Understanding your budget is crucial for an effective marketing strategy. In today’s B2B Marketing Agency Insights, our CEO Austin LaRoche discusses how a clear marketing budget can help you grow your business and hit your goals.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK interactive. Today, let’s talk about something that many people have a really hard time talking about: money. Understanding a marketing budget from the get-go is the only way you are going to have effective marketing – because everything costs money.
You gotta pay to play in some regards, but you also have to know where to start. Now, a good agency or marketer understands that a marketing budget isn’t endless. But if they understand what it is, they’re going to try and make the most out of it.
So a lot of times people shy away from this conversation, right? I know, especially as an agency, anytime I’m talking to a prospect, it seems like it can be this cat and mouse game. And it’s just so… I don’t know if annoying is the right word – maybe unnecessary? Yeah, let’s go with unnecessary.
Because what happens when we establish a marketing budget is the people in charge, whether it’s your agency, your internal team, your CMO, what we get to do there is we get to take that number – let’s call it a monthly budget, let’s call it an annual budget – and we get to tie it to our goals and we get to say, “Now it’s in our hands. The power is in our hands to be able to take that budget, to take those dollars, and to be able to hit those goals.”
And, what’s really important about that is that so many times people get lost in cookie-cutter retainers and services. They get tied to the idea of the service as opposed to the solution and the goal. Because the goal is to grow, right? The goal is to hit the targets, it’s to increase the SQL, to increase the conversions, to increase the revenue. It’s to grow, grow, grow, get bigger.
But, if you’re sitting there just doing a bunch of services, how are you going to do that? That’s why you need to really understand your budget from the get-go and have the people who are in charge of hitting those marketing goals, be in charge of that budget because their success is tied to it. Trust me, they all want to work with you as long as possible. It can be an employee; it can be an agency. The goal is to work forever, right?
So, you want to give them that control because if you don’t give them that control, you know, they’re going to keep doing services. It’ll be fine, but no one is going to be paying attention to the growth. The marketing isn’t going to the growth. The marketing is going to the follow-through of a proposal that somebody put together a year before they started working with you and just kind of had some ideas. Now they’ve got insights, they’ve got data, they’ve got real information that says, “This is how we can do this better.”
So that’s why you’ve got to figure out what that budget is. Be upfront with it, alright? Don’t try and get either your agency or your people – don’t try and low ball them. Say: “What do we need? These are our goals. Tie them into your goals. This is what our cost per acquisition needs to be, okay? How much money do you need? If this is our cost per acquisition, how much money do you need to hit, you know – this amount of new customers?”
It’s really easy to simplify it, but you have to be open with the conversation, have to be. Because only that transparency, only that conversation of “this is what we can spend on marketing,” that can become part of the North star along with the goals, right – those two kind of combined together. I don’t think you can have two North stars, right? Maybe when their powers come together, the combination of goals and budget – that comes together to lead the way so that your marketing team can get the most out of their efforts, so that they’re not afraid if something’s not working to be able to go, “Guys, we can’t spend money here anymore. We got to go over here because this is working.” Not, “Well, we said we were going to do this service for this year, and we’re going to commit this much time and budget towards it. It’s not working. It’s six months. We should know that it’s not working, but hey, we said we were going to do it,” right?
Because what you’re making is you’re setting people up to fail, right? Because people want to follow through. So if you follow through on services, as opposed to solutions, you’re not going to be nearly as effective as if you look at the big picture – at the growth – and say, “I’m going to do whatever it takes within my powers and my budget to be able to hit those growth targets, exceed those growth targets, and make you happy so we can work together for the rest of our lives.”
All right. Thank you guys so much. For everybody else at ATAK interactive, I’m Austin LaRoche saying “Good luck growing.”
A common challenge for many sales representatives doing cold LinkedIn outreach is standing out through the noise. In today’s B2B Marketing Agency Insights, ATAK’s CEO Austin LaRoche talks about the most effective strategy to shining through and reaching your leads.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. Today, I want to talk about standing out in a crowd, particularly on LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn has evolved over the years to a lot of different things, but one thing that’s perfectly clear about LinkedIn is that there’s a lot of spam, a lot of noise, and a lot of people who want stuff from me.
So I’ve been thinking a lot – how do you stand out in that crowd? You know, you’re doing LinkedIn outreach, you’re doing everything you can to make a name for yourself. And it hit me the other day when a nice guy sent a request to me, and all of a sudden, it was like, “There. That worked.”
Now, I always say that cold outreach has to be serendipitous, right? Somebody has to be offering you something that they have that is what you want, at a time when you really need it. Really, I mean, just from a cold lead perspective; just from, you know, complete cold call.
And so this guy who reached out to me on LinkedIn, he doesn’t ask me for anything. All he asks is if I want to be on his podcast. Now, a lot of people like to go on podcasts and shows, and talk about themselves, right? And he was offering me a forum. And I don’t know how many people listen to his podcast. What I can tell you is I was like, “Yeah, that sounds cool. I’ll go on a podcast. I’ll talk about what I do on a podcast.”
And what’s funny as it hit me is years ago, I went on someone’s radio show and it was a lot of fun – good time, good setup. I never really like got a lot of details. I went on-air and it was on one of these like Sirius stations or something like that. I don’t know that the radio show even existed. I don’t know anyone to listen to it. I doubt anyone ever did. But what I do know is that after I was a guest on that guy show, he had an associate who was calling me quite regularly asking me if I needed his company’s services. And this associate was just annoying and he wasn’t good. But, if he was better and I needed those services, I feel like I would probably be interested in moving forward with him because he had done me a solid – I was on his radio show, right?
So what it comes back to is if you’re going to reach out to somebody on LinkedIn or any of these other channels, instead of going in and saying, “Hey, this is who I am. Do you need me?“, maybe offer them something of value. Maybe it’s an opportunity to speak about something in their industry that they’ve always felt strongly about, but never really had a forum for it. Maybe it is just as simple as a podcast.
But if you’re going to go out and reach out to people, and you’re gonna try and connect with them, stop going in asking for stuff for you, okay? Go in and see what you can give to them if you even want them to come into your orbit. So a little tip on standing out on LinkedIn, where it is so saturated: don’t go in and just ask, “Hey, I think our companies would be aligned. Hey, I think that, uh, what you do is really interesting to me. We’ve helped people just like you in the past.” Go in and say, “I got this really cool thing that you might like and would make you look good. And tell me if you wanna be a part of it.” Now that is a heck of a LinkedIn outreach strategy.
All right. That’s it for today. I’m Austin LaRoche. This is B2B Marketing Agency Insights, saying good luck growing. Thanks, guys.
A strong B2B marketing strategy is predicated on a clear understanding of the pain points of your target market. For this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, our CEO Austin LaRoche explains why you should emphasize a problem to drive your brand messaging.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche. Today, we’re gonna talk about exaggerating problems to define your solution. One of my favorite marketing case studies of the last – I don’t know – 10, 20 years, has to be Casper Mattress. So for anyone unfamiliar with Casper Mattress – the mattress company that disrupted the entire mattress industry – they came along with a simple premise – brand messaging – of “Why on earth would you want to go into a mattress store when you can buy your mattress online?”
To me, this was preposterous. I love going to the mattress store. You go in, you lay on a million beds, you find which one is the most comfortable for you, and then you purchase and you’re good to go, right? But, for many people, they said, “Yeah, that is a big problem. Oh man, do you really want mattress salespeople to come in and talk to you?” Never bothered me, but obviously, it was bothering other people. And then they disrupted an industry.
So where it’s really interesting, I think, is what happens is so many times in our day-to-day lives, we become prisoners to our own messed up way of living, right? So for instance, I like to cook and I currently have a can opener. It doesn’t really work really well, and I have to do all these things to make it work. Now, I go to the grocery store every single week. There are can openers there. There are certain ones in my budget, and yet, for some reason, I don’t go and buy a new can opener. I’m so used to living in my messed up world.
And what happens a lot of times is your consumers, your target market, they’re living in a messed up world. They know they’re living in a messed-up world. They kind of accepted it, but they need to keep being pushed and they need to keep being able to see what the better world is; what is the promised land?
And, by exaggerating the problem, going in and saying, “Look, you might think it’s not a big deal, but it really is. Your life could be so much better if you just did this, if you just did that.” That is a really strong marketing strategy because of what you’re doing and what you’re saying to your target market, which is you brand messaging: “Stop living in this messed up world when things could be so much better. All you have to do is go with me.” That’s it.
So, if you’re out there, I want you to start thinking, “What problems are my customers facing that maybe they’re just living with, maybe they’re okay with it right now.” But they shouldn’t be because if they invest in you and they invest in your product or your service, their life is going to be a lot better. And what you have to do is you have to convert them on that notion that their life is going to be a lot better with your product and service. And a great way to do that is to exaggerate that problem and drive that brand messaging about how your solution is going to make it all better.
All right, that’s it today. Thank you guys so much, I appreciate your time. For everybody else at ATAK Interactive, I’m Austin LaRoche saying “Good luck growing.”
Balancing creativity with efficiency is crucial for the success of any marketing campaign. For this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, our CEO Austin LaRoche discusses what makes this balance between creative and efficiency essential and how to achieve it.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive. All right, today, I want to talk about a balancing act. And it’s not an easy one, all right? What we’re going to talk about is the balance between creative genius and getting stuff done.
So I have a lot of clients, and some of them range a little too extreme in one way or the other. Either we’re always taking forever because we’re waiting for the perfect idea or something that we think is so grand that it could go – wait for it – “viral”. And then I have others who are like, “Just go, just do it, just do it, pass, try, go.” And it’s like well, you know, we should put a little bit of thought into the creative because the truth is it’s a balancing act. And no matter what level of marketing – I mean it can be simple ad campaign or it can be a big, full-scale national print, TV, radio, everything campaign – like, you need to be able to have a balancing act of the creative and the “We got to go” because we always see paralysis by analysis over here with the creatives, right? You know, “Oh, I don’t know if this is right. I don’t know. I think it’s good.” But at some point, you got to make a decision, right? And then on the other side, where you have the “Oh, alright just test creative, it doesn’t matter” people, you’re losing a lot of dollars to testing by not really coming up with something that’s clever or speaks to your customer.
So how do you balance that? I think a good way to start is you start with that “Build-Measure-Learn” concept from startups, right? You do want to do some testing, but also think that you have to really, really give yourself some time and effort on the creative side to at least have a few different options where you go, “You know what? I’m proud of this. This is unique. This is cool. This is different. This is something that I want to hang my hat on.” And I really do feel like if you can combine those two things – if you can balance those things – that’s when the marketing gets really strong, because part of it is really what you’re fighting is like, you know, the art versus the science, right?
So, “Oh my God, this is the big, beautiful, pretty thing, that people are just going to connect with.” And then we’ll hear the numbers that are telling you how people are connecting, how people are converting, and you gotta be able to blend those things together. And so, it’s always great when you have people on your team who have both those skillsets and can work congruently together to get the job done.
But what’s not good is when you’re way too far in the extreme, one way or the other. So really when you’re building out your teams, when you’re building out your marketing campaigns, give yourself enough time to get the right creative genius you need to be proud of what you’re doing, but also go out there and get stuff done. Avoid that paralysis by analysis. Do some testing, see how everything is working, and then get these two functions to grow together, to market together, and eventually thrive together.
Alright, that’s it for today. And again, I’m your host, Austin LaRoche, saying good luck growing.
The Marketing to Sales (M2S) Map was designed to help B2B agencies organize an efficient plan of action that is based on customer lifecycle. In this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, CEO of ATAK Interactive and creator of the Purposeful Marketing Method, Austin LaRoche explains how to use this granular document to help your company get the results that you want with your clients.
Video transcription below:
Welcome to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CMO, now CEO, at ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to talk to you about one of my favorite creations: Marketing to Sales maps, also known as M2S maps.
This granular document is based on the foundation of what we call a customer lifecycle. Attracting the prospect, connecting with the prospect, closing the prospect into a customer, and delighting the customer. With the customer lifecycle as our foundation, we then start outlining a couple of different things.
The first thing we do are actions that we want to take in each step of the customer lifecycle.
The next column we have is the purpose, goal, or function. This is where we identify why we’re taking those actions. And this is really important because sometimes you’ve got the best of intentions, but maybe the wrong action. Maybe you’re advertising on Facebook when you should be advertising on Instagram – and that’s okay. You’ll learn as you start executing these maps where you need to change things, but you always need to know why you’re doing them. That’s why the intention is so important and the purpose, role, or function.
Next up, we have success metrics. Every single action that we’re doing needs to have some stuff, sort of a success metric that it’s going to be defined by. And let me give you an example: if you’re doing search engine optimization, then you’re probably going to look at a success metric, like organic search traffic, and you want to be able to track this. You want to have the metric tied to the action, because, once you have that, then you can create the next important part, which is the weekly goal.
Now, the weekly goal is really important because it ties right into the success metric. The weekly goal not only tells us what metric we’re chasing but also where we need to hit every single week. That’s why it’s really important.
Next up, the responsible party. Listen, you can’t be accountable to a marketing to sales map without knowing who’s in charge of every action that you’re taking. That doesn’t always mean they have to do all the work. But they are the ones who are in charge and who are overseeing that, that part of the marketing to sales map is being executed on.
Lastly, we have costs. We have to work everything pragmatically and within budget. If we identify how much we want to spend, then we can really put the right dollars to the right actions in these marketing to sales maps. And we’re making sure that we’re staying on budget.
So when you look at the marketing to sales map – as a whole – you’ve got the actions that you’re going to take in each part of the customer lifecycle. You know why you’re doing them because of the purpose, goal, or function of each of these actions. You have a success metric tied to each action that you’re doing. You have the weekly goal for each action to make sure that the work is actually effective and is getting you the results that you want. Then, you have the responsible party, so you know who’s in charge of making sure of everything at every step in that lifecycle. And lastly, you stick to a budget by identifying the costs of each action.
It’s a very granular process that is going to help your marketing efforts tremendously because it outlines everything that you need to do, why you need to do it, how it can be successful, who’s in charge, and how much it costs. You can’t ask for more than that.
Thank you so much for your time today and as always, good luck growing.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I am your host, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive – can match it to accountable, tenacious, agile and kind, all day every day. It’s the only way we know how, right? Today, we’re having a little fun, having a little fun off the top, but let’s talk a little bit about EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, and how marketing agencies can utilize the system to enhance their agency-client relationship.
Okay, if you’re not familiar with EOS worldwide, check them out: eosworldwide.com. It’s an amazing system. It’s really helped accelerate growth in my business as well as many of my clients. So check them out if you’re unfamiliar with it and come back when you’re done. And we would love to be able to talk to you a little bit more once you understand how you can really strengthen that relationship between a client and agency, by utilizing EOS.
The best way to be able to work with a client utilizing EOS is just to do a run-through of what a weekly Level 10 would look like because most agencies have some sort of weekly touchpoint. And so when they transform that touchpoint into a level 10, that’s a great start. Okay?
So here’s what a Level 10 would look like between an agency and a client. You know, you start with a segue, much less formal than a good news personal, good news business – everyone goes around. Everybody gets on the zoom call. Everyone gets on the conference line. “Hey, how was your weekend?” And then everybody gets there. Boom.
Then, you dive into the scorecard. Now, the scorecard is the list of KPIs that you need to look at week over week. And the reason you look at them week over week is because data dictates behavior. So, what we really want to do is we want to check out:
How many conversions did we get?
What were their CPC and our Google AdWords this week?
How many sequences did we send out for the sales team?
These are the types of numbers, and you want those numbers to be more conversion-based than vanity metric-based because everyone hates vanity metrics, especially your clients.
So, go down. Check out the most important numbers that matter. Go through them, see how they compare to the last week, and see if you can find any trends. Hopefully, those are successful trends, right?
Then you want to jump in and you want to go through the rocks. Now, the rocks are the most important things you want to get done in the quarter, right? This is something you need to figure out before you start your Level 10s with your client. “Hey, what are our quarterly rocks?” One of the things with EOS is they’re looking for an 80% completion rate with your rocks. Now, they want that because they want you to challenge yourself, okay? Because you’re getting a 90 or 100% percent on your rocks every quarter, chances are you’re not really challenging yourself, okay? And that’s all right.
But when you’re working with a client, it’s less about challenging yourself and more about being accountable to the things that you say you’re going to do. So you want to get 100% of your rocks if you’re working with a client. You say “We’re going to do this and we want it to perform like that,” then you need to make sure that that’s what you’re doing because it’s more of a promise than a challenge.
Next up in a traditional level 10 are customer headlines. Scrap them. They have nothing to do with this.
Moving on: the to-do list. What you want to do is you want to go through your to-do list and you want to make sure that you did all the things you said you were going to do. The client has done all of the things they said they were going to do. Everyone’s on the same page for holding each other accountable.
Next up is IDS. Now, IDS is typically taking issues and then figuring out how you identify, discuss, and solve them. Now, “issues” is kind of a scary word in an agency-client relationship. So scrap that and just call it “Project Updates”. Now, what you’re going to do within these project updates is go through all the issues, right? This is how we’re doing, this is what we need a little feedback on, this is where, you know, what do you think we should be doing about this?
Bring the issues in, but don’t call it issues because then it’s a little bit more alarming to a client, especially if they’re not familiar with EOS. If they are familiar with EOS, they know the system, you’re probably good. But if not, call it project updates and go through and talk about the issues at hand. You go through those, you solve everything, all the issues turn into to-dos.
At the end of the meeting, you recap the to-dos, you rate the meeting – rinse, wash, repeat. You got it? It’s really easy. And it’s really going to be a great way for you to hold your own work more accountable, but also being able to help get more traction to the vision that your clients have set towards the work you’re doing together in your collaboration.
And that’s it. It’s really simple. All you have to do is be able to update a weekly scorecard, create quarterly goals, hold yourself accountable to your to-dos as well as to the projects that you have working, and then you manage that in probably an hour or less meeting every single week and it keeps all of your projects moving. It keeps the communication between you and your client top-notch and the expectations are set and are very clear to all parties. And that’s it.
It’s a really great way to organize your collaboration and keep communication really tight. Expectations are really clear in the relationship between the client and the agency. Super healthy.
I hope that was helpful for you again, I’m Austin LaRoche for ATAK Interactive saying, good luck growing.
Two years ago, we at ATAK Interactive made the decision to become a HubSpot Solutions Partner. Within a year, we reached the HubSpot Gold Agency tier. Today, ATAK Interactive is proud to announce that we have grown into a Certified HubSpot Platinum Agency.
As a B2B Marketing Agency dedicated to helping clients achieve measurable success and growth, we are honored to be part of the HubSpot Partner Program and leverage the best technology and marketing stack in the industry.
HubSpot has the absolute best tool in the marketplace to align sales and marketing, but we have to say this: we aren’t huge fans of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing (“if you build it, they will come”) methodology. Why? We don’t think it’s the best approach to growing B2B companies or the best way to use the HubSpot platform itself. We are constantly seeing a disconnect between how the platform supports heavily touted Inbound Strategy compared to what it is actually great at doing.
“ATAK Interactive has been able to consistently win new accounts against larger, more established agencies because we aren’t prisoners to the ‘HubSpot prototype.’”
– CEO, Austin LaRoche
ATAK’s goal is to help clients achieve measurable growth, to be a sales team’s best friend and increase their revenue. And we’ve found that one of the only ways to achieve this sustainable revenue growth is by aligning sales and marketing teams. When a sales team knows how its marketing team is performing for each contact or what the prospect is actually interested in, they’ll be able to change the conversation accordingly to deliver content that is relevant and adds value. These two siloed divisions can play well together with the right technology, and that technology is HubSpot.
With HubSpot, both marketing and sales teams begin working from a central CRM. This means that they are using the same tools, which will ultimately unite them around the same data and empower them to create personalized buying experiences for clients. In a nutshell, HubSpot empowers marketing teams to support sales efforts. And it’s for this reason that our clients love HubSpot! They see actual, measurable growth by aligning their sales and marketing activities. And because of all the success our clients have had, they are always looking for more features and capabilities to unlock, try out, and leverage in order to enhance their current workflows and maximize the use of this incredible platform.
What’s interesting is that HubSpot seems to be gradually switching gears and focusing more on sales enablement as well. Instead of supporting “Inbound”, many of the newer features and capabilities, such as the new Target Accounts dashboard, have been more focused on unifying a company’s sales and marketing workflows into a single growth mindset. As HubSpot transitions into a real growth platform, we feel it’s truly an exciting time to be a HubSpot Platinum Partner.
If you’d like to learn more about HubSpot and why it’s such a powerful tool, schedule a consultation with a Certified HubSpot Platinum Agency today!
As more and more B2B buyers expect and value personalization, account-based marketing (ABM) has captured the attention of B2B companies looking for real, sustainable business growth with a more targeted approach to selling to companies and prospects. The process aligns your marketing and sales teams from the get-go, promoting long-term business growth, delighting customers, and boosting revenue.
If you want to be successful with account-based marketing, you need to invest in new resources. One such resource is a software with ABM capabilities such as HubSpot and its new Target Accounts. Not only does it make executing and monitoring an ABM strategy easier, but Target Accounts also helps you build a strong foundation for your strategy. It comes equipped with one of the strongest prospecting tools on the market, letting you implement ABM efficiently and effectively. But before we delve into how you can leverage HubSpot’s new Target Accounts, let’s take a quick look at what account-based marketing is, and why it’s so important.
Account-Based Marketing Explained
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is an account-centric growth strategy in which marketing and sales collaborate to develop highly targeted and personalized buying experiences to secure a specific company or account.
For a simpler explanation, imagine a traditional marketing funnel flipped upside down. Instead of casting a wide net and then narrowing your potential buyers down to qualified leads, ABM consists of identifying exactly who you want to target first and creating personalized campaigns around each of these target accounts. These campaigns often contain messaging designed to address the specific needs and motivations of a target account to immediately engage them and bring them into the buyer journey.
Higher ROI. Since ABM involves focusing on accounts that are likely to convert, companies can eliminate unqualified prospects early on. Doing so can minimize time wasted, save costs, and lower risks. In fact, ITSMA reported that 87% of marketers that measure ROI saw ABM outperforming every other marketing investment.
Marketing and sales alignment. For ABM to be effective, marketing and sales teams must be aligned in order to accurately identify target accounts, map them out, and align on sales initiatives. So ABM essentially accelerates this alignment, allowing companies to experience 36% higher customer retention rates as a result.
Higher quality leads. With such a high degree of personalization, ABM has proven to be successful at generating higher quality leads and maintaining customer relationships. McKinsey & Company found that personalization reduces acquisition cost by as much as 50% and can increase revenue by up to 15%.
Now that you understand the basics of account-based marketing, here is how to get the most out of HubSpot’s Target Accounts and elevate your marketing strategy.
How to Get the Most Out of HubSpot’s Target Accounts
HubSpot’s new Target Accounts feature can make selling to high-value accounts easier than ever. With both your marketing and sales teams working from a central CRM, your teams can finally use shared tools that unite them around the same data and empower them to create seamless buying experiences for your highest-value accounts.
Let’s take a look at some of the overall features of this new HubSpot tool.
Target Accounts Dashboard
The Target Accounts dashboard is the new command center for your marketing and sales teams to monitor all your ABM efforts. This dashboard will help you see the overall progress of your strategy and keep track of your target accounts. By default, it gives you a birds-eye view of:
Current target accounts;
Accounts with open deals;
Value of those open deals;
Accounts missing a buying role; and
Accounts missing decision-makers.
This dashboard also allows you to get more granular as needed. With filters, you’ll be able to see critical information such as which accounts currently have no open tasks, no logged calls, no meetings scheduled, or no open deals associated with them.
To fully maximize your Target Accounts dashboard, we recommend that you, first, identify what makes an account a high-value “target” for your company. Look at some of your largest deals and most successful customers. What do they have in common? The common traits you identify among your target accounts (e.g. industry, company size, annual revenue, location) will give you – and HubSpot – a clearer idea of what your best-fit target accounts will look like.
Once you have a clearer idea of your target accounts “persona”, you’ll have the option to assign an “Ideal Customer Profile Tier” to these contacts. This custom property defines how close a company matches your “ideal customer profile”. Tier 1 indicates companies who are the best fit for your business while Tier 3 is meant for those worth selling to, but are not the priority. Tier 2 companies are good-fits for your company, but may not bring in as much revenue as Tier 1. By assigning these tiers, you’ll get an overall picture of how closely your chosen target accounts are aligned with your strategy.
From Target Accounts, you’ll get access to an “account overview” summary for each company in your HubSpot CRM. This account overview gives you a quick, high-level view of where each of your target accounts is relative to the buyer journey.
You will have records of a specific company’s recent activities (i.e, emails, meetings, and calls), associated contacts, internal stakeholders, and any tracked page views from associated contacts. In addition, you will be able to see all deals associated with that company, helping you keep an eye on how effective your marketing and sales efforts are while easily cross-referencing your most recent communication with any associated contacts.
Also living in your Target Accounts dashboard is arguably one of the most important features in HubSpot that will enhance your ABM strategy: the Prospects tool. This Prospects tool shows which companies have perused your site – as well as how many pages they viewed – but have not yet converted on a form. It essentially gives you a list of qualified leads that have started the B2B buyer journey. As a bonus, you’ll be able to easily tag a prospect as a target account and involve them in your ABM efforts.
Getting familiar with the Prospects tool will make it easier for you to find and track some of the high quality accounts you never considered. Equipped with this information, your sales team will have insight into which companies they should be actively cold-calling or emailing. It’s an extremely powerful tool, delivering detailed insight into the companies you should be targeting as well as their level of interest.
In addition to the Prospects tool, HubSpot provides another way to find target accounts. As you mark companies as Target Accounts in your database, HubSpot’s algorithm will begin to understand the criteria you use to categorize your high-value accounts. No matter what metric you used to categorize companies as “target accounts”, HubSpot’s AI will learn what types of companies to look for. Simply speaking, it automates the search process for new best-fit target accounts.
When used together, both Prospects and the Recommendations creates a list of sales qualified leads that your marketing and sales teams can immediately connect with and create personalized experiences for. They enable your marketing and sales teams to focus on other valuable activities like connecting with decision-makers and moving them through the sales funnel, which is why we recommend HubSpot when executing an ABM strategy.
Ready to Get Started With HubSpot’s Target Accounts?
Account-Based Marketing helps your company attract high-value accounts through personalized approaches and forge deeper relationships with them. Since ABM campaigns require a coordinated effort between your sales and marketing teams, leveraging software that supports ABM, like HubSpot, can make the hand-off between the two teams seamless. Especially with the Target Accounts feature automating the research process and acting as a central database for all your high-value target accounts, both your marketing and sales teams will be able to work together and close deals much more efficiently.
Interested in using HubSpot to automate your sales pipeline?
Sales Enablement is a simple concept with a big impact on the future of B2B marketing. In this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, breaks down how Sales Enablement has grown into an important tool for sales teams and how you can equip your team with the resources they need to close more deals.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to talk about sales enablement. Sales enablement could not be more straightforward. It’s simply providing the service of providing the resources that sales teams need to close more deals.
Now, sales enablement in one way, shape, or form has been around for a while. If you just look at one aspect of sales enablement–content–then what you’ll see is, you know, old school agencies developing nice print ads, trade show booth designs, that kind of stuff. Nowadays, it’s much different. You need to be able to help create interactive presentations, videos, the type of tools that salespeople need in our age of virtual selling.
So, beyond content, technology and automation is another major, major area that you can help out your sales team with sales enablement services. Now, a great way of doing this is utilizing something like HubSpot sequences, where you can put prospects into automated outreach so that you can help salespeople begin to “touch base” with cold leads and be able to begin a conversation with them. That takes away a lot of the “grind” part of the salesperson job that salespeople don’t typically like. And let’s be honest, they’re not necessarily that good at it either. Some are, some are. You know, no disrespect to the grinders out there who really like hammering the emails out and hammering the phones. But I think most salespeople like that feeling of, “Okay, I’ve got someone interested and now I get to put on a show.” But, I digress.
Another great way that you can help a sales team out is with really good reporting. And so if you are helping them utilize the CRM, you’re able to get data from all these different marketing sources and you can see where different leads are coming in, where they’re dropping off in the funnel, and you can start producing that type of data to your sales team. It helps give them the intelligence they need to see where they can be better, to be able to move those customers down in the funnel. Really, reporting is another area that gets overlooked so many times, right? Because it’s just, “Oh, that’s a bunch of numbers.” But in those numbers tells a very big story and marketing is all about storytelling in one way, shape, or form, right? Whether it’s internal or external. So being able to utilize that reporting, to be able to tell the story of how you’re doing and where you can improve is another great way to help out sales teams so that they can do what they do best, which is close more deals.
Okay, that’s just a quick overview of what sales enablement is. If you really want to get into the weeds and learn more, I suggest you check out ATAK Interactive’s website. Take a look, learn a little bit more, and if you have any questions, don’t be a stranger. Thank you guys so much for watching today. I’m Austin LaRoche saying, “Good luck growing.”
LinkedIn has long been a popular and effective place to find and nurture sales leads. But with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, sales teams now have even more power to discover leads and manage their pipelines effectively. In this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, gives some insight into what sets the LinkedIn Sales Navigator apart from other agency tools.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to talk about LinkedIn Sales Navigator and my two favorite parts about LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Now, the first one is its ability to really find a target market. You know, I hear companies all the time saying, “We should buy a list. Should we buy this list?” And it’s like, “Oh God,” you know? Thousands of people with mildly accurate information. I mean, ugh, it’s just so annoying. But LinkedIn Sales Navigator – and all those great sales teams know this – there’s not a better way to really hone in and find your target market. You can use all of the different parameters set, right? Job title, company size, geographic location. It’s so robust. I cannot recommend LinkedIn Sales Navigator enough to be able to find your target market. There’s not a better tool in the world at “finding.” If I said to you, “Give me your top 20 prospects in the world, exactly who you’re looking for,” there’s not a better tool or a better way to find them – universally – than LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I know some of you probably have some sneaky industry-focused way of doing something, where you go, “No, Austin. I can do this.” But universally speaking, for all of us, for, you know, us mortals, the best way is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The demographics are incredible.
Now, the second best part of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I gotta be honest. It’s seeing those people who maybe you don’t like, maybe they pass you up in a job interview years ago. But when you see those people looking at your profile, when you see those people keeping tabs on you, seeing what you’re up – not a better feeling in the world. There’s not a better feeling in the world. When you go through all sorts of professional up and downs, we have our allies. I don’t want to say we have our enemies, but I’ll say we have people that maybe we butt heads with. And when those people are checking on what you’re doing when you’re not even thinking about them at all, wooh! Not a better feeling in the world.
So go ahead. This is not like an advertisement for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I actually, I love the tool for those two reasons. Very authentic, okay? Helps me figure out where my target market’s at. And it helps me feel better about myself when I see people from my past trying to keep tabs on me, seeing how I’m doing.
There you go. Raw, honest answer. That’s what you get at B2B Marketing Agency Insights, for better or worse. Again, I’m Austin LaRoche, saying “Good luck growing.“
Being forward-thinking and prepared for the future is crucial to success. In this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, gives a glimpse of what B2B marketing will be like in 10 years and how you can start to get ahead now.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin Laroche CEO at ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to look a little bit into the future, 10 years from now. It’s 2030, and god-willing that the coronavirus has gone, or at least somewhat under control, but it’s 2030 and we’re looking at what does a B2B marketing agency look like.
And what’s funny is: the B2B marketing agency in 2030, they are solely committed to being a sales enablement agency. Because, what we’re going to find out over this next decade – with technology, (again, HubSpot and I’m a huge fan of Salesforce. Same thing) – we are going to watch the technology take these silos of sales marketing and bring them together. And we’re going to have, whether you want to call it a “smarketing” department or a growth department, but at the end of the day, what the people who are going to get paid to do what we do in the B2B marketing space are going to be the ones who simply put their value on how much they can help you grow, how their services support your growth, how their KPIs are conversion-focused – well beyond something like an MQL – and, really, are all about “How is our work, how will our support helping you sell more?”
And I don’t really know anybody who thinks differently. If you look at HubSpot and how they’ve been able to change some of their education, they started kind of backing off from the inbound methodology – a lot. And we’re going to talk about that in another video. There’s another time for that conversation. But the reason why they are doing that is because what you’re seeing is marketing agencies transform into these great sales partners. We went over in the Sales Enablement video a little bit about what a sales enablement agency will do, but it’s only going to get more and more intense on this side.
Really the big difference is that expectation, in my opinion. What are you looking for in your marketing agency? I’ve been in so many different meetings with companies who were talking about past agencies they’ve worked with and being really excited about things such as ranking high and searches that are relevant, right. They capture those keywords and then all of a sudden, that didn’t lead to more business. Maybe it was because their landing pages weren’t converting. Maybe it wasn’t because their product was that good. But, the marketing agency didn’t have an answer then: “Well, we brought you the traffic, you know. You didn’t convert it.”
And the thing that I really can’t wait to see with marketing agencies is eliminating the excuses, every excuse along the way that salespeople have hated for so long. They’re all going to go out the window because what really great marketing agencies are going to be able to do is really help enable those sales and they’re going to be able to get those results. And they’re not going to blame the lack of results on a sales team, or some service that they could be offering but they don’t because other agencies are going to be offering it. Other agencies are going to be able to go ahead and get their bases covered so they don’t have outs. So it’s going to be really cool to watch the B2B marketing agency landscape change because in 2030, every great agency is going to be a sales enablement agency. Every great agency is going to plant their flag in the ground, in the fact that they can help you grow. They can show you exactly how to do it. And if something doesn’t work along the way, there’s no way out for them. What they do has to succeed.
That is what a great sales enablement agency is going to do and that is what 2030’s B2B marketing agency is going to look like. All right, thank you guys again for listening today. I’m Austin LaRoche saying, “Good luck growing.”
Are you getting the most of HubSpot? In today’s episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, wants to let you in on a few secrets to our beloved marketing software, HubSpot.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, company man today wearing the tee and digging it. Hope you guys are too. Today, I want to talk about four secrets, okay? These are four secrets about HubSpot that most people don’t know about.
Secret #1: HubSpot doesn’t run on the inbound methodology anymore. And that’s a good thing. So the inbound methodology, which I’ve criticized many times in my life, again is:
“If you blog it, they will come. We’re going to create all this content. And people are going to read it. They’re going to read through all of it. And then we’re going to slowly get them down the funnel and they’re going to love everything we do. And they’re gonna take a very long time to make a decision. And then once they do, we’re going to get them because we’re going to create the best content.”
I think it’s still a very noble, noble idea. But at the end of the day, it’s not really what works. What’s funny is what HubSpot really pushes right now is a lot of their sales enablement features because they’ve really built a tool that can align sales and marketing – like there’s no tomorrow. It’s unbelievable. It’s such an amazing piece of software I couldn’t recommend it enough. What they’re pushing right now is a lot of support on being able to close more deals. They have a lot of sales training for their agencies. They also have sales training for everybody else, like the individual who’s looking just to sharpen his or her skills. So, you know, they’re not just agencies.
But, that’s the thing. They don’t really have this, you know, “If you blog it, they will come” mentality. They have something called sequences that automates outreach, cold outreach, to people you never met before. That is the exact opposite of the inbound methodology, and yet, they support it because – you want to know why? Because it works and it’s a little bit more effective than what the inbound methodology used to be. Not saying that it didn’t have its heyday and not saying that it wasn’t okay way back when. I’m just saying HubSpot’s not using it and neither am I.
All right, secret #2: a lot of the HubSpot agencies are still prisoners to the prototype. And HubSpot is doing their best. They’re trying to train everybody. I was looking at some of the new agency tools, recently – or sorry, “solutions partner” – educational tools and a lot of things that they’re talking about now are, you know, good, right? Customizing services for clients, being able to really survey problems and not just put people in some sort of blanket retainer of, “Then we’re going to write 10 blogs for you this month. And then we’re going to create two eBooks.” You know, really being able to build out something that’s a little bit more effective.
But you still see it a lot. I cannot believe some of the agencies I’ve gone up against in pitches and actually won. And what my feedback has been every time is, “You were the only person who told me you were going to show me how to use HubSpot to increase my sales. Everybody else showed me how they were going to write blogs, how I’d get higher on search results. But you were the one who focused on, ‘How do I sell more? How’s what you do at ATAK Interactive going to help me grow my business.'”
Secret #3: one of the best things about HubSpot – the integrations. Oh, my God, the HubSpot integrations are out of this world. I have a lead developer who looks at this stuff all the time and he said he’s never seen a cleaner API in his life. And it shows. I love the HubSpot-Slack integration – that’s amazing – and several different form integrations with TypeForm and Survey Monkey.
Every single time I’ve tried to make something work with HubSpot, it’s been so seamless. And anytime there’s not a native integration, I’ve been able to watch my Technical Marketing Manager use Zapier to connect HubSpot with all sorts of different elements. It’s really amazing that they’ve been able to build this tool that can be this centralized hub and can do so many things with the technology we already use. They talk about the integrations a little bit, but it’s such a strength of the platform that doesn’t get discussed enough.
Secret #4: I alluded to it at the top, but HubSpot is more of a sales tool than it is a marketing tool. And it wasn’t always that way, but it really is the tool that salespeople need to be able to close more deals, all right? It helps marketing teams be able to bring more leads, qualify them, be able to organize that in a way that’s so easy for a sales team to discover, right? That alignment that we always talk about is there, but it’s also a skewed alignment. It’s aligned towards helping sales more than it is marketing. And you want to know why? Because sales is more important than marketing (says the guy who runs a B2B Marketing Agency).
It’s true because sales is what fuels the growth, okay? And HubSpot is more of a sales tool than a marketing tool. It doesn’t mean the marketing tools aren’t great. You can develop really great workflows. You schedule social media posts. You can build out great landing pages. You know, the tools are fine, but it’s how those tools work and how they support the sales operation. That is the real strength of HubSpot.
I love HubSpot. I think it’s an amazing, amazing tool. Those are four secrets that I’ve learned about it, working with it over the past two years. And I have a few more up my sleeve. I don’t know if I’m going to divulge them today. I don’t know if you have to reach out. Don’t be a stranger if you’re interested, okay? I’m Austin LaRoche saying, “Good luck growing.”
Content creation is an incredibly important aspect of your marketing strategy and can be extremely impactful if done well. During this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, ATAK Interactive CEO Austin LaRoche pinpoints some of the reasons why your content might not be resonating and what you can do to improve your content marketing strategy.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK Interactive. Hope everybody’s doing well today. I want to talk to you about something that’s very important to me. And it’s something that’s probably very important to you. And it’s probably a problem that you’ve seen more often than you’d like. And that is: why your content is not resonating.
Now, there’s this great book by Seth Godin called This is Marketing and he uses this mantra over and over again, where he says, “People like us do things like this.” And what he’s really prompting companies to do is to write with a point of view. Develop content with a point of view. And this takes courage because when you write with the point of view, you risk losing customers. You risk losing prospects.
So on the surface, why would you want to do that? Well, what happens is when you write with a point of view, you are going to separate yourself from your competitors, with your type of people, okay? You’re going to have people who say, “Man, this is a company that believes in the same thing that I do, and I am going to go as far as I can with them. These are my people.”
And it’s a big leap for companies to make, you know? Especially PR companies have us taught forever, “Don’t say anything offensive. Don’t say anything that might turn anybody off.” But, in this world–the saturated market where there’s so many businesses and there’s so many competitors–the only way you’re going to stand out is to be able to have the courage to say something.
So when you’re developing content, moving forward, bring a point of view. Now, it doesn’t mean you have to be controversial. But what you do have to do is you have to say, “This is what matters to me. This is what matters. And maybe others in the industry don’t actually believe what I’m saying, but this is what I believe, okay? And if you believe the same thing that I do, if this resonates with you, then we are going to be perfect partners. We are going to be the company for you. But if you don’t believe what I have to say, go with somebody else.” And that takes some courage.
Do you have that courage? Is that important to you?
Because if you can do that, if you can take that leap and develop content that’s really going to connect with your target audience, I think you’re going to see a lot more improvements in your marketing. You’re going to see customers more delighted than they’ve ever been. You’re going to see your referrals go up and you’re going to see the wrong people leave and the right people enter.
I’m excited to see what you can do. Step up, write with a point of view, and let’s get that content to really start resonating with our target audience. All right, that’s it today. As always, good luck growing.
Marketing qualified leads might have a nice ring to it, but they aren’t a relevant marketing performance metric anymore. After all, most MQLs do not convert into customers. In today’s episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK Interactive, discusses why you should actually be tracking Sales Qualified Leads instead as part of your marketing and sales strategy.
Video transcription below:
Welcome to B2B Marketing Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive. Today, I want to talk to you about the MQL and why it just doesn’t matter. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, the MQL is a marketing qualified lead. So in a standard sales cycle, if you’re bringing inbound leads in, you want to make sure that they’re marketing qualified, which means they’re somewhat interested. Now, to get the sales qualified, they’ve got to go a little bit further along the buyer’s journey and be a little bit more in that mind frame of wanting to purchase.
Now, the problem with the MQL is that like many metrics, it’s something that agencies typically tip their cap too. And it’s become a little bit of a vanity metric because if you’re really trying to help a sales team grow businesses and close deals, then the MQL really doesn’t matter. It kind of reminds me of this famous scene from The Wire with Stringer Bell, if you’re not familiar. He talks to a few of his “producers” and he tells him that they’re bringing in too many 40 degree days. Then he goes on this really explicit-laced tirade about how, if it’s too cold, everyone’s all up in arms; if it’s too warm, everybody’s a little bit too excited. But if it’s 40 degrees, nobody cares. And that’s kind of what the MQL is. Nobody cares. Really. If you’re not getting any leads, okay, that’s going to be a problem, right? But if you’re getting a bunch of MQLs, people who are somewhat interested but aren’t ready to buy, then you’re not really helping out a sales team.
Now, in theory, what you’re supposed to do with these MQLs is you’re going to nurture them. You’re going to nurture and keep marketing to them. And then when they’re ready to buy, that’s when sales will come in and that’s when you’ll be able to close that deal. But like many things in marketing, it’s this, you know, “roadmap fairytale” that we’ve created that makes it sound like, “Okay,” and then we’re just going to slowly get everybody down the funnel. When really, if you have somebody who’s an MQL, you need to figure out what it’s going to take to make them become an SQL. You need to figure out what you have to do, how you have to communicate, how you have to work with your sales team to be able to get them to come in, become a sales qualified lead, and give your sales team a real chance to be able to close these guys.
So if you’re a marketing agency out there, stop tipping your cap at MQLs. Stop tracking them. They’re not even important. Just knock it off. You know, when you start putting your KPIs together, why don’t you have SQLs? And then somebody goes, “Well, didn’t we get some more leads?” Go, “Yeah, but they didn’t matter. They’re not ready.”
Okay? That’s on us. We need to get them up to SQLs. So stop tracking them. Stop trying to sell your sales team on them being important. And why don’t you go give your sales team some more SQLs so they can do their job, close, grow the business, and then everybody wins. There you go.
Thanks so much. That was today’s episode of B2B Marketing Insights. Again, I’m Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, saying, “Good luck growing.“
If you’ve read our previous blog on How to Build a Winning B2B Sales Enablement Strategy in 2020, you know that B2B businesses today operate in a reality where B2B buyers today extensively evaluate a product or service before purchasing. As such, it is crucial for your marketing team to empower your sales team with the right tools to help them easily engage buyers throughout the buyer journey. For this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, Austin LaRoche, ATAK Interactive CEO, breaks down the 4 important tools marketing agencies should provide to sales teams in order to help with sales enablement.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO at ATAK Interactive. Today, we’re gonna talk about something very basic, okay? We’re just going to go through four beginner tools that marketing teams and agencies should be providing sales teams to help with sales enablement.
Now to start off, we’re going to talk about buyer personas. Buyer personas are very, very easy to do and I recommend marketing and sales teams to get together and create these together.
The best way to do it is to just start with a simple structure:
You start with the demographic, right? The age, geography, title, all that kind of stuff.
Then you go into what people want, okay? What does this persona want? What are their goals? What’s their vision?
Next, going into their hesitations. Why might they not want to buy from you? What are their pain points? What are they going through that makes them not as good of a buyer as you wish that they were?
Then you hit the tendencies. See what influences them, what media they read, what software they use. Who are these people?
Finally, you’ve got to go through how do we approach them? What type of tone do we need to talk to them? And what products and services do we need to pitch them?
If you build your buyer personas with those five things in mind, then you’re going to be able to really segment out your customer base and work together as a marketing and sales unit to be able to really understand that target audience. So that’s the first thing, okay?
Second thing is a simple competitive analysis. Now I’m not a big “let’s look and see what the competition’s doing” guy. I don’t really care as much, okay? I know what I want out of my agency and I know where I want to go. And I bet you’re like that too.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s not value out there in seeing how your competitors are attacking this new world that you’re in, right? So whether it’s simple things, such as looking and seeing how much they’re spending on ad words, what ad words they’re actually purchasing, how they’re embracing LinkedIn in this day and age, what they’re spending on social media…There’s all sorts of parameters that you can use just to look and see what everyone else is doing. Not because you’re like, “Oh, okay, I want to steal this idea”, but because you want to look at the landscape and go, “Well, they’re doing this. And so I’m going to do this and I’m gonna do it better than they did,” okay? Really easy stuff. Again, basic.
Third thing is outbound email automation. So if your sales team has a prospect list, your marketing team better make sure that they have the right messaging sequences to be sending to this prospect list without the sales guys even really touching anything.
When you use a tool like HubSpot, you can create these sequences. You can automate this communication so that instead of sales teams, you know, pounding phones and sending emails, individualized, and trying to really personalize everything, you can get that exact same personalization through a lot of marketing intelligence with a tool like HubSpot. And you can start sending those messages out and your marketing team can do that for you so you can spend more time doing what you want to do, which is closing deals.
Lastly, very similar, inbound workflows. Your marketing teams should be building inbound workflows so that when leads do come in to you, they’re being nurtured properly. You’re automating things so that the right salesperson is getting the right contact based on the information that the prospect has put into the form, okay? And then from there, the prospect should be getting the right information until they’re able to set that appointment with the salesperson. And then the salesperson can go and they can close everything from there.
So like I said, that’s pretty basic stuff, right guys? Real basic, four tools you can build. Buyer personas, competitive analysis, outbound automation, inbound automation. If your marketing team’s not doing it for you, you need to tell them to step up their game. Or, I don’t know, give somebody else a call – just saying. Anyway, I’m Austin LaRoche saying, “Good luck growing.”
Driven by the shift to remote work, 2020 has proven so far to be a great year for the word “webinar”. However, with everyone hosting one these days, the term “webinar” has lost most of its impact. In this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights, ATAK Interactive CEO Austin LaRoche shares his insight into why the term “webinar” has reached its peak and offers alternatives you can use to better frame your next virtual session and stand out from the crowd.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive. Now I’m going to be a little ranty today, okay? Little warning from the top – I’m getting a little ranty, all right? And what I’m getting ranty about is webinars. Not actual webinars, but the name “webinars”.
I think it’s time we stopped calling them webinars. You wanna know why? Because I don’t want to go to your webinar, okay? When you tell me you got a webinar, I’m like: “Okay, it’s gonna be me, a few other people who are going to go through a thing. It seems boring. You’re probably going to have a PowerPoint. It’s going to probably be poorly designed and you know, there’ll be some Q&A at the end, and then it’ll be okay or whatever.“
But it’s just, I don’t know, I think from a pre-COVID world, I was just bored out by webinars and then COVID hit and it was like, “Oh my gosh, we’re all doing webinars. It’s all we can do. It’s webinars 24/7, all the webinars you can get.“
And I just think there are better ways to frame it because when you look at the functionality of a webinar, right, all you’re doing is creating a Zoom that you’re giving people access to. And then everyone’s just in a Zoom room – or whatever, you know, I don’t know if you use GoToMeeting or one of those other tools, but you should use Zoom. Anyway, you get everybody in the room and then you’re talking and you’re doing whatever.
And so it’s…There’s all sorts of ways that you can frame it so it doesn’t sound as boring as a damn webinar. So, why don’t we talk about a few of those?
First off, call it a round table. Get a couple of industry leaders and go, “Hey, this is what we’re going to talk about. We’re gonna have a little round table discussion about how our industry is going to be handling a post-COVID world.” And then before you know it, instead of going to a webinar, I’ve got a round table of four industry leaders who are going to be explaining things to me that I think are going to be very valuable, and I’m going to have the opportunity to, you know, ask them questions.
Speaking of, if it’s going to be more of a Q&A, why don’t you just call it a Q&A? Make yourself readily available: “Hey, I’m hosting the Q&A asked me anything.” Very cool stuff.
If it’s going to be a smaller webinar, what if, instead of a webinar, you had an exclusive demo and you only invited four or five people. Or maybe you invite as many people as could possibly get in, but once you realize it’s only gonna be four or five people, then you say it’s an exclusive demo that you only sent a few emails for because only the most important people could be in this demonstration, not webinar, right?
I just think there’s other ways of presenting it. I think you can even do something like a presentation, a virtual presentation. I’m more interested in a virtual presentation than I am in a webinar. And I think this is an area where some creatives need to really come up with a new phrase to get me much more excited about going to these events, these digital events because honestly, I don’t want to go to your webinar.
I’ll go to your round table discussion. I’ll go to your Q&A. If you invite me, I’ll go to your exclusive demo or even your virtual presentation. That’s where we’re at now. Let’s see where we can get to tomorrow because I’d really like to see the idea of the webinar evolve in a way that makes me much more interested to go to them.
And there we go, that was the rant. Hopefully, it wasn’t too ranty, okay? Hopefully, anybody out there who’s loving their webinars aren’t like, “Oh, I don’t think it’s bad.” But, in case you are, sorry, gotta have a little bit of a point of view.
And, on that note, thanks for watching B2B Marketing Agency Insights and good luck growing.
Are you thinking of hiring a marketing agency? If you are, being aware of the mistakes that can lead to misalignment between an agency and client is crucial when looking for the right partner. With over 12 years of marketing agency experience, Austin LaRoche, ATAK Interactive CEO, has boiled it down to 6 common threads of why agencies and clients don’t work out well in this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche. Today we’re talking about six ways agencies fail their clients.
In over 12 years of working in a B2B marketing agency, I have seen all sorts of horror stories that needed to be rescued. But I’ve also seen a lot of common threads of why agencies and clients don’t work out together. Because even though everybody is unique and they have their own nuanced ways, there’s still common mistakes that everybody makes that clients just, for lack of a better way of saying it, freaking hate.
So let’s go through some of these mistakes so that hopefully if you’re hiring an agency, you can make sure that you can avoid them and get the right partner for you.
Number one is a lack of goal setting. So I always talk about purposes where “Where” meets “Why”. So where are we going and why are we going there. That’s purpose. That’s it. It’s really that simple. And if you lay that out from the beginning, what does success look like six months from now? What does success look like one year from now? And then you start putting some numbers on it, then everybody knows where you’re going.
Now, the number two mistake that agencies make is a reliance on vanity KPIs. Oh my gosh, if you had to tell me every single time I saw a PR agency talk about impressions because they push something through a PR Newswire or send a mass pitch to, you know, a thousand bloggers… It’s just so disingenuous.
At the end of the day, what matters? What are the growth metrics? What do you really need to know? You know, anything that revolves around brand awareness, like “Get it out of there, man.” Like even web site traffic, who cares? Get a conversion based mentality, okay? This is the amount of leads we’re getting, this amount of sales we’re getting – its growth metrics or nothing.
The third thing that I’ve noticed is these long performance timelines. “You know it takes six months to a year to get everything to work.” Listen man, this is the digital marketing age. We can start running ads tomorrow and figure out if people are going to be converting, either as customers, leads, doesn’t matter. You should be able to get results within three to six months if everything that you’re doing is right. And where you really got to watch out is when you get locked into a big-time contract with this mindset of “Oh wait a minute, it’s not going to work for the first six months” because the truth is you’re going to get so impatient. You really are. You’re going to be like, “Hey look, we went from position 85 on Google page to position 42.” Great, who cares? You’re not number one so it doesn’t matter. Why don’t you just pay some money to Google AdWords and get it right at the top of that search and we can start getting a little bit of traffic and maybe some conversions, maybe some leads, maybe some sales, right? So, don’t – don’t, don’t, don’t – fall trap to the “Hey, it takes a really long time for this to work” because it really doesn’t.
Next is communicating your value to your target audience. Too many times marketing agencies write and communicate the way they would, right? You know, maybe it’s a little too hip. Maybe they don’t understand the target audience. Maybe they’re just talking really general because they don’t understand the client, the business. But whatever the reason, what ends up happening is, if you’re not communicating directly to that persona and you know exactly what they need to hear, what their customer hesitations are, and how to get over that hump, then it just falls flat. So watch out for that.
Number five – they don’t understand the marketing to sales map. Okay, let’s talk about the customer journey here, all right? We have to attract the prospect, right? Then we have to connect or convert that prospect. Then we have to close that prospect into a customer and then we have to delight that customer. If you don’t know what you’re doing at every single one of those stages in your marketing, then there is absolutely no reason for you to be doing any marketing whatsoever because nothing is working together and nothing is playing. You have to create that whole roadmap. You’ve got to build it out so that it all makes sense, okay? This is every stage. And too often people just say, “Okay well, you know, we’re going to send traffic to the website,” and you’re like, “Okay, well, it’s not converting.” “Well, hey, you know, we sent the traffic, that’s what we’re supposed to do.” Follow the entire journey – attract, connect, close, delight – and know exactly what to do and know exactly how to increase those conversions and those deals and, then growth.
Lastly, agencies do a really poor job at clearly conveying expectations. And it happens in all sorts of different areas. It can happen with budget. It can happen with scope. It can happen with results. But it seems like everyone gets really excited to “Hey, we’re working together.” And then it’s like “Okay,” but it’s not super clear and that kind of goes back to that purpose, right? When you put those goals together, that’s step one. But really making sure that the client knows at all times what to expect, why something is a certain way, and if there’s going to be a problem, getting ahead of that problem and making sure that “Hey, I hope you understand that it needs to be like this or needs to be like that.” And if you can convey those expectations, then you’re really going to be able to bond with that client and you’re going to be able to give them a great agency experience.
So, I hope that this was valuable for you. I hope if you’re looking to hire an agency, you can look at some of those different areas, or maybe they’ve fallen short, and then recognize that there are better options out there. There are companies that really do care about your growth, your success, and really want to hang their success on your success. And that’s ultimately what you’re looking for at the end of the day. So thank you again for watching B2B Marketing Agency Insights. Again, I’m Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, saying, “Good luck growing.
B2B businesses today operate in a new reality. 82% of B2B buyers today spend more time in the research phase, extensively evaluating a product or service before purchasing. Buyer power has increased and as such, B2B businesses have to adapt to this new buyer journey and integrate new techniques to win and retain these customers. This is where sales enablement comes in.
Today’s buyers have a strong preference to buy from sellers that can add value and help them with their purchase decision. In fact, 74% of buyers choose to move forward with the sales rep that was the first to share value and insight. So with sales enablement, the marketing and sales teams are able to work together to deliver this value and convert their prospects into actual buyers.
What is Sales Enablement?
But first, what is sales enablement? Sales enablement is a strategic process of equipping your sales team with the tools, content, and information they need to efficiently convert leads and close more deals. At its core, it is a collaboration between both marketing and sales. Marketing provides resources and collateral that, in turn, empower the sales team as they interact with potential buyers. With the right toolkit, your sales team can create engaging experiences, both remotely and in-person, for prospects who are increasingly looking for a higher degree of personalization throughout their buyer journeys.
Why B2B Companies Should Care About Sales Enablement
All marketing and sales departments have the same goal: to drive sales and revenue for the company. But, traditionally, these two teams have worked separately, causing marketing and sales to be siloed. Each team ends up focusing on different target consumers to pursue, ultimately, impeding each other’s abilities to attract and convert qualified leads. Studies have shown that when sales and marketing are misaligned, companies lose 10% of revenue or more each year.
Sales enablement creates a bridge between marketing and sales. With the marketing team by their sides, sales reps are able to access the right content at the right time to successfully engage their prospects throughout the buying process. And the numbers are proof. When sales and marketing work well together, businesses:
Growth is a joint effort. Through sales enablement, each team receives a clearer understanding of who they are targeting and how the journey looks for their prospects. Your marketers no longer need to waste time and resources developing content that will not resonate with customers. Instead, they will begin to develop high-quality collateral, like case studies and whitepapers, designed to help the sales team add value to their relationships with leads and drive quicker conversions, especially when remote selling. It’s critical to remember that sales and marketing are partners working toward the same goal, rather than two different teams.
So why do B2B companies need a sales enablement strategy? The short answer is this: because a sales team empowered with the right toolkit from the marketing team will convert more leads and, ultimately, generate more revenue for the company
How to Build a Winning Sales Enablement Toolkit in 2020
To build a winning B2B sales enablement strategy in 2020, your marketing team needs to assemble a toolkit, filled with resources and content that will enable your sales team to target the right buyers and engage them throughout the buyer journey, whether remotely or in-person. From sales automation to customer success, the right sales enablement tools streamline outreach, lead management, deal management, and customer communication for a seamless buying process.
A robust sales enablement toolkit will contain the following tools and content:
Sales Enablement Software
A sales enablement software gives your marketing and sales teams a complete overview of the sales pipeline and allows them to manage all their collateral from a central location. It ensures that your sales representative can find the proper content at any time, submit it to prospects, and track engagement within that piece of content.
A sales enablement software simplifies:
Outreach automation: automated and personalized email sequences that outreach and follow-up to nurture and connect with leads as well as close deals;
Lead management: access to tools such as live chat, email tracking, and meeting scheduling, to engage with and close interested contacts;
Sales pipeline management: CRM database tracking contact details and past interactions as well as tools to track the progress of customer lifecycles and potential deals; and
Remote sales management: a centralized location that allows sales reps to easily access, present, and share the latest branded materials, anywhere and anytime.
With the correct sales enablement software, sales and marketing teams are able to work together to deliver timely, relevant, and on-brand content to prospective buyers. We recommend the following sales enablement tools to include in your toolkit:
HubSpot is one of the top sales enablement software (and the one we use!). It connects all sales and marketing efforts into an all-in-one sales platform for easy cross-team collaboration. When combined with its free CRM software, HubSpot’s sales tools track all relevant buyer data and interactions, allowing the sales team to manage the sales pipeline on a deeper level. HubSpot’s Sales Hub features:
Automated email workflows that streamline outreach while keeping messaging personalized
Email integrations that track all conversations for easy lead management
Custom email templates for sales outreach and contact nurturing
Robust segmentation capabilities for contacts and companies to create hyper-targeted lists
Personal calendar integration to simplify meeting scheduling
Analytics tools that track which pieces of content resonated with your buyers and how many seconds they viewed each page of a proposal
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a sales intelligence platform that helps the sales team access the full extent of LinkedIn as a platform for digital selling. With Sales Navigator, sales teams are able to target the right prospects and engage decision-makers with personalized outreach. Its main features include:
Lead recommendations based on your target accounts
HubSpot Integration to organize your pipeline and track accounts you connect with
Advanced lead and company search and export capabilities
Sales Enablement Content
Did you know as much as 80% of marketing content goes unused by the sales team? In many cases, it’s because the content is wrong; it simply doesn’t address the right challenge the buyer may be having. Research shows that 95% of buyers purchase from sellers who offer relevant content at each step of the buying process. That’s why having the right type of content is crucial. The right content will facilitate meaningful conversations and optimize your customer experience.
Personalized Sales Decks and Interactive Collateral
Generic sales decks no longer work as more prospects expect a one-to-one selling experience. In fact, 64% of B2B decision-makers reported they won’t engage with a salesperson if the communication is not personalized. With a personalized sales deck, your sales reps can tailor the messaging to specifically reveal how your product or service can address the buyer’s unique needs. And by showing that they understand a prospect’s needs, a personalized sales deck will help build trust and move the prospect one step closer towards conversion.
A sales playbook arms your sales reps with all the content and strategies they need to close a deal. Since sales reps spend 40% of their time searching for or creating content, creating a sales playbook that outlines all the messaging, questions, and resources needed will exponentially decrease time wasted on searching. With ready-made content, your sales team can focus on selling and closing deals faster. Plus, training new sales reps becomes far quicker and easier with a sales playbook since it contains information on your buyer personas and the most effective techniques.
A case study is one of the most powerful pieces of content you can have in your toolkit. It highlights your previous customer’s success and how your product or service helped them achieve their business goals. More buyers are researching a company before committing (82% of buyers, to be exact), and seeing the experience of a previous buyer can be the key to engaging these prospects. With a customer case study, your sales reps can demonstrate to a prospect the actual benefits of your product or service.
Thought leadership content is a great resource for attracting and educating prospects, which makes them the perfect addition to your sales enablement toolkit. Accessible in a wide range of formats–from blogs to webinars to white papers, thought leadership exemplifies the knowledge and leadership a sales team has in a given industry. These pieces of content must be compelling, have a strong point-of-view, and educate the buyer. By having a strong leadership message, your sales team can build credibility and trust with your prospects.
Email Templates and Sales Scripts
Email templates and sales scripts are other important tools for sales enablement. Ready-made email templates can streamline the creation of follow-up emails, outreach emails, and check-in emails to further nurture leads while sales scripts can ensure that the sales team hits the key points in any conversations.
Traditional ‘face-to-face’ sales interactions are disappearing and remote selling is steadily becoming the norm. In order to maintain visibility among your prospects in 2020, your sales teams must reinvent face-to-face interactions by adopting remote selling techniques and leveraging your digital resources to a higher degree.
In addition to sales enablement software and content, the marketing team should focus on creating easily consumable multimedia content, such as:
Short branded videos highlighting your product’s main features;
Branded virtual Zoom backgrounds for video conferencing;
Pre-recorded sales presentations with engaging graphics and animations; and
Possibly, even augmented reality experiences of your product.
When remote selling, your sales team needs every edge they can get to relay value. As such, digital media will play a key role in capturing the attention of remote buyers.
Besides nurturing prospective buyers, remote selling resources can nurture sales reps too. Sales managers can record educational training videos with the marketing team and create a resource hub dedicated to the continuing education of the overall sales team. Combined with the sales playbook, your sales team will have access to all the training materials they need to become top sellers.
The Bottom Line
In today’s B2B marketing landscape, many companies are struggling to find a strategy that will keep their marketing and sales departments in sync. Both teams waste valuable time on leads that will never convert, and often, qualified leads get lost in the confusion. Sales enablement is no longer an option; it’s a complete necessity. By aligning your sales and marketing, you can start building a customer journey that generates revenue for your company.
Interested in empowering your B2B sales teams with the digital tools to sell successfully and close deals faster?
As marketing plays a bigger role in the greater buyer journey, marketers have started to rely on technological solutions to stay top of mind and maintain a competitive advantage. These technological solutions are known as MarTech, or marketing technologies, and make marketing efforts more effective and efficient.
This trend comes as no surprise. In 2019, marketing leaders answered that they utilized only 58% of their MarTech stack’s potential. As such, consolidating your MarTech into an optimized stack of a few all-encompassing solutions is the key to streamlining your marketing strategy in 2020. Creating a robust but consolidated marketing technology stack will help to increase your teams’ efficiency and improve all aspects of your marketing—and sales—operations, from content to customer relationships.
But before we jump into building a MarTech, here’s a quick rundown of what a MarTech stack entails.
What Is a MarTech Stack?
A marketing technology stack, or MarTech stack for short, is a set of technologies and tools a business combines to manage and improve their marketing across the customer lifecycle. Essentially, a MarTech stack enables the marketing and sales team to connect with buyers at different stages of their journey.
The focus of creating a MarTech stack is to improve internal collaboration, easily measure the impact of marketing activities, and reach customers in new ways. These tools are often effective on their own, but when “stacked” together in a format that works intuitively, the stack will create a cohesive digital experience that will nurture your customers and prospects.
All MarTech stacks should include the following core technologies:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
All companies need a central place to store and manage their customers’ (both current clients and prospects) contact information. That’s why a CRM system is essential when building a consolidated MarTech stack. As a central warehouse for all customer data, a CRM system helps businesses personalize and improve all aspects of the buyer journey, from lead generation all the way to retention. It streamlines and tracks touchpoints to help your team improve overall relationships with prospects and long-term customers.
Marketing Automation Platform
Marketing automation refers to using software to automate marketing activities. When trying to attract, connect, close, and delight, a marketing team must often perform repetitive tasks such as email marketing and social media posting. But with a marketing automation platform, these repetitive tasks are automated and still capable of delivering a personalized experience to your customers. A marketing automation software will automatically monitor the level of engagement activity for each contact in your CRM database.
Sales Enablement Tools
From sales automation to customer support and customer success, sales enablement tools play a crucial role by streamlining outreach, lead management, deal management, and customer communication. By managing and automating these processes at scale, sales and marketing teams can better prioritize and execute tasks in a more streamlined and efficient way.
Content Management System (CMS)
At the heart of any marketing strategy is content. Content is how you attract leads, convert those leads into customers, and get them to come back. As such, a CMS is an essential part of a MarTech stack. A CMS is a platform that allows users to create and manage a website, even without technical experience in coding. Any website changes, from a small edit to the text to creating entirely new pages, can be easily managed. Having a good and intuitive CMS platform can help ensure that your content remains fresh and up to date, which in turn optimizes your SEO, drives traffic to the site, and leads to more conversions.
Now, here’s how to build a consolidated MarTech stack for your company.
Step 1: Devise your marketing strategy
The first step to building a consolidated MarTech stack is to plan out your marketing and sales strategy based on your product or service and target market. You’ll also need to analyze your current practices and identify where they match the strategy and where you need to do things differently. What you’re missing can help shed a light on what functions are needed for your marketing and sales teams.
Step 2: Run an audit
The next step is to run an audit on your existing MarTech to discover any gaps and redundancies that may exist. Be sure to include any piece of software used by any employee on your marketing and sales team, from email applications to CRM platforms. The main goal of this step is to find out which technologies you can eliminate to streamline your MarTech stack.
Step 3: Define your (technology) needs
After you run your audit, you’ll have a better idea about the current state of your stack setup and how to streamline it. Your new consolidated MarTech stack should align with your strategy so the next step is to identify what technology you need in your stack to enable your strategy. During this time, you may realize that your team has identified needs that aren’t fulfilled by the core technologies listed above, such as social media and email. These needs can be addressed with the following common MarTech categories:
Analytics tools enable the marketing and sales teams to gain a deeper insight into who their customers are. This software measures the performance of your website, content, and campaigns to fuel decisions on how to increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI), making an email marketing platform a worthwhile investment. This MarTech helps you grow your list of email subscribers, design and build emails, create segmented lists to enable a higher degree of personalization, and track the performance of your emails.
Social Media Marketing
As part of a MarTech stack, a social media marketing software enables you to schedule, manage, and analyze the results of your campaigns to save you time and help you become more agile.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimizing your website for organic search is an important step to drive traffic to the site. While SEO tools aren’t as necessary as the others, adding an SEO tool to your MarTech stack can help boost your lead generation efforts.
Step 4: Plan how to manage data
A MarTech stack relies on shared data. Since each platform in your MarTech stack will be collecting its own set of data, it’s important to figure out how it will all be managed. At this point, looking into marketing technologies that seamlessly integrate and share information in real-time will be crucial. Doing so will help consolidate this data so it can be viewed through a single-view dashboard and alleviate any gaps in reporting. We strongly recommend including HubSpot as part of your streamlined MarTech stack as it has an ecosystem of over 200 platforms and apps.
Step 5: Implementation
The last step in building a consolidated MarTech stack is implementation. The end result shouldn’t have any redundancies or gaps and all components should seamlessly work together.
The bottom line
The need for consolidated MarTech stacks is growing as more businesses move toward creating cohesive and data-driven experiences for their customers. Instead of growing larger in number, MarTech stacks need to get smarter, more streamlined, and increasingly interconnected to empower both the marketing and sales. That’s why we also consolidated our MarTech stack for 2020. Here’s how ours looks like:
Is your MarTech stack working seamlessly?
Do you know what technologies your organization is using, and are they organized and integrated seamlessly? With over 8,000 solutions to choose from, it can be difficult to architect the right MarTech stack. If you’re looking for a partner who can help set up and consolidate your technology solutions, align your marketing and sales activities, and support your business goals, contact us to take the first step towards a smarter MarTech stack.
Cindy Flynn, of Hackler Flynn Law, has gone from doing four webinars a year, to an average of six per week thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She took some time to speak with ATAK CEO, Austin LaRoche about her increased webinar schedule, shared some tips for running successful webinars, and how she’s connecting with business owners looking for advice on how to navigate the Covid-19 crisis.
Austin LaRoche: Thanks so much for being here today. My name’s Austin Laroche and, here at ATAK, we’re just starting a little, marketing and the time of Covid-19 series. And with me today, I’ve got, Cindy Flynn from Hackler Flynn Law. How are you doing today, Cindy?
Cindy Flynn: I am great, thanks Austin. Thanks for having me.
Austin LaRoche: Cindy, I wanted Cindy to come on because Cindy is doing so many webinars. I think I’m going to have to start nicknaming her, the screen queen.
How many webinars are you doing a week right now?
Cindy Flynn: Probably on average six.
Austin LaRoche: Six webinars a week. So Cindy is an employment attorney, and she represents, entrepreneurs and companies and, and employment battles. And so, the webinars have, I assume, mostly focused on the new CARES Act.
Cindy Flynn: Yes. And Covid-19 and employment law and how to, how to deal with it as a business owner.
Austin LaRoche: What are some of the common questions that you’re seeing from customers?
Cindy Flynn: Oh, man. The biggest thing that I think is blowing people’s minds right now is, providing an expense reimbursement for your employees who are working from home for internet and cell phones and how many businesses are not doing that, but I think it’s going to be a big area in which plaintiff’s attorneys out there are going to find a way to file a class action lawsuits again business owners.
Austin LaRoche: I just been so impressive of how you’ve been able to just take hold of a situation because so many different companies in different industries, they’re, they’re being disrupted and they need somebody within their industry to be some sort of voice of reason and in that thought leader. And so it’s cool to hear like your, your big point of view with everything is that you see, you see this area being somewhere where employment law is about to be shaken up.
So before all of this started though. How many webinars were you doing just regularly or maybe ever?
Cindy Flynn: I think I did four last year in total.
Austin LaRoche: I, I’ve always said that webinars, webinars are kind of like QR codes, like they’re perfect in theory. Right? And then, and then it was like, until we were all forced to work from home, like we all still wanted that, like, you know, handshake face to face and now it’s like, well.
Webinars are make complete sense. And it’s the best way for daily, continued education.
Cindy Flynn: Yes. And Austin, you know, our firm hired, ATAK your amazing company last year. And one of the things on our to do list that we talked about was getting out and putting together webinars for our clients, our prospects, our friends, our community.
And it was kind of, you know, number 101 on my to do list when we were forced to all those zoom. It’s so easy to put together a webinar and to host a webinar, and that’s where the idea actually came from you guys. So, you know, I, I’m forever grateful for that. And then Covid-19 just made it like we put it into action, right?
And, and have a full audience and. No. Just as an employment lawyer, we are trying to pump out as many free webinars to our community as possible because I really feel strongly that businesses are going to be sued this year. we’ve had four clients now in the last two weeks, come to us with demand letters from employees that they’ve gotten rid of, that they’ve terminated since Covid. So I just, I feel so strongly that I’m like, please talk to your employment lawyer or call me if you don’t have one, because, I, it’s just, it’s just an area in which, you know, some businesses are going to get into trouble, but
Austin LaRoche: It’s something that everyone’s concerned with and, you know, and anytime there’s transition, everybody wants to able to do things the right way. Right? And so being able to consult somebody like yourself is an area where I feel like in businesses that have a great advantage now. You know, even before they have to make a lot of the tough decisions and also learn a lot of things.
Cindy Flynn: I think it’s a good opportunity to work with companies like yours.
I mean, I think. I’m keeping you guys plenty busy right now with all this. Every time I put together, you know, the content, I send it over to your team for that, like design, image, you know, consistency. Cause we want to make sure with all our marketing efforts that it’s consistent throughout, right? And so your team does such an excellent job on putting together, and the final touches on all of the content that, you know, my team puts together and then making it not so much legal-ey, but common language that people can understand. So that’s another thing though. I think that now’s a good time to also focus on marketing efforts and consistency throughout your organization.
Austin LaRoche: Yeah, it’s funny. I keep telling everybody there’s like two paths you’re going to take during this time, and sometimes those are blended, right?
One is invest in infrastructure of the marketing. You always wanted that new website. You wanted to install a new CRM, like now that things have slowed down to an extent, like there’s that time to really invest in that infrastructure or, and, or, you know, invest in the thought leadership, which is what you’re doing and you’re telling your market how to get out in front of Covid-19 of how to, you know, navigate this mess.
And I think that, both those things can be, both those things can be really good investments. And I want to go back to what you were talking about with the webinars because, now that you’ve done them so often, six a week, what are some, like, what are, what would you say some do’s and don’ts would be for someone who wants to host a webinar?
Cindy Flynn: You know, I think, the more prepared you can be, like in any speech, the better, the more you can anticipate your, the questions that people are going to ask you. The better. and it gives you a chance to really be prepared and do your due diligence because, I mean, what else are you doing right now?
Right. I’m preparing for webinars. Some of the things that I think, you know, you want to avoid when doing a webinar, any presentation for that matter is reading directly off the screen. Right? Like it makes you sound like a robot. but I think that’s with any sort of speech that you get, you never want to, you want to use PowerPoint to your advantage.
And something that your team does great is, you know, I can put together a slide with like, Oh, this information. And then they take it all away and put like a picture or, you know, a graphic or something to where it’s, it’s so much easier to understand. So, but I think that just goes with not only webinars, but with any sort of presentation you’re giving.
Austin LaRoche: I absolutely, I, any, any time you can avoid having everyone reading your screen instead of listening to what you’re saying, you’ve got to take it. What about anything like a technical, I know you’ve been using yours, you used zoom for your webinars.
Cindy Flynn: I do. And it’s great. You have, it’s not the normal, zoom package.
They have something additional. Where you can have up to a hundred people in a webinar. They also have like 500 have been on 2000 person webinars and there are different structures there. But what’s nice about that is it allows you to, just see the speakers and your PowerPoint presentation or whatever you want to do as far as sharing your screen.
You don’t have to see all 100 people are all 2000 people, you know, in a single. I guess gallery view room.
Austin LaRoche: Yeah, zoom room or zoom banquet hall.
Cindy Flynn: Right, right. Great.
Austin LaRoche: So you said you’ve been doing the a hundred person, webinars for yours?
Cindy Flynn: I mean, if I do one with the bar association or something like that, it’s obviously a lot bigger or other networking organizations, you know, their limit is a thousand.
With regard to, the limits, I like to keep it to a hundred people because with our webinars that we’ve been doing is very interactive, so people can ask questions throughout and what they, what they have on there, under zoom, under webinars, is a QA section so that people can type in questions and then you can respond to the questions.
And then sometimes when it gets to a hundred people or so in a webinar. I have one of my associates on the line as well, so she’s able to answer specific people’s questions that it’s not necessary to bring to the whole group. I’ve found that to be really helpful because I’ve done webinars with a lot of people and to navigate questions and keep it flowing throughout can be challenging at times.
Austin LaRoche: I mean, it’s still a hundred and have the question moderator, to be able to help delineate. Okay.
Cindy Flynn: And I also have her chime in as well too, throughout so that it’s not my voice. I mean, with most webinars, sometimes it is my voice just talking for an hour, but it’s nice to break it up a little bit too. Okay.
Austin LaRoche: And so on the question and answers, do you, do people, do you have like a time at the end for questions or is it, you know, if anybody has a question throughout, what, what’s best practice there and how do you balance that?
Cindy Flynn: I like to do it throughout, that way if I’m talking about something in the beginning, you know, I can, my mind can stay on that subject matter and then I can answer the questions as they roll in while we’re on the slide and it’s particular and pertaining to that area that we’re talking about rather than waiting until the end. But that’s just my style, you know, I think, I think you have to go with what works best for you. But I have been, asked questions at the very end, and then I try and go back to like slide 10 and you’re like scrolling through the irrelevant information so that everybody kind of knows what you’re talking about.
Austin LaRoche: Keeps it engaging too, because people feel more involved. Well that’s great. Well, I think after hearing a little bit of, things I didn’t know as a business owner, I’m going to need to pop into one of the next, three webinars can go to your website,
Cindy Flynn: It’s HacklerFlynn.com and then I have an events section that your team put together that is amazing. And, you can either look for, our upcoming events, which, I mean, we have some scheduled out too next February already on the website. And then you can also scroll back and look at past events and see the recordings from any of those for free.
Austin LaRoche: For free? So, there’s, there’s zero reason why business owners should not go and get caught up on, on what’s what they need to know now that we’re in the age of Covid as employers.
Cindy Flynn: That’s right. That’s right.
Austin LaRoche: Awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you doing this and I, I’m excited for all the people who will continue to, to learn from you and hopefully protect themselves because of you, and thank you again.
It’s been several weeks since the United States reported its first positive case of COVID-19 (also known as Novel Coronavirus). To mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, millions of people are practicing social distancing by staying inside and avoiding crowds.
Though this practice is keeping our communities safe, it has negatively impacted a lot of companies as they are not receiving the same constant business.
However, there is a silver lining to social distancing for businesses. People are building stronger relationships with their families, friends, neighbors, and communities. This has created the perfect opportunity for companies to strengthen their relationships with their current customers.
With the virus putting most company’s acquisition activity on pause, your existing customers will have the confidence to complete purchases and act as your advocates during this time.
We have compiled some creative strategies to help you build a stronger connection with your target audience so that it will not only outlast the virus outbreak but also for years to come.
1. Assure Them Your Company Can Deliver in New, Innovative Ways
Many things are changing so you want to ensure your customers know they will still be receiving the same support from your company despite the virus’s effects on your operations. In communicating with your audience, elaborate on the value propositions they care about that you will continue to provide. Ease their hesitations.
Now comes the hard part. If you tell your customers they can be reassured that they are receiving the best qualities of your business during social distancing, you need to know how to deliver on that promise. Make no mistake, things will change. But for applicable companies, you can provide the same service to them in new, exciting ways.
Take advantage. Figure out how to replace what was with what is now and project your new direction with confidence. Make sure to keep your message clear, crisp, and confident.
2. Host a Virtual Event
Don’t let your canceled or postponed event stop you from showcasing your products and services to your customers. There are plenty of platforms and channels for you to host a virtual webinar, presentation, or panel.
Most people are looking for entertainment while they are social distancing in their homes. Let your virtual event be something for them to look forward to by providing tips and product demos, unveiling new products and services, giving a behind-the-scenes look into your business, or discussing new insights within your industry.
On social media, you can also host Facebook Live or Instagram Live events, which leads us to our next idea…
3. Increase Your Social Media Activity
It’s no secret that screen time has gone up for many people since the beginning of the quarantine. Social media is one of the biggest factors for this high activity as people are frequently checking for the latest updates on the virus.
Whether you’re posting about the virus or product offers, this is the best time to start ramping up your social media strategy. With higher posting frequency on social media, you can ensure you show up in your customers’ news feeds.
Also, be sure to offer options for your customers to contact you via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other instant messaging platforms. This will allow you to answer questions and provide other information your customers may need.
4. Video Chat with Your Customers
Give your customers some literal Face Time. If your sales team is in regular contact with your customers, have them switch to video conferencing to give a more human interaction during this time of isolation.
Video chat also allows your customers to build trust and assurance through a 1-on-1 experience with your team. Your team can answer questions in real-time, demonstrate some complementary products they own or give them an inside look into new products.
5. Support Your Customers Beyond Selling
Take a look at how your customers have been managing their efforts during the pandemic. Have they donated to an organization or started a relief of their own? If so, this would be a great opportunity to either donate to that same organization or relief to show that you and your customers share the same values.
COVID-19 has affected pretty much every industry across the board so your company can look for ways to support your industry. As part of the health & wellness community, one of our clients, Paragon Laboratories, recently donated a large supply of N95 respirators to local hospitals in the Southern California area to keep their community healthy.
Another way you could support your customers would be to provide complementary services you don’t normally offer, such as product demos or virtual training. Your company can also host free weekly webinars to showcase thought leadership and open up a conversation between you and your customers.
Companies taking any of the measures listed above will let their customers know they are trying to make their lives better despite the growing pandemic. Your customers will see that your company cares about its community, which will lead them to want to continue doing business with you. By focusing on building these relationships, your company will be in a much better position to get back on track as soon as the virus passes.
There is an opportunity for every business in every industry to use the uncertainty of this moment to utilize thought leadership. If you want to lead, what better time than in a crisis?
Thought leadership is the gateway to customer trust. By exemplifying knowledge and leadership in a given industry, thought leaders develop content that is compelling, has a strong point-of-view, and educates. This builds credibility and eases customer hesitations. In fact, Edelman’s 2019 B2B Thought Leader Impact Study found that 58% of B2B decision makers made buying decisions based on thought leadership.
Thought leadership in the time of the Coronavirus is vital. Simply put – the people willing to guide their target market towards a better future have the opportunity to come out of this crisis in better economic shape than those that sit still. Those are the stakes.
So, how do you exhibit thought leadership? Create content through this simple lens: based on my experience and knowledge, what can I provide for my customers and industry that guides them to a better tomorrow?
Your work will be an investment that should come with no immediate expectation. You’re not just educating the people that keep your company’s lights on, but also your competitors and others in the industry. You will need to be creative to standout in the crowd. Everyone is at home with a lot of time to brainstorm ideas and develop something unique.
Here’s a few ideas that may help you get ahead of the competition.
7 Creative Ways You Can Use Thought Leadership to Overcome COVID-19 Challenges
1. Create a Virtual Trade Show
One of the most common setbacks clients in the B2B space have seen is the cancellation and postponement of trade shows. This is certainly not an ideal scenario. There were thousands upon thousands of people in their target market who were planning on walking by their booth, offering an opportunity to catch their eye and begin, at the very least, a conversation. That target market still exists. In most industries, the need they have for these products and services has not vanished either.
Anyone with access to their product or service can set up individual or group meetings on Zoom to demo their product or service. Video conference technology (Zoom/GTM/Google Hangouts/etc) makes it easy. If you boil it down, all we’re suggesting is to do a video conference demo. But if you package it the right way, it becomes a can’t miss opportunity for everyone sitting at home bored out of their mind and in dire need of excitement and content.
Let’s say your company sells shoelaces.
You can email your mailing list and let them know “In lieu of Shoelace Expo 2020 being canceled, we are taking private one-on-one meetings to demo our new shoelaces. Please reach out if you’re interested.” That is something you can do, however, I doubt it would be very effective.
Due to the cancellation of Shoelace Expo 2020, our team at Schu Laces is hosting a virtual trade show Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week. We will debut 7 new product lines and provide a sneak peek to the first 10 customers that book a private appointment for Monday. Access is INVITE Only and by receiving this email, you are on the list of prospective buyers to which we are extending an invitation. Click on this calendar link now and book your spot to get an exclusive early look at the Schu Lace Spring line.”
Now that sounds a helluva lot more exciting than getting a one-on-one demo, right? It keeps the spirit of the trade show alive and provides your company with the chance to possibly bring in some partner businesses (that are not competitors) and set up different rooms, demos, and time slots.
2. Develop a Mega-Panel Webinar
Circling back to the uncertainty of COVID-19, every industry is trying to figure out “what happens next?” While no one can be certain, industry leaders should have the insight and foresight to be able to help others get an idea of where the winds are shifting.
The best way to approach this idea is to find 2-3 others you feel would make a great “panel” with you. Evaluate these potential panel-mates based on personality, chemistry, vision, audience, success, and industry-specific factors to determine who would be right to host the panel with you.
From there, come up with a title for the presentation that directly touches on your industry’s impact as a result of the virus. Don’t be afraid to go “State of the Union” with a title like “The Future of the Shoelace Industry Post-Corona” or “How the Shoelace Industry Will Look After COVID-19”. Make sure the idea is both topical and looking ahead.
Lastly, work with your panel on a rough outline of what the presentation should look like, the technology you will use, how you will organize Q&As, and how you will promote the event to your industry. Set your plan and execute it!
3. Go Live on Social Media to React to Industry News
Many thought leaders do a great job of making you feel like you could be there best friend if you knew them in real life. They are relatable and speak conversationally so that their audience feels comfortable and accepting of their message.
One of the great ways to exemplify that is by utilizing the live tools on social media. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Linkedin Live can be great resources to utilize for thought leaders.
If you’re going to go this route, stay on message, and be consistent. Let’s say you decide you want to move ahead and go live on Linkedin every day. Pick a consistent time. If you’re going to recap the news from the day, maybe look at 4 pm to 6 pm as a window. Go live and have continuity to what you are saying.
Let’s keep using our Shoelace company as an example. Their Linkedin Live might look something like:
“I’m Johnny Schu, and as we have been doing since the beginning, we’re talking about how the Shoelace market is being affected by the Coronavirus. Today, the state of California issued a ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order, effectively shutting down all not essential businesses in the country’s most populated state. The brick and mortar athletic stores on the west coast are going to take a hit, and Shoelace companies solely relying on traditional retail, especially regionally, are going to need to shift focus. Ecommerce shoe stores, such as Zappos, are still open and the expectation is that the loss of revenue from this ban may result in an uptick in online sales. If you sell shoelaces, this is another indicator that online stores should be your sole focus right now.”
That would be a way to start, but one of the key things to do with any live feed is to have at least one hour of content planned or have the ability to improvise. Live feeds get prime placement in the algorithm of most social networks, but people peruse them in and out and by going longer, you are giving yourself more time for people to come in and see the content.
Additionally, you should have a Q&A component at the end of every live session so you can answer questions and give your audience a chance to engage with you.
4. Become a Trusted Source Through Aggregation
Of all the terrifying aspects of the Coronavirus, perhaps the most horrific has been the spread of misinformation. It is so hard to keep up with what has been determined to be factual and what turns out to be bogus.
If you want to earn trust with your audience and be seen as a credible voice, one of the easiest things you can do is consolidate the most accurate and relevant information of the day and put it into a single source.
This can simply be a blog post that you email to your database and share on social media. If you can do this consistently, you will be able to garner the attention of your target market by simply only sharing and aggregating accurate and relevant information.
5. Start an Industry Slack Channel and Facilitate the COVID Conversation
Slack is a perfect platform to facilitate conversations centered around shared interests. If our friend Johnny Schu were to create a “Shoelace Industry + COVID19” Channel, he could be the straw that stirs the drink in his particular field of work.
By organizing the channel, inviting the industry folks to participate, consistently providing good information to that channel (especially if he’s already investing in aggregating this information on his blog), asking for engagement and ideas, Johnny is positioning himself as a leading voice on the topic, even if he is not providing one iota of an opinion.
Slack channels are free, easy to create and give you the perfect platform to control the message.
6. Develop a Virtual Training Program
One thing I often hear business leaders complaining about is their lack of time. COVID-19 has provided many with more time than they ever believed they would recapture. Using this time to invest in others is a great way for thought leaders to educate their employees, customers, and industry.
With software like Absorb or Mindflash, creating a virtual training program with an LMS has never been easier or more customizable. If you know the curriculum in which you want to develop, these programs will help you cross the finish line.
Remember, teaching is leading. And every industry, especially those hit hardest by the Coronavirus, needs to learn a thing or two as the pandemic extends.
7. Learn Something New and Document the Journey
Have you ever wanted to learn a new process, technology, or platform? What better time than now? And what better way to learn than to showcase the experience to your industry?
Companies see shiny new objects in their industry all the time. However, rarely do business leaders have the capacity to become early adopters. With the Coronavirus and the conditions it has built, anyone can take advantage of the newfound time and try something new – the crazy AR technology somebody told you about, the email automation platform your competitors started using – you name it. Dig your claws into it and share the journey for all to see.
If you’ve built your name as a thought leader in your industry, your opinions on the learning experience are going to carry more weight than you may realize.
In the end, these 7 ideas are all connected by a single mission – to get you to speak up and distribute your point-of-view for the world to see. How you do it is up to you, but the opportunity is yours to grasp. Are you the leader you present yourself to be? Then step up and start publishing 😉
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley
For those of us that serve in leadership positions at our respective companies, one of the most frustrating feelings is not having control. We’re used to calling the shots, making the decisions, and living with the consequences. But COVID-19 has brought a lot of unknown variables. There is still so much we do not know about the final impact this virus will have on our global economy and when or how we will come back from this. This uncertainty fuels our anxiety.
I’ve thought a lot about the choices ATAK Interactive has made and is making in response to this new world we are living in. Since Thursday, March 12th, our team has been working remotely. This shift in setting does not affect our ability to execute at 100%, and I have found that our entire team’s communication, immediacy, and efficiency increased across the board.
As an organization, we have built a set of core values that is the backbone of how we run our company, manage our clients, and fulfill our scopes. Some businesses create generic ra-ra values such as “commitment to excellence,” but at ATAK, every element of our operation – hiring, performance, attitude – is reflected in these values. We don’t have them written on the wall or until now, have ever shared them to the outside world.
I am showcasing them here today because I believe they reflect how we are responding to this pandemic, how we will continue to serve our clients as we navigate these muddy waters, and how we will empower our customers to use thought leadership to overcome COVID-19.
ATAK’s Core Values
I am the problem, I am the solution
I see possibilities
I will adapt, and I will evolve
I want to be better, I will work to be better
I will innovate where others imitate
When it comes to helping our clients and businesses navigate the challenges of COVID-19, we’re going to stay true to ourselves. We will be the solution. We will see possibilities. We will adapt. We will work hard. And we will innovate.
Over the next few weeks, ATAK will be releasing content centered around marketing during these times. We will offer ideas and examples that aim to inspire you to push through the uncertainty, find your voice, and extract your creativity.
Many things are changing in this moment, but ATAK is not. I have said for years that our job is to help companies utilize the latest technology to grow their business. No global pandemic or economic recession is going to change that.
We know now is the time when many of you need us the most. We are your partners. We are your biggest fans. And we are here, continuing to work for you, each and every day.
Over the years, the B2B marketing landscape has noticeably changed. Driving this transformation is the B2B buyer journey, which has gotten longer and more complex. 82% of B2B buyers are spending more time in the research phase, using more sources to research and evaluate products and services. And when researching, buyers make an average of 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s website.
As more companies view marketing as part of the greater buyer journey, creating an experience that immediately engages the buyers and moves them from lead to customer is the number #1 priority that B2B businesses must focus on in 2020. To help you accomplish this, we gathered 5 B2B marketing trends to shape your 2020 B2B marketing strategy.
5 B2B Marketing Trends in 2020
As the buyer journey grows more complex, so does the marketing funnel. In order to have a successful marketing strategy, focus on these five B2B marketing trends for 2020:
Align sales and marketing efforts through sales enablement
Use ABM to target specific accounts with relevant, highly personalized messaging
Invest in trade shows for lead generation
Streamline your martech into one stack
Use data to drive your messaging
1. Sales Enablement
In the 2020 B2B marketing landscape, marketing will play a bigger role in sales enablement. When marketing and sales work together, a solid sales enablement strategy can positively affect your company’s bottom line by increasing the number of customers and sales. As such, marketing must understand what resources and tools sales needs in order to efficiently move the buyer through the buyer journey—from nurturing the prospect, to closing the deal and beyond.
Resources and tools to strengthen your sales enablement strategy include:
Customer case studies highlighting your previous customer’s success to attract prospects;
Whitepapers that attract and educate your prospects on what problem your company solves;
Email sequences that automate the outreach and follow-up process to nurture and connect with leads as well as close deals;
Live chats which allow sales reps to engage with and close interested contacts in real-time;
Sales enablement software, like HubSpot, that gives a complete overview of the sales pipeline as well as access to a wide variety of marketing tools.
2. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
As more and more B2B buyers expect and value personalization, account-based marketing, or ABM, is an important trend for B2B marketers in 2020. Similar to sales enablement, ABM is a collaborative effort between marketing and sales. But, unlike a traditional marketing funnel, ABM requires marketing and sales to concentrate their resources on a specific set of target accounts and create personalized campaigns for each account. These campaigns contain messaging designed to address the specific needs and motivations of that specific account to immediately engage them and bring them into the buyer journey.
With such a high degree of personalization, ABM is typically more successful at generating higher quality leads and maintaining customer relationships. ITSMA found that 87% of marketers that measure ROI saw ABM outperforming every other marketing investment. This makes account-based marketing an essential trend to adopt to your overall marketing strategy.
3. Trade Show Marketing
In an increasingly digital-focused landscape, trade show marketing is still a valuable B2B marketing strategy in 2020. A solid B2B lead generation strategy, trade shows give you and your company the opportunity to (1) engage with high quality leads in-person and (2) increase brand awareness among your target audience. B2B marketers who use ABM should especially invest in trade shows as these events provide the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with buyers from target accounts.
In the past, the main challenge of trade show marketing for B2B marketers has been measuring the success of their participation. However, this is rapidly changing. With a rise of martech and CRM systems like HubSpot, marketers now have access to better data on how many leads and sales conversions were generated from the trade show. This greater trackability makes trade shows are a worthwhile investment for B2B marketing in 2020.
4. Martech Stack Consolidation
As we see continued growth within the martech industry (the number of martech companies has grown from approximately 150 to 7,000 in 2018), an important B2B marketing trend in 2020 is consolidating your company’s marketing technologies, or martech, into one optimized stack.
Juggling several different marketing technologies in a marketing campaign can create compatibility issues that disrupt your B2B sales and marketing pipeline. So, cutting back and focusing on the ones that actually work is the key to enhancing your B2B marketing efforts. An optimized stack of one or two solutions to handle multiple functions and offer integration with other platforms will streamline your marketing strategy. Martech consolidation means all your data will be in one place and less time will be spent on training your employees.
Data is an essential component of running a successful marketing campaign. It provides deep insight into who your target market is (which helps you attract higher quality leads), and where your customer is within the buyer’s journey.
Leveraging this data to create personalized B2B marketing campaigns for your target audience is proving to be a huge trend in 2020. Data-driven messaging is all about focusing on your users and delivering experiences that are relevant to them in order to boost your lead generation efforts. In addition, using data gathered from Google Analytics and/or your martech stack will help your B2B marketers build stronger relationships with the businesses they are targeting. With so much data to comb through, it is important to look at meaningful metricsto get an accurate picture of your B2B marketing efforts.
The B2B marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Buying behaviors of B2B buyers have shifted significantly and are continuing to do so today. To keep up, B2B marketers must adopt these 5 B2B marketing trends to get high-quality leads and the results they want from their 2020 marketing strategy.
On January 1st of this year, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect. It’s the first major comprehensive privacy legislation to be passed in the U.S. for over two decades.
The landmark act gives California consumers control over their online personal information and how a company uses it. More specifically, the CCPA supports California residents with their right to access and review their personal information, as well as know:
What personal information about them is being collected, used, shared, or sold;
Whether their personal information is being sold and to whom; and
How to opt-out of the sale of their personal information.
Additionally, the CCPA grants California consumers the ability to ask companies to delete all of their collected personal data and sue those companies if the privacy guidelines were violated.
If notified of a violation, companies have 30 days to comply with the CCPA regulations, with fines up to $7,500 per consumer record if not resolved. Large tech companies, such as Facebook and Google, have already been hit with billion-dollar lawsuits over violations of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a data privacy law that compares similarly to the CCPA.
Smaller companies, however, do not have that kind of money, leaving them vulnerable to the new legislation. To help your business prepare for the CCPA and avoid unnecessary lawsuits, we have compiled a list of the biggest myths that have been circulating the new law.
Myth #1: Your Business Is NOT Affected Because It’s Not Based in California
Currently, the CCPA affects businesses that meet one of the following criteria:
Gross annual revenue of over $25M;
Buy, receive, or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; and/or
Derive 50% or more of annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.
Some companies meet this criterion but believe they are not affected by the privacy law because they are not based in California; however, this is not true. Companies do not need to be based in California, have a physical presence in the state, or even be in the U.S. to be affected by the new law. If they meet the criterion above and serve California residents, they must comply with the CCPA regulations.
This may come as a surprise, but GDPR compliance does not mean your company is compliant with the CCPA. The biggest difference between the two is that the new privacy law definition of personal data is more expansive than GDPR’s definition. This may drastically impact the data mapping efforts your business implemented to receive GDPR compliance, and additional efforts may need to be taken to comply with the CCPA.
Myth #3: The Information Your Business Has Is Not “Personal Information”
Compared to GDPR, the CCPA has a broader description of the type of personal information considered sensitive. According to the CCPA, personal information can be described as:
Identifiers (name, postal address, IP address, email address, account name, social security number, driver’s license number, etc.);
Characteristics of protected classification under California or federal law;
Commercial information (personal property records, products or services purchased, purchasing history and tendencies, etc.);
Professional or employment-related information;
Education information; and/or
Audio, electronic, visual, or thermal information.
Basically, if you’re collecting a person’s data online marketing, advertising or other digital initiatives, you more than likely have collected at least one type of personal information. But don’t worry, this isn’t the issue.
The real problem is when a consumer requests a record of their personal information collected by your company. A company has 45 days after the request to provide a comprehensive report of all personal information records. This can be challenging for most companies, as identifying and compiling all data records can be extremely time-consuming.
A good strategy to avoid this problem is to gather less data. Many companies don’t know what personal data they’re collecting, so it may be beneficial to look into the type of information you’re collecting from your customers and assess which areas are unnecessary. This will help your business avoid any legal trouble, as well as potentially create an opportunity to differentiate yourself by showcasing the type of solid privacy protection practices your company employs.
Myth #4: Being Quick to Change Your Policies Is the Best Plan of Action
Though it’s usually better to get things done promptly, the CCPA is the exception to this rule. Data privacy is relatively new to legislation and will continue to be an ongoing process. This means that the current regulations will most likely change in the coming years, so you don’t want to spend so much time and energy into updating all of your policies, only for them to be updated again within a short period.
The best approach to complying with the CCPA is to audit your practices and determine where you stand with personal data and how it is collected, stored, handled, and disclosed. From here, you should be in a good position to identify the next steps in updating your policies. However, it’s worth noting that once these policies are updated, you should revisit them regularly to ensure compliance with the CCPA and avoid any legal actions against your company.
The CCPA has been in effect for only a few months but has already sparked plenty of questions and concerns among businesses and privacy advocates. This is just the start of a trend of increased regulations around consumer privacy, as other states are drafting up their own privacy laws. For now, your company should focus on complying with the CCPA and developing a strategy to handle consumer requests for their personal information records.
Customers fuel the growth of any company. That’s why making sure your customers are receiving the most amount of value out of their relationship with you is important to your company’s marketing efforts. Email marketing is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolbox, with one of the highest returns on investment (ROI): an average return of $42 for every $1 spent, compared to organic and paid social media advertising, organic and paid search, and display ads. In addition, as of 2018, 59% of marketers said that email was their biggest source of ROI. As the primary channel to engage your contacts, you need to optimize your emails with A/B testing to ensure you’re getting the most out of the channel.
Because emails are so important when it comes to nurturing your customers (59% of customers have stated that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions), optimizing your emails to add the right kind of value is a crucial step. For those looking to maximize the ROI of their marketing efforts, here is an overview of email split testing.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method of testing two different versions of the same email, with a sample of your audience, to see which one performs better. It tests your regular email (version A) against a variation of your email (version B), where a single element—like a subject line or call-to-action—has changed.
It is important that you only test one element at a time for accurate results. For example, although your audience opens the email, you noticed they were not clicking through to your website. So, when conducting the A/B test, you would only change the wording of your call-to-action in version B and analyze how your click-through rate has changed.
But why is it so important?
Sending the right content to the right audience at the right time equals marketing success. Small differences, like a personalized subject line, call-to-action button, or a later send time can greatly influence the audience’s engagement with the email. That’s why A/B testing and using the data you uncover to improve your emails are so important.
Using concrete data from your split tests, you can make informed decisions about your email marketing campaigns and see if they are performing according to set goals or not. You can even create more effective campaigns, which will lead to more engagement from your audience and, ultimately, more conversions.
Now that you know why email A/B testing should be an essential part of your marketing strategy, here are five easy steps on how to split test.
How can I A/B test?
1. Look at your email metrics and set a goal.
Analyze your data from past emails before you start split testing. By looking at your metrics, you can set a baseline for measuring your success and notice any areas of improvement. Once you figure out what you want to improve, set a S.M.A.R.T. goal for yourself, a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
For example, after doing some research, you’ve noticed the open rates for your promotional emails, which have historically averaged over 18%, have declined the past few weeks. So, your goal may sound like this: “I want to bring my open rates back up to 18%, two weeks from now.”
2. Decide what elements of your email you want to A/B test.
Based on your goal, focus on an email element you want to test. Each element directly affects different parts of the conversion process, so make sure to choose carefully. Testing different versions of your design layout, for example, will directly affect how many people click through to your website.
Here is a list of several elements you can test:
Design and layout
Using the example at step 1, you can test if a more specific and urgent subject line along the lines of “Say goodbye to your exclusive 20% offer!” will increase your open rates more than something like “Last chance to purchase!”
3. Create your marketing campaign.
The next step is to create your marketing emails. Create an email, version A, based on your past ones. Keeping version A in line with your past campaigns creates a baseline, a standard, you can test your variant against. Based on version A, you can alter the element you decided on in step 2 to create version B of the split test.
4. Segment your audience into two sample sizes.
Create two sample sizes from your audience list. Make sure both sizes are similar and large enough in order to make your test is accurate. If you use HubSpot like we do, your sample sizes will be automatically calculated for you. HubSpot recommends you have at least 1,000 contacts to see statistically significant results. But, for those who don’t use a marketing tool, an easy and good rule of thumb is to divide your audience 50/50. You can send version A to one segment of your audience and version B to the other.
5. Analyze your results.
Once the test has started, it is best practice to let your test run for at least 1-2 weeks to get verifiable results. A common mistake when split testing is ending the test too quickly. Since some subscribers may open emails days after it has been sent, it is important to wait before analyzing your results. When the test has officially closed, HubSpot will automatically tell you which version won. But if you don’t have access to HubSpot, here are two free split testing calculators to help you decide the winner: Neil Patel’s A/B Testing Calculator and Survey Monkey’s A/B Testing Calculator.
With the data you gained from split testing, you can now take actionable steps to help improve and grow your email marketing campaign. If your test has proved inconclusive, don’t be discouraged! The great thing about A/B testing is that you can test as many times as you want. Consistently using split testing will optimize your email campaign so you can maximize the value you provide to your customers.
If you are looking for a way to boost your marketing efforts, we’re here to help! Contact us today to take the first step towards marketing with purpose.
In the summer of 2018, I made a decision I did not think I would ever make – I decided that ATAK Interactive needed to become a HubSpot agency. For years, I railed against HubSpot’s Inbound Methodology, which I found, and still find, misleading and ineffective. But once I looked under the hood, I recognized that “Inbound” was a marketing ploy the company used to get more users and agencies to adopt the system and that beneath the “if you blog, they will come” nonsense was an incredible piece of software.
A year and a half later, I couldn’t be a bigger HubSpot evangelist.
As I wrote a few weeks back, the biggest benefit of HubSpot is its ability to combine sales and marketing. I couldn’t recommend a better tool for merging these two impactful growth areas (marketing and sales) that will see each department transform into a single entity over the next decade. And after spreading this message to prospects and customers over the past 20 months, we are entering a new chapter in our relationship with the company.
This spring, ATAK Interactive is being named a HubSpot Gold Partner, after successfully implementing the system with our clients and proving to be a valuable agency partner that helps businesses implement and optimize the tool. We are grateful to the HubSpot team and their support in helping us learn the best practices for agencies, teaching us new ways to use the product, and being there to answer all of our “rookie” questions.
To celebrate what we have achieved with the tool, we wanted to share a couple of features and capabilities that our clients have loved most about the HubSpot…
The Salesforce Integration
Enterprise sales teams typically use Salesforce. As one of my friends in the SaaS world likes to joke, when someone asks her “what CRM do you use?” she replies, “is there more than one?” nodding to Salesforce. The experience sales teams have with the tool was the driver in helping them grow to a billion-dollar company. Unfortunately, the marketing tools they have in their Marketing Cloud and Pardot do not typically have the same positive reception. This is what makes the Salesforce and HubSpot integration so powerful. It’s combining two amazing pieces of technology, so sales teams can utilize the workflows, customer behavior monitoring, and automation tools that marketers have loved for years. While the integration can be tedious depending on contacts, properties, and historical data, the two platforms play nice together and the integration is fairly seamless.
ATAK always aims to be a sales team’s best friend. Whether it’s constructing clear messages, designing attractive collateral, or generating qualified leads, we try to give our partners all the ammo they need to grow their business. The latest is how we can develop sequences and workflows for their sales teams to automate – but still personalize – their outreach emails to prospects and leads. Beyond the simple construction of workflows, sales teams can be notified when prospects open an email, click a link, or visit one of their website pages, giving them valuable insight as to what matters most to that particular lead. It’s easy to build, easy to customize, and helps save time for our “best friends.”
While I won’t keep harping on just how much HubSpot streamlines sales and marketing (even if it TOTALLY does!), I’ll illustrate that streamlining different areas of your business can go far beyond these two arms of a business. For starters, HubSpot’s Service Hub houses customer service tools like a ticketing system, ticketing pipeline, live chat, conversational bots, and more. Having Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service all on the same page, seeing what’s going on with important customers and prospects, is incredibly value. However, some clients take it even further. Whether they’re integrating HubSpot with project management tools like Asana, finance tools like Quickbooks, or communication tools like Slack, companies can make sure their systems are working together. One client of ours even built a 12-step development process they use for their clients into HubSpot so every person in their company can see where each customer is in their journey.
If you’re interested in learning more about how HubSpot can benefit your business, and you want to talk to a GOLD Partner (high fives all around #TeamATAK), feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you carve a vision of how your company can get the most out of the tool.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone on our team that has helped our customers grow with HubSpot. 👊
“The hurt caused to companies (of any size) by the technology silos between marketing and sales departments will force a fundamental relook at how they deploy these technologies. Marketing & sales can no longer afford to be separated technologically or strategically – bridging the age-old gap has to happen now to ensure continued revenue growth.”
Satya Krishnaswamy, Head of Personalization, Adobe
If you believe the gap between Sales and Marketing functions in the B2B space is going to continue to close in the 2020s, look no further than the technology. While we can outline the many reasons sales and marketing departments have been at odds over the years, it’s safe to say there’s never been a time when getting these two on the same page has been easier.
For companies that use HubSpot, multiply that last sentence by 10x.
Traditionally, HubSpot has marketed itself as a platform for inbound marketing. They created the category “inbound marketing,” and built the technology to support that function to great success in the mid-2000s and early 2010s. But the true strength of the platform has shifted.
Inbound used to promote itself through an “if you blog it, they will come” lens. Create compelling content, publish it on your blog, schedule it on your social media channels, and watch as your inbox gets flooded with leads! That part of inbound has and always will be a myth. But the part of inbound that DOES work is utilizing the content you’re creating in all parts of the customer lifecycle to help grow the company.
Nowadays, HubSpot’s strength is that it allows sales teams to see how effective its marketing team is performing for each contact, understand what the prospect is actually interested in, and change the conversation accordingly. Essentially, this is the technology answer to changing this…
Somehow, the company that railed against sales teams and outbound tactics has built the perfect tool for them to gather the intelligence they need to succeed at their job.
In 2014, HubSpot added a CRM. Since then, it has added a fully flourished Sales Hub with tools for outreach, lead nurturing, pipeline segmentation, and so much more. Its technology essentially “spies” on any prospect who has given you their information (whether through one of your website forms, or via email) and you can track, among others, every email they open, blog post they read, and page on your website they visit.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Let’s look at how each operates:
On the left, you see how Sales teams generally Attract, Connect, Close, and Delight their prospects and customers. On the right, you see the same for marketing.
Let’s look at how Marketing + Sales teams use HubSpot at each step.
For sales, it’s never been easier to automate outreach than it is with HubSpot. If you have a prospect list you built through LinkedIn or other means, you can put prospects into an automated sequence with ease.
With Marketing, all of your Google Ad tracking is seamlessly integrated into HubSpot, and your social media posts can be published directly through the platform.
For salespeople, connecting generally occurs during conversation and opens up an opportunity to educate someone on what it is they do. Creating personalized content through templated landing pages and emails is simple and intuitive with HubSpot. When you connect HubSpot forms, any lead generated becomes automatically entered into your CRM and as mentioned above, you will now be able to watch their every move 😉
The process from Connect to Close varies in length and difficulty for companies. But for Sales and Marketing teams looking to come together, this is where the tool plays nicely.
With the email integrations, workflows can be automated based on prospect behavior. Not returning an email? Let’s send Prospect A into Workflow A and remind them 3 days from now. Did they visit our website? Let’s send Prospect B into Workflow B and provide more educational content based on which page they came to.
Sales teams can use email templates based on situations, have meetings scheduled from their calendars, enroll prospects in a series of highly personalized email sequences, and find relevant files easily as they try to close their prospect into a customer.
There are two types of customer delight – educational and experiential. HubSpot makes the educational part of delighting a customer – teaching them the latest and greatest – incredibly easy and relevant.
Their SEO tool helps you research topics that people are showing interest in, and offer some derivatives as well, enabling you to create blog content relevant to your audience. As mentioned earlier, you can schedule your social media posts straight from their publishing tool. As your contacts start interacting with your content, HubSpot allows you to track this behavior, so you can gain the intel needed to write the perfect follow-up to topics.
But the biggest benefit? Everybody’s playing in the same sandbox!
Too often, the divide between marketing and sales is how they are siloed. With HubSpot, each department has access to the same files, can monitor where prospects are in the customer lifecycle and make smart decisions accordingly, and run reports that show the effectiveness of their efforts.
The structural benefits of having the Sales Hub where one department lives each day integrated with the Marketing Hub, where the other department lives, allows all parties to row the boat in the same direction, coming together to help grow your company.
Google BERT marks another major update to the company’s search algorithm in 2019.
The Most Important Update in Five Years
At the end of October 2019, Google announced a Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers update, lovingly referred to as BERT. Google also took the unusual step of announcing that the release was the most significant update to its search algorithm in five years. They also stated that they expected BERT to impact at least 10% of ALL search queries.
“Well, by applying BERT models to both ranking and featured snippets in Search, we’re able to do a much better job helping you find useful information. In fact, when it comes to ranking results, BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches in the U.S. in English, and we’ll bring this to more languages and locales over time.
Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”
In a nutshell, BERT has resulted in a significant leap in Google’s ability to not only better understand the context in queries, but to also apply the learning to longer and more conversational search queries.
Google has been able to reach this breakthrough in query processing thanks to its work in neural networks and machine learning.
What Does BERT Mean for My Site’s SEO?
The long and short of it is, not much and everything.
Because BERT deals with the way Google interprets user’s search queries, it doesn’t directly affect your on-site SEO. However, since Google is now much better at taking context into account, it’s far more critical than ever for your site content to be clear and well written.
SEOs should look to focus on creating highly specific, well-written content. Your content should be unique, authoritative, and trustworthy.
Ok, but Can I See Some Examples of Google BERT in Action…
We get it. It can be hard to understand how Google BERT is going to affect search queries.
Let’s look at some examples provided by Google:
Notice how the search results changed drastically after BERT has been applied.
Instead of returning a news article bout travel to Brazil, the algorithm is now intelligent enough to understand the intent of the searcher and provides a result that answers the search query more accurately.
In this example, we once again see how Google BERT has greatly improved the understanding of the context of a question. The much-improved understanding of the search query provides a much better search result that not only answers the user’s question, but also understands their intent.
So far, we’ve told you what Google BERT is and what it does. We’ve also told you it’s going to affect a large number of searches and search results. That all sounds bad, but we promise it’s not.
While the update may lead to a drop in search traffic, that’s not necessarily a terrible thing.
Well, because Google is now better able to understand the context of queries, it should do a much better job of weeding out traffic that is not likely to convert and probably should never have visited your site in the first place.
Lastly, BERT is an excellent reminder to all SEOs to go back and review their site content.
In cases where you do see a drop in traffic, take the time to review the content on those pages and refresh and optimize them as necessary.
SEO has long been about creating unique, quality content, and Google BERT is another reminder that allof the content you create should focus on answering the questions your site visitors are asking.
If you believe your site has been affected by the Google BERT update? ATAK can help …..Contact Us Today.
With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is, without a doubt, the most important social media network today. As marketers, it is impossible to ignore these statistics and the treasure trove of data these billions of users have given Facebook access to. Thanks to this insight, you can now create Facebook audiences that can help take your business to the next level.
Read on to learn more about how Facebook has turned this data into actionable data that has allowed marketers to cut through the noise and target the right customers at the right time.
With your standard pay per click (PPC) advertising model, marketers are tasked with making educated guesses (at best) about their prospective customer’s intents and habits. That means trying to find the keywords they’re most likely to use when searching for your service or product. Altogether, that limits a marketers ability to target potential customers and despite the best data, still involves some guessing and luck.
Facebook is different.
Because of the immense wealth of knowledge they have gathered from their users, they have given advertisers incredible control over who they are targeting, when they’re targeting them, and how they’re targeting them.
One quick thing: The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that needs to be installed on your site before you can take advantage of Facebook’s targeting options. Check out our post on the Facebook Pixel to learn more about it and how to set it up.
Now, let’s dive into Facebook targeting options.
Facebook targeting options are organized around “audiences.” You can think of audiences as the market(s) or persona(s) you are looking to target with your services, products, and marketing message. They allow you to target broadly or very specifically with options like age, gender, location, interests, job title, education, and more.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg and still involves a fair bit of guessing about your ideal customer’s demographics, interests, and more.
Thankfully, Facebook provides marketers with 3 core audience types that allow for varying degrees of specificity: 1) Saved Audiences, 2) Custom Audiences, and 3) Lookalike Audiences.
Let’s start with ‘Saved Audiences.’
Saved audiences will be familiar to every marketer out there, especially those that regularly work with personas.
These audiences allow you to target to market and customer demographics like the ones mentioned above. You can then save the audience and continue to use or modify it across different campaigns.
Despite how well you know the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer or client, saved audiences are still cold audiences and should be treated as such. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid them. In fact, custom and lookalike audiences both depend on saved audiences to be most effective, so spend some time making them as dialed in as possible.
Once you nail down your saved audiences, it’s time to move on Facebook’s higher converting audience options: Custom Audiences.
Custom audiences are Facebook’s highest converting targeting option and with good reason.
These audiences allow you to craft audiences in a few ways. For example, you can upload a list of customer emails or phone numbers, and once matched, show ads to just those groups of people.
If you have installed the Facebook pixel on your site (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), you can create audiences based off any number of actions people have taken on your website.
You can target people who have visited your website, specific pages on your site, and/or performed specific actions while there. If you have an app, you can target people based on the actions they’ve taken while using it.
Custom audiences are so powerful because you get to skip having to guess who your ideal client or customer is. With the information custom audiences provide, you can target your ideal customer with an exact marketing message at the perfect time.
If you’re serious about using Facebook ads to drive business growth, taking your time to create valuable custom audiences is well worth the effort. By doing so, you’ll put yourself in an excellent position to take full advantage of Lookalike Audiences.
Finally, we have lookalike audiences.
Once you have a created valuable custom audiences, Facebook can use its vast data to match the users in your custom audiences with other Facebook users that share many of the same characteristics.
With lookalike audiences, you can then target users that you would never have known to target otherwise.
One thing to keep in mind regarding lookalike audiences: Facebook gives you multiple options to pick from when it comes to the size of your audience. The smaller your audience, the more closely it will match your target audience, the bigger the audience, the broader, less exact your matching will be.
One Last Thing…
Although Facebook’s targeting options make our lives easier as marketers, there are still some best practices we need to follow to get the most out of the platform.
First, you need to make sure you are placing your audiences in their correct places along your buyer’s journey. Treating a lookalike audience as if they are a long-time customer is a sure-fire way to waste the advantage those audiences are giving you.
Second, your marketing message matters! You still need to address your customer’s pain points, your unique selling proposition.
Finally, make sure your message is tailored to where your audience is in their buyer’s journey.
We hope you can see why Facebook’s targeting options are crucial in today’s advertising climate. With countless options ranging from broad to pin-point specifics, Facebook has given marketers a powerful tool to add to their marketing toolkits.
With more than 1 billion active daily users, Facebook has become a staple of many people’s daily lives. As an eCommerce business today, the social network is virtually impossible to ignore and doing so can significantly impact sales and performance. 2018 statistics show that more than 93% of marketers use Facebook for advertising and more than 3 million businesses use Facebook to promote their services or products. Facebook has taken notice of these statistics as well and it has taken the immense amount of data it collects to help advertisers market their products and services to their ideal customers at the ideal time. Read on to learn how the Facebook Pixel is essential for businesses looking for eCommerce success on Facebook.
What is the Facebook Pixel?
With more than 2 billion monthly users, the chances of reaching your ideal audience on Facebook are high. But, as all marketers know, reaching your customers is only half the battle. You also need to be able to serve them with the correct marketing message at the correct time. That means using analytics to know what products and services matter to them most, when they’ve added products to their cart but failed to check out, and more.
Enter the Facebook Pixel. Facebook created the pixel to provide marketers with a way to trackthe performance of their advertising efforts. More importantly, the pixel tracks the actions users take after clicking on an ad on Facebook. The pixel is simply a piece of code that gets added to every page of your website. The pixel is simple to install if you are comfortable working with your website’s code. Otherwise, a web developer can easily help complete the task.
Once installed, the pixel is triggered when someone visits your website and takes an action(s). Itthen reports this action. These actions are important in two ways:
They allow you build custom audiences that help you find more potential customers and clients
they allow Facebook’s algorithm to become better and better at serving your ads to people that will be more likely to take certain actions. Some of the actions you can track include pages/products viewed, items added to cart, abandoned carts, checkouts, and more.
As a marketer, having access to this information should put a giant smile on your face.
What Can The Pixel Do?
As we mentioned above, one of the greatest features of the Facebook Pixel is the ability to create custom audiences, and by extension lookalike audiences. Because the pixel can track several actions, it gives marketers the ability to create highly targeted visitor segments and serve them ads tightly tied to the actions or products they have interacted with. That alone would be an incredible advantage for marketers.
However, because Facebook has collected so much data from its users, it can also use custom audiences to find other people with the same likes, interests, and characteristics. These audiences are called “Lookalike Audiences” and can help you reach millions of additional potential customers.
Can you see how helpful that is to marketers constantly on the lookout for new customers? Marketing strives to create a personal connection with potential customers and having the ability to cut through the noise with targeted messages is a tremendous advantage.
The real beauty of the pixel, however, is in its ability to track your visitors’ actions.The pixel allows you to dynamically target users with ads for the exact products or services they were viewing. You can target users who placed items in their cart but did not checkout with special offers to entice them to come back and complete their purchase. You can even walk a potential client through your entire funnel by setting up the pixel to track their actions on your site.
What If I Use A Software Platform Like Shopify or Magento?
Luckily, because the pixel is a simple piece of code, it can work across a wide number of websites.
If your business runs on a popular eCommerce platform like Shopify or Magento, the process is even easier. As preferred partners, both Magento and Shopify make it even easier to install the Facebook Pixel and start collecting data.
Regardless of your website’s backend, there is no reason not to have the Facebook Pixel installed and collecting data.
As we hope you can see, the Facebook Pixel is a powerful piece of code that can help supercharge your business. With the help of the pixel, through custom or lookalike audiences, reaching your target personas and fine-tuning your targeting helps maximize marketing budget and minimizes wasted spend. Once you’ve reached your target audience, the pixel takes things a step further and allows you to target them with messages that address the actions they have taken and interests they have shown on your website. For marketers, this combination should be too good to pass up.
At ATAK, we understand the incredible advantage the Facebook Pixel provides and so we ensure pixel tracking is implemented across all our client’s websites and eCommerce stores.
We hope we’ve given you a good idea of what the Facebook Pixel is and why having it installed on your website is non-negotiable. If you have any questions about the pixel, feel free to reach out. We’d love to chat!
Ed Note: This week, ATAK’s Marketing Manager Sarah Shimoda shares some insight on the real Instagram metrics you should be focusing on. For help attracting, connecting, closing, and delighting your customers on Instagram, schedule a consultation with us today. Enjoy!
Instagram has changed over the past few years and is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. The company launched the Boomerang photo app in 2015, shifted their chronological algorithm in early 2016 to show users the “best” posts first, and introduced their version of Snapchat, Stories, that transformed the product completely. With all these changes and features Instagram produces and hitting over 600 million monthly active users, it has earned its spot as one of the top social media channels, making it a crucial platform for businesses, big or small.
When it comes to companies using Instagram, posting about their product and using fun hashtags are one thing (or two things, technically), but it can get a little daunting when it comes to looking at the actual numbers and understanding the impact of users responding to posts. Let’s break down some of the most important metrics to measure when it comes to your business’s Instagram account.
This goes without saying, but it’s safe to conclude that pretty much everyone likes to be liked — both in real life and in the digital space. When you have an Instagram account for your business, receiving a bunch of likes and comments not only gives you a sense of validation in your product, but also gives you important metrics to help you measure your account’s engagement to give you an idea of how your content is performing and how it resonates with your customers and potential customers.
Key Metric to Pay Attention to
Your profile’s engagement rate is arguably the most vital metric to take into account when it comes to Instagram. After all, Instagram’s new algorithm looks to bump the most engaging posts to the top in order to enhance the users’ experience. According to Iconosquare, the sweet spot for an account’s engagement rate falls between 3-6%. Being available to respond immediately to comments is a crucial component in order to help increase your chances of getting more engagement on your post, and achieving your goals.
We are all familiar with accounts that have thousands of followers, but upon digging deeper in their feed, we find they have noticeably low likes and comments compared to how many followers they have. Not only is it off-putting, but it deters the user from your call-to-action, whether it’s something as simple as leaving a comment or subscribing to your newsletter. Don’t be one of these accounts!
Think of engaging with people on your account as a form of customer service. In real life when dealing with customers, good or bad, you wouldn’t just ignore them, right? You would engage with them. Having conversations with your customers through the comments section is a way to have them return to your account and continue engaging with the content you put out. This is especially important when you are in the process of growing your following. Of course, once you start getting hundreds of comments per post, it’s nearly impossible to keep up and respond to each one, but it’s certainly a good habit to start early on to show your customers you’re a real person.
Determining your audience is a vital part of helping you figure out who your customers are — which is one of the first things to think about when mapping out your marketing strategy. In your Instagram account, you can learn some interesting facts about your followers, such as location, age range, gender, and even the day and time your followers tend to be the most active on Instagram. With this type of data in hand, it’s a great place to start to test out different content that aligns with your demographic.
Key Metric to Pay Attention to
Aside from metrics such as gender, location, and age, Instagram has another metric under Audience that provides data on the average times and days your followers are on Instagram. In the example below, we see a good amount of this account’s followers are on Instagram around 3pm on Mondays. This tells us they should plan to release their upcoming posts at this time and assess its performance from there.
Rolled out in 2016, Stories is Instagram’s version of Snapchat, which allows users to post photos or videos that are visible for 24 hours. Stories play a big role in Instagram now, with users interacting just as much with this as regular posts, and we think a part of this is due to Stories being right at the top when you open Instagram. With that, if it makes sense for your business, Stories would be a great thing to participate in, if you aren’t already.
Additionally, Instagram added a feature to this called “Highlights” where you can choose some of your past Stories and make them visible and permanent on your Instagram account, under your bio. Think of these as the best of your Stories that you think are useful and worth having users return to, hence calling them highlights. This would be good to document a product launch, an ongoing giveaway or contest, tutorials and more.
Key Metric to Pay Attention to
Some of the important metrics related to Stories you should take note of are Forward and Back. These are the actions that users do when they are viewing your Stories. If you’re seeing a lot of users tapping forward on your Stories, it’s important for you to try to determine why. Typically, this is a good indicator that your content didn’t resonate with the user, so be sure to make note of that and try to optimize your future Stories to prevent forward taps. On the other hand, if you’re seeing some traction on your back taps, then this could potentially mean your story caught the user’s eye, and they wanted to go back and view it again, which is good! Be sure to take note of that content and test it in future Stories.
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the top Instagram metrics, you have the knowledge to confidently dive into your account to analyze your numbers in order to determine the next steps to improve your content and grow your following.
Ed. note: Today, ATAK’s very own Content Marketing Coordinator, Meredith Burns, is sharing a few thoughts on her goal to learn more about the importance of inbound marketing. Enjoy!
Up until a few months ago, I had about as much marketing experience as your local neighborhood kid selling lemonade at the end of the street. I knew that a good-looking sign, the need for refreshment, and an affordable price of 50¢ a cup were what I needed to make the sale. Seemed easy enough to get the hang of, right? My previous education and career background had prepared me for the classical music and digital media markets, so I had dabbled in self-promotion before. I was looking for a career change that would let me express myself but also give me the opportunity to help others in the process. My nature is to seek out a challenge, so I pursued a career in a totally different area. After months of taking volunteer jobs and applying, I landed a spot at ATAK Interactive. And so, my journey began!
I had quite a bit of ground to make up on the marketing front. I was quickly introduced to HubSpot as a guide. My new managers and colleagues encouraged me to take a look into the courses on HubSpot Academy. One of my goals for my first quarter of employment was to complete and pass the Inbound certification. I had never heard of Inbound but it sounded good and I knew that it was something that our company had implemented in their strategy. I was preparing myself for a whole new way of thinking. This felt like a great way to dive head-first into the marketing pool.
My first impression of Inbound: not blown away. Turns out the main concept behind Inbound was something I felt like I had been doing since my lemonade stand days. According to HubSpot, Inbound is the “philosophy based around helping people.” It was neither groundbreaking nor a new concept to me. Sure, seems like a great way to generate leads and get people to like you. People love being helped! The Inbound that HubSpot gives us comes off as an “if you blog it, tweet it, Instagram it, they will come” approach.
With that being said, Inbound does have its strengths. There are quite a few tools that have been helpful in my professional growth. Here are some of the things that worked for me from a fresh standpoint:
The main aspect of this method that I liked is that it was a systemized process. Some of it is overcomplicated, but for the most part, it gave me the guidelines I needed.
Attract, Engage, Delight: It has a nice ring to it. It’s a logical way to market. With this process, both the business and the customer benefit in the end. I can think of MANY companies that could really benefit from a reminder of the “delight” stage. Inbound does a good job of making it understood that the process must be continuous and that appreciating the customer for their opinions and perspective will encourage them to come back for more. In my few months here, I have seen how invaluable this is. With so many personalities and perspectives, a majority of clients/customers will respond best to an empathetic employee.
Building a SCOPE
SCOPE stands for Standardize for consistency, Contextualize for relevance, Optimize for clarity, Personalize for impact, Empathize for perspective. These steps fit within attract, engage, delight and are another broken down process that I think is easy to lose sight of. As a content creator and project manager, this process is especially relevant to my daily work. If I am not making timely and relevant content, then I am not really creating anything of much value. My job is to guide clients who have little to no experience in managing their digital image. The SCOPE model is helpful for both myself and my clients to monitor their social media presence
What Didn’t Work
Combining Funnels and Flywheels
HubSpot started to lose me on this one. It was way too complicated, and the metaphor just didn’t click for me. I understood the purpose of the flywheel (as representing company growth), but when they tried to fit “funnels” (a representation of the different steps in the Buyer’s Journey) INSIDE of a flywheel, it seemed messy. I had to re-watch the video so that I could pass the test, and I still didn’t quite grasp it.
Inbound is PASSIVE
This is a biggie. The Attract stage of the Inbound methodology is supposed to be the moment when the prospective client becomes hooked. The components of this stage include: posting ads, videos, blogs, and creating unique content for social media based on a content strategy. Yes, all of these are great ways to get your information out there, but as someone who comes from a non-marketing background, I was expecting to learn a more aggressive way to make a first impression. This version of Inbound seems to rely solely on digital avenues that don’t require much conversation. This is a more hands-off approach.
On the flip side, being too aggressive can definitely drive people away. I can’t count the number of times that the fitness club, Equinox, has contacted me within the first week of me expressing even the slightest amount of interest in membership. It honestly drove me away and made me feel like they needed me more than I needed them. Desperate much? So in that sense, airing on the passive side does sound safe. However, just putting out a blog or posting a cool graphic and hoping that it will make an impression is not going to be the only way to get a lead. Setting up a phone call, face-to-face meeting, and showing up a to support your client at events have gone a long way for me so far in my marketing career.
Why Did I Need to Learn This?
I sat down with ATAK Interactive’s CMO, Austin LaRoche (aka, my boss’s boss’s boss), to get the 411 on how this actually is going to help me out in the long run. Here were a few key points he made:
Inbound gets misconstrued and essentially has just become the nomenclature for how we define our online lead generation. It’s about getting good leads to come to us and that’s something that’s really important for companies to be able to do to be able to grow their business.
Okay… got it. Makes sense.
“With a lot of clients that we work with and have success with, I don’t want to call it unintentional Inbound, but it’s been a mixture of a lot of different things. Instead of just ‘if you blog it, they will come,’ we have also done a lot of hard work to connect with local media outlets and face-to-face interaction. That type of exposure helps us get more Inbound leads. When you break down the fundamentals of it, like you did, you can kind of see some of the flaws. It helps you to be able to put it into perspective. As long as you recognize that the methodology is not the end-all-be-all, you’ll see that it’s being able to take the things that work from it and then making them work for our clients.”
Well when you put it like that, I can see why understanding Inbound will be helpful. One step closer to being a real marketer. YEAH! All joking aside, Austin essentially needed me to understand Inbound because it is an important method in the digital world that we live in today. While a very passive approach on its own, we can tailor our strategy to be more proactive and in turn “delight” the customer based on their individual needs. Implementing Inbound into my work has been both intuitive and unintuitive. Overall, the Inbound methodology is a helpful guideline in developing strong business and personal connections.
Every day our inboxes are flooded with emails from companies trying to sell us on something. If you receive 20 or more email marketing messages a day, odds are, most of them get sent straight to the trash bin. Too many businesses believe in quantity over quality when it comes to blasting those on their email marketing list – this is a big no, no!
If you take a step back and put yourself in the consumers’ shoes, you’ll find that it’s starting to take a toll on their level of trust with some of these organizations. Especially, those that buy or sell email lists. But, from a business owner’s perspective, with all the clutter landing in consumers’ inboxes, how do you set yourself apart from the competition? Reading more on emerging email marketing trends and applying them is a great start! Below, we’ll provide you with an overview of 2019 email marketing trends that matter the most. Embrace them, and you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
Personalization Vs. Privacy
As we touched on earlier, consumers are becoming distrustful of large companies that are misusing their data. Those who are angry are speaking out and governments are responding. In 2018, we saw GDPR take effect in Europe and the passage of broad privacy regulations in the state of California. Restrictions are likely to only get more rigid this year.
That said, consumers expect a certain level of personalization in marketing messages and web experience. According to Adobe, 33% of consumers say companies recommending products that don’t match their interests is the main reason they unsubscribe. Ultimately, consumers want to know how their data is being used and that it’s being used in ways to benefit them, not exploit them.
Smarter Spam Filters with AI and Machine Learning
Not only are marketers catching on to AI/machine learning technology, but Email Service Providers (ESPs) are increasingly growing their data sets to improve algorithms that can block and filter out all kinds of spam messages. According to SpamLaws.com, spam makes up about 45% of all emails and 73% of this figure points to identity theft. This year, more than ever will be a challenge for senders’ emails to land in inboxes if they consistently produce a low open rate.
Since the birth of email started out as a purely text-based channel, marketers have traditionally paid more attention to producing quality copy, along with headers, and proper grammar. In 2019, that has all changed. Gone are the days when captivating copy was the only important aspect of a blog or campaign. Marketers have begun to realize that effective posts are as much about the imagery as the words, and we are focusing on design elements such as animated illustrations, icons, bold button colors, and more. As we start to see an influx of traffic and engagement, expect to see this trend go even further as marketer’s design efforts pay off.
Interactive Content Takes off
As marketers, we know campaigns should be dynamic and not static, it’s 2019 after all. Today, it’s even easier than years prior for marketing platforms to make it seamless to add a host of interactive elements, and we’re here for it. Emails are now including things like image carousels, navigational anchor tags, sliders, survey forms, and more.
There are other more basic ways marketers can enable audiences to engage and interact with messages, such as including a “reply to us” option for recipients. This option makes it more important than ever for senders to continue to have an active email address available, otherwise, it makes you look like you don’t give a rat’s ass about your customer. When we all know, this is simply not the case. At a minimum, senders should consider experimenting with this sort of simple interactivity to boost engagement and experiment with this trend in 2019.
Some Parting Words to Leave You With…
Though email may be one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, it’s definitely not obsolete. On the contrary, it still has the power to make or break your business, so you better prepare for the coming trends and embrace the advanced tactics in this field in order to remain competitive and dominate within your market place.
By using email marketing that involves a combination of personalization, smart technology, bold design, and interactive content, you can take your business to the next level and grow your subscriber base considerably. Before going all in, just make sure to test all of our suggestions and let us know in the comments if you need any additional help or just reach out to us.
Over the next 6 months, ATAK is excited to make a series of announcements about our company and some of the new frontiers we will soon be entering. The first of these comes today.
ATAK is now a HubSpot Agency, and after just a short month with them, have already become Silver Partners.
I want to take a little time and express why we chose to team with HubSpot and why we believe in the company and their vision.
For anyone unfamiliar, HubSpot describes themselves as “inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.” At their core, they are a software company. But like many great organizations, they know why they do what they do and have built an evangelical following of agencies and clients because of it.
The world of business to business marketing is constantly expanding and best practices are changing rapidly. When was the last time you updated your company’s B2B marketing strategy? We want to make sure you’re staying up to date with the most effective strategies so you can maintain your competitive edge. Read on for some of our top B2B strategies to help your company get ahead.
1. Sophisticate Your Email Marketing by Keeping Your CRM Well Maintained
The first step to effective marketing is to know your customer really well. One way you can achieve this is by keeping your CRM in tip-top shape. A CRM is only useful if you keep your lists well maintained, ensuring all information is up to date, labeling your campaigns accurately and clearly, standardizing your data conventions across the board, and doing regular audits for data quality. With a clean list, you can begin sending much more targeted email campaigns to prospects at all stages of the funnel, in specific regions, industries, etc.
Sure, it’s easy to nod along whenever your colleagues mention SEO, but sometimes all the jargon goes right over your head. Ranking. Organic. Keyword Density. Trust us, you’re not alone. But don’t let it intimidate you. As complicated as SEO can be, there are still very simple steps you can implement today that will ensure your content is up to industry SEO standards.
First off, what is SEO really, and why does it matter? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that it’s more likely a search engine, like Google or Bing, serves your link as the top result when users search a keyword. It’s important that your content pages are optimized because it will help increase site traffic which in turn can increase leads and transactions.
Well if SEO is so important, everyone’s probably pretty great at it, right? Turns out, even some of the best website out there make these seven common SEO mistakes:
1. Having Messy URLs
Keep your URLs as clean and concise as possible to help improve SEO rankings and user experience. Some blog visual editors, like WordPress, automatically pull in the title or first line of the blog post into the URL field. Often times, this is a bit too long and chock full of grammatical articles, like “the” or “an”. Always take the time to shorten these URLs until they simply contain pertinent words. For example, if your article title is “32 Reasons Why Lemurs Are Super Awesome”, you can tailor your URL down to “/awesome-lemurs” or “/reasons-lemurs-awesome”.
Instagram added Instagram Stories as a way to compete with the app millennials are obsessed with, SnapChat. Now it’s become its own entity and brands are finding unique ways to use it towards their marketing and content efforts, from increasing online traffic to generating foot traffic to offering special deals.
What are Instagram Stories?
First, you may be saying to yourself, “I’ve seen these ‘Instagram Stories’ before but what are they exactly?” Great question. Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you post images, 15 second video clips, or text, that vanish in 24 hours. It also includes a “live” function, which we will only cover briefly today. Why would something so ephemeral be beneficial to your content strategy? Instagram Stories is a great tool to help your brand stay top of mind because they’re shown in real time. This means each time you add a story, your brand pops to the front of the line-up and your followers are more likely to see it. Also, the more often you post content that incentivizes users (i.e. coupon codes, secret sales), the more your followers will be trained to check your stories on a daily basis.
It might seem like a lot to digest, but don’t worry. We’re going to break it into seven very simple steps you can take to use Instagram Stories to increase sales.
You’ve been connecting with colleagues and peers on LinkedIn for years but have you tapped into the power of LinkedIn company pages? Having an optimized LinkedIn company page can help you stay top of mind, become a thought leader in your industry, and attract top talent. Here are seven simple ways to spruce up your company page.
To Get Started
Simply click on the “Me” icon in the upper right corner, and click on your company page. Once there, hit “Overview” and use the small pencil icon on the top right corner of each section to edit the content within.
1. Add a Banner
Time Spent: 5 minutes
Swap out LinkedIn’s default banner image for a branded one; it’s a quick change that packs a big punch. We recommend keeping it simple and using your company’s homepage as a reference point, it’s best for your users to have a cohesive experience between platforms.
If you’ve spent hours wringing your hands over your Facebook ads strategy, you’re not alone. The clunky UI, confusing options, and vague reporting tend to elicit frustration from even the most experienced digital marketer. It doesn’t have to be this way. Check out these eight tried and true strategies that will help you unlock the full potential of your Facebook ads. (Note: Many of these strategies only work if you have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website. If you haven’t installed this already, you can learn how to do so here.)
1. Utilize Life Event Targeting
Facebook is always reminding you about your friends’ life events: birthdays, engagements, weddings, you name it. You can actually use Facebook’s rich, life event knowledge to your advantage when creating targeted Facebook ads. This means if you’re a florist, you can target people that have an upcoming birthday or who have just gotten engaged.
2. Enhance Remarketing Strategies
Sometimes customers need that one extra nudge before purchasing. You want to make sure that if they’ve engaged with a product ad in the past, make sure they’re seeing that same product again, you can do this through creating a remarketing strategy. Consider your customer funnell and remarket based on what their interest and intent may be. For example, if you’re retargeting to users who have landed on your blog, you’ll likely want to serve them content focused ads, while as if it’s users that have landed on a product page, you’d prefer to serve them a product ad.
Last September, Anderson & Vreeland prepared for their largest trade show of the year, LabelExpo Americas 2016. Inside their booth was some of the most cutting edge equipment in flexographic printing – the Flint nyloflex Xpress, the Xeikon ThermoflexX, and the AV Flexologic SAMM 800.
But the highlight for the company was the “Great Packaging Starts with a Great Workflow” exhibition. For months leading up to LabelExpo, A&V had unveiled an optimal printing process that began with the Hybrid Packz software, moved to GMG for color precision, and used the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV to print pristine and vibrant labels with a rapid turnaround. To showcase the workflow, the company partnered with Chicago’s Church Street Brewery to re-design the label for their seasonal Helles Bock and print the new label through this new process.
Inside the LabelExpo booth were bottles of freshly brewed and delicious Helles Bock for prospects to enjoy while they learned how the label on the beer they were drinking was developed.
It was the culmination of a five month integrated marketing campaign led by ATAK Interactive that would help the company sell 20% more product than they had at the previous LabelExpo.
Here’s how we built, executed, and delivered this successful campaign from start to finish.
Every nonprofit organization can benefit from having a digital presence to solidify their mission and spread their message. The process of website development can be overwhelming. At ATAK, we help clients get down to the core of their identity, and use this to guide the website design and development process.
Attracting new donors, and staying top-of-mind with everyone in your donor base, is a complicated balance in 2019. Mindful and well-meaning donors can still become forgetful as time goes on, necessitating ongoing marketing work and the importance of integrating donor database, payment, and media systems into a website from the ground up.
When creating a nonprofit website, attention has to be equally split between communicating a message to current and potential donors, and creating an interactive, technically flawless experience.
Here are 6 must-haves ATAK’s development and marketing teams have built into nonprofit websites in 2019 so far:
1. Sharing Your Message and Call to Action
It’s important that your website design is intuitive and attractive to your visitors. When built right, your website will attract visitors who have never heard of your charity, or mission.
A responsive website design with arresting copy is a must-have for nonprofit organizations to look modern and transparent. Your website should clearly communicate what you do, who you are, and why you’re doing it. This includes information on your home page, an ‘About’ page sharing what you do and who leads your organization, and a blog where your team can share news and opinion.
For our client Elevate Adventures, this meant a concise, step-by-step for the process of facilitating a nature experience for nonprofit organizations.
The art direction for this project was clear: we would let the national parks speak for themselves. Sweeping nature photos share Elevate’s spirit of adventure and reverence for the National Parks it helps others access and enjoy.
The right branding and visual style helps build confidence in your site and organization. The right logo, design, and imagery combine in a way that helps visitors quickly and simply understand what your organization wants them to do – such as donate, engage, or volunteer.
Consider your homepage the entryway to your online business. Here, you have the fleeting opportunity to impress upon your visitors… pretty much everything about your company. From the abstract (your brand personality and values) to the tangible (current promotions), every element on your homepage can stand to be optimized through A/B tests so that potential customers get the most out of their first visit.
In this post, we’ll guide you through some of the options worth implementing on your site’s homepage elements. Keep in mind that since the homepage is far on the sales funnel from the final purchase, the measure of success for a well-optimized homepage isn’t necessarily increased revenue, but lowered bounce rates, increased product page views, increased click-throughs, and so forth — essentially, any additional activity from the homepage onward indicates a win.
Starting From the Top
The header on your homepage is where you’ll find your logo and navigation. Run a few A/B tests on the placement of your logo. Will it go at the top right, center, or left? This may not seem like a change that will garner statistically significant results, but see if these variations make a difference in average time a user spends on your site.
Testing your search bar language is quick and easy so don’t ignore the opportunity to improve your site’s activity. Indicators of the success of this test can include increased product page views and increased average order value (AOV) due to the customer shopping for products that they hadn’t previously considered. Continue reading →
There are many ways to bring traffic into your website when you’re working with a digital marketing agency. Within marketing, we call these channels. To clients, they look more like services. The primary channels for bringing in digital marketing traffic are:
3rd Party Links (i.e. – press coverage, interviews)
It’s very uncommon that any of these channels will perform on its own. This is almost always a blend of tactics, integrated into one campaign. The better your campaign target and messaging, the more likely it is to resonate with prospects. This is where a data solutions department can be particularly useful.