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An Excellent Resource for Internet Marketing Advice – HubSpot

HubSpot Inbound Marketing UniversityIf you are looking to leverage the power of the Internet to help grow your business, one of the first places I’d suggest that you look is HubSpot.

According to the “Company Fact Sheet” on hubspot.com, “HubSpot is an Internet marketing startup whose software helps businesses get found online, generate more inbound leads and convert a higher percentage of those leads into paying customers. HubSpot’s software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and small business owners to manage search engine optimization, blogging and social media, as well as landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics.”

However, you don’t need to be a paying customer to benefit from HubSpot’s expertise.

HubSpot provides many free resources that your business can use to keep up with the latest inbound marketing trends and best practices.

I have been a fan of HubSpot ever since I first tuned in to the Marketing Update (formerly HubSpot TV) back in the summer of 2009. This is a great resource if you want keep up with the latest inbound marketing news. (You can watch HubSpot’s Marketing Update live at 4 p.m. EST every Friday.)

Since then, I have learned a lot from HubSpot’s many white papers, webinars and blog posts.

HubSpot also speaks at, sponsors and participates in various industry conferences and events, including OMMA Global, PubCon, Business of Software, Online Market World, Search Engine Strategies, SMX, Venture Summit, Inbound Marketing Summit,  etc.

In fact, earlier this year I attended an AMA Tampa Bay event that featured HubSpot’s Ellie Mirman. As you would expect, it was a very informative event.

Inbound Marketing University

Recently, I earned my Inbound Marketing Certification from the Inbound Marketing University after completing its comprehensive Internet marketing training program.

The training program currently includes 18 in-depth classes covering each facet of inbound marketing.

The courses are taught by some of the most respected names in Internet marketing today, including New York Times’ best-selling author Chris Brogan, Google Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik, best-selling author and international speaker David Meerman Scott, best-selling author and co-founder of Alltop.com Guy Kawasaki, and more.

Inbound Marketing Certification from HubSpot's Inbound Marketing UniversityTo earn the Inbound Marketing Certification, students must pass the comprehensive certification exam that includes 50 multiple choice and true & false questions.

As stated on the site, “The Inbound Marketing Certification acknowledges the recipient’s proficiency in Inbound Marketing principles and best practices. These principles include: blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.”

In order to earn the Inbound Marketing Certification, the student must receive a score of 75% or higher on the comprehensive certification exam.

The Honors Distinction is awarded to the top 15% of exam takers. To receive this honor, test takers must earn a score of 90% or higher.

The Inbound Marketing University training program is administered by HubSpot.

And, the best part… both the training and certification are completely free.

For more information, visit inboundmarketing.com.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a fan of HubSpot since the summer of 2009.

They are a very respected company that definitely delivers value to their customers.

According to co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah, “The average HubSpot customer grows their lead generation by 32% monthly, and over 80% of customers report increased web traffic and lead generation when using HubSpot software. 85% of HubSpot customers recommend the software to their friends.”

However, as I mentioned before, you don’t need to be a paying customer to gain from HubSpot’s expertise.

Chances are that your business could benefit from the wide range of free resources that are available from HubSpot, including their many webinars, white papers, and blog posts.

Futhermore, even if you don’t take the certification exam, HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University is definitely worth the time and effort. And, it’s free.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to hubspot.com to find out more information.

Photo credit: jameskm03 on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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1911 Main Street’s Top 10 Social Networking Sites for Business 2011

Photo credit: Montage Communications on Flickr.This is the time of the year for holiday parties, college football bowl games, Santa Claus, and looking back at the year that was.

It is also the time of year for “best of” lists… and lots of them.

So, in keeping with the tradition, I submit to you my list of the top 10 social networking sites for business 2011.

Note: There are many smartphone apps that could be considered social networking sites that I haven’t included on this list. I plan to write a post in the near future dedicated to smartphone apps, so if some of your favorite apps didn’t make this list, check back in the next few weeks.

The Top 10 List

1. Facebook

A “best of” social networking site list would not be credible if it didn’t start off with Facebook. The site was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with the help of some of his roommates and fellow students, including Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Facebook was initially limited to Harvard students. However, it eventually opened up to the general public and now boasts more than 800 million active users worldwide. With numbers like that, it isn’t hard to see why this site is number one on my “best of” social networking site list.

On its site, Facebook has several resources to help businesses connect with current and potential customers.

2. Twitter

Founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Twitter enables users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, also known as “tweets”, in real-time. Twitter’s “About” page mentions that, “Businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with people interested in their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and influential people. From brand lift, to CRM, to direct sales, Twitter offers businesses a chance to reach an engaged audience.”

For more information about using Twitter for business, check out the “Twitter for Business” page.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched the following year. It is one of the premier social networking sites for business professionals. According to its website, as of November of 2011, LinkedIn had more than 135 million members in over 200 countries. LinkedIn mentions that all of the 2011 Fortune 500 companies have executives who are members of LinkedIn. Futhermore, LinkedIn’s hiring solutions are used by 75 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Check out the LinkedIn “About Us” page for additional information.

4. Google+

Launched in June of this year, Google+ has grown rather quickly. (A recent Mashable article stated that it has an estimated 40 million users.) With the recent launch of Google+ Brand pages, Google+ should definitely be on your radar.

For more information about Pages for Google+, visit the Google.com website.

5. Myspace

Launched in 2003, this once dominant social networking site has experienced a massive exodus in recent years. However, according to comScore, Myspace still had over 28.4 million unique visitors in October of 2011. This is a sizable number. Furthermore, Myspace was recently purchased by Specific Media and Justin Timberlake. They plan to relaunch the site in 2012. Will this be enough to revive Myspace? I don’t know. However, it might be a good place to buy ads in the short-term, as people will most likely revisit the site to see what changes are made.

6. Tumblr

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, businesses, particularly those that are targeting consumers age 18 to 34, should keep an eye on Tumblr. According to a recent Nielsen study, titled “State of the Media: The Social Media Report Q3 2011,” Tumblr nearly tripled its audience in the last year. In fact, it has become the 8th largest site in the U.S. Social Networks and Blogs category.

For more information, check out my blog post about Tumblr.

7. Foursquare

Around 15 million people worldwide are using Foursquare. Therefore, it’s not surprising that over 500,000 businesses are using the Merchant Platform. While other sites have tried to compete, Foursquare is currently the most successful location-based social networking site. Will it ever gain widespread acceptance? Probably not. However, there are a lot of cool things that can be done with location-based social networking sites. Furthermore, as a recent Adweek article points out, the early adopters of location-based social networking sites tend to be influential and young. The article also mentions that these early adopters are more likely to share product information, promotional coupons or discount codes than average online U.S. adults. This is definitely something that businesses should think about.

8. YouTube

The YouTube website states that more than 3 billion videos are viewed per day on the site. It also states that 98 of AdAge’s Top 100 advertisers have run campaigns on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Furthermore, the number of advertisers using display ads on YouTube increased 10 fold in the last year. If your business is already creating engaging video content, you might want to consider sharing it on YouTube. You might also want to consider video podcasting as a way to get the word out about your business. But remember, don’t just talk about your business. Instead, focus on a topic that is related to your business and deliver content that your customers and potential customers will be interested in.

9. Yelp

According comScore, Yelp had 31.3 million unique visitors in October of 2011. This alone should give businesses a reason to make sure that they have a presence on the site. Good reviews will help drive Yelp users to your business. And, keep in mind, Yelp reviews can also show up in Google Search Engine Results Pages. Therefore, it pays to monitor what people are saying about your business on Yelp and other user-generated review sites and respond to your customers concerns.

This summer, I wrote a blog post about how user-generated online reviews can influence sales. You might want to check it out.

10. Flickr

According to Wikipedia, Flickr was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. Flickr is a site that allows users to post photos and videos. The Yahoo! website states that Flickr has 20 million unique U.S. visitors (nearly 80 million worldwide) that spend an average of 2.7 minutes per visit on the site. Therefore, it might be a good idea for your business to upload visually appealing photographs and videos that highlight its products and services. As an added bonus, many people use Flickr to find great content to share on other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Flickr is also a great source to find photos for blog posts.

Note: You might want to give the content that you post on Flickr a Creative Commons license to encourage sharing.

Final Thoughts

This is my list of the Top 10 social networking sites for 2011.

Are there any social networking sites that I should have included? And, if so, what sites would you take off the list?

Photo credit: Montage Communications on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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Some Thoughts About Blogging

Photo credit: nasmac on Flickr.I’ve been posting on this blog for about five months now.

However, I decided to start blogging a year earlier.

In the year leading up to the formal launch of 1911mainstreet.com, I spent some time reading other blogs and posts on social networking sites.

In that time, I came to a few conclusions about what I think makes a blog valuable and what I want to accomplish with this blog.

One of the things that I noticed is that I enjoy posts that are short and to the point. If you have read Seth Godin’s blog, you know exactly what I am talking about.

However, given my market research background, I like to support my analysis with research or insights from experts. Therefore, many of my posts tend to be a little longer than I’d like. (I am planning to write more short posts in the future.)

The other thing that I have noticed is that blogs that deliver interesting insights tend to get me to visit the site more often.

I also tend to enjoy the blog more if I have met the blogger, in person. This helps me understand where the person is coming from. (Therefore, I think it pays to go to events where bloggers hang out.)

I have also found that I enjoy getting insights from many people. In order to do that, I rely on links from social networking sites like Twitter to point me to new blogs and blog posts.

What’s in a Name?

When I first decided to launch this blog, I was going to call it justevent.net. In fact, if you type in that domain name into your browser, it will take you to this blog.

I had always planned on writing about marketing.

The concept behind justevent.net was to point out that some of the best marketing campaigns are those that deliver value to your customers. In fact, if your marketing campaigns are really well executed, your customers will actually look forward to receiving the messages from you, no matter how they received them.

Thus, the communication that they receive from you would be an “event” that they look forward to.

A blog is a way to let people know what you think about a topic, or in other words, a medium to vent. Since it is online, it would also be an eVent.

The “just” is in justevent.net is in the same vein as the Nike slogan “Just Do It,” meaning that it pays to get out there and try new things and find out what works.

However, because I wasn’t going to focus solely on the creative side of marketing, I decided to change the title.

For more information about the story behind 1911mainstreet.com, take a few minutes to read the “about” page.

On Blogging Frequency

In my blog post, titled “In the Spotlight: Blogging Frequency,” I cited some suggestions from other bloggers that I planned to follow when I first started blogging.

For example, Chris Brogan suggested creating a schedule and sticking to it.

For the first two months, I did just that.

However, for the last three months, I haven’t been blogging on schedule.

Therefore, I plan to make an adjustment and post just two posts a week.

Instead of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I will publish on Tuesday and Friday at 3 p.m. CDT.

On Guest Blogging

Other bloggers suggest writing guest blog posts to get your name out there. So far, I’ve written two guest posts for the Strategy E-ssentials blog. And, I plan to write more in the future.

If you get a chance, you might want to check out my latest post that I cowrote with Karin Khuhro, titled “Why Holiday Shoppers Don’t Buy From You & What You Can Do About It.”

Final Thoughts

Having a blog is a great way to share ideas with other people.

For businesses, it is an important part of a good inbound marketing strategy.

However, it is important to keep in mind that your readers’ time is valuable.

If you are going to take the time to write something, it makes sense to deliver quality content. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and your readers’ time as well.

On the other hand, you never know what will be valuable, so it pays to try different things and see what your readers respond to.

With that said, see you next week.

Photo credit: nasmac on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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In the Spotlight: Blogging Frequency

Wordpress stickersAs I pointed out in the last blog post, it is extremely important that you monitor and participate in the conversations that are going on about your brand wherever your customers choose to communicate.

Therefore, I am starting the “In the Spotlight” blog post series. These posts will focus on one of the communication channels that people are using to exchange information with each other.

It only makes sense that my first “In the Spotlight” post would focus on blogs.

As is the case with many of the other topics that I will examine in the future, blogs and blogging can’t be thoroughly covered in one blog post. Therefore, I’m going to focus on blogging frequency, specifically. Future blog posts will focus on other areas of blogging (e.g., content, length, distribution, etc.)

Suggestions from the experts

When you start any new project, I would suggest researching what has been successful with other people or businesses, before you jump headfirst into it. That’s exactly what I did.

Fortunately, if you Google it, you will find that there’s a lot of great advice out there on this topic.

In fact, almost every blogger has an opinion on how often you should be posting to your blog.

Chris Brogan points out in a blog post titled “A Sample Blogging Workflow” on www.chrisbrogan.com, “The frequency of blog posts you choose is important. Many posts a day is great, if you can keep it up. Once a day is probably ideal (but not as easy as it seems). Once every two or three days means your readers won’t know what to expect. Once a week might be enough, depending on how niche your blog is, and how authoritative you are to begin with. But no matter what you decide, make the decision and stick with the schedule.”

In a recent blog post titled “On the Argument to Post Blog Content Daily”, Nate Riggs, blogger at nateriggs.com, makes a strong argument for posting daily.

In his post, Nate links to a blog post written by Cheryl Harrison, blogger at beingcheryl.com, titled “On maintaining a regular blog post schedule”. In her blog post, Cheryl makes the case for posting content only when you have something worthwhile and meaningful to tell your audience.

So what is the correct answer?

As mentioned, there are several schools of thought on blogging frequency, and the purpose of the blog definitely plays a role in the decision making process.

However, I recently read an article titled “The Best Blog Posting Schedule Ever: Finally, Proof and Real Numbers!” that made perfect sense. It was written by Marcus Sheridan and posted on www.thesaleslion.com.

The conclusion that he came to was that there is no perfect blogging schedule. Instead, you should choose a blogging schedule that “allows you to accomplish your goals and love every minute of this wonderful act we call blogging.”

That sounds like good advice to me.

My blogging schedule

I am definitely going to heed Chris Brogan’s advice (i.e., create a schedule and stick with it.)

In the future, I might follow Nate Riggs’ advice, and post daily. However, I want to start off with a more realistic goal.

I also hope that I can deliver valuable content every time I post, as Cheryl Harrison suggests.

And, I am definitely going to keep Marcus Sheridan’s advice in mind. Therefore, sometime down the road, I might change my blogging schedule based on my goals and time constraints (and my desire to have some fun in the process.)

So, for now, I plan to start by posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m. CDT.

With that said, see you again on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Photo credit: magerleagues on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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