Performance Marketing Blog

Setting marketing goals for 2014- be sure they are SMART

Posted by Natalie Young

Dec 16, 2013 12:09:00 PM

smart goals in marketingWith 2013 winding to a close, it’s time to get a jump start on next year and begin setting marketing goals for 2014. While it may seem like a simple task, you need to take time to identify your professional ambitions and pinpoint specific methods that you’ll use to accomplish your objectives. As you sit down to brainstorm about your marketing approach for 2014, keep in mind some “SMART” ideas to make the process easier.

  • SPECIFIC - Be very detailed in setting marketing goals for 2014. Instead of just vowing to turn a higher profit as compared to 2013, lay out the steps you’ll take to increase your sales. For example, pledge to make ten more phone calls than the previous week or post two blog entries per day. You might want to start with a summary of the goals you want to achieve, followed by specific numbers that will help you accomplish them.
  • MEASUREABLE - Make your marketing goals quantitative instead of using broad strokes or general terms like “more” and “better.” Website metrics and online tools can help you determine where additional effort is necessary to improve your sales. If you find that certain traffic is driven to your site via one particular source, devote more resources to exploit the phenomenon. It might be helpful to categorize your goals into appropriate segments, such as website updates as separate from social media posts and blog entries.
  • ATTAINABLE - Be realistic when setting marketing goals for 2014, instead of chasing a pipe dream that will result in failure. Avoid challenges that would be impossible, too complicated or simply impractical to attain. Make sure your vision is achievable with hard work, not one that requires you to move mountains or develop super powers.
  • REALISTIC - No one knows you and your business better than yourself, so be honest when setting marketing goals for 2014. If you’ve had failures in the past and found that accomplishing certain goals is simply out of reach, it’s a waste of resources to continue. While it may be a goal you want to achieve, chasing an impossible dream won’t result in sales or increased profits. Your efforts are better focused elsewhere, on goals that you're confident you can complete with appropriate efforts and a reasonable time frame
  • TIMEBOUND - Stick with a deadline when establishing marketing goals in the New Year, rather than just promising to accomplish them as soon as possible. Based on your experience, you should be able to pinpoint the amount of time each of your goals will take to achieve. Add to this period the delays and issues that will inevitably arise, and you can establish a time frame to help you stay true to your goals. Commit to this schedule, stay motivated, and increase your efforts if you haven't hit your goal as the deadline rolls around. It's smart to incorporate the agenda into your calendar so you're alerted in advance and can concentrate resources on accomplishing what you aim to do.

It may be time consuming and require you to step outside your professional comfort zone, but setting marketing goals for 2014 is a necessary part of moving into the New Year. Just as with any significant undertaking, success results only from the proper investment of time and resources as you plan the next phase.

If you are interested in getting a free marketing assessment - contact us here!
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Topics: increase sales, HubSpot Tips, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, business marketing, effective marketing

Marketing Today: Why “One-And-Done” Won’t Get It Done

Posted by Natalie Young

Nov 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Marketing today why one and done won%27t get it doneThere’s a lot of talk today about online marketing. And part of that talk revolves around all the new tools that seem to come out weekly as well as things such as automated marketing. All that may lead one to believe that marketing today is as simple as logging on to your computer, hopping on the Internet and pushing a few buttons. The rest will take care of itself—right?

Not so much.

Marketing today is still hard work. Sure, some of the tools make it easier to reach the right people. And some of them make it possible to reach customers you’d never be able to reach before. But there’s still more to successful marketing than pushing a button. Even in the age of digital, online marketing the “one-and-done” approach won’t get it done.

Guess what? That “one-and-done” approach never worked. A lot of companies used to try that approach with older methods. You’d hear businesses complain that they’d “tried direct mail once,” but that it hadn’t worked. That’s because it takes time to build up a reputation—to earn people’s trust. You don’t win trust with a single mailing. You also don’t win it with a single blog or a single email campaign.

You need to have a longer-range strategy. You need to think through what messages your potential clients want and need to hear. And you need a plan for putting it our there regularly in a way that they can access it—and respond to it.

Having a great website is absolutely essential for marketing today. But you can’t just put it together and fill it with information one time and hope people will tumble onto it. You’ve got to keep it fresh. You’ve got to add new content. You’ve got to continue addressing the new questions your potential clients are asking.

Your website can be a powerful marketing and lead generation tool. But it won’t happen with a “one-and-done” approach. If you’d like more information about how to turn your website into a lean, mean, lead generation machine, download our free 5 Essential Steps to Generating Leads using your Website whitepaper now.

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Topics: lead generation, Content Marketing, marketing, Online marketing, fresh content

Is Your Website Just Another Pretty Face?

Posted by Natalie Young

Nov 12, 2013 10:20:00 AM

Is your website just another pretty faceWhen it comes to marketing your company, image matters. And these days your public face—the first impression that potential customers have of you—is probably your website. Unfortunately, a poorly designed website can send your customers clicking away to the competition in a flash.

You can redesign your website to make it look better, but it’s not enough to simply have a good-looking website. You don’t want your website to be just another pretty face. Your site needs to work effectively. It needs to be optimized so that it attracts the right customers—the ones who are actually looking for the products and services you provide.

It needs to provide the information your clients are looking for in a way that’s easy for them to understand and access.  That means the content on your site needs to be geared to your customers’ needs and desires—not yours. Sure, you’re proud of your new products and technologies. Yes, you may have won awards for design or service. But your customers only care about that if it helps them solve their problems.

Your website also needs to make it easy—and inviting—for customers to interact with you. That’s how you use your website to generate leads. And lots of solid, qualified leads are what you’re really after.

But you website shouldn’t just give your potential customers good information—it should give you good information about your customers and prospects. It should help you collect useful information about the people that visit your site so that you know how to follow-up with them later. And your website should help you evaluate your various marketing activities so that you know what to do more of in the future—and what you can cut out. As a HubSpot Certified Partner, we can help you make that happen.

There’s nothing wrong with having a great image. But your website needs to be more than just another pretty face if you want to pull in the right kind of leads for your company.

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Topics: lead generation, Content Marketing, marketing, Online marketing, website design

Content Marketing: Addressing Your Perception Problem

Posted by Natalie Young

Oct 9, 2013 5:00:00 AM

Content marketing addressing your perception problemYou may not even know it, but you have a perception problem. And that perception problem is costing you business. Let me clarify that a bit. The problem is not with how you perceive things—it’s with how potential clients and customers perceive you.

If you’re in the lighting and energy solution industry in Southern California, one of your biggest challenges is getting new leads. The good news is that the Internet makes it pretty easy for potential clients to search for what you do. If you type “Southern California lighting and energy control solutions” into a Google search, you’ll have results in 0.25 seconds! That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that the search turns up “About 1,550,000 results.”

Yikes!

Standing out in a crowd like that is a pretty tall order. And it’s particularly difficult when your audience—the people you hope are going to buy your goods and services—can’t tell the difference between you and your competitor. That’s the real perception problem.

Your potential customers know about your competition. As a matter of fact, they may know them better than you do because they are probably scouring the Internet looking for someone who can help them solve their lighting and energy control problems. But you all kind of look the same to your clients.

You may think you’re different. You may actually even be different. But most of the time, it’s a distinction only you can make. In your clients’ eyes, you look just the same as your competitors. And guess what? Claiming to be different doesn’t convince them (probably because all of your competitors are claiming the same thing).

That’s where content marketing can really make a difference. If you’re creating and publishing content on your website that answers some of your potential customers’ questions, you’re more likely to be found. After all, how do your customers search for help? They don’t type “XYZ Lighting and Marketing” in a Google search. They type things like, “How do I find a lighting solution that meets Title 24 requirements?”

Actually addressing the questions and concerns that your customers have can help them find you in a vast sea of solution providers—and set you apart from the competition. And if people know you care about them and will help them solve their problems, they’ll be more inclined to do business with you.

Content marketing is part of an overall inbound marketing strategy that recognizes the changes in the way your customers do business—and helps you respond in a way that allows you to reach more potential clients. Click here for a more detailed explanation of Inbound Marketing. It’s a great way, not just to compete in today’s marketplace, but to stand out from the crowd.

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Topics: Content Marketing, marketing, Online marketing

Inc 500 Companies Use Content Marketing for Business Growth

Posted by Natalie Young

Sep 7, 2012 9:52:00 AM

Inc Magazine recently came out with their annual list of the fastest growing companies. What business CEO woudn't want to be on that list? Many of the companies on this list are well known to me for using innovative techniques centered around Inbound Marketing. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Inbound Marketing - let me explain: Today's customer is tired of getting interrupted. They fast forward through commercials, they screen their calls, they use spam filters for email. Their philosphy is - "Don't call me - I'll call you". When they are ready to purchase, they will let you know.

Marketing Sales Funnel

 

As a result, Performance Marketing has adopted Inbound Marketing techniques to help our clients break through and get qualified leads that turn into business. Inbound Marketing is about offering up solution-based content to buyers who are in the "interest" phase of the sales funnel. Once your prospect shows interest in your solutions - we nurture those prospects at their own pace - until they are ready to purchase. We offer helpful content along the way pushing them through the funnel until the prospect eventually makes a purhcase. By effective lead nurturing, companies today are able to create marketing messages to the right people at the right time. What could be more optimal?

 

Take a look at some of the forward thinking marketers on our list and see if you can pinpoint the use of Inbound Marketing!

#11 – NastyGal (Los Angeles, Calif.)
NastyGal, a women’s apparel store, drives a visual content marketing strategy perhaps as well as anyone. Its daily (sometimes more) blog shows off trends in the industry through smart text and beautiful imagery. This visual approach has led to their amazing following on Instagram (over 300,000 followers) and nearly 500,000 fans on Facebook.
#20 – BlueGrace Logistics (Riverview, Fla.)
The fastest-growing freight hauler positions itself as one of the clear thought leaders in its space with its weekly blog. BlueGrace pairs its blog content to major events, like the start of the football season and logistics, or how hurricanes can disrupt the supply chain process.
#236 – LeanDog (Cleveland, Ohio)
No, this agile software consulting group doesn’t have a blog, but its event program spreads the word about the growing company like nothing else. LeanDog produces an annual event called GiveCamp, where it leverages its coding expertise to help nonprofits. That venture alone has led to amazing word-of-mouth leads for the company, along with its regular training seminars for newbies.
#314 – HubSpot (Boston, Mass.)
The search-led software company is perhaps the poster child for inbound marketing, where it is given much credit for coining the term and growing the industry. More original content comes out of HubSpot than almost any other company. Its blogs, infographics, research, e-newsletters, and (yes) even a print book have vaulted HubSpot straight to the top.
Thanks Joe Pulizzi for these great examples!

To see how your company can use Inbound Marketing to generate and nurture leads click here.

 

Generate More Leads Now!

 

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Topics: lead nurturing, lead generation, increase sales, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing

B2B Online Marketing to create more leads – 6 Significant Hints

Posted by Natalie Young

Jul 19, 2012 1:39:00 PM

new-media-marketingRemember when marketing meant a well-developed direct mail campaign, attending a few well-chosen trade shows, prospecting for new customers with cold calls and keeping in touch with your customers via personal sales calls. Those days are gone. Today's business executive has a myriad of products and services competing for her attention via the Internet. If you're not making the most of b2b online marketing, you're losing customers.

Fortunately, there are several easy ways to ramp up your b2b online marketing effort quickly and inexpensively. Below are just a few ideas:

1.  Create and maintain a blog. Every business needs a blog...a regularly updated blog. This gives you an instant way to share information with your existing and prospective customers. If you don't have time to write the blog yourself, you can hire a freelance writer to help you for a reasonable rate

2.  Embrace social media. The phenomenon that is Facebook has changed the way businesses market to consumers and to each other. What began as a way for college students to keep track of their friends has evolved into the greatest marketing tool in history. And, it's free.  There are more than 750 million active users on the site. Where else could you get this kind of exposure?

3. Make your website interactive. If your website does not give your prospects a way to interact - you may be missing out on converting them to customers. Call to Action buttons and custom tailored landing pages can raise the ROI on your website and help to pinpoint those prospects that are ready to buy.

4.  Learn about SEO. SEO--Search Engine Optimization--is the art and science of getting your Web site ranked in the first few pages of a Google search. Simply put - if you want to get found for specific key words - every page on your web site should be "optimized" to contain these words. If your clients search Google and find your competitors, you may need some fine tuning in this area.

5.  Create an email list. Give your Web site visitors the option to be on your mailing list. Do not underestimate the value of an email address in today's marketplace. Your email list is your sales funnel and it's vital to stay in touch on a regular basis.

6.  Write and publish online press releases. Another useful b2b online marketing approach is to write and publish press releases about your product or service. Did your company recently will an award?  Are you launching a new product? Let other businesses know by writing a press release and posting it on a site such as PR Newswire.
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Topics: lead nurturing, lead generation, increase sales, HubSpot Tips, Hubspot, Content Marketing, marketing, marketing services, B2B

Online Marketing: Why Giving Stuff Away is Better Than Selling (Except When it’s Not)

Posted by Natalie Young

Jul 10, 2012 2:59:00 PM

give sellThere’s an old joke about a businessman who made widgets. They cost him $1 to make and he sold them for 75¢. A friend told him that was a terrible business plan and that he’d be broke in no time. The businessman told his friend not to worry—he’d make it up in volume.

If you take a casual look at marketing on the Internet today, you might think some people are trying to do the same thing. Businesses are constantly giving away stuff for free. Usually it’s not an actual product or service, but it’s still free. How can you build a business by giving away stuff?

What it comes down to is how your customers use the Internet. If someone is considering buying a high-ticket item (a car, a home, a lighting system for their business . . .) they are probably not going to read a glowing online description and then buy it sight unseen on the Web. For items like that, people come to the Internet for information. And the more helpful information you can provide them, the more likely they are to eventually make their purchase (probably in person).

What should you give away? Give your customers genuinely helpful information. That means providing honest answers to legitimate questions they have. It means providing them with insight and understanding that will enable them to make a better decision. It doesn’t mean giving away your trade secret or your competitive advantage. And it doesn’t mean cloaking a sales pitch as “help.”

Why should you give away? Sharing your knowledge and industry expertise helps establish you as someone credible and trustworthy. People still prefer to do business with someone they trust—particularly when it comes to high-ticket items. On top of that, giving away good information helps qualify your leads. Not everyone who comes to your website is the kind of lead you’re looking for. Visitors that are interested enough to download a special report (or more than one) are telling you that they are serious about what you have to offer.

There’s a time for everything. After a potential customer has downloaded a couple of reports or whitepapers, that’s the time to reach out (probably in an email) and acknowledge their interest. This is the time when selling is better than giving stuff away. Remember, your potential customers come to the Internet first for information. When they have what they need, then they may be ready to buy. 

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Topics: increase sales, Content Marketing, marketing, website marketing, Inbound Marketing, blogging

Blogs and Newsletters = Marketing Success

Posted by Natalie Young

Jul 2, 2012 11:14:00 AM

If you’re a small to medium business owner you already know that these are challenging times. It’s a tough economy and consumers are holding on to their purse strings tighter than ever. You’re faced with a dynamic and constantly changing business and marketing environment and you need your business strategy to be maximized for optimum effect. So what options are available to you and how can your marketing strategy be enhanced to take advantage of new opportunities and resources to gain leads and new customers as well as keeping current ones coming back? 

newsletter servicesAs experienced business operators know it’s always possible to survive and prosper and experience business growth, even in a terrible economy. The key to increasing your sales fast - in any economy - is small business marketing. 

Ok, so maybe I’m not saying anything that you don’t already know.

But ask yourself;

  • Are your marketing strategies up to date?
  • Are you using all of the resources available to you in today’s high tech marketing climate?

I can assure you that your competitors are....

Small business marketing has changed drastically over the last few years. There’s a whole new crop of potential customers out there and for the most part:

  • They don’t read newspapers or magazines
  • They don't respond to direct mail
  • A lot of them don’t even watch a regular TV anymore

They’re hooked up and wired in. If you’re going to have a successful marketing plan and sustained business growth in today’s world you have to be online.

Besides having a business website, most people think of social media when they consider online marketing. But there are more targeted tools available to small business marketers:

Two marketing tools that are among the most effective as well as the most under utilized are blogs and e-mail newsletters. Not so long ago setting up a website or a blog required some pretty in depth technical skills and some proficiency in HTML coding. This is no longer the case. Blog hosting platforms like Wordpress and Blogger make setting up an attractive and professional looking site a matter of just a few hours and a lot of mouse clicks. There are lots of benefits to having a blog for your business.

  • A blog provides an easy means to tell your customers about your products and company news as well as sales and special offers.
  • A blog gives you an opportunity to show off your expertise and gain authority in your industry.
  • A blog builds brand awareness and facilitates a personal relationship with your customers as well as helping you to gain insights into them.
  • A blog opens up an alternative means of communication and cuts down on calls and correspondence to your office. 

Your blog can also serve as a perfect way to let customers sign up for a regular e-mail newsletter. This gives you a yet another way to keep your business in front of your customer and communicate news, special offers and helpful expertise and build a strong personal relationship. A newsletter enhances lead generation because it’s targeted at a more receptive audience. Both blogs and e-mail newsletter give you instant trackable feedback about how many people are seeing your content. Both are virtually free to set up. 

However, maintaining and promoting a blog and newsletter, requiring regular fresh content and the application of techniques to ensure high search engine rankings, is a time consuming chore.

For most businesses it makes sense to engage the services and expertise of a professional blogging and newsletter service. The benefits to be realized from these small business marketing methods far outweigh the negligible costs involved, and let you spend your time where it’ll count the most, running your business. 

Times may be tough, but putting the power of a professionally maintained blog and newsletter to work for your business will help your business weather the storm until calmer seas prevail.

newsletter program

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Topics: lead nurturing, lead generation, Content Marketing, marketing services, B2B, blogging, newsletters

Marketing Success Today: Avoiding Five Fatal Call-to-Action Failures

Posted by Natalie Young

Jun 12, 2012 3:04:00 PM

call to action website marketingYour website should be the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal. But that means it has to do a lot more than just sit there and look pretty. It needs to do something—or more accurately, it needs to get visitors to do something. That means your website needs to have strong, specific calls to action. But a good call to action (CTA) doesn’t just happen. You have to be very deliberate in creating them. Here are five common CTA mistakes that you should avoid because they can kill your response.

1. Creating “Invisible” CTAs: OK, nobody actually put’s a call to action button on their site that’s really invisible. YOU may think your CTA button is bold and can’t be missed, but remember you know it’s there! Make sure your call to action is big enough that visitors can’t miss it. And while size does matter with your call to action, so does position. If your button is “below the fold” (so that visitors have to scroll down on the page to see it) it is for all accounts and purposes invisible. Put it where people can see it—and respond.

2. Not Offering Visible Value: Anybody can offer a free download of a white paper or a special report or a case study. The big question, however, is “why would anyone bother to download it?” Just because something is free doesn’t make it valuable (and can actually imply otherwise). Make sure you offer a compelling reason to take action, such as: “Discover 3 Tips That Will Generate New Leads in 30 Days.”

3. Over-promising and under-delivering: This is a classic failure. Sometimes businesses are so eager to get visitors to respond that they promise things they can’t deliver. If your call to action promises answers—provide answers. If it promises specific information, make sure you include the specifics. It’s OK to offer “10 Ideas for Creating the Kitchen of Your Dreams” and then offer ideas. It’s not OK to offer “10 Specific Steps to Creating the Kitchen of Your Dreams” and then offer general ideas.

4. Disconnects Between Your CTA and Your Landing Page: Sometimes a simple shift in language can be confusing to visitors. They read one thing in your call to action, but when they hit the landing page, what’s offered sounds different. Be consistent with the language you use—and make sure there is a visual tie-in as well. If people think they’ve landed on the wrong page—they’ll leave.

5. Competing with Yourself: A common mistake businesses make is trying to offer more than one thing at a time. If you drive people to a landing page for a free download or some other offer, don’t confuse them by having multiple offers. Having multiple offers actually suppresses response. Keep it clean and simple.

Without clear and compelling calls to action, your website runs the risk of being a nice-looking digital brochure that nobody cares about. But having the right CTA can turn your website into a lean, mean, lead generation machine. 

Want to read more about call to actin buttons?

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Topics: lead generation, Content Marketing, marketing, website marketing, Inbound Marketing, marketing services, smarketing

Why Yesterday’s Marketing Approach Won’t Bring Results Today

Posted by Natalie Young

May 4, 2012 11:51:00 AM

marketing eveolvesIn April AT&T sold a majority stake of its declining Yellow Pages business so that it could “focus on its core telephone business.” But there’s more going on here than AT&T sharpening its business focus. AT&T has seen revenue from its Yellow Pages unit shrink 30 percent in two years. What’s going on?

Perhaps the best way to answer that is to relate an experience a business colleague shared with us recently. He visited a large office building the week after the new phone books came out. At both ends of the building on every floor he saw two pallets. On one pallet were shrink-wrapped copies of the new phone books with a sign that said, “Take one!” Few books had been taken. In some cases the shrink-wrapping hadn’t even been disturbed. The other pallet had a sign that said, “Leave your old books here.” There were considerably more books on this pallet.

AT&T knows what’s going on. When people want information, they don’t go to the Yellow Pages anymore. They go to the Web. And when they go to the Web, they don’t go to an online version of the Yellow Pages. They go to Google and search. AT&T knows that they are not going to get the results they want today by relying on yesterday’s marketing approaches.

What does that mean for your business? Gone are the days when you could take out an (expensive) ad in the Yellow Pages and hope customers would find you there. That’s not where people are looking for you. They’re looking online.

But you can’t just use today’s tools (the Web) with yesterday’s mindset. Your online presence has to be much more than a digital version of your old corporate brochure on your website. You need to turn your website into a lean, mean, marketing machine. You spent good money building your website, but what has your website done for you lately? Your website needs to be generating leads for your business.

How do you make that happen? First, your website needs to be easy to find. That means optimizing it so that the right people find it. Second, it needs to be easy for prospective customers to find the information they’re looking for. That means creating quality content. And third, your site needs to enable you and your prospects to engage with one another. That’s how you turn lookers into leads—and ultimately into customers.

What are your biggest challenges in the new age of marketing?

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Topics: Content Marketing, marketing, Inbound Marketing, marketing services

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