As I’m sure most of you are well aware, we believe social media is crucial to businesses today. No surprise there. We have a pretty open door policy when it comes to social media, too. Everyone at the office tweets and makes Facebook status updates on behalf of The Content Squad, and we also actively post on our own accounts throughout the day—but there are only three of us on board full time.
What happens when you have a large company, or even a small business with several employees? Do you want them on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day? How much time is too much time online? When it comes to your company’s social media pages, who’s allowed to post updates and who isn’t?
These are all things to consider when your company uses social media to learn, grow, promote the business, and communicate with followers. Although we’re not in business to tell you how to run yours, we can offer some advice on this topic that will hopefully be useful to you and help you make the best decisions when it comes to your social media policies.
- Define what type of social media usage is okay for employees on a daily basis. For example, it’s probably okay to spend time browsing Twitter for business-related articles to link to and share—even on a personal page. Maybe it’s not so okay to post personal updates and pictures while on the clock.
- Figure out which employees should have access to company pages. It’s best to have one or two dedicated employees who can speak on behalf of the company. Encourage these employees to interact with people online. Sharing information once or twice a month isn’t going to cut it.
- For small businesses, a formal policy probably isn’t necessary. Common sense tells most people what’s acceptable and what’s not. Keep that in mind when it comes to your employees.
- If you’re worried about an employee abusing his or her rights, or this is something that’s happened a time or two before, establish a written policy that clearly states acceptable practices, along with disciplinary actions should employees not follow the rules.
Social media simply will not work without regular participation. Employees—especially those who write articles and share information—should be allowed to access social sites because a wealth of information is readily available there. Do what is comfortable to you, and contact us if you need further guidance.
When it comes to social media, blogging, and other new media type activities, it’s typically best to be “in or out”,“hot or cold”. Dabbling in these areas can often do more harm than good. For example, setting up a Facebook account for a business or organization and making a few posts – only to leave it sitting there for a few weeks or even months with no activity. It’s better to have done nothing at all.
The reason being, if and when someone has an inactive channel, it leaves a negative impression. The business may actually be thriving, but the visitor will equate the inactivity to a “ghost town” or a dying business. The reverse is also true. When a visitor sees an active, engaged account with frequent activity, they are lead to believe this business is rolling right along and doing well.
Just like many other facets of marketing, perception is everything! I’m not suggesting that businesses shouldn’t “get in the game”. But I do believe there needs to be a certain level of commitment in order to make it work well. Once a decision to commit has been made, regardless of the level, I say, "Jump on in, the water is great!”.
When I decided today to write on the topic of content, I googled the phrase, “what is content” because I was curious about several things. How many results would it generate, what types of information would I receive, who or what company would show up on the first page? I also wanted to know what other people were writing on the topic.
One result said, “Simply put, content is the stuff on your site.” True, but too vague. There’s so much more to it than that.
Then I came across this post. The author, Greg Verdinos, said exactly what I’d been looking for: “You really do need to think about what the word content means today—it might still be an 80-page book on glossy stock, churned out of a printing plant in suburban New Jersey. But it for certain is also an 80-character tweet or 80-second video from your most ardent fan or vitriolic detractor.”
Some small business owners get confused and frustrated with producing content because they think it always has to have something to do with writing a blog post or producing website copy. The truth is, content can be defined in a number of different ways—we’ve touched on this one or two times before. As Verdinos says, content can be as simple as an informative tweet, a video, a customer testimonial, or even commenting on a blog post. Basically, it’s anything that adds value to your audience by providing them with information that solves a problem. Content can also be fun. Share things going on in your business, post an office picture on Facebook, let your community get to know you behind the scenes.
It’s important to understand that anyone can create content. You don’t have to be a seasoned marketer and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process or one that requires a lot of time. Be creative, engage people, have fun, and provide value. It’s as simple as that.
David Meerman Scott—someone I look up to as a marketing expert, and someone I reference quite a bit—said this recently: “If content is so important to marketing today, shouldn’t your next marketing team hire be a journalist?”
Ah, very interesting. Perhaps it should be. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. In a HubSpot webinar I attended yesterday, PR2020’s founder said basically the same thing: hire someone who can write. So why is that?
Well, it all has to do with content marketing. Content marketing is more than just a buzz word floating about. It’s an actual strategic marketing process that focuses on sharing information, creating valuable content, knowing how to communicate on social media, and most importantly, integrating all of these things to create a successful campaign.
Since a lot of businesses aren’t really sure how to do this by themselves, they basically have one of two options: hire someone to do it internally, or hire an inbound marketing firm to handle those details. There are pros and cons to both. But if you’ve been struggling with deciding what you should be doing in terms of marketing, hopefully one question was answered for you today: maybe you just need a journalist.
If you’re still not quite sure what that means, you can turn to us for more guidance. We’ll help you decide what is best for your business: an internal team member or an external one.
We know you’re out there…we just need to find you.
We’re talking about some creative freelance writers in the Louisville area. We posted something on Twitter yesterday and got one response already, so thank you for promptly filling out our form!
Here’s the deal. We’re growing at a fast pace and will be looking to fill a freelance-type copywriting role in the near future. If you follow along on Twitter and Facebook, you may have seen us reference how quickly things are progressing here. We’re so excited about the future and about being a fun, cool agency that does things a little differently—like implementing inbound marketing strategies for clients that get them results time and time again.
So if you’re down with inbound marketing, like to write, have good grammar, editing, and proofreading skills, let’s connect. We’re not making time commitment promises yet about when we’ll call to set up a meeting or even how soon we’ll be bringing a freelancer on board. We just want to start an initial conversation, find some good matches, and begin talking to some talented copywriters out there.
Sound good? Cool, you can get started here.
Just a little fun for today.
My business partner Jay Stewart is an amazing musician and song writer. He has written several songs and plays around town on the weekends with his good friend and Mandolin player Mike Prather. You should buy one of his CD's or grab it on Itunes.
Jay also gives guitar lessons on the side, when he's not doing business development, art direction, branding or high level consulting for us.
He wrote a song a while back about Facebook called "My Facebook Page".
He probably wouldn't have wanted me to share it yet, because he wanted to re-record it with some clearer audio, but part of what we do here at The Content Squad is get it out there and refine it. It's never perfect.
In an effort to have total control over employees, many businesses and corporations block certain web addresses and track employees’ time spent online.
While some precaution is probably necessary, completely forbidding employees to visit Facebook and other social media sites at work seems a bit extreme. The micro-manager-type-boss tends to worry more about what employees are doing than the actual work they’re getting done. I’ve had this type of boss in the past and experienced first hand how exhausting it can be to have your Internet access blocked and your every move monitored.
I think what some businesses are missing, is the fact that these networks are used as so much more than just a way to communicate with friends and share pictures. They’re used as resources—ways to spread and obtain information.
Are you blocking Facebook and Twitter? Scott Stratten (aka UnMarketing) tweets about this a lot and makes a good point, too. In one recent tweet he said: “Facebook didn’t create unproductive workers (Minesweeper did). Banning it covers a symptom, not the problem.”
There have always been lazy and unproductive workers, but before Facebook and Twitter came along, they played Solitaire. As he says, banning these sites doesn’t fix the problem and does little for employee morale. Hiring people who are well versed in social media and use it to get and pass along information is way more valuable than spending time looking over their shoulder all day.
What happens when times get tough? People generally stop spending money, right? Well, they don’t necessarily stop spending, they normally just cut back on expenses. Smart for the most part. But what’s one of the first things businesses kick to the curb when the economy enters a hard time? Marketing. Is that smart?
Maybe so, maybe not, I think it depends. But if every one of your competitors stopped marketing themselves during hard times, wouldn’t you want to be the one standing out? I worked for a magazine printing company a few years ago when the recession hit. It was bad news for many of our customers because advertisers pulled prints ads, stopped spending money, page counts diminished, and many magazines folded.
So here’s the question. Is it smart to cut marketing during hard times? With the economy still a mess and many businesses cautious about spending, this question might be weighing on your mind. Here’s my opinion: while it’s good to be cautious, if you stop marketing your business altogether, you’ll be playing catch up for years after the recession or hard time has ended. And if your competitors continued marketing, you’ll be even further behind.
I wanted to share this ebook (download it for free here) specifically about this subject. It was put together by Nolan & Associates, a marketing and communications agency in Atlanta. The Cricket Theory: Marketing Through a Tough Economy is not only fun to read and brilliantly designed, it’s also a great resource, especially if you’ve been thinking about whether or not to continue—or even begin—marketing your company.
To learn more about inbound marketing and how effective it is for small businesses, download our Inbound Marketing Bible.
One of the all-time classic Seinfeld episodes was when Jerry brilliantly puts a pesky telemarketer in his place. This scene instantly became one of the most famous, funny, and talked about scenes because people all over America could relate to it. I don't know one person who isn't annoyed by a cold call.
You know what else is funny? This scene was from Seinfeld Season 4, which was first broadcasted on September 16, 1992. Nineteen-ninety-two! That was 19 years ago! You would think that as far as technology, the Internet, and communication has come, the annoying cold call and telemarketer would be long gone, but that's not the case.
Nineteen years later, telemarketers are still hard at work. You'd think they would have learned a thing or two from Jerry and the response that scene generated. Not so much. We at The Content Squad can attest to this because we recently got an office phone and guess who's been calling us? Yep, telemarketers.
Answering five+ cold calls a day annoys us just a little. Especially since it goes against everything we stand for. Haven't these people heard of inbound marketing? Instead of annoying the crap out of the people you're trying to sell to—which, by the way, probably won't make you a sale—why not try something different?
Get online and talk to them. Write blogs about the types of things they're likely dealing with and how your business can provide an answer. Provide content and information relevant to their needs in a fun and interesting way. Converse with them on social media. And for Pete's sake, put the phone down!
According to various tweets I’ve seen floating around, today is International Apostrophe Day. I have to admit, I didn’t know there was such a thing, but now that I do, I thought this would be an appropriate time for another grammar post focusing on, well, apostrophes.
Misused time and time again, the apostrophe has a couple of distinct purposes—to show ownership and form contractions. I admit it can get confusing, but if you’re simply making something plural in a sentence by adding an “s” at then end, it doesn’t necessarily need an apostrophe, unless it’s taking ownership over something.
Most of the errors that come with apostrophes happen when trying to express ownership, so that’s what I’m focusing on today. Here are some common apostrophe mess-ups associated when names, plurals, dates, and abbreviations are involved.
These can be tricky, so think it through before simply throwing in an unneeded apostrophe. Here are some correct uses when it comes to plural last names.
- We would like to welcome the Devines.
- Where’s the party? It’s at the Devine’s.
- I know a bunch of Devines. Are you related to Paul?
Before or after the "s”
When referring to one person or thing expressing ownership, the apostrophe comes before the "s." If referring to a group of people or things expressing ownership, put it after the "s."
- That cat’s hair is sticking up, he must be afraid. (One cat is afraid.)
- The cats’ scary meows frightened Paul’s little sister. (A group of cats meowed.)
Treat dates like you would anything else when it comes to apostrophes. Ask yourself if the dates are taking ownership over something. If not, then leave it out.
- One year’s time.
- Five years’ worth.
- I was born in the 1980s.
- Clothing from the ‘90s is out of style.
Typically, apostrophes are left out of abbreviations.
- How many TKOs did that boxer have?
- Did you get a bunch of RSVPs for the party?
Yes it can be confusing, especially when you're your own proofreader. For even more examples and clarification, check out this infographic from Oatmeal.
I like the fact that Twitter seems to be constantly making updates and improvements to its platform. Some of the most notable improvements made in the past were the “new Twitter” layout, lists, and better search capabilities.
Last week I noticed the ability to upload a picture directly from your Twitter home page (versus using a third-party application such as TwitPic.) The photo still displays as a link, but ultimately makes the process of sharing photos (i.e. content) much easier than before.
On August 10, Twitter announced two more new features which I was able to experience for the first time today on our business account @thecontentsquad—not yet available on my personal account.
First, the @mentions tab is now branded as your username and functions as more of a news feed of all the activity related to your account. You still see tweets that mentioned you like before, but now it also shows general activity about your account such as who’s started following you, who you’ve recently followed, and who’s favorited and retweeted your tweets—all in chronological order, of course.
Secondly, a new tab called “activity” shares recent activity by those you follow. So if someone you follow created a new list, followed someone new, favorited a tweet, or something else, that activity is documented here.
Twitter said on its blog that one reason for these new features was to help users find relevant people and content with more ease. Another source says that Twitter is also keeping busy testing its latest URL shortening service. I’ll be really happy when/if that ever comes to play.
Refinement over time is what it’s all about. How many times have you heard us say that?
If you could ask one question about inbound marketing, what would it be?
Well here’s your chance. We share a lot of different things—ranging in a lot of different topics—on this blog and website, but we’re really interested in some questions you may have.
If you submit a question, we’ll use our blog to answer it as best we can.
That’s better than us writing about things we think you want to read.
It’s simple, just ask your question by filling out this form. We’ll write a post or maybe occasionally record a video with our best answer—and no we don’t have all the answers.
P.S. If you can’t think of a good question, take a few minutes to download and read our Inbound Marketing Bible. It should get you thinking.
There are a lot of small businesses looking into inbound marketing. I wouldn’t even call these folks tire-kickers. There are many small businesses who sat on the sidelines while we preached on deaf ears three years ago. Then there were some early adopters two years ago. This past year a lot of small businesses got in the game. Now we’re seeing mainstream adoption.
Our phone is ringing, leads are coming in online, referrals are commonplace, and we’re hitting new levels with our retainer customers. So if this post is a wake-up call for your business, then here are some options you have in regards to creating an inbound marketing arm of your business.
Option 1) If you’re large enough and have internal expertise, then here are some suggestions to to get you started.
- Find the person in your business that will be the internal champion of inbound marketing. This person will have to cry foul whenever he or she is not getting the support of the organization. This is serious stuff. This person needs a budget (although a much smaller one than a traditional outbound campaign). This person needs your belief. They need a time frame of a minimum six months but more likely 12-24 months to make this generate a good positive ROI. Allow this person to be the filter for all outgoing messaging. Think of them as your editor or publisher. That’s what they are.
- This internal champion should have some skills in the following areas, or be able to work with those in other departments who do: graphic design, simple website coding, project management, public relations, social media, and copywriting.
- Get everyone on board with this process. It must start from the top down. Let your marketing change your services, your product, or your unique value proposition. Seth Godin talks about this a lot. Have a few (key being few) rah-rah meetings to get things kicked off. Let everyone get excited about content marketing, email marketing, blogging, social media, fresh landing pages, and the other tactics to inbound marketing. If you can’t motivate the troops, pay someone to come in and get everyone fired up. Hire us if you’re around these parts. Whatever the case, you need the team to buy into this because they will source your content for you.
- Set up processes, maybe even a project management tool (we use basecamp—not an affiliate link) to facilitate communication, collaborative writing, content sharing, and publishing. Decide how often you will be blogging, updating social media accounts, creating premium content offers (whitepapers, ebooks, videos, webinars, etc.), and analyzing results. Our friends over at Kuno Creative put together an inbound marketing chart to show you just how much you should put the gas on inbound marketing.
- Be flexible and willing to change—without losing your commitment level. Measure monthly.
Option 2) If you don’t have an internal champion, then you could try and hire one.
- I think this is the toughest option. In order to find someone with the skills we mentioned above in Option 1, you may have to get really lucky and fork out some really big money. I’m guessing it’s not available for under $100K in the midwest.
- That is a pretty diverse skill-set for one person. It’s not often you find graphic designers who like to be in charge of project managing an entire process within an organization. You don’t find too many web designers who are good fronts for your small businesses public relations and social media conversations. You also don’t find sociable marketing people who understand design and coding. They are out there. The challenge will be to find them, woo them, pay them, and get going with your inbound marketing arm quickly.
- This also brings up the issue of training, speed to market, and turnover. Again, if you’re good at finding amazing talent, and cultivating it—then by all means rock on. You can’t beat having control of a process or an inbound marketing arm internally. Who wouldn’t want the inbound marketing department sitting right down the hall?
- If you do find and hire this superstar, then pay them well, feed them whatever they like, and by all means retain them for the long-term.
Option 3) You can outsource your inbound marketing arm.
- Finally an option that we like. Of course we’re biased. You can hire a firm like us to come alongside your small business and be your inbound marketing arm. While we’re doing the work for you, we’ll be simultaneously equipping your team should you ever want to roll with option one. Don’t leave this up to a one-man show. I tried this for a while and it’s too hard to have all the disciplines in one person. Remember that person has to do accounting and marketing and take out the trash. Trust a team to do this.
- We’re even in the process of developing some retainer packages for strategy and consulting. These will be perfect for those small businesses who do have an internal champion and a big time commitment.
- We don’t require benefits. We don’t need a new Macbook. We don’t cost you payroll taxes. We don’t go on the workers comp policy. And finally, we don’t drink the office coffee.
- Oh by the way, we probably cost less than your lowest paid employee when you add it all up.
If you want to do some math, then let’s schedule a 30 minute talk today. If you want a high-level overview of inbound marketing, then download our inbound marketing bible. It’s a nice first step.
When I hear words like leverage, robust, actionable, and world-class, I tend to get a little annoyed. I’m not really sure why, but using hyperbole in marketing copy—or everyday conversation—gets under my skin a little.
Maybe it’s because I think using space-filler and over-exaggerated words like these can make a product or brand seem unauthentic. To say something like, “We provide world-class service” means nothing because anyone can claim to provide world-class service. What does world-class really mean anyway?
Leverage is my biggest word pet peeve and also one of the most overused today. You can find it—without looking hard—on blogs, websites, in tweets, and you probably even hear it in daily conversations.
David Meerman Scott calls these words—along with a whole list of others—Gobbledygook. They’re overused and they should be avoided. One way you can grade your website copy and weed out any of the gobbledygook lingering about, is to use HubSpot’s gobbledygook grader tool which was develop by Scott himself. Simply copy and paste your website copy and let the grading begin.
Once you’ve identified the areas where your copy needs improvement, you can be begin to think about how to reword where appropriate and fix the sentences in which this hyperbole is used.
Be conscience of your writing style and how you’re coming across to your readers. This may mean a visit to the Thesaurus is necessary or hiring a professional editor may be in order. Whatever the case, take time when writing sales copy, or any copy on your website and blog. The last thing you want is to sound like—and make the same claims as—everyone else.
In a world where we expect service, food, results—and pretty much everything else—immediately, I can understand why some people might be impatient when it comes to inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is a lot of work. Period. It requires persistence, consistency, strategy, collaboration, and refinement. Those are obviously things that take time and no one should expect to see real results from these efforts immediately. It just doesn’t work that way.
That’s one of the reasons why we like to work with customers on an ongoing basis—at least six months or more on a contract base. Looking for real results any sooner than that will just frustrate them and lead them to think this whole inbound marketing deal isn’t all we promised it will be.
Six months seems to be a really good starting point for getting a website migrated to the HubSpot platform, begin blogging on a very regular basis, create content offers, calls-to-action, and landing pages to capture conversions and leads, begin building an email list, and start using social media.
We’ve noticed that sometime within that six-month period, many of our customers are generating real leads, getting found online when they never had before, and even closing a few deals.
So while half a year seems like long time to start seeing true results, once conversions start rolling in, they typically don’t stop. In fact, six months is the starting point to really growing a business online.
Inbound marketing takes patience and collaboration, but it always pays off.
As an inbound marketing agency, we work hard to get results for our clients and we’re constantly working to improve our delivery process to make it easier on us and more beneficial for them. We’ve refined our process and will continue doing so. Nothing is ever perfect, but every process can be made better.
One thing we really try to drive home with each client is the importance of social media and how beneficial it can be to a business. We share with them the types of things to talk about and share on Facebook and Twitter, how to listen for conversations going on about a particular industry or business, and explain that the more engaging they are, the better response they’ll see from their efforts.
Then we see studies like this one and we get frustrated…very frustrated. I’m sure anyone who’s read this article thinks to themselves, “Am I doing this all for nothing?”
Here’s what the article, posted on AllFacebook.com, says: Only 3 to 7.5 percent of fans see your Facebook posts. We think we’re doing everything we’re supposed to when it comes to social media marketing, but the reality is that most of your posts are never commented on, have no interactions from fans, and are never even seen!
One important factor that determines interactions from fans is the size of the fan page. The larger the fan base, the worse the page typically performs. Over time, fans stop engaging with the brand because they’ve lost interest, only liked the page to receive a special offer, or something similar. So even though they’re still technically a fan, they’re no longer receptive to what the brand has to say.
Because smaller pages typically perform better, this is important—and maybe even uplifting—for all of you small businesses out there who are frustrated by the amount of fans (or lack of fans) you have. The ones you do have are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and be more receptive to your posts. That’s good news, and it’s the same sort of principle we preach about when it comes to email lists: it’s better to have a small, receptive list than an large, unengaged one.
So here’s what Brian Carter, author of the post, says you as a business can do to maximize your exposure to your Facebook fans and ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media efforts:
- Have a plan for engaging your fans. Figure out who will be posting to your account, how much they’ll be posting, what type of content they’ll be putting out, etc.
- Go for likes and comments. The more engaged fans are, the more likely they’ll see your posts.
- Don’t just focus on the amount of fans you have. Set a goal to grow targeted fans that would be good potential customers for your company.
If you’re a small business, do you handle marketing internally or do you outsource it?
For a lot of small businesses, it makes sense to outsource because they simply don’t have the manpower to create a successful marketing strategy and carry it through. Hiring a marketing staff isn’t always in the budget either, because it takes more than one person—a whole team, essentially—to be able to carry out the daily tasks associated with inbound marketing.
It’s hard to find qualified candidates who have experience with content creation, social media, email marketing, design, SEO, and some other crucial aspects to inbound marketing. Hiring one person to handle all of these tasks would probably not be the most advantageous thing either, because creativity, strategy, and execution take collaboration and team work. Two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to marketing.
That’s why it makes sense for many small businesses to outsource their marketing and hire an inbound marketing agency. Depending on the specific needs and goals of your business, an agency will develop a plan for you and has the knowledge, manpower, and expertise to help your business grow. This is commonly done by generating leads online, blogging, creating content offers and landing pages, handling your email marketing, setting up lead nurturing campaigns, optimizing your website copy, and more.
If you’re not really familiar with inbound marketing, but what I've outlined above sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, we’d love to get to know you better.
Last week my family and I took a much-needed vacation to the beach. It was great. We introduced our two-year-old to the ocean, ate at great restaurants, shopped, played on the beach, slept in, etc. It was just what we needed and was very relaxing, but the Monday following vacation is always a killer.
In our weekly newsletter sent out the Friday before I left, we touched on how to balance vacation time and not get overrun with emails, phone calls, meetings, etc. when you get back.
I think vacations are important for everyone. They preserve sanity, help you relax, and offer a break from the same weekly routine. Even a three- or four-day weekend getaway can help to accomplish this, but even then you’re still faced with the same dilemma as if you left for a week.
It’s hard to up and leave for vacation with client commitments and with other responsibilities. According to WebMD, more and more Americans are skipping vacations altogether. Healthy? I think not.
We all need to get away, but there are still some things you can do while you’re gone to keep the ball somewhat rolling. Check email once a day or so and respond to anything time sensitive. Also, don’t be afraid to post pictures on social media or blog about something you did on your trip. This is a great way to show customers and prospects a more human side of your business and help them relate to you on a different level.
Everyone needs a break every now and then, and you can still stay in the loop while enjoying your time off. Hopefully once you’re back in the office you’ll be well rested and even more productive than before you left.
I have seen Tom Peters quoted as saying "If you're not blogging, you're an idiot."
To paraphrase him from a TED talk he gave with Seth Godin, he said no tool has helped his marketing more in the last 15 years.
I bet many of you are still on the sidelines though. Even with folks like Tom Peters, Seth Godin and lowly old us telling you to get going.
Well. Here are 50 ideas to get you going tomorrow morning.
- Why your business is different?
- What event your business attended last week?
- What fun thing happened in your office last week?
- What is a kick butt process that sets your business apart?
- What cool new software is helping your business get better?
- Who joined your business recently?
- What services do you wish your customers knew more about?
- What flip video did you shoot with a customer, at a jobsite, or in the office that you can share?
- What pictures did you take at a recent show, event or customer engagement?
- What one thing does your business do better than anybody else?
- What sales objection do you encounter repeatedly?
- What are the features and benefits of your product and service?
- Why do people care?
- What problems do your product or service solve?
- What situation or meeting this week deserves a follow up blog post? Tip: keep the anonymity.
- What objection do you find yourself addressing over and over is your sales meetings?
- What would you like to say to the market? A rant :)
- Who are your ideal customers, clients, donors or patients?
- What lesson did you learn from a recent engagement?
- What roles do different people on your team play?
- What resources would your audience appreciate this week?
- What people would they like to follow on Twitter, connect with on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or subscribe to their blog?
- What are some key online communities or blogs that could help your audience get a better understanding of what you do?
- What video did you see last week that you should embedd and share?
- What slideshare presentation knocked you're socks off?
- What webinar recording did you sit in on that you could link to and summarize?
- What thing happened to you this week that has nothing to do with your business but everything to do with being human?
- What tips could you generate to make like easier on your target audience?
- What free content piece could you create and give away via your blog?
- Who else can you promote, plug or endorse online this week?
- Who in your office celebrated something last week?
- Who in your office has a special talent or ability that you'd like to leak out?
- Who had a blunder or hiccup last week at work?
- What self deprecating piece of humor could you share?
- What event are you most looking forward to attending?
- What makes your culture unique and different than others?
- What fun office pictures of a recent event can you share on Flickr, Google + or Facebook and embedd to your blog?
- What is a cause near and dear to your heart that you'd like to share and support?
- What joke or funny infographic could you share or create this week?
- What contest or promotion are you running?
- What landing page are you trying to drive traffic to this week for conversions?
- What new product or service have you just released?
- What new job or customer did you win recently?
- What industry change happened that might rock your customer's world?
- What sales promotion is featured this month?
- What event or webinar are you trying to drive signups for?
- What traditional PR did your business get recently?
- What news would you like to get picked up by tradional PR or online pr wires?
- Who is missing out by not working with you right now?
- Plugging your latest content offer, your blog subscription, your social media, your email newsletter, your bottom of the funnel call to action or any thing else I forgot.
Oh by the way here's that video I mentioned above if you didn't want to take my word for it.
You, like me, probably order off the "You Pick Two" type menus that are popular at chains like Panera Bread and Qdobe. We feel like we're getting more for our money, and a little more variety in our selection.
When it comes to bidding a project or taking on a retainer, the "You Pick Two" mantra applies as well.
You've heard it before, but maybe it's been a while.
You can have good and fast but not cheap.
You can have good and cheap but not fast.
You can have fast and cheap but not good.
You pick two.
The problem occurs when the expectations aren't managed, and you think you get all three. That's unfair of you. It's unbecoming. It's pushy.
Maybe you needed to hear this in your line of work today. I'm thankful that someone reminded me of it recently.
It’s no longer a vague notion, theory, or passing trend. On the contrary, it is now quantitative fact that traditional advertising, marketing, and even sales methods that “once upon a time” worked well, no longer work well. And this fact holds true regardless of your industry, your services, or your products.
It amazes me how many small businesses choose to ignore this fact and keep doing things simply because it’s the way they’ve always done them. This choice could be detrimental to a business and at some point they’ll have to find a way to catch up to their competition.
If your waiting for the “dust to settle” on this whole Internet thing before doing something then you’ll be waiting forever. Or at least until Snake Plissken shuts down the earth’s power supply, lights a match and says, in Kurt Russell’s grittiest voice, ”Welcome to the human race.” Sorry, that’s one of my favorite scenes. Truth is the Internet is here to stay. It’s also a cloud of information that changes everyday and since it’s real-time, the dust never has time to settle. What isn’t going to change is the fact that we are living in the “information age”. An age in which a buyer is a few clicks away from not only finding your products or services but also getting a third party opinion or review of those products or services.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your business into the conversations where people are looking for what you have to offer. Let’s get your story and value proposition in to the online spaces that attract customers to your business. It’s called attraction or inbound marketing. Find out how we can help you get started with your inbound marketing program today.
We're still looking for 6 more small businesses in August who want to get in the game!
I have watched this video below countless times. Any time I need a little inspiration in building our team here at The Content Squad, I pull it up and jam away.
So what else? Well to me it represents us being part (as a VAR Agency and Certified Hubspot Partner) of something bigger than ourselves. We're part of a movement called inbound marketing that is saving small businesses marketing dollars while creating a better ROI in the process. It also provides a non-interuptive experience for the consumer and end user. A bonus.
Are you building a cool team in the Louisville area? What about around the country? If so leave us a comment about your story. We'd love to feature other amazing small businesses with their sights set on the changing the game.
Well, our inbound marketing specialist Jessie D is out on vacation so the buck stops here. I'm posting to our blog this week to keep the 90 day blog blitz moving forward.
Let's just say this is arriving in the second post of the day (I'm late). I'm a product of a different generation. I love old shows where they have two posts (mail for those young ins) delivered each day. A lot has changed as we hear talk of delivering the mail a couple times per week.
Another big thing that has changed is the concept of order taking. Call it bidding. RFP's. RFQ's. Call it what you like, but the fact is it's risky and flat out dangerous for your business.
Dangerous? Yes. Like if you keep relying on it solely you will be out of business.
Dogmatic? No. But the only way to find out if I'm right is to keep hanging onto the status quo.
So please elaborate Bryce? I'm glad you asked.
It's harder and harder to take orders in this new online information age we live in. The companies who are good at it have scaled and you can't compete with them. I've heard Seth Godin say, you can't out Amazon Amazon and you can't get cheaper than Walmart. So when your manufacturer is going around you Mr. Distributor because access to buyers on the interwebs is quick and easy, and when your consumer has reduced your product or service to a commodity due to low barriers to entry into the market, you have very little choice but to market your business. Or drastically change what it does and how it does it.
You can no longer take orders. You have to create a story. A unique value proposition. A reason why the market wants to do business with you other than being the cheapest. If throwing your name in a hat with five other business and crossing your fingers is where you're at. We should talk real soon.
The good news is it's easier than ever to publish and promote your story online.
If your business is ready to take the bull by the horns, then fill this form out. Not only will we explain this in more detail, but we'll see if you're a good fit to start your inbound, integrated marketing in August, or at least this fall.