Podcast Interview on Inbound Marketing in 2019 with Abby Thompson from Salted Stone

This week we have the privilege of speaking with Abby Thompson from Salted Stone, a Diamond Tier Partner with Hubspot. Salted Stone is a global agency with an award-winning team. They provide end-to-end solutions for clients focusing on strategic marketing programs, tactical support, and project engagements.

In our podcast, Abby and I took a deep dive into some of the key concerns for health and wellness centers when tackling Inbound Marketing.

In this episode, Abby provides insight into:

  • Current trends she is seeing for wellness practices with inbound marketing in 2019.
  • Tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype, but failed to take hold in 2018.
  • The top 3 things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts.
  • What is the top strategy that should be followed, but often marketing teams get it wrong.
  • Inbound strategies Salted Stone is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients.

Please subscribe to Social Speak Podcast for more interviews with experts in digital marketing for the health and wellness industry.

Before jumping into the transcript of the Podcast, I wanted to highlight eight key takeaways that you can implement in the digital marketing strategy for your wellness center.

8 Ways to Master Inbound Marketing in 2019 for your Wellness Center

Takeaway 1: Inbound marketing is a comprehensive journey. It is about creating opportunities for your target market to find you and interact with your brand in a way that encourages them to take action.

Takeaway 2: Current trends in Health and Wellness for Inbound Marketing in 2019 include building authenticity into how you position yourself online. For example, wellness brands are moving away from partnering with Influencers that alienate their target market and working more with people who welcomes and builds trust.

Takeaway 3: Not all technology trends played out in 2018. Salted Stone expected AI to be much more advanced for content creation, but it still is failing to create content that seems authentic to the brand. Additionally, be on the look out for more advanced functionality for Chat Bots in 2019.

Takeaway 4: Wellness centers should focus their digital marketing efforts on creating Interactive Content. Interactive content increases time on site, prospect engagement, and ultimately helps to build trust with your brand. Examples include: quizzes, calculators, dynamic landing pages, product or service walk-through videos, and more. In general, clinics with interactive content at the center of their digital strategy see a higher ROI than those who don’t emphasize interactive content.

Takeaway 5: Encourage user reviews and value the transparency and authenticity of both positive and negative reviews. Don’t hesitate to incentivize patients to leave reviews about their experience with your practice.

Takeaway 6: Track the correct KPI’s, such as your customer lifetime value to your customer acquisition cost ratio. Vanity or glamour metrics, such as the number of Likes or Shares a post receives, won’t move the needle when it comes to best marketing your practice online.

Takeaway  7: Marketing is not a one-size-fits all proposition. A health clinic in NY may find that different marketing tactics work to book appointments than a wellness center in OH. You need to dig deep and understand your ideal patient.

Takeaway 8: Don’t think you need to be everywhere online. Talk to and interview customers and prospects to find out where they spend their time. Then, focus your Inbound Marketing efforts on growing these channels. Be strategic about where you market yourself and what tools you use.

So, with that covered let’s jump into the Podcast to hear from Inbound Marketing specialist, Abby Thompson.

Inbound Marketing Tips Interview Transcript

Caitlin: Hello and welcome to the newest episode of The Social speak Network podcast. I’m Caitlin McDonald, and today I am joined by Abby Thompson. Abby is the Director of Marketing at Salted Stone, a global agency with an award-winning team of humans, and dogs, where she spends her days spearheading lead generation and strategic initiatives. Abby is a Boston native with a passion for mission-driven business development, branding, and technology. So please, let’s give a warm hello as we welcome Abby, to the podcast.

Abby we are so excited to have you on today, first to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing?

Abby: Yes, absolutely, thank you so much for having me on. I’m excited to be here.

Prior to joining the team at Salted Stone, I was working with a sustainable and renewable energy education company based in Portland, Oregon. We offered online courses for engineers and professionals who wanted to learn more about solar and wind energy and sustainable building. I was responsible for assisting with editorial campaigns on our blog, social media marketing, sourcing, managing experts, building courses with them, and answering questions from prospective students, as well. I got a chance to handle initiatives that followed all ends of the buyer journey.

I created Inbound content for marketing purposes, and also used chatbots to qualify leads and even sell to site visitors, worked with the instructors to build a new courses, and then sold and cross-promoted to them.

It touched on marketing, sales and customer success, as well. After I left that company, I joined the team at Salted Stone about two years ago. I started as an intern and then I worked in our PR and earned media department and now I lead marketing specifically for the agency. I’m a little bit less client-facing now, and I’m really in charge of lead generation and strategic initiatives over here for our agency.

C: Awesome, I love it. So you’ve really been able to have your hands in all different aspects of digital marketing, and now you’re really just marketing the business, which is great.

A: I’ve got to work on the business and in the business which is really cool.

The Difference between Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Inbound Marketing

C: Salted Stone focuses on Inbound Marketing, can you describe how this differs from content marketing or digital marketing? There are so many catch phrases out there. What are they?

A: There are so many buzz words. From a high level, Inbound is a technique that really turns the old-school concept of pitching, advertising, and finding and courting leads or buyers on its head. So where in the past, you were always making cold calls, buying leads lists, trying to push your message with an outbound approach, now you’re creating opportunities for folks to find you and interact with your brand in a way that encourages them to ultimately take an action. So, of course, content marketing, content creation, and dissemination of the content that you create are a part of Inbound Marketing.

Certainly a tenant of Inbound is to write or design really helpful guides, blogs, e-books that folks will find and enjoy. And in that process, of course, they’ll get to know the product or solution that you offer, but Inbound is about a lot more than that, really. It’s ultimately about optimizing every domain you have on the web to move people closer to the point of sale, or to renew, or to evangelize your brand and come back again and tell others to come back again.

Whereas digital marketing itself, might be an umbrella in which a lot of these actions, fall, Inbound is really about creating a comprehensive journey. So say someone finds you on the internet because you have a great website that’s keyword optimized with good domain authority.

And maybe they’d spend some time clicking around, chat with someone on a live or scripted bot, look at the resources you might have to offer, download something, maybe they get enrolled in an email marketing nurture workflow and eventually, hopefully, you become your buyer. It’s really it’s a bigger picture, long-term mode of thinking for brands rather than just focusing on SEO for example, or a lot of folks, they just say, “Oh you know what, I’m going to blog…” It’s really much more comprehensive than that.

Flywheel Approach to Marketing from Hubspot

The folks over at HubSpot, who coined the term, they call it now the Fly Wheel way of thinking. Basically the customer is at the middle and then around the customer is sales, marketing and customer success alignment. So you’re making sure that from the point of time where they’re finding them on the internet to when they decide that they want to spend their money with you, you’re really making sure that they’re happy, that they love your product, still that you’re being consistent in your messaging, as soon as they become a client, and just making sure you’re investing in equal measure in all parts of that journey for them. That’s really what Inbound is about it.

Current Inbound Marketing Trends for Wellness Practices in 2019

C: Now, as you know we focused a lot with health care and health and wellness what current trends are you seeing for wellness practices with Inbound Marketing in 2019?

A: Yeah, absolutely, I think we undeniably live in the age of an elite and often unrelatable influencer or social media star, and I think prior to now, many brands have made the assumption that the star power of a person endorsing your product or your service is enough to persuade buyers. But the truth is most wellness or fitness influencers don’t really live life like your buyer does.

And I think you are sending a message with a little bit of dissonance there. And I think marketers have now really caught on that. It sends a sort of phony and unattainable message to have people who don’t live anything like your buyer promoting your product, or… So now I’m basically saying wherein companies embrace this idea, and really tailor they’re Inbound initiatives around fitting their initiatives into the lifestyle of the whole market. Not just that one demographic that can live like those influencers. And to me, that just makes business sense it. Why make your club, the club that only a few people feel they can connect to or join. Why not eliminate those sort of alienating messages and images and open your brand up to folks who want to spend money with you.

Because so many people in the past, if you’re just using sort of elite Influence or marketing, many people probably felt that they weren’t welcomed, or desired customers of your brand.

C: I love that, it’s creating a much more authentic presence for your business.

A: That’s right, And there’s so much to be set of course for using powerful influencers as sort of like an aspirational sort of token. I think that’s powerful still, of course, and there’s so many influencers that are fantastic and very real about their lives and everything, but I think I’m seeing a lot of wellness brands really understand that maybe it can be influencer with a little bit of user-generated content sprinkled in then showing real people using your product or your service ultimately, I think the best word of mouth, comes from your friend on Facebook, who’s probably not Kendall Jenner, with all due respect. I think the authenticity carries. I think people know it, and they recognize it, and they appreciate it.

Marketing Tactics that had Hype in 2018 but Failed to Take Hold

C: A great insight, thank you Abby.

What tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype around them but failed to take hold in 2018?

A: Beyond what I mentioned before, one that we’ve seen and it isn’t necessarily specific to the world of wellness or fitness, but really, it got a launch through marketing is the role of artificial intelligence in content creation, specifically.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Content Creation Still isn’t where it needs to be in 2019.

So I know at the onset of 2018 we were seeing all these new tools and software is being rolled out and we were expecting folks to be using more of those machine learning services that for example would turn out keyword packed blog posts or write ad copy for you.

It seems like the technology really is isn’t fully there yet, where the whole AI component, just isn’t quite sophisticated enough to write like a human and in many cases, it’s really quite expensive still.

So that’s something we figured we’d be coming up against a lot and contending with a lot and it just hasn’t taken all the way I think many people expect that it would.

C: Oh very interesting. A recent to study did just come out by co-schedule saying +67% or more of marketing directors felt like they didn’t have the technology that they needed in order to really have a robust content marketing strategy. [Actual Fact: Marketers who use automation tools say time is the biggest barrier to advanced marketing while those who don’t automate say that budget is their biggest barrier. (Openprise)]

It’s interesting that you’re talking about the AI and content creation and how it really doesn’t seem like it’s lived up to the hype. So it’s probably not the right product that the audience or the market is looking for.

A: Yeah, it’s true and we’ve seen a few examples and it’s almost the technology in some instances, when it’s applied incorrectly can create sort of no offense intended, but remarkably bad blog posts where you can tell that no human had any part in the creation of it, because it’s just a string of words that doesn’t really make a lot of sense when put together. I have faith that I’ll get there, it’s just it hasn’t taken off the way folks thought it would in 2018.

That goes back to that authentic presence too, do you want to just have a blog post out there or do you want to actually capture your voice, and your brand and draw people into your story?

C: Were there any other tactics that you were expecting to perform well last year and just didn’t live up to the hype?

Obviously, there’s still a lot to learn about, and this actually kind of still falls under the AI cannon, but there’s a lot for us to learn still about chat bots and about live chat and the things that it’s capable of. I certainly wouldn’t say that it didn’t perform or didn’t live up to the hype, but there certainly is a lot more to learn in terms of using chat bots to lead qualify and things like that. I expected that a lot of the products and tools would be a little bit more sophisticated at this point. And they still many of them still have a lot of components to be built out.

The Top Three Things a Wellness Center should be doing online to see a return from their Digital Marketing Efforts

C: Yes, absolutely a great point there. So let’s jump on to the next question, what are the top three things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts?

A: Yes, great question. The first is in our opinion and what we’ve seen work for our agency and for our clients is just use interactive content.

Use Interactive Content on your website and in your marketing to see a return from your digital efforts

Offer quizzes, calculators, dynamic landing pages, blog posts with clickable interactive elements, products walk through. These have just proven to result in infinitely higher engagement. We’re seeing better conversion rates, and in some cases, they allow marketers to close more deals. Our statistics around adding interactive components to sales proposals and how that has increased the likelihood of people closing. These interactive component pieces also encourage folks to stay on your website or your page longer, and ultimately that’s beneficial for many reasons. They’re more likely to consume the information, they are likely to want to spend money on your product or service, but ultimately, time on page gets factored into how high up on a search engine results page you’re going to sit.

If folks are spending time, using a quiz or a calculator, clicking around, really enjoying that user experience, it is also going to factor into how you rank on Google or Bing, or any of those search engines.

Interactive Experiences creates an exceptional ROI for your healthcare center

So invest in interactive experiences from marketing to sales to success, it’s just an exceptional ROI because there are so many tools out there now that really enable users to make this type of content without breaking the bank.

We’re agency partners with a couple of really great tools that have enabled us to make this kind of content and do it quickly, but still make it beautiful and effective and genuinely helpful and interesting for folks who come to the site.

C: It’s almost as though five years ago or so, everyone was all about social media in order to have a conversation and to communicate with your prospects online. Now, it’s really about having a conversation with every single thing that you do online, whether it’s a calculator or questionnaire…

A: And let people have the power. I mean the cool thing about interactive content is that it enables the user to decide what they want. Blog posts and e-books have a very important place and they’re not to be overlooked but ultimately when people read them, the brand that they’re reading it through is talking at them.

There really is an opportunity for them to abandon that and just decide they’re going to do something else, but if you’re offering something like an interactive product walk through, and that’s if you have the software or if you have a physical product to great for both that’ll kind of enable folks to at their own leisure figure out what it is that they want to be learning more about.

And it also, on the back end, if you have great reporting set up, it really tells you where your visitors are spending the most of their time as well. So we’ve rolled out interactive components for software companies, or for physical products, and it’s enabled us to really see “Oh Wow. People are interested in the hardware” or people are interested in something we might not have even necessarily known would be a point of differentiation.

C: Yes, the power of data.

A: Yes, for sure!

C: Data driving every decision. So even if you have a strategy and a plan set up, the data may point in a completely different direction.

A: That’s right and you can’t fight the data.

C: We talked about the use of the interactive content. Are there any other efforts that wellness centers should really be focusing on?

Encourage User Reviews on Yelp, Amazon, G2 Crowd, and Google to Build Trust and Authority

A: The second thing I would say is to make sure that you’re encouraging user reviews on sites like Yelp, Amazon, G2 Crowd, Captara, Google and make sure you’re demonstrating those reviews in your marketing collateral. There’s remarkable power in social proof, what we call social proof. And we believe that consumers today really should look at user reviews, as a trustworthy source of insight. As marketers, we know that a lot of the content that we’re reading on the Internet has been funded or branded by a company looking to sell a service so it’s really important that consumers, today, take a look at what actual users are saying.

So we’ve been crafting review strategies on behalf of our clients, and for our own purposes for a while, and as long as we’re asking for honest feedback, and showcasing all truthful testimonials, even the ones that don’t really make you look like the best brand in the world.

Those bad reviews will happen, of course, we’re all people, but as long as you’re asking for that honest feedback, there’s no reason not to incentivize reviews as well. You can show them off on paid ads, and emails, on your web pages. People trust people, way more or then they trust brands and if authenticity is kind of the unintended theme of the day, there’s really no more authentic route to go than to just give people the choice, and the opportunity, to talk about your brand from a real-world perspective.

Make sure you track the correct KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to truly understand success in digital marketing

And then the final one is really to make sure that you’re tracking the right key profit indicators, KPIS, or Key Performance Indicators. We found that it’s so easy to pay close attention to what we would consider more like glamour metrics like engagement on a social post or identifying which of your email campaigns garnered the most clicks, but ultimately some of the more technical metrics will help you glean a solid picture of the return on your investment and really figure out where to invest that money going forward.

One of the ones we’ve been paying closer attention to now is looking at your customer lifetime value to your customer acquisition cost ratio. Which is kind of a mouthful, but it’s really important because it measures the relationship between the lifetime value of a customer, how much they’ll spend with you over time, and the cost of acquiring that customer. It’s pretty easy to determine with just a little bit of math. You just divide the average lifetime value in dollars by the average cost it took to get most customers through the door.

C: This is so powerful. Let’s take a step back for a second. So let’s say you are a marketing director at the healthcare group down the street.

A: Yeah, this seems like something very difficult to transact.

C: And for me, I love data, so I’m all were just jumping in. What tools should these health centers use?

Most health care centers do have some sort of custom or software where they are able to see and how many times somebody comes in the average cost of their visit, so that’s really adding that up over the whole life cycle of the patient that’s coming in. That would be the customer lifetime value correct?

Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio = Average Lifetime Value of Patients / Average Cost to Get New Patient Booked

A: Yes, exactly. So that is going to be, whether it’s a service or a product, it’s really going to be throughout the lifetime of your customer. And that usually obviously, I mean life time with your brand, not the entirety of their life, but that value that they’re going to add in the entire time that they choose to work with you.

If you sell the products to see and how many times they’ve bought that product, if you tell a service, that’s how many times they’ve renewed or upgraded, it’s really just the amount of time that an individual is going to spend with your brand over the course of the time that they work with you.

C: And then in that acquisition cost is something that say they came through a paid advertisement, right?

A: And then there was a, the depending on the length of the selling cycle because of course it… It’s drastically different if you’re “B2B or “B2C it’s drastically different if you’re a software versus a service. That’s really going to vary quite a bit, but figuring out how you acquired that customer. We do this often by persona, we won’t look at an individual that it would be hyper-granular and a little bit difficult to make the patients so we’ll do it by persona. I will take a look at how much a certain group of people have made our clients and then we’ll pay attention to how much it caused to bring those people on.

And if it’s an instance where we know that a huge group of folks came through, say Instagram advertisements, we can break down the cost that we allocated towards Instagram ads, and compare that to the customer lifetime value by just dividing those two numbers.

C: You don’t need to have a person-A, person-B, person-C really, you’re looking at your practice as a whole, just to get a sense of what that percentage breakdown looks like in the ratio looks like there.

A: Exactly… And so we, for a real world example, we at Salted Stone, were a HubSpot Diamond Tier Partner, so we get a lot of leads and a lot of interest coming through the HubSpot partner directory. So if you know that a certain segment of our leads come through there and they spend X amount of money per year with us or over the course of their lifetime with us, we could take a look at what it cost us to have that directory listing at HubSpot, and to keep it maintained, and we can figure out that ratio. That to us has lead to some incredibly important business decisions. I mean, in a situation like this, it’s “Okay. We know that we have a lot of money coming in through that great partner directory. How do we make sure that we’re still adding value there? How do we make sure that we’re allocating our funds to keep that active?” So it’s really, it’s helped us inform some of the bigger decisions we’ve ever made.

Salted Stone as your Trusted Inbound Marketing Agency Partner

C: Yeah, that’s great. Now tell us a little bit more specifically about what you do as a Diamond Tier Partner with HubSpot. Tell us about your services and your company.

A: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll give you the higher level picture of Salted Stone first and I’ll talk a little about our involvement with HubSpot, as well.

So we’ve been around for over a decade now, we’ve got to all over the globe, we have FAO teams in Australia, in the United States and in the Philippines, and hopefully within the coming year we’ll actually be spreading out even more. So that’s kind of exciting. We call ourselves, a lot of people ask what it means to be a full service digital agency, and we call ourselves that because ultimately we really do everything for our clients and we do it all in-house. So if you need a website, a marketing video, a custom CRM integration, I mean a direct mail campaign sale systems, even training for your business development, everything from logos to booths decor for a conference. You can come to us and we’ll take care of it all with the team that really gets to know the context of your industry and is deeply familiar with your goals, and that’s the benefit, really. I’ve also working with teams that keep everything in-house, is that they can share that information with each other.

For example, if we have a designer creating an infographic, for you that designer has been working with the account manager and the people who are focusing on your brand voice and the folks who help you identify what your new fonts are going to look like. I mean everything, we keep it all within the team, and that’s led us some really, really cool brand experiences for folks. Additionally, we scale our services up and down in terms of that scope size, so we can either be your fully embedded strategic partner where we’re basically your marketing agency of record or we can just produce a one-off deliverable for you.

So that’s a very long-winded just about Salted Stone, and we’ve been a Diamond Tier Partner, I want to say for about three years now. But we’ve been involved with the Hubspot ecosystem for closer to six or seven. Basically our CEO when we started off, we were just a Search Engine Optimization agency, we were doing a lot of work, but just making sure, websites were getting in on that early algorithm for Google and ranking highly, and then, we like everybody else, noticed the shift where folks for getting pretty tired of constantly being advertised too, and wanted to instead learn more and make decisions for themselves. That really empowered consumer mindset took hold at Salted Stone, for sure. So we decided to invest in Inbound and invest in HubSpot as a tool that we use and that we deploy for clients. And it’s been a really, really fantastic partnership. They just have an exceptional team, and exceptional product, and it’s been amazing working with them.

We certainly work with companies outside of HubSpot, as well, part of Salesforce, Marketo, really whatever folks need we’ll take care of it. So we’ve talked a lot about Inbound in this episode, and HubSpot is the parent of Inbound it’s where it all came from. So we’re really so thrilled to be connected with that with that organization.

Unknown Inbound Strategies that can put your Practice on the Map

C: Wonderful… And as a business, as a whole, are there any Inbound strategies that your team is currently testing but you don’t think other agencies are really implementing for their clients?

A: Yeah, a good question, and I actually, I talked to our strategist, all the time now that I’m not as client-facing as I used to be I talked to our strategies all the time, about some of the more outside the box initiatives, or things that they’re doing that they’re really excited about that’s working for their clients, and what always emerges is really one central theme and that’s Salted Stone works from where our clients’ businesses are at, from a maturity perspective, to move forward.

A lot of agencies take a sort of one-size-fits-all approach to strategy.

When you do that, you’re really not immersing yourself enough in the context of what needs to happen next in order for a company to grow. So we’ve worked with some B2B companies to combine what would be considered kind of more analog modern call center tactics with hyper-personalized, email workflows or retargeting.

We’ve done direct mail campaigns, we’ve been crafting strategic event or activation campaigns that use micro-influencers, so thought leaders of specific to spread a message. And those are folks would say, 20,000 followers, not 6 million followers, so we’re constantly gathering context, we’re constantly meeting companies where they’re at in their development and trying to set all these really realistic, but often still really aggressive goals instead of just making it a sort of canned approach to marketing and that’s not at all to put down those agencies that are taking that approach because of course, in many instances, is absolutely going to work. But I just… One thing that our team is really, really good at is making sure our clients understand where they’re at, and we do that through ways that I think sometimes surprise them a little. We do really comprehensive stakeholder and customer interviews, we talked to thought leaders and influencers in the industry sort of independent of our clients, we make sure that we paint a really complete picture of exactly where they’re at and make those steps really tangible for how they can be moving forward in a way that’s smart. That way they’re allocating budget towards things that have staying power towards growth that is sustainable and scalable, and I think that that’s one the… A lot, I see a lot of agencies not do quite quite as much, and maybe that’s less so a differentiator and it’s just me being very proud about the fact that it’s worked really.

I think it’s so important. I didn’t really understand where customers are now, and where they want go, understand their unique customer set. It is something I feel like a lot of agencies talk about, but don’t necessarily do.

I think often, even happens with sort of in-house marketing teams, as well. Where it’s kind of viewed as a nice-to-have, and not a need-to-have to keep refreshing your understanding of where you’re at in the market and who you’re selling to, and what they want. So I, I think there’s this idea in marketing that your key selling points are fixed and your buyers are always going to be looking for the same thing and your differentiator is always going to be the one that resonates, but that’s simply not the case. And you have to be constantly asking for feedback, for reviews, for honest discussion about who you are in the market, and ways you can be better reaching people and meeting their needs and I think… And taking that bespoke approach to work with our clients has just been better in the long run as well for a relationship with them too, because it garners trust when you’re able to just be honest and say “Here’s where you’re at, here’s what we suggest, let’s work together to make your goals or reality.”

C: Absolutely, that’s a breath of fresh air that you do that. Thank you to everybody in the industry.

A: Oh no, thank you, thank you so much.

The key marketing strategy most wellness centers get wrong

C: I meant to ask this earlier, actually. What is the top strategy besides not doing these customer reviews frequently enough, but what some… One strategy that should be followed by a Wellness Center, but often marketing teams just get it wrong or decide that it’s not a priority when it should be.

A: Yes, absolutely. So I would say the sort of top strategy that I see happening a lot, we do get a lot of clients who are very concerned with and rightfully so, because they’ve been showed messaging that indicates they should be, but they’ve been very concerned with making sure that they’re on every platform, all the time. That they’re pushing out content, that they are absolutely churning, they are investing in the newest technology, they’re on every feasible social media network, and that’s a message that we understandably take in and think we need to apply to our business, because all of these social networks, all of these tools, they’re trying to sell to us.

Of course, you’re going to believe that if your Pinterest profile and your YouTube account and your everything is not immediately up-to-date, you’re going to believe that you’re going to fall behind. But the truth is taking time to genuinely identify the channels that your leads are coming in by, or that your ideal audience is hanging out around that is so important and it leads to much better decisions for how to use your bandwidth and how to use your budget.

It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that if you are a software company, you have to be doing webinars.

It’s easy to open the idea that you need to be advertising on LinkedIn, but that might not necessarily be how folks are going to find you and how they want to interact with you.

I would say that a one-top strategy is just making sure you know your customer and you’re constantly updating your customer.

But be strategic about the way that you invest your money and your time and do it all feel like you need to be everywhere across the internet.

Don’t try to be everywhere online – choose those channels that already engage your target market and fully invest in nurturing relationships there

There are many markets where it doesn’t really make sense to keep an active Pinterest profiles, and there’s many markets where it makes sense to not run advertisements everywhere.

Just be strategic, how I have a really strong vendor evaluation in place as well. We certainly do in-house here, but we just have a checklist of things that If we’re deciding to work with a vendor, either for ourselves or to use with our clients, we’ll go through rounds of phone calls, demos, we’ll bring in different members of our teams, we’ll have comprehensive checklist to make sure that this investment we’re making is one that’s intelligent, scalable, and going to work for everybody. It’s so easy now to find all of these companies that claim to really be a the solution that’s going to get you a head, when the truth is if everyone saying, that it certainly can all be true. So, be strategic and don’t feel like you have to be everywhere.

It’s something that we see brands do a lot and while it often doesn’t necessarily hurt to have platforms everywhere, it’s just a lot of time and often a lot of resources and a lot of money that you could be directing towards something that brings in way more value and get you in front of the right people.

C: Yes, absolutely, and something just to tie on to that as well. If you do decide that Instagram or YouTube or LinkedIn, is going to be the place where you’re going to reach your customers stick to it, don’t just… It works, the strategy for two weeks or a month or even three months. Stick to it and pay attention to the data.

A: And hear people out, always trying to make sure that a lot of our e-commerce clients, and a lot of our B2C brands, we always make sure that, say if they are running a Facebook, is it integrated with marketplace is an integrative with shop.

If they’re running ads, are they doing it in a smart way? Are they constantly responding to messages from a customer support perspective? If folks have questions about a product or they need to return something, is that omni-channel operation set up correctly? Because if you’re going to be investing in something, social media marketing is just a great example because there’s so many things you can do, is it now if you go at any… So, if you are an ecommerce brand and you’re going to be investing in something like Instagram or Facebook, just to make sure you are truly doing it right, you’re listening to customers, you are constantly running searches for your brand name, and any sort of sentiment, run sentiment analysis, use listening tools just pick your avenues and make sure that you have made them as robust and sustainable as possible.

C: Great, great well… Abby, I am just blown away by the answers that you gave. Thank you for being so transparent about what your team is doing for clients as well as what clients should be doing for themselves with their own in-house marketing teams.

Is there anything that I should have asked but I didn’t?

A: No, this is perfect. I think it’s all really comprehensive grouping of questions, and it’s made me think so much about our business in a way that’s really cool. It’s been really fun to step back and think through how we do things here. So thank you so much for having me. This has been really great.

C: Wonderful, well we really appreciate you coming on the show, as a guest, and I will be sure to add the link to Salted Stone to the description as well, so listeners, if you want to go check out Salted Stone, I do urge you to. They are a great, great agency and as you know they take care of their clients.

Thank you again to Abby for joining the show from Salted Stone. We talked about a lot of really important topics for your healthcare practice, and your marketing team to follow. Really it is all about creating an authentic presence and tailoring your Marketing Strategies, directly towards the consumer and directly towards your ideal target market persona.

One of the things I loved, is tracking the correct KPI’s – What is that customer lifetime value? This is something in your tracking software, you’ll be able to pull that.

Just take even the number of clients that come in over the course of a year, and divide that by your profit or your revenue for the year, then take a look at all of your marketing expenses. This is just such a simple way to find that ratio between the customer lifetime value and the acquisition cost.

Go out there, make sure you’re focusing on a strategy that makes sense for your unique clients, your unique target market, and don’t try to do everything. Focus on what’s going to really make a difference and have an impact for your business.

So, thank you again to Abby and I will see next time on the Social Speak Podcast.

Can you believe it’s 4th quarter already? It is either time to start resting and planning for the next year, or put your butt in gear and finish the year out strong! In this video, I share 10 simple holiday promotion ideas to help increase your sales for the end of the year! Let’s show 2018 what you are made of!

 

In today’s saturated marketplace, getting ahead in the business world is tougher than ever. They need to amp up their marketing efforts in order to thrive and succeed. If you’ve tried different strategies, but you still haven’t achieved your desired results, don’t fret. We’re here to help you out.

Use these simple and inexpensive tips to attract customers to your small business. Try any of the methods listed below to see which one works best for you.

Identify your target audience

The first and most important step is to identify who your target audience is. Have a crystal clear picture of who exactly you are targeting. You wouldn’t know where to start looking if you don’t know the type of customers you seek.

You may have great products and a marketing campaign in place, but this won’t help you reach your bottomline without a composite of your ideal customer.

Online advertising is the way to go

Living in the digital world, most people spend most of their time online. They would log in to their social media accounts to get in touch with their family and friends. Some even rely on the internet to know what is happening around them. So if you are looking to capture the attention of your target audience, online advertising is the way to go.

Get listed on popular local directories, be active on social media, post blogs regularly and update your website from time to time. With all these strategies combined, you are guaranteed to build a strong online presence and attract a lot of potential customers to your business.

Start a contest

Everybody loves free stuff. This is why contests are always a big hit. It’s not just the idea of receiving free items that encourage people to join contest, but the thrill of beating others and winning.

Let’s say you’re in the wedding business and you sell wedding rings. Couples who are planning to get married will be very much interested in joining. But first, they need to share their love story in order to enter the contest. The couples that get the most number of likes wins. Contestants will need to share this with their family and friends in order to get as much likes.

Yes, you’ll be losing money since you’ll be giving away a pair of wedding rings, but imagine the kind of buzz this could create for your business.

Offer deals and discounts

Everybody is looking for a way to save money. People see deals and discounts as a great way to save money. This is one of the best ways to capture the attention of your target audience.

Since deals and discounts are offered for a limited time only, people are tempted to buy something even if they didn’t plan to. After all, it’s cheap, and the items would revert back to their original prices after a few days, so why not buy now?

Now before you jump into these methods to attract your tribe, make sure you also know where your audience is online!

Which Social Media Channels Fit Your Target Audience

You may have amazing products and provide great services. You also spend time creating good quality content. No matter how engaging or persuasive your content is, you won’t be able to achieve great results unless it reaches your target audience.

Most business use social media to engage with their fans and followers and even build a relationship with them. Considering there are several social media channels out there, do you ever wonder if you’re reaching the right audience?

Which social media channels fit your target audience? Keep reading to find out.

Twitter

Twitter makes use of hashtags that allows businesses to target people who are talking about and engaging with topics related to their business. This social media platform is ideal for sharing real time information, timely trends or live events, and will result in high levels share and engagement.

Use this social networking platform if your target audience is young adults. 24% of internet users log in on their Twitter account on a daily basis. Younger, more educated crowds aged 18 to 29 uses Twitter. 29% of college grads use Twitter and lots of it.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest socal networking channel, with over 1.86 billion monthly users. Yes, Facebook is crowded, but it gives you the ability to narrow down that 1.86 billion users by gender, age, location, interests, marital status, employment, and income; thus, making it easier for you to reach the right audience.

Majority of the entire adult population is on Facebook. In fact, 88% of milennials and 62% of adults aged 65 and up use Facebook. As such, this would be a great place to start with your social media campaign.

Instagram

Instagram is geared towards younger millennial users. A hefty 38% of female internet users use Instagram. To make the most out of your social media campaign, make sure that you provide attention grabbing photos and high quality videos to your audience. Remember, content is king on Instagram.

LinkedIn

People tend to use LinkedIn for interacting with clients, influencers and other professionals. This is a great option for business whose products or services are highly specific to professionals. It is also ideal for B2B marketers.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to target users based on gender, location and age. In addition, it also allows you to filter based on field of study, company industry, company size, degrees, job title etc.

Attract customers | Small business marketing | 4 marketing tactics for small business | How to find target market | Facebook marketing for business | Social media marketing for small business | social media marketing tips

 

Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Mistake #1: Striving for Perfection

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

– Salvador Dali

As a type A perfectionist, I struggled with this. It also is the number one thing I see people starting a business struggle with, as well. Your business is your baby and you are pouring your heart and sole into making it a success, but being too wrapped up in the little things can keep your from actually going out and finding clients. If you find yourself:

  • Stressing over your logo
  • Tweaking every aspect of your website
  • Rereading your introduction email over and over to make it just right (but still not hitting send)
  • Working on perfecting your elevator speech before you attend your first networking group

then you may be focusing too much on being a perfectionist. Trust me, though thoughtful branding can help you land more clients, if you are receiving personal referrals, it isn’t going to stop you from getting paying clients. People choose who they are going to work with based on your personal connection not because of what your logo looks like. Then there is your website… Perfection for every site is a moving target. Your products and services will change. You will notice contacts respond more to one aspect of your business rather than another. As for the next two points, you are procrastinating! It is okay to want to define your messaging, but just getting out there and putting yourself out to prospects is far more important. Sure you want to make sure your messaging is just right when you reach out to that dream prospect or mentor, but these shouldn’t be your first contact. The best part about putting yourself out there before you think you are ready is that you get to understand what the market actually wants and needs! When I first started Boundless Marketing, I had my dream service offerings in mind. Turned out that nobody even understood what I was talking about! There wasn’t a market. I drastically shifted my messaging and began signing contracts almost immediately.

Mistake #2: Thinking you can get clients just by posting things online.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.”

– Robert T. Kiyosaki

The internet and social media has shifted many of our mindsets about how you can get clients. Even through online channels you need to create a personal relationship with your network. Just posting your blog posts online isn’t going to cut it. I recently signed up for a program to Gain 100 Followers in 3 Days, just to see how other professionals where growing and starting their email lists. Guess what, these influential bloggers and business owners all start int the same place – asking friends, colleagues, clients, and prospects individually if they wanted to join their email list! If you find yourself:

  • Wondering why your networks haven’t converted into paying clients
  • Haven’t asked your mom, sibling, aunt, and grandparent if they want to join your list
  • Are frustrated seeing all these other people succeed

Then you may just be making this mistake. Start going to networking groups and collecting business cards. Take the email address you collect and shoot out a quick note following the template below :

“Hi NAME, I recently met you at EVENT NAME and loved learning about your business. I am in the process of starting an email list focusing on 3 TOPICS YOU WILL BE WRITING ABOUT, and was wondering if you would be interested in receiving the emails. My goal with list is to LIST BENEFITS. Are you interested in learning more?”

Not everyone will say they are interested, but the ones who do will help you grow your contacts quickly! We work with a lot of businesses who see varying amount of success through their social media marketing. The ones who see a return quickly are the clients who are complementing our marketing management services with their own outreach and networking. To see the best results from your marketing, you need to treat social media as you do in person networking. Create personal relationships and treat handles and usernames as individual people not just another account.

Mistake #3: Not Understanding Your Own Values

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

– Roy E. Disney

Okay, so this one does tie into the branding of your business, but it really is getting out being your authentic self. Knowing your values helps you to better manage your time, set priorities, and work with clients you enjoy. If you find yourself:

  • Wishing there were more hours in the day
  • Being drained after meetings with prospects
  • Continually wishing you had done X, Y, or Z

Then you may be making this mistake. One of my first clients taught me this lesson the hard way. My values are Relationships (family), Creativity, Challenges, Health, Experiences, and Knowledge. Shortly after I began my business full time, I traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was ecstatic to see him tie the knot and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, a new client nearly ruined my weekend. As a people pleaser, I started bending over backwards for the client and found myself anxiously checking email during the rehearsal dinner. I wasn’t being present. Finally, I recognized I would resent my actions if I didn’t shut off all devices to be there for my family. Sure there was a nasty email from my client, but we worked through our differences once the owner understood my boundaries. If you find yourself stressed about client conversations, I urge you to lay out boundaries, guidelines, and a list of responsibilities. You may loose some clients, but they are the people who take up 80% of your time. Think of all the other things you could do to grow your business if you had 80% of your time back!

What mistakes have you made in your own business that kept you from success?

3 Mistakes that can Ruin Your Business and What to do About Them. Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Do you find that you spend hours rethinking and rewording your headlines? What if there was a way to speed up the time it takes to write a compelling article title, email subject, or ad header that actually gets clicked?

Have you ever wondered if more people would read your blogs is they had a different title? Probably! The most important step to writing is taking the time to understand your customers’ wants and needs.

So how do you write a winning headline that  will get you heard?

The following “formulas” from Mike Samuels of the McMethod are proven to get your read!

1. A Question…

Ask the most pressing question in your niche.

Example: What is the best software for webinars?

2. How-to …

How to X (try to use numbers in your X)

Example: How to make $5,000 in 2 weeks.

3. Liar, Liar

X Lies About Y. Here the goal is to induce fear. Your goal is to invert a typical relationship of trust.

Example: 7 Lies your marketing director told you about measuring social ROI

4. The Promise …

Make a big promise about results client’s can see.

Example: Get 1,000 subscribers to your blog in 3 days.

5. A Comparison

Why X [is better than, instead of, rather than] y. This works well if the comparison dispels major myths in your industry.

Example: Why you should be building relationships with referral partners not end consumers.

And my favorite quick formula for writing winning headlines:

End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address the Objections

Example: Make $100 in your first week while working only 1 hour per day.

Why do these headlines work?

Following formulas like the ones above increase clicks because they are specific, client-centric, and give actionable tactics that lead to real results. As long as your blog ties into the headline that you write, your readers will thank you. Most importantly, these formulas keep you from being vague.

As you are writing the headline, also make sure you know exactly what your client wants. McMethod gives the example of not saying “Lose 10 Pounds” if your client actually wants to “get ripped”. This obviously ties into being specific and client-centric, but can often be overlooked!

Have you worked on transforming your headlines and titles? How have you seen your open and click rates change using these formulas?

Write a killed headline in a quarter of the time

If you’re the content person for your brand, you’re probably busy creating pieces of content that aims to give out information about your products or services. You may also be focused in writing content that tell about your brand’s story. Amidst the churning out of content, have you ever stopped to think about why people choose to buy from your company? The answer is simple. It’s because they trust your company.

Whether you’re creating content for your clients, existing customers or new prospects, it is important to keep in mind that the real purpose of content marketing is to build greater levels of trust with your audience. Trust and credibility are important to win the loyalty of your customers.

Use these tips to create content that will help you enter your customer’s world and become an important part of it:

Put people first

In order to build trust and enhance your influence, you need to remember who you’re writing for. The content you create should be relevant to the people you are trying to communicate with. Know their demographics, determine your niche focus and stick with it.

Deliver high quality and relevant content to your audience on a regular basis. Overtime, people will see your brand as a trusted authority. They’ll keep coming back for more once they see you as a trustworthy source.

Be consistent

People don’t have an idea how reliable you are unless they start working with you. But by observing your activities and posting schedule, they can decide whether or not they can rely on you.

Choose your social media channels carefully and commit to being there regularly. Also, make it habit to post new content on your blog and update your site from time to time. By turning up regularly and publishing high quality and relevant contents on a regular basis, you will start to earn the confidence of your marketplace.

Interact with your audience

Newsletters, social media updates and blog posts are a great way for your audience to stay up-to-date with your business. But it’s not supposed to be a one-way communication. Find ways to interact with your audience online.

You can ask questions, encourage them to send photos of them with your products, share their stories etc. Don’t forget to respond to mentions on social media and reply to comments on your blog. Through this strategy, you’ll be able to build a relationship with your target audience. Through this relationship, they will come to trust you.

How to Use Content Marketing to Build Trust and Credibility

3-ways-to-turn-prospects-into-paying-customersIn the B2B world, one of the marketer’s primary goals is to generate new leads. Most businesses have no trouble acquiring leads. The problem is, many of them fail to realize another important component of the sales funnel – lead conversion.

There is no point in generating leads if you can’t convert those leads into customers. After all, that’s how your business thrives and succeeds. Make sure you implement these strategies to prevent prospects from slipping through your fingers.

Quick follow-up

Time is of the essence in the business world. The speed at which your sales team follows up on the lead is important. Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours or all your efforts will be put to waste. Call them or just send a follow up e-mail. Offer to answer any questions that they might have. Sometimes, this is enough to get them into purchase mode.

People lose interest faster than you may think. As such, a quick follow up is recommended. If your sales team aren’t fast enough, they will move on to your competitors. Don’t let them wait.

Herd mentality

People are often influenced by the behavior of the people around them. This includes their buying behavior.

If you want a consumer to buy a particular product, you can use this to your advantage. Let them know how many people have bought your product in the last few weeks. This simple strategy can help boost your sales. If they see other people jumping on the bandwagon, they are likely to do the same.

Qualify leads

Not everyone who visits your site is interested in what you have to offer.  As such, it is important to determine which leads are worth your effort.

Qualifying leads can mean the difference between wasting lots of time and energy and landing a new, juicy business. You want to make sure you’re selling to right people. Check to see if they fit your buyer profile and their activities on your site before passing them off to sales.

paying-cutomersIn the B2B world, one of the marketer’s primary goals is to generate new leads. Most businesses have no trouble acquiring leads. The problem is, many of them fail to realize another important component of the sales funnel – lead conversion.

There is no point in generating leads if you can’t convert those leads into customers. After all, that’s how your business thrives and succeeds. Make sure you implement these strategies to prevent prospects from slipping through your fingers.

Quick follow-up

Time is of the essence in the business world. The speed at which your sales team follows up on the lead is important. Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours or all your efforts will be put to waste. Call them or just send a follow up e-mail. Offer to answer any questions that they might have. Sometimes, this is enough to get them into purchase mode.

People lose interest faster than you may think. As such, a quick follow up is recommended. If your sales team aren’t fast enough, they will move on to your competitors. Don’t let them wait.

Herd mentality

People are often influenced by the behavior of the people around them. This includes their buying behavior.

If you want a consumer to buy a particular product, you can use this to your advantage. Let them know how many people have bought your product in the last few weeks. This simple strategy can help boost your sales. If they see other people jumping on the bandwagon, they are likely to do the same.

Qualify leads

Not everyone who visits your site is interested in what you have to offer.  As such, it is important to determine which leads are worth your effort.

Qualifying leads can mean the difference between wasting lots of time and energy and landing a new, juicy business. You want to make sure you’re selling to right people. Check to see if they fit your buyer profile and their activities on your site before passing them off to sales.

 

How to Get People to Promote Your Brand

Start-ups and small businesses are always looking for ways to get maximum exposure for their business with limited budget. Value is the most important word when allocating budget for your marketing campaign. But what if you could find people who are willing to write about your products and promote them to their friends for free? Yes, it’s possible.

Getting your customers to promote your business will likely spur some level of success. Here are some tips on how to get people to promote your business.

Find loyal customers

Keep an eye out on people with a history of buying from you. Now, you want to find people who are committed to your brand and loyal to you in more ways than one, and make sure you remember their names. These people are more likely to help you spread the word out about your business than those who made a single purchase.

You won’t be able to turn every single customer into an advocate, so you need to find those people who believe in your brand. Not all people endorse products for money. Some people do it because they like the product or they believe in the company.

Offer awesome customer service

If you want to get people talking about your business, then you need to go above and beyond their expectations. Meeting their expectations is good as well, but chances are, they won’t be singing your praises either.

Build a relationship

When it comes to building advocates, you should aim for ongoing engagement. You cannot just push people to do you what you want if they don’t trust you, so focus on the relationship first. Spend more time engaging them. Reach out and always respond to your customers. The closer they feel to you, the happier they’ll be to tell others how amazing your products and services are.

Referral program

Studies show that 83% of customers are willing to refer a product or service to their family and friends, but only 29% actually do. It’s because most businesses do not ask them to.

Referrals are the best form of advertising. In fact, they are incredibly well equipped to market and sell your products and services. All you need to do is ask. Don’t forget to say thank you every time a successful referral is completed.

emailmarketing While everyone is focusing on building a strong social media presence, others tend to forget about the importance of email.

Your email list plays a big role in your marketing campaign. It can help you build relationships with your target audience, generate buzz about your business and attract new customers. That said, it makes sense to continuously grow your email contacts.

Interested to grow your email list and grow your subscribers? Then you came to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing with you some effective strategies on how to get more email subscribers. Follow the tips below to get your first 1,000 subscribers.

Place a subscription box on every page of your website

Most website owners think that people would first access the home page before navigating through the site. But that’s not always the case. They may check your products, scroll through the “about us” section or any other page on your site. In order to get people to subscribe to your newsletters, make sure your sign up box is a prominent feature of your website. The more visible it is, the more subscribers you’ll get.

Content is king

You won’t have a hard time getting people to sign up for email updates if you have great content on your site. As a marketer, it is your responsibility to constantly supply your readers with fresh, relevant and informative content.

Offer an incentive

People love receiving free stuff. If you can give them something like a free trial of one of your products, a free ebook with useful information or access to an exclusive video, you’ll make an impact to your target audience. When done correctly, it can help you build a relationship with your audience and grow your email list.

Your offer should be interesting enough to your ideal customers. Find out more about your target audience and know what’s keeping them up until 3:00 am.

Run a contest

Social media contests are one of the most effective ways to get email addresses from folks who want to hear from you. You are free to hold whatever contest and on any social media channel you want. But since majority of the adult population has a Facebook account, you might want to start there. Also, ask people to enter their email address in order to participate.