7 Spookily Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns for Halloween


Q: What’s the ratio of a pumpkin’s circumference to its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi

All jokes aside, Halloween presents a huge sales opportunity for B2C (and even some B2B) brands. In fact, Halloween is only second to Christmas as the most commercially successful holiday. And a recent survey found that Halloween spending is estimated to reach $8.4 billion dollars this year, the highest in survey history.

Depending on your line of business, this presents an enormous opportunity for marketing departments to help generate a ton of cash over a short amount of time. However, the bar is incredibly high and competition is stiff, which means that consumers are looking for clever, creative and memorable marketing campaigns. The seven spooktacular campaigns below made their mark this year.   

Burger King Dresses Up As Rival

This spooky marketing tactic has been all over the news in the past few days. A Burger King in New York draped their building with a giant ghost and scrolled the word “McDonald’s” on it. They also updated their marquee for the holiday to say “Boooooo. Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween”.

In just a few short days the video already has almost 500,000 views on YouTube.

Chipotle Helps Customers Score A $3 Boorito

Each year, Chipotle runs a promotion offering discounted food to customers who show up in-store wearing a costume. I will admit that I have personally partook in this promotion more than I’d like to admit.

Not only has this one Facebook post received over 7,000 reactions, but nearly 3,00 shares as well proving that followers (and their friends) are keen on the deal.


Airbnb Offers Terrifying Experience

The latest Airbnb contest is not for the faint of heart. The travel giant offered two “lucky” people the opportunity to spend Halloween night in the Paris Catacombs. In case you didn’t know, the Catacombs are the final resting place of 6 million souls.

In order to win the full experience, followers were asked to share why they think they are brave enough to sleep in the Catacombs.


Petsmart Gets Cute

I absolutely love this post from Petsmart. In addition to offering pet lovers a clever idea for carving pumpkins, they’re also encouraging user generated content by asking people to create their own and use the hashtag #WickedCute as well as tagging the brand and the “pet celebrity” that they choose.


Energy.gov Educates Using Candy Corn

I was pretty impressed by this amazingly clever approach to showing how your energy consumption stacks up to the energy found in Halloween themed objects from Energy.org. Users can choose a number and energy type to find their output.

Additionally, the organization also created a special Energy Ghostbusters podcast that shares “scarily effective” ways to save energy.


REI Offers Zombie Survival Gear

This infographic from REI promises to supply you with the proper attire to survive a zombie apocalypse as well as “five critical skills to keep you from becoming a snack”. Not only is the release of this infographic timely for Halloween, but it also aligns with the premiere of the new season of the Walking Dead and will prove to be a piece of evergreen content for REI once the holiday has passed.


MAC Transformation Magic

The London Dungeon offers a truly unique theatre experience that features special effects, rides and the opportunity for patrons to hear, touch and smell the whole experience. Their latest campaign features the use of high-end Mac cosmetics to create an authentic (and truly disturbing) tutorial for turning yourself from fresh faced to wicked witch with some clever contouring.


TopRank Marketing Team Members Share Their Fondest Halloween Memory

This post would be incomplete without including halloween insights from some of our TopRank Marketing team members. Below you’ll find a glimpse into halloween of years past as our team reflects on their fondest childhood halloween memories.

Alexis Hall – Director of Client Accounts
When I was in first grade I was at the school Halloween party. And for three tickets you could place someone in jail for like 10 minutes. And my brother put me in. It had bars and I cried after 30 seconds so he changed places with me and served my time. It was traumatizing at the time.

Leila de La Fuente – Account Manager
When I was 6, I dressed up as my favorite disney Character, Nala from the Lion King. I walked around all day saying “get your paws off me” because it was my favorite line from the movie.

Caitlin Burgess – Content Marketing Lead
Every Halloween night my grandpa would come over for dinner. My mom always made baked spaghetti from a family recipe. After dinner my dad and grandpa would hit the streets with my sister and I, as well as the neighborhood kids, for trick or treating.

Kevin Kotch – SEO Analyst
When I was a kid, I remember trying to find the “best” houses which of course were the ones with the full-sized candy bars. Throughout the night while we were trick or treating, my neighborhood friends and I would have silly string wars. Things got pretty messy.

Amy Higgins – Account Manager
One year I was Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. I really wanted long hair so I could fold my arms and shake my head to make wishes come true. So, I stole my mother’s hair piece from when she was debutante. Mom was not happy. I think she wanted to save it for when beehives come back it style. Just kidding 🙂

Evan Prokop – Digital Marketing Manager
I remember the thrill of running around in the dark causing mayhem. And, there was nothing better than coming home with a full sack of candy!

Tell us what you think! Which marketing campaigns did you find extra spooky and impactful this year?

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Source: online marketing

Online Marketing News: The Art of Stealing, Twitter Closes Vine & Helpful Chat Bots



How to Improve Blog Writing Through the Art of ‘Stealing’ [Infographic]
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or at least that’s the rumor. So, how can you (legally and ethically) ‘steal’ the high-performance content mojo from a fellow writer to help improve your work? This infographic explains how. MarketingProfs

Important News about Vine
Twitter announced on Thursday that they’ll be discontinuing their Vine app. The platform, which just announced a round of layoffs last week, says they’ll be ‘doing this the right way’ by keeping the website online so users can continue to access their content. Vine on Medium

4 chatbots to help you analyze ad campaigns right in Slack, Facebook Messenger & Google Sheets
The life of a digital marketer is always on the move — from platform and algorithm changes to juggling multiple campaigns at once. The good news? There are now chat bots inside frequently used apps like Slack, Google Sheets and Facebook Messenger that can give you the insights you need, right when you need them. Marketing Land

Facebook Launches a Big Ad Campaign for Facebook Live, With User Videos at the Core
Facebook Live, for how powerful it is, is still relatively unknown by the Facebook user community at large. This week, Facebook launched an international campaign to gain awareness, featuring a combination of TV ads and digital billboard creative using footage of actual user videos. AdWeek

Blogging Report: How to Drive Results From Your Company’s Blog
“A new report reveals that when blogging for business, companies are producing more content with less impact. It also uncovers specific tactics marketers can use to combat content overload and outperform their competitors,” Reports TrackMaven. The average number of posts published by brands has increased by over 800% in the last five years, while shares have gone down. TrackMaven


PayPal Announces New Integration with Facebook Messenger
On Wednesday, PayPal announced an integration with Facebook which allows users to use PayPal as a payment option within messenger. This fits with Facebook’s recent push to become more competitive with the business market. Social Media Today

New Occurrences of SEO Spam Discovered: Hacked Subdirectories on WordPress Sites
Sucuri released a statement this week about new occurrences of SEO spam which are secretly installing subdirectories on WordPress sites. Search Engine Journal reports: “The idea behind this black hat scheme is to abuse the server resources and storage by installing spammy sites within a WordPress subdirectory.”  Search Engine Journal

Client-side ranking to more efficiently show people stories in feed
Facebook announced in a blog post last week, “we redesigned the architecture of News Feed to allow stories to be re-ranked on the client after being sent from the server. We avoid spinners and grey boxes by 1) requiring stories to have all necessary media available before rendering them in News Feed and 2) being able to optimize the content in News Feed for each session.” Facebook

What were your top online news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? I’d love to hear it! Drop a note in the comments or tweet your thoughts to @toprank.

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Source: online marketing

20 Jokes Only a Marketer Could Love


It’s well past time for marketers to get serious about comedy. The best way to connect with an audience is by authentically appealing to them on a human level. Adding humor to marketing is one of the most powerful ways to make that appeal.

Telling a joke does more than provide a moment’s diversion. When people share in a joke, it creates a sense of belonging. If you’ve ever sat around trading in-jokes with your friends, you know what I mean.

Humor can be a way to draw a circle around a group and pull them in—to say, “If you understand this joke, we’re in the same tribe. You get me and I get you.” That’s a powerful message to send to your potential customers. And it’s a good way to get the less relevant folks to opt out, too.

To underscore this point, I wrote 20 brand-new jokes that only marketers will get. If any of these jokes make you laugh, groan, or smirk, you’re in my tribe. Matching T-shirts are optional.

What I’m trying to say is, there’s nothing like a good joke.  And believe me, everything you’re about to read is nothing like a good joke.

20 Jokes that are Just for Marketers:

Q: Why couldn’t the marketer sell his baking equipment?

A: He had a leaky funnel.


Q: What’s a pirate’s favorite content format?

A: WebinARRR! Preferably one that’s B2Sea.


Q: Why can’t the marketer go see live musicals anymore?

A: He keeps trying to capture the leads.


Q: Why did the marketer get fired as a tap dancer?

A: She wanted to get paid per click.


Q: What kind of marketing does Dracula do?

A: a-COUNT based marketing!


Q: Why did the marketer fail at honey harvesting?

A: Instead of tapping the hive, he insisted on going B2B.


Q: Why did the woman dump her marketer boyfriend?

A: Lack of engagement.


Q: Why did the marketer burn his initials into a leather jacket?

A: He was working on his personal brand.


Q: What do black hat SEO’s put in their Thanksgiving turkey?

A: Keyword stuffing!


Q: Knock, knock!

A: Who’s there?

Q: Remarketing!

A: Remarketing, who?

Q: Knock, knock!

A: Who’s there?

Q: Remarketing!


When I was getting my marketing degree, I had a 4.0 GPA. There wasn’t a B2C anywhere.


Q: Did you hear about the email marketer who started an ape breeding business?

A: He failed because all he had were MailChimps.


Q: What’s a social media marketer’s favorite kind of cracker?

A: Insta-Grahams!


Q: Why did the social media marketer get kicked out of the bowling alley?

A: She kept trying to sponsor the pins!


Q: What do you call a cow with a blog post stamped on its skin?

A: Branded content!


Q: Why should you never get sushi with a marketer?

A: They insist on showing pre-roll ads.


Q: Did you hear about the new tactic where you co-create content with ill celebrities?

A: It’s called influenza marketing. It’s really going viral.


Q: Why is Joe Pulizzi great at binge-watching TV?

A: He’s enjoyed a lot of success focusing on one channel.


Did you hear about the marketer who imitates celebrities? He’s quite the bargain. He only charges per thousand impressions.


Q: Knock, knock!

A: Who’s there?

Q: A/B testing!

A: A/B testing, who?

Q: Would this joke be funnier if it were about screwing in a light bulb?


Humor brings people together. The corniest of puns can serve a valuable purpose if it tells your audience that you’re part of their tribe. If you enjoyed these jokes, I hope they inspire you to add more humor to your content.

What’s your favorite marketing joke? Let me know in the comments.

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Source: online marketing

7 Tips for Making Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media


For most brands and marketers, social media is an important and necessary component of their overall digital marketing strategy. Not only does social media help build brand awareness, but it also provides a conversational space for brands to engage their audience outside of their company website or brick and mortar stores or offices.

But let’s face it, competition for audience attention and engagement is stiff. With nearly all brands and marketers using social media, coupled with frequent platform changes to improve user experience, brands are fighting for organic visibility. In fact, 40% of marketers say social media marketing has gotten more difficult for them in the last 12 months, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Industry Report.

While it may be more difficult to grab attention these days, the good news is that your target audience is still there, ready to be inspired by your company’s story and creativity, as well as some of your product or service promotions. According to survey findings from MarketingSherpa, 85% of U.S. consumers said they used social media, with 58% all respondents saying they follow brands on social media.

And the success of your social media efforts boils down to one thing: Likeability. People will follow your brand because they just plain like you and they like what you have to offer on social media, such as quality and entertaining content, discounts and special promotions, or customer service.

So how can your brand be more likeable on social media and stand out from the competition? Below we offer a few tips and examples that can help.

#1 – Be real.

If you want to grow meaningful connections—as well as your number of page likes and follows—the importance of authenticity cannot be overstated. Social media gives brands the opportunity to show their target audience who they are, not just what they sell.

Develop a brand voice and marketing strategy that brings a human element and some personality to your social media pages. This means it’s time to lose the jargon or sales pitch, and talk to people on their level. In addition, ask thoughtful questions and be timely in your responses to keep the conversation going and to show your audience your dedication.

Ben & Jerry’s, the makers of some of the most delicious ice cream on the planet, have blended their brand with creativity and humor, as well as some tongue-in-cheek references from time to time, into their Instagram postings.

Ben & Jerry's on Instagram

#2 – Provide value through a mix of content.

Providing your audience with a mix of quality content is key for raising your likeability factor and showing your value.

Share links to helpful content on your website, but also make sure you’re calling their attention to other relevant and helpful pieces of content or news items that are out there. This will show them that you’re in the know and that you’re dedicated to providing them with something useful, even if it doesn’t have your name on it.

In addition, do not forget to include visual content as part of your mix. Humans are visual by nature and research shows that visual content can seriously boost engagement on social media.

Also, consider posting content natively within your platforms to eliminate the barrier between your audience and your content. While you give up some immediate website traffic, native content—especially native video content—allows your audience to interact with your content in the moment and can also boost engagement.

#3 – Don’t be overly promotional.

If your brand is only posting promotional messages, you need to stop. That’s not what your audience is looking for and you’re probably not seeing much ROI. Your audience wants to know who you are, what you stand for and what you can offer, which goes well beyond your line of products or services.

#4 – Invite discussion.

Social media is all about giving people a place to share their thoughts and experiences with one another. As mentioned above, ask your community engaging and thoughtful questions to get the conversation going and tap into their insights.

If you’re sharing industry news, ask them for their thoughts on recent developments. If you’ve recently launched a new product, ask for their feedback. HubSpot is constantly asking their audience for their thoughts on a variety of related topics, encouraging conversation and prompting shares. Here’s an example of a recent Facebook post.

HubSpot Discussion on Facebook

If you’re on Twitter, consider posting a weekly poll on a relevant topic to inspire engagement. Here’s an example from our very own, Lee Odden.

Lee Odden Twitter Poll

#5 – Nurture your following.

If you really want to become a more likeable brand, you have to invest in social media community management. While your social media marketing efforts help drive your brand toward specific goals—such as increasing brand awareness or engagement—social media community management is all about nurturing your audience to grow a stronger, larger and more engaged following.

One great way to do this is to leverage the unique conversations and engagements happening across your social pages. As an example, use the information you extracted from a Twitter poll as fodder for a Facebook or Instagram post. This not only gives you the opportunity for additional discussion and engagement, but also reminds your audience that they can follow and engage with you on multiple platforms.

#6 – Don’t shy away from negative feedback.

Every brand and business dreams of complete customer satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case. Things happen and social media is often an easy place for your customers to air their grievances. While it can be scary to allow mistakes to be visible for the whole social media world to see, use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your drive to take care of your customers.

Sun Country Airlines has this down. On Twitter, the company is on-top of what their audience is saying about their services—good or bad.

Here’s a recent example from a disappointed customer. The brand responded promptly and offered their assistance.


But here’s another example of someone who’s happy to be flying with them. Not only was this a quick response, the purple heart was sweet and spoke to the customer’s whole reason for flying.

Sun Country on Twitter

The bottom line? Take the bad with the good to show your value and up your likeability factor.

#7 – Tell your company’s story.

As previously mentioned, social media is not the place for being salesy. It’s the place where you let your followers get a deeper look at who you are and what value you offer.

IBM does a fabulous job of company storytelling. The company’s Facebook page is filled with inspiring videos, articles and quotes that showcase the amazing innovative technology they’re bringing to the world and how’s transformed over time.

IBM on Facebook

On Instagram, the company provides its audience with a deeper looking inside the company and the people who work there.

IBM on Instagram

If You’re Good Enough and Smart Enough—Doggone It, People Will Like You

The beauty of social media is that it give brands the opportunity to put themselves out there and create meaningful interactions with their audience. But in order to be a likeable brand, you need to provide good, quality content and be smart about how you engage with your audience. Hopefully these tips and examples can help you on your way.

How to Be More Likeable on Social Media

What have you done to increase your brand’s likeability on social media? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Source: online marketing

MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum: The Most Magical Marketing Conference on Earth #MPB2B


When I woke up on Monday morning, I was sad. The only thing I can think to compare it to is taking an amazing vacation in a warm sunny spot, and getting back home to blistery weather and cloudy skies. I had just spent a week with some of my amazing team members at the Disneyland of marketing conferences, the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum and it was time to get back to reality.

Ann Handley (or Mary Poppins for the sake of this blog post) and her team at MarketingProfs have created something truly magical. From the moment you walk in the door to the time you board your plane home, you feel like you’re surrounded by people that “get you” and experience the same B2B marketing struggles that you do. 

Last week, we had the honor of attending the 10th anniversary of the forum and could not have been more giddy for the opportunity. We attended some awesome sessions, met amazing people, connected with some of our favorite clients and friends, hosted a TopRank Marketing fiesta (complete with a caricature artist) and dove head first into the experience.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend (although I would strong suggest attending next year if you can), we’ve put together some highlights from our magical adventure through the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

B2B Marketing Insights From Amazing Speakers

9 Sizzling Influencer Activation Tips from Lee Odden


What makes someone influential? Is it popularity? Is it celebrity? Is it the fact that they have niche expertise? And how do you identify, activate and continue to build on your relationships with influencers? In his session, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden delivered actionable tips, tools and examples that answered all these questions and more.

If you’re not affecting a change in action then you’re not doing influencer marketing right. @leeodden
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Influencer Activation Tips


6 Truth Bombs Every B2B Marketer Needs to Hear About Creativity


The creative struggle is real for marketers. Creativity is necessary and intertwined with everything we do. But we often find ourselves aspiring to be more creative than actually harnessing what’s already inside us as creators. In this post, Jay Acunzo, founder, host and writer of Unthinkable.fm, drops a few truth bombs about creativity that will inspire new confidence in your abilities.

Our jobs are not to be creative. Our jobs are to create. @jayacunzo
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Read the full post here: Creativity Truth Bombs


Insanely Effective Content Marketing with LImited resources, Budget & Time


The C-Suite is becoming more and more frustrated with marketing performance. More times than not, marketing is seen as a cost center, not a profit center. Now more than ever, marketers have an opportunity to shift the perspective and hyper-focus on what really matters. GE Digital’s Chris Moody took a deep dive into what’s wrong with B2B marketing today, and steps that marketers can take to mend what’s broken.

The best way to get more resources is to get results first. @cnmoody
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Insanely Effective Content Marketing


How to Build An Owned Media Empire with Epic B2B Content Marketing


We are creating more and more content to the point that our audiences are overwhelmed and having trouble finding the gems amongst all of the garbage. If you really want to rock your B2B content then Jason Miller of LinkedIn is just the person to listen to. Jason shared helpful tips on everything from building your strategy to creating big rock content and repurposing.

When you lead conversations that matter, you give audiences a reason to follow. @jasonmillerca
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Read the full post here: Epic B2B Content Marketing


Learn How to Turn Your B2B Content Marketing Into A Profit Center


When the Godfather of Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi has a session that describes how to profit from content creation, it’s time to pay attention. Why? Who better to speak on the subject than someone who has built a content media company from the ground up, with enormous success?

I can’t show you how to make money from your audience if you don’t have an audience. @joepulizzi
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Content Marketing Profit Center


Marketer or Mind-Reader? 3 Ways to Find Out What the B2B Buyer is Thinking


When it comes to creating quality content that informs, entertains, engages and inspires action from our target audience, we marketers wish we knew one thing: exactly what our audience is thinking. While that may not be exactly possible, Aberdeen Group’s Director of Content Strategy Matthew T. Grant and Research Analyst Andrew Moravick shared three options for getting closer to savant status during their session.

If you could write your customer’s mind, what would you write? @matttgrant
Click To Tweet

Read the full story here: Marketer or Mind-Reader?


Learn How to Launch an Integrated Strategy for Account Based Marketing


The most successful account based marketing strategies integrate sales and marketing efforts. In this piece, Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio details the difference between traditional demand gen & account based marketing, and provides actionable tips on how sales and marketing teams can coordinate.

ABM is alignment w/ marketing, sales & current customers to engage target accounts. @jonmiller
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Integrated ABM Strategy


Can Marketers Really Generate Sales on Social Media?


While social media marketing has existed for over five years, many marketers don’t inherently look to social as a means of driving revenue. In this session, John Foley Jr. and Karen DeWolf of InterlinkOne provide tactics for using social media as a prospecting tool. They also answer some burning social media marketing questions in a Q&A.

If you’re using social media to drive revenue, prospecting is the winning strategy. @johnfoleyjr
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Sales on Social Media


The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing


As content marketers, we need to be in the business of storytelling if we want our content to resonate and inspire. In his presentation, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contently, Shane Snow, dove into why storytelling is so important and provided a framework for telling those stories better.

When you engage in a story, your brain lights up. @shanesnow
Click To Tweet

Read the full post here: Importance of Storytelling

Putting What We Learned Into Practice

I may have been sad on Monday morning but now that reality has settled in, I’m excited to put everything that I learned into practice with my team at our home office. You had better believe that we’re counting down the days until we get to return to the magical land that is the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

If you attended the event or just read the buzz online, what do you think was the most important takeaway from the event?

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum: The Most Magical Marketing Conference on Earth #MPB2B | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

Insanely Effective Content Marketing with Limited Resources, Budget & Time


Marketing departments typically have unlimited resources, astronomical budgets and more hours in the day than your average person. Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

If the statement above sounds right to you, congratulations!

For the rest of us trying to find a way to do more (quality and quantity) with less, this is a topic that is typically top of mind, every day.

In his presentation at MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Chris Moody, Content Marketing Leader at GE Digital helped ease the pain for B2B marketers. Chris shared insight into some concepts that can you do more with less, as well as some tips and tricks to get you on the right path.

What is the Current State of Marketing?

He opened with a quote from one of my favorite shows, Silicon Valley.

“Failure is growth. Failure is learning. But, sometimes failure is just failure.” – Gavin Belson

There are currently two major places where marketers are falling flat. Recent research from Forrester found that 82% of enterprise marketers have no centralized view of the customer, and that 65% of CMOs cant measure ROI for digital marketing.

If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will. While each company has a slightly different audience and a slightly different value, there are some key ideas that ring true for most B2B marketers.

If the CEO feels like you’re not showing ROI, you’re not showing ROI.

Why CEO’s Think Marketers Suck

Fournaise found that 80% of CEOs are not impressed by the work done by marketers. Yikes! Where did we go wrong?

There are three key ways that marketers are missing the mark today:

  1. They cannot prove the ROI of marketing activities.
  2. They’ve lost sight of what their job really is.
  3. They’re not business performance-obsessed enough.

CEOs do take some of the “blame” though and believe that they’ve lost trust in the ability of marketing to be successful. And they’ve given up on holding marketers accountable.

It’s Time to Shift Perspective

Whether we believe we’re rockstar’s or not, how leadership teams within our organizations perceive our value is an incredibly important aspect to our success.

The only barrier to information today is laziness.” 

With the pure amount of information available at our fingertips, there is no excuse for not being able to answer the questions (even the tough ones) that our C-Suite wants the answers to.

While there are some things that cannot be taught, there are no born abilities that marketers have to possess to be successful. The odds are not stacked against us. It’s a matter of effort, education and focus. 

The best way to get more resources is to get results first.”

The first thing we have to realize that if we want to build and grow, results have to come first. We also need to stop chasing the next big thing and focus on doing our job better.

5 Steps to Getting Shit Done

It’s safe to assume that many of us are busy in our day-to-day activities. But take a step back and ponder how many of the things you’re doing are tied to measurable results. These five steps will help you refocus your efforts on the things that matter most, impact.

Step 1: Define Your Mission
Define what your “one thing” is and what you stand for as a company. For example, when people think of the brand Apple, innovation comes to mind.

Step 2: Determine Your Main Goal
This should be the one thing that you really need to get done. For example you might say: Our main goal is to generate more leads that become sales qualified.

Step 3: Document Your Plan
In order to achieve your main goal, you have to document your plan for to achieve that goal. Remember, if it’s not written down, you will not be as effective. If your goal is to drive more sales qualified leads, your plan might include:

  • Looking at the top sales qualified lead assets and replicate/repurpose
  • Running one influencer webinar per quarter
  • Sponsoring and conducting original research
  • Identifying and engaging industry thought leaders

Step 4: Identify Metrics
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important for your team to sit down and determine what metrics are most important for your company and team to measure. Sample metrics might include:

  • Leads to MQLs to SQLs to Opportunities to Revenue
  • Traffic
  • Share of voice and awareness metrics
  • Top converting assets
  • Engagement
  • Volume/production

Step 5: Establish A Baseline
A baseline is simple. If you don’t have existing data, you start with a flat line. What you want to see is when things change, when they spike and fall and what is happening to cause those things.

How to Get Results

If you’re ready to make a shift to a results focused approach to marketing, focus on these 4 things:

  1. Answer every question your audience cares about.
  2. Talk to your current customers.
  3. Stop trying to hit homeruns with every content asset.
  4. Realize that content is everywhere.

Capturing the attention of audiences today is hard. But if we aren’t pushing the boundaries and approaching it with a results focused mindset, we’ve already lost the battle.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to other marketers to help them focus on the right things?

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Insanely Effective Content Marketing with Limited Resources, Budget & Time | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

Think Like A Rockstar: How to Build An Owned Media Empire With Epic B2B Content Marketing


True to form, LinkedIn’s Jason Miller rocked his presentation at the MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing forum by opening up with some inspirational words from The Clash:

If you don’t like the world, then change it.”

As Jason shared, the Clash changed the world, and so can today’s B2B marketers. But they’re facing some interesting challenges such as the fact that:

  • 60% of B2B content goes unused (Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs)
  • 44% of consumers consider ending a brand relationship because of irellevant promotions (Chief Marketing Officer Council)

How can marketers overcome these challenges? Below are a few ways that LinkedIn built their content empire.

Focus on Goals, Objectives, Strategy & Tactics

When starting down this journey, LinkedIn had a singular goal:

To create a world class global content engine that fuels demand generation, increases brand awareness, and drives thought leadership. 

To meet that goal, the team put together a series of measureable objectives, which are universal for other B2B organizations and included:

  • Increase awareness of marketing opportunities on LinkedIn
  • Increase MQLs driven by big rock content
  • Increase referral traffic by x% by Y date
  • Increase direct traffic y by x% by Y date
  • Increase blog subscribers by x by y date

When you lead conversations that matter, you give audiences a reason to follow.”

To accomplish the overarching goals and objectives, there had to be a sound strategy in place. For LinkedIn, this was:
Create helpful, relevant content and deliver it to the right person at the right time.

Exact tactics for execution will vary by organization. You need to utilize the content tactics that resonate most with your audience, and to be honest, those that you know your team is capable of executing. Some of the tactics that you could deploy might include:

  • Blogging
  • Customer Stories
  • Email Marketing
  • SlideShare
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Influencer Content

Big Rock Content, Turkey Slices & Repurposing

It’s important to think about the full spectrum of elements and repurposing opportunities for each content campaign that you create. ­­To be truly effective, your content must be focused on the questions customers are asking. In order to identify the conversation you should be having with content, you have to conduct the proper amount of research.

In his session, Jason gave kudos to the TopRank Marketing team for the work that we have done to help LinkedIn Marketing uncover what it is that their ideal audience is looking for based on extensive SEO research.

While most top of funnel content programs will contain big rock content (such as an eBook or whitepaper), it’s also important to consider the other smaller pieces of content that will accompany it.

If you have a big rock asset such as an eBook, there are opportunities to create other forms of content and promotions that might include videos, webinars, blog posts and infographics.

A well-structured content campaign will also include many opportunities for repurposing. A great example of how you can repurpose content is The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn included below.


Explore New Content Formats

Great content marketers always set aside time to push the limits of their capabilities. In many cases, that includes testing new content formats. It could be that most of the content you’re creating is focused on blog articles, while your audience is actually very interested in video or audio content.

Based on data, Jason knew that his audience consumes video, and a lot of it. Also, recent industry research has found that over 90% of B2B customers watch videos online.

At last year’s B2B Marketing Forum, Jason decided to try his hand at creating some influencer driven video content to see how it resonated with his audience. While the first attempt was not as perfect as he would have liked, it was a step in the right direction.

Here’s a preview that his team created prior to releasing all of the videos:

For the full series, click here.

Start Building Your B2B Content Empire Today!

These tips only scratch the surface of the helpful and actionable information that Jason shared during his session. However, it gives you a great starting point for planning, executing and adapting your B2B content strategy.

What do you think are your biggest areas of opportunity for creating more impactful and measurable B2B content?

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.

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Think Like A Rockstar: How to Build An Owned Media Empire With Epic B2B Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

Can Marketers Really Generate Sales on Social Media?


At last week’s MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Andrew Davis had the crowd roaring with laughter as he impersonated a marketer with a fresh piece of content.

“Let’s put it on the blog!” he exclaimed.

“Let’s put it on Facebook! And Twitter! And Pinterest! And Flickr! And Google+, for the two people still using it.”

It was funny, because for a lot of marketers, it’s true. Too many of us fall victim to the “spray and pray” approach to social media marketing. We push our content anywhere we can get it, and cross our fingers hoping one of these posts turn into an engagement, a new relationship, a sale. That’s why I was so excited to attend the session titled “How to Use Social Media to Generate Actual Sales”, led by social media gurus John Foley Jr. and Karen DeWolf of InterlinkOne.

The Difference between Social Media Marketing and Prospecting

The duo began by explaining the difference between social media marketing and social media prospecting, and the importance of using both in an on-going social strategy.

Social Media Marketing: This is very much a content based approach. We, as marketers, push out content that we hope people are going to consume; and usually we hope they somehow get to our website and become a lead. While it’s important to make sure your company has a steady stream of information going out on social, the “spray and pray” technique will not effectively drive revenue. Here are the three attributes John and Karen use to describe social media marketing:

  • Publishing educational and contextual content for the purpose of brand awareness
  • Primary focus: acquisition of more social followers, generation of inbound
  • Listening for purpose of customer service and reputation management

Social Media Prospecting: The differentiator here is one-to-one engagement. You conduct sales by finding your customer’s problem and then solving it. You do that by listening and having conversations, which can be conducted on social media. The three attributes John and Karen use to describe social media prospecting are as follows:

  • It’s a simple process: gather, qualify, refine, retarget
  • Primary focus: reaching and connecting with targeted customers and prospects
  • Listening for purposes of lead generation for sales, solving problems, thus driving additional revenue

When a company is interesting in utilizing social media to drive revenue, social media prospecting is the winning strategy.

The Social Media Marketing Struggle is Real

One of the biggest realizations I had walking away from this session was the fact that even though social media marketing has existed now for over five years, for many marketers the social media marketing struggle is still very real. And it’s not for lack of trying. It’s because social media is an ever-changing environment; there are new tools, new social platforms, and new tactics clashing with old-school misconceptions and unproven “best practices.”

Luckily, John and Karen saved the day, answering the audience’s most pressing social media marketing questions. Here are a few of the questions from the audience, and their expert answers.

Q: How do you get the sales team involved in social prospecting?

John: You need to get C-suite buy-in. Educate these folks. Find some content with statistics that prove a methodology and share it with them.

Q: When it comes to social bios, do you think it’s more effective to describe your personal or professional passions?

Karen: You have to humanize your brand (company or personal brand). Have a mixture of professional and personal insight into yourself. You might start a new relationship in an online experience, but people still buy from people.

Q: What are some good examples of B2B brands with successful social marketing programs?

John: Cannon… IMB… BMC… Dell…. There are actually quite a lot of great B2B examples out there.

Closing out the session, John and Karen provided some actionable tips to support the sales funnel and ultimately drive revenue through social media. Below are some of the quick social media marketing tips from the pros.

4 Tips to Improve Your Bottom Line

  1. Prospecting: As mentioned earlier, social media prospecting is more about listening, less about shouting your message. Work to build new relationships and support existing relationships on the social channels your audience is most likely to use.
  2. Pre-call research: Before a sales representative picks up the phone, they should spend some time researching the prospect via social media. Pre-call research can help uncover recent news about the prospective company, mutual acquaintances or common passions.
  3. Following-up: If you hit a road block contacting a prospect by phone or email, try following up with a message on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
  4. Maintaining long lasting relationships with customers: It’s far more cost-effective to sell a product or service to an existing customer, than someone you don’t have a relationship with. Use social media to stay in touch with your customers, send helpful articles their way and engage with their posts to keep the relationship embers burning.

Turn Social Media Into A Revenue Driver

This interactive and engaging session spawned amazing questions and conversations amongst the audience. It became clear that for many marketers, social media marketing remains a hot topic of discussion, and Karen and John expertly guided the audience through actionable tips to transition social media into a revenue driver.

Let’s keep the conversation going on our blog. Comment below or tweet us at @TopRank to share your unanswered social media marketing question.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Can Marketers Really Generate Sales on Social Media? | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

6 Truth Bombs Every B2B Marketer Needs to Hear About Creativity


“Do you want to be creative?”

Jay Acunzo, founder, host and writer of Unthinkable.fm, asked marketers this question as he kicked off his session Unthinkable: Content Creativity For The Hopelessly Uncreative at MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing Forum last week in Boston.

Acunzo acknowledged the question was a bit silly. It’s like asking if you want more time in your day or more resources for your team. The answer is always an unequivocal “yes.”

But while this may seem like a weird question to ask marketers, it actually gets to the heart of the creative struggle we all feel: Of course we want to be creative; creativity is necessary and intertwined with everything we do. But we often find ourselves aspiring to be more creative than actually harnessing what’s already inside us as creators.

Boom. Truth bomb dropped. And the truth barrage was just getting started.

Below I dive into some of the inspirational creativity truths that Acunzo brought into focus during his presentation. They certainly inspired new confidence in my own marketing abilities—and I hope they do the same for you.

#1 – Creativity isn’t an idea or aspiration; it’s a work ethic.

We often put creativity on a pedestal, wishing and hoping for just a small piece of it to come our way. But the truth is: Creativity isn’t something we’re given; it’s a work ethic.

Let’s stop thinking about creativity as something we’re always reaching for, and start believing that hard work and a strong work ethic will allow us to tap what is already inside us.

“Let’s get to work,” Acunzo encouraged. “Our jobs are not to be creative. Our jobs are to create.”

#2 – When you break away from the conventional, you can stop playing and start shaping.

We’ve all been told to color outside the lines, think outside the box or challenge the status quo. But fear, uncertainty or lack of confidence can prevent us from trying something new.

As Acunzo said: “Sometimes you have to zig when others zag.”

The bottom line? You can’t build something big if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. Questioning the conventional will allow you to shape your brand and your message so you can stand out in the noisy marketing world.

#3 – In order to embrace your creativity you need to trust and embrace your intuition.

We often think that going with our creative intuition is a big leap of faith. But really, we’ve actually worked our way there through a series of small steps. And once we’re there, sometimes we just have to do what feels right.

#4 – Constraints fuel creativity.

Think about it. When you’re working within certain boundaries and requirements, you have to find a way to make the most out of it—and that can bring your creativity to a whole new level.

#5 – Resourcefulness beats resources every time.

We often feel like we don’t have the tools, technology, the team and the talent to be highly creative. But that really couldn’t be farther from the truth.

We marketers are scrappy. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But the key to success here isn’t luck. You have to tinker. You have to experiment. You have to practice. This will not only help you refine you process, but also find opportunities to use your resources in new ways.

#6 – You’re the key to your creativity. You’re the starter.

After telling a delightful story about the rivalry between two pizza joints in his hometown, Acunzo revealed that it isn’t the ingredients that set these pizza places apart—but rather the starter used to make the pizza dough.

You see, like each of us, no two starters are the same. The experiences and elements we’re exposed to make us who we are as unique individuals. Use that uniqueness to your advantage to set your marketing efforts apart from your competitors. Be the starter.

Creativity vs. Creating

In the end, creativity isn’t something that should be aspired to or worshiped. It something inherent in us, coming out when we put our minds to the task of creating something.

So, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves: “Do you want to be creative?” The real question is: “Do you want to create?”

How do you use your experiences to drive creativity in everything you create? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Source: online marketing

Learn How to Turn Your B2B Content Marketing Into A Profit Center


Unfortunately, marketing is often seen as a cost center within many B2B organizations. Whenever it comes time to cut budgets, you know that marketing is the first to take a hit. But what if there was a way to not only take a lead generation approach to content marketing, but also generate actual revenue in the process?

Last week at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi shared some insider tips and secrets for companies that want to leverage their content to generate revenue.

When the godfather of content marketing has a session that describes how to profit from content creation, it’s a must-see. Why? Who better to speak on the subject than someone who has built a content media company from the ground up, with enormous success?

B2B Can Learn From B2C

B2C brands have long been monetizing their content. In fact, Joe says that it seems like “Every month we are going to see a large B2C company come out and say “we’re a media company now.””

There is however one very important aspect for B2B marketers to keep in mind before heading down this path: If you don’t already have an audience, focus on that before trying to build a profit center around your content.

Understanding the Content Tilt

When preparing to create any piece of content, most savvy marketers will consider:

  • What pain point can I solve for my reader?
  • Where is our sweet spot in terms of knowledge/value?

But that’s where they stop. And if we’re being honest, chances are that if most companies did an audit of their content against their competitors, it would be hard to tell the difference between them.

The concept of the content tilt is taking your content planning and creation one step further to determine an area of little to no competition on the web where you can break through and tell a different story.

Start with Your Content Mission Statement

Most companies have a defined mission for their organization as a whole, but not for their content marketing programs. Defining your content mission is an incredibly useful exercise that can be referenced if you’re wondering if a particular piece of content aligns with your business goals.

At the core, a content mission is very simple. It should:

  1. Describe your core audience
  2. Explain what will be delivered
  3. Provide insight into what the audience will accomplish

Focus Efforts on Growing Your Subscribers

One of the key metrics marketers always have a pulse on is their network size. This number is usually a combination of social media networks, email lists, blog subscribers and more.

However, all of these networks are not created equal.

Recent research has found that less than 1% of a brand’s audience on Facebook actually see the messages that you publish. And that number will only continue to fluctuate because you don’t have control over the platform.

Email subscribers however are content marketing gold. Why? These consumers have given you one of the most coveted things in the business world, their email address.

In order to offer value to your subscribers, Joe said that there are two “must haves”:

  • Amazing E-Newsletter
  • Exchange of Value (eBook, Research Report, etc.)

3 Ways to Turn Your Content Marketing Into A Profit Center

#1 – Consider Online Training

People today are hungry for knowledge. And, they want it when they want it in a way that is convenient for them. Online trainings are a fantastic way to share your content with a large audience in a way that can also be quite profitable.

One pro tip from Joe when implementing an online training program is to create a sense of urgency by not allowing open enrollment, but instead having a deadline or semesters where people can sign up.

For people looking to run online training, here are some of the tools that Joe recommended:

  • LMS (Absorb)
  • Payment System (Authorize.net)
  • Video/GoToMeeting/PPT Record
  • Speaker’s Agreement

Once you build the platform, leverage the community inside and outside your company to draw people to your trainings.

#2 – Identify Key Sponsors

Content Marketing Institute has a well-developed process for how their sponsor relationships work. Sponsors know that based on the amount that they pay, they will have access to CMI’s audience in very specific ways.

Some options for featuring sponsors in content include:

  • Placement on the sidebar your website or blog
  • Inclusion in brand newsletters
  • Logos in the footer of web pages
  • Content creation by the sponsors on your blog

It’s important to limit your online inventory so that your readers still have a great experience.

#3 – Develop Original Research

In 2009, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs decided to begin collaborating on a leading content marketing research report (because they identified the need for one). Since then, these yearly reports have become the authority on everything content marketing for both B2B and B2C brands.

I know our team at TopRank Marketing has referenced these reports through the years to provide insights into current industry trends. And we’re not alone. Joe shared that one of their content reports from last year has over 50,000 inbound links to that one piece of content alone.

Just last month, they published their newest report: B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends –North America

Original research is another great way to utilize a sponsor to help cover the costs (and even generate a profit) for the content.

Start Generating Revenue From Your Content!

If you want to change the perception of your marketing department from a cost center to a profit center, then these insights should give you a running start. But remember that in order for these tactics to be successful, you must have an audience in place already.

For more insights from the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, follow our team on Twitter at: @TopRank@leeodden, @azeckman@amywhiggins@leiladlf and @CaitlinMBurgess.

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Source: online marketing