Madison Marketing Group Blog

How B2Bs Can Get Started With Effective Digital Marketing In 2013—-On A Budget

Happy New Year! Get 2013 started off right with a digital marketing campaign.

If there's one thing holding back small business marketers, it's a restrictive budget. Outbound marketing events like trade shows, direct mail and telemarketing are extremely expensive, and too often don't generate enough return on investment to warrant continual use.

Inbound marketing is great way to cut into that important cost-per-lead number, but what if you're a one-person operation with a very limited budget?

Even if time and money are scarce, you can execute a simple, cost-effective inbound marketing campaign. With the new year right around the corner and resolutions flying left and right, there's never been a better time to commit to a sustainable marketing strategy.

By employing the simple digital marketing outlined below in 2013, you'll only need to commit an average of 10 hours and about $100 per month. Here's how to turn your website into a marketing machine and get started with a smart digital marketing campaign in the new year—-on a budget.

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Write Outreach E-mails That Won’t Be Met With Rejection

Rejection is a slap in the face. Craft your outreach e-mails carefully to avoid this fate.

Digital marketers are awesome, but we get shot down a lot. Most of our business deals take place online and, let’s face it; it’s much easier to reject someone from behind a computer screen than in front of their face.

As is typical, those in marketing tend to face rejection in the early stages of a relationship—after having sent an outreach e-mail. Then why bother? Outreach e-mails are a quick and low-cost way to reach a high volume of prospects, request a link, or share a piece of content. Yet too many businesses simply throw them together with little regard for how they’ll be received.

A quality outreach e-mail includes 6 basic parts (seems like a lot, yes, but most are only a few short words). Here’s how to craft each so your message will merit a read and even a reply.

Greeting: The greeting is perhaps the most important part of an outreach e-mail, for it determines whether or not your recipient will continue reading. You may be tempted to divert to the standard Dear ____: but do not. The word screams proposition. The basic Mr.__ isn’t terrible, but it sends the message that you don’t know your recipient (and who wants an e-mail from a stranger).

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How To Blog For A "Boring" Industry

Blogging for a boring industry? Tweak your recipe to spice things up.

Wow, I just can’t put down this Human Resources handbook—it’s so engaging! Right…we’re all thrilled by the ins and outs of company policy, just as we are the details of our driver’s manuals and the set up of our software systems.

Potentially three of the world’s most boring reads, yet millions of these documents are not only published but read each year. Why?—because they provide necessary information. Dull? Yes. But equally so: important.

Perhaps this is how you feel about the content you’re churning out on your blog. “Does anyone really want to read this?” And we in inbound marketing sympathize. But it’s important to recognize that content creation is not merely about entertainment. Every industry, no matter how boring, has information to deliver, and a blog is a great place to do so.

By crafting your blog posts with the following tips in mind, you can provide your readers content they’ll stay awake for.

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How To Optimize Your Facebook Page Information For Humans And Search Engines

The following is an excerpt from part I of MMG's upcoming eBook, A Step-By-Step Guide To Facebook Marketing. We'll post a link here when the full version is available for download.

Before Facebook users can like your Page, they need to be able to find it. For this reason, it's a good idea to optimize your Facebook Page with relevant information and keywords so folks using Facebook’s search function can find it with ease. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that Facebook processes one billion internal search queries per day, so think of optimizing your Facebook Page the same way you would optimize content on your website for the search engines.

To get started, go to your Page, click “Edit Page” and then “Update Info” in the drop-down. You’ll then see a Page with a bunch of fields to fill out. Let’s run through them one by one:

Category: This one can be tricky, as Facebook asks you to choose between “Companies & Organizations” or “Local Business.” In most cases, I’d recommend choosing “Local Business” so Facebook knows to include your Page in search results for people searching in your area. Only select “Companies & Organizations” if your business isn’t concerned with attracting local customers or if you don’t frequently serve customers at your brick-and-mortar. After choosing your main category, pick an appropriate secondary category and move on.

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Blog

If you’ve read the Madison Marketing Group blog, followed us on social media, or interacted with us in any capacity at all you’ve likely heard us talk about the many benefits to blogging.

This isn’t unique to us. We’re one inbound marketing agency of many who encourage businesses to publish digital content in order to increase search rankings, entice interested prospects, engage a social community, and brand their organization as the ‘expert.’

However, we understand how frustrating it can be to hear this refrain—blog, blog, blog—when you’re brand new to the idea.

Because when it comes down to it, ‘blogging’ in itself is not enough. A blog is one aspect of a digital marketing strategy made up of many integrated parts.

So in order to get the greatest return from your commitment, your blog must contain several key components.

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What Small Business Marketers Can Learn From NPR's Local Content Facebook Experiment

In late November, NPR released data from an experiment it ran on its Facebook page. Instead of simply posting general content to its page, it geo-targeted local-specific content produced by NPR affiliates in five cities so only fans in those areas saw the content. Overall, they found these localized posts were more successful than normal posts for generating engagement.

But like any savvy social media marketer could tell you, their results on a post-by-post basis varied wildly, with some localized posts performing extremely well and others drawing very little engagement at all. To better understand this phenomenon, they sorted their successful local stories into nine categories.

NPR is in the news business, which means not all of the nine types of local content are applicable for local, small businesses engaged in social media marketing. That said, there's a lot to be learned from the ones that are. I've sorted the categories below by their importance for these types of marketers, along with explanations of each and some examples.

Slam Dunks

1. Awe-inspiring Visuals

These types of posts "capture [local] wonderment through photos and videos." I've said it before and I'll say it again: photos and other visual media should be the driving force behind any Facebook marketing campaign. For small businesses, this means frequently taking photos from your place of business: of your employees, of your products and of your customers.

As we learned from this study, it's also a good idea to mix in photos from around your community, as many of your fans are likely from your city and the surrounding area as well. If you're not one to take these types of photos yourself, consider monitoring photo sharing sites like Flickr for images that are tagged with local keywords. Just make sure to credit the photographer when posting.

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Outbound Links—The Gift That Keeps On Giving

As we discussed on Tuesday, there’s no doubt as to the worth of inbound links—increased visibility and a more credible site. But what of outbound links?—those that originate on your site and lead to another? Of what worth are they? Why use your efforts to make another site more valuable?

Creating outbound links is about much more than paying it forward. Doing so is of real benefit to your company.

Here are three reasons to include outbound links in your content.

1. Outbound links help you establish a positive relationship with potential customers.

Of course you want your customers all to yourself, but containing your traffic isn't very customer friendly. People appreciate variety; they desire access to multiple opinions, supplemental information and related products. Regardless of what your site allows them to do, they’ll find this information (how hard is it to open another tab and perform a second search?). So why not give it to them?

Trap your customers on your site and you'll arouse their suspicion: "Why can't I leave? Is there more useful information elsewhere? Cheaper services to be found?" Send them away on occasion and gain their trust.

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How To Increase Brand Visibility With Inbound Links

You don't need pom poms to be popular. Use inbound links instead.

It’s a shared experience among all web users—you’re reading an article and suddenly you stumble upon a certain word or phrase that’s underlined or in a different color. What’s this anomaly? A link: a segment of text embedded with a website URL that takes readers to a different site when they click on it.

There are two main types of links: outbound and inbound. In digital marketing we deal regularly with both. Outbound links are those that originate on your site and lead to an external site. You’ll often find these in our blog posts when we mention research studies or encourage you to check out other posts. Inbound links, also called backlinks, exist on an external site (say CNN) and link to yours.

Today we’ll focus on inbound links, how to get them and why to try. We’ll shift the focus to outbound tomorrow, so if there are any specific questions you have regarding these, make sure to post below.

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