Archive for the ‘Social Networking, Media, Marketing (SMM/SMO)’ Category

Selecting the Right Inbound Marketing Tool For Your Business

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

New marketing software comes out practically every day, making it a challenge to find the right platform for your business. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the top inbound marketing tools on the market right now and broken them down for you into costs, features, and ratings.

₪ Cobija: Corporativa al atardecer - Flickr Meeting at Tusk ₪
►Milo► / / CC BY-NC-SA

HubSpot is an inbound marketing software company that helps businesses transform their marketing from outbound (cold calls, email spam, trade shows, TV ads, etc) lead generation to inbound lead generation enabling them to “get found” by more potential customers in the natural course of the way they shop and learn.

Ideal for what audience: Big business, corporation, medium-sized business, business to consumer, business to business

Cost: Basic plan is $200/month. Pro plan is $800/month. Enterprise plan is $2,400/month.

Features: HubSpot’s software contains everything you need to do inbound marketing. You can blog, send email, monitor social media, create web and landing pages, do marketing automation, SEO, and analytics.

Ratings: Ranked #1 in customer satisfaction according to G2 Crowd.


Hatchbuck is simple sales and marketing software geared for smaller businesses who want to leverage marketing and CRM in an all-in-one marketing software.

Ideal for what audience: Entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses

Cost: Starter plan is $99/month. Standard plan is $199/month. Premium plan is $299/month.

Features: Lead management, Simplified Marketing Automation, Effortless Email Marketing, Built-in CRM, Insightful Dashboards and Reports

Ratings: The software was launched in May 2013. Hatchbuck has been in VIP-Beta for the last 8 months and hundreds of small businesses are quickly seeing results.


Silverpop is a digital marketing technology provider that offers email marketing and marketing automation solutions. The privately held company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and has a presence in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Ideal for what audience: Large corporations, marketing agencies

Cost: Cost varies depending on which product package you choose. Pricing starts at $600 per month.

Features: Silver pop has three main products. (1) Engage Marketing Automation (2) Engage Email (3) CoreMotives.

Ratings: 3/5 stars based on 60 reviews on G2 Crowd


Marketo provides easy and powerful marketing automation software with everything a marketer needs: email, social, analytics, lead management, and more.

Ideal for what audience: Small and Medium Business, Large Enterprise, B2B marketing

Cost: Pricing is tailored to your needs and requirements.

Features: Helps you create, automate, and deploy marketing programs that capture and engage leads. Marketo also helps you convert leads into customers, handing your best leads over to sales and nurturing the rest until they are ready to purchase. Marketo helps you attract better leads and helps your sales team close more leads than ever. Finally, Marketo gives you visibility to see what’s working and what isn’t. You can see how your campaigns influence deals at each stage and identify your exact ROI, proving how your marketing efforts create real revenue. Beyond just the software, Marketo offers a knowledge center where you can tap the brains of experts and search for solutions to your marketing challenges.

Ratings: 4/5 stars based on 193 reviews on G2 Crowd.


Eloqua is a marketing automation company which develops automated marketing and demand generation software and services for business-to-business marketers.

Ideal for what audience: Large companies

Cost: Basic plan starts at $2,000/month. Standard plan starts at $4,000/month. Enterprise plans must contact the sales department for pricing.

Features: Track your own business goals with personalized dashboards. Access all your marketing campaigns, analytics and databases from a single place. Eloqua allows you to design marketing campaigns from scratch. You can create a quick email campaign, or easily build multi-channel, multi-step campaigns. You can include email landing pages, social tools, mobile, and even display ads all in a single campaign, and you can create flexible workflows that are as simple or as complex as you need. You can also choose from dozens of third party tools in Eloqua’s app cloud. Every part of your marketing campaign is tied together so it’s easy to measure your success as a complete picture in one place.

Ratings: 4/5 stars based on 152 ratings on G2 Crowd.


Act-On is a cost-effective marketing automation software platform with email marketing, lead nurturing, lead generation, lead scoring, webinar management, CRM integration, and social media prospecting and tracking tools.

Ideal for what audience: Act-On can be used by large and small business alike since the pricing is based on the total number of active users, and they have reasonable prices for smaller agencies and start-ups.

Cost: Pricing is based on number of active contacts. You’ll pay $500/month for 1,000 active contacts, $1,300/month for 25,000 active contacts, and $6,500/month for up to 1,000,000 active contacts. Plus, Setup and implementation fee starting at $399.00.

Features: Act-On includes email marketing software, website visitor tracking, lead management, social media, CRM, forms, landing pages, web event integration, reports and analytics, webinars and events, and administration functions. This allows the user to plan and execute all their email marketing campaigns with one simple, cloud-based, integrated platform.

Ratings: 4.5/5 stars based on 59 ratings on G2 Crowd.


Have you used any of these tools before? What did you think of them? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Best Practices and Tips for Businesses Using Instagram for Marketing

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular websites/apps used by tech-savvy teens and adults worldwide, however it still leaves many marketers and CEO’s scratching their heads when it comes to how to use Instagram for marketing.

First of all, every company and industry is different, and Instagram quite honestly can be challenging for some markets. Furthermore, it may not be appropriate for every company. It all depends on your target audience and goals.
How to use Instagram for Marketing

Find Your Audience

If you want to use Instagram for marketing, it’s important first and foremost to find your audience and begin to follow these user accounts. Do not just come up with loose guidelines for following users however, as following too many people too quickly can be viewed as spammy.

As a tip, it’s best to find power users and follow these accounts to start. Try to really form an authentic relationship with these power users by introducing yourself and offering valuable information/content that relates to their lifestyle and interests. Since you have identified them as power users, most likely there is going to be an aspect of their life that fits well with your company content.

Give Love to Receive Love

Once you have established good relationships with your audience on Instagram, you need to start using these relationship to benefit your company goals. Essentially, you need to give love to receive love! For example, shout-out to your top influencers in your posts and they will be much more likely to return the favor and even share your posts with their audience.

It’s also important to stay up to date on best practices and avoid spam tactics like paying for followers or using spam hashtags like #followforfollow. Leaving ridiculously long comments is also not great and often results in your comment being removed, so keep your messages short and sweet on Instagram.

Get Creative

Many B2B companies struggle with using Instagram because their products or services are not image-friendly. In instances like this, you can brainstorm creative ways to utilize the photo-marketing platform. For example, create a graphic template where you can plug in interesting facts and statistics that relate to your market. Like we do on Instagram.

Hashtag Research

Next, do some research to choose the most relevant and highly-targeted hashtags that relate to your industry. Beyond that, look for hashtags that relate to each individual post in order to further tailor your Instagram marketing campaign.

Cross-Promote and Track

Once you have done your preliminary research done, grown your list of followers, and published your fabulous content on Instagram, it is vital that you cross-promote your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else that is appropriate. You’ve already spent your time and energy crafting your Instagram marketing campaign, you may as well leverage it across multiple platforms to get the most out of each post.

Finally, as with any digital marketing campaign, you need to track success using Google Analytics and other marketing analytics programs. Make note of specific posts that perform better than others and try to identify underlying themes that make them more popular so you can incorporate this knowledge into future campaigns.

Do you have any challenges, tips or stories about your experience with Instagram marketing? Feel free to share with us.

How to Generate Leads with Pinterest

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Not a trend, Pinterest is here to stay…at least for a while. Here are some facts to back the hype for using Pinterest for your business and quick how-to for getting started on generating leads through this social media platform:

  • As of September 2013, there are 70 million users on Pinterest
  • There are about 500,000 Pinterest business accounts.
  • 80% of total Pinterest pins are repins.
  • Pinterest has approximately 2.5 billion monthly pageviews.
  • Amount per order that Pinterest shoppers spend: $140-180

how to generate leads pinterest

Share Multiple Types of Content

First, it’s a great idea to share different types of content on your Pinterest account, because there are essentially two types of leads you can generate through Pinterest content: direct leads and indirect leads. Direct leads point users to a landing page on your site where they can enter their information in exchange for your content (such as a newsletter or coupon). Indirect leads are when you share a piece of content on Pinterest that points users to valuable information but is not the final destination landing page where they share their personal information.

Board Variety, Range and Simplicity

Second, create a wide range of boards that your potential customers will want to discover. As a tip, Pinterest users love practically anything that is Do-it-yourself, so if you can think of a way to provide content that shows people how to create or do something valuable related to your industry you’re off to a good start.

Also, don’t overcomplicate your board names. Keep them simple and catchy so they can be easily found when users search for specific topics.

Image Pinning Best Practices

So, what about the types of images you should be pinning? While there is no exact science to pinning quality content, there are some tips you can follow based on recent Hubspot data, such as:

  • Tall images get re-pinned more
  • Red/orange images get pinned more than images that are primarily blue
  • Brand images without faces get 23% more repins than those with faces
  • Bright/light images are re-pinned 20x more than very dark images

Next, it’s important to use the description box wisely. You should describe the pin in a sentence or two and also include a shortened URL with tracking parameters so you can measure the success of your Pinterest campaigns. Also, add a hashtag or two if relevant to your image so that people can discover your pins more easily.

Promotion and Distribution

Finally, promote your pins across other social media channels and be sure to monitor the success of your Pinterest marketing efforts with the use of Google Analytics and other marketing tools.

Happy Pinning!


Marketing Tools 101: Facebook Graph Search Update

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By now you’ve probably noticed the search bar at the top of your Facebook feed, and you may also be wondering how it works and how it can benefit your role in online marketing.


Originally, the search feature was released in March, however it had limited search abilities. It was only able to search for people, pages, and apps. Now, Facebook has expanded its Graph Search abilities so that people can search for status updates, photo captions, comments and even check-ins.

This means that the Facebook graph search now has data that is useful to you as a marketer. For example, let’s say you are putting together a promotional event for your company. You can now monitor Facebook posts about your event with Graph Search. Other opportunities include:

  • Searching by hashtag
  • Tracking brand mentions
  • Researching Facebook Fan interests to develop new content
  • Analyzing product use, reviews, etc.
  • Searching for a product

You can also now search based on location and time, opening up a wide range of possibilities for local search and real-time marketers.

Many people are concerned about their privacy with this new Facebook Graph Search feature, since lots of folks do not want their old stories to be able to be pulled up easily. Especially young adults who may want to keep their college party pictures deeply buried in their timeline. In fact, there are many articles coming out recently telling people how to update their privacy settings so that most of their information does not show up in Facebook Graph Search.

Even with a percentage of Facebook users updating their privacy settings to avoid the Graph Search, there is still a goldmine of information available in this handy little tool that marketers can use to create effective campaigns.

How are you planning on using Facebook Graph Search in your marketing? Share your thoughts with us.

Ads In Your Instagram Feed? Yes.

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Closely following in the footsteps of Pinterest, Instagram announced this week they’ll start adding ads into users feeds over the next few months. The theme here? A need to build a sustainable business. The issue? The only solution seems to be ads.

Facebook bought Instagram last year for $1 billion with the intent to “add ads when the time is right”, says Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has received much lash back from users on its placement and treatment of ads and while Instagram has indicated its 150 million users will be able to hide ads they don’t like they will still be showing ads from brands users don’t follow with a “focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community,” Instagram said in their post.

Similar to Pinterest, they wants the ads to “feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands.” My hope is that brands truly think of their audiences and create really thoughtful and provoking advertisements, but who is to monitor that when revenue is being generated? My fingers are crossed.

What are your thoughts on ads being added to these darlings of social media? Tell in the comments below or on Facebook.

Pinterest Starts the Shift to Promoted Pins

Friday, September 20th, 2013

In a letter from CEO and Co-founder of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, Pinterest announced their planning for the future by announcing today that they will begin experimenting with promoted pins. Silbermann warns that they’d like to keep Pinterest around for a while and that pretty much means it is time they start making money instead of spending it. They haven’t started charging anyone or any business for promoted pins yet nor were any details provided.

We can assume they’ll first do some user testing to see where the most optimal placement is for these promoted pins through the user feed. Silbermann mentions their first test will be to “promote a few pins in search results and category feeds. For example, a pin for a Darth Vader outfit from a costume shop might be promoted in a search for “halloween.”

Their promise for promoted pins?
Keep them tasteful without flashy banners or pop-up ads.
Transparency – Notify users if someone is paying for what you see, or where you see it.
Pins should remain relevant so that you’re actually seeing items you are interested in, like a delicious recipe, or a jacket that’s your style.

They also promise to make improvements based on user feedback.

What do you think of the idea of promoted pins coming to your Pin Feed? Will your business start using this type of social advertising?