Summing up a Morning of Marketing Trends, Insights and Predictions
Penguin Strategies recently hosted a HubSpot User Group (HUG) meetup featuring some of the brightest minds in content marketing to talk about the most important marketing trends. We’re pleased to share the following speaker summaries with those of you who were unable to attend (or want to refresh your memory).
AGILE SEO Gilad David Maayan
Gilad David Maayan is the founder and CEO of Agile SEO, serving primarily SaaS and other technology clients. His background includes strategic consulting, content marketing, and SEO/SEM, and his accomplishments include driving significant increases in traffic, conversions, and revenue for both startups and established businesses. In this HUG presentation, he shared, from a strategic level, the most important thing business leaders need to understand about SEO and how their efforts affect their business results. Key takeaways include:
- Approach SEO from both a strategic and a tactical perspective. Tactical SEO centers on maximizing your reach within your current niche, while strategic SEO efforts seek to expand your reach beyond your current niche.
- Organic traffic -- the traffic you get as a result of ranking high in SERPs -- converts at a greater rate than paid or referred traffic. It also tends to stick around, resulting in further traffic increases and better ROI.
- It’s important to know not only where your traffic comes from, but also how well each source converts.
- Tracking your metrics enables you to both compare your success to that of your competition and to set goals for your own future achievements.
- It’s also important to view your metrics in the right context, such as understanding how much of your business comes from your website traffic.
- Some important metrics -- the age of your site, for instance -- can’t be changed. However, even with fixed metrics, you want to see sustained growth in traffic over time, since both longevity and content volume improve your rankings in Google searches.
- Variable metrics are the ones you can affect in the short term. They include things like site structure, your use of keywords and metatags, and incoming links.
- Factors that can negatively impact your traffic include things like failed redirects and Google penalties (for things like blackhat SEO tactics such as paying for links).
- Conversion matters at least as much as organic traffic, so it’s essential to understand the percentage of website traffic that actually converts (whether that means signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase etc.).
- In addition to fixed variables and variables that you can change, there are also external variables like the number of searches performed for your keywords and the amount of content competing for those searches.
- Your search rankings are perhaps the single most important variable, since the first site listed gets the majority of traffic (32.5%), while those that don’t make it onto the first page get little. This presents a challenge if there are a number of companies in your niche with a higher authority than yours. However, optimizing your site for SEO and focusing on link building can give you a significant bump in traffic.
- The most effective tactics for fueling growth include site structure, link-building, and SEO-optimized content.
- The importance of organic traffic varies by industry.
- The bigger the site, the less impact SEO has on traffic, probably due to brand awareness.
- For smaller sites, expert SEO guidance can have a big impact on traffic.
- Google penalties can significantly decrease organic traffic, so it’s important to carefully monitor your site and its metrics.
Yael Kochman is a content strategist and founder of Fash&Tech. Her focus is fueling growth for fashion and retail technology startups in Israel. Yael also works as an event coordinator, an inbound marketing specialist, and a blogger. Her presentation focused different ways to use your content for lead generation and explained why content marketers are moving away from landing pages and are, instead, including forms or popups on the content page itself. Key takeaways include:
- Decide what you want the reader to do (sign up for a newsletter, complete a contact form, etc.)
- Once you know what you’ll be asking the reader to do, develop a call to action from the perspective of customer experience. Keep it short, sweet, and simple. And keep in mind that, the more clicks visitors have to make, the further away they get from the content that captured their interest to start with.
- Experiment with things like triggered popups, exit intent popups, interactive content (quizzes, infographics, videos, calculators, etc.), scroll boxes, and embedded forms.
- Whichever method you choose, give readers a reason to respond by explaining how doing so will benefit them.
- While simple requests usual work better, A/B testing is the only way to know for sure. Parameters for A/B testing can include different types of campaigns, separate campaigns for mobile, different colors and fonts, different types of CTAs, different campaigns for different traffic sources, etc.
Israel Defense Forces
Marina Boykis leads the content and social media efforts for the Israel Defense Forces. Her primary accomplishment has been to achieve unprecedented growth in followers, shares, likes, engagement, etc. Under Marina’s leadership, the Israel Defense Forces became the first military presence on Snapchat. Marina’s presentation shared some secrets for breakthrough marketing ideas that get the right people talking about your brand, highlighting the importance of messaging that engages the audience on an emotional level. Key takeaways include:
- Many buying decisions are based on emotion rather than on logic.
- Instead of just talking about features and benefits, talk about the needs or problems those features and benefits will solve.
- Make sure your messaging targets your customers’ emotions and needs rather than your own.
- Start by identifying your target audience and asking questions about their pain points, problems, unmet objectives, interests, habits, buying behaviors, and usage patterns. The book The Mom Test is a great place to start the process of coming up with the right questions.
- While analytics can help you identify the right people, you have to talk directly to those people to find the information you need.
- In addition to things like surveys and focus groups, other sources of customer sentiment include social media posts, forum discussions, product reviews, and customer service transactions.
- Use the insights you get from those conversations to develop your core messages, including the ultimate objective and its emotional impact.
- Identify your three most important messages; then perform A/B testing. Optimizely has a calculator you can use to identify the size of your test market.
- The next step is to analyze and interpret your results. Your analysis should include the difference between highest and baseline CTRs as well as the relative change in CTR from the baseline.
- Draw conclusions based on both statistically significant metrics as well as your gut instincts.
- Follow up with a debriefing to talk about the reason behind the results you got, lessons learned, and what to test next.
- Compare your insights and conclusions to your competitors’ marketing efforts, and think about how you can differentiate yourself.
This HUG meetup featured talented marketers who combine foundational expertise with the insight to predict what might come next.