Blogging has and is becoming a more and more critical component of online marketing.
Online marketing is also understood as inbound marketing and/or Internet marketing.
This blog post is simply a free flow of thoughts by myself regarding the importance and connection of a good blog strategy as it relates to an overall inbound marketing blueprint. I would love nothing more than to hear your feedback and comments regarding these thoughts.
The way I see it, is that although inbound marketing may still be in its infancy, it has also been developed especially over the past 5 to 8 years. I feel that this is important to understand because of all the moving parts and certainly, a blogging strategy is a significant moving part.
As you may or may not understand, some of these moving parts connected with a successful online marketing strategy include search engine optimization to increase your presence or visibility, a well-rounded blogging strategy to keep your content fresh and consistent, a comprehensive conversion strategy that includes calls to action, landing pages and finally, accurate data analysis on a regular basis so you can best understand how your blueprint and strategy or performing.
Blogging: what are the benefits of a good blog strategy? There can be many! The primary and maybe obvious benefit is a good blog, and a consistent blog, provides you a great mechanism to offload work post new, fresh, helpful content on a regular basis without having to wrestle with a ton of technology. There is a common saying in the inbound marketing world, content is king. You've probably heard that before but it is as important as ever. From a search engine standpoint, it is relevant content that can make the most difference when attempting to achieve the highest rank possible. The more you can keep your content current and fresh and it absolutely helpful, the more attention you will gain from all major search engines. When you write compelling and helpful content, other bloggers, visitors or website owners may be interested in sharing your content in a number of different ways, including establishing a link, posting on twitter or Facebook or even sharing on their own newsletter or mailing list.
In this day and age of business and marketing, the benefits I mentioned above can be some of the most powerful available. The Internet, visibility, conversion, analysis and sales have and continue to transform. 10 years ago the Internet and web visibility reflective the older and possibly more annoying traditional marketing strategies. In other words, websites mimicked television commercials. The strategy was to make you listen to their message. I don't know about you, but I am very tired of being hit over the head by a hammer in an effort to force me to pay attention. The great visionaries saw this as a huge problem and slowly but surely understood a better purpose for the Internet. That purpose is connection and engagement on more of a social level. The best examples, as you can plainly see would be LinkedIn which is mostly for business, Facebook, twitter and YouTube. People are much more interested in sharing and connecting online, not being forced to watch a commercial. We get enough of that on television, radio, newspapers and all other forms of outbound marketing.
This is the essence of inbound marketing and more specifically how a good blog fits into this puzzle. All good blogs were created to help, not sell. This is exactly what I'm trying to do on this particular blog post. I'm simply trying to share my own experience and knowledge on this subject. My hopes are that it proves useful to all readers and that this will be an ongoing relationship with you. If the content I create proves to be helpful, you may be interested in signing up to this particular blog. Maybe you will think enough of it to share it with your social network. The other side effect of producing a regular flow of content, is that all major search engines will be paying more attention because you are more relevant, more fresh and hopefully helpful to your audience and theirs.
Stay tuned as we continue this series on successful blogging.
Detailed Pricing For Multiple Inbound Marketing Options:
1. Local SEO Pricing & Options:
2. National SEO Options & Pricing:
3. Client Dashboard - This provides a method to monitor all activity:
4. PPC Management Options:
5. Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy:
These selections of inbound marketing strategies will give you an idea of what options and requirements need consideration.
If you would like to arrange a discussion to talk about how these many options could help your inbound marketing efforts, just call us at (941) 927-2028. We will also offer you a detailed analysis of the condition of your site from an inbound marketing perspective.
What you need to understand when trying to compete online.
When you understand what an inbound marketing blueprint should look like, you have a better chance of success.
The problem: In my experience, the biggest challenge for any business when trying to compete online and achieve better visibility, better credibility, better authority, more traffic, better conversions and analytics that allow you to do it better each time around is a solid inbound marketing strategy and matching blueprint.
As competition for online real estate increases each month, it becomes more important to understand this necessity and constantly execute an inbound marketing plan.
Below are the basics to understanding the major components of a successful online marketing strategy.
The Solution (part 1) - Always visualize your primary inbound marketing strategy as a funnel with 3 main components:
- Top End: This is where you attract all traffic through the major search engines, blog development local marketing, email distribution and social media. The more successful the top end of your funnel is, the more first time traffic you will achieve.
- Middle Section Of Your Funnel: This is where you create and develop the engagement element of your inbound marketing strategy. As you build the top end of your funnel and develop more and more traffic, you now have the opportunity to engage this traffic and attempt to provide concrete reason for this top end traffic to embrace your message. This is where tire kickers, researchers and other online searchers can convert to prospects or leads.
- The Bottom End: This is the opportunity to analyze the top and middle sections of your funnel. The better your evaluation or analytics, the more effective your adjustments and next decisions will be and this will improve the top and middle sections of your funnel the next time around.
The Solution (part 2) - Developing your plan to manage all elements and details of this funnel. Another issue I frequently encounter when speaking with clients and inbound marketing prospects wanting to succeed online is the lack of understanding of the work involved.
The age old principle of "getting what you pay for" applies. Even though online marketing is more cost effective than traditional marketing, and especially if you have an idea for a new business, you must understand attention the marketing funnel explained above needs attention and it's best to align your project with an inbound marketing professional either by an internal team or by out sourcing this work and the related requirements. Simply put, have a marketing budget. You must have a marketing budget to address a complete marketing plan.
For a comprehensive evaluation & analysis along with observations and recommendations, review this page - Inbound Marketing Analysis
What You Need To Understand About The Inbound Marketing Process.
Competing for online presence demands a focused strategy and solid blueprint.
Online marketing is constantly changing and those that understand the process are the ones that experience more success. As an experienced and expert inbound marketing consultant and service provider, I see that the biggest challenge today is understanding the demands and the process. I speak to many business owners and the common thread is simply not knowing what to do and how to do it or a false understanding of older methods.
Many years ago, simply having a website would trigger activity and help a business secure new business. Today, there is much more competition for "online real estate". The Internet offers a more level playing field and does allow a business to compete with a larger competitor at a much more affordable marketing cost. The difference between 5 years ago and today is that the level of competition is much more serious and challenging. This means much more attention is required to compete for visibility and Internet presence. Any business that is serious about competing online must recognize this fact and commit the appropriate budget but just as importantly, must also commit the appropriate time, effort and attention to their online marketing strategy.
No matter how you decide to build and configure your solutions/blueprint, here are the fundamental elements that need attention. Your overall goals are to:
- Get found (increase traffic)
- Convert (engage the new traffic)
- Analyze (study your results and modify based on data)
Below Is A Case Study That Highlights All Areas Of A Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy. Your website and blueprint is obviously unique but these are the components required to develop an Internet marketing strategy that addresses all critical areas. If you apply attention in all of these areas, you will succeed and will compete at a much higher level.
The first order of business is have an thorough marketing analysis so you can better understand the "current condition" of your website & marketing efforts. A great tool to generate a complete analysis can be used at no cost here: Inbound Marketing Evaluation
Summary: Developing the online element of your business takes time and attention. I only say this because there are still businesses that feel that once they post their websites, prospects and customers will come. This simply isn't true anymore. There is a lot of competition for "online real estate" today and those that understand this and apply the required effort, are the ones that achieve the goals of visibility, credibility, authority and increased revenue growth. I do see an important, missing links in your business development by not having your current website configured to work more effectively for you by including all the elements the search world is using to evaluate and find you. We only need to make a regular effort to first improve the condition of your online presence, then strategically develop this presence using a carefully created online marketing blueprint that include as many of the items that I have outlined below.
My specific observations & recommendations:
1. Based on the data generated in this report, I recommend that we continue our discussion and talk about the resources available to develop a strong, efficient and effective, new marketing strategy.
2. Try to view a strong marketing blueprint as a funnel with 3 parts. The top, middle and bottom. The better you can develop these 3 sections of your marketing funnel, the more successful you will be. The top end represents the ability of getting potential customers to "find you". This is the section achieved by successful search configuration. The more people that find you are the more that enter the top end of your funnel. The middle section represents your conversion strategy and the better this is built, the more people entering the top end, will convert into leads or prospects. This is where you have the ability to nurture leads and create the mechanisms for the top end people to engage with your site, content and information. The bottom end represents a regular and strong analytics sections where you can analyze the raw data, make adjustments and better decisions that result in a better top and middle section of your funnel.
3. You will see that the analysis (report) I sent is broken up into these 3 sections of your marketing funnel and the remainder of my observations are based on these 3 sections.
4. Your total score is 54 out of 100 with the weaker elements being the top and middle sections of your funnel. This makes sense as Wordpress does provide excellent technology to address the bottom section of complete analysis. The initial work needs to be applied to the top and middle sections of your marketing funnel.
5. Top Of Funnel: Although a blog does exist, it could be configured much better.
There is virtually no engagement through your twitter or facebook accounts.
The frequency of your blog could be more. An average of 1 blog every 19 days may not be enough.
The SEO elements needs considerable attention.
Google is recognizing 47 pages. This may be a good start but we do need to create a significant increase in the total number of pages. This is done in a few different ways.
Most of the images on your pages have not been optimized. This is one of many elements that make a website much more search friendly.
All titles need attention from a keyword perspective
Descriptions are completely missing.
There are only 7 Inbound links. This is a critical element of building online success and needs significant attention.
No Twitter account recognized or connected to your website.
6. Middle Of Funnel:
Engagement is a big problem here. We need to create a strategy that allows visitors that enter the top end of the marketing funnel to engage more. Otherwise, any traffic we do create will disappear and not hold any real value.
Automation software missing. Hootsuite may be a nice solution to creating many of your missing engagement components.
Blogs are not using a related landing page to increase engagement and CTA (call to actions).
7. Bottom Of Funnel:
Google Analytics is a good tools coupled with Wordpress but are you using these resources to answer the important questions that arise from your marketing efforts?
For a no cost evaluation and analysis of your website, just complete the form located on our marketing analysis page.
Content Creation On A Regular Basis.
Any website promoting a product or service online is competing for Internet real estate. The level of this Internet competition is increasing on a daily basis. What separates those websites that succeed and those that may be spinning wheels?
In a word... Content! In a few words, original, compelling, optimized and consistent content.
More information & help with regular content creation!
The list of elements that go into a competitive and comprehensive internet marketing strategy gets longer each month. The staples, or general blocks of a successful internet marketing project include (not in order of importance):
- Visually friendly website.
- Sufficient & expanding content (pages).
- On-Page optimization (SEO)
- Off-page optimization (SEO)
- Blog development
- Social media development
- A conversion strategy
- Comprehensive analytics
The above components break down into more than a hundred more detailed tasks. To hire an inbound marketing company that implements all that is required to create, develop and support a comprehensive Internet marketing plan like this can cost thousands of dollars each month. Especially if it's going to be do right.
However, if you are on a limited budget, we want to offer an Internet marketing tip that can really help you gain significant traction. Create an internet marketing strategy that creates and posts fresh content to your site at least 3 times per week.
The upside is that more than any other single element (technical or not) of Internet marketing, Google, Yahoo, other major search engines & social media platforms look at this element to help establish the legitimacy of your website and that translates into better rankings, visibility, authority, leads and customers. It is common sense really. Google has one main objective and that is to provide the most relevant search results (websites) related to any given keyword or keyphrase entered. The more relevant content you have, the more Google will recognize your website and efforts.
The downside is that this requires a serious commitment of time. In essence, Google will recognize those companies or those websites that have and continue to invest the time it takes to create and develop relevant content. The more pages you create, the more Google and the other major search engines take notice. Of course, the better the quality of the content, the more conversions you will experience.
The point of this (fresh) blog post is to encourage you to develop your own strategy that includes the regular creation of content, either through blog posts or new website pages.
If you would like more information, input or possible solutions to this challenge, feel welcome to read this page on content development. There is also a way to ask questions, request an analysis or schedule a live discussion.
Other recourses that will help you develop a more successful strategy:
Effective Blog Analytics Is A Crucial Component Of A Productive Inbound Marketing Blueprint.
Before I give you our assessment of this new cutting edge blog analysis tool created by HubSpot Inbound Marketing, I think it may help if you understand that the idea of a blueprint connected with your inbound marketing, isn't a very accurate or realistic concept. Why? Because an inbound marketing plan MUST be flexible and the traditional use of a blueprint implies a hard and cold structural plan. The art and science of inbound marketing is expanding faster than ever before and any "blueprint" must be created with significant breathing room.
In fact, this is the foundation of our inbound marketing blog post. HubSpot, who we find to understand more about inbound marketing than any other marketing software developer or consulting firm consistently demonstrates this understanding. A close examination of their operation and development reflects this critical understanding and gives us (VSS) extreme confidence in relying on HubSpot as a software provider. They demonstrate this by consistently, accurately expanding & developing their inbound marketing solutions. Many firms develop software or another solution and then place all their eggs (and their customer's eggs) in that basket while HubSpot regularly evaluates direction, customer need and their product's productivity in a constant effort to improve and remain on the cutting edge of this exploding inbound marketing industry. That strategy creates a loyal following (rightly so). With this in mind, it's important to understand how fast the process of successful inbound marketing grows and install a product and product support that keeps your operation advancing with continued momentum.
Inbound Marketing & Your Blog:
Understanding the growing mountain of elements that go into successful inbound marketing, HubSpot has announced the advancement of their analysis and evaluation tool that includes a rock solid blog marketing tool.
If you haven't come to the realization that creating, developing and managing a powerful blog is a large component of successful inbound marketing, I am here to tell you that it just may be the single most effective element of your marketing strategy. What is included in a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy?
- Representation - a compelling website
- SEO - web pages that are technically search engine friendly
- Blog - 3 to 6 regular article posts with fresh content
- Social Media - promotion of your content on appropriate platforms
- Conversion Strategy - A plan on converting traffic into leads
- Analytics - A method to understand what works & what doesn't
- Mobile - Effective mobile marketing
Remember to always consider the 3 components of a business funnel (top, middle & bottom). The better you can develop each of these levels, the more success you will achieve.
Blog Creation, Development & Management:
Think about this... content is king and your blog is the living, breathing component of your inbound marketing strategy more than most others. This is the place where you can keep your content updated on a regular bases. HubSpot has created, and massively improved the ability to develop and manage a successful blog. This is important because a blog that doesn't incorporate all of these powerful items will hamstring it's ability to compete. Your blog must be effective and by using HubSpot's new, razor's edge evaluation and analysis tool will keep you or your team from spinning wheels.
Think about and carefully consider the objectives of a well constructed blog:
- New, compelling & remarkable content.
- New space (pages) to insert effective & relevant keywords.
- New opportunity to secure attention from the major search engines.
- New opportunities to attract inbound or one way links.
- New opportunity to attract comments (more content) from readers.
- It remains alive and isn't as static as a traditional web pages.
- Fresh material you can promote through your social media platforms.
- A method to build subscribers & expand your reach.
In essence, you are killing 8 birds with 1 stone... This is a tremendous amount of ammunition that comes from one single HubSpot solution as only a part of their inbound marketing application. In fact, I would venture to say that with all things (technology) being equal, creating a compelling blog post (accurately) may be the single most effective use of your time and budget. Using HubSpot's new blog analytics application makes this process significantly more effective and productive.
How to research & investigate these options further:
- Run The HubSpot Analysis On Your Site
- Schedule A Consultation To Discuss The Results Of Your Analysis
Virtual Support Systems
(209) SEO-SEM1 (736-7361)
What Do You Think Of The Growing Technology Gap?
Many of us know someone older that talks bout and asks about how they are suppose to use any or all of these great new social networking platforms. Are older Americans (baby boomers & seniors) becoming more and more isolated? Is there a way to teach older Americans how to get more involved? We want to know your opinion on this subject. Do you feel that our parents and grandparents are becoming more and more isolated because they have difficulty keeping up with the speed that technology continues to develop?
We feel that this is happening even faster than we have been able to realize. The connection and communication capabilities that many of us take for granted have take older Americans and baby boomers by complete surprise, leaving them somewhat clueless and unable to utilize all the great communication technology available including everything from texting, to emailing and popular networking portals like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.
We would like your opinion on 2 key questions. Please leave any comment in the comment section below.
1. Do you agree that the explosion of communication technology has left this demographic behind?
2. Do you think a well designed education curriculum, geared to teach the basics of the most mobile communications, texting and using websites like Facebook would make this demographic feel better and less isolated?
Your opinion and feedback of any kind would be greatly appreciated. Your input or opinion may help us create a better learning solution. This gap is ever widening and a solution may help many of our friends and family use technology more efficiently.
HubSpot Helps You Better Understand Inbound Marketing Terminology.
HubSpot has created a very useful Inbound Marketing Glossary. Why is this knowledge important? How can this inbound marketing glossary help you succeed?
As many of you may be starting to understand more and more, inbound marketing can be an almost endless task list. In fact, most business owners I speak with aren't even sure what inbound marketing really means and what an effective and productive inbound marketing blueprint would look like. To help with this question, I have listed the main tent poles of a comprehensive inbound marketing plan and what they should include:
A Content Rich Website - A website that accurately represents your products or services.
SEO - The pages of your website need to be "search engine friendly". This helps you build your qualified traffic. There are 2 main components of SEO:
Blog - The living & breathing element of your site that posts and promotes the elements of your offerings as they are created.
Social Media - Engagement with your target markets through the use of the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube.
Conversion Strategy - This is the strategy that determines how to convert your developing traffic into leads, prospects and/or customers.
Analytics - The better you can analyze all of the above activity, the better the decisions you can make as you move forward. Good data equals good decisions.
The ability to customize a strategy and plan that include the elements above with a realistic market budget, will allow you to effectively compete.
Now, back to the subject matter at hand... understanding the language of inbound marketing. Although some terminology has been explained above, HubSpot has created a very useful inbound marketing glossary that will help you create a better inbound marketing plan by better understanding the discussion you may have with an inbound marketing professional, or, your own internal team.
Our goal here at Virtual Support Systems is to always help solve problems and uncover the best inbound marketing possibilities for your business. If you would like to speak with a professional, always feel welcome to contact us by phone or email.
Internet Marketing In Sarasota, Tampa Or Miami? Hire An Internet Marketing Firm Located In Seattle!
What's the difference? Does it matter what city your business is in or is Internet marketing... internet marketing? Do you need a local internet marketing company to handle your new marketing strategy or develop your current marketing strategy? If your business is in Sarasota Florida, do you need to, or is it a better idea to find an internet marketing company in Sarasota Florida?
The answer to all these questions is no. You may feel more comfortable working with an internet marketing company in Sarasota Florida if your business is located in Sarasota but understand that even though your product or service is available, only in a specific geographic area (Ex. Sarasota Florida), you are not dependent on an internet marketing firm that is located in that geographic area (Ex. Sarasota Florida). If you think about it, that is the point and one of the most significant changes in today's marketing climate when compared to that of 10 years ago or more. If your marketing strategy demands some element of internet usage, like most, recognize that you are breaking the old mold and removing a component of the more traditional "brick & mortar" model of your marketing, and your business. Aligning yourself with an internet marketing company that understands this, is your first step.
There are many technical aspects of this question, and certainly more when trying to answer this question. From a decision makers perspective, I would simply advise you to take a step back and understand the basics of your product/service and target market. If you're like many of us, you are expanding your target market with the growing ability to reach more people via the internet. With that in mind, it will be easier to understand that marketing and technical skills are your aim, not geography.
Note that it's easy to confuse targeting a specific or local market with the methods used to reach that market. With the same thought, understand success on Google Maps or Yahoo Local Search can be achieved regardless of where your internet marketing company has it's headquarters. When you successfully zero in on the right internet marketing company, you will be better able to see and understand how these pieces fit together best for your specific needs but in general, you are better off evaluating an internet marketing company based on marketing skills, technical skills coupled with strategy and resources possessed. Normally, this can be judged by raw data with an explanation of what the provided data represents.
Conclusion: If your business is located in Sarasota Florida, you are not limited to working with an internet marketing company in Sarasota Florida.
To help you understand more of the basics, we offer you a whitepaper that explains in more detail, the 3 step process of:
Converting The Visitor Into A Lead Or Customer
Analyzing The Process Well, So You Can Do It Better
Content Is A Major Element Of Successful SEO. Should It Be Outsourced?
SEO News, has a valuable article on outsourcing SEO content. The major points of this article are as follow... and from my own 12 years of experience, I tend to agree with most of these points:
- What is outsourced content? Hiring a writer to help create content for your business blog is not necessarily outsourcing, nor is it a bad a idea. Hiring an SEO firm of PR Firm to help you create press releases or blogs is not considered outsourcing.
- What I consider outsourcing content is when you hire an overseas team or an SEO content writer from a writer database. It is usually not in the best interest of any business blog to hire an organization that doesn't have a significant understanding of your business and is only hired to create content because they are the least expensive. Not only will this represent your company poorly but the skills are lacking and therefore will not end up being effective.
- Quality content is the driving force of your business. In essence, you can't afford to lay this element in the hands of anyone who can't do a quality job creating your blog and social media content. If in fact, blog & social media content is the single most important element of your SEO success, your decision to outsource may not be the best.
- Hiring an SEO specialists who gets to know and understand your business and target market is a much better solution. It may cost a bit more than an overseas content writing machine, but in the end, you will find it makes more sense and will produce a better ROI.
- It's generic content that needs to be avoided. As learned from a long partnership with HubSpot, it's compelling and remarkable content that makes the biggest difference. Search engines are in business to find the most relevant content to each related keyword search. This means you must deliver this component in order to compete in the world of SEO and inbound marketing.
In summary: It is critical to consistently develop your content in both quality and quantity. This single component of your inbound marketing efforts needs to be taken extremely seriously. Do NOT take any short cuts and align yourself with an experienced SEO or inbound marketing firm.
Virtual Support Systems can create, develop and manage your SEO content creation strategy that meets your budgeting requirements.
VSS is a Certified Inbound Marketing Partner with HubSpot, a cutting edge application designed to address all inbound marketing demands.