[By Tony Popowski]
To start off this blog entry, I was looking for the easiest way to recap the main principles of inbound marketing
. Instead of
reinventing the wheel, I realized I could just steal the description from the website's
homepage: inbound marketing is a cost effective strategy that drives qualified leads to your website using SEO techniques
, social media
, blogs, public relations
and email marketing
While there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that go into a comprehensive inbound marketing program, here are Ten Commandments
to follow when implementing an inbound strategy:
- Thou shall always be focused on thy customer's needs...not on thyself.
- Thou shall not be too 'sales-y' in thy website's copy.
- Thou shall include keywords on thy website's page titles, meta tags and meta descriptions.
- Thou shall have all marketing materials and campaigns drive traffic back to thy website.
- Thou shall always provide valuable content that focuses on the customer in thy email marketing program.
- Thou shall create landing pages for thy email campaigns.
- Thou shall use social media sites, particularly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, to find and nurture leads.
- Thou shall not be overly formal on they blog.
- Thou shall provide reporters and writers with useful information so that thy shall get quoted in publications.
- Thou shall include strong call to actions on all marketing pieces.
Keep these quick tips in mind and you'll be on your way to inbound success. For more information about inbound marketing, visit our discover page
[By Jeff Androsko]
Most people we talk to about websites and inbound marketing say the same thing: "My website is fine. I know my company needed one, so we put one up about ten years ago."
Every time I hear it, it's like silverware scratching on a plate. The irony is that they will say that and then use the internet to make their purchases and do their research; tragically not making the connection that their customers are doing the exact same thing.
The potential your website has to become a digital salesperson is astounding. The way people purchase has changed and you have to change, too (or get left for the buzzards).
Here are the top 5 bogus excuses people come up with to not invest in their website (and why they're bogus):
- "I have to pay my programmer every time I want to change something (if I can track them down, that is)."
With a Content Management System (CMS) in place, it's easy to update your website any time you want. You can even get the software for free in some cases. Keeping your website fresh and updated will help Google and search engines crawl your site for valuable content and put your company in search results.
- "My website only needs to act as a brochure."
With door to door and cold calling now passé sales techniques, the world's online purchasing has increased 40% in the last two years (Nielsen, 2010). If you're going to just use your website to bark information about you and your company, no one is going to recognize you as a resource to solve their purchasing inquiries. Get with it and think like your audience.
- "My website is fine the way it is."
Oh yeah? Check out our Website Grader and Inbound Marketing Analysis tools (they're free). Nobody is doing everything right when it comes to marketing, so there is nothing to be ashamed of if you find out your site isn't producing the traffic and return on investment you are seeking (if there is any at all).
- "I don't have time to think about that kind of stuff."
Guess what... you better make the time. It may seem like only yesterday we were all amazed with Apple IIE's Turtle-Writer... but technology is perpetually changing and your business has to keep up with the way information is traded and found. Without being able to be found by consumers, you are as good as invisible.
- "It's too much money."
Think about how your company does its marketing and sales. How do you get sales leads? How do you recognize an opportunity to connect? Who keeps track of all the qualified prospects and their individual needs? Your website (coupled with inbound marketing tools; social media, SEO, public relations, blogging, etc.) has the capacity to take the place of a sales and/or marketing employee. Suddenly a one-time investment doesn't seem so out of the question, huh?
The true value of website marketing lies in your ability to identify the ROI. Do you want to sit around being unseen by the entire internet search and website world while your competitors gobble up the business, or do you want to stay cutting edge, up-to-date and visible in a niche market filled with consumers itching for someone to help them?
[By Tony Popowski]
Hello faithful readers! I sincerely apologize for the delay in between entries. Last week, I was actually out of the country on vacation. I took an INCREDIBLE cruise to Bermuda. Great people, great food, great beaches = great fun. Anyway, I’m back now and ready for action!
This Wednesday, I was up in North Jersey presenting a workshop about social media. During the presentation, I emphasized the importance of LinkedIn and how it plays a strategic role in finding and nurturing leads across the sales cycle. Sidenote: LinkedIn now has over 100,000,000 users. It took 10 years for LinkedIn to hit 50,000,000… and then only a year to double its population to 100,000,000. Pretty impressive, huh?
If you’re looking for tips on how to build a strong profile, you can check out our previous blog entry, The Five Common Mistakes on LinkedIn Profiles. However, I wanted to take a quick second and talk about an important feature on LinkedIn that many people are overlooking: the groups section.
Many professionals recognize the importance of joining networking organizations such as local chambers of commerce. Well, LinkedIn groups are just like joining your local chamber…except virtual style. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn just filled with prospects that you can connect with. Just test it out for a second:
- Log onto LinkedIn.
- Go to the search tool bar in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
- Switch the search bar from ‘people’ to ‘groups’.
- Type in an industry keyword.
- BAM! I bet a bunch of groups are listed in the directory that are associated with your keyword.
LinkedIn groups can lead to a lot of great connections, but only if you use them the right way. Here are four tips on how you can get the most out of your new virtual networking associations:
- Select the right groups – many professionals make the mistake of just joining groups that are interesting to them. Instead, join groups that are interesting to your prospects. For example, I’m in the marketing / public relations field. While I would want to join a couple of marketing related groups to keep up with industry news and best practices, I would really want to join the groups that my prospects actively participate in. For example, Grass Roots Marketing has a niche serving the staffing industry, so I would join groups targeted for staffing professionals.
- Stay active with discussions – imagine joining a networking group… and then remaining completely silent at all of the meetings. This is the equivalent to ignoring the discussion board in your LinkedIn groups. Start up some conversations to build up name recognition in your group – it can be as simple as sharing an industry article.
- Respond to other discussions – don’t just sit on the sidelines. In addition to starting your own conversations, answer questions and address comments that your prospects discuss in your groups.
- Don’t be sales-y – the bottom line is that people are sick of being sold. Instead of just spewing out your news pitch, use your groups to build relationships with prospects. Remember, it’s all about lead nurturing.
Take the time to explore LinkedIn groups. It’s a great opportunity to connect with your target audience!