SEO, PPC, Pay per click, Search Engine Optimization

SEO or PPC: Which One’s Right For My Business?

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) have their place. They can be done concurrently working towards different goals, or work together towards common goals. See what the difference is.


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Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends 2019

Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends of 2019

2019 has proven so far to be another great year for marketing. Take a look at top trends you could capitalize on that are dominating the field.

Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends 2019

Download the full infographic here. 

Successfully Engage Your Audience

Successfully Engage Your Audience, One Event at a Time

Successfully Engage Your Audience

Ways to Engage

Whether you’re hosting an event, or simply participating in one, there are plenty of ways to engage your potential customers. Event marketing not only acts as another avenue for brand recognition, it gives prospective customers something to get excited about with your company. As a B2B company, the true success of an event is how many hot leads or actual sales you get from it and engaging your audience effectively is the key to pulling those leads further into your sales funnel.


If You Build It, They May Come

The first step of pursuing event marketing is deciding what type of event you want to do. It’s important that you focus on the wants of your target audience and where you can find them in order for your event to perform successfully. A popular event is only beneficial to you if it’s popular with your target audience. In some cases, a smaller event with a more narrow appeal will work better for you.

Once you figure out the type of event you want to pursue, how do you plan on getting the word out? Events are great opportunities to not only gain the interest of people you haven’t connected with yet, but also to engage with your existing contacts. Through the use of free and inexpensive tactics (examples listed below), there is potential for the marketing of your event to garner tremendous reach.


  • Press Releases – This is a free way to push the relevant information about your event to publications and on your website.


  • Website Landing Pages – Having an event-specific page on your website that has all the details and a contact form for more information is perfect for tracking how many potential leads are interested. Use this in your press releases, emails, and on social media to make sure it garners the attention it needs. Also, using Google Analytics, you can see precisely who your website page is attracting.


  • Digital Advertising – Google Ads and Facebook Advertising are both inexpensive yet highly effective options for pushing event promotion for your company. The reach can be extremely targeted and it is important to utilize channels that your audience is using for professional and personal use – just make sure that you make use of things like these fb reporting tools! You’ll want to make sure that you are using Facebook effectively and correctly. Use these tools to your advantage and you should be good to go, just make sure to keep an eye on things. You could look into hiring a facebook ads agency to help you with promotion and upping you ROI at the same time.


  • Email – If you utilize email marketing, another simple way to get your event information out to your audience is to include a section in your monthly or quarterly email newsletter on your event. This could simply be a graphic with a description and call to action to learn more on your website landing page.


  • Social Media – Creating an event page on Facebook. This is easy, free, and increases the visibility and reach of your event.

Using tactics like these, you can potentially reach thousands of prospects while re-engaging with your current customer base and keeping them informed of your progress. Targeted landing pages and digital advertising are especially helpful with events because of their trackability and reporting capabilities to analyze the success of the event.


What to Offer – The Importance of Incentivizing

You now have a chance to be creative with your prospects so that they willingly give you their information and stick around to learn more about your company. When you are asking a prospect for their email or phone number, they’ll be much more likely to comply if they receive something of value in return. You can raffle a prize, or you can dig deeper and offer them something that relates directly to your company, like a trial of your product or a consultation. That has the added benefit of being typically lower cost to you, and moving them further into your sales pipeline.

SWAG items are often popular. While they aren’t often enticing enough to get a contact point in return, they are a useful tool in keeping your brand in front of your prospects. In order for it to be worth the cost, the SWAG item needs to be of interest or of use to your prospect. How many stress balls does an executive have on his desk?

Need Help Putting it All Together?

Engaging your event audience is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts, especially if it’s executed with trackability and consumer value in mind. Whether you’re unsure what event could be right for you, or have ideas but need help putting everything together, visit our Contact page and get in touch with one of our marketing experts today. Our team has the tools and expertise you need to help you engage the audience you want.



Tracking ROI

Tracking ROI With Digital Marketing Tools

Tracking ROI

It’s easy to know whether or not you’re hitting your revenue goals. Equally important, however, is understanding which marketing tactics or strategies are helping you hit those goals, and which ones aren’t. Luckily, there are several ways to measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

Using Landing Pages

When you create a website, you don’t know who will find it or by what means. With a landing page, you can dictate both of those variables. Instead of visibly anchoring it to a navigation menu, include the landing page link on marketing pieces connected to a campaign targeting a specific audience, allowing you to determine how well individual campaigns are working. Since you control who has access, it’s also the perfect opportunity to tailor messaging just for that audience. An added benefit of using a landing page is the ability to use Google Analytics to track the behavior flow of that specific audience as they navigate your site.

Of course, web traffic alone isn’t a strong indicator of ROI. Hopefully your landing page has a call to action leading to a contact form, RSVP portal, or a white paper download. In addition to generating a new warm lead, you may be able to track a future sale to that specific marketing campaign. Some marketing campaigns are more hands-on an others, for example, more local businesses may find that using direct marketing materials such as booklets, catalogs, postcards, flyers, pamphlets and other print-based marketing tools provided by printing services similar to Printivity could be helpful to local marketing.

This strategy works for nearly any campaign. When using targeted marketing, you want to direct website visitors to specific content that’s relevant to them. Landing pages are particularly useful for targeted direct mail, radio, and PPC campaigns with a narrow marketing message.

Using Promo Codes

Businesses often use promotions to add urgency to their marketing campaigns. With a little extra planning, promo codes can teach you a lot about your audience! Rather than provide one code across many different tactics, use different codes so that you can measure which tactics or what types of messaging worked.

One thing to remember: make sure that you don’t mix your promo codes. Try to ensure that no single lead ends up with several different promo codes. This requires precise management of your direct mail and email lists, as well as careful consideration if you plan mass marketing tactics like radio or billboards. If you choose to use both mass marketing channels and your existing customer base, ensure that your current customers receive the better deal for being loyal!

You can use this strategy when employing several tactics within a campaign – like some people getting postcards and others getting emails. This would help determine which tactic had the better ROI. You can also divide up your lists and test out different messaging, and use the different promo codes to track which marketing messages connected more with your target market.

Using landing pages and promo codes are just two effective components of an overall marketing strategy geared towards measurable, calculated growth. In pursuing this end goal of calculated growth, businesses make both their marketing and their dreams sustainable. Want to chat more? Visit our Contact Us page and get in touch with one of our experts today!

Social Media for Manufacturers

4 Social Media Sites for Manufacturers

Social Media for Manufacturers

As most of us know, the manufacturing industry can have, shall we say, a bit of an old school approach to marketing and the digital tools available. Many manufacturing execs do not see the need for social media channels to enhance the searchability of their brand and create qualified inbound leads that makes the sales process easier. Unknown corners of the Internet can seem a bit scary, and most prefer to stick to the old tactics they know best.

Now all of this does have to start with a website. For sake of conversation, we’ll assume you have a killer website already created.

Think of your website as Central Station and social media channels as the tracks leading in and out of the station. People coming and going and taking in as much as they can in short bursts. We’ll take a look at some of the key social media channels and the importance of using them for the manufacturing sector.

1. Twitter

Twitter is likely the hardest social media channel to convey its importance to manufacturers. “Why do I need Twitter?” “I don’t know how to use Twitter, why should I bother?” “Twitter is for the younger generation, not us.” First and foremost, Twitter is not just for the younger generation. More and more companies are finding usefulness in Twitter, no matter the age of the manager utilizing the program. Sales teams use it to quickly build what I would call an online roladex to call on later when the time is right. With Twitter, the fire can build so fast that a company can expose their message exponentially in a matter of minutes. The more eyes you have on your message, the more opportunity to sell your product/service to the right target with minimal effort.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a necessity for manufacturers for 2 reasons:

  1. It’s another great avenue for a digital presence. LinkedIn profiles are showing up high in search results without having to do any extra work, other than building a profile and maintaining steady posts. LinkedIn does the rest.
  2. Recruitment. LinkedIn is a resource that many young professionals looking for jobs are using as a tool to find companies of interest, and to make sure they see something interesting coming from the company. Manufacturers know that it is difficult to find good employees that are qualified or trainable. A good LinkedIn presence will help weed out those that may not be the right fit.

3. Facebook

Facebook helps bring humanity to a relatively sterile looking industry. The messages are light and the imagery is friendly. Again, like LinkedIn, Facebook will help in search results and those looking for a manufacturing job. Like Google Places, it also provides location and contact information in an accessible fashion for those trying to look you up. Searchers also consider an active company time-line to signal the credibility and success of a business.

4. Google+ and Google Places

We are all aware at this point that Google loves itself. So it’s simply a necessary step to be on the platforms Google owns. Google+ will help in search rankings and Google Places is what’s seen in the map search. Both are important and should be used simultaneously. These profiles greatly help drive relevancy for Google users as well, meaning, Google wants to be sure that their users are getting the right search results. A lot of it is location specific, so having those profiles again helps get you the right customers to your website or social sites.

There are many more social sites that can be utilized, such as, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. It is highly important to talk to your marketing professional about the right social media channels to be on. Not every one of the channels is right for every company. Your target audience is out there, both buyers and potential employees; it’s using the right tool to engage them that gets your inbound marketing engine up and running.

Listen to Customers on Social Media

Best Social Media Strategy: Listen Before You Speak

Listen to Customers on Social Media

Over the last few years, we have witnessed many efforts to capitalize on the potential of social media with mixed results to date. I’ve always likened social media to a boardwalk where each side is filled with pitch men and women trying to hawk their products and services to the potential consumers walking through the middle. The companies with the best (i.e. sexy) products and services have typically been the top performers. This has limited the opportunities for B2B companies to find the same level of success.

Even if there isn’t a place for every company to be a trending topic on Twitter, there is still tremendous value for your company in being the best LISTENER. Many social media enthusiasts have blogged about the importance of listening, but few have developed a full strategy around it as “contribution” is still prioritized by most. We utilize a listening approach at 360 Direct to stay informed about the latest news and updates pertaining to our industry, business climate, technological trends and community happenings. We recommend that every business, especially B2B companies, prioritize a listening social media strategy to best engage.

Jeremiah Owyang, of Web Strategy LLC, went a step further and outlined “The Eight Stages of Listening” in his blog:

  • Stage 1: No objective at all – Organization has a listening program but no goals, nor uses the information for anything resourceful.
  • Stage 2: Tracking of brand mentions – Like traditional “clip reports” of media relations, companies now track mentions in the social space. Despite tracking there is no guidance on what to do next.
  • Stage 3: Identifying market risks and opportunities – The proactive process involves seeking out discussions online that may result in identifying flares-ups, or possible prospect opportunities.
  • Stage 4: Improving campaign efficiency – Rather than just measure a marketing effort after it’s occurred, using tools to gauge during in-flight behavior yields real-time marketing efficiency.
  • Stage 5: Measuring customer satisfaction – In addition to customer satisfaction scores, organizations can measure real-time sentiment as customers interact. It’s important for businesses to identify key drivers of customer satisfaction by looking at strengths and weaknesses, what works and what doesn’t.
  • Stage 6: Responding to customer inquiry – This proactive response finds customers where they are (fish where fish are) in order to answer questions.
  • Stage 7: Better understand customers – Evolving the classic market research function, brands can improve their customer profiles and personas by adding social information to them.
  • Stage 8: Being proactive and anticipating customers – Minority Report: This most sophisticated form actually anticipates what customers will say or do before they’ve done it. By looking at previous patterns of historical data, companies can put in place the right resources to guide prospects and customers.

Every company should determine their present stage and develop a social media strategy to listen before you speak.

Importance of Social Brands

The Importance Of Social Brands

Importance of Social Brands

In a world where social media and marketing run hand in hand it is imperative to know about social brands and how you can take your brand or company into this new world.  How can you take an inanimate object such as a brand, product, or business and make it social with feelings, reactions, and thoughts?  How can you make a brand animate with human characteristics when by its very definition it is not human?  You can’t.   

Instead, think of social brands in the context of SIM City or Second Life as an example. Let the consumers build and create their world with your brand or company in it.  Let your brand or company be the backdrop to their social world, in a way where the consumer needs your brand or company within their social context.  This aspect can be as simple as having the consumer “like” some aspect of your business, with a desire to show their social network what they “like” in order to define themselves.  

Keep in mind that the consumer has to feel the internal connection to the product or business before declaring it to his or her social network.  In the context of Second Life, that internal connection is building your avatar with character by who you talk to, what worlds you visit, and what you look like. For the advanced, it’s what world you build a home in, who you invite to visit, what your home looks like, and how you want to attract other avatars like yourself.  People invest time and thought towards the personal development and projection of their avatar, which demonstrates the real life core essence of a person’s connection to social brands.  All you have to do is add a brand name to the connection, and then utilize the brand to consumer characteristics within the social digital context.  For instance, currently, Pepsi is running a viral program called the “Pepsi Refresh Project”.  Pepsi’s Facebook page for the “Refresh Project” seeks connection to those with great ideas.  In this way, Pepsi seeks to connect a personal connection of those with great ideas to Pepsi.  

How do you meet this challenge?  Determine why people need your product or place of business in their world, i.e., why would they put your product, service, or business in their virtual world?  What consumer emotion or feeling do you want to connect to?  More important than ever, you have to define the target market by more than age, income, and marital status; you have to build a personality for your target consumer.  Only by personality will you gain access to your target’s social digital world, as only those who can relate will pass through.

You can’t bring a brand to life, a brand has to be a part of life.

Social Needia

Social Needia - The Intrinsic Value of Social Media

Social Needia

One morning last week, a couple friends of mine shared a link to video on social media. It was a short production based around a poem titled, “How to Be Alone” by Tanya Davis. It’s a poem that can be interpreted as showing people that being alone is acceptable and empowering. One thing I feel the poem and video are both missing, though, is a differentiation between being alone and being lonely.

Humans are social creatures. We have superior brain function that encourages us to form relationships with each other. I could offer a study, or several, to support that statement, but I think we can all agree without needing to consult further evidence. Communication is vital to our survival, not only this but it’s also vital to the survival of your business. Communication is key in everything from customer service, to sales, advertising, public relations and customer relations. Everything begins and ends with the customer, and you’re in the middle.

This is where social media can be a useful tool, and we have an article to help you determine if social media is right for you and your business. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others allow you to be the hub of information and action, driving people to your business.

Why is this significant?

  • People need to be in communication.
  • People need to be social.
  • People need to belong.

Social media outlets give us all those needs. People need social media. Those outlets help us talk to one another, connect us with our friends, even host groups and provide interests to follow and participate in.

Now more than ever, people need social media. We’re stuck in our cubicles or offices all day, staring at a computer screen. We’re in coffee shops with our laptops. We may have others in our workplace and all around us, but let’s face it – when our work is done on a computer, our work can isolate us.

This isolation is what turns us toward social media. We can keep working while simultaneously staying in touch with our friends, letting others know what’s going on in our world, and gleaning information and other tidbits from the likes of Twitter. So, in that respect, social media outlets are not going away, and many who thought it was a passing fad, are now fully on board either personally or professionally. It even took me almost three years after its mainstream launch to finally start using Facebook, and I’m not about to stop. Facebook got me back in touch with old friends, and keeps me in “the loop” with all of them. Twitter gives me information faster than ever.

People need to communicate. People need information. People need to be social. People need to belong. People need social media. Social media provide instant connections to others, even when we’re alone on the couch or at the desk; gets us in touch people and information when we need it.

As useful as social media is, it can be pretty miserable that our lives revolve around looking at a screen all day. This is how we stay connected, how we do our jobs, but it can lead to pretty negative effects on the body. So many of us will suffer from computer vision syndrome due to the blue light of our screens, with constant headaches and eye strain. However, as technology evolves, so do ways to prevent these nasty ailments from happening due to screens; companies are now producing blue light glasses that allow us to stare at our computer screens all day with no physical impact. Never have we been so able to connect.

Think about how you communicate and organize. Hard to imagine your life without a mobile phone, isn’t it? Soon it will be with social media. They have apps for that, you know.

Pinterest Copyright Use

Pinterest - Protect Yourself - Know About Copyright Use

Pinterest Copyright Use

Have you heard the rage about Pinterest? If you’re female and love shopping, you most certainly have. Pinterest allows you to pin your favorite things to inspiration boards that you create. What inspires you…cooking, fashion, hairstyles, a dream home? 

Of course, you also get a social sharing aspect within Pinterest. Showcase your inspiration boards to followers, “like” and “repin”images, and get opinions from friends on hairstyles you’re thinking about trying. 

Be forewarned; copyright use and infringement is becoming a growing concern. Technically, you shouldn’t pin images you don’t own, or images that don’t have a copyright release. Crediting the source is always a good idea. Pinning celebrities? This may be the most dangerous territory. It may not be entirely likely that an average person would get “pinned” with a lawsuit, those companies with brand pages may be more at risk. Ad Age speaks more about how top marketing companies and Brands Can Use Pinterest Without Breaking the Law here. Be sure to read the copyright infringement policy at Pinterest as well. 

Pinterest brand pages can serve to build up a sense of culture, style, and the personality of a brand. The safest way to do so legally is to only pin images you own to your brand page. Here’s are some examples of brand pages on Pinterest: