Over the course of the year, I talk to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of entrepreneurs and sales and marketing executives that are interested in using inbound marketing to grow their business. They've seen the data about how effective it is and they've heard the success stories. In some cases, these are big corporations with large budgets, but I also see my fair share of small businesses who don't have a ton of money to throw at their marketing efforts. In these cases, one of the key questions is often "how can I compete with the 800 pound gorilla in my space?" 

Big companies tend to have big budgets, and with a big budget you can really saturate your market with content. The more content you produce, the higher the likelihood that you will get found when some realizes they have a need for whatever it is you are selling.

Given these facts, how can a little company hope to get results?

The other day, I was talking with the owner of an independent insurance brokerage about just this challenge. We do a lot of work with companies in the insurance industry, so I had some strong opinions about this. The bottom line is that there definitely are ways to compete effectively against the big guys and that is exactly what I covered in this week's video blog.

Want to know exactly how little companies can take on market leaders and win business with inbound marketing? Watch the video (just over 6 minutes long).

Enjoy...

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We've talked about the importance of style in your content before - on this very podcast, on our blog and in one of our webinars from last year.

But this week, I came to the proverbial podcast mic with something specific on my mind: the importance of tone in your content.

You see, early last week, I was having a discussion with an account manager about a case study. We had received some feedback from a client regarding the potential inclusion of an element that, in my mind, would have dimished the power of the final product. 

Why?

Unlike a blog post, an eBook or a webinar, case studies are supposed to be results-focused, because readers don't want to be burdened by mounds of editorializing and exposition. In fact, the more fluff you try to put into a case study - no matter how noble your intent - the more you may undermine or water down the actual point of your success story.

This is just one example of how tone and message choices matter, when you're creating content for your business. So, that's what we're talking about this week.

Because, as we all know, often it's not just what you say, but also how you say it.

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If you're a cyber security firm, you know there is no "cookie cutter" business model to which you market your services. In addition, cyber security marketing strategies that work well for attracting enterprise-level clients aren't as effective when you’re targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). That's because each audience has very different needs, goals and priorities, so you need to tailor your marketing message to specifically address each type of client.

Typically a cyber company will be going after one market or the other. It is very rare that a cyber product or service suit both enterprise-level businesses and SMBs equally. The reality is that budget constraints exist for smaller companies that don't with larger ones. The first step in defining a target market is really knowing which high-level audience your product or service is going to serve, because the messages to the two different markets are going to be vastly different.

In order to determine which approach to take with your messaging, you need to first understand the players you'll be talking to at both enterprise and SMB levels. 

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Here at Quintain, we've designed over 80 websites and are frequently approached by companies that are interested in redesigning their sites and need pricing. One of the first things I do when I get these calls is give a price range, so that the prospective client can determine whether they have the budget for what they want to do, and I can determine if they are a qualified lead for Quintain.

In some cases, it's a perfect fit. In others, the price estimate is much higher than the prospective client was expecting, and they ask why it costs so much.

With website design projects (as with most things), you really do get what you pay for. There are plenty of people and companies out there who will design you a website for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, but what you'll get is vastly different from the sites that companies pay $10,000 or more for. 

What accounts for these big price differences?

There are a number of factors that determine the price for a website redesign project and in this week's video, I'm breaking these down and sharing exactly how we price our web design projects and what you might be missing out on if you choose to go with a lesser priced vendor.

(I should point out that my intent isn't to convince you to spend more, just to ensure you make an educated decision about what you're giving up when choose to spend less)

Want to learn more about how agencies price website redesign projects? Watch the video. It's just over nine minutes long, but I've included chapters so you can just click on the chapter heading that you want to learn more about and jump right to it.

Enjoy...

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The Guide to Creating Mind Blowing Content

Let's face it, there is a lot of content out there. How do you get yours to stand out? Simple, make it mind blowing.

42 pages full of ideas for creating awesome content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers!

There is a black hole in design projects. It's this realm right between the development of the creative brief and the presentation of those first few design concepts.

Sure, the client knows is that their designer is hard at work – brainstorming, ideating and being as creative as possible in order to deliver the most fantastical design concepts imaginable. Obviously.

But where exactly does the designer go? Do they trek through the mountains of Tibet in order to find inner peace and bolster their creativity? Do they flee to an uncharted island to perfect their focus?

Most project managers and clients probably couldn't say what goes on during this time. And it's problematic because then, when the first rounds of designs are reviewed, designs come out of left field and no one is quite happy with how it all came out.

Goals and expectations were not established, and feelings get hurt.

Mood boards are like a lifeline back to the mainland. They bridge this gap that we all struggle with, whether you're a designer or not. And they run both ways, helping both designers and clients communicate better with one another.

In this week's episode, Liz and I discuss my own process for using mood boards in design projects. I talk about the tools that I use to brainstorm design concepts and build out mood boards. In particular, I share how they help me communicate better with my clients and ensure that we are both on the same page regarding their needs and desires.

Flipping this concept around, Liz also shows how marketers and noncreatives alike can use similar tools to talk to their own designers. 

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One reason that marketing cyber security to potential clients is so difficult is because all companies expect that their vendors should and will be "taking care" of the problem themselves. As a result, businesses don't do a good job of managing the risks involved in sharing data with third-party vendors.

When marketing your cyber security services to clients, educate them about the risks involved in passing their data to vendors. One of the greatest challenges in cyber security marketing is educating potential customers that cyber risk is not just an IT problem, but actually a business problem.

Your marketing messages should educate prospects and help them understand that cyber security is not only a business problem, but also, more specifically, a vendor management problem.

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Are you getting ahead of yourself? Jumping into the deep end before you've learned how to swim? If you're just here because "conversion rate optimization" is a buzzword, and you think you should be doing it, turn around and walk away. You shouldn't waste the time and effort doing something if you're not doing it with a purpose.

CRO is just as much of an art as a science. And like any good art form, you have to make sure you have the basics in place before you start getting fancy. If you're ready to start optimizing right, and really derive value from your efforts, then let me help you!

This post will show you how to lay the foundation for a solid CRO strategy.

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In the last year or so, I've noticed that is getting harder to get results from the standard inbound marketing playbook. I'm talking about posting lots of blogs and content offers, promoting them via social media and email, and hoping the leads will pour in. Marketing is not the Field of Dreams, and these days, if you build it, they won't necessarily come. 

With more companies creating content as part of their marketing strategy, the playing field has become crowded and its getting harder and harder to rise to the top of the search engine results pages. Influencer marketing can make the difference between lackluster inbound marketing results and an award-winning lead gen campaign. We know from first hand experience - it was influencer marketing combined with inbound that got us the stellar results that HubSpot recognized with its first-ever Client Campaign of the Year award back in 2015. 

Want to know more about using influencer marketing to dramatically improve your inbound results? Check out this week's video (just over four minutes long)...

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