Friday, September 28, 2012

Industrial Internet Marketing 2012

Industrial Internet Marketing

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Industrial internet marketing has some fundamental differences when compared to traditional B2B or B2C internet marketing. Although there are similarities in strategies, there are significant adjustments that must be made in choosing tactics and the implementation of services.

A Typical Industrial Internet Marketing Process

Unless your company has been proactive and maintained a formal search engine marketing process, your company is probably just floating on the internet without competitive ranking, and not receiving the benefits online inquiries from new prospects. A traditional industrial internet marketing process is as primitive as “having a website” built with no real understanding of usability, sales or marketing, and then making an occasional text update or linking to a document of interest. This results in a chaotic site architecture that is void of real search engine optimization, difficult to navigate and severely lacking in generating leads.

The typical internet marketing process is reactionary in nature, and driven by people who do not understand the tremendous importance and value of mastering online ranking and serving users an information rich website that engages the curious mind or ready-to-buy prospect.

Industrial Internet Marketing 2012

Many business owners foolishly rely on a relative, friend, other business owners or freelancers to create their internet marketing strategy. And in reality, there is usually no strategy just a list of random ideas and suggestions. The people “working on the website” may know how to go through the motions of creation or implementation but they universally lack an understanding of how the pieces fit together, what is an appropriate quantity and volume of each, how to fine tune each component, and certainly how to measure results and make appropriate adjustments.

Your IT person is not your answer, and neither are the many one-size-fits-all advertising companies like ThomasNet, GlobalSpec, etc. A freelancer is almost certainly incapable of devoting the proper number of hours, having the required software and breadth of expertise that you need to reach a pinnacle of online success.

The best idea for internet marketing success is to hire an website marketing company that has a proven track record of success, a good understanding of the many tactics, methods and trends in internet marketing, and a verifiable infrastructure or personnel, computers, software and support services. One thing that is very important, and when applied will quickly shorten the list of potential service providers, is finding a company with people who have worked in an industrial environment. The experience gained from working in industrial sales and marketing provides unparalleled intelligence that enables a person to create a website and online experience that replicates the real-life buying process. If your internet marketing people can’t understand the industrial buying process they cannot effectively develop a relevant and effective industrial internet marketing plan unless you manage every step of the process.

Hiring an industrial internet marketing company with client-side experience will minimize your level of required participation and bring fresh, high-value ideas and input to the process.

Industrial Internet Marketing Essentials

Your industrial internet marketing needs evaluation must begin with a critical assessment of your website. It’s important for a business owner to disregard emotional ties to the existing website and be open minded to website revisions, or even complete website redesign and rebuild process. If your website was built by an IT person or done by a novice you almost certainly need a new website that is designed specifically for the industrial marketplace.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is absolutely essential if your website is to achieve competitive search engine ranking. Because search engine algorithms are becoming very complex the strategies of mass link building, overuse of keywords and other spammy practices will do more harm than good.

Off-page internet marketing essentials include creating or claiming website properties including Google+ Page, Facebook business page, LinkedIn business page, Twitter account, and as many local search citations as you can possibly acquire. All of these listings, accounts and pages need to be optimized and filled with factual company information that is consistent and void of marketing language.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Inbound Marketing 2012

Atlanta Inbound Marketing

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Inbound Marketing is THE way to go if your business wants to achieve top tier results and minimize, if not totally mitigate, and chances of algorithm based penalties. Oddly enough, even within our industry, there is a significant lag of interest from SEO companies and internet marketing companies. While this is a problem for them, it is a huge opportunity for well informed clients to make significant improvements to search engine rankings and online visibility.

If your SEO company or internet marketing company has not approached you with information on inbound marketing you may want to rethink who you have driving your online marketing and ranking.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

As discussed elsewhere on our blog, inbound marketing is a deliberate and brilliant method to merge the benfits of social media, SEO and content marketing. Inbound marketing engages clients early in the marketing cycle, which creates warmer leads. Additionally, inbound marketing has the long term benefit that comes from having a well developed brand image.

Your master inbound marketing strategy should include mini-plans for the three areas listed above. The next step is to compare the mini-plans and make adjustments for these elements to work together. As with any marketing intiative, it is important to maintain consistency in messaging, inform your potential customer of features and benefits, and become the source for what they want.

Inbound Marketing should help you to build a relationship with your (potential or existing) customer. Your inbound marketing strategy should serve the traditional sales funnel model that has been molded to fit modern marketing techniques. It may be easier to understand when you see inbound marketing infographics.

Social Media Mini-Plan

Your social media plan must include the key social media sites of Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The selection of other sites can be driven by your type of business with careful consideration of where your customers may be found. Sites such as Foursquare, Pinterest, CafeMom, Manta, and Meetup are worth considering. Sites that might otherwise be considered as Citation sites should not be overlooked for creating at least a profile page. Ideally you should have the same user name (brand name) on these sites and take advantage of every possible feature. Popular features include uploading custom profile images, adding more information into your profile, and then the all important job of getting connections (Likes, Circles, Retweets, etc.)

SEO Mini-Plan

Your SEO plan should be carefully planned with due consideration of Google Webmaster Guidelines and all credible information on best practices for algorithms. Your mini-plan can be divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO tasks.

On-Page SEO should begin with checks within Google Webmaster Tools to identify search engine identified problemns such as broken links, duplicate content, crawl errors, etc. Next you can do a page-by-page check for code and content improvement opportunities. A check of each page using the W3C Validator Tool will identify code issues, many of which are quick and easy corrections. Other easy corrections are making certain that your page titles are 70 characters or less, page descriptions are accurate and not spammy, keywords tags (if used) are no more than 8-10 words, alt tags and title attributes are used for usability and not spammy wording, and that header tags are properly used. Using Google Analytics is absolutely essential.

Off-Page SEO should begin with a check for inbound links, and a sincere effort to remove any links from unsavory sites. If there are broken inbound links you may be able to save the link by creating a 301 redirect to an appropriate page. Any new link building that you do should be the result of judicious selection and paced implementation. Under no circumstances should you use paid link services (this is different than paying an internet marketing firm to acquire quality links for you). Some of the best off-page SEO is managed under your content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Mini-Plan

Content marketing is an umbrella term which covers a myriad of tactics. Content marketing can include video creation and publishing, quality articles posted on blogs, internet press releases, downloadable whitepapers, and even community activities. Content that is crafted for sharing (infographics, etc.) is exceptionally productive. The key objective is to get people to see your company name and have your brand develop a reputation as being the choice for smart people, trustworthy and providing value.

Inbound Marketing, done by professionals, delivers exceptional results and is something that every internet marketing company or in-house marketing team needs to learn and put into practice.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Atlanta Website Design

Atlanta Website Design Companies

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Website design is perceived by many business owners to be something as trite as office supplies. In failing to recognize that an effective website design is produced by a serious minded team of internet marketing professionals a business owner settles upon the cheapest price when selecting a web designer. Let’s face it, “good work ain’t cheap, and cheap work ain’t good”.

When you think about investing in a website, you’re actually investing in your business. Having a website is one thing, having a website people use is yet another. A common mistake made by business owners is hiring a freelance person (who is usually interested in only a little side money) to do their website. The freelancer very rarely has real world business experience, an understanding of website usability, or any real desire to do anything beyond “build it and get paid”.

A true internet marketing firm will create a website that engages users, and is designed to make things happen. Before the first bit of coding begins it is important to understand the client’s needs and objectives, their customers, and then design and develop a website that works well with this framework . . . and then make sure it is a search engine friendly and well optimized website. Freelancers simply can’t provide an appropriate level of technical and business expertise.

The Plain and Simple Truth

With a $20.00 dollar book, a cheap template, and a weekend or two, most anyone can “build a website”. You can equate this to any crash course on how to do anything – even if you have done it quite a few times you still are not a professional. And regarding outsourcing, can people from a country with no running water really build you a website that well represents your company in the USA?

If you want to simply “check off that you have a website” go ahead and hire someone from Craigslist. If you want to get more customers, and make more sales, you need to hire a REAL web design and development company. Hiring a company with vast experience, a dedicated team of professionals, and a proven track record of success is your best assurance of enjoying online success for your business.

Finding A Good Web Design Company

No matter where you live you can easily access a very skilled and competent web design company. It certainly makes sense to find one as close as possible to where your business is located. Searching for a nearby major city is a good way to find a better selection of web design companies. For instance, a company in Chattanooga may want to look one hour south and hire a company that advertises for web design atlanta but works with clients in a wider area. The most important thing is to find a reliable and professional web design company. A good website design can explain their process which normally starts with Discovery and a wire frame design which progresses to a design (aesthetic) mock-up and moving on to coding of the actual pages. Any web designer that simply seeks to buy a template and add your pictures and your text is not doing a very good job.

Further considerations for choosing your website design company should include thinking about post-launch services to promote your website. If your “web designer” does not have the ability to provide timely website revisions, SEO services, PPC management, social media marketing, and similar services you can expect frustration from a lack of success. Finding a full service internet marketing or inbound marketing company is your best option to move your company forward online.