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.


Randy said...

My main take-away from the event was the difference between "inbound" and "outbound" marketing, and why you MUST get involved in "inbound" marketing.

I've been doing most of my shopping on the internet for years, but I was shocked at how few hands were raised when Rick asked how many people had purchased items after seeing TV ads and hearing radio ads... especially considering how many hands went up when he asked about response to internet advertisements.

Basically, "outbound" advertising can be intrusive and annoying, while "inbound" marketing allows customers/leads to find YOU based on their own searches and needs.

Inbound marketing, using social media (among other techniques) obviously takes time, but it's much cheaper than traditional outbound marketing, and generates much more targeted traffic.

What you mention in your 8th point stood out to me as well. We've always heard that "quality over quantity" is the rule, but when it comes to blogging, this scares off people who don't feel confident in their writing abilities. One could argue that "relevance over quality" is the new rule.

If you know your product or area of expertise, you can write relevant content and your customers will find you. You don't need to be an English major.

Rick Burnes said...


Thanks for putting together such a super summary of the event. I had a great time, and I'm glad people found it useful.

My only regret is that my talk came across as "anti" traditional marketing. I tried to draw a sharp contrast between outbound and inbound marketing in order to define inbound marketing -- but I don't think businesses should shutdown outbound marketing campaigns that are working. If direct mail works for you, great! You should test new approaches and see if you can find other channels that have a lower cost-per-lead -- but don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

All the best,

ana said...
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