Targeted Lead Generation

    Posted by Todd Hockenberry on Sep 3, 2013 7:30:00 AM

    targeted lead generationIn July of 2012 we began working with a company that designs and manufactures custom fiberglass pipe, large diameter fiberglass ductwork, fiberglass tanks, fiberglass vessels, other equipment and services relating to fiberglass products. This company is a subsidiary of a larger parent company, and for a number of years was content to supply cooling tower components for the parent company's projects. We began working with them because they felt it was time to branch out and had turned to HubSpot and inbound marketing to help them reach new markets.

    Like a lot of manufacturing companies, many of the companies within their industry were using very high level, general keywords. Our client, like their competition, was targeting keywords like fiberglass pipe and fiberglass tanks. As you can imagine, the competition for these keywords was fierce, but also broad. If you searched for fiberglass tanks it would return everything from huge industrial tanks to small tanks for animals.

    This is something that a lot of the clients we've worked with have seen. Every company has some high level keywords that are pretty standard across their industry. There is nothing wrong with these keywords, and there is nothing inherently wrong with the leads they bring in. But as you can imagine, a lead that comes to a site looking for a fiberglass animal tank isn't much interested in an industrial fiberglass tank for chlorine storage.

    The goal, then, is to generate specifically targeted leads.

    1. Identify your wheelhouse

    The first step in targeted lead generation is to figure out what it is that makes your different. What do you do that your competition doesn't? What do you do better? What makes your clients choose you?

    Our fiberglass client, for example, identified their ability to create targeted industrial solutions as one of their strongest points. The fact that they could create very specific, tailored fiberglass solutions made them stand out from their competition.

    You need to identify why your clients are your clients, what makes you stand out, because if you can—then you can move onto step two.

    2. Generate long tail keywords

    Once you know what makes you stand out, you can start creating long tail keywords targeted at leads who need what you offer.

    We created keywords for our client like:
    large diameter fiberglass pipe for waste water
    fiberglass storage tanks for HCL storage

    The number of people searching for these keywords is, admittedly, low. On the other hand, if you search for a large diameter fiberglass pipe for waste water then you want what our client offers, not a fiberglass tank for your hamster.

    3. Create highly targeted content

    Step three is creating content focused on those highly targeted keywords. For our fiberglass manufacturing client, we created a number of pieces of content focused very narrowly on a variety of vertical industries and custom solutions. This meant downloads and blog posts that addressed a narrow set of concerns. For example, the long tail keyword fiberglass storage tanks for HCL storage spawned a download and multiple blog posts about specific clients the company had worked with who needed HCL storage tanks. We also created some posts about HCL, its properties, and challenges associated with storing, hauling, and manufacturing.

    These pieces of content did a couple of things for our client. First, this content attracted the leads we were specifically targeting. The leads that converted on landing pages for HCL storage tanks were actually looking for information about HCL storage tanks — no more lost pet store searches! Second, these pieces of content really helped to build our client's credibility. The content we were helping our client create was highly specialized and, a lot of the time, technical. Content like that really resonates with the target buyers in this industry and generated high quality leads.

    4. Fill in the blanks

    All of the work you've done to get through steps one through three isn't going to get you very far if you neglect all the other aspects of inbound marketing. So step four is doing all of the other bits that make an inbound marketing strategy work.

    Without getting into too much detail, that means creating conversion opportunities, landing pages, maintain and engaging in social media, lead nurturing, the works. You're only going to be able to engage in targeted lead generation if you have the internal resources and structure to support it.

    Inbound marketing finally gives industrial marketers the tools to target specific targets that match their ideal customer persona.  We can stop casting a wide net and hoping to catch a few fish and focus on finding and attracting the right prospects.



    About the Author: Todd Hockenberry is the founder of Top Line Results, an inbound marketing agency that specializes in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on manufacturing, technology and capital equipment.

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    Topics: lead generation, inbound marketing, Top Line Results

    Q&A with Jon Hainstock of Zoomshift on driving leads & customers

    Posted by Steve James on Jul 11, 2013 7:33:00 AM

    jon hainstock zoomshiftJon Hainstock (@jonhainstock) is co-founder of Zoomshift, an Online Employee Scheduling Software company. A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to grab lunch with both Jon and co-founder Ben Bartling (@benbartling). As a startup with a limited budget they have strategically used SEO and Inbound Marketing to build their traffic and more importantly drive leads and customers. They have a great product and story, hope you enjoy!!

    Q: What is Zoomshift, who is it for?

    A: ZoomShift is simple employee scheduling software for small businesses. We really focus on solving the scheduling problem for businesses with under 100 employees.

    zoomshift software

    Q: What marketing/advertising have you done in the past?

    A: We’ve tried cold calling, direct mail, Facebook ads, Google AdWords, PR and SEO to try to build awareness and increase leads.

    Q: What marketing initiatives have worked the best?

    A: SEO has been the best marketing channel for us. Interruption (outbound) marketing wasn’t working well for us, mostly because business owners were not ready to change their scheduling process, even if it was terrible. When someone is actively searching for a solution, they are usually fed up with their process, and are ready to try something new.

    Q: How does content marketing play a role in your daily activities?

    A: We spend a lot of time interacting with customers everyday via support and chat, and we are able to build better content based on their feedback. Our initial goals were to climb the SERP’s for a handful of keywords, but now we are really focusing on using the language of our customers to build better content.

    Blogging gives us the ability to build trust and provide fresh insights on how small businesses can streamline their processes. We are also tweaking existing content and building new pages on a daily basis to test if they will be valuable for our SEO campaign.

    Q: What tools do you use for your inbound marketing/seo efforts?

    A: We use Juxseo, an on-page SEO grader, to optimize the content on our site. We have also used Scribe to make sure our content is valuable and readable for our target market. We use Positionly to track rankings on a day to day basis. We track domain authority and trust with Moz’s tools.

    Q: What are the results so far?

    A: We are always amazed at how well SEO works. While SEO is only one arm of the inbound game, it brings in over 60 signups every week, and converts into around 3-5 paid customers per week, all on it’s own. Some of these conversions had assists from social interactions or referrals, but a majority of them convert from a keyword.

    Q: What advice would you give to help others with their SEO strategy?

    A: Go for the low hanging fruit. Start by doing a lot of keyword research, using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Google Suggestions, and Übersuggest to give you keyword ideas. Then find the keywords with the most search volume, highest buying intent and the lowest competition. Use those keywords as the main pages of your site and as categories for your blog.


    About the Author: Steve James is a partner at Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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    Topics: off page seo, Steve James, SEO, business blogging, inbound marketing, search_engine_optimization, stream creative

    Client's Social Responsibility Campaign Yields Big Results

    Posted by Jeff Coon on Jun 27, 2013 7:37:00 AM

    Create marketing that offers 3-for-1 specials

    The other day I was at our local watering hole, enjoying its regular "Happy Hour 2-for-1 Special," when it occurred to me that the recent social marketing campaign we helped develop with West Bend Insurance to "Avoid Distracted Driving" was a super mega "3-for-1 special". Because when companies like West Bend support worthy causes, they create this "3-for-1" effect — with values and benefits that are passed along to:

    1. The Cause
    2. The Company
    3. Their Customers (or the general public)

    One of West Bend's core principles is to give back to the communities it serves—its employees are very active in the community, so this campaign supported its culture and brand. At Stream, we believe in supporting like-minded companies such as West Bend, so to be a part of a program that offers this kind of value is personally rewarding. And it doesn't hurt that having a "meaningful brand" makes a brand stronger, more engaging and 120% more valuable, according to a study done by Havas Media.

    The Campaign

    This 5-week campaign, launched through the West Bend Cares program, featured the following content elements:

    The Results

    West Bend received a lot of positive feedback from their associates, customers and independent agents network. After 5 weeks, the results of the campaign elements listed above have garnered:

    • 1,200+ Page Views
    • 200+ Leads
    • 700+ requests for bracelets
    • 220+ Facebook Likes
    • 65+ LinkedIn Shares
    • 40+ Tweets

    This campaign also caught the attention of a national safety organization that will be featuring West Bend and their commitment to promoting safety, recognizing West Bend as a thought leader in this area.

    Marketing Takeaway

    Businesses should continually look for ways to align their personal passions and company message platforms. In short, find a cause you believe in to support! If you don't currently have one, ask your employees — surely, they'll have one that is near and dear to their heart.

    The benefits of social marketing can be:

    • Increased brand awareness/PR
    • Increased trust for your company, showing the personal side of your business
    • A boost in company morale (team-building at its best)
    • Positioning your firm as a thought leader
    • A warm fuzzy feeling deep within your soul knowing that you made a difference (and that my friends, is priceless)

    In closing, do some good. Leave the world a better place and "Happy Hour" will lead to many Happy Hours for you, your company and your cause.

    What causes do you support? How have your efforts resulted in a 3-for-1 special?

    About the Author: Jeff Coon is a partner and creative director at Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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    Topics: blogging for business, inbound marketing, stream creative, distracted driving

    Paving Company Kicking Asphalt with Inbound Marketing

    Posted by Jeff Coon on May 24, 2013 6:28:00 AM

    Wolf Paving, an asphalt paving and manufacturing company located in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, has seen the real benefits of committing to an inbound marketing plan. What has success looked like for Wolf Paving? Here's a quick overview:

    • 44% increase in the number of calls for quotes compared to the same time last year
    • 92% increase in online quote requests compared to the same time last year
    • Improved search rankings for terms - “Milwaukee Paving Companies” & “Madison Paving Companies
    • Increased media coverage
    • Recognition from peers and industry trade publications

    With the help of Stream Creative, Wolf Paving has been successfully practicing inbound marketing for over 2 years - blogging weekly, developing case studies, creating eBooks, landing pages, calls-to-action, etc.

    If you take a look at the graphs below, you'll see the consistent growth that Wolf Paving has had. Organic traffic has increased by 172% since 2011 and online requests for quotes has increased by 140%.

    Wolf Paving Organic Traffic 2yrs

    Wolf Paving Contacts 2yrs

    Looking to make an even bigger impact this year during "quoting season", Stream Creative and Wolf Paving decided to add some traditional and paid media to the marketing plan.

    Mary Jo Preston, Stream Creative's Senior Marketing Consultant and Media Planner/Buyer, worked with Wolf Paving and local and national media outlets to put together a very strategic plan that not only supported the existing inbound marketing plan but was also VERY targeted at Wolf Paving's market.

    The results of these efforts, as outlined in the graph below, were a 44% increase in the number of phone calls received (compared to the same time frame the year before), as well as a 92% increase in the number of visitors requesting a quote online.

    Wolf Paving Request a Free Quote

    In addition to the increased lead volume, Wolf Paving has also been recognized as a thought leader by industry trade publications and has received media coverage from local TV stations, most recently being featured for a story on pothole repair.

    When asked why the TV Station chose Wolf Paving, the station admitted that they found them via online search. When arriving at Wolf Paving's website, it looked like Wolf Paving was the right company to talk to.

    Wolf Paving has received similar inquiries regarding other services, such as porous asphalt paving. A contractor contacted Wolf because, in his words, "Wolf Paving is clearly the expert on this topic."

    When is outbound marketing effective?

    When it's part of a bigger inbound marketing plan. The boost in visibility is most effective when you have the credibility and foundational elements in place that help convert new website visitors into potential new customers.

    What outbound or paid media techniques have you found to be successful? Do you think they'd be as effective without an inbound marketing plan already in place?

    About the Author: Jeff Coon is a partner and creative director at Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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    Topics: case study, outbound marketing, paid media, inbound marketing, stream creative

    Transform Your Website (and More) With Inbound Marketing

    Posted by Todd Hockenberry on May 16, 2013 7:20:00 AM

    transform your websiteWe've been HubSpot partners for over three years now and have on boarded over 40 customers as well as consulted with a few dozen others. But something happened today that has never happened to me before—I got a rousing round of applause from a client.   

    We recently were retained to help a regulatory consulting company re-design their website and launch them on a full blown inbound marketing campaign. The owner knew she needed a new website and she knew she needed outside help to get it done. The company culture feared change, feared online marketing, feared competition, and had no idea of how to take the steps needed to overcome these fears and build a website that attracted prospects using valuable content.

    This company knew they needed to change, but needed a framework to work by and a nudge in the right direction. So when the owner was referred to me and we hit it off she hired us and we started down this road of inbound marketing. Many of you already moving on that path would recognize what we did as a straight forward, basic plan.

    That is what it looked like to me. What it looked like to them was totally different.

    Here is what the employees of this company saw:

    • An opportunity to share their expertise to the world
    • Proof that management was progressive and concerned about the future
    • An outlet for creativity in a pretty un-creative world - telecom regulation
    • New sales opportunities in a stagnant market
    • A new enthusiasm for the expertise they have
    • A new appreciation for how much they help their clients and how important they are to them
    • A new energy to find ways to add more value and be even better at what they do

    This company came to understand how they can translate what they do every day into content and how that content is used to attract new prospects and they are excited about it! They see that buying is changing and they need to change to meet the expectations of new prospects.

    In short, a simple website re-design turned into a new sales and marketing strategy. This project created a new energy and enthusiasm for the business, their customers, their market place, and their jobs. They were thrilled to be moving ahead and excited about the opportunities this new website and the thinking that goes with it will bring.

    So when I was asked to attend a meeting this morning to review the project with the team I expected to meet with 5 or 6 key people. Instead I met with the entire company and walked them through the site and answered their questions.

    And at the end of the meeting they gave me a round of applause for helping them change.

    Remember, it's not just a new website, it's a new way of thinking. 

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    Topics: web design, inbound marketing, Top Line Results, inbound marketing agency

    5 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Budget

    Posted by Ryan Malone on Apr 13, 2013 7:56:00 AM

    According to an Ad Age survey presented by Marketing Charts, content marketing comprises an average of 12% of overall marketing budgets. A full 10% of marketers spend more than 30% on content marketing, and 9% spend 19-30%. This means that approximately one in five marketers with a budget of $100,000 would spend up to or more than $30,000 per year on content marketing. Also worth noting is that 55% of those surveyed indicated that they would be increasing their content marketing budget for 2013.

    The results of the survey are below:

    content marketing budget

    This many marketers can't be wrong about content marketing. If you're not using this important tactic as part of your marketing strategy, you're potentially missing a major opportunity to reach more new customers.

    Why is content marketing so popular?

    Consumers find products and services in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular is through Internet searching. The more content you have on your website, blog, and social media pages, the more likely it is that a lead will find you. However, when it comes to content marketing, quality is just as important as quantity. Consumers respond best to content that provides value. Whether it is advice or entertainment, quality content that is regularly updated will attract and retain more leads than simple sales pitches. The best content marketing campaigns build trust, educate the consumer, help you develop a loyal community, and increase sales conversions.

    Important factors for creating a content marketing budget

    There are many different types of content marketing, including:

    • Blog posts
    • White papers
    • E-books
    • Social media campaigns
    • Videos
    • Infographics
    • Buyers' guides

    The types of content that you should use will depend largely on your target audience, but it's important to use multiple approaches. For example, if you offer professional accounting services, you might create an informative white paper that describes recent tax updates, and a series of blog posts that answer the most common questions about changes to the tax code. On the other hand, if you sell flower arranging kits, a more effective approach might be to write a graphic-rich e-book and create a series of how-to videos.

    Either way, the importance of ongoing content updates cannot be understated. After a lead reads your white paper or e-book, you need to create fresh new content that will keep them coming back for more. Factor this into your content marketing budget so you have enough funds to keep it going all year long. Remember, online content provides ongoing benefits beyond the initial attention it receives. A white paper will draw in new leads long after you have seen a return on the investment, and regular blog posts have a cumulative effect of improving search engine rankings.

    How do you create a content marketing budget?

    If you are introducing content marketing or placing more emphasis on this important component of an effective marketing strategy, you'll need to create a budget. Follow these steps to get started:

    1. Decide what percentage of your overall marketing budget will go to content marketing. If you follow the current trend, this will probably be 20-30%.
    2. Decide which types of content marketing you want to do. Remember, it's important to have ongoing content development in addition to the occasional e-book or white paper.
    3. Allocate your resources. Factor in the personnel time and costs (either in-house or outsourced) required for writing, editing, video production, graphics, distribution, and content promotion.
    4. Estimate monthly expenses. Create an annual editorial calendar so you can predict how much you will need each month. For example, if you plan to launch a new product or service in May, you might bolster your content marketing efforts around that time.
    5. Stick to it. A budget is useless if you don't actually use it. Track actual expenses so you can modify the budget as necessary. Don't forget to track successes and failures so you know where to focus your content marketing efforts in the next year.

    It's clear that an effective content marketing strategy requires ongoing effort. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the talent or resources to do it on their own. This is why so many small businesses choose to outsource content development to a company that has the expertise and staff to generate quality content. 

    How do you use content marketing for your business? What percent of your overall marketing budget is used for content creation and promotion?

    About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media, a strategic inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Gold Partner based on Southern California. Go Lakers.  

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    Topics: content, social media marketing, business blogging, inbound marketing, content marketing, marketing planning, inbound marketing agency, smartbug media, ryan malone, how to generate leads, buyer persona, content creation

    Content Marketing for Folks Who Shower AFTER Work

    Posted by Ed Marsh on Apr 11, 2013 6:49:00 AM

    Hipsters of the world unite!

    inbound marketing practitionerWait a minute...they already have.  They teamed up with the programmers, some MBAs and a couple artist types and created an innovative discipline called "content marketing."

    The natural base of customers? The types of companies, products, services and business sectors where they feel most comfortable and intuitively understand the business value and buyer persona.

    It makes sense - you work within your comfort zone. That's often where you're most effective.

    The end result?  
    1. Although hardly ubiquitous, inbound marketing is pretty well recognized and established in areas that were first identified. 
    2. There are huge gaps between Cambridge and Menlo Park and between islands of software and service companies.
    "Fly over country" and manufacturing industries haven't yet embraced the potential of inbound marketing. (I know that there are practitioners - both agency and company - that represent geographic and industry diversity. This isn't an absolute, and some may contest the generalization. But there are indisputably huge gaps.)

    content marketing powerWorkers of the world unite!

    Wait a minute....we've tried that a couple times and it hasn't worked!

    But seriously, there are huge swathes of American industry that are slipping between the content marketing cracks. And in many of these cases they have innovative technologies, quality differentiators and effective solutions to real manufacturing problems.

    Somehow we've allowed a business "digital divide" to develop - between the SaaS, mobile app hip crowd that showers before work, and the metal bending, hydraulics-using manufacturing workers that shower after work.

    This isn't to anyone's benefit. How do we overcome it?

    Digital marketing isn't just for digital business

    There's fault on both sides. The carefully cultivated, slightly crusty, down home folksy rejection of new fangled stuff is endearing (and those of us slaves to email may be envious), but self-defeating.

    Conversely the hyper-caffeinated, buzz word laden, BYOD techy approach tends to dwell in a parallel reality — brilliant, intellectual and creative, but slightly detached from the core.

    industrial content marketingBut there's real power in digital marketing even (or perhaps especially) for industries that may be constrained by self-limiting beliefs.

    So those of us in the content marketing community have both opportunity and obligation. If we can figure out how to distill the benefits of content marketing into a language and presentation that is sensible for traditional industries, there's gold in them hills. (Not to mention over seas and oceans - the international value of inbound marketing is enormous for American industry as well!)  

    And if you believe that American manufacturing can regain its role as the soul of a strong middle class (at least until additive manufacturing/3D printing becomes fully established), then you have an obligation as a practitioner of the inbound marketing discipline to help make it accessible.

    Let's take responsibility as a group to figure out how to distill the amazing value of content marketing to a heartland audience. Let's have the discussion. We can all benefit regardless of when we shower!

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    Topics: inbound marketing, content marketing, b2b marketing, industrial marketing, small business

    6 Steps to Add Blogger Outreach to Your Inbound Marketing Arsenal

    Posted by Ryan Malone on Feb 23, 2013 9:14:00 AM

    Watch out! Those pesky PR people are coming.

    blogger outreach smartbug mediaThat’s so far from the truth—if you’re smart.

    Blogger outreach is a vital component of a content or inbound marketing campaign. For many agencies, blogger outreach is the forgotten strategy because of its roots in PR—something traditionally outside the inbound marketing best practices umbrella.

    But companies that integrate blogger outreach as part of their normal campaigns can tap an ocean of opportunities from backlinks, ranking, social, blogger coverage and traffic. PR can help with lead gen as well. 

    Here are 6 things to keep in mind when developing your blogger outreach campaign:

    1) Identify Your Targets
    You’ve got to know your target audience. Based on that target audience and what blogs they’d read, you can make a list of potential bloggers to reach out to. You want to cast a wide relevant net.

    There’s no way to guarantee responses, so the broader the target list, the more responses you could receive. Make sure that the blogs/bloggers you have identified as targets would be interested in the “news” you are promoting. If it’s a new cooking app that you’re promoting, it obviously makes sense to send to tech blogs, food blogs and possibly mommy blogs. But if you have an education app food blogs aren’t going to be interested. By tailoring your list, you’re showing bloggers you know and care about what they cover. Find these blogs by doing a Google search using keywords like: Mommy Blogs or Tech Blogs, etc.

    Check out the blogs yourself to see if they look legitimate. Look into what kind of authority they have, social media following, etc. Get the Blog names, URL, name of the blogger and contact info and input into Excel spread sheet. Now you have a “media list” to work with.

    2) Develop a Plan of Attack
    Outline your plan of attack before you begin outreach. A lot of blogs will want something in return for your post.  Some will ask for money, some will ask for free product. Some will want product (or discounts) to give away to their readers. Be prepared with what you can actually offer up before beginning outreach. You want them to talk about the product so give them the incentive to do that. If it’s a really good blog I would consider payment as an option, but I wouldn’t pay every blog to write a post. I’d gauge based on how many readers and social media followers they have. If they are big enough to make an impact and get the word out to thousands of people (think 15,000 and up), it could be worth paying for a sponsored post.

    3) Tailor Your Correspondence
    You want to create a customized email “pitch” for your blogger outreach. Make sure you include their name or call out something specifically of interest to them, or something that resonated with you from their blog and why you think you’re product would be great for their audience. The more tailored, the better. You want the blogger to know that you are familiar with their site/writing and that you are talking directly to them. The more you show you know about their blog, the more likely they’ll be to read your email and cover your product.

    4) Ask for Social Media Coverage
    A lot of bloggers will have large following on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to pitching them to cover your product on their blog, make sure you ask about posting on their social media as well. Because they may have thousands of extra readers on social media, where you can extend your reach even further. Ask them to link to your social media pages, include your Twitter handle, etc.

    5) Follow Up
    Make sure you stay on top of all the bloggers you’ve reached out to or “pitched” and don't forget to keep track of who requested product or additional info. Follow up with the bloggers to confirm the product arrived (if you’ve sent to them), ask if they have all the info they need to write their post (they might ask for images and make sure they include your website) and ask them when they plan to post their write up about your product so you can share it with your community as soon as it goes live on their blog. Follow up to say "thank you" after the blog post goes up. Maintaining your relationship is important because you going to want to reach out to them again in the future to write about another campaign.  

    6) Keep Notes
    Tracking all feedback and recording that feedback in your Excel spreadsheet, aka media list, is important. You’ll find out that certain things work for certain bloggers, note who is paid, who likes giveaways, who doesn’t like certain things. Those notes will be helpful in the future when you do another campaign.

    The key to a solid program is knowing your audience, tailoring your outreach and building relationships you can use in the future for other campaigns.

    About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media, a strategic inbound marketing agency based on Southern California. Go Lakers.  


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    Topics: blogger outreach, marketing personas, pr marketing, press coverage, inbound marketing, inbound marketing agency, smartbug media, ryan malone

    The Inbound Marketing Amoeba - Blurring Departmental Lines

    Posted by Ed Marsh on Feb 12, 2013 7:09:00 AM

    The Inbound Marketing Panacea

    "Content marketing is so freakin' awesome it will actually take your company over for you and run it better than you can!" 

    About tired of that sort of inane promotion? I am.

    Most folks reading this have bought into the value of inbound marketing. It really is a remarkable evolution in the practice of marketing.  It has transformative functional and financial benefits. And the evolution it is forcing has created substantial changes and opportunities in organizations - not only within the marketing orb.  

    While sales isn't going away, it has to adapt. And while companies would be crazy to forgo their hard won domestic business, they now have amazing global opportunities created through their inbound marketing.

    But it doesn't fundamentally change your business model and it doesn't solve half the problems some claim. But what if.......

    What if Inbound Marketing could support product marketing and R&D?

    inbound marketing research and developmentSound nuts? Well that's precisely what Beth Comstock, GE's CMO says they are intent on doing.   In a recent interview with Think with Google she spoke of the marketer's role in "connecting the dots" and said "When you're in this business, you see a lot of things, marketers are in a great position to notice if something's happening in an industry."

    Comstock added "Marketing is now about creating and developing new markets; not just identifying opportunities but also making them happen."

    So you don't have the staff of 5,000 marketers that she has at her disposal - but you do have an incredible equalizing tool. The power of your content.

    Pinpoints of light

    I guarantee there are applications that you've never considered. That's one of the benefits of global sales that we often discuss. Put your product in a different environment and it's amazing to observe the new uses which people will naturally discover.

    And that's with your product in its standard form.  But beyond that, somewhere out there are 5, 25 maybe hundreds of enterprising, entrepreneurial folks who are discouraged — they're slaving over products they have invented and are refining but they can't get them quite right. They're missing the secret sauce of your enabling technology.  

    And even with an army of 5,000 you're not going to find them.  So you have a choice — go about your business every day ignorant of the opportunities which you're foregoing, or figure out how to leverage the tools that content and inbound marketing provide.

    Will this approach double your company with a deluge of license or resale revenue? Probably not. But wouldn't some be awesome? Revenue without the operational hassles? And are there caveats? Sure. There is your IP to protect — you're not going to lay it all out in your content.

    But if you start to incorporate pieces into your editorial calendar (posts about related technologies, participation in different LinkedIn groups, webinars about how your technology has enabled others, etc.) all optimized for an appropriate category of search terms, you'll find an interesting crop of developmental leads to harvest.

    The key is to see content, your content promotion and inbound marketing efforts in the larger context. It should be simply being more efficient at finding more of the same — it's about being easy to be found by the folks who should find you, whether you know them or not.

    And be open to discussing new applications, uses and opportunities. Don't just reflexively reply "that's not what we do."

    About the Author: Ed Marsh is co-founder of Consilium Global Business Advisors, an international marketing consulting agency focused on developing strategic global business development and channel programs.
    Image from Los Alamos National Labs.

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    Topics: marketing assessment, product marketing, inbound marketing, marketing strategy

    Case Study: How A Very Small Business Increased Leads 300% with 3 New Landing Pages

    Posted by Steve James on Jan 16, 2013 7:31:00 AM

    Marketing Challenge

    RIDE Adventures is in a unique type of travel business with a dependency on keywords that have relatively low search volume. (For example: “Motorcycle Tours”) In an initiative to increase Top of the Funnel (TOFU) leads through their website, Eric Lange, the owner of RIDE Adventures recognized they would have to gain new visits and contacts through keywords and topics that are more widely searched for by their prospective customers. After thorough keyword research and analysis, he confirmed that not only were keywords like “Motorcycle Gear” and “Motorcycle Travel” pertinent to their customers’ interests, but they also had remarkably higher search volume than keywords directly focused on what RIDE Adventures was selling.

    The Solution

    As RIDE Adventures had already been committed to creating resourceful content in blogging and videos, similar topics were also formed into downloadable whitepapers, free for visitors and researchers to enjoy. In some cases these whitepapers already existed, as they were being provided to customers upon bookings for motorcycle tours anyway. The difference in late 2012 was that instead of these whitepapers only being offered to existing customers, they were placed as calls to action (CTAs) throughout the website, as well as built into a specific page dedicated to “Free Motorcycle Travel Information.”  More content, more keywords, and more offers have led not only to an increase in visits to their website, but an amazing spike in TOFU contacts is being enjoyed as well. (Screenshots taken January 10, 2013)

    ride adventure solution1

    An important point to make note of (shown in the next screenshot below) is how the previous couple of years of blogging and creating content had definitely increased traffic to the web site, but TOFU leads were not increasing at the same rate. As we’re constantly reminded, “content is king,” and especially helpful if your company’s ideal keywords also have high search volume. However, in the event there isn’t high search volume for your ideal keywords, creating pertinent content on “secondary” topics related to what we’re selling is what’s needed in order see such a spike in TOFU leads.

    ride adventure solution2

    In addition to creating the whitepaper download offers themselves, each click by a visitor was leading them to very specific landing pages made in accordance with Hubspot’s 10 Best Practices For Landing Page development. Whereas many of these best practices had previously been overlooked or ignored by RIDE Adventures, implementation of such key features into these new pages has seen conversion rates as high as 34% as compared to their more antiquated landing pages, which tend to average around 10% conversion rates. The combination of a great offer found through pertinent keywords and a well-designed landing page is proving quite fruitful to RIDE Adventures.

    This strategy helps RIDE Adventures not only in gaining more contacts, but also in terms of credibility and content as well. TOFU leads that receive these whitepapers are benefitting from the vast information provided and often coming back for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4thdownload later. Stream Creative had been consulting with RIDE Adventures and reminding them of the importance of being seen as authority on the topics their customers are interested in. As a result, customers keep coming back for more, which sets up the groundwork for workflows to be created that drive more leads to become actual customers.

    ride adventure results landing page

    It goes without saying that all the content, all the keywords, meta tags, and inbound links that stem from these new offers are contributing to the RIDE Adventures search engine rankings as well. In fact, the content provided in each whitepaper has been offered in short segments on their blog as well and helps the search engines discover each page and therefore each call to action leading them to a landing page.

    The Results

    Well, you can see them! Not only have unique visits continued to increase for RIDE Adventures, but in the final 3 months of 2012, their contact database actually doubled over what they had accumulated the previous 24 months of being in business. In addition: a) unique visits are reaching all-time highs and at steeper rates than what were typically realized, b) customers are seeing RIDE Adventures as an authority on a subject they’re interested in, and c) inquiries about the actual services RIDE Adventures is in business to provide have risen dramatically as well! Their outlook for 2013 as the 3rd year in business is looking brighter than ever before, and customers are feeling it as well.


    About the Author: Steve James is a partner and creative director of Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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    Topics: keyword research, keyword discovery, measurable marketing, business blogging, inbound marketing, content marketing, stream creative

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