Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

Inbound Marketing Versus Direct Mail

Posted by Michael Karp

September 19, 2015

Last time, I showed you how Inbound Out marketing compares to trade shows.

You learned that Inbound Out marketing offers a better return on your investment, longer term results, and that it’s a consistent strategy that builds your business over time.

Now it’s time to put it against another Goliath:

Direct mail.

My goal with this series isn’t to convince you to drop other methods in favor of Inbound Out marketing. It’s to make a strong case for this marketing methodology as a valuable addition to your overall strategy.

Direct mail is a time-tested technique, but Inbound Out marketing has been moving with the times much more rapidly.

Here’s how Inbound Out compares to direct mail:

  • Cheaper one-on-one communication with your target audience — Inbound Out marketing takes direct mail’s #1 benefit and makes it more cost-effective.

  • Faster response — This means you can test, iterate, and improve your campaigns much faster.

  • Provide value — Direct mail is often associated with messages that are too salesy with too much hype. Email can be, but not as much. Inbound Out marketing makes sure of this.

Inbound_Marketing_vs_Direct_Mail

And we’re off!

Inbound Out Marketing vs. Direct Mail — One-On-One Communication

Direct mail’s top benefit is having one-on-one communication with your target audience.

You identify the people who are most likely to want your products/services, tailor your copy to elicit that desire, and send your message straight to them.

With the rise of the Internet, technology has made it cheaper to do many of the things we could previously only do in the physical world. This includes direct mail.

Still, direct mail has been an effective method for decades. And as more marketers have moved to the web, there are actually fewer direct mail campaigns. If anything, direct mail may now work better than it did in the past.

The full cost of a direct mail campaign depends on a number of factors:

  • Number of inserts

  • Color application

  • Personalization

  • Volume

  • Presorting

  • Size of postage

  • Address hygiene

  • Mail tracking

  • Working with a provider

  • Mail format

  • Delivery choice

  • And more

The cost of sending an email is almost $0.

Now, this does not mean that your ROI will be greater with email marketing, but with a lower upfront cost, it means that it’s more likely you’ll get a greater return on your investment through email.

The key factor in Inbound Out marketing is targeted outreach. Just like direct mail, you identify your target audience, tailor your outreach to elicit desire in your products or services, and send your message straight to their inbox…

... but for much, much less money.

This means you can redirect the costs you would’ve spent on direct mail to other important services, like a CRM to manage and optimize your list. (Or an agency to guarantee ROI on your campaigns.)

Inbound Out Marketing vs. Direct Mail — Response Time

The key with any outreach is getting a response from your target audience.

This response means they’re engaging with your business, and it allows you to analyze those responses and optimize your next campaign.

In direct mail, this typically involves filling out a form, checking a box, enclosing stickers, etc. These are then returned to the business.

The entire process can take a week just to get one response back. And if you want to follow up, that’s another few days for your mail to arrive and another few days for it to get back to you (if they even respond).

Needless to say, this is inefficient if you’re trying to maximize your ROI as fast as possible.

The Targeted Outreach part of Inbound Out marketing can send the same message to the same audience, instantly.

Those prospects can reply instantly, or you can follow up within a matter of hours if you want to.

Within two days, you will immediately know what worked and what didn’t so you can make your next campaign more effective. In the fast-paced world of business, this efficiency is vital.

Inbound Out Marketing vs. Direct Mail — Providing Value

Everyone hates junk mail.

Everyone hates junk email.

Everyone loves free value.

With direct mail, you’re trying to make the best first impression you can and get people to take action as soon as possible.

You put all of your copywriting skills into those letters and hope they achieve the result you’re looking for. Hardly ever do you send them an article or a piece of free value first, because this would lower your ROI.

Because Inbound Out marketing is less expensive, you can take your time and nurture prospects. You send them free value, build a relationship, and give your prospects the time they need to become customers.

By sending them free value first, they build trust in your business. They open your emails more often and engage with people at your company.

This personal interaction is invaluable when it comes to lead generation. Building this connection over time make your prospects more likely to become customers when they’re really ready to buy.

Wrap Up

Direct mail has its place in business. It has been used for so long because it’s effective. If anything, it may now be more effective.

However, Inbound Out marketing can achieve many of the same results that direct mail can. Those results are just less expensive, faster, and build a relationship with your audience that isn’t feasible with direct mail.

If you’re thinking about adding Inbound Out marketing to your growth strategy, talk to a specialist today or learn more about the process here.

Direct mail like all forms of traditional marketing are changing. Why? Because buyers have changed. Download the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing now to learn and execute your own 2016 marketing strategy today. 

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

Takeaways

  • Direct mail is a time-tested technique, but Inbound Out marketing is new and offers important advantages.

  • It allows for lower cost one-on-one communication with your audience.

  • It returns faster results so you can iterate and improve your campaigns.

  • Inbound Out marketing builds a connection with prospects that isn’t feasible with direct mail.
more

Topics: Inbound Marketing


My Marketing Isn’t Bringing Me Leads—It’s Frustrating!

Posted by Kami Valdez

September 17, 2015

“I am doing everything I know to do, but my marketing isn’t bringing me leads!”

Too many CEOs and business owners we talk to are frustrated. You are doing all you know, but your website still isn't delivering leads.

Frustrated Marketing Is Not Working

You're creating blog content, publishing it on social media, and driving some traffic, but still struggle to generate leads.

If you're finding it's difficult to get leads, or your website isn't working, you may have a strategy problem. Follow the steps below and I'll help you get started.

1. Start With A Clear Goal

Trying to grow your business without having a goal is like going on a road trip without a map. You'll get lost!

Decide on a goal that is specific and measurable. How about 25 qualified leads per month? Great goal! Now you just need to map out the route to get you there.

2. Identify Your Ideal Prospect

To generate 25 qualified leads per month, you must first clarify who you'd like to attract. Use your sales team and identify all the dimensions of an ideal prospect.

The more precise you can be about knowing your buyers, the better your results. Download the Precise Prospect Profile Kit for help.

3. Discover Your Audience

Once you have your goal, and know who your audience is, you can get started looking for them. Think about where they spend their time online.

For B2B companies, start with LinkedIn. That is where a lot of professionals spend their time. Search for groups within a target market and you will find there are plenty of them, full of your future prospects.

Use Google to search for blogs, forums, and other websites where more of your target audience could be spending time, searching for answers to their questions.

Put links to all the places you come up with on a list so you can refer back to it again.

4. Pinpoint Pains, Problems & Questions

Search blogs, social media sites, websites, and forums to identify the challenges and pains around the product or service you offer.

Write down common questions and problems you find and use them to build your content and stories.

5. Create Content

When you create content, think about your prospects goals. What are they trying to accomplish or get away from? What is keeping them up at night and how can your product or service help?

The content you create must match the needs of your customers. Write content that is valuable that addresses top questions, goals, and pain points.

6. Targeted Outreach

Reach out to your audience and share your content where they are. That is how you will drive them back to your site so they can discover all your amazing content.

Here are some things you can do to reach out to your target audience:
  • Share your blog articles as discussions in LinkedIn Groups.
  • Comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content.
  • Share your article on Twitter using relevant hashtags—schedule multiple tweets over several days.
  • Find individuals on LinkedIn or other websites and send them a personal email with a link to the article.
  • Send an email to relevant leads in your CRM and share the article. You do have your contacts segmented, right? Only send relevant content to prospects.

Remember to do this for each article you publish!

In Conclusion

Following through on the steps set out above will increase the number of leads you get from your online marketing. It will help get you and your business where you want to go and get the leads you need to grow your business. Write your own road map to success today and then enjoy the ride!

Inbound Out Marketing takes a lot of work and the right tactics vary from one company or industry to the next. Read the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn how to create and execute your own 2016 marketing strategy.

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

Takeaways

  • Create a road map to achieve your marketing goals.
  • Create or fine-tune your stories to target your ideal prospect.
  • Use content tailored to your audience to reach out online.
more

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


Inbound Marketing Versus Trade Shows

Posted by Michael Karp

September 12, 2015

Today, I’m going to show you how targeted inbound marketing, the Inbound Out marketing method, compares with traditional marketing:

Trade Shows.

My goal isn’t to convince you to stop doing trade shows. In fact, Inbound Out marketing can help improve your trade show results. So there's a strong case for Inbound Out marketing as a smart addition to your overall strategy.

Delegating more of your budget to this marketing methodology offers many benefits:

  • Better return on your investment -- Inbound Out marketing is cheaper per lead than most methods, especially trade shows.

  • Longer term results -- Prospects build a deeper connection with your business.

  • A consistent strategy -- Inbound Out marketing consistently builds your business over time, whereas trade shows only happen every once in a while.

ROI_Inbound_Marketing_vs_Trade_Shows

Let the battle begin:

Inbound Out Marketing vs. Trade Shows — ROI

Trade shows can be expensive endeavors. Here’s a breakdown of the costs involved:

  • Space rental
  • Design and construction of displays
  • Accomodations
  • Promotional material
  • Telecomunications and networking
  • Travel
  • Miscellaneous

According to Exhibit Solutions, to get a 20X20 sq. ft. floor space, you can expect to budget around $25,200 for the event.

Trade shows are like sprints in marketing. You pay a lot up front, market your business aggressively, and hope you come out with enough customers/clients to recuperate that cost (and then some).

Inbound Out marketing is more like running long distance. The benefits aren’t immediately felt, but they last longer and the cost-per-lead is much lower. Just like getting into a running habit, those benefits compound upon one another and grow exponentially.

So, how much does Inbound Out marketing cost?

There are two ways to engage in Inbound Out marketing:

  1. Do it yourself in-house.

  1. Hire an agency that specializes in this process.

If you have the right people and time to manage them, you may be able to get good results using an in-house team. In a previous article, we explored some of the costs of inbound marketing

This includes strategy, blogging, SEO, social media marketing, and executing campaigns.

To hire an agency, Inbound Out marketing typically costs between $8,000 and $12,000 a month.

Each market and business is different, so the exact cost depends on a number of factors. Use our Inbound Marketing Investment Calculator to determine your estimated investment per lead.

Inbound Out Marketing vs. Trade Shows — Long Term & Short Term Results

Trade shows provide results in the short term. This isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, it’s one of the reasons they’re so popular.

Unfortunately, the downfall of those results in the short term is that they only last for a short while. Quick to come and quick to go.If this was your only strategy, you would need to wait until the next trade show to generate more leads, customers, and clients.

A diversified marketing plan should include short term and long term plays. One of the best long terms plays is Inbound Out marketing.

With Inbound Out marketing, it takes time to analyze your business, develop a strategy, create your Precise Prospect Profile, build a prospect list, and create content.

But once that foundation is there, the Targeted Outreach phase begins. This is active lead generation over the course of months and years.

These leads build micro rapport with your business. They build a relationship with your company and start trusting you.

This builds trust in your products and services, convinces them to buy, and eventually turns them into brand ambassadors who rave to their network about who you are and what you do.

Inbound Out marketing doesn’t yield short-term results, but it’s a long-term play that will yield results far down the line, exponentially growing your business.

Inbound Out Marketing vs Trade Shows — Consistency

Consistency in marketing and business growth is crucial.

As we’ve discussed, trade shows are a sprint. They’re a shotgun approach to generating leads. This makes it tough to measure your results and make the minute adjustments necessary to maximize your ROI.

Inbound Out marketing is constantly engaging your target audience and measuring the results of each campaign. This gives you (or us) the power to do more of what’s working and cut back what isn’t—all in real time.

This maximizes two things:

  1. Your results

  2. The return on your marketing investment

The consistent and ongoing nature of Inbound Out marketing makes it the ultimate long-term growth strategy.

Inbound Out Marketing vs Trade Shows — Why Not Do Both?

I know this drives CEOs crazy—spending heavily on a trade show and then your sales people "forget" to follow-up. If nothing else, be sure to do a trade show follow-up compaign through email and social media. 

Many of the prospects you met at the show aren't ready to buy. So the sales team will naturally chase hotter leads. However, many trade show leads will become buyers—just on their terms and time schedule. Stay in touch and you'll get the lead when they actually are "hot."

I'll leave you with one last idea. Run a campaign before the show. Use targeted outreach through email and social media to announce your plans for the show and special events. Even people who don't make it to your event or booth will still remember you. And, put all these people in your post-show follow-up campaign too.

Wrap Up

This article isn’t meant to convince you to stop doing trade shows. If done the right way, they are an effective marketing method, especially for certain industries.

However, Inbound Out marketing can be an excellent cost-effective addition to your trade show campaigns and other marketing tactics.

It combines inbound marketing with targeted outreach to give you warmer leads at a lower cost. It yields long term results that continue to improve.

If you’re on the fence, talk to a specialist today and find out if Inbound Out marketing will work for you.

Traditional marketing no longer works well because buyers have changed. You must learn to adapt. Download the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing now to learn and execute your own 2016 marketing strategy today.  

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

Takeaways

  • Delegating more of your budget to Inbound Out marketing can help you diversify your strategy.

  • Inbound Out marketing is a cost-effective, long-term play that consistently generates leads for your business.

  • Learn more about how Inbound Out marketing can benefit you.

more

Topics: Inbound Marketing


CEOs Must Care About Inbound Marketing

Posted by Kami Valdez

September 10, 2015

Eighty-nine percent of Internet users search online before they make a purchase, even if they don't buy online, according to Fleishman-Hillard

It's absolutely essential for successful CEOs to care about marketing. If you are not found on the Internet using inbound marketing, you don't exist. 

CEOs Must Care About Inbound Marketing

Buyers have changed, so there has been a significant shift from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. More and more businesses are using inbound marketing to connect with prospective clients and nurture leads, and for good reason.

Search engines are usually the first place people go when they are researching a topic or a purchase. It has become second nature to "google it."  So when people go to Google to research a product or service your company provides, will they find you?

Here are four top reasons every CEO should care about inbound marketing:

1. Inbound Marketing is Measurable

CEOs have long been frustrated with marketers because the effectiveness of traditional marketing is hard to measure. Fortunately, inbound marketing is much easier to track and measure.

Comprehensive reporting regarding online marketing activities allows you to make more informed decisions and easily get insight into what’s working and what’s not. You can easily see traffic data such as unique website visits and social media engagement, but even more insights can be easily discovered.

With the right analytics tools, you can discover actionable metrics such as conversion rate, referring keywords, bounce rate, and much more.

2. Inbound Marketing is a Machine

Your online content can be your dream employee. It keeps working even after your employees go home. It works 24 hours a day, seven days a week—rain, sleet, or snow!

You can easily reach audiences at all hours of the day—or night. And inbound marketing helps you do it a thousand times over, all day every day!

3. Customers Are Turning to the Internet First

There once was a time when CEOs didn’t need to pay attention to the online world because audiences were small. Those days are over.

The move from traditional advertising to online advertising has been steadily occurring for a long time now. And, rather than slowing, this trend has accelerated because of the huge surge in smartphone usage.

4. Inbound Marketing is Effective

Finally, CEOs should care about inbound marketing for one simple reason: it’s effective.

According to Demand Metric, inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, yet each dollar spent on inbound marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.

So in addition to saving you time and money, inbound marketing can help grow your business faster.

Ultimately, CEOs need to care about inbound marketing because it finds and converts customers, raises the bottom line, and builds your business by drawing prospects to you.

If you want to learn what leads are costing you, visit our Lead Investment Calculator for an estimate tailored to your specific situation.

Lead Investment Estimator

Takeaways

  • Eighty-nine percent of Internet users search online before they make a purchase, even if they don't buy online.
  • Buyers have changed the way they do business. Inbound marketing helps you connect.
  • Each dollar spent on inbound marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
more

Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


Inbound Marketing: With A Magnet Not A Megaphone

Posted by Kami Valdez

September 1, 2015

Inbound Marketing—It’s marketing with a magnet, not a megaphone. Communication that acquires customers by attracting and nurturing with exceptional content. Information that helps them and doesn't constantly interrupt them with "Ooh, ooh, look at me ..." noise.

It seems like new marketing tactics get invented every day—some of them will actually help you get more great leads. Read on, and I'll show you how tactics you've heard about are used in Inbound Marketing. 

Marketing_Megaphone

How does it work?

Think of your sales and marketing process as a funnel. Fresh prospects come in at the top of the funnel, happy customers flow out the bottom. As a business owner, your goal is to maximize both the number of people you attract at the top of your funnel as website visitors and the number that become satisfied customers at the bottom.

Create remarkable content for all stages of the buying cycle

Before potential customers can find you, you must first create content that attracts them to your site. It's called content marketing because it uses content to attract visitors and increase traffic.

What are some examples of content? Really, it's anything you create that can be read or downloaded on the web:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Tools & Apps
  • Slideshare
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Cartoons

Google loves content and just having the content will naturally start to attract visitors. Still, there's more to do for full Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Get found by people who need your products and services

Social media marketing and search engine optimization drive prospects to your website. Optimizing keywords targeted to your desired audience will ensure your content is found by online users who are actively searching for the information you are providing. And social outreach lets you connect with prospects wherever they hang out on the web.

Convert visitors to leads and leads to customers

Landing pages allow visitors to share their contact information with you and help you identify the type of content they are interested in. Calls to action also help convert website visitors to leads and customers.

And please, don't get email addresses and then ignore your fresh new prospects. Use email to continue to add value and nurture your leads.

Analyze and adjust your marketing tactics

Monitor your results and adjust your tactics and messages. 

Wrap Up

Inbound marketing puts your company squarely on the path of your customers' decision making process. Use inbound marketing to deliver the perfect message, at the right time, in the right place, for the right person, at the right price.

Inbound Marketing does take some work and the right tactics vary from one company or industry to the next. Visit our Lead Investment Calculator for an estimate tailored to your specific situation. 

Lead Investment Estimator

Takeaways

  • Inbound marketing tactics help potential buyers find your business when they are ready to buy.
  • Use inbound marketing to increase the number of people who enter the top of your funnel as well as the number who flow through and become customers.
  • Create remarkable content to attract visitors and delight them as they move through your sales funnel.
more

Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


Proof Inbound Out Marketing Will Work for You

Posted by Michael Karp

August 5, 2015

Inbound Out marketing is a new digital marketing methodology that combines inbound marketing with targeted outreach.

The goal remains the same—Attract qualified visitors to your site and convert those visitors into leads, customers, and brand ambassadors.

The process is fundamentally different and makes Inbound Out marketing a superior choice for most companies. We've fine tuned the best aspects of marketing and sales into one cohesive system that works across industries.

I don’t want to simply tell you that inbound out marketing can help grow your business. I want to show you. Read on for proof that Inbound Out marketing will get the leads you’re looking for:

Proof Inbound Out Marketing Works

 

Inbound Marketing Data and Statistics

Inbound marketing is at the heart of a complete Inbound Out marketing process. Let’s lay this foundation first and break down why it works.

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting visitors, converting them into leads, closing them into sales, and delighting those customers into brand ambassadors. Your business creates educational content and promotes it in the channels where your target audience hangs out. That’s where they see your content, visit your site, develop a connection with your business, and convert into leads.

In this way, you’re not interrupting your prospect’s lives as opposed to traditional marketing/advertising, like commercials and print ads. You’re providing value first and your prospects reciprocate that value by becoming leads.

Here are some inbound marketing statistics and data that reveal the power of this methodology:

  • Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. (Demand Metric)

  • Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes. (eMarketer, August 2010)
  • Businesses with 31 to 40 landing pages get 7 times more leads than those with only 1 to 5 landing pages. (HubSpot)

  • 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)

  • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010)

  • 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign. (MarketingSherpa)

  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2013)

Other methods can provide value first in exchange for leads and customers, such as promotions and deals. But they don’t provide the long term benefits of social media exposure, search engine traffic, customer loyalty, and more.

Inbound marketing can be a vital asset to any company’s marketing plan. But there are a few key flaws in the methodology that can leave your business falling behind.

What is Inbound Out Marketing?

Inbound marketing works great, if prospects are actively looking for the information you’re sharing. Some prospects aren’t actively looking for you. They might not even know that they need your products and services and aren't searching on Google.

In specialized niches, this can be a major hindrance to generating leads. In non-specialized niches, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Inbound marketing lacks the ability to reach these prospects. Inbound Out marketing fills the gap between your content and the people who aren’t actively searching for you.

These visitors want and need to work with you, but just creating content won’t get your business in front of their eyes. Promoting it in forums won’t do it either. Even getting it ranked in search engines won’t help them find you.

Inbound Out marketing gets your content directly to the prospects who need your products and services the most. It’s content, promotion, and targeted outreach combined together.

Inbound Out Marketing Closes the Gap

Prospects build trust in you, and they gain an intimate connection with your business. They’re interacting directly with a representative who can tend to all of their concerns as soon as they arise. This speeds up the marketing and lead generation process considerably.

Direct outreach creates micro-rapport that leads to greater trust in the quality of your products and services. But it wouldn’t have happened without targeted outreach.

Inbound marketing would never reach these people. Inbound Out marketing moves you way ahead of the competition.

Wrap Up

Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to generate leads and grow your business online, but there is a process that works even better for most businesses. It’s called Inbound Out marketing.

The targeted outreach component sets it apart from inbound marketing. It lets you reach prospects that otherwise would not have been engaged, giving you a leg up on the competition.

At this point, you may be thinking "This sounds great, but can I afford it?" Use the Lead Investment Estimator to get an estimate for your specific business situation.

Lead Investment Estimator

Takeaways

  • The stats show that inbound marketing is an effective marketing strategy, but it is lacking in one key area.

  • Inbound Out marketing adds targeted outreach to help you engage prospects who can't be reached through traditional channels online or through search.

  • Inbound Out marketing makes up for what inbound marketing lacks, and sets you apart from your competition.

more

Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


Exactly When Did Marketing Stop Working?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

July 24, 2015

Marketing, well at least traditional marketing, stopped working in 2008!

The combination of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, plus the never-ending advances in technology, killed it.

Read on and I'll tell you exactly what happened.

My Marketing's Not Working Why?

Traditional marketing was never easy, but it did work. After all, people do need and want our products and services. Just get their attention and some will buy.  

Buyers used to keep Yellow Page phone books and other print directories handy. Not any more. Yellow Pages started to decline in 2008, and revenues are now just a fraction of early-2000 levels. Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

No worries, prospects just moved to the web to find your business. Except the web changed. Apple launched the first iPhone in mid-2007. And by 2009, smartphone sales really accelerated.  By 2014, smartphone web use surpassed desktops for web searches. Technology changed and buyers don't do what they used to do.

At least prospects still rely on word-of-mouth referrals, right? Only, referrals changed. Social networking usage took off for most adults in 2008 and referrals went along for the ride. Of course, referrals still matter to many companies. But, you need to be on social sites to get great referrals. Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

If you want even more data points:

  • The recession caused many businesses to rush to Google AdWords. Before 2008, you could buy many keyword clicks for 50 cents or less. Now, the same clicks cost $2 or more.

  • Before Google's Panda update in 2011, there were are bunch of SEO tricks that could get you easy traffic. Then Google put the Schemers and Scammers out of business, and they took out easy SEO, too.

  • That beautiful website you bought a couple of years ago still looks great. But, it's not setup for mobile devices and isn't "responsive." Google is now penalizing you for not having a “mobile-friendly” site.

Bottom Line: Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do. Fast changes in web technology will keep changing the buying process, and you’ve got to keep up.

Buyers Have Changed - You Must Adapt

In many markets, buyers refuse to talk with a salesperson until late in their buying process. It used to be that your salespeople had all the relevant data. Not anymore. There's information on nearly any topic all over the web. Your sales team used to have control of the sales process. Now, the buyers are in charge.

There are a few exceptions, but they are hard to find. One of my business friends runs a waste management business. He's got a fleet of trucks that drive around and collect garbage, so he went looking for some Route Management software to maximize efficiency. The Routing software companies are all on the web, but their websites are bland and there's little information. My friend wanted to buy, but was frustrated. It won't be long before one of these companies discovers that buyers have changed, and they'll dominate their competitors.

What's a CEO to do?

Prospects and customers still crave useful information to help them run their lives and businesses. They want it on their terms and time schedule. Deliver quality education and they'll welcome talking to your salespeople—at least once they are ready for a sales call.

It makes no sense to resist the wave of changed buyers. Give them what they want. Create quality content (Information that's helpful, educational, and easy to read). Then, get the content in front of your prospects and customers.

And don’t forget your current customers. They want access to your knowledge, and they'll appreciate you for helping.

The method for creating and delivering quality content is called Inbound Out marketing. It provides affordable leads for nearly all business-to-business companies and for many consumer-oriented firms.

OK, but how do I get actual leads for my sales people?

Easy. You're being helpful and spreading your knowledge far and wide—prospects are paying attention. Add an offer to your content. To get the offer, prospects must provide their name and email address.

So now you can call and email like crazy? Well, no. The buyers are still in charge. You'll just waste the good will you've created.

Instead, create content and offers that pull prospects down the sales funnel. They won't go any further than they want. They are still in charge. You can't force it. Make them feel safe and add value.

Prospects who are qualified and have the budget will gladly move through your funnel. Even better, your sales team can focus on closing sales instead of prospecting and presenting.

How do I know this will work and will I get a good ROI on my marketing investment?

Digital marketing is very measurable which lets us carefully monitor what’s working and identify opportunities for improvement.

However, focusing on ROI is in some ways the wrong question.

Buyers have changed. If you want to stay in the game, you've got to have an Inbound Out marketing strategy and deliver quality content. Otherwise, your competitors will quickly make you irrelevant.

Digital marketing has become a cost of being in business. Like having phones or office space. When was the last time someone tried to calculate the ROI of office space? No one does because it’s a cost of being in business.

To learn how Inbound Out marketing can work for your company, get a free Lead Boost Review.

Schedule Lead Boost Review

Takeaways
  • Buyers have changed and don't do what they used to do.

  • Fast changes in web technology will continue to impact your business. Make sure you’ve got professionals on your team that can handle all the elements.

  • Inbound Out marketing delivers a framework to help you adjust to always changing buyers and get more good leads.

more

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


A 7-Step Method to Find Untapped Keywords in Any Niche

Posted by Michael Karp

July 23, 2015

Keyword research is the first step in any SEO campaign. If you get it wrong, you could waste valuable time and resources trying to rank for impossible keywords.

If you get it right, you set yourself up to attract heaps of traffic your competitors don’t even know about.

Here’s why:

If you pick a keyword with a ton of search volume, but it’s very competitive, you’re going to spend a lot of time and resources to rank for it, with little traffic to show for your efforts.

However, if you find a keyword that your competitors haven’t discovered yet, you can optimize a page around it and end up ranking in days/weeks (rather than months).

A-7-Step-Method-to-Find-Untapped-Keywords-in-Any-Niche

The success of your SEO campaigns all starts with keyword research. And the holy grail is finding untapped keywords that allow you to rank quickly and easily.

I use a 7-step process to find untapped keywords. That’s what I’m going to walk you through today.

Let’s get to it:

Step 1. Find Your Topic

Let’s assume you want to create a piece of content, optimize it around a keyword, and rank for it in Google. Here are the top two results we need:

  1. Social shares

  2. Backlinks

Social shares give your content exposure, help with ranking, and provide social proof (which makes link building easier). Backlinks tell Google that other people/sites think your content is valuable, which tells Google that it’s worth ranking. Simple as that.

To get these results, you need to find a topic that is 1) shareable and 2) linkable. Here’s how to do it:

Head over to BuzzSumo and type in a topic related to your niche:

BuzzSumo shows you all of the content related to that keyword that has gotten the most social shares. Look at each piece and see if they’ve received a good amount of shares:

If they have, you have just found a topic that’s prone to attracting social shares. If that topic doesn’t get a lot of shares, simply search for another one until you find a topic that does.

Now you need to make sure this topic is linkable. To do this, head over to Google and do a search for that same topic.

Grab the URLs for each article in the top 10-20 results. Then plug each one into a backlink checker (like Ahrefs or SEO Spyglass). This will tell you how many backlinks each article has:

If the top ranking articles are attracting a lot of links, you’ve just found a linkable topic. Now you know that this topic is proven to get shared on social media, attract backlinks, and rank in search engines.

You’re already miles ahead of your competitors.

Move on to Step 2.

Step 2. Initial Keyword Research

This step is quick and painless. Plug keywords related to your topic into a keyword research tool (like the Google Keyword Planner).

Make sure the top keywords are getting at least 300-400 monthly searches. This range isn’t set in stone, but generally, this means you will get a fair amount of traffic for the work you put in.

Here’s an example:

(Note: If you’re using the Google Keyword Planner, don’t worry about the “Competition” column. This is paid advertising competition. Not how hard/easy it is to rank.)

If your topic is getting a fair amount of monthly searches, move on to the next step.

Step 3. Gather a Master List of Keywords To Fit Your Topic

Remember, you’re looking for untapped keywords that will be easier to rank for than the ones your competitors are targeting. This means you need to find a lot of potential keywords to analyze.

In this step, you’re going to pull together a master list of keywords to potentially optimize your content around.

Here’s how:

First, create a spreadsheet to record keywords and their corresponding monthly searches. Then brainstorm as many possible keyword variations of your topic as you can.

Plug these into a keyword research tool and pull up their monthly search volume. If any have a fair amount of searches, add them to your spreadsheet.

Then, do a Google search for the keyword with the highest search volume, and scroll down to the “Searches related to…” section:

Grab any search terms that might apply to your content, plug them into your keyword tool, and pull up their monthly searches.

Add any that get a good amount of search volume into your spreadsheet. If you’re using the Google Keyword Planner, don’t forget to also scroll down and sift through the keyword ideas that it generates for you:

Then search for another high-volume keyword, scroll down to the “Searches related to section…” and repeat the process. Keep doing this until the only new keywords you’re finding have a very small search volume.

This is your master list.

Arrange them in order of highest monthly searches to least. Your untapped keyword is most likely hiding in the top 20-30. All you have to do is find it.

Step 4. Competitive Analysis #1 - Domain Authority and Page Authority

The next three steps involve running competitive analyses on the top 20-30 keywords in your spreadsheet.

The first metric you’re going to look at is the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of the top ranking results for each keyword.

Here’s how:

First, install the MozBar Chrome/Firefox extension. Then do a search for your first keyword.

Click the ‘M’ symbol in your toolbar. This will pull up data for each search result:

Take a look at the PA and DA for each result. The higher the numbers, the harder it will be to rank above those pages (in general). The lower the numbers, the easier it will be.

Record the PA and DA for each result into your spreadsheet.

Step 5. Competitive Analysis #2 - On-Page SEO

On-page SEO tells Google what your content is about. It also tells Google how relevant your page is to the target keyword.

One of Google’s top goals is to provide the most relevant results for any given search term. So here’s where you can make a stand with your content:

If the sites currently ranking for your keyword are not well-optimized for that term, you can optimize your content better than them and immediately get a leg up. Often, this can trump Domain and Page Authority (all else being equal, like backlinks).

Remember, on-page SEO is about relevance. Let’s see if you can make your page more relevant:

Do a search for each term once more, and look at the top 10 results. How many instances of the exact-match keyword do you notice? Look in the title, URL, and description.

If you don’t see many, that’s one opportunity to optimize your content better than them.

Next, scan each article and look at the keyword distribution. Look for exact-match keywords and keyword variations in the intro, body content, and subheadings.

Are they over-optimizing and/or under-optimizing for the keyword? If so, you can optimize your content better than them.

Move on to Step 6.

Step 6. Competitive Analysis #3 - Length and Depth of Content

Next, go to each each article and look at content length. Google wants to rank long content, because in general, it contains more information and is more valuable/relevant to what people are searching for.

You also want to look at how actionable each piece of content is. Are people doing a search, going to this piece of content, and coming out of it with more knowledge? Or is it only surface level information?

Actionable content also tends to get linked to and shared more often, so if you can create content that is longer, more actionable, and provides more value than what’s currently ranking, that’s another opportunity for you to outshine the competition.

Come up with a metric and record how these two levels of competition (on-page SEO and Content Length/Depth) stack up for each keyword. I usually use a scale from 1-5.

Then move on to the final step:

Step 7. Choose the Keyword With the Best Competition-to-Search Volume Ratio

Look over your top 10-20 keywords and the data you’ve complied. Identify the ones with the least competition.

Then look at those keywords and determine which one has the best competition-to-search volume ratio. This will give you the best ROI when trying to rank for this keyword.

That’s your untapped keyword.

Simply create your content, optimize it for that keyword, build backlinks, and you're on your way to a first page ranking and targeted search engine traffic.

To Wrap It Up

I hope this article gave you some insight into keyword research, but also how to strategically navigate your SEO campaigns.

It’s much easier and faster to rank for multiple, lower competition, lower search volume keywords than one high competition keyword (despite how many monthly searches it gets).

Spend some time on the keyword research process, because it makes the rest of your SEO campaign that much easier.

Takeaways

  • Keyword research is one of the most important parts of SEO

  • The success of your SEO campaigns starts with keyword research

  • Follow these 7 steps to find untapped keywords that are much easier (and faster) to rank for

 

To learn more about Inbound Out Marketing Strategy, and to get a complete evaluation of your situation, schedule a Free Lead Boost Review.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


Inbound Out Marketing – 3 Things To Do Right Now

Posted by Kami Valdez

July 18, 2015

Inbound Out Marketing combines inbound marketing with targeted outreach. When you combine these two strategies, you reach more prospects, find more leads, and close more deals--all at an affordable cost.

There are many different ways your business can use Inbound Out Marketing, but there are 3 specific parts of this strategy you can focus on right now to be successful.

Inbound-Out-Marketing--3-Things-To-Do-Right-Now-InboundTeam

1. Targeted List. It is essential that you have a very clear picture of who your ideal prospects are. If you start with the Precise Prospect Profile it will help ensure you focus on only the best prospects.

Inputs on LinkedIn, trade show lists, past customer lists, and purchased lists--any source is fair game, but these are just names. Filter the names through the Precise Prospect Profile and compile a list of great prospects.

LinkedIn can help you build a list of companies who are highly likely to need your services at some point in the future. You can read more about that here.

2. Buyer Focused Content. In parallel with targeted list building, inventory your existing marketing content and create appropriate new materials. You want buyer-focused content that helps prospects and answers their questions.

Know your buyers’ most pressing issue, pain or desire. Talk about benefits, not features. Use your website to teach prospects about your product or service and how you are the solution to their problem.

Quality content is what gets visitors to your site. Buyers love useful and interesting content because they can get insights and ideas to improve their lives--on their own terms and schedule.

3. Content Outreach. If you know and can discover your ideal prospects, contact them directly. Find them on LinkedIn or through other social sites and lists.

Send your quality prospects messages offering content. The objective is to see who responds--they are the likely buyers. Use different channels including LinkedIn, other social channels, email, and direct phone calls. Do whatever works to reach your buyers.

Once you know who your prospects are, and you have reached out to them with useful content, you can start establishing a connection with your company and building the relationship.

Takeaways

  • Knowing your prospects, and providing buyer-focused content, helps find hidden prospects
  • Combining inbound marketing with targeted outreach helps your team reach more prospects, find more leads, and close more deals.

To learn more about Inbound Out Marketing Strategy, and to get a complete evaluation of your situation, schedule a Free Lead Boost Review.  

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


9 Epic Articles to Sharpen Your Inbound Marketing Skills

Posted by Michael Karp

July 15, 2015

Like any skill, inbound marketing takes practice.

Your skills get rusty, your knowledge gets outdated, and you start to fall behind on the times.

But just like taking a few months off a sport, it’s much easier to brush up on your skills than it is to learn them all over again.

That’s why I collected some of the top articles out there on digital marketing. These posts get down to the nitty gritty facets of inbound marketing that tend to get neglected over time.

9-Epic-Articles-to-Sharpen-Your-Inbound-Marketing-Skills-InboundTeam

Here are the facets these articles will help you brush up on:

  • The types of content that drive traffic

  • Well-oiled sales funnels

  • Blog promotion

  • Lead generation

  • Conversion rate optimization

  • And more

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 9 epic articles that will sharpen your inbound marketing skills:

1. 15 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic -- Quick Sprout

Neil Patel has grown Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg into some of the top marketing/business blogs around. He’s done it through consistentlyproducing in-depth and valuable content and with an uncanny ability for growing blogs.

In this article, he identifies 15 types of content that tend to drive traffic more than others. These types naturally get shared more often, rank better in search engines, and spark more conversations about you and your business.

Here are a few of those types:

  • Infographics

  • Guides

  • Book reviews

  • How-to's

  • Lists

There are 10 more to check out in the full article, and Neil explains exactly how to create each one and what you need to keep in mind.

2. How Content Promotion Works: 11 Strategies to Try -- Buffer

The Buffer blog has done a great job of combining effective ideas with concrete data and results.

They regularly get hundreds (if not thousands) of social shares on their content (spearheaded by Kevan Lee). They know a thing or two about content promotion.

This article breaks down 11 of Buffer’s favorite content promotion strategies. Each one is packed with screenshots and insights to help you put them into action.

The article itself got more than a whopping 4,000 social shares. Check out the full article to snag a few of these shares yourself.

3. Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business -- Digital Marketer

Digital Marketer is one of the foremost experts in online business. They not only teach people digital marketing, they practice it with countless other businesses they own and operate themselves (in almost every niche under the sun).

In the process, they’ve developed a world-class sales funnel. They implement this funnel in almost every business they dip their feet into. The principle is called “Customer Value Optimization,” and it’s about understanding the buying cycle and how to get the most value out of each customer.

This is the same system that Starbucks and McDonald's use to dominate their industries, and your can read the full article here to learn how to do it yourself.

4. I Built A 6 Figure Blog In 12 Months - This Is How I Did It… -- Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward is a solo blogger who went from a lonely Wordpress site to a Technorati Top 100 Business Blog in one year.

He is one of the most transparent bloggers out there. Matthew puts all of his SEO, affiliate marketing, and content marketing secrets out on the table for others to learn from. He even divulges every detail of his revenue in monthly income reports.

This 14,000-word article chronicles Matthew’s 12-month journey to a 6-figure blog. Arguably, it’s one of the most epic case studies ever.

If you want to build a 6-figure blog, Matthew’s full article is your roadmap.

5. How I Grew My Email List From Zero To 1,634 Subscribers In 5 Months -- Robbie Richards

When it comes to actionable marketing advice, Robbie Richards gets it done. Almost every article is backed by his own experience and results.

From content promotion to link building, he covers the topics that so many businesses need help with -- including list building.

In this case study, Robbie shows you the step-by-step process he took to go from zero to 1,634 subscribers in just 5 months. He did it starting out with no traffic, no followers, and the only money he spent was on a $21 Facebook ad.

Email is still the number one marketing channel in terms of ROI. Read Robbie’s full article to learn how to tap into this resource.

6. The Psychology of Your Customers -- Derek Halpern

Derek Halpern is a legend in the marketing community. He’s largely credited with the “You should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it” philosophy.

He has also become a foremost expert in copywriting and selling online courses.

In this article, Derek breaks down a distinct “type” of visitor who comes to your site -- The Sideliner. The sideliner doesn’t buy your products/services right away, but they might buy them in the future.

Most of your visitors will be Sideliners. These are the people you need to convince to take action and become buyers.

Derek then breaks down Sideliners into four types:

1. The Indifferent

2. The Skeptic

3. The Worrier

4. The Procrastinator

Each one offers their own unique set of barriers to making the final purchase. Read the full article to learn how to break down these barriers and convert more of your visitors into raving customers.

7. 32 Clever Lead Generation Ideas For Your Next Marketing Campaign -- Unbounce

This article comes from Unbounce, one of the top pieces of landing page software out there. They not only produce a great product, but their blog is full of conversion-centered advice to help you take full advantage of it.

The author of this article, Josh Haynam, gives you 32 ways to improve your lead generation efforts. Each one is backed by either a case study or example (or both!) to help you see the idea in action.

Every business need to generate leads. Discover 32 ways to do just that by reading the full article right here.

8. 17 Content Marketing Tips for Any Size Budget -- The Content Marketing Institute

The Content Marketing Institute has established themselves as the authority in content marketing. They offer training, consulting, research studies, and, of course, lots of free content on their blog.

One of their most popular posts describes 17 subtle (yet effective) tips for taking full advantage of what content marketing has to offer. From repurposing your content to relating articles to your favorite TV shows, it’s hard to read this article and not have a few more ideas to add to your editorial calendar.

Struggling to keep your content fresh and lively? Check out the full article.

9. How We Made $1 Million for Moz -- Conversion Rate Experts

This is one of my favorite case studies of all time. Conversion Rate Experts live up to their name, as they break down exactly how they improved Moz’s conversion rate and increased annual revenue $1,000,000 in the first 4 months of work.

Wow.

So how did they do it? Conversion Rate Experts take a big picture approach to conversion optimization. It’s not about tweaking a headline here or a trust symbol there.

It’s about digging deep into the business, talking to customers, potential customers, uncovering pain points, and using that knowledge to break down objections on their landing pages.

Want to see how conversion rate optimization is done the right way? Grab a coffee and read the full case study here.

To Wrap It Up

Inbound marketing is a skill. Like any skill it needs to be practiced and brushed up on from time to time.

The information in these articles is not exhaustive. They don’t cover every facet of inbound marketing, but for the facets they do cover, these articles are some of the top resources on their respective topics.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much I did.

To learn more about Inbound Out Marketing Strategy, and to get a complete evaluation of your situation, schedule a Free Lead Boost Review.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


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