Category: Inbound Marketing

Information about inbound marketing

What Should I Blog About?

“What should I blog about?” is one of the most common questions we hear from people doing their own digital marketing.

Blogging should be simple, yet people often do too much research to find the right topic. The worst thing you can do if you have an existing audience is to write a blog post for yourself and not for them. The blog is not for you, it is directed to inform your target audience about your main idea. If you follow these components you will be well on your way to creating an engaging blog.

Start with your current customers

First and foremost, always know that your current customers are the ones who are already familiar with your business or brand. Even if they are familiar with your brand, there are still things they will ask you about. Write those questions down, and answer them in a blog.

Not only will this keep them in the loop, but it will also give your potential customers a taste of the knowledge and expertise you give to your clients.

Think about potential customers

Odds are when you’re doing sales, you get a lot of the same questions from potential customers. They’re usually about cost, or the product or service you are offering. Answering these in a blog post can cut down on your time, and it can weed out the customers that aren’t a good fit. Stay away from broad topics and get specific. Always be honest and write like a human, not a robot.

Your experiences

As a brand, you want to tell the current and potential customers about your customer service. Storytelling goes a long way, and engaging the audience on the projects and experiences that you’ve encountered will help them envision themselves being one of your customers or remaining one.

Your competitors

Don’t worry, looking at your competition’s blogs or websites is not cheating. It’s a useful way to gather information about them. Staying up to date with the competitors in your area can help your business and tackle the important topics that need to be written about. Find something that you can provide a different take on, or something that you can explain in a more simple way, and do so.

Google your topic

Always make sure to research different ideas that you have. Having about three options will help you in creating an engaging blog. Google a couple of topics and then narrow it down based on the information you’ve come up with. What would spark your customers interest the most?

The Importance of Brand Personality on Social Media

personality in social media

When it comes to social media, small businesses can have a leg up on larger business for many reasons. A large company can have a harder time creating and managing their brand across multiple employees and departments, including their social media presence and personality. If you’re the owner of a small business, your brand personality probably overlaps with your actual personality. When this is the case, smaller business are able to make their social media account more personable, as long as they are ready to share their personalities in their content. Here are ways small businesses can share their personality on social media:

1. Tell a story

We all know you have plenty of them. If they are funny, informational, lessons learned or anything else someone else is probably, most likely, thinking or going through the same thing you went through. Help them out! Give pointers, tell them things you wish you knew! Put your story to use!

2. Ask questions

When speaking to someone on social media or within comments, ask questions! Find out what they are really thinking. By doing this you are allowed to get to the root of the problem. This is important when trying to make a human connection. Now when you do this in blog post it allows them to take a minute and think to themselves. Who knows you may be the one giving them inspiration. What do you think? Let us know!

3. Share your passion

Life is all about finding your interests and passions. If you don’t have either interest or passion in something you will not find enjoyment or passion in sharing it. This is a huge point because if your not passionate about something what means you sharing it is any what important. When you believe in someone and share it, it shows that you have passion and shows that you believe that it is important.

4. Write like you talk

Writing content for social media is not like writing a paper in high school or college. Spice it up! It is more fun for you and the reader to write like someone is talking to them. Write with the same spice or enthusiasm as if you were telling this story to a friend. Take a conversational approach to your writing it is just as freeing as it is effecting. Write as if you were speaking directly with a prospect or customer 1 on 1.

5. Show yourself or your people

If you’re a small business owner, odds are that the people following you on social media have also been acquainted with you in real life. Show your face through photos and videos so they can connect with you online the same way they do in person.


We have given you some pointers now go share your personality on social media! Let people hear you talking, teach your readers something your business is passionate about, paint a picture in their head, and give them inspiration and knowledge. Share your experiences, your passions, your why’s, and everything in between. Be you!


Why Marketing and Sales Should Team Up

Overall, a business works towards the same goal and every part of the business should work in unison. A while back, we published a blog on how to build communication between sales and marketing and here are some of the reasons why marketing and sales should team up.

Better marketing

Being one team leads to better marketing. Sales knows first hand what people are asking and are concerned about. This information should be passed on to marketing so they can provide the answers before they even become questions or concerns. The buyer is researching the company on the internet and social media, and with that communication bridge the customer will be able to find exactly what they are looking for.

Easier Sales

With marketing addressing all the questions and concerns that you’re constantly answering in emails and phone calls, that leads to easier sales. Let your marketing team provide answers to prospects before the prospect even picks up the phone. Marketing also knows what is popular within their website, blogs, social media post, ect. which should be passed to sales.

Buyer Personas

Marketing knows what the business wants and aims for but sales knows what the business attracts and sells to. With both teams sitting down and working on buyer personas or ideal customer profile together it will increase the accuracy of what the company’s buyer personas really are.

Sales, Sales, Sales

All of the little things with these two teams working together really will add up and you will see the change. The superior results is the main reason your company should want marketing and sales to work together.

The company should drive the quote of “one team, one vision” to the whole company because that mindset will open doors to creating more leads and more conversations. It will take some reorganization for this to become and routine and ultimately work. But in the long run the work is worth it.

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What You Learn Going From Writing for College to Writing for Marketing

Writing for marketing

In third grade, I thought that if I wrote a story it would end up in every elementary school library. But it wasn’t. Luckily, I had a special teacher fulfill a little part of my dream. She went out and had it printed on a hard copy and put it in my school library. To this day, I owe my passion for writing to her.

Fast forward to today. What you’re taught you in school is how you should always write? FALSE. I am on the verge of creating a petition for colleges to teach writing for marketing, like how to write social media posts and how to write a blog post, and other things I am actually going to use in my future. Most people know college writing, if you don’t then you know high school writing. All in all they’re the same. College writing:

  • •Introduction
  1. •Thesis
  • •Body Paragraph 1
  • •Body Paragraph 2
  • •Body Paragraph 3
  • •Other Viewpoint
  • •Conclusion

Basically that’s how it goes… but you need stretch it out to 12 pages.

Now, blogs can be a similar structure, but not too similar in writing style. When writing for marketing, people want hear your voice (and in my opinion, that’s the most important part). But there are different ways to write a blog, some of my favorite are:

This type of blog post is all in the title. The how-to blog post is a blog post that tells readers, well, how to do something. First thing first, you need to deiced something to write about and or tell your readers what to do.  Now write down the steps you believe are necessary for this topic. Once you have your how-to skeleton give it life! Write out your blog. Provide helpful information to your audience. Write out the points and fill in the bubbles. You can provide detailed information but still be to the point. Visualize it, make it eye catching and have fun!

You need to pick a compelling topic that goes along with something you can make a list for. Similar to the how-to post this will also have to have a skeleton built first. The outlining process is where you build up your lists. Now tell a story!

This is also known as the entertaining post. This post’s primary intention is to entertain. This kind of blog post is most free blog there is because you can write about almost anything with no type of outline. This type of content is mostly humorous content but sometimes can be informational. Make the post effective beyond its simple entertainment value.

This biggest difference between writing for marketing and writing for college is that you don’t need to fill up pages. In fact, it’s best that you make it really simple and easy for the reader to understand. You don’t need to fill it up with big words and repeat yourself to fill up space. Getting your point across in as few words as possible is recommended.

If you’re just out of school, this should be exciting. No more term papers, time to really enjoy writing!

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What This College Student Loved About the HubSpot Inbound Certification

hubspot inbound certification

As college student, I regularly sit through four hour lectures. I take classes online and on campus, write lots of papers and participate in discussion boards, often just for the sake of getting the credit. So starting courses for the HubSpot Inbound Certification, I’m not gonna lie, I was thinking to myself ‘jeez how long is this gonna take’ *eye roll*. But by the end of the training I realized that everything I just learned from this marketing software company were things I have never touched on at my university. I finished the HubSpot inbound training and these are few things that really stood out to me.

It’s engaging

One of the great things about these training courses is that they are videos of someone speaking. I know what you might be thinking, “Someone speaking on camera… and I’m supposed to stay attentive?” While the person is speaking, slides are posted on the screen with notes and numbers and pictures. Even with this seemingly boring format, they do a great job with keeping you interested.They throw out surprising statistics that you didn’t know or they simply provide material that you really want to learn.

There are plenty of resources

They also provide you with resources you might find helpful like blogs related to the topic. If you’re a note taker like me, they give you the slides first hand to take note on for the exam at the end of the training. They also give you a study guide! Take advantage of that because the exams are not easy! But by the end of this training, once you pass the exam, you’ll want to hang up your certification certificate on the nearest fridge!

I’ve never learned this stuff

My major is Business Studies and I have a minor in Marketing. The courses I take at my university are centered around the basic knowledge of business and a little sprinkle into marketing. But HubSpot dives into inbound marketing, blogging, social media and so much more that I haven’t had the opportunity to learn in depth. I am excited and eager to learn more at HubSpot Academy.

HubSpot and Ecommerce with WooCommerce and Revenue Conduit

HubSpot and Ecommerce with WooCommerce and Revenue Conduit

Yes, HubSpot and Ecommerce do go together. And Revenue Conduit will get you there.

To be completely honest, when I think of HubSpot users, the ones that come to mind are mainly B2B and big ticket B2C companies. Since nurturing is such a big part of the inbound methodology, quick buys on ecommerce websites never really struck me as fitting into the category of being a great fit for HubSpot.

Then a potential client approached us and told us they were looking for a way to increase their online sales. The product was clothing, underwear to be exact, and something that really intrigued us. So we started doing some research.

A big part of why this company was so enticing for us was that they were selling on Amazon, and their Amazon sales were taking off. In the past few months, their sales on Amazon have come to account for 90% of their business. Exciting? Yes. But also scary. They knew the market was there but wanted more control over their marketing and sales. They wanted more traffic to their website so they could steer their own ship.

They were using Woocommerce and were happy with how it was working. So we started looking at how it could integrate with HubSpot. It turns out there are technically two ways Woocommerce can integrate with HubSpot. Although that’s only technically. Because the first thing we tried really didn’t do anything valuable for us.


Don’t get me wrong, Zapier is a fantastic tool for many things. It’s a great way to frankenstein tools together to come up with your own marketing machine. We use it for my non-profit because we have more time than money and it gets the job done. It will take contacts from our forms to our Mailchimp account and into our CRM. Send an email to whoever needs to know about it. The possibilities are endless. But for this application, I don’t think it should even be advertised as an integration.

There is no way to get the data you need when you link Woocommerce to Zapier to HubSpot. Every new customer comes in as direct traffic, and they all come from Ashburn, Virginia. We didn’t even try to sync up more fields other than the name and email because we knew we would miss out on the info we needed if we went this route.

Woocommerce Zapier HubSpot

The only solution I could think of was a two step check out. The customer could fill out their email first on a HubSpot form before they get to the cart. That way, we would have the their original source and pages visited before they got to the Woocommerce checkout form. We found our ultimate solution before we tried this. But if you’ve done it this way, let me know how it turned out.

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HubSpot and Ecommerce with Revenue Conduit

I admit we were being cheap at first. We thought we could create our own solution and didn’t want to pay for something else on top of HubSpot. But we didn’t do enough research about Revenue Conduit to even know what it was capable of. We are learning now that it is so worth the $100/month.

This is a robust tool, but I’ll try to break it down by just what it imports when you sign up. I plan on doing more posts about this as we dive deeper into Revenue Conduit.


Revenue Conduit automatically imports a ton of customer property fields when you sync it up. You have your obvious ones like First Order Date and Total Value of Orders, to Products Bought and Abandoned Cart Products. All the data you need is there for you to create some pretty specific smart lists and segment your marketing effectively. I’ve already created a list of shoppers with boys and one of shoppers with girls so I can target the right products to the right people.
Revenue Conduit Fields


The smart lists that have been populated into my account during these first few weeks will be extremely useful. I already have lists of new customers, repeat buyers and best customers. We’ve saved so much time as these have all populated without us having to do much of anything.
Revenue Conduit Lists


OK, workflows can be scary for me. Just because my head starts to hurt when I think about how they work and what they do. But when I dive deep, it’s pretty addicting. Revenue Conduit automatically imports almost 20 workflows when it’s hooked up. They have workflows that are internal, which set fields like Order Recency Rating and Order Frequency Rating, and also ones that are set up around marketing emails for your customers. This month we will focus on getting the New Customer Welcome & Get a 2nd Order workflow up and running, and then continue doing more throughout our contract.
revenue conduit workflows

Historical Data

As our 14 day trial was ending, all our client’s historical customer data was imported. This means we have the values that were spent, order frequency, and even products purchased from all of their customers over the past 2 years inside HubSpot and at our disposal. Our client was told their customer info was being imported into Mailchimp, but Revenue Conduit found way more contacts than what we had access to initially. Since this client has their highest conversion rates from email marketing, having all these historical contacts will be huge.
Revenue Conduit Historical Data

Coupon Code Generation

Another big reason we started using Revenue Conduit was their dynamic coupon code generation feature. Our client had a coupon that was displayed on a pop-up after someone signed up for updates. The problem was that people were using the code over and over, and they could only change it once a quarter or so. With dynamic coupon codes, we can keep track of who has coupons, who has used coupons, and when they expire. And we don’t have to worry about them being passed around in a forum.
revenue conduit coupon code

Bottom Line

Don’t write off using an inbound marketing software like HubSpot because you’re an ecommerce company. The “Delight” part of the inbound methodology is much bigger than the “Convert” part in this type of setup, but the results are still just as powerful. We just synced up our client’s data and are already so excited about the things we can do with all the information. This solution is perfect for a growing ecommerce company that wants to put out marketing that matches the quality of the big guys.

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Results After 12 Months of Using HubSpot

Results after 12 Months of Using HubSpot

We renewed our annual contract with HubSpot. It’s been 12 months since we started using HubSpot and I liked to share our results thus far.


We hit our traffic goal of 600 visits during month 9, and as we had hoped for, the vast majority of our traffic has been organic. In March of 2015 we had 232 organic visits. In March of 2016 we had 795 organic visits. That is a growth of almost 350%. We are very happy about this.
After 12 Month Traffic Growth using HubSpot at Schall Creative


Our monthly contact goals was 15 new contacts. In February of 2016 we generated 13 new contacts. Unfortunately February is shy a few calendar days but I’m confident we’ll reach this goal in the near future.
After 12 Month Contacts Growth using HubSpot
Out of the 101 contacts, 65 were organic search, 27 were direct traffic and the rest were referrals, social media and email marketing efforts.
After 12 Month Contacts Rate Growth of using HubSpot


We brought on our second HubSpot Inbound account on month 12. As our sales pipeline continues to grow, the conversation of agency growth is showing up once again.

How Did We Achieve This

The best results came after we started to truly understand what persona was right for our agency. This became more and more apparent to us as time went on.

The biggest change for us during this process has been our network. Before starting using HubSpot we did a lot of face to face networking. By bringing our focus to our own marketing, we started to do a lot less networking. This resulted in a big shift in the types of prospects that were coming in to meet with us.

Our most successful campaigns were hyper focused

We had the opportunity to speak at an event for a very specific vertical. We decided to turn our talk into an offer as well. We followed up with everyone at the event via email and gave them the opportunity to download our free eBook. Out of 106 attendees that were sent the email, 47 opened it and 16 converted into leads. This strategy was a complete success.

We also created a blog topic for this list that shared the outcome of a project we did for a very similar organization. Inside this blog was our own UX research, which gave these contacts real insight around a problem they are most likely having. Basically, we researched their audience for them and gave them the results. Not only did we get great results from this post, but it was really fun to create as well.

Where Are We Going to Make Improvements

The struggle we’re facing is keeping up with our own marketing efforts now. I personally have dedicated most of my time with sales activities rather than marketing activities. We simply need to make the time to share information that brings value to our audience. It’s easy to just write about a topic that’s already out there. But the real time and energy comes when you are creating something that will make an impact–and the reward comes then, too.

Actions do speak louder then words. The commitment to gathering data, researching and writing is what has showed us growth. Mark your calendar and just do it. As I type this, I’m really telling myself this.

Internal Improvements

Since we’re a small hands-on agency we really need to optimize our time in order to hit our goals. When projects start coming in, the team gets hyped up, ideas and inspirations start flowing and the next thing you know, the project goes live. In the meantime, what happens to those leads that are coming in? Have they been attended properly and have they been qualified? Unfortunately, when we’re wrapped up in a project, the ball sometimes stops rolling. This is something we’ll need to solve as clients come on board and we’ll need to have a game plan set in place. The solution to this is managing our team efficiently.

We’re excited to see what we’ve accomplished after 12 months. Inbound marketing does take time and money. And yes, there were many frustrating moments but at the end of the day, using HubSpot for inbound marketing works. Now we know that it’s a perfect fit for how we’d like to do business, and with our experience we can help new clients get results quicker.


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9 Inbound Stats That Will Make You Wonder Why You Haven’t Started Yet

9 inbound stats

As time goes by, more and more companies of all sizes are implementing an inbound marketing strategy. They’ve researched inbound stats like these, created their plan of attack, and embarked on a complete change in the way they get the word out about their businesses. Change isn’t easy, but sometimes the cost of inaction is greater than the effort needed to make that change. Inbound marketing is one of those changes that businesses are finding to be worth it. Here are 9 inbound marketing statistics that will make you wonder why you haven’t started implementing inbound marketing yet.

  1. Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound, regardless of size and type of business. source
  2. 68% of online buyers will spend considerable time reading content published by a brand they are interested in. source
  3. Marketers who check their metrics are 3x+ more likely to achieve positive ROI. source
  4. Companies that blog generate 67% more leaders per month than those that don’t. source
  5. 8 out of 10 people identify themselves as blog readers. source
  6. Inbound leads cost 61% lower than outbound leads. source
  7. 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement. source
  8. 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have left a website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising. source
  9. 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. source

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How to Get Inbound Marketing Buy-In

inbound marketing buy-in

As marketing director, you’ve done your research. You are certain that inbound is the best way to market your company going forward. But even after you’ve had conversations, presentations, and even built excitement amongst your colleagues, you’re still spending your time creating magazine ads and laying out proposals. Why is inbound marketing buy-in so hard to accomplish? From my own experience, here are a few reasons I’ve seen.

Ugh, change.

First and foremost, change is hard. Doing something new requires vulnerability. You need to be a novice at something before you can be advanced, and being a novice kind of sucks. A company will put off a change as long as they can. And they can put it off until the alternative to change becomes the worse option.

Fear of Transparency

Inbound marketing is transparent. It means a brand will need to be constantly communicating with their audience. There is a lot of fear centered around showing too much, or saying the wrong thing, and getting a negative reaction.

A lot of businesses are afraid to show themselves wholeheartedly.

What happens if someone leaves a negative comment? What if we didn’t do enough research before posting something? What if we get negative reviews? What if they hate the real us?

Complete accountability

With a complete inbound marketing strategy, you have solid results that are clear as day. You can see what is working and what’s not, and that could mean waving the white flag on a campaign you’ve worked really hard on. If it’s not working, you have the evidence to let it go, but that means admitting it didn’t work the way you had expected it to.

Lack of Resources

When you start with inbound marketing, positions may change, or you may need to hire different types of employees to fill the needs of the strategy. This means a lot of leg work for the company that they may not be too thrilled about.

So how do you get past all this?

Understand your company.

To make a decision like this, you really need to have a handle on your company’s financials. You need to know how they’ve brought in sales in the past. What has worked, what hasn’t worked, and why. You also need to know what your company’s goals are, and most importantly, why they’ve set those goals. This takes a solid amount of trust from your company’s leaders, but it’s a necessity for anyone who is in charge of marketing, no matter their strategy.

Do your homework.

Learn as much as you can about inbound and how it works. There are tons of resources that give solid statistics about inbound. Go further and read case studies and find out how an organization earned their success.

Don’t got it alone.

If you can find an inbound agency that you trust, don’t be afraid to collaborate with them. Get your leaders in a room for a workshop with the inbound agency. The agency will be seen as an outsider and marketing expert, and could get some points across that you haven’t been able to (even though you’ve been telling them for months).

Don’t just tell them, show them.

If you have the resources, run a small scale inbound campaign and track your results. Something as simple as an email marketing campaign with tracked results can really paint a picture for what is possible. Numbers don’t lie. Show them what it would look like if the results you got from your small scale campaign were the same for every marketing action your company takes.

Research your competitors.

Download a browser extension called Ghostery, and see who is already doing inbound among your competitors. Look for applications like HubSpot, Pardot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo. If there are others, research them to gain insight on the tactics they are using. Beating out competitors can be the ultimate motivator.

Let them realize it – don’t drill it into them.

Don’t become a broken record. If you find yourself repeating your inbound pitch over and over, you need to find another way. Ask questions, uncover their goals and their struggles, and lead them to inbound as the answer.

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Traditional Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: Old Way vs. New Way

Traditional Marketing vs Inbound Marketing

There are lots of statistics that show Inbound Marketing as more effective and a better investment than traditional marketing. Still, a lot of businesses have a hard time changing their ways. I get it, change is hard. But this change is so worth it. Let’s take a look at the difference between the old way of marketing (traditional marketing), vs. the new way (inbound marketing).

Old Way: Cold Calling

For salespeople, this is one of the most significant changes they’ll see when their company jumps into inbound marketing. In the past, marketing has been in charge of branding and messaging, and not gathering leads. The sales person would do their own prospecting, based on company size, location, industry, and position. And it would be up to them to figure out how to make contact. Cold calling, of course, is a popular way to do that. As buyers continue to trust salespeople less and less, cold calling works less often than it once did. So sales people have to get used to lots of rejection.

New Way: Following up with leads

As an inbound marketing strategy picks up steam, a salesperson will have more leads to follow up with and to nurture, and less prospecting and cold calling to do. As your content grows, and your brand becomes a recognizable thought leader, more qualified leads will seek you out. Not only will the sales team receive leads with contact info, but they also have information as to what type of content the lead is interested in. When you do contact prospects cold, it will be easier to make contact since they may have already heard of you and respect your brand.

Old way: Free consulting to close the sale

Some sales cycles can be really long. It usually depends on the price tag associated with the sale, and the amount of education needed to close. Sales people often have to take on the role of educator once their prospect becomes a lead. This not only means teaching the lead about your product, but also showing them how they can apply it—which becomes free consulting.

New way: Free content to close the sale

As a salesperson, I want to be doing less educating and more selling. There is nothing wrong with giving people information, but if it takes up valuable time it can become a detriment. When implementing an inbound marketing campaign, you can compile a list of topics that you find yourself educating leads about, and have your marketing team turn them into online content. A prospect has a question about something? Well wouldn’t you know it, we just published a blog post about the exact subject. Write up your answer in an email and let them know they can explore it more at this link. Now, they get their answer, and more, as they poke around and check out all your other content. And you can collect data, and see which topics they are most interested in without them even telling you. Magic.

Old Way: Blanket an area with direct mail

Direct mail used to be a great way to get the word out about your company or product, until everyone started doing it and the term “junk mail” was born. Direct mail can still work, but along with other forms of traditional marketing, it is becoming less effective over time.

New Way: Target your audience with social ads

Social Media has bloomed into an incredible way to reach your target persona. Facebook ads allow you to target people based on their interests and their activity, rather than just their age and income level. You’re no longer guessing, “Well, they are high income earners, so they might ski! Let’s send them this direct mail piece we spent a bunch of money on and pray that we’re right!” Now, you can target someone who has voluntarily listed skiing as one of their interests. And that’s just the basics of social ads, it gets a lot more in depth (and borderline creepy) than that.

Old Way: Guess what your sales will be

The old way of marketing is very hard to measure, especially for small businesses. There is no such thing as an engagement rate for a billboard. The company that places your billboard might tell you it gets x amount of views every day, and you will have no idea if that’s true. The ROI for most traditional methods of marketing and advertising is almost impossible to measure. If you can’t measure any data you can’t project your sales based on your efforts.

New Way: Project sales based on data

Now that your inbound strategy is showing you solid results and you can equate your marketing efforts to your sales, you’ll be able to forecast what’s to come more effectively. Statistics like Cost per Customer Acquisition and Leads to Sales Ratios will become your best friends. No more stress wondering where your company will be 6 months from now. As long as you put the work in, you know where you’ll be.

Old Way: Trade Shows and Networking events

Face to face networking is great. Put in a few hours every week at an event in your area, come away with some business cards and maybe even some meetings booked. Closing rates are high, but you can only meet so many people. Every event takes a lot of energy, and if you have no follow up, there’s no way of building on what you’ve already put in to grow your results. Sure you can collect email addresses, but a lot of attendees won’t give theirs up (because they don’t want spam). Every time you break down a trade show booth, you’re back at where you started.

New Way: Linkedin Groups and Webinars

Meeting and connecting with people online give you an ongoing line of communication with them. Want to join my free webinar? Give us your email to register. Start a Linkedin or Facebook group and you have an easy way to send a message and start a conversation. The content you post or talk about will help you earn their trust, so they won’t run away (like they do at a trade show when you make eye contact with them).

Old Way: Looking at marketing as arts & crafts.

In the past, sales and marketing were two different worlds. Sales was data driven and focused on closing, while marketing was creating images and messaging that enticed their target audience. Sales looked at marketing as something that wasn’t completely necessary as long as the sales team was solid. And marketing didn’t have an data to prove them wrong.

New Way: Looking at marketing as an extension of your sales team.

Now, sales and marketing work together to get a lead and close a sale. Sales relies on marketing for key information on a lead that helps them shorten their sales cycle and close more sales. Marketing relies on sales for key information about what their prospects and leads are struggling with, so they can create great content. One needs the other in order to succeed.

As traditional marketing continues to become less and less effective, inbound marketing becomes more and more crucial for business growth, and even survival.

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How to Build Communication Between Sales and Marketing

sales and marketing

In order for a content marketing team to create great content, they need to understand the problems prospects are having.
If marketing does not have access to the problems that the sales department deals with from day to day, they are going to be coming up with topics out of thin air. That’s how you end up with content that sits in a sea of sameness, and doesn’t really connect with your audience.
Your prospects, leads and customers are unique. Their problems are unique. And they are the best source for creating unique content. Unique content is the key to success in content marketing. Therefore, your prospects, leads, and customers are the key to success in content marketing. Your marketing team needs access to the information your sales team deals with on a daily basis. They need to communicate.
Having access to marketing information also helps out the sales team immensely. Having content for leads to consume, and knowing which content they have consumed, means the sales team can do less educating and more selling.
You need to set up a system to harbor communication between sales and marketing. The alignment between these two departments is known as “smarketing,” and it is imperative for content marketing success. Here are some ideas that can help.

Have sales and marketing meet on a regular basis.

Make sure there is a time and place for marketing and sales to meet every week to go over the sales funnel. They can brainstorm ways to move a prospect down the funnel, or think about how they are going to close a deal based on the content they’ve consumed. Sales can also discuss the conversations they have with leads, so marketing can learn about their problems and come up with the right content that can help solve those problems.

Make sure they are working in close quarters.

They don’t have to be on top of each other, but it makes sense to have their work days intertwined. This will help encourage relationships between the departments and make it easier for them to communicate when they need to. It’s hard to learn about a salesperson’s prospects when they work from home all week long. It can be done, but if you have them in close proximity of each other it will help.

Use tools that encourage communication, that both departments have access to.

Simple tools like Slack can open up communication between sales and marketing. It’s also a good idea to make sure the CRM the sales team uses can link up with the marketing software the marketing team uses. HubSpot’s marketing platform and CRM allow leads to seamlessly travel from one to the other, so there’s no chance of dropping the ball.

Make sure they understand why this is so important.

This shouldn’t be too hard once the engine is humming. When there’s a big sales win, have a recap of what made this a success. What was the buyer’s journey like from start to finish? When sales and marketing work well together, you should be able to see where each department had a big part in converting the customer.
There needs to be more than just a hand off between marketing and sales when it comes to a lead. With the right communication systems in place, these two departments can help each other through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Don’t Take It Personal– Why Email Unsubscribes Are a Good Thing


What’s the first thing you do when someone unsubscribes from your email list?
Do you curse? Wonder what went wrong? Blame them for being a big ole meanie? Well, you really shouldn’t let it get to you. Don’t go sulking around the office because of a little bit of contact turnover—unsubscribes are a good thing.

Not everyone is into your content

And that’s OK. In fact, it’s better that way. The more diverse your email list, the harder it is to understand what they consider valuable. When you understand that your target persona is unique, you’ll realize that those people that unsubscribe just don’t fit into that mold. You simply can’t please everyone.

Unsubscribes boost your conversion rates

Why would you want someone on your list if they never open your emails? They are just dead weight keeping you from hitting your goals. Instead of trying to keep people on your list, focus on reaching new contacts that actually open your emails and click on links to take their place.

They keep you on your toes

Unsubscribes give you the challenge you need to create really great content. If your content gets stale, having your contacts jump ship might give you the motivation to pay more attention and get back on your game.
If your contact churn is getting out of control, don’t hesitate to do some research to figure out why. Send out a survey to your contacts and ask them what they like and don’t like about their content. Give them the opportunity to let you know what challenges they are facing and what type of content they would like to receive in their inbox.
Be honest and helpful with everything you post and understand that the web and your audience will change at a rapid rate. And most importantly, don’t cry over your unsubscribes.

Inbound Marketing Checklist

10 Tips for Writing Snappy Headlines

snappy headlines

Web Pages With Purpose: How to Create Stellar Non-Profit Landing Pages

non-profit landing pages

With the online tools available today, non-profits have a lot at their fingertips that can help them create the perfect campaign. Using email marketing, social media, and blog content, there are so many ways to get your message out there and to encourage your audience to act.

Landing pages are an integral piece of every online campaign. The landing page is where the magic happens. It’s where a visitor becomes a contact, and/or a contact becomes a donor. Here are some ways to make sure your non-profit landing pages are successful every time.

1. Focus on one main goal

A landing page should be free from anything distracting the user from the one main goal. Get rid of your menu items or any links that could lead them astray.

2. Make an impact

Have a catchy headline and compelling images that make the user want to stick around. Make sure they know where they are, but don’t be afraid to try something new and different.

3. Have everything in one place

The story, information about where the money will go, and the call to action should all be on the page so the user doesn’t have to jump around at all during their journey. If you can collect payment on the same page, that’s great. But if you have to go to an external secure page, make sure it’s as simple as possible.

4. Take out anything unnecessary

Keep all the copy short and sweet. Use bullet points or small paragraphs. Visitors on average will read 20% of the copy on any giving web page, so make yours easy to skim. When revising your copy, continue to ask yourself, “Does this really need to be here?”

5. Have a clear call to action

Your call to action should tell your user what to do next. Don’t ever assume they know the next step. Use a color that stands out and make the copy time-based.

6. Test your messaging

Try some A/B testing for your copy and your images. This kind of testing can go a long way in understanding your target personas going forward.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

Marketing Skills and Tools to Help You Pull off Doing it Yourself

Marketing Skills

If you own a small business that doesn’t have the budget to outsource your marketing or hire someone to do it, you have to do it yourself. No questions asked. You won’t survive without it. Not having a marketing budget is not an excuse for not doing any marketing.

You’re going to have to put a good amount of effort in if you’re competing with companies that have marketing teams. And if you’re competing with companies that do it themselves just like you, well these marketing skills will help you stand out from the crowd.

Basic HTML

Ok, don’t freak out. Code is not as hard as you think it is. Everyone can learn to code, if they put some time in. Even if you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, there are times when you need to take a look at the code and understand what you’re looking at. The theme you’re using might have limitations, or there could simply be a bug you need to fix.

You don’t really need to know how to code a webpage from scratch, but you should be able to pick out a header tag, an image, and a link when you look in the code view of your site. Other things that are helpful would be knowing how to add paragraphs and breaks so you can make sure your content is formatted in a way that’s easy to read. As I am posting this blog, I’m writing everything in the code view of my WordPress post to ensure that everything comes out exactly the way I want it to. And I am not a programmer.

There are some great resources such as w3 schools , and Codecademy for beginners and advanced coders.

An understanding of SEO

Search Engine Optimization is an absolute necessity in this day and age. There is no such thing as an offline business any more. Just because you don’t get business from your website right now doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for your services on the web. They are. Depending on how savvy your competition is, a little SEO knowledge can go a long way. Moz has a fantastic eBook called The Beginner’s Guide to SEO that you should check out. If you’re using WordPress, there are a few SEO plugins that can help you get started in practicing SEO. The one we recommend most is called Yoast.

Graphic Design Knowledge

You don’t have to be an artist, but if you are creating marketing pieces and you don’t have the budget to hire a designer, an understanding of how graphic design works will take you far. When it comes to printing you should understand that images should have enough DPI so they don’t come out fuzzy. Also, knowing the difference between a vector file and an image file will make your printer love you. Something as simple as sending over the right file type can save you and your printer time and money. Extra brownie points for understanding the difference between a PMS color, CMYK and RGB. (Honestly, if I was your printer I would send you actual brownies for being my favorite client)

When it comes to designing for the web, a key thing to understand would be which file type to use. There are many different types of raster graphics, and some are better in places than others. Also, understand file size and weight so your images don’t take forever to load.

If you are dead set on creating custom graphics yourself, you really should invest in Adobe Creative Cloud. You can purchase the programs you need for a monthly fee instead of paying for the entire software up front. If you want to look professional, it is so worth it.

For for something a little more plug and play, try Canva. You can create everything from a Facebook header photo to a full blown presentation, and it is so easy to use.

Writing Skills

If you’re worried about spelling and grammar, check out grammarly. It’s a free app that corrects your writing, but it’s like your regular spellcheck on steroids.

To better the the voice and tone of your writing, read and write as much as you can. I find, the more you read engaging content, the better writer you become. If you have someone who can give you feedback on your writing before it’s published, that is always helpful.


To influence potential customers to buy your product or service, you need to have a basic understanding of consumer behavior. There are so many great books on this subject that can really change your thinking on marketing and even the selling process.

Inbound Marketing 101

Inbound marketing is taking over when it comes to marketing strategy. It’s less about buying the right ad space and more about creating the right content. HubSpot has so many great resources for anyone to dive into this world. They also have a free Inbound Certification that I highly recommend. Getting started on your Inbound Marketing strategy now will keep you ahead of your competition. If they are already doing inbound, then you have some catching up to do.

Marketing is a huge part of building a business, and it takes a lot of time and energy to bring results.

My advice? Read, study and read some more. If there’s one thing I know about small owning a small business, it’s that you have to know a lot of stuff. Download eBooks, read articles, connect with other business owners and learn from them.

The good news is that after you’ve put all the time in, you’ll have an understanding of what it takes to get it done when you are able to delegate these tasks. This will make you a better leader if you’re hiring someone in house, or will help you choose the perfect marketing partner if you’re outsourcing.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

If You Had to Stop Networking Tomorrow, Would Your Business Survive?

stop networking

In a small business centric area like New Hampshire, face to face networking is a big part of starting a business. There are plenty of opportunities for anyone to get involved, attend events, and join networking groups. When we moved to NH from California and planted our roots for our digital agency, face to face networking gave us the boost we needed.
We jumped right in and joined the Chamber and a BNI chapter. We met some amazing folks, made great connections and lasting friendships. We still think of networking as a big part of how we’ve grown, but we found there is a downside.
Face to face networking is hard to scale and hard to predict. To scale your referrals you need to spend more time networking, or hire more people to help you network–and you still won’t know what kind of results you’ll get. It’s hard to predict what kind of opportunities you’ll get with face to face networking, because it depends on who is in the room. Networking can bring in great results, but if you rely on networking to bring in the bulk of your business, it can be risky.

What would happen if tomorrow you got sick, injured, or simply burnt out and had to stop networking for a while? Would your business survive? Or would those referrals simply stop because your physical presence wasn’t there to receive them?

Earlier this year, I got burnt out from too much networking. Naturally an introvert, it took a lot of energy for me to be out in front of people for hours every week. I had lost my oomph and I needed a change. And it was scary.
Thankfully, we had started an inbound marketing strategy for our agency, and had built a marketing funnel through our online presence. With blog posts, calls to action, landing pages, email marketing, and a system to back it all up, we had leads coming in that had found us on their own. I could make changes to our strategy, try different things and put in the effort we needed to keep our sales up, all during normal business hours.

Hitting our Target

With our new strategy we have more control over the types of leads we have coming in. When you network with a group, the referrals you receive are usually the people and businesses that your group members already know. So if you are looking for businesses that are outside of their network, it gets really difficult.

Inbound Marketing Persona Example
Now, we tailor our messages to the types of personas we know will benefit from our services. We focus on the type of persona that we are looking for, and create their buyer’s journey with content. The leads we have coming in through our inbound marketing strategy are people we would have never met through networking, simply because they aren’t within the circles we formerly networked with.

Perfecting our Formula

Traffic, Leads and Sales Funnel
At the start of each month, we take a look at our efforts and the results from the month prior. The three main categories we look at are traffic, leads, and sales. The more we blog, the more traffic we tend to get. As the quality of our content increases, so will the quality of our leads. And the more we improve our inbound sales process, the more sales we close. By looking at solid numbers, we have more control over how we perform.
We use to say things like, “Oh, well everyone is on vacation this month so that’s probably why our sales are down.” Now we say, “We need to focus on taking better advantage of our traffic by improving our Calls to Action.” or “Let’s write more blogs this month and see how that changes things.”
With our inbound strategy, leads and sales is less of a guessing game, and we know that the amount of effort and thought we put into our strategy will directly correlate to the outcome.

Networking is Still Important

Still Networking
Of course we haven’t given up on networking completely. We still get some of our best leads through our networks, but we no longer rely on it for the majority of our business.
We’ve taken control of our marketing funnel and turned it into something scalable, and we’re so happy we did.



25 Tactics Great Websites Use

Viral Nonprofit Marketing: 4 Types of Examples

nonprofit viral marketing

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014 raised $115 million. This is the kind of success every nonprofit wants. If you don’t remember what the challenge was about, here’s a video you might enjoy.

The most important part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, was that it made people aware of the ALS Association, and the disease they were collecting donations for, amyotropic lateral sclerosis.

For any nonprofit that wants the kind of attention that ALS received, the biggest struggle is coming up with a viral nonprofit marketing campaign. Once that’s accomplished, its a matter of utilizing video to promote it.

There’s different messages for videos that an organization could utilize to: kick off a fundraising campaign, thank participants, create awareness of problem, or to inform viewers what your organization is all about. The most important thing about these videos is that they are unique to the nonprofit, are honest, and aren’t forced.


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is what you would call an interactive campaign. It enables participants to create their own content promoting the campaign, and also the non profit.

Popular Culture

An organization might use popular culture in their campaign to leverage what their audience is already familiar with to draw attention to their message. A great example is when the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock created a video of their patients lip syncing to Katy Perry’s Roar.
Another great example is when the Salvation Army used #TheDress to draw attention to a campaign to #StopAbuseAgainstWomen.


Infographic Campaigns

You’ve probably seen those infographics that present information in a fun way. Those work for nonprofits too. Infographic videos are great for sharing facts about an issue, or about an organization in general. There are many people who simply can’t absorb a message unless it’s laid out visually.
Charity Water does a great job illustrating facts and figures as well as telling a story in this campaign.



What grabs people the most are stories. Viewers will remember what emotionally moves them. And these videos make the situations tangible. Save the children accomplished just that in their viral campaign.

Viral campaign planning isn’t easy, particularly if that’s what you’re aiming for. Your best bet is find something that resonates with your cause and organization. Talk to the people your organization supports to find a story, or an idea. You never know where the next big hit could come from.
Here’s an example of a Thank You video that then kicks off a new campaign. Charity: Water does a great job at inspiring action.

Ignoring high production costs, people will buy into your organization if what you’re sharing is honest, unique, and not forced.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

What are GIFs? A Medium of Communication

what are gifs

GIFs (which stands for Graphics Interchange Format) have become a major way to communicate. Twitter announced in June of 2014 that GIFs are now supported by their social network. What are GIFs? Although they are just now starting to pick up steam, GIFs have been used on the internet for years.

Tumblr, a microblogging site popular with teens and young adults, rules the social media arena in GIF usage. Other sites like Facebook and Twitter have been playing catch-up to Tumblr, but since employing the usage of GIFs, have seen quite the success. But why are they popular all of a sudden?
People see GIFs as an easy way to respond. Twitter has a 140 character limit. Why finagle your response when it can be said in one image? The saying goes that pictures speak 1,000 words. GIFs speak volumes because they’re that line between still images and videos.
GIFs aren’t just used by teens and young adults. Major brands are joining them.



GIFs have evolved into more than just flames or waving flags. They’ve become a complete art form. Even the NY Times have written about its sudden prevalence in social media by a growing number of brands, not just consumers.
Use GIFs to show off a new product, or use it to promote science, or film, or art. But be careful about your usage. Don’t just use GIFs to use them. Make sure they’re relevant to what you’re posting. Like this elephant waving goodbye. See you next time!

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

5 Social Media Hacks to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder

social media hacks

Being on social media is all about working smarter, not harder. I’ve written about different tools for analytics, hashtags, and posting tools. Let’s look at 5 social media hacks to make your job even easier.


Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 2.29.36 PM
If This Then That is an app based on recipes to make your life easier. These recipes are connections between apps. For example, I use a recipe that will check the weather app each morning and tell me to bring a jacket. Talk about having a great personal assistant right in your pocket!
There are two kinds of recipes, IF and DO. IF recipes will connect apps like: IF I posted an image to Instagram, THEN save the images to Dropbox. See? IF _________, THEN ________. DO recipes are  even cooler.
Have HUE lights that you want to turn down? There’s a DO recipe for that. These recipes are more direct. With the touch of a button, it’ll do what the recipe says and dim your lights from your phone.
They have plenty of social media related recipes to make your life easier, so don’t just use IFTTT for changing your lights from the couch. Explore and create your own recipes!


2. Grammarly

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 2.30.09 PM
If you write blogs or any kind of online content in a browser, you don’t usually have access to a grammar check. Most browsers these days will check for spelling errors, but grammar isn’t part of that package. Grammarly has your back.
Grammarly is a free browser extension for Chrome and Safari will check for 150 different types of errors. If Grammarly finds errors in your writing, it will flag them and make suggestions for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.


Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 2.30.46 PM
Ever want to create a beautiful graphic, but you’re not a graphic designer, or don’t have one in your organization? Never fear, here’s a way to get you started with the basics!
Canva is easy to learn, and provides you with templates for whatever type of graphic you’ll need to make. Need a new Facebook cover photo? Don’t worry, Canva has a template that even includes where your profile picture is.
There are plenty of free elements to Canva, including fonts, backgrounds, images, and templates. And there are some paid pieces too – but they are $1. You don’t even have to use the paid items unless you really want to. Its easy to find the free objects, or import your own for your nonprofit or small business.

4. TED Talks

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 2.31.35 PM
Ever need inspiration? Or maybe you want a video on a specific topic? TED Talks are the best source for great videos about a wide variety of subjects. They make great pieces to share and engage with your audience.
My favorite is “The danger of a single story,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Some of the videos are long, but often times, they’re worth the watch. And there’s a few quick stories that are excellent conversation starters.

5. Personality

Social media is all about relationships and interaction with people. Don’t focus on promoting your product, or your company all the time. Its okay to use social media to express your company’s culture and personality. You’ll have a more genuine image.
Share that beautiful sunset photo from last night, or the office pet napping under your desk. People want to know that your organization is run by humans, not robots.
Life hacks are here to make your life easier. And these are some easy ways to help with your productivity and inspiration. Sit back and get hacking.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

You Need a Social Media Content Calendar. Here’s Why.

social media content calendar

Remember those analytics tools I wrote about? Hopefully you have some statistics from your social media networks that have pointed at some posts that have performed well. Based on those numbers, now is a great time to create a social media content calendar if you haven’t already.

Not sure you need a social media content calendar? Here’s a few reasons as to why they are the most useful tool to your social media strategy.

1. You’ll know what needs to be posted

You don’t need to post every day of the week, but say there are days you want to post but don’t always have the time? Social media is about working smarter, not harder.
It’s Monday morning, and you need to post on your social media accounts for your organization. But what do you post? If you have a calendar, all you need to do is check out what’s on the schedule and get to posting.
If you have an upcoming event, this gives you an easy way to have reminder tweets scheduled in the days or weeks leading up to the event. And then the thank you posts scheduled for after everything is finished.

2. Going on vacation?

If you’re stepping out of the office for a few days (and don’t want to post on the road) your coworker can pick up the slack. By having a social media calendar, this gives your colleague a guideline to your social media. They can check the calendar you’ve set up and easily make their own post.

3. Hashtag Days

Every day of the week there’s a hashtag or two that people post to. Mondays are #musicmonday or #motivationmonday. Thursdays are #tbt or #throwbackthursday.
Daily hashtags are a great way to help structure your calendar if you post a lot on Instagram or Twitter.
Pick two or three hashtags for the week, and use those as a base structure. Maybe every week you’ll post to: music Monday (#musicmonday), women crush Wednesday (#wcw), and Caturday (#caturday). On these days you can easily do a photo to Instagram. And then on the off days, you can share articles, or have a blog post scheduled.

4. Advanced Scheduling

Don’t want to worry about some of your social media posts for a while? Content calendars make it easy to schedule content well in advance. After that, its just a matter of checking on the analytics to tweak posts based on those numbers.
Social media calendars make it easy to manage the variety of content you could post for your organization. Maybe women crush Wednesday outperforms music Monday by a landslide. Then you could adjust your calendar to highlight people instead of music.
Managing social media for a small business or nonprofit isn’t as scary as it might seem. These tips will take a huge burden off your shoulders. We’ve got your back.
HubSpot has a social media content calendar template available as a free download. Check it out here.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Hashtag

choosing the perfect hashtag

Twitter and Instagram thrive on hashtags. They make searching for specific content easy, whether its a tweet, image, blog, video, or to make commentary on a specific event. But how do you go about choosing the perfect hashtag? Here are some tools and tips to make it easy.

As you create your hashtag, here’s three great tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short – you want people to remember what it is.
  • Check if its in use – make sure there isn’t any offensive content tied to it!
  • Be unique – easy to tie back to your nonprofit or small business.
    During the summer, I would live tweet games during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and used #FIFAWWC, which was created by FIFA. This was an easy hashtag to remember, and keep up with the conversation.
    But how do you know you’re picking the right one?
    Here’s some free tools you can use to research hashtags so you can optimize your engagement.


    1) Tagboard


    This website tracks hashtags from the Big 3 social media platforms. Type in a hashtag and you’ll get Tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram images. On the right hand side, you’ll see a few graphs. One is a line graph on how many posts a hashtag receives by the minute or hour (depends on how active it is). It will also give users an easy to read pie chart about what the content is like: Is it positive, neutral or negative?


    2) Rite Tag

    RiteTag coach

    Are you a more visual person who likes a lot of color? Rite Tag analyzes hashtags for your accounts and divides the hashtags into four colors:
    Green – Hot now
    Blue – Long life
    Red – Overused
    Grey – Underused
    The different colors are a great guidance between all of the posts to determine what will expand your reach.
    Rite Tag connects to Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Facebook, and Twitter.
    Do you struggle with finding related hashtags or determining which hashtag is more popular? The Coach bar located at the bottom of the page will analyze multiple hashtags together and break down the numbers for you. For each unique hashtag, you’ll get the number of unique tweets or retweets per hour, the number of views per hour, and the number of tweets with images, videos, links, or mentions. You’ll get a whole page of stats, or all related hashtags via a colorful spiderweb.

    3) Iconosquare Tag Cloud

    Iconosquare Tag Cloud

    I’ve mentioned this enough times for Instagram, that you’ve probably figured out this little site has a lot of useful features.
    In the optimization section, you can view a Tag Cloud. This is a collection of your most used hashtags for Instagram, compared to the app’s Top 100 most popular. Use more of the hashtags in the Top 100 cloud when they’re relevant to your Instagram in order to expand your reach.
    Hashtags can be confusing. But they’re one of the most useful search tools on social media that increase visibility and engagement. Grab a piece of blank paper and start brainstorming.

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    Social Media Analytics: Tools to Get You Started

    social media tools

    Social media success lies in doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. So, how do you know what’s hit or miss?

    Take a look at your social media analytics. These numbers are more than just likes or retweets. They’re the quantitative facts to help direct your social media content.

    Once again, let’s assume you’re using the Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
    1) Facebook Pages Insights
    Facebook Insights
    This nifty feature is the most useful for anyone promoting their nonprofit or small business via a Facebook Page. The overview will give you some quick facts: Page Likes, Post Reach, Engagement, and then some stats on your five most recent posts.
    Explore beyond just the Overview section under the Insights tab. You’ll find a lot of helpful numbers.
    Out of any sections under the Insights tab, the three most useful are Reach, Posts, and People. Reach gives you a graph about post shares, likes, and comments, along with your organic post performance. In the Posts section, you’ll find a useful graph that tells you when your consumers are most active online by day and time, and what posts have the most engagement. And when you click on People, this is all of your demographic information.
    It’s a good idea to take a look at the Posts section on a regular basis, and take note of which posts people are engaging with. Since it lets you know how many clicks something gets, you can understand your audience’s behavior even if they don’t hit the like button. You’ll notice that a post with lots of clicks has a reach that is higher. Take note of the posts that get more clicks and have a higher reach, and think about why it got those numbers. It could be the type of content, the subject matter or even the time of day it was posted. Then think about how you can do more successful posts, and less of the posts that get nothing.
    2) Twitter Analytics
    Twitter Analytics
    Ever want some numbers to go alongside your retweet notifications? Twitter Analytics has all of the information you could ever want. Updated daily, you can always check with how you’re doing at the top of the Analytics page by skimming the line graphs at the top.
    With a month to month analysis, Twitter Analytics pulls up Tweet Highlights and a summary. You’ll be able to see your Top Tweet, Top Mention, and Top Media Tweet (which had a photo, video, or gif). The monthly summary will be your Tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and new or lost followers.
    3) Iconosquare
    Iconosquare Engagement
    I mentioned this tool last time, but its so useful, I had to bring it up again. Iconosquare analyzes your Instagram account engagement. Look under the Engagement and Optimization sections to make the most of your stats.
    Engagement is an overview of your most liked posts, where your likes come from, and the posts that receive the most comments.
    In Optimization, you’ll find a graph on your posting habits, which filters have the best impact on your likes or comments, and a hashtag cloud.
    We’ll talk about engaging hashtags in the future, so stay tuned!
    Numbers are only as scary as you make them to be, even just starting out. Its okay to be nervous. Make some tea. We’ve got your back.

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    Adapting After 6 Months of Using HubSpot

    Adapting After 6 Months of Using HubSpot

    It’s been an interesting ride so far using HubSpot and we’ve learned a lot. Since our 3 month reevaluation of our own inbound marketing efforts, the highlight has been the number of organic leads that have come in.
    Here’s the breakdown:


    We’re always looking at how our organic traffic is performing and it’s been a steady growth so far. While our overall traffic dipped in July and August, (as it always tends to do) our organic traffic remained steady. Our organic traffic in August was the highest it has been since before Google’s last big update in April. And September is on track to being our best month since we started using HubSpot.
    Schall SEO Stats after 6 Months of Using Hubspot


    Our contacts started to increase after month 4. Our organic visits to contact rate went from .9% in June to 4.72% in July, and it has stayed up around the 4% mark since. We are very happy about this.
    Schall Contacts Afters 6 Months of Using HubSpot
    Our leads come from all over the map. Out of 35 total contacts 22 were organic searches and out of those 22, 8 were qualified leads. The remaining 13 contacts came from email marketing, social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and face to face networking. 3 of those were qualified leads.
    Schall Contacts Results after 6 Months of All Channels


    We brought on our first HubSpot Inbound account on month 5 and we also brought on a large web account in month 6. Just for the record, these new accounts are due to existing contacts and relationships. While our online presence definitely plays a part in closing these leads, we have yet to close an account solely from our new inbound marketing efforts.

    How Did We Achieve This

    • • We really pinned down our strategy and committed to who our target personas are.
    • • We started rolling out three blogs per week in month 4 and 5. Well thought out blogs take time. By month 6 we made sure to commit to at least two blogs a week and we’ve been really focusing on upping the value of those blogs.
    • • In regards to email marketing, we started a bit aggressive with this and we were announcing a blog every week. We started losing readers so we’re now announcing blogs biweekly.
    • • We took a look at our top visited pages and decided we could take advantage of the traffic they were getting. Our contact page was one of those pages. We invested some time into it and it ended up being well worth it. Most of our leads are coming directly from our contact page.

    Where Are We Going to Make Improvements

    The trend that we’re seeing so far is that organic searches are coming to our website and are converting on our contact page. This is not necessarily a bad thing since if we look at from a buyer’s journey, these leads are at the bottom of the funnel and are expecting a phone call. Because we have these leads, our sales activities have increased, and our pipeline is filling up more than it ever has before. By sales activities we mean following up with leads, and definitely not cold calling.
    The issue we’re noticing is we’re investing quite a bit time in coming up with articles/blogs and we’re not seeing very many conversions that start with a blog post. These blogs are definitely helping with organic search results, we just need to sharpen our conversion tactics to take better advantage of our blog traffic. Here’s what we have in mind:

    • • Revisit our top viewed blog topics and improve them by adding creatives, statistics, better copy, SEO etc.
    • • Revisit our CTAs (Call-to-Actions) and start applying some A/B testing to iron out the flaws.
    • • Last, reevaluate the type of articles we’re rolling out, come up with better topics and find out which ones are working the best for us. We also want to make sure we spend some time on a few posts a month to come up with blogs that can become compounding posts.

    Internal Improvements

    Internally, the biggest improvement we’ve seen in our organization is how we stay on top of leads and are now implementing an actual sales process. In the past, our sales came from word of mouth and relationships. We met people face to face at networking events and nurtured a relationship with them before they became leads and sales.
    Now that we have a steady stream of leads coming in through our site, we can implement a sales strategy that can be taken care of during business hours. We can do more sales activities in less time, and we don’t have to make it to a dozen after hours networking events every month. (Of course we still network quite a bit, but our business no longer depends on it.)
    How has your experience been so far with using HubSpot or implementing inbound marketing. Share at the comments!

    25 Tactics Great Websites Use

    3 Social Media Tools to Help Get You Started

    social media tools

    Social media is all about participating in the conversation. Initially, managing social media will be time consuming. But if you put in the hard work early – get organized and plan ahead – managing the wide variety of accounts will be a cup of tea.
    Ultimately the social media tools you use will depend on the sites you’re using. However, let’s assume you’re using the Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each has a range of demographics, and can help you target a different audience.

    Here’s some social media tools to help you manage each like a pro:

    1) Buffer
    With the smallest learning curve, Buffer is a robust post scheduler for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Linked In. If you’re trying to promote your nonprofit or small business through a Facebook Page and Twitter, its easy to hook them both up and get to adding articles, images, or posts to your queue. Set the number of posts or tweets you want to publish per day, and Buffer will handle the rest. The browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, make filling your queue easy with a click.
    We’ll talk about analytic tools in a later post, so for now let’s just focus on management.
    2) Tweetdeck
    This tool is ideal for those that want to manage Twitter, but aren’t quite sure where to start. Tweetdeck uses a column system that is easy to customize and view all the information you could ever want, all in one window. After your home column, a simple set up is a column for notifications, scheduled posts, follower lists, and trends. Try out what layout works best for you!
    Tweetdeck doesn’t have a limit to scheduled posts, so feel free to schedule some tweets well in advance. I once had a whole semester’s worth of posts queued! That was a huge relief off my plate.
    3) Iconosquare
    Ever want to know which filter you use that gets the most likes? What about most popular tags in your posts? This tool is ideal for managing Instagram.
    Iconosquare analyzes your Instagram account’s content, engagement, community and optimization to provide important facts to guide your posts. Find out which filter or hashtag impacts your engagement the most in the optimization section. Respond to comments, or like posts from your followers.
    To a nonprofit or a small business, the social media pool seems daunting to dive into. Its okay. Take a deep breath. We’ve got your back.

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    Blogs We Read for Content Marketing Inspiration

    content marketing inspiration

    Sometimes there is nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper. When you know you need to have a blog written and you don’t come to the computer with the topic in mind, you can risk wasting a lot of time looking for inspiration in the wrong places. Whenever I start writing for a client, I start by researching and looking for blogs to bookmark for inspiration. I’m not out to copy what’s already out there. But by taking a look at what’s working, I can try a different spin or angle and add to the conversation in a positive way.
    Keeping up with industry specific blogs also just keeps you up to date on what’s out there. It’s easier to spot a trend if you keep your eye out, and reading more often simply makes you a better writer.

    Here are some blogs I bookmark for content marketing inspiration.

    There is always something new on the HubSpot blogs. They have a large number of qualified people writing on everything inbound. The type of content ranges from infographics to longer, research based posts.
    Our favorite recent post: Compounding Posts Generate 38% of Your Blog’s Traffic: Here’s What HubSpot’s Look Like
    Moz most definitely leans toward the longer, more in depth posts. When I read a headline I’m really interested in I tend to set some time aside and read through it thoroughly. Another great place for inspiration is their comment section. A lot of really smart marketers and SEOs put in their 2 cents in the comment section and it can really spark something worth writing about.
    Our favorite recent post: How to Get Content into the Hands of Influencers Who Can Help Amplify It
    Contently – The Content Strategist

    The Content Strategist has a lot of examples of how brands are achieving success with content marketing. They have some great statistics and figures of how it’s done, and every piece is extremely engaging.
    Our favorite recent post: How The New York Times Gets 70% Email Open Rates
    Creator by WeWork
    WeWork publishes content for business owners and freelancers as well as employees working in creative industries. I especially like scrolling through their newsletter and finding an article that looks interesting. Their website itself has a great layout and an awesome animation that shows you how far into an article you are.
    Our favorite recent post: 6 Lessons from Football — Even If You Can’t Stand Sports Analogies
    Entrepreneur has tons of writers and publishes a lot of content at a wide range. The articles are short and they have a nice feature that tells you how long an article is in minutes before you click on it. This is often where I’ll go for the quickest inspiration. And if I don’t find something that sparks a blog topic, I always find something great for sharing on social media.
    Our favorite recent post: How to Save at Least 2 Hours Per Week on Social-Media Marketing

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    Title Capitalization Rules for the Busy Blogger

    Title Capitalization Rules

    3 Tips for Increasing Organic Traffic Your Business Should Invest In

    Want to bring business to your website? Start by increasing organic traffic

    Organic traffic is a proven driver of business for any website.
    ​A key part of our digital strategy for Mann Family Dental was organic SEO and content creation. After a few months of blogging consistently, their organic traffic started to take off and so did their patients.
    First 12 Month Inbound Marketing Results
    In the first year, Mann Family Dental’s website visits had increased by 200%.
    Here at Schall, we tend to use our organic traffic results as the key indicator for how well we are doing with our website and our content. So how do you grow your organic traffic and get more qualified eyes on your website?
    Here are 3 tips on how to start increasing organic traffic.

    1.) Review your on-page SEO

    If you’re using WordPress, download the Yoast Plugin. It’ll give you great pointers and help you to get started quickly. If you are not running on a WP platform, review your Focus Keyword for each page. Revisit the content and make improvements where you can. Make sure your focus keyword is used properly in the URL, titles, images and copy. Link to both external and internal sources where it’s relevant. Review the images used in each page and check it they all have an alternate text set up. Last, try to have at least 300 words for each page/blog.

    2.) Start Blogging

    If you don’t blog or haven’t blogged in a while, start doing it. Start by writing a couple a month and work your way up. The sooner you do it, the better. It’s a lot of work at the beginning, but I guarantee you, you won’t regret it. You can’t out-bid your competitor’s marketing dollars, but can always out-think and out-teach them.
    Now, if you suck at writing, you can hire an inbound agency to start researching and writing for you. (Shameless plug: We are researchers and writers!) Blogging quality content is the future of your website’s success.

    3.) Share Your Knowledge on Social Networks

    You can have amazing content that shares an experience that can be life changing for a reader but if you don’t tell anyone about it, no one will know. Promote your knowledge through your networks. Use your social media channels. I personally publish some of my articles on LinkedIn and have had great results. My 500+ connections receive a notification once my article is published. I’m becoming a thought leader within my network and also providing them a link back to more content on my website. Win win.
    Websites these days need to act as your 24/7 sales team. Make sure it’s bringing in the leads and business that it should, and most importantly, keep in track of it. Ask your prospects how they found you. This way at the end of the month, quarter or year, you can find out how well your website is performing.
    Increasing organic traffic is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes a lot of time and effort to build. But once it’s there, it won’t go away once you stop paying Google.
    Share your knowledge and start writing some great stuff. I promise, you won’t regret it.

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    The Dangers of Small Business Blogging

    dangers of small business blogging

    According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
    While this data is true and valuable, it doesn’t speak to the quality of blog posts and how that affects inbound marketing.
    Writing is hard. Grammar and punctuation aside, it takes a lot of work to create something from nothing. And it takes even more work to create something that other people find valuable.
    Small business blogging has changed that a little bit. Now, we have data that can give writers a bit of how-to when they are writing for a brand. Keep your headline under so many characters, split up your paragraphs, use lists etc.
    These are great statistics for a marketer to spout off to prove how great they are at marketing, but creating content needs to be more than that.
    Now, it’s not SO much more that it becomes this mountain of a task, only attainable by the big brands and their highly paid professionals.

    What are the dangers of small business blogging?

    1. You basically become a robot, pumping out content every single day that follows all the rules but has no personality whatsoever.
    2. You try really hard to follow what Rand Fishkin calls the “10X” rule, end up crying in the corner and never hitting “publish.”

    Small business blogging can work somewhere in the middle. You can’t be afraid to put out content because you don’t think it’s good enough. Just like in business, you can’t be afraid to fail.
    That being said, you shouldn’t be publishing 10 posts per month that get hardly any views, either. Even if your content is bringing in traffic, if it’s not bringing in leads or business you need to rethink your strategy. Publishing lots of the same kind of content isn’t doing anyone any favors.
    So what should you do? When I blog for my business, I try my best to focus on improving. Every time I write, I am trying to improve my process as well as my end product. I also focus on improving the content that is already on my site. If I have a post that has been there for a while, gets a good amount of views but no one is converting, I’ll go back in and try to make it better.

    Set Attainable Goals

    Knowing that the odds of your blog post going viral are slim, it’s important to set attainable goals. Take a look at your traffic and leads today and aim to increase those numbers. If you can’t see the impact of your blog on your website and your business, it’s harder to keep it going on a regular basis.
    Above all, you need to have patience. Creating content that people love takes a lot of time and energy. I’m trying not to get all philosophical here, but it’s really hard not to. Just take solace in the fact that no one really knows the perfect formula for creating great content. Keep learning, keep practicing, and always hit publish.

    25 Tactics Great Websites Use

    10 Necessary Features of a Successful Lead Generating Website

    10 Necessary Features of a Successful Lead Generating Website

    Last week we had the opportunity to present at Creative Office Pavillion in Manchester, NH. We had a lively group that were part of a non-profit organization with a great cause called Plan NH. Great people, great food and all around a good time.
    We shared a topic that we run into frequently with organizations that struggle with online sales. We notice that organizations do very well with their visibility and brand awareness. Whether it be due to the years the organization has been in business or investing in a sales team, visibility and attracting visitors is not their main challenge. The challenge is setting a measurable inbound marketing goal and converting their online traffic into leads.
    The bottom line is, your website can be more than just act as a brochure. Every business should be taking advantage of their online traffic and converting users into leads.
    Here is a brief recap of the 10 Necessary Features of a Successful Lead Generating Website we discussed with are new friends at Plan NH.

    1.) On-Page SEO

    Make sure your web developer is adept at Search Engine Optimization. Proper SEO tactics need to be built in to your website from the start. If they aren’t there now, it’s a good idea to hire an SEO professional to do an audit of your site and start making improvements.

    2.) Social Media Integration

    Having social media integrated into your website is key to getting your content out there. If your content is interesting enough to your target persona, there needs to be a way for them to share it quickly and easily. Also, having an up to date social media presence makes your brand trustworthy and tells your audience that you are up to date.

    3.) A Blog

    A blog is the gasoline that keeps the inbound marketing machine running. It’s the best way to boost your organic search traffic, and sharing your ideas on a regular basis is a great way to connect with your users. Keeping your blog up to date can be a daunting task, but it is so worth it to build your inbound marketing funnel.

    4.) The Right Messaging

    Ask yourself these 4 questions when you visit your website.
    Will people know what I do within seconds?
    Will they understand what page they’re on and what it’s about?
    Will they know what to do next?
    Why should they buy/subscribe/download from this site instead of from someone else?
    It’s important that your messaging is created for the user and based on what they want and need in order to take the next step. It’s not about what you have to say and what you want to tell them.

    5.) Great Design

    This is a no brainer. In this day and age, online visitors have a certain standard for the design and usability of a website. If it’s not up to those standards, it’s very easy for them to hit the back button and choose the next option.

    6.) Responsive Design

    Just this summer over 50% of online media was reached through a mobile device. We have reached the tipping point and having a responsive website will only become more important as time goes on. Your website needs to adapt and display differently for a mobile device than it does on a desktop.

    7.) Calls to Action

    Now we get into some of the functionalities that play a role in converting a visitor into a lead. The first is a CTA or Call to Action. A CTA is designed to prompt a user to take action. It’s a button with a phrase like “Click here for your free eBook,” or “Schedule your free consultation today.”

    8.) Landing Pages

    Landing pages are the pages that explain what you have to offer your user in exchange for some of their information. After they click on a CTA, they will usually land on a landing page. This is where the conversion will take place.

    9.) Forms

    A form is the place they leave their information in order to download or receive an offer. An offer can be a free piece of material, case study, webinar, worksheet etc. The length and depth of the form can be based off of what they are getting in return. The more valuable the offer, the more detailed questions the form can potentially have.

    10.) Analytics

    The analytics of your website is what keeps you on track. Not only do you need them in place but you need someone who can read and understand your analytics and translate it into how you’re doing in regards to accomplishing your online goals.
    Goals. That’s the bonus we talked about at the beginning of our talk. Before you start with your inbound marketing strategy, you need to set some goals. How many leads do you want your website to bring in? How many of those should convert to customers? How much revenue do you want those customers to bring in? These are all important and necessary questions to answer when you begin your inbound marketing planning and website strategy.
    If your company website is not generating leads and/or sales, reevaluate your website with these 10 features and find out if you’re website needs improvement.
    Are their other features you find that has helped your website generate leads? Share in the comments!

    Inbound Marketing Checklist

    How to take advantage of your web traffic with a simple online form.

    How to take advantage of your web traffic with a simple online form.

    When we created our first website for our business 8 years ago, we made sure to add an online form to the contact us page and all project pages. It just seemed like a no brainer to have a place convenient for people to get in touch. Three years later we realized that no one had ever really filled out the form. Back then, most of our leads were coming in through word of mouth or picking up the phone and calling us. When we redesigned our website, we decided to get rid of the online forms since the only thing it was bringing in was spam at that point. We replaced all forms for a contact us page with a link to our email address, our physical address and a phone number.
    Over the years our traffic has increased and become more qualified. This past year we’ve jumped into inbound marketing and we decided to review our traffic with intentions to get more leads from our website. We took a look at what pages had the most views, and the second most popular page was the contact page. With close to 100 unique page views per month, we knew we could take some serious advantage of that traffic. So we decided to bring back the contact form.
    But we didn’t just add a few fields for their name, email and a brief message. We made sure this online form was well thought out. Here’s what we did and how you can take advantage of your web traffic with a simple online form.
    1.) First, add the essential fields; name, email, company, phone, etc.
    2.) Come up with list of questions that will help you understand your visitor’s needs. We thought about the things we would like to know to figure out if they were the right type of client for us.
    3.) From that list of questions, choose your top 5 questions. Extensive forms are a turn off and you don’t want to scare too many people away.
    4.) Make sure the questions are as easy to answer as possible. We had a check box or a drop down option wherever possible, and only a text box as an option for any additional details if they have them.
    5.) Lastly, create an even shorter online form as another option. This is for the people who might not have a project in mind but want to connect anyway. Or maybe they just have a comment or want to say hello. We wanted to make sure there was a place for this as well.
    6.) Make sure to add an option to subscribe to your blog on both online forms. Asking visitors to subscribe is a great way to keep you on their radar.
    Within the first month our new online forms were on our contact us page, 60% of our new leads converted using those forms. It turns out, people want things to be easy, and picking up the phone can be hard. So put a well thought out contact form on your contact page and the hard work is done–they don’t have to start a conversation, they just have to answer some questions. Take a look at how our contact page turned out.

    25 Tactics Great Websites Use