The Power and Potential of Inbound Marketing and the Internet

Is the Internet Necessary for Business?

 

There are unbelievers…still!

 

Perhaps these two images will help put things in their perspective. My usual posts runs into 2-3-4000 words.

These two images should do it!

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The Ultimate Internet Image Can Connect You to All of This - Internet in a Minute

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 John Zajaros

CEO & Director of Marketing
The Ultimate Internet Image, LLC

Inbound Marketing Overview and the Central Hub Strategy

Inbound Marketing and Social Media:

A Recipe for Success Online

Inbound marketing is successful when you view it in terms of a combination of permission marketing and search driven marketing. In other words, you want to be where your potential clients are….when your potential clients are searching for your services. If you are not, you will be ineffective and your inbound marketing strategy will fail.

Central  Hub: You must view your website in terms of a central hub. The idea is to drive as much traffic as possible to your hub by creating excitement, authority, and, above all, interesting content.

Video: We are in the video generation most online advertising and inbound marketing is driven by video. That is where the lion’s share of your clients will come from. An effective video campaign will send your business soaring, a lackluster video campaign will kill it!

Blogging for Business: Blogging is crucial! In fact, the static website of just a few pages is on its way out…if not dead already! The website that is primarily image-based, particularly when it comes to text, is worthless. You will derive ZERO SEO value from images alone. When a website full of images is crawled, it shows up as blank. A balance of text, images, and video is essential. Blogging also develops interest in your business and provides a line of communication between you and your clients that is invaluable. Blogging is essential for any business trying to grow and relate to their target market long term.

Viral Video and the Rest of the Online Guru Hocus Pocus: Forget about viral! Yes, that’s right…forget about it! If you intentionally set out to create a viral video or make some other sort of online media go viral, it will almost certainly fail! Focus on quality content that will interest your target market and get shared.

Note: I have videos and articles on websites around the world and very few, if any, would be considered viral. But they all get shared and it all translates into backlinks, subscribers, social media connections, clients, and friends.

Yes, friends!

Redirects: Redirects can be useful but if you are hoping to derive any SEO value from a super domain name that you are only using as a redirect to your not-so-great url, you are wasting your time, money…and a quality domain name too boot!

Articles: Articles accomplish several things at once. Articles establish you as an authority in your niche, they deliver backlinks to your main hub (although this is changing), and they drive traffic to your main hub. Even with the new shifts in Google’s algorithm, article marketing is still a crucial component of a solid inbound marketing strategy.

John Jones: Who is your target market? What does he look like? What are his interests? How does he dress? You must be able to SEE John Jones in order to relate to him…or Jane Jones for that matter!

Social Media: Social media is also essential! All of the components of an effective inbound marketing strategy must work together, in concert, if you are going to succeed. This is not an optional strategy, it is imperative if you want to compete in today’s market. Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook (both personal and a fan/business page), YouTube, Dailymotion, Break, Viddler, Foursquare, and others are the key to social media success. Ping.fm is the best way to reach most of the core social media sites in one blast, Hellotxt is another, and XeeSM.com is the third. If you integrate these social media hubs into your overall strategy it will make your job much easier.

Warning: Do not use social media as a vehicle to spam your followers or you will kill any suucess you may have otherwise achieved! Additionally, if you spam, all you will have following you are fellow spammers…and they will eventually unfollow you as well!

Additional Blogs: Google’s Blogger, Squidoo, HubPages, and others are also useful and can be tied directly into your social media hubs for constant updating! These should be included, as they are virtually effortless to maintain and they do end up on page one!

Keyword Research: Most keywords are insignificant. Many businesses beginning to explore inbound marketing focus on keywords that drive ZERO traffic to your website. The key is to know not only what terms are searched for, something Google does well, it is crucial that you know which keywords get the most CLICKS! Click through rate is crucial.

Google Analytics: Metrics are also key! You must know who is visiting your website and where they are coming from if you are to develop and intelligent and effective, long term inbound marketing strategy.

Testing: A/B testing is probably the simplest and most effective, at least when starting out. Long term strategies can be added from there.

Consistency: An inbound marketing strategy must be applied daily if it to work! Social media can be time intensive at first. The longer you do it, the easier it will become. Blogging must be done at least 3 times per week for best results. A video blog with adequate text to introduce and provide a synopsis of the video can make all the difference in terms of SEO value.

SEO: SEO or search engine optimization is a long term strategy! Yes, there are certain tweaks and some people believe Google provides a bit of a nod to new entities on the web…but that is debatable. Google is King Kong on the Internet right now and they are changing their algorithms constantly. The best strategy is one that is keyword rich and delivers superior content.

Video, Article, and Social Media Delivery Software and Memberships: There are several delivery systems in the form of membership sites and software that can be used to make you job easier. It is crucial to use these systems in order to reduce the amount of time you must spend on tedious projects…or get your employees in on it and have them do it. In the long run, your labor costs will kill you. It is best to use the membership sites available to you. We will review many of these as we progress.

Video Creation: There are several video sharing and video creation sites online. Animoto is simple and effective for creating short, interesting videos. Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, Dailymotion, and several other video sharing sites will allow you to add your own logo and message for a fee. It is well worth it long term. While placing YouTube videos on your blog and website may be cost effective short term, long term you want to create your own identity without relying on YouTube. I have integrated my Flip MinoHD videos through Camtasia to Screencast. Others use Amazon’s video platform and still others Brightcove. Whatever the platform, make sure you learn all the ins and outs, so it remains trouble-free and cost effective!

In the next article I will discuss several sites I recommend you set up profiles on and how to do it for next to nothing and with little effort. Your profile should be keyword rich and your image a professional and/or easily identifiable one. In addition to Google’s Keyword Tool, I sincerely feel that Market Samurai is the class online at this time. Check it out for free & then upgrade if you like it!

I love it!

Discussion: We will discuss any questions or comments you may have and raise here. I hope this helps you as you begin, at once, to create your new and Ultimate Internet Image…or help others to get there!

I look forward to sharing ideas and/or working with you and believe we can position you to do great things in your niche as a brick and mortar business, an online business, or as an Internet, inbound marketing consultancy!

John Zajaros (Jack)
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
440-821-7018 (cell)
johnzajaros@gmail.com

Note: Just assume links are affiliate links and that way there can be no misunderstandings!

Internet and Inbound Marketing: How to Deal Information Overload

Protecting Your Most Valuable Marketing Resources – Time and Money

Information Overload Pt II

In the previous article, and the videos attached to it, we dealt with focus and entrepreneurial success characteristics. We talked briefly about the various aspects of online marketing, to include Internet marketing and inbound marketing, and the cacophony of sound, both literally and figuratively, generated by online marketers.

I hope you had a chance to look at Internet and Inbound Marketing Success: Focus and Information Overload, and the videos attached. The article, and the videos associated with it, set the stage for the rest of this series.

I think if take the time, you will find that your time is well spent.

On to Internet and Inbound Marketing:
How to Deal Information Overload Pt II

One of the biggest challenges many of us face when beginning to make sense of the Internet generally, and inbound marketing in particular, is deciding just which expert to listen to and which resources to invest in.

The noise made by this guru and that expert is absolutely deafening and, because we don’t know who to listen to or what to invest in…we attempt to listen to everyone and jump from one program to the next in an attempt to get it just right and not miss something vital.

Incredibly, most of the inbound marketing experts we are listening to have never attempted the actual nuts and bolts of what they are teaching for any length of time…they are simply teaching others how to do it.

Yes, some have. But they quickly find out that, online anyway, it is better to teach than to do!

In other words, it is like the saying:

“Those who can’t or don’t do…teach; and those who teach…make more money!”

Sound a bit facetious?

It should!

I actually heard an Internet marketing guru say, and I am not sure he realized what he was saying at the time or not, I have the recording of it, that he realized early on he could make much more money teaching others how to make money online than he would ever make practicing the principals he was teaching himself.

Amazing!

It goes to show you 2 things:

  1. There are a lot of “gurus” who have never actually practiced what they preach
    1. Marketers selling dog training courses who have never trained a dog
    2. Marketers selling courses to teach parrots to talk who have never taught a parrot to do anything and, like the dog trainer, may not even own one
    3. Marketers selling inbound marketing consulting courses who do not own and run inbound marketing consultancies and have no concept of what it is like to run and brick and mortar business
  2. There is a lot more money in information products teaching others how to sell info products that there is in any of the subdisciplines most gurus point the masses towards
    1. There is a lot more money in selling info products dealing with how to be an affiliate marketer than there is being an affiliate marketer
    2. There is a lot more money selling apps for making Facebook pages than there is making Facebook pages

Picks and Shovels!

Sam Brannan taught us all a lesson during the California Gold Rush and savvy Internet marketing gurus haven’t missed a beat!

Brannan sold picks and shovels to the 49ers and made a million. The gold rushers, the 49ers, bought Brannon’s wares and got tired, broke, and hungry.

Today?

Internet marketers sell the picks and shovels of marketing.

You dig and they get rich!

Stop buying picks and shovels and start focusing on a few resources and make them pay.

How?

First, decide to follow one or two experts and then devour everything they teach you. If they refer to a resource, check it out…but remain skeptical and only purchase what you absolutely require.

Hopefully, you will choose wisely Grasshopper!

Ask yourself these questions before you invest your time or money any anything online:

  • What’s in this for me?
    • Marketing Lesson: How does this benefit me and help me to grow my business?
  • Who cares?
    • Marketing Lesson: Does this seem to be something that has worked for others?
  • Can I validate the claims being made?
    • Marketing Lesson: Does the person offering the resource or the advice have a following and/or a track record?
  • Why should I believe you?
    • Marketing Lesson: Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the adaptive unconscious in his book, Blink. Adaptive unconscious is the mental processes that works automatically and rapidly…based on relatively little information. In other words, intuition and gut instinct! In most cases, if you listen to your gut, it will guide you in the right direction.
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get a feeling deep in the pit of your stomach that says, “I just don’t know?” Walk away…fast!
  • I’ve heard it all before!
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get the sense that they are spouting the same-old, same-old? Find a new teacher or think about investing in a different product.
      • This is particularly true in the inbound marketing sphere right now, with every Tom, Dick, and Jane selling their particular Ju-Ju for $997 or $1997 on how to corner the inbound marketing niche and make $5,000 to $10,000 per month starting Monday…and it’s Sunday night!
  • Why in the world did I buy this product?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get that feeling after investing your hard earned money in a course you should be all excited about…cancel! Today!
      • Yes, there is such a thing as buyer’s remorse. However, if you think the product doesn’t measure up or they are going to feed you bits and pieces over several weeks or months, it often means they don’t even have the product completed and you need to get out before the refund period lapses or you will be stuck with a subpar program and nothing to show for it!
  • What else should I be doing now?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you are watching a video or reading an article and you are asking yourself what else you should be doing now, you need to:
      • Set it aside and come back to it when you have time to devote your complete attention to it.
      • Decide whether the message is relevant or not and move on.
        • Note: Keep in mind that not everything an expert is going to offer will resonate with you. I use the 3 strikes rule, unless it is really bad. I give an authority I am interested in 3 strikes. It they haven’t offered anything that floats my boat by strike 3…they’re out!
  • Will this be a wise investment in terms of my time and money?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you can’t afford it in terms of money or can’t swing the time? Walk away! Offers are like the “gurus” making them…there will be another along later this week, next week, next month, and so on and so on and so on….
      • In fact, if you haven’t noticed it already, almost every big launch has a relauch and then a 2.0, a 3.0, and so on and so on and so on….
      • So, don’t sweat it if you can afford it…there will come a time when you will be able to. And then? You’ll probably be glad you didn’t buy it “back when,” because you will know enough by then to see it for what it is.
      • And 9 out of 10 times it is junk…or at the very least can be bought for much less or even found free with a little digging and a bit of Googling!
  • Finally, ask yourself the following question: What makes you different?
    • Marketing Lesson: In other words, why should I listen to you? What makes you so special? And don’t worry about feelings! You are dealing with two of your most precious resources:
      • Time
      • Money
        • If either of these two resources is not well spent, and you can’t find a reason why the person asking for either is worth your time and money, because time is money? Walk away…Fast!

In Part III we will discuss the different coaching strategies and the various authority sites. We will also discuss the various Internet and inbound marketing resources; and, whether or not they are worth investing in or not. Finally, in Part IV, I will discuss some of the major implementation strategies I have used over the past two years, those I have discarded and those I still use…and why.

I hope you have found this interesting and useful.

If so, please leave a comment and share it with your friends via email and social media!

Thanks so much for taking the time and please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter which starts off with the Inbound Marketing A through Z to be published September 7, 2010; and, it will be free of charge for subscribers.

Thanks again and please leave your feedback!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004
Skype: johnzajaros1

Internet and Inbound Marketing Success: Focus and Information Overload

Entrepreneurial Success Traits

The Importance of Focus

Internet and Inbound Marketing Success, the Entrepreneur, and Focus

I know, I know! I really couldn’t settle on a title…so I figured the next-best solution was the shotgun approach. I could tell you I’m testing it and all of that…but that would be bunk.

So, I’ll just tell it like it is…like I always do! Why change after 55 years?

Note: I will discuss this topic, and that of distraction and time management, in greater depth in The Ultimate Internet Image’s upcoming ebook, Inbound Marketing A through Z, scheduled to be released to our subscribers on September 7, 2010. You can find the details for it and the contest on the home page (link right above you). I would suggest entering the contest…the odds are fantastic right now and someone is going to win a nice little Apple iPod Touch and some other nice prizes!

So, check it out.

OK, done with the commercial!

I have added a couple of videos below.

The first is by David McCandless and his TED talk is entitled:

The beauty of data visualization

The second is by Gary Flake and is entitled:

Is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?

The latter is very exciting because it goes hand in hand with the recent discussion about TweetPivot in The Inbound Marketing Week in Review and in the follow up interview with Chris Arnold of TweetPivot. Chris is a great guy and you can follow him on Twitter at @GoodCoffeeCode

Phew! Lots of links…sorry…but they’re for a good cause!

The two videos mentioned above deal with information overload and focusing on information (data) in a very different way. I think if you take the time to watch them, and read the accompanying article below (of course!), you will find you have a better, perhaps somewhat different perspective than when you arrived.

At least that is my hope!

For now, I want to talk about focus as it relates to Internet marketing, inbound marketing, and online entrepreneurial endeavor.

Peter Baskerville states that:

“Entrepreneurs know better than most, the power generated by focus.”

I agree!

However, I would qualify it somewhat by stating that successful entreprenuers know how to focus. I would also suggest that a large part of that success comes from our ability to focus in spite of the many obstacles in our way; and, in particular, in spite of information overload.

I suggest that, in spite of the myriad distractions, changes, and hurdles that may confront us, thus obstructing our path, we as entrepreneurs are able to keep ourselves, and those working for and with us, focused on the ultimate result, either an immediate or long term goal; and, usually both.

The successful entrepreneur, complete with the obsessive tendencies we often display towards our passion, and in spite of many obstacles and distractions noted above, will maintain focus and get the job done.

It is important to distinguish between the word entrepreneur and the phrase successful entrepreneur.

Additionally, it is important to understand the characteristics that define entrepreneurial success. Understanding the distinctions between the two, and the characteristics that define success in this realm, we can begin to understand what defines a successful entrepreneurial endeavor.

Interestingly, there are a great many individuals referring to themselves as entrepreneurs.

In today’s world, it is easy to claim to be almost anything!

It takes minutes to set up a website or blog and be online today. I can do it in less than 5 minutes…tops.

In a moment a relative unknown can go toe-to-toe with a reputable firm, established and able to deliver on their promises…and no one is the wiser.

Whether in Internet marketing, inbound marketing, or some other niche specific online endeavor, people referring to themselves as entrepreneurs are everywhere. People calling themselves “gurus” are just as common. And I’ve discussed the latter until I’m blue in the face.

There are entrepreneurs and then there are Entrepreneurs; and, there are Gurus and then there are “gurus.”

For more on this you can read:

The Top 10 Guru Survey and the Truth About Internet Marketing Gurus

This is both exciting and worrisome. Exciting, because it allows a relative unknown to step up and do incredibly exciting things. Worrisome, because it also allows the bottom feeders to surface, grab their prey, and submerge never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, the latter muddies the waters for the former and makes it difficult for the legitimate entrepreneur to establish himself or herself.

However, there are a few young (meaning: new on the scene), successful Internet marketers, inbound marketing consultants, and/or online marketing specialists who have been able to break through and establish themselves as successful entrepreneurs, in spite of these obstacles, by remaining focused on their ultimate desire through service to others.

When all is said and done, there are very few truly successful entrepreneurs.

Why?

I think it comes down to several things but an essential characteristic or trait for successful entrepreneur is, as stated above, the ability to focus and remain so in spite of obstacles and distractions; and, information overload is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, distraction in the online world.

In other words, the ability to remain focused, to remove all obstacles and distractions from our path, is the key ingredient to success…and a real challenge for online marketers in any sphere.

Whether an entrepreneur is solely focused on Internet marketing (e.g., as an information marketer, affiliate marketer, or some other specialty) or is exploring some other sales and marketing niche (e.g., inbound marketing), the amount of information and the shear volume of noise is deafening.

Seth Godin referred to the subject of noise on his blog today:

The blizzard of noise (and the good news)

While Mr Godin was talking about noise and the online world, particularly in the context of the familiar versus the unfamiliar, it is a constant theme of his…and for good reason!

An Aside: It is interesting, and I have mentioned this before, how many times we will be thinking of something, writing about it or whatever, and suddenly it seems that several people are talking about the same thing. The fact is, they always were, it’s just that we weren’t looking in that direction, at the shooting stars, until now!

I wrote an article about this topic just the other day and you can find it at:

Shooting Stars, Abraham Lincoln, Prayer, The Beatles, and Commitment

Interestingly if you are pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor as an inbound marketing consultant, there is always something appropriate, something interesting, and/or something useful. However, to avoid information overload, we must settle on what a few trusted sources and resources, what feels and fits best, and stick with them…remaining focused on our primary task above all else.

So, what are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur as related to focus?

  • The ability to remain focused in spite of setbacks
  • The ability to remain focused in spite of distractions
  • The ability to remain focused in spite of unforeseen changes (flexibility)
  • The ability to maintain focus in our personal lives, because personal problems (i.e., family issues, health concerns, etc) are a major distraction and can and will undermine our entrepreneurial endeavor or endeavors
  • The ability to keep others we depend on focused in order to get the job done; and thus meeting and exceeding goals and objectives, both personal and professional
  • Passion – Passionate about our work, about others, about our family, and about life in general
  • Concentration – Again to the point of obession but not to the point of myopia. Marketing myopia, discussed previously and again in our upcoming ebook release can be and often is the entrepreneurial kiss of death
  • Prioritize Everything – Prioritize to the point of obsession! While making sure you have the small things taken care of, be aware of the ultimate prize. I suggest the video below: Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff
  • The ability to compartmentalize the various components of our lives and the task at hand…in the context of overall personal and business goals
  • Single-minded with an eye-constantly-on-the-prize” Peter Baskerville
  • Entrepreneurs rarely, if ever quit (The Dip being the qualifier here – Seth Godin’s book is a must)

Ultimately, entrepreneurs must have the ability to focus, as if with blinders on, until the job is done. This is extremely difficult in today’s world. The Internet is a cacophony of sound, literally and figuratively; and, it is difficult, if not impossible, to remain focused to the exclusion of all unnecessary distraction.

One of an entrepreneur’s greatest assets is curiosity. Curiosity is also one of an entrepreneur’s greatest enemies!

It is an inquisitive mind that is always looking for the next-great opportunity, the next-best thing. However, if one is to succeed as an entrepreneur, it is imperative that we remain focused and as ourselves one thing. Yes, it is always important to keep an eye open for the next great opportunity…just so long as it is not a distraction.

Consequently, there is a constant balancing act going on between what may translate into something real and what must be done now…in order to accomplish the task at hand.

Ultimately, the question that must be asked and answered is this:

Will this get me closer to my main desire, the task that will take me that much closer to my ultimate goal?

If not?

Then you must walk away!

Why?

Because there is simply too much noise online today and if you are not working toward the completion of the task at hand?

You are walking away from it!

The former is crucial and the latter is self-defeating.

In order to succeed in today’s connected world, any of us, we must be able to tune-in in order to enhance our knowledge and learn what is necessary to go forward toward the completion of our task.

And, we must know when to tune out, to put the blinders on, and focus on our primary goal to the point of obsession.

“Unfocused energy dissipates whilst focused energy, like the sun’s rays, through a magnifying glass BURNS!” PB

I also like Marc Joyner’s analogy of the knife and the box.

I will save that for another time…or you can ask me in the comments below and I will be happy to explain. In either case, please leave a comment.

I have added the videos below for you. The videos are useful and quite appropriate, both narrowly and broadly speaking.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Please remember to subscribe!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004
Skype: johnzajaros1

Note: Peter Baskerville is an Australian entrepreneur who likes to call himself “a New Venture Architect.” Peter recently discussed the traits and characteristics required for success as an entrepreneur in a Google Knol. The Knol was entitled: Characteristics of an Entrepreneur: The A to Z of the characteristics of an entrepreneur. You can access this Knol through the linked quote above.

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

“David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.”

Gary Flake: Is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?

“Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.”

Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff

“It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.”

The A through Z of Inbound Marketing: B is for Backbone

Building an Inbound Marketing Consultancy

If A is for Attitude then B is for Backbone!

In The Inbound Marketing Week in Review: What are the A, B, Cs of Inbound Marketing we spoke of the “A” letter resources, concepts, and ideas, those adding to our knowledge-base as we strive to build an inbound marketing consulting firm and serve our clients.

Naturally, many of the terms discussed can be applied to Internet marketing, online business across a variety of niches, MLM, and, of course, “offline” businesses, particularly as they seek to make the transition from outbound to inbound marketing and build an Internet image or online presence.

NOTE: We will continue to refine the list as we work toward September 1, 2010. Anyone who is a subscriber to the UII Newsletter and email list on or before August 31st will receive a free copy of the completed ebook on August 31, 2010. So subscribe today!

So, here are the B resources, concepts, and ideas, in part. Please leave your comments and ideas below. Have we left anything out? Can you add something to our list? Please feel free to offer your feedback and, if appropriate, we will attempt to include it in the final draft.

B – Backbone: Internet consulting, online business consulting, or inbound marketing consulting, whatever you choose to call it, is not only about knowing the Internet, it’s about being able to understand and relate to the “real world,” the offline business world…and sales.

Having a backbone is a must!

By that I mean, you must be able to take rejection. And, you must be able to say no yourself when it is necessary. Meaning, you must be wise enough to walk away from a sale and a big check when you know a prospective client is the wrong fit for you and your consulting business. That takes backbone, particularly when you are first starting out.

Additionally, asking for the kind of fees you will require, and deserve, will take backbone…at least until you have some experience and feel confident in your abilities. Interestingly, once you understand that you are, in fact, able to deliver a service few others can, that you are indeed an expert, it will no longer take backbone to ask for your fee. Your knowledge and service will convert either a nonexistent Internet image or one that is all but nonexistent into The Ultimate Internet Image. And there aren’t a lot of people or businesses that can do that.

While it is true that the more knowledgeable you become and the more experience you gain, the stronger your backbone will become, you must demand it of yourself from the get-go or you will be swamped with the wrong clients paying you far too little for your services…and you will be miserable.

Make sure you learn to say no and walk away from the wrong situation.

And, whether you listen to Malcolm Gladwell or Perry Marshall or Lee Milteer, they are all telling you one thing:

“Listen to you gut!”

And I would add:

“Use your backbone!”

B – Blogging for business is a necessity. I’ve heard some of the experts, even experts who blog themselves, call blogging for business “lame.”

Or, more accurately, they call business blogs lame.

Perhaps many are?

However, if you set up your inbound marketing clients’ blogs properly and fill them with quality content on a continuous basis, it will pay huge dividends in terms of interest, traffic, and sales for your clients.

Blogging is one of the most effective traffic and relationship building tools available online today. I would argue that the distinction between a website and a full-function blog will disappear in time, perhaps entirely within the next five years.

All you have to do is look through the Studiopress blog themes available or look at what some businesses have done with Thesis themes to understand that I am on the money here.

For inbound marketing purposes?

The blog is a better vehicle for traffic generation than a static website, particularly when starting out, for a myriad of reasons.

If a static page is required?

Many premium blog themes will accommodate you and your client. All-in-all, the blog is the way to go and the amount of traffic and page rank you can gain for your inbound marketing clients in a relatively short period of time makes this one a no-brainer. At the very least, if your client is set on their static website, as is? Integrate a blog immediately and link the two sites or integrate a blog into the exiting website. The boost in traffic and page rank will be significant and will convince your client to go along with other inbound marketing strategies as time goes on.

In today’s online world, if your client isn’t blogging, they might as well be rowing across the Atlantic with one arm.

They will never get where they are going without all the resources available to them…and that includes a professional looking blog!

B – Blogosphere is a term implying that all blogs are made up of a single universe, the blogosphere, and that they are all connected in one community. The blogosphere also refers to various interrelated blogs and their connections. It is an interesting concept and there seems to be at least some validity to it.

One example of the power of this phenomenon is when a video, article, or blog post goes “viral,” spreading across the Internet rapidly, seeming to take on a life of its own.

Interestingly, Jon Hoover recently mentioned how blogs and the blogging community were once like a small town and now the same community is more akin to a major city. I would argue the same is true of the blogosphere. What was once a relatively small and unique, interactive community has spilled over its boundaries and the new manifestation has very little in common with what once was.

The blogosphere of today is a universe apart from the blogosphere of a decade ago.

B – Brand Awareness is a reflection of how many consumers are aware of a particular brand. One of the most important purposes of an inbound marketing campaign is to enhance brand awareness, to increase the overall, positive response to a client’s product or constellation of products. Ultimately, brand awareness is measured using brand recall, brand recognition, top of mind awareness, and other metrics beyond the scope of this post.

However, on a related topic, it is important to realize that many of the sales that are currently being attributed to social media may be more a consequence or at least a reflection of brand awareness.

Two companies, one with brand recognition and one without, will have very different results given the very same social media marketing campaign. We will explore this relationship in greater detail as we go but it goes without saying that brand awareness is central to online success and inbound marketing is crucial for brand building and brand recognition…or whatever you want to call it.

B – Backlinks are also known as incoming links, inbound links, inward links, and inlinks. Backlinks are incoming links to a web page or website and are one of the most important factors in determining a website’s ranking. Backlinks are also a reflection of who is paying attention to a certain website or page within a certain website. Building incoming links can be one of the most challenging tasks for an inbound marketing firm because they take time and the creation of quality content…and a little bit of luck.

As important as the backlinks, perhaps more important, are the quality of the incoming links.

In other words, where the link is coming from is more important than the link itself. A link from a less than reputable site can have an adverse impact on ranking.

Links for sake of more links is gnerally a bad strategy.

B – Benefits: Sell the benefits.

Or, as an old mentor of mine used to say, and I have said time and time again to the people I mentor, coach, and train:

“Sell the sizzle, not the steak!”

If you are selling air conditioners in August?

Sell the feeling you get when you first walk into an air conditioned house after cutting the grass on a 90 degree day. Do not focus on the digital controls or the ease of operation.

Help your inbound marketing client picture a full dining room from 4:30pm until 7pm. Let your client hear the phone ringing off the hook for pizzas at a typically slow period of the day because of an email blast. Get them to see the new car, the kids in college, and all the rest of the benefits of your inbound marketing expertise.

Don’t tell your inbound marketing prospects about autoresponders, email marketing, and social media profiles…they could care less!

Sell them the sizzle and then they (and you) will have steak!

B – Blogger (blogspot) is Google’s free blogging platform and, while many feel it is not worth the time or the effort, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I have heard people say it doesn’t pay to utilize this platform. Significantly, Google allows anyone, and that includes inbound marketing firms, to build an unlimited number of blogs for an unlimited number of purposes. If you are not using this resource, you are missing out on a valuable inbound marketing tool. Do not simply build mirror sites but build blogs with content and then encourage others to link to them and through these blogs back to your clients’ primary site. Imagine one hub connected to another and another, all of them interconnected and pointing links and driving traffic back to your central hub. And, you can do it all for next to nothing!

B – Business Networking is a marketing method that has been around a lot longer than the Internet. Networks of like-minded business people come together to seek and share opportunities and ideas with one another.

There are several well-known online business networking sites, to include:

Inbound marketing firms not only use these networking sites to build their consulting businesses but to build up their clients’ businesses as well.

Social media has transformed business networking.

Some of the most responsive social media sites online are business networking sites like ecademy and LinkedIn.

These sites and others should be an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy…not only your’s but your clients’ as well.

B – Brick and Mortar Businesses, what I often refer to as traditional brick and mortar businesses, are the primary focus of many inbound marketing consultancies because many brick and mortar businesses are having a difficult time making the transition from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. Many brick and mortar businesses have been sold a bill of goods and have been convinced that all they have to do it put up and website, maybe spend a bunch of money on SEO, and the rest will take care of itself.

The “If you build it, they will come!” days are over.

Interestingly, some marketers refer to brick and mortar businesses as “offline” businesses…but that is less than accurate, particularly in 2010.

Brick and mortar businesses are generally considered to be businesses with a physical address in the “real world” and not just an address in the virtual or online world…as “online” or Internet businesses do. When most people think of brick and mortar businesses they think of some sort of retail establishment or a service-oriented business, like a plumbing contractor or an HVAC contractor, any sort of a business with a physical address doing business face-to-face with customers, clients, or patients.

The Ultimate Internet Image serves brick and mortar businesses, assisting them in the transition from outbound advertising to an inbound marketing. UII creates an inbound marketing strategy tailored to the needs of their “offline” clients and appropriate for the individual client’s competitive business environment. It is crucial to understand both the Internet and the “offline” world if we, as inbound marketing consultants, are to properly serve our clients.

It takes empathy, understanding, knowledge, and experience to develop an inbound marketing strategy that works for our brick and mortar business clients!

Next, we will jump to the Cs of inbound marketing. Please add your thoughts and ideas below. I would love to hear from you and it will add immensely to the final product, an inbound marketing guide we can all share in.

Thank you and please comment below!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004
Skype: johnzajaros1