[By Koleen Singerline]
I live at the Jersey Shore and now that summer is here, no weekend passes without a trip to the beach. This weekend, I made my customary journey and stepped off the path onto the sand behind a family with three children (and enough baggage for a weekend trip to the Bahamas). “There’s sand in my shoe!” the youngest child whined as I passed by.
I thought: DUHH …You’re at the beach?! What were you expecting?! Maybe the little guy was new to the experience, so he was just learning the glorious and the annoying. He hadn’t gotten to the water’s edge yet, so he had no idea how great it was going to be.
Typical of everything in life and business, there’s some discomfort to endure while you’re trying to reach the reward. I was talking to a prospect just the other day. I thought I had laid it all out there pretty well – I explained our lead generating and nurturing program in vivid detail. After showing him how all this activity could increase sales by increasing the number of prospects coming to his website and engaging them in conversation, he remarked, “So you want me to do more work and pay you monthly besides?” DUHH…Getting to a sale will take some effort, and you will get some “sand” in your shoes. Look at the alternative – if you don’t have a systematic program to generate leads that will lead to sales, you could loose your shoes and even your shirt!”
Enjoy your holiday!
[By Kathleen McCosker]
Of course some critics say “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” but with the massive shift in today’s communication habits, Inbound Marketing is enticing and realistic.
CAUTION: Once you go Inbound, you never go back!!
Top 4 Inbound “Must-Knows”
1. Intrigue Your Audience
Construct your messages around your target audience. Don’t waste your efforts by writing creative and intriguing articles just surrounding your company. It’s important to focus your efforts on how your company can help the targeted audience by providing expert opinions and solutions to solve their problems.
2. Give Your Website a Pulse
The dot-com era is in the past. In other words, just having a website doesn’t mean your company will automatically succeed. Develop a pulse by driving traffic to your site by using landing pages, internal and external links and keywords.
3. Get Found on Google
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows companies to increase their traffic without buying ads. Inbound Marketing explains how to increase traffic by having substance behind your website.
A. Make sure Page Titles contain your most important keywords
B. Write a compelling and accurate meta description
C. Images should have an “alt” attribute tool (allows you to describe an image).
D. Have internal and external links
C. Use Website Grader
4. Utilize Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are used for more than stalking friends and celebrities. Social networking sites give you free, valuable opportunities to build long lasting relationships with business partners, introduce your company to targets, become an expert in your field, brand your company, and nurture leads.
If you're outbound strategies aren't producing the results you want, it's time to switch your sales efforts - become Inbound!
[By Jeff Androsko]
You can't touch this marketing! That's right. Successful companies have stopped their outbound approach quicker than MC Hammer can spend all his money. Why? It's simple. Consumers are pounded by thousands of messages a day and if you keep talking at them with forgettable, marginally unique outbound messages ("Buy from us", "We're the best", etc.)... well... the popularity of your goods will be lower than my stab at MC Hammer's financial shortcomings.
But seriously... the recession (or depression... or whatever you'd like to call it this week) is a touchy subject. Marketing budgets are usually thrown out the window, morale is low, pressure is high, sales are down and no one dances around in baggy red pants. Even though things seem unsavory, you have to keep your sales and marketing strategy top of mind if you're going to survive.
Inbound marketing, if you haven't noticed by the numerous blog posts and information on our site, is the bee's knees. If you want to keep it real during tough economic strife, you've got to hang tough... and be creative. In an article released by TIME ("The Race Is On"; June 17, 2010) it's clear that memorable, savory messages and imagery go a long way in attracting consumers to your brand. Geico and Progressive auto insurance vendors are beating out the country's providers by providing memorable content and fair prices... and that's what inbound is all about; engage the consumer with interesting and useful information, position yourself as a knowledgeable resource, then offer them solutions that your business provides.
Think about your purchasing habits; what are your research rituals when you buy? If you're a contemporary, interweb-savvy consumer, chances are you:
Research different brands on the internet by looking for customer reviews and published articles (VIA search engines or direct website contact).
Compare value and pricing to other companies with similar products or services.
Visit store locations to get a first-person perspective on the product.
To stay visible and keep your peripherals in check during economic uncertainties, you need to apply these buying rituals to your sales strategy; make content easy to find (Search Engine Optimization, advertising, email marketing, etc.), answer their questions and make the sale.
Steer away from:
And be more like:
[By Tony Popowski]
So there's this huge shift towards inbound marketing. Instead of shouting at your audience all the time, inbound marketing uses your website, SEO, email marketing, public relations and social media to get yourself found. Basically, you serve as a credible resource center for your audience and when they're ready to become business partners, they'll come right to you. Our last few blog posts addressed this, but it is so super-duper important that you understand this so we're saying it again! You can say that GRM is going to be your marketing drill sergeant and keep making you repeat it until you love it as much as we do - inbound marketing is the new way to go! You, Ready!? SIR, YES SIR!
I don't know, but it's been said,
Outbound marketing is now dead.
The new technique is to get found,
Shift your gears right to inbound!
Sound-off; 1-2, Sound-off: 3-4!
Analyze all areas of business communication: your website, employee - customer interaction, sales literature, press releases, social media sites, events, newsletters, etc. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Does this part of my plan truly connect with my audience?
• Am I providing solutions, or just shamelessly promoting myself?
• Am I talking at my audience or with my audience?
• What value does my audience get from this?
It's time for your inbound marketing drill! I don't care if you work in a small corner office by yourself or if your cubicle is in the middle of hundreds! Repeat after me:
I will be more inbound.
- I will be more inbound.
- I will be more inbound!
- I will be more inbound!!!!!!
I WILL BE MORE INBOUND!
I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
I WILL BE MORE INBOUND, SIR, YES SIR!!!!
That's better. Now, let it all sink in. If you have any questions, shoot us a message. I promise we'll be nice.
[By Tony Popowski]
Let's face it - it's human nature to like "pretty." Whether we're talking about people, places or products, attractiveness is appealing. However, as our parents and teachers have taught us growing up, being "pretty" only gets you so far. Having substance, providing value and being functional are all necessary to draw in and truly engage your audience. This couldn't be truer in the world of marketing.
One of the most prominent places we unfortunately see "pretty" trumping "functional" is a company's website. When organizations utilize our free website analysis, we often inform them that using too much Flash is limiting their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) capabilities (for more information, read "Are Flash only sites the SEO Devil?" and its follow up article, "Does Flash SEO still suck?").
In a nutshell, when you use too much Flash, the content within the animation doesn't register as well (or sometimes not at all) with search engine sites. Even with new technological software, too much Flash on your website, or an entire Flash website, isn't proving to be as effective with ranking on popular sites such as Google and Yahoo.
For example, GRM is a central NJ marketing firm. We provide marketing, public relations, website design and social media support. While GRM has the capability to design creative Flash animations on practically every page on our website, it doesn't mean we should. In fact, we could very well have a bubble floating around this page that says we provide "social media support." I'm sure our graphic design team would make this bubble appear pretty and entertaining, but the words "social media support" in the bubble wouldn't register as well with Google in comparison to embedding the words "social media support" on our blog post. See, I was able to use "social media support" five times in this paragraph alone, take that Flash!
This is just one example, but this thinking applies to your entire website design. When looking over your site, ask yourself:
• Does it provide valuable information?
• Is the look overshadowing the content?
• Is it speaking to my audience?
• Are there missed opportunities to establish credibility?
Between shifting consumer needs and a change in the sales process, an inbound website is now your most important communication tool. While your website should be creative and interesting, it's just as important that it gets found. Therefore, it's important to utilize SEO techniques to improve your website's popularity. Do you really want your website to be a "pretty" secret? Or would you rather have a website that provides valuable content, builds a trustworthy brand, nurtures leads and ultimately drives in more business? When it comes to your website, Functional > Pretty.