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Guide: How to use podcasting in your content marketing campaign

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30-second summary:

  • Podcasting can add a new dimension to your brand and content marketing strategy.
  • There are many ways you can approach this, utilizing different mediums, channels, and distribution methods to accomplish this, but many content marketers stick to the basics, almost exclusively focusing on written content. 
  • Georgi Todorov shares a comprehensive guide on podcast content which encompasses the benefits, SEO perks, types of podcast content, publishing and marketing platforms, and a lot more!

If you have a content marketing strategy already in place, you’re no stranger to the fundamental principles that guide it. Your goal is to naturally attract more readers, fans, and followers by providing them with information and/or entertainment they want to consume. There are many ways you can approach this, utilizing different mediums, channels, and distribution methods to accomplish this, but many content marketers stick to the basics, almost exclusively focusing on written content. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, reach new audiences, and capitalize on a medium with enormous momentum, you should consider starting your own podcast. But how can you integrate podcasting with the rest of your content marketing campaign? 

Why podcasts?

First, let’s talk about why podcasts are so valuable in the context of content marketing. A podcast is a series of pieces of audio content, usually released regularly in the form of episodes. These episodes vary in length and format, with some primarily unfolding as interviews and others attempting to provide an entire narrative experience.

Five big benefits of podcasting

In any case, there are several benefits to using podcasts: 

1. Current popularity

Podcasts have become incredibly popular in the past several years. There are currently more than a million podcasts, with 30 million episodes between them, and more than half of all households are podcast listeners. Podcasts still seem to be on a fast growth trajectory, as more people discover and become immersed in the medium. 

2. Ease of entry

Podcasts are also valuable because of how easy they are to create. Make no mistake, you’ll still need to put the effort in, just as you would with any kind of content. However, you can get started with a relatively inexpensive assortment of equipment, and you don’t need any special training in audio engineering to make an episode that sounds good. 

3. Cross-medium potential

Podcasts are also a gateway to produce multiple forms of content simultaneously. For example, you could record video of an interview you conducted with an industry leader, then release it as a video, a podcast, and as a blog (with a written transcript), capitalizing on the content in three ways. 

4. Collaborative potential

The interactive audio experience lends itself well to collaboration, you can benefit by going on other podcasts, and other industry experts can benefit from attending yours. This cross-pollination effect allows you to spread your influence more easily, while also getting help creating new content. 

5. New audience segments

Some people who prefer listening to podcasts may never discover your work unless you break them in with audio content. In any case, you’ll be able to reach new segments and existing segments in new ways, broadening your audience. 

Podcasting as a new content marketing channel

With those benefits in mind, the best way to think about podcasting in content marketing is to think of it as a new content marketing channel. Content marketing always has the same overarching goal. You want to give people content they want. This could mean providing them with answers to their questions (which is especially important if you’re optimizing for search engines), or merely entertaining them. 

Take ASAP Science as an example. The popular Youtube channel has racked up over 9.3 million subscribers since launching over seven years ago. About two years ago, they launched a podcast called Sidenote to supplement their popular video content.

Each content marketing channel represents some way for consumers to find your content and consume it. For example, there’s blogging, email marketing, social media marketing, and videocasting – in some ways, podcasting is just another lead generation channel to add to your repertoire

As with the addition of other channels, the best way to harness the power of podcasting is by treating each channel as a complementary unit in a broader whole. For example, you’ll use your email newsletter to showcase your best blogs, and you’ll call for email newsletter signups in the body of your blog posts. This allows channel-specific consumers to discover your other mediums and helps keep your brand top-of-mind in many areas. 

If you decide to podcast, you’ll need to take advantage of this, leveraging your existing channels to push your podcast and using your podcast to deliver listeners to other channels. 

This is what Neil Patel and Eric Siu did to launch their four-year-old podcast, Marketing School. Both are well-recognized experts in the field of online marketing, and they leveraged their existing content channels, including their blogs and email lists, to launch Marketing School, which now enjoys over 1 million downloads per month. 

Podcasts and SEO

Podcasting also requires attention to search engine optimization (SEO) in two main ways. First, if utilized properly, podcasting can boost the search engine visibility of your main site. 

You can list and distribute your new podcast episodes as individual pages of your site, much like a blog, and if you provide adequate titles, meta information, and episode transcripts, you’ll easily have a new way to optimize for specific keyword phrases. Each new podcast episode will also be a piece of content that can be discovered in search engines. This is the approach Shane Barker takes with his podcast, Marketing Growth Podcast.

Podcasting and SEO

Over time, as your podcast becomes more popular, it will attract more citations and other types of links. This is vital for improving your domain authority, which in turn will make it easier for your site to rank. If you’re interested in building a separate domain, you can do that too, using your podcast as an engine of exclusive support. 

There’s another way to think about SEO, however. Podcasts are an avenue to grow the authority and visibility of your main site—but you also need to think about promoting the podcast’s authority and visibility. Most people discover podcasts by browsing podcast distribution networks and conducting searches for topics that interest them. Accordingly, you’ll need to optimize for these podcast-specific search engines. 

The process for optimizing a podcast for podcast networks is very similar to website-specific SEO, you’ll need to optimize for specific keywords and improve your reputation. Take, for example, the aptly-named podcast The Fantasy Footballers, who rank very well in search results for their niche, “fantasy football.” 

Podcasting example fantasy foot ballers

In addition to your podcast’s name, you’ll need to collect as many ratings and reviews as possible, which means calling listeners to action each episode and ensuring you provide them with high-quality material. 

The saturation dilemma: Finding a unique angle

The 30 million podcast episodes currently in circulation are a sign of podcasts’ popularity, but this is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good sign that you’re onto a hot channel, but it also means you’re facing a ton of competition. The podcast market is, in some ways, saturated, and if you want to succeed, you’ll need some way to stand out. 

Four ways your podcast can be unique in some way

1. A new topic

You could introduce an entirely new topic to the podcast world — something no one has covered before. Given the length of time podcasting has been around and the sheer number of people trying to do this, finding a truly unique topic may be exceedingly difficult. 

2. A different format

You may also try to take an existing topic and cover it in a different format. Instead of short episodes, you could do deep, two or three hour dives. You could also try to produce bite-sized segments, five minutes in length, to capitalize on audiences with minimal free time. If most people in this space are doing interviews, you could create a narrative or vice versa. It all depends on your goals. 

3. Strong opinions

It’s also possible to differentiate your podcast by offering strong opinions on a given subject. It’s okay to be controversial, even if some people disagree with you, they’ll be inclined to voice their contradicting opinions, which will only bring more attention to your work. Just make sure you’re still being respectful in your expression of your opinions. 

4. A different tone

You can also consider introducing your topics with a different tone. For example, if people usually treat this topic overly seriously, you could give it a cheeky, tongue-in-cheek spin. 

However, you choose to be unique, make sure you’re also showcasing your authentic self. People listen to podcasts in part because they feel like they get to know the hosts; if you’re trying too hard to put on airs or if you try to use a personality that isn’t your own, you’re going to turn people away. 

The quality factor

It should go without saying that your podcast needs to be “good,” or people won’t listen to it. But what exactly is a “good” podcast? 

As with written content, there are some easily identifiable hallmarks of “good” work, but also some harder-to-place subjective qualities you’ll need to consider. Listen to a lot of podcasts to get a feel for what you like and don’t like. 

The most important quality to strive for is value; are you providing listeners with something they find valuable? Beyond that, you’ll need to think about the integrity of your recording; are your voices coming through loud and clear, with little to no background noise? 

Distribution and promotion

Much of your podcasting success will depend on your ability to distribute and promote your work. Let’s say your podcast is objectively the best podcast ever recorded, it’s funny, informative, and has something for everyone. That’s still no guarantee of success. If people aren’t able to find and listen to it, they’ll never even know what they’re missing out on. 

Accordingly, you’ll need to make additional efforts to improve its visibility. As we already covered, it’s important to optimize your podcast for search engines. It’s also important to distribute your podcast on as many podcast distribution networks as possible. Spotify is the biggest podcast platform currently, but Apple Podcasts is also a major player, and there are several smaller platforms to consider. It doesn’t take much effort to list your work in these channels, so you might as well do it. 

You’ll also want to publish new work on a consistent basis. Many podcasters strive for a weekly new episode or even a daily new episode, but the frequency isn’t nearly as important as the consistency. Consistency is what allows you to retain your existing audience and snowball new listeners into your fanbase. 

In addition to distributing your podcast on multiple platforms, you’ll want to promote your work so people can find it easily. Again, cross-promotion on your other content channels is ideal here, but if you want a quicker route to early momentum, consider paying for advertising. 

As your podcast begins to mature, you’ll want to spend extra effort nurturing your existing audience to encourage their loyalty (and hopefully get more referrals). Respond to comments on your podcast episodes when you can, thank your listeners regularly, and get involved on social media; you can even consider starting a Facebook Group or similar network for your fans. Here’s a guide with 101 tactics to promote your podcast.

A note on monetization

This guide assumes that you’re using podcasting as a way to market your brand or website overall. Accordingly, it’s a form of advertising on its own. However, it’s worth noting that if your podcast accumulates a significant enough listener base, you may be able to monetize it. 

Ads, sponsorships, and affiliate deals can all help you offset the costs of recording and establish a separate stream of revenue — but they may also turn some audience members away. 

Content marketing touchstones: Measurement and analysis 

As with other elements of your content marketing strategy, the only way to tell if your podcasting strategy is working is to measure and analyze your results. How many new listeners and subscribers are you getting? How many times is each episode downloaded? Is your podcast responsible for generating new traffic to your site? How many site visitors eventually download a podcast episode? 

Set up Google Analytics or your platform of choice to track these metrics, then experiment. Do people respond better to a certain type of episode that you release? Did your numbers drop off when you took a big risk? More importantly, what trends do you see emerging over time? 

Conclusion

Podcasting is a powerful complement to your existing content marketing efforts, and it can stand on its own as a path to revenue generation if you treat it right. But to be successful, you’ll need some way to distinguish yourself from your numerous competitors, a high emphasis on quality, and constant refinement with the help of measurement and analysis. 

It’s a complex and nuanced content marketing channel, but getting started is easier than most people think. Give it a try, and see if it can work for your brand.

Georgi Todorov is a digital marketing specialist at Green Park Content. He can be found on Twitter @GeorgiTodorovBG.  

The post Guide: How to use podcasting in your content marketing campaign appeared first on Search Engine Watch.



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To build customer loyalty during COVID-19, maximize interactions between transactions

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30-second summary:

  • To develop a true relationship with a consumer, brands will need to look beyond the point of sale (POS) to focus on the moments of engagement captured through the likes of social media interactions, feedback loops, customer service moments, content sharing, video connections and more.
  • Customers may re-evaluate their routines, which in essence is evaluating who they are loyal to. This may be driven by safety, convenience, online presence, etc. An economic recession always breaks old habits and remakes them anew. Layer on a health crisis like COVID-19, and then the threats to long-term loyalty skyrockets.
  • Right now, customers are dealing with many new experiences, such as working from home, wearing facemasks outside and cooking healthy meals for their families with limited supplies. Build a stronger emotional connection with customers by serving up content that supports these sometimes-difficult activities.
  • At a time when many people are struggling, offering customers wiggle room on return policies and other terms and conditions can surprise and delight—and convince customers that your brand is a keeper.
  • Supporting causes bigger than your company is a key element of reciprocity.

Most brands focus their marketing energy at driving transactions. From years of experience, they know how to nudge a customer down the sales funnel with a well-timed discount offer or well-placed retargeted ad. However, these techniques are not as effective during the COVID-19 crisis… and may not position them well as consumers return.

In order to protect long-term top-line revenue, brands need to look past short-term profits and focus more on lasting relationships.

To develop a true relationship with a consumer, brands will need to look beyond the point of sale (POS) to focus on the moments of engagement captured through the likes of social media interactions, feedback loops, customer service moments, content sharing, video connections and more.

One reason interacting at just the POS is not enough is simply that because transactions are fewer and further between during this time. With unemployment rates in the double digits, many customers simply do not have the discretionary funds they did before the pandemic.

Those who are still employed may feel anxiety about their financial security, as well as their emotional wellbeing. These feelings of stress and anxiety pose another challenge for brands during the pandemic.

Customers may re-evaluate their routines, which in essence is evaluating who they are loyal to. This may be driven by safety, convenience, online presence, etc. An economic recession always breaks old habits and remakes them anew. Layer on a health crisis like COVID-19, and then the threats to long-term loyalty skyrockets.

To weather the storm, your brand should address these emotions, not avoid them. Pivot your experience to create a human connection, not just a transactional one.

Address customers’ concerns and current situation through authentic engagement and meaningful interactions, and you will build loyalty that will have lasting impressions… long after COVID-19 passes. This pivot is key for most brands’ post-pandemic revival.

Three ways to drive emotional loyalty between the transaction during COVID-19

Three main emotions drive customer loyalty: the need for a habitual routine, a desire for status and feelings of reciprocity. As mentioned above, a crisis-situation will almost always disrupt consumer’s habits, and it usually makes them care less about status and exclusivity, too.

All this makes the notion of reciprocity ever so important. Customers right now are highly emotional and want to feel valued and heard by the brands they choose to engage and interact with.

They want brands to reflect their own values and priorities, and may even want the ability to contribute to a greater cause. This is one reason that socially conscious brands like Everlane and Patagonia took off after the last recession. They gave customers good reasons to stick around even during tough times.

Keep these principles in mind as you brainstorm ways to engage customers in between transactions during and after the pandemic:

1) Add value with non-sales content

Right now, customers are dealing with many new experiences, such as working from home, wearing facemasks outside and cooking healthy meals for their families with limited supplies.

Build a stronger emotional connection with customers by serving up content that supports these sometimes-difficult activities.

For example, Best Buy offered tips for setting up a home office rather than pushing computer sales. Share your helpful content via email, on social media or anywhere else you connect with your customers.

2) Make your policies flexible

At a time when many people are struggling, offering customers wiggle room on return policies and other terms and conditions can surprise and delight—and convince customers that your brand is a keeper.

For example, Marriott paused points expiration for its Bonvoy loyalty program, as well as adjusting the hotel chain’s cancellation policy to be more flexible during the pandemic.

Announcing policy changes is also a good excuse to reach out to customers to keep your band top of mind, without pushing a sale.

3) Find ways to give back to your community

Supporting causes bigger than your company is a key element of reciprocity.

For example, shoe brand Tom’s, a pioneer in this space, is donating one-third of its net profits to organizations on the front lines of the pandemic. You do not have to donate cash; in fact, the contribution might be more impactful if it is tailored to your business and its products or services.

Recently, many restaurant chains including Chipotle have donated free food to healthcare workers.

Address emotions now, but plan for the post COVID-19 future

The instability and uncertainty we all feel today will not last forever. However, brands that respond empathetically and effectively to customers’ emotions during this crisis will be best positioned to weather the storm.

Old habits are broken during a recession — but new habits are also established. In addition, those who keep customers engaged between transactions, building valuable emotional loyalty, will become part of those new habits as they form.

In order for brands to truly understand customer’s emotional drivers, you should look into tools like Kobie’s Emotional Loyalty Scoring to help re-segment and decipher customer reactions to messaging, benefits, and offers.

Marti Beller is President at Kobie Marketing. Beller has more than 20 years of loyalty marketing and customer engagement experience after most recently serving as senior vice president of global loyalty products and platforms, Mastercard. Prior to her tenure at Mastercard, she served as president of Connexions Loyalty (formerly Affinion Loyalty Group), where she led the customer engagement and loyalty strategies of multiple global brands, including top credit card issuers, worldwide hoteliers and national airlines.

The post To build customer loyalty during COVID-19, maximize interactions between transactions appeared first on ClickZ.



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Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC

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30-second summary:

  • Many businesses opt for content marketing because organic traffic is free. But, this strategy makes them miss a great opportunity to grow fast because combining SEO-optimized content with PPC speeds up the lead generation process.
  • Online businesses need to know specific use cases for content marketing and PPC to assess the value of the strategy.
  • Less than half of small businesses (45%) invest in PPC.
  • PPC and SEO content marketing can bring in more leads by capturing more quality traffic with more effective keyword optimization of blog content, lead magnets, and landing pages.
  • To get the most value from content marketing and PPC, businesses need to master keyword research, searcher intent, and the consistency between the landing page and ad optimization.

As someone who primarily engaged in SEO and content writing for small businesses, I didn’t really care about PPC advertising.  

Maybe because of people like me, only 45% of small businesses invest in PPC 

I thought that the best way to bring high-quality leads was with super optimized content, so paid advertising was the realm of bigger companies. That’s the mindset of many small business owners. With teeny tiny marketing budgets, they have to choose between SEO/content and PPC. 

SEO/content often becomes their choice, especially of those with interest in content creation and a lack of real marketing experience.  

SEO was my preferred choice, too, and I saw PPC as something secondary. 

Boy, was I wrong about this!

After a couple of projects involving PPC promotion, my view of the strategy completely changed. No, they didn’t change how I thought about SEO, but they showed how amazing the results could be if you combine the power of both strategies. 

To all SEO specialists still not using PPC and the other way around, here’s what you’re missing.  

1. More effective content thanks to PPC-tested keywords

Developing a content strategy is one of the most complex and important tasks for any SEO specialist. They use keyword research tools, PPC tools, Google Search Console results, and other methods to find those precious keywords used by customers.  

When they find the keywords they think are good for targeting SEO/content marketing, they begin a slow process of creating content. I wrote oh-so-many blog articles, eBooks, checklists, reports, and other content to find out the keywords that attracted the most conversions.  

All of this takes a lot of time.  

In fact, to write a super effective blog post, you need more than six hours 

Source: OrbitMedia 

When you’re done with writing the draft, there’s also proofreading, editing, making visuals, and keyword optimization. To cut a long story short, you might need a few days to complete a good article that can bring quality organic traffic.  

But that’s not the end of that road.  

Google, too, needs some time to index the article and rank it. In fact, it might take between two and six months to rank in the top 10.  

That’s a bit much, agree? 

To top it all off, the keywords you’ve chosen for your content might not the best ones to target. If you make this mistake, you’ll have to learn your mistakes and start all over again (welcome to the world of SEO content writing, folks). 

Is there a way to speed this time-consuming process up? Yes. It’s PPC.  

It can get you in front of the audience and allow you to test your keyword ideas much faster. If you have content to test, use PPC ads, and equip them with the keywords.  

Get them out there and see what people respond to best. You can have some great results as early as a few days, which is pretty much impossible with SEO/content marketing.  

Another great news is that you can run A/B testing. This means running ads featuring different keywords for the same content piece. If one performs much better than the other, update the content with the more popular keywords.  

So, the takeaway here is that running PPC campaigns for content is a much faster way to test keywords. Start by finding keywords with research tools and make some ads, and you’ll be more likely to discover how your customers look for businesses like yours.  

Related:  

2. More leads from lead magnets

In content SEO, we often create lead magnets 

They are content pieces like reports, white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, and other valuable content that people need to sign up to access.  

You’ve seen tons of them before. A common example is a banner promoting an industry report with an irresistible CTA on a blog. It says that you need to provide your email address and name to access it instantly.  

Click on that CTA, and you’ll go to a landing page with the lead capture form.  

Like this “The Ultimate Agency Guide to Video Marketing” landing page, where everyone can download a guide with helpful tips on video marketing.

Example of lead magnets landing pages

As you can see, the content is offered in exchange for some data. Not a bad deal of a guide packed with useful instructions for businesses.  

Unsurprisingly, many content producers often turn to lead magnets for quick lead generation.  

Ozan Gobert, a senior content writer at Best Writers Online said, 

“Lead magnets work well for both B2B and B2C businesses aslong as they have some value for customers. You can generate some high-quality leads with them, as they typically attract those interested in insights and tips inside.” 

If a blog has thousands of visitors every week, then there might not be a need for PPC promoting lead magnets. But is that true for your blog? 

Many people think they can manage without the ads (I was one of them). Basically, it’s because they think that great content will “sell” itself. 

Despite what they might think, not so many blogs are that successful in attracting visitors. In fact, more than 90% of web pages don’t get any organic search traffic from Google.

Ahrefs stats on PPC and content marketing

As you can see, only about 1.3 percent of web pages out there get decent traffic. Just for that tiny share, promoting a lead magnet with PPC advertising might not be necessary every time. 

Obviously, the situation is very different for the rest.  

If your website doesn’t have a lot of visitors, too, then creating lead magnets might be pointless. They’ll just sit there only to be discovered by a few people per week.

Not good because you need more leads.  

If you wish that there was a way to get more people to pay attention to, there is actually a way.

And it’s PPC, of course. To get some emails, you need a well-crafted PPC campaign that leads people to the landing page where they can sign up to receive the content.  

You can try to bring people with keyword-based ads promoting the lead magnet. If you choose the right keywords, the ads have a much greater chance to attract leads than SEO alone.  

This is how it works: PPC does the job bringing in visitors, the content converts them into leads by having them complete the capture form.  

To increase the chance of people signing up, the value of content is critical. But, the visual appeal is also a major consideration. You need tools for creating visual content like images, graphics, and infographics to add to your lead magnets.  

3. Better marketing campaign performance thanks to a smart keyword use

Many businesses out there don’t realize they can bring much more quality traffic to their websites if they focus on best-performing keywords in both SEO, content marketing and PPC.  

Much more traffic.  

When an SEO/content marketing specialist and a PPC marketer share a list of relevant keywords, they can decide how to divide them to: 

  • Target the most promising keywords together to bring the most traffic 
  • Identify the keywords that are the most difficult for SEO and target them with PPC and the other way around
  • Define which search queries to focus on with each lead acquisition strategy

Ultimately, the cooperation between the PPC and SEO teams can result in a much more effective keyword strategy. In turn, this strategy could attract more traffic to your websites. 

Important note

To make content keyword optimization work, you need to master searcher intent or purchase intentPut simply, searcher intent is the reason behind a search query.  

For example, the query “Samsung a10 review” implies that the searcher is looking to do some research but has not made the decision yet. If they search Google for “buy Samsung a10 cheap”, then they might be ready to buy.  

Each intent defines how you should create content. It matters a lot for SEO because Google’s goal is to provide its users with the most relevant results.  

Dive Deeper: Tapping into Google’s Algorithm for Searcher Intent. 

4. Create landing pages that convert more visitors

A landing page is the heart of any PPC marketing.  

But, in many cases, PPC specialists aren’t the best persons to write the copy for it. By engaging content and SEO specialists and having them work with PPC folks, you can create a keyword optimized copy that also appeals to the readers.  

For example, PPC specialists can provide keywords and ideas for optimized headings and subheadings for attracting traffic. In turn, content writers contribute by creating a copy that’s easy to read and entices the visitors to act.  

So, the collaboration of PPC and SEO/content teams can result in campaign landing pages that generate clicks and converts.  

A good way to start doing PPC campaign landing pages is to create a checklist to cover all bases. This checklist can include images, copy, sign up options, etc. 

Know more: Studying the anatomy of a successful high-conversion landing page

SEO and PPC: Two are better than one

I’m not exaggerating when I say that SEO and PPC are a marriage made in heaven. I am positive that these points described in this article prove that.

Don’t make a mistake I made by neglecting the power of PPC advertising. Combined with SEO and quality content, you can greatly increase the quality of your traffic.

If you’d like to try them together, feel free to start by doing PPC ads for your best-performing blog articles. The results you’ll see will definitely impress and inspire you to try more. Thanks to this article, you’ll know your next steps.

Ana Mayer is a project manager with 3+ years of experience. She likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Online Writers Rating writing review website.

The post Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC appeared first on Search Engine Watch.



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HubSpot CRM review 2020: A super honest look at the pros, cons, and sales tools

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When HubSpot released their free CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and Sales Tools in 2014, they added a whole new dimension to the company’s offerings and value.

They expanded its effects beyond just marketing into sales, and now even customer service — all at no additional cost to start.

In this article, we’ll take an unbiased (as much as we can!) look at the HubSpot CRM and Sales Tools and share the pros and cons of each. 

Pros and cons of the HubSpot CRM


The HubSpot CRM makes it easy to organize, track, and grow your contact list and sales pipeline, but like everything, it has both its pros and cons.

Pro: It’s FREE

According to HubSpot, the CRM will be free to use forever — even if you’re not a paying HubSpot customer.

Not only is it free, but it includes unlimited users – meaning you can add your ENTIRE team – Marketing, Sales, whoever!

Pro (Released in 2018): Live chat

HubSpot released their Live Chat tool (Conversations) this year to all users, free or paid. 

It’s super simple to set up and manage, and you even get basic chat bot functionality to take your online visitor and customer experience to the next level.

With paid levels of the HubSpot tools, you get even more robust functionality to be able to customize and manage live chat and incoming inquiries in a way that makes sense for your team.

Pro: Better insights

The HubSpot CRM tracks customer interactions automatically, providing valuable insights into customer behavior and making it easier to know when to follow up.

With the Gmail and Outlook extensions, you’re able to track email opens and clicks to see how users are interacting with your emails in real-time.

Note: for the free CRM, you’ll be able to see the first 7 days of tracked website activity on a contact. With HubSpot’s paid Marketing Hub tools, you’ll be able to see ANY tracked data.

Pro: No customization limits

Most CRMs have annoying customization limits, but HubSpot allows you to customize everything to your brand and your specific sales process.

(We saved an IMPACT client thousands a year with a customized HubSpot CRM.  Learn all about it here!)

Pro: Uses the same database as marketing platform (no integration needed)

Both marketing and sales perform best when they’re in alignment. The HubSpot CRM is natively connected with the HubSpot marketing tools, allowing a smooth transition of leads from marketing to sales in your funnel and far easier communication of data.

As you grow with HubSpot, all of your data will remain in the same place — upgrading your subscription will simply give you added functionalities and features.

Pro: can be used with other CRMs

At IMPACT, we often find that many of our clients enjoy using the HubSpot CRM for prospecting due to its simplicity and functionality (and integration with HubSpot’s other sales tools), but find Salesforce (or another legacy system) is still useful for other needs.

Luckily, the HubSpot CRM doesn’t affect anything your organization is doing in other CRM platforms, such as SFDC or Microsoft Dynamics.

They can be used simultaneously — and both can be integrated into HubSpot as well.

Con: relatively new

Since HubSpot CRM is still relatively new compared to other major CRM players, there are some feature limitations.

However, HubSpot’s emphasis on research and development has alleviated many former qualms about the platform and there are updates being made to regularly.

Con: Lightweight

Although HubSpot CRM is great for growing businesses, organizations with large sales teams might find that HubSpot CRM isn’t advanced enough just yet.

Con: Lack of flexibility

Compared to other CRMs, HubSpot’s platform is relatively inflexible. While there are certainly features you can customize around your team’s processes and needs, we’ve found that organizations with very complex sales processes aren’t able to find the flexibility they’re looking for in the HubSpot CRM.

HubSpot CRM vs Salesforce

As with any business decision, deciding which CRM is right for your business comes down to the current state of your business, sales team, and goals.

According to HubSpot, the CRM was not designed to compete with that of Salesforce (in fact, they have an integration for it.)

🔎 Related:HubSpot CRM vs Salesforce: Which one is better?

Rather, it is for companies that have never used a CRM before and want to start or those that find Salesforce is too robust for their needs.

If you’re a growing company looking to implement a lightweight CRM that improves organization and efficiency for sales reps and creates closed-loop reporting on sales and marketing initiatives, then HubSpot CRM is for you.

If you need an enterprise-wide ecosystem in one platform, however, Salesforce may be a better option.  

🔎 Related: ‘Ultimate Salesforce to HubSpot CRM migration checklist

HubSpot Sales Tools

While the HubSpot CRM has many basic tools to get you started, it’s rarely ever used in a silo. If you’re going to start using the CRM, you’re likely going to eventually start using the Sales Tools as well.

Here’s a brief overview of the Sales Tools pros and cons to get you started:

HubSpot’s Sales Tools have come a long way in last year.

They now have several sales tools available, including Email Templates, Snippets, Meetings, Prospects, Sequences, Documents, Tasks, and a tool for email tracking.

Not only have the tools come a long way, but at INBOUND 2018 HubSpot announced the new Sales Hub Enterprise — making their sales tools much more appealing to the mid-market.

Pro: You can start using free, and scale up as you grow

HubSpot is making a big push to help businesses improve their inbound sales by providing several sales tools, in addition to their CRM, free of charge.

Most of the tools are available for free (with monthly usage limits), but for $50 per user/month, you can get a Starter account with higher limits and premium tools like Meetings, Sequences, and Prospects.

As you get into Professional and Enterprise level accounts, you start to unlock features like the native Salesforce integration, multiple pipelines, teams, and even 1:1 video for sales.

Pro: Work from inside your inbox, OR HubSpot

HubSpot’s sales tools live in your inbox (Gmail or Outlook), so you don’t have to go back and forth between various windows and you can get more work done faster.

Not only that, but HubSpot’s CRM and Sales tools could effectively replace your inbox altogether.

By connecting your email account to HubSpot, you can send and receive emails to and from any of your contacts right within their HubSpot contact record.

Pro: Automatically syncs with other HubSpot hubs

Similar to HubSpot’s CRM, their sales tools work perfectly with HubSpot Marketing, your contacts, and all of their other software.

If you’re familiar with HubSpot, you’ll be able to jump right in and use these tools.

Con: Not as robust as HubSpot Marketing (yet)

HubSpot’s marketing software is a true all-in-one platform, whereas their sales tools make up a new collection of convenient and useful tools.

They make an excellent addition but historically have lacked the advanced functionality to be the exclusive sales tools for most large sales teams.

However, with Sales Enterprise, HubSpot is working hard to make that issue a thing of the past.

🔎 Related:HubSpot Marketing Reviews: Real-world testimonials (updated for 2020)

Ready to get started with the HubSpot CRM?

We’re here to help. Get your team trained all at once with an on-site company training with a HubSpot Specialist.





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