Category

Inbound Marketing

The 5 Benefits Of Blogging For Your Business

The 5 Benefits Of Blogging For Your Business

By | Business, Inbound Marketing

 

Starting a business blog is tough. When I first started blogging for my branding agency it was difficult to generate ideas consistently and then write clearly and concisely about them; but over time, I became better—and faster. Blogging for business starts with the intention to solve your customers problems and to answer their hardest questions.

I set a goal to become a better writer. No matter what it took, I committed to writing at least once a week, twice if I got lucky. Every time I came across an interesting piece of content that sparked an idea I wrote it down. Over a few months, I had a growing list of healthy topics.

This in turn allowed me to create a content calendar that aligned with my inbound marketing campaign efforts which turned my idea list into a blogging factory.

I love this video from HubSpot that explains how to become a better writer:

Like training for a marathon, it’s hard at first, but you eventually become stronger and faster.

1. You stay on the cutting edge of your profession

Inbound marketing and blogging forces you to change your mindset about marketing. You become a natural curator of content as you peruse daily articles and blogs. By committing to blogging that leads to the search of new ideas, you become keenly aware of your industry and your client’s industries.

2. You have more things to talk, post and tweet about

Blogging creates the basis of your social media efforts. By posting and tweeting your content, you begin to attract visitors and gain followers.

3. Solve your customer’s problems

By blogging on topics that solves and answers your customer’s toughest questions, you become—over time—a recognized resource and expert.

4. Generate website traffic
Blogging is the secret sauce to generating traffic to your website. By blogging on topics that answers your customer’s questions, you create a bastion of posts that expand your keywords’ digital footprint on Google and other search engines. You increase your website’s authority by generating inbound links, social media shares and authorship through Google+.

Check out these stats:

  • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing. (Source)
  • Brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. (Source)
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog. (Source)
  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. (Source)
  • Blog posts incorporating video attract 3 times as many inbound links as blog posts without video. (Source)

increase website traffic

 

5. Establish thought leadership
By blogging consistently, you quickly begin to establish thought leadership within your industry and amongst your prospects. By earning followers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you begin to establish top-shelf awareness that allows you to constantly remind your prospects of your products or services.

In conclusion, the task of taking on blogging for your business may make you gag, but once you get the ball rolling, it becomes a habit that is easier to maintain over time. The benefits of being on the edge of your profession, having interesting topics to grow your social media networks, generating traffic and establishing thought leadership is an essential component of doing business with today’s skeptical customer.

Interested in learning more about our Indianapolis or Nashville inbound marketing agency? Contact us today to learn how we can help your business through blogging.

 

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

how to inbound marketing affluent

How To Use Inbound Marketing To Reach The Affluent

By | Inbound Marketing

The hunt for the elusive “affluent” or “highly affluent” consumer is not as difficult as you might think.

Affluent consumers account for 10% of all American households, as well as 50% of retail sales and 70% of retail margins. The affluent market is typically categorized as an individual or family with $250,000+ in liquid assets. (Source: eMarketer)

These consumers are a natural target for marketers because of their buying power and disposable income. Most business owners believe the internet is not an appropriate channel to reach them, but according to the facts turns out to be incorrect. According to several studies, the affluent tend to be online more than the average consumer. They typically are online checking stock prices, managing investments and watching for market news and fluctuations. They are also on social media sites. 



Consider the below statistics:

  • 98% of Affluent Consumers go online. (Source: eMarketer)
  • On average, they spend 26 hours online per week. (Source: eMarketer)
  • Affluent Consumers are the heaviest users of digital media. (Source: IAB)
  • Affluent Consumers are 12% more likely to make an online purchase than the average internet user. (Source: Nielson)
  • There are 19 million affluent men online, nearly half of whom spend more than $4,000 a year shopping online. (Source: iProspect/USA Today)
  • LinkedIn and Twitter attracted affluent internet users at nearly double the rate of the general population. (Source: Affluence Collaborative)

So with the above facts in mind, inbound marketing becomes a viable option for your business to attract, convert, close and delight the affluent. Below are a few tactics to consider.

1. Create a strong product service based on the affluent buyer persona

Any attempt to reach the affluent must begin with a strong brand foundation that underlines a unique product or service offering. Develop your brand offering, messaging and expertise to attract the affluent consumer. Take time to understand your customer by identifying their problems and how to solve them. Understand where they spend their time online and how best to reach them. The affluent are not immune to recent consumer behavior shifts. Typical outbound methods (direct mail, cold calling, print ads etc.) have lost their effectiveness and will leave you with little to no ROI.

2. Make it look like a million bucks

I think this goes without saying, but most affluent buyers will be expecting your branding (website design, logo design, collateral, etc.) to be top notch. This is the standard for most any buyer and the affluent are no different. Take the time to develop an appealing and engaging brand.

3. Create relevant and valuable content
Utilizing blogging, whitepapers, ebooks, webinars and videos, create content that attracts your prospects to your website. By optimizing your content for search engines and distributing it through social media, you expand your digital footprint to attract more potential prospects. Create offers that solve their problems and then convert them to leads through CTAs, landing pages and online forms. By utilizing a tool like HubSpot, you’ll be able to segment your leads to have a more meaningful conversation with your prospect based upon website intelligence.

4. Win over the influencers

Another method is to target your content to the people who have already earned the affluent consumer’s trust and admiration. According to Forbes: “It’s becoming increasingly critical if not absolutely essential to win over the key professionals advising the super-rich.”   This doubles down on the perceived notion that rich people only talk to rich people. Truth is, word of mouth and referrals are still the best way to market—no matter how much money you have. By utilizing inbound marketing to establish thought leadership you can essentially influence the influencer through your content.

5. Delight them after you’ve closed them
If you adhere to the inbound marketing methodology, your marketing doesn’t stop after you’ve closed your customer. You must plan to continue to offer valuable and relevant content that continues to solve their problems after you’ve closed them. Plan social events with other like-minded clients/customers. Identify ongoing services to add value.

6. Test and measure everything
Inbound marketing takes work and time. However, when done correctly, it is one of the most cost effective ways to build your brand and establish expertise to reach the affluent. Here is what inbound marketing can do:

  • Prove ROI

  • Month over month organic traffic increases (net-net gains)

  • A steady flow of leads
  • Qualified affluent customers based on your buyer persona
  • Higher search engine rankings
  • Establish thought leadership—essential to winning over influencers
  • Gain more followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Preempt your competition

In conclusion, the hunt for the elusive affluent customer is not as difficult as you might think. Because the affluent are online more than the average internet user, you have ample opportunity to make inbound marketing work for you. By creating a unique product or service-offering based on the affluent buyer persona, engaging creative, relevant content, targeting the influencers and continuing to delight them after you close to turn them into promoters of your brand—you’ll be able to effectively reach your affluent customer for less and be able to have a more meaningful conversation with them.

Interested in learning more about our Denver Inbound Marketing services? Contact us today or sign up for a free, no hassle, no-haggle inbound marketing assessment to see if your brand and business is ready to attract the lucrative affluent consumer.

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Tool Kit
 

Running a successful marketing campaign for your business is all about having the right tools.
This guide will dive into 
which marketing tools you should keep at the ready.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

how-long-inbound-marketing-to-work

How Long Does It Take for Inbound Marketing
 To Work?

By | Inbound Marketing

Are you considering inbound marketing to generate traffic, convert leads to customers and build your business? As you may already know, inbound marketing requires you to change your mindset in how you approach marketing. Instead of the old outbound marketing “flash in the pan” methods of direct mail, print advertising or cold calling – typical inbound marketing programs require a 12-month commitment.

In order to get a jumpstart on inbound—I’ve listed 6 factors that will help you get up and running with inbound marketing sooner rather than later.

1. Is your brand distinct?
Today, the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace is absolute necessary if you are planning to grow your business. If your positioning is weak or your brand undefined, it will make it harder for your customers to understand what makes you different and memorable. Having a well-defined and authentic brand is the first place to start when beginning any kind of marketing – inbound or outbound.

2. Do you know your buyer persona? 

All successful inbound marketing campaigns begin with the buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer – notice I did not say “target market”. Your buyer persona must be laser focused on the questions, needs and pain points of your customer to be effective. By identifying your buyer persona now, you’ll be able to create content faster.


3. Is your website ugly?
With 60% of all purchases starting with a web search—all inbound marketing programs begin and end with your website. A well designed website is necessary to attract, engage and communicate your product and services. If your website is ugly –fix it! In additions it will also need an adequate content management system like WordPress in order to adjust quickly to any course changes during the 12-month program.

4. Are your search engine rankings strong?

If you just launched a new website it may take longer to get your website ranked on the first page of Google. Google assigns more authority to websites that have been around longer. It will also depend if you’ve done any SEO in the past. If you have strong rankings at the beginning of an inbound marketing program, you will see quicker results.

5. Have you been blogging?

According to HubSpot, companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has; 55% more visitors; 97% more inbound links; 434% more indexed pages
if done consistently. Blogging is the primary method for driving traffic and serves as the platform for your social media activity. Blogging must be done 1-2x minimum per week to activate inbound marketing’s traffic generating and SEO power.

6. Do you have the time?
If you can’t seem to get the time to blog, distribute and promote your content—then inbound marketing will take longer if not fail all together. The secret to inbound marketing is to create consistent valuable content based on solving your customer problems. Consider hiring an inbound marketing agency to help you generate content.

The bottom line

It will take anywhere from 4-9 months depending on your ability to address the above points quickly to start seeing results with inbound marketing. Most companies will start out highly motivated—but after 3 months give up. Inbound marketing is a marathon not a sprint—but like any good endeavor, the results are well worth it. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Proved ROI

  • Month over month organic traffic increases (net-net gains)

  • A steady flow of leads
  • Qualified customers based on your ideal buyer persona
  • Higher search engine rankings

  • Establish thought leadership in your industry
  • Gain more followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • Crush your competition

If you’re interested in exploring how your business could benefit from inbound marketing, please contact our Indianapolis or Denver inbound marketing agency for a complimentary, no-haggle inbound marketing assessment.

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Tool Kit
 

Running a successful marketing campaign for your business is all about having the right tools.
This guide will dive into 
which marketing tools you should keep at the ready.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

inbound-marketing-employer-branding

Is Your Business’ Marketing Falling Behind?

By | Employer Branding, Inbound Marketing, Marketing

It seemed like on January 1st of this year, I woke up to a world that had completely changed.

For businesses hat rely heavily on Google search rankings for revenue—last year’s algorithm changes 
(Panda and Hummingbird)—shocked my business and a handful of our clients and competitorst. I  saw almost everyone’s website rankings tumble. Like mMost businesses, we lost significant traffic and a lot of potential customers. We  never saw this  coming because at the time we were heads down on several retained client projects. Business was good. We had no clue what was going on in the digital marketplace—we were more focused on our clients than our own marketing. In the end we ended up making a classic business mistake.

Determined to not let this kind of thing happen again, we quickly scrambled to figure out how to fix this. And for the record, we weren’t engaged in any kind of “black-hat” tactics that penalized companies like JCPenny and others.  

The reason I’m writing this blog post is because so many business owners and marketers are still unaware of what’s happening in the world of digital marketing and search engine land. Like us, we were too busy to pay attention and to our detriment are still struggling to climb back to the top of the SERPS we once enjoyed.

Consumer behaviors have shifted. Today, the customer is more informed than ever before. Everything is trending towards mobile and social. 90% of every purchase starts with a web search. Are you aware of these trends baby boomers?

In time, your Rolodex and network will begin to dry up and you’ll need to get more customers—regardless of what business you are in. Cold calling today is proven to be less effective than it once was, trades shows are extremely expensive and that email list you purchased may not have performed as well as you had hoped.  

In order to prepare for 2015 and beyond here are three things you can start doing now to prepare.

inbound-marketing-employer-branding1. Inbound marketing


Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. (Source: Hubspot)

Companies must begin to shift their focus to creating content on a regular basis that will improve their website rankings and that augments their traditional off-line marketing activities. You must attract customers to your website through a combination of outstanding product and service offerings and capture their information through offering remarkable and relevant content. This in turns keeps your search engine rankings high and allows you to participate in social media to a greater degree.  

Check out some of these trends related to inbound marketing (Source: Hubspot):

  • 60% of companies have adopted some element of the inbound marketing methodology into their overall strategy.
  • B2B companies are early to embrace inbound marketing — 65% implemented inbound practices in 2013, while just 46% of B2C companies report doing inbound marketing.
  • 81% of companies report some level of integration between inbound marketing and larger marketing goals.
  • 41% of marketers say inbound marketing produced measurable ROI in 2013.
  • 8% of marketers will increase their inbound marketing budget in 2013 — the 3rd year in a row inbound budgets are increasing at or near a 50% pace.
  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly — which, by itself, is still an impressive result.

If you haven’t looked into or considered what inbound marketing can do for your business, you may be at risk of falling behind.

2. Employer branding
For a long time, companies have focused only on their corporate brand—thinking that an attractive brand to their customers would naturally attract the talent they need to meet their “human resources” needs. But according to a recent LinkedIn study that may not be the case any longer: “Talent acquisition has undergone significant changes in recent years, with a fundamental shift in the way that organizations source and engage with talent. “Posting and praying” continues to decline as forward-thinking organization now proactively find and attract the best candidates, even those who aren’t looking for new roles.”

A company’s employer brand is TWICE AS LIKELY to drive job consideration as its company brand.

To remain competitive in this dwindling economy of talent, companies must look at their brand as a two-sided coin—corporate and employer—to maximize their ability to attract the best talent. The companies with the best talent wins.

Investing in employer branding will: 1. Increase consideration of your company, 2. Lower recruiting costs and, 3. Decrease voluntary turnover.

We recently launched a new careers page for our client Nor1: This is an example on how to showcase your companies culture: https://www.nor1.com/careers

If you haven’t looked or considered your employer brand, you may be at risk of falling behind.

3. Customer service
Customer service is said to be the new marketing and for good reason.  Customer service ties my above two points together. To delight your customer you must delight your employees. By delighting your employees, you create happy customer experiences. This is especially true in the retail environment and technical support arenas.

You must also seek to hire your employees and overlay your brand utilizing the employer branding process. In order to truly deliver and connect your brand to your customer on a personal level—companies must begin to devote time to their customer service processes that mix employer branding, marketing and customer service. It’s everyone’s responsibility to be involved in marketing. From the janitor to the CEO.

Check out some of these customer service statistics:

  1. 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. (Forrester)
  2. It is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.  (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  3. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. (RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report)
  4. Consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences.  (2012 Global Customer Service Barometer)
  5. 26% of consumers have experienced being transferred from agent to agent without any resolution of their problem. (2012 Global Customer Service Barometer)
  6. A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. (Bain & Co.)

“Customer service is your primary communication channel with customers. Use it to craft the best perception of your company and your brand. Doing this builds sustainable, profitable relationships with your customers.” — Adii Pienaar, the author of Branding, co-founder of WooThemes, and now founder of PublicBeta.

If you haven’t looked or considered how to improve your customer service processes, you may be at risk of falling behind.

To wrap this up, don’t make the mistakes that so many other companies have made concerning Google algorithm changes. Begin to adopt an inbound marketing methodology to stay in the game. In addition, begin to create and invest in your employer brand to remain competitive in this dwindling economy of talent. Tie inbound marketing, employer branding into stellar customer service to drive your marketing and branding efforts.

 

30 Ways to Generate Leads
FREE DOWNLOAD: 30 Ways to Generate Leads

In this eBook, we give you 30 tips, tricks and ideas on how to turn your website into a lead generating, business building machine so when 2015 comes you’ll be ready.

 

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

 

Blog and Content Marketing

7 Steps To Better Content Marketing And Blogging

By | Inbound Marketing

If you’re going to spend the time writing a blog you might as well learn how to do it correctly because it takes a little practice. There is a lot of meaningless content floating around out there on the internet from people who don’t know how to blog correctly.

In this article, I’ll give you 7 steps on how to write a blog post that engages your readers, optimizes your web site, solves your customers problems and establishes your brand’s credibility and trust.

1. Pick a topic that solves your buyer personas’ problem
Every blog post worth its mustard must be written for someone specifically in mind. To write a blog post that whimsically moves from thought to thought will confuse your reader and in most cases cause them to ‘bounce’ off your website. By identifying who your buyer persona is first, it will help you to keep your thoughts focused and targeted. You can’t help anyone when you try to help everyone.

2. Create content that is relevant and remarkable
According to Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, “every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003. That’s something like five exabytes of data, he says.” (Source: TechCrunch) That’s a lot of content. Content can take the form of anything that is written, tweeted, recorded, snapped or placed on the internet for someone to read or view. When you set out to create content in the form of a blog, try to do your best to create something that is remarkable, relevant and that solves your customers problems. This will make sure your efforts and time isn’t thrown on the pile of content fodder.

3. Outline with keywords in mind
Once you have figured out who you are writing for, organize your thoughts into an outline. Start with a catchy headline and introduction. The headline should include the keywords you are targeting and pertain to what the article is about. Sprinkle your keywords throughout your article—but only if it makes sense. Do not write for search engines, write for your customers.

4. Organize with bullet points and sub-heads
As you move through your outline, create short, succinct sub-headlines that provide information that tells your persona what the information is about. People tend to scan articles quickly, stopping at sections that interest them. Make sure your sub-heads are specific to the information or problem you are solving. Another tip is to use bullet points to divide your information into chunks that can be consumed quickly. Give them what they need to make a decision quickly.

5. Use images
We live in a highly visual society. And like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words rings true in the wild world of blogging. Use visuals in the form of images, infographics or diagrams that tell the story quickly. A strong visual helps to make the article ‘sticky’ by keeping them on your site longer. It is suggested that Google now counts visitor length or ‘dwell time’ as a metric in determining the authority and rank of your website. (Source: Backlinko). Articles with images get 94% more views. (Source)

6. Cite your facts and stats
If you’re giving advice or recommendations, source your information from credible sources to back up your claim. This will add an extra layer of trust and establish authority in your writing. Human beings love little stats and bits of factual data. Always try to include a simple amount of these little factoids to engage your readers further.

7. End strong
Just as its important to write a good introduction, its equally important to end with a good conclusion. Re-itereate the points you made, why the information given will help solve their problem and a call-to-action (CTA) on what you’d like them to do next. This can be contact for more information, download a whitepaper, visit this page etc.

In conclusion, a good blog post starts with sharing remarkable content that solves a problem and is geared towards your buyer persona. Format your blog starting with a catchy headline with a targeted keyword, a good introduction that tells the reader what they will learn, organized and succinct sub-heads, good visuals, cited sources and a strong ending. By following these tips you’ll be on your way to becoming a strong writer and a blogging pro.

 

Business bloggingFREE DOWNLOAD: Intro to Business Blogging

New to blogging? Download this resource to learn the basics for marketing success!
In this eBook, we give you some powerful pointers on how to generate content, optimize, promote and measure your blogging activities that maximizes your time and efforts.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

 

How to Implement Inbound Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

By | Inbound Marketing

 

Now that you understand the differences of what inbound marketing versus outbound marketing is and have seen how inbound marketing works, now it’s time to learn how to implement this methodology into your own marketing program.

Below, I’ve included an infographic on How to Implement Inbound Marketing and divided it into 9 steps. To read more about each step, click here to skip to the bottom that describes each step in more detail.

Click here to enlarge graphic

 How to implement inbound marketing

If you would like to discuss and learn how you implement inbound marketing, please contact us today for a free 30-minute marketing assessment and consultation.

 

How to Implement Inbound MarketingStep 1: Analysis of your current brand and marketing

To begin, you need to evaluate your brand. Is it aligned? Brand alignment is described as this: Does the brand mean the same to your employees, your customers and to yourself? Do you have a unique story and message that allows you to stand out amongst your competitors?  To maximize your inbound marketing efforts it will be critical to have a well-defined and differentiated brand position. A comprehensive brand development process will give you what you need to apply your brands voice, message and unique value proposition.

 Brand AlignmentYou will also need to look at your current marketing efforts. What is working what is not? Can you augment any current outbound methods that are working well with the new inbound program?

Lastly, you’ll need to install Hubspot™. HubSpot software includes all the tools you need to do inbound marketing, plus award winning services and support to help companies conduct successful inbound marketing campaigns.

Step 2: Competitor analysis

After your brand and marketing has been evaluated and tweaked accordingly you should then take a look at your competitors. The competitor analysis tool in Hubspot will allow you take a peek under the hood on their efforts. You can also utilize a tool like MOZ to garner strategic insight into what’s happening online. This will also give you insight into figuring out their current online strategies. Use this information to find the “whitespace” and create targeted brand messaging.

Step 3: Goal setting and key performance indicators

Next up is to take an honest look at organization and set some goals. Look to set goals using the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound that meets the C-Suites demands and then go for the “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  Inbound has the potential to blow your doors off if you’re not ready to deliver on your customer demands. Be prepared for the ‘what-ifs’ like; what if your close rate of qualified leads increased by 20%? How does this affect your company’s ability to scale? Are you ready? Be ready… As Mike Tyson said, “everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face.” Here are a few example goals:

  1. Increase web traffic by 5% in 3 months
  2. Increase qualified leads by 5% every month after month 4
  3. Convert 6% of leads to customers

Wrap it up with listing your biggest obstacles to obtaining these goals and some specific ways to overcome them.

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should incorporate what you’ve learned in the competitive analysis step. Hubspot will track leads, traffic, conversion rates, lead history and other key metrics for your reporting needs. Cross reference these benchmarks with your sales metrics and other brand reporting tools you may be using to give you a clear baseline. 

buyer personasStep 4: Create buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal prospect that assist in the strategy and execution of a more targeted marketing campaign. Although fictional, they are based on real data, behaviors, and demographics learned through customer interviews and polls. (Source: Hubspot)

Who exactly are your customers? Do you know them as well as you should? I once read an article that said the “CMO is dead” and that it should be renamed as “CCO” – Chief Customer Officer. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to know our customers better than anyone else in the company. Begin by thinking how you will add value to the people you are targeting. Start by finding out everything you can about them. Here are a few examples:

  1. How is their job measured?
  2. What skills are required to do their job?
  3. Who do they report to? Who reports to them?
  4. What publications or blogs do they read?
  5. What are their biggest challenges?
  6. How do they receive their information? LinkedIn, Blogs, News?
  7. How do they prefer to communicate?

After you’ve interviewed them, create a dossier of them and keep it up on your wall. Begin to create all your content around solving their problems with remarkable, educational content.

Step 5: Setup website

You will need to get your website setup to conform to inbound standards by making the necessary adjustments. You will need the following:

  1. Blog
  2. Social signals
  3. Hubspot tracking script
  4. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  5. Forms
  6. Landing page and email templates
  7. CTAs

Hubspot has all the resources necessary to help you integrate these elements, but a good design agency can also customize and set these up as well.

Step 6: Create the content calendar and compile a strategy

Now that your brand is aligned, you’ve set some goals, you got some benchmarks in place— now it’s time to put together a strategy based on the inbound methodology (ATTRACT > CONVERT > CLOSE > DELIGHT) to market and grow your business through inbound marketing. This will be the game plan that you will use to guide you over the next 12 months. Summarize all the main points into a strategy outlining the key points of your plan. They should include how you plan to attract, convert, what happens when they convert, how you plan to delight them and then how you close them.  Each phase should include specific content that moves them to the next step.  

Get out a calendar and determine the time you have to devote to content creation every week and stick to it. Begin by listing a wide range of topics specifically tailored to your buyer personas. Put together dates as to when you want these topics to be posted. Try to create a back log of content as time permits.

Inbound Marketing StatisticStep 7: Content creation, landing pages and social media

Coming up with something to blog about can sometimes be difficult. Hubspot offers a great tool to help you generate some ideas. Content you publish should be in the form of blogs, infographics, whitepaper and eBooks, webinars, videos and social media posts and links from other sources besides your own. Create value for your prospects and become a resource to them. Blog posts should have social signals so users can easily tweet, like or share your posts as well as a way to sign up to receive updates to your blog.

Once you have created a few whitepapers, ebooks it’s time to start creating some landing pages. The landing pages will feed prospect data into Hubpsot so you can easily track their click patterns on your site. This allows you to give a better customer experience by understanding what they are interested in.

Use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn to push your content far and wide.

Step 8: Lead nurturing

I can tell you from first hand experience that once you start blogging regularly you will start to see an increase in traffic. At about the 6 month mark traffic suddenly begin to shoot up as your content approaches a “critical mass.” At this point you should be moving customers along the marketing lifecycle and nurturing your prospects through the sales funnel by offering them specific content that solves their problems. Content should be highly personalized and manicured at this phase to be relevant. At this point, they will be asking for case studies and product pricing. Be prepared to offer this information to close the deal.

Step 9: Monitor and adjust

At this point you should have a significant, steady flow of traffic to test in real-time and be looking to make any adjustments or tweaks to make your landing pages, CTAs and content perform better. You can make big differences by A/B testing, trying out different subject lines, titles, colors and even buttons.

In conclusion, this is a brief snapshot of what is involved in implementing an inbound marketing campaign. There are several other components we did not get into like email, analytics, workflows and forms and ways to use social media.

If you would like to discuss and learn how you implement inbound marketing, please contact us today for a free 30-minute marketing assessment and consultation.

How Inbound Marketing Works [INFOGRAPHIC]

By | Inbound Marketing

How-inbound-marketing-works2In a previous post I explained and included an infographic on what inbound marketing is, in this post I’ll show you how it works through an example of how you came to this blog post and how a typical customer may come to your website if you were to use the same methodology of inbound marketing through blogging, SEO, lead nurturing and social media.

Allow me to speak to the business owners first. If you’re like most small business owners without a marketing department, you’ve probably felt a bit of a decline last year in online sales or in offline sales depending on what industry you are in. This year you’re wondering if it will be the same? Depending on what kind resources you have, you know that 8% to 10% of your budget should be allocated to marketing.  At this point you’ve probably thought through what your goals are and how you’re going to go about moving the needle forward this year. Before you sign up for another 12-month contract with that trade mag or siphon off more money for pay per click, please consider what it would look like if you had a method of marketing to truly measure your efforts and that it was able to show you what was working and what was not—in real time—for less money.

Now to the Marketers. We all know that content is king in this digital age. You are an expert in something and have plenty of things to talk about concerning your industry and how you could use your knowledge and the collective intelligence of your company to change the marketplace for the better if you had a mechanism in place to do so. Why not use those ideas to create content and begin pushing those ideas out to potential prospects and customers? This content would begin boosting your SERPs, build thought leadership, acquire more leads and build your brand.

If you’re still evaluating whether inbound marketing is right for your company, consider these facts taken from State of Inbound in 2013 by Hubspot:

Inbound is real, and it shows remarkable traction for such a new industry: While inbound marketing is a relatively new industry, it shows sizeable market share and impressive budget growth rates.

  • Sixty percent of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies in 2013
  • Marketers allocate 34% of their overall budgets to inbound tactics – 11% more than they
    dedicate to outbound strategies, like banners, direct mail, and more.
  • This year, 48% of marketers plan to increase their inbound marketing spending – the
    third year in a row that inbound budgets are increasing at a near 50% pace.

I believe inbound marketing is here to stay and if you’re not doing it yet, you’re competitors most likely will be. Below we’ve included an infographic to explain to you how inbound marketing works and how its working for us. The process is broken down into 8 steps of what a typical inbound marketing program works from Stranger > Lead > Close > Customer/Client  > Delight.

Click here to enlarge graphic

How inbound marketing works

Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and how it can grow your marketing and sales? Take a look at this next article on How To Implement Inbound Marketing.

 

JoshClaflin

By Josh Claflin, Creative Director & Brand Strategist
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Title

  1. You’re a business owner or a marketer that has a few problems. It sounds looks
    something like this:
    • Traffic on my website is going down!
    • How do I acquire more quality leads?
    • Can I align my sales and marketing teams ?
    • I need to redesign the website.
    • How do I get my employees more engaged?
    • How do I build my brand?
    • How do I grow my business!
  2. So you head out to Google to search for some ideas on how to accomplish these tasks because that direct mail campaign last month — well lets just say it didn’t work out very well this time around.

     

  3. You quickly scan through the first page of results and find something from a blog that is titled “How to turn your website into a lead generating machine.”

     

  4. The blog post has some great advice on how to increase traffic and get more leads to your website. The site also offers a whitepaper on “How to build a better brand”. So, you click on the call to action, fill out a form and type in your name, email address and phone number and download the whitepaper.

     

  5. In a few more days, you return to the blog because you thought the whitepaper you downloaded was really great. So you read some more helpful articles like “How to acquire more website leads” and downloaded another whitepaper “How to hire right” and decide to go ahead and give them a ‘like’ on Fecebook. You then notice that the firm offers branding and marketing services. You think, hmm… they look like a group I could work with and you begin to warm up to the idea of contacting them to see if they might be able to help you.

     

  6. You then receive an email from the agency suggesting two free ebooks for you to read. The agency’s website is intutive so it adjusts to your interests and asks you if you would like for someone to contact you. You select, Sure! ‘This agency is pretty cool and I think they can help me.’

     

  7. The next day, a representative calls you, explains a bit more about the agency’s  services and sets up a Prezi to help you learn more. Next you ask for a proposal and before you know it, you’ve hired an agency to start helping you grow your business.

     

  8. Its been about 3-4 months, after a short web redesign, some additional brand development consulting and implementation of an inbound marketing program. Your beginning to see traffic on your website pick up and leads are beginning to come in. You have to hire some more people to handle it all and things are looking pretty dang good!

     Welcome to Inbound Marketing.

 

What is Inbound Marketing? [INFOGRAPHIC]

By | Inbound Marketing

Understanding-Inbound-MarketingAs a marketer or business owner you’ve most likely at one point purchased an ad in the yellow pages, local magazine, radio, tried direct mail or maybe even shot a 30 second spot. These forms of advertising commonly known as “push” marketing or “outbound” marketing has been the gold standard for advertising since the 1950s.

For a long time marketers have been pushed into utilizing these types of advertising mechanisms to acquire sales leads and customers. Often times we feel like we’re throwing our time, energy and money out the window because typically there is no way to know if our efforts are really paying off—and if they are, we don’t know why—as it’s very hard to track and measure. This has been the common experience of outbound marketing for almost 70 years. Although it is effective to a degree and in certain channels and industries, its always left me wondering; why can’t we as marketers figure out a better way to get a higher rate of return on our advertising dollars?

Enter 2014, and things as you now well know have changed drastically— if you didn’t feel it last year, you will this year. We’ve experienced a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. People no longer want to have one way conversations with companies, they want a two way conversation.  For a long time it was always the company doing all the talking, but now consumers want to talk back. This has caused the smartest companies to engage in what is called inbound marketing.

Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. (Source: Hubspot)

Below we have put together an infographic on inbound marketing to help you understand how it compares to outbound marketing. We hope that this will shed some light and give you some ideas on how to grow your business this year.

Click here to enlarge graphic

INFOGRAPHIC---What-is-Inbound-Marketing

Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and how it can grow your marketing and sales? Take a look at the this next post on How Inbound Marketing Works.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
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