How To Make A Side Gig Work For You

By day, Robin O’Neal Smith is a chief information officer for a local school district. After hours, she is a ghostwriter and editor for bloggers. Smith now earns about $1,000 in extra cash every month from the side gig she launched two years ago.

making money on the side

“I had started a business to do social-media management but there seemed to be a much higher demand for blog posts than Facebook and Twitter,” said Smith, 56, who lives in Pennsylvania in the US. “So I started with one client and quickly added more.”

Her earning potential from blogging could be greater if she had more time. “There are only so many hours in a day that I can write since I still have a full-time job,” she said. “I have hired some help, and once they are fully trained, I will take a few more clients.”

In the new “gig” economy, taking on work on the side has never been easier. In the US, 12% of employees with full-time jobs also freelance, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index. In the UK, there are estimated to be about 1.88 million freelancers, and in the EU labour market, the number of freelancers grew by 45% between 2004 and 2013.

Although not all side businesses would be considered freelance, and some freelancers work at it full time, the numbers are a good indication that more and more of us are striking out on their own.

If you’re considering taking the leap yourself, here are some things to consider.

What it’s going to take: You’ll need to be self-motivated, a good multitasker and have some free time. “Starting any business, whether it’s a multimillion-dollar company or just selling hats on Etsy, takes a lot of work,” said Sam McIntire, founder of DeskBright, an online learning platform for business skills in the US.

“You’re going to have to design the hats, figure out the platform, figure out the marketing,” he said. “There’s a significant time investment.” If you are already pressed to the limits of your “busyness” quotient, it may not be the right time for your side venture.

You should also be asking yourself why you’re starting a business. Is it just to make extra cash? Is it because you have a passion and you want to share it with the world? Are you starting up a business that you hope will become your full-time job at some point?

“Once you have that, then you can start building,” said Judith Lukomski, founder of Transitions Today, a performance consulting company in California.

How long to prepare: It depends on what kind of business you’re planning on launching. “For some, it’s as simple as getting a website, registering with HMRC and taking out some insurance before you can get going,” said Darren Fell, CEO at Crunch, an online accounting company in the UK. “Others will need more paperwork, planning and preparation.”

You’ll need long enough to create at least a rough business plan, research product pricing, and think about whom you’re targeting and how you’re going to reach them. That said, you don’t necessarily have to be in perfect shape to get going.

“I thought I had to learn everything I could about social media before I started working for someone,” Smith said. “But the whole time I had marketable skills in writing and editing. Things will always be changing, so just start.”

Do it nowMake sure there’s a buyer for it. “People don’t do enough research into whether there’s actually a viable, sustainable market for what they’re planning to sell, whether products or services,” said Robert Gerrish, founder of Australia’s Flying Solo, a micro-business community, and co-author of a book by the same name. “Friends and family often say, ‘Great idea,’ but too often insufficient time is spent in this crucial planning stage.”

There are many means to validate a market for a product. You can offer presales or pre-orders. You can put up a splash page on a website and collect email addresses. “There are a lot of ways to gauge customer interest before sinking all that time into it,” McIntire said.

Design your buyer. Who is the person who will buy your product? “One of the exercises that’s helpful is to write down your key client, and get really specific,” Lukomski said. “It’s a person named Chris, and you give that person a life. Then you can target that person. It’s a little bit more than saying, ‘I’m going to target women from 35 to 55.’”

Check your employment contract. If you already have a full-time job, you don’t want to jeopardise your spot by violating any fine print. “You may find a clause that bans evening and weekend work,” Fell said. “Why not raise any questions you might have with HR? They will often deal with enquiries confidentially.” Check also for a non-compete if you’re intending to freelance in the same industry you’re working in.

Get the work. “I worried a lot about how I would invoice, pay freelancers in my employ and set up my website,” said Tess Frame, who started her own website and business-content company. “What I should have been focusing on was getting more clients. You don’t need a website if you don’t actually have clients.”

Don’t goof around. “Structure your time properly and you’ll see huge leaps in your productivity,” Fell said. “Ask yourself what you want to achieve over the next 60 days or construct a week-by-week checklist of objectives.” This will help keep you on track and stop you from endlessly browsing social media when you should be working.

Do it laterPace yourself. Don’t forget that you still have a day job. “Don’t overpromise and take on too many clients at once, or you may struggle to balance competing demands,” Fell said. “Be open with clients about your other commitments so that they aren’t frustrated when you can’t serve them during office hours.”

Get ready for taxes. Making money? Great! You’ll probably owe taxes on it. In the UK, “you’ll need to let HMRC know if you’re starting a business so you can file your Self Assessment and pay the right tax on your income,” Fell said. “It’s also a legal requirement once you start earning money from your business.” Consult a tax professional — or do some online research at a site like FreelancersUnion.org in the US or Crunch.co.uk in the UK — for more information.

Be realistic. Don’t expect a booming business overnight. “Too many people have unrealistic expectations of how quickly things will develop,” Gerrish said. “It often takes much longer.”

Do it smarterDon’t forget to enjoy yourself. Starting a side venture is about more than money. “The rewards are tremendous,” McIntire said. “Having autonomy, building something, having ownership around your own project — those are all things that are tremendously motivating.”

By Kate Ashford

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

What is the best ratio of Original Content to Shared Content on Social Media?

photo-1466721591366-2d5fba72006d

How can you outrun your competition on Social Media Networks?

Post sponsored by Markethive – The Entrepreneur’s Social Network

How much do you share on Social Media?  I am of the firm belief that you should share more than you create original content on Social Networks. Why do I think that this is a correct strategy?  If the purpose of social networks is to engage your audience and gain likes, shares and follows, the indicators of engagement, then both methods of sharing and original content creation should definitely be used. The reasons for this are two-fold.

  1. No one is, or can be an expert in everything. Every marketer has their own area(s) of expertise.  No matter how much experience and knowledge you think you may have accumulated, there will probably always be someone more knowledgeable than you are.  This is just a fact of life.  It is important to acknowledge those “experts” and your blog will gain additional legitimacy and authority from their informed point of view.
  2. There is never one and one only solution to marketing and promotion problems. If there were a single solution that worked for everyone all the time, every company would be doing the same thing and gaining similar results.  Marketing problems usually take a multi-faceted solution and gain from a multi-pronged strategy.  This takes a diversity of viewpoints that merge into a cohesive solution

If there is a diversity of viewpoints and recommendations, on your social media networks, this can greatly benefit your readers and help them to consider the widest possible array of solutions to their particular problems.  It is naive to think that a single magic bullet will solve all of your marketing problems, so an openness to creative problem solving is very helpful in the process.

It is also impossible to provide a simple ratio of shared content to original content that will work for everyone. It depends on the goals of your social media marketing campaign as well as your particular niche.  I see far too many companies that have much too much original content relative to sharing on the social networks.

In most cases, the goals of their campaigns would be better served by reversing the ratio of original content creation and shared content. If your current ratio of shared content is currently 70% original content and 30% shared, I would turn that ratio upside down, and try 70% shared content and 30% original content.

Not only will it likely be more effective, it could also result in significant savings of time and money. It takes only a fraction of the amount of time to find effective content to share as it does to create original content. Shared content also is something that could possibly be automated.  Where possible, this could results in very substantial savings of time and money.

It is difficult if not nearly impossible to automate original content creation. Most attempts to generate content automatically are at risk for Google penalties. Techniques such as content spinning and other creation manipulation methods should be avoided at all cost, and should be considered “black hat”, Google unapproved methods.

Content sharing, or content syndication as it is sometimes called, is an approved method on social networks, and can reduce savings of time and money anywhere from 50-90%. This is a strategy that is long overdue at most companies using social networking in their marketing and promotion methods.

Here is a list of 30 of the most popular blogs on entrepreneurship that offer a rich cornucopia of posts and recent news on entrepreneurship.  They are listed in order of highest traffic to lowest traffic.  (lowest Alexa ranking – lower Alexa ranking number means more traffic)

 

Post sponsored by Markethive – The Entrepreneur’s Social Network

 

http://tech.co/   Alexa 27,280
http://blog.rebel.com/  Alexa 109,411
http://yfsmagazine.com/  Alexa 147,771
https://yec.co/  Alexa 341,817
https://pjrvs.com/  Alexa 346,862
http://epodcastnetwork.com/  Alexa 1,064,851

Related articles

 

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How to Choose Affiliate Banners for Your Site

affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing

How to Choose Affiliate Banners for Your Site

Internet affiliate marketing is a relatively recent concept, but internet affiliate marketing has often worked out quite well for many different business owners who have given affiliate marketing a try. Internet affiliate marketing often brings to mind ideas of affiliate marketing banners posted on one’s website, and although there are other ways of utilizing affiliate marketing, this is probably the most common.

If you are looking for affiliate marketing banners to place on your website, it is important that you try to pick the correct affiliate marketing banners.

Some affiliate marketing banners are very colorful and full of graphics aimed at targeting your customers, who may be interested in your products or services. However, these involved affiliate marketing banners often do not produce very good results.

One of the reasons for this is because the affiliate marketing banner that is so full of color, fancy text, pictures, etc. can take too long to load on many computers, thus defeating the whole idea behind your marketing strategy. It may be worth your time and money to find affiliate marketing banners that are based around text.

Many business owners who have used affiliate marketing have discovered that these text based affiliate marketing banners do not have any less of a click rate than other affiliate marketing banners.

These text affiliate marketing links and banners are also probably less bothersome to your customers. It is also recommended that you be careful with the flashing affiliate marketing banners and blinking affiliate marketing banners. Although these marketing tools can sometimes cause more clicks from   your target audience, these marketing tools are also quite bothersome.

If there are affiliate marketing graphic ads that you decide to use as part of marketing strategies on your website, it will be wise to try to make sure that the marketing advertisement fits in with the theme colors and ideas of your site as much as possible.

Affiliate marketing banners and affiliate marketing text links are definitely helpful for those interested in affiliate marketing.

Ida Mae Boyd
Markethive Inbound Marketing Specialist

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

 

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

Tools and strategies

 In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.

Yet in most companies the organizational structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago. Hidebound hierarchies from another era are still commonplace.

Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts. But in our research and our work with hundreds of global marketing organizations, we’ve found that those CMOs are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist.

Marketing leaders instead must ask, “What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?” Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.

To understand what separates the strategies and structures of superior marketing organizations from the rest, EffectiveBrands (now Millward Brown Vermeer)—in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, Spencer Stuart, Forbes, MetrixLab, and Adobe—initiated Marketing2020, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive marketing leadership study ever undertaken. To date, the study has included in-depth qualitative interviews with more than 350 CEOs, CMOs, and agency heads, and over a dozen CMO roundtables in cities worldwide. We also conducted online quantitative surveys of 10,000-plus marketers from 92 countries. The surveys encompassed more than 80 questions focusing on marketers’ data analytics capabilities, brand strategy, cross-functional and global interactions, and employee training.

We divided the survey respondents into two groups, overperformers, and underperformers, on the basis of their companies’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors’. We then compared those two groups’ strategies, structures, and capabilities. Some of what we found should come as no surprise: Companies that are sophisticated in their use of data grow faster, for instance. Nevertheless, the research shed new light on the constellation of brand attributes required for superior marketing performance and on the nature of the organizations that achieve it. It’s clear that “marketing” is no longer a discrete entity (and woe to the company whose marketing is still siloed) but now extends throughout the firm, tapping virtually every function. And while the titles, roles, and responsibilities of marketing leaders vary widely among companies and industries, the challenges they face—and what they must do to succeed—are deeply similar.

Highlights from the Survey

Winning Characteristics

The framework that follows describes the broad traits of high-performing organizations, as well as specific drivers of organizational effectiveness. Let’s look first at the shared principles of high performers’ marketing approaches.

Big data, deep insights.

Marketers today are awash in customer data, and most are finding narrow ways to use that information—to, say, improve the targeting of messages. Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them. These marketers understand consumers’ basic drives—such as the desire to achieve, to find a partner, and to nurture a child—motivations we call “universal human truths.”

The Nike+ suite of personal fitness products and services, for instance, combines a deep understanding of what makes athletes tick with troves of data. Nike+ incorporates sensor technologies embedded in running shoes and wearable devices that connect with the web, apps for tablets and smartphones, training programs, and social networks. In addition to tracking running routes and times, Nike+ provides motivational feedback and links users to communities of friends, like-minded athletes, and even coaches. Users receive personalized coaching programs that monitor their progress. An aspiring first-time half-marathon runner, say, and a seasoned runner rebounding from an injury will receive very different coaching. People are rewarded for good performance, can post their accomplishments on social media, and can compare their performance with—and learn from—others in the Nike+ community.

Purposeful positioning.

Top brands excel at delivering all three manifestations of brand purpose—functional benefits, or the job the customer buys the brand to do (think of the pick-me-up Starbucks coffee provides); emotional benefits, or how it satisfies a customer’s emotional needs (drinking coffee is a social occasion); and societal benefits, such as sustainability (when coffee is sourced through fair trade). Consider the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which defines a set of guiding principles for sustainable growth that emphasize improving health, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods. The plan lies at the heart of all Unilever’s brand strategies, as well as its employee and operational strategies.

In addition to engaging customers and inspiring employees, a powerful and clear brand purpose improves alignment throughout the organization and ensures consistent messaging across touchpoints. AkzoNobel’s Dulux, one of the world’s leading paint brands, offers a case in point. In 2006, AkzoNobel was operating a heavily decentralized business structured around local markets, with each local business setting its own brand and business goals and developing its own marketing mix. Not surprisingly, the outcome was inconsistent brand positioning and results; Dulux soared in some markets and floundered in others. In 2008, Dulux’s new global brand team pursued a sweeping program to understand how people perceived the brand across markets, paint’s purpose in their lives, and the human truths that inspired people to color their environments. From China, to India, to the UK, to Brazil, a consistent theme emerged: The colors around us powerfully influence how we feel. Dulux wasn’t selling cans of paint; it was selling “tins of optimism.” This new definition of Dulux’s brand purpose led to a marketing campaign, “Let’s Color.” It enlists volunteers, which now include more than 80% of AkzoNobel employees, and donates paint (more than half a million liters so far) to revitalize run-down urban neighborhoods, from the favelas of Rio to the streets of Jodhpur. In addition to aligning the once-decentralized marketing organization, Dulux’s purpose-driven approach has expanded its share in many markets.

Total experience.

Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”

A spices, and flavorings firm, emphasizes both depth and breadth in delivering on its promise to “push the art, science, and passion of flavor.” It creates a consistent experience for consumers across numerous physical and digital touchpoints, such as product packaging, branded content like cookbooks, retail stores, and even an interactive service, FlavorPrint, that learns each customer’s taste preferences and makes tailored recipe recommendations. FlavorPrint does for recipes what Netflix has done for movies; its algorithm distils each recipe into a unique flavor profile, which can be matched to a consumer’s taste-preference profile. FlavorPrint can then generate customized e-mails, shopping lists, and recipes optimized for tablets and mobile devices.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Leadership – How Can Leadership Programs Be Measured?

 

Leadership – How Can Leadership Programs Be Measured?

Perk up your discussion with these facts of leadership.

This short article on leadership aims at offering you with all the essential matter you will need to understand more about leadership. Read it well.

The nature and intent of that effect identifies the influence, instructions and outcome of leadership. Organizations depend on leadership for instructions, momentum and a plan for sustainable success. How can leadership be determined?

Usually, leadership is specified by attributes and results. Formal leadership development nearly always focuses specifically on qualities, relying on hope that results will take place.

Never hesitate to admit that you don't know. There is no one who knows everything. So if you have no idea much about leadership, all that needs to be done is to read up on it!

For instance, an individual in a leadership function is considered "successful." We want to replicate the leader's success, so we try to reproduce the qualities, skills, values, competencies, actions and habits of the leader. We try and edify to emulate these qualities in others, but we hardly ever get the same results. Business America is full of "competency-based" leadership development programs, what one might call the "injection-mold" technique. Competency-based leadership development has a result on organizational culture, no doubt, but not always the wanted result. Leaders who somehow "determine up" to the wanted proficiencies do not always produce wanted outcomes.

Ultimately, producing outcomes is the reason we study leadership, the factor we seek to establish leaders, the very factor we need leaders. So it stands to reason that leadership likewise has been determined based on the results produced, despite how those results were achieved. We require look no further than Richard Nixon or Kenneth Lay to recognize the downside of such one-dimensional steps.

Getting info on specific topics can be rather annoying for some. This is the factor this short article was composed with as much matter referring to leadership as possible. This is the method we intend to assist others in finding out about leadership.

The leader's function is to establish the conditions (the culture, the environment) under which others can take right action to achieve preferred results. "Desired results" are well specified by the vision, objective, values and objectives of the team or organization. Leadership is finest determined by the how well fans perform the vision, objective and goals while "living out" the desired values. This leads us to a brand-new property: that leadership must be measured by the results produced and how they are produced, as so often stated. There is a critical 3rd component, that is, by whom are the outcomes produced. This should rightfully be associated to individual action without any contributing impact from the habits of others if it is the leader that produces the desired results.

There is an apparent link between interaction and leadership– the fundamental reason for communication and for leadership is to prompt some kind of behavioral reaction or action. Fan habits, not leader habits, defines leadership. This might lead one to argue, mistakenly, that there is little difference between leadership and browbeating.

Utilizing the intuition I had on leadership, I thought that writing this article would undoubtedly be worth the difficulty. The majority of the pertinent details on leadership has been included here.

Ultimately, the brand of leadership we seek in contemporary life is best defined, developed and measured based on whether intended results are accomplished, how they are achieved, the value of these results to others, and whether fans take discretionary action to attain the leader's vision, objective and objectives. Leadership development need to be tied to planned results of those who are lead more than proficiency sets of those who lead.

All this matter was written with passion, which caused the speedy completion of this composing on leadership. Let this passion burn for a long time.

Ultimately, producing results is the reason we study leadership, the reason we seek to develop leaders, the very factor we require leaders. It stands to reason that leadership likewise has been measured based on the results produced, regardless of how those results were accomplished. There is an obvious link between communication and leadership– the standard factor for interaction and for leadership is to trigger some type of behavioral response or action. Eventually, the brand of leadership we seek in modern life is best defined, established and determined based on whether planned outcomes are attained, how they are achieved, the value of these outcomes to others, and whether fans take discretionary action to achieve the leader's vision, mission and objectives. Leadership development should be tied to planned outcomes of those who are lead more than proficiency sets of those who lead.

Contributor
Charles R Juarez Jr

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How to Post on my Facebook Profile and my Facebook Groups

Sponsored by Markethive –  THE social network for entrepreneurs

What are the rules of etiquette on Facebook and how should I observe them on my Facebook profile and in my Facebook groups? No matter what we do in life, or where we go, there are standards that apply, right? In the workplace, at school, in church, even at a baseball game.

No matter where we are, there are expectations of how we should behave in order to not just get along, but to harmonize with others. The same is true online, but the rules of the game are a little different. Somehow the rules online have changed, and people say things online that they would never dream of saying in front of people they know.

There is widespread political bashing from the left and the right online now, of which you are probably very well aware, but it by no means is it limited to politics. In perhaps a vain attempt to bring a little civility to the online world, and especially to Facebook where the rules of the “Old Wild, Wild West” seem to reign supreme, I would like to talk about Facebook etiquette from the online marketers point of view.

I know, to use a crude analogy, I may be merely spitting into the wind here, but it seems to me someone has to point this out, and I guess I might as well be the one to do it. What does political bashing inside a Facebook group of pro-Trump, or pro-Hillary supporters actually accomplish? This is a real enigma for me.

Who are they going to influence in a group where everyone shares the same political view? If they wanted to try and change someone’ viewpoint, maybe they should all go together and post all over one of the pro-Hillary sites until the owner of the site would just give up in frustration, (or vice versa).

I really don’t want to go here, but it also seems like there is an awful lot of Muslim bashing on Facebook. Where did this come from? I fully understand the frustration with the wars in the Middle East, but especially at the time of the 4th of July when we celebrate the Constitution, isn’t freedom of religion one of the fundamental principles of the pilgrims, to the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary patriots? Jeesh, give the complaints against Muslims, especially Muslim-Americans a rest already.

OK, now here is the practical side to this post for those who want to promote on Facebook. You may ask “How should I post on my Facebook profile and my Facebook groups”? 

One thing that should be said upfront, you should probably develop a thick skin if you don’t have one already, since there is someone, somewhere who will want to beat up on you, (verbally), for one reason or another. If you can’t take the heat, I suggest you get out of the fire and leave Facebook.

There is no rush whatsoever to join any group on Facebook. I have heard that there 8 million groups on Facebook, so there are plenty of groups to join, and they will be waiting for you, so do a little research before you click that join button.

There are a very large number of groups that are nothing but classified ads sites. If you post to these groups, your p ost is just one of thousands of other ads that no one is really paying attention to, so do not waste your time with these groups.

On these groups, there is no interaction, almost no comments, and no intelligent life as far as I can tell. Why would you want to waste a post on this kind of site?

A good sign of a healthy group is the number of new members, as well as your first reaction in viewing the most recent posts. Are there just ads, or are they promoting a discussion of any kind? Is there any discussion at all? If so, then maybe this group is worthwhile. If not, no problem, just move on to another one of the 8 million groups on Facebook. No harm, no foul.

Also do not waste your time posting out the same message to all of your groups. Change it up a little. Obviously there some of the people you want to add as friends and want to connect with that are members of many of the same groups you are. You look like a spammer if you post the same information everywhere.

The one exception to this rule would be a Holiday greeting. I used this method in a non-promotional way to wish my friends and people in my groups Happy Memorial Day, and I did it again, for The 4th of July. I received hundreds of likes,
and comments and they were still coming in several weeks after the Holiday.

This is when I realized that promotional methods on Facebook have a potential to reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of people.

So my advice is as follows:

1) Be polite, don’t push your own agenda all the time.

2) Inspire people with your message and they will follow you and want to be your friend.

3) Join groups with growing membership, and make sure you check the rules of
group and act accordingly.

4) Interact as much as possible on groups, especially with the moderators, influencers, or people active on the group.

5) Reply to messages in a timely manner. (same day if possible)

6) Have something inspiring to say with short test messages and images. Ideally do not promote directly through your text message, but you can link to another page with useful information and links to your offers. This indirect method of promotion will be more effective in the long run than just splashing your ad everywhere like most people do.

7) Have fun and keep your sense of humor. Don’t forget that Facebook started as a fun place for people to connect. In growing so big, Facebook has lost quite a bit of that “fun” spirit, but use your creativity to keep trying new things, and experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. By following these guidelines your experience on Facebook will be more enjoyable, AND more profitable.

Sponsored by Markethive – – THE social network for entrepreneurs

John Lombaerde – Goldfinch Digital Publishing

.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always the footnote. You are forced to stick out or not be seen at all. It makes your relationship with your customer based on attention-grabbing rather than value. If you are at the trade show you can have the best booth with the best giveaway prize, but you are not the keynote speaker. When you are advertising at the Super Bowl you can be the best commercial but the best commercial is merely a footnote to the main event. At best, with outbound marketing you might strive to be the best footnote. Unfortunately, to stick out in traditional advertising you usually have to sacrifice your message for a gimmick and hope that some of the people who see the gimmick look closely enough for the footnote.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you are the story. You are the keynote speaker. Inbound marketing is all about creating great content to share with your audience. It’s about telling stories and speaking to your audience where they want to be spoken to, how they want to be spoken to. It’s about delighting them, educating them and engaging them in an open and transparent way. But inbound marketing is much more than simply being the keynote speaker at the trade show; it’s about being the article featured on the cover of the magazine. It’s about being the most valuable player at the Super Bowl. And when done correctly, inbound marketing can open up these amazing distribution channels that make it so you don’t have to wait for the next trade show, the next magazine or next year’s Super Bowl to show off your brand. You can do it on-demand with laser-like precision penetrating a group of your peers and the influencers in your industry.

Linear vs. Holistic

Best inbound marketing linear vs holistic

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the strategy is very linear. You only have so many marketing mediums to choose from like radio, TV, direct mail, tradeshow, billboard, sponsorships, etc. With this linear strategy, you assess which mediums most accurately address your target market and you start checking the boxes. You begin to attribute higher percentages of your budget to the more effective mediums and leave out the least effective mediums. You create a unified message across all mediums, and your job is done for the period. Come back again next period, sift through the data, reassess the percentages and do it again. Digital marketers can make the mistake of approaching the web with this outbound marketing approach. Social media, check! SEO, check! Email marketing- check!

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the strategy is holistic. Inbound marketing is a much more complex approach than outbound marketing. It takes simultaneous usage of all the digital channels, continuous strengthening of the website, development of effective content and implementation of measurement tools all in concert with one another to achieve these unparalleled results. Many digital marketers don’t understand the complexities, they stick with the approach that they are comfortable with, the outbound or linear approach applied to the digital world. This approach gets you the traditional results. The difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing are the complexities and the holistic approach.

Inbound marketing is like a holistic lifestyle — in order to carry out an inbound marketing campaign, a website needs to have a strong foundation. It needs to be in good enough shape to carry out strong messaging, a content marketing strategy and be a hub for distribution. It needs to have a blog, it needs to be responsive, it needs to have a call-to-action strategy, it needs to have micro and macro conversions and it needs to have an easy-to-use CMS. Once the website is in shape, the content can be created and the distribution can begin.

Content creation needs to be engaging and meet the objectives of your keyword strategy. The distribution needs to tap into all avenues: RSS-fed email for blog subscribers, social media channels, lead nurture campaigns, etc. But it is not the linear check-box approach of outbound. Inbound requires daily attention with constant analytical review. Like a holistic healthy lifestyle, it requires discipline and fortitude. Sometimes you need more content, sometimes you need more distribution, sometimes more landing pages, sometimes more blog posts, sometimes better conversion rate optimization, sometimes a stronger call-to-action strategy, but it always takes adjustment and strategy.

When a holistic inbound marketing strategy is hitting on all cylinders, your website is rock solid, your distribution is amplified and your distribution channels are feeding the website a steady diet of visitors, where prospects are being converted with the utmost optimization.

Obfuscate vs. Educate

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the message is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit. It has to be. With very little room to work with, whether it be in a newspaper ad or a few seconds on the radio, the goal of outbound marketing has always been to stand out. And in order to do this, to be a clutter buster, the relationship with the client is compromised. Think about it: how else can we get someone to see your mortgage product in a quarter-page ad at the bottom of an article about Obamacare? If you’re lucky enough to know where the ad will appear, you can try to force the message to fit the audience, but this rarely succeeds, and more often than not, you’re trying to message males and females ages zero to one hundred with the same message. It’s all one big hoax. Misdirection. It’s pulling that shiny quarter from behind your ear.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the message is specific and useful. Rather than forced upon you, the message is instead offered up on a nice shiny silver platter — ready for you to consume whenever convenient. This message contains quality content that educates and engages. It’s meant to answer a consumer’s question, to fill in the blank. I remember not long ago when marketing professionals would advise their clients to create deep discounts and BIG sales and then advertise them to the masses. The thought process was that more consumers would then thereby seek out the product and the increase in customers made up for the lost product value. The idea that I got paid to offer up that piece of bullshit advice is astonishing. The reality today is that instead of advising our clients to slash prices or advertise on all mediums, we instead encourage them to offer something of even greater value — thought leadership (and if we have to offer discounts, we offer them to our loyal brand ambassadors… a reward for subscribing).

Renting vs. Owning

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always renting your distribution. As most advertisers know, you’re only as good as your last campaign or your last media buy. If it works and sales get a bump, it’s on to the next campaign. If it fails, then jobs and budget are on the line. With an outbound campaign like direct mail, the leads come in for a couple weeks when the mail’s hitting households. Once those leads are processed and the mail is distributed, you need to start again, new message, new distribution.

All marketers know there is only one good tradeshow a year, the rest are all washes. The Super Bowl only comes once a year, the World Cup eventually comes to an end, and the newspaper gets recycled tomorrow. Nothing in outbound marketing is iterative, and there are always costs associated with lead generation. This often makes for a negative ROI, finicky CEOs and an overall high-pressure job.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you own your distribution and it depreciates much more like an asset. You build up your subscription-based email list, you earn a top ranking on product-related keywords, you build a following on social media and voilà: you are creating assets. There is a cost of acquisition (creating the content), but it is iterative and it keeps working for you long after you stop the acquisition/creation phase.

For the first time in a marketer’s career, we are creating value that will last beyond our tenure. Create a 20,000-person email list, acquire 50,000 social media fans, rank in the top 10 for 400 plus keywords with a total search volume of 1 million monthly searches and you’ve created a Super Bowl opportunity every month of the year. There are companies (Hubspot) literally lobbying our federal government to allow them to book inbound marketing as an asset instead of an expense. It makes a lot of sense. If you have 10,000 blog posts generating 1,500 leads per month through online searches and you stop posting for a year, that lead volume will likely only diminish slightly. Over the years, you might see some fall-off, but it is a lot more like depreciation of traditional assets. Needless to say, this is the type of marketing that makes CEOs happy and makes heroes out of the marketing department.

Immeasurable vs. Quantifiable

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing - immeasureable vs quantifiable

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the success of the marketing is hard to measure. We can ask our prospects how they heard of us, but in general, the results are unreliable. This makes for a margin for error that is inherent within this archaic and linear model of marketing. Sure, it’s great to hear that the company call center received a few dozen calls as a result of a targeted marketing effort. It’s also great when someone fills out the “How Did You Hear About Us?” form, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. The margin of error occurs when you assume you know the whole story and assumptions lead to underperforming campaigns. The measurement of outbound marketing lacks complexity and a lack of complexity leads to a lack of results.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, everything is digital, and everything is quantifiable. There’s no need to assume anything. Complex algorithms track not only if your marketing strategy is effective, but also if it is converting potential customers into full-blown clients. An inbound marketing strategy is highly measurable. It allows for analysis of everything from the ROI of various distribution methods to whether the size and shape of a CTA button is more likely to attract a customer or not.

What I love most about inbound marketing is that it allows for closed-loop reporting. It lets me track someone’s IP address from the second it hits our website; it tells me how that IP address got there and how much time it’s spending on the site. It gives me an in-depth glimpse into the thought process of a consumer — showing me which blog posts they have read, which pages they viewed, whether they entered the site organically or through another avenue like social media, and lead generation metrics. Again, inbound marketing is highly measurable.

Inbound marketing succeeds because it allows you to talk to people who have given you permission, and to tell your story in a holistic, educational way on your own distribution platform, with quantifiable metrics. We know this to be true because we’ve experienced the shift, from our founding days in branding in 2001, through the rise of the digital marketing age and into this new era of inbound marketing. Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing? It works. We’ve made it work for us and our clients. Talk to us to see how we can make it work for you.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 1

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 1

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

As CEO of a digital marketing agency and inbound marketing convert, I’m always talking about the differences between inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, or, more to the point, “Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?” In case you can’t tell from the header graphic, I’m more partial to the complexities of inbound marketing than the simplicity of outbound marketing. But seriously, I’m pretty sure people keep asking this question because the same answer seems to be given no matter whose blog you read. It’s as if someone (Hubspot and Pardot) wrote a canned answer and it’s being regurgitated without real life experiences and insights into the actual evolution of inbound marketing.

The canned answer usually goes something like this:

Why try to buy customers with traditional “outbound marketing” when consumers aren’t even paying attention?

  • 45% of direct mail never gets opened, 200 million people are on the national Do Not Call Registry
  • 85% of people fast forward through commercials
  • 84% of 25­–35 year-olds are likely to click off a website with excessive advertising
  • You have a better chance of surviving an airplane accident than having someone convert on a banner ad
    Etc., etc., etc. …

Forget about trying to reach a prospect under 40 with outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is different. Inbound marketing works by earning someone’s attention, rather than buying it.

It’s a good enough answer with compelling supporting statistics, but there’s more to inbound marketing than this. In this post I’m going to give you my insights. I’m not just going to harp on how outbound is reaching increasingly diminished audiences and how inbound is more engaging and more accessible — although both statements are very true.

I’m going to speak from experiences that are real. And in the spirit of full disclosure: Vital is a Hubspot Partner Agency, so I could simply repurpose Hubspot’s experiences and playbook like most partner agencies. But we also consider ourselves a Moz shop, with a Moz Pro account, and we develop using the WordPress CMS with the Yoast SEO plug-in (not the Hubspot COS), which means we have some independent experiences and additional tools that frame our perspective.

No experience is more relevant to that perspective than our own inbound transformation. Over the past three years, we went from referring to ourselves as a creative agency (web design, SEO and branding) to wholeheartedly embracing the moniker “inbound marketing agency.” But we weren’t sold inbound — we experienced it. We are our own best inbound marketing case study. In an industry many say is difficult to scale, Vital has experienced 300% growth in revenue and 300% growth in employees, all of which is solely attributed to our inbound and content marketing strategies.

First, let’s define inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, keeping in mind two aspects of marketing strategies: distribution and message.

Inbound marketing — if Hubspot didn’t coin “inbound marketing,” they have certainly spent a lot of time and money branding it as their own. Here’s how they define it:

“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.” 

This is a decent definition, if somewhat oversimplified.

The term “inbound” is relatively new. It took Vital a while to embrace the term “inbound” to describe what we were doing with our clients. In the beginning, we referred to it as “SEO” and “content marketing,” and although we weren’t a Hubspot partner agency, we were reading their content. We knew a term was needed for the paradigm shift we were seeing in online marketing, because SEO had fundamentally changed and digital marketing was becoming increasingly more disparate from traditional marketing. Digital distribution made analysis highly measurable and results-oriented, showing that inbound marketing was exponentially more successful than outbound marketing when done correctly.

It’s not just that traditional distribution was so different from digital distribution; the message was changing, too. And the more we were learning about the message, the better the results we were getting. The terms “digital marketing” or “traditional marketing” only spoke to the distribution aspect of the message, and “inbound marketing” included the new message itself. This new message was educational, it involved thought leadership, and was transparent and engaging. So, in the absence of anything better, we drank a little of the Hubspot Kool-Aid and gave in — today we call it inbound marketing, too. But there’s more to inbound marketing than the statistics on the dwindling audience of outbound and the engaged and accessible audience of inbound.

Outbound marketing is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of s***

Outbound marketing, or traditional marketing, is the marketing we grew up with: radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, billboards, event sponsorships, etc. The traditional outbound strategy can even be found in such digital distribution forms as email blasts, banner ads, PPC, and SPAM. But the defining qualities of outbound marketing is a message. Outbound marketing’s message, as eloquently stated by Jeff Rosenblum of Questus, “is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of s***” (check out his keynote speech “Can marketing save the world?” at Hubspot’s Inbound ’13).

Outbound is a world of jargon where the loudest and most obnoxious are rewarded. Back in the day, clever was rewarded, but due to the escalating costs and increased competition to reach dwindling audiences, marketers have had to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator to maximize their conversions. So we are left with advertisements that use fluorescent pink, bold print, BIG discounts, exploited women and puppy dogs. How dumb do they think we are? No wonder a paradigm shift in advertising had to take place.

Now that we have defined inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, here are some of the comparisons we like to use at Vital:

Interruption-based vs. Permission-based

best inbound marketing Interruption vs permission based

Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing is interruption-based marketing. Its premise is to find a medium with a large following and periodically interrupt that following with disassociated ads. The hope is that with some careful planning and a study of the demographics, a small percentage of the audience will listen to the interruption in the storyline and convert in to a customer. If you can find a large enough following or an above average association, the small percentage of conversions will be worth the investment. Those opportunities are increasingly more like a needle in a haystack.

You find some at these locations: TV, Radio, Direct Mail, Newspaper, Billboards.

Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is permission-based marketing. There are two premises here:

  • First, communicate via mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate.
  • Second, answer the questions people are asking and proliferate those answers around the web in anticipation of the question.

Both of these premises are permission-based.

In the first method, the audience is smaller in numbers than mass media, but because the audience is inherently more friendly and has already raised their hand to get your messages, the audience converts at a 750% higher rate than interruption-based marketing.

These are some examples: subscription based email marketing, social media, blog subscribers, webinar attendees, etc.

In the second method, the numbers are virtually limitless, since your audience online is infinite. Thanks to targeting keywords, you can answer the questions prospects might be asking about your products and your industry. Since this audience is looking for the answers that you are proliferating throughout the web, the conversion rates are unparalleled.

More examples: SEO, keyword targeting, landing page strategy, content/blog strategy, etc.

An example of permission-based marketing that will put inbound into context is the Yellow Pages. Before websites, subscription-based email and blog subscriptions, the Yellow Pages was one of the few places you could advertise where prospects were actually looking for you and you weren’t interrupting them. Yellow Pages was so successful that companies would name themselves AAA or ABC to be at the top of the listings. In 2001, Vital had a $10,000 a month Yellow Pages marketing budget, buying enhanced listings (bold) and an ad in every book from Boston, MA to Portland, ME.  Why? Because it worked, and there was an undoubted ROI.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member