Marketing Strategy

Moving Day. Come with Me and Come Back.

Posted on November 14, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , |

This Blog is Moving. Come With Me and Subscribe

This Blog is Moving and Will Now Be Known as 'the inbound-i blog'. Click the link and come subscribe for uninterrupted service. I'll miss you if you don't!

Dear Subscribers,

Today is moving day. I’m launching a new blog called ‘the inbound-i blog’. It’s a continuation and evolution of New PR Words and Music, which will remain here so that you can come back and access the 110 posts created here. When you click on the link to the new blog and read the first post, you’ll understand why I’m making the change.

While you’re there, please subscribe by email or RSS feed so that you receive the latest information, ideas and intelligence about inbound marketing without interruption.

The new blog is a result of the evolution of online marketing and my own business focus. In explaining why the new blog, there’s also some good information for you about the importance of tailoring your online marketing to maximize the use of inbound marketing analytics.

Come with me to the new blog for future posts and come back here as often as you like to re-read and to re-listen to your musical favorites.

I will, too.

The moving image is from the Flickr photostream of aldenjewell under Creative Commons license.

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Proof: Hot Topics Can Get Posts to Google Page 1

Posted on November 9, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Google, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Search | Tags: , , , , , |

Kardashian Post Makes Google Page 1

A search for Kim Kardashian Divorce PR Strategy got my post to Google Page 1 Positions 2 and 3

My last post has made it to Google Page 1 for searches related to the Kim Kardashian divorce – the intended point of an experiment I conducted with it. See above and below for the proof.

The post contended that including hot and trending topics in your blog posts can boost your traffic by getting your post to come up in more searches. As an experiment I created an Inbound Marketing metaphor to the Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries Divorce.

The post also referenced Siri, which had brought another of my posts to Google Page 1 for sumerous searches and led to the topic of the last post and the Kardashian experiment. Here are more results.

Kardashian Experiment on Google Page 1

A search on Kim Kardashian Siri brought my post to Google Page 1 Position 2

The searches are actual searches that got people to my blog. Note that the first Page 1 positions were out of 165,000,000 results and the second was out of 7,030,000 results. Case made. Hot topics can get you visibility you’d never get otherwise!

What trending topics and current events will you tie your next post to?

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Boost Your Blog Traffic: Post About Current Events & Hot Topics

Posted on November 3, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Entertainment, Marketing Strategy, SEO, Technology, Website Design | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries Wedding

Don't be like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Choose Web Technology that will last more than 72 days.

Can Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries push this blog post to Page One of Google? Let’s find out.

This post is actually a follow-on to one I wrote at the end of October about the keywords people search on that bring our posts up on Page One of search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the examples was a post I wrote about Apple’s new SiRi app for the iPhone 4s and IBMs artificial intelligence counterpart Watson.

Comparing the two turned out to be a very hot search topic and sent scads of traffic to my blog that might not have found it otherwise. Some of those seekers subscribed and are now part of my blog community. Since the flow of hits from Siri Watson searches hasn’t yet ebbed, I suppose that this post will come up, too.

This has led me to think about how useful posting about news events and hot topics can be to building blog traffic. A precept of inbound Marketing is that people are already online searching for the information we provide and all we have to is to help them to find us.

Think ‘news you can use’. What’s going on today that you can write about – that either falls into your area of expertise, or that you can use as a metaphor for something that does?

As an experiment, I’m going to use the next couple of paragraphs to compare the Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries divorce to what can happen if you happen to choose the wrong website designer and technology platform in a web 2.0 world.

Like Kardashian and Humphries you may be dazzled by a package that promises a fairy tale online future – a beautiful website with great design, lots of pictures, built with dazzling Flash technology that animates the whole shebang. While the price tag might not be $15 million, it’s still a pretty penny, but, you feel, worth every shekel.

Fast forward to 72 days after the launch. You wonder why you’re not getting any leads from the new site. The title tag announces your company name, after all. Great if anyone is searching for you specifically. Lousy if they’re searching generically for what you do.

You complain to a friend who explains that Flash is basically invisible to search engines and not supported by the Apple OS. And by the way, why don’t you have key words and search terms in your title tag before your company name – SEO best practices?

You also soon learn that if your site had a connected blog, you could drive lots of traffic to it. If it had a conversion form and you had the ability to add a piece of content on a hot topic for visitors to download in exchange for providing their email addresses, you could start to build a nice list of leads who you could then nurture with more useful information and who would likely become customers.

But you can’t do that because you built a beautiful online brochure not made for an interactive internet environment. Just like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, you accept the fact that you and your new site have irreconcilable differences and you kiss it all goodbye – including the cost of development.

Maybe you should have looked a little bit closer before taking the plunge. The dream dashed, like Kim, you’d might as well head off to Australia to pitch your business there and start anew.

OK. I’m going to tag this post with all of the hot topic names and let’s see if Kim and Kris followers bring us up to the top of the Google world! I’ll let you know – or try googling some of the keywords in the tags and see if you find New PR Words and Music. Let me know, ok??

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Tribute to a Great Strategist: My Mentor, John Walsh

Posted on November 1, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

John Walsh Words Music Piano

Colgate Dinah Shore Winner's Circle Ad

A print ad for the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Tournament – With Arnie Palmer. I was there when it was shot.

Today is four years since my dear mentor and stepfather John R. Walsh died. Two years ago I wrote a post about him that will give you some of his and our background.

What I’d like to share with you in this post is some of his brilliant thinking and the lessons we can take  in a Web 2.0 world from his ability to strategize before the Internet/World Wide Web.

Next time you watch women’s golf and tennis think of John Walsh. Back in the 1970’s women’s sports had almost no corporate sponsorship. With no big money prizes and TV contracts there was very little interest. It occurred to John that this represented an opportunity for consumer products companies whose primary purchasing public was almost wholly women.

He pitched the idea to Colgate-Palmolive CEO-at-the-time David Foster, who passed away recently. Foster, who happened to really like women and golf, thought it was a great idea and the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Classic was born. Foster even bought it a home – the Mission Hills Golf Course in Palm Springs. Its success also helped to increase sponsorship of women’s tennis.

Walsh and Foster boosted the careers of LPGA Hall of Famers JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez and Amy Alcott among many others. The two pretty much put the sport on the map. The fabulous PR strategy still puts Colgate-Palmolive in a positive spotlight today.

John’s big strategic idea: Great opportunities are out there. Look for an audience that can get behind something that already exists and is just waiting for support from a logical booster.

He did the same thing with Cutty Sark Scots Whisky, selling its global distributor and the Men’s Fashion Association to collaborate on a men’s fashion awards program at a time when there was no recognition for menswear designers. The Cutty Awards ran for years, garnering untold media attention for all and boosting the early careers of such fashion icons as Gianni Versace, Alexander Julian and many others.

In the days of Web 2.0 and online search, it’s actually much easier to come up with winning matches like these.

If you click the link at the top of this post it should bring up your audio player and a music file of John singing and playing one of his own compositions, “I’m In Love With San Francisco.” As I explained in my 2009 post, John played a mean piano – in the key of C only – and composed some wonderful songs. A man of words, he was his own lyricist.

Unfortunately, John’s songs remain unknown. I’m happy to give one of them some airtime here.  The song was recorded to digital from an old cassette tape using an iPhone 4s so the quality isn’t great, but it’ll give you a peek at one other part of his creative heart and mind.

Here’s to one of the greatest winners I’ve ever known. Love you and miss you, John.

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Watson, Meet Siri! Power Couple Marching Down the Aisle to the Semantic Web

Posted on October 17, 2011. Filed under: Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Mobile Technology, Semantic Web, Web 3.0 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Digital Power Couple IBM's Watson and Apple's Siri

Digital Power Couple IBM's Watson and Apple's Siri are Marching Down the Aisle to the Semantic Web

The first few posts I read about the new Apple iPhone 4s pre- and immediately-post-launch were pretty tepid and ho-hum post-Steve Jobs dismissals. This is why I rarely pay attention when the tech avant garde makes its first pronouncements about a new product release. Turns out that hiding in the new iPhone is some game-changing technology.

Over the next couple of days the word/name Siri started to creep into my conscious as something that might just be interesting about the new version after all. Finally, David Pogue wrote in the New York Times about four new things the iPhone 4s does, the last of which made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle with excitement.

He wrote about ‘Thing 4’ that it is: “Speech recognition. Crazy good, transformative, category-redefining speech recognition.” He was referring to Siri — a software functionality from a little company that Apple acquired in 2010.

Apparently Siri builds on another voice recognition software, Dragon, that’s been available on iPhones since 2009. Dictate using Dragon and your voice converts to text, subject to the occasional glitch.

What got my attention – and what made Pogue go wild about Siri — is that ‘she’ is billed as a virtual assistant that understands fairly complex commands and questions. But what’s fabulous is that ‘she’ answers questions and provides information in a contextual way.

You can read Pogue’s column, but here are some examples that he gave:

“You can say, “Wake me up at 7:35,” or “Change my 7:35 alarm to 8.” You can say, “What’s Gary’s work number?” Or, “How do I get to the airport?” Or, “Any good Thai restaurants around here?” Or, “Make a note to rent ‘Ishtar’ this weekend.” Or, “How many days until Valentine’s Day?” Or, “Play some Beatles.” Or, “When was Abraham Lincoln born?””

“In each case, Siri thinks for a few seconds, displays a beautifully formatted response and speaks in a calm female voice,” Pogue added.

The idea of the Semantic Web – sometimes called Web 3.0 – fascinates me as it will provide the next advances in communications between humans and computers. If you’d like to know more, check out my post from back in the late winter when I blogged about IBM’s new computer Watson ‘who’ blew away top contestants on a much-publicized match on the TV show Jeopardy.

Watson and Siri promise to be part of a new DNA line of computer technology. What do you imagine or hope we’ll be able to do in computing or online when their offspring come of age and we can converse with our computers and mobile devices?

By the way…follow the link if you’re interested in how Inbound Marketing can generate online leads.

The image is from Neal under Creative Commons license.

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Blogging: Why Wouldn’t You Do Something That Works?

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Content, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Writing | Tags: , , , , , |

Blogging Opens Doors

Blogging Opens Doors

Why would you not do something guaranteed to bring people to your website and introduce your company’s expertise and offerings? There are so many marketing efforts people chase that cost time and money with no guarantee that they’ll yield anything. So, I ask again…Why wouldn’t you spend a few hours a week on an activity guaranteed to pay off?

I’m talking about blogging. I guarantee you that when I write and publish this post today, I will get traffic. And I’ll get more traffic than yesterday when I didn’t post. I get traffic to my blog every day when I’m posting at least three times a week.

Some of it comes from publicizing the posts on social media. But lots of it comes from organic search – people searching online for topics represented in keywords contained in the posts — and they find me.

I almost talked myself out of posting today in favor of other things that require my attention. But I prioritized getting a post out – regardless of how short. Because I know it will get results. It will provide opportunities for new relationships and potential business.

That feels great to me and I hope that sharing this with you will be motivating and helpful. Success feels great. Blog for success!

 

Image from Ben Zvan under Creative Commons license.

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Social Media Does Not Equal Inbound Marketing

Posted on September 30, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , |

 
Welcome to Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a bigger, more strategic concept than Social Media

When someone asks me what I do for a living and I say, “I’m an Inbound Marketing consultant and they get that blank stare, I try to help them by saying, “Online Marketing,” as a potentially more understandable explanation. Almost inevitably, they then say, “Oh. Social Media. We’re doing that.”

Then I say to myself, “There’s still so much education necessary to help people understand that:

  • Inbound Marketing is a total process for growing business online
  • Social media engagement is one important part of implementing Inbound Marketing, but to really make social media pay off, you first have to understand its purpose in the big picture.

 Here’s a list of what Social Media is good for:

  • Identifying people online who can buy your products/services or refer others who can.
  • Cultivating relationships with those individuals.
  • Publicizing your website, blog posts and other valuable original content to drive traffic.
  • Providing outposts for your company other than your website to engage with audiences in different ways.

This is all great and these activities can stand on their own to a point. But Inbound Marketing as an overall approach:

  • Originates from a more strategic than tactical mindset.
  • Looks at marketing as a driver of growth and takes business objectives and metrics into consideration.
  • Is concerned with not only creating online traffic but converting it to sales.
  • Tailors tactics to address a prospect’s progress in the purchase cycle.
  • Incorporates analytics to measure success and set productive marketing directions.
  • Offers ROI proofs.

So if your company has a Facebook page, a Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Google+ account – even if you’re blogging like crazy in addition to your social media efforts – and you’re not sure what it’s actually contributing to the bottom line, it’s time to graduate to the next level of online marketing. Start thinking and implementing like an Inbound Marketer.

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A Marketing View: 20 Steps to a Website that Maximizes Business Growth

Posted on September 26, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Small Business, Website Design | Tags: , , , , , |

Grow Your Business Online

Marketing Strategy is the First Step to Growing Business Online

In the past, if you wanted a new website – or to redesign an existing one – the first step was to find a web design firm. This was fine when your website was an online brochure.

Today, if you make your first concern the design and look/feel of your site, you’re missing valuable opportunities to use the web project to refine or redefine your business focus, to add new business lines – and to get found.

A marketing/business consultant is well suited to help you in this effort and is a prudent first stop. Getting an outside eye on your business and online marketing can yield fresh ideas about how you can use your web presence to grow.

Then find a good design/web development firm capable of implementing your brand identity and web strategy, offering technical advice, and organizing your content for usability. Your marketing consultant will undoubtedly be able to help you source the right partner.

Here are 20 steps to structuring a website project to maximize business growth:

1. Review and audit your current marketing, as well as new marketing approaches you’d like to add.

2. Be able to articulate, “What’s our business?”

3. Do a lot of competitive research. Look at other sites. See what your competitors are doing or not doing. A good consultant will come up with ways that you can leap-frog them with your expanded web presence. (Tip: SEO utilizing current best practices provides fertile soil for growth. Most businesses simply aren’t doing it, or doing it right.)

4. Be sure to answer the question: “Are there any new products, services or offerings related to our core business that we can and should add?”

5. Make sure you’re focused on the right customer.

6. Identify your market positioning.

7. Think out of the box to identify all stakeholders and key influencers.

8. Interview a few of them

9. Develop your key messages – the most important ideas you want to convey consistently to your audiences.

10. Do your keyword research – identify the words/phrases people are actually using to search on line for products/services like yours. (Hint: Not necessarily the words you’d use to search for them).

11. Organize your site by developing a sample navigation. Be sure to include a blog if you want to drive maximum traffic to your site. Have your consultant recommend internal linking strategies to help users work efficiently through your site.

12. Decide: What existing content can be re-used? What content should be scrapped? What new pages do you need to develop?

13. Determine the level of control you want or need to have over your website. What edits do you want to be able to make in-house without tech assistance. We recommend having as much control as possible if you want to use your website to help grow your business.

14. Source a web designer/developer who works in technology platforms that will accommodate the level of control you desire.

15. Provide the navigation and all the guidance you’ve developed in completing the steps above to your web developer. It will help them prepare a realistic budget.

16. Write/develop the content for all of your pages – including all SEO information for each page, any photos, videos and other media you’ll want to use – and provide the content to the web developer.

17. Get into the design process and have fun with the visual.

18. Code the site in accordance with the provided SEO, content and linking strategies. In the case of website re-do’s, make sure to properly re-direct existing pages and to retain important backlinks to the site.

19. Test and tweak for usability.

20. LAUNCH!!

Emphasizing business and marketing strategy first in the web development process has never failed to yield new directions for our clients’ businesses.

The illustration “Dollar Sign in Space” is by DonkeyHotey under Creative Commons license.

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Lessons from the 2011 Inbound Marketing Summit

Posted on September 20, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Media, Online Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Inbound Marketing Summit 2011 in Boston

The Inbound Marketing Summit 2011 Was Packed With Ideas From Top Experts

My Twitter account was hacked last night, so no Tuesday Tweets til I get things back to normal. Instead, I’ll share more learning from the 2011 Inbound Marketing Summit (#IMS11 if you want to follow it on Twitter), which I attended last week in Boston.

I put up a couple of quick posts while I was there, but now that I’ve had a chance to process the experience and review my notes I can offer you more in depth reporting and some key takeaways.

As in the past two years that I’ve attended, the speakers were the top names in marketing and media – online and offline. I’ll be sharing highlights of their talks over the next week or so – starting now.

Differentiating Your Company from the Competition

After a welcome by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who talked about the opportunities for tech companies in his state, Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon gave the opening keynote on the topic of marketing differentiation. This is a favorite topic of mine as I see so much boring sameness out there, industry to industry. Translate that to mean loss of opportunity.

In true HBS tradition, as she put it, Moon explained ‘being different’ via case studies of IKEA, Mini Cooper and Apple. These ‘different’ companies have built very devoted customers and share certain qualities that we can all try to emulate:

  •  Nurturing the seemingly crazy ideas that lead them to buck the status quo and become ‘different.’ (Think about launching a tiny car to the U.S. market in an age of SUVs.)
  • Embracing their negatives. According to Moon, the genius is often in the negatives.
  • Being willing to ignore critics.
  • Not over-listening to customers, who can tell you how to improve, but not how to be different.
  • Being passionate beyond belief – the extreme version of caring and believing.

Do You Really Need to Be On Google+?

Chris Brogan, who’s been evaluating Google+ in depth since it launched in June tackled the subject of why we need another social network. His answer: Technology Evolves! We need to go where our people are.

Brogan pointed out an array of now-defunct – or almost defunct – technology and sites to make his point. Do you remember Friendster? Does anyone log onto Geocities these days?

Beyond its ‘clean’ visual look, Google+ has added social functionalities that have been missing and that Twitter and Facebook have now responded to with similar features. Selective sharing has been embraced, along with the video conferencing capabilities of which people are making varied and creative use, i.e. holding intellectual ‘salons’ of gurus and regular folk or hosting international customer support forums.

But the most powerful reason to have a Google+ presence is that it’s the first social network that combines social with search. Google no longer indexes Twitter, but being on Google+ might just help you come up higher in organic search results than those who aren’t.

Middle of the Sales Funnel in the Spotlight

HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan used his speaking slot to address the shifting sales funnel. The first few years of inbound marketing have focused on stretching the top of the sales funnel by attracting more traffic to our websites and other online outposts and then converting the traffic to leads.

Inbound marketing 2.0 will be about how to better nurture leads through the middle of the sales funnel so that we develop a significant enough relationship to convert leads to customers when they’re ready to purchase. HubSpot recently acquired the company Performable, which has focused on middle-of-the-funnel technology that will now integrate with the HubSpot platform.

The key takeaway from Brian’s talk is that this shift in focus to the middle of the funnel coincides with the shift in power from the sales rep to the buyer created by the ability to research products and services online before buying. This has created a paradigm shift in the relationship between marketing and sales.

The new realities of buyer power require bigger marketing departments to handle the lead generation and nurturing processes and a smaller sales force that can concentrate on converting to customers the highly-qualified and sales-ready leads that marketing turns over to them.

More to come! Have you begun shifting your marketing to take advantage of new thinking and online tools?

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Report #2 from Inbound Marketing Summit

Posted on September 15, 2011. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , |

How much better does it get for online marketing geeks? Former Apple chief evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki spoke about his book Enchantment this morning. His updated take on How to Win Friends and Influence People gives a fresh take on how to connect offline as well as online in a digital world. He definitely models his first premise: Be Likable!

The day ended with Fast Company writer Dan Heath offering wisdom from his NY Times bestseller Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Perfect for inbound marketers who are working to change marketing so that it works for today’s realities.

Between the two talks HubSpot founder and CEO Brian Halligan updated us VARs on the direction the company is taking to help companies embrace the changes in the way they must market to be successful.

Let me share with you that it’s such exciting stuff. Successful marketing has never been easy or without sufficient investment.

At least now, you can finally see the results of your marketing investment – of dollars and time – in concrete terms. More than ever before you can integrate your efforts for great efficiency and with maximum control.

When I get back to the office I’ll share more specifics. Just thought I’d give you a small rundown and a bit of the day’s energy.

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