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© Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 1 |
The Ultimate Guide To:
USING WATERING HOLES
TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR
INBOUND MARKETING
Wh...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 1 |
FOREWARD
In today’s omni-channel world, it’s harder to find new customers in traditi...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 2 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 3 |
WHAT ARE WATERING HOLES?
Watering holes are the...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 4 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 5 |
WHAT’S AN EXAMPLE IN PRACTICE?
Let’s imagine a ...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 6 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 7 |
TOP 10 WATERING HOLE EXAMPLES
Just some of the ...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 8 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 9 |
(6) Content Curation
YouTube is a classic examp...
© Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 10 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 11 |
Southport:
Design Studio 28-30 Hall Street So...
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Ultimate Guide to Using Watering Holes to Supercharge Your Inbound Marketing

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What Marketing Watering Holes Are, Why You Should Use Them & How To Use Watering Holes To Pull Customers Into You.

This is world's first comprehensive guide on watering hole marketing, free and exclusive from Superfluity.co.uk.

Social. Digital. Automation.

Excerpt:

Foreward

In today’s omni-channel world, it’s harder to find new customers in traditional ways than ever before. Buyer behaviour has forever changed and the multi-channel, multi-device way your customers now consume information means that, more often than not, your customers will
want to find you. In the post-Google landscape, 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even contacts a vendor. The balance of power has shifted to the customer.

If you’re not using already content marketing and marketing automation to supercharge your inbound marketing capabilities, and if you’re not integrating and harmonising your presence across everything social and digital - including “watering holes” - then, when your customers
are out looking for solutions to their problems, what chance do you really think you’ve got of doing business with them?

You can’t please all the people all the time so no matter how strong your brand, no matter how sparkling your digital strategy and no matter how incredible your proposition may be; many people will still have never heard of you. Many more may have heard of you but will have chosen to ignore your emails, not visit your website or not engage with you on social media.

It’s acutely frustrating when you know someone you’re reaching out to would benefit from dialogue yet they don’t respond to your overtures. Why is it that you can send people fabulous engagement-led content and collateral only to find they don’t bother to read it? Are you connecting with them in a way/channel that’s right for them? Are you using contemporary content? Maybe it’s just that moment in time (because who’s to say whether the 10th piece of content you send finally gets their attention)? Have you just not yet earned their attention because you’re not speaking with them - and telegraphing your content - in an environment
which they feel comfortable in?

To illicit true inbound marketing - and to ensure complete coverage and value for money with all your content marketing - sometimes you have to go the extra mile and ‘take the action’ to them.

Strategically placing relevant, carefully crafted content into hand-picked watering holes is proven to reach the parts other marketing doesn’t because some people just can’t be reached any other way. We do hope this guide helps you add watering holes to your digital and social strategy.

Dylan Pemberton
CEO & Co-Founder
Superfluity

www.superfluity.co.uk
@SuperfluityUK

Get even more in the full guide including:

- What are watering holes?
- Why should you use them?
- Examples in practice
- Watering hole do's & don'ts
- Top 10 watering hole examples
- How you should compile your list

Published in: Marketing, Business, Technology
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Ultimate Guide to Using Watering Holes to Supercharge Your Inbound Marketing

  1. 1. © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 1 | The Ultimate Guide To: USING WATERING HOLES TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR INBOUND MARKETING What They Are, Why You Should Use Them & How To Use Watering Holes To Pull Customers Into You
  2. 2. © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 1 | FOREWARD In today’s omni-channel world, it’s harder to find new customers in traditional ways than ever before. Buyer behaviour has forever changed and the multi-channel, multi-device way your customers now consume information means that, more often than not, your customers will want to find you. In the post-Google landscape, 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even contacts a vendor1 . The balance of power has shifted to the customer. If you’re not using already content marketing and marketing automation to supercharge your inbound marketing capabilities, and if you’re not integrating and harmonising your presence across everything social and digital - including “watering holes” - then, when your customers are out looking for solutions to their problems, what chance do you really think you’ve got of doing business with them? You can’t please all the people all the time so no matter how strong your brand, no matter how sparkling your digital strategy and no matter how incredible your proposition may be; many people will still have never heard of you. Many more may have heard of you but will have chosen to ignore your emails, not visit your website or not engage with you on social media. It’s acutely frustrating when you know someone you’re reaching out to would benefit from dialogue yet they don’t respond to your overtures. Why is it that you can send people fabulous engagement-led content and collateral only to find they don’t bother to read it? Are you connecting with them in a way/channel that’s right for them? Are you using contemporary content? Maybe it’s just that moment in time (because who’s to say whether the 10th piece of content you send finally gets their attention)? Have you just not yet earned their attention because you’re not speaking with them - and telegraphing your content - in an environment which they feel comfortable in? To illicit true inbound marketing - and to ensure complete coverage and value for money with all your content marketing - sometimes you have to go the extra mile and ‘take the action’ to them. “To illicit true inbound marketing sometimes you have to go the extra mile & take the action to customers” Share this on Twitter Strategically placing relevant, carefully crafted content into hand-picked watering holes is proven to reach the parts other marketing doesn’t because some people just can’t be reached any other way. We do hope this guide helps you add watering holes to your digital and social strategy. Dylan Pemberton CEO & Co-Founder, Superfluity 1 CEB
  3. 3. © Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 2 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 3 | WHAT ARE WATERING HOLES? Watering holes are the places where your customers gather. Like content syndication, watering hole marketing is about posting relevant content on third-party websites for prospects to discover themselves when they are gathering/consuming information. This encourages inbound marketing because, when you get found by new prospects, they feel like they’ve found you. It’s not a replacement for how you are currently distributing your content - it’s just a value-added, enhanced approach. Imagine it like this - you’re a big game hunter who wants to bag yourself a zebra (not that we condone zebra hunting). You could stay where you are, rifle at the ready, and wait for a zebra to just amble up to you. You could even try attracting one by imitating a mating call or leaving a trail of food. Chances are though, unless you already live in the African savannah, you will probably have a very long wait before one comes to you... So where do you go? Well, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain. You physically need go to where the zebra are and travel to the ‘watering holes’ where they go to drink and socialise with other zebras. There’s a very good chance that if you go where they gather and feel comfortable then you’ll get your shot at one - once it picks up the attractive scent and bait you’ve left that is. The more ‘zebra specific’ the watering hole, the better your bait and the better the hunter you are then the more likely it is that you’ll soon have a nice new zebra rug to show off to your friends. Watering holes are a small yet important part of our own “Mission Control” approach to content marketing and marketing automation. We use them as yet another way of helping align, integrate and harmonise search, blogs, social media and other digital techniques for our customers because we always position our clients websites as hubs that are fully ‘inbound marketing enabled’. We’re evangelistic about the power of watering holes because, if done well, you can turn your own website and social outlets into watering holes in their own right. “If done well, you can turn your own website and social outlets into watering holes in their own right” Share this on Twitter WHY SHOULD I USE THEM? Continuing the analogy from the previous page, the zebra may have never come to you if you hadn’t travelled to their favourite watering hole. The same is true for your potential customers. On top of everything else you do across social and digital - from SEO to email - you also have to go where your customers are if you really want to be absolutely all over your marketplace. By frequenting your prospects watering holes, by strategically placing tactical content there and by engaging with your audience in an environment where they feel comfortable then these otherwise timid (and previously invisible) creatures will soon become your new customers. The only alternative way of reaching them involves shouting at them with scattergun style interruption marketing. That ‘old media’ approach is however deader than the zebra you just shot. Companies that do outbound marketing are like lions wandering the jungle hunting for elephants, while companies that do inbound marketing are like lions that cleverly wait by the watering hole where all the elephants come to drink Nadia Romeo President iMarket Solutions “ ” It’s likely that some of your prospects are at the Twitter watering hole, some are at the Facebook watering hole, and some are at the LinkedIn watering hole. Don’t just pick one watering hole or you’ll miss a lot of potential customers Brian Halligan CEO Hubspot The key to building a watering hole is creating a constant stream of fresh content that seduces search engine spiders, lures qualified visitors, and encourages repeat visits, all while reinforcing your image as a credible expert Jonathan Kranz Business Author ““ ” ”
  4. 4. © Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 4 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 5 | WHAT’S AN EXAMPLE IN PRACTICE? Let’s imagine a Managed Hosting provider has crafted an incredible Top 10 Tips guide on how to mitigate risk when moving to the cloud. They have carefully researched their content, they have spent the time designing it and have built all the A/B tested emails, social shares, shrinkwrap messaging, trackable landing pages, bespoke URL’s and dynamic forms to host and deploy it. They then distribute it via email and across all their social media outlets. Better still, the SEO benefits of the content kick in and it organically draws in new prospects to their website. Their automated lead nurturing programmes then go into action using the behavioural and demographic lead scoring that they had built into their automation platform. They may appear to be all over their content marketing and automation but it’s almost criminal to not also flex that content outside of more linear distribution channels by taking the time to place it in hand-picked watering holes. For example, the content could be placed in the context of a comment on an online magazine blog or it could just as well be encapsulated within a well thought out post within an online forum. They have a couple of choices at this point: They can choose to ‘gate’ the content (i.e. place the content behind a dynamic web form) so that they can capture the details of the otherwise unknown/anonymous people who try to access it (and then pull them into a lead nurturing or drip marketing programme thereafter) Alternatively, if they’ve already had the content gated across their other distribution channels for a while then they may wish to ‘unleash’ an un-gated version of the content as it approaches the end of its shelf-life. While they may not get form submits, they will, with the right narrative and links, attract new visitors to their website2 2 With the right mechanisms in place, anonymous visitors may still go on to register their details elsewhere on the website or be picked up by other lead tracking and forensic tools. Either way, anonymous visitors can still, over time, be turned into ‘known’ visitors. They can also be pulled into social media engagement and identified that way. 1 2 “It’s almost criminal to not also flex content outside of more linear distribution channels by taking the time to place it in hand-picked watering holes” Share this on Twitter WATERING HOLE DO’S AND DON’TS Do remember that building a list of watering holes is a journey, not a destination. Constantly add to your list and refine it - treat it like a living, breathing thing Don’t necessarily expect short-term gains - instead recognise the medium to long term benefits of watering holes. The floodgates may not open overnight like more classic outbound distribution programmes because what you are actually doing is dropping breadcrumbs for the future. Build it though and they will likely come Do create a list of different watering holes for different buyer personas. Try to build your list parallel to building your buyer personas (or with your buyer personas in mind if you’ve already built them). We’ve given you some ideas for this later in the document Do ask your customers to tell you where they go online to identify solutions to their problems and/or to interact with their peers who may be facing similar challenges Do be judicious about what content you distribute in any given watering hole. Content has to be of the right composition, complexion and context for that location. A link to a 30 page eBook may not be right to promote in a watering hole if the audience there is consuming graphical and video based information (so an infographic would be ideal) Do always check any ‘comment policy’ on your watering holes - and always abide by the rules listed Do be sure to always use bespoke and SEO friendly links that are unique to that individual watering hole when you are placing and cultivating your content. Then sit back and see where your traffic comes from - and identify which watering holes are giving you traction Do make sure that what you’re positioning is in complete context and harmony with the watering hole because you don’t want to be seen as spamming or unfairly hijacking someone else’s conversation. Keep front of your mind that what you are placing must be relevant to the conversation and should help and/or educate the audience reading it. Don’t ever try and hide marketing content as content marketing Do try to syndicate virtually every piece of content that you create across social media and your other watering holes. Do get into the habit of adding ‘forward-to-a-friend’ and social-share buttons on every single piece of content you create - even if the content is just an email - so that others can place your content in watering holes for you
  5. 5. © Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 6 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 7 | TOP 10 WATERING HOLE EXAMPLES Just some of the examples of watering hole types that you may wish to consider can be found below (which are listed in no particular order). In this area, quality should always trump quantity. Over time, you can gradually refine your list of watering holes - especially as you start to learn which ones are paying off, which new ones have appeared and which ones you had previously missed. (1) Social Media You’ll surely be on the case with promoting your content across your own social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube etc. but please consider also whether there are any other third- party locations you could also be positioning your content in. For example, while you might post content on your own Facebook page, are there any other external Facebook pages and conversations you could also leverage? Now that you’re using content marketing, are there any other social media outlets (like Pinterest or Flickr) that you’d previously thought werenot relevant? Should you now be gaining a foothold by using them? (2) Groups There are plenty of online groups with LinkedIn being a good b2b example and Google Groups covering virtually every sector and subject imaginable including b2c. Remember - you can use groups to either post your content within new (relevant) threads or you can just reply to an existing one - whatever is most appropriate. Networking focussed groups tend to work really well. (3) Forums From local small business forums to international consumer groups there are countless forums online. The trick is identifying the ones that complement your content and business. The tactics used are similar to groups - you either create new threads or respond with a post to an existing one. Given the sheer range of choice, think carefully when you’re choosing forums to add to your list of watering holes. If the forum only has 40 members, is it worth the effort? Do your buyer personas really come here? Forums (and groups) often provide useful facilities that you should try and take advantage of (e.g. creating a profile which you can brand, emailing you post replies, allowing you to easily post links and code). (4) Comments Sections Whether it’s a blog, an online magazine, a news piece, an article or even a piece of content that someone else has placed; these days most digital outlets offer you the facility to leave a comment. You might have to sign-in us- ing something like a Disqus profile (who power over 20 million comments posted every day across 3 million websites) but this is by far one of the best watering hole methods that we have pioneered. Just be sure that your comments and content are relevant to the article, blog etc. that you are flexing (and and be sure to double-check the posting guidelines). (5) Guest Blogs Guest blogging is a well known (and often criticised) SEO tactic and is also a natural fit when it comes to using watering holes for content marketing. The objectives of guest blogging are usually to (a) help position yourself as a thought-leader, (b) drive web traffic and (c) build back- links but you’ll find that with the right type of content placed in the right blogs (blogs with the right audience complexion and size) then it’s possible to achieve all three. Finding guest blogs to submit content to is also easy. Just type “write guest blog” into Google and you’ll be amazed at the choice available. We find a good trick for identifying them is to simply combine a Google search with keywords relevant to your business e.g. “Write Managed Hosting Guest Blog”. When you’re compiling your list of guest blog opportunities for watering holes, do be sure to assess them carefully (you don’t want to be wasting your time and effort writing a blog if the audience is tiny or not relevant to your business). Ask yourself: • How big is the blogs audience? Is it well promoted across social media? • Is the blogs audience interested in you and/or your industry/product/service? • What type of blogs are there already? Are they highly technical deep dive tutorials aimed at an advanced audience or are they generalist posts aimed at intermediates? • Is the blog engaging? Are posts getting social shares? Are there plenty of comments? • Will you have to pitch your idea to the blog owner? If so, are they likely to accept?
  6. 6. © Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 8 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 9 | (6) Content Curation YouTube is a classic example of a content curation website and there are scores of other content curators like CurationSoft, ContentGems, Bundlr etc. Using content curation sites as watering holes means you’ll be using similar tactics to those described in the comments section on the previous page i.e. that you’ll be placing links to your content within posts on relevant videos, slides, document downloads etc. found on those content curation sites. (7) Events There are all sorts of conferences, events, webinars and exhibitions being promoted that are relevant to you and your business. Many of them will have interactive elements which can be used to intelligently showcase your content in a unique and in-context way e.g. ‘here’s our buyers guide for getting the most out of your visit to the exhibition’. (8) Directories In very limited circumstances, directory listings can potentially be used as watering holes. There are a raft of online directories out there and many of them allow you to add and upload information (or at least links) as part of your profile so simply match specific types of directories with a listing and then add your content. (9) Review Portals You can use the review section of an online store, a comparison site or even dedicated review websites (like G2Crowd, Serchen, Trusted Reviews, Ciao, TripAdvisor) as watering holes in which you can place well devised content. Just be really sure that if you are tactically reviewing a product or a brand that what you say is 100% relevant to the review. (10) Peer Networks Your customers, partners (and don’t tell anyone we told you this but even many of your competitors) will likely have interactive elements built into their own websites (such as blogs) which you can harness as niche watering holes when you are distributing your content. This type of watering hole is the one for which you’ll have to exercise the most prudence with. Using your peer network to get your content out can pay huge dividends but our advice is to always ask your peers permission first (and, even better, get them to post the content for you). HOW SHOULD I COMPILE MY LIST? How you compile your list of watering holes doesn’t have to be complicated - an Excel spreadsheet should be sufficient. There’s no need for you to be comprehensive from the get-go either; just get your format right, build your base list and then, over time, add to it and refine it. For best practice, scalability and ease of use we recommend that you look to gather/enter the following information/fields for each individual watering hole as a minimum so that you can filter and select the right sites when you’re looking to go and place content ‘out in the wild’: The url of the watering hole You will need to capture the actual website address (so you can click straight to it) Watering hole name You should assign a name to the watering hole e.g. the name of the group or the online magazine Watering hole category You should create a list of watering hole categories (for this you could use the Top 10 Watering Hole Examples we gave you earlier e.g. Group, Forum, Guest Blog, Review Portal) and then assign the most relevant category to each watering hole Persona type If you use persona marketing (and you should) then you should list which persona(s) are likely to be found at this watering hole. If you don’t use personas then you should at least identify a way of classifying the audience using basic demographics e.g. “Construction Industry”, “Marketing Orientated”, “Sales Orientated”, “Females”, “Low Income”, “b2b” etc. Notes You should add brief notes about the watering hole (e.g. 200 character limit, moderator approval, USA focussed, registration/profile required, visual content only etc.) Taking the time to capture and compile all this information for each watering hole allows you to then look at your list in the context of any given piece of content. You can then efficiently filter it down to the right group of watering holes for any given piece of content. Remember though; if you’re sending content to all your watering holes then either you haven’t got enough of them or you’re not doing it right. It is unusual for any single piece of content to have four quadrant appeal. “If you’re sending content to every watering hole then you’re not doing it right - it’s unusual for content to have 4 quadrant appeal” Share this on Twitter
  7. 7. © Copyright Superfluity 2014| Page 10 © Copyright Superfluity 2014 Page 11 | Southport: Design Studio 28-30 Hall Street Southport PR9 OSE Manchester: Universal Square Devonshire Street North, Manchester M12 6JH www.superfluity.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1704 807 172 Copyright Superfluity 2014 Social. Digital. Automation. WHO ARE SUPERFLUITY? Superfluity is the UK’s newest, fastest growing and most cost-effective provider of omni-channel, outsourced solutions across content marketing, inbound marketing and marketing automation. We connect buyers with sellers by integrating, harmonising, and unleashing the full spectrum of social and digital channels, typically using marketing automation technology, techniques and processes and all via our unique Mission Control solution. Virtually all of our activity incorporates state- of-the-art content marketing, social and digital strategy, personas and inbound marketing to drive multi-channel demand generation, lead nurturing, drip marketing, lead generation and customer relationship marketing programmes that together deliver extraordinary results, measurable value and competitive edge. As cloud marketing specialists with more implementations of marketing automation across our highly skilled team than any other provider in the UK, Superfluity offers a boutique and highly agile service that fully delivers on all the proven benefits of content marketing, inbound marketing and marketing automation and all for an incredibly competitive and transparent price. We’d love to tell you more about how we use watering holes for our clients in conjunction with all the other contemporary techniques, tools, technologies and best practices that we flex for our clients. We’d also love to tell you more about the unique things we’re doing across social, digital and automation and can promise that with Superfluity there’s never any hard sell - just an honest commercial discussion with straight talking people who are passionate about marketing automation, content marketing and everything digital and social. Just click here to book a friendly Discovery Call with the team at a time and date that’s convenient to you. “Superfluity is the UK’s newest, fastest growing and most cost-effective provider of omni-channel, outsourced solutions across content marketing, inbound marketing and marketing automation” Share this on Twitter

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