annual-report-203761_640

eLearning Statistics For 2015

 

If these important eLearning statistics and facts for 2015 are any indication, the future of the eLearning industry is paved with exponential growth and immense potential for profit. Now, more than ever, learners and companies are turning to eLearning courses and online training events achieve their personal and professional goals. And 2015 holds the promise of even more learners expanding their educational horizons. What does 2015 have in store for your eLearning career?

Top eLearning Market Statistics For 2015

  1. The global eLearning Market is expected to reach $107 billion by 2015.
  2. The self-paced eLearning market should see estimated revenues of $49.9 billion in 2015.
  3. Growth rate shows how each country adopts eLearning and is a significant indicator for revenue opportunities. The growth rate of self-paced eLearning by country is:
    1. India: 55%
    2. China: 52%
    3. Malaysia: 41%
    4. Romania: 38%
    5. Poland: 28%
    6. Czech Republic: 27%
    7. Brazil: 26%
    8. Indonesia: 25%
    9. Colombia: 20%
    10. Ukraine: 20%
  4. The LMS market is expected to worth approximately $4 billion in 2015 and over $7 billion in 2018. The highest proportion of revenue contribution is expected to be generated in North America.Google has already enrolled 80,000 of its employees in Udacity’s HTML5 course.
  5. The online corporate market is expected to grow by 13% per year up to 2017. Today, 77% of USA companies offer online corporate training to improve the professional development of their employees .
  6. eLearning Top Buyers: Large companies are the main purchasers of eLearning products and services. As a matter of fact, these companies make up roughly 30% of all eLearning buyers.
  7. The worldwide market for Mobile Learning products for 2015 is estimated to reach $8.7 billion and it will even reach $12.2 billion by 2017. It is worth to note that while in 2012 the top buyers of mobile learning products and services where US, Japan, South Korea, China, and India, it is expected that by 2017 the top buyers of mobile learning products and services will be China, US, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.

eLearning Tech. Statistics For 2015

  1. Learning Technologies
    The learning technologies used for 2014 were as follows [6]:

    • 74% of companies currently use Learning management systems (LMS) and Virtual classroom/ webcasting/ video broadcasting
    • 48% of companies currently use Rapid eLearning Tool (ppt conversion tool)
    • 33% of companies currently use Application simulation tool
    • 25% of companies currently use Learning Content Management System
    • 21% of companies currently use Online performance support or knowledge management system
    • 18% of companies currently use Mobile Applications
    • 11% of companies currently use Podcasting.
  2. Demand of eLearning Software And Services in 2015.
    The following statistics present what the small, mid-sized and large companies intent to purchase in 2015, based on the 2014 Training Industry Report [6].

    • 44% of companies intent to purchase online learning tools and systems
    • 41% of companies intent to purchase Learning Management Systems (LMSs)
    • 37% of companies intent to purchase authoring tools/systems
    • 33% of companies intent to purchase classroom tools and systems
    • 29% of companies intent to purchase content development products and services
    • 27% of companies intent to purchase courseware design and presentation tools and software
    • 18% of companies intent to purchase audio and web conferencing products and systems.
  3. Corporate Training Delivery Methods.
    The training delivery methods for 2014 were as follows [6]:

    • 47% of training hours were delivered by instructor led classroom only setting- increased by 3% as compared to previous year
    • 29.1% of training hours were delivered with blended learning methods- increased by 0.8 as compared to previous year
    • 28.5% of training hours were delivered via online or computer based technologies (no- instructor)- increased by 2.6% as compared to previous year
    • 15% of training hours were delivered via virtual classroom/ webcast only (instructor from remote location)- decreased by 1% as compared to previous year
    • 4.2% of training hours were delivered via social learning- increased by 0.9% as compared to previous year
    • 1.4% of training hours were delivered via mobile devices- decreased by 0.5 as compared to previous year.

 

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Managing Your Social Media Presence

If you have set up accounts with sites like; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn AND Google Plus, etc… you alreayd know how hard it is to keep up with them. Companies also quickly realize that Social Media is a hands on time consuming job that can take up large chunks of time. Whether as a business owner you decide to manage your Social Media accounts on your own or you hire a Social Media manager it is a big job.

Do not worry though, there is a solution! The key is to break things down into small steps and work on them daily rather than letting them build up.

For Managing Your Social Media Accounts and expanding your Social Media presence follow the tips below:

  • 1. Sign in

    First things first, in order to do anything you need to take the first step and log into your accounts.

  • 2. Check messages, comments & replies

    People are putting in the effort to reach out to you so you need to return the favor. Timely responses to questions & comments can make the difference between retaining a customer and losing one.

  • 3. Damage control if necessary

    Bad review on Yelp? Seeing complaints on Twitter or Facebook? Actively search out for people who have had a bad experience with your company or service. Conduct damage control in trying to rectify the situation. Potential customers will see these reviews and if they see you put in effort to resolve the situation they will be more likely to appreciate you and your business.

  • 4. Post fresh content

    Make a habit of posting something new on all networks at least once a day. Share an interesting article, a picture, video, quote or ask your followers a question. Use a Social Media management tool such as HootSuite to post on all your networks at once or schedule your posts for a specific time.

  • 5. Reach out to at least 3 of your followers

    Maintaining and developing relationships is important. By reaching out to your followers it shows you are interested and will keep you on top of their mind.

  • 6. Reach out to at least 3 new people

    By reaching out to people who are not following you is a good way to introduce yourself and you company and to expand your network. Often times when you put in the effort to re-tweet or reply to someone’s post they will start following you back as well.

  • 7. Monitor competitor and industry mentions

    See what people are saying about relevant mentions of your industry and competitors. Get involved in online discussions going on. It is a good way to connect with potential followers and become a thought leader in your industry.

  • 8. Brainstorm future posts

    Take some time each day and find or create interesting things to share so you can create a bank of shareable material. This way each day you don’t have to search or create something new and you can use material that you have already saved or created previously.

  • 9. Check your stats

    It’s important to keep up with how much your effort is paying off. Management tools such as Hootsuite as mentioned above can provide you analytics on all your social media accounts rather than signing in one by one to each site. Are you gaining new followers? Is your content being shared? Checking on your stats will help you see which types of posts are most and least popular so that you spend more time sharing things your followers will enjoy.

  • 10. Bonus points

    Check your Facebook home page for birthdays, endorse or recommend someone on LinkedIn or Re-Tweet someone on Twitter. Special gestures like these show your willingness to go above and beyond and help cultivate long lasting relationships with your followers.

 

elearning

How To Build a Profitable eLearning Business

Unicorn CEO, Peter Phillips asks why are there so few global players in the business of eLearning development and what are the keys to survival and growth in the highly competitive eLearning industry?

Over Unicorn’s 25 years, we have seen the evolution of the bespoke eLearning business from a small fragmented cottage industry into today’s much larger fragmented cottage industry. So what differentiates your bespoke eLearning business? Is it great writing, great design, a specialist eLearning industry focus? Or something else altogether…..

Here are a few suggestions for having a profitable bespoke business.

1- Raise barriers to entry

The eLearning industry has always suffered from low entry barriers. These have made for plenty of competition, but also driven down margins and, in the longer term, that constrains growth. In the early days, there were some excellent authoring tools around, but these required a degree of technical programming skill to use them effectively. The rise of rapid development tools that don’t require coding skills such as the PowerPoint Add-ins from Articulate and iSpring, have lowered entry barriers further.

2- Create switching costs

Bespoke eLearning companies need a constant stream of new business and when switching costs for your clients are low and price competition fierce, stable growth is tough.

3- Employ great Instructional Designers

There is still one important constraint on new entrants – instructional design skills. Anyone with experience of the eLearning industry knows how difficult it is to find good instructional designers who understand the subject matter, the principles of effective learning and have the creativity to be able to engage the learner. These skilled resources are a key limit on the ability to maintain high quality when trying to grow fast, although that has not always been a sufficient deterrent. We’ve all winced at examples of ‘Click Next 150 times then answer three badly written questions’!

4- Outsource non-core activities

Over the past decade, better communications have exposed providers to global competition, resulting in further downward pressure on prices, but also opportunities for cost saving through offshore outsourcing and crowd sourcing. Unfortunately potential cost savings are rarely fully realised as the reduced direct costs can be outweighed by additional management costs in ensuring that quality, creativity and cultural relevance are not compromised.

5- Two plus two doesn’t equal four

A strategy of growth through acquisition requires a very different skill set from organic growth. The history of the eLearning industry is littered with failed or overpriced mergers and acquisitions. A public listing is only for the brave, the deluded or those looking for a quick exit before it all goes pear-shaped! The tarnished history of mergers and acquisitions highlights there are few advantages in size in bespoke eLearning companies, and management problems tend to multiply as teams get larger and more dispersed.

6- Find your niche

A route to profitable growth is apparent in the examples of successful niche players, who focus on market verticals where they have specialist expertise and can talk the language of their clients. Whether it is oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, healthcare or, as in Unicorn’s case, insurance and banking, you can create strong barriers to entry and high switching costs, and build profitable, enduring business relationships.

The exponential rise of mobile platforms expands the market and brings in more players, but the basic economics are unchanged. 

We will continue seeing new entrants with new ideas and a low cost base challenging the established players in an increasingly global cottage industry.

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As Unicorn CEO, my role is to communicate the Unicorn values, drive innovation and growth, and help to make Unicorn a fun place to work.

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Website: www.unicorntraining.com/

via 6 Keys To A Profitable Bespoke eLearning Business.

content-marketing-plan

The Content Marketing Mix

So now that youve been inspired to try your hand at social content marketing, and you understand your audience and what kind of content may appeal, its time to plan out your content mix. Understanding the content mix that works for your audience is incredibly important and many companies get this very wrong. I break content down to four very general categories:

PRODUCT

Product type content is the stuff that most people understand as self-promotional.

  • These are posts about your product itself: the features, the benefits, the comparisons and the contrasts.
  • Its the who, what, when, where and how of what you are selling.
If you are doing content for a cosmetic company, its the scientific study that shows a 25% reduction in crows feet.
If you are doing content for a rockband, its posting the concert dates and new singles.
If you are doing content for a dental office, its posting the specials on cleaning and whitening.
If you are doing content for your consulting business, its posting where you are featured as an expert in the Washington Post.

Product posts are the “me, me, me” posts. They are the ones that most resemble the traditional marketing one-way message, though many companies are trying to create interaction with these by adding a sharing, liking or commenting incentive share to enter a contest, like to get a coupon, comment to let us know how you would wear this, etc.

These types of posts are essential for communicating what it is you are selling, where people can buy it, how they enjoy/use your product, when it is available or goes on special, who is behind the product slightly crosses over to brand, which explain why people should buy your product.

However, a content schedule made up of too many of these posts will not be interesting to anyone other than already devoted fans – and even they will be less and less interested as time goes on.
 

BRAND

Brand type posts still relate to your product, but focus more on the “why” by empathizing with your audience and connecting with them on a more emotional level.

Brand posts answer the question, “Why would YOU give a damn about my product?

But they dont list the features and benefits, they talk more about the customer and how they serve the customers needs. This is where the content gets social. It listens and learns and evolves with the needs of the audience. Brand type posts are answering how you are making your customers’ lives simpler, less confusing, less alienating, more efficient, more meaningful and just plain better.

If you are doing content for a fashion retailer, this is where you focus on the outcomes of looking and feeling great wearing the clothes quite often done visually and in a fantasy setting.
If you are doing content for a public figure, this is where you showcase the issues and ideologies that people can connect with in order to support that person.
If you are doing content for a sports team, this is where you can connect with the audiences competitive instincts, providing tools to help them show their team colors.
 
Brand type posts speak of how the customer connects to the product rather than the awesomeness of the product itself. These posts evolve over time as you interact with the audience. They can even help you improve your product. This will give your audience a feeling of personal investment in the product, which will lead to a deeper relationship and long-term loyalty.

LIFESTYLE

Lifestyle type posts don’t directly relate to your product, but they do speak to your audience. They are posts that recognize memes, holidays, current events and pop culture. These posts connect to your audience by recognizing what else is going on in their minds and show that your company gets the audience.

When Oreo posted the gay pride cookie, the image went viral because of many factors, but the biggest was that they took a risk. Oreo took a risk with a holiday that divides many (as gay rights is widely contested), leading to a wide number of supporters and detractors discussing and sharing the ad. The image itself was fairly innocuous with the rainbow colored filling between the iconic chocolate wafers and the word ‘PRIDE’. It didn’t say, “support gay rights” or stand up for anything in particular, but a family focused company giving any recognition to the gay community was enough to set the right wing audience off, which led to setting the left wing audience off to counteract the ire. The next thing you know, a cute, sleeper campaign turned into national news and Oreo cookies were top of mind for people again.

Lifestyle type posts are simple to fall back on. There are several sites online that list all sorts of fun holidays (i.e. Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19, or Best Friends Day on June 8) that could tie back to your product easily or creatively or speak to your particular audiences.

However, don’t overdo these as they could start to look like desperate attempts at content ideas and pandering.

Memes can be a clever way to connect with your audience, but make sure the memes are known enough and current. A ‘yesterdays’ meme will make you look out of date (posting a Harlem Shake video today, for example) and a too obscure meme may go over the heads of your audience and may offend. Many brands do well aligning to pop culture, but be careful with the rights to images.

Unless you can be creative about it like Oreo (without looking like a copy cat), it’s probably best you keep these posts a small percentage of your content. Occasional Lifestyle type content posts will pack a good amount of punch if you post them sparingly. They tend to get shared quite widely.

COMMUNITY

Community type posts focus on your customers and audience. These content posts highlight customer stories, ideas, feedback and lifestyles. An example of a community post for a fashion retailer would be street style photographs where their customers talk about what they bought and what they are wearing.

Many cosmetic brands will hold contests for their audience to do makeup tutorials. Mac did a wonderful ‘Face Off’ campaign for Halloween in 2012 where they posted some amazing Halloween makeup tutorials and invited budding makeup artists to submit their own. The results were incredible.

Community type posts are very good at involving your customers in the future of your brand, but don’t get too complex. Community type posts most likely won’t be your most shared or liked post, but they empower your customers to be involved with your brand, which is important for relationship building.
 

 

THE CONTENT MIX

These four classifications aren’t black and white. A product post can have lifestyle and brand type elements. Community posts can also be brand. The mix also varies depending on your audience and your own goals.

And remember, these four classifications outlined are very top level and only to be used as a guideline for your initial content planning. As your content evolves, you will break down types of posts even more finitely. When assessing content, we look at the type of post and the type of content of each post to determine how to adjust and balance going forward.

Starting with these four types of content will be a good exercise to get you started. From there, you should let your audience and their engagement and feedback determine how it evolves. Your content planning will move from a daunting, laborious task to a fun and learning experience.

The overall purpose of content marketing is to build and connect with your audience, get feedback to improve your product, grow loyalty though involving your customers in your evolution and then help your loyal, loving audience spread the word for you, bringing in a larger audience. Ultimately, this leads to you being top of mind and increasing your sales or supporters.

kids sale

Sales Process

Three key stages in the sales process:

1- Prospecting

One of the first key performance indicators and critical success factors in selling is prospecting. This is defined as your ability to get face-to-face or ear to ear with qualified prospects who can and will buy your product or service within a reasonable amount of time.

It’s a reminder that unless your prospect has a need to solve a problem they are not going to buy a product. Customers sometimes buy things spontaneously without thinking through what their actual need is. But often there is an underlying reason for a purchase even if the buyer doesn’t bring it to the surface.

2- Establish Rapport, Trust and Credibility

The second key result area of selling is establishing rapport, trust and credibility. People will not buy from you until they like you, trust you and are convinced that you are their friend and acting in their best interests.

3- Identifying Needs Accurately

The third key result area of selling is identifying needs accurately. The biggest mistake that you can make when you meet or talk to a new prospect is to assume that you already know what this prospect needs or wants and is willing to pay for. Each prospect is unique, special and different from all other prospects. He or she has special wants, needs, hopes, fears and desires. In the initial stage of your conversation with the prospect, your single focus is to ask questions and listen carefully to ascertain whether or not a genuine need for what you sell exists in the mind and heart of the person you are talking to.

Too many sales reps walk into customer meetings with their pre-canned sales decks and proudly squawk through 30 of their favorite slides without engaging the customer in a discussion.(small ears and a big mouth)

The goal is to get the customer speaking about their organisation. And the best kind of questions to ask are open-ended questions. I recommend starting with a brief overview of you, your company and your solution. And by brief I mean BRIEF! Next, I recommend putting up some example clients you’ve worked with. These references make for great discussions with customers. Remember people prefer to hear themselves speak rather than to listen to you. It’s just human nature. Write down the customer points/issues so you’ll have them for later. Ask questions the whole time. The best form of sales is “active listening” where you’re engaged in what the customer is telling you.

And please resist the temptation to cut off the customer with a story of your own.

A Typical Sales Cycle:

The Sales Cycle displays the individual’s preferences using factors that are important in a typical sales cycle. It indicates the likely effectiveness of an individual in eight critical stages of the sales process and helps to determine where in a typical sales cycle this person will be most effective.

  1. Developing a Game Plan: Analysing the market in depth, putting effort into positioning products and effective sales activities.
  2. Making Contact: Contacting prospects, ‘breaking the ice’ and making people feel comfortable, taking the initiative to establish new relationships.
  3. Building Desire: Engaging the customer emotionally, creating a preference to buy and a feeling of fondness about the product or service.
  4. Creating Options: Understanding the customer’s needs and producing innovative solutions.
  5. Presenting: Presenting products and/or solutions engagingly and confidently to individuals and customer groups; feeling free of stress and worries.
  6. Closing the Sale: Bringing the business home, managing the customer for timely decisions, dealing with objections, negotiating final price and conditions of sale.
  7. Satisfying the Customer: Delivering post sales care persistently, relating to the customer and taking all steps necessary to satisfy the customer.
  8. Managing and Growing: Maintaining the customer relationship after the sale is completed, continuously looking to identify new needs and business opportunities.
thinking

Stages of Creativity

Stages of Creativity

First, you’ve got to recognize that there is a creative challenge. The research on innovation in business shows there are two approaches: exploitation and exploration.

  • In exploitation the creative challenge is to find new ways to make the most of the products you’ve got.
  • In exploration you look widely to see what else you could do that is new and different.

Leaders need to know when to explore, when to exploit – and how. And that starts with the simple awareness of what you are doing. Then there’s taking on a creative challenge. Highly creative people immerse themselves in everything they can learn about that challenge – and range far more widely than most others. That’s because a creative insight means putting together original elements in a fresh, useful way – and you never know where those pieces will come from.

This wide immersion requires an open awareness, a form of attention that lets the mind wander freely. Mind wandering, which has a bad reputation, is actually a crucial stage in creativity. It lets us come up with those precious new combinations of different elements, the one that will pay off in a creative insight.

But once you have the creative insight, you need to put it to use, to make it real. This is where many innovative people fail: they come up with terrific ideas, but do not know how to actualize them. Very often this means getting other people on board, whether a team, a teacher, colleague, or classmate.

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Mobilizing the help you need to actualize the insight requires social intelligence and relationship skills. Competencies here include understanding how other people think so you can put things in ways they understand, and other persuasion skills; collaboration and teamwork.

 

Test Your Lateral Thinking Skills

The following questions will test your ability to think laterally. If you get more than 50% of these right you’re certainly strong on your lateral thinking skills . To try the quiz click here…

conversion

From Click To Conversion

From click to conversion, where not all clicks are created equal.

The world loves free — especially free — data, insight, helpful tips, etc. Thus, when you’re creating and sharing helpful content, people click on it.

Many content marketers mistake this click for need when often, it’s simply an indicator of interest.

For example, let’s say you post a lot of content around B2B digital sales & marketing strategy and consistently see good click-thru numbers on those links. Specifically, you may see a lot of clicks from inside certain LinkedIn Groups that focus on B2B sales & marketing.

Because of this, you assume those groups want and need advice about developing B2B sales & marketing strategies — something you do. So you devote more time to those groups beyond just posting your content.

You monitor the Daily Update emails, you participate in various discussions and begin to connect with other members.

Meanwhile, you’re not seeing as many clicks from another platform — let’s say Facebook — so you dial down the time you spend there to focus more attention to those click happy LinkedIn Groups that seem to love your content.

But you have a big problem.

You don’t really know if the social media activity is converting to new leads, downloads or subscriptions, or if you’re just helping to educate a lot of people that will never do business with you.

Turning links into leads: The missing link here is conversion tracking.

It’s not enough to use Google Analytics to determine that your social and content efforts are driving traffic to your website, you need to define the high quality from low quality traffic. The only way to do that is to initiate an action and tracking it.

For every social media post you make, you need to understand how many clicks and conversions (downloading a white paper, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a product) were generated.

To create and share content that turns invisible prospects into visible leads, you can start by:

  • Ask your visitors to take an specific action (you can give them a reward for their action, eg: ask them to give their email to receive the full article)
  • Directing your visitor to the next stage (eventually leading them to the purchasing page)
  • Ask them to leave a comment.

When someone clicks on your content, they’re indicating an interest or curiosity. They’re window-shopping. And in the world of business prospecting, they’re invisible.

But when they take that next step … when they trade you a piece of personally identifiable information, such as an email address to subscribe to a blog, they become a visible prospect.

I suggest you start with the google free conversation tracking facilities and you can then consider number of softwares available in the market.

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to take your course online on a commercial or non-commercial basis.

 Import Google Analytics Goals into Conversion Tracking

When it comes to analysing customer activity on your website, Google offers two features to help you: Google Analytics Goals and Transactions, and AdWords Conversion Tracking. You can use both at the same time, or just one.

Compare Google Analytics Goals and AdWords Conversion Tracking

Google Analytics Goals

  • Ideal if you’re interested in the entire flow of customers through your site, not just conversions.
  • Can include conversions from non-AdWords sources, so it’s good for tracking all customer traffic on your website.

AdWords Conversion Tracking

  • Ideal if you’re interested only in conversions.
  • Tracks conversions only from AdWords sources.

Benefits of importing Google Analytics goals

Importing your Google Analytics goals into AdWords Conversion Tracking offers a few benefits. They include:

  • Access your Google Analytics conversions and data related to your AdWords clicks.
  • See Google Analytics conversion data in AdWords.
  • Give Conversion Optimizer access to data that helps optimize bids, potentially increasing conversions and lowering costs.

Keep in mind

You might not need to import Google Analytics transactions if you already use AdWords Conversion Tracking on a particular page. (Enabling both could cause conversions to be double-counted.)

[aio_button align=”none” animation=”none” color=”green” size=”medium” icon=”none” text=”Go to Google for more info.” target=”_blank” relationship=”dofollow” url=”https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2520139″]

This article is based on extract from the article by:  the  Tom Martin, he is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale. Get more from Tom on Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Mobile-Apps

Effective social media strategy

How to build an effective social media strategy

Based on the article by: Tom Martin

The folly of click data

The world loves free — especially free — data, insight, helpful tips, etc. Thus, when you’re creating and sharing helpful content, people click on it.

Many content marketers mistake this click for need when often, it’s simply an indicator of interest.

For example, let’s say you post a lot of content around B2B digital sales & marketing strategy and consistently see good click-thru numbers on those links. Specifically, you may see a lot of clicks from inside certain LinkedIn Groups that focus on B2B sales & marketing.

Because of this, you assume those groups want and need advice about developing B2B sales & marketing strategies — something you do. So you devote more time to those groups beyond just posting your content.

You monitor the Daily Update emails, you participate in various discussions and begin to connect with other members.

Meanwhile, you’re not seeing as many clicks from another platform — let’s say Facebook — so you dial down the time you spend there to focus more attention to those click happy LinkedIn Groups that seem to love your content.

But you have a big problem.

You don’t really know if the social media activity is converting to new leads, downloads or subscriptions, or if you’re just helping educate a lot of people that will never do business with you.

Click here For The Educators Open Invitation 

to take your course online on a commercial or non-commercial basis.

Turning links into leads

The missing link here is conversion tracking.

It’s not enough to use Google Analytics to determine that your social and content efforts are driving traffic to your website, you need to define the high quality from low quality traffic. The only way to do that is by tracking conversions.

For every social media post you make, you need to understand how many clicks and conversions (downloading a white paper, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a product) were generated.

To do this, I suggest you invest in a social media management and tracking platform that will produce customized short links for each social post you create … and track traffic from those links all the way through conversion.

There are a number of enterprise level solutions that will do this but for now, let me show you a simple real-world example of how I use this conversion data to better target my social media marketing efforts.

How conversions inform your strategy

The single most valuable benefit to comparing performance by click and conversion is time and effort management.

The insightful reports can be quite eye opening and really help you focus your limited time and attention to drive the best results for your business.

For instance, look at this campaign snapshot for my new book, The Invisible Sale.

Because most people are not going to purchase a book that is still nine months from publishing (this campaign was in April) we designed the campaign to drive awareness of the book and newsletter subscriber sign-ups. The figure below is showing the click and conversion (people who clicked through and then signed up for my Painless Prospecting newsletter).

If I was only looking at click data, I might feel that I need to place more effort on Twitter and less on Facebook and LinkedIn as Twitter drove significantly more clicks. But take a look at the conversion column.

It tells a very different story. Each of those platforms drove four conversions. However, LinkedIn drove those conversions at a much higher rate. Thus, if I’m looking for the most profitable platform to place my limited resources (time and effort) than LinkedIn would seem a better option.

Think of it this way …

When someone clicks on your content, they’re indicating an interest or curiosity. They’re window-shopping. And in the world of business prospecting, they’re invisible.

But when they take that next step … when they trade you a piece of personally identifiable information, such as an email address to subscribe to a blog, they become a visible prospect.

And that should be the goal of your social media efforts: To create and share content that turns invisible prospects into visible leads.

The benefits of conversion tracking

Conversion tracking isn’t just a better, more accurate way of reporting social media ROI. It’s a better way of developing a social media plan of attack. The single biggest challenge marketers have today is regarding time … or maybe better stated, thelack of time.

If you’re merely tracking clicks, you very well may be spending a lot of time producing and sharing content with window shoppers instead of developing truly valuable relationships with true prospects.

About the Author: Tom Martin is a 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale.

Influencer

Developing an Influencer Plan

Developing an Influencer Plan

In today’s marketplace, the biggest challenge you have is standing out in the crowd, becoming recognized as an authority, and obtaining your dream job. Tested, proven marketing strategies can help you solve these challenges, whether you think you of yourself as a marketer or not.

Getting started

First you have to identify your target audience (those how may be interested in your product or service). Next study  the competitive landscape and your target audience needs, those who may be interested to receive your instructional posts or blogs.

To keep the cost down you need to  your own writing, proofreading, uploading into WordPress, and finding copyright free images for individual posts.

Start Building your LinkedIn network, Facebook Fan page (not a personal page), Google+ and get your Twitter going (subject to your audience you may use other social networks)

The influencer list

Influencer can be defined as a blogger, competitor, or media organization that is creating content of interest to our target audience. Initially, can develop this list by tracking keywords (like “content marketing”) in Google Alerts, authors in industry trade publications, those who were talking about the topic on Twitter, LinkedIn  and other bloggers that you just find interesting.

  • LinkedIn- Join the relevant groups and discussion.
  • Article Submission Sites – Join the relevant article posting sites.
  • FaceBook Fan page – Start building your face books fan page.

Getting the attention of influencers

As influencers, these people are fairly important. They generally have real jobs, and are extremely active on social networks, spending their time sharing content and blogging. Getting on their radar is not easy. So, to get their attention, you can give away content gifts.

Ways to achieve this:

Social media 4-1-1

Originally coined by Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, Social Media 4-1-1 is a sharing system that enables a company to get greater visibility with social influencers.

Here’s how it works.

For every six pieces of content shared via social media (think Twitter for example):

  • Four are pieces of content from your influencer target that are also relevant to your audience. This means that 67% of the time you are sharing content that is not yours, and calling attention to content from your influencer group.
  • One piece can be your original, educational piece of content.
  • One piece can be your sales piece, like a coupon, product notice, press release or some other piece of content that no one will pay attention to.

While the numbers don’t have to be exact, it’s the philosophy that makes this work. When you share influencer content, they notice. And you share, without asking for anything in return … so that when you do need something someday, the influencers are more likely to say yes.

Big content gifts

From your “top content marketing blogs” list, you can decide which one can get a better visibility with influencers by actually ranking the influencers and sharing it out with the masses.

You can rank the top bloggers, websites, books, etc…looking at areas like consistency, style, helpfulness, originality, and social sharing. Then each quarter, you can publicise the list, showcase the top 10, send out a press release, and try to make a big deal out of it. You will find that most of this influencer group share the list with their audiences, and may place your widget (with their personal rank) on their home page, linking back to our site. So not only are we building long-term relationships with these influencers, you are getting credible links and traffic as well.

The importance of a community blog

As you may not have the resources (time and money) to develop large body of content you can find others to join you. To attract these social influencers you should put a compelling case forward (you can be promoting their blogs or book, etc). Most of these influencers (if approached properly) will be more than happy to help you out.

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Influencer program results

You will see positive traffic patterns almost immediately simply because of the amount of social sharing from the network.

That, in turn, leads to more social sharing and some amazing SEO results.

While you may or may not launch a blog that has outside contribution, committing to maintaining a social influencer list is a critical component to your social sharing program.

Next step is to add webinars and video marketing to your content.

This report was written based on an Article by: Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute

inbound-marketing-free-traffic

How To Use Google+ For Content Marketing

Google+

Whether we are looking for a lawyer, mechanic, or a great restaurant, we look to our friends for recommendations. In other words, we look to people we trust.

The same principle applies online.

We look to social signals when evaluating any piece of content. A blog post or YouTube video with with thousands of shares or views is an indication that it is relevant. In other words, social proof is the new marketing.

With Google Search Plus Your World (S+YW), a search feature that enhances your results, it’s yet another intriguing wrinkle in the ever-unfolding story of authorship and how it may affect search rankings.

Try this little experiment

Head over to Google and type in “hide personal results.”

Depending on who’s in your Google+ circles and contacts, you’re going to receive both personal and private results — relevant tips, photos and articles from your friends — right beside other relevant content from the web.

Here are the top two results I received for the phrase “hide your personal results”:

Image of Google Search Results

 

The number one listing is from a gal who has implemented Google’s authorship markup. It helps that she posted on a site with high authority — Lifehacker is a blog brand just about everyone recognizes.

The second result is from a guy I kind of know. In fact, the grey head-and-shoulders icon says this guy is in my Google+ network (he obviously has authorship markup implemented, too).

So, whose article do you think I clicked on? That’s right, Brian Gardner’s. And this, my friends, is how social recommendation in search is now working, thanks to S+YW.

How To Use Google+ For Content Marketing

S+YW drastically changed the SEO game

Here’s the deal: because of S+YW you and I will not receive the same results in Google for a given phrase — even if we’re connected on Google+.

We simply don’t have the same search history profile.

What that means is when it comes to measuring our success with the classic SEO metric — page ranking — you need to rethink your strategy because the game has changed.

It’s changed so much that Danny Sullivan said that S+YW was the most radical transformation of Google search results ever.

What this means in the long run is that ranking has become an even more complex equation. Who you know has become an incredibly important factor for most searches. (As always, it’s debatable whether this is a good thing or not.)

Another reason to grow your Google+ network

For example, if you want to land in your network’s search results for the phrase “hide personal results,” you would need to do at least four things:

  • Create an epic post on “how to hide personal search results on Google.”
  • Publish that post on an authoritative site.
  • Get people to link to and share that post.
  • Grow your Google+ network.

While you have control over the four above steps in varying degrees, it’s that last point that you probably have the most control over. Let’s say you are in more than 1,000 Circles, but you have another 1,000 Gmail contacts. That means your total net reach in search is more than 2,000 people. Not too bad, since you can extend that reach simply by growing your presence and audience on Google+ (I’ll show you how below — don’t worry, it’s pretty easy).

Why Google+ is the better social network

See, your network impact on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest doesn’t extend beyond those social media domains. Your content is sheltered (which is another reason not to be a digital sharecropper).

  • On Google+ your network impact extends beyond the social media domain. It follows you across all of Google’s products: Reviews, Maps, Chrome, Ads, Hangouts, YouTube, Drive, Calendar, Wallet.
  • It follows you across every Google product.
  • This is what people mean when they say that Google+ is a social layer.
  • Search has been upgraded by social.

In addition, where a tweet or a Facebook post has a shelf life of 30 minutes at the most, a Google+ post can be found during a search by someone in your network …no matter how old it is.

How to build your personal impact in S+YW

Fortunately, the process for increasing your S+YW influence is pretty straightforward:

And keep in mind that the growth of your Google+ network is actually exponential.

… if one person who has 10,000 Google+ followers (and/or other Google contacts, such as people in her Gmail contacts) follows you, you’ve gained the ability to potentially influence the search of not just one, but 10,000 other people, most of whom don’t even know you exist!

This kind of reach is only available through S+YW, which is just one more reason why you should make Google+ an essential component of your content marketing strategy.

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is Chief Copywriter for Copyblogger Media. You can his blog to read his Education of a Writer series.