9/28/16

Are Facebook Groups the Best Way Market Business on Facebook?


Are Facebook Groups the Best Way Market Business on Facebook? 
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15 Free Social Media Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

By Brian Sutter on September 26, 2016

Take social media to the next level for your small business​Want to do more on social media for your small business?

A lot of small businesses do.

Our survey of 1,100 small businesses from earlier this year found that most small businesses have embraced social media, but that they still want more out of it.

Read more...

Lesson plan: is it too early to think of marketing my start-up?

By Caitríona Mc Bride On Sep 26, 2016

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Business coach Lisa Hughes on why marketing has to stay at the very top of your agenda
​Why is marketing important for my company?
​Marketing is absolutely key for any business because there is nothing more important than to attract customers because you are trying to grow your revenue and grow your customers. Marketing is actually understanding your market, knowing who your customers are, targeting them effectively, crafting messages to appeal to them and targeting them in a way that is really going to bring them to your business.

Should I have a marketing plan?
Absolutely. Keep it simple, you need a plan but that is really more about “Who are my customers? What problem am I solving? How am I adding value? What solution am I providing?” and then “Where are they right now and how can I connect with them in a way that’s meaningful to them?” because you are looking to create awareness of your product, first of all, and then build that relationship between you so that when they come to buy, or need it, you are top of mind.




Farmers Angry Over GMO-Free Labeling


Farmers Angry Over GMO-Free Labeling 
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9/26/16

The Future of Marketing Lies with YouTube & Facebook Video


By GREG JARBOE On SEPTEMBER 23, 2016  ​

​The folks at HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform, have just published their eighth annual State of Inbound Report. And the big news is buried on Page 44 of the 65-page long report: Inbound marketers see YouTube and Facebook video as the future of marketing!1 And this future also includes Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine!

Now, most video marketers will shrug their shoulders and say, “We’ve known that video is the future of marketing for years1.” But, take a closer look and who HubSpot surveyed. They are marketers in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses. Half of the companies represented generate under $1 million each year. And HubSpot was able to get 4,500 respondents from over 132 countries. So, this is a big freaking deal.

Video & Content MarketingIf video marketers aren’t familiar with the concept of inbound marketing, it’s a term that was coined back in 2005 by Brian Halligan, the CEO and co-founder of HubSpot. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, Halligan says inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product. The concept started with blogging, which is why one of the questions that the 2016 State of Inbound Report asks is: “How long does it typically take you or someone in marketing to write a 500-word blog post?” (The answers range from under 1 hour to over 4 hours. More significantly, only 42% of blog posts are 500 words or less long. Another 42% are 501 to 1,000 words long. And some are 1,001 to 1,500 words long or longer.)

Unlike most YouTube creators or media companies, inbound marketers aren’t trying to build a large consumer audience that will be monetized by selling advertising to brands and agencies. According to HubSpot, inbound marketers are more likely to work for small businesses or B2B companies that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. They are more interested in aligning the content they publish with their customer’s interests, attracting inbound traffic naturally that they can then convert, close, and delight over time.
And while inbound marketers may be late to the digital video dance, they have a very clear picture of what the future of marketing will look like. HubSpot asked them, “What content distribution channels do you plan to add to your marketing efforts in the next 12 months?” And 48% said YouTube, 39% said Facebook video, 33% said Instagram, 20% said messaging apps, 15% said podcasts, 13% said Snapchat, 8% said Medium, 5% said Slack, 5% said Vine, and 5% said other.

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According to the report, the biggest takeaway, is this: “Marketers are thinking hard about decentralized content. Many are experimenting with taking their content to new channels; this is a fairly new tactic that few have mastered, but many are working on.

In our survey, marketers clearly are accounting for video content’s rising popularity among global online browsers, with 48% planning on using YouTube and 39% looking to use Facebook video.
With such a large number of respondents, HubSpot can drill down into data and still get an accurate picture of what different segments think about the future of marketing. For example, inbound marketers in North America (NAM) are the least enthusiastic about video content, with only 35% saying they’ll use YouTube as a channel and 28% saying they’ll use Facebook video. By comparison, 56% of their counterparts Latin America (LATAM) say they’ll use YouTube and 50% say they’ll use Facebook video. When it come plans on leveraging YouTube and Facebook video in the future, inbound marketers in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Southeast Asia (SEA), and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) are somewhere in between.

Slicing the data another way, HubSpot reports that video dominates the agenda of C-level business leaders. By far, senior executives are embracing video content for their business, with 56% of C-levels planning to add YouTube as a content channel, 46% thinking about Facebook video, and 17% looking into Snapchat. It’s worth noting that YouTube and Facebook have spotted this trend in the digital video marketing business. Ironically, both video platforms have recently launched traditional outbound marketing efforts to reach innovative inbound marketers. (Double facepalm.)

For example, YouTube acquired Directr, a video editing startup, back in August 2014. The Directr for Business app was tailor made for marketers in small and mid-sized businesses with an iPhone. Among other things, the app featured a storyboard-driven creation process that provided novice video marketing teams the ideas, guidance, and tools they needed to create great HD videos with just their iPhones and share them instantly to their websites, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Directr for Business included storyboards for:

  • Customer testimonials,
  • Product announcements,
  • How to tutorials,
  • Executive profile videos,
  • Event videos,
  • Social media tips, and
  • Press release supplements.
In June 2016, the Official YouTube Blog announced the launch of the YouTube Director suite of products. Although it is now spelled with “o”, YouTube Director for Business still provides shot-by-shot guidance – so inbound marketers can create a high-quality video ad for their business without needing extensive video editing experience. They can browse through more than 100 video templates designed for businesses like the five in this video, who YouTube challenged to create a video ad in 20 minutes or less.



The folks at YouTube also announced YouTube Director onsite, a service that will send a professional filmmaker to shoot and edit a video ad for free whenever a business spends at least $150 to advertise on YouTube.1 Currently, YouTube Director onsite is only available in six metro areas. But, it’s expected to roll out in more cities soon. Now, I’m not going to knock the app. It’s free. And it solves a real problem that faces many marketers in small and mid-sized businesses who are making a video for the first time. And I’ve got no problem with YouTube Director onsite. Requiring small and mid-sized businesses to spend $150 to advertise on YouTube seems very reasonable to me.
But, let me ask video marketers a couple of basic questions. First, “Did you know that the YouTube Director for Business app was available for the iPhone in the U.S. and Canada?” Second, “Were you aware that the YouTube Director onsite service is available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.?” I’ll bet that most of you didn’t.

In other words, there’s nothing wrong with YouTube’s product or service. But, inbound marketers will be the first to tell you that one blog post does not constitute an inbound marketing campaign – even a blog post with an embedded video and a link to an associated web page. And the examples in the embedded video above seem fine – if you’re a business that’s already interested in buying a video ad. But, they don’t really resonate with inbound marketers who are planning to create quality content that pulls people toward their company and product.

Heck, the video above shows five businesses running that are using TrueView video ads to reach a local audience and increase awareness. Now, that’s a legitimate marketing goal. But, not one of these businesses seems interested in adding interactive elements – like cards, call-to-action overlays, shopping cards, and auto end screens – that could help them achieve other advertising goals, such as driving consideration, favorability, purchase intent, and sales. Hey, these are legitimate marketing goals, too.

Facebook Video &Marketing

Meanwhile, the folks over at Facebook are also working to help marketers in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses small businesses create video ads. For example, the social network launched slideshow, a new type of lightweight video ad created from a series of still images, in October 2015. Slideshow uses video-like motion and no sound, giving inbound marketers a new way to tell their stories to people around the world. This solves two problems.

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First, the Slideshow tool makes it a lot easier to create video ads from still images. All marketers in small and mid-sized businesses need to do is upload three to seven still images – which can come from an existing video, a photo shoot, or even stock imagery from Facebook’s library. Then, they simply choose the length of their slideshow – which can be 5 to 15 seconds long. In other words, slideshow reduces the investment required to shoot and edit a video as well as the need for video production time and resources.
Second, a 15-second slideshow can be up to 5x smaller in file size than a video of the same length. This is especially important for inbound marketers are trying to reach people in emerging and high-growth countries, where connectivity and the prevalence of basic devices make it difficult to deliver video to their entire audience.

In August 2016, Facebook announced some new features for slideshow ads. This included the ability to add text and music, create slideshows from Android mobile devices, and use assets from Facebook’s stock image database and Pages Photo Library. In addition, Facebook launched a new tool that allows inbound marketers in emerging and high growth markets to take existing video assets and turn them into a slideshow that will play on slower connection speeds – in just a few clicks.

Were you already aware of this? Or, did you miss this news about advertising on Facebook? In other words, there’s nothing wrong with Facebook’s tool. But, inbound marketers will be the first to tell you that two posts on Facebook Pages don’t constitute an inbound marketing campaign – even these posts include images, videos, and links to related Facebook Pages. And the examples of companies using slideshow in posts include Coca-Cola in Kenya and Nigeria as well as Unilever’s Paddle Pop ice cream brand in Indonesia. Now, these are both great brands, but I wouldn’t describe them as small or mid-sized businesses.

So, if you work at a brand or agency that’s already interested in buying a video ad, then you might have stumbled over the news. But, if you’re and inbound marketer who is planning to create quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, you probably missed these announcements.

And, even if you didn’t miss these announcements, neither on mentions the fact that you can track website conversions – including checkouts, registrations, leads, key web page views, adds to cart, and purchases – after seeing your Facebook ad. All you need to do is add a snippet of code to the HTML on your website, and you’ll get reports when people see your ad and take action.

Why haven’t YouTube and Facebook connected the dots for inbound marketers? Maybe they’re optimized to use traditional outbound marketing to sell boatloads of advertising to a few big advertisers. But, if they want to solve problems for thousands of innovative inbound marketers, then they might want to practice a little inbound marketing themselves. According to HubSpot, “Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention.” Hey, what a concept.

Sales And Marketing Still Separate? Not For Today's Clients

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Sales And Marketing Still Separate? Not For Today's Clients

By Ian Altman On SEP 22, 2016 

When speaking at Content Marketing World recently, I said something that surprised a few people: Modern sales and marketing require both disciplines to act as one.  If you see sales and marketing as two separate functions, then you are living in the past.

The shame is that in most organizations, businesses overlook the importance of a tight connection between the two parts of the organization. When you recognize how today’s customers have evolved in their buying habits, the sales and marketing connection becomes obvious.

A Silo Approach No Longer Works
We used to think of marketing and sales as having two distinct roles. The Marketing Team was there to create interest and awareness. The Sales Team was supposed to build customer confidence and urgency. As more of the buying process continues to shift to online markets, you have a huge opportunity to build customer trust and uncover urgency through content. Smart companies use online content as an integral part of the sales process. The content serves as examples to help your clients better understand how you address common challenges they might be facing, too.

Top performing companies are making the shift. At Content Marketing World, in addition to the keynote session, I delivered a workshop with my good friend, Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com, about integrating sales and marketing. Two years ago, there were 16 people registered for our workshop. Last year, there were 40. This year, over 75 registered. Next year, several companies have threatened to bring their sales leadership (to a marketing conference).

Attract The Best Sales Opportunities
Is your current messaging rooted in YOUR perspective, or the customer’s perspective? Perhaps your messaging resonates well with your internal team, but not as vividly as you’d like with the customer.

Marketing departments spend hours crafting just the right phrasing to capture a complicated concept in one or two words. Your sales and customer service teams are regularly in front of customers, and they too are well-served to craft their language carefully. They receive multiple questions per day. Ask them for the questions they hear most often.
Make sure you capture the exact words your customers use. Don’t turn it into “marketing speak.” Keep it raw.

Your salespeople not only receive those questions but answer them. If you pay attention to the questions and answers, you’ll have the information you need to create valuable content that attracts your ideal customers.

Accelerate Sales
Great content helps to not only attract the right customers, but to serve as a valuable tool for maintaining a conversation and building confidence and trust with your potential clients.
This means that instead of saying, “Hey, just checking in to see if you’ve made a decision yet…” you can send a note that says, “When we met, you asked a great question about driving traffic to your website. I’ve included a link to an article that might be helpful. Once you’ve had a chance to review the article, I’d be happy to answer any questions.”

The key, however, is to ensure that your sales organization is feeding relevant topics to marketing, and then using that content as part of a follow-up strategy with clients.  In a recent podcast episode on Grow My Revenue, I share how to properly follow up using content you’ve created for your clients.

If you decide to continue keeping sales and marketing separate entities, then know that you are not keeping pace with trends in buyer behavior. If you refuse to change, just be sure to order plenty of cardboard signs, markers and tin cups – you’ll be doing plenty of begging for business.

It’s Your Turn
Where have you gained confidence because the seller shared great content? Share your experiences in the comments or via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Ian Altman is the bestselling author of Same Side Selling and Host of the Grow My Revenue Business Cast.

Why It's Good When Your Kids Talk Back


Why It's Good When Your Kids Talk Back 
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Ocean Salmon is a Scam


Ocean Salmon is a Scam 
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9/16/16

Attn Chef Students: How To Be A Successful Chef


Attn Chef Students: How To Be A Successful Chef
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