The Inbound Growth Blog

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

3 Content Marketing Tips to Cut Through the Noise

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 15, 2014, 6:00 PM

Over the last few years, content marketing has become one of the most effective ways of doing business - but, as with any new marketing method, there are inevitably people who clutter up the content ecosystem and create things nobody wants to look at, much less read. Here are three ways to improve your content marketing and step above the crowd.


4 Lead Generation Tips for Your LinkedIn Company Page

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 10, 2014, 10:58 AM

You already know that LinkedIn is a great networking tool for individuals and brand builders. Where else can you find over 300 million skilled professionals looking for work, looking to hire, and sharing big ideas? The same characteristics that make LinkedIn so useful for networking also make it a great marketing and lead-generation tool for your business.

Even among other social media channels, LinkedIn occupies a unique place in the marketing sphere. The career-centric nature of LinkedIn eliminates much of that fluff found on other social sites, allowing you to focus directly on your core demographic.

It all starts with a LinkedIn Company Page that attracts the right kind of attention. There's plenty of room for creative marketing on LinkedIn, but there are also some key points you'll notice that nearly every successful page gets right. Follow these four tips to set your LinkedIn Company Page on the lead-generating path, then check out the Visual Guide to Creating the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page for a deeper look at how you can put that plan into action.


4 Ways You Can Instantly Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Posted by Laura Amézquita

Sep 3, 2014, 6:00 PM

It's easy to get lost in metrics and analytics when crafting a social media strategy. How many conversions? How many fans? What is my reach? Of course numbers are important, but they can never tell the whole picture. If you are serious about improving your social media marketing campaign you have to be willing to look at more than numbers. Some of the most successful companies are gaining influence with a more creative and organic strategy. Here are a few valuable lessons from companies who excel at using social media to grow and increase sales.


Accelerate B2B Inbound Marketing Results With LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 1, 2014, 6:00 PM

It's no secret that LinkedIn is the go-to social selling network for B2B companies. With over 3 million users worldwide (100+ million in the US), LinkedIn is where professonals go to improve business operation - whether it be increasing sales, hiring better employees or increasing brand recognition.

LinkedIn is also a natural fit for content marketing - with an audience of professionals seeking professional knowledge, subject matter experts have a great opportunity to enhance their reputations and generate business leads.

For knowledge-based B2B businesses like professional services firms and technology companies, content marketing is an ideal way to share "free samples" of their expertise to draw qualified buyers into their sales funnels. That's why so many B2B companies are turning to inbound marketing to grow their bottom lines.

But inbound marketing takes time - it's not a spigot that you can turn on and off. You need to develop domain authority, social media reach and consistently publish content before you get the web visitors, leads and customers that you need to get a return. If you're like most B2B managers, you want to see results sooner rather than later.

LinkedIn sponsored updates are an effective way to accelerate inbound marketing results while you're putting in the consistent effort necessary for long-term success. Here is a 5-step process to generate leads with LinkedIn sponsored updates.


4 Smart Content Marketing Strategies for Professional Services Firms

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 28, 2014, 9:30 AM

Content marketing is a double-edged sword. It's easy to create content and unlike old-school traditional marketing methods there are virtually no barriers to producing content.  Unfortunately, many companies rush to get on the content marketing bandwagon with little thought concerning strategy or long-term goals. This typically results in very low quality content that does not serve any particular purpose. This type of activity is less of a strategy and more of a wasted effort. Before you get carried away with content creation, determine what you hope to accomplish and ensure you are utilizing smart strategies. Here are four smart content marketing strategies that will help you gain influence, earn trust, and increase sales.


3 Hacks to Integrate Inbound Marketing Into Your Sales Process

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 25, 2014, 6:00 PM

Inbound marketing has taken its place as an increasingly important part of the sales process - but you can't take advantage of these techniques unless you understand when, where, and why they should be used. Here are three of the best hacks for integrating inbound marketing into your current sales process.


The Social Media Marketing ABCs That Will Grow Your Technology Company

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 19, 2014, 8:08 AM

Social networks are excellent places to develop a rapport with customers and increase your qualified leads. This is especially important for a technology company marketing plan, since a key element to building your brand is showing you are in tune with the latest technology.

But the social media blogosphere is a big, loud, confusing place (sort of like New York City at rush hour during the Puerto Rican Day Parade), so how does one even begin to use social networking to grow their business? Here are the ABCs of social media marketing that will grow your technology company.


How to Create Email Marketing Campaigns That Get Results

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 14, 2014, 10:01 AM

Take a look at the twenty most recent messages your email inbox. Not the spam folder, but the main inbox – the one that's theoretically meant to house messages you actually want to read. How many of those first twenty have you opened, and how many will go forever un-clicked? How many fall into the “I'll read it later” category, and what usually happens when “later” arrives?

More importantly, why do you choose to read one piece of email marketing, but not another? If you want your email marketing to stand out for the right reasons, these are important questions to answer.

Junk mail has been around for a long time, and people are predisposed to distrust it. Back when snail mail was the only mail, junk mail arrived on paper, and it arrived often. Now it's called spam, and it's even easier to send digitally. No matter how careful you are about sharing your email address, spammers will find you. It's a fact of digital life, and it's a burden to honest marketers everywhere.

Between the spammers and the legitimate marketers, you've got a lot of competition for a limited amount of inbox space. If numbers are your thing, a study by tech giant Intel, released in 2013, determined that 204 million emails are sent every minute. That's 12.24 billion emails an hour. So standing out takes work and creativity, but email marketing, done right, is still a very powerful tool. Let's take a closer look at how you can create email marketing campaigns that get results, no matter the size of your business.


4 Foolproof Inbound Marketing Tactics For Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 12, 2014, 5:04 PM

For many technology companies, growth is becoming increasingly difficult. As technologies mature, more competitors enter the market, sales become more difficult and price becomes the differentiating factor. Technology companies that are successful over the long run (think Apple) constantly innovate, developing new products and pivoting to new markets. Stand still and you die. Is your technology company facing more competition and a difficult growth environment? If so, you're not alone.

As many technologies are maturing, the marketing environment is becoming increasingly crowded. Banner ads used to be an effective way to sell; now the term "banner blindness" refers to the fact that most consumers have become so accustomed to banner ads that they simply ignore them. I'm a huge proponent of content marketing - it's a great way to help potential buyers and demonstrate to  them the value of doing business with you. But there is so much crappy content being published today that it's increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Difficult, but not impossible. Here are 4 foolproof inbound marketing tactics for your technology company.


How To Use Inbound Marketing In Your Insurance Agency

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 6, 2014, 6:00 PM

It may come as a surprise hearing this from someone who runs an inbound marketing agency, but it's unlikely that insurance agencies can hit their growth targets with inbound marketing alone. On the other hand, it's increasingly difficult for insurance agencies to hit their numbers without inbound marketing. When done properly, inbound marketing should supplement your other sales activities to create synergies that help you hit your sales goals.

Inbound marketing is a series of tactics that combine to draw potential buyers to your website, convert strangers to sales leads and create opportunities for producers to close deals. The data-driven nature of inbound marketing lets you measure your activity to optimize results. Blogging, search engine optimization and social media create website traffic. Premium content like eBooks and webinars convert website visitors to sales leads. Email marketing and marketing automation move leads through the sales funnel to create opportunities for your producers to close deals. Marketing analytics tells you what's working and what isn't so you can focus your resources on tactics that produce results.

Insurance agencies, like other professional services businesses, are naturals for an inbound approach. Business insurance and employee benefits are complicated services that every business needs. Buyers look for answers to their questions on the web and social media - savvy agencies get found when potential buyers search for information. That's why I say that it's increasingly difficult to hit your numbers without inbound marketing - if buyers don't find you when they look for information, it's unlikely that you'll make their short list when they narrow down purchase options.

Here are some tips on how to use inbound marketing in your insurance agency.


High_Res_Portrait_for_NVTCJohn 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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