Small Business Marketing Automation is not an Email Service Provider

Posted by frank harris on 20/11/18 16:28

marketing automationThis article sets out a guide to small business marketing automation over email marketing.


Marketing Automation is a confusing term. It doesn’t really mean anything and indeed a lot of small business marketing automation vendors are trying to carve out new positioning with terms such as ‘multi-channel marketing’, ‘behavioural based marketing’, ‘all in one marketing’ or the ‘marketing system of record for the modern marketer’.


Unlike email platforms, marketing automation has a memory and true automation. By this we mean it can track an individual’s behaviour over time, record the engagement and then automate the subsequent next action. It can remember campaigns, assets, workflow, opt-outs, unsubscribes, and preferences.

An overview of the key benefits

Marketing automation is currently the hottest sector in the SME/CRM space with 40% year on year growth.


First adopted by technology companies, who of course adore new technology, it has now permeated into many other sectors including publishing, financial services, business services and manufacturing.


The technology is fast changing. It can incorporate both inbound (PR and social media) and outbound (email and web intelligence) functionality, as well as traditional CRM integration and digital asset management.


Some look at just the functionality, but for all the lead scoring, automated lead nurturing, CRM integration, dynamic content and preference centres, the real key benefits of deploying marketing automation are:

  1. The ability to scale & save time - Running multiple campaigns at the same time to satisfy demand management and the demands for quality business pipeline.
  2. A single view of the customer - Relationships and behaviour tracking, not transactions and spreadsheet juggling.
  3. It puts marketing back on the front foot - With continuous campaigns running longer than the buying  cycle it is now possible to not just measure campaign ROI but really forecast future revenues.

Those organisations that invest in marketing automation and then execute it properly are at a major advantage to those organisations that don’t. More importantly, they place themselves on the front foot for additional credibility within the rest of the organisation.

Main Features of a Small Business Marketing Automation Platform

Unless a platform has the following core characteristics it cannot call itself a small business marketing automation platform, and is frankly of little use to you. It must have the ability to:

  1. Send email(outbound)
  2. Store campaign assets in a library
  3. Store customer and prospect records
  4. Automate a multi-touch marketing campaign
  5. Score customers and prospects based on who they are and their engagement.
  6. Talk to other platforms (an API) e.g. CRM or Webinar integration
  7. Automate tasks and map the organisation workflow

Social media is also an important feature, and the pace of development is rapid. Marketers know it is important to balance the outbound with the inbound and so the following social media functionality is  now included in a lot of platforms.

  • Social listening e.g. listening for conversations on Twitter
  • Share to social e.g. adding the ‘likes’ and ‘forward to a friend’ functionality
  • Social sign-on e.g. the ability to market content on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and
  • automatically embed the user profile data within the platform for seamless behavioural tracking

What is it really about then?

It is fundamentally about you and your willingness to drive change for the better in your organisation.


For all the feature differences between email and marketing automation, the real benefits of an effective deployment is the ability to drive change positive change. Marketers that adopt small business marketing automation are drivers of real change in a business, and those that don’t do it or don’t do it well, will simply be left behind.


I hope that this article has provided some food for thought if you’re looking to roll out such a platform.


Once you’ve decided that it is the right choice, why not get in touch to see if there’s anything that I can help you with to make it an even greater success. Or for more on this topic, follow the link below:


small business marketing


Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, small business marketing automation, b2b small business marketing, small business marketing trends, small business marketing blog

Welcome to the 8-Second Era of Internet Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 02/11/17 11:17

8 second watch.jpgInternet marketing means that persona expectations of what constitutes a brilliant brand experience continues to change as their preferences shift more towards digital channels.


But more than ever, consumers are overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of content and offers available on every channel.


The window of opportunity for marketers to know, reach, convert and engage their consumers has subsequently shrunk. A recent study found that the attention span of the average consumer has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds today.


Within the 8 seconds of a consumer’s attention span, marketers must successfully deliver relevance, true value and an easy path for further engagement.


The following analyses 8 areas need to be addressed for your 8 second internet marketing experience to succeed:

  1. Language

 The very first thing a customer or prospect will see when they interact with your brand is the language you’ve chosen.


If it’s not in your customer’s language, and only 27% of the world speaks English, the eight seconds won’t matter and chances are they would’ve already abandoned their journey with your brand.


Getting language right in a global world is the most critical phase of capturing and engaging a customer.

  1. Channel

Next, consumers will choose the channel they want to use to engage with your brand. It’s important that you enable and optimise multichannel interactions because many consumer journeys are non-linear.


Your persona’s behaviour is erratic and they’ll start and stop their journey across numerous channels including mobile phones, tablets, and computers for no apparent reason. The experience must be consistent and the content must be optimised at the point and time your customers choose to connect with your brand.

  1. Relevancy

From a marketer’s perspective, the way to ensure your content is most relevant is by analysing your customer data and ensuring critical data sources are connected.


With such little time to capture and engage personas, all your content must be optimised for everyone’s preferences, profile and context (i.e. what’s happening now). That comes from fast, accurate insights into individual behaviours.

  1. Personalisation

Once your data reveals that a particular message will be relevant, marketers must take relevancy one step further and personalise the content to create an individual experience.


Personalisation will help cut through the noise of the world where so many “spray and pray” offers that are not created for the individual consumer abound. It also shows that you value your customers and that you’ve taken the time to consider the data they’ve given you to improve relevance for them. True personalisation requires seamless integration of data and the ability for marketers to easily leverage insights that arise out of the data across all channels.

  1. Experience

Now, you’ve got consumers engaged with your brand. They're looking for a reason to extend their interaction with you beyond the first 5 seconds.


Have you made it clear what you want them to do next? Is it easy for them or are you making them re-enter information you already know? If you make it clear and simple to continue the interaction, most will happily continue to engage with you.

  1. Incentives 

After acknowledging that an offer is relevant and personalised, your personas will then ask, “why should I do something now and not later, if at all!”  What consumers are really looking for is a reason to keep engaging via some incentive.


While the incentive must be in line with the consumer’s lifecycle stage, there are many forms of incentives.


Exclusivity, loyalty programmes, time-sensitive price promotions and downloadable offers are just some examples.  Note, consumers overwhelmingly prefer brands that offer incentives and they are therefore willing to exchange their personal information in response to the right incentive.

  1. Reputation

Each interaction is an opportunity to improve your reputation as a customer-focused company. Unfortunately, many interactions are designed to maximise short-term profit at the expense of the brand and thus long-term profitability is threatened.


Before you can fully capture a consumer’s attention and engage further, consider your current reputation in the market - does it lend itself to further engagement or abandonment? Do you need to address brand reputation issues first?

  1. Knowledge

Finally, if a marketer has successfully optimised the interaction for the consumer, they’ll be hungry to learn more about the product or company.


Here a persona is in knowledge gathering mode and a marketer can leverage channels and content to accelerate the customer journey from unknown visitor to advocate.

A new way to think about internet marketing

In this fast-paced digital era, how will you deliver compelling experiences? The answer is by using data insights to drive content decisions and amplify that content using a context engine.


Without sufficient insights into your personas’ context, you’ll quickly find that no matter how good your content or data may be, the overall internet marketing experience will be poor.


Personas believe that experience is more important than price. Properly designing and optimising customer journeys based on the 8-second rule will allow marketers to take advantage of this new market opportunity and positively impact the bottom line.


For an insight into current internet marketing requirements follow the link below:


How to Optimise your  Internet Marketing Channels

Tags: internet marketing consultant, b2b website marketing, website content, internet marketing

3 Less Obvious Questions to ask Internet Marketing Consultants

Posted by frank harris on 12/03/15 05:37

FMH_0814Hiring Internet Marketing Consultants can be a daunting task so you need to have the right checklist handy when doing so.


I have been in business around 40 years and my original mentor gave me some valuable advice about how to run my business.


To be a successful leader you don’t have to know how to do everything; you just have to know someone who does.


Enter consultants.


The challenge in 2015 for those embarking on online marketing is that hiring internet marketing consultants can be a daunting task so you need to have the right checklist handy when doing so.


You already know the obvious criteria like checking their references, contacting their clients with referrals on their website. But you may not know the less obvious questions to ask when hiring. Here are three:-

1. Do they have proof of resources?

After they are hired, many internet marketing consultants will take much longer to do a job than expected or initially promised. It’s because to seal the deal they might overpromise.


In simple terms it’s the same as this example; 'if you hired a contractor to remodel your office space. The crew shows up the next day and completes the tear down but after that they don’t show up for two weeks. This is because the same crew is starting ten other remodel jobs during that time. The manager said “yes” to all to line up long-term work for the crew.'


Be sure to get some sort of assurance up front that the job will be completed in a timely manner without interruption.

2. Do they have the relevant experience in your industry?

This sounds obvious but industry experience can be very specific nowadays, especially in the B2C space. B2B marketing consultants can use many tools to find your personas, define strategy and create your content etc.


You know not to hire an accountant to market your new dating website.  But you may not realise that a social media consultant who tweets about hot iPhone apps to his thousands of followers may not be the best one to socialise your Android app in the B2C space. Someone may know how to sell flower bouquets to corporations for events but may not know how to sell them to brides for weddings.

3. Could you be stranded on a deserted island with them? 

Don’t just think about getting along. Think about being stranded with them in a remote place during a stressful time when your lives are at stake. Can you quickly decide who will gather the coconuts and who will build a shelter or would you instead argue about how to go about it?


Make sure there is personal chemistry with the actual consultant assigned to you and not just the person who sold you the service. One way to do this is to spend as much time as possible with your actual consultant who will be assigned to help you before you sign a contract.


Lastly, if finding the perfect human internet marketing consultant is too much of a burden, consider on-line self-service tools instead like for customer relationship management, QuickBooks for bookkeeping, and for business consulting.


You can’t hire an internet marketing consultant to paint a room but it may surprise you how far web-based services have gone, especially with advancements in mobile computing, marketing automation and analytics.


If you want to check me out then why not have a free consultation. That way we can start the process off and see if we get along. Just follow the link below and it will be arranged:-


free online marketing consultation

Tags: internet marketing consultant

How to help boost Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Posted by frank harris on 23/09/14 08:08

Social media in small business marketing resized 600Whether you are running a large company, or a start-up, the need for social media marketing is inevitable.

In the world of marketing, how you present yourself to your prospective clients matters a lot. You need to use social media to speak and communicate professionally to your customers.

As an entrepreneur, social media marketing for small business is an effective and pocket-friendly way of reaching out to customers.

Social networks are not just free to join, but they also help you get traffic pretty fast and generate high quality leads!

How to help boost Campaigns when doing Social Media Marketing for Small Business?

Communicating involves words, and this is very difficult for some people to master with their marketing collateral. When doing social media marketing, be it an update or a review you want to share on your social network, providing good content is mandatory. Before you share anything you need to authenticate it and make sure that it’s something helpful or of some value to your network.

Most people involved in social media marketing for small business bombard their networks with lots of information (e.g Facebook updates) that is not relevant and they lose out as your followers will sometimes think you’re a spammer and stop following you.

So, always share quality information on your network. If you are a poor writer or researcher, hire someone or outsource this service.

Remember social media marketing takes time.

You need to track your results and make sure that there are leads coming from it. After you run a social media campaign for a few weeks, make sure to go back and look at what you’ve made. You might be looking at the long term results, but it is always good to see that you are gathering people interested in what you are promoting and even better contributing or sharing your content.

Remember that the profits of your business directly depend on your marketing results.

Best Practices when doing Social Media Marketing for a Small Business

You could have the best content lined up and the best tracking software and mechanisms but there are some other factors you have to integrate into your social media campaigns to see results. These play in the background meaning that they are factors that are not just seen on the surface and it’s what most people fail to see.

One of these tiny details is that your content or updates you share across your network should be engaging and interactive. All posts must not bore your network. Interactive and witty updates always gets everyone’s attention and that is exactly what you want; people responding and asking questions and conversations going. If your social media campaign doesn’t have that, then you are doing something wrong!

Most small business marketers are busy, tending to a diverse number of tasks but this shouldn’t be a hindrance to building successful social because you can always outsource this service.  This will save you a lot of time, and most likely give you a lot of results!

Finally, as you are probably in B2B marketing LinkedIn is going to be an important platform for you, so here are 5 reasons why you should use LinkedIn if you want more clients…

1. If your ideal client is a professional, LinkedIn is where they are online.

Simply put, LinkedIn is the world's largest online professional networking site, with over 250 million members.

2. It's easy to engage and connect…anywhere you have an internet connection.

Similar to face-to-face networking, on LinkedIn you have the opportunity to introduce yourself, find out about what your ideal clients are looking for and share your expertise. But, the difference is you can do it at your convenience.

3. It's easy to drive traffic to your site, your list and get new clients.

Whether fellow LinkedIn members first encounter you in groups or search results, if you have a system in place you'll know exactly the right thing to do, when, to lead them to your site, to your community to actually becoming your client.

For example, LinkedIn is where 99% of my new clients find me. I nurture our relationship from our first interaction through to becoming my client. It works like magic…AND it's highly automated!

4. It's easy to share your expertise.

Whether through your status updates or via Groups, you can get your message out in less than 5 minutes a day with tools like HootSuite.

Getting your message out consistently will help you be seen an as expert in your field and a thought leader.

And again, when you have a system in place to maximise your visibility and deepen relationships, you'll have new clients in no time.

5. It's easy to leverage.

Use tools and/or have an assistant do most of the work and heavy lifting for you to make it easier to get more clients on LinkedIn.

If you want to get ahead of the game in social media marketing then download my views of where it’s heading by downloading the eBook from the link below:-

Social Media Marketing  The Next Generation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing, social media marketing

The Power of Word of Mouth in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 15/09/14 08:18

small business marketingMany SMEs involved in small business marketing build upon client referrals and recommendations because people trust their networks. Think about a consumer or a business owner who is making a purchase. Before buying a new product, purchasing from a vendor, investing in equipment, or collaborating on a project, people ask for and listen to the opinions of their colleagues, friends, family and other contacts they trust. Why? Because we all value the experiences of the people in our circles and asking for their feedback is one of the most efficient ways to evaluate a purchasing decision.

Before buying, most of us take note when someone has something good (and something bad!) to say about a company or a product. Add in social media, where these opinions and experiences can impact a business’ online reputation. These opinions can significantly help or hurt a business. There is increased access - and focus - to reviews and recommendations, so word of mouth plays a significant part in the buying process for many of us.

When you’re out there selling your own products and services, word of mouth can be one of your most effective marketing tools. Word of mouth marketing is powerful, easy, indirect and are low cost, which are valuable benefits to just about any small business owner.

Are you ready to use word of mouth marketing in your business? I may be an internet marketing consultant but I believe that  you can generate a buzz that results in more sales and increased business growth via word of mouth, especially via networking.

Exceed expectations

If you have a reputation for providing exemplary service and high-quality products on a consistent basis, getting customers to use you will be easy. Plus, if customers are regularly complimented on work you have done or the product you have sold them, they will likely respond by pointing people in your direction.

Start slowly

Are you new to small business marketing? Word of mouth is the perfect way to get your feet wet with marketing because you can start with people you know and trust. By educating your friends and family about what you do, you can open up a whole new world of potential clients. And you never know who might come your way from a recommendation made by a family member.

Be genuine, respectful and honest

It may sound simple, but by developing meaningful relationships with customers and colleagues, you make it easier for people to recommend you. And you should be willing to return the favour with word of mouth marketing for your colleagues, too. Offer recommendations and make introductions to get the ball rolling. They will remember that and be more likely to spread the word about you.

Start an incentive programme

While most word of mouth referrals will happen naturally, it can certainly help when you remind a customer that you are ready and willing to be recommended to others, and give them an added reason to do so. Sometimes, a simple incentive to take action is all that’s needed.

Make it easy

You don’t want your customers, colleagues or friends to be in a situation where they are trying to recommend you, but they can’t remember your exact website address, your email address or your phone number. You can avoid this by regularly sending them extra business cards email messages that can be passed along. Be visible for more effective and frequent referrals.

Word of mouth marketing is easy, inexpensive, and effective, and it can be one of the best ways to promote your small business. And you can start using it right now.

When you have got on board then is the time to take the next steps in this fast changing marketing world by getting involved with other forms of small business marketing.  Find out where you should go by downloading my eBook that can be FREELY obtained from the link below:-

A Guide to  Small Business Marketing in 2014

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing

How your Small Business B2B Marketing can include Mobile

Posted by frank harris on 11/09/14 08:50

b2b website marketing for mobileMobile marketing is growing rapidly for those involved in B2B website marketing in small businesses. Are you keeping pace with how your customers are already using mobile devices to find the products and services that you offer?  Are you missing out on opportunities because you aren’t mobile ready?

Here’s a quick overview of the types of mobile use that your company could potentially implement.

  1. Google Analytics – are you measuring what mobile traffic your website already gets on desktops vs. tablets vs. smartphones? This is the starting point.  As an internet marketing consultant, I’m seeing on average 1/4 to 1/3 of all traffic coming from mobile devices on sites that I look after.

  2. Mobile optimised website – do you work on a smartphone?  Your visitors shouldn’t need to pinch to zoom in on content on your website.  Ideally, your website will be mobile responsive and include some mobile landing pages.

  3. Phone Links – Do you include a “click to call” number on your website so that mobile viewers can click a link and it will start dialling their phones with your number?  Do you include an address with a map to your location if you have a physical store?

  4. Email Newsletters – Increasingly people preview their email inbox on their phones while they have just a few minutes to spare.  If they have time to read your message, is it also mobile responsive like your website?  Is the text large and readable without zooming?  I use Mailchimp for several of my B2B clients because they offer easy mobile responsive newsletter templates.

  5. Photo sharing - photos are great for viewers to see your newest products.  Are you sharing photos to Instagram (which can syndicate to Facebook and Twitter) as well as to your Google+ company page? More people are using the mobile versions of all of these sites than the desktop versions.

  6. Check-Ins & Reviews - Do you encourage visitors to check in on Foursquare, Facebook, and Google+?  Are you asking them to review you as well on these places and say Trip Advisor if you’re in the travel business?

  7. Text Message Marketing - like email marketing, do you have a way for people to receive text messages about current promotions and important announcements?

  8. Phone call tracking – You can create call-tracking phone numbers that all route back to your primary number.  These are helpful at measuring specific things like if your Yellow Pages ads still work, how many people called because of that postcard you mailed, who found your number on your website or other online outposts.  Services that provide these numbers will show you all the call data based upon each number that you configure.

  9. Mobile Ads – whether it’s your local newspaper or an advertisement on an app, you can run ads that only display to people in your local community.  Consider using ads to bring mobile viewers to your website, but only if your website is really ready for mobile traffic.

  10. iBeacon & NFC – While not widely implemented yet by B2B small business owners, these services offer your foot traffic targeted information, such as current specials or promotions.  For example, when I’m within 100 metres of my nearest Starbucks, it causes the app on my iPhone to send me various notifications.  It’s time to start thinking about how you could use this related to your store.

Mobile is not coming it is here.

So get up to date with what it can do for you in your B2B website marketing campaigns. It’s no different from a laptop or PC so to find out how to get more traffic and convert them into leads by introducing campaigns to your marketing mix just click the button below:-

How to Run a  B2B Website Marketing Campaign

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing, content marketing, email marketing

14 Social Media Marketing Tips for SMEs

Posted by frank harris on 09/09/14 08:34

14 social media marketing tipsSocial media is so popular that it cannot be ignored. These sites have millions of users and are growing. This article will give you suggestions for effectively using the power of these sites.

1.    If you’re on Twitter, try creating varied and rich content for your social media marketing. Tweet tips or suggestions related to your type of business. If you combine these tweets with assertive messages, you will create an mix of posts that is appealing to your followers.

2.    Add a Facebook button to your blog posts. Visitors can then easily share it with their own Facebook friends. This will increase the number of potential visitors to your website, and thus increase sales.

3.    Tie in the links in your social media sites together. Put links on your blog that allow readers to easily follow you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When setting up your profile on Twitter, make sure to put in the website addresses for your Facebook page and blog. Links to each of your networks gives you more exposure.

4.    If your marketing strategy includes social media, make sure you’re answering people when they’re leaving comments or asking questions. It can be easy to not see these things, so be certain to look especially for them.

5.    To make your consumers want to opt-in and pay attention to your business on social media websites, occasionally run promotions so people will want to follow you. If they are seeing deals they cannot get anywhere else, they are more likely to pay attention to your marketing and even spread word-of-mouth advertising for you online for free.

6.    Make it easy for your website’s visitors to follow you on social media sites. Many people log onto their favourite social media sites every day, so letting them follow you allows your business to pop up on their feed when they log in.

7.    It takes time and patience to create a social media marketing strategy. You won’t attract lots of followers in a day. Since it takes time to build a profile, create a reasonable timeframe for success. Be patient and the followers will come over time.

8.    Adopt a humble attitude when updating your statuses. If you have a big ego, your social media campaign will be a big failure. You must keep your customers happy! These individuals are the bedrock of your profits.

9.    Engage with your consumers as often as you can. Comment on their blog posts or current Facebook status. However, don’t jump into someone else’s personal conversation. Only enter into communication if they’re directly discussing a topic relative to the services or products you offer.

10.    Establish a combination of email strategies and social media initiatives. Add a link to your social media profiles in your email signature and let people know they can use these sites to ask questions. Try and to get people to sign up for your newsletter by including a link that leads people to the registration page.

11.    Before settling on a specific social media platform, weigh the pros and cons of each against your business goals. No two social media sites are the same; therefore, learning as much as you can about each is important. There may be one site that you find reaches the most people and is worthy of the majority of your time.

12.    Don’t expect positive results immediately. It takes time to develop your strategy for social media marketing. You’ll need to keep working on getting more people to add you on the platforms before you thinking about launching any serious social media campaigns.

13.    Freebies are a very popular strategy to consider for your social media website. There’s nothing like “free products” to get people coming to your business’s social media pages. Post a link so your customers know where to get the freebie.

14.    Use social networks to promote special offers. People are more likely to discover you if you provide rich content and offers. Anything that draws people to your site in a positive way is a plus, but getting more people there is only half the battle. You still have to work to keep them coming back.

Social media marketing can help virtually any business grow. Social media is a great tool to have. However you should understand more where it’s going.  Find this out from the whitepaper linked to the button below:-

Social Media Marketing  The Next Generation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing, social media marketing, get more leads

14 Content Ideas when Writer's Block strikes in B2B Website Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 04/09/14 08:10

b2b website marketing blogBlogging in B2B website marketing doesn’t come easy. A lot of effort goes into coming up with ideas and turning them into useful articles for my readers.

To help other bloggers with writer’s block, I’ve come up with 14 places to look for inspiration when you’ve got a blank page in front of you and a looming deadline.

1.    What are people sharing?

Every industry has its own set of influencers who have sufficient clout to steer the agenda and highlight important trends.

Once you know who they are in your industry keep track of the kind of blogs and articles they’re sharing, then tailor a few of your own blog posts to discover hot topics.

2.    What are competitors writing about?

You become an expert by staying on top of what’s going on in your industry so read other blogs and publications and use them to find inspiration for blog posts.

I don’t mean ripping off other people’s ideas, but think of different angles and ways of covering the subject of interest for your audience.

Similarly, if your competitors are writing about a particular topic area that you aren’t covering, then write a few blogs on that subject to see if you’re missing out on a gold mine.

3.    Annual events and holidays

Holidays are a quick win for blogging, as there is always something that can be written to coincide with seasonal events. Whatever industry you’re writing about, there are hundreds of ways of using annual events for blog posts.

4.    What haven’t you covered in a while?

Reuse old ideas when writing posts - dig out an old classic and give it a new lick of paint as they are often the most popular and useful for readers.

Consider new case studies, examples and ideas to refresh the content and give it a new slant.

5.    Check your analytics

Keep one eye on your analytics to track your traffic and how visitors are using the site.  This is a great way of identifying emerging trends and popular topics for blog content.

6.    Use online forums

Sites such as Quora and Reddit are sources for uncovering inspiration for blog posts.  Often questions posed in Quora can be used as the headline for a blog post, then you take it from there.

7.    Regular features

These serve two purposes:

  • Creating a format that easy to reproduce.

  • Creating a loyal audience.

The key is to devise a format that is easily repeatable and that can be created on an ongoing basis – i.e. save up the content during the preceding period then collate it into a blog post.

8.    Newsjacking

Newsjacking’ can prove to be an excellent way of coming up with blog content.  The combination of a strong news story, good timing, and bit of luck can provide a popular article.

9.    Spotting the opportunities in single stats

Use a bit of creativity and produce an article using additional sources. If a press release contains an interesting stat, use it as the starting point for an article that takes in information from other sources alongside other relevant content.

Be creative to spin articles out of seemingly irrelevant press releases.

10.    What are people asking you about?

If you get asked a question by a friend, colleague or someone on Twitter, then use it to start a blog post, particularly if you have to do some reading to find out the answer.

Thus even everyday conversations, combined with a dose of professional shame, can lead to blog ideas.

11.    Use major brands as a case study

Major brands are traffic winners, so include them in articles wherever possible. This helps to contextualise the topic for your audience to grab attention.

12.    Tune into Twitter chats

There are a number of industry-specific Twitter chats that are worth tuning in to for content inspiration. Check out those that ask questions on your industry. These are primarily an audience engagement tactic but also lead to some interesting ideas for blog posts.

13.    Compile lists that show a trend

Create folders where trends received can be tucked away for future reference, so when you have four or five studies on the same topic you can write a post highlighting these examples. Bulk up the list by trawling the web for similar case studies.

Also do this with blog posts you’ve already published, e.g. if we’ve written up several reports showing a trend or support a specific idea, then write a post pointing to the other articles and summarising the main findings.

14.    Use yourself as a case study

Allow yourself to be used as a case study and give an appraisal of what you’ve learned, including revealing the specific data, rather than a vague outline.

Any industry can use this tactic. People like to read about real life experiences, so use your own day-to-day role as inspiration for blog posts.

So there you have them - great ideas.  But don't make silly mistakes.  See the ones you should avoid by clicking the button below:-

Free eBook 15 Blogging Mistakes

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, SEO for small business, get more traffic, b2b website marketing, more web traffic

Why you need B2B Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 29/08/14 08:52

b2b email marketingEmail is still the engine of B2B marketing

In the era of content, social and inbound, actually reaching out to promote your business can feel strange. But in the very best B2B marketing departments – especially the ones pioneering the latest inbound marketing strategies – outbound is still a hugely important part of the mix.

And the king of outbound is still email. It’s a step that thousands of progressive B2B marketers take with results that add up to a business case that writes itself. By the end of this post, I hope you resolve to step up your email efforts to increase their contribution to revenue.

Let’s get started.

Email works

Deployed with even a little of intelligence and sensitivity, B2B email marketing delivers the goods.

  • It’s the most cost-effective way to reach all of your known prospects and customers.

  • It’s valued by your audience – that’s why people opt in (and opt out if they no longer find them relevant).

  • It’s versatile – you can use email for simple alerts and updates, offer new content and deliver anything from discounts and promotions to thought leadership.

  • It’s immediate, personal and eminently trackable.

When email doesn’t work

In the wrong hands, B2B email marketing is just spam with content .

  • If you don’t segment your campaigns, relevance suffers.

  • If you never target email according to the prospect’s behaviour, you’re missing one of the most powerful conversion drivers.

  • If you can’t tie your email activities to website visits, social media interactions and offline activity, you’re only getting a tiny part of the picture.

  • If your email is still in a silo, the ‘leads’ you hand over to sales won’t reflect everything you know about each prospect (so they’ll be harder to close).

Unfortunately, for many marketers, B2B email marketing is still stuck in the dark ages of ‘batch and blast’. It’s a low-cost medium so it gets away with it. But more and more marketers have moved their email marketing to the next level and are multiplying their ROI.

The challenge is to harness the power of the new email strategies and tactics and release the true potential of B2B email – without getting bogged down in complexity.

The right place for your B2B email marketing

Email marketers love marketing automation because it lets them do everything they used to do – often using very similar processes – plus a whole world of new things that email platforms alone could never do.

  1. Integrate your email with all channels - No more email silos. Now your email strategy benefits form insight from across your web, social, offline and beyond.

  2. Leverage triggers from any channel - So a web visit or trade show badge swipe can trigger the right email at the right time.

  3. Score and nurture leads - Attach a score to all engagements across all channels, then hand prospects over to sales when the threshold has been exceeded. You only hand them over when they’re really sales-ready.

  4. Recycle leads that aren’t ready - If sales hands a lead back because they’re on a longer time scale, it’s a crime to simply drop the prospect. Recycle them back into a nurture programme to keep them warm until they’re ready.

  5. Track email activity to revenue - By integrating it with CRM, you can see which leads turned into which deals.

  6. Manage emails and landing pages together - For full-circle marketing and granular segmentation, and it saves a lot of time and energy.

  7. Automate entire multi-step campaigns - Set up rules and campaign flows, then stand back and watch them turn a database into a revenue stream.

Clearly, email marketing has much more to offer than the traditional platforms will allow. Moving your email activity into a full-spec marketing automation platform releases all that power – without losing anything. Thousands of marketers before you have discovered that the transition isn’t just empowering, it’s easy. So go out there and see which one suits you for cost and sophistication.

In the meantime to understand how to populate your campaigns to get the best from them why not chgeck out my eBook that can be downloaded from the link below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

Tags: internet marketing consultant, b2b email marketing, small business marketing automation, email marketing software

Has Social Media Marketing grown up?

Posted by frank harris on 25/08/14 08:15

social media marketingIn the years since the emergence of social media marketing as a separate entity for marketing purposes (roughly from around the birth of Twitter in 2006) we’ve figured out a lot about what social is, how it works, and what it means for marketers.

Now you could talk directly to a brand, and have them listen to you.

For consumers, this was great. For brands, it presented opportunities and challenges. It also entailed a pretty major shift in thinking.  So has social now grown up?

Firstly, it’s worth defining ‘grown up’. I think the defining factors are:

a) has it been adopted across multiple sectors and territories?

b) does it have a proven model of effectiveness?

c) will it continue to be relevant into the future?

In the early stages in 2008, when social was taking its first tentative steps in marketing departments, it was new, shiny and cute. And some enlightened brands found it irresistible, ruffling its hair by trialling a few content ideas, largely because they could.    

Regardless of results, social media marketing provided an excuse to showcase how a brand was forward-thinking, prepared to embrace new technologies and not constrained by conventional thinking. Who really cared if it actually achieved anything?

A few fledgling campaigns caught on and the architects were lauded as guiding lights; social media soothsayers. Others also got their fingers burnt. They dived in clumsily, tripped up and got a bloody nose. But the clever kids learned fast and stole a march on their peers.       

In an Adobe Social/Econsultancy paper, two thirds of the 650 marketers surveyed stated that social was ‘integral to the marketing mix’.

They represented a mix of client-side and agencies from North America and Europe, from B2C as well as B2B. So in terms of ‘widespread adoption’, social is a winner.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Client-side respondents)

graph resized 600


Now for the issue of ROI. Without a believably credible framework, widely accepted by clients, social media marketing budgets will hit a ceiling. Instinctively you’d like to support the attractive, if slightly geeky, new kid on the block. But only up to a point, unless he’s able to actually prove his worth.   

Solid case studies have helped to prove the business imperative for intelligent use of social media – the IAB’s report was a great example of how social can really impact a brand in a positive way. ROI is starting to stack up.

A universally palatable framework remains elusive, however; one that isn’t just a popularity rating but a solid indictment of cost v benefit in pounds and pence. It’s tricky. But it is possible.

It’s worth remembering that its peers (press, TV, PR etc) don’t have water-tight ROI models, so let’s not be paralysed by fear that all the other kids in the class are older and better looking.

Finally, will social be relevant in the future? I think it will, but it won’t be called ‘social media’. I get cross when people dismiss ‘social’ as a channel. It’s not. Facebook is a social channel. Social media marketing is a culture.

It’s a new way of thinking that acknowledges that a marketing department doesn’t have all the answers and invites customers to help to define a brand’s future. This needs buy-in throughout a company, especially one that is B2B and it needs to be transparent and long-term or consumers won’t buy-in.

Social’s influence transcends all marketing channels.

So I think social media is almost grown up. It’s in its teenage angst phase: At times confident, brilliantly expressive and attractive, at other times, awkward, ineloquent and embarrassing.

When it does gain full maturity, it will have changed its name, bought a new wardrobe and graduated into a valued member of the marketing family for a long time to come.

Have a look where Social Media Marketing is going and how it will help you more falls in your small business marketing in 2014 by downloading my whitepaper on this topic from the link below:-

Social Media Marketing  The Next Generation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, get more traffic, b2b website marketing, social media marketing

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