2020 looks like an exciting year for digital marketers! In this article, we’ll take a look at the top trends that we predict will be driving marketing strategy over the next 12 months, from AI to influencers, from “naked emails” to unified identities, and from customer experience to employee engagement.
If you’re investing your marketing budget to drive traffic to your website, you also need to make sure that as many visitors are converting as possible (e.g., turning into leads and/or customers) so you can maximize your ROI.
In particular, with the increasing costs associated with online advertising (e.g., PPC,) you can’t afford to pay for clicks that don’t convert if you want to generate more profits.
To get the most from your marketing efforts, you need to make sure that your landing pages and website are designed to drive conversion. Here’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.
Today’s businesses spend a lot on marketing – over $2.1 trillion worldwide, according to HBR. But how do we know if all that money is being well-spent? That’s where return on investment (ROI) analysis comes in.
In an ideal world, calculating your marketing ROI should tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and where you should focus your marketing efforts in the future. But that can be easier said than done – according to marketing expert Neil Patel, less than a third of marketing executives feel that they can effectively evaluate the ROI of each channel they use.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to calculate ROI, what makes marketing ROI (MROI) a little tricky to figure out, and what you can do to improve your results.
Did you know that 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content (e.g., blog posts, infographics, videos) before engaging with sales? Meanwhile, 72% of buyers use Google for research during the awareness stage.
What does that mean for your SaaS business?
If you want to get in front of prospects early on in the purchasing path, capture their attention, build trust, and turn them into customers – you must produce high-quality content and make sure that it can be found in relevant search engine results.
Advertisements, content, and social media are rarely successful without the help of graphic design services. According to a report compiled at the Wharton Business School, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
Design is not mere decoration, but a massive part of our communication. Digital marketing relies heavily on communication. Whether it’s through blogging, downloadable content, websites, or social media, graphic design is a necessary part of digital marketing.
If you have been keeping up with your LinkedIn feed, you may have noticed that you're seeing more posts that are relevant to your interests, related to your profession, and from people you know.
That's all thanks to the latest LinkedIn algorithm update, which has changed what members are getting on their feeds. If you want your company's posts to be seen by your ideal prospects and customers, you need to understand how the algorithm works so you can adjust your LinkedIn marketing strategy accordingly.
SaaS video marketing can help you drive traffic, boost audience engagement, build relationships with prospects, increase your content marketing ROI, accelerate the sales cycle, and improve customer loyalty.
With over 575 million members in 200+ countries and more than 260 million monthly active users, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for professionals. It presents many opportunities for B2B marketers to research their target markets and reach their ideal customers:
As a SaaS company, your website is your storefront. It's where you make your first impression, showcase your products, and turn visitors into customers. Your SaaS web design has much influence on your conversion rates and therefore, the success of your business.
Marketing to healthcare professionals is never easy. They are constantly bombarded with information, making it hard to stand out from the crowd. Strict regulations mean that trust comes at a premium and entering the market as a new contender is correspondingly challenging.
To market your healthcare software, you may need to engage multiple stakeholders at different levels of the organization, then maintain their interest and buy-in throughout the long sales cycle. In this article, we'll look at some tips and techniques to get your software in front of the right people in the healthcare industry, generate more leads, and keep your bottom line in the peak of health.
In today's competitive market, B2B companies often invest in marketing so they can stand out from their competition and ultimately generate more sales. To maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing dollars, you need to generate high-quality leads and turn them into customers. However, there are quite a few steps in between investing in a marketing strategy and developing lead generation that truly makes your investment worthwhile.
All inbound websites should have several essential elements if companies want to attract the right traffic and convert visitors into qualified leads. Your company must ensure that these elements are targeted just right to reach your buyer persona. Ultimately, you should position your site to provide someone with almost everything they need to know about your company and how your services can solve their problems.
The main goal of any website should be to turn visitors into leads. The effectiveness of this process often comes down to the quality of a company’s landing page.
Unfortunately, there’s a common misunderstanding when it comes to the terminology and what comprises a landing page. Companies will often call any page on their site a landing page, but regular site pages don’t function as true landing pages, nor do they follow the critical format needed for lead conversion.
Healthcare software marketing is tough - so you need to make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your marketing buck. But calculating the return on investment (or ROI) for marketing is notoriously tricky; in fact, only 37% of managers are confident they can prove the impact of their marketing strategies, at least over the short term. In this article, we’ll look at ways that you can measure marketing results - and how you can maximize your ROI to see measurable improvements across the bottom line.
Choosing a digital marketing agency is never easy. Not only are there many agencies to choose from, the right agency for one company might not be a good fit for another. Healthcare software marketers should consider several areas to ensure they're making the right decision.
Your company’s website is the most important marketing asset you own, which is why it’s critical to ensure that it looks, functions, and performs exactly as needed. If your site falls short in one or more of these areas, you should re-evaluate your web presence.
A product marketing plan for SaaS is pretty different from your standard marketing strategy. Whereas traditional marketing mainly focuses on the acquisition of new leads, SaaS marketers face a more challenging proposition - not only finding leads, but monetizing those leads, and most importantly, hanging onto them.
SaaS is a quickly growing field, constantly changing and evolving. As a result, that presents a host of challenges for marketers in the space.
Predicted to grow at a CAGR of 21.20% through 2023, SaaS is packed with opportunities. To reap the rewards, however, marketers will need to adapt to the constantly changing trends. In an industry that exists on the cutting edge of tech, being seen as behind the curve isn’t an option.
Watch this week’s Smart Spot to learn three benefits of video marketing.
Listen in as we share a few of our favorite 2019 marketing trends.
Birmingham, Alabama – May 7, 2019 – Spot On, a digital strategy agency specializing in web design and brand & strategy development, partners with companies to solve their greatest marketing challenges. Recently named a top inbound marketing agency of 2019 by DesignRush, the agency continues to focus on delivering the services that bring the highest level of impact to their clients.
The B2B space is one where buyers have a lot of choice. In fact, 60% of B2B companies research 2-3 sites before making a purchasing decision. Software as a Service (SaaS) is a major part of this space, with sales expected to hit $112.8 billion this year. SaaS represents a low cost, agile way for users to access software – and for SaaS companies that means there’s a lot of opportunity, but also a lot of competition.
In this week’s Smart Spot, Alison shares how to use the Google Chrome Inspect Element tool.
Website usability, also known as user experience (UX), describes the way in which visitors view and interact with your site. Users should be able to immediately recognize the main message of your page, easily figure out how to get from point A to point B and be able to achieve the goal they set out to accomplish.
Watch this week’s Smart Spot for a step-by-step guide on setting up a thank you page in HubSpot.
Watch this week's Smart Spot to learn best practices for optimizing image files on your website.
Traditional website projects usually entail months of extensive copywriting, design, revisions, change orders and…more revisions, all based on what everyone thinks are the right updates for your site.
Marketing for SaaS companies is both challenging and necessary. SaaS is a booming market, as TechRadar reveals that sales are expected to reach over $112.8 billion this year, so it’s vital to position your marketing in such a way that your company stands out from the crowd. It’s also the only way to continue to grow, and that’s vital in the software industry.
In this Smart Spot video, Susie shares tips for how to best optimize your LinkedIn profile to attract leads and future clients.
We’re excited to announce our newest offering at Spot On, the Website Performance Audit.
You’re on the fence. It may not have been that long ago when you were in a similar situation, writing copy, approving designs, testing functionality and chipping away at your yearly marketing budget for a new website design. But as you’ve stayed on top of the latest trends, kept an eye on competitors and helped your company grow, you wonder if it’s time to rethink your most important marketing asset.
So how do you know when it’s time for the overhaul? It comes down to design and structure.
Watch this week's Smart Spot to learn how to set up a chatflow in HubSpot.
In this week’s Smart Spot, we're sharing an interview between Susie Kelley and Dr. Arlen Meyers, professor of otolaryngology, ear, nose and throat surgery at the University of Colorado, as well as the President and Co-Founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.
It’s no secret that LinkedIn can be an effective way to grow business. Companies have been exploring this versatile social media tool for more than 15 years now, making valuable connections and learning the dos and don’ts of LinkedIn marketing. Participation continues to grow – last year the company reported a 41 percent increase in session time for its main app year-over-year. But many companies are still missing out on some of the best advantages LinkedIn can offer.
In this Smart Spot we’ll show you how to set up a smart CTA in relation to list membership, with the instructions written out below, along with some bonus ideas for your own Healthcare SaaS Smart CTAs.
In this Smart Spot, I share three Chrome extensions that help streamline the daily task of prospect research.
It’s 2019, and the results are in: if you’re in business, you should be on LinkedIn. With over 500 million users, 40% of whom are logging in daily, LinkedIn can connect you to pretty much anyone. However, while many of us are comfortable using LinkedIn for recruitment, networking, and branding, turning LinkedIn into a lead generation powerhouse takes a bit of strategic thought.
Watch this week’s Smart Spot for a step-by-step guide on setting up an email in HubSpot.
In this week’s Smart Spot, I share step-by-step how to set up blog posts in HubSpot using best practices.
Marketing has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. The internet has continued its explosive growth, mobile web access has become almost universal, and social media has rapidly been integrated into both everyday life and the business world. And for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, marketing presents an additional layer of challenges.
Watch this week's Smart Spot for a step-by-step guide on setting up a landing page in HubSpot, and read on for the play-by-play with some additional tips.
Our first ever Smart Spot explains why you need a content strategy in place.
For marketing success, a solid marketing strategy is a must. Coschedule, for instance, found that:
“Marketers with a documented strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t.”
Your marketing strategy is the blueprint to help your SaaS business attract leads, convert them to customers, and retain those customers for the long haul.
Lately, we’ve been sharing quite a bit about best practices when it comes to website design. From responsive design to building an effective website strategy, these articles have addressed questions and challenges specifically related to design and development.
While not exclusively a web design topic, search engine optimization (SEO) strategy isn’t something that companies should ignore, especially as it relates to a new website design.
Healthcare software company marketers frequently utilize content marketing as a tactic. Pay per click advertising is also common. However, much of the time, these two tactics are approached separately, in a silo. But what if these two tactics were approached together for maximum benefit?
With more than half a billion users, LinkedIn has become an important promotional resource not just for individual professionals but for entire companies. Its built-in tools can make it easy to zero in on top business prospects, and savvy marketing departments can turn it into a significant competitive advantage. According to Econsultancy, LinkedIn is responsible for 64 percent of the visits to corporate websites that originate on social media.
Growing up in the 1990s/2000s, I used to watch TV shows where some of the characters had tiny computers they carried around with them. I always thought it was so cool that they could use these devices to talk face-to-face to each other yet be in completely different places! Little did I know that less than a decade later, smartphones–A.K.A. tiny computers that can do much more than just make FaceTime calls–would take the world by storm.
SaaS marketing is simply the process of marketing SaaS (software as a service) products - any software product that you use online rather than downloading onto your own machine. The SaaS market is booming - sales are expected to reach over $112.8 billion by next year, reports TechRadar - and as a result, SaaS marketing has become a school of marketing in its own right.
After months of planning, designing, and strategizing your new website, it’s finally ready for development.
Whether working with an internal or external development team, it’s imperative that marketers know about the web development process to ensure it goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It’s also important to know how to properly communicate with your developer, since coding and technical terminology can often feel like a foreign language.
Marketers have a tendency to position inbound and outbound marketing as an either/or proposition - and these days, inbound marketing is on a winning streak.
Marketers often take for granted all of the tools and resources available to us, but the truth is, these tools really make our jobs easier and support us in producing better results than we could without them.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, here are a few tools Spot On utilizes pretty frequently to ensure that our marketing for clients as well as our own agency is the best that it can be.
Healthcare is a notoriously conservative industry - no wonder, with lives literally on the line - but 2019 may be a tipping point for healthcare technology. New approaches - like telemedicine and virtual reality diagnostics - are becoming increasingly standard, and the global digital health market is predicted to reach $206 billion by 2020.
These days, almost every company down to the smaller mom-and-pop retailers understands that its website is important. For many of your potential customers, your website is your front door, display window, the face of your business, and the source of a crucial first impression.
We’re living in the golden age of technology. Although we haven’t quite achieved the long-awaited flying car, software has enhanced every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
It’s true what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work. Every company’s success is dependent on its people, whether it’s your own team or an extension of your team, such as a web design company with a multifaceted group of hardworking creatives.
It’s that time of year. Pumpkins, gourds, and Jack-o-lanterns are on many doorsteps. The air is becoming chilly and leaves are changing to vivid oranges, yellows, and reds.
Autumn is also the perfect season to evaluate your current digital marketing strategy and make any necessary changes as you start thinking about next year’s strategy.
To get ahead in the healthcare software industry, you need to stand out from the crowd. While most companies these days are already promoting themselves on LinkedIn or Facebook, to really reach your audience, raise brand awareness, and attract leads for your software, you may need to put in a bit more effort to get results.
In the healthcare software industry - as in any other industry these days - it’s very likely that the first interaction your potential customers will have with your company will be via your website.
While we’ve talked about topic clusters a little bit in previous blog posts, we haven’t shared the whole process of how topic clusters can be created and then turned into pillar content. Discover how topic clusters can be used in your content marketing strategy.
In 2018, everyone is talking about video marketing, social media marketing, user experience marketing, even AI marketing. So is blogging on its way out?
The answer is a resounding no. Blogging should be a key component of any solid healthcare SaaS marketing strategy. Here’s why.
Now more than ever, content should play a vital role in your SEO strategy. For healthcare tech companies, it's essential to ensure that your website and content are optimized so that potential customers can find your solutions.
In an ideal world, EdTech would sell itself. You've worked hard to develop a product designed to help teachers and administrators do their best work. Everyone wants to help kids learn, so what more does anyone need to know?
A lot, actually. It's one thing to create innovative hardware, software, and services for educators; it's quite another to meet those educators where they are to show them exactly how your product can change their lives.
Were you one of 24,000 to attend INBOUND 2018 last week? An exciting time to learn from sessions, get inspired by keynote speakers, and network with fellow marketers, we highly recommend any HubSpot customer attend at least once.
Keeping pace with previous years, there were many exciting announcements for HubSpot users at this year’s conference, from HubSpot Video, to Slack integration, to call transcription and recording.
Is Twitter still relevant for your marketing strategy? Your answer may depend on whether or not you've ever had success with this network. More often times than not, many businesses feel directionless when it comes to tweeting, especially when it comes to whether or not posts are reaching their audience.
Healthcare SaaS is a tough industry - the marketplace is crowded, the competitors have deep pockets, and the sales cycles are painfully slow. For some healthcare SaaS companies, the last thing on their mind is content marketing. Content marketing takes time and patience, and worse, it can be hard to link it to a direct impact on the bottom line. So why should you bother?
No business can afford to ignore social media, not when its competitors are developing sprawling networks through LinkedIn and building engaged communities on Facebook. For EdTech companies, an up-to-date social media presence is critical. After all, potential customers include teachers and school administration who are seeking the latest innovations and need tech-savvy businesses to explain the education applications. A smart social media strategy will go a long way toward branding your company as an industry leader.
Marketing automation is one of the latest industry buzzwords - but what does it really mean for your healthcare software business? In this article, we’ll take a look at the best uses of marketing automation - and what to avoid.
There’s little doubt that building a SaaS business with closely aligned marketing and development is one of the secrets of success. This is especially the case in a complex industry like healthcare. Building a clear and consistent message, backed up by a product carefully designed to fit the needs of your niche; carefully communicating the value provided by the software, and understanding precisely how its value is delivered to the end user; describing the product in language that speaks to the customer - all this depends on close integration between product marketing and product development.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to 2004. You or may not remember that when Facebook was first created, its membership was limited to Harvard students. However, it wasn’t long before the network expanded to other schools and not long after that, almost anyone could join.
In the increasingly competitive environment of healthcare SaaS, making your brand stand out can be a serious headache. We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to help our healthcare software clients in areas like brand recognition and engagement, is a social media strategy.
There’s so much that is encompassed in search engine optimization, or SEO. For a healthcare software solutions provider, you already know how important it is to get your products or services just right for your customers and potential customers.
As an educational technology marketer, you know what a great effect technology can have on an industry.
Smartphones, media streaming, and telepresence robots have all been extremely disruptive to the EdTech industry. They have also greatly improved the user experience.
Search engine optimization is no different.
Consumers search the internet with questions. Supply the best answers in the best way, and traffic will flow to your website. Each visit is a possible lead. It’s simple and complex all at once. To develop a relationship and convert casual browsers into qualified leads, you need to offer timely and relevant information and encourage engagement with your content. Your goal should be to meet the needs of prospects at each point along the buying journey. If you do this well, visitors to your site will reward you by supplying their contact information.
Software developed specifically for healthcare is an increasingly crowded market, dominated by heavyweights with huge marketing budgets. In this daunting industry, it can feel impossible to stand out from the rest. But with the right marketing strategy in place, even smaller healthcare software companies can attract their audience.
Adding technology to the classroom has been one of the biggest and most beneficial changes to education that we’ve seen over the last few years. Not only has technology changed how teachers interact with their students, but also how they communicate with other teachers, policymakers, and parents.
One question we hear fairly often when talking with prospects about inbound marketing is – Why can’t we hire one marketer in-house to do ALL of our inbound marketing? If you’ve ever wondered the same or questioned the need for working with a marketing agency – keep reading to discover why one person can’t do it all when it comes to inbound marketing.
Learning no longer happens only in the classroom and educators no longer solely use textbooks. Thanks to innovative solutions in education technology, learning can happen anywhere at any time and educators have more opportunities than ever to improve the education experience. Modern day technology has transported education into a new world through everything from web-based training (WBT) to Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).
Patients in 2018 are more empowered than ever before to make healthcare decisions. They conduct extensive research into healthcare providers before making a choice. They recommend providers to one another. They also feel quite comfortable switching providers: in fact, a study by the West Corporation found that 88% of patients would switch healthcare providers if not completely satisfied.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd?
Technology is continually transforming the classroom, and in this era of hyper-connectivity, the trends in EdTech are raising new concerns among educators. Your marketing efforts must go beyond highlighting the features and benefits of your products. The buyers and users of new educational technology need information, solid data, training and support if they are to change methods, and embrace innovation.
Every company approaches their website differently. For some, it’s enough to simply have an updated website design that looks great. Others might feel somewhat lost when it comes to how a website should be designed and organized.
As the central point for all of your inbound efforts, your website should ultimately attract, convert, close and delight potential customers.
Consumers have developed a new sophistication when it comes to processing marketing messages. They have the ability to fast-forward through commercials and block pop-up ads. Pay-per-click banners are merely minor distractions in their peripheral vision.
As an organization seeking to reach a unique audience with a niche product or service, we know it isn’t simple to attract the right leads or - if you do – converting them is another story.
Since people have embraced the use of the internet, the way they buy has changed. In the past, companies had all the information on the product or service they were selling and buyers came to them to gather information. Now, buyers do research on the internet, are well informed and usually have chosen who they want to do business with before they ever even contact a company.
While you’ve heard about the importance of having a marketing strategy before – whether it’s inbound, content, or social, a strategy is the skeleton bones of what you want to accomplish in a given time period, which you then fill in with specific tactics and campaigns to reach your audience.
Healthcare marketing trends are changing every year. It’s essential for marketers in healthcare IT to pay attention to the latest shifts in marketing trends to ensure they are reaching their audience using the appropriate content and channels.
So, what’s on the minds of marketers in the healthcare software industry?
Guest Post By Ashley Lipman
Social media has become a celebrated marketing method for many reasons. This is because it is a reasonable investment and there are many free tools to help you get started. The truth is, many marketers and businesses are already leveraging social media to reach their customers and grow their personal brands.
With the student population expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2035, schools are thriving and enrollments are at their highest.
One area that’s rapidly developing is the use of technology to deliver educational content. As an EdTech organization, you know the importance of using the latest technology.
Enhancing Your Inbound Marketing for B2B Software
If you’re responsible for marketing at a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, you may not realize the potential that the inbound marketing methodology holds for your business. If you treat your inbound and content marketing strategies like a buffet, as tech business startups and developers sometimes do, you won’t get the power of marketing as an integrated process.
After launching a new website, many traditional agencies will suggest you purchase a web maintenance package. A maintenance package means the agency will handle your requested edits later on, so you don't have to make any changes yourself. This may sound like a nice deal, but in reality you will likely end up paying a monthly fee and getting little to nothing in return.
So what is a growth-driven design retainer and how does it differ from a maintenance package?
How does a small flower shop in the UK get 35,000 followers on Twitter? Hint: it’s not by tweeting about flowers.
As marketers, we know that trends and technology are changing everyday. You can’t continue doing what’s always been done, even if it has worked in the past – before you know it, your method might become outdated.
Not all myths are dangerous, but believing all the wrong things about marketing personas can keep you from reaching your Inbound potential.
From 360-degree videos to Facebook Live, marketers are responding to audiences' shorter attention spans by making content more interactive and visual -- and the ROI is astounding.
Ever worked with web developers or SEO experts that promise to put you on page one of Google?Hopefully you didn't have to learn the hard way that there are no easy fixes for getting your company found. In fact, trying to improve your SEO using shortcuts and black hat SEO strategies could result in major penalties
from Google and other search engines.
It's easy to come to the conclusion that companies have different tactics for how they do business, manage their teams, and develop strategy based on their size and their revenue. Some companies, like Epic, openly acknowledge that they spend less time on their marketing strategy than others because they achieved "brandeur" and success early on.
Regardless of how successful or big or small your software company is, having a healthcare marketing strategy will take you much farther than having none at all.
Today, one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers is to find an effective way to attract patients.
Fortunately, more healthcare marketing managers are becoming aware that inbound marketing may help them encourage patient engagement and nurture relationships.
Last week for our podcast we had the opportunity to speak with one of our main clients about how they tackle healthcare marketing in 2017 effectively. Jake Behnke is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for Surgical Information Systems, a healthcare IT company serving mid-sized surgical centers from the city of Atlanta.
Human interaction is irrelevant during the creation and programming of a new software product. Sure, water cooler chat involves relationships, but you're not out there mingling with the population at large.
It's a very different story once you're ready to launch and sell your product, and if you don't give the power to the people, healthcare software marketing attempts will fall very, very shy of intended projections.
Gadget Digital Assistant (named Lucy by her owner): Good morning, Harold. I see you have a free hour between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. How would you like to fill it?
Harold: Hi, Lucy. I think I'll take a walk today, so I won't need your assistance with that. Thanks, anyway.
Being a copycat is never a good idea, but it is always wise to analyze successful healthcare SaaS marketing teams to see how they do what they do. What tools are they using? Where do they go to learn about their target market? What strategies are they employing to nurture prospects and clients?
Did you know your target market's attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? Research from Microsoft Corporation found the average adult attention span in the year 2000 was 12-seconds, by 2013 it was only 8-seconds. Since goldfish have an attention span of about 9-seconds, they win!
Successful healthcare SaaS marketing relies on personalized, human engagement. Connecting with your target market via content and social media interactions is the stuff first-page Google results are made of.
Sometimes you have to enter the mind of a predator in order to gain a clearer understanding of your own vulnerabilities. If you've ever watched shows like "It Takes A Thief" or "To Catch a Predator" you know exactly what I'm getting at. After this week's most recent ransomeware attack headline it's not hard to see how easy it is to think of malware in the abstract.
Getting infected with malware is like catching a cold. At first things seem a little off. But if you know your body well, you go straight for vitamin C at the first sign of trouble. Working on your machine is no different. It's easy to overlook small glitches and irregularities if they're not really impacting your work, but they're usually the first symptoms of a bigger problem.
For many active internet users, the global WannaCry ransomware attack thattookplace last month was the first time they'd ever heard of ransomware. We say it's better to know and be prepared for the worst than to be blindsided by a future attack.
Ransomware is just one kind of malware that can impact your business and customers. Malware is a blanket term used to refer to any of the several kinds of malicious software that go after your information, your privacy, and your control. If you want to protect yourself and your customers, it's important to know what they are, how they they work, and their differences.
It's all about synchronicity. In case you missed it, we launched our Perpetual Growth Podcast recently. For our first episode, we invited Rachael Plummer who works in the HubSpot Partner Program to talk to us about the benefits of marketing and sales alignment, and the pitfalls of not moving in that direction.
Inbound MarkAles. Inbound SaleKeting.
Hmmmm. It's hard to find the right catch-phrase to unify these two, often separate department titles now that they have so much in common, but there is one. It's smarketing. Sounds kinda smart, doesn't it?
If you haven't already noticed, the sales paradigm is getting quite a shake up. It's theinevitable result of two factors: Google's prevalence and the advent of inbound marketing strategies.
At this stage in the game, companies need to begin thinking in terms of inbound sales, which has turned the legacy sales model upside down and sideways.
The reality is, as Bob Dylan so aptly stated, "The tiiiimes, they are a chaaa-a-aa-ngin'...," and they always will be.
Even if you've only gotten a small taste of what inbound marketing has to offer, youprobably have an idea of how vast the world of inbound marketing really is. Businesses can have entire teams devoted to putting all of the moving parts of inbound into a succinct strategy. There’s a lot to consider - from content management and blogging, to analytics and SEO, to community engagement and design, and more still.
The terms inbound sales and inbound marketing often go hand-in-hand. But anyonewho has worked in a company with designated sales and marketing teams knows the two don't always go hand in hand at all. The places where inbound sales and inbound marketing diverge can be a detriment to a company's bottom line if divergences aren't handled or supported effectively.
The phrase "inbound marketing" places all of the emphasis on marketing. That's a shame because inbound methods are as much about sales as they are about marketing. In fact, you could say inbound is really all about the sales because closing the sale is the ideal result of the hard work we put into our marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing is a strategy focussed on bringing customers “in” or attractingthem to your product on the internet instead of purchasing space out there. It does this by offering them the information they need to learn about their problem and make a decision on how to solve it before asking them for anything in return.
Before the internet, consumers relied more on salespeople for information about products and services. Today, it's a whole new ball game.
Getting to know your ideal clients is integral to the inbound and content marketing paradigm. Figuring them out is a process that results in buyer personas that guide every step of the marketing process.
Even if you're already pretty savvy with the lingo of inbound, it never hurts to have a little refresher. You may even surprise yourself by learning something new! If you're a newbie, commit these terms to memory and you'll already be ahead of the curve.
Crafting buyer personas requires donning your psychic hat. Or, if you prefer, your intuitive hat. It's about getting inside the target market's minds in a very personal and intricate way.
Inbound marketing is constantly evolving to meet the needs of consumers and to keep up with the lightning speed of the internet's changing landscape. In order to adapt, more businesses are investing more in inbound marketing than outbound marketing and here’s why...
Poodle skirts, men with short bangs and long hair, tight, skinny jeans with holes in the
knees (oops! Never mind. That ones' trending again...) all are examples of trends that come and go, and then come back again. But imagine if marketers didn't keep buyer personas aligned with the times?
Imagine your company's annual awards banquet. There are all the key players, spiffied up and anxiously awaiting the Sales Rep MVP award.
Your business was founded on the principal that you have a product or service that other people need or want. Fantastic. Now, how are you going to get the word out to said people that you offer this product or service that is tailored just to them?
Inbound marketing "best practices" involve data and analytics. Both words have a tendency to send marketing professionals into the doldrums of despair due to number intimidation.
Inbound marketing tools are supposed to make business life better. Sometimes, though, competitors' tools are so similar that it's hard to tell which one is truly the best fit for your company. The last thing a small business wants to do is fork out a ton of cash on a system that doesn't yield the expected benefits. Or that sits there, largely underused due to steep learning curves.
The HBO Game of Thrones website describes this series, "Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. Follow kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power..."
Hey! Sounds like another day in the sales and marketing trenches!
Small businesses need every tool and trick they can get their hands on. You're working towards profitability in a highly-competitive world - and much of the time, your team isn't as big as the competition's.
Taking advantage of the best tools for inbound marketers allows small teams to play big - with an ROI to prove it.
Inbound marketing is like dating. Like any prospective date, before your customers can you trust what you have to offer, you must first build a relationship of trust. If you don't, it will cost you - literally.
Belief systems are powerful. They can empower you to become more successful than you've ever been before, or they can hold you back - unconsciously ensuring you repeat the same, ineffective cycles over and over again.
Reading blogs is a smart (and free) way to get better at what you do. Blogs offer loads of topic-specific advice and often provide "learn from my mistakes" or "here's what works for us" styled tidbits that can shift the way you plan and grow your company's next moves.
Feeling a bit dismayed about lagging sales stats? Don't let discouragement get the best of you.
Most likely, the right information isn't getting into the hands of your most qualified leads when they're most likely to spring into action.
Regardless of how much it's touted as "the next great solution," the idea of adopting a new system or way of doing business is almost always a turn off. Let's get real honest here, and admit that we're looking for an easy fix - not something that requires any significant learning curve, training time or instruction manuals.
In that way, we're just like our customers - wary of something new.
Perhaps that standard trend is the reason why so many companies avoid the CRM train. Sure, you want to save time in your sales process - but is paying a bunch of money - and spending a whole lotta energy - learning yet another system really going to do that? And, will that extra time and effort truly translate into a higher profit margin?
How often have you chosen not to try something new due to fear of the learning curve? And yet, so many of the most important skills we acquire in life - walking, running, reading, driving - are the result of our willingness to try something new.
Why, is it then, that we hedge when it comes to implementing new tools that will help us do a better job? And more efficiently too!?
Knock-knock. "Avon calling..."
Imagine the Avon Lady of yore's delight if she could spy on women in a household before knocking on their door. Perhaps Ms. Avon would notice one reading all she can on the art of perfectly shaped brows for the brow-less, or catch another one holding samples of fabric up to her face, trying to determine whether she is a "fall" or a "summer..."
LinkedIn is a powerful tool in your inbound marketing strategy box - especially if you're a B2B marketer (80% of marketing leads for B2B companies are generated by LinkedIn, and it's used as the primary social media platform for 92% of B2B companies). As the name implies, however, LinkedIn is only as fruitful as the strength of the "links" you create.
They say many hands make light work, and they often result in better work. This is why modern healthcare marketing should take advantage of partnerships and alliances that facilitate better physician-patient engagement and improve healthcare outcomes.
If you're a salesperson, you want to spend your work time selling. If you're a marketer, you want to spend your time creating the great content and images that bring the right leads to the sales department. Any moments spent in maintenance process - rather than direct selling or marketing process - detract from your success as well as the success of your company.
Historically, marketing emails were created - and sent - from the marketer's perspective. Sure, we valiantly attempted to figure out what our leads wanted to read, but the emails were still created and generated from the perspective of what we wanted to share about our products and services.
Are you on the fence about adopting a CRM system? You're not alone. We've found that most of our small and medium-sized business clients hedged for some time before finally taking the plunge - and that hedging makes sense. While CRM systems are touted for their ability to make sales easier - and more profitable - many business owners are wary.
Everything about networking changed in 2004 when LinkedIn introduced Groups as a feature. Once Groups were brought online, liked-minded professionals had a new way to connect, demonstrate thought leadership and learn about their industries.
Welcome to the brave new world of healthcare.
It's filled with increased competition, cost control measures, and mandates and regulations coming down from government commissions. And then there are the patients, who are all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and increasingly involved in making their own healthcare decisions.
In this new, modern world, healthcare marketing has never been more important. And that's why you're probably looking for a partner.
What ever happened to the handshake?
At one time in the not-so-distant past, it was the quintessential act of introducing yourself to prospects. In one gesture, you could make a favorable first impression, establish trust, and position yourself as someone who can be relied on to deliver results. In other words, the handshake was the way to lay the foundation of a relationship that could last for years.
It could possibly be a panacea for all things sales. A virtual funnel that leads directly to pre-qualified prospects. An unprecedented platform allowing you to disseminate your marketing messages with strategic abandon. The most efficient and effective way to infiltrate inboxes.
It is, of course, LinkedIn.
So, you've applied everything you've learned about LinkedIn lead generation and yet leads seem to have flat lined. What gives?
It's deflating when a well-planned inbound marketing strategy doesn't yield the results you expected. It's tempting to feel like throwing in the towel or start anew. Don't give in to that temptation!
The work you've done so far is a wellspring of content from which you can tease, build upon and develop as you re-orient your sights.
When their roof leaks, they call a contractor. When the car breaks down, they call their favorite mechanic. In these scenarios there are obvious connections between the customer's immediate problem and a solution. That's not always the case with software marketing.
LinkedIn is a valuable inbound marketing tool for healthcare organizations. While patients and prospects may use the network's profiles to learn more about doctors, specialists and other healthcare providers, it's also a way to get yourself out there, active and engaged with other industry professionals.
As software marketers, inbound marketing probably comes somewhat easier to you than it does to person-to-person oriented businesses. Digital technology, the online revolution, computers and gadgets - they are your preferred medium after all. Many of your customers, however, have the opposite experience.
What do healthcare marketing and reduced hospital readmissions have in common? Communication.
Every dollar collected from patients is another dollar added to your already slim profit margins. Collecting those dollars is another matter.
Here are a few stats for you:
- More than 75% of consumers use the internet to pay bills, and almost as many say they prefer the option to pay medical bills online or via apps.
- Roughly 76% of consumers report being confused about their insurance coverage as well as the medical bills they receive in the mail.
- In 2015, 74% of healthcare providers saw a decrease in insurance coverage (largely due to high-deductible plans) and an increase in patient-owed bills.
Those facts can serve as a guide of sorts as you structure information- and education-based content in a more relevant and applicable way.
(Insert sweet, instrumental music with slow-motion montage of smiling, be-scrubbed healthcare professionals dancing in a sea of checks. Then, a smooth voiceover begins...)
"Imagine a world where all patients paid their bills on time..."
We know, there's no imagination powerful enough to envision a world where all bills were paid on time. However, the advent of patient portals has certainly provided opportunities for more patients to submit payments in a timely fashion.
Hospitals and medical facilities are devoted primarily to the care of their patients—but cost is certainly a secondary priority. If your facility can't stay in the black, the ability to provide quality care diminishes, and this has a disastrous effect on attracting new patients and clients.
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Statista.com says there are currently more than 2 billion smartphones being used around the world, and that number is expected to grow by another 500 million over the next two years.
How many customers do you need?
Everyone? Almost everyone? Enough to generate revenue and (gasp!) become profitable? Can you ever have too many customers?
Inbound software marketing can feel overwhelming. It's like an all-you-can-eat buffet that never quits. There are so many things to keep track of: website design, keywords and phrases, blogging, social media posts, eBooks and whitepapers, offers and the campaigns used to promote them, email marketing, PPC ads... ad nauseam.
Successful software marketing doesn't come cheap. You pay for all kinds of products and services designed to drive business towards your inbound marketing web, including your website design and maintenance, content creation, social media updates, analytics and so on.
Our client KnowAtom creates STEM curriculum that aims to engage students as real scientists and engineers in the classroom. The extensive materials they provide allow teachers to spend more time teaching students valuable problem-solving skills, and less time planning. KnowAtom has a proven track record of helping schools all over the U.S. increase test scores and proficiency, so it’s easy to see why they boast a notable 97% customer retention rate.
Believe it or not, software marketing is not confusing. It's not overwhelming and it's very doable—even if you don't have a degree in marketing. The key is to stop looking at the whole big picture for a change.
"You can't always get what you want."
These seven simple words helped the Rolling Stones sell millions of records and gain worldwide popularity. The phrase became an ear worm in the minds of many. It also revealed a universal truth and life lesson that remains as true today as it was 30 years ago. And with a little bit of tweaking, the words can also guide your software marketing strategy:
Sometimes you're going to have to work hard to understand the "why" behind the "wants."
Software marketing teams frequently—and unintentionally—target the bulk of their content to the bottom of the funnel. Targeting those bottom funnel prospects is easy, right? You get to share all of those everyday facts, stats, acronyms and logistics you celebrate on a regular basis. It's easy to forget that most people don't have a clue about the ins-and-outs of your product.
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
These wise words were written by Mark Twain in 1890, but they may be more important than ever today as companies focus on keywords and search engine optimization to drive their inbound marketing strategies.
How do you sell what cannot be seen?
That's the question everyone responsible for SaaS marketing has to answer—and it's not always easy.
Marketing SaaS offers a variety of challenges, not the least of which is its lack of a physical presence. It's always changing. Its moniker is strange. And then there is the fact that most consumers don't even know that a SaaS solution to their problem exists.
Why spend any time or money on SaaS marketing if it isn't going to pay off? And yet there are plenty of companies sinking thousands of dollars every month into inbound marketing strategies that don't pay their own way—let alone return a profit.
Sometimes the very best intentions can totally flatline, killing conversion rates and ROI faster than you can say "CPR, STAT!"
Your SaaS marketing team might have fantastic ideas, but if they aren't part of an integrated, multi-faceted inbound approach - they won't get you anywhere, which leads to regrettable wastes of time and money - and an inevitable slowing of the lead-conversion pulse.
Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns are scary, especially when you consider the average small business owner pays between $9,000 and $10,000 per month for PPC ads.
Take a deep breath and pause for a moment while you soak that in.
That's about $100,000+ per year spent on ads that may or may not work. If they don't, it's $100K in software marketing funds you may as well have used to take your entire team on a Caribbean cruise.
It's so tempting to see those whopper visitor metrics and celebrate. And you should! Those numbers say that your software marketing techniques are paying off....to a point.
On the flip side of that coin, if your page visits are high but conversion rates seem pretty low (less than 1% to 3% of those whopping visits resulted in qualified leads), it means there is some more investigative and content work to do.
Selling software, whether as a service or an innovative solution, is all about two things: website traffic and leads.
Without website traffic, you're unlikely to fill the top of your sales funnel with high-quality leads. Without leads, you're unlikely to sell a lot of software.
One of the most magical things about Claude Monet's works is that the closer you get, the less the paintings make sense. His painting technique was like the ultimate pre-cursor to pixels—using a series of short, splotch-like brush strokes that work together to comprise a completely coherent, integrated, and stunning picture.
Is there anything more frustrating than clicking on an online ad only to be brought to a landing page that delivers... nothing?
If you use pay-per-click ads as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy, you're probably sending people who click on your ads to a landing page, which is essentially a separate webpage designed to elicit a specific action. When it comes to software marketing, that action could range from filtering traffic to targeted areas of your website to learning more about your products to subscribing for blog post updates to actually making a purchase.
When it comes to building an audience for your inbound marketing campaign, it's all about audacity.
You've got to be bold. You've got to use best practices. And whatever you do, you must fight the temptation to take the easy way out—even if thousands of email contacts are only a credit card swipe away. Yes, it can be incredibly tempting to buy an email list to support your software marketing efforts. But it's always a bad idea.
When it comes to email marketing, your efforts are only as good as your email list.
Sure, you can take the easy way out and buy or rent yourself a list. But that's a surefire way to put your IP address in the crosshairs of anti-spam crusaders. The truth is, successfully integrating an email campaign into your comprehensive inbound marketing strategy doesn't typically come to those who take the easy route. No, successful software marketing email campaigns come to those who build their email lists organically, methodically, and over time.
Done well, a software marketing campaign leads hundreds of visitors directly to landing pages. What happens there, however, makes or breaks the ROI. Even the best inbound marketing strategies can fall completely flat if landing pages aren't carefully crafted to drive action.
We get it! You want The Sale! Who doesn't?
Software marketer beware: That wanting of the sale now-now-now can be the bane of an otherwise awesome inbound marketing strategy.
Marketing. It's part art, part science. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. And it's a necessity for healthcare organizations.
Yes, if you want to build a bigger, better business, you're going to need to market yourself, your company, and your products and services.
It's been said that necessity is the mother of invention. But innovation's family tree doesn't stop there. Necessity is also responsible for automation, which can be leveraged to create effective software marketing campaigns. Whether you are focused on SaaS or selling niche software applications, automation can make your job easier.
Behold the unbridled power of the well-populated healthcare marketing database. It provides information about businesses and industries, access to decision makers, and the ability to significantly shorten the sales process. Yes, a healthcare marketing database can be the bedrock on which your inbound marketing strategy is built. It allows you to know with precision whether your tactics are working or not – and then make smart decisions about how to enhance them.
That is, if it includes precise information about high-value prospects harvested directly from their LinkedIn accounts.
Sometimes the search engine just doesn't offer the best path to results when it comes to lead generation.
This can be especially true (and frustrating) when it comes to software marketing, where products can be highly specialized, expensive, and appealing to a relatively small number of consumers.
You know your prospects with precision. You've identified them, found them on LinkedIn, and populated a database with their information.
You know your company's value proposition inside and out. You've crafted authentic, personalized messages for your prospects that will inform and educate them, make their lives easier, and drive them to your website.
A slow drip. Water on a stone. Steady, relentless, and effective.
This sums up how inbound marketing strategy generally is intended to work in the first place, and going further into the lead nurturing avenues with drip email campaigns aimed at carefully selected contacts in LinkedIn only enhances the power to drive more qualified sales leads into your funnel with it.
A lot of people don't like networking. When they think about it, they envision uncomfortable conversations, awkward exchanges of business cards, and empty promises. For these people, "networking" might as well be a four-letter word.
You know the drill.
Your sales team wants leads. Your leadership team wants sales. You want to see your website at the top of Google. So you opt for a varied collection of online tactics that likely includes posting quality content, rich with keywords, which are then forced into your other marketing materials. You go heavy on the links. You use Google AdWords. Along the way, attention goes toward a flurry of activity to design and develop a website that is absolutely perfect.
Behold the customer: elusive, fickle, and critical to your company's success.
Without customers, businesses cease to exist. Just ask Compaq, RCA, Enron, E.F. Hutton, and Pets.com. Even with good products, robust marketing budgets, and a lot of love from Wall Street, they all failed to build, grow, and galvanize their customer bases.
Some of their brands went stale. Some were offering the right products and services at the wrong time. Others simply didn't have the ability to entice customers to do business with them.
If you're studying the ins-and-outs of healthcare marketing, you know inbound marketing is where it's at. Since the large majority of your patients use smartphones and other gadgets to find you or check up on you, it makes sense that a significant amount of marketing energy should be focused on inbound practices that pave the way for patients to come looking for you.
"Show me the money."
This was the battle cry for Tom Cruise's somewhat smarmy character in Jerry Maguire, a romantic comedy about an agent who chases money but ends up finding love.
It's also an apt battle cry for companies who build their revenues on SaaS. Of course, by "money" they mean profitable growth, which is the goal of any SaaS organization. And to find profitable growth, you've got to maximize user adoption.
Contrary to popular belief, effective inbound marketing strategy isn't strictly limited to delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.
It's really focused on creating customer success centered marketing strategies – which isn't always easy and usually takes a lot of time to master.
Remember the newsletter? Printed and mailed on a monthly basis. Then bimonthly. Now quarterly. It's filled with useful information – clinic hours, new hires, and maybe a feature story about a new service. And then there's the canned content that you were forced to purchase because you simply didn't have enough time to pull together enough content to fill last quarter's newsletter... which serves as a reminder that the next one is right around the corner, so you'd better get busy.
If you only think about your healthcare newsletter once a quarter (and always at the last minute), your audience is probably thinking about it even less often.
This begs the question: When it comes to healthcare marketing, is your healthcare newsletter even worth all the effort?
In the world of software marketing, nothing matters more than your customers. Without them, you've got no subscription revenue, no recurring sources of income, and no business. So you'd better do everything you can to align your SaaS services with what your customers are seeking.
When you achieve SaaS customer alignment, you reap the rewards, which include recurring revenue growth, low acquisition costs, and reduced churn rates.
Methodical inbound marketing is the foundation of successful medical practice marketing. It takes a trickle of website visits and turns them into a stream of qualified leads. Professional referral marketing, however, is the wellspring to tap if you want to unleash the Niagara Falls of new patients and clients.
We live in a period of time where everything is available to us instantly. With the tap of a finger, we can order pizza, send an email, and post a photo we took seconds ago. In this digital age, we have some pretty high expectations when it comes down to time.
There are a few things in life that shouldn’t be rushed, however. Redesigning your website is one of them. Your website is your biggest marketing asset as well as the first impression your business gives. Therefore, creating a professional, helpful, and well-designed website is a must. As with most big commitments, the best results are often a product of the amount of time spent. Sure, you can have a website created for your business in as little as a month, but it’s not the same as having a perfectly tailored website.
It's a relatively simple word. It has five letters, one syllable, and will get you at least 10 points in Scrabble.
But you're not playing a board game. You're building a business. And that's why "churn" isn't so simple for you. Its causes are complex. Its effects keep you up at night. It has the power to paralyze your company's growth.
In the beginning, apps were so cool! So exciting! So hip! Now they're old news, making software marketing a wee bit trickier. While apps make life – and access to your website, products, services, et cetera – more convenient, there are well over a million to choose from.
The pressure is on for SaaS professionals when it comes to software marketing. If you're in the business of hip, successful, and high-tech software services and solutions, your customers expect you to be on it when it comes to hip, successful, and high-tech marketing strategies.
There’s a lot of pressure in creating a website. It is by far the most important marketing asset in your "toolbox" because it is converting visitors into leads 24/7. As the face of your brand, you want it to be great.
There’s always a new development, event, or update in the world of healthcare. For those who work in healthcare marketing, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s unfolding.
But what about your customers? Why is it necessary to keep them up-to-date when access to current events is easier than ever?
Ask most business owners about designing a new website and odds are you'll see a visible shudder pass from head to toe. Why? Because traditional website redesigns typically require significant costs up-front, a ton of time and energy on the part of business owners and key personnel, and they notoriously run over-budget. Also, there's no guarantee they'll work.
The idea of creating marketing personas sounds great, but the process itself can be pretty time consuming. It requires digging into the nitty-gritty details about the clients you have now as well as the types of clients you hope to gain in the future. The complexity of that task is daunting and can cause healthcare marketing teams to wonder if taking the time and energy to create detailed personas is really that necessary.
You have big goals for your healthcare marketing campaign. From engagement to personalization, you’re setting your sights high, and the sky’s the limit. A set of high-reaching goals is the ideal place to begin a successful healthcare marketing campaign.
The world of web design and SEO changes at supersonic speed. What was once golden is now tarnished; the rules of the game are seemingly updated at whim.
Do you ever feel like everyone knows something you don't?
Online marketing has certainly changed the nature of many industries, the healthcare industry being no exception. With the plethora of health-related content online, it's difficult to remember a time when we didn't reach first for our smartphones when looking for medical information.
You’ve mastered the first step of inbound marketing: increasing web traffic by using great content and a mixture of SEO tactics. Since blogs are often the entrance point to a website for organic traffic, you need to ensure your blog design has the ability to engage and convert visitors. According to Google Analytics, in 2015 blogs had the highest bounce rate compared to all other website pages at 70-98%. So how can you convince readers to stay once on your blog once they’ve arrived, and how do you move them further along the inbound process?
Sales goals are a crucial part of any business. Without sales businesses certainly wouldn't survive, and goals are the driving force in ensuring that profits happen. SaaS businesses in particular have their own growth and profitability metrics to factor into the equation.
Goal setting. It’s an integral part of any good inbound marketing strategy. Having a road map to follow certainly makes it easier to reach your destination. But how many times have your main marketing objectives been taken off-course by detours and U-turns? Hiccups and lag times after achieving short-term goals can extend the journey much more than you had originally planned.
If there’s one industry in marketing that’s changing at a rapid pace, it’s healthcare. Between more choices for patients and the growing use of online reviews, the world of healthcare itself looks very different than it did just a decade ago.
Perhaps the biggest change of all is the increased emphasis on patient-centric practices and care. Healthcare marketers can use this change to their advantage by developing campaigns that draw consumers in naturally. Inbound marketing does just that, bringing in 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing tactics do.
Creating a new website is a bit like an obstacle course. It has its challenges along the way, but the journey can be a blast if done correctly.
When was your last "Aha!" moment? Ours was when we watched Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s 7 Principles that Make Your Website More Engaging video. Dr. Weinschenk makes some interesting and valid points about modern-day user experience. We just don’t browse the web like we used to. Nowadays we’re on a mission to find top-of-the-line information, products, and services.
However, with the amount of websites that are out there now, how do we ever make any decisions?
It’s simple, really. We look for the most engaging, well-designed websites.
Launching a website, whether it’s brand spanking new or a redesign, is a serious undertaking. In fact, organizations are prone to putting off website launches because of the sheer amount of preparation they require.
But perhaps we’re going about website design and redesign the wrong way. There’s a tendency in traditional web design to look at the process as a long-term, but ultimately finite task. This finite nature means that, at some point (and likely sooner than we’d like), the website will become stale and need an overhaul... and then you're back to square one.
SaaS marketing is no easy task. You're basically marketing something that has no physical presence and that is constantly changing – not to mention that the average individual isn't familiar with the ins and outs of cloud computing in the first place.
The expectations for websites have changed rapidly. What were once Yellow Pages-esque placeholders are now expected to be interactive, perpetually fresh sources of information that are dependable, up-to-date, and on-trend. As visitors, most of us would say that we have those same expectations of the sites that we visit, right?
Ah, urban legends. Even if you were the bravest kid on the block, chances are, the thought of the Boogey Monster under your bed still gave you the creeps.
Urban legends stick around because they spark something in us – a bit of mystery and intrigue, if you will. Most of them come from a grain of truth snowballing into something unforgettable and bone-chilling.
Healthcare is a funny thing. Few of us graduate high school or finish our degrees well-versed in the topic, yet all of us need to understand the core aspects of the industry to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
Few would disagree that healthcare can seem complicated and sometimes frustrating to those outside the field (and perhaps to many on the inside as well). This means that anyone who works in healthcare marketing has the obstacle of confusion to overcome.
"Medical practice marketers"... the phrase itself sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?
The type of person who pursues marketing as a profession is typically creative – a "big picture" thinker, a "words" person, or what we often talk about as being "right-brained." Typically, science and math weren't their favorite subjects in school.
Then there are the doctors and physicians – the "subject experts." These medical practice pros are typically thought of as logical, linear, math-and-science-types. They think more on the micro-level and are decidedly left-brained. In other words, the strengths and talents of the former are not necessarily shared by the latter, and vice versa.
Traditional web redesign takes months to complete, requires a large budget, and leaves you without a current strategy in place for lead generation while the new site is being built. Even in a best-case scenario you will need to repeat the redesign process within a two-year period; in the worst of cases, the new design will be ineffective at generating leads and demand an immediate redo.
This post is a submission for Website Design in the HubSpot Impact Awards.
Introducing Alden Systems
In 2013, we began working with one of our first inbound marketing clients, Alden Systems, Inc. Alden offers five different asset management softwares, and an array of consulting, business analysis, inventory, and inspection services to the utilities and telecommunications industries. Alden determines the best combination of software and services for each prospect based on their industry, division and specific pain points.
What's the first thing to come to mind when you think of your house?
The decor? The tables? What about the windows... or the lights? These things may be the most visible and noteable components, but what about the roof, the floor, and the walls that hold everything up and together? Let's face it – without those, the contents of the building wouldn't be of much use, right?
Now, when you think of marketing, you may think of the visible glitz of a quality website, the glamour of a popular social media campaign, or the laudable end results of a job well done. But when you get down to it, your inbound marketing efforts are essentially the invisible support beams of your business.
Delighted. Fascinated. Engaged.
Customers today are expecting to feel all of the emotions above and more. It’s no longer enough to just meet a customer’s needs and go on your merry way. To foster loyalty, you need to make them feel incredibly special to your brand.
Put your ear to the ground of the marketing world and you’re likely to hear the words inbound and SaaS over and over. At first listen these two terms seem to have little to do with each other; one is a customer-centric marketing methodology and the other is a service-based software model.
With so much SaaS marketing material out there to compete with, it can be difficult to make your voice heard. To better your odds from your content creation efforts, strive to create evergreen content.
Instead of calling a family member, people are now heading online first to learn more about their healthcare concerns. The inbound marketing methodology gives medical practices in the healthcare industry a platform to naturally attract patients and build their online reputation.
It’s hard to imagine a business that doesn’t have a blog these days. Blogs have become an essential part of the equation to marketing and overall success. SaaS companies, in particular, have the opportunity to use their blogs to leverage their expertise and knowledge-hungry fan base into a lead-generating, engagement-driving machine.
As a result, SaaS businesses have their own unique challenges to consider when developing a marketing plan. Customers are often savvy buyers who can be fanatical promoters with the right SaaS marketing approach. So, how could the nature of this customer base be best leveraged to create an engaged community of users? It’s clear a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer. Instead, you need a marketing strategy that works well with the essential qualities of SaaS while offering room for personalizing your message.
In today's tech-savvy culture, it seems that everyone with an ailment quickly clicks on their web browser even before calling their primary care provider. It's official: the game has changed.
Evaluating current statistics connecting headlines and SEO punch, you'd think a catchy headline is all you need to increase medical website marketing numbers. For example, MOZ cites that 80% of readers never make it past headlines and that if a headline resonates with a reader, it can increase website traffic by 500%.
For any business to survive, it needs to maintain a consistent stream of customers... new customers... repeat customers... delighted customers!
But since every other business in your industry is also striving to attract the same attention as you, what will it take to set your business apart? What weapon is in your arsenal that will help you win the battle for these potential customers?
It is often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. If that is the case, then a video is worth at least 2,000. Videos are so much more engaging and interactive than pictures and text. With modern technology, embedding videos directly into a website, blog or social media account is extremely easy and even a little bit of fun. The key is creating unique video content that is different from the rest.
Just as a vehicle requires a trip to the mechanic for periodic maintenance and up-keep, your social media’s inbound strategy needs to be given a regular once-over. Consider your social media to be the vehicle that transports you and your customers to common ground... not only does the "vehicle" need to be sparkling clean on the outside, but it also needs to have strong horsepower rumbling under the hood.
You have a website up and running, and you are now launching your first blog. Congratulations! A website with a quality blog is an enormous strategic advantage when used properly. The internet has become the most common first-effort search for people looking for insider views, tips, and tutorials for their personal and professional pain points, and search engines are constantly on the lookout for relevant resources that can provide solutions.
There are a number of ways sharpen your blog’s competitive inbound marketing edge when it comes to attracting these visitors to your site:
Let’s face it – as marketers we are always looking for ways to improve, or sometimes just prove, ROI. Using marketing automation software gives us the leg up and increases our chances for success. In fact, those who use marketing automation software are more likely to see a higher ROI than those who don't according to the 2015 State of Inbound report.
We all know modern day customers tune out of traditional outbound advertising and, instead, tune right into their web-enabled devices to read, share, and enjoy online content. More than just reading, people want to interact with brands and tout their favorite merchants to their friends on the world wide web. They no longer want to have advertisements interrupting their day only to shout messages at them from the TV, radio, or billboards.
Have you ever considered how similar your website's SEO is to playing a game of "Marco Polo" with your customers?
Marco Polo is like a game of hide and seek, with one blindfolded person (the Seeker) calling out "Marco!" and the other players (the Hiders) scattered around the Seeker, all calling back "Polo!" at the same time. The Seeker then listens for the closest responding voices, giving those children his or her closest attention, and then continues calling out "Marco!" using the "Polo!" callbacks as a sort of sonar, moving closer and closer until he or she gets close enough to tag the nearest hiding player.
In order to discover how many companies are actually actively doing inbound marketing, the simplest, most direct way to find out is to just ask! So, every year, that’s exactly what happens with HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound report.
The South is known for its hospitality. Whether it’s an outdoor picnic of fried chicken and potato salad or a peaceful Sunday afternoon on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea, Southerners exude a welcoming attitude that says, "Come sit with me, let’s chat."
The heart of inbound marketing is not that different!
There's a natural rhythm to any long-term romance. The first call-back (eeek!), the continuous acknowledgement of undeniable chemistry (scha-wing!), and then there's the introductions to friends and family (I hope they like me!). By the time you've reached this last step, it's a good sign the two of you are in it for the "long haul."
The website design process seems so straightforward, yet all it takes is one bad decision to realize how complex it really is. Common mistakes people make when designing a new website include:
- Trying to translate old marketing paradigms into digital, online formats.
- Making "Ranking #1 on Google" the primary goal.
- Thinking a new website is a quick fix to systemic marketing and/or sales issues.
In addition to being absolutely beautiful, butterflies are also critical pollinators. They spread pollen from plant to plant, and the result of all that flitting about is the production of seeds. Those seeds form into fruit, which exponentially creates more seeds from which new plants grow.
If you think about it, this process isn't all that different from the way an inbound marketing strategy works!
I once saw a grandfather clock that dates back to the early 1700s. While the clock's age was certainly a remarkable feature, its 300-year legacy would mean nothing if the timepiece was no longer functioning or if the clock's face was broken or marred. Similarly, our families have inherited multi-generation antiques that have been repaired or repainted and then stripped back down to the original wood - always keeping the authenticity and integrity of the pieces intact - so that we could refinish them again.
When it comes to first impressions, solid eye contact and a firm handshake mean a lot. The same is true in making a strong first impression on someone in the digital realm. Social media platforms offer the best path for this as part of your inbound marketing strategy by encouraging a new friend or follower, a virtual stranger, to venture further down the buyer's journey with you.
If you're finding it difficult to make your business known in the ever-growing online environment, it might be time for you to learn a little more about inbound marketing. This strategy for marketing has subtlety and helpfulness at its heart and will require a shift in your expectations. Since it is a unique formula for every business, having it deliver measurable results takes a little trial and error at first in order to establish a firm foundation.
In 1936, Dale Carnegie (originally "Carnagey," and no relation to steel baron Andrew Carnegie...) published the widely popular book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It has gone to publication multiple times and is still considered a foundation for both personal and professional success.
Paid ads and inbound marketing together? Say it ain’t so Joe!
For years we’ve talked about how you should focus on drawing traffic to your site through relevant content. Build it and they will come. Provide relevant content that resonates with your target audience and they will love you for it. But what if you want to jumpstart your inbound lead generation efforts through paid ads? Promote it and they will come... faster.
A constantly growing website and an integrated social media presence are both critical components for generating virtual smoke signals that e-searchers can find in the jungle of online options for solutions to their business's problems. A business's online presence must be multifaceted, and a single page website simply will not do in today's overcrowded online space. The incorporation of social media in conjunction with a solid website increases the extent of your reach, and strengthens your inbound marketing impact.
Think about all the times you needed to make a dazzling first impression – job interviews come to mind. Now evaluate the things you prioritized to make that good impression. Odds are they included:
- The way you looked, including what you wore.
- What you said.
- How you said it.
The key to successful inbound marketing is... (drumroll please) AWESOME CONTENT. But you already knew that, didn't you?
Modern day search engine optimization, commonly referred to as "SEO," is no longer the same as it used to be. SEO makes up a big component of inbound marketing in the digital age. Rather than take out expensive advertising space on billboards, TV channels, magazines and other conventional forms of media, inbound marketing focuses on improving search engine hits, emphasizing social media content, and building a solid e-mail marketing campaign and an information website/blog. Today's SEO, when part of inbound strategy, is highly focused on attracting marketing qualified leads with higher odds of converting to customers by shaping web content to marketing personas. This is creates a more personal experience for site visitors than simply aiming at a target niche, and the high level use of marketing demographics to shape the content. SEO today is being mandated to deliver the highest quality user experience zeroing in on being helpful to those who have a genuine need or desire for the company's products.
While inbound marketing is a fairly recent phenomenon, those who would like to learn more about how it works should think of it as similar to online dating. Inbound marketing is all about knowing what you've got going for you, knowing what suitors want, and connecting with them. Yet the beauty of inbound marketing is that it's similar to an online dating experience. What would you do to attract an ideal suitor? You would likely do things to heighten your odds of finding just the right person – and avoid the things that would attract the wrong types or cause you to have to settle for whoever shows up out of desperation.
As marketers, we have to make decisions about how to accomplish several things in one campaign:
- Give the best user experience
- Delivering the right message in the right context
- Meet marketing and sales goals
With HubSpot, we have a lot of tools at our fingertips to accomplish all of these; smart content is the biggest tool in the marketer’s toolbox.
Why use it?
Smart content allows you to personalize the user experience far beyond just a simple personalization token (“Hi Joe!”) in an email or on a landing page. It can be built around country, device type (desktop, tablet, smart phone), referral source, or a specific list membership or lifecycle stage. This flexibility allows you, for example, to deliver a different experience to a prospect than you would a customer.
Email marketing is a fantastic way to reach prospective customers. However, just like any other means of advertising, it has its own nuanced challenges. Below we take a look at some of the most common email marketing obstacles and explain what can be done to overcome them.
Every time your website visitors stay on a page for longer than 15 seconds, click-through one hyperlinks, or (hot-diggetty-dog!) tap on a CTA, they're voting for you. They're saying, "I liked this and I want more." Each time they bounce off a page quickly, have zero click-throughs, or fail to follow up on a CTA tap, they're saying, "Um, no thanks. I'm not finding what I want here."
Do you have a regular business you frequent in your hometown? Perhaps it's a restaurant where the waitress knew your parents and now asks about your kids. Maybe it's a bakery or coffee shop where the person behind the counter has your favorite pastry or coffee drink on the countertop when you arrive at the register. These gestures are thoughtful and meaningful ways to say, "I see you, I know you, and I want to honor our relationship." Healthcare marketing requires that same level of attention to personal detail and, when you succeed, it will always give you the competitive edge.
The Good News: Research by Compass finds that the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) industry is growing three times faster than software as a whole - and IDC predicts that SaaS-based enterprise will generate revenues upwards of $50 billion dollars by the year 2018, almost doubling SaaS applications market revenues from 2013.
How many times do you check your Inbox, see a newsletter you've subscribed to and delete it before you ever take a peek? Right. So, you know exactly what you don't want email subscribers to do when they see your software marketing emails in their inbox.
Is your healthcare practice like a regular Johnny-on-the-Spot, happily finding and fixing anything that isn't in compliance? Or, are you more like ostriches, "pretty sure" things are up-to-par and dreading when you'll have to raise those heads from the sand to put your beaks - or noses - to the grindstone in time to meet upcoming compliance deadlines?
When it comes right down to it, the goal of SaaS marketing is the same as any other business marketing... leads. Your marketing team needs high-quality, sales-qualified leads to pass along to the sales team. However, as a SaaS company you do have a few unique oppotunities for marketing in addition to the standard methods.
In many ways SaaS marketing creates its own unique set of challenges that other B2B companies don't face. Debating whether or not to give your product away as a free trial to get someone to buy is not a decision you have to make if you're a commercial engineering firm or a large accounting firm. Marketing your SaaS product means you need to have a clear vision of your product and the need it fills as well as the type of sales model it falls under (self-service, transactional, or enterprise).
Inbound marketing certification from HubSpot has come a very long way since I first discovered HubSpot's Inbound University in 2009. Back then I was just getting familiar with the term inbound marketing and trying to understand how and why marketing online was so different from traditional offline marketing.
A few years ago when HubSpot rolled out the HubSpot Academy certifications, we recommended that one of our new clients go through the Inbound Marketing courses. Interestingly enough, the client came back to us and said that he found it so valuable that we should require everyone for whom we provide inbound marketing services to go through the certification process.
Getting more leads from your website sounds like a pretty simple and straightforward goal until you set out to do it. So why is it so difficult and how do you actually do it?
When you decided to add inbound marketing to your marketing mix, how did you determine what you would do first? Did you make a plan before you started, or did you just start checking off the boxes: blogging, social media, emailing, etc? It is really easy to become engrossed in the activities rather than making a plan first.
Have you ever stopped to consider that there are marketing activities you are doing right now that may be counterproductive to your goal of getting more leads for your sales team? Think that's not even a possibility?
Google has announced, effective April 21, 2015, that they will actively punish websites that are not optimized for mobile devices by not displaying them in search results for people using these devices.
How Can You Write for My Business?
When talking to prospective clients, something I hear frequently is, “We can’t have a blog! We don’t have time to write them and you can’t write for us, because my business is too complex. You just don’t understand it.”
The MedTech Marketing arena has evolved over the years and like so many other industries is facing the transition from offline, outbound marketing practices of the past to the online practices of the here-and-now.
Every generation is different, yet somehow the same as the last; that is as true in marketing as it is in other aspects of life. If you grew up as a Baby Boomer, you may be feeling out of touch with today’s Gen Y – but the good news is, you are not really that far apart.
We have all been in the position of being attracted to an item in a retail store. We pick it up … examine it … admire it … ask questions about it … then put it back on the shelf as the salesperson looks on in dismay. A perfect example of a lead to close ratio that is not working for the business owner.
For companies offering SaaS solutions, the mission is to make the complex simple.
Harnessing a variety of elements in different formats and places, you create cohesive hosted software solutions that your customers can depend on to simplify tasks and bring efficiency where it is missing without these solutions.
As a business owner, I get my fair share of cold calls. You could even say I'm a sucker for them. When they're done well, it interests me to hear the approaches and how people present themselves on the calls.
You already know how important qualified lead generation is: more sales leads means more customers, which means more revenue for your business. As a result of this simple tenet, many businesses are focusing their efforts on how to generate sales leads.
It is safe to say that the way you generate sales leads today is not the same way you did 20, or even 10, years ago. At least it shouldn’t be the same.
Why? The customer you once courted via “outbound” or interruption marketing – direct mail, broadcast, outdoor boards, Yellow Pages and cold calls – no longer is quick to respond to these fading media.
Social media is big. How big, exactly? As of January 2014, almost three out of every four Americans on the Internet use social networking sites. In the healthcare world, social media networks are especially important. Over 40% of consumers report that information they find on social media networks will have an impact on the way that they address their health.
With the growth of the healthcare in general, the position of healthcare manager is also poised to rise – up to 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether you manage a facility, the people in it or both, as a manager you are likely to be seen as the authority on growing the business, and that includes a strong focus on sales and marketing.
Just as the digital revolution has changed the way consumers purchase goods and services, it’s also changing the way people seek out healthcare information – including finding medical professionals.
If your practice is still tied to traditional (and fading) “outbound” marketing tactics, like direct mail, outdoor boards and Yellow Pages, you could be missing out on valuable new leads. Consider these findings from a 2014 healthcare marketing whitepaper published by Smith & Jones:
If you’re actively engaging inbound marketing then layering in content personalization should not be a big hurdle for you. Since the first step is identifying marketing personas, you already know the people you’re talking to and you’re already aiming your content to speak directly to them. That’s nice, right?
Personalized web content. No doubt you’ve experienced it. Most likely when you visit Amazon for the umpteenth time to purchase something on your Prime account. For instance, during my visit I might see what I previously searched for, in addition to suggestions for outdoor fitness products, bird toys, and dog treats. All of this is based on activity from my previous visits. In addition, I see suggestions for things I’ve never purchased but are based on my gender and, I’m sure, based on what they have inferred from items that I’ve searched for or previously purchased. The big question is - HOW do they do that? The bigger question is - How can YOU do it for visitors to your site?
If your website is built on the HubSpot CMS, you have the ability to do this type of personalized content right now. But, hold on… Don’t just rush out and start adding personalization to your web pages. If you don’t do it correctly it will have the opposite effect of the inbound marketing best practice of delighting website visitors and instead drive them away. There are steps that need to be taken before your website delivers the message “Hello Rebecca” on your homepage to welcome me when I visit.
Announced this week at Inbound 2014, HubSpot is revolutionizing sales in the same way they have revolutionized marketing by launching an integrated CRM tool. According to Brian Halligan, "We started HubSpot because we felt the way consumers shop and buy had fundamentally changed. The inbound movement has helped transform the world of marketing, and we really feel like there's a huge opportunity to transform the customer experience with sales technology that enables companies to sell more, better, and faster."
As a HubSpot Certified Gold Partner Agency, this is the week we look forward to every year - INBOUND in Boston. This year's conference was especially thrilling for us however as the winner of HubSpot COS Design Award for website design. Selection was based on having the highest score for COS designed websites based on three qualities: Creativity/Design, Content, User Experience.
It's no secret that I spend the majority of my waking hours with dogs - five of them to be exact. They help me out during the day by keeping me company while I work. They make sure I don't sit at my desk too long and remind me that "playtime" is just as important as “work time”. Occasionally, their antics actually inspire an article or two.
Below are five content marketing lessons that I've learned from them.