Category Archives: Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Isn’t Enough

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The 7 Business Goals of Content Marketing: Inbound Marketing Isn’t Enough

I’m tired… tired of a large amount of destructive posts about content marketing that are completely and utterly false.

Posts in particular, as penned by Hubspot, are clearly written by individuals (no offense here) who do not understand what content marketing really. I’m not sure why Hubspot is targeting the term content marketing and misleading its customers in such a way. Do they want to misinform marketing professionals? That is something I cannot live with.

What is inbound marketing?

When the term “inbound marketing” first started to get traction, I thought it was pretty much the same as content marketing. I was wrong.Inbound marketing is a critical component of the new rules of marketing. Creating compelling and valuable content and distributing that content through a variety of online channels, as well as getting active in online communities, are essential for all companies today.

That said, if you only focus on inbound marketing, you will fail as a marketing professional.

Why you need a content marketing mindset

Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism. Content marketing, unlike inbound marketing, has been around for hundreds of years,

While inbound marketing (as opposed to outbound marketing) and getting found online by prospects are critical, what do you do with your story once they find you? If content marketing were a football field, inbound marketing would get you to the 35-yard line. Definitely critical, but hard to score from that distance.

After inbound marketing, you may need some lead nurturing. Once the lead is nurtured and becomes a customer at some point, you need customer service content. What if you want to upsell or cross-sell to the customer? Well, that’s a whole set of different content. What if your goal is customer retention and loyalty? Well, that’s another content strategy as well. Lots of valuable content spread out around the web will help you reach a few of your content marketing goals, but not all of them.

Content marketing must include strategic planning, content creation, distribution, and metrics for multiple stages of the buying cycle to multiple customer personas. In my view, that means a complete content marketing strategy would incorporate inbound marketing principles, but it would also take a more holistic approach to meeting a business’s overall marketing goals.

Uh, print?

Even more importantly, content marketing is channel-agnostic. That means that content marketers should be looking at ALL available channels to engage with customers… print, in-person, and online (including mobile). The outstanding Ritz-Carlton magazine, placed in hotel rooms, does not have anything to do with being found; neither does the amazing LEGO Club magazine, which has been produced in print for over 30 years.

The business goals of content marketing

With content marketing, there are a number of overall business goals you could have:

Brand awareness or reinforcement
This is almost always the first thing that is thought of when you look at content marketing. The goal may be that you are just trying to find a more effective way than advertising to create awareness for your product or service. This is the long-tail strategy. Content marketing is a great vehicle for that, as it’s organic, authentic, and a great way for you to start driving engagement with your brand. Content marketing and inbound marketing overlap in this area.

Lead conversion and nurturing 
The most basic part of inbound marketing is the conversion metric. How you define a lead will vary — but from a content marketing perspective, this is where you have (through the exchange of engaging content) encouraged someone to give up enough information about themselves that you now have permission to “market” to them. This can include signing up for a “demo”, registering for an event, subscribing to your e-newsletter, or gaining access to your Resource Center. Once you have the prospect’s permission, you can use content to help move them through the buying cycle.

Customer conversion 
In many cases, you already have a ton of content in this area. This is where, as marketers, we have traditionally focused — the “proof points” to the sale. Examples include case studies you send to your prospects that illustrate how you’ve solved the problem before — or the “testimonials” section on your client page. Ultimately, this is the content you’ve created as a marketer to illustrate to the hot prospect why your solution is better or will uniquely meet his or her needs.

Customer service
This is where content marketing can really earn its “subscribe” stripes. How well are you using content to create value or reinforce the customer’s decision AFTER the sale? This goes well beyond the user manual, the documented process for success, and the FAQ on your website. These are the best practices for how to use your product or service. How can customers get the MOST out of your product or service? What are the successful, innovative ways that you’ve seen your product or service get extended into other solutions?

Customer loyalty/retention
Just like you have a planned lead nurturing process to turn prospects into customers, you also need a planned customer retention strategy. If your ultimate goal is to turn customers into passionate subscribers who share your stories, this area needs major attention. Options may be a customer e-newsletter or printed newsletter, a print or tablet magazine, or possibly a user event or webinar series.

Customer upsell
Marketing doesn’t stop at the “checkout” button any longer. If you’re particularly good at using content to service the customer in a subscriber model, you also have the opportunity to be effective at creating ongoing engagement for the other products and services you offer. Why stop communicating with prospects once they become customers? Instead, communicate with them more frequently and engage them with additional value. Customer upseller and customer retention goals can work hand-in-hand.

Passionate subscribers
If you can successfully move customers to this stage, you have really accomplished something. Content — and especially content generated by satisfied customers — can be one of the most powerful ways for us to reach any business goal. This is when content marketing starts to work for you exponentially. Apple Computer is the quintessential example of this. Ask yourself what their content marketing strategy is. They have no social media presence. They have no blog. But they have successfully built their passionate subscriber base — and these people create fan sites, write, share, and evangelize the Apple brand. Your ultimate goal should be to create a community of evangelists who are prepared to fight for your brand.

So which of these goals makes sense for your content marketing? Maybe it’s only an inbound marketing initiative and you’re just trying to help drive more leads into the sales and marketing process. Maybe you’re trying to create a program that increases awareness, drives down the cost of organic traffic to your website, and increases your position with search engines. Maybe you are working to improve your customer retention rate. Take a moment now to get your mental juices flowing.

What do you want to accomplish with content marketing?

One last message from the soapbox

I’ve seen way too many presentations and read way too many articles from “gurus” touting that all marketing resources should switch to inbound marketing. Or even content marketing for that matter? For some small businesses, this could be the case. But for smart, growing businesses, we should be leveraging content marketing throughout all our marketing initiatives — even (gasp) traditional marketing and advertising.

Yes, traditional marketing doesn’t work the way it used to because the consumer is in complete control. If they don’t want to pay attention, they won’t. Telling interesting stories is a much better way to get attention. But in many circumstances, traditional marketing, and advertising can work The point is, there is no black and white in marketing; it’s all gray.  There are no silver bullets. Marketing objectives sometimes need to be solved with a combination of efforts, not by putting all your eggs in one basket.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

MarketHive

About Inbound Marketing

3 Myths About Inbound Marketing

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Inbound marketing is widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of marketing.

Inbound marketing is widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of marketing. The term first emerged as a buzzword in the midst of the online marketing frenzy, as marketers started to realize fully the value of the digital world in attracting leads, nurturing prospects, and even generating conversions without the hard-core sales methodologies of the past.

While some may believe that inbound marketing is just another one of those passing Internet fads, it’s anything but. The concepts, methods, and best practices that comprise the core of inbound marketing aren’t going anywhere as long as there’s a need for marketers to reach prospects and buyers at critical junctions and touch points throughout the buying journey to influence decision making.

Consider the fact that consumers are increasingly tuning out traditional advertisements and the importance of inbound marketing–in which marketers engage consumers with relevant, intriguing information that educates or entertains, earning their interest instead of buying it–and the importance of inbound marketing becomes pretty clear. In fact, 84% of 25- to 34-year-olds bounce from websites when they encounter an intrusive or irrelevant advertisement, and 86% of people skip over television ads, according to an infographic by Voltier Digital.

Despite the growing importance of inbound marketing, there continue to be myths permeating the industry about what inbound marketing is, its effectiveness, and how it works. Let’s examine three of the most prominent myths about inbound marketing.

1. Inbound marketing is free.

While it’s true that inbound marketing can be more affordable than outbound marketing, it’s not entirely free. You won’t be paying for advertisements, but you’ll still need to pay professionals to produce top-quality content, manage your social media presence, organize and host webinars, design compelling infographics, research white papers, and the like.

You’ll also need to invest in tools such as inbound marketing automation software, CRM systems, and other tools of the trade that increase marketing productivity. In fact, Raka points out that “companies that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads,” and companies that automate lead management processes “see a 10 percent or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.”

“Yes, there’s an investment required to do inbound marketing. But if done well, brands will see a return on that investment that can last for a long time. Unlike outbound marketing, where a paid advertisement lives only for a short period of time, inbound marketing has a longer shelf life. It’s an investment that provides much higher returns over the long term,” said Navin Nagiah, President, and CEO of DNN Software. Inbound marketing is a complex function that encompasses multiple marketing channels and strategies, from SEO to content marketing, social media, and more; arming yourself with the talent and tools to get the job done is half the battle.

2. Quantity trumps quality.

In the early days of SEO, it was possible to produce an abundance of (let’s be honest–crappy) articles stuffed with target keywords and rank for your desired terms in the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Those days are long gone, yet the notion that quantity is more critical to success than quality still permeates the inbound marketing industry.

Of course, inbound marketing is more than just content marketing, and it’s more than just SEO. But the belief that the best way to realize inbound marketing success is to do simply “more” of it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today’s consumers are savvy. It doesn’t matter whether your business is B2B or B2C; your audience knows when you’re putting out a poor-quality content or posting updates on social media for the sake of creating “more.” Your audience wants quality; they want something valuable that engages, educates, and entertains–something that’s so good that it compels them to share or hand over their email address just to get the rest.

It’s like the, “If you build it, they will come,” mentality common in the early days of the web. You simply can’t skimp on quality in inbound marketing; you have to bring your audience to you and to do that you must stand out from the hundreds of other companies attempting to engage the same target market. Whether you’re designing graphics, creating slide decks, or writing industry reports, cutting corners is the surest way to alienate your audience.

3. You can’t measure the ROI of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is one alternative to the traditional outbound advertising methods such as billboards or radio advertising. Interestingly, one of the common beliefs about inbound marketing is that it’s not measurable, yet it’s really radio, billboards, and similar traditional advertising methods that make proving ROI a challenge.

In the early days of digital marketing, we didn’t have the advantage of Big Data, but today practically any action you take online is measurable. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, you can determine how many visitors arrived on your landing page and then converted to leads or paying customers. You can determine how many attendees participated in a webinar, how many users engaged with a Twitter chat, how many Facebook users watched a video, and even how many recipients clicked on a particular link in an email marketing message.

Everything is measurable, and that means ROI is easy to prove although the factors that one business uses to determine ROI may differ from the equation relied on by another. That’s why it’s critical to determine your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) before launching a campaign and identify the metrics used to evaluate performance.

Inbound marketing isn’t free, but it can be incredibly effective for both B2B and B2C companies. However, if you’re prioritizing quantity over quality or you’re not measuring ROI, you’re doing it wrong. Focusing on quality coupled with clearly defined goals and performance metrics, along with the tools to measure results, is the surest path to inbound marketing success.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

MarketHive

Is Inbound Marketing a Waste Of Time and Money?

Need to figure out whether inbound marketing fits in your marketing mix?
Here’s some inbound marketing advice for small businesses.

Inbound marketing is a term coined and evangelized by the founders of HubSpot (a company that develops and markets inbound marketing software) that refers to a strategic use of content in lead generation and sales.

The concept is simple — businesses should use blogs, video, podcasts, guides, ebooks and other types of content to attract new customers. Proponents of inbound marketing claim that this is an easier, cheaper, and more effective way of getting business.

Inbound marketing is usually contrasted with outbound marketing or traditional marketing that consists of buying TV and radio advertising, direct mail campaigns, and other forms of offline marketing. Traditional marketing is seen by inbound marketers as expensive, ineffective and difficult  to measure.

Today inbound marketing has become ubiquitous and many small businesses are allocating more and more of their marketing budgets towards inbound marketing initiatives.

Are there better ways to spend your hard-earned small business marketing dollars?

Inbound Marketing Advice for Small Business

While content marketing shouldn’t be neglected it should take a backseat to a number of strategic business  and marketing strategies and methods.

Focusing on customer experience, referral marketing, increasing brand awareness would all be better choices for spending marketing dollars for most small businesses.

Why?

Because those strategies executed at the same level of competence simply produce a better return on investment in most markets.

There Is Only One Gary Vaynerchuk

Some inbound marketing aficionados will point out that doing content marketing right will propel you to stardom. Gary Vaynerchuk did it — so can you.

This is the first misconception. Practically all small businesses will miss the mark on creating remarkable content and in the process they will waste valuable time and money.

Most small businesses are simply not capable of creating content that will make anyone think twice about sharing it.

At the end of the day — how many wine bloggers do you know?

Inbound Marketing Is Not Free

Producing content, tweeting, blogging and running inbound marketing campaigns costs money or time. Let’s not forget the training costs, opportunity costs and the cost of tools.

Inbound marketing tools are relatively expensive.

Yearly costs of using the market leading inbound marketing platform like Hubspot for a somewhat established business start at more than $12,000 per year. However, this platform is powerful and its list of features includes everything from keyword suggestions and social media monitoring to landing page creation tools and email lead nurturing.

But it creates no content.

Great content can make a big impact on your bottom line, but this can come at a substantial cost. Creating comprehensive guides, impactful infographics, producing video and other types of remarkable content can cost thousands of dollars.

If you are like most small business owners content creation is not among your core competencies, and as a result you might find yourself in a situation where you are investing a lot of resources without acceptable returns.

Sometimes Inbound Marketing Is A Waste Of Resources

Content should always be a part of your marketing strategy. However, there are markets where serious investments in content marketing make no sense. Local niche markets like office cleaning, civil engineering or corporate catering are simply not compatible with inbound marketing.

Understanding how your market behaves online and online can save you a fortune.

Customer Experience (Not-Content) Is The One True King

Zappos didn’t become a billion dollar company because they were producing great content about shoes. They became a billion dollar company because they delivered amazing customer experience, and customers couldn’t resist telling their friends.

And what did Zappos use as the primary tool to amaze their customers? Telephone.

Instead of trying to minimize the number of calls they get (much like every other eCommerce business)  Zappos embraced every phone call as an opportunity to create a personal connection with their customers.  Zappos created an army of rabid fans, sales went through the roof, and they got acquired by Amazon for 1.2 billion dollars.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to provide a customer experience that beats expectations for your industry. Finding low-cost ways to personalize, accelerate or personalize your customer experience will go a long way towards increased loyalty and improved profits.

A simple way to improve customer experience design would be to talk to your customers regularly about their experience with your business, identify “pain points” and eliminate those systematically.

Your website can be a useful tool for improving customer experience. This is where content comes into play. You can engineer your content to enhance customer experience just by interviewing your customers. This may result in higher conversion rates and lower customer acquisition costs.

Remember That You Customers Are Assets

Inbound marketing philosophy is centered around acquiring new customers using some content. If fully adopted as a sole marketing strategy it would limit the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Small businesses would benefit more by adopting a broader, more strategic approach to marketing that revolves around relationship building, customer experience, and integration of offline and online channels.

Before you make a heavy investment into inbound marketing make sure that:

  • Your customer experience defies industry expectations
  • You measure all important business and marketing metrics.
  • You have a way of communicating with you customers long after they made their last purchase.
  •  Your referral strategy is effective and results are predictable.
  • Your partnerships with complementary businesses produce results.
  • You developed a customer centric culture obsessed by delivering value to customers

Should I Abandon Inbound Marketing?

No.

Inbound marketing should be aligned with your overall marketing strategy as a major part of your online marketing. Content that’s useful to your targeted market can introduce new prospects to your brand but it can also help validate your company in the selection process. Great content can also help reshapes someone’s buying criteria, and compel them to pick up the phone and call you.

But heed this inbound marketing advice for small business: most small businesses can make a greater impact on their bottom lines focusing on other aspects of their marketing strategy before making a serious commitment to inbound marketing.

 

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Inbound Marketing

Turn strangers into customers, and then promoters of your business.

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing works by attracting potential customers to your company website. Once they arrive, inbound tools are deployed to convert those qualified visitors into leads, and ultimately customers who will promote your brand.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Traditional outbound marketing, such as TV or radio advertising, can be an annoyance to potential customers. It’s also famously inefficient. Inbound is the antidote, because with inbound your ideal customers come to you, on their own time and by their own will. That makes for happy customers.

Step-by-step Guide to Inbound

Attract-Phase-Inbound-StrategyAttract

You don’t just want any old traffic to your website, you want the right traffic. You want potential customers who have a passion for the area you operate in. To identify these people we create buyer personas, being holistic, semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. Your buyer personas are the identities around whom your entire business is built. Here’s how we use inbound marketing to attract them.

  • Blog posts tailored to answer the questions are buyer personas are asking online.

  • Website pages optimized to attract buyer personas and convert them into leads.

  • Social media posts designed to develop your brand voice and drive traffic to your best content.

Convert

It’s not enough to just draw a new visitor to your site. The important part is to convert that visitor into a sales lead, by collecting their details through a form. To make that happen, you’ll need an enticing offer in the form of value-added content, which appeals directly to your buyer persona. Here’s how the conversion stage plays out.

  • A new visitor lands on your website, where they are greeted by a Call-to-Action button (see foot of the page) that promotes a value-added content offer. This might be in the form of an ebook, or whitepaper, or perhaps a live webinar.

  • Upon clicking the Call-to-Action, the visitor is directed to a landing page. It’s there you place a form to capture their details, which must be filled out in order to collect the offer. The moment the form is filled your visitor becomes a lead and enters the sales funnel.

  • The final step sees the lead directed to a Thank You page, where they will be given the offer promised.

Close

So you’ve attracted your ideal customers and converted them into leads.  Now you need to transform those leads into paying customers. These are the tools we use to close a deal and refine our methods at every stage.

  • Segmented, personalized email campaigns that nurture customers through their buyer’s journey.

  • Marketing Automation tailored to the lifecycle stage of each lead.

  • Analytics to provide closed-loop marketing ROI, generating weekly reports that speak to our successes and where to focus in the future.

 

Delight

The buyer’s journey continues after a deal is done. Inbound marketers should set out to delight their closed customers to the point where they want to promote your brand, and potentially serve as evangelists, afterward. Return business is never bad either, along with the opportunity to upsell to an existing customer or client. Here are a few methods we use to delight our customers at Hüify.

  • A Calls-to-Action Strategy that changes based on the lifecycle stage of a customer and their specific buyer persona. We create a customized experience for every visitor to your website.

  • Social Media deployed to provide customers with real-time customer service.

  • Email and Marketing Automation provides existing customers with outstanding content when they need it, as well as introducing new products and features that will benefit them. And it’s far less intrusive than a sales call.

 

Major Themes In Inbound Marketing

Content Creation
Targeted content that answers your customer’s basic questions and needs.

Lifecycle Marketing 
Each customer stage requires tailored marketing actions from company.
Personalization
As you learn more about your leads, you can personalize your messaging to their needs.
Multi-channel
Inbound marketing is multi-channel by nature because it approaches people where we find them.
Integration
Publishing and analytics tools work in harmony, allowing you to focus on remarkable content.

We don’t just want to get your company amazing results. We want you to understand why our methods work and help you learn to love them as much as we do. Start now and request a consultation to get a free inbound marketing plan for your business.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

MarketHive
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4 Inbound Marketing Tools You Should Know About

inbound-marketing

 

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For most small businesses marketing is either a huge expense or a huge burden. If you are trying to run a small business, or if you are an entrepreneur trying to navigate your way online, the word marketing is kind of a scary one.

You envision yourself or your team spending hours and hours blogging, or creating content on social networks with no guarantee that your time investment will pay off. Or you pay someone through the nose to handle your marketing, not really sure if that investment will work out any better than doing it in-house.

This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but unfortunately, it is the reality that far too many start-ups and existing small businesses face. Here are some excellent tools that you probably have not heard of, that can help ease your burden. Do not worry, relief is on the way.

Markethive – this is a totally free social network for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  This network can help you, even if you don’t have your own website. If you do have your own website, it can work hand in hand for even better results.

It would take an entire blog post to describe everything that Markethive can do for you, but let’s just start with their blogging platform. Simply put I get 10X the post views on Markethive compared to the views I get on LinkedIn Pulse.

Markethive is an engaged social network.  This is quite a surprising comparison, despite the fact that I have 10k 1st level connections on LinkedIn, and only 500 friends in Markethive.  As they say, go figure!

LeadOutcome  – you may or may not be aware that LinkedIn is one of the few social networks that allows the export of names and email addresses.  Your entire database of 1st level connections on LinkedIn whether you have 500, 2500, or 25,000 1st level connections, can be exported and sent email using automated marketing methods. This is obviously extremely significant for marketers.

I am not a big fan of autoresponders, or email blasters, as I like to call them.  Aside from telling you the open rates and clickthrough rates of email, they really do little else.

No autoresponder I know of can tell you who is “hot”, and who is not.  There are a number of specialized features that CRM software systems like LeadOutcome offer, but the fact the each action a lead takes is “scored” makes a huge difference.

You now know who is “hot”, and who is not. There are a number of additional features of LeadOutcome that make it highly desirable, but given that it’s monthly cost is less than most autoresponders makes it a relative no-brainer.

Simple Lead Generator for Facebook and Twitter.  Without listing all of the features and benefits,  (see the video link for details), this powerful software lets you search for and find groups automatically by keyword search.

You can post automatically to groups, and also to your friends on Facebook.  You can also auto-follow on Twitter and auto-like tweets in order to encourage people to follow you back.  This can save hours and hours of your time if you are active on either Facebook or Twitter.

Group Messenger  for LinkedIn. (see the video link for details) This software allows you to market automatically on LinkedIn.  No need for manual messages one by one anymore.

You can auto-invite based on keyword searches and auto-invite group members for groups of which you are a member. You can email open networkers over and above the LinkedIn limits for invitations within LinkedIn.

Of course, you will find quite a large number of rather expensive systems for inbound marketing that will schedule and organize your content, etc. etc.  Despite the advantages of these systems, you will find most if not all of what they do in Markethive at no charge.

An essential component of any inbound marketing strategy, or what I like to call automated marketing is about how to gain access to prospects.  There are always restrictions to the manual methods social networks offer to contact, message, and connect with friends and potential prospects.

The above-mentioned automated software systems allow you the access that you need in order to market effectively on these major social networking platforms.

You will not find a more powerful or lower-cost suite of tools for inbound marketing on any other list on the Internet that is current for 2016 than this one.

Please connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/leadsonline  or call 973-259-6055 for more information.

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How to Build an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 24 Hours

      How to Build an Inbound Marketing

 

                                           Strategy in 24 Hours

 

“I’m active on social media.”

“I’m blogging regularly.”

“I’m using SEO best practices.”

“I feel like I’m doing everything right, but I’m not seeing results.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? A lot of marketers and CEOs we talk to feel like they are doing all the right things.  But, they aren’t achieving their goals. A recent survey from DM News confirms this is common. 46% of the executives surveyed, stated that a “lack of an effective strategy” was the biggest obstacle in achieving their inbound marketing goals. So why is everyone struggling? I’m not quite sure as to WHY, but in this article, I’ll show you HOW you can overcome this obstacle…and overcome it in the next 24 hours.  Let’s roll!

What is Strategy?

First, let’s identify what strategy actually is. It really doesn’t have to be that complicated. A strategy is simply a plan of action designed to achieve an expected goal.  So, we need a goal to get started. For the purpose of this article, let’s say that our goal is to generate 50 qualified leads per month for the sales team.

A worthy goal.

Now, we need a plan of action that will get us there.

Note: You may have a different inbound marketing goal, so just apply this same framework in order to backtrack from your goal to an activity plan.

Identify Audience

If we’re going to generate 50 qualified leads per month for the sales team, we need to define a “quality lead”. Let’s pretend we’re a software company that provides project management software for contractors like roofers, electricians, plumbers, etc.  The sales team says that if they can get a Demo Request, they consider that a quality lead.

Okay, so now we’ve got an audience and we know what a quality lead is.  We’re getting closer to being able to build our plan of action.

Action Steps for Identifying Your Audience:

  1. Nail down your target market. Target Market Example: Contractors located in the United States that are doing between $500,000 and $20M in revenue annually.
  2. Talk to the sales team and establish what a quality lead is. In this case, we know we need 50 Demo Requests each month.

Time Estimate: 2 hours

  1. Honestly, this should be something you already know (your target market).  But give yourself an hour to talk to a few people inside your company, read through your messaging, and establish who you’re really after.
  2. Give yourself another hour to talk to a few sales reps or the sales manager at your company. Or potentially, you’re talking to the owner or president.  Make sure you find out exactly what will be considered a quality lead.

Identify Where Your Audience Lives Online

Once we know who our audience is and what our goal is, we need to locate our audience.  Where are they online?  You’ll want to look at social media, blogs, websites, and forums.  Make a big list!  Here’s what I might do if I were looking for contractors.

First, I’d dive into social media. I know LinkedIn is better for B2B, so I head there first.  There are tons of various groups, so I started looking for groups full of my audience. A quick search for “roofers” brings up 38 different groups.

I will continue my search for “HVAC”, “plumbers”, and “electricians”.  After spending some time gathering a list, hopefully I’ve identified at least 25 solid groups that have my target audience.

Next, I’ll explore other social media options to see if there is anything industry specific.  After spending some time on Google, I run across Houzz, a social network for contractors, builders and remodelers.

Still further, I’ll spend some time on Google again looking for blogs, forums and other websites where I might find my audience.

At the end of this research process, you should easily have 50-100 websites (forums, blogs and other websites), groups (on LinkedIn or Facebook) and communities (on Google+) on your list. Now, we’re getting somewhere! We’re narrowing down the Web and locating the corners in which we want to spend our time and effort.

Action Steps for Finding Your Audience:

  1. Spend time looking at social media, websites, blogs and forums for your target audience.
  2. Create a master list with links to these places.

Time Estimate: 4 hours

  1. Don’t shortchange yourself here.  Put in the time to locate your audience.  This step will serve you well for many inbound campaigns into the future, so spend about four hours doing your research.
  2. Create the list as you go along.

Identify Pains, Problems, Questions

Ok, just to re-cap.  We now know:

  • Our goal
  • Who we’re targeting
  • Where they live online

Now, it’s time to dig for pain. As you’re doing your research and visiting groups, websites and blogs with your audience, start listening. What does that mean, really? How do you listen? What are you listening for?

What you want to do is listen to the problems that your audience is expressing. You want to write down the questions they are asking.  Write down the things they are complaining about. You want to be able to speak their language.

You’ll start to see different discussion questions, comments on blogs, or frustrations. Here are a few sample discussion topics I pulled from a LinkedIn Group full of roofers.

Obviously, you want to identify challenges and pains around the product or service you offer, but sometimes you can get some really powerful insight just by writing down any common questions or problems. You’ll start to see some trends.

As you’ll see in the next section, we want to use these questions, pains and problems in our content and messaging.

Action Steps for Identifying Pains, Problems and Questions:

  1. Go to 10-20 places on your master list and start copying and pasting your audience’s discussions and questions.

Time Estimate: 2 hours

  1. This should take you about 2 hours, but don’t be afraid to spend 3 or 4 if you feel you’re not seeing any trends.

Create a Content Calendar

Alright, now we’re ready to create a content calendar. Most people want to rush into this step because it feels like you’re accomplishing something. However, this step won’t be worth much if you haven’t dedicated the time to your research.

There are articles that walk through this step in much more detail, so I’m not going to do that.  This will be a high level overview.

Basically, now that we’ve got a sense for what our audience is dealing with, we can brainstorm some effective blog titles, maybe some webinar topics and definitely some e-book ideas. If we think back to our goal of 50 qualified leads per month, you might be asking, “How many blog articles should I be writing?” or “How many lead generation offers, like e-books, do I need?”

You can make an educated guess, but this is always the unknown with strategy. (Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty)  You make the best plan of action you can to achieve your goal, but you’ll need to adjust your plan over time depending on how close you are getting to that goal.

Based on my experience, without knowing how much traffic this hypothetical website is getting or how many leads it’s currently generating, you’ll want to be creating 2-3 blog posts per week. You’ll also want to have at least two or three e-books that you can leverage to capture leads.

In addition to the e-books, you’ll want to create email nurturing campaigns that will move leads down the funnel towards the goal step of a Demo Request.  For a quick and effective guide to lead nurturing, check out this document here.  It will walk you through the steps of taking an e-book lead and moving it towards a goal like a Demo Request.

Action Steps for Content Calendar:

  1. Brainstorm blog topics, e-book and/or webinar topics.
  2. Map out how many blog articles you’ll need to create each week.
  3. Plan your e-book creation.
  4. Plan your lead nurturing sequences.

Time Estimate: 2 hours

  1. Spend 1 hour brainstorming topics and titles.
  2. 15 minutes for mapping out your blog calendar.
  3. 20 minutes for planning out your e-books.
  4. 20 minutes mapping out your lead nurturing sequences.

Create a Promotions Plan

Your promotions plan is just as important, if not more important that your content plan and calendar.  Most marketers feel like once they hit “publish”, it’s time to start working on the next piece.  Not true!  Once you hit publish, it’s time to go to work promoting that article.

You spent time writing it, editing it, finding an amazing photo and placing a relevant call to action.  Now, it’s time to zero in on our audience and share that content with them. This is how we’ll drive people back to our content, they’ll click on our e-books, receive our emails and ultimately sign up for that demo!

Creating your promotional plan will be much easier now that you’ve got a master list of where your audience lives. You’ll be able to share your blog articles as discussions in exactly the right LinkedIn Groups.

You’ll be able to comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content in a super relevant fashion because you know exactly what your audiences challenges and pains are. You’ll be able to craft blog titles that are irresistible to your audience because you studied their problems and pains.

Your promotions plan should basically be the time you spend promoting your article to all the places on your master list. It might look something like this:

Blog Title: 5 Project Management Struggles Roofers Face…and How to Solve Them

Promotion:

  • Create a discussion in all 20 LinkedIn Groups and frame it with the question “What is your biggest project management challenge right now?”
  • Share article on Twitter using the hashtags #projectmanagement #roofers #contractors #HVAC #plumbers. Rotate hashtags. Schedule 10-20 Tweets over the next 30 days.
  • Jump into a couple of forums and find the discussions around project management.  Add value to the discussion and add a link to the blog post as a reference point.
  • Find individual contractors on Houzz or other websites and send a personal email with a link to the article.
  • Send out an email to all current leads in the database and share the article.

So, your promotions plan will have some activity that you’ll do every time you create a blog post.  Then, for specific topics, you may have additional activities you’ll want to add that make sense based on the topic.

Action Steps for Content Calendar:

  1. Write out all the possible promotional activities you might have for a specific blog post.   Each time you publish, go to that list and execute as many as possible!

Time Estimate: 1 hour

  1. Spend an hour brainstorming all the ways you could promote a blog post, e-book or piece of content.

Your Strategy

Phew!  There’s a lot of work there, but you can do it… and you can do it in less than 24 hours!  The total time spent in this process totals 11 hours.  Obviously, it would be a long work day to push through these activities, but you’ll be setting yourself up for success over the next several months, if not years. If you can’t block off an entire day to do this, spend a couple hours each day for a week and you’ll be all set.

Your goals and strategy will change over time, but I wanted to break down a very simplistic way to create a strategy quickly and start moving forward.

Just to re-cap what you need to do:

  1. What is your goal?
  2. Who are you targeting?
  3. Where do they live online?
  4. Develop your content calendar.
  5. Create a promotional list.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

MarketHive

The Fundamentals for a Successful Inbound-Marketing Strategy

The Fundamentals for a Successful

Inbound-Marketing Strategy

An entrepreneur’s responsibilities reach far and wide. You wear a number of hats on a day-to-day basis, none more important than marketing. To succeed, you must learn the strategies and practices that work best in 2014.

A deep understanding of inbound marketing best practices is vital to the growth and success of your business. No matter how busy you are, you simply can’t ignore the importance of marketing your brand effectively. Take a look at the eight most important things every entrepreneur needs to know about inbound marketing.

1. The traditional marketing playbook is broken. Almost everyone – 91 percent, to be precise – has unsubscribed from email lists. Two-out-of-three people (68 percent) who record TV content do so to skip advertisements and, according to DoubleClick, the average click-through rate on display ads is only 0.2 percent. The way modern consumers shop and make purchases has changed dramatically, and as such, businesses must adapt in order to survive.

In an interview, it was said, “The Internet has fundamentally changed how we live our lives, and as consumers, we now have more options than ever to tune out marketing that is annoying. Most entrepreneurs I know understand that based on their own experience, but when it comes to marketing their business, they default to the traditional marketing playbook because it’s easy or because it’s what everyone has always done for years. That’s a huge mistake.”

You can no longer rent your way to consumer attention, you need to earn it. Instead of dreaming up new ways to interrupt your way into your prospects’ lives, invest in ways to engage them meaningfully with an inbound experience.

2. Your content must be remarkable enough to break through the clutter. Think about how many channels you have on your television, and how many websites and social media channels compete for your attention each day. The same is true for your customers. It’s not enough to just produce content. Your content must educate, inspire or entertain your audience.

Don’t talk about your brand non-stop or try to sell people too early or often in your content. Instead, try to spark interesting dialogue and discussion with your content. Doing so will pay off with attention and engagement.

3. Think of your website as a hub, not a megaphone. Far too many businesses think about their websites as broadcast channels for addressing a large group of people. Your website functions best when its content and design are built with a human touch. Instead of writing copy to impress your competitors, create copy and experiences an individual customer will love.

Don’t scream through a megaphone at your customers. Design the entire end-to-end experience with individual humans in mind. Conversation trumps a broadcast message every time. Design your web experience accordingly.

4. Inbound includes content and code. Many entrepreneurs mistake massive volumes of content for an inbound strategy, forgetting that shipping code is indispensable as well. Specifically, free tools are powerful in converting web traffic into highly engaged leads.

For example, InsightSquared created Sales Funnel, a free tool that allows Salesforce users to quickly and efficiently diagnose their sales funnel. Leads that try Sales Funnel convert at a rate almost twenty times higher than leads that don’t.

Free tools can transform your entire customer experience. Invest developer resources into your marketing efforts for the biggest impact possible.

5. Master the call to action.  Think about how hard you work to get traffic to your site. Now think of what happens if a visitor comes to your site and doesn’t know where to go or what to do next once they visit. You’ve just wasted all of your hard efforts!

Your call to action is a “sign post” showing your visitors where they should go next. If someone came to your blog first, you want to make it easy and seamless for them to subscribe to read similar articles. If a visitor comes from a co-marketing initiative with a partner, ensure the copy on the site is built specifically to appeal to someone who knows both your brands. Tailor the next step accordingly.

It’s not enough to optimize your site for search. You have to optimize your site for action.

6. Get visual. The average attention span is just eight seconds, so even if you want to write a 10,000-word essay on your new product launch, chances are slim that your audience will get through it.

Creating remarkable visual content is a great way to cut through content clutter and stand out from the pack. If you don’t have an army of designers at your disposal, use Canva or Visage to create simple and beautiful visuals, hire a young freelancer to pitch in or just put your iPhone to good use taking pictures of your space, your customers, your team and your product.

When it comes to content, a photo (or video) really is worth 1,000 words.

7. Inbound delivers higher ROI for your business. In a 2013 survey, American inbound marketers spending more than $25,000 per year saved an average of 13 percent in overall cost per lead ($36 versus $41 with outbound).

It’s far more expensive to continue pouring money into paid channels that don’t deliver returns than it is to invest in blogging and social media. Inbound marketing is good for your bottom line and your brand.

8. Hire wisely. If you’re hiring an in-house marketer or an agency to help with your marketing efforts, you need a skill set that matches your strategy. Invest in people who are digitally savvy, highly analytical, have significant reach on the web and have experience creating remarkable content.

Today’s marketing world requires companies to continually optimize. The team behind you must be well equipped, comfortable with the technology and have the tenacity to update your strategy and approach on a daily basis to meet your growth goals.

Successful inbound marketing is a science that requires a specific expertise and plenty of experience. Even if marketing isn’t your cup of tea, it’s important that you know and understand the basics. If you keep these tips in mind, you can rest assured that your business is practicing the latest and greatest inbound marketing techniques, and maximizing its growth potential.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

MarketHive

7 Inbound Marketing Platforms With The Best Effective Inbound Marketing Tools

7 Inbound Marketing Platforms With The Best Effective Inbound Marketing Tools

Inbond Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that implements the laws of bringing potential customers to your business, rather than fighting for attention in the overly crowded marketplace.  The strategy involves creating and sharing content with your target audience to enlighten them on products and services that your company/ business have to offer. 

This means creating content, distributing it, as well as managing lead capture to attract as much traffic and potential audience as possible.  Marketers therefore need/have to invest lots of his/her time, energy, and sometimes financial resources to realize profits.  Trying to do this manually can be draining, which is the reason why most marketers go for inbound marketing tools to help simplify the work.

With many such marketing instruments in the industry (free and paid), finding the best solution for your business can be nerve-racking.  Experts, however, recommend identifying several tools, then researching about them before deciding on the right one that meets your needs.  Outlined below are some of the best inbound marketing tools that you should try to promote your business, as well as bring in more leads.

1. MarketHive

MarketHive

MarketHive offers the largest most valuable selection of Inbound Marketing tools along with a  social network for entrepreneurs, for free.   MarketHive will really enable countless struggling internet marketers, by helping them to save money on promoting their business,products and services because MarketHive’s online marketing tools are free for life forever! No strings attached.

This is what you get when you join Markethive, cutting edge, valuable, very powerful online marketing tools including autoresponders, email broadcasting, blog platform, capture page, lead generation system and so much more….

To Join MarketHive Click The Banner Below

2. Hubspot

Hubspot is one of the leading inbound marketing platforms offering an all-in-one functionality for businesses. Hubspot not only makes it much easier for any marketer to create a live blog but also allows you to create lead capture forms, take control of the social media (including social media integration), as well as monitor all marketing strategies and techniques on one interface. Another factor that makes Hubspot the first stop for many marketers is the fact that it offers SEO features in its packages.  Small business owners and entrepreneurs use Hubspot as the foundation of their marketing strategies.

3. Pardot

Pardot is a leading B2B marketing software commonly used for lead attraction, capture, and nurturing. The best thing about using Pardot is the fact that, integrating it with PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns is very easy and smooth.  Many people use this tool to build lead forms and to incorporate these forms in the business’ landing pages.  Most marketers use Pardot to monitor both email marketing and social media marketing for optimal conversions. This tool can also be used to automate lead flow to various sales persons or support, thus improving productivity and conversions.

4. Marketo

Marketo is another high-value inbound marketing software that mainly focuses on B2B marketing. This tool is designed to collect as well as create detailed customer profiles, all which can be used for an email marketing campaign.  Marketo can also be used to set up and disseminate content across multiple platforms with a few clicks. This means you can publish content, as well as share the same via newsletters and the social media pretty fast using this tool.  Some of the best marketers in the business use marketo as it is easy to customize, and also comes with advanced reporting tools.  The reporting tools can be used to monitor a lead’s behavior, which helps a salesperson determine the best product or service for the target audience.

5. Mail Chimp

Mail chimp is an email marketing tool that makes sending newsletters and emails very easy for marketers. It also allows you to personalize the emails based on the target audiences preferences and online behaviors.  One of the reasons why many people use this marketing tool is the fact that it is very easy to use. One of the main benefits that come with using mail chimp is that the tool provides detailed analytics and reports on the status of email’s send. This includes whether the email was clicked, opened, or even bounced back. Marketers can also use the same tool to keep in touch with prospects hence improving conversion rates.

6.Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the best marketing tools specially designed to help marketers manage social media accounts with ease. Marketing through the social media can be hectic as one need to create an account with as many platforms as possible, so as to get maximum exposure possible. Hootsuite, however, helps consolidate all these accounts into a single dashboard. The dashboard allows you to see activity on all the linked accounts, as well as see and respond to replies, schedule updates, and follow other users and businesses on the same as well.  Although an efficient tool in this, HootSuite is free to use.

7.Optify

Optify is a paid inbound marketing tool mainly designed for content dissemination, lead generation, and marketing analytics. One of the factors that make Optify a key player in marketing is the fact that, it offers advanced search engine optimization tools for your company website. Aside from this, you can use the tool for social media marketing, email marketing, and to gather reports and analytics on all other marketing strategies you may have implemented.

Inbound Marketing  

Although inbound marketing is highly effective in marketing businesses and products online, a lot of dedication and perseverance is needed for one to sail through. Nonetheless, the returns on investment from using these automated tools are considerably much higher and advantageous as well. You too should consider using these tools to improve your company’s performance and profitability.

 

MarketHive

Myths About Inbound Marketing

3 Myths About Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of marketing.

 

Inbound marketing is widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of marketing.

The term first emerged as a buzzword in the midst of the online marketing frenzy, as marketers started to realize fully the value of the digital world in attracting leads, nurturing prospects, and even generating conversions without the hard-core sales methodologies of the past.

While some may believe that inbound marketing is just another one of those passing Internet fads, it’s anything but. The concepts, methods, and best practices that comprise the core of inbound marketing aren’t going anywhere as long as there’s a need for marketers to reach prospects and buyers at critical junctions and touch points throughout the buying journey to influence decision making.

Consider the fact that consumers are increasingly tuning out traditional advertisements and the importance of inbound marketing–in which marketers engage consumers with relevant, intriguing information that educates or entertains, earning their interest instead of buying it–and the importance of inbound marketing becomes pretty clear. In fact, 84% of 25- to 34-year-olds bounce from websites when they encounter an intrusive or irrelevant advertisement, and 86% of people skip over television ads.

Despite the growing importance of inbound marketing, there continue to be myths permeating the industry about what inbound marketing is, its effectiveness, and how it works. Let’s examine three of the most prominent myths about inbound marketing.

1. Inbound marketing is free.

While it’s true that inbound marketing can be more affordable than outbound marketing, it’s not entirely free. You won’t be paying for advertisements, but you’ll still need to pay professionals to produce top-quality content, manage your social media presence, organize and host webinars, design compelling infographics, research white papers, and the like.

You’ll also need to invest in tools such as inbound marketing automation software, CRM systems, and other tools of the trade that increase marketing productivity. In fact,companies that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads,” and companies that automate lead management processes “see a 10 percent or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.”

“Yes, there’s an investment required to do inbound marketing. But if done well, brands will see a return on that investment that can last for a long time. Unlike outbound marketing, where a paid advertisement lives only for a short period of time, inbound marketing has a longer shelf life. It’s an investment that provides much higher returns over the long term, Inbound marketing is a complex function that encompasses multiple marketing channels and strategies, from SEO to content marketing, social media, and more; arming yourself with the talent and tools to get the job done is half the battle.

2. Quantity trumps quality.

In the early days of SEO, it was possible to produce an abundance of (let’s be honest–crappy) articles stuffed with target keywords and rank for your desired terms in the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Those days are long gone, yet the notion that quantity is more critical to success than quality still permeates the inbound marketing industry.

Of course, inbound marketing is more than just content marketing, and it’s more than just SEO.But the belief that the best way to realize inbound marketing success is to do simply “more” of it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today’s consumers are savvy. It doesn’t matter whether your business is B2B or B2C; your audience knows when you’re putting out a poor quality content or posting updates on social media for the sake of creating “more.” Your audience wants quality; they want something valuable that engages, educates, and entertains–something that’s so good that it compels them to share or hand over their email address just to get the rest.

It’s like the, “If you build it, they will come,” mentality common in the early days of the web. You simply can’t skimp on quality in inbound marketing; you have to bring your audience to you and to do that you must stand out from the hundreds of other companies attempting to engage the same target market. Whether you’re designing graphics, creating slide decks, or writing industry reports, cutting corners is the surest way to alienate your audience.

3. You can’t measure the ROI of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is one alternative to the traditional outbound advertising methods such as billboards or radio advertising. Interestingly, one of the common beliefs about inbound marketing is that it’s not measurable, yet it’s really radio, billboards, and similar traditional advertising methods that make proving ROI a challenge.

In the early days of digital marketing, we didn’t have the advantage of Big Data, but today practically any action you take online is measurable. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, you can determine how many visitors arrived on your landing page and then converted to leads or paying customers. You can determine how many attendees participated in a webinar, how many users engaged with a Twitter chat, how many Facebook users watched a video, and even how many recipients clicked on a particular link in an email marketing message.

Everything is measurable, and that means ROI is easy to prove although the factors that one business uses to determine ROI may differ from the equation relied on by another. That’s why it’s critical to determine your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) before launching a campaign and identify the metrics used to evaluate performance.

Inbound marketing isn’t free, but it can be incredibly effective for both B2B and B2C companies. However, if you’re prioritizing quantity over quality or you’re not measuring ROI, you’re doing it wrong. Focusing on quality coupled with clearly defined goals and performance metrics, along with the tools to measure results, is the surest path to inbound marketing success.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

MarketHive

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

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Tools and strategies

 In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.

Yet in most companies the organizational structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago. Hidebound hierarchies from another era are still commonplace.

Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts. But in our research and our work with hundreds of global marketing organizations, we’ve found that those CMOs are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist.

Marketing leaders instead must ask, “What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?” Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.

To understand what separates the strategies and structures of superior marketing organizations from the rest, EffectiveBrands (now Millward Brown Vermeer)—in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, Spencer Stuart, Forbes, MetrixLab, and Adobe—initiated Marketing2020, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive marketing leadership study ever undertaken. To date, the study has included in-depth qualitative interviews with more than 350 CEOs, CMOs, and agency heads, and over a dozen CMO roundtables in cities worldwide. We also conducted online quantitative surveys of 10,000-plus marketers from 92 countries. The surveys encompassed more than 80 questions focusing on marketers’ data analytics capabilities, brand strategy, cross-functional and global interactions, and employee training.

We divided the survey respondents into two groups, overperformers, and underperformers, on the basis of their companies’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors’. We then compared those two groups’ strategies, structures, and capabilities. Some of what we found should come as no surprise: Companies that are sophisticated in their use of data grow faster, for instance. Nevertheless, the research shed new light on the constellation of brand attributes required for superior marketing performance and on the nature of the organizations that achieve it. It’s clear that “marketing” is no longer a discrete entity (and woe to the company whose marketing is still siloed) but now extends throughout the firm, tapping virtually every function. And while the titles, roles, and responsibilities of marketing leaders vary widely among companies and industries, the challenges they face—and what they must do to succeed—are deeply similar.

Highlights from the Survey

Winning Characteristics

The framework that follows describes the broad traits of high-performing organizations, as well as specific drivers of organizational effectiveness. Let’s look first at the shared principles of high performers’ marketing approaches.

Big data, deep insights.

Marketers today are awash in customer data, and most are finding narrow ways to use that information—to, say, improve the targeting of messages. Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them. These marketers understand consumers’ basic drives—such as the desire to achieve, to find a partner, and to nurture a child—motivations we call “universal human truths.”

The Nike+ suite of personal fitness products and services, for instance, combines a deep understanding of what makes athletes tick with troves of data. Nike+ incorporates sensor technologies embedded in running shoes and wearable devices that connect with the web, apps for tablets and smartphones, training programs, and social networks. In addition to tracking running routes and times, Nike+ provides motivational feedback and links users to communities of friends, like-minded athletes, and even coaches. Users receive personalized coaching programs that monitor their progress. An aspiring first-time half-marathon runner, say, and a seasoned runner rebounding from an injury will receive very different coaching. People are rewarded for good performance, can post their accomplishments on social media, and can compare their performance with—and learn from—others in the Nike+ community.

Purposeful positioning.

Top brands excel at delivering all three manifestations of brand purpose—functional benefits, or the job the customer buys the brand to do (think of the pick-me-up Starbucks coffee provides); emotional benefits, or how it satisfies a customer’s emotional needs (drinking coffee is a social occasion); and societal benefits, such as sustainability (when coffee is sourced through fair trade). Consider the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which defines a set of guiding principles for sustainable growth that emphasize improving health, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods. The plan lies at the heart of all Unilever’s brand strategies, as well as its employee and operational strategies.

In addition to engaging customers and inspiring employees, a powerful and clear brand purpose improves alignment throughout the organization and ensures consistent messaging across touchpoints. AkzoNobel’s Dulux, one of the world’s leading paint brands, offers a case in point. In 2006, AkzoNobel was operating a heavily decentralized business structured around local markets, with each local business setting its own brand and business goals and developing its own marketing mix. Not surprisingly, the outcome was inconsistent brand positioning and results; Dulux soared in some markets and floundered in others. In 2008, Dulux’s new global brand team pursued a sweeping program to understand how people perceived the brand across markets, paint’s purpose in their lives, and the human truths that inspired people to color their environments. From China, to India, to the UK, to Brazil, a consistent theme emerged: The colors around us powerfully influence how we feel. Dulux wasn’t selling cans of paint; it was selling “tins of optimism.” This new definition of Dulux’s brand purpose led to a marketing campaign, “Let’s Color.” It enlists volunteers, which now include more than 80% of AkzoNobel employees, and donates paint (more than half a million liters so far) to revitalize run-down urban neighborhoods, from the favelas of Rio to the streets of Jodhpur. In addition to aligning the once-decentralized marketing organization, Dulux’s purpose-driven approach has expanded its share in many markets.

Total experience.

Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”

A spices, and flavorings firm, emphasizes both depth and breadth in delivering on its promise to “push the art, science, and passion of flavor.” It creates a consistent experience for consumers across numerous physical and digital touchpoints, such as product packaging, branded content like cookbooks, retail stores, and even an interactive service, FlavorPrint, that learns each customer’s taste preferences and makes tailored recipe recommendations. FlavorPrint does for recipes what Netflix has done for movies; its algorithm distils each recipe into a unique flavor profile, which can be matched to a consumer’s taste-preference profile. FlavorPrint can then generate customized e-mails, shopping lists, and recipes optimized for tablets and mobile devices.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

MarketHive

The Many types of Marketing

The Many types of Marketing

Forms of Marketing

Lots of people are talking about all the new forms of marketing a company can pursue. It’s true, certain traditional marketing has been around for a long time and is still used today, but with the Internet now playing such a huge role in any company’s success, people are coming out with more and more ways to market their products or services. The more we thought about all the different varieties of marketing, the more we realized there are so many different ways to promote something. Here’s a list of marketing terms that we hope you find useful:

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is any marketing strategy that takes place online. Also referred to as online marketing, it encompasses a variety of marketing forms like video advertisements, searchengine marketing and e-mail marketing. It is the opposite of offline marketing, and can also fall under digital marketing. Internet marketing needs a good approach in areas of design, development and advertising. A company with a total website marketing plan will have more success online than one that has just designed a website without thinking of how to market their company through it.

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing, the opposite of online marketing, includes all forms of marketing that aren’t done on the Internet. Examples of offline marketing are local advertising in newspapers and on television. In today’s marketing world, companies are finding ways to leverage their offline marketing campaigns with their online ones, making them complement each other.

Outbound Marketing

When you think of marketing, the different forms you come up with are mostly outbound marketing (also called traditional marketing). In fact, the majority of companies today are using different types of outbound marketing to reach their potential customers. Outbound marketing includes any marketing efforts that are taken to introduce a product or service to someone who isn’t looking for that product or service. Some examples are cold calling, sending newsletters, billboards, and banner ads on different websites.

 

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Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing focuses on having your company found by customers, as opposed to reaching out to them directly like in outbound marketing. The important thing to remember here is that a person starts out with the want/need to purchase a product or service, and they go out to find it. When they search for that product/service on a search engine, the search engine results page will show inbound marketing results. Instead of using paid advertisements, inbound marketing is the search engine optimization (SEO) part of web marketing.

Newsletter Marketing

Newsletter marketing and email marketing refer to ways of promoting your company through emails. Typically, a firm using newsletter marketing will have a group of contacts that they will send a newsletter containing some interesting information to. The success of newsletter marketing depends on grabbing attention, writing good content and reaching a large number of potential clients.

Article Marketing

Businesses will often write articles related to the industry they are in and distribute them online and offline. These free articles will inform people about an important topic and give the company that wrote it more credibility within the market. The organization can also include their business contact information in the article, allowing them to get new clients.

Trade Show Marketing

Companies that want to reach a large number of potential customers can participate in public or private trade shows. Trade shows and other forms of event marketing are often a large investment to participate in, but trade shows allow companies to demonstrate new products and examine what is going on in the industry.

Search Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the way in which companies promote their business through paid placement on search engines like Google. Instead of increasing the organic search results that a website has, companies will pay to have their advertisements in the sponsored section of search engines. This is also known as Pay Per Click Advertising or PPC.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing’s main goal is to send a message directly to consumers, without having to use any third-party outlets. Examples of direct marketing include mail marketing, telemarketing, and direct selling. Direct marketing is often preferable because the results can be easily measured, giving the marketer a better understanding of the success of that campaign.

Niche Marketing

When a product or service is not being readily supplied to a certain portion of a market, a company can focus their efforts on that niche to address a need that isn’t currently being addressed. This targeted marketing is successful because the marketer has identified a need that isn’t being resolved by mainstream providers. Sometimes it is beneficial for a company to focus on a niche instead of trying to compete in a larger market.

Drip marketing

Drip marketing is the act of sending out scheduled targeted emails that are all coordinated to a specific goal of client conversion. The sender uses email marketing software that allows them to setup multiple emails at one time and let them “drip” over time. This sometimes includes phone calls to check in on the clients along the way.

Social Media Marketing

Social network marketing and social media campaigns provide a window to market a product or service on the Internet through different social networks. Companies can use these outlets for their marketing, customer service, and sales. The most common and successful means of social media marketing are found on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and even company blogs.

Referral Marketing

One of the less strategic types of marketing, referral marketing relies on a company’s customers to refer new customers to that company. Also called word of mouth marketing, this is a more spontaneous way of receiving new business, and can not be solely relied on because results aren’t very predictable. However, word of mouth is still a powerful part of a company’s efforts to bring in new business, especially in the social media community where communication travels freely.

Guerrilla Marketing

With a smaller budget, guerrilla marketing makes a splash by relying on energy, timing and unusual approaches to get the consumer’s attention. The unconventional marketing involved tries to get the most out something small and make a lasting brand image in the consumer’s mind.

Promotional Marketing

Promotional marketing is a common form of marketing strategy that companies use to motivate a consumer to make a decision and purchase their product. There are a number of ways that businesses will promote a product or service, including holding contests to win a prize, offering coupons for purchasing a product at a discount, and having samples of the product so people can experience it before they purchase.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing most likely involves four different groups that contribute to the marketing effort. The Merchant is the company that is producing and selling the product, the Network is the outlet that is used to promote the affiliate link, the Publisher or Affiliate is the person who has the website with the affiliate ad and of course the customer doing the purchasing. Affiliate links are found on all types of websites, and they are used to drive traffic to outside websites.

Viral Marketing

This type of marketing relies on the message of a marketer being spread quickly through various social networks in order to increase brand awareness. The name viral marketing stems from the rapid spread of viruses in general. Typically, a viral marketing campaign will not last as long as other marketing efforts, but if a company can come up with a good idea for viral marketing and reach the right people, it will become highly successful in a short amount of time.

B2B Marketing

Any type of business, whether an organization, individual, government or other institution that markets to other businesses is involved in a business to business marketing. Since B2B marketing involves companies trying to sell mass quantities of product to one another, there is a more personal relationship that needs to be established between businesses. If your company sells to other businesses, your marketing efforts will most likely be more direct.

B2C Marketing

Business to consumer marketing campaigns try to reach a category of people that will be likely to purchase their product or service. The marketing efforts the company takes should be broader than B2B, which focuses on specific companies. B2C marketing can involve different marketing techniques such as door to door marketing, promotion marketing, newspaper marketing, television marketing and radio marketing. In today’s marketing world, B2C Internet marketing is becoming more important to reach consumers.

Mobile Marketing

Along with Internet marketing, mobile marketing is part of the newest groups of marketing activities. Companies have been experimenting with the certain ways to reach consumers through their phones, especially with the rise of Apple’s iphone. Some ways to marketing a product or service through a mobile phone include SMS marketing, in-game marketing, banner marketing on different web pages and location based marketing.

Reverse Marketing

This form of marketing is similar to inbound marketing. The goal of reverse marketing is to market a product in a way that will cause the consumer to seek the firm doing the marketing. Reverse marketing can be conducted through such means as television, print, and Internet marketing. If a company has a product that solves a problem in the market, they will have more success using reverse marketing because they will seek out that product.

Telemarketing

A form of direct marketing, telemarketing’s focus is on reaching consumers by phone. Most of what we think of as telemarketing is cold call marketing, which is unpopular and has lead to laws being created against it. However, telemarketing can be effective if the right person is reached on the phone at the right time.

Direct Mail Marketing

Most people receive large quantities of marketing material in the mail, which is considered direct mail marketing. Companies will send paper mail with promotions or other information to a list of addresses, usually in a common geographical area. This form of marketing is also called junk mail by some because the customers receiving the mail aren’t expecting it and usually don’t want to open it.

Database Marketing

Database marketing is similar to other types of direct marketing, but the focus is more directed towards analyzing data. Companies try to narrow their marketing efforts down to certain groups of people, and they use database marketing to analyze statistics like name, address, or sales history, in order to create the most accurate model possible.

Personalized marketing

The goal of personalized marketing is to create a unique offer for each individual customer. This form of marketing doesn’t work for every company, but certain ones can capitalize on their unique products and customer demographics to market to individuals. With the Internet becoming a more popular place for marketing, companies are finding that personalized marketing is effective in cases when they can track a customer’s specific interests and send them more information for future suggestions.

This list should give you a good idea of different ways companies can market themselves to consumers or other companies, but there are still more types of marketing out there. If you think of any, let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Depending on your company and the industry you are in, you will definitely choose different kinds of marketing that will produce the best results for you. No matter which type of marketing you want to use for your company, Design & Promote can help you research and implement a marketing campaign that will allow your company to win the consumer’s attention and hold the search engine results. Contact us today to explore more ways Design & Promote can help market your company.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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MarketHive

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?


Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always the footnote. You are forced to stick out or not be seen at all. It makes your relationship with your customer based on attention-grabbing rather than value. If you are at the trade show you can have the best booth with the best giveaway prize, but you are not the keynote speaker. When you are advertising at the Super Bowl you can be the best commercial but the best commercial is merely a footnote to the main event. At best, with outbound marketing you might strive to be the best footnote. Unfortunately, to stick out in traditional advertising you usually have to sacrifice your message for a gimmick and hope that some of the people who see the gimmick look closely enough for the footnote.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you are the story. You are the keynote speaker. Inbound marketing is all about creating great content to share with your audience. It’s about telling stories and speaking to your audience where they want to be spoken to, how they want to be spoken to. It’s about delighting them, educating them and engaging them in an open and transparent way. But inbound marketing is much more than simply being the keynote speaker at the trade show; it’s about being the article featured on the cover of the magazine. It’s about being the most valuable player at the Super Bowl. And when done correctly, inbound marketing can open up these amazing distribution channels that make it so you don’t have to wait for the next trade show, the next magazine or next year’s Super Bowl to show off your brand. You can do it on-demand with laser-like precision penetrating a group of your peers and the influencers in your industry.

Linear vs. Holistic

Best inbound marketing linear vs holistic

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the strategy is very linear. You only have so many marketing mediums to choose from like radio, TV, direct mail, tradeshow, billboard, sponsorships, etc. With this linear strategy, you assess which mediums most accurately address your target market and you start checking the boxes. You begin to attribute higher percentages of your budget to the more effective mediums and leave out the least effective mediums. You create a unified message across all mediums, and your job is done for the period. Come back again next period, sift through the data, reassess the percentages and do it again. Digital marketers can make the mistake of approaching the web with this outbound marketing approach. Social media, check! SEO, check! Email marketing- check!

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the strategy is holistic. Inbound marketing is a much more complex approach than outbound marketing. It takes simultaneous usage of all the digital channels, continuous strengthening of the website, development of effective content and implementation of measurement tools all in concert with one another to achieve these unparalleled results. Many digital marketers don’t understand the complexities, they stick with the approach that they are comfortable with, the outbound or linear approach applied to the digital world. This approach gets you the traditional results. The difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing are the complexities and the holistic approach.

Inbound marketing is like a holistic lifestyle — in order to carry out an inbound marketing campaign, a website needs to have a strong foundation. It needs to be in good enough shape to carry out strong messaging, a content marketing strategy and be a hub for distribution. It needs to have a blog, it needs to be responsive, it needs to have a call-to-action strategy, it needs to have micro and macro conversions and it needs to have an easy-to-use CMS. Once the website is in shape, the content can be created and the distribution can begin.

Content creation needs to be engaging and meet the objectives of your keyword strategy. The distribution needs to tap into all avenues: RSS-fed email for blog subscribers, social media channels, lead nurture campaigns, etc. But it is not the linear check-box approach of outbound. Inbound requires daily attention with constant analytical review. Like a holistic healthy lifestyle, it requires discipline and fortitude. Sometimes you need more content, sometimes you need more distribution, sometimes more landing pages, sometimes more blog posts, sometimes better conversion rate optimization, sometimes a stronger call-to-action strategy, but it always takes adjustment and strategy.

When a holistic inbound marketing strategy is hitting on all cylinders, your website is rock solid, your distribution is amplified and your distribution channels are feeding the website a steady diet of visitors, where prospects are being converted with the utmost optimization.

Obfuscate vs. Educate

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the message is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit. It has to be. With very little room to work with, whether it be in a newspaper ad or a few seconds on the radio, the goal of outbound marketing has always been to stand out. And in order to do this, to be a clutter buster, the relationship with the client is compromised. Think about it: how else can we get someone to see your mortgage product in a quarter-page ad at the bottom of an article about Obamacare? If you’re lucky enough to know where the ad will appear, you can try to force the message to fit the audience, but this rarely succeeds, and more often than not, you’re trying to message males and females ages zero to one hundred with the same message. It’s all one big hoax. Misdirection. It’s pulling that shiny quarter from behind your ear.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the message is specific and useful. Rather than forced upon you, the message is instead offered up on a nice shiny silver platter — ready for you to consume whenever convenient. This message contains quality content that educates and engages. It’s meant to answer a consumer’s question, to fill in the blank. I remember not long ago when marketing professionals would advise their clients to create deep discounts and BIG sales and then advertise them to the masses. The thought process was that more consumers would then thereby seek out the product and the increase in customers made up for the lost product value. The idea that I got paid to offer up that piece of bullshit advice is astonishing. The reality today is that instead of advising our clients to slash prices or advertise on all mediums, we instead encourage them to offer something of even greater value — thought leadership (and if we have to offer discounts, we offer them to our loyal brand ambassadors… a reward for subscribing).

Renting vs. Owning

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always renting your distribution. As most advertisers know, you’re only as good as your last campaign or your last media buy. If it works and sales get a bump, it’s on to the next campaign. If it fails, then jobs and budget are on the line. With an outbound campaign like direct mail, the leads come in for a couple weeks when the mail’s hitting households. Once those leads are processed and the mail is distributed, you need to start again, new message, new distribution.

All marketers know there is only one good tradeshow a year, the rest are all washes. The Super Bowl only comes once a year, the World Cup eventually comes to an end, and the newspaper gets recycled tomorrow. Nothing in outbound marketing is iterative, and there are always costs associated with lead generation. This often makes for a negative ROI, finicky CEOs and an overall high-pressure job.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you own your distribution and it depreciates much more like an asset. You build up your subscription-based email list, you earn a top ranking on product-related keywords, you build a following on social media and voilà: you are creating assets. There is a cost of acquisition (creating the content), but it is iterative and it keeps working for you long after you stop the acquisition/creation phase.

For the first time in a marketer’s career, we are creating value that will last beyond our tenure. Create a 20,000-person email list, acquire 50,000 social media fans, rank in the top 10 for 400 plus keywords with a total search volume of 1 million monthly searches and you’ve created a Super Bowl opportunity every month of the year. There are companies (Hubspot) literally lobbying our federal government to allow them to book inbound marketing as an asset instead of an expense. It makes a lot of sense. If you have 10,000 blog posts generating 1,500 leads per month through online searches and you stop posting for a year, that lead volume will likely only diminish slightly. Over the years, you might see some fall-off, but it is a lot more like depreciation of traditional assets. Needless to say, this is the type of marketing that makes CEOs happy and makes heroes out of the marketing department.

Immeasurable vs. Quantifiable

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing - immeasureable vs quantifiable

 

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Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the success of the marketing is hard to measure. We can ask our prospects how they heard of us, but in general, the results are unreliable. This makes for a margin for error that is inherent within this archaic and linear model of marketing. Sure, it’s great to hear that the company call center received a few dozen calls as a result of a targeted marketing effort. It’s also great when someone fills out the “How Did You Hear About Us?” form, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. The margin of error occurs when you assume you know the whole story and assumptions lead to underperforming campaigns. The measurement of outbound marketing lacks complexity and a lack of complexity leads to a lack of results.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, everything is digital, and everything is quantifiable. There’s no need to assume anything. Complex algorithms track not only if your marketing strategy is effective, but also if it is converting potential customers into full-blown clients. An inbound marketing strategy is highly measurable. It allows for analysis of everything from the ROI of various distribution methods to whether the size and shape of a CTA button is more likely to attract a customer or not.

What I love most about inbound marketing is that it allows for closed-loop reporting. It lets me track someone’s IP address from the second it hits our website; it tells me how that IP address got there and how much time it’s spending on the site. It gives me an in-depth glimpse into the thought process of a consumer — showing me which blog posts they have read, which pages they viewed, whether they entered the site organically or through another avenue like social media, and lead generation metrics. Again, inbound marketing is highly measurable.

Inbound marketing succeeds because it allows you to talk to people who have given you permission, and to tell your story in a holistic, educational way on your own distribution platform, with quantifiable metrics. We know this to be true because we’ve experienced the shift, from our founding days in branding in 2001, through the rise of the digital marketing age and into this new era of inbound marketing. Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing? It works. We’ve made it work for us and our clients. Talk to us to see how we can make it work for you.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

MarketHive

Why Inbound Marketing Should Take a Back Seat to Current Customers

Inbound marketing, as a phrase and a movement, has almost been as popular as content marketing over the past decade.

If both phrases were tradeable stocks, and you purchased $10,000 worth of “inbound marketing” and “content marketing” in June 2008, inbound marketing would be valued at $490,000. If you owned content marketing, you would be a millionaire (per Google Trends March 29, 2016).

This subreddit is for inbound professionals to collaborate and share strategies, tactics, and get to know each other!

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Learn 7 Social Media Marketing Tips You Need To Succeed

History Of The Internet And Social Media

The Internet changed the world, and then social media came along and changed the Internet. From keeping up with people through Facebook, to rapid fire conversations on Twitter, to viral videos on YouTube, and Pinterest and Instagram following along with photos, social media dominates people’s lives now. If you want to succeed personally, professionally, or as a business, then social media marketing is a must. Keep reading to learn 6 social media marketing tips that you can use to harness the power of the Internet and its social media apps and websites.

Social Media Plan And Strategy

1) Set up some kind of a plan before you do anything else. It’s not enough to just identify particular social media platforms that you think your business should be active on and then start posting coupons every day. You need to do some background work to find out what specific platforms your client base uses. Younger generations aren’t as likely to be on Facebook as older adults are. A professional crowd might be more focused on LinkedIn than YouTube if they can’t watch cat videos at work. Know your audience, know the kind of content that will hook their attention, and then try to make your sales. Have specific goals based on background research.

Outsource Your Socia Media

2) Consider if you should delegate or even outsource your social media marketing efforts. If you are a small business owner, you might not have the time to keep up with multiple social media accounts. Do you have an employee who is both brand and tech savvy? Have them take charge of your online presence. If you don’t have someone you trust who is able to handle the delegated duties, consider hiring a professional expert or firm to handle things for you to get proven results.

Social Media Audit

3) Run an audit of your social media profiles. Have someone dig around the Internet and see if your existing social media profiles are easily found. Check for negative feedback, disparaging articles or reviews, and be ready to ditch any accounts that search engines might not look kindly at. Also make sure that accounts are secure with strong passwords and good security. The last thing you want to make your social media presence known only to have someone criminal (or competitor) hack it to make you look bad or make you vulnerable to ransomware, where you have to pay just to get your accounts back.

Connect With Your Social Media Audience

4) Make sure your social media marketing is actually engaging to your followers or clients. Don’t just post business pictures and coupons all the time. Most of the time, your posts should just be things that entertain or educate your audience. Use the content to establish your business as an authority in your field, to engender trust. Furthermore, make sure that you listen to your readers, respond to their questions and comments, and even re-share their related content (with permission) to share their photos and stories of their great experiences with your business. It is direct engagement with your social media followers that is perhaps the most powerful technique you can use, as they let you know what your business does right by them, where you can do better, and what needs they currently have unfulfilled they hope you answer in the future.

Social Media

5) Use your social media accounts to generate more traffic to your business website. Pretty much all content on your website should have social media buttons attached so that anyone visiting your website can post your content to their own accounts. Even online, word of mouth advertising is still the most effective and cost efficient form of marketing there is. Likewise, make sure that any posts, coupons, videos, or photos you put out there have embedded links that take people to your website. Positive promotional awareness on Facebook is great. Getting some of them to actually visit your website is divine.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tgPuE5Latw]

6) Schedule your content wisely. Use apps like Hootsuite to manage Twitter and other accounts. The times you want to post your content is when people are likely on social media, which is probably evenings and weekends. Schedule the content in advance so that you do not have to have an employee doing social media marketing at that exact time, and instead can arrange everything during business hours like the rest of your workers.

7) Markethive is a powerful Inbound Marketing Platform that really will skyrocket your social media marketing and really bring it to a whole new level with it’s revolutionary tools you will be able to get your content viral and your reach to your target market can be achieve in a very short time. Markethive’s blogging platform is extremely effective and will make your WordPress even better you could create a plugin that you can install on your WordPress and once it’s installed you could do your blog post at Markethive and it will be posted to your WordPress blog.

You also can create a blog cocktail of other talented Markethive members that writing content similar to your niche, for example social media marketing, internet marketing etc. There are even more features in which your content can be shared by you to social media accounts, and also other members of Markethive can share your blog post to their social media accounts. Can you see how epic Markethive is. Those are just a few features of Markethive to discover the other features watch the video below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OwmErZ72-Q]

Click The Banner Below To Join Markethive Now

Social media marketing is an absolute must for success in today’s economy. Whether you are trying to promote a chain of stores, your own small business, or just yourself as a self-employed person with skills people might need, you need to master social media marketing at least at a fundamental and basic level in order to generate attention and enthusiasm for what you bring to the table. Use these 6 social media marketing tips to get ahead.

 

MarketHive

Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

If you manage a business, then you already know just how vital marketing is in getting the news out regarding your company’s services and products. If you neglect to market your company, then you won’t get any shoppers. Because of this your company’s successfulness relies heavily on your marketing efforts. While traditionally, the use of outbound marketing has been the most common approach, this has quickly changed over the last two years.

Recently, many companies have turned towards inbound marketing strategies for their advertising and marketing methods. In case you are puzzled by what the differences are between outbound vs inbound marketing, keep reading. Knowing the pros and cons of both will permit you to produce a better marketing strategy to match the needs of your company.

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

 

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Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is really a method where the business promotes their services and products by introducing information to consumers even if they do not happen to be in search of those products and services. For this reason, outbound marketing have been labelled as “interruptive marketing”. Companies do this through the use of television, print ads, direct mailers, radio and more. This is one way traditional advertising worked, unfortunately, these methods are not only interruptive and poorly timed, they could be quite costly. For anybody who is a small business owner, you can possibly be paying an arm and a leg for one of these methods of advertising with no promise of results. However, bigger companies which can afford this kind of advertising would benefit, as this strategy can help bring attention about one’s services and products to a nationwide audience.

inbound marketing

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a more economical online strategy, which is actually a good reason why numerous web marketers use it. The thought of inbound marketing is that you simply target a core audience by suppling useful and quality posts to allure them into trying to discover more details on your products or services. So, in simple terms, you provide them something to get them to come to you.

It’s an effective strategy for several reasons. To begin with, you’ll be concentrating on potential customers who’re really looking for services or products that you provide, as opposed to trying to market to every consumer in existence, no matter what their wants are. There are a great number of techniques to conduct a successful inbound marketing strategy, all of these require a presence online.

content marketing

Creating Content

By using social media sites including Facebook, Twitter as well as LinkedIn, you’ll be able to post helpful blog posts and articles and videos that are regarding your products or services. This content really should not be advertising your company, instead it should be provided that useful content to consumers. Produce original content by using SEO (search engine optimization) and post it to your social media web sites. Not only are you attracting people to stick with you, you’re offering them the chance to share your content, that will finally lead straight back to your website.

product incentives

Giving Incentives

Provide followers incentives for following you, such as by giving free eBooks or offers pertaining to your products and services. One strategy is to make a landing page which you link to using your social networking web page. On that website landing page, you’ll offer consumers free products or content in return for joining your newsletter.

social media marketing
Communication

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing lets you have direct communication with the potential customer. Utilizing your social media presence, you can request your followers for their suggestions relating to your product or service. This shows them that you choose to treasure your prospects, and provides you the the opportunity to increase your business.

Selecting between outbound vs inbound marketing will depend on a lot on the resources of your business. All businesses, regardless of how large or small, should make use of inbound marketing strategies. However, companies with larger capital can’t afford to pay little attention to effects of reaching a greater amount of interested people by means of outbound marketing. If you require some tips about just what the greatest tactics are for your business,

Markethive free inbound marketing platform

Markethive is one of the best inbound marketing platforms which has the best effective marketing tools to help you to deploy marketing campaign that get you the results you desire. The best thing is these marketing tools are free for you to utilize.

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Create Your MarketHive Profile


Markethive is quite amazing and has some very powerful marketing tools:

This is what your get when you join Markethive:

Email Marketing Tools 

Capture Page Widgets
Email Autoresponders
Email Broadcasting
Lead Groups
Lead Management System
Amazon Mail Servers

Content Marketing

Authority Blogging Platform
Group Blog Campaigns
Blog Collaboration
Blog Sharing
Widget WordPress Plugins
Blog Curation

Social Media

Social Network
Group Broadcasting
WP Subscribe Plugin
Social Account Messaging
Content Collaboration

SEO

Content Rich Profile
Group cross links
WP Broadcast Groups
Content Widgets
Cross Comment System

Lead Management

Cross Social Networking
Lead Groups Management
Friends Curation
Leads Curation
Email,Phone, Skype
Social Networks collected
Lead Capture Profile
Lead Page Plugins
Lead Funnels

Campaigns

Advertising Partners Tracking
Advertising Coop Manager
Tiny URL
Website Rotator Website Tracker
Asset Map
Keyword Analysis
Back link Tracking

Plus Daily Workshops

daily workshops and training

Coming Soon

5 seat Webinar Room For All members
more capacity will be available for members

Join Markethive

There is a great deal of value that Markethive offers you for free, the marketing tools are very effective, and you will have the tools to not only get your content viral to your social networks right from Markethive, but you also have the tools that you can track your results. Markethive is mind-blowing and a no-brainer. There is no wasting time and effort in Markethive, just login and you will be up in running in minutes.

What are you waiting for click the banner below and  JOIN Markethive RIGHT NOW

 

MarketHive

The Importance Of Inbound Marketing To Boost Website Traffic

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inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is focused on being discovered by buyers, through providing useful information and content, search engine optimization (SEO) as well as social media. This strategy has a long term benefit, and can turn out to increase customer loyalty through tailored messages and unique content.

Inbound marketing methods which can include social networking, with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn plus social media marketing incorporating article marketing by writing blog posts, blog commenting, posting article directories, pod casts and video marketing are seen quite often more favorable methods to get the word out about your particular business, product,or services..

promotional products

Promotional Products

Promotional products are inbound marketing tools that have been around far longer compared to the other inbound marketing techniques that are so well-known today. They have a proven history of being one of the most cost efficient marketing options available for building your brand or marketing your important message.

Promotional Items

Promotional items are recognized as inbound marketing as they do not interrupt the people they’re attempting to attract. On the contrary, the most beneficial promotional products serve an essential service. Promotional items obtain the best results if they are products that people desire to own, have a requirement for and are used frequently.

Content

On the web, content is the king. Inbound marketing depends on top quality content; the target audience must find the content appealing enough. The content should be in the form of a WordPress blog, you tube video, or an article. As soon as you publish the content online, it will help you to drive traffic towards your web site, and once search engines like Google and yahoo discover the content.

keyword research

Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important steps you can take when optimizing your website or WordPress blog, there are plenty of tools that you can use including the most popular Google keyword tool. If you do you keyword research correctly you will be able to develop a very effective inbound marketing campaign that will give you the results that you seek and much more. When doing your keyword research make sure that you get keyword suggestions based on your product, services and business. There are also software such as Market Samurai,you can also do a Google search for other free keyword research software and tools.

Inbound marketing is the way to go, it is a very effective way to get your business, products and services to go viral and get seen by potential customers, or buyers. One of the best Inbound Marketing Systems on the Internet in the present day is Markethive which offers the most effective inbound marketing tools and resources and they are most importantly free for life. Take the time and watch the video below for more details

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OwmErZ72-Q]

As you can see from the video Markethive is your best choice in outbound marketing systems not only because of the powerful effective marketing tools but the fact that it is totally free. How amazing is that? What are you waiting for join Markethive now and start getting your marketing campaign started.

Just Click Here and join using one of your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter or Google plus just to name a few.

See you on the other side

Cynthia Barbour

 

MarketHive
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Get Found using Inbound Marketing

Get Found using Inbound Marketing

This is part of my series on Building a Sales and Marketing Machine. In this post I provide advice for building your own Inbound Marketing machine- a requirement for most businesses today.

The web has forever changed people’s buying habits. Instead of needing to rely on sales people to send them information, buyers now have Google and other search engines to research products, find competitors, and see how other people rate those products in blogs and reviews. Furthermore they are greatly influenced by individuals that have emerged as experts in particular subject areas who use social media to get their messages across.

This sea change in buying behavior requires vendors to re-think how they go to market, and optimize to make sure that they will get found by buyers using search engines, blogs, reviews, and social media. The term Inbound Marketing was invented by the crew at Markethive (When they were Veretekk), when they developed the techniques and technologies that are needed to get found by buyers, and to make sure that the reviews and blogs around your industry segment cover what you are doing. (Markethive provides great software tools, plus education to help you automate Inbound Marketing. The founder, Thomas Prendergast has written many great  books on these topics (dating back as far as 20 years ago) “Automated Marketing”, Customer Centricity”, Building a Better Website”, “The Power of the Social Network in Search Engines”, Conference Room Advantage”.

Markethive produced this great humorous video that highlights the hopelessness of the old techniques of the Outbound Marketing moron:

 

As further evidence of this change in buying behavior, I was recently talking to the CIO of a large pharmaceutical company, and he told me how he hates spam emails from vendors, and how he had developed a canned email response to them. I asked him to forward me a copy of that email, and have excerpted a couple of paragraphs from it that quite clearly describe the carnage:

“Please understand that I get dozens of these types of messages a week. I simply do not have time to read them, dig into them, follow-up on them, or reply to them. The most effective solution to this problem is for me to ignore the messages, which is what I usually do. …

… Finally, a small comment. As a customer, I find this type of approach to sales to be largely annoying to me and unproductive for you. We learn far more about what we want to purchase by searching the web, looking for customer references in blogs and forums, word of mouth, and by finding white papers on your site that concretely describe solutions to problems we are having.”

Remarkable Content is King

A key part of getting found is making sure you show up on the first page of a Google search. The lazy marketer’s approach to doing this is to purchase Google Adwords, and pay by the click (referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing). However 85% of people ignore the paid ads, so to be really effective, you will need to perfect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills.

SEO requires you to develop great content that your buyers will find sufficiently interesting, different or insightful, that they will want to remark on it. (The authors of Inbound Marketing refer to that as remarkable content.) When your readers remark on your content on-line, using tools like Twitter, Facebook etc., they spread the word virally to other readers and broaden your reach. These comments lead to links back to your site, which lead to ever increasing page ranking in the search engines.

 

To be successful at this, you will need to keep the content fresh.
Traditional web sites don’t work in this regard, as they don’t change frequently enough.
What is needed is a blog that you update regularly.

 

Your blog cannot simply be a sales pitch for your product, but needs to be about topics that your buyers care to read about. The tone could be educational; or humorous; or controversial. But above all it needs to be highly engaging and relevant to them – i.e. remarkable.

When you post a new blog entry, you will see your site traffic surge for a few days, then die back to a level slightly higher than before. The more you post, the faster your traffic will build. But in the end, it is the really great articles that you post that will have the most impact.

And meritocratic blog system like Markethive (actually only Markethive) produce all of the above in a simple atmosphere of massive content curation that is immediately reward or rejected, building amazing content is King results, or something like that.

Once you have interesting content, you can use social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. to get the word out (Uh ummmm again, Marketing simplifies this to a level of excruciating results, but then like EST (You remember EST Erhard Seminar Training), you need to experience. No word, even from me, can truly do it justice.). Your goal is to get other bloggers to link to you, and to have people tweet about your content.

An interesting thing about a marketing department that focuses on Inbound Marketing: it will place a high value on people that know how to write and develop content that draws in an audience. A silver lining to the damage that the internet has inflicted on the publishing industry is that there are plenty of very talented journalists seeking employment, and they possess the perfect skills for this job!

SEO versus SEM

Like most of things that are good for us in life, SEO requires work and patience before it will payback. So it can be tempting to take shortcuts, and just use SEM (paid search ads). However if it is done right, the results will continue to build, and you will start to build your own audience, and own your own traffic.

We have also seen that the cost of paid search increases as the need to scale the lead volume grows.

The Power of Free

Another extremely powerful way to create inbound traffic and qualified leads is to use a free product or service. A great example of this is the The entire Inbound Marketing Platform (Valued in excess of up to $10,000 per month) service from Markethive. (If you haven’t tried this, I recommend giving it a try now. It will only take a few minutes to join.) Markethive has a couple of interesting attributes that are worth studying:

 

It is free of charge.
It takes very little work by the customer to get some very valuable results

 

It provides its results in the form of a score out of 100. Human beings are very competitive, and when they don’t get a good score, they want to find out how to improve their score. That leads them to wanting to find out more about Markethive which can help them improve their score.

It allows them to compare themselves to their competitors. All businesses care about how they are doing relative to their competition. If they are doing worse, this is a powerful motivator to drive them to change.

Think hard about your audience and whether there is an opportunity to build a similar free web service that would draw them in, and provide great value.

If you are interested in learning more about how Free products and services can help your marketing, please refer to this section: The Power of Free.

Building your reach

Once you have great content and possibly a free product/service, you will want to find ways to drive the maximum traffic to that content. In the last couple of years we have seen some powerful new tools emerge to help with this process in the social media space. Get yourself accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and join in the conversation. (For Twitter, I also recommend downloading the Tweetdeck application.) Start by listening. Watch what people are talking about in your topic areas, and take note of their interests. Once you have an idea of how the conversation works join in. Be careful not to take a sales stance to promote your products, as that will rapidly lose you your audience. However you can draw your audience in with short url’s (Another one of Markethive’s great free services) that link to your blog posts and other non-sales oriented content.

This short paragraph is not going to be enough to fully educate you on the ins and outs of using social media to build your audience, so if the topic interests you, I recommend going here to learn more:

Internet Marketing Webinars (see the calendar in Markethive after you join for free of course).

Influencer Campaigns

In every product area, there are usually already influencers that write the most about that area, and have the largest audience that follows them. To conduct a successful social media campaign, you will want to identify those influencers, and reach out to them to get them to write about your product/service.

To get them to pay attention to you, you will first need to understand what they care about. Read their blog posts and tweets, and try to get inside their minds. Try to determine what appeals to them, and what has clearly turned them off. Then prepare your pitch, and use social media to engage with them.

You will then want to monitor the results by tracking their blog posts, links to the articles, tweets, etc.

For more information…

Inbound marketing is a rich topic area that would take more than a single article like this to describe. For more information, consider yourself a friend of Markethive:

Markethive

Thomas Prendergast
CMO Markethive Inc.

 

 

 

MarketHive

Inbound Marketing: The New Personal Development for Entrepreneurs

Inbound Marketing: The New Personal Development for Entrepreneurs

 

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The late business philosopher Jim Rohn, famously said, “you get paid for the value you bring to the marketplace and not the time you spend in it”.  In other words, “make yourself more valuable to the marketplace” and you do that by working harder on improving yourself than you do working on the job”.  Working hard on the job is admirable; however, “working a job can make you a living but, working harder on yourself will make you a fortune”. “This is why personal development plays a vital role in your success as indicated by the fact, it is a lifelong process. It’s a way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set goals in order to realise and maximise their potential”.  In life you are on a timeline to accomplish certain goals and tasks; otherwise, you are guilty of a wasted life.  Clearly, nothing to be proud nor brag about.

As an entrepreneur/marketer you are constantly working on improving yourself to better your skills and abilities to attract new customers and more importantly, bring value to both them and the marketplace.  This is why Inbound Marketing is the logical extension of the process of becoming a better and improved marketer. Just as it says, “inbound marketing”, which refers to “marketing activities that bring visitors in rather than marketers having to go out to get prospect’s attention”.

So, you want to become a better and constantly improving marketer then, Inbound Marketing is the perfect solution for you.  Like anything in life success starts with identifying and correcting personal deficits and then, developing, implementing and executing the needed skills and/or abilities to overcome the challenges that lead to your placement as a dead dealer in the MLM Cemetery.  Clearly, you don’t get paid, if your marketing skills are as effective as watching paint dry.  Now, the Free Market determines the value you bring regardless of who you are and based more on what you have become.  In fact, being highly educated as indicated by having a PH.D., doesn’t a gaurantee a high paying salary. Remember America and other Westernised nations are capitalists and payment is based on value and not necessarily on the number of certifications you achieved.  Yes, the P.H.D., in English and Bachelors in IT are both examples of education but, which one has greater potential for future business success?  Think like an investor and do your research to determine the best return on your time, money and other resources for your benefit and that of your customers.  This is what inbound marketing is about.

Now, marketing is basically about promoting and selling the value of product and/or service to a desired target market.  So, different people have different personalities and an effective marketer must constantly master and improve his/her skill set to put money into his/her pocket.  When you think about master marketers like: Mark Victor Hansen, Cory Rudl, Frank Kern, Mary Kay Ash, Steve Jobs and many others, they all worked on themselves incessantly to become the perfect ambassador of their product/service.  It was clear the aforementioned entrepreneurs trusted no one else but, themselves to represent their product.  So, are you the best representative of your product/service? If yes, why and if not, why not?  Want as many eyeballs on your product/service then, earn the right to occupy your customer’s time.

Effective marketers are not one trick pony, today’s customers are highly intelligent and have already researched the product/service they desire and closing the deal means being customer-centered.  Just, ask any lady of easy virtue (yeah, I mean a prostitute) because they are masters of inbound marketing and personal development when you consider the skill set needed to draw in customers who are willing to pay for what they perceive to be value.  Consider the fact, “inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content”.  Now, you heard of Bill Gate’s famous quote, Content is King; however, quality content is what sells because it provides a solution to a problem.  How much money will companies spend on content that solves a problem versus content that is interesting but, fails to stop the financial hemorrhaging of compnay funds?  Indeed, personal development is the seed for effective marketing; otherwise, like an outbound marketer who used old school methods (purchasing leads, safelists, buying ads, etc.,) will generate zero leads and income because the methodology is commensurate to a bloody telemarketer, who provides content that isn’t in alignment with the interest nor needs of their target market.  So, much for getting payed, being hired for future jobs and never-mind your professional reputation.

Time to transform your marketing and for today’s current successful marketers the trend began in 2006, when Inbound Marketing, became the proven method most effective for conducting business online.  “By aligning your content with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then, convert, close and delight”.

Let’s examine the four actions needed to be successful in becoming a master of Inbound Marketing:

 Attract, it’s about traffic and the right kind of traffic that can be drawn to content that creates mutual benefit.

Convert, turning your potential customer into a lead is the goal and offering them something of value will be key to your success.

Close, the process of the sale being achieved in a mutually exclusive manner benefitting all parties involved.

Delight, it’s about being customer-centered regardless of the stage of your users because it’s about providing them quality content.

To better understand and visualize the complete Inbound Marketing methodology please examine Hubspot.

Content creation or more accurately, quality content is the gospel for effective online marketing because effective communication with today’s customers requires engagement with quality not quantity.  If, you want success in this relatively new method marketing then, recognise that “poor thinking habits keep you poor” and you need to “stand guard at the door of your mind”.

Lastly, the professionals who engage in creating quality content often share about their favoriate content marketing tools that make their task so much easier and I also, have taken the liberty of sharing that information with my fellow marketers as indciated by the following:

Ubersuggest, a keyword suggestion software program

Audacity, a free open source multilingual audio editor and recorder software program.

Zemanta, a content creation platform with multiple apps and tools for your blogging enjoyment

SocialMention, is social analysis platform that enables you to learn what others say about a company and it’s brand

Social Search Engine Topsy, this tool indexes every keyword and phrase within the soscial web in real time

Canva, a free image editing priogram that makes manipulation and edting of your images easy

PicMonkey, another image editing program but easier and with more font features

Screen Capture By Google, there are a ton of screen capture tools out there, but I like the simplicity of Google’s Screen Capture plug-in for Chrome… possibly because I’m a Chrome junkie, so it’s always right there when I need it. You can capture selections, visible content, or the entire page and choose JPEG or PNG output.

Another tool I’ve used in the past that worked well is Jing, which allows you to markup your screenshots and also records to videoSnagit is a premium option from the same developers, with far greater capabilities and a pricetag of $49.95 (if you’re looking for a more versatile screen capture tool).

Vaurn James

Contributor

 

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The Inbound Marketing Methodology

The Inbound Marketing Methodology


Inbound marketing is all about getting found online by your audience. It’s where they’re looking for you. They’ve changed their shopping behavior, and we’re helping businesses adapt. Inbound focuses on attracting the right kind of prospects to your business and turning them into satisfied customers and brand loyalists.

What is Inbound Marketing?

It’s how your audience is behaving online today.

They’re not waiting for the message to be brought to them. They’re searching online for the content that helps solve a problem and make their buying process a much more informed one.

Inbound better positions your company to be the solution your ideal customers are looking for by developing an online presence that speaks to them and their specific interests and needs.

Why does it work?

The shopping behavior of your ideal consumer has changed significantly, and as a result, so have the methods for getting their attention.

Instead of relying on traditional methods of marketing that focus on pushing messages out to your audience — things like buying ads, buying email lists, sending direct mail — and hoping for a return, we focus on aligning your content strategy and overall campaign with your customer’s interests in order to pull more relevant prospects toward your company.

Attract

We’re not looking to simply attract website visitors, but rather attract the right kind of visitors that are valuable for business. For too long, the emphasis has been on traffic volume instead of the quality of the visitor. As consumers continually shift their attention online for research, most everyone has an online presence, including your competitors. You need something more.

Convert

Once you’re driving more qualified visitors to your website, you’ll want to convert these visitors into leads by collecting their contact information. To do this, you need to offer something of great value in exchange. Using your buyer personas as the foundation, crafting resourceful downloadable offers in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, videos, or checklists is the first step in optimizing your website for lead generation.

Close

Now that you’re generating more qualified traffic and leads to your website, the focus now is on nurturing these leads with the right content at the right time in order to help close them into customers. By executing a personalized lead nurturing strategy, you’ll successfully shorten the sales process due to the level of qualification and education your leads now have.

Delight

At its core, inbound marketing focuses on creating remarkable content for visitors, leads, and even your current customers. Once a lead becomes a customer, the process of achieving valuable brand equity is only just beginning. Continuing the positive experience with social monitoring, exclusive content, and further assistance helps to create brand loyalists, who in turn, deliver referral business.

 

 

MarketHive

What is meant by Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing Tools

I Just recently held the phrase Inbound Marketing and I said to myself what does that mean?

I started to research the phrase Inbound Marketing and found out the following:

Inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your best customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keep them coming back for more information.

This information is published through blogs, videos, eBooks, social media marketing, etc.

Inbound marketing also refers to the marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get the prospects’ attention.

Inbound marketing gets the attention of your prospects and, makes your company/website easier to be found and draws customers to your website by publishing interesting content.

I would like to invite you to the MarketHive Network. The MarketHive consist of Free Inbound Marketing Tools and it is a social network for entrepreneur.

The following video is a quick overview of the MarketHive Free Inbound Marketing System. At the end of this video it will ask you to sign up below.  Please disregard that and Click here  if you would like to register for a free account.

 

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
MarketHive Alpha Founder
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message “Market Hive”

 

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