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Posts Tagged ‘inbound’

Inbound Marketing: How to turn your customers into brand enthusiasts

November 6th, 2015
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KontrolFreek has taken a “very organic” approach to building its base of customer brand enthusiasts and ambassadors, which it calls FreekNation.

Ashish Mistry, President and CEO, KontrolFreek, sat down with me at IRCE 2015 in Chicago, and discussed how the company was able to work within pockets of influence in its digital marketing to turn customers into fans.

The key to how the marketing team has been able to do this is through a number of different avenues in its digital space.

 

Authentically develop relationships with customers

“One of the things we realized early on was that this was going to be the core of our marketing,” Ashish said.

The team thought email would be one of the main marketing drivers, he added, but what has been the most interesting development, from his perspective, is to see how important the social role of these brand enthusiasts has been for the customer base.

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2016 MarketingSherpa Awards: Customer-focused campaigns that drive results for 4 award nominees

October 2nd, 2015
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2015 MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Award WinnerWe will be evolving this year to keep up with our audience — you.

This year’s MarketingSherpa Awards extend beyond just email marketing and include marketing campaigns across all disciplines. All year long, MarketingSherpa covers compelling stories in the B2C, B2B, email and inbound spheres, so why shouldn’t our yearly awards?

The three-month process of rewarding talent is a serious endeavor. The selection process included 50 hours of pre-screening more than 300 submissions, followed by 15 hours of group deliberation by our panel of five judges. As we searched through stacks of awards and speaking applications, we were looking for a team that could carry on the legacy of previous years’ winners.

It’s now your turn. We’ve narrowed the submissions down to four of the best campaigns, and you can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner through November 10. After voting, please share your favorite nominee or insight on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria:

  • Be transformative
  • Be customer-centric
  • Be innovative
  • Offer transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts
  • Display strong results

From here, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Among many others, here are four lessons you can expect to take from this year’s Awards:

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Content Marketing How-to: Social media tips and tactics from B2B Summit panel

August 20th, 2013
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According to the MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing Handbook, companies that create content “produce higher-quality leads that are more likely to convert than organizations that do not.” Although effective, content creation is difficult.

At B2B Summit 2012, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, sat down with a panel of marketing experts: Eddie Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Topsy Labs; Nichole Kelly, President, SME Digital; and Chris Baggott, Chairman, Compendium. They exchanged insights on content creation, the importance of genuine content and how marketers can kill their career with inauthentic content they create or repurpose.

Watch as the panel discussed the value of harnessing a company’s internal email power, verifying sources and using a human tone with customers. Discover why Nichole said, “Email is the biggest wasted content resource,” and what marketers can do to utilize it.

 

Creating inauthentic content was one of the five career killers the panel discussed. Watch the full free presentation to see the rest of this discussion as well as the other four social media career killers, including:

  • Thinking your CFO is your nemesis
  • Single-use content
  • Treating social media as “special”
  • Not soliciting outside content

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Email Marketing: Maybe it really is an inbound tactic…

March 3rd, 2011
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I’m a huge skeptic by nature. Moon landing? Pshh. More like a studio production in Houston. But, Karen Rubin really won me over with this talk at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit…

Our own Adam T. Sutton recently wrote about this topic on the MarketingSherpa blog – Email Marketing: An inbound tactic?

Skeptic that I am, I had Adam thoroughly tone down that post. I did not buy into email marketing as an inbound tactic.

“Bah, all vendors just try to show how everything they could possibly make money from fits into their branded word of the day. Now get me photos of that Spiderman!” I said in my best grumpy editor voice.

But, when Karen Rubin, Product Owner, HubSpot, spoke at Email Summit 2011, she said something that really made my ears perk up (about seven minutes into the above video)…

“Those house email lists, that’s really inbound marketing. When you think about it, those are people asking to hear from you. They want to get more information. So, you’re not interrupting them when you go in their inboxes.”

Inbound & Down

So, basically there are two opposing schools of thought circling around the Interwebs right now:

  • “Email is dying” and on its way down
  • Email marketing, at least when done right, is really inbound marketing – a hot and growing marketing tactic

Or perhaps both are true? List buying is dying, while house lists continue to be effective?

In your experience as a professional marketer, which statement do you think is the most true:

  • Email is going the way of bell bottoms and Hammer pants
  • Email marketing is a form of inbound marketing – hot, profitable, muy caliente
  • Email marketing isn’t one thing – list buying is dying, but house lists are as profitable as ever (Kaching!)

(We welcome you to use the comments section and tell us which of the three statements you think is the most accurate and why)

Related resources

Optimization Summit 2011 – June 1 -3

Free MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing Newsletter

Real-time Marketing: Crowdsourced video of keynote from MarketingSherpa Email Summit

MarketingSherpa’s 3rd Annual German Email Marketing Summit – March 21-22, 2011

Growing Email Lists with Social Media

The Role of Email Marketing in an Inbound Marketing World – Karen Rubin

Inbound Marketing: Invest in content to generate leads

December 21st, 2010
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I was digging through last year’s Wisdom Report and found a great quote supporting some recent research I’ve done on inbound marketing.

Jon Miller, VP, Marketing, Marketo, told us last year that although marketing budgets are in a 10-year shift out of brand advertising and into more measurable channels, he recently saw an uptick in brand-building tactics.

“Instead of mass advertising, today we are investing more in smart ways to build brand such as in social media, search engine optimization, and content marketing,” he said.

You need to take baby steps

Miller’s advice was for marketers to take a portion of their budgets normally spent on trade shows and list purchases and to use it to hire writers to publish and promote content.

“By getting your company’s expertise out there, you create broad awareness and affinity for your brand. Those investments will turn into leads, but they will be very early-stage leads. So don’t just send them to sales: be sure to score them to identify the best ones, and nurture and develop the rest with more great content and thought leadership,” Miller said.

This strikes a close resemblance to a conversation I recently had with Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute. Pulizzi noted that a well-planned content marketing strategy can achieve a range of goals — including lead generation. However, marketers just starting out should start small.

“Just because you have a content-marketing focus does not mean that you stop doing traditional media,” Pulizzi says. “Good content marketing takes time. If you completely shut off your other channels, someone is going to get fired. You need to take baby steps… I would never say ‘kill your advertising’ because in a lot of cases it works — it just works differently.”

Make a serious commitment

Taking ‘baby steps’ helps avoid marketing disasters — but you also need a serious commitment for any chance at success. Using high-quality content to attract leads is a strategy that takes time and effort.

Writing one blog post per week and spending 10 minutes per day on social networks is not likely to bear much fruit. Instead, you should set concrete marketing goals and select the best tactics to achieve them. Then you must regularly publish the high-quality content that your audience needs most — whether it’s a series of how-to videos, an e-book series, or something else.

Content creation can be expensive in terms of dollars and time spent — and some tactics are better than others. Here are the most effective tactics for creating content, as reported in MarketingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Benchmark Report:

1. Repurpose and reformat existing content: 64% of respondents
2. Encourage customers to submit testimonials and case studies: 53%
3. Recruit authors internally: 48%
4. Outsource to a consultant or agency: 27%
5. Use social media to encourage brand advocates to produce content: 20%

Creating compelling content is never easy — but more marketers are finding that it is helping them fortify their brands’ credibility and attract prospective customers. Take a look at your budget and schedule for 2011 and see if your team can find the time to give your audience the content it’s looking for.

Related Resources:

Content Marketing: How to get your subject matter experts on your corporate blog

Personal Branding: The five elements of being seen as a thought leader through crowdsourcing

Email Marketing: An inbound tactic?

December 2nd, 2010
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A quick look at the calendar shows that tomorrow is the deadline for entering your campaign into our 6th Annual Email Marketing Awards. To those who haven’t entered yet — enter here! Thank you to all those who have entered — and please don’t forget that multiple entries are accepted.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to wrap my hands around the concept of Inbound Marketing. While it’s clear that content development and SEO are inbound tactics, there are many tactics that are not so clearly included.

Email marketing is one of these tactics. People can read your email newsletter referenced in other blogs. They can see your email promotions featured in social media networks. These are clearly inbound marketing concepts. But when you email an audience, can that really attract more customers?

When Emails Are Like Billboards

I recently spoke with Mike Volpe, VP, Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, who shared his insights on this issue. Volpe will also be presenting a case study titled “The Role of Email Marketing in an Inbound Marketing World” at our Email Summit in January. Whether an email program uses an outbound or inbound strategy depends mostly on how the marketer acquired the email addresses, he says.

“Some people will go off and purchase a list of people who have never heard of their company, and they’ll add them to their email newsletter or they’ll put them into some sort of drip email program… To me, that’s a very outbound-centric strategy,” Volpe says.

The key here is that the people receiving the email never expressed an interest in the company. This approach is similar to billboard advertising in that it reaches people who did not give an indication of wanting to be reached.

Shared Emails Can Grow an Audience

On the other hand, sending high-quality emails to an opt-in list reaches a relevant audience. This audience can secondarily attract more relevant people to your site. Here are two examples how:

Example #1. Your team emails a two-for-one promotion to your list. Subscribers click the social sharing buttons in your email and send the offer to friends on Facebook and Twitter. This pulls more relevant prospects to your website.

Example #2.
A blogger writes a post referencing an article featured in your newsletter. The reference drives more relevant prospects to your site.

The prospective customers in these examples are interested in your industry. They’ve expressed that through their social networking and blog reading. By emailing valuable content and making it easy to share, you’re encouraging subscribers to extend your reach to like-minded people.

The concept is very similar to blogging. Regularly generating high-quality content attracts a relevant audience. But in this case the platform is not a blog — it’s an email.

Is this a bit of a stretch? Probably. But Volpe’s opinion has settled the case for me. Email marketing has potential as an inbound marketing tactic. Do you agree? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

Related Resources

Call for Entries: MarketingSherpa’s 6th Annual Email Awards

Agenda Release: Email Marketing Summit 2010

New Chart: Chief Challenges to Email Marketing