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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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Blogging for Business Growth

 

Dear Blog and Readers: I know it’s been a long time, sorry to have left you

Blog and Readers: Sorry I left you

I missed my blog, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write another post. I couldn’t take on another client. I felt dead in the water.

It felt like I was losing my mind. My mind was in a fog, like I was wandering around lost in the wilderness. Bewildered. Stressed.

One of my goals in life is to live as stress free as possible and I was failing.

The stress was getting to me.

I was becoming hard to live with. Hell I didn’t even want to live with me.

I couldn’t sleep, my head hurt, my patience was short. I was feeling completely overwhelmed and  bordering depression.

Oh the long nights of getting no sleep, listening to NPR, dreading the next day.

When the next day arrived, I didn’t want to get out of bed.

What a horrible way to live.

I felt like screaming.

So stressed out I could scream…too much marketing

Why?

Marketing.

Plan and simple, it was marketing. I was giving to much of myself to my clients and couldn’t get marketing off my mind.

I had taken on too much and it was beginning to drive me crazy. The more my clients asked for, the more I did, seemingly unable to say no.

It’s true. I was on the verge of losing my mind.

What was I going to do?

One thing for sure, I had to take a break, before I crashed and burned.

So I said to myself. Self, what do you want to do now.

I have been marketing for the last 15 years as a profession. So, I decided maybe it’s time for me to look for a job doing something else. I began looking around on the Internet for available jobs and I begin applying to jobs that sounded interesting but were not in the marketing field.

What I found out is that corporate America is even more demanding now that it was when I first left. They actually have nerves to want more education more experienced and pay even less money than when I was being paid when I left corporate America many years ago. The demands on employees is ridiculous, companies offer less benefits, less pay while asking employees to work more hours. There were jobs for administrative assistants that wanted a bachelor’s degree. If I have spent all that time and money to get a degree, I do not want to be an administrative assistant; I want to be an administrator. Maybe it’s just employers taking advantage of a tight economy. That’s my guess and it’s a damn shame.

This was out of the question for me.

I decided I needed to rethink my business and the services that I offer to my clients. I needed to keep from getting burned out and spreading myself to thin.

What do I really love?

I love blogging.

I’ve decided that I will focus on working with clients who want to blog and utilize blogging as the foundation for the online marketing.

I must not allow myself to be pulled into areas that I do not enjoy.

I must remain focused on the services that I am offering my clients and not be afraid to say know what they want services that do not offer. While this can be scary, saying no clients it something that I must do to be able to provide excellent services to my clients and not become stressed out by providing services to my clients that I do not enjoy.

I’ve decided to focus on just blogging services and not all blogging services.

I will concentrate on offering only two services to clients who are already blogging.

1. Blog audit: The client will determine what their goal if for their blog and I will provide a blog audit telling them how well they are doing and suggest what changes to make to reach their goals.

2. Blog Audit and Plan: After I have accessed the client’s blog, I will then provide the client with a plan to help them reach their goal.

That’s it!

I will not help you set up a blog or write blog posts for you. I will help you to access your blog, decide on the goal for your blog, determine if your blog is meeting your needs, figure out what changes are needed and offer suggestions  to help you improve your blog.

I will also help you create a plan that will help you reach the goal that you have for your blog. If you want to reach a goal within a specific period, I will help you create a plan to reach that goal. I will also help you to track you progress, that’s it.

I will not be writing blog posts, EBooks, articles, emails, blog set-up or anything else. If the client is in need of these services, I will help them find suitable candidates to provide these services.

While I am capable of providing many of the services that a client needs, I believe that it will best serve me and my clients if I remained focused on one area: blogging.

I have chosen blogging, because I believe in blogging and the benefits that it can bring a business. I also believe that a blog is the hub to successful online and social media marketing program.

According to Hubspot research 57% of businesses who blog, gain new business. I can attest to this, because my business brings in 85-90% of its business from my blog.

So that’s the skinny of it.

My goal is to help my clients become better more efficient bloggers and to utilize their blogs to help them meet their business goals.

My goal is to start at the beginning. I will try to help my readers build a better blog. I will try some new things on my blog and tell you how they go. I will offer from time to time my blog as an experiment and let you know what I am trying and how things work out. I will put to test ideas that others have and let you know how things go and put to test some ideas that you offer.

My approach will be casual, because I am a casual type of person. Through reading my blog, I hope that you will get to know me and I will in turn get to know you.

I hope is that along the way we will all learn a lot and build great business blogs.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Jenn

 

Stop Writing Blog Content and Start Promoting Your Blog

Stop Writing Blog Content and Start Promoting Your Blog

In the past the belief was that you write lots of content to help your blog rank well in search engines. This is becoming harder and harder, especially with the constant changes with Google, the top search engine.

I am going to present a different approach. Instead of spending your time trying to put out content every day or several times a week, scale back your output.

If you are a new blogger, I am suggesting that you only write one good blog post a week. Assuming that you have already taken the steps to determine your topic, niche and audience, now you can concentrate on writing. If you are not a new blogger and currently post more than two blog posts a week, scale back to two posts per week.

Concentrate on writing a blog post that resonates with the audience that you are trying to reach. Information what they will find important and useful, and then write a good in-depth post. I am not talking a short book, but a few thousand words are good.

This is simple, if you are an estate planner targeting the LGBT community, you can write a guide to estate planning for LGBT individuals and couples. You write a beginners guide to estate planning and it covers about 2300 words.

Summarize the guide down to about 500 words of quick tips and advice for your blog post. Turn the full guide into an EBook or PDF Download and include an offer for the guide in your blog post.

After you have written your blog post, spend the next week promoting that blog post and guide. Get your post in front of as many people in your target audience as possible.

Promoting your blog post:

  • Get involved in groups and forums, promote your blog article and guide. Attach a link to all outgoing comments
  • Send a quick tips release to online publications promoting your guide that reaches your target market with a link back to your blog, preferably a landing page if you are going to build an email list.
  • Send a similar tip release to associations and organizations targeting your audience with a link to your post included
  • Write out 20 tips and tweet them out to your network with a link back to your blog post
  • Share your blog post on Facebook, Google, Stumbleupon, Digg, LinkedIn and any other social networking that you are involved
  • Turn your guide into a slideshare presentation
  • Any other way that you can think of to get your post read and guide downloaded

Recap:

Step 1: Write one in-depth article per week of at least 2000 words.

Step 2: Turn your in-depth article into an EBook or PDF for download

Step 3: Write a summary of your in-depth post of approximately 500 words.

Step 4: Promote the hell out of your blog post and in-depth article.

Why am I suggesting that you cut back your writing opposite of what all the blogging gurus and I have told you in the past? It is too damn hard to keep up with the changes that Google constantly makes and hard as hell to rank on the first page of Google these days.

So Stop It. 

SEO is not what is used to be, things have changed.

Social networking and sharing allows you to stop concentrating all your time writing thousands of posts to rank well on Google. It is all about getting what you have written in front of readers, where they hang out most often. It is about becoming involved in their groups and presenting them with information that they need.

Competition is fierce and it comes from all over the globe. Now is the time to focus on the audience you are trying to reach, penetrate and dominate before you expand to additional audiences.

It doesn’t matter how many blog posts your write, how great they are if nobody ever reads them. You can’t afford for Google to find, rank your blog hoping your readers find you. You have to get out there and promote the hell out of your blog posts.

Have Your Say:

What do you think about writing less often? Are you scared it will hurt your traffic? Do you see the benefit of spending more time promoting write and less time writing?

 

Join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms

 

What if Martin Luther King Jr. were a Blogger

What if Martin Luther King Jr. were a Blogger

Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and it got me to thinking, what if MLK were a blogger and social media savvy? The Middle East had the Arab Springs where they able to use social media to mobilize and take on their government. Would MLK be able to do the same?

Martin Luther King Jr. had the ability to mobilize millions to stand up for equality and stand firm in the face of harassment, beating and death. What if he the power of social media and blogging behind him, how much more powerful could he be or has our society become too apathetic?

I can imagine MLK with millions of Facebook fans and twitter followers. Instead of looking down the barrel of guns or water hoses, he could mobilize his army through his blog, Facebook and Twitter. Sisters and brothers, we believe in the right of every man, woman and child the right to bear arms in our beloved country. We do not believe that ordinary citizens need to own military style assault weapons that shoot 50 rounds of ammunition. Let’s take a stand against military style weapons and tweet “Ban Military Style Weapons,” brothers and sisters let your tweets be heard.

Could you imagine the posts he would write that would bring you to tears yet galvanize you to take action, with a tweet this button next to profound statements.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (tweet this)

“Injustice anywhere is a treat to justice everywhere.” (tweet this)

How about the power of Facebook, could he get is message across with images?

 

Like this picture if you agree


If you think this is wrong and need to be stopped, share this picture.

Would he have to write in short blurbs because of our lack of attention span? Could be compete against the likes of honeybooboo or the Atlanta housewives? Would he have to dumb down his prose to fourth grade level do to our poor education systems across America and nonchalant attitudes?

On his birthday, I wonder what he would think of America today. Would he be disappointed in all his hard work and what he died for to see us still fighting for the same rights? Would he be ashamed of the state of our society that cares more about TV stars than the rights that they continue to lose every day? Would he be sadden that our government has become so bad and corrupt that the citizens feel that they have no control and no matter what race they are they feel their votes don’t count. Would be horrified as he watched politicians buy, cheat and steal elections or that the Supreme Court has determined that corporations are people? How would he feel about Wall Street running our country, people losing their jobs and homes? What would he think of the mass shooting across our country? How about 9/11. pharmaceutical companies running our healthcare system, no-knock warrants, drones, cellphones plastered to our heads, terrorists, massive oils spills, global warming, warrant-less wire tapping, TSA, Homeland Security, body scanning machines, the first Black President?

I can imagine him never running out of topics to blog about. Up all night because there is always something new to say, something new to speak out against, fervently typing away at his computer posting on his blog, Facebook and Twitter. Would anyone listen? Better still, would anyone take action?

 

Have Your Say:

Do you think that blogging and social media would have helped Martin Luther King Jr.?

 

Join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms

 

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

 

 

Using Content Marketing to Educate Prospects about Your Business

Using Content Marketing to Educate Prospects about Your Business

The internet has allowed businesses to do business all over the world. It has also given prospects the availability of thousands of choices when looking to make a purchase, even when purchasing services. There are businesses that solely provide services to clients that they have never meet face to face.

Whether you meet with clients or never meet clients face-to-face, educating them before they purchase is the key to success. Content marketing is the key. It gives you the ability to show prospects your expertise and the solutions that you provide to solve their needs.

How do you make it easier for prospects to become interested in doing business with you?

It is commonly known in the marketing community that people do business with people they know, like and trust. You goal is to get prospects to know, like and trust you before the meeting, whether in person or over the telephone.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by educating the prospect on your services. This is going beyond creating marketing pieces that explain the services that you offer. This is educating prospects on how the service you offer will help them solve their problems, problems that they may not even know that they have.

For example:

Let’s say that you own a wedding planning service. For the bride who is getting married for the first time, she may believe that planning her wedding will be easy. She may not know there are hundreds of tasks to complete before her wedding day in order for her to have the wedding she has dreamed of since she was a child.

Your job is to educate her about all the steps that go into planning a successful and happy wedding that will allow her to enjoy the wedding of her dreams. Through this educational process, you will help her to realize all the things that she hasn’t thought about when it comes to planning a wedding. As she continues to return to the information that you provide concerning planning the perfect wedding, she will come to trust the advice that you give. When she begins to think that she may be better off hiring someone to help her plan her wedding, she will turn to the person who is educating her when thinking about hiring a wedding planner. You are one-step ahead of other wedding planners, because without even meeting her, she has gained trust in your ability to plan the perfect wedding.

What is some of the content that you can provide to prospects?

There are tons of ways that you can provide content. Vary your approach so that you reach prospects in a format that they will enjoy. You can create:

  • A blog
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Slideshare presentations
  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Special reports
  • Infographs
  • Comic books
  • Video games
  • Apps

Just to name a few.

How do you go about educating your prospects?

Let’s stick with the wedding planning example. So how do you go about educating your prospects and gaining their trust? You can put up a wedding planning website and add pictures of successful wedding you have planned.

You can add a blog and write wedding planning articles and tips. You can create a wedding planning workbook or worksheets. Add short videos of weddings you have planned, podcasts and webinars on wedding planning topics, success stories of how you helped people plan the perfect wedding, facebook fan page with all of the above and twitter updates. You can add a forum to your website where brides can talk to other brides, have questions answered by you and other readers, and create a monthly newsletter.

How do you reach prospects?

Make sure that you are participating in the social networks that your prospects participate. Join forums and groups. Share your content on your Facebook, Twitter, , LinkedIn and other accounts you have set up for your business. Ask them to share it with the people that they know. Create a contest to gain more attention and find ways to share you content with the media and bloggers so that they can help spread the word.

Utilizing these marketing techniques can be cost-effective for a small business owner, the largest investment being your time. Whether you are a service provider or sale products, educating your prospects is essential in today’s marketplace. Prospects are educating themselves about their needs and by providing the educational content that they need, when they need it, you place yourself ahead of your competitors.

Your Turn:

Are you educating your prospects about the services/products that you provide and how you can help them?

Join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms