The Last Mile, Sales and Marketing …

When I attended last week’s Cloudforce 2011 expo in Washington, DC by, I came away impressed by not only their base customer-relationship management (CRM) solution, but their extended functionality. isn’t the same CRM system that your older sibling or maybe even your father used a couple of years back.

It impressed me so much, I’ve started to incorporate into CruxBridge Media’s (CBM) own sales and marketing process. I also signed up CBM in the Salesforce Partner Program.

Through this new alliance, we have now filled in “the last mile” of the marketing and sales process for our clients: Taking a qualified lead and ushering it to a close.

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What a Consumer Wants

Graphic of Website Relaunch and Marketing Concerns

© iStockPhoto

Website Redesign and Relaunch, and Conversion Rates …

For some reason, this lyric popped into my head when I first read a couple of mornings back about new research from our technology partner HubSpot:

What a girl wants
What a girl needs
Whatever keeps me in your arms
~ What a Girl Wants, Christina Aguilera

(Things like that tend to happen after I’ve had my first cup of coffee for the day.)

Companies relaunch Websites precisely because they want to keep their customers in their “arms”—in this case, on their sites and using them for e-commerce, lead generation, news-article views and so on. Their old sites probably weren’t getting the job done, and their sales, leads or pageviews were suffering as a result.

Or just as likely: Their old Websites were mired in 2005 (or 1995), and they needed a new, modern look that also fulfills a business purpose (see paragraph above).

What consumers want and what they don’t want in a Website, and how that can help with your Website redesign and relaunch strategy … after the jump.

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In the Clouds

Cloud Computing and Software as a Service

© iStockPhoto

Cloud computing is the future—no doubt …

The latest stop for the Cloudfest 2011 tour occurred in Washington, DC yesterday. I went, convinced that I knew all about cloud computing and its advantages for businesses.

In the process of being at the conference, sponsored by, and absorbing a bunch of information (as well as my shirt absorbing sweat; it was 95+ degrees outside and very high humidity), I more-or-less confirmed the former, but found out that I fell far, far short in the latter.

So, what can cloud computing do for your business? And what the heck does it have to do with inbound marketing and Web development?

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B2B Email .. Sent On a Saturday Morning?

Email best practices - graphicEmail marketing best practices: I’m about ready to finish up the second edition of the new CruxBridge Media email newsletter. We’re calling it The Magnetic Business Insider (use the box to the right to sign up!), and it’s chock full of news and information about attracting qualified leads to your company.

I have to admit I”m feeling a bit weird about a couple of things in regards to the newsletter itself, though. One is the send day: this Saturday. Second is the time: 6:30 AM EDT. The third? It’s only been two weeks since I sent the last one.

Why am I feeling so strange about those points? Because they fly in the face of conventional thinking about when to send such newsletters and messages, and how often to send them.

As is with anything involving technology and the public’s attitude towards it, though, the rules and best practices behind email marketing can be represented at best by a moving target. Here’s the latest on how to hit a bullseye.

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Lead Nurturing and Email Autosponders

email box for lead nurturing, autoresponders and drip marketingCall it email autoresponder campaigning or drip marketing. I actually call it lead nurturing. No matter how they’re known, though, they all have the same effect: They put your brand at the top of your prospects’ minds. They’re even more effective when you’ve attracted them to your site or premium offer with an inbound-marketing campaign.

Combining a lead-nurturing campaign with a premium-content publication or special offer, and even tossing in a free trial or demo of your product or service to kick things up a notch (sorry, Emeril), can increase your conversions and give you a greater return-on-investment (ROI) than outbound marketing. Here’s how.

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The State of Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing graphicThe concept behind inbound marketing isn’t really new. Most businesses and organizations want to get the most out of their Websites and other Internet-related marketing efforts, to generate qualified leads. What inbound marketing does is put a name and philosophy to the disparate processes and methods used to acquire these leads.

A recent report from the company that provides us (and our clients) with a centralized inbound-marketing platform contains a lot of great information on how this method is not only working, but how it kicks the pants off of traditional “outbound marketing” (advertising, direct mail, cold calling, etc.).

In fact, inbound marketing is quite “presidential” … here’s why.

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