Marketing, especially online marketing, is continuously evolving at an incredible speed. From content to social to email marketing, there are many moving parts to take into consideration and small changes can make a huge difference. For instance, we just covered how making one such change drastically improved our lifecycle emails.
To stay ahead of the curve, I closely follow several marketers who I greatly respect to see what tactics they are implementing and the psychology behind their decisions, both in marketing and business.
Read on and learn the different philosophies, strategies, and tools used by some of the most influential marketers online today.
Brian Halligan On Marketing: Turn Your Business Into A Magnet
"Each piece of content you create is like a magnet that pulls in customers. Each piece of content you create is a permanent asset that lives forever on the Internet." [tweet this]
He lives in Twitter, Google Apps, LinkedIn, his iPhone. "There’s a radical transformation in the way humans kind of shop and learn, there’s this tearing the fabric of work in society," Halligan said.
"And I think that’s a fascinating change that’s going on. And that’s the first observation that lead me to this idea of inbound marketing. It’s this big, big shift in the way humans shop and learn."
His second observation is that we humans are getting very sophisticated in blocking marketing out. For instance, email spam protection is getting harder and harder to get through, or ad blockers preventing some of the ads from appearing on websites.
To counter this changing landscape of marketing, Halligan suggests that as a marketer, you should discard the old marketing playbook and focus instead on turning your business as a magnet. It involves changing the way you market your service or product by matching potential customers on how they shop and learn today.
Acquire customers by using the websites, blogs, social networks, or any sites that your target audience visits often. Instead of relying on advertising channels like Google AdWords, he recommends creating various content materials (e.g., blog articles, webinars, ebooks, or applications) that pulls customers to your business as well.
Richard Branson On Marketing: Market Your Business By Putting Yourself In Front Of Cameras
"If you have the right idea and execute properly, your startup's launch date does not matter." [tweet this]
Virgin’s Richard Branson is no stranger to making things stand out. And one of his most important tips in building a good business, especially in this fast-changing market, is just two words: Be Visible.
When Branson suggested "putting yourself in front of the camera," it may not literally mean to record a video of yourself. With the advent of social media, getting your business "exposed" to many people at once is now faster and cheaper compared to traditional channels like putting a commercial on TV.
Use your company or personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to create a community around your service or product. Once you’ve established a following and gained trust, marketing your brand is much easier. You must remember that you need to keep providing value to your customers and followers to maintain that trust.
And don’t forget to inject some fun in your social media marketing. Even Branson says, "We continue to approach social media with a healthy sense of fun."
Ryan Holmes On Marketing: Embrace Social Media As A Business Tool
"2013 should see this frustrating gap between social media hype and reality begin to close as new technologies take root." [tweet this]
HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes predicts that social media is "poised to become an office productivity tool, much the same way that email did in the late-90s."
For what was originally an online tool to connect with families and friends, social media is continuing to evolve and is now gradually taking over the business community by making itself as one serious business application.
You can look all over the internet to see brands such as Patagonia, Blendtec, and Coke use Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook to connect with people at a deeper level. This goes beyond marketing, as sales, customer support, research and development, and company founders are utilizing social media to better understand their potential customers.
In 2012 alone, 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies have corporate Twitter accounts -- that’s 365 businesses tweeting for their respective brands. And not only that, more than 80 percent of executives think that social media made an impact on marketing and sales.
Get creative like Ryan did. He took it to a whole new level, saw the direction of social media, and built an entire company out of it. You can start smaller and build something like the embed code generator I did that provides value, and continue to evolve from there.
Remember, remain creative!
Tim Ferriss On Marketing: You Are Your Best Marketer
"If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think." [tweet this]
Tim Ferriss, the international bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, believes that marketing should start with you. Who do you think knows your service or product from inside out, the PR firm that you've just hired or you?
Instead of marketing "just the book" to consumers, Ferriss took the road less traveled by marketing around his product by making himself an authority in the topic of Lifestyle Design -- a way of life where you combine entrepreneurship, productivity, creativity, marketing, and many others to make your life much easier.
In order to spread his idea, Ferriss created a blog around lifestyle design and posts a lot of unique and interesting content that gets people to actually read it (I'm sure many of you read his work). Those who love the concept of Ferriss' lifestyle design became passionate followers and fans of the blog.
At the time, Ferriss was ready to market his book, he already has a community willing to buy the book without hesitation.
He has gone on to successfully do this with The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef.
And by the way, creating compelling content is just the icing of the cake, the important thing to remember here is that you should create an awesome service or product to back up your claims. Quality is something that you should strive for in order to get the trust from the people that you've just marketed your product to. Once you've done that, everything else will follow, hence his continuous success.
Rand Fishkin on Marketing: Write Your Company’s Story
"Marketing on the web is challenging enough without fighting against human nature." [tweet this]
"For web marketers in particular, I've noticed a belief that great products + great visibility = great conversion rates and sales. I think there’s a missing element that many of us overlook far too often – the story," Rand said.
Successful brands, like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Apple, KFC, and McDonalds to name a few, all have little stories behind their backs. So do you! It could be as simple as a narrative about the founder, how you got started, or even a short and amusing story about your employees or the whole company.
Rand writes, "Emotion and storytelling have been part of how we communicate with each other and inspire action for thousands of years."
If you want to try Rand's "narrative-as-marketing" theory, then go create a page on your site that's titled "Why Us" and write the story behind your service or product. After which, make sure that you get it out!
Your story may not drive a lot of sales right away, but it will help people connect with what you are trying to accomplish. That is the goal here. Building a relationship.
Pete Cashmore On Work: Execution Shapes Your Business
"Execution really shapes whether your company takes off or not. I'm very much a creative person, but you've got to do the follow through." [tweet this]
In 2005, Pete Cashmore was a 19-year-old living in Scotland who opted out of college and launched a blog. That blog went on to become Mashable, one of the top tech blogs in the world. One of the biggest lessons that he learned in business is that "the people who do take over the world have a good plan of how to get there and the steps along the way."
Create your marketing goals and then figure out everything you want to accomplish in between for you to get there. You don't just come up with big ideas and watch them come to fruition overnight. There are the days, months, and years of hard work along with way. And be agile. Be ready to adapt as the things change along with way from goals to opportunities to challenges.
Additionally, Cashmore believes that having a good work ethic and sticking to it are keys in achieving just about anything.
For young entrepreneurs like himself, Cashmore says that there’s an advantage of possessing "a certain degree of naivete" in viewing challenges and existing solutions because it gives you a unique ability of creating something totally different.
Always remember that what works for one person, doesn't mean it will work for you. Think about why it worked and how you can apply that to your unique business. Work smart. Be creative. And keep a pulse on what people and brands you look up to are doing.
Do you have any successful marketing ideas or "hacks" that have worked lately? What advice can you give to others whether they are just starting or several years deep?
Image via Flickr by Means-of-Production