Marketing

Tuesday Tweets for August 30, 2011

Posted on August 30, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Twitter Tweet Reviews

Reviews of Tweets from My Twitter Timeline

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets for August 30, 2011 — where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts, best practices – and sometimes just for fun. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessments, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

This week we’re adding an extra special treat – a musical accompaniment to your read. Be sure to hit the play button if you’d like to smile.


The most frequent comment I hear when I broach the topic of adding Twitter to the social media mix is, “We have an account, but have no idea what to do with it.” So I decided that it might be useful to use this week’s Tuesday Tweets to show how a number of businesses and organizations are using Twitter to move toward their objectives.

@NewsTimes It should read $15,000. Good catch! #correction RT @JackBouffard @NewsTimes $1,500 or $15,000?

Here’s a daily newspaper using Twitter to interact with a reader to flag and quickly correct an error in its reporting. This is the kind of nimble use of social media that might help traditional media evolve and survive.

@TheArtsCenterNY  Red Cross is here until 5:30PM accepting blood donations! By taking a short time to donate blood, you can save lives.

This arts center is using Twitter for real time promotion of a Red Cross blood drive – a nonprofit boosting another nonprofit’s mission, helping its community and boosting its own engagement and value at the same time

@dancommator Social Media Check-In Promos Reward Frequent Branch Visits http://t.co/EJ… via @FinancialBrand #financialservices #banking #sociallmedia

Can you believe that a few banks are reversing the trend of pushing customers from bank branches to online banking, and are using social media check-ins to encourage branch visits – and human contact! This retweet could be a harbinger of a new era of bank service. One can hope!

@ScottMonty RT @ThePeoplesFleet : Help @abetterla win $5K by simply watching a video! Check it out here: http://t.co/Ic… #tpfla

Another smart nonprofit is using Twitter to boost its chances to win a $5000 grant from Ford by asking folks on Twitter to vote for them. Using the hashtag gets them beyond their own followers.

@AMAnet New programs added to the AMA’s upcoming events calendar — Webcasts are FREE! —http://t.co/6t…

The American Management Association is using Twitter to get the word out about a new free Webinar series, a great way to develop its membership.

@1day1brand  Are you ready for a bold new brand? Complete our assessment below, and we’ll email you the results right away – http://ow.ly/6…

@1Day1Brand used this Tweet to recruit participants to take a survey that was designed to subtly (sort of) educate about its brand building seminars and generate leads. A bit obvious, but not bad.

@MichelleDamico Change supply parents into demand parents. I tell principals: parents yelling at u are engaging. #CPS #Brizzard #chicagoPublicSchools

Thanks to live tweeting, an address by the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent gets wider attention. You can get similar visibility and leverage for your organization’s spokesperson and amplify public speaking engagements.

@HourWestport Connecticut Humane Society is having an emergency Cat Adoption Event. Locally try theWestport location:455 Post Road East, 203-227-4137

Another local newspaper is using its Twitter bully pulpit to get out community news that it probably doesn’t have room for in the print edition.

@SierraSez  It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a bus? More details coming soon…you won’t want to miss out on this.

An enterprising tweet creates anticipation for one that’s yet to come. I’ll put up a Twitter search for @SierraSez so that I’m sure not to miss whatever it is. Curiosity is a powerful motivator! ;-}

@MagicSauceMedia Looking 4 SRProduct & Co Evangelist 4start-up in search,aggregation,content & semantic search space. Loc: San Fran or NYC.Email me w/leads

And we’ll end with a highly practical – and hopeful – tweet. Here’s a company using its Twitter updates to seek and hire a new employee.

It would be great if you’d share the creative ways your business or organization is using Twitter.

The Tuesday Tweets graphic is from Freshalex Online under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Web DIY: Why You Must Take Control of Your Site – And How to Do It

Posted on August 29, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DIY Web Take Control of your Website

To Succeed in Online Marketing You Must Take Control of Your Website

I was in the mood for some music today. This post is about embracing new systems for managing your own website. Listen to the upbeat, funky instrumental Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda by The Crusaders with Joe Sample on keyboards. Hope that’s not us!


Today the way to reach customers, prospects and other key audiences is to connect with them where they are – Online. And to do that you must have the right web-based marketing tools. The days of calling the IT department or your webmaster to update your website are over. Marketing has changed forever. It’s moved online, too, and now has lots of moving parts that need to be integrated to be as effective as possible.  

For that reason, it’s absolutely essential that you have control of your website. You need to be able to update it frequently, publish new content constantly, optimize your pages and content for search engines, add pages whenever you need to, create landing pages as destinations for respondents to email campaigns or social media site links.

For that matter, you need to be able to implement email campaigns from your site – and if you’re selling products and/or services you need to incorporate ecommerce, too. And don’t forget capturing the contact info for those who download your white papers, or subscribe to your blog.

Once you have those contacts engaging with you on your site, you need to be able to keep track of how they’re interacting with you over time so that you can keep offering content of value, convert them to customers, retain them and have them as brand advocates. You need integrated analytics so that you can track all of this – beginning with where traffic is coming from to begin with and which of your offers convert best.

So many companies are still trying to handle their online marketing piecemeal – and they’re losing opportunities – and precious time. If you don’t make online marketing efficient, it can be a voracious productivity gobbler.

I’ve written about this before, til I’m almost bored hearing myself say it. But we’re in an evolving process (I’ll say that again, too) and change – especially in times of change and innovation — never comes without repeatedly educating oneself and one’s audiences. So thanks for indulging my repetitions.

For those who are in marketing denial or just plain overwhelmed/confused, hopefully you’ll find some answers and a way forward in one of the online marketing systems that follow. 

HubSpot

The good news is that there are more and more tools available all the time for online/inbound marketing education. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I use HubSpot to manage and integrate my own inbound marketing efforts and that I am a HubSpot VAR.

HubSpot has received some fanfare lately as it launched its App Marketplace. There is a great deal of independent plug-in development going on at the present time to make HubSpot an even more robust option.

Adobe Business Catalyst

There are also other platforms. Of note is Adobe Business Catalyst, a hosted service available through professional website developers with modules for content management, email, ecommerce, CRM, blogging and a host of other online marketing activities – all connected to integrated analytics.

WordPress

WordPress offers a free hosted, templated blogging platform with limited plug-ins and customization at WordPress.com. Or you can download the far more customizable version at WordPress.org and host it with your own service provider. There are probably thousands of WordPress plug-ins and widgets that you can add to make a full-function website – or ecommerce site – using what was began as open platform blogging software.

Drupal and Joomla

These templated content management systems allow for some customization and also have numerous functionalities available via plug-ins. These are probably best for website DIY’ers who are a bit more tech-savvy than your average user.

Bottom line: If you’ve done nothing to update your website in the past two to three years, you’re undoubtedly not in control and in danger of falling seriously behind your competitors. If you take control now, you can get ahead!!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Tuesday Tweets for 8-23-11

Posted on August 23, 2011. Filed under: Content, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Twitter Tweet Reviews

Reviews of Tweets from My Twitter Timeline

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets for August 23, 2011 — where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts, best practices – and sometimes just for fun. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessments, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

@Georg_Grey Georg Grey Please follow ===> @7shines @AyaMones @haceeb @karine_frigon @BrensView @Vernon_J_ @ProNetworkBuild @reneedobbs @bigmoneywebs @RDavidMacNeil

This is a typical booster tweet – similar to #followfriday (#FF) but for any day — to promote people whose tweets we find of interest an with whom we’d like to build stronger relationships. Even though it seems like a time saver to string a bunch of Twitter handles together as in the above example, it’s actually more useful and powerful to do one at a time and include something about why we should follow that person, who they are, what they do, what they share. If you have two people who have similar reasons to recommend them you can send them both. But let people know why.

Since the 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of theU.S.an hour or so ago, my Twitter timeline is full of earthquake tweets. So I’m going to give in and dedicate the rest of Tuesday Tweets to the best of the earthquake tweets that are coming in. Hope you didn’t get too shook up. The windows rattled here and the building shook a bit, but fortunately it looks like there were no serious consequences.

@Chase_TheHour Chase Wright by TheHourNews

Did you feel the earthquake? Tell us about it @TheHourNews

My local daily paper seeking citizen journalists to help them report on the earthquake.

@alexashrugged alexashrugged by richmac  Co-worker “We didn’t have earthquakes like that when Bush was president” #earthquake

Yup. A D.C. earthquake would be sure to stimulate political commentary! ;-}

@muz4now stan stewart The D.C. area quake was powerful enough (5.8) to rattle my chair in the Poconos at 2PM Eastern. Wow. Haven’t felt that sinceOakland.

This poor guy thought he’d escaped earthquakes when he moved east.

@paulhelmick Paul Helmick West Virginia Shaken Not Stirred #earthquake

Good one. Hope it’s also dry. Anyone have other Martini references?

@typeamom Kelby Carr Did the CNN anchor seriously just suggest the quake could have possibly been terrorists? Oh my.

Why am I not surprised?

@petershankman Peter Shankman So bummed I don’t have any pressing deadlines I can miss by blaming the #earthquake.

I felt the same way. Though I was sorry it cut into Dan Zarella’s HubSpot webinar at 2.

@benjaminstrong benjaminstrong  Did you feel the earth move? “That’s what she said!” #DCearthquake #earthquake

Love an old saw brought out at the perfect moment!

@shashib Shashi Bellamkonda DCRestaurants : Good day for a earthquake Happy Hour Special

Shashi is Network Solution’s social media guru down in DC and a great guy. He’s always thinking of opportunities for 4square promotions! ;-D

And today I’ll end with my own contribution to the #earthquake discussion, which was the number one trending topic on Twitter this afternoon.

@elliebpr Ellie Becker Nothing like an #earthquake in CT on a sunny day. At first I thought it was the impact of my latest blog post. ;-}

The recently adopted Tuesday Tweets graphic is from Freshalex Online under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ticked Off on Twitter: How Not to Thank Me for Following

Posted on August 14, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Human Business, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , |

Get 4100 Twitter Followers

Need I Say More?

People use Twitter in different ways. Some go for volume. Get as many followers as possible. This is often part of a monetization strategy and utilizes some automation program or builds from following others’ lists, which is fine.

I’ve made the decision to build a smaller community on Twitter based on mutual interests and the ability to gain and add value. My community is focused on two groups: other marketing professionals and small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs), the kind of companies that my business serves.

Perusing my Twitter stream gives me access to information about my profession and my target audiences that I might not ever connect with otherwise. It’s a great listening station. It also affords me the opportunity to give back information and experience-based knowledge, as well as to engage with people who may be able to refer business or to hire me directly. The way I approach Twitter and other social media is in exactly that order.

Before I follow someone, I check their profile to be sure they meet the above criteria. When someone follows me, I also check their profile before following back. Before I thank someone for following me, I check their profile so that I can reference something specific about them that I’m interested in knowing more about or that we share in common.

That’s one of the benefits of cultivating a smaller group of followers. You can get to know them over time. I recognize almost everyone in my Twitter stream and have a good idea of the kinds of information they’ll share or be interested in.

So what ticks me off? Automated ‘Thanks for following’ direct messages. They’re cold and impersonal to me. I feel this way: Why bother thanking me at all? You don’t really care about who I am or what I can share with you. You just connected with me based on some keyword to build your followers. It’s about you…not us. If you are going to thank me, at least make it for the right thing.

I especially hate it when the auto DM contains a further ask: Thanks for following. Now connect with us on Facebook, too, or visit our website, or check out how we can make you a million online with our great software. It reminds me of how annoyed I used to get when I’d drive two hours to visit my dear, departed grandmother and the first thing she’d say to me when I got out of the car wasn’t, “Hello, darling,” but, “So when are you going to come again?”

Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of community and getting acquainted first. Let me know why you’re looking forward to following each other and I can better deliver on my end of the bargain!

How do you use Twitter? How do you feel about auto DMs that say thank you and sell you more at the same time?

Image ‘Get 4100 Twitter Followers for $12.95″ is from redplasticmonkey under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )

Smaller Companies: Keep Marketing Through Adversity

Posted on August 11, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Keep Your Marketing Engines Running

Keep Your Marketing Engines Running!

 

Every time we hit a moment when the stock market crashes – or worse, fluctuates wildly – it’s predictable that smaller businesses will instantly turn off their marketing engines.

This is just as short sighted as selling off stocks the day of the crash and similarly forfeits the upside. The smartest investors and financial advisors, like my networking partner Pat Morrow, who runs a private wealth management practice at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, are exploring the current landscape for opportunities for their clients. And they’re finding them, too.

On the marketing side, I’m similarly engaged. In this environment, it makes sense that if our competitors panic and stop promoting their businesses, we stand to pick up market share.

The reason that I like Inbound Marketing is that it’s possible to create great efficiencies. Does it take time and money resources? Of course. But if cash flow becomes a problem, or if business slows down a bit, it gives you time to take on some of the marketing tasks that you might otherwise outsource. Pay only for what you can’t do yourself.

Even though I sell marketing services to businesses like yours, I can empathize with you. I’m in the same small business boat. Limited time. Limited resources. But today I took some time to build an email marketing campaign to my opt-in list giving them some reasons to consider Inbound Marketing and my services in an uncertain economy.

My Hubspot content management system allowed me to do this without any assistance. As far as I’m concerned it was a cost effective use of my time. When I got back from some meetings late this afternoon, I sat down and wrote this blog post, which will bring traffic to my site and help me engage with my audiences.

I have no intention of cutting back my marketing efforts. I’m happy to invest  to get my company in front of opportunities that will help me build through these uncertain economic times. And I don’t mind putting in some sweat equity.

What can you contribute to your own marketing efforts? Farm out less. But don’t stop marketing.

Image by Nathan E Photography Under Creative Commons License

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

Tuesday Tweets

Posted on August 9, 2011. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , |

Twitter Tweet Reviews

Reviews of Tweets from My Twitter Stream

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets for August 9, 2011 — where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts, best practices – and sometimes just for fun. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessments, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

@randfish Rand Fishkin  Really like this “quotes of the week” format: http://t.co/TVmOk5W Others should steal this idea; it’s great content + builds relationships.

This is from Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. The link is to a blog post comprised of notable quotes from content the author has read during the week – including some back and forth dueling quotes. I wonder what Rand would think about Tuesday Tweets. It’s definitely helped me build relationships with some of the Twitterati I’ve reviewed.

Next…Tuesday Tweet Quiz: See if you can figure out the nature of the following Twitter Chat based on the tweets excerpted from it.

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Thanks everyone for joining in #nuts today #GroupHug

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q10. Green is the color of the US dollar. Given an unlimited amount of money, what do you do? #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q9. Favorite movie/book with the word ‘green’ in the title ? #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q8. You’re given the job of ‘energy sheriff’ for the entire planet. What ONE thing do you change to save energy? #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q7. My favorite green item of clothing is #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q6. You’re given a green thumb & your very own garden. What do you grow? ….. #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q5. Favorite ‘no-fuel’ alternative to driving #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q4. You’re given a green crayon & a sheet of paper. What do you draw? (Be imaginative) #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q3.Favorite ‘green’ hotel or restaurant #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q2. Bust idea/place for a totally ‘green” getaway #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Q1. What’s your favorite green food/drink #nuts

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Please excuse the unusual nature of my tweets for the next hour, I’ll be in therapy #NUTS

@dazglo36 Darren Glover

They’re now having a “planking” comp in Mecca. Here’s @dianeglory28 ‘s attempt! #nuts http://t.co/vuCiFeJ

@RickGriffin RickGriffin  Tuesday is the best day on Twitter! #NUTS #cruisechat #TravelTuesday #TTOT & #FriFotos theme announcement!

@sheffieldmick Mick Berry “@OliverKayTimes:Just been sent this. Amazon reporting 5,000% increase in sales of baseball bats over past 24 hrs http://t.co/mi3pvC7#nuts

@CalebRamblexxx Caleb Ramble

@MagicMichaelXXX: Anyone else travel with #nuts in their bag??? http://t.co/gDk5MTn” yuk!

@WriterChick47 Vicky Akins Voted FUNNIEST chat on Twitter #nuts #MadeThatUp

@KatrinaMauro Katrina Mauro hoping I can participate…busy day at work today! @eatsleeplaugh: don’t forget about #NUTS !

@JeanetteJoy Jeanette Joy Fisher Me too! RT @rickgriffin: Please excuse the unusual nature of my tweets for the next hour, I’ll be in therapy #NUTS http://bit.ly/lhoIlE

Figure it out yet? No? Follow the link in the last tweet above to solve the mystery. Sounds like fun. I might even join in next week!

What don’t you understand about Twitter? I’ll look for tweets that answer your questions and discuss in a future Tuesday Tweets.

The recently adopted Tuesday Tweets graphic is from Freshalex Online under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

How to Move Clients from Old Marketing to New: Synthesize!

Posted on August 8, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Synthesize old and new marketing.

Jose James Synthesizes the Old and The New Jazz

I read a recent study revealing that only a small percentage of small businesses are using social media and other online tools for their marketing. Of those who have used or are using online marketing, even a smaller fraction considers the new tools essential.

These statistics support what I’ve been recognizing anecdotally as I speak with small businesses about inbound marketing and new online marketing tools. There’s indeed a resistance to adopting these new methods, even though there’s plenty of evidence that online is where potential buyers are already looking for products and services these days.

I’ve been chalking up this phenomenon of reticence to a need for more education. And I still believe this is true. But a personal experience I had this past weekend triggered another thought: The way to encourage adoption of the new is to synthesize it with familiar experiences and expectations.

Here’s what happened. Jeff and I attended the annual jazz festival at Caramoor, a marvelous summer music venue outside New York City.

The first artist on the bill was a wonderful guitarist from Cuba, Juan Carlos Formell, with a group called Johnny’s Dream Club. All of the tunes were new to us and sung in Spanish. They also shared an enervating sameness of tone and tempo, so although the music was beautifully played, at the end of the set we were happy to move on.

The next set brought James Farm to the stage, a group of fine young players led by the saxophonist Joshua Redman, son of the legendary Dewey Redman and now becoming a legend in his own right. The program notes asked that we, “keep an open mind,” for an hour of original music composed by members of the band. That meant another hour of nothing familiar and in a musical style that had Jeff, a musician and drummer, complaining that he couldn’t even tap his toes or bop his head to it.

We were expecting more of the same in set three, to be performed by a vocalist Jose James, who apparently has been around for awhile, but who neither of us had heard before. The program notes cited his influences, which included Prince, hip-hop, electronica, spoken word jazz and avant garde poetry in addition to jazz standards.

I can’t wait to hear Jose James again and will go to some trouble to seek him out. First of all, he has a marvelous baritone voice, reminiscent of the late Johnny Hartman who recorded an iconic album with the great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. In fact, Jose James is reviving that collaboration on a tour with former Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner.

That said, the set was anything but a re-churn of the past. James synthesized all of his contemporary influences with historic expectations of a swinging jazz set to create one of the freshest hours of music I’ve heard in a long time. It was fun to hear street rhythms applied to standards.

His love of spoken word makes him an innovative scat singer qualified to grab the baton from none other than my all time favorite jazz singer, Mark Murphy, who is almost 80 now and whose artistry I’ve shared on this blog – beginning with the second post back in 2009 where you can hear him. The set included covers of well-known R&B tunes, which helped carry us along into less charted waters – an original or two with hip-hop riffs.

During the set, the familiar and the new brilliantly synthesized into something so appealing and energizing that we wanted to embrace it. As I approach existing clients and new prospects about the benefits of applying new marketing approaches to meet their business goals, you can bet that I’ll be referencing marketing basics that still provide a solid foundation for what’s now and what comes next.

How are you synthesizing past and present techniques to motivate wider acceptance of today’s marketing tools?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

Competition and Other Annoying Business Realities

Posted on August 4, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Communications, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, News, Online Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , |

Business Competition

We can be our own competitive edge!!

The Dow fell more than 500 points today. Bad news was exuding from every media outlet. I had an opportunity to get some perspective on it in my weekly networking group meeting from members who are highly sophisticated financial experts.

Then I came home, shared some conversation with my neighbor on her garden swing, pulled a bunch of weeds that have been bothering me while thinkingabout what my blog topic would be for today. Relaxing and getting still allowed me to realize what was concerning me – and probably you, too.

When markets go crazy and economies are shaky and there’s less business to go around, we can’t help but think about how we’ll compete for what business there is. This has been on my mind for some time and brought to the forefront by today’s events.

Bottom line, I’ve decided not to worry about who else is competing for a piece of the online/inbound marketing pie. Instead, I’m working on my own story. Thinking harder about what I bring to the table that will have value for my clients and that I can speak powerfully about to prospects. I’m thinking about my strengths – what I really do better than anyone I’ve encountered.

Then I’m evaluating my lighter abilities — what I fully understand but need partners to execute well.

And I’m working on my messaging so that I can communicate clearly and effectively. That includes listening and testing… talking to as many people as I can find who are willing to offer feedback as I hone my messages.

I’m asking myself:

  • Are my offerings aligned with the needs of my client/prospect?
  • Is my language completely understandable, or too jargon-y?
  • Am I creating enough curiosity that people will be willing to stick around and learn more?
  • Am I explaining my services so that the benefits and value come through loud and clear?
  • Am I being human enough to connect and credible enough to build trust?

I believe that refocusing my energies on being as meaningful as possible to my market is my competitive edge.

How are you dealing with the competitive and business realities of the current economic environment?

Image from tableatny under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Inbound Marketing Education is in Middle School

Posted on July 25, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Content, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

HubSpot Inbound Marketing System

HubSpot Developed an Efficient System for Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has been around for several years now. It’s the subject of bestselling books by David Meerman Scott and HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. In fact, HubSpot has surpassed the 5000-customer mark for the Internet-based content management system they invented to put all of the pieces of inbound marketing together.

Yet, when I sit in a roomful of business owners and ask how many people know what inbound marketing is, frequently all hands stay down. Or a hand will shoot up and the eager contributor will say, “Social Media.”

It’s clear to me that we inbound marketers have a lot more work to do educating the marketplace about the approach. Yes, social media is a component of inbound marketing, but it’s only one.

There seems to be pretty widespread awareness of other inbound marketing components, too, like SEO, blogging and email marketing. Yet there’s little awareness of how all of these efforts can coalesce in an effective and measurable process. This post is one of a number I’ve written to help flesh out the process in a way that’s meaningful to business people.

At heart, inbound marketing is just marketing updated to reach our potential customers where they are – online – then to get their interest and win their trust so that when they buy, they buy from us. These days, it’s harder, if not impossible, to find our prospects by advertising in newspapers (why they’re shrinking), by telemarketing (think voicemail), on TV (thanks to TiVo and DVR) and other traditional channels. But future buyers are almost all online – at least enough of them to keep our businesses growing.

Business owners and managers I speak with will often say, “Well, we’re driving lots of traffic to our website, but we’re not sure what it’s getting us.” Then I ask, “What’s your bounce rate? And what are you doing to convert traffic to leads?”

They begin to understand inbound marketing when I explain how it serves as a lead generation and lead nurturing system. When they realize that inbound marketing can be planned and implemented with the objective of helping them reach revenue goals, it becomes a much more interesting idea to explore. It becomes a compelling idea when they recognize that analytics can be integrated and success measured.

There are a lot of steps to inbound marketing. It can seem daunting at first. It does take some re-thinking about how you do marketing. And it does take an investment of time, staff resources and budget. But, properly done, it works and pays big dividends.

I use HubSpot’s content management system for my own company’s inbound marketing. There are other ways to approach and handle inbound marketing using multiple sources. But for me, HubSpot offers the best system, education and support – especially for small to mid-sized companies I work with.

As the product matures, there’s now a developer’s marketplace growing up around HubSpot that’s yielding and will continue to produce plug-ins, variations and customization for the original software, similar to WordPress. They’ve also made some recent acquisitions that will beef up various aspects of the product – including middle-of-the-funnel and larger enterprise functionality.

At minimum, HubSpot walks the walk regarding sharing useful information. The company is a virtual content factory and you can immerse in free educational downloads, blogs and other information, free webinars and a free trial to get a good feel for how inbound marketing works.

In the interest of disclosure, I’m a HubSpot Value Added Reseller in addition to being a user. But I don’t mean this post to be a commercial. I became a VAR because HubSpot is the most intelligent and efficient inbound marketing system I’ve found. It can help my clients to grow their businesses and I can help clients to better utilize the system from the VAR position.

Have you learned enough about inbound marketing to begin implementing it in some form?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Networking Online and Offline: Anatomy of a Great Day

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Online Marketing, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Networking Online and Offline

A Day Of Networking is Energizing

Today was a marathon networking day with both online and offline communities that are important to me – and to my business.

Early this morning I read blogs I subscribe to including Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, my ethnomusicologist Sociosound and my rock ‘n roll management guru Peter Cook who posted a brilliant satire on blues lyrics that started my day with a smile.

Then I went to my Twitter profile to connect with some new folks who followed me yesterday and made initial contact. Next, I sent a few invitations to people I want to connect with on LinkedIn – and accepted some invitations that came in overnite. And I received notices that people who I put into Google+ Circles yesterday on my first interaction with that new social network had put me into circles of theirs.

At noon, I arrived at the Riverside Yacht Club inGreenwich,Connfor the summer luncheon of Thursday III, a professional group of senior PR executives and consultants. The group is fascinating and stimulating. The members are authors and PR icons who guided communications for Fortune 100 companies, major agencies and presidential administrations. I fall only marginally into any of those categories and am honored to sit at lunch with these brilliant and creative people every other month. The stories and the knowledge sharing that happens in that group is the stuff that NY Times bestselling books are made of.

A delightful aspect of the luncheon was that I sat between Ed Bloch who was a PR executive for Perkin Elmer and Ian Kerr who led important PR agencies in Fairfield County and represented luxury global brands including Jaguar and Rolls Royce. Both Ed and Ian are beloved figures in the local and broader PR community. Both have wry senses of humor that make them really enjoyable lunch partners.

Ed Bloch subscribes to this blog and noticed my increased frequency of posting. He good-naturedly teased me that my posts were piling up but that he intended to read them. I gave him some suggestions of how he could work them into his day – including bathroom reading, I’m afraid to admit. I’m including him in this post partly so that I can tempt him to read what I said about him when I post it.

After a bit of catch-up in my office, I met with Connecticut Networking Group www.ctconnected.org. This is a spectacular high-level group of mostly young and accomplished business people – entrepreneurs in fact and at heart. We’re more an advisory board to one another’s businesses than a so-called leads group. Again I’m something of an outlier as I’m a bit senior to most of the members. We get to know one another so that we can refer each other with confidence. We share a consultative and relationship-building approach to business development.

Going from my seasoned PR colleagues to my young, energetic and exceptional networking group was a particularly rich experience; so much valuable input across generations.

After the CNG meeting, I went to a meet-up event on a big paddle wheeler on the Norwalk CT harbor – across from my house. This was a big open group where there were a few people from my established network and many whom I didn’t know. Unfortunately this event was not well organized – in particular, no name tags that would have facilitated and focused networking. I jumped ship right before the group took off for an unannounced harbor cruise – in favor of coming back to the office and posting to my blog and attending to other to-do’s.

 All in all, this was a very positive day of connection. We never know what may come of a day like this. But who cares. It re-charges the engines to engage with our communities, reconnects us with people who add to our lives and gives us the opportunity to widen out our circles. Time well spent in my book.

Please share your on- and offline networking experiences.

 

Image via cambodia4kidsorg under Creative Commons license.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

« Previous Entries Next Entries »
  • Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Thanks for your support!

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers

%d bloggers like this: