Gawker Loses Its Unbelievable Traffic Machine

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Neetzan Zimmerman is leaving Gawker Media to work at social media startup Whisper.

Zimmerman has what we in the blogging game call the “pageview gene.”*

He generates an insane amount of traffic. How insane, you ask? Well, for Gawker.com he was 99% of the site’s uniques.

For Gawker Media at large, he was equally impressive. Using Gawker’s publicly posted traffic for its writers, we put together the following comparison of Gawker, Gizmodo, and Lifehacker.

In October, Zimmerman alone had more unique visits than Gizmodo or Lifehacker.

His departure will leave a big hole in Gawker Media, but the company has 106 million monthly visits, so it will survive just fine.

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28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing

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English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diversification (marketing strategy)

Diversification (marketing strategy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image ID 100171705 resized 600What if there were a maturity model for inbound marketers?

Seriously, I can’t be the only nerd that’s ever wondered this before.

The unofficial intro to maturity models is that they’re what happens when a whole bunch of really smart people get together and use dozens of years of academic experience and professional context to trend what often happens. More officially, accrediting body APMG writes that they’re used for organizations to assess their “methods and processes…according to a clear set of external benchmarks.”

When correctly compiled, these models contain helpful factors like questionnaires and benchmarks. They’re certified and verified by third parties. This blog post isn’t everything you need to determine the maturity of your inbound marketing strategy, but it’s a start. We’ve categorized some criteria that could define a company at each stage:

1. Immature Inbound Marketing

Blogging doesn’t mean your brand’s nailed the ins and outs of inbound marketing, even if you’re doing it on a regular basis. Neither does social media, maintaining an editorial calendar, or any other inbound marketing basics. There’s no shame in having a less mature inbound marketing program, but it is dangerous to close yourself off to concepts of improvement. Signs of a less mature inbound program could include:

  1. Occasional or Intermittent Collaboration Between Silos (Social, Content, and Email)

  2. Basic Lead Nurturing Segments

  3. Fewer than 10 Landing Pages and Content Offers

  4. Undefined and documented strategy

  5. Lack of advanced planning

  6. Inconsistent or Infrequent Metrics Analysis

2. Intermediate Inbound Marketing

Your business could probably do fine if you stagnate at an intermediate level of maturity, and let’s be totally honest – many companies have. In many cases, maturity models are shaped a lot like funnels, but it anecdotally seems that the inbound world’s got a pretty chunky middle. Signs of this stage often include (but aren’t limited to):

  1. Between 10-15 Landing Pages and Content Offers

  2. Documented strategy that’s typically up-to-date

  3. Multiple research-based buyer personas

  4. Lead Nurturing Workflows for Each Content Offer

  5. Inclusion of Visual Content and Targeted Content Curation

  6. Keyword Research and SEO Optimization

  7. Guest Blogging Outreach and Link-Building Strategies

  8. A/B Testing of Landing Pages, CTAs and Emails

3. Advanced Inbound Marketing

There’s really not too many examples of brands who’ve got the inbound marketing thing down so well that it’s hard to find anything wrong with their strategy. ModCloth’s definitely in this category, and so is HubSpot (of course). Betabrand and  AppSumo, are solidly mature, too. If you’re in this latter class, we’d love to hear from you, and about the changes you made to get your program up to par. Signs that you’re passing with flying colors might include the following:

  1. Responsive or mobile-optimized design

  2. Obsessive detail to user experience

  3. Use of 12 or more content marketing tactics

  4. Advanced lead nurturing tactics (accelerated and lost lead campaigns, among others)

  5. Interview-based buyer personas

  6. Ongoing SEO Optimization

  7. More than 15-20 landing pages and content offers

  8. Campaign-themed content and social media marketing

  9. Advanced efficiency measures, including content retargeting and repurposing

  10. Thought leadership among employees, including Google Authorship and Regular Columns

  11. Use of Smart (or Dynamic) Content

  12. Progressive Profiling

  13. Net Promoter Score Surveying

  14. Lead Scoring

Did I mention that the factors above are by no means an official inbound marketing maturity model? That being said, I think every business can benefit from ongoing and thorough evaluation of whether they’re taking full advantage of their marketing tools, and areas in which they could improve. It’s rare to find an organization which fits perfectly into a single stage of even official maturity models, and the inbound world is no exception – maybe your organization’s totally nailed persona-driven content marketing, but struggling with the lead nurturing side of things.

I welcome feedback on these thoughts, and would love to get input on other techniques and tactics organizations tend to adopt as they move toward a more mature inbound strategy.

What do you think are signs of an advanced and well-supported digital marketing program?

28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image 29c14190 469d 4d36 8900 3dffef631d2e5

image credit: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net 28 Factors to Determine the Maturity of Your Inbound Marketing image

Author:Jasmine Henry     Jasmine Henry on the Web Jasmine Henry on Facebook Jasmine Henry on Twitter Jasmine Henry RSS Feed

Jasmine is Content Manager at Inbound Marketing Agents, an innovative Hubspot partner offering full-agency services based in Nashville, TN. She writes about social media, business blogging, crowdsourcing and millennials…. View full profile

This article originally appeared on Inbound Marketing Blog and has been republished with permission.

Find out how to syndicate your content with Business 2 Community.

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The Anatomy of Tomorrow’s Inbound Marketing Strategy Today

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Components of Inbound Marketing

Components of Inbound Marketing (Photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn)

Diversification (marketing strategy)

Diversification (marketing strategy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Anatomy of Tomorrow’s Inbound Marketing Strategy Today

There are many schools of thought and methodologies defining what inbound marketing should look like. Most of them position content marketing, social media marketing and SEO as the core of inbound marketing. From a 20,000-foot view, this has definite merit. However, with the right technology, enough content, well-developed personae and a good understanding of the brand, inbound marketing strategy can be much more stratified and robust.

The anatomy of a robust inbound marketing campaign has similarities to the human spine. The human spine has five ordered sections – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx – all of which are required to be in working order to live a pain-free, normal and productive life.

An inbound marketing strategy has five ordered sections, too – owned and earned media, landing pages, lead nurturing, sales interaction and retention. And all of them are required to widen the sales funnel, create acceleration through it and to optimize Marketing’s impact on revenue. If there’s a problem with any of the sections Marketing’s impact on revenue will not be optimized and the inbound campaign will be in poor health.

Inbound Marketing Funnel

Owned and Earned Media

This is the section that most marketers equate with inbound marketing – publish lots of owned and earned blog posts and articles frequently, organically distribute them through social media and watch Google drive traffic from its SERPs. This process produces lots of benefits, but without a strategy for the other sections it will be difficult to show real ROI.

Purpose: Generate traffic, educate prospects, grow brand, produce thought leadership, build community, produce outside advocates, reduce churn

Tip: Publish blog posts with frequency and consistency. According to Kuno Creative’s Content Marketing Manifesto, publishing five to ten posts per week led to a 633% increase in leads versus just two to three posts per week.

Landing Pages

This is a critical aspect of an inbound marketing campaign. Having lots of good free content is great, but morally bribing website visitors for their email and IP address using gated content is just as important. Once this information is captured, the visitor is no longer anonymous and their content consumption can be tracked and scored. It also allows for future email communication.

Purpose: Capture email and IP addresses

Tip: Analyze and value the inbound and outbound marketing channels that led to conversion with attribution modeling. Use this data to adjust tactics in the first section.

Tip: Deploy A/B or multivariate testing to optimize call to action click-through rates and landing page conversions.

Lead Nurturing

With email addresses captured and other attributes known (other form fields, website behavior, social media profiles, IP address, etc.) lead nurturing, segmentation and scoring can begin. Delivering the right content on the correct channel at the best time separates the wheat from the chaff and empowers the wheat to organically identify themselves as sales qualified leads over time. It also creates an efficient method for identifying and removing unqualified leads from the funnel.

Purpose: Generate more sales qualified leads faster (widens the sales funnel while creating acceleration through it).

Tip: If lead nurturing is a new or unrefined tactic access Eloqua’s Lead Nurturing Toolkit for tactical refinement.

Sales Interaction

Marketing should only deliver leads that are worthy of a sales person’s time. Analyzing and adjusting lead score criteria over time is critical to ensure this happens. However, just as critical is the open flow of communication and lead feedback between Marketing and Sales.

If the inbound marketing strategy is effective, Sales should find their prospects to be highly educated, qualified and ready to do business.

Purpose: Efficiently generate customers

Tip: Connect marketing automation tools with a CRM to help facilitate closed-loop marketing and open communication between Sales and Marketing.

Retention

A big portion of the retention initiative is accomplished by producing copious amounts of earned and owned media, building passionate communities in social media and being highly visible online. These are all activities that should already be deployed if the inbound marketing campaign is healthy.

In addition, Marketing can produce and deliver advanced content created specifically for current customers. This content can be in the form of surveys, guides, cheat sheets, training videos, process infographics, etc. However, this can all be for not if deliverables aren’t fulfilled and expectations aren’t met or exceeded.

Purpose: Reduce churn

Tip: Marketers should keep open communication with fulfillment and account management in order to feel the pulse of current customers. This can help identify possible future churn to target with content before it’s too late.

In high school, anatomy class was a place for students to giggle about the curriculum. However, understanding and implementing the entire inbound anatomy presented above is no laughing matter. In today’s ultra-competitive environment getting inbound right can mean the difference between business success and mediocrity. Getting it right tomorrow may mean the difference between business success and failure.

How Neuroscience Is Key to Successful Marketing Strategies

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How Neuroscience Is Key to Successful Marketing Strategies

Brainhelmet
TIM ASH for ClickZ 2 days ago
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I’m fascinated with all the new information being published about the brain and how it is converging with the efforts of marketers to more effectively communicate with consumers. I’ve heard neuroscientists say that more has been learned about the brain in the past decade than in all of human history combined.

Ponder this fact for a moment: the human brain hasn’t changed for more than 100,000 years. Yet its exposure to information — especially screen-based communication — is growing at an unprecedented rate. Researchers at Nielsen NeuroFocus have been using brainwave measurements to actually quantify how all this multi-platform messaging is affecting subconscious responses. One of their observations is the effect on “filtering.”

Through filtering, the prefrontal cortex of the brain continuously coordinates and prioritizes incoming stimuli, deciding what is essential and what can be ignored or “filed away” for later. More stimuli requires more filtering. 

Our multi-device world has caused the brain to kick into overdrive, making prioritization more important than ever.

Our multi-device world has caused the brain to kick into overdrive, making prioritization more important than ever.

How on earth can marketers get through this “filtering” when the brain is screening megabytes of data every milliseconds? These neurological best practices may help you grab the attention of your online audiences’ collective subconscious quickly.

Use Action Words

The brain’s filtering process seems to afford greater significance to action-oriented words. Passive words are ignorable, but action words convey emotion and appeal to the reader’s senses. Words like discover, explore, download, find and compare are all going to be more effective than milder words like submit or read. But don’t limit yourself to just verbs; words like free, easiest and you can also be very powerful attention-grabbers.

Stimulate with Puzzles

The brain is attracted to solving visual puzzles. There is actually a feedback mechanism in the brain that rewards the acquisition of knowledge, which essentially makes us humans addicted to gaining new knowledge.

If you’ve ever stopped to solve an anagram or other puzzle that appeared on your Facebook newsfeed, you probably recognize that little burst of excitement you get by quickly solving a brain teaser. If it makes sense for your brand, incorporating simple puzzles into your online messaging can be a great way to quickly grab attention.

ta-solve-the-puzzle.jpg

Recognize Gender Differences

The brains of men and women are 99% the same, but that last 1% is critical for marketers.

The frontal lobe, which is responsible for problem solving, is bigger in women than in men. If you are marketing to women, leverage this insight by posing a question in your advertising message — something that will interest your female audience through mystery, intrigue or fascination. Even questions with a yes/no answer can capture the attention of a female audience, but should quickly be followed up with an answer that compels them to read further, such as “Find out why” or “Get the facts.”

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The amygdala, which regulates the “fight or flight” response, is larger in men than in women. If you’re marketing to men, use urgency and be direct. Statements like “This deal ends Friday at midnight,” or “Buy your new bed today and sleep better tonight,” will help grab attention and motivate a response.

Simplify

When it comes to online marketing, and especially social media marketing, more is definitely not better. Your message needs to be simple so that it is easy for the brain to receive and ignore. I don’t know if this ad for usba.com was effective, but my guess is that it is way too complicated (and uninteresting) for most people to stop and read.

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Attract with Novelty

The brain is hardwired to appreciate and seek out novelty. In fact, there’s an entire region of the midbrain that responds to novel stimuli. Novelty influences interest, surprise, attraction and even motivation. Adapting your messaging with unexpected colors, unusual words or unique images can work to draw attention. But use this tool wisely, as the brain also seeks familiarity.

If you use a wacky photo in your Facebook ad to grab attention, but it is inconsistent with what customers might expect from your brand — or what they see on the page that the ad links to — attention may quickly turn to confusion, complicating your messaging and turning visitors away.

The new information coming out of neuroscience, coupled with the rapidly evolving ways people are consuming information, is giving marketers a lot to think about. The human brain may not have changed much in 100,000 years, but the world it functions in has. Evolve your message and strategy; adapt it to its environment to avoid extinction.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Ars Electronica

This article originally published at ClickZ here