The Inbound Growth Blog

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Do You Have A Mobile Optimization Strategy For Your Website?

By now, you have probably heard about Google's latest search algorithm update that has been dubbed "Mobilegeddon." And with good reason. According to Google, Mobilegeddon “will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their d...

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An Easy Inbound Lead Generation Process For Consultants

Inbound marketing depends on expertise. Your prospect has a problem or concern, and they look online for an expert opinion on how to solve it.

Inbound marketing positions you to share your expertise with prospects, and gain the business generated as a result. As a consultant, solving problems is part of your job description, so inbound is a perfect fit. If you're a consultant and you're not using...

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3 Bad Things That Can Happen When You Don't Qualify Leads

In my opinion, the importance of lead qualification can't be overstated. My friend Ali Powell of HubSpot recent wrote an excellent blog post on that very subject. You should definitely read the whole post, but the gist of her article is that before you start putting effort into working on a potential customer, you should do the research to make sure the prospect is a good fit for your company.

I c...

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The Biggest Mistake Business Owners Make With Inbound Marketing

Despite happy talk about the economy from politicians, the economy is still struggling. This is particularly true in the case of business investment. In today's Washington Post, Robert Samuelson (my favorite economic writer by far) wrote an article titled, "The investment bust (explained.)" The first paragraph will give you the gist of the article:

"One of the great disappointments of the weak eco...

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5 SMART Goals For Business Development

The term "business development" means different things to different people. For purposes of this article, I will use Scott Pollack's definition of business development from his article in ForbesBusiness development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

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3 Web Design Tactics We Used On The New Rapidan Inbound Website

As web designers, the team at Brandca constantly adopts new tactics to improve user experience while making our customer's brands shine at the same time. We've designed sites on several platforms, including HTML5, WordPress, Magento and many others.

Last fall, we were awarded the HubSpot Design Certification to build websites on HubSpot's Content Optimization System (COS.) Now that we've built a ...

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Rapidan Inbound Announces Strategic Partnership with Colombian Branding Firm Brandca (Press Release)

Washington, DC Inbound Marketing Agency Rapidan Inbound announces strategic partnership with Brandca of Bogotá, Colombia to provide inbound marketing services to professional services firms and technology companies. With the new partnership, Rapidan Inbound now offers a full range of marketing services to SMB companies.

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The Management Consultant's Survival Guide (How To Avoid Deadbeats, Chiselers and Lowlifes)

If you've been in the consulting business for more than a year or two, you've probably had an encounter with a less than honorable client. You've either been stiffed, lied to or had a customer renege on their contractual obligations. Unfortunately, it's comes with the territory of being a management consultant.

In my book, the only foolish mistake is one that you don't learn from (or one that you ...

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3 B2B Growth Strategies for 2015 And Beyond

Content marketing is everywhere. It's in your social feeds, your email inbox, and on your favorite websites. Take your dog to the veterinarian, and they'll probably remind you to check out their latest blog post on your way out the door. Whether you need to fix the drain in your kitchen sink, grow bigger tomatoes in your garden, or learn more about the types of material used in dental fillings, fi...

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Product Review: HubSpot's Sidekick For Business

We're big fans of HubSpot - we manage inbound marketing programs for our customers on the HubSpot internet marketing software and we use it in our own company. In August of 2014, HubSpot introduced a CRM product that is tightly integrated with the marketing software, giving firms a complete sales and marketing automation platform. 

After 30 days of trying the new HubSpot CRM, we cancelled our Sale...

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4 Easy Tips To Increase Your Inbound Marketing Conversion Rates

What's your inbound marketing conversion rate? Drawing visitors to your website is a great start, but visitors alone don't make inbound marketing tick. It's turning visitors into qualified leads that really matters.

For all its importance, conversion rate is a pretty simple metric to figure out. It's the number of leads your website generates, compared to your overall number of site visitors. The ...

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A Reliable Professional Services Marketing Automation Strategy

Many professional services firms are great at what they do, but struggle to produce enough leads to grow their business. What would you say if I told you that there's a way to generate new opportunities for your firm without cold-calling or mass email blasts? The answer is marketing automation.

A well-designed marketing automation process can do all of the things a human managing a sales process s...

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Why I Love The New LinkedIn User Interface

Have you noticed anything different in LinkedIn lately? In January of 2015, LinkedIn rolled out a new user interface. From my perspective, the new interface makes it easy to manage my LinkedIn relationships quickly and regularly.

Whenever LinkedIn rolls out something new, some love it, some hate it and some are somewhere in between. Let me tell you why I love the new LinkedIn user interface.

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The Ultimate Professional Services Buyer Persona Cheat Sheet

One of the first things I learned when I started my business was that it was a fool's errand to be all things to all people. I didn't come up with this gem in a strategic planning session. Like most things I've learned, I kind of stumbled on to it. I asked my first few clients, "Why did you choose to do business with me?" The answer was always, "You know my business." The reason I knew their busin...

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Focus Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media, much like content marketing, has reached the point of diminishing returns. We're all bombarded with constant marketing messages and many of us are learning to tune them out. Remember the good old days when you could just relax without the blue lights flashing, buzzers beeping and bells ringing from your smartphone's constant cacophony of anxiety? 

It's becoming increasingly difficult...

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Why Content Marketing is for Much More than Just Lead Generation

Today's post is from Ian Brodie. Ian Brodie works with consultants, coaches and other professionals to help them get more clients. He's known for his expertise in online marketing and was recently named as one of the "Top 50 Global Thought Leaders in Marketing and Sales" by Top Sales World magazine, and one of the "Top 25 Global Influencers in Sales and Sales and Sales Management" by OpenView Labs...

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The Content Marketing Dilemma: Quality or Quantity

I am a huge fan of TrackMaven. Their competitive intelligence software for digital marketers is as good as it gets and they consistently produce some of the best data-based content marketing research available. They recently published a new eBook called The Content Marketing Paradox: Is More Content Really Better? It's a must-read for content marketers.

TrackMaven analyzed over 13.8 million piece...

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A Breakdown Of The Social Media Sales Funnel

In the past, businesses just needed to place advertisements on TV and magazines to convert people into customers. Today traditional ads are no longer the best way to reach people as 92 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations and word-of-mouth over all other forms of advertising. The rise of social media and the Internet in general has affected the way businesses and consumers interact with...

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3 Easy Ways To Sell Professional Services

In professional services selling, relationships are the key to success. You need to nurture the relationships you have and constantly develop new ones in order to have a consistent, scalable cash flow. Many professional services firms are great at nurturing existing relationships, but struggle developing new ones. 

The key to developing new relationships with qualified leads is to give them the r...

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What Should You Expect From Your Business Blog?

As more and more companies jump on the content marketing bandwagon, expectations often are mismatched with reality. Most of the people I work with are CEOs of technology companies and professional services firms - they expect to see results fast. That shouldn't be surprising. They wouldn't be where they were if they didn't push hard for results.

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Boost Your B2B Marketing With Google+

Despite a rocky beginning, Google+ has grown significantly in the past years and now is the second largest social media network with over 500 million active monthly users. While its numbers continue to climb steadily, there are still many marketers who have yet to embrace it as an effective tool for B2B marketing. In fact, only 39 percent of B2B marketers use Google+ to reach out to interact with ...

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3 B2B SEO Marketing Tips to Grow Your Revenue

If you've been in the online marketing game for a while, you probably remember a time when the mere mention of SEO was enough to send people running for the hills. It wasn't the fault of SEO as a concept, though. The problem was the SEO tactics that worked best at the time also happened to lead to really bad websites. Who could forget classics like “content that's 50 percent keywords,” or “landing...

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What it Takes To Succeed At Inbound Marketing

Remember door-to-door sales? Even if you aren't old enough to have memories of some poor schmuck lugging a vacuum cleaner up and down your cul-de-sac, you are probably familiar with the idea. These days this type of sales seems antiquated and silly. Sales has come a long way since the traveling salesman. Buyers aren't sitting around waiting for the phone to ring; they're researching purchase optio...

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5 Proven Inbound Marketing Strategies for 2015

There is an old American homily that says “New friends are silver, but old friends are gold.” This saying can also be applied to marketing techniques. Many new marketing strategies exist today, but they can detract from the tried and true effective strategies that have been proven to deliver results. 

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Content Marketing Contrarian Strategies or Best Practices?

My friends at TrackMaven recently released their Colossal Content Marketing Report, which analyzed 4,618 blogs comprising over 1 million posts and over 1.9 billion social shares in 2,014 to see what's working and what's not in content marketing. The data identified some interesting content marketing best practices and contrarian strategies to drive social engagement. Some will confirm what you tho...

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A Love Letter to my Customers

I'm incredibly grateful for the wonderful customers that I have. Out of all the options they have to spend (or not spend) their money, they were kind enough to trust me with a very iimportant part of their business. I'm humbled and grateful for their trust in me. I've learned that by putting their interests ahead of mine, I come out ahead. My customers invariably care about me and my business and ...

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The Best Inbound Marketing Advice for Technology Companies

Is inbound marketing a key part of your B2B sales plan? If not, you're missing out. B2B sales companies, especially those in industries like tech and manufacturing, had some natural reservations in the beginning. You're selling complex products to knowledgeable, highly specialized people. Your customers are people who are more likely to search for information through an academic database like JSTO...

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3 Inbound Marketing Insights You Need to Know

Inbound marketing, on the level it's done today, just wasn't possible prior to the digital age. Technology was the key limitation. Advertising on TV, or in your local newspaper, for that matter, had to paint in broad strokes. You could look at demographics and do your best to plan, but ultimately you had no way to connect with customers individually. Ads like that were also imposing on customers. ...

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NVTC - Social Media for Sales Professionals

Many businesses invest time and money in content marketing. It's no surprise, when you consider that 61% of respondents agreed that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content appropriate for each stage of the purchase process in DemandGen Report's 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey.

Yet many sales professionals don't take advantage of their employers content to generate leads and develop the...

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5 Key Statistics to Inform Your 2015 Growth Strategy

British politician Benjamin Disraeli made the following observation, "There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies and statistics." While politicians can cherry-pick statistics to support their positions, most times statistics tell the truth. That is certainly the case when it comes to analyzing how customers buy to develop a revenue generation strategy that will produce results. The business b...

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3 Reasons You Need a Responsive Website

For most people, there's so much content but so little time online, making competition tough on the Internet for many businesses. Thus, it isn't enough to just have a website nowadays. To grab attention and sustain it, what you need is a responsive website.

In terms of design, a responsive website is a website built to give users an optimal viewing experience when they visit, regardless of the dev...

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4 Must-Do Growth Strategies for 2015

It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season. It's the time when SMB companies finish their sales year with a bang and start planning their 2015 growth strategies.

In my experience, 2014 has been the first year since the 2008 recession where SMB compnies have started loosening the purse strings and started making investments in the future. I'm optimistic for 2015.

But it's not going to...

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3 Pro Tips for Improving Inbound Leads

If you ask any SMB business manager if they need more leads to hit their goals, they will invariably say yes. But are all leads the same? For must businesses, the answer to that question is no. If I'm targeting companies in the IT infrastructure business, a lead from the retail sector isn't worth much to me. If my targeted buyer is a CFO, a lead that is a product manager probably isn't worth much ...

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How to Transition From Outbound to Inbound Marketing

So you're ready to make the transition from outbound to inbound marketing? Smart move! Inbound marketing generates qualified leads, works around the clock, drives sales, and helps you build better relationships with current and future customers. If you want customers to be able to find you in the digital age, inbound is a necessity. Let's look at a few ways you can ease the transition from outboun...

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How to Kill an SMB Referral Source Without Really Trying

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...

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4 Killer Professional Services Growth Strategies

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...

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3 Ways Executives Can Grow Revenue With Inbound Marketing

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.

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Branding Update: We're Now Rapidan Inbound

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 ...

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Inbound Marketing

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...

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3 Killer Marketing Automation Strategies for SMBs

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 th...

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A Collaborative Process for Website Development

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 ...

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3 Content Marketing Tips to Cut Through the Noise

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.

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4 Lead Generation Tips for Your LinkedIn Company Page

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, L...

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4 Ways You Can Instantly Improve Your Social Media Marketing

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 influenc...

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Accelerate B2B Inbound Marketing Results With LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

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 pr...

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4 Smart Content Marketing Strategies for Professional Services Firms

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...

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3 Hacks to Integrate Inbound Marketing Into Your Sales Process

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.

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The Social Media Marketing ABCs That Will Grow Your Technology Company

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 ...

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How to Create Email Marketing Campaigns That Get Results

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 d...

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4 Foolproof Inbound Marketing Tactics For Technology Companies

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 co...

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How To Use Inbound Marketing In Your Insurance Agency

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 crea...

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How To Tell If You're Doing Inbound Marketing Right

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 li...

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

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 attra...

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What No One Tells You About Inbound Marketing

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 aver...

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Three Pillars For Professional Services Marketing

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 acc...

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Hey Entrepreneur, Go Out and Sell Something!

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 busines...

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Embed Your Unique Value Proposition Into Your Digital Marketing

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.

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Why I Like the Colombian Soccer Team

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 ...

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4 Killer Marketing Ideas For Technology Companies

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 pro...

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3 Killer Tools For Technology Sales Acceleration

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 tha...

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Top 3 Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

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 si...

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A B2B Social Media Marketing Process For HubSpot Users

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 pr...

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Separate Your Email Marketing From The Sea Of Sameness

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. Em...

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

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 ...

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How To Create A Solid Content Marketing Foundation

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 doe...

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How To Keep Your Content Marketing From Failing

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 conte...

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The SMB Guide To Selling To Bootstrappers

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 advi...

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A Memorial Day Message

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.

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5 Incredibly Simple Hacks For Your B2B Inbound Marketing Campaigns

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...

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Professional Services Content Marketing - The New Normal

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 thre...

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

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

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Content Marketing 101 For Professional Services

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 market...

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing

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!

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The DIY Content Marketing Ethos: Just Do It

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 wi...

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5 Surefire Social Media Tips For Insurance Agencies

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. Th...

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Call First To Cash In On Inbound Lead Generation

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...

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

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...

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5 Reasons Why Insurance Agencies Should Focus On Inbound Marketing

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 b...

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4 LinkedIn Strategies To Improve Business Performance

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 t...

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How Lifecycle Marketing Automation Can Make Your Business Grow Faster

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 automati...

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The Top 4 Social Media Marketing Strategies For 2014

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 regrette...

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7 Hot Content Marketing Tips For Management Consultants

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 ge...

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Why Google Hummingbird Matters For Professional Services Marketing

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 ...

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

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:

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The Anatomy Of A Great Marketing Automation Program

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.

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The Anatomy Of A Great Inbound Marketing Campaign

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. Kn...

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What NOT To Do With Inbound Lead Generation

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 ...

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3 Inbound Marketing Tactics Your Professional Services Firm Should Exploit

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.

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Boost Your Professional Services Sales With Marketing Automation

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...

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Government Contractors - Your Website Sucks And You Should Care

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...

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5 Top Tips For Professional Services Social Media Marketing

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 Lin...

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Boost Your Content Marketing With Google Authorship

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. An...

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5 Crucial Inbound Marketing Statistics For B2B Marketing

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 pro...

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5 Top Tips For Professional Services Content Marketing

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 ...

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

“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 marke...

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Use Content Marketing For Insurance Agency Lead Generation

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.

Consider this scenario - a producer has a great first...

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A SMART Growth Process For Professional Services - Inbound Marketing

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 year...

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More Cringeworthy Digital Marketing Moments

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 livi...

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Inbound Marketing Options For Regional Professional Services Businesses

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...

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4 Inbound Marketing Strategies For Your Professional Services Firm

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 marke...

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Use A Human Touch In Your Marketing Automation (Video)

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....

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3 Growth Strategies For Professional Services Firms In The Down Economy

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.

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3 Surefire Tips to Grow Your Technology Company The Inbound Way

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 dec...

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Are Buyer Personas Relevant In A Challenging Economic Environment?

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 idea...

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Is Your Business Growth Strategy Customer-Centric?

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 admi...

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3 Hot Tips To Grow Your Healthcare Company With Content Marketing

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...

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How To Improve Your Content Marketing And Beat Your Competition

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.

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What Works Best? Social Selling Vs. Outbound Selling

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 buyin...

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Why Inbound Marketing Is A Must For Professional Services Firms

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...

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

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.

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A Great Holiday Gift Idea - Video Marketing Equipment

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.

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4 Inbound Marketing Predictions For 2014

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...

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How To Use SEO To Hit Your Revenue Goals

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, ol...

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10 Essential SMART Goals for Online Lead Generation

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?

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Online Lead Generation Fundamentals

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...

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How To Start An Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Channel

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...

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

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 tac...

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How To Market Your Technology Company Online

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 inboun...

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

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 significantl...

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5 Ways To Hit Your 2014 Sales Number With Inbound Marketing

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 ...

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Inbound Marketing - The Great Equalizer For SMB Companies

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, Kon...

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Character Counts - Increase Revenue Generation With Integrity

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 ...

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How To Drive Revenue Growth With Inbound Marketing

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 in...

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Focus Your Integrated Marketing Strategy For Success

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...

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5 Inbound Marketing Metrics That Matter

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.

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The Foundation of Social Selling

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.)

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3 Surefire Tactics To Improve Inbound Lead Generation

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 generatio...

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How SMB Companies Use Inbound Marketing

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 pl...

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5 Strategies To Generate Revenue In 2014

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 Exec...

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4 Effective Email Marketing Tips For Technology Companies

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...
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Supercharge Your Email Marketing With Lead Segmentation

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 e...

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3 Proven Tactics To Improve Your Inbound Marketing Leads

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 incr...

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

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 :

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5 Reasons Your Technology Company Should Use Inbound Marketing

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 telemarket...

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

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 ...

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Manage Your Inbound Marketing Leads For Sales Success

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."

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4 Inbound Lead Generation Tips For Insurance Agencies

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 unsol...

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How To Start Business Blogging In 5 Easy Steps

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 opportu...

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How To Drive Business Results With Email Marketing

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.

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How To Maximize Your Inbound Marketing Customer Conversion Ratio

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.

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4 Small Business SEO Best Practices

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 a...

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7 Hot Tips For Executing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

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 execut...

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How To Sell Management Consulting Services Without Really Trying

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.

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How to Improve Your Business's Internet Marketing Strategy

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?

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Revenue Generation Strategies For The New Business Buying Process

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 experienc...

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Transform Your SMB Company With Social Media Marketing

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+. 

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Why Every Entrepreneur Should Focus On An Integrated Marketing Strategy

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 inte...

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Business Lessons From Muhammad Ali

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 ...

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5 Business Blogging Best Practices

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.

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3 Reasons You Should Outsource Your Internet Marketing

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 fi...

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5 Social Media Hacks for Technology Companies

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 fr...

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LinkedIn Rolls Out Sponsored Updates for Businesses

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 personali...

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What Is Inbound Marketing And Why Should You Care?

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.

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

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.

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How to Optimize Your Inbound Marketing Landing Pages

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?

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Top 4 Social Media Trends in 2013

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 l...

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The 5 Most Important Words In Your Revenue Generation Strategy

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...

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5 Tactics to Improve Your Inbound Marketing

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 Re...

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How To Use Inbound Marketing To Sell Professional Services

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 purc...

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2 Vacation Spots Killing It With Social Media Marketing

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 Vi...

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How To Get Found On The Web With Organic Search

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.

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How Social Media Can Generate Sales Leads For Your Business

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.

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

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...

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8 Inbound Marketing Statistics To Inform Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

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 k...

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6 Characteristics Of A Good Management Consultant

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 convic...

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4 Reasons Government Contractors Should Use Internet Marketing

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 inboun...

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How To Create Landing Pages To Generate Leads

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.

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

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.

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Is Your Inbound Marketing Mobile-Friendly?

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...

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The Social Part of Social Media: A Love Story

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

The Social Part of Social Media: A Love Story

 
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4 Ways To Integrate Inbound Marketing Into Your Sales Process

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 s...

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The Dark Side Of Content Marketing: Plagiarism

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 con...

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Email Marketing Best Practices For Technology Companies

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%. He...

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How To Manage Your Social Media Marketing Effectively

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...

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5 Online Lead Generation Strategies For Insurance Agencies

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 buyin...

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9 Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Tips With Twitter

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 ...

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

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 ...

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Customer Retention As A Business Growth Strategy

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 strateg...

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4 Online Selling Tactics that Work for Small Businesses

 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 ou...

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

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?

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

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 busine...

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Why Social Media Marketing Is More Effective Than PR

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 ar...

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

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...

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Inbound Lead Generation Versus Cold-Calling

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:

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6 Tips for Managing Your Technology Company Blog

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 you...

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Small Business Marketing Automation: Optimize Your Strategy For Conversions

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 vi...

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How To Improve Your Inbound Marketing By Doing Less

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 ...

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Customer Experience Optimization is the New SEO

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 ...

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3 Small Business Strategies To Grow Revenue

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 eng...

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4 Inbound Marketing Analytics Metrics that Matter

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.

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4 Inbound Marketing Mistakes Technology Companies Make

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...

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How Can A Government Contractor Expand to Commercial Markets?

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 wor...

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How To Do Effective Inbound Marketing - A Case Study

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 abo...

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

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 s...

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

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. S...

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3 Ways to Speed Up Inbound Lead Generation

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 connectio...

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Small Business Growth Strategies: Use Tribalism To Grow Your Business

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...

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Small Business Growth Strategies: Ask The Tough Questions

“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”

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

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 ar...

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Tips to Help You Find the Right Logo

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 th...

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Technology Companies Increasing Inbound Marketing Budgets

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 respo...

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Government Contractor Social Media Marketing First Steps

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 ne...

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Great Inbound Marketing Opportunities for Insurance Agencies

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...

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How To Create An Email Marketing Campaign

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.

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Optify's 2012 B2B Inbound Marketing Benchmark Report

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 man...

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

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 websit...

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How To Track ROI From Inbound Marketing

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 proc...

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Social Media Marketing Tips for Government Contractors

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 20...

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Email Marketing List Management Best Practices

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 p...

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SMB Inbound Marketing Provider HubSpot’s New Landing Pages Tool

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 sof...

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5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Technology Companies

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 w...

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Small Business Growth Strategies: Blogging for Inbound Lead Generation

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 tac...

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How Long Does it Take Inbound Marketing to Work?

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 engine...

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Business Growth

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 m...

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5 Ways to Grow Your Technology Company with Inbound Marketing

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...

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How to Improve Your Inbound Marketing Like an MMA Fighter

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 arti...

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Grow Your Insurance Agency With Inbound Marketing

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, com...

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Use a Social Media Marketing Process to Grow Your Technology Company

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 n...
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The HubSpot 2013 Design Guide to Email Marketing

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]

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NVTC Event Provides Government Contractor Business Development Advice

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 bus...

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Using Customer Service in Your Business Growth Strategies

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 a...

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Branding Basics and the Branding ABCs

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.

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3 Factors of Inbound Marketing Success

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.

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Inbound Lead Generation: Quality vs. Quantity

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.

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Jungle Gold: The Quintessential Entrepreneurial Spirit

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:

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Use Smart Goals for Inbound Marketing to Grow Your Business

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 t...

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How to Focus Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

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

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Small Business Growth Strategies in a Challenging Economy

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 hav...

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

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. Craft...

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Small Business Growth Strategies and the 2012 Presidential Election

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 prov...

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Changing Small Business Growth Strategies

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 de...

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5 Tips for Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

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 i...

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How to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Business

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...

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How to Grow Your Business with Facebook Business Pages

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 ...

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How to Nurture Leads with Automated Worklows

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

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How to Use LinkedIn Company Pages to Drive ROI

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 y...

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How to Generate Leads With Landing Pages

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

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Best Practices for Partnering with Prime Contractors

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 Norther...

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How to Develop an Inbound Marketing Offer

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

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Context Marketing - The Next Evolution of Inbound Marketing

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 t...

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

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 secu...

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Small Business Growth Strategies: Optimize Conversion Rates

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 acc...

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Revenue Generation Tactics With Search Engine Optimization

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. 

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Diversify Your B2G Revenue Generation to Counter Sequestration

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, pr...

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HubSpot3 Takes Inbound Marketing to a New Level

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. 

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Video Dispatch from INBOUND 2012

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.

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The Definitive Inbound Lead Generation Resource List

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.

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

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.  ...

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Social Selling Tactics to Grow Your Business

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 ser...

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Want to Optimize Your Strategy? Outwork Your Competition.

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

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How to Conduct an Inbound Marketing Campaign

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...

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

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 creati...

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

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 a...

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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page for Social Media Success

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 prof...

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Small Business Growth Strategies: Focus Your Revenue-Generation Efforts

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 ...

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