The on-site tactics discussed above are only half the equation. The other half is finding prospects who are online but on other sites. They’re not searching for you, but they are spending time online: visiting similar sites, communities and groups and reading blogs, emails and content from related providers – not competitors, but information sources that already exist. Remember, 90% of people get the information they need to make a purchase decision from online research. Your content has to be available and easy to access.
Driving new visitors to your website from other online properties is complicated. You have to take your target persona and create an online behavioral profile, identifying the blogs they read, the emails they subscribe to, the sites they visit, the groups they’re members of and the websites they frequent. Once you have that target list, you can start reaching out to those communities to help them with their mission.
Your goal is not to sell anything to community members, your goal is to help those community members with valuable educational content. Since you have created tons of new educational materials (you have these assets, right?), now you’re in a position to share these materials with community managers. Remember, the manager's job is to educate and provide value to members. So you now share the same goal.
Once you get a critical mass of off-site referral properties like this, you’ll see this visitor source increasing, with leads from these new visitors following.
In social media, timing is everything. You only want to send messages when someone is around to see them. And a larger audience means more opportunities for engagement and meaningful connections—all of which benefit your business.
So when are the best times to post on social? There is no definitive answer to that. But there are resources that can serve as a guide to help you find the optimal posting times.
The best time to post on Twitter
As a constant stream of information, getting your timing right on Twitter can seem like a fine art. With the half-life of a Tweet being 24 minutes—four times shorter than a Facebook post—your window of opportunity is tight. As Wiselytics explains, “For Facebook, a post reaches 75 percent of its potential engagement in five hours. A median Tweet reaches this 75 percent mark in less than three hours.”
This short timeframe means that the Tweets you do send out get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. How do you do this? Our previous post, 3 Tips On How To Find the Best Time to Tweet, gives some advice for finding the optimal time for your Twitter activity:
Location matters—”One useful strategy is to create a Twitter handle for each region, use a social media management tool to manage and monitor all of them in one place, and then create social media reports to track when you get the most engagement for each Twitter handle.
Use the right tool—There are numerous tools out there to help you find the best time to Tweet, such as Audiense (previously SocialBro) and Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule which “chooses a time based on when your Tweets have performed the best. You can AutoSchedule from both the dashboard and theHootlet extension.”
Make sure you engage on social media—”Knowing when the best time to tweet from your company’s Twitter handle starts with social media engagement.”
We’ve gathered data from a variety of sources so that you can use these tips as a starting point, rather than a blind trial and error. Here are the best times to Tweet, according to data gathered from a variety of organizations:
The Huffington Post: “For maximum retweets, post at 5 p.m., 12 p.m., and 6 p.m. Additionally, 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. also deliver higher click-through rates. The best days to Tweet for business-to-business organizations is Monday through Friday, for business-to-consumer it’s the weekends and Wednesdays.”
Hubspot: Between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Kissmetrics: Weekdays at 5 p.m., where the highest percentage of Retweets occur.
So while there are some overlaps, there is no one definitive answer to this question. But this information is a great place to start with your own strategic trial and error efforts. Start Tweeting at the above times, and pay attention to when your audience engages the most. This is the only way to find out when the best time to post to Twitter is—at least for your own business.
The best time to post to Facebook
As Facebook is often a smorgasbord of personal connections and brand interactions, it’s an interesting one to try and navigate from a timing point of view. Throw in Facebook’s algorithm, and this might feel like a more difficult task than it truly is. A whopping 75 percent of your Facebook post’s engagement will happen within the first five hours, which means that while it’s not a huge amount of time, you have more leverage than with a Tweet. But as Post Planner explains, your Facebook post “impressions hit their climax much sooner than engagement.” A full 75 percent of your post’s lifetime impressions are reached after just two and a half hours.
To make the most of this time, you want to ensure you’re paying attention to when your audience is most active. Just like Twitter, the best time to post on Facebook will obviously depend on your business. But here are some recommendations to get you started:
Quick Sprout: Thursdays and Fridays, either at 1 p.m. for the most shares, or 3 p.m. for the most clicks. As explained, “The less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!”
Optimizely: Mondays through Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Microsoft: Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Hubspot: Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
While there are some differences, there’s the consistent finding that Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. are a good place to start when trying to find the best time to post to Facebook.
The best time to post on Instagram
Although its name originally suggested that you should be posting to Instagram, well, instantly, that simply isn’t the case these days. As Likes are the main measurement approach to Instagram posts, you might feel as if there is more pressure to get timing right with your content here. I can confess that I’m definitely somebody who has delayed putting up a picture because I felt it wasn’t during a ‘peak time’ and would get less Likes. (This way of thinking is broken down in a hilariously accurate Man Repeller post The Instagram Post-Time Debate, which I highly recommend reading.)
Think about a day in the life of your audience, and try to strategically post according to this. What time are people waking up and doing their first-thing-in-the-morning-Insta-scroll? Do they work full-time? Where do they live? Consider your audience’s down time such as between meetings, commuting, lunch, and before bed. All of these are things to think about when trying to match post time with your audience’s use time.
In addition to considering these factors, test out some of the following recommended times:
Hubspot: Anytime from Monday to Thursday except from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
As Mavrck explained, “While posting volume is relatively low during those morning hours, users are still peeking at their feeds regularly on their smartphones. Therefore, they represent a sizable audience during a time when there’s less competition for attention.”
If no one can find you on Google, Yahoo or Bing – your business is invisible. If people are finding you for keywords you think are important, but your prospects aren't using those keywords – you’re invisible. If your website isn’t responsive and people are doing searches on their phones – you're invisible. Make sure your business isn’t invisible.
Getting Google and the other search engines to rank your website pages is complicated, and it takes time. It involves a variety of related tactics such as content marketing, social media marketing, website architecture, blogging and conversion rate optimization. All of these areas have to be tightly integrated, and you have to constantly track your ranking and organic visitor metrics to know what’s working and what’s not.
Do you know how many leads you received from organic visitors over the past 30 days? Do you know how many visitors came to your site from organic searches over the past 30 days? Do you know how these numbers compare to the previous month? You need to know this data cold. If you’re not tracking these metrics, you’re not improving. You won’t see a 10x improvement without this effort.
To improve visitors from search, look at increasing the number of blog articles you’re writing. If those blog articles have keywords, keyword phrases and questions tightly integrated into the blog strategy, those articles will improve your search results and impact visitor numbers. Also look at your website architecture. You can change URL naming conventions and impact results quickly. Change a services page to a page with a question in the URL: Google sees this as a more valuable page.
Finally, and this is a recent change to the Google algorithms, your pages have to convert. When someone finds your link and clicks on it, you have to make sure they convert on that landing page. This signals Google that the visitor found what he or she was looking for, and improves your ranking. Clearly, conversion is now a major component of search. Again, all the tactics need to be strategically connected.
Yes, I said it: a 10x improvement in leads. If you’re getting two leads a week, when your inbound marketing program is up and running you’ll be getting 20 leads a week.If you’re getting four leads a month, you’ll be getting 40. It’s a very attainable goal, and one we’ve delivered for countless clients over the past 14 years.
However, there are just as many CEOs, VPs of marketing and business owners who have attempted inbound marketing and not seen this kind of impact on their business. So clearly this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not easy, but it isdoable.
These six tactics, if planned, implemented and optimized properly, will contribute to lifting your inbound leads by a factor of ten.
To make this as simple as possible (and to reiterate what we’ve been saying for years): Marketing is a mathematical calculation. If you want more leads, you have to move two numbers: website visitors and sitewide conversion rate. That’s it. So we’ll share three recommendations for increasing the number of visitors to your website and three recommendations for improving your conversion rate. Execute these properly and a 10x improvement in leads will be your reward.
Don’t leave offer creation to the business- or salespeople. Contact us, speak with a sales rep, free demo, free download or trial – these are horrible, generic bottom-of-the-funnel offers. You’re going to have to work much harder if you want more leads, especially if you want more sales-ready leads.
Thee horrible examples of offers are all about you. Contact you, speak with you, see your demo, try your software – what’s in it for the prospect? Your bottom-of-the-funnel offers have to deliver value to your prospect.
For example, if you’re a builder or construction company, offer to value-engineer plans for a current project with the promise to save money on the build. If you’re a software company, offer to evaluate the prospect’s current process and provide process improvements that include your software. If you’re an accounting company, offer six tax-saving tips for prospects after a quick review of the prospect's current situation.
In each of these scenarios, the offer is probably something you would happily do anyway, so why not offer it as a way to get sales-ready prospects to contact you today? Keep rolling out new and more creative offers until you get the bottom-of-the-funnel lead flow you need to hit your goals.
Here’s more good news. If you do all six of these tactics at the same time, you’re going to improve the chances of achieving that 10x improvement in leads. This is actually where a lot of practitioners go wrong – they only do a few of these tactics. They either underestimate the effort or under-budget the entire program, so corners get cut and results suffer.
Don’t make the same mistake. Whether you’re building a new inbound marketing program, working to optimize your existing effort or comparing inbound marketing agency proposals, make sure you see money, time or points allocated to all six of the tactics described above. If any of these is missing, it’s usually a pretty good indicator that the team isn’t as experienced with inbound as they need to be to deliver a 10x improvement in generating leads.