The Key to Inbound Marketing

The term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2006 by the founders of Hubspot, Inc., Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, as “marketing strategies and practices that pulled prospective customers toward a business and its products through the use of Web 2.0 tools and applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media.”

The biggest obstacle in the marketing world today is simply getting people’s attention. With apps like Spotify and Netflix, people are now paying to watch TV or listen to music, without the interruption of ads. That’s what outbound marketing is to some extent, an interruption. Outbound marketing such as TV commercials, internet advertisements, and so on, are used to interrupt people’s lives to promote a product or service. Inbound marketing such as blogs, websites, and social media networks, doesn’t interrupt anyone, but actually attracts customers to you and your business, improving your search engine optimization and visits to your company’s website.

So how do you use inbound marketing to attract people to your company? Here are the steps to engaging your market using inbound marketing…

Identify your Audience

You probably already feel like you have a pretty good understanding of who your audience is, however inbound marketing is extremely dependent on you providing the right content for your audience. So making sure you have a detailed and complete understanding of who your audience is is extremely important in successfully using inbound marketing.

Take a walk around the office, ask a couple other employees who they think your audience is, or maybe one demographic the audience has. Soon you will have a list of demographics important in figuring out what content to put out, and where for your inbound marketing strategy.

Figure out What Channels your Audience Uses

Inbound marketing channels can include anything from social media networks, to search engines, blogs, and websites. What’s a better way to find out what channels your audience uses than to search for the channels and find them yourself! Here’s an example, if you own a trendy, modern restaurant, go on google and search “foodie” and dive into the blogs, websites, Instagram accounts, and so on that come up. Next, visit Instagram or Facebook themselves and search for foodie accounts, or find trending hashtags that have to do with food and search by the hashtag. The best way to succeed in inbound marketing is to engage in it yourself, as if you were your own customer.

P.S. Keep a list of all the words you used in your search so you know which words to optimize yourself to improve your website and/or blog’s SEO.

Identify What Your Audience Wants to See

This could include problems they have, hobbies they’re interested in, questions they have about the industry, news related to the industry your company is in, and so on. This will help you determine what content you should be posting to attract their attention. Remember, inbound marketing is all about bringing the customers to you, not the other way around. This is the time to be extremely subtle and not over-promote your company. Your content will do the promoting for you.

Last but not least, create your content!! Make sure you change it up consistently and post on all of the topics your customers are concerned with. Have a good group of diverse people to work together to deliver one message, across multiple channels, with engaging and exciting content. The people creating this content need to maintain a consistent tone and give your company a personality your customers can relate to and enjoy seeing.

5 Habits of Successful Business Owners

Business owners are constantly confronting new challenges and taking on new responsibilities every day. With that being said, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and stick to a healthy life routine. Here are 5 habits of successful business owners…

Get up Early

This can be a tough adjustment, but getting up early and starting each day off right will drastically improve the effectiveness of the work you do. This does not mean getting up early to do work necessarily, but getting up and eating a good breakfast, or even meditating; whatever works best for you.

Having time in the morning for yourself to improve your mindset for the day and building this into your daily routine will reduce your stress and allow you to feel put together and prepared for any challenges you may be faced with throughout the day.

Recognize Value

Business owners need to recognize the value in everything they do. There are hundreds of responsibilities business owners need to perform every day. This mean not only being able to recognize which responsibilities are more important or urgent, but also recognizing the value in every responsibility.

Recognizing value allows business owners to put effort and consideration into everything they do, therefore improving the overall performance of their business.

Master Communication

Knowing how to communicate with not only your employees, but all other stakeholders as well, is essential in providing an effective work environment. Mastering communication is done through constantly communicating with people, including your stakeholders. Consistently communicating each day with your employees and stakeholders will allow you to improve your communication, as well as improve your relationships and the trust between you and your stakeholders.

Constantly Learn

Business owners need to be open to learning in order to constantly improve their business, as well as teach and challenge their employees. This involves having an open mindset and not allowing the pride of running your own business to diminish the desire to learn and improve. Business owners can constantly learn by collaborating with other businesses in the same industry, reading industry news, and so on.

Work-Life Balance

Although business owners are constantly working, they also need to make time for their life responsibilities as well. The only way a business owner can be happy running their business is if they make time for the important things in their life aside from work. This could even mean meeting up with friends or family for lunch during the week, or setting aside time to go to a movie. Having a schedule and sticking to it, for the most part, is essential in maintaining a work-life balance.

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5 Habits of Successful Marketers

Marketers play one of the most important roles in operating a successful business today. In recent years, marketing has changed tremendously from tv, radio, and print advertising, to online marketing using websites, social media, and blogging. With this change, the habits successful marketers should be performing has changed slightly as well. Here are the 5 habits of successful marketers today…

Stay updated on industry news

Successful marketers always need to be up-to-date on industry news. Industry news is not only important in terms of keeping marketers up-to-date, but the industry audience as well. Customers love hearing about news in industries that they’re interested in, and hearing about it from your company will make your marketing team look like the experts.

Keeping track of the industry news updates in a document is also extremely beneficial to your marketing team. This allows your marketing team to better evaluate the current industry audience as well as how the industry has changed over the years and how that impacts your marketing tactics today.

Examine changes in industry audience

Industry audiences change all the time. There are always groups of consumers leaving one market to move to another. Successful marketers need to stay on top of these changes to ensure they are marketing to the right people.

One way to do this is looking into your company’s social media followers, who is giving you likes on your posts, who is commenting, and so on. Even collaborating with the sales team on what demographic they are finding the most success with can help tremendously.

Read more about the effectiveness of sales team and marketing team collaboration here!

Consistently update social media skills

Social media sites, especially Instagram, is constantly updating their software and adding more and more capabilities to their story features, image carousels, and so on. These recent updates have been found to be extremely helpful to businesses trying to grow their social media following. Many companies for example have started publishing story highlight reels with “products,” “customer reviews,” “reposts,” and so on.

This allows first-timers on the company’s social media to look back at tons of content your company has published with easy access to exactly what type of content they desire. Marketers need to constantly stay up-to-date with these social media updates in order to utilize the networks as effectively as possible.

Never stop creating content

Successful marketers are always creating content, even if it means they do not publish it all. Creating content every day and having it saved in your files allows you to constantly develop your marketing skills as well as always have backup content to publish when needed. Even if it just means writing down a little thought or idea, those little ideas could be turned into big ideas later on.

Develop your marketing voice

Having a marketing voice that your audience is familiar with and can connect with is extremely important in making a connection with your customers. However, as the industry audience changes, so should your marketing voice. Consistently developing and altering your marketing voice slightly as your audience changes will allow your marketing to develop with the market. The key here is to not change your marketing voice too much however; you always want your audience to be familiar with the voice you project and not scare them off with drastic changes.

How to: Align your Marketing and Sales Teams

Your company’s sales and marketing teams are separate and have separate responsibilities and objectives, however in order to be successful, they must be aligned with each other. The main responsibility of the marketing team is to determine your company’s target market and attract that target market to your company through promotional materials. The main responsibility of the sales team is to take those attracted by the marketing team and turn them into customers, or, in other words, finalize their purchases.

“Researchers have found that sales and marketing team alignment results in 32% annual revenue growth.”


Forrester Research

There are three main steps to aligning your sales and marketing teams…

Align Goals and Objectives

The first is aligning the goals and objectives of both the sales team and the marketing team. For example, if the goal is to increase the conversion rate of prospective customers to actual customers, the marketing team will improve the specification of their target market consumers and sales will improve their tactics for selling to consumers to increase their sales stats (ie. sales/day). With both teams aimed at accomplishing the same goal, they will both improve their functions simultaneously and therefore accomplish the goals faster and more effectively.

Communicate Consistently

Communication between the marketing and sales team is essential in any company. With the same goals in mind, both teams need to be aware of the progress each team has made and what that means in terms of the other team’s next steps or reaction. For example, if the marketing team has started promoting the product towards a slightly different market segment, the sales team needs to be aware because they need to alter how they sell the product to the customers. For example, if the marketing team decides to market towards a slightly younger demographic, the sales team would need to alter the type of language they use when speaking with customers and accent on qualities of the product that appeal to the younger demographic.

Collaboration is KEY

Lastly, collaboration is of the utmost importance when aligning the marketing and sales teams in your company. Seeing as both teams are aimed at accomplishing the same goal, the marketing team can be an extremely effective resource for new ideas or tactics for the sales team, and vice versa. Collaboration between teams will not only allow for improved strategy and innovation of ideas, but will also improve the alignment of each team’s individual strategies. Both of these teams are extremely familiar with the market segment they are marketing and selling to as well as their universal goals in marketing and selling to them. This allows both teams to be knowledgeable enough to develop innovative ideas for both teams and improve the overall effectiveness of both teams’ strategies.
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What do you Really Know About Branding?

When we think of a brand, the first thing we think of is the brand’s name. But what’s the second thing, third thing, and fourth thing you think of? That’s all part of their branding too! Let’s take Progressive Insurance for instance. One of the first things you think of is the salesperson, Flo, who’s featured in all of their commercials. When you think about LuluLemon, you might think about the reusable logo bags everyone receives after their purchase. Flo from Progressive and LuluLemon’s logo bags are all part of their branding and allow the company to distinguish itself from their competitors.


“Branding is the strategy by which companies differentiate themselves from their competitors. A company’s branding is the unique qualities customers associate with a company.”

Here are some examples of different types of branding companies use…

  • Brand name
  • Logo
  • Retail store design/layout
  • Customer service
  • Business processes/in-store operations
  • Universal product features
  • Market material (campaigns)

The Flying Tiger Copenhagen does an excellent job of branding their company with the design and layout of their retail stores. Unlike most stores which have high shelves above eye level and varying types of product displays, Flying Tiger has an industrial set up in-store with universal display of their products on stands only at and below eye level. This allows customers to experience an open store layout and also directs customers on a maze around all of their products until they loop back around to the register.

This swim brand packages their bathing suits in Chinese food boxes to make it even more enjoyable and exciting when customers receive their products in the mail. They even include a handwritten note from the company to make customers feel even more appreciated and loved by the company. The provides a unique, memorable experience for customers that they will now look forward to each time they order a product from the company.

Hopefully you found some inspiration in the examples of companies that are successfully branding themselves to their customer base, but branding has to be different for every company, seeing as the goal is to differentiate your business. It can be very difficult to come up with a unique strategy for branding your company but it can first be helpful to make a list of words and phrases your company associates with. Once the list is made, brainstorm ways in which you could relay that word or statement to customers and out of that list, you can develop new strategies for branding your company. Branding is a never-ending process. The most successful companies continuously work to improve and develop their branding techniques to consistently impress and excite customers.

If you need help with your company’s branding, give us a call today or visit the products page on our website, maxexpousa.com!

SEO: The Recipe to Getting your Restaurant Noticed

If we think back to the last time we searched Google looking for a restaurant, I think we could probably all agree it sounded something like, “restaurants near me..”. No matter where you are located, Google is going to find you at least 50+ restaurants that apply to your search. I’m sure you know by now, no one ever scrolls to the 50th restaurant that pops up. So how do you get your restaurant to the top of that list?

There’s three aspects your restaurant needs to value in improving your company’s SEO…

1) Customer Reviews and Review Site Profiles

2) Company Website

3) Social Media Engagement

Customer reviews and claiming review site profiles is essential in improving your company’s SEO. The more reviews your company has online on sites like Google, Yelp, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor, the higher Google is going to rank your restaurant, and therefore the more people will see your company’s profile.

“92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 84% base their buying decision based on positive reviews.”

Customer Reviews and Claiming Review Site Profiles

It can be difficult to increase the amount of customer reviews your restaurant is receiving, the key to doing so is utilizing your business. What I mean by that is, offer your customers a free coffee or small dessert after their meal if they rate your restaurant online! Customers love free things so they’ll be encouraged to rate you even higher than if they rated you without any incentive! This will greatly increase the amount of customer reviews your company is receiving, bumping up your company on Google search results!

P.S. — Another important thing to keep in mind! 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to customer reviews! If you need assistance in responding to customer reviews online, click here to check out our MaxExposure Review Response product!

Company Website

The company website is also essential in improving your restaurant’s SEO! Speaking as a consumer, the three most frustrating things I experience when using a restaurant’s website is not being able to access the full menu, online reservation scheduling that doesn’t work, and when incorrect hours listed.

Keeping your website up-to-date is essential in not only improving your SEO, but increasing the amount of click throughs your website receives when it does show up on a consumer’s search. Having a PDF version of your menu linked to your company website is a great functionality for consumers as they can print off your menu and have it easily accessible on their computer! Online reservation scheduling is not necessary and the times available are hardly ever correct seeing as reservations are constantly changing throughout the day. Customers are willing to call if they want to make a reservation and you’d rather they schedule over a call with you rather than not schedule at all because of incorrect availability online.

Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is also extremely important in improving and managing your restaurant’s SEO. Not only can this help get the word out more about your restaurant, but it can even provide content for you to publish to your restaurant’s social media accounts as well as your restaurant’s Google profile. Social media engagement is like free marketing for your company. Every time someone tags your restaurant’s location or social media account in their post, they are marketing your restaurant to every single one of their followers, which can be thousands of people.

Making sure to like and comment on posts that your restaurant has been tagged in, or reposting a customer’s image on your company’s social media is a great way to not only market your restaurant, but show your customer that you care about their experience. The more your restaurant is mentioned on social media, the more online engagement your restaurant will receive, and the better your restaurant’s SEO.

If your restaurant could use some help with its social media engagement and postings, click here to check out our MaxExposure social media products!
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New Marketing Trend: Experiential Retail

Although we all tend to think that retail shopping is soon to disappear entirely, our newest consumer generation, Gen Z, begs to differ. Generation Zers, also known as the “Post-Millennial” generation, still love taking trips to the mall or the nearest outlets. They look at retail shopping as an opportunity for an experience. Millennials and Baby Boomers view retail shopping as a hassle or inefficient as compared to online shopping, leading us to believe brick-and-mortar will soon become obsolete.

So how do we take full advantage of this new change in shopping trends Generation Z is bringing? How do we maximize the amount of customers we can get off their laptops, and into our retail stores? The answer is simple. They want an experience, then that’s what we have to give them. Experiential retail.

No matter what type of company you are operating or who your target market is, there is always opportunity to create an experience when customers visit your business. Let’s say you operate a kids hairdressing salon, you can give your customers an experience by offering fun hairstyles after the haircut. Maybe even offer a little something for the parents as well such as sample packets of hair products or refreshments. If you own a restaurant, offer free bread or free small dessert samples to your customers. This will give them something to remember you for, and something to look forward to next time. It’s all about making their in-store experience more enjoyable and more fun. If they wanted simple, easy, and to-the-point, they’d be ordering online.

The key to experiential retail is giving the customer something they cannot get when they order online.

The issue of decreased retail shopping over the years has frustrated many businesses and has even forced some to close their doors and sell solely online. This is nothing to be frustrated about. Consumers are more informed in their decision-making than ever before. They are looking up product ingredients before making a purchase, and searching various sites or stores to find the best deal on a product before deciding where to buy it. This is something to admire and take full advantage of. Why should a customer come to your store if the only difference between that and ordering online is the efficiency?

We need to rethink the way we do retail and the goal we wish to accomplish through our retail. Retail used to simply be about maximizing sales and getting more customers to leave with your products. Now it’s all about the before, during, and after of the sale. How does your company present the product to the consumer? What do you offer the customer while they’re shopping to keep them engaged in the experience? How does your company show their appreciation for the customer as they’re leaving?

I’m not meaning to say you have to give customers something to incentivize them to visit your retail business, this can be done through customer service as well. If you offer them exceptional customer service and professional expertise on the product or service, they will make improved purchasing decisions as opposed to if they purchased alone online, and they will therefore visit your store. Building on and further improving your retail experience for customers will not only increase your retail sales, but your customer loyalty, brand differentiation, and overall customer satisfaction as well.

If you are looking to improve your retail business’ marketing, click here to check out our MaxExposure products!

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Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of 2019

This year over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl in the United States on February 3rd. With cable TV users lessening every month and turning to online streaming instead, the Super Bowl is extremely important in successfully and effectively utilizing cable TV advertisements. The cost of a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl is approximately $5.25 million. We were impressed by some of the Super Bowl advertisements we saw this year.

When watching the advertisements this year I found there were two types of advertisements; the ones whose ads revolved almost entirely around the actual product, and the ones whose ads had nothing to do with the product at all. I’ve found the ads that had nothing to do with the product, no matter how entertaining, are not effective in promoting the product or the company as viewers do not remember what the ad was for. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at my Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of 2019…

Bublé v. Bubly Commercial

Bubly’s commercial opens with Michael Bublé picking up one of their drinks and saying “mmm I love Bublé.” A woman tries to correct him when a store clerk, Dave, approaches and Bublé mispronounces his name as well. The ad ends with Bublé scratching out the y in Bubly on the bottles and changing it to his pronunciation of the brand name. This ad is extremely successful in both entertaining the viewers and grabbing their attention, as well as ensuring viewers remember what product or brand the commercial was for.

Microsoft Adaptive Controller Ad

Microsoft had one of the more inspirational advertisements during the Super Bowl, focusing on their new Adaptive Controller for the Xbox One which was designed for gamers with disabilities. The ad features several kids with disabilities showing them playing with the traditional Xbox controllers and then showing them playing with the adaptive controller. This ad captures the audience’s attention as it is an extremely inspirational advertisement surrounding an issue which affects millions of people, while also featuring and marketing their product.

Michelob Ultra — Zoe Kravitz

The ad opens with loud and fast footage through forests and cliffs and then slows in on Zoe Kravitz who draws in viewers with her vivid whisper. Throughout the ad she taps her fingers on the beer, drags the beer across the table, and pours the beer with the sounds of each heightened to encourage viewers to continue to be intrigued. This ad draws viewers in with the whisper and Zoe Kravitz, and then attracts all of the attention to the actual product they are promoting, the beer.

Andy Warhol Eating Burger King

Burger King’s ad was very simplified as compared to others during the Super Bowl, featuring a short clip of pop art innovator, Andy Warhol, eating a Burger King burger. The artist himself attracts viewers’ attention, which is then brought to the burger he is eating, and eventually, the Burger King logo. It makes you notice the ad, want the food, and therefore, want to go to Burger King.

More than OK — Pepsi Commercial

The ad opens with a woman ordering a Coke at a restaurant, and the waiter responds “We don’t have Coke, is Pepsi ok?” This is a phrase you hear quite often when you’re ordering a certain soda that the restaurant doesn’t have available. “Is this ok?” Pepsi puts a spin on it by including Steve Carrell who gets up and makes a big deal about Pepsi being more than ok. Although some people do order Coke over Pepsi, they didn’t focus on that side of it but instead brought it up and turned it around to be lighthearted. After mentioning the Pepsi brand name multiple times throughout the commercial, viewers are left to think about that advertisement and the joy they felt in watching it every time they’re asked “is Pepsi ok?,” instead of feeling upset that they can’t have a Coke.

Why Businesses Fail

The Small Business Association states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 50% during the first five years, and 66% during the first ten years. So why do these businesses fail? Why is it that even if they make it past the first couple years, the odds of them failing goes up even more? The way consumers purchase products and the way companies market those products to consumers has changed dramatically over the last couple years. This means that every step in a businesses’ process, from marketing the product, to manufacturing the product, and finally to delivering the products to the customer and ensuring their satisfaction, has become increasingly important to that businesses’ success. In considering today’s market and consumer marketability, we have established the top 3 reasons why businesses fail today…

Not Adapting to Change

The most important reason why businesses are failing today is because they are not adapting to changes in the industry, economy, or consumers. New companies are emerging every day and in every industry, and today more than ever before, these new businesses have almost equal opportunity of surviving, if not better opportunity, than companies that have been around for years. Customer loyalty has dropped dramatically as customers are more informed about which product or brand is actually better than the other. Customers in previous years, such as Generation X, simply chose the brands they were most familiar with and stuck with that, causing businesses to depend on customer loyalty. With Millennials and Generation Zers, customers are actually turning their products over and looking at the ingredients, looking up brand ethicality, and so on.

Businesses are failing because they are not adapting to these changes. Utilizing new technologies to quicken business processes, using social media marketing rather than traditional advertisements, and constantly improving and maintaining brand image is only a couple of the ways businesses need to be adapting to these recent changes.

Poor Management

The second most common reason businesses fail is because of poor management. This does not just mean from an upper-level stance, but lower-level management as well. Ensuring that everyone involved in your business, both externally and internally, knows your business inside and out is extremely important in ensuring management is aligned throughout the company. This includes knowing what the business stands for, the goals of the business, and the reason your business was created. Many companies do this by telling everyone who begins working for the business, the history of how the business began and why, as well as accenting on the importance of abiding by the company norms. This allows every individual inside and outside of the company, to be aware of how they should be operating, and how people under them should be operating as well, leading to improved management overall.

Unsustainable Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantages are becoming extremely difficult to maintain today as more and more businesses are entering the market, with increased chance of success. A business can no longer rely on one competitive advantage, such as a successful product, to maintain their business’ success. Companies with sustainable competitive advantages are not only consistently ensuring their product is the best on the market, but ensuring their brand is constantly improving their processes ethically and financially. This ensures that even if a new product comes out on the market, it is in direct competition with your own product as you’ve been consistently innovating and improving it. This also ensures that if a new company comes out that is ethically attractive and financially stable, you have also maintained your brand’s image and effectively improved your processes as well.

The key to ensuring your business does not fail is to constantly act like it is a brand new business. No matter how long your business has been around, whether it’s 5 years or 35 years, if you treat your business like you just started it up yesterday, you’ll be constantly working to improve it and therefore never fall behind your competition. This is evolved around your own motivation to be the best in the business and the perseverance you have, and your employees have, in consistently and effectively improving your business.

If your business could use some improving, click here to check out our MaxExposure products on our website today!

Top 3 Apps for Small Businesses

With all the new and emerging technologies and applications today, starting up and maintaining businesses has become much easier to manage. There are now applications used for various functions from organizing business tasks, to keeping track of paychecks, and even to measuring and reporting a company’s current success and status. Below are three of the best applications for your small business or organization!

Evernote

Evernote is a downloadable software, or mobile application, which contains note taking, organizing, and archiving capabilities. Evernote allows for small businesses to maintain fluidity and organization throughout the business by giving visibility into projects, work flows, and deadlines across various employees in the business. This allows business people to work better and more efficiently together by ensuring everyone in the company, or in a specific department of the company, has up-to-date information.

Zoom

Zoom video conferencing is another software application which greatly improves business management and functions for small to medium-sized businesses. Zoom allows for HD video conferencing with simultaneous screen sharing and white-boarding aimed to greatly improve group collaboration long distance. If a business partner or employee is traveling or out-of-state for a conference, networking, and so on, they are still able to easily collaborate and communicate with their fellow employees, allowing business to maintain speed in business projects.

Square

Square is another application that has greatly improved business efficiency, as well as the customer experience. Square allows for online payments to be made right from a smartphone, removing the need for cash registers and computer systems at the checkout. The application also allows businesses to manage inventory, customer directories, and digital receipts. You can also send invoices to customers, save cards on file, use Square to sell online off of your company’s website, and it even works with no signal so there are no disruptions or inconveniences!

These applications allow for business management to be made easy, improving your business efficiency and success, and overall customer satisfaction as well. Utilizing these apps, along with the various social media applications to market and manage your business will allow your business to continuously expand and improve every year.
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