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5 Ways To Understand How Social Media Can Work For Your Hunting Company

By Firearms and Hunting, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


If you’re like most business owners or marketers in the firearms, shooting and hunting industries, social media is still a bit of a mystery. A lot of marketers and business owners think that social media is a waste of time or are vague on how to effectively use it. Like all things we don’t understand, we typically just shrug it off.

We know we have to have a Facebook page—and maybe even a Twitter account, but still we struggle to grasp the importance of social media and its use.

Social media can be explained like this: Social media is digital word-of-mouth. Like traditional word-of-mouth or referrals, you share content, ideas, recommendations, stories or pictures with people who are your neighbors, friends or family. If you stop for a moment and think about it, most of the services and products you have bought in the past—have come from referrals by neighbors, friends or family.

If people find your information (i.e. content) useful or interesting—odds are they will share it, tweet it, like it or buy it.

Social media helps get your information or content out to more people—and given the right circumstances, can grow your website traffic, leads and customers exponentially. By spreading your content far and wide—you cast a bigger net, which means you increase your odds of generating more customers.

Here are 5 ways to finally help you understand how social media works in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry. 

 

1. Social media starts with valuable and relevant content 

If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then social media starts with creating content. You can’t attract new customers without generating content. Content can be created in the form of blogs, videos, whitepapers, ebooks or infographics. Tweet, share and post these pieces of content and distribute them on your social media networks to maximize your content reach. Write your content specifically for your buyer persona.

Should I post the same content on all networks?

To help you better understand the differences of social media, here are few comparisons made by social media guru, Guy Kawasaki (1.7 million followers on Twitter)

  • Facebook = People. It’s mostly for communicating with those with whom you already have some connection.
  • Twitter = Perceptions. It can help you build your reputation and visibility.
  • Google+ = Passions. It’s for sharing your passions with others who have the same passions.
  • Pinterest = Pinning. It’s about beautiful images and finding great stuff.
  • LinkedIn = Pimping. He means this in a good way, Kawasaki said. “LinkedIn can help you position yourself as a serious person and influencer.”

For Facebook, you’ll want to bring your content down to a human level and mix it up with real-life experiences. Try to make your content sound “casual” and make it fun. Posts on Facebook should be about office happenings and culture. Think reality show.

For LinkedIn, dress your content up in a suit. Make sure you add your own personal comment as to why you’re posting. Try to think in terms of how to establish yourself as an influencer or perhaps even a thought leader.

For Twitter, you only have 140 characters to get your point across. Your tweets should be short and succinct. Try to invoke curiosity or urgency to drive clicks to your content.

Buffer found that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks. Always add an interesting, eye-catching picture. This also goes for Facebook and LinkedIn.

What the heck is a hashtag?
Hastags (#) are used to identify a subject. So if you were to post something about Elk hunting in the Rockies you may tweet something like: “Elk Hunting is the Best in the Rockies! #hunting #firearms #wyoming” What the hashtag does, is allow other users to search for the same hashtag. This creates a small micro-community that follows an interest, event or subject.

2. Identify which channels work best for your business

Not all social media channels work and operate the same (as noted above). The only way to understand what network works for you is to experiment. We typically have more success on Twitter and LinkedIn than on Facebook. So we concentrate a lot of our efforts on those channels because they are more B2B oriented.

If you’re focused on reaching women (which is currently exploding in the industry) – you may want to try Pinterest as their members are almost 90% female.

Google+ should be used to help with increasing search engine rankings and indexing your pages. Google continues to struggle with creating a viable social network. However, Google+ should not be overlooked. 

 

3. Curate other people’s content and follow back your customers!

In order to start gaining followers, you must tweet, post and share often–especially on Twitter. It’s recommended that to gain followers on Twitter you need to tweet at least 4x a day—for starters. It’s been proven the more you tweet, the more followers you get.

You won’t have enough content in the beginning—so tweet other industry/topic relevant content. Make sure to follow the 80/20 rule: tweet 80% of other people’s content and only 20% of yours. By retweeting, favoriting and sharing other people’s content, you gain followers as people are likely to follow you back.

For LinkedIn and Facebook, I recommend once a day or at least 4 times a week to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Back off if you sense people are getting annoyed or you start losing followers. Always be professional and courteous. Do not use profanity or coarse language.

Most companies in the industry are highly self-promotional. They are always tweeting out their latest products, sales, deals and happenings—push, push, push.  Their social media strategy dictates that:  Follow less people and have more followers than we’ll be considered more important.” Companies in the hunting, firearms and shooting industries should follows their customers back. Social media isn’t about being the most popular kid on the playground—it’s about sharing and  associating with the people you are trying to help, build a relationship with to turn them into life-long customers. 

Here’s how this plays out. I’m considering a new AR-15. So I head to Twitter and follow Stag Arms, Colt and Daniel Defense so I can learn more about their products and get updates on their latest news to help make a decision on what AR-15 to buy. Out of those three companies, Stag Arms ends up following me back! Wow. A big brand like Stag, wants to follow me? Guess who I’m going to buy from. Stag! So go ahead, follow back! You tell your potential customers you’re interested in them and you care about them. This goes along way in establishing your branding and inbound marketing strategy

 

4. Boost your content on Facebook

Facebook has changed its news feed recently and it has become harder to get your content in front of the right audience. Facebook now offers “boosts” to reach your target audience outside of your network for increased exposure. Boosts start at $20 and go up from there. Boosts are a cost effective way to drive traffic and capture likes, leads and shares.

 

5. LinkedIn is about establishing yourself as an influencer and thought leader to establish credibility

Once you commit to creating valuable content, you’ll begin to learn even more about the industry and your buyer personas. An amazing thing happens when you start to research, read, tweet, post, write and curate content. You wake up one day and realize that you’re living on the bleeding edge of the latest trends, industry news and technology. You become a resource that others will find useful. I tell this to my customers who are venturing into inbound marketing. Like training for an Ironman, you start out slow, but gradually over time, you gain momentum and fitness to go the distance—and before you know it, you’re a stud triathlete.

Ok, if you’ve made it this far down on this article, you may be asking, OK great, how does participating in social media really help my business? Here are 5 important reasons:

  1. Builds your brand and reputation
  2. Social proof (i.e. a lot of followers) establishes trust among leery visitors
  3. Attracts customers you otherwise would not have reached
  4. Drives traffic to your content and landing pages to convert visitors to leads
  5. Establishes yourself as resource, influencer and thought leader to a global audience

So there you have it.

If you were confused about how social media works—you should now have a better understanding. Social media starts with valuable content, choosing the right network, curating other peoples content (80/20 rule), following your prospects back, tweeting to drive traffic, boosting on Facebook to gain shares, and using LinkedIn to establish yourself as a credible thought leader. If you still have questions? Contact us or give us a call to see how to make social media work for your business. 

hunting-outdoor-internet-guide
Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Media Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now
hunting business brand marketing

6 Secrets Of The Duck Dynasty Hunting And Outdoor Brand

By Hunting and Outdoor

Sometimes, a brand comes along that is really different—and goes against the grain of everything else you’ve been accustomed to. With over $40 million dollars in revenue in 2012 (Source: Wikipedia), and the number one cable show in history, no one can deny that the Robertson Family/Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty brand has done something right.

If Willie Robertson were to sit down in my office (see end of this post), and I was able to ask him what advice he had for hunting and outdoor business owners and marketers about building their brand, I think this is what he would say…

1. Be authentic
One thing that Willie Robertson would say about your branding efforts is to be authentic. This has been one of the genuine traits of the Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty brand. No fluff, no gloss, no razzle-dazzle. Customers feel a real connection to the Robertson’s and buy their products because they are real.  A lot of companies develop their brands that feel and look manufactured. For decades we’ve been soaked with Madison Avenue style advertising that it’s become something we naturally ignore. Kind of like air. You know it’s there, but you don’t really think about it. By being authentic your chances of cutting through the clutter increase.

2. Keep it real
Willie would say keep it real. Don’t be something you’re not. Your company starts with the personality and character of you—the founder. Don’t loose that one thing that separates you from everyone else—you. Great brands are built on men and women who keep it real. Look at Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Chuck Buck and Howard Shultz.

3. Know your customer
Willie says, know your customer. Duck Commander and Buck Commander as well as the Duck Dynasty and Robertson brand all meticulously built their brands around their customer that truly connects on a personal level. Research and interview your customers—find out who your ideal customer is. Build your brand and your branding efforts around them. Talk like they talk, do what they like to do, hang out where they hang out.  Engage them, solve their problems. This is the most important step in developing a brand.

Duck-Dynasty-brand4. Hire your customers
Willie only hires people who are hunting fanatics and who adhere to their cultural virtues. Hire people who are naturally passionate about what you do. This will pay considerable dividends from a customer service and standpoint and reduce turnover costs. Customers generally turn out to be among the best performers when they become employees. You already know them and they know you. (SOURCE: ERE)

5. Sell the experience
The old saying “your brand is your product” certainly applies here. I would bet that like Harley Davidson, most of Duck Commander’s revenue is made through shirts, hats and other branded apparel—people aren’t necessarily buying just duck calls. People want to be associated with the Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty experience—which is another reason why the brand is so powerful. They want to feel like they are apart of the family or out in the blinds with them. 

Whether you like Duck Dynasty or not, as a hunting and outdoor business owner you have to admit that what makes this brand unique is its authenticity, their approach to keeping it real, their intimate knowledge of their customers, the experience they sell and the people they hire. The brand’s story and ability to connect with millions of people make it a great brand to emulate and apply to your own company’s branding efforts.

hunting-outdoor-internet-guide 
Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for the Hunting and Outdoor Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now

 

 


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.

How Inbound Can Grow Your Business

How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Business

By Business, Inbound Marketing

Business owners today are faced with many options and challenges on how to market their businesses and make their marketing dollars go farther. From the Yellow Pages (yp.com), Angie’s List, trade show events to glossy print ads—the options are endless. However, I want to introduce you to a relatively new marketing and sales methodology that can help address one of your business’ biggest challenges: growth.

In this article, I explain 5 high-level factors of inbound marketing to help you understand how to attract customers, grow your brand and your bottom line. Inbound marketing harnesses the power of your company’s website to generate traffic and leads, automate marketing, acquire customers and understand your cost per lead more effectively. If you’re new to the concept of inbound marketing, read: What is Inbound Marketing? first.

1. Grow by generating website traffic
The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday this past March. Since its inception, it has revolutionized the way we do business. According to iMedia, 93% of B2B buyers use search to begin the buying process.  93 percent! If you’re serious about generating traffic month after month—it’s absolutely critical that the products and services you provide can be found online by your prospective customers/clients/dealers.

 

inbound marketing traffic

Actual Inbound Marketing Traffic Generation Data: 157% Increase in traffic!

 

So, how do you get more traffic? Well, once again the options are endless. A good place to start is with inbound marketing’s approach to blogging. If you aren’t blogging, you’re missing out on what could be your biggest opportunity to generate traffic.

Take a look at these statistics:

  • Blog frequency impacts customer acquisition. 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2013)
  • The global population of blog readers keeps growing. (eMarketer, August 2010)
  • 81% of marketers rated their blog as useful or better. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2013)
  • There are 31% more bloggers today than there were three years ago. (eMarketer, August 2010)
  • 46% of people read blogs more than once a day. (HubSpot Science of Blogging 2010)
  • Most people read 5-10 blogs. (HubSpot Science of Blogging, 2010)
  • Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes. (eMarketer, August 2010)

As you can see, one sure fire way to generate traffic to your website is to tap into blogging. Blogging can expand your business’ digital footprint which, creates more opportunities to generate traffic. And with 60% of all organic clicks going to the top three search results; blogging will also contribute to higher rankings. Every blog post you create will continue to drive traffic to your website for the duration of its existence. 

You may be thinking, “we blog, but it doesn’t seem to help.” If your blog isn’t performing the way it should, you may be doing something wrong. Are you seeking to solve your customer’s problems, or do you use it for self-promotion? There is a big difference and each serves two different audiences. To blog effectively, you must seek to provide information that helps the people you are trying to attract. 

2. Grow by turning visits into leads
Now that you’re blogging correctly, it’s time to turn that traffic into leads. To capture leads, you must offer premium content in the form of webinars, whitepapers, ebooks or videos. By utilizing call-to-actions (CTAs), forms and landing pages, you create a method for gathering your prospect’s contact information so that you can understand their needs and better solve their problems. You also will begin to establish trust, gain credibility and thought leadership which is important to attracting customers/clients/dealers etc.

 

Inbound Marketing Lead Generation

Actual Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Data: 1150% increase!

 

inbound marketing3. Grow by marketing automation
To do inbound marketing effectively you will need marketing automation software. We recommend a tool like HubSpot that ties all your online marketing efforts together into one convenient web-based source. With HubSpot, you can automate a lot of the manual tasks like social media publishing, email and workflows. The Contacts feature in HubSpot allows you to understand the areas of interest on your website that your leads have visited—equipping you to have a more meaningful and impactful conversation with them. HubSpot’s Competitor analysis tool allows you to see what your competitors are up to and how to outrank them on the search engines. With a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, you will save time, energy and get the support you need to conduct a successful inbound marketing campaign.

4. Grow by turning leads into customers
Eventually—if you’ve followed points 1 through 3—your search engine rankings, blogging and social media following will increase over time and you’ll begin to see an increase in traffic and leads. 60% of the sales cycle is already over, once you’ve determined that a lead is ready to talk to you. It now becomes time to reach out personally if you feel they meet your qualifications and convert your lead into a customer.

So for example, you may send them an email asking them if they would like to set up an introductory phone call or you may choose to call them directly. Whatever method you choose, the prospect has already warmed to the idea of working with you and is interested in learning more about your products or services.

5. Grow by being smarter with your marketing dollars
Inbound marketing has shown a 62% reduction in cost per lead. (Source: Mashable) it makes it the perfect solution to save money and achieve your business goals cost effectively over time. Instead of investing heavily in outbound marketing methods like printed advertising, direct mail, billboard, radio, placards at bus stops or television ads, inbound provides the data, wherewithal and insight you need to make your marketing dollars work harder. Utilizing HubSpot’s Marketing Performance Module, you’ll be able to see how your marketing dollars are working and allow you to avoid the black box which is outbound marketing.

inbound marketing performance

Actual Inbound Marketing Performance

 

In conclusion, I’ve given you just a taste of how inbound marketing can grow your business by utilizing your website. Inbound marketing is a great solution for businesses trying to grow, stabilize or become more profitable. Its methodology enables you to generate traffic and leads, acquire new customers and provide ROI analysis to help you grow your business more profitably.

If you’re interested in learning more about inbound marketing please contact our Indianapolis or Denver Branding Agency for a complimentary inbound marketing assessment and begin growing your business today.

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 give you what you need to run a successful inbound marketing program.

 

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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.

 

10 Secrets to better home page design

10 Secrets To Better Home Page Design

By Web Design

With only 3-5 seconds to capture your website visitor’s attention, your company’s home page is one of your most important pieces of brand real estate.

If you’re a business owner (or marketer), knowing the secrets to effective home page design is critical to success in the realm of inbound marketing. In this article, I’ll give you the recipe that will help you design a better home page that will decrease your bounce rates, improve customer conversions and improve your brand’s digital impression. 

To begin, there are 5 overarching secrets to building a better home page.

1. Cognitive fluency
home page web designCognitive fluency is simply a measure of how easy it is to think about something, and it turns out that people prefer things that are easy to think about to those that are hard.

Google researchers found that users judge a website as “beautiful” within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second. “Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as “less than beautiful” as their simpler counterparts.

Let me an illustrate an example. Have you ever gone on a blind date?

As soon as you open the door — you’re able to within 1/50th of a second determine if the person standing before you is attractive or not. 

Websites work a lot like a blind date. You punch in a keyword not knowing what to expect until the page loads—and when the page finally loads—you either bounce away in horror or you pleasantly choose to stay—gazing at the beautiful layout in front of you. 

When designing your home page, simple = beautiful. 

2. Simple navigation
Simple navigation keeps the home page clean and gets your visitor to where they want to go quickly. Try to keep your navigation to an absolute minimum. Design your website’s architecture in a way that doesn’t detract from your overall goal. Notice the examples in this article. The examples shown have 3-5 navigation topics max.

Website Homepage Design3. Relevant color scheme
Keep your colors appropriate and in context to your industry. Do you need a dark color palette to convey luxury—or a more lighthearted palette to show approachability? Know what colors are used in your industry for maximum appeal. Find out more about your buyer persona to get an understanding of what will resonate with your target audience.

4. Streamlined next steps
What do you want your customer to do when they are on your website? Download an ebook? Contact you? Map out what you want them to do next. Don’t leave your visitor hanging. Think for them and move them through the buyer awareness stage using strong call to actions (CTA’s).

Now that you know the 5 overarching factors for a successful home page design, now you need to know the 5 elements and how they are implemented.

5. Logo

Your logo design serves as the anchor point for your website and communicates your company’s credibility and trust. Eye patterns start from top left and go down toward the right. An interesting and professional logo makes a great first impression. 

Website-Homepage-Design-Saucony6. Main image = main message

Next is your main image with the main idea that you want to communicate. Your message should be short and succinct. Be clear, not clever. Your imagery should position your brand accordingly and be tied to your main message. The image should be creative and eye catching. This is your chance to “stick” your visitor to your site. If someone hits your site and immediately bounces off, it’s because your message was not clear and they found your site unexciting or irrelevant.

7. Service offerings

Scrolling down—you should now tell your visitors what you offer and how you can help them. Make sure the text is written for them. By accurately defining your buyer persona, you’ll be able to talk their language in a way that grabs their attention and presents the impression that you understand them. This works in your favor to convince them you’re the company for the job.

8. Why work with you?
Next, you want to present the reasons why someone would want to work with you. These should be the top 3-4 things that separate you from your competitors and distinguish your brand. Make the reasons compelling enough and link to the areas of your website for more information and to track engagement.


Website-Homepage-Design-Hubspot9. Social proof
People tend to follow people. By showing social proof that people like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter can lend real validity to your above claims. If possible, showcase real customer testimonials with faces. This is the icing on the cake for presenting a credible narrative by showing others who you’ve helped.

10. Load time & responsiveness
Users want sites that load fast and that are responsive (iPad, iPhone and Desktop). By keeping your content simple and optimizing your images correctly you can decrease load times. If you’ve hired a web design company to build your site—ask them about load times and if they use content distribution networks (CDN), browser caching and if they will minify javascript and CSS for a faster loading home page. Below are some interesting stats on load times according to MOZ.

  • If your site loads in 5 seconds it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
  • If your site loads in 2.9 seconds it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
  • If your site loads in 1.7 seconds it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
  • If your site loads in 0.8 seconds it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

See how your website stacks up at: Pingdom

In conclusion, knowing the secrets for better home page design will ensure lower bounce rates and attention grabbing messaging you need to move your customer further down your sales funnel for customer conversion. These factors when taken into account will turn your website into a revenue generating machine.

Responsive-Website-Planner
FREE DOWNLOAD: Website Design Planner

A time saving guide on how to plan an effective website that meets your online business and branding goals.
In this planning guide, we help you and your team think through the critical points of the website design process that helps you form a specifications document to obtain accurate pricing

Download Now!

 

 

 

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.

 

The-6-Hurdles-Of-Inbound-Marketing

The 6 Hurdles Of Inbound Marketing

By Inbound Marketing

 Thinking about pulling the trigger on inbound marketing? Have you taken the time to consider what it will take to make your investment pay off?

There is no doubt that there is a lot of buzz surrounding inbound marketing with over 78% of CMO’s thinking custom content is the future of marketing

But before you and your team dive in—there are 6 hurdles you need to consider before committing to inbound that could make or break your investment.

1. Education
It takes time to learn how to do inbound marketing correctly. You must understand the inbound methodology of Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. 

There are 8 activities that are attached to each one of these components: Blogging, SEO, Social Media, Content Offers, CTAs, Landing Pages, Email and Lead Nurturing (Work Flows).

Then there’s the sales funnel you must perfect once you get the prospect on the line. All of these things need to be understood to successfully manage an inbound marketing campaign.

inbound marketing icons

To get trained on inbound marketing, checkout HubSpot Academy.

2. Time
Inbound marketing takes 6-12 months to start seeing viable results. This could be faster depending on your industry. Industries who have yet to engage in inbound marketing stand to profit the most (construction, engineering, certain sectors of technology, healthcare, medical device, transportation and manufacturing just to name a few). You will need to blog at least 1-2x per week, create content offers, curate content, interact with your followers, comment on posts, read and research as well as manage all of the activities from hurdle 1. You will need at least 10-15 hours minimum to conduct inbound effectively. If you don’t have that kind of time, an inbound marketing agency can help you split the workload.

3. Consistency
Without consistency in your blogging your results will fall short. Google demands fresh and relevant content. By updating and optimizing your blog weekly—with relevant and valuable content—your website’s search engine rankings will climb and you’ll begin to generate more traffic—which equals more leads—that lead to customers. 

inbound marketing sales funnel4. Analyzing
After you get your inbound engine humming, you’ll need to have an in-depth analytical tool to understand how your efforts are performing. We recommend a time-saving tool like HubSpot to quickly understand your analytics

5. Getting traction
There will be months were you will feel like you’re going backwards. Then all of sudden, a post will go viral and traffic spikes 500% and the leads poor in. I think in all of the campaigns I’ve seen, there are two to three months when you begin to question your commitment. The best way to get traction is to be consistent and keep going even when it gets tough. Write your blog posts with personality, pick topics that solve your customer’s problems and spend time promoting your content effectively. Eventually things will pick up, so don’t fret. Planning budget for PPC is a good idea when the going gets tough.

6. Price
Obviously price is always a hurdle. HubSpot pricing can be out of range for most startups and small businesses. However, by making the investment and putting some skin in the game—the time you save will be more than worth it. HubSpot’s all-in one-platform brings all the tools you need into one portal so you can effectively manage all your inbound activities at once.

When you factor in your marketing budget on alternative outbound methods like trade show, email blasts, buying lists, cold-calling, printed ads, radio or banner ads—inbound still provides the lowest cost-per-lead and delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing. Inbound also provides the only systematic way to forecast sales, measure your brand and grow your business.  

Content marketing facts

  1. $135 billion will be spent on new digital marketing collateral (content) in 2014
  2. 78% of CMO’s think custom content is the future of marketing
  3. Internet advertising will make up 25% of the entire ad spend by 2015
  4. Social media marketing budgets will double over the next 5 years
  5. Email with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%
  6. Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies
  7. 33% of traffic from Google’s organic search engine results go to the first item listed
  8. 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing essential
  9. 73% of reporters think press releases should contain images
  10. 72% of “Pay per Click” marketers plan to increase their budget in 2014
  11. 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013
  12. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads
  13. 43% of all marketers found a customer via LinkedIn
  14. 55% of marketers worldwide increased digital marketing budgets in 2013
  15. Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness for content marketers at 89%
  16. Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%
  17. 65% of your audience are visual learners
  18. Marketers will use dynamic content to deliver highly personalized experiences to the right audiences at the right time
  19. Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing
  20. Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text.

SOURCE: Jeff Bullas 

inbound marketing trafficInbound marketing is not for everyone, but the up-side far outweighs the down-side. We’ve been doing inbound with HubSpot since January of 2014 and our results have been amazing. I’ve been very happy with our growth—this is coming from someone who works in the ultra-competitive marketing industry working in the Indianapolis and Denver markets.

Interested in learning if Inbound Marketing is right for your business? Please contact us for a free inbound marketing assessment. 

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Tool Kit
 

Running a successful inbound marketing campaign for your business is all about having the right tools. This guide will dive into which marketing tools you should use to conduct inbound marketing.

 

 

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.

U2-brand-development

6 Things You Can Learn From U2’s Brand

By Brand Development

I’m not going to lie. I love U2. And if you ask me—they are thee biggest band of our generation—I’m talking to all of my GenXers out there.

There is a reason why U2 (founded in 1976) has kept rocking for almost 30 years. U2 has done a number of things right that we as business owners and marketers can learn from to maximize our own success and longevity when building our brands.

Whether you’re a U2 fan or not—below are 6 things you can incorporate into your own brand strategy that can potentially provide the wherewithal your brand needs to go the distance.

Product
It goes without saying that U2’s signature sound delivered by The Edge’s “airy” guitar rifts, Bono’s larger-than-life vocals and disorienting lyrics and the strong back-up accompaniment from Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton on drums and bass, respectively—make U2’s “music product” unique. They have consistently delivered their product—album after album to their loyal followers—each on a grander scale than the last. All great brands start with a great idea. U2’s music has propelled the band’s brand over the years. 

Purpose
U2 has always been devoted to helping their fellow man. From Band-Aid, Live-Aid, World Vision, ONE, Music Rising and as of late, RED (Bono’s personal foundation devoted to the Aids epidemic in Africa)—U2 has always made giving back to humanity a priority, and it’s reflected in both their powerful music and their generosity in giving back. With each new effort comes forth a new song to bring awareness. Here are a few examples:

  • Do They Know It’s Christmas – Ethiopian Famine
  • Bullet the Blue Sky – San Salvador Civil War
  • Miss Sarajevo – Bosnian War
  • New York – for 9/11
  • Sweetest Thing – Chernobl Childrens Proejct
  • Walk On – Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi
  • The Saints are Coming – Hurrican Katrina
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday – Irish Massacre

Their purpose for existing goes beyond just making millions of dollars making music. Like most startups—the product (music) may have been their sole driver in the beginning—but now they use their music and fame to build awareness for various global atrocities and humanitarian crises that demand the attention and action of their followers. This purpose has made U2 a band to be admired and respected. And with admiration comes interest and more sales. 

u2 brand experience concertCustomer Experience
U2 has consistently created fresh songs and content, not to mention their ability to always push the boundaries on what can be done in stadiums. They are highly committed to their fans, which in turn has cultivated a cult-like following. They express their thankfulness to their crowds and bring them into their story through their purpose. Every concert by U2 is intertwined with some kind of political action that allows the concert-goer to be apart of their cause. Every brand should strive to incorporate their customers into the brand’s purpose and story.

Authentic
The band members’ personal lives are aligned with their purpose and product as well. They tend to be the same on camera as they are in their off-camera day-to-day lives. From the design of their album covers, merchandise and music, U2 is just different.

Branding
Their branding is always on target. Although the brand’s visuals have changed through the years, their core essence has not. If I had to guess, I would say U2’s brand essence would go something like this:

Create music that moves, relates and heals the world.

A brand’s essence is what creates purpose and answers the question: “why”? It is the center of all that you do that gets you out of bed in the morning. What is your “why”? 

Innovation
With more than 150 million albums sold, $700 million dollars in ticket sales (Source: Forbes)—their latest album, Songs of Innocence, is another example of what U2 does best: innovate. Every album released brings higher expectations from their fans than the previous one. They have consistently created billboard hits over the past 30 years because they continue to innovate. They do this by surrounding themselves with the best people and utilizing their unique talents and skills.

To wrap up, brands that start with a good product, possess purpose, experience, authenticity, maintain consistent branding and who can continually innovate can expect long term success. So go out and rock your brand!

 

Brand Interview Guide

 

Free Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Developing your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the questions to ask your customers/clients to uncover your brand.

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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.

 

Do I Really Need A Brand Strategy?

By Brand Development

Maybe you’ve just come out with some disruptive technology or game-changing gadget.

Or maybe your business has been around for a while and you’ve realized that to compete in today’s environment, you need to focus more on your reputation or brand. 

Do you really need a brand strategy?

Your customers, clients, employees, partners already have some kind of feeling, thought or understanding of you or your product/service—negative or positive.

The truth is… a brand already exists, even if you’ve never taken the time to develop your brand.

Below are 9 surprising facts that you may not have considered in regards to your brand development strategy.

1. Make it easier for the customer to buy

Customers make decisions on products they know and trust. If a customer is not familiar with your brand, they are less likely to buy it.


Think of the last time you were in the grocery store and you had to pick up some pickles. Vlasic—the pickle category leader—was not on the shelf. Do you buy the “I’ve never heard of you” brand of pickles—or forgo the pickles altogether? Most likely, you’ll wait till the next grocery trip or go to another store. Brands help us make buying decisions.

2. Make it easier for the sales team to sell
Having a strong brand reputation in the marketplace will allow your sales team to close more sales based on brand performance alone. A reputation for service, quality and the ability to solve your customer’s problem will be more likely received and sought after.


3. Brand clarity and delivery spurs employee motivation

Brands give your employees purpose. Having a clear cultural direction, goal and mission based on your brand values will create higher performance and productivity.


4. Increase the value of your company over time
Brands are line items on today’s most valued companies. The Coca-Cola brand alone accounts for 51 percent of the stock market value of the Coca-Cola Company. (Source: Brandchannel

5. Brand definition brings clarity to your business goals and direction

Having trouble getting along? The brand development process will get you and your key stakeholders on the same page that will align and foster greater cooperation.

6. The brand development exercise creates innovation

Most of us are so busy we sometimes just go through the motions in our businesses day after day with the mentality of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it attitude.” By purposefully sitting down and thinking about your brand and business you will give yourself and your team time to create new processes, products, services and other ideas that will drive innovation. This is time well spent.

7. Saves money on future design and advertising costs
Instead of reinventing the wheel every time that new ad needs to be placed or package redesigned, your brand standards will provide a guideline for consistency that creates visual recall and recognition.


8. A strong brand creates preference which, equals profit

By consistently delivering the same value, service and quality—along with the same visual identifiers—you begin to create preference and repeat customers. This is called “branding.” The goal of brand development is to create preference.


9. Attract talented employees

In today’s war for talent—companies are struggling to find talented and skilled workers. Those with strong employer brands coupled with a strong corporate brand will win.

10. Provides the foundation of you marketing efforts
Without a brand strategy, it will be very difficult to focus your inbound marketing efforts. The absence of your customer’s buyer personas, key messaging and brand-centric visuals will make any marketing effort less effective. 

So, do you need a brand strategy?

Well, if any of the above points appeal to you—I would say yes—brand development can help. Even if competition is non-existent—you eventually will need to develop your brand, if not direct it in some way. We have in any given category 10-20 of everything (toothpaste, cars, shoes, dishwashing soap, law firms, construction companies, healthcare providers etc.) by having a well-defined brand, you will be able to compete at a higher level than your competition and build a valuable asset for the future.  

 

 

brand-interview-guideFree Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Developing your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the questions to ask your customers/clients to uncover your brand.

 

 

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the outdoor, active lifestyle and health industries 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.

 

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.

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

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Inbound Marketing Tool Kit
 

Get started with Inbound Marketing by learning about the tools needed to grow your business and prove ROI.

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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.

 

How to build a person network

How To Build A Personal Network In A New Town

By Networking, Social Media

 12 months ago I moved from Denver to Indianapolis. Picking up shop and moving my business across country to start a new office in a new city can be fairly—or need I say—downright stressful.

Many questions come up: Will we make it? How will we generate leads? How will we stay afloat? These uncertainties, among many other, kept me up nights.

I soon discovered the business environment into which I had immersed myself was almost 180 degrees different from that I had left.

Denver is a highly transient town. People are always moving in and out. Four out of 10 new Colorado residents came from elsewhere in the U.S. (Source: Denver Post). In Denver, everyone stays in their bubble and relies heavily on Google to find the products and services they need.

In Indy, growth is stagnant if not decreasing (Source: World Population Review). You have generations of family roots and a layer of networking where business is strictly done by word-of-mouth and referrals. In this environment, it’s all about who you know. If you need something, you ask someone rather than going to Google to find it yourself. It’s no wonder that a company like Angie’s List—a company based on word-of-mouth reviews—was founded in Indianapolis.

My concerns were validated at a local networking event when a VP of a large metals company specifically stated to me: “I would never go to the internet to search for something you do” (i.e. inbound marketing and branding services).

Whoa.

Even more interesting, our keywords and rankings in Denver are the same as they are in Indy with one big difference: the search volume is almost 10x higher in Denver!

Determined not to let this whole thing get me rattled, I got busy thinking on how to solve the problem. I had to start my business all over again, this time by word-of-mouth.

If you’re moving your business or starting an office in a new city, here are 8 tips to keep in mind.

1. Figure out the business climate
I looked into the business climate in Indianapolis and everything looked great. Low unemployment, a fair amount of startups, diverse industries, a thriving healthcare and medical device sector and supporting services sector. I looked at my competitors, who, compared to Denver, were definitely more savvy— but felt I could still carve out a niche.

What I failed to do is contact everyone I knew in Denver to ask who they knew in Indianapolis. This could have given me insight into how to best approach a strong referral market. Instead, I approached it by analyzing search engine rankings.

2. Download Eventbright now
Eventbright is a networking app that gives you all the latest networking events in a particular geographic area. Search for your type of business and you’ll find a host of events to attend in order to build your personal network. Be committed to attending a new event every other week for the next 6 months. Another great resource is Networking After Work.

3. Set goals and make friends
For every network event you attend, set a goal that you wish to achieve. It can be: Talk to 10 people; get 5 business cards; make 5 connections on LinkedIn, etc. Have a goal going in. Don’t flake out until you’ve achieved it. Meeting people can be challenging, especially if you have introverted tendencies (like myself). Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Having trouble breaking the ice? Here are some opening phrases to start out with.

  • Hi, I’m_____.
  • What brings you here tonight?
  • What kind of business is______?

For some ideas, take a look at HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 Networking Page.

These are all pretty basic, but they get the conversation started. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be about business at all. At a recent event, I met a sales rep and we talked about our college fraternities and our mutual love of running. Remember everyone is there to accomplish the same thing – build their network and make friends—which brings me to my next point.

4. Perfect your elevator pitch

At a networking event, be prepared to give your elevator pitch in less than 30 seconds. Figure out what makes your services/products unique. Have in mind what your ideal customer looks like and how to talk to them. Make it interesting and intriguing.

5. Meet with anyone and everyone, send a good follow up
Once you make those connections and exchange business cards—make sure to follow up. Be willing to meet with anyone for a beer, coffee or have lunch. You don’t know where it may lead—you really have nothing to loose. If the person you’re meeting with can’t afford you or isn’t a good fit for your services, they may know someone who could be. Make sure to send a follow up email and connect on LinkedIn.

6. Connect with people in your industry
Attend events hosted by the industry leaders in your area. Even though you offer the same services, their ideal client may be much different than yours, and there might be opportunities for business referrals. Make that known and make some friends. Prove to them you’re a great company to refer too and visa versa.

7. Google maps
Local search is crucial as you’ll want to make sure your business shows up on searches just in case someone does Google you. Make an effort to go to Google/places and register your new business address.

8. Shamelessly ask
Again, you really have nothing to loose, so go ahead and ask your colleagues, clients, friends and peers if they know anyone they could refer you to. A lot of times they would be more than happy to help you out. I sent an email to a client who is a physician from the area and he sent me back 5 names and introduced me over email. In most cases, people will go out of their way to help you. Just remember to pass it forward when someone reaches out for your help.

In conclusion, moving to a new town and starting a new personal network takes work. Figure out before hand what you’re dealing with, download the Eventbright app, sign up for events and set a goal to keep you in the game. Say yes to every meeting, connect with people in your industry, get your listing on Google places and don’t be afraid to ask—even shamelessly in some cases. By following these 8 key points, you’ll be off to building your network in no time.

For another great article on this topic: How to build a network from scratch.

Are you new or starting a business in the Denver or Indianapolis area? Contact us to learn  how we can get your business started on the right path to success.

 

 

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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 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

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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.

Brand Rollout

Why Your Brand Rolled Out The Back Door And Down The Street – Part 2

By Brand Development

In my last post, I talked about 4 things to keep in mind to make the most of your brand development investment when rolling out your new brand to your employees and how to create lasting brand change. I discussed the importance of getting your employees’ buy-in early and introducing the brand correctly.

In this post, I’ll give you 4 things to remember when rolling out the brand externally to your customers. Depending on what kind of company you are, changing your brand can be minimal to very complex.

1. Release brand standards to employees, vendors and partners

Instruct your branding agency to create brand standards and guidelines. This will contain rules on how to use the new brand’s visual elements for efficiency. Make sure to publish and deliver the guidelines to all brand ambassadors in the company—especially the sales and marketing folks. Make the brand standards accessible via a password protected website or a downloadable document. Announce the brand standards by email and who to contact for brand approvals.

2. Make it all about your customers
Unlike your employees who will typically push back on the new branding, your customers will typically welcome the change. Once again, make the external rollout all about them. Communicate why the change was made. Utilize social media, email and other channels to reach your customers. Invite your customers to visit the new website. Careful planning must be made so that there is no disconnect. If your brand includes product packaging, make sure to communicate the old and the new so no brand equity is lost in the transition.

3. Pick the right media mix
Larger companies will conduct million dollar multi-media campaigns to announce their new brands. They may hold special events or create a Q&A hotline. Create targeted messaging and repeat it over and over again for at least 9 to 14 months.

UPS BrandWhen UPS rebranded in 2007, their television ads showed their old logo changing from the drab 2-dimensional package icon to the more stylized 3-dimensional shield icon for at least a year. Their trucks seemed to be changed over the same amount of time. But who could forget their brilliant whiteboard commercials? They coupled their new branding with a new ad campaign communicating the company’s new positioning and tagline – What can brown do for you? (Which was later changed to We love logistics.)

For small to medium sizes companies—a typical press release will suffice that corresponds with the launch of your new website, email announcement. You may want to consider a soft launch of your website to work out any bugs before announcing it to the masses.

4. Pick the right time
Be sure to schedule plenty of time to conduct all the necessary activities. Think through the rollout by starting with the end in mind. What is the goal, who needs to know, how will they find out and where? Look at this as you would an advertising campaign, because that’s exactly what it is. Pick the right time to introduce your brand, either at a planned customer event or trade show. Time it to maximize your message and marketing dollars.

In conclusion, next to your people, your brand is your most valuable asset. Create and deliver the brand standards and guidelines, make the new brand all about your customers, pick the right media mix and time it with an upcoming customer event for maximum benefit.

For more information on how we can help you create real brand change within your organization, contact our Indianapolis or Denver branding agency for a complimentary brand assessment.

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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.

Brand Development Rollout

Why Your Brand Rolled Out The Back Door And Down The Street – Part 1

By Brand Development, Branding, Business

Completing the brand development process is a major milestone in any company’s history. After months of work it becomes time to introduce and roll it out to your employees and then your customers and the public in general. However after the party is over and the smoke has cleared, the brand is usually forgotten and your people return to status quo and it’s business as usual. Why?

In the first of two posts, here are 4 things to keep in mind to make the most of your brand development investment when rolling out your new brand internally and creating real brand change.

1. Get employee buy-in early
To make your brand rollout successful, get your employees involved early in the process. Identify the people in your company who are the centers of influence. Create a team of brand ambassadors. By getting your employees feedback and input—you will give them ownership of the new brand. Their feedback will provide the framework and direction of the changes that need to be made. When they see that the changes they suggested have been incorporated, they will be more likely to embrace the new brand. They will also act as advocates and defenders of the new brand when and if water cooler discussions turn negative about the coming changes.

2. Introduce the brand correctly
Also begin thinking about the brand rollout event early in the process. It can sometimes take months of planning depending on your budget. Each company is different, but you typically want to start by creating some buzz. Try to think of ways to get your employees excited about the new brand. Communicate some of the key benefits and changes coming and how they contributed to the new direction. Make the brand rollout party all about them. This will be your first chance to introduce the new brand and you’ll want to take some time to really think through how to best present it.

3. Leadership does the honors
The new brand should be introduced by the CEO or president. The brand development process is a top-down initiative and you’ll want to utilize the C-Suite’s influence. Take the steps needed to educate your employees on what a brand is and why it is important. After a little branding 101, go through the main communication points of the brand. Especially communicate what has changed and what will stay the same. Remember to communicate the purpose and the “why” behind the “what”. Seek to inspire through purpose.

4. Create “the change” through your employees

Lets face it, change is hard. Most companies—after the brand is rolled out—return to status quo. To create real brand change, new standards must be communicated and implemented within your workforce. To move the culture, changes must be made at the people level. So for example, you may want to consider the following:

  1. Through natural attrition, begin to replace the employees who leave with people who adhere and align with the brand’s new values.
  2. Use assessments to accurately determine the “jobfit” and “brandfit” of each candidate.
  3. Invest in employer branding to attract top talent.
  4. Train tenured employees to adapt to the changes being made.
  5. Pay employees to leave who are not adopting the change (See Zappos and Amazon examples)

The company with the best people wins. To create real brand change and to make the most of your brand development investment—start with your people early in the process and continue to build a culture based on your customers. Anything else is just pretty words and pictures.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the external rollout process.

For more information on how we can help you create real brand change within your organization, contact our Indianapolis or Denver branding agency for a complimentary brand assessment.

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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 write an awesome tagline

How To Write An Awesome Tagline

By Brand Development

Coming up with a tagline for your business can be a little difficult—but it isn’t as hard as you might think. A good tagline can influence customer behavior and give them an understanding of what your product, service or brand is about. Here are a couple ones you might recognize:

  • Just Do It.
  • Think Different.
  • The Ultimate Driving Machine.
  • Like No Other Place On Earth.
  • We Bring Good Things To Life.


Taglines influence consumers’ behavior by evoking an emotional response. A tagline is a short phrase that captures a company’s brand essence, personality, and positioning, and distinguishes the company from its competitors. (Source: Defining Brand Identity)

In this post, we are going to write a tagline for a fictitious pen company called Penly. We’ll go through 6 steps using Penly as an example that you can then use to craft your own tagline.

branding tagline1. What makes your product or service unique?
To start, you first need to understand what makes your product or service unique. Does it contain some kind of unique material? Does it have some kind of competitive advantage? Is it shaped differently? Does it take a different approach than your competitors? Write down 1-3 things that makes your product or service unique.

For our pen company, it is 1. design, 2. ink color and, 3. balance. Our pen is slightly heavier in the middle so that it is perfectly balanced. Our pen slows the writer down that helps them to write better and clearer. Studies have shown penmanship is affected because people write too fast. Yet, it’s not too heavy to cramp the users’ wrist after long periods of note taking.

2. Write down 1-3 value propositions
A value proposition is a promise of value you intend to deliver or provide to your customer. It is the value or benefit they will receive from using your product or service.

For our pen, our value propositions are: 1. smoother writing, 2. classy design and, 3. darker more prestige looking inks.

3. Position your product or service
Positioning is a brand’s attempt to occupy a market niche, idea or a distinct impression in your customer’s mind. Positioning is one the most critical elements in the brand strategy development process.

It starts by understanding points 1 and 2 and your competitor’s positioning—because two competitors cannot occupy the same position. In our pen example, there are three main competitors in the category. Go Pen positions themselves as an everyday “get-the-job-done” kinda pen. They’ve been in the pen making business since the 1940s and hold most of the market share. Our second competitor, Big Pen positions their pens as the “industrial pen”—and is pitched towards the working man. It’s got a thicker grip and is used with metal casing to show its ruggedness. The third pen company—Lil’Pen positions their pens as a cheap, buy-in-bulk pen. Nothing fancy about Lil’Pen —a pen is a pen.

As a marketer or business owner you want to try to figure out where the “whitespace” is within your market and how to provide a better product to an audience who has a need. What niche or space are you going occupy? What makes your product different and viable?  Typically, you’ll want to conduct some customer research, look at industry trends, conduct some test marketing and other activities to determine where the logical place is to position your pen.

After conducting our own research, we’ve found that there is a segment of the pen market that is vastly underserved. That segment is the professional segment: ages 35-50, male or female, typically college grads, holds an executive position or has a professional degree like an C.P.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D. etc. and who tend to write a lot. For the most part it seems this segment may benefit from our pen’s unique characteristics.

We will define our positioning statement next, but first we need to take a look at our buyer persona and what makes our pen the “only”.

4. Define your buyer persona
Next, you must understand your customer—or buyer persona. You must know how to best talk to your customers and where best to reach them. You must seek to address their pain points and solve their problems. You must find a way to appeal to their aspirations, character qualities and understand what motivates them. For our pen, it’s about giving them a fine writing tool that makes them more productive, take better notes and feel a bit smarter when they are holding our pen. It may even lend them some status when they lay their pen down at the meeting table.

5. Define your only.
According to Marty Neumeier, the author of Zag, an onliness statement is something that no one else can say about you. Using our pen as an example, our onliness statement looks like this:

Penly is the only pen company that helps professionals take better notes, be more productive and write smarter.

Notice our onliness statement contains who our customer is, what the product is and how it is different in the marketplace. You can replace the words that are highlighted and add in your own company name, customer and value propositions.

brand development tagline6. Distill your tagline from your onliness statement
Now, we must cut the onliness statement down to its bare essence. Using some of the words above, try to distill the overarching theme into a few words. Play around and try to come up with something that is smooth, a bit clever and catchy. So for example:

  • Penly, The Professionals Pen
  • Penly, Better Notes
  • Penly, Write Smarter
  • Penly, Write Better
  • Penly, Now You’re Writing

Attach your tagline with your name to see it and hear how it sounds.

Those are a few off the cuff…but for this example, I think we’ll go with Write Smarter. It captures the essence of our pen, tells something about what our pen does and how it helps our buyer persona and how we want them to feel when they use our pen.

So you see, coming up with a tagline isn’t all that difficult—right? You just need to take the necessary steps to think through it by boiling down your product or service to its essence. By identifying what makes your product or service unique, what value it delivers to your customers, what position it holds in their mind, who your buyer persona is, what your only is, you can distill your message down to a simple mantra that connects your product to your customer succinctly and clearly that creates value.

Struggling to connect your brand to your customers or looking for a unique tagline? Please contact our Denver and Indianapolis Branding Agency for a free brand consultation.

 


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.