Our Inbound Marketing and Design Blog. Topics from digital marketing, web design and development, social media, and results driven marketing strategies.

Stream Creative Blog

7 Essential Reasons Marketing and Customer Service Need to Communicate

Posted by Janice Dombrowski on Feb 3, 2015 1:27:03 PM

customerserviceblogThe silos of traditional organizational department structures are crumbling. There has been a welcomed shift in strategic thinking, emphasizing collaborative work circles and interdepartmental teams. Not only does it make sense from a tactical standpoint, the collaboration between two key departments – marketing and customer service – is essential.

Read more

Topics: Public Relations, Branding, marketing strategy

Q&A with Paul Roetzer: On A Webinar Series You Can’t Miss

Posted by Steve James on Jan 28, 2015 11:18:00 AM

Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20In August 2014, our good friend, Paul Roetzer, CEO of PR 20/20, released his latest book, The Marketing Performance Blueprint: Strategies and Technologies to Build and Measure Business Success. Paul’s book focuses on processes, technologies, and strategies needed to fill marketing gaps and build performance-driven organizations. Written to be an essential and accessible guide for marketers, executives, and entrepreneurs, The Marketing Performance Blueprint includes key principles focusing on performance goals, digital transformation, creating a modern team and more. As a deeper-dive into the core concepts discussed in his book, Paul is offering a live online event: The Marketing Blueprint Webinar Series beginning February 10 at 1pm.

We recently chatted with Paul about some of the key takeaways participants will obtain through this series:

Read more

Topics: Campaigns, Inbound Marketing, Strategy, Conversion Process, ROI

Notable Ways Content Marketing Is Making An Impression On PR – Part 1

Posted by Andrea Brinkman on Jan 22, 2015 10:38:45 AM

CollaborationWhile some marketers may have not yet recognized the profound effect content marketing is having on public relations, others are noticing the natural extension both functions form in relationship with one another. A content marketing strategy should be representative of your brand and voice, convey your business’ main principles, all while being entertaining, useful and relevant. If you are a PR professional, do these objectives sound much different from the work you are doing to communicate how your business is making an impact on your industry? The bottom line is, both functions of content creation and PR are built on the foundation of establishing relationships and motivating others to become ambassadors for your brand. Check out these key impressions that content marketing has made, and will continue to make on PR:

Read more

Topics: Public Relations, Communication, Content Creation, Content Marketing, Collaborative Content

A Can’t Miss Summary Of The Leading 2015 Marketing Predications

Posted by Janice Dombrowski on Jan 15, 2015 1:28:28 PM

2015 Marketing Prediction SummaryWith the start of the New Year, you’ve likely seen more 2015 marketing predictions than you can process. To save you some valuable reading time, we’ve collected the leading predictions by marketing category to provide you with a glimpse of the most important considerations for this calendar year.

Read more

3 Ways Inbound Marketers Are Just Like Santa Claus

Posted by Janice Dombrowski on Dec 12, 2014 3:10:01 PM

santa-mailbox_1We certainly don’t live in the North Pole or drive a reindeer sleigh to work, but there are three key similarities between inbound marketers and jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas.

Here’s a short list that will convince you that inbound marketers and Santa Claus operate in similar ways.

  1. You’ve Got to Believe.

    The spirit of Santa Claus exists in the excitement and anticipation of children at Christmas time. The rosy cheeks, the round belly and magic of Santa’s annual visit spark curiosity, wonder and merriment for the kid in all of us. Whether or not he really lives in the North Pole is moot; his spirit and the joy of the season are ingrained in all who believe.

    In a similar light, you have to believe in the principles of inbound marketing to be successful. Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that draws customers toward your business and encourages them to buy your product or service. Inbound marketing helps you build a relationship with each customer so they keep coming back.

    If you believe in building a loyal customer base, you have to put in the work to build the content they want to read. Believe in the power of blogs, social media, ebooks and free resource downloads that help customers understand your product or service or solve a problem. To connect with the right customers, you just have to be an inbound believer.

  2. Ask, And We Shall Deliver.

    In the month of December, Santa’s inbox is inundated with letters: children requesting their favorite things to be wrapped in ribbons and bows and delivered under the Christmas tree. We have all heard about Santa’s famous list and hope our names fall into the ‘nice’ column.

    Similarly, inbound marketers focus on attracting visitors and providing them with the content they are looking for. When potential customers search for a topic in their search browser, as inbound marketers, we want to deliver that perfect blog, ebook or guide to meet their needs. We believe in the importance of delivering the right information to the right people so they become leads and eventually, customers.

    Using keywords in your website content, blog and social media posts is a great way to reach the right customers. Think about focusing on the main points of your target customer, what they may ask for, and deliver exactly what they need. If your customer asks a specific question about your product or service, answer that question in a blog or free ebook and promote it within all of your online channels. When your customers ask a question be sure you are top of mind and provide the appropriate answers. The best way to build a relationship with your audience is to fulfill their wish list.

  3. Our Goal is To Delight You.

    Unless you see a screaming toddler on Santa’s lap, everything Santa touches seems to have Christmas magic. Bringing joy to children and adults, Santa Claus is associated with everything jolly and delightful.

    Inbound marketing, too, focuses on delighting customers. Providing quality, and at times, unexpected content to visitors, leads and customers alike; our goal it to provide a continual stream of valuable resources to keep people engaged. If we can provide the information our customer base is looking for and offer a product or service that exceeds their expectations, we too, are sure to delight.
Read more

Topics: Content Creation, Inbound Marketing, Keyword Research

3 Reasons Sales Professionals Should Give Thanks For Inbound Marketing

Posted by Steve James on Nov 26, 2014 11:24:29 AM

hubspot-sales-image-2-2Over the past 8 years, inbound marketing has become a movement adopted by a large majority of professionals in various industries from B2C to B2B. It wasn’t until recent years that this wildly successful way of attracting and nurturing prospects and customers has extended beyond the marketing department. Organization leaders in all department areas including HR, business development, training, IT and more, continue to lean on inbound philosophies to achieve goals. While these areas of business have been influential, one department that has likely made the strongest impact by using inbound marketing strategy is sales.

Read more

Topics: Inbound Markeing, HubSpot, Sales, CRM, Sidekick

The New Marketing Mix: Leveraging 8 Tools for Your Digital Marketing Success!

Posted by Mary Jo Preston on Oct 2, 2014 12:00:00 PM

mix_tableWe just got back from attending Inbound in Boston and I am amazed and overloaded with so many great takeaways from the speakers. One of my favorites was sitting in a session with Paul Roetzer whose topic was on Metrics that Matter. Lots of great takeaways here and one stat really stood out. According to Capgemini Consulting, 90 percent of companies lack the necessary skills to capitalize on the digital world of social media, mobile, internal social networks, automation, and analytics. That means a majority of companies run the risk of falling behind as the digital world surges forward and continues to adapt to customer behavior and consumer demands. Customers are online, and that is where successful companies must go.

The digital world continues to change, and the marketing mix has just gotten impressively bigger, but it is also better. Every business can leverage digital marketing to grow. Here are the tools you need to bring your customers to your website, engage them, convert them, and keep them happy.

Bring More People to Your Website

Digital Ads:
Digital ads are easy and effective ways to attract people to your website, and there are a number of different types of digital media options. Pre-roll video ads play before the growing amount of video content online, you can run ads on social media sites, through Google and other search engines, and mobile ads to capture those customers who use their phone like a computer. Ad networks allow you to effectively pinpoint your audience, based on interests, job titles, market or niche. When using these ads to compliment an inbound marketing campaign, you will drive more customers back to your website, offer or product.

Search:
Organic search is a great way to bring new customers to your website and introduce them to your company. Most of the people who discover your site through search are going to be more interested in learning information and researching the problems they are facing than actually buying. This is who you want to begin to build a relationship with, so they will turn to you when they are ready to buy. These people are going to be doing searches based upon particular keywords, and the more you are able to work in those keywords through your blog and website content, the easier it will be for visitors to find you. Adword campaigns are also easy to incorporate into your marketing campaign to help drive traffic towards your site by improving your visibility in searches.

Engage Your Visitors As They arrive and Convert Them to Customers

Automation:
Building a successful digital marketing strategy is about building a relationship with your site visitors. You want to reach out to them at key points in their buyer’s journey and encourage them to continue on towards becoming a paying customer. Marketing automation makes this significantly easier for you. Now you generate automatic, personalized emails based on what page visitors have viewed on your website. You can automatically welcome people to your site and thank them for subscribing to feeds. Those who have viewed your pricing page can receive another email that has been crafted specifically for those who are reaching the decision stage of the buyers’ journey. By compiling information about what your clients are doing on the site, you can create workflows to automatically engage the visitor and convert them easier into new clients. Companies like HubSpot make it easy to set up these automatic workflows and improve engagement.

Email:
There are more than 3.2 billion email accounts today and 95 percent of online consumers use email. It is also worth noting that 77 percent of people prefer email when it comes to marketing communications. Email lets you cultivate your relationship with your customers by sending personalized emails. You can contact them when they reach specific points in the buyer’s journey, as indicated by certain actions on your website. These emails are perfect for opening up lines of communication. Most marketing automation software have this tool built in and make it easy to set up email workflows. Other platforms, such as mailchimp and constant contact also can help you track your leads and reach them with emails at that perfect moment. Emails make it easy for customers to ask questions and get in contact with someone at the company when they are ready to make a purchase. They can also be good reminders to customers about the value of the brand.

Mobile:
Mobile internet usage continues to grow. About 1/2 of all local searches are performed on mobile devices and 73 percent of mobile users search on their phones. If your digital marketing campaign does not take into account visitors who are finding your site on mobile devices, you are potentially losing countless customers. A mobile optimized site will take into account information that mobile users are more likely to want, such as phone numbers or addresses while also offering responsive design.

Websites:
All of these efforts to drive traffic towards your site will not make a difference unless your website is user friendly. When you bring prospects to the site, they are going to decide in about 1/20th of a second whether or not your site is helpful. This is your business' first impression. They will decide if this is a company with whom they are interested in doing business. If they have trouble finding the information or navigating the site, they are just going to leave. You want your design to be fully responsive to your user, so they can view the site easily and with minimal scrolling, no matter what type of device they are on.

Keep Your Existing Customers Happy

PR:
The digital world has changed what customers expect from companies. Customers now want to develop relationships with those behind the business and feel as though their individual needs and questions are being met and answered. Those responsible for engaging with the public must now work to harness this desire for a personal connection and take it to digital media. Customers do not call customer complaint hotlines, they take their problems to Twitter or they post a story about a bad interaction on Facebook. It is up to PR managers to monitor the brand and reach out to customers who have had a bad experience. Correct the problem and show this customer, and everyone who is watching the interaction, that this is a brand who cares.

Analyze Your Campaign, Refine, and Improve It

Analytics:
Analytics tells you what is working, and what is not. Without analytics, you run the risk of just spinning your wheels: wasting time and energy on a marketing campaign that is not producing results. Although 76 percent of marketers realize the importance of analytics, few believe they are doing it well. If you are not analyzing your campaigns, you are missing a huge piece of digital success. The beauty of digital marketing is that you do not even need to wait until the end of your campaign to see how it is going. By measuring the success of your various strategies through Google analytics or other marketing software analytics, A/B testing, and measuring lead conversions, you can monitor your campaigns and adapt and refine them for success as you go.

With these tools, you have the power to build a successful marketing campaign. They will help you drive traffic towards your site while also engaging your visitors and converting them into leads. If you are struggling to get your marketing campaign off the ground, partnering with the right marketing agency can give you the boost you need to start bringing in customers.

What digital tools are you using to achieve marketing success?

Read more

Topics: Digital Marketing, marketing automation

4 Ways HubSpot’s New CRM System Will Transform Sales For Small & Mid-Sized Businesses

Posted by Steve James on Sep 16, 2014 4:30:00 PM

HubSpot CRM What do feel when you look out the window of your home and see someone walking up your doorstep with a clipboard? The first feeling may be fear, the second is likely anxiety, and the third is oftentimes annoyance. Gone are the days when people tolerated disruptive soliciting and selling.

Read more

Topics: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, Sales, Inbound 14, CRM

Serve Up Sales With Content Marketing

Posted by Jeff Coon on Sep 5, 2014 4:25:00 PM

serving-up-salesI like to think of a great content marketing plan like an exceptional server at your favorite restaurant. There are a few key ingredients that go into creating an effective content marketing plan that serves up more visitors, leads and sales.

Read more

Topics: Content Marketing

Website Redesign: 5 Tips to Create Team Pages People Actually Want To Read

Posted by Andrea Brinkman on Sep 4, 2014 4:42:41 PM

Last week, we had the pleasure of helping our friends and partners with PR 20/20 launch their new website. As fellow inbound marketers based out of Cleveland, Ohio, the PR 20/20 team created exceptional content and imagery while our Stream Creative web team assisted with the design and development of the site. One element of the website that is a favorite of both groups is the team page - highlighting the company’s philosophy of creating a “culture of we,” along with personalized bios and individual / group interests and passions.

pr2020-hubspot-cos-design

The personalities, expertise and ethics of the people that make up a company are as important as the company’s reputation and achievements. Creating a team page that offers unique insight into a company’s culture and character adds value to any site where client / agency partnerships are an important part of business relations. Additionally, it adds a personal element and credibility that builds trust with partners and clients. These are 5 of our favorite elements of PR 20/20’s website team page that are great examples of how to make employees stand out, while exhibiting unity: 

1. Put a face & personality to the name. Most companies include professional photos of key personnel on their team page that will help partners, clients and prospects put a face to the name. PR 20/20 took this feature a step further by not only including a headshot of each of their team members, but personal photos with friends and family to showcase each unique personality. Multiple photos of the team at social functions were incorporated on the site page to display camaraderie, teamwork and most importantly, the fun that the group enjoys together.

2. Explain what has contributed to professional expertise to establish credibility. Rather than including the traditionally, often stuffy bio information, PR 20/20 included individual team member’s “professional moments”, “favorite moments” or “fun facts” both personally and professionally to allow their staff to highlight skills, areas of expertise and other industry credentials. 

3. Include fun, personal passions and interests that make individuals approachable and showcase personalities. Each individual team member’s page includes a listing of personal passions and interests that correspond with photos of friends, family and hobbies. The value of including interesting personal information makes the individual more approachable to the reader - offering possible commonalities and interests. The bottom line is that it portrays the company as a group of real people and will likely give clients and prospects something to talk about next time they chat with their PR 20/20 partner. 

4. Include personal social media handles or links. A company is only as strong as its team and this philosophy shines through when a team member shares their expertise via social channels. While it’s important to position a company as an industry expert, oftentimes team members have much to contribute via their personal blogs, relevant publications and other content they read or research on a daily basis. The information shared through an employee's personal social channels is a reflection of the company’s expertise as a whole. Including an employee’s personal social handles or links is a great way to encourage readers to get to know your staff and the knowledge they offer, by following their daily postings.

5. Encourage team members to provide descriptive quotes for their colleagues’ pages – further showcasing personalities, expertise and work ethic. One of our favorite elements of the PR 20/20 team page is the “testimonial” quotes fellow team members provided for each individual’s bio page. The quotes not only represent who the employee is as an individual, but also the strength of their individual role and incredible value they bring to the team (as told by their colleagues). 

Team bio & about pages are one of the most important components of any website. PR 20/20 did an incredible job putting a face to the personalities that make up their team, allowing website visitors to view the “realness” of their company. Adding a human touch can help build credibility and position your company and its representatives not only as thought leaders, but partners that clients and prospects will respect. 

How can you add greater personalization to showcase the expertise and unique personalities of your team on your company bio or about page?

10-Step Checklist for Your Website Redesign

Read more

Topics: Content, Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, Web Design and Development

 

Subscribe to get more marketing articles from Stream Creative: