Inbound Marketing Shortens Your Sales Cycle

We saw this study from HubSpot the other day, and it reinforced what we know –and what, fortunately, many of our clients also understand: good marketing requires patience. However, the more inbound marketing a company implements, the sooner they enjoy the benefits of lead generation.

Refining your message and getting it out through the right blend of marketing channels takes time. And once your message is out there, it takes a while for it to go through the rinse-and-repeat cycle of multiple exposures that your key buyers need in order to form an opinion and make a purchasing decision about your product or service.

But not seeing an immediate sales bump does not mean your message isn’t being received; the buying cycle for most businesses is long and needs time to go through the essential channels before you will likely hear from a prospect. Many companies take a year or more to make a buying decision.

However, increasing the amount of inbound marketing can result in increased website traffic in an average of 7 months. What is inbound marketing?  This category includes website content development, blog posts, engaging people through social media, and implementing Search Engine Optimization.

Our clients observe that increased marketing and PR activities result in not only increased website traffic, but also in more leads from better qualified prospects. And once we implement a consistent marketing and public relations program, these increased leads become a regular thing.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn1.hubspot.com/hub/249/what-factors-do-you-attribute-to-lead-increase.png

Want to talk about your marketing strategy? We’d love to help you enjoy the results of a solid integrated program! Drop us a line at kyliew@pwmginc.com.

Navigating Facebook’s Labyrinth of Privacy Options

Many of our clients find it difficult to embrace Facebook for their marketing, and even more difficult to let their employees use the service during work hours. We have heard them say that Facebook has become too complicated and that it presents too many security risks.

If you are not a regular Facebook user, but your company is using Facebook to communicate with clients and prospects, we suggest that you pass this on to your social media marketing manager. And if you are the person in charge of Facebook marketing at your company, then you may want to tuck away . And as you can see, Facebook’s Privacy settings have become very complicated. But this guide from The Wall Street Journal should help make sure that you get your settings adjusted just as you want them – at least until Facebook changes all its settings again!

If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage Facebook for your business, feel free to drop us a line.

Guide to Facebook's Privacy Options

Are You Using a “One-and-Done” Approach to Your Website?

We often encounter businesses that have appealing-looking websites, flush with edgy graphics and even decent content, but still missing a major component: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). No matter how attractive your website is, you are missing out on one of the major purposes of website development if your website is not optimized for search engines.

What is the point of having a slick-looking website if most of your prospects (or even customers) can’t even find your website to begin with? That results in missed opportunities for you, and business opportunities for your competitors.

Another issue many companies have, even once they have begun using SEO tools on their websites, is to launch a website and then… leave it alone. Taking the attitude that your website works fine, that meta data is in place and your contact form works does NOT mean it is time to take a vacation.

Not as far as search engines are concerned; they never take a break. Search engines are always crawling your website looking for new information, and if a search engine doesn’t find anything new, then there is nothing new to categorize: therefore, nothing new to push your company’s website further up on the web search results.

We at PWMG call this the “care and feeding” of the search engines. Regular maintenance and “feeding” of information needs to take place in order for you to maintain or improve your page rank. To get started, we recommend using some of the suggestions in this article by Website Magazine. Or, if you’d like a complimentary website review, just drop us a line.

PWMG in Catering Magazine

PWMG has done a lot of work with the foodservice industry, and we were delighted that Catering Magazine reached out to us to share some marketing basics for their readers. Featured in their September/October 2012 issue, you can find the full article here starting on page 44.

A lot of the guidance that we offer here, while directed to the readers of Catering Magazine, could be applied to other small businesses in many markets.

We relish the opportunity to help an organization prosper, and would love to talk with you about your own company’s marketing needs. Feel free to contact us at 630-517-4082.

Crock Pot Girls: Going Viral Thanks to a Targeted, Simple Message

By Kylie Wiltjer, business development director, PWMG

As I often do, I logged on to Facebook two nights ago to check in with my friends and family. As I observed the “Recent Activity”, one item caught my attention: 9 of my friends (most of whom do not know one another) had all “Liked” a page called Crock Pot Girls.

Out of curiosity, and because a busy mom like me is always looking for a good new crock pot recipe, I clicked on the page. It had about 253,000 fans. Impressive! But when I perused the Information page, I noticed this Facebook page was only ten days old. Really impressive! This Facebook page has gone viral.

The Crock Pot Girls Facebook Page has gone viral

However, with this kind of activity, visitors can’t always easily find posts they may have seen before unless they were willing to Like them or comment on them. For instance, if someone found a recipe on the “Wall” they liked and didn’t copy it right away, that recipe would quickly get pushed to the next page of the feed by the time the page was refreshed.

The three busy moms from Texas who started this Facebook page must have realized that the overwhelming activity on their page had quickly become unmanageable, because they also just launched a new blog for Crock Pot Girls.

The blog, which is brand new and clearly still working through some start-up issues, now houses the founders’ growing collection of crock pot recipes and tips. Nothing fancy; just the crock pot information their followers want.

Too often, when something goes viral on the web, the result is quite unpleasant. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. And more importantly, this viral success story underscores a message that we preach to our customers every day: simplicity is good.

The takeaway is never underestimate the value of a clear, targeted message. The Crock Pot Girls aren’t trying to be all things to many people; instead it has a singular focus, and it has effectively and rapidly engaged the interest of a huge number of enthusiastic fans, creating an online community . As we tell our clients, sharing your product or service offering with the right people, in a focused way, will generate the kind of interest you want and need to grow your business.

Coincidentally, as I work at my office desk today, there is a gorgeous roast slowly cooking in a crock pot on my countertop at home. It will provide a welcome dinner of Italian beef sandwiches for my family this evening. Oh, and the Crock Pot Girls? At the time of this post, just two days after I discovered them, have continued to grow their fans exponentially. The current fan base is 766,668.

Press Release Savings Calculator? Right!

This offer is ridiculous. Cision is pushing its PR distribution services hard, knowing that Businesswire, PR Newswire and a host of other wire services are raking in the dough on wire service fees.

While I applaud the full-court-press manner that Cision is applying to this effort, the idea that this service can save you thousands of dollars on annual press release distribution fees leaves a lot of questions out of their math.

Cision suggests that it can calculate an accurate savings estimate for your PR distribution fees simply by estimating the number of words in your average press release, plus the average number of announcements you distribute annually. It told me that I would save more than $6,000 using CisionWire.

Right.

Once you learn that this automated calculator is comparing rates to the published list prices of Cision’s top 3 US competitors for National Wire Distribution, you can throw everything else out. Because who actually selects ‘National Distribution’ for a press release any longer? Only people who don’t know what they are doing.

Your press release wire distribution service exists to feed the search engines. That’s it. And you can guarantee search engine pick-up by selecting any local distribution channel from a wire service, thereby saving yourself literally hundreds of dollars for each press release you put on the wires.

If you are counting on a wire service to get your news in the hands of the right contact at a key media outlet, then you’d better start praying for some divine intervention. Because the best and most affordable way to get in front of the right media contacts is by knowing where they are, how hey prefer to be contacted, and what kind of news they like to get. That sort of work is best left to a PR consultant that knows how to work with the media.

So next time you issue a press release, don’t forget that a wire service does have its place in the PR outreach process; it will give your SEO a nice shot in the arm thanks to the search engine pick-up it enables, but it won’t get your important news in front of the people who matter: the journalist that has become a trusted source of news to your prospects through years of covering your market.

Connect Your Story to a Bigger Issue

You have a new product or service that you want to promote, one that needs a big splash to help generate early momentum for your company.

Well, how do you define big splash? Do you want to develop some print and/or broadcast ads? Not a bad idea to help create awareness.

What about a webinar to help define the business case for your new widget and put the spotlight on benefits experienced by early adopters? “Of course,” you say.

And direct marketing? Sure, you need to let your clients and prospects about your important news.

But don’t forget about the PR, which can help create buzz about your new product or service like nothing else.

For example, Microsoft is trying to promote the availability of its Windows Phone 7 smart phone. And the company has leveraged its PR arm to do so, but the PR message from Microsoft is designed to get people to think about bad phone behavior, not about its Windows Phone 7 smart phone.

Microsoft’s PR wonks hired Harris Interactive to help tell a story about bad phone etiquette, and to help its new customers to say NO to things like taking phone calls in public bathrooms and answering calls while at a funeral.

I love the idea, because the topic is obviously something everyone can relate to. Half of the people reading this probably saw their life flash before their eyes within the past week thanks to a distracted driver that was talking or texting instead of paying attention to the road.

PR should allow you to think outside the box and approach an idea from a different angle. This particular example also demonstrates how to effectively incorporate market research into your PR messages. Surveys can be your friend in PR.

While I won’t be rushing out to get a new Windows Phone 7 any time soon (my contract isn’t up for several months), I applaud Microsoft’s PR team for this idea and wish I saw more of it from business today.