Choosing a CMS for Your Small Business

Chris Fowler | Thursday September 19, 2019

In the internet dark ages, most websites were created using HTML files. You’d have one file for every page and in order to change the content on a page, each one was edited directly.

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Kicking off With a New Marketing Agency

Chris Fowler | Thursday September 5, 2019

When it comes to hiring an agency, every onboarding is different. In order to make this process as effective and efficient as possible for everyone involved, we rely on a kickoff that’s designed to lay the foundation for a strong partnership from day one.

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Becoming a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday August 22, 2019

While having a complete profile and numerous referrals gained through LinkedIn is helpful, it’s not enough to make your profile stand out from the rest.

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Marketing for the Time-Strapped Small Business Leader: 30-Minute Tactics

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 8, 2019

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LinkedIn Sales Growth Part 2: Gaining Referrals and LinkedIn Premium

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday July 25, 2019

Now that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and you’re building your network, it’s time to manage an active, effective profile.

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Marketing for the Time-Strapped Small Business Leader: 15-Minute Tactics

Charlie Nadler | Thursday July 11, 2019

Of the many small business leaders that we’ve talked to over the years, several have told us the same thing: they’d love to spend more time on marketing, but the reality is they fit it in when they can.

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How to Prepare Your Space for a Photo Shoot

Chris Fowler | Thursday June 27, 2019

For most people, the idea of investing in a branded photo shoot sounds like an unnecessary expense. After all, there are plenty of beautiful stock photos available for free online. But, in the end, nothing sets your marketing materials apart from competitors like unique, custom images that fit your brand’s style guidelines and speak directly to your ideal client.

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The Top Google Chrome Extensions for Marketers

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday June 13, 2019

From auditing websites to managing our CRMs, looking up lead data and occasionally browsing memes, our team spends a lot of time online, mostly through Google Chrome. Our team utilizes Chrome for its versatility, ease of use and security benefits. We also take advantage of many Chrome Extensions — a big addition to what makes Chrome so seamless to use.

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5 Books Every Small Business Marketer Should Read

Charlie Nadler | Thursday May 30, 2019

Collectively, the Simple Machines team has read a lot of books about marketing.

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How to Make the Most of your Trade Show Attendance

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday May 16, 2019

So you’ve decided to invest in attending a trade show as your newest sales opportunity. Trade shows can be an effective way to bring in a lot of new leads in just a few days, but, if you don’t plan ahead of time, this tactic to meet leads can quickly fall short.

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CRM Onboarding: Where to Start

Charlie Nadler | Thursday May 2, 2019

One of the most frequent initial recommendations we’ve made to clients over the years is to invest in a proper Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

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How Long Does It Take to Make a Marketing Plan?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday April 11, 2019

If you’ve never really developed a marketing plan before, the prospect of creating your first one probably feels pretty intimidating. (In fact, I know it does — I remember the first time I was tasked with developing one.)

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Amazon Seller or Vendor — Which is Right for You?

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 28, 2019

If your business is interested in selling on Amazon, you might be a little confused about where to get started. 

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Examples of LinkedIn Profiles That Follow Best Practices

Sara Costello | Thursday March 14, 2019

When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile?

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How to Optimize Your Product Listings on Amazon

Scott Rogers | Thursday February 28, 2019

Amazon is by far the world’s most popular ecommerce platform, but you probably already know that. 

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The Fastest Way to Create a Professional Website: Announcing Website in a Day

Charlie Nadler | Thursday February 14, 2019

Historically, for businesses in need of a new website, it can feel like there are only two basic options available:

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How Small Business Owners Can Use Their Personal LinkedIn to Bring in Leads

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday January 31, 2019

With over 500 million registered users, LinkedIn has become a powerful tool to connect with colleagues, friends and potential job applicants. And while you may be familiar with reading articles and posting jobs on the platform, you may be missing one key component of the platform: cultivating new leads. 

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Do You Need an Amazon Store?

Scott Rogers | Thursday January 17, 2019

Back in May of 2018, Amazon announced that more than one million small businesses in the U.S. sell their products on the online retailer’s platform.

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How to Generate Positive Google Reviews for Your Business

Tyler Smith | Thursday January 3, 2019

We’re all reviewers. Every time we buy a product, see a movie, watch a show, play a game or go to a restaurant, we review it. Much of the time we aren’t reviewing deliberately. It’s a thought in our head or an offhand comment to a friend like, “That movie was lame.”

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Simple Machines' Most Popular Blogs of 2018

Chris Fowler | Thursday December 27, 2018

There are a lot of ways to determine the success of a blog. When it comes to marketing, the more views a blog gets, the more opportunities it has to generate opportunities for new customers.

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Our Favorite Marketing and Sales Tools

Scott Rogers | Thursday December 20, 2018

If you need help with managing your social accounts, creating video content or researching competitors, then there’s likely an app, tool or website out there that can help you. The only catch is most of them are pretty lackluster.

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How Chatbots Can Bring in New Leads

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday December 13, 2018

Chatbots are popping up everywhere. Literally.

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How to Use Reverse IP Lookup for B2B Prospecting

Charlie Nadler | Thursday December 6, 2018

As a marketing agency that works closely with B2B companies, part of our job is to make our clients’ lives easier through technology and automation.

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Simple Machines Marketing Earns Recognition as a Leading U.S. Web Designer

Tyler Smith | Wednesday December 5, 2018

Not a bad day to be a Simple Machinist! 

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How to Promote Your Next Event on Instagram

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday November 29, 2018

As Instagram continues to grow in popularity, the ways you can leverage your channel are expanding.

With the use of stories increasing, the launch of IGTV and in-app sales, businesses are finding new ways to engage their audience with their products and services. But have you considered how you can use your channel to promote your events?

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Why You Need a CRM

Scott Rogers | Thursday November 15, 2018

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are vital to the success of any business. Beyond just serving as systems where you can store your customer and lead contact information, CRMs allow you to manage the sales process from start to finish, guiding leads to become customers and then keeping them happy. 

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What Your Business Needs to Know About Voice Search

Scott Rogers | Thursday November 8, 2018

Aside from marketing automation and artificial intelligence, the biggest buzzword in marketing this year has been voice search. With the increased adoption of voice-enabled devices like Amazon’s Echo, you might be wondering how this technology might affect your business’s marketing strategy.

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Getting Started with Social Media Content Planning

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday November 1, 2018

For most businesses today, social media is at least part of their marketing strategy — if not an integral feature. And while managing a successful profile may seem as simple as snapping a photo, adding some copy and posting in some cases, there’s much more that needs to go into effective social media marketing.

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Best Practices for a B2B Lead Generation Campaign

Scott Rogers | Thursday October 25, 2018

B2B marketing used to be synonymous with the cold call. Your sales agents would pick up the phone, call a business, pitch, rinse and repeat. Then, once email was popularized, calls were supported with generic mass messages.

Those days are over. Relying on spam emails and calls that cast the widest possible net without any personalization or targeting is no longer a viable strategy. 

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Must-Haves for Your 2019 Marketing Budget

Jill Wilson | Thursday October 18, 2018

I sat down with our team to ask them what are their absolute must-haves for our clients' 2019 marketing budgets. Here's what they had to say.

(Scroll down for the video recap)

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Free Marketing Advice!

Tyler Smith | Wednesday October 10, 2018

Simple Machines is excited to announce that we’ll be holding our third Office Hours event on November 7th in Downtown Chicago at Tech Nexus.

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Takeaways From Inbound 2018 Conference

Chris Fowler | Thursday October 4, 2018

At this year’s Inbound Conference in Boston, there were a few main themes that stood out to us: 

  1. Artificial intelligence and automation
  2. Ubiquitous video
  3. The flywheel model of customer delight
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How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Business

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday September 27, 2018

Featuring 1 billion active users as of July 2018, Instagram has become a key medium for many businesses to reach their audience.

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Keep it Simple, Stupid: How to Use and Stick to a Creative Brief

Charlie Nadler | Thursday September 20, 2018

You’re probably familiar with K.I.S.S., short for “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”

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4 Content Offers You Need to See

Scott Rogers | Thursday September 13, 2018

Content offers are essentially a transaction. You provide your audience with great content, and in return, your audience gives you some valuable information like their name, email and more. In theory, it’s a win-win. 

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How to Take the Perfect iPhone Photo

Jordin Ruthstein | Thursday September 6, 2018

In the age of smartphones with cameras as powerful as a DSLR, more and more people are relying on their iPhone or equivalent to capture the perfect photo.

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Deciding Between Marketing Channels? Start with Audience Data

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 30, 2018

Figuring out which marketing channels to invest in is possibly the most common challenge we hear from clients when we first start working with them. 

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How to Pitch to the Media

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 23, 2018

If you’re looking to increase awareness of your organization, then one of the most effective tactics you can put to use is pitching the media. 

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What You Need to Know About Keyword-less Optimization

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 16, 2018

As you’re probably aware, keywords play a huge role in digital marketing and SEO. It’s essential for your business to rank high for a targeted set of keywords so that customer’s unfamiliar with your business can find you.  

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How Manufacturers Can Improve Sales Lead Quality with Content

Tyler Smith | Thursday August 9, 2018

You’ve heard it a million times: content creation is an essential component of any B2B marketing effort. 

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Is IGTV Worth Your Small Business's Time?

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 2, 2018

You may have noticed that Instagram recently released a new product known as IGTV — short for “Instagram TV.”

If you’re a small business owner, your first thought was likely something along the lines of, “Crap, another social media site we have to join?” 

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Tips and Tools for Launching Your First Email Newsletter

Chris Fowler | Thursday July 26, 2018

Whether you’re a freelancer looking to register with new clients or a B2B business promoting your services, an email newsletter is a powerful tactic that can help your business in the long run. 

If you’re ready to start a newsletter, here are a few pointers to get yours running.

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Examples of Great Technology Marketing Videos

Scott Rogers | Thursday July 19, 2018

Have you ever been researching a business, only to realize they lack video content of any kind? For me, I start to doubt that they even exist or wonder if they’re a front of some kind. Why don’t they want me to see what their business looks like? Hmmm…

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Excited About Geofencing Ads? Curb Your Enthusiasm

Charlie Nadler | Thursday July 12, 2018

On paper, geofencing advertising sounds cool, if a bit creepy. A location-based targeting tool, geofencing lets you put in your specific, strategically chosen longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates, attach a cookie to all the mobile devices in that location for a set period of time and deliver relevant ads to your target audience for the next few months.

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Working With a Video Crew: 5 Steps to Editing Your New Video

Scott Rogers | Thursday July 5, 2018

You’ve spent the time and money to develop a professional video about your organization. You spent hours on the script and made it through the long shoot day, only to receive the first draft of your new video and…  it’s not quite there yet. 

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How to Create a Case Study Your Prospects Will Actually Want to Read

Charlie Nadler | Thursday June 28, 2018

I’ve read a lot of case studies. (It’s an occupational hazard; I’ll be okay.)

Most of them are instantly forgettable. Some are so bad they make my eyes glaze over before I’ve gotten past the first sentence. But, every now and then, I come across one that just works — and when that happens, it’s extremely effective. 

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How Often Should You Update Your Website?

Chris Fowler | Thursday June 21, 2018

When new clients begin working with us, the first thing we do is have a sit-down to learn more about their company, goals and challenges. During that discussion, just about 100% of the time, they will admit their website could probably use a “refresher” and redesigning it should be an early priority.

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Free Tools to Take You from Design to Hitting Send

Scott Rogers | Thursday June 14, 2018

There’s nothing quite like a well-thought-out and executed marketing strategy. Weeks of planning culminates in an impeccably put together editorial calendar and beautifully designed content pieces ready to go. 

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Artificial Intelligence in Action: AdWords Optimization

Charlie Nadler | Thursday June 7, 2018

Depending on your disposition regarding technology and the amount of sci-fi you consume, reading and talking about artificial intelligence (AI) can either be exciting or nightmarish. 

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Is it Time to Quit Twitter?

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 31, 2018

Social media has been a part of many a business marketing strategy for at least a decade now. The benefits are clear — theoretically, you can directly interact with your target audience whenever you want without relying on traditional media. 

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3 Ways Marketing Automation Can Help Organize Sales Efforts

Tyler Smith | Friday May 25, 2018

Have you ever lost track of a promising lead? Maybe you forgot to follow up, or you misplaced their information after a trade show?

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Hiring a Marketing Agency: Do You Need a Producer or an Engineer?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday May 17, 2018

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to record an album at Electrical Audio in Chicago with one of my all-time favorite recording engineers: Steve Albini.

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6 Steps to Researching Competitors

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 10, 2018

When building a marketing strategy, it can be confusing to know where to begin. Do you need a website redesign? Should you invest more in content? What about paid Google ads or social? Direct mail? The list goes on and on.

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Lacking Conversions? Your Website Navigation Might be Holding You Back

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 3, 2018

If your website is getting a lot of traffic but you’re not seeing the conversions you’ve been hoping for, your website navigation might be to blame. 

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How to Optimize Your Amazon Product Listing to Increase Sales

Tyler Smith | Thursday April 26, 2018

For most manufacturers, Amazon is simply too big to ignore. A 2017 analysis by Slice Intelligence found that 43% of all online retail sales in the United States in the previous year happened on Amazon, and that Amazon accounted for 53% of the growth of U.S. ecommerce sales in 2016.

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How to Make a DIY Photo Shoot Work

Chris Fowler | Thursday April 19, 2018

These days, it seems like everyone has a DSLR (a.k.a. “one of those fancy cameras”). The truth is you can get some pretty good shots without hiring a professional. With a little know-how and some experimentation, you’d be surprised what you can capture on your own.

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The Marketing Disaster Checklist

Scott Rogers | Thursday April 12, 2018

So, it’s happened. After spending hours putting together a piece of marketing, you’ve sent it out only to discover shortly after that it possessed a major error.

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Improving Your Business Website with Analytics, SEO and User Experience

Charlie Nadler | Thursday April 5, 2018

Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t have thought to spend last Wednesday night watching a panel give a live website review.

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GDPR: What U.S. Small Businesses Need to Know

Brittney Lane | Thursday March 29, 2018

The amount of data that’s collected about us from the internet is staggering. From the information we explicitly share, like our email address; to the information many people don’t even realize is associated with us, like our IP address, it can be very unsettling to consider all the things organizations know about us.

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How to Build Sales Intake Best Practices and Stick to Them

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 22, 2018

The goal of all marketing efforts is to get people to do business with your organization. Whether you use inbound methods, direct tactics or have someone stand on a busy corner with a sign strapped around their shoulders, you’re trying to bring new leads to your business. 

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Upcoming Event: Chicago HubSpot User Group’s Live Website Review Featuring Jill Wilson

Charlie Nadler | Thursday March 15, 2018


On Wednesday, March 28th, come see Simple Machines President Jill Wilson speak as she joins an expert panel for Chicago HubSpot User Group’s Live Website Review!

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How Much Are Your Competitors Spending on Marketing?

Brittney Lane | Thursday March 8, 2018

Do you know how much money other organizations in your industry are spending on marketing? The CMO Survey — conducted by Deloitte, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and the American Marketing Association — set out to answer just that.

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Are Trade Shows Right for Manufacturers? [Free Guide]

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 1, 2018

Trade shows bring with them some obvious benefits. In an ideal situation, you’re placed directly in front of distributors and buyers, giving you the opportunity to demo your product to any interested party who happens to pass by your booth.

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How to Know if You Need Marketing Automation

Charlie Nadler | Thursday February 22, 2018

If you follow this blog regularly (hi Mom), you know we’ve covered marketing automation quite a bit. We’ve walked through considerations like what to expect when getting started with HubSpot and provided some tactical help like how to troubleshoot nurture workflows.

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Using Facebook Ads to Find Your Audience

Scott Rogers | Thursday February 15, 2018

Nailing down your target audience can be a tricky task. Beyond just what industry your service or product is geared to, who specifically are you trying to talk to? For some businesses, it takes months or even years to feel fully answer this question.  

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Here’s How Our Agency Helps Clients with Different Marketing Budgets

Brittney Lane | Thursday February 1, 2018

The good news for small businesses looking to improve their marketing is that you don’t need a million dollars to work with a marketing agency (not this one, at least!). Yet we’ve noticed there can still be some haziness as to what kind of service you can expect from a marketing agency at your price point.

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Marketing and the Post-Launch Slump

Charlie Nadler | Thursday January 25, 2018

Post-Launch Slump

If you’ve worked with a marketing agency before, then there’s a phenomenon you may be familiar with.

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How to Hire a Commercial Photographer

Scott Rogers | Thursday January 18, 2018

Maybe you’re getting ready to launch a new website or unveil a new rebranding campaign. Maybe you’ve just taken a look at your product images and realized they’re painfully out of date. Whatever the reason, you need photography and you need it stat. 

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Here's What to Expect When Getting Started with HubSpot

Brittney Lane | Thursday January 11, 2018

We’re big fans of marketing automation. And what’s not to love? This technology allows us to run smarter and more powerful marketing campaigns that lead to faster, better results.

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Our Favorite Marketing Tips of 2017

Charlie Nadler | Thursday January 4, 2018

If you haven’t read the predictions for 2018 marketing articles, I’ll save you some time: this will finally be the year in which businesses and marketers must leverage AI-IoT-Chatbots-Machine-Learning-Video-Content-Big-Data-Blockchain (what I like to call AIIoTCMacLVC-BigDBChain for short).

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6 Steps to Meet Deadlines and Get Your Content Out the Door

Scott Rogers | Thursday December 28, 2017

We live in a world full of deadlines. When it comes to getting your marketing collateral out the door — whether it be blog posts, emails, direct mail pieces or something else entirely — any hitch in the development process can throw your project out of whack, leaving you to miss carefully plotted deadlines.

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Underperforming Lead Nurturing Workflow? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Charlie Nadler | Thursday December 21, 2017

Automation is one of the most powerful tools for accelerating marketing and sales efforts. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most powerful ways marketers can trip over themselves, annoy people, create embarrassment and damage brand value when misused.

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How to Make Influencer Marketing Work for Small Businesses

Scott Rogers | Thursday December 14, 2017

In a world full of marketing buzzwords, few terms are buzzier than “influencer marketing.” While not exactly a brand-new tactic, it has gained prominence in recent years as advertising on social media has become more popular.

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How to Audit Your 2017 Lead Gen Marketing for a Successful 2018

Brittney Lane | Thursday December 7, 2017

With a new year fast approaching, you’re probably already thinking about your 2018 marketing initiatives. Regardless of what ideas you already have or goals you’ve set, the best first step for ensuring your 2018 marketing is successful is to review the results of your 2017 marketing.

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How to Personalize Your Marketing for Greater Returns

Scott Rogers | Thursday November 30, 2017

Personalization is no longer the future of marketing. Now it’s more of a “today” kind of thing.

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Hiring? Think Like a Marketer to Improve Your Recruiting Campaign

Brittney Lane | Tuesday November 21, 2017

We recently helped one of our clients kick off a recruiting campaign after they landed a major new client that necessitated the hiring of 12 new employees in only two months (a great problem to have!).

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7 Budget-Friendly Marketing Videos to Inspire Your Next Project

Charlie Nadler | Thursday November 16, 2017

If you’re reluctant to incorporate video into your marketing mix, I get it. Compared to relatively inexpensive content tactics like blogging and social, video sounds expensive, risky and time-consuming.

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How to Design Your Blog and Videos for Mobile

Scott Rogers | Thursday November 9, 2017

This probably goes without saying, but people spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. According to a study by ComScore, 65% of the time we spend consuming digital content is done on mobile. Anecdotally, I see at least half of all email opens for our clients occur on mobile devices. 

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The Common Elements in Every Good Piece of Marketing Collateral

Brittney Lane | Thursday November 2, 2017

While many businesses have a digital-first approach when it comes to marketing, there are still plenty of reasons to create physical marketing collateral like brochures, postcards or flyers. 

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Chicago HubSpot User Group’s Inbound 2017 Recap

Chris Fowler | Thursday October 26, 2017

Since not everyone is able to attend HubSpot’s annual Inbound Conference, the good people at the Chicago HubSpot User Group (ChiHUG) organized an Inbound 2017 recap event where co-hosts Stephanie Casstevens and Deb Monkman, along with a panel of Chicago marketing experts, shared their takeaways and insights from the conference. 

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Marketing Without a CMO: Part 3

Charlie Nadler | Thursday October 19, 2017

Below is the third installment in a short series dedicated to this topic. Read the first installment here and the second installment here.

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Have You Interviewed Your Clients Lately?

Brittney Lane | Thursday October 12, 2017

While "interview" may conjure up images of nervous job applicants or celebrity profiles in your favorite magazine (do people still read those?), I want to talk about a different type of interview: the kind you have with your clients.

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Simple Grammar Tips for Small Businesses

Scott Rogers | Thursday October 5, 2017

It probably goes without saying, but poor grammar can ruin a marketing campaign. If your content is riddled with grammatical errors, then odds are your audience won’t view you as much of an expert in your field.

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Why Hire a Marketing Agency When You Can Just Hire Another Salesperson?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday September 28, 2017

Yeah, I know. A marketing agency blog about whether hiring a salesperson can replace hiring a marketing agency. The suspense is probably giving you indigestion — where will he land on this?!

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How to Pitch Yourself as a Podcast Guest

Scott Rogers | Thursday September 21, 2017

(photo credit: Gavin Whitner via

Getting in front of your target audience can be difficult. Sometimes the standard methods (blog, newsletter, social) can come up short despite your best efforts. When faced with a scenario like this, you have to think outside the box.

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Free Download: Style Guide Worksheet for Small Businesses

Brittney Lane | Thursday September 14, 2017

If you're serious about developing and maintaining your business’s brand, you need a marketing style guide. 

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Building a New Content Strategy: Questions to Ask Internally

Scott Rogers | Thursday September 7, 2017

Content strategies grow stale. Just like websites or marketing tactics — RIP the Yellow Pages — your content strategy can go from top of the line to out of date in no time.

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Marketing Without a CMO: Part 2

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 31, 2017

Below is the second installment in a short series dedicated to this topic. Read the first installment here and the third installment here.

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Website Refresh: How to Update Lots of Webpage Copy Without Going Crazy

Brittney Lane | Thursday August 24, 2017

Website updates don’t always take the form of a complete makeover. In fact, you can considerably improve the search engine optimization and conversion rates of your website with some smart page copy and structure updates.

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How to Make a Content Download Worth Downloading

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 17, 2017

When you’re offering a downloadable content offer in exchange for contact information, you’ve got a tightrope to walk. 

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To Pop-up or Not to Pop-up: How to Structure a Blog Post for Better Reader Engagement

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 10, 2017

At Simple Machines Marketing, we adhere to Hubspot’s inbound marketing methodology: we believe that by creating great content, you can attract new prospects, and through the smart usage of CTAs, forms and content downloads, move these prospects through the buyer’s journey to eventually become regular customers. 

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Why No One is Opening Your Marketing Emails (And How to Fix Them)

Brittney Lane | Thursday August 3, 2017

You've been sending great marketing emails to your contact list, but no one is opening them. What gives? 

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Marketing Without a CMO: Part 1

Charlie Nadler | Thursday July 27, 2017

In the July-August issue, Harvard Business Review published a series of articles under the title “Why CMOs Never Last.” As we passed the articles around the office, they sparked some interesting conversations – and helped clarify our agency’s point of view on the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (or lack thereof) when it comes to small business marketing.

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The Four Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Brittney Lane | Thursday July 20, 2017

Small business owners who take charge of their marketing are the best. They're passionate and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to grow their business and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty in an area that they may not have any formal training in – which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  

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How to Decide if a Trade Show is a Good Fit for your Business

Charlie Nadler | Thursday July 13, 2017

Some tasks look easy until you try them. Pulling off the right amount of tinfoil to cover your leftovers? Sounds easy, but I invariably undershoot this. Every single time. If I had a nickel for every piece of pizza that went bad because I botched this stupid task, I’d probably have, you know, a respectable number of nickels.

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How to Successfully Manage Outside Presenters for Your Webinars

Scott Rogers | Thursday July 6, 2017

Relying on outside presenters to create content for your webinar series is a smart decision – especially for organizations who realize their internal capacity to develop new presentations and topics is capped. Bringing in presenters who do not directly compete with your business, but who are closely associated enough to deliver value to your audience, is a creative solution that benefits your organization and the presenter’s. 

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These Employee Feedback Workshop Ideas Will Supercharge Your Rebrand

Brittney Lane | Thursday June 29, 2017

One misstep that many businesses make during their rebranding efforts is waiting until the official unveiling of their brand to loop their employees in. While this is often done as a way to ensure that employees only see the final product, it actually puts the organization at a disadvantage once the brand is rolled out to the public.

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How to Make a Marketing Video Using Stock Footage

Scott Rogers | Thursday June 22, 2017

Animoto, a video editing service, released a report on how video marketing has been faring recently on social media sites. According to the report, 64% of consumers said they made a purchase after watching a marketing video on Facebook.

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Simple Machines Marketing is Now Offering Sales Enablement Services

Charlie Nadler | Thursday June 15, 2017

Over the past couple years, there’s been plenty of talk about sales enablement services. If you’ve heard of sales enablement, you may have also heard people say that businesses should now be expecting it and their marketing teams should be delivering it.

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How Should Marketing Hand Leads Off to Sales?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday June 8, 2017

We’ve written about a general need for sales and marketing alignment in the past.

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If You Aren’t Creating Content to Get Results, Why Are You Creating It at All?

Brittney Lane | Thursday June 1, 2017

If you’ve been spending time creating content for your company’s website, it’s time for a check-in.

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A Simple Guide to Brainstorming Blog Topics

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 25, 2017

Maintaining a successful blog is not easy. While they may seem like a simple way to drive visitors to your website, there's a lot more that goes into running a successful blog then it may appear on the surface.

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Why You Shouldn’t Respond to That SEO Offer Promising to Get You to #1 On Google Just Yet

Brittney Lane | Thursday May 18, 2017

If your business has its own website, you’ve most certainly received emails or contact form submissions from “SEO experts” promising to “boost your SEO fast,” “get you to the first spot on Google in four weeks,” or “triple your web leads this quarter.” 

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Are Mobile Apps Worth a Small Business’s Time?

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 11, 2017

Our last blog post spent some time wading through the results of a Clutch survey detailing how 350 small business owners are using digital marketing tactics to grow their business. Specifically, the survey focused on where these small businesses currently allot their digital marketing funds, and where they anticipate increasing their investments in 2017.

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How Small Businesses are Prioritizing Marketing in 2017

Charlie Nadler | Thursday May 4, 2017

As part of small business week, we thought we’d do some research and see how small businesses – locally here in Chicago and around the country – are prioritizing marketing in 2017.

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Simple Machines President Jill Wilson Recognized in DMN's "2017 Women to Watch"

Charlie Nadler | Thursday April 27, 2017

Simple Machines is proud to announce that our President, Jill Wilson, was honored yesterday as part of DMN's "2017 Women to Watch"! These women were selected because they have each "produced data-driven results, exemplified leadership, and implemented effective strategies." 

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How to Prepare for Your Organization’s Photo Shoot

Scott Rogers | Thursday April 20, 2017

At some point, you’ve likely either considered hiring a photographer to come in and take pictures of your business, or you hired a photographer and were… well I’ll just say it, not exactly thrilled with the results. 

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How to Create Your Event Collateral Without Losing Your Mind

Brittney Lane | Thursday April 13, 2017

Whether you’re hosting your own conference or simply manning a booth at your first trade show, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done before the big day. From brochures and banners to signs and sales sheets, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by just how much work goes into preparing all of the various collateral needed for an event.

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What to Know If You’re Considering HubSpot for Your Small Business

Charlie Nadler | Thursday April 6, 2017

If your business is not already using marketing automation, chances are you’ve at least considered it.

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How Marketers Can Keep Customer and Lead Data Secure

Brittney Lane | Thursday March 30, 2017

A topic that is not discussed nearly enough when it comes to marketing - especially small business marketing - is how to keep the data you collect about your leads and customers safe.

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You're Doing it Wrong: Tweeting at Events

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 23, 2017

Generally, I really like Twitter. One of my favorite parts of the site are its various subsections; you’ve got politics Twitter, sports Twitter, “weird” Twitter, cat Twitter… it really goes on and on. They’re kind of like micro sites within the overall site – places where people who share a similar interest can debate issues, create funny memes or send cat videos.

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Your Buyers Have More Choices Than Ever. Are You Making It Easy for Them to Choose You?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday March 16, 2017

If you’re on the selling end of a B2B company, you’ve probably heard some general wisdom about your buyers.

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How to Tell if an Advertising Opportunity is a Good Investment

Brittney Lane | Thursday March 9, 2017

If your small business is considering signing an advertising contract – whether it be to have ads displayed in a magazine, on a website or in an email newsletter – you need to be sure that you fully understand your investment. Oftentimes, people will accept an advertising offer or package as is, without asking more questions about what they should expect from their campaign.

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Should You Really Host a Webinar?

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 2, 2017

Early in the life of the internet, I imagine some genius out there had a profound realization. In my mind, it went something like:

“So… we don’t really have to go places anymore, right?” 

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Why Nobody's Registering for Your Business’s Event

Charlie Nadler | Thursday February 23, 2017

Taking the time to plan and promote an event only for nobody to sign up is a kick in the gut. It’s like that 11th birthday party when your parents invited your whole class to Dave & Busters but the only person to show up was your depressed Aunt Carol who spent the whole time telling you how hard it is to get divorced in your forties. (That happened to you guys too, right?)

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Why You Shouldn’t Ditch Underperforming Marketing Tactics (Just Yet)

Brittney Lane | Thursday February 16, 2017

If you've ever felt like one of your marketing tactics was nothing but a waste of time, this article is for you. 

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How to Compete When Your Market Has a Clear Leader

Charlie Nadler | Thursday February 9, 2017

If you’re a small business competing in a market with a dominant leader, you can find plenty of David vs Goliath advice out there discussing how you’re supposed to stand your ground. 

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How to Look Past the Noise and Create Better Content

Scott Rogers | Thursday February 2, 2017

Has content peaked? It’s an interesting question. Studies over the last several years have found that 50% of content only receives eight shares or less. Why is that?

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Do Small Businesses Need to Worry About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday January 26, 2017

In the spirit of AMP – which is all about instant gratification – I’ll give our take on this right away.

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How to Generate More Leads Through Email Segmentation

Brittney Lane | Thursday January 19, 2017

When used correctly, email marketing has the ability to be a powerful lead generator. 

Unfortunately, many people find their emails fall on deaf ears. No matter the message, the frequency, or the design, they aren’t moving people from reader to lead.

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How to Publish Your Content Elsewhere: Using Outside Publications to Create New Leads and Add Authority

Scott Rogers | Thursday January 12, 2017

So let’s say you’re writing a blog. You feel like your posts are well written and contain valuable information. For whatever reason, however, you’re not grabbing your audience’s attention and you lack the means to reach more people. You’re expending maximum effort for minimal returns.

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10 Questions to Help You Pick Lead-Generating Blog Topics

Brittney Lane | Thursday January 5, 2017

By now, you probably know that blogging is paramount to your ability to drive traffic to your website, improve search engine ranking, establish brand authority and delight your visitors – all of which can help you generate new leads. 

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Put Your Audience First in 2017 with Inbound Marketing

Scott Rogers | Thursday December 29, 2016

We’ve written about it time and time again: the best way to drive new leads to your business and optimize your marketing efforts is by, surprise, surprise, putting your audience first.

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The 4 Essential Marketing Items to Review Before 2017

Brittney Lane | Thursday December 22, 2016

With the new year fast approaching, it’s as good a time as any to take stock of your year in marketing and plan for the future. While you may not necessarily need to overhaul your marketing strategy in 2017 (though you should consider refreshing it), there isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from an honest status review of what you’ve accomplished and a plan for how to build on your success. 

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8 Ways to Generate More B2B Leads in 2017 with Inbound Marketing

Charlie Nadler | Thursday December 15, 2016

If you’re in a B2B sales or business development role and you’ve set goals for 2017, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that one of those goals is to generate more leads. 

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The Over-Editing Problem

Scott Rogers | Thursday December 8, 2016

Our last blog post discussed how businesses can often find their marketing efforts dragged down because they refuse to put anything out there until it’s perfect. 

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The Common Mistake That Will Sabotage Any Marketing Effort

Charlie Nadler | Thursday December 1, 2016

I have a friend who is constantly coming up with what I think are usually good – occasionally great – ideas for things like new businesses, apps, websites, songs and movies.

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The Problem with Sending So Many Marketing Emails

Brittney Lane | Monday November 21, 2016

Like many people, the first thing I do upon waking up every morning is check my email. This habit defies logic, as I couldn't tell you the last time I received a personal email or even a marketing email I was particularly interested in overnight, yet I do it anyway. With eyes barely open enough to adjust to the bright light emitting from my iPhone, I delete marketing emails from the same brands over and over again, sometimes deleting without even opening the email in the first place. 

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Keeping up with a Changing Customer Journey: Notes from Inbound 2016

Charlie Nadler | Thursday November 17, 2016

Last week, two of us – Simple Machines President Jill Wilson and myself – made it to HubSpot’s annual conference, Inbound.

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The Content Checklist: Picking the Right Channels for Your Message

Scott Rogers | Friday November 11, 2016

Making things is hard. Writing blogs, creating newsletters, developing direct mail pieces and more all take a considerable amount of creative energy. Effort which, if not repaid by a high enough level of engagement, can be incredibly demoralizing. 

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How to Properly Set Marketing Expectations

Scott Rogers | Thursday November 3, 2016

A key lesson we all learn in life is how to set expectations. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson most of us only receive when our expectations are so out of whack that we suffer a crushing disappointment. For example…

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What does your audience want? It’s not what you think.

Brittney Lane | Thursday October 27, 2016

Think back to the last time you were really excited to buy something. What was it that had you giddy with anticipation? A promise that your purchase will help you become a better, cooler version of yourself? A resolution to an ongoing problem? Something to make your life so much easier?

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What to Consider When Changing Marketing Strategies

Charlie Nadler | Thursday October 20, 2016

Overhauling your marketing strategy is kind of like going to Ikea. It’s painful but sometimes necessary, the build phase is deceptively simple and there’s a decent chance something falls apart when you’re done if you’re not careful. 

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Repurposing Content is Work. Sorry.

Scott Rogers | Thursday October 13, 2016

I’m the type of person who really hates buzzwords. Because more often than not, a buzzword just becomes a fill-in for really having nothing to say.

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Gendered Marketing: Reserved for the Lazy and Out of Touch

Brittney Lane | Thursday October 6, 2016

I’m not sure who decided salads were exclusively for laughing women or that steak was the manliest food that could ever meet your mouth, but I do know this: the perpetuation of gendered stereotypes in marketing is the result of lazy, out of touch work at best, and sexism at worst.

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Pain, Rejection and Marketing Optimization

Charlie Nadler | Thursday September 29, 2016

For years now, entrepreneurs have championed the mantra “fail fast, fail often”, or “fail forward” or “fail better.” 

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Here’s Why You Should Hire a Marketing Agency Instead of Doing It Yourself

Brittney Lane | Thursday September 22, 2016

A common question asked by business owners who are considering hiring a marketing agency is "why shouldn't I just do this myself?" 

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Direct Mail: A Bold New Future?

Scott Rogers | Thursday September 15, 2016

I’m tired of the internet.

Well, kind of. I still generally like Twitter and my set of regularly checked websites.

But I am extremely tired of ineffective internet marketing tactics that are frequently presented to small businesses as the answer to all their problems.

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Take Your CRM to the Next Level with…Google Maps?

Tyler Smith | Thursday September 8, 2016
Always find yourself on the go, traveling to meetings with prospects, leads and clients?

In Chicago, one client visit can easily eat up half of your day due to the city’s lovely traffic. While I don’t have a fix for the Chicago commute, I did recently learn of a way you can get more accomplished during your travels.

Google Maps.
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Your Website is a Road. Design Its Layout With the Driver in Mind.

Brittney Lane | Thursday August 25, 2016

Your website layout and the road have a lot in common. (I promise this isn't a setup for a bad "information super highway" joke.) 

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What Happens When We Confuse Marketing Tactics for Strategy

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 18, 2016

Strategy is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. Too much. Especially when it comes to marketing.

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Using Narrative to Help Your Business

Scott Rogers | Thursday August 11, 2016

A few months ago I saw a random tweet pop up on my feed that has stuck with me – for negative reasons. It was a quote from a presenter at a digital media conference that said something along the lines of, “Great storytelling is the future of marketing.”

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The Un-Personalization of Personalized Marketing

Korie Ehemann | Thursday August 4, 2016

Personalization in email and print marketing campaigns is becoming increasingly popular. Statistically, consumers are more likely to open your email or mail piece if it’s addressed specifically to them and not a generic “Dear Sir.” This all sounds like a total win for marketers, right? 

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Why Website Audits Are Your Key to Improving SEO

Brittney Lane | Thursday July 28, 2016

Wondering why your website isn’t on the first page of Google search results?

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Try to Sound Like a Human

Scott Rogers | Thursday July 21, 2016

I have a friend who overcomplicates everything. If I text him about doing something, I’ll periodically get an answer back that looks like this: 

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To Rebrand or Not to Rebrand

Korie Ehemann | Friday July 15, 2016

We all want to be the Disney’s, the Apple’s, and the Beyonce’s (yes, Beyonce is a brand). We want our brand to be strong, timeless, and relevant, even if it is on a smaller scale than some of the brand kings.

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Are You Guilty of These Bad Trade Show Behaviors?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday July 7, 2016

We don’t attend them too frequently, but a couple of us recently made it to trade shows – and we had some observations.

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You’re Probably Not as Funny as You Think You Are (On Social Media)

Scott Rogers | Thursday June 30, 2016

Let’s begin with my failure. 

I was writing a strategy document for a client not too long ago where I suggested they use a “humorous tone on Twitter.” To illustrate my point, I came up with some humorous-ish tweet examples. They were funny enough, I thought. 

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Marketing Skeptic

Scott Rogers | Friday June 24, 2016

I’ve sat on the other side of the desk. The one with you on one end and an outside marketing group at the other. And believe me, I’ve done a lot of internal eye rolling.

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How to Use Marketing Hashtags: Don’t

Brittney Lane | Thursday June 16, 2016

Raise your hand if, in the past month, you’ve clicked on a hashtag and discovered a new brand to follow and engage with as a result.

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What If Your Social Media Accounts Disappeared?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday June 9, 2016

If you’re trying to figure out whether your small business’s social media efforts are worth the time and resources, I recommend starting with a little exercise.

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The Importance of Print in Rebranding

Scott Rogers | Thursday June 2, 2016

Note: This blog was originally published on the Aloha Print Group Blog

Rebranding is a time consuming job. You have to breathe new life into your messaging, update your logo, settle on a new color pallet/typography and, critically, do a whole lot of printing.

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Social for Small Businesses: Q&A with Expert Tara Hunt

Scott Rogers | Thursday May 26, 2016

Tara Hunt is a digital marketer specializing in social media. Her web series, “Truly Social,” is built around trying to get brands and agencies to embrace the “social” aspect of social media.

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Employees Skeptical About Marketing? 3 Tips For Winning Internal Buy-In

Brittney Lane | Thursday May 19, 2016

A harsh reality facing business owners is that their employees aren't always as excited about new marketing efforts as they are.

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A Quick and Easy Way to Improve Your Marketing

Charlie Nadler | Thursday May 12, 2016

We’ve written before about the value of getting feedback from your customers. Using surveys, online reviews and other forms of feedback has helped a number of our clients really get a handle on what’s working, what’s not – and how they can improve their marketing and operations.

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What to Expect When Hiring a Marketing Agency

Jill Wilson | Friday May 6, 2016

Whether you're hiring a marketing agency for the first time or simply transferring marketing responsibilities to their new and rightful owner, this week's post takes a look at several best practices for documenting procedures and gathering the appropriate intel needed for a seamless handoff. 

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New Content Trends and How They Affect Your Small Business

Scott Rogers | Thursday April 28, 2016

When it comes to developing content for marketing purposes, I tend to think in terms of undervalued assets. If possible, I want to capitalize on a perceived gap in the market. Essentially, I look for any opportunity to zig where others zag.

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4 Email Marketing Tricks To Steal From The Presidential Candidates

Brittney Lane | Thursday April 21, 2016

It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on (or if you don’t believe in the two party system at all): the 2016 presidential candidates can teach us a thing or two about email marketing. 

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Use Customer Lifetime Value to Create Your Marketing Budget (Free Download)

Jill Wilson | Thursday April 14, 2016

When it’s time to talk marketing goals, we frequently hear business owners talk in terms of outcomes, getting right to revenue: “We need to hit $20 million in revenue this year” or something along these lines.

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Video Marketing Questions Answered by Professionals

Scott Rogers | Thursday April 7, 2016

Previously we shared some tips for how to develop DIY video; today we’re going to take a look at what you should expect — and how you can prepare — if you’re considering hiring some outside help to create your marketing video.

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Why a Marketing Intern Can't Be the Entire Marketing Department

Jill Wilson | Thursday March 31, 2016

For many companies, hiring an intern to put marketing on the right course is a common last-ditch effort before biting the bullet and working with an agency.

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5 Steps for Developing Engaging Content

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 24, 2016

As more marketers invest more resources in content, it becomes increasingly important to carefully consider the best ways to connect with your potential customers. 

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Inbound Marketing vs Account-Based Marketing: Which is Right for Your Business?

Charlie Nadler | Thursday March 17, 2016

Inbound marketing is an approach that started getting attention in the mid 2000’s and has been increasingly lauded as a leading strategy for businesses to create demand for products and services with its market.

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Small Businesses Can Now Advertise on Pinterest. Should Yours?

Brittney Lane | Thursday March 10, 2016

This week, Pinterest finally released advertising management tools that are accessible for businesses on modest budgets.

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Google Has Removed Right Side AdWords Ads: How This Affects Small Businesses

Scott Rogers | Thursday March 3, 2016

If you’ve done a Google search lately, you may have noticed that the sidebar ads (the paid search ads on the right side of search results) are gone. In February, Google confirmed that it is eliminating the right side AdWords ads from search results. 

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3 Essential Hyperlocal Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

Brittney Lane | Thursday February 18, 2016

“Hyperlocal” has been a buzzword in marketing for the last few years, and with good reason: reaching customers in a defined, local geographic area can help businesses stand out amongst crowds of regional or national businesses.

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5 Steps to Great DIY Video Marketing

Scott Rogers | Thursday February 11, 2016
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How to Plan for “Easy” Marketing Channels

Charlie Nadler | Thursday January 28, 2016

As an advertiser, it’s easier than ever to dip a toe into many of the biggest digital channels that exist. With a modest budget and a few clicks, your ad can be seen on the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter.

This low barrier to entry has empowered countless marketers and business owners to decide that it’s easy enough to advertise on these channels, and everyone else is doing it, so might as well throw a quick ad up there and a couple hundred bucks behind it to see what happens. 

It’s tempting to think this way. Don’t do it.

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How to Generate Leads at Trade Shows Using Social Media

Jill Wilson | Thursday January 21, 2016

You've got a big trade show this spring that you really hope to make the most of. You've spent almost $10,000 on a top-notch booth that showcases your brand. You've worked with your marketing agency to breathe new life into your messaging and marketing collateral that you can't wait to proudly hand out. You already know of a few prospects in your pipeline who will be attending. Your social media plan for the show is...hmm. 

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The Authenticity Struggle: How to Use Images to Connect

Scott Rogers | Thursday January 14, 2016

If you’ve ever written a blog post, e-newsletter or post on social media, you’ve probably struggled to pick an image that best conveys your message. When you know you only have a few seconds of consumers’ attention, then the image you choose to make a connection with them becomes incredibly important.

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How I Used LinkedIn for Prospecting

Jill Wilson | Friday January 8, 2016

It seemed like finding clients on social media was the stuff you read about on, well, social media, so my initial reluctance to use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool was high. 

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Is Your Obsession With Lead Generation Quality Holding You Back?

Brittney Lane | Monday November 30, 2015

Lead Generation QualityLead quality and lead quantityare sometimes thought of as competing ideas, requiring you to pick one and sacrifice the other.

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What Does a Successful Marketing Agency Relationship Look Like?

Brittney Lane | Tuesday November 17, 2015

You’ve just signed a contract with a new marketing agency. You’re buzzing with excitement about what the future holds for your company. Think of the campaigns! The leads! The sales!

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Before Launching an Inbound Campaign: A Marketing Checklist

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday November 4, 2015

Before Launch

Let’s say you (or your marketing team) has already put in the time and hard work to hone in on a well-researched and strategic inbound marketing plan.

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Are You Marketing the Wrong Attributes of Your Business?

Brittney Lane | Monday October 19, 2015

You know your business better than anyone.

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Should You Download Google Primer?

Charlie Nadler | Friday October 2, 2015

In October of last year, Google rolled out Primer – the app designed to help startups, small business owners

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The Four Sins of Reporting (And How To Create Reports That Are Actually Useful)

Brittney Lane | Thursday September 17, 2015

Any marketer worth their weight in AdWords knows that reporting is one of the most important cornerstones of a successful campaign.

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How Are You Calculating Your Conversion Rate?

Charlie Nadler | Tuesday August 11, 2015

Quick: what’s your company’s conversion rate? 

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Communicating Major Organizational Changes: Your Checklist For Doing it Right

Brittney Lane | Monday July 27, 2015

Communicating Organizational Change

Changes in your organization are all but inevitable – stick around long enough and you’ll need to (or be forced to) deal with changes that are so significant that you need to announce them to the world.

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The Problem with Purple Cow Syndrome

Charlie Nadler | Monday June 29, 2015

Recently, I was talking with members of my team about some of the more common

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Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Working in Harmony?

Brittney Lane | Wednesday June 10, 2015

Sales and Marketing: they can be the best of friends or the worst of enemies. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find these two teams suffering when their work is siloed.

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How Should You Set Your Marketing Budget?

Charlie Nadler | Tuesday May 26, 2015

Over the years, I’ve noticed that a couple common things can happen

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Google’s New Algorithm Puts Small Businesses at Risk. Here's What You Need to Do to Stay Visible.

Brittney Lane | Monday April 20, 2015

April 21 marks the beginning of a new, more mobile-focused era for the Google algorithm.

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AdWords, Bing, or Facebook: Who Should You Choose For Your PPC Campaign?

Brittney Lane | Thursday April 2, 2015

PPC campaigns are a staple of many digital marketing campaigns. While most people think of Google AdWords first when considering where to run their ads, Bing and Facebook also provide ample – and sometimes even better – opportunity to increase website traffic or increase conversions.

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The Challenges of Marketing Your Sustainable Business

Charlie Nadler | Friday March 6, 2015

If your small business has aspects of its products and/or services with benefits that could be considered sustainable, green, responsible, eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly – or whatever other descriptor you prefer – your outlook in this area has likely evolved over time.

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How to Differentiate Your Brand in an Over-Saturated Market

Brittney Lane | Thursday February 26, 2015

How to differentiate your brand in a crowded market

Some companies bring something new to the table, such as an innovative product or a personal touch that no one has experienced before.

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Marketing and the Role of Strategic Planning

Charlie Nadler | Thursday February 12, 2015

For small and growing businesses, the development of a marketing plan should not take place in isolation.

To ensure that a marketing operation is truly positioned to achieve broader business goals – and that the business is prepared for the change driven by the marketing – it’s critical for the marketing team actively engage the leadership team from the beginning on the vision, goals, strategy and direction of the company before making any recommendations.

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Google Rank: The Harsh Truth About Getting To Page One

Brittney Lane | Friday January 2, 2015

Google RankWe often hear from business owners who are anxious to be ranked at the top of the first page of Google for the keywords they are targeting. We can’t blame them – being one of the first search results that a person sees can be huge for a business (especially when you consider the fact that only 8.5% of online search traffic makes it to the second page of results in their Google search). But is it realistic to expect that your website can get to page one of Google?

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How to Use Emotion to Tell Your Small Business's Story

Brittney Lane | Friday October 24, 2014

If you’re a small business owner, you have probably wondered how to pique interest from your target audience—without spending a great deal of money. One of the best ways to get people to care about your company is to tell a compelling story.

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5 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Website Conversion Rates

Brittney Lane | Thursday September 11, 2014

IphoneMobile optimization, the creation or editing of mobile websites to ensure that they look great and function properly on all mobile devices, can make or break your chances of converting mobile users. With the majority of American adults now owning smartphones (58% as of January 2014, according to the Pew Research Center), it’s crucial that your website is not only search engine optimized, but that it is also conversion optimized, as well. Conversion optimization is the method of creating an experience for a website visitor with the end goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers. Websites that have been properly conversion optimized will experience conversion rates worth getting excited about.

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How Website Encryption Will Affect SEO

Sara Seibt | Friday August 15, 2014

Google to begin factoring HTTPS encryption in search rankings

In a move to promote better online security practices, Google has announced that it will start using website encryption as a ranking signal. While encryption will be a lightweight signal at first – affecting less than 1% of global queries initially – the move by the search giant likely forecasts lower search rankings for sites that fail to make the security update.

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How to Eliminate Copy That is Scaring Off Your Customers

Brittney Lane | Thursday July 31, 2014

Have you ever landed on a website, interested in purchasing a service from a company, only to be overwhelmed by the volume and organization of information? How quickly did you exit out of the tab?

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Why You Need Must-Have Marketing Milestones

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday May 21, 2014

We’ve touched on the process for assessing marketing channels a number of times on this blog – looking at how to calculate marketing ROI and how to assess social media success. These posts look at how to assess marketing on a channel-by-channel basis, but what about assessing the success of a longer term marketing plan with several moving parts?

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Guest Blogging Simplified: Avoiding Google Penalization

Charlie Nadler | Thursday March 20, 2014

This week, Google started taking action against guest blogging websites found to be in violation of their SEO guidelines, following through on the warnings issued starting in January. This situation has left SEOs questioning whether or not this spells the end of guest blogging.

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How to Create a Quality Twitter Following

Stacy Jeziorowski | Wednesday March 12, 2014

With 78% of small businesses gaining new customers via social media, there’s no surprise that Twitter is at the top of just about every small business owner’s mind. One of the most common things we hear from our clients is that they know they should be on Twitter but don’t think they have the time or resources to make it worth the effort.

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How to Assess Social Media Campaigns

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday January 22, 2014

If you’re not measuring your social media marketing returns, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Tata Consultancy Services, 44% of companies surveyed reported that they do not have mechanisms in place to measure the impact of their social media efforts. By comparison, about 18% reported negative returns on their social media investments, while 38% saw positive returns.

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How Small Businesses Can Harness the Potential of Tumblr

Bernadette Coleman | Thursday November 14, 2013

(Today's guest post comes from Bernadette Coleman, who shares some of the benefits of using Tumblr along with tactics for getting the most from this platform.)

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Create a Plan to get the Most from Your Analytics

Charlie Nadler | Monday October 28, 2013

If you’re in any way involved in the management of your business’ website, it’s a given that you’re familiar with website analytics. Odds are that you’re using Google Analytics (or a plugin for it), and depending on your role in the business, you’re either being given reports from analytics or you’re pulling the data yourself.

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The End of Search Traffic Data from Google

Charlie Nadler | Thursday October 17, 2013

Recently, we made a significant change to how we report on SEO work.

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How Marketing Surveys Could Inform Your Strategy

Charlie Nadler | Thursday October 10, 2013

It goes without saying that businesses need to have a finger on the pulse of their target market in order to succeed. If you don’t know your customers’ psychographics and how they make buying decisions, you’ll have a tough time getting off the ground – not to mention adapting to changes.

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5 Ways a Small Business Can Compete with Large Companies at a Trade Show

Elizabeth Alton | Thursday September 19, 2013

(As a follow up to our post about seven types of trade show displays, business and tech writer Elizabeth Alton outlines a few important ways small businesses can compete in this space.)

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Simple Machines Posts from Around the Web

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 22, 2013

Along with the posts we write for the Simple Machines blog, we contribute to a number of different websites that cover similar territory. Below are a few of our recent favorites.

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3 Ways to Get More From Your Existing Content

Charlie Nadler | Tuesday July 30, 2013

3 Ways to Get More from Your Existing Content

Several of the posts on the Simple Machines blog have dealt with the task of generating effective, optimized content – whether it’s website copy, blogs and articles, social media content or press releases. 

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Seven Types of Trade Show Displays for Indoor or Outdoor Use

Mike Weimar | Monday July 15, 2013

(Occasionally we like to invite guest writers to weigh in on topics that we don't regularly write about but that some of our readers may find useful. Today's post comes from Mike Weimar, who provides some good insight regarding different display options for businesses marketing at trade shows.)

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What You Lose by Not Tracking Your Leads

Charlie Nadler | Monday July 1, 2013

Business Woman

You’ve been working hard to create visibility for your business. You get calls and emails from your website. Changing your number and contact email is only going to confuse visitors and potentially result in prospects calling the wrong number in the future, right?

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What the Google Penguin Updates Mean for Your Business

Charlie Nadler | Tuesday May 28, 2013

Last week, Google unrolled its most recent webspam algorithm: Penguin 2.0.  As SEOs dissect, analyze and speculate about every word in the announcement from Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, let’s take a step back and consider what these updates mean on a broader scale and what implications there are for small businesses.

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Telemarketing Simplified

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday May 8, 2013


I know, telemarketing is an easy channel to hate – I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of those calls, too. Hate it all you want, but the fact remains that when it comes to B2B lead generation, telemarketing continues to be an extremely powerful tool for a lot of companies.

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Shedding Bad Recession Habits: The Return to Tracking Profitability

Michael Holley | Wednesday April 17, 2013

I started my marketing career in 2008, just as the latest recession was rearing its ugly head. As you undoubtedly already know, priorities in the worlds of lead generation and sales were very different then. Thousands of companies were coming to the harrowing realization that referrals and business development leads were drying up as media-driven panic caused the entire business world to table all planned investments indefinitely.

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The Single Most Important Conversion Tactic

Michael Holley | Thursday March 28, 2013
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How to Waste Your Marketing Budget

Michael Holley | Wednesday March 20, 2013

Is your marketing budget too big? Are your marketing efforts drawing too much interest from qualified prospects? Do you need a way to flush that money down the toilet? I’ve got your answer – don’t invest any resources into your lead intake process.

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Beware the Overpromising Marketer

Charlie Nadler | Friday March 15, 2013

Businessman Hand

If you’ve been at the helm of a business as it launched its online presence in the past decade, you probably remember a period soon after launching where you started to feel pretty popular.

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Why Your Blog Didn’t Make the Cut

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday February 27, 2013
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Simple Way to Calculate B2B Marketing ROI

Michael Holley | Wednesday February 20, 2013

For B2C marketers (at least those selling products), tracking ROI is often as simple as making sure you know where your traffic comes from – it’s pretty easy to translate it to dollars from there. For B2B marketers, however, the sales process complicates the situation greatly. Not every lead is a sale, and not every sale is equal – so how much is a lead really worth?

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Approaching Content Marketing from the Bottom Line

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday February 13, 2013


If you happen to work in marketing at an agency or on the brand side, chances are good that you want content marketing and authorship to be a big part of your marketing strategy in 2013 — if it’s not already. Every day, we see more evidence of content’s importance in inbound marketing and its brand-building potential; at the same time, we’re witness the fading effectiveness of old school anchor text and link building tactics in the race for SERP.  

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Invest in Marketing BEFORE You Have a Revenue Problem

Michael Holley | Thursday February 7, 2013

Money Closeup

I know, I know – coming from a guy who works for a marketing company, that headline sounds like a poor attempt to drum up demand for sales. But the truth is that the inspiration for this post has come from our clients, not from our leads.

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Why No One Reads Your Press Releases (And How to Change That)

Benjamin Bullock | Tuesday January 29, 2013


Press release, news release, media release—a piece of newsworthy communication directed to the media about your company. For a little over 100 years, press releases have announced new products and services, addressed issues of concern, addressed allegations, promoted discussion of booming sales, and provided industry perspectives regarding trends, data, and statistics. It was and still is an important form of communication used to attract the attention of the media to “juicy” pieces of company information. Unfortunately, claiming this publicity is not as easy as it sounds.

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Are You Getting Enough Feedback from your Customers?

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday January 9, 2013

Customer Feedback

It sounds simple enough: feedback from your customers helps you to improve your customer service, your marketing, and your business in general. Your customers can give you a wealth of valuable information, from how they found you to how they liked you, and the more information you can get from them, the better.

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Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Marketing Campaigns

Charlie Nadler | Monday December 10, 2012

Line Graph

Launching a new marketing campaign is kind of like dating; your level of satisfaction has a ton to do with your expectations, and those expectations are better shared sooner than later.

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Guest Post on Drew's Marketing Minute

Charlie Nadler | Friday November 30, 2012

Simple Machines has been featured as a guest blogger on the blog "Drew's Marketing Minute." 

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How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Charlie Nadler | Monday November 26, 2012

Depending on what industry you’re in, positive customer feedback on user review sites like Yelp, Google Places, and social media can have a big impact on your business. For small restaurants, local service companies, and mom and pop retailers in particular, those compliments and four and five star reviews deliver the social proof needed to establish a good reputation and drive in new customers.

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Do All Businesses Really Need to Worry About Branding?

Charlie Nadler | Wednesday October 24, 2012

Consider a small business owner who’s just getting started. We’ll call him Paul.  Branding might strike Paul as more of a Miller vs. Budweiser problem and not something that has much application when it comes to his company. He’s pretty confident that his business model is strong enough to stand on its own, and it’s not like he’s about to launch a national brand awareness campaign or anything.

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How to Create a Media Plan That’s Built for ROI

Charlie Nadler | Monday October 15, 2012

Imagine that you’re sitting on a ten million dollar budget to spend as you see fit on advertising this quarter. Sounds nice, right?

Now, you might already be having visions of James Cameron directing your five-minute underwater mega-commercial, but let’s also assume that you’re still on the hook for positive ROI. In other words, if you blow the budget, you’ve got problems. So where do you start?

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Marketing Budget Meetings: Keys to Better Results

Michael Holley | Tuesday September 25, 2012

I’ve sat in on several marketing budget meetings with clients, and have found that most people seem to find it a grueling experience. The ones that get stressful seem to have one thing in common: the goals of the meeting quickly feel insurmountable. There are two commonalities I see in these stressful marketing budget meetings that can be prevented easily – for a stress-free budgeting meeting, avoid these mistakes!

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A Simplified Approach to Mobile App Marketing

Charlie Nadler | Thursday September 13, 2012


So you just came up with a mind-blowing idea for an app that's going to change the world and inevitably land you on the cover of Wired. Great job! So, now what?

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Kill the Clutter

Charlie Nadler | Thursday August 16, 2012

Another way to think about the theme of this blog - using the fundamentals of marketing to solve seemingly complicated problems - is the idea of getting rid of marketing clutter.

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Social Media as a Vehicle for Your Content

Charlie Nadler | Monday July 23, 2012

There have been countless articles, blog posts, and discussion forums that ask the same question: should your business "be in" social media?

The answer, of course, invariably comes to a common conclusion - it depends entirely on your business, your goals, and your target market. Yes, social media has proven to be an invaluable branding and customer service tool for many consumer-facing businesses, but setting up a Facebook account for your new commercial laundry equipment distribution business probably doesn't need to be at the top of your priority list.

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4 Common Problems with Business Website Content

Charlie Nadler | Friday June 15, 2012

Everyone's heard it before: Whether your website is being used to increase sales, generate leads, or deliver information, professional and engaging content is crucial. It seems like an obvious point to make, but those who have visited their share of business websites can attest that a lot of them are tedious, sloppy, ambiguous, confusing - or some combination of the above. 

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Target Market 101: When to "Zoom Out"

Michael Holley | Friday May 25, 2012

Defining your business's target market is a crucial and foundational step in your marketing strategy.

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Marketing and the Infinite Test: Improving ROI Without a Visible Ceiling

Michael Holley | Tuesday May 8, 2012

In my opinion, the biggest reason that marketing can be frustrating to business owners is this: when you're dealing with marketing, you're dealing with probabilities. With most other phases of production, you can make projections based on some concrete numbers - if you put in x number of hours and y amount of materials, you'll end up with z products. With most marketing channels, you can plan what you put in, but you can never really know what you're going to get out, and even then, it's difficult (and sometimes impossible) to know if you could've gotten more. Sure, big businesses have elaborate models to estimate market saturation based on reams of data, but most of us don't have access to a sample large enough to make those conclusions.

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3 Reasons Your Website Should Have a Blog

Michael Holley | Thursday April 5, 2012

Clients frequently approach us about the value of having a blog. Many of them are interested because of how popular blogs seem to be, but are skeptical about the value it would bring for their company. We understand the skepticism, but the fact is that every business that has a website can benefit from a blog. Here are three reasons why:

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A Simple Lesson

Tom Winters | Tuesday February 14, 2012

Very early in my marketing career, I learned a simple, but very important lesson: what I prefer and what customers prefer are often very different things -- and it's the results, not my opinions, that truly matter. 

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