The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

When Will I See a Return on My Inbound Marketing Investment?

men_with_laptopsThis question is one we hear quite often and for good reason. When embarking on any new marketing program, you should be asking yourself (and your marketing partners) not only how you’ll measure and track results, but also what kind of expectations you should have: What will the return be and when will it show up? If you’re thinking about starting an online lead generation program, like the ones we help our clients execute, then you’ll want to be sure your expectations are realistic and that you are tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business.

In order to understand how long it might take for your inbound marketing program to start generating results let’s take a look at some of the factors to keep in mind.

Developing a strategic inbound marketing foundation for your business is the first, and most important, step.

First things first: You have a lot of questions to answer. We typically kick off every program with an Inbound Marketing Planning Day to cover all topics absolutely critical to setting yourself up for success. Who are you writing for? What is your keyword strategy? What kind of premium content will you develop to convert visitors into leads?

All of this and more should be discussed, strategized, clarified, and recorded before moving forward with anything.

Expect the pre-launch planning to take anywhere from 30 to 90 days. 

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Topics: Inbound Edge

Best Practices when Networking on LinkedIn

Five_Big_Things_Happening_in_Social_Media_Right_NowThe recent lighting up of the Twitterverse following the rather intemperate remarks of a Cleveland job-bank executive gave many of us one of those cringing laughs. Or was it a laughing cringe? We cringed at how mean she was to a young job seeker, but we laughed at many of the comments made as the event proved again that bad news travels faster than good, that ugly behavior often makes for more interesting copy than does good behavior.

But let’s take this opportunity to look at what that woman was trying to accomplish—to respond appropriately to a LinkedIn connection request. She failed miserably, but you can succeed if you follow these best practices.

3 things to remember when you're networking on LinkedIn:

1. You don’t have to accept every LinkedIn request that you receive.

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Topics: Digital Edge

6 Immutable Rules of Communication in the Age of Content Marketing

Recently, someone sent me an article about the new features within LinkedIn that are designed to help companies publish on the web. In the subject line of the email was this statement:know_the_rules

“Everyone's doing it!” 

Didn’t your mom and dad talk with you about peer pressure when you were in high school, or even earlier? Sure, they were probably talking about illicit activities like drinking, drugs, or promiscuity, but the point applies to blogging and other forms of content marketing: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should. 

“Everyone is doing it” is not a reason you should get into content marketing. It’s the reason you should take it very seriously, and do it really well.

Let me be blunt about this. Because so many companies are publishing, it is impossible for all that content to be consumed. Picture a room filled with dozens of people who are talking, while only a handful of people are listening. The folks who are pumping information out (publishing) are literally overwhelming the poor folks who are taking information in (listening). 

There can only be one result: A good number of the people who are talking are being ignored. To avoid that fate, consider these six immutable rules of communication in the age of content marketing:

1. Don’t just talk. Listen.

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Topics: Digital Edge

Weekly Wrap-Up + Posts from Around the Web: mid-April Edition

Today, we're enjoying April showers, and working on many behind-the scenes projects. This week, we tried something different, and published a timeley piece on Sunday. What did you think? We'll be adding a weekend post here and there, especially if there's something newsworthy that just can't wait.

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

In Never Send an Email When You’re Angry: Otherwise, This Might Happen to You, Brian Hasenbauer described how there really is such a thing as bad press, and how an angry email sent in the heat of the moment caused a PR disaster for one professional.

In How to Increase Engagement on Your Company Blog, I wrote about how to look beyond comments to see which posts are really resonating with your target personas and write more content that appeals to them.


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Topics: Inbound Edge, Digital Edge, Management Edge, Sales Edge, Talent Edge

What the New Twitter Layout Means for Your Business

Surprise! Twitter just announced the rollout of their new profiles. New users will have the new profile from the beginning and the rest of us will start getting it over the next few weeks. 

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Topics: Digital Edge

Forget the Compliment Sandwich: Try the 5-7 Happy Hour Rule Instead

Forget_the_Compliment_Sandwich_Try_the_5-7_Happy_Hour_Rule_InsteadWe all have hot buttons– those things that fire us up and motivate us to work hard. For me, there is no bigger driver than the need for consistent improvement. I strive to become a little bit better every day. A little more knowledgeable. Better able to share my expertise and coach our clients to more effectively turn talent into performance. I’m not terribly competitive with others, but I am on a serious personal mission to achieve excellence in my craft!

Since excellence doesn’t happen in a vacuum and significant growth only occurs in response to interaction with others, you can imagine how important it is for me to have that interaction and receive regular feedback on my efforts. So many good things come of it! Clearly it allows me the valuable perspective of seeing my efforts through my coach’s eyes; it is enormously rewarding when my growth is recognized by someone who is invested in me. But there is another, less obvious reason that I find such value in feedback. It lets me know that my coach cares enough about me to spend that kind of time on my personal development. It’s hard to feel disengaged or want to leave a job when you feel that kind of connection with someone!

You’re probably nodding along with me, thinking about the positive effects strong feedback has on you as well. That’s because this concept is universal. Across the board, in any job, people need to know how they’re doing. It can’t just be at review time or when something wonderful or horrible happens.

You’re invited to the 5-7 Happy Hour

It is human nature to be drawn to negative information more strongly than positive and without conscious effort, the negative feedback will always jump in front of the positive.

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Topics: Management Edge

Sales Hunter, Farmer, Trapper: Which One(s) Are You?

Sales_Hunter,_Farmer,_Trapper__Which_One(s)_Are_YouNot long ago, we published a post here about the three archetypes of salespeople:  The sales hunter, the sales farmer, and the sales trapper.  In a way, the article prompted people to decide which type they most closely resemble: 

The Hunter:  Sellers who pursue their prospects like a lion might give chase to its prey… singling-out one account they’d like to land and then running after it as hard as they can.

The Farmer:  Account managers who realize the importance of nurturing and feeding their client relationships, knowing that it will eventually become ready for harvest.

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Topics: Inbound Edge

How to Increase Engagement on Your Company Blog

Last month, we discussed how to measure engagement on your company blog. Now, we'll talk about how to increase engagement. Take note of where you started, and implement the following strategies to get your content read by more people. Remember, though, more important than getting more shares/likes/retweets is your ability to attract and convert the right kind of people (your target personas). So take the following advice and increase the impact of your content!

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Topics: Inbound Edge

Never Send an Email When You’re Angry: Otherwise, This Might Happen to You


If you have been on LinkedIn recently, you might have seen this response to a LinkedIn connection request circulating. It’s an email exchange where a young 25-year old asks to connect with a senior level executive in charge of a local job board on LinkedIn. The request was denied with a tirade about how the young woman behaved badly. Perhaps the younger woman was in the wrong, but the response the executive gave was exceptionally mean-spirited.

After seeing how this one executive responded to a LinkedIn connection request, I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone about LinkedIn etiquette.

But before we get into that, let’s talk about email. Email is, among other things, a revolutionary way to keep in touch with people you rarely see. You can convey a lot of information, share ideas, keep people on task, send cat pictures, and more. But there’s one thing you absolutely, positively, 100% need to remember: 

Email is forever.

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Topics: Digital Edge

Weekly Wrap-Up + Posts from Around the Web: April Fool's Edition

Today, we're still laughing about all the pranks that we fell for this week (even though we told ourselves we wouldn't believe anything we were told, we fell for all the same silly lines just the same). We also can hardly believe that we're past the first quarter of 2014! Time flies when you're having fun, right?

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Matt Sunshine got a terrible email, which prompted him to write How Not to Send a Follow-Up Email, and in it he noted, "Never forget that your potential customer owes you nothing."
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Topics: Inbound Edge, Digital Edge, Management Edge, Sales Edge, Talent Edge