[By Jeff Androsko]
Seriously, people straight-up freaked out this past weekend in the midst of Hurricane Irene; one of them being my girlfriend. She insisted on leaving because of the overwhelming sense of panic on the social media accounts in which she participates.
Every single medium of communication (television, social media, radio, print, etc.) was mobbed with emotions like fear and uncertainty (and sometimes, humor). It was actually astounding to see how flooded the #irene and #hurricaneirene hashtags were on Twitter (sorry... cheap pun).
That got me thinking; mainly about social media's role in evoking emotions. What was so amazing about the Hurricane Irene social media explosion (specifically on Twitter) was not necessarily the volume, but the range of content and purpose. Mainly, Hurricane Irene tweets acted as:
- A Public Assistant
NJ Governor Chris Christie (@govchristie), among others, gave valuable information, such as where to go, how to prepare and what to expect. This information was tweeted and re-tweeted, giving it exponential influence on all who were watching the massive storm.
- Comic Relief
Though the actual event was no joke, some of the tweets sure were. There were numerous parody Hurricane Irene Twitter accounts in attempt to appease the angst and apprehensiveness associated with the hurricane. Had it not been for a few jokes, cabin fever may have taken hold of a few folks.
- A Network of Information
Regardless of where you were, people were providing pictures, video, information and personal accounts of what the weather was doing. Like this home video submitted by my friend's father in Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ, first-hand accounts of the destruction may have helped save money and lives.
The volume of interaction alone shows just how powerful of a tool social media can be. In lieu of the power being out and phone lines being down, information was still able to be conveyed to people with smartphones and portable devices. Those who say social media is just a fad, take a look at the community of information being shared. In emergency situations (and even business), it's all about staying informed... and if there's anything social media does, it's share information with loads of people.
[By Jeff Androsko]
Human behavior dictates the world of sales & marketing. If consumer purchasing habits and patterns sway one way, salespeople and marketers naturally adjust their content & tactics (as should all business-owners). Which is why a rather old and famous communication model can be applied to sales & inbound marketing strategy.
Berger’s Uncertainty Reduction Theory (1975) states that when strangers meet, their primary concern is to predict the behavior of both themselves and others in the interaction. Each attempt to predict the likely alternative actions the other person might take may produce both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. Attractiveness can be a determinate as to whether persons will continue to attempt to reduce their uncertainties about each other.
How is this relevant? Uncertainty Reduction Theory goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing and modern sales plans. Did I lose you? Calm down. I know it sounds technical, but it's actually quite simple.
As you battle your way through the sales process, your interactions and the marketing in which you participate should be shaped to encompass three factors of the Uncertainty Reduction model:
- Uncertainty : Comfortability Ratio
As a prospect begins to interact with you (whether it be on social media, responding to a marketing email, visiting your website, etc.), their willingness to purchase from you will depend on their opinion of your credibility and level of comfort. If you come off pushy and unknowledgeable, their natural instinct will be to hinge their comfortability and run for the hills.
- Amount of Interaction
The more you help and interact with your target audience(s), the more natural a sale will come. After all, consumers are just humans. If you show consistent interest and a genuine thirst to help them solve their purchasing problem(s), then not only will you have made a sale, you'll develop loyal customers who sing your praises.
- Nature of Conversation
Just like any great deal in history, there has to be a balance of professionalism and relaxation. The inception of social media for business birthed from bombarded consumers needing a break from perpetuaul advertising / marketing messages. The reason social media for business has become so popular is its level of informality and the capacity for comfortable interaction. If you insist on talking about how great your company is and why a consumer should buy your product over and over again, you can kiss those warm leads and your productivity goodbye.
Ultimately, the type of messages you are sending to your target demographic, the amount of interaction you have with them and the consumer's comfort level are what's going to assist you in making sales and developing a solid inbound marketing strategy. As you mold your strategy and tactics
, be sure to retain accountability and recognize the public's need for honesty and purchasing comfortability.
[By Jeff Androsko]
As a company, we find that integrating a variety of marketing tools always stimulates better interaction than if we just use one. With that being said, if you are new to inbound marketing and the internet-based tools available to you, there are certain combinations and strategies that you can use which will be more effective than a linear effort.
If you blog (B) and back-link (BL) keywords to landing pages on your website, have an RSS feed set up from your blog (e.g. FeedBurner) and share the post on your social media sites (SM), you're bound to stimulate buzz and a progressive following.
Company press releases (PR) loaded with industry-related keywords posted on your website (WEB), then promoted through all of your social media outlets (SM) will help position you as a subject matter expert in your field.
Use email marketing (E) packed with valuable and intriguing content (VC) that directs recipients to visit a landing page (LP) on your website. Send these emails to your targeted prospect list (P) and encourage them to share it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (SM). You'll not only get traffic to your website, but you'll be able to capture their lead information on the landing page.
Creating a purposeful landing page (LP) and having something valuable to give away (like a white paper or calendar) (VC) as collateral for the time they take to fill out your conversion form (CF) will give you warm leads in no time. Promote those landing pages on social media (SM) with short, magnetizing calls-to-actions and watch the data roll in.
These simple equations, practiced religiously and consistently, can give you the results for which you've been looking. By understanding the concepts of inbound marketing and how to properly capture lead information, you can develop a rhythm and mix & match these equations as you see fit. Remember, keep it valuable, keep it social, keep it simple.
Want to get a better idea of how to use these equations? Try our Inbound Marketing Analysis to identify your current marketing program's strengths and weaknesses.
[By Jeff Androsko]
As sales evolves towards total digital supremacy, your website should take over where your cold calling left off. Just one website landing page (the pages which provide valuable information & deals in exchange for visitors' lead information) can be just as effective as 50 calls to people who probably won't be interested. You spent all that money on your website (whether it was ten years ago or ten days ago), why exhaust yourself with ineffective sales & marketing techniques when your site has the power to capture lead information for you?
If you haven't recognized the value in your website or considered it's sales potential, you're driving a Ford Pinto on a highway full of Ferrari's. The internet has fundamentally changed the way people interact, shop and share information; embrace it or get yourself a respirator from all the dust you're going to be inhaling. Landing pages are the keyholes to your sales door, all you have to do is pass on the keys. How do you do that?
- Forms Aren't Just For Bureaucrats...
To correctly capture the lead information you seek, you need to have some type of form on your landing page which sends you the field content in an email (check out our "Contact Us" form if you're confused). Making some of the fields required will help you weed out who truly wants your offers, deals and content. Keep the form short and focus on the information which you are trying to pry from your visitor; Does it make sense to ask for their email? Why would they want to fill out this form? What are they going to get? Which conveniently leads me to my next point...
- If You Help Them, They Will Come...
If you truly know your product/service and the clientele who use it, that's the first step in focusing your landing pages' content towards dynamic lead conversion. If you sell iPhone cases and know your customers are typically people who care about the quality and protection of their phone, coming up with an informative white paper entitled, "Top 5 Practical Solutions to Protecting Your iPhone", might entice a visitor to fill out a form to get that juicy tidbit of extra protection. But be warned... if it's total crap, you've jipped them out of their time and follow-up info which will undoubtedly leave them feeling cheated. Make it count and give them something worthwhile.
- Make It Tweetable, Shareable, Likable, Re-Postable and Sociable...
If you have really caught onto something which people seem to want (you're receiving forms with lead information), make your landing page shareable by slapping social media plugins right next to your content. By enabling the feature of sharing, you're opening a portal to exponential reach that goes well beyond your website and the landing page which you are promoting. More traffic is always better.
- Best Kept Secrets Are For Greedy People...
Sure, you can optimize your landing pages for search engines, but chances are you are going to need more than a few keywords for people to find your page. Email marketing, social media and web ads are affordable and effective ways to promote your content to endless amounts of users. You can have the greatest offer and information in the world, but if you're standing in a steel room and yelling them into the ceiling, no one is ever going to appreciate or develop consumer intrigue. If you spend the time developing content, take at least a quarter of that time to promote it.
- Test the Waters...
Once you develop a rhythm and start seeing results, take a step back to look at what you've done. Is it working? Which campaigns have yielded the most information and interest? Are there variations or improvements you can recycle and re-purpose from material that fell short or greatness? In order to become a kontent king you need to be able to test, analyze and improve.
You can harness the power of your website by checking out our free marketing tools
and learning about the fundamentals of inbound marketing
. If you take the time to understand the value and tools it takes to be successful in digital marketing, your sales and ROI will speak for themselves.