Friday, October 8, 2010

Premature "Post"ulation

Yes we have all been there. We get caught up in the moment, all ramped up, and before we can even think about it we do it at the worst possible time. That's right, we post something on facebook, twitter, or our blog when our emotions are on overdrive. It's not until later that we realize the error of our ways and severely regret what we posted prematurely.

We as humans have always had the ability to fly off the handle and say things that we later regret. In the past though we only had to worry about the people in the room hearing our demented rantings. Then with the invention of email and cell phones we needed to worry about sending emails or texts to people we know with our off-the-wall antics. As technology progressed it has given us the opportunity to send these messages around the world in an instant. It's much more difficult to take back or appologize for thoughts that we put out there without thinking them through all the way. This gives all the more reason why we should wait until we cool off before posting our opinions.

That being said, we've all made the mistake of premature "post"ulation. What now? Do we delete the post knowing that half of the free world has already read it and judged us for our heat of the moment opinions? Do we post an explanation of our irrational thinking of our post? Or do you just wait until you run into people and sheepishly explain what happened?

What do you think? What approach have you taken when you've made this mistake?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HUG2010: Who's your MoFu?

No No we are not trying to be inappropriate. At HubSpot they have coined the term MoFu to represent the middle of the funnel. This session was a discussion on how to take leads and turn them into conversions. I have found this sessions to be the most entertaining session by far. The whole session related lead nurturing to the process of dating. The typical sales funnel takes:

Visitors -> Leads -> Customers

The dating funnel takes:

People you meet -> Dates -> Marriage

At HubSpot they also get very excited about data and statistics, also known as data "porn". For example of people that research products they want to buy 6 months later only 23% of them actually purchased the product. At the same time, 6 months later 67% still plan on purchasing. People that nurture their leads close 20% more of people than those that do no nurture their leads.

What is a lead? It is a person who is interested in your product. Or from a dating perspective it is a phone number given to you on a napkin. Another bit of data is that 78% of sales that started as a web inquiry went to the first responder. That means that it is very crucial to get back to people as soon as possible.

What is a qualified lead? It is a lead that fits the profile of an ideal customer. In the dating world it is a person that you've been on a date with and still like.

Through HubSpot you have the option of create what are called lead nurturing campaigns that allow you to send automated emails in timed intervals if people fill out a specific form on your website. Based on the form filled out you can decide if they should get a different set of information (and create a new lead nurturing campaign) or if they can get the same set of emails as the person who filled out a different form.

How do you send them lead nurturing emails without seeming spammy?
Make sure that your emails are not all sales material talking about you. You want to be sure to send them information that is our could be of value to them. You don't need to use HubSpots lead nurturing campaigns to do this you can do it manually or utilize other tools of your choosing.

What are some lead nurturing email ideas?

Thank you/welcome letter
links or information about online tools
Series of archived blog posts relating to information they requested/downloaded
Product Specs or documentation.

Who should my lead nurturing emails come from?
It depends on who will respond to them or follow up with them if they have questions.

Every person may have a different approach or opinion about lead nurturing. The takeaways are that it's important to respond quickly and make sure that you tailor your lead nurturing to your sales cycle. You don't want to send out emails over a nine month period if you customers usually close within 2 months. Talk to your sales team to be sure you work together to iron out the best process to maximize lead conversion.

Dharmesh Shah - Social Inbox

The jewel of the HubSpot User Group was listening to Dharmesh Shah talk about the new tool that is only in alpha stage of development, "Social Inbox".

Basically the concept is to build a tool that will be able to leverage your facebook, linked in and twitter connections to find business prospects. He led with the question, "Wouldn't it be great if you could wake up every day and have an inbox with possible leads that have been found in your social media connections." Alright, this is not a direct quote - but that was the gist of it.

The Social Inbox can be programmed to find people with specific demographics in the three main social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), or find people that tweet specific phrases (keywords) that are important to your business, or find people that have specific keywords in their professional title on LinkedIn, facebook... you get the idea. This tool is still being developed and is in no way taking on it's final form - but it seems like an extremely exciting prospect and should be extremely valuable once it is in production.

And best of all it will be included in the HubSpot Subscription - so there will not be any additional costs to be able to use this tool.

Another tool that was mentioned and unfortunately I don't know if it was going to be part of the Social Inbox, is something he calls, "Smart Timing" for Twitter. The idea is to be able to set up a tweet ahead of time and specify a trigger that will release the tweet. An example would be if you created a tweet about John Doe, and you want him to see it - you would be able to create the tweet and have it sent out when John Doe logs into Twitter. That way you would know that he saw the tweet.

HUG2010: How to Create a Blog Factory

It can always be daunting when you are faced with the task of constantly coming up with new blog topics for your website. This session gave suggestions and idea on how to keep the ideas for blog topics flowing.


It's easy to brainstorm several ideas for a blog post but having enough information and knowledge to actual write a blog post isn't always easy. So taking a large list of ideas and then narrowing it down to which ones you can write about and then from that you can select which topics you actually blog about.

Spin Offs

There is the option to provide more detailed information on previous blog submissions. You can write another blog posting that relates to a current one that utilizes keyword phrases you wished you could use and link between the two blog postings. You can also create a new blog posting that responds to questions or comments that were made on previous postings.

Use Old Content

You can use older case studies or white papers and break them apart into a series of new blog postings to revitalize an interest in the topics. You also have the option to link back to the initial white paper for them to see all the information in one place. It is important to optimize the information for both SEO and for new visitors to make the most of your content.

Brian Halligan the CEO of HubSpot also had a few suggestions that have helped him over the years. He finds that he thinks of blog topics in his every day activities whether it's going to a ball game or reading the morning paper. Just make a note of ideas when you think of them and you can weed through the good and bad ideas later when you have more time to think about what you want to say.

He also had some suggestions on the best way to brainstorm. He's researched brain function and has found that if you're in a quiet room, not thinking about a specific topic, and let your mind day dream that you can come up with lots of ideas. Just write them down when you think of them and keep on day dreaming. There is bound to be a good idea in there somewhere.

Brian had a suggestion on how to entice people who don't want to blog into blogging. Bring out their competitive side. Give an incentive to the person each week who created the blog with the most pageviews or comments to an article in the last 10 or 30 days. People like to win and this just might work.

Blog topics are always going to be a struggle just try to sit back relax and see what comes to you or hit the books or archives and see what you can repurpose into useful information for your visitors. You won't be sorry.

Small Business Customer Panel

This class focused on a panel of four Hubspot success stories:

Debbie Page - The New Born Baby - Lactation Consultant
Enjoys being able to look at what's happening on her website. Received a lot of help with getting her program up and running. Big increase in traffic 217% increase since February. Most of her referrals are doctor basis, not getting big results from online conversions yet. Now blogs and utilizes facebook religiously. Debbie page Tip: Bring a video camera to conferences that you go to and do short interviews with people in your industry.

Chris Higgins - President Data Guide
Promotional products to other companies to help with brand awareness. Found website grader, then found hubspot, hadn't been too focused on their website. Migrated over to the hubspot CMS. Started with on-page seo. 6 months into starting the first big lead came in... Chris Higgins Tip: Use long tail keywords to build pages on your website.

Scott Crampton - The Murder Mystery Company
Quit job a year ago selling furniture. Started doing murder mystery, got attention. opened small offices in Chicago and Michigan. In November of last year started with hubspot and business has exploded. Now has 217 actors. Only uses Hubspot, google adwords. Scott Crampton Tip: If you have anything fun or exciting that you do at your company, put it up on your website.

Marcus Sheridan - River Pools and Spas
Two years ago business sucked. All outbound marketing (radio, print...). Had no control, had to go through the webmaster to get anything done/changed on the website. Found website grader and got a 17 out of 100. today he's at 97 out of 100. Blog 's like animals, talk to consumers and does 0 outbound marketing. Spent 100k on oubound marketing and 60-70 on google adwords. Now 25-35k on advertising for a 4-5 million dollar business. Hubspot has given them control of their website and they can create / edit pages on their site. Marcus Sheridan Tip: Blog about the problems and complaints with the products and/or services you provide. Tip 2: Keep the sales pitch on your website and use your blog to teach people.

All of the speakers were very interesting to listen to, but if I had to hand out an enthusiasm award it would go to, "Marcus Sheridan"

Give Your Audience the Content They Crave

The speaker, Paul Roetzer, quickly went over several strategies to Content Marketing.

New information for me, was in order to understand your customers better, take a look at the editorial calendar in magazines, trade journals... in your clients industry to see what topics are most likely important to your customers. The editorial calendar is created by people that have a lot of insight into your clients needs.

Taking that same approach, when you are writing content for your website, create your own editorial calendar. And take it a step further and create abstracts for each of your writing topics.

The big decision when getting content on your site, is how to do it. Do you outsource it? Do you do it internally? Doing it internally will require time, but you can draw on all the resources of your company from marketing, sales, executives, and the people in the guts of your operations - the worker bees in the operations department.

When outsourcing your content, it can get expensive. Traditionally content writing was a dollar a word, so for an average 500 word blog post - it could cost $500.00 at that rate. Currently outsourced content writing is like the wild west. There are new companies that desperately want the content writing business and they slash their prices in an effort to grab clients. You also have something called the "Content Flood" which is a group of editors, copywriters..., that are hired at a penny a word to create content on specific topics. While this content can rank well, it is usually not well written, and is what you get at a penny a word.

Regardless of whether you have your content written internally or you outsource it, having an editor is absolutely necessary.

Where is Inbound Marketing Headed? Panel Session

We were lucky enough to have industry superstars available for an open question and answer session to discuss the future of inbound marketing. On the panel were David Meerman, Chris Brogan, Dharmesh Shah, and Ann Handley.

Question: What is the best way to measure ROI?
Dave's Response: When analytics just can't do it it's best to see your area of influence. How many followers do you have, who is talking about you, who is retweeting your posts?

Question: Is it best to keep content on your site or post it in other locations?
Ann's Response: Yes. It should be on both you need to give your content both wings and roots.

Question: What is more important volume or quality of content?
Brian's Response: Both. The more youdo the better you get kind of like running. You start off running 6 telephone polls one day, 8 telephone polls the next day, then you all of the sudden do 12 telephone polls one day when you really shouldn't but you saw a pretty girl and you didn't want her to see you stop running. He thinks the same way about blogging. He just wants a pretty girl to see his blog posts so he keeps posting.

Question: Should you sensor blog comments?
Panel Cumulative Responses: No don't sensor and don't moderate the comments. It can hinder good open conversations and discussions about the topics. If all comments are good people can lose trust in your site that it is being moderated. Brian jokingly recommended hiring people to hate you so you could build trust. If it is a good negative argument that gives another aspect of the topic consider promoting it on twitter or facebook because it can help build trust that you are open to other points of views other than your own.

Question: How should companies/people handle a username that was created while the person was at the company should the time come that they leave or are fired fromt he company?
Panel Cumulative Responses: Well they are followers not sales leads. It mainly depends on whether the username included a tie to the company and the nature in which it was used. The I vs. We decision. If the posts were primarily I oriented meaning "I think ...." then it should stay with the person. If they were primarily We oriented "We think...." then it should stay with the company. It would be much easier if a written agreement is written out prior to the departure or creation of the account to establish ownership of its influence.

Question: Should content be recycled or customized for use in different areas/websites?
Ann's Response: She thinks its good to have a presence everwhere but suggests tweeking the content.
Brian's Response: He hates autofeeding content to several places. He thinks that it disrepects your audience that follows you on several places. You definitely should change it or fluff it up a little before posting in new places.

Question: Should you block your competitors from following you on twitter or your blog?
Panel Cumulative Responses: Let them follow you. If you know it is them making a comment respond to their comment by thanking them for taking the time to follow your blog/twitter account. They shouldn't be able to get any type of trade secrets from your blog or twitter accounts anyway.

They ended up the Q & A session by letting the panel give some parting advice.

Brian: Be a leader not a follower.
Ann: With content, focus on quality to differentiate yourself not quantity.
David: Do what you love.
Dharmesh: Marketing is not just about leads it is about building and asset or a brand so it can be worth something someday.

Overall it was great to get all their different points of views and gave unique input to several industry quandaries.

Hubspot User Group - Introduction

After the fun opening video of the Alanis Morissette remade by Hubspot employees with lyrics made relevant to the Internet Marketing community, the moderator began with Mike Volpe delivered an overview of Hubspot. It was impressive to hear that over 20% of their growth is directly attributed to Hubspot resellers. An interesting statistic was that the audience was an even division of men and women (women represented 49% of the audience and men 51%).

Hubspot seems to be looking more to hear what their customers are saying about both their products and services, and then changing things to meet customer expectations and needs. is a website that is dedicated to hearing what their customers would like to see included in the Hubspot platform.

Mike Volpe then introduced Brian Halligan (Grateful Dead enthusiast and co-author of a new book about Grateful Dead book). The great thing about Brian Halligan is that he's not only a co-founder of Hubspot, but he also uses his tool - which really puts him directly in touch with both the strengths and weaknesses of his tools.

Brian Halligan discussed how there is indeed a big press to hear customer feedback and after a large survey four main points were made about the products:
1. New Bugs
2. Old Bugs
3. Usability issues
4. Speed
With every new app created for the hubspot platform one or more bugs are introduced, some of which can be worse than others. As a remedy Hubspot is dedicating time and energy to create a plan to introduce new features to apps, while limiting the number of bugs that can make it into the production version of the application.

There are older bugs that are still in the system, and because of that a lot of version 2 apps will be coming out, that have been retooled without the bugs that were in the first version of the applications.

The are also consolidating and restructuring some of the features of the Hubspot platform, to make the product more usable and less time consuming to find the information that you need.

Several senior product developers have been pulled off of their current projects to focus on improving the speed of the tools over the next few months.

Besides product focused feedback, they also received customer service feedback such as:
1. People are frustrated with and due to that a version two of this is being created to make this tool more useful.
2. Communications from Hubspot can take on a "holier than though" feel which turns off the customers. Hubspot is working on reorganizing in order to address this issue and take on a better customer service approach, which also includes reducing the wait time to talk to a Hubspot customer service representative (In june the average wait time was 4 minutes, currently the average wait time is 2 minutes, and the goal is 1 minute. They are not going to try to go under a minute wait time, because they'd rather shift money into Research and Development versus customer service calls).

Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 HubSpot HUG Conference

So I would say that tonights welcome reception was a huge success. It started off with getting great HubSpot gear that included a couple HubSpot t-shirts and an awesome coffee mug. We were then offered a tour of the new HubSpot facility. When you walk into their building there is a great courtyard area with a skylight that during the day i'm sure lets in wonderful sunlight. They have some walls of their office painted with dry erase paint so you can brainstorm, draw, or write whatever you'd like on the walls.

They have several conference rooms of which any hubspot employee can participate in any meeting. Instead of an org chart they have a huge wall that is an influence chart. It not only connects people who work for each other but it also connects people that influence eachother. They have the developers in a more quiet work zone and a different area for their sales marketing team that tends to a bit more noisy and boistrous. They even have a bocce ball area. This is just the tip of the iceburg but needless to say it's an impressive work environment.

Upon going downstairs to the courtyard they were recording a live broadcast of HubSpot TV where Karen and Mike were able to get some of the guests involved with answering and asking some questions. It was a bit hard to hear at times because of a slight echo but I could tell that they were having a great time. Meanwhile as you can imagine some great networking oportunities were developing as all sorts of marketing industry folks were co-mingling and talking about their experiences with HubSpot and raving about their personal representatives. It is really great to see a company that is so involved with their users/clients and seems to appreciate their input as much as HubSpot. I can't wait to see how the conference goes tomorrow!