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    The coronavirus global pandemic has people all over the country and world practicing “social distancing” by staying in their homes and minimizing contact with the outside world. This also means that with travel limited and fewer people going into the office every day, face-to-face meetings aren’t happening.

    Your marketing efforts need not come to a screeching halt, however.

    Here’s a closer look at how your website can keep working for your business, even when your sales team cannot.

    Your Website Is More Vital Than Ever

    With outbound marketing, marketers build brand awareness with consistency and omnipresence. Conversely, inbound marketing via your website is about attracting new customers by pulling them through your website, toward your company and products. This means aligning your website with your customer’s interests in order to naturally attract traffic, raise brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and drive sales.

    In these times of reduced personal contact, your website’s ability to persuade prospects through content marketing, blog entries, SEO and other tactics is more critical than ever.

    Take the Time to Honestly Appraise Your Web Presence

    The vast majority of businesses today have websites. However, all websites are not created equal, and many fail to realize their full potential. This also means that they’re failing to maximize the number of customers they attract and convert.

    How do you make sure your website is doing everything it can possibly do on the marketing front?

    • Honestly assess how your site looks and navigates vs your key competition. If it’s not emanating “trust vibes” through well thought out messaging and professional design  leads will be lost and sales will never have the opportunity to be converted.
    • Add SEO to the site to rank high in major search engines. This is often poorly installed by web developers and should be reviewed by a professional SEO firm to maximize results.
    • Check the loading speed of your website.  Forty percent of your web visitors will leave if the loading process exceeds three seconds (Source: Adobe). Simply put: No matter how great your content is, it doesn’t matter if people aren’t willing to wait for it. Loading time is also a factor in the Google ranking process, which is yet another incentive to make sure your website is speedy. 
    • Ensure that the site is mobile-friendly.  Is it readable and functional on a tablet or smartphone? Is it as easy to navigate with a finger as with a mouse? If your website is not mobile-friendly, it will dramatically affect not only the user experience, but also the potential for high rankings on search engines. Smartphone and tablet users experiencing difficulty viewing your content will be less likely to spend time on the site, convert to an inquiry/purchase/transaction and most detrimentally, will be more likely to visit your competitor’s website.

    Prepare Now For The Economic Awakening

    With sales teams grounded, these things are just the bare minimum. An inbound strategy helps promote your improved web presence to your target audience. All of these tactics are measurable through Google Analytics.  Additional strategies can improve and enhance the degree to which you’re connecting with and engaging prospects and consumers. These include live stream videos, email campaignssocial media marketingpromotional videos and website updates.

    At the end of the day, your marketing is only as successful as its ability to reach customers and drive sales. With sales teams largely immobilized by the ongoing public health crisis, this means finding new ways of attracting consumers. Not only can inbound marketing help bridge the gap, but it also has the potential to galvanize your marketing toward new and exciting results.

    If you need help navigating through these unprecedented times, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.X-FactorMarketing.com or email info@x-factormarketing.com.

    A best practice in clear communications is the “rule of three.” In math, the rule of three suggests that if there are three known numbers, the fourth unknown number X can be solved. Application of this idea is found in “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Musketeers,” and The Bible (e.g., Father, Son and Holy Ghost). In marketing, the principle posits that content written in three’s is memorable and pleasing to the audience.

    Communicating three ideas resonates with a target audience. When strategically focusing on a client’s messaging, we always try to distill three core concepts that clearly differentiate them from the competition. This helps our client stand far above the sea of marketing clutter and clearly defines their value proposition to their target audience. These three core messages shouldn’t relate to an audience’s built-in expectations such as on-time delivery, high levels of service, or 1,000 years of combined experience. They should uniquely communicate how you serve customers, and they should inspire action.

    Here are some questions to help you form your own rule of three:

    1. In one sentence, what does your company do best?

    2. What three things, in order of importance, do you want the market to know about your company?

    3. What differentiates your company from the competition?

    An introspective thought process to answer these questions is the genesis of a solid strategic branding campaign for your company. Using your own rule of three helps your message become more meaningful and memorable to your desired audience. The results are better ROI, strengthened brand recognition and sales growth.

    If you need help, we specialize in building strategic inbound marketing programs for a diversity of clients. We would be happy to discuss how you can define and communicate your unique rule of three. Contact us at info@x-factormarketing.com.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_three_(writing), https://calcuworld.com/math/rule-of-three-calculator/

    Born in 384 BC and often referred to as “the father of Western philosophy,” Aristotle contributed an abundance of important concepts to our society. His interests and prolific studies covered physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, music, poetry, theater, psychology, politics and more.

    Perhaps his greatest contribution to the marketing world were insights into persuasion: a foundational aspect of any results-based marketing campaign. Aristotle believed that “ethos,” “pathos” and “logos” were necessary for effective persuasion.

    Ethos is what is often preached in today’s “artificial world” of social media. It is the Greek word for “character” and the root of the word “ethic.” Ethos enables the audience to view you or your message as authentic and credible. Ethos can be created through tactics that create trust such as articles, success stories, case studies, testimonials, personal videos, resumes and more.

    Pathos deals with appealing emotionally to an audience. Aristotle understood that humans are emotionally driven, and therefore, that their purchasing behavior is based in emotion. Pathos is the Greek word for “experience” – strong emotional hooks that appeal to a person’s value system inspire action. These emotions can be reached through persuasive messaging and visuals that makes the audience feel like they need a product or service.

    Logos is an appeal to the analytical decision-making process through logic or reason. The word “logic” is derived from the Greek word “logos.” This is the fact-based dimension of Aristotle’s persuasive success manual. This includes communicating historical or product-based data that are true and believable to the target audience. Audiences who are analytically driven such as engineers and architects tend to prefer more Logos in the content they consume.

    Make sure your marketing contains all Aristotle’s elements for increased response. If it’s all still Greek to you, contact us at info@x-factormarketing.com. We’d be happy to discuss building a highly persuasive inbound marketing program for you.

    Sources: https://pathosethoslogos.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

    If you are a business owner, tough choices are likely an everyday occurrence. Assembling all the right pieces to ensure your business is running like a well-oiled machine is critical. When it comes to marketing, the ideal scenario is a steady flow of interested and educated prospects for your products and services. Following up on prequalified leads requires less persuasion because the prospect has advanced midway through the purchasing behavior cycle by the time you contact them.

    To achieve this level of marketing synergy, a business owner can do the following:

    1. Hire a person internally to run the inbound marketing program. This might consist of social media and pay-per-click management and reporting, analytics reviews and written content that achieves high search rankings. These staff positions range in salary from 40K+ (plus benefits), depending on experience.

    2. Outsource to a team of inbound marketing experts to handle all of the above.

    The benefits to hiring a person internally are (a) their focused oversight of the program, (b) their ability to meet in-person and on-demand and (c) their access to the day-to-day events at your company for social media posts. The limitations include that (a) they are only one person, (b) they are probably limited to a single skillset and (c) they are likely not holistically knowledgeable about inbound marketing best practices. A prominent negative is: Recent studies show that 50% of all new hires quit or are fired within 6 months (Source: Humetrics)

    For the same (or less) money required for a marketing associate’s annual salary, an experienced team of inbound marketing specialists can be retained to create, execute and measure the marketing program. The main benefit of this approach is that it builds a multidisciplinary team of content writers, SEO experts and web designers who apply best practices they learned from inbound campaigns for other clients. You’ll receive a subjective appraisal and suggestions for necessary modifications of your company’s marketing message. To prove the results, review analytical insights of the key performance indicators of your campaign monthly. All of this without vacation pay and benefits!

    It is helpful to have an internal person as a messaging conduit to the external marketing team. This could include providing current information regarding your company and/or shooting candid photography and video within the company. However, none of this requires a marketing degree or formal training.

    To substantially move the marketing needle, an outsourced marketing team will make a greater impact over a single internal hire. For more information on outsourcing your inbound marketing campaign, or to request a quote, contact info@x-factormarketing.com.

    It is easy to assume Google dominates search, and rightly so. In 2018, Google Search made up more than 90% of all worldwide searches. Looking at those figures, why would any business invest in advertising in Bing Ads? Below are a few compelling reasons why advertising on Bing should be part of your inbound marketing strategy to maximize your business’s online visibility.

    Look at these stats from Microsoft in 2018 for all industries searched:

    • The Bing Network audience spent 36% more online when shopping from their desktop computers than average internet searchers.
    • 137 million unique users searched on Bing.
    • There were 6 billion monthly searches on desktop.
    • Bing owns 34.7% of the desktop search market in the US.
    1. Bing focuses on desktop users who are older and have more wealth and buying power. If you are a distributor or manufacturer of industrial products, Bing might be a good fit for you. If you are selling the latest electronic gadgets with a short shelf life, Google may be more effective. You simply need to understand your target audience, demographic, and user behavior.
    2. Bing Ads are cheaper. The average cost-per-click on Bing Ads can be up to 70% lower than AdWords. Noting this significant cost differential, consider the audience size of Bing and the cost to market your products in that channel. Selling and promoting your products and services using Bing could have an effective reach at an economical price.
    3. There is simply less competition for visibility on Bing. With Google owning the majority of search inquiries, it is much harder to stand out among the competition. Microsoft states that ignoring Bing for paid search is alienating over 60 million users per month that Google does not reach. You are not only ignoring Bing but also Yahoo and AOL. All three search engines are owned by Microsoft.  What if you could capture that traffic without competing against dozens of advertisers?

    Ignoring Bing in the US is tantamount to ignoring 34% of the search market. It’s important you do your homework on your target users’ search behavior and determine whether you would gain more reach using Bing for paid search. X-Factor Web Marketing can help you determine if your business is right for advertising on Bing. We can also help you design a paid search program for both Bing Ads and Google Adwords that will provide measurable results.

    SEO (search engine optimization) is just as important as website design and development in building a highly functional website. Web design and SEO are not necessarily interchangeable. A top-notch designer who builds killer webpages aesthetically doesn’t necessarily understand SEO. Are the meta tags optimized on every page of your site? Do your images contain alt tags with keywords and phrases? Do you have professionally written, keyword-optimized content that captivates your audience and compels them to action? These are just a couple of examples that fall under SEO and can be a detriment to your website’s performance and search engine rankings if ignored.

    SEO contains numerous components that must be researched, created, and managed. It’s not about just adding special codes to a website and calling it a day. Researching competition, link building, keywords and keyphrases, and crafting compelling content are just a few of the processes an SEO specialist will deploy to enhance search engine rankings. In fact, approximately 80% of the websites we audit are not properly optimized for search engines. Many designers view SEO as an additional revenue stream and sell the service without a fundamental understanding of how it should work, and the unsuspecting client doesn’t know the difference.

    SEO is constantly changing, and learning best practices is not easy because it is a moving target. Search engine algorithms for ranking frequently update and change. Your SEO expert has to be current on these updates to make sure your SEO strategy remains compatible. If your web designer proclaims expertise in SEO, it’s worth the money to have a third party audit your website for SEO best practices.  If your website architecture, content, keyword density, and overall backlinks are not up to Google’s algorithm standards, your site could be penalized.

    An SEO specialist is responsible for maintaining, changing, and updating your site for consistently better performance. Building top-performing SEO is a long-term process.

    The ideal solution is to hire an inbound marketing firm that has both website developers and SEO specialists on staff. X-Factor Web Marketing can affordably review and audit your website for SEO best practices. Since 2008, we have been bringing our clients’ messages, missions, and value propositions online and helping them achieve trackable and measurable sales growth. Wouldn’t you like to know if you are leaving dollars on the table because of a poorly optimized, low-ranking website?

    Marketing managers and CMOs have tough jobs. They not only have to manage their organization’s brand, balancing the overall marketing strategy with their company’s goals, support sales and identify opportunities but they also have to objectively sift through the mountains of data to identify and stratify if all their efforts are effective. Enter the modern digital marketing firm. Outsourcing your inbound marketing strategy to a firm of specialists makes sense for many businesses. We will explore the way this outsourcing can actually create synergies and growth that otherwise would not be experienced with only an internal effort.

    Most digital marketing agencies’ sole focus is inbound marketing. These contracted firms are up-to-date on all the best practices for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and what it takes to make your website a very effective virtual sales funnel. With an objective view of a client’s culture, value proposition and goals, a competent marketing agency can help build a digital strategy that combines the company’s growth aspirations with a schedule, calendar or road map of succinct actions that not only optimize branding and messaging but maintains a consistent presence and interaction across all digital sales channels. This includes SMM (Social Media Marketing), email marketing, SEM (Search Engine Marketing including SEO and PPC), digital relationship management and more.

    It’s easy for marketers to get tunnel vision in their organization. Maintaining objective initiatives with rigid consistency and the absence of corporate bias and politics are other advantages of outsourcing inbound marketing. A hired agency isn’t going to be competing against other departments for resources that their clients could possibly experience internally. Having this objectivity keeps the hired digital marketing firm not only accountable but also efficient. The accountability to create results in the form of sales growth and revenue is always in focus. Effective marketing contractors interpret the data output from Google Analytics, AdWords, Bing Ads, hosting services for email blasts, directories and banner ads so their client can see what works and what doesn’t.

    Possibly the most obvious reason to outsource inbound marketing is cost effectiveness. Most marketing firms charge reasonable rates for ad design, placement and other service charges associated with a digital marketing effort. Compare those costs to that of an on-staff marketing team with significant salaries and benefits. Providing basic content ideas to an agency that is the expert on placement, design, advertising channels, engagement strategy and the ability to track and interpret the results from these efforts makes sense. It also frees key personnel at your company to more effectively do their jobs, as opposed to juggling marketing tasks.

    Consider X-Factor Web Marketing as a reliable partner to outsource your inbound marketing to. Since 2008, we have helped companies not only grow sales but gain efficiencies and cut costs. Remember, if you aren’t measuring, you’re guessing.

    Inbound marketing no longer applies to only hip retail stores, restaurants and tech companies. Inbound marketing applies to ANY company that wants to grow sales. What exactly is inbound marketing? These are tactics to “pull” your audience vs. “pushing” your brand, product or service outward. This includes SEO (search engine optimization), SMM (social media management), PPC (pay-per-click advertising), email management and reputation management (soliciting reviews and testimonials). Ignoring any of this can be mission critical for sales growth and quite frankly, without emphasis on inbound marketing, companies are alienating the fastest growing demographic with all the purchasing power – people under 40!

    This younger generation of managers belonging to all facets of an organization live on the Internet. They are comfortable with making minute to very large purchases online. Cars and even houses can be purchased online so can your industrial products and services. Buying decisions are influenced by search ranking, relevant and accurate content, reviews, testimonials, social media engagement and so on. Statistics show that purchases are less and less influenced by door-to-door salesmen or catalogs in the mail. This young professional demographic doesn’t do paper. When they shop, they search for it on their phone and if more research is necessary, on their tablet or PC. A website with compelling messaging  and an obvious sales path wins.

    The Internet is here to stay. Search is used at home and in the office. Purchasing, MRO, supply chain and operations managers are increasingly using search tools to make budgeted and/or capital purchase decisions as well. It is by far more powerful than any tangible selling tactic for most any application or industry. Search is the absolute quickest way for a prospect to compare your product to your competitor. Investing in sound content that ranks a company’s products or services in the top three-to-five search results for targeted search phrases practically guarantees an increase in sales and perceived value. Ranking high also adds validity to a company or brand because search algorithms have gotten so intrinsically smart in the last decade that sites with redundant info, bad links or lacking responsiveness to mobile are penalized with poorer ranking results.

    Marketing and sales have traditionally been grouped together for many companies. Some organizations are realizing that the sales department is a completely independent revenue generator than marketing. Both organizational components speak to different audiences. Outbound sales in the form of customer visits, calling and other types of direct communication are only effective if that specific customer is in immediate need of the product or service being presented. Companies that have made thoughtful and calculated investments in relevant content, constant social media updates and telling a relatable company story to obtain customers searching for the products or services broaden the range of prospects either regionally or nationally depending on the target customer. Imagine a whisper versus a bull horn!

    X-Factor Web Marketing has been ahead of the curve since 2008 on the importance of comprehensive digital marketing. We specialize in custom online marketing strategies for manufacturing and industrial businesses.  We know this methodology is fundamental in influencing prospects to purchase your products and services online. X-Factor will produce trackable and sustainable results for your company. Are you ready to start building your digital footprint?

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