Go fast, take chances.

What Marketers Can Learn From AppleConsistency and quality are the two most important things for product, marketing, customer service, and profit. This is very hard to achieve and requires amazing people, technology and a revolutionary vision. Apple has done all three of these things extremely well over the past 10 years and they’re continuously increasing and exceeding people’s expectations. The funny thing is Apple is not a very transparent company. They don’t disclose many things and their employees must follow strict policies, yet, that adds to the marketing machine that is Apple. Because of their secrecy people want to dig deeper and investigate further.

In the age of information super highway, Apple has created a consistent brand image, name, and engineers innovative products that are the revolutionary. Their products create enormous buzz (word-of-mouth) marketing and sets everyone’s expectations very high. They create the products with high-quality materials and software that is easy to use and understand. By doing this, they restrict things that other platforms allow; one of the most talked about is Flash. In order to create a great experience, Apple engineers their products to different standards than mainstream products.

It’s very important, but also difficult, to create a consistent experience, one that exceeds people’s expectations and leaves them wanting more. It takes content, deliverability, and consistency to create a truly revolutionary experience. Apple has achieved with their products, service experience and deliverability. I used to be a campus rep when I went to UNH and they were in midst of launching color and flash-based iPods, and transitioning from IBM processors to Intel processors. It was a very important time for the company. They were releasing the most innovate products at the time with the most advanced technology available.

Jobs then took the company to the next level by creating a product that changed the game of an industry that has tremendous room to grow. The mobile industry has just started to catch-up to the computer and the marketing revolution. Apple doesn’t and won’t appeal to everyone. They’re trying to create products that are easy-to-use, that have great customer service, and aren’t expensive (debatable). Every marketer should apply those same principles to their inbound marketing strategy.

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What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

the inbound marketing mazeWhere should you spend your time trying to target and interact in the millions of conversations going on? There’s no simple answer to that question and it varies on dozens of factors. Factors that I’m still trying to figure out. Keyword searches is an easy way to determine where you need to be communicating and sharing content. So you find hundreds of places where you can could comment, share, or optimize to get the right people to start listening and responding to you. Again, now what?

Now you need to pick no more than five places where you should start to engage and share content. Your web site would be one of those places and SEO is the way to optimize it. The other places vary from company to company. Another place that every business should be part of is either Facebook and/or LinkedIn depending on it’s industry and if it’s a B2C or B2B company.

Other places can include blogs, photo sharing web sites, micro-blogging sites, directories, location-based sites, mobile platforms, the thousands of other places. I started with LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and a small amount of Facebook. I actually deleted my Facebook account after college and boycotted it until I started learning about inbound marketing and how it has changed marketing. I only use it for personal reasons and when I do, I primarily use it to send someone a quick message, share something I like or share one of my blog posts.

My favorite out of those four is definitely blogs because they can have so many different personalities. Twitter helps me find the blogs and LinkedIn helps answer my questions and connect me with people and groups. Those are some of the most common places to start engaging and sharing. How did you start engaging with social media platforms?

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What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

What Marketers Can Learn From Apple

Photo by: Pierre Lesage

Creating and Maintaining a BlogCreating and maintaining a blog is one of the best things you can do to drive people to your web site, have killer SEO, and create content on a regular basis. It’s fairly simple to create a blog; the critical part is maintaining and publishing content on a regular basis. That was on my biggest hurdles when I started this blog. You must commit to writing either once a week, a few times week, or almost everyday. You have to be producing high-quality content on a consistent basis.

Quality is always more important than quantity. Content must keep the reader wanting more. Content should spread on it’s own via linking, sharing, or communicating. Once you can create high-value content you won’t see results right away. There will be a time period of experimentation, changes, and waiting until you start to see people finding the blog through searches or links. I’m in that period right now with this blog.

Another skill you must have is time management. To produce really high-quality content doesn’t come quickly. It could take a few hours to write a blog post that will leave an impact with the reader. Align that with other forms of content and you’re talking about several hours of creating and editing content. Then you need to start spreading the content through different social conversation channels such as: other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, del.icio.us, or the other thousands of places you can share your content. You must keep it focused so your audience will be interested in what you’ve created. Commenting on other peoples work and linking to them is a great way to start the conversation and begin engaging.

When starting a blog you should have a narrow focus and only discuss a few topics. I started out with just two and in one month it has grown to five. Staying focused to begin with, will help you produce higher-quality content. Reading other blogs will help you create content and start sharing. You can never stop listening, and having quality versus quantity will give you much better results.

Mark K.

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Social Media, Storytelling and the Great WindStorytelling is one of the best ways a marketer can communicate their message. If you want to capture the attention and interest of your audience you must tell stories. This past Friday we had a very violent rain and windstorm that hit all of New England. Usually at this time of year we would be talking about a blizzard with people digging out for days. Not this time. Instead we got two to as much as seven inches of rain and hurricane-force winds. Northern New England, especially New Hampshire (NH) my home state, got hit very hard. In 2008 we got hit with an ice storm that knocked out power to more than 400,000 people in NH. Some people didn’t have power for weeks and everyone learned a lot from the great ice storm.

This time it was a wind, and that wind took down thousands of trees on power lines, cars, houses and whatever else was in their path. The power at my house, which is on the seacoast, went out around 10 PM Thursday. I woke up and still had no power. I went to work, wondering when we would get it back. On my way to work I saw dozens of trees on the roads and sidewalks. There was no power until I got into Massachusetts.

Throughout the day and during the weekend I followed the coverage on Twitter, something I didn’t do during the ice storm. I was intrigued to follow the conversations going on about the storm. PSNH has a Twitter account and was activity supplying information about restoration efforts and redirecting people back to their web site. People in communities throughout NH were reporting damage, uploading pictures and giving PSNH precise locations of power line damage. They were letting others what gas stations were open, where the local shelters were being set up and even where to take a hot shower. Even now, as a write this, conversations are taking place about towns still without power and the cleanup that will take weeks.

All of these people are telling stories and they’re doing it in 140 characters or less. It’s exactly what marketers must do when trying to convey a value proposition, a call-to-action, a blog post, web site content; they all must convey an underlying story that grabs the attention of the reader. It must relate to them and trigger an action in their mind to do something. Become a great storyteller and you’ll be a terrific marketer.

Mark K.

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Targeting and Attracting: Ten SEO TechniquesOptimizing your web site to promote and spread your content is extremely important. The only way people will find you and your content is if they can find it through search engines. Search engines make marketers lives so much easier than it used to be. Instead of you trying to find them, they find you. You pull them in to your web site by aligning your content with things that they are searching for. Usually the most effective keyword phrases are three or more words, also known as long-tail keywords. These are less competitive then keywords with one or two words, and offer a more precise way to target your audience.

The most important thing to do is listen and do your research to determine what your audience is discussing and trying to answer or need. You should start by doing Google searches and then digging into the content you find and the social conversations taking place. Once you have listened and researched your audience, you will be able to create keywords that will direct them to your site. The following are ten things you can do, along with having good keywords, to drive the right traffic to your web site:

  1. Create your page URL around the primary keyword phrase you’re targeting
  2. Make sure your web site page title has one or two keywords separated by a – or |. Insert the keyword in your page URL first, no more than 70 characters
  3. Use the two to four keywords your targeting in your meta description, no more than 160 characters
  4. Create one or two H1 heading tags with your keyword phrases included in them
  5. Write at least 300 characters of content using your keywords in the beginning and throughout the content
  6. Create a call-to-action on the page using your target keyword because that is what they were searching for to begin with
  7. Create internal links in the page going to related content on your site using your keywords
  8. Use alt attributes in pictures with your keywords, keeping them under 60 characters. (this is how Google understands images)
  9. Create links on others pages using your keywords linking to the page your targeting
  10. Make sure the web site footer has links with related content and keywords
  11. (use your keywords in the page’s meta-keywords, Google mostly ignores this)

Do these ten SEO techniques and you’ll increase the traffic to your web site but, also be targeting and attracting the right people.  Now the most difficult and important part of this is always creating educational and functional content. (wish I had the ability to apply some of these techniques to this blog, not until I move to wordpress.org)

Mark K.

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