It’s increasingly common for people to thirst after real-life information. They don’t want to be drowned out by ‘expert opinions’ and book mumbo-jumbo. It’s human form, I guess, to identify with people who have done seemingly ordinary things but with great results. It’s what renders credibility to the expert opinions and scientifically proven facts.
Internet marketing is no different. We are always on the lookout for success stories that we can share, such as marketers and/or businesses that have used the Internet to create something interesting and made their businesses stand out from the crowd. This article showcases a few such marketers and businesses, together with lessons that we can learn from them.
Well, let’s get started!
Drawing golden PR opportunities from contests
The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry ran a contest in 2010 inviting a web/tech-savvy person to live inside the museum for 30 days, reporting their observations to the world. In return, the winner would get $10,000, some techy devices and a lifetime membership with the MSI. Prior to running the contest, they generated conversation about it through Twitter (#MATM), inspiring both mainstream media houses and bloggers to feature the experiment.
And write they did. The story featured in The Huffington Post, Boing Boing, PBS, MediaBistro and Chicago Now, to mention but a few. The winner was Kate McGroaty who was 24 then. She wrote her first post on October 20, 2010, a post that was featured on the museum’s site and attracted a whopping 40 comments. She did a post every day for the next 29 days after.
Throughout the contest, she continued to feature blog posts on her observations of various aspects of the museum: exhibits, employees, tour guides, activities, special events, amongst other subjects. Her posts continued to generate tons of comments, as did the YouTube channel that was set up to chronicle her exploration. She also used her Twitter and a dedicated Facebook page (Kate’s month at the Museum) to share quick updates, images, videos, etc.
This attracted visitors to MSI’s official page that garnered at least 15,600 new likes. In fact, any investment towards the contest was returned multiple times over, in the positive buzz generated, the media attention and increased brand awareness.
The lesson: Contests offer businesses an awesome way to connect with their communities by focusing on matters that are important to the community and simultaneously generating effective PR for the business. You can reach out to your target market and increase awareness for your brand and products by simply leveraging this great tool.
Using keyword research to identify industry trends
SRS Crisafulli is a company that was initially established in the U.S. in 1966, but now offers pumping and dredging solutions even to international markets. Its products include dredges, pumps, power units and their accessories. These products are offered to vast market segments, which necessitates the design of a flexible inbound marketing strategy for target industry tracking and adjustment of marketing focus.
To get this done, the company, through Elizabeth Kaiser, decided to go for comprehensive keyword research, laying close attention to words and phrases target markets were actually typing in their search queries. Relevant keywords do not necessarily translate to actual search terms, you see.
Kaiser then audited their list of keywords and tweaked them according to her findings, finding ways to transform phrases attracting high search traffic to determine which products the market demanded and how these opportunities could be leveraged. However, what Kaiser found most interesting was tracking the journey from searcher to site visitor to lead to customer. She determined that more education would be needed to identify potential purchaser intent.
Once you identify search terms, you can target location and then products of interest, which can be used to understand consumer behavior and leverage it for competitive advantage. “It applies in every industry throughout the world,” Kaiser noted. As a result, the company increased its organic traffic which enabled them to save on expenditure towards paid search.
The lesson: Keyword research is an on-going process that must be closely monitored to deliver relevant content to the target market. This helps generate high quality leads that are more likely to be sales-ready, enabling a business to cut its expenditure on PPC advertising.
Using multiple channels for marketing
Putnam Investments is an international financial advisor dealing with asset allocation funds, monetary guidance and investment decisions. Their MD, Mark McKenna, in collaboration with Tippingpoint Labs, who are social media catalysts, developed an all-inclusive strategy to deliver messages to their target audience effectively. What they wanted to do was offer content in many different places, not just their official website.
This led to the creation of their blog, the Retirement Savings Challenge, whose aim was to start real conversations about what savings plans were available in different workplaces in the U.S., and build thought leadership and authority in the investment and retirement planning industry.
In addition to their blog, the firm also relied on social media presence, which was an important medium of communication for all businesses. The main idea was to transform their strategy from being centered on a site, to offering a high quality series of unique interactions for the target audience throughout the Internet. According to Putnam, this strategy was more affordable than advertising, and it improved user engagements as well as helped attract qualified sales-ready traffic.
The lesson: Even where your industry is subject to various limitations, there are other ways to do inbound marketing – social media, blogging, among others – all of which can help you engage with the audience more meaningfully and develop long-term relationships, things advertising can hardly help with. Using multiple channels makes your overall Internet presence much more powerful and effective, and is useful for establishing online authority and leadership.
Internet marketing strategies are advantageous in the fact that they are almost universally applicable. A consultant can gain something from a rock band’s success and a non-profit can learn from a corporation. In fact, drawing ideas from outside your industry improves the chances of success against competitors, instead of implementing the same industry-specific ideas your competitors already know about.
By focusing on these strategies and extrapolating them to your own business, you too can become a success story for others to share, while you smile your way to a more successful business.