Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

When developing your marketing plan, there are some fundamental decisions to make. After determining your budget, you need to decide whether you will be using Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing, or a combination of the two. Outbound Marketing is the “old school” type of marketing. It is called “outbound” as the marketing efforts are pushed upon the consumer whether they have asked for it or not: cold calling, newspaper, radio & television advertisements, email blasts to purchased email lists, direct mail pieces and trade shows. Inbound Marketing is the collection of marketing efforts designed to let the consumer come to you. Instead of trying to find the customer, the customer finds you; you set yourself up to “get found” by the customer.

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Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing efforts are more traditional but, with the development of the caller ID, the recycling bin, and DVRs, they have become less and less effective as time goes on. Our brochures are thrown away instead of opened, telemarketers are hung up on if their calls are answered at all, and we fast forward through commercials on television.
Inbound Marketing has proven to be much more effective. While the consumer relies on internet searches and website information to find and decide upon a service or product, we are able to put ourselves in place to be found on internet searches. We can supply useful information on our websites and represent our brand accurately and positively on social networks. We can use Search Engine Optimization to put our websites at the top of internet search results. And the best part of it all, is that Inbound Marketing efforts can be tracked so you know exactly where your return on investment is coming from.
While some companies may decide to use one or the other, Inbound OR Outbound Marketing, many of us will integrate our marketing strategies and use both. The key to any marketing strategy: Outbound, Inbound or both, is to be creative and cohesive with your marketing strategies. Get noticed, and make sure that all of your marketing efforts work together so you get the largest return on our investment.

Google+

So far, I’m enjoying Google+. As a Facebook Fanatic, I don’t think I will EVER stop using FB, but Google+ so far, has been fun to play with. It has very cool features that they definitely NAILED, and gave you more control over who sees which posts.

So far, the jury is still out on whether I will encourage my clients to use it for their businesses. If I do encourage them to give it a shot, it won’t be for quite some time. With any new platform, there is excitement, but I have yet to discover anything really FANTASTIC that will gain the usage Facebook has. And, let’s face it: other than Social Networking Junkies (like myself), the general public’s laziness (no offense) will hinder the switch. I have had MANY clients tell me they will NEVER switch from Facebook simply because they don’t want to deal with learning a new application, managing a new application, etc. Of course, there are many ways this can go: if Google+ really does take off, my clients will be forced to switch out of necessity. So who really knows?

Personally, I’m having fun with Google+ and excited to see where it goes!

A Lot Is Happening!

Who would’ve thought that my business would actually succeed?? I know, I know, there are MANY of you who knew from the beginning that, if I dedicated myself to something (specifically SB Media), that it would, without a doubt, take off (I’m ready for the “I knew it all along!” comments that are bound to come after this post goes live). I, however, had inklings of concern that, in this economy, my lowly business would bring in occasional income, but not a salary, and certainly not enough work to need more employees. Well, so much for my inklings!

SB Media Online, LLC has gained some large and wonderful clients (two of which are out in Southern California), with whom I am EXTREMELY excited to work. The work load has grown so rapidly that I have found it necessary to take on some help- I have already found a potential intern (free help- NICE) and a potential partner. Luckily, the partner I plan to take on is somebody I trust absolutely, both professionally and personally, and has interest and skills in this particular field, not to mention experience- what would that be? A quintuple threat? Maybe a sextuple? Regardless, definitely a huge benefit!!

In my personal life, Josh, Ginger and I have had lots of ups and downs… Josh hit a deer with the Probe and totaled it (down). We bought a new car (a Volkswagon GTI that Josh ADORES) to replace the Probe (up). Josh bought the Probe back from the insurance company to fix it and the Probe has stolen my garage space (I vote down, Josh votes up). Ginger graduated Puppy School at the top of her class (WICKED UP) and was voted Most Likely to Take Over the World, Most Likely to Become a Beauty Queen, Most Athletic, Most Likely to Graduate Advanced, Funniest, AND Overall Class Favorite (I have the best doggy in the whole world!!). I had all four wisdom teeth removed (WICKED DOWN). I didn’t swell from my wisdom teeth, and the liquid diet caused me to lose a little extra insulation (up). The weather has been GORGEOUS (up). Ginger enjoys the gorgeous weather by digging up the backyard (I vote HYSTERICAL, Josh votes mortifying, frustrating, horrible… need I go on?). Ginger is getting more and more comfortable here with us and her anxiety has seemed to finally subside (up up up!). Her comfort has brought out some new behavior that is NOT good, i.e. jumping, chasing things (down). We are going to Orlando FL for vacation in April (up!).

As you can tell, we’ve had a LOT going on, both good and bad, mostly good, but hopefully things will settle down soon so I can GET SOME SLEEP!

Stubbornness Leads to Success!

I have always loved a challenge. When I was three, my brother (three and a half years older) was learning to tie his shoes. I didn’t want him to “beat me” at anything, so I insisted I learn to tie my shoes at the same time.

Not a typical milestone for a three year old to reach, I set out to master the task and ensure my brother wouldn’t leave me behind. I remember how frustrating the endeavor was; not only was the actual mission of convincing that slippery bunny around the tree and into its burrow a complicated and potential dangerous one (that bunny would sometimes run around that tree in so many different ways, he ended up in knots- very counter productive), but in an attempt to avoid the potential temper tantrum that ensued after every failed attempt, my father or mother would chirp the mantra “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” and I would drag myself, kicking and screaming, back to the laces at hand.

Even though I was working against the odds, I did learn to tie my shoes when I was only three years old and became the official shoe tie-er (and shoe tying instructor) of my pre-school.

As I got older, I did not lower my standards for my own achievements. Just this past weekend, after cooking a killer Thanksgiving dinner, I told my mother I will always strive for perfection in everything I do- Big picture: I will never be perfect, but I can try and bake the perfect apple pie, or write a flawless blog entry. If I keep reaching for the stars, I will continue to better myself and my work (domestic, professional, social, religious, etc.). My mom replied that constantly striving for perfection will only lead to continuous disappointment. While I have certainly had my fair share of failures and each failure is usually accompanied by a temper tantrum (much to my family’s dismay), pushing through, trying again, and striving to be better than before encourages determination, creative thinking, organization, cooperation, collaboration, education… need I go on?

What do you think? Is it a good idea to continually strive for perfection, reaching small goals, but always fall short of the big one? Or should I accept where and who I am right now and feel accomplished, but fail to grow?

Why is Social Media Important?

I wrote the following to be printed as a panel in my company brochure, but after finishing it, I thought it would be a great blog post! What do you all think?

Why is Social Media Important?

Web marketing in general is a highly valuable investment. Most people use the Internet to search for a company before deciding on their services. Think about it: when was the last time you didn’t research an unknown business or service online before hiring them? Instead of pulling the Yellow Book off of the shelf to find a local plumber, we turn to Google. To find a delicious restaurant when on vacation, you seek out the help of Yelp or UrbanSpoon instead of asking the front desk of the hotel. Having a prevalent website is the first step to finding professional success on the Internet. Social Networking is a major way to drive people to your website which should act as your Web Marketing hub.

Social Networking has become a part of daily life for millions of people; Facebook alone has over 500 million users! While social networks are primarily platforms for social communication between individuals, social media has evolved and businesses have found ways to use them for professional purposes as well.

Social Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube can be a great way to generate new business through brand recognition, networking, and customer service, but mainly it is an effective tool you can use to drive traffic to your website. Simply said, the more places your business can be found, the more often it will be found. If you make it easier for your potential customers to connect with you, the more likely they will connect, and move from potential customers to regular customers.

Five Social Media Pointers

If you only remember five things regarding your Social Networking efforts, remember the following:
  1. Always remember to MIND YOUR MANNERS on all of your Social Networks. Say “Thank You” to those who post/comment on your page, mention you or your business, participate in your contests, and those who point out errors. When you make an error (because it will happen- NOBODY is perfect no matter how hard we try), apologize and move on. Be courteous and gracious, respectful and honest.
  2. Be yourself. It is easy to tell when somebody is being dishonest or fake, and nobody wants to connect with somebody they feel might use them, take advantage of them, or swindle them!
  3. Think of Social Networking like a cocktail party.  It is a chance to chat with people who share your interests- maintain your friendliness. People are always more likely to buy from a friend than a stranger, so be a friend!
  4. Never forget what Social Media is all about- connecting. Sure, ROI is always nice (and eventually will come from Social Networking… if you’re patient) but if you push the sale of your products or services through your Social Networks, people will simply stop following your posts. People hang up on telemarketers during dinner, and if you turn people’s social networks into your personal advertising venue, people will “hang up” on your networks.
  5. Be reliable and accessible. Once you start to build a following on your social networks, people will expect you to be there. Develop a plan of action including how often you will post, and stick to it. Try to sign online daily- if somebody asks you a question, they aren’t going to want to wait for an answer. Signing on every day allows people to count on you and be sure they will get an answer to their questions.