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How Inbound Marketing and Content can Draw Prospects to Your Business

How Inbound Marketing and Content can Draw Prospects to Your Business

Hubspot surveyed 3339 marketing professionals in 128 countries about the current state of inbound marketing.

Why is this Important to You?

It is important to you as a small business owner because it gives you insight into what is working and where marketing trends are heading.

With the increasing use of the internet and businesses competing in the global marketplace, many businesses are replacing traditional marketing with inbound marketing. The common consensus is that to reach the global marketplace focus on using inbound marketing tactics and to pull prospects with content that is relevant to them.

The benefits of Inbound Marketing are:

  • Inbound marketing costs are 61% lower per lead
  • 41% of marketers say inbound marketing produced measurable ROI in 2013
  • 43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog
  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly — which, by itself, is still an impressive result
  • 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing this year
  • Just 20% of companies without a blog reported ROI from inbound marketing in 2013

How can Inbound and Content Marketing Help your Business?

  • Reach a targeted audience receptive to your message
  • Improve the ranking if your website or blog
  • Improve conversion rates of online sales
  • Establish you and your company as experts in your industry
  • Attract better qualified prospects to your website or blog
  • Repeat visitation to your website or blog from prospects and clients
  • Keep in touch with current clients and promoting referrals
  • Help to establish likeability, trust and credibility

What are the Different Types of Content Available for use by Your Business?

Blogs – Educate, entertain and inform readers about your topics, encourage return visits to your blogs with frequent updating, engages readers to share comments and share the information with others.

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, , LinkedIn and other social media sites help promote your business, showcase talents, engage prospects and help spread the word about your business.

Presentations - Presentations provides readers with information that is appealing, informative, short and straight to the point.

ENewsletters – Inform, educate and entertain readers on a consistent and timely basis, helps promote your business, are shared with others, increases reputation, recognition, trust and loyalty among readers, and increases sales.

White Papers – Showcases your industry knowledge, provides the opportunity to be a thought leader, informs and educates the readers and can be shared with others.

Articles – Educate, entertain and inform readers about your topics, showcase your knowledge and lead readers to action.

Case Studies – Educates readers on your businesses pass success and tell how your business will help them achieve the same success.

Video – Educate, entertain, informs watchers, helps increase your likeability, trust, recognition and reputation among watchers.

eBooks – Establishes you and your business as experts in your industry, increases reputation, recognition and draws traffic to your website or blog.

Podcasts – Educates listeners, helps increase your likeability, trust and reputation.

Online Courses – Educate participants, showcases your knowledge, increases reputation and sales.

Workbooks – Educates readers, helps readers solve problems, increases reputation, trust and loyalty from readers.

Seminars – Webinars and teleseminars help educate participants, showcase your knowledge, increase reputation and recognition.

Businesses use a combination of the above inbound and content marketing tactics to create a online marketing strategy. While this is list is not comprehensive it is a good starting point to begin thinking about using content marketing in your business and what tactics are available. Inbound and content marketing allows small businesses and solopreneurs to level the playing field when competing against larger businesses.

Your Turn

How are you currently using inbound marketing and content to draw prospects to your business?

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth

 

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Do You Know Who Your Ideal Blog Reader Is?

You have created a blog for your business but how much thought have you given to what your ideal blog reader is like? What they want? How they will feel after reading your blog posts? What you want them to do after visiting your blog?

How would you describe your ideal blog reader?

When it comes to attracting your ideal readers to your blog you should be able create a picture in your mind as you describe them. You should be able to tell if they read your blog at work or home. How much time do they spend learning about the topic? What they are looking for when they reach your site and what is their current knowledge level?

Do you know?

When creating a description of your ideal reader here are some questions to answer:

1.) What is your reader’s demographic information?

  • Where do they live?
  • Are they married?
  • What is their annual income?
  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • Do they have children?
  • What is their education level?

2.) What is their job and level of seniority?

  • In what industry to they work.
  • Are they the decision maker?
  • If not, do they influence the decisions maker/s?

 3.) What does a day in their life look like?

  • What brings them joy?
  • Do they spend more time at work or home?
  • Who are the people in their life that matter most?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What radio stations do they listen?
  • What publications do they read?
  • What type of clothing do they wear?
  • What associations and social networks do they belong?
  • Are they involved in their community?
  • What do they do online?
  • Are they involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
  • What time of day do they read your blog?
  • Are they religious?
  • Are they conservative or liberal?
  • Do they have special hobbies?
  • Do they travel, where, how often?
  • Do they have pets, if so what kind?

4.) What are their pain points?

  • What do they worry about?
  • How do their problems affect their day-to-day life?
  • What challenges do they face?

 5.) What do they value most?

  •  What are their goals?
  •  What are they striving to attain?
  •  What does it mean to be successful?

 6.) Where do they go for information?

  • Do they go online when looking for information?
  • Do they talk to co-workers, friends, family or industry experts?
  • Do they read reviews, testimonials or case studies
  • How do they like to consume information, articles, books, audio, or video?
  • Whom do they trust the most?
  • What blogs do they already read?
  • How much knowledge do they currently have about your topic?

 7.) What experience are they looking for when reading your blog?

  • What do they hope to gain from your blog?
  • Do they expect to be entertained, informed or educated?
  • Do they know what they are expected to do after reading your blog?
  • What topics are compelling to them?
  • What type of articles thrill them?

 8.) What are some common reasons that readers do not return to your blog?

  • Are your blog posts too long or short?
  • Are they having a hard time trusting your authority on the subject?
  • Are there other blogs that are providing better information?
  • Are you not providing the information in the format that they most desire?
  • Does your blog lack uniqueness?
  • Are you speaking their lingo? Are you too casual or technical?

9.) How will I know if I have reached my ideal readers?

  • Look at your blogs analytics. How much time are they spending on your site? How many pages are they reading?
  • How many comments are you receiving on your blog?
  • Are they sharing your content?

How to Find Information about Your Blog Readers:

  • Send out a survey to your email subscribers and offer a free gift to those that respond
  • Read the profiles of people who have liked your Facebook page
  • Read the profiles of the people in your network on LinkedIn
  • Ask them on your blog to tell them about themselves

In order to create profiles of your ideal readers you need to understand as much about your ideal readers as possible. The answers to the types of questions above are not always available, but answering as many of the questions as possible will help you to build a relationship to your ideal reader and understand what they are interested in reading and how to connect with them.

Once you have obtained as much information as possible, add a real photo to represent your ideal reader. You may need to create several reader profiles, but not too many, 2-4 should be a good amount.

When you begin to write your blog post, write with one of your readers in mind. Make sure to reference some of the things that you have learned about them. If you know that this reader loves dogs, include a dog story, reference or picture.

Your Turn:

Do you know who your ideal blog reader is?

Have you created a profile of your ideal blog reader?

Ten Great Benefits of Blogging

Ten Great Benefits of Blogging

Everyone already knows that I am a great fan of blogging and benefits that if offers. While there are probably hundreds if not thousands of benefits to blogging, I am going to share with you ten great benefits of blogging.

Blogging can help you:

1. Grow your business

Consistently adding posts to your blog that offers content that you target audience wants to read will help you reach people around the world that you would never have the opportunity to reach on a day-to-day basis.

Your blog will allow you to show readers how you can and have solved similar problems to the ones that they are facing. Present your personality, skills and experience to your readers.

If your business consists of primarily local clients your blog can help, you reach people in your community that you would not have an opportunity to meet or that you even know exist. You can make sure that your blog has local keywords in place so that when people search for local items your blog will appear.

If I wanted to reach more local people in or around Detroit, I would include Detroit in my title tagline. I would include local happening along with my marketing posts so that when people searched for Detroit my blog would have an opportunity to appear.

2. Get Published

Many bloggers have gained book deals from their blogs. They have had people at publishing companies stumble across their blogs, followed their blogs and offered them book deals. Publishers are still publishing books whether in digital form or paper.

Your blog will allow potential publishers see the wealth of knowledge that you have on a subject and showcase your writing skills. They can also see that you have the capability to build an audience.

3. Get a Job

Blogging is a great way to showcase your skills and knowledge to potential employers. When you apply for a job, send them a link to your blog so that they can see for themselves what you bring to the table.

Many employers are looking for people who are social media savvy across all industries. It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, engineer or doctor. Social media has permeated all industries; it also means that you will need less training because you are already social media savvy. Many employers look at potential hires social media profiles and check their social media activity. Be careful, social media can also cost you a job.

4. Become a Speaker or Presenter

You can use your blog to showcase presentations that you have created, speeches you have given or just show your ability to do so. Many companies are doing online presentations, create a powerful presentation with audio, add it to slideshare and your blog. This will give businesses an idea of your presentation skills and style. Then put up a page on your blog letting potential businesses know that you are available to give presentation, workshops or whatever and include some examples for them to view. (hummm….think I will do this myself)

5. Become Known as an Expert

The more you post to your blog on your subject matter the more people will gain an understanding of the depth of knowledge that you have on a subject. This will also help when the media goes looking for experts to interview, when they do a search and your name keeps popping up, they will be more inclined to contact you. They will have the opportunity to read your blog and realize that you are the expert that they are looking for.

Becoming a recognized expert will also help you get better jobs, business and other opportunities, they sky is the limit.

6. Build your network

Blogging will help you expand your network. The more you blog the more people will reach out to you and the more influence you gain. You can build a network of people who will help you when you need help, will want to help you because they admire and want to work with you. People will seek you out for advice and trust your advice. Blogging allows you to reach others and for others to reach you. You can get the opportunity to communicate and maybe even work with people you consider big time. Whom would you love to work with?

7. Gain Influence

Bloggers are big in the world of media. Fashion bloggers have started trends. Businesses will contact bloggers with huge following and very active communities to promote products, sway opinion, highlight a cause and garner support. Your blog can make you the go to person for your industry when the media wants an opinion or insight.

8. Sell products

By building a larger reader and subscriber base, you can create products for sell that you readers will buy because they have already shown that they trust you and believe that you can help them. If they believe that you will help them then they will believe that the product that you are selling will help them also.

9. Help Others

Blogging lets you help readers with their problems. You can offer free information products, educational posts, videos, whatever you can dream of that will help your readers live better lives. Blogging can help you help people get over fears and live their dreams. You can inspire, educate, entertain, motivate and mobilize people with your blog.

10. Show the world who you are.

Your blog can show people all the great quirky things about you. People love to get to know people, marvel at their adventures, understand and sympathize with another person’s pain, laugh when they make a fool of themselves and smile tears when great things happen. You can express yourself fully and get people who have never met you believe they know you. They will become your supporter’s even evangelist and have never actually met you in person, but defend you as if they have.

Believe me there are so many more great things about blogging, this list could go into the hundreds, but I am going to stop at ten.

Have Your Say:

What do you think are some of the great benefits of blogging?

 

Join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms

 

 

If You Don’t Pay Your Clients Some Attention Your Competitor Will

If You Don’t Pay Your Clients Some Attention Your Competitor Will

Lack of attention is a one of the biggest complaints that couples have in relationships. Well your business is about relationships also, are you giving your clients enough attention? Customer service is the number one complaint from customers.

 

One sorry fact is that businesses don’t realize that they are in the relationship business.

 

You may sell software, but you are selling it to people and people crave good relationships. People will buy from a higher bidder due to a better relationship with that bidder. They feel more confident that the person will do the job, because that bidder has taken the time to build the relationship, which instilled trust.

 

Take two electronic salespeople:

 

The first walks up to the customer looking at televisions and asks, are you ready to buy?

 

His likely answer is no still looking.

 

The salesperson walks away, on to find the person who is ready to purchase.

 

The next salesperson walks up and says, Hey, howya doing?

 

“Good, how are you?”

 

So, are you interested in buying a new television for the family, I see you are looking at the big screens here.

 

Yeah, trying to decide which the best television to get, not really sure.

 

Well do you have kids that will be playing video games on the television?

 

Yeah, they probably will.

 

Then the salesperson goes on to tell him how some are better for playing videos, and answers all the customers questions with patience and a friendly attitude. During the conversation, he even tells a little about his family. He finds out all he can in an easy manner about what the customer’s television needs are and only shows him televisions that fit his needs. He shows the customer television that are on the higher end, the customer says, whoa, that’s too much.

 

He says; well let’s look at these over here. You can get a great television at a lesser price but you may have to get a smaller television or go with fewer options.

 

In the end, he sells the customer a television and the customer is happy with his purchase. He can go home and explain to his family the great buy he made (because the salesperson took the time to educate him) and they too will be happy with the purchase.

 

In the manner of maybe 30 minutes, the salesperson was able to build a relationship and sell the television. He built the relationship by paying attention and listening to the customer’s needs and desires.

 

The point is, business is about relationships, it really doesn’t matter what you are selling.

 

Whether you are trying to turn a prospect into a client or keep you current clients happy, attention goes a long way.

 

Suggestions on ways to give your prospects and clients some desired attention:

 

  • Create a database of prospects and current customers
  • Send them an email just to get in touch, see if they have any questions
  • If they have questions, follow-up with a phone call
  • Record the information that you receive from them in the database, the questions they asked, your answers and any other information that they give
  • Note any personal information that they give to you: birthdays, spouses and children’s names, hobbies, associations, reading habits, movies they love, everything.
  • Find ways to become more personal with them, send birthday or anniversary cards. Send a quick email asking how the son did at the track meet, ECT.
  • Send a subscription to a magazine for one of their hobbies
  • Send them articles that you think they will enjoy other of business related articles (send the business ones also)
  • How client appreciation events for local customers
  • Send a couple of tickets to an event that you think they will enjoy
  • Tell them about upcoming events going on in your city that you think they will enjoy. They say they like wine, send them info about a future wine tasting.
  • If they invite you to an event, go
  • Send a handwritten thank you note, telling them that you appreciate them being your client

 

There are so many things that you can do on a regular basis to show your prospects and clients some love and attention.

 

Try to make keeping in touch something that you do on a regular basis in small ways. Clients want to feel appreciated even if they don’t say so directly. You may find that in turn they will show that they appreciate you buy referring additional business to your company or writing a glowing testimonial for your business.

 

Your Turn:

 

Are you showing clients that you appreciate them?

 

What are some of the ways that you show your appreciation?

 

What Next:

You can always comment on my Blog, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms, sign up for my NEWSLETTER.  or Contact Me.