Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Wikipedia |
Can you succinctly describe Inbound Marketing? Do you have an idea but are not quite certain? Would you like to know more about what it is? Do you have absolutely no idea, but would be willing to take a stab at explaining it anyway?
Then this is the post for you! You just have to be prepared to share your take on Inbound Marketing in the comments. There’s a prize involved. Read on.
Why am I looking for a definition? I talk to companies about Inbound Marketing every day and each time I try to find the tidiest way to help people get it. I’m a pretty darned good communicator – been doing it professionally and successfully for decades. I’ve explained lots of complex concepts and technologies.
But Inbound Marketing seems tougher for some reason. Maybe it’s because people think they know what it is, and are resistant to accepting that there’s more to it. Eventually people understand, but given today’s short attention spans, we need a short explanation. Time is of the essence!
I’ve checked out Inbound Marketing groups on LinkedIn, the websites of fellow Inbound Marketing agencies, HubSpot’s website and Wikipedia, which was able to shed light on an earlier sense of Inbound/Outbound Marketing that I encountered once trying to explain it to a software company product development executive.
So far I’ve found nothing that encompasses all the parts and benefits of today’s Inbound Marketing in a way that’s quickly understandable. I’ve blogged about how people don’t get it. I’ve wracked my own brain for a tight definition and come up with something that I’m trying out in my networking groups and to audiences I’m speaking to in the near future. But I have a feeling I can do better.
So I decided to reach out to the online community of all stripes to see if we can crowd source something that works. There’s a prize for the best definition: A copy of Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-founders of HubSpot. Brian coined the phrase Inbound Marketing.
Let’s have at it. I’m passionate about Inbound Marketing, know it works and want more companies to get it and buy in, so that they can start reaping the benefits. Plus we can have some fun!
Let’s get all the help we can. Please share everywhere!!
The image is from the photostream of tj scenes on Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Content, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Writing | Tags: Blogging, Blogs, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media |
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
Posted on September 30, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Strategy, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: Blogging, Blogs, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Small Business, 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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Since 9/11 ten years ago, much has been said about the role that lack of communication played in the tragic event.
Our various national security offices failed to connect the dots among various pieces of intelligence that may have led to foiling the evil plot. Simply they didn’t speak to one another.
On the ground on that day that changed our lives forever, first responders did not have equipment adequate to communicate moment-by-moment events to each other. This led to unnecessary further loss of life.
I recall the frustration and fear that came from the inability to confirm whether friends in the city were safe or lost. Cell phone communication with New York was lost.
Today we hear of credible – though unconfirmed — terrorist threats that enable us to thwart attacks. When we see something, we’re encouraged to say something – and we do.
New York Mayor Bloomberg spoke today of the advances in equipment and technology now available to our first responders when they go into harms way.
When cell service is down because of man-made or natural disasters – like the recent hurricane – we can turn to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to keep abreast of news and stay in touch with loved ones.
I received a group email today from Scott Heiferman, CEO of MeetUp, the offline networking group he co-founded as a direct result of his experience of community and personal communication in his New York neighborhood in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He chose today to tell the story.
Although ten years after 9/11, we are paradoxically divided as a nation, its encouraging that we are more earnest communicators. We share our thoughts on blogs and elsewhere online. We get offline to gather in person at meet-ups, tweet-ups and town meetings to voice our views.
Maybe the goal of the decade to come should be to hone our listening skills and try to recapture the commonality we felt as a country right after that fateful and dreadful shared experience.
The image of the Greenwich Village 9/11 Memorial is from Paull Young under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Posted on August 31, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Human Business, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: Ellie Becker, Jay Baer, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media |
For the past couple of months you may have been noticing some posts here complaining about social media etiquette – lack of it, actually – over-commercialization and inattention to community that was the original hallmark of social media.
These days, so much activity seems to be related to numbers over substance. Get as many followers as possible. Maybe they’ll help you monetize your blog. Maybe you can sell them something right away and get your revenues up. It’s all about me, not about you. Relationship building is going by the wayside.
The counter measure to this phenomenon seems to be happening on Google+. People – mostly online-early-adopter types – are building different kinds of connections. They’re savoring the non-reciprocal nature of the place and experimenting, including communicating interests and passions other than what they share on their existing business and social networks.
Why is this happening? I say that it’s out of a dissatisfaction – and perhaps a fast-cycling nostalgia — for the hopes they saw in social media. Instead of companies getting on board for the journey, their inevitable push for results and ROI is grating against the notion of building trusting relationships that will lead to longer term rewards.
Among other recent blogs I’ve read expressing this thought, a couple of days ago social media consultant and author Jay Baer wrote a post on his well-regarded blog railing against the expectation that’s been developing that online marketing should be easy and yield instant results. I felt compelled to comment on his post having written with a similar sentiment recently.
Although it’s a young marketing approach, it seems to me that online marketing is at a Quantity vs Quality crossroads. Are you experiencing any evidence of this. This is an important conversation to have and hope you’ll join in.
The image is by Soundlessfall under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
Posted on August 30, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: Billy Costello, Blogging, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, Music, Social Media, Twitter |
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.
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
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!
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.
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 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.
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 )
Posted on August 14, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Human Business, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter |
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 )
Posted on August 11, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: Ellie Becker, HubSpot, human business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Pat Morrow, Small Business, Social Media |
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 LicenseRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
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!
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.
@dazglo36 Darren Glover
@CalebRamblexxx Caleb Ramble
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 )
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: Caramoor, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing, James Farm, Jazz, John Coltrane, Johnny Nartman, Jose James, Joshua Redman, Juan Carlos Formell, Mark Murphy, Marketing, New Media, Small Business, Social Media |
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 )
« Previous Entries