Last month Jason Durham interviewed me for his blog. You can catch the two posts here and here if you missed them.
Now it’s my turn to ask Jason a few questions. This interview with him is based specifically on how B2B companies can use inbound marketing to increase leads and ultimately sales. Here we go…
Ryan:Jason, tell us who you are, what you do, and who you work for…
I love the look on Jason's face. He's like "B2B Marketing Problems? Bring it."
Jason: Cool! First off, thanks for hooking me up with a great interview earlier! To those reading this . . . hit Ryan up for his mad ninja social media skill! He has an amazing insight in helping companies discover the “why” and “how” in this world of inbound marketing! He is also a great speaker!
So, who am I? That’s really a loaded question! Ha! I am an irreverent guy from Louisiana who has been doing traditional marketing for around 16 years now at an amazing company.
Officially I am the Marketing, Creative, and Social Media Director for PacTec, Inc. based in Louisiana. It’s a great place to work with really amazing people!
I also have a special needs child which leads me to mentioning my passion to help non-profits, specifically those who help special needs children, with their social media strategies. Not many of them have the budgets to really pump into a full time social media person, so I get to sit down with them, have some coffee and help them push their vision through social media. It’s highly rewarding . . . and fun! I love it!
Ryan: Thanks for the kind words! “A great speaker.”? You have been sheltered, my friend. haha
I love the fact that you were able to create a successful inbound marketing strategy for PacTec from the ground up. No huge budget to start. No big consulting firms. Just hard work.
So, what comes to mind when we talk about inbound marketing? Define it for us in your own words.
Jason: I don’t think you can really understand, or have a concept of, what inbound marketing is, without first having some understanding of what outbound marketing is. Outbound marketing is usually considered “old school”, you know? It’s print media, radio and tv spots, telemarketing and even direct mail. It’s basically a push – you are pushing your product to, and some say “on”, your audience.
Inbound however is different in approach. Inbound is really about relationships right? It’s about building trust through awesome content that people are looking for! Inbound isn’t just (the) Facebook or Twitter, but it’s about connecting and actually becoming what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith mentioned in their book . . . inbound is about becoming a trust agent! When you build trust . . . you build this whole influence level. That’s why ROI with inbound marketing is usually considered return on influence, rather than return on investment.
But let me say this . . . as a B2B, I really think it is imperative to have both your outbound and your inbound marketing “cross the streams” so to speak. They really can, and should, be complimentary to, and supportive of each other. If a B2B company thinks they can get away with just doing inbound marketing, then they really take the chance of screwing the pooch with their marketing efforts! Inbound marketing also does give you the ability to measure your return on investment in your outbound marketing efforts!
Ryan: I describe Outbound marketing as “shouting a message at a group of people who either are or are not potential customers. Let’s tell them what WE want them to hear whether they want to hear it or not. If we say it enough times, maybe they’ll understand.” Right? Whereas Inbound IS about relationships, I agree. What a great answer!
This was just the first of a two part post with Jason Durham. Stay tuned for the second half where we discuss the specifics of how Jason uses Inbound Marketing to attract customers and his advice for companies looking to start their own Inbound Marketing strategy.
Welcome to 2012! Let’s start the year off with a couple of Social Media stats and predictions for 2012 as they relate to your Baton Rouge business and show how you can use the information to gain more customers in this new year.
The guys at Awareness, Inc. conducted a survey last year that reached more than 320 marketers from a range of industries and levels of marketing experience about Social Media and its challenges in 2012.
In this article we will highlight the points we feel are most important, and we will offer our own commentary so you can understand the relevance of how this information might also pertain to your company. As always, you can expect quick tips and action items from us to make your social media marketing more effective. Enjoy!
Retail and Restaurant Business Owners are looking to Social and Mobile Marketing to bridge gaps in their Business Marketing plans. Traditional marketing channels are beginning to take a backseat to Social and Mobile marketing techniques simply because newer technologies (like smartphones, iPads, and other mobile devices) are more integrated with the customer’s daily activities.
One question I am asked often is “How does Social Media benefit a B2B Company?” B2B (Business to business) companies sell products or provide services to other companies. Think a Welding Supply company that sells products to welders who in turn make products for end use.
How does Social Media benefit a B2B Company?
B2B business owners are aware that Social Media can add new value to their company, but it is difficult at times for them to understand HOW it adds value.
In this post we discuss the Benefits that Social Media sites and tools provide to B2B companies.
One question that is often asked of me when I talk to small business owners about the use of Social Media to build relationships and profits is “How do I measure the ROI on Social Media?”
This post focuses on 2 specific areas that can be measured that will show how well your Social Media efforts are performing. You will also be introduced to a few “methods” of tracking that must be implemented to help with your measurements.
To help answer this question…
Take a look at how you measure marketing ROI in your company today.
Do you have customers bring in coupons (Valpak, newspaper, magazine, etc.). Do you track new client orders by your outside sales people? Do you track hits on your website?
There must be some way you track those metrics today, so we will apply those same ideas and tactics to social media.
How do you measure the ROI on Social Media?
Google Analytics and Landing Pages
If you haven’t signed up for a Google Analytics account, do it now by clicking here. Google requires you to place a small bit of code on your website pages so Google can track stats about those specific pages. If you have your website created with WordPress, you can use a plugin to save time so you don’t have to manually add the code to each page on your site. “Google Analytics for WordPress”(by Joost de Valk) is the one we use here at BaconSocialMedia.com.With this code installed, you will now be able to see how the pages on your site perform against the other pages. Now we can begin to work with real measurements.Create a “Landing Page” for ad campaigns you run in facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and your other Social Media sites. (A landing page is a page on your website that users “land” on when they follow a link you have provided to your site. It should not be directly accessible if someone just typed in your web address.) Have them point to and direct the users to either individual pages (If you want to measure each social media channel individually) or one single page (If you want to measure them collectively). These landing pages can be either copies of your existing pages on your site or new pages altogether.
Give the users some incentive to visit: coupons, special offers, promotions, etc. that can only be found on these specific landing pages.With Google Analytics installed, you will be able to see how many people are actually clicking through the social media ads/promotions to get to your Social Media landing page.
Use your sales numbers with these coupons, offers, etc. to calculate your ROI. Then the question becomes: Do you continue to count ALL of the sales for this customer in your ROI calculation (because you used social media to find them, and you are continuing to engage them via social media), or just the single transaction? Add a comment on this in the comments section below. I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Side Note: If you have dedicated employees working with your social media channels, don’t base their performance solely on the number of hits you get on your landing page. Their main objectives should be to simply find customers and develop relationships. They should not be soley measured on how many people they get to click on the coupon link. Remember, relationships are what build followers over time, not simply the close of the sale.
Track the Real Relationships you created onlineYour social media efforts should be about working to build relationships with existing and new customers. Have I said that enough? It’s all about relationships. Once these relationships are created, you can begin to track the number of interactions, sales, conversations, etc. with each customer. You may only want to track these with customers that have made a purchase (you wouldn’t want to track all 1,000 followers as you would spend more time tracking than actually making money).
Create spreadsheets for each new customer and begin integrating your social media metrics with your standard customer tracking metrics. How much are they buying? How are they buying? What are they buying?
Brand Awareness and Overall Sales FiguresSome experts online will tell you that using sites like SocialMention.com to track how many times your company name or brand is mentioned online is a good metric to track to determine ROI. Personally, I feel that if you don’t already have a large brand, you will not experience the same benefits from these tools that much larger companies experience. In my opinion, most of a small business owner’s time online should be spent cultivating relationships online, not measuring how many times they were mentioned in tweets.
That said, tools like SocialMention, Google Search, and twitter search should be part of your dashboard so you are alerted when someone IS talking about your brand. The difference is simple: get alerted, but don’t measure (until you get large enough to care).Some experts will also tell you that if your Overall Sales Figures are increasing during the same time period your Social Media presence is increasing, you must have a ROI from social media. I don’t buy this. Social media is probably a relatively new concept for your company, so it must be separated when it comes to measurement of success. Don’t assume that social media is the sole reason your company sales are dropping or increasing.
You started measuring, now what?
Now that you have the tools and plan in place, focus on:
How can you make the measurements and sales from social media numbers more precise?
How can you make your social media campaigns better for your customers.?
What other resources or campaigns can you add to your marketing strategy as a whole complement your social media presence?
Be prepared. You are probably not going to see skyrocketing figures in the beginning. This just takes time, so sit back, relax, and enjoy developing those relationships.
Did this article help you understand how to measure the ROI on your social media efforts? Please leave us a note in the comments section below and let us know.