Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Social Media Forum Review

Rick Burnes of HubSpot on Inbound Marketing using Social Media

A forum hosted by BTV Social Media Breakfast Club

Twitter account: @rickburnes

Here are my notes (and some elaboration, corrections, and expansions on my part; very little editing or checking was done)

  1. Interruption marketing is the old media model
  2. Inbound marketing takes time but eventually saves money for a business (Inbound marketing being defined as providing great content, surrounding the content with on and off page search engine optimization, and letting your customers and prospects find you)
    Invite people into your website instead of “interrupting their lives”
  3. Rick made a big mistake by declaring unabashedly that ALL traditional media is dead. He got hammered b/c he suggested that all traditional marketing is bad and online is the only way to go
  4. Including direct mail and Pay Per click that don't work effectively
  5. While I think Rick goes too far to suggest that internet marketing is the only way to go, I wish all my clients had been there to hear how effective and inevitable a content rich web presence is for all businesses if they want to compete in the long term.
  6. I suggested to Rick and in my opinion it is more accurate to suggest that it is the effectiveness and ultimately the return on investment of traditional marketing that is diminishing. That on the rise is online marketing which includes providing lots of free content about your industry and business and your specific business approach.
  7. I went on to tell him not to trash traditional marketing but talk about the trends in marketing. Traditional marketing still works but the trends all point to a diminishing return on investment. Starting now with online marketing means you'll be a player down the road when the trend lines get more severe.
  8. There was a lot of conern in the audience about the quality of writing (the “I can’t write” problem) Writing content for the web does not have to be elegant. Just use the same language you use to sell your services, promote your products, and talk to your customers. Start a conversation about what you know. It does not have to be complicated.
  9. As you live your life and business, put yourself into the content mindset.
  10. Repurpose every interaction in your business into a content opportunity.
  11. Probably the strongest analogy that Rick made was the Lottery Ticket. It's all about content. Each page or article of content from your website that appears in the search engines is a lottery ticket. Would you rather have the same 8 static pages as lottery tickets or a 100 new lottery tickets per year as you write 2 blog posts per week about your business?
  12. Every business is different in terms of measuring success of your online presence. What are the metrics for your business? Customers? Subscribers? Diners? Do you make large one time sales? Do you have recurring revenue clients? Set your metrics and then measure them (and he wants you to use HubSpot).
  13. Rick finished by giving a relatively subdued pitch for the $250 per month HubSpot online marketing software. $3000 per year might seem steep but if you were able to prove positive ROI (return on investment) on the $3000, it would be worth it.

    Questions from the audience:

Question: I use direct mail. It works. Why should I stop?

Rick: Online is better. Which was not a great answer. What he should have said…keep doing direct mail. But put effort into online marketing and continue to measure the return on investment for both channels. Over time, you will probably learn that the online marketing approach will provide much higher rates of return.

And in fact, use direct mail to build your list of email addresses so that you can continue to follow up with your direct mail prospects for almost nothing with email marketing.

Question: Must a business have your own blog on your own domain?

Yes. And I agree with Rick. Absolutely. That doesn’t mean that you might not put the same blog entries (or a shortend version pointing back to your main website) on a blog hosted at blogspot or wordpress. But you want all that wonderful blog content to be credited to your main Domain (aka, website address or URL or URI).

Question: Do I need a website and a blog?

Rick didn't answer this as we ran out of time. However, a blog can in fact act as a website. They can be one and the same. However, the blog format does not always lend itself to providing some of the basic information about your business nor advanced functionality that a full website can offer. Having just a blog is always better than nothing and some blogs are hard to differentiate from full websites! And a blog is always better to have than to have a web site that never gets new content or updates.

That’s all for now. I will surely touch on these topics more in the future. Content is king!

Please contact me if you have any specific questions about these issues.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Santa Night Black Tie Event

The Vermont Agency Foundation is holding a Black Tie Event to support the Santa Night mission in St Albans, VT, Burlington VT, and Plattsburgh, NY along with the Common Ground center.

Not only is Vermont Agency a client of Vermont Design Works, they have been strong supporters of the Santa Night mission to help children and families during the holiday season.

This is our 12th year of running Santa Night in Burlington. The Burlington event is on Friday December 18th while St Albans and Plattsburgh are set up for Friday December 11th. 14 other cities around the country are also running their events on the 11th with the exception of our newest Santa Night City, Montclair NJ. Welcome!

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support of Santa Night and its mission to become the largest 1 day fundraiser in the world!!