There are so many opinions these days in the world of online marketing about what ‘works’ and what does not. It is always refreshing to see actual data rather then opinion based on hunches and single experiences.
Hubspot has built a reputation by building a community where businesses can share their opinions of what works. In exchange, Hubspot started collecting real stories of what is happening with businesses. That has allowed them to build some tools. Those tools have gotten respect by marketers that have been around long enough to tell the difference between ‘wantabe’s’ and the real deal. Hubspot is not done building, but then neither is the Internet. So while I continue to check out their tools (and recommend you do the same), they have a gift for us. They have shared some of their insights from over 3,700 business customers. They created a slidedeck of those insights and are sharing them here: http://www.hubspot.com/charts
This slidedeck has great statistics from 2010 about marketing and social media for both B2B (business selling to Business) and B2C (business selling to consumer) companies. While often focused for smaller companies, I found slides 117-120 particularly interesting as it shows how stock performance related to customer response speed is real interesting. Hint faster response=more money for stock holders of Fortune 100 companies.
Some other observations from the slides:
- It is interesting to see how video is shifting our online conversation. Many more people will share a link to a video than just a photo. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but moving pictures are worth more (plus there is audio). Want to get more sharing of your site? Post interesting video on your blog, website, Facebook Fan Page. (Slide 9)
- Comments are easier for photos then video. I wonder how much of that is the number of sites that allow comments without logging in for photo’s compared to video (especially when directly linking to a YouTube.com or similar tool). Of course videos may just speak for themselves and not need more editorializing. (slides 9-10)
- Having a clear voice and adding your insights gets more views as we continue to have more choices of content to read/consume. ( slides 11-18)
- Readability is important. Don’t write at a college level – The Wall Street Journal does not, for a good reason (Juicy’s Interpreting the Results) (slide 20)
- Giving something of value (webinar, whitepaper, download, chapter, tools, report) increases conversion (slides 30-34)
- Your conversion rate on forms drops after 3 fields. Sorry, our desire for information scares away customers and relationships. Start with a little information and share some value. ( slide 35)
More insights from this treasure trove of information to come.
Hubspots’ full webinar is at http://www.hubspot.com/the-science-of-blogging/
The download PDF and PPT are accessible at http://www.hubspot.com/charts
The cost to start-up a business these days is lower then ever. As the needs for technology and communication sophistication keep increasing, the cost for these tools keeps dropping. At least to get started and prove your concept. Voice phone calls, and voice mail is free (once you pay for Internet access) with Google Voice and many other VOIP solutions. Video conferencing is free, with a little technical know how, using Skype and other services. The list goes on (I keep trying to keep an updated list, but the best in breed and abilities of each low cost service change so frequently).
One of the ways of determining some of the best of breed is to look at the many (many, many) end of year “best of” lists. These often consolidate and update the author’s finds from throughout the year.
Here are some cool types of tools for businesses looking for low cost (free on up) solutions to business communication and learning challenges. Cloud solutions are going mainstream. Even the GSA (goverment Services Administration) is using the cloud (they choose Google Apps and will save 50% of email costs in 5 years).
From the Mashable site http://insr.us/SeoDamian5Essential
The point is there are an incredible amount of tools available for free if you are a small business. Their objective is to follow the same strategy that Apple followed a generation or two ago. Sell for free or cheap when you really can not afford a solution. In exchange, let you be beta testers – you find the issues, you complain about the user interface imperfections, you come up with creative ways to use it then was envisioned. Then when you become the one in a hundred larger company and need more control and services as a larger organization or enterprise, then turn on the billing. In exchange, the software company does not have to deal with small invoices, small shipping, small customer service, small loss on each transaction. Only bill for a large enough amount that is profitable. That also means it is good enough to be valuable to pay for the services.
Comment on what are your favorite tools that you could not live without. Let us know what tools have you discovered this past year that you are keeping in your tool box for 2011.