E-mail Strategy from the Pro’s

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Recently I attended The Science of E-mail Marketing webinar produced by HubSpot and MailChimp. These leaders of marketing automation pool their resources and field an extensive study annually to over 100k e-mail subscribers to measure the effectiveness of e-mail as a marketing communications tool.

Topics: Sales & Marketing, Marketing, Content Type

Online Video: Shorter Isn’t Always Better

by Ben Cecil

UPG Video

Ben Cecil has spent the last ten years helping clients make the most of their lead generation opportunities with the use of results-driven video marketing. In the beginning, Ben’s preoccupation with media marketing took him to local television affiliates. There, he created and executed hundreds of marketing and brand management campaigns, driving targets to specific content, both online and on air. As a brand manager for NBC Austin (KXAN), Ben developed an acute understanding of how we as a society consume media and how to break our media consumption habits with focused, call-to-action marketing and brand management. For the last several years, Ben has focused his skill set, helping small to medium-sized companies improve their lead generation via online video and sales media. He is currently the Director of Marketing Strategies and a partner at UPG Video Marketing in Austin, Texas.

In my last post, I wrote about the merits of online video for increased engagement and ultimately, increased lead generation and web conversion. I laid out the most common use scenarios and discussed the context for each to succeed.

Topics: Marketing

7 Tips to Boost Your Website Traffic

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Need to boost your website traffic? Try these Inbound Marketing Tips.

  1. Know and love your website analytics. Review the data on a regular basis to know what marketing efforts are working and where to focus your budget. We use a combination of web marketing tools for measurement in addition to Google Analytics. Run benchmark reports, understand the key metrics and set your inbound marketing goals from there.
  2. Write a blog. It is a fact that websites with a blog generate 55% more traffic than sites without a blog*. Know your customers and provide content they need. Be an online resource. If you don't currently write a blog, make an effort to put resources in place to create and maintain consistent content for your website. The best SEO strategy for a business is to publish quality content on a regular schedule.
  3. Grow your e-mail list. A qualified organic e-mail list is one of your company's key assets. E-mail marketing, when executed well, will drive traffic to your website to achieve a variety of goals. Combine your e-marketing efforts with your blog content strategy and see your performance results surpass industry averages. Click here for more help on e-mail marketing.
  4. Use your website as a sales tool. Tune up your website and make it work for you. As potential customers search for products and services, make it easy for them to connect with you on your website. Create lead capture and lead generation programs. For more info see - Save your salesperson time with an inbound marketing plan.
  5. Tune up your SEO efforts review and optimize long tail keywords, titles and tags. Set a process to add inbound links. Set quarterly and monthly SEO goals, test, measure and refine. Remember good content is always the best SEO strategy.
  6. Amplify your message through social share. Social engagement is now a component of the Google search algorithm. Now more than ever it is important to understand how to integrate social media into your communications strategy.
  7. Be a guest blogger for other professional blogs. Experts agree that one great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field is to blog for other websites. This is also a strategy to create quality inbound links back to your website and should be a part of your SEO strategy.

Here's to your inbound marketing success!

Topics: Marketing, Content Type

Online Video. What's the Big Deal?

by Ben Cecil

UPG Video

Ben Cecil has spent the last ten years helping clients make the most of their lead generation opportunities with the use of results-driven video marketing. In the beginning, Ben’s preoccupation with media marketing took him to local television affiliates. There, he created and executed hundreds of marketing and brand management campaigns, driving targets to specific content, both online and on air. As a brand manager for NBC Austin (KXAN), Ben developed an acute understanding of how we as a society consume media and how to break our media consumption habits with focused, call-to-action marketing and brand management. For the last several years, Ben has focused his skill set, helping small to medium-sized companies improve their lead generation via online video and sales media. He is currently the Director of Marketing Strategies and a partner at UPG Video Marketing in Austin, Texas.

This is the 1st in a series of 3 blog posts on the general benefit and applications of quality online video.

Topics: Featured, Marketing

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Know and Understand the Media

by Bryant Hilton

Great Communicate

Bryant Hilton is the founder and president of Great Communicate which helps clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, to bootstrap startups, to leading non-profit organizations, leverage communications to help meet their organizational objectives and tell their unique story in a crowded marketplace. Great Communicate manages client campaigns ranging from environmental advocacy, to brand development and management, to media relations and marketing consulting. The firm’s core philosophy is that with the right tools anything can be communicated well and anyone can be a strong communicator. Bryant has nearly 20 years of communications experience from agency and corporate backgrounds, public and private companies, corporations and non-profit organizations, and U.S. and international work. Before founding Great Communicate, Bryant was the global corporate responsibility communications manager for Dell, creating and executing communications strategies for the company’s sustainability, diversity and philanthropic efforts. Bryant built and launched the environment communications function at Dell and prior to that managed consumer market communications for the company at positions in the U.S. and Europe. While at Dell, Bryant represented the company on the Green Grid’s communications committee and at the Technology and HIV Working Group. Bryant joined Dell from Dittus Communications, in Washington, D.C., where he was a director of media relations, representing clients including the Business Software Alliance, Americans for Computer Privacy and Surfwatch. His previous experience includes communications manager roles at MCI, Ketchum Public Relations and the Personal Communications Industry Association. Bryant holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University and currently resides in Austin, Texas. He is a member of the board of directors of Keep Austin Beautiful.

I had the opportunity this week to work with a client experiencing a serious crisis issue. In the midst of helping, I faced one of those moments that can make even the most experienced PR pro wince, namely being surrounded by a large group of reporters with cameras shouting questions from all sides while I was trying to diffuse a potentially contentious situation.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Marketing

7 Steps to build a successful e-mail marketing program

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

This is a subject that is studied often because of its’ importance in the marketing communications mix. If you are responsible for the sales and marketing of a company, you can’t ignore e-mail marketing. The 7 steps that I share are gained from recent studies, years of gathering best practices and new technologies.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Articles

Geo-Targeting your online content: 5 questions to ask yourself

by Jed Jones

JCJ Interactive

Jed C. Jones, Ph. D., is the principal and founder of the interactive marketing company JCJ Interactive and the database marketing company Mind Ecology. Jed is a marketing problem solver and consultant, combining several skill sets - including online marketing, database analytics, writing and branding - to help his clients succeed. Previously, Jed led marketing efforts for numerous Fortune 50, midsize and small companies, including three years in enterprise products marketing for Dell, Inc. in Japan. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese and has a working knowledge of six other languages. Jed holds degrees in Japanese (B.A.), business (M.B.A.) and organizational systems inquiry (Ph.D.).

Geo-targeting is the act of optimizing your online content in a way that attracts local visitors. The types of online content that can be geo-targeted includes:

Topics: Technology, Marketing, Articles

Free or low cost practical business education in Central Texas

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

Texas certified public accountants (CPAs), attorneys, and physicians must all attend many hours of professional continuing education each year. When we engage the services of one of these professionals we are glad they had to stay up to date on their specialties.

Topics: Operations, Featured, Management, Blog Posts, Marketing

Get heard - 3 tips to improve your online content

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Do you find yourself in the position of blogging or writing other online content for your company? Whether you are a newbie to creating online content or a seasoned writer, SXSWI offers several panels featuring some of the most notable internet authors and journalists.

Topics: Social Media, Featured, Blog Posts, Marketing

Real business networking requires an effective strategy

by Leslie Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Leslie Thacker is the Managing Partner of Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. Leslie has over 20 years of general business experience, including ten years managing the marketing, sales, and projects for financial services including bank lending programs and electronic data interchange programs for small businesses. She has served as a consultant to several banks and a small business investment company (SBIC). Her role in Business Finance Solutions includes assisting small and mid-sized businesses obtain working capital financing, equipment leasing, and leveraging other assets for working capital. Before entering the financial industry, Leslie was the publisher of a business trade publication in Corpus Christi. She also has an extensive background in inventory control and merchandising. Leslie is passionate about helping business owners, managers, CFOs, and operations personnel obtain valuable practical business training. In March 2009 she started a highly successful Austin based Meetup group. Each month she has arranged a respected speaker to present a finance or operations topic of interest to the group. There are now approximately 180 members of the group. Leslie also volunteers time at the Texas State Small Business Development Center, assisting with educational programs and the center’s marketing program. When not helping businesses find financing and practical educational resources, Leslie spends time in her garden growing antique roses.

Many of us have been to organized networking events where it seems all everyone does is work the room with a stack of business cards handing out as many as possible. When I have come back to the office all I have is a stack of business cards. Many times I can’t put a face to a business card, let alone how a business networking relationship might work with a person I just met. Lately I have even seen networking events called “speed networking.” To me, the thought of speed networking doesn’t make any more sense than speed dating.

I have discovered that I find the best business networking partners when working in civic groups, educational organizations like the Texas State University Small Business Development Center, and most importantly from others who I have a solid networking relationship with. We all know a warm lead is better than a cold one, and a solid referral is the best way to develop new business relationships.

The key to effective business networking is establishing a one on one relationship with another business professional who has a complimentary network to yours. Once you have identified a person or company that looks prospective, make sure their character and business values match yours. You want to network with people that have the same ethical and service oriented standards as you.

Here are some places I find new valuable networking partners.

Meetup Groups. My company hosts a monthly meetup group that focuses on business educational topics for business owners and operations management of Austin area businesses. We have had 22 meetings and have about 180 members registered in the group. There is a core of solid core of about 35 regular members who have attended more than a half dozen times. We don’t advertise as a networking group, rather as an educational group.

Our goal is to provide a presenter for the group each month who will send members back to their office with some actionable information that they can immediately use. It is safe to say that I have become strong networking partners with about 15 people of that core group. I have taken the time to get to know them, their interests outside of work and what kind of challenges their company faces. Our group has become so close that many members will stay 30 - 40 minutes after the end of the program to catch up and truly get to know one another. While we aren’t a networking group, real networking is taking place because of the type of people who attend and level of trust most of the members have with one another. I belong to several other meet up groups where the same kind of authentic networking organically happens.

Linked-In. I have found the key to effective networking on Linked in is joining in discussions that interest me. Two way interaction via discussions will sometimes lead to a mutual interest. When I find those I take the discussion private and then eventually to a phone call or if the other person is local, to a brief meeting for a cup of coffee or tea. I have several long distance networking partners whom I have done business with numerous times, all because we took the time to get to know each.

Blogs. I write this blog and have received a number of direct emails from readers. I attempt to answer every one of them personally and authentically. On more than one occasion the time I took to answer an email with my best advice has led to a sale or referral to someone else who I had written communication with. If you write a blog, encourage interactivity with your readers and take a tiny bit of time to help them with whatever the reason they write you. My business partner receives at least five emails a day from a column he writes for a national business information website. He writes about finance issues. He writes back to every one he can.

Make referrals, get referrals. I try to make solid referrals into my own business network at every opportunity I can. While I never make a referral expecting to get one in return, it often happens that way.

It has taken me several years to find the kind of networking strategy that works for me. I do use some social media, but the most effective networking for me is to build a connection to my network one person at a time and be generous with ability to help someone else out in my network.

Leslie Thacker is the managing partner in Austin Texas based Business Finance Solutions.

Topics: Social Media, Featured, Blog Posts, Marketing

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