How to Hire a Marketing Agency When You Don’t Understand Online Marketing

I feel for anyone in this situation. Seriously. You know you need to be marketing your business online. You know you don’t currently have the skills required or the available time.

You probably don’t even have the time to learn enough to know if a given individual or agency knows what they’re doing.

Still, to avoid being taken in by a clueless or careless marketing agency, there are a few things you need to know. It’s worth the six minutes it’ll take you to read this!

Inbound Marketing Truth #1: It’s Not Cheap

If someone tells you they can offer you “full inbound” for $750/month, run away. To do all the work required is going to cost more – a lot more. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what “full inbound” means.

Inbound Marketing Truth #2: It’s Not Lightning Fast

Sorry. If you want instant results, you’ll need to shell out for Google AdWords and perhaps some paid social. This is not in itself a bad thing, but the advantage of inbound is that the benefits accrue over time – you …

Read More
Overcoming Inbound Marketing Challenges - What if I have no budget?

Inbound Marketing Challenge: How to Implement Inbound with No Budget

One of the biggest barriers to entry to inbound marketing is a lack of budget.  So, what is a business to do? Not market at all? Just wait for business to flow in on its own? That is just going to lead to a bigger challenge, the “my business is in ruins” challenge. And we can’t help you there! So, before it goes that far, let’s find a way to make it work.

Stop Spending Money on Ineffective Marketing

Is there something you’re doing now that used to work, but just isn’t working as well now? Perhaps you’re still spending money on television or billboard advertising. Or, maybe you’re sending your sales team to several trade shows that just aren’t living up to your expectations. Used to be those brought in a decent amount of business, but perhaps now you are just throwing money away trying desperately to return to the days when that worked.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Most of us have those skinny jeans in the back of the closet just in case one day they …

Read More
6 Things to do before you start marketing your business online

Six Things to do Before You Start Marketing Your Business Online

Nearly all business owners understand that online marketing is of vital importance to your online success. And while you don’t want to get so bogged down in planning that you never start, there are some things you simply need to do before you jump in feet first. These principles also apply if you are considering revamping your online marketing.

Step One: Take an Honest Look at Your Business Overall

Believe me, I get it. Your business is your baby. But with successful online marketing comes a magnification of every aspect of your business – the good, the bad, and (especially) the ugly. Is your product or service truly valuable – one you have reason to be proud of? Is the pricing reasonable? You don’t have to be the least expensive, but if you’re the most expensive, there had better be a good reason for it.

Step Two: Perfect Your Customer Service

Review sites and social media interactions have taken customer service from private phone call to public spectacle. While there is likely already some talk about you online (for good …

Read More

Why We Don’t Need “H2H” in Our Marketing Jargon Dictionary

Some real smart marketing folks have started to say, “It’s not B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) – it’s H2H!” I want to agree. Really. I’m all about conversation and making your brand more than a faceless entity by imbuing some real personality in to everything you do. But, here’s why I think “H2H” has to go.

PS – you might have read my recent post on OverGo’s website about what was missing at HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 and start to conclude that I’m just grumpy because my trip to Maine didn’t include quite enough lobster. Not so! Perhaps my brushes with greatness there just gave me the confidence to go out on a limb a bit more. How’s that for “human”?

“Human to Human” is Over Simplified

Sure, companies are made of humans and consumers are humans, but the behavior of a human acting as a business and a human acting as a consumer is different enough to warrant the basic persona differentiation of “B2B” or “B2C.” Buying patterns and motivations are different for each. …

Read More
Is your business at the "corner where history is made"? via @scalablesocial

Is Your Business in “The Corner Where History is Made”? – Inbound14 Shorts

This week, I’m at HubSpot’s Inbound14 – a world-class marketing conference in Boston, MA. It’s amazing being with ten thousand (?!) other people who “get” marketing. The speakers have been amazing and though my accommodations are definitely on the sketchy side, it’s a great time.

Yesterday’s opening keynote address was by Guy Kawasaki – chief evangelist at one of my favorite companies – Canva!!! He’s also smart enough to work with the fabulous Peg Fitzpatrick, and has also worked with some of the world’s most successful companies, including Apple – a company which has definitely made history. So, I was looking forward to his part.

Guy is known as a dynamic “Enchanting” speaker (he wrote the book, “Enchantment”) and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. There was nothing earth-shattering, but it was interesting to hear about his experiences at Apple. The point I most appreciated was this idea that there is a special corner we should all be aiming for in our businesses.

That Elusive Corner Where History is Made

I really enjoyed his visual depiction of the winning combination …

Read More

How Canva Creates Brand Advocates and Raving Fans

Brand advocates. Everybody wants them. They give you referrals, they advertise for you for free. They stand up for you when you’re under fire. How does a company attain and retain brand advocates? Sometimes the best way to figure it out is to follow the example of a successful company.

We’ve been on Canva since the days when you needed an invitation. We’ve written about them extensively online and even in print. Yes, I said, “them,” without even meaning to because though Canva is a tool, there are very real people behind it, and it is obvious at every turn. And this, my friends, is how they build raving fans who becoming walking billboards for their amazing service.

Brand advocates share your content, they tell other people about you – and you don’t have to pay them a cent. Which is why all businesses need to do everything they can to create and delight your own. Here’s how Canva does it:

With a Valuable Tool

Canva lets us create amazing designs even though we are not designers – for free. …

Read More
3 Ways to Save Money on Inbound Marketing

3 Ways to Save Money on Inbound Marketing

“Money is no object!” said no small business owner, ever. Maybe one day I’ll hear from one of those rarities and get to use all the wonderful inbound marketing magic at my disposal. Until then, budget will always be an issue. Some say that limitations actually foster greater creativity, and I agree. When you can’t spend unlimited time and money on everything, you’re forced to make ever second and every penny really count.

Still, when a business owner comes to me with big dreams and a tiny budget, the first thing to overcome is the “I want it all, but I don’t want to pay for it.” mindset. Part of me wants to give every nice business owner with a great product or service first-class service at a freight-car rate, but I can’t – and usually they understand. Still, this doesn’t have to be the end. There are other options!

Focus on Your Best Bets

So you can’t afford to do it all right now. Should you wait until you can? Certainly not! Doing as much as you can now …

Read More

How Much Does it Cost – or How Much is it Worth? Market Your Value, Instead!

About a week ago I dropped my iPhone. From about four feet up. Straight on to the concrete sidewalk. I had a “Schrodinger’s Cat” moment. Please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken…

Well, it was. Smashed. In a very pretty spiderweb pattern, but smashed, nonetheless. First thought, “Crud!” Second thought, “How much money did I just cost myself?” And then, “Am I going to have to buy a new phone, or are there people who fix these things?” Yeah, you probably already knew there are lots of places that fix them, but this was my first phone-smash.

Somewhere in the Googling, phone-calling, fingertip-slicing days between smash and fix, I did have to wonder – what is it worth to me to get this fixed? Leaving it as it was was not an option – little pieces of glass were starting to fall out and I knew I was leaving it open to water damage. Not to mention the finger-slicing hazard. But, should I fix this phone (a hand-me-down iPhone4 – I’m cheap) or get a new one. Well, I …

Read More
Being More Human - Marketing's Next Big Thing? via @scalablesocial

The Next Big Thing in Online Marketing – Being More Human?

In January, Mark Schaefer coined the phrase “Content Shock” to refer to the marketing challenge stemming from the fact that we are creating more and more content online, yet consumers have a finite number of hours to absorb it. At some point, and we may have already hit that point, it will become more and more expensive (in terms of time and money) to make content marketing work for your business.

When this post was published, you could almost hear the collective gasp of content marketers worldwide. In fact, that one blog post generated nearly 400 comments. Many argued that “good content always rises to the top,” while others, faced with cold, hard facts, agreed that the golden age of content as marketing savior might indeed be coming to an end.

Of course, there are exceptions. While marketing companies will be forced to create more and better content, spending more and more time and money to keep the same amount of traffic coming in, some businesses in industries that have not fully adopted content marketing may be able …

Read More

What’s Your Story?

Fact, figures, awards and credentials might impress for a moment, but somehow a simple story stays with us so much longer. So, tell me a story. Why did you start your business? Sure, there are likely a number of practical reasons behind your business. Maybe you lost your corporate job during the recession, or you wanted to stop traveling so much and to be there for your kids. But, the business you chose, the people you work with, the way you run it – what’s the story behind that?

Having worked with a number of Home Instead Senior Care franchisees, I’ve heard some really good stories. Oftentimes, the people who own a senior care company are first introduced to the industry when an elderly relative needed more help at home than the family could provide alone. Looking for that kind of support, it became painfully clear that there was a lack of professional, trained and trustworthy options. A personal experience with Mom, Dad or other relative lead to a successful business fueled by passion and compassion. You just can’t be …

Read More