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How To Set SMART Goals For Your Business

By | Marketing

Setting goals can sometimes quickly become a cruel lesson in futility. Like New Years’ resolutions—you set goals with great motivation and vigor—only to have your best intentions sidetracked by company requests, family life or other distractions. That is unless you’re a part of the only 8% who keep them.

To stay focused on your initiatives—here are three points to help you organize your thoughts and make a plan to achieving them.

1. Create a Vision

If you were given a 50,000 dollar budget to spend on marketing—what would you do with it? Build a better website? Write more content? Produce more videos? Upgrade your photography? Increase sales by 20% within 9 months? The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. What do you really want to create for yourself, your business or your brand? How will this benefit you personally? Don’t be afraid to think big. Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details. Try to incorporate all the different angles into your vision to make it effective. (Source: Forbes)

 

2. Use the SMART method to set your goals

SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – think of these as the ingredients of success. Here’s what they mean and how to apply them:

Specific: Set real numbers with real deadlines. Don’t say, “I want more website visitors,” or “I want to dominate my category.” Look at your website metrics, sales numbers or anything else you have tracked in the past in the form of visits, leads, sales or customers to establish benchmarks. These metrics work, because they are measurable, and they can be used to understand how they affect your bottom line now and in the future. 

Measurable: Make sure that you can track your goals. Don’t hide behind buzzwords like “brand engagement” or “social influence.” If it’s leads, how many leads do you want? Don’t pick something out of thin air, pick something you can measure correctly and track.

Put the right tools in place to measure like Google Analytics or other web tracking software like HotJar, Databox, or HubSpot. You can’t measure what you can’t track. 

firearm-marketing-SMART-goals

 

Attainable: Work toward a goal that is challenging but possible. Don’t try to take over the world in one night. How much time is it going to take? How much budget and resources do you have?

Realistic: Be honest with yourself, because you know what you and your team are capable of. Don’t forget any hurdles you may have to overcome, e.g. competitors, economy, changing regulations, talent, etc. 

Timely: Give yourself a deadline. Don’t keep pushing towards a goal you might hit “some day.” How long is it going to take? 6 months, 1 year? Set a realistic timeframe. Give yourself enough time to reach your goal, but not too much that it drags on.

By utilizing the SMART method—your goals are much more attainable and measurable. (Source: Hubspot

Here’s an example of a SMART goal:
Increase visits by 25% (2,250 per month to 3,000 per month) and make $150K in additional revenue by EOY.

 

goal-setting-planning3. Write it down!

According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals. Who doesn’t want to accomplish significantly more? If you don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist. We all know that having a plan is one thing, but accomplishing that plan is something different. 

Get out a big pad of paper and a sharpie and begin writing down your goals and post them on your wall. That way you can refer to them every day and track progress as you cross them off the list.

As marketers and business owners in the hunting and firearms industry, we are always being pulled in 10 different directions. We’re constantly trying to find ways to keep the train on the track. By establishing the above SMART goals, you can alleviate a lot of stress when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. SMART goals keep you laser-focused and on task. Now that your goals have been set—plan it out and get moving. Don’t forget to celebrate each goal as you achieve it! 

 

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StoryBrand Guide BadgeBrand Development Inbound Marketing ConsultantJosh Claflin, Principal at Garrison Everest, helps companies in the outdoor, active lifestyle, tech and defense industry who are struggling to develop clear brand messaging and increase revenue through online channels. 

the new responsibility in marketing

The New Responsibility In Marketing

By | Marketing

 Marketing is changing for the better. People are fed up with empty promises, bad customer service and products that are unhealthy and hard to buy.

There’s a new responsibility in marketing.  It’s about helping your customers at an individual level, solving their problems for little to no cost; and then serving those customers with polite, happy, helpful people. These new emerging imperatives are fueling some of today’s most successful companies, and setting consumer expectations for decades to come.  

In this article, I discuss 4 major trends influencing today’s consumer behavior and the companies and thought leaders who are out in front of them.

Say buh-bye to old school marketing which suffocates people with the same old promises and mass messaging. Sayonara to the generic term of “consumer” that has given way to the new term “people.” Adios to the days where you could just hire someone on a whim to fill a position—regardless of whether they were the right person or not. Gone are the days when no one understood the word “brand,” let alone the process of “branding.”

We are living in a time of increased deception and broken promises. We feel it and see it in the world around us. Our world is becoming more dangerous and we have no time for false promises and slick advertising. From our leaders and politicians, to the news media and brands we rely on to help us survive—things have definitely changed in the way we perceive our world.

The following statistics show that, for the most part, the days of deceptive, beguiling practices have ended.

  • Only 39% of Americans said the economy is getting better while 56% said it is getting worse (Gallup)
  • Only 27% of likely U.S. voters think the country is heading in the right direction (Rassmusen)
  • Young adults under 35 are saving a whole lot more lately (WSJ
  • 76% of respondents said ads in general were either “very exaggerated” or “somewhat exaggerated” (Forbes)
  • The vast majority think that all cleaning and  weight loss ads are photoshopped (Forbes)
  • Presidential approval rating: 41% (Gallup)
  • Congress approval rating: 15% (Gallup)
  • U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High (Gallup)
  • Only 2% of cold calls end up in an appointment (Hubspot)
  • 223 Million people subscribing to the FTC “Do Not Call List” (Today)
  • 86% of people skip television commercials (The Guardian)
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened (Mashable)

All people struggle to find truth; and as the above statistics show—we rarely ever get it. But when we see something that appears to be authentic and truthful, it shines like a beacon in the myriad of untruths.

If the promise is broken and we get burned, however, we turn against the offender publicly by letting our 500+ friends on Facebook know how we feel. (Source: Marketing Charts)

Years of broken promises, intrusiveness, bad customer service and outright lies have finally resulted in this shift in consumer behavior.

Consumer mass marketing is no longer effective. Companies must begin to care about people as individuals.

marketing trendsTrend #1: The Thank You Economy
In his book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk reveals how companies big and small can scale personal, one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, no matter how large, using the same social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. The Thank You Economy offers compelling, data-driven evidence which indicates that we have entered into an entirely new business era.  The companies that see the biggest returns won’t be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else. (Source: Amazon)

Trend #2: Make products which are good for people and provide them conveniently
Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek, who‘s mission is about bringing healthier and more affordable food to everyone, everywhere states, “It turns out that when you create a path that makes it easy (and even profitable) for good people to do good things — they will do it.  Give people an affordable and convenient path to do the right thing — and they will. Almost every single time. Make the path to do the right thing expensive and inconvenient — and they won’t.” (Huffington Post)

The other day I flew from my home in Indianapolis to my hometown of Denver. Driving up into Boulder you begin to notice a lot more options to eat healthy. I chose to drop in on one of my favorite places—Jamba Juice—for a smoothie. Delicious, convenient, good customer service, healthy and at a great price. Not only did it cure my hunger, but I felt better about myself after I consumed it.  

Contrast this with a town like Indianapolis where there is a Steak n’ Shake or some other fast food joint on every corner.  Convenience can outweigh doing what’s right for our bodies.

When given the opportunity, people are more likely to make good choices. Brands that provide products and services which are good for you, affordable and convenient to get are changing the marketing and business landscape.

Trend #3: The Rise of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a process which attracts people to your product or service by providing the answers to people’s problems.  By providing a variety of content like video, DIY blogs, ebooks and whitepapers, brands help solve their customers’ problems, which in turn creates trust and a relationship over time. This methodology has been so successful that over 60% of companies have now implemented inbound marketing as part of their overall strategy. (Source: HubSpot).  Inbound marketing holds off on the sales pitch used by traditional methods like cold calling, print, online ads and television commercials. It emphasizes the customer more  and the sale less. This helps companies create trust  and help their customers more effectively. Many companies are moving towards the inbound methodology and as a result (thanks to Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, founders of Hubspot) marketing is changing for the better. Change is good for the customer, and for the marketer that must quantify ROI.

inbound marketing methodology

 

Trend #4: Your People Are Your Brand
With the urgent need to attract and hire the best talent into your organization, brands must  realize that their people impact their brand’s performance as much or more than any other factor.

Zappos is a prime example. Zappos hiring processes and their “we’ll pay you to quit” policy forces Zappos to hire the right people. Their focus on hiring for brand-first is changing the way companies keep their brand promises. (Source: Fast Company)

Russ Minary, Founder of Brand+People™ states, “Your people are the key differentiator in a marketplace full of identical competitors.” There are very few truly unique products or services in the marketplace.  So your people will make all the difference in creating your brand perception.  Companies that have a strong employer and corporate brand will attract top talent, establish a positive reputation, achieve increased profitability, maximize their brand perception, reduce turnover costs and retain more high-performing employees, which results in happier, more loyal customers.

Hiring for Brand

 

Let’s be clear: this is not a message to just make us feel all warm and fuzzy.  Those who watch the budgets are getting very interested, too.  In today’s new responsibility marketplace, the company with the top talent and happiest employees will see the impact on its bottom line.

In her book; Make More Money By Making Your Employees Happy, Dr. Nelson cites a study from the Jackson Organization (a survey research consultancy acquired by Healthstream, Inc.), which shows, “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t. When looking at Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ stock prices rose an average of 14% per year from 1998-2005, compared to 6% for the overall market.” (Source: Forbes)

Some CEO and CMO tenures are increasing because savvier companies are using inbound marketing and the tactics listed above to make marketing better. (Source: WSJ)

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. – Simon Sinek

The foundational principles of the new responsibility in marketing are providing personal, one-on-one attention; solving your customer problems; and delivering your brand with good people.  This is the critical combination to marketing success in today’s marketplace.   

Marketers who see these trends and take action will fare well in their efforts to get results. We need better, healthier and more helpful marketing.  With a little patience and thought we can change marketing—and perhaps the world.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how marketing is changing for the better. Please post your comments below.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry 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.

 

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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.