in the last 15 years. The internet and search engines have reconstructed the way in which people research and buy products and services. Consumers are now starting their research process on popular search engines like: Google, Yahoo and Bing. Here’s a handy chart to sum up what was discussed:

HS-Buyers-Journey

The shift in purchase behavior has mandated a shift in the way that organizations market and sell their products. Additionally, it has elevated the importance of content at every stage of the sales cycle. Smart organizations are taking time to clearly understand their buyers persona’s purchase process. Then they are mapping highly relevant and educational content to each stage of the process.

So take time to build out resources for the awareness, consideration and decision stage. By doing this you allow thousands of prospects the ability to walk through the stages of the purchase process at a pace that is convenient for them.

These educational resources will help you decrease the cost-per-lead, shorten the sales cycle times, and increase the conversation quality that your sales people have with prospects. So start creating great educational content for your business today, you will be amazed at the impact that it has on your bottom line.