I have the best network in the world – by far !!

Posted by Chris on June 23rd, 2012

When Kelly Kim of  Twylah was asked recently ( for Inbound Marketing Summit 2012 ) what defined Internet Influence she referred to someone else’s definition which was that REAL influence generated ACTION amongst the influencer’s ” followers “.

An action could be anything from liking, favouriting, sharing or RT’ing something through signing up for a newsletter or something to attending an online or offline seminar to actually buying something and everything in between.

Amongst the characteristics of a great influencer ( Kelly commented ) was the tendency to share not only their own ( original ) content but also other people’s content.

She often recommended doing ” Things you would do normally ” like ” saying Good Morning and Good Night “. Kelly is one of the best
” Community Manager’s ” I have come across.

I like the definition of an influencer as someone who generates an action in their audience but the reason that I have the best network in the world is because MY network does business. We SELL STUFF !! Of course we don’t ram stuff down people’s throat. We are not in your face, pushy, salespeople but we DO have a goal and an objective ( on behalf of our clients ) which is ultimately, for example, to generate orders, revenue and profits for our clients.  I say for example because some of our clients might not want orders, per se , they might just want, for example, more users, more subscribers or more likes.

You probably didn’t even know that we SOLD STUFF ?? ( That’s because a) We don’t push stuff to people that are not interested in it and b) we research before we approach so you are highly unlikely to get an approach or a suggestion from us that you are not interested in or is not of value to you.

Most of us came from ” old school ” sales and marketing roles in companies that were regarded as leaders in Sales and Marketing. I am talking about companies ( that you would know ) like IBM and Rank Xerox. If you are too young for these companies then try Cisco Systems and Hewlett Packard. Yes, these companies are old school now but they were amongst the pioneers of modern sales and marketing techniques.

As those with some years experience in Sales and Marketing will know there was a lot of ” Push ” Marketing and Sales in the ” old days “.  What do I mean by that ??? Well to get people’s attention we advertised, we mailshotted, we ” cold called “, we made appointments and we had clever interview and sales techniques – we closed deals that way.

You must remember that we didn’t have lots of things that are taken for granted these days. Our ” communications channels ” were (snail) mail, the phone, maybe the fax and computers ( or computer terminals ) that accessed customer and prospect databases from our ” datacentres “. There were only just Personal Computers, only just mobile phones, no extensively available Internet, no easy to use CRM software. We did not work from home.

Now we still have the option of advertising ( in various places – tv, radio, print, social networks etc ) , we can still mailshot, we can emailshot, we could faxshot if we wanted to, we can pick up the phone and cold call BUT we can also put up a website and make sure it can be found; we can blog; we can build networks on various Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin and we can research online, using many different tools. We can also use tools like Skype to connect and present at very low cost.

So, in broad terms, instead of ” Pushing ” ourselves on the prospects we can ” Pull ” them towards us using ” Inbound Marketing “. We have many more potential communications channels to add to the phone, mail and email.

Now we use Google, Social Networks and other tools to research. We listen for relevant conversations across multiple social media channels

and bring that information into sCRM ( Social CRM ) software.

We track visitors to the websites that we build. We communicate with the subscriber lists that we have built up for our clients on websites and social media pages. We encourage people towards our clients e.g. Facebook and Twitter pages and then we engage with them. We build landing pages and call to action pieces. We build Internet ” Real Estate ” ( Websites, blogsites, social network pages ). When our clients are Found by prospective customers and converted into higher level prospects we use analysis software to see what worked and how it worked.

All the time we are moving toward our goal of getting more prospects and customers for our clients. We call THIS – ACTION !!!!

Internet Marketing in Lichfield and Tamworth Staffordshire

Posted by Chris on April 30th, 2012

When SEO companies used to call me up saying that they could get my website to rank on the front page ( usually some poor salesperson who didn’t have a clue who I was ) and knew all about Internet Marketing I would casually say oh ok, so you know all about SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ) then do you ??? of course the answer was yes. So, if I google ” SEO and Internet Marketing ” you will be on the front page will you ?? ( Usually I was doing it in the background ). Then I would give them the bad news and help them by saying well maybe if I Google ” SEO and Internet Marketing in wherever it is you are based ” you will be on the front page ??? Ummmm! Maybe .. was usually the response. ok then, last chance, what would I have to Google to find you on the front page ???

I am not TRYING to be cruel I am just saying that if you want to ring me up and tell me that you are the best at SEO and Internet Marketing then you had better be able to prove that you are !!

Nowadays there are many companies around the world who proclaim that they are Internet Marketing Experts. Previously, as explained above , I used to test this with Google,  but these days I have another tool that I use called ” HubSpot Marketing Grader “.

HubSpot is a Boston, U.S. based software company that mainly provides HubSpot based websites and promotes an Internet Marketing philosophy called ” Inbound Marketing “.

To promote the company ( and get leads ) HubSpot provides a number of free Tools like Marketing Grader ( a development of Website Grader ) and Twitter Grader.

I used Marketing Grader to look at a number of websites in the Lichfield and Tamworth area recently and that was how I came to ” rate ” Staffordshire IT as, probably one of the most knowledgeable companies in the area. I first came across them on Twitter ( where they have more followers than most other people from Lichfield and Tamworth ) and then looked at their website using Marketing Grader:


When I first looked at their grade it was 76/100. They have improved it since then to 80/100. This is an amazing score and I have only ever graded one higher score ( not in the Lichfield and Tamworth area ) which is Nikki Pilkington’s website:


which has a grade of 87/100 which is incredible. Nikki was the designer of this M&A Rainmaker blogsite.

Some info on Staffordshire IT

We are a professional website design firm based in Tamworth and Lichfield, however we are able to service clients nationally. We have very competitive prices, easy to use, clean and professional web design, and programming services.

If you give us an outline of your website or online campaign needs, we’ll return to you with a no obligation web design quote within 24 hours. We will then follow that up with concept art work before you lay out any cash. We can also offer you web site maintenance and updates to your current site, regardless of who designed it!

Not only that, last year we became Apple authorised developers, meaning we are currently working on iPhone and iPad apps too, so if you want something really posh let us know!

Staffordshire IT Services are a fully qualified and experienced graphic and web design and open source development firm. Although we program primarily in PHP, AJAX and mySQL, we also code in Microsoft .NET, and Classic ASP. We also have in-house graphic design for the front-end stuff (the bit your customers will look at).

Our web development services include shopping carts that sell your products, backend CMS to allow your employees to manage web site content, custom forms to capture data about your visitors, online or email surveys, or we can create simple 3-page brochure sites too, if that is all that you need.

Whatever your web development needs, large or small – we can and will take care of you. So why not request a quote now?

Having a website is just the start of a good internet marketing strategy: now you need people to look at it! You need to get more visitors to your site, so you need good website ranking, and it shouldn’t need to take 6 months and thousands of pounds to get to the top of Google, Yahoo & Bing.

You need a company with many years in online marketing (check), very reasonable costs (check), who are diligent and hard grafters (check), and show a willingness to constantly monitor your site alongside you, to keep you at the top of the charts! (Big check!)

From the very start we can demonstrate proven white hat (legal) SEO techniques to you and we GUARANTEE we will increase your traffic. In fact, we are so confident in what we do, that you do not need to pay a penny until you have been shown an increase in visibility of your website online!

Good, savvy Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not an option in today’s fast-moving markets– it’s essential and the key to success in any marketing campaign is pretty simple. The Return on Investment (also known as ROI) must outweigh the initial and ongoing outlay of funds. In a web environment, there are multiple ways in which this may be measured including online sales, enquiries through the website (be they emails, surveys or phone calls), website traffic and overall increase in brand awareness.

A well-optimised site can provide numerous benefits, as long as the site is designed well in the first place. It is important to optimise a site for the most relevant terms whilst at the same time including more popular, generic key phrases.

Please feel free to give us a call on 01827 313111 and we can provide a free SEO report for you.

Using Hubspot Marketing Grader in the U.K.

Posted by Chris on January 29th, 2012

I have recently been using Hubspot’s Marketing Grader to assess how well some of my clients Internet Marketing efforts are working. It is a fantastic tool and looks at not only a company’s website effectiveness but also the supporting Internet ecosystem.

A tool like HubSpot Marketing Grader is vital when trying to work out how easily a person or companies website is being found on the major search engines for relevant search terms and also how well visitors to that website are being converted into prospects and customers.


HubSpot has always looked at Internet Marketing in simple terms: How well are you found ? How effectively do you convert ? What are the statistics that support that process and how can they be improved ?

What I find so often is that people don’t understand what a website is there for. It is there as part of your overall marketing efforts to create leads and convert them to orders.

As a salesperson I completely identify with this view of the world and I say to people ” Treat your website like another salesperson or sales team ” and look at it’s effectiveness in the same way that you would look at the effectiveness of your sales team.

If, as I have done, you were running a salesforce ( in a fairly advanced way ) you would measure things like Activity, Skill and Knowledge and collect information like “How many prospects they have ? ”  “How many proposals they have written ? ” and other data that would give you some indication of the effectiveness of your investment into a salesperson or salesforce.

It is somewhat interesting that HubSpot eschews some of the “old ways ” of prospecting and selling ( broadly lumped into Push Selling or Marketing or Outbound Selling/Marketing e.g. telemarketing, mailshotting etc etc ) whilst utilising many of the same methods of analysing the effectiveness of the ” Pull ” or ” Inbound Marketing ” approach.

Internet Marketing is not just about an effective website it is also about traffic being driven to that website from blogsites and social media and about the effectiveness of e.g. your Facebook campaigns and presence in their own right.

HubSpot’s Marketing Grader gives you a comprehensive checklist to work through but you do have to understand the overall strategy.

Get your Internet Marketing Grade here:




If you need help understanding what to do please contact me.

Here are a couple of links to videos about Marketing Grader




HubSpot webinar to U.K. sparks location,location,location analogy

Posted by Chris on January 25th, 2011

I was listening to  a HubSpot Inbound Marketing webinar, that was being transmitted to the U.K. and other countries around the world, the other day when the statement was made ” people spend loads of money and time on the look and design of their website when what they should be spending money on  is being found AND converting people that find the website into leads “.

As I was driving from North Wales to the Midlands today I was thinking how true that was and how pointless it was to have a great looking website that nobody found!

It was, I thought, a bit like having a great looking house in a very undesirable neighbourhood.

Which led me to that well known saying of Estate Agents and property developers ” Location, location, location “.

A definition of which might be :

” identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to location “

which I found here


and we might translate that into:

” identical websites may be more or less valuable ( productive ? ) depending on their location ( position ) in search engine searches ”  .

Yes, if two websites were designed or looked exactly the same but one got found and converted visitors into leads whilst the other did not get found or even got found but did not convert visitors into leads then that would make the same website much more valuable.

Furthermore if we add this property view:

” Generally, buyers will get the best return for their money if they buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. ”

We might even say that if there were two websites and one had a much ” worse ” design/look than the other but that website got found in ( relevant ) searches and converted customers into leads it too would be more valuable than the other.

One of the reasons I had been thinking about an analogy was because I have to give my first HubSpot presentation shortly to people who are not Internet Marketing aware or probably not even very Internet aware.

There are probably more aspects of the property analogy that I could develop. e.g. that once you have got the right location for a property ( the right search position for a website ) one of the next most important things is that the key rooms are there and are right e.g. the kitchen, bathrooms etc etc.

more later ….

Driving Internet Leads using HubSpot and a Sales & Marketing machine

Posted by Chris on January 4th, 2011

Happy New Year !!

Over the holidays this video came out from Serial Entrepreuner, David Skok, who is clearly a HubSpot fan..


and it is really a great addition to the blog series that I have been writing.

In fact I would say it is really the linchpin of why I am interested in HubSpot myself – which is ” How to get more sales using HubSpot Inbound Marketing ” !!

So, I would really recommend that you take a little time to view the presentation/ slide show.

Driving Internet Leads for UK SMB FutureLine using HubSpot – Part 3

Posted by Chris on December 23rd, 2010

Following the last blog


we got the 2 landing pages done as discussed earlier.

The visit/lead tracking system is working and we can see recent visitors details. These can be transferred to a CRM system and Salesforce.com is probably the easiest one to do this with although other are possible. We will address this shortly but for now the visit and lead records will be held within HubSpot ( they are always held in both places anyway ).

We had done some work around keywords/phrases – looking for words/phrases that were relevant but not too competitive – and we input these to the HubSpot system. We also had the HubSpot system look at the keywords/phrases being used by typical competitors. The HubSpot system identified which keywords/phrases were ” stronger ” than others.

The HubSpot system will show where the visits/leads are coming from in terms whether they are direct ( someone types in the FutureLine url ) via a Google search or from e.g. The FutureLine Blog, Social Media or Press Releases.

Typical Social Media sources would include:

– Delicious

– Digg

– LinkedIn

– Reddit

– Sphin

– Twitter

– Yahoo Answers

– Yahoo Buzz

– YouTube


We set up the FutureLine Blog and discussed the type and composition of beneficial blogs. It was noted that there should be ” Call to Action ” pieces at the end of each blog. HubSpot gets many of its leads via the HubSpot blog.

We also discussed what defined ” strong ” links and noted examples of these. They include e.g. links from high ranking blog sites; links from Press Release sites.

We also discussed the fact that we could ” buy ” traffic using Pay Per Click or Media buying ( CPM ).

We determined to get the ” Call to Actions ” set up on the website together with the landing pages that we had built.

We would also do more work on keywords and phrases and when we had arrived at the best words and phrases give consideration to including these words and phrases on the website and in blogs.

We would also do more research on the ” Top 10 questions ” asked by FutureLine’s customers and prospects.

Driving Internet Leads for UK SMB using Hubspot Inbound Marketing Part 2

Posted by Chris on December 21st, 2010

following the blog post


We decided that we needed to create some ” Call to actions ” on the website and that these might include the completion of the sign-up form

Win an iPad

    Sign up before 1st January

    2011 to be in with the chance

    to win an Apple iPad

which was not completed as we were in a rush to get the new website up for the Cisco Small Business Workshop.
and also a ” white paper ” or ” Top 10 tips ” to be downloaded. These would need more thinking and work.
Shortly, following consideration of the target market and messages referred to earlier we would need to do some keyword/phrase analysis.
We  have already done some posting around the following phrases:
” Cisco Hosted Voip ” , ” Cisco Hosted Telephony “, ” Cisco Hosted UC ” , ” Cisco Hosted Unified Communications ” etc etc
Further analysis will reveal the best words/phrases to optimise around.

Driving Internet Leads for U.K. SMB using HubSpot Inbound Marketing

Posted by Chris on December 19th, 2010

This blog describes an effort to drive Internet leads for U.K. S.M.B. FutureLine using HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing process.

FutureLine ( http://www.futureline.net.uk/index.html ) is a U.K. based Hosted Voice solution being promoted to SMB’s and SMB resellers in conjunction with Cisco Systems. FutureLine addresses a particular demand from small SMB’s ( say 1-50 telephone users ) for a Cisco based hosted voice solution. The FutureLine solution allows small SMB’s to adopt Cisco solutions at a very low initial cost and then to upgrade seamlessly and inexpensively and grow as the business grows.

As a Hosted or SaaS ( Software as a Service ) solution it is believed to be best practise and important that the FutureLine website and FutureLine marketing messages be found by interested SMB buyers via Internet search.

It is believed that FutureLine’s target market will find FutureLine via Internet search to a very large degree and indeed the Internet Marketing efforts carried out so far bear this out as there have been a number of leads and indeed sales that came from Google searches.

I have been aware of HubSpot for some time ( see earlier blog posts on them ) and there are a number of interesting parallels here. For example:

  • HubSpot’s founder, Brian Halligan, founded HubSpot when investing in and mentoring SMB’s. He realised that a different marketing approach was required to really drive sales.
  • HubSpot has a dual focus on the SMB end user and the SMB reseller as with FutureLine.
  • HubSpot has a very sales orientated approach which fits with the sales philosophy that we and FutureLine believe in. We all believe in tracking visits, leads and actual sales.

Those involved in this effort are already aware of some of the main principles of on Internet marketing e.g. the importance of relevant content, on and off page optimisation and good, powerful links.

We are also aware of the main components of the HubSpot solution e.g. website usage tracking, content management, SEO, CRM etc etc

We also have a network of experienced and potentially suitable contacts and resources, including website designers, SEO specialists, Social Media Marketing experts, CRM consultants, HubSpot qualified resource, Sales and Marketing specialists, P.R. Experts and Business Strategy and Business Value Creation specialists.

We decided that, in this instance, whilst it was obviously very important to generate leads for FutureLine it was also important to work through and prove the HubSpot process thoroughly.

It was decided that the first tasks included a thorough review of FutureLine’s target markets ( even though this has been done before ) which are broadly SMB end users and SMB ICT ( voice,data, PC/Server/Application ) resellers and a review of the message to each of these target markets.

It was also important to install HubSpot tracking and content management code on the FutureLine website so that we can gat a clear picture of the situation regarding visits, leads and sales , now and in the future.

Further posts will follow as we work through the effort.

Get Found, Convert, Analyse

Posted by Chris on January 31st, 2010

or to put it slightly differently – the number of visitors to your website, the number of those visitors that participate in a call to action ( do something ) and the number of those people that become customers – THAT is the mantra of hubspot.com.

They say that last year they had something like 2 million visitors to thier website of whom 160,000 participated in a call to action and of those about 1,000 became hubspot customers.

It’s a mantra that ALL businesses could do with keeping in mind.

Let’s have a look at this a bit more closely….

Getting Found/Getting Visitors

Hopefully most people now understand that being found by Google when someone types in your company name or a variation of it is a given – if that does not happen then you have not even left first base !! However your objective should be to be found for the products and services that you offer. Ideally you want to be on page 1 when someone searches for your key products and services. How easy or hard this is to do depends entirely on the competitiveness of the keywords and phrases that relate to your products and services.

 Getting found for what you have to offer is absolutely key.

Recently I have been having two in depth discussions with people that I am helping:

1.  Tell me the most important products and services that you want to sell ( List them all and then put them in order of priority ).

2. Tell me what keywords and phrases you think people will type in ( to Google ) to find your main products and services.

I don’t expect them to know every variation of keyword or phrase nor do I expect them to know how competitive ( how hard to rank high for ) those keywords and phrases are. I can find that out myself or with the assistance of my team.

The next thing that I tell them to do is to

3. Get Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools installed on thier website and to get access to it ( for which they will need a Googlemail email address ).

The reason for this is that we need a baseline ( a starting point ) to see the effect that we have on things like visitors, keywords, referrals, links etc etc

Understanding  what you want to promote and the keywords and phrases that relate to it  is the foundation of everything that you will do on the Internet to promote yourself and get more visitors to your website.

The basic key to a high ranking website is on page SEO ( keywords, titles,metatags – related to your keywords and phrases ) , frequently changing and updated, relevant content and lots of ( good ) inbound links.

In thier ” Getting Found ” section Hubspot highlight SEO, Blogs and Social Media. These are the basic areas to address to improve the visibility and ranking of your website:

– SEO your website ( titles,tags,content etc ) in accordance with your keywords and phrases.

– Establish ( seperate ) blogs

– Establish pages in social media ( Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg etc etc etc )

In doing so you will establish an ” ecosystem ” of related online media. You will establish a network of friends/followers/etc for your blog(s) and for each of your social networks and you will also connect them to your website and to you ( they may come to you about business direct from your blog or social media page or they may come to you via your website ).

It is difficult to describe just how powerful this set of interconnected networks is. Facilities like ” share ” and ” join ” enable you to share information posted in one place to all the other places and to invite your friends from one place to another place.

Anyway, by now it will be time to look at your analytics to see where the traffic and links are coming from and how many visitors you are getting now.

Once you have got visitor to your website you have got to get them to do something.


On the hubspot home page ( thier main landing page ) you will see a number of ” calls to action ” e.g. ” Try Hubspot free for 7 days ” or ” Download a free Inbound Marketing Kit “. To do this you will need to provide them with information about yourself . This might range from a name and email address to a more comprehensive list of details about you and your requirements.

Each one of these is a ” lead “. You have converted a visit to a lead. ( Well done ).

As Hubspot mention – you need to track and manage these leads – then you need to analyse them –  so many referrals to the website came from ?? and they eg downloaded a white paper and then they did ??


Analysis would include online and offline analysis. You want to analyse how well your marketing is doing; look at your competitive analysis ( how well are you doing relative to your competitors ) and also look at the quality of the leads. You should ensure that everyone in the company asks where leads came from – and not just ” from the Internet ” – you want to know whereabouts on the Internet !

The Death of a Digital Citizen Part 3

Posted by Chris on January 18th, 2010

In Part 2 I mentioned that Penny and Thomas had ( quite rightly in my view ) adopted a very open attitude towards other social networks.

Thomas Power was in fact one of the people who encouraged me to join Facebook ( as he  encouraged me to join many other networks aswell ) and while I was dragged kicking and screaming on to Facebook it became for me the most intuitive of the networks that I joined. Whilst Ecademy was easy to use Facebook was easy to use and also easy to mix media – text, pictures and video’s.

The use of Facebook by bars and clubs also opened my eyes to the massive potential for interaction with customers.

New Birmingham Nightclub Gatecrasher was perhaps one of the biggest examples of this


http://www.gatecrasher.com/crasher   ( Hey – listen to the music here and think of me !! ) 

Gatecrasher has multiple Facebook pages ( because it keeps outgrowing it’s pages ) and operates globally.

I think ( but I am not certain ) that Gatecrasher first used MySpace to promote it’s events but then added Facebook as it became more popular.

If you have any doubt about the power of Facebook and MySpace for Gatecrasher then take a look at it’s pages and the way that it promotes events to it’s group members, offers incentives and provides photo’s and video’s of the events afterwards. Gatecrasher communicated with it’s ( young ) audience brilliantly. You should probably take more than a bit of notice that Gatecrasher is communicating with young people…… the businessmen and women of the future.

So, this led me to developing a Facebook page for The Glan yr Afon Inn


Of course it had nowhere near the membership that Gatecrasher has but we did our bit to try and communicate with our customers – those that had heard of Facebook anyway.

I ignored that fact that Facebook was a social site and used it to make business connections. I eschewed the many applications telling people to message me if they wanted to talk to me rather than throwing stuff at me – even kisses 🙂

I don’t know if it was just me but it looked to me as though Facebook took on a more business orientated approach as time went on.

Next on my Google is LinkedIn – THE internet social network for business people particularly those in the High Tech world. I developed a considerable network on LinkedIn but it never felt intuitive to me. I just could not put my finger on why. As for adding pictures and videos – it’s probably easy but was not easy enough for me.

Of course both big but closed ( to the Internet ) communities. Whilst some of the content that you posted appeared outside of these networks and on Google you could not do what you could with Ecademy – i.e. to post information that you knew would find it’s way out to Google. 

Again – had I lived longer I would have put more effort into learning more about and using LinkedIn.

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