Aug 1, 2013, 8:13 AM
May 3, 2013, 1:30 PM
As I publish this blog post, it's been 1,972,800 minutes since I uploaded the video "Hire Me" to YouTube. It's got just over 60,000 views--that's roughly one person listening to my mediocre singing voice every half hour. Not too shabby! Back in 2009, creating an online personal brand experience was relatively new, and I stumbled upon creating one rather serendipitously -perhaps by accident. The "Hire Me" campaign, while simply designed to help me get noticed, also made me very aware of how important it was to proactively develop a cohesive, professional personal brand experience.
Apr 23, 2013, 12:13 PM
SEO fascinates me. While it's remained consistently volatile (oxymoron!) over the past few years, there's no doubt that it's a stood as a fundamental component of digital marketing.
What excites me the most about SEO is how it's really evolving towards a balance of art and science. Google wants to return the most useful information (i.e. "good" content) to someone searching for a phrase, but like any computer program, it needs to work off an algorithm--an equation with numbers and metrics (hence the see-saw between art and science).
Anyway, I'm not a thought leader in the SEO space by any means, but it's a significant part of my consulting work, so I try my best to stay on top of the latest developments (for reference, I typically follow SEOMoz's blog and tune into their Whiteboard Friday segments as much as possible).
I guess the marketing consultant profession implies that I know something about SEO (I do!) and that it's okay to ask me questions (in fact, I encourage it!). I typically get questions about SEO, keyword optimization, and how both pertain to marketing.
In this week's Question MARK-eting post, Sally asks: "Our website, Mercurycleaners.com is not getting as much visibility as we would like on search engines, even though we include key words. Can you tell me what we're doing wrong?"
Apr 7, 2013, 12:15 PM
Question: what's the one thing that's sad about the below screenshot?
Is it the giant, static banner image?
How about the unnecessary location map that takes up a significant amount of the webpage's real estate?
Maybe it's the lack of context as to what the website is actually about?
Ok, sorry--it's actually sort of a trick question, because there are a lot of things that are sad (although it's definitely not the general mood of the people in the scrolling banner's stock imagery).
But when I refer to "sad", I'm actually referring to the "request a quote" call to action, and thinking sad like this:
Apr 1, 2013, 12:18 PM
As an Inbound Marketing consultant, I've coached hundreds of individuals (mostly from some sort of marketing agency) on how to adopt specific Inbound Marketing strategies to reach business goals.
We'll work together to identify these specific goals, then I'll make recommendations on how we can leverage their digital marketing assets (website, social, email, etc.) to attain them.
This approach typically works very well until consulting time has expired and we're close to parting ways, an event that's basically the childhood equivalent of mom or dad taking off the training wheels.
Unfortunately, like a kid careening aimlessly down the driveway on a recently modified bicycle, simply working with a client during consulting isn't necessarily conducive to independent success beyond our sessions. I do try to tee them up for future progress through our time together, but I think the biggest challenge that I've yet to tackle effectively is better equipping the folks I consult to independently think with an Inbound mindset.
Mar 24, 2013, 12:23 PM
My fourth grade teacher lit my desk on fire. In what was probably the coolest elementary school science experiment ever, Mrs. Harrington selected me from the rest of the twenty-five other students, doused my desk in rubbing alcohol, struck a match and let the whole workspace go up in flames.
I was completely in awe--not so much from the science itself, but the sheer fact that my fourth grade teacher had just done something so incongruous to school etiquette. This experiment was a testament to her teaching style: creative, passionate and a bit dangerous. Her lessons inspired me to think outside the box, challenge ideas, and try things that went against the norm. Needless to say, her classes prepped me well for success in Middle School, High School, College, and beyond.
My main point here is that elementary school is a place that has the opportunity to sculpt an individual's life. While lighting my desk on fire may seem like a small, yet radical event, its a piece of a much bigger experience that defined who I am today. The years spent in fourth and fifth grade are an important, influential period for students, and as such, need to be communicated like so.
Alright, enough reminiscing about past science experiments-- this introduction has a reason! Today's Question MARK-eting challenge comes from Steven, who has a plethora of questions about marketing for an elementary school. He asks:
"Elementary schools need to market their program. What does the school offer? What are the school's strengths? What stories can the school share? School Awards/Recognitions? Why would I send my child or grandchild to this school? Schools do not know how to create a marketing plan. Schools use a website, phone calls, the traditional note in backpack, and a few use Facebook. How can schools send a clear and consistent message? How can schools market their image like a restaurant or shoe company? I want to learn from someone who understands marketing. Thank you for this opportunity."
Well, first of all, you're welcome for the opportunity! Happy to write up some thoughts on the matter. But don't thank me just yet, this whole post could go up in flames (gotta keep the "desk-fire" theme going, right?). There are a lot of questions here, and I can see this turning into a really long blog post. But, let's dive in like the first day of school. I hope you packed a lunch :)
Mar 17, 2013, 12:27 PM
On Page SEO can only take you so far. The other, significantly larger slice of SEO relies on the quality of inbound links to your website from other domains. Google and other search engines monitor the authority of websites based on a number of factors (how many pages they have, how many people visit the site, etc.) and a part of this authority is then distributed to outside domains through outbound links.
If your website is on the receiving end of and outbound link (which would be an inbound link, from your perspective), that's usually good news (provided that the domain linking to you is authoritative and the reason for linking is relevant). As you can imagine, it's tough to build these links on your own because the process is mostly out of your control. It's like fishing (here we go again with the analogies!)-- you can throw your bait out to a bunch of fish, but you can't make them bite. The key is having the right type of bait.
So now we arrive at this week's Question MARK-eting challenge from Antoine, who asks: "Link Building....oye vey! Where do I start without having to hire some guy in India to build me [expletive removed for the young-uns] links?" The simple answer is "link bait."
Mar 12, 2013, 12:31 PM
If you haven't guessed yet, I'm a huge fan of using analogies, metaphors, and similes to help explain marketing concepts. Website lead generation is like fishing. Blogging is like squat thrusts. The list goes on!
The reason I like using this method so much is that oftentimes, abstract marketing concepts and strategies are hard to visualize and ultimately understand by simply explaining them. I find it easier to convey a complex idea when I can compare it to something much more uncomplicated. So it comes with (hopefully) no surprise that today's Question Marketing challenge blog post incorporates an analogy!
It comes from Greg at Precision Marketing Partners. He says:
"My biggest challenge is attracting the right kind of prospects to my website."
I've talked about finding keywords for traffic building purposes and creating Top Funnel content to capture leads, but I haven't really talked about the middle ground, which is the mysterious universe where website stalkers lurk before converting as a lead.
This nebulous environment is sort of like stranger-to-lead limbo. It's occupied by a group of website stalkers who are coming from a vast array of different traffic sources, poking around, and waiting to do something. So how do you capitalize on these stalkers? The same way anyone would when they want to bring people into their social-sphere, mingle and develop relationships. Throw a house party!
Mar 9, 2013, 12:35 PM
I think I spent more time writing this title than the actual post. That's not to say the post isn't good--I just think the title's extra special. Alright, let's tackle the latest Question MARK-eting challenge from Joe. First, a little bit about Joe: He's been kicking Inbound Marketing butt for his client Papalia Plumbing. Since taking over as Papalia's marketing consultant, Joe has single-handedly redesigned the website, created plenty of lead gen opportunities and driven increased traffic month-over-month with his blogging efforts.
Of course, any Inbound Marketer will tell you that sustained success through our efforts isn't a one time thing. Inbound Marketing requires sustained activity. It's a constant juggling act of driving qualified visitors to the website, converting said visitors as leads, and closing those leads as customers.
Such is the case with Joe, who says "We are getting lots of traffic but leads seem to be dwindling"
The good news is that we're bringing more visitors to the site! The bad news is that there seems to be a clog in the lead flow. Something is preventing us from getting those visitors to willingly submit their information for lead conversion. What could it be? Let's investigate...
Mar 5, 2013, 12:59 PM
If you’re a workout buff and an Internet marketer, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say blogging is like a set of squat thrusts. For those not familiar with either, I’ll start with the exercise move first: a squat thrust (sometimes referred to as a “burpee”) is a movement that works a lot of muscle groups.
Side note: I cannot do these.
Similarly, blogging works a lot of Internet marketing muscle groups. It’s a content development exercise, an SEO enhancing activity, a lead generation technique—the list goes on. My main point here is that like squat thrusts, blogging is a great way to flex many marketing muscles in one fell swoop.
But like squat thrusts, blogging ain’t easy. As Takako states in this week’s Question MARKeting submission “We can't spend enough time keeping up with the web content and blog.....No one sees us.” Sounds like a two-fold challenge here, Takako. Allocating the right resources and seeing results that your efforts are producing.