The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing in 2019

Have you ever purchased something because a well-known person you admire used the product or service?

I’m definitely guilty of this — in fact, I recently bought myself a new waterski because a professional water skier and micro-influencer, Whitney McClintock, shared a video on Instagram of herself using the ski.

I was in the market for a new ski and followed Whitney for quite some time. I figured since she used this particular ski, I should too — if Whitney promotes it, why wouldn’t I love it?

You might be thinking, “Slightly questionable logic, Kristen”. Maybe.

But, did Whitney’s post get me to buy the ski? Oh, yeah. (And I do love my new ski for those of you wondering.)

This is just one example of a tactic used by businesses across virtually every industry called influencer marketing.

Download the step-by-step guide on how to build valuable relationships with  experts & influencers here.

Examples of these channels include social media, blogs, columns, digital and print ads, and television. Influencer marketing is increasingly more popular among businesses these days because traditional advertising has become less effective in attracting leads and customers.

Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which are now critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy. Customers trust their peers, friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.

Before we dive into the different types of influencers, let’s review the difference between a brand influencer and a brand ambassador, as they’re often confused terms.  

Brand Influencer vs. Brand Ambassador

A brand influencer refers to someone who has a following within a specific niche that they engage with regularly. Because of this, they have the power to impact their purchase decisions. The major types of brand influencers include micro-influencer, celebrity influencer, blog influencer, social media influencer, and key opinion leader (each of which we’ll define momentarily).

For example, social media influencer @leximars has worked with Lulus in the past to share different outfits and styles on her Instagram account featuring their clothing and accessories. Lexi tags Lulus in her posts so her followers can learn more about the brand, follow them on Instagram, or click their website link to shop for specific products they see on Lexi’s page.

brand-influencer

Source

A brand ambassador is hired by a business to work under contract to help them achieve specific goals: increase brand awareness and boost conversions and sales. A brand ambassador’s contract is typically long-term (several months or even years). During that time, they represent the brand and the lifestyle associated with it and have deep knowledge about the business’s products or services. They don’t necessarily need to be an influencer prior to becoming an ambassador.

For example, Quest Nutrition’s brand ambassador program requires all interested individuals to apply to their program. Quest looks for individuals who embody their brand, are positive spokespeople for their products, create social media posts to promote their products, and live the Quest lifestyle.

Anyone who fits their criteria is able to apply and has the potential of being accepted. Applicants aren’t required to have a highly successful YouTube account, thousands of followers on Instagram, or a popular blog to become a brand ambassador.

brand-ambassador

Source

In this article, we’re going to focus on brand influencers. However, before we dive into the various types of brand influencers, let’s take a look at some important statistics that prove working with an influencer is effective in helping you reach your marketing goals.

Influencer Marketing Statistics

Influencer marketing is an investment — to get it right, you have to devote time to ensure you find the right influencer to promote content that appeals to your target audience. You also have to spend money and/ or resources to reward the influencer, run various campaigns with the influencer, and more depending on your specific marketing goals.

Luckily, there are a number of statistics that prove influencer marketing is a worthwhile time and monetary investment. There are also statistics that show you which metrics are impacted by influencer marketing.

General Influencer Marketing Statistics

Metrics Statistics

  • Engagement is the biggest measure of influencer marketing campaign performance.
  • Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
  • 84% of marketers think that the measurement of ROI will be critical to the future success of all influencer marketing campaigns.
  • 34% of businesses focus on reach (or impression) with their influencer marketing strategies.
  • 35% of marketers want their influencers’ followers to take action, so they measure their results and ROI by engagement or clicks.
  • The top three goals of influencer marketing for businesses include increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales and conversions (64%).

Now that you have a better idea of the reasons why you’d want to invest in influencer marketing, let’s review the five major types of influencers to consider doing business with and examples of each.

1. Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencerslike Whitney — have a relatively modest following of thousands or tens of thousands of people within their niche. They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums.

Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates. Having a smaller audience allows micro-influencers to bond with the people who follow them more regularly (as compared to a celebrity with millions of fans) via their channel. This makes them appealing to work with for businesses looking to develop personal relationships among their target audience.

How to Work With a Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencers can be established on a variety of channels. So, once you've chosen the micro-influencer you’re going to work with, you can have them write a post about your service, share an online review, or post a picture on Instagram with one of your products. Due to the manageable size of their base of followers, they’ll be able to engage with your target audience on the content they share about your products and brand.

This way, they can answer any questions the audience members may have about your products, communicate their experience with your products, and direct audience members to your website or customer support team if necessary.

Micro-Influencer Example

@sydneyloveleigh is an Instagram micro-influencer who shares content about health, fitness, and travel. She works with an athletic clothing brand, Nuxactive, to promote their products and brand awareness among her 21.4K followers. Sydney fits Nuxactive’s brand image and lifestyle, and her Instagram page has thousands of followers who fit the profile of their target audience — this is what makes her a great micro-influencer for Nuxactive.  

micro-influencer

Source

In her bio, Sydney shares a code for her followers to use at check out (so Nuxactive can track Sydney’s success promoting their brand), she links to their Instagram page in all of her promotional posts, and interacts with her followers on these posts by responding to their comments and questions and liking their messages.

2. Celebrity Influencer

Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognized and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.

Even if your target audience doesn’t overlap with all of your celebrity influencer’s fans, having them promote and/ or use your product or service is a powerful form of social proof. Since celebrities are so well known, they’re effective at reaching multiple audiences across various channels.

How to Work With a Celebrity Influencer

Since celebrities are so well-known, there are many ways to work with them. You may focus on social media, print or online ads, TV commercials, blogs, or other written publications.

You can ask the celebrity to pose for pictures promoting your products, explain why their audience members would love your products or services, provide coupons and discount codes, or write reviews telling audience members why they stand by your brand. You may even sponsor an event the celebrity is hosting or attending.

Example of a Celebrity Influencer

Amazon sponsored Khloe Kardashian’s baby shower — with 93.7 million followers on Instagram, a reality TV show, several entrepreneurial endeavors, and a famous family, it’s safe to say many of Amazon’s customers recognize Khloe. By sponsoring her baby shower, they were able to feature their wide range of baby registry and maternity products.

celebrity-influencer

Source

In addition to Amazon publicizing the fact they sponsored event, Khloe also shared a post on Instagram thanking Amazon for making the party planning and baby registry creation processes so simple. She tagged Amazon in the post and shared a link to her baby registry for her fans (and Amazon’s target audience) to review and shop on their site.

3. Blog Influencer

A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).

How to Work With a Blog Influencer

To collaborate with a blog influencer, you may write a guest post for their blog, ask to be mentioned in one of their posts, or sponsor a post about one of your products or services. If you sponsor a post on the influencer’s blog, you can also provide images of your products for them to share as well.

Example of a Blog Influencer

A popular lifestyle blog influencer is Hannah Bronfman of HBFIT. Hannah writes about health, beauty, fitness, and creating a life that makes you happy and feel good. Between her blog subscribers, social media following, ads, the book she wrote, and the app she created, Hannah has millions of audience members and fans who keep up with her life.

Her blog features a variety of product, gym, and spa reviews. She collaborated with Face Gym, a local facial studio, on a sponsored blog post about their services and facial treatments.

blog-influencer

Source

Hannah included information about the unique studio, facial experience, why her audience members would love the services Face Gym offers, as well as a coupon code for their first visit.

There are also pictures of Face Gym and the services they offer in Hannah’s blog post to give audience members a better idea of what to expect from the studio in terms of services and atmosphere.

4. Social Media Influencer

Social media influencers are well-recognized on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people. Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.

How to Work With a Social Media Influencer

Once you find a social media influencer with an established image that works for your brand, posts content you feel complements your products or services, and has followers who are also members of your target audience, you can determine what type of content you’re going to have them promote.

If the influencer is on Instagram, you may have them post a picture with your product and tag your social account. If they’re on Facebook, you can ask them to share a live video of them opening your product and if they’re on Twitter, you can have them write a brief statement about your product and pair it with a picture of them holding it. On YouTube, you may have the influencer share a video of them using your product while explaining the reasons why they love it.

On any social media platform, you can also have an influencer host a contest or giveaway with your products or share coupon codes.

Example of a Social Media Influencer

Joy Bauer is a nutritionist, health expert for The Today Show, and Twitter Influencer. Her 157K followers and fans on Twitter consist of health-conscious, nutrition-focused individuals who enjoy learning about Joy’s healthy recipes, lifestyle, and diet tips.

Joy worked with La Croix on a sponsored Twitter post featuring a twist on one of their sparkling water drinks. The post directs audience members to a family-friendly recipe on Joy’s website promoting the sparkling water and recipe with images, nutrition information, preparation time, and an anecdote about why Joy loves it.

social-media-influencer

Source

La Croix identified Joy as an expert in her field with a following of people who fit their target audience. The company worked with Joy to develop this sponsored post featuring professional photos of the product and a recipe that exemplifies the ways customers can put a fun spin on a simple beverage.

5. Key Opinion Leader

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts on a specialized topic within a particular field. For example, a KOL might specialize in makeup application, the Paleo lifestyle, or Bikram yoga. If your business is looking to attract audience members in a very specialized field, a KOL is a great option — due to their expert knowledge on a certain topic, KOLs are trusted contributors in their industries and have followings of people who are also invested in those subjects.

How to Work With a KOL

KOLS, like micro and celebrity influencers, are present on many channels, such as social media, blogs, other written publications (like academic journals), and ads. Therefore, your business has many options for how you decide to work with a KOL.

You might have them review one of your products on YouTube, mention you in their column, write a blog post about your brand, share a post about your product on Instagram, or pose with your product for a print or digital advertisement.

Example of a KOL

Kandee Johnson is a makeup influencer with over 3.9 subscribers on YouTube and over 1.8 million followers on Instagram. She’s a makeup artist pro — her expert knowledge on makeup application makes her a key opinion leader in the makeup and cosmetic industry. Kandee shares thousands of makeup tutorials, makeup tips and tricks, and product reviews on YouTube and Instagram.

key-opinion-leader

Source

She has shared sponsored content for Boxy Charm — a subscription service that provides customers with a box of several new beauty products every month — promoting their service, as well as her favorite products in the box, among her millions of followers and fans.

social-media-influencers

Source

Boxy Charm’s target audience includes lovers of beauty products, cosmetics, and makeup which clearly works with Kandee’s huge base of followers. They had Kandee share a post with one of their boxes, describe which products inside she was most excited about, and tag them in her post.

Now that we’ve covered the different types of influencers your business can work with, let’s review how to find these influencers so they can begin helping you reach your target audience.

How to Find Influencers

Identifying the right influencer to work with might seem like a daunting task — so, we’ve put together this list of ways you can use to find the right person to help you improve your brand awareness and reach.

Google Search

The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember an influencer is already creating content in your field and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.

Review articles related to various topics in your field, conduct individual searches for people you’ve heard of or know are already high impact contributors, and scan industry-specific sites and web pages for influencers.

Social Media

You can also search for influencers on various social media platforms. Whether or not you’re going for a social media influencer, most influencers will likely have some sort of social media presence — their profiles serve as a great way to learn more about them.

On social, you can search for keywords and phrases, specific users, hashtags, and tagged audience members on specific posts (brands and social users may have tagged influencers you could potentially work within posts). Don’t forget to look in the comments sections of high-traffic posts related to your industry or type of work as influencers may have posted comments and interacted with members of your target audience there. You can even get some ideas from influencer posts on your competitor’s accounts.

Referrals

Use your current network (professional and personal) to obtain referrals. Look for KOLs on LinkedIn and ask your team if they’ve recently followed any micro-influencers on social who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand and image. If you’ve worked with any influencers in the past, ask them if they’re willing to connect your business with other influencers they know as well.

Blogs

Reading blogs is another great way to locate influencers — that is, both the blog authors and their sources. Scan for the people mentioned in the blogs. Perhaps the blogger is reviewing their work, mentioned a quote from them, or asked them to contribute to the piece.

Additionally, themed publications (business, art, beauty, or fashion) often do expert round-ups where they feature dozens of influencers. You can research the individual further to determine if they’re a good fit for your business.

Influencer Software

Due to the rising popularity of influencer marketing, various technology and software have emerged to help businesses identify influencers and measure their success.

Two of the most popular options include BuzzStream and BuzzSumo.

BuzzStream allows users to research influencers. As a user, you also can build profiles, review the influencer interactions, measure their success through engagement metrics, and review their contact history.

BuzzSumo allows you to identify key influencers that are popular among your target audience. It also allows you to analyze which types of content perform best for influencers and review the content of your competitors.

Talent Agencies and Agents

If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to send them a direct email or give them a call (although that’d be pretty cool). Instead, you’ll probably have to go through a talent agency or work with an agent to determine whether or not that celebrity is willing to work with your brand and for what price.

We’ve reviewed the different types of influencers and how you can find them — now, let’s dive into how you can create your business’s influencer marketing strategy. A strategy will allow you to manage all aspects of your relationship with an influencer. It’ll also ensure they’re successful in helping you achieve your goals.

How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy

1. Determine Your Goals

The first step is to create goals for your influencer marketing strategy. This way, you’ll be able to measure your success later on. Think about your objectives in terms of SMART goals — meaning, they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

When working to develop influencer marketing SMART goals, there are three factors to keep in mind: reach, relevance, and resonance. These will help you focus your goals on the different aspects of influencer marketing your business wants to prioritize.

Use a free template to determine your SMART goals,

  • Reach is the ability to deliver content to your target audience through an influencer. It helps you improve brand and product awareness. For example, how many people on Instagram are actually seeing the content an influencer is posting about your product?
  • Relevance is the level of connection your audience feels to your brand, product, or service due to the work of an influencer — it’ll help you enhance brand loyalty. For example, if your audience sees a celebrity they love and admire with your product, they might begin to feel a strong connection to it as well.
  • Resonance is the ability to drive audience members to a specific action because of an influencer’s content — it’s all about impact and memorability. Resonance helps you increase your follower count, drive traffic to your site, and boost conversions. For example, if your audience reads a blog post written by an influencer about your product, they may click on the link in the blog post that directs them to your website so they can buy it.

2. Determine if Your Audience Aligns with the Influencer’s Audience

No matter which type of influencer you decide to work with, your business’s target audience will remain the same. That’s because, although different influencers may have multiple ways of connecting with your audience, your business’s overall marketing goals and buyer personas don’t change.

If you’re in need of some guidance while defining your audience for your influencer marketing strategy, you can work with your marketing team to develop and learn about your buyer personas. This will help you identify the exact type of customer you’re going after and, therefore, help you determine what type of influencer and content will appeal most to them to ensure your target audience is aligned with that of the influencer.  

Learn how to build personas for your business.

3. Choose a Type of Influencer and Budget

Based on our review of the five major types of influencers, you should be able to determine which type will work best for your business’s goals as well as your target audience. You should also think about your budget at this point.

For example, if you’re a startup with a low budget, you might choose to work with a micro-influencer. If you’re a mid-sized company with more resources, you might choose to bring on a celebrity influencer or work with a KOL who’s highly-regarded in their industry.

Here are some more details on the average cost of influencers based on the type of work they do. However, it’s important to note these numbers aren’t set in stone — they’re just averages.

  • Micro-influencer: $80-500 per piece of content
  • Celebrity influencer: $3,000-$500,000+ per piece of content (Selena Gomez makes up to $550,000 per Instagram post)
  • Blog influencer: $400-$5,500 per blog post
  • Social media influencer: $100-$550,000+ per social post
  • KOL: $500-$5,000+ per piece of content

4. Make Sure the Influencer is a Good Fit

Once you’ve determined the type of influencer you want to work with, it’s time to identify the right influencer for your company. We already discussed how to find an influencer, so, let’s cover some other important things to think about when trying to determine whether or not a specific influencer is a good fit for your business.

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you identify the right person:

  • Does this influencer and his or her lifestyle fit my brand image?
  • Have they worked with any competitors?
  • Who is this influencer’s current audience?
  • Is my target audience active on the platform/ channel the influencer works on?
  • Does working with this influencer make sense for my budget?
  • Has this influencer actually used any of my products and/ or services before?
  • Does this person have a personality I want to work with?
  • What will this influencer expect from me?

5. Review Expectations With Influencer

Once you’ve chosen an influencer, review all of the expectations you have for them in addition to any expectations they have for you. Remember, your chosen influencer may have worked with other brands before yours — meaning, they may already have their own processes in place for the way they do business.

Additionally, their expectations are going to differ depending on the type of influencer they are. For example, a micro-influencer is going to have different expectations for the way you communicate with them versus a celebrity. A micro-influencer may speak directly with you whereas a celebrity may have an agent communicate on their behalf.

Most importantly, you’ll want to ensure these expectations are written, agreed upon, and signed by both you and the influencer — you can organize all of this information in an influencer contract. This will help you avoid any issues and discrepancies down the road.

To help get the ball rolling, here are some examples of the expectations to review:

  • How the influencer will be paid and/ or rewarded (money, swag, discounts, coupon codes, etc.)
  • Length of time you’ll be working together
  • The type of content they should (and should not) share
  • How you and the influencer will be communicating with each other
  • How they’re going to help you boost traffic with their content (will they be adding links to your site, social channels, blog posts, etc.?)
  • Whether they’ll be creating content for your brand on their own or if you’ll provide the content for them to post
  • Target metrics that you can expect per post or piece of content
  • Any other terms of contract necessary for your specific business to review

6. Reward Influencer

It’s probably safe to assume the influencer you chose isn’t working for free. You’ll need to reward them for their work — you should discuss the form of payment when you review expectations together as mentioned in the above step. There are several ways you can reward an influencer. Here are some examples.

  • Money (payment prior to or after the content is created and shared, depending on your agreement)
  • Swag (such as clothing, accessories, or product samples)
  • Free product
  • Access to discount codes and coupons
  • Promotion on your website, blog, and/or social media platforms

7. Measure Your Results

Lastly, you must measure your influencer marketing strategy results. This is how you’ll determine the level of success you’ve had in reaching your audience with the help of the influencer. You should refer back to the SMART goals you set (as well as influencer marketing metrics) to help you determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives.

Here's more detail on which metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on when measuring your influencer marketing strategy success:

  • Engagement: Keep an eye on all engagement involving content shared by the influencer about your brand and products. Engagement includes various interactions such as Likes, shares, comments, Retweets, mentions, direct messages, and reposts on channels like social media, blogs, and forums.
  • Reach: Determine your reach, or how many people are actually seeing the content your influencer is sharing about your brand, by looking at your overall number of views.
  • Resonance: Learn about the level of resonance — or the actions that were completed — by your audience members after they consume and/ or interact with the influencer's content involving your brand.
  • Brand Awareness: Measure your brand awareness among the audience members of your influencer as they begin sharing content related to your brand. There are quantitative — such as direct traffic and social engagement — and qualitative — such as social listening and awareness surveys — ways to measure your brand awareness.
  • Clicks: Review the number of clicks on the content the influencer shares about your brand, whether it’s a direct link to your website, a CTA, a social media giveaway, or a signup form.
  • Conversions: Calculate your conversions (the number of leads who become customers) as a result of your influencer marketing strategy. You can calculate conversions on your website or through URLs (like discount/ checkout codes found on the influencer’s social media account or blog) by dividing your conversions by your overall number of visitors.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the return on your influencer marketing investment by dividing the return (or benefit) by the cost of the influencer marketing investment.
  • Follower Count: Track the increase and decrease of your number of social media followers or blog subscribers over time to see whether or not the influencer is helping you boost your follower and/ or subscriber count.

In terms of measuring the success of the influencer’s work, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo both have analytics tools built into the software to help you measure the success of the influencer’s work. These types of software are especially helpful in allowing you to determine ROI from your influencer marketing strategy, which is known to be the most difficult metric to measure when working with an influencer for businesses.

Google Analytics is great if you want to track overall traffic directed to your website and the number of leads converted. The software provides you with a deep look at acquisition, behavior, and conversions related to an influencer and your visitors.

For example, if you ask the influencer to conduct a giveaway or contest, look at the number of people who participated. If you give the influencer a discount code for audience members to use at checkout, look at how many people used it and, therefore, made a purchase thanks to their content. If you provide the influencer with specific URLs with tags to specific posts or landing pages, track their performance by looking at the number of leads directed to those pages via the given URLs.

Now, onto measuring influencer marketing success on social media. HubSpot’s Social Tool can help you pull specific engagement-related data, like reach and interactions, from various platforms. Additionally, the respective social platforms you’re using may have analytics tools built in as well, such as Twitter Analytics and Instagram Insights.  

Do you still need some inspiration for your influencer marketing strategy? Let’s look at three successful strategies implemented by major companies.

Influencer Marketing Examples

There are a number of successful influencer marketing campaigns your business can look to for guidance when trying to think of ways to reach your target audience. Here are a few examples:

1. Hydro Flask and Andrea Hannemann, Social Media Influencer

Andrea Hannemann, more commonly known as @earthyandy, is a social media influencer based in Hawaii.

Her account, which has over one million followers, depicts her life — she’s a vegan, earth-conscious, and outdoorsy mom and wife. She has an affinity for clean eating and cooking as well as plant-based foods and products. Andrea regularly posts beautiful pictures and videos of her lifestyle and diet (which her kids and husband participate in) and receives hundreds of thousands of interactions on her posts.

Andrea was featured in a video sponsored by Hydro Flask, which she posted on her Instagram page, showing the ways in which the reusable, insulated, and functional water bottle fits into her life. The post was also a giveaway and received close to 400,000 likes and over 40,000 comments.

instagram-influencer

Source

Hydro Flask was able to identify a social media influencer who’s lifestyle and content fit their branding and image and conduct a highly successful giveaway. The post increased their brand awareness among Andrea’s one million followers.

It also helped move traffic from Andrea’s page to the Hydro Flask Instagram page, as her post included several links taking audience members directly there to learn more about the company.

2. Nespresso and George Clooney, Celebrity Influencer

Nespresso teamed up with George Clooney, a globally-recognized celebrity, and brought him on as a celebrity influencer for their Cup Above campaign. Nespresso was able to identify the actor as someone who’s known by the general public and fits their sophisticated, elegant, and high-end image.

celebrity-influencers

Source

Nespresso now has print ads, digital ads, social media posts, and television commercials starring George.

3. Capital One and Kiersten Rich, Blogger

Kiersten Rich, better known as Kiki, is a popular travel blogger. Her blog, The Blonde Abroad, has over one million subscribers. She also has a large presence on Instagram thanks to the success of her blog’s unique content.

Capital One sponsored several of Kiki’s blog posts detailing the benefits of using their travel rewards credit card, the Venture Card. Kiki travels hundreds of thousands of miles every year, has over one million blog subscribers, and half a million followers on Instagram. Capital One knew they could improve both their brand and product awareness among their target audience with her help.

travel-blog-influencer

Source

Capital One had Kiki collaborate on the different blog posts about the Venture Card which include several pictures of her travels. They also had her create a personal video explaining why her travel enthusiast fans and followers would also love the Venture Card.

Kickstart Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular for brands to invest in. With the rise of word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, it’s a great way to connect with audience members, enhance brand awareness, and boost conversions. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers.

So, begin developing your business’s plans for incorporating influencers in your marketing tactics today so they can help you build new and lasting relationships among your target audience.

free guide to influencer marketing

Continue Reading The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing in 2019

The 16 Best Digital Marketing Tools in 2019

I'm a big fan of finding the latest and greatest digital marketing tools.

While digital marketing tools will only help you execute a proper strategy (they won't do the work for you), the right technology stack can really help you zoom past the competition.

Some tools out there are foundational -- things like email marketing, web forms, analytics, and a CRM. However, other tools are more specialized, including keyword rank trackers, or design tools.

To take your marketing strategy to the next level, we've outlined the following 16 digital marketing tools every marketer should have in their tool belt.

Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.

1. HubSpot Marketing

Price: Free to $3,200/month for enterprises, depending on your plan

HubSpot has several tools to help you grow your business, no matter what stage you're at.

Starting out, there are several tools available for free. You can set up web forms, popup forms, and live chat software for lead capture. Then, you can send kickback emails, pipe all of your data into the free CRM, and analyze site visitors' behavior.

When you expand into the paid tiers, things get really sophisticated with advanced marketing automation.

From managing your content and social media to tracking emails and connecting with your leads, HubSpot is an all-in-one solution -- although it works well with other point solutions you may use (Typeform, HotJar, etc.).

Ultimately, the tool allows you to:

  • Grow your traffic, convert leads, and prove ROI for your inbound marketing campaigns.
  • Shorten deal cycles and increase close rates with the provided sales tools.

Image Source

2. Ahrefs

Price: Tiered pricing, ranging from $99 to $399

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool to help you punch up your website traffic. They have data for around 150 million keywords in the U.S., and even more for 150 other countries.

Ahrefs is great for competitive analysis, allowing you to check out who is linking to your competitors, what their top pages are, and more. You can see where their content ranks and, using the Content Gap tool, identify key weaknesses for your content areas.

The Top Pages tool lets you see which pages get the most traffic, and you can see the amount of traffic going to competitors' sites.

Ahrefs is one of my favorite SEO tools. It constantly impresses me with features I use daily, and I learn about new features all the time. It's easily the most robust product in this space.

Image Source

3. Proof

Price: Tiered pricing based on the volume of your website traffic, starting at $24/month

Proof connects to your CRM or website and uses social proof to boost conversions on your site. They implement social proof messaging (i.e. "25 people are viewing this post right now"), reviews, and videos geared towards targeted customers once they visit your site.

The popular Live Visitor Count and Hot Streak notification features boost customers' perception of your brand, and lets prospects get a look at how other people respond to your product. Additionally, it's super easy to install -- you just copy and paste their pixels into your site.

You can identify your visitors and examine their journey throughout your site, which can help optimize your site design for higher conversions. It integrates with an impressive amount of other software systems and is optimized for mobile.

Image Source

4. Survey Anyplace

Price: Tiered pricing, starts free and goes to $42/month for enterprises

Survey Anyplace is able to reflect your branding on surveys and allows you to build your own, and they've improved upon the user experience. You can now formulate your own questions and include images as needed.

Their surveys are simple, well-designed, and compatible with mobile. Removing the friction from completing surveys increases their likelihood of completion.The better your survey, the more useful the insights gained can be.

Image Source

5. Yoast

Price: The Yoast plugin for WordPress is free, but the paid premium plans range based off the number of sites you need monitored

Yoast is a very popular plugin that works with both Gutenberg and the Classic editor in WordPress. Yoast is an excellent tool to help you optimize your content for search engines.

Yoast helps you choose cornerstone content, focus keywords to help you rank, individual content URLs, and internal links for an additional boost. The plugin also evaluates your page readability and gives it a Flesch Reading Ease score.

It's updated to reflect Google's algorithm every two weeks, so you can always stay up-to-date on your SEO.

Image Source

6. Slack

Price: Free for small or medium companies, custom pricing for enterprises

Slack is one of the favored communication services in business today.

It operates in channels designated for certain information, so business conversations don't get distracted or cut-off by tangents about where everyone wants to go for team lunch. It facilitates, de-silos, and focuses collaboration between employees and teams.

It's an excellent tool for networking and meeting others in the digital marketing space, and gives you the freedom to join or leave channels as needed.

Because it's such a popular communication channel, it has wide-ranging integrations with plenty of other tools. You can tack on a seemingly unlimited amount of integrations and Slack applications to make the tool even more powerful -- for instance, many teams will pipe in A/B test results, analytics notifications, new customer or transaction notifications, or even sales or customer support bots. While undeniably powerful, Slack is easy to start using immediately.

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 11.23.42 AM 

Image Source

7. Trello

Price: Paid plans range from free to $20.83 per month for enterprise

Trello is a content management tool that many organizations use for brainstorming and strategizing content -- in fact, we use Trello at HubSpot to know when our blog posts are scheduled for publication.

The reason Trello is so appealing is that it's free for small teams and businesses, and it provides a visual way to brainstorm and schedule content online -- even if your team is remote or global. Additionally, it's easy to assign multiple employees to a card, so you know who's in charge of writing, editing, or adding CTA offers to a post.

Users can create cards and include notes on the card topic, as well as create deadlines and assign topics to certain teams. Trello facilitates collaboration and provides clarity on projects in the pipeline.

Image Source

8. Canva Business

Price: Plans start free, $12.95/month for teams, or custom pricing for enterprises

Canva is a drag-and-drop design platform that allows users to create images using custom pictures, icons, shapes, and fonts from the Canva catalog. It offers an aesthetically-pleasing, simple way to design your own logos, presentations, images, or graphs based off your team's needs.

Additionally, Canva cuts out the need for an experienced designer and enables you to create the exact visual you have in mind using their vast image collection.

Image Source

9. Google AdWords

Price: AdWords run on a pay-per-click model

Google AdWords is one of the most popular options for advertising your business on Google's search engine results' pages. Payment is based on either a pay-per-click or pay-per-call structure.

Google AdWords hosts the Google Keyword Planner, where you can research which keywords you want to include in your ad and your other content. You can set budget caps on how much you want to spend. Ultimately, the tool helps you funnel more prospects to your website.

AdWords is an excellent way to display your products or services on Google's results pages for very specific queries. For instance, let's say someone searches for "best CrossFit gym in Austin". Sure, you could work on your SEO and hope to appear organically -- but you can also bid on the keyword and appear at the top of the page, enabling you to capture tons of high intent visitors.

Image Source

10. Google Analytics

Price: Free

Google Analytics is the gold standard for website analytics. Nowadays, it's hard to operate as a digital marketer if you don't have some level of Google Analytics expertise.

At its most basic level, Google Analytics can show you who is coming to your website, from where, and on which pages they're spending most of their time. Beyond that, you can set up goals to track conversions, build an enhanced ecommerce setup, and track events to learn more about user engagement.

Truthfully, barely a day goes by that I don't use Google Analytics. To learn more, check out The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2019.

Image Source

11. MailChimp

Price: Tiered pricing, plans start free and range up to $199

MailChimp is an email marketing and social advertising tool designed to automate and orchestrate campaigns.

You can track the traffic garnered from your campaigns -- additionally, MailChimp offers multiple integrations with other SaaS companies. The tool is especially powerful for email drip campaigns. Ultimately, it's a good option for engaging with your audience.

Image Source

12. Asana

Price: Tiered pricing, free to $19.99/month, with custom enterprise options

Asana is a collaborative workflow management system with a visual emphasis designed to streamline and de-silo information and goals between teams.

Asana allows you to do several things:

  • Record and visualize projects to be completed
  • Map out deadlines and prioritize tasks
  • Assign tasks to certain team members
  • Identify points of friction and bottlenecks
  • Report on projects quickly and openly
  • De-silo data between teams

The Portfolios function also lets you keep track of every project's status, ensuring that your team members have the support and motivation to get out their digital marketing initiatives on time.

Image Source

13. BuzzSumo

Price: Paid plans start at $79/month

BuzzSumo is a unique content research tool that identifies top influencers in your industry and helps you connect with them.

You can look up trending topics and define the scope of your search to generate both evergreen content, or trending content aimed at your desired audience.

From there, you can look at your content's analytics and social mentions, and then measure performance accordingly.

Image Source

14. MeetEdgar

Price: $49/month

MeetEdgar is an excellent social media management tool.

Using the browser extension, it can write posts and extract up to five important highlights from your posted content for you to easily share. You can sort your content into categories and decide when you want content shared from each category.

It allows you to schedule posts 24/7, and if your queue runs out, it will mine previous posts and re-share them -- which you can start and stop at any time. You can also use MeetEdgar to run A/B tests on your content to find the most optimal language and content for your posts.

MeetEdgar is integrated with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image Source

15. Buffer

Price: Starts free and goes up to $199/month

Buffer operates in much the same way as MeetEdgar for social media posting, but also offers analytics on posts, so it's worth checking out, as well. It has tiered pricing, and plans range from free to $199 per month.

Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools. Its simplicity is its value proposition. You can easily get started in a matter of minutes, but it's got plenty of features for the advanced user, as well.

Image Source

16. Hootsuite

Price: Starts at $29 per month, or custom enterprise pricing

Hootsuite is more of an enterprise social media management solution, but it's quite powerful and very popular. Hootsuite is able to store your approved content in a cloud that team members can access 24/7 for social media posting needs. It allows multiple posts to be scheduled at once with developed tags and keywords.

Using Hootsuite, you can track the performance of your social media content. Hootsuite can calculate ROI, conversions, and track public conversations about your brand or specific subject matter. Plans have tiered pricing, starting at $29 per month and ranging toward $599 per month for enterprise.

Image Source

There are plenty of different tools for you to tackle your marketing problems head-on -- you just need to decide where to focus first. Which tool works best with your company structure and ultimate goals?

If you want a free, comprehensive, all-in-one marketing service, check out HubSpot's free marketing tools.

New Call-to-action

Continue Reading The 16 Best Digital Marketing Tools in 2019

27 of the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools for Every Occasion

Do you want to turn your site into a money-making machine? Rhetorical question – of course you do. Chances are, you follow the same successful formula as most of us. You create engaging content to attract visitors. Then, you turn those visitors into leads and send them down the sales journey. You make money from the customers who actually buy your products.

It’s a good system, that’s why everyone uses it. But it’s not the only way to make money. You can also promote affiliates and get paid for it. If you do well, you can make a lot of money from it.

And we want to see you make money, which is why we’re sharing 27 of our favorite affiliate marketing tools with you.

But first, let’s cover the basics.

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy Money?

If easy means “money for nothing,” then no.

Forget all those stories you hear about how easy affiliate marketing is. Or how you can make money without doing anything at all.

But in terms of difficulty, building an affiliate campaign isn’t that hard. It requires work.

Affiliate marketing is like any other marketing campaign. You have to conduct research, create content, and capture leads. To be successful, you must build a marketing strategy around your affiliate campaign.

Now for the good news. The affiliate marketing tools listed here will help you build that strategy. Of course, you’ll still have to spend time researching and creating content. But these 27 tools will help you build a successful campaign from the ground up.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right in.

Quick Links (Table of Contents)

Email Marketing Tools

Analytics Tools

Page Builder Tools

Traffic Tools

Research Tools

Social Media Tools

Affiliate Marketing Platforms

Content Creation Tools

Email Marketing Tools

1. OptinMonster

Ready to beef up your email list but don’t know how to start? Dive right in with OptinMonster.

Use OptinMonster to create engaging, beautifully crafted optins. It only takes a few short minutes thanks to its drag and drop design. What’s more, OptinMonster’s features let you choose how visitors engage with your optins. These features include:

As you can see, OptinMonster is way more than an email marketing tool. It’s a fully-functional lead generation platform that works with popular email marketing tools.

But how does this boost affiliate marketing, you ask? Simple.

Use it with your favorite email marketing platform to grow your mailing list. From there, you can start promoting your affiliates in your newsletters. More subscribers mean more leads and more potential money for you.

2. CakeMail

Tired of the usual email marketing platforms?

Want something that makes receiving emails fun for your readers? Then check out CakeMail. It’s an effective email tool that’ll knock the socks off your affiliate campaign.

CakeMail might look like a regular old email tool, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Other email tools also make newsletters easy, but CakeMail lets you make actual eye candy. Hence the name! Try its easy-to-use templates to build professional, beautifully crafted emails in minutes.

Plus, it comes with cool tools like A/B testing, segmentation, and a Google Analytics add-on. What does this mean for affiliate marketing? Well, you get tools for growing subscriber lists and creating attractive emails. Attractive emails makes better affiliate content, and better content converts.

3. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an email marketing tool that’s both powerful and beginner-friendly. Also, Constant Contact is one of the most popular mailing platforms around. So it’s no surprise it integrates with many eCommerce tools – including OptinMonster. Plus, it has a wide range of mailing templates. So, you’ve got a lot to work with when crafting affiliate newsletters.

4. MailChimp

Looking for an easy, cost-effective email marketing tool to enhance your affiliate campaign? Try MailChimp. It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers, so play around and get used to it. And when it’s time to scale, upgrade to one of its premium solutions. Plus, you can combine MailChimp with OptinMonster and bulk up your mailing list. Then you’re ready to craft affiliate-driven newsletters.

Pretty simple, right?

Analytics Tools

5. MonsterInsights

Here at OptinMonster, we believe in the value of convenience and accessibility. Because something’s powerful doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. This is why we love using MonsterInsights in all our marketing campaigns.

MonsterInsights is a WordPress plugin for tracking site performance. But that’s not all. It also presents complicated Google Analytics data in a digestible, easy-to-understand manner. Try using it to measure the performance of your affiliate campaign. MonsterInsights gives you everything you need to overhaul your marketing strategy.

Go check it out. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to use.

6. Everflow

Looking for a collection of powerful affiliate marketing tracking tools? Then you might want to check out Everflow.

Everflow places many awesome performance tracking tools right at your fingertips. Its real-time analytics lets you measure:

  • Impressions.
  • Conversions.
  • Revenue generated.
  • All post-conversion activities in your affiliate campaign.

Use this data to tweak your ongoing affiliate marketing strategy, or build a new one from scratch. Either way, Everflow gives you the tools to turn affiliate links into steady income.

7. CAKE

CAKE has a range of great marketing tools for boosting site performance. One of those tools is Journey, an awesome tracking tool for measuring affiliates.

Journey puts you in the affiliate marketing driver’s seat. Its analytics tools help you make data-driven decisions around your affiliate campaign. That way, you get actionable info that improves your affiliate content.

Page Builder Tools

8. Instapage

A good landing page can do wonders for your conversion rates. However, the importance of landing pages may be common knowledge, how to create them isn’t. Not everyone is an amazing web designer oozing creativity. But thanks to Instapage, that’s okay.

Instapage is a drag and drop builder that lets anyone create awesome landing pages.

But Instapage is more than that. It’s actually one of the best affiliate marketing resources in your toolbox. That’s because Instapage comes with features like A/B testing and heatmaps. That way, you can roll out finely-tuned pages that promote your affiliates.

9. Flippa

Flippa isn’t your traditional page building tool – you can’t even build pages with it. So, why is it even ranked on our list of top affiliate marketing tools? Because it’s one of the easiest ways to get an affiliate marketing website, hands down.

With Flippa, you skip all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into building a top-performing website. Instead, you buy a ready-made one in your niche that’s already built and optimized for SEO. The framework for organic traffic has already been laid out. All you have to do is promote your affiliate’s content and you’re good to go.

Traffic Tools

10. ThirstyAffiliates

If you’re running your website on WordPress, ThirstyAffiliates is a must. Not a traffic tool in the traditional sense, ThirstyAffiliates does improve affiliate traffic.

It does this through “link cloaking.” That’s a fancy word for turning long, ugly links into something less overwhelming. And you want your links smaller, because prettier links are easy to remember and even easier to share.

11. AdSanity

AdSanity is a nifty WordPress plugin that gives you control over your advertisements. You can use it to create ads for affiliate products and display them on your site. What’s more, AdSanity also lets you automate ads, so they’re displayed as specific times. Also, its traffic tools simplify the tracking process.

That way, you know who’s viewing and clicking your advertisements.

12. AffTrack

AffTrack is a collection of affiliate marketing tools for growing your affiliate network. You can use them to improve traffic and conversions, as well as manage your affiliates. It even lets you tune your campaign based on your visitors’ devices, language, and country.

13. ClickInc

ClickInc is an affordable affiliate marketing tool for tracking traffic and performance. It’s great for boosting SEO and sending organic traffic to your affiliate content. Plus, its alerts you of any changes to your campaign, like when an affiliate drops you.

Research Tools

14. SemRush

There’s no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. Mistakes teach us what not to do. So, why not use your competitors’ mistakes to improve your marketing strategy? With SEMRush, you can.

SEMRush lets you spy on other companies’ paid advertising campaigns. It shows you a lot of important things, like:

  • Where competitors spend money on advertisements.
  • How those advertisements perform.
  • Ways you can tweak your affiliate marketing campaign.

Not sure who your competitors are? No problem! SEMRush has a few other nifty tools which you can use to:

  • Find and target potential competitors and customers.
  • Research high-quality keywords.
  • Identify patterns in your industry. What’s trending and what’s yesterday’s news?

See where we’re going with this? SEMRush is like a marketing Swiss Army knife. It has everything for building SEO-driven content that drives your affiliate marketing campaign.

15. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a popular competitor researching tool for tracking your competition. Great for enhancing your own marketing strategy, Ahrefs makes it easy to:

  • Research new content used by top-performing brands.
  • Analyze backlinks.
  • Explore new link-building opportunities.

Naturally, you want to strengthen your affiliate campaign. Well, you’ll be excited to know Ahrefs’ “Content Explorer” lets you do that. Use it to find other brands in your industry, and see if they want to become affiliates.

16. LongTailPro

Have a hard time finding the right keywords for your content? Then add LongTailPro to your collection of affiliate marketing tools.

If you’ve been in eCommerce for a while, you can probably guess what LongTailPro does by looking at its name. It’s a tool for finding keywords for your web content. More specifically, longer keywords that are easier to top Google’s first page with.

Better keywords deliver better traffic. More visitors interested in your content will land on your website. And if your affiliate links and keywords align, that’s more opportunities to convert. Everyone’s happy.

Social Media Tools

17. Commun.it

Commun.it offers a collection of affiliate marketing tools for your Twitter campaign. You can use it to:

  • Research trending content.
  • Scope out leads.
  • Track conversations easier.

While not designed specifically for affiliate marketing, Commun.it’s tools let you:

  • Expand your influence on Twitter.
  • Improve engagement.
  • Build relationships with industry professionals.

Commun.it makes it easy to build a Twitter community around your brand. And once you build your community, you can start sharing affiliate content with them.

18. Social Searcher

Add Social Searcher to the list of must-have affiliate marketing tools.

Why? Because it lets you track conversations across all popular social media channels. You can use it to see what people are saying about your brand, product, or industry.

What’s more, Social Searcher makes it easier to come up with engaging social media content. You get a sense for what topics, hashtags, and memes are popular for specific platforms. You can use that information to create high-converting affiliate content.

19. Hootsuite

There’s an unwritten law about Hootsuite. You have to mention it when listing social media tools.

Why? Because Hootsuite is a favorite, and it’s been around for a while. Plus, it works with all popular social networking sites.

You can use it to:

  • Schedule posts.
  • Promote affiliate links.
  • Build relationships.
  • Enhance your marketing strategy.

Give it a try. Hootsuite offers a free version you can use to launch your first affiliate campaign. And when you need to grow, upgrade to one of their premium solutions anytime.

Affiliate Marketing Platforms

20. Tipalti

Tipalti is arguably one of the best affiliate marketing tools you’ll ever come across.

Why, you ask?

Because Tipalti manages how affiliates are paid. And if you’re paying people to market your product, that’s very important.

But that’s only the half of it. Tipalti also has competitive fees. That makes it a favorable alternative to PayPal and other payment platforms.

Moreover, Tipalti simplifies international payments, so everyone gets paid on time. And we all know how important that is.

Best of all, Tipalti automates the entire payment process. This means you can spend more time on what really matters – coming up with killer content.

21. LinkTrust

LinkTrust is an all-in-one marketing platform for managing affiliate campaigns. It’s designed to give you total control over your affiliates. You can use it to track impressions, leads, and conversions, as well as manage payouts. Basically, LinkTrust does it all and is easily one of your top 5 affiliate marketing tools.

22. HitPath

Want to enjoy all your favorite affiliate program tools without cycling between platforms? Then HitPath is the perfect tool for you.

HitPath is a powerful tracking platform for monitoring affiliate campaigns across multiple channels. Use it to track data on your eCommerce site and social media platforms from one location. But to call HitPath a tracking tool would be doing the program a great disservice.

Think of it as a comprehensive affiliate marketing solution. You can use HitPath to:

  • Send direct messages to affiliates.
  • Create and send affiliate newsletters.
  • Automate affiliate payouts.
  • Sharpen your marketing campaigns.

It even has a built-in content management system (CMS). That’s useful for fleshing out your affiliate campaign.

23. Impact

Impact is a comprehensive marketing platform. With it, you get 4 affiliate marketing tools for researching and managing partnerships. It’s great for scouting and connecting with affiliates that align with your brand.

But that’s not all! Impact also tracks campaign performance and lets you manage your affiliate relationships. That way, you can build the perfect marketing campaign that works for you, on your terms.

Content Creation Tools

24. WordPress

Beginners, take note. WordPress is, without a doubt, the easiest way to establish your online presence. WordPress powers roughly 30% of the internet for a reason – it’s powerful and easy to use.

With all the great eCommerce plugins available, sharing affiliate content is a breeze.

Want to learn more? Take a look at this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing by our friends at WPBeginner.

25. Canva

Snazzy images are the bread and butter of any successful affiliate marketing campaign. Unfortunately, some companies skip on visuals. Usually, because they don’t have a graphic designer on the team. But with Canva, you don’t need one.

Canva lets you create awesome, attention-grabbing pictures for your content. Use it to create banners and other exciting imagery for your affiliate campaign.

26. Lumen5

Lumen5 uses stunning shorts to capture your reader’s attention. It’s like Canva, but with videos.

Want to hear something really cool? Lumen5 uses artificial intelligence to perfect your videos. What a great way to improve conversions in your affiliate campaign.

27. Easelly

Aren’t infographics cool? They’re fun, quirky, and great for helping readers understand complex information. With Easelly, you can use the power of infographics to liven up your affiliate content. Explain challenging concepts or give relatable diagrams using one of its ready-made templates.

And don’t be surprised if you see one of your pictures shared on social media. Everyone loves a good infographic, after all.

Build the Affiliate Campaign You Deserve

Ready to roll out your affiliate marketing campaign? Heck yeah you are. And the tools on this list will help you build an affiliate campaign that works for you.

And if you really want to take your marketing strategy to new heights, try OptinMonster today.

Case Study: See How Top 6 Digital Increased Affiliate Revenue 30% Using Exit-Intent®!

That way, you have custom lead generation tools for promoting your affiliate content. And then the money will come pouring in.

The post 27 of the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools for Every Occasion appeared first on OptinMonster.

Continue Reading 27 of the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools for Every Occasion

Back to Basics: How every marketer can tame the analytics beast

For most marketers, analytics exists in a magic Pandora’s box, encompassing everything from CPCs to CTRs, from algorithms to artificial intelligence, from machine learning to quantum computing — with a bit of blockchain sprinkled in for good measure.

Buzzwords aside, the barriers to incorporating analytics into your life aren’t as high as analytics behemoths may make it seem. To the contrary, once you clarify a few misconceptions, you can make this seemingly enigmatic field not only relevant but also remarkably useful.

You don’t need an Excalibur

Cost is an often-cited obstacle to starting a data journey. Despite the shiny advertisements, you may see for Adobe’s Marketing Cloud (which costs upwards of $100,000 a year) and the dozens of LinkedIn messages you get from martech salespeople; you don’t need Fortune 500 money to take a stab at unlocking analytics. Google Analytics, Google Search Trends, Hotjar and HubSpot are just a few examples of industry-standard platforms that can dramatically improve your decision-making capabilities for free.

Even better, these platforms are made for data amateurs. Their interfaces are straightforward, and if you get lost, there are countless tutorials, help forums, boot camps and even classes to help you. Google also offers a certification program for Google Analytics, complete with videos and walkthroughs. It’s perfect for anyone who needs a place to start.

Don’t let the tool guide be the craftsman

Marketers often forget that data is merely a tool. Expecting a Google Analytics tag to fix your website is like throwing a hammer at your newly opened IKEA purchase and expecting a sofa to emerge.

In other words: Collecting data is the easy part. Understanding what to do with all this info is where the magic happens.

So, spend a few weeks studying how to interpret data. Bootcamps and classes are always helpful, but the secret that every engineer already knows is that Youtube and Google are your best friend. Dig out your notes from that statistics class in college and learn how to run a simple correlation in Excel. An investment of your time today learning how to interpret data will pay dividends for the rest of our career.

Keep perspective

There are no sure things in marketing. Even scientists (and yes, I mean the ones in lab coats) often need years of data collection, rigorous modeling and endless testing to prove a hypothesis. And that’s in a lab. Imagine what happens in the real world, where things are constantly changing and driven by deadlines.

In this chaos, it’s no surprise that data rarely provides a bullet-proof answer. Sure, you can add more expensive technology, but it’s important to remember that, as marketers, we’re dealing in the realm of probability, not exact certitude.

What’s more, it’s okay to be wrong. Take every failure as a badge of honor; minimizing risk does not mean avoiding it entirely. A 95 percent chance of sunshine tomorrow still means that rain is a possibility, but also, your decision to not bring an umbrella isn’t necessarily incorrect. Make peace with the risk as long as you separate logic from emotion. In the long run, your data-driven approach will result in far more wins than losses.

You’re a solver of problems, not a creator of reports

All too often, people associate analytics with reporting. While reporting is critical, it is merely a means to an end. No business has ever been transformed by a single report.

Data is meant to be used as an unbiased means to test something. Nowhere in that definition does it stipulate that you must create daily, weekly or even monthly reports.

As we’ve seen, data takes time to collect. And while you should consistently check your data, it’s up to you to find the reporting cadence that works best for your team.

Then, instead of focusing on frequency, you can focus on presentation quality. Data is like a foreign language; it’s only useful if someone else understands what you’re saying. So, make sure your reports are thoroughly readable. Be concise, use visuals and err on the side of plain language. Above all, always return to the core business problem you’re trying to solve.

Next steps in your journey

Contrary to conventional wisdom, analytics isn’t shorthand for building sophisticated statistical models. Properly understood, analytics is a philosophy that embodies something much simpler: applying the scientific method to test your educated guesses. Whether you’re running a simple paid Facebook campaign or trying to get into shape for that Bahamas cruise this summer, you can leverage data to make more targeted, meaningful choices.

The reason you’ve read this far is that we agree on a key point: every marketer needs to integrate analytics to succeed in this digital world. In an age where it’s hard to keep up with the jargon, I fully empathize with those who view “analytics” as some enormous, mystical beast. On the contrary, understand that analytics is much more like a puppy; managing your data may be a little unruly at first, but with enough consistent training and respect, the lessons you learn will last you a lifetime.

A data journey can start tomorrow with nothing but a problem to solve or a hypothesis to prove (and a laptop with an internet connection).

So tell me, what are you waiting for?

The post Back to Basics: How every marketer can tame the analytics beast appeared first on Marketing Land.

Continue Reading Back to Basics: How every marketer can tame the analytics beast

Confirm the integrity of your data

Never before has there been a greater need for a reliable, holistic marketing measurement tool. In a world of fractured media and consumer interest, intense competitive pressure, and lightening-speed product innovation, the sheer volume of data that must be analyzed and the decisions that must be made demand a more evolved approach to attribution and decision making. This need for speed has brought into bright focus a mandate for reliable, consistent and valid data, and the potential for challenges when there are errors.

The attribution category has been evolving quickly over the past decade, and there are myriad options from which marketers can choose. Recent research conducted by Forrester suggests that leading marketers are adopting the newest and most advanced approach: Unified Measurement or Total Marketing Measurement models. This analysis combines the attributes of person-level measurement with the ability to measure traditional channels such as TV. Marketers who upgrade to and invest in novel solutions – financially and organizationally – can find a competitive advantage from smarter attribution.

The greatest of these instruments answer problems such as the optimal frequency and reach in and between channels and determine which messages and creative are best for which audiences. New advances in these products are providing even more granular insights concerning message sequencing, and next-best message decisioning based on specific audiences and multiple stages of their buying processes. The best of these solutions incorporate external and environmental circumstances such as weather, travel patterns and more. Furthermore, capabilities of today’s solutions produce insights in such a timely fashion that agile marketers can include those insights into active campaigns to drive massive performance gains, rather than waiting for weeks or months to see returns.

However while these attribution models have evolved a long way in recent years, there is one challenge that all must tackle: the need for reliable, consistent and valid data. Even the most advanced and powerful of these systems are dependent on the quality of the information they ingest. Incorrect or sub-par input will always produce the wrong outputs. Data quality and reliability have become a primary focus of marketing teams and the forward-thinking CMOs who lead them.

If the data are not accurate, it doesn’t matter what statistical methods or algorithms we apply, nor how much experience we have in interpreting data. If we start with imperfect data, we’ll end up with erroneous results. Basing decisions on a conclusion derived from flawed data can have costly consequences for marketers and their companies. Inaccurate data may inflate or give undue credit to a specific tactic. For example, a model may indicate that based on a media buy a television advertisement –usually one of the most expensive of our marketing efforts – was responsible for driving an increase in visitors to our website. But, if this ad failed to air, and there is inaccurate data in a media log, the team may wrongly reallocate budget to their television buy. This would be a costly mistake.

In fact, inaccurate data may be one of the leading causes of waste in advertising. These inaccuracies have become an epidemic that negatively impacts both advertisers and the consumers they are trying to reach. Google recently found that, due in large part to bad data, more than 56 percent of ad impressions never actually reach consumers, and Proxima estimates $37 billion of worldwide marketing budgets go to waste on poor digital performance. And that’s just digital. The loss for major players who market online and offline can be extensive, and it’s calling for a revolutionary new approach to data quality and reliability.

So, how accurate is your data? Do you know if there are gaps? Are there inconsistencies that may queer your results? Many of us put a great deal of trust in our data systems leaving us forgetting to ask these critical questions. You can’t just assume you have accurate data – now more than ever you must know you do. That may require some work up front, but the time you invest in ensuring accurate data will pay off in better decisions and other significant improvements. Putting in place, from the start and early in the process, steps and checks to ensure the timely and accurate reporting of data is key to avoiding costly mistakes down the road. Solving these problems early in your attribution efforts helps build confidence in the optimization decisions you’re making to drive higher return on investment and, perhaps more importantly, will help teams avoid taking costly missteps.

When it comes to attribution, it is especially critical to make sure the system you are relying on has a process for analyzing and ensuring that the data coming in is accurate.

Below are four key considerations, when working with your internal analytics staff, agencies, marketing team and attribution vendor, you can use to unlock more positive data input and validation to ensure accurate conclusions.

1. Develop a data delivery timetable

The entire team should have a clear understanding of when data will be available and, more importantly, by what date and or time every data set will arrive. Missing or unreported data may be the single most significant threat to drawing accurate conclusions. Like an assembly line, if data fails to show up on time, it will stop production for the entire factory. Fortunately, this may also be one of the easiest of the challenges to overcome. Step one is to conduct an audit of all the information you are currently using to make decisions. Map the agreed upon or expected delivery date for every source. If you receive a weekly feed of website visitors, on what day does it typically arrive? If your media agency sends a monthly reconciliation of ad spend and impressions, what is the deadline for its delivery?

Share these sources of information and the schedule of delivery with your attribution vendor. The vendor, in turn, should develop a dashboard and tiered system of response for data flow and reporting. For example, if data is flowing as expected, the dashboard may include a green light to indicate all is well. If the information is a little late, even just past the scheduled date but within a predefined window of time, the system should generate a reminder to the data provider or member of the team who is responsible for the data letting them know that there may be a problem. However, if data is still missing past a certain point, threatening the system’s ability to generate optimizations, for example, an alert should be sent to let the team know that action is needed.

2. Create standard templates for routinely reported data

You, members of your team, and your attribution partner need a clear understanding of what specific data is included in which report and in what formats. It would be a shame to go through the hard work of making sure your information is arriving on time only to find out that the data is incomplete or reported inconsistently. To use the assembly line analogy again, what good is it to make sure a part arrives on time if it’s the wrong part that’s delivered?

Like quality control or a modern-day retinal scan, the system should check to see if the report matches expected parameters. Do the record counts match the number of records you expected to receive? If data from May was expected, do the dates make sense? And, is all the information that should be in the report included? Are there missing data?

With this system in place, a well-configured attribution solution or analytics tool should be able to test incoming data for both its completeness and compliance with expected norms. If there are significant gaps in the data or if data deviates overmuch from an acceptable standard, the system can again automatically alert the team that there may be a problem.

3. Use previous data from the source to confirm new data

Your attribution provider should be able to use data previously reported from a source to help identify any errors or gaps in the system. For example, you can include in your data feed multiple weeks or months of previously reported data. This feed will produce one new set of data and three previous sets of overlapping data. If overlapping data does not match that will trigger an alert.

Now you’ll want to determine if the data makes sense. You want to see if new data is rational and consistent with that which was previously reported. This check is a crucial step in using previously published data to confirm the logic of more recent data reported.

Here, too, you can check for trends over time to see if data is consistent or if there are outliers. Depending on the specific types of media or performance being measured a set of particular logic tests should be developed. For example, is the price of media purchased within the range of what is typically paid? Is the reach and frequency per dollar of the media what was expected?

Leading providers of marketing attribution solutions are continually performing these checks to ensure data accuracy and consistent decision making. With these checks in place, the marketing attribution partner can diagnose any problems, and the team can act together to fix it. This technique has the added benefit of continuously updating information to make sure errors, or suspicious data, don’t linger to confound ultimate conclusions.

One note here that should be taken into account: outliers are not necessarily pieces of bad data. Consider outliers as pieces of information that have not yet been confirmed or refuted. It is a best practice to investigate outliers to understand their source, or hold them in your system to see if they’re not the beginnings of a new trend.

4. The benefit of getting information from multiple sources

Finally, there are tangible benefits to confirming data from multiple data sets. For example, does the information about a customer contained in your CRM conform with the information you may be getting from a source like Experian? Does data you’re receiving about media buys and air dates match the information you may be receiving from Sigma encoded monitoring?

Even companies that are analytics early adopters find themselves challenged to ensure the data upon which they rely is consistent, reliable and accurate. Marketers understand that they have to be gurus of data-driven decision making, but they can’t just blindly accept the data they are given.

Remember, as we have mentioned, despite the potential benefits of a modern attribution solution, erroneous data ensures their undoing. To be certain your process is working precisely, create a clear understanding of the data and work with a partner who can build an early warning system for any issues that arise. Ultimately, this upfront work ensures more accurate analysis and will help achieve the goal of improving your company’s marketing ROI.

As a very first step, since data may come from multiple departments inside the company and various agencies that support the team, develop a cross-functional steering committee consisting of representatives from analytics, marketing, finance, as well as digital and traditional media agencies; the steering committee should have a member of the team responsible for overall quality and flow. As a team, work together to set benchmarks for quality and meet regularly to discuss areas for improvement.

In this atmosphere of fragmented media and consumer (in)attentiveness, those who rely on data-driven decision-making will gain a real competitive advantage in the marketplace. Capacities of today’s solutions produce insights in such a timely fashion that the nimblest marketers can incorporate those insights into active campaigns to drive massive performance improvements, rather than waiting for weeks or months to see results. But the Achilles heel of any measurement system is the data upon which it relies on generating insight. All other things being equal, the better the data going in, the better the optimization recommendations coming out.

The post Confirm the integrity of your data appeared first on Marketing Land.

Continue Reading Confirm the integrity of your data

4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

As technology continues to improve, it’s never been easier to start a podcast. But it's also never been harder to build an audience. Bringing in new listeners is no longer just about producing remarkable audio content. We have to find new ways to reach and engage listeners in an increasingly saturated industry. That's why Hack the Entrepreneur has put a consistent emphasis on using email as an audience-building tool for the past four years. We use email automation to promote our new episodes, and we use our weekly newsletter to provide additional value to our listeners. Email has helped us garner 5,000,000+ podcast episode downloads, grow our listener base, build deeper connections with our audience, and get closer to our goal of helping 10,000 people start side hustles and live a lifestyle of their own design.But we're just one podcast in one market. Let’s take a look into how other podcasters are using email to grow their audiences.Related: The 30 Tips You Need to Know to Succeed with Email

Create conversations

Alistair Clay, of Famous Business, has a great technique that you can implement immediately: Replace your stagnant  stagnant “subscribe to my show on Apple Podcasts” call-to-action with a supercharged CTA that triggers action. Here's exactly how Clay does it:“My audience is made up of small business owners looking to get media attention. This is an urgent problem that they need solved fast. To help them, I offer to answer their burning questions immediately," explains Clay. "The only catch is they need to sign up to my email list and then hit reply! I call this a win/win/win situation. It gets them an answer fast, gets me a subscriber, and it also gives us a chance to make a deeper connection."Through email, Clay is offering quick, personalized advice — something that most other podcasters do not offer. His listeners get individual attention, which automatically inspires loyalty. They'll keep coming back to Clay, again and again. Then, Clay can continue to communicate with his listeners through email. Their interactions don't just end with a podcast episode.Related: How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in 30 DaysClay also gains important insight from these Q&As. Their questions may help him come up with his next podcast episode or next product idea."This one technique has been an essential element to the growth of my podcast," Clay says.

Do the extra legwork

In order to grow your audience from scratch, you need to put in the extra legwork in the beginning, according to Jane Ellen, of Glistening Particles. That's why Ellen solicits feedback via email as much as possible.“I’m Googling the heck out of the topic of each episode and sending direct emails to people who might be interested in the episode," explains Ellen. "My goal is to send 50 per episode. I have had people reply back – even one to be a guest!"It's not a long-term, scalable solution, but it's crucial to the initial growth of your audience, explains Ellen. That's because feedback is fuel. "I’m of the belief right now that ANY engagement is good. I’m even open to hear my show stinks or my interview style is annoying or whatever — it means someone’s listening.”Using this intel, Ellen can react and iterate, too. As she implements positive changes to her show based on this feedback, she'll be able to bring in more listeners and more guests down the road.

Follow up with past guests

One of the unspoken powers of hosting an interview podcast is the potential connections you can make with your guests, and, by extension, their audience. By staying in touch with past guests, you stay top of mind and increase the chance of introductions to their network, who may also be great guests for your show. Unfortunately, many podcasters fail to follow up and stay in touch with their guests to nourish and grow these relationships.  Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?Andy Wang, of Inspired Money, builds an email list of past guests he’s had on the show and keeps in touch with these guests. “I periodically send an email to past guests letting them know what's new with my podcast and highlighting recent higher-profile guests," says Wang. "A little PR never hurts, especially to past guests who are the real stars of my show. This is a way to express gratitude and keep my show in their minds. This can also lead to an introduction to another guest.”  

Syndicate your podcast

When you format your podcasts for radio, you can unleash the powers of syndication for yourself.Jerod Morris and the team at The Assembly Call have managed to not only syndicate their podcast on local radio, but also leveraged it to significantly to build their email list. Radio syndication is not feasible for all podcasts, but if your show is focused on a specific niche (like a sports team), location (a city or neighborhood within a city), or demographic, then this is a possibility. To get started, you can reach out directly to your local talk radio or sports stations and ask them about syndication.“On The Assembly Call, we have mostly used our podcast to grow our email list, but that changed last year," explains Morris. "We started syndicating our weekly news roundup on one of the biggest Indiana University sites. In exchange for the ability to post our content on their site, the site owner included an email form for visitors and readers to sign up for our email list so they could get the roundup via email. We've gotten 1,000+ subscribers since this began.”Related: Your Start-to-Finish Plan to Get 1,000 Email Subscribers

Use email to turn listeners into fans

As an on-demand medium, podcasts have the potential to connect with new people when and where they want. But connecting with them via email is how you deepen the relationship from a passive listener to a loyal fan. Want to get started building your podcast audience via email today? Create a free account with AWeber. You can try the award-winning email marketing platform for free for 30 days.

The post 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

Continue Reading 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder

You're not a spammer — but your emails can still land in the spam folder.And once they’re stuck there, it’s difficult to reach the inbox again.That’s why we asked AWeber’s Director of Deliverability Karen Balle to explain how you can escape the spam folder.Multi-million dollar companies seek Balle’s advice on reaching the inbox. This is the same 6-step plan she lays out for them. And now, you can use it too.

Step 1: Make sure you have permission.

It’s illegal to send emails to people who haven’t subscribed to your list. It’s also a great way to go to the spam folder.So, if your emails are going to spam, review your email lists to make sure all of your subscribers opted in to receive content from you.If you purchased one of your lists or all of your lists, delete those subscribers from your email marketing platform. They’re just hurting you. Plus, they didn’t give you permission to send them emails anyway, so they are much more likely to mark your emails as spam or not open them at all.If you’re not sure whether your lists are purchased, review subscribers to see how they joined. (You can see these details under Subscriber Management in AWeber.) Look for large lists of imported subscribers. Make sure you have a record of how you acquired these subscribers.Related: The Ugly Truth about Buying Email ListsBalle also recommends using confirmed opt-in (COI) emails for every new subscriber. A confirmed opt-in email is a message that’s automatically sent to people who fill out your sign up form. It asks them to confirm they want to join your list by clicking a link or button in the message.Internet service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo!, are more likely to deliver your emails to the inbox when you use COI emails. And on top of that, COI messages keep spam robots off your email list. Spam robots are automated computer programs designed to find sign up form code on your website and submit fake information to join your list.  (Nobody wants a robot on their list. It’s difficult to tell them apart from real subscribers. And they decrease your open and click-through rates.)Related: Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love

Step 2: Find the type of content your audience loves.

Often, your email reputation is damaged because your subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails. If your open rates are below 15% and your click-through rates are below 5%, you’re in the danger zone, says Balle.To rebuild your email reputation, you need to boost your open and click-through rates. There’s a simple way to accomplish this: Send content your audience can’t wait to open and read.Take a look at the emails you’ve sent in the past, says Balle. Are there certain messages that earned more opens and clicks? If so, you should send more content like this! Jot down a list of related (but new) content ideas for future emails.Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer EmailsYou can also ask your subscribers what kind of content they’d like to get from you. Simply send them a brief email asking what questions they have.Once you know what kind of content interests your audience, draft a few emails around those topics. We’ll use these messages in step 4!Related: 18 Tried-And-True Ways to Improve Your Email Content

Step 3: Build a segment of your most-engaged subscribers.

Using your email marketing platform, build a segment of subscribers who have clicked a link in one of your emails in the last 3 months.This is your most engaged group of subscribers. They are more likely to open and click future emails.You’ll use this segment of people to begin rebuilding your email reputation with internet service providers. With a good email reputation, more of your emails will reach the inbox!Related: How to Create a Segment in AWeber

Step 4: Send value-packed emails to your segmented audience.

For the next 2 weeks, focus on sending high-value emails to the audience you identified in step 3. Aim to send 1 to 2 emails each week. Use the messages you drafted in step 2!Make sure that your audience likes the content you’re  sending. High open and click-through rates and low spam complaints are a good indicator that they do.But fair warning: You won’t see high rates right away.When recovering from spam folder placement, your open and click-through rates will start low, according to Balle.“You want to make sure that those metrics are increasing. Many companies give up too early during this step. It will be around two weeks when you really start to see a difference,” she says.Once your open rates are above 15% and your click-through rates are above 5% with your engaged segment, start gradually increasing your segment size. Add people to your segment who clicked an email in the last 4 months.As you send emails to this larger segment, watch your open rates and your click-through rates for about a week. If they hold steady, then add people who clicked an email in the last 5 months. Watch your open rates and click-through rates again. Keep going until you’re sending to people who clicked your emails in the last 12 months.One of the biggest mistakes Balle sees is adding people to your segment too quickly. Each time you add more people to your segment, make sure you don’t increase your segment by more than 50%. For example, let's say you have a list of 10,000 engaged subscribers. When you increase your segment size, add 5,000 subscribers or less. Send for about a week. Then, add the next segment.And if you add a new segment and you can’t increase your open and click-through rates, stop adding new segments. Move on to step 5.Related: The 7 Questions Everyone Has about Email List Segmentation

Step 5: Create a re-engagement campaign for unengaged subscribers.

Now, it’s time to try to re-engage subscribers who aren’t opening and clicking your emails with a re-engagement campaign. A re-engagement campaign is a group of emails that asks people to confirm they actually want to be on your email list.For your re-engagement campaign, build a segment of people who haven’t clicked on a link in your email for the last 12 months or at the point where you could no longer increase your opens and clicks.The segment size for this re-engagement campaign should be no more than 10% the size of your newly engaged list. If it’s larger, it could sabotage the work you’ve done so far with your engaged segment. So if you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who have recently clicked a link in one of your emails, your engagement campaign should only include 1,000 people.  You may need to send multiple engagement campaigns to cover all of your less-engaged customers.Once you build your segment, send a re-engagement campaign to them. Send one email. Wait 7 days. Then, send one more. Don’t send a third. According to Balle, a third re-engagement email often ends up in the spam folder.Related: How to Win Back Subscribers with a Re-Engagement CampaignIf you have subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked an email in more than a year, you might want to consider excluding them from your re-engagement campaign. They are less likely to re-engage, and they may sabotage your re-engagement campaign by decreasing subscriber engagement.

Step 6: Delete subscribers who don’t re-engage.

If a subscriber doesn’t re-engage or hasn’t opened an email in years, it’s time to delete them. They’re just hurting your email deliverability and your bottom line.Related: How to Delete Unengaged Subscribers

Stick to the plan. Reach the inbox.

Improving your email reputation takes time and patience. But by following this plan, you can increase your chances of reaching the inbox and build a healthy email list of people who want your emails!Want to use an email marketing platform that helps more people reach the inbox? Create a free account with AWeber.

The post The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

Continue Reading The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder

Target Analysis & Customer Demographics Marketing

The post Target Analysis & Customer Demographics Marketing appeared first on ClickFunnels.

No matter how different businesses are, they all have one thing in common: they all rely on their customers.

You might just be starting out, or you could be fully established and working for many years now.

You might run your own company by yourself, or you may work with a bunch of people.

Your business might be small, or it could be a worldwide recognized brand.

No matter what type of company you have, your customers will ultimately determine your success.

With that said, here’s an important question for you. How well do you know your customers?

That might seem like a simple question, but for a surprising number of people, the answer might fall short of where they need to be.

Knowing your customers means knowing who is buying your product. It means knowing what to say to get them to pay attention to what you sell. It means knowing where your sales are coming from.

Without a thorough knowledge of your customers, your business might as well be operating blind.

If you looked at that question and answered, “Not very well,” then you don’t need to panic. You simply know where you need to improve.

After all, that’s why you’re here, right?

So it’s time to think about the best way to get to know your customers. You’ll be able to do that through target market analysis and customer demographics. Hopefully, we’ll be able to answer a few more questions you might have.

So what is a target market?

Put simply, your target market is the customers you’re trying to sell your products to. As part of your marketing strategy, it represents your audience.

You know how television shows and movies often have a target audience? An audience that is most likely to respond favorably to what is presented to them? It’s sort of like that.

Why do you need to know your target market?

You have a great product that you think can change people’s lives. So why not just try to sell that product to as many people as possible?

While that may sound wonderful and seems like a great way to earn more money, having such a broad approach could stretch your resources too thin. And if you have limited time and money to begin with, the effectiveness tends to take a nosedive.

Let’s look at this with a fishing analogy. A fisherman wants to catch fish, so he goes out to the ocean to do so. He doesn’t care what type of fish, he just wants to catch as many as possible. So he casts his hook out and waits. What do you think he will catch? How much of what he does catch will be useful?

Having no idea what he wants to catch is a recipe for disaster. It gives him no way to plan for what equipment to bring, what bait to use, where to go, etc. He goes out to fish with a hope, a prayer, and little else.

Do you see why knowing your target market can be so helpful? Yes, your product is amazing, but it’s probably not for everyone. Only a specific audience will respond to it.

That’s why you need to identify your target market.

How do you identify a target market?

You can identify your target market through what is called a target market analysis. Sometimes it’s referred to as a target audience analysis.

This type of analysis is essentially a study where you figure out the details of your potential target customers.

A target market analysis looks at several areas which can be broken down into 5 W’s and H. Let’s take a brief look at them now.

Who

Figuring out the who of your target audience involves finding out demographic information about them. That can include statistics like age, race, gender, occupation, and more.

Where

This category tells you where your customers live and work. It can include detailed information beyond their address, like the surrounding population size and the climate of the area.

When

Based off of your analysis, you should be able to tell when people are buying products from you. Do you have a peak selling season? When are the usual lulls? How often do repeat customers come back?

A target market analysis also includes discovering when customers see one of your ads or engage with you on social media. It can be broken down by month, day, hour, or even minute. The amount of detail is really up to you.

What

This involves identifying other aspects of a customer’s personality, such as their interests. Do they have hobbies that inspire them? What do they need in their lives right now?

Why

Equally important is determining why they want to buy your product in the first place. What drives them to make that decision? Why do they want to buy from you and not somebody else?

How

Lastly, you need to look into customer behavior. In other words, it’s how they act. Do they have certain lifestyle habits that you should know about? What about their purchasing trends?

A target market analysis should answer these questions. With that information in hand, you’ll be able to perform more effective customer demographic marketing.

How do you perform a target market analysis?

Okay, so you agree that figuring out your target market is an important step toward your success. That much is clear.

Now how do you do it?

You won’t always find a clear step-by-step formula to follow for how to do a market analysis, which can make it a challenge. But we can provide some tips for you to consider that should put you on the right track.

Study your current customers

Unless you’re only just starting out, you should already have some customers that are purchasing from you.

They’re a great place to start.

Reach out to them. Find out more about them.

How you go about doing this is really up to you. You might try to interview them personally, though this can take up a lot of time.

An easier path is to send them survey opportunities after they’ve bought a product from you. From there, you can get information to fill out your consumer demographics along with other valuable details that will inform your marketing going forward.

Look at what you’re selling

While you’re busy studying your customers, don’t forget to take a closer look at your own product. What does your product offer that benefits a customer? Don’t just think about it; write down your product’s features.

If you have a book you want to promote about developing a healthy lifestyle, list the benefits people can get from reading it. Once you have identified what those are, then write down the type of people who would benefit the most from your material.

If you sell more than one product, you’ll want to do this with each one. You might have different audiences in mind depending on the item.

While this may all seem basic, you’d be surprised at the sudden thoughts and ideas you can get from this process. It’s like the lightbulb moment in cartoons. Suddenly, you have a better idea for who you can sell your product to.

Collect demographic data

This is where you gather data about your potential customer demographics. Now it might sound similar to the part of studying your current customers, but this deals with future buyers. Your current customers can inform your efforts, though.

For example, let’s say you notice that a significant portion of your current customers seem to come from the San Francisco bay area. You’re not sure why exactly, but the data shows that to be the case. Here’s where you can collect demographic information from that area to get a better view of the type of people who want your product.

This goes for any number of demographic areas. Do you have a lot of customers who happen to be moms in their early 30’s? Search out more information about that particular demographic.

That may seem like a tall task, but you have a number of helpful tools and resources that you can use.

The U.S. Census Bureau has all sorts of information about the population of the United States. Just take a look at this fact page and see how much data it provides. Now think about how you can use it to pinpoint your target audience.

Other tools include commerce websites at your state or local level. Trade journals can also provide useful info, such as emerging consumer trends.

Consider all sorts of demographic factors that go into your marketing. We’re talking about age, occupation, education level, ethnicity, income level, family status, and so much more.

Research your competitors

You shouldn’t limit your focus to yourself. Take some time to look at what your competitors are doing.

Who do your competitors seem to be targeting? If it seems strange, there might be a very good reason for it — a reason that you haven’t considered yet.

Or it might indicate customers you should avoid. After all, if the market is saturated, you want to find potential customers that are overlooked. If you have competitors that are ignoring a demographic segment, that just means you can carve out your own lucrative niche.

Explore psychographics

Similar to demographics, psychographics give you even more details about customers. This is information that’s harder to quantify, such as lifestyles, values, personality types, and more.

Does your product benefit people with a certain type of lifestyle more? You’ll want to start focusing on people like that.

Psychographics can cover a lot of ground. They can segment people based off of the media they consume, their hobbies, or even the food they eat.

Gathering this information requires customers to be open and honest with you. It’s usually done through surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups.

Review your analysis

Once you’ve completed your target market analysis, you should definitely review it. Remember, this is what you’ll be basing your future marketing strategies on, so getting this right is crucial.

Based off of your analysis, determine if your target market is the right size. If it’s too narrow, you may need to widen your scope a bit.

Make sure the people in your target audience can actually afford your product. If it’s outside their price range, you’re not going to see too many sales.

From there, you can start crafting the right message that will resonate with them.

Knowing who your target market is can really help you create a pitch that sees results.

What are some target market examples?

Target markets can be as specific or as broad as you want. Generally speaking, the more detailed and specific, the more effective your message will be.

Once you’ve completed your target market analysis, examples will be easy to come by.

For instance, if you’re selling a nutritional supplement, you can describe your target market broadly, such as men in their 30’s and 40’s.

Or you can be more detailed with the description, like married men in their 30’s and 40’s who exercise at least twice a week, love the outdoors, live on the east coast, want to feel healthier, and earn a salary of at least $50,000 a year.

Do you see how your message can change depending on how specific your target market is?

Knowing your customers means knowing success

If you’ve ever interacted with a business that didn’t understand you, then you know how frustrating it can be.

Get to know your customers. Put in the work to understand them. Figure out what makes them tick.

It’s one of the best ways to develop an effective marketing strategy that will speak to them. You’ll have the right bait for reeling them in. And when you do that, success is just around the corner.

Thanks for reading Target Analysis & Customer Demographics Marketing which appeared first on ClickFunnels.

Continue Reading Target Analysis & Customer Demographics Marketing

Market Research: How to Increase Sales in a Competitive Market

Have you ever come up with a seemingly original product idea, only to find that a few other people have already created something similar?

Most business owners have had this experience, some on several occasions. A truly unique, never-been-done-before idea is pretty hard to come by.

But just because other companies offer similar products doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it. Instead, you can expect to be in a competitive market like most industries.

The competition for your product idea can vary. If you have a commodity product, you might find that you have more competition as opposed to a specialized product in a less crowded market space.

When you face this competition, it’s important to think about your brand positioning.

Visual branding, marketing messaging, brand culture, and internal communication all go into positioning your product as the top choice for people in your audience. And you’ll build your like-know-trust factor through consistent and relevant positioning.

Positioning can make or break your business. Take Warby Parker, for example.

They battle Luxottica, an eyeglass manufacturer with a monopoly-like presence in their industry. Unlike Luxottica’s B2B model, Warby Parker sells directly to consumers for a fraction of the cost. They also allow people to try on eyeglass frames from the comfort of their home and created a buy-one-give-one model.

Another example is Uber and Lyft, two popular ride-sharing apps that allow people to purchase rides without having to wait for a taxi.

No matter how fierce the competition is, you always have the opportunity to disrupt the market with your product and business model. But before you take a page from Warby Parker’s book, it’s important to assess your product’s market size and the number of competitors in your industry. Only then can you create a market research plan that will help you craft a comprehensive sales strategy.

How to increase sales with some competitive market research

How many times have you created marketing content based on what you think is true rather than what you know is true?

We’ve all done it! It can be easy to bypass market research for the sake of getting our product out into the world, but we can’t miss this crucial step.

Without market research, we are just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that something sticks. Sure, something may stick at some point, but we can be more confident when we take the time to research our market.

Our sales strategy starts with market research. Understanding our target audience, their pain points, and what our competitors’ offer will help us determine what our foolproof competitive advantage is.

Determine who your target audience is

As you read through this Tradecraft issue, you are probably sensing a theme. We’ve been talking a lot about how your marketing and sales strategy has more to do with your audience than you. This is because they are the ones who will buy your product.

While it might be tempting to say your ideal customer is anyone who is willing to pay, it’s best to create targeted marketing toward a specific audience. When you have an ideal person in mind, it becomes easier to write marketing content and make the sale.

The first step is to think about your target audience’s demographics. This will give you a general picture of who you are trying to attract. Here’s a quick list to help you get started.

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Life stage
  • Business stage

Once you have created your target audience demographics, you can move on to understanding their psychographics. Too many businesses stop at the demographics stage because they feel like they have at least a good idea of what their audience looks like.

The problem with this is that the information we determined above doesn’t tell us much about the purchasing motivations and habits of our target audience. If we miss out on this important aspect, our marketing won’t be as strong as it could be.

Instead, let’s take a moment to answer some of these questions as it relates to your buyer persona.

  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What does their ideal day look like?
  • What qualities are they known for?
  • How would a friend or family member describe them?
  • What drives them when they make a purchasing decision?
  • What irks them, and what energizes them?
  • Where do they go for news and information?
  • What titles do they associate themselves with?
  • How would they describe their lifestyle?
  • What holds them back, and what pushes them forward?

After you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of who your ideal customer truly is.

Pro tip: If you’ve already been in business for a while or have been working on side hustle, you can also keep past clients, readers, or customers in mind when you go through this activity.
Pick the best people you’ve collaborated or worked with in order to fully answer these questions. It’s another great way to make your market research feel more real.

You can also create more than one buyer persona depending on how many subsets you have inside your target audience. We usually recommend doing two to three buyer personas max so you aren’t tempted to attract everyone.

Understand your audience’s pain points

Your business is only as useful as the solution you provide your target audience with. In order to gain market share, you must fully understand your audience’s struggles and pain points. Some of your audience’s pain points may seem obvious, but others may take a bit of digging.

Knowing your audience’s pain points comes in handy when you start to write conversion-based copy. Before you can offer a solution, you need to highlight what their pain point is.

If you are creating a vegan cookbook for stay-at-home moms, their pain points might be:

  • They don’t have enough time to go to the grocery store
  • They don’t always have the extra income to buy multiple healthy ingredients per meal
  • They don’t have the energy to cook after caring for their kids all day

Based on this market research, you could dig even deeper to see what Millennial moms struggle with as opposed to the generation before them. You could even look at moms who had newborns in their early twenties versus their early thirties.

All of this is to show that you can always uncover more layers that go into your audience’s pain points.

If you are struggling with this stage, we suggest casually interviewing some of your friends or people you may know who fit your buyer persona to get more information. It can be a great way to hear what their pain points are rather than guessing at what they could be. No one knows their situation and buying habits better than they do!

As you determine their pain points, you can look at what stage in the buying process they are in and what struggles they have in each stage.

If you want more information and anecdotes to back up your market research, you can also send surveys to past customers or followers to gain their feedback. Remember that people who match your ideal buyer persona will have better feedback than those who don’t.

You can also create a focus group if you want to take this activity a step further. Then you can see how people interact with your product and react to your messaging or positioning. You can choose a small group of about five to nine people so everyone has a chance to be heard. The feedback will be invaluable!

Research your competitors

We consider researching your target audience and their pain points the primary goal of your market research. Your secondary goal is to research your competitors. This is so you can understand the current product options your ideal customer base already has.

If you skip this crucial step, you may end up creating a product or service that your ideal buyers don’t need or already have. In many cases, there is room for improvement with products that are on the market.

One way to start researching your competitors is to try their products yourself. Note what your experience was like from purchasing their product to getting it in your hands. If it is a service, note how you were treated and the overall experience you left with.

Trying their products will also give you an idea of what is missing and how you can position your product to satisfy the “what’s missing” element.

You can even read consumer reviews online to see what people think. You can look at YouTube product comparison videos, Consumer Reports, or look on social media to see how people are talking about your competitor’s products. These testimonials will give you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

After this market research, you’ll be able to see how you can fill in the gaps.

What do you offer that other companies are lacking in?
How can you improve what they are doing?
Do you have a better product, a better experience, a better all-around brand, or something else entirely?

This is the stage where all of your competitive market research will come together. Once you know what your differentiators are, you can solidify your positioning within your niche, which will help you write better emails and sell more effectively.

How will you increase sales from your market research?

By doing your market research, you’ll be building your trust and credibility with your target audience as you find ways to optimize your product, brand experience, and process.

Knowing who your audience is, their pain points, and your competitors will help you communicate clearly and effectively, giving you that coveted competitive advantage in your marketplace.

So before you start selling your product or service (or even if this is your second or third offering), make sure to do all your market research. You never know what new things you'll learn about your audience or competitors that will help you make the next sale.

The post Market Research: How to Increase Sales in a Competitive Market appeared first on ConvertKit.

Continue Reading Market Research: How to Increase Sales in a Competitive Market