August 19, 2020
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Are you ready to start your online business now?

With advances in telecommuting technology, working from home has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a sudden spike in the number of employers letting employees work remotely.

Despite the popularity of homeworking and 91% of remote workers feeling more productive, distractions are rife in homeworking environments.

Keep Focus Despite Distractions

With workplace dynamics changing, it’s more important than ever that workers don’t give into distractions. To help employees maintain focus in new working environments, Nonprofit Colleges Online published an infographic. The infographic was commissioned by NowSourcing, an infographic agency that specializes in data visualizations and interactive infographics.

The ‘How to Keep Focus Despite Distractions’ infographic outlines the many distractions of modern workspaces. It provides tricks and tips to help employees keep focused when working in remote environments.

Culture of Distraction

According to the infographic, 99% of employees say they are distracted daily. 93% of workers cite video conferencing as the primary distraction. 51% say they are most distracted by phone calls.

Why We Can’t Focus

The research looked at the reasons behind workers’ lack of focus. Stress, multitasking, sleep deprivation and a busy environment, are leading reasons for an inability to focus at work.

Generational Divide

NowSource’s study explored how different generations feel about distractions and focus in modern workplaces. 74% of Generation Z and Millennials are distracted at work. 69% of these age groups admit their smartphones are one of the biggest distractions.

Baby Boomers admit to feeling more productive in a quiet space with less going on. Three times as many Boomers are unable to concentrate in an open space compared to younger generations.

Working from Home

The study found that because of coronavirus many are working remotely for the first time. More than 50% of recipients have concerns that household distractions prevent them from working. 84% of workers say they can refocus in less than 30 minutes. However, even small distractions can increase workers’ chances of making mistakes.

Optimizing Your Work Environment

The infographic provides a series of tips on how to optimize a work environment. Turning off notifications on phones is recommended as notifications can disrupt thoughts making it difficult to get back on track.

Three hours a day is spent checking work email and two hours looking at personal emails. Cutting down on checking emails could therefore be an effective way to stop wasting time.

Writing down tasks in order of rank and importance can help workers focus on what is most urgent. Prioritizing tasks can help employees stop wasting time.

To help remain productive and focused it is recommended to take a 15-minute break from the screen every two hours.

Tech to Retain Focus and Productivity

The infographic looks at the tech available to help people maintain focus and productivity in modern workspaces.

Freedom.to is an effective tool to assist workers in setting up lists of website and apps that can be distracting. Freedom.to blocks access to such distractions during scheduled times of day.

Trello enables employees to list tasks and separate products by board to keep track of tasks and projects. Noisli provides custom background to drown out unpleasant noises that could prove distracting.

How To Focus Despite Distractions

Image: Nonprofitcollegesonline

This article, “How to Keep Focus Amid Myriad Distractions (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 18, 2020
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Busy Entrepreneurs

Even successful entrepreneurs can have some bad habits, one of which is not knowing when they need a break. With many young entrepreneurs, it’s almost impossible to take a step back and relax. Yet studies have shown that entrepreneurs who don’t take time out to smell the roses can risk serious health problems and unhappiness later on.

Vacations for Busy Entrepreneurs

The goal of being a successful yet happy businessperson is being able to distance yourself from your business. Occasional vacations are crucial in ensuring you keep your perspective. That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“As an entrepreneur, it can sometimes seem impossible to take a day off. What’s one tip you’d give busy entrepreneurs for how to make a summer vacation possible?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Set a Date and Stick to It

“Set a vacation date and make it nonnegotiable. You can let your team know that you’re available for an hour or two on certain days, but setting boundaries is critical to taking time off. You should also ensure your team has all the tools they need to complete their work while you’re out of the office.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

2. Make Yourself Unavailable

“Schedule two days off at minimum and make yourself unavailable for most, if not all, of the day. It is very easy to say, ‘I’m just going to check my email and put out some fires before going for a walk.’ You hired your team to handle any issues and complete projects while you’re away. Set boundaries during a designated summer vacation and define the dates you are out. Remember to say ‘no’ for two days.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

3. Make Sure to Plan Ahead

“Plan ahead of time so that you can prepare the necessary tasks in advance. You can still do a ‘light’ check-in while on vacation to ensure those tasks are being accomplished.” ~ Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

4. Add Vacation Days to Business Trips

“I’d argue that entrepreneurs need to take vacations at various times of the year, not just during the summer. My advice would be to look for those times when you’re travelling for work to a conference or business meeting, and then tack on days after it to extend the trip. You’ve already organized your calendar to accommodate that time off, so adding a few more days at the end is easier.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

5. Take It Slowly

“Take it slowly. It’s not wise to go from not taking any breaks at all to being unreachable for a week as a business owner. Start out by planning a long weekend with a couple of scheduled check-ins. Once you see how good it is to get a break and how competent your team is, you’ll be able to take the next trip without any check-ins. Eventually, you can work your way up to a summer vacation in Europe.” ~ Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

6. Go During Your Company’s Off-Season

“An entrepreneur can consider rethinking the timing of their summer vacation. Every business has ‘seasons’ when a business’s growth rate slows down. If you can plan your vacation around this time, there’s less need for you to be at work and you can afford to leave other people in charge. What’s important is to spend time with loved ones, so you could choose an unusual time for your vacation.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

7. Train Someone to Fill In for You

“If you want to take a vacation despite all the things you have to do, then you need to train someone to handle your affairs while you’re gone. You can choose one or two people to take over your tasks and give them the details about what’s expected of them. That way, you can rest easy on your vacation knowing your team has you covered.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Book Time to Catch Up on Work

“Book 60-90 minutes a day to catch up on work. Small teams cannot afford to delegate everything an entrepreneur does. Clients may not be thrilled to wait for over a week, either. Instead, prepare an hour a day with your morning coffee or before you go to bed and sift through reports and your email backlog. With the right planning, emergencies and blockers are handled easily so you can take some rest.” ~ Mario Peshev, DevriX

9. Attend Company Meetings Virtually

“I think the best way to have a small vacation, while keeping your stress levels down, is to virtually attend your weekly company meeting. Instead of worrying about whether things are running properly, you can check for yourself each week. This might not be an ideal situation for some, but for others, it will give them some peace of mind during their time out.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC

10. Trust Your Team to Do Their Job

“The best way to take a summer vacation is to have confidence in your team. If you have extreme trust in your team you should be able to take a vacation and actually enjoy yourself without compulsively staring at your phone the whole time. In fact, it should be a growth opportunity for you and your team. When I had to take breaks like paternity leave, I found that it forced me to delegate.” ~ Jonathan Steiman, Peak Support

11. Have Clear Systems in Place

“If you think of life as a marathon, it isn’t possible to run 26.2 miles back to back, over and over without taking a break. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that rest is a performance enhancement. One way you step away with confidence is to put behind-the-scenes systems in place for project management, invoicing and workflows that allow you to automate tasks and plan in advance.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “How Busy Entrepreneurs Can Make Time for Vacation: 11 Expert Tips” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 18, 2020
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biz2credit lending index july 2020

There was an encouraging rebound for small business loan approval rates for banks and non-bank lenders during July. This is according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released recently.

The approval rates show an increase of 0.3% in the approval percentage for small business loan applications at big banks. This approval rate increase does not include Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. It also only applies to big banks with $10 billion or more in assets.

Biz2Credit Lending Index July 2020

The small business loan approval rate was 13.5% in June and rose to 13.8% last month. Small bank approval rates rose 0.2% to 18.6%, with both big and smaller bank approvals still massively below February’s 50.3%.

Encouraging Approval Rate Trend for Small Businesses

While the loan approval rate rise appears incremental, the upward motion is still encouraging for small businesses in the US. This is clearly a small sliver of good news for small businesses who may need such loans to stay afloat. Customer numbers and revenues are still down for many businesses, but hopefully the upward trend will continue.

Other improvements in the labor market show that a slow resumption of economic activity continues. The health care sector has seen a significant jobs boost. There were also notable job gains in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, business, and professional services sectors. A lot of these jobs have been created by small businesses who are clearly vital to the economy’s recovery.

Institutional Lenders ‘Steadily Climbing Back’

The monthly research by Biz2Credit is overseen by their CEO and leading small business lending expert, Rohit Arora, who commented: “There was clearly an uptick in the economy, especially in the northeast in July. The big banks played a key role in PPP lending and are making other loans to their customers as some of them have exhausted their PPP funds.

“It will be interesting to follow lending at big banks as coronavirus spreads through the south and west regions of the country.”

Arora also said that regional and community banks are now making other types of loans available to new customers. Previously they had only been making a lot of PPP loans available to small businesses.

“The smaller banks are now in a good position to resume making SBA 7(a) loans and other funding requests,” added Arora. “Institutional lenders, like the other types of lenders, are steadily climbing back after disastrous results in March and April. They continue to play a strong role in small business lending.”

Alternative Lenders and Credit Unions Continue Struggling

The loan approval rate increase among big and small banks is unfortunately in contrast to the rates among alternative lenders. They dropped 0.3% between June and July. The loan approval rate for alternative lenders now stands at 23.1%.

Credit union approvals also saw a slight drop in July, approving 21.2% of loan requests. That is a decrease of 0.15% to return to the same 21.2% approval rate from May.

READ MORE: 

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Small Business Bank Loan Approval Rates Improving, New Biz2Credit Data Shows” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 18, 2020
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How easy is it to market online?

biz2credit lending index july 2020

There was an encouraging rebound for small business loan approval rates for banks and non-bank lenders during July. This is according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released recently.

The approval rates show an increase of 0.3% in the approval percentage for small business loan applications at big banks. This approval rate increase does not include Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. It also only applies to big banks with $10 billion or more in assets.

Biz2Credit Lending Index July 2020

The small business loan approval rate was 13.5% in June and rose to 13.8% last month. Small bank approval rates rose 0.2% to 18.6%, with both big and smaller bank approvals still massively below February’s 50.3%.

Encouraging Approval Rate Trend for Small Businesses

While the loan approval rate rise appears incremental, the upward motion is still encouraging for small businesses in the US. This is clearly a small sliver of good news for small businesses who may need such loans to stay afloat. Customer numbers and revenues are still down for many businesses, but hopefully the upward trend will continue.

Other improvements in the labor market show that a slow resumption of economic activity continues. The health care sector has seen a significant jobs boost. There were also notable job gains in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, business, and professional services sectors. A lot of these jobs have been created by small businesses who are clearly vital to the economy’s recovery.

Institutional Lenders ‘Steadily Climbing Back’

The monthly research by Biz2Credit is overseen by their CEO and leading small business lending expert, Rohit Arora, who commented: “There was clearly an uptick in the economy, especially in the northeast in July. The big banks played a key role in PPP lending and are making other loans to their customers as some of them have exhausted their PPP funds.

“It will be interesting to follow lending at big banks as coronavirus spreads through the south and west regions of the country.”

Arora also said that regional and community banks are now making other types of loans available to new customers. Previously they had only been making a lot of PPP loans available to small businesses.

“The smaller banks are now in a good position to resume making SBA 7(a) loans and other funding requests,” added Arora. “Institutional lenders, like the other types of lenders, are steadily climbing back after disastrous results in March and April. They continue to play a strong role in small business lending.”

Alternative Lenders and Credit Unions Continue Struggling

The loan approval rate increase among big and small banks is unfortunately in contrast to the rates among alternative lenders. They dropped 0.3% between June and July. The loan approval rate for alternative lenders now stands at 23.1%.

Credit union approvals also saw a slight drop in July, approving 21.2% of loan requests. That is a decrease of 0.15% to return to the same 21.2% approval rate from May.

READ MORE: 

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Small Business Bank Loan Approval Rates Improving, New Biz2Credit Data Shows” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 17, 2020
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Optimize Original Research Content

Optimize Original Research Content

For many in the B2B marketing world, original research provides an effective way to build thought leadership and drive content for owned and earned media.

Unfortunately, many research reports from B2B companies are dry, uninspired and focus solely on pontifications from the brand point of view. Such unremarkable content isn’t helping customers, especially if they never see it due to information overload or they don’t trust it.

“With more information, options and people involved in a buying process, buyers are paralyzed when trying to move forward.” Gartner

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

More often than not, B2B research reports have marketing objectives focused on building brand thought leadership, attracting new names for nurturing and to serve as a resource for sales. Since most B2B brands don’t have the credibility and distribution to reach their marketing goals on their own with such reports, they rely on advertising and PR to attract attention.

Ads and PR are fine complements to content. But they’re even more effective if that content delivers an experience that is includes built-in credibility and distribution to the the audiences that are probably ignoring most marketing and advertising.

How can you optimize research report content to deliver this kind of experience?

Brands that co-create experiential content with relevant experts and influencers can build industry confidence, grow brand trust, create a more effective digital customer experience and drive business growth.

What does that kind of research report collaboration content process look like?

B2B marketers have included quotes from industry experts in their reports for many years – but most do not. However there are many more ways to engage with credible voices that have the trust and attention of the audience you’re after.

For example, you might partner with a mix of industry experts, influential customers and people who work at brands that represent your ideal clients to add perspective to original research.  Adding that expertise isn’t enough. The content itself should be packaged as an experience. Whether it’s interactive or just well-designed, research content doesn’t have to be boring.

I think our latest research report on B2B Influencer Marketing is a perfect example of this.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview

We partnered with 20+ B2B brand marketing executives and influencers to provide perspective on the key issues surfaced by the research. Instead of the report being authored by me (with some help from my team), there are contributions from influential B2B brands that include:

  • Dell
  • SAP
  • LinkedIn
  • AT&T Business

There are also insights provided by some of the top B2B influencers in the industry including:

  • Brian Solis
  • Ann Handley
  • Tamara McCleary
  • Mark Schaefer

Pulling together credible voices to join your own in an experiential piece of content is far more likely to be shared by contributors and your community, looked at by industry media and potential customers, and actually used by your sales people in their communications with prospects.

Such a rich content experience can deliver far more value than a one time campaign, especially if you roll it out in phases.

For example, you might extend the value of original research by implementing a phased content approach. For example:

The first phase might be the co-creation and publishing of the original research with industry experts and clients.  Promotion would focus mostly on owned channels, organic social and private channels like email, forums, etc.

The second phase could emphasize earned media and extensions of the narratives highlighted by the research. Names captured can be nurtured with useful resources that go deeper on the topics and a video interview series with the experts who contributed would feature more in-depth conversations around the key report findings. Online events and some useful tools and more visual versions of the original content could also help with promotion hang time.

The third phase takes the report content and repurposes it into new formats: explainer videos, a podcast, infographics. An interactive microsite that gives viewers and opportunity to assess themselves against the benchmark data from the research provides an engagement opportunity without substantial investment in new content. The original group of influencers is now expanded to invite more people in those roles to contribute their expertise to content around the report’s narratives.

What you do specifically for your B2B business is up to you, but publishing original research in white paper format without any 3rd party validation within is simply no longer enough to attract, engage and inspire a meaningful experience or a return on your investment.

Creating a content experience that is credible and that can rely on distribution by its influential contributors on top of brand channels, PR efforts and ad buys will certainly achieve the expected thought leadership, engagement and demand gen goals more effectively. In the case of our report mentioned above, we hit one of our most important 3rd Quarter goals in just the first 2 weeks because of following this advice.

Imagine what you could do?

 

The post How to Optimize Original B2B Research Content For Credibility and Impact appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 17, 2020
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Are you ready to start your online business now?

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

B2B Buyers’ Top Challenges With Their Current Vendors
51 percent of B2B buyers have changed their vendor preferences during the global health crisis, and they find that slow and inefficient inquiry responses from vendors is their biggest challenge — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingProfs

Facebook Adds New Sponsored Post Options for Groups
Facebook has launched a new option for digital marketers allowing paid partnership posts in Facebook Groups, giving admins new branded post advertising opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

eMarketer: US B2B digital ad spend soars 22.6%
Bucking the overall pandemic ad spending trend, 2020 B2B digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to rise over 22 percent from 2019 figures, a significantly better performance outlook than the 1.7 percent forecast increase in overall U.S. digital ad spend, according to newly-released B2B ad spending findings. The Drum

Google Sees Big Potential in Audio for Marketers and Publishers
Google has launched a new audio-specific area in its Google Ad Manager that offers marketers a variety of advertising options dedicated solely to digital audio ads, the search giant recently announced, as the digital audio market is poised to hit $1.3 billion by 2022 by some estimates. Adweek

Black Gen-Zers Want To See More Joy On Social Media, Study Finds
Almost 90 percent of black Gen-Z social media users would like to see more online content that celebrates joy, with the demographic also noting that the top emotions missing from content are excitement, joy, and comfort — some of the findings in recently-released Gen-Z social media survey data. Forbes

YouTube Publishes New Data on Rising Trends During COVID-19
Social connection, self-care and identity-related video content were among the top rising pandemic trends among newly-released YouTube viewership data, the Google-owned firm announced recently. Social Media Today

2020 August 14 Statistics Image

US Mobile Ad Spending Will Manage to Grow in 2020
As with the previously-mentioned B2B ad spending forecast, mobile ad spending in the U.S. is also forecast to buck the overall ad spend trend by climbing 4.8 percent this year, helping to keep total digital ad sales for the year on track for modest growth, according to recently-released report data. eMarketer

Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns
Google has expanded its Google Ads platform to give digital marketers an array of new lead form extensions that allow advertisers to show forms directly in search, YouTube, and Discovery content, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

YouTube will stop emailing subscribers about new videos next week
YouTube has ceased sending the email notifications about newly-added content and live-stream events it has for years sent out to channel subscribers, noting that fewer than one percent of recipients typically opened the notification emails, parent company Google announced recently. 9to5Google

B2B Buyers’ Engagement With Digital Content Has Grown During the Pandemic, With Some Behavior Changes
B2B content engagement has risen by 40 percent during the pandemic, with the largest increases coming from executive summaries, landing pages, webinars, brochures, and briefs, while data sheets and presentations have seen decreased consumption, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 August 14 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “From Brand Safety to Brand Suitability” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Apple Brilliantly Imagines a Parallel Universe Where Hollywood Always Used Vertical Video — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Introducing AWeber’s New Email Marketing Podcast — The FWD: Thinking Show! — AWeber
  • TopRank Marketing — 8 Types of B2B Influencer Marketing for You to Consider (with 18 Examples) — ExpertClick
  • TopRank Marketing — Call for nominations: The Online Influence Awards 2020 — Vuelio
  • TopRank Marketing — Will Unions Make or Break Influencer Marketing [Video] — Cornett
  • TopRank Marketing — 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing (IM) Report from TopRank — Social Media Explorer
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer Marketing Believed To Improve CX, According To New TopRank Marketing Report — Demand Gen Report
  • Lee Odden — Top 10 Social Media Marketing Podcasts You Should Listen To — PostBeyond

Have you found your own favorite marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Ad Spending Soars, Google’s New Audio Ad Features, Facebook’s Partnership Group Ads, & Top B2B Buyer Challenges appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 16, 2020
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Did you lose your job or business in this pandemic?

fast page load

Some 70% of consumers say that load time website affects their purchasing decision. According to WebsiteBuilderExpert the longer a webpage takes to load, the more chances that people will not stay on the website.

If more people don’t stay long enough on a website because of slow load time the site will have a high bounce rate. The report Website Load Time Statistics: Why Speed Matters in 2020 high bounce rate will also affect a website’s ranking. A high bounce rate will tell search engines that users don’t find the page content useful consequently lowering its ranking. Thus, highlighting the impact of having a slow load time on a website’s effectiveness.

Often the reasons for slow load time on websites can be easily identified. It can include issues related to web hosting; quality and size of images and files; plugins; browsers used and cache clearance rates.

Ideally, websites load within three seconds, or two seconds if it’s an eCommerce site. The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket. Some 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site. Customer conversation rates also are impacted by 7% for a mere one-second delay.

A report by Backlinko found for a website to fully load on a desktop it averages 10.3 seconds. While it takes an average of 27.3 seconds to load on mobile devices. Faster upload speed time makes visitors feel stress-free and in control. But a little more than 10 seconds could have negative consequences such as frustration leading to high bounce rates.

Why Speed is Important

Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%. A marginal increase load time of five seconds can send bounce rates rocketing to 38%. This means visitor’s patience on websites is very slim.

delays in load time not only cause frustration but also impact future visits to a website. One in four visitors abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load. Among visitors to websites, almost half (46%) don’t return to websites that take too long to load. This has also larger ramifications for eCommerce sites as they stand to lose not only visibility but also revenues.

In fact, 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a visit to a website will decide to shop elsewhere next time. The threshold for dissatisfaction is also high. A one-second delay could result in lowering customer satisfaction by 16%. A ten-second delay could result in a 65% reduction in customer satisfaction.

The lack of patience applies to businesses of all sizes. For example, the BBC loses an additional 10% of users for every extra second it takes for its site to load. Conversely, if Yahoo!’s site experiences a reduction of load time by just 0.4 seconds its traffic increases by 9%. If an eCommerce site making $100,000 a day experiences a one-second delay it could lose $2.5 million in yearly sales.

The figures also support this. Around 88% of internet users choose online retailers that deliver a high-performance website experience.

What Should Businesses Do

Your website’s speed can potentially impact your business. High bounce rates mean that you are losing on sales and a drop in search engine performance. Around $18 billion is lost annually because of abandoned shopping carts

This is why it’s important to optimize mobile page speeds as much as possible, as it is where most browsing takes place. Studies indicate that mobile minutes accounted for 77% of online browsing in the U.S. in 2019. With 96% of the U.S. population owning mobile phones, of which 81% are smartphone users it amounts to tens of millions of people. Furthermore, a quarter of U.S. adults say they are almost constantly online. This underlines the importance of having quick load times for your website.

The website experience you offer your clients should be as important as your in-store experience. Optimizing your website’s speed is just a start. You will also need to offer a great user experience as well. This means having engaging content, great graphics and user-friendly navigation.

Your website might be fast to upload but it is meaningless if users find it difficult to navigate through it. The rule of thumb here is to design your website with your customers in mind.

Take a look at the WebsiteBuilderExpert infographic below for more.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Optimal Web Site Load Time Speeds and Why They Matter (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 16, 2020
  • by

Did you know you could market your business online at a very low cost?

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

B2B Buyers’ Top Challenges With Their Current Vendors
51 percent of B2B buyers have changed their vendor preferences during the global health crisis, and they find that slow and inefficient inquiry responses from vendors is their biggest challenge — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingProfs

Facebook Adds New Sponsored Post Options for Groups
Facebook has launched a new option for digital marketers allowing paid partnership posts in Facebook Groups, giving admins new branded post advertising opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

eMarketer: US B2B digital ad spend soars 22.6%
Bucking the overall pandemic ad spending trend, 2020 B2B digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to rise over 22 percent from 2019 figures, a significantly better performance outlook than the 1.7 percent forecast increase in overall U.S. digital ad spend, according to newly-released B2B ad spending findings. The Drum

Google Sees Big Potential in Audio for Marketers and Publishers
Google has launched a new audio-specific area in its Google Ad Manager that offers marketers a variety of advertising options dedicated solely to digital audio ads, the search giant recently announced, as the digital audio market is poised to hit $1.3 billion by 2022 by some estimates. Adweek

Black Gen-Zers Want To See More Joy On Social Media, Study Finds
Almost 90 percent of black Gen-Z social media users would like to see more online content that celebrates joy, with the demographic also noting that the top emotions missing from content are excitement, joy, and comfort — some of the findings in recently-released Gen-Z social media survey data. Forbes

YouTube Publishes New Data on Rising Trends During COVID-19
Social connection, self-care and identity-related video content were among the top rising pandemic trends among newly-released YouTube viewership data, the Google-owned firm announced recently. Social Media Today

2020 August 14 Statistics Image

US Mobile Ad Spending Will Manage to Grow in 2020
As with the previously-mentioned B2B ad spending forecast, mobile ad spending in the U.S. is also forecast to buck the overall ad spend trend by climbing 4.8 percent this year, helping to keep total digital ad sales for the year on track for modest growth, according to recently-released report data. eMarketer

Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns
Google has expanded its Google Ads platform to give digital marketers an array of new lead form extensions that allow advertisers to show forms directly in search, YouTube, and Discovery content, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

YouTube will stop emailing subscribers about new videos next week
YouTube has ceased sending the email notifications about newly-added content and live-stream events it has for years sent out to channel subscribers, noting that fewer than one percent of recipients typically opened the notification emails, parent company Google announced recently. 9to5Google

B2B Buyers’ Engagement With Digital Content Has Grown During the Pandemic, With Some Behavior Changes
B2B content engagement has risen by 40 percent during the pandemic, with the largest increases coming from executive summaries, landing pages, webinars, brochures, and briefs, while data sheets and presentations have seen decreased consumption, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 August 14 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “From Brand Safety to Brand Suitability” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Apple Brilliantly Imagines a Parallel Universe Where Hollywood Always Used Vertical Video — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Introducing AWeber’s New Email Marketing Podcast — The FWD: Thinking Show! — AWeber
  • TopRank Marketing — 8 Types of B2B Influencer Marketing for You to Consider (with 18 Examples) — ExpertClick
  • TopRank Marketing — Call for nominations: The Online Influence Awards 2020 — Vuelio
  • TopRank Marketing — Will Unions Make or Break Influencer Marketing [Video] — Cornett
  • TopRank Marketing — 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing (IM) Report from TopRank — Social Media Explorer
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer Marketing Believed To Improve CX, According To New TopRank Marketing Report — Demand Gen Report
  • Lee Odden — Top 10 Social Media Marketing Podcasts You Should Listen To — PostBeyond

Have you found your own favorite marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Ad Spending Soars, Google’s New Audio Ad Features, Facebook’s Partnership Group Ads, & Top B2B Buyer Challenges appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 16, 2020
  • by

Are you ready to start your online business now?

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 August 14 MarketingCharts Chart

B2B Buyers’ Top Challenges With Their Current Vendors
51 percent of B2B buyers have changed their vendor preferences during the global health crisis, and they find that slow and inefficient inquiry responses from vendors is their biggest challenge — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingProfs

Facebook Adds New Sponsored Post Options for Groups
Facebook has launched a new option for digital marketers allowing paid partnership posts in Facebook Groups, giving admins new branded post advertising opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

eMarketer: US B2B digital ad spend soars 22.6%
Bucking the overall pandemic ad spending trend, 2020 B2B digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to rise over 22 percent from 2019 figures, a significantly better performance outlook than the 1.7 percent forecast increase in overall U.S. digital ad spend, according to newly-released B2B ad spending findings. The Drum

Google Sees Big Potential in Audio for Marketers and Publishers
Google has launched a new audio-specific area in its Google Ad Manager that offers marketers a variety of advertising options dedicated solely to digital audio ads, the search giant recently announced, as the digital audio market is poised to hit $1.3 billion by 2022 by some estimates. Adweek

Black Gen-Zers Want To See More Joy On Social Media, Study Finds
Almost 90 percent of black Gen-Z social media users would like to see more online content that celebrates joy, with the demographic also noting that the top emotions missing from content are excitement, joy, and comfort — some of the findings in recently-released Gen-Z social media survey data. Forbes

YouTube Publishes New Data on Rising Trends During COVID-19
Social connection, self-care and identity-related video content were among the top rising pandemic trends among newly-released YouTube viewership data, the Google-owned firm announced recently. Social Media Today

2020 August 14 Statistics Image

US Mobile Ad Spending Will Manage to Grow in 2020
As with the previously-mentioned B2B ad spending forecast, mobile ad spending in the U.S. is also forecast to buck the overall ad spend trend by climbing 4.8 percent this year, helping to keep total digital ad sales for the year on track for modest growth, according to recently-released report data. eMarketer

Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns
Google has expanded its Google Ads platform to give digital marketers an array of new lead form extensions that allow advertisers to show forms directly in search, YouTube, and Discovery content, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

YouTube will stop emailing subscribers about new videos next week
YouTube has ceased sending the email notifications about newly-added content and live-stream events it has for years sent out to channel subscribers, noting that fewer than one percent of recipients typically opened the notification emails, parent company Google announced recently. 9to5Google

B2B Buyers’ Engagement With Digital Content Has Grown During the Pandemic, With Some Behavior Changes
B2B content engagement has risen by 40 percent during the pandemic, with the largest increases coming from executive summaries, landing pages, webinars, brochures, and briefs, while data sheets and presentations have seen decreased consumption, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 August 14 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “From Brand Safety to Brand Suitability” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Apple Brilliantly Imagines a Parallel Universe Where Hollywood Always Used Vertical Video — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Introducing AWeber’s New Email Marketing Podcast — The FWD: Thinking Show! — AWeber
  • TopRank Marketing — 8 Types of B2B Influencer Marketing for You to Consider (with 18 Examples) — ExpertClick
  • TopRank Marketing — Call for nominations: The Online Influence Awards 2020 — Vuelio
  • TopRank Marketing — Will Unions Make or Break Influencer Marketing [Video] — Cornett
  • TopRank Marketing — 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing (IM) Report from TopRank — Social Media Explorer
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer Marketing Believed To Improve CX, According To New TopRank Marketing Report — Demand Gen Report
  • Lee Odden — Top 10 Social Media Marketing Podcasts You Should Listen To — PostBeyond

Have you found your own favorite marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Ad Spending Soars, Google’s New Audio Ad Features, Facebook’s Partnership Group Ads, & Top B2B Buyer Challenges appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 13, 2020
  • by

Did you lose your job or business in this pandemic?

Working at Home with Cat on Laptop

Working at Home with Cat on Laptop

I’ll never forget the night that everything really changed.

It was my wife’s birthday, March 11th. I took her out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in South Minneapolis, and for a couple of blissful hours, over exotic cocktails and delicious food, we unplugged from the loudening noise of a worrisome outside world.

After we walked out of that restaurant, there would be no more tuning out.

Stepping out from the darkly lit building, I looked down at my phone, and tried to process the sudden rush of stunning headlines:

WHO declares global pandemic. NBA suspends season. Trump addresses the nation. Tom Hanks has coronavirus. Tom Hanks!

It all happened on the same day, like a floodgate bursting. And the ensuing deluge has since uprooted almost every sense of normalcy we once knew. Around that time, I stopped going into work, as did most others around the country. I haven’t gone back since, save for the odd trip to water a plant or record a video in an empty office.

TopRank Marketing has been in WFH mode for more than five years now. Sorry, did I say years? Months. Needless to say, I know we are not alone, which is why I thought I’d offer a look at my typical day as a content marketer in the (ugh) “new normal,” and share some helpful things I’ve learned.

We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Overcoming New Daily Challenges as a Content Marketer During the Summer of COVID

I count myself as a lucky man, for a lot of reasons. One of them is that I can do my job pretty frictionlessly from home. While I miss seeing my coworkers, and there are newfound challenges (as I’ll discuss), I’m able to stay productive. In part that’s because I’ve developed my own personal solutions to these WFH hurdles. Maybe some of them can help you.

Getting Going in the Morning

I’m not what one would call a “morning person.” Generally I am rather groggy and cloudy after waking up. In this respect, going into the office was always helpful for me – the routine of showering, getting dressed, prepping some breakfast and coffee, and hopping into the car was inherently awakening.

I can’t say I take all those steps on a typical morning anymore. For a while, it was tough, getting in the mindset of traveling from bedroom to living room, and suddenly entering Work Mode. But what I’ve found helpful is using the morning as a bit of personal zen time. Unless I have early meetings, I’ll usually rouse myself gradually, pour some coffee, scroll Twitter, and size up my day. I’ll go through my emails, prioritize my tasks, and check in with account managers. This helps me build momentum toward optimal mid-day productivity.

Takeaway: Work/life balance can be tough during these times. (It’s often cited in surveys as one of the biggest challenges for full-time remote workers.) Don’t force yourself to instantly flip a switch. Find a comfortable routine that works for you.

Managing Distractions and Finding the Zone

Being in the office can bring its own set of distractions, but there are some unique ones associated with working from home. For many people, creating a designated workspace around the house is helpful. Personally, I live in a small apartment with my wife (who’s also working from home), and all of our building’s common areas have been closed, so finding our own space can be a challenge.

There are no easy answers to this one. Folks who have children home all day have it much worse than me. Especially in creative pursuits like planning and developing content, it’s key to find a zone, and the disruptions of screaming kiddos or a construction worker banging away outside can be anathema when it comes to getting things done.

The main thing I would advise is this: embrace asynchronous work to the extent possible. This basically refers to operating around your own schedule rather than those of others. For example, if there’s no timely need for me to work on something during the day, and my wife has meetings throughout the afternoon, maybe I’ll set aside a few hours in the evening to dive in.

Takeaway: Flexible work is becoming the new norm. Free yourself from the constrictions of a 9-to-5 workday and determine a schedule that facilitates your best work (while still being there for your teammates and clients as needed).

[bctt tweet=”“Overcome WFH distractions by embracing asynchronous work to the extent possible.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips” username=”toprank”]

Communicating with Colleagues and Clients

In Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report 2020, when respondents were asked about their biggest struggle with working remotely, there was a two-way tie for first place:

  • Collaboration and communication
  • Loneliness

No surprise, as these responses basically tie back to the same ultimate downside of working away from our coworkers: disconnection and isolation. Collaboration is vital to producing the best work possible, as I rely on the talents and smarts of my teammates to enhance my own efforts.

There is no way to replicate the energy and organic spontaneity of working in the physical proximity of your coworkers. My best recommendation is finding varied ways to coordinate and communicate. Don’t rely on just one channel. Slack is good, and Zoom is good, but both can cause fatigue when overdone. Try different methods of collaborating, like generating ideas with a teammate simultaneously in a Google Doc, or even jumping on the good ol’-fashioned telephone.

One more thing: carve out “do not disturb” zones. When you’re in the office, you can plug in your headphones and signal that you’re focusing. Work with your team to create similar arrangements in the WFH, where this is far more ambiguous. You might even collectively decide on a consistent portion of the day where no meetings are scheduled and expectations for responsiveness are lowered (for us at TopRank, this is from noon to one every afternoon).

Takeaway: Maintaining consistent and constructive communication is one of the toughest challenges for distributed teams. The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.

[bctt tweet=”“The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips” username=”toprank”]

Breaking Up the Day

Monotony can be one of the biggest inhibitors of creativity and productivity in WFH settings. There is a natural variety that plays out when you go into the office: interacting with different people, moving between meeting rooms, maybe running out for coffee or lunch as a change of scenery. Working from home, especially at a time where we’re all encouraged to quarantine and avoid public places, can really make the hours and days run together.

This leads to one of the biggest benefits I’ve discovered in the altered routine. It is now much easier to get out and get active. Sure, we’d occasionally go out for team walks when we were in the office, but without the ability to shower and change clothes I wasn’t exactly going out for intense exercise. And by the time I got home, I was often too tuckered out.

Now, I find myself getting out for a run, bike ride, or brisk walk almost every afternoon. It’s rejuvenating for body and mind. One silver lining of this pandemic is its timing; at least it struck as the summer was getting underway, which has allowed me to enjoy a lot of nice weather outdoors.

Takeaway: Find activities you enjoy to break up your workday and keep your mind fresh. Whether it’s exercise, a hobby, or simply unplugging, working from home provides the freedom to step away. And embracing asynchronicity enables you to distribute your work throughout the day.

For Better or Worse… There’s No Place Like Home

Plenty of people have been working from home full-time for years, and have developed their own habits and routines to optimize for it. But for many, like myself and surely many reading this, it’s something we’ve had to learn on the fly, out of necessity.

The good news is that our adaptations during this time will benefit us and our companies going forward. I am in full agreement with our clients at Sococo, who make a strong evidence-based argument that distributed work is here to stay and will forever be part of our reality going forward. Those individuals and teams that take this opportunity to innovate and create seamless remote work infrastructures will be poised to excel in the (groan) new normal.

With all that said, when I’m finally able to go back into the office and see my coworkers face to face, I’m definitely going to have an all-new appreciation for it.

For tips from one of those full-time remote workers who has been doing it a long time, explore Lane Ellis’s post from earlier this year sharing remote working tips from a distance marketer.

The post A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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