Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Forbes CEO sends out quick email on data theft

Data theft 

Read Forbes CEO's email for handling data break in. It's a good template for all businesses to have ready if unfortunately, ever needed.

As a stakeholder, I appreciate his quick and transparent update and apology:

Dear Forbes.com Member:

Recently, Forbes.com was targeted in a digital attack. Our publishing platform was compromised and email addresses for registered members have been exposed. (Forbes subscribers should note that no credit card information or subscription details were revealed.) We have notified law enforcement and are taking the matter very seriously.

Your Forbes.com password was encrypted in our database, but if you used the same password on other Web sites or accounts, we strongly suggest you change them.

We have currently disabled log-in functionality on Forbes.com and invalidated all passwords. During this time, you will not be able to access your account or add your comments to the site. We will send you a follow-up email when log-in is reopened with simple instructions on how you can reset your password to a different one.

Meanwhile, we urge you to be cautious about interacting with email, especially from senders that are unknown to you, as the list of email addresses may be used in phishing attacks or scams.

All of us at Forbes respect your privacy and apologize to you and all of the members of our community for this breach.


Mike Perlis
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Has your company forgotten why it’s called social media?

Now that nearly every company recognizes the value of social media, I think it’s time we take a step back and remember why we’re there in the first place.

Pretty much every brand I work with has added a resource to manage their social media channels. All the major brands have embraced social media with teams, control rooms, even command centers.

But, when I look through various companies’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, from the big to the small, I see the same thing.

The good ones post a lot. But are they interacting, are they social? Save for a few, not really.

They get 1000 people commenting on a post. Yet, on 80-90% of these posts, only a select few brands respond to any of the comments.

I know the big brands (and hopefully the smaller) are monitoring the conversation, but the meaning of being
social is to interact.Otherwise, you’re just the guy in the corner watching everyone else dance at a party. Better yet, you’re a DJ not taking requests.

Companies watch but are afraid to get their feet wet.

  1. The smaller companies have hired a young person to manage their SM. That person has no authority or product know-how to engage in the conversation. And even if the SM manager wanted to respond, they probably have to get their proposed-response approved by three people first before they can post it – doesn’t sound very social.
  2. The company is scared to open up a can of worms. There are a lot of crazies out there just waiting to interpret your SM response the wrong way.
  3. They have forgotten that it is called social media! They think that the channel is just another highway to place their outdoor advertisements on.
I believe the reasons companies are not actively engaging their followers are a combination of the above. But it is number 3 that I am worried about.

Companies are busy posting and posting. They know that the more they post, the more likes and follows will come. And the more likely their social media channel will be judged a success.

They are turning their SM channels into platforms that they can brag about their brand on every day - the outdoor ad on the highway. Sure they  also post a few tips, contests and quirky posts and images… but they’re not engaging with their customers - it's still outdoor advertising. Only now we get to read the comments of the people driving by.

On a personal note 

Take it down to the personal level. When you post a favorite movie or whatever on Facebook and all your friends like or comment. Do you ever respond to their comments? Most likely you just slap it up there and forgot about it.

Companies do that too.

Brands need to remember why they are there. It’s called social media, as in - social: inclined to seek out or enjoy the company of others; sociable; Spent in or marked by friendly relations or companionship; Intended for convivial activities.

Get on up!

I say give your social media person some power and let them engage (besides posting). If they’re not qualified to speak for your brand, get someone who is!

Social media is more than just a channel to advertise and present a holistic view of your brand.  It’s an opportunity to get off your butt, start dancing and make some new friends.

Please feel free to comment. :)

About Andrew Singer
I provide cost effective communications and inbound marketing services to a wide variety of Danish companies that do business globally. From hi-tech firms like Siemens and TrackMan to more mainstream organizations like Reputation Institute, Carlsberg and the Confederation of Danish Industry, I deliver strategic creative development and English copywriting services.
Check out examples of my work on my website www.andrewsinger.dk or online portfolio.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion

While watching “Mad Men” last night, I started thinking about the good old days of traveling salesmen.

Have we come full circle with social media and the fact that who you are as a company means more to people than what you sell?

Think about the salesman going door to door. He initially gets inside the house because of the vacuum cleaner he’s selling. But ultimately, why he makes the sale is his personality. How he interacts with the housewife (in those days) is what closed the deal for him. Maybe he shares a trick for making coffee or an ironing tip, whatever, he shares content with her to create a bond and that builds a relationship.

The vacuum cleaner got him in the door but his personality is what makes the sale.

Likewise in social media, the product might get us to the company’s Facebook site, but the personality exhibited on the site, is why we choose to continually support the company.

In other words, consumer focus has shifted from your product, to who you are as a company. Your company has become the traveling salesman and your social media presence now needs the face 2 face selling skills from the good old days to close the deal and gain a regular customer.

This by the way is not just a late night/can’t sleep hypothesis.

According to a client of mine, Reputation Institute, 56% of consumers’ purchase intent is driven by their perceptions of your company. In other words, businesses nowadays need to focus more on building, telling and most importantly, living their corporate story. Consider it your company’s new sales schtick.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Here are some facts: 64% of respondents in #Reputation Institute studies say that they would buy products from a company with a great reputation versus only 16% from one with a poor reputation. Likewise, 59% would recommend a product from a well-reputed company versus only 13% from a company with a poor reputation.

I bet if you polled housewives back in the 50-60’s, the percentages would be similar when evaluating traveling salesman’s success rate. Guys with sincere charm sell more.

Your corporate reputation matters. The way you run your company matters. Customers want to know who is behind the product that they are buying. Prospective employees want to work for you because of the way you run your company.

According to RI studies, over a six year period, companies with good reputations outperformed the market average in terms of share price by 40%. These same companies also boasted superior performance in terms of financial metrics such as Return on Equity, Return on Assets, Price/Earnings ratio, Market/Book ratio and EBITDA.

RI has coined the phrase - we are living in a reputation economy. According to the numbers, I would say that this is no catchphrase but a reality. Increasingly companies need to do more than just sell their products and services. They need to sell themselves as companies. In short, be trusted and liked as an organization and you will sell more products, become a more attractive workplace and most likely, a preferred investment.

Companies that listen to their stakeholders and adapt in order to be relevant - not just in terms of their communications but in how they act as well - will be the future winners.

I guess you can say that that is reputation management in a nutshell: the understanding of your stakeholders’ expectations and the integration of this awareness into the way you do business.

Obviously your product still, and will always, matter. If it doesn’t work you are in trouble. But your company’s good reputation will add value to your business and your bottom line.

Think Microsoft: this year’s #1 company for CSR according to RI research. Microsoft reported revenue of $73.7 billion in 2012, an increase of $3.76 billion from the previous year.

There will always be examples of companies with good reputations that stay successful despite product callbacks and governance issues. That’s because, who you are matters more than what you sell.

Ask yourself: How much do you spend on creating and promoting your products and services rather than understanding and addressing the expectations of your stakeholders?

Going back to the traveling salesman analogy, substitute “company” for “man” in this quote from Death of a Salesman,”The man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.”

Willy Loman was way ahead of his time.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where to publish your content, Facebook or LinkedIn?

A trend has became obvious after checking the analytics on my last three blog posts: LinkedIn referrals spend much more time reading my content than my Facebook friends.

In fact, in my case, the numbers are overwhelming.

                        Avg time spent
LinkedIn               2:09
Facebook             0:40

There are many factors that influence these numbers but mainly, the overriding factor is I create content that is much more targeted towards businesses - my LinkedIn contacts, and not my friends that predominantly populate my Facebook account. 

LinkedIn posts are also published on LinkedIn groups as well as to my connections  and available to anyone - non-connections and fellow group members alike. So presumably, anyone that clicks on a link is more likely to be interested in the content  = a more engaged reader and more interested in spending time reading the story. 

Facebook posts on the other hand might only reach a limited amount of my friends due to EdgeRank and not necessarily people interested in marketing and communications-related stories.

Testing the trend

In my last post: wow-should-i-be-pissed? I decided to test this trend. I created a story and headline with a much broader appeal (to both professionals and friends) just to see what would happen.

Once again, LinkedIn contacts spent much more time reading the post – despite its universal and personal appeal. In fact, LinkedIn contacts spent more than 4xs as much time on my last post than my FB friends. Heck, with FB friends like these, who needs…

Interestingly, both channels (and Twiter too) referred nearly identical amounts of viewers to the post. But again, the Linkedin connections spent time reading, while FB friends, I would guess, most-likely scanned it. 

Does this trend stack up for your business?

I thought it would be important to see if this trend is similar for businesses that actively use both channels - companies with successful LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

Sebastian Gullack, CEO of Atcore – a leading digital marketing strategy company in Denmark, was kind enough to share some recent stats to help me out.

Atcore analytics screen shot

As you can see, the trend is the same for Atcore’s posts, though not as profound as in my case.
LinkedIn referrals spent on average 6 seconds more on posts than FB followers. Interestingly, twitter referrals spent nearly 30 seconds less on the content than the other two channels. (In my case, the difference was even greater) Is content more than 140 characters too challenging/boring? :)

Impressively, look at the number of referrals from FB compared to LinkedIn for Atcore: 1,020 vs 449 vs 927 (twitter). 

In Atcore’s case, Facebook is a much more successful source for sending viewers to their blog than LinkedIn.

This could be because Atcore only posts their stories on a limited number of groups on LinkedIn. Whereas I have 4-5 groups that I regularly share content with, I would guess Atcore is a little more dicreet in their LinkedIn pollenating.

In addition, Atcore mainly posts in Danish whereas mine  are in English -more than 55% of my readers are based in the USA.

Moreover, Atcore has built a loyal audience on Facebook that expects to find their content on the channel.

But again, once readers do get to Atcore’s post, the Facebook referrals spend less time on it. They also view fewer pages on average, 1.75 vs 2.10. My stat ratio was similar.

This once again reaffirms that LinkedIn referrals are, I believe, more interested in what you have to say or in gaining some type of insight that they can apply to their own business.

By nature, most of us post on LinkedIn groups for a reason – to share insight with like-minded professionals. So readers would naturally be more interested in what you are publishing.

OK, but the bottom line. Which network best converts to customers, Facebook or LinkedIn?  

Hubspot was recently asked how conversion rates on the channels stack up. They found that LinkedIn produced the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate.

Of the 3,128 B2B customers HubSpot examined, LinkedIn generated a 2.60% conversion rate. This was four times the 0.67% rate that Twitter generated, and seven times higher than Facebook’s 0.39% rate.

Cover your bases

When it comes down to it, I believe both channels are worth your time for marketing b2b content – as illustrated by Atcore’s and my stats. The more media you are on, the easier you are to find and the more chances of your content getting read.

But as always, it’s important to target your content to where and who your audience is, i.e. are they on FB, LinkedIn… or all.

LinkedIn versus Facebook infographic

Bopdesign, a marketing agency in San Diego, recently created an infographic highlighting some of the plus and minuses between the two channels.

Get the pdf here: http://cdn.bopdesign.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BOP_Infographic_FINAL_012412.pdf

About Andrew Singer
I provide cost effective communications and inbound marketing services to a wide variety of Danish companies that do business globally. From hi-tech firms like Siemens and TrackMan to more mainstream organizations like Reputation Institute, Carlsberg and the Confederation of Danish Industry, I deliver strategic creative development and English copywriting services.
Check out examples of my work on my website www.andrewsinger.dk or online portfolio.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wow… should I be pissed?

Back in October 2009, I sent a campaign promotion idea for Tuborg to a creative director I knew in Copenhagen.

When I came up with the campaign, I personally thought it was the most radical, coolest PR campaign ever. One, because it was so good natured, and two, it totally reversed why we create promotions in the first place: to get someone to do something for the brand and in turn, the brand, reward them.

Take a look at a couple of slides from my 2009 power point.

The creative director that I sent it to thought it was “a very good idea :-).”

She passed it on but then it kind of mysteriously died off – legalities… (I was not employed there…).

I never really found out why. And even though the creatives that had seen it (cc'd in emails) asked me to meet with them, those meetings never came about.


Jump to this past month 2012, Robert/Boisen & Like-minded (a different Copenhagen agency) win a 1st place Bees Award! – the world’s #1 social media award – first time ever for a Danish company!

To top that, they were short listed for a Cannes Lion.

What’s their campaign? 

The Generous Store. -  No cash or credit cards, just good deeds 

To reconnect their brand with generosity and inspire people to see the positive effects of being generous Danish chocolate brand Anthon Berg opened the world’s first chocolate store where you couldn’t pay with cash or credit cards, just good deeds. The pop-up store was only open for a day and had people queuing up for one and a half hours to make generous promises towards a friend or loved one on Facebook for a box of chocolate.

Wow, that sounds awfully familiar...

In fact, here's the similarities vs. differences

The same
  1. Fundamental (& what is so unique) premise - brand rewards customer for a good deed they do for a 3rd party & not the brand
  2. Size of the reward based on the size of the good deed
  3. Platform Facebook - (OK - not a hard choice for anyone)

  1. Chocolate not Tuborg goodies
  2. Retail based
Now, I fully understand that other people could have come up with the same concept. But having lived here in DK for many years, I never heard anyone ever use the term or even words, “good deed.”

In fact, if you look at the text on their website concerning the award: “The Bees Awards is recognized as the worlds 1st international social media marketing awards” – the agency can’t even conjugate is/are or put an apostrophe in “world’s.” Yet they come up with the idea of “good deeds.”

The questions haunting me now are: Am I a big baby? Delusionary or crying over spilt milk?

I knew three years ago when I came up with the idea that it was something special, but being named the world’s best SM campaign and short listed at Cannes is pretty cool.

Only thing is, was it my idea or did they coincidentally come up with the same idea to base their campaign on?

Please provide your feedback – and help a guy sleep a little better.

I really look forward to hearing from you.

About Andrew Singer
I provide cost effective communications and inbound marketing services to a wide variety of Danish companies that do business globally. From hi-tech firms like Siemens and TrackMan to more mainstream organizations like Carlsberg, Coloplast, Novo Nordisk and the Confederation of Danish Industry, I deliver strategic creative development and English copywriting services.
Check out examples of my work on my website www.andrewsinger.dk or online portfolio.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nearly 30 things I learned in my 30 day Hubspot free demo

If you don’t know it, Hubspot enables you to test their all-in-one marketing software for 30 days for free. I decided to use the month long demo to see if it would make a good fit for clients.

My original aim was to demo my way through all their tools, but unfortunately, work got in the way. What I did manage to discover you can read below and in my previous posts.

Hubspot’s free demo is open to anyone. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned SEO pro or just starting your own business and want to learn about online marketing, I would definitely recommend you consider at least, trying Hubspot. There are no obligations or strings attached.

If you are the latter – just starting out or looking to optimize your online presence, you’ll discover a whole new world and basically, be walked through what you need to know to be successful across all digital channels like your website, email, social media and blogging. 

If you’re a seasoned pro, you’ll recognize many of the same benefits available in other programs out there from Adwords to Analytics. But it’s nice just the same to have this amount of tools all packaged and simplified into one neat box. 

Nearly 30 things I learned (In no particular order)

53% of my traffic – My Hubspot "sources" chart showed me that more than half of the traffic to my website is driven there by my blog and social media. Content is indeed, king!

Social media – Same chart said SM drives 31% of the visits to my site. LinkedIn dominates by sending 89% (of the 31%) of the visits. This is due mostly to posting on groups I belong to.

Twitter sent just 5%. But I am only now beginning to build my twitter account so I don’t have a big following which could account for the low percentage. Tweeting my blog posts did get the attention of some very cool contacts that I am now grateful to be connected with.  

Tell me why – Off the subject, can somebody explain to me why companies are having students handle their social media conversations when SM is most likely their most important communications channel? My analytics confirms this.

Return of the blog – According to the "sources" chart, my blog drives 21% of the visits to my site. Want to get traffic? Start writing.

Easy to get started – With Hubspot, you just need to put their tracking code on your web pages and blog template, log in your social media accounts and you’re up and running – with full analytics across all channels.

No website or blog? - Use Hubspot’s own CMS system to create your own site, blog, landing pages, CTAs and email campaigns.

I didn’t really get to demo Hubspot’s CMS system as I already have a site and blog but I did fiddle with the landing page CMS template and it seemed very simple and self explanatory. It neatly helps you incorporate your keywords into messaging/content for you.I would have liked to demo the landing page and email CMS tools, if I have had more time.

From what I’ve read online, people seem to be happy with the CMS system. Although a common complaint I’ve read is that the design is too basic or simplistic.

Hand-holding tutorials – if you don’t know much about programming you won’t have a hard time working with Hubspot. They take your hand and explain everything.

Friendly support - I called twice for support. The staff was friendly and eager to help. They also followed up on my inquiries. Did their help, help? That’s another question. I’ll get to that later.

Sources chart
“Sources” dashboard – easy to read/exportable all-in-one chart to learn where your website visits come from. Segmented by: Organic Search; Referrals; Direct Traffic and Social Media.

The chart makes it very easy to discover what drives traffic to your website. You can click on one of the above for more detailed breakdown and exportable reports. Basically a one stop shop instead of going to say, different sites’ services like Google analytics, HootSuite etc…  Although they are free, aren’t they?

“Pages” tool – Hubspot’s SEO optimizer for dummies. Basically walks you through what you need to correct on your website pages to optimize for SE influencers – see my last post on Hubspot analytics.

“Prospects” tool – identifies whose clicking on your pages by company name. Great idea that sometimes misfires and only gives the visitor’s internet service provider, but I love the thought.

BTW, when I was looking at the chart today, I found out a company that I had sent an application to was just on my site. Hopefully it was the person I sent the job app to. I can check that though with Google Analytics because I use unique tags on my email links. In fairness to Hubspot, they enable this and much more with their CRM lead generating tools too.

Daily Prospects Digest – email sent everyday by Hubspot with your latest prospects – nice to wake up to.

Generosity and insight – I love Hubspot’s ebooks. I find them to be extremely informative and timely. If ever there was ever a choice between Hubspot and a competitor, I would probably go with Hubspot due just to the sheer volume of information and insight they provide free. Talk about inbound marketing…  

Lead nurturing tools – while I didn’t get to test out their lead generating tools, I did look through them. As I’ve used other email systems, I was able to get a pretty good idea of what Hubspot can do.

Hubspot’s CRM looks like it is very well integrated within the system: both for emailing and creating landing pages. You can create prospect lists (list manager), drill down through them and target and create automated and personalized email campaigns as well as automatically create lists from your landing pages.

As most companies have their website leads created via emails they usually lose the source of these leads. As far as I can tell, Hubspot solves this problem with their lead generation tools.    
If your website matters – if online traffic is important to your business, you should listen to and probably also, take advantage of Hubspot. At the very least with Hubspot, your site will be optimized and you’ll understand what it takes to build traffic. If you’re dependent on visits, Hubspot will make you money.

How much does Hubspot cost? - I’m not sure if anyone else has this feeling, but for me, it seems like Hubspot is hiding the price from me. Is this out of politeness or strategic? Although there is a direct click to pricing on their website during the demo it kind of disappeared for me.

It takes some clicks to find out what it’s going to cost you to use Hubspot. Once you find the price chart, you then have to decipher which plan matches your needs and business.

I think if I’m going to choose between Hubspot and the plethora of free tools available, I would like to know the cost-differential right up front. I’m sure though, that they have their reasons or maybe they don’t even feel like they are hiding the price in the first place.

3 plans -  Hubspot’s “basic” price plan calls for you to use their CMS tools for your website, blog, email… “Professional” fully integrates with your system and is geared for mid-sized companies. The “enterprise” solution is for the big boys. Each plan’s price is further dependent on the amount of contacts you have.

According to Hubpost, a contact is a person in your marketing community who you've identified and deliver targeted marketing to. This could be the CEO of a target company, a lead who just visited the pricing page, or a prospect who followed you on twitter. Customers have full control over managing their number of contacts - should be an interesting discussion.

I’m not going to post any prices. That’s between you and Hubspot.

Does Hubspot save you money? I would guess that with the price of SEO consultants today and email lead nurturing programs/vendors, you probably would save a bundle with Hubspot. Their prices are not too expensive. And the system is as they market it, an all-in-one solution.

Analytics by the numbers – for me, I like Google Analytics over Hubspot: plus Google is free.  
Google goes more in depth and has now begun incorporating social media into their reports so they now both have similar capabilities. I just have to figure out how to implement Google with my social media accounts. My initial foray a couple of nights ago left me with a headache. Hubspot’s was simple and enables you to schedule publishing via it.

Google like Hubpost, also enables you to create campaigns, A/B testing etc… so with both, you can really target your marketing and see the results.

One Hubpost advantage that I mentioned before is the way they attempt to identify visitors by company.

Captain, I can’t get the engines started – one of the days I called the Hubspot support team because my website pages disappeared from the page grader tool. The very nice support person suggested I reset my Hubspot account and change my settings with my web hosting provider. It didn’t help and her advice was wrong.

After two days down, I got an email explaining that Hubspot had been in the process of changing the page grader tool to the now called “pages” tool. My website and blog pages reappeared in my analytics. They also apologized for the misinformation regarding my web hosting settings - all was cool- almost.

I’m only a doctor, Jim – What bothered me about the above scenario was that if I was working for a company and had convinced them to use Hubspot and the same had occurred, I’d be in deep $&@%?! Imagine telling your boss that I can’t get you those reports because, well… I don’t why.

Even more damaging, if I recommend Hubspot to one of my clients and that occurred; I’m toast. 

Basically, Hubspot’s support person didn’t know that they were modifying the app so she gave me the wrong advice. I’m sure this doesn’t happen every day but it is a little worrisome.

If I was a business owner I’d be mildly pissed with the above, but I understand that things can get weird with IT sometimes. But as a consultant recommending a product to a client, I need them to have my back.
My blog’s tracking – no it’s not – the first time I called support it was concerning my blog tracking. The help person said she would set it up. The second time I called regarding the page tool, the support person said, I can also see that your blog is not tracking correctly, let me set it up for you. Hmmm?  

Needless to say, it was tracking both times. However, Hubspot data never did come close to matching up with my blog hosting (blogger.com) analytics. If I was using Hubspot (and paying for this capability) this would need to be cleared up. Otherwise, I could just use the blog’s free analytics.

One final note - After spending as much time as I could allot on this 30 day trial testing the software, I am convinced that Hubspot is an excellent product: especially, because it gives you so much in one box.

I’ve used plenty of email programs, CMS systems, G Analytics and you know what, Hubspot’s just seems simpler. And in the case of their email and CMS being integrated with CRM, Hubspot is miles ahead of the systems I’ve worked with.

That’s not to say that there are probably great tools out there. It could just be that the systems I worked on with other companies were bad choices.

Another good thing about Hubspot is all the knowledge they share. The ebooks are terrific and you can really practically apply the learnings they provide with their software.

Aside from the glitches I mentioned above, the test was a great success and impressive. I will recommend Hubspot to clients but I will qualify that recommendation with a 30 day trial first – because of the mishaps I experienced and to cover my butt.

For myself, I might even implement the suggestions Hubspot’s page grader gave me for my own site – I’d be an idiot not to.

The demo certainly confirmed one thing: Content is King. I'll miss my Hubspot. Hi ho inbound marketing!

About Andrew Singer

I provide cost effective communications and inbound marketing services to a wide variety of Danish companies that do business globally. From hi-tech firms like Siemens and TrackMan to more mainstream organizations like Carlsberg, Coloplast, Novo Nordisk and the Confederation of Danish Industry, I deliver strategic creative development and English copywriting services.
Check out examples of my work on my website www.andrewsinger.dk or online portfolio.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does Hubspot’s analytics measure up?

I’m now in the second week of my 30-day free demo of Hubspot’s marketing software. I’m using the demo to see if Hubspot’s all-in-one marketing software would make a good fit for some of my clients.

In these first two weeks, I’ve used the tool kit thus far to develop keyword lists and begin optimizing my website with their “page grader” tool.

The two applications have been simple to work with and provided some excellent insight. The keyword tool works essentially the same as Google’s, which you most likely know, is free to use.

This however, should not be your main reason for buying Hubspot’s software – and to be fair with Hubspot, they do recommend Google’ tool in their free-to download reports and papers so it’s not like they consider their keyword tool a major KSP.

What is unique about Hubspot’s tool is how it helps you incorporate your keywords into your content – from blog posts, SM, emails to landing and website pages. It enables you to incorporate and evaluate your use of keywords in your content.  I’ll get into this in a later post as I begin to explore the lead generating capabilities in the software.

Page grader makes the grade

So far in my demo, I have especially appreciated the input the page grader has provided. This is truly an SEO optimizer for dummies – like me.

As I mentioned in my last post, the page grader basically walks you through what you need to correct on your website pages to optimize SEO influencers:
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords
  • URL
  • HI
  • Image tags
  • Ranking
  • Link analysis
  • Inbound and internal links
With each of the categories above, the page grader tells you what needs fixing, stopping short of actually rewriting your text for you.

Getting down to the numbers – analytics

Having gathered two weeks of data from my blog posts, social media and website analytics, I’ve begun comparing the data with Google’s and from my blogging publisher (blogspot).

Screenshot is from the “Visits for All Sources” analytic
This chart from Hubspot gives a terrific and one-stop overview of the sources driving traffic to your site. If you incorporate your social media publishing – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, FB etc…  as well as your blog posts in your Hubspot account, they will track them all in this data .  You can then see how well they, and the other usual suspects: organic & paid searches, direct traffic – drive visitors to your site.

This is great insight for pinpointing what works.  Although you could find the same stats by using other tracking and many times free software, Hubspot neatly puts the info into one easy-to-review chart instead of having to visit your different tracking sites like Hootsuite etc.. .

For me it was eye-opening to discover that more than 50% of the traffic to my website was being driven by my blog, LinkedIn and Twitter.

As I had been preaching to customers to step up their content creation, my stats provided statistical proof for them to get off their butts.  In fact, I immediately shared the data results with one client to try and convince them to be more active with their blog and SM channels.  Let’s hope they listen.

As a footnote, I’m guessing that Hubspot is already looking into how to incorporate “Pinterest” and any other relevant SM players into their analytics.

Look who’s lookin’

This is where things begin to get interesting, especially when you compare Hubspot and Google.

Hubspot gives you the high level stats like Google: page views, time on the page, visitors, but some of Hubspot’s other details I find very exciting.

Hubspot identifies the company that was visiting you site (not just the city like Google).  This is extremely interesting but also problematic. The company/visit is identified by its IP address. Because of this, the results can sometimes get skewed. For example, some of my results were just the internet service provider and not the actual company making the visit.

What is cool about this tool though is in addition to hopefully identifying the visitor by company name, they also give you a link to the company’s employees on LinkedIn so you can mine that for leads or names – saving a step or two in building lists. You could obviously do this on your own when targeting companies but again, this is helping you target those visiting your site.

Unlike Google, Hubspot does not include “bounce” or some of the other valuable Google stats but if you include Hubspot's other tools like the “page grader” etc… with your overall analysis, you should be able to put together more than enough insight to know who’s visiting your site and how well it is performing. 

Out of curiosity, I did compare the site visit data with Google’s and Lol, they matched exactly.

Incidentally, like Google, Hubspot also enables you to filter your own IP address from the reporting.

You can also hide irrelevant visits when you review or download reports. These might include the before-mentioned ISP addresses etc…

Daily mail follow up

Hubspot also sends a “Daily Prospects Digest” email (depending on the frequency of reports you choose) with your results. It provides the stats from your most recent visitors – nice to wake up to.

Major discrepancy – My first complaint

In terms of my blog stats, Hubspot gave me some very strange results.

Hubspot has its own dedicated blog analytics tool that works by you pasting their code into your blog template, if you’re not using their blog CMS tool.

For some reason, when I go to my Hubspot “Blog Analysis” chart and look at my last post’s stats, it says that I have only had 6 page views over the past week.

If I go to Hubspot’s “Page Views” analysis chart, (which analyzes all my pages including blog and website) it says that I have had 30 page views for the very same post over the same period.

And, if I go to Blogspots’ (my blog publisher) own analytics, it says that I have had 44 page views for the very same post. Plus, I know that blogspot is definitely excluding my URL from visits, which Hubspot analytics hasn’t been instructed to.

These are major differences that I need to get to the bottom of!

I have searched Hubsot’s help section unsuccessfully for an answer. I will chat with them later today to hear more. This will also give me a chance to demo their “help desk.” 

Don’t want to get all gushy but…

I just got off the phone with Hubspot’s help. Having lived in Europe for the last 20 years, I forgot what it’s like to have a friendly voice on the other end of a help line. The woman was very informative and enthusiastic. She noticed that my blog tracking was not working correctly – aha... She also recognized that I had placed Hubspot’s tracking code in my individual posts as opposed to the blog template – she thought this might have screwed up my results as well (not in those words). We’ll see how it works with this post.

Needless to say, it was very refreshing to speak with their help desk. It kind of felt like the classic marketing scenario: customer gets turned from a complaining moaner to your product’s biggest fan. Although I wasn’t really complaining, it is a free trial after all.

Next up, I’ll begin looking at the lead generating tools….

BTW, here’s a link to Hubspot’s latest paper on working with analytics