the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

Why change your marketing? My 84-year-old mom buys shoes on Zappos. That’s why.

Posted by Ellie Becker on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 22:05 PM

Massive Marketing Change

Don’t tell me that your audience skews too old – or young – or anything else to market to them online. It’s just not true. Today my 84-year-old mother bought shoes for a special occasion on Zappos. She did it all by herself after the bricks and mortar stores in a 20-mile radius of her home didn’t turn up anything suitable for her tiny size 5 feet.

I’ve seen too many toddlers having tantrums when their parents take back their iPhones. The little guys actually know how to use them, too. The parents are moving to mobile to research products and services, make buying decisions and complete some of their purchases. The kids are growing up downloading games and may never set foot in a retail establishment. Like my mom, they’ll buy it online and if they don’t like it or it doesn’t fit, they’ll send it back.

Making excuses for not changing your marketing to take advantage of the enormous shift in how we all shop and use technology makes you an ostrich. Sure some of the traditional ways to market still work ok for now. They don’t work as well as they once did and they’re not going to work any better over time as we continue our relentless move to the Web.

So consider this tough love. We’re in a global economy with competition you haven’t even thought about yet. We hate to change. Sorry. We have to change. The sooner we do it, the more successful we’ll be. There’s no time to waste. We still have a competitive advantage if we’re willing to change now. But it won’t last forever – or for very long.

Oh, did I tell you that my mother now reads the New York Times online? It’s something she said would never happen one short year ago. Now she feels great about not throwing out all that paper every week. And when I do guest stints on the LinkedIn Lady Show on Internet radio, mom streams it live.

Please don’t tell me that you don’t have time to write a blog and create other content, or to learn how to find and interact with your communities on social media. We’re evolving and you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you don’t have time to at least begin marketing in the ways that are successful today, then you don’t have time to be in business.

While you’re here, download our free ebook and learn how to implement successful campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Massive Change image is from the Flickr photostream of Maria Reyes-McDavis under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, the inbound-i blog, Online Marketing Strategy

Inbound Marketing Advice: Improve SEO for Competitive Advantage

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 @ 18:03 PM

Lately we’ve taken on some client engagements that underscore an important fact: If you want to use your online presence to improve your competitive advantage, then improve SEO! In my opinion, developing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the easiest ways today to leapfrog your competitors. Improve SEO for Competitive Advantage

In each of these client projects we’ve found that they have:

  • Spent considerable time and budget on their branding and on their websites.
  • Created the compelling products or services needed to compete well and are – or can be – industry leaders.
  • Not optimized their web pages for search engines.

The bad news? Their websites are not coming up in search engine results pages (SERPs) for many of their important keywords.

The good news? Neither are their competitors’ sites!!

There are a number of elements to successfully ranking high in search results. The first place to start is right on your website with on-page SEO. We’ll discuss other elements of successful SEO in later blog posts.

When we work with clients to improve their SEO, we look at competitors’ sites to learn what keywords they may be using and how well they rank in search engine results for important industry search terms. We have seen time and again that within entire industry top tiers, few, if any, are optimizing. Or they’re not up to speed on the latest best practices.

Here’s a quick test to see if you have an opportunity to leapfrog your main competitor using SEO.

Open up your website to the home page and look at your title bar. That’s the bar all the way at the top of your web browser. If it says: Your Company Name – Home, you have SEO work to do.

Now open your top competitor’s home page and see what’s at the top. If it has Their Company Name – Home, or just Home in the title bar, you have a huge opportunity to leapfrog this competitor in search results. If the competitor’s title bar begins with an industry key word or two, maybe their town or state next, and their company name last, you’ll have to implement SEO to catch up before you can play leapfrog.

Even if you’ve optimized your site in the past, the rules keep changing as search engines improve their search processes – called algorithms – to improve results for users. So spiffing up your SEO is an ongoing inbound marketing activity.

In future posts we’ll explore other elements of SEO including:

  • Keyword Research
  • Link Building
  • Usability, Visitor Experience and Content

 

In the meantime, to learn more about Inbound Marketing, including why you should consider a Content Management System like HubSpot, download your free fact sheet:

20 Reasons You Should Take Control of Your Website Using HubSpot.

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The image is from the Flickr photostream of Danard Vincente under Creative Commons license.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, E.R. Becker Company, SEO, the inbound-i blog, Online Marketing Strategy, Google+

Online Marketing Strategy: “Why To” vs “How To”

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 21:02 PM

Each day I read through a couple of dozen blogs and marketing newsletters to keep up on what’s happening in online/inbound marketing. Most of those articles are ‘How To’s’ about any number of digital tools and techniques. They’re important because when we decide to use a tool for solving a problem it’s good to know what to do.Strategy (Why To) vs Tactics (How To)

Where my eyes, ears and brain cells perk up more, though, is when I read something that explains ‘Why’ I or my clients should consider doing something in Inbound marketing.

The roadblocks that emerge when I speak to clients and potential clients about Inbound Marketing is that they get stuck on the ‘How To’. I will venture to speculate that the preoccupation with ‘How To’ is a way to avoid focusing on ‘Why’ doing it is or is not a good idea.

It’s the battle between Tactics (How To) and Strategy (Why To).

If there’s a great reason, ‘Why’, we can figure out, ‘How’.

It doesn’t work so well the other way around. You can eat, sleep and breathe the ‘How To’. But if there’s no reason ‘Why To’, the efforts are a complete waste of time and dollars.

Hire a strategist first. They’re a lot harder to find. Once you know what you want to do and ‘Why’ you should do it, there’s no end of tacticians who can show you ‘How To.’

 Learn much more about Inbound Marketing Strategy and Tactics. Download your Free eBook.

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Graphic is from the Flickr photostream of docbaty under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing Strategy, E.R. Becker Company, the inbound-i blog, Online Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy: Synthesize to Make What’s Timely Timeless

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 @ 18:12 PM

New Year’s is the point in the year where we become hyper-focused on time. We take looks back and we try to forecast ahead. There’s something positive to be said for these moments when we celebrate accomplishments, analyze failures and do some planning.

But for this post I’d like to look at time in a slightly different way. As we evaluate life, what do we keep, what do we cast off, what do we synthesize into something new?

I’ve been thinking that the ability to synthesize is how we keep ourselves timeless.

Timeless Sergio Mendes Black Eyed PeasThis implies that we keep moving forward and learning. And it also implies that we keep applying what we know to what we’re trying to learn – paying our knowledge forward in a sense.

Not just an eye to the past and an eye to the future, but a continuous creative roll, fueled by experience and curiosity. It’s certainly one way to deal with life’s endless changes that’ve accelerated considerably in the past decade.

When I started blogging in 2008, my blog was called New PR Words – And Music! It was intended to comment on my evolution from a traditional PR professional to an online marketer. It was also a way for me to share my passion for music – especially jazz. Almost every post included a tune from my music collection that somehow related to the topic at hand.

In the years since then, I’ve concentrated my business on Inbound Marketing. Today I work with only a few clients on media relations and traditional PR. All new business is related to Inbound Marketing – Websites, Blogging, Content Development, Social Media, SEO, Lead Generation, Landing Pages, Lead Nurturing and Analytics.

I still use almost all of what I used in developing PR programs for my clients – Communications Strategy and Positioning, Messaging, Storytelling, Writing, Reputation and Crisis Management. These all apply to developing effective Inbound Marketing programs. I’ve synthesized that timeless knowledge with the new tools, tactics and techniques I’ve learned and created an entire new set of services that are timely for today.

So, a couple of months ago, I started this – the inbound-i blog -- dedicated to my current focus on Inbound Marketing. It was not easy to turn New PR Words – And Music! into an archive because it had become beloved online turf to me.

For that reason, I’ve decided that from time to time, I’ll share some music with you here on the inbound-i blog. For this post I chose a fabulous musical example of synthesis. Back in the late 1960’s I loved pianist Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66. Mendes was one of the first to introduce Samba and Brazilian composers to the US music scene.

01 - Mas Que Nada.mp3

In 2006, he released a CD called Timeless, a collaboration with young artists in other genres in which The Black Eyed Peas and their leader Will I. Am figured prominently. Enjoy their brilliant synthesis of Samba and Hip-Hop in a re-mix of the Brazil '66 classic Mais Que Nada. Hope it gets you in the mood to put on your dancin’ shoes for New Year’s Eve. ;-D

Wishing you all a synthesized and timeless 2012!

Topics: Ellie Becker, New PR Words and Music, Inbound Marketing Strategy, the inbound-i blog, Sergio Mendes, The Black Eyed Peas

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