Archive for May, 2015

4 Simple Steps Of Inbound Marketing

We’ve already discussed why inbound marketing* is so effective in generating leads, but you might say: “Help! How exactly can I implement inbound marketing?” Maybe not, but you’re a clever person and you know your business could use inbound marketing to better promote itself. It’s easier than you think.

We’ll break down into 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Attract: Strangers → Visitors

4 Simple Steps of Inbound MarketingReel them in!

For this to happen, the people who are interested in your product would have to find you. In order to stick out from the depths of the vast Internet, you’ll have to sway the search results in your favour. This can be done through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is basically getting your website to be on the first few search results on Google, although how to do this exactly will be discussed another time.

Integrate content

The beauty of inbound marketing is the integration of your various marketing online platforms. From the content of your landing page (your ‘main’ website) or from the search engines, link them to your blogs and to your social media.

Appeal to buyer personas

Of course, you’d want the people visiting your site to be those most likely to become interested, or in marketing lingo, “leads”. These ideal customers are called buyer personas, and they are whom you build your whole business around. Hence, your website and your marketing have to cater to this specific type of buyers.

So to recap: Market your product such that your ideal customers find you on search engines and share your content using integrated platforms of blogging and social media.

Step 2: Convert: Visitors → Leads

Get their contact information

Once your website gets visitors, you’ll want to convert them into leads by obtaining their contact information. It is important to know whom you are dealing with; hence, contact information* are imperative. You’ll at least need their names and email addresses. This will give you a clear idea of what type of buyer personas you are working with.

Trade content for information

You can’t just go begging visitors for their contact information; nobody gives away something so personal so easily! You’ll have to offer something to them in return. Since you roughly know what kind of visitors your website appeals to (buyer personas), you can cater content directed at them. The content may come in the forms of e-books, whitepapers, success stories and tip sheets etc.

Calls-to-Action

This is the button or link that encourages an action from the visitor, such as “Download ebook”. The calls-to-action must be appealing and noticeable.

If clicked, the customers should be brought to a landing page, where the offer from the call-to-action is fulfilled, and their contact information is collected using forms.

Once their information is collected, your visitors are now leads.

* If you ask for too much contact information, you may put your visitors off. This could be counterproductive for your marketing. So limit the amount of contact information you request for to about 3 fields, (e.g. First Name, Last Name and Email Address) at least for the first time. For leads at different points of your marketing funnel, different form lengths may work better; test the effectiveness of various form lengths and styles using A/B testing.

Step 3: Close: Leads → Customers

The use of cookies allows tracking of actions taken by the leads, such as what content they have downloaded, what pages they have visited, etc. so we can be aware of their behavior. Using “Lead Scoring”—the numerical representation of sales-readiness—for each of the actions taken by the leads, you can reduce uncertainty in the marketing process.

Relationship building

People want to interact with other people, not some automated reply system. By nurturing a personal relationship with the lead, you can make them more ready to buy.

Email

As you get to know your buyer personas, you can send them email to follow up on them with relevant and useful content, which they may be interested in based on their prior downloaded content.

To go the next level, personalization of the email and messages can make the prospects feel like he or she is talking with a real person, and more trust between you and them is established. Personalization of email should be tailored towards the lead, e.g. if a visitor downloads a whitepaper of a certain topic, send him/her emails of similar and relevant information.

Pitfalls

“More email means more content!” you might say. However, ensure that you do not make the customer feel suffocated or pressurized to make a decision. This defeats the purpose of building a relationship with the customer and could potentially put them off your product.

Once the customers are interested and ready to buy, close the deal.

Step 4: Delight: Customers → Promoters

Kudos! You’ve convinced your leads to purchase the product you are marketing. But, this doesn’t mean you can forget about them, and all good inbound marketers will continuously provide content and service for their customers to ensure that they are happy with the product. From an objective point of view, if these customers are so pleased with the product, they can in turn promote it.

Real-time customer interaction

This can be done via channels such as:

Smart calls-to-action: Offers that vary based on buyer personas or the readiness of the leads.

Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. to provide real-time customer service and keep customers up to date.

Email: This platform provides the opportunities for marketers to send them relevant and useful content.

Based on what is already known about prospects, you can market them with products that are likely to be of interest to them. Having read this post, you now know how to implement Inbound Marketing, so get cracking!

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Don’t Believe These 3 Social Media Advices

As a marketing rep or business owner, are you on social media already? It’s not just because it is a trend that you should be; it is simply an effective means for your business to gain more online exposure whenever possible. Lately though, my communication with a few prospective clients yielded some surprising perspectives about what social media means to them…and they are negative.

These conversations got me thinking and I did a bit of online search to see if there’s any truth in it, and lo, the naysayers really think along the same line of myths!

Let’s identify the 3 biggest myths about social media and see how we can apply the real truths for the betterment of our businesses.

1. Social media is only for children; your adult prospects are not using it.

Don't believe these 3 social media advices

According to Pew Research Center, 74% of online adults are using social networking sites as of January 2014 and the majority uses Facebook that estimated about 71% of it as of September 2013. Other latest usage estimates are:

  • 22% use LinkedIn (Sep. 2013)
  • 19% use Twitter (Jan. 2014)
  • 21% use Pinterest (Sep. 2013)
  • 17% use Instagram (Sep. 2013)
  • 6% use Tumblr (Dec. 2012)

Your prospects are definitely using social media. So go on, open your horizons. This myth is a bust.

2. It’s just business, nothing to be personal about it.

Social media is not the same as your website, especially if it’s a company or a business website which has to be formal and proper. I’m not saying social media is improper but rather, with feelings. It is an interaction with real people on their everyday lives. As a matter of fact, personality is what often gets you noticed. Erika Napoletano once said, “People don’t fall in love with hex colors and logos—they fall in love with people.”

So I say, whether you’re doing business through Social Media, you’re still a person, aren’t you? So to make your social media marketing more interesting and lovable, be natural to bring out the personality of your brand to connect and engage with people. Be yourself, be personal!

3. This is your brand, stand up for it—fight for it.

Now this is tricky. We all know that we can’t please everybody. So when you come across negative comments and people who simply want to annoy you until you’re mad enough to chew nails and spit rivets, (which you definitely will, sweetheart!), do not engage. I repeat, DO NOT ENGAGE. If that doesn’t sound like a command in a battlefield of missiles to you, then imagine I am your mother talking.

What I’m saying is that the best way to handle these kinds of people or situations, especially in social media where everybody can read everything, is to stand down. But take note, do not entirely ignore the negative comment. Address the issue, admit the mistake and respond to it positively by sharing how you’re going to solve or improve your service or your product and let them know that you value your customers and their comments and suggestions. So pick your battles wisely!

Are you feeling more enlightened about social media now after reading? Perhaps you still have some remnants of unpleasant online experience that make you think twice about online engagement. Share with us your thoughts and opinions about social media in the comment section below and we look forward to break down any perceived challenges.

Inbound Marketing: The Dawn Of A New Era In Marketing In Asia

The Dawn of a New Era in Marketing in AsiaTraditionally, Asian marketers adopt outbound marketing to promote their products and services.

Outbound marketing usually involves cold-calling, direct mail, buying ads in newspapers, magazines, on radio or TV, sales flyers, buying email lists, telemarketing and so forth to disseminate information on the products or services.

How effective these tools are in generating sales leads is usually the subject of discussion between marketers and their agencies.

Inbound Marketing: the Proven Methodology for the Digital Age

Since 2006 Inbound marketing has been proven to be the most effective marketing method for doing business online in the U.S.

Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls your ideal customers toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.

By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.

Inbound marketing is especially effective for businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In these areas, prospects are more likely to be informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.

On Jan. 13, 2014, we launch Inbound marketing service in Asia to help our clients, specifically B2B companies based in Singapore and South East Asia, generate more qualified sales leads, convert them into sales and turn customers into repeat customers.

We work with HubSpot, the World’s No. 1 Inbound Marketing Software Platform.

At iSmart Communications, we pride ourselves in providing unbiased recommendations for a multi-channel, online-offline lead generation approach that covers optimized lead page design, Call-To-Action implementations, social media marketing, content strategy, event management and also telemarketing.

I like to invite you to a FREE personal consultation with one of our lead generation specialists. Simply schedule 30 minutes of your time to discuss how you can be most successful applying a couple of simple yet effective lead generation tips on your website.

If you’re keen, let us know you like to have a free marketing assessment.