Pipeline Marketing: A Powerful Tool For Realizing Funnel Potential

Pipeline Marketing: A Powerful Tool For Realizing Funnel Potential

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Pipeline Marketing: A Powerful Tool For Realizing Funnel Potential

Pipeline marketing is a term that many in the marketing industry, even those heavily engaged in digital marketing, are not entirely familiar with.

It may go by other names; math marketing or revenue marketing, for instance, but the idea is the same: using data strategically to critically evaluate the effectiveness of online marketing efforts.

ClosedOpp was a very early adopter of this concept. A small paid search agency founded in 2007 that is breaking new ground in PPC marketing, ClosedOpp has been able to improve lead attribution by integrating all of its clients’ AdWords and Bing data with their CRM records.

The process of pipeline marketing is unique and innovative. ClosedOpp ties paid search data into clients’ Salesforce opportunity and lead records. This provides the ability to track leads from the point they were created, to closure. It also allows marketers to analyze the paths that resulted in the new business wins, to compare paths and to identify best practices to leverage in the future.

Pipeline marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses better understand their customers, how to segment customers into more high-performing groups, and how to identify the sales approaches that achieve the best results. Customer better, how to segment, and how to attribute successful sales approaches.

Rich Norwood, co-founder of ClosedOpp, describes how they developed this approach: “We realized early in 2012 that many digital marketers didn’t trust AdWords conversion data and were looking for a new way to track SEM performance.

We ran countless regressions identifying whether or not there was a correlation between AdWords conversions and Salesforce leads, AdWords conversions and Salesforce opportunities, and AdWords conversions and Salesforce wins. Once we determined there was a low R-squared correlation, we began looking for a better solution for our clients…”

The Power of Pipeline Marketing

The result was the new approach of “pipeline marketing,” which lets businesses focus less on lead gen and more on what they really care about, results. From Bizible’s website: “If your intention is to grow your business, shouldn’t you want to focus on generating customers and revenue, not leads?”

Lead gen, developing new contacts in hopes of increasing sales, has been an important marketing metric for decades. However, as Bizible states, “even as marketing has shifted to digital and analytics systems have been able to capture more complex data and insights, far too many companies are using legacy ways to measure their performance.”

Norwood asks the $64,000 question: “Do the clients care about leads or do they care about opportunities?” It boils down to this: do they want contacts, or do they want customers? Norwood says, “This may throw some people off. However, we’ve… proven that all leads are not created equally, some keywords drive larger opportunities, some keywords convert to opportunity at a much higher conversion rate. This is what Pipeline Marketing and Account-Based Marketing is all about.”

How It Works

The beauty of it all is that pipeline marketing allows marketers to be able to evaluate, in real time, exactly what keywords are driving visitors to their site, where they’re entering and what actions they’re taking. It’s a powerful analysis tool that requires careful consideration up front to realize the full promise of the technique.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Define campaign goals. The first step to embracing this new approach is for businesses to define their campaign goals in detail. And one of the most important goals is, as Norwood explains, to “focus on their sweet spot first. Start with the keywords that are must-targets.”
  2. Determine, specifically, the type of leads you’re looking for and where in the sales funnel you hope to initially engage with these leads. For instance, Norwood asks, “Do [you] want to buy top of funnel leads, leads looking for resources, checklists, and guides? Those leads tend to convert a lot… but [few] convert into opportunity. This can be a great strategy if the company is at scale and already has a successful nurture program. On the other hand, clients may decide it’s best to start with bottom of funnel leads that want a quote and pricing information and to talk with someone from sales.” It’s clear to see that engaging at the bottom of the funnel can yield better, and less expensive to convert, opportunities.
  3. Focus on Cost Per Opportunity. Norwood explains: “Because the opportunity has a high correlation with wins, and pipeline is defined as the total amount for all open opportunities, it makes sense that Cost per Opportunity should be the focus.” Simply put, you’re looking for the best outcome. This should be the main metric you focus on, according to Norwood. What keywords drive the highest ROI? “We need to create pipeline and wins. Period,” he says.
  4. Monitor and measure. Because they are tied in so closely with their clients’ CRM records, ClosedOpp is able to be extremely responsive and nimble, receiving feedback daily about what is and isn’t successful. Shorter timeframes allow quicker course corrections, as well as more rapid expansion of a campaign to leverage big wins.
  5. Adjust, and reap the rewards. Based on the feedback received, marketers are able to adjust their budgets based on real data related to ads, channels, keywords and audiences.

Access to Salesforce records powers the potential of pipeline marketing and provides a unique approach to business development. Norwood says, “[W]e actually measure leads, opportunities, wins, and Average Revenue per Unit (ARPU) daily, in real time. Our access to Salesforce allows us to monitor paid search so that we can see problems before they affect revenue.

We literally have our fingers on the pulse of the company. We often share data with our clients that cause them to pivot their whole strategy or completely redesign their landing pages.”

Pipeline marketing provides the ability to take a very focused, outcome-based approach to campaign analysis Norwood explains: “Our system creates an instant feedback loop between sales and marketing with the simple action of converting a lead to an opportunity and adding the amount to the opportunity.

We see this instantly and take action [often] days before the director of marketing suggests that we do so, because we’re looking at the data in real time and the director of marketing is in meetings.”

The Takeaway

What pipeline marketing boils down to is using your Salesforce records to figure out where your opportunities are coming from. Norwood clarifies: “Traditional PPC companies care about AdWords conversions. We don’t. We care about getting to know what campaigns, ad groups, keywords, landing pages, ads, countries, cities and devices result in opportunities and revenue.” 

Businesses that are able to tie marketing attribution to their CRM can get to market more quickly, spend money more wisely, and out-market their competitors. Pipeline marketing offers a unique competitive advantage, and gives business owners and managers an enormous amount of insight.

When you know where your best customers come from, it makes sense to invest more paid search dollars toward finding them. Pipeline marketing leads the way.

Contributor
Charles R Juarez Jr

3 ways to pump up your online marketing with video

3 ways to pump up your online marketing with video

by James F. McClister 

real-estate-agent-marketing-video-youtube-buyer-seller-home

In the 1990s, real estate agents posted ads in the newspaper and slapped their faces on the backs of benches. In the 2000s, agents still put ads in papers and spruced up bus stops with their smiles, but began shifting their operations to the Internet – promoting themselves on websites and, later, social media. In the 2010s, ads in papers and on benches still exist, websites are still a staple and social media has exploded, but in the Internet age agents must continue to diversify their marketing strategies. One crucial medium is video.

Every month, YouTube receives more than 1 billion unique visitors. The platform has offered major exposure for real estate businesses around the globe; in fact, the Australian Real Estate Group reported listings that include a video receive more than 400 percent more inquiries than those without.

But the medium is versatile, and as such, requires a strategic approach. Here are a few ideas for agents looking to harness the power of online video in their marketing:

  1. Serialize – A weekly “top listings” list or a monthly dive into market stats (or any other topic your clients will want to return to on a regular basis) is a great way to establish a branded video product that will continuously engage viewers (and potential clients) with compelling content. Keeping potential clients engaged with regular video content will help you stay top of mind for when viewers are ready to buy or sell.

  2. Establish authority – It isn’t fair, but it’s a reality in the lives of agents that their value is often questioned. People forget to ask the question of “what can you do for me” because, in many ways, they feel they already know the answer – which is to say: nothing the Internet can’t already do. Agents know this to not be the case, but someone whose real estate experience is limited to lackluster showings and HGTV series will have a skewed perception of the profession. Video allows agents to look buyers, sellers and hopefuls in the eye and give them a glimpse of the benefits a helpful, professional agent can provide.

  3. Promote your personality – Video is the perfect way for you to show potential clients your personality in action. It answers the question of “what’s this person like” before the initial meeting, giving them a sense of who you are and how you’ll handle their business.

Contributor
Charles R Juarez Jr

Power – The Great Revealer and Burden

 

Power – The Great Revealer and Burden
Art Williams, Case Study Writer and Markethive Contributor

Aspiring leaders often are conscious of the presumed benefits of leadership but they sometimes don't anticipate the simultaneous burden of leadership. 

In fact, when people attain leadership through natural talents (AKA: 'the easy way') they can be surprised when the responsibilities of leadership reveal inner qualities they were not even aware of and which they cannot handle. 

This is why character development should proceed parallel with their rise to leadership.

The reality of leadership power and freedom is the reason that leadership causes the previously hidden qualities of the leader's heart to manifest in ways that are often surprising to everybody. 

The shock and disorientation that accompanies sudden leadership is important to be aware of because leaders usually determine the direction their organizations go and the focus of the organization's resources. This is sometimes called 'the ripple effect' of leadership character. 

Leaders usually don't have the luxury of 'time-outs' and must be constantly sensitive that they are always on 'center-stage'. They must remember that everything they say or do is seen, heard, and imitated by many if not all of the members of their organization.

For those in leadership, there never comes a time when it does not matter what they do. Their every action is reflected somewhere, sooner or later, within the group they lead.

There are many facets to the role of leadership, but these three are indisputable:

  1. With a clear goal in mind, leaders gain conviction, that conviction brings strength, and that strength permeates through their organization.
  2. Leaders should never be afraid of experience. In fact, the sooner they get it, the more credibility they have within their organization and the stronger that organization becomes.
  3. Leaders realize that 'leadership' is a relative term, i.e. it implies that somebody is following them. Without followers, there can be no leaders, little or no duplication, and certainly not much multiplication.

History is full of examples of leaders who went to the 'right' or the 'wrong'. Leaders who went to the right could be Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchhill, and many of America's founders.

Leaders who went to the 'wrong' could be Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler, Barak Obama (AKA: The Great Deceiver), and others.

It could also be said that pop-social icons function as leaders to the society they come from too. For example, Charleton Heston, Bob Hope, or Ronald Reagan edified the societies they come from. In other instances, celebrities who couldn't handle success and power were an embarrassment to the societies they come from…e.g. Madonna, Miley Cyrus, or Lindsey Lohan.

The point is, one of the advantageous of 'the long road to success' is that it's a maturing and strengthing process. Be careful what you wish for least it comes before you're ready for it.

 

 

Is your website ready for Google’s mobile update in May?

It has been widely reported by Search Engine Land, Techcrunch, and others that Google is planning a new update to their algorithm regarding mobile-friendliness.  Mobile web traffic now exceeds traffic from desktop users, so Google is emphasizing how important it is that websites have the ability to display information correctly on mobile devices.

In the spring of 2015, last year Google first prioritized this and will update that original announcement again next month with a new change in their ranking criteria.

What does that mean to website owners and administrators?  Simply, you may lose mobile traffic if your site is not compatible with mobile devices.

Fortunately Google does provide a tool in which you simply type in your url to check your site.You can find it here

—-> Google Mobile Checker <—-

Something else that is less critical, but worth paying attention to is AMP – (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Google would also like sites to use their formula for making web pages load faster.  They are emphasizing news sites right now.  Eventually it will be important for all websites to follow these guidelines.

You can find all about it at the following link.  

—-> AMP <—-

Best of success in all your endeavors.

Jon Lombard – Contributor

Take Your Mobile Marketing To The Next Level With These Great Tips!

mobile marketing

mobile marketing

Take Your Mobile Marketing To The Next Level With These Great Tips!

Taking a step into the wondrous and complex land ofmobile marketing for the very first time might feel a little bit intimidating, but by keeping the helpful tips listed below in mind, you will soon find yourself marketing on par with some of the best marketers in the field.

When it comes to sending mobile marketing messages to your customers, be sure that you keep the size of any media files as small as possible. This is critical to ensuring that the download time for the message is low and that your customers are not charged extra data fees.

Integrate mobile marketing into other types of marketing. Mobile works best when tied together with other things such as print, television, radio, and live performances. Make sure to integrate 2-D bar codes or quick response codes into your print to help drive traffic to your mobile site. You will have endless opportunities.

No matter what type of features you are thinking of adding to your mobile marketing campaign, you need to remember that it is all about the execution here. Mobile users are growing at a faster rate than PC users ever have, so everyone is attempting to go mobile. Stand out by focusing on quality execution rather than just expansion.

If you are thinking about expanding to a different market with a different product, make sure that you start this effort first before you branch out to mobile marketing. It is going to be very difficult to pull people in from the mobile world to your new product, so go with what got you here and just repeat the process.

Take advantage of mobile applications that many mobile consumers already use and are very popular, like Google Maps. Google has a Local Business Center that will list your business on their Google Maps for that region. This way, your business will be targeted to the audience local to your area.

Provide instant rewards. With mobile marketing you can give your customers what they want, with no delays. Having a delay can make things lose their value or demand. People will participate in your marketing campaign hoping to get the promised reward. The quicker they get the reward, the happier they will be.

Remember when mobile marketing that not every mobile device is the same and thus the content you develop needs to cater to the general field and not anything overtly specific. For instance: Some people have slower connections than others, while others have smaller screen sizes. Be encompassing and not specific.

Take advantage of everything a mobile device has to offer. Innovation is happening very quickly in the mobile marketing arena, and much of it is driven by the quick innovation occurring in mobile hardware. Look at what the new devices have to offer and add their new abilities into your mobile marketing strategies. Just in the last two years, new hardware innovations that have affected mobile marketing have included front-facing cameras, location awareness and high definition video recording.

So, after reading and applying the helpful tips listed above, you should feel a bit more at ease in the land of mobile marketing. You have the tools; it's time to use them. You should feel empowered and ready to begin your mobile marketing journey to help better promote your business.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive Writing Process

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive
Writing Process

 

Richard Tipsword, Contributor

 

Does this sound familiar?

You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.

The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.

As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.

It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.

I’ve been there.

I used to hate writing

Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.

Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.

But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.

My insecurities were turning me into a monster

So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.

It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.

I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.

It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.

Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything

I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.

“Write the way you talk.”

Wait. What?

It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.

Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.

What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.

Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:

1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend

Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.

If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?

Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.

2. Record yourself talking about your topic.

Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.

This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.

3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself

By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.

Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.

4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.

If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.

This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.

So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.

5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing

If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.

Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.

Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.

Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.

After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?

6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest

Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?

Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.

7. Read what you write out loud

One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.

So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.

The moral of the story

Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.

I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.

I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”

Need I say more?

So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.

Written by: Logan Zanelli

 

How Being Genuine Can Strengthen You, Your Business, and Your Company

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Recently, I came across an article written by Mamta Chhikara (http://hive.pe/eC), which goes on to list and describe specific qualities that a genuine person possesses:

*They don’t seek attention = Modest

*They’re not concerned with being liked = Confident and Authentic

*They can tell when others are full of it = Intuitive (a good judge of character)

*They are comfortable in their own skin = Self-assured and confident

*They do what they say and say what they mean = Integrity

*They don’t need a lot of stuff = Simplicity

*They’re not thin-skinned = Easy-going

*They’re not overly modest or boastful = Humble

*They’re consistent = Dependable

*They practice what they preach = Genuine, Honest

Always keep these traits in mind not only as business but also as an individual.   As entrepreneurs seeking to gain trust, authority, and a growing customer base, we should always be cognizant of the foundation of inbound marketing, which involves:

*Performing due diligence for you and your company

*Performing due diligence for your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

*Engaging with your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

During the process of engagement, we should always be aware of the above traits of genuineness.  Your future colleagues and customers will be looking for these traits and will likely have the following thoughts/concerns:

*They want to know if you are confident in your company and/or product.

*They will likely be more concerned about the content/effectiveness of your product and/or character more than shiny “bells and whistles.”

*You should be able to eliminate illegitimate leads or potential colleagues within minutes of engaging

*Your customers and your colleagues want to see that not only do you use the product in question, but also that you use the product well and are able to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness to your colleagues and potential customers

*Most of us can eventually “smell” an inferior product or individual within a short period of time.  A usual warning sign is too many “bells and whistles.”  Simplicity is the name of the game.  If it’s too complicated or if it feels like the product (or individual) is too flashy, then it may be perceived as ineffective or disingenuous.

*Your customers and colleagues want to know that they can reach you during tough times or emergent situations.  Are you easily accessible via multiple modalities of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, Skype, etc)?

Now, I am not one who typically needs validation in anything that pertains to who I am as a person but I felt markedly refreshed after reading this article.  Am I a genuine person?  Hell yes!  

Depending upon where you are or whom you are conversing with, we may describe a genuine person as either "the real deal" or "being real."  If you are a fan of Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central, then you are already familiar with his catch phrase "Keep It 100."  It's the same concept and I believe being genuine is parallel with having integrity as well as the other above traits.  

Not only does a genuine & authentic person display his authentic self at all times (obviously with some adjustment for discretionary purposes), but he also "says what he does and does what he says."  He is honest about who he is and his actions reflect his character regardless of the setting.  

Become The Best Blogger

Become The Best Blogger.

Is it necessary to have a goal to become the best blogger in your niche? Is content marketing something that the public on the web is seeking? Many have asked that questions about the value of content marketing and wondered if it is limited to a few types of businesses. This article was printed in Hubspot in August 2014 titled, How To Become The Best Blogger In Your Niche. 

Back in 2012, Max Nisen wrote, “Content marketing is one of the biggest new trends.” He reported NewsCred’s CEO Shafqat Islam as saying, “Every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be.”

Two years later, Nisen and Islam’s prophecies have come to pass. We are in the age of content marketing — and it's showing no signs of going away. The content marketing arena is now so vast and so complex that people are starting to get lost. Don't believe me? Just take a look at this hodgepodge of an infographic from LUMA:

luma-content-marketing

In spite of the scary complexity, blogging is still the one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketer’s arsenal. And the better the blog, the better the content marketing efforts.

So here’s my thesis: If you are the best blogger in your niche, you can be the most successful in your niche. It’s only logical. If blogging is the core of content marketing, and content marketing is the path to success, then we must conclude that being a kickass blogger is the path to marketing success.

And here’s the really good news: You can become the best blogger in your niche. In the post that follows, I will provide three points that explain exactly how to gain that edge.

1) Know your audience.

Answer the most important question:  “Who is my audience?”

Too often, bloggers start with the wrong question. They ask things like:

  • How can I be interesting?
  • What can I write about?
  • What will make this post more engaging?

Those are great questions, but they are totally meaningless unless you first understand your audience.

I came across a line recently that stuck with me:

 

pngbase64c3c9af76173e7e56

When you blog for someone, you will have plenty of things to write about. What’s more, you’ll communicate in the right way — you'll be more "human" and familiar if you treat your audience like real people.

As you ask the big question, “who is my audience,” keep in mind these additional questions that will help you develop a deeper knowledge (From University of Maryland's Writing Resources):

 

  • What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?
  • How much does the reader know
  • Is the audience likely to agree or disagree with you?
  • What will the reader do with the information?

The clearer your view of your audience, the better your writing will be.

Your audience is smaller than you think.

Keep in mind that your audience is probably smaller than you think. Traffic metrics do not reflect an accurate count of your engaged audience. A better way to understand your audience is through engagement metrics.

In a study conducted by Chartbeat on Slate readership, they discovered that the most engaged readers were those who scrolled below the fold. A full 86% of engagement took place when readers scrolled to read an article.

 

chartbeat

Also, share metrics tend to skew the perception of an engaged audience. The people who share your articles don’t always read the whole thing, as an Upworthy study showed. This chart below indicates how long users stayed on a page compared to the point at which they shared the article.

attention_minutes

Your true readership is made of those who are engaged — the users who read your entire article and absorb the material.

You can build your audience.

Even though it is smaller than you think, you can also build your audience. Great bloggers grow in size and reputation. That’s what this article will tell you how to do.

The more you blog, the better knowledge you’ll have of your audience. You discover what they love, what they don’t love, what makes them click, and what makes them convert. In my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, I wrote this:

"A great blog begins with the content you create, but to be successful, a blog also needs a strong community or audience."

So you should not only learn who your audience is, but also shape that audience, too. To a certain extent, you get to decide who your audience is, and what they want to hear.

Everything starts with audience. If you know your audience and speak directly to them, they’re going to love you.

2) Be consistent.

You’re not going to be a wildly successful blogger unless you’re consistent.

An article on NewIncite had this to say about consistency:

"Quality of content and consistency are the most important factors in setting up your schedule … Consistency will keep them engaged, build brand awareness, and — if done right — help convert them to buyers."

It’s easy to talk about consistency, but it’s hard to do consistency. Bruce Springsteen wasn’t exactly a content marketing professional, but he had a great line about consistency:

"Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time."

What worked for The Boss works for content marketers, too. You want to be a blogging rockstar? Take it from a real rockstar: Consistency matters.

Being a rockstar blogger feels good. But waking up early every day, hitting the keyboard every day, and maxing out your mental resources every day doesn't always feel good. But that gritty pain is what consistency is made of.

How often should you blog?

So, what does consistency mean in real numbers? How often do you need to publish a blog post? To answer this question, I’m going to be all evasive and tell you to refer to point one — know your audience.

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute wrote this on the topic of blogging frequency:

"As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post: 1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and 2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great.  If it’s one per week, that’s fine to. [sic] Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling."

I can’t give you a hard and fast number. I can, however, recommend a minimum threshold — you should aim for at least one post a week.

Why? Frequent output — i.e. consistency — is positively correlated with greater traffic, as indicated by HubSpot’s research.

blog-slide-7-resized-600

In addition, HubSpot discovered that bloggers with higher output had better lead generation results:

blog-slide-10-resized-600

So consistency leads to accumulation of content, and the more content you have, the more results you’ll get.

3) Be totally transparent.

If you’re more transparent than anyone else in your niche, you’ll get more readers. People crave transparency.

Kevan Lee, Buffer’s blogger par excellence, writes this in his article, "The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post:"

"We aim for an element of storytelling in each of the posts we write, often starting a blog post with a personal anecdote or moment of transparency."

Transparency is a tricky thing. On the one hand, relationships are built on trust and transparency. But it’s hard to be transparent. Nan Russell, in Psychology Today, had some cogent insights about transparency:

"People want other people, not necessarily themselves, to be transparent … Some people find transparency threatening, especially at work, while others find it exhilarating. Some confuse transparency with authenticity, or think transparency means communicating everything or knowing everything they want to know."

Transparency is important in blogging, because you are building trust, developing relationships, and growing an audience. At the same time you must exercise your transparency in a thoughtful and intentional way. You’re not going to spill business secrets, gossip about others, or divulge information that puts you in a dangerous personal situation.

The best advice that I’ve read comes from the article I cited above, regarding the role of transparency in the workplace. These principles, as I’ve restated them and applied to blogging, will make you appropriately transparent:

 

  • Tell stories that demonstrate your openness and vulnerability.
  • Make sure you are respecting your boundaries of confidentiality and the confidentiality of others.
  • Use your transparency to help others, not simply for the sake of being transparent.

When we try to become transparent, we’re usually not as transparent as we think we are. But if we work hard to share personal stories — appropriate details included — we’ll get better at it.

Transparency engages readers and turns your blog into something that readers love. As I’ve studied many blogging niches, I’ve discovered that the bloggers with the greatest degree of personal disclosure are the most successful. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to get personal and transparent.

Conclusion

Being the best blogger in your niche has very little to do with writing technique and flawless grammar. Those technical skills kowtow to some way more important things:

 

  1. Knowing your audience.
  2. Being consistent.
  3. Being totally transparent.

If you put these techniques into play, you’re on the path to blogging domination and content marketing success.

*How to Become the Best Blogger in Your NicheWritten by Neil Patel | @neilpatel

DR. Raymond Jewell, is a leading economist and Home Based Business Consultant. He is a Alpha Legacy member of Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Markethive Systems is just a click and a sign up and you can witness the power of the Hive first hand. 

Why a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

The internet continues to grow and has become the default point of call for businesses and individuals searching for goods, services or information.

For businesses wishing to get that competitive advantage, a multilingual website now presents one of the most high impact means of expanding a client base and securing greater sales volumes.

The multilingual website will continue to become a necessity for businesses and organizations as the process of internationalization unfolds.

1 Shift Away from English Internet Users

The internet began as an English speaker's invention and as a result was dominated by English speaking users and sites. However, times are changing. With the growing numbers of people buying PC's and internet access available from Nigeria to New Zealand, English speakers will soon be in the minority when it comes to internet use.

Results of research carried out by Nielsen-Netratings in March 2005 described foreign internet markets as "low hanging fruit," i.e. if you have the will and foresight there are massive revenues to be found for relatively little effort. The results showed that internet use in the traditional strong holds of the USA, Germany, the UK and Sweden is flat lining. On the other hand countries such as France, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan are seeing substantial growth in internet usage.

As Kaizad Gotla, senior analyst at Nielsen-Netratings states, "The easiest opportunities are in countries where internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established. Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends for internet companies in the future."

2 Cost Effective Marketing Tool

Having the ability to communicate to a whole new international audience in their own language will undoubtedly yield results not only in a financial sense but also in terms of marketing and creating awareness of your brand, service or product.

A multilingual website in the grand scheme of things is probably one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your company, capturing new users, building relationships with new clients and giving your brand an international outlook.

3 New Customers

Ultimately what a multilingual website brings you are new customers. By having your site accessible to potentially thousands of people you are showcasing your company across the globe. For non-English speaking users looking for your product or service, you automatically capture their attention.

4 Sales

With every language added to a website there is the potential for an increase of between 100% in sales. Even if a multilingual website is translated into a few of the major world languages, i.e. Spanish, French, German and Italian there is potentially a 400% increase in sales. There are few other ways to get such an increase for such little investment.

5 Customer-Centric

A multilingual website demonstrates you are thinking about the customer. That little extra effort shows you have thought and cared enough about them to offer the website in their language. As with anything in business, if the customer thinks you care, they will want to do business with you.

6 Trust

For many cultures there is an issue of trust when it comes to buying over the internet, especially if they feel it is in a language they are not fully proficient in. Offering them a language alternative allows the customers to feel secure in the fact they know what they are buying, how and who from.

7 Culturally Sensitive

A multilingual website, if designed properly, overcomes potential cultural barriers through allowing access in a native language. This automatically puts the user in a 'cultural comfort zone' due to their being able to navigate, understand and interact with the website.

8 Beat Competitors

To get the competitive advantage in today's environment you need to think outside the box. Many businesses try to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at your competitors – if they have multilingual websites then why don't you? If they don't, then why not lead the marketplace and establish your company or brand abroad before they do.

9 Shows International Nature

Image is everything. A multilingual website demonstrates you think, work and deal internationally.

10 Search Engines

Search engines lead people to your site. In countries such as China, Japan and France, Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the default search engines. Home grown search engines are emerging and they are proving successful because they work in native languages and are focused on the habits and needs of their users. Such search engines are a key to tapping those markets and unless they have access to a particular language through your multilingual website then you will not be found.

In addition, many of the key search engines, especially Google, are developing the capacity to run searches in foreign languages. Having pages of your site available in those languages ensures maximum potential for your site being picked up in searches.

Conclusion

Business continually sees shifts and changes. At present the multilingual website is still in its early stages, with mostly large multinational companies using them to secure an international foothold. However, the trickle-down effect will naturally occur and the multilingual website will become part and parcel of an internet presence. Whether people chose to invest now or later is the only choice they have.

 

WordPress meets Markethive

WordPress meets Markethive

At one point the decision or revelation became the foundation of the Markethive blogging system. Markethive would make WordPress better.

Let me explain. At one time we considered creating a blog software solution, (Blog Press) with templates that would compete with WordPress. I know, stupid. But at the time, there were many who thought it was a good idea.

The argument went like this, “Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, Typepad, etc.” offer others options so we should too. OK, I said, but then the list of competitors grew from WordPress to a much larger list, and not only did it make us another “ME TOO” company instead of an innovative cutting edge customer centric juggernaut.

I made the decision to “not” jump in as yet another standalone (CMS) blog platform like Word Press, but rather to create a powerful system to make Word Press and other CMS far more manageable, with the goal to make them better. Particularly functioning on making the world heavy weight Word Press even better by enhancing the WP platform with a supporting blog platform so multiple content could be constructed with partner contributors, so we could build a Broadcasting system utilizing literaly millions of members social networks, so we could build massive WordPress sites by many members in collaboration producing powerful SEO campaigns.

The whole idea has manifested as one of the most powerful blog collaboration Inbound Marketing systems ever devised, and that is Markethive.

Our roll being to fuse a powerful vertical targeted social network of Entrepreneurs, thereby making the Word Press and other CMS system powerful by the very spirit of the Rise of the Entrepreneur!

The following lists have become our goal to support the top contenders with plugins, widgets and collaborative power and function.

But the video tells it all.

Choosing blogging software can be a scary process, especially if you are new to blogging. There are many different types of engines and content management systems (CMS) that could be used. Picking the software that you’ll need is not an easy task, given the wide variety and types on the Web today.

There are many different aspects to consider when choosing which blogging software to pick. For instance:

Programming language.

Many blog platforms run on either PHP or Rails, but you can find just about any flavor of programming language you are looking for.

What features you’ll need.

The type of software you might choose is very dependent on the type of blog you are going to run. Some blog software is geared more towards new users, while others are more developer and designer-friendly. It’s a matter of finding software based on the features you need.

The size of the software’s community.

If the software community is larger for one blogging system and much smaller and less active than another, the more active community is usually a better choice for software. More active users within the development community means more improvements on the code base, in a faster time frame.

The age of the software.

The age of the software shows the maturity of the blogging platform. Young projects are more unstable, and are more likely to have bugs.

If you are planning on extending the blog.

If you are thinking about adding things like forums, a store, or some other feature to your blog, some blogging software will be more suited to fill that need than others.

The blog software that you choose can have a big impact on your blogging. It’s important to choose the right software in the very beginning, so you can avoid the hassle of migrating to different engine later on. Here are the pros and cons of the 10 most popular blogging systems.

Here is the list of the top 10 blogging CMS solutions:

1.Wordpress
Alexa Rank (276)-45

WordPress is the most famous and widely-used blogging platform. It features a very intuitive web-based installer so anyone from skill level novice to expert can quickly install the software without any hiccups.

The WordPress community is a major asset to the blogging software. It has one of the largest and most passionate communities of developers and users, so one could find just about any theme or plugin imaginable. The possibilities for extending the software are endless, and many web sites and services have used the WordPress code base to build entirely different applications. WordPress also features integration with Akismet, one of the most effective spam protection systems for blogging software.

WordPress makes it easy for new bloggers to not only install the software, but also to download and install automatic upgrades to plugins with only one click. The learning curve for WordPress is fairly minimal, and if a new user runs in to problems, they can always check the extensive documentation. WordPress is perfect for the new blogger who wants to get his feet wet installing their first blog software, or the advanced developer who’s looking to extend the stable code into something entirely different.

If you are wanting to start a multiple-blog site, you can also check out WordPress MU. WordPress MU is the same code base as the mature WordPress single blog code base, with some added functionality.

2. Drupal
Alexa Rank  (2,497)-17

Drupal isn’t your typical blogging software. While it has an incredible community behind the code and many blogs use it for blogging software, it’s not just blogging software. Drupal is community software.

Drupal really shines as blog software for a blogging community. Performancing is a great example of using Drupal as a community of blogs. Whether you are wanting to power one blog to a 100, Drupal is an excellent choice.

Another strong point about Drupal is the versatility of the software. It comes packaged with a robust user system, but also a lot of community-friendly features like forums, books (for creating documents in a “book” structure) and a tracker which allows you to follow updates and content that other users have published recently.

Drupal also comes with a large community of developers and modules. With these modules, one could build any type of site or add nearly any sort of functionality to their Drupal installation. Many top-notch sites use Drupal to publish their multiple blogs and user communities. Performancing, Spread Firefox, The Onion, and Ubuntu and others.

Drupal is the perfect blogging software for anyone wanting to add a community to their blog with forums and extensions.

3. Joomla
Alexa Rank (2,689)-570

Joomla is a CMS that is similar to the community-friendly Drupal, and gaining traction every day. While Drupal is geared more towards developing community-flavored sites and blogs, Joomla seems to be geared more towards ecommerce (you can read more about the comparison between Joomla and Drupal here).

Regardless of their differences, Joomla is very much like Drupal in the fact that it’s easy to get anything from a simple site to a community blog in minutes. Joomla has a vibrant development community which has created many extensions.

Joomla is perfect for anyone wanting to build a blogging community site, or add ecommerce functionality to a blog.

4. ExpressionEngine
Alexa Rank (12,422)-2,466

ExpressionEngine is a very robust blogging platform, but isn’t free. The best feature about ExpressionEngine is the feature to publish multiple websites, either using different subdomains on a single domain, or across multiple domains.

You could use one code base to power multiple sites across multiple domains. The software features an extremely clean and simple backend that shouldn’t confuse the blogger. Designers and developers love ExpressionEngine for the fact that it’s quite easy to hand over a site and have the client update his own blog. It’s a solid all-in-one package.

ExpressionEngine is really geared for people who are trying to start a multi-blog site, but anyone can use the software quite easily thanks to its thoughtful and elegant design. A single license costs $99.95, but if you’re running a personal blog you can download the core version of EE.

5. Liferay
Alexa Rank (26,959)+3,284

Liferay Portal is a free and open source enterprise portal written in Java and distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License. It allows users to set up features common to websites. It is fundamentally constructed of functional units called portlets. Liferay is sometimes described as a content management framework or a web application framework. It comes with certain portlets preinstalled. These comprise the core functionality of the portal system.

The reasons to use Liferay Portal for your website are simple: it provides a robust platform to serve your site to all clients, be they desktop, mobile, or anything in between; it provides all the standard applications you need to run on your site; and it provides an easy to use development framework for new applications or customization. In addition to this, Liferay Portal is developed using an open source methodology, by people from around the world. The code base is solid, and has been proved to be reliable and stable in mission critical deployments in diverse industries.

6. DotNetNuke
Alexa Rank  (32,058)-238

DotNetNuke is an open source platform for building web sites based on Microsoft .NET technology. It is written in VB.NET and distributed under both a Community Edition BSD-style license and a commercial proprietary license. The Community Edition is a popular web content management (WCM) system and application development framework for ASP.NET, with over 6 million downloads and 600,000 production web sites as of October 2010. More than 8,000 DotNetNuke apps are available for purchase on Snowcovered.com. DotNetNuke.com has over 800,000 registered members as of October 2010.

Major Features:

Distinguishes between community (common features) and enterprise (full set of features) editions. 
Various modules, and data providers.
Provides language packs for about 60 languages.
Customizable through skins and templates.

7. MODX
Alexa Rank (32,333)+1482

Modx is not just an open source CMS but also a web application framework. Raymond Irving and Ryan Thrash began the MODx CMS project in 2004 as a fork of Etomite. In 2008 MODx users created a new logo and branding for the project. Now MODx allows for full segregation of content (plain HTML), appearance and behavior (standards compliant CSS and JavaScript) and logic (PHP, snippets).

Major Features:

As with Joomla, modx officially supports only MySQL database.
Not just CMS but a PHP framework for Web.
Freedom to choose jQuery, Mootools, ExtJS, Prototype or any other JavaScript library.
Supports PHP 4.3.11 and above.
Complete control of all metadata and URL structure for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Unlimited hierarchical page depth.
Can create custom fields and widgets for templates.
Role-based permissions for the Manager.
Ability to customize the Manager on a per-deployment basis.
Ecommerce integration via Foxy Cart.
Extensions: 622, also known as add-ons.

8. concrete5
Alexa Rank (33,631)-292

Concrete5 is an open source CMS started in 2003 as a rapid-design approach to building the now-defunct LewisAndClark200.org, the official site for the Ad Council's National Council for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. Concrete5 is developed in PHP and is distributed under MIT software license.

Concrete5 features in-context editing (the ability to edit website content directly on the page, rather than in an administrative interface or using web editor software). Editable areas are defined in concrete5 templates which allow editors to insert 'blocks' of content. These can contain simple content (text and images) or have more complex functionality, for example image slideshows, comments systems, lists of files, maps etc. Further addons can be installed from the concrete5 Marketplace to extend the range of blocks available for insertion. Websites running concrete5 can be connected to the concrete5 website, allowing automatic upgrading of the core software and of any addons downloaded or purchased from the Marketplace.

9. Typo3
Alexa Rank (36,110)-8,334

TYPO3 is a free and open source CMS released under the GNU General Public License oriented to small to mid size enterprise-class users. TemplaVoila is an alternative template engine extension for TYPO3. A graphical mapping tool for creating templates is included, an alternative page module, the ability to create flexible content elements and an API for developers. New content element types can be created without programming. TemplaVoila facilitates more flexibility for maintaining web pages than TYPO3's standard templating, while making it possible to enforce a strict corporate design and allowing editors to work with content more intuitively.

Delivered with a base set of interfaces, functions and modules, TYPO3's functionality spectrum is implemented by extensions. More than 5000 extensions are currently available for TYPO3 for download under the GNU General Public License from a repository called the TYPO3 Extension Repository, or TER.

TYPO3 can run on most HTTP servers such as Apache or IIS on top of Linux, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X. It uses PHP 5.3 or newer and any relational database supported by the TYPO3 DBAL including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and others. Some 3rd-party extensions – not using the database API – support MySQL as the only database engine. The system can be run on any web server with a modern CPU and at least 256 MB RAM. The backend can be displayed in any modern browser with JavaScript. There is no browser restriction for displaying user-oriented content generated by TYPO3.

10. Alfresco
Alexa Rank (36,854)+2,483

Alfresco is an open source enterprise content management system for Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems. Alfresco includes a content repository, an out-of-the-box web portal framework for managing and using standard portal content, a CIFS interface that provides file system compatibility on Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems, a web content management system capable of virtualizing web apps and static sites via Apache Tomcat, Lucene indexing, and jBPM workflow. The Alfresco system is developed using Java technology. John Newton (co-founder of Documentum) and John Powell (a former COO of Business Objects) founded Alfresco Software, Inc. in 2005.

11. b2evolution
Alexa  Rank (80,628)-14,427

b2evolution is another blogging platform that allows for a single installation of a blog, or a whole network of blogs, right out of the box. b2 probably has the weakest developer community behind it, with only a 200+ plugins (compared to Joomla’s 3,400+).

The software features a very easy-to-understand backend, ideal for beginners. b2 also has has a built in stats feature, which is something most blogging platforms don’t have out of the box. The software also features a post editor with a very minimal WYSIWYG editor, which is perfect for a beginning blogger.

While the b2 developer community may not be very large, it has a very promising code base and many people still use b2evolution to power their blogs and blogger communities.

The Irrelevant Others

Plone.org                           
Alexa Rank (102,395)+10,174

cmsmadesimple.org
Alexa Rank (104,671)-32,048

umbraco.com
Alexa Rank  (116,439)-16,212

ez.no
Alexa Rank (154,173)-43,687

movabletype.org
Alexa Rank (174,802)-9,166

textpattern.com
Alexa Rank (187,704)-45,048

Being Irrelevant,

mephistoblog.com
Alexa Rank (8,419,219)-2,169,053

There is no other blogging platform, that integrates support for all Blog CMS systems, engages social networks so reaches high into the stratosphere, nor institute a learning environment so building competent content teams is easily achieved.

Markethive, It is that easy It is that powerful

Thomas Prendergast
CMO
Markethive, Inc.

 

 

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