Inbound Marketing Book: My Review

The interInbound Marketing Booknet has fundamentally changed the relationship between companies and customers which means marketers need to take a different approach to marketing if they want to effectively grow revenues. One of these new approaches is to shift from outbound marketing (advertising, telesales, direct mail) to inbound marketing (search engine optimization, content generation, social media). A very good book that explains how to effectively execute an inbound marketing strategy is Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

I thought the book provides a strong foundation for what marketers should know about using the tools of SEO, blogging, and social media to attract good leads to your website and then converting those leads into customers. Inbound Marketing provides tons of useful tips and examples. If you are already experienced in this area, some of the book may seem too basic but you still can learn a lot of practical tips to be more effective at getting found by potential customers. I would definitely recommend it to marketers who are new to this area and as a good book to give to a client who needs convincing about the benefits of the new tools of marketing.

My main takeaways:
A blog article is a durable asset – once you write the article it provides value forever.
This is the concept that once you create content on the web, like a useful article, it can attract traffic and links perpetually. This is the opposite of paid ads, whose benefits end when you stop paying. The authors also point out that the cost of buying ads for a certain keyword can spike suddenly if the competition drives the price up.

SEO is not about tricking the search engines, it’s about creating content that users would want to find.

If you create remarkable content, you will attract traffic and links naturally. The authors point out that trying to trick Google is not a good idea. The engineers are constantly closing loopholes and improving the algorithm. Some copywriters say you should spend half your time on the title and half on the article. Coming up with catchy titles will help your idea spread faster. You should also spend time figuring out what keywords your customers would type into Google, and use these keywords in the title of your article. A useful SEO tip is to choose a domain name with a keyword in it if you can like Having keywords in your domain name adds this keyword to every page of your site and will often be used in the anchor text when people link to you.

New links are like new roads for customers to find your company.
And every new blog post you write is a potential page that will show up in Google search results. Inbound Marketing discusses the mistake of having a static brochure-like website. You want to have a busy site (new articles, comments, social media integration) with lots of traffic and roads (links). You want your site to be like New York city, rather than a small quiet town.

Inbound marketing is like learning to play the guitar.

Of every 100 people who start to learn the guitar, just a handful actually make it to the point where they can play a basic song. Inbound marketing tools don’t produce benefits overnight. It takes hard work over a long period of time. It took me about 3 years and 286 posts to get to 1,000 monthly visitors. But once you get over the “dip”, the benefits are well worth it.

This post has been republished from Cool Marketing Stuff.

Interview With Patrick Byers, CEO of Outsource Marketing

Today we have the great privilege of talking with Patrick Byers, CEO of Outsource Marketing, a marketing firm that provides research, planning, and creative services for organizations of all sizes.

The Responsible Marketing blog is an excellent marketing blog that discusses issues of ethics in marketing. What was the inspiration of starting a blog about marketing responsibly?

It was something that inspired me, but it was also a little self-serving. Even though my job is to help organizations sell more products and services, I constantly found myself asking, “does the world need another widget?” I also realized the clients we liked serving the most were the ones that wanted to do marketing the right way and do the right thing.

So we decided that that’s where we put our energy as a firm–evangelizing and doing responsible marketing with clients, and only with clients that share our philosophy.

Why is responsible marketing important to marketers?

There’s an unholy trinity of things working against marketers today: Marketing as a discipline is broken, there’s too much information for any human to process, and consumers don’t trust marketers (for a number of reasons). Responsible Marketing tackles these three interconnected challenges by focusing marketing energy on building (or restoring) trust. We do this by helping our clients communicate their competence and character.

Isn’t marketing about selling the most products and services possible?

Sure. But Responsible Marketing is about building respectful, long-term relationships with customers, not about making a quick kill and moving on.

Will consumers really put the well-being of the world above their own needs and wants?

Not necessarily. But that assumes this an “or” question. Consumers want it all. They want to have their cake, but they want it to be organic and have a percentage of the $ earned by the company making that cake to be given to a good cause. Consumer research has shown a majority people will pay slightly more, even in a recession, for a “good” product from a socially responsible company product vs. a “cheap” product from one that isn’t.

You have previously taught marketing at the University of Washington. What career advice would you give new marketers who are trying to get their start in marketing during the worst recession in decades?

Get going with social networking and focus on the growth areas of marketing: digital, video, social media, search marketing (SEO and PPC).

And do the little stuff while interviewing: Create a killer resume that stands out. Approach the opportunity through connections on LinkedIn instead of going in cold. Show up on time for the interview. Follow-up with a handwritten note.

What advice would you give to marketers who would like to someday get to your position?

At the risk of sounding cliché, do what you love and do it with passion. If you are just showing up to collect a paycheck, find something else to do that you enjoy or find somewhere else to do it. Life’s too short to hate your job—even in this economy.

A recent intern here at Outsource worked with us all summer even though he has his degree. He’s been looking for a job but given the current job market, he decided to act instead of mope. In his words, he could be “sitting on his ass doing nothing or he could be building his resume and contacts.” If a position opens up here he’s suited for we’d certainly consider him–we know his strengths and know we can trust him. Even if we don’t hire him, he’s built his resume and my letter of recommendation for him will be, well, killer.

For more great content from Patrick Byers check out his killer blog, The Responsible Marketing Blog.

This post has been republished from Cool Marketing Stuff.

Why Cash Incentives Makes You Less Creative

Dan Pink makes a great case that monetary rewards do not always lead to top performance. In fact studies have shown that for cognitively difficult tasks, higher monetary incentives lead to poorer performance. I agree that intrinsic motivation is more effective than extrinsic motivation. I wrote a research paper when I took Consumer Behavior about intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation and major selection. Our team concluded that students that were more motivated by extrinsic motivation would pick more practical majors that didn’t align with their favorite courses. Dan Miller says that “money is ultimately never enough compensation for your time and energy”. I think that we should encourage others to follow their passion because they will be more happy as well as more productive.

Business Lessons From The Most Successful Spy In US History

If you haven’t seen the movie Breach, don’t read this post because there will be spoilers. Breach is a movie based on the capture of the the most “successful” spy in US history, Robert Hanssen. He worked in the FBI for about 25 years and spied for the USSR/Russia for about 22 years, and was even assigned to lead a team to look for a mole in the FBI (which was himself). What can we learn from the success of Robert Hanssen’s ability to evade the authorities for all those years? Here are my takeaways:

Sometimes the best answer is the most obvious:

According to the wikipedia article, Hanssen did several things that should have raised red flags that he was a mole. He hacked into another federal employee’s computer, he would search his name in the FBI data base, his brother-in-law found stacks of cash in his drawer and reported this to his superior. He even walked into the Russian embassy and showed his face and gave his code name name to a Russian officer. The FBI spent millions to find intel on the mole, but ignored the obvious clues. Often in marketing, firms will spend millions on complex marketing research, when they can just listen to the customer complaints and often find out what the problems are.

Don’t underestimate your competition

In the movie, Hanssen’s biggest mistake was to underestimate his clerk, Eric O’Neill, who was actually undercover to observe Hanssen’s every action. At one point Hanssen said told O’Neill that he was as dumb as nails. Because Hanssen underestimated him, O’Neill was able to gather valuable evidence from Hanssen’s PDA. Often large firms will scoff at the small guy that they are competing with, and often the small guy takes over the dominant amount of market share because of the bigger firm’s carelessness.

Did you learn any lessons from the movie? If so, please leave a comment.

Eric O’Neill Wikipedia
Robert Hanssen Wikipedia

Will China’s Brands Succeed In America

There was a really interesting discussion on the latest episode of one of my favorite marketing podcasts, The Bean Cast, about whether China’s brands can make it in America.

BeanCast: Episode 64 Chinese Food Bruce Lee

While some of the show’s guests believe that China lacks the pop culture of America to produce cultural icons, I think that it is a matter of time before we start to recognize more Chinese brands in our stores. Just look at Korea which brought us major consumer brands like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia and they are not nearly the scale of China. I think that American brands have an equally strong opportunity in tapping into the tremendous buying power of the Chinese consumers.

The Did You Know video series mentions the awesome scale of China’s population. “China will soon become the number 1 English speaking country in the world”.

Don’t Talk Like Advertisers

by Charles Sipe

One of the reasons that people avoid and dislike advertising is because it can be annoying. Like Microsoft’s latest ad campaign which used the previous Lois and Clark star, in a blasphemous way.

This definitely makes me want to punch Dean Cain in the face and I like Dean Cain.