Inbound Marketing: Why It's Here to Stay 

By Steve Hoag

inbound marketing strategies

Inbound marketing is taking off in a huge way. And it’s in it for the long haul. Digital marketers and users alike are falling head over heels for this approach. So why is it here to stay, and not another passing fad? Read on!

Low costs and high incentives for users create high engagement for marketers.

People love free things. Inbound marketing is all about providing free, high quality content to empower users. The user is only spending a few minutes of their time to acquire great information. The biggest hurdle for most users is filling out a simple opt in form on a landing page. Thanks to the very low end-user cost and the fact that users WANT this content, inbound marketing campaigns can generate a great deal of engagement. There are also extra incentives that can be added in like coupons or free sample for sharing/liking etc. Consumers aren’t dumb. They know a good deal when they see one, which is why inbound marketing is exploding in popularity right now.

Data friendly.

There’s one thing that every marketing team wants: actionable data. Inbound marketing is great for this thanks to the use of forms and analytics that help provide actionable data. Marketers can quickly gain access to a variety of KPI’s, and in some cases using only free tools.

Synergizes with other (free) technologies like social media.

Marketers love free things just as much as consumers. As I pointed out earlier, there are a ton of free tools and technologies that inbound marketing synergizes with. You don’t have to purchase a fancy analytics package right off the bat. You can use tools like MailChimp, bit.ly, Google Analytics, and more to start a bootstrap marketing campaign. Not to mention that social media is absolutely free, and is arguably the most important inbound marketing tool there is. Inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective business decisions you will ever make. This sort of marketing strategy is not just for the big brands. ANY business can take advantage of it thanks to its high budget flexibility and synergistic qualities.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, February 14, 2014 6:44:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SEO SMB social media social media marketing web trends

Big Brand Social Media Lessons for Small Businesses 

By Steve Hoag

social media for small business

 

Big brands are often idolized on social media. They have thousands of followers, everything they post gets shared, and they seem to grow without even trying. Well I have news for you! They do have to try very hard to break through the clutter. In fact, big brands can be highly innovative on social media. Here are some social media lessons small businesses can learn from their larger brethren:

Create a lifestyle, story, or personality.

One of the biggest hurdles of a big brand is to overcome the stigma that comes with being a business giant. Consumers tend to think of you as a faceless giant. Many big brands have overcome this stigma using social media to create stories and a unique personality. Starbucks uses Instagram to post casual pictures of customers, its coffee shops, and products. IBM created a network of blogs to give consumers an inside look into life as an IBM employee.The Weather Channel makes Vine videos to peek into its radio station shows. These are all different tactics that serve the same purpose – namely, to give a big brand a face and personality.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

There are two camps of thought when it comes to big brands when it comes to outside the box thinking. Some people say: ‘They have the budget, resources, and brand recognition to try crazy things and make them go viral.’ Others think: ‘Just because they have the resources doesn’t mean they will be successful. If they fail it will blow up in their faces because of how popular their brand is.’ Both are true. Thinking outside the box is a huge risk for big brands. They will either be celebrated or chastised. Pepsi has created soda machines that give out free samples in exchange for Facebook likes. Chipotle has even fake hacked its own Twitter account to create buzz. The point is, if big brands aren’t shying away from risk, why should you? There’s much more room for error with small businesses!

Pay attention to individual customers. Make them feel valued.

Big brands have thousands, if not millions of customers. It’s hard to keep track of all of their needs and concerns! Big brands have actually done really well at connecting with individual customers to make everyone feel valued. There are dozens of dedicated support accounts for products like Xbox, Comcast Digital Cable, and much more. Other brands like Zappos share cool customer stories like orders from Antarctica. Big brands are constantly monitoring social media, looking for mentions, analyzing sentiment, and then reaching out to those users. The point of social media is to connect people with people. You’ve won social media if you can make another person feel like they’re talking with another human being, rather than a brand. Reach out to people that mention you! Making people feel valued goes a long way.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:27:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing

The Top 3 Landing Page Mistakes To Avoid 

By Steve Hoag

inbound marketing tips

 

Landing pages are a critical component of inbound marketing. They need to be done well, or your campaigns won’t be as successful as you would like. A standard landing page is made up of a few components like a headline, sign up form, and a call to action. These are fairly straightforward, but it’s easy to make an easy mistake if you aren’t careful. Avoid the following at all costs!

Lack of a compelling headline.

A headline is the hook that you lure users with. A great headline can secure many leads, while lackluster ones will only drive bounce rates. Make sure your headline is concise, compelling, and straight to the point. The point of the headline is to keep users on the page, and drive them to the forms below. Try A/B testing to see which types of headlines resonate the best with your audience.

No clear call to action.

A landing page isn’t complete without a clear call to action. The point of a landing page is to acquire leads, and a clear call to action facilitates this. It’s important to ensure that the user knows what he/she is supposed to do on the landing page. Don’t confuse them with tons of links to click on, or a variety of call to actions. Keep the decision tree as simple as possible so your users can get from A to B without having to visit C and D first. More choices equals more confusion. If a child can’t figure out what to do your call to action isn’t clear enough.

Too complicated of a sign up form.

A user’s worst nightmare are long, complicated, tedious forms. Users love great content, but will decide to forego that content if they are greeted with an enormous form. It’s crucial to keep your opt-in forms as simple as possible. Focus on the bare necessities. If you can live with just an email address, use that as the only field on the form. Again, A/B testing with different versions of contact forms is a great way of finding out the perfect number of fields to use. This will help to balance consumer insight while minimizing bounce and form abandonment rates.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7:53:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing landing pages social media social media marketing web design

Why Outsourcing Development Can Mean A More Successful Web Design Business 

By Steve Hoag

outsourcing development

Designers love designing. That’s a fact. However, there are quite a few designers out there who dislike coding. The good news is that’s why there are developers to help you out! Focusing on doing what you like to do, and leaving the dirty work for developers is great if you like things like more sales and profit. Why’s that you ask? Well…

Outsourcing development means you can take on more projects.

Depending on the website, it can take a great deal of time to both design and develop a project by yourself. Also, you are limiting your sales by having to do all the work yourself. Outsourcing means you only need to focus on the design and can handle multiple projects at once. More projects in the funnel means more sales!

Outsourcing development can be more cost effective than finding a domestic solution or doing it yourself.

How much do you value your time? $25 per hour? $30 per hour? I guarantee you that you can find someone in places like India that is extremely skilled and is willing to work for less than you or a US developer. Outsourcing means saving costs and receiving the same high quality of work. That means a better bottom line for your business.

Outsourcing development can create a symbiotic business relationship.

Outsourcing helps both you and the developer out. Initially, it means you are finding the business for the developers, but this can change as time goes on. If you can create a close business relationship you may find yourself receiving design projects from the developers in the future. That means you won’t have to spend as much time searching for leads, and will be able to focus on designing. Sounds like a win-win to me!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, February 7, 2014 8:15:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development

Web Designers vs Developers: An Infographic Story 

There's always been a bit of confusion over the differences between web designers and developers among the mainstream. What does development even mean? Isn't it the same thing as design, but just a fancier word? Who drinks more coffee? Who has a scruffier beard? What do I study in college to become a designer or developer? To answer all these questions and more we have scoured the web for a handful of the best infographics. Check them out!

infographic of web designers vs developers

 

H/T to Visual.Ly , Web Design Ledger , ThemeAlchemy.com , and SixRevisions.com for the great infographics!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, February 5, 2014 5:24:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C web design web development web trends
Page 20 of 33 << < 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 30 > >>