Mar 6, 2014, 6:00 PM
Mar 4, 2014, 6:00 PM
This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.
Feb 27, 2014, 5:30 PM
Did I get your attention? If you're a government contractor, you probably have a brochure-ware website that is all about YOU and talks about how "innovative" you are and describes your "cutting-edge" services. The good news is that nobody is reading those cliches that became overused right when Seinfeld was hitting its ratings peak. The images on your homepage probably contain one of the following: an eagle, an American flag, jet fighters or battleships. Or worse, all four of those. I'm not saying this to be a wise-ass, I want to make a point.
Feb 25, 2014, 6:00 PM
This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.
Social media generates 14% of all sales leads and 13% of all customers, according to the latest research from HubSpot. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular channels for acquiring customers; in 2012, 52% of B2B and B2C companies acquired a customer via Facebook and 43% via LinkedIn.
Feb 23, 2014, 6:00 PM
Google Authorship is every business's fantasy: a quick way to improve online visibility and influence while driving clicks and conversions – all without spending a single dime. Given these heady credentials, it’s no surprise that Google Authorship is quickly becoming the fastest way for companies to improve SEO, increase click-thru rates, build their personal brand, and improve lead generation. And with Google’s long-talked about “Author Rank” system finally on the horizon, Google Authorship is an absolute must for small and mid-sized businesses.
Is your business taking advantage of Google Authorship? Here’s what your company needs to know right now.
Feb 20, 2014, 6:00 PM
They say that numbers don't lie - who am I to disagree? The statistics we're sharing below will give you some insight into the current state of B2B marketing that can you use to focus your sales strategy. If you're in a knowledge-based business like professional services or technology, you can longer rely on the old ways of generating leads and revenue. It's mission-critical to sync your sales process with the way your customers buy. Here are 5 inbound marketing statistics that paint a picture of how buyers are buying and how successful sellers are reacting.
Feb 18, 2014, 6:00 PM
This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.
Thanks to Google’s latest algorithm update, content truly is “king”. Yahoo just brought Katie Couric on board to bolster its editorial strategy, content marketing startup NewsCred just raised (another) $25 million in startup funds, and BuzzFeed seems to be taking over the world (or at the very least your social media feeds). But this content explosion does not guarantee quality. In fact, in the rush to jump on the content marketing bandwagon, many SMB companies are publishing subpar content that’s doing their companies more harm than good.
Content marketing is how you attract buyers to your message and bring them to your company, rather than paying to reach them through traditional media advertisements. At its very core, content marketing is any format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers, and may include everything from thought leadership to branded content.
Feb 16, 2014, 6:00 PM
“Good advertising makes bad products fail faster.” Even in the age of digital advertising, this old adage still rings true. Good advertising drives product sales, so the better the advertising, the more folks are likley to purchase a product. The faster folks buy the product and realize that it doesn’t live up to their expectations, however, then the faster the product “fails.” Even the best marketing campaign can't change public opinion once a product is deemed a disaster.
The same thing holds true for inbound marketing. Consider the most common “problems” for inbound marketing. One of inbound marketer’s most common worries is a lack of site traffic. The thinking goes that a lack of site traffic is the primary reason a website’s conversion rate is low. That’s why there’s a whole SEO industry built around analyzing site traffic and Google Analytics.
Feb 13, 2014, 6:00 PM
While some insurance agencies are using digital marketing strategies to drive business growth, many don't think they are applicable to their business. If you don't agree with me, look at 5 insurance agency websites in your market. You'll be surprised how many are brochure-ware sites that do nothing to communicate the agency's value proposition.
Feb 11, 2014, 6:00 PM
Is your professional services business new to inbound marketing or not sure if inbound marketing is a good fit? For three straight years, inbound market expenditures have increased by nearly 50%, according to HubSpot. Sixty percent of companies used inbound marketing in 2013.
Of these companies, marketers allocated over one-third of their overall budgets to inbound marketing tactics, 11% more than they spent on traditional outbound strategies like banners and direct mail. What have these companies discovered that your business doesn’t know? They know that inbound marketing works – it’s that simple.
Feb 9, 2014, 6:00 PM
The modus operandi for my blog has and always will be to help owners and managers of SMB companies grow their companies. This one's different. This one's for me. I posted an article a few months back titled, "How Not To Do Inbound Marketing - 5 Cringeworthy Tactics To Avoid." In that same vein, today's post is a rant a la Dennis Miller about things that I've seen so far in 2014 that annoy the living s%$t out of me. Hopefully, you'll indulge me for this one article; I'll be helpful again next time. Forgive the snark and with tongue firmly in cheek, here's what's bugging me.
Feb 5, 2014, 6:00 PM
Many of the best knowledge-based businesses are small regional firms. Here's a typical scenario: a top-performer at a global professional services firm gets the entrepreneurial bug. She's built a businesses within the global business and doesn't see why she can't do it on her own. She opens her business and grows rapidly by providing an excellent customer experience to SMB companies that don't get the same attention from the big boys.
Feb 3, 2014, 6:00 PM
Is your sales lead pipeline running dry? If so, you’re not alone. Eighty percent of the average salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities, including not knowing where to find good prospects or recognizing them once they find them. (TeleSmart.com) With today’s sales cycle lasting up to seven months or longer, non-lead generation activities are not a very effective way to market or sell your business.
Inbound marketing and lead generation is the process of helping clients find your professional services company online – often before they even need to make a purchase. When it’s time to select a business, prospective clients then turn this awareness into a brand preference, which ultimately nets your business a sale and a loyal client.
Jan 30, 2014, 10:32 AM
Does anyone remember HAL from Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Oddyssey? For those that don't, HAL was the computer on the space station that went bonkers. To give you historical context, the uber-villian of the technology world at the time lives in HAL's name (Use the next sequential letter for every letter in HAL's name = IBM.) That was when Google was still a sparkle in his daddy's eyes. But I digress. Have you seen marketing automation in your inbox and social media networks that sounds like it was written by HAL?
Jan 28, 2014, 5:30 PM
Despite the perennial assurances of the Obama administration that a robust economic recovery is right around the corner, small and mid-sized professional services firms face a challenging economic environment. Consider the following economic realities that we're facing for the foreseeable future.
Jan 27, 2014, 6:30 PM
Sixty-one percent of technology buyers desire content that directly addresses the issues they face at each point in the decision process. Eighty-five percent of tech buyers say they need to encounter at least three pieces of content before engaging with a solution provider. And the average tech buyer needs even more – these buyers consume ate least 14.5 pieces of content before making a buying decision. What do these stats have to do with your tech business? A lot, actually.
When it comes to nurturing technology company sales leads, inbound marketing is key. In fact, with more than 80% of buying decisions begin online, the average buyer gets at least 60% of the way through the buying process before they are even willing to speak to or engage with a salesperson.
Jan 24, 2014, 3:21 AM
I don't have the answer to this question, but I'll pose it nonetheless: how relevant are buyer personas in today's challenging economic environment? This is a vast oversimplification of a complicated topic, but buyer personas are composite demographic/psychographic representations of people who buy what you sell. Conventional marketing wisdom is that you should develop buyer personas for your ideal customers and tailor your content towards them, answering their questions and educating them. It certainly makes sense to me.
Jan 22, 2014, 9:00 AM
When I was growing up, they had a word for people who constantly said, "that's not fair!" The word was crybaby. Don't get me wrong - I'm not part of the too-big-to-fail crowd. None of my 4 grandparents were born in the United States and all of them worked hard in labor-intensive jobs to help my parents get through college. Both of my parents got Masters degrees and worked hard as teachers and administrators to help me and my 3 brothers get through college. We all had to earn everything we got - no jobs because Daddy knew the president of the company. One thing we were all taught - nobody owes you anything and you need to earn everything you get.
Jan 20, 2014, 6:00 PM
From television ads to billboards, the average consumer is bombarded with a serious barrage of advertising each day. It’s no surprise that 70% of today’s consumers prefer to get to know a company through articles, rather than ads. And when it comes to health care, consumers understandably exhibit a strong preference for brands that emphasize both empathetic care and high-tech medical solutions. If your healthcare company is struggling to attract new customers, it’s time to take a good hard look at your marketing efforts, specifically content marketing.
Since most healthcare coverage is provided through insurance, when it comes to choosing a local medical practice, service quality and medical knowledge trump prices. Content marketing is the most cost-effective strategy for communicating these key values directly to your prospective patients. Does your health care company currently use content marketing to reach new customers? If not, it’s missing out.
Jan 15, 2014, 8:00 PM
Jan 14, 2014, 8:00 AM
Jan 8, 2014, 5:38 PM
I recently read a very interesting article by Mark Schaefer titled, "Why Content Marketing Is Not A Sustainable Strategy." While I don't agree entirely that content marketing is not a sustainable strategy, I think Schaefer makes a lot of good points in his article that SMB companies should take to heart.
Jan 7, 2014, 8:27 AM
The relationship between buyers and sellers has transformed because of technology. Buyers now hold all the cards. If they need pricing information or product specifications, they can go to your website. If they want to learn about your customer service, they can learn what people think though social media. As we've pointed out frequently on this blog, the average buyer completes 57% of their buying process before ever contacting a salesperson. When they do connect with a salesperson, they're looking for help, not to be sold. Which brings us to the point: in the modern buying process, what works best social selling or outbound selling?
Jan 2, 2014, 8:30 AM
The future is bright for the professional services industry. Increasing government regulation has made it less appealing for companies to hire staff accountants, attorneys and other advisory positions. They still need help with these functions, so where will they turn to get the job done? SMB companies will increasingly turn to professional services firms to outsource these functions. That's great news for those of us who are running professional services firms.
Dec 30, 2013, 9:57 AM
I've enjoyed the Washington Post's annual column on what's in and out for the upcoming year for a long time. With a nod to the Post, I've compiled my list on what's in and what's out for inbound marketing in 2014. Before I start the list, let's tackle the most obvious one.
Dec 23, 2013, 10:05 AM
Dec 19, 2013, 11:12 AM
What do you get for that certain someone who has everything this holiday season? Well, if that person is a business owner or manager that wants to grow their company, consider giving them some video marketing equipment.
Dec 16, 2013, 6:00 PM
As the year winds down, it's time to pull out the crystal ball to see what next year holds for inbound marketing practitioners. If you joined the growing list of companies that use inbound marketing in 2013, I hope you're seeing good results. If you haven't yet adopted inbound marketing, you'd better get going while the getting's good. Why? Because inbound marketing is a sales process that matches the way your customers buy. Rather than shoving marketing messages down busy buyer's throats regardless of their interest, inbound marketing attracts buyers to your brand when they are researching solutions to problems they face in their businesses. So let's get to it - here are 4 inbound marketing predictions for 2014.
Dec 11, 2013, 6:00 PM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't what it used to be. SEO used to revolve around 2 things. First, old-school SEO focused on identifying keywords that buyers used to describe a company's products or services and inserting those keywords everywhere on the company's website. And I mean everywhere. Rather than publish content that provided people with useful information the way they wanted it, old-school SEO wrote for search engines. This made for some really crappy, unnatural writing.
Dec 9, 2013, 4:30 PM
It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season. I'm talking about revenue growth planning time for SMB companies. If you're selling the way your customers want to buy, you're probably using inbound marketing techniques for online lead generation. What kind of goals are you setting to hit your 2014 revenue goals?
Dec 5, 2013, 10:26 AM
For years, SMB companies have relied on outbound lead generation tactics to fill their sales funnels. They used tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and email blasts to generate enough leads to hit their revenue targets. For years, these tactics worked because B2B buyers needed salespeople to do their jobs. They needed salespeople to learn about product/service specifications, pricing and other information for companies that sold the products and services they needed to service their customers.
Dec 2, 2013, 5:49 PM
Are you one of the many companies considering adding an inbound marketing lead generation channel as part of your strategy to hit your 2014 growth targets? If so, congratulations, you're on the right track. 61% of global internet users research products and services online (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance 2012) and 71% of enterprise purchase decisions begin with a search engine query (DAC Group.) Across all industries, buyers are turning to the web to facilitate their buying processes. Simply put, if you're not using inbound marketing to reach these buyers, it's going to be tough to hit your 2014 sales goals.
Nov 25, 2013, 6:00 PM
Have you ever received a marketing outreach that was so outrageously bad that you felt victimized? As an inbound marketing consultant, I'm amazed at the tactics that some use. I'm even more amazed that these companies think they might actually work. I've tried to learn from some of these tactics so that I never use them in my sales and marketing outreach. In the article below, I'll share a few tactics that you should avoid like the plague. They range from downright sleazy to insulting to mildly annoying. One thing that they all have in common is that they make it less likely that a buyer would ever do business with them. So in no particular order, here are 5 cringeworthy inbound marketing tactics to avoid.
Nov 20, 2013, 5:30 PM
In today’s competitive business landscape, low-cost strategies like inbound marketing hold the key to small business growth. However, many small business owners continue to believe that online marketing is simply “too expensive” or “too complicated” for their businesses – when these statements could not be further from the truth. You do not need “special skills” to drive revenue growth from inbound marketing. If you can send an email, you can successfully market your technology company online. Online marketing success is derived from your ability to consistently deliver value to your core audience. It’s that simple.
Today’s hyper-connected customers use digital media to communicate with companies, build brand relationships, make purchasing decisions and even complain about poor customer service. These customers expect companies to not only deliver value online, but to also deliver an experience. As a technology company, your customer base assumes (rightly or wrongly) that your business has an inherent familiarity with online marketing and all things digital. Consequently, your current and prospective customers will expect an even higher level of quality online interaction. Don’t let them down: follow these three tips to effectively market your technology company online.
Your company website should be more than a simple “about us” page and online product demo – it needs to be an online destination that customers will want to visit more than once. In order to create the ultimate online destination, start by defining your customer base. What are their needs and interests? How can your website meet these needs through creative engagement and build a relationship? Inbound marketing is most successful when your business creates and shares content through its website that is original, relevant, insightful and – most of all – easy to consume.
Depending on one web presence is dangerous; even if your website is packed with useful, interactive content, your customers will only be able to find this information if they find your website. This narrows your company’s prospective reach and limits the effectiveness of your material. Don’t wait for customers to stumble upon your website – leverage the power of co-marketing to bring new customers to your online destination. For example, join an industry group and contribute a guest blog post to the group’s website or offer a free whitepaper excerpt for the next e-newsletter. Growing your co-marketing network will drive highly qualified traffic directly to your website.
Sure, Instagram and Pinterest may be two of the hottest social networks, but for most technology companies, that’s not where their customers are spending their time. When it comes to social media, focus your efforts on one or two social networks that will reap the biggest rewards. For example, LinkedIn may not be “sexy” in the world of social media, but it’s the best network for generating B2B sales leads. More than 33.4 million professionals use LinkedIn each month – are your customers active on LinkedIn? In order to leverage the power of LinkedIn (or any social network), do more than simply build a profile. Maintain an active presence by sharing and curating useful content with customers. Ask company members to join relevant LinkedIn Groups and build new networking relationships with individuals who may influence potential customers, as well as reconnecting with past industry contacts and colleagues. Use Quora to establish your business’s online reputation as an industry thought leader by answering questions.
Technology companies fail when they focus solely on their product and forget to differentiate themselves to prospective customers. Online marketing provides technology companies with an important opportunity to differentiate their services through the creation of an online destination that goes beyond a singular product. Segmenting the marketplace and focusing on key social media channels and affiliate marketing partnerships will further help technology companies maximize the power of inbound marketing.
Nov 18, 2013, 5:30 PM
Can “free” information lead to new customers and drive revenue growth? That’s the theory behind content marketing, the hottest inbound marketing trend for 2014. Two out of every three businesses currently spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on digital marketing, including content marketing, according Accenture’s CMO Insights Study, and this figure is expected to grow significantly over the next year. Is your business on board with content marketing?
Nov 13, 2013, 8:30 PM
It's that time of year again. You're trying to finish off the year with a bang and hit your sales number. If that's not enough, you need to figure out how you're going to do it again next year in a tough economy. Sound familiar? If you're like many SMB business owners and executives, you're finding traditional lead generation methods aren't working like they did in the past. You're not generating enough leads with cold-calling and your unsolicited promotional emails end up on a one-way trip to Deletesville.
Nov 11, 2013, 9:00 PM
As we approach the holiday seasons, many of us start thinking about what we're thankful for. Like most of you, I'm thankful for my wife and family. My wife has encouraged me to follow my entrepreneurial dream of starting my inbound marketing consultancy - in more ways than one. I'm thankful for my faithful Chocolate Labrador, Kona. As I face the ups and downs that all entrepreneurs know about, Kona is always there to make me feel better. As an owner of a small business, I'm really thankful for inbound marketing. Inbound marketing helps attract qualified buyers to your website and converts them to leads and customers using SEO, content marketing, social media, lead nurturing and marketing analytics. I'm thankful for inbound marketing because it helps my small business compete on an equal footing with large enterprise companies (kind of like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.) Let me explain.
Nov 7, 2013, 6:00 AM
I recently read an article in the Washington Post that really disturbed me. The article, written by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, was titled A Dishonest Presidency. What disturbed me about this article was that Thiessen's insight into the vetting process for presidential speeches made it hard not to believe. The crux of the article was that President Obama consciously decided to lie to the American people when he said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." Yes, I do realize that the overwhelming majority of politicians lie constantly, regardless of their political affiliation. To be fair, it wouldn't take much digging to come up with examples of Republican Presidents lying.
Nov 5, 2013, 6:32 AM
Inbound marketing leads cost 61 percent less than traditional outbound leads. Not only are these leads less expensive to generate, but they also result in longer-lasting relationships. Plus, inbound marketing improves SEO, shortens the sales cycle and drives revenue. It’s no surprise then that 93 percent of companies use inbound marketing to increase lead generation, according to Hubspot.
While inbound marketing is increasingly seen as a “must-do” sales tactic for small businesses, many small businesses still fail to effectively leverage inbound marketing for revenue growth. In fact, if your business is not careful, you may find that your inbound marketing efforts are costing more money than they are generating. Whether your business is new to inbound marketing or looking for ways to trim costs, follow these tips to boost revenue generation:
Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket. A diversified approach that focuses on “middle of the funnel” techniques, such as landing page optimization, is generally more cost-effective for small businesses than major PPC campaigns. While paid search is an important component of online marketing, it’s all too easy to blow an entire marketing budget on a failed PPC campaign. This is especially true for smaller businesses that may lack the resources and expertise necessary to build an effective PPC campaign and then ultimately scale-up this campaign for maximum impact. According to HubSpot, blogging and call-to-action pages have a greater impact on lead generation than PPC expenditures. Optimizing your landing page and calls-to-action can be done for relatively little expense and will have a greater impact on revenue growth.
Casting a wider net won’t increase revenue growth. Instead, your business will be bringing in less qualified prospects – and your sales department will be wasting valuable time chasing down all these less-than-qualified leads. Worse, “carpet bomb” marketing campaigns may be turning off the very people you most need to attract. Rather than trying to be all things to any and all prospective customers, focus on the most highly qualified decision makers within an organization. Tailor your inbound marketing pitch to meet their specific needs. In the long run, you will generate more revenue by focusing on the highest qualified leads, rather than trying to attract as many leads as possible.
In the world of inbound marketing landing pages, less is more. Sure, you know better than to overwhelm prospective customers with garish website colors, flashy fonts, and six different call-to-action slogans that all scream “Buy Now!!!” (Right?), but there’s a good chance your landing page could still benefit from some paring-down. Is it easily scannable? Do you summarize your main selling point in a few key bullet points? Are lengthy forms causing potential customers to abandon your site, or do your forms make it easy for prospectives to sign-up? And – most importantly – is the landing page mobile-friendly? Don’t underestimate the importance of mobile-friendly content. As more sales prospects increasingly engage with websites via smartphones and tablets, sites that look good on mobile platforms are key to successful revenue generation.
Is your latest content marketing campaign boosting landing page CTR? Or is that spike due to your new call to action? Effective inbound marketers know to keep a close eye on analytics, especially conversion rates. Low conversion rates are the proverbial canary in the coalmine. A sudden drop in conversion rates signals that there is a problem in your conversion funnel. Don’t wait until your quarterly revenue generation report takes a hit – take immediate action to identify and correct this problem.
Driving revenue growth from inbound marketing is both an art and a science. By keeping a close eye on your company’s marketing metrics and focusing on tactics with the greatest ROI, your small business will effectively leverage the power of inbound marketing for maximum revenue generation.
Oct 30, 2013, 5:30 PM
I recently read an article by HubSpot's Dharmesh Shah entitled, "Why Big Opportunities Crush Small Companies." In the article, Shah makes a compelling case for entrepreneurs and small businesses to concentrate on niche markets rather than execute a broad marketing strategy that targets all potential buyers of a product or service. His logic is sound and is borne out by real-world outcomes.The main point of his article is neatly summarized as follows:
Oct 29, 2013, 9:30 AM
Are you still measuring online marketing success with old-school metrics like page views or return page visitors? Stop. These metrics may give you an overview of web traffic, but they’re dangerously deceptive. As every marketing department knows, more visitors or page views do not translate into better sales prospects or more revenue.
Oct 24, 2013, 8:00 AM
Technology has fundamentally changed the way people buy. The power in the process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Buyers don’t need salespeople to access product information, pricing and educational content to help them solve problems – it’s all on the internet. The typical buyer completes 57% of their buying process before ever speaking with a salesperson (CEB – New Decision Timeline.)
Oct 22, 2013, 11:30 AM
How many sales organizations do you know that think they have enough good leads? Not many, by my estimation. That's why so many businesses are turning to inbound marketing. Traditional lead generation methods are producing diminishing returns and they need leads. Leads are the fuel that drives revenue growth and return on investment. If you've decided to invest in inbound marketing, lead generation is the currency of success. Inbound lead generation is not just a measure of quantity; if the leads your generate never buy anything, what's the point? In the article below, I'll share 3 surefire tactics to help you generate more high-quality leads.
Oct 17, 2013, 11:31 AM
BtoB magazine, in conjunction with Oracle/Eloqua, recently released SMBs: Maximizing Synergies in Technology, Branding and Customer Interaction. The research provides interesting insight into how small and mid-sized businesses are using inbound marketing compared to enterprise companies. The findings reflect what I'm seeing in the marketplace and show how technological advances have leveled the playing field for SMB companies against their enterprise competition. In the article below, we'll highlight some of the key findings of the study to provide a benchmark against which you can evaluate your inbound marketing efforts.
Oct 15, 2013, 11:30 AM
Now is the time for business owners and executives to close out the sales year with a bang and turn their attention to developing strategies to generate revenue in the upcoming year. There's plenty of evidence that points to a new way of thinking about growing your company. Most notably, the way businesses buy is changing. Buyers are in control of the sales process. According to the Corporate Executive Board, business buyers complete 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a salesperson. They conduct research on purchase options via the internet and by talking to friends and colleagues. Business owners and executives should embrace this new reality as they develop next year's growth strategy. Here are 5 strategies and tactics to consider as you work on your growth planning.
Oct 10, 2013, 11:34 AM
Oct 7, 2013, 9:23 AM
Email marketing is the most effective inbound marketing lead generation tool, according to Optify's 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report. Optify found that email marketing had a lead conversion rate of 2.9%, twice the organic search traffic lead conversion rate of 1.45%. While email marketing is the most effective lead conversion tactic, it can also be incredibly annoying if not done correctly. Have you ever found your inbox cluttered with daily emails from a company whose email marketing you never chose to receive? At some point, you probsbly either unsubscribed from their list or reported them as spam. Neither one of those outcomes are a good thing for email marketers, not to mention the fact that they've probably violated the CAN-SPAM legislation that regulates email marketing.
Oct 2, 2013, 11:38 AM
Are you satisfied with the leads generated from your inbound marketing program? Are they converting to customers? For companies starting inbound marketing, there is a predictable pattern of progress. Most companies start inbound marketing by writing SEO-optimized blog articles and promoting them on their social media networks. The first stage of progress is an increase in website traffic. The increase becomes noticeable in months 2-4 of your inbound marketing efforts and really picks up steam in months 9-12.
Oct 1, 2013, 3:34 AM
In an ironic twist, Google, the company who shares information with the NSA, has decided not share information with brands about their websites. On September 23, 2013, Google confirmed to Search Engine Land :
Sep 25, 2013, 7:06 PM
Has your technology company adopted inbound marketing? If you haven't, why not? Advances in technology have dramatically reduced the effectiveness of traditional outbound lead generation techniques that interrupt buyers lives in the hope that they will find the occasional prospect in the midst of buying what they offer. Buyers fast forward through television commercials, screen unwanted telemarketing outreaches and delete the resulting voicemail without listening to it. They delete long-winded email solicitations that they haven't asked for. Simply put, today's buyers want to interact with solution providers when they need to and on their own terms.
Sep 23, 2013, 6:59 PM
A content management system is an ideal website platform for small and mid-sized businesses. A content management system is a website platform that allows companies to manage and update their websites without coding languages like HTML and CSS. Some of the more well-known content management systems include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. While you likely will need the services of a web designer for initial setup, you can manage your site and update your content using "drag and drop" editors. The only limit to creating a well-designed website with an incredible user experience is your own creativity.
Sep 19, 2013, 1:11 PM
I've spoken to several business owners that have adopted inbound marketing recently and have heard some variation of the following statement: "I'm getting a lot of traffic to my website and I'm converting leads, but I'm not getting the sales that I need."
Sep 16, 2013, 1:20 PM
The turbulent times facing insurance agencies are creating great opportunities for inbound lead generation. What do I mean by inbound lead generation? Simply stated, inbound lead generation is the process of generating leads by attracting qualified prospects to your sales and marketing process. Rather than pushing your message out by traditional lead generation methods like telemarketing and unsolicited email, inbound lead generation draws prospects to you by providing relevant content and thought leadership.
Sep 12, 2013, 1:26 PM
Business blogging is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Internet marketing software provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies that don't blog. In the last month, 54% of the pageviews on my website were for blog articles. Business blogging not only drives traffic to your website, it offers you the opportunity to position your company as a thought leader in your industry. Many business owners and manager see the value of blogging, but aren't sure how to get started. In this article, we'll show you how to start business blogging in 5 easy steps.
Sep 11, 2013, 1:35 PM
The average email user sends and receives over 115 emails per day, according to technology research firm Radicati. Many of your targeted sales leads and customers, however, send and receive far more. Without an effective email marketing strategy in place, your emails will get buried at the bottom of their in-box, or worse, sent straight to the trash folder.
Sep 8, 2013, 6:08 PM
The most important (and difficult) part of inbound marketing is converting inbound leads into customers. Unless your an e-commerce company, you have to transition the relationship with your buyer from an online relationship to a real relationship with your sales or management team.
Sep 4, 2013, 4:16 PM
Search engine optimization has been the buzzword du jour for the last few years, but with Googles 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 thats just for your parents back home, then you need to optimize your website for inbounding marketing. Effective SEO establishes you as a reputable authority in your given industry and allows you to pull in reputable visitors. Higher rankings equal more money, which leads to even more business and a better reputation both online and offline.
Sep 3, 2013, 6:15 AM
Social media marketing success doesn't take place over night. It's a cumulative process that produces success with persistent and consistent execution. Your first step in social media marketing is to develop a strategy that defines your target audience and how you will reach them. Once you've developed your social media marketing strategy, the success of your efforts is dependent on your execution. Here are 7 hot tips for executing your social media marketing strategy.
Aug 29, 2013, 3:21 AM
The new business buying process is a boon for the management consultant who isn't "salesy". In the olden days, say the 1990s, salespeople held all the cards. If you wanted to learn about a company's services, you had to go through the sales professional. If you wanted to evaluate pricing for various purchase alternatives, you had to go through the sales professional.
Aug 27, 2013, 9:12 AM
B2B websites generate, on average, 124 leads per month, according to Optifys 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Is your website keeping your sales team busy with new leads or is it underperforming the competition?
Aug 23, 2013, 3:31 AM
There has been a fundamental shift in the way businesses purchase goods and services. This shift in the business buying process reflects the fact that the buyer is now in control of the process. In the old buying process, the seller held all the cards. If a buyer needed accounting services, they had to meet with a sales representative to learn potential vendors' capabilties, pricing and experience. In the new business buying process, all of that information and more is available on the internet - there's no need for the buyer to take precious time to respond to unsolicited telemarketing or meet with sales reps.
Aug 21, 2013, 4:04 AM
This blog post is a preview from our new eBook, How To Transform Your SMB Company With Social Media Marketing. This comprehensive eBook will give you a step-by-step guide to managing a social media marketing program that will grow your company, including chapters on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Aug 19, 2013, 4:25 AM
I recently read an article by Tom Searcy in Inc. Magazine titled, "6 Sales Tips For CEOs Who Hate Sales." In the article, Searcy provides several tactics to help CEOs be more successful in their sales efforts. The article doesn't explain why it's so vitally important for CEOs to focus on sales and marketing. This is even more important for entrepreneurs; every entrepreneur should focus on an integrated marketing strategy from the very beginning of their business operations.
Aug 15, 2013, 4:12 AM
I came of age in the late '60s and '70s and was fortunate enough to grow up in the prime of Muhammad Ali's boxing career. He was an amazing athlete, but more to the point, he is an incredible human being. Simply put, he was, is and always will be my hero. There are several aspects of his life and personality that directly translate to business lessons from which we can all learn. Let me show you what I mean.
Aug 13, 2013, 3:19 AM
Business blogging is a key component to successful inbound marketing. Sure, just about anyone can start a company blog. However, in order for it to be successful, your blog needs to provide individuals with real value, and not merely parrot back information that they can find elsewhere.
Aug 5, 2013, 11:51 AM
Most businesses understand the indispensable role internet marketing plays in the modern buying process. After all, buyers are turning to search engines and social media channels to research potential purchase options. Management consultant The Corporate Executive board estimates that buyers complete 57% of their pre-purchase research before ever interacting with a sales person. If they're not finding you when they're doing research, your chances of selling to them are slim or none, and guess who just left town. If you're not using internet marketing, you don't have a sustainable business model.
Jul 30, 2013, 4:20 AM
Social media marketing is a great lead generation tool because it reaches buyers on their own terms. Buyers today do more and more pre-purchase research and interact with sales people much later in the buying process than in the past. But many people aren't aware of the other business uses of social media like customer service, thought leadership and prospect intelligence. Social media changes frequently, so we wanted to to share some of the latest "hacks" to help your manage your technology company.
Jul 25, 2013, 4:52 AM
LinkedIn is rolling out a new opportunity for businesses to reach professional decision-makers with targeted, relevant content - LinkedIn sponsored updates. Before sponsored updates, companies marketing on LinkedIn were limited to sharing updates with people following their company page or paid advertisements. Paid advertisments appear inconspicuously; they're at the very bottom of your personalized column at the right side of the page. Most of you probably aren't aware of the ads appearing on your page.
Jul 24, 2013, 4:28 AM
Let's get back to the basics. You may have heard the term inbound marketing, but aren't sure exactly what it means. Other terms used to describe the same set of processes include digital marketing, web marketing, internet marketing and social media marketing. Inbound marketing software provider HubSpot created the image below to describe the inbound marketing process.
Jul 22, 2013, 7:07 AM
If I were giving advice to an entrepreneur on the best way to grow her business, I would recommend that she work on her listening skills before worrying about her sales pitch. Too many business people think that sales is about talking or "pitching." It's not: the most successful salespeople do far more listening than talking.
Jul 18, 2013, 4:28 AM
Did you just miss another customer? One moment a prospective customer is clicking on your PPC ad, email call to action or social media link, the next moment theyre on your landing page, and then just seconds later, theyre already clicking their browsers back button. What went wrong?
Jul 16, 2013, 4:50 AM
From Vines to SoMoLo, social media continues to dominate digital marketing with new, innovative platforms for reaching and engaging consumers. In the last three years, social media marketing process expenditures have grown by 140%; no other marketing expenditure has grown this much in the same period. In contrast, traditional advertising expenditures are plummeting decreasing by 7.9% over the last three years. Social media marketing expenditures are predicted to more than double in the next five years accounting for nearly one-fifth of a companys entire marketing budget. (Forbes/CMO Survey)
Jul 10, 2013, 4:45 PM
I recently had someone approach me with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. His profile seemed to share some common ground with me, so I agreed to connect with him. Shortly after accepting his invitation, he sent me a message. He told me that he had recently sold a company he founded and wanted to start an internet marketing company. He asked me if I would be willing to meet with him so that he could pick my brain about starting a company like mine.
Jul 9, 2013, 5:55 AM
Inbound marketing is one of the most popular and effective marketing strageies, reaching todays 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 HubSpots 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. The average cost of acquiring a new customer with inbound marketing is lower than through traditional marketing. Inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing and now comprises 34% of all marketing efforts.
Jul 5, 2013, 5:32 AM
Professional services business like accountants, attorney, business consultants, financial services companies and design firms build their reputations on the talent and experience of their people. The buying process for professional services has some unique characteristics. A professional services sale usually has a longer buying cycle, a higher deal value and more people are involved in the purchase decision than a product sale. Sales results are usually measured quarterly or annually rather than monthly due to the longer sales cycles. When using inbound marketing to sell professional services, it's important to keep these things in mind as you sync your sales process to your customer's buying process.
Jul 1, 2013, 6:20 PM
For Eddie Cochran, "there ain't no cure for the summertime blues." For most of us, summer conjures up memories of freedom, exploration and checking out really cool places. Which brings me to the point of this blog post - 2 of my favorite vacation destinations that make you feel like you're there all year round with their social media marketing. I'm talking about the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ. I love both of these places because they offer nature in all its glory to their visitors. I live in the Washington DC metro area - home to the country's worst traffic and a competitive lifestyle. For me, experiencing nature is the most relaxing thing in the world. I seek it out often. In the article below, I'll explain how 2 of my favorite outdoor destinations let me experience their beauty all year long.
Jun 27, 2013, 6:01 AM
A recent study from Forrester Research found that organic (non-paid) search results were how most people found the websites they visited. 54% of people found sites with organic search results, 35% found sites with social media, 28% through website referrals and 18% through paid search results.
Jun 24, 2013, 7:50 PM
Social media generates 14% of all sales leads and 13% of all customers, according to the latest research from HubSpot. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular channels for acquiring customers; in 2012, 52% of B2B and B2C companies acquired a customer via Facebook and 43% via LinkedIn.
Jun 20, 2013, 5:10 AM
93% of companies using inbound marketing increase their lead generation, according to a recent HubSpot ROI report. Even better, more than half of these companies increased their lead generation by at least 50%. Is your business enjoying similar success or has inbound lead generation slowed to a crawl? Even the most experienced marketers can make mistakes. From being misled by Google Analytics to spending resources on the wrong social network, weve listed the top five mistakes of inbounding marketing lead generation and how to fix them.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:59 AM
Unlike traditional marketing techniques like advertising and public relations, you can precisely measure the impact of inbound marketing tactics. Inbound marketing analytics provide the opportunity to fine-tune your process. You can do more of the tactics that work and refine or jettison tactics that aren't producing desired results. With that in mind, here are 8 inbound marketing statistics to keep in mind as you develop your integrated marketing strategy.
Jun 13, 2013, 4:06 AM
As someone who's been a management consultant for over 20 years, I've learned how to be a good one the hard way. I've made some mistakes in my time, but I've learned from every single one of them. I've also hired several management consultants since starting my internet marketing consultancy - some good, some not so much. My experiences working with management consultants have confirmed my convictions on what makes a good consultant. So here are what I consider to be the top 6 characteristics of a good management consultant.
Jun 11, 2013, 5:05 AM
Some government contractors are resistant to implementing internet marketing programs. They feel that their B2G sales process is based solely on their relationships and past performance. While relationships are always part of any company's sales process, the federal budgetary situation is changing the face of government contractor business development. Not all government contractors resist inbound marketing techniques - just take a look at the major prime contractors' websites. They're using social media and content marketing to promote their brands and generate leads. Here are four reasons you should introduce internet marketing into your small or mid-sized government contractor.
Jun 6, 2013, 5:30 AM
For most companies introducing internet marketing to their sales process, generating leads is the primary goal of their strategy. Generating leads to fill your sales pipeline keeps your business healthy and your salespeople happy. The first step in an inbound lead generation process is driving the right traffic to your website using tactics such as blogging and social media promotion.
Jun 4, 2013, 5:29 AM
Are your online products receiving a lot of clicks but a not of sales? The bad news: a high click-thru rate coupled with a low conversion rate means your business is wasting resources on ineffective marketing. The good news: unless your companys website is stuck in the dial-up era, you dont need to completely overhaul your site in order to improve Internet marketing.
May 30, 2013, 12:50 PM
I love this quote from Eustace Conway: "What do I do for a living? I live for a living." Although it's probably not what he meant, it reflects how many of us integrate our personal and professional lives. We don't go to the office from 9 to 5 to work, then come home and forget about work until the next day. We work from home, we visit customers and prospects during the day (and sometimes at night) and we mix in our non-professional lives when we can. Which brings me to the point of this article: does your inbound marketing sync with your customers' mobile lifestyles?
May 29, 2013, 4:27 AM
May 28, 2013, 11:58 AM
Have you added inbound marketing to your sales process yet? Inbound marketing is an excellent way to match your sales process to the modern buying process, but it's not a replacement for outbound marketing techniques like networking and referral selling. Businesses that are using inbound techniques strategically integrate them into their existing sales processes, supplementing and enhancing the sales tactics that have been successful over the years. Here are 4 tactics to integrate inbound marketing into your sales process to increase sales.
May 23, 2013, 7:55 AM
Those of us who use inbound marketing to grow our businesses have learned that our marketing engines require fuel. That fuel is marketing content: blog articles, eBooks, videos, webinars, landing pages, calls-to-action. The beauty of content marketing is that it puts us all on a level playing field. It doesn't matter if you're a multinational corporation or a solo-preneur; if you produce good content, people will find it, read it, watch it and most importantly share it. Google loves good content. If you consistently produce good content that gets shared, Google will reward you with high search engine rankings for your targeted keywords. Here's a summary of organic search visits to my website since I began my content marketing efforts in April 2012:
May 21, 2013, 7:14 AM
Many technology companies find email marketing is one of the best lead generation tactics they use. Marketing automation software provider Optify found in their 2012 B2B Benchmarking Report that email marketing had the highest lead conversion rate of any inbound marketing tactic employed. The email marketing lead conversion rate of 2.9% compared with an average inbound conversion rate of 1.6%. Here are some best practices to follow for your technology company email marketing program.
May 16, 2013, 5:00 AM
I recently read a great blog post from Guy Kawasaki on how he manages his social media marketing presence. For those of you who don't know Guy Kawasaki, he is Apple's former marketing guru and an accomplished author and social media expert. While Guy's tips were great, I'm not sure they're applicable to the typical SMB company that is establishing a social media presence and using social media to generate leads. This article will share some thoughts on how you can effectively manage your company's social media marketing.
May 14, 2013, 5:00 AM
It's tough out there for insurance agencies. Obamacare is changing the way employers provide (or don't provide) health insurance for their employees. In fact, the new legislation is trying to curtail the role of insurance agencies in the insurance procurement process. Persistent slow economic growth has reduced business investement, which adds additional steps and approvals to the insurance buying process. Despite all of these challenges, there are still opportunities for savvy insurance agencies to grow. Business owners and managers turn to Google and social media to try and make sense of the neverending onslaught of insurance regulations. Your best bet as an agency principal is to get found when your prospects look for help on the internet. Here are 5 strategies to increase your odds of being found by qualified buyers.
May 9, 2013, 5:00 AM
Are you using Twitter as a revene-generation channel in your social media marketing process? Many SMB companies have adopted LinkedIn and Facebook as cornerstones of their social media marketing process, but overlook Twitter's revenue-generation potential. While we don't dispute the value of metrics like engagement and brand promotion, we're like most SMB companies - we use Twitter primarily for revenue generation. It's all about generating leads and closing business! Here are 9 tips to consider as you build a Twitter revenue generation channel.
May 7, 2013, 6:43 AM
Is your business thinking about marketing automation for lead generation? An increasing number of small businesses are exploring marketing automation as a faster, more effective strategy for generating online sales leads. Small business marketing automation is the complete package, managing all aspects of lead generation including scoring, nurturing and location-based targeting. But is marketing automation software the right choice for your business? Read on for answers to the top four small business marketing automation questions.
May 1, 2013, 11:24 AM
Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that the cost of acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Yet so many companies focus the majority of their time, energy and resources on acquiring new customers at the expense of retaining the customers that they already have. Clearly the maturity stage of your business has an impact on your strategy; if you're a new business, your focus should be on acquiring new customers. However, if you're a more mature business that is focusing your strategy on customer acquisition, beware. You may be creating a problem.
Apr 30, 2013, 10:32 AM
Inbound marketing brings potential clients from search engines and social media straight to your website. But once they arrive, how can you convert them into paying customers? Converting online sales prospects into clients is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. While conversion rate optimization is important, if you spend all your time A/B testing button colors, youll miss out on the most critical online selling tactic: relationship building.
Apr 25, 2013, 8:37 AM
Worried about your businesss inbound lead generation? Youre 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 Optifys 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, how can a small business make online lead generation work?
Apr 23, 2013, 6:00 AM
The Google Zero Moment of Truth study contains some fascinating insights into how consumers and businesses are buying today. Sellers no longer control the process. Buyers tune out the noise they don't want to hear and seek out the information they need to make their buying decisions. Buyers are now in control of the process. To me one of the most telling insights applicable to growing your business today was the answer to the following question: "when you were considering purchasing (PRODUCT), which sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?"
Apr 18, 2013, 5:09 AM
I'm probably not going to make friends in the public relations or journalism communities with this article, but here goes. I recently attended an event titled "Meet The Press" in which 5 local business journalists shared their thoughts on how businesses should approach them in order to get press coverage. I was struck by the journalists' imperious attitude - much of their presentation revolved around how you can best approach them to possibly get media coverage. They covered things like how to email them, how often you need to follow up with them and generally how you can kiss their rings to potentially get press coverage. At a certain point, I heard Charlie Brown's mother's voice, but instead of "whah, whah, whah" I was hearing "me, me, me, me." What these journalists don't seem to realize is that they are being disrupted. Let me explain.
Apr 16, 2013, 5:52 AM
How often do you see or hear people claim to be inbound marketing experts? Have you heard someone claim that they "will get you on the first page of Google"? There should be one word that pops in your mind when you hear someone make that claim (hint: it rhymes with pullchit.) Why do I say that? First of all, Google's algorithm updates over the past few years favor websites that frequently produce content relevant to keyword phrases targeted to the website. Websites that try and game Google's algorithms with keyword stuffing and links from dubious websites are being penalized. Secondly, it takes time for Google to index your website and to build domain authority. My advice is to run as fast as you can from anyone who claims that they "will get you on the first page of Google." They either don't know what they're talking about or they are deceiving you.
Apr 11, 2013, 5:00 AM
Are the days of cold calling to generate leads over? Or can it still be a useful tool? A recent Google+ Debate from Software Advice titled, Does Cold Calling Still Work? attempted to answer just that. In a discussion with three sales and marketing experts, marketing technology analyst Derek Singleton asked each panelist three questions:
Apr 9, 2013, 5:00 AM
Does your technology company use blogging to generate leads and promote your brand to your ideal customers? If not, you're at a competitive disadvantage. SMB marketing automation software provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times a month get 5 times more web traffic than companies that don't blog. If you use blogging best practices, you can generate qualified leads from your website and position your company as a thought leader within your industry. You've likely come to the conclusion that blogging is a good idea for your company, but you may not be sure how to blog effectively to achieve your goals. Here are 6 tips for managing your technology company blog.
Apr 4, 2013, 6:40 AM
In today's SEO environment, content is king. However, from a business standpoint, a website filled with compelling content means little if your visitors simply leave after reading this content. Your websites ultimate goal is to convert these visitors into buyers, clients or qualified sales prospects. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of increasing the number of website visitors that convert to leads after consuming your sites content.
A lead conversion occurs when a visitor exchanges contact information for a content offer on your website. Lead conversions could be subscribing to an email list, requesting a free eBook, or requesting a free consultation. Web analytics software like HubSpot or Google Analytics allows users to track myriad conversion goals so many, in fact, that its easy to lose sight of your primary goal: maximizing profit.
Apr 2, 2013, 6:54 AM
It's no secret that the business buying process has fundamentally changed. Buyers no longer turn to salespeople to help them research solutions to problems. Google's Zero Moment of Truth study found that more buyers used search engine queries to research purchase decisions than recommendation from friends and family (50% vs. 49%.) Growth-oriented business are using inbound marketing to get found by prospects, to convert prospects to leads with great content and to close sales by syncing with their customer's buying process.
Mar 28, 2013, 6:05 AM
Is your business still playing by the old rules of SEO? Gone are the days when stuffing a website with keywords, paying for reciprocal backlinks, or spinning articles could drive website traffic. Thanks to Googles game-changing Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, quality content and social interactivity are the deciding factors for search engine success. Customer experience optimization is the new SEO.
Mar 26, 2013, 6:54 AM
The great recession has changed the way that buyers purchase goods and services. In general, there is more scrutiny on and consensus must be reached with a larger group of people before a purchasing decision is approved. This is evidenced by recent research from the Corporate Executive Board and Google that shows that the average B2B buyer completes 57% of their purchasing process before ever engaging with a salesperson.
Mar 21, 2013, 6:39 AM
Googles search ranking algorithm may be a closely guarded secret, but how to improve website SEO doesnt have to remain a mystery. In fact, the answers to improving your websites search engine rank are already right in front of you: your sites Google Analytics metrics. Improving your search engine rank is one of the first steps in your inbound marketing campaign.
Mar 19, 2013, 5:41 AM
A recent study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board in partnership with Google found that the average B2B buyer completes 57% of their purchasing process before ever coming into contact with a salesperson. If you're not using inbound marketing to attract buyers to your digital content, you won't get the chance to be part of the conversation during the vendor evaluation stage of their buying process. That's why savvy technology companies are implementing inbound marketing programs. Many tech companies start an inbound marketing program only to be disappointed with their lack of results. Here are 4 common inbound marketing mistakes that prevent tech companies from achieving inbound marketing success.
Mar 14, 2013, 6:09 AM
Sequestration is causing most government contractors to reevaluate their marketing strategies. If you're a government contractor and you're not exploring diversifying into the commercial sector, you should be. Even if sequestration is magically resolved, the political pressure to reduce government spending will challenge government contractors for years to come. Whether we like it or not, the world is changing and we need to adapt and overcome.
Mar 12, 2013, 6:52 AM
I went looking for apple trees and I found great inbound marketing. Let me explain. I recently decided I wanted to plant apple and pear trees at my weekend home in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. There was only one problem - I didn't know anything about planting apple trees. I knew that there were a lot of orchards around my home, so I was pretty sure it was doable. I then did what just about everyone does when they're seeking to learn how to achieve a goal. I searched Google for "How to Plant an Apple Tree." That's where my journey began.
Mar 7, 2013, 6:14 AM
Is your current web strategy driving traffic to your website at the same speed as dial-up? The right search engine optimization strategy can take your website to the top of Googles search results. If youre just getting started with SEO, however, it can be difficult to know what works and what doesnt. When keyword density, inbound marketing, SERP, and conversion rate optimization all start to sound like alphabet soup, its tempting to throw in the towel.
Mar 5, 2013, 6:14 AM
Buyers have doubled the amount of information they use before deciding to purchase products, according to Google's Zero Moment of Truth study. Companies that provide good information to buyers are the ones that are closing the sale. They are using videos, eBooks, webinars and blog articles to draw visitors into their marketing funnels and help them make their way through to a purchase decision. So how can you use your blog to sync with your prospect's buying process and help them with their purchasing decision?
Feb 26, 2013, 5:30 PM
According to BRANDfog's 2013 CEO, Social Media and Leadership Survey, "80.6% of respondents believe that social media is an important communication channel for CEOs to engage with customers and investors, and 83.9% believe that CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty. What's more, CEO social media engagement was viewed as a gateway to facilitate deeper connections with customers, employees and shareholders." This confirms that customers are buying from companies that educate them and sync their sales processes to the customer's buying processes. It's no longer up for debate, inbound marketing is necessary for business to compete effectively today.
Feb 25, 2013, 6:15 AM
It's amazing how many elements of human behavior are hard-wired into our bodies from the earliest days of mankind. I recently attended a fascinating presentation by Steve Gladis on how to recognize some of these behaviors and use them to improve business results. Dr. Gladis is a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and his past includes stints as a marine and an FBI agent. I highly recommend his latest book, "The Coach-Approach Leader."
Feb 20, 2013, 3:50 PM
Well Im here to tell you now, each and every mothers son, you better learn it fast and you better learn it young because someday never comes
Feb 18, 2013, 9:16 AM
In a recent Washington Technology article entitled, "Social Media and Government Contractors: Know Your 4 Pillars", author Mark Hoover identified the following as the 4 pillars:
Feb 14, 2013, 10:13 AM
As the owner or manager of a an SMB company, youre pulled in many different directions. Youre 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 dont always coordinate their efforts. You are marketing to increase your sales. If you have all the sales you could handle, you probably would not worry about marketing! Aligning your sales and marketing strategies so that they work together only makes sense.
Feb 12, 2013, 2:10 PM
It's a great time to be an entrepreneur. Crowdsourcing, cloud-based software and DIY business tools have lowered the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs starting businesses. My friend Martin Nilsson of Logosack is one of those people lowering the barriers. Logosack offers high-quality, affordable logo design services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. You can read more about logo design on their blog.
Feb 11, 2013, 9:04 AM
IT research company Gartner predicts that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017. Gartner's VP of Marketing Strategy, Laura McLellan, opined that, "marketing is the central engine of growth for many companies" and that the marketing function in technology companies is "becoming more strategic than ever." McLellan describes the strategic role of marketing: "We believe that marketing is responsible to define and create, to grow and develop and to defend and own markets." These opinions are backed by research. Gartner's study, "Marketing Essentials: High Tech and Telecom Providers Marketing Budgets, 2012" showed that technology companies increased their marketing budgets from 4.8% of revenue in 2011 to 5.5% of revenue in 2012, an 11% increase. One-third of the budget was directed towards software and technology infrastructure while two-thirds was directed to marketing services.
Feb 6, 2013, 6:57 PM
Many government contractors recognize the value of using social media networks to promote their companies and to generate leads and business relationships. However, theyre just not sure how to get started. If youre just getting started, I recommend choosing one or two social media networks and observing how like-minded professionals behave. For most government contractors, LinkedIn is a good network to start with. Here are some tips to help you get started with your social media marketing process.
Feb 4, 2013, 5:38 PM
I have a confession to make - I'm a reformed employee benefit broker. Prior to starting my inbound marketing company, I spent over 25 years in the employee benefits industry working for insurance companies, regional agencies and multi-national benefit consultants. Obamacare is transforming the health insurance industry. In the article below, I share strategies on how you can continue to grow your insurance agency in the new world of health insurance.
Jan 31, 2013, 4:34 PM
Email marketing is being used more than ever by SMB companies. According to Forrester Research, email marketing spend is expected to increase from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $2 billion in 2014.
Jan 29, 2013, 1:59 PM
SMB inbound marketing software provider Optify recently released their 2012 inbound marketing benchmark report. You can get mofe information on inbound marketing by following Optify on Twitter (@Optify). The report is based on an analysis of data points extracted from over 600 small and mid-sized B2B websites that produced 62 million site visits, 215 million pageviews and 350,000 leads. While many of the results conformed to expectations, there were some surprising findings in the report. A summary of the report follows.
Jan 28, 2013, 8:31 AM
Inbound marketing is a proven lead generation channel for SMB companies. As we've mentioned in previous articles, the success of your inbound marketing efforts is dependent on the skill with which you execute your program. For SMB companies implementing a new inbound marketing program, the trajectory of their results is predictable. The first phase of success is attracting visitors to your website. This is accomplished by writing and publishing blog articles about the keyword phrases you're targeting and promoting your articles on your social media channels. The more frequently you blog, the more traffic you'll drive to your website. SMB inbound marketing provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 times or more per month get 5 times as much website traffic than companies that don't blog.
Jan 25, 2013, 9:30 AM
Many SMB business owners see how inbound marketing can help them grow their businesses. After all, they know that buyers use Google searches and social media recommendations in their buying processes. They do it themselves when they buy products and services. But the question any business owner will ask before making any investment is, "What return will I get?" Inbound marketing is a set of processes that help businesses get found by those who are looking for a solution that they offer, converts that person into a lead or sale, and then analyzes their behavior to learn how to attract more people who might be looking for their solution.
Jan 23, 2013, 5:50 AM
Government contractors have been slow to adopt social media marketing. Many government contractors incorrectly assume that government buyers dont use social media to research solutions for their programs. Examples to the contrary can be found in Market Connections 2012 Federal Marketing Study. Among other things, the study found that LinkedIn usage by government officials doubled from 2010 to 2011. We will cover the 2012 study in detail when its released this spring. It will be interesting to see how the usage of social media by government officials has changed over the past year. Its also a safe bet that government buyers are researching solutions with Google searches.
Jan 20, 2013, 8:03 PM
Email marketing is an essential tool for your inbound marketing program. Successful marketers use email marketing to engage with leads who have downloaded educational content but aren't yet ready to buy. Email marketing generally comes to play at the middle of your sales process, when buyers have an understanding of the problem your product or services solves and are working their way towards a purchase decision. A critical factor in the success of your email marketing program is the quality of your list. A high-quality email marketing list increases the chances of success with your inbound marketing program and keeps your company from being considered a spammer by internet service providers. This article will provide tips on how to grow and maintain a high-quality email marketing list.
Jan 15, 2013, 4:03 PM
SMB business managers and entrepreneurs embrace the DIY (Do It Yourself) ethos out of necessity. We lack the funds and patience to outsource most elements of our business so we figure out a way to do what needs to be done to succeed. Marketing automation software provider HubSpot helps SMBs execute inbound marketing programs with their all-in-one internet marketing software. HubSpot provides software tools and training to SMB companies that allow them to execute context-based marketing programs affordably that generate leads and customers. For SMB, theres never been a better time to use inbound marketing to promote your brand and generate web traffic, leads and customers for your business.
Jan 14, 2013, 3:12 PM
Technology companies are on the forefront of using social media to promote thought leadership and and generate inbound leads for their products and services. Executing an effective social media marketing process can create a competitive advantage for your technology company. This article will provide tips on using social media to grow and manage your technology company. Before we share our tips with you, let's start by defining the term "social media marketing process." A social media marketing process is a series of tactics designed to promote your brand as a thought leader and to generate leads for your products and services using your website and social media. Another term for the social media marketing process is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing tactics include:
Jan 11, 2013, 6:14 AM
Business owners and managers recognize that business blogs are a great tool to grow their business and position themselves as trusted advisers in their industry. In the report Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Businesses, inbound marketing software provider HubSpot found that businesses that blogged 15 times or more per month got 5 times more web traffic than companies that didn't blog. So what tactics do companies that successfully blog for inbound lead generation use to grow their businesses? Here are some tips you can implement today to optimize your blog for inbound lead generation.
Jan 9, 2013, 6:16 AM
The question I hear most often from business owners and managers is, "How long does it take inbound marketing to work?" They instinctively know that their prospects and customers are searching for their products and services on the web, but they are unfamiliar with the mechanics of syncing their selling processes to their customers' buying processes. They know that it takes time for search engines to index their websites and to "crawl" their sites frequently enough to see that they are consistently producing educational content that is relevant to the keyword phrases they are targeting. (For a good understanding of how search engines work, I recommend this three-minute video from Google.) They know that it takes time to develop social media reach that they can use to promote their educational content. With all that said, just how long does it take inbound marketing to work?
Jan 7, 2013, 7:14 AM
Search engine optimization (SEO) tactics that companies have used for years no longer apply. Prior to Google's Penguin and Panda updates, companies focused on technical SEO tactics like keyword optimization and link-building to drive traffic to their sites. In the current Google environment, websites that produce interesting content relevant to targeted keyword phrases that are shared on social media get traffic from search engine queries. The overarching goal of Google and other search engines is to provide the best user experience for their customers. Companies that are successfully using their websites for business growth are focusing on optimizing the website experience for customers, not search engines. Mark Kilens (@MarkKilens), Manager of Customer Training at marketing automatiion software provider HubSpot, describes the situation this way, "CEO (Customer Experience Optimization) is the new SEO." Here are some tips on how to optimize your website for business growth.
Jan 4, 2013, 6:12 AM
The technology industry, on the cutting edge in so many areas, has been surprisingly slow to embrace the concept of inbound marketing. While inbound marketing is better suited to some markets than others, government contractor technology companies are in a unique position to take advantage of blogging, social media, white papers, video and other inbound strategies.
Inbound marketing for technology companies is effective for many reasons. For example, well-executed inbound marketing tactics generate lower-cost leads than traditional marketing. But one key reason inbound marketing is effective specifically for the technology industry is the disconnect that often exists between a tech company and its prospective customers. In short, your prospects don't always entirely understand what you do. That means they may not be aware of all of the benefits you offer. They may also have concerns about security, reliability and other issues that are based more in their own lack of exposure than in reality.
Inbound marketing helps you close that gap by providing information to prospects and the public in a way that is easily digestible for them. You can set them at ease, establish your expertise and clarify the value of the type of services you offer, all without making a direct sales pitch. Of course, the primary goal will be to generate leads, and inbound marketing does so. But these campaigns will do more for you: they'll soften up the market by making potential customers more comfortable with the use of your technology and will introduce your company as a trusted source of information--and, thus, products and services.
Jan 1, 2013, 3:05 PM
I've always been a big supporter and practitioner of martial arts. It's a great way to harmonize your body, mind and spirit and it promoters discipline, respect and dedication. The picture to the left is of me and Jiu-Jitsu legend Royce Gracie. He's the one who looks like he just stepped off a yacht and I'm the one that looks like I've been running through the rain forest for hours. This blog article describes how you can improve your inbound marketing by implementing mixed martial arts techniques.
Dec 27, 2012, 9:01 AM
Insurance agencies are facing tremendous challenges. On the employee benefits side of the house, Obamacare's minimum loss ratio requirements are spurring carriers to reduce the commissions they pay to agents and brokers. While commissions are being reduced, customers require more and more help complying with all of the new legislation that is coming on line. On the property and casualty side, competition is becoming increasingly fierce as agencies look to make up for revenue reductions on the benefits side by growing on the P&C side. These challenges are in addition to the challenges that all businesses face as they continue to deal with a weak economy with uncertain tax policy. Yet insurance agencies still need to grow. Savvy agencies are turning to their websites and social media networks to grow in uncertain economic times.
Dec 17, 2012, 7:13 AM
Another key step in the social media marketing process is to engage your target market. Social media is about interaction, so be sure to ask questions that would elicit responses from your followers. Don't be afraid to be bold -- make thought-provoking inquiries as a way to spur discussions. Tapping into the emotions of your followers is a great way to engage with them. Be careful to avoid controversial topics; that often doesn't end well.
When your target market takes part in discussions, reply to them, even if only to acknowledge their participation. People want to feel that their opinions are valued, so make your followers feel special by communicating with them. You'll also be surprised at how much you can learn about how your target market perceives your company by monitoring what people are saying about you on social media. The things you might have missed as an insider may be very obvious to outsiders. Seeing your company from a different perspective can help you come up with ideas to improve your business model.
Social media marketing is indeed an effective way to grow your company, but be careful not to abuse it. The last thing you want is to come off as a spammer due to too many self-promoting posts and updates. You want to be engaging, not annoying. You're representing your company's brand -- an online identity for your company -- and not yourself. It's best not to mix your personal opinions with your company's voice. You can be controversial with your personal social media profile - although be careful if what you say can bleed into your company's message.
With those tips in mind, technology companies can use the power of social media marketing to their advantage. It's important to remember that in this digital age, having a great product isn't enough for a business to succeed; you need to educate and engage your target market with social media marketing.
Dec 13, 2012, 11:34 AM
Dec 11, 2012, 5:59 PM
On December 7, the NVTC Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee held their 4th annual Teaming, Partnering and Contracting event at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, VA. The event brings together small business government contractors and large prime contractors to facilitate teaming opportunities and to help educate small and emerging contractors on best practices for winning business through teaming arrangements. Representatives from 17 of the regions prime contractors educated nearly 150 attendees about teaming opportunities, said Kristin DAmore, director of The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC. Many of the prime contractors have already reported scheduling follow-up meetings with smaller companies they met during the event.
Dec 9, 2012, 4:45 PM
This article is written by Ashley Verrill, a CRM Analyst for research firm Software Advice, (@CRMAdvice) She has six years of experience writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in many publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
Dec 6, 2012, 9:35 AM
Dale Berkebile (@Brandwise) is the President of Brandwise, a branding and inbound marketing company located in Fort Worth, Texas. He also manages the website Sound Convictions, a website for musicians and music fans (@SoundConviction). In this article, Dale shares his thoughts on branding best practices for SMB.
Dec 3, 2012, 2:14 PM
More and more businesses are using inbound marketing to accelerate sales growth. They boost sales by syncing their sales process with their prospects' buying process. The process of generating leads through inbound marketing is fairly simple.
Nov 30, 2012, 1:29 PM
As a small business owner who uses his website and social media channel to generate leads, I'm faced with the question: Do I want more leads or do I want better leads? My answer to the question is that I want more good leads. However, if I'm forced to choose between one or the other, I'll take quality over quantity.
Nov 27, 2012, 5:08 PM
Nov 26, 2012, 6:23 AM
Many businesses are in the process of planning their growth strategies for the upcoming year. Using SMART goals is a great way to keep your small business growth strategies on track. In the case of inbound marketing, SMART goals are essential because you're able to measure every element of the process, from website traffic to lead generation to actual customers. If you're not using smart goals to grow your business, you should be.
Nov 14, 2012, 2:31 PM
This blog post is excerpted from our new Ebook, "How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Strategy."
Nov 12, 2012, 5:18 PM
Remember the good old days when the economy was chugging along and everything was good? You know, like in 2005? Everyone was optimistic and thought future possibilities were limitless. Things sure have changed, haven't they? We still haven't recovered from the economic apocalypse of late 2008 and it doesn't look like things are going to pick up appreciably any time soon. Yet we all still have to grow. So how have buyers changed and how can we match our sales processes with buyer behavior?
Nov 7, 2012, 1:56 PM
Does your company have a unique value proposition? If you do, are your sales and marketing team able to consistently communicate it to customers and prospects? If the answer to either of these questions is no, youre not alone. Dr. Flint McLaughlin, Director of MECLabs has recently released an online course on developing unique value propositions that answers these and many other questions. Crafting your unique value presentation is the first step in developing an integrated sales and marketing strategy that aligns all of your lead generation channels, including inbound marketing. The reason why you should have a unique value proposition is simple: more people say yes when you present your unique value proposition more effectively.
Nov 5, 2012, 11:41 AM
In general, I think it's a good idea to keep topics like religion and politics out of my blog. With this election, I've seen a few trends that I think transcend politics that are worth discussing. Many of these trends are seen in small business growth strategies and marketing tactics. To be fair, I'm going to try and give examples of these issues from both sides of the political aisle and provide context within the field of sales and marketing. Hopefully, I won't offend anyone and I apologize in advance if I do.
Oct 31, 2012, 9:39 AM
The past few years have been challenging for most small businesses. The economy continues to sputter, government continues to pile costly regulation on small businesses and selfish, cowardly politicians refuse to deal with existential budgetary issues. Despite those challenges, we still need to grow our small businesses. As we approach the new year, it's time to evaluate current strategies and develop new ones that that reflect marketplace realities. Here are some tips to consider as you develop your growth strategy for the coming year.
Oct 24, 2012, 2:24 PM
Many companies have taken the decision to introduce inbound marketing as a lead generation channel in their sales and marketing process. According to HubSpot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, 89% of the companies are either maintaining or increasing their budgets for inbound marketing. Companies that successfully implement inbound marketing channels that generate revenue start by developing an inbound marketing strategy.
Oct 22, 2012, 9:33 AM
Facebook is a social media network that has a massive audience (over 1 billion users) that includes users from all demographic categories. We recommend that all businesses use Facebook in their social media marketing process - it's just too big to ignore. In our last blog article, we discussed how to create a Facebook business page to promote your business. In this article, we will discuss how to use Facebook to generate leads for your business.
Oct 15, 2012, 10:25 AM
Marketing your business on Facebook is a great first step for businesses that want to promote their brand and generate sales leads with a social media marketing process. While many marketers view Facebook as a B2C social media network, the sheer reach of Facebooks audience make it a target-rich environment for both B2C and B2B lead generation. In October 2012, Facebook surpassed the 1 billion active user mark. Most Facebook users access both business and personal information through the network, so you shouldn't overlook the opportunity that Facebook's massive audience provides.
Oct 11, 2012, 9:57 AM
This blog post is an edited excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"
Oct 8, 2012, 1:35 PM
This is the second in a two part series on using LinkedIn Company Pages to drive business results for your company. Last weeks article focused on why LinkedIn is an essential network for B2B marketing and provided ideas on what types of content to share on LinkedIn to drive ROI. This article will focus on how to post to LinkedIn to maximize business results and share some ideas on how to test your efforts to fine-tune for ROI.
Oct 4, 2012, 5:40 AM
Oct 2, 2012, 9:54 AM
This blog post is an edited excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"
Sep 27, 2012, 5:04 PM
In today's challenging budgetary environment, many government contractors are looking to diversify and expand their revenue generation channels. For small business government contractors, partnering with prime contractors is a good way to optimize their growth opportunities. John Long, Director Partnerships, Small Business at Northrop Grumman, recently shared best practice tips with the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Sales and Business Development Committee. An overview of his presentation follows.
Sep 24, 2012, 2:28 PM
This blog post is an excerpt from the eBook, "How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign"
Sep 17, 2012, 7:12 AM
More and more businesses are using inbound marketing to match their customers buying processes and generate increased revenue. Inbound marketing is sometimes referred to as content marketing. Its based on educating and engaging prospects by providing them with content that helps them through their buying decisions. Content offers like eBooks, webinars, blogs, videos and whitepapers are used to educated buyers and draw them into your inbound marketing process.
Sep 12, 2012, 3:34 PM
I try to avoid political topics in my blog, but the recent hack of GoDaddy caused me to contemplate the tendency in our society to denigrate success and successful people. The hack affected me personally - it took my website and e-mail down for a few hours. The person who claimed responsibility for the hack stated, ""I'm taking godaddy down bacause (sic) well i'd like to test how the cyber security is safe and for more reasons that i can not talk now". For clarification, GoDaddy is now saying that they weren't hacked, the shutdown was due to internal problems.
Sep 11, 2012, 3:07 PM
Many businesses that implement inbound marketing programs focus on driving traffic to their websites. While it's important to increase website traffic to maximize sales opportunities, maximizing your lead conversion rate is what generates revenue for your business. A lead conversion occurs when a website visitor provides you with contact information (usually an e-mail address) in return for access to a content offer like an eBook or whitepaper. The inbound marketing process continues by providing information via e-mail that helps the lead as she progresses through her buying process. If done correctly, a high percentage of leads will eventually convert to sales.
Sep 6, 2012, 6:21 AM
I've been fortunate to see Rand Fishkin of SEO Moz present twice in the past 30 days and wanted to share some of his latest advice on how to get the most out of your search engine optimization efforts. Fishkin is truly a thought leader in the field of search engine optimization and his insights represent the latest thinking on the topic.
Sep 4, 2012, 7:09 AM
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, government contractors can count on one thing: a challenging environment for B2G revenue generation. A recent article in Washington Technology projected that the overall civilian budget will be cut by $39 billion in 2013 if sequestration takes effect on January 3d. The Professional Services Council, a government contractor industry group, predicts a 7.8% cut for the civilian budget and a 7.7% cut for the defense budget under sequestration. It's clear that revenue generation won't be getting any easier over the next few years.
Aug 29, 2012, 8:57 AM
Not content to rest on their laurels, marketing automation software provider HubSpot announced today the release of the latest version of their software, HubSpot3. HubSpot3 is a leading-edge marketing software platform that brings sophisticated internet marketing capabilities to all segments of the marketplace - from small businesses to enterprise organizations.
Aug 28, 2012, 12:20 PM
I'm really enjoying the world's largest inbound marketing conference, INBOUND 2012, so far and wanted to share a quick video dispatch with you.
Aug 22, 2012, 4:15 PM
In this article, I thought I'd share several inbound lead generation resources that I've found useful over the past few months. So in no particular order, here are my recommendations for your inbound lead generation resource list.
Aug 21, 2012, 7:55 AM
Leads are the lifeblood of any companys revenue generation process. Simply put, if youre not generating leads, youre not generating sales. Research shows that most leads arent ready to buy at their first interaction with your company. Your success in converting leads to sales-ready leads and eventually sales is dependent on how well you manage and nurture them through the buying process. The reality of todays buying process is that most leads have narrowed down their choices to a few potential vendors before they ever speak with a salesperson. Your success in generating revenue is dependent on how well you manage leads from their first visit to your website to their satisfaction with your products or services after they become a customer. Here are four best practices to optimize your lead management process to generate revenue:
Aug 17, 2012, 11:08 AM
It's probably not surprising to most people that cold-calling is ineffective in today's selling environment. Unsolicited telephone calls are an unwanted interruption to busy executives. Successful salespeople are turning to social selling to reach today's busy buying executives on their terms. I define social selling as the practice of using social proof to sell your company's products and services. Wikipedia defines social proof as follows: "Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation." For example, consider coming across two ice cream parlors as you walk down the street - one has a line of customers waiting in the doorway and the other is empty. Which one would you choose? Most people would consider the long line waiting for ice cream at the first parlor as social proof that it has the better ice cream.
Aug 13, 2012, 3:35 PM
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration - Thomas Alva Edison
Aug 8, 2012, 9:19 AM
Many small businesses are turning to inbound marketing as a business growth strategy. An inbound marketing campaign is a series of interconnected processes designed to promote a product, service or line of business. An effective inbound marketing campaign will attract visitors to your website, convert website visitors to leads and pass along marketing-qualified leads to your sales team to close. Many businesses implement some elements of inbound marketing, but are disappointed with their results. Their disappointment usually stems from the fact that they are not conducting all elements of inbound marketing in an integrated fashion. This article provides a step-by-step process to help you conduct a successful inbound marketing campaign.
Aug 5, 2012, 9:55 AM
Googles recent search engine algorithm update, Penguin, is a boon to businesses that are using content to educate and engage their website visitors. Heres how Googles Matt Cutts described the update, While we cant divulge specific signals because we dont want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics. While Google doesnt reveal the components of its algorithm, Cutts also said, We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO versus those making great content and great sites.
Aug 1, 2012, 4:32 AM
HubSpots SVP of Sales, Mark Roberge teamed up with Salesforces VP of Social Media and Video, Jamie Grenney to present a webinar entitled, How to Grow Your Business with Social and Inbound Marketing. Roberge and Grenney laid out a data-driven approach to social and inbound marketing with one goal in mind: maximizing sales resulting from the marketing plan. The recommended plan for social and inbound lead generation consisted of four components. Our last article focuses on the first component measuring marketing efforts to maximize return on investment. This article will focus on the remaining components concentrating on using social media to grow your business.
Jul 29, 2012, 9:50 AM
Jul 24, 2012, 12:52 PM
As Ive mentioned in this blog before, LinkedIn is the most effective social media network for B2B lead generation. In fact, its 3 times more effective than either Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn has over 160 million members who use the network to promote themselves professionally and to keep pace with thought leadership in their respective industries. LinkedIn is an essential tool for all professionals and businesses, particularly those operating in the B2B space. Scott Engelman, Director of Online Marketing at LinkedIn teamed up with Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot to conduct a webinar entitled, How to Use LinkedIn Company Pages & Groups. Scott and Mike identified 5 key elements to optimize your company presence on LinkedIn.
Jul 23, 2012, 10:24 AM
Ive always believed in playing the percentages in any endeavor Ive pursued. In other words, I like to employ tactics that have the highest chance of succeeding. This approach is especially true in selling and marketing your business. A great way to focus your limited revenue-generating resources is to develop Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas for your business. So what are Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas and how can they help your business generate revenue?
Jul 19, 2012, 8:36 AM
I recently attended a screening of the movie, Something Ventured, hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. The movie was a fascinating tale of the concurrent rise of the venture capital industry and Silicon Valley. The movie featured interviews with venture capital giants such as Tom Perkins, Don Valentine, Dick Kramlich and the original venture capitalist, Arthur Rock. From the movies website: Beginning in the late 1950's, this small group of high rollers fostered a one-of-a-kind business culture that encouraged extraordinary risk and made possible unprecedented rewards. They laid the groundwork for Americas start-up economy, providing not just the working capital but the guidance to allow seedling companies to reach their full potential. I highly recommend the movie to any entrepreneur; it will inspire and encourage you. I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the lessons I took from the movie.
Jul 17, 2012, 1:26 PM
A recent study by marketing automation software vendor HubSpot concluded that LinkedIn was 3 times more effective in generating B2B leads than either Twitter or Facebook. LinkedIn has evolved into an essential tool for businesses and customer-facing B2B professionals. While you should create a company page for your business on LinkedIn, the platform is most effectively used by individuals within your organization. The focus of this blog post is on how business owners, executives and customer-facing employees can best use LinkedIn to generate sales leads. Here are six tips on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.
Jul 13, 2012, 8:20 AM
As a small business owner who spent many years as a sales professional, I’m well aware of the challenges of meeting sales goals in a tough economy. Incorporating a social media marketing process into your bag of tricks is a good way to stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as thought leader to your prospects.
Jul 11, 2012, 3:22 PM
The technology industry is perhaps the best example of entrepreneurship going today. There are countless stories of bright people with good ideas creating iconic companies with a combination of hard work, persistence and a little bit of luck. Here in Northern Virginia, there are dozens upon dozens of smart people who have built technology companies that have grown into thriving enterprises by having the faith and courage to follow their dreams and capitalize on their good ideas. So if you’re an entrepreneur in the process of growing your technology business, why should you be using inbound marketing?
Jul 9, 2012, 8:58 AM
Jul 6, 2012, 9:27 AM
I was struck by a recent chart published by Marketing Sherpa regarding businesses acknowledgement of the value of inbound marketing compared to their usage of inbound marketing to generate business:
Jul 1, 2012, 5:39 PM
Sales skills training usually includes lead generation tactics as the first point of entry in the sales cycle. A qualified lead is the lifeblood of sales — the spark that get the ball rolling — and is often one of the hardest things for new salespeople to procure.
Jun 21, 2012, 12:27 PM
Many business owners and executives are using elements of inbound marketing, but not getting the increases in web traffic and leads they were hoping for. They hire an SEO agency to optimize their sites for search engines, but don’t get the traffic they were expecting. Or they start blogging and get the same result – negligible increases in traffic and leads.
Jun 18, 2012, 5:58 PM
Many businesses intuitively understand the benefit of inbound marketing. They understand that buyers in today's economy use search engines and social media to learn about potential solutions to their problems well before speaking with sales people. However, they don't know what to expect from the implementation of an inbound marketing program. What kind of increases in website traffic and leads can they expect? How quickly can they expect to see a return on their investment?
Jun 14, 2012, 8:30 AM
Ive spent the first three days of my beach vacation reading Walter Isaacsons fascinating biography of Steve Jobs. The book is a chronicle of a great American life. Steve Jobs revolutionized several elements of everyday life from personal computing to video animation to mobile phones. While Jobs had negative traits (he could be brutally callous), he had three traits that all small business owners and entrepreneurs should emulate.
Jun 6, 2012, 9:07 AM
You’re probably familiar with how inbound marketing generates leads by helping buyers find you on the internet and providing relevant educational content to them as they progress through their buying process. However, inbound marketing is not a panacea – the job of inbound marketing is to produce sales-ready leads for the sales team to close. Here are several tips that growth-oriented companies use to involve and integrate the sales team into their inbound lead generation programs.
Jun 4, 2012, 5:19 PM
Measure twice, cut once a wise, anonymous carpenter
May 30, 2012, 12:03 PM
Market research firm, Market Connections (@mkt_connections), recently released its 2012 Federal Media and Marketing Study – a detailed survey of how the federal government uses various forms of media in executing its functions.
May 25, 2012, 11:30 AM
Marketing automation software provider HubSpot recently released a new version of the email and lead nurturing module of its software. Rather than update the previous module, HubSpot has released a complete rebuild of its e-mail marketing engine.
May 22, 2012, 5:55 PM
Social media marketing is a process and like all processes, it requires a structured approach. Companies that follow a disciplined social media process generate leads, promote their brands and develop customer loyalty. Here are a few tips to help structure your social media marketing process for success:
May 17, 2012, 8:37 AM
Many small business owners and executives have implemented social media as part of a coordinated marketing automation program. They are using social media to promote blog posts and landing pages to provide education and relevant marketing messages to potential buyers. One element of the marketing automation process that is often overlooked by small businesses is the benefit of taking advantage of resources available to local businesses. Here are a few ideas to advance your social media efforts:
May 15, 2012, 1:47 PM
I recently spoke with Shawn Cook (@RPMSalesCoach), the North American Director of SMB Sales at marketing automation software provider, Eloqua. Shawn shared with me the three questions he has his sales team ask all of their customers and prospects when they conduct needs analyses. Using these three questions as a starting point to formalize a small business growth strategy is an excellent way to plot a course to success.
May 9, 2012, 6:19 AM
Many small businesses have embraced inbound marketing as an effective way to increase their revenue. According to a report by eMarketer, 36% of small businesses are using Search Engine Optimization to grow their businesses and 35% are using social media. However, if roughly 35% of small businesses are using inbound marketing tactics, 65% are not.
May 4, 2012, 2:05 PM
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Confucius
May 2, 2012, 9:38 AM
Many people are aware that technology, specifically the internet, has changed how businesses buy goods and services forever. Google has replaced the Yellow Pages and most buyers have a good idea of what they want to buy and who they want to buy it from before having any contact with a sales person. The internet has flipped the equation in the business buying process – salespeople are no longer in control, buyers are.
Apr 30, 2012, 9:13 AM
If you’re familiar with the small business marketing automation process, you probably know that creating fresh content relevant to the keywords you’re targeting is the best way to improve your search engine rankings and attract links to your site from credible websites. Many businesses that are starting out with an inbound marketing program stuff keywords throughout their website and in their content without taking into account how the content appears to the user.
Apr 22, 2012, 2:36 PM
You've read of all the statistics about how social media can help your business drive revenue growth and have decided to design a social media marketing process for your small business. You've done your research on your customers and have chosen to target the social media networks that they are using. The next step in your social media marketing process is to determine what types of messages you should broadcast and how frequently you should broadcast them. After all, you don't want to come off as a pushy sales person but on the other hand, you want to let people know how you can help them with your products and services.
Apr 19, 2012, 11:35 AM
I recently attended a presentation by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Titans of Technology series. Ballmer is a very energetic speaker and he enthusiastically presented his vision of the future of Microsoft specifically and information technology generally.
Apr 17, 2012, 9:00 AM
The first step in developing a social media marketing process is to determine which networks you want to target. The answer to this question is simple – you want to target the networks that your prospects and customers are using. As is the case with offline networking, it’s best to pick a few networks and “go deep” (be a frequent participant) than to spread yourself thinly over several different networks. It’s also important to define what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing process – whether it be brand promotion, selling more of your products and services, supplementing your customer service function or a combination thereof. With that said, let’s take a look at the demographics of some of the more popular networks.
Apr 12, 2012, 12:13 PM
So you’ve got your inbound marketing program up and running – you’ve chosen good keywords to target, optimized your website, you’re creating good content and are promoting it with social media. So now you just sit back and wait for the leads to roll in, right? WRONG! FAIL!
Apr 9, 2012, 9:05 AM
The first step in the B2B inbound marketing process is to develop a keyword strategy. Keywords are the phrases that buyers use to find your business on search engines, so it’s important to dial in your keyword strategy to maximize your marketing ROI.
Apr 4, 2012, 6:21 PM
Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term disruptive innovation to describe “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.” An example of disruptive innovation is the cell phone (disruptor) displacing fixed line telephony.
Apr 3, 2012, 5:44 PM
On March 30, 2012, Facebook rolled out its new timeline feature for business pages. On March 29, Chris Luo, Global Head of SMB Marketing for Facebook teamed up with Jeanne Hopkins, VP of Marketing at Hubspot to conduct the first of four seminars entitled "4 Steps to Business Success on Facebook." Why is it important to understand these 4 steps? Two quick facts will illustrate why:
Apr 2, 2012, 11:49 AM
Lead nurturing in small business marketing automation is the process of providing the right content at the right time as prospects move through the buying process. There are typically three stages in a business to business buying process:
Mar 29, 2012, 8:07 AM
Mar 26, 2012, 2:44 PM
Inbound marketing is growing in importance as traditional outbound marketing venues, such as newspapers, network TV, and radio continue to experience dilution in the number of readers, viewers and listeners. The internet has dispersed the attention of once-captive audiences, with Spotify gaining market share against radio and YouTube and Hulu drawing viewers away from traditional programing. Even those that still watch TV are doing so using technology like Tivo, skipping all of those creatively put together and expensive commercials entirely.
Mar 22, 2012, 8:43 AM
The conventional wisdom regarding inbound marketing in B2G situations used to be that the buyer, sitting behind a secure network, paid scant attention to information found on social media sites or Google searches. This conventional wisdom would have you believe that the buyer was using the Yellow Pages to call sellers to see if they might be able to meet their procurement needs.
John Beveridge is the President and Founder of Rapidan Strategies, an Inbound Marketing Agency and Certified HubSpot Partner located in Fairfax, VA. Prior to founding Rapidan Strategies, John spent 25 years as a management consultant and specializes in helping professional services and technology firms grow rapidly with inbound marketing strategies. John is a Social Media Today contributor and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Business Development, Marketing and Sales Committee.