If you’ve been managing your website or online content for a while, it can sometimes be challenging to maintain your audience. Sometimes your followers may become disinterested in your content, or you may gain followers from a demographic you didn’t consider you’d gain. Many factors can influence a fluctuation, and it’s important to track them all. However if your website isn’t engaging enough it’ll be impossible to maintain a steady flow of web traffic as there won’t be anything to motivate click-through rates. Here are a few things to consider if you want to up the ante of your website engagement.
Re-Learn Your Audience
It may be the case that your website’s audience has changed. Maybe a new demographic is interacting with your posts that you didn’t expect, or perhaps the type of content (videos, images, articles, etc…) are reaching different audiences than you intended. It’s important to measure these metrics (there’s many free online programs that can aid in this) to ensure your content reaches the audience it’s for, and to re-package your content creation to engage more effectively with new ones.
The majority of people who look at websites are also more likely than not computer owners. And where can you go to see people gazing into their laptops? Practically everywhere. If you’re an e-commerce, try including custom laptop stickers with orders, or simply get a pile to hand out at events or trade shows. Laptops are prime advertising real estate, because they have the potential to be seen wherever the owner of the computer goes.
Dialogue Not Monologues
One of the most effective ways to keep your website audience engaged is to engage them. Audiences are more prone to follow content if they feel like they connect with it. The best content is always a dialogue and not a monologue. Ask your followers their opinions on a post or to impart their own advice on a topic. Talk to your audience instead of at them for expert engagement.
Just because you don’t have a large (or any) staff doesn’t mean you can’t put your most professional foot forward. Create and personalize your magnetic backed badge of your website’s logo, mascot, or motto. This shows others that you take your website seriously, and therefore you take engagement seriously as well. Magnetic backed badges are also super trendy accessories because they don’t have to permanently affixed to clothing, so it might be worth it to get some to hand out to potential followers.
For a lot of content creators, constantly creating new and unique feed can be exhausting. It is however totally kosher to recycle past content to keep your audience engaged – as long as it’s reformatted. Different demographics interact with media differently. Some prefer to access information via articles, some infographics, or videos, etc. Maybe one of your videos could also be turned into a gif heavy article, or you could post a transcript of an audio interview you’ve conducted. Presenting material in different ways keeps many different ways can keep audiences engaged and influence a positive relationship with your followers.
“My ability to be creative, to dive deep, to focus, to give myself time away from my device, was not only difficult but impossible,” Brian said.
In fact, this inability to tune out the noise and focus prevented Brian from finishing his eighth book.
Now, Brian isn’t suggesting that we stop using technology. He’s just suggesting we use it in a different way. Instead of using it for productivity, Brian suggests using our devices for the purpose of creativity.
If we’re able to put our devices down and truly ignore the notifications, we can focus on the tasks that are important. It will improve our output in quality and quantity.
Disconnection Improves Our Health
How we currently use digital devices isn’t healthy for us.
Brian pointed out that an astonishing 41% of people have had an accident relating to our smartphones. There’s a new health concern called “selfie wrist.” Plus, depression and anxiety are on the rise among teenagers, the world’s most avid social media users.
“As with cigarettes in the early days, we didn’t understand that our digital indulgences were made to be addictive, and we didn’t have information about the health effects on our bodies, emotions, and psyches,” Brian said.
He then added: “Living our best life isn’t really living at all.” It’s just posturing.
These distractions weigh down our cognitive load, robbing us of creative moments and pulling us out of focus, and this has a real business impact and we need to change:
The average person spends 2 hours on our smartphones each day – and it’s not work related
Humans used to shift attention every 3 minutes – it’s now 45 seconds
How to Disconnect
Getting over our digital distractions boils down to one thing: Awareness. If we’re aware of our dependency on the digital world, we’re more empowered to do something about it. We can make more intentional choices about how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.
Measure Your Distractions
Check how many times a day you:
Reach for a device
Check your feeds for updates
Share a picture
Knowing how often you’re taken away from your work is a good indicator of how much creativity you’re losing. This also allows you to make more noticeable improvements in your work, life, and mental health.
Dedicate Time for Creativity
Write. Draw. Paint. Play guitar. Sing. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked. So just like you workout at the gym, you need to make time to be creative.
And it’s not about talent, it’s just about expressing yourself. It’s about being happy, mindful, present, and intentional about how you spend your time. Block off time to be creative and block off time to check email, respond to tweets, etc. Just make sure you don’t mesh the two.
Dropping Our Dependencies
To do our best work, we need to be our best selves. And digital distractions take us away from the creative activities and ideas that make us happy. As a result, digital distractions make it impossible for us to focus on the things that really matter in life and instead take us out of the moments we’re living.
So, take some advice from Brian: “Allow yourself to color outside the lines and do something absolutely silly.”
Blogging is a part of our origin story here at TopRank Marketing. In fact, we just celebrated the TopRank Marketing Blog’s 15th birthday this past December. But despite our blogging longevity, we’re always refining and optimizing, too.
That’s why I attended Chris Brogan’s session on creating a fast blogging framework at Social Media Marketing World 2019. While there, I learned this bestselling author’s approach to writing blog content (and had a few laughs along the way).
The key to Chris’ framework? The word “fast.”
Being fast matters to Chris, informing the audience that “the average human only read 19 minutes a day. That includes texts, emails, and BuzzFeed articles. They’re not going to read your 2,000-word missive.”
So, be quick. Get to the point. Don’t complicate things. Don’t write a white paper when it’s supposed to be a blog post.
Follow the Great Blogging Checklist
Chris is able to be a fast blogger because he has a list of what every blog post needs:
A great title
A relevant graphic
A “strong+story” first paragraph
A great first example
A second and/or third example
A list of action items
A call to action
To create blogs, Chris starts at the top of the list and works his way down, checking things off as he goes. But just like most lists, there are items on there that are prioritized.
According to Chris, a great title is at the top of the framework because in today’s world “the subject line is the blog post.” Your title or subject line is what gets read the most by your audience. And if it doesn’t pull people in, convey the story you want to tell, and convince them to read, you’ve already failed.
But what comes after that? How can you keep people on your blog once they’ve agreed to read it?
Chris suggests reflecting on your own experience:
“Think about when you read blog posts. You rarely ever read the whole thing. You can’t write your story like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.”
[bctt tweet=”You can’t write your blog like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.” – @chrisbrogan” username=”toprank”]
Brevity Is Your Friend
As Chris said, people only read an average of 19 minutes each day. They don’t have the time to read a long, run-on sentence or a paragraph that refuses to end.
Once you’ve finished your blog post, go back and see where you can make it more simple and get to the point faster. Your audience will appreciate the time you’re saving them in the long-run.
For us, this doesn’t mean long-form content is out. It means be concise, deliberate, and intentional with your language. If there’s a sentence that isn’t needed, cut it.
Connect on a Human Level
When it comes to the nitty gritty part of actually writing your blog post, Chris suggests letting go of your stuffy corporate identity and instead be human. Don’t be the brand. Be the person that represents the brand. Show your audience that you have feelings, opinions, jokes, and more.
Be a Guide
Chris’ last blogging tip is probably the most important: be a guide. Sure, a cool story is fun to read. But is a story really valuable if it doesn’t teach you something? Your blogs need answers to important questions. They need to solve problems. And one of the best ways to do that is to be a guide for your audience, helping them avoid disaster and reach their destination.
Blog Like Brogan
Content is everywhere—and so is our audience’s attention. As Chris said, we need to strive to create blog post that people actually want to read. For Chris, that means eloquently getting to the point early on to hook readers, and then delivering on your promise in an intentional way. You’re not trying to fill a web page. You’re trying to fill your reader’s mind with information they truly care about.
Best-selling author, tidying expert, and star of a massively successful Netflix show, Marie Kondo, is really on to something. Her simple yet effective tidying method is brilliant, but what it stands for is what’s truly inspiring.
All over the world, people are asking themselves a simple yet powerful question: Does it spark joy?
But be honest, B2B marketers: When’s the last time you stopped to consider whether your marketing efforts were sparking joy for your audience? (Was it before, during, or after you dropped your latest white paper?)
So, what does it take to spark joy? How do you delight your buyers throughout their journey? Here are a few top tips and considerations.
Don’t Make Them Wait for Joy
As much as it pains me to say, your audience isn’t hanging on your every word. In a study of their own content, CoSchedule found that only 10-20% of their readers made it to the bottom of the post. Many readers never made it past 20-30% of the way through the post.
“The average human reads only 19 minutes a day. That includes texts, emails, and BuzzFeed articles. They’re not going to read your 2,000-word missive. You can’t write your content like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.”
Look to your own online-reading experiences to give you some perspective here. Odds are, you often skim articles and blogs for the nuggets of information you’re looking for. So, don’t let your content hide those nuggets away.
And that’s not to say that you can’t provide a little mystery or intrigue. Your goal should always be to pull your reader through to the end. The real point here is to give them a reason to keep reading.
Empathize By Humanizing Your Brand
Your customers, prospects, and target buyers are real people. They want transparency and authenticity from the brands they do business with both professionally and personally. They want to work with brands they feel like they know and trust. For marketers, that means connecting on a human level.
One way? Make your audience laugh.
Laughter reportedly boosts the immune system, relaxes the body, protects the heart, and triggers the release of endorphins. And as longtime marketer and comedian Tim Washer has pointed out: When we can make someone laugh, we make an intimate connection; we show them that we understand their point of view.
“Comedy is the most powerful way to humanize a brand because it demonstrates empathy,” Tim told us in an interview. “Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection.”
[bctt tweet=”Comedy is the most powerful way to humanize a brand because it demonstrates empathy. @timwasher #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
So, tell a joke, share a personal story, make a pun, share a meme that has relevance and resonance for your audience. It will delight them to know they’re understood.
Another way? Connect them with the insights of the people they know, think they know, and trust.
Couple general distrust with historical skepticism of marketing and advertising messages, and it’s more imperative than ever for B2B marketers to focus on building trust and credibility with buyers and prospects. Partnering with influential voices and industry thought leaders can help you do just that.
“The main benefit is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo. Additionally, influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source.”
[bctt tweet=”Influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo. @ranimani0707 #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Give Them Something to Delight Their Senses
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But so much B2B content is still text-based today. Pictures, gifs, videos, charts, and other visual aids can not only grab attention, but they can also help you communicate ideas. In fact, visuals communicate those ideas more effectively than text-only content, according to eLearning Industry:
Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
The human eye can register 36,000 visual messages every hour
All that said, we’d suggest kicking it up another notch to provide joy-worthy experiences. How? With interactive and/or mixed media content. Why? Interactive content is more engaging that static content for the long-term, offering potential drive results at every stage of the funnel. Need an example? Look no further than a “Break Free of Boring B2B” gem that’s affectionately being called “Laser Bear” around these parts.
It’s fun. It’s bold. It’s insightful thanks to the several industry thought leaders who contributed. And it allows the reader to choose their own content consumption adventure.
Your audience has questions. And you have the opportunity to provide answers—the best answers.
“Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers,” Amanda Todorovich, Senior Director of Content & Creative Services, Cleveland Clinic, has said. “When you do that—no matter what platform or format—it works and generates engagement every time.”
[bctt tweet=”Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers. @amandatodo #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Use keyword research, CRM data, web analytics, crowd-sourcing, and other sources of customer insight to guide your content strategy. This ensures the topics you cover and questions you choose to answer are ones that your customers are actually seeking.
Your audience is hungry for information and connection that informs, engages, and inspires. They want to satisfy their queries, needs, and wants—they want joy. So give them something to be joyful about.
Books sell better in bookstores than they sell in butcher shops. In a bookstore, surrounded by all the competition, a book is in the right place to be seen, compared and ultimately purchased and read.
Trade show booths work when they’re in close proximity to the other options a buyer has. Building your trade show booth across town might insulate you from the other choices, but it does little to help establish where you belong and whether or not you’re a smart choice.
If I was one of the 25 people running for President of the US, I’d organize my own debate tour. I’d invite four or five other candidates to hit the road with me, and I’d do a debate every single night. All six of us would benefit from the competition, leaving the rest behind, ignored because they are alone. No one will stop you, simply begin.
And if I was a wedding photographer, I’d organize a dozen other photographers in town and do a joint brochure and marketing effort. Serving brides in a way that establishes status and increases their confidence.
It’s tempting indeed to shy away from organizing a panel, a conference or a trade show where you can see and be seen right next to those that seek to solve problems for those that are listening. But now that information flows more freely than ever, that’s your fear talking, not an actual strategy for somehow fooling people into believing they don’t have a choice.
Sit back and join us for a journey through 50 recent digital marketing statistics that combine to tell a captivating tale of change, innovation, and generational preferences in an industry that changes faster than Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg could ever have envisioned in “Around The World in 80 Days.”
Statistics exploring each of the B2B, influencer, content, and social media flavors of marketing combine to tell a captivating and unique story of how digital marketing has evolved over the past year, and offer us a great opportunity to better understand which trends the numbers are pointing to for the future.
We’ve arranged this numerical journey of various insightful digital marketing statistics to build up from those with the smallest percentage to the highest, and we hope you’ll gain a generous helping of new ideas through this lighthearted statistical look at where marketing is, and where it’s heading.
Why should digital marketers care about these statistics?
We’ve combed through a vast number of reports, studies, surveys, polls, and other types of data, and these are 50 of the most inspiring statistics that are both from high-caliber sources — including the Pew Research Center, Nielsen, NPR, Edison Research and Umass Dartmouth — and which give insight into where digital marketing is today and where it’s heading in the future.
With their rising implementation, we even placed chatbots in the number three spot on our list of “6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019,” along with other artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
[bctt tweet=”Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision-makers. @konstanze @dell” username=”toprank”]
24% of the U.S. population will listen to at least one podcast monthly by 2022. (Source: eMarketer, August 2018)
This statistic helps make clear that if your brand is looking to reach new audiences, there’s never been a better time to add podcast creation to your content marketing toolkit.
The New York Times has just published a piece looking an new survey results showing the biggest increase in podcast listeners yet, with one in three in the U.S. tuning in to at least one podcast every month, as shown below.
[bctt tweet=”“Your target audience is likely spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. And those who already listen to at least one podcast are likely to be on the lookout for more.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
Knowing how to best make use of those words that will be read is key to content marketing success, and BuzzSumo and Backlinko recently studied the performance of key elements in blog posts, pulling statistics from 912 million posts, as shown below.
The use of the popular “stories” format has grown on Instagram, and stories have made their way to most other major social media platforms. With this move comes an increased need for guidance in making most of the format, especially among B2B marketers.
How 200 leading global brands are utilizing the stories format was the subject of a Buffer study, with the format’s growth on various social media platforms shown in the following chart.
[bctt tweet=”Much like #FacebookStories, #InstagramStories offer a nascent playground for #B2BMarketing. If you’re looking to experiment with new channels as you peer ahead to 2019, these both stand out as great opportunities. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]
Live video has now also made its way to LinkedIn (client), with the launch of LinkedIn Live to build on the success of its standard video offerings, which were already the fastest-growing format on the platform.
Video has the power to deliver compelling messages, as shown in the following image from Digital Vidya.
This statistic points out the importance of knowing where your particular audience is most likely to spend time, so that you have the best chance of reaching them. It’s worth comparing the social media channels your business uses to make sure they align with where your audience will be.
Buffer recently released its 2019 State of Social report, offering an in-depth look at what digital marketers are focusing on and an examination of trends and how the industry is changing, with data such as the chart below.
Artificial-intelligence-powered chatbots have seen a rise is use, with 85% of customer service interactions expected to use the technology by 2020 (Gartner). MarketingProfs and Headway Capital took a look at implementing chatbots for Facebook Messenger, as partially shown below.
The prominence of both standard and live video has continued to expand, with some five billion videos viewed daily on YouTube alone, and a recent report and infographic from Renderforest digs into some of the numbers behind the growth, as shown below.
Now here’s a statistic that hits home for us, as we have recently been working hard to extoll the merits of bringing the creativity and energy often associated with B2C into the world of B2B.
In fact, we dedicated an entire guide to just this subject, with our “Break Free of Boring B2B Guide,” featuring more than a dozen top B2B Marketing Exchange speakers from firms including Google, 3M, Demandbase, Fuze, and others.
I encourage you to use these digital marketing statistics to create meaningful experiences that inspire, and to help guide and shape your campaigns, as industry knowledge backed by quality research can infuse your work in any area of marketing with both new energy and possibilities.
You can also keep up with new statistics and research by following the TopRank Marketing blog, which recently celebrated its 15th year of covering digital marketing, or come see us in person at an upcoming conference.
…doing things that they don’t understand, for managers who have no sense of strategy, in an organization that measures all the wrong things.
Everyone involved unable to honestly answer the simple question: “Why?” Why are we doing it this way? Why is it like this not like that? “Because I said so,” is no way to lead.
This is the unmistakable symptom of a bureaucracy that has gone too far.
PS back in the old days, I used to incorporate a PS in blog posts about Daylight Savings Time. A public service because we didn’t have computers that automatically changed all of our clocks. But it’s still up to us to spring forward. It won’t happen automatically.
Content marketers are believers. We believe our content brings real value to our prospects, clients, and partners. We believe our content is essential for driving demand. And we believe that content marketing is essential for bolstering our company’s bottom line.
However, we’re also realistic; as it’s often said: Seeing is believing. So, we need to be able to show proof of content marketing ROI to get our key stakeholders to believe, too.
And to do this, we need a source of truth that artfully and easily shows how we’re performing against our benchmarks, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as where we’ve identified opportunities to improve results. We need an actionable content marketing dashboard.
To put it simply, when set up right, an actionable dashboard allows us to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?
How does this help you identify, show, and prove ROI across the organization? Let’s dive in.
How Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards Can Inform, Inspire, & Show ROI
What are the benefits of an actionable content marketing dashboard? All the fun and exciting benefits that come from knowing how your content is performing at a granular level aside, there are a ton of benefits that come from a holistic content marketing dashboard—especially when it comes to getting stakeholder engagement and buy-in.
An actionable marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest.
[bctt tweet=”An actionable #marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest. – @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]
Highlight the Bottom Line for Leadership
The executives hold the purse-strings. And they want to ensure the budget you’ve been given is being put to good use.
With an actionable dashboard, you can avoid the awkward “What have you done for me lately?” conversation with your leadership team by easily showing them how your content marketing efforts tie back to overall business objectives.
With the right data and insight readily available in your dashboard, you can showcase performance from visit to sale, so when they ask: “Is this content getting us an ROI?” Your answer can be: “You bet. In fact, overall our content marketing efforts drove 200% ROI in 2018 and we’re trending to exceed that benchmark in 2019 based on our goals.”
Inspire Your Peers Inside & Outside the Marketing Department
When your marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level.
In addition, if you’ve been working with an internal subject matter expert such as your human resources director or sales manager to create content, showcasing how their contributions are making an impact will make them more open to ongoing collaboration—which can help all parties reach their goals.
As a little tip, consider making a leaderboard in your dashboard so contributors can easily track how the content they’ve contributed to is performing. Adding a little competition based on objectives is a fun way to level-up performance. (Betting on this performance is optional.)
[bctt tweet=”When your #marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level. @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]
Set New Hires Up for Scalable Marketing Success
Another key benefit is that actionable marketing dashboards can help you scale your content marketing efforts. For example, if you find yourself proving so much ROI that you need to expand your team to keep up with demand, you can easily transfer knowledge to your new hires about what kind of content works and doesn’t work, and how they can know the difference.
This kind of results-focused training and new hire orientation helps keep your full team aligned around what really matters—creating and marketing quality content that exceeds your benchmarks and blows your goals out of the water.
Strengthen Relationships With Clients & Influential Collaborators
Whether you’re working with industry influencers to co-create content or you regularly engage clients to provide testimonials and case studies, you have the opportunity to use your marketing dashboard to show them not only how valuable they are to your marketing efforts, but the mutual value being incurred.
For example, let’s say a client helped create a testimonial or case study that saw a 300% increase in visibility over benchmark for that content type. Your message to them can be that together you’ve driven an incredible amount of brand awareness for both of your organizations.
Your Actionable Next Step? Create Your Content Marketing Dashboard
The performance of your content marketing means much more than traditional success metrics—it can mean visibility for your business, strength for your bottom line, and alignment for your internal teams.
If you’re ready for more visibility and creating a stronger business case for your efforts, the first step is to create a dashboard of your own, tailored to your marketing and business objectives.
Again, when properly set up, an actionable dashboard should allow you to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?
Wondering how to create this magical dashboard? Check out our guide to marketing dashboard essentials to get started on your path toward data-driven success.