[By Grass Roots Marketing, Inc.]
Yay turkey... and Inbound Marketing! This year, we thought we'd all share what we're thankful for in the world of marketing...
"I am thankful for the Website Grader tool. Analyzing a website can be time consuming because of all the pieces that go into it. Using the website grader, a site can be scanned and graded in a matter of minutes and even compared to the site of a competitor. Putting everything together in one report is a convenient way to see where a website is lacking."
Senior Vice President
"I am thankful that professionals are finally realizing the importance of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an excellent way to find prospects and nurture leads along the sales cycle. Slowly but surely, businesses are integrating LinkedIn into their marketing strategy."
Manager of Public Relations
"I'm thankful for our blog, Marketing, Coffee & Pretzels. Without it, we wouldn't be able to express, in detail, such great concepts as inbound marketing, social media, marketing trends, hodge podge and fun banter."
Manager of Design
"I am thankful that social media has made a push into the business realm. Using these sites for more than just keeping in touch with friends and family has proven to be a successful way of communicating to prospects and clients. We use our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts to offer insight to our industry and remain up to date with others."
"I'm thankful for the new Google+ because it helps to improve our website’s search ranking and allows me to share updates and news to specific circles of followers."
What are you thankful for this year? Share your comments below... we'd love to hear from you!
Click here for a special Thanksgiving greeting from Grass Roots Marketing, Inc.
[By Sarah Faglio]
An infographic (information graphic) is a visual representation of information, data or knowledge. It is used to clearly explain complex information to a desired audience. It is actually very helpful in making information easier, and perhaps more enjoyable, to read.
This idea actually makes very logical sense. Would you be eager to read a long drawn out article that innodated you with information and statistics? Visual learners (as a lot of us are) do not have the time or patience. Many would rather be shown the main takeways and most important points as opposed to reading paragraphs of texts.
One way to achieve reader interest is to put these main points and statistics into an infographic. Visual.ly is a website that houses and promotes user-submitted infographics across a wide range of topics.
Creative and informative infographics are great links to share and promote, giving you enhanced SEO value; ranking you higher in search engine results.
Infographics are highly versatile in the sense that you can create it about any topic for any type of industry. This versatility allows them to be useful in building links from valuable and authoritative sources. Having control over the content and graphics allows you to create an aesthetically pleasing infographic that is tailored to your target audience's interests; positioning you as a subject matter expert and creative thinker.
How to Create Your Infographic:
Here is an example of an infographic we did entitled, "Inbound Marketing and the Relationship Between the World's Consumers & the Internet":
Infographics make reading important and relevant information interesting and appealing. Be engaging. Use infographics to emphasize topics that are important to your potential customers and clients, while positioning yourself as a subject matter expert!
[By Jeff Androsko]
If you're a frequent reader of our blog or have spoken with any of the Grass Roots Marketing team, you've inevitably heard us preach about how great HubSpot Inbound Marketing Software is. However, you still may not truly grasp what it does, how it drives sales and why we use it for both our website (www.grmwebsite.com) and our clients' sites.
Essentially, HubSpot is a fully integrated website command station; allowing you to make edits to your site, review detailed analytics, create content, blog, expand social media reach, measure SEO page rankings and keywords... and most importantly... track and convert sales leads. How does it do all this?
- Content Management
When you migrate your site to HubSpot's hosting, you get their content management system (CMS). This tool allows you to create, edit and optimize content on your website; taking away the costly, sometimes time-consuming process of paying a developer to make edits to your pages.
- SEO & Keyword Analysis
By using the Keyword Grader and SEO editing features, you can help plan a strategy to get found through search engines and referring links. Grade your website's targeted keywords based on difficulty, rank, popularity and relevance to your business or brand.
- Social Media Analytics and Reach Capabilities
With HubSpot's Social Media Analytics and Reach tools, you can execute, track and participate in successful social media campaigns. By integrating your social media accounts with HubSpot's software, you can easily Tweet, post, share and interact with people who are genuinely interested in your content, products and services.
- Prospect and Lead Tracking / Conversion
Probably the most groundbreaking feature of HubSpot is it's prospect and lead tracking modules. With the CMS and online forms you can create on your pages, you can successfully capture warm sales leads instead of relying on old school outbound marketing tactics; like cold calling and door-to-door sales. You can literally see where your interested web visitors went, how they interacted with the site and when they came; giving you invaluable prospect and lead data for your sales force.
We suggest using HubSpot Inbound Marketing Software to anyone who is interested in new media and fresh tactics to get sales leads. No matter who you are or what industry for whom you work, you can't ignore the effectiveness and ease HubSpot creates for those who are serious about online sales and revenue... the numbers don't lie. To see the type of tangible effect we're talking about, click here.
To learn more about how Grass Roots Marketing works with its clients' websites through HubSpot, check out this video.
To learn more about inbound marketing and driving sales through the internet, click here.
Seem too complicated for you? Grass Roots Marketing is comprised of Certified HubSpot Professionals. If you would like to speak with us about managing your website through HubSpot, contact us here.
[By Sarah Faglio]
Google began in January 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, PhD students at Stanford University. Since then, Google has become a top search engine for helping users find information on the Internet. It has turned into such a recognized company name that “Google” is defined as a verb meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.” The company has produced many services and applications since its creation. One of its most recent creations is Google+ (Google Plus, abbreviated as G+), a social networking and identity service, launched in late June 2011.
For those businesses who are interested in staying on top of their social media game, Google+ is the next step in social media innovation. However, the addition of another social network onto the Internet landscape may seem redundant and unnecessary to some.
Wondering what makes G+ stand out from other social networks?
Here are features of Google+ that Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter don’t have:
Hangouts – Hangouts allow you to connect with others by video conferencing with multiple people.
Circles – By classifying your followers into circles, you are able to selectively share information. You can share with everyone, or just one of your circles.
Direct Connect – After turning this feature on in your settings, your Google + page appears when users type: “+ [your company]” into the Google search bar.
+1 Button – Google search results now have a +1 option, where users can +1 your page. This adds to your SEO rank and popularity, and allows others on Google to see what interests their friends.
5 Best Practices for Your Company's G+ Page:
Share LOTS of Photos – Images, charts or slides you share on Google+ spark conversations and increase spread of your content.
Add Recommended Links – Adding links to blog articles and lead generation offers drive more traffic and leads for your business.
Promote Your Google+ Page on Your Blog and Website – Websites using Google+ button get 3.5 times the Google+ visits.
Encourage People to Share Your Posts – Asking your subscribers to share your content spreads it to the people in their circles.
Analyze Traffic and Leads From Google+ – By looking at the traffic and leads that have been driven from Google+, you are able to see how it is working for your business.
As of date, Google+ has 40 million users, as compared to Facebook with 800 million users and LinkedIn with 135 million users. Google+ is becoming increasingly popular and benefits companies looking to enhance their visibility on the Internet. With all the pluses to Google+, there’s no reason to not add it to your online marketing strategy.
[By Sarah Faglio]
Change is inevitable. Nothing ever stays the same, which goes for marketing as well. Marketing goes as far back as 1450 when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, from the idea of printing with movable type. This invention eventually led to the mass-production of flyers and brochures that businesses used to market themselves to the public.
According to Robert Bartels’ The History of Marketing Thought, marketing theory began in the 1900s when its basic concepts were discovered and first explored. However, marketing has come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century.
During the course of marketing development, people used outbound marketing techniques, simply because it was the only way to get a consumer’s attention. Purchases would depend on how successful a company was in introducing their product or service to potential consumers. Times have drastically changed, but thankfully inbound marketing has entered the picture to save the day. More of the things we used to do offline, like product research and getting news, we now do online. It is important to adjust marketing techniques around this change in order to be successful and productive.
To fully understand successful modern day Internet marketing, you’ll need to switch your professional hat with your consumer hat. It’s Friday! You’ve finally come to the end of a busy 40-hour work week and now it’s time to go home, relax and take care of personal errands. You get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. You go downstairs to brew yourself a cup a coffee, until you realize that the coffeemaker that you got as a wedding gift 20 years ago has finally broken. You recognize the necessity of having coffee in the morning to help jumpstart your day, but then realize you don’t have the time, or patience for that matter, to drive around to all the stores in the area looking for a new coffeemaker.
Like the ¾ of all U.S. adults who are online (Blogher, April 2011, Pew Research, May 2010, U.S. Census Bureau, May 2011), you decide the easiest and most productive way to find a new coffeemaker is to look for it online. After extensive online research of prices, special offers and item reviews you finally decide where you are going to buy the perfect coffeemaker that you will call yours. The weekend is coming to an end, so it's time to hang up your consumer hat and put your professional hat back on. But, don’t forget how you looked for a product as a consumer when developing marketing strategies for your company to attract customers just like you.
What did you learn from your weekend of using the Internet to research your coffeemaker purchase? If the company did not have a website showcasing this product, then you would have never found it. You might have chosen a coffeemaker from a competitor if they had a website to sell their products. If you do not have a presence at all then Internet users would never be able to find your products or services.
Research has shown that 1/3 of U.S. consumers spend at least 3 hours online every day (The Media Audit, October 2010). Actually, studies show that 46% of daily searches are for information on products or services (SRI, October 2010). What better way to market your company than to an audience that is already online looking for you. Inbound marketing’s focus on the Internet has become the next step in revolutionizing the way companies sell. Don’t be stuck in the past, upgrade to the web!
[By Jeff Androsko]
I have been using StumbleUpon for years; it's seriously addicting. Why is it so addicting? Because every time I hit the "Stumble" button in my browser toolbar (seen below), it takes me to a random site that someone else in the StumbleUpon network likes.
So what exactly is StumbleUpon? In an older post of ours, we covered the realm of social bookmarking, a tool which allows an online community to share their likes and dislikes (hence the "I like it" and its unsavory "thumbs down" counterpart). Different from Facebook and Twitter, Stumble and its close relatives (Digg, Reddit, Delicious... among others) are comprised of a simple, yet robust feed of the community's discoveries, likes and dislikes.
When you give a website a "thumbs up", it is automatically entered into the world of Stumble; placing it in queue for someone to just stumble upon it (hence the name). Based on how many "thumbs up" a web page receives, the more likely it is to be Stumbled. Once you've embarked on the addicting, stimuli-saturated journey of StumbleUpon, you can start following other Stumblers in the community. As you build a network, you can send your followers any sites you may have encountered through a few simple clicks. If you notice the graphic below, here is my list of favorite Stumblers (mostly made up of my friends). All I have to do to share a site with them is click on "Share" and check the name(s) to whom I wish to send my discovery.
Though overlooked by the mainstream, social bookmarking can be an overwhelming source of inbound traffic and content promotion. Just look at the statistics (from various sources):
- StumbleUpon receives over 50% of social media traffic in the United States.
- The top social media site for referral traffic from August to September (2011) was StumbleUpon (market share percentage being 50.34%).
- After 24 hours, a popular link shared will receive 83% more traffic than Tweets and Facebook posts.
- The average life of a web page on StumbleUpon is 400 hours, dwarfing Facebook (3.2 hours) and Twitter (2.8 hours).
How can you afford not to capitalize on such a profound and lasting inbound link as a Stumble? The answer is: you can't. However, you have to be careful about how you use this power. Here are a few tips on healthy Stumble use (and consumption):
- Shameful Self Promotion
Just because you have this great new sharing tool, doesn't mean you should load every page on your website and click the "thumbs up" button (nice try... I saw you). Not only are you going to anger the community with your repetitive Stumbles, but chances are you'll be getting consistent dislikes; making your StumbleUpon debut a bigger flop than "The Adventures of Pluto Nash". Before submitting your own material to Stumble, think objectively about the value of your content and it's circulation abilities. Make your submissions count.
- Respect the Stumble Button
Take time every day to click your Stumble button (trust me... once you start you may have to chop one of your hands off to keep from doing it) and review the sites. You may find yourself having more dislikes than likes in the beginning, but be sure to give appropriate thumbs so you can teach Stumble to adjust your content intake. Once you have a rhythm going, that's where the fun starts.
- Build a Following
When you are further down the road with a long trail of likes, you'll notice folks will comment on your habits, likes and dislikes. Don't brush these people off... it's rude. Acknowledge them by answering their messages and checking out their Stumbles. You never know what interests you may share or business opportunities could arise.
Individuals and businusses alike can grab inbound traffic by sharing a range of material. The true value of StumbleUpon lies in its abundant link sharing and content promotion capabilities. Just like any other social media outlet, it needs to be respected and not squandered. Share helpful links and information and you will receive recognition and even inbound traffic. You can get a free StumbleUpon account and toolbar at www.stumbleupon.com
. Follow Grass Roots Marketing's Stumbles at user Grassrootsinc
[By Sarah Faglio]
Waldo is one guy who just knows how to get lost. If you’ve ever tried a “Where’s Waldo” puzzle then you know how difficult it is to find Waldo amongst all the random objects in his surrounding background. The internet is very similar to these puzzles, with your website being Waldo and the chaos around him being all the other websites on the web.
The world wide web creates this puzzle of confusion, where people could conduct search engine inquires but have a hard time finding you. When users are unable to find you, they wind up on another company's website instead. By enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO), you give internet users a clue where to find you on the web by making it easier for them to land on your website. There are two parts to SEO: On-page and Off-page, both of which help your website get found by users.
On-Page SEO Factors:
1.) Keywords embedded throughout 4 main parts of your website
2.) High quality content and more pages allow for opportunity to be linked to
3.) Anchor tags/deep linking = internal links in website
4.) Emphasize text
5.) Meta descriptions and meta keywords
6.) Alt image = text atached to pictures
7.) Keyword location = closer to the beginning
8.) Keyword density = frequency
9.) Updated information
Off-Page SEO Factors:
1.) PageRank algorithm/hyperlink analyses of search engines
2.) Anchor texts = linking from higher ranking websites
3.) Submit your website details to directories
4.) Post on forum (discussion) pages
5.) Press releases
6.) Three-way linking = trading links with another website
7.) Social media and reciprocal links to your website
SEO plays a vital role in increasing your website’s rank in search engine results, which increases its visibility on the internet. Help your potential customer find you instead of turning them into a frustrated Waldo searcher!