The Marketing Automation Industry

September 30, 2013

Marketing automation sounds like you’re just spamming people but in reality, you are just sending information to the people who decided to opt-in to your “spamming” willingly. This is for customers who have signed up for your e-mail marketing, texts, etc. These people willingly entered in their contact information in order to hear what you have to say and you are giving them exactly what they want.

The best part about marketing automation is that your audience is filled with subscribers. What that means is that you are catering to people who are already interested in what you have to say. This gives you a chance to really cater to a specific audience that already has a background of your business. There is less of a need to convince them why you are the best at what you do, but rather more opportunities to inform them of the great things you have to offer.

Many companies are gearing their e-mail marketing campaigns with an marketing automation software. It has grown over 20% year over year but, But according to a recent study by iContact, 56 percent of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2013, and on average, they only plan to grow their email lists by 28 percent this year.

This method saves you so much time from having to segment lists and create A/B test e-mails to different demographics and audiences. With marketing automation, you can send e-mails with personalized messaging and specifically-tailored offers to the right people; those who are already interested in your product and want to partake in those offers. There is more relevant content to the people and more emphasis on the prospects through this route and that saves you time and allows for more lead conversions.

Basic Principles of Inbound Marketing

September 26, 2013

Strategies such as inbound marketing are complicated and take several steps to fully comprehend. Through processes like these, you need to have strong fundamentals to work from and we are here to help you with your marketing foundation.

You need to analyze your main enterprise, which is most likely your website. Your prime information should be on your website and from there, you will get a client base. Therefore, you need to measure and check your analytics throughout your marketing process to make sure everything goes smoothly. This allow you to know what works for you and what doesn’t. The number of unique visitors is important to monitor because if it keeps increasing, then you know you’re doing the right thing. On top of seeing how many people are visiting, you need to see what traffic source they are coming from. From this, you can target certain customers and optimize your SEO.

The next step is to analyze how they go about your website once they are brought there. Which pages have the most views? This will help you figure out where to place your calls to action for opting in so that the viewers will become leads. Landing pages give way for prospective leads. By analyzing your landing page views and submission rates, you can compare and contrast the different methods and see what works best for you. Tracking the results will show you the best conversions and spotlight your strengths. It will also help you see what you need to improve or eliminate from the marketing process.

The last main principle of inbound marketing is distribution. You need to know your reach and keep reaching for them. Checking your ROI allows you to know your sources to give you an idea of how to target them. Just like checking your landing pages will help you, you should check which social media outlets or other channels people are going to for reaching your website. By understanding the different sources, you not only can adjust and measure your SEO, but you can target certain calls to action and landing pages straight from these outlets as well.

With the measure of analytics, the tracking of landing pages and the understanding of different source channels, you will make the best of your inbound marketing strategy. These fundamentals will give a basis to your tactic to keep your marketing running smoothly. A strong basis is what your business needs to build from so that you can expand and grow to your highest potential.


Common Inbound Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

September 25, 2013

With the rise in inbound marketing for small to large businesses, there are bound to be several common mistakes that arise as well. Inbound marketing is difficult to get started due to the amount of effort that goes into the process and because of this, many mistakes can be made. We want to make sure you don’t fall into a pit of inbound marketing mistakes so here are some examples to look out for!

1. Starting without a “sound marketing strategy” will not deliver results. Your client depends on you to help them by providing a plan for them so that they know what’s to come. A strategy allows you to organize your marketing tactics to help your business get found, find customers and convert them into leads. From there, you extend that strategy to help plan how to get the results your leads are looking for.

2. Thinking that an inbound marketing program like HubSpot does it all is not the way to go about this method. Yes, these programs help greatly but it is you yourself and your employees that need to actually put the effort in to place data and continually work on this. HubSpot is great to keep all of your data in check but you yourself need to create compelling content for your viewers. You need to find different ways to attract readers whether its through text, images, videos, ebooks, white papers, etc. Think out of the box for things that others don’t have information about so that people can only go to you for what they need.

3. Not paying attention to the statistics can result in you wasting your time on certain aspects of your marketing strategy that don’t drive much of a response rate. Inbound marketing is a science as well as a creative business tactic. You need to measure traffic rates, conversion rates, leads and sales. This gives your clients a benchmark before you even start marketing for them, giving them an idea of how successful you are. By doing so, your credibility goes up greatly and you will be seen in a better light by prospective customers.

4. Using your inbound marketing skills without integrating your outbound marketing skills is a waste of opportunities. Inbound marketing may be the new successful tactic, but outbound marketing is still going on to this day. Why? Because it’s effective as well. You can’t just throw away something good because you found something better. You need to try to integrate them together to get the BEST tactic you can. Through outbound marketing you are reaching out to your customer, which is necessary. If you use both inbound and outbound marketing, you will reach out to potential leads and they will reach out to you as well. By having a two-way system, the chances of conversion are doubled. That means twice as many opportunities and you don’t want to just waste that.

5. Sticking to inbound marketing as is is trapping yourself. Effort is needed for every marketing strategy and inbound marketing is changing everyday. You need to adapt to the new social media outlets, features and policies all over the web. Everything is becoming more complex and needs more analysis and detail. If you don’t keep up with the changes, then you are missing out on many opportunities. You need to stay up to date and adapt to what’s going on around you because if you’re not doing so, other businesses are and they will surpass you. Inbound marketing is a non-stop cycle of effort but if you don’t do the work, you won’t get the results.

Sound Marketing Strategy for Inbound Marketing

September 24, 2013

Many companies struggle with trying to identify their strengths and weaknesses as a business. You need to define your business to be able to develop a sound marketing strategy, which is a long-term plan for your goals to achieve specific marketing goals and objectives. You need this basis to start with in order for your business to develop and grow through inbound marketing. A sound marketing strategy can provide you with so much for the future of your company and here are some reasons how.

Provides Focus and Direction. Lack of focus and direction hold a business back from reaching their potential. Without having a set plan and goals, you can’t effectively articulate exactly what you need for your clients. Clients want to make sure you have everything in check for your business so that their projects go smoothly. The trust and credibility in this issue is what really draws your customers to you compared to others. You need to provide a focus so that you can seize the opportunities that arise and give your business the highest potential.

Saves Time and Money. With a focus, you can understand what kind of employees you want to hire and only invest on those who support your overall business objectives. This saves time rather than by just hiring a bunch of qualified businesspeople. Those people will then use their energy and time on projects that deliver a return on investment. When you go through this process correctly, you will be able to achieve more for your business and have the best staff to support your company as well.

Identifying Your Value Proposition. This relates to the focus and direction for your business but on a deeper level. You need to be able to make a promise from your organization to your prospective client. They want specific reasons for why they should trust you over another company and this is KEY. This is what converts customers into leads. You need to know what you’re all about and exactly what you can offer people that others can’t. The sound marketing strategy with a long-term plan and goals shows organization and commitment as well as credibility towards your clients. That’s what they want to see when they choose who to turn to.

Inbound marketing is the process of actually going through the steps towards your goal in an intelligent manner that will achieve success. However, a sound marketing strategy is what you need to start with. Without a laid out plan with goals and important assets to consider along the way, you will start from scratch and you can’t just jump into an inbound marketing program like HubSpot to magically make things happen. You need to have a set plan down the road for your business yourself.

Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Strategy

September 23, 2013

We understand that inbound marketing is difficult but here are some guidelines to help you plan out your strategy to get you on your way.

1. Plan. You need to develop the personas you are targeting your product or services for. Frrom there, you can assess your current needs, and set objectives and measurable goals in order to develop an effective content strategy. When you have a strategy, you can then define the responsibilities and distribute them among your staff to achieve your goals.

2. Create. Whether it is videos, blogs, webinars, podcasts, white papers, or ebooks, you need to develop interesting content for your audience. The content will attract visitors, convert them into leads and position you as a thought leader. You need to feed them information that they can’t really get elsewhere or that they would look to you for as their main source.

3. Distribute. You need to share content specifically designed to appeal to your ideal customer. Help get found through keywords for SEO. Promote your posts on social media and beyond throughout the web. Utilize email marketing to bring visitors back. These are great ways to share your content. You should also use a content calendar for strategic planning so that all of these outlets don’t get mixed up or overlooked.

4. Capture. You need to convert visitors to generate a list of qualified prospects. You can do so with premium content offers and compelling calls to action. Landing pages and contact forms are also straight-shots to your leads. When you give your audience the opportunity to give you their information and contact you, they will more likely do so and begin their process as your customer.

5. Analyze. Once you have captured some leads, you can’t just stop there. You need to review the data you have to determine what’s working and what’s not. This way, you won’t be having useless parts of your advertising that just take up space for the things that can convert more leads. Tools from sites like HubSpot and Google Analytics allows you to identify your top lead sources, show which topics and posts are read the most, and which specific offers are converting your readers into leads.

6. Cultivate. You can’t just have a potential lead or customer and expect them to not change their minds. You also want your customers to spread the word to people they know as well. This process makes it necessary to maintain lead nurturing and marketing automation in order to establish trust and credibility. This is necessary to make your brand stand apart from the rest. People don’t just trust anyone and if you can keep this, your customer base will stay with you and grow with their recommendations to others.

An Inbound Marketing Strategy

September 20, 2013

Inbound marketing is difficult to get started as it take a lot of effort. That’s understandable but you need to start somewhere. yes, content is very important but what’s just as important, maybe even more, is your marketing strategy. With our insight in this field, here are some tips to help you get in there to convert your customers into leads.

1. What is your target audience’s persona? This is important because then you can gear your product towards a specific kind of person rather than having a generalization. Yes, you do want to have a large audience base but sometimes, specifying things can make the road a lot easier for you. The persona you are targeting will give you a chance to really get towards the people who share common problems, needs and wants. Through this, you will be able to have an audience base that knows that they can turn to you for their exact wants and needs.

2. Understanding customer buyers is the next step once you find out what demographic you are gearing your product or service towards. Awareness is the ability to find out what their problems. You can find this through blogs, PR research, ads, banners, analysts, etc. By searching for a problem or need, you will then be able to form steps to help your potential customers solve them.

3. Performing research at an educational standpoint gives you a starting commitment to your customer’s issues. By learning about the problem, you will finding different ways to solve them, helping your audience out as they do their research on their own. You can do this through ebooks, buyer guides, industry whitepapers, events, Q&As, etc. Through this, you can learn more about your customer and the issues they have. This starting commitment makes your customer feel like their problems are also yours and that gives you a stronger bond between your audience and your company.

4. Establishing the buying criteria tends to be the solution to the problems. Yes, there are many different kinds of products that can cater to your customer’s needs but you need to make yourself stand out and give them reason to choose your product over others. If your product is unique enough, you may have little to no competition. That is a large advantage but that usually isn’t the case. You need to help your customers understand why your product or service is right for them from an educational standpoint. Make sure you aren’t in a sales mode yet so that they can trust you as “one of them.”

5. Vendor evaluation from the customers themselves is how they proceed to the next step. They have all of their research and are educated in the different solutions for their problems. Now, it’s time to steer them in your direction full-on. from product demos to free trials, you can give them an inside sneak-peek at why you really are the perfect solution for your customers. Specific information and overall experience is what really speaks to people and if you give this to them, they are more likely to give in to what you have to offer because they already experienced it. They understand it and already have an idea of what it’s going to be like in the future or long run.

It’s important to have great content for marketing but you need to have people there for you to actually market to that will want to listen to what you have to offer. You need to have a great inbound marketing strategy to get there. With these ideas in mind, you can make a greater impact on your audience base.

Inbound vs. Content Marketing

September 19, 2013

Unlike Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing has a more specific and limited in regards to meaning and application. It refers to the earned media strategies and tactics to drive traffic and conversions to a marketeer’s website to turn them into leads. Content Marketing is deliberately broader so that emphasis is placed on each individual piece of content.

By making the marketing at a broader standpoint, each piece of content whether it is text, an image, a video or another type of media and it distributes it appropriately and measures its effects. This allows each individual aspect of the marketing tactic stand out in its own way. Each part is emphasized and draws attention from the audience. The content will come from places that will best target specific consumers that are most likely to find, friend, follow and forward it. Through this, different people will be attracted to the many different parts and ultimately, you will have a larger pool of potential conversions.

The emphasis is also not necessarily to create traffic and sales that lead back to the marketeer’s website just like it would through inbound marketing. Although it may be one of the goals, the main goal is to create conversations and conversions to where the marketeer’s products or services may be — whether that be on the phone, online, in store or in person.

By seeing marketing in this light rather than from a specific “inbound marketing” perspective, you can have a much better use of content and target a larger range of people that are catered to each of their specific needs and interests. That is the kind of consumer you want: one that purposefully loves your product and wants to share that with those they interact with as well.


Content Curation for Inbound Marketing

September 18, 2013

Content is key when it comes to inbound marketing and that is because it is the main reason for your audience to turn to you compared to others. It’s what drives your vision, goals through your products and services. However, creating lots of extensive content is hard when there are so many other assets to your business. That’s where content curation comes into play.

Creating a steady flow of relevant content isn’t easy and many companies know this. Therefore, the consistency is a challenge. Here are some ways that brands dealt with content curation along with the pros and cons of each situation:

1. Hiring a Dedicated Content Curator allows you to depend on one person whose sole purpose is to create content for you. This is great for ensuring a consistent brand voice and a steady flow of content for your organization. However, the approach is very expensive as you are just paying that person to write for you. Also, you need to keep in mind that you need to train this employee to learn about your brand and company so that their writing reflects upon you.

2. Internal Crowdsourcing brings a diverse source of voices with different areas of expertise to your blog. It allows people that have a deeper knowledge of each field to express what they know about each situation so that you know the audience is well-informed in all aspects rather than from a person who knows a little bit about everything. This may seem like a great way to go but it can also create inconsistency within your blog. The many different voices may agree to disagree on many topics and your audience will be confused in such manner.

3. Outsourcing Externally turns to other companies that are experts in the field of content curation. With this method, you will hire the person that can speak of your blog to the best of their ability in regards to your topic. These people will be much more professional and understand what your company is about better than if you just hired a dedicated content curator yourself. Outsourcing through an organization made for content curation will give you the best possible content. However, sometimes these people may not understand your company well enough and just like if you hired a dedicated content curator, you’d need to spend a lot of time and money to sustain this tactic.

4. Collecting User-Generated Content is very popular among business to customer (B2C) brands. By relating to your customer base, you will have a happier audience that is more likely to understand and respond to you. Customer voices give proof that your brand is “real” and relatable to others. It makes a much stronger connection between your business and your audience. However, for business to business (B2B) brands, there would be a need to conduct surveys and have case studies to understand the other perspective. This would take a lot of time in this aspect.

5. Licensing Content gives you the ability to use other articles in its entirety. It is for those who have money but don’t have time or resources to create content. This should be the last possible choice for you as the opportunities through this isn’t very practical. Yes, you save a lot of money but you are also using very broad information. Also, search engines do not index licensed content as you paid to use and publish it and they don’t have any rights. Without a great SEO backend for your blog, it is difficult to get the word out there about each entry.

Curation is a difficult task when it comes to a business in the long-run. These are several ways to get past that bump in the road for your business. There are pros and cons to each of them but each are good for your brand based on what your needs are and how much time, money and resources you have already. It’s important to compare all the different possibilities you have to get the best possible outcome for you. Inbound marketing relies on a steady flow of strong and relatable content and if you are lacking in this situation, curation just might be what you need.

Magnetic Inbound Marketing

September 16, 2013

Inbound marketing is a strong tactic that many businesses are using to reach out to their potential leads. However, it also needs to be evolved in order to change human behavior and impact the market. People are sick of the stereotypical marketeers that are shoving services and products down their throats. They want to feel like they “need” what you have to offer in order to participate and reach out to you. Here are some main points to consider in going in this route:

1. Create compelling content. When you create content that truly interests your readers, they will enjoy getting information and want to know more even after they finish seeing what you have to offer. They will in turn ask questions and really become involved in your business on their own. By using this way, you will be approached by your leads rather than feeling like you are bothering people to become your customers. Your customer base will also be filled with more people who love your business and want to promote it to their friends and family.

2. Put it in the right context. Sometimes, businesses flourish not because they are the greatest idea ever but because they came about when people needed what was offered. You need to understand the situations that will arise with your customers. Think about the questions your customers will ask and will be curious about so that the information that they need will already be there on your site. This keeps you a step ahead in the game and makes your customers believe that you really are there for them every step of the way. They don’t want to hit a road block or have to use more effort to call in to get their questions answered. Businesses that really understand the people and their needs are the ones that have the potential to make it farther on the road to success.

3. Be human, not automatic. No one likes dealing with machines. No one wants to feel like they are just another number. People like hearing the voice of others that are catered to helping them with their specific problems. When you give your customers that sense of satisfaction, the connection you have with them becomes deeper than you can ever imagine. Few businesses approach their audience in this manner so by doing so, you will stand out. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, social media is key in this as you can send several different messages across different platforms directly to your customer base.

Through these few steps, your business will not only reach your target audience but it will also stay with them “magnetically.” Your ideas and the things that you are trying to promote and sell will stay in their minds as you approach the people in a different manner. By having the people “need” what you have to offer and making them seem like they are not just another number but an important and valuable customer, your customer base will stick and grow as referrals will be more likely to happen and your audience will in turn love your business through this process.

Inbound-Outbound Marketing Collaborations

September 12, 2013

Many businesses are still stuck in the mindset of sticking to only outbound marketing but the best businesses learn to collaborate those efforts with inbound marketing as well. inbound marketing relies on earning the people’s interest instead of buying it. This makes it very cost-efficient as you can gain prospects through effort rather than through payment. With the money you save, you can potentially spend more on outbound marketing and gain even more leads in the long run.

Value is the main aspect between inbound and outbound marketing. It is what brings the people to love your business and what you have to offer. Valuable content gets people to respond to you so that there is a two-way street of communication rather than the one-way version through outbound marketing. Through this, customers will come to you first through social media, search engines and referrals when it comes to inbound marketing and you should also seek out customers as well with print and digital media advertisements. By combining these efforts, your potential leads will expand and can transform into customers.

Inbound marketing skills are hard to build but give you many more advantages in the long run. Therefore, outbound marketing skills are necessary to get you started. By having some paid advertising and getting yourself out there, you will have a small audience and then you can grow from there by connecting with them and hopefully, they will pass the information to others they know. Inbound marketing is a process that takes a lot of time and effort but if you do it correctly, your business potential will flourish.