Tag Archive for Social Media

Inbound Marketing Works: A Copywriter’s Success Story

Barry Feldman, owner of Feldman Creative, is Website Copywriter, Creative Director and Content Marketing Consultant. He helps clients create magnetic sites and inspires prospects to click around, stick around and trust the brands that deserve it.
 
Mr Feldman wrote a very interesting article about his experience of a succesful implementation of inbound marketing in his company Feldman Creative and he has shared it with us here. Thank you very much Barry!
 

“I want to tell you a little success story. I’d like to help you understand the strategy that made it work. Additionally, I’d like to help you understand why the same strategy can be the most effective marketing tactic your company will ever take. In the process, I also want to share some powerful proof points with you, actual numbers, numbers that indicate traditional media-based advertising is a money pit compared to the goldmine that is inbound marketing.

I just love the company featured in this story.

This is the story of a copywriting company. Okay, it’s about Feldman Creative, my company, and how I’ve managed to revive the demand for my services by using inbound, that is, Internet marketing principles.

First, a little back story… I’ve been a self-employed, freelance copywriter for 18 years. When I gave birth to Feldman Creative in 1995, my business boomed. I didn’t do all that much to make it happen either. I was in the right place, Silicon Valley, at the right time, when everybody and their grandmas were going online.

You might have heard about this thing that came to be known as the “dot bomb explosion” (or implosion) in 2001. Many schemes and dreams died. The stock market descended, to put it mildly. Marketing budgets disappeared and many a marketing professional lost their jobs and began working on getting a real estate license or selling insurance. My business tanked, to put it mildly.

I rode out the storm the best I could and realized a minor comeback, but learned to live with a much smaller income, to put it mildly. I searched for clients, for new markets, for a job, for some kind of answer. Eventually, I invested a huge chunk of change and five frustrating years attempting to build another business, a franchise in the motor skill development field, that is, children’s gymnastics, dance and sports. Noble? Maybe. Profitable? No.

My efforts to market both of my businesses were unsuccessful, to put it mildly. How could I characterize those efforts in a few words? Advertising. Direct response. These are the things I was told to do. They also happen to be a couple of things I know how to do. In fact, as a veteran of the advertising and lead generation business, I was able to do more of it for less because I seldom had to pay for any kind of creative services. I was my own advertising agency. I did the writing, much of the design, and all of the media buying.

It didn’t work. Want to know why?

Advertising and direct response don’t work all that well.

What?! Did a 25-year veteran of advertising just shoot down his own business in a bold headline? Afraid so. Did I just write my company’s obit? No sir. I gave it a new life.

I haven’t stopped marketing. I stopped wasting my time and money. I pulled the plug on my attempts to interrupt people with salesy messages that don’t interest them. I turned my strategy outside-in. Outside-in? Yes ma’am, outside-in. I stopped trying to find customers and started doing everything I can to have customers find me. It worked.

Inbound marketing works.

What’s inbound marketing? HubSpot wrote the book on it, so we’ll go with their definition:

inbound marketing definitionI got this image as well as the “eat pie” image from a slideshow by HubSpot, which elegantly defines and makes the case for inbound marketing in an easy-to-understand presentation. Watch it here. Not now, please. After my story. (Okay, now’s okay too.)

Before you conclude this advertising veteran denounces traditional advertising media and wants you to believe every dime you put into it amounts to ten wasted cents, hear me out just a bit. I’m not saying radio, television and print advertising doesn’t help build your brand. I’m not saying you shouldn’t create brochures or send out mail. I’m saying:

  • It’s risky. You may or may not increase sales with it.
  • It’s expensive. You have to pay for your media and may wish you could have your money back.
  • Its ROI is low and getting lower all the time.

These aren’t opinions. They are realities.

When you rely solely on traditional advertising tactics you interrupt people with messages they are not looking for. If you fast forward through commercials, listen to commercial-free radio, throw out much of your mail, or have a spam filter in place, you know exactly what I mean.

Your customers welcome inbound marketing.

The marketing tactics I’m talking about, those we can now define as “inbound,” turns the equation outside-in and upside down. The customer comes to you. They want information, information you provide. They want help. So you help them. They’re searching for something, something you have. The customer comes from the outside, the web usually, by way of Google usually, into your domain.

How sweet is that?

It’s pretty sweet, my friend. The customer grants you permission to state your case. This is the very core of the concept of inbound marketing. So repeat after me: THE CUSTOMER GRANTS YOU PERMISSION TO STATE YOUR CASE. (Sorry about the shouting.)

If you do inbound marketing correctly, you connect with customers the way they want, by giving them what they want, where and when they want it. The sweet story gets even sweeter… You do all this in media that doesn’t have media costs! You do it with an SEO strategy that takes care of itself. Keywords are the new neon signs (nice one, HubSpot).

You do it with your website, blog, contributed articles, with Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Pinterest, YouTube, via email subscriptions, via RSS feeds. You do it with press releases, primers, e-books, seminars, slide shows. These tools, created by professionals and presented correctly, position you as an authority on whatever subject you’re an authority on.

It’s just a beautiful thing and I haven’t even got to the best part yet, the real cherry on top of the icing, on top of the addictively sweet cake.

The best part is you don’t have to sell. When the customer is ready to buy, they’ll buy. When you look at the infographic below be sure to make it to the final point. Notice how the leads-to-sales rate is way higher on inbound initiatives.

Now back to the Feldman Creative success story…

I’ve been doing these things for a year or more. I started right after reading the great book “Inbound Marketing.” Though I could live with you calling me a copywriter still, I have transformed into a website copywriter and online content marketing consultant. I’m also a certified inbound marketer (and have the cert to prove it). Yes, I write, as I always have. However, I don’t look for clients as I had prior to 2011. They find me. It doesn’t cost much money, but it does takes a lot time and requires a lot of learning, experimenting, and an ongoing commitment to refining strategy and content.

But it works. In the past 18 months the demand for business has shot up. I have taken on about 30 or more new clients. Traffic on my site is 5 – 10X what it used to be. A few days ago, after an article I wrote about the “call to action” was published on SocialMediaToday.com and LinkedIn Today and shared across the social mediasphere, traffic on my site spiked to an all-time high: about 400% above my previous best day.

The free resources I offer, two aces of my current content marketing strategy, are downloaded and viewed as much as 100 times per day. In addition to being a favorite amongst my site visitors, the ebook I’ve penned, “21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website,” continues gaining popularity on SlideShare, Scribd, Squidoo and UpMarket. I’m starting to field offers to speak and getting interview requests. On most days, my community expands many times over with new Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn connections, Google Plus associations, Pinterest pinners, and professional partners.

You could say things have got pretty crazy, but truth be told, it all makes perfect sense. People want to learn more about what I’ve become an expert in: how to use the Internet to reduce marketing spend and expand your business.  I did it. You can too. And I’d be absolutely delighted to show you how and then write your success story about inbound marketing”.

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Which sentence has made more effect on you when reading this article? We like “Your customers welcome inbound marketing”. What is your favorite?

We look forward to reading your lines.

What’s the fuzz, Google plus?

 

 
The google+ project is full of promise – but what is the status six months after release?
 

Here is a quick view of the situation in Norway posted in Renommé Communication Blog by Marit Letnes and the team from the agency.

Google+ has 90 million registered users. About 300.000 Norwegians have registered an account on the social network. But the activity level varies. At first sight Google+ seems to be a great success, but do companies need to be on Google+ to keep up to speed?

In Norway, Facebook have 2,6 million users, Linkedin 550.000 and Twitter have 340.000, according to ComScore’s latest report.
Google+ (g+ from now on) is a social platform with new functions that in several ways challenges Facebook. G+ still operates in a beta version, but is open for everyone. The number of registered accounts increases every day. But still, the buzz about g+ amongst professionals in marketing and social media in Norway seems to be non-existent.
Six months have gone by since g+ was launched, which is a long time when it comes to social media, especially with a giant like Google at the wheel. Most people in the social media business seem to wait it out. In December 2011 the Norwegian Social Media Advisor Hans-Petter Nygård-Hansen wrote in his blog that g+ hasn’t seen lift off . This fits with our impression. Do we really need g+?

Since g+ was launched, we at Renommé have kept track of what’s new, read blogs and created our own profiles. But it never really caught our interest in the same way that Facebook did. We acknowledge the value of g+ when it comes to sharing information, but so far we can manage without it. Here at Renommé we don’t recommend our clients g+ to use in their social media communication, but this may change in the future.

Testing the waters

Last week SoMe expert Morten Myrstad dropped quite a bomb. He claimed in a blog post that by not paying attention to g+, Norwegian SoMe advisors weren’t doing their job.

“I’m surprised that Norwegian Social Media advisors continue to ignore g+, and even more importantly, they ignore the businesses that are testing g+ potential for marketing and building relations. I’ve reached only one conclusion; they are not doing their jobs”.

Myrstad states that a part of the job description for Social Media advisors is to be ahead of the game when it comes to new trends, and to test out new platforms way ahead of their clients. So when the time comes Social Media advisors can guide their clients on how to make the most out of a new platform.
This I can’t argue with. We need to be up to speed when it comes to new platforms. But g+ isn’t exactly popular in Norway, or is it?
Myrstad asked: « What’s the risk in paying attention to g+? Worst case scenario you learn a few things and gain a couple of new friends?»
This triggered quite a debate amongst Norwegians Social Media advisors. In no time the post had 58 pluses, 38 shares and 108 comments. This shows that a lot of Social Media advisors are lurking in the halls of g+, and now they are commenting with great insight.

A quick summary of the discussion:

  • Norwegian Social Media advisors agree that it’s important to be ahead of trends and try out new platforms before clients do.
  • Even though it’s important to try out new platforms and communication channels, the main focus will be on the platforms which are the most frequented, g+ not included.
  • It’s exciting to see how g+ will affect Google searches.
  • Google+ seems to a bit spamish in its current state.
  • It takes time to learn how to navigate g+, but this is no excuse. Learning a new skill set takes time.
  • Many advisors promise to be more active on g+ from now on.
  • The participants are a bit confused when it comes to what g+ actually is. G+ isn’t Twitter or Facebook, no one quite knows what it is yet.

Marketing on G+

When it comes to marketing, G+ opened for dedicated business pages early in November. We follow them with a keen eye. A good example  is the scandinavian airline SAS, who have 600 people in their circle, and they’re just starting up. Toyota and Mashable are also good examples on good use of the g+ platform.
It’s not the case that Norwegian Social Media Advisors aren’t interested in learning or adapting to new settings. Our main concern is to promote our clients on the platforms where their targeted groups actually are. In the last six months there has to our judgement not been relevant to our clients to use g+ as a place for promotion. But this may of course very quickly change. So we’ll most definitely keep on checking the waters. You are most welcome to add us to your circles. We are Marit Letnes,  Anne Aaby and Trine Knudsen Dabbadie. What about you? Are you promoting g+ as a platform your clients should use?

Visit Renommé’s Blog for more information.

Photo: DigitalOrrey (Flickr license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
About Renommé: At Renommé we empower our clients to work easier and more profitable by offering a fully integrated communication service. We have the right tools for the job at hand – be it an ad campaign, events, PR, social media, web solutions or participation at exhibitions.