Top 5 Inbound Marketing Campaigns 2013

BREAKING NEWS!

Interruptive marketing is out. Content marketing is in.

But you already knew that right?

Here are my top 5 inbound marketing campaigns of 2013. Check out these inspiring examples of top quality content marketing.

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Marketing Explained – B2B Marketing Online

B2B Marketing – Should you be Online or Offline?

Think you know what works for your business? I’m sure you do to a large extent. But when did you last test existing versus new marketing approaches?

In my experience, most B2B businesses believe offline marketing techniques such as relationship marketing campaigns, face to face meet and greets, networking opportunities, industry events and word of mouth, present the only real way to win new clients in a business to business environment.

All this ‘online marketing talk’ about SEO, PPC, social engagement and content marketing is for fluffy businesses with big budgets and time to waste, right?

Wrong - marketing

It’s no longer about using offline and online channels as separate entities, but combining the best of both to generate positive return on investment for your business. This applies to both B2B and B2C marketing strategies.

How to Approach Your B2B Marketing Strategy (it’s actually easier than B2C)

Despite my observation above, B2B and B2C must be treated as distinct market categories. Certain channels or techniques that work for one won’t necessarily work for the other.

At first glance, B2B can seem the scarier of the two because more often than not, a client is worth much more to a business than a consumer, and traditional offline marketing approaches are generally more expensive and harder to measure. This is largely why in B2B marketing, the emphasis is on quality of leads not quantity. B2C companies tend to lean in the direction of very high volumes and low revenue per purchase – so enormous demand is usually necessary.

We generally understand more about potential clients than consumers, i.e. who they are, what their job is and typical buying behaviours. Therefore B2B marketing activities can be highly targeted, reducing the influx of unqualified leads thus increasing attraction/conversion rates.

B2B companies have been slower to embrace online marketing because of reliance on pre-existing knowledge and understanding of their clients and what has/hasn’t worked in the past. But things are changing.

its-what-you-learn-after-you-know-it-all-that-counts

B2B businesses are starting to incorporate online activities into their marketing plans. These businesses are casting the net wider; identifying new opportunities and exploring new markets, whilst ensuring that they are catering to the ever-changing needs of existing markets where target audiences are moving online to justify purchasing decisions.

Getting Started with B2B Online Marketing – Top Tips

Tip 1 – Get Blogging!

In a B2B environment, you’re communicating with like-minded professionals so it’s essential that you establish yourself as a thought leader. By providing interesting, relevant content you will position yourself as an industry expert and gain respect from your followers.

Blogging is probably the fastest way to build traffic and inbound links to your company website. It’s simple – the more a company blogs, the more new customers it attracts. Switch from monthly to weekly blog posts and see the impact for yourself. By building a portfolio of good content on your blog, you become more searchable online and are more likely to appear on results pages when a potential client looks for information on your services.

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To start with, look at industry trade magazines to see what’s topical and monitor your competitors to follow what they’re blogging about. Why not write an opinion piece on new legislation, conduct an interview with a key industry influencer or put together a ‘how-to’ article that answers frequently asked questions.

And lastly, ensure your posts are topically diverse and be sure to get exposure across all social channels – get it out there!

Tip 2 – Get Linking In!

LinkedIn is the number one B2B channel. Every professional should have their own LinkedIn account irrespective of industry, and from this account, you should create a company page and/or group to encourage engagement and display your content.

Traffic from LinkedIn is generally considered to be of higher quality than traffic from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are mass audience exposure platforms where volume is achieved over quality, and the audience is far more diverse in terms of what people are expecting to get from that particular platform (namely for fun, personal use).

LinkedIn is a professional network for business people, meaning that you are capturing an audience focused on corporate information sharing, networking and employment/partnership opportunities.

Remember to reply and engage with every group comment daily and include a link back to your website. Regularity of content promotion is key, whether it’s created or curated, and focus on addressing the needs of your client rather than selling your brand or product –the shift from self to consumer focus is paramount.

Linked in

Marketing Explained – Integration is integral

 Part 1 – Explaining Integrated Marketing

As a marketing professional, I am as guilty as any when it comes to using acronyms, phraseology and jargon to explain what is really, a very simple concept.

So I’m making it my mission to dispel the mythological language of marketing and explain the core meanings behind key industry terms.

Are you plagued by a particular marketing topic or expression? Send your queries to amy_haddow@hotmail.com and I’ll explain.

What do we mean by integrated marketing?

Simply put, it is the use of multiple marketing disciplines and channels to promote a brand or campaign. This is based on the belief that adopting different approaches will weave together the strengths and weaknesses of each format, and reach different audiences in their preferred ways, thereby increasing success rates.

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This can mean taking one piece of written content and turning it into an infographic, video, blog post, whitepaper or press release. Using one core piece of work and converting it into different formats is not only an efficient use of time (as the core content has already been created) but it also takes into consideration the fact that different audiences digest information differently. You are catering to a diverse online audience.

Tip: content should never be duplicated verbatim. Google penalises duplicate content which means it won’t contribute towards improvement of your search ranking position. So post one blog piece in one place only, and then tailor the content for the press release and turn it into a PDF for the whitepaper (for example).

Promoting your content

Let’s take the infographic. You can create these for free using easelly.

Firstly, host the infographic on your blog and upload to your Pinterest account like this, remembering to include alt tags.

infographic on infographics

Now promote the infographic using integrated marketing techniques. Using Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Linked In, create a summary sentence detailing the core message and where appropriate, use hashtags and include the image as a thumbnail. Use Yammer to promote the infographic internally and ask colleagues to share with friends and followers.

You should promote any new piece of content daily for around 2 weeks in my opinion. Schedule two posts a day for one week, and then reduce to one for the next. Measure the success of each channel in terms of click-throughs, page hits (on your blog) and shares.

Tip: The use of Google + is essential in improving online presence and increasing brand/product exposure. Be sure to create an author profile and links to your content to ensure it is indexed and wins those all-important search engine optimisation points. Check out my profile as an example.

So there’s a basic overview on how to ensure your marketing efforts are integrated. Create consistency and maximise your communications by adopting a multi-channel approach.

How to Nail Your Next Press Release

Picture it now. You walk into a crowded room – hundreds of people are shouting about their ‘fantastic company news’ all at once.

A sea of chaos – nobody can be heard or understood by the one person on stage – the object of all this commotion.

How do you stand out? You need to grab attention in a unique way.

Approach your press release writing and submission with this in mind.

Press release must stand out in crowd

First things first; who are you writing for?

  1. Research and identify your target audience, i.e. the people searching for your business, products or services
  2. Search for industry websites, national and local news websites and other places that would potentially host your press release
  3. Investigate the search engines that will find and display your content and research how they operate in terms of keyword optimisation; monitor competitors for guidance

What do you write about?

Be inventive, be relevant. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • New product or feature
  • A ‘though piece’ relating to current trends, events, studies or social issues
  • Events and awards
  • Employee promotions/new hires
  • Launching a new partnership
  • Survey results

Bruce Lee quote - to hell with circumstances, I create opportunities

Format

All the important stuff comes first. Remember that information should be succinct and attention grabbing. You have just seconds to engage.

1.       Headline

  • Provide interesting information and entice the reader to find out more
  • Include your primary target keyword
  • Demand attention – shock, be controversial, play with words

2.       Summary paragraph

  • Serves as a brief introduction to your business and topic
  • Include your company name
  • 1 or 2 lines maximum

Tip: By writing the headline and summary last you will make sure you capture the overall theme and don’t miss out important keywords.

3.       Dateline and lead paragraph

  • Who (main focus, person, group), what (event or project), where (location in question), when (day, date, time), why (the purpose of the event)
  • Keep it compelling, simple and factual. Provide critical information. Get your audience interested.

4.       Body

  • Elaborate on lead paragraph and explain how this event sets you aside
  • Include supporting information and proof in the form of quotes, stats, charts etc
  • Include relevant links

5.        Boilerplate & Contact

Always include a brief paragraph on standard company information, i.e. what your company does, its purpose and USP. Be sure to include company name, telephone number, website and email address.

what's your story

Unlike a press release, we save the best ‘til last

Follow these tips to ensure your release stands out:

Do…

  • Ensure that your headline and first paragraph stand out. Be relevant, engaging and informative. Evoke questions and offer a unique perspective.
  • Write professionally and clearly. Plain English means you won’t alienate readers.
  • Pick an angle – what is your ‘hook’? Articles that relate to current trends, events, studies or social issues will be snapped up by online media.
  • Use real life examples to illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem – position yourself subtly as a solutions provider.
  • Attach logos, head shots, product shots, photographs, audio files, video files, PDF documents or any other supplemental materials to support your release – as long as they are relevant.
  • Use anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site where relevant.
  • Be factual. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. Command respect and authority through honesty and back it up.
  • Use active voice to bring your press release to life. Don’t be afraid to use strong verbs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary adjectives

Don’t…

  • Use slang/jargon unless it is relevant to a niche audience that will understand and relate to it.
  • Use exclamation marks excessively – nobody wants to be shouted at excitedly (remember the crowded room).
  • Use clichés or overly ‘salesy’ text. Readers will see through this and your content will not gain their respect.
  • Give away all the secrets – give readers a reason to click through to your site
  • Use “you”, “I” or “we” outside of a quoted statement
  • Include an email address or excessive links in body text. Be conscious of spam filters and the risk of being penalized by Google.

And lastly, always remember to proofread your work before you submit it for publication.

The Essential Guide to International Domain Names

If you are reading this, chances are you already understand a bit about International Domain Names (IDN) or at least the concept of fully localising your website to suit local market needs. Perhaps you are wondering how important they are for your business. Do you really need to worry about IDN’s? Do other companies similar to yours have them?

To clarify, IDNs are domain names represented by local language characters. When a user types out a URL address in local language characters, an IDN resolution process is required to locate the corresponding website or e-mail address. The goal of IDN’s is to improve the international accessibility and functionality of the Internet by allowing users to register domain names in non-English languages.

Here are three examples (UX Magazine):

country-domains

Domain names in general are hot property. Securing even a local one in your brand name can involve high costs and negotiations with existing proprietors, and most start-ups will need to consider available domain names before deciding on a brand name.

People are growing increasingly aware of the importance of international domain names. Once ‘.com’ (the world’s most popular top level domain) goes multilingual, it is safe to assume costs for IDN’s will soar and availability reduce.

Securing an IDN in your brand name now could be the best investment you make this year.

I’m not operating an international business – why would I need an IDN?

The internet opens us all up to a global market, whether we intentionally target overseas or not. Ensuring your brand ‘translates’ in international markets is essential in maximising the online success of your business.

A new European Union study – Born Global: The Potential of Job Creation in New International Businesses, supports the opinion that start-up businesses should look to tackle overseas markets regardless of how established they are in home markets. The study suggests that start-ups driven to do more business abroad in the early stages of development tend to be more profitable and innovative than those that don’t, showing faster growth and incremental work hires.

English currently dominates the number 1 position for languages used on the web, but Chinese and Spanish are not far behind. We tend to forget that most of the world’s population is non-English speaking. Globalization and the adoption of technology by indigenous and less developed countries means that the web is now more multilingual than ever before, and we can expect this sociographic trend to continue.

LC Top languages

China now has 564 million internet users and an internet penetration score of 42.1% according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Populations will naturally perform internet searches in their native language – this is where localisation plays an essential part in your online success. Adoption of an IDN is just one element of localisation, but an essential one. Without ensuring your site is as searchable as possible, additional localisation efforts will come to nothing as traffic will not be driven to your pages.

Who else has made the move towards international domain-ation?

Russia

In 2010, Russia opened its own top-level IDN, .Рф (which is the Cyrillic abbreviation of Russian Federation) for registration. In less than a year, nearly one million IDNs were registered, making .Рф the most popular IDN and one of the world’s most popular country codes.

India

With over 20 official languages using a range of scripts, India now boasts seven approved IDNs.

So what next?

By registering all international domain names you think you may need for your products and services now, you will ensure you are at a distinct competitive advantage in a global marketplace.

Businesses have already started paying above market value for IDN’s currently owned by other companies so get researching and secure the global future of your brand.

Turkey emerges as powerful player in 2013

Emerging markets have attracted a great deal of attention from the rest of the world recently. Industry specialists are watching closely to try to predict if these incipient drivers of global economic growth will boom or collapse as a result of macroeconomic pressures in 2013.

Emerging markets became important launching pads for many multinational firms in 2012, with global expansion expected to exponentially increase throughout 2013 as new opportunities present themselves. With cost advantages and the need for local expertise acting as the primary driving forces behind corporate expansion, the U.S., Europe and Japan are beginning to take these emerging economies seriously as capable and competitive entities. The global playing field is more level now than ever before.

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But are these expanding corporations really immersing themselves in the culture of these countries? Localizing your brand is imperative in ensuring long term success overseas. No business is capable of changing the beliefs of an entire nation, so we must adapt our offering accordingly.

Turkey – why didn’t we see it coming?

Turkey occupies one of the most strategic locations in the world. It controls access to the Black Sea – home to ports for Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia. Access out of the Black Sea into the Mediterranean is via the channels of Bosporus and the Dardanelles – both of which lie in Turkish territory. Furthermore as the only member of NATO in direct proximity to Russia, Iran and Iraq, Turkey is of high strategic importance.

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Despite being considered an ‘emerging market’ Turkey has actually been economically established for more than 6 centuries. America can only lay claim to 2 in comparison. In 1923, Turkish President Kemal Ataturk initiated a number of reforms; one of which was the secularisation of the state – a major advancement for a Muslim nation. This development helped position Turkey as more accessible and ‘culturally compatible’ to other countries from a business perspective.

Regardless of its standing as a multi-ethnic state combining every extreme of Eastern and Western culture, it is still essential that businesses segment their target market and localize their brand to ensure that they are positioned appropriately and that their message translates – both literally and metaphorically.

How brands are maximising their chances of success

LinkedIn recently announced that Turkey is where they are experiencing their fastest growth. Combined with the economic opportunities presented by the market, LinkedIn has confirmed that product localization continues to be a strong driver of its member growth. The desktop version of LinkedIn is now available in 19 different languages and several improvements have been made to the user interface.

Technology remains crucial to success in both local and international markets. The opportunity to differentiate in emerging markets is greater than in saturated established ones, so businesses should play on their strengths and optimize their online activity to gain market share. With ‘search’ now considered the new barrier to international success on the internet, many organizations are recognizing multilingual SEO as a fundamental element of their market expansion strategy.

Multilingual search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the volume of good quality international traffic to a website through the use of country specific search engines. Global language translation company, Language Connect, recently opened an office in Istanbul. Both localization and multilingual SEO have played a vital part in their business growth overseas.

Gateway to a new business era

Wall Street Sector Selector recently suggested that Turkey’s success is down to its economic focus on ‘service’ rather than agriculture.

Most emerging markets are heavily reliant on commodities and energy for their growth; however Turkey’s economy is strong based on an abundance of consumer companies and independent financial standing due to its positioning outside of the Eurozone.

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The reliance of many emerging markets on commodities and demand from China puts these countries at risk, especially as growth in China slows. Increased reliance on consumer spending (instead of construction and industrial output) means demand for material goods in China is expected to decrease dramatically over the next few years.

As Turkey is not linked with a sustained raw materials demand from China, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has continued to expand where other emerging markets have stalled.

The iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEArca: TUR) is up 55% this year (ETF trends) and the market has earned investment grade status. In layman’s terms, this means that Turkey’s investment ‘attractiveness’ has increased by 55% based on price and yield performance. Earning investment grade status indicates that corporate bonds have a relatively low risk of defaulting.

Turkey’s growth is aligned to sustained consumption. Many believe Turkey relies too heavily on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (Seeking Alpha), which arguably is the catalyst responsible for Turkey’s increasingly powerful positioning. However, FDI has been consistently reduced in recent years due to problems in the Eurozone and additional economic pressures, but Turkey has continued to expand. This suggests relative stability beyond FDI.

Turkey’s steadily declining unemployment rate (down 8.9% in the most recent quarter) puts its unemployment rate lower than the Eurozone (10.8%) and very close to the USA’s (8.2%) (Seeking Alpha). This is essential as Turkey’s economy is driven by consumption. These low unemployment levels support statistics indicating that the Turkish population is becoming wealthier.

The outlook

Turkey’s economic strength is generally perceived as “moderate to high” in the sovereign rating spectrum (Moody’s) (a necessary rating for countries to fully access international capital), as the country has been able to show sustained resilience to numerous economic and political issues.

The future for Turkey looks particularly strong and we are likely to see an increase in the number of multinational corporations expanding into the financial district; Istanbul, and administrative quarter; Ankara, in 2013.

No longer just a tourist destination renowned for breath-taking natural beauties and unique historical sites, Turkey is on the cusp of becoming a primary player in the professional world.

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Globalization – a helpful or harmful concept?

We live in an increasingly globalized world – that much is certain. But what does globalization really mean and is it a helpful or harmful aspect of socio-economic revolution?

What is globalization?

Globalization can be defined as:

The process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and culture. It refers to processes that promote world-wide exchanges of national and cultural resources.

These world-wide exchanges can include goods, services, finances, people, laws and even ideas. Advances in transportation and telecommunications, including the growth of the internet have harvested increased interdependence of economic activities. Globalization demands not only economic consideration, but political, cultural, psychological and ecological attention too.

Globalization as a harmful notion

With much heated debate as of late as to whether the effects of increased cross-border interactions is good or bad, and more importantly, who it affects positively and negatively, it seems neither supporters nor opponents accept or reject it in totality.

Different stakeholders and third party perspectives will defend divergent pro and anti-globalization opinions. The competing transnational flow of resources can be controlled in line with the competing interests of those involved.

Neoliberal globalization emerged in 1980 in reaction to the increasing powers of government and contracting commercial profits. It is generally argued that neoliberal globalization benefits the rich and harms developing countries.

We must acknowledge that world distribution of wealth and income is highly unequal. The richest 10% of households in the world have as much yearly income as the bottom 90 %. (BBC)

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Globalization contributes to greater income inequality. Neoliberalist’s are often portrayed as opportunists – interested in personal gain through extortion of third world resources. Neoliberalism advocates the flow of capital that results from global trade but opposes increased immigration, which inadvertently positions poorer countries as ‘victims’ of financial imperialism.

The rise in underground globalization (involving the illegal flow of resources) is indicative of an absence of governmental control, legality and morality; supporting the perception that rich countries are looking to ‘ignore the rules’ at the expense of poorer people.

On the other hand, if we expand on this further and consider the number of jobs dependent on foreign direct investment and international trade, perhaps globalization isn’t all bad.

The helpful face of globalization 

Foreign aid is also a contributor to globalization. It is a concept made up of national policies dedicated to the encouragement of long term investments and export markets for goods and labour, with a focus on relationship building for mutual benefit and equality. Foreign aid opposes unfettered trade, capital flows and overall Western cultural hegemony in support of greater global regulation and the flow of support and technology to poor countries, and of migrants to rich countries.

Issues surrounding this ‘positive attribute’ are that global demand can only support a limited number of countries, and there is a need for strong in-country policy governance which most developing countries cannot sustain.

To conclude

Globalisation will lead to a high similarity in different life spheres by definition. A homogenized global culture may not be a good thing as we lose cultures and traditions (see Suffering the loss of lingo).
Despite this, we cannot ignore the fact that globalization allows for greater specialization by nations, greater economies of scale and facilitates greater flow of information and technology. As a result, people and businesses are more competitive and arguably, more efficient.

Whether globalization is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you to decide, but it’s important to realize the effects on all members of the chain and the restraints involved in moving towards an ‘ideal balance’ in terms of equality and national capabilities.

Suffering the loss of lingo – why do languages die?

What is the role of language?

The first word that springs to mind for most people is ‘communication’. But if we dig a little deeper, language is so much more. Language is a cultural institution that informs the social and intellectual life of the speaker.

Most of what humans know about nature is encoded in language. A combination of stories, songs and histories passed down from generation to generation – a collection of expressive attributes that define a community.

In losing languages, we lose traditions.

Linguistic diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate. Every 14 days a language dies, taking with it a wealth of knowledge about the history, culture and environment of its society. The Centre for Linguistics confirms that although we have lost languages since the beginning of time, the recent acceleration in the speed of extinction is alarming.

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Why do languages die?

Throughout human history, the languages of smaller communities have given way to more powerful groups. Children in smaller literary circles grow up learning dominant languages in school and online, and many will not see the need to teach their children the smaller, less recognized vernaculars of their local community. Many believe that the education system is biased and encourages speakers of dominated languages to develop disdain towards their mother tongues. Consequently, speakers of such dialects migrate to mainstream languages.

Although one must acknowledge that proficiency in English grants social and economic mobility, the lost languages of our ancestors past must be recognised as the building blocks behind entire civilisations.

Among factors discouraging speakers to forget their heritage are concerns that local languages don’t cultivate material benefits or economic growth. These beliefs are fuelled by continued technological development and globalisation.

Preservation

A number of professional bodies including The Human Resource Development Ministry, National Geographic and the Institute for Endangered Languages are striving to preserve endangered languages by identifying the places under greatest threat and documenting details of the languages and cultures within.

This is a useful way of preserving ‘the words of languages past’, but surely prevention is better than cure? Can ‘spoken’ languages survive in today’s society despite the increasingly globalized nature of our world? And more importantly, does the solution lie in reformation of the education and employment systems?

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