65 Lies, Damned Lies, and…

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Stats symbolsI love statistics. I will proudly proclaim my mostly-right brain way of thinking, but there’s something about stats that I’ve always loved. Maybe, in spite of their being categorized as the worst sort of lie, it’s because they can help us see patterns.

Like snapshots, they’re a captured moment, not the whole story. They usually lack nuance (that’s the “lies” thing). Put those snapshots together, though, and you start getting a pretty comprehensive idea of what’s going on. In the world of marketing, snapshots of social media, blogging, and email, arranged properly, form the picture of inbound marketing today – what works and what you need to be working on in your own business.

So, without further ado, as they say, jump in. Use some of these stats to support the arguments you’re making for your own inbound marketing.

Inbound and content marketing

1. Using inbound tactics saves an average of 13% in overall cost per lead. (Hubspot) This is always a favorite with management.
2. 90% of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts. (demandmetric.com)
3. 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. (demandmetric.com)
4. 81% of marketers would increase spending on digital, mobile, and social channels if they could better track ROI. (cmo.com) It can be done.
5. But Globally, 41% of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable ROI, and 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing. Benchmarks are critical. Decide before you start what will be measured.
6. 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Exact Target) I’m surprised the number is that low. Inbox overflow may be a contributing factor.
7. 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company. (Custom Content Council)
8. 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (McMurry/TMG)
9. Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate, from 6% to 12% total. (HubSpot)
10. 34% of all leads generated by marketers in 2013 come from inbound marketing sources. (HubSpot) That number is growing daily. Is your site sales-friendly? Or is it just an online brochure?
11. Inbound practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices. (HubSpot) Content marketing produces 3 times more leads per dollar. (Kapost)
12. Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Mashable)
13. Content marketing produces 3 times more leads per dollar. (Kapost)
14. 84% of audiences age 25 to 34 have left a favorite website due to intrusive advertising. (Mashable) Not only 25 to 34 year olds…
15. Surveyed B2B companies with 250+ employees allocate 55% of their annual marketing budget for content creation and production (excluding promotional investments.) (Kapost)
16. Businesses that mainly rely on Inbound Marketing save more than $14 for every newly acquired customer. (State of Inbound Marketing) Not a lie, but it does make you wonder about that $14. But even if your customer acquisition cost is hundreds of dollars, $14 over hundreds of customers adds up.
17. Mid-sized businesses save 31% on Inbound Marketing costs compared to paid search. (Eloqua)
18. Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. (HubSpot)
19. The average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent Inbound Marketing. (Eloqua)
20. Inbound Marketing yields 3 times more leads per dollar than traditional methods. (Kapost)
21. Nurtured leads make 47% greater purchases compared to non-nurtured leads. (The Annuitas Group)
22. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. (NewsCred)
23. $20K is the average companies save per year by investing more in inbound marketing vs. outbound. (Hubspot)
24. More than half (53%) of marketers rank content creation as the single most effective SEO tactic. (NewsCred) Which leads me to …

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

25. Buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before ever talking to sales. (Executive Board)
26. B2B customers conduct 12 searches on average before checking a specific brand’s website. (Kapost)
27. 83% of online tech buyers found their vendor via Google search. (MarketingSherpa)
28. Nearly half (46%) of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company. (NewsCred) Haven’t you ever left a site because it was just so ugly? Ugly can also include navigation, by the way.
29. 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.” (Earnest Agency) This, to me, is one of the scariest quotes in business. What are you doing to be found? Inbound marketing is a huge part of improving your organic SEO.
30. On average, we conduct 12 billion searches per month on the web in the United States. (Comscore, July 2014)

Video

31. Which content marketing tactics get the best ROI? More than half (51.9%) of marketers say video. (cmo.com) Professional production is helpful, but not 100 percent necessary. If you do go the homegrown route, invest in some editing software to eliminate the ums and ers and stutters. Either way, a series of short – 2 to 3 minute – videos is better than one longer one.
32. By 2017, video marketing will dominate nearly 70% of consumer website traffic. (Cisco)
33. 65% of executives have visited a vendor’s site after watching a video. (Forbes)
34. Open click-through rates increased 200% – 300% when video was included. Video boosts open rates by 19%. (Forrester)
35. Video on landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. (Unbounce)

Blogging

36. Blogs give websites on average 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. (Inbound Writer)
37. Companies who have prioritized business blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive Inbound Marketing ROI. (HubSpot)
38. If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words. (QuickSprout)
39. Once you have posted 50+ times on your blog, blog traffic goes up 53%, 300% with 100+ posts, and 450% with 200+ posts. Blogs that post every day generate 4 times more leads than weekly posts. Don’t forget to invite people to subscribe.
40. Blogs get the highest traffic on Monday mornings. Thursday morning posts get the most social shares. (socialmarketingwriting.com)
41. Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)
42. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)
43. On average, brands that publish 15 blog posts per month convert 1,200 new leads per month. (HubSpot)

Email

44. More than half of marketers increased their spending on email in 2014 as email ROI reached 2,500%. (cmo.com)
45. Customers who receive email newsletters spend 82% more when they buy from the company. (iContact)
46. 77% of online customers prefer permission-based promotions via email. (ExactTarget)
47. 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into. (NewsCred) Lots of reasons for this, of course, but make sure you are delivering value – not just self-promos.
48. Email marketing delivers the highest ROI (about 44 cents per dollar spent, on average) of any digital marketing tactic. SEO is #2. Banner ads have the lowest ROI. (Mark the Marketer)
49. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. For B2C emails, the words “Alert,” “New,” “News,” “Bulletin,” “Sale,” “Video,” “Daily,” or “Weekly” (though not “Monthly”) all increase open and click-through rates. (Mark the Marketer)
50. For B2B companies, subject lines that contained “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” performed the best. (Mark the Marketer)
51. Timing is important too. 76% of e-mail opens occur in the first two days after an e-mail is sent. E-mail open rates are noticeably lower on weekends than on weekdays. (Mark the Marketer)
52. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%. (Social Fresh)
53. 64% of decision-makers read their e-mail via mobile devices. (Mark the Marketer) If you are using a mass-mail platform, be sure they are mobile friendly. This is crucial if you want your message to be read. Otherwise, why bother at all?

Social Media

54. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket. This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. (Fast Company)
55. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network. (Fast Company)
56. Every second two new members join LinkedIn, but LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. (Fast Company)
57. Social Media has overtaken porn as the No. 1 activity on the web. (Fast Company) I have to say, this always makes me laugh.
58. 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media. (Relevanza)
59. 85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks. (Iconsive)
60. 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow. (business2community.com)
61. “Interesting content” is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. (NewsCred)
62. LinkedIn is the top social network for B2B marketing. 83% of marketers say they prefer to use LinkedIn for distributing B2B content, and more than half of vendors say they have generated sales through LinkedIn. (Real Business Rescue)
63. 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads. (Jeff Bullas)
64. Google+ has 359 million monthly active users. (Jeff Bullas)
65. Over 40% of marketers report that Google+ is “useful to critical” for their business. (HubSpot)

 

Get in touch if you need more ammunition to get started on inbound marketing at 804.382.0594 or Bart.Levy at FastForwardMktg.com.

Don’t Let the ‘Break-Fix’ Model Break Your MSP Business.

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Don’t Let the ‘Break-Fix’ Model Break Your MSP Business. Here’s How to Change It.

MSP break-fix Back in the day, most MSPs developed new business when the phone rang. And the phone rang when someone flipped through the yellow pages, desperate to find someone who could come out today, right now, to fix their computer when the Blue Screen of Death appeared on their monitor. Now, of course, things are different. Or are they?

It’s possible that you are still placing ads in the yellow pages, because the YP salesperson told you that your ad would also appear online or they’d give you a banner ad. Perhaps you’re spending a fortune each month on banner ads. And speaking of banner ads, did you know that the click-through rate on banner ads is now lower than a single digit? The average click through rate of display ads across all formats and placements is 0.06% (Source: Display Benchmarks Tool). I hope your results are better, but I’m guessing they’re disappointing at best.

So why are you depending on someone’s computer to break or their network to crash for new business? You know there’s a better way, but perhaps you don’t know how to develop those new techniques and bandwidth to figure it out, or you don’t have the staff know-how.

It’s a Process

The obvious answer, of course, is to put everyone a maintenance contract. Easy to say, perhaps a little more difficult to do. There are a variety of reasons why customers resist, but there’s at least one you can manage: fear of making an expensive mistake in choosing their MSP.

You can educate your break-fix customers about the breadth of the knowledge and experience of you and your staff, so they feel confident in choosing you. You can also help them understand the benefits of signing a contract for on-going services. It’s a process with several moving parts and it takes time. Be patient and keep working on it. Some of things you can be doing to share what you know:

  • Blog posts – the best place to get started. Share an opinion, share what you know on a topic, or a comment on someone else’s blog. My experience is that it’s hard to just sit and think of some brilliant blog ideas, so check out what others are talking about and then start writing. I find that as I’m writing, other topics also pop into mind. I write them down so I don’t forget them, then refocus on the subject at hand. More ideas on developing blog topics are here.
  • White papers – more in-depth, more focused, and perhaps more technical than most blog posts. They’re sort of like the essays you wrote in school. Just be sure you don’t get bogged down in academic formats and guard against using five-dollar words when nickel words will work. Think two to maybe 10 pages in length, max. Adding charts, graphs, illustrations and good graphic design will help make your white papers popular.
  • Ebooks – very in-depth with many aspects of your topic under discussion. It can be as long as you need and you can charge what you think the market will bear. You may also be able to get Amazon to list it or even get a publisher to pick it up and take on the marketing and distribution for you. Even if it’s very short, it can be a big draw to your website and a major boost to your credibility.
  • Videos – great for those who are more comfortable speaking than writing. Video can be used from everything to replacing your written blog (a written transcript to go with it is very helpful), shot with your smartphone against a simple background, to showing and explaining complex concepts, with high production values and created by professionals. Three minutes maximum, please. If you need more time, consider breaking your video into sub-concepts and creating a series. By 2017, video marketing will dominate nearly 70% of consumer website traffic. (Cisco)
  • Case studies – a good case study sets up the problem, explains the solution, and demonstrates the outcome. If the initial solution/outcome isn’t 100 percent spot on, don’t be afraid of saying so (and what went wrong), and then how you went on to save the day. If you can quote clients saying how great it is to work with you, so much the better.
  • Infographics – we’re in a visual world and infographics are a great way to break complex concepts into bite-size chunks. Show processes, decision trees, solution-result options, and choice-result options are all good candidates for infographics. Infographics are also a great way to pull people into your website.
  • Slide decks – Got slide decks? Most MSPs do, and they can be great for repurposing into inbound marketing materials. Make sure, of course, you have privileged information removed.

Now, Make It Happen

If you have all that at the ready, good for you! Really. If you don’t, it’s going to take time to write and develop a lot of content, but don’t wait until you have a library full of information, get started with what you have. Then, use email and social media to let people know you have it. If you have been marketing via advertising, direct mail and other outbound techniques, and it’s working for you, at least sort of, add inbound to your mix. They can boost the effectiveness of each other.

The important thing is to get started. If you need a boost, get in touch at 804.382.0594 or email me at Bart.Levy at FastForwardMktg.com.