The Inbound Growth Blog

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

    

How to Kill an SMB Referral Source Without Really Trying

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 16, 2014, 12:12 PM

How one small business owner killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

Like many of you, I'm an SMB business owner. I love my customers - they're what gets me up in the morning. I generally like and care about them and do everything I can to help them be successful. They weren't easy to get, so my mission is to do everything possible to keep them.

I also believe in John Lennon's "karmic wheel". I think it's important to help people without expecting anything in return. Unfortunately, sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. I wanted to share an experience from my career as an example of how not to conduct yourself when someone generously refers you to a source of new business. 

Don't let these things happen to you.

more

4 Killer Professional Services Growth Strategies

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 14, 2014, 8:53 AM

You do great work, and the professional services you offer have been proven to improve results for your customers. After your part in a task is finished, your company receives almost universally positive feedback from those you serve. There's just one little problem. Your company's growth is not on the sharp upward trajectory that all of the positive feedback would suggest, and you're not sure why.

You've got the service part down to a science, but perhaps your marketing needs a little boost in order for your firm to hit its growth goals. No problem. There are tons of powerful digital marketing tools available to any firm that wants to stay on the cutting edge. Here are four killer professional services growth strategies that will bring new business to your door.

more

3 Ways Executives Can Grow Revenue With Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 7, 2014, 7:00 AM

An effective inbound marketing plan is made up of many individual parts that all work together toward the end goal. Each “stepping stone” of your inbound marketing plan serves a specific purpose in guiding your prospect through the sales cycle, or keeping an existing customer on the line. Leave out or neglect one of those parts, and the whole system will suffer as a result.

more

Branding Update: We're Now Rapidan Inbound

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 1, 2014, 10:04 AM

When going through a re-branding, many companies describe the process as aligning their brand with their target market and reflecting a new focus in the company. In our case, the re-branding process is an outgrowth of a desire to fix some mistakes we made when we launched the company. That initiative led us to focus on some important branding issues that will help us achieve our growth objectives in the future.

more

4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Inbound Marketing

Posted by Laura Amézquita

Sep 30, 2014, 7:00 AM

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that has quickly grown in popularity due to its cost effectiveness, making it a particularly popular marketing strategy for small to mid-sized businesses. While there are numerous strategies involved in inbound marketing, it all revolves around your website. To get the most out of your inbound marketing campaign, optimize your website in the following four ways.

more

3 Killer Marketing Automation Strategies for SMBs

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 25, 2014, 7:30 AM

Marketing a small or medium size B2B operation has always been a tricky balancing act. You're forced to make the most out of a limited marketing budget, often without the help of a full-time marketing team. In the past, small and medium business owners could only look with envy at the marketing power of large corporations. The good news? We're not in the past.

The increasingly digital nature of the world is leveling the playing field in marketing. Small and medium business owners now have access to tools that were either financially prohibitive or non-existent in the “traditional media” era. Your marketing budget can stretch further than it ever has before, if you know how to use it.

more

A Collaborative Process for Website Development

Posted by Laura Amézquita

Sep 18, 2014, 8:49 AM

Too often, website developers get some initial input from their clients and then go away to design and develop the website. This results in two possible outcomes. In the first outcome, the designer gets it right and the client is happy. Everything's good. More often, the client isn't happy and either asks for major revisions or accepts the website and walks away unhappy. Neither of these outcomes is good for either party.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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.

more

How To Tell If You're Doing Inbound Marketing Right

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 4, 2014, 6:00 PM

Nearly three out of every four marketers say that obtaining quality leads is their top challenge, according to Revi Media. That’s certainly no surprise, given today’s highly competitive economy and lengthening sales cycle. Traditional marketing strategies like television advertisements and cold calling require substantial effort and only yield limited results. Worse, these strategies often have limited scalability and lack an efficient, customer-oriented experience.

Inbound marketing is different. With inbound marketing, customers come to you rather than you going to them. Inbound marketing combines the best of multiple strategies, including SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing to bring highly qualified prospects right to your business. Inbound marketing does this by delivering the right piece of content to the right lead at the right time: it’s that simple. Or is it? Nearly every business today claims to do some form of inbound marketing. However, many businesses could still learn a thing or two about how inbound marketing actually works.

more

5 Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire an Inbound Marketing Agency

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 28, 2014, 9:01 PM

The old marketing playbook is broken: 86% of consumers skip television ads, 91% unsubscribe from unwanted emails, and 200 million are on the do-not-call list, according to HubSpot. In order to attract customers, companies have to provide them with something they love. That’s what inbound marketing does. Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing in the digital age. It attracts consumers to your brand, builds a relationship with these consumers, and converts them into loyal customers.

When you use inbound marketing, customers come to you: it’s all about providing the right content in the right place at the right time. Inbound marketing is relevant and helpful to your customers; in fact, when done correctly, inbound marketing should never even look like ‘marketing’.

more

What No One Tells You About Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 22, 2014, 6:40 PM

I'm a big supporter of inbound marketing. So much so that I built a business around it. It just makes sense to sell the way people want to buy, right? 

Think of the last purchase you made. Did you go online and do research? Check out various options for your purchase? Read online reviews to see what the public thinks of the various options? If you did, your buying behavior matches that of the average buyer, according to the Corporate Executive Board. They found that the average buyer completes 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a sales person.

more

Three Pillars For Professional Services Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 16, 2014, 2:51 PM

Professional services marketing requires atargeted, three-prong approach: Authority, Connection and Education. Covering these three areas builds trust and establishes your business and you as an authority in the industry. A well planned marketing strategy will help you grow your business and increase your client base, but it takes commitment to make it work. Use these online selling tactics to accelerate your professional services sales process.

more

Hey Entrepreneur, Go Out and Sell Something!

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 9, 2014, 5:07 PM

I recently read an excellent article by Eduardo Rodrigues, Managing Director at Bergman GCS titled, "The Startup Economy: Trouble in Paradise." 

Mr. Rodrigues describes the current state of startup economy: "We live in exciting times as far as the startup economy is concerned. Incubators are popping up everywhere, venture capital funds are seemingly more active than ever, seed capital and business angels are everywhere these days."

more

Embed Your Unique Value Proposition Into Your Digital Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 7, 2014, 6:00 PM

Having a digital marketing plan and strategy is a must in order to stay competitive and succeed. Having an effective unique value proposition in which to position your company should be an integral part of your blueprint. The development of your unique value proposition should be well-thought and should reflect your company's brand and image.

more

Why I Like the Colombian Soccer Team

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 1, 2014, 7:37 PM

The Colombian national soccer team is winning the hearts of fans around the world. As I write this, I'm anticipating the Brazil-Colombia game to take place on July 4, 2014 with the rest of the world. I'm a big Colombia fan and look forward to spending the 4th of July with a few beers and the Colombia-Brazil game. I'm really happy to see the eyes of the world on Colombia, it's a great country with a lot to offer. So let me tell you why I like the Colombian national soccer team.

more

4 Killer Marketing Ideas For Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 1, 2014, 6:56 AM

One of the keys to a successful inbound marketing campaign for companies of all types has involved establishing a meaningful and organic connection with your potential customers. This is especially true with regards to technology companies. In order to stand out from the crowd in an already crowded marketplace, it isn't enough to shout your marketing message as loud as you can from the highest proverbial mountain top. Those days are long gone.

more

3 Killer Tools For Technology Sales Acceleration

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 25, 2014, 6:00 PM

Faced with aggressive growth goals from investors and management, technology sales organizations are using sales technology to sell the way their buyers want to buy. Buyers are conducting pre-purchase research using search engine queries, social media and referrals from friends and colleagues to develop a short-list of potential vendors before they ever contact a salesperson. If you don't make that short-list, your chances for closing the sale are minimal.

more

Top 3 Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 23, 2014, 6:00 PM

Is your website an inbound lead generation hotspot? Or are you missing out on customers because your site fails to follow basic conversion rate optimization best practices? Not everyone who visits your website is ready to buy immediately – and that’s not a bad thing. Problems arise, however, when your site fails to capture this lead information. After all, if you don’t know who is visiting your site and where they are in the sales process, then you won’t be able to nurture these leads and eventually close a sale. These three conversion rate optimization best practices will help turn your website into an inbound lead generation hotspot.

Best Practice Tip #1: Mimic display advertising on your landing pages

Are you diluting the value of your landing pages with visual junk? Visual consistency matters. Your job is to deliver a seamless experience for leads by mirroring landing page content to match the display ads that brought your leads to the landing page in the first place. Resist the urge to put up yet another video or graphic headline that screams “BUY NOW”! Instead, keep the messaging and visuals on your landing page brief, specific and compelling. Summarize your business’s unique selling proposition in five lines or less. Select one short video or single graphic that epitomizes your product or service.

more

A B2B Social Media Marketing Process For HubSpot Users

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 18, 2014, 6:00 PM


HubSpot is one of the most popular internet marketing software platforms for small and mid-sized B2B businesses. As of June 2014, HubSpot has over 10,000 customers and are rapidly expanding both here in the US as well as internationally. One of the reasons they've been so successful with SMB companies is that they offer an end-to-end marketing automation platform that syncs with the B2B buying process.

This article lays out a social media marketing process using the HubSpot software. While you will certainly adapt this process to your unique situation, this process is a useful starting point for B2B businesses that want to generate leads and customers with their social media marketing and promote their expertise within their industry via content marketing.

Social media is just one of the elements of an inbound marketing process - this process assumes that you're blogging and generating leads with premium content offers like eBooks, webinars and videos. With no further ado, here's our blueprint for your social media marketing process.

more

Separate Your Email Marketing From The Sea Of Sameness

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 16, 2014, 6:00 PM

Email marketing is more than simply blasting off a quick sales message to a list of 10,000 prospective customers. Doing that is akin to cranking out spam on a daily basis – and it certainly won’t help your emails stand out from the sea of sameness. Effective email marketing is the strategic use of email as a marketing channel to deliver the right message to the right person at the right moment. Email marketing builds brand awareness, nurtures your sales leads, and helps you upsell to existing clients.

When done correctly, email marketing works. In fact, according to the Direct Market Association, the average ROI for every dollar invested in email marketing yielded $40.56 in 2011. It’s no surprise that two out of three marketers say that email marketing is the core of their business. And 81% of B2Bs cite email as their most effective lead generation tactic. Are you reaping the benefits of great email marketing – or are your messages stuck in the spam filter? Follow these three tips to get your email marketing program back on track.

1. Build a better opt-in list.

more

HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Certification Isn't Just For Newbies

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 4, 2014, 6:00 PM

All-in-one internet marketing software provider HubSpot offers a free certification in inbound marketing that is available to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. The certification track consists of 11 one-hour video classes covering the inbound marketing waterfront, from strategy to blogging to social media to marketing analytics, with many stops in between. Participants who pass an exam on the material are awarded a certification from HubSpot attesting to their knowledge of modern internet marketing strategy and tactics. The first task I assign anyone who works with my company is to get their inbound certification. While it may seem that the certification is geared towards younger professionals, many others can derive a real business benefit from obtaining it.

more

How To Create A Solid Content Marketing Foundation

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 2, 2014, 6:00 PM

Like any effective marketing strategy, content marketing requires clear goals and benchmarks for success. Content marketing is also a long-term investment. While your professional services business may not see immediate measurable returns, building your brand and improving customer relationships will pay off ten-fold.

The last year has seen an explosion in content creation; unfortunately, that doesn’t mean this uptick in content quantity is synonymous with quality. Any content marketing farm can pump out large quantities of content; however, that doesn’t mean this content is worth reading. Poor quality content not only wastes your time and resources, but also damages your brand’s credibility – alienating potential customers and hurting your ability to upsell your current customers. An effective content marketing strategy requires a solid foundation - here are 6 tips to make sure you're producing quality content.

more

How To Keep Your Content Marketing From Failing

Posted by John Beveridge

May 28, 2014, 6:00 PM

Yes, content marketing can fail. In fact, your business may already have some experience with ineffective or failed content marketing. So why did your content marketing now work out? Consider this: having a great grocery list won’t make you a great chef. The same goes for content marketing – you may have all the right ingredients, but if you fail to execute the program effectively, then your content marketing will continue to fall flat.

Why does content marketing fail?

Content marketing fails when businesses are not clear about their goal or lack the necessary resources for consistent content marketing. Less than half of all companies rate their content marketing as effective. This is because companies are trying to do all their content marketing in-house and lack the strategic resources and expertise to effectively manage and execute their programs. Relationship building is the core of content marketing – especially if you want your content to be shared. Your business must understand the marketplace in order to create content that builds relationships, earns trust with your consumers and, consequently, is more likely to be re-shared.

more

The SMB Guide To Selling To Bootstrappers

Posted by John Beveridge

May 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

I have a confession to make. My name is John and I'm a bootstrapper. I've seen a lot of mega-corporate types giving advice on how to sell to us lately. Most of their advice is terrible because it's based on what's best for them. With all due respect, anyone who works for a large corporation doesn't have a clue about the bootstrapper psychology. If we're in your target market, here's some free advice on how to sell to us.

more

A Memorial Day Message

Posted by John Beveridge

May 23, 2014, 7:00 AM

God bless all of our veterans, past, present and future. There truly is evil in this world and our courageous veterans have protected us from it since the founding of this country. So for all of you who do your part every day to protect the rest of us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

more

5 Incredibly Simple Hacks For Your B2B Inbound Marketing Campaigns

Posted by John Beveridge

May 21, 2014, 6:00 PM

What do you think of when you think of a campaign? Do you think of the meticulous planning that went into the World War II D-Day campaign? Do you think of the data-driven strategy of President Obama's 2008 campaign? An effective inbound marketing campaign is actually quite similar to those two campaigns. Like the D-Day campaign, a B2B inbound marketing campaign pulls together disparate assets like keyword strategies, blogging, conversion-centered design and lead generation offers to achieve an overarching strategic goal. Like the 2008 Obama campaign, an inbound campaign targets a distinct audience with message tailored to appeal to it. When done properly, a great inbound marketing campaign can achieve success like the Allies did with D-Day and Obama did with his 2008 campaign. Here are 5 incredibly simple hacks that will tilt the odds of success in your favor.

more

Professional Services Content Marketing - The New Normal

Posted by John Beveridge

May 19, 2014, 6:00 PM

For years, the world of professional services marketing was not exactly known as the most fertile ground for the adoption of cutting edge inbound marketing techniques. “Does anyone actually pay attention to LinkedIn?” “How many clients did that blog post generate?” “What’s the point of content marketing?”

If you’ve asked yourself these questions in the past, you’re not alone. Two out of every three businesses currently spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on digital marketing, including content marketing, according to Accenture’s CMO Insights Study. However, the same study found that while many marketing executives understand the importance of content marketing, they are “unprepared” and “unsure” how to best leverage this marketing technique for maximum success.

more

The Business Buying Process...In Statistics (Video)

Posted by John Beveridge

May 15, 2014, 6:00 PM

Here are five statistics that pretty much tell the tale on the modern business buying process.

more

How To Use SEO To Grow Your Professional Services Business

Posted by John Beveridge

May 12, 2014, 6:00 PM

This is an excerpt from our new eBook, The Complete Professional Services Content Marketing Guide.

more

Content Marketing 101 For Professional Services

Posted by John Beveridge

May 8, 2014, 6:00 PM

This is an excerpt from our new eBook, The Complete Professional Services Content Marketing Guide.

For years, the world of professional services marketing was not exactly known as the most fertile ground for the adoption of cutting edge inbound marketing techniques. “Does anyone actually pay attention to LinkedIn?” “How many clients did that blog post generate?” “What’s the point of content marketing?”

If you’ve asked yourself these questions in the past, you’re not alone. Two out of every three businesses currently spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on digital marketing, including content marketing, according to Accenture’s CMO Insights Study. However, the same study found that while many marketing executives understand the importance of content marketing, they are “unprepared” and “unsure” how to best leverage this marketing technique for maximum success.

more

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

May 5, 2014, 3:40 PM

Are you using social media marketing in your business? If so, you're not alone. According to Aberdeen Research, 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. If that stat doesn't impress you, how about this: social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web!

more

The DIY Content Marketing Ethos: Just Do It

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 29, 2014, 10:49 AM

Content marketing is the great equalizer. Even the smallest of companies can get in the game on favorable terms against enterprise competition with an effective content marketing program. Yet many so-called experts make content marketing seem too difficult for the average businessperson with tales of "storytelling" and "viral content creation." Most of these self-absorbed egomaniacs never speak with customers and couldn't sell ice to a dying man in the desert. My advice? Don't listen to them.

more

5 Surefire Social Media Tips For Insurance Agencies

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 25, 2014, 6:42 AM

Social media has become an integral element of B2B marketing - Aberdeen Research found that 84% of B2B marketers used social media in some form. Many insurance agencies that use social media exclusively to broadcast sales messages may be doing more harm than good. You should absolutely use social media to promote your content, but that should be just part of your social media marketing efforts. Those companies that generate real business results with social media are listening, gathering intelligence and connecting in addition to promoting themselves. The mantra for social media marketing is be helfpful and you will be rewarded. Here are 5 surefire social media marketing  tips that will help you generate a return on your investment.
more

Call First To Cash In On Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 22, 2014, 9:43 AM

The most important element in converting inbound leads to customers is how effectively you transition your digital relationship to a real human relationship with your sales team. A recent study by software consulting firm Software Advice gave some insight into how to best make this transition. Software Advice helps businesses choose the right software for their specific needs and relies heavily on inbound lead generation to fill their pipeline. Their 2013 B2B Online Buyer Behavior Report looked at data from 6 million unique website visitors to determine the most successful tactics to convert inbound leads to sales. Keep in mind that this report focused on buyers of B2B software - while the conclusions are broadly applicable to software product purchases, they may not apply directly to more complex sales cycle such as the purchase of professional services.

more

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

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 15, 2014, 11:38 AM

There'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

more

5 Reasons Why Insurance Agencies Should Focus On Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 9, 2014, 5:30 PM

As 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.

more

4 LinkedIn Strategies To Improve Business Performance

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 7, 2014, 6:00 PM

Is 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.

more

How Lifecycle Marketing Automation Can Make Your Business Grow Faster

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 3, 2014, 2:30 PM

According 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.

more

The Top 4 Social Media Marketing Strategies For 2014

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 1, 2014, 5:30 PM

If 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.

more

7 Hot Content Marketing Tips For Management Consultants

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 30, 2014, 5:30 PM

The 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.

more

Why Google Hummingbird Matters For Professional Services Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 26, 2014, 7:47 AM

Enter 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.

more

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

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 24, 2014, 6:41 AM

In 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:

more

The Anatomy Of A Great Marketing Automation Program

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 17, 2014, 6:00 PM

Only 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.

more

The Anatomy Of A Great Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 12, 2014, 3:01 PM

An 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.

more

What NOT To Do With Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 10, 2014, 6:00 PM

Email marketing: marketers love it and consumers hate it. Even as our inboxes are inundated with hundreds of messages each day, marketers continue to push out more emails into cyberspace. Eighty-one percent of marketers say email is their most used lead generation tactic, according to Marketing Sherpa. It’s no surprise that by 2017, The Radicati Group predicts there will be more than 2.76 billion emails sent worldwide.

more

3 Inbound Marketing Tactics Your Professional Services Firm Should Exploit

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 6, 2014, 6:00 PM

In the last five years, marketing as we know it has fundamentally changed. The B2B buying cycle is now 22 percent longer, with five or more decision makers participating in the buying process, according to Sirius Decisions. It now takes an average of seven “touches” with leads to convert a sales “suspect” to a sales “prospect” – and even more lead nurturing to close the sale, reports Bridge Group.

more

Boost Your Professional Services Sales With Marketing Automation

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 4, 2014, 6:00 PM

This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.

Marketing automation software is one of the hottest inbound marketing trends. Marketing automation software helps professional services businesses execute marketing campaigns with speed and precision, nurture relationships with prospective leads, measure and optimize marketing efforts, and – ultimately – convert more prospects faster. Businesses are adopting marketing automation software at a rapid pace.

more

Government Contractors - Your Website Sucks And You Should Care

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 27, 2014, 5:30 PM

Did I get your attention? If you're a government contractor, you probably have a brochure-ware website that is all about YOU and talks about how "innovative" you are and describes your "cutting-edge" services. The good news is that nobody is reading those cliches that became overused right when Seinfeld was hitting its ratings peak. The images on your homepage probably contain one of the following: an eagle, an American flag, jet fighters or battleships. Or worse, all four of those. I'm not saying this to be a wise-ass, I want to make a point.

more

5 Top Tips For Professional Services Social Media Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 25, 2014, 6:00 PM

This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.

Social media generates 14% of all sales leads and 13% of all customers, according to the latest research from HubSpot. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular channels for acquiring customers; in 2012, 52% of B2B and B2C companies acquired a customer via Facebook and 43% via LinkedIn.

more

Boost Your Content Marketing With Google Authorship

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 23, 2014, 6:00 PM

Google Authorship is every business's fantasy: a quick way to improve online visibility and influence while driving clicks and conversions – all without spending a single dime. Given these heady credentials, it’s no surprise that Google Authorship is quickly becoming the fastest way for companies to improve SEO, increase click-thru rates, build their personal brand, and improve lead generation. And with Google’s long-talked about “Author Rank” system finally on the horizon, Google Authorship is an absolute must for small and mid-sized businesses.

Is your business taking advantage of Google Authorship? Here’s what your company needs to know right now.

more

5 Crucial Inbound Marketing Statistics For B2B Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 20, 2014, 6:00 PM

They say that numbers don't lie - who am I to disagree? The statistics we're sharing below will give you some insight into the current state of B2B marketing that can you use to focus your sales strategy. If you're in a knowledge-based business like professional services or technology, you can longer rely on the old ways of generating leads and revenue. It's mission-critical to sync your sales process with the way your customers buy. Here are 5 inbound marketing statistics that paint a picture of how buyers are buying and how successful sellers are reacting.

more

5 Top Tips For Professional Services Content Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 18, 2014, 6:00 PM

This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.

Thanks to Google’s latest algorithm update, content truly is “king”. Yahoo just brought Katie Couric on board to bolster its editorial strategy, content marketing startup NewsCred just raised (another) $25 million in startup funds, and BuzzFeed seems to be taking over the world (or at the very least your social media feeds). But this content explosion does not guarantee quality. In fact, in the rush to jump on the content marketing bandwagon, many SMB companies are publishing subpar content that’s doing their companies more harm than good.

Content marketing is how you attract buyers to your message and bring them to your company, rather than paying to reach them through traditional media advertisements. At its very core, content marketing is any format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers, and may include everything from thought leadership to branded content.

more

The Biggest Problem With Your Inbound Marketing And How You Can Fix It

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 16, 2014, 6:00 PM

“Good advertising makes bad products fail faster.” Even in the age of digital advertising, this old adage still rings true. Good advertising drives product sales, so the better the advertising, the more folks are likley to purchase a product. The faster folks buy the product and realize that it doesn’t live up to their expectations, however, then the faster the product “fails.” Even the best marketing campaign can't change public opinion once a product is deemed a disaster.

The same thing holds true for inbound marketing. Consider the most common “problems” for inbound marketing. One of inbound marketer’s most common worries is a lack of site traffic. The thinking goes that a lack of site traffic is the primary reason a website’s conversion rate is low. That’s why there’s a whole SEO industry built around analyzing site traffic and Google Analytics.

more

Use Content Marketing For Insurance Agency Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 13, 2014, 6:00 PM

While some insurance agencies are using digital marketing strategies to drive business growth, many don't think they are applicable to their business. If you don't agree with me, look at 5 insurance agency websites in your market. You'll be surprised how many are brochure-ware sites that do nothing to communicate the agency's value proposition.

more

A SMART Growth Process For Professional Services - Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 11, 2014, 6:00 PM

This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.

Is your professional services business new to inbound marketing or not sure if inbound marketing is a good fit? For three straight years, inbound market expenditures have increased by nearly 50%, according to HubSpot. Sixty percent of companies used inbound marketing in 2013.

Of these companies, marketers allocated over one-third of their overall budgets to inbound marketing tactics, 11% more than they spent on traditional outbound strategies like banners and direct mail. What have these companies discovered that your business doesn’t know? They know that inbound marketing works – it’s that simple.

more

More Cringeworthy Digital Marketing Moments

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 9, 2014, 6:00 PM

The modus operandi for my blog has and always will be to help owners and managers of SMB companies grow their companies. This one's different. This one's for me. I posted an article a few months back titled, "How Not To Do Inbound Marketing - 5 Cringeworthy Tactics To Avoid." In that same vein, today's post is a rant a la Dennis Miller about things that I've seen so far in 2014 that annoy the living s%$t out of me. Hopefully, you'll indulge me for this one article; I'll be helpful again next time. Forgive the snark and with tongue firmly in cheek, here's what's bugging me.

more

Inbound Marketing Options For Regional Professional Services Businesses

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 5, 2014, 6:00 PM

Many of the best knowledge-based businesses are small regional firms. Here's a typical scenario: a top-performer at a global professional services firm gets the entrepreneurial bug. She's built a businesses within the global business and doesn't see why she can't do it on her own. She opens her business and grows rapidly by providing an excellent customer experience to SMB companies that don't get the same attention from the big boys.

more

4 Inbound Marketing Strategies For Your Professional Services Firm

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 3, 2014, 6:00 PM

Is your sales lead pipeline running dry? If so, you’re not alone. Eighty percent of the average salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities, including not knowing where to find good prospects or recognizing them once they find them. (TeleSmart.com) With today’s sales cycle lasting up to seven months or longer, non-lead generation activities are not a very effective way to market or sell your business.

Inbound marketing and lead generation is the process of helping clients find your professional services company online – often before they even need to make a purchase. When it’s time to select a business, prospective clients then turn this awareness into a brand preference, which ultimately nets your business a sale and a loyal client.

more

Use A Human Touch In Your Marketing Automation (Video)

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 30, 2014, 10:32 AM

Does anyone remember HAL from Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Oddyssey? For those that don't, HAL was the computer on the space station that went bonkers. To give you historical context, the uber-villian of the technology world at the time lives in HAL's name (Use the next sequential letter for every letter in HAL's name = IBM.) That was when Google was still a sparkle in his daddy's eyes. But I digress. Have you seen marketing automation in your inbox and social media networks that sounds like it was written by HAL?

more

3 Growth Strategies For Professional Services Firms In The Down Economy

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 28, 2014, 5:30 PM

Despite the perennial assurances of the Obama administration that a robust economic recovery is right around the corner, small and mid-sized professional services firms face a challenging economic environment. Consider the following economic realities that we're facing for the foreseeable future.

more

3 Surefire Tips to Grow Your Technology Company The Inbound Way

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 27, 2014, 6:30 PM

Sixty-one percent of technology buyers desire content that directly addresses the issues they face at each point in the decision process. Eighty-five percent of tech buyers say they need to encounter at least three pieces of content before engaging with a solution provider. And the average tech buyer needs even more – these buyers consume ate least 14.5 pieces of content before making a buying decision. What do these stats have to do with your tech business? A lot, actually.

When it comes to nurturing technology company sales leads, inbound marketing is key. In fact, with more than 80% of buying decisions begin online, the average buyer gets at least 60% of the way through the buying process before they are even willing to speak to or engage with a salesperson.

Why inbound marketing is great for tech companies

more

Are Buyer Personas Relevant In A Challenging Economic Environment?

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 24, 2014, 3:21 AM

I don't have the answer to this question, but I'll pose it nonetheless: how relevant are buyer personas in today's challenging economic environment? This is a vast oversimplification of a complicated topic, but buyer personas are composite demographic/psychographic representations of people who buy what you sell. Conventional marketing wisdom is that you should develop buyer personas for your ideal customers and tailor your content towards them, answering their questions and educating them. It certainly makes sense to me.

more

Is Your Business Growth Strategy Customer-Centric?

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 22, 2014, 9:00 AM

When I was growing up, they had a word for people who constantly said, "that's not fair!" The word was crybaby. Don't get me wrong - I'm not part of the too-big-to-fail crowd. None of my 4 grandparents were born in the United States and all of them worked hard in labor-intensive jobs to help my parents get through college. Both of my parents got Masters degrees and worked hard as teachers and administrators to help me and my 3 brothers get through college. We all had to earn everything we got - no jobs because Daddy knew the president of the company. One thing we were all taught - nobody owes you anything and you need to earn everything you get.

more

3 Hot Tips To Grow Your Healthcare Company With Content Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 20, 2014, 6:00 PM

From television ads to billboards, the average consumer is bombarded with a serious barrage of advertising each day. It’s no surprise that 70% of today’s consumers prefer to get to know a company through articles, rather than ads. And when it comes to health care, consumers understandably exhibit a strong preference for brands that emphasize both empathetic care and high-tech medical solutions. If your healthcare company is struggling to attract new customers, it’s time to take a good hard look at your marketing efforts, specifically content marketing.

Since most healthcare coverage is provided through insurance, when it comes to choosing a local medical practice, service quality and medical knowledge trump prices. Content marketing is the most cost-effective strategy for communicating these key values directly to your prospective patients. Does your health care company currently use content marketing to reach new customers? If not, it’s missing out.

Why content marketing matters for healthcare companies.

more

3 Go-To Tips For Business Blogging Lead Generation (Video)

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 15, 2014, 8:00 PM

more

Use Social Selling to Generate Quality Sales Leads

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 14, 2014, 8:00 AM

more

How To Improve Your Content Marketing And Beat Your Competition

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 8, 2014, 5:38 PM

I recently read a very interesting article by Mark Schaefer titled, "Why Content Marketing Is Not A Sustainable Strategy." While I don't agree entirely that content marketing is not a sustainable strategy, I think Schaefer makes a lot of good points in his article that SMB companies should take to heart.

more

What Works Best? Social Selling Vs. Outbound Selling

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 7, 2014, 8:27 AM

The relationship between buyers and sellers has transformed because of technology. Buyers now hold all the cards. If they need pricing information or product specifications, they can go to your website. If they want to learn about your customer service, they can learn what people think though social media. As we've pointed out frequently on this blog, the average buyer completes 57% of their buying process before ever contacting a salesperson. When they do connect with a salesperson, they're looking for help, not to be sold. Which brings us to the point: in the modern buying process, what works best social selling or outbound selling?

more

Why Inbound Marketing Is A Must For Professional Services Firms

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 2, 2014, 8:30 AM

The future is bright for the professional services industry. Increasing government regulation has made it less appealing for companies to hire staff accountants, attorneys and other advisory positions. They still need help with these functions, so where will they turn to get the job done? SMB companies will increasingly turn to professional services firms to outsource these functions. That's great news for those of us who are running professional services firms.

more

Inbound Marketing: What's In And What's Out For 2014

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 30, 2013, 9:57 AM

I've enjoyed the Washington Post's annual column on what's in and out for the upcoming year for a long time. With a nod to the Post, I've compiled my list on what's in and what's out for inbound marketing in 2014. Before I start the list, let's tackle the most obvious one.

more

Dear Small Business Owner, Best Holiday Wishes From Rapidan Strategies

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 23, 2013, 10:05 AM

more

A Great Holiday Gift Idea - Video Marketing Equipment

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 19, 2013, 11:12 AM

What do you get for that certain someone who has everything this holiday season? Well, if that person is a business owner or manager that wants to grow their company, consider giving them some video marketing equipment.

more

4 Inbound Marketing Predictions For 2014

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 16, 2013, 6:00 PM

As the year winds down, it's time to pull out the crystal ball to see what next year holds for inbound marketing practitioners. If you joined the growing list of companies that use inbound marketing in 2013, I hope you're seeing good results. If you haven't yet adopted inbound marketing, you'd better get going while the getting's good. Why? Because inbound marketing is a sales process that matches the way your customers buy. Rather than shoving marketing messages down busy buyer's throats regardless of their interest, inbound marketing attracts buyers to your brand when they are researching solutions to problems they face in their businesses. So let's get to it - here are 4 inbound marketing predictions for 2014.

more

How To Use SEO To Hit Your Revenue Goals

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 11, 2013, 6:00 PM

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't what it used to be. SEO used to revolve around 2 things. First, old-school SEO focused on identifying keywords that buyers used to describe a company's products or services and inserting those keywords everywhere on the company's website. And I mean everywhere. Rather than publish content that provided people with useful information the way they wanted it, old-school SEO wrote for search engines. This made for some really crappy, unnatural writing.

more

10 Essential SMART Goals for Online Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 9, 2013, 4:30 PM

It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season. I'm talking about revenue growth planning time for SMB companies. If you're selling the way your customers want to buy, you're probably using inbound marketing techniques for online lead generation. What kind of goals are you setting to hit your 2014 revenue goals?

more

Online Lead Generation Fundamentals

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 5, 2013, 10:26 AM

For years, SMB companies have relied on outbound lead generation tactics to fill their sales funnels. They used tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and email blasts to generate enough leads to hit their revenue targets. For years, these tactics worked because B2B buyers needed salespeople to do their jobs. They needed salespeople to learn about product/service specifications, pricing and other information for companies that sold the products and services they needed to service their customers.

more

How To Start An Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Channel

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 2, 2013, 5:49 PM

Are you one of the many companies considering adding an inbound marketing lead generation channel as part of your strategy to hit your 2014 growth targets? If so, congratulations, you're on the right track. 61% of global internet users research products and services online (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance 2012) and 71% of enterprise purchase decisions begin with a search engine query (DAC Group.) Across all industries, buyers are turning to the web to facilitate their buying processes. Simply put, if you're not using inbound marketing to reach these buyers, it's going to be tough to hit your 2014 sales goals.

more

How Not To Do Inbound Marketing - 5 Cringeworthy Tactics To Avoid

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 25, 2013, 6:00 PM

Have you ever received a marketing outreach that was so outrageously bad that you felt victimized? As an inbound marketing consultant, I'm amazed at the tactics that some use. I'm even more amazed that these companies think they might actually work. I've tried to learn from some of these tactics so that I never use them in my sales and marketing outreach. In the article below, I'll share a few tactics that you should avoid like the plague. They range from downright sleazy to insulting to mildly annoying. One thing that they all have in common is that they make it less likely that a buyer would ever do business with them. So in no particular order, here are 5 cringeworthy inbound marketing tactics to avoid.

more

How To Market Your Technology Company Online

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 20, 2013, 5:30 PM

In today’s competitive business landscape, low-cost strategies like inbound marketing hold the key to small business growth. However, many small business owners continue to believe that online marketing is simply “too expensive” or “too complicated” for their businesses – when these statements could not be further from the truth. You do not need “special skills” to drive revenue growth from inbound marketing. If you can send an email, you can successfully market your technology company online. Online marketing success is derived from your ability to consistently deliver value to your core audience. It’s that simple.

Today’s hyper-connected customers use digital media to communicate with companies, build brand relationships, make purchasing decisions and even complain about poor customer service. These customers expect companies to not only deliver value online, but to also deliver an experience. As a technology company, your customer base assumes (rightly or wrongly) that your business has an inherent familiarity with online marketing and all things digital. Consequently, your current and prospective customers will expect an even higher level of quality online interaction. Don’t let them down: follow these three tips to effectively market your technology company online.

1. Create an online destination, not a website.

Your company website should be more than a simple “about us” page and online product demo – it needs to be an online destination that customers will want to visit more than once. In order to create the ultimate online destination, start by defining your customer base. What are their needs and interests? How can your website meet these needs through creative engagement and build a relationship? Inbound marketing is most successful when your business creates and shares content through its website that is original, relevant, insightful and – most of all – easy to consume.

2. Leverage co-marketing relationships to drive web traffic.

Depending on one web presence is dangerous; even if your website is packed with useful, interactive content, your customers will only be able to find this information if they find your website. This narrows your company’s prospective reach and limits the effectiveness of your material. Don’t wait for customers to stumble upon your website – leverage the power of co-marketing to bring new customers to your online destination. For example, join an industry group and contribute a guest blog post to the group’s website or offer a free whitepaper excerpt for the next e-newsletter. Growing your co-marketing network will drive highly qualified traffic directly to your website.

3. Connect with customers on their preferred social network.

Sure, Instagram and Pinterest may be two of the hottest social networks, but for most technology companies, that’s not where their customers are spending their time. When it comes to social media, focus your efforts on one or two social networks that will reap the biggest rewards. For example, LinkedIn may not be “sexy” in the world of social media, but it’s the best network for generating B2B sales leads. More than 33.4 million professionals use LinkedIn each month – are your customers active on LinkedIn? In order to leverage the power of LinkedIn (or any social network), do more than simply build a profile. Maintain an active presence by sharing and curating useful content with customers. Ask company members to join relevant LinkedIn Groups and build new networking relationships with individuals who may influence potential customers, as well as reconnecting with past industry contacts and colleagues. Use Quora to establish your business’s online reputation as an industry thought leader by answering questions.

Summary

Technology companies fail when they focus solely on their product and forget to differentiate themselves to prospective customers. Online marketing provides technology companies with an important opportunity to differentiate their services through the creation of an online destination that goes beyond a singular product. Segmenting the marketplace and focusing on key social media channels and affiliate marketing partnerships will further help technology companies maximize the power of inbound marketing.

more

Give It Away! Drive Inbound Marketing Revenue Growth With Free Content

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 18, 2013, 5:30 PM

Can “free” information lead to new customers and drive revenue growth? That’s the theory behind content marketing, the hottest inbound marketing trend for 2014. Two out of every three businesses currently spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on digital marketing, including content marketing, according Accenture’s CMO Insights Study, and this figure is expected to grow significantly over the next year. Is your business on board with content marketing?

more

5 Ways To Hit Your 2014 Sales Number With Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 13, 2013, 8:30 PM

It's that time of year again. You're trying to finish off the year with a bang and hit your sales number. If that's not enough, you need to figure out how you're going to do it again next year in a tough economy. Sound familiar? If you're like many SMB business owners and executives, you're finding traditional lead generation methods aren't working like they did in the past. You're not generating enough leads with cold-calling and your unsolicited promotional emails end up on a one-way trip to Deletesville. 

more

Inbound Marketing - The Great Equalizer For SMB Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 11, 2013, 9:00 PM

As we approach the holiday seasons, many of us start thinking about what we're thankful for. Like most of you, I'm thankful for my wife and family. My wife has encouraged me to follow my entrepreneurial dream of starting my inbound marketing consultancy - in more ways than one. I'm thankful for my faithful Chocolate Labrador, Kona. As I face the ups and downs that all entrepreneurs know about, Kona is always there to make me feel better. As an owner of a small business, I'm really thankful for inbound marketing. Inbound marketing helps attract qualified buyers to your website and converts them to leads and customers using SEO, content marketing, social media, lead nurturing and marketing analytics. I'm thankful for inbound marketing because it helps my small business compete on an equal footing with large enterprise companies (kind of like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.) Let me explain.

more

Character Counts - Increase Revenue Generation With Integrity

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 7, 2013, 6:00 AM

I recently read an article in the Washington Post that really disturbed me. The article, written by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, was titled A Dishonest Presidency.  What disturbed me about this article was that Thiessen's insight into the vetting process for presidential speeches made it hard not to believe. The crux of the article was that President Obama consciously decided to lie to the American people when he said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." Yes, I do realize that the overwhelming majority of politicians lie constantly, regardless of their political affiliation. To be fair, it wouldn't take much digging to come up with examples of Republican Presidents lying.

more

How To Drive Revenue Growth With Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 5, 2013, 6:32 AM

Inbound marketing leads cost 61 percent less than traditional outbound leads. Not only are these leads less expensive to generate, but they also result in longer-lasting relationships. Plus, inbound marketing improves SEO, shortens the sales cycle and drives revenue. It’s no surprise then that 93 percent of companies use inbound marketing to increase lead generation, according to Hubspot.

While inbound marketing is increasingly seen as a “must-do” sales tactic for small businesses, many small businesses still fail to effectively leverage inbound marketing for revenue growth. In fact, if your business is not careful, you may find that your inbound marketing efforts are costing more money than they are generating. Whether your business is new to inbound marketing or looking for ways to trim costs, follow these tips to boost revenue generation:

1. Focus on “middle of the funnel” techniques.

Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket. A diversified approach that focuses on “middle of the funnel” techniques, such as landing page optimization, is generally more cost-effective for small businesses than major PPC campaigns. While paid search is an important component of online marketing, it’s all too easy to blow an entire marketing budget on a failed PPC campaign. This is especially true for smaller businesses that may lack the resources and expertise necessary to build an effective PPC campaign and then ultimately scale-up this campaign for maximum impact. According to HubSpot, blogging and call-to-action pages have a greater impact on lead generation than PPC expenditures. Optimizing your landing page and calls-to-action can be done for relatively little expense and will have a greater impact on revenue growth.

2. Target the right channels

Casting a wider net won’t increase revenue growth. Instead, your business will be bringing in less qualified prospects – and your sales department will be wasting valuable time chasing down all these less-than-qualified leads. Worse, “carpet bomb” marketing campaigns may be turning off the very people you most need to attract. Rather than trying to be all things to any and all prospective customers, focus on the most highly qualified decision makers within an organization. Tailor your inbound marketing pitch to meet their specific needs. In the long run, you will generate more revenue by focusing on the highest qualified leads, rather than trying to attract as many leads as possible.

3. Keep landing pages simple and mobile friendly.

In the world of inbound marketing landing pages, less is more. Sure, you know better than to overwhelm prospective customers with garish website colors, flashy fonts, and six different call-to-action slogans that all scream “Buy Now!!!” (Right?), but there’s a good chance your landing page could still benefit from some paring-down. Is it easily scannable? Do you summarize your main selling point in a few key bullet points? Are lengthy forms causing potential customers to abandon your site, or do your forms make it easy for prospectives to sign-up? And – most importantly – is the landing page mobile-friendly? Don’t underestimate the importance of mobile-friendly content. As more sales prospects increasingly engage with websites via smartphones and tablets, sites that look good on mobile platforms are key to successful revenue generation.

4. Know your inbound marketing metrics, especially your conversion rates.

Is your latest content marketing campaign boosting landing page CTR? Or is that spike due to your new call to action? Effective inbound marketers know to keep a close eye on analytics, especially conversion rates. Low conversion rates are the proverbial canary in the coalmine. A sudden drop in conversion rates signals that there is a problem in your conversion funnel. Don’t wait until your quarterly revenue generation report takes a hit – take immediate action to identify and correct this problem.

Summary

Driving revenue growth from inbound marketing is both an art and a science. By keeping a close eye on your company’s marketing metrics and focusing on tactics with the greatest ROI, your small business will effectively leverage the power of inbound marketing for maximum revenue generation.

more

Focus Your Integrated Marketing Strategy For Success

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 30, 2013, 5:30 PM

I recently read an article by HubSpot's Dharmesh Shah entitled, "Why Big Opportunities Crush Small Companies." In the article, Shah makes a compelling case for entrepreneurs and small businesses to concentrate on niche markets rather than execute a broad marketing strategy that targets all potential buyers of a product or service. His logic is sound and is borne out by real-world outcomes.The main point of his article is neatly summarized as follows: 

more

5 Inbound Marketing Metrics That Matter

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 29, 2013, 9:30 AM

Are you still measuring online marketing success with old-school metrics like page views or return page visitors? Stop. These metrics may give you an overview of web traffic, but they’re dangerously deceptive. As every marketing department knows, more visitors or page views do not translate into better sales prospects or more revenue.

more

The Foundation of Social Selling

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 24, 2013, 8:00 AM

Technology has fundamentally changed the way people buy. The power in the process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Buyers don’t need salespeople to access product information, pricing and educational content to help them solve problems – it’s all on the internet. The typical buyer completes 57% of their buying process before ever speaking with a salesperson (CEB – New Decision Timeline.)

more

3 Surefire Tactics To Improve Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 22, 2013, 11:30 AM

How many sales organizations do you know that think they have enough good leads? Not many, by my estimation. That's why so many businesses are turning to inbound marketing. Traditional lead generation methods are producing diminishing returns and they need leads. Leads are the fuel that drives revenue growth and return on investment. If you've decided to invest in inbound marketing, lead generation is the currency of success. Inbound lead generation is not just a measure of quantity; if the leads your generate never buy anything, what's the point? In the article below, I'll share 3 surefire tactics to help you generate more high-quality leads.

more

How SMB Companies Use Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 17, 2013, 11:31 AM

BtoB magazine, in conjunction with Oracle/Eloqua, recently released SMBs: Maximizing Synergies in Technology, Branding and Customer Interaction. The research provides interesting insight into how small and mid-sized businesses are using inbound marketing compared to enterprise companies. The findings reflect what I'm seeing in the marketplace and show how technological advances have leveled the playing field for SMB companies against their enterprise competition. In the article below, we'll highlight some of the key findings of the study to provide a benchmark against which you can evaluate your inbound marketing efforts.

more

5 Strategies To Generate Revenue In 2014

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 15, 2013, 11:30 AM

Now is the time for business owners and executives to close out the sales year with a bang and turn their attention to developing strategies to generate revenue in the upcoming year. There's plenty of evidence that points to a new way of thinking about growing your company. Most notably, the way businesses buy is changing. Buyers are in control of the sales process. According to the Corporate Executive Board, business buyers complete 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a salesperson. They conduct research on purchase options via the internet and by talking to friends and colleagues. Business owners and executives should embrace this new reality as they develop next year's growth strategy. Here are 5 strategies and tactics to consider as you work on your growth planning.

more

4 Effective Email Marketing Tips For Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 10, 2013, 11:34 AM

Email marketing has the highest lead conversion rate of any inbound marketing tactic. Inbound marketing software company Optify's 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report found that email marketing converted recipients to leads at a 2.9% rate. By comparison, organic search traffic had a 1.45% conversion ratio and social media had a 1.22% conversion rate. Many technology companies spend a lot of time and money on email marketing, yet they don't get the business results they hoped for. They buy lists of target contacts and routinely email information on their products and services and get precious few responses. So where do they go wrong? I suspect that answer can be found in of the 4 email marketing tips I will share below.
more

Supercharge Your Email Marketing With Lead Segmentation

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 7, 2013, 9:23 AM

Email marketing is the most effective inbound marketing lead generation tool, according to Optify's 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report. Optify found that email marketing had a lead conversion rate of 2.9%, twice the organic search traffic lead conversion rate of 1.45%. While email marketing is the most effective lead conversion tactic, it can also be incredibly annoying if not done correctly. Have you ever found your inbox cluttered with daily emails from a company whose email marketing you never chose to receive? At some point, you probsbly either unsubscribed from their list or reported them as spam. Neither one of those outcomes are a good thing for email marketers, not to mention the fact that they've probably violated the CAN-SPAM legislation that regulates email marketing.

more

3 Proven Tactics To Improve Your Inbound Marketing Leads

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 2, 2013, 11:38 AM

Are you satisfied with the leads generated from your inbound marketing program? Are they converting to customers? For companies starting inbound marketing, there is a predictable pattern of progress. Most companies start inbound marketing by writing SEO-optimized blog articles and promoting them on their social media networks. The first stage of progress is an increase in website traffic. The increase becomes noticeable in months 2-4 of your inbound marketing efforts and really picks up steam in months 9-12.

more

Google Goes Dark - How Should You Adjust Your Inbound Marketing?

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 1, 2013, 3:34 AM

In an ironic twist, Google, the company who shares information with the NSA, has decided not share information with brands about their websites. On September 23, 2013, Google confirmed to Search Engine Land :

more

5 Reasons Your Technology Company Should Use Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 25, 2013, 7:06 PM

Has your technology company adopted inbound marketing? If you haven't, why not? Advances in technology have dramatically reduced the effectiveness of traditional outbound lead generation techniques that interrupt buyers lives in the hope that they will find the occasional prospect in the midst of buying what they offer. Buyers fast forward through television commercials, screen unwanted telemarketing outreaches and delete the resulting voicemail without listening to it. They delete long-winded email solicitations that they haven't asked for. Simply put, today's buyers want to interact with solution providers when they need to and on their own terms.

more

Why You Should Run Your Inbound Marketing Program On A Content Management System

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 23, 2013, 6:59 PM

A content management system is an ideal website platform for small and mid-sized businesses. A content management system is a website platform that allows companies to manage and update their websites without coding languages like HTML and CSS. Some of the more well-known content management systems include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. While you likely will need the services of a web designer for initial setup, you can manage your site and update your content using "drag and drop" editors. The only limit to creating a well-designed website with an incredible user experience is your own creativity.

more

Manage Your Inbound Marketing Leads For Sales Success

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 19, 2013, 1:11 PM

I've spoken to several business owners that have adopted inbound marketing recently and have heard some variation of the following statement: "I'm getting a lot of traffic to my website and I'm converting leads, but I'm not getting the sales that I need."

more

4 Inbound Lead Generation Tips For Insurance Agencies

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 16, 2013, 1:20 PM

The turbulent times facing insurance agencies are creating great opportunities for inbound lead generation. What do I mean by inbound lead generation? Simply stated, inbound lead generation is the process of generating leads by attracting qualified prospects to your sales and marketing process. Rather than pushing your message out by traditional lead generation methods like telemarketing and unsolicited email, inbound lead generation draws prospects to you by providing relevant content and thought leadership.

more

How To Start Business Blogging In 5 Easy Steps

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 12, 2013, 1:26 PM

Business blogging is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Internet marketing software provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies that don't blog. In the last month, 54% of the pageviews on my website were for blog articles. Business blogging not only drives traffic to your website, it offers you the opportunity to position your company as a thought leader in your industry. Many business owners and manager see the value of blogging, but aren't sure how to get started. In this article, we'll show you how to start business blogging in 5 easy steps.

more

How To Drive Business Results With Email Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 11, 2013, 1:35 PM

The average email user sends and receives over 115 emails per day, according to technology research firm Radicati. Many of your targeted sales leads and customers, however, send and receive far more. Without an effective email marketing strategy in place, your emails will get buried at the bottom of their in-box, or worse, sent straight to the trash folder.

more

How To Maximize Your Inbound Marketing Customer Conversion Ratio

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 8, 2013, 6:08 PM

The most important (and difficult) part of inbound marketing is converting inbound leads into customers. Unless your an e-commerce company, you have to transition the relationship with your buyer from an online relationship to a real relationship with your sales or management team.

more

4 Small Business SEO Best Practices

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 4, 2013, 4:16 PM

Search engine optimization has been the buzzword du jour for the last few years, but with Google’s constantly changing algorithm, your small business may be struggling to keep up. SEO is crucial for virtually every website. Unless you run a blog of family photos that’s just for your parents back home, then you need to optimize your website for inbounding marketing. Effective SEO establishes you as a reputable authority in your given industry and allows you to pull in reputable visitors. Higher rankings equal more money, which leads to even more business and a better reputation – both online and offline.

more

7 Hot Tips For Executing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 3, 2013, 6:15 AM

Social media marketing success doesn'’t take place over night. It'’s a cumulative process that produces success with persistent and consistent execution. Your first step in social media marketing is to develop a strategy that defines your target audience and how you will reach them. Once you've developed your social media marketing strategy, the success of your efforts is dependent on your execution. Here are 7 hot tips for executing your social media marketing strategy.

more

How To Sell Management Consulting Services Without Really Trying

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 29, 2013, 3:21 AM

The new business buying process is a boon for the management consultant who isn't "salesy". In the olden days, say the 1990s, salespeople held all the cards. If you wanted to learn about a company's services, you had to go through the sales professional. If you wanted to evaluate pricing for various purchase alternatives, you had to go through the sales professional.

more

How to Improve Your Business's Internet Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 27, 2013, 9:12 AM

B2B websites generate, on average, 124 leads per month, according to Optify’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Is your website keeping your sales team busy with new leads – or is it underperforming the competition?

more

Revenue Generation Strategies For The New Business Buying Process

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 23, 2013, 3:31 AM

There has been a fundamental shift in the way businesses purchase goods and services. This shift in the business buying process reflects the fact that the buyer is now in control of the process. In the old buying process, the seller held all the cards. If a buyer needed accounting services, they had to meet with a sales representative to learn potential vendors' capabilties, pricing and experience. In the new business buying process, all of that information and more is available on the internet - there's no need for the buyer to take precious time to respond to unsolicited telemarketing or meet with sales reps.

more

Transform Your SMB Company With Social Media Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 21, 2013, 4:04 AM

This blog post is a preview from our new eBook, How To Transform Your SMB Company With Social Media Marketing. This comprehensive eBook will give you a step-by-step guide to managing a social media marketing program that will grow your company, including chapters on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. 

more

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Focus On An Integrated Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 19, 2013, 4:25 AM

I recently read an article by Tom Searcy in Inc. Magazine titled, "6 Sales Tips For CEOs Who Hate Sales." In the article, Searcy provides several tactics to help CEOs be more successful in their sales efforts. The article doesn't explain why it's so vitally important for CEOs to focus on sales and marketing. This is even more important for entrepreneurs; every entrepreneur should focus on an integrated marketing strategy from the very beginning of their business operations.

more

Business Lessons From Muhammad Ali

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 15, 2013, 4:12 AM

I came of age in the late '60s and '70s and was fortunate enough to grow up in the prime of Muhammad Ali's boxing career. He was an amazing athlete, but more to the point, he is an incredible human being. Simply put, he was, is and always will be my hero. There are several aspects of his life and personality that directly translate to business lessons from which we can all learn. Let me show you what I mean.

more

5 Business Blogging Best Practices

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 13, 2013, 3:19 AM

Business blogging is a key component to successful inbound marketing. Sure, just about anyone can start a company blog. However, in order for it to be successful, your blog needs to provide individuals with real value, and not merely parrot back information that they can find elsewhere.

more

3 Reasons You Should Outsource Your Internet Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 5, 2013, 11:51 AM

Most businesses understand the indispensable role internet marketing plays in the modern buying process. After all, buyers are turning to search engines and social media channels to research potential purchase options. Management consultant The Corporate Executive board estimates that buyers complete 57% of their pre-purchase research before ever interacting with a sales person. If they're not finding you when they're doing research, your chances of selling to them are slim or none, and guess who just left town. If you're not using internet marketing, you don't have a sustainable business model.

more

5 Social Media Hacks for Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 30, 2013, 4:20 AM

Social media marketing is a great lead generation tool because it reaches buyers on their own terms. Buyers today do more and more pre-purchase research and interact with sales people much later in the buying process than in the past. But many people aren't aware of the other business uses of social media like customer service, thought leadership and prospect intelligence. Social media changes frequently, so we wanted to to share some of the latest "hacks" to help your manage your technology company.

more

LinkedIn Rolls Out Sponsored Updates for Businesses

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 25, 2013, 4:52 AM

LinkedIn is rolling out a new opportunity for businesses to reach professional decision-makers with targeted, relevant content - LinkedIn sponsored updates. Before sponsored updates, companies marketing on LinkedIn were limited to sharing updates with people following their company page or paid advertisements. Paid advertisments appear inconspicuously; they're at the very bottom of your personalized column at the right side of the page. Most of you probably aren't aware of the ads appearing on your page.

more

What Is Inbound Marketing And Why Should You Care?

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 24, 2013, 4:28 AM

Let's get back to the basics. You may have heard the term inbound marketing, but aren't sure exactly what it means. Other terms used to describe the same set of processes include digital marketing, web marketing, internet marketing and social media marketing. Inbound marketing software provider HubSpot created the image below to describe the inbound marketing process.

more

For Revenue Generation In Today's Buying Process, Don't Pitch, Listen!

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 22, 2013, 7:07 AM

If I were giving advice to an entrepreneur on the best way to grow her business, I would recommend that she work on her listening skills before worrying about her sales pitch. Too many business people think that sales is about talking or "pitching." It's not: the most successful salespeople do far more listening than talking.

more

How to Optimize Your Inbound Marketing Landing Pages

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 18, 2013, 4:28 AM

Did you just miss another customer? One moment a prospective customer is clicking on your PPC ad, email call to action or social media link, the next moment they’re on your landing page, and then just seconds later, they’re already clicking their browser’s “back” button. What went wrong?

more

Top 4 Social Media Trends in 2013

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 16, 2013, 4:50 AM

From Vines to SoMoLo, social media continues to dominate digital marketing with new, innovative platforms for reaching and engaging consumers. In the last three years, social media marketing process expenditures have grown by 140%; no other marketing expenditure has grown this much in the same period. In contrast, traditional advertising expenditures are plummeting – decreasing by 7.9% over the last three years. Social media marketing expenditures are predicted to more than double in the next five years – accounting for nearly one-fifth of a company’s entire marketing budget. (Forbes/CMO Survey)

more

The 5 Most Important Words In Your Revenue Generation Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 10, 2013, 4:45 PM

I recently had someone approach me with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. His profile seemed to share some common ground with me, so I agreed to connect with him. Shortly after accepting his invitation, he sent me a message. He told me that he had recently sold a company he founded and wanted to start an internet marketing company. He asked me if I would be willing to meet with him so that he could pick my brain about starting a company like mine.

more

5 Tactics to Improve Your Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 9, 2013, 5:55 AM

Inbound marketing is one of the most popular and effective marketing strageies, reaching today’s fragmented digital audience through customer-centric strategies that deliver real value for small businesses. Inbound marketing drives website conversions, doubling the average conversion rate for traditional marketing campaigns from 6% to 12%, according to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. The average cost of acquiring a new customer with inbound marketing is lower than through traditional marketing. Inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing and now comprises 34% of all marketing efforts.

more

How To Use Inbound Marketing To Sell Professional Services

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 5, 2013, 5:32 AM

Professional services business like accountants, attorney, business consultants, financial services companies and design firms build their reputations on the talent and experience of their people. The buying process for professional services has some unique characteristics. A professional services sale usually has a longer buying cycle, a higher deal value and more people are involved in the purchase decision than a product sale. Sales results are usually measured quarterly or annually rather than monthly due to the longer sales cycles. When using inbound marketing to sell professional services, it's important to keep these things in mind as you sync your sales process to your customer's buying process. 

more

2 Vacation Spots Killing It With Social Media Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 1, 2013, 6:20 PM

For Eddie Cochran, "there ain't no cure for the summertime blues." For most of us, summer conjures up memories of freedom, exploration and checking out really cool places. Which brings me to the point of this blog post - 2 of my favorite vacation destinations that make you feel like you're there all year round with their social media marketing. I'm talking about the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ. I love both of these places because they offer nature in all its glory to their visitors. I live in the Washington DC metro area - home to the country's worst traffic and a competitive lifestyle. For me, experiencing nature is the most relaxing thing in the world. I seek it out often. In the article below, I'll explain how 2 of my favorite outdoor destinations let me experience their beauty all year long.

more

How To Get Found On The Web With Organic Search

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 27, 2013, 6:01 AM

A recent study from Forrester Research found that organic (non-paid) search results were how most people found the websites they visited. 54% of people found sites with organic search results, 35% found sites with social media, 28% through website referrals and 18% through paid search results.

more

How Social Media Can Generate Sales Leads For Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 24, 2013, 7:50 PM

Social media generates 14% of all sales leads and 13% of all customers, according to the latest research from HubSpot. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular channels for acquiring customers; in 2012, 52% of B2B and B2C companies acquired a customer via Facebook and 43% via LinkedIn.

more

Top 5 Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 20, 2013, 5:10 AM

93% of companies using inbound marketing increase their lead generation, according to a recent HubSpot ROI report. Even better, more than half of these companies increased their lead generation by at least 50%. Is your business enjoying similar success – or has inbound lead generation slowed to a crawl? Even the most experienced marketers can make mistakes. From being misled by Google Analytics to spending resources on the wrong social network, we’ve listed the top five mistakes of inbounding marketing lead generation – and how to fix them.

more

8 Inbound Marketing Statistics To Inform Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 18, 2013, 4:59 AM

Unlike traditional marketing techniques like advertising and public relations, you can precisely measure the impact of inbound marketing tactics. Inbound marketing analytics provide the opportunity to fine-tune your process. You can do more of the tactics that work and refine or jettison tactics that aren't producing desired results. With that in mind, here are 8 inbound marketing statistics to keep in mind as you develop your integrated marketing strategy.

more

6 Characteristics Of A Good Management Consultant

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 13, 2013, 4:06 AM

As someone who's been a management consultant for over 20 years, I've learned how to be a good one the hard way. I've made some mistakes in my time, but I've learned from every single one of them. I've also hired several management consultants since starting my internet marketing consultancy - some good, some not so much. My experiences working with management consultants have confirmed my convictions on what makes a good consultant. So here are what I consider to be the top 6 characteristics of a good management consultant.

more

4 Reasons Government Contractors Should Use Internet Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 11, 2013, 5:05 AM

Some government contractors are resistant to implementing internet marketing programs. They feel that their B2G sales process is based solely on their relationships and past performance. While relationships are always part of any company's sales process, the federal budgetary situation is changing the face of government contractor business development. Not all government contractors resist inbound marketing techniques - just take a look at the major prime contractors' websites. They're using social media and content marketing to promote their brands and generate leads. Here are four reasons you should introduce internet marketing into your small or mid-sized government contractor.

more

How To Create Landing Pages To Generate Leads

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 6, 2013, 5:30 AM

For most companies introducing internet marketing to their sales process, generating leads is the primary goal of their strategy. Generating leads to fill your sales pipeline keeps your business healthy and your salespeople happy. The first step in an inbound lead generation process is driving the right traffic to your website using tactics such as blogging and social media promotion.

more

From Click to Sale: 5 Tips to Improve Your Internet Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 4, 2013, 5:29 AM

Are your online products receiving a lot of clicks but a not of sales? The bad news: a high click-thru rate coupled with a low conversion rate means your business is wasting resources on ineffective marketing. The good news: unless your company’s website is stuck in the dial-up era, you don’t need to completely overhaul your site in order to improve Internet marketing.

more

Is Your Inbound Marketing Mobile-Friendly?

Posted by John Beveridge

May 30, 2013, 12:50 PM

I love this quote from Eustace Conway: "What do I do for a living? I live for a living." Although it's probably not what he meant, it reflects how many of us integrate our personal and professional lives. We don't go to the office from 9 to 5 to work, then come home and forget about work until the next day. We work from home, we visit customers and prospects during the day (and sometimes at night) and we mix in our non-professional lives when we can. Which brings me to the point of this article: does your inbound marketing sync with your customers' mobile lifestyles? 

more

The Social Part of Social Media: A Love Story

Posted by John Beveridge

May 29, 2013, 4:27 AM

Here's a great infographic on social media relationships courtesy of HubSpot.

The Social Part of Social Media: A Love Story

 
more

4 Ways To Integrate Inbound Marketing Into Your Sales Process

Posted by John Beveridge

May 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

Have you added inbound marketing to your sales process yet? Inbound marketing is an excellent way to match your sales process to the modern buying process, but it's not a replacement for outbound marketing techniques like networking and referral selling. Businesses that are using inbound techniques strategically integrate them into their existing sales processes, supplementing and enhancing the sales tactics that have been successful over the years. Here are 4 tactics to integrate inbound marketing into your sales process to increase sales.

more

The Dark Side Of Content Marketing: Plagiarism

Posted by John Beveridge

May 23, 2013, 7:55 AM

Those of us who use inbound marketing to grow our businesses have learned that our marketing engines require fuel. That fuel is marketing content: blog articles, eBooks, videos, webinars, landing pages, calls-to-action. The beauty of content marketing is that it puts us all on a level playing field. It doesn't matter if you're a multinational corporation or a solo-preneur; if you produce good content, people will find it, read it, watch it and most importantly share it. Google loves good content. If you consistently produce good content that gets shared, Google will reward you with high search engine rankings for your targeted keywords. Here's a summary of organic search visits to my website since I began my content marketing efforts in April 2012:

more

Email Marketing Best Practices For Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

May 21, 2013, 7:14 AM

Many technology companies find email marketing is one of the best lead generation tactics they use. Marketing automation software provider Optify found in their 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report that email marketing had the highest lead conversion rate of any inbound marketing tactic employed. The email marketing lead conversion rate of 2.9% compared with an average inbound conversion rate of 1.6%. Here are some best practices to follow for your technology company email marketing program.

more

How To Manage Your Social Media Marketing Effectively

Posted by John Beveridge

May 16, 2013, 5:00 AM

I recently read a great blog post from Guy Kawasaki on how he manages his social media marketing presence. For those of you who don't know Guy Kawasaki, he is Apple's former marketing guru and an accomplished author and social media expert. While Guy's tips were great, I'm not sure they're applicable to the typical SMB company that is establishing a social media presence and using social media to generate leads. This article will share some thoughts on how you can effectively manage your company's social media marketing.

more

5 Online Lead Generation Strategies For Insurance Agencies

Posted by John Beveridge

May 14, 2013, 5:00 AM

It's tough out there for insurance agencies. Obamacare is changing the way employers provide (or don't provide) health insurance for their employees. In fact, the new legislation is trying to curtail the role of insurance agencies in the insurance procurement process. Persistent slow economic growth has reduced business investement, which adds additional steps and approvals to the insurance buying process. Despite all of these challenges, there are still opportunities for savvy insurance agencies to grow. Business owners and managers turn to Google and social media to try and make sense of the neverending onslaught of insurance regulations. Your best bet as an agency principal is to get found when your prospects look for help on the internet. Here are 5 strategies to increase your odds of being found by qualified buyers.

more

9 Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Tips With Twitter

Posted by John Beveridge

May 9, 2013, 5:00 AM

Are you using Twitter as a revene-generation channel in your social media marketing process? Many SMB companies have adopted LinkedIn and Facebook as cornerstones of their social media marketing process, but overlook Twitter's revenue-generation potential. While we don't dispute the value of metrics like engagement and brand promotion, we're like most SMB companies - we use Twitter primarily for revenue generation. It's all about generating leads and closing business! Here are 9 tips to consider as you build a Twitter revenue generation channel.

more

Marketing Automation for SMB: What Every Small Business Needs to Know

Posted by John Beveridge

May 7, 2013, 6:43 AM

Is your business thinking about marketing automation for lead generation? An increasing number of small businesses are exploring marketing automation as a faster, more effective strategy for generating online sales leads. Small business marketing automation is the complete package, managing all aspects of lead generation including scoring, nurturing and location-based targeting. But is marketing automation software the right choice for your business? Read on for answers to the top four small business marketing automation questions.

more

Customer Retention As A Business Growth Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

May 1, 2013, 11:24 AM

Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that the cost of acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Yet so many companies focus the majority of their time, energy and resources on acquiring new customers at the expense of retaining the customers that they already have. Clearly the maturity stage of your business has an impact on your strategy; if you're a new business, your focus should be on acquiring new customers. However, if you're a more mature business that is focusing your strategy on customer acquisition, beware. You may be creating a problem.

more

4 Online Selling Tactics that Work for Small Businesses

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 30, 2013, 10:32 AM

 Inbound marketing brings potential clients from search engines and social media straight to your website. But once they arrive, how can you convert them into paying customers? Converting online sales prospects into clients is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. While conversion rate optimization is important, if you spend all your time A/B testing button colors, you’ll miss out on the most critical online selling tactic: relationship building.

more

More Sales, Less Spam: 3 Ways to Improve Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 25, 2013, 8:37 AM

Worried about your business’s inbound lead generation? You’re not alone. Last year, 74% of marketers reported that obtaining quality leads is their top marketing challenge, according to Revi Media. With the average conversion rate for online leads hovering at 1.6%, according to Optify’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, how can a small business make online lead generation work?

more

Social Selling - Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 23, 2013, 6:00 AM

The Google Zero Moment of Truth study contains some fascinating insights into how consumers and businesses are buying today. Sellers no longer control the process. Buyers tune out the noise they don't want to hear and seek out the information they need to make their buying decisions. Buyers are now in control of the process. To me one of the most telling insights applicable to growing your business today was the answer to the following question: "when you were considering purchasing (PRODUCT), which sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?"

more

Why Social Media Marketing Is More Effective Than PR

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 18, 2013, 5:09 AM

I'm probably not going to make friends in the public relations or journalism communities with this article, but here goes. I recently attended an event titled "Meet The Press" in which 5 local business journalists shared their thoughts on how businesses should approach them in order to get press coverage. I was struck by the journalists' imperious attitude - much of their presentation revolved around how you can best approach them to possibly get media coverage.  They covered things like how to email them, how often you need to follow up with them and generally how you can kiss their rings to potentially get press coverage. At a certain point, I heard Charlie Brown's mother's voice, but instead of "whah, whah, whah" I was hearing "me, me, me, me." What these journalists don't seem to realize is that they are being disrupted. Let me explain.

more

How To Tell If Your Inbound Marketing Expert Is Really An Expert

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 16, 2013, 5:52 AM

How often do you see or hear people claim to be inbound marketing experts? Have you heard someone claim that they "will get you on the first page of Google"? There should be one word that pops in your mind when you hear someone make that claim (hint: it rhymes with pullchit.) Why do I say that? First of all, Google's algorithm updates over the past few years favor websites that frequently produce content relevant to keyword phrases targeted to the website. Websites that try and game Google's algorithms with keyword stuffing and links from dubious websites are being penalized. Secondly, it takes time for Google to index your website and to build domain authority. My advice is to run as fast as you can from anyone who claims that they "will get you on the first page of Google." They either don't know what they're talking about or they are deceiving you.

more

Inbound Lead Generation Versus Cold-Calling

Posted by Ashley Verrill

Apr 11, 2013, 5:00 AM

Are the days of cold calling to generate leads over? Or can it still be a useful tool? A recent Google+ Debate from Software Advice titled, “Does Cold Calling Still Work?” attempted to answer just that. In a discussion with three sales and marketing experts, marketing technology analyst Derek Singleton asked each panelist three questions:

more

6 Tips for Managing Your Technology Company Blog

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 9, 2013, 5:00 AM

Does your technology company use blogging to generate leads and promote your brand to your ideal customers? If not, you're at a competitive disadvantage. SMB marketing automation software provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times a month get 5 times more web traffic than companies that don't blog. If you use blogging best practices, you can generate qualified leads from your website and position your company as a thought leader within your industry. You've likely come to the conclusion that blogging is a good idea for your company, but you may not be sure how to blog effectively to achieve your goals. Here are 6 tips for managing your technology company blog.

more

Small Business Marketing Automation: Optimize Your Strategy For Conversions

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 4, 2013, 6:40 AM

In today's SEO environment, content is king. However, from a business standpoint, a website filled with compelling content means little if your visitors simply leave after reading this content. Your website’s ultimate goal is to convert these visitors into buyers, clients or qualified sales prospects. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of increasing the number of website visitors that convert to leads after consuming your site’s content.

A “lead conversion” occurs when a visitor exchanges contact information for a content offer on your website. Lead conversions could be subscribing to an email list, requesting a free eBook, or requesting a free consultation. Web analytics software like HubSpot or Google Analytics allows users to track myriad conversion goals – so many, in fact, that it’s easy to lose sight of your primary goal: maximizing profit.

Micro conversions: are you wasting time on diminishing returns?

more

How To Improve Your Inbound Marketing By Doing Less

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 2, 2013, 6:54 AM

It's no secret that the business buying process has fundamentally changed. Buyers no longer turn to salespeople to help them research solutions to problems. Google's Zero Moment of Truth study found that more buyers used search engine queries to research purchase decisions than recommendation from friends and family (50% vs. 49%.) Growth-oriented business are using inbound marketing to get found by prospects, to convert prospects to leads with great content and to close sales by syncing with their customer's buying process.

more

Customer Experience Optimization is the New SEO

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 28, 2013, 6:05 AM

Is your business still playing by the old rules of SEO? Gone are the days when stuffing a website with keywords, paying for reciprocal backlinks, or spinning articles could drive website traffic. Thanks to Google’s game-changing Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, quality content and social interactivity are the deciding factors for search engine success. Customer experience optimization is the new SEO.

more

3 Small Business Strategies To Grow Revenue

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 26, 2013, 6:54 AM

The great recession has changed the way that buyers purchase goods and services. In general, there is more scrutiny on and consensus must be reached with a larger group of people before a purchasing decision is approved. This is evidenced by recent research from the Corporate Executive Board and Google that shows that the average B2B buyer completes 57% of their purchasing process before ever engaging with a salesperson.

more

4 Inbound Marketing Analytics Metrics that Matter

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 21, 2013, 6:39 AM

Google’s search ranking algorithm may be a closely guarded secret, but how to improve website SEO doesn’t have to remain a mystery. In fact, the answers to improving your website’s search engine rank are already right in front of you: your site’s Google Analytics metrics. Improving your search engine rank is one of the first steps in your inbound marketing campaign.

more

4 Inbound Marketing Mistakes Technology Companies Make

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 19, 2013, 5:41 AM

A recent study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board in partnership with Google found that the average B2B buyer completes 57% of their purchasing process before ever coming into contact with a salesperson. If you're not using inbound marketing to attract buyers to your digital content, you won't get the chance to be part of the conversation during the vendor evaluation stage of their buying process. That's why savvy technology companies are implementing inbound marketing programs. Many tech companies start an inbound marketing program only to be disappointed with their lack of results. Here are 4 common inbound marketing mistakes that prevent tech companies from achieving inbound marketing success.

more

How Can A Government Contractor Expand to Commercial Markets?

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 14, 2013, 6:09 AM

Sequestration is causing most government contractors to reevaluate their marketing strategies. If you're a government contractor and you're not exploring diversifying into the commercial sector, you should be. Even if sequestration is magically resolved, the political pressure to reduce government spending will challenge government contractors for years to come. Whether we like it or not, the world is changing and we need to adapt and overcome.

more

How To Do Effective Inbound Marketing - A Case Study

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 12, 2013, 6:52 AM

I went looking for apple trees and I found great inbound marketing. Let me explain. I recently decided I wanted to plant apple and pear trees at my weekend home in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. There was only one problem - I didn't know anything about planting apple trees. I knew that there were a lot of orchards around my home, so I was pretty sure it was doable. I then did what just about everyone does when they're seeking to learn how to achieve a goal. I searched Google for "How to Plant an Apple Tree." That's where my journey began.

more

SEO 101: How to Use Search Engine Optimization to Market Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 7, 2013, 6:14 AM

Is your current web strategy driving traffic to your website at the same speed as dial-up? The right search engine optimization strategy can take your website to the top of Google’s search results. If you’re just getting started with SEO, however, it can be difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. When keyword density, inbound marketing, SERP, and conversion rate optimization all start to sound like alphabet soup, it’s tempting to throw in the towel.

more

Blog To Sync With Your Prospect's Decision-Making Process

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 5, 2013, 6:14 AM

Buyers have doubled the amount of information they use before deciding to purchase products, according to Google's Zero Moment of Truth study. Companies that provide good information to buyers are the ones that are closing the sale. They are using videos, eBooks, webinars and blog articles to draw visitors into their marketing funnels and help them make their way through to a purchase decision. So how can you use your blog to sync with your prospect's buying process and help them with their purchasing decision?

more

3 Ways to Speed Up Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 26, 2013, 5:30 PM

According to BRANDfog's 2013 CEO, Social Media and Leadership Survey, "80.6% of respondents believe that social media is an important communication channel for CEOs to engage with customers and investors, and 83.9% believe that CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty. What's more, CEO social media engagement was viewed as a gateway to facilitate deeper connections with customers, employees and shareholders." This confirms that customers are buying from companies that educate them and sync their sales processes to the customer's buying processes. It's no longer up for debate, inbound marketing is necessary for business to compete effectively today.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Use Tribalism To Grow Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 25, 2013, 6:15 AM

It's amazing how many elements of human behavior are hard-wired into our bodies from the earliest days of mankind. I recently attended a fascinating presentation by Steve Gladis on how to recognize some of these behaviors and use them to improve business results. Dr. Gladis is a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and his past includes stints as a marine and an FBI agent. I highly recommend his latest book, "The Coach-Approach Leader."

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Ask The Tough Questions

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 20, 2013, 3:50 PM

“Well I’m here to tell you now, each and every mother’s son, you better learn it fast and you better learn it young because someday never comes”

more

How To Generate Leads With Social Media

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 18, 2013, 9:16 AM

In a recent Washington Technology article entitled, "Social Media and Government Contractors: Know Your 4 Pillars", author Mark Hoover identified the following as the 4 pillars:

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Aligning Your Sales And Marketing Teams To Grow

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 14, 2013, 10:13 AM

As the owner or manager of a an SMB company, you’re pulled in many different directions. You’re likely engaged in the day-to-day operations of your business, while at the same time you are constantly looking for ways to grow. In most cases, two of your biggest concerns are marketing and sales. These two different functions are closely intertwined, but don’t always coordinate their efforts. You are marketing to increase your sales. If you have all the sales you could handle, you probably would not worry about marketing! Aligning your sales and marketing strategies so that they work together only makes sense.

more

Tips to Help You Find the Right Logo

Posted by Martin Nilsson

Feb 12, 2013, 2:10 PM

It's a great time to be an entrepreneur. Crowdsourcing, cloud-based software and DIY business tools have lowered the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs starting businesses. My friend Martin Nilsson of Logosack is one of those people lowering the barriers. Logosack offers high-quality, affordable logo design services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. You can read more about logo design on their blog.

more

Technology Companies Increasing Inbound Marketing Budgets

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 11, 2013, 9:04 AM

IT research company Gartner predicts that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017. Gartner's VP of Marketing Strategy, Laura McLellan, opined that, "marketing is the central engine of growth for many companies" and that the marketing function in technology companies is "becoming more strategic than ever." McLellan describes the strategic role of marketing: "We believe that marketing is responsible to define and create, to grow and develop and to defend and own markets." These opinions are backed by research. Gartner's study, "Marketing Essentials: High Tech and Telecom Providers Marketing Budgets, 2012" showed that technology companies increased their marketing budgets from 4.8% of revenue in 2011 to 5.5% of revenue in 2012, an 11% increase. One-third of the budget was directed towards software and technology infrastructure while two-thirds was directed to marketing services.

more

Government Contractor Social Media Marketing First Steps

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 6, 2013, 6:57 PM

Many government contractors recognize the value of using social media networks to promote their companies and to generate leads and business relationships. However, they’re just not sure how to get started. If you’re just getting started, I recommend choosing one or two social media networks and observing how like-minded professionals behave. For most government contractors, LinkedIn is a good network to start with. Here are some tips to help you get started with your social media marketing process.

more

Great Inbound Marketing Opportunities for Insurance Agencies

Posted by John Beveridge

Feb 4, 2013, 5:38 PM

I have a confession to make - I'm a reformed employee benefit broker. Prior to starting my inbound marketing company, I spent over 25 years in the employee benefits industry working for insurance companies, regional agencies and multi-national benefit consultants. Obamacare is transforming the health insurance industry. In the article below, I share strategies on how you can continue to grow your insurance agency in the new world of health insurance.

more

How To Create An Email Marketing Campaign

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 31, 2013, 4:34 PM

Email marketing is being used more than ever by SMB companies. According to Forrester Research, email marketing spend is expected to increase from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $2 billion in 2014.

more

Optify's 2012 B2B Inbound Marketing Benchmark Report

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 29, 2013, 1:59 PM

SMB inbound marketing software provider Optify recently released their 2012 inbound marketing benchmark report. You can get mofe information on inbound marketing by following Optify on Twitter (@Optify). The report is based on an analysis of data points extracted from over 600 small and mid-sized B2B websites that produced 62 million site visits, 215 million pageviews and 350,000 leads. While many of the results conformed to expectations, there were some surprising findings in the report. A summary of the report follows.

more

What is an Inbound Marketing Conversion and Why Should You Care?

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 28, 2013, 8:31 AM

Inbound marketing is a proven lead generation channel for SMB companies. As we've mentioned in previous articles, the success of your inbound marketing efforts is dependent on the skill with which you execute your program. For SMB companies implementing a new inbound marketing program, the trajectory of their results is predictable. The first phase of success is attracting visitors to your website. This is accomplished by writing and publishing blog articles about the keyword phrases you're targeting and promoting your articles on your social media channels. The more frequently you blog, the more traffic you'll drive to your website. SMB inbound marketing provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 times or more per month get 5 times as much website traffic than companies that don't blog.

more

How To Track ROI From Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 25, 2013, 9:30 AM

Many SMB business owners see how inbound marketing can help them grow their businesses.  After all, they know that buyers use Google searches and social media recommendations in their buying processes. They do it themselves when they buy products and services. But the question any business owner will ask before making any investment is, "What return will I get?" Inbound marketing is a set of processes that help businesses get found by those who are looking for a solution that they offer, converts that person into a lead or sale, and then analyzes their behavior to learn how to attract more people who might be looking for their solution.

more

Social Media Marketing Tips for Government Contractors

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 23, 2013, 5:50 AM

Government contractors have been slow to adopt social media marketing. Many government contractors incorrectly assume that government buyers don’t use social media to research solutions for their programs. Examples to the contrary can be found in Market Connections 2012 Federal Marketing Study. Among other things, the study found that LinkedIn usage by government officials doubled from 2010 to 2011. We will cover the 2012 study in detail when it’s released this spring. It will be interesting to see how the usage of social media by government officials has changed over the past year. It’s also a safe bet that government buyers are researching solutions with Google searches.

more

Email Marketing List Management Best Practices

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 20, 2013, 8:03 PM

Email marketing is an essential tool for your inbound marketing program. Successful marketers use email marketing to engage with leads who have downloaded educational content but aren't yet ready to buy. Email marketing generally comes to play at the middle of your sales process, when buyers have an understanding of the problem your product or services solves and are working their way towards a purchase decision. A critical factor in the success of your email marketing program is the quality of your list. A high-quality email marketing list increases the chances of success with your inbound marketing program and keeps your company from being considered a spammer by internet service providers. This article will provide tips on how to grow and maintain a high-quality email marketing list.

more

SMB Inbound Marketing Provider HubSpot’s New Landing Pages Tool

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 15, 2013, 4:03 PM

SMB business managers and entrepreneurs embrace the DIY (Do It Yourself) ethos out of necessity. We lack the funds and patience to outsource most elements of our business so we figure out a way to do what needs to be done to succeed.  Marketing automation software provider HubSpot helps SMBs execute inbound marketing programs with their all-in-one internet marketing software. HubSpot provides software tools and training to SMB companies that allow them to execute context-based marketing programs affordably that generate leads and customers. For SMB, there’s never been a better time to use inbound marketing to promote your brand and generate web traffic, leads and customers for your business.

more

5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 14, 2013, 3:12 PM

Technology companies are on the forefront of using social media to promote thought leadership and and generate inbound leads for their products and services. Executing an effective social media marketing process can create a competitive advantage for your technology company. This article will provide tips on using social media to grow and manage your technology company. Before we share our tips with you, let's start by defining the term "social media marketing process." A social media marketing process is a series of tactics designed to promote your brand as a thought leader and to generate leads for your products and services using your website and social media. Another term for the social media marketing process is inbound marketing.  Inbound marketing tactics include:

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Blogging for Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 11, 2013, 6:14 AM

Business owners and managers recognize that business blogs are a great tool to grow their business and position themselves as trusted advisers in their industry. In the report Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Businesses, inbound marketing software provider HubSpot found that businesses that blogged 15 times or more per month got 5 times more web traffic than companies that didn't blog. So what tactics do companies that successfully blog for inbound lead generation use to grow their businesses? Here are some tips you can implement today to optimize your blog for inbound lead generation.

more

How Long Does it Take Inbound Marketing to Work?

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 9, 2013, 6:16 AM

The question I hear most often from business owners and managers is, "How long does it take inbound marketing to work?" They instinctively know that their prospects and customers are searching for their products and services on the web, but they are unfamiliar with the mechanics of syncing their selling processes to their customers' buying processes. They know that it takes time for search engines to index their websites and to "crawl" their sites frequently enough to see that they are consistently producing educational content that is relevant to the keyword phrases they are targeting. (For a good understanding of how search engines work,  I recommend this three-minute video from Google.) They know that it takes time to develop social media reach that they can use to promote their educational content. With all that said, just how long does it take inbound marketing to work?

more

4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Business Growth

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 7, 2013, 7:14 AM

Search engine optimization (SEO) tactics that companies have used for years no longer apply. Prior to Google's Penguin and Panda updates, companies focused on technical SEO tactics like keyword optimization and link-building to drive traffic to their sites. In the current Google environment, websites that produce interesting content relevant to targeted keyword phrases that are shared on social media get traffic from search engine queries. The overarching goal of Google and other search engines is to provide the best user experience for their customers. Companies that are successfully using their websites for business growth are focusing on optimizing the website experience for customers, not search engines. Mark Kilens (@MarkKilens), Manager of Customer Training at marketing automatiion software provider HubSpot, describes the situation this way, "CEO (Customer Experience Optimization) is the new SEO." Here are some tips on how to optimize your website for business growth.

more

5 Ways to Grow Your Technology Company with Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 4, 2013, 6:12 AM

The technology industry, on the cutting edge in so many areas, has been surprisingly slow to embrace the concept of inbound marketing. While inbound marketing is better suited to some markets than others, government contractor technology companies are in a unique position to take advantage of blogging, social media, white papers, video and other inbound strategies.

Inbound marketing for technology companies is effective for many reasons. For example, well-executed inbound marketing tactics generate lower-cost leads than traditional marketing.  But one key reason inbound marketing is effective specifically for the technology industry is the disconnect that often exists between a tech company and its prospective customers.  In short, your prospects don't always entirely understand what you do. That means they may not be aware of all of the benefits you offer.  They may also have concerns about security, reliability and other issues that are based more in their own lack of exposure than in reality.

Inbound marketing helps you close that gap by providing information to prospects and the public in a way that is easily digestible for them.  You can set them at ease, establish your expertise and clarify the value of the type of services you offer, all without making a direct sales pitch.  Of course, the primary goal will be to generate leads, and inbound marketing does so.  But these campaigns will do more for you:  they'll soften up the market by making potential customers more comfortable with the use of your technology and will introduce your company as a trusted source of information--and, thus, products and services.

more

How to Improve Your Inbound Marketing Like an MMA Fighter

Posted by John Beveridge

Jan 1, 2013, 3:05 PM

I've always been a big supporter and practitioner of martial arts. It's a great way to harmonize your body, mind and spirit and it promotes discipline, respect and dedication. The picture to the left is of me and Jiu-Jitsu legend Royce Gracie. He's the one who looks like he just stepped off a yacht and I'm the one that looks like I've been running through the rain forest for hours. This blog article describes how you can improve your inbound marketing by implementing mixed martial arts techniques.

more

Grow Your Insurance Agency With Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 27, 2012, 9:01 AM

Insurance agencies are facing tremendous challenges. On the employee benefits side of the house, Obamacare's minimum loss ratio requirements are spurring carriers to reduce the commissions they pay to agents and brokers. While commissions are being reduced, customers require more and more help complying with all of the new legislation that is coming on line. On the property and casualty side, competition is becoming increasingly fierce as agencies look to make up for revenue reductions on the benefits side by growing on the P&C side. These challenges are in addition to the challenges that all businesses face as they continue to deal with a weak economy with uncertain tax policy. Yet insurance agencies still need to grow. Savvy agencies are turning to their websites and social media networks to grow in uncertain economic times.

more

Use a Social Media Marketing Process to Grow Your Technology Company

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 17, 2012, 7:13 AM

Social media marketing is a great way to drive traffic and leads to your technology company's website from social media sites. Nowadays, it's not enough to optimize your website to connect with your target market. You also have to amplify your website content with a presence on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among others.

To grow your technology company, you need to focus on social media marketing because it connects with your target market on a personal level. This is important for all businesses, but most especially for tech companies, which many buyers still perceive as difficult to understand.

The social media marketing process begins with creating an online identity that buyers and customers can engage with. For example, you should create LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts for your technology company and start posting useful, relevant content through your company accounts. This is the first step in establishing your tech company as a trusted adviser to your target market. 

The next step is to develop your online identity by creating an image or persona you want your company to project. Do you want your company's voice to be fun, hip, and cool; or do you want it to be serious and authoritative? It's up to you to decide what suits your technology company best, but make sure to use the voice you choose throughout all of your social media marketing.  Part of developing a recognizable online identity is consistency, so even if someone else takes charge of your company's social media accounts, the voice should stay the same.

The next thing you should do in the social media marketing process is to focus on the content to be shared. You can post links to your company's website and content -- it's a good way to promote it and to take advantage of your social media marketing. But you have to go beyond that if you want to pique and sustain interest. You have to offer something that promotes your company as a trusted adviser. Share useful content from other sites that is related to your target market's needs. If you find relevant articles and videos made by others, create posts on your company accounts that link back to them. Sharing content is what makes the social media marketing process thrive - it's a great way to get links to your website. If you share content from influential people in your industry, they just may return the favor and share your content.


Another key step in the social media marketing process is to engage your target market. Social media is about interaction, so be sure to ask questions that would elicit responses from your followers. Don't be afraid to be bold -- make thought-provoking inquiries as a way to spur discussions. Tapping into the emotions of your followers is a great way to engage with them. Be careful to avoid controversial topics; that often doesn't end well.

When your target market takes part in discussions, reply to them, even if only to acknowledge their participation. People want to feel that their opinions are valued, so make your followers feel special by communicating with them. You'll also be surprised at how much you can learn about how your target market perceives your company by monitoring what people are saying about you on social media. The things you might have missed as an insider may be very obvious to outsiders. Seeing your company from a different perspective can help you come up with ideas to improve your business model.

Social media marketing is indeed an effective way to grow your company, but be careful not to abuse it. The last thing you want is to come off as a spammer due to too many self-promoting posts and updates. You want to be engaging, not annoying. You're representing your company's brand -- an online identity for your company -- and not yourself. It's best not to mix your personal opinions with your company's voice. You can be controversial with your personal social media profile - although be careful if what you say can bleed into your company's message.

With those tips in mind, technology companies can use the power of social media marketing to their advantage. It's important to remember that in this digital age, having a great product isn't enough for a business to succeed; you need to educate and engage your target market with social media marketing.


more

The HubSpot 2013 Design Guide to Email Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 13, 2012, 11:34 AM

Email marketing is a great way to nurture your leads and educate your customers.  Here's an infographic from HubSpot that shares email marketing best practices.

The 2013 Design Guide to Email Marketing [Infographic]

more

NVTC Event Provides Government Contractor Business Development Advice

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 11, 2012, 5:59 PM

On December 7, the NVTC Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee held their 4th annual Teaming, Partnering and Contracting event at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, VA.  The event brings together small business government contractors and large prime contractors to facilitate teaming opportunities and to help educate small and emerging contractors on best practices for winning business through teaming arrangements. “Representatives from 17 of the region’s prime contractors educated nearly 150 attendees about teaming opportunities,” said Kristin D’Amore, director of The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC. “Many of the prime contractors have already reported scheduling follow-up meetings with smaller companies they met during the event.”

more

Using Customer Service in Your Business Growth Strategies

Posted by Ashley Verrill

Dec 9, 2012, 4:45 PM

This article is written by Ashley Verrill, a CRM Analyst for research firm Software Advice, (@CRMAdvice) She has six years of experience writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in many publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

more

Branding Basics and the Branding ABCs

Posted by Dale Berkebile

Dec 6, 2012, 9:35 AM

Dale Berkebile (@Brandwise) is the President of Brandwise, a branding and inbound marketing company located in Fort Worth, Texas. He also manages the website Sound Convictions, a website for musicians and music fans (@SoundConviction). In this article, Dale shares his thoughts on branding best practices for SMB.

more

3 Factors of Inbound Marketing Success

Posted by John Beveridge

Dec 3, 2012, 2:14 PM

More and more businesses are using inbound marketing to accelerate sales growth. They boost sales by syncing their sales process with their prospects' buying process. The process of generating leads through inbound marketing is fairly simple.

more

Inbound Lead Generation: Quality vs. Quantity

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 30, 2012, 1:29 PM

As a small business owner who uses his website and social media channel to generate leads, I'm faced with the question: Do I want more leads or do I want better leads?  My answer to the question is that I want more good leads. However, if I'm forced to choose between one or the other, I'll take quality over quantity.

more

Jungle Gold: The Quintessential Entrepreneurial Spirit

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 27, 2012, 5:08 PM

I've been fascinated by the new Discovery reality show, Jungle Gold. As an entrepreneur, I have a great deal of respect for Scott Lomu and George Wright, the two protagonists of the show. Here's a description of the show from Discovery's website:

more

Use Smart Goals for Inbound Marketing to Grow Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 26, 2012, 6:23 AM

Many businesses are in the process of planning their growth strategies for the upcoming year.  Using SMART goals is a great way to keep your small business growth strategies on track. In the case of inbound marketing, SMART goals are essential because you're able to measure every element of the process, from website traffic to lead generation to actual customers. If you're not using smart goals to grow your business, you should be.

more

How to Focus Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 14, 2012, 2:31 PM

This blog post is excerpted from our new Ebook, "How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Strategy."

more

Small Business Growth Strategies in a Challenging Economy

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 12, 2012, 5:18 PM

Remember the good old days when the economy was chugging along and everything was good?  You know, like in 2005?  Everyone was optimistic and thought future possibilities were limitless.  Things sure have changed, haven't they?  We still haven't recovered from the economic apocalypse of late 2008 and it doesn't look like things are going to pick up appreciably any time soon.  Yet we all still have to grow.  So how have buyers changed and how can we match our sales processes with buyer behavior?

more

Are You Using a Unique Value Proposition to Grow Your Business?

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 7, 2012, 1:56 PM

Does your company have a unique value proposition? If you do, are your sales and marketing team able to consistently communicate it to customers and prospects? If the answer to either of these questions is no, you’re not alone. Dr. Flint McLaughlin, Director of MECLabs has recently released an online course on developing unique value propositions that answers these and many other questions. Crafting your unique value presentation is the first step in developing an integrated sales and marketing strategy that aligns all of your lead generation channels, including inbound marketing. The reason why you should have a unique value proposition is simple: more people say yes when you present your unique value proposition more effectively.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies and the 2012 Presidential Election

Posted by John Beveridge

Nov 5, 2012, 11:41 AM

In general, I think it's a good idea to keep topics like religion and politics out of my blog.  With this election, I've seen a few trends that I think transcend politics that are worth discussing.  Many of these trends are seen in small business growth strategies and marketing tactics.  To be fair, I'm going to try and give examples of these issues from both sides of the political aisle and provide context within the field of sales and marketing.  Hopefully, I won't offend anyone and I apologize in advance if I do. 

more

Changing Small Business Growth Strategies

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 31, 2012, 9:39 AM

The past few years have been challenging for most small businesses. The economy continues to sputter, government continues to pile costly regulation on small businesses and selfish, cowardly politicians refuse to deal with existential budgetary issues. Despite those challenges, we still need to grow our small businesses. As we approach the new year, it's time to evaluate current strategies and develop new ones that that reflect marketplace realities. Here are some tips to consider as you develop your growth strategy for the coming year.

more

5 Tips for Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 24, 2012, 2:24 PM

Many companies have taken the decision to introduce inbound marketing as a lead generation channel in their sales and marketing process. According to HubSpot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, 89% of the companies are either maintaining or increasing their budgets for inbound marketing. Companies that successfully implement inbound marketing channels that generate revenue start by developing an inbound marketing strategy.

more

How to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 22, 2012, 9:33 AM

Facebook is a social media network that has a massive audience (over 1 billion users) that includes users from all demographic categories. We recommend that all businesses use Facebook in their social media marketing process - it's just too big to ignore. In our last blog article, we discussed how to create a Facebook business page to promote your business. In this article, we will discuss how to use Facebook to generate leads for your business.

more

How to Grow Your Business with Facebook Business Pages

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 15, 2012, 10:25 AM

Marketing your business on Facebook is a great first step for businesses that want to promote their brand and generate sales leads with a social media marketing process.  While many marketers view Facebook as a B2C social media network, the sheer reach of Facebook’s audience make it a target-rich environment for both B2C and B2B lead generation.  In October 2012, Facebook surpassed the 1 billion active user mark.  Most Facebook users access both business and personal information through the network, so you shouldn't overlook the opportunity that Facebook's massive audience provides.  

more

How to Nurture Leads with Automated Worklows

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 11, 2012, 9:57 AM

This blog post is an edited excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"

more

How to Use LinkedIn Company Pages to Drive ROI

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 8, 2012, 1:35 PM

This is the second in a two part series on using LinkedIn Company Pages to drive business results for your company.  Last week’s article focused on why LinkedIn is an essential network for B2B marketing and provided ideas on what types of content to share on LinkedIn to drive ROI. This article will focus on how to post to LinkedIn to maximize business results and share some ideas on how to test your efforts to fine-tune for ROI.

more

How to Use LinkedIn Company Pages in Your Social Selling Efforts

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 4, 2012, 5:40 AM

more

How to Generate Leads With Landing Pages

Posted by John Beveridge

Oct 2, 2012, 9:54 AM

This blog post is an edited excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"

more

Best Practices for Partnering with Prime Contractors

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 27, 2012, 5:04 PM

In today's challenging budgetary environment, many government contractors are looking to diversify and expand their revenue generation channels.  For small business government contractors, partnering with prime contractors is a good way to optimize their growth opportunities.  John Long, Director Partnerships, Small Business at Northrop Grumman, recently shared best practice tips with the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Sales and Business Development Committee.  An overview of his presentation follows.

more

How to Develop an Inbound Marketing Offer

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 24, 2012, 2:28 PM

This blog post is an excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"

more

Context Marketing - The Next Evolution of Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 17, 2012, 7:12 AM

More and more businesses are using inbound marketing to match their customers buying processes and generate increased revenue.  Inbound marketing is sometimes referred to as content marketing.  It’s based on educating and engaging prospects by providing them with content that helps them through their buying decisions.  Content offers like eBooks, webinars, blogs, videos and whitepapers are used to educated buyers and draw them into your inbound marketing process. 

more

Small Business Growth Strategies - It's OK to be Successful

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 12, 2012, 3:34 PM

I try to avoid political topics in my blog, but the recent hack of GoDaddy caused me to contemplate the tendency in our society to denigrate success and successful people.  The hack affected me personally - it took my website and e-mail down for a few hours.  The person who claimed responsibility for the hack stated, ""I'm taking godaddy down bacause (sic) well i'd like to test how the cyber security is safe and for more reasons that i can not talk now".  For clarification, GoDaddy is now saying that they weren't hacked, the shutdown was due to internal problems.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Optimize Conversion Rates

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 11, 2012, 3:07 PM

Many businesses that implement inbound marketing programs focus on driving traffic to their websites.  While it's important to increase website traffic to maximize sales opportunities, maximizing your lead conversion rate is what generates revenue for your business.  A lead conversion occurs when a website visitor provides you with contact information (usually an e-mail address) in return for access to a content offer like an eBook or whitepaper.  The inbound marketing process continues by providing information via e-mail that helps the lead as she progresses through her buying process.  If done correctly, a high percentage of leads will eventually convert to sales.

more

Revenue Generation Tactics With Search Engine Optimization

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 6, 2012, 6:21 AM

I've been fortunate to see Rand Fishkin of SEO Moz present twice in the past 30 days and wanted to share some of his latest advice on how to get the most out of your search engine optimization efforts.  Fishkin is truly a thought leader in the field of search engine optimization and his insights represent the latest thinking on the topic. 

more

Diversify Your B2G Revenue Generation to Counter Sequestration

Posted by John Beveridge

Sep 4, 2012, 7:09 AM

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, government contractors can count on one thing:  a challenging environment for B2G revenue generation.  A recent article in Washington Technology projected that the overall civilian budget will be cut by $39 billion in 2013 if sequestration takes effect on January 3d.  The Professional Services Council, a government contractor industry group, predicts a 7.8% cut for the civilian budget and a 7.7% cut for the defense budget under sequestration.  It's clear that revenue generation won't be getting any easier over the next few years.

more

HubSpot3 Takes Inbound Marketing to a New Level

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 29, 2012, 8:57 AM

Not content to rest on their laurels, marketing automation software provider HubSpot announced today the release of the latest version of their software, HubSpot3.  HubSpot3 is a leading-edge marketing software platform that brings sophisticated internet marketing capabilities to all segments of the marketplace - from small businesses to enterprise organizations. 

more

Video Dispatch from INBOUND 2012

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 28, 2012, 12:20 PM

I'm really enjoying the world's largest inbound marketing conference, INBOUND 2012, so far and wanted to share a quick video dispatch with you.

more

The Definitive Inbound Lead Generation Resource List

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 22, 2012, 4:15 PM

In this article, I thought I'd share several inbound lead generation resources that I've found useful over the past few months.  So in no particular order, here are my recommendations for your inbound lead generation resource list.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: How to Manage Your Leads for Revenue Growth

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 21, 2012, 7:55 AM

Leads are the lifeblood of any company’s revenue generation process.  Simply put, if you’re not generating leads, you’re not generating sales.  Research shows that most leads aren’t ready to buy at their first interaction with your company.  Your success in converting leads to sales-ready leads and eventually sales is dependent on how well you manage and nurture them through the buying process.  The reality of today’s buying process is that most leads have narrowed down their choices to a few potential vendors before they ever speak with a salesperson.  Your success in generating revenue is dependent on how well you manage leads from their first visit to your website to their satisfaction with your products or services after they become a customer.  Here are four best practices to optimize your lead management process to generate revenue:

more

Social Selling Tactics to Grow Your Business

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 17, 2012, 11:08 AM

It's probably not surprising to most people that cold-calling is ineffective in today's selling environment.  Unsolicited telephone calls are an unwanted interruption to busy executives.  Successful salespeople are turning to social selling to reach today's busy buying executives on their terms.  I define social selling as the practice of using social proof to sell your company's products and services.  Wikipedia defines social proof as follows:  "Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation."  For example, consider coming across two ice cream parlors as you walk down the street - one has a line of customers waiting in the doorway and the other is empty.  Which one would you choose?  Most people would consider the long line waiting for ice cream at the first parlor as social proof that it has the better ice cream. 

more

Want to Optimize Your Strategy? Outwork Your Competition.

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 13, 2012, 3:35 PM

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration - Thomas Alva Edison

more

How to Conduct an Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 8, 2012, 9:19 AM

Many small businesses are turning to inbound marketing as a business growth strategy.  An inbound marketing campaign is a series of interconnected processes designed to promote a product, service or line of business.  An effective inbound marketing campaign will attract visitors to your website, convert website visitors to leads and pass along marketing-qualified leads to your sales team to close.  Many businesses implement some elements of inbound marketing, but are disappointed with their results.  Their disappointment usually stems from the fact that they are not conducting all elements of inbound marketing in an integrated fashion.  This article provides a step-by-step process to help you conduct a successful inbound marketing campaign.

more

How to Use Content to Increase Web Visits and Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 5, 2012, 9:55 AM

Google’s recent search engine algorithm update, Penguin, is a boon to businesses that are using content to educate and engage their website visitors.  Here’s how Google’s Matt Cutts described the update, “While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”  While Google doesn’t reveal the components of its algorithm, Cutts also said, “We are trying to level the playing field a bit.  All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great sites.”

more

How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing - Part II

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 1, 2012, 4:32 AM

HubSpot’s SVP of Sales, Mark Roberge  teamed up with Salesforce’s VP of Social Media and Video, Jamie Grenney to present a webinar entitled, “How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing.”  Roberge and Grenney laid out a data-driven approach to social and inbound marketing with one goal in mind:  maximizing sales resulting from the marketing plan.  The recommended plan for social and inbound lead generation consisted of four components.  Our last article focuses on the first component – measuring marketing efforts to maximize return on investment.  This article will focus on the remaining components concentrating on using social media to grow your business.

more

How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing - Part I

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 29, 2012, 9:50 AM

 

more

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page for Social Media Success

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 24, 2012, 12:52 PM

As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, LinkedIn is the most effective social media network for B2B lead generation.  In fact, it’s 3 times more effective than either Facebook or Twitter LinkedIn has over 160 million members who use the network to promote themselves professionally and to keep pace with thought leadership in their respective industries.  LinkedIn is an essential tool for all professionals and businesses, particularly those operating in the B2B space.  Scott Engelman, Director of Online Marketing at LinkedIn teamed up with Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot to conduct a webinar entitled, “How to Use LinkedIn Company Pages & Groups.”  Scott and Mike identified 5 key elements to optimize your company presence on LinkedIn.  

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Focus Your Revenue-Generation Efforts

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 23, 2012, 10:24 AM

I’ve always believed in “playing the percentages” in any endeavor I’ve pursued.  In other words, I like to employ tactics that have the highest chance of succeeding.  This approach is especially true in selling and marketing your business.  A great way to focus your limited revenue-generating resources is to develop Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas for your business.  So what are Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas and how can they help your business generate revenue?

more

The Origin of Disruptive Innovation - A Review of Something Ventured

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 19, 2012, 8:36 AM

I recently attended a screening of the movie, “Something Ventured”, hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council.  The movie was a fascinating tale of the concurrent rise of the venture capital industry and Silicon Valley.  The movie featured interviews with venture capital giants such as Tom Perkins, Don Valentine, Dick Kramlich and the original venture capitalist, Arthur Rock.  From the movie’s website:  “Beginning in the late 1950's, this small group of high rollers fostered a one-of-a-kind business culture that encouraged extraordinary risk and made possible unprecedented rewards. They laid the groundwork for America’s start-up economy, providing not just the working capital but the guidance to allow seedling companies to reach their full potential.”  I highly recommend the movie to any entrepreneur; it will inspire and encourage you.  I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the lessons I took from the movie.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Revenue

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 17, 2012, 1:26 PM

A recent study by marketing automation software vendor HubSpot concluded that LinkedIn was 3 times more effective in generating B2B leads than either Twitter or Facebook.  LinkedIn has evolved into an essential tool for businesses and customer-facing B2B professionals.  While you should create a company page for your business on LinkedIn, the platform is most effectively used by individuals within your organization.  The focus of this blog post is on how business owners, executives and customer-facing employees can best use LinkedIn to generate sales leads.  Here are six tips on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.

more

Social Media Marketing for Sales Professionals

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 13, 2012, 8:20 AM

As a small business owner who spent many years as a sales professional, I’m well aware of the challenges of meeting sales goals in a tough economy.  Incorporating a social media marketing process into your bag of tricks is a good way to stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as thought leader to your prospects. 

more

How to Grow Your Technology Company with Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 11, 2012, 3:22 PM

The technology industry is perhaps the best example of entrepreneurship going today.  There are countless stories of bright people with good ideas creating iconic companies with a combination of hard work, persistence and a little bit of luck.  Here in Northern Virginia, there are dozens upon dozens of smart people who have built technology companies that have grown into thriving enterprises by having the faith and courage to follow their dreams and capitalize on their good ideas.  So if you’re an entrepreneur in the process of growing your technology business, why should you be using inbound marketing?

more

Small Business Marketing Automation - The People Factor

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 9, 2012, 8:58 AM

This article is a collaboration between John Beveridge of Rapidan Strategies and Ashley Furness of Software Advice, Inc.(http://www.software advice.com/crm) @CRMAdvice

more

Inbound Marketing - The Gap Between Intention and Implementation

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 6, 2012, 9:27 AM

I was struck by a recent chart published by Marketing Sherpa regarding businesses acknowledgement of the value of inbound marketing compared to their usage of inbound marketing to generate business:

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 1, 2012, 5:39 PM

Sales skills training usually includes lead generation tactics as the first point of entry in the sales cycle. A qualified lead is the lifeblood of sales — the spark that get the ball rolling — and is often one of the hardest things for new salespeople to procure.

more

Small Business Marketing Automation – Pulling it All Together

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 21, 2012, 12:27 PM

Many business owners and executives are using elements of inbound marketing, but not getting the increases in web traffic and leads they were hoping for.  They hire an SEO agency to optimize their sites for search engines, but don’t get the traffic they were expecting.  Or they start blogging and get the same result – negligible increases in traffic and leads.

more

The Trajectory of Inbound Marketing ROI

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 18, 2012, 5:58 PM

Many businesses intuitively understand the benefit of inbound marketing.  They understand that buyers in today's economy use search engines and social media to learn about potential solutions to their problems well before speaking with sales people.  However, they don't know what to expect from the implementation of an inbound marketing program.  What kind of increases in website traffic and leads can they expect?  How quickly can they expect to see a return on their investment?

more

Small Business Growth Strategies - Three Lessons from Steve Jobs

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 14, 2012, 8:30 AM

I’ve spent the first three days of my beach vacation reading Walter Isaacson’s fascinating biography of Steve Jobs.  The book is a chronicle of a great American life.  Steve Jobs revolutionized several elements of everyday life – from personal computing to video animation to mobile phones.  While Jobs had negative traits (he could be brutally callous), he had three traits that all small business owners and entrepreneurs should emulate.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies - Sales and Marketing Alignment

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 6, 2012, 9:07 AM

You’re probably familiar with how inbound marketing generates leads by helping buyers find you on the internet and providing relevant educational content to them as they progress through their buying process.  However, inbound marketing is not a panacea – the job of inbound marketing is to produce sales-ready leads for the sales team to close.  Here are several tips that growth-oriented companies use to involve and integrate the sales team into their inbound lead generation programs.

more

Measure Your Inbound Marketing Process to Grow Revenue

Posted by John Beveridge

Jun 4, 2012, 5:19 PM

“Measure twice, cut once” – a wise, anonymous carpenter

more

Inbound Marketing for Government Contractors: A Summary of Market Connection's 2012 Survey

Posted by John Beveridge

May 30, 2012, 12:03 PM

Market research firm, Market Connections (@mkt_connections), recently released its 2012 Federal Media and Marketing Study – a detailed survey of how the federal government uses various forms of media in executing its functions. 

more

HubSpot's Small Business Marketing Automation Software Ups the Ante

Posted by John Beveridge

May 25, 2012, 11:30 AM

Marketing automation software provider HubSpot recently released a new version of the email and lead nurturing module of its software.  Rather than update the previous module, HubSpot has released a complete rebuild of its e-mail marketing engine.

more

Structure Your Social Media Marketing Process for Success

Posted by John Beveridge

May 22, 2012, 5:55 PM

Social media marketing is a process and like all processes, it requires a structured approach.  Companies that follow a disciplined social media process generate leads, promote their brands and develop customer loyalty. Here are a few tips to help structure your social media marketing process for success:

more

Localize for Small Business Marketing Automation Success

Posted by John Beveridge

May 17, 2012, 8:37 AM

Local small business marketing automationMany small business owners and executives have implemented social media as part of a coordinated marketing automation program.  They are using social media to promote blog posts and landing pages to provide education and relevant marketing messages to potential buyers.  One element of the marketing automation process that is often overlooked by small businesses is the benefit of taking advantage of resources available to local businesses.  Here are a few ideas to advance your social media efforts:

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: 3 Questions to Optimize Your Strategy

Posted by John Beveridge

May 15, 2012, 1:47 PM

I recently spoke with Shawn Cook (@RPMSalesCoach), the North American Director of SMB Sales at marketing automation software provider, Eloqua.  Shawn shared with me the three questions he has his sales team ask all of their customers and prospects when they conduct needs analyses.  Using these three questions as a starting point to formalize a small business growth strategy is an excellent way to plot a course to success.   

more

Small Business Growth Strategies: 5 Reasons to Start an Inbound Marketing Program

Posted by John Beveridge

May 9, 2012, 6:19 AM

Many small businesses have embraced inbound marketing as an effective way to increase their revenue.  According to a report by eMarketer, 36% of small businesses are using Search Engine Optimization to grow their businesses and 35% are using social media.  However, if roughly 35% of small businesses are using inbound marketing tactics, 65% are not. 

more

3 Ways to Create Content for Inbound Lead Generation

Posted by John Beveridge

May 4, 2012, 2:05 PM

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Confucius

more

Inbound Lead Generation and the Great Recession

Posted by John Beveridge

May 2, 2012, 9:38 AM

Many people are aware that technology, specifically the internet, has changed how businesses buy goods and services forever.  Google has replaced the Yellow Pages and most buyers have a good idea of what they want to buy and who they want to buy it from before having any contact with a sales person.  The internet has flipped the equation in the business buying process – salespeople are no longer in control, buyers are.

more

Small Business Marketing Automation: SEO Best Practices

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 30, 2012, 9:13 AM

If you’re familiar with the small business marketing automation process, you probably know that creating fresh content relevant to the keywords you’re targeting is the best way to improve your search engine rankings and attract links to your site from credible websites.  Many businesses that are starting out with an inbound marketing program stuff keywords throughout their website and in their content without taking into account how the content appears to the user.

more

How to Optimize Your Small Business Social Media Marketing Process With The 10:4:1 Rule

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 22, 2012, 2:36 PM

You've read of all the statistics about how social media can help your business drive revenue growth and have decided to design a social media marketing process for your small business.  You've done your research on your customers and have chosen to target the social media networks that they are using.  The next step in your social media marketing process is to determine what types of messages you should broadcast and how frequently you should broadcast them.  After all, you don't want to come off as a pushy sales person but on the other hand, you want to let people know how you can help them with your products and services.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies - Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Presents

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 19, 2012, 11:35 AM

I recently attended a presentation by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Titans of Technology series.  Ballmer is a very energetic speaker and he enthusiastically presented his vision of the future of Microsoft specifically and information technology generally.

more

Which Network is Best for Your Social Media Marketing Process?

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 17, 2012, 9:00 AM

The first step in developing a social media marketing process is to determine which networks you want to target.  The answer to this question is simple – you want to target the networks that your prospects and customers are using.  As is the case with offline networking, it’s best to pick a few networks and “go deep” (be a frequent participant) than to spread yourself thinly over several different networks.  It’s also important to define what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing process – whether it be brand promotion, selling more of your products and services, supplementing your customer service function or a combination thereof.  With that said, let’s take a look at the demographics of some of the more popular networks.

more

Small Business Growth Strategies - Inbound/Outbound Integration

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 12, 2012, 12:13 PM

So you’ve got your inbound marketing program up and running – you’ve chosen good keywords to target, optimized your website, you’re creating good content and are promoting it with social media.  So now you just sit back and wait for the leads to roll in, right?  WRONG!  FAIL!

more

The Foundation of the B2B Inbound Marketing Process - Keywords

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 9, 2012, 9:05 AM

The first step in the B2B inbound marketing process is to develop a keyword strategy. Keywords are the phrases that buyers use to find your business on search engines, so it’s important to dial in your keyword strategy to maximize your marketing ROI.

more

Disruptive Innovation and Small Business Growth Strategies

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 4, 2012, 6:21 PM

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term disruptive innovation to describe “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.”    An example of disruptive innovation is the cell phone (disruptor) displacing fixed line telephony.

more

9 Tips to Build a Facebook Page for Social Media Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 3, 2012, 5:44 PM

On March 30, 2012, Facebook rolled out its new timeline feature for business pages.  On March 29, Chris Luo, Global Head of SMB Marketing for Facebook teamed up with Jeanne Hopkins, VP of Marketing at Hubspot to conduct the first of four seminars entitled "4 Steps to Business Success on Facebook."  Why is it important to understand these 4 steps?  Two quick facts will illustrate why:

more

Small Business Marketing Automation – Mirror the Buying Process

Posted by John Beveridge

Apr 2, 2012, 11:49 AM

Lead nurturing in small business marketing automation is the process of providing the right content at the right time as prospects move through the buying process.  There are typically three stages in a business to business buying process: 

more

Social Media Marketing for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 29, 2012, 8:07 AM

more

The ROI of Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 26, 2012, 2:44 PM

Inbound marketing is growing in importance as traditional outbound marketing venues, such as newspapers, network TV, and radio continue to experience dilution in the number of readers, viewers and listeners. The internet has dispersed the attention of once-captive audiences, with Spotify gaining market share against radio and YouTube and Hulu drawing viewers away from traditional programing. Even those that still watch TV are doing so using technology like Tivo, skipping all of those creatively put together and expensive commercials entirely.

more

Inbound Marketing for Government Contractors

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 22, 2012, 8:43 AM

The conventional wisdom regarding inbound marketing in B2G situations used to be that the buyer, sitting behind a secure network, paid scant attention to information found on social media sites or Google searches.  This conventional wisdom would have you believe that the buyer was using the Yellow Pages to call sellers to see if they might be able to meet their procurement needs.

more

Inbound Marketing for Revenue Growth

Posted by John Beveridge

Mar 5, 2012, 8:39 AM

 Technology has changed the way people buy products and services:

more

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

Connect with me on LinkedIn

nvtc_logo-300x196
Sponsor - Business Development,
Marketing and Sales Committee
Rapidan_Strategies_Partner_Certification-2
Copyscape
 
Infusionsoft sales and marketing software