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STRYDE | Content Marketing Agency Stryde Acquires Fit Marketing

Content Marketing Agency Stryde Acquires Fit Marketing

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Stryde, an innovative content marketing company in Salt Lake City, announced today that it has acquired Lehi, Utah-based Fit Marketing. The acquisition combines two driven teams into one topnotch content marketing firm.

Founded in 2009 by Owen Fuller, Fit Marketing steadily grew to emerge as a leading inbound marketing agency. In 2012, Dave Bascom joined Fit and helped them evolve from a full-service, CMO-for-hire business model, to a more narrow focus of inbound digital marketing: content, search, social media and video.

Fit launched a series of local marketing education events dubbed Inbound Marketing SLC (IMSLC). At these events, hundreds of business owners and marketers gather to learn from digital marketing experts across diverse disciplines. As part of this merger, Stryde will continue to run the IMSLC events.

Fit was recognized in 2013 and 2014 as one of the fastest growing young companies in Utah by the UVEF 25 Under 5 awards. Fit also joined Stryde as one of Epic Ventures’ Hot 100 young companies in Utah in 2014.

Fit’s CEO Dave Bascom and founder Owen Fuller will continue working with Stryde as strategic advisors. “I’m thrilled about this merger,” Bascom said. “It’s a perfect match in many ways. Greg Shuey and the team at Stryde are some of the smartest digital marketers I know. Our companies’ cultures and approaches to business are extremely similar. Our teams’ strengths complement each other. We’re now positioned to better meet the needs of our current and future clients. I know the combined team will accomplish amazing things.”

“We’re always looking for ways to elevate our organization and level of service for clients,” said Stryde COO Greg Shuey. “It made perfect sense to team up with Fit, their team and their clients, and we are excited about what the future holds for Stryde.”

Stryde welcomes a core of Fit Marketing’s employees, enhancing Stryde’s capability of providing its customers with the highest level of dedicated service. By combining the various skill sets from everyone involved, Stryde is now able to provide a new level of service, including video creation and promotion, along with its current prolific content repertoire.

About Stryde

Stryde specializes in quality content creation, distribution and promotion. Their offering helps companies create brand awareness, increase website traffic, generate qualified leads, shorten sales cycles and engage and retain customers.

Stryde’s client portfolio includes Sports Illustrated, Henry Schein, Signs.com, LANDESK, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many others.

Original release posted here.

STRYDE | Why Your Content Marketing Isn't Working & How to Fix It 3

Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working & How to Fix It

By | Content Marketing, IMSLC | No Comments

The following is information we gleaned from Dan Bischoff’s presentation, 10 Roles Needed for Content Marketing Domination, during January 2015’s IMSLC event.

If you’ve fallen bait to the content marketing cycle-of-no-return, you’re not alone.

Thousands of marketers like you have tried the good ol’ “launch a company blog and start getting tons of traffic” tactic and been disappointed in the results.

To illustrate – the year of 2013 showed a hefty 93% of businesses were using content marketing as a way to expand their audience. This percentage shrunk to 86% in 2014, and is continuing to shrink.

Content marketing, as trendy as blogging and clever infographics have been, is losing steam.

So why the decline?

“It didn’t work. It wasn’t working for people…” is the simple answer provided by Dan Bischoff, founder of Content Hook, during his presentation at last month’s IMSLC. That’s right, Dan founded a company based around content marketing. So if you’re thinking there’s probably more behind the story of content marketing’s failure other than “it doesn’t work”, you’re right.

Let’s start by touching on the main reason people attempt content marketing in the first place…

How It Used to be

Just ten years ago, salespeople held you by the strings. If you wanted to buy a product, you typically had to go through someone to get all the information needed: a sales rep, a travel agent, a receptionist – you name it.

Today we hold personal salesmen in our own pockets. Most of us use online reviews, search engines, social media, and friends’ reviews to make purchasing decisions.

“Before a customer talks to a salesperson, the sales process is already done,” Dan pointed out. According to the Harvard Business Review, at least 57% of the buying process has already occurred before customers pick up the phone.

Content marketing is used for a variety of reasons, the main one being that businesses want to play a role in the 60% of the sales process that occurs before customers contact the company itself.

So Why Are Marketers Failing at Content Marketing?

Dan gave us three reasons:

1

2

fbpost1

Need we say more?

You simply can’t compete against the elderly, soldier dads, or (especially) mourning dogs. Human stories will always win over advertised content.

On top of that, there are companies like Buzzfeed and Upworthy who do nothing but create content. Most of it is junk, but clickable junk.

And let’s not forget that Facebook likes are becoming less and less meaningful – the total number of pages ‘liked’ by the typical user grew more than 50% last year.

Dipping Your Toes vs. Diving In

This is the key.

The difference between those who find success using content marketing and those who don’t is the difference between simply dipping your toes in the water and diving in full force. You need a plan, a strategy, and a process.

A large part of that plan includes a robust, focused team made up of roles that are designed to drive content marketing from being so-so… to shareable.

Content Marketing

Why October Is The Best Time To Ramp Up Your Inbound Marketing Efforts

By | Business | No Comments

Inbound Marketing October

Well, hello October! For the first time in weeks, it finally feels like a brisk fall day here in Utah. Hallelujah!!!

Who’s excited for October besides me? Honestly, I hope everyone in the agency space is! Why? Because history has shown that October is usually a huge sales month. Woot! Woot!

If you’re relatively new to the agency space, you’re probably asking yourself “why on earth are sales good in October”? I believe the answer is two fold.

The first contributing factor is that businesses of all sizes are planning marketing strategy with projected returns for 2015, and they realize they need more, qualified inbound leads. So, they invest heavily in Q4 to build momentum.

The second reason for the business boom in October is a reason you might not be quite ready to hear yet. Yes folks, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are looming ever closer. Creating, as the events do every year, many opportunities to capture market share and generate new revenue.

Just how big will the holiday season be this year, and how can you prepare for it? Read on to find out!

2014 Holiday Outlook

According to eMarketer, we can expect to see a 16.6% rise in US retail eCommerce this season. The firm sites consumer confidence and comfort with mobile shopping as well as a general improvement of overall retail sales as the reason for this increase.

Image from eMarketer

Image from eMarketer

The rising tide of brick-and-mortar retail sales is looking like it’s going to lift all ships. Even if individuals don’t plan on purchasing online, many will take the ROPO route (research online, purchase offline).

Even service-providing firms need to be prepared for the influx of leads and sales that will occur from those readying themselves for 2015.

So, how does the expert inbound marketer prepare?

5 Steps For A Stellar Inbound-Marketing October

You can prepare by starting now! If you’re planning on beginning to think about holiday campaigns in November, you’ll be far too late.

There are 5 key steps to get your inbound marketing holiday-ready. Conveniently, there are 5 weeks in October! It’s meant to be.

1. Finalize and understand your Q4 goals.

Number 1 is kind of a no brainer, right? Before you embark on your holiday journey, you must solidify your goals for Q4. How much do you want to increase revenue by? What about leads? Nail down these finer points and use them as your North Star to navigate the holiday season.

2. Prepare your Content Marketing calendar.

Planning out every piece of content until 2015 not only gives you a concrete direction in your inbound marketing efforts, but it takes a huge load off of the rest of your year. Creating a calendar with each piece of content (including it’s type, target audience, anchor text, keywords, etc.) will only prove to make your content marketing efforts more effective.

3. Prepare holiday social campaigns.

This step includes both paid and unpaid social campaigns. After you’ve created your content calendar, now is the time to construct a supporting social calendar. If you’re planning unpaid social campaigns, curate relevant 3rd party content that supports your owned content and publish via your social platforms. If you’re embarking on a paid campaign, set your budget and goals, and get all of your content in order (images, copy, etc.)

4. Prepare your PPC campaigns.

Creating your PPC campaign now enables you to simply say “go” when you’re ready to begin the actual campaign itself. If you can begin the campaign early, you’ll have a jump-start on the competition. In addition, you’ll have more time to optimize your campaign and bidding strategy.

PPC newbie? Check out this introduction to PPC campaigns.

5. Prepare your PLAs.

PLAs (or Product Listing Advertisements) are essential to any merchant’s inbound marketing strategy. Kenshoo found that on average, PLAs receive a 73% higher click through rate than text search ads, a 35% higher conversion rate, a 36% lower average cost per click rate, and a 46 percent higher return on ad spend. To read more about this study and PLAs, check out an introduction to PLAs here.

You’re Ready For An Awesome October!

Preparing for the holiday season now will not only give you a jump on your competition, but it might also make this holiday season less stressful. Isn’t that all we could really ask for?

Have you begun preparations for Q4 and into 2015? We’d love to lend a hand with any inbound marketing questions you may have.

Killer Marketing Tactics to Try in 2014

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With 2013 in the rear view mirror, now is the time to look to new beginnings – including new online marketing tactics!

Today we’re going to share three tried and true ideas that will get you off on the right foot. Run with these marketing ideas and you’ll outpace the competition.

Set up an Email Marketing Auto-Responder Campaign

Auto-responder email campaigns are something that should be in every company’s sales and marketing plan.

An auto-responder email is one that is automatically set out when a person takes a specific action.

For example, a restaurant might send an auto-responder email out to customers on their birthday offering a free appetizer or dessert or a store might offer a discount on the customer’s next purchase.

Auto-responders can be much more complex than that, though.

You can set-up an auto-responder emails to trigger as soon as someone fills out your lead gen form (to educate and convert them), or after a certain amount of days from when they last made a purchase (to encourage customer reviews or even repeat sales).

Auto-responder emails don’t need to just be one-off emails. In fact, many times they should include multiple emails over a particular period of time.

 Zales email

For example, in August of 2013 I signed up to receive some information about pet health insurance from the ASPCA. Over the course of the next four months I received a number of auto-responder emails providing me more information about pet health insurance, its benefits and its costs – all of which had the express purpose of turning me from a lead into a customer.

Here’s a monthly breakdown of the campaign:

  • August – I received five auto-responder emails

  • September – I received two auto-responder emails

  • October – I received four auto-responder emails

  • November – I received six auto-responder emails

  • December – I received two auto-responder emails

The August auto-responder emails were mostly focused on educating me on the benefits of pet health insurance. This makes sense since I had just become a lead and probably needed more convincing.

After August most of the emails focused on “time running out” for me to sign up, rather than educating me on the reasons why I should sign up.

Time running out email:

Setting up auto-responder email campaigns is easy as long as the email softawre you use has the auto-responder feature.

As long as it does, all you need to do is set up triggers.

Once someone enters their email address and becomes a lead, send email #1 one day later, then send email #2 three days later, then send email #3 seven days later, etc.

Most auto-responders should be set up similar to the ASPCA campaign. You want to begin with educational emails and then move your way into sales driven emails.

Use Instagram to Grow Sales & Put a Face to Your Name

Did you know that Instagram has over 150 million active users? The photo-driven social network receives about 55 million photo uploads per day and those photos receive about 1.2 billion Likes daily!

Is your brand ready for the spotlight?

If you aren’t yet using Instagram to promote your products/service and increase your brand awareness… what are you waiting for?

E-commerce companies like Diamond Candles have tens of thousands of followers and are promoting new products, contests and sales every single day on Instagram, and the sales are flowing in.

Beyond sales promos, e-commerce and retail stores can also promote new products:

And even share behind-the-scenes photos that give your biggest fans an insider look into how their favorite products are made (customers love these kind of VIP perks of being a social media follower).

If you’re a software or services company, Instagram can still be used to effectively market to your customers and humanize your brand.

Marketing software company HubSpot uses the photo social network to share pictures from conferences, to show off their company culture and to put a face with the names of the employees that customers interact with each day.

When customers feel like they know the people they work with, an emotional connection is started that makes it hard(er) for them to leave you.

Agencies can also jump into the photo fun by sharing a portfolio of their work, awards and team members!

No matter what industry you are in, if your customers love you and fit the demographic of Instagram users, then your company should be on the network!

Speaking of demographics, as of November 2013 over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. That being said, the social network is still fairly new and early adopters tend to skew younger.

As the network continues to grow in popularity (and make no mistake, it is on the up and up), the age demographics should spread out more evenly.

If you already have an engaging social media presences on Facebook, Twitter and maybe even Pinterest, 2014 is the time to jump on Instagram!

Don’t worry, Instagram won’t take up too much of your time. The same photos that you share on Facebook (and other networks) can easily be repurposed to work on Instagram.

Once you know which hashtags work for your industry on Instagram, you won’t need to do much work. Just upload a photo, apply a filter, add a caption and hashtag and hit publish!

(You can find a list of the top hashtags here.)

If you’re wondering how you’ll grow your community on Instagram from 0 to thousands of followers, read this great guide from Neil Patel.

Host Giveaways on Social Media to Increase Engagement

If your social media engagement is lackluster, 2014 should be the year of the giveaway for you!

It may sound counter productive to give away a product or service in an attempt to get people to buy from you, but it actually is beneficial.

Why?

Because giveaway posts on social media tend to draw a lot of engagement and along with engagement comes word-of-mouth marketing through comments, Likes and social shares.

When your customers spread the word about the giveaway to their friends, you increase your brand and product awareness.

Additionally, when you feature products or services in a giveaway, you are promoting that particular thing to your audience.

In my experience, some customers will see the giveaway, get excited about the product/service and make a purchase without even entering the contest. Others will wait to see if they win, and if they don’t they will then be likely to purchase.

One tactic I really love is when a company announces the winner of a giveaway but then offers a small discount to everyone else who entered. What a great way to encourage sales from people who have already expressed interest in a product or service!

Let’s Get Started!

This should help you jump-start your marketing for 2014. Now you need to get out there and put these ideas into action.

If you need some hep, please let us know.

Otherwise, maybe leave us a comment and share one killer marketing tactic not on this list that you’re going to execute in 2014!

Kicking the Awesomeness up a Notch: Fit Acquires TOFU Marketing

By | News | 7 Comments

Have you ever noticed how two great things work even better together?

  • Peanut butter and chocolate

  • Oreos and milk

  • Fries and Coke

  • Starsky and Hutch

  • Brad and Angelina

Well, we are proud to announce another winning combination…

On November 1st, Fit Marketing acquired the Salt Lake City-based TOFU Marketing.

Awesome cake

TOFU Marketing and Chris Kilbourn
As part of this acquisition, the founder and CEO of TOFU, Chris Kilbourn, will join Fit as our VP of strategy. We are thrilled to welcome the rest of the TOFU team into the Fit fold.

Fonzy, Sara and Matt: welcome to the team!

Chris Kilbourn has shown that he has the chops as a savvy online marketer and growth hacker. He got into marketing as he figured out how to market his own businesses, which included a record label, a band management agency and TaskBullet, an outsourced virtual assistant business.

One little-known secret about Chris is that before he got into business, he played guitar for a heavy metal band, Chelsea Grin.

He decided to leave the band, finish college and pursue his business ventures. This history just adds to Chris’ coolness, making him a true marketing rock star.

A Perfect Fit
Chris’ experience is ideal for Fit, as we were founded with one goal in mind: helping our customers improve their marketing to drive more sales. We have found that inbound marketing – attracting the right kind of attention online and converting that attention into leads or sales – is the best way to drive measurable, repeatable growth. Since we started in 2009, our dedication to our work has made us one of the fastest-growing companies in Utah.

TOFU was founded with a similar approach. Their focus has also been on driving measurable, business-focused results for their customers. TOFU has found their niche as experts at influencer outreach and conversion rate optimization. TOFU customers have been featured on Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, TOFU excels at optimizing websites to maximize the conversion of visitors into leads or sales.

We realized that our skills combined with TOFU’s expertise would create an incredible combination, like a peanut butter cup, each contributing unique talents to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. With this acquisition, the Fit team now includes 23 people. And each one of us, from finance to sales, is focused on helping our customers succeed.

Large Steps Towards a Lofty Goal
The acquisition of TOFU marks Fit Marketing’s second time buying another company. Our first acquisition was a marketing firm focused on startups, Big Start, which we rolled into Fit in August of 2012. As part of that acquisition, Big Start’s founder, Dave Bascom, joined the Fit team as CEO. Dave brought experience as the founder of high-growth SEO.com, which has played a big part in our company’s inbound marketing specialization. This latest acquisition is another huge step towards our goal to be the best inbound marketing company in the world.

Looking Forward
We are grateful to all of the Fit and TOFU customers who have put their confidence in our team. We look forward to doing even bigger and better things as we move forward. We will never quit learning and improving to be the best that we can at delivering awesomeness for every one of our customers.

With love,
Owen

5 Ways to Integrate Inbound and Outbound Marketing

By | Inbound Marketing | No Comments

Integrate Outbound and Inbound Marketing

I’m often asked to compare inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, and people are surprised when I talk about how to integrate inbound and outbound instead.

At Stryde, we focus on inbound marketing because we believe that it’s the best way to engage people who have an increasing amount of control over the content that they consume. We rightly point to stats like these to highlight the rise of inbound and descent of outbound, or traditional, marketing:

Go Inbound!

  • Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines (Content+)
  • Inbound marketing is estimated to deliver 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound methods. (HubSpot)
  • 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online research (PowerReviews)

Boo Outbound!

  • 86% of People Don’t Watch Television Ads (The Guardian)
  • 44% of Direct Mail is Never Opened (EPA)
  • 2/3 of US Citizens are on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List (FTC)
Pledging to Inbound Marketing

I pledge allegiance to inbound marketing and to the principles for which it stands

With trends like these, it is no wonder that 48% of marketers will increase inbound spending in 2013 (HubSpot). Smart marketers know that the future will be won by businesses and brands that earn their attention through remarkable content.

Outbound works best when it’s integrated with inbound

All of this doesn’t mean that outbound marketing is dead. One new customer told me last week that radio ads are driving their impressive monthly growth. Another customer recently broke their all-time record for leads collected at a tradeshow. When people need our help to make inbound and outbound marketing work together, they often find themselves in one of the following situations:

  • already committed to a significant contract for an outbound campaign
  • already using an outbound tactic that is generating a positive ROI
  • hoping to reach a target audience that is hard to reach online
  • feeling that if they are not at a certain event, or in a certain publication, that they won’t be viewed as players in their space
  • needing to see huge results immediately

Avoiding leakage – the power of inbound when combined with outbound

In any of these situations, our customers see a significantly higher ROI on their outbound when they integrate an inbound approach. Here are five ways you can make it happen:

1. Events (conferences, seminars, tradeshows)

Before the conference, prepare some killer content (guide, ebook, checklist, white paper, video, webinar, etc.) focused on something that the attendees deeply care about.

Diagram

Get an email list of everyone that will be attending and send it the list. Any click through from the email should take people to a well-designed landing page that is built to convert. Make it easy for people to get the content they want and give you their email address in exchange. Once the attendees have joined your list, be prepared with some follow up emails that provide more relevant content. Let them know where they will be able to find you at the event and give them a reason to get to know you.

If there will be great content shared at the event, blog and/or tweet about the event live. Make sure that if you are blogging, you are focusing on using keywords that matter to your target buyers. When tweeting use the conference hashtag and have fun interacting with everyone else that is in one the cyber conversation.

After the conference, follow up with another piece of powerful content. Give them a compelling reason to connect with you via email, and the appropriate social network (generally YouTube, Facebook or Twitter for B2C companies, and LinkedIn and Twitter for B2b companies).

If you follow these steps, your event marketing dollars will do more for you than they ever have before.

2. Direct Mail

If you have a targeted list that will go to your ideal customer, test an ad campaign that invites people to download a free white paper on a hot topic their industry. Send these people to a landing page that is built to convert. Your campaign will be more measurable, and you will see a higher total conversion rate than if you were going only for the direct sale. Once they are in your funnel, you can follow up to close the sale.

3. Email

If you are sending an email to the list of another company or organization, first make sure you know what matters to those people and understand how they like to be spoken to. As you prepare the email, be careful to not come across as too salesy. Remember that people don’t like to be sold to (although they love to buy). Instead, deliver compelling content. Direct the audience to a specific landing page made just for this campaign, and deliver a special offer that is only meant for them. When you do this right, you are leveraging the inbound infrastructure that you already have set up – and building one of your most powerful assets, your contact list. Oh, and you can also make a lot of money while you’re at it.

4. Advertising on LinkedIn and Facebook

These work best if you know that a certain company on LinkedIn, or a certain group of people on facebook, are already interested in what you have to offer. Make your ads specific, focusing on what you know that they care about. You might, for example, know that people from a certain company have been visiting your website – you can find the key decision-makers of that company on LinkedIn and target them. Or, you may know that a certain facebook group has been sharing your content. Put an ad in front of them that references the materials that you know they liked and give them a clear way to get more of that.

5. TV

When you are running TV campaigns, include a URL with each spot. Make sure that the landing page at that URL is mobile-optimized, as 49% of mobile-internet users will browse their phones while watching TV (IAB). Keep your message on the landing page consistent with the messaging from the ad, and offer clear calls-to-action that make it obvious to people what you want them to do. Remember to include sharing links – because if your ad is interesting enough to bring people to the site, it is compelling enough for some people to share. Once they have visited your site, reward them for paying attention and earn their permission (and contact information) to keep the conversation going through email and social media.

The leaky bucket

The bottom line is that we see inbound marketing as being the best option for most businesses. And almost any outbound marketing will have a bigger impact for you if it is integrated with inbound. Dumping money into an outbound campaign without having your inbound ducks in a row, is kind of like trying to carry water in a leaky bucket.