Marketing vs. Sales vs. Smarketing

Blair Pettrey - Pettrey - Inbound Marketing BLair Pettrey - Inbound Blair

(AKA – Attract your clients, customers, and potential leads with marketing – and close them like a boss with sales and combined you’ve got smarketing!)

When I first began digital marketing years ago, perhaps I was one of the ‘rare lucky’ ones, or at least when it comes to most companies & businesses.

I came from the world where my marketing funnel went from Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel(MOFO), to Bottom of Funnel (BOFO). At which point if the potential lead was considered a true lead – and at the ‘BOFU’ they were passed on to the dedicated sales person. Otherwise, as a marketer, it was my job to continue to nurture and work with them through the process to make them become a ‘BOFU’ worthy lead.

In all actuality, my goal with every single lead I ever received, was to try to nurture them in an online way in every capacity possible before having to have a salesperson get them on the phone – so that I was not wasting my sales person time. My ultimate goal was to make it so that potential lead was so nurtured and aware of whatever product or service we or I provided was so worthwhile, at the point they talked to a salesperson, all the salesperson had to do was say ‘This is the pricing, and this is where you sign.’

Let’s be honest: most true marketers (especially online marketers) weren’t meant to be the salesperson. Marketers weren’t meant to be the closers (which is why we have sales staff!). I know for certain that is where I fall short in my own weaknesses, and thus that is why I focus solely on generating leads, qualifying them, and then nurturing them. AND THEN – gladly passing them off to my sales personnel, who knows how to do demos, who knows how to share pricing without ‘eeeking,’ who knows how to say ‘sign on the dotted line.’

Yet for many business owners, companies, and the like – when generating leads in the online world, it’s hard to know when to shift that ‘marketing qualified lead’ (MQL) to a ‘sales qualified lead’ (SQL), and how to give both credits. Even more so, it’s hard for many to grasp the concept that inbound marketing goes beyond just the initial lead generation.

Inbound marketing is absolutely about connecting, collecting, and generating leads. We as inbound marketers are drawing people and leads to whatever company and business through many avenues – paid, social, content, etc. However one of the biggest components that are often misunderstood by business owners is the fact that as inbound marketers, we continue to nurture leads. Whether it’s sending follow-up leads. Or it’s actually placing that phone call (which heck, I don’t like to do, but I often do just so I can know why a client may think not or share how we can be the best option!) It’s about continuing the conversation far past the point of a form fill out at day one.

Inbound Marketing is far past the point of filling out a form.

Sure, I’ve gotten a lead, WOOHOO! I can pass it on to my sales person and count it towards whatever my target goal may be. But are they converting? Are they becoming a sale? Are they becoming a client?

Are they becoming a client?

This is the most important question to ask and to have answered – and why it is so important that sales and marketing teams work together (aka smarketing). Because if perhaps a typically qualified “MQL” that turns into an “SQL” but then does not end up becoming a SALE – should you just drop the potential lead? Of course not!

However! This means that your sales team and marketing team must be hand in hand in communication and efforts. Perhaps the lead didn’t sell this time. Well, your sales team should tell your marketing team to continue their nurturing process so that perhaps next time, they do become a sale. That’s not just a win for marketing or sales, that’s a win for the business.

Marketing can’t help Sales without Sales helping Marketing!

The point of all of this is this: if marketing passes on a potential lead to sales – but is failed to learn about the follow-up connection – whether that person became a lead or not: why that person DIDN’T become a lead or not, etc. There’s a huge missed opportunity for all.

Marketing cannot continue to potentially nurture the nonqualified lead in the future, that could have become a SQL (sales qualified lead).
Marketing is missing opportunities on potential content, conversations, and failed to potential examples of clients as case studies – all of which reinforces the circle of the success of sales and marketing working together.

In Conclusion

The point that I am trying to make – and any marketer and salesperson together should ever make, is that there needs to be a ‘smarter’ approach. A written, defined, understood way to what happens to each lead that comes through the funnel. No marketing funnel stops at the top – no matter what, just like no sales funnel ends at the bottom.

Sales and marketing must be a collaborative force, that works together, to better achieve not just their own goals – but the goals of the businesses they represent.

Happy Smarketing!

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4 Ways Small Businesses Can Implement ‘DIY Inbound Marketing’

Recently, I was speaking with my brother, who is launching his own digital marketing agency in Staunton, Virginia. We were discussing my ‘ideal client’ vs. his ‘ideal client’, and one of the things that I believe we both realized quite quickly while having this conversation, was whether your business is Fortune 500 or you’re a small mom and pop business – while the term inbound marketing seems to be a trending topic, not many small businesses think they can afford it.

Yet just because your business thinks they can’t afford an inbound marketing agency, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin to implement some foundation methods to help get your website quality traffic, build brand recognition, and begin to see leads from your efforts.  So instead of worrying (at least today) about the huge amount of marketing your competitor down the street does, spending even a few minutes a day implementing these techniques will help better prepare both your website and your business for tomorrow.

1.) Own Your Domain

While many web designers may disagree, the reality has a website is better than having no website. If for goodness sake the worst thing you do is purchase your domain and then leave a coming soon sign up – at least you have protected your brand from any competition or threats purchasing your domain.

Web hosting companies like GoDaddy.com and 1and1.com are great first time solutions for domains. Why? Because both of these enterprises offer relatively domain purchases, and should you chose to later upgrade your website and host it with them as well, you still aren’t going to be out an arm and a leg.

2.) Start a Blog

Wait, Blair. You just told me to get a domain – don’t I have to build a website next? No. Whether you simply can’t afford a professional website right now or you don’t immediately have the time to even attempt one yourself – a free blog can suffice in the temporary. A free blog can help you begin to build brand awareness on the world wide web, can be a place you post new content, and can even include much deeper and ‘agency like’ approaches too once you’re comfortable. But today? Today just get a blog.

There are a million websites that offer free blogging templates and content management systems (where you go to write your content). While I personally would recommend wordpress.com because it provides an easy transition later down the road (we’ll talk about that another time), simply do a Google search for: “free blog websites” and you will find a slew.

3.) Start Writing

Yeah, yeah. You’re not a writer. Neither were most the inbound marketing pro’s in the world today. But they learned quickly how to write, and how to optimize the content.

Today, however, don’t focus on the 2nd half of that statement. Today – focus on what you think someone who is looking for a business like yours would search for. What is a pain point – a problem – that someone might search for if they were to try and find the offer your business has? Whether it’s ‘car accident and back pain’ to land on a Chiropractor’s website, ‘DIY Home Improvement Ideas’ to land on a freelancer construction’s page in your area, or ‘what to look for in a potential daycare’ – think about what exactly the questions your target demographic is asking.

Then write!

It’s not hard to write if you think about it in a list – and that is something many inbound agencies are known for (ahem). So just think about your potential client or customer’s pain point, and then solve it for them in a list.

  • 5 Ways to Recover from Back Pain After a Car Accident
  • 7 Home Improvements You Can DIY
  • 10 Things Every New Parent Needs to Know When Finding a Daycare

I wasn’t a writer either – but I learned to write at first by simply utilizing this simple technique. (And trust me, if you start writing today, no matter what, it will help your website and business later.)

4.) Be Social

Perhaps we should have clarified in step 1 the importance of owning your brand’s name across all channels – not just your actual domain. Social media channels are no different!

Making sure you are able to register and hold your business or brand’s name across social channels doesn’t have to be hard either – there are tools out there like KnowEm who will check across all major social media channels to see if your brand’s name is available. If it is? Lock it up now – at least on the major channels that are relevant to your demographic. Typically, however, I would recommend any ‘DIY inbound marketing’ client to secure their domain + Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube to begin – and then once you’ve got those rocking you can start looking at the suggestions KnowEm offers to see where to go next.

Once you’ve claimed your page names (and please oh please, make sure you are claiming business pages on Facebook, not just personal pages), you can begin to appropriately fill out the details about your company or business.

But the REAL reason any small business should get social? To share your content! Once you’ve begun to write your content, you can start sharing this content that you are writing across your social media channels as a way to get brand awareness, to generate potential new leads, and to get traffic to your website.

In Conclusion:

While I wish I could scream and shout at every and any business the importance of inbound marketing – I know that startups and small business budgets are real. But by simply implementing the above 4 steps, you’ve set a great groundwork to help kick-start your brand or company’s efforts into the lead generation world of inbound marketing.

Check back on Monday, April 25,  when I discuss the next 6 steps an any small business can do to implement inbound marketing – including the call to actions, email campaigns, search engine optimization, and more!

*Bonus Offer* For anyone who completes steps 1 and 2 I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to help you come up with 3 potential content topics you can begin to write! Just fill out the form below, and I will be in touch to set up our call!

 

40 Blog Posts That Will Make You Smarter, Better & More Efficient in 2016

40 Blog Posts That Will Make You Smarter, Better, More Efficient in 2016….(

I was recently asked my favorite influencers in the industry. Trying to recall a few (which even a year ago I could have spewed at least 100 of the industry’s top influencers), but quickly drew a blank. I began to ponder how in the world this could be. I am constantly reading, researching, and website/blog/social media account hopping.

It was instantly then, that I realized the one keyword… hopping. With the availability of sites like inbound.org , growthhackers.com, linkedin.com, reddit.com and the growing usage of specific hashtags on social channels (that then link to relevant content) — well the truth is, in 2015 I stopped following specific industry leader’s or blogs, and instead started following topics that peaked my interests.  A blog might have 1 killer post, but the rest could pretty much suck. So why waste your time visiting individual sites, or receiving emails of the latest posts

That aside; If you have an interest in inbound marketing and the various components that help produce great inbound campaigns, here are 40 blogposts that can help you bring your best to all you do in 2016.

Content Marketing

  1. 10 Steps Every Content Marketer Must Take In 2016, Heidi Cohen
  2. Planning Your 2016 Content Marketing Calendar, Duct Tape Marketing
  3. Content Marketing Grows Up: My 2016 Prediction, Ann Handley
  4. The Content Marketing Campaign Playbook – Guaranteeing Success in 2016, Moz
  5. Idea Sex: How New Yorker Cartoonists Generate 500 Ideas a Week, 99u
  6. Should you have a resources page on your blog?, BloggingTips
  7. 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer (Poster), Copyblogger
  8. 5 Free Market-Research Tools to Read Your Audience’s Minds (And Create Content to Delight Them), Kissmetrics

 SEO

  1.   Planning For SEO Success In 2016, Search Engine Land
    1. 7 Highly Effective SEO Tips for Bloggers, Sprout Social
    2. SEO Checklist 2016, IDFmarketing
    3. SEO & Link Building in 2016, webprofits
    4. SEO Predictions for 2016, emagine

     

    PPC

    1. 3 PPC Trends And Tactics You Can’t Ignore In 2016 , Search Engine Land
    2. PPC New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, ClixMarketing
    3. PPC Trends 2016: 24 Expert Predictions On Paid Search, Display & Retargeting, momentology
    4. 8 PPC Trends for 2016, Serps-Invaders
    5. Why Facebook Is A Bigger Ad Opportunity Than Google, AdEspresso

     

    Social Media

    1. 5 Ways to Re-Ignite Twitter Growth in 2016, Ignite Social Media
    2. 12 Best Facebook Marketing Tips (Sharpen Your Skills Today), Post Planner
    3. A Quick Guide to Visual Marketing on Facebook for 2016, Social Media Explorer
    4. How to Use Facebook’s Best Feature: Targeting, Contently
    5. 2016 Social Media Marketing Plan For Success, Heidi Cohen
    6. The Truth About Social Media Strategy, Convince and Convert

     

    Design

    1. Data-Driven Design Tips for Maximising Impact on Twitter, Canva DesignerSchool
    2. How to Find Images on Google You Can Reuse, RODAMarketing
    3. Be Careful About These 6 Web Design Trends in 2016, AWWWards
    4. 6 Web Design Trends You Must Know for 2015 & 2016, AWWWards
    5. Web Design Predictions for 2016: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Wix
    6. Top Web Design Trends To Watch In 2016, Forbes

     

    Email

    1. Retailers’ email volumes rise in Q3 and so do open rates, Internet Retailer
    2. Best Email Marketing Services for 2016, The Simple Dollar
    3. Email Marketing & Video in 2016 – All You Need To Know, Business2Community
    4. Email Marketing Trends in 2016, Keywords+Jargon
    5. 8 Ways to Improve Your Call-To-Action Copy to Get More Subscribers, AWeber

     

    General Digital Marketing Tips

    1. Stop Marketing Like It’s 2012, Gary Vaynerchuk
    2. The Dangerous Myth of the Magical Tool, Copyblogger
    3. Top 3 Digital Marketing Trends for 2016 (Which You Should Be Starting in 2015), Impress1
    4. The one thing keeping your marketing from being successful, YourMarketingCo
    5. 7 Inbound Marketing Trends You Need To Stay Ahead of the Curve, Impact

     

    You can also find Blair Pettrey on Facebook • Twitter • LinkedIn

     

6 Steps to Organically Growing Your Social Media Following

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Social Media is a wonderful mufti-faceted innovative way for businesses to grow and develop leads. It helps search engine optimization, it helps build brand awareness, engage with clients and/or potential clients, and more! And with the changes in Facebook in recent years as well as many of the other major social media platforms – the success and growth of your business on these platforms, all depends on your audience reach.

So how do you grow your following without paying for advertisements and clicks? Implement each of the steps below and I personally promise you will see a drastic increase in your reach!

  1. Connect (and actively engage!) with audience – both fans and similar businesses (i.e. like businesses in your local area).
    1. Ask engaging questions
      1. “What’s your favorite website”
      2. “What are the first 3 websites you visit each morning”
      3. etc. etc. etc. etc.
    2. Respond when people comment/post on your page, etc.
    3. Respond to other business page’s!
    4. Share/Re-tweet valuable/unique/interesting info, not just business specific
  2. Utilize Hash-tags!!!
  3. Make it personal
    1. “Happy 11 years to XYZ Business today… #TBT”
    2. Happy Birthday to our Employee, Sam McGuire (i.e.)
    3. Share photos! Share your culture. Instagram it! HASHTAG it.
  4. Repeat. Re-post. Re-purpose.
    1. Make interesting blog posts into infograms and/or graphics for Facebook/twitter/etc.
    2. Turn a blog post into a podcast
    3. Share it on Facebook.
  5. Track/Measure when your followers are most likely to engage with you – make sure you are posting valuable info (or re-sharing,etc) through out the day, but especially at these times.
  6. Share info for potential clients – not just current clients (or those in the same industry as you). Ideally social media will attract other businesses/potential leads to hire ImageWorks (or whatever business you’re managing the social media of).

Don’t forget to track and measure your growth! Both Twitter and Google have free insights and analytic ‘s for you to utilize when measuring your reach and fans/followers!

Happy Growing!