Michael Lieberman

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    What To Expect When You Are Expecting Results From Inbound Marketing

    Posted by Michael Lieberman on Dec 18, 2012 7:45:00 AM

    Results from Inbound MarketingIf you’re practicing inbound marketing today and you’re honest—then you have this challenge. The promise of inbound marketing comes along with a set of expectations and those expectations are simple. “I am going to get leads.”

    The reality of inbound marketing is our clients will get leads and they will get more leads from their website then they were getting before any of us came along, but helping clients understand when, how many, and what they look like is THE major challenge facing inbound marketing agencies.

    Unfortunately, most of our clients don’t look at the situation objectively. For years they haven’t been getting any inbound leads and their website has anemic traffic numbers but two months into the engagement they want to know why they’re not getting 100 leads a month. This comes down to one single issue—expectation setting.

    This starts in the sales process where, in order to close business, we have to get our prospects emotionally excited about the promise of leads from inbound marketing. Most of us are responsible, so I know no one is promising 1,000 leads in the second month, but I also know it’s what we DON’T say that starts to set the expectations.

    We DON’T show them the relationship between traffic and leads. We DON’T tell them the timeline associated with driving new traffic in today’s world of Get Found. We DON’T have honest and open conversations about their inability to nurture the leads from a sales perspective or close those leads. But perhaps the worst of all—we don’t tell them that to really get significant leads from inbound marketing they have to make MAJOR improvements to almost all of their existing sales and marketing efforts.

    Let me be clear. I am not being critical. This isn’t easy. Our line of work, inbound marketing, is exponentially more complicated than anything any of us used to do. If you used to do advertising all you were ever on the hook for was producing and placing the ads. If you used to do website design or website development all you had to do to be successful was deliver the site. If you used to do PR, then a story placement or press release was your deliverable. Times were so much simpler.

    But you decided you wanted to be an inbound marketing agency. Now you have to explain how content helps you get found, how landing pages and calls to action are mandatory, how leads need to be nurtured and content has to be delivered in context, how keywords have to be in everything, and that their personas need to be deep and multifaceted, is that enough—or should I keep going?

    Sadly enough, most of your prospects and clients have little or no idea of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it’s going to help them get leads.

    They measure you on only one number—leads!

    If we are going to do this thing called inbound marketing, we are going to have to do it right, from the beginning. That means reworking our sales process so we spend enough time with prospects to understand their business intimately, not just the processes but the people. Prospects that won't let you look at their website analytics before you create recommendations shouldn’t be prospects. Prospects that won't walk you through their marketing and sales processes or worse don’t have them and don’t want these processes shouldn’t be prospects. Prospects that want you to rush through planning, strategy or foundational improvement work shouldn’t be prospects.

    Consider adopting a more transparent program development process. Show the prospect their current baseline numbers even if they are low or embarrassing. Show them the relationship between the level of recommendation and the leads they should expect. Low investment levels translate into slow growth. Want to get more leads? Invest more money in inbound marketing tactics. Show them the pace of growth and the compounding factors that make inbound marketing such a sustainable and efficient approach.

    Use pictures, graphs images to tell them a story. Show them the mathematical relationship between their website traffic and leads. Educate them throughout the process. Educate them early and often even after they become clients. Remember, there are a lot of people out there who are telling your clients they need to be doing it the old way. When you’re not around, people are pushing them back into their comfort zone even though you moved them out 30 minute ago.

    Perhaps the most important suggestion is that we all be obsessed with the creation of a process that meets the unique challenges facing us as inbound marketers.  What we create today will propel us into the future. Inbound marketing is in its infancy. We are the people who will create this practice and be responsible for changing the way marketing is done. We are the people who will be responsible for getting our clients leads. The sooner we set the right expectations and over deliver, the sooner inbound marketing will become the ONLY way to market your business. 

    About the Author: Mike Lieberman is president of Square 2 Marketing. Mike is the co-author of two books, Reality Marketing Revolution and Fire Your Sales Team Today! Mike's agency specializes in the installation of an inbound marketing methodology and the implementation of inbound marketing tactics for entreprenurial oriented businesses across the country. You can follow Mike @Mike2Marketing.

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    Topics: Square 2 Marketing, goal setting, marketing planning, how to generate leads

    Why Inbound Marketing Requires A Marketing Strategy Before You Start

    Posted by Michael Lieberman on Nov 21, 2012 6:58:00 AM

    Inbound Marketing Requires a Marketing StrategyLet's be honest. Using HubSpot and practicing inbound marketing isn't the easy solution. It takes practice, it takes training and it takes hard work. It's alot easier to buy some ads, cross our fingers and hope the phone rings. But we know that's not the right advice for our clients.

    There is one step you can take to make inbound marketing a little simpler, a little more organized, and a little more planned out. That one step includes creating a comprehensive marketing strategy before you start implementing any of the inbound marketing tactics.

    By thinking out your client's marketing startegy before you start implementing the tactics you help them with some of the heavy lifting.

    Here are some of the advantages of a strategy before tactics approach.

    When you take the time to help them create the personas for their target market, you can identify all the places the people in their target market hang out; the websites they visit, blogs they read, emails they subscribe to. This makes sourcing content out to these properties much easier and much more efficient when it's time to do this task.

    Next, you help them create more effective messaging that emotionally connects with the client's target prospects. Landing pages are great. But if you improve their overall marketing messages, they'll see the impact across all aspects of their business.

    You help them differentiate their business. This is usually undervalued but if you don't have anything interesting or remarkable to say...why say anything? Why invest any money in marketing?

    You know the “whys” behind your client's business.  Not the “whats” or “hows” associated with their delivery but the emotional back story as to why they are even in business to begin with.  That is what people are buying and you need to be able to help your clients articulate it.

    You help them create an editorial calendar for all their content for the life of your retainer— further demonstrating your partnership and long term commitment to their business. Blog titles, email subject lines, "free report" titles, topics for videos, ebooks, webinars, infographics, you name it. Planning these out over time makes deciding which ones to create and when to publish them much easier. We introduce all our clients to the Trio of Offers. No Risk, Low Risk, and Offer to Do Business. These have to be planned out, approved, and implemented over time. For more info on the Trio of Offers, click here.

    You help to benchmark marketing performance and track improvements weekly, monthly and quarterly. Setting performance expectations helps you establish you and your team as the authority on inbound marketing. While you might not hit the targets every time, you will know when you need to make a change, select new tactics, or double down on tactics that are outperforming your expectations.

    Honestly, the marketing planning part of the engagement isn't the easiest or the fastest work you can do, but if you are interested in long-term, retainer-based, strategic partnerships with your clients, this is work you have to strongly consider as a core offering. 

    To learn more about how an inbound marketing strategy helps the implementation of an inbound marketing program, click here to download an e-book titled Strategy Before Tactics--How Marketing Strategy Improves The Performance of Inbound Marketing--An Agency’s Guide. 

    About the Author: Mike Lieberman is co-founder and president of Square 2 Marketing, an inbound marketing agency, HubSpot partner and creators of Reality Marketing™ that helps entrepreneurial-oriented business owners change the way they think about marketing.

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    Topics: inbound marketing, internet marketing strategy, marketing strategy, marketing planning

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