Incoming ….

inbound marketing

The last few years have seen a new wave breaking in the marketing world. You may be aware of it under different labels, but ‘inbound marketing’ is an umbrella term for the change.

The bedrock of marketing was always outbound strategy:

  • the print advertisement
  • the billboard
  • the commercial on TV or in the cinema (remember going out to the movies?)

Market share used to be heavily influenced by how much you could afford to spend on advertising. So the companies most likely to succeed were those who could afford billboards and full page ads. Smaller competitors had to be a lot craftier, the quality of their products or services had to be outstanding and their appeal to niche markets was often their secret weapon.

Today’s customers are much more proactive about seeking out products and services for themselves, empowered by their confidence online. If they want a plumber or a palm tree or a book on rare birds, they’re more likely to begin their search on Google before they reach for the yellow pages or walk into a shop. They don’t only search online. They compare prices and features. They look at product surveys and access customer reviews.

By the time they email, pick up the phone, or complete the online form on your website, they’re more than likely well informed about you, your business and what you have to offer. And they’re already inclined to buy your product or use your services. They’re a prospect who’s generated a lead for you and they’ve invited you to contact them. You don’t have to cold call them. You ‘warm call’ them. Of course, it’s up to you to delight them from there.

Businesses have been quick to recognise the need to connect with the new style of customers. They’re making it easy for customers to find them with inbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing outperforms outbound strategies and is cheaper.
An eConsultancy survey from 2012 found the cost of acquiring a new lead was $346 using outbound marketing strategies, yet only $135 using inbound strategies. So, while larger companies have been quick to spot the trend, many smaller businesses are finding inbound strategies well within their reach and their budget.

The message for your online strategy is: make it easy for customers to find you. Make it enticing to stay and play. Offer takeaways with sufficient value for web-surfers to be happy to exchange their contact details for your white paper or presentation or your podcast. Create opportunities to interact with potential customers so your web presence is less of a billboard and has more potential to personalise future contact.

Avoiding the January Blues

Avoiding the January blues

Many people kick start the New Year with a myriad of resolutions, from keeping fit to losing weight or achieving financial goals. However, many of those resolutions fail to embody anything remotely close to working life. The first week back is usually a slow one; clearing out the inbox (usually spam as most other people were also on break) dusting off the keyboard and restocking the cupboard with fresh new stationery.

So when your employees hit the deck with the January blues, here are some ideas to instil excitement and motivation.

Know your team

Inspiring your team can start even before the New Year kicks off. If you give out Christmas gifts at the end of each year, do your research first. Find out about your team and ensure you’re getting each and every one of them something that is thoughtful and representative of how you see them as individuals. If specialised gifts are not within your budget, ensure you do something, whether it be a Christmas party or even a personalised card that lets each of your employees know how much you’ve appreciated their efforts throughout the year. By feeling this appreciation, they are more likely to come back to work in a positive frame of mind.

As a by the by, when you’re planning the office Christmas party, if it’s likely to be especially festive, make some provision so that people don’t have to drink and drive. Often someone’s willing to volunteer as sober driver but give it some thought and talk it over with the team so there’s a plan for everyone to make it home safely.

Include your staff in the company goals

In your initial meeting at the beginning of the year, let everyone know what the overall plan is for the year and where the business is going. Sit down with each staff member individually and chat about personal career goals, how you and the company can help to achieve these and reiterate the importance of the company values. This makes each team member feel valued and appreciated, with the knowledge that you care about his or her future.

 

Make it fun

In this initial meeting, make sure you include some exciting goals and talk about ideas for functions and team outings. It’s good for your crew to have something to look forward to. More importantly, make sure it happens. You don’t want to plan big and be greeted with exasperated sighs and rolled eyes for not following through on promises from previous years.

Keep it moving

Is everyone in the team already a bit nostalgic for the days on the beach? Or are they talking about their healthy lifestyle resolutions? Would they be up for a detox week at work? Programme some healthy shared lunches, with everyone bringing in their favourite salads and juices. Make the most of the long summer days and go for a walk in the sun during lunch or before work. Make a date to go out to a local lookout for a scenic moment. Get the blood pumping with a game of touch after work.

Leave room for treats

Build in some reward moments, too. Simply surprise the team with an occasional morning tea treat. Or, if people are in the mood to be social but a little cash-poor after the holidays, suggest an evening get-together at someone’s house for DVDs and snacks.

These ideas can also be helpful tools to check in with your team throughout the year. Open communication, positive attitudes and keeping everyone in the loop is just the start to maintaining motivation and keeping energy levels up. This can encourage respect and in turn, reinforce staff retention and loyalty. By treating your employees as valued team players, you can have a far more productive and efficient year ahead.