8 Awesome Businesses Built On Inbound Marketing

business built with inbound marketing

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It’s easy for me to write about how great inbound marketing is.

It’s great! It’s wonderful! It’s cost efficient! Your business will grow!

See? Easy!

But are you really convinced? If you answered “yes” then please feel free to mosey on over to our pricing page to choose a package, so we can help you get you started with your inbound marketing strategy!

However, if you’re not convinced (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re not?), then just hold on to your horses because I’m about to change your mind for good.

How?

With proof. With real business, just like yours, who have been built and who have grown using inbound marketing. Yes, that’s businesses that have used email, social media, SEO, their website and content marketing to help build and grow their businesses.

These aren’t cases of inbound marketing “kinda helped us, a little bit, maybe…”, but real-life proof that businesses – just like your one – can and do grow with inbound marketing.

Businesses built on inbound marketing are very possible – so here’s a few examples of businesses who’ve succeeded!

First up is the app that’s taking the world by storm recently – French Girls.

The Ins & Outs Of Social Media Marketing (Content Marketing Series Part 6 of 10)

social media marketing

In part 5, A Guide To Off-Page SEO, we discussed social signals and how they can improve your search engine marketing game. This week we’re going to dedicate some time looking at social media marketing in more detail.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing that uses social networking sites as a marketing tool. Social media marketing usually involves businesses producing content that users will engage with and share with their friends, with the aim of driving traffic to that business’ website, increasing brand exposure and extending customer reach.

The Social Media Crisis Strategy That Every Business Owner Needs

social media crisis

The rise of social media has meant that businesses are at the mercy of public criticism like never before. In this day and age, if you slip up, there’s nowhere to hide.

This has meant that more and more businesses are coming up with social media crisis strategies. These strategies can be utilized by businesses to prepare for a social media crisis and to train their employees in the most effective strategies when dealing with a crisis.

Remember, a crisis doesn’t have to be the end of your business. In fact, when it’s handled with due care, a crisis can actually have a positive impact on your business.  

In Chinese, the word “crisis” is made up of the two words “danger” and “opportunity”. For every danger that a crisis presents, it also presents you with an opportunity to show the world what you (and your business) are made of.

A Guide To Off-Page SEO (Content Marketing Series Part 5 of 10)

off page seo

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Last week we talked about On-Page SEO and Usability. In that post we gave you an in-depth discussion an insight into the connection between the 2 topics, and then we moved on and looked at what factors affected on-page SEO and usability, such as site design, mobile optimization and internal links, and how a business can optimize each so that their site performs to the best of its ability.

This week, we’ll be talking about off-page SEO.

What is Off-page SEO?

Off-page optimization concerns factors that have an effect on your website or webpage listing in natural search results that aren’t controlled directly by you or the coding on your page, for example: links from other sites.

Why is Off-Page SEO important?

Not Sold On Marketing Automation? Here Are 5 Case Studies That Will Change Your Mind!

 marketing automation case study

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Can you believe that only about 4% of businesses in the U.S. with 20 or more employees are using marketing automation? And that number decreases to 3%  in non-tech companies

Overall, only 22% of companies are using marketing automation software today.

It seems that those who can benefit the most from marketing automation, aren’t using it. So it’s hard to not ask the question, what’s holding these businesses back?

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I think that part of the reason – besides a lack of understanding and resources – is fear. 

Small businesses also have more to lose if an investment doesn’t work out, so they need to feel secure and confident in their marketing decisions. They need to know that marketing automation will help them grow their businesses.

And that’s where these marketing automation case studies come in.

Case studies work as proof of concept that bring real results to what was otherwise just a theory.

And if you’re considering investing in some new technology for your business, but don’t know which one, head on over our marketing automation software selection guide.  Just answer a few questions and we’ll let you know what platforms will work best for your needs. 

However, for those of you who aren’t yet convinced of the merits of marketing automation, ‘lo and behold the amazing results of these 5 marketing automation case studies.

A Guide to Website Usability and On-Page SEO

usability and on-page SEO

Last week in part 3 of our 10 part blog series we discussed the The 8 Key Factors in Creating Great Content. This week: Usability and On-Page SEO.

At first glance, you might think that usability and on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) seem like 2 completely different topics.

  • SEO is about discovery – getting people to your website to begin with by making sure it shows up in search engines.
  • Usability is about people’s behavior and how people are able to interact with your site once they’re on it.

And while the two are separate and distinct topics indeed, they also see a lot of overlap.

So how do they 2 topics relate to each other?

Search engines, despite their best efforts, can’t understand the value (or sometimes the lack thereof) of text the same way that humans can, watch videos or view images, so they are forced to use other signals in order to gage a site’s worthiness and rank them accordingly. These signals come in the form of meta information (no, not necessarily meta tags) about how people relate to sites and pages. This information can then be used by search engines as an insight over the quality of the pages.

For example, if you’re searching for “dinosaur bones” and come across a site that’s slow to load, doesn’t have any real data or information on dinosaurs, or dinosaur bones, and is hard to navigate – then you’ll probably quickly leave and move on to another site. It’s not valuable to you, and search engines pick up on that information.

Of course, it’s not quite this simple, but the general principle stands.

Search engines strive towards improving their performance by providing the best results possible for its users. To do this, they look for information on what kind of pages and sites most satisfy their searchers needs. This information includes:

  • Pages and sites that are easy to navigate, use and understand
  • Content that provides direct, actionable information relevant to the query
  • Content that’s high quality, relevant and credible

Having great SEO but lousy usability means that you’ll get lots of traffic, but the visitors won’t turn into customers. Conversely, a site with great usability but lousy SEO simply won’t get many visitors, so it doesn’t really matter how good it is.

So it’s suffice to say that usability and on-page SEO often intertwine, overlap and affect each other in many ways.

Table of Contents

  • Create Content That Can Be Indexed (alt tags, video & audio transcripts)
  • Header Tags
  • Metadescription
  • Proper URL Structures (& best practices)
  • Internal Links
  • 301 Redirect
  • Site Design for Usability (pop-ups, flash)
  • Mobile Optimization (responsive web design, site speed)
  • Website Updates

A Guide To Creating A Social Media Automation Strategy That Works

A Guide to Creating a Social Media Automation Strategy  That Actually Works!

Like anyone who is strapped for time, I’ve also found multi-tasking to be a huge benefit. From putting a wash on as I work out, to starting the pasta and setting a timer as I finish up some work projects, to walking my dog and listening to the latest podcast. I even automate my lunches. I make all of my lunches the Sunday before, and know what I’m going to be eating every single day.

And then, with the rise of technology, automating tasks and updates began to take a life of its own. From automating weather updates directly to my phone, to getting flight alerts sent directly to my mail – automating began to take a huge role in my life because it made so much sense to me. 

Who doesn’t want to save time on repetitive tasks? Who doesn’t want to become more efficient? Who doesn’t want to spend more time doing what they love?

Automating your social media marketing works the same way as the tasks that many of us have automated in our day-to-day lives. Social media can suck time out of your day that, especially as business owner, you just can’t afford to sacrifice. But marketing your social media marketing poses one big, scary question:

“How do you automate your social media marketing, without having to sacrifice being engaged in conversations with your audience?”

It’s a good question, and fortunately, it’s also one I have an answer to.

The 8 Key Factors in Creating Great Content (Blog Series Part 3 of 10)

In last week’s blog post, Content Marketing: The Lifeline of Your Online Business, we discussed why and how content marketing plays such a fundamental role in inbound marketing. Now, this week (as promised) we’re going to be talking about how you can create great content that will gain traffic and/or leads.

Why Are We Creating Great Content?

One of the biggest challenges that content marketers and small business owners who are committed to inbound marketing face is being heard. The internet has become a noisy place full of mediocre (and often downright crappy) content. There are nearly Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content a minute, and 500 million Tweets a day.

Mary Ann Clarke Scott, photo 0credit J Scott Creating great content

Photo courtesy of MACSwriter(CC ShareALike)

To stand out from the crowd, business owners and marketers have to create something that is genuinely remarkable. It has to be something that people find useful, relevant, entertaining and unique.

Creating great content helps business owners and marketers to stand out from the crowd and be heard.

Is Social Media The Right Fit For Your Small Biz?

I recently attended a friend’s dinner party where I was introduced to her mother. The conversation went as you would expect, with the eventual (and sometimes dreaded) question, “what do you do?” being asked.

Of course, I told her that I was a content marketer, and I went on to explain what Spokal was and what my position entailed, only to find out that she was in the midst of starting her very own business!

You go girl!

Excitedly, she began to ask me a few questions about online marketing until eventually she asked about social media. But it wasn’t what I expected. I assumed she’d ask about best practices, about different platforms, about effectiveness etc. but instead she confessed that she wasn’t on any social media platforms at all, and wondered if she was missing out?

From what she told me business was going well, she was generating plenty of leads, and she was hard-pressed for time to fill in orders already.

So I think I just mumbled some statistics about how 71% of people say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand they follow online, or how 93% of marketers use social media, and concluded with a very confused “probably”-type answer.

Social Media

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For the rest of the week, I couldn’t get it out of my head – Was she really starting a business without any social media presence? And, moreover, was she better off for it?

I know, I know… what am I talking about? Shouldn’t I be answering her with a resounding “YES!”? I felt like I was betraying my own role as a content marketer!

But the reality is that not every small business needs, or should, be on social media.

Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself before you decide whether your small business should be on social media or not.  

Content Marketing: The Lifeline of Your Online Business (Blog Series Part 2 of 10)

In last week’s blog post, Introduction to Spokal’s 3 Pillars of Inbound Marketing (Part 1 of a 10 Blog Series) I told you that you’d be hearing a lot more about content, and I wasn’t bluffing! Content is the foundation of inbound marketing, and by that I mean – nothing can work without it.

spokal's 3 pillars of inbound marketing - content marketing

The only way people will ever look at your website, is if there’s content on it. The only way people can discover you on social media, search engines, advertisements etc., is through content. The only way you can nurture leads, is through content.

You’ve probably heard the term “content is king” before, right? Well, it might be bit cliché, but I’ve yet to see anyone adequately disprove it. Sure, you might have people claiming that content is no longer king, and say… quality is. But how, may I ask, can one have quality content without, well… content?

You see what I’m getting at here?

Content is the lifeline of your online business. Without content marketing, there is no inbound marketing. It’s an absolutely necessary subset of inbound marketing.

The good news is, the barrier of entry into who can create content is pretty low. As long as you can put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – you can create content. But the bad news is, content marketing isn’t easy. It takes perseverance, hard work, consistency and innovation (as well as a whole bunch of other things too!)

But I’m not here to tell you it’s going to be easy, I’m here to tell you it’s going to be worth it.