Is a Social Media Policy enough in the workplace?

Social Media PolicyCreate a social media policy, but, do NOT control it.

Naturally, most business owners and Chief executives are concerned with the potential for disaster if they turn their workforce loose on social media networks. You also know that if social media is done correctly, we will become far more visible to a wider audience on a 24/7 basis, which could have a positive impact on the image of your company. Therefore, the only remedy is to have procedures and policies in place to handle both positive and negative feedback, as well as, real-time requests for information. If you need help with these types of legal corporate operational documents check-out Legal Zoom.

You will be judged by your transparency, responsiveness and the quality of every piece of content and every engagement in social media. Don’t try to control it. “What if someone says something bad?”. If it is true, address it. If it is false, address it. Only delete it if it vulgar, or violates the in-house hosting procedures stated in the companies social media policy. Be ready to address why content was removed.

Social Media will harm productivity 

A second valid concern of social media in the workplace is productivity, or the lack thereof. If your staff is busily chatting with their friends all day, how can any work be accomplished? How can you monitor the flow of social media without killing the ability of your team to form relationships with new visitors and existing customers?

Again, our recommendation is to create a social media policy for your company as part of a comprehensive strategic inbound marketing plan. Social media technology and practices evolve on a weekly, even daily basis, so you will want to stay current and apply new ideas and platforms as they become available and make sense for your company. You will also find that as you monitor and measure results, new directions may work better than the ones you currently have in place. Flexibility and adaptability are essential parts of the new marketing strategies. Social media policy creation is part of our Strategic Inbound Marketing Blueprint.

social media policy

How long does it take to be a social media engaged business?

We recommend a 12 month process to implement strategic inbound marketing in your organization. Within that time-frame you should have your team up and running with the tools in place and activities working to attract new sales leads online. You should see results – more web traffic, higher search engine results, a growing social media presence and, most important, qualified sales leads that your team can convert to customers within around 6 months.

Strategic Inbound marketing is not a campaign; it’s an ongoing process. You should not expect results to continue growing without a commitment to the process every day, every month and every year. If you create and stick to a specific strategy for success, you are more likely to achieve it. The more you interact, the more likely you will attract and retain a growing following of brand advocates.

Our Strategic Inbound Marketing Blueprint is designed to give you a framework for building your inbound marketing team, creating a strategy and executing a plan. We have broken the process down into focused activities over six months, but each company will have its own requirements, people and culture. You may find that certain activities will need to be moved forward or backward in the schedule, and they may overlap to a large degree. You may find that different priorities are needed. Finding the appropriate fit for your organization is a key part of your strategic inbound marketing plan.

Website Optimization is limited if you don’t optimize landing pages

Website Optimization is limited if you don’t optimize landing pages

If you follow any of DIR Incorporated’s blog topics, or social media feed, I am certain you know that website optimization produces highly competitive web sites that out-perform on every measure; traffic, speed, conversion rates, lead nurturing and, most importantly, return on your investment. However, it is important and sometimes lost piece in the conversation of optimizing a website is the impact of an optimized landing page.

Even the mighty Hubspot who measures the elements of a high-octane digital marketing website via its Marketing Grader tool, don’t include a measure of how optimized a landing page is.

Instead, Marketing Grader and other website optimization measurement tools solely look at the fact that a website domain is attached to an inbound marketing software program like Hubspot 3, Marketo, or Leadsius. Although, they do offer settings for checking how optimized a landing page is, if you use their platform.

All that said, we are going to take a look at how to optimize landing pages, and why they are important. If you want to read more about metrics  you need to improve your website optimization performance follow this link.

What are landing pages?

A landing page is a web page usually separate from your website that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead-capture form. Landing page optimization is important. It’s about presenting your best “first impression” to respondents who click on your PPC search ads, email links, affiliate promotions, banner ads, etc.

Why are landing pages important?

The whole point of SEO is to make your company more discoverable online so you can be found by prospective buyers early in their research cycle. Driving more traffic to your site is pointless if you don’t have the necessary offers, landing pages, and forms in place to convert a large part of those visitors into leads.

Landing pages serve as a point of reference on sales funnel conversion path. You use data collected from the landing page to qualify a visitor as in lead, or a prospect as ready for the next stage within the sales funnel in your marketing database.

Landing pages help you gather valuable information about your leads so you can continue to market to them more effectively with things like personalized email marketing and dynamic website content that appeals to their specific interests and needs. This enables you to nurture and move your leads through the funnel to a point of sales readiness.

What is the end goal of a landing page?

The goal is the same as with every other marketing vehicle … to achieve the highest conversion rate and the highest ROIThat’s a big goal. It’s the goal that the CMO cares about — “is our online marketing paying off?” Ultimately, it’s the goal that the CEO cares about. Businesses and careers rise or fall on the outcome.

But if that’s such a big goal, why do most of the discussions around landing page optimization start and end way down in the weeds? Sure, any one landing page is a very tactical initiative on the front-line. But those tactics are not executed in a vacuum.

They’re enabled (or constrained):

  • by the broader initiatives under which they live;
  • by your organizational capabilities;
  • and by your overarching strategy.

And just as these front-line tactics are directed by the higher-level strategy, they should also inform that strategy with useful intelligence and marketing learning from the battlefield. Great online marketing is a feedback loop, a virtuous cycle.

How do I get started with landing pages?

You have two options really:

If you have a WordPress website, or are looking for a Customize WordPress website re-design. We recommend Optify, because it offers and easy to use plugin and supports WordPress’ Content Management System (CMS)

If you have a non-Wordpress website, or are looking for a 100% custom website solutions. We recommend Hubspot, because its basic level platform works great with non-wordpress sites.

Why optimize your landing pages?

Your landing pages are such a critical part of Strategic Inbound Marketing, and even small conversion improvements can make a significant impact on your top-line revenue. In addition to the new prospects and leads, many repeat visitors will come across your landing page. In fact, when someone who is already in your database is incited to a conversion, it presents an excellent opportunity to segment data and learn more about them so you can customize your communication with them. The end results in continual improvement of your inbound marketing process.

How to Optimize Landing Pages

A recent study of over 7,000 Hubspot customers unveiled that companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

To optimize that overall mission, you need to view landing page marketing at multiple levels:

Traditional Landing Page Optimization

Strategic Inbound Marketing - Landing Page Optimization

1. Element optimization. For any given element on a page for instance, the headline — you can test to find the best version. This is the lowest level of landing page optimization. It’s important in the context of a particular page, but in the big scheme of things, it delivers the least overall value.

2. Page optimization. This is what is usually meant by “landing page optimization”. It’s about finding the the right combination of elements — each of which gets optimized — as well as the best layout and design of the overall page. This can have a significant impact on the performance of a specific page, and if you do this across all of your online marketing, it can contribute a noticeable bump to marketing’s overall results.

Enlightened Landing Page Optimization

3. Path optimization. However, a page is merely a single step along a path — one that starts with the ad or email that the respondent clicked on and carries through to the second and third pages the user clicks on and beyond. Optimizing the path is about message match and expectation management to make the prospect’s overall experience the best it can be. Optimizing at this level lets you leap ahead of competitors who are stuck in the disconnected underbrush of individual pages.

4. Segment optimization. But all clicks are not equal. Different respondents arrive with different needs and varying frames of reference. At this next level up, you start optimizing different paths to cater to those different audiences. At this optimization, you can reveal tremendous insights about who your customers are and how they view themselves and their interest in your company. These discoveries not only improve your conversion rate for specific paths — they can help optimize your segmentation strategy at a higher level too. Big dividends.

5. Campaign optimization. Even as “campaigns” are giving way to a more fluid marketing environment, there are still different initiatives in the field that connect certain messages, offers, audiences, and tactics with common threads. At the campaign level, landing page optimization becomes about matching the right pages and paths with the right slices of the campaign, and using the front-line results to inform and improve overall campaign effectiveness. It requirescoordination and continuity. Even in large enterprises, this is where the outcomes are now visible to senior management.

Strategic Landing Page Optimization (Source: Ion Interactive)

6. Operations optimization. At this level, landing page optimization is about maximizing the efficiency of your overall landing page capabilities. How good is your landing page management for producing, organizing, and optimizing landing pages across all your different campaigns? This is about increasing your cycle speed and reducing your per-page and per-path overhead. The more optimized you can make your landing page management processes, the more optimization you can execute at the tactical levels below.

7. Strategy optimization. At the very top of the pyramid, the focus is on optimizing the big picture marketing strategy. At this level, landing page optimization becomes abstracted from the gory details, but it makes two very important contributions: (1) the option to execute highly segmented strategies and (2) the ability to quickly test strategic assumptions in micro-campaigns and to use that learning to optimize the overall strategy.

The difference between this more strategic landing page optimization andtraditional landing page optimization can mean the difference between myopia (i.e., optimizing the deck chairs on the Titanic) and visionary marketing leadership.

Landing page optimization in the big picture isn’t just important. It’s very important.

Ready to experience a landing page? It’s coming with two (2) awesome Free and downloadable eBooks.

1) Hubspot’s – Landing Pages for Conversion

The average attention span online is about eight seconds. Question is, how do you get someone to read and convert on your landing page in that short time frame?

Landing pages literally serve as the location your prospect “lands” on your website. In addition to prospects, many repeat visitors or customers will come across your landing page. This means that your landing pages need to be optimized for every stage of the marketing funnel.

To help you build landing pages that convert, we wrote this comprehensive guide on How to Optimize Landing Pages for Conversions.

In this 74-page ebook, you’ll learn how to:

  • Optimize Every Element of Your Landing Page
  • A/B Test Your Landing Pages
  • Get Your Landing Pages Shared Online
  • Tie Your Landing Pages to Lead Nurturing
  • Close the Loop with Landing Page Analytics

2) Optify’s – Tips for Landing Pages

Are you using landing pages as a destination for your marketing campaigns? More importantly, are you using them effectively? Anyone can create a landing page, but a great landing page results in engagement and action.

Download our 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Landing Page Whitepaper and learn how to:

  • Tailor the design, images and text for conversion
  • Create an emphasized call-to-action
  • Optimize the headline and sub-headline
  • Enable social sharing and highlight social validation
  • Distribute Links via Social Media Channels
  • And much more…

Make sure each landing page you create is a great landing page.

Final Tip from DIR Incorporated to begin your landing page optimization:

Make sure to pay special attention to layout, headlines, and forms. Experiment with adding new pages to target specific keywords and audiences, and watch your leads dramatically increase, as well.

BANG! – 8 Tips For Re-Designing A Website With Impact from Rob Rohena

For some of you reading this adding a software program to your website might be too big of a challenge due to an inability to make changes to your own website. As a BONUS eBook from DIR Incorporated and BANG! Website Design of South Bend, Indiana, see the slideshare above titled BANG! – 8 Tips For Re-Designing A Website With Impact.

More Michiana B2B’s Optimizing Websites To Capture Leads

Optimizing websites helps drive traffic and track leads. Before you ever know about a prospective lead, your audience has used various channels to research solutions and make decisions about your products, services, and those of your competitors. In order to keep up with technology and even more importantly prospective buyers, many businesses across Michiana are turning   to company that focus on optimizing websites. Some are even going deeper and investing in a revenue-driven process called “Strategic Inbound Marketing“.

The idea behind Strategic Inbound Marketing (SIM) is to positions marketing content on your website related to keywords and phrases your ideal prospects search for online and via mobile. The goal is to make your content as “search-engine friendly” and relevant as possible, so that it will most likely appear high on search results. However, unlike most search engine optimization programs and services, Strategic Inbound Marketing help you segment, capture, and nurture the traffic driven to your optimization website clear unto conversion of a customer.

“That pretty website will not cut it anymore” – Will Wyatt, Optify Channel Manager

Using Optify digital marketing software Michiana marketing company, DIR Incorporated, is providing sales ready lead opportunities and marketing that is responsible for a defined revenue target. “The success of Strategic Inbound Marketing relies on digital marketing software that helps you reach buyers early in the sales life-cycle.”,  says Matt Howell, DIR Incorporated Director of WordPress Website Development. Mr. Howell added, “Optify also helps businesses generate more inbound demand, empowers sales reps to engage more strategically, and tracks the impact of all your marketing programs in one place.”

UHI Worldwide Strategic Inbound Marketing Program

Optify also seems to be very popular with multi-national B2B companies who need to empower local marketing teams to drive more inbound leads with organic search. “According to our experience, says Rob Rohena, DIR Incorporated founder and CEO. Digital Marketing software provides a robust international SEO solution, with full support for the top five search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex. In fact, we are helping Michiana companies get local rankings in more than 40 countries and regions, best of all we are tracking search marketing performance across each one.”

A good example of this is UHI Worldwide, an Elkhart, Indiana manufacturer of versatile heating solutions who just last week made their first shipment of their RV holding tank products “UltraHeat” to a new wholesale stockiest (distributor), Premier Furnishings located within the United Kingdom.

“With the addition of Premier Furnishings to our marketing structure, this will open the door to the UK market, basically to date unexplored…” states Michael J. Lewis, VP of UHI Worldwide. Premier Furnishing found UHI Worldwide via an online search after begin engaged via Facebook. This deal is already paying-off for both companies as one of their Premier current clients, Auto-Sleepers Ltd. has already placed their first order, looking to prototype the UltraHeat product in an up-and-coming white-labeled models for later this year.

Strategic Inbound Marketing is also helping providing Michiana companies with keyword suggestions, and helping the regions best marketers understand which keywords drive the highest value leads.

Driving Increased Revenue for Eco Surface Solutions via Website OptimizationThis suggestion technology helped Eco Surface Solutions, a Goshen Indiana leading supplier of ecologically friendly ice and dust control products optimize their website for competitive keywords and phrases, like “Iceban” and “Iceban 305”. After a quick and cost-effective website optimization they saw online sales grow by 5 times in 4 months.  “We re-designed our website and got so busy from it that we are just now getting ready to research, focus, and measure our keyword marketing program on an ongoing basis”, says Bill Kinney, Sales Manager of Eco Surface Solutions.

Michiana businesses using Strategic Inbound Marketing software like Hubspot, Optify, Eloqua are able to

analyzes their current website and act on recommendations to improve search engine visibility results, inbound and outbound links, Facebook shares, Twitter mentions and email marketing clicks.

Driving Increased Revenue for South Bend Invest via Revenue Performance ManagementIn addition, companies like South Bend Invest, a Mishawaka-based REO Brokerage and real estate investment company owned by John Tiffany is using digital marketing software to quickly research and see what keywords his competitors rank for and how they compare.  His marketing team lead by Nicole Kovatch, cross reference the information with the average Google Ad cost for those keywords, and then creates marketing campaigns targeting the lowest hanging fruit with the least cost-competition.

“We use strategic inbound marketing software to get a page-level SEO analysis for each of the pages on our site”, says Nicole. Digital marketing software makes it easy to track your traffic-driving keywords, total number of page visits, internal links and number of inbound links.

Finally, it would not be called inbound marketing without landing pages, in fact, the whole point of SEO is to make your company more visible online so you can be found by prospective buyers early in their research cycle.

Optimizing Websites“That pretty website will not cut it anymore. Driving more traffic to your site is pointless if you don’t have the necessary offers, landing pages, and forms in place to convert a large part of those visitors into leads,” says Will Wyatt, Optify Channel Manager.

With the right strategic inbound marketing software and a proven Strategic Inbound Marketing process Michiana sales-teams and marketers can align their focus on generating revenue. For companies just wanting to get their feet wet, optimizing website services will do the trick.

About DIR Incorporated

DIR Incorporated is a Michiana based leading Strategic Inbound Marketing agency and partners of industry leading inbound marketing software. We are frequently sought by media as a thought-leader in this space.

About Optify

Optify is a digital marketing software for agencies that offers a complete SEO solution to help clients drive more traffic and leads from organic search, measures the impact of your SEO efforts on your traffic, leads, and revenue. And, provides step-by-step guidance to optimize your website.

Does The Toyota Way of Marketing Make “CENTS” For Your Business?

Does The Toyota Way of Marketing Make “CENTS” For Your Business?

By Rob Rohena, DIR Incorporated (Re-print)

Juran’s Influence on the Lean Way of Marketing

In the April 2011 edition of Forbes Magazine’s, Joseph Juran’s legacy as a pacesetter for the quality movement of the early 20th Century was featured.

Joseph ideas about quality management where initially rejected in the United States, but, the Japanese who were banned from having an active military after WWII, saw the value of competing on a different front; manufacturing.

From the ideas of Juran’s Ouality Handbook were born the concept of Lean Manufacturing; Kaizen ( continuous improvement), Hosin ( rapid action breakthrough ), and the “Toyota Way” of manufacturing which believe to operate more cost- efficiently and at a higher standard all stakeholders need a sense of ownership in the process of making and selling.

Traditionally, manufacturing is thought of as the primary beneficiary of lean; however, any process can be improved. Juran’s vision of quality management extended well outside the walls of the factory to encompass nonmanufacturing processes, especially those that might be thought of as service related; marketing is no exception to this vision.

In fact, Juran’s story led us at DIR Incorporated to think a bit about the way of marketing and how it has evolved to the present day. After some discussion we found many ways modern marketing processes can be continuously improved. In this post and the one to follow in the days and weeks ahead, we will suggest strategies and tools for implementing Hosin in digital marketing in order to make an instant impact and Kaizen for measuring results and adjusting marketing formulas. Ultimately, the goal of marketing is to sustain brand value and increase profits … we intend on sharing how the Toyota Way of marketing can do just that in a digital world.

Marketing For The Sake Of Marketing

Over the past half-century, the way of marketing has gained a negative reputation associated with excessive costs that output zero direct, measurable benefits to branding or return on investment. In fairness, some of this ill repute is due to a view that marketing is a part of sales, instead of recognizing that marketing plays a role in everything a stakeholder sees and touches. In fact, for small businesses one could argue with John Janstch that marketing is a system that impacts every part of a company.

However, we marketers [and advertisers more specifically] have really given marketing a bad name. During the pre-Internet years, the challenge marketers faced was reaching as many residents and businesses as possible. We created campaigns that blasted “outbound” messages across traditional marketing platforms with no regard to targeting an ideal audience.

The theory for marketers was that the company goals required “X” number of sales, and the sales team converts “Y” number of leads, so if we send out “Z” number of messages and got at least 10% of in return from advertising, the sale goals would be met. If not, marketers would instruct armies of telemarketers to call everyone on a “cleansed” data list at all hours in hope for a sale. As for the cost associated with mass advertising and telemarketing, we spent hundreds of millions of dollars each year with low success rates and effectively hurt our chance of gaining future sales from our “cleansed” data list, and would have to resort to “renting” them instead. As one could image, this made things worst.

Lean the new way of marketing


What Did We Learn From Traditional Outbound Way of Marketing?

You might be wondering why I am speaking in the past tense. In fact, you probably still encounter this way of marketing. While we cannot speak for every marketer, we can tell you that we have learned from the past mistakes of traditional “outbound” way of marketing. We embrace best practices, and continue to improve the marketing process for our clients and ourselves.

Sadly, the digital age has not helped everyone. We still find that most companies especially in B2B industry sectors have learned how to continue the worst marketing practices and apply them to new platforms – email, mobile marketing, paid search campaigns, and social media advertising. The thought remains, “Get in front of the masses with ‘outbound’ [unsolicited] messages, and the necessary percentage will come forward.”

Unfortunately for most B2B marketers, audiences now reject all types of intrusive “outbound” marketing tactics. To make matters worst targets have become adept at blocking unwanted email and interactive advertising.

So … where do we go from here? Logically if outbound messages don’t work anymore the question arise; “How can we find more customers?” What if instead of an outbound approach we try an inbound way of marketing instead? But how?

For the answer to these questions and to look at how the inbound marketing process in a direct descendant of Juran’s Trilogy read here >>> . We would love to hear from you. If you have comments about the Toyota Way of marketing in a digital world, share that too.

Case Study: UHI Worldwide’s Strategic Inbound Marketing Program Heats Up

Strategic Inbound Marketing Program Impacts RV Industry

Situation before Strategic Inbound Marketing

A recreational vehicle industry leading RV holding tank heaters Ultraheat, manufactured by UHI Worldwide — based largely in the Midwest was looking for a way to build loyalty with RV dealerships and repair centers across the United States, while connecting them with local leads in their communities. While the task was large, and involved reaching out to thousands of dealerships and RV repair center in all 50 states. The solution would strongly differentiate the RV holding tank heater manufacturer from its competitors.

Inbound Marketing Strategy

To create enthusiasm among dealerships and RV centers, DIR Incorporated monitored social media forums and surveyed business owners within the space to listen to their needs and goals. The team used that information to enhance the UHI Worldwide loyalty program with features that would benefit the businesses, as well as its customers.

DIR Incorporated also worked daily with various departments of the RV manufacturer to gather customer demographic data, spend history, and information about operations within the company and its marketing campaigns.

Execution of Strategic Inbound Marketing Plan

Information was compiled, analyzed and used to build a comprehensive program that included a keyword targeting, website optimization, social media management, landing pages, special email bulletins, and an online installer certification program.

The website was customized to connect RV dealerships and repair centers with leads in their area, using their ZIP codes as a default. The site also contained a “Preferences” section to help users find dealerships and RV repair center most closely aligned with their interests. Additionally, offers on the site’s home page rotated, based on the categories that users selected. Users could also use the site to search for national dealerships and RV repair centers nearby, or shop through the website at participating online retailers for do-it-yourselfers.

To help further promote the program, DIR Incorporated worked with UHI Worldwide to create marketing materials for its program participants. Our Strategic Inbound Marketing team also provided local businesses with marketing materials — including window decals and counter-top tents — that could be used to inform shoppers of retrofit products that visiting the website would earn them added value.

Results of Strategic Inbound Marketing

The result was a dynamic interface for shoppers to find the best deals in their neighborhoods at the kinds of services locations they prefer to shop. Members also received special announcements and offers during holidays and during various seasons. Dealerships and RV service centers were also excited by the success of the program, as they saw the value in getting their message out to a local and national audience and the ability to generate more business.