Geo-Targeting Can Skyrocket Your Conversion Rates!

As the internet continues to grow at an exponential rate, the average web user is overloaded with a vast amount of information. Website owners only have a few seconds to convince someone that the content on their website is worthwhile reading before the visitor moves on. While there are many methods of engaging your visitors and increasing conversion rates, one that is hardly spoken of but is used by all the big players is ‘Geo-Targeting’.

Geo-Targeting in simple terms refers to targeting a visitor based on their geolocation (country, state or city). It involves dynamically delivering web content so that it is highly related to your visitor’s location. Relevant information is the key in catching a visitor’s attention and improving engagement. People are naturally drawn to events and deals that are happening around them. By Geo Targeting your website’s information, your visitors will feel more comfortable and familiar with the content displayed. This will not only enhance their browsing experience, but it will increase trust, separating you from your competitors.

Common Geo-Targeting Techniques

Geo-Targeted Content

A simple example of geo-targeting web content is dynamically altering phone numbers based on a visitor’s location. Having a phone number right on top of the website is a great way to improve call through rates for your business. However, as this space is prime real estate, it only makes sense to display the relevant phone number to the visitor. Geo-targeting can avoid having to display a long list of phone numbers in your website’s footer or on a separate page altogether.

Geo-Targeted Popups

Displaying popups on your website based on a visitor’s location is a great way to target promotions. Let us take a restaurant business, for example, that has several branches spread around the country. Each branch could be running a different deal. The branch in Los Angeles is offering 10% off all burgers. The branch in San Francisco could be offering half price Tuesdays and so on. Using a single website, the restaurant can display the relevant deal to each of its local audiences in the form a popup.

Geo-Targeted URL Redirects

Global companies often have multiple versions of their website tailored to suit each country with a country level domain (.au, .co.uk, .fr, .my, etc.).  Having a local domain can greatly increase trust and relevance. It also makes it easy for the company to completely tailor the website to suit the local audience. Most of these global companies utilize automatic URL redirection to the local domain based on the visitor’s country. This is called geo redirection and it is the most widely used geo-targeting technique.

Airbnb As An Example

Below are screenshots of Airbnb.com taken from California and Singapore respectively. You will notice the 3 accommodation images when viewed from California are Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Monterey, all of which are located in California. When Airbnb.com is accessed from Singapore, the images automatically show accommodation in cities from countries neighboring Singapore. This is a perfect example of how a large organization utilizes Geo-Targeting to display relevant information to their visitors.

Airbnb.com Viewed From California

airbnb1

 

Airbnb.com Viewed From Singapore

airbnb2

 

How To Geo Target Your Website?

Geo-targeting is a severely underutilized technique not only because of the complexity but the cost of implementation. First off, in order to obtain a visitor’s geo location accurately and non-intrusively, you will require an IP to location database which converts a visitor’s IP address to a usable location. These databases don’t come cheap and they need to be updated frequently. Implementing such a database and writing code in your website to create rules for delivering content, popups and URL redirects based on location will require an advanced level developer making it unaffordable for most small businesses. Or, you can choose to work with a more cost-effective and simple software solution that doesn’t require the complex IP tracking technology.

Once you’ve installed a system to pull the location of your website visitors, you’ll then be able to examine your traffic and strategize the best ways to geo-target them with special offers, varied verbiage, etc.

Happy geo-targeting!

headshotVarun Ramesh is the founder of Geolify and previously an automation engineer in the mineral processing industry. He is now passionate about ‘automation for websites’ as the internet becomes more intelligent and dynamic in nature.

7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your PPC Guy: An Easy-To-Use Checklist

As a small business owner, you know your business. But do you have time to master PPC? If not, you’ll want to hire someone to do this for you.

That’s why I’ve created this checklist — to help you pick the right PPC person and make sure they get the ROI what you want.

There are 7 critical things I’ve learned in my 14 years of optimizing PPC accounts. Having these at hand helps you get what you need out of your PPC guy. Let’s get started…

#1: Make Sure Your PPC Guy Uses Your Adwords Account For Their Work

If your PPC guy doesn’t use your Adwords account, you may not “own” the work they do for you. If you change providers, everything they’ve done for you may be lost.

Before hiring any PPC expert, ask, “Are you going to upload the campaigns you create to my account?” “Yes” is the only right answer for two reasons…

  • You “own” the work they do.  This way, if you change providers, you can just remove their access and keep the work that’s been done.
  • And it increases transparency.  If it’s in your account, you can check on the status of the campaigns without having to bug your PPC guy. You just login and do a spot check.

Bottom line: get this or walk away.

#2: Verify How Much Work They’re Actually Doing

ppc1It’s crucial you confirm the work they’re actually doing. Here’s how…

Once a week, go to “Change History” in your Adwords Account and go to “Tools”, and click on “Campaigns”. Then, click on “Change History”.

A log of what work has been done will come up. Then you can confirm the changes are what you agreed to.

#3: Ensure They Avoid Broad Match Keywords (With One Exception)

Adwords has five “match types” you can use for the keywords you’re targeting)…

  • Broad match
  • Modified broad match
  • Exact match
  • Phrase match
  • Negative keywords (I’ll discuss this later in the post)

Make sure your PPC contractor is using some combination of modified broad match, exact match and phrase match only.

A campaign with just broad match keywords lets Google give you the “kitchen sink” approach to showing your ads. This will dilute your ROI and hurt results.

The exception is when you’re marketing to a small to mid-size geographic region. In this case, your market will be smaller and you may have to use broad match to generate enough views of your ads (impressions).

#4: Confirm They’re Adding Negative Keywords

Adding Negative Keywords should be added to curb unrelated traffic. It will:

  • improve the quality of your traffic
  • reduce wasted spend and
  • improve your ROI
  • and boost your click-thru-rate (CTR).

Make sure this is part of your PPC guy’s plan and then confirm he does it each week.

#5: Insist They Specialize In PPC Only

Change is constant in SEO and Adwords. That means an expert in either has to specialize in either one to stay current and provide value.

No one can be really amazing at both. The bottom line:

If you want an SEO guy, hire an SEO guy. If you want a PPC guy, hire a PPC guy. As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

#6: Verify Their Adwords Certification Is Current & Valid

When hiring a PPC guy, you’ll really want to make sure they’re Adwords certified. This means they’ve taken and passed a series of demanding tests from Google to prove their know-how.

So, before hiring someone, ask them for a link to their Adwords certification. Make sure it’s valid and current. This avoids problems down the road.

#7: Approve All Keyword & Campaign Creation Steps

No PPC guy will know as much about the intricacies of your business as you do.

This means that he’s going to have to rely on your expertise to guide his research and campaign creation. Therefore, make sure that you get to review and approve the keywords they’re going to use.

On top of that, make sure you get to look at and approve the campaign before it goes live (and you start spending money).

You’ll probably catch little things that they missed because of your industry knowledge. I’ve seen this save clients a lot of money.

What All This Means For You

Use this checklist and you can make sure of two things:

  1. you’ve picked the right PPC guy
  2. once hired, you can make sure he’s delivering on his promises

You’re ready to start succeeding at Adwords!
Tim GogginTim Goggin is the founder of recessionRebirth, Inc. – a PPC & Facebook consulting agency. They help small- to medium-sized businesses create money-making ads, generate & convert more leads and accelerate the growth of their ROI. Download his free supplementary checklist, “10 More Ways To Get The Most Of Your PPC Guy” here. Once signed up, claim a free Adwords audit (limited to first 9 businesses that apply).

 

Supercharge Your Marketing Campaign with Visual Content

From choosing which products to buy, to interacting with other humans via a smartphone screen, much of our lives are now filtered through images. Research shows that in the age of tweets and Snapchats, humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish! This has been further compounded by the rapid adoption of mobile technology, which now revolves around compact, clean, and concise visual information.

As the world’s volume of digital content grows by 200% each year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for traditional marketing methods to reach consumers – hence why more and more marketers are incorporating visual content into their campaigns. However, unless a video is particularly well executed or an image is brilliantly composed, you’ll get passive views at best and people switching off completely in the worst case scenario. Your grasp needs to match your extended reach.

Types of visual content

Let’s do a quick rundown of the three most powerful forms of visual content available to us:

Video and motion graphics

Since the dawn of HTML5, video has become so utterly integrated with the web experience that we barely even notice it anymore. You might have observed that many sites, such as that of GoPro, have filled traditional ‘banner’ or ‘header’ space with full-screen, high-quality video frames. That’s because digital video – be it live action or motion graphics – is the cornerstone of digital visual content today.

Video content enables brands to speak directly to viewers through an audiovisual narrative – giving products a human voice. People are much more likely to give videos the time of day, and this is reflected in statistics: posts with videos receive 300% more inbound links than traditional text posts.

However, video falls flat in one major way. It is too inescapably linear; to communicate a message in its entirety requires that viewers stick with a video for a good few minutes. Striking a fine balance between grabbing attention and informing viewers comprehensively with video is difficult. Tools like YouTube analytics can provide some assistance, but unless a video is exceptionally well-made, the problem of attention span still remains.

Infographics

Simply put, infographics combine textual information and graphic representation in order to inform and explain. They do this by breaking down large chunks of information into small parts to create a succinct yet informative narrative. This is where the potential of infographics resides – in enabling viewers to quickly scan and process a lot of information.

If properly constructed and promoted, infographics can maximise engagement through capitalising on the combined strengths of visual and textual data. However, their efficacy rests largely on the quality of the layout, script and visual elements.

Designers (like us) have to juggle concise language with impactful imagery. If an infographic fails significantly in these areas, it will not be effective.

Presentations

Slideshare is sort of like a Youtube of presentations, allowing everyone easy access to an endless database of informative and well-made digital presentations. Most significantly, it represents the perfect platform to share concise, visual/textual content. In 2013, 45% of the presentations on Slideshare averaged 24 words per slide, and the number of images used increased by 53%. As the platform develops, the quality of presentations is rapidly rising.

Presentations offer one obvious advantage over infographics: they can convey much more information whilst retaining the benefits of visual communication. However, this has restricted them from the general public to an extent – many of Slideshare’s users are themselves involved in business. As such, any product or service you market using the platform must be very specifically audience-oriented.

Injecting visual content into a campaign

It’s important to note that each visual form has its own particular function and place, and is not appropriate in every circumstance. The primary function of visual content should be to inform or entertain first, and to sell second. For example, you wouldn’t use an infographic to advertise a product directly – and if you did, it probably wouldn’t be as effective as a good video ad.

Visual content shouldn’t just be seen as a fix-all bandage you can slap on any digital marketing campaign. It’s no replacement for market research, SEO analytics or blog campaigns, for example. However, if used in conjunction with conventional marketing techniques, visual content has the potential to truly supercharge your digital marketing campaign.

Visual dominance Final3

 

 

sterling wiliamsSterling Williams is the Lead Conceptual Designer at Mammoth Infographics. His background is in graphic design and internet marketing. When he’s not helping clients to turn their ideas into infographic masterpieces, he enjoys creative writing, playing with his labrador and honing his jiu-jitsu skills.

 

How to Use Email Tracking to Dramatically Ramp Up Sales

It’s no secret that email marketing metrics offer great insights.  They let you learn from your customers’ behavior and steer your marketing ship accordingly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 7.04.09 AM

But how do you find the best strategy for connecting with customers and prospects directly?  Welcome to the world of email tracking.

Email tracking will let you use context to your advantage.  This is huge because getting in front of recipients at the right time will drastically increase your likelihood of winning their business.

How Email Tracking Works

Tracking platforms live on your email service.  Most track opens, clicks, and responses, and they let you store and test email templates.

The technology works by embedding a small transparent image in each email, which is hosted on the platform’s servers.  The platform knows the email is opened when the image is accessed.  Email links are converted to tracked links so clicks can be measured.

The Right Strategy

1. Start with a Great Email

Your email should offer value.  When you’re reaching out to a prospect or customer, ask yourself, “What will he helpful to this person, even if they never hire us?”

Here is an example.  It’s optimized for tracking, which we’ll cover next.

Hi Rachael,I’ve been a fan of [COMPANY] since I read about you in Inc.  I’m glad I finally have a good reason to reach out.We created a tool for measuring email marketing ROI (attached), which we’re rolling out to two companies this month.  Our owner suggested I include you because a couple of your competitors, [Co.A] & [Co.B], responded well.In addition to discussing the tool, I’d like to hear what you’re doing for email marketing.  Even if you don’t hire us anytime soon, I promise you will leave with valuable information.

Can we have a quick call on Wednesday @ 2p?  We’ll need less than 15 minutes.

Best,

Dan

2. Track Clicks Strategically

With the above in mind, include the tracked link at the end so you’ll know if the message was read.

3.  Connect with Context  

Use tracking to understand email context and respond accordingly.  As Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, argues, “Getting calls from reps when I’m on their website or actually reading their email is much more relevant to my day and my schedule.”

4.  Follow Up at the Perfect Time

One of the biggest questions is “When should I follow up?”  Tracking answers that question with concrete data.  Use the technology in conjunction with other timing-based tools to improve your follow ups.

5.  A/B Test Templates

When crafting email templates, make the differences big.  Compare apples to apples: don’t stack the results from customers against those from prospects, and vice versa.

6.  Measure Results

After you send a solid number of direct emails (ie. 50+), review the results.  From there, create a new template and test it against the old one.

But What About Privacy Concerns?

If tracking feels weird, remember that you don’t have to track everything.  Track your pitch email only.  Also, you can include a line at the end of your message letting recipients know about the technology, and that no personal information will be shared.

Email Tracking Platforms

YesWare

YesWare hooks up to Gmail as an extension in Chrome or Firefox.  It’s free for up to 100 emails per month, and $12 per user per month for unlimited messages.

SideKick by Hubspot

If you’re already on Hubspot, then SideKick might be your best bet.  It’s free for up to 200 tracked emails per month, and $10 per user/month for unlimited.

ToutApp

Tout is another popular platform.  It’s much more robust than the others in terms of analytics and other features.  It starts at $30/month after a free trial.

SalesForce Tracking for Outlook

If SalesForce and Outlook are your world, then this may be most convenient.

Tracking is a valuable tool, but it’s not a silver bullet: it must be used in conjunction with a strong value proposition.  Assuming you’re reaching out to the right person with the right message, tracking will leverage context and bring you to a higher level.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 7.06.38 AMDan Englander is the author of “Mastering Account Management”.  He’s the founder of Sales Schema, a site that helps professionals find the right balance between sales and customer or client service.  And he’s a decent living room guitarist.  Follow him @danspalace  

 

3 Advantages to an Experiential Web Presence

webpresenceI spend a lot of time online. Whether it’s at work researching and managing my clients, at home browsing my favorite blogs and shopping, or on the go using Uber and Google Maps, I usually always have a way to access the Internet. Throughout all of my Internet time, and in the last few years especially, I have noticed a shift in how businesses portray themselves online. Gone are the days when there was a specific formula for mapping out website navigation, organizing content and images, and displaying a prominent call to action. Now with greater accessibility to the Internet through various devices, coupled with the advancements of modern technology, browsing the Internet has truly become an experience for the user, with tremendous advantages for businesses.

Just as a brand’s physicality is an experience in itself, the digital presence of a brand should reflect that experience in a similar light. The evolved user experience is no longer the traditional model of providing information. It’s using technological enhancements, like responsive design, better navigation, higher resolution visuals, storytelling capabilities, and many more techniques in order to attract your visitors, keep your visitors, and finally, convert your visitors. Below we elaborate on these advantages of an experiential website.Advantage: Attract your visitors.

1. Advantage: Attract your visitors.

There are many ways to create an experiential website. When you find your creative team to design and develop it, part of their market research entails researching your competition and your customers. They will be able to tell you what your competitors are doing correctly and where they are failing, so that you can take the opportunity to surpass them. More and more companies are investing in the user experience, because their customers are expecting it, especially those of the millennial generation. The importance of responsive design and mobile marketing, for instance, is more important now than ever, as studies have shown that businesses that incorporate this into their experiential website, are thriving. Take advantage of the opportunity to stay ahead of the competition and attract visitors to your website!

2. Advantage: Keep your visitors.

When users have a positive experience on your website, they are more likely to return. This in turn provides you with loyal customers who then become brand advocates, in other words, your greatest referral database. The research that is used to attract your visitors is additionally applicable to the ways in which the website will retain them and keep them coming back for more. Bounce rates have exceedingly increased, due to the lack of an experience. Once you have this research that demonstrates what your users are looking for, it will be far easier for you to tweak your user experience to their tastes. Give your customers a seamless digital experience so that they can find all of the information they are looking for, when they want it, all while enjoying it. The best way to retain your visitors is to constantly and continuously give them what they want!

3. Advantage: Convert your visitors.

We often hear from business owners that the user experience of their website comes secondary to their bottom line, which is to simply have a digital presence so that they can increase online sales. They don’t know how to justify the ROI of an experience. However, now that we know that your visitors are looking for these experiences and transforming into brand advocates because of these experiences, we can expect to see results in the sales cycle and in revenue flow. Guesswork and experimentation are no longer necessary when your users are entertained, moved and understood via your website.

In an increasingly data-driven world, businesses are finding ways to understand the motivations behind consumer behaviors and then applying that knowledge to a website that gives their potential and current customers a unique and memorable experience specifically catered to them. As a company experienced with the user experience, we at ParadigmNEXT hope that you take these 3 advantages to your advantage and launch a beautiful digital presence, with the focus being an experiential website.

 

YANA_PIC (1)Yana Nirshberg is the Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Creative Director at ParadigmNEXT, Inc. ParadigmNEXT is a digital marketing consulting agency headquartered in Chicagoland. We service brands both directly and via their nominated agencies, ParadigmNEXT delivers a seamlessly integrated Brand Experience and a greater measurable return on marketing investment (ROMI). Services we provide include brand identity, integrated marketing, inbound marketing strategy, art direction, web-design & development, startup incubation and product development services to a wide array of clients ranging from bootstrapped startups to successful longstanding companies. We’re deeply rooted in the tech startup community in Chicago and abroad, and have great relationships with emerging seed funds, VC’s, startup founders, and collegiate entrepreneurs.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Jolynn Oblak – Enjoy!

Leveraging inbound marketing strategies can help small business grow their customer base and save money. There are two basic types of marketing – inbound and outbound. The focus of each is different and they involve different strategies and techniques.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing, also referred to as interruption marketing, involves getting your marketing message to the largest number of people possible through advertising, cold calling, direct mail and other aggressive techniques that interrupt people in their daily lives. Seth Godin writes extensively about interruption marketing in his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers. Outbound marketing is a marketing model that requires a lot of marketing messages to be pushed out through various channels in the hope that the right message makes it to the right person. This is an expensive marketing model.  So what options exist today that are cost-effective and deliver results for small businesses?  In Hubspot’s 2014 state of inbound report, we find evidence to support the position that inbound marketing has the potential to deliver better results than outbound marketing.

“Half of marketers across B2B, B2C, and nonprofit sectors ranked inbound as their primary lead source, exceeding the average (42%) of all other channels combined.”

Here are 4 key reasons that inbound marketing is the right investment for small businesses who are looking for an effective marketing method for customer acquisition.

1. The Price of Inbound vs. Outbound

Outbound marketing is a very expensive endeavor.  The average cost per lead in North America is significantly less when using inbound marketing strategies. [Source: Hubspot state of inbound report, 2014].

hubspot cost per lead b2b

photo credit: State of Inbound 2014

The costs associated with outbound marketing often involves printing and mailing materials or spreading your message through television, radio or other media, making it out of reach for smaller businesses. Inbound marketing is less expensive and anyone with the right skills can do it. You create your website and blog with content that is targeted to your primary market and with a good content marketing strategy, you can attract prospects to you. You do most of the work on the front end building your site, optimizing with SEO and building a website traffic strategy. Social media is a relatively inexpensive way to find your target market compared to traditional advertising and print media.  According to Hubspot, over the last 6 months, companies are relying more on Social Media, Blogging, Email Marketing and SEO for lead generation than traditional, outbound marketing [Source: Hubspot state of inbound report, 2014].

The diagram below from, Moz compares the benefits and tactics of interruption. With so many marketing messages thrust into our daily lives, it’s no wonder that consumers are ignoring these constant messages.

Interruption marketing and inbound marketing

photo credit: Moz

2. It Offers Better Two-Way Communication

One huge advantage of inbound marketing is that it’s a form of two-way communication where the customer interacts with the business in a dialog. They post on the company’s Facebook wall, comment on business blogs, or take part in contests. When they participate, they become invested and engaged. People want to be in control of the information they get and this makes them more receptive to your message. A great example of a successful inbound marketing campaign that illustrated this beautifully is the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign which was unprecedented in its use of social media to engage, motivate and respond to voter’s needs.

3. People Won’t Tune out your messages. Period!

Outbound marketing means putting your message in front of people whether they want to hear it or not. As a result, its techniques are often intrusive and annoying. People have begun to tune it out. Inbound marketing puts your message in front of your target market and if you employ the right content marketing strategy, they will be compelled by their own curiosity to see what you have to offer. In fact, blogging can yield 13 times increased ROI over a year [Source: Hubspot state of inbound report, 2014] and B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not. [Source: Social Media B2B].

4. Inbound Marketing for Non-Marketers

Inbound marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. To market traditionally through direct mail or cold calling takes a certain amount of aggressiveness and sales skill. With inbound marketing, you provide valuable content like whitepapers, infographics and blog posts that help attract your ideal customer. It’s not “selling” in the traditional sense, so it’s more appealing to those who hate the image of the pushy salesman and may feel uncomfortable pushing their message.

Clearly, small businesses can benefit in many ways by adopting an inbound marketing strategy. Think of inbound marketing as the magnet to acquire the right customer and start today with a plan for how your small business can leverage it in 2015.

tbITPFIpJolynn Oblak operates Oblak Marketing & Consulting, a marketing consultancy that offers digital training products that help entrepreneurs to grow their business by leveraging inbound marketing strategies. Jolynn brings more than a decade of direct & inbound marketing success to help businesses drive their products and services to a larger clientele by developing effective sales funnels and marketing plans that will turn prospects into customers and customers into lifelong fans. She shares actionable tips on business blogging, social media marketing and more via her blog. You can get in touch with Jolynn via her website at www.jolynnoblak.com or via Facebook or Twitter

The Ultimate Tutorial to Add Inbound Marketing Into Your PR Strategy

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Kelly Marsh – Enjoy!

Inbound Marketing

photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn via photopin

Inbound marketing has become a popular strategy for a number of things including for being the best startup PR strategy. It has been often helped businesses exponentially with bringing in customers along with building up its brands like a pioneer in the space. Inbound marketing has really helped  online entrepreneurs in their business promotions along with having a tangible public relationship strategy.

Inbound marketing shouldn’t be looked at as a smorgasbord; rather you have the option of comparing the same complete and balance meal with different courses- main course, appetizer, dessert, side dishes, and also the leftovers. Unlike any other marketing strategy, inbound marketing should be a coordinated endeavor. In nutshell,  inbound marketing needs focus. In today’s high-end world, staying focused and concentrated on any task could be a big challenge. Let’s take a look at the ultimate tutorial for adding  inbound marketing as your startup PR strategy.

Blogging

A blog can be called one of the best inbound marketing strategies, which can help make your PR strong and in the long run, can help in building up your thought leadership. This inbound strategy can benefit you in many ways, which include giving you the opportunity to post fresh, new content along with optimizing relevant and targeted keywords pertaining to your niche area. You get the opportunity to leverage the best in terms of search engine optimization, however, this doesn’t mean in blogging you only write for search engines; the customer comes first. This helps in rendering the value along with things like social sharing and additional resources.

Social media

The platform of social networking  is not just a way to interact and make friends but also can be one of the best inbound marketing strategies in itself. Social networking sites have become a real new touchpoint to communicate with the existing and prospective clients. It is an excellent outlet for your business content. You will be able to build up your  social media strategy by simply identifying the most appropriate social networking site. Also, by merely having a social media profile on different sites does not mean that you have the same leverage for your PR activities, so you need to plan for the best. In order to start increasing your social profiles make sure you link properly to targeted links within your business site. For carrying out the business to business marketing, LinkedIn is more relevant along with other sites like Google Plus, Twitter, and YouTube. For business to consumers marketing purposes, sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are ideal sites.

Paid Search Advertising

This is known as PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, which is a controversial strategy in the domain of inbound marketing. People often are seen debating it; some call it an important inbound marketing strategy, while others do not agree. Though you may find this strategy straddling the line, you can appropriately call it one of the best inbound marketing strategies, which can even be a robust one. PPC can be an important method, which helps in complementing your site traffic while you create organic or natural search authority via SEO enhancements. The fact of the matter is if you want to have high commercial intent searches, PPC can outrank the organic search results.

Word of Mouth

More than 90 percent of word of mouth ads often occur offline. So, how it is relevant to your inbound marketing is a big question to answer. If you talk about inbound marketing strategies, you can use strategy as a conversation starter. The inbound marketing strategies can be a tactic that will help in discussing your business. Though most of these conversations are happen online, you still have the option of influencing and shaping things for your PR activities. Ideas like events, promotions, interactive tools and contests communicated via the digital channels (social media and websites) can increase the engagement and thus build up your traffic.

Final word

Inbound marketing is all about talking and discussing ideas in your niche area, which you have targeted. If you are really interested in tapping inbound marketing for your startup PR activities, the above options can help you the most. Keep trying them out!

Kelly MarshKelly Marsh is the writer of this post. She writes articles on Women’s education, Health, Social Media and Online reputation.  These days she contributes on getamplify.

Are You Building Your Business With a Crock-pot or a Microwave?

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Dan Kraus – Enjoy!
Are you building your business with a Crockpot or Microwave?

Photo Credit: lisaclarke via photopin cc

My Hubspot channel colleague Rachel Cogar at Puma Creative has a phase that I just absolutely love – she describes Inbound Marketing as a crock-pot strategy, not a microwave strategy.  Meaning, quite vividly I would add, that you will get a very tasty meal of inbound traffic and leads if you are willing have patience and put the time in for inbound marketing.

I’d go further than Rachel does with this however, and say that pretty much all marketing in a complex buying process is a crock-pot strategy.  We work with a lot of technology re-sellers/dealers/vars and they sell complex and expensive software, which performs critical functions for mid sized and smaller large businesses.

This is a not a quick turnover process.  A new customer purchase, with software and services, easily runs into the six-figures.  And the process to buy is long, complex and fraught with difficult questions to ask, answer and consider.

We’ve been seeing estimates that customers in complex purchases believe that they have completed anywhere from 60% to 80% of their buying process before they ever talk to a vendor on the phone.  SIXTY TO EIGHTY percent finished before you ever get to talk with them.

If you’ve been in business for about 10 years or more, think back – what was your sales cycle before the search engine ruled the world?  And what is it today? I am willing to guess that if you said your sales cycle used to be 6 months, and you really look at the time from engagement to close today, it probably is 6 to 8 weeks now.  So no, it hasn’t gotten shorter – its gotten hidden.  That engagement you used to have early on, as you educated a prospect, is now engagement the prospect takes upon themselves in a self-directed manner.

The impact of this is pretty profound in 3 key areas:

  1. We have a much more difficult time forecasting our sales future because we get engaged with prospects much later.  If we sell a product that used to have a 6-month sales cycle, we could reasonably do a weighted forecast, six months out.  If you are only seeing prospects now 6 to 8 weeks before they buy, it’s a lot hard to forecast six months.
  2. You don’t get a lot of opportunity to impact your prospects thought process.  The education that your prospect goes through is self-directed.  You don’t get to control the conversation. In fact, you will probably not even be able to impact the conversation unless you are putting out high quality educational materials on a regular basis such that Google sees you as a good source of education.
  3. You have a shorter window of time, space and energy to show why you are different than you have ever had before.  If the sales cycle that you are engaged with is shorter, and the prospect is self-educated, you have to have an extremely clear point of differentiation that is in-your-face obvious (and can be seen on a mobile phone).  If your prospects have to dig around to see why you are different, you lose.  The back button the browser or opening a new tab on my mobile is just too easy.

So back to our crock-pot and microwave.

To help educate these prospects and have them engage with you at the end of their buying process, they need to find you at the beginning.  This is the crock-pot.  You need to know the ingredients and keep adding them to the stew.  And give it time to cook.

Non-metaphorically – you need to know what the knowledge or understanding that your prospect is looking for and make it available when they want it (and in the format they want it).

The challenge with microwave strategies in a complex buying cycle is that sometimes they work.  Your telemarketer looking for leads might stumble upon someone who is ready to buy now.  That lead you purchased from a lead-aggregator may be a perfect fit customer for your organization and purchase next week.  But these results are unpredictable and make it difficult to consistently grow your business.

So by all means, use the microwave, but just like in your kitchen, there are some things that just don’t cook well in three to five minutes of radiation.  To make sure that you will always be well-fed, be sure you also get the crock-pot going, and always keep adding new and tasty ingredients for your prospects to feast on.

Dan KrausDan Kraus is the founder and president of the Leading Results marketing agency and a Master Duct Tape Marketing consultant.  Dan has been a sales and marketing professional for over 25 years, previously working for companies such as Great Plains Software and SAP. Based in Charlotte, NC, Leading Results has worked with Duct Tape Marketing for five years and is a Gold Certified Hubspot partner.  Leading Results helps clients in 14 different time zones to stop wasting money on marketing that doesn’t get results.