But to put those in play, you need the right tools and technology.
Which brings us to the third and final installment of our Inbound Marketing Glossary:
But to put those in play, you need the right tools and technology.
Which brings us to the third and final installment of our Inbound Marketing Glossary:
Ruthie Abraham, on 12/29/15 4:30 AM
We’ve spoken quite a bit about how many opportunities there are for finding new prospects and customers online. Utilizing LinkedIn, building up your thought leadership on relevant guest sites--there are abundant opportunities for generating new traffic, converting new leads, finding new prospects.
But what about old prospects? What about people who have engaged with your site in the past, contacted you previously, or maybe even purchased over the past few years? When’s the last time you worked to convert them into leads engaging with your business in the present?
Ready to flip to the next page in the inbound marketing dictionary?
The first breakdown of inbound terms identified some bigger picture concepts in the inbound marketing game. Today, we want to break down some of the more actionable items in marketing.
Let’s dive into Part 2 of our Inbound Marketing Glossary:
Many of our clients are very humble people. We notice that a lot with the CEO’s we work with; they’re certainly proud of their product, proud of the business they’ve worked hard to create and build, but they’re also quick to attribute praise to those that helped them get there--their executives, their team, their spouses.
For whatever reason, maybe it’s the type of traditional, nuts-to-bolts business they run, but whatever it is, they’re far more likely to want to talk about their company than about themselves.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: inbound marketing (or really all of online marketing) comes with a ton of jargon. There are a lot of new words and terms to understand when you are launching a new approach to your marketing, or even just trying to understand if this is the right marketing strategy for your business
We’ve introduced a lot of these terms along the way, but we wanted to have one point of reference for you as you continue to learn about the various aspects of inbound.
You’ve heard us say many times that inbound marketing is all about educating your prospects with relevant content. The hard sell isn’t as effective as it used to be, simply because people don’t want to be sold to.
But everyone’s always open to hearing a story.
It wasn’t that long ago that chatter about a new store opening would travel through the town by sheer gossip. Neighbors leaning over fences to share the news, friends picking up the phone to spread the word-those were the good ol’ days.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply for local businesses. Not every company has the resources to pursue a marketing campaign filled with TV commercials, radio spots, or national print ads. They rely on locally circulated papers and yellow pages, and customer recommendations.
None of this is ancient history by any means. But it may as well be.
There are several ways that we at The Brand Builders like to do things differently. For example, our strong belief on ‘approachable’ marketing--we navigate our clients through the jungle of marketing jargon towards marketing success, and ensure that we’re consistently serving marketing results and education, not just selling empty promises.
Another key factor in our approach is our belief in a partnership with our clients. We work with you to enhance your online marketing presence and results.
Ruthie Abraham, on 12/15/15 4:00 AM
We’re not shy about sharing our achievements on behalf of our clients.
Or rather, we’re not shy about sharing them when there’s a teachable moment that comes from it.
So for example, the case study we shared? That was meant to show you how the right approach to inbound marketing can generate great results.
And today, we want to show you what effective automated marketing can look like.
Ruthie Abraham, on 12/14/15 4:00 AM
There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your presence on LinkedIn, and maximize the opportunities for building a network of quality, engaged leads. And we’ve broken down all of the steps you need to take over several articles (find them here).
One of the main reasons that building a strong presence on LinkedIn is such an asset for business growth is because through your interactions and engagement on the site, you will be building up ‘thought leadership.’
Why is LinkedIn the best social media tool for any business? Because it allows you to access the world’s professionals, a global pool of potential clients and partners. It also helps you search and connect directly with your target audience. You can get in front of your ideal customer base, and build a relationship with them exactly where they are—on the web.
As we’ve alluded to on several occasions, there’s one aspect of LinkedIn that truly sets it apart as a critical resource for your company, and that is its Groups function.
Since LinkedIn created this wonderful tool, it’s no surprise that they also provide the best definition to explain it: “LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”
Ruthie Abraham, on 12/9/15 4:00 AM
If you’re embarking on the path of inbound marketing--or any marketing approach at all, really--then you’ve decided to put in place a lot of efforts aimed at driving more people to your site, and hoping they will engage with your site.
But if the site isn’t worth looking at, then your efforts will be for naught.
Ruthie Abraham, on 12/8/15 4:00 AM
One of the key benefits of LinkedIn is that, after you’ve built up your network, (and as you continue to build it), you can publish content to the site. Anyone can publish to LinkedIn, and as you grow your network, any content you publish will be pushed to all of those connections.
The specific and actionable goals that you set when starting an inbound campaign will determine the why of your inbound marketing approach, but you also need to narrow in on the what and how of your strategy, and for that, you need to understand the who.
(Don’t feel bad for where and when: they get ‘the Internet’ and ‘whenever’ respectively. Pretty big deals.)
As many of you know by now (especially if you’ve read past articles on our blog), inbound marketing is attraction marketing. Instead of interrupting prospects during the course of their daily life, inbound meets them where they are, and provides helpful, valuable content for them as they search for what they need.
And that exact moment, that time and place when a new prospect becomes aware of your company for the first time?
We here at The Brand Builders call that the moment of discovery.
Just as your personal LinkedIn profile page is the primary representation of yourself and your brand, (as you have to use your personal account for group activity and comments), your LinkedIn company page is an extension of your company’s values and ideals.
This page is where you can truly reinforce your brand message and provide a forum for more detailed insight about your company. It will also be one of the primary places where you’ll publish content on a consistent basis. Your company page blurs the line between knowledge-sharing and relationship-building, making it an optimal resource for securing quality connections on LinkedIn.
A big mentality here at The Brand Builders is that we’re not just about the work we do for our clients. We believe in educating, teaching, and helping anyone who has an interest or curiosity in inbound marketing and what it can do for them.
That’s something that comes across on our blog and in our free resources, but it also becomes clear with the very first conversation we have with a new prospect, in which we determine whether or not they’re right for an inbound marketing campaign.
I'm thrilled to share that an article I wote was recently featured on Outbrain!
Here's a sneak peek of the article:
By: Ruthie Abraham
Life changing news flash: thin is out, fat is in.
Well, at least in terms of content.
Ruthie Abraham, on 11/30/15 3:00 AM
LinkedIn has a ton to offer professionals and business owners like yourself. And if you want to take as much advantage of that opportunity as you can, then it all comes down to your profile.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as the central command of your presence on LinkedIn—and, actually, the entire web, since it’s likely to come up as one of the top results when someone searches you on Google.
I think we’ve well covered why and how LinkedIn can be one of the strongest social media tools at your company’s disposal. The potential it offers for lead generation and targeted company growth is truly unparalleled.
But most people don’t realize just how huge and powerful a business networking site LinkedIn has become, and just how many high quality contacts actively use it.
Further, many people have certain objections to LinkedIn, and I think they are worth addressing:
From The Brand Builders family to yours, we wanted to send you all best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
As we reflect back on the past year, specifically the who’s and what’s that we’re most thankful for from the past year, we wanted to share that list with you because, spoiler alert, you’re at the top of it.
Ruthie Abraham, on 11/25/15 3:00 AM
Here at The Brand Builders, we write a lot of blog posts. We write for our own blog, we write guest posts for other sites, we write blog posts for our clients. Sometimes we work with partners on other pieces, but even so--content creation is the bulk of our day, week, month, etc.
There’s a lot that goes into writing a strong, effective blog post that not only rings with relevance for our readers, but is also coherent, grammatically correct, and just generally readable. We’ve broken down some blogging essentials that will help you hone in on what and how you should be writing. But those are effective for the individual process of writing each article. Inbound marketing requires dozens of blog posts, and it’s easy for that scope to overwhelm the integrity and effectiveness of what you’re producing.
Ruthie Abraham, on 11/24/15 6:00 AM
Marketing is a very idea-oriented business. Creative ideas and approaches are a big part of what pushes businesses forward and further, and we’re all for that.
But there’s a danger in throwing out ideas on how to change your company’s online marketing strategy without knowing what those ideas are meant to achieve. Why are you changing strategies? What hasn’t been working that you need to work better? Which numbers aren’t you hitting that are actually important for you to be hitting.
If you ask any of our clients what it’s like to work with us, there’s one thing that most of them are likely to say.
They’re likely to remember that in the first month or so of working with us, they heard from us more than they ever thought they would.
You may remember that we shared with you some questions that are worth asking yourself as you build out a marketing strategy. As we mentioned then, those are some of the questions we ask new clients during the discovery and onboarding process. Emphasis on some.
What social media site has over 380 million users spanning over 200 countries and territories, including over 100 million users in the United States?
What online platform has 97 million unique visits a month, and continues to grow at an average of two new users per second?
Which social media service is checked every single day by over forty percent of its users, who also spend an average of 17 minutes there per session?
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it 100 times: content marketing is at the core of any inbound marketing strategy. (And if it isn’t yet for you, then it should be.)
What’s great about content is that it’s sort of an abstract word that can become tactile in a number of different ways--you can bring content to life through whichever format you think aligns best with your company’s goals and your audience’s preference.
Ruthie Abraham, on 11/18/15 6:00 AM
We’re all about learning from real world examples, especially when it’s our real world. To that end, I want to share something that happened recently with one of our clients, some lessons we learned, and some takeaways for you as well.
We’d been doing some testing in regards to targeting for this client, and decided to turn on a Facebook ad to see what the enhanced reach could mean for top of funnel brand discovery.
We talk a lot on this site about the what’s and why’s of our work. We’ve broken down marketing jargon and buzzwords, explored some of the most important principles of inbound marketing, and provided actionable strategies to help you apply those principles to your own business. And all of that is in pursuit of building quality relationships between you and your customers through the inbound method of marketing.
Ruthie Abraham, on 11/16/15 8:00 AM
We at the Brand Builders are marketers. We run a marketing agency, and have helped clients achieve substantial marketing success. We write about dozens of different aspects of marketing, sales, and thought leadership on our blog. We create sample marketing plans and other free resources to serve to companies such as yours.
And yet we’ve also produced blog posts about a vast array of topics that we’ve never studied. Our clients are companies in industries such as manufacturing, consumer goods, business supplies and services, and the like. And no matter where their product lives, we know we can deliver relevant content that will be valuable to their prospects, content that answers the concerns their prospects face, whether that’s manufacturing costs or how the seasons will affect their business--or even, if needed, rocket science.
As a reminder, content marketing is creating and distributing pieces of informative, relevant content that demonstrate to your prospects that you understand them, understand the industry they live in, and have valuable answers to help them with their pain points and problems.
But here’s a bit of a cynical question to chew on.
Why should they listen to what you have to say? Who are you to them, that they should listen to your thoughts about a given topic? How do they know that your answers are indeed valuable?
I’m gonna start this post off with a slightly negative admission, so please--bear with me.
Inbound marketing can very often feel like a black hole.
When you invest in pay-per-click advertising or Facebook ads, you see the results immediately; your traffic goes up from day 1.
With inbound, a client writes a check every month for a strategy--and daily execution of that strategy--but for the first 3, 4, 5 long months, they get very little back in their pocket in terms of satisfying metrics.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/23/15 4:00 AM
If there’s one thing that we at The Brand Builders pride ourselves on it's transparency. Take a look at any of our blog posts and you’ll see what I mean. We strongly believe in unraveling the mystery of marketing to make it approachable for anyone seeking to understand it. We are more than happy to pull back the curtain to show you the nuts and bolts, the A-Z, the ins and outs of this process.
They say that the very beginning is the very best place to start and the same applies here. What’s the very first step of beginning an inbound marketing campaign? Understanding what you need from that campaign.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/22/15 8:28 AM
But there is one more piece of the puzzle to address. Because putting the system and strategy in place is the first step, but after we do all of the above, we might be faced with challenge of no one knowing that it’s in place. No one knows Safety Inc. is there.
Which brings us to the sort of bonus step 5: going out and getting new eyeballs for the business.
But capturing that lead through premium content isn’t enough. You need to be engaging your lead at every step of their process, so that you don’t lose them before they’re ready to commit.
Which brings us to….
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/20/15 5:00 AM
You’ve made it to Step 3 of our Sample Marketing Plan. Huzzah!
So now’s when you really take hold...
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/19/15 5:00 AM
It’s time for Step 2 of our Sample Marketing Plan!
As a reminder, we’ve introduced you to our fictional client, Safety Inc. and their maintenance safety products. Then we got to know their target customer through extensive research, to really put ourselves in the mind of the consumer and better understand who we’re speaking to.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/18/15 1:57 AM
For those of you who missed our intro post, we are presenting a series of articles revolving around a sample marketing plan that, when combined, will demonstrate a sample, actionable inbound marketing plan. This is the approach we would take for a client--in this case Safety Inc., a fictional B2B company that sells maintenance safety products, and whose core market is facility managers, safety managers, and facility engineers.
I remember one of the first times, several years ago, that I presented an inbound marketing strategy to a new client. I went through the inbound methodology, the 4 stages of inbound, content marketing 101—all of the inbound principles. I was pleased with all I was able to convey, but more than my pride at my first true inbound presentation, I’ll never forget what he said in response, as it has dictated much of our client interactions since. He said, “Sounds great, but I’ll need to see it in action. I have no imagination.”
I was surprised to hear him say that, as his impressive imagination and creativity was what led him to create the company he had been running successfully for 10 years.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/16/15 10:38 AM
If you’re ever having a conversation about inbound marketing (of which we have many,) you’ll notice that the discussion usually starts with exposition about how consumer behavior has shifted over the last several years, and how that affects the marketing and sales processes.
If a prospect wants to know something about a product or service, they don’t wait for a sales team to provide them with the information. They Google their question, and receive an answer right away.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/15/15 8:18 AM
It’s kind of hard to remember a time before social media. News feeds and hashtags have only really become prevalent in the last decade, a little over, but it’s as if news of engagements, births, or, most importantly, political feuds, were never shared another way.
And yet, though Facebook and Twitter accounts have become second nature for most people, many don’t realize the full extent of social media tools they have at their disposal.
Take LinkedIn. Many professionals actively wonder whether or not they should be on LinkedIn. They ask themselves what the value of it is, if it’s worth their time. Many will tell you they don’t need more friends or to be spammed by people they don’t know.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/14/15 12:33 PM
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a hundred times: there is so much conversation that goes on in the online marketing space. Concepts, ideas, jargon--all are thrown around so much that it’s easy to lose sight of the underlying foundation for it all.
Don’t get me wrong--a lot of that discussion is really relevant and helpful, even instrumental in coming up with a strong strategy for your inbound approach. But sometimes it’s important to take a step back, and make sure we understand why we’re implementing that strategy, and what we’re aiming to achieve with it.
We live in an age of instant gratification. This era of hyper connection has caused the demand for instant results to truly penetrate every corner of our lives. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds. Retailers offer same-day delivery services (delivery by drone, anyone?). Apps eliminate the wait for a cab. Even a romantic relationship can be just a swipe away.
When we want something, we want it now. Period.
However, the increasing availability of the ‘instant’ makes us forget that some things do, in fact, take time, and usually, those are things that are worth the wait.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/12/15 7:04 AM
We at The Brand Builders like to give credit where credit is due. To that end, we say this: You are an expert in your business. You know your customers, your product, and you have a sense of what works and what doesn’t within your industry. Not only do we always acknowledge that in our clients, but we use it to our advantage in partnering with them to build the right strategy, and in strengthening their presence as experts in their field.
There are a few popular statistics that inbound marketers like to share when extolling the virtues of our customer-centric approach to selling.
(The other popular statistics concern a) how much cheaper inbound marketing is than traditional, and b) results statistics showing the success of inbound--but those are topics for another time.)
The above figures are notable for one reason: they all prove that people increasingly hate being sold to.
Ruthie Abraham, on 10/6/15 7:32 AM
Sometimes I think that marketing is like dating. Seriously! Think about it. A company is trying to court a customer, trying to woo a targeted audience to their site, have them fall in love with their product, etc. They primp and prep and put their best face on to attract the customer to them, and hope that what they’re putting out there is interesting enough to get a second date, ie: a quality lead.
And what’s one of the biggest turn-offs to a prospective date? Boring. People want excitement, entertainment, pizazz.
Which, in the marketing world, has traditionally put the B2B space at a serious disadvantage.
Ruthie Abraham, on 9/22/15 4:30 AM
Sometimes it’s hard to envision what your business can achieve when confronted with the overwhelming decisions you need to make towards those goals. No matter what kind of business you run--high-tech or low-tech, manufacturing or marketing--there is always uncertainty in the actions you need to take. Is this the right purchase decision? Is this the right marketing approach? What costs should I be spending on this avenue or that? Both the day-to-day decisions and long term plans are riddled with questions about whether you’re making the right move for your business at the right time.
Ruthie Abraham, on 9/21/15 4:30 AM
There's a huge paradox that keeps popping up in the world of online marketing.
Online marketers and agencies keep throwing out ideas and material and input on what to do for your business, and which strategy to pursue, and how to optimize this, and how to elevate that, and how to maximize here, and how to capitalize there...arg!
They make this world seem so confusing and overwhelming, when the truth is, online marketing can be simplified into one question that we discuss in depth in today's podcast:
Ruthie Abraham, on 9/17/15 4:30 AM
I have a major pet peeve in marketing, and that is the hype that surrounds online marketing.
Marketing has become a buzz word. There's such a focus on being a part of the conversation, that it's easy to lose sight of what that conversation is about.
It's therefore so important to always remember the WHY of what you're doing--your goals.
Ruthie Abraham, on 9/16/15 6:59 AM
I'm going to make a (admittedly invisible) bet right here and now that you or your company has at one point attended or presented at a trade show.
I'm right, aren't I?
Trade shows have been a staple in the B2B space for a long time. They can be very valuable and powerful events for a business looking to connect, and it's therefore no surprise that your company might have taken advantage of one or two.