Category Archives: Online Marketing

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The Relationship Between the Marketing Hourglass and Maturity Model

The Relationship Between the Marketing Hourglass and Maturity Model written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape philosophy is that marketing is a system. There are so many moving parts that go into creating a great marketing strategy that, without a guiding framework, it’s easy to get tangled up, twisted around, and lost completely in the weeds.

Over the years, I’ve developed two systems that inform all of the marketing work we do: the marketing hourglass and the marketing maturity model. The marketing hourglass is a way of thinking about the customer journey. These are the steps that a consumer will take in engaging with your brand. It starts with first coming to know you, and goes all the way down to when they’ve become a happy repeat customer, ready to refer friends.

The marketing maturity model is a way for you think about your own marketing activities. What are the assets you need to build, then grow and amplify (or ignite) in order to guide those prospects from the top to the bottom of the marketing hourglass?

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how the two systems are inextricably linked, and how you can align the way you think about the work you do behind the scenes to create your marketing presence with the experience customers are having on the other side.

The Top of the Hourglass and The Grow Phase

The top of the marketing hourglass is when prospects are first coming to know your brand. We call them the know, like, and trust phases. They’re not ready to make a purchase decision yet, but as they move through these three steps, they’re getting closer.

It starts with them first encountering your brand. Maybe they hear your name from a friend, maybe they discover you in a Google search. Whatever the case may be, you need to greet them with a solid marketing base at this stage to get them to go any further.

marketing hourglass

Create a Strong Website and Tackle SEO

Don’t you grow wary when a business operating today doesn’t have a website? What are they trying to hide? Or how far behind the times are they? The first step in the marketing maturity model is building a great website because it is the heart of your online presence. A strong website is more than great design; it’s about incorporating a modern promise that shows you understand your customers’ problems and have the best solution out there to fix it.

Behind every great website is a strong SEO strategy. While SEO is an ongoing process and there are dozens of factors to consider if you’re taking a pro-level approach, even a marketing novice can use some SEO quick fixes, like repairing broken links, checking site speed, and designing a mobile-friendly site, to get your website ranking higher.

Build Trust with Content

Once the prospect has discovered your website, you need to provide them with ways to come to know and trust your brand. That’s where the other elements of the build phase—a strong content program, social media presence, and email marketing campaign—come in.

The content on your website (blog posts, explainer videos, product descriptions, your about us page—if it’s on your website, it’s content!), should help prospects get a greater sense of what you do. Your homepage will draw them in with a promise to solve their problem, your other content needs to prove that you’re as good as you say you are. Informative blog posts, glowing reviews from existing customers, and explainer videos that teach viewers something valuable are all great ways for them to come to know and trust your brand.

Get on Social Media

Social media can help in the like and trust phases, too. Simply having a presence on the major social sites gives your business greater legitimacy. Then, creating a strong social presence, with consistent posts that are relevant and helpful, builds on the trust factor.

And take it beyond simply posting—engaging with your followers on social media means building a personal connection. It allows prospects to get to know the individuals behind the brand, and when they get 1:1 responses to their questions and comments on your page, they develop a deep trust in your business: “If they’re paying this much attention to me before I even become a customer, I’m sure I’ll be in good hands once I make a purchase!”

Stay Top-of-Mind with Email Marketing

Finally, email marketing is a great way to continue to show your expertise and remain in prospects’ fields of vision. While they have to seek out your website content or social media profiles, creating an email newsletter filled with helpful tidbits (and the occasional offer) allows you to come to them with your industry knowledge.

The Middle of the Hourglass and the Grow Phase

The middle of the hourglass are the stages we like to call try and buy. By this point, you’ve built a lot of trust around your brand. Your prospects are intrigued and really like what you do. If you can make a compelling offer to get them to give you a try, and the trial goes well, that’s often what seals the deal and helps them convert to full customer.

At this point in the marketing maturity model, you want to continue expanding your essential blocks from the build phase. Your website and content program can grow. Adding things like a regular podcast with a cadre of exciting industry guests is a great way to strengthen your content. Gather all of your relevant content together onto hub pages to give your content program and SEO a boost.

Speaking of expanding SEO efforts, focus on building up backlinks, and get Google Search Console set up so that you can optimize your search ranking for many years to come.

Also, continue to engage and follow up with leads via social media and email marketing. But it doesn’t stop there; now is the time to introduce new tactics to grow your existing relationships and turn prospects into customers.

Undertake Paid Lead Generation

When we say paid lead generation, we’re talking about things like search ads and social media advertising. These can come in many forms. A great place to start is with boosting content on social media, giving posts you’ve shared organically a broader reach for a small fee.

The more advanced tactics take you further into tracking your ads and getting more efficient about driving conversions.

Once you’ve established a series of Google Ads, you can use their offline tracking tool to understand how your ads are impacting business in the real world. By importing your sales information from conversions that happen in your brick-and-mortar store or over the phone, you can better understand the effectiveness of your online ads and refine your approach to win over more prospects.

For all of your ads, you should be creating landing pages that are unique to that particular campaign. In doing that, prospects find the exact deal, offer, or topic that intrigued them in the ad front-and-center on your website, and it makes them all the more likely to convert.

Create a Culture that Integrates Sales and Marketing

Your marketing efforts can take you pretty far, but you need them to be integrated with your sales approach from the start in order to get the greatest result. Make sure that your sales and marketing teams are in communication from day one about prospects.

Set up a clear process for the handoff from the marketing to sales teams, so no one falls through the cracks. And have your marketing team create materials for your sales team, so your brand voice remains consistent in those interactions with prospects as you’re shepherding them from your marketing to sales basket.

Focus on Customer Experience

This is the stage at which your prospects become customers. They’ve liked you enough up to this point to give you a try, so the customer experience must be stellar. That’s the way to take them from one-time customer to repeat buyer.

This starts with a killer onboarding process. No matter what kind of business you’re in, there’s some kind of onboarding for new customers.

If you sell products, your onboarding has to do with getting the product to your customer and ensuring they know how to use it. If you’re shipping your items, make sure that you have a process for your customers to track their packages. Once the item gets to them, include information that will help them get the most out of their new item.

For complicated products, like an electronic device, include clear instructions and maybe even a link to explainer videos to help them get set up. Simpler products, like clothing items, can include care instructions or even just a thoughtful thank you card to show you appreciate your customer’s business.

For services, your onboarding process might be more complex. Establishing a single point of contact within your company for any questions your new client may have, and sending along forms and paperwork that can help you both get on the same page faster, are important elements of your onboarding process.

No matter what kind of business you run, reviews are also very important at the try and buy stage. If you have an unhappy first-time customer, a speedy, sincere response to their complaint can turn things around and save the relationship. Similarly, glowing reviews shouldn’t go ignored. If you take the time to thank new customers for their positive feedback, their happy feelings will only grow!

The Bottom of the Hourglass and the Ignite Phase

By the time you’ve reached the bottom of the marketing hourglass, you’ve already won over that first-time customer. This is your chance to get them to become a life-long customer, and to tell all of their friends and family about your business.

And while it’s statistically easier to hold onto existing customers than to win new ones over, the last thing you want to do is take someone for granted now! You’ve already put in the hard work of converting them; you need to continue to wow them so that they’ll stick around.

Again, you continue to work on the existing tactics you’ve got up and running, from your website through to sales enablement and customer experience. But here, you add three more elements to take your marketing approach to a whole new level and build those lifelong customer bonds.

Invest in a CRM

A customer relationship management tool (or CRM, for short), helps you to better manage all of your customer interactions, both old and new. The tool allows you to track all points of contact with prospects and customers.

This is helpful in better understanding prospects’ path to conversion, and in offering better service to your existing customers.

Let’s say you have an existing customer who’s had an issue with an order. When your team can see that they called last week and emailed a few days later to follow up—and can pull up the transcripts of those communications, plus see notes from the customer service representative who was handling the case—you’re better able to take appropriate action for your customer, without making them explain their problem over and over each time they reach out.

Or maybe you have a customer that’s never had a complaint in their life. The CRM can still help; it can provide information for you to make smarter offers to that customer. If you’re a home improvement store and you notice that a customer recently purchased a dehumidifier, you can target them with ads about replacement filters for their new machine.

Whether you’re troubleshooting, looking for new cross-sell opportunities, or simply trying to better understand your sales pipeline, a CRM is the way to do it.

Use Marketing Automation

Marketing automation and a CRM tool often go hand-in-hand. The CRM gives you all of the customer information you could need or want to enact smart marketing automation techniques.

When you understand your customers’ behaviors, you can segment your buyers into different personas. Each type of customer has their own unique needs that your business meets, and when you understand those needs, you can create marketing materials that most effectively speak to them (and direct that messaging only at the relevant parties).

Take Advantage of AI and Analytics

Also tied in with your customer information is analytics and AI. When you’re gathering information on your customers, you can use analytics to understand what the data all means and, from there, refine your marketing strategy long-term.

Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console for your website are free to use, and can provide you with deep, meaningful information about the behaviors and attributes of your customers and prospects. You can even use more advanced techniques, like call tracking, to understand how your online marketing efforts are affecting customers’ behaviors on the phone.

Armed with this information, you can undertake A/B testing, showing two different marketing messages to two different audiences in order to understand which one works best. This kind of testing allows you to hone in on the best possible messaging for each segment of your audience, helping you to retain existing customers and win new ones who might be referred by your biggest fans.

When it comes to creating an effective marketing strategy, you need to align your marketing tactics with what your prospects and customers want and need. By using the marketing hourglass as a guidepost while you walk through the marketing maturity model, you can build a strong marketing presence that will work for your business from start to finish.

How To Write an Effective Brand Story

How To Write an Effective Brand Story written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Every business has competitors. No business will ever be the only option available to a client or customer. So every brand has to do some work to differentiate themselves from the competition. Why would someone pick you over that other guy or gal down the street? What unique value are you bringing to the table that they just can’t get with anyone else?

This is where storytelling comes in. Sure, there are a number of businesses out there that could theoretically solve your prospect’s problem. But by crafting a compelling brand story, you can differentiate yourself as the brand that understands the problem the best and has the most thoughtful solution to the issue.

There are five key elements to any effective brand story. Here, I’ll walk you through them, and give you the tips you need to create a statement that sets your business apart.

Address the Problem

People don’t seek your business out because of the product or service that you offer. They seek you out because they have a problem that needs fixing, and they think that yours could be the business to solve it.

The first step to proving that you are the best business to fix their issue is clearly defining the problem at hand. When you’re able to articulate the pain that your prospects are feeling, they immediately feel at ease: Here’s a business that gets what I need, and likely has the know-how to deliver.

So a great brand story starts with calling out your ideal customer’s problem, frustration, or challenge. Take, for example, a brand like Glossier. In recent years, they’ve squeezed into the crowded beauty space and now have a valuation of over $1 billion. They identify their customers’ issue right on their home page: “Beauty inspired by real life. Glossier is a new approach to beauty. It’s about fun and freedom and being OK with yourself today. We make intuitive, uncomplicated products designed to live with you.”

They acknowledge that their ideal customers have too many options when it comes to beauty care, that those high-fashion brands make them feel like they can’t live up to those impossible beauty standards, and that the steps to a beauty care regimen have gotten more and more complex over the years. They’re looking to pare things back and offer a handful of great products that get the job done, rather than complicate things with some other product you now need to cram into your medicine cabinet.

Paint a Picture of a Problem-Free World

Okay, so now you’ve gotten your prospect’s attention. You understand what their world is like, and you’re on their side: You know there’s a problem that needs solving. The next step is to show that a problem-free world is possible. What would your prospect’s life look like without the problem in it?

Returning to the Glossier example, they address this by sharing real-world stories of women who have embraced their intuitive approach to skincare. They include pictures of their smiling, naturally-glowing faces, and the women tell stories of a quick and easy beauty routine that still allows them plenty of time to enjoy their morning coffee before heading off to work.

How Did We Get Here?

Sure, your ideal customers have a problem, but now that you’ve called it out, you want to make sure they feel like they’re not alone. Visitors to your website shouldn’t get the sense that they’ve been called out; you want them to feel like it’s not their fault they’ve gotten into this mess!

The team at Glossier does this by acknowledging that they’re just like their ideal customer. They say that they’re “beauty editors [who have] tried it all.” They’ve walked into a Sephora and picked up every serum, eye cream, face mask, and eye shadow palette under the sun, just like their ideal clients have. And from this place of knowledge, they now create products that are uncomplicated and just work.

Outline a Way Forward

Now that you’ve addressed the issue, acknowledged that a better way is possible, and made your prospects feel that you understand how they got here, now you can show them another way.

Outline a way forward for them. Show that by taking a first step with you, they can move towards getting out of this mess and finding themselves on the other side, in a problem-free place.

Glossier does this on their site by then introducing their core products that are designed to simplify a skincare routine. There are only a handful of products, and they’re the basics anyone would need (like a moisturizer and face wash).

Invite Them to Contact You

Once you’ve proven your value by identifying your ideal customer’s problem, acknowledging that they’re not the source of the issue, and offering up your way forward, towards a brighter, problem-free future, it’s time to invite visitors to reach out. You’ve made your case for what you bring to the table, now it’s up to them to contact you to learn more.

Glossier does this at the bottom of their site. In addition to products that can be purchased online, they invite visitors to “Meet [them] in real life” by finding a store or pop-up location, and then they offer up their newsletter as a way to stay up-to-date on product launches and events.

Getting your brand to pop in the crowded online marketplace is about more than having a spiffy logo or memorable slogan. It’s even bigger than offering the best product or service out there. The secret to standing out is telling a compelling brand story. And when you follow the steps above and include those essential elements, you can guarantee that you immediately build a sense of connection between your brand and prospects.

The Role of Your Website in Guiding the Customer Journey

The Role of Your Website in Guiding the Customer Journey written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Today’s customer journey is more complex than ever. From social media to paid search to offline marketing, there are dozens of ways someone can discover your company. The main role of your website in this twisting journey is to be a solid central point.

While prospects may discover your brand anywhere, you want to be driving that traffic from those disparate points back to your website. Your website is the one online asset that you have complete control over, and a well-designed website is the key to taking the reins on guiding the customer journey.

Let me walk you through the role that your website can and should play at each stage of the customer journey.

Know and Like

Prospects discover brands through all sorts of channels, and it’s entirely possible that your website is not the first place they’ll encounter you. It might be through a local listing service like Yelp, or on social media, or maybe they see a truck with your logo driving around town—who knows! But every other channel where you are present should include your website’s URL, so that it’s easy for prospects to go there and learn more.

Additionally, there are steps you can take to give your website the best shot at being the first point of contact with your brand. Undertaking keyword research allows you to see the real terms that searchers use when looking for the solution your business offers. Once you know that information, you can optimize your website so that it ranks for those terms. Couple keyword research with some effective, descriptive metadata, and you’ll be well on your way to generating more website traffic through organic search results.

Once prospects land on your website, you want to greet them with messaging and design that helps them come to further know and like your brand. Your homepage should include a promise to visitors, front and center. The promise should demonstrate that you understand their pain points and know how to solve them. Follow that up with a call to action; something that drives them to take a logical next step with your brand. This can be something like signing up for your newsletter or a free trial—nothing that includes too big a commitment. They did just meet you, after all! You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you at the end of your first date.

There are a number of other elements I recommend including on a homepage, but what’s most important is that you share what it is that you solve for your customers and how you can help others solve those same problems, too.

Trust and Try

Once a prospect has your brand on their radar screen, your website can help to strengthen their trust in you, until they finally decide to give you a try.

There are many trust-building elements that you can and should include in your website. Testimonials and case studies are a great way to demonstrate the value you’ve brought to other customers. They help to build an emotional connection with the prospect, who can see themselves reflected in the needs and struggles of your existing customer.

Content is also a critical element in building trust. Blogs, podcasts, and videos are all ways to share meaningful content with your audience. Your website should be the central location where all of your content lives, so that anyone interested in learning more about what you do can discover the wealth of knowledge you bring to the table. I also strongly advocate for the creation of hub pages. These pages bring all of your content on a centralized topic together on one page. They establish you as an authority on the subject (and they’re great for boosting your SEO, too!).

Once those trust elements have won over your audience and they’re ready to give you a try, you want to greet them with an appropriate call to action (CTA) that guides them to the next phase of the customer journey. Include relevant CTAs on your trust-building pages. At the bottom of your hub page, offer free access to a paid report. At the bottom of your testimonials page, include a CTA to schedule a free consultation.

Buy

You’ve reached the moment of truth! Your prospect is ready to become a first-time customer, and it’s again up to your website to help you make it happen.

At this stage, it’s about reducing friction in the purchasing process as much as possible, to ensure that you don’t lose any interested prospects at the last minute because of a frustratingly complex purchasing process. If you have an e-commerce shop, reduce the number of clicks it takes to add items to a cart and to complete check-out. Ask for as little information as possible to complete the sale. When customers feel bogged down with long forms or a circuitous route to check-out, it’s possible you can lose them at the moment of truth.

If yours is a service business, create a simple online sign-up form, so that prospects can easily make an appointment. Use a platform that doesn’t require them to register for an outside app or service to schedule. And including thoughtful touches, like a system that automatically adds the confirmed appointment to your customer’s calendar app of choice, is a nice way to make the buying process as seamless as possible.

Repeat and Refer

Once you’ve won over a new customer, your website’s work isn’t over! There are opportunities to turn that one-time customer into a lifelong one—someone who refers friends and family along the way.

A well-designed sitemap can help to encourage repeat purchases. When you’re building your website, think about the best way to showcase related product and services. Driving customers who have already made a purchase to another area of your website that covers a complementary offering is a smart way to drive upsells and repeat business. A CRM tool that’s synced up with your website is also a great way to keep track of past purchases so that you can use email marketing to send related offerings to interested customers straight to their inbox.

Your website can help you to collect feedback and reviews, which can in turn generate referral business. Through your site, you can link out to your profiles on Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook, making it easy for your existing happy customers to share positive feedback about your business on these other platforms. You can also solicit testimonials from your existing customers, which you can feature on your website.

Your website is the heart of your online presence. It needs to be ready to work for you and your customers at any stage along their journey. Whether they’ve just discovered you via a new search or are coming back to make their 100th purchase, your website should make it easy for them to find all of the information and support they need.

A Quick and Effective Approach to Facebook Advertising

A Quick and Effective Approach to Facebook Advertising written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Facebook remains the dominant social media platform. In a recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that there are more than 2.2 million daily users on the platform. That means that small business owners who are not advertising on Facebook are missing out on an opportunity to connect with about a third of the global population.

If you’ve been thinking about Facebook advertising but are intimidated by the process of starting an ad campaign on the platform, never fear. This simple guide will help you get your first campaign up and running.

Start by Setting Goals

What are you really hoping to accomplish with your Facebook campaign? Yes, you’re hoping for more business, but how will you measure success? Set clear goals with firm numbers. Something like, “We’re hoping to increase website traffic by X percentage” will help guide you through the process much more effectively than a goal like, “find new prospects.”

Establish Your Budget

Before you dive into the actual creation of the campaign, you’ll want to know the limits of what you can actually spend. A lot of small businesses don’t set a firm budget for Facebook and end up increasing their spend month after month, chasing greater results.

That is a recipe for spending well outside your means, and will also allow the Facebook advertising platform to run you, rather than you working intelligently within a budget to get the most out of what you can actually afford to spend.

It’s best to set a daily budget when you’re first starting out. This allows you to monitor your spend more closely, and you can adjust or pause spending as you learn more about your ad costs.

Find Your Audience

Facebook advertising can allow you to stay top of mind with your existing customers and also reach a whole new audience who might also have interest in your products and services.

You should already have some information about the customers you interact with regularly. Things like age, location, and gender are ways that you can narrow down the audience for your ads. You’re able to customize all of this information, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that just yet, Facebook can auto-select your ad placement for you.

You can also target your advertising towards people who have interacted with your business in person but haven’t necessarily encountered it online. By creating a custom audience for offline activity, you can present your advertising to people you’ve either met at in-person events or at your brick-and-mortar store (more details on how to establish a custom audience for offline activity can be found here).

You can also use the Facebook Pixel tool to install a line of code into your company’s website. This code tracks those who visit your site and will send them targeted Facebook ads based on their behavior. For example, if you own a shoe store and someone recently browsed your site for women’s shoes, you can target them with Facebook advertising for your new wedge sandals.

Facebook also allows you to create lookalike audiences using information you have on the demographics of your existing customers. You upload the information on your current customers into the Facebook ad platform, and they will generate a list of users who have similar attributes.

Settle on Your Ad Type

Facebook offers a variety of ad types of businesses. The type of ad you choose to create will depend on the goals you’ve set for your campaign.

  • Link click ads and video ads are probably what comes to mind when you picture a Facebook ad. They’re incorporated into a viewer’s newsfeed. They contain either a static image or video, and will direct traffic to your external website, to a landing page or blog post of your choice.
  • Boosted page posts are a little different. You can always post something on your business’s Facebook page for free, but you can choose to boost the post for a cost, amplifying the reach of the original post.
  • Carousel ads and collection ads also appear in viewer’s newsfeeds, and they provide them the opportunity to scroll through a variety of images. These are popular with retailers offering a variety of similar products.
  • Dynamic product ads are those ads linked up with the Google Pixel code. These ads are displayed based on a visitor’s past actions on your company’s website.
  • Lead ads contain a form within the ad, allowing viewers to download your ebook or sign up for your newsletter all from within the Facebook platform. This allows you to eliminate the steps of asking them to travel to your external website and click a call to action button there.
  • Page like ads allow you to drive visitors to your business’s Facebook page. They contain an image and text, plus a button for them to like your page.
  • Page post photo and video ads allow you to share photos or video from your Facebook page with your chosen audience.
  • App ads allow you to present viewers with a photo and an accompanying link encouraging them to download your business’s mobile app.
  • Event ads and offer claims allow you to promote a specific upcoming event or promotional offer for your business.
  • Local awareness ads allow you to target viewers within a certain geographic location. This is a great option for small local businesses hoping to reach people in their neighborhood.
  • Messenger ads are incorporated into the viewer’s Facebook Messenger feed. These messages appear alongside chats with their friends, and when they click on the ad, they can chat with your business.

Check out the guide in this article for more on which types of ads best align with which goals.

Check Your Progress

Once you’ve selected your ad type, you’re not done just yet! You’ll want to check in on how your ad is performing against the goals you set for the campaign. Continue to refine your approach as you go, tweaking your images and messaging in the ad, adjusting your target audience, or considering another ad type if you’re not getting the desired results with your present type.

How to Find Success as a Podcast Advertiser or Sponsor

How to Find Success as a Podcast Advertiser or Sponsor written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

People love podcasts. According to Podcast Insights, there are over 660,000 podcasts, which means that no matter what topic or area you’re passionate about, there’s probably a podcast out there that covers it.

Outside of the breadth of content available, podcasts are also a seamless way to consume information. Whether you’re doing the dishes at home, commuting to work, or enjoying lunch at your desk, it’s easy to hit play and listen to your favorite show. In that same survey, Podcast Insights found that a full 51 percent of Americans had listened to podcasts in the past.

Knowing how popular the medium is, brands can clearly understand the benefit of sponsoring or advertising on a podcast. You can reach a whole new audience if you’re strategic about how you select a program and move forward with the sponsorship process.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of sponsoring a podcast but aren’t sure where to start, we’re happy to share what we’ve learned about the sponsorship process over the 10 plus years of producing the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

Selecting the Right Podcast

As I mentioned, there are literally hundreds of thousands of shows to choose from. So how do you select the one that best aligns with your needs and desired audience? (You can see the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast here to better understand who we target)

Start by honing in on the right area of focus. Our sponsors are hoping to reach the community of small business owners, marketing consultants, and agencies, which is how we end up on their short list.

After you’ve narrowed the field to the most relevant podcasts, give them a listen. Each host has a unique pace, tone, and approach; each show has its own format; and each audience will have its own demographics.

When you understand your existing customers, you can identify the show that best aligns with what they would want or need from a podcast. And once you’ve done that, you can feel confident that the audience for the podcast will likely find the goods and services you offer to be highly relevant. These are the kinds of people you want to introduce to your brand!

Making Sure You Shine On-Air

Once you’ve selected the podcast that’s best suited to your brand, you want to work with the podcast team to ensure your business sounds amazing to their listeners.

As a part of our sponsorship or advertising process, we ask for a handful of resources to ensure that we’re properly communicating the desired message to our audience and that we’re sharing the facts and links that are most important to our sponsors.

We start with a request for talking points. Because you already studied the podcast’s tone and messaging as part of the selection process, you can tailor your talking points to match that voice and to best speak to their specific audience. Don’t just give listeners your generic elevator pitch; tell them something special about your business, and consider making an exclusive offer, just for listeners. It should be something attractive to them, and you should make it easy for them to redeem by providing a simple URL to follow to access the offer.

Next up is your logo. Your logo is an easy way to visually communicate who you are and what you do. And the more frequently prospects encounter your logo, the more likely they’ll be to visit your website or seek out more information about your brand. Making sure your logo is included on the transcript and dedicated blog post is key.

Finally, you want to create a link to your website. If you’ve made a special offer for podcast listeners as a part of your talking points, then you’ll want to create a landing page specifically for this offer. Not only will this allow you to greet listeners with a header, welcoming them from the show and offering the promised deal; it also allows you to see how much traffic your sponsorship message is generating. This provides a concrete way to track ROI.

Thinking Beyond Your First Episode

The best things in life often take a bit of time to get off the ground. You can’t expect to see results after sponsoring just one episode of a podcast.

All marketers understand the importance of repetition in getting a brand’s name out there. It’s been said that a consumer needs to encounter a brand seven times before they even begin to consider doing business with them.

That’s why we recommend a sponsorship that lasts for several months. A three-month sponsorship of a weekly or bi-weekly show gives you between nine and 18 opportunities to put your business’s name in front of the show’s audience.

If you do opt for a longer sponsorship period, consider swapping out the offer made to listeners. Most shows have loyal listeners, but if they encounter the same offer month after month, they might start to tune you out. Providing offers that are fresh not only grabs listeners’ attention, it also provides a sense of urgency—get this offer before the month is out and it’s gone!—which can help to drive conversions.

Getting the Most Out Of Your Sponsorship

You’ve put together your offer, talking points, and special link. Now your job is done and it’s all in the hands of the podcaster, right? Wrong!

There’s still work to be done once the episodes are released. Don’t sit back and expect people to happen upon the episodes you’ve sponsored—promote them proactively.

Give the episode a listen and identify the one piece of information or tip that your audience would be most excited to hear about. Then shout it out on social media, send an email newsletter telling your fans about the episode, or boost the post on your favorite social channels.

I’m amazed by how many of our sponsors don’t support their own sponsorship efforts by going that extra mile to promote the show. Sponsorship is an incredible value, but you can get even more out of the experience by sharing the show with both your internal and external audiences.

If you’ve ever wondered what podcast sponsorship could do for your business, the short answer is: a whole lot! If you’re smart about selecting the right show, providing assets and offers that will grab listeners’ attention, understanding that results won’t happen overnight, and doing the legwork to help spread the word about the podcast, you can end up with an incredible return on your sponsorship investment.

Tips for Getting Your Audience to Stay on Your Website Longer

Tips for Getting Your Audience to Stay on Your Website Longer written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

You put a lot of time, effort, and money into developing a website for your business. So you want to be sure that it’s capturing people’s attention and giving them the information they need to feel good about doing business with you.

But no one can learn what you’re all about in a second or two. You must hold visitors’ attention long enough for them to learn what they need to learn about your business. And while you can’t control a stranger’s attention span, there are things you can do to encourage your audience to stay on your website longer.

Put Your Value Proposition Front and Center

Prospects are coming to your website because they have a problem. The most important thing for them to learn when your page loads is, “Can this business solve my problem?”

If you make it hard for visitors to determine what you do, they’re going to quickly lose interest. Google turns out thousands upon thousands of search results in an instant. A confused prospect can and will easily find another business who’s clearer about their value proposition and how they can fix the issue at hand.

Your value proposition should be one sentence at the top of your landing page that simply and elegantly highlights what you do. And it should be something that speaks specifically to your ideal customer—it won’t be something that everyone can relate to. For more on how to find your ideal value proposition, check out this post.

Write Better Copy

Part of keeping people engaged is presenting your information in an interesting way. There is a right way and a wrong way to write website copy. Long, jargon-filled paragraphs and wishy-washy headlines are a great way to confuse and alienate your audience.

Stick with short, punchy headlines that clearly demonstrate what a reader can expect to find on any given page. Paragraphs should be no more than four sentences, and those sentences should be concise.

Focusing on how the copy can serve your value proposition and your calls to action on each page can help you to define exactly what you need from your writing.

Create Informative Content

The best way to build trust and keep your audience on your site is to prove that you have the expertise to solve their problem. And the best way to do that is to fill your site with informative content.

Blog posts that provide rich information and actionable steps for readers are a great place to start. Once you’ve created content that’s meaningful for your audience, consider grouping it on hub pages. These pages allow you to centralize information on a given topic, which is helpful for visitors looking for answers, and also boosts your site’s SEO.

Outside of written content, you want to mix things up. Varied content keeps people engaged. Work to incorporate video into your strategy. Think about infographics and other ways, beyond website copy, to present relevant information. People have different learning styles, so creating content in various forms allows you to capture the attention of all your prospects.

Think About Structure

How you structure the information on your website can help to keep your audience around. Think about it from a storytelling perspective. Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. For brands, the beginning of your story is your offer to solve a prospect’s problem. The middle is the specifics on how you do it, and the end is the prospect converting to customer.

When you think about it that way, it allows you to get smart about how you structure your website. Your landing page should address the prospect’s problem. Pages below that in the hierarchy should support your initial value proposition, and provide visitors with more specifics about how you can fix their issue. Finally, this leads them to a place where they can make a purchase or speak to your sales team.

Get Smart with Calls to Action

Calls to action are not only a way to keep your audience on your website for longer, they’re a great way to build trust and drive conversions.

Set a goal for each page of your website, and have a corresponding CTA that drives a related conversion. That conversion could be the collection of an email address to add them to a mailing list or to send them a relevant white paper. It could be setting up a call with a sales rep to discuss your product offerings. Or it could be something as simple as sending them to a relevant blog post on your site.

When your calls to action are tailored to the information on each page, then you’re ensuring a higher rate of conversion because the visitor to that page is interested in the topic at hand. The CTA provides you the opportunity to give them the additional information they crave, proving your authority and trustworthiness as a brand. Plus, you’re able to learn more valuable information about your prospects that you can use to greet them with additional tailored offers in the future.

Don’t Forget Technical Elements

While it’s important that you’re providing prospects with the information and elements they need to see on your website, it’s also critical that your site holds up behind the scenes. Things like a quick page load time are critical for keeping your audience on your website. How many times have you sat staring at a blank page for a handful of seconds before clicking back to Google search results to check out the next site down instead? If you’re worried about how your site loads, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how you stack up.

Having a mobile friendly site is also a must. The majority of searches nowadays happen on mobile devices, so if your site doesn’t look good on a phone, that audience will be passing you over quickly.

The longer you can keep your audience on your website, the greater shot you have at winning their trust. When you undertake the steps above, you’re setting your business up to impress visitors and hold their attention, which in turn will have positive results on your conversions and bottom line.

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website (And How to Do It)

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website (And How to Do It) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. So it stands to reason that it should be built with marketing, rather than aesthetics, in mind. Yes, there is something to be said for having an appealing website, and you should certainly aim to design one that has both form and function. But the mistake that a lot of small business owners make is focusing on form exclusively, and that is where they miss a major opportunity.

Your website can be the most beautiful one in the world, but if you don’t focus on its function, then it’s all for naught. If you want to build a successful website, you need to start with a solid SEO framework to build a site that is easy to find and works seamlessly with your other online marketing efforts.

Why SEO Matters

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what gets new prospects onto your site. If someone does a Google search looking to solve a problem that they have, and your business is capable of solving that problem, you want your website to be the first one that they see. Think about your own browsing habits: How often do you look at the second, third, or fourth page search results on Google? If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of results, you’re not being seen by the majority of people.

Start with Keyword Research

Ensuring high rankings on search results is why it’s critical to begin the website design process with keyword research. Start by brainstorming the terms you would search for if you were looking for the good or service your business provides. This can and should be a long list—write everything down and don’t self-edit. Google Search Console can also help you identify the terms that are already driving users to your site, which might help you reframe your own thinking on the list.

Then begin to winnow the list down to 12-20 terms; some that speak to the fundamentals of your business and some that speak to a specific intent a user might have when searching. These keywords will inform all of your website design choices from here on out.

Think Like a Search Engine

The way that a human sees your site is very different from the way Google sees it as it crawls through sites looking for information relevant to a given search. You want to make sure that as much of your content as possible is in HTML text format. Images, Flash content, and Javascript are often not seen by search engines as they’re crawling sites, so if all of the important information about what your business does is displayed on your page within these dynamic formats, it’s possible that Google is skipping right past your website when looking for relevant words or phrases.

Using a tool like Google Cache Checker will allow you to see what your website looks like to Google. If your pages are showing up mostly blank, you know that search engines are missing out on crawling the majority of your content, so you’ll want to restructure your site to be more HTML heavy.

Consider Website Structure

In addition to thinking about the way a search engine will see your site, you want to make sure you’re building a structure that makes sense for SEO and for visitors.

Creating a site map can be a helpful way to think about content and flow. What information do you want to group together? What is the logical path that visitors will take when navigating your site? How can you make it easy for users to get from one relevant piece of information to another? And how can you structure your website in a way that enriches the customer journey and encourages users to move down the marketing hourglass?

Once you’ve thought about the user experience aspect of your site, it’s time to think about structure from an SEO perspective. Creating a site with crawlable link structure is critical to making sure that all of your content is seen by search engines. There are a number of reasons why your links might not be crawlable, including if they’re for pages that are hidden behind submission forms, if the links are within the aforementioned Java content that search engines aren’t able to see, or if there are hundreds of links on a given site (search engines will only go through so many links before hitting a limit).

Create Rich Content

Of course, this effort you’ve put into creating a site that’s easy to find, functional, and appealing will all be useless if your site has sub-par content.

As I’ve said before, the goal of this content should be to establish your business as a leading authority in your field. This valuable content will serve you across the board. It makes prospects come to trust you and moves them to the try and buy portions of the marketing hourglass. When you continue to generate new, rich content, it drives existing customers back to your site for more information, keeps you top of mind with those customers, and makes them more likely to repeat and refer.

Not only that, but when your website is filled with valuable content, and you continue to add more on a regular basis, you generate a stream of information that you can use to drive users to your site. You should be housing all of your content—blog posts, webinars, case studies, podcasts, white papers, and infographics—on your website. Then, as you share links to all of this valuable content on social media or via your newsletter, you’re directing all traffic back to your site.

A website, no matter how good it looks, is nothing without a solid approach to SEO. Your website is the most important piece of your online marketing strategy, and so investing the time, energy, and money in creating a site that ticks all of the boxes for form and function is a worthwhile endeavor.

Four Tips for Creating a Website Users Trust

Four Tips for Creating a Website Users Trust written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

It seems like every day we’re hearing about a new online security breach. From mega-retailers like Target to tech giants like Facebook, online security is a major issue and giant concern for consumers.

Building trust is a critical part of the marketing hourglass for any business, whether they’re a global conglomerate or a mom and pop shop. What can you, as a small business owner, do to build a site that not only engenders trust but also incorporates legitimate security measures? I’ll share some tips below for creating a website that users trust.

1. Looks Matter

This may sound shallow, but the easiest step in creating a website that looks trustworthy is building one that looks appealing. While I’ve written before about the importance of starting with a focus on SEO—a sentiment that I still stand by—there is something to be said for putting eye-catching trappings on top of that solid SEO foundation.

The way your site looks is important because people do judge books by their covers. Think about how you feel when you go to a website that has typos; inadvertently overlapping video, text, and photo elements; or is just plain black text on a white background. It makes you question the business immediately. Is this a legitimate company, or a scam site? Surely a real business would put effort into presenting the best version of themselves online—so why is this site not up to par?

If someone showed up to job interview in a wrinkled t-shirt and ripped jeans, you might think twice about hiring them. Same principle applies in web design: A sloppy-looking site immediately introduces doubt about your business’s legitimacy and competence into your prospect’s mind.

2. Message Matters, Too

Just as important as a clear, consistent visual presence is a clear and consistent message. Part of establishing trust with a prospect is giving them a sense that they really know who you are, what you do, and why you’re driven to do it. These are all of the questions that a good value proposition will answer. That’s why it’s critical that you take the steps to find out what motivates your existing customers to do business with you and hone in on the themes that they indicate are important to them.

Once you’ve established what it is that makes your business unique and have decided how you want to communicate that message, you want to trumpet that messaging everywhere. Your website’s homepage should highlight the value proposition front and center, and then provide visitors with a call to action that encourages them to learn more about your business.

All other online marketing, including paid ads, social media, newsletters, and emails, should be grounded in that value proposition. It is the North Star for all of your messaging.

And it’s not just what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it. Each business must embrace a tone that makes sense for what they do and who they serve. A local credit union and a children’s bookstore are targeting very different demographics, and so their marketing tones will be very different. While the credit union wants to convey stability and trust, the bookstore is likely aiming for whimsy and adventurousness.

If your business’s tone is all over the map, this again introduces doubt into your prospect’s mind. If you don’t seem to have a clear handle on what your business does, how can a prospect trust you to really step up and solve their problem?

3. Switch to an HTTPS Site

So the first two steps were about putting your customer at ease by creating a site that seems secure. But with that, your work is far from done; you now need to implement tools to build a site that actually is secure. Your first move here should be converting to an HTTPS site.

HTTPS sites are encrypted and protect you from hacking. This is important for you as the business owner, because you can guarantee that all of your business’s information remains secure. It’s also vital for your customers; if you’re going to be asking them to entrust you with their credit card information and personal contact details, they are going to want assurance that you can keep that information safe.

While in the past you may have been able to sneak by with a regular old HTTP site, starting in July of 2018 Chrome began announcing to users when they were visiting unsecured sites. Users now see a red “not secure” label in the URL bar any time they visit an unsecured site, which is a literal red flag that your site is not trustworthy.

And if that isn’t enough incentive for you, unsecured sites are also punished in Google’s search rankings, so an unsecured site might be lowering your standing in organic search results. Switching over to a secured site is a quick fix to maintain your first-page search results standing.

4. Employ Further Site Security Measures

Once you’ve made the switch to an HTTPS site, there are a few additional steps you can and should take to further enhance your site’s security, which is especially critical if you’re collecting payment or other sensitive information online.

Acquiring SSL certification is a good place to start for those running e-commerce sites. SSL sites establish a secure connection for sensitive information to be transmitted. Sites with SSL also display badges to indicate their added security, which research has shown increases conversion rates.

Aside from relying on HTTPS and SSL tech to boost your security behind the scenes, you should be making efforts from your side to ensure that you’re not inadvertently opening your site up to vulnerabilities. We’ve shared about the role that out-of-date WordPress plugins played in the massive data leak at a law firm, which got international press coverage.

When you incorporate plugins from third-party developers, you open your site up to any errors in their plugin code. These developers are good about checking their work and pushing through updates to correct for any potential issues, but if you’re still running the original version of the plugin, it’s possible that you’ve left your site open for hackers to get in through the vulnerabilities there and then move into other elements of your site.

Creating a website users trust is an important part of moving your prospects through the marketing hourglass and converting them to customers. Incorporating security elements is the key to establishing a site you know will guard your customers’ personal information, which will keep them coming back to do business with you time and again.

How to Build A Website that Generates Leads

How to Build A Website that Generates Leads written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

In today’s day and age, every business owner knows they must have an online presence to be competitive. But not everyone understands how to optimize that online presence. Your website is the heart of your business’s online existence, so ensuring that it’s designed to maximize lead generation is critical to securing long-term success for your company

How do you create a website that is easily found, catches a prospect’s eye, and keeps them around long enough to decide to give your product or service a try? Let’s take a deeper look at how to build a website that generates leads.

Make it Easy to Find

The obvious first place to start is in designing a site that is easy to find. You’re not going to generate any leads from a site that is in hiding.

The first step here is making sure that your domain name makes sense for your business. If you’re not able to secure your first choice, what are your alternatives? Pick a domain name is memorable, easy to spell, and is something prospects and clients will be able to easily associate with your company.

From there, you’ll want to keep track of how people are finding your site in order to understand which social channels are driving traffic and who’s talking about you online. You can then use that information to be more strategic about where you place your marketing efforts in order to drive traffic to your site.

And you mustn’t forget about SEO in this discussion. If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of Google results, you’re missing out on catching the eyes of a lot of prospects. Keyword research is a critical part of ensuring that your business is actually being found by people who are in the market for the goods and services you offer.

You’ll also want to undertake an SEO audit of your website to make sure that your current content isn’t hurting your search rankings. Screaming Frog offers services that allow you to check your website’s current SEO status: find broken links and crawl errors, analyze how existing pages rank for SEO terms, check site speed, and more.

Give Visitors a Way to Reach Out

When a visitor comes to your site and they like what they see, you want to be sure that you’re providing them with a clear, easy way to get more information from your business. Getting strategic about where and how you ask for information from prospects can help you to generate even more leads from your existing site.

The first step is to put forms on the pages that get the most traffic. Make sure that these forms ask for as little information as possible and that they auto-populate; bogging prospects down with a million questions is a surefire way to scare them off.

You’ll also want to be sure that the forms you create make sense in the context of the other information on a given page. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, don’t put a form offering a free white paper on website design on a page that’s about print work that you’ve done.

You should also provide users with as many ways to contact you as possible. Make your phone number and email address easy to find, and consider incorporating a chat function into your site’s design. No one wants to have to go on a search mission across all of your website just to find a way to ask you a simple question.

Build a Variety of Landing Pages

Creating highly specialized landing pages is one of the keys to generating more promising leads. In fact, research from HubSpot has shown that business with 30 or more landing pages on their website generate seven times more leads than those websites that only have one to five landing pages.

The best landing pages are those that keep it simple. Depending on where the traffic is coming from, you can create a specific messaging that speaks to that particular subset of your prospect population. Make sure that your succinctly outline the problem your business can solve, and that there’s a clear way for prospects to reach out—a call to action button or a simple form—and leave it at that.

Landing pages that are cluttered with too much information or that do not clearly demonstrate your company’s value proposition can leave prospects feeling confused and returning to their Google search to consider one of your competitors. If you’d like to see some examples from a variety of industries, HubSpot has some great ones here.

Create an Eye-Catching Homepage with a Clear CTA

While each of your specific landing pages should have tailored messaging and calls to action, you’ll also want to be sure that your homepage has a general call to action that serves as a catch-all for anyone who might want to learn more about your business.

This CTA shouldn’t be for a specific product or service; after all, this is the page on your website that the general population is most likely to see first, so you don’t want to single out only one of your numerous offerings on this page. Instead, give visitors the chance to learn more about your business. A CTA that asks prospects to subscribe to your newsletter or try your service for free are great ways to catch the attention of the widest swath of visitors possible.

Once you get to know these prospects better and have a deeper sense of where their specific interests lie, then you can begin to target them with more specific offers through email marketing and audience segmentation.

Use Content to Generate Leads

Having a website that’s filled with rich, valuable information is what will keep prospects on your site and entice them to come back for more. This means that your website needs to go beyond answering the basic question of how your business can solve a prospect’s problem. It must provide in-depth content on the topic that establishes your business as an authoritative voice in your industry, and provides prospects with the assurance that yours is the team for the job.

Creating valuable content and sharing that content regularly on your site is a critical part of the lead generation process. In order to do so, you need to establish a content strategy. I have advocated in the past for a strategy that organizes your content thematically. If you pick a different area of interest each month and offer a deep dive into related topics on your blog, you’re creating value for your prospects and continuing to offer interesting content regularly that will keep them coming back.

Once your blog has become a go-to source of information for your prospects, you can target them with offers for related white papers or your newsletter that’s dedicated to a relevant topic. This helps to move these prospects further down the marketing hourglass, as you begin to establish your brand as one that they know, like, and trust.

A poorly designed website will do nothing to generate leads for your business. When you begin to think strategically about all of the elements of your website—from SEO and keyword search to blog content and calls to action—you can build a website that is fully optimized to generate leads for your business.

Why You Need Inbound For Outbound Marketing and Vice Versa

Why You Need Inbound For Outbound Marketing and Vice Versa written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

In recent years, outbound marketing has gotten a bad rap. It’s seen as expensive, time consuming, and it feels like a relic of the past. And the numbers bear this out: in 2017, HubSpot’s State of Inbound report found that 71 percent of businesses worldwide are focused primarily on inbound marketing.

But I’d argue that there is real value in outbound marketing, when it’s done correctly. In fact, you can develop a sort of symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound marketing tactics in order to create an even stronger overall marketing strategy.

Here, we’ll look at why you need inbound for outbound marketing (and vice versa) and what you can do to strengthen your approach in both arenas.

Tailor Your Inbound Approach Based on Outbound Success

Nowadays, people are trained to tune out most traditional outbound tactics. Television commercials are muted or skipped over entirely, direct mailers are tossed in the trash without a second glance, and radio stations are switched as soon as ads begin playing.

So what information can you glean from an outbound campaign that is successful? If you begin to generate responses to an outbound campaign, you’ll know that you’re onto something. Your messaging was powerful enough to cut through the noise and grab the attention of someone that wasn’t actively seeking out the good or service you offer. And that’s valuable information.

You can then take that knowledge and use it to strengthen your inbound approach. Revamp your call to action on your website to reflect the messaging in your outbound campaign. Create blog posts that are related to the topic you presented in the ads. Adopt a similar tone in your social media posts. Understanding what it was that grabbed a stranger’s attention can allow you to bolster your relationship with those who already interact with your brand or who happen upon it via inbound channels.

Use Outbound to Identify the Strongest Prospects

Tracking responses to outbound marketing can also allow you to gauge who your most promising prospects are. If someone goes out of their way to react to your outbound efforts, it’s likely that they’re very enthusiastic about your business. This is a prospect with a high likelihood of conversion, and if you then open up a dialogue by presenting them with the appropriate inbound tactics, you have a good chance of winning them over.

These are the people you should be reaching out to with targeted offers and discounts. Make sure they’re encountering your paid ads on social media so that your business remains top of mind. Send them a free white paper and ask them to sign up for your bi-weekly newsletter that’s filled with valuable content. You’ll feel confident that you’re getting the greatest return on your inbound investment because you’re going after your most highly engaged prospects.

Catch Customers at Any Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

Outbound and inbound marketing come into play at different stages of the marketing hourglass. Typically, outbound strategies are deployed at the top of the hourglass, where new customers are just getting to know and like your brand. Inbound strategies become useful a bit further down. Because inbound allows you to develop a two-way conversation with prospects, these techniques can be valuable in the trust and try phases of the hourglass. This is where prospects will want to gain a deeper understanding of your brand, and perhaps hear from you or from your clients about what it is that you excel at, and why a prospect should give you a shot.

However, the customer journey is never a straight line, so you have to be prepared for the fact that existing customers will sometimes encounter your outbound marketing efforts and brand new prospects who aren’t familiar with your brand may discover your inbound approach before they ever see one of your ads. This means that you need to be thinking about how to create both inbound and outbound campaigns that are appealing to prospects and clients no matter where they are on their journey.

Your outbound approach should not only be a catchy introduction to your brand, it should also have a voice that aligns with the rest of your marketing, so that your existing customers feel that what they already understand to be true about your brand is just being further confirmed by any outbound efforts they come in contact with. Similarly, your inbound marketing strategy should be accessible enough that a stranger can happen upon any tweet, Instagram post, or paid search item and be able to easily glean what your business does, and what you might be able to offer to them.

Use Inbound and Outbound to Tell Your Story

If you’re only focused on either inbound or outbound marketing, you’re missing out on the opportunity to provide a holistic picture of what your business does, what your value proposition is, and how you stand out from the competition.

Outbound marketing only allows you to present a small sliver of the solutions you can provide to prospective clients. A good outbound campaign can tell a story in a direct mailer or a commercial, but outbound media are by nature briefyou’re limited to a 30 television commercial, one page mailer, or 15 second radio spotso prospects can’t get the full picture. And you can bet that in today’s digital world, even if you’ve gotten their attention through outbound tactics, they’ll be doing some digging on your business before converting.

That’s why pairing an outbound with an inbound approach is crucial. Your inbound marketing efforts, like social media and curated content on blogs or in white papers, allows you to tell prospects a broader story about who you are and what you do. Your social media accounts should have a clear point of view and should demonstrate your guiding vision and principles for your business. Your content should prove your deep industry knowledge and confirm your status as a thought leader.

Prospects want to trust you, and in order to trust you, they have to feel like they know you. The outbound will put you on their radar screen, but the inbound will open up a dialogue between you and the prospect, helping to prove to them that you’re the best company for the job.

A marketing strategy that focuses only on inbound is missing out on valuable opportunities. Pairing inbound and outbound marketing strategies allows you to create the fullest picture of your brand for prospects and clients alike, and gives you the greatest shot at winning new business and maintaining the trust and loyalty of existing customers.