Hubspot continues to inspire our inbound marketing daily. We follow their blog religiously and look forward to the witty, yet educational posts that are constantly updated. Our favorite post as of late has to be their "Random Thoughts From Marketers Like You
." Our team was literally L-O-L-ing as we read each of the 45 thoughts that were just so true. At the end of the post, Hubspot asks their fellow marketers what crosses their minds during their daily inbound marketing activities. So, as we take direction so well, we have come up with a list of our own we thought we'd share.
- I can change top 10 to top 5, right?
- Could these stock photos be anymore awkward?
- How good does this button look? Do you think anyone will actually click on it?
- Is it appropriate to snack and blog all day?
- We got a new lead - @xyz.com seems legit.
- I just spent 8 hours making this infographic - I decided it sucks, so it's now a blog.
- We should really email [insert client name] about liking their own statuses on Facebook.
- Is wikipedia a reliable source?
- Does this word look funny to you? I've been staring at it for the last three hours and can no longer tell.
- Man, Hubspot makes it look so easy!
- Can you repurpose repurposed content?
- We could be jeopardy champions.
- Sounds like an intern task to me!
- How many times can you call Hubspot support in one day before they stop answering you?
- How is everyone at Hubspot so happy all-the-time?
So you want to write a blog, but have no idea where to start. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, my friends. Sure, you could Google the best blog title ideas out there, or you could try to come up with something creative and witty, but chances are you will spend an hour watching kitten videos on Youtube before even composing your first sentence. Starting a blog post is the bane of existence for every good writer. Here a few things that you should NOT do when trying to strike gold with your latest blog post.
You Don't Have A Keyword Goal.
Come on people, this is SEO 101. In the world of Google today, if you don't incorporate keywords into your content then you are wasting your valuable time and energy. No matter how awesome your blog post may be, if you fail to write around a keyword goal, the you are simply running on a hamster wheel to nowhere. Who wants to write super awesome content that no one is reading? Not you, right!?
You Only Talk About Yourself.
If you haven't been enlightened by the inbound marketing God Marcus Sheridan yet, then click here and prepare to be amazed. Sheridan, known as The Sale's Lion, preaches about connecting with your blogging audience. This means NOT writing blog posts centered around yourself or your business. Instead, provide the readers with valuable industry information that they will actually appreciate. If you post interesting and relevant blog posts, your readers will keep coming back.
You Are Pushy.
Have you ever gone to a website and been inundated with SALE! SALE! SALE! BUY! BUY! BUY! flashing across the screen? Chances are, you did not BUY! BUY! BUY! whatever was on SALE! SALE! SALE! Yes, we understand that you want to generate leads, but we promise there is a better solution. Instead of trying to push your content and calls-to-action into your reader's faces, offer it to them as a gift. Readers are more likely to respond to a subtle (yet effective) free download or offer.
You Are Boring!
According to the Statistic Brain, the average attention span lasts 8 seconds and the average percent of page views that last less than 4 seconds is 17%. So, is your blog title going to grab your reader in 8 seconds? Would you be thrilled to read a blog simply titled "Kitchens"? Chances are you won't read a blog post if it doesn't catch your eye. Always try to give your blog titles a little pop, with action words and interesting adjectives. Consider changing your boring "Kitchens" to "Top 10 Country Kitchens of 2013" -- a little more interested in kitchens now?
You Are Outdated.
No one wants to read a blog post that is behind the times. Check your facts and make sure you aren't writing about a topic that has since been updated or changed. Always check industry websites to keep on top of the current affairs of your industry. If you are referencing a pop culture piece (hello Gangham style!) make sure people are still actually talking about it. For the ImageWorks blog posts we love to visit Hubspot for the latest inbound marketing trends and tips.
Now you can go out into the blogging world and create mesmerizing blog posts that your readers wil love!
Looking for more tips to develop your web presence? Download our FREE guide on Internet marketing to get started.
If you read our last post, you know that inbound marketing is here to stay. Creating valuable content is a major part of what makes up inbound, and more and more companies are starting to realize it. This infographic created by UberFlip summarizes the state of B2B content marketing this year.
If you are looking to start your inbound marketing journey, download our free guide to get started now!
Last week Hubspot released their much anticipated 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. The report is stacked full of information and statistics about the future of inbound marketing
, what has changed, what marketers are doing now and just about anything else you can think of related to inbound. The 175 page report, needless to say, is quite extensive. While its value to marketers is unparalleled, it can be a little overwhelming to fully absorb, even for us. We highly encourage everyone to download the free report
, but if you're looking for a few awesome stats, the following is a list of our favorites.
- Inbound marketers plan to hire an average of 9.3 people this year, 125% more growth than teams without inbound marketing. Tweet this stat!
- Companies who test are 75% more likely to show ROI for inbound marketing than those who fail to test their strategies. Tweet this stat!
- Companies implementing inbound see 100% improvement in site conversion. Tweet this stat!
- 53% of CEO’s increased inbound marketing budgets in 2013. Tweet this stat!
- Marketers with more than 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month Tweet this stat!
- 52% of all marketers found a customer via Facebook in 2013. Tweet this stat!
- Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads. Tweet this stat!
- 38% more B2B firms embrace inbound strategies than B2C companies for 2013. Tweet this stat!
- HubSpot customers with over 1,000 likes generate over 800 site visits a month. Tweet this stat!
- Inbound's proven success was the primacy rationale for 41% of 2013. Tweet this stat!
If you are interested in starting or improving your inbound marketing, we can help! Download our free guide on choosing the best inbound marketing agency to get started.
According to Hubspot's recently released 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report
, in 2013, 60% of companies have adopted some element of the inbound methodology into their overall strategy. The question seems to have shifted from does inbound marketing work, to how can I improve my inbound marketing? If you're one of those companies in that 60% already incorporating inbound into your overall strategy, perhaps it's time to evaluate if you are using it to your full advantage. Hiring an inbound marketing agency
isn't the right answer for everyone, but if the following list describes your company, outsourcing the work could be the solution you are looking for.
- Your marketing team (or person) is drinking unheard of amounts of coffee.
Like all good things in life, nothing worth having comes easy. Inbound marketing done the right way requires intensive research, writing, and time. If you have decided to make the wise decision of embracing inbound marketing, to be successful, whoever is in charge of marketing at your company needs to fully commit. If you're already struggling to come up with time and resources like so many companies are, hiring an inbound marketing agency could be the best solution.
- You don't know what you want to be when you grow up.
If your company is struggling to define itself and who you want to reach, hiring an inbound marketing agency can help hone it all in. An inbound marketing agency will work with your company to define its buyer personas and target audience. Your buyer personas will guide the type of content you produce, the channels you use to push it out, and your overall inbound strategy.
- Your sales team has become angry bears.
We're guessing your sales team probably isn't a fan of leads who are constantly wasting their time. Hiring an inbound marketing agency will help your company to shape a marketing campaign that actually drives qualified leads to your site. Qualified leads are more informed on the product or service you are trying to sell and will minimize the lengthy sales process that can take place, putting that pep back in your sales department's step.
- Britney and Justin were going strong the last time you updated your blog.
Blogging is absolutely essential to a good inbound marketing strategy. Many companies have blog links, only to disappoint their visitors with outdated posts or even worse, no posts at all. Understandably, blogging is yet another time commitment that gets placed on the back burner at busy times. Hiring an inbound marketing agency allows you to focus on your core work, and gives the writing power to the professionals who can get you real results.
- Your website isn't converting.
Sorry, no cute introductory line this time. The fact of the matter is that your website is essential to the success of your business. According to the same 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report from Hubspot, inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate of non-inbound marketers, from 6% to 12% total. Marketers see an average website conversion rate of 10% industry-wide. If you want to see real results from your website, hire an inbound marketing agency and watch your website turn into a lead generating machine.
If you read this list and are reminded of your own company, not to worry, we can help! Click below to get started now!
Many marketing managers have come across a stubborn CEO in their office who refuses to believe in social media and inbound marketing. Do you have senior management that won't buy-in to anything besides traditional marketing strategies? Businesses everywhere are leveraging social media for marketing purposes, and those that don't use social media are being left out in the dark. As a leading CT Web Design Company, we've put together some ammo to help make the case.
According to the Social Media Examiner, a significant 83% of marketers said that social media is important to their business. Plus, a staggering 56% of the U.S. population has at least one account on a social network. Even with this huge movement toward social media marketing, 73% of CEO's still think social media marketers lack business credibility. Whether they are stuck in the outbound marketing stone age, or they're just not sold on inbound marketing yet, it is your job to convince your boss to embrace social media.
5 Ways To Convince Your Boss to Embrace Social Media
1) Show Them Your Competition is Stealing Your Keywords
Nothing can motivate a CEO more than business competition. Google your businesses best keywords, and then show your boss all of your competitors who rank higher. For example, type in simple search term like "Riverdale CT insurance companies" and watch your boss turn green with envy when your business doesn't show up first. Allow your boss to type in his or her own search terms and see that competition is already in your online space.
2) Show Them Measurable Results are Possible
Traditional marketing and advertising can be extremely difficult to measure and quantify. With outbound marketing, it is almost impossible to track where exact leads and sales come from. Social media and inbound marketing, however, can precisely track every mouse click, new lead and final sale. A well-executed social media campaign will show results, and help you prove that social media is worthwhile. If your boss is looking for a Return-On-Investment (ROI) then show him or her that social media will provide the statistics they've been yearning for.
3) Show Them The Money They Could Be Saving
If there is one thing that will get your boss to use social media, it's by offering to save money. Many CEOs have no idea how much their business is spending on yearly marketing that may (or may not) be working. Traditional outbound marketing is costly, and like we mentioned before, doesn't show exact ROI. Take the time to show him or her the high dollar amount spent on outbound marketing and the much lower amount that could be spent on social media. Suggest a mix of traditional marketing and social media marketing to help convince your boss a little more.
4) Show Them How Much Buzz You Can Create
Log on to a few social networks and show your boss where all of your customers are. Show him or her conversations that could be around your business, or find conversations that are already happening. Check out your competition's social presence, and see how many consumers they are engaging with. Chances are, your boss will see that people are already talking about your business, but your business is not talking back.
5) Show Them Case Studies
If your CEO or boss is the kind of person who likes to see examples, then provide him or her with a binder of excellent social media case studies. There is a case study available for every industry, no matter how technical or specific. Check out some of inbound marketing mega-giant Hubspot's case studies, and watch your CEO's jaw drop. Your CEO will realize that social media can really work for any business, and jump to help you create inbound marketing initiatives.
Now, go forth and convince your boss that social media and inbound marketing are the "real deal" for your business! In the meantime, download our free Internet marketing ebook below.
We know that after reading Wednesday's post about bad blogging habits, you are dying to know more. Unfortunately, there are more than just a few bad blogging habits that exist in the blogosphere today. We've talked about how you should have a keyword strategy, write with your target audience in mind, and remember to spell check your work. Here are a few other bad blogging habits you'll want to avoid.
- Bad habit #4 - Not replying to comments.
The whole point of your blog is to get your voice out there and engage with your audience. Regular blogging can increase your website traffic, improve your search engine rankings and help your business to develop a solid following. If you've committed yourself to blogging and people are starting to take notice, you'll want to keep them engaged as much as possible. If they comment on your blog, whether it is a positive or negative comment, respond to it! Everyone has their own opinion and it's especially important to address criticism or negative feedback. Open the lines of communication and get a conversation going with your followers.
- Bad habit #5 - Posting irregularly.
Blogging should play a key role in your inbound marketing strategy. Before you even start, it's a good idea to create a schedule of the days you'll post and even a content calendar to help you prepare. Irregular posting will drive away your audience and greatly decrease the likelihood you'll develop the following you are looking for. If you don't have time to maintain a consistent schedule, consider outsourcing the work to a company who will write for you.
- Bad habit #6 - Failing to analyze your blog.
If you've been putting time and effort into writing your blog, you want to make sure you are analyzing it as well. Looking into what your audience is engaging with most will help drive future content you produce. The inbound marketing software, Hubspot, is a great tool to do this. Hubspot allows you to analyze your blogs and gives you tips on how to improve it.
If you are interested in learning more about inbound marketing, we can help! Contact us for a FREE inbound marketing strategy session today.
As an inbound marketing agency, we are blogging constantly for ourselves and our clients. We write blogs, read blogs, make a schedule of blogs, it's all about the blogs, people. Well, it's about other stuff too, but you get the picture; blogs are critical to inbound marketing success
We utilize the inbound marketing software, Hubspot, that features truly one of the best blogging platforms out there. Hubspot kindly alerts us if we're forgetting an important step in optimization. Unfortunately, not everyone has discovered the magic that is Hubspot and many fail to follow blogging best practices. We have stumbled upon too many blogs that are poorly written, designed, optimized, what have you. So, if the following bad habits describe your blogging strategy, don't say we didn't warn you when no one reads your posts and your web traffic doesn't improve. Make a change now!
- Bad habit #1 - You write in the wrong voice.
A common problem we see is when a company writes without keeping their target audience in mind. Many business owners start a blog with the best intentions; they've read all the articles on how blogging can increase web traffic, leads and revenue and want to jump on the blogging train. They then continue on to write posts about what they think their audience should know. They write about how great their company is and why you should choose them.
This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Your blog posts should be about what your audience wants to know, not what you think they should know. Good blogs do not solely promote how great of a company you are, either. Instead, successful bloggers know offering educational content while gently reminding their audience of their abilities with call-to-actions is the better technique. Oh, and don't forget about your tone! If your business is centered around legal compliance for example, a tone that is too relaxed probably won't go over so well. If you're a trendy inbound marketing agency however, a lax tone just might work.
- Bad habit #2 - No keyword strategy.
If you're a blogging newbie, keywords may be like a foreign language to you. If you're a blogging oldie and keywords are like a foreign language to you, you have a problem on your hands. New or old, keywords should be one of your top priorities in creating your blog strategy.
You'll need to think of words relevant to your business. These words ideally should reach a broad audience, but not be too general in nature. For example, if you're a remodeling company, focus on what your specialty is. Instead of using remodeling company as your keyword, consider bathroom remodeling company ct, utilizing your location and specialty.
- Bad habit #3 - Skipping the spell check.
Forgetting to hit that little button in the tool bar is a big no-no. Forgetting to re-read your post for what that little button can't pick up on is also a blogging no-no. Spelling errors just look unprofessional. In case you didn't already know, spell check won't pick up on every grammar error or words that are spelled correctly, but used improperly. It's important to re-read your posts for errors when you are writing, or risk losing your credibility.
Look for Friday's post on Bad Blogging Habits Part II. In the meantime, download our FREE guide on Internet marketing and get started now!
As you know, your business must have a social presence if you want to generate leads online. Many of your opportunities are hanging out all over social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Twitter has more than 200 million active monthly users, a statistic that your business can't ignore. If you want to take those prospects and turn them into real leads, then your business needs to get tweeting, right now!
So what is Twitter? Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to publish messages (called tweets) that are up to 140 characters long. According to their website, Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news. And don't forget, you can share photos and videos on Twitter as well.
So how will Twitter generate leads?
1) Twitter Builds a Community and a Following
Twitter is an online community that supports millions of businesses and brands. Your business probably has thousands of users waiting to follow you on Twitter and you don't even know it. Your brand can garner an amazing following of fans on Twitter simply by having a presence.
Share funny anecdotes, great deals, relevant links to blog articles, or interesting photos to engage your readers. Most importantly, don't talk AT your followers, instead converse with them. Ask and answer questions. Post industry worthy news topics. If you are posting truly valuable information and content via Twitter then you will increase traffic and conversation around your brand. People will view your business as an expert in your field and subsequently refer back to your page for news and advice.
2) Twitter Builds Loyalty
If your business interacts with users in a smart way, you can build trust and loyalty from your followers. Personalization can go a long way, so make sure that your brand is actively responding to tweets that relate to your business (or even some that don't!)
Check out Kit Kat's response to a fan who tweeted out her brand loyalty to the company:
Kit Kat's response was clever and engaging.
Oreo's timely and witty response kept the Tweet battle light and fun:
The Oreo/Kit Kat Twitter conversation demonstrates that marketing can be a little more sporadic and a lot more personal than you think. It also shows that the brand cares about its fans and is not just pushing out static brand messaging
3) Twitter Keeps You Up-to-Date
Twitter is a great way to help you and your business stay on top of the trends and industry news. You should know what is happening in the Twitter world and use that information to tailor your content. The best way to find out what topics are trending is by checking out the #hashtag feature, and using that feature in your own tweets. Just by regularly checking, you may notice that a lot of your customers are all saying the same thing.
You can also use Twitter to leverage your business as a brand expert. The more valuable and useful content that you tweet out, the more likely people will refer to you as a trendsetter in your field and help you generate serious leads.
Twitter will only continue to grow in popularity, is your business getting the best out of it? Want to learn more about social media lead generation? Download our FREE guide on Internet marketing below.
There's no doubt that inbound marketing works. In 2013, an MIT Sloan MBA student completed a research study on the ROI of using the inbound marketing software Hubspot. The study found that 92.3% of customers experienced an increase in traffic, 92.7% of customers experienced an increase in leads, and 49.2% of customers experienced a higher lead-to-sales conversion rate. These numbers don't lie; inbound marketing can increase a business' revenue exponentially if executed properly. Don't be fooled by such inspiring numbers, however. These results came from hard work and dedication to the inbound marketing process. If you're looking for the magical solution that requires no effort, but produces stellar results, well, let us know when you find that.
Like anything else worth having, inbound marketing requires time and hard work. If you have no time, but need more leads, you might consider outsourcing the work to a qualified inbound marketing company. Regardless of who is doing the work, there are challenges that are seemingly unavoidable within the wonderful world of inbound marketing.
The following post covers what we consider to be 3 challenges of inbound marketing and what you can do to tackle them.
- Producing Enough Content. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America produced by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the biggest challenge content marketers face is producing enough content. We've discussed over and over how important blogging is to the inbound marketing process, but coming up with new topics to discuss on a regular basis is no easy task. Not to mention the offers you're writing, targeted at different buyer personas, the social media posts that need to engage your audience, etc. etc. etc. We're exhausted just thinking about it!
Solution: There's no magical solution to this problem, so you'll need to get creative. Here are a few topics that can help you to generate ideas:
-Review a recent news article and offer your own opinions on current events within your industry
-Do some internal investigation. Ask your team what questions they receive on a regular basis from customers. Take those questions and turn them into educational content.
-Leverage current trends. Is there a holiday coming up? Is there a new development in your industry about to be released? Use current trends to help inspire your content.
-Ask your team members to contribute. Go beyond asking them simply for questions from customers. Ask them to blog themselves! They don't have to be a blogger to have an opinion. A fresh take on things is always useful and interesting. (Don't forget to remind them of spell check!)
- Finding a sufficient amount of time. We tell our customers all the time that inbound marketing doesn't happen over night. It's something that needs to be continually worked on, improved, and changed. If inbound marketing is not your primary business, how in the world do you find enough time to make your investment worthwhile?
Solution: Proper time management is critical to the success of a business. If you find yourself struggling for results, you might consider outsourcing the work to an inbound marketing agency. Leave the hard part to them. A good inbound marketing agency will be able to work with your business to understand its challenges and how to overcome them.
If you are committed to doing the inbound process yourself, but are still struggling for time, consider having a guest blogger contribute to your posts and create an editorial calendar to pre-plan the content you will be producing.
- Having too much to manage. Inbound marketing means you are blogging, using social media, writing offers, developing your SEO strategy, creating e-mail campaigns and more. There's a lot going on in the process, to say the least. Trying to organize all of your efforts can become overwhelming.
Solution: Get the right software. There are plenty of options available today that businesses can choose from to manage their marketing. Not all software is created equally, however. Do your research before you buy. The all-in-one inbound marketing software Hubspot, helps more than 8,000 companies in 56 countries attract leads and convert them into customers. A pioneer in inbound marketing, HubSpot aims to help its customers make marketing that people actually love.
Download our free guide on how to hire the best inbound marketing agency for your business below.