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.

Integrate Your Marketing Efforts with Your Lead Generation

Pete Wiltjer was the guest speaker at the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association’s Business-to-Business monthly meeting in September. He talked about the importance of effectively integrating a brand message within a company’s outbound lead generation efforts. Here are a few key points from this presentation that we’d like to share with you:

1. Your brand is the whole experience of doing business with your company, including a prospect’s or client’s time on the phone with anyone representing your organization. So, even your outbound email and telemarketing should be aligned with a positive brand experience.

2. This often means fine tuning your email messages and outbound calling scripts to reinforce value, rather than only pushing for an appointment.

o For instance, try offering a free case study, a white paper or something that can assist the prospect in taking action on an acknowledged problem he plans to spend $$ to resolve.

o WHEN YOU GET VOICEMAIL: Leave an intelligent message. Avoiding leaving a message that reminds prospects of auto-dialers.

With regard to email marketing, in particular, I agree with Craig Kerr of iPost, who was quoted in this insightful article from BtoB. Kerr said that by focusing on your e-mail strategy instead of devising the next cool campaign, marketing managers should be able to demonstrate to upper management that they are focusing on return on investment. And that importance cannot be understated in a recession.

3. After all, outbound call and email campaigns should generate interest in your company.

o But it only happens when you tell a story that connects with the prospect’s acknowledged need.

o The challenge is to keep tailoring the storytelling to the interests of the prospect, not just preaching principles and products.

*Contact us if you’d like to discuss ways we can support your lead generation efforts!

Stragglers Take Note: Facebook’s Massive Growth in 55+ Age Group

The growth of Facebook over the past year has been remarkable. iStrategyLabs’ recent report on growth over the past six months, between January and July, is even more amazing for the trends that have been revealed. Take a look at the table below, featuring the iStrategylabs data.

Baby boomers have joined FaceBook at an astounding rate over the past 6 months
Baby boomers have joined FaceBook at an astounding rate over the past 6 months

What this means for many BtoB companies is that they need to think about Facebook as a marketing and communications medium. And while many consumer businesses have embraced Facebook, I have unscientifically polled peers regularly over the past few months to get their impression of Facebook as a platform for marketing. My finger-in-the-air test of which way the wind is blowing on this matter has shown me that many in the BtoB world are reluctant to consider Facebook as a legitimate platform for communicating with prospects or customers. The main exception has been the human resources department.

Since Facebook was born in 2004, HR managers have enjoyed being able to get a true look at hungry job candidates, to see what they are really like when they leave the office. Incriminating photos, videos and comments posted in Facebook have prevented many “promising” candidates from landing the jobs they wanted.

Yet many business owners I talk with have quickly called it a giant waste of time and tell me that LinkedIn is the only social media platform they will consider using for business. But with nearly six million new Facebook users since January that are 55 and over, and more than 20 million new users since January that are between ages 35-54, Facebook can only be ignored at your own peril.

As I mentioned in the Entrepreneur.com series about PWMG that followed us as we rebranded the company, I have had meaningful discussions with prospects through the Facebook ‘Chat’ function. In addition, we have a fan page for our company on Facebook, and we see a lot of traffic coming to our blog and website from employees’ various Facebook pages.

Obviously this means I can’t take part in all the fun-and-games that many enjoy on Facebook (endless boring polls, poke poke, virtual food fights, mafia wars, etc.). Too bad for me. But not really.

The 35 and up crowd may have been late to the Facebook party, but these older users are also changing the way this social media platform is and will be used going forward. How has your social media strategy changed in 2009? Drop us a line and let us know. We would be glad to share some ideas.