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Inbound marketing for traditional marketers

Inbound Marketing For Traditional Marketers

A new generation of young people have inherited the earth and marketing is redefined.

Middle aged business people have, mostly, become completely confused about marketing. Middle aged I may be but I’m not one of the confused. From many years’ experience in marketing I’ve learned that all the rules have changed, and have done so remarkably quickly. How? Well the things that once worked, like TV advertising, posters, print advertising, now cost more, deliver less, and often they no longer pay back. Why? The customers have moved elsewhere, and the young people know where they are.

Marketing has been evolving for a few thousand years ever since humans became farmers and over- produced for their own needs.

Initially it was just their own surplus that was taken to market and trade, later people aimed for a surplus to be able to take to market. The consequence was a need for selling, learning how to push more of what you make to people who do not necessarily need it. Later, as the process became more sophisticated, marketers began researching customers. They produced specifically for consumer needs and used advertising and PR to make them aware those needs could be satisfied. All of these were outbound marketing – techniques that tried to capture the customer’s attention when they were involved in some other activity – like reading the newspaper, watching TV or out at the cinema.

Now, the explosion in media and things to do has meant a huge body of people moving away from fitting in with pre-determined schedules. Cinema, TV, radio, theatre no longer controls what they do, they now choose what and when by using technology. Think of the iPod and iTunes, recorded TV that automatically extracts the advertising, the so-called ‘mobile phone’ that does everything except make it easy to call.

Above all, of course, there are the PC and the internet. These are the main source of the marketing revolution that is inbound marketing. This essentially means people, customers, are ignoring your advertising but searching you out when they want something. Today over 85% of new purchases for goods and services, private and business related, begin with an online search. There are people looking for you wanting to buy right now.

Are you hiding from them? Your website was built 3 to 5 years ago and has only been updated once since you built it. If you search your product and town the website is not on the front page of results. Effectively you DO NOT EXIST, you are invisible and your customers are going to your competitor.

There are five key things you must do: – reinvent your website with remarkable content – start writing interesting things to get customers regularly engaged – make certain you are found by search engines – get involved in social media – measure your marketing’s effectiveness and stop spending on what no longer works.

Be honest, look at your website. Is it a confused online brochure? Reinvent it as a hub of interest for your customers. Tell people what you do and how to engage with you. Regularly add short articles about using your products and services, add a blog and talk to them, let them talk to you. It is good to link with other interesting sites with related ideas, products and services, to aid their research. Visitors also love free stuff, free downloads of user guides or research are things you would happily give anyway, so position them as free. Give your website a clear purpose and make it obvious what that purpose is. If someone lands on your website for the first time you have perhaps only 4 seconds to engage them before they are gone to your competitor.

You may find it an alien concept, but millions of people have online social lives, including many relationships with people they have never met. They are avid readers of what is happening through an informal web version of a diary or log, ‘blog’ is shortened from ‘web log’. You would be amazed at the interest there is in regularly-updated but random thoughts from your business, or, perhaps easier to grasp, the opportunity to comment on short articles. Your business needs to be active and get found on the so called ‘blogosphere’.

Get found by search engines: in the UK Google has about 90% of the market but Bing, owned by Microsoft, is working hard to change that. A process called search engine optimisation (SEO) first makes it easy for search engines to visit and find your site in order to rank it, then builds your site a reputation by checking the site is active (there are regular changes to its content) and by ranking for specific key words and phrases. Top ranked sites get on to the front results page of a search for your best key words, the words people search for you by.

Social media is perhaps the hardest concept for older and established business people to grasp. How could it possibly relate to business? Well, for starters close to 30% of the 17 to 35 year olds visiting one of these sites several times daily and close to 70% subscribe to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Dig, StumbleUpon, YouTube. They use them to connect with friends and friends of friends. They form groups and discuss, for hours. It is amazing the variety of things people are interested in, and that includes you. It need not be daunting to access them. Once you have worked out where you want to be and what you want to say, managing it can be simplified and centralised.

The great thing about web marketing is its immediacy and measurability. That age-old problem for marketers of ‘knowing that half the advertising spend is wasted, but not knowing which half’ has gone. There are free tools to measure everything and results come from the very first day. It makes split testing techniques and continuous improvement easy. Quite simply you keep the best and run a trial next to it; if the trial performs better then you make that your standard and replace the old with a new trial.

I recommend that you take inbound marketing very seriously. Those that do are still growing their businesses despite the recession whilst those that are letting the change of focus from outbound to inbound marketing pass then by are losing business and market share day by day. Find an up-to-date marketing expert, not a web designer, and put new life into your business.

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Is hiring a freelancer right for your business

Is Hiring a Freelancer Right for Your Business? (three Reasons Say "yes"!)

Who are they?

Freelancers work in almost every industry: construction, translation, finance, management, sales, design and many, many more. They’re your neighbor, your friend, the nice lady down the street, the man in the coffee shop always typing away on a computer. Many surveys indicate that most freelancers are male (according to Labor Statistics, by 2005 about 65% of the freelance population) and over thirty years old.
While many independent contractors work from home, just as many go to physical locations to work, either a private office or wherever the hiring company needs them. They are professionals just like you and I; a large percentage received on the job training or went to college to do what they do. Several hold degrees. Many stayed in typical work environments for over seven years before working for themselves.
In short, freelancers are business professionals who chose to, not work at home, but work for themselves. They are as trained and skilled as an employee would be, if not more so in some instances, and serious about their business.

Is hiring a freelancer right for your business?

Many business owners think hiring a freelancer just won’t work for their particular company. More than a few really do believe that independent contractors are a waste of time, money and resources. However, if this were so, if that basis of thought were true, would there really be ten million freelancers running around? Would anyone who performed contractual jobs even have a business? For that matter, why are freelancers so in demand?

Reason #1: Cost

Monetary considerations are usually in the forefront of any business owner’s mind. Can we afford this? What are the initial costs? What’s the ROI? These thoughts come to mind in every area of business, including hiring a freelancer, but you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
How much a particular freelancer will cost you depends on several factors: length of the project, difficulty of the project, location of the freelancer and level of technology are just a few. For instance, a freelance web designer may charge $30 an hour or $1000 for a project no matter how much time they put in. As in any hiring situation, you’ll find those that cost less and those that cost more.
However, the difference between employees and contracted individuals is that the individuals can afford to charge less, and often do. Freelancers usually don’t have to worry about transportation, gas, or clothing (for work) costs. Business owners will not have to pay employee benefits or wage taxes.
In addition, freelancers come from all over the world. Depending on your monetary needs, you can use offshore outsourcing (contractors from out-of-country), national outsourcing or homesourcing (contractors are in your locality).

Reason #2: No direct employees

It isn’t normal practice that a business is built with nothing but freelancers, but it does happen. More than a few Internet-based businesses use strictly freelancers, either on a by-project basis or as a loose-knit company.
One of the main reasons is the lack of direct employees. There are no W-2s to worry about. If a contractor doesn’t perform as expected, there are no hire/fire policies to follow; you just don’t use them again. The working “atmosphere” tends to be more relaxed, while still maintaining professionalism. You are not their boss; you’re their client. It does make a difference.
In addition, there’s no need to hire office space; the Internet is the office space. With collaborative software, VoIP capabilities, email, messenger and many other online programs, it’s extremely easy to create a working atmosphere without the need to be physically there. There are no office politics and no personal dynamics between employees to deal with; the only “requirement” is that they get along with you.

Reason #3: Broad spectrum of specializations

There is, quite literally, a freelancer out there to meet any need. Freelance web designers who offer SEO/SEM2 as well; copywriters who also provide logos; virtual assistants who perform sales work – the list goes on.
Specialization is an excellent tool. Someone who knows web design forwards, backwards and inside out is an excellent resource; if you have all your content, this is the person to hire. If you have the design but need copy, a specialized copywriter will fit your needs. However, if you need website design, copywriting and SEO/SEM, you need a company – or a freelancer who has decided to learn as much as they can of fields related to their chosen area.
So, are freelancers right for you? Are they right for your business? The only person who can answer that is you. However, if you’re looking for ways to tighten the budget, narrow down the issues and broaden that bottom line, look into freelancing. You never know, you may just end up hiring that nice lady down the street.

1 http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/jul/wk4/art05.htm
2 Search engine optimization/search engine marketing

Written by WALSAQ.com. Copyright 2009 All rights reserved. WALSAQ’s Business and Freelance Series is independent of their services and free to all. If you’d like to place a bid on a freelancer or increase your professional career, browse through our high-paying projects

How to dramatically increase your profit using search engine

How to Dramatically Increase Your Profit Using Search Engine

Most people will quickly run away or surrender without even trying in getting to the top of search engine. For them, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is really not for them. But did you know that once you have conquered the search engine, you have no problem whatsoever to make money online? In fact, your online business will keep on growing without you don’t have to do anything.

So what if it takes a long time to do, is that mean you just want to throw away your potential income that really can change your life? If you have the desire to make money online more than anyone, you should consider doing this.

One method to increase your ranking in the search engine is by using community forums to build one-way links to your site.

Create accounts on community forums that are specifically related to your given niche. Once you have contributed significantly to the forum by posting useful information and helping newbies, you can then consider adding a signature that links to your site. This will create a one-way permanent link. It is also best to use a targeted keyword for your URL.

When it comes to search engine optimization, most things change. Only two things remain important: the amount and quality of “text” content and the amount of one-way incoming links you have. Reciprocal linking, over-optimized content, and black hat methods of increasing rankings will all vary in effectiveness with algorithm changes.

Each search engine has its own algorithm, but Google always leads with algorithm changes. If you spend enough time working on search engine optimization, tune your site to Google’s changes. Forget the rest. In 2-3 years from now, they will be doing what Google did yesterday.

While Google is the most important search engine, it is important to make sure that your site also gets indexed by Yahoo and MSN – both of which have easy-to-access submission forms. These search engines have less competition, which means it will be somewhat easier for you to dominate your niche and pick up whatever extra traffic is available.

If you feel lost, re-read the section above about search engine optimization. It is hard for you to digest at first, but everything will get easier in time. Once you have done that, we will move on to Page Rank (PR).

Find ways to get links to your site from high-PR authority sites. You may be able to do this with article submission services, press release services, and joint ventures. Getting links on high-PR sites will not only confer some PR to you, but it will also increase your rankings, and get you spidered by search engines more frequently.

Even though meta tags have no relevance to search engine ranking anymore, using them can sometimes help clarify the purpose of your website through a number of different ways. The first way is by helping a spider figure out the purpose of confusing pages. The second way is by providing a description for search engines to use when they pull up your site.

Take action immediately to optimize your website. You might now see results overnight, but slowly your website will be notice by the search engine. Take 2 to 3 hours per day for optimizing your website. Sooner or later, you will be surprise to see your website on Top 3 pages of the search engine.