5 For The Weekend, Vol. 4

Bill Dorman compares blogs to restaurants

Great record from 1967, not a restaurant or a blog

Combing the blogosphere, the Twitterverse and places that can’t be mentioned in polite company, our staff has uncovered five blog posts that make a fine weekend marketing read. 

Soon you’ll be asking yourself, “What kind of restaurant is this blog?” And wondering if you would bring a respectable date here.

You’ll have to read on to get the reference. 

Without further ado, or explanation, the winners are (the envelope, please): 

Continue reading

Email marketing: Is it a part of Inbound marketing?

Like a lot of us who began marketing careers in the pre-Internet era, I try to avoid traditional marketing whenever I can. Frankly, I’m sick of it. I don’t like 99% of commercials, print ads, billboards or direct mail. I’m disgusted by telemarketing. I’m not a big fan of most email advertising, either.

Is email part of Inbound Marketing?

And yet, I recommend that almost every business develop an email marketing program. What gives? How can email marketing, which is generally fodder for the trash or junk box, be included in the Inbound marketing strategies I support?

It depends on two criteria.

One: Do you have permission to email?

Permission takes what would otherwise be a disruptive, unwelcome marketing technique, and makes it welcome. The only difference is that instead of the prospect actively reaching out to your website, they’ve asked you to send them information. They’re still coming to you – you’ve just made it more convenient for them. Continue reading

HootSuite went down: Anger and gratitude

When HootSuite went down yesterday, I have to admit I was TO’ed. “What? My precious, witty, added value/value added tweets – lost in cyberspace for all time! THOSE BASTARDS!”

Really, I should have been grateful for the free service they provide. For the hundreds of new Twitter folks I’ve connected with, with HootSuite’s help. For the 99.99% of the time that they’re up and running and helping me expand my horizons. (You old-time telecom folks will notice that’s four, not five 9s of reliability.)

And it makes me think: How many free services would I be sunk without? Admittedly, not as many as some folks, but still… here’s a short list.

Yahoo mail
Gmail
Google Analytics
Google Alerts
Google Reader
Google Docs
WordPress.com
Dozens of WordPress plugins from generous folks around the world
Free WordPress themes from generous folks around the world
YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
HootSuite
Linkedin
Social Mention (OK, I wouln’t be sunk, exactly)

Klout (OK, it’s actually a curse)
LaunchPadINW
BaseCamp
CyberDuck
Who.Unfollowed.Me
bit.ly
A hundred free resources from HubSpot

* * *

That’s just off the top of my head. Amazing value there, isn’t it?

There are so many great services available at no cost beyond a computer and a connection. We all take them for granted, yet they help us get in business, compete, learn and just have a good time.

Which free services are you grateful for – and why?  And even more important, do we show enough gratitude for the hard work of so many people in the digital community?

 

 

 

No budget, no object to marketing a new business

This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time on marketing for new businesses, so I’m just going to post the link without much comment.

Startup Marketing: Tactical Tips From The Trenches

The link takes you to a blog post from Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot, the marketing automation software company that coined the term inbound marketing. He knows a few things about startups and success. Here’s how he intros his list of 21 tips:

…I started making a list of all of the things I’d advise a new startup to do to get things kicked off with a limited budget.  As it turns out, there are a lot of tactical steps that individually don’t do much, but in aggregate start laying the foundation for much bigger things…This list is not intended to be a comprehensive “here are all the things you should do”, but more of a “if I were starting a company today, here’s what I would do in the first 10 days…”

That list includes:

– A name
– A simple website
– A Twitter account
– A “clean” Facebook URL
– A blog article about how you got to this point
– Setting up Google Alerts 

Of course, Mr. Shah goes into a bit of detail. But no so much as to overwhelm.

There’s a lot of marketing you can do without a budget. Click the link, then come back and tell me what you thought.

 

Inbound marketing: a primer

Darren would be even more confused today

He'd be even more confused today

I lost faith in the ability of traditional advertising to make a dent in most businesses years ago. The tipping point was probably when my boss strong-armed a client into producing a Super Bowl commercial. The client, an old beer brand, would have had better luck investing in the California Lotto. An entire year’s budget was blown in one fell swoop.

Traditional marketing used to work, no doubt. It was a decent enough trade-off at the time: You watch our awkward and often insulting and sometimes misleading messages, and we’ll subsidize your TV, radio and print content. New technologies — the remote control, 500 channel cable, DVDs, DVRs, MP3 players, caller ID, the Internet — all made these interruptions more unwanted, and more avoidable.

For the vast majority of businesses — mine, and probably yours — traditional interruption-based marketing just doesn’t work any more.

At some point, it became far more efficient simply to help the customer find you online, than for you to find the customer, interrupt him and seduce him. Continue reading