Why I love inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is kind of the opposite of Mad Men advertising

We were the Mad Men of the 80s and 90s. Kind of.

At a large ad agency where I worked in the early 90s, many of the copywriters and art directors would show up late each day. Then they’d spend an hour or so visiting, as if they hadn’t seen each other in months. Then they’d attend a “meeting” – to view directors’ reels with a production company sales rep bearing free pastries. Most attendees weren’t even working on TV projects.

After an hour of this vital work, many would go out for a Jamba Juice.

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HootSuite: The Twitter user’s essential tool

I wouldn’t call myself a Twitter guru, or even a fanatic. But I like it quite a bit, especially for promoting your content, networking and doing research. I don’t know how many times I’ve tweeted something like, “Any recommendations on a CRM system for a construction contractor? PLEASE RETWEET”, and gotten back tons of thoughtful responses.

So I always recommend small and midsize businesses give Twitter a try. Like anything else, it requires an investment in time (to do it yourself) or money (to pay your people to do it). Some people have money, some have time, some have neither. So you prioritize. Maybe Twitter isn’t a high priority with the time it requires.

But Twitter doesn’t have to take too much time, if you use a great tool like HootSuite.

I rarely go to Twitter.com anymore. I use HootSuite to review my lists and messages; and to compose, schedule and send tweets.

And now (drumroll please…): It looks like HootSuite just got better. Check out their new “Hootlet” auto-scheduling extension for Chrome and add-on for Firefox. It resides up there next to your address bar, and lets you quickly schedule link-share tweets, which are among the most retweeted. I think I’m going to like this.

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

Inbound marketing vs. traditional advertising

I received this email a couple of days ago:

Hi Mr. Rossie,

I’m a grad student and I’m doing some research. Can I have your opinion?

1. Which type of advertising TV or Internet – is best at influencing consumer buying behavior?
2. Is there a difference in the motivational factors between TV and Internet advertising?

Thanks!

My first thought was: Why the emphasis on advertising? Why not inbound marketing? So I replied:  Continue reading

5 clues that a business needs to change

Change doesn’t come easily to most of us. Companies, individuals and even entire industries don’t easily change their practices, policies and worldview – even in the face of irrefutable evidence that customers are unhappy. See: airlines, banks, auto dealers, cell phone carriers, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers. Continue reading

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