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Inbound Marketing Gets $32 Millon Dollar Endorsement

Posted by admin on March 24, 2011

HubSpot’s co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian HalliganFor the first time ever, Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and Salesforce.com have invested in the same company. That company is HubSpot, which offers all-in-one inbound marketing software to over 4,000 businesses.

So what does that mean to the digital marketing community, and why should you care?

The Investors

Let’s begin with the investors and who they are.

  • Sequoia Capital invests in companies that make wonderful products or deliver a service that thrills large numbers of customers. It’s portfolio of companies come from many sectors: energy, financial, healthcare, internet, mobile, outsourcing, and technology.
  • Google Ventures is the venture capital arm of Google Inc. It looks at companies in a wide variety of sectors and stages.  Most importantly, it invests in people and the companies in its portfolio are all made up of teams of ambitious, bold, passionate entrepreneurs, who are as excited about building disruptive companies and technologies as we are.
  • Salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company that has transformed the way companies collaborate and communicate. Salesforce.com is leading the effort to bring Cloud 2, the next paradigm for computing, to the enterprise by offering its customers the social collaboration, mobility and openness that are the hallmark of this new world.

HubSpot

Now let’s look briefly at HubSpot. Founded in June of 2006, the company offers a fully integrated inbound marketing software that includes tools for blogging, landing pages, lead nurturing, marketing analytics, content management, social media, SEO, CRM integration, email marketing, and more. It currently has over 4,000 small and medium sized companies using its software to generate traffic and leads through their websites, and converting these leads in to paying customers.

What the Investment Says about Inbound Marketing

This investment is more than good news for HubSpot. It’s a resounding endorsement by 3 major industry leaders in the concept of inbound marketing. They are betting that the future of marketing for businesses will be (and already is) inbound (Google, blogs, social media, mobile, etc.) rather than outbound (cold calls, email blasts, and direct mail) – otherwise known as interruption marketing.

  • Inbound marketing “thrills” those who use it successfully.
  • Inbound marketing disrupts the old way of doing business.
  • Inbound marketing transforms the way companies perceive and engage their customers.

Impact on HubSpot Users

The investment by Salesforce.com signals the possibility of deep level integration of HubSpot’s marketing platform with Salesforce.com. Brent Leary, co-founder and partner of CRM Essentials, gave one example – the creation of a Chatter feed from website activity on HubSpot. He also imagined the potential HubSpot integration “with a variety of Google applications to move from lead generation to real-time collaboration opportunities at the moment of interest.”

Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk thinks that Google wants to expand its reach into marketing budgets of small companies, many of whom currently use mostly local search. She thinks that this investment is eveidence of Google’s expanding priorities.

Google Ventures Partner, Rich Miner (co-founder of Android) said, “We agree with HubSpot’s belief that search engines, social media, and mobile devices have fundamentally changed how businesses should market themselves. We’re thrilled to support their efforts to help thousands of small and medium businesses reach potential customers.”

HubSpot plans to take this support and invest much of it in R&D. Says Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, “We want to further delight our customers and count on them to spread the word. We feel like this is the right approach in today’s transparent world. On the application side we will make it faster, richer and better. We will also open the entire product up into a platform by providing a clean and simple API.”

Sequoia Capital pointed out that “HubSpot is the emerging category leader in the SaaS marketing sector. Their customer base exceeds that of all the other relevant marketing software companies combined, including Eloqua, Marketo, Genius, and Manticore.” This investment will only mean that HubSpot continues to lead in this category, offering more integrated features in its easy-to-use platform.

Incidentally, we won HubSpot partner of the year 2010 from having the highest Customer Happiness Index (CHI) and customer acquisition scores. What that means is that our clients who use HubSpot are exceeding their goals. hubspot partner of the year ymarketing

If you are interested in finding out more about HubSpot and inbound marketing, we’re happy to help you. Just contact us and we’ll give you free inbound marketing assessment and a personal tour of HubSpot’s software platform and how you can increase your leads and sales with HubSpot.

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How Effective Email Marketing is Tied Directly to Inbound Marketing

Posted by admin on February 22, 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2010Over 750 marketers attended panel discussions, case study presentations and keynote addresses at MarketingSherpa’s annual Email Summit in Las Vegas last month. We’re sorry we couldn’t be there, but judging from the Twitter feed, and blog posts it was a rousing success!

We realize this blog post may be slightly dated in the blog world but we think digital marketing combined with inbound marketing is timeless.

The one presentation we were most interested in was given by our friends at HubSpot, about the role of email in an inbound marketing world. Luckily for us, this presentation is also available on-demand at HubSpot. 

Here is a brief overview of what was covered and why we think it’s important for email and inbound marketers.

1. The most effective email marketing is not about increasing awareness, but rather it’s about nurturing prospects through consideration and decision making. All data shows that renting or purchasing email lists is fairly ineffective at raising awareness. According to MarketingSherpa, the ROI for list purchase is not good. Instead of thinking about email as an outbound tactic, you should think about it as part of your inbound marketing tactics. This is basically our eCRM approach to email – focusing on conversion, up-sell and cross-sell, loyalty and retention.

What this means is that you should forget about buying names and place as much emphasis as you can on encouraging people to opt-in for email communication from you. A house email list is regarded very highly by most marketers.

2. Optimize for mobile. More and more people are accessing their email through their mobile devices. And that number is just going to go up, not down. Knowing this, there are some useful tips when composing your emails.

a. Avoid the use of images (especially large ones) in emails. First off, most mobile devices (not iPhone) do a terrible job of reading images in emails. Secondly, if they read your email on their computer keep in mind that 67% of your recipients do not display images by default in their email systems.

b. Avoid too much formatting. Mobile devices don’t do that well with too many tables and columns.

c. Formatted text is your friend. If you want to highlight a point, think about using bold type, colors, or different size fonts.

d. Shorter is better. If you are on the move, chances are you want to go through things quickly. A succinct email will have a better chance of being read on a subway than a lengthy one. Come to think of it, a succinct email will have a better chance being read and acted upon on any platform.

3. Build social authority. With the recent arrival of Gmail Priority Inbox and Facebook Social Inbox, the newest “spam” filter will be social in nature. Basically, both Gmail and Facebook sort incoming email by people and brands you know and then everyone else. That means if someone does not know your company, no matter how legit your email might be, it won’t go into the preferred pile. Emails will now be ranked, and as with search rankings, you want to make sure your company ranks in the ‘like’ pile.

While this has little impact on email marketing right now, there are things you can do so your company in a better position should this be the way of the future. And that is basically get more fans and followers.

4. Optimize your email for social. So how do you get more fans and followers? One way is through your existing email list. Add a “follow me” module to the bottom of your email. Make sure you have a “share this” button in any email that’s trying to encourage people to join something. HubSpot has been adding “share this” to their emails announcing webinars and they have found that an additional 20-30% of their attendees come as a result of this.

Furthermore, marketers should be thinking about their content first and then what is the best format to promote their messages second. It used to be that every promotion or announcement was sent out via email. That may not be the best way anymore. So think about what you want to say first, and then figure out what’s the best way to say it –email, social, blog etc.

If you are interested in hearing the complete presentation, be sure to sign up for the on-demand webinar The Role of Email Marketing in an Inbound Marketing World.

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How To Sell Social Media Marketing To Your Board Of Directors

Posted by admin on November 22, 2010

Selling Social marketing to board of directorsIf you go to your board of Directors and try to sell them on social media, you will fail.

Unless you put it into context and unless you incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy, the value of social media marketing will fall on deaf ears. Instead of having an open-minded audience, chances are you will be met by a litany of negatives:  “I don’t understand Twitter.” “I thought Facebook is really only for friends.” “Our lawyers recommend extreme caution when entering social marketing.” “I thought it was free.”

If on the other hand you go to your board of Directors and try to sell them on a comprehensive digital marketing plan that will increase your organization’s brand awareness, help you more successfully interact with all of your audiences, enable you to be prepared in the event of a company disaster, and increase your sales, chances are they will be all ears. 

Here’s a 4-step approach on how to succeed in selling social marketing to a board of directors.

1. Make sure your CEO is on board 100%. The CEO usually deals directly with the board of directors. If you have your CEO’s trust, and you have a solid strategic marketing plan that shows the ROI of each element, your CEO should back you.  How do you earn this trust? Kristin Zhivago in her book How to Become Indispensable to Your CEO lists these five ways to earn your CEO’s trust:

  • Interview your CEO – formally
  • Interview your customers – continually
  • Report on the results of your efforts – regularly
  • Behave like a leader – in all circumstances
  • Communicate with your CEO – effectively

2. Set the stage with a research-based foundation.  Show through research how your target market is involved in the internet. Don’t start by talking about Social Media, but introduce the term within the context of the whole presentation so that it makes sense how and why more and more people are involved in social media.

  • Offer some broad research findings from companies like the Pew Research Center. They have reports on how young people are using it, as well as how older adults are.
  • Drill down and show how your specific target market uses social media, and where you can find them on the social landscape. You need to do this to prevent the inevitable, “But our customers don’t use social media.”
  • Reveal how much or little your competition is involved in social marketing. Check out their company pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Monitor on Twitter the key hashtags. For example, if you are in automotive insurance and want to see what the social world says about your industry, just type in Twitter’s search box “autoinsurance” and you’ll be surprised at the amount of chatter.

3. Present an integrated digital marketing plan. Remember, social media marketing works best when it’s integrated with all of your other digital marketing. There are many ways to present a plan but here are some key factors you need to address specifically in relation to making the case for social media.

  • Inbound vs. outbound marketing. We’ve said this before, but outbound marketing techniques are becoming less and less effective, and are very expensive. Make the case for the power of inbound marketing. You want to “get found” rather than competing with the thousands or millions of daily outbound marketing interruptions. Social media is a critical element to any inbound marketing program.
  • PR & IR. Most companies understand the value of public relations and publicly traded companies rely on good investor relations (IR). The new PR embraces social media as a way to communicate with media and other key audiences. There are also relatively new laws that deal directly with blogs and social media in relation to IR. In fact, if you are a publicly traded company, you should note that the SEC implicitly encourages blogging or communicating through a social media channels
  • ROI. Boards of directors are responsible for the fiscal well-being of a company. However, instead of having your board dictate what is valuable in terms of ROI, be the one who sets the metrics by which you measure the success of your social marketing. It could be increasing your fan pages, or your blog subscriptions. It could also be number of leads attributed to social media. Here are some tools and benchmarks in measuring social media ROI. The key is for you to establish those benchmarks.

Why Social Media is BS4. Have a contingency plan. Anyone presenting to a board should be prepared for all of the negatives that still might come your way.  One of the best arguments for the value of social marketing that counters all arguments before the fact came from a webinar that had the unlikely title “Why Social Media is BS.” It’s a great example of how to position social media marketing within the context of inbound marketing.

So, with this information, are you better prepared to make the case for social media to your CEO and your board of directors? What are we missing? Have any of you had any success (or failure) pitching the value of social media?

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2011 Outlook: Inbound Marketing Tactics Dominate Outbound Ones for B2B

Posted by admin on November 18, 2010

B2B companies were hard hit by the recession, and marketing departments took the brunt of it. Not only were their marketing budgets and staff cut, but the pressure to continue to feed the lead funnel was just as intense as it was before the recession hit.

So what did they do?  They turned from outbound to inbound marketing.

In MarketingSherpa’s just released 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, the trend shows that the majority of B2B organizations are increasing their marketing budgets for inbound marketing tactics. When it comes to outbound marketing tactics, budgets are staying flat or decreasing.B2B Marketing Tactics FavorInbound Marketing

Those tactics that are seeing the greatest increase in investment are website design, social media and webinars, SEO and PPC – all inbound marketing tactics. The bottom four are telemarketing, direct mail, tradeshows and print advertising – all traditional outbound tactics.

According to MarketingSherpa, the reason for this shift from outbound to inbound is a result of “the cost effectiveness of these marketing channels and when applied with established sales funnel processes… organizations are able to effectively generate a high volume of qualified leads for their sales teams.”

But the real reason inbound tactics are growing in importance in not just their cost effectiveness, but their actual effectiveness, regardless of cost. In the next page of the same report MarketingSherpa shows how the most effective marketing tactics are:

  1. Website Design. The core or hub of all inbound marketing, your website is your most important marketing tool. With good online marketing optimization, your website will help you get found by more prospects, convert them into leads and customers, and promote your brand.
  2. Webinars and Virtual Events. What’s critical here is the content. It has to be useful to your customers and prospects, and when it is these events will attract prospects.
  3. Email Marketing. Is this inbound or outbound? That depends on how you use it. If you’re using it to Sell, Sell, Sell, then it’s outbound. If you’re using it to continue the conversation that your customer’s opted in for, then it’s inbound.
  4. SEO. Search Engine Optimization, a critical component to online marketing optimization, can raise your search rankings for the long term. It’s an investment that pays huge dividends over a long period of time.

As a digital marketing agency, we couldn’t agree more with these fact-based findings. How about you? Where are you putting your marketing dollars for 2011 – inbound or outbound?

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How Does Social Media Help Your Company Achieve Success?

Posted by admin on November 2, 2010

There’s a lot of discussion these days on the usefulness and “place” social media should play in any company’s given business model. Our Inbound Marketing friends at HubSpot just posted a blog and ebook to spur debate on this topic, titled “Why Social Media is BS.”

We invite you to take a look at the post and ebook; and share your thoughts…

Our Take

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of SMM (Social Media Marketing) being over-hyped BS. But while we agree there is no silver bullet in any marketing tactic, social media included, we believe that social media is now a crucial component in the marketing mix due to the following 3 T’s.

TOOL – Yes we agree it’s only one of the many tools, but a nonetheless a good one! Social media can help on many levels, and not just with marketing.

TRANSPARENCY – Traditional mediums have never been able to achieve transparency into an organization. When was the last time you interacted directly with a company CEO with over 500 employees? (e.g. You can on http://twitter.com/ZAPPOS)

TIMELINESS – Social media can help decrease customer response time, increase tech support ability, and enable good listening & engagement with the customer. This is good business practice, provides overall value & helps create happy customers!

SocialmediaBS resized 600

While inbound marketing is still the overarching strategy, social media presents yet another outlet to nurture and communicate with our customers on a daily basis. Read the “Why Social Media is BS post, check out the ebook, tell us what you think.

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The 5 Pillars of Online Marketing Optimization

Posted by admin on October 28, 2010


With so many online marketing tools and tactics at your disposal these days–and so many resources telling you what you should and should not do to improve your website’s online presence–it’s difficult to know where to start. Which areas of Online Marketing Optimization (OMO) should you focus on to achieve online marketing success?

The answer is no single area of online marketing will produce the desired result: A website that is a legitimate marketing machine. This is a digest of the common marketing threads that yield successful websites via a mix of paid and non-paid methods. The overarching idea is to engage in inbound marketing – Creating ways for your customers to find you instead of bombarding them with marketing messages in the hopes that some will respond.

We call the items below the 5 pillars of Online Marketing Optimization because, used together, they will bring your website optimum results.

online marketing optimization

1)     Blogs

We say Blogs but really this is an argument for content in ALL forms, with your blog as the foundation or hub of the content. One of the best ways to generate traffic to your website is through content marketing. Write blogs that are specific to your industry, product or service with the intention to provide valuable information to your customers. And be sure to transform those blogs into various pieces of content: images, PDF e-books, podcasts, webinars, videos, micro blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and more.

If you are stuck with what to write, a good way to start is by creating customer personas and by answering every single question your customer has ever asked you about your product or service as per Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion. This way, you would have an idea on WHO you are writing for and WHAT to write about.

Be sure to submit those blogs to bookmarking sites. Providing sharing buttons makes it easier for your readers to help disseminate your content across the internet for you. Also, by getting your blogs within the blogging community and other sites it creates inbound links which will fuel your organic SEO efforts.

2)    Natural Search / Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A key factor in successful SEO and online marketing optimization is the targeted keyword list. Research the kind of keywords your customers are using to look for you online. Some freely available tools include the Google keyword tool and the SEOBook keyword suggestion tool.

There are two primary aspects to SEO: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page refers to elements you control within your website and off-page represent links from other websites linking to your content.

Ensure that your keywords are within the content of your blogs, the meta content and H1 Heading tag of your website, the URL, the internal link text within your site and where you can affect it, all external inbound link text. Here is a comprehensive list of how on-page keywords are ranked by Google from SEOmoz.

As for off-page SEO of inbound links, be sure to create relevant, interesting or funny content with unique headlines. Give your readers a reason to want to link to your site. Most of all, request feedback and interaction.

3)    Paid search / PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

The ability to reach your primary customers through paid search advertising is an effective way to deliver relevant offering of your products and services to a targeted base of customers.

Even though you may have high organic rankings, it’s important to implement paid search to extend your reach. Go beyond customers you get from the hundreds of keywords driving your organic search results and instead target thousands of keywords with PPC. But don’t take just our word for it, see HubSpot’s strategy on how to run an effective AdWords campaign.

Advertising avenues such as Facebook, LinkedIn and AdWords give marketers the ability to get granular in the audience target profiles, including targeting by geographical location, age, designation, company names, industry and more.

4)    Social Media

This doesn’t just mean all you need to do is have a Facebook page or Twitter account. The essence of social media is much more, but also exactly that – being social. Having a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account without any updates or conversations is similar to inviting guests to your house and then ignoring them the whole time.

The idea is not only to engage with your audience but also enable conversations between your fans and potential customers. This area of extremely valuable earned media showing you the monetary value of a fan which you have direct contact with is a perfect example of optimizing your online marketing efforts.

There is a reason we listed blogs and content as the first pillar to Online Marketing Optimization, because without that content you can’t win with Social Media on a consistent basis.

Here is a great video featuring Chris Brogan on the best practices and insights into social media marketing.

 5)   ROI – Measure & Optimize your Return On Investment

  • Blogs – Check!
  • SEO – Check!
  • Paid Search – Check!
  • Social Media – Check!
  • Return On Investment – ?

Measurement of your marketing mix is the key to providing you with a focused roadmap on what to optimize within the other four pillars of online marketing optimization. Before embarking on your marketing campaign, be sure to have clear objectives, define the audience of the reports, the format and the frequency. This would make measuring the results more effective.

Here is a list of tools that will provide you with the information and analytics to guide you through measuring the work you are doing in order to reach your business objectives.

We hope this was a good list to help you with your online marketing optimization efforts. Does this help clarify some issues for you? What’d we miss? Let us know what you think, we’d love to read your comments.

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Inbound Marketing: 5 Things We Learned at the HUG2010 HubSpot User Conference

Posted by admin on October 6, 2010

We attended the first-ever HubSpot User Group Conference (HUG) in Boston, MA. If you missed it HUG2010 saw customers, partners and HubSpot staff sharing great information with regards to inbound marketing. We pulled these 5 points from the keynote and the different tracks and had some initial comments and thoughts we wanted to note here.

1) Content Marketing Is a MUST for any company looking to establish an online presence. (Duh, right?) But this message was loud and clear as the attending HubSpot power users repeatedly testified to this fact. To them this is as everyday as brushing your teeth, or breathing. Some thoughts that were shared:

  • It’s not about “making” or “finding” the time to blog, it’s just something you do.
  • Would you “find the time” to answer a sales call? Pay your bills? Turn on your phone, the computer, launch a website?
  • See the www.TheSalesLion.com for more. Marcus Sheridan not only knows what he’s talking about, but his infectious energy can’t help but inspire you to commit to the principles of inbound marketing and blogging for your business.

Every single person in the room out of around 500 people agreed that content creation is no longer a luxury nor a “I will get to it when I have some time” kind of deal. The entire premise of inbound marketing is letting your customers find you. And the one crucial way that is done in today’s Internet landscape is through content creation and Business Blogging.

2) Webinar After-Event Marketing is often just as important, if not more so, than the event itself. Even a Webinar pro like HubSpot, who does on average 15 webinars per month, only receives 40% registration to attendance rates.

Because the audience is busy and knows most webinars are being recorded these days, those 60% no-shows need reminders post-event to gain maximum value on the webinar. A few tips:

  • Build a separate on-demand post event landing page with embedded SlideShare and PowerPoint link downloads. This way the page can be marketed and tracked separately.
  • Create a blog with the most common FAQs from the webinar, especially with answers to top questions you couldn’t get to during the event.
  • Follow up with the audience and market the on-demand page and the FAQ blog. Further, use the FAQ blog and on-demand page in your other marketing references and the event will continue to have “wings” months and even years later.
  • For more info visit http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-webinars/ and check out this fun video on Jeff Bistro, Webinar Legend.

 

 3) The HubSpot Lead Intelligence Tool is under-used by even the best HubSpot customers. As a marketer your main focus is to fill the top of the funnel to feed the lead generation machine. Sales complaints to the marketing department are generally consistent across verticals or products: “We need more qualified sales leads!”

The next time that happens, marketers can ask their sales managers when the last time they analyzed the current leads using the Lead Tracking and Intelligence Tool within HubSpot. The tool provides a 360° view of your current leads and prospects and when used properly can provide invaluable sales information.

We know this tool is under utilized because during a session HubSpot VP of Sales Mark Roberge asked who in the room was using it regularly and two people raised their hands amongst a room of mostly blank faces.

4) A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Sales and Marketing is a good level-set for many ogranizations. Too often, sales complains about the lack of leads and marketing becomes frustrated from not knowing the kind of leads to produce or target.

A simple yet effective solution to align sales and marketing was shared with us by HubSpot: Draft an SLA and agree on the following:

  • Quality of leads required
  • Quantity of leads desired
  • Speed of callbacks and follow-ups from the sales team once the first two bullets are achieved.

Bottom line: It’s pointless to produce leads, no matter the amount, if sales are not going to follow up promptly. The golden opportunity to convert a lead occurs in the first hour, and deteriorates rapidly from there.

5) SocialInbox is the alpha (not quite yet beta) project name of the future HubSpot Social Media app. Dharmesh Shah, @dharmesh – CTO and co-founder of HubSpot, said he’s building the product based on the theory of what would make his life simpler, and easier to use, as a practitioner of inbound marketing.

He notes that the current HubSpot social media tool as well as those from Twitter and LinkedIn in particular fall short of the ideal Social Media Inbox experience:

  • Shouldn’t this become akin to the simple way we log in and check email several times daily?
  • Have scheduled tweets based on behavior (not just timing)
  • Feature advanced searchability and segmenting
  • Allow for “Smart” actions and more…all within the core HubSpot platform

We saw live demo screens at HUG2010 and can’t wait to get our hands on it. Sign up for the beta at www.SocialInbox.com

Incidentally, ymarketing won the HubSpot Certified Partner of The Year Award for 2010. YEAH!! We’re so very happy to be part of this dynamic, intelligent Inbound Marketing community. It was great to meet the HubSpot team members, customers and fellow partners and a nice bonus to be honored in this way. Thanks HubSpot!

Did you attend? If so, what were your initial takeaways? We’d love to read your comments.

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Favorite FREE Social Media Tools for 2010

Posted by admin on February 26, 2010

It seems that there are more Social Media Tools on the market today than there are Starbucks, so it’s more important now than ever to save time (and money) to find the tools that excite even most experienced Social Mediaphiles.

That’s why ymarketing would like to share some of our favorite (and free!) Social Media Tools for 2010, in no particular order. Some of these tools have been out for some time, while others are brand spanking new. The purpose of this blog is to promote Social Media tools that will make your life easier and more fun, thus the categories will be somewhat random, but their effectiveness will not. Enjoy!

 

Great all-in-one comprehensive browser for real-time and social web. Tweetdeck allows users to open their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace accounts all in one directory.

hootsuite  Productivity enhancement service for Social Media users. Hootsuite Helps organize, schedule, and deliver content through Facebook and Twitter.

bit.ly  bit.ly is one of the first, and still our favorite, URL shortener for tracking and analytics.

vlingo  Voice interface technology that let’s you instantly acces your Facebook and Twitter accounts simply by speaking into your phone. Vlingo is a great hands free option for mobile tweeting on the go.

cotweet Allows multiple people to communicate through corporate Twitter accounts and stay in sync while doing so. No dropped balls with CoTweet, no stepping on each other’s toes.

flickrcreative commonsflickr creative commons search is a great place to find free photos (under a creative commons license) that you can use in blog posts, presentations, etc.

topsy Great competitive intelligence for twitter is what Topsy gives you. Keep your social media ear to the ground with this excellent tracking tool. 

wefollow Want to see how popular you are on twitter? Wefollow allows you to view categorical rankings of who’s hot on Twitter. 

 

 

For those of you who are interested in everything social media tools, and want a few suggestions of some great paid tools, here you go:

flowtown  Flowtown is a super cool tool allows you to take a random person’s email address and quickly determine what social networks that person is on, as well as name, age, gender, and occupation. (I believe it costs $15 a month)

swix Dashboard program for your Social Media account, Swix promote it as Google Analytics for Social Media. We love the scorecard aspect of it. ($10 a month)

 

 

 

 

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Lead Capture for just the Cost of a Click: Google Adwords Contact Form Extension

Posted by admin on January 8, 2010

The ymarketing Paid Search Team recently read an update to the beta for Google Lead Generation Forms in paid search ads at SEOroundtable.com. Have you ever wished you could easily increase leads for just the cost of a click? Google is testing it out with Google AdWords Contact Form Extensions to normal AdWords ads. The current leads are phone number based with three custom fields. Delivery of these ads is via email as a moment and clients are committed to contact the lead within 24 hours.

Google Contact Form OptionsWe have noticed the Mortgage and Entertainment Industries testing In the new Contact Form Extension. We have also seen other bloggers and paid search companies mention these ad format updates such as this blog post from DailyRadar.com

Things to know about the AdWords Contact Form

  • It will only associate with ads in the #1 position.
  • The Leads will be priced with the Max CPC Bid during beta test.
  • About the form: Requires Phone Number Collection, up to three custom questions, questions shown will be determined by Google quality algorithm.

Get whitelisted into the Program through your AdWords Account Manager at Google and start getting your phone leads from Google AdWords!

Here are some sites that like the new Google Contact Form Adwords Feature: searchengineland.com, insideaffiliates.com, seroundtable.com

Here’s a site that dislikes the new Google Contact Form AdWords Feature: blog.hubspot.com

SEO specialist ymarketing thinks:
This is worth testing. We want to see the results of the beta ASAP!
Do you have “real experience or results to share about your experience with this beta?”

What do you think?
Contact Us or Leave a Comment!

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Why Businesses Must Blog | ymarketing

Posted by admin on July 15, 2009

As I talk about the virtues of social media marketing and blogging in particular, with business owners from 20-person companies to marketing executives representing Fortune 1000 enterprises, I frequently encounter the same objections when it comes to Business Blogging:

• “I just don’t get it. How would blogging possibly help us reach our business goals?”Blog RSS mouse image ymarketing.com

• “Blogging is fine for other people, but we’re serious about driving our business forward and need to spend our time marketing.”

• “Who has time to blog unless they’re unemployed?”

And just recently I heard my favorite objection yet:

• “Don’t some people blog when just a simple tweet would do?” (a hip reference to Twitter and its 140-character limit and a shot directed at the long-windedness of some bloggers, all rolled into one!)

All of these are legitimate questions and objections (and they all have equally legitimate answers, hopefully answered in this post).

Businesses that don’t invest in blogging are losing out on a huge opportunity. 

Here are the top six (6) reasons Why Businesses Must Blog, in order to thrive in 2009 and beyond, in order of importance:

1. Increase Search Equity. Search Engines crawlers (affectionately known as “spiders”) scour the internet for food daily; their favorite meals consist of text, headlines (H1 tags), meta data, page titles and links with descriptive anchor text. Well-crafted blogs are a virtual feast. The search engines behind these spiders don’t really care if a newly discovered page is a blog or a regular web page; what they’re particularly interested in is new, unique, well-crafted content. Blog posts between 200-400 words with good use of headlines, descriptive anchor text and relevant keywords are a virtual Olive Garden to the search engine spiders in a sea of soup kitchens. So the domains these Blogs reside on are rewarded with deposits in their search equity account. If your blog is on your company site (i.e. blog.yourcompanyname.com) then your site benefits and accrues the search equity; if you use a “free” blog site (i.e. yourcompanyname.blogspot.com) then Google or some other webhost gets the benefit. If you need more convincing that using a “free” service is a bad idea for your business, read Top Reasons Why Business Blogs Shouldn’t Be On BlogSpot.com.

2. Increase Website Traffic. The clients who we have worked with to setup and properly promote integrated blogs (blog.yourcompanyname.com) have seen their traffic increase between 300% and 2,000%. The effect of these traffic gains – although by itself quite dramatic – is that the number of inbound links multiplies and additional search equity is applied. Since starting our blog (blog.ymarketing.com) we’ve seen our amount of content pages indexed on Google and Bing triple, and the blog has played a direct role in tripling the number of quality inbound links to ymarketing.com.

3. Increase Search Engine Spider Crawl Frequency. The question of “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it fall” has an application in the world of search: if a website gets updated and no search engine spider comes by to re-index the site, then the change didn’t really do your business any good. We’ve seen clients increase their crawl frequency from monthly to several times a week; I have to attribute this primarily to the addition of an integrated blog, and the results are that changes to the site (i.e. meta data testing, new content pages, news updates, etc.) get indexed nearly immediately, so we can get a read on what changes had a positive impact right away. The whole process of test, read and refine is greatly accelerated.

4. Increase Sharing and Word of Mouth. Have you noticed that people typically don’t share product information on Facebook? Not too many people “Digg” company information sheets, right? And most of the Internet population resists the temptation to “bookmark” the “About Us” page on your site. People like to share things that are of interest to them on a personal level, and things they think their peers and friends would be interested in. This is true for B-to-B as well. Blogs make it easy for people to share with others. They give site visitors a reason to connect on an emotional level. In our research we have collected data that proves that referred visitors are between 1.5X and 4X more likely to convert into a qualified lead or new customer than general website traffic, so the financial, rational argument for sharing can be made. When we setup client blogs we include the most popular business sharing tools as buttons to make tweeting, digging and sharing on Facebook and LinkedIn as easy as emailing a friend.

5. Qualify Leads before they ever make contact. I recently experienced this myself. A prospect for our business read a comment that I wrote on someone else’s blog, liked the line of thinking of my comment as much if not more than the original author, followed the link I provided back to our blog, read several posts, agreed with our approach and philosophy, then contacted us as a well-read, highly-informed qualified prospect. That is happening more and more, and would not have been possible let alone probable before we started blogging.

6. Build Community. The reason most people think of first (“You blog so that you build a community of like-minded individuals, promote discussion, etc.”) is actually my #6 reason Businesses Must Blog. Let’s be real: If you’re not the size of Microsoft, Cisco or Netflix, the community construction aspect of blogging is going to take a while to fully develop. But it will, as long as you make the decision to start blogging, continue to publish quality content, and invite others to participate in the conversation.

A Word on Blogging Best Practices

The Best Practices of Blogging recommend that you spend equal portions of your time reading the blogs of others, commenting on those other blogs, and crafting your own. So if you can only invest, say, two hours a week to this valuable new pursuit of blogging, be sure you start with 1 half hour into finding and reading other people’s blogs of interest to you and your business goals, a half hour or more leaving comments and asking questions on those blogs, and an equal amount of time writing your own posts.

Leaving Blog Bread Crumbs

Taking a cue from would-be social media pioneers Hansel & Gretel… One of the best ways to build a community in the early days of blogging is to include a bread crumb – a link to your blog – every time you read and comment on someone else’s relevant post or blog. An example:

“A very interesting and provocative idea about the greening of marketing, Michael. I thought you were absolutely right on your assessment of the topic of how direct mail impacts our environment, but consider this one idea you may have missed: Search is the new direct mail. I’ve written about this topic at http://blog.ymarketing.com/?Tag=inbound%20marketing and invite you to have a look…”

That way when interested readers see your comment and agree with your point of view or unique insight, they’ll follow your link and discover your blog.

What do you think… What did we miss? What are the compelling reasons for business to blog that we neglected to include?

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