March Marketing Minute: Improve Your Inbound Marketing

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Did you catch our Marketing Minute this month? If not, no worries! Read below to learn all about why your organization needs inbound marketing and learn tips from one of our marketing strategy specialists.

At the end of the day, the fact is that many organizations don’t focus enough on inbound marketing. In traditional marketing, you send your message out to the masses, consistently spending time and resources hoping that your target market responds. With inbound marketing, you lay the groundwork, and your audience comes to you. And, while it takes some work, in the end you’re left with a marketing campaign working on its own to help drive sales inquiries for your team.

Sounds good, right? So, what can you do to implement this type of strategy for your organization?

Click here to watch as Director of Marketing Strategy, Samantha Lake, shows you how you can implement a successful inbound marketing campaign, and don’t forget to read “Can Inbound and Content Marketing Replace Your Sales Force?” after.

Mobility Key to Success in 2015

Whether you market for a company or do marketing in accordance with owning your own business, are you truly getting it?

Sure, marketing is not exactly rocket science, but it does take coordination, time, effort and the ability to adjust to changing dynamics in the marketplace. Without being able to change and adjust to changes in the world of consumers, you could find yourself stuck at the train station as the train pulls away.

For many involved in marketing in 2015, mobility is and will continue to be a key.

With that in mind, are you mobile enough to take your marketing efforts to new levels this year and beyond?

Mobile_PayThings Are Changing

If you take the time to breathe in all that is going on in the marketing world these days, you’ll know the mobile marketing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

No matter what product or service you market, albeit it home furnishings, ADT in Georgia, life insurance, legal services or hundreds of other items, you can’t be mobile enough in today’s fast-paced world.

While traditional marketing means still work in many situations, they are quickly being overtaken by the world of mobile marketing.

Mobile Marketing is Proving More Secure

Look at this following example and see what your best opportunity is to reach this customer:

You sell security systems in Atlanta and you have an interested customer (Debbie) who is interested in a system for her new salon that is opening up across town.

As part of your pitch, you send her a traditional marketing message via regular mail, you email her (with her approval of course) and you text her (again, with her approval) about some possible security system options.

In more cases than not, your traditional approach (letter in the mail) will be set aside or even discarded sooner rather than later.

You can of course try the email route, but many of those ultimately end up being read and ignored, deleted or making their way to a spam folder.

With a mobile marketing approach, however, you can instantaneously have your product and/or service on the lips of this consumer and potentially many more.

Delivery Presentation is Key

While getting your mobile message out there is obviously important, how you present it is equally if not more critical.

Make sure your mobile presentation is:

  • Short and sweet
  • Clear and easy to follow
  • Easy to view and no broken links
  • Provides point of contact

Mobile marketing should be a part of your overall marketing strategy now and for the foreseeable future.

If it isn’t, you’re marketing missed opportunities galore.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and small business.

In-Plant Printing Isn’t Going Away

It was not that long ago that in-plant production for most larger organizations was a busy and hectic sight to see; so much so that it wasn’t uncommon to see a business need to outsource a great deal of printing at particular times of the month.  It seems the requirements at the end of the month, or the end of a quarter, were too great for most of their internal print shops to keep up with.  One company based in Cincinnati had the rights of first refusal for all projects, and they still turned away 30% of the requested print jobs which amounted to over $1 million of outsourced work.

Mag_GlassIt is estimated that in-plant printing can save an organization from 10%-30% in their print production thanks to not having to pay a tax, often not having to pay rent or utilities, and there is often a lower cost structure since profit is not the purpose of the project.  With the savings available by utilizing in-plant printing, why would anyone want to send work out?

The main reason to outsource is that some print jobs may come in as a huge chunk of data all at the same time, and customers want that data crunched and presented to them all at once.  When a fiscal quarter ends, clients want to see what their numbers were for that quarter.  Those clients don’t want to wait a week to see their numbers, so companies must often outsource many of those print jobs.

Part of the reason some in-plants are not able to keep up with printing assignments is they have not kept up with printing technology.  An example of the switch from off-set printing to digital can make the process much faster.  As an example, a company used to make an annual magazine for employees and customers.  When the company used a digital off-set it took nine days to print, often through an expensive process with several proofs and revisions until the final project was completed correctly. When they moved to a digitized process it took 1.5 days and saved a great amount of money, resources, and of course stress.

Why would a company use in-plant printing instead of outsourcing if outsourcing is more efficient?  Will the savings add up to enough?  One of the most important reasons in-plants exist is control.  An in-plant shop can print things a commercial shop would do, but they can often do them more inexpensively, and on time; that is if they are able to accept the work because they aren’t backed up.

When in-plants have made a commitment to become more digitized and more independent, the quality of the product improved more quickly, so there was less wasted material as the printers edited more content without running test prints to make a good, finished project.

As long as print is around, there will always be a market and a great opportunity for in-plant printing.  The important thing for in-plant printers to remember is to keep up with technology and recent trends to bring in more business.

4 Metrics to Effectively Track Print

While it sure can be fun to generate personalized URLs and QR codes and then put them on a piece of printed material (direct mail, flyers, brochures, etc), the real enjoyment can come from the time you spend actually tracking and measuring how things are working.

Online printHere are four metrics that may help you track print effectively:

  1. The number of people that scanned or clicked: Half the battle of launching a successful marketing effort involves simply getting someone’s attention. How can you make your message stand out from the clutter of other messages that the recipient may have received? Well, pay attention to the group that at least takes some action on your response mechanisms. Even if they do not actually respond to your questions on the landing page, the act of scanning a QR Code, typing in a URL, or sending a text message involves effort. That bit of effort may indicate a bit of interest in your message; thus, those people should be treated differently than those found a home for your printed materials in their waste basket.
  2. The number of people that responded: Yes, we love these folks. They took the time to visit your response page, enter some contact information, and perhaps answer a few questions. Make sure that you are ready to embrace these inquiries as quick as possible. Of course, pay attention to the data that they provide to you! If they shared preferences on how they prefer to be contacted or in what they’re interested in, make sure that you respect and honor that.
  3. Where the responders are in the pipeline: At some point, leads are handed off between marketing and sales departments. However, marketing’s job is to support sales the entire way through the pipeline. Thus, marketing folks should have the ability (and the desire) to see where the inquiries and leads they’ve generated have moved down to in the sales funnel.
  4. Actionable intelligence from the responders’ feedback: We often tend to look at each response and lead as its own entity. This is good and understandable. However, we should also look at the data from a high-level perspective. Take the time to look for trends — when do people click? When do they respond? What answers are being provided/selected by the majority of folks?

Answers to these four metrics should certainly help us to grasp whether our current printed materials are effectively reaching our audience. But more importantly, they should also help us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry

Print and mail service providers transforming their business is nothing new, yet it can seem like an impossible task if you don’t know where to begin. In my book, “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry,” I cover just that:

“Clearly, if you have heavy investments in printing equipment… you don’t want to abandon your heritage in the transition to becoming a marketing services provider. Rather, you want to build on the knowledge and expertise you already have about your customers and their communications needs in order to deliver a broader portfolio of products and services that will make you a trusted partner, and them a loyal customer.”

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry” to begin transforming and growing your business at JohnFoleyJr.com/Bookstore! Also, if you’ve already read any of my books, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Engaging in Hiring the Best Mobile Marketers

As more people purchase mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, they use them to do research on products and services and to make purchases.

Companies that want to capture this market must learn a special kind of marketing process called mobile marketing. Hiring experts in the field, or mobile marketers, will give them the edge.

But how do you find the best mobile marketers?

Special Skills

Mobile marketers must learn special skills focused solely on mobile advertising.

Mobile marketers must understand all of the aspects of this field, which include location-based services, texting and mobile purchases. They must have specific skills that allow them to understand design, analytics and marketing.

At the same time, they must develop more advanced skills such as programming and the ability to build mobile sites or applications.

Some of the most sought-after skills include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Google Analytics
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Microsoft Office

Marketers learn these skills through online courses or in classroom settings in a certificate program.

Choosing the Best Qualified

Companies looking to hire mobile marketers want the best qualified candidates.

Having a general knowledge of marketing or a marketing degree is not enough. Job candidates must have a thorough knowledge of the mobile industry and know how to create and utilize a mobile site or app to achieve the business’ goals.

Many mobile marketers are people with a strong background in marketing who have since completed courses specifically on mobile marketing and received a certificate.

Because they are often full-time employees, they may opt for online courses that work around an already-packed schedule. Several industry organizations and online schools now offer this course along with community colleges and schools.

Choosing the Best Program

For those interested in pursuing an education in mobile marketing, they want to find the best courses available.

While online classes are popular because they are convenient, they are not any easier than classroom study. The key for students is to find online courses that will prepare them for work in the industry when they have finished.

The article, “How Instructors Create Engaging Online Courses”, discusses what to look for in online programs, which includes mobile marketing.

Discussion opportunities are one area the article states is important.

Since you aren’t able to interact with the teacher and other students in a live classroom, there should be ample opportunities to have online discussions where the teacher is involved as well as other students. Presenting different ideas and opinions is a building block to a student’s learning.

Every course should present you with some type of certification so that your work will be recognized when you seek a job.

It shows that you have studied mobile marketing specifically and learned critical skills needed for a job in the industry.

The need for mobile marketers is expected to continue to grow, and it is an area that can be hard to fill.

A well-educated, certified mobile marketer can make a big difference in the success of a company, so managers should look for the best candidates and job applicants should seek the certification that will give them the edge.

 

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and human resources.