5 Unexpected Places to Network for B2B Business Leads

Unconventional B2B Networking Spots

When doing B2B marketing, many business owners and sales reps tend to fall back on the same old approaches. They focus on the same places and methods for doing networking and finding new prospective clients. These include: trade shows, industry associations, and formal networking events. All of these conventional networking methods make some sense. After all, sometimes there’s no substitute for having a presence on the floor at your industry’s biggest annual convention, or pressing the flesh in person at a local business networking function. But if you want to boost your B2B marketing results, you need to be creative about where you do your networking. 

Unconventional B2B Networking Spots

Here are a few unexpected and unconventional places where you should try to do some B2B networking to find your next new prospective client: 

Nonprofit Volunteering 

Sometimes you can find new clients by volunteering at a nonprofit – not because you’re there to sell or to find new clients, but because you’re doing something that you care about, and you often will meet new people who are open to making new connections. This is a big reason why many business people love to serve on nonprofit boards – but even if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to be a board member, you can often do great networking just by being a volunteer and being an active member of a local nonprofit group. Working hard on a good cause is a great way to meet like-minded people – and many of these other professionals will potentially be open to talking with you about your business. Doing good deeds in your community can also lead to good leads for your company! 

The Gym (or the Golf Course) 

Where do you prospects and your decision makers spend their time when they’re not at work? Chances are, they spend a decent amount of time at the gym! Exercise is so important, and business leaders at all levels often pride themselves on their dedication to fitness. So don’t be afraid to strike up conversations at the gym.

Or if you want to take this networking technique to the next level: do some research and follow your key decision makers on social media to see if you can find out which gym or which golf course they belong to – and then join that same gym! (Don’t be a “stalker,” but if you can find out this information from organic methods like talking with your prospect on the phone or at a meeting, or following publicly-posted social media posts, you can often find out a lot about where your prospects like to spend their time.) 

Community Activities 

Just like volunteering at nonprofit organizations, being involved with community activities – or even attending community activities – can be a great way to expand your network. For example, if you sign up to volunteer for a local arts or music festival, you might meet a new circle of people who could potentially become clients.  

Coffee Shops 

If you’re in B2B sales, you need to go where the business owners are – and today, more business owners than ever before are working at coffee shops. Those other laptop warriors at the neighboring tables might be your next big sales prospect. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. Many coffee shops also have community rooms that can be rented or used for public events like business seminars and lunch and learns – look to see if there are options to host an event at your local coffee shop. 

Your Children’s School Events 

One of the underrated fun aspects of being a parent is getting involved with new circles of people and getting to meet a wider network of other parents who can potentially become new friends or new business contacts. Many schools host fundraisers and parent organizations that are good occasions for potential networking. The other parents who are chaperoning the school dance or selling tickets at the school carnival might be great contacts for your business!

One of the fun aspects of being a business owner, entrepreneur or sales person is that every day is full of new opportunities to meet new people and be of service. Even in unconventional settings, you might have great chances to network and connect with people who can become your next customers. 

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "5 Unexpected Places to Network for B2B Business Leads" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

5 Unexpected Places to Network for B2B Business Leads

Unconventional B2B Networking Spots

When doing B2B marketing, many business owners and sales reps tend to fall back on the same old approaches. They focus on the same places and methods for doing networking and finding new prospective clients. These include: trade shows, industry associations, and formal networking events. All of these conventional networking methods make some sense. After all, sometimes there’s no substitute for having a presence on the floor at your industry’s biggest annual convention, or pressing the flesh in person at a local business networking function. But if you want to boost your B2B marketing results, you need to be creative about where you do your networking. 

Unconventional B2B Networking Spots

Here are a few unexpected and unconventional places where you should try to do some B2B networking to find your next new prospective client: 

Nonprofit Volunteering 

Sometimes you can find new clients by volunteering at a nonprofit – not because you’re there to sell or to find new clients, but because you’re doing something that you care about, and you often will meet new people who are open to making new connections. This is a big reason why many business people love to serve on nonprofit boards – but even if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to be a board member, you can often do great networking just by being a volunteer and being an active member of a local nonprofit group. Working hard on a good cause is a great way to meet like-minded people – and many of these other professionals will potentially be open to talking with you about your business. Doing good deeds in your community can also lead to good leads for your company! 

The Gym (or the Golf Course) 

Where do you prospects and your decision makers spend their time when they’re not at work? Chances are, they spend a decent amount of time at the gym! Exercise is so important, and business leaders at all levels often pride themselves on their dedication to fitness. So don’t be afraid to strike up conversations at the gym.

Or if you want to take this networking technique to the next level: do some research and follow your key decision makers on social media to see if you can find out which gym or which golf course they belong to – and then join that same gym! (Don’t be a “stalker,” but if you can find out this information from organic methods like talking with your prospect on the phone or at a meeting, or following publicly-posted social media posts, you can often find out a lot about where your prospects like to spend their time.) 

Community Activities 

Just like volunteering at nonprofit organizations, being involved with community activities – or even attending community activities – can be a great way to expand your network. For example, if you sign up to volunteer for a local arts or music festival, you might meet a new circle of people who could potentially become clients.  

Coffee Shops 

If you’re in B2B sales, you need to go where the business owners are – and today, more business owners than ever before are working at coffee shops. Those other laptop warriors at the neighboring tables might be your next big sales prospect. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. Many coffee shops also have community rooms that can be rented or used for public events like business seminars and lunch and learns – look to see if there are options to host an event at your local coffee shop. 

Your Children’s School Events 

One of the underrated fun aspects of being a parent is getting involved with new circles of people and getting to meet a wider network of other parents who can potentially become new friends or new business contacts. Many schools host fundraisers and parent organizations that are good occasions for potential networking. The other parents who are chaperoning the school dance or selling tickets at the school carnival might be great contacts for your business!

One of the fun aspects of being a business owner, entrepreneur or sales person is that every day is full of new opportunities to meet new people and be of service. Even in unconventional settings, you might have great chances to network and connect with people who can become your next customers. 

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "5 Unexpected Places to Network for B2B Business Leads" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge

Sponsored Post

Fintech sales can be tough, but Lisa Coyle of 360 Payments has found her stride

The aim of 360 Payments is to change the fabric of the payments industry by partnering with customers to provide honest and streamlined payment solutions. We chatted to Lisa Coyle, Co-CEO of 360 Payments, to find out how her customer-centric approach has helped to drive her success.

The mission of 360 Payments is to remove the stigma of credit card processing by delivering honest and pain-free payments. Lisa explains that the idea came to life in 2011 when she and her business partner were only 24 and 26.

“We were just two kids who knew how to sell and accidentally became CEOs of a big company.”

Trust and long-lasting relationships are integral to scalable sales success. Solid customer relationships not only generate more sustainable revenue but also serve to bolster your reputation and establish your business as a powerful and successful player in the market.

A Relentless Focus on Customer Centric Selling Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning EdgeIt seems that ambition and resilience were written into Lisa’s DNA. From a young age, Lisa was enterprising and always pushing herself to work harder and do better.

It is perhaps no surprise then that 360 Payments is growing fast. The company has been selected for the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing businesses in America for the fourth year in a row and has now opened operations in California, Utah and Oklahoma.

“I’ll admit I’m a born entrepreneur. I was always that kid that my parents would describe as relentless and competitive. I was the one who sold the most entertainment books on the soccer team just so my parents didn’t have to pay for a jersey or a uniform or set up lemonade stands in our driveway so I could buy a trampoline. The persistence and competitiveness are still in me today and I don’t see myself ever stopping.”

While persistence and competitiveness are undoubtedly key attributes for any successful business leader, it’s Lisa’s compassion and genuine interest in others that has truly made her, and her business, unstoppable. Of course, confidence in her own product is integral to her success, but she considers this to be secondary to her customers.

3 Simple Rules for Customer-First Sales

Customer-centricity runs through the veins of everything 360 Payments does. Lisa takes a real interest in her customers and how she can make their business and their life better.

“What makes me feel like I’m winning is truly being genuinely interested in the customer and what’s going on in their personal lives and their business. What I sell is secondary to that foundation of trust.”

The success of Lisa’s customer-first approach is based on three simple rules:

1. Be Genuinely Curious

“Salespeople need to be genuinely curious about their prospects. They need to not only ask questions but make the questions sincere and provide feedback as to why they are asking the question so it doesn’t come off ‘salesy’”

Expert Sales Advice > Understand the psychology of decision-making

2. Take Notes

“Without notes, I would not be nearly as successful. I take notes on how long a prospect has been in business, how many kids they have, what trade-shows they go to, where I met them, who I have spoken to, etc. Most of my notes have nothing to do with the product I am selling, but I reference them continually and my note taking is hands down what builds the rapport and confidence someone has in me.”

Expert Sales Advice > Find simple tactics to build strong relationships

3. Be Likable and Relatable

“If you can get a prospect to talk about themselves or about anything besides what you are trying to sell them, you are setting yourself up for a win. Find a common similarity. For example, I always ask where someone is from and try to talk about a sports team in that area, about a time I visited there, or something recent in the news going on there.”

Expert Sales Advice > Constantly improve your communication skills

Lisa extends the same ethos and expectations when it comes to those working in her business. She shares how team relationships are paramount to her business and how she will always put people before processes.

“Without a doubt, what I’m most proud of at 360 Payments is our people. The family that we have created is a true work family and we genuinely care about each other.”

Culture is the crux of every solid company and is something that needs to be driven from the top down. How employees operate and treat one another ultimately reflects what you value and what you stand for as a company. It’s clear that respect, communication and trust lie at the heart of 360 Payments and that Lisa values each and every one of her employees and has their best interest at heart.

“There’s nothing more I want than to take my teammates to the next level and to make my family proud. When people bring their families to the office, that is hands down the best feeling as a business owner – to see that your employees are proud of where they work.”

Sales Software that Empowers

Lisa believes that the sales software Pipedrive has helped, especially when it comes to getting everyone on her team aligned. In particular, Pipedrive’s ‘Activities’ feature has been key to help Lisa to prioritize workloads, manage time efficiently and make sure everyone is on the same page.

“As a salesperson, my favorite part is the simplicity of putting the data in and using the

activity views to structure days and weeks; we all feel we can truly end our day not worrying that we have dropped any balls.”

From a management perspective, the statistics and real-time view allow Lisa to stay up to date with what her team is working on, without constantly chasing for updates and reports.

“I am obsessed with the activity customization, statistics and the dashboards because the salesperson never has to send any reports, they are real time, and the data is beyond accurate.”

Lisa’s success truly illustrates the power of selling with integrity and conviction. It’s clear that Lisa was destined to be successful from a young age, but what we love most about her story is how she propelled her vision through passion, honesty, and sincerity. One thing looks certain – the future holds plenty more busy growth for Lisa and 360 Payments.

“I always want to do better. I always want more. I want to give more. I want more for other people. I like to bring out the inner entrepreneur in everybody and I always see myself as being unstoppable. With the right attitude, mentality, and work ethic, I believe ANYONE can win at sales.”

Follow Lisa’s lead and learn how the right sales CRM can help you develop an unbeatable customer experience.

Image: Pipedrive

This article, "A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge

Sponsored Post

Fintech sales can be tough, but Lisa Coyle of 360 Payments has found her stride

The aim of 360 Payments is to change the fabric of the payments industry by partnering with customers to provide honest and streamlined payment solutions. We chatted to Lisa Coyle, Co-CEO of 360 Payments, to find out how her customer-centric approach has helped to drive her success.

The mission of 360 Payments is to remove the stigma of credit card processing by delivering honest and pain-free payments. Lisa explains that the idea came to life in 2011 when she and her business partner were only 24 and 26.

“We were just two kids who knew how to sell and accidentally became CEOs of a big company.”

Trust and long-lasting relationships are integral to scalable sales success. Solid customer relationships not only generate more sustainable revenue but also serve to bolster your reputation and establish your business as a powerful and successful player in the market.

A Relentless Focus on Customer Centric Selling Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning EdgeIt seems that ambition and resilience were written into Lisa’s DNA. From a young age, Lisa was enterprising and always pushing herself to work harder and do better.

It is perhaps no surprise then that 360 Payments is growing fast. The company has been selected for the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing businesses in America for the fourth year in a row and has now opened operations in California, Utah and Oklahoma.

“I’ll admit I’m a born entrepreneur. I was always that kid that my parents would describe as relentless and competitive. I was the one who sold the most entertainment books on the soccer team just so my parents didn’t have to pay for a jersey or a uniform or set up lemonade stands in our driveway so I could buy a trampoline. The persistence and competitiveness are still in me today and I don’t see myself ever stopping.”

While persistence and competitiveness are undoubtedly key attributes for any successful business leader, it’s Lisa’s compassion and genuine interest in others that has truly made her, and her business, unstoppable. Of course, confidence in her own product is integral to her success, but she considers this to be secondary to her customers.

3 Simple Rules for Customer-First Sales

Customer-centricity runs through the veins of everything 360 Payments does. Lisa takes a real interest in her customers and how she can make their business and their life better.

“What makes me feel like I’m winning is truly being genuinely interested in the customer and what’s going on in their personal lives and their business. What I sell is secondary to that foundation of trust.”

The success of Lisa’s customer-first approach is based on three simple rules:

1. Be Genuinely Curious

“Salespeople need to be genuinely curious about their prospects. They need to not only ask questions but make the questions sincere and provide feedback as to why they are asking the question so it doesn’t come off ‘salesy’”

Expert Sales Advice > Understand the psychology of decision-making

2. Take Notes

“Without notes, I would not be nearly as successful. I take notes on how long a prospect has been in business, how many kids they have, what trade-shows they go to, where I met them, who I have spoken to, etc. Most of my notes have nothing to do with the product I am selling, but I reference them continually and my note taking is hands down what builds the rapport and confidence someone has in me.”

Expert Sales Advice > Find simple tactics to build strong relationships

3. Be Likable and Relatable

“If you can get a prospect to talk about themselves or about anything besides what you are trying to sell them, you are setting yourself up for a win. Find a common similarity. For example, I always ask where someone is from and try to talk about a sports team in that area, about a time I visited there, or something recent in the news going on there.”

Expert Sales Advice > Constantly improve your communication skills

Lisa extends the same ethos and expectations when it comes to those working in her business. She shares how team relationships are paramount to her business and how she will always put people before processes.

“Without a doubt, what I’m most proud of at 360 Payments is our people. The family that we have created is a true work family and we genuinely care about each other.”

Culture is the crux of every solid company and is something that needs to be driven from the top down. How employees operate and treat one another ultimately reflects what you value and what you stand for as a company. It’s clear that respect, communication and trust lie at the heart of 360 Payments and that Lisa values each and every one of her employees and has their best interest at heart.

“There’s nothing more I want than to take my teammates to the next level and to make my family proud. When people bring their families to the office, that is hands down the best feeling as a business owner – to see that your employees are proud of where they work.”

Sales Software that Empowers

Lisa believes that the sales software Pipedrive has helped, especially when it comes to getting everyone on her team aligned. In particular, Pipedrive’s ‘Activities’ feature has been key to help Lisa to prioritize workloads, manage time efficiently and make sure everyone is on the same page.

“As a salesperson, my favorite part is the simplicity of putting the data in and using the

activity views to structure days and weeks; we all feel we can truly end our day not worrying that we have dropped any balls.”

From a management perspective, the statistics and real-time view allow Lisa to stay up to date with what her team is working on, without constantly chasing for updates and reports.

“I am obsessed with the activity customization, statistics and the dashboards because the salesperson never has to send any reports, they are real time, and the data is beyond accurate.”

Lisa’s success truly illustrates the power of selling with integrity and conviction. It’s clear that Lisa was destined to be successful from a young age, but what we love most about her story is how she propelled her vision through passion, honesty, and sincerity. One thing looks certain – the future holds plenty more busy growth for Lisa and 360 Payments.

“I always want to do better. I always want more. I want to give more. I want more for other people. I like to bring out the inner entrepreneur in everybody and I always see myself as being unstoppable. With the right attitude, mentality, and work ethic, I believe ANYONE can win at sales.”

Follow Lisa’s lead and learn how the right sales CRM can help you develop an unbeatable customer experience.

Image: Pipedrive

This article, "A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Everything I’ve Learned About Podcasting as HubSpot’s Podcast Marketer

Have you ever noticed how quickly things can change? A new product or service revolutionizes an industry overnight, and it becomes hard to imagine life before it. Who remembers T9 now that talk-to-text is so mainstream? Is anyone still holding onto the number for a reliable taxi service? Or, do we rely on our Uber and Lyft apps instead?

In the world of audio, there's been a massive (albeit slower shift) in the way people consume this content. The catalyst? A rise in podcast content paired with advancements in technology.

Here at HubSpot, we've been watching the world of podcasting grow and change. We've even been testing the proverbial podcast waters ourselves. If you're considering creating your own podcast or advertising through one, this post is for you.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of podcasting, let's take a brief history lesson.

A Brief History of Podcasts

The word “podcast” is a combination of “iPod” and “Broadcast.” Adam Curry and Dave Winer coined the term when they created a program called iPodder in 2004. iPodder automatically downloaded internet radio broadcasts and uploaded them to an iPod — thus creating the first ever podcast.

Apple picked up on this trend in 2005 by adding “Podcast Support” to iTunes. They solidified podcasting as a core part of their service by creating the early Top 100 charts, and, in 2012, releasing a dedicated podcast app.

By pre-installing dedicated podcast apps on all phones and showcasing podcast content on iTunes, Apple successfully secured its position as the biggest podcast marketplace.

Even today, we see how Apple's early investment in the podcasting space has given the company a de facto top spot in the market. Apple makes up two-thirds of podcast listeners while iPhones only make up about 12% of all smartphones. (For reference, Spotify has the second-largest listenership — and they make up 7% of listeners.)

From Broadcast to Podcast: Podcast vs. Radio

From our POV here at HubSpot, it's clear we're slowly moving away from audio you tune into and towards on-demand audio.

This shift from broadcast to podcast is driven by two primary factors: content and technology.

There are currently over 660,000 active podcasts. From popular news shows and chat shows to fictional storytelling and true crime, almost everything is a podcast. Additionally, there's plenty of successful podcast content that would never work for broadcast radio, such as the free-wheeling, interview-based news show Pod Save America — which is consistently over an hour.

In terms of technology, smartphones have given everyone on-demand access to podcast content, newer, cheaper headphones are everywhere, and smart speakers are making their way into homes across the world.

The way we listen has fundamentally changed to an always-on, on-demand streaming experience. People are moving to podcasts in the same way we're moving towards on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO.

This massive shift in consumer behavior is driving a lot more listeners to podcasts, and with more listeners comes more marketing and more advertisers.

It's never been easier to start a business, but it's never been harder to succeed. Download new episodes of the Growth Show and learn something new today: https://www.playpodca.st/growthshow/

Trouble in Podcast-Land

Podcasting today is facing a dilemma that mirrors the US economy: there's a widening gap between the top 1% of podcasts and the other 99%. This divide is exacerbated by a central issue with podcast content — discoverability.

Despite its mass growth, podcasts are mainly discovered in two ways: word-of-mouth and iTunes charts. Moreover, podcasts at the top of the charts tend to get recommended more often, further solidifying their leading position. The only way to break through is to have an incredibly innovative show or a massive marketing budget — and most successful shows have both.

In response, both independent and funded podcast networks like Radiotopia, Gimlet, and Wondery have formed. Those that are funded by venture capitalist money, though, are able to simultaneously launch multiple high-production shows and promote their shows with huge marketing budgets.

This shift became crystal clear through my experience with HubSpot's own flagship podcast, The Growth Show. When the show launched in 2016, it got a few thousand downloads and ranked in the top 25 business podcasts. Three years later, we're getting more downloads per episode (almost half from our back catalog — episodes that are 60+ days old). Yet, we're still struggling to break into the top 200 business podcasts.

podcast-hubspot-expert-1Big platforms are investing more in podcast content, and VCs are throwing cash at podcast networks … this behavior begs the question, “Why?” I think, instead, we should be asking, “Who?”

Everything You Need to Know About the Podcast Listener

According to Edison Research, the average podcast listener is a well-educated, high-earning millennial. Podcasting is also one of the few channels with a listenership that accurately reflects the general population. The number of men and women who listen to podcasts is nearly equal, and, in terms of ethnicity, the makeup of podcast listeners roughly mirrors the actual demographics of the United States.

Overall, it's easiest to say that everyone listens to podcasts.

Habits of the Podcast Listener

Most research on podcast listenership divides listeners into a few categories: 1) listeners who've heard of podcasting, 2) listeners who listen monthly, and 3) listeners who listen weekly.

At the most frequent, weekly podcast listeners consume 5+ hours of content across about seven shows. Anecdotally, that typically breaks down into two dedicated shows, two occasional shows, and two brief shows.

Whether it be over-sharers on Instagram or keyboard cowboys on Facebook, every medium has a group of obsessed folks who want to consume everything. In podcasting, these people are called speed listeners. They represent a small segment that's set on consuming as much audio content as possible. To do this, they adjust the podcast playback speed to 1.5x, 2x, or even 3x.

This consistent, loyal group of intensive podcast users is a good indicator that the medium has built up a devoted following — and isn't going away anytime soon.

Download our free e-book on how to start a podcast, written by the former producer of HubSpot's The Growth Show himself: https://offers.hubspot.com/how-to-start-a-podcast

Podcast Engagement is Off the Charts

Whether you're a monthly listener or daily speed listener, one thing is clear: audio content is engaging. When comparing podcast content to other channels like blogs, social media, and video, we see some distinct differences.

1. Podcasts are long form.

The best podcasts are at least 30 minutes long. Take a look at the top shows, and you’ll find their average episode length is over 45 minutes long. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is consistently a Top 100 podcast, and his episodes are often over four hours long. Joe Rogan's Joe Rogan Experience podcast is released weekly and most episodes average two to three hours. Although there are some benefits to a short podcast, the majority of podcast listeners enjoy their long-form content.

2. Consumption is almost 100%.

As a long-time marketer who's created videos, hosted webinars, and run workshops, I’ve found that audience content consumption is rarely over 80%. A recent report by Sumo found that the average blog visitor only about a quarter of an article and only 20% of readers finish the articles at all. On the other hand, webinars attendees often arrive late, exit early, and sometimes leave in the middle.

Furthermore, according to research by Wistia on optimal video length, videos that exceed two minutes experience a clear drop-off in consumption traffic. Wistia also found that videos under two minutes have a 70% engagement rate; at six minutes, engagement drops to 50%, and at 12 minutes, engagement falls to below half.

Podcasts are different. To compare: On our own HubSpot shows, most people are listening to over 85% of the show.

3. Podcast advertisements are memorable.

Let's face it — most advertisements are hardly noticeable. We walk by or fast-forward without a second glance. On the other hand, podcasts generally rely on host-read ads. These ads are novel, authentic, and interesting. According to a report comparing podcast ads to digital ads by Nielsen, podcast ads generate 4.4x better brand recall than display ads. That includes scroll static and pop-up ads on other digital media platforms. The study also found that 61% of consumers who heard the podcast ads were likely to purchase the featured product.

With such high engagement, podcasts have become a surprisingly effective ad channel. Now, here's what we've learned about advertising.

Everything We’ve Learned About Podcast Advertising

We've tested advertising for HubSpot Academy on our three podcasts and have sponsored a few podcasts in the past — and we've learned a lot.

Traditionally, podcasts have three places for ads: Pre-roll (before the show starts), mid-roll (in the middle of the show), and post-roll (at the end of the show).

Pre- and post-roll ad spots are generally cheaper than mid-roll and tend to take less time. Most ads have some sort of call-to-action that prompts listeners to go to a specific URL or use a specific discount code in order to get a discount.

One of the most frustrating aspects of podcast advertising is how difficult it is to track. As a digital marketer, you can see how many people download or listen to your show and how many people follow the URL or enter the discount code … and that's it.

Good news: The cost per impression (CPM) for podcast ads is still relatively cheap. If you are considering sponsoring a podcast, here's the standard formula.

Podcast Sponsorship = (# of Downloads Per Episode / 1000) x CPM

Note: The CPM (Cost per Thousand) generally ranges from $20-$50.

So far, we're confident that podcast ads are effective and that the CPM is affordable. So, potential podcast advertisers should keep a few things in mind:

  1. Audience Analysis: What type of listener does the show attract and are they a good fit for your product?
  2. Sponsorship Schedules: What’s your timeline? Most major podcasts with sizable download numbers are booked months in advance.
  3. Frequency > Reach: From our own experiments with promoting our podcast on other podcasts, we found that we got a larger lift in total download numbers when we had ads appearing more frequently in on a single podcast versus a single ad on larger podcasts.

It's never been easier to start a business, but it's never been harder to succeed. Download new episodes of the Growth Show and learn something new today: https://www.playpodca.st/growthshow/

Is getting in front of podcast listeners your goal? If your answer is a resounding “Yes!”, here's your next question: Do you want to rent or own this audience?

To put it into podcasting terms: Do you sponsor a podcast, or do you create your own?

Rent Your Audience or Make Your Own Podcast

Despite what you may have heard, podcasting is not easy. Simply tossing a live mic between two people chatting rarely makes for a good show. As more and more podcasts are created, quality (and the demand for quality) has skyrocketed.

If you're dreaming of being the next How I Built This, you need to be prepared to put some serious time and effort behind your production.

That being said, there are some distinct advantages to owning a smaller, devoted audience than renting ad space on a much larger podcast. Here are the advantages when you create a podcast:

  • You get control of the ad space. You can promote your company and products or services during the ad space. Better yet, you can make an extra buck promoting someone else's.
  • You gain additional impressions. Not only is your audience engaging with your content and potentially hearing ads for your business, but every time they see the podcast creator, it's also an additional impression.
  • You can create a network. If you’re large enough and have the resources to create multiple podcasts, the promotion of one show can drive listeners to another show by the same producer by saying there are “more by this provider."

podcast-hubspot-expert-2

Final Thoughts

Sponsoring or starting a podcast is something every brand should consider. Podcast popularity and listenership will only continue to rise and, with it, the opportunity to connect with people in a new and novel way.

Audio content is one of the best opportunities out there for brands. My best advice? Don’t let this one pass you by.



via Business Feeds

Spotlight: Caked Up Cafe Offers Uncompromised Quality Baked In

Spotlight: From Humble Beginnings, The Caked Up Cafe Bakery Success Story

There are plenty of bakeries throughout the country. But how many of them have provided sweets to major celebrities like Rihanna and Kevin Durant? NYC’s Caked Up Cafe may have humble beginnings, but they’ve since grown into a favorite among the city’s elite. Read more about the company’s journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers a variety of baked goods.

Business partner and investor in Caked Up Cafe Mohammed Yusuf told Small Business Trends, “We sell cupcakes, customized cakes, cookies, crumb cakes, parfaits, cupcake shakes, macaroons, and other delicious treats.”

Business Niche

Offering uncompromised quality.

Yusuf says, “We don’t believe in compromises. So, why should you? We’ve focused on creating the best tasting treats using nothing but all natural ingredients. Whether it’s a cupcake, wedding cake, or parfait, we see each creation as more than just a mouth-watering treat for your taste buds; we see it as a work of art.”

Spotlight: From Humble Beginnings, The Caked Up Cafe Bakery Success Story

How the Business Got Started

As a personal hobby.

Yusuf explains, “It started in [owner] Denise [Byrnes]’s kitchen baking treats for family and friends. She needed to find a full-time job so she ventured into the cake business full time and the rest is history.”

Biggest Win

Sharing treats with some big names.

Yusuf says, “There have been several wins, however our biggest is the list of celebrities we have done treats for. (Scott Disick, Alex Rodriguez, Rihanna, Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, LaLa Anthony – just to name a few.) This came about through a relationship at the 1 Oak Club in NYC, where we provided samples and the celebrities loves our cakes. This is probably one of our proudest moments. It brought us great joy to share our treats with such big names.”

Biggest Risk

Expanding.

Yusuf adds, “Outside of acutely starting the business, expansion into NYC was probably our biggest risk. We didn’t know if NYC would take to our creativity, however it has been a total success and we continue to thrive there.”

Lesson Learned

Jump in.

Yusuf says, “It was a risk well worth it and if there was an opportunity to do it again, we definitely would have started a lot sooner.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Growing online and in new locations.

Yusuf explains, “We would look to expand our business in the tristate area, potentially opening another store and expanding our online business for the cupcakes in a jar. The funds would help us grow our online business tremendously. We are looking to expand from an e-commerce perspective.”

Team Tradition

Taste testing.

Yusuf says, “Our team serves as the quality testers for all our products so when we close, we spend time creating these wild ideas and taste testing them. We love to indulge when the lights go down, making sure not to eat away all our creativity.”

Company Mascot

The owner’s dog.

Yusuf says, “Denise’s dog Baxter is our company mascot – we all love Baxter!”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Caked Up Cafe, Denise Byrnes

This article, "Spotlight: Caked Up Cafe Offers Uncompromised Quality Baked In" was first published on Small Business Trends



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10 Things Your Content Marketing Strategy Must Include

With last year’s sale of our StudioPress division, I found myself with something I hadn’t seen in a long time...

The post 10 Things Your Content Marketing Strategy Must Include appeared first on Copyblogger.



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Spotlight: Caked Up Cafe Offers Uncompromised Quality Baked In

Spotlight: From Humble Beginnings, The Caked Up Cafe Bakery Success Story

There are plenty of bakeries throughout the country. But how many of them have provided sweets to major celebrities like Rihanna and Kevin Durant? NYC’s Caked Up Cafe may have humble beginnings, but they’ve since grown into a favorite among the city’s elite. Read more about the company’s journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers a variety of baked goods.

Business partner and investor in Caked Up Cafe Mohammed Yusuf told Small Business Trends, “We sell cupcakes, customized cakes, cookies, crumb cakes, parfaits, cupcake shakes, macaroons, and other delicious treats.”

Business Niche

Offering uncompromised quality.

Yusuf says, “We don’t believe in compromises. So, why should you? We’ve focused on creating the best tasting treats using nothing but all natural ingredients. Whether it’s a cupcake, wedding cake, or parfait, we see each creation as more than just a mouth-watering treat for your taste buds; we see it as a work of art.”

Spotlight: From Humble Beginnings, The Caked Up Cafe Bakery Success Story

How the Business Got Started

As a personal hobby.

Yusuf explains, “It started in [owner] Denise [Byrnes]’s kitchen baking treats for family and friends. She needed to find a full-time job so she ventured into the cake business full time and the rest is history.”

Biggest Win

Sharing treats with some big names.

Yusuf says, “There have been several wins, however our biggest is the list of celebrities we have done treats for. (Scott Disick, Alex Rodriguez, Rihanna, Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, LaLa Anthony – just to name a few.) This came about through a relationship at the 1 Oak Club in NYC, where we provided samples and the celebrities loves our cakes. This is probably one of our proudest moments. It brought us great joy to share our treats with such big names.”

Biggest Risk

Expanding.

Yusuf adds, “Outside of acutely starting the business, expansion into NYC was probably our biggest risk. We didn’t know if NYC would take to our creativity, however it has been a total success and we continue to thrive there.”

Lesson Learned

Jump in.

Yusuf says, “It was a risk well worth it and if there was an opportunity to do it again, we definitely would have started a lot sooner.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Growing online and in new locations.

Yusuf explains, “We would look to expand our business in the tristate area, potentially opening another store and expanding our online business for the cupcakes in a jar. The funds would help us grow our online business tremendously. We are looking to expand from an e-commerce perspective.”

Team Tradition

Taste testing.

Yusuf says, “Our team serves as the quality testers for all our products so when we close, we spend time creating these wild ideas and taste testing them. We love to indulge when the lights go down, making sure not to eat away all our creativity.”

Company Mascot

The owner’s dog.

Yusuf says, “Denise’s dog Baxter is our company mascot – we all love Baxter!”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Caked Up Cafe, Denise Byrnes

This article, "Spotlight: Caked Up Cafe Offers Uncompromised Quality Baked In" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Business Travelers Should Seek Rodeway Inn for Best Hotel WiFi, Research Says

Rodeway Inn Wins Fastest Hotel WiFi Honors for 2019

The economically-priced hotel chain Rodeway Inn just won the title of the hotel with best WiFi in 2019. Research compiled by Highspeed Internet found Rodeway Inn possesses the fastest free WiFi speeds for guests at 7.66Mbps. This research used data from HotelWiFiTest.com to calculate average WiFi speeds for each hotel chain.

Americas Best Value Inn and Quality Inn & Suites tied for second place with average free WiFi speeds of 5.91Mbps each.

Business travelers who may have to spend a lot of time in hotels need to worry about WiFi speeds. And business owners who send team members on business travel trips worry about good connection too. They want to ensure the team remains connected for the duration of their trip. So good internet becomes imperative.

Businesses must know which hotels offer fast, free and reliable WiFi to guests. This becomes an important aspect when planning business trips. Because small business owners can’t jeopardize productivity when on the road on business.

Average Fastest Hotel WiFi for Free

Super 8 follows Rodeway Inn, Americas Best Value Inn and Quality Inn & Suites with the next fastest free average WiFi speeds at 4.87 Mbps. This makes Days Inn the fifth best hotel for offering fast WiFi to guests. Days Inn offers an average speed of 4.79 Mbps.

Fastest Average Purchased WiFi

In the absence of fast, free WiFi, business travelers will want to rely on fast and efficient purchased WiFi.

The research shows Econo Lodge offers the fastest average purchased WiFi speeds at 8.48 Mbps. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott comes in second with an average 8.34 Mbps.

Holiday Inn takes third place for fast purchase WiFi with average speeds of 8.10 Mbps. And Holiday Inn Express becomes fourth best hotel for offering guests fast purchased WiFi speeds. The chain offers speeds of 8.00 Mbps. Hilton Hotels takes fifth place with an average speed for purchased WiFi of 7.73 Mbps.

Hotels with the Slowest Average Free WiFi

When arranging important business trips, business owners and travelers should be aware of the hotels with slow speeds that could hinder the productivity and efficiency of their trips.

The hotels with the slowest average free WiFi speed are the Hampton Inn & Suites, both of which have snail pace speeds of just 1.90 Mbps. The Hilton Hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott, don’t fare much better in terms of the free WiFi they offer guests, with speeds of 2.42, 2.46 and 2.50 Mbps respectively.

Of course, the proficiency of a hotel’s WiFi speed, greatly depends on what a business traveler intends to use the WiFi for.

As Highspeed Internet notes:

“It’s the age-old question (at least in the internet age): how much speed do I need? And boy, is it a doozy to answer. How much WiFi speed you need depends on what you’re doing online — and there’s a lot of stuff to do online.”

According to High Speed Internet, browsing the web, checking emails and social media, etc. requires between 0.5 – 5 Mbps, while making a video call typically needs between 0.5 – 1.5 Mbps speeds.

Tasks like downloading large files requires a faster WiFi speed of between 5 and 50 Mbps.

Before booking accommodation for a business trip for yourself or your team, be sure to check the WiFi speeds and efficiency, to ensure business will be able to be carried out seamlessly when you’re out on the road.

Image: highspeedinternet.com

This article, "Business Travelers Should Seek Rodeway Inn for Best Hotel WiFi, Research Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



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11 of the Best WordPress Popup Plugins

“Invasive.”

“In your face.”

“Annoying.”

“Disruptive.”

These are probably some of the first words that come to mind when you think of popup forms. But popup forms don’t have to be those things.

Despite their overwhelmingly bad reputation, popups bring conversions. However, high conversion potential is not worth sacrificing user experience. Lucky for you, there's a way to leverage the high-conversion potential of popups without driving your users crazy (or worse -- driving them away.)

(Check out our comprehensive popup forms analysis to learn how to create user friendly popups that don’t suck.)

In this post, we'll take a look at some WordPress popup plugins to help you create beautiful popup boxes that will grab your visitors’ attention and increase conversions.

But before we dive into the tools, let's take a look at the features you should keep an eye out for to determine if a plugin is best for your specific needs.

What to look for in a WordPress Popup Plugin

Popup plugins offer a multitude of features -- from customization to screen display locations and built-in analytics -- but the most important features to watch out for are targeting and trigger options.

Targeting refers to where the popup will appear on your website, and who it will be shown to. Popular ways to target users with popups include page-level targeting, geolocation, device, and traffic source.

Triggers are actions that a user needs to take for the popup to appear. Popular trigger options include page entrance, scroll depth, clicks, time on page, and exit intent.

Having a few popup forms on your WordPress website could boost your lead capturing game. A quick Google search shows that there are many tools to choose from. To help you sort through the clutter and find a tool that moves the needle for your team, we'll take a look at 11 WordPress popup plugins you should consider below.

1. HubSpot WordPress Plugin

HubSpot’s plugin allows you to connect your WordPress website to your HubSpot account for a seamless integration. Any changes made to your popups in your HubSpot portal will be automatically reflected on your WordPress website, without any extra work on your part.

 

HubSpot’s popup tool is highly intuitive and easy to use. You are first prompted to select the type of popup you want (box, banner, or slide-in) and then taken to the customizer where you can edit the text, add an image and relevant form fields, and even design your own thank-you message at the end.

Every contact you capture is automatically added to your free HubSpot CRM account. You can also target users by simply typing in the URL of the page(s) you want your popup to show up on and choose whether you want it to be triggered by a 50% page scroll, exit intent, or time elapsed. And if users decide to dismiss your popup, you can choose when they will be exposed to it again.

All the features in this tool are free.

2. Ninja Popups

Ninja Popups is one of CodeCanyon’s top selling plugins. For $26, you gain access to their drag-and-drop popup builder with over 70 templates and animation effects to choose from.

And if you want more than just forms, Ninja Popups lets you create all kinds of popups, such as video displays and social sharing boxes. Its anti-adblocker technology lets you show your popups even to visitors who use ad blockers. This plugin also offers page-level targeting, and trigger options include scroll depth, time on page, exit intent, and user inactivity.

Although there is no free version, at only $26, Ninja Popups offers some of the most creative freedom for the price.

3. Elementor Popups

Design stunning popups with the popular page builder plugin Elementor and their Popup Builder feature. Elementor Popups uses the same interface as the page builder, allowing you to apply the same widgets and styling options to your popups, like buttons, countdown timers, email opt-in forms, and more. Similarly to many of the other plugins, this one offers a variety of popup forms like fly-ins and full-screen overlays.

With more than 100 beautiful templates to choose from, this popup builder lets you create WordPress specific page targeting options (categories, tags, post formats, etc.) with several triggers to choose from, such as click, time, scroll, inactivity, and exit intent.

This plugin does not come with built-in analytics or A/B split testing. And while the Elementor page builder plugin is free to use, this popup builder is only available when you purchase the pro version, which costs $49 for one website, and up to $199 for unlimited sites.

4. Sumo List Builder

Sumo is more than just a popup form builder. On top of growing your email list, this plugin also helps with your social media, link building, and site analytics. The app has a module called List Builder, which allows you to create popups. You can set you popups to show up according to traffic source or different triggers such as clicks, time on page, exit intent and scroll depth.

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 2.21.41 PM

Though this plugin comes with a free version, only one template is available in the free tier and you’ll need to upgrade to remove the Sumo branding. Premium plans start at $29/month, which puts Sumo on the more expensive side compared to other popup plugins.

5. PopUp Domination

PopUp Domination is one of the oldest popup tools out there. However, this hasn’t stopped them from making the right updates to stay competitive on the market. Its visual interface still makes it fairly easy to customize one of the 100+ pre-built templates available. This plugin lets you show your popup to different users based on time on page, user inactivity, exit intent, clicks, total time on website, and mouse hover. On top of page-level targeting, more advanced targeting options include geolocation, traffic source, and device.

PopUp Domination has an interesting pricing structure. Each tier grants you access to all the features: unlimited domains and popups, A/B testing, live chat support, and more. Instead of being charged to have access to more features, you’re charged based on the number of total views your popups get across all of your websites. If you want to use your popups on many websites that have low traffic, PopUp Domination might be a good solution. However, if you have very few sites with high traffic volumes, this may not be the best option for you.

6. OptinMonster

OptinMonster was one of the firsts to popularize the use of popup forms in the marketing space. Its drag-and-drop feature makes it highly easy to use. You can choose from a variety of pre-built templates or create your own popup from scratch. Their Canvas feature allows you to create any type of popup (not just forms!) with the use of custom HTML/CSS and WordPress shortcodes.

Small Success is another unique feature that lets you display different offers to people who have already converted on one of your popups so you won’t annoy your visitors by showing them forms they’ve already signed up for. You gain access to plenty of triggers, such as exit intent, time on page, user inactivity, clicks, as well as many advanced targeting options like new vs returning visitor, cookie, geolocation, device, adblock usage, and more.

optin-monster-2

The main drawback with this plugin is that there is no free version. Plans start at $9/month, but you will need to upgrade to a higher tier for the more advanced features like A/B testing and exit intent.

7. Icegram

If you’re looking for a more native option, Icegram lets you create popups right from the WordPress dashboard, thought its text-based interface makes it slightly less user friendly than most. Icegram’s trigger options include time on page, exit intent, user inactivity, clicks, and time delay. Targeting options include page, user retargeting, device, and geolocation.

image5-11

This plugin offers a fair amount of value for free, but to access more functionalities, you will want to upgrade. Premium plans start at $97/year.

8. Popup Maker

Popup Maker offers a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can build. In addition to opt-in forms, you can create cookie notices, video lightboxes, notification boxes, etc.

A big draw of this plugin is its WooCommerce integration, which lets you target users based on their shopping cart items, purchase data, and more. However, this plugin’s lack of a visual editor makes it less friendly to use.

image10-7

You can use Popup Maker for free, but for more functionality, individual extensions can be purchased starting at $35 each, or get the full extension bundle for $16/month.

9. Bloom Email Opt-Ins

Provided to you by the devs at Elegant Themes (authors of the popular Divi theme), Bloom comes with over 100 templates to customize and lets you create a variety of forms on top of popups, including widgets, inline boxes, and optin lockers which you can use for gated content. Along with basic page targeting, this plugin contains unique trigger options -- for example, make a popup appear after a user has left a comment on your page or after a user has made a purchase.

Despite its high-quality templates and beautiful dashboard, Bloom lacks a lot of the advanced features other plugins offer like an exit intent trigger option, and it doesn't have a visual customizer.

Because this plugin comes from Elegant Theme, you can only access it by purchasing an Elegant Theme subscription, which costs $89/year or $249 for lifetime support and updates. This subscription also gives you access to 87 premium themes and 2 other plugins. But if all you’re looking for is a popup plugin, this may not be worth the investment.

10. Popups

Popups offers WordPress specific targeting options, using AND/OR rules and criteria such as page, referrer, user activity and logged-in status, and device. Trigger options include timing, scroll depth, exit intent, and specific page elements. Popups is also compatible with many form plugins, but those integrations need to be configured using AJAX.

image9-4

This plugin starts free, but for more functionality, you can purchase a single-site license for $39.

11. Popup Builder

Popup Builder lets you insert any type of content into your popups and create custom animation effects. It offers features like automatic closing, user retargeting, and time delay triggers, as well as integrations with email service providers MailChimp and AWeber.

While this plugin can be used for free, just like Popup Maker, you will need to purchase extensions for additional functionality. Individual extension prices vary between $5 and $15, but you can get the full bundle starting at $49/month.

Choose whichever plugin fits your needs the best.

There are endless options when it comes to WordPress popup tools.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to collect user information and convert leads, check out HubSpot's free form popup WordPress plugin. Installing the plugin will automatically connect your demand capture tools to the free HubSpot CRM so you can easily create follow-up emails for people who have filled out your form, track their activity on your site, and manage your leads all in one place.



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