CEO

Case Study: Launching a Tool on Product Hunt is a Strategy for Success

This is such a true statement. If you successfully launch your tool, you can get a high number of visitors to your site. These visitors can become daily users and accelerate your revenue goal.
Even in our own team, we didn’t know this at first. We wanted to move our startup further along and find ways to shout about our SEO tool to a broader audience. As we brainstormed, we also came up with the idea of ​​launching the tool at Product Hunt. Finally, we tagged this idea with a lower priority and postponed it. Later, we got back to it, prepared it properly, and the final results surprised us pleasantly. Thanks to PH, we have received positive feedback on the tool, along with many new registered or paying customers.
Product Hunt is full of people who are passionate about technology, designers, marketers and developers in need to make their work or life easier by using better applications. Whatever your application is, launch it on Product Hunt!

Spotibo is a specific tool that can’t be used by everyone. It’s an SEO analyzer that can only be used by a person who has his own website or by a consultant helping a client with search engine optimization. This is the reason why we were surprised by the feedback and reach we achieved.
So, I am happy to share our results and strategy with you.
What are the main goals of a PH campaign?
To get traffic and new customers. I won’t tell you how to turn traffic into buyers, but I’ll tell you how to get traffic to your site from Product Hunt. To get the maximum results, try to be in the top 5. If your product makes it to the top of the list, all Product Hunt email subscribers will receive a newsletter a day later, where your tool will shine and you will get even more traffic.

Top hunts during our launch day. Our profile on PH here.
What web traffic to expect?
The answer to this question is very subjective. If you prepare everything for the launch in the best possible way, then you can expect traffic to be numerous times higher than you are used to on a regular basis.
In our case, we added 1,596% more new users during the launch day compared with the previous day. The traffic kept coming during the next two days in high numbers, too.

Traffic growth thanks to launching on PH.

The difference comparing launch day and the day before.

And what about online attention and backlinks?
We received dozens of tweets on Twitter, so the attention was big! But what was more interesting to us were backlinks.
We love backlinks. We are SEO specialists, so we know how domain authority is important, and that backlinks can help us to get better rankings. We also know how hard it is to get them.
After the launch, people started writing about the tool spontaneously, and for free! They published reviews and guides on how to analyze SEO, and they published it not only in English but also in different languages.
How to prepare for the launch:
When I was preparing the Product Hunt checklist for my team, I got inspired by this checklist from SpreadShare. In their checklist, there are tons of cool tips to not forget any single step throughout the process of preparation, submission, outreach and follow-up. I created a short version of the checklist according to the needs of our own working plan, and we followed these 20 steps one by one.
There are several guides on how to run a Product Hunt campaign on the web, and I don’t want to repeat the same “tips” all over again. Instead, I will try to skip to the questions that came to my mind during the preparation itself and for which we were unable to find answers.
Do we need a product hunter?
When you look at the products on PH, you’ll see that some were submitted by the creator, and some were created by another person — by a product hunter. What is better? Honestly, I don’t know. Internet opinions vary. While someone explicitly recommends reaching out to a product hunter who would be willing to launch the product and support it in front of his PH followers, some say it is nonsense to annoy people who may have nothing to do with the success of the tool.
In the beginning, I went the first way, and I was looking for a product hunter who would be interested in our tool and could consider it a quality one. There is a list of the top 50 hunters where I approached three users via LinkedIn, and I have not received any answers.

So, I chose another strategy. I opened previously submitted products that were similar to our tool (some kind of competition). I rummaged among the users who supported, commented or submitted the products and started to outreach them. Finally, Nivas Ravichandran, who also wrote the article How to generate leads on Product Hunt, said yes! Although he is not in the top 50, the launch of the tool was smooth, and I think his support helped us.
Can I change product information submitted by a hunter?
Cool, I found someone who will do the job. But what if I need to change information about the tool later on? Can I do that?
Yes. Hunter tagged me and our CEO as makers, giving us the right to make any changes. In addition, we could also add a comment under the product to describe our story and the problem we are trying to solve with our product.
When is the best time for launching?
The answer is simple – 00:01 Pacific time (PT). At that time, a new day starts on Product Hunt. The sooner you get to the list of products, the more time you will have for promoting it and to succeed.
After launching our tool, I noticed that other products popped up in similar time. During the day, more projects had been added, but only a few. This lowered their chances of getting a larger number of upvotes — a lot!
It was so important that our product hunter knew that our product needed to be posted during that time. He wouldn’t have done that if it was 3 a.m. and he had been sleeping. We were lucky because it was 9 a.m. for us in Europe, 2 p.m. for our hunter and midnight in Pacific time.
What promo materials do I need to prepare?
All these promo materials are needed:

Screenshots of the tool
Logo
Title
Short description
Creator comment

Be sure to be as creative as possible in this section of preparation. Design and fun play a big part on Product Hunt.
We tried to play with the logo (for which we eventually created the gif), title, keywords and emoticons. On the other hand, we didn’t prepare a breathtaking video, and our picture materials could have also needed the touch of a graphic designer.

Do I need to support my website?
Yes, you do. Although we received 1,300 sessions, our tool was a bit overloaded, and unfortunately, we had some blackouts. Throughout the day, our developers were ready to act immediately.
Should I create a landing page?
We were also thinking if we should create a landing page specifically for PH. Some makers create a landing page that contains some graphics edits. Some of them also provided discount code. Some makers don’t adjust the landing page at all.
We decided to add a simple banner with a discount to the top bar. I think it was a good decision. Users of Product Hunt who clicked through our site saw that they were in the right place. In addition, I consider it more professional if the launch is ready on all fronts.
The discount prompted several users to buy our tool, which was a good outcome.

What we had forgotten and what we considered to be important after the fact was the preparation of this landing page for indexing on Google. Our PH optimized landing page was duplicate (https://spotibo.com/seo-analyzer?ref=producthunt to https://spotibo.com/seo-analyzer). After we got increased traffic, mentions from Twitter and a few backlinks, Google started indexing this page, and we really didn’t want that.
Therefore, when creating a new landing page for PH, do not forget to place a canonical tag in the header of the page. That should ensure Google understands which URL is unique and which one is duplicate.
Can I promote it?
Yes and no.
Upvote requesting is not officially allowed. Be aware that you can’t ask friends or users for upvoting. Although, you should absolutely tell your clients or followers that it’s a big thing for you and they should check it out.
During our launch, we were constantly monitoring the development of upvotes, along with the comments we were answering. At the beginning of the day, the tool remained at fourth or fifth place. After a few hours, another product took over. Suddenly, we were in the sixth position. I was surprised. and I was also worried we would stay in sixth place and thus we would not get to the top 5 products of the day. But the more I observed the product that took over ours, the more I began to suspect the unfair practices they used to get more upvotes and comments. The numbers grew rapidly, and the users who were involved were mostly newly-established accounts.
A few hours later, the product with a higher number of upvotes fell to a position under Spotibo. The team at PH probably judged that they were using unauthorized promo and manually moved them down.
The lesson is clear — don’t push hard, because you can get into trouble and you will not get to the top 5. Upvotes must look as natural as possible; and shouldn’t be received only from new accounts or users from one country.
My final advice is — do not hesitate and launch as soon as your product is ready; it’s worth it.

How to Communicate Your SaaS Marketing Performance to Your CEO

Whether you’re giving an impromptu presentation or running the show in a recurring meeting, communicating your SaaS marketing performance to your CEO may have you on edge.
Some may attribute this to normal pre-presentation jitters; others may be nervous about how their presentation will be received. After all, companies across the board are increasing their SaaS solution spend—up 78 percent over last year alone.
This means there are a ton of marketing analytics and KPIs that can demonstrate success and opportunity to your CEO. But the key to impressing the CEO is not always in the numbers and performance—it’s how you present them.
What Data to Communicate to Your CEO
Choosing which marketing KPIs to present is the first challenge a SaaS marketer faces. Would the CEO be interested in seeing customer retention and acquisition rates? Or perhaps something more granular like conversion rates? Or maybe web traffic?
Ultimately, what you present comes down to what goals you or your department has identified and how the marketing analytics support them. Here are a few examples:

Unique Visitors: If your goal is to bring more visitors to the site, it would be great to show metrics such as how many unique visitors came to the site.
Leads: Visitors don’t always mean potential customers, so it would be good to pair this with new leads and qualified leads to show how this helped customer acquisition and revenue.
Lead-to-Customer Rate: What percentage of the leads you are attracting are becoming customers?
Customer KPIs: These are metrics around how much it costs to acquire customers, their lifetime value, and a comparison of the two metrics. Gaining customers is great, but the spend needs to be equal to the customer’s value.
Churn: Are you retaining customers? The average company’s application stack changed at a rate of 43 percent over the last two years, so customer retention may be an important goal to the SaaS CEO. Showing data around post-purchase and customer delight initiatives is a good way of demonstrating how the SaaS marketing team is helping reduce churn.

Whatever your goals may be, it is important to show how your team or department is performing and reaching them.
Going Beyond Team and Department Goals
It could also be good to show how the marketing team contributed to other teams, especially if your goals are being met. Because maintaining revenue and growth are common company goals, lead generation and sales enablement efforts can grab the CEO’s attention. Despite the industry—whether it is SaaS, manufacturing, or retail—if your company is selling a product or a service, the CEO will be interested in seeing performance in this area.
A SaaS marketer could also show marketing analytics that support overall company goals. In addition to showing how the marketing team is fighting churn, helping other areas of the company (e.g., customer support and client managers) do their part would be a good indicator of demonstrating how marketing has gone above and beyond to reduce churn. If your CEO is looking to gain talent for your company—after all, the tech industry sees some of the highest turnover of all industries at 13 percent—you could present marketing analytics based on the company’s career page performance.
Prioritizing KPIs and Data
Your CEO more than likely has a specific purpose in mind or a specific marketing KPI that they want to see, so it is important to prioritize your data accordingly. Sometimes, you will luck out, and the CEO will tell you what they want to see. Other times, you may have to anticipate what goal has the CEO’s attention. A good practice is to provide a brief recap of how your SaaS marketing team has performed or improved on what you presented in the last meeting. If this is your first meeting, do some research on what the most important goal is for the CEO and start there.
How to Communicate to Your CEO
Some CEOs are more versed in marketing analytics than others, but regardless, it is a good idea to structure your presentation correctly so as to not confuse or bore the CEO. An easy way to do this is to use clear, easy-to-understand language and try to make your presentation visual, rather than bombarding the CEO with numbers. Make sure you are only displaying a few graphs and visualizations per slide and ensure your presentation is properly formatted to tell the story so you don’t overwhelm the CEO. Here’s a preview of our template:
1. Brief introduction slide2. Goals recap3. KPI section (repeat as necessary)4. Next steps
Unless your CEO is fascinated by data, they more than likely will want to know whether the company is hitting important marketing KPIs through a 1,000-foot view of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Have the other data that support your findings on hand in case they want specifics, but keep the presentation simple and focus on the metrics that matter most to your CEO.
You’ll also want to be prepared to answer questions. As stated above, having the data on hand to support your presentation is important, but also try to anticipate questions the CEO may ask. For example, they could be worried about the cost per lead or what you could be doing to deliver more qualified leads to sales and they might have questions around this. Leave enough time to answer those questions, but don’t skimp on the quality of your presentation to do so. If your meeting with the CEO is a recurring one, you may get in the habit of sending your presentation to them ahead of time to allow them to prepare as well.
Breaking Bad News
Finally, there is the question that chills many SaaS marketing teams to the bone: What if we didn’t hit our metrics? At some point, you will have to face the CEO about not hitting your goals. Not every marketing plan is perfect, and many teams will have to tackle this hurdle. The important thing is to own this. Acknowledge that the area is in need of improvement, explain the lessons that you’ve learned, and present a clear, specific action plan to get back on track.
Communicating your SaaS marketing performance to your CEO can be daunting, but with proper preparation and the right presentation, you will emerge from the meeting relatively unscathed.

SaaS Growth: The “Triple A” Sprint Framework that Gets Results

Many SaaS companies launch a product-led growth model—but never update it. When the executive team calls me and asks why they aren’t converting users into customers, I tell them to buy a plant. Seriously.
If they don’t water the plant, it’s going to wither and die. If they water it and give it sunlight, it’ll grow. Everyone knows how the system works. Yet, even though we know what to do, millions of plants still die. Why? Nobody takes ownership.
The first step to SaaS growth is to appoint a person or team to take ownership, then to give them the resources or time it takes to thrive. While this is true for all SaaS companies, it’s especially critical for those that use their product—not traditional marketing or sales—as their growth engine.
Once there’s internal ownership, you can establish and iterate on a process to execute your product-led strategy. How do you optimize that process? Time and again, I’ve seen the “Triple A” sprint framework drive exponential SaaS growth.
What is the “Triple A” sprint framework?
The “Triple A” sprint focuses on rapidly identifying problems, building solutions, and measuring impact. The process follows a one-month sprint cycle to identify and deliver an improvement to your SaaS product.
The Triple A framework consists of three “A’s”:

Analyze;
Ask;
Act.

The Triple A sprint gives you a way to build a sustainable SaaS growth process and can be used by any team in your business.
Still, if you have a bad product, no optimization will deliver rocketship growth. On the other hand, if you have a good product that customers love, you’ll see a monumental shift if you go through a Triple A sprint each month.
I’ve seen companies apply this same framework and go from $500,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR) to $1 million ARR in less than 12 months. It works. Best of all, it’s not hard to implement. Start by analyzing your business.
The first “A”: Analyze
As Romain Lapeyre, CEO of Gorgias, states, “In order to build a growth machine for your business, you need to analyze your inputs and outputs.”
Until you know the inputs (e.g. trade shows, advertising, email marketing) that drive desired outputs (e.g. ARR, customers, MRR), you won’t build a sustainable business.
If you’re not sure which inputs drive the outputs you want, start analyzing your business.

Create a recurring calendar notification to remind yourself to analyze your previous month’s results on the first workday of each new month. Block off one or two hours so that you’ll have the time to do a thorough job. You’ll get into a rhythm of analysis.
Start by measuring your outputs. Outputs are a reliable indicator of whether you’re doing the right thing—they don’t lie. Let’s dive into the right outputs to track.
Which outputs should you track?
One of the beautiful things about a SaaS business is that you can analyze almost anything. This amount of insight is incredible—until it isn’t. With access to countless metrics, it’s easy to obsess over email opens or bounce rates. Although these metrics can be tracked, they don’t tell you much.
Did your high bounce rate lead customers to churn? Or did it hurt signups? Although a high bounce rate can absolutely contribute to those problems, we still don’t know the root cause.
By looking at outputs, we can quickly analyze the area of our business that most requires our attention. That way, we know which areas to troubleshoot.
In a product-led business, these are the macro outputs you need to track:

Number of signups;
Number of upgrades;
Average Revenue Per User (ARPU);
Customer Churn;
ARR;
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

These outputs don’t lie, and they’re easy to find. If you compare these outputs over the course of the last 12 months, you’ll quickly identify the area of your business that’s hurting the most.
Once we know the outputs, we can ask questions to identify the inputs that get us closer to our dream business.
The second “A”: Ask
To optimize any business, you need to ask three questions:
1. Where do you want to go?
Some businesses use a North Star Metric to symbolize this focus, while others pick a revenue number. How you break down your business goals is not what this post is about.
If you really have no idea what your organization’s goals are, you should read Measure What Matters by John Doerr. It lays the foundation for how to prioritize the metrics that matter in your business and hit them across your entire team.
As an example, let’s say we’re a $10 million ARR SaaS business that has a live-chat solution. Our numeric objective is to hit $15 million ARR in the next 12 months. I’m all for setting ambitious goals, but please do not just “wing it” when it comes to figuring out what to do next. You need to know which levers to pull.
2. Which levers can you pull to get there?
I’m taking a motorbike course. As a newbie, I’m constantly making mistakes. I’ll shift down a gear when going fast, and my bike will screech and hiss in anger. I’ll use the front brake while slowing around a corner, toppling my bike onto me—an anti-climatic end that risks embarrassment more than injury.
Knowing which levers to pull is important for Saas businesses or motorbikes. What’s also true is that there are multiple ways to get the same output. To stop a motorbike, you can use the front, back, or engine brake. Or just drive into the nearest lake. Each of these braking systems achieves the desired output.
It’s the same when it comes to your business. According to Jay Abraham’s multiplier theory, there are three levers you can pull for SaaS growth:

Churn;
ARPU;
Number of customers.

When I talk to executives at product-led SaaS businesses, most focus almost exclusively on increasing the number of customers; however, when it comes to increasing ARPU or decreasing churn, I hear crickets.
This is a huge missed opportunity, according to Tomasz Tunguz:

(Image source)
Drew Sanocki, former CMO at Teamwork, found that decreasing his churn rate by 30%, increasing ARPU by 30%, and increasing total customers by only 30% increased lifetime value (LTV) by over 100%.
Breaking down your business by these three levers lets you quickly identify which ones will help your business grow fastest. Unless you’re just starting out, reducing churn and increasing ARPU will almost always have the biggest impact. Once you nail your churn and ARPU, you can start multiplying your business with each additional customer.
Want to see how it works? Create a chart like the one below in a spreadsheet to see which lever will have the biggest impact on your business.
MetricScenario AScenario BDifference

Customer Count
Current (e.g. 1,000)

0%

ARPU
Current (e.g. 100)

0%

Annual Churn Rate
Current (e.g. 20%)

0%

ARR
Current (e.g. $80,000)

0%

Once you’ve identified the top lever, it’s time to brainstorm which inputs will kick your business into high gear.
3. Which inputs should you invest in?
Once you’ve identified the lever to focus on for your Triple A sprint, figure out which inputs will affect it. To help you find the right ones, look at the three most common reasons why businesses fail:

You don’t understand your value.
You aren’t communicating your value well enough.
You aren’t delivering on your value fast enough.

Ask yourself: Which part of your business is underperforming? Brainstorm potential inputs to run experiments. This is easier said than done, but don’t overthink it. If you’re struggling with low signups, do customer research to understand the value your buyer perceives. Then, communicate that value to them.
If you’re struggling with low upgrade rates, work on delivering your value. Cut out every piece of onboarding that doesn’t deliver value. As Samuel Hulick cautioned, “People don’t use software simply because they have tons of spare time and find clicking buttons enjoyable.”
One way to find opportunities to improve the buying experience is to buy your product once a month. You’ll quickly spot easy improvements. Too often, we set up our onboarding and assume it works without a hitch. (It doesn’t.)
I’ve done countless user onboarding audits and found embarrassing bugs that were cratering free-to-paid conversion rates. Anyone could’ve spotted these bugs. Compile a list of items that could improve your product experience. Filter these ideas. How you do it doesn’t matter as much as having a defined process.
How to prioritize inputs
As Scott Williamson, VP of Product Management at GitLab, implored, “Have a consistent prioritization system, so you can compare the value of very different projects, force priority decisions out into the light, and pressure test assumptions.”
I use an Input Log as a prioritization system. It helps you track and prioritize every idea that could help your business grow. Then, I use the ICE prioritization method, developed by Sean Ellis, to score each input on three elements:

Impact. How big of an impact could this input have on an output I want to improve?
Confidence. How confident am I that this input will improve my output metrics?
Ease. How easy is it to implement?

Here’s an example of what this could look like:
InputsImpactConfidenceEaseICE Score

Because we noticed quite a few customers having problems upgrading, we expect that adding an “Upgrade Now” button to the header of our in-app experience will make it easier for users to upgrade their account. We’ll measure this by monitoring if the signup-to-paid conversion rate improves.
5
5
3
13

You can use any framework you want; however, if you don’t have an existing prioritization system, start with the ICE score framework. It’s easy to understand and implement.
Once you’ve run through the ICE method to filter your ideas, find the one or two opportunities to implement that will have the biggest impact on your business. Now, it’s time to act.
The third “A”: Act
Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. As Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, are we busy doing the right things?”
Once you’ve chosen the one or two ideas you’re going to implement this month, launch the idea. Depending on the ease of each project, this could take you and your team a few hours or a few weeks.
If this is your first time going through a Triple A sprint, start small. Get some quick wins under your belt. Typically, this means choosing an input that is easy to implement and has a moderate-to-high estimated impact. Later, you can take bigger swings that require more resources and time.
Kieran Flanagan, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, took a similar approach when helping HubSpot transition from a sales-led to a product-led business:
Here’s the high-level process that worked for our growth team:
Get wins on the board to build trust with leadership and other teams, such as product and engineering.
Prioritize growth experiments you can execute quickly to demonstrate results.
Once you start to see a high-level of test failures or non-results, move on to tackle more complex growth opportunities (take big swings).
Eventually, tell your CEO you want to test pricing 😉 (take even bigger swings)
If you already work in growth, this process of getting quick wins and laddering up should be familiar.
In aggregate, even small wins can become big wins. If initial growth is incremental, the pattern of success can earn buy-in for your more ambitious ideas.
Conclusion
Process beats tactics. Following the Triple A sprint framework puts you on track to grow your SaaS business consistently:

Analyze your business and key metrics.
Ask where you want to go and how you can get there.
Act on those insights, starting with small wins.

In a market where, over the last five years, customer acquisition costs have increased more than 50% while willingness to pay is down 30%, we need to instill a culture of optimization.
If we can, we’ll be able to pull the right levers and put our business in high gear.

Video Hosting Platforms: Which Is Best for Your Business?

Google “video hosting platforms,” and you’ll get about 50 million results, along with several paid ads. How do you choose the platform that suits your needs?
There’s no single answer. The best video hosting platform varies business by business, depending on factors like:

How often you’re uploading;
How you plan to use the video;
The viewing experience you want to give your audience;
The analytics you need;
The cash you have to spend.

Here’s a breakdown of the key features—and drawbacks—for eight popular video hosting platforms.
1. YouTube
YouTube is an obvious and popular choice. You don’t pay to host videos on YouTube, nor do you need a license to create your own library of publicly available videos. Simply sign up using your Google account, create a channel, and upload your video files.
YouTube shines when it comes to brand awareness. It’s the second largest search engine in the world, and content from their platform reaches more 18–49 year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network.
(“YouTuber” is now the dream job for 34% of children—beating traditional roles like athletes, musicians, lawyers, doctors, or actors.)
Since Google owns YouTube, videos rank highly in Google SERPs. Many occupy the Featured Snippet box, with snippets selected algorithmically. Here’s an example for “how to tie shoelaces fast”:

The basics of SEO (with some adjustments) apply to YouTube videos as well, giving YouTube publishers a chance to drive more awareness on Google and within YouTube.
All that said—YouTube has its downsides. The interface is designed to keep people on the platform. (The average mobile viewing rates are 40 minutes per session.) Suggested videos encourage people to increase their watch time not just on your channel but on the platform as a whole.
For example, my personal recommendations are a mix of business and pleasure. That makes it difficult to keep people focused on what you want them to do—like visit your website. As a result, YouTube works less well for engaging and converting users who are further down the funnel.

Recommendations can also be more than a distraction—they can highlight competitor offerings. As Kasey Bayne of DataTrue notes, “I love YouTube for the audience, but don’t love how they can show competitor or off-brand videos as suggestions afterwards.”
Pricing: Free, regardless of video upload volume.
2. DailyMotion
DailyMotion reports 300 million active users; they watch more than 3.5 billion videos per month. Those figures look impressive upon first glance.
But DailyMotion’s geographic distribution of users doesn’t mirror YouTube, especially within the United States. Just 138 million video views happen in the United States despite a population of 329 million (0.42 views per person).
Compare that to views in other countries, like Turkey, which averages 1.13 views per person, or France, where Daily Motion is located, which averages 7.13 views per person. (According to SimilarWeb, only 15.7% of all DailyMotion traffic comes from the United States.)
Like YouTube, you can monetize DailyMotion videos with in-stream advertisements. (Enabling ads is optional.) But the smaller audience—and more intrusive ads—reduce the potential for profitability and user enjoyment.
Indeed, DailyMotion viewers have expressed frustration at the overload of ads:

DailyMotion is another distribution option for media companies seeking to monetize content, especially if they’re located in one of the platform’s top countries. Beyond that, the use case is less compelling.
Pricing: Free, regardless of upload volume. Video files are limited to 60 minutes. (There are time-based upload limitations to limit spam.)
3. JW Player
JW Player is often cited as an alternative to YouTube. In fact, JW Player was the technology that ran the earliest version of YouTube. It has continued to offer technical capabilities at the forefront of online video.
For companies who live stream regularly, JW Player can host the original video and simulcast it to Facebook Live. That allows some to escape the trap of hosting videos on Facebook, which locks content into the platform.
JW Player also offers real-time audience analytics, broken down by:

Domain;
Device;
Geography.

(In comparison, Facebook Live shows overview metrics like minutes viewed, average percentage completion, and unique viewers.)
The platform also hosts video using HTML5, which promises superfast download speed. This helps retain the 80% of online users who will click away if a video stalls while loading.
The technical features of JW Player have attracted enterprise-level publishers (e.g. Fox, BBC, Vice, Univision) who have the development resources to take advantage of JW Player.
Pricing: If you’re a small business, plans start at $12/month, with a maximum of 50,000 video plays. Anything over that falls into the Business plan, charged at $50/month for up to 150,000 plays.
Alternatively, there’s a six-month Developers Plan, whereby you get access to all features except live streaming. The plan targets data scientists and video engineers.
4. Wistia
Wistia has been around since 2008. While it began as a hosting platform for individual videos, it has expanded its offerings.
The recent introduction of their “Channels” feature allows website owners to create a series of related videos and display the collection on their website—no coding required.
Here’s how Nextiny’s channel appears on their website:

Users can customize the look of a channel (e.g. video placement, landing page content), and—unlike YouTube—Wistia’s channels have no “recommended videos” or unwanted branding (for paid users).
As Wistia’s Phil Nottingham argued:
With Wistia, you can customize the look and feel, create branded Channels for video series, and measure impact rather than just impressions.
In terms of concrete features, it’s the look and feel of the video player, the speed and quality of video delivery, and ease of use of the platform.
Wistia’s analytics can help connect the dots between video consumption and conversions. They include features like engagement graphs and video-based heatmaps, and also integrate with Google Analytics and several CRMs.

Wistia can A/B test video components, like which video thumbnail drives more engagement. (Image source)
Wistia has a paid upgrade for multilingual, searchable captions. Once synced with your video, Captions are interactive. Viewers can search captions and jump to a specific point in the video by clicking the text. (The automated captions may require editing.)
Of course, with Wisita, you must create the audience for your videos—there’s no inherent distribution network (unlike YouTube). You’ll get zero views unless you’re driving people to pages on your website with the embedded video.
Pricing: It’s free to host up to three videos, but you’ll have the Wistia branding overlayed on your content. You’ll need to upgrade to a Pro plan (starting from $99/month) for up to 10 videos and to remove the branding. Additional videos are $0.25 each.
5. Vimeo
Vimeo allows users to embed videos on their website (like Wistia). It works especially well for content that’s gated behind a form fill or paywall.
Vimeo can deliver video passwords within purchase confirmations while keeping content hidden from non-purchasers and search engines. It’s why Chelsea Baldwin of Business Bitch uses the platform:
I use Vimeo for paid-access content, and I love it because its security and privacy settings are really malleable and let you do a lot as far as who can view, password access, and select embedding.
CXL’s own Kyle Brodeur, who manages thousands of videos for CXL Institute courses, likes it for similar reasons:
Vimeo has the cheapest cost for storing our videos with the feature sets we require. Some of these features are privacy controls, ease of updating video content in place, and integrations with caption services like Rev.com.
So far, Vimeo has kept us pretty nimble as course content creation has developed over the years.
David Peterson, who uses Vimeo for HealthMarkets’ video hosting, offers an example of what “nimble” is for them:
We often have to make minor updates to our videos, and Vimeo lets us replace a video without having to generate a new URL, which helps us streamline our workflow and keep track of our analytics.
That feature might not sound all that important, but if you have to make a series of small edits to a handful of videos, it becomes quite significant.
Also similar to Wisita, Vimeo’s benefits focus on the technical aspects of video hosting, not distribution (unless you’re planning to promote a show or film).

Vimeo’s audience comes to the platform to watch movies and shows, not check out “how tos” or promotional videos.
A note of caution: Both an article and a number of reviews state that, after upgrading to a paid account, any attempt to revert to a free account will remove videos from the site:
Basic Vimeo is great, but beware, if you ever upgrade, all your content will permanently become part of the process account and you will never be able to go back to basic without them deleting all your content!
Pricing: Start using Vimeo free with their Starter plan. You can upload up to 10 videos per day, or 500MB per week. Plans then depend on storage: 5GB per week is $7/month; 20GB per week is $20/month; unlimited is $50/month.
6. Vidyard
Vidyard allows businesses to create personalized videos at scale. As Vidyard’s Jesse Ariss pitched it:
We’ve introduced the ability to personalize videos on-demand, allowing our customers to put their viewer’s name directly into the video, with the end result being the most engaging, compelling video experiences that can be found today.
Arris also highlighted that Vidyard is “the only major video hosting platform with a native Salesforce integration.” You can also connect HubSpot, Marketo, Act-On, Zendesk, and Mailchimp accounts.
What does “video personalization” look like? Here’s a demo featuring my name:

Who is personalized video right for? It often makes sense for account-based marketing strategies (both for marketing and, if relevant, onboarding).
Boston University used Vidyard to create personalized videos that encouraged people to promote their fundraising event, “Giving Day.”
Their 36,000 personalized videos resulted in a 49% open rate (more than double the average for their sector), 7% click-through rate (triple the 2.3% average), and 1,000+ donations.

Personalized videos from Vidyard will set you back at least $5,000. (You need to send an inquiry to their sales team for an exact quote.) That price might be too steep for businesses with a small budget or for those who can’t show an ROI from personalized videos.
Pricing: Don’t need personalization? Start hosting up to 20 videos on Vidyard from $150/month. This Starter plan doesn’t include integrations; you’ll need to upgrade to their Plus plan, charged at $850/month, for one integration.
7. Loom
Loom isn’t a “standard” video hosting platform—it’s a screensharing tool. (Only videos you’ve recorded via Loom can be uploaded to their server.)
Still, it fills some video marketing needs. For example, it was how Loom’s co-founder and CEO, Joe Thomas, responded to me when I asked for information about the platform:

The platform uses Loom’s desktop app. You can record your screen or add a voice-over or video of yourself. It’s designed for two core use cases:

Internal training;
Product demonstrations.

Screen recordings upload automatically, and you get a link to share the video with co-workers or customers.
There are other screen recording tools that do this—most notably, Soapbox by Wistia. Loom doesn’t require an Internet browser; Soapbox, on the other hand, is a Chrome extension. Anyone using Firefox, Safari (or other browser) won’t be able to use the tool, and you’ll need a Wistia account to get started.
Adecco Group, the largest temporary staffing firm in the world, uses Loom to nurture leads. They record their screen as they talk candidates through roles they have to offer, which simplifies their process: “it’s a pain for companies to record a video and have to upload it to YouTube or send the big video file via email.”
It improved hiring, too, driving an 8X increase in applicants from 200 to 1,600 in just two weeks. Their email open rates also doubled, and they received “overwhelmingly positive feedback about the video.”
Pricing: It’s free to record and host 100 videos using Loom, but all content will be recorded in standard quality. Unlimited video storage, HD quality, and access to their editing suite is $10/month.
8. Brightcove
Do you need complete control over the videos you’re hosting? Brightcove includes:

Interactive content;
Transcription (with their SubPly partnership);
Digital rights management.

Brightcove also integrates with many other platforms, including HubSpot, Marketo, and Oracle, which allows you to easily view, embed, and use videos from products you’re already using (rather than learning to navigate another).
Their HTML5 player offers the highest standard of video playback. That high standard, however, does require high bitrates (to avoid buffering). Whereas other platforms deliver HD video with as little as 2.8 Mbps, Brightcove recommends a stable bitrate of 10 Mbps.
Brightcove also supports a number of custom viewing experiences:

Change button sizes. Adjust sizes to be mobile friendly or accommodate those with poor eyesight.
Overlay text. Display relevant links to content during in-video discussions of certain topics.
Adapt video sizes. Display the video in 16:9 format for desktop viewers, then automatically resize to square or vertical for mobile viewers.

Brightcove’s Players & Plugins Lounge details the extent of potential customization. Implementation is technical (i.e. developers required) but scalable.
Among reviews, common themes emerged:

Brightcove worked well for companies with large video libraries that distributed videos on multiple sites or platforms.
Brightcove analytics aggregated data effectively across those platforms.
The learning curve for its interface can be steep.

Pricing: Brightcove doesn’t display team prices on its website. Some reviews indicate that pricing starts from $199/month, with the exact cost depending on the number of video plays. A free trial is available.
Can’t I just host videos on my site?
There’s no point investing in another piece of software if you can house all your content on your website, right?
HTML5 made it easier to host videos on your website. (Before, running videos directly on your site required a plugin, like Flash.) If compatibility is a concern, HTML5 video code works with the latest versions of Chrome, Explorer, Safari, and Firefox.
So why do people still pay for third-party video platforms?

Not everyone is using the latest browser versions. (You can check what your audience uses in Google Analytics: Audience > Technology > Browser & OS.)
Uploading videos to your website using HTML5 requires coding aspects like video height, width, pause, play and volume buttons, etc.
Self-hosting requires a bespoke analytics setup (via Google Tag Manager, for example).
Hosting video on your website can negatively impact your page speed.

As with other video hosting platforms that don’t have a native audience, self-hosted videos also miss out on the distribution network built into a site like YouTube.
You can pick more than one
Struggling to decide on which platform best suits your needs? Don’t force yourself into a box. You can optimize videos for several platforms. Few solve every challenge.
As Brodeur noted, “I’m not really a fan of any of them right now. There are features from a lot of platforms that I wish were all in one.”
Nathan Gotch, for example, uses both YouTube and Vimeo for GotchSEO’s video content:
Video content with the objective of growing our audience, driving traffic, and driving leads is on YouTube [. . .] We use Vimeo to host our sales-driven video content because the goal isn’t distribution. The goal is to get the user to watch the video and then take a specific action.
We could host these on YouTube and keep them private. But it feels more organized to keep YouTube as our marketing vehicle and Vimeo as our sales vehicle.
Conclusion
There’s no definitive answer to “What’s the best video hosting platform?” But, generally speaking, this is what the platform-by-platform breakdown looks like:
PlatformBest suited toPrice point:

YouTube
Distribution, brand awareness
Free

DailyMotion
Promoting or monetizing videos to a non-U.S. audience
Free

JW Player
Technical control, live streaming
Free trial, $12+/month depending on number of views

Wistia
Customer education, lead generation
$99+/month depending on video quantity

Vimeo
Exclusive videos, password-protected videos
Freemium, $7+/month depending on storage

Vidyard
Personalized videos
$150/month (basic); likely $5,000+ for personalization

Loom
Recording, hosting screencaps
Freemium, $10/month

Brightcove
Technical management, video libraries
Free trial, $199+/month

Value of Corporate Reputation as an Intangible Asset

The success of your business often rides on one thing: your corporate reputation. But how can something so important be so desperately intangible? Despite our inability to “calculate” corporate reputation, the future of your business relies on your ability to keep it in good standing.
It’s so important, in fact, that 97 percent of travel business owners say online reputation management is important to their business.
And it’s not just the travel industry that benefits from a likable corporate reputation. According to the 2018 Reputation Dividend Report, corporate reputation is estimated to be responsible for an average of 38 percent of market capitalization across the FTSE 100 & 250: a total of £1,062 billion of shareholder value, up 5 percent from last year.
The statistics are overwhelming and confirm that reputation can lift, sink, or otherwise change the value of a company (more on that later). This blog will dive into the concept of corporate reputation—why it matters and how to measure it. Then we’ll detail specific examples of how companies have overcome or succumbed to, reputation disasters.
Why corporate reputation matters
Your corporate reputation hinges on the sentiment your consumers feel about your brand. Now corporate sentiment is difficult to quantify, but people do try!
It’s easier to think of the big picture effects of a fluctuating reputation to assess just how much reputation matters. For example, if a company’s corporate sentiment is positive, it can expect to see:

Increased revenue and stock prices
Decreased churn rate
Increased customer lifetime value
Better job candidates and employees

On the flip side, a negative corporate sentiment will surely cause stock prices to dip, customers choosing the competition, and higher turnover and less qualified employees.
So with these two futures in mind, it is clear that it’s worth taking the time to improve (or to uphold) your corporate reputation. But how do you do that in an ever-changing market? Let’s take a look at some examples of brands that have survived shifts in their reputation, and how we can learn from their experiences to avoid common pitfalls.
Corporate reputation brand analysis
Reputations can change quickly without notice. One day your company may seem reputationally secure—you have loyal champions of your brand, you’re able to charge a premium for your products or services, and the general public has a favorable opinion regarding your company.
But what happens when something goes sour? The stronger your corporate reputation is, the easier it will be for your brand to overcome publicity disasters. Whether an executive made a bad decision or you were associated with negative media backlash, your reputation can potentially save you from a crisis.
Let’s take a look at the reputational journeys of a few brands, and how they handled reputation crises.
Coca-Cola’s lasting brand reputation

Source
The soft drink behemoth has had its fair share of reputation scandals, but it continues to overcome them all. Why? Simply because its reputation is so strong that people will remain loyal to the brand even if it is in hot water.
How much is Coca-Cola’s brand worth?
Coca-Cola dominates the charts year after year for its reputation and brand recognition. Valued at $80 billion, Coca-Cola was ranked #5 in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2018 list. Here are a few reasons why Coca-Cola resonates so strongly with its audience.

Emotional appeal: Coca-Cola has a proven track record of listening to its customers, and adapting to changing customer needs. Time after time, they have swiftly resolved customer complaints or corporate crises.
Financial performance: People trust companies that are doing well financially. A healthy financial forecast shows that a company is profitable and offers a low-risk investment.
Corporate communications: Coca-Cola is transparent with its marketing and communications. By sharing company news and events, as well as appealing to emotions, Coca-Cola has established itself as a leader.

With such a strong reputation, Coca-Cola can overcome mistakes faster and easier than companies without such clout. Take, for instance, a 1999 policy that Coca-Cola tested in which vending machines would automatically raise prices during the summer heat. This resulted in a huge backlash at the time, as customers in hotter climates felt unfairly targeted based on where they lived. The policy didn’t last long, resulting in Coca-Cola pulling the idea and hiring a new CEO.
Coca-Cola survived the incident relatively unscathed. Would a company with less brand loyalty have been able to do the same? Probably not.
How Salesforce grew its reputation
Salesforce entered the market in 1999. Virtually unknown and competing with top established brands like Microsoft and Oracle, Salesforce didn’t seem to stand a chance. Salesforce was even referred to as “the ant at the picnic” for taking on Siebel. So how did this little “ant” grow up to be one of the biggest forces in CRM software? By building a strong corporate reputation. Here are a few ways they did it:

Guerilla marketing: Salesforce broke into the scene by leading creative events that created a reason for the media to report on them. Rather than trying to promote themselves in the traditional sense, Salesforce created news that landed them in the media.
Social responsibility: Today’s consumers have high expectations when it comes to social responsibility and they are more likely to support brands that hold commitments to improve society.
Vision and leadership: Salesforce has a clear vision for the future and a CEO that is consistently well-liked.

How to measure corporate reputation
There’s no shortage of lists and descriptions of how to measure corporate reputation online. However, the formula, criteria, and rankings vary greatly depending on which website you check. Here are a few of the top ways to measure corporate reputation.

Search engine research: A simple Google search can go a long way. Search your company or your competitors to get a sense of the mood surrounding each. Check out Google’s news tab for more current search results.
In-depth research: Once you’ve run a diagnostic search, begin to dig deeper into the blogs, articles, and reviews you find to discover how and why the sentiment is what it is.
Social research: Perform social listening to find out what the social buzz is around your business.

The above tactics will give you a good idea of the general sentiment surrounding your corporate reputation. Having more positive posts about your business than negative is absolutely critical to the success of your business. Since 64% of consumers trust search engine results more than traditional media, you want to make sure that what they see on the Internet is a positive reflection of your business.
By actively measuring your corporate reputation, you can develop more effective strategies to maintain and drive business growth. You’ll know how and when to spend those valuable marketing dollars to see results. In addition to the research techniques listed above, here are a few more best practices for measuring your corporate reputation.
Set fluid goals
We’ve already established that corporate reputation is intangible. One of the biggest mistakes executives often make trying to quantify reputation is to set rigid criteria to the measurement or even to assign a number to it. Instead of approaching the measurement as a hard and fast number, consider it as more of an instrument capable of evolving with changing trends and goals. Corporate reputation and business growth are closely intertwined, so as your success metrics change, so should your corporate reputation measurement factors.
Consider your audience
It is important to be true to the public’s sentiment when measuring your reputation, and to avoid letting any internal biases affect your measurement. Keep in mind that “the public” can be segmented into several key groups: stakeholders, investors, employees, customers, influencers, haters, etc. It is beneficial to take into account how each of these groups is affecting your corporate reputation and to develop specific strategies for each group to improve or maintain your reputation. What matters to one group may prove to be useless to another.
Execute an action plan
When dealing with a measurement as fluid in nature as corporate reputation, it is important to develop an action plan that you stick to over time. Half the battle with measuring your reputation is being consistent. Set priorities for what you’re going to measure, develop a roadmap as to how, and establish accountability for the team members responsible for collecting the data.
By consistently measuring your corporate reputation over time you can be in a better position to detect any reputational crises and will be better equipped to handle them if and when they arise.
What are today’s top brands
YouGov’s 2018 Global Best Brand Ranking shows the top brands worldwide. The list is compiled based on surveys with more than six million people to find out how people feel about each brand. Respondents were asked, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
Here are the results:

Top value of brands
The brands that top this list not only have successful reputations, but they are hugely successful financially. Each company that made this list enjoys a healthy amount of champions of their brand as well as a strong financial worth.
Conclusion
Every company’s reputation changes over time, and each journey is full of its own nuances and challenges. Although it is impossible to craft a formula for defining your corporate reputation, the fact is that it’s extremely important and absolutely worth the time and effort required to maintain it.
A positive corporate reputation will result in increased revenue and stock prices, decreased churn rate, increased customer lifetime value, and even better job candidates and employees. The bottom line is clear: your corporate reputation defines the value of your company.

Your Next Marketing Strategy for Your MSP – ABM

It is a truism worth repeating: 80% of fish are caught by 20% of fishermen… Successful fishers fish where the fish are most often.
~ Tony Bishop
If you are a fisherman you know that you can put some bait on and cast a line out on the dock to catch a few fish, but when they aren’t biting you need to go to where the fish are.
The same is true for lead generation for your IT company. Inbound marketing techniques (SEO, content creation, etc.) are great lead generation strategies, but at the end of the day, you are waiting for prospects to reach out to you. When your website is drowning the sales team in leads you are happy, but what about the weeks when the leads aren’t coming as frequently? Or what if you need leads NOW and you don’t have time to build up a content generation machine?
That is where Account Based Marketing (ABM) comes in.
Instead of waiting for leads to reach out to you, you reach out to them – it turns the marketing funnel on its head.
What is ABM?
To continue the fishing analogy, traditional inbound marketing focuses on casting a wide net.
The traditional process looks something like this:

You write articles like “5 Signs Your Doctor’s Office Needs IT Support”
A local doctor’s office googles “IT support for doctors in Gaithersburg MD”
Your article shows up and they click on it
They read the article, look at your site, and decide that your business is a good fit for them
They fill out a form to give you their contact info

Again, that is a fine strategy. If you can show up top 3 for a search term for a keyword that has 1,500 searches a month, then you will get a good portion of that traffic (about a third of it, unsurprisingly). A certain percentage of that traffic will then turn into leads (about one to two percent).
You may run into a few issues with this, however.

You get companies too small to work with your business
You get companies outside of your service area
You get contacts that aren’t decision makers

ABM flips this “wide net” strategy on its head. ABM is the fishing equivalent of spearfishing in a stocked pond with only the types and sizes of fish you are interested in catching. It doesn’t even seem fair, does it?
Instead of working to get the information from a percentage of search traffic, you acquire the information of those that fit your ideal client and you begin (in a very targeted way) to reach out to them with a message tailored to their needs.
Why use ABM for your MSP?
While it is just one tool in the toolbox, there are a lot of reasons to use ABM for your MSP company.
Locally Targeted
With ABM, you start out your campaign with a list of contacts that meet the exact attributes of clients you are searching for. They are in the right positions, in the right industry, within your geographic area, etc. You know that every dollar you spend on marketing to this group is being spent getting your message in front of someone that could convert.
Works in Tandem with Other Strategies
This isn’t some strategy that requires you to stop the way you are doing things in your current marketing. As a matter of fact, it often further enhances your current marketing strategy. If you are currently working on increasing your conversion rates on your site to get those organic leads to drip through the funnel, keep at it! As the traffic comes in from ABM this will only help.
Note: If you start an ABM campaign, be careful not to oversaturate your list with non-ABM content. They don’t need 2 emails from the ABM campaign, your monthly newsletter, and an event invite all in the same week.
Increased Personalization
One of my favorite things about ABM is having fun with the personalization. You can get VERY targeted with ABM personalization. Things like…

Adding their company name to a landing page they come to
Changing email content to speak to position-specific pains (What the CEO cares about from an IT perspective is not the same as what their internal team cares about)
And more…

The more information you have about them, the more personalized you can get.
How to Implement ABM in Your MSP Marketing Program
All marketing requires strategy before implementation, and ABM is no different. Just like you need to do keyword research before jumping into SEO, there is a step-by-step process in ABM to ensure you are getting the most out of your efforts.
Know Your Target Market
Hopefully, you have a good understanding of your target market regardless of your marketing strategy. You know the mantra – “50% of my marketing dollars are wasted, I just don’t know what 50%”. This is generally due to bad strategy.
What size company do you work best with? What industries do you specialize in? What positions make the decisions, and what positions are influencers? What people usually stand in your way in the sale? Are most of your clients men or women? What age is your persona? What types of media do they use? What organizations are they a part of? What jargon do they use?
These questions just scratch the surface, but the first step in ABM is to have a tight understanding of your market.
Build ABM Campaign Plan
ABM in itself does not in itself require a specific strategy in reaching your audience, it is just a framework to work within and a lens to think through. Because of that, the tools you use to reach this audience are ones you are familiar with – email, paid, social media, website pages, etc.
The way they are used is what changes. With social media, for example, you would not just make general LinkedIn posts on your page. Instead, you may upload a list of target companies to show very targeted ads to.
Put together a plan to determine how you will reach this audience. What channels will you use? How personalized can you get? How frequent are the touch points? What pain points will you focus on for different segments?
Work with your marketing and sales team to determine the channels and cadence to this.
Note: ABM is not something that exists strictly in the marketing arena. It is tightly integrated with sales and should include them as well (as should any type of marketing, honestly – sales people don’t bite). Because of this, include things like personal emails to what seem to be hot leads and follow-up calls.
Acquire List
You may have a list of prospects with all the information you need about them. If so, great! Many times this is not the case, however. Maybe the contacts you have are very old with outdated information, maybe you don’t have enough information about them, or maybe you just don’t have a list at all.
If you don’t have a robust enough list to begin with, you have 2 options:

Append your list: If you just have the name and address from a mailer you send out every year but no email, use a list appending service to connect those physical addresses with emails, phone number, etc. This is very inexpensive.
Buy a list: This topic is an article in itself, but if you don’t have any list at all you can purchase one. That is all I will say about that for now.

When you do get this list through any of these means, it is critical that it matches your target market. The tighter filtering you can do on these contacts, the better your results will be. Get started off on the right foot with a solid list of verified contacts, or you are setting yourself up for failure.
Note: It is tempting when buying a list to only go after the one perfect contact at a company – the CEO, for example. This is definitely someone you want on your list, but don’t be afraid of adding the lower-level influencers as well – office managers, for example. We have seen a lot of success reaching these individuals. They are usually hungry to make an impact and improve the business. Give them that opportunity.
Execute
Now that you have an understanding of who you are reaching, have a list of these contacts, and have a plan for how to go about reaching out to them, it is time to pull back your spear-throwing-arm and let her fly.
Remember, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry…. when you have poor execution. Pay attention to the details. The first impression goes a long way, and if you start out with an off-the-mark pain point, a shoddily designed email, or an unresponsive landing page, you are shooting yourself in the foot. This is something to pull the whole team together for. Have your personalization tactics been tested? Have you talked to current clients about their pain points and why they work with you?
React to the Numbers
Back in the day, marketing was a shot in the dark – you’d send a postcard out and cross your fingers or spend money on radio ads and just hope people were listening. Those days are gone.
Everything you do should have a number. Conversion rates, open rates, time on page, bounce rates – numbers are your friends. Whether that is through call tracking, cookies, or heatmapping, collect as much information on your marketing efforts as possible. Don’t stop there, though; use that information to make your campaign better.
Having great success on LinkedIn but can’t get anything from your display ads? Shift the budget.
Does your landing page have a high bounce rate? Look at your heatmapping and site analytics and shift accordingly.
Do your emails not have a good click-through-rate? Tweak the design or content and do some A/B testing.
Ready to Get Started with ABM for MSPs?
This was just a very broad overview of ABM for MSPs, but hopefully, it gives you a good idea of where to start and the next steps to take.
To do this right does take a lot of knowledge about the different marketing channels, technical understanding around personalization, and good writing and design skills. The last thing you want to do is spend the money to run an ABM campaign for your MSP and lose money on it.

Social Media Marketing Converts Up to 3-Fold Because Millennials Are Paying For It

Charlie Brooker is right, people can’t get their faces off of social media.
Click, click, click, tap everywhere. Almost everyone in the world has smartphones. It’s the most accessible, most available platform to go on the internet. And it’s become another part of our body. As if something we can’t live without. Along with this smartphone trend, comes in social media.
Can you imagine the world today without social media?
Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—all of it. Social media has become part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine the future without it. With so much going on, social media allows us to stay updated with everyone’s business. It’s where we get our news (which kind of backfired), where we talk, where we post and find jobs. Only a handful of nomads can consider not living with them
Social media has seeped into our daily lives, even with marketing. It has become it’s own platform that it’s also an emerging trend of digital marketing.
Millennials Use Social Media Marketing More Often than Baby Boomers

The truth about social media use is—it mostly used by the younger generation. And this generation is growing up. Millennials, Generation Y, the most sensitive generation to exist, whatever you call them is becoming the new age for workforce. Basically, this generation is starting to make money, are taking over occupations, and is generating income in one way or another.
Gabriel Schoolian, CEO of DesignRush.com, stated that at least 30% of millennials buy products off of Facebook. With Facebook Marketplace being another platform for ecommerce. He also said that bigger social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest) convert the most due to personalized content and high number of users. The younger generation finds products they want easily on this platform. They also find engagement with companies from Facebook. And are allowed to like, heart, get angry, or sad fact a post. And this built the trust they are looking for from brands that weren’t there before.
Schooloian compared them to baby boomers and concluded that the younger generation is more often on social media. That they are more likely to buy products or services they say with social media than the older generation. This could be possibly due to techno naivety of older people. Or that baby boomers don’t find millennial marketing at all effective. But at least an estimated 30% baby boomers still prefer social media marketing.
The survey’s key findings show that social media marketing has a direct effect on brand visibility, awareness and conversion rates. These results also reinforce the idea that the best platforms are those that are robust, ever-evolving and user-centric — such as Facebook.
Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram? Which One?

Having a lot of platforms available, it is difficult to conclude which one is best for social media marketing. Marketing experts Albinsoon and Bitner from Appalachian State University conducted a research on this. They concluded that gender doesn’t affect social media marketing effectiveness. Both males and females use social media and has bought products due to social media influence. But their efforts are admittedly limited because social media trends differ each year. They used all platforms available back then: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine. But by 2016, Vine was shut down and is no longer a usable platform for social media.
Whether to use Facebook or Instagram for social media marketing depends on trends and their business goals. However, Facebook maintains its robust status for social media marketing due to it being one of the biggest networks. However, it is good to note that Generation Z and some Millennials don’t engage on ads Facebook due to its recent scandals (Cambridge Analytica, namely). The fact that Facebook uses personal data puts off certain customers. So, this further fortifies the idea that the trends for social media marketing determine its effectiveness.
In addition, millennial marketing highly depends on animation. The younger generation prefers videos and animation for social media marketing (No wonder TED Talk is trendy on Facebook). Millennials find it more engaging and more personal compared to traditional marketing strategies.
The research concluded by saying that social media marketing is becoming the most efficient way to conduct millennial marketing. And that it could take over traditional ads and marketing strategies in the future.
How Social Media Marketing Can Help Your Business
Millennial marketing also highly depends on engagement. The new generation of clients and customers use social media in order to know your business’ presence. 31% of people have stated that social media has influenced their purchase one way or another. The rise of prominent Instagram influencers also indicate the effectiveness of social media marketing.
Though not considered a sole market, big companies use social media marketing for added revenue.Other reasons to consider social media marketing include:

It personalizes your brand. Customers think that they had a personal experience when you engage with them through social media
It gives your customers an avenue. Those comments have a purpose one way or another. Trolls aside, they can be a valuable empirical data to collect. It gives you an idea what your customers want.
It is a platform for conversion. Aside from landing pages, home pages, print ads etc. Social media can be a platform for more subscribers and paying customers. Though influencers can convince people to buy your products, most customers buy using a different platform (either physical stores or ecommerce)

Either way, those likes, comments, and hashtags serve a purpose. They fulfill the engagement your customers are looking for. It allows them to express everything they felt about you, your business, and your product. And you can use these information to your advantage.
Testimonials vs Influencers vs Celebrities—It’s Important to Stay Human
While it is easy to conclude that influencers hold the bigger straw in social media marketing, data says that’s not always the case. Between testimonials from friends, influencers, and celebrities, the highest conversion comes from testimonials. People often follow influencers and other people that relate to them. That’s why most Youtube content are seemingly spontaneous and fun. Celebrities and influencers do convert, but testimonials remain supreme compared to the other two. So, when considering social media marketing, it’s important to stay human. That way, you can simulate the friendly approach those testimonials give to your customers.
Millennial marketing is quite different from the traditional style. I guess it’s safe to say that marketing itself is evolving. And like most marketers, you should be adaptive enough in order for your market revenue to stay. Social media trends change every now and then. So while the trend is still in formation, marketers should get in the know and take advantage of it. The millennial generation is growing up fast.

5 Reasons Your Employees Should Have Strong LinkedIn Profiles

ElisaRiva / Pixabay
Prospective clients and new hires are not only scanning your company’s website, but your LinkedIn company page and employees’ pages too, from the C-suite to interns alike.
There’s a demand for a holistic and comprehensive digital view of your firm—and this includes your employees. Many discussions on ways to bring a human element to corporate social media have focused on one individual–the CEO. However, brands are beginning to realize the importance of having the face of the company represented on social media through employees of all levels, actively engaging with clients and prospects.
These connections create relationships that resonate with clients, prospects, and hires, and they keep your firm top of mind. One of the best ways to establish these professional connections is through LinkedIn. Here are a few reasons and benefits for your employees to have strong LinkedIn profiles.
1. Positive public image and brand reputation
LinkedIn is a great opportunity for your firm to show off its collective company expertise. Prospects, clients and others can see the expertise of each employee if profiles are kept up to date with skills, experience, endorsements and accomplishments. Additionally, employees can post news updates, job openings and new hires to demonstrate the growth of your company. This puts your company in front of your employees’ networks, but also prospects, clients and job seekers who are searching for your company. It’s important that your CEO maintains a strong LinkedIn profile, as they are often the most well-known face of the company. But the collective presence of your employees on LinkedIn is essential in that it makes your brand more human and authentic.
2. Increased firm visibility
Oftentimes one of the only things an employee will do on LinkedIn to promote the firm is by updating their profile to list you as an employer, which links to your Company Page. This is important because a person’s job title and place of employment are the only thing you can see about another user before clicking on their profile. However, there are several other ways that employees can edit their profiles to increase the visibility and reach of your firm. Employees can include a brief description of your company under Experience or the Summary section of their profile, use company keywords in the job description, and even add a link to your website. Employees can also follow the Company Page so that it shows up in the Interests section of their profile, share thought leadership produced by colleagues, connect with their coworkers and give each other endorsements for relevant skills. All of these ideas will make your firm more visible when someone lands on an employee’s profile, and the keywords and information will help profiles appear in search engine or LinkedIn search results.
LinkedIn is great for search engine visibility. Oftentimes when your firm’s name is searched, its LinkedIn page will come up in the first several results. This valuable search engine real estate should be leveraged to show your firm to be the well-rounded capable partner that it is. To not take advantage of this search engine real estate is a missed opportunity.
3. Lead generation and nurturing
LinkedIn is a primary place to make professional connections. In fact, 80% of B2B leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn. When you meet people at conferences or speaking engagements, connecting with them on LinkedIn will give them insight into your brand and what it’d be like to work with you, and it gives them an easy way to connect with you going forward, should a need arise.
People want to know who they are working with, and LinkedIn is a primary way for prospects to assess whether they deem your team competent to handle their business. Also, being active on LinkedIn and engaging with your connections will allow for a more personalized experience that creates trust. This is not limited to firm leadership. When your employees are active on LinkedIn and keep their profile up to date in these ways, it creates a positive and engaged public image for your firm and makes your brand more human.
4. Further your brand reach
Part of having a strong LinkedIn profile is being active on the platform by sharing content and engaging with others. LinkedIn research says that on average, employee networks have 10 times as many connections as a firm’s Company Page followers. This means that turning employees into brand advocates on LinkedIn, where they engage with and share your company’s posts, will greatly increase the posts’ and page’s reach. When a post receives more engagement (likes, comments, shares), it will move up to the top of users’ news feeds. That means that even just by commenting on a post, employees can increase the visibility of your firm throughout their network. They also will be more likely to read and engage with the post because people are more likely to trust information that’s shared by someone they know.
5. Drive traffic to your website
LinkedIn is almost always a top referral to B2B and professional services websites, consistently driving a sizeable percentage of traffic to the sites, especially when updates are regularly shared via the company account. As your employees become more active on LinkedIn, engaging with your company’s posts or sharing blog articles, it will expand your reach and drive even more referrals to your site.
6. Attract Talent
LinkedIn is a primary tool for job seekers. And even if jobseekers aren’t actively looking for jobs on LinkedIn, they will almost always use LinkedIn to vet your firm and your people. Prospective employees want to get a sense of your culture and see who they would be working with. The most effective employer branding showcases what it’s really like to work for a firm, and LinkedIn is a great tool to allow prospects to gauge this by scrolling through your people.
A team effort
A strong LinkedIn presence is table stakes in today’s landscape, and the lack of a cohesive LinkedIn presence across your organization is an easy missed opportunity. Although not everyone is a social butterfly, keeping LinkedIn profiles up to date should be encouraged by employers, and inviting your people to like and share content at select intervals is something that is quite effective. Your employees will likely be happy to participate with encouragement and reminders. Your CEO and firm leadership should lead this effort! Management can set a good example by strengthening their own profiles and engaging with the company page in order to encourage others to do so too.

Could Social Media Be Detoxified By Removing the Like Button?

Social media is capable of doing some really powerful things. It can help friends and family keep in contact, you can use groups to meet people who share your interests, communities can organise events, and anyone can share their creativity. The positives of social media are overwhelming.
It’s been great for the way that people interact with businesses, too. Transparency has become a revolution for consumers, who are now able to see just what everyone thinks of a business. They can even interact directly with the business themselves, finding out first hand how prospective buyers are treated.
While this all sounds great, we know that it’s not the whole picture. Social media also has a darker side. Twitter, in particular, has struggled over the years with keeping a handle on cyber-bullying, to the point where at the end of 2016, rumours ran wild about the problem leading to a planned shutdown of the platform. A scathing report from Buzzfeed highlights just how bad the situation was.

More recently, one of the big issues faced by social media networks is people buying followers and likes to inflate their statistics. At the time of writing, the first result when searching on Google for “buy Instagram followers” offers 10,000 followers or likes for $64.95.
These aren’t going to be genuine people liking your photos or following your page, however, people looking at your profile will likely be none the wiser. For a small investment, people can establish themselves as seemingly-genuine influencers. Many social media bloggers even recommend purchasing a few thousand fake followers to get an Instagram page off the ground.
This completely undermines the real users who are positively contributing to the platforms with genuine engagement and thoughtful content, and further promotes a toxic environment, where chasing numbers is all that matters.
So, is the problem the users or the platforms?
Inevitably it’s a combination of the two. As long as there’s a way to abuse the system, people probably will.
The industry is certainly aware that social platforms currently encourage users to chase numbers such as followers and likes. Recently in a TED Talk, Twitter former CEO admitted: “If I had to start the service again, I wouldn’t emphasise the follower count as much. I wouldn’t emphasise the like count as much. I don’t think I’d even create like in the first place…”
By placing an emphasis on what are essentially vanity metrics, people are encouraged to like an image to register their reaction. This doesn’t really drive deeper conversation, and the action is so simple that common social media tactics have followed suit. Content is often shared with quick impact or sensationalism in mind; anything to nudge someone to pay attention for a split second and register their reaction before they move on.

The detox has already started
Towards the end of 2018, some changes started to take place to de-emphasise users’ statistics. One of the more noticeable changes is from Instagram. They explained on their press site: “You may see features re-arranged at the top of your profile including changes to icons, buttons and the way you navigate between tabs, which we hope will make profiles easier and cleaner to use. The photos and videos you’ve shared on your grid won’t change.”
Really what’s going on, however, is an effort to take the focus away from the numbers, and back onto the content and meaningful engagement.
A similar change took place last year on Twitter: the following and follower counts in the iOS app were slightly reduced in size. This may be a subtle change, but it’s certainly symptomatic of a shift in attitudes by the main social media platforms.
A more extreme example has been experienced by Instagram users in Canada. At the beginning of May this year, Instagram started to test hiding like counts. Users whose profiles have been used for the tests can see the number of likes on their own posts, however these statistics are hidden from others.
What does this mean for influencers?
Influencers, particularly those who have experienced having the number of likes on their posts hidden, have been worried: likes are one of the most straightforward ways for them to show off the success of a post. While these changes can look worrying at first glance, they could actually help the influencer industry to formally establish itself.
With like counts easily inflated by those willing to cheat the system, hiding them could potentially protect viewers from misleading information, who would instead rely more heavily on the quality of the influencer’s content.
Businesses looking to take advantage of influencer marketing can also see this as a positive. Brands should be taking much more than like and follower counts into consideration when choosing who to work with. Statistics such as engagement rates, video completions, follower growth, and impressions can all help form a much clearer understanding of an influencer’s performance.
By hiding vanity metrics, Instagram could help push businesses to be more discerning when using influencer marketing. Businesses would get better results, which should have a beneficial impact on the industry as a whole. To find out how to avoid some common mistakes when starting out in the world of influencer marketing, read on here.
Change can often be scary, but in the world of social media it’s inevitable. Fortunately, some of the changes currently on the horizon could make the online world a much less toxic place to be.

Do you think that removing likes is a change that we’re likely to see on the main social media platforms? Let us know your thoughts!

Marie Kondo-ing Your LinkedIn: The LinkedIn Audit Blueprint to Help Your Profile Shine

We wish for you to have the very best, most fulfilling career possible, doing work that you love.
And one of the best routes to that dream job is having a dreamy LinkedIn profile!
We’ll show you how.
Today we’re giving you a checklist for a LinkedIn makeover. We’ll provide many different ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and boost your presence – and the presence of your brand – so that you can shine.
Whether you’re looking for your next great job, seeking to grow your thought leadership, or wanting to build a better brand, we have the tips for you. Keep reading below to find out the best ways to make over your presence on LinkedIn … today!

Start here: What is your goal for your LinkedIn profile?
That is a BIG question.
For the most part, we’ve seen this break down into three categories:

First, People looking for new opportunities, be it jobs or clients or speaking engagements.
Second, People looking to use LinkedIn for thought leadership. This would mean more of a focus on publishing on LinkedIn and then a clean profile that supports that.
And third, Professionals looking to maintain a strong personal brand

Once you know what your goal is with LinkedIn, your strategy then becomes clear
If your goal is job hunting …
you want to make sure your current profile accurately fits the job you’re applying for — kind of like the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” And you’ll also want to build up a collection of solid recommendations.
If your goal is to be known as a thought leader …
you want a clean and professional profile. You’ll be publishing on LinkedIn a lot, so you want to make the most of all that attention.
If your goal is to build a strong personal brand …
you’ll want to keep your profile up to date with work milestones and add new media examples as they come up.
If you want to see some examples of people doing this really well, here are a few names to check out:
Candice Galek, the founder of Bikini Luxe
Michaela Alexis, a LinkedIn trainer and speaker, and
Joel Gascoigne, the CEO of Buffer … a great example of a clean and minimal LinkedIn profile for an executive.

So now that we’ve covered the “why,” let’s get into the “how.”
These are the specific ways to make your LinkedIn profile the very best it can be, starting from the first impression.
1. Choose an ideal profile photo
Your profile photo is key for your entire presence on LinkedIn.
Not only is it the centerpiece of the profile itself, your profile photo is the visual that is used in connection requests, in Groups, and anytime you post or comment on the LinkedIn feed.
This might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:
Use a high-quality, professional profile photo.
Individuals shouldn’t use a logo or graphic for the profile photo. Choose a picture of yourself, not your business or brand.
And definitely don’t leave the photo blank. This is a fast track to getting your connection requests ignored.
Your LinkedIn profile performs best when people can see the real “you” in your profile photo. Treat it like you would any other profile picture on any other social network.
There are a handful of different scientifically-proven ways to have a great profile photo. Here’s the short list of do’s and don’ts:
Do:

Be sure to smile, and show your teeth
If you’re dressing up, go with dark-colored suits, and light colored buttondowns
Make sure your jawline shows a shadow
Crop the photo with either Head-and-shoulders, or head-to-waist

Don’t:

No hats
No sunglasses
Avoid sex appeal

One of the most popular pieces of advice for great profile pictures is to “squinch.” It’s a little trick you do with your eyes — kind of like a squint and kind of like a pinch. The goal is to reduce the distance between the bottom of your eyelid and your pupil, to avoid the “deer in the headlinghts” look in your photos.

Regular expression on the left, “squinch” on the right
For an objective opinion, you can use the photo tool Snappr.
Snappr can determine how well your photo will perform based on all of the attributes we just discussed. It uses image recognition to tell you exactly how to make your image better.
Sample Snappr results for analyze a LinkedIn profile photo (courtesy of Snappr)
One of the things that Snappr might tell you — and something I notice on LinkedIn photos every now and then — is that you have a busy background. There’s a tool for that, too! Remove.bg magically cuts the background out of photos so that you can swap in something more appealing.
Sample of remove.bg’s magic touch (image courtesy of remove.bg)
2. Be thoughtful about your cover photo
For the Cover photo, many people stick with LinkedIn’s standard image, which is a great option. At the moment, this image is an illustration of connected dots on a blue-and-teal gradient.

However, if you want to spice things up — and especially if you have an image that reflects your personal brand or company — then definitely opt for that. We’ve seen some great examples of branding with the cover photos.
To save you some Googling, the dimensions for a LinkedIn cover photo are (currently) 1,584 x 396 px. You can create this with a custom tool like Canva or with a more powerful design product like Figma or Sketch.
We’re also big fans of Unsplash for stock photography as well. Tons of good photos to choose from there!
3. Write a great headline
In addition to appearing at the top of your profile, the headline is also what people will always see by your name as they’re scrolling around LinkedIn. It’s a short bit of text that carries a lot of potential!

Most commonly, people use the headline to state their current work position.
But you can use it in a variety of ways.
Founders might use it to promote that their company is hiring
You might use it to advertise that you’re looking for new opportunities with work or speaking.
One of our best tips about the headline is a simple — and fun — one: Always be experimenting with your headline.
Don’t be afraid to try something new.
As you change positions be sure to update your LinkedIn title but also feel free to get a little creative here. Your LinkedIn headline will be the bit about you that people see when they search for your name or your profile pops up as a recommendation to connect with.
Make the most of it!
For instance, Michaela Alexis – one of the profiles we mentioned earlier – includes a detailed list in her headline:

Others include eye-catching emoji:

4. Tell a story in your About Summary
With the summary, you have a great opportunity to tell a story about who you are and your career journey. It truly is a space to stretch your storytelling muscles. We’ve seen great profiles that are close to 2,000 characters long — mini blog posts!
The summary can be underutilized. It really is a great place to highlight your strengths and provide an overview of your career. When you’re writing your summary, think about these questions:

What does your company do?
How does your company benefit its customers?
What campaigns or projects have you been a part of?
And it’s often fun to close with your special interests outside of work.

It’s typically recommended to avoid highlighting your current experience too much, because there’s space for that in the Experience section, which we’ll get to in a minute.
The summary gets premium placement on your profile, too, in the section immediately below your name, headline, and profile photo. So it’s definitely worth spending time to get it right!
5. Add relevant, eye-catching media
Media includes things like links and attachments, which can be a great way to highlight a host of different things: speaking experience, articles you’ve written or been mentioned in, and any other media that is a positive reflection of you professionally.
For instance, if you work in social media, you could consider adding blog posts you’ve contributed to, case studies about your social performance, or links to big campaigns.
6. Be active on LinkedIn. It shows!
Right after Media is a section for Articles and Activity. This is where a history of your LinkedIn activity will appear — this includes one column for the articles you’ve written on LinkedIn and a column for the posts you’ve shared and the comments you’ve made.
If you’re looking to use your LinkedIn profile for thought leadership, then this can be a really valuable space to invest in.

7. Update your Experience to be relevant, current
I like to think of this section as the resumé section because it’s essentially a history of where you’ve worked.
One of the biggest opportunities we see on LinkedIn is removing irrelevant experience from your profile.
We see so many people leaving on experience that they might not need to have on there. Yes, it’s possible to have all of your experience on your LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean that you need to. If you would prefer to leave some things out that’s perfectly fine.
One good way to think about it is: what narrative do you want to craft about your career?
If you can answer that, then you’ll be able to select your work experience accordingly.
Two other quick tips on LinkedIn’s Experience section:

Mind your verb tenses. We often see people who have a job from five years ago but still have in the description “I do this here” instead of, “I used to do this here.”
Show your progression at a company. You can nest promotions within the same job — rather than having to create a new job each time.

8. and 9. Fill out your Skills. Give and receive Endorsements.
Skills are the specific skills you list like “Public Relations” or “Public Speaking.”
Endorsements are the number of people who have said that you do have this skill.
LinkedIn lets you pin three skills to your profile, and the rest are only visible if someone expands the section. Fun fact: the most in-demand “hard skill” of 2019 is cloud computing, and the most in-demand “soft skill” is creativity.
We recommend choosing three skills that fit with your goals — whether that’s finding new opportunities, building a brand, or getting more thought leadership.
Also worth keeping in mind is that others can endorse you for specific skills. And LinkedIn will highlight whether you’ve been endorsed specifically by others who are highly skilled in the skill you’ve added.
If you are looking to get more endorsements, I’d recommend endorsing your friends and contacts and then asking if they might be up for doing the same.
10. Pay it forward by giving Recommendations to others
At the bottom of your profile are the recommendations you’ve received and the recommendations you’ve given. Any recommendations you’ve received by your contacts are visible on your profile unless you’ve hidden them.
Having several strong recommendations for recent roles will add a level of credibility to your profile if you’re job hunting
At the same time, if your profile only has a handful of recommendations from very old work experiences, it might be worth removing them or asking for new recommendations to display.
And you can pay it forward as well by giving recommendations to others.
LinkedIn displays any recommendations that you give. This section is a great place to show off that you’ve been supportive of your colleagues or direct reports in previous roles.