Do you ever stop for a moment, take a step back to see how you are using technology in your daily life? Business and personal?
My son and I were on a road trip and I realized that I had forgotten to record the Pittsburgh game before heading out. I asked Logan to look for an NHL app and he found one. These nine year olds today are so handy!
Of course this required Internet access but that was no big deal as my phone was already a hotspot so that Logan could collect Nanopods for a game he was playing.
The NHL application was installed and we were in action. Streaming video was not available (Stanley Cup game), but there was a radio broadcast and Logan could see what players were on the ice. I really enjoyed Logan's play-by-play as he read the names of the players to me. If you are not a fan of hockey, you might not know that NHL players change shifts about every 30-45 seconds, so that kept him busy.
There we were, driving north and having a chat while...
1. My phone tracked my journey for mileage.
2. Emails, Blog replies, Social updates were buzzing away.
3. Logan eagerly collected Nanopods (one more level and it's sandworm time!!)
4. The NHL game was broadcasting in real time.
5. Renee (my wife) was texting to make sure I put sunscreen on Logan.
6. You get the idea.
Typically, I do not think that often about technology unless I'm working on inbound marketing. Heatmaps, analytics, split testing tools, email marketing, etc. It is all around us and if it was to turn off, it would be ..... probably quite nice actually.
The amount of noise that you and your potential clients and customers must filter everday is overwhelming. Think of the last email, article or anything that caught your attention enough so that you actually read through it! I myself will be surprised if a handful of readers make it this far in this article! (.. and I do not blame them one bit!).
When we arrived at our destination, technology was immediately abandoned. Logan put on his rubber boots and headed for the mud and the hillside to "mine" some valuable minerals. I also dawned the rubbers and started some cleanup around the resort.
Soon we both had the sun on our backs, fresh cool air all around us and the last thing we were thinking about was Nanopods and who got the assist on the last goal in the game.
The day hurried by as we set about our chores and the thought of getting back in the truck and heading back to "civilization" was one I was willing to put off.
Eventually we took off the mud caked boots, climbed into the dusty Dodge and drove back to Saskatoon. On the journey back, Nanopods and Ninja Fish played an important part of our conversation once again.
If you have not heard of Fiverr yet, you will!
If you can thinking of it, someone is probably offering it as a service on Fiverr.
Fiverr is community of individuals providing various services for $5.00 (hence the name Fiverr).
WARNING: You may find yourself spending large amounts of time browsing the various services on Fiverr. Here is an email I received from a friend that I introduced to Fiverr.
"Oh yeah, thanks for getting me hooked on Fiverr. I think I spent three hours on it the other day. I'm already buying a recorded song for my site. It's genius!" - Tara Yolan who has her own video and media company.
There are many services on Fiverr and there is a rating system to help you determine if it is worth departing with your dear 5 bucks for the service being provided. Here is an example of a highly rated "Gig".
I have found that the various data entry services are quite useful and for the most part use Fiverr for tedious tasks that must be done. From performing research to creating social media accounts you can find a reliable source out the work.
If you are a business owner looking to save a few dollars and you are more of a Do It Yourselfer, you can probably leverage Fiverr to help you out with many different tasks. For example, you know you need a Google+ Page and a Google Places page so you purchase a couple of Gigs to get this done. (Of course always reading the reviews first).
If you are setting up your social media, you might want to purchase a few Fiverr Gigs to create the background images (Cover Pages, Avatars, etc.) for your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other pages. More than likely these will not be your permanent graphics, but it is an economic and quick start.
Another great use of Fiverr is "Just for Fun!". Here are a few samples of some of the Gigs I have purchased just for the fun of it or personal interest.
My daughter Shea and I have written a short children's story together. We turned to Fiverr to have an artist create the drawings for the story. Below is a short video showing this work being done.
I also had a fun claymation made for Rocket Inbound, the quality is not that great but it seemed like a good deal!
Fiverr is a great place to have some fun and actually get some work done. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for and you should not consider Fiverr as a replacement for quality work, regardless of what kind of work it is.
I would love to hear about some of your experiences and Gigs with Fiverr! Feel free to send any questions my way.
P.S. Here is the chainsaw video.
Most of us are familiar with QR Codes,
QR codes are those square black and white (normally) checkered bar codes.
The QR code on the left is a special Creeper (from Minecraft) QR code and my kids really wanted me to use it!!
The purpose of QR codes makes a lot of sense, it gives someone a simple way to connect to some information.
More recently, the debate has been raging that QR codes are clunky, out-dated and new visual recognition technologies are going to replace them. @chrisknipper (a fellow inbound marketer) tweeted an interesting article on the subject and it prompted me to take a closer look for the sake of my clients. Let's take a look.
Most of us have seen a QR code and some of us have scanned them to see what happens. If you are one of those people who have scanned a qr code, you might have been disappointed with the results of your submission.
So, are QR codes dead (as a technology) or is it more of an issue of how they have been used?
There has been a lot of buzz lately regarding the death of QR codes. We can turn to Mark Twain to shed some light on this argument:
Let's take a look at some alternatives.
Android Downloads: 100+, 2.7 star review
App Store Downloads: Apple does not reveal this, but there are no reviews from my iPad.
Smartsy is a newer company that uses visual recognition technology. Instead of scanning a qr code, you scan a picture of Nutella! You can download the app from the Apple App Store or the Googel Play Store, just search for "smartsy". now scan the picture below. Tada!
You might be asking yourself, "soooooo....what's the difference between this and scanning a QR code?
The biggest (I think) is Brand recognition. The brand is not confused or comprimised by a big, clunky QR code. To be clear, I personally do not find QR codes "clunky", yet many people do.
Here is a brief article talking about Smartsy vs QR Codes. Take it with a grain of salt as it is written with the CEO of Smartsy.
Android Downloads: 100,000+, 2.7 star rating
App Store Downloads: Apple does not reveal downloads, 9 ratings, 2 star from my iPad.
Another visual recognition provider is Blippar. Blippar has companies such as Bud Light and Kit Kat. You can test it out by installing their app and scanning the image below.
Android Downloads: 50+, no reviews
App Store Downloads: I couldn't find it!
*NOTE: They are a 3M partner, that might mean something!
TouchCode takes a different approach and relies on invisible ink that can be printed from any printer. Essentially accomplishing the same thing as Smartsy and Blippar by adding an extra required layer (the invisible ink). My first thought is that being able to just use an image makes more sense. Maybe some of you reading this will comment as to other advantages. Perhaps fault tolerance in the event the images colour is off and does not register?
I could only find the application in the Android market place. Keep in mind I was searching with an iPad not an iPhone.
The mobile app states that you require a printed card from TouchCode (www. printechnologics.com).
I was not able to test out TouchCode due to the limitations of the demo. 3M is getting involved, so that must mean something.
Connect To Web (http://www.connecttoweb.co)
Physical Product, no download
Connect to Web is a bit of a throwback (usb device) that deserves a look if their engagement numbers are legit. 18%-25% is quite impressive. Keep in mind that all of the case studies I read had two things in common.
1. The company involved was massive (Red Bull, Monster).
2. The Conect To Web usb devices where handed out at events of very specific groups of people.
Out of all of the solutions, I find this one the most interesting for targeted audiences. You give the extremely targeted lead a tangible, valuable product that provides a simple and unique connection to your brand.
What's the Verdict on QR Codes?
I can only speak for what we are doing here at Rocket. As of today, we still see a lot of value in QR Codes and I have included some value points below:
1. QR code technology has market penetration now. It has taken a while and now my grandma even knows what a QR code is.
2. There are many QR code scanning applications, a lot of them free.
3. Creation and tracking of QR codes is very simple and low cost.
4. All of the solutions reviewed in this article appear to be geared toward bigger ticket industries at this point. There are no pricing schedules and no online setup/configuration.
5. There are some very strong arguments for QR codes aside from online marketing and branding. Take a look at this big dollar story championing QR codes.
6. A good graphics layout designer can embed a QR code without too much intrusion. There are some handy online tools like QRphoria.com.
7. QR codes are still very flexible methods for tracking effectiveness of traditional outbound marketing.
8. Do you have a point or two to add? Feel free to leave a comment.
Would you believe that less traffic might be a better thing for your website? If you can improve the quality of your visitors, you will need fewer to reach your business goals. Inbound can help.
We all want to get more visitors to our websites right? The idea is that if more people visit our site, the more customers we could potentially have.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy, and it makes sense. What we really want is targeted traffic. Targeted traffic is a stream of visitors that are looking for exactly what we have to offer. These visitors typically find us through their own search terms.
Rather than being a billboard on the side of a very busy freeway, you want your website to be that magical tome nestled away at the back of the bookstore.
The people driving down the freeway are probably not even going to look at your billboard and if by chance they do, what are the odds that they are going to remember?
Now, let's consider that person who has just searched the bookstore top to bottom and has come across your magical tome of a website. Now the odds are in your favour. If you step up your game just a bit and deliver some quality content to that information hungry visitor, you are well on your way to a new customer/client.
The key is to keep creating great content and delivering exceptional products and services.
In the video below, I quickly demonstrate how some small changes with your corporate website might make the difference between a good lead or someone who simply skips past your website because you did not engage them.
So we can see in the video how effective inbound marketing can be. A clear and concise message to the visitor helps to improve the odds of a visitor becoming a lead.
Quality traffic is much more important than quantity of traffic. There are many ways to improve the quality of visitor reaching your site and those methods will be tied directly to your business and overall business goals.
For example, an engineering firm that focuses on industrial contracts from $3M-$5M would have a very different approach than a frozen yogurt catering service.
Our team at Rocket Inbound is ready and willing to discuss your business goals and then we can determine if inbound marketing is a good fit.
Here is a great read on real life business results using inbound marketing.
If you would like to request an inbound feasibility of your organization's online presence, simply visit our complimentary inbound assessment page.
If you are using Linkedin, you have a Linkedin profile URL. By default, Linkedin auto-generates a URL for you. It makes sense to create custom more professional Linkedin URL and in this article we show you how to do that. Below is a screenshot of an example default Linkedin profile URL.
Once you change the profile URL, it will look similar to the one below (our test user is Len Kadin).
We have create a short video that walks you through the process of changing your deault linkedin profile URL to a custom linkedin profile URL.
Simple Steps to Make a Custom Linkedin Profile URL (Watch Video Above).
1. Login to your Linkedin account.
2. Click on "Profile" in the main menu.
3. On the Sub-Menu that pops up, click on "Edit Profile".
4. You will not notice a little "Edit" link beside your Public Profile URL.
5. Click the little "Edit" link beside yoru Public Profile URL.
6. You are now brought to a screen that shows "Customize Your Public Profile URL" in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
7. Click "Customize Your Public Profile URL" and a pop-up dialog will appear that allows you to enter a custom linkedin profile URL.
8. Choose your URL. Normally people choose their name or a good keyword. Remember, this will be found by Google and other searh engines.
9. Click submit and now your Linked in public profile URL is changed.
Over here at Rocket Inbound Marketing we live to help you accomplish your business and marketing goals. Our preferred weapon of choice is Inbound Marketing and we have many other tools and skills to share with you. Feel free to send us an email or give us a call anytime. A few minutes with our professional staff can save you hours and weeks of wheel spinning!
If you have not heard of Inbound Marketing yet, you will. Although it is not brand new (inbound marketing was born around 2006) it is still relatively new to the marketing world.
Inbound marketing is a collection of strategy, method, analysis, tools, techniques and an array of many other marketing elements to assist businesses with marketing their products and services online (web and mobile).
You might compare inbound marketing to the business home page back in the early 90s. In 1993 there were around 623 websites on the Internet. Microsoft was one of them. At that time websites were known and had existed for over 3 years. If you were around at the time, you might remember how long it took for businesses to catch on to the importance of a website.
Here we are in 2013 and having a website is a given. What is becoming more and more clear is the need for inbound marketing.
What are some of the reasons a company should use inbound marketing?
There are too many reasons that justify inbound marketing to list them all, so let's stick to some of the reasons that apply to almost every business.
Targeted visitors and leads: When inbound marketing is properly implemented, it is possible to increase the number of targeted visitors to your website so that you can introduce them to your products and services.
It is clear that attracting targeted visitors is a much better use of marketing dollars compared to broadcasting your message hoping that the message will hit the correct individual.
Many reading this article might think "Well, we simply need to be at tradeshows, events, etc." and you are 100% correct. The true beauty of inbound marketing is that it strengthens all of these offline targeted efforts.
How valuable would it be to be able to track the number of people visiting your website that you met at a trade show in Vegas or that have read a unique ad from a magazine you are trying out? It is possible with inbound marketing.
Marketing justification: What are the reasons your company is using traditional marketing?
The responses I get when I ask this question never cease to amaze me. The most common response is "We are advertising there because our competitors are.". Typically, there are no metrics.
Just recently, I contacted the sales team of a website that one of my clients was running a banner ad on. We were seeing traffic from the banner ad, but there were absolutely no leads being generated. All I wanted was the traffic log so I could see where these visitors were coming from before they clicked on that banner ad. Here is the response I received,
"We do not see any value in tracking clicks or where visitors are coming from. Our goal is to place a brand in front of as many people as possible so that they might choose that company when deciding to purchase that particular product or service."
I could not believe my ears! It is happening every day and business owners cannot be blamed as they are putting trust in these various agencies that are calling them every day to market their business.
Who can you trust?
I recently read an article by Joe Pulizzi on the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) website. CMI is an organization for inbound marketers like us here at Rocket Inbound. Of course resources like this are very helpful and at the same time we have to make sure there is not a mixed message being sent.
The title of this particular article is "2 Foolproof Methods for Getting Content Marketing Buy In". Content marketing is a component of inbound marketing, one of the biggest components. Things like blog articles, white papers, videos are all examples of content that could be leverage to market your product or service.
What I do like about the article is that the two points raised a valid. A pilot project makes sense and it also makes sense to understand what your competitors are doing.
At Rocket Inbound we do both of these, feel free to request a complimentary Inbound Feasibility for your own business if you think it makes sense to take a closer look.
I would never say that there is a "Foolproof method" as it does not send the right message in my mind. Inbound marketing firms should not be forcing the issue. Either a business gets it or they do not. The choice to implement an inbound marketing strategy must be done with confidence. It takes time.
As inbound marketers, we have to look at this from the perspective of business owners. There are a lot of marketing "shenanigans" out there and what we are talking about here is new territory.
I know this is not what Joe is saying directly, yet it is important that companies such as Rocket Inbound make certain businesses understand that inbound marketing is a mutual relationship, it is not about using tactics to get buy in.
Here are a few questions you ask yourself as a business owner or decision maker to help determine if inbound marketing might be a good fit:
STEP 1: Get Found Tactics
Getting Found is the first major objective with any Inbound Marketing campaign. Using specific tactics such as blogging, you will get visitors to your site.
There are other tactics such as SEO (to get found in search), email campaigns, partnerships, special offers, etc.
Once we get targeted visitors to the site, it is then time to give them the best information possible and begin a lead nurturing relationship.:
Blogging — At the heart of Inbound marketing is blogging. There is no better way to attract visitors than having a relevant, consitent compelling blog. Companies that blog get 55% more leads than those who don't. By creating magnetic content, interested users will find your site and you will have made that crucial initial contact.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Although SEO is not playing the same role in online commerce as it once was, it is still very important. SEO will have a big impact on your placement for searches looking for your area of business. It is critically important to be on the first page of search engine results pages.
Social Media — There is no more powerful marketing tool as that of word of mouth. Social media is the word of mouth of the 21st century. Conversations in Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are really no different than a conversation over coffee at your favorite cafe. Social media is critical to get targeted visitors into the top of your sales funnel.
Content Marketing — Much like blogging, content marketing can have a big impact on the number of visitors to your website. Content comes in many shapes and forms such as press releases, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, mobile applications, etc. Content marketing is critical to creating the true value for visitors to your site. It is your content that will separate you from the other vendors.
The difference between a Lead and a Targeted Lead is that the targeted lead has actually demonstrated that they are interested in what you have to offer. Using the tactics listed above, you will attract quality targeted leads to your site.
Anchor text is a term often referred to in Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Web Development. Anchor text can be positive contributer to the SEO on your website as well as the user experience. In this short article on SEO Basics we are going answer the following questions:
- What is Anchor Text?
- Why is Anchor Text important?
What is Anchor Text?
Simply put Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Here is an example.
The Ultimate Guide To Hiring An Inbound Marketing Agency
In the above example our anchor text is Download as it is the portion of text that is a link.
Why is Anchor Text Important?
We have defined what Anchor text is. Now we can look at how it is used and its importance. Search engines want to display the most relevant topic to the user when they perform a search. One of the ways it determines this is by the anchor text of the link it followed to arrive at the page it is on. It will look at the anchor text and assume that the page it is going to see will be related to that anchor text. The same way you or I would.
If the anchor text is Popcorn and you click it you would expect to see a page on popcorn.. images, information, stats, etc. If instead it had information on Dogs you would feel mislead. The search engines are the same way.
Lets take a look at the previous example and analyze that. We have used download as our anchor text. the search engine is expecting to see a page related to "download". Instead it is seeing information related to hiring an inbound marketing agency.
What would have been more effective is if we had utilized our keyword for the target page as our anchor text. Here is the above example again, but this time optimized for SEO.
Target page keyword/phrase: Hire An Internet Marketing Agency
Download our guide on how to Hire An Internet Marketing Agency
Now when the search engine follows the link it will be expecting to see information on hiring an internet marketing agency and that is what it will receive.
Having the proper anchor text is important to an effective SEO strategy for your business. Of course that will depend on you having a proper strategy laid out. Thanks for taking the time to read this article on SEO Basics and feel free to share your comments or questions below!
Need help setting up an SEO strategy for your business? Contact Kohfa SEO Team
Inbound Marketing is marketing that your audience finds useful. Visitors to your site will be attracted by the valuable contented and be more likely to become leads (submit name, email, tc.) and as a result of quality give-away information, lead nurturing and customer service they will become customers (actually subscribe or purchase your product/service).
Good Inbound Marketing is like a magent whereas traditional online marketing might come across as a sledge-hammer at times! You have been there and seen that!
“Inbound marketing tactics tend to be cheaper than traditional marketing tactics. “
“Companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics”
How does inbound marketing work?
Imagine your marketing and sales process as being a funnel. New visitors/prospects come to your website at the top of the funnel. If your content and message is compelling enough, they will become leads and enter the funnel and interact with your site (middle of the funnel). If your Inbound Marketing strategy is sound, a certain percentage of those leads will eventually become customers.
Get Found — Tactics like search engine optimization (SEO) and blogging that attract targeted prospects to your website.
Convert — Tactics like landing pages and lead nurturing that are designed convert website visitors to leads and eventually, long-term customers.
Analyze — Tactics that are in place to improve the effectiveness of the entire Inbound Marketing strategy — to get more targeted visitors in the top of the funnel and out the bottom as satisfied customers.
Since 2006 the concept of Inbound Marketing has really gained traction throughout the online world. The term “Inbound Marketing” was coined by the founders of HubSpot and they have really led the charge in the realm of Inbound Marketing.
Effective marketing strategies come in many different forms. In fact, what makes them effective can be perception based. Lets face it.. most of us are not perfect, and very seldom do we "knock the ball out of the park" on the first attempt at a task. This applies to marketing initiatives. Goal setting is important to determine if your on track, but what other methods can be used when doing marketing analysis?
How about A/B testing? Companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Kohfa utilize this method. In this article we will define what it is, discuss the benefits, and give a few examples of its use.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing, often referred to as split testing, is accurately described by wikipedia as the following:
A/B testing or split testing compares the effectiveness of two versions of a web page, marketing email, or the like, in order to discover which has better response rate or better sales conversion rate.
A/B testing wikpiedia page
The Benefits of A/B testing
Now that we know what A/B testing is lets take a look at the benefits. As you move through the list the value contributed to an effective marketing strategy or marketing analysis will become apparent. I wont list all of the benefits, since its particular to the situation, but here here is some general ones.
- Taking the "good" to the next level
- Collecting data to make informed decisions
- Increasing conversion rates, leads, or other valuable factors
- Providing variety and allowing for "recycling" of material
- Improving ROI through marketing efficiency
How to utilize A/B testing
A/B testing can be utilized in any effective marketing strategy in a variety of ways. Lets take a look at a few examples:
- Landing Page optimization: Your utilizing landing pages(LP) on your website to capture leads. The layout of your LP can have a dramatic effect on lead conversion. How do you determine if your current page layout is effective? Create another layout(or 2.. or 3!). Show the different versions of the LP to the users who come to the site(%50 get A and %50 get B). Track the data to see which has a higher conversion rate!
- Website Optimization: Take the previous method and apply it to your website. Is there any areas of your website you don't feel confident in? Maybe there has been debate on the order of items in the menu bar or the placement of Call-to-Actions on the site. it might even be which call-to-actions to use. Want an example? Check out http://kohfa.com hit the refresh button, notice any changes?
- Email Marketing: Your sending a regular newsletter, great! how could A/B testing apply in this scenario? Think about the time of the day your sending it out, the layout of the newsletter, the type of content your offering, the day of the week, and so on.
- Other Items: This article would be a short novel if I listed every area this applies to. Now that you understand what A/B testing is you probably can already envision how this can apply in other areas. Search engine ads, facebook posts, twitter posts, blog posts, website images, and lead nurturing campaigns to name just a few.
We defined what A/B testing is. We have looked at the benefits and a few examples of how it could apply. A/B testing adds value to your marketing efforts. How will you apply A/B testing to your initiatives? Have you tried this method in the past? What were the results?
Our inbound marketing team specializes in building marketing campaigns that utilize A/B testing. if your not sure where to start get in touch with us!