The Inbound Growth Blog

Twice weekly articles to help SMB business owners and managers use an integrated marketing strategy to drive revenue growth

The Dirty Little Secret About Inbound Marketing (And How To Fix It)

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 15, 2014, 11:38 AM

The_dirty_little_secret_about_inbound_marketingThere's a dirty little secret about inbound marketing and you won't hear it from most of those who sell digital marketing software and services. The reality is that getting results with inbound marketing is much more difficult than it was just 3 years ago. Why? Quite simply, the explosion of businesses using inbound marketing has stepped up the competition for the attention of potential buyers. If you need proof, check out your email inbox. If you're like me, you'll see a seemingly endless stream of marketing emails - many from companies I've never heard of. Business blogs have proliferated too - some good, some downright awful. With the explosion of content marketing, it's becoming tougher to connect with potential buyers.

The privacy backlash spawned by the revelation of the depths of the NSA's overwatch over citizens has also made inbound marketing more difficult. For

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5 Reasons Why Insurance Agencies Should Focus On Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 9, 2014, 5:30 PM

5_reasons_why_insurance_agencies_should_focus_on_inbound_marketingAs a former employee benefits producer with 25 years of experience in the industry, I know better than most how much the insurance business has changed and how it is continuing to change. Business uncertainties surrounding Obamacare are changing the insurance marketplace forever - carriers are cutting compensation, the legislation seems to change weekly at the whim of the President and insurance buyers don't know how to react. On the commercial insurance side, the continuing uncertain economic environment has lessened the value of client relationships, forcing long-term customers to explore alternatives out of economic necessity.

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4 LinkedIn Strategies To Improve Business Performance

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 7, 2014, 6:00 PM

Use LinkedIn to Improve Business PerformanceIs your business making the most of its LinkedIn company page? As a professional on LinkedIn, you likely already use the site to network with other professionals and search for new career opportunities. But what about your business – are you leveraging the power of LinkedIn company pages to drive business results?

From building credibility to establishing connections, LinkedIn enables businesses to attract and engage customers at scale.

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How Lifecycle Marketing Automation Can Make Your Business Grow Faster

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 3, 2014, 2:30 PM

How_To_Use_Lifecycle_Marketing_Automation_To_Grow_FasterAccording to Gartner Research, companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. If you want to grow faster, lifecycle marketing automation can make your sales process more human by providing the right information and outreach to your prospects based on actions that they take. So just what is Lifecycle Marketing Automation?

Lifecycle marketing automation is the process of managing your customer's buyer journey as they progress from a stranger to an evanagelist for your company to their sphere of influence. Marketing automation software tracks your customers' actions and preferences so that you can optimize your sales process based on marketplace feedback. Let's illustrate how the process works by analyzing each step of your customer's journey.

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The Top 4 Social Media Marketing Strategies For 2014

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 1, 2014, 5:30 PM

4_Social_Media_Marketing_Strategies_For_2014If there’s one thing that holds true for social media, it’s that no trend lasts forever. In 2013, we saw the decline of Facebook amongst teens and the rise of alternate networks like SnapChat. Twitter’s IPO signaled a shift towards the rising prominence of paid advertising campaigns, echoing Facebook’s increased push towards pay-per-use advanced audience segmentation tools. And most of us regretted the rise of the selfie, especially Miley Cyrus’s obsession with it.

While Snapchats and selfies may have little place in B2B social media marketing, they reflect a growing trend towards the importance of visuals and interactive content. Today’s B2B social media marketing must be as mature and sophisticated as its professional audience, but not be afraid to reach this audience in new, creative ways.

Here are four social media trends to stay on top of in 2014.

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7 Hot Content Marketing Tips For Management Consultants

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 30, 2014, 5:30 PM

7_Hot_Content_Marketing_Tips_For_Management_ConsultantsThe new business buying process is one of the best things to ever happen to the management consulting industry. The Corporate Executive Board found that the average buyer completes 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a salesperson. They conduct pre-purchase research with search engine queries and talk to trusted colleagues to learn how they've solved similar problems. The old lead generation techniques of telemarketing and spam email approaches are just as likely to annoy a prospect as to create interest in your solutions - if they even answer the phone or read the email. That's why it's so important for management consultants to to use content marketing to generate leads and position yourself as a trusted advisor within your industry.

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Why Google Hummingbird Matters For Professional Services Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 26, 2014, 7:47 AM

Google_Hummingbird_For_Professional_Services_MarketingEnter a string of search terms into Google these days and you may be surprised by just how relevant, engaging and personal the return result is. Hummingbird, the latest version of Google’s search algorithm that launched last fall, moves Google even closer to becoming a powerful answer engine by capitalizing on semantic search. Hummingbird is the final nail in the proverbial coffin for traditional SEO that relied on keyword stuffing and backlinks for achieving high page rank. In fact, unlike the Panda and Penguin updates, Hummingbird is not just an update to the search algorithm, it’s a complete replacement based on semantic search.

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Why I Don't Use The 10:4:1 Social Media Posting Rule

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 24, 2014, 6:41 AM

Why_I_Dont_Use_The_10_4_1_Social_Media_Posting_RuleIn April 2012, I wrote a blog article entitled, "How To Optimize Your Small Business Social Media Marketing Process With The 10:4:1 Rule." The article was an endorsement of a formula for social media posting created by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen in their book, The B2B Social Media Book. Here's an excerpt from the article that summarizes the rule:

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The Anatomy Of A Great Marketing Automation Program

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 17, 2014, 6:00 PM

The_Anatomy_Of_A_Great_Marketing_Automation_ProgramOnly 3 out of 10 business leads immediately convert – what is your business doing with the other seven? Don't let these leads stagnate and go cold. A marketing automation program is essential to super-charging your lead generation program by nurturing these leads and closing the deal. And for good reason – marketing automation is one of the hottest marketing trends for 2014.

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The Anatomy Of A Great Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 12, 2014, 3:01 PM

The_anatomy_of_an_inbound_marketing_campaignAn inbound marketing campaign is a series of processes designed to produce a desired result – whether it be generating sales leads, increasing donations to a non-profit or growing software subscriptions. To design a great inbound marketing campaign, you need to start with the end in mind. For example, you might set a SMART goal to generate 100 qualified sales leads in a 3-month campaign period. Knowing what success looks like is the key to designing your inbound campaign. So with that in mind, let’s look at the anatomy of a great inbound marketing campaign.

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John Beveridge is the President and Founder of Rapidan Strategies, an Inbound Marketing Agency and Certified HubSpot Partner located in Fairfax, VA. Prior to founding Rapidan Strategies, John spent 25 years as a management consultant and specializes in helping professional services and technology firms grow rapidly with inbound marketing strategies. John is a Social Media Today contributor and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Business Development, Marketing and Sales Committee.

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