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How Conversational Marketing Fits into Your Inbound Marketing Plan

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 28, 2018 1:18:45 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience, Inbound Marketing

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Conversational marketing is a term that’s been around for some time. However, it’s coming back to the forefront for marketing pros these days. Conversational marketing is a segment of inbound marketing that involves participating in one-on-one conversations with customers and prospective customers whenever and wherever they want to interact. If they want to communicate via Slack at 7 a.m., make that possible. If they prefer to connect via text at 9 p.m., ensure that you can accommodate that request. 

Building relationships and growing sales requires two things: 1) The desire to improve your results, and 2) the tools for doing so. One great new suite of interaction enablers is the Service Hub from HubSpot. It's a comprehensive set of tools that empowers your team to deliver an exceptional customer experience. I'll blog more about it soon, as it's proving to be a game-changer for our clients and can surely help any organization that wants to have more fruitful conversations with its customers. For now, just know that Service Hub has features like live chat, automatic email routing, support ticket generation, and much more.

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How to Turn Happy Customers into Outspoken Advocates

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 11, 2018 2:15:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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There are many powerful tools in a marketer’s toolkit—from content marketing to social media marketing to pay-per-click advertising, to name just a few. However, perhaps no marketing tactic is more effective than having a happy customer advocate on your behalf.

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Stop Being So Gentle. Probe Those Pain Points!

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 26, 2017 4:30:37 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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If you’ve been involved in marketing for more than a few years, you were probably taught to always focus on solutions. Keep it light! Keep it upbeat! Don’t ever have a “negative lead” in your copy. Well, my friend, the times are changing. What marketers have come to understand in recent years is that today’s prospects don’t want their business challenges sugarcoated. What they want is to have their problems solved.

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"Oh, don't go. Yes, we're 'closed' but come on in!"

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 16, 2016 9:55:48 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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This evening, looking for a place to buy some mailing envelopes, I dropped into a Postal Annex mailing service near my home that I had never patronized before. As I approached the door, being sensitive to the fact that it was late, I immediately saw that the store hours clearly indicated that they had been closed for 30 minutes.

As I turned to leave, someone inside the store hastened to unlock the door. I assumed at the time that he was going to apologize and explain that they were closed (the typical "courteous" response to such a situation). To my surprise (and delight), he immediately, said, "Yes, we're closed, but please come on in!"

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Your Website Visitors are Bailing? Here’s Why.

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 10, 2016 9:45:41 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience, User Experience

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Laura is shopping online for a new mountain bike. She arrives at a company’s website and is immediately wowed by what she sees. The page design, the crystal clear photos of beautiful bikes, the clever copy. She’s hooked. And she spends almost 30 minutes browsing the site. Brad’s looking for a bike, too. He goes to the website of a different company and is immediately irritated. The homepage is ugly, it takes 15 seconds to load, and the product descriptions are confusing. He’s disappointed. And he spends exactly 22 seconds browsing the site. Company A just sold a $900 mountain bike. Company B just lost another potential customer.

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You Need to Increase Engagement! 7 Ways Interactive Content Can Help

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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By definition, a prospect who downloads and reads a white paper, case study, or other piece of content has “engaged” with it. And that engagement, even in its simplest form, is definitely a good thing. But what marketers are becoming increasingly focused on is taking engagement to new levels, because the more engaged a prospect is, the more likely he or she is to become a customer.

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Kudos for a Full Confession: How Transparency Builds Trust

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 7, 2015 9:49:56 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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At 30dps, we are a proud HubSpot partner. HubSpot, for those not familiar with the company, it is the provider of one of the leading marketing automations systems—and that short description doesn’t do their truly outstanding offerings justice! They are an innovator in many areas. One that I admire most is their leadership in the concept of transparency.

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Road Trip! Have You Mapped Your Customer Journey?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 25, 2015 3:42:01 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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The “Customer Journey.” It sounds very philosophical, maybe even a little grandiose. But it’s more than an abstract concept that deep-thinking marketers ponder as they swirl their glass of wine. Rather, it’s a thoroughly studied and well-defined psychological path that prospects follow between first learning of your products and services and ultimately purchasing them. And understanding how to effectively move your prospects from start to finish can have a dramatic effect on the success of your marketing efforts and your company.

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Connect the Dots: Why Customer Touchpoints are Critical to Your Success

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 24, 2015 5:10:35 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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You may believe that your customers and prospects see your company in their mind’s eye as a lushly painted, very detailed portrait. After all, you’ve gone to great lengths to “see” them through market research, the creation of buyer personas, etc. However, they have not done the same. In fact, what they see is simply a set of dots. These dots are what we call customer “touchpoints,” and they are all your audience knows about you. That bears repeating: these touchpoints are ALL your audience knows about you.

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Blondes, Brunettes, Redheads, and the Customer Experience

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 12, 2015 2:09:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience, User Experience

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From the time I was old enough to look out a car window, my dad was playfully saying "Check out that blonde, son!" which of course "delighted" my mom to no end. In fact, that might have been my first introduction to the concept of shopping. It took me a "few" more years to realize that it wasn't I that was in control of the situation, i.e. it ultimately became clear that it was I that needed to have something to offer. But by then I had been indoctrinated to the theories related to blonde, brunette, and redhead personas. (Okay, I may not have been familiar with the term personas at that time, but stick with me.)

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"Inbound Customer Experience" vs. "User Experience"

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 24, 2015 10:06:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience, User Experience

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An inbound customer experience is the quality of interaction a customer or prospective customer has with your brand online. It includes the overall impression and the degree to which your branding and messaging engages your visitor and the value he/she received from the experience. All of this is significantly impacted by the degree to which the buyer persona is understood and catered to, the overall usability of the website, the quality and relevance of the content, and how well the website and landing pages have been optimized. The quality of interaction your customer experiences is affected by how well technology has been utilized to captivate interest, solve problems, make life easier, and differentiate you from the competition. But most importantly, it's about CUSTOMERS.

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Content IS User Experience (UX)

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 19, 2015 2:12:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Inbound Customer Experience, Buyer Personas, User Experience

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It is almost frightening how little time, attention, and budget are given to website content planning, strategy, and production. While design is certainly important, it is NOT the most important part of the UX. Content, on the other hand, IS!

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Customer Surveys: 6 Tips for Getting More Marketing Mileage from the Results

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 31, 2015 6:05:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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It’s easy to think of a customer survey as something your company has an obligation to do periodically to show your clients that you care. And once you’ve executed the survey, it’s also easy to take a half-hearted look at the results before filing them away somewhere to forever accumulate digital dust.

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Get Real: The Business Benefits of Authenticity

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 8, 2015 12:12:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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In 1969, Coca-Cola came up with the slogan, “It’s the real thing.” Of the 18 or so major slogan changes since then, “real” has been used in more than 22% of them. When a company with a marketing budget bigger than the GNP of many small countries goes back to a theme that often, you know there’s a reason.

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When Focus Groups Are a REALLY Bad Idea

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 16, 2015 10:55:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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In some situations, focus groups have value in helping companies understand the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of their target audience (although some experts now discredit them entirely). Where they certainly do not have value is in determining the effectiveness of your inbound customer experience. In fact, using focus groups to determine the effectiveness of your inbound customer experience is a really bad idea.

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Amazing Customer Experiences Are Worth The Investment

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 8, 2015 11:32:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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Did you know...?

While we all know a great customer experience when we witness one, many marketers have yet to make this critically important aspect of branding and marketing a key focus of their efforts. I continue to be baffled by marketers that have been doing marketing and advertising essentially the same way for the last 50 years, as if fashioning oneself after Mad Men's Don Draper will reverse the trends of the last 20. Not only is this a wildly inefficient way to spend limited marketing dollars, it ignores some of the most compelling new data on the profitability of customer experience engineering.

Did you know that consumers will not only demonstrate dramatically higher customer loyalty, but will also pay more for a great customer experience?

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What the Heck Is an Inbound Customer Experience?

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 19, 2015 7:12:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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An inbound customer experience is the quality of interaction someone has with your brand online. It includes all of your branding and messaging, as well as the value users' glean from their visit to your website. All of this is significantly impacted by the degree to which the buyer persona is understood and catered to, the overall usability of the website, and how well the website and landing pages have been optimized.The quality your inbound customer receives is also a reflection of how well technology has been utilized to captivate interest, solve problems, make life easier, and differentiate you from the competition.

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Can't Always Get What You Want (Customers Come First)

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 1, 2015 4:23:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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It is one of the most common things in business—as in the rest of life—to want what we want. As adults, we generally accept the fact that we can't always get what we want, but it doesn't mean that we don't keep wanting. Unfortunately, there are times in business when our wants may run contrary to the wants of our customers. Then what?

Increasingly, customers want "real" information about the companies they do business with, i.e. they want the good, the bad and the ugly. They want the unvarnished truth. They think they can be trusted with all of the information, and they think they are capable of sifting through the irrelevant, the fabrications and the exaggerations, and making sound decisions.

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My Heroes Have Always Been...

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 26, 2015 5:49:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Inbound Customer Experience

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Cowboys?  Well, I grew up in cowboy territory (Indian Territory actually), i.e. Oklahoma. And, like most boys around those parts, I grew up with a six-gun in my hand (plastic though it may have been).  And, my college team was, of course, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. My favorite pro football team was the Dallas Cowboys. And my favorite TV star was, yep, you guessed it, John Wayne. So, I guess it's fair to say that I've always admired cowboys.

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The Ultimate Trump Card (Get Your Customers To Chase You)

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 25, 2015 5:00:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Amazing Customer Experiences, Inbound Customer Experience

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