Are You Guilty Of Misunderstanding These Marketing Terms?

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

People often simplify certain aspects of digital marketing to the point that when they incorporate these concepts into a campaign, they no longer work. An example of this would be the basic understanding of SEO. You might think SEO is just a matter of adding the right keywords and links to your site. But before you even consider the SEO tactics you could use you should consider the type of SEO you need.

If you’re marketing to a local consumer base, you will need local SEO. That involves using tools like Google Business and has very little to do this with the design of the website. Or, you might prefer to pay for SEO directly using a service such as Adwords. Again, this is vastly different when compared with organic SEO tactics such as adding backlinks or using keywords carefully. Let’s examine some of the other marketing tactics that may get muddled. 

Social Media Marketing
A lot of new business owners think that social media marketing is just about joining as many social networks as possible, posting on them as often as they can. Interestingly though, if you use social media in this way, you won’t find much success with your marketing campaign. Not all business customers use every type of social media, and even if they do, you won’t catch their interest with a basic post. Instead, you need to make sure you are using sharable content on your networks. You need to produce and publish information and graphics that are going to excite or intrigue customers and clients.

To do this, you need to understand how to produce targeted content. This will directly appeal to clients who will be interested in your services and the products sold by your company. Or, you can think about using UGC. UGC or user generated content simply means that you get your clients and customers to create if for you. These are just two of the ways that you can use social marketing to be more effective in promoting your company.

Link Building
As soon as you read the word ‘link,’ you probably thought of something like this. Since that link is connected to a different area on the web, that is a backlink and backlinking can be a key part of an SEO linking strategy. Link building, on the other hand, is something completely different. Link building is a more general term to describe connecting with other websites and companies online to boost your business reach or expand your brand. It can evolve tactics like backlinking, but it might also use other strategies such as guest posts. By guest posting on another site, you can attract the users of that web page to your website, potentially increasing traffic and hopefully boosting customer numbers. If you simplify link building down to just using links within site content, you won’t make an impression on the market.

Growth Hacking
This term is fairly new and the first documented use was in 2010. What do people think it refers to? Usually, if you ask a new marketer what growth hacking is they suggest it’s a blackhat form of SEO or something that is ethically dubious. Of course, that’s not even remotely close to describing growth hacking. It’s actually just a term to describe ways to grow your company while keeping costs low. One possible growth hacking tactic would be using a free form of marketing like building a blog to connect with a customer base. Growth hacking tactics are particularly useful for SMEs with limited budgets.

 

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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Pros & Cons

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

As any entrepreneur knows, when it comes to business success, marketing plays a vital role. The fact is that you could have the most innovative product or service on offer, but if no one knows about it, your chances of success are low. That’s why for businesses in all industries marketing is an important element.

Until a decade or so ago, outbound marketing was the in thing in marketing. Outbound marketing was the most common form of marketing companies used because it was seen as the most effective marketing method. However, today that is no longer the case. Over the past few years, when it comes to the most effective form of marketing, outbound marketing is on the decline.

Today, inbound marketing is quickly becoming the most effective marketing method. Inbound marketing is not only more cost effective and interactive, but it is also a fantastic way to generate leads for customers and increase sales, which is why it’s so popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

What’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a type of marketing that relies on earning a person’s interest, rather than buying it. Whereas, outbound marketing tends to push products and services at customers.

Inbound marketing is a more interactive form of marketing because it allows two-way communication, it’s a form of marketing where customers come to you – they find your brand, products and services. This kind of marketing seeks to entertain and educate. While outbound marketing focuses on one-way communication – the brand communicating with the consumer. With outbound marketing methods, customers are sought out with print, TV, radio adverts, and brochures, banners and business cards. With outbound marketing, there’s no focus on educating consumers or offering them value; it’s simply a case of advertising a product or service.

In recent years, there has been a shift in terms of how the majority of companies choose to market their products or services. The reason for this shift is because of the changes in consumer behavior, with more and more consumers preferring to be in control of the information that they receive. With outbound marketing, the company is completely in control, whereas with inbound marketing consumers have more control over the information that they receive. This shift in consumer habits can be seen in the change in the way that the majority of people view marketing. Studies have found that 85 percent of people now skip TV adverts, while 91 percent of email users have unsubscribed from a company’s email subscription service.

What are the pros and cons of inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on businesses websites and social media channels being found by customers. Inbound marketing allows businesses to earn their way into consumer habits, instead of pressuring their way in with constant adverts and pop-ups. The most effective inbound marketing techniques include content marketing, which many businesses collaborate with an SEO company for and social media marketing. Content marketing is effective because content provides consumers with value as it educates and entertains them, which is what makes content marketing such a useful marketing method.

Pros:

  • Inbound marketing is cost effective and has a high ROI, which makes it a suitable marketing method for businesses of all shapes and sizes, from startups to large corporations.
  • The reach of inbound marketing tends to be high and requires limited effort to achieve fantastic results, making it ideal for anyone with limited time to commit to their marketing methods.
  • Inbound marketing is content rich, which means that it helps to increase brand awareness. By filling your website with niche articles about the area of business that you are in, you are able to position yourself as an expert in your niche. This helps to build brand awareness.
  • Then there’s the fact that inbound marketing allows you to develop a relationship with your customers by interacting with them. The benefit of developing a relationship with your customers is the fact that it will help to make your brand more trustworthy and will increase your reliability.

Cons:

  • One of the cons to utilizing inbound marketing is that to do so effectively; you will require a well-built website. To be able to effectively utilize inbound marketing, you require a website that has a blog section and offers email marketing; it also needs to be SEO optimized.
  • Then there’s the fact that it will take time for your inbound marketing methods to work. For example, to have a website that is an effective marketing tool, it needs to be allowed to grow and develop so that it’s SEO is on point, and its search engine rank is as high as possible.
  • For content to be shared widely, there’s also the issue of growing a large following on social media. For companies with large social media followings, viral marketing is one benefit that can make marketing products or services easier.

What are the pros and cons of outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing has been around for a long time – it’s the oldest form of marketing there is. Outbound marketing sends out blasts of information about a product or service via TV, radio adverts, brochures, flyers, or billboards, with the hope of getting something back from consumers. The results of outbound marketing are harder to track than the results of inbound marketing, yet most companies allocate around 90 percent of their marketing budgets to this form of marketing.

Pros:

  • One of the most common types of outbound marketing is cold calling, and although it’s not always popular with consumers, studies show that it can work well in some instances. This depends, of course, on what it is that is being sold. However, in some instances, cold calling can work well.
  • Another pro of outbound marketing is that it allows you to advertise your product or service to a wider group of people instead of just one small demographic. This is a pro as sometimes you may not realize that a certain demographic would be a good fit for your products or services, but it turns out that it is.

Cons:

  • One con of outbound marketing is the fact that it can be difficult to track your ROI. This can make it difficult to determine the effectiveness of your marketing methods.
  • Another con of outbound marketing is the use of face blocking techniques by consumers. Wondering what this is? Face blocking techniques are ways that consumers ensure they are not exposed to outbound marketing, such as by having their phone numbers put on ‘do not call’ lists and by blocking online adverts and pop-ups.

The issue with outbound marketing is that a lot of outbound marketing campaigns can be high cost and have low results, which means that they aren’t exactly cost effective.

Telling people what you do

 

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

So you’ve 
started your own business – congratulations! What’s next? How do you make sure that people know about your products and services? 

Find Your Message
First, you need to figure out what exactly it is that you want to communicate. If you’re a digital marketing agency then you need to know what exactly it is that makes you different from your competitors and why people should work with you. If you work in sales, what exactly do you do to ensure that your business is better than the rest and that you provide great customer service? Make sure that you have an elevator pitch – a couple of sentences that explain exactly what you do to anyone who asks you when you’re out and about so that they understand your company and you don’t have to waste a lot of time going back on what you’ve already said!

Learn How To Network
Even if you feel uncomfortable and awkward doing it, networking is absolutely essential if you want your business to be successful. Go to networking events and conferences with a wallet full of business cards and a smile on your face. Make sure that you talk to everyone that you can and you make a connection with each person – ask them questions, listen carefully to the answers and figure out how you can work together in a way that benefits both of you. Finally, remember not to take advantage of all those free glasses of wine – you want to stay clear-headed when you’re trying to network.

Get Advertising
One of the best ways to really get word out there about your business is to advertise it. If that isn’t your area of expertise, it can be hard to know exactly where to start and what you should do. If you aren’t certain, you could bring in an advertising agency – you can work with them so that you can develop the right publicity and advertising campaign for your company which puts across the right message while remaining true to what you are and what you do. Bringing in an ad agency will mean that you can focus on the task at hand, which is the business itself.

 

Use Social Media
You should also develop a social media strategy. Use sites such as Twitter and Facebook and make sure that every tweet or update is checked for spelling, punctuation and grammar issues before they’re sent out. If your company is design focused you could also use Instagram to upload photos that represent your style and taste. Your social media channels will allow you to make your company more human and to completely develop your voice. Keep it professional and light at the same time. 

Don’t create an online presence and then ignore it

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

There are some businesses who thrive with a minimal online presence. However, those are becoming fewer and further between. Unless you are a well-known and established local business, then you are at the minimum going to need a website and a Facebook Business page. 

 

Goals
This is the first question you have to ask yourself before you launch any online campaign. What are you trying to do? Do you want to get a certain level of visibility or name recognition? Do you want to build a database of leads you can follow-up on? Do you want to increase your online sales revenue? Analytics data can help you better track your progress in any one of those fields. Similarly, different methods will help you achieve different goals. For instance, if you want to build that database of leads, you might be better off using online fact-finding methods like questionnaires and surveys as opposed to search engine optimization, which is better for improving visibility.

Specificity
Every industry has different norms to adhere to, as well. Successful attorney web marketing is much different from successful restaurant web marketing. The former uses valuable content such as advice and solutions to demonstrate expertise while the latter might make use of more visual marketing methods such as photography to create a sensory experience. Your marketing must play to the strengths of your business. To achieve that, it’s a good idea to use people who have worked in marketing the industry and pay attention to what methods your competitors and contemporaries are successfully using.

Relevance
Too many businesses simply throw up a website and think that’s their job done. Websites and social media channels that rarely get updated look like ghost towns. Creating a blog for the business website gives you the opportunity to populate it with content that not only wins you more leads but keeps the website looking fresh and active and enhances your SEO. Naturally, the occasional rebranding and organization of the site will also be necessary.

Community
One-way noise isn’t the best way to represent the business, either. More than marketing messages, you need positive proof. Building a community around that online presence shows a business that’s in touch with its customers and clients. Using marketing campaigns like contests to create user generated content, for instance, can offer very visual proof of an active business. Meanwhile, creating a community board for people to share advice and opinions may add to the visible activity around the business but serves as a pool of resources where the business can gather feedback and initiate internal discussions on potential developments and improvements.

 

Essential Methods For Promoting Your Ecommerce Business

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

If you have a product to sell and a website. There are few things you can do to promote your business and reach new customers. 

Content Marketing
Content marketing is the practice of publishing blog posts, videos, photos, infographics and any other kinds of content, with the aim of attracting your target audience to your website. Let’s say your ecommerce store was focussing on handbags, and it’s getting close to Mother;s Day. As part of your content marketing strategy, you’d publish a blog post called “The Perfect Outfit for a Mother’s Day Tea.” In the article, you’d list a dress, shoes, jacket, and most importantly, a handbag from your collection. Include some good photos of everything you mention, and ensure to link to a product page where readers can order the handbag you covered. This will help the chances of a fashion-conscious woman searching for ideas for herMother’s Day Tea outfit, and stumbling upon your blog. The most important part of good content marketing is knowing your target demographic (age and interests for example), in order to publish content that will be attractive and valuable to them. 

Mailing Lists
Email marketing is another powerful tool you’ll have at your disposal. If you’re not utilizing a mailing list for your ecommerce website, you are missing out on reach and impressions. If you get a visitor to your site and they decide not to buy from you, the next best thing you can hope for is to get their email address. The most popular way of doing this is using a box with a sign-up form somewhere fairly prominent on your site. If you need to outsource and splash out on some professional ecommerce website development, then make the investment. Ideally, you’ll be able to offer your target market some kind of incentive for signing up to your mailing list, for example, “sign up here and get 10% off your first order.” Pop-ups are popular when it comes to sign-up forms, but it’s also quite effective to add one to the end of your blog posts. Obviously, a lot of people will want to actually sample some of the content before they give you access to their inbox. You can also include a chance to sign-up as part of the checkout. Once you get a few email addresses, you should be aiming to send out at least one email a week, using them to promote new products, share relevant blog posts, offer discounts and advertise sales.

Social Media
Social media marketing is an essential component to a good marketing plan. The goal is to converse with your customers where they are. Ideally. you want to turn them into brand advocates, who will promote your business for you with little or no prompts. When launching a social media strategy, the first thing you need to do is focus on the kind of platforms you’re going to use. Typically, ecommerce sites should be using visually-orientated social networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram. However, Facebook and Twitter may have a better reach for your intended audience. Don’t feel like you need to be on every social media site. Focus on the ones that reach your audience first and grow from there. Make sure your social media strategy is closely tied to your content marketing. (If you need help with this, try J & A Creative Group!) Plan your posts out so that they’re around 10 percent promotional. This means for every 10 posts, one is promoting the business or sales focused. Review your analytics regularly and make sure you’re adjusting this to your target audience

Public Relations
Leveraging PR to help your brand can be very difficult, but if you can pull it off it can give your brand a huge booster. Magazines, newspapers, industry journals and popular blogs are always on the lookout for new articles. The key is to have a story, and ensure it’s one that’s relevant to your audience. Start off by drawing up a list of publications and blogs that your target market is likely to read, picking up contact details for the editors of each one. Next, you need to work out a good angle. Going back to the handbag example, let’s say you were reaching out to a blogger that has a strong focus on sustainable fashion products. A good angle would be centering a pitch on your locally sourced materials, or how your business has become more eco-friendly in its manufacturing process. If the blogger or magazine was more about style alone, you could focus the pitch on a certain design element or an emerging new trend. Finally, try to make it easy for the contacts you list. Editors and journalists are extremely busy people, and they’re constantly receiving pitches like the ones you’re pushing on them. Make a point of keeping the pitch clear, concise, and including some feature to it that will make it stand out from all the usual noise. Be sure to include your contact details as well.