Lieberman software

Content marketing advice from the best. An interview with Lieberman Software

  • Lieberman Software ranked 5th in 2016 our Inbound Marketing report
  • Received top scores for their website and blog
  • We interviewed their Director of Marketing and Marketing & Comms Manager

Coming in fifth place in the 2016 edition of the Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report was Lieberman Software. So, why did they score so highly and what’s the secret to their inbound marketing success?

We already know that a big reason for their high ranking was the strength of both their website (73/100) and blog (an even more impressive, 87/100). We called up Jane Grafton and Kevin Franks – Director of Marketing and Marketing Communications Manager at Lieberman, respectively – to see how they went about putting together such a slick marketing operation.

Perhaps we could start with a brief background of Lieberman Software and how your online publication, Identity Week, came into being?

Kevin Franks: "When we first started the blog, one of our main goals was to do less direct company promotions and more raising awareness of the niche that we’re in, in the cyber security market. At the time we started this blog, about six years ago, there was some uncertainty about what the Privilege Identity management market—as it’s called—really is, so we wanted to start a blog that would be educational and tell people what these types of products do and why they’re needed; what’s the unique differentiator that our type of product does versus all the other security products in the market."

"So, we started looking for ways that our product fit in with a lot of the cybersecurity news stories going on at the time—the hacks that you might hear about and what’s behind the hacks—and discuss what we give you as a way to prevent that. So, it was, in a way, a ‘soft sell’ of what we do."

Jane Grafton: "Also, it should be added that it was an opportunity to do some cross pollination and build good backlinks to enhance our SEO and get us up the search rankings."

How do you generate new ideas for your blog?

Kevin: "Well, a lot of it, certainly at the beginning, was a certain amount of ‘news-jacking’: where you find a current event—for us it’s a data breach that’s in the news—then you write about that breach with your own niche or angle. That’s probably the main thing. Also, there’s a focus at our company on different things now than when we started. The cloud and the Internet of things (IoT) would be good examples of that. So more of our blog posts now reflect more cloud-focused and IoT issues, in addition to continuing to look for current events that align with what we do as a business."

What Lieberman Software does is specific. Was it easy, then, to determine your target audience?

Kevin: "It was relatively easy for us to determine our target market. There’s largely an overlap of those who are reading our blog and customers who are buying Lieberman Software products so that made it a lot easier. But then there’s others things; like, those who are reading IT media, to a certain degree are our audience as well. Some of our posts have been republished in different IT security magazines and online publications, etc. So, there’s that aspect of the audience, too."

You’ve clearly got a content strategy in place. At the beginning, did you ever struggle to form a consistent style?

Kevin: "I don’t know if it was very difficult, but like anything, at the beginning it was a challenge. One of the issues that kept coming up was generating enough content to get two posts a week—even three. When you’re first starting it’s a new assignment that you take on and have to make time for. And for the article or post to be meaningful it requires getting valuable information from our security experts here in the company, and being able to turn that information into an engaging post. So, when you start, it can be difficult because you have to work across departments [to get this information], often with people who have busy schedules, so there can be coordination issues. But after doing it for a while, you can get into the right rhythm and a schedule that works for everyone."

How strict is your content strategy?

Kevin: "I don’t think there’s necessarily a strict structure to it. We do have a loose editorial calendar planned out a little in advance, and we know generally the types of topics we want to write about. And then, in the news cycle, things that are in our realm bubble up and become something that we might pop in immediately in our calendar. I read something by David Meerman Scott that I found really good regarding our new online-dominant world and the opportunity for companies to think like a publisher in what they are doing. That by having your own online community, you don’t have to rely on the traditional news media—that you can put out the content that you want, for the world to see, in your own format. Whether it’s interviews with executives you can turn that into long-form articles, or shorter blog posts or whitepapers… whatever it might be. So, you can kind of control your own way of messaging the world without having to rely on external parties."

Jane:  "Plus, there are two consistent places where you do get content: one is from the surveys you do at trade shows and events which trim into very good content that seems to do well both on the blog and on our website. And two is the ‘Top of Mind’ for our newsletter."

Kevin:  "Yes, that’s absolutely right. And I guess it goes back to what you were asking before about our audience. One thing we do, two or three times a year at the trade shows we attend, is surveys among the attendees there. Largely speaking, those in attendance at these trade shows are in our target market. So, we are surveying them on topics that might have an impact or an interest in their line of work. We’ll take those surveys and spin them out into different things, like articles, press releases, etc. The latest one we did was from a recent show focusing on a cloud security topic, which is becoming more and more important for us at the company."

"And as Jane mentioned, our monthly newsletter goes out to our customers and subscriber list. A mainstay of that is a column written by one of our executives and those columns are very good to use for other content (blogs and whitepapers, etc)

In the Microsoft Partner Network, we find many partners struggle to maintain and regularly update their blog (and content marketing in general). What’s the one piece of advice you’d recommend for starting a blog?

Kevin: "I think it would be having something to say. Not focusing on what your products do. But look for broader issues that are of interest to your community in general and focus on those. If you can get people who read your content to like it, then that will lead in to a more direct type of interest in what you are doing as a company, which will naturally generate more leads. A lot of the traffic that we generate to the site is through the social media outreach that we do too. So, that’s a big part of it now."

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Microsoft collaborates with internet giants to tackle terrorist content

  • Microsoft to collaborate with Facebook, YouTube and Google to tackle terrorist content 
  • Create a shared database using ‘digital fingerprints’ to hash content 
  • Once one company removes the content, the others will follow suit

It was announced this week that Internet giants Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have teamed up to create an information sharing project that aims to tackle and remove extreme content from their platforms.

We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

In their Newsroom release, Facebook outlined how this shared database will work, and unique digital fingerprints called “hashes” which will help to identify and remove any content that it would consider terrorist or extremist. This kind of database is similar to how Facebook deals with child pornography images or copyright protected files. The difference is that the terrorist content will not automatically be removed; it will first be identified and reviewed by each organisation.

Once the material is spotted, the other platforms will be notified using the hash, then reviewed by Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and if it violates the codes of each company then it will be removed.

There is no place for content that promotes terrorism

The platforms each have different policies on terrorist content, so the initiative will use the hashes for any extreme images, recruitment videos, files and other material that violates these policies.

The databases will constantly be updated to keep up with any newly released content in the hope of reducing its spread. In the future, the Internet giants involved in the collaboration would like this database to be available for many large companies.

Some may argue that these organisations have no place deciding what content and news is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. However, given the influence and user base that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can have on global sharing of content, these organisations can take responsibility for what is shared and seen on their platforms.


Content and Code Case Study

Content and Code A marketing strategy that aligns with Microsoft.

Microsoft experts and a trusted partner

Having won or been a finalist for Microsoft’s coveted Partner of the Year award for the last 9 years, Content and Code have been at the forefront of championing Microsoft technologies for the past decade. Founded 14 years ago, they boast a deep understanding of SharePoint, Office 365 and the entire Microsoft landscape to enhance their professional services.

Content and Code Case Study

An agency that understands the audience

When we first spoke to Tim, founder of Content and Code, he was looking for an agency to take some copywriting off his hands. As our relationship has progressed, we have broadened our offering to include a wider variety of services.

The work we have done for Content and Code has covered a number of specific sectors:

    • Construction
    • Healthcare
    • Finance and banking

Working closely alongside Content and Code, Fifty Five and Five now provide full digital marketing services. From initial generation of content ideas to SEO and social sharing, we are there every step of the way to ensure content is fresh and always geared towards the right audience.

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Content marketing advice from the best. An interview with Qorus

  • Qorus ranked 10th in our 2016 Inbound Marketing Excellence report
  • Highly ranked for their blog and content strategy
  • Interview with their VP of Marketing and internal content writer

Qorus ranked 10th in our Top 50 report, and a substantial factor in their high ranking was their blog and content strategy. We spoke to Heather Thompson– Senior VP of Marketing –  and Taryn Netterville to get an insight into how Qorus brainstorm, create and share engaging and inspiring content with the Microsoft Partner Network.

When we carried out our Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence Report we were looking for examples of Microsoft Partners who could provide awesome examples of digital and content marketing. Coming in at number 10 was Qorus, the Seattle-based software company that helps organizations be more productive when creating, managing and collaborating on business-critical documents. We were highly impressed by Qorus’ in-depth content strategy; they provide their readers with informative posts filled with character and a wide variety of content and sources.

We sat down with Taryn Netterville, and Heather Thompson, VP of Marketing to find out more. Located in Qorus’ Cape Town office—where most of their marketing, development and support teams reside—we picked their brains and to find out what’s at the heart of their marketing success.

The quality of your content speaks for itself and you were a Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist for Modern Marketing. With a pretty big office in Cape Town, do you use an internal team specifically assigned to content creation and ideas?

Taryn: “In terms of looking after the blog, that’s myself [content manager] and our digital specialist, Odette. Working together, we start from an SEO perspective. [Odette] will advise me on keywords for the month and we’ll brainstorm ideas.”

“We try to encourage employees to write as well, but it’s not always easy as most are not confident writers! Sometimes I’ll interview them to get their insights and make it easier for them to contribute. These posts are different to what we usually produce, with less of an SEO focus. I try to also include a few ‘culture’ posts that highlight our ‘personality’ and our company values. We also find that fun, topical posts – posts centered around Halloween, Christmas etc., – are popular, so we include them.”

Heather: “We work with a diverse mix of contributors. We don’t have a big team of in-house writers, so our “content team” is made up of both internal and external writers, as well as industry experts when we want to write something specific. This helps to keep it fresh and interesting. In fact, we’re currently working with our contacts at Microsoft to create a couple of posts!”

Obviously, Qorus have a wide variety of content and resources, from traditional blogs to infographics. How do you weight these different styles of content? Do you consider any of them to be more valuable?

Taryn: “We try to produce a mix of different styles. Often the style will depend on the situation. For example, we’ll come across statistics that would be a great fit for an infographic, or we have the opportunity to create a video or an eBook.”

“We also look at our key personas and try to work out what style of content would appeal to them, for example we found that webinars work well for Sales and Marketing professionals. Sometimes we’re guided by our partners or clients, like this month we’re working with several partners to create insightful opinion and thought leadership posts.”

Heather: “It depends on relevancy. If we’re trying to promote a certain industry and we have a relevant eBook, for example, we’ll amplify that copy more so than other content.”

“In terms of content priority, I think it’s difficult to single one medium out. Video is obviously very powerful, along with anything visual. Interviews can resonate very well with particular audiences. People are always looking for referenceable materials and how-to guides too. In terms of priority it’s whatever we believe will appeal the most to that particular audience. We try and get a holistic view before deciding which approach to take.”

You mentioned using an external agency; how useful do you find being able to outsource some content?

Taryn: “We work with external agencies in a couple of ways, sometimes for content creation, other times for SEO and digital work. It has its pros and cons, but if you’re looking for experts who are tapped into trends, then the right agency can be a huge help. I do find that clear briefing and building good relationships with external writers is vital though, and those take time to establish.”

Has your content strategy evolved over time or has it been more concrete?

Taryn: “At least since I’ve been here, we’ve always had a strong digital presence. Our inbound marketing strategy was already in place, which naturally requires a fair amount of content. At the time, this content was created by an agency that had little input from the marketing team (there just wasn’t time). Thus, I think there was a lack of audience knowledge which meant quality wasn’t as closely guarded and content wasn’t as ‘deep’ as it could have been.”

“Now our strategy has become quite fluid. The strategy is (and has always been) consistent blogging that speaks to our personas, is SEO optimized, and drives them to download an eBook or a similar content asset so that we can engage with and nurture them via email marketing. We’ll either try and target a specific persona for one month, then move onto another or we’ll spread it evenly throughout the month.”

Most companies know that a blog is core to gaining a strong relationship with customers, so for a lot of them this is their starting point. Creating such a variety of content, is a consistent blog still your main focus before ‘experimenting’ with mediums such as videos, infographics etc?

Taryn: “That’s a good question. Our downloadable content is core to what we do because it’s how we gather information about our potential customers. And our blog is designed to encourage people to download that content by completing a form.”

“Blogs form part of our ‘top of funnel’ content: they’re not always selling what we do, but are more about getting people interested in Qorus and the topic we care about. Videos are then further down the funnel; case studies or company showcases allow people to learn more about us. We very much work all our content through a sales funnel.”

We spoke to Michelle at our stand at WPC and she made similar remarks on the importance of planning your strategy. From publishing our Top 50 report, we found many Microsoft Partners struggle to get a streamlined and integrated strategy in place. What advice do you have for them?

Taryn: “I believe that it must start with personas – understanding your audience is arguably the most important aspect of content marketing. Once you know your audience, you can work out the search terms they use and build your content around the challenges they face.”

“The other side of the coin is distribution. Once you have created your content, you need to get it out there.”

Heather: “And that’s actually been one of our challenges – having all this great content and deciding on how to distribute it effectively. We’ve spent so much time, effort and money developing content, but if it simply sits on our blog and no one sees it, it’s all for nothing. Planning, and actually measuring, is very important.”

“Reviewing the success of content tells me whether we’re reaching the right people with the right content. But it can be tricky to measure content effectiveness. For example, one piece of content might perform better than another simply because we shared it more widely through our social and email marketing channels, or because we put money behind it and advertised it. You have to take a holistic view.”

“The notion of measurement is definitely an interesting one. Since you’ve been in charge of the content strategy, have you seen a consistent improvement in engagement or has it been more peaks and troughs?”

Heather: “I’d say we see clear peaks and troughs, not only in reach and engagement but also in sentiment and the comments we generate. Sometimes people won’t agree with your opinion – that’s bound to happen, and it can still be a good platform for conversation.”

Taryn: “We have also found that the way we phrase our tweets and posts when sharing our content is quite important in driving engagement. We try to ensure we encourage comments and conversation, so we avoid generic tweets like ‘read our latest blog post’… Lazy social posting defeats all the other hard work – something our digital manager taught me early on!”

Heather: “We’ve also gotten better at working out what content gets the best engagement – so we aim to produce conversation-starting pieces.”

“And engagement is something that can take time. We have found companies getting started with their marketing often consider a blog to be a ‘quick fix’; that they will immediately achieve 100 views but in reality it’s a gradual process.”

Heather: “Exactly! It takes time to build credibility. People will only share things that resonate with them or they find relevant. As huge a platform as social media is, people don’t just share stuff without thought. It’s got to be worth sharing. You need to see it as an investment in building credibility and developing your brand.”


how to create an event registration form

Creating an interesting event registration form using Typeform

  • Introduction to Typeform, the online event registration form creator
  • Step by step guide to creating event form through Typeform
  • Example of Typeform used on the Fifty Five and Five website

Back in 2013, Paula Balzer—COO of TBA Global—shared a Q&A with TIME magazine regarding the evolution of corporate events. In the interview, Paula explained how the expectations of the audience have changed over recent years, largely due to improved sophistication of technology. Retaining an audience’s attention is more difficult than ever, and you need to do everything in your power to both host a successful event, and make sure you fill it to the rafters

Company events are ideal methods for generating a buzz around your business. An opportunity to meet with likeminded individuals, company events—whether for a product launch, fundraising or networking—offer numerous benefits:

  • An effective means for communication at both the internal and external level
  • Enable and foster interpersonal relationships
  • Improve team motivation and work ethic
  • Reward achievements and recognize success
  • Promote business and brand recognition
  • Build a community around your company

Getting as many people as possible to attend these events should therefore be a top priority as a Microsoft Partner. And how can you do that? Well, much like technology has changed audience expectations, it can be used to improve the number of people you can get to attend. This is where Typeform can help you create event registration forms people can’t wait to sign up for.

Conversational forms

Most often, getting site visitors to fill out forms (like registering for your company events) is a difficult task – especially when they are bland and uninspiring. Typeform provides an interactive alternative that can offer your customers a richer, more engaging way to fill out event registration forms. Offering more natural progression like a real ‘human’ conversation, Typeform can help your forms stand out and achieve better completion rates.

In the rest of this post, I’ll explore how to create an event registration form using Typeform. I’ll take you through the process from building your event registration form to analyzing it for future reference and insight.

Build

how to create an event registration form

This is where the magic happens… on the left are your question options, ranging from simple Q&As to more complex payment stripes and legal terms and conditions. I’ll explore some of the most common and useful question types you can use to get the most from your form-fillers.

how to create an event registration form

Typeform is all about conversational forms, so you shouldn’t be afraid to use colloquial or chatty language. Spark rapport with your audience early – get them engaged so they’re more likely to fill out the entire event registration form.

how to create an event registration form

Having personality come through in your forms is important, and the best way to do that is to make things personal. “Piping” feeds information from one question into the text of another. When a user tells you their name, you can then refer to them throughout the rest of the form.

how to create an event registration form

This is a great way to gather information about those filling out your forms. It’s always useful to know who’s coming to your event. You can make certain answers required – although it’s best not to do so for every question as that can deter people. Make sure you allow people to choose multiple fields for questions such as these if appropriate.

This is a great way to gather information about those filling out your forms. It’s always useful to know who’s coming to your event. You can make certain answers required – although it’s best not to do so for every question as that can deter people. Make sure you allow people to choose multiple fields for questions such as these if appropriate.

how to create an event registration form

Our attention spans are shorter than ever – break up questions with statements that can encourage or persuade the user to keep going. Embed videos from sites like YouTube to break up the flow and inject a little fun. It’s all about keeping your audience engaged, and statements are a great way to do that – it’s like you’re having direct conversation with them.

Our attention spans are shorter than ever – break up questions with statements that can encourage or persuade the user to keep going. Embed videos from sites like YouTube to break up the flow and inject a little fun. It’s all about keeping your audience engaged, and statements are a great way to do that – it’s like you’re having direct conversation with them.

Design

how to create an event registration form

There are currently over 500 services integrated with Typeform, allowing you to connect other applications for a more seamless experience. MailChimp integration, for example, allows you to create new MailChimp subscriber lists based on Typeform entries. Some of the most notable integrations include:

  • Email and SMS notifications
  • MailChimp
  • Trello
  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • MySQL Database

Metrics and results let you keep track of recipients’ answers, offering you valuable insights into what areas of your form worked well, and which struggled. This is also where you can get an overview of your audience: the most common ages, gender, roles… and the more questions you ask, the more accurate your representation of your audience will be. This will prove incredibly useful when it comes to events, as you can gauge your audience and cater for them ahead of the event. See two individuals that share similar interests and may hit it off? Make sure to introduce them to one another at your event.

You can also add a Google Analytics tracking code to your Typeforms to further track visitor behavior and demographics.

Typeforms are easy to share, and can be done so across all major social media platforms and via email. Better yet, you can embed your Typeform into your website for users to fill out within the same window. If users naturally navigate to your form, rather than clicking a button and opening an external window, you can expect the number that fill it out will increase.

You can still create a button or link to launch in an external window if you would prefer, or if there’s not enough space on the page.


CPS case study

CPS A cutting-edge web presence for a leading partner.

A leading Microsoft Gold Partner

Founded in 1995, CPS pride themselves on using integrated, joined-up solutions to help businesses the world over, earning them a coveted Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for 2016. As one of the leading Microsoft Partners, they know that an attractive and user-friendly website is of the utmost importance… yet it remained an area of need. A modern website overhaul – involving re-design, content and SEO – provided CPS with a slick and unified home for their services to mirror the core values of the company.

CPS case study

Design, build, content & SEO

CPS asked us to help them revamp their web presence to better reflect their updated brand. A modern overhaul met the company’s desire for a more content-focused approach to marketing: with revamped landing pages, interactivity, blogs and social sharing. As well as handling the design, information architecture and build work, we also provided CPS with fresh content to fill these new pages. Furthermore, we optimised all content for specific SEO keywords to enhance the visibility of the CPS website.

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Content marketing advice from the best. An interview with Cloud TP

  • Cloud TP ranked 6th in our 2016 Inbound Marketing excellence report
  • Highly ranked for their blog and content strategy
  • Interview with their Director of Marketing

Cloud Technology Partners (Cloud TP) ranked 6th in our 2016 Top 50 report, and a substantial factor in their high ranking was the strength of their blog. We spoke to Brad Young – Director of Marketing – to get an insight into how the Boston, MA-based business generates content, chooses topics, and puts together consistent and engaging blog content.

How do you generate new ideas for your blog?

“For starters, we look to our readers. Because we have a very specific target audience, we generally have a good idea into the topics they’re most interested in and we routinely poll our readers to ensure we’re covering the topics they’re looking to learn more about. We also turn to our sales and delivery teams who have a first-person view into the challenges our clients face everyday. We write about their greatest pain points and prioritize our blog ideas based on level of need and how they fit into our broader editorial calendar. Regardless of the topic, it’s also important to keep in mind that building a successful blog is not just about the quantity of content and new ideas, but really the quality. If your content doesn’t resonate with your readers, it’s just noise.”

“We invest the time to really to understand our audience’s interests and challenges. This enables us to then provide them the best practices and advice they need to be most successful. Cloud Technology Partners is a cloud-exclusive professional services firm and all of our content reflects this focus on cloud.  Because we have a consistent theme in our publications, our readers know what to expect when they interact with our brand.”

How did the Cloud TP blog get started?

“For starters, we look to our readers. Because we have a very specific target audience, we generally have a good idea into the topics they’re most interested in and we routinely poll our readers to ensure we’re covering the topics they’re looking to learn more about. We also turn to our sales and delivery teams who have a first-person view into the challenges our clients face everyday. We write about their greatest pain points and prioritize our blog ideas based on level of need and how they fit into our broader editorial calendar. Regardless of the topic, it’s also important to keep in mind that building a successful blog is not just about the quantity of content and new ideas, but really the quality. If your content doesn’t resonate with your readers, it’s just noise.”

“We invest the time to really to understand our audience’s interests and challenges. This enables us to then provide them the best practices and advice they need to be most successful. Cloud Technology Partners is a cloud-exclusive professional services firm and all of our content reflects this focus on cloud.  Because we have a consistent theme in our publications, our readers know what to expect when they interact with our brand.”

Do you currently have a content strategy in place? If so, how did you work to create it?

“Early on, our content strategy and editorial calendar was largely ad-hoc. We would cover important market trends in the blog, record a podcast here and there and produce case studies when major projects ended. Today our content strategy is much more prescriptive. One of the key drivers that helped us improve our publications was establishing a regular cadence for content deadlines. We decided that one podcast per week + five articles per week + one case study per month was the right mix for our thought leadership goals. You’ll have to determine what the right mix of content is for your business.”

“We recently expanded The Doppler into a quarterly print edition. The latest issue was 82 pages and focused on Enterprise Cloud Adoption. Adding a print publication to the equation has forced us to be far more organized with our content strategy and editorial calendar. For each issue our content needs to be finalized weeks in advance of the print deadline and we now actively plan ahead to determine the theme of each quarter.”

“Using the Doppler Quarterly to plan out our entire content calendar also helps us tie in our thought leadership activities with the rest of our company announcements and new service offering launches.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d recommend for starting a blog?

“Getting your theme right from the start is critical.  Come up with one sentence that encompasses the core theme of your entire blog. Every article you publish should support this foundational message. For The Doppler it’s “Expert advice to help you succeed in the cloud”.

“When you’re thinking about writing something new, ask yourself, “How does this support my umbrella theme?” This will help you stay on track and maintain the consistency that today’s readers expect.”


Digital marketing performance

Power your digital marketing performance with Maya

  • Measuring your digital marketing with Maya
  • Get an overview of how well your channels are doing and how to improve them

It’s no mystery that top-quality digital marketing performance is a crucial part of increasing business growth for your organisation. If you want people to buy your services, they first need to know about them – and these days, the internet is where they will look first. Digital marketing was once ‘the future of marketing’, now it’s simply: marketing.

But it remains a comparatively new innovation. Over many years, traditional advertising evolved proven methods to track and compare results. Digital marketing hasn’t managed this.

What we need is a tool that works as an all-purpose how-to-kit that benchmarks digital marketing success.

Diagnose your website

Maya plugs the gap in digital marketing performance analysis that we know exists for all digital marketers. This isn’t just another analytics tool; it’s a full purpose digital marketing benchmarker.  

Analytics platforms Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics and Twitter Analytics measure your success within their respective networks. But it’s still difficult to quantify the success of each individual part of a wider strategy – and even harder to determine how they all tie together.

Google Analytics, for example, tells you how many people have viewed your blog, but it has no interest in demonstrating how your wider social and SEO strategies influenced that number – and little advice on how to improve it.

Maya is different. Maya gives you the what, where and how of what’s good, what’s gone wrong, why this happens – and crucially, how to improve it.

Measuring your marketing with Maya

When you visit the website and input the relevant details, Maya runs an initial website diagnosis. Think of it like a full body health check for your blog, website, and social. Here are some of the main areas on which Maya gathers and processes information.

Blog and social engagement

Engagement: perhaps the statistic most fundamental to your digital marketing strategy. This is what everything else feeds into; the concrete number you seek to improve. What you want to know is how successful each blog, social post, and website is at driving traffic.

With Maya, you easily see what types of blogs and tweets perform best, how frequently you post, and where the traffic is coming from. How many people are commenting and retweeting your post? How many are following your links? What could these numbers be – what should they be, and how do you improve them? The answer is just a click away…

Content health and frequency

It’s all well and good knowing how to write good content – but how do you create a good content strategy. You need to plan an effective combination of different content types, knowing when, where and how often each of these should be posted.

Maya won’t just tell you how often you post – it’ll also tell you the optimal content schedule is for each platform, even establishing which time of the day is most optimal for engagement.

Link strategy

How many links are enough? Where do they need to be and where should they lead? Where should they come from? As we’ve mentioned before, an effective link strategy is an important part of getting traffic to your website and making it more navigable once they’ve arrived.

Anyone can tell you to ‘get links in your blog’. But what’s the right balance of internal vs. outbound links? Are you linking to the right sources? What’s the balance of backlinks to your website.

More importantly, what, where, and when do these different types of links appear on your website – and what should you do to improve it?

Mobile and desktop speed

This might seem something of a niche compared to other aspects of your SEO strategy – but Maya’s specialises in diagnosing even these most minute details. Everyone knows how frustrating it is to log onto a website and wait for it to load. Most don’t bother. If either your desktop or mobile speed is slow enough that you lose traffic– you should know.

Learning, tracking, improving

If this upfront diagnosis was all Maya achieved, it’d still be a pretty impressive tool. And if this is all you want from it, then all you need is an email address, a name and a URL to get started.

But the real value of Maya is not its ability tell you what’s wrong with your website; it’s in telling you how to improve. Those who want to get the most out of the tool don’t simply stop there – they sign up for an account, let Maya track their progress over time and record their improvements.

Getting a good overview of your website takes time. The best analyses don’t come from a frozen moment in time – they come from analysing the trends, spikes, and dips over an extended period.

Those that sign up for an account can also access an unparalleled library of informative content, which explains how to improve on each individual element of your content marketing strategy. Did we mention this is all still free?

Tangible results

The best part about the entire Maya process is the moment after plenty of hard work when you realize it’s paid off. Your website is healthy, your content is being read: the leads are flowing.

When that’s all happened, there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting in front of the evidence that links each improvement in that process to the ultimate result. You’ve done a good job: and here’s the proof.

The evidence that Maya provides has many benefits. If your team is sceptical about the potential that a strategy or investment could provide, you’ll have evidence that can help convince them. Get more investment and the information that’ll help you decide where to spend it.

If you clicked on this post thinking ‘what part of my digital marketing strategy can Maya improve’, we hope you’ve found your answer: all of it. The smallest improvement in your marketing could decide whether or not you generate your next lead. So why not make some big changes and see what the potential for improvement holds?

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Google Penguin 4.0 update

Winter is coming: Google rolls out Penguin 4.0

  • Google announces latest update since 2012, Penguin 4.0
  • Penguin 4.0 to become more page specific and granular
  • Google penalties will affect specific pages rather than the whole site

As Summer finally draws to a close and it starts getting a little colder, it seems Google may be starting to feel the chill. After almost 2 years, the company are rolling out another Penguin update to further boost search results.

This is the fourth update for the algorithm, and Google Penguin 4.0 will be ‘real time’.

First released back in 2012, Penguin was designed to catch and penalize any sites that were considered ‘spammy’ – in other words, any sites that may bulk buy their links to try and improve their Google rankings. Sites found on the wrong side of this categorisation may be suffering from the ‘blow’ for 2 years.

This latest release of Google Penguin 4.0 will be real time; Google will crawl and reindex pages constantly, meaning that pages will be caught up or freed on a regular basis. In the latest blog post, Google said:

“With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.”

Penguin 4.0 will also see Google become more page specific and granular. Rather than affecting the whole site, Google will adjust its rankings and penalties to specific pages on the site.

Furthering on from this announcement, Google said that as the updates are a constant process, it will no longer confirm future updates. They have not confirmed if Penguin 4.0 is fully live, but we suspect that it won’t be long until the updates are noticeable soon.


A/B testing using MailChimp 

Marketing with impact: The value of split testing

 

  • An introduction to using split testing for marketing campaigns
  • Variations of A/B split testing: subject lines, days and times, templates
  • Examples of A/B split testing using MailChimp 

How often—when you’re cruising the Internet on the lookout for marketing tips—do you come across ideas, in terms of your marketing strategy, to ‘change things up to get people’s attention’, ‘find a new way to impress’ or ‘market to people who don’t even exist!’

With that being said, for certain aspects of your strategy or for a particular campaign it’s useful to know what kind of impact your efforts are having. That’s where A/B split testing comes in. My blog today is an exploration of this method by asking the question: how do you know that your email campaign or strategy is reaching its full potential with your audience?

The Internet is choc-a-bloc with content trying desperately to grab your attention. Even the best blog post in the world will struggle to keep your readers’ attention if you have product adverts down the side of the page. By contrast, a white paper stands out from the crowd and draws on that most precious of commodities: time. If someone downloads and really reads your white paper, they’ll have really engaged with you, your ideas and your brand. And nothing’s more valuable than that.

But wait a second, what is A/B testing?

The most well-known and most consistently used form of split testing is for email. Two (similar but not identical) emails can be compared to see which one would perform better. You can analyse open rates, click rates, engagement and everything else to see which produced better engagement. Essentially, split testing allows you to send two slightly different emails to a small portion of your mailing list to see which performs the best, so you know which one will likely have a greater impact on your clients and customers.

This method can be used to test other aspects of your content marketing strategy too. For example, if you are trying to choose between two (similar, but not identical) landing pages for your new website, you can create an experiment to see which landing page would perform better among a sample group of interested parties.

Make better decisions, never stop improving

If you’ve ever wanted to know:

  • What subject lines are the most powerful or effective?
  • Is there a particular day of the week when people are more inclined or amenable to reading your brilliant newsletter?
  • How does different content or templates change how your mailing list engage with your email?

These are all questions to continually ask of your email campaigns and with A/B testing you can get a handle on the best way forward for your content, giving you the best chance of engagement and lead generation. There are so many variables that you may not be aware of when it comes to putting together something like an email campaign, and that’s where A/B testing can really lend a helping hand.

split testing using MailChimp 

Every subject line is a pitch

I could, for example, base this entire post on subject lines alone. For instance:

  • Did you know that 33 percent of recipients open emails based solely on subject line?
  • Or that 69 percent of email recipients report email based only on the subject line?
  • 40 percent of emails are opened on mobile first and such screens can only fit about 4-7 words
  • Emails with “you” in the subject line were opened 5 percent less than those without.

These stats continue and you can read the full list here. Not only that, you can also read about both Adam Grant as well as Daniel Pink’s thoughts on the importance on the email subject line for further insight.

split testing using MailChimp 

Tips for creating business growth through experimentation

Let’s say you have a marketing list of 100,000 recipients and you want to test the performance of two subject lines. You will create an ‘A’ and ‘B’ version—with version A holding one subject line and version B holding the other. Then you would send these versions to 1 percent of your recipients (500 receive version A, 500 receive version B). Based on the open rates or click rates of both versions the system will decide which is the winning subject line. This wining version will then be sent to the remaining recipients on your list (i.e. 99,000). For example, in MailChimp, the split test goes to just over 30 percent with the winning email version goes to just under 70 percent.

So, there you go. Content marketing is all in the percentages and small tweaks here and there can pay real dividends. By employing A/B testing in your email campaigns hopefully you’ll see a spike in the right direction.