How Email Marketing And Inbound Sales Can Increase Conversions

What is one of the biggest problems start-up company’s face today? That is acquiring new leads and being able to retain customers. So if you think that email marketing will not help to attain new leads, then think again and check out these 18 stats you should know as an email marketer. As it turns out, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. Here are another 15 statistics to prove how effective email marketing is. Bet you didn’t know that for every $1 dollar spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25? Or that consumers who are marketed through email spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers? It is crazy to see all the statistics showing the efficiency of email and how well it actually works. Now that we know email marketing is not dead, we can talk about how it is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to market in today’s world.

Here’s my agenda for today’s blog:

  1. Important concepts to remember when starting your email marketing campaign
  2. 10 keys to email marketing success
  3. 3 steps to connect with email-fatigued prospects who are already subscribed
  4. Companies with successful email marketing campaigns
  5. How your email marketing campaign can fail
  6. Intro to inbound sales and how effective it can be

1. Let’s start with this checklist of important concepts in starting your email marketing campaign:

  • The most important is knowing your target audience. The quickest way to ruin your chance of a sale is choosing the wrong prospect. So, by making sure you do your homework and spending the time to create customer personas can help your chances of conversion with prospective customers.
  • The subject line is also very important when starting your campaign. You need to make sure that it is specific and to the point in about 6 or 8 words. A false or misleading subject line message can be a detriment in trying to reach higher conversion ratings.
  • There has also been studies done that providing localization, such as a city name, improves open rates for your email. So, taking the time to personalize each message and even adding a recipients name will help in getting more people to pass the first step, which is to just open the email you sent.
  • It is also very important to follow up about 3-4 days after. With any sales tactics, persistence is key and so when someone doesn’t respond, it is important not to take it personally and keep moving on.

2. Now that we know some of the most important concepts, lets look at 10 keys to email marketing that can lead to success:

  1. Only send email to people you know – People generally only open emails from people they know and may delete emails from people they don’t recognize.
  2. Making sure to treat your contacts like people and not just a name on a list.
  3. Sending only relevant content that has value to your recipient – It is important to listen to your audience to find out what they are interested in and filtering the content of what you send to them to their liking.
  4. Engage your audience with the content you write.
  5. Maximize your delivery rate – Making sure to keep an eye on your bounce report is important and will help you to remove any addresses with ongoing issues and help maintain high deliverability rates.
  6. Never share your email list – As a business, you need to respect the trust and privacy of your customers so you should never share your email list which could hurt your reputation as a company.
  7. Set expectations – By setting the expectations in the email sign-up page to make sure your audience understands the value of signing up is important in keeping customers fully engaged in your emails.
  8.  Look professional whenever you communicate – Having a professional-looking template and email will help with the credibility of your brand.
  9. Regularly review your results – As always, paying attention to your results and being able to improve by this is always extremely vital.
  10. Go beyond the inbox – Email marketing will always work best when it is integrated with other communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

For more information on each step, take a look at the link above of the 10 keys to success.

3. We all know everyone complains of getting too many emails, so here are three steps to connect with these prospects who are already subscribers but may be tired of receiving so many emails:

  1.  Showing subscribers you have more to offer than deals and discounts – Sharing relevant content without offering “big” deals can help build continued trust in your relationship and will help toward long time retention.
  2. Offer a steady stream of customized content through an automated series – Creating meaningful and sending periodic touch points over a few weeks to your subscribers can show that you are valuable all year around and not just during the times when they need you most.
  3. Give customers the option to connect a little less frequently – Going back to the last point, people don’y want to receive emails ALL the time, so having the option for just the occasional one can help keep customers around without being over-bearing.

For more information on these three steps, you can once again check out the article in the link above.

4. Now, lets take a look of some companies where email marketing has been very successful in helping them grow. Here are 12 email marketing examples from our friends at HubSpot that have been very effective. One company that stuck out to me was the fourth one, Canva, and their simplicity yet efficient emails to their subscribers. What they do is every time they have a new design concept, they let their subscribers know through an email that is very simple buy gives a brief description, shows a preview, and the encourages the reader to try it themselves. For subscribed customers, this is very compelling because Canva is not being over the top with sending too many emails or trying to sell too many products, they are simply informing the customer of new designs to keep them interested.

Here are another 5 email marketing success stories. In a few of these examples, Evans Cycles and Links London, they sent an email to subscribers right before the biggest events in those industries, Tour de France and the Wimbledon tournament, respectively.  These were both successful because they were able to hype their product using the big sporting event as a background to get people more interested in their products.

5. There are also many practices to be aware of when starting your email marketing campaign. Many reasons can lead to less customer satisfaction and a negative word of mouth. Here is a blog on 16 things people hate about email marketing. Although they are all important points to remember when starting your emails, numbers 1 and 3 really stuck out to me cause they are problems that have happened that I find extremely annoying. Number 1 is emailing people that who didn’t even opt in. How much do you like getting random emails you don’t care about? Exactly, you don’t so you should never randomly email anyone who didn’t opt in. The other one I find annoying is not honoring unsubscribes. Nobody wants to keep receiving emails they don’t care about after they have already said they don’t want anymore. So, it is always important to make sure you take all the people who unsubscribe off the list.

6. The last topic I wanted to talk about today is inbound sales. Over the years, the sales process has changed. It is no longer about closing, it is not about helping. Inbound sales are not about being an overbearing salesmen, they are taking a consultative point of view. This article here gives a good insight on the definition inbound sales and how it can help your business. Instead of the old sales tactics like trade shows, cold calling, elevator pitches, etc, inbound sales are focused on new ways of selling with online methods such as blogging, landing pages, SEO, content offers, social selling, and having a sales-ready website. Here is another article with 5 good practices for your inbound sales team. Inbound sales can be a lot more effective than traditional sales techniques because of the reach you are able to get. Instead of cold calling and eventually finding new prospects, being on the internet and having a presence on various social media websites can turn into some warm leads and more prospects to contact.

UX, UI, & Landing Pages: Why Are They So Important?

As a company, how you are perceived plays a big role in converting potential leads into customers.  Which is why having a good user experience can be vital in those conversion opportunities. UX (User Experience) is how a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions affect their opinion about a specific product or service. UX designers are responsible to create and refine the best user experience for each visitor. While UX designers are concerned with how the product feels to the customer, UI (User Interface) is concerned with how the product is laid out. This article here goes into a little more depth about each one and how important they can be. UI designers are responsible for designing each screen or page which a user interacts on. Both UI and UX can be extremely important in attracting new customers and keeping old ones because let’s face it, nobody wants to be on a website they can’t understand. So what are the most important things to know for successful UX and UI design? First, here is a article on the basic need-to-know skills of UX and UI design. Before everything, knowing your objectives and what you want your users to experience during their website visit is vital in customer retention. Also, here are 4 techniques of successful UX executives. The four techniques include:

  1. Study those around you as you would study your users – Understanding those around you provide critical information to use when building a business strategy.
  2. You must have empathy – Having empathy to really feel and understand the day-to-day pressures of your partners is important because you can transform the understanding through empathy into a strategy for mutual success.
  3. Take the long view and build relationships – Forming trust and long-lasting relationships that allow you and your partners to move forward together  is important because because customers don’t just have a relationship with to a single feature, the the experience as a whole.
  4. Remembering that people may not understand UX – It  is important to know that partners may not be familiar with UX and it’s important to take the time to teach them.

One of the most important features of UI and UX design can be found in this article here. First, they talk about the initial point of contact and how that first impression can be so important. A few tips they describe are:

  • Making it clean and simple-to-use
  • Offering a clear call to action and robust incentives
  • Designing attractive, click-ready creativity

One point I found very important to know about UI and UX is that A/B testing your pages will help you decide which webpage will have the highest success. For more information on A/B testing, check out my previous blog here. Just cause the design team thinks a webpage is user-friendly, there could be one that is even better which is why letting the customer decide is most important in your conversion rates. Another important point to remember is constantly updating your website and using analytics to see what works and what doesn’t. While UI and UX can provide the chance to increase the customer experience and conversion rates, it is the website’s landing page that is designed to convert visitors into new leads. For more information, here is a blog on what is a landing page. This blog is adamant that a landing page is not any web page that a user might land on, but a page on the web which one might land on that either has a form and exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through that form. Here is a little but more of a detailed guide on creating landing pages. Here are 10 tips on creating your landing pages:

  1. Make sure your headline refers directly to the place from which your visitor came or the ad copy that drove the click.
  2. Provide a clear call to action – meaning tell your visitor what they need to do.
  3. Write in the second person – you and your.
  4. Write to deliver a clear, persuasive message, not to showcase your creativity or ability to turn a clever phrase.
  5. Your can write a long copy as long as it’s tight – Think long copy when you’re looking to close a sale and think shorter copy for a subscription sign-up or something of that nature.
  6. Be crystal clear in your goals.
  7. Keep your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs and bullets.
  8. In line with #7, people read beginnings and ends before they read middles.
  9. Make sure your first paragraph is short, no more than 1-2 lines.
  10. Write to the screen – Make sure to frame-out where your text, buttons, and design elements will go.

Here is a picture of what I think, with all these elements, will be a good landing page:

Before showing you some effective landing pages, I quickly wanted to list some common mistakes that crush conversion rates from that same article:

  1. Blowing the headline
  2. Using your regular site design
  3. Asking for more than one thing
  4. Ignoring basic aesthetics
  5. Being lazy

If your landing page is not successful, you may want to reconsider it’s design after thinking about these five reasons. Moving back on to the positives, here are 15 great landing page design examples. A common trend in all of them is the simplicity of the webpage, as well as having pictures and most likely some customer testimonials. In my opinion, out of the 15 different landing pages, this one here seemed to stick out to me the most. hbloom-1

They provided the simplicity of a a 3 step how it works process as well as taking high resolution pictures. This page makes it easy for the customer to sign-up, as well as learn more about the company. Lastly, here is an info-graphic that truly represents how important landing pages are to your conversion rates and just how much they will help your business succeed.

How Social Media Marketing Can Substantially Help Reach Goals

Did you know that 92% of companies use social media for recruitment? Or that 86% of employers research potential job candidates on social networks? While many people may just think social media is for fun, it is one of the most valuable tools to promote your content and even to be able to get hired.  A good presence on social media can be vital in any business plan for success. Here is a beginner’s guide on social media marketing to first help you understand a little more of the basics and just how important social media can be. The article describes what to do and how to be successful through many different social media platforms that include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, and just blogging in general.  These videos from Hubspot also give a good overview of social media. One important point Hubspot has brought up in the content marketing videos as well as the social media videos is the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your content should be interesting and helpful, and 20% can be more promotional. I think this is one of the most important messages to remember because as easy as it is to want to promote your brand, being able to have an interactive site to keep customers coming back to view your social media is most important. In the Hubspot videos, they describe on what they think is the best social media practices. Let’s quickly look through each of the them:

  1.  Optimize your profiles – Since social profiles are like mini versions of your website, it is important to not miss out an opportunity to expand your reach since they can be optimized for search exactly.
  2. Personas – Knowing your buyer personas help s greatly in getting the right content to the right place at the right time.
  3. Build reach – Follow, friend, and connect with as many people as possible.
  4. Customize your content to each platform – Make sure that your content is set up to the persona of that specific network.
  5. Analyze to refine – Making sure you always document your results from what you did and fine tuning them to set new goals for the future.

The Hubspot videos take all those practices much more in detail which could help you and your business reach your social media goals. Now let’s take a look at many businesses who have turned these social media practices into successful campaigns. Here are 14 must see social media marketing success stories. One of the more well known brands in the list was Skype, and their Skype Rerouted campaign. What they did was drop off travel blogger, Mike Corey, in  Istanbul with no bags, no plane ticket, and no idea where he was going. Then, during his 15 day, five country tour, he only had access to Skype and Twitter, which were providing clues about his next adventure. After the campaign, Erin Walsh, director of PR for Boost Software Inc, said that “Skype was a dying brand, and this put them back on the map with everyday users and gave them a reputation for being more than a corporate IM tool.”

Another company in the list included Taco Bell, and what they did with their native ads. A native ad is a form of advertising where the advertiser provides content within the context of the user experience. Taco Bell had success with there Live Mas campaign, which was aimed a Millennials. What they did was post images to their Instagram account that were laid back and almost amateurish that gave Taco Bell an approachable, fun feel which led to a successful campaign.

Here are three smaller businesses where social media was a key factor in their rise to success. One of the companies, Herschel Supply Co was able to achieve a 20% lift in customer service satisfaction rate and a 60% increase in overall positive brand sentiment. They were able to do this by trying to answer every question that was either directed or even somewhat directed at their business. They were able to set up search streams in Hootsuite to monitor various hashtags and keywords and then answering anything directed at them for proactive customer support.

Overall, social media can be a great medium for content marketing. It is a tool that should be used by any firm trying to broaden their reach to prospective customers.  Social media can help you heighten your goals for online conversion as well as reaching them later on.

Content Marketing – Why it is Important and How to be Successful

Isn’t it amazing just how much content is out there on the internet these days?? Here are some stats that may make you really consider the popularity of the internet. The fact that there are over 2 million blog posts each day is amazing and is showing the growth of the internet and how marketing is changing because of it.

So lets start with the basics, what is content marketing and why is it important?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain a clearly defined target audience. The goal, ultimately, is to drive profitable customer action. Content marketing is very important because it can lead to a lot more website traffic which can, in turn, lead to a lot more profit. Here are five big brands where content marketing has led to marketing success. In all the cases, the businesses launched some sort of campaign where they are just providing content, not actually trying to sell tangible items. American Express definitely had a great idea with their successful American Express Unstaged program. The idea consists of live streaming of concerts by some of the biggest names in music. Walter Frye , the director of entertainment marketing at American Express claimed that “extending our messaging through content is a great way for us to continue to convert our customers from simply seeing a message to considering our brand.” Another successful campaign in the same article was Virgin Mobile. Their idea was a lot simpler but also achieved success. They launched Virgin Mobile Live, which was a social newsroom that published content several times a day that included new music, apps, and web memes. They were able to average over 1 million views per month at the time.

Like my previous blogs, this concept sounds easy enough, right?

Well it’s not and in fact, most content marketing efforts fail. Here are 13 reasons why your content marketing may not work.  Besides these reasons, it is also important to think about getting past the first post actually published. Naturally, most content strategies start out with generating ideas to write about. But then, after going out and writing that content and publishing it, moving on to the next piece of content could be a challenge to keep improving on that first post. You definitely don’t want to make the same mistakes as these six companies which could actually lead to less customer satisfaction. In all the cases, it is extremely important to make sure you actually know what content you are publishing and all the possible consequences, before you do it. New York Times mistakenly sent an email to current subscribers that was supposed to go to the ex-subscribers. The email offered a discount to the ex-subscribers to see if they would be interested in signing up again. Since it was sent to the current users, many were concerned it was spam and many were angry because they weren’t offered the discount. This case proves how careful you need to be and how one little mistake can turn your content marketing campaign all wrong.

You don’t want your report to look like this graph six months after your first post, do you?

poor-performing-content image 2

Luckily, there are blogs like this one here to make you think about these challenges before you start with your content marketing campaign. There are also articles like this one which provided that graph right above and below and also gives you their five pillars to successful content marketing in order for your report to look like this after six months:

web-visits-to-great-content image 3

Let’s quickly go through each pillar:

  1. Understand your audience – the key to your content to help your customers help themselves and this can only be done by understanding your audience.
  2. Map the content to the sales cycle – Creating content that will increase brand awareness, the number of qualified leads, and converting the leads into purchasing customers is all important in designing your content.
  3. Create the content – Making sure your content is long enough is important with ranking better in SEO purposes, getting more social shares, and more inbound links. The article claims that content that is more than 3,000 words is shared two to three times more than content less than 1,000 words.
  4. Promote content – Obviously an important part of success, a few ways to promote your content is through:
    1. Google AdWords campaigns
    2. Social media campaigns
    3. Email marketing campaigns
  5. Measure and analyze – Measuring your results is vital for any business in seeing how well your content performs and being able to analyze it’s progress.

For more information on each step, check out the article. He does a great job describing each step as well as throwing out stats to back them up. By having a successful, thought-out content marketing campaign, you can end up like these 11 companies. A few examples from this list are HubSpot, which grew revenue by 81% and gained 2,000 new customers. Another is KISSmetrics, a blogging site which received more than 1 million unique visitors a month after their campaign.

Speaking of HubSpot, they also offer great tools in order for you to learn more about why you should do content marketing and even how to write better blog posts. Their fundamentals of blogging videos offer great advice on how blogging can help you become an industry leader. Did you know that 43% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog? They also offer their videos on creating content with a purpose. These videos can be extremely helpful for your success considering 93% of B2B marketers using content marketing, but only 42% say they are effective at it. Let’s take a look at HubSpot’s plan for successful content marketing.

HubSpot’s content process for success includes five steps:

  1. Plan – Making sure you know what you are going to create and why. This is determined through your personas, the buyer’s journey, and your business goals.
  2. Produce – Making sure to follow your plan on what you’ll produce, who will produce it, and by when it’ll be done.
  3. Distribute – Next step is to make sure you have an idea for which tool you use to distribute and also making sure it is being seen by the right people.
  4. Analyze – This definitely needs to be done before the repeating stage because making sure that what your doing is working or not working can give you a good insight for creating better content in the future.
  5. Repeat – Whether your campaign was good or not, take what you have analyzed and improve!

For more information, check out the videos. They are definitely very useful in understanding how to be more successful with your content marketing.

We have now gone through a couple different takes on what it takes to run a successful content marketing campaign. But, what is it going to look like in the future? Kane Jamison offers a perspective on what content marketing could look like through 2015. It’s interesting to see what trends he think will continue and what will die off.

Overall, a good mix of outbound marketing, inbound marketing, use of analytics and A/B testing, as well as correctly running a successful content marketing campaign can all help a business reach better success and higher conversion rates.

A/B Testing & Why it Works

So what is A/B testing and why is it’s popularity increasing? It is being able to try out different designs and ideas to your webpage to see which plan works the best to optimize results and it seems to be working well. After website optimization, whatever your goal is whether it be for downloads,  purchases, sign-ups, etc, you can be sure that any change to your website will have a positive impact. With A/B testing, you can show website visitors different versions of your webpage to ultimately let them decide which version is best. If that isn’t already simple enough, take a look at E.A sports and a few other businesses with success in website optimization. All E.A sports did for their test was have one webpage with a promotional offer on top and one without. As it turns out, the site without the promotional offer drove 43.4% more purchases. In the same article, ComScore was successful by testing three different variations to their product pages. In this case, their variation with a vertical layout and a more prominently displayed logo proved successful with a 69% increase in their conversion rate with the product pages compared to the original.

Interested yet?

Here is a guide in order for you to run your first A/B test. The first step is making sure to select the right software to be able to track visitors to see which version of the webpage provides the most positive results.  They list three of the more popular options and one of them includes Google Content Experiments which is a free service offered through Google Analytics… So for those who already have a Google Analytics certification, this could be a great tool. Content Experiments is able to measure the results, reveal the conversion rates for up to five variations of a webpage, and then selects the significantly statistical winner.

Although A/B testing sounds like nothing can go wrong, there are definitely mistakes that can be made. Here are four A/B testing mistakes that can be liable for business failure. One mistake that stood out to me was the third one about overdoing tests and just trying new webpages just to do it. While trying out new ideas can be helpful, taking the “test whatever” approach can lead to inconclusive data and little optimization. It can then frustrate the team and slow down growth to the company. It is important to structure your tests and build a testing plan that can eventually lead to maximum optimization.

Another interesting article I read was this blog on 100 different web optimization case studies.  All these businesses have had great success in different ways through A/B testing and some are so small where just a color change can make a big difference. Performable, which was a a start-up marketing automation company bought out by HubSpot,  had two variations of their homepage with green buttons in one and red in the other. They ended up finding out that 21% more people clicked on the red button than the green. Another company, Wiki-jobs, tested putting testimonials under their “Sign Up Now” button which ended up in a 34% improvement over the original with no testimonials.

I also read a few articles on Amelia Showalter, who was the director of digital analytics during the Obama campaign. Amelia and her team did excellent work in fundraising for the 2012 campaign and a ton of that had to do with none other than, you guessed it, A/B testing. So what was the science behind their success? Amelia explains how they did extensive A/B testing on the subject lines of emails and the amount of money they would ask people for. They also tested the message content and the formatting of them. They often had as many as 18 variations they were sending out before picking the winner to send to tens of millions of people. What they would do is make the variations and send them to a small groups of people. Then, based off the donations made in those e-mails, they would predict how much money that variation would bring in if they emailed it to the whole list. They also predicted how much less money they would make if they used anything besides the most successful one.

This article describes more of the success Amelia and her team had with the campaign. The analytics team was able to get ahead of the news curve with insights into real-time coverage and commentary. So pretty much after a big speech or debate, using analytics, they could run an analysis across the internet to see what the important lines were, what was covered, and what wasn’t.

Any type of business can learn a lot from what Amelia and her team were able to accomplish. If nothing else is learned, the fact that A/B testing could prove beneficial to your businesses success should be known.  One point brought up in those articles is the fact that they were just constantly testing new ideas. Even slight changes can have the biggest affects to help with website optimization. One note to point out though is that Amelia’s team had tens of millions of people to email their fundraising message. This means that they were able to have a lot of small sample groups to test their different variations of emails. It is important to remember that testing too much can lead to a small number of positive results and a lot of time being wasted.

The bottom line is that A/B testing is a marketing method that works. It can better help reach marketing goals whatever they may be. It can help you with a more visual appealing webpage that is also more effective and efficient that leads to more conversion.

Inbound Marketing Overview

Marketo, a marketing automation software company, wrote a fantastic article on what should be included in a firm’s marketing mix with both inbound and outbound marketing. They are very adamant on just how much inbound marketing can help a business, just not completely carry the business as outbound marketing is an essential part as well. Marketo describes inbound marketing as the process of helping potential customers find your company, sometimes even before they are looking to make a purchase. Inbound marketing offers extra help to reach customers at little or no charge.  There are TONS of different ways for inbound marketing but a few ways could include blogs, articles, search engine optimization (SEO), landing page optimization, and social networking such as a twitter, LinkedIn, or a Facebook page. Inbound marketing can and has proved very beneficial to multiple companies in a lot of different ways. For a start-up company that lacks a big advertising budget, different forms of inbound marketing can help those companies get up and running. Here are four different start-up companies that have achieved success with low advertising budgets but have mostly used inbound marketing.

After reading the article and doing a little research, SEO seems like one of the most important types of inbound marketing. An example of achieving success through SEO is Meridian Financial Advisors LLC. Before completing SEO optimization, their monthly website traffic was around 138 visits. After optimization, it went up to 343 visits a month which was a 168% growth rate. One year later, visits were up to 442 per month. Now if you ask me, it seems like SEO can be a low cost, effective, and efficient way to get your name out there when being searched.

Although up to this point inbound marketing seems perfect, it can definitely go wrong as well. In the Marketo article, they describe a company, Acme Software, who created a blog, twitter, Facebook page, and a LinkedIn group. At the end of the year, they were only able to close a couple deals from it. Just because a company is getting their name out there through social media or any other form of inbound marketing, does not mean it will be successful. Here are 7 reasons why blogging and inbound marketing are failing for so many agencies. The main problem is the time being spent performing the inbound marketing techniques, but receiving such little return.

The Marketo article describes the most ideal way to market through their inbound marketing multiplier which provides the perfect mix of inbound and outbound marketing in order to run a successful marketing campaign.

The next case I read was about HubSpot and their increased success with inbound marketing. First off, HubSpot is a company that develops and markets a software product for inbound marketing. Their system is designed to help companies attract prospects, qualify their potential, and turn them into paying customers. The software includes templates to design content for websites, blogs, and social networking sites. They also help create traffic through SEO and offer tools to help customers optimize their exposure on the internet as well as tools to help engage the right customers. They also offer tools to help analyze their results. After reading the case, HubSpot will pretty much help your company in almost all forms of inbound marketing and to reach exposure to new markets.

For numerous companies, HubSpot has been a main cog in helping them get exposure. For example, Maryville College was using conventional marketing techniques before using HubSpot. After purchasing HubSpot software, they were able to improve their organic search rankings and increase engagement with prospective students in the search process. They ended up with a 126% increase in web traffic within the first year.

I also read a few specific customer reviews (not on the HubSpot website) for non-bias opinions on the product. This article by Marcus Sheridan provided many legitimate reasons as to why HubSpot is almost a necessity in today’s market and outbound marketing is becoming less important compared to the rise of inbound marketing. He claims HubSpot made his swimming pool site one of the top sites in the country for that product category. I think this is a great article for anyone trying to learn how HubSpot can directly affect certain businesses and help them get their name relevant for what they are trying to sell.

With anything, there are the pros and of course, the cons. Inbound marketing is supposed to have little or no cost, right? Well, if you use HubSpot’s software, it can become a very costly alternative to the point where if it isn’t working for your company, your company might not survive. HubSpot will work if you are able to use it correctly and have the funds for it, but this is why businesses may fail when using it.

Overall, inbound marketing is an increasing form of marketing and one of the best ways to increase exposure to your company. After all my research, I would agree with the Marketo article that the best way to market your business is with a good mix of inbound and outbound marketing for maximum exposure.

Google Analytics Platform Principles

Web analytics have become a staple for prospering businesses looking to get a better understanding of who is checking out there website or mobile app and why and how they did it.  However, analytics can also be used to measure devices like video game consoles, ticket kiosks, or appliances as well. They can even be used to collect “offline” business data like purchases at a retail store. Considering all the different ways you can use analytics, it is very important to understand and know how to use them. From the fundamental videos, we already know the four platform components which let you measure user interactions with your business which are collection, configuration, processing, and reporting. Lets go through each component a little more thoroughly for this blog.

When collecting the data, we first need to understand the data model. The users are the visitors of the website or app and sessions are the amount of time they spend there. Lastly, interactions, or “hits” are what they do while they are there. Google analytics uses tracking code which collects information about a user’s activity. Depending on what you are trying to track, Google analytics uses a different tracking technology to create the data hits.  The tracking code also is able to notice new and returning users which is a very crucial aspect of the data collection process. For website data collection, a JavaScript code snippet makes it easy to track the user activity.  By adding the snippet in the HTML of every web page you want to track, the snippet will generate a pageview hit each time it is loaded. The pageview hit tracks various information that you want to include such as the user’s language preference, the browser name, and device and operating system being used. When collecting mobile app data, you use a Software Development Kit, or SDK, instead of using JavaScript. It works similarly to the JavaScript and can collect data about your app like what users look at, the device operating system, and how often a user opens the app. However, since mobile devices can lose network connectivity data from mobile apps is not sent right away. Also, sending data in real time can reduce a device’s battery life. The last part of the collection process is sending data with the Measurement Protocol. This allows you to send data to Google Analytics from any web-connected device which is what AccuWeather does to track most of there information.

During the process stage, four major changes happen with the data. The first transformation is that Google Analytics organizes the hits you have collected into users and sessions. Secondly, data from other sources can be joined with data that is already collected through the same tracking code. The third change is that the configuration rules you have added will modify your data accordingly. These configuration settings will tell Google analytics what specific data to include or exclude, or change the way it is formatted.  A few common configuration settings are filters, goal setting, channel groups, or content groups. Lastly, the data goes through the aggregation stage which is where Google Analytics prepares and organizes your data for analysis  by setting it up in a easy to use, more understandable way.

The last part of the Google analytics process is the reporting stage. By using specific dimensions and metrics,  Google analytics is able to create just about any report you want to measure with the data that is collected. The dimensions describe characteristics of the data, so a dimension of a session could be the source that brought the user to your site. Metrics count how often stuff happens like the total number of users on a website or the average number of something. One way to report the data is through an Application Programming Interface, or API. This gives you a little more freedom in the reporting process since you can better integrate your own business data and also saving time by being able to report complex tasks. Another way of reporting is a simple report sample which will just generate a report based one subset of your data instead of using all your available data. This way helps you get timely answers for any ongoing questions.

Overall, going through the four platform principles of Google analytics is vital for anybody interested in increasing their knowledge of analytics.