Imagine a random day in what looks to be the distant future. You are walking through a modern shopping center and three-dimensional advertisements showcasing sales and coupons protrude out of store windows.
And that’s not all. Your previous activity and spending patterns have also allowed modern marketers to collect location-based data and algorithms to formulate ads just for you.
For example, the Wi-Fi signal on the mobile device in your pocket may prompt a soda machine you pass to address you by name and tell you to come and buy your favorite soft drink. It knows you based on an app on your phone that was somehow triggered the last time you purchased that drink.
Sure, 3D store signs and talking soda machines may be a little farfetched. But that type of advertising may also be inching closer to reality. Just check out the following three methods that some marketers are already implementing.
Mobile device targets
You use your smart phone to do everything from look up directions to find the closest McDonald’s. It’s a source of convenience to get the information you want at your fingertips. But to the savvy marketer, it’s a way to collect data.
Pretty soon, you’re part of a micro targeting effort to convince more McDonald’s customers to buy that quarter pound cheeseburger when they get hungry. The franchise is subtly targeting you through mediums such as video and rich media, placed purposely in advertisements as you browse pages and apps on your phone. And you don’t even know it. While still outbound in nature, that personal touch is what makes it inbound and, essentially, more effective.
Predicting your actions
Back to your search activity. What you look for now is one thing. But some marketers are taking it to the next level by also collecting data on what you will be doing next.
Maybe the last time you ate at McDonald’s you followed it with a trip to the nearby mall, where you bought some new clothes. Now, as you eat your quarter pounder, you are getting an email for coupons to that clothing store. And if you have push notifications for your email, it’s right there in your hands.
But it’s all about whether you choose to click, giving you, the consumer, control. This strategy eases the sometimes interruptive approach (outbound) and replaces it with a more inviting one (inbound).
Location based data
Everyone knows it’s much easier, and cheaper, to fire up a mobile search when you’ve got a free Wi-Fi connection. And marketers are taking advantage.
Wireless internet connections are not just in cafes, hotels and airports anymore. From parks to bus stops, you can now easily join networks inside all kinds of public venues. The signals are placed strategically to target crowds of people who will be resting, relaxing or waiting for a while.
They are close to businesses and laced with advertisements for daily deals, which pop up in the sidebars of your browser. While still technically outbound, the strategy is calculated, giving it a more inbound feel.
Get more information
These are just some of the ways that modern marketing may be dispersed in your daily life today. Some may call it intrusive or invasive. But the forward-thinking marketing agent may find it intriguing. Are there ways that you could use these subtle tricks to grow your customer base without the in-your-face approach of traditional outbound marketing?
Get more info about how Innovations Branding House could help you decide.
Throughout my time in college, I was preached to about the importance of three things: a solid resume, a cleaned up Facebook/Twitter, and a LinkedIn profile.
Of course, as a diligent student, I abided—my résumé is packed with extracurricular activities, relevant work experience, one page in length (two with references included), my social media footprint sparkles, and begrudgingly enough I eventually signed up for a LinkedIn profile (and it changed everything).
The great equalizer
Fast forward to present day, and I’m a hard-working individual in the marketing world. Do I call LinkedIn an important facet to anyone’s personal or business marketing strategy? You bet I do.
So, what’s the big deal? What makes it so much different? I’m glad you asked.
On an individual level, it weeds out the meaningless social aspect people are used to seeing on Facebook. LinkedIn is where you conduct business. You’re not going to see which Disney princess your ex-girlfriend is most like, or the misanthropic rants of that person you went to high school with. On these merits alone, it’s a breath of fresh air. Its very nature as a business/corporate tool has already burned away the dross. A connection here is worth far more than a like or follower anywhere else, and that can mean big things for your bottom line.
Don’t be afraid to brag
The sword swings both ways as well, as it allows users to bypass gatekeepers and connect directly with decision makers. It’s you or your company’s résumé for the world to see; it provides an outlet to show off your skills and assets to potential employers. And while you might be happily employed at a great company, it lets you present the work you’re proud of and connect with other like-minded individuals and companies.
It does this by allowing you to endorse others, and likewise, to be endorsed. Users can evangelize your skill set! So instead of you doing all the talking, those who have worked with you can rave about what you’ve done and how you helped. It’s one of the best ways for people to decide if you’re the right person, or company, for them.
Where Facebook has become self-ingratiating, LinkedIn has capitalized on the idea of endorsements and testimonials.
A B2B’s dream
It’s easy to see how all of this can boil over into the world of conducting business. Today, it’s not uncommon to find all types of B2B’s turning to social media as the meat and potatoes of their advertising/marketing model. Yet, for companies who may feel that their business doesn’t quite fit the mold of a social-sharing website like Facebook, LinkedIn can prove to be a powerful tool in delivering a concrete message—we do business, and this is how we do it.
By creating a personal and company page, you increase the probability of a potential client to find out more about you and do business together. 44% of B2B marketers say they’ve generated leads via LinkedIn as opposed to 39% and 30% through Facebook and Twitter respectively. It’s becoming clear that LinkedIn is not an outlet to overlook.
Perhaps most importantly, LinkedIn provides a better way to network. By filling your profile with relevant information about your work history, your company and its specific goals and accolades, you fill in a lot of the blanks for potential customers. And depending on where that person is in your sales funnel, that can make all the difference when trying to capitalize on a lead.
Okay, so you’re tuned in and turned on to the idea of inbound marketing. You must be, or you wouldn’t be here reading this. We’re glad to have you. Whether you’re new to the world of marketing, or a seasoned vet, you should know the importance of staying up-to-date in your industry.
Here at the heart of Innovations HQ, most of our time is spent here—keyboard, mouse, and a seemingly bottomless cup of coffee (it gets deeper by the hour). Being SEO experts comes with the territory, and being experts means knowing not only what to look for, but whom to look at sometimes. Today, we’ll show you 6 industry mavens we look to whenever we need a little guidance.
It should come as no surprise. As Hubspot partners, we believe in the work he and the Hubspot team are doing. As the founder of Hubspot, Dharmesh Shah is one of, if not the market leader of inbound marketing.
Follow him and watch your Twitter feed light up with knowledge and, every now and then, a joke or two.
2) Rand Fishkin
As the founder of Moz, one of the top-rated optimization tools on the market today, to say Rand is an SEO expert would be an understatement. And to rock a mustache like that, you’d have to be an expert.
Having made the hand-off to his new CEO Sarah Bird, Rand remains as an individual contributor at Moz helping to focus their marketing and product internally and externally.
Jordan is the senior SEO manager for Red Door Interactive, a full-service marketing agency with offices in San Diego, Carlsbad and Denver.
Following him on Twitter is going to net you the kind of information that only someone who is knee deep in the trenches can get you; tweets that are informative and get down to business, like this one:
Looking to him for guidance will net you a lot of versatile and useful information. What are you waiting for?
4) Bruce Clay
Bruce has been working on SEO and website development for almost as long as the internet, as we know it, has been around. Since 1996, he has spearheaded the work of search engine optimization. His website is the type of no-bones-about-it mentality you’d expect from an industry veteran, and his twitter feed is no exception.
As you can see, he and his company show no signs of slowing in 2015. Bruce is truly a market maven in the category of website development and marketing strategy.
5) Lisa Barone
Rounding out our list, Lisa serves as the vice president of strategy at a company called Overit in Albany, New York. A self-proclaimed “weird girl”, her tweets echo the sentiment that she is a fighter for brand voices, and the work she’s doing.
And as someone working head-on in the industry, her retweets are populated with great articles and advice from like-minded insiders.
Oh, and of course:
6) Seth Godin
And to anyone who knows our CEO Todd Duff, it should come as no surprise that this list wouldn’t be complete without Seth.
While his tweets are little more than retweets to his blog entries, he comes by it honest. And the information he imparts, in small blurbs and eloquent blog entries, is equal parts inspiring and thought-provoking.
Having authored several books that are the keystone to several marketing concepts, Seth embodies the idea that an idea is more than the sum of its parts—that the lifeblood of a concept is found in its execution. Following him on Twitter will net you much more than just marketing advice.
We hope you have found a couple new sources of inspiration the next time you’re feeling like you’re in a rut.
As traditional marketing transitions to a more inbound approach, some business owners may be wondering if it’s time to join the party.
From coffee shops to law firms, companies are pulling radio and TV ads and tearing down billboards for the more subtle, less invasive practice of attracting customers through inbound methods. And with cost savings and a results tracker built right into the model, how could you go wrong?
But before you chuck all your old habits, it’s important to know that inbound is the way to go. Through the tactics of search engine optimization, eBooks, specialized email campaigns, top-notch web content, and social media marketing, here are 5 examples businesses have used to generate success with inbound marketing.
Are your customers hanging out in cyber space?
If the clientele you are targeting use online search engines to find your services, inbound is a great way to make them see you.
Main Line Family Law Center, a private Pennsylvania practice specializing in divorce and separation cases, discovered that many people were googling key phrases to find good attorneys. Main Line began taking those phrases and tag words and peppering them throughout its page content and blogs. Pretty soon, the firm began dominating web searches, and even jumped to a number one ranking for multiple keywords.
Are you competing with big fish?
If you are trying to keep up with large companies around the globe, you’ll need to stand out. Inbound could be your perfect solution.
The Rodon Group, a family-owned plastic injection molding manufacturer, found its market niche with an eye-catching eBook that prompted clicks by playing up a globally competitive “Cheaper than China” campaign. The enticing slogan, fueled by the eBook containing stats and facts that stacked Rodon Group’s prices up against overseas competitors, gained national attention and a presidential endorsement.
Do you have a claim to fame?
Big or small, when your company is recognized for something positive, it becomes special. Consumers like special things. Inbound can help spread the word.
Jackson Coffee Company, an independent coffee shop with a concerted mission to make the best brew, has six consecutive “Best Coffee House” awards under its belt against several major U.S. chains and other independent coffee houses. Jackson Coffee utilized an email marketing campaign to reach out to customers and the results put them at the top of the coffee house circuit.
Are you on a budget?
Many businesses do not have a never-ending flow of cash for marketing. And many are competing with big-wig companies with hefty checkbooks. The cost savings of inbound marketing can work wonders for these companies.
Help Scout, a B2B customer service software company, is highly focused on providing personal customer support that it plays up through extraordinary content. After utilizing a mixture of sharp, clean interactive graphics, solid and informative videos, and engaging blog posts, Help Scout stood out among industry heavyweight competitors like Disney with a steady month-over-month growth rate and a huge jump in leads.
Are you in an unusual market?
What happens when your company, for reasons beyond your control, offers something that is not the norm among its peers? Inbound can help.
Takk Takk, an Icelandic tourist agency, identified perfectly with this. While scenic and beautiful, Iceland is not the first place that comes to mind when would-be tourists picture their dream vacations. So Takk Takk took to social media. A typical inbound practice, social media marketing allows companies to connect with consumers on a personal level. The agency created a silly cyber admin and put its voice on social media pages, landing pages, thank you pages, emails and CTA’s. The results were incredible, with Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport reporting record-breaking tourist numbers after the campaign’s launch.
These are just a few real-life examples of how inbound marketing has helped generate success. A number of additional tactics also exist under the inbound umbrella and marketing agencies like Innovations Branding House can offer you even more guidance to determine if this innovative strategy is a fit.
In some societal circles today, you say the word blog and up pops the image of a 16-year-old girl lounging on her bed staring at the screen of a shiny pink laptop. She is typing frivolously in a fancy cursive font on a chatroom-style page with pastel flowers and butterflies in the background.
Her posts are dedicated to her crush, the big game, and how unfair her parents are treating her. She is the author of an online diary, written specifically for those who want a glimpse into her riveting social life.
But she is not a blogger. At least not by current standards.
Today, a blogger is the marketing director of a fortune 500 company, posting relevant financial and sales information to attract clients to his website. It is the stay-at-home mom looking to make some extra money in her online fitness venture, posting diet tips and anecdotes about her aerobic progress. A blogger is a longtime kids’ football coach, sharing tips in an effort to target new recruits for a summer sports camp.
At Innovations Branding House, bloggers are highly trained and experienced content writers posting intimately researched pieces for multiple clients.
Today, if you type virtually any phrase into Google, or a like-minded search engine, your results will come up with at least one blog dedicated to it. From questioning why your car won’t start to the best bathing suit for your body type, there are blogs about everything. And the smart business owners are cashing in on the opportunities.
Here are 4 short and easy steps to help your business join the phenomenon.
Set up a blog on your website
Sounds simple, right? If your site does not already have a blogging section, most hosting agents offer an option linked to the homepage or accessed through a secondary page. Contact your web provider to find out what you can do and how to do it. The blogs can be created and posted in house or through outside content writers.
Do content research
The beauty of blogging is its ability to get your business noticed through search engine optimization. In turn, it is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies. If you’re writing your own blogs, copiously researching news, market trends and other details of your product or trade before turning out your blog is the best way to take full advantage of the benefits. If you’re outsourcing, make sure the writers do the same.
Before posting, write a few practice blogs and have a diverse audience of coworkers, industry experts and outsiders read them. Get feedback on how understandable and engaging the language is and how well they believe the blogs answer the questions or solve the problems of targeted consumers.
Post and update often
You’ve written your blog, received feedback and tweaked the final version. It’s time to go live. Modern website capabilities make it easy to post blogs to your site. Most web providers can help if you have questions. Keeping it updated is key, though.
In order to stay current and get the most out of your blog, it is recommended that you post as often as possible. Depending on your industry, the average post frequency is about twice a week, or eight to ten blogs per month. You can keep it fresh by bringing in guest bloggers and integrating different topics.
These four tips really just scratch the surface of blogging as a whole but they should provide a decent jumping off point. In any case, this should show you that modern day blogging goes way beyond the tween girl documenting her daydreams on her bedazzled laptop.