Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Marketing has changed. Did you notice? The world has become numb to advertising. And yes, that includes your audience.

Top 10 Myths of Inbound MarketingThat’s why inbound marketing continues to gain popularity. A well-structured inbound marketing strategy will help drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales by providing answers for your customers. This type of marketing, providing information instead of pushing products, is the business-world’s answer to ad-blockers and DVRs that can fast forward through commercial breaks. Customers are searching for answers to their questions. If your firm isn’t providing those answers, your competitors are. And customers are buying from, and always have bought from, companies they trust.

Inbound marketing is the best way to develop that trust.

However, there are some myths of inbound marketing that have people believing it’s either too difficult or too easy.

 

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing:

1. Quantity Trumps Quality

A couple years ago, you used to be able to post tons of mediocre content stuffed with keywords and rank highly on Google. Now, you need quality. Google’s algorithms now take quality, readability, and intent into account. And their Panda updates filter out and punishes poor content.

Your firm needs to post current, relevant, and targeted content. This will answer your customers’ questions and will keep them on the page longer. This helps your organic rankings because Google also takes into account time on page.

2. Inbound Marketing is Free

Let’s get one thing straight: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Adam Smith said it years ago and it’s still true today.

Inbound marketing is cheaper and more targeted than outbound marketing, where you would buy ad space and hope enough of your potential customers would see it often enough to decide to purchase your product.

Still, that doesn’t make it free. You still need to pay for the content creators, designers, and social media experts. Whether you decide to hire them in-house, or hire an agency, is up to you. Either way, the better the talent means better content, which means better results.

3. You Need a Big Team and a Big Budget

Large, international corporations have big teams dedicated to their inbound marketing. That doesn’t mean that every company needs a big team or a big budget. Aim realistically for your company’s target market, objectives, and reach. Create a strategy and restructure as needed.

4. Can’t Measure ROI

This is a tough one for people to wrap their heads around because they’re so used to completing ROI on old ways of marketing. You spent X amount of dollars on ads and those ads brought in X amount of dollars in business. Easy enough.

But inbound marketing provides the opportunity to see exactly which strategies are working, creating the most engagement, and providing the best ROI. With the amount of data available, it’s easy to see which aspects of your strategy are performing the best and providing the best ROI.

5. Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work for Everyone

No, a one-size-fits all template does not exist. I’ve searched for it, as I’m sure you have. That doesn’t mean that inbound marketing doesn’t work for everyone. It just means that you have to tinker with your strategy and tailor it to your specific objectives and your specific market.

You need to focus on finding your unique voice and telling your unique story. This creates a connection with customers that can resonate deeper than any ad, no matter how funny. Combine that story and personality with the information you provide your customers and you will develop a loyal fan base.

6. Only Goal is to “Go Viral”

Yes, if something you post goes viral, great. Applaud yourself for posting something humorous enough or relevant enough that it spread like a wildfire. Sit back and reap the benefits.

However, there is a fine line between being funny and being cheesy. If you create cheesy content that doesn’t hit its mark, your brand will be associated with that cheesy content.

No matter what you post, stay consistent with your brand and provide the content that matters to your target market. More than likely, it won’t go viral. But that doesn’t mean your strategy is unsuccessful.

7. My Buyer Persona Isn’t Online

Baby boomers are spending more time online. Now, 78.6% of people in North America have Internet access and, according to Pew Research, 64% of American adults own a smartphone, as of October 2014.

Your target market is online, even if you don’t think they are. And as the population continues to age, and as Internet access becomes more accessible, if your buyer personas aren’t online now, they will be soon.

8. Inbound Marketing Takes Too Much Time

This ties directly into another fear, which is that inbound marketing is too overwhelming. But neither the myth, nor the fear, is enough reason for you not to create an inbound marketing strategy. In fact, that only means you should begin sooner rather than later.

A well-structured inbound marketing strategy does take time, but that means the longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to see the positive results.

9. Inbound Marketing Immediately Leads to Tons of Leads

The opposite of above is another of the most prevalent myths and the answer is similar as well. Inbound marketing takes time. Even if you do everything right, it will take more than a week or even a month for you to see results.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t working. Don’t stray from your strategy. Focus on building a content library, promoted through social media, that will help answer the questions your target audience is asking. This provides a solid foundation upon which you will continue to build and generate traffic and leads.

10. Content is Simply Advertising Under a Different Name

Do not advertise through your content!

Content is about providing answers and developing trust. You do not build trust by shoving your products and services in the reader’s face. Backlinks to other articles or to the services you provide is one thing, but openly promoting your product or services taints the validity of the entire piece of content and works against you.

There is plenty of other space on your website to advertise. Don’t do it through your content. Have enough backlinks and targeted Call-to-Actions and you’ll gain more trust.

 

Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Your inbound marketing strategy is unique to your specific industry, business, and target market. But it’s also specific to your unique story and what makes your firm different. Embrace that story and use that personality to provide the information your customers need to make intelligent decisions.

Creating an inbound marketing strategy can be intimidating, especially from the ground-up. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do your research and take the time and effort to create a strong strategy with buyer personas, a keyword analysis, and a targeted content schedule. Then, promote your content through social media and restructure the strategy based on the performance.

You can create an inbound strategy that will drive traffic and generate more leads for your company. Schedule your Consultation today to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help your business grow or read about the Benefits of Inbound Marketing for 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

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising | Inbound Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic ad buying refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising as opposed to the traditional process that involves Request for Proposals (RFPs), human negotiations, and manual insertion orders. Programmatic software also allows advertisers to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific sites.

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising includes learning key terms and learning the dangers.As more and more companies move towards automation, understanding the many different layers of programmatic advertising is important. Because of the amount of accessible data available through cookies, web-browsing habits, impressions, and clicks, automation allows marketers the freedom to focus more on strategizing and building their brand as opposed to worrying about advertising negotiations. Also, this data allows companies to easily restructure their strategies based on real-time performance. No longer do they have to wait months, or even years, to see if a certain strategy is meeting expectations.

According to eMarketer, 2016 will see programmatic ad spending reach $22.10 billion. That is 67% of total digital ad spending in the U.S. This rapid acceptance by companies and marketers means they are maximizing their advertising dollars by leveraging this efficient targeting. More companies are also turning their attention to mobile, as more than half of web traffic happens on mobile devices. “This year, mobile programmatic spending will reach $15.45 billion in the U.S. And next year, mobile video programmatic spending will exceed its desktop counterpart for the first time,” says eMarketer senior analyst Lauren Fisher.

Programmatic Advertising Terms:

1. Real-Time Bidding (RTB):
Ads are displayed on a per-impression basis, which allows different bids to be set for different types of sites, audiences, and themes.

2. Digital Management Platform (DMP):
Data warehouse that stores and sorts information and processes information for marketers.

3. Supply Side Platform (SSP):
Works with publisher to sell impressions for as much as possible and maximize ad revenue.

4. Demand Side Platform (DSP):
Activates insights and streamlines ad buying process by using impression-level decisions to have most efficient impressions.

5. Above-the-Fold (ATF):
Ads bought that show on screen when page is first loaded or, above the fold.

6. Below-the-Fold (BTF):
Ads bought on page that are below the portion of the page revealed when first loaded.

 

Types of Programmatic Advertising:

1. Programmatic Direct:
Buying ad space on a specific website to guarantee your ad will appear in a specific space.

2. Real-Time Bidding (RTB):
Real-time auction based on bid amount and quality score, such as Google AdWords only for display ads.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising:

1. Targeted:
Artificial intelligence and their algorithms analyze visitors’ behavior to optimize real-time campaign towards audience more likely to convert.

2. Data:
Analyzing data means strategies can be restructured as needed and ads can target specific audiences and demographics based on cookies and web-browsing history.

3. Real-Time Ads:
Changes can be made in real-time, making it more cost-effective.

Concerns with Programmatic Advertising:

1. Mobile:
According to Media Buyers, as mobile use and mobile advertising both increase rapidly, there is still almost half of ads going unseen. As companies pay for unseen ad impressions, costs can skyrocket.

2. Fraud:
More than 1/3 of online traffic is fraudulent. While artificial intelligence and algorithms are getting better to distinguish real traffic from fake, it is still one of the major drawbacks if companies are paying for fraudulent impressions.

3. Brand Safety (Seedy Sites):
A common black hat tactic for unsavory publishers is to list more reputable websites on an auction site and then, after bids have been collected, change where the ads are displayed to seedier sites. This practice is known as URL masking and has resulted in the rise of security firms making sure your ads don’t end up on seedy sites ruining your brand’s reputation.

How to Use Programmatic Advertising for Your Business:

By targeting specific audiences and demographics, your marketing department can now rest assured knowing your targeted audience sees your ads. No longer will you have to wait and see results through purchases. As the amount of data continues to grow, and the capabilities of artificial intelligence and algorithms learns how to apply that data, marketers will be able to dedicate more time to structuring and developing branding strategies. As programmatic advertising continues to improve its efficiency at pairing audience data with ad inventory, your company needs to reevaluate your advertising strategy.

When you’re company uses automation to advertise across all platforms (it’s even available in some television markets), programmatic advertising can be an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy. As marketers dedicate more energy to developing brand strategies, they can also spend more time developing content that will drive traffic to your site.

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

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

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.

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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