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Our Blog

The Importance of the Inbox: What Your Company’s Emails Should Have

Posted by Marie Carroll

Feb 9, 2019 9:30:00 AM

With February beginning, this is a good time to start considering how you engage with your customers outside of face to face. If you are someone who has read up about how to make 2019 your year for your business (attach link) then this is another way to keep the train chugging along. Here at Sparkfactor, for instance, we can assist in one of the very important ways to connect with customers and to have them stay informed: through the inbox. As something everyone checks every day, the power of email marketing is crucial, here is what we suggest you need to know!

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Topics: Business, Email Marketing, Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing

Why Plagiarism is Bad and How to Prevent It

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Mar 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

With the new ruling affecting images and Twitter retweets, we thought it would be helpful to update and re-publish this post about plagiarism, first published in 2016.

In a world of content marketing, when over 2 million new blog posts are being published every day, will someone really notice if a few lines, or paragraphs, or articles are the same as others?


Even with online tools (see below) being used to catch plagiarism, which makes it easier than ever to spot a fake, plagiarism is still rampant. Continue reading to learn what plagiarism is, how it can negatively affect your business, and how to prevent it.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Business Lessons

Your Marketing Needs to Focus on More Than Just a Website

Posted by Sparkfactor

May 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Last week, HubSpot released its annual State of Inbound report. Every year, HubSpot surveys companies across the globe about their marketing and sales efforts in an attempt to understand the state of marketing, and inbound marketing specifically. A lot of information is compiled into this report, which you can read here.

Companies that seem satisfied that they've created a website and think that's all that's needed to survive in the digital landscape are wrong. As the State of Inbound report states, "Our respondents believe that having a website and blog is no longer enough to attract the attention of their buyers."

Fifty-five percent of marketers say they prioritize growing traffic to their company's website. At the same time, 63% of companies say their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads. With the ever-changing digital landscape, it can be hard to know how to engage your audience and bring them back to your website.

While you can make efforts to improve the SEO of your site to draw an audience in organically, it's also important to have other platforms pointing back to your website. These efforts, like all marketing efforts, should be done with purpose and provide relevant information to the audience you're trying to reach—you don't need to target the world. Here are some emerging trends from the State of Inbound report to consider when planning your marketing strategy.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Video & Motion, Virtual Reality

How to Read Your Marketing Road Map

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Apr 11, 2017 10:45:00 AM

I love road trips, always have. We used to take massive road trips when I was a kid: out west, out east, downstate. It didn't matter where, I loved the windows down, sun on my skin, open road feel of an hours-long road trip. We would plan out the route on our atlas, taking care to plan stops where it mattered the most: Mount Rushmore, Fenway Park, Niagara Falls.

So when I got my own car in high school, you better believe I was ready to hit the open road. In the days before smartphones and GPS, everyone knew how to read a map. Or at least that's what I assumed. But I learned that lesson pretty quick when I took road trips with my friends that usually ended up with me pulling the map out of my co-pilot's hands because we were miles off route in the wrong direction. Eventually we would figure out where we were and continue on our merry way, with stories to share when we got back.

Now, being able to read a road map can be a valuable skill—especially if your phone battery dies. In the same way, knowing your company's marketing strategy and plan—your marketing road map, if you will—can be life-saving. Here's how to make sure you, and your marketing team, know how to read your marketing road map and are heading in the right direction.

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Topics: Marketing, Inbound Marketing

The Essentials of Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers

Posted by Sparkfactor

Feb 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If you’re new to the concept of inbound marketing or if you’re looking for a down and dirty rundown of its elements, you've come to the right place.

Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that encourages the integration of multiple marketing tactics, working together to move potential clients down the sales funnel. The goal of inbound marketing is to meet your manufacturing audience where they are in their buying process and create trust through content, all leading to customer acquisition.

As you'll see below, there are four main goals that inbound marketing can accomplish for manufacturers and manufacturing companies. Each goal has certain tactics that work best to accomplish this goal, adding up to a cohesive marketing strategy.

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Topics: SEO, Marketing Analytics, Web Design, Social Media, Blogging, Conversion, Inbound Marketing, Manufacturing

#InspiredBy Letter Writing

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Dec 13, 2016 9:28:48 AM

Letter Writing Day was last week and full disclosure: I'm the worst pen pal ever. I like the idea of writing to friends and family, and keeping the arts of hand lettering and writing by hand alive, but I'm just the worst at keeping in touch with people. My mom sends her friends cards for their birthdays, major holidays, even anniversaries. I'm lucky if I remember to send one card or letter a year.

While social media posts might seem to allow us to think we know what's going on in our friends' lives, there's something about a hand-written letter that sends out a completely different vibe. It's mail that's not a bill (always a plus); it has a for-your-eyes-only type of secrecy that's the complete opposite of a social media post. It's exciting to learn first-hand what's happening with the people we know and love.

So while it might not be feasible to write hand-written notes to every customer or subscriber, you can take some tenets of the art of writing letters and apply them to your next email or direct marketing campaign.

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Inbound Marketing, Marketing

The Phenomenon of Binge Watching TV: Lessons for Marketers

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Nov 30, 2016 8:45:00 AM

Binge: an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence; an act of excessive or compulsive consumption

"Binge watching" has become quite the phenomenon in the last few years, thanks mostly to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon that allow users to watch episode upon episode of their favorite TV shows, past, present, and originals. This past weekend after Thanksgiving, for example, Gilmore Girls was supposed to break the internet with the amount of people who were going to watch the revival episodes. Or maybe Crown is more your speed, or Mozart in the Jungle. Whatever show it may be, I'd be surprised if there was anyone with access to a streaming service who hasn't fallen subject to the lure of "the next episode starts in 5 seconds."

With studies claiming that attention spans are down to eight seconds in our always-on culture, binge watching defies that trend, with 29 percent of respondents of a recent survey saying they wait for a show to be over to specifically be able to binge watch the show. With binge watching consisting of three episodes or more, that could be anywhere between an hour to three hours, depending on the length of the episodes.

So, what does all of this have to do with marketing?

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Topics: Business Lessons, #InspiredBy, Marketing, Inbound Marketing

Calls to Action 101 // What They Are and How to Use Them

Posted by Sparkfactor

Aug 31, 2016 8:00:00 AM

A visitor comes to your website, reads the copy on the page, doesn't know what to do next, and leaves the site in search of something else. But what if you had a signal to let that visitor know what to do next?

That signal is called a call to action.

What is a call to action and why do you need one?

A "call to action" is literally a call (a command in the imperative) for someone to take an action, such as click a button or fill out a form. The phrase has gained popularity in the Internet age, as that's what marketers call the buttons on websites and landing pages, but a call to action can take many forms, as you'll see in the section.

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Topics: Marketing, Web Design, Inbound Marketing

Extreme Makeover: Website Edition

Posted by Sparkfactor

Aug 2, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Imagine you show up late to meet a prospective client in wrinkled, scruffy slacks and a crumpled, half-tucked shirt. You’re ready to describe in elegant detail how you and your company can provide the most outstanding service, completely blowing the competition out of the water … but your client has already packed her bag and headed out the door.

Let’s be honest, after that first impression, would you hire you?

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Topics: UX, Web Design, Inbound Marketing

Increase Conversions by Removing Unnecessary Landing Page Elements

Posted by Sparkfactor

Jun 23, 2016 12:00:00 PM

There is a common misbelief in search engine and conversion optimization that stuffing a page to the gills with copy and calls to action is the way to increase conversion rates. In reality, simple, focused landing pages help viewers concentrate on the offer and decide if it's right for them, leading to more, and better quality, conversions. Landing pages should have a singular focus—the offer, the request for more information, the consultation form—and every element on the landing page should be directly related to that focus.

Here are four elements you should remove from your landing pages to reduce audience confusion and increase conversions.

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Topics: Marketing Analytics, Web Design, Marketing, Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing