Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy | SEO Content Writer | Mike D. O'Brien

How to Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy

When executed properly, inbound marketing can help all businesses grow by driving more web traffic and generating more leads. However, if not done properly, or only half-complete, you’ll present your business as incomplete online.

But let’s be serious, there are only so many hours in a day and there are so many things to do, especially as a small business owner. Where do you find the time to create and execute an inbound strategy as well as all the other responsibilities as a small business owner?

Most small business owners wear enough hats as it is, and inbound marketing is not a one-time job. Because visitors to your site like current, relevant content, so does Google. That means you need to post regularly to keep your site up-to-date and so that Google will continue crawling your site.

If you choose to perform an inbound marketing strategy in-house, below are the steps you need to create a winning strategy. I have found that most small business owners know what they should be doing, but don’t have the time to execute those tasks properly and don’t have the tools do perform an inbound strategy as well as it needs to be done. That would be like trying to defend yourself in court without a law degree or trying to change the brakes on your car without the proper tools.

Steps to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy:

1. Research:

Research is important before making any decision or strategy when it comes to your business, however, that doesn’t mean that all research is good research. With the amount of information available, it is important to remain on topic and scan articles and resources quickly for information relevant to your queries. Like all aspects of inbound marketing, research is an ongoing process. This will help you stay up to date on new trends and techniques.

Goals of Research Stage:

    • Buyer Personas:

Create enough buyer personas to include all of your different target markets. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will better understand their concerns and be prepared to offer solutions.

    • Market Triggers:

Your experiences and research will show the pain points of your target markets. Then you can find how your services and products alleviate those pains.

    • Keywords:

Find the keywords your business needs to be ranking for and which keywords your competitors are targeting. Through research you’ll find which keywords are important to your target markets at different stages of the buying process.

    • Goals:

Every business wants to increase sales, but what are the metrics that are going to help you achieve that goal? You need to decide how your inbound marketing strategy is going generate more leads.

 

2. Create and Execute:

After creating your buying personas and target markets, it’s time to create and execute your inbound marketing strategy. When you create your content schedule in advance, it’s easier to stay ahead of the posts and topics that will funnel visitors through the buying process.

Content Creation and Execution:

    • Content Schedule:

Create topics relevant to each point in the buying process and list titles for those topics. A good tip is to schedule a title to a specific date, and list any links to resources and keywords so that they are easily accessible when writing begins.

    • Blog:

Blogging is a key for any business. If you aren’t blogging, start as soon as possible. If you started and fell off, start again. This is the best way to answer your target market’s questions, offer solutions, drive traffic to your site, and generate more leads.

    • SEO:

To some, SEO is a myth that is promoted as the one-stop solution to get your business on the first page of Google. That’s not the case. There is no magic formula that can guarantee success. However, there is a guarantee of failure if you are not optimizing each and every page on your website with keywords, alt tags, and other SEO best practices.

3. Promotion

You have all this great content on your site. The next step in developing your inbound marketing strategy is share with the world your answers to your target market’s pain points. This doesn’t mean you have to try to be everywhere at the same time, but it does mean you have to find the places where your target audience is and engage them.

Ways to Promote Content:

It is impossible to be active and engaging on every social media site. Luckily, you don’t have to. You need to research where your target market is, and be there. But, there is no halfway. Make sure to post regularly and engage with followers and likes.

    • Email Marketing:

Some may think that this means spam, but those people don’t use email marketing to its full potential. You need to break up your email list into the different stages of the buying process so that new signups aren’t receiving the same emails as long-time customers. And, you need to target the specific points with information and promotions that will nudge them along to the next stage of the buying process.

    • Pay-Per-Click Ads:

Why spend all this time and money on inbound marketing, just to advertise? Inbound marketing is about driving targeted visitors to your site to convert them to leads, and eventually, customers. PPC advertising is another way to be in front of a targeted audience (those who searched for your specific keywords) and drive traffic to your site.

4. Generate Leads

Your website is a sales rep that never sleeps. If you’re site isn’t generating leads for you, not only are you missing an opportunity to grow, you’re being passed by your competitors.

Ways to Generate Leads:

    • Call To Actions:

Your website needs to have strategically placed CTAs so that you can continue promoting the next stage of the buying process to your visitors. But the same goes for emails and PPC ads. Measure the different phrasing and designs that work best at driving traffic.

    • Premium Content:

Whitepapers, eBooks, Case Studies, Webinars, and even Podcasts are a great way for you to offer detailed content to your visitors and potential customers. When they click a CTA to acquire this premium content, it brings them to a landing page.

    • Landing Pages:

A landing page is a gatekeeper to your premium content that requires visitors to fill out a short form to acquire the free content. This is how your business acquires new leads and more subscribers to your email list. Remember, only ask for the information you need (most of the time, simply their name and email address) so you don’t scare off potential customers by requiring them to provide irrelevant personal data.

    • Funnel Through Buying Process:

Posting to your site regularly and to specific keywords is a great way to drive more targeted traffic to your website. But if your site isn’t converting visitors to leads, then it is only doing half its job. You need to make sure that your website is always working for your business.

5. Analysis

You are able to track every step along the inbound marketing process, which provides the data necessary to see which aspects of your campaign are working and which need improvement. If you are not using the data to improve your strategy, you are aiming with your eyes closed and hoping to hit your target.

Data to Measure:

    • A/B Testing:

By testing different versions of your CTAs or PPC ads, you can see which works the best. Constant improving and tinkering is necessary to make sure your campaign is working as hard as you are. Remember to only change one small variable per test so that the data provides specific results.

    • Social Media:

Which social media platforms work best for your company? What times are the best to post about your business? What types of content provides the most engagement? Tracking of all this data allows you to improve your strategy.

    • Email:

Track the best emails to send to the specific points in the buying process. Constantly tracking the data will show the best times and days to send your emails.

    • Blogs:

Track which blogs, topics, and points on the buying process perform the best. Find the blogs that have the lowest bounce rate and which visitors click to other articles.

    • Traffic to Leads:

Driving more traffic to your site is a wonderful thing, but if those visitors aren’t turning into leads it doesn’t matter how many visitors you have. This data will tell you where on the buying process your site is failing.

    • Leads to Customer:

Similar to above, if your leads aren’t buying, then you need improve your lead nurturing. By targeting improvements to specific points in the buying process, you can ensure you’re not changing what parts of your strategy are succeeding.

    • Pay-Per-Click:

Your PPC ads are an important way to drive traffic to your site. If certain keywords are driving the most traffic to your site, try raising the bid so you can rank higher. Use negative keywords so you don’t waste money on similar keywords, but irrelevant to your company.

Develop Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Today!

Inbound marketing is a multi-faceted, on-going process that provides content tailored to specific points in the buying process, promotes that content, and analyzes the data. Unfortunately, many small business owners simply don’t have the time, or the skills to research, create, and execute an inbound marketing strategy that is going to drive more traffic to their site and generate more leads and more sales.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

SEO Content Writer | Single Page Website | Mike D. O'Brien

Single Page Websites and SEO

More businesses are designing single page websites because of how easy it is to maintain and the ease of use on mobile devices. The problem is that Google likes pages, links between pages, and site density, which is one of the main contributing factors responsible for the rise in blogging by businesses.

However, Google’s main concern has always been, and will continue to be, the user (that is, besides making money). And, with the increasing use of mobile devices for web browsing and searching, there is no doubt that Google will take that into account moving forward.

For now though, there hasn’t been an algorithm update that’s changed Google’s reliance on multiple pages, links, and keywords to rank pages and websites. Google’s Matt Cutts has said that single page sites can work for Google, but according to Search Engine Land, most SEO experts still believe that Google relies on multiple pages and off-site links to determine website credibility.

 

Just because Google’s rankings like multiple page sites better, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around optimizing a single page site. It simply takes more creativity.

Advantages to Single Page Websites

-Simple, Easy Design
-Linear Design
-Great for Mobile Devices
-May Lead to Higher Conversion Rate
-Visual Narrative

Disadvantages to Single Page Websites

-Conflicting Keywords
-Difficult to Blog
-Slow Load Time
-Too Much Information, Too Little Space
-Have to Remember to Update

How to Optimize a Single Page Site:

1. Create Clear, Distinct Sections
By dividing your single page website into clearly defined sections, you’re helping the user experience by telling them specifically what each section is about and what they can expect. This also helps Google because you can target specific keywords in each section by using alt tags, headlines, and other SEO best practices.

2. Use Multiple H1 Headers
On a multiple page site, more than one H1 header per page is detrimental because it confuses search engines on what the main topic of a page is. However, a single page site requires multiple H1 headers to distinguish sections, as mentioned above, for both users and Google.

3. Use DIVs to Paginate Content
DIV tags will allow you to set the different sections in the HTML just like the H1 does it on screen.

Examples:

<div id="home">Content</div>
<div id="services">Content</div>

Remember that these will not count as keywords, as CSS tags are not considered for SEO purposes. To do that, you need to rely on anchor links.

4. Anchor Links
Anchor links optimize your site with internal links for Google purposes. Do not confuse anchor links with anchor text, though they are similar. Anchor text is the phrase that contains a URL that links to another page or a site. Anchor links take you to a specific point on a webpage.

You will link your anchor link to your DIV id.

Examples: (using DIV id from above)

<a href="#home">Inbound Marketing</a>
<a href="#services">Social Media Marketing</a>

5. Adding Current Content
Google loves current, relevant content, which is another reason why blogging has become necessary to every business’s website. The problem with a one-page site is that you are more likely to put your information up and never check it again.

According to MDMP Consulting, you should update your portfolio, testimonials, and content based on new projects and services. This provides you with the opportunity to post new content and gives Google’s searchbots another opportunity to crawl your page. Another trick is to sync your Twitter feed so that it is continuously updated.

Single Page Website Solutions

As of right now, single page websites are not optimal for your business. I believe that Google will lean more in this direction in the future because of the rise and influence of mobile devices, however, we are not at that point yet.

Personally, I never recommend single page sites and have, for the reasons listed throughout this article, talked clients out of it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done it. If it works for your business and in your industry, then you should proceed with your single page website as long as you are aware of the SEO problems you will encounter.

I advise most small businesses to keep their sites around 3-5 pages with a blog containing regularly scheduled and relevant content. However, you must remember that there is not a single, across-the-board solution for all companies and all industries. If you’re still confused, schedule your Consultation today to learn how to optimize your site, drive more traffic, and generate more leads.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing Helps Financial Advisors | Mike D. O'Brien

How Inbound Marketing Helps Financial Advisors

Financial advisors are at a bit of a crossroads. They provide a valuable service, but since the Great Recession, trust in Wall St. and financial advisors have plummeted. In fact, one study showed that only 20% of investors fully trusted their financial advisors.

In an industry that relies on trust to acquire new customers how does a financial advisor develop that trust?

One of the best ways is to provide potential customers with answers to their questions for free. Yes, that may seem counterproductive. If you provide too much information for free, why will they need financial advisors in the first place?

Most people are too busy to be on top of every aspect of their financial future, including keeping up with trends, stocks, and savings. That means they need answers, but also guidance. As customers are performing more research before making a decision, the buying process has been extended. Are they more likely to buy from companies that provide the information they are seeking, or from a company that is constantly pushing their own products and services?

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is marketing for the Internet age, when customers are ignoring advertisements and performing research on their own. That means companies that provide information, answer questions, and develop trust are more successful than those that don’t. At it’s core, inbound marketing is the creation of content specifically tailored to different points along the buying process, the promotion of that content to generate leads, and the analysis of the data to double down on what aspects are working and restructuring those that aren’t.

 

 

Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors

Inbound Marketing takes time, but the results are more sustainable. When you release a television or radio ad, at least 90% of your audience doesn’t care. Another 5% changed the station. By providing potential customers with information they are seeking, you are targeting warm prospects already searching for similar services. The ultimate goal is for your website to be a sales rep for you, increasing traffic, funneling visitors through the buying process, and generating leads. Best of all, according to Hubspot, inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.

However, because inbound marketing doesn’t provide immediate results, it is imperative to create a strategy and stick to it. You are laying the foundation for continued success, embracing a strategy that may not create record-breaking results in the first quarter, but will allow your company to continue growing for years and years.

 

How Financial Advisors Benefit from Inbound Marketing

Target Market:

  • Create Buyer Personas
  • Analyze Buyer’s Journey
  • Develop keywords and pain points

 

Create Targeted Content:

 

Develop Trust:

 

Promote Content:

 

There’s no magical formula for your website to rank highly for all, or any, of your targeted keywords. However, by leveraging social media to drive more traffic and CTAs, landing pages, and premium content to generate leads, your website will funnel visitors through the buying process.

Financial advisors are faced with a serious issue when it comes to developing trust, especially amongst millennials who are now the largest demographic in the country. To regain that trust, more and more financial advisors are using inbound marketing to create content, promote it, and analyze the data to restructure as needed. Though it is not going to provide immediate results, those financial advisors who don’t provide this content to develop and nurture leads and relationships, will continue to struggle obtaining new clients.

Stay ahead of your competition! Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest inbound marketing trends and techniques delivered straight to your inbox!

Continue reading to learn how inbound marketing can help small businesses.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Penguin 4.0 will punish sites and businesses that don't adhere to white-hat link-building practices

Everything You Need to Know About Penguin 4.0

Penguin 3.0 changed the search engine world when it was released at the end of 2014 and punished sites that had acquired a large number of spammy links and had benefited from those links with better search results. Even though it only affected <1% of US- English search queries, some businesses were completely removed from Google’s results and were told they’d have to wait until the next Penguin update for a possible return.

Penguin 4.0 looks to build upon Penguin 3.0 by working in real-time. This is a potential game-changer because it means that it will always “be on”, constantly updating and punishing sites based on their activity.

While it has been rumored for at least a year, expected release dates have continuously been pushed back. First, it was by the end of 2015. Then there were big rumors that it had been released in the middle of January. Then it was definitely by the end of the first quarter. Now, with still no release, Google’s Gary Illyes says he’s given up estimating a Penguin 4.0 launch date because he’s been wrong three or four times.

Goals of Penguin 4.0

The main purpose of Penguin 4.0 will be to continue punishing sites that obtain a large quantity of spammy links to drive up their Google search results. That means, if you’ve been practicing white-hat procedures, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’ve delved into some black-hat techniques in an attempt to improve organic search results, you had better start undoing them and quickly. According to Google, when Penguin 3.0 was released, those sites that had changed their techniques up to three weeks before the official release were still affected by the update. And, some were completely removed from Google’s results.

What is Penguin 4.0 going to focus on?

1. Real-Time Version of Penguin 3.0

Penguin 3.0 had serious ramifications for a number of sites, including a number of small businesses. Some knew what they were doing, and were looking for quick results and continued to acquire spammy links from spammy sites, hoping for a shortcut to the top of Google results.

Others had hired an SEO agency and trusted them to do what was right. However, looking to achieve and brag about quick results, that agency went the way of the dark side and tried cheating the system.

Either way, those sites were punished and were told they had to wait until the next update to regain eligibility on Google’s search results, with no guarantees. When Penguin 4.0 is released, it will always be working, indexing, and crawling, which means your business needs to start cleaning up both internal and external links now, and continue these white-hat procedures or constantly risk getting punished by Google.

2. Focus on Link-Building

Originally, Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin had named their search engine, “BackRub.”

What Can You Do Now?
-Take the time to clean up your site-Check all internal links, long-tail keywords, and user experience on your site

-Check all of your external links and that they lead to relevant, operational sites

-Check all of your backlinks

Resources to Check Links and Backlinks:
SpyFu

SEMRush

Dead Link Checker

Yes, BackRub. Why? Because their search engine was going to focus on links when ranking pages. And that’s still true today.

While content is important (current, relevant, unique content drives traffic to your site) and keywords help tell the search engines and users what your page is about, links drive the increase in organic rankings. But, it’s not just how many links you have. One link from CNN or ESPN means more than 100 links from sites with no influence.

Knowing how difficult it is to get legitimate links form legitimate sites, some businesses have tried cheating the system by buying links, creating multiple sites and linking between them, and other tactics. These are the sites Google is after.

As Google’s algorithms become smarter, link building will have less of an impact. That’s still years away though, which means links still matter. Google and their Penguin updates have focused on penalizing sites that acquire a high number of illegitimate links.

3. Ramifications

As stated, some sites punished after Penguin 3.0 faced precipitous drops in their rankings and others were completely removed from Google results for an indefinite amount of time. Now that Penguin 4.0 is going to be operating in real-time, that means it will continuously be updating and checking sites.

Can Google drop your site from their rankings for only one blemish? Of course they could, but it’s highly unlikely. Mistakes can be made, but Google is attempting to make their user experience the best possible. That means driving away sites that are pummeling users with advertisements and irrelevant content and shooting up the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) by acquiring a number of spammy links.

Difference Between Panda and Penguin

Google's Penguin 4.0 update will punish websites and businesses that don't practice white-hat link-building techniquesYes, Google chooses adorable names for their updates, but that’s only so they don’t create the panic that Chaos 4.0 or Destruction 4.2 would (remember the fear “Mobilegeddon” caused?). That doesn’t mean they are any less intimidating. However, Penguin 4.0 should only be intimidating for those using black-hat techniques to increase their rankings. Every business owner should understand the benefits of white-hat practices, and be able to have the long-term patience to stick with them.

The main difference between Panda and Penguin is that Panda is a tweak to Google’s search algorithm. These updates can affect your site, but you can recover from them. On the other hand, Penguin updates are a game changer. You need to prepare for and adapt because those punished with Penguin 3.0 are still waiting for 4.0 to be released from prison.Google's Penguin 4.0 update will punish websites and businesses that don't practice white-hat link-building techniques

The main point is simply follow Google’s Best Practices. They are focused on their user experience, as should you. The best way to increase traffic to your site and increase your organic search results is to publish current, relevant, unique content regularly, promote that content through social media, guest blog for other sites that allow you to include a link in your bio, and analyze the data to see what aspects of your plan are working and which need improvement.

 

Panda vs. Penguin

Panda
-Focused on Content-Create Brand Awareness through content, promotion

-Reward high-quality sites that produce current, relevant content

-Smaller sites can recover from

Penguin
-Black-hat tactics severely penalized:

-Spammy Link Building

-Keyword Stuffing

-Irrelevant Content

-Long-term Punishments with Few that Recover

 

Worried about Penguin 4.0?

Nervous your digital marketing agency may have used black-hat techniques to help improve your organic search results? Schedule a Free Consultation today or continue reading about the how to choose the best digital marketing agency for your business.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads with Twitter

Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads with Twitter

Twitter is a great tool to generate leads and interact with prospects because it’s informal. People engaging on Twitter have their guard down (to an extent) and are looking to grow their own following by engaging with others.

After all, it is called social media.

However, when used for business your objectives are to generate leads and increase sales, and not simply engaging with others. Any and all interactions should have those goals in mind, or look to grow your network and increasing brand awareness. But even those interactions should have the end goal of a sale.

Because it is informal, Twitter presents an opportunity to engage with prospects without coming across as, according to Mario Martinez Jr. and Sabra Rubinstein, “too salesy”.

No matter how you choose to approach your social media strategy, and Twitter in particular, you need to engage with your followers. That’s how you nurture your connections to becoming leads and expand your network.

Generating Leads with Twitter:

  1. Educate Customers:

Working with a lot of startups and small businesses just entering the social media fray has taught me that the number one objective when starting out is brand awareness. Initially, you’re main focus is to leverage social media, and Twitter in particular, to grow your network and your following to generate more leads. To increase brand awareness on Twitter, you need to:

  • Post content to your site regularly
  • Tweet links to content 3-5 daily
  • 3-5 Retweets daily that reinforce brand
  • Engage with new followers
  • Engage with people who like or retweet your tweets
  • Follow 5-10 new people/ businesses per day

  1. Promote Gated Content:

Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads with TwitterYour business needs to create whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, and webinars to properly leverage your website to generate leads. Though every business won’t benefit from all of those forms, every business will benefit from some. By promoting this premium content with tweets linked to landing pages, your website will generate more leads.

  1. Create Lists:

There are two types of lists on Twitter: Public and Private. Lists are a targeted approach to cut through the noise and chatter of your regular feed. By using lists you can follow the timeline for users on that particular list. And, the best part is that you don’t have to be following a user to add them to your list, either public or private. Mario Martinez Jr. recommends creating three lists: Client, Prospect, and Competitor. Use lists so that you can follow and engage with prospects and clients about topics relevant to them.

  1. Survey Followers:

Have you always wondered what troubles your clients or prospects the most? Tweet a survey or question to your followers to find out what “pains” they have that you may be able to solve. This is a great way to engage with specific followers and to come up with topics for blog posts or premium content.

  1. Advertising:

Twitter may not have as many active users as Facebook or YouTube, but it is still a valuable resource to target your advertising budget to specific demographics. By using the targeting feature, you can target those who follow your competitors, those in a certain location, or those similar to your followers. This allows your message to reach a specific audience.Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads With Twitter

Social media sites like Twitter provide your business an opportunity to generate leads and increase sales, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Although the strategy takes time and resources, you cannot overlook Twitter as a valuable piece of your overall marketing strategy. Use Twitter to your advantage by creating great content, engaging with followers, and promoting your content, which will increase brand awareness and generate more leads.

Everyday your business isn’t using Twitter to generate more leads is another day you’re falling behind your competitors. If your business is ready to start leveraging social media to generate leads and increase sales, contact me today for your Free Consultation. Or you can read about other ways to promote your content.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

What's the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing?

What’s the Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing?

“In the red corner, we have Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-creators of HubSpot and inbound marketing defenders!”

“And, in the blue corner we have Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and content marketing advocate!”

And the battle rages on. Pick a side, but know, that you can’t be undecided…

But wait. What’s the difference? Isn’t content marketing just a subset of inbound marketing?

You better not say that too loudly, or Joe Pulizzi will hunt you down.

So then isn’t inbound marketing just an incomplete version of content marketing? Halligan and Shah will gladly tell you otherwise.

Can’t there be a middle ground so we can stop listening to this debate rage on?

Content Marketing:

Content Marketing Goals:
-Brand Awareness

-Lead Conversion and Nurturing

-Customer Conversion

-Customer Service

-Customer Loyalty and Retention

-Customer Upsell

-Passionate Subscriber

According to the Content Marketing Institute founder, Joe Pulizzi, in 1895 John Deere first put content marketing into practice by publishing “The Furrow”, which provided end users with best farming practices.

Throughout the 20th century, the use of content marketing continued to expand. Content marketing, coined by Pulizzi in 2001, is designed to earn respect and loyalty of customers by using content in all forms (online, print, and in-person). Pulizzi defines content marketing as, “A marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Inbound Marketing:

Inbound Marketing Goals:
-Attract

-Convert

-Close

-Delight

In 2005, Brian Halligan created the term inbound marketing with HubSpot co-founder, Dharmesh Shah. Inbound marketing, at its core, is about pulling customers to you instead of pushing your advertising message on them. Some, including agency executive John McTigue, trace the origins of inbound marketing to Cyrus Hall McCormick in the 1850s, who used educational materials to drum up interest in his farm equipment.

According to the HubSpot website, “Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.”

The Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing:

In essence, inbound marketing drives traffic to your site by providing great content aligned with customers in different stages of the buying process.

But wait, content marketing is the same thing, isn’t it? So why the debate?

This is simply a marketing tactic by two different companies that provide similar services trying to gain more business. HubSpot says content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. The Content Marketing Institute says inbound marketing covers only a third of the content marketing strategy.

What's the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing?

Which is Better for Your Business?

Because both are so similar, the ideal strategy is one that combines both into a strategy that works for your business, in your location, and in your industry. Then you can call it whatever you want. Neither definition encompasses the promotion of the content through social media or restructuring the strategy based on data, but both are embedded in each strategy.

So, while it may seem like there is no way to be neutral in this debate, most marketing professionals, including Jay Acunzo, don’t care what its called. Just like you and me, they are only concerned with driving business.

No matter what you decide to call it, your business needs to provide current, relevant content to a targeted audience, promote that content through social media, and restructure your strategy as needed based on performance.

For more information, read about the top 10 types of content your business should provide to customers.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing a digital marketing agency can feel overwhelming because of all the noise. SEM! Social Media Marketing! Increase Sales 50,000%! Not surprisingly, small businesses in particular feel weary when it comes to hiring an outside agency. But, just like every small business has a specialty, an agency can provide resources, techniques, and experience to provide better strategies for your company and achieve better results. When searching for a digital marketing agency, it’s important to have set goals before listening to pitches and to make sure an agency’s philosophy and talents meet your objectives.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

1. Specialization:

Different types of agencies perform different types of services. This can range from content marketing, PPC management, digital consulting, or Social Media Management. Agencies that claim to do everything may mean they don’t do anything well. Do your research on a firm before calling to make sure your objectives meet their specializations. And, when you do call, listen carefully to what services they focus on pitching, which are probably their strengths.

2. Timeline Focus:

How long does an agency expect to see results? This is one of the most important questions to ask because this is how many businesses get fooled. There is no legitimate way to get 1000% increase in traffic and in the top 5 results on a Google search in only a month. That can be a tough pill to swallow in our immediate-results-driven society, but success takes time. A successful agency should be able to show a strategy to improve results in the short-term (1-3 months), medium-term (3-9 months), and long-term (9+ months) and how their experience makes them believe this strategy will be successful.

3. Price Range:

You and your team should discuss what goals your firm wants to achieve by hiring a digital marketing agency. Performing research beforehand will ensure that you don’t waste your time talking to agencies outside of your price range and needs. Just as important is to stay away from agencies offering an extremely low rate. Normally, this means they are sacrificing quality.

4. Contract Options:

Commonly, there are four types of agreements between agencies and clients:

  1. Hourly: Normally, this is for smaller, shorter-term projects such as rewriting the content of a website.
  2. Monthly/ Annual Contract: Most contracts are for 3, 6, or 12 months. This is the most common method.
  3. Pay Per Month: This means no formal month-to-month obligation and continual reviews.
  4. Results Paid: Payment only after specific, predetermined results are achieved. Could be more expensive in the long run, as the agency assumes higher risk.

5. Tracking Results:

During discovery, an agency should be able to clearly state what metrics they use to determine success. If you and your firm want other, specific metrics measured, make sure to tell your agency. Most agencies meet with clients once a month to review results and how a given strategy has changed and why. Any longer than once a month could be a sign that the agency is too busy to provide optimal service.

6. Agency Philosophy:

Choosing a vendor whose company philosophy matches your own is always important, but especially when choosing an agency that will be promoting your company online. Make sure this agency is in line with your company’s philosophy and objectives. If your company is looking to achieve long-term success, make sure your marketing agency thinks the same way, and has a specific strategy to achieve those goals.

7. Weaknesses:

No company is perfect and any company that says otherwise is lying. Especially in a field littered with smooth talking salesman, an agency that is aware of their own shortcomings, and honest about them, means they will be upfront and honest with you the entire time you work together.

8. Ease of Contact:

While the common workday is 9-5, Monday through Friday, a digital marketing agency that doesn’t respond at 5:01 pm means they don’t have the best interests of their clients in mind. It may be unreasonable to expect a firm to answer immediately, 24/7, it’s not unreasonable to expect a response outside of normal business hours.

9. Company Blog:

An agency should be maintaining a blog. This is an opportunity for the agency to share trends and techniques in the marketing world, as well as post about any company news and client success. This shows how serious they take their own business, revealing how seriously they’ll take yours.

10. Social Media Presence:

For the same reasons as blogging, an agency should have a social media presence. They are, after all, a digital marketing agency. A greater reach means a greater network, which means they know how to promote themselves. More often than not, that means they’ll know how to promote your business as well.

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

All companies have different needs and objectives when it comes to digital marketing, though all companies can benefit from one service or another. You and your team need to set what your specific organizational objectives are so that you can properly vet an agency. Figuring out your own goals will help you while listening to pitches from an agency and understanding their own company philosophy, strengths, and weaknesses.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

SEO vs. SEM: The difference between SEO and SEM

SEO vs. SEM

More and more, SEO and SEM are used interchangeably, to the detriment of everyone. They are not synonyms. While it can be a confusing topic (especially after reading some posts on the subject), once understood it’s actually very simple.

The key aspect to remember is that SEM is an umbrella that covers many aspects of a successful online marketing strategy, including SEO. Also, as a business, you need to understand the difference so that your strategy is properly planned and executed to achieve your objectives.

SEO vs. SEM: The difference between SEO and SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

According to Webopedia, Search Engine Marketing is an overall strategy “to achieve maximum visibility and increase share of paid and/ or organic traffic.” The main difference then, is that SEO is focused on improving organic search results, while SEM incorporates both organic results and Pay-Per-Click advertising on search engines and social media sites.

Aspects of SEM:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. SEO
  3. Competitive Analysis
  4. PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

SEM uses the belief that a successful marketing strategy is pushing a brand in front of a targeted audience with paid advertising and SEO. With 3.3 billion Google searches per day and 94% of clicks going to the first page, your business has to rank highly to maximize clicks. However, when first starting out, or as a small business competing against international corporations, using a PPC strategy is a way for your site to get to the top of the results page immediately. While this strategy costs more, it provides an opportunity for immediate results compared with the timeline of a structured SEO campaign.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

SEO is the strategy of optimizing a website to maximize results on organic searches. This is one of the more difficult aspects of SEM because, as stated by HubSpot’s Nicole Rende, it is “frequently changing due to frequent changes made to Google’s algorithms.”

Best Practices:

  1. Keyword Analysis
  2. Excellent Content
  3. Link Building
  4. Promotion through Social Media
  5. Optimized site for User Experience
  6. Optimized Title Tags, H1 Headers, and Meta Tags

SEO takes longer than PPC campaign, however, when done successfully and maintained over the course of many years, it builds more credibility than PPC ads. This is a direct result of visitors finding your site themselves, as opposed for you paying for an ad at the top of a page.

SEO vs. SEM: The difference between SEO and SEM

Difference between SEM and SEO:

A successful marketing strategy use a complete SEM strategy, which encompasses SEO. How your company chooses to distribute the efforts depends on objectives, timeline, and market. To improve your chances of success, you need to stay up to date on new trends, new keywords that your company needs to rank for, and Google algorithm changes to ensure that you are maximizing your results. Neither SEM or SEO is a one and done solution and both revolve around offering visitors and clients excellent content that helps them make informed decisions.

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

What's a Landing Page | Inbound Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a stand-alone webpage that generates leads by providing an offer to a visitor in exchange for their contact information. That means you have to provide something that a potential customer wants and make sure it is beneficial enough for them to provide their information.

 

Landing Page Essentials:

  1. Types of offers:

What you’re offering to potential leads depends on the type of lead you are trying to acquire. A visitor to your site can become a lead at any point in the Buying Process, so you need to have landing pages for each step and provide relevant, important offers behind each. Some examples of offers include:

  • eBook or Whitepaper
  • Email Subscription
  • Webinar
  • Consultation
  • Coupons
  • Contest Entry
  • Free Trial
  • Physical Gift
  • Notification of Future Product Releases

 

  1. Structure of a Landing Page:

Because the point of a landing page is to capture user data, on the landing page you have to provide a description of what the visitor will receive in exchange for their information. You have three seconds to entice a visitor to submit. That means the whole page has to be directing the visitor to click Submit.

  • No Navigation: Make sure visitor is focused on becoming a lead
  • Main Headline: Action verb, offer, and benefit

Example: “Receive Your Free eBook”

  • Supporting Headline: Show benefit to visitor

Example: “Learn How Landing Pages Generate Leads”

  • Image or Video: Unbounce’s landing page articles calls it a “Hero Shot”
  • Benefits of Offering: 3-5 Bullet points showing benefits and statistics
  • Social Proof: Testimonial or brands you’ve worked with
  • Call to Action: CTA should be large, easy to see, and concise

 

  1. Structure of Form:

The point of providing the visitor with this offering is to get their contact information. But, what should you ask for? According to Inbound Marketing Agents, “Only ask for the information you truly need for your specific business.” If a visitor sees a long form asking for every piece of their personal data, your conversion rate is going to plummet. Figure out your objectives and ask for the information that will help you achieve those objectives.

 

  1. Match Landing Page with Promotion:

How are you going to promote this offer? You should be using a combination of targeted blog posts, social media, on-site CTAs, and PPC ads. All of those CTAs should be matched to the landing page. It seems simple enough, but how often have you clicked on an ad or link just to end up at a company’s homepage? That’s not what drew you to the CTA. Don’t make the same mistake.

Example: “Receive Your Free eBook on how Landing Pages Generate Leads” should bring you to the landing page about receiving that eBook. Nowhere else.

What is a Landing Page?

Starting a Landing Page

Every website needs landing pages to generate leads. But first, you need something to offer. The best way is come up with a list of three or four long term goals and set specific dates on posting. An easy place to start is offer a benefit or discount for signing up for the email subscription. Next, work on a Whitepaper or eBook that shows the benefits of a certain aspect of your industry.

All of these take time, but you are building a foundation for generating future business. And, these offers can be generating leads for at least a couple months, if not a couple years. This allows you to promote these offers through social media, blogs, and PPC ads. Let your content provide value to visitors and actively promote it and properly structure your landing page, and your website can generate leads.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

The Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses

Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses

Small business owners are getting fed up. “Enough is enough,” I hear them say. “Stop telling me I don’t know what inbound marketing is. I know what it is, I just don’t have the time for it. I have a business to run, I can’t spend ten to twenty hours a week dilly-dallying with blogs and social media.”

I talk to small business owners all day long and that’s the most common response I hear. Originally, I made the mistake of pitching them as though they didn’t know what inbound marketing was and how it applied to their business.

But I was wrong. Yes, some small business owners still don’t know what inbound is, but more often then not, the business owners I encounter on a day-to-day basis understand what it’s about. They simply tell me they don’t have the time to properly come up with and execute an inbound strategy that will lead to sustaining success. Or, they don’t have the money to pay for someone else to do it.

Is it possible then, that while most business owners know that they should have some sort of inbound strategy, that because the results take time, that it doesn’t seem like an immediate need?

The problem with that theory is the same as going to the gym. Let’s say you’re 25 pounds overweight and your doctor has told you to shed those extra pounds. You know you need to go the gym and change your diet, but when you start going and eating better, the pounds remain. Even after a month, you still weigh the same. You can either quit, stick to the strategy you originally came up with, or refine your strategy to optimize your results.

One of those options guarantee that the weight will stay. The same goes for your inbound strategy. Doing nothing is choosing to remain stagnant. If you don’t do anything, your marketing plan will never improve.

 

 

Benefits of Inbound Marketing:

1. Higher ROI:

Because inbound marketing is done online, it is significantly lower than advertising in the traditional sense of buying commercials and full-page ads. The structure of old marketing was based on getting your company into the limited amount of space available. Now, the space is unlimited. That’s why you need to provide content that builds the trust and rapport with a potential customer, which will build your authority and knowledge.

2. Convert More Sales and Leads:

By using inbound marketing, your leads will already have shown a need for the products or services your company provides. Of course, not every lead is going to be ready to buy, or even qualified to buy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be eventually. Nurturing leads, even if they aren’t quite ready or qualified, is another aspect of inbound marketing. Instead of cold calling until you find someone with a need, properly executed, inbound marketing allows the leads to come to you.

3. New Markets and Targeted Audience:

As opposed to being confined to a certain radius, both in scope of area and of services, inbound marketing allows you to target specific audiences, no matter their physical location. As mentioned on Digital Marketing Pro, in a blog post by Alex Chris titled, 5 Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses, you can target multiple products or services specifically to people that are searching for them. If, for instance, you’re an inbound marketer who offers email marketing and blogging services, you should have numerous blog posts about each topic. That way, if someone is searching for one but not the other, your site will come up for both searches, increasing your visibility.

4. Long Lasting:

As mentioned in a post about social media marketing, there is not time limit on how long you have to promote your content. A good blog post can be promoted on Twitter or other social media sites weeks and months later. A good Whitepaper or eBook can be relevant for years. Plus, as long as you maintain your schedule, you will always be building and adding new content that also doesn’t have a shelf life.

5. Builds Brand Awareness and Brand Authority:

This is the ultimate goal of inbound marketing: present your company and brand as the authority in your industry. This will gain the trust of visitors that you are reliable to provide what you promise and a good experience with your product or services. Customers buy on emotion. Show them that you understand their concerns, that you are more of an educator than a salesman, and that they can trust you. Then, they are more likely to buy from you.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses
 

Small Business Benefit from Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is daunting and time-consuming, but as the buying process has changed, your small business has to stay ahead of the curve or be left behind. Millennials are now the country’s largest demographic, and we’ve all seen their iPhones glued to their hand. The goal of advertising has always been to promote your business where your customers are. The venue has changed, go meet them there.

Of course, this strategy doesn’t work overnight, but as long as you and your team stay on strategy, you will reap the rewards of more qualified leads, creating a higher ROI, and promoting your brand as an authority.

We are living in a new world. The businesses who adapt, will succeed and those that don’t will be left behind. The best way to promote your business is to create your company’s story and share it with the world. Be unique, be yourself, and let the world know that you are the authority.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017