Archive for March, 2010

CRM Acceleration: Recapping the Social Media, Blogging and CRM Experience

Written for Wakefly.com in March 2010

Today, I attended CRM Acceleration’s Social Media and CRM seminar sponsored by BrainSell and SugarCRM. The event was a gathering of Social Media and CRM gurus. Several speakers presented their ideas about Inboung marketing, Social Media, Sales and CRM etc. The seminar was structured to promote channels that can help businesses generate online leads.

Inbound Marketing expert Dharmesh Shah opened the house with a very interesting presentation on inbound marketing techniques. The presentation covered all aspects of inbound marketing – from SEO, Social Networking and Blogging to Measuring success metrics and sales. Dharmesh presented ideas promoting inbound marketing and further emphasized on the importance of content creation. He proved to the audience that inbound marketing was the approach to adopt. It is all about getting found by your customers and not chasing after them.

As stated earlier, one important element in his presentation was structured around the idea that blogging is a powerful means of content generation. In a previous post we highlighted 6 reasons why blogging is important for businesses. For businesses looking to adopt inbound marketing practices, content generation is an important step. Good, quality content is loved by search engines. Search Engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing match quality content with their searchers query. Thus, it becomes important for businesses to create content that can satisfy the needs of millions of searchers.

Blogging is a channel through which businesses can create meaningful content. As Dharmesh stated in his presentation, “Google loves blogs.” Through it’s search technique Google brings the searcher and content together. Blogs are means through which companies can keep their content current and informational. Through a blog businesses can talk to their customers and answer important questions. Many businesses assume that blogging isn’t important to them as they expect their customers not to go online to read or find information. Dharmesh elaborated on this point and stated that, “if there are people willing to buy in your industry then there are people willing to read about it.”

Today’s customer consumes information. They are smart and savvy and want to learn everything about your industry before they make a decision. The best way to be a thought leader in your industry is by building a blog. A blog is an informal way of showing that you can add value in your industry, that you are an expert on the material you sell and that you know how to build meaningful conversations. It’s all about building your credibility and showing that you are an expert in your industry.

Blogs also help keep your web content fresh and enable you to converse with your customers. “People value stale information less.” (Dharmesh Shah, Inbound Marketing)

Blogging for Success: 6 Reasons Why Blogs Benefit Businesses

Written for Wakefly.com in March 2010

Is Blogging really going to benefit my business?

The simple answer to this question is ‘Yes’, blogging will benefit your business. But you can’t just create a blog and leave it as a static, dead page on the internet. Your blog has to be dynamic and alive – it is the platform that facilitates your conversations and creates dialogue with a global audience. In an earlier post we highlighted ways in which businesses can create a successful blog.

MarketingSherpa’s 2009 Social Media Marketing & PR Benchmark Guide provides a comprehensive overview of why Social Media Marketing is important. We looked at some key aspects of the report and came up with our evaluation of why blogging is an important component of the Social Media Marketing mix and how it can greatly benefit businesses:

1. Brand Awareness and Engagement – As Inbound Marketing techniques take precedence over traditional marketing practices, more and more companies are working to create an online presence. With putting up a website online comes the challenge of projecting a positive brand image. It is all about being found and getting heard. Blogs help businesses get found by their customers. Through a blog, a business can create meaningful content which helps to create brand awareness. It also helps brands engage with their online customers.

2. Better Search Engine Visibility – Blogs are platforms that effectively facilitate powerful online conversations. The best part about having a blog is that it will dramatically increase your Search Engine rankings. Content on a blog gets updated more frequently than content in other parts of the site. This gives businesses a better chance to rank for dozens of keywords. If you produce remarkable content people will share your content on their sites – on micro blogging platforms (e.g. twitter) and on various other Social Media sites (Facebook, Digg, Linkedin etc.), this in turn will make your site more popular with Search Engines.

3. Greater outreach: Increase in your Web Traffic – When your Search Engine visibility increases your traffic will definitely increase. A recent study conducted by Hubspot shows that active blogs draw 6.9 times more traffic. Hubspot states that, “We can infer from the chart that blogging, which is equivalent to content building, helps attract more site visitors. The rationale is similar: more blog articles mean more chances to create something that grabs readers’ attention and indirectly build up a company’s reputation.”

 

4. New relationships – Creating a brand online or harnessing powerful communication through online channels can only happen when you make your brand more accessible. One of the key benefits of putting content on a blog is that it will attract new people to your site and help strengthen existing relationships with your customers. Remember that people are already having conversations about you on the internet. It is important that you have a voice and you project a positive image for your brand. Putting content out there helps in getting found by potential customers and it opens the field for dialogue. Content on a blog can be easily accessed by a global audience; this helps brands create new meaningful relationships.

5. Ongoing Dialogue – Traditional marketing channels always dictated what the brand was or how it could be perceived. With the increased adoption of social media we have seen a shift in that trend. Today, it is all about having a conversation with your customers. Blogging is a multi-way platform (brand ↔ customer, customer ↔ customer) and you can no longer dictate.

• “Your brand is no longer what you say it is, it’s what they say it is
• Social media is where they-customers, prospects, journalists and other influences-are having conversations (reviewing and talking) about your brand
• They’re forming and sharing opinions that will impact your brand. Therefore, a social media strategy is needed to cultivate interactions and dialogue”. (Omniture report 2010)
Blogging is one of the core components of a great social media strategy. Through a blog you can engage your customers, readers, prospects, journalists, tech experts etc. into meaningful conversations.

6. Brand Leadership – Studies by Omniture, MarketingSherpa, Hubspot etc. have revealed that in our social media led societies people are already having conversations about your brand. Blogging can help nurture your brand online. The content of your blogs can help you brand yourself as a “thought leader” in your industry. It can also help you gain your customers trust and loyalty.

 

Do you want to learn tips and techniques to blog successfully? Wakefly is hosting a free ‘Blogging for Success’ webinar on March 18, 2010 at 1 PM EST. Go to www.wakefly.com/webinar to register.