Google AdWords: make your campaign the best it can be!

adwords-logoOnline advertising is crucial to every business and it’s a great way to show your ads to those people that are likely to be in your target market, and thus potentially be interested in your product or service. It’s also a great way to achieve the basic goal of just increasing your brand awareness. Online advertising doesn’t just have to be done through a computer or laptop, it can work across all platforms that run the internet, including smartphones and tablets. Using Google AdWords can be a useful tool that can help you with all of your online advertising.

The benefits of AdWords include…

  1. Target Your Ads: you want to show your ads to the specific people that will actually care about your product or service, not just the general population. Ways to do this targeting include using the correct keywords, having the right location for your ads, having the right demographics of your target market, showing your ads at the right time of day or day of the week, and showing your ads on the correct devices.
  2. Control Your Costs: Google offers you the flexibility of deciding how much you’d like to spend each month, each day, or for each ad. Theres no minimum, and you can have total control. The only time you pay is when someone actually clicks on your advertisement.
  3. Measure Your Success: Not only can you just see when someone clicks on your ad, you can also track those who make the desired conversion on your landing page. By identifying which ads get lots of clicks and which ones don’t, you can focus on the successful ads and use this to increase your return on investment. You can also use Google Analytics as well to track how long a customer is on your site before they actually make the conversion.
  4. Manage Your Campaign: AdWords offers  you the convenience of being able to manage multiple accounts if you have them. This can help you save time by seeing all of your accounts in one place. Google also offers a downloadable application called AdWords Editor, and through that you can edit your accounts and campaigns offline.

Here’s a clip of what Google AdWords actually looks like!

google-adwords-pic1-l

Google offers 2 different networks for you to display your ad campaign on: the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network. Different campaign types run on either one of these 2 networks. The Google Search Network consists of not just regular Google Search, but also Maps and Shopping and hundreds of other non-Google partner websites that will show an AdWords ad that matches search results. The Search Network is primarily used to help advertisers show their text ads in a Google search results page, and quickly reach their customers that are searching for their specific product or service. The Display Network consists of several Google Sites (Gmail, Blogger, Youtube…) as well as partner sites, mobile sites, and apps that will show an AdWords ad that matches search results. The Display Network is primarily used to help advertisers use appealing ad display formats, build brand awareness and customer loyalty, increase engagement with customers, and specifically choose where ads show, as well as to who.

It’s also important to understand where Google AdWords will show your advertisements. On the Search Network, keywords play a big role in what search results pages your ad will show up on. These ads can be shown as just regular text ads, or as ads with extensions (visual enhancements to search ads). Display Network ads can be shown as text ads, image ads, rich media ads, and video ads. You can also use the Display Network to show your ads on mobile phones, and these can be either text, image, or video as well, just in a different format to accommodate the mobile device. The quality of your ads is also a determining factor in where your ads will appear on the Google search results page. Your quality score is a score based on how relevant your ads are to the keywords you have set up with them, and your ad rank is the actual ranked position of your advertisement. In my last blog post, Paid Search, I go through the process of how it’s determined what you pay, but in short… You can place a bid among other bidders stating how much you’re willing to pay per click. Google will use this, and your quality score to determine where exactly you’re going to be put on the results page. The actual amount you pay is dependent upon what the lowest bid was – you usually never pay your max amount unless you are the lowest bidder or have the lowest quality.

The main and most important reason to use Google AdWords is to manage and run your ad campaign. If I were to ever work in the field of search engine marketing, I’d use Google AdWords to help clients have the most successful campaigns that they possibly could given the resources there are to work with. Clients can choose to either have a Search Network only campaign, Display Network only campaign, or a Search Network with Display Select campaign. Search Network only campaigns have your ads appear throughout the sites that are on the Google Search Network. The clients I’d suggest this method for are the advertisers that want to be able to connect with customers right when they’re searching for their products or services. Display Network only campaigns have your ads appear throughout the Google Display Network. This campaign strategy matches your ads (text, image, video, etc) to websites (like YouTube) and mobile apps that are relevantly related to your content. The clients I’d suggest this campaign method to would be ones that want to increase their brand awareness, especially if they want an image or video accompanying their advertisement. A Search Network with Display Select is probably the best option though, in my opinion. It gives you the best of both campaign options, making sure you hit every mark and increase your chances of being seen by your target audience not only on the Google search results page, but on other relevant websites that are partnered with Google. Managing accounts and different client campaigns is made simple through using My Client Center. This is the place where you can easily keep all of your linked clients campaigns, track performance, manage budgets, and many other activities.

It’s essential to always measure your results for each ad campaign that is run. Understanding the metrics surrounding each campaign will help you decide which ones to continue, which ones to tweak/make better, and which ones to drop entirely. Google Analytics is a great resource to help track how long customers spend on your page before they make a conversion (or if they even do!) By understanding which campaigns of yours have the best and highest conversion rates, you’re able to focus in on those ones while you work to better your other campaigns that might be slacking (use A/B testing!) Always make sure you concentrate on the metrics that are most relevant to your goals whether that be a purchase, a download, donation, etc.

Here’s a great infographic about some cool Google AdWords statistics – showing just how powerful it is for your ad campaigns!

google adwords infographic

Paid Search…aka Search Engine Marketing

In a nutshell, there are 2 different types of search engine marketing (SEM), organic, and paid. Organic search engine marketing is made up of the natural, unpaid search engine algorithms. Paid search engine marketing is the exact opposite, meaning your company will pay the search engine to have your website displayed on the results page. The rate you pay is most commonly determined by how often your advertisement is clicked on or viewed. These paid SEM ads are displayed in a ‘sponsored’ section on the search engine, therefore thats how you know they’re different from the organic searches. In a study done by HubSpot, 70% of links that are clicked on are organic, while only 30% of links clicked on are paid.

That statistic might make you believe that it’s a waste of time and money to deal with paid SEM, but it’s not! Say your website isn’t ranking well among your competition and among the right keywords, paid search engine marketing is a great way to buy yourself to the top so get noticed. A big mistake that – usually small – businesses will make with paid SEM is that they think that’s all they have to do and they’re done. Rather, they should be using paid SEM as a way to have a better online presence, while still working at their search engine optimization, and ranking higher in organic searches. Search engine marketing should never replace other marketing efforts, it should instead amplify your marketing efforts to give your company a better internet presence.

Here are a few great ways that paid search can help your business:

  1. Landing Page Testing: by having your website link in a sponsored section of a search engine, you can test 2 different landing pages, say 2 separate offers, or you can test the same offer on 2 different landing pages. The latter is a form of A/B testing, and by sending users to 2 different landing pages, with 2 different layouts, but with the exact same offer, you can see which page will result in more conversions.
  2. Finding New Keywords: Through the help of Google Adwords, you can generate a “Search Terms Report” that will show you all the keywords for which your ad was displayed to the user. This report will also give you the performance of each keyword, meaning those keywords that rank high should be added to your campaign, while those that rank low should be reconsidered. The keywords shown in the results are the keywords that users are actually putting into the Google search bar – so they are extremely crucial to your search engine marketing campaign. This report will also show the number of clicks, percentage conversion rate, and how much that keyword will cost to add to your campaign.
  3. Getting in the Game: This is the same as saying you need to know your competition and know how you rank among them. Get yourself in the game, and utilize all keywords that you can, no matter how broad, as long as they are still relevant in order to rank among your competition.

Paid search engine marketing doesn’t work alone, so you need to use it along with other inbound marketing efforts. Maximizing your coverage on a search engine results page is a great goal for your company, and you can do that through organic and paid search engine marketing. What’s great is when you have organic AND paid search results on the same page instead of different pages. Being able to establish your company as a leader is an amazing goal to have and to reach, and a combination of organic and paid SEM can get you there.

Like I’ve mentioned before, the 3 main components of successful paid search engine marketing includes keywords, ads, and landing pages. You need to make sure you match all of these, keep them consistent with one another, and optimize them all to the best that you can. The right keywords will take users to a results page containing your ads, and when they click on those ads they will be taken to your landing pages. Paid SEM doesn’t work without these 3 requirements.

When running a paid search engine marketing campaign, the most common way to pay for this is through pay-per-click, or PPC. Pay-per-click is a much more cost effective method as opposed to pay per thousand impressions (CPM). The only reason you’d want to use CPM over PPC is to just increase your brand awareness and increase your share of voice. However, when you’re actually trying to make conversions, PPC is your best bet to save money and have the campaign matter. Through PPC, you only pay Google for the advertisement when your ad is actually clicked on (not just when it’s seen or when a mouse has scrolled over it). You could have 100,000 people see your ad on their results page in one day, and if only 10 people clicked on it, you only have to pay for those 10 instead of the 100,000 who saw it. This payment method will save you lots of money. And who doesn’t like saving money whenever they can?

The actual cost of paying per click through Google is based on an auction style method. You have the highest bidder all the way down to the lowest bidder. The highest bid (let’s say $6) accounts for the top, most visible spot, while the lowest bid (let’s say $3) accounts for the lowest, least visible spot. The bids in between follow the correct ranking in order. This isn’t the actual price per spot though. Instead, Google takes the lowest bid, and still puts that for the lowest, least visible spot… but then increases each next highest level spot by an incremental amount (say $0.20). This means, if there are 5 spots, the 5th spot would be $3, the 4th spot would be $3.20, the 3rd $3.40, 2nd $3.60, and finally the 1st spot would be $3.80, even though the original bidder said they’d be willing to pay $6.00 per click.

A quality score is another way that Google makes sure you aren’t just buying irrelevant keywords that have little to nothing to do with your landing pages. The quality score, rated from low to high quality, will analyze how closely the keywords you pay for match your advertisement, and how closely your advertisement matches your landing pages, and give it a rating. This method ensures that companies in a completely different field aren’t bidding high to show up on results pages that are completely irrelevant to the search. The way bidding and quality scores can work together is if you bid higher but have a lower score compared to someone who bid lower and has a higher score, the company with a higher score will get the top position because their ad is more relevant to the search query.

Here are 3 different types of keyword matching:

  1. Exact Match: your ad will only be displayed if the search query includes the exact keyword(s) with words in the exact order.
  2. Phrase Match: your ad will be displayed if the search query includes the same order of words, but may also contain additional words.
  3. Broad Match: your ad will be displayed if the search query includes any or some combination of the words in your keyword, in any given order.

To ensure that costs don’t get too high through your PPC campaign, you want to set a daily budget for how much you will spend. You can tell Google how much you want them to spend each day per ad, and they won’t exceed that limit. You can come up with different budgets for different ads as well! Also, to guarantee all your advertisement expenditure isn’t spent up in just a couple hours, you can ask Google to spread your spending out as the day goes on. Google might also not be able to spend the total amount you give it per day even though they will definitely try. In order to get as close as Google can to spending your daily budget, you must have effective keywords and an effective ad copy. When you create your ad, you are given character limits per line. 25 characters allotted to the title of your advertisement, 37 for the display URL, 35 for your first description, and another 35 for the second.

Just like all other digital marketing methods, you’re able to measure your paid search engine marketing through various metrics. Here are the 4 you can use:

  1. Impressions: one single instance when your ad is displayed through a user typing your keyword into their query.
  2. Clicks: an instance when  viewer actually clicks on your advertisement when it’s been displayed on their results page.
  3. Conversions: this is an instance when a viewer saw your ad, clicked on it, then took the action that you intended them to take when they were brought to your landing page.
  4. Spend: the amount of money you have spent on your campaign so far.

These 4 metrics can help you understand where you might be going wrong in your ad campaign, and where you’re going right. It’s natural that the number of impressions is higher than clicks, and number of clicks higher than conversions. But something important to remember is the higher your percentage metrics (impressions, clicks, conversion) and the lower your cost metrics, the better your ad campaign is performing!

Wordstream has made a great article (not to mention it includes a rad infographic) detailing Pay-Per-Click Marketing as well as an article about What Kinds of Businesses Should Use PPC (with an even cooler infographic), and here are 5 Pay-Per-Click Mistakes That Can Cost You Money!

Let’s Talk Social Media

I’m just going to throw this out there and get it out of the way… If your business isn’t utilizing social media to the best of its ability, you’re doing something extremely wrong. The ways of the internet have shifted dramatically over the course of the last 8 or so years, and media isn’t just media, it’s social. Pictures, videos, and content can be shared across the world in the blink of an eye and while it’s (arguably) not very personal, people have never been more connected. It’s so, so, so important that businesses get with the trend and use social media to their advantage – and I mean more than just getting likes on a Facebook page. Social media isn’t just a fad, and I can guarantee it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The need for a social media platform in a business is just going to grow as time goes on. The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media lays out some important statistics for your business to consider about social media:

business social media

  • Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly
  • 72% of online adults use social networking sites
  • 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  • Smartphone ownership among American adults has risen 60%.

I think we can agree that the point here is that customers are online. And more importantly, your customers.

With so much of our every day lives being spent on the internet, it’s extremely important that businesses connect with their customers in this non-traditional way. Social media can help any and all companies reach their end goal whether its increasing your brands awareness, helping your customers create a preference for your brand, or closing a sale. However, the most important aspect that social media can help you with, from a business perspective, is creating those crucial relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Making and maintaining those relationships is the foundation of social media, and the fact that businesses can now get on a more personal level with their patrons makes this process that much easier. The reward? It’s pretty obvious. The more relationships and bonds you create and the stronger they are, the more likely your business is to convert someone into a repeat customer for your brand.

Another great use of social media for a business is receiving feedback. Customers might not want to take the time to make a post on Yelp, Amazon, or your website, but I bet you they’re on Facebook and have all the time in the world to make a post there! You will be able to gain a whole world of insight into how your customers feel about your brands and products that you may have never gotten before social media.

Personally, I think the best thing about social media for a business is the fact that everything can be shared. This is inbound marketing at its prime. If a customer has a good experience with your brand, they can share a post about it with all of their friends and followers. This opens up so many doors of opportunities! That post can be shared by their friends, and then it can be shared by THAT persons friends…and so on! Personally, I think this is what’s so amazing about social media in general – but for a business it’s absolutely essential. Another way to get your information shared on social media is to create the content yourself. Having a twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog for your company, and other social media sites makes it so you yourself can post and have those posts be shared.

I’m going to dive into how each social media platform can help your business in their own ways, and give an example of a company I believe uses that platform extraordinarily.

Facebook

Some facts:

  • The average Facebook user has 229 friends
  • Posts and pages on Facebook are “liked” 4.5 billion times each day
  • 59% of users who “like” a brand page do so because they have purchased or used the product or service, while 45% are in it for inside info on deals

I wouldn’t be surprised if the first website you thought of when you hear social media is Facebook. This site took the internet to an entirely new level and basically single handedly destroyed MySpace (you remember MySpace, right?). The uses for Facebook are endless, and include connecting with friends old and new and networking. Making sure your business is on Facebook would do nothing but help you. You can have your content marketing take on a new platform and by conquering Facebook, you conquer social media. Make sure you post photos too! Posts that include photos are interacted with much more than just plain text posts. This is also another way for companies to show their human side, which goes back to my relationship point. Facebook is able to create a great sense of community for its users, and its more than important that your business gets in on it and engages.

Delta Airlines has a great Facebook page, and on a more local scale, New York Pizza Bar & Grill does a great job with their content and pictures, and posting about their happy hour promotions and the like.

Twitter

Some facts:

  • There are 400 million tweets sent per day
  • 72% of Twitters active users are between the ages of 18 and 49
  • Twitter membership grew 40% between Q2 and Q4 2012

Clearly Twitter is the place to be for a business with stats like that. The tricky part about Twitter is you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say and that can prove to be difficult. However, when you’re able to master that minor obstacle, you’ll be able to “talk the talk” with all of your tech savvy followers, and increase your credibility among them. Businesses can show they care about their followers on Twitter by favoriting and retweeting their tweets, as well as following them back. It’s important to make sure you stay interesting when using Twitter, and the more your content is retweeted, the more of an audience you’re able to reach. Data is also easily tracked with Twitter which can save lots of time for your company when you’re trying to measure your Twitter results. It’s also important that you don’t spam your followers. This is important with any marketing effort but it can be too easy to forget this one with Twitter. Also make sure you utilize the #hashtag features! This can help your content and tweets be found by people that otherwise wouldn’t have stumbled upon your account.

Personally, I think Taco Bell is a business that uses twitter in the perfect way. They share their own content, retweet and respond to their followers (back to my relationship point), post pictures of their products, and not to mention whoever runs their account is hilarious!

Google+

Some facts:

  • Google accounts for 67% of search engine searches
  • There are 300 million active users monthly
  • Those users upload approximately 1.5 billion photos every week

If you’ve hesitated with creating a Google+ account don’t worry, you’re not alone. But I would advice you to hop off the fence and create your account ASAP, granting your target market has done the same. G+ is catching fire and research has supported that it’s users are predominantly male and very tech savvy. Google+ offers a feature where you can share your content to your other social media pages, and this will help drive traffic and your audience to your G+ page.

With nearly 4.6 million followers, RedBull is a great example of how your content can be shared through the social media site.

LinkedIn

Some facts:

  • A reported 238 million users in over 200 countries as of January 2013
  • 2 new members added to LinkedIn every second
  • Over 3 million companies have LinkedIn pages

LinkedIn is now the best way for users to display their resumes and professional background and development. This website can help a business create their B2B relationships as well as make recommendations for their products. Another way businesses use this platform is post updates and share news regarding the company. This is a great way for users to see just what’s going on with the company itself! Keep in mind though there is a fine line between cocky and confident…you don’t want to brag and self-promote an excessive amount. It’s still key to sometimes let your customers do the talking for you through word-of-mouth. Another important thing to note is to always make sure you reply when a customer leaves a comment or review; if they have a complaint, address it; if they have a question, answer it.

Microsoft utilizes LinkedIn in a great way, making sure they keep their profile up-to-date and ensuring all of their followers have the right information.

YouTube

Some facts:

  • 100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month
  • Thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures annually

It’s pretty simple, YouTube is all about sharing. Account users are able to follow channels and view and share the content posted, upload their own content to be viewed and shared, as well as have discussions, post comments, and follow & be followed. You can also buy ad space for your company to either be displayed in a banner, play before a video, or have a small pop up during a video.

When it comes to content marketing through YouTube, Old Spice takes the cake.

Pinterest

Some facts:

  • There are 20 million active Pinterest users monthly
  • Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit combined
  • Shoppers spend more on their purchases when referred from Pinterest as compared to Facebook and Twitter referrals

Consumers can interact with their favorite businesses through Pinterest so make sure to stay engaged! Great content strategies include showing your followers a little behind the scenes action and also highlighting the customers you have. Anything that makes your customers feel special is a win. Be sure that all of your content and pictures are shareable so that other Pinterest users can find you.

Nordstrom does a great job at using Pinterest for their content marketing. They have 69 boards ranging from “Shiny Things” to “Holiday Cheer” to “Fashion Cats” (a personal favorite).

Blogging

Some facts:

  • Approximately 31 million bloggers in just the United States
  • 57% of bloggers report having more than one blog
  • 35% of businesses blog at least once a month

There are countless types of blogs and reasons someone would create a blog, but for business purposes, it’s best used like any other social media platform – to produce content that can be shared. When developing content for your businesses blog its key to think like your audience and viewers and always have them in mind. You can also check out other blogs to get inspiration and some pointers with how you should go about your own. Timing is crucial, and according to HubSpot, blogs that post 2-3 times a week perform better than blogs that post more or less than.

ModCloth is a great example of a company that uses their blog to provide their audience with up to date fashion trends.


These were just a few of many different social media platforms your company can use. Others include Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Vine. By having your company take over the social media world, you’re without a doubt enabling it for success. Also, don’t forget to track and measure your social media marketing efforts. You always want to know how you’re doing in comparison to your goals, and tweaking your game plan as you see fit.

The major takeaway: You want your patrons to be assured that they always make the right choice with your business, and interacting with them on social media guarantees that.

Take Out the Guesswork with A/B Testing

Ever wonder what it is about your webpage that could be preventing users from making a sale, or increasing your bounce rate? This is surely a problem that every business owner with a website must face at some point. Now have you ever wondered if there’s a way to fix that problem? With A/B testing, there will never again be a doubt about which style/format/colors/buttons, etc. you should have on your website. A/B testing can help all business owners reach their end goals – to make a profit. This method takes out all of the guesswork, and you can see first hand which version of your webpage will get the best response out of users.

So, what exactly even is A/B testing? Its the best way to determine which versions of your website will produce the best results from your customers. It involves having one version of a webpage (“A”), the “control,” and stacking it up against a second version of that same webpage (“B”), the “variation,” and a specific goal you want to achieve. This way of testing results in hard data and evidence regarding which version of the webpage got you closer to your goal.

Here’s an example of a situation that A/B testing is perfect for. Suppose you determine your main goal to be increasing the number of downloads from your webpage. The “download” button should be then the main focus for your testing. In version A, you would leave the page how it is, and keep it the standard version. In version B, the variation, you might make the button larger, a different color, or different font/size in order to hopefully draw more attention to it. Now, the A/B testing is put in place and website visitors are equally distributed among version A and version B. There will then be measurements of how many people saw each variation, and how many of them actually clicked the download button. When the data collected becomes statistically significant, then you’ll be able to see which webpage is the winner!

The term HiPPO was created by Microsoft and stands for Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. Basically what this means, and what it has to do with A/B testing, is that the opinions of the customer are what’s important – not just the HiPPO’s. For companies to strive, they need to listen to their consumer’s feedback and act/respond accordingly. A/B testing is the exact way to eliminate the HiPPO and see exactly what customers respond to on your webpage instead of following the opinion of whoever is in charge.

Amelia Showalter has had plenty of experience with A/B testing. She and her team worked on the Obama 2012 campaign and did intensive testing on which emails would generate the most donations. To keep it simple, anyone who shared an address with the campaign would the get messages from Barack Obama with subject lines that were tested to trigger donations. Amelia and her team predicted which subject lines would produce the highest amount of donations and what that actual number would be, as well as testing the messages themselves and even the different formatting variations of each email. On some subject lines and emails, there would be up to 18 different variations for testing before the winner would be chosen and the email blasted out! Clearly there were countless tests that had to be run, but in the end it proved to all be worth it. Amelia and her team’s findings were that the uglier the message looked, the more money it would raise in donations! Clearly something they were surprised about. Even the use of mild profanity was a hit for some time.

I believe the biggest take away from the Obama 2012 campaign is that your predictions are probably (more often than not) wrong. It’s so very crucial to listen to the customer and users instead of stubbornly only following your instinct. Amelia herself mentioned in the Businessweek article just how shocked she was that her predictions were always off. She never would have thought that the uglier everything looked, the better response it would get out of the viewers. Without A/B testing, she and her team never would have come to the conclusions that they did.

I found another blog that is A Beginner’s Guide to AB Testing, and explains how you need to make sure you plan correctly for your testing and make sure it matches with the goal you want to achieve through it. There are also A/B Testing Mistakes, such as random testing, that you want to avoid. And here are 5 companies that have successfully applied the A/B testing method, as well as their conversion rate results.

Inbound Marketing: Get With It or Get Lost

Why spend excessive amounts of money on advertising when some money could be saved with a specific strategy? I think anyone who knows what money is is in favor of saving it – and for marketers, inbound marketing is that specific strategy. It’s a tactful method that involves customers coming to YOU – instead of you going out of your way to grab the attention of potential customers. By combining inbound and outbound marketing efforts, a company can “see bottom-line results” according to an e-book written by the company Marketo. This article explains how, when done right, inbound marketing succeeds when traditional marketing efforts fail. Marketing is in the digital era along with the rest of the world, therefore the main focus of inbound marketing centers around creating unique content that is searchable, and will drive potential customers to you! The use of social media is key with this idea, because the more your content is able to be searched and shared via Facebook, Twitter, and other websites, the more publicity your blogs, press releases, videos, etc. will get.

Search Engine Optimization is an extremely important tactic that will help your inbound marketing efforts. You know those first pages and links that show up in your google search? Those companies are using SEO, and it’s working for them. When your content is ranked close to the top in a search, it means you’re using the right keywords that your potential customers are looking for – thus driving them straight to you.

Marketo makes sure to mention how inbound marketing can go wrong:

  • Leads can be in high volume at first but dwindle over time.
  • People might not know you are searchable in the first place
  • People might know you’re a company, but have no idea what it is you do
  • The inbound marketing efforts might just not be enough to break past the leading companies for a specific search

Market also explains how a successful use of the Inbound Marketing Multiplier has 3 components:

  • Change Brand Recognition & Business: the more your content gets found and shared, the more people will recognize your brand and company, therefore they could potentially turn into a future customer!
  • Make Prospects Speak your Language: by integrating a consistent language throughout all of your promotional marketing materials, customers will pick up on this language and use those words to search for your brand
  • Capture your Target Market: this component does exactly what it says! And it’s achievable through both inbound and outbound marketing.

Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the founders of HubSpot, can also be considered the founders of the term “inbound marketing.” HubSpot was the first company to quickly adapt to the ways of Web 2.0 and was “…considered a thought leader,” stated in the Harvard Business School case titled HubSpot: Inbound Marketing and Web 2.0. In 2011, it became apparent that if a company was resistant to adapting to the new digital ways of the world, they would imminently suffer the consequences. HubSpot and the founders were ahead of the curve and through implementing inbound marketing, they realized there were effective ways to actually pull customers to you, instead of pushing your products and/or services at them.

The HBS case emphasizes that for inbound marketing to be effective, you need to have compelling content. This is probably the most important component. If your material is lacking, no one will care to share it, and your brand and business recognition is going to remain low. Clearly that’s not the objective of any company. Therefore, having creative, unique, and memorable content is going to be what gets your blog etc. passed around through various social media sites, and therefore into the minds of your future customers. Another important component to inbound marketing stated in the HBS case is that your content must be easy to find. If you aren’t searchable, then what’s the point of your inbound marketing efforts? They will all have been for nothing if you can’t even be found. HubSpot is the company that created inbound marketing and since then, other companies have adapted to the new ways of digital marketing.

In an article written by David Klein, titled 5 Companies With Inbound Marketing Strategies That Work, he shares some insight into how 5 different companies have used inbound marketing and their success. The companies he lists include Salesforce, Cisco, Dell, GE, and Starbucks. Each of these 5 companies uses inbound marketing in their own way that works specific to their company, proving this method of marketing has many different functions for a business. It would be near impossible to argue that inbound marketing would not help a company.

So, back to my original question. Why spend all of your advertising money strictly on outbound marketing efforts? The answer is you shouldn’t. Inbound marketing is the digital trend and it would be tough to find a company that decides against this strategy.