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50 Resources to Help You Slay Your Kickstarter Campaign

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

According to Kickstarter data, the site has had 117,448 successfully funded projects and more than $2 billion total dollars have been pledged to Kickstarter accounts (as of when this was written). It’s no wonder this global crowdfunding platform is the go-to place to launch a crowdfunding campaign.

But it takes more than a killer idea to kill your Kickstarter campaign. You need a straightforward strategy to raise money. Use this roundup of resources to help you start, manage and slay your Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter Resources

1. Creator Handbook — This is the how-to Kickstarter guide. It takes you through the basics of setting up your project’s description, choosing rewards, sending out updates and more.

2. Creator Resources Page — This page is a giant list of services that have been tested and approved by creators. You’ll find everything from design services to packaging, fulfillment, shipping and more.

3. Campus — An online chat resource where you can talk to and ask fellow creators about any part of running a Kickstarter campaign.

4. Reward Examples — Kickstarter has listed 96 varying examples of campaign rewards to inspire you when determining your own.

5. Kickstarter Rules — There aren’t a ton, but they’re something you should read and know before starting your Kickstarter campaign, so you don’t ruin your chances of getting the money you need for your project.

6. Kickstarter Blog — Full of tips and tricks and advice for Kickstarter newbies.

Project and Team Management and Collaboration

7. QuickBooks — This tool is used by many small and startup businesses, as well as accountants. as their accounting and budgeting tool. With various features, like tracking expenses, balance sheets and profit and loss reports, it’ll help you easily and efficiently set and manage your budget and expenses with your campaign and your business.

8. Trello — Trello is a free project management tool that will keep track of everything for you, from your daily tasks to the big project details.

9. Google Apps — With Gmail, Hangouts, calendars, docs and sheets, Google provides almost all the project collaboration and management tools you need to stay on top of project communications and creations.

10. Evernote — This is another way to keep organized and share ideas. Type up to-do lists and notes or talk and record your notes hands-free from your computer or mobile device.

11. DropBox — Use this cloud storage service to keep all your documents and other project assets in one place and accessible to everyone on the project from wherever and whenever they need them.

12. BackerKit — User-friendly way to manage data and your fulfillment and communication efforts with funders after your campaign, so you’re not trying to do it all by email or spreadsheets.

13. Basecamp — The best tool to use if you and your team members work primarily out of office. Tasks are visually organized and completed in a clear and concise way, and it’s easy to maintain communication all around.

Social Media

14-17. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn — How you use or don’t use social media can make or break your Kickstarter campaign. Getting the word out about your project, building a fanbase and connecting with influencers is what’s going to help you reach your funding goal. Just look at how these successful Kickstarter campaigns utilized and benefited from social media.

18. Facebook Advertising — If you want the post that links to your Kickstarter campaign to land in more newsfeeds, you may have to spend a little money using Facebook advertising. A little can go a long way, however, and you can even choose the audience you wish to appeal to.

19. Hootsuite — Efficiently manage your company’s social profiles in one user-friendly dashboard and relieve some of the time-consuming burden or constantly posting and pushing content by scheduling posts to go out ahead of time.

20. Buffer — Buffer is another time-saving social management tool. But some prefer it over Hootsuite for its analytics and ability to add RSS feeds to your buffer.

Email and Outreach

21. MailChimp — This email service helps you grow your business, and it’s great for your Kickstarter campaign because you can easily create and send customizable, personal thank you emails to backers and donors and keep them updated on your progress.

22. BuzzStream — A highly-favorable CRM tool that allows you to research influencers, manage influencer relationships and outreach to media people and bloggers.

23. BuzzSumo — BuzzSumo is a free tool that helps you find keyword-related content and industry influencers. There’s no CRM functionality so pair this with BuzzStream.

Landing Pages and Websites

24. Unbounce — A quick tool to build custom landing pages, a must for your campaign.

25. Wix — You need to build a website before you launch, and Wix is a free tool where you can make a personalized, mobile-friendly website.

26. WordPress —WordPress is a good tool to use if you’ve got basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. Plus it provides various free themes and plugins for creating an online blog and website.

27. Weebly — If you’re new to site building and looking for something less daunting than WordPress, Weebly provides fairly inexpensive domain names and makes it extremely easy for users to drop in photos and text.

28. Shopify — If you’re going to be selling products online, Shopify is a great platform for ecommerce businesses. Shopify is the most popular of the ecommerce platforms.

Project Assets

29. Youtube — Want to get people pumped about your campaign? Inspire them with a video. Youtube even makes it easy to link your fundraiser site using annotations.

30. Webcam or Smartphone — Use one of these to shoot a video to tell your awesome story. Kickstarter projects that have a video have a better success rate than those that don’t (50% compared to 30%). So introduce people to your project, your work area, the people involved, etc. Get people excited about your project by showing them why they need to!

31. Apple iMovie — A great video involves some editing. For those of you with Macs, use iMovie. It comes free with your computer and has a good reputation for its editing functionalities.

32. Windows Movie Maker — This is another free and easy-to-use video editor, except it’s for Windows users.

33. Free photo editing software — Photos are also good to have with your Kickstarter campaign, with GIMP and being the best free photo editing platforms out there.

34. Adobe Creative Cloud — If you’re planning on creating the bulk of your campaign’s marketing content on your own, you’ll want to download Adobe software. Photoshop your own campaign photos, edit video footage, or design your logo with their specialized programs.

35. Nik Collection — This complete image-editing suite used to cost $500, but Google is now giving it away totally free. It includes seven plugins with different specialties. Take your campaign photos to the next level with this free resource.

36. Lumoid — This site lets you rent excellent gear for photo and video projects. This is a great way to use stellar equipment when building the media for your campaign without making full, expensive purchases.

37. Rent equipment from school libraries — If you or a team member attend a college or university, another way to rent photo and video gear for your campaign is through a school library. Most schools have updated equipment that can be checked for free out using a student library card.

38. Square — Most donations will be made to your campaign online—but not all. Square is by far the best way to receive money via credit card in person. The Square Card Reader can easily connect to your mobile phone or smartpad.

Video Resources

39. Promoshin — Unable to make your own video? This company specializes in creating professional videos for successful Kickstarter campaigns.

40. Explendid Videos — If you’re on a tighter budget, try this company. All their animated video packages start under $1,000.

41. Ydraw — One way to make your campaign’s video memorable is with a white board drawing. They’ve increased in popularity, and research shows people pay closer attention to scribe videos.

42. Voice Jungle — Depending on the content of your Kickstarter video, you may want to consider hiring a voice actor to read your script. This is much cheaper than hiring and filming physical actors, and a professional voiceover can bring your video to the next level.

43. Fiverr — On a tighter budget? You might be surprised at what you could find at Fiverr. From designers to content writers to voice actors, you’ll find a startling variety of freelance services. The best part is, the vast majority start at $5.

Media Coverage

44. Local Newspapers — Local media is hungry for a good story, so if there’s something unique or exciting about your project, you might be able to pick up some coverage after contacting local writers or newspaper or magazine directors.

45. Local Radio — There could be a local radio station that would be open to featuring you, depending on the content of your Kickstarter campaign. Spread the word and gather support in your area by landing a brief interview.

46. Hunter — It’s easier to contact local reporters and radio stations than you think. This website will help you find any email address simply by entering the site name. Have a press release ready about your campaign that you can send to local reporters in a personal email.

47. Press Release Template Download — If local media is interested in your campaign’s story, they’ll want a sharp press release. Stay ahead of the game by creating your own, using free online templates such as this one.

Advice from Experts

48. Cash from the Crowd EBook — If you’re a bookworm and a notetaker, you may enjoy reading from an expert before beginning your Kickstarter campaign. Dig into this affordable E-Book from Sally Outlaw, easily read on the free Kindle app.

49. Free Crowdfunding Bible — This PDF is completely free and easily skimmable. You could find nuggets of advice that will help guide your Kickstarter campaign into sure triumph.

50. Crowdfunding for Social Good — If your Kickstarter campaign is non-profit based, this free EBook is perfect for you. You’ll find inspiring success stories and solid advice on how to use crowdfunding to allow your campaign to make a lasting impact.

Decide which of these 50 resources are a fit for your project and dive in. Pair them with your determination and great teamwork strategy and you’re bound to get some serious boostage for your Kickstarter campaign!

How to Pass the Google Analytics IQ Exam in 2016

By | Digital Marketing, How-To, Strategy, Tools | 8 Comments

Predicting trends for 2016 have been the focal point of feeds for weeks and there isn’t a better time than now to focus on attainable goals for the present. Here’s one you can begin to check off today:

Take the next two weeks to study for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam and get certified!

Whether you’re new to digital marketing, or a seasoned guru needing to brush up your credentials to impress clients or C-suites, passing the GAIQ exam is a great demonstration of proficiency and will allow you to better leverage Analytics within your business or agency.

You might have already come across some resourceful guides that demonstrate how to prepare for the exam in a matter of days. Success in such a short time will depend greatly on your previous knowledge and experience using Analytics.

As a GA novice, I found two weeks to provide just the right amount of study-time to get a comprehensive grasp on the content, without leaving a large enough time gap for having to relearn previous material.

Here’s the breakdown of how I studied for the GAIQ exam, while keeping my eyes dry the entire time, and passed!

The Logistics

  • 70 Questions
  • 90 Minutes
  • 80% in order to pass. You must answer 56 questions correctly.
  • Valid for 18 months.
  • Questions will come in forms of Multiple Choice and True/False.

** You will find that in Google’s provided course material below, some Multiple Choice questions will come in the form; Check all that apply, meaning that if 3 answers for a single question apply, and you select 2 only, then your answer for the entire question is incorrect. The actual GAIQ exam is much more straightforward than this, providing 1 correct answer only for each question. Whew!

G exam

 

What’s Changed?

  • No Charge. The GAIQ exam is completely free
  • No Badge. Instead of a completion badge, you may print your personalized certificate or promote it on your Google Partners profile page.
  • No Revisiting. Questions appear in sequential order and once you have selected an answer, you will not be able to return to the question.
  • No Discouragement. You may retake the exam 7 days after the initial attempt if need be.

The Essentials

While Google Partners offers four courses of actionable material pertaining to Analytics, the bread and butter of the exam are within the first two courses. Be sure to know these well: Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles.

Each course consists of a series of Units, with corresponding Activities and a Final Assessment. The units are somewhat lengthy and full of video content (you can opt for the text transcript version if you’d like).

Do take the time to absorb the content of each course in its entirety and take notes; you will be thanking yourself later. Here is an sample 2 week study calendar that helped me to stay on track:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 D.A.Fund

Units 1&2

D.A.Fund

Units 3&4

D.A.Fund

Unit 5

D.A.Fund

Unit 6

Final Assessment
Week 2 Platform Principles

Units 1&2

Platform Principles Unit 3 Platform Principles Unit 4 Final Assessment Take GAIQ Exam

What You’ll See: 

You can almost guarantee to see these topics, covered in the Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Platform Principles courses, on the exam:

 Attribution Models: 

Understand the overviewLast Interaction. Last Non-Direct Click. Last AdWords Click. First Interaction. Linear. Time Decay. Position Based.

Analytics Tracking: 

Know how Google tracks via mobile, desktop, or other digitally connected device. Where do you place the GA tracking code on a site?

Types of Goals:

Goal types are Destination. Duration. Pages/Screens per session. Event. Why define a Goal Value for non-ecomm websites?

Campaign Tracking:  

Practice using the URL BuilderDestination URL. Source. Medium. Campaign Name. Campaign Content. Know the mediums auto-tracked by Analytics vs. mediums needing manual tagging.

Analytics Process & Structure:

The process flows in this order: Collection. Configuration & Processing. Reporting. Understand how configuration and processing coincide. Structure from top to bottom looks like this: Account- Properties- Views

Activity4.2

Image Source: Analytics Academy 

Importing Data to GA:

Brush up on these concepts: Account Linking. Data Import.Dimension widening. Cost data import.

Dimensions and Metrics:

Know the difference between dimensions and metrics and understand scope.

Reporting Tools:

Be sure to get these common reporting tasks down: Date comparison. Table filter. Table sort. Plot rows. Primary dimension. Secondary dimension. Pie chart. Pivot table.

Behavior Reports:

Dig into the Behavior Flow of your Analytics for this one and explore Site Content: All Pages. Content Drilldown. Landing Pages. Exit Pages. Site Speed. Site Search. Events.

 

What Threw Me:

These few topics didn’t stand out as much to me throughout the course material. Be sure to brush up on the following:

Measurement Protocol:

Developers can measure how users interact with their business from almost any environment.

Intelligence:

Know these two types of alerts: Auto Alerts vs. Customer Alerts.

Real Time:

Understand the capabilities and limitations to monitoring instant web activity.

Site Speed:

Know the Site Speed reports metrics measured.

Had Enough?

 

After 2 weeks of being anchored to the fundamentals and principles of Analytics, you are as prepared as you’ll ever be, so don’t stress! Open up Google Partners in Chrome. Sign up if you haven’t already.

In a separate browser, leave open your notes and an active Google Analytics account, if you have one, or use the one you set up as part of the practice courses. Take a deep breath, and begin!

To help set a mellow, relaxed mood, I went for the Study Time Starts Now playlist. 

Get in your zone and let Google track your time and progress in the bottom corners of the test screen.

 Best of luck to you!

As always, Stryde is here for any web traffic, content, or specific Analytics questions you may have regarding your ecommerce or lead generation site.

What are your study tactics for the GAIQ exam? Let us know in the comments below!

TOP 50 digital marketers 2016

Top 50 Digital Marketing Experts

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

Some time ago, we featured the top SEO, social media, and content marketing experts in three special posts on the Stryde blog. However, we all know how fast the world changes online. Experts fall out of favor, new voices emerge with innovative ideas, which means a changing landscape of industry experts to follow.

Which, of course, means a brand new list of experts for 2016 needs careful crafting! That’s exactly what the Stryde team has done here. Instead of breaking the world of digital marketing into silos, we know that the best strategy is a holistic one. Accordingly, we’ve amassed the top experts in digital marketing for 2016. To determine individuals included, we used things like Twitter followers, frequency and quality of interactions in the social realm, breadth and depth of experience, insight sharing, as well as impact on the industry as a whole.

By no means is this list exhaustive! Furthermore, it is listed in alphabetical order.

Alex Mandossian, CEO & Founder of Marketing Online

Over nearly three decades of tireless work in the internet marketing field, Alex Mandossian has earned the nickname ‘Warren Buffet of the Internet.’ Need we say more?

Amanda Maksymiw, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines

Amanda Maksymiw has amassed a hoard of awards over her 7 plus years in the digital marketing realm. You can find her contirbuting expert content to Content Marketing Insititute and MarketingProfs.

Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing at Sysomos

The success earned by Amber Naslund is only matched by her larger-than-life personality. Naslund’s passion for social media as a driver for change sets her and her company apart in the digital realm.

Amy Porterfield, Social Media Strategist at Amy Porterfield, Inc.

If Facebook was a language, Amy Porterfield would be highly fluent. Porterfield has helped countellss companys large and small demistify marketing on Facebook, and experience real results.

Ann Handley, Head of Content at MarketingProfs

In the content marketing world, Ann Handley needs no introduction. As the head of content for MarketingProfs and consistent contributions to Entreprenuer Magazie, LinkedIn Influencer Program, and Huffington Post, Handley’s ability to transform her thoughts into wonderful pieces of content knows no bounds.

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions

Ardath Albee’s 30 years of experience give her a one-of-a-kind perspective on the digital marketing landscape. Albee’s focus is, and always has been, conntecting the process and people together.

Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures

A highly recognizable face in digital marketing is Arnie Kuenn. He frequently displays his knowledge from working with the worlds top brands like CBS and NBC at numerous speaking events across the country.

Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google

Avinash Kaushik’s book, Web Analytics 2.0, is standard introductory reading for anyone involved in the digital marketing space. Through that bestseller and others, Kaushik is a highly respected voice on how to leverage data to alter their digital existence.

Barry Feldman, Founder at Feldman Creative

Barry Feldman is no stranger to accolades, he’s been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by the Online Marketing Institute and as one of the 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by Linkedin.

Chris Goward, Founder of WiderFunnel

When the biggest companies in the world want to optimize their online presence, they call Chris Goward. He and his team at WiderFunnel supercharge business’ web and mobile driven sales.

Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor at MarketingLand

For over a decade, Danny Sullivan has been the go-to expert for web masters, marketers, and everyday web users alike. Sullivan is a true SEO pioneer, it’s as simple as that.

Diane Rayfield, Founder of Harp Social

Speaking of pioneers, Diane Rayfield was one of the first 40 people in the entire world to become certified in social media marketing. Rayfield provides customized social media training, and anyone lucky enough to learn from the master should take the opportunity!

Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-founder at Velocity

Velocity touts itself as the “B2B marketing agency to the stars.” With content marketing expert Doug Kessler as creative director, it is sitting comfortably in this position.

Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing Scientist at Moz

Dr. Pete Meyers sticks to the belief that the best ideas and data are useless unless they can be clearly communicated. Dr. Pete is on a mission to make data cool, and we think he’s doing a pretty amazing job.

Duane Forrester, VP Organic Search Optimization at Bruce Clay, Inc.

With nearly 20 years and two books under his belt, Duane Forrester’s expertise cannot be denied. Few individuals are as well versed in direct search marketing and online marketing as Forrester has proved to be time and time again.

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia

Gary Vaynerchuck and his agency, VaynerMedia, remains to be a rare breed. Helping Fortune 500 companies find their social voices and build their digital brands through storytelling.

Greg Sterling, VP Strategy and Insights at Local Search Association

The depth of Greg Sterling’s industry knowledge is astounding. But Sterling isn’t content on resting on previous insights, he’s constantly refining what it means to be a ‘local search guru’.

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva

A member of the board of trustees for WikiMedia Foundation, brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki has been and remains to be an expert in online activities. If you haven’t used Canva yet, you seriously need to check it out.

Ian Anderson Gray, Founder of Seriously Social

Ian Anderson Gray is armed with over 10 years of experience helping everyone from individuals to large organizations achieve a successful online presence. Gray’s training as a professional singer gives him a unique communication ability to transform technical jargon to beautiful music.

J-P De Clerck, Consultant and Analyst at i-SCOOP

Since 1992, J-P De Clerck has worked passionately at the intersection of technology, marketing, and management. Clerck’s ‘connected’ view of business gives him a unique and valuable viewpoint on strategic planning.

Jason Falls, SVP at Elasticity

Speaker, educator, strategy, to consultation, Jason Falls does it all. Most notably is Falls work on Jim Beam’s “The Remake” video contest, which won a 2009 SAMMY Award for best cross media campaign.

Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert

Attempting to summarize Jay Baer’s experience here would be a futile effort. Legendary speaker, New York Times best selling author, and most of all, a digital marketing success story.

Jim Boykin, Founder & CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas

Founder and a regular speaker on the industry conference circuit, Jim Boykin’s extensive list of areas of expertise is impressive, to say the least. Boykin and the team at Internet Marketing Ninjas pride themselves on being recognized industry thought-leaders.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

We use the word “content marketing” because of Joe Pulizzi. He started using the term in 2001 and founded the leading content marketing education resource for enterprise brands, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

John Bell, Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers

Travelers selected the expert mind of John Bell to drive it’s Enterprise Digital Marketing. A smart move, Bell is constantly designing new ways to market and how to execute each flawlessly.

John Doherty, Founder & Consultant at Credo

John Doherty has plenty of technical marketing experience, which only serves to heighten his ability to help businesses grow their business. Doherty’s company, Credo, is focused on bringing transparency to the consulting process.

Jose Maria Gil, Founder of EMO Marketing

Jose Maria Gil is one of the most passionate individuals in the internet marketing world. Gil truly loves what he does, and urges everyone he works with to dare to try new things and live without fear of making mistakes.

Krishna De, Strategist, Mentor & Professional Speaker at Biz Growth Media

With a truly global viewpoint, Kirshna De knows how to grow businesses internationally. De frequently speaks at industry conferences across Europe.

Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream

Is Larry Kim the busiest person in digital marketing? We wouldn’t bet against it. Kim has brought countless tools to marketers that they would consider ‘irreplaceable,’ and consistently shares his unique insight as a columnist at Inc. Magazine and Search Engine Land.

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing

Lee Odden is no internet marketing spring chicken, he’s been involved in the industry since the late 1990s. Now, Odden shares his expertise with marketers at countless speaking engagements across the country and builds marketing strategy for his clients at TopRank Online Marketing.

Maria Pergolino, VP Marketing at Apttus

Before joining Apttus, Maria Pergolino was a key leader and early member of the Marketo Marketing Team. She has extensive expertise in marketing automation, campaign optimization, inbound and social media marketing.

Mark Schaefer, Chieftain at Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Creator of one of the top marketing blogs the world over, Mark Schaefer backs up his success with advanced degrees in marketing and organizational development. Schaefer is an authority on social media and has even appeared on several national TV shows.

Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner

Michael Stelzer is the man behind the curtain at some of the most popular social media events, including Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Success Summit. In addition, Stelzer is the author of several books and a valued voice in the social media industry.

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group

Not only does Michael Brenner have nearly 20 years of experience serving a multitude of industries, he strongly believes in the power of a customer-centric culture and creating highly engaged employees. Michael also serves as the managing editor of SAP’s Business Innovation blog and contributes to Forbes AdVoice and the Economist.

Michelle Robbins, Vice President of Technology at Third Door Media

Michelle Robbins brings a holistic view of technology, programming, web developing, and marketing together into an innovative package. As the master behind all of the Third Door Media brands, Robbins industry knowledge and execution is unmatched.

Mike Filsaime, Online Marketing Expert at mikefilsaime.com

Mike Filsaime’s internet entrepreneurial expertise has earned him the description, ‘Michael Jordan of Internet Marketing.” Just like MJ, Filsaime has remained a powerful force in innovative marketing strategies for many years.

Mitch Joel, President of Mirum Agency

“One of North America’s leading digital visionaries.” That’s just one way Mitch Joel has been described. Joel’s experience includes working on the very first search engine and building the very first search marketing strategies.

Neil Patel, Entrepreneur at QuickSprout

Also in the running for busiest person in digital marketing, Neil Patel is constantly finding new ways to display his insane eye for digital marketing and analytics. Patel co-founded some of the biggest assets for those doing business online: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics.

Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo at AppSumo

Noah Kagan’s approachable and laid-back style only adds likability to his clearly extensive web knowledge. Promoting cool stuff, making awesome things, and eating plenty of tacos, Kagan is undeniably enviable.

Pam Dyer, Marketing Chief at Agile Alliance

Pam Dyer prides herself on becoming the voice of the customer, which is probably why her strategy and execution is always immaculate. Dyer’s love for collaboration and networking only add to her industry prowess.

Pam Moore, CEO of Marketing Nutz

Pam Moore actively participates in speaking, training, and custom workshops. Moore is constantly recognized for her achievements, and is included on Forbes Top 5 Women Influencers in Social Media as well as the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.

Rebecca Lieb, Author, Speaker & Strategic Advisor at rebeccalieb.com

At the forefront of digital marketing since it’s inception, Rebecca Lieb is a high-profile and respected analyst. Lieb’s understanding of marketing and media for global technology companies is unmatched in the field.

Scott Stratten, Owner at Un-Marketing

Scott Stratten’s term “Un-Marketing” is all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market. Then, when a need arises, customers choose you. Stratten and his team have seen this idea through from inception to industry-wide acceptance.

Seth Godin, Author, Speaker & Much, Much More at sethgodin.com

Not only an author, but also an entrepreneur, marketer, and seasoned public speaker, Seth Godin is a big freaking deal. With classic quotes like “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible,” Godin is one of the top experts in the online space.

Shiv Singh, SVP Global Head of Digital & Marketing Transformation at Visa

Shiv Singh has nearly 20 years of experience in building powerful worldwide brands. Recently, Singh was recognized as number 11 on Adweek’s Top 50 Marketers list and The Internationalists’ Top 100 Influential Leaders list.

Stephanie Tilton, B2B Content Marketing Consultant at Savvy B2B Marketing

Few people understand the holistic effort required to successfully execute a content marketing campaign. Stephanie Tilton, however, is one of the few that understand that fact completely. Not only does Tilton help craft content that engages customers and advances the buying cycle, but she helps formulate buyer personas and carry out content mapping.

Steve Pailthorpe, CEO of Iconic Digital

As the CEO of London’s premier digital marketing firm, Steve Pailthorpe’s results-driven mindset helps his clients achieve continuous success. Pailthrope’s passion for connecting companies with the right resources to communicate their brand sets him and his agency, apart.

Tom Pick, B2B Marketing Consultant at Webbiquity

Tom Pick is solely responsible for increasing his clients visibility and success online. Over the years, Pick’s efforts have aided single-person businesses to $1 billion corporations.

Tristán Elósegui, Cofounder of El Arte de Medir

Tristán Elósegui specialities in strategy, web analytics, and social media have been honed since he began in 1999. Today, you can find Elósegui authoring books, teaching digital marketing, and sharing his insights on his personal blog.

Vanessa Fox, CEO of Keylime Toolbox

Vanessa Fox is an SEO consultant, blogger, and author. Fox has been named one of Seattle’s Top 40 Under 40, Top 25 Innovators and Entrepreneurs, and one of the Top 100 Seattle Women in Seattle Tech.

Who did we miss?! Please share his or her name in the comments!

aligning channels for success from stryde

Traditional, Meet Digital: Aligning Your Channels For Success

By | Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Traditional Marketing | No Comments

Let’s say someone gave you the choice to have a piece of cake or a piece of cake with a scoop of ice cream. Cake is good by itself, and so is ice cream, but when you pair the two together, it’s the best combination there is (at least in my opinion).

Traditional marketing and digital marketing are like cake and ice cream.

Each is good by itself, but when integrated together, they’re a lethal combination.

The most effective marketing strategy your business can have isn’t choosing between traditional or digital only tactics; it’s finding the right balance between the two, crafting the perfect integrated brand message for your target audience and giving each customer exactly what they want.

Alignment in the Wild

shoe-pinterest

Image courtesy of Nordstrom via Business Insider

Nordstrom is a textbook example of a brand that does just that. Whether in store or online, Nordstrom focuses on the

customer, giving them what they want, when they want it, and making everything visible to the consumer. Nordstrom shoppers receive above-and-beyond customer service in store and online, free shipping and returns all the time and you can buy something online and have it shipped to your home or to the nearest store to pick up. The user experience is seamless across Nordstrom’s digital and physical channels.

It even encourages social interaction while customers shop in-store. Take for example the 2013 ‘Popular on Pinterest’ badges that Nordstrom locations across the country affixed to real user-favorites on the widely-used app.

If you want to be like retail giant Nordstrom and correctly craft an integrated strategy of traditional and digital, then you need to consider three important factors:

What’s the customer journey?

What is the customer experience like for your customers, from that initial contact to a long-term, loyal relationship? What steps do your customers take to engage with your company?

What are the appropriate and available channels?

Print, radio, TV, website, social networking platforms, email, etc.

What’s going to move the needle?

Brainstorm and find the right process involving digital and traditional marketing to help achieve your overall marketing goals.

Know the Customer Journey

The customer journey isn’t what it used to be. There’s no longer just one path a consumer follows to make a purchase.

But no matter what path they take or what questions they ask, they want to feel as if the path they take and the content they receive on their chosen path were custom-made for them. You have to use the proper targeting and messaging tactics to personalize your marketing messages. And 52 percent of marketers agree, saying that being able to personalize web content is fundamental to a good online strategy.

mckinsey-consumer-decision-journey-1

Image courtesy of McKinsey & Company via Forbes

With the myriad of platforms and technology available at your fingertips, you also have a long list of targeting tactics available. The two that will give you the conversion numbers you seek are behavioral targeting and content personalization.

Consumers visit websites and social platforms with different things on their minds, like doing research or wanting to purchase. Target these different types of consumers with personalized content using behavioral data, i.e. keywords they search for, whether or not they’ve visited your website before and their buying history. Besides interest-based behavioral data, use geographical and demographical data (location, gender, age, etc.) to create different types of personalized content for your different customers.

As for messaging, knowing your target audience’s online habits helps you determine what voice and tone to use with your messaging in your personalized content for them.

Marketing has always been about the customer, and you can ensure the customer stays at the center of what you’re doing by applying the three types of data you’ve gathered online — interest-based, geographical and demographical — and using it to help you better reach consumers at offline touch points. Integrating your online and offline touch points allows you to deliver personalized content to more consumers on more channels, giving consumers the answers they seek and helping move them along the customer journey.

Use the Appropriate Channels

Customers ask different questions because they’re looking for different information, and they use different channels to find those answers — channels and answers that hopefully lead them to your brand. The three types of channels you should focus on are social platforms, paid promotions and earned media.

Types Benefits
Social Platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ Increase brand recognition, develop and maintain loyal brand-customer relationships, more opportunities to convert
Paid Promotions Promoted tweets, PPC and SEO campaigns, content discovery platforms like StumbleUpon and Outbrain Guaranteed audience, highly-targeted campaign
Earned Media Media publications, industry influencer blogs and websites Free, improves brand credibility, helps you become an industry thought leader 

Knowing which channels to use means knowing your audience and understanding the different consumer engagement patterns. The two engagement patterns are passive and active. Traditional methods are more passive, while digital is more of active engagement.

Think of looking at a print ad in a magazine. You may take the 15 seconds to read it, but that’s usually where it ends. It’s a one-sided conversion that usually ends right there, even if there’s a CTA to visit a website or call the company’s number. That doesn’t mean a traditional print or radio ad isn’t valuable. It reaches a widespread audience and is easily digested by your audience since it doesn’t take long to absorb the message.

But when consumers need more, they need online interaction. When traditional leaves holes, digital marketing fills them in. It provides immediate answers to consumer questions and allows you to maintain an active presence online with your customers.

Integrating offline with online channels maximizes your audience reach and provides both types of engagement so your active and passive customers are completely satisfied. Just be sure that as you marry the offline with the online, you make it easy and meaningful for everyone involved.

Move the Needle

Move the needle is a common phrase in marketing, but for any of you who’ve never heard of it, it simply means to take action that generates a positive reaction. That positive reaction you want from your marketing methods is achieving your marketing goals.

Just like how each brand has different goals it wants to reach with each marketing campaign, i.e. gain more website visits, double eBook downloads, increase revenue, etc., there are different approaches you can take to achieve — and maybe even exceed — your goals. The following are three different approaches you can choose to take. Knowing which one you should take depends on your goals and which one you believe will create the most positive impact for your brand.

Aspirational

aspirational consumer

If you don’t know who the Aspirational consumers are, you need to. According to BBMG and GlobeScan research, Aspirationals make up 36.4 percent of our population. They love shopping, wish for responsible consumption and trust that brands will act in society’s best interests. You want them on your brand’s side because they’re one of the world’s biggest consumer groups, guide companies to take a more integrated marketing approach and want to share their ideas and experiences with brands to help them create a better product or service.

Mitch Baranowski and Raphael Bemporad, cofounders of BBMG, gave five ways to reach and engage Aspirational consumers:

  1. Give them something to believe in.
  2. Give them something to belong to.
  3. Amplify their voices.
  4. Give them social status.
  5. Give them a platform for action.

Your aspirational marketing strategy needs to be all about emotion. Appeal to their emotions and their aspirations, rather than their realities, and give them a purpose for their purchase.

Community

community

Most consumers are very tight-knit with their community, be it their city, state, sports team, political party, etc. If you’ve ever taken a dig at someone’s sports team or where they’re from, then you know just how passionate (and defensive) they can be.

With a community approach, you have to really understand your customers’ affections to their city, state or whatever community you choose to target and use that to your advantage. Are there common passions or loyalties your local audience shares that you can supplement or attach to your content? Not only will doing so personalize content for your local audiences, it will get those very passionate and loyal consumers on your side — and since you probably know how passionate and loyal they are with their community, then you also know how good it is to have them be that way about your brand.

Solidarity

solidarity across traditional and digital channels

A solidarity marketing approach means having a united front no matter what channel is being used. Everything you say and do with your traditional marketing methods needs to complement your digital methods.

If you put an ad in the local newspaper, be sure to include your website address and let readers know where they can find you on social platforms. Add your social URLs and website address to your business cards. Share your press releases you create and send out in print easily online. If you release a new product, be sure your website and social profiles are updated with the latest information regarding said product so any consumer who sees it in print and wants to know more can find what they’re looking for during their online research.

In order for your brand to be successful, and for you to reach your overall marketing goals, you need to utilize all that traditional and digital marketing methods offer. Properly aligning the two will drive the results you desire and take your campaign to the next level — just like how combining cake and ice cream takes the dessert game to the next level.

STRYDE | Adaptive Content-  The Latest Adaptation of Content Marketing?

Adaptive Content- The Latest Adaptation of Content Marketing?

By | Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Food for thought, Our Process, Strategy, Uncategorized | No Comments

While the technology support can be a little slow to evolve, content marketing strategies and techniques are taking new shapes to identify the ideal target audience and to guide customers through a shortened sales cycle.

Adaptive content offers an edge to the creation and distribution parts of the process. This content strategy is designed to support meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. Moreover, it’s not a strategy that is built only around the characteristics, goals, and challenges of buyer personas, but also around the mood of the buyer – Noz Urbina.

We know that personalization is key to reaching the ideal buyer. In fact, 94% of businesses say that it’s critical to their success. Here, we begin to merge a closer union between the buyer persona and sales cycle, in an attempt to reach a target so narrow, that we can understand how it feels.

The Matrix

If you already have a few content marketing campaigns under your belt, you’re probably all too familiar with creating and marketing to buyer personas. With adaptive content, there are a few more variables to consider in the Content Mix Matrix:

Content Mix Matrix
Personas Buying Stage Format Channel
Billy Awareness Text Social
Willey Attraction Video Mobile
Nilly Close Podcast Websites
Tilly Retain Infographic Email
Advocate Images Print
Presentation In-person
Kiosk

In this model, the content catered to the buyer persona is strategically created in the most sensible format, at the most relevant stage of the buying cycle, and distributed through the most appropriate channel.

In the content creation process, you might consider:

  • Is it better to start with a general piece of content and to later personalize it to each persona at every stage?
  • Should I start with a fleshed out piece of content and then notate which segments will be adapted to fit the next format?

This is the manual part of the equation that requires more in-depth research into, not only the buyer personas’ characteristics, but also, their personal journey and it’s up for you, the marketer, to decide what works best for your audience.

Going Green

Putting an adaptive content process into place can take a substantial amount of time but the beauty of it is that, when planned properly, adaptive content has the means to be evergreen. We have to remember to apply the R’s and when it comes to content, we do it in a most creative and practical way.

Reduce

The amount of time spent on content creation can be greatly reduced when you already have a hearty piece to edit and adjust. Slim down the content that you have and focus it on just one phase of the buying cycle. The load will feel a lot lighter.

Reuse

The content topics you already have are completely reusable when you promote them through a variety of channels. Social media, for instance, can serve as a great outlet for reshares; especially Twitter, where posts tend to be pushed out more regularly.

Repurpose

You can further stretch the reach of your content by repurposing it in various forms. Try going for something more visual by converting a whitepaper into an eye-catching infographic.

Recycle

Once you have a good grasp on where your buyer personas are in the buying stage and the best channels by which to to reach them, be sure to record and recycle the process. It will always be in motion, so be flexible and make the necessary adjustments as you go along.

Adaptive Content implicates techniques that are too smart and too personalized for any tool to master alone. It is a practice that will take time to put into place, but with a clearly defined strategy and a good grasp of its fundamentals, it has the potential to be one of the most personal and powerful marketing practices yet.

Online marketing practices are always evolving. What are you seeing for the future of content marketing and how will you adapt for what’s to come?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!

STRYDE | 25 Things the “Digital” CMO Must Know

25 Things the “Digital” CMO Must Know

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

Throughout the years, the role of Chief Marketing Officer has evolved tremendously. From concerns limited to traditional, one-way, broadcast media to new challenges involving entirely new, uncharted channels.

These uncharted channels require a new captain. Enter the “digital” CMO.

The “digital” CMO must not only be able to craft a compelling marketing message, but also spark and foster meaningful conversations. Don’t let the term “digital” fool you. This CMO has serious interpersonal chops that exist alongside a bevy of technical skills.

So, what makes the CMO “digital”? We’ve outlined 25 key terms and tactics that the “digital” CMO must know to be successful.

The “Digital” CMO’s Must-Knows

1. Social Media

We wanted to ease you into this list with an easy one: social media. By now, you should at least be waist-deep in the social media world, and if you aren’t, you’re behind. Even though as a CMO, you probably won’t be on the frontlines of the various social media platforms. However, you’ll need to keep up on the latest industry changes.

In addition, you should be participating on behalf of yourself! Your participation on Twitter and LinkedIn adds a valuable human element to your brand. In addition, building up your own profile will only bolster your corporation’s reputation.

2. Split Testing

Split testing (a.k.a. Bucket Testing or A/B Testing) is the marketer’s way to utilize statistics in proving efficacy of campaigns. It’s simple enough to understand and execute: two identical versions of a test subject are compared, except that one subject has a variation aimed to impact consumer behavior.

These tests are commonly used in email campaigns and social promotions; however, they are useful across the board. Split testing also becomes especially useful as concrete evidence in selecting one campaign over another. It removes the human judgment element and allows you, as a CMO, to make the best decision possible.

3. HTML

A knowledge of HTML is critical for CMOs. You most likely have a base understanding of HTML, but the more robust that understanding is the better. You need to understand how a website is created, and how much effort it takes to consistently maintain and protect it. Without firsthand knowledge of this, you’re doing yourself and your corporation a disservice.

4. PHP

While very simple, PHP has advanced nuances for the professional programmer. But, it’s overall ease of use makes it an essential tool in the “digital” CMOs repertoire. PHP has hundreds of functions and it even powers sites like Facebook. Learning PHP allows you to create dynamic websites and web applications. As a CMO, knowing the parameters of PHP helps you better understand the process, capabilities, and workflow of your team.

5. WordPress

As with others on this list, you’re probably familiar with WordPress. What began as an open source project in 2003 has grown into one of the largest content management systems (CMS) in the world. It’s based on PHP, and incredibly intuitive to use and navigate.

WordPress has evolved into a full blown CMS with thousands upon thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes to create a completely customized site. As with HTML and PHP, it’s critical for the “digital” CMO to understand the capabilities and limitations of WordPress.

6. Automation

Marketing Automation has become increasingly popular, with firms like Amazon executing it so perfectly that everyone seems to want to jump ship. What is it? Marketing Automation is similar to any other form of automation, in that it’s a collection of technologies designed to effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.

While marketing automation can be wildly successful, it also is a cost-heavy investment. That being said, if you’re sure you can make the transition successfully, the ROI will be well worth the investment.

7. Video Advertisements

Advertising via video messages is not new, but it has been giving new life with the advent of pre-roll videos on websites and social media. The “digital” CMO must understand how to best leverage these and capture consumer’s attention.

Creating video advertisements may seem like an incredibly expensive undertaking. While it can be costly, there are other budget-friendly options as well. Utilizing technology like the GoPro and online editing software, a video can be created at a fraction of the cost you might expect.

8. SEO

As with others on this list, SEO is not a new concept that the “digital” CMO must know. However, with every quarter bringing declarations of the “death of SEO,” it’s worth mentioning here.

As long as consumers use search engines to find information, SEO will be very, very relevant. Therefore, it’s best for CMOs to acquire a basic understanding of SEO and the tactics used to increase visibility for their firm.

9. Content Marketing

Content marketing often holds hands with SEO, but is without a doubt worthy of its own spot on this list. For those unfamiliar, the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as the “technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.”

In the online space, brands have the capability of becoming their own publishers. Enter content marketing. Not only does this technique drive profitable customer action, but it also builds trust in your brand and portrays it as a knowledgeable and helpful source of information.

10. Mobile Optimization

The world is going mobile, my friends, and has been for some time. This means that every internet marketing tactic you’re carrying out must also be optimized for mobile. Every website, every social push, every blog post, and every email sent needs to be seamlessly viewed on mobile devices.

Ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile is paramount. Having an optimized website boosts engagement and sales, and ultimately, creates the best possible experience for the customer.

11. “Real-Time” Marketing

Oreo Cookie thrust real-time marketing into the spotlight with its now-famous Super Bowl Tweet. However, you don’t need to be a globally recognized brand to excel at real-time marketing. That’s the true beauty of this tactic — it just requires awareness and quick action.

It also requires common sense and tact. A poorly-timed tweet that could be construed as poor taste will do much more harm to your brand than good.

12. Wearable Tech

Somewhat a novelty now, wearable technology will soon be as commonplace as smartphones in our daily lives. Smartwatches are already gaining traction, and with Apple’s upcoming entrance to the space, it’s only a matter of time before it’s the new darling of the marketing world.

As with mobile, when wearable tech becomes more popular, having an optimized experience for each device will be necessary. Wearable tech also opens up a new playing field for medical and health corporations, as many of the devices are equipped with fitness tracking technology. The “digital” CMO will need to decide whether it’s worth being a first-mover in this space, or to tread lightly.

13. Crowdsourcing

Even though the term “crowdsourcing” was coined in 2005, 10 years later it’s still a vital concept for “digital” CMOs to know. The popularization of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter has only added fuel to the fire of crowdsourcing popularity.

Crowdsourcing has endless applications, to everything from funding a potato salad to searching for missing planes. Leveraging this tactic can be highly useful, even groundbreaking, for your firm.

14. Big Data

Big data is simply the term for sets of data that have become so large, they are difficult to process using typical processing techniques. In other words, data that causes “analysis paralysis.” The most common buzzwords you’ll hear in the same breath as “big data” are “velocity, variety, and volume.”

The “digital” CMO will understand the prevalence of big data, and the importance in analyzing the right data the right way. Easier said than done though.

15. Social CRM

Social CRM, also called Social Media Monitoring, is the term used to describe a brand’s engagement with their customers via social media platforms. Paul Greenberg sums it up quite eloquently in his definition: “It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”

The value in Social CRM is derived from the trustworthiness and transparency your business displays when engaging. However, as with any activity on social media, it must be highly controlled and thoroughly thought-out before undertaking.

16. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization sounds a bit daunting, but the folks at Qualaroo did a fantastic job of breaking it down for us: “Conversion Rate Optimization is finding why visitors aren’t converting and fixing it.”

Any firm that has a website (so, ALL firms) should be concerned with CRO. The “digital” CMO must understand the importance of analytics, user feedback, and KPIs in the optimization process.

17. Mircotargeting

Microtargeting was originally reserved for political parties to track individual voters and identify supporters. But with social media, all marketers have the opportunity to participate in this wildly reliable tactic.

Microtargeting is the process of putting your content/firm in front of the right audience, albeit a smaller one. However, this tactic ensures that you’re going to get the highest engagement and click-through rates possible. Social media’s targeted ads facilitate this process wonderfully, and are worth a look if you’re still in the shotgun-style mentality.

18. “YouTility”

Jay Baer published “Youtility” in 2013, and it still serves as an amazing entrance into understanding the importance of helping, not selling, in the digital age. If you haven’t read the book yet, you need to put it on your to-read list. “Youtility” teaches a style of marketing that’s so useful, “people would pay for it.” In this information-overloaded society, it’s the route all brands should take going forward.

19. Influencer Outreach

Since social media continues to be a powerful channel, it comes as no surprise that influencer outreach made this list. Influencer outreach is the process of identifying existing users on various social media platforms that function as “influencers” in their space, and then building a relationship with these influencers in hopes that they will become evangelists for your brand.

As of now, influencer outreach is a very “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” process, which makes it alluring for those with small budgets. However, it’s really only a matter of time before these “influencers” start demanding a bit of monetary reimbursement.

20. Email Marketing

Some less-than-stellar marketers might have you thinking that email marketing is an antiquated technique. That school of thought couldn’t be further from the truth! Copyblogger provides an excellent viewpoint of email marketing: “It’s what you use when you want to move from ‘conversation to commerce.’”

The key difference between successful and futile email marketing campaigns comes down to the relationship with your audience. The “digital” CMO should understand and allow his team to understand the importance of crafting subject lines, brand voice, and quality content.

21. Paid Amplification

Paid amplification is simply the process of promoting your company’s content via Facebook promoted posts, LinkedIn sponsored updates, promoted Tweets, and YouTube’s Trueview ads. In the growing world of algorithm feed changes and dwindling organic reach, paying for expanded content distribution is nearly necessary.

Microtargeting, another member of this list, and paid amplification go hand-in-hand. It’s through paid amplification that you can microtarget, thereby building an engaged audience and passionate community of users that actually care.

22. Native Advertising

Native advertising is not a new marketing tactic, but its explosion in popularity in recent years merits its place on this list. As you know, native ads match the format and blend seamlessly into the existing user experience. However, this is the cause of native ad’s success AND its problems.

A portion of internet users feel as though native ads are misleading at best. So, when looking at this as a potential strategy, transparency is of utmost importance. Successful native ads have a thorough understanding of the target audience and what makes them tick, which mitigates any negative responses.

23. Storytelling

Storytelling might be the oldest marketing skill in the book. But, technology and the new spotlight placed on content marketing re-emphasize the importance of perfecting this skill.

The “digital” CMO should take his or her dictionary, scribble out “selling,” and put “storytelling” in its place. When each company communication is rooted in a good story, it’s difficult for consumers not to be enthralled.

24. Employee Empowerment

As we round out the list, we wanted to end with “bigger picture” views on marketing that are critical to the “digital” CMO. The first of which is employee empowerment. Again, this is not a new concept but is worthy of revisiting in the digital age.

In the pre-internet era, employee empowerment was generally thought of as the company culture that allows employees to have input and control over their work. While it still stands for this, its definition has now broadened to include employee activities online. Companies have gone so far as to have employees sign “social media contracts” that dictate what they can and cannot do online. This may not prove to be the most beneficial route to travel, however.

Instead of restricting employee activities in the online world, turn each employee into a brand evangelist. When the “digital” CMO empowers employees to act proactively and in support of their brand, the brand’s online presence grows exponentially.

25. Customer Empowerment

The final element of this list, customer empowerment, is a true culmination of every aforementioned tactic. The digital landscape empowers customers in a way that could never be accomplished before. Consumers are no longer content with being herded through a traditional funnel, therefore empowerment becomes critical.

You must arm your potential and current customers with the knowledge and power necessary to make informed purchasing decisions. True customer empowerment requires an understanding of big data and social CRM, among other things. It also requires systems of automation, paid amplification, and the like to effectively empower customers.

Transforming into the “Digital” CMO

Unfortunately, we cannot wave a magic wand and instantly transform you into an all-knowing “digital” CMO. The rest is truly up to you. But the good news is that the digital world is full of helping hands and valuable insights from individuals that have been where you are now. All you need to do is look for them.

Now you know where to start. So, get out there and become a “digital” CMO!

STRYDE | Stryde's Top 15 Blog Posts of 2014

Stryde’s Top 15 Blog Posts of 2014

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

These last 12 months have proven to be a successful and productive year for Stryde. We’ve taken our knowledge and meshed it together with other industry experts, information and resources to create several useful and insightful marketing posts throughout this past year. Just in case you missed one, below is a list of Stryde’s top performing posts of 2014.

  1. Top 50 Social Media Experts

In this post we provide you with 50 digital marketing leaders we think have earned the status of social media expert. Learn who they are, what they do and why they’re considered experts.

  1. Top 50 SEO Experts

This top 50 list is like the abovementioned post, except we highlight who we think are the industry’s top SEO experts. We even listed these experts in alphabetical order for your convenience.

  1. Top 50 Content Marketing Experts

This was the first blog post of our top 50 posts for this year. It’s loaded with big names and really smart content marketers you’ll want to learn about and follow on Twitter.

  1. Understanding The Different Types Of Anchor Text & How To Use Them

Readers loved this post so much it made last year’s list and this year’s list — and it’s from 2012! That must mean it’s a good one. This informative post tells you what anchor text is and how to use 4 types of anchor text.

  1. Dear Facebook, You’re Gross

In this post, one of our writers gives her take on Facebook’s mood manipulation study from 2012.

  1. The Ultimate List Of SEO Tools

This was another popular post of ours, appearing on this year’s list and last year’s list. Learn what SEO tools digital marketers should use in terms of keyword research, SEO analysis and link building.

  1. How To Use Google Keyword Tool & Google Trends For Keyword Research

Another reader favorite from 2013 and 2014, this blog post reviews 2 useful tools that help you find keyword opportunities and how you can use them for your business.

  1. Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 — The Experts Weight In (Part 1) 

In this post, you hear what some of the digital marketing’s brightest marketers thought top link building strategies would be.

  1. Ten Books Every Digital Marketer MUST Read

This may have been written last year, but it was good then and is still good now — so good it climbed its way into last year’s and this year’s top Stryde posts. Discover what books you should read to help you become the best digital marketer and asset to your company.

  1. How To Structure Writing To Evoke Emotion

Besides showing 2 great GIFs, this post reminds writers that great stories make people feel something, and tells you how to evoke that kind of writing when constructing your blog posts.

  1. Five Things You MUST Do To Have A Successful, Thriving Online Business

Another 2013 and 2014 list topper, you learn what the 5 components are to run a successful, thriving online business from this post.

  1. How To Effectively Perform Link Prospecting & Outreach via Buzzstream

When you read this Stryde blog post, you find out resources that help you learn what BuzzStream is and how to correctly use this fantastic platform.

  1. Crucial Questions You Should Ask Your SEO Clients Before Doing Business With Them

This blog post was written 2 years ago, but it’s still very much relevant for you today. We provide you with 10 essential questions you must ask your SEO clients before committing to work with them.

  1. 15 Tips To Tweet: Insights From Digital Marketing Thought Leaders 

We reached out to some digital marketing experts and have provided you with their favorite industry advice inside this post.

  1. Top 10 Social Media Experts You Should Be Following On Twitter

In this post we tell you about 10 social media experts you should be following and engaging with on Twitter. Give them a follow and subscribe to each of their blogs — you can learn a lot from each of these thought leaders.

We had such a fun time — and learned a great deal ourselves — creating and providing these and many other online marketing posts for you this past year. Here’s to a bigger, and even better, 2015 filled with tons of valuable blog content!

What the 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report Tells Us

By | Business, Digital Marketing, Industry News | No Comments

Last year I wrote a post recapping the findings from Software Advice’s 2013 Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report. This year marketing technology advisor Software Advice is at it again, but this time around they put together a 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report.

Demand generation, which I’m sure most of you already know, is using targeted marketing programs to help drive more awareness of and interest in your company’s products or services. In this report, Software Advice surveyed 200 B2B marketing professionals, mostly senior-level marketers, and discovered what channels, offers, content types and technologies they used to power their demand gen programs, as well as which ones worked the most effectively for them. Three key takeaways stood out from this report:

  1. The best channels that brought in large numbers of high-quality leads were trade shows, referral marketing and in-house email marketing.
  2. Videos were the most used content type, used by 92% of those surveyed, and videos produced a large quantity of leads.
  3. 79% of the B2B marketers use at least 11 marketing software applications, and 97% use email marketing software.

Best Channels for Generating Leads

The B2B marketers surveyed were asked to rate channels based on the relative quantity and quality of leads generated by said channels. Trade shows and events were picked as generating the most leads and the best leads, which Michele Linn, content development director at CMI, credited to in-person events being meaningful and powerful today when basically everything we do is online.

SA graph

Other channels that did well were search engine advertising, in-house email marketing and TV, radio and print advertisements. If you want to run programs that focus on quantity, these are options you should look into if you aren’t already doing them. But steer clear of direct mail and display advertising, as these 2 finished last.

While trade shows and events brought in large amounts of promising leads, they were also picked as being the channels that had a high cost-per-lead. Low-cost channels included in-house email marketing, organic search and social media. Social media marketing, the campaigns and programs excluding ads, made the top of the list at being the lowest cost-per-lead.

Content Types and Number of Leads They Produce

Next, the marketers were asked to rank content types by their effectiveness with demand generation and lead generation. Of all surveyed, 92% said video was the most commonly used content type for demand gen programs. Videos ranked just ahead of surveys, white papers and case studies.

SA graph 2

Videos and surveys also ranked as the top-2 ways for generating the most quantity of leads. Videos have been most thought of as content that helps brands build trust with their consumers and is used to simply entertain them. But as this report shows, companies must be producing more actionable videos that are generating more and more quality leads.

Rounding out the list of content types given, e-books and case studies finished at the bottom.

Software Applications Used for Demand Generation Efforts

SA graph 3

Software Advice then provided 11 software systems and asked the marketers to select which ones they used to assist with their demand gen efforts. Almost all surveyed, 97%, use email marketing software. Following closing behind were CRM and marketing automation systems. But what should be noted is that 79% of those surveyed use all of the 11 software solutions they were shown, and more than 70% said all 11 were reasonably important with their demand gen efforts. This proves that B2B marketing departments rely heavily on information technology.

Demand Generation Expectations and Spending

The last two questions Software Advice asked were how the marketers’ demand gen programs were performing compared to their expectations and what their plans for demand gen spending were for 2015. Forty-four percent of small businesses, those with less than 100 employees, said their efforts performed below what they anticipated, while 27% of midsized companies and 29% of large companies said the same.

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, believes these results are because many marketers set foolish expectations. Marketers want things right now, but they forget their prospects don’t function exactly how they want.

“Across the board, we too often expect marketing programs to work immediately,” he said. “We want qualified leads, now! But our prospects don’t work that way.”

As for spending with demand gen efforts, 41% of the marketers surveyed said they were going to increase their yearly spending, 43% said they were going to spend the same amount and 17% said they were going to decrease spending for the upcoming year.

SA graph 4

Linn said it’s no surprise at all that more marketers are planning to spend more for 2015.

“People realize now that having a demand generation strategy is so critical,” she said. “They need to plan content along the entire customer lifecycle. And it can be very time-intensive and resource-intensive. So, from that perspective, it’s not surprising that people are increasing spend at all. It’s an engine that constantly needs to be fed.”

STRYDE | 7 Digital Marketing Tweets Of The Week

7 Digital Marketing Tweets Of The Week

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

TWEETS OF THE WEEK (1)

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed this, but if you follow more than a few hundred people on Twitter it’s nearly impossible to use the Home Feed for it’s intended purpose. Hello unnecessary noise! You’re trying to stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing news and all of the sudden you’re visually attacked by a Katy Perry retweet. It’s okay, we’ve all been there.

To keep you in-the-know, we’re starting a weekly roundup (aptly named “Tweets Of The Week”). This way, you can catch up on the most important news in the Twitterverse you might have missed. To give you a true Twitter representation, we’ve mixed in some Tweets of our favorite publishers alongside ones from our favorite talking heads.

…And away we go!

1. Heather Lloyd-Martin dropped some serious content marketing wisdom:

2. Ann Handley got a new title:

3. Lee Odden was disappointed:

4. Michele Linn broke it down:

5. Mashable can’t even:

6. Nick Kellet got REAL:

7. Relevance reminded us of the components of true storytelling:

And that’s the week in Tweets! Happy October, everybody. See you next Friday.

15 Tips To Tweet: Insights From Digital Marketing Thought Leaders

By | Digital Marketing | One Comment

TIPS TOThe world of digital marketing is wonderfully diverse and ever-changing. Business leaders have three basic approaches to this varied industry. One is to research, learn, and stay current on changing landscapes. The second would be to dive into digital marketing with a rough plan, get frustrated after the first failure and call it quits. And the final approach isn’t really an approach at all. It’s just to ignore the industry hoping that it is just a passing fad.

Hopefully you do not subscribe to that last group, or we would have to burst your bubble! Digital marketing is not going anywhere, businesses must either adapt or be left behind. Now, that leaves the two other approaches. Clearly, the first option is the best. But, you may be thinking that it’s too much time, too many resources, and too complicated to undertake.

Not so fast! While the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, many core tips apply regardless of the place in time. We reached out to some of the brightest minds in the digital marketing industry, covering everything from SEO to social media, with one simple question:

What is your favorite (less than 140 characters!) digital marketing advice?”

Not surprisingly, these industry thought leaders did not disappoint. You’ll find their favorite tips listed below. If any, or all, strike a chord with you, Tweet it and share the knowledge.

On Digital Marketing

@ChadPollitt “Consistency is the key to successful digital marketing. Otherwise, the audience you build will not have their expectations met.” Tweet Me!

@nelsonjames “Don’t look for shortcuts. Almost all shortcuts lead to poor marketing tactics that will hurt your brand in the end.” Tweet Me!

@dustinheap “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket regardless of what that basket might be.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Sometimes very simple observations lead to meaningful insights.” Tweet Me!

On Content

@shuey03 “Before you begin any content initiative, you MUST know the needs and pain points of your target audience and be ready to address them.” Tweet Me!

@amabaie “Visuals are more effective than just text. But the most effective visuals include text.” Tweet Me!

@Casieg “Look at your data when creating content.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Become obsessed with pictures this year. Snap shots of your business, of people working there.” Tweet Me!

On Social Media

@ChadPollitt “If content is king then distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” Tweet Me!

@Matt_Siltala “Instagram is hot right now, and one of the most powerful tools for bringing the online and offline marketing worlds together.” Tweet Me!

@PapaRelevance “Organic reach on major social platforms will be reduced to rubble. Tune in to the paid content promotion ecosystem.” Tweet Me!

@PapaRelevance “I believe Twitter, Pinterest and the like will follow Facebook. You’ll need to pay for substantial exposure to your own audience.” Tweet Me!

On SEO and Optimization

@RavenJon “UX is quickly becoming the next big thing in marketing. The tipping point for #SEO was when they realized UX creates signals.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Know your audience and understand what they want to accomplish on your website. Give them what they are looking for.” Tweet Me!

@DavidWallace “Just because Google says it doesn’t make it gospel. Marketing is war & Google is not your friend. Take what they say with a grain of salt.” Tweet Me!

Never miss a beat by following these Tweeps on Twitter. That way, you’ll be one step closer to staying on top of all Digital Marketing news, trends, and insights.