Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: What’s The Difference?

You’ve probably heard the terms inbound and outbound marketing plenty of times during your career. Most of the time, these are terms that marketing and PR people like to throw around just to impress anyone that’s hearing (at least, that’s how I look at it).

Have you ever stopped to consider what these terms mean though, and what the difference is between the two? What about the effect it can have on your business?

Well, good news! I’m here to help dissect these words, and hopefully teach you the difference between the two, so you can decide which one works best for you and your business!

Outbound Marketing

First, let’s start with what’s consider the older form of marketing, outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing is defined as “any marketing that pushes products or services on customers.” This includes older forms of marketing, such as trade shows, seminars, email blasts, cold calling, telemarketing, and advertising. It’s marketing that eagerly pursues customers, and puts the marketing directly in their faces.

This type of marketing works for many businesses these days, but it’s certainly becoming more and more outdated feeling in the age of content marketing. That’s not to say that outbound marketing is the wrong way to market your business. Different strokes work for different folks, as the old saying goes, and you have to think about your audience when deciding whether to do outbound or inbound marketing.

Despite it’s outdated model, outbound marketing works well in areas where you are trying to market to older demographics, who might be less concerned with new technology and new ways of being sold to. A large majority of the world still prefers to hear ads on the radio, or watch commercials in-between their favorite shows.

Inbound Marketing

If you want to transform your marketing strategy into what we’ll call the “hip and cool” way to market to people, then you’re going to want to learn how to start doing inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is what’s called “new marketing.” It is a marketing tactic that relies on earning people’s interest, rather than trying to push it on them through traditional forms of advertising.

Examples of inbound marketing include blog posts, search engines, social media, etc. It’s marketing to people by giving them useful info through mediums that they already use every day.

It’s a form of marketing that presents itself in a more down-to-earth, relatable way. It says to your customers, “we’re a business and we’re trying to earn a living, but we’re also concerned about your needs and want to provide you with the best info we can give you.”

Inbound marketing is more geared toward millennial customers, and those who are more familiar with the internet, technology, and are concerned with community building.

Inbound and outbound marketing both have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to decide which one works with your customers and your business model.

Marketing To Millennials, According To A Millennial

Millennials are known to be one of the most difficult groups to market to these days. Not because they’re uninterested in what businesses have to offer, they’re just picky about where they choose to spend their money. Which is a good thing, because it means they can be more invested and loyal to a particular company if you can attract them.

Depending on who you ask, the definition of a millennial varies, but they are generally categorized as those born between 1985 – 2000. Unlike previous generations, they grew up right in the middle of the tech and internet boom, where the world was becoming more connected than ever before in human history.

That reliance on connectivity is a key factor when considering how to market to millennials. They live in a connected world, and so it makes sense that they would look for businesses that cater to this desire. If you’re struggling with how to market to this generation of consumers, check out a few tips, written by a millennial.

Be Authentic

Millennials look for businesses that exude authenticity. They don’t want to feel like they’re giving their hard earned money to someone who doesn’t actually care about anything besides making a profit. That’s why you always have to be aware of the way you’re presenting yourself to your customers. Authenticity can come across in a number of ways, such as reassuring customers you care about them, aren’t trying to pull the wool over their eyes, or giving them lots of opportunities to communicate with you. Trust me, millennials have a keen eye for spotting businesses that aren’t trustworthy. We’ll find you.

Conquer Mobile

Most millennials aren’t looking at your website on a desktop or laptop computer; they’re looking at it on their phones. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing and isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to lose a lot of business. Particularly, millennial business. You’ve got to make sure your website looks good on every device, including tablets and smartphones. If you aren’t sure if your website passes the mobile-friendly test, you can check it here.

Don’t Pander

We don’t like politicians to pander to us, so we definitely aren’t going to want a business to pander. What I mean by this is trying too hard to appeal to what millennials are into right now, and coming off as inauthentic. This goes back to the authenticity section, but it takes it a step further. Don’t overuse slang or trends in your marketing material. A “clutch” or “dope” every now and then is perfectly fine, just do your research on terms first before you include them in your content marketing. Whatever you do, just don’t make the same mistake as Microsoft.

Try Inbound Marketing

Is outbound marketing failing to appeal to the millennial crowd? There’s a reason for that; we’re not interested in traditional marketing. Outbound marketing includes things like billboard, magazine, and newspaper ads, and they don’t work on us. Neither do other traditional forms of selling, like commercials. We’re tired of seeing them, and mostly just ignore them. On the other hand, inbound marketing works astonishingly well. Examples of inbound marketing would be things like blogging, social media, search engine optimization, and other forms of content marketing. Why do these work? Because they aren’t pushing products into our faces and saying “Buy buy buy!!!” Inbound marketing focuses on bringing people to your product or service by giving people something attractive and engaging.

Make It Fun

Last, but definitely not least, make your marketing strategy fun! Millennials like to have a good time, and they expect their favorite businesses to give off that same fun and easy-going vibe. That doesn’t mean you need to take your business less seriously, of course. It just means to remember to not be so uptight and business-like all the time. For most millennials, they want to know that your business has a good sense of humor, and aren’t trying to shove products down their throats all the time. Try to show off your fun-loving side on places like social media and through your emails. These are the perfect outlets for creativity and fun.

Millennials shouldn’t be ignored in your marketing strategy. Embrace what they love, and learn to attract more millennial customers than ever before!

Don’t Like Snapchat? Try Instagram!

Are you one of the many people who hasn’t jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon, and doesn’t really want to bother learning a brand new form of social media? Are you content with just using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your daily updates for your business?

You’re in luck! Instagram wants to make your job easier, with its new Snapchat-like feature, called Instagram Stories.

If you’re new to the 24-hour picture messaging craze started by Snapchat, then this new feature will be completely new to you. But if you’re familiar with how Snapchat works, you’ll notice that Instagram Stories looks very similar to Snapchat Stories (heck, even the name is the same!)

Instagram explains it like this:

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

So, instead of posting pictures that stay attached to your profile for as long as you keep them posted, Instagram Stories allows you to post quick photos or videos that are attached to your profile and disappear after a 24 hour period.

You might be asking, “what’s the advantage of that?” Well, it’s the same advantage that businesses who have been using Snapchat have been enjoying for some time. It allows you to interact with your customers more intimately, by providing them with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, discounts and deals, and maybe a simple message that you’d rather share for only a specific amount of time!

To use the new Instagram Stories feature, you only need to take a few extra steps in your normal posting routine. To post a photo to Instagram Stories, simply click the Plus sign icon near the top left part of your social feed. You can snap your pic by pressing the white circle at the bottom, or hold it to shoot a short video clip.

Once you’ve taken your picture or video, you can draw on it or add text on top of it (sorry, no fun filters just yet!) Press the white checkmark and your pic or video will be added to your story! Stories from people you follow will appear at the top of your feed, and your own story will show up on your profile page. If there’s a colored circle surrounding someone’s profile picture, you know they have a story to share!

When looking through someone else’s Story, you can click on the screen to move through their story, or swipe left to go on to the next account’s Story. Want to view a picture for longer? Hold your finger down on the screen and you can view the pic for as long as you need. You can also comment on someone’s Story by tapping the Direct Message button and sending them a private message. Public likes and comments aren’t available on Stories, unlike regular posts, but you can see how many people have viewed your Story so you know that it’s working!

The possibilities for using Instagram Stories for your business are boundless! For more info, check out Instagram’s official blog post!

Diving Into Video For Your Blog

People like to do more than just reading words on a screen. Whether you know it or not, the video is one of the hottest trends as of late for blogs, and more companies than ever before are starting to jump on the video train!

According to data collected by Invisia.com, including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80 percent, getting you more business than ever before!

Not only that, according to a report by Forrester Research, including video in an email can lead to 200-300 percent increase in click-through rates.

If you’re looking at the data, it’s not hard to find a reason to implement videos into your marketing strategy. If you’re looking for some ideas for including video on your blog, social media, or in emails, we’ve got some tips to help you get started.

Embed Videos Into Your Blog

One of the best ways to get started adding video to your blog is to simply embed videos into it. One of the advantages of embedding video is the simplicity of it. You aren’t actually having to create the videos yourself; you’re just sharing someone else’s video, one that’s relevant to a blog post, and hosting it on your site. YouTube makes it really easy to grab a video’s embed code and paste it into your blog hosting service. Just go to the video you want to embed, click share, then click Embed, and then finally, copy the embed code that YouTube gives you. You’ll then take this code and paste it into the proper section of your blog editor (usually the HTML code editor).

Create A Welcome Video

If you’d rather make your own videos, then the best way to start is by creating a welcome video. This could be a video that briefly goes over who you are, what your company does, and why people should be interested in your website. Most digital cameras and cellphones record video these days, and you can use one of the many free online video editing programs to cut and edit your new video. Once your welcome video if completed, create a new blog post and publish the video on your blog! You can also share this video on social media, upload it to YouTube, or embed it in an email that you send out to your customers.

Make Informative Videos

Most people watch videos in order to learn something new. If you’re going to be making videos for your customers, make sure your videos serve a purpose. Need to explain how your service works, or how to use a certain product? Make a tutorial video! These are easy to do and are better for helping your customers understand exactly how something works. According to 90 percent of internet users, seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision process. Dr. James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, estimates that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words, in terms of effectiveness.

Showcase New Products

Got a new product that you’re wanting to show off to customers, but want to do something more than just a write-up about it? Do a video! Research shows that after watching a video, customers are 64 percent more likely to buy a product online. That’s because people like to see how something works before they make a purchase. For example, I just bought a new phone case online. But, before I bought the case, I looked up videos of people using the phone case and showing how protective it is for the phone. I also watched video reviews to determine whether the case would be a good fit for my particular type of phone. After doing my research, I proceeded to buy the phone case (worry free, I might add!) Showing your customers how a product functions through a video helps them take that next step in the buying cycle!

Video can be very advantageous to the success of your blog, and your business! Learn how to utilized this great tool, and start earning more business now!

How To Get A Verified Twitter Account, And Why It Matters

Twitter is one of the most influential and helpful social media platforms to be active on with your brand. Chances are if you’re a brand that wants to make an impact on your customers, and connect with them on a more personal level, you already using Twitter.

But have you ever noticed how some brands have that little blue check mark beside their name, while others don’t?

This is what’s known as a Verified account, and it distinguishes the influencers, brands, and famous people from every other user.

In the past, Twitter’s verification process has been a bit ambiguous, with the brand having almost no say on whether or not they could get a verified badge on their profile. Twitter would decide on its own whether or not an account needed a verified badge.

However, recently Twitter has opened up the verification process to everyone, allowing people to submit an application to Twitter in order to be verified! Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone who applies will be automatically recognized by Twitter as an account that deserves verification, but it’s definitely a good place to start for many brands who’ve been waiting anxiously for that little blue check mark.

In a statement released by Twitter, they explained their reasoning behind opening up the verification process:

We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter, so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification.

– Twitter’s Vice President of User Services, Tina Bhatnagar

The full press release can be found here.

So, I’ve explained what Twitter verification is, but why does it matter for your business or your brand? Here are a few reasons why you should be taking steps to verify your account.

It Lets People Know You’re The Real Deal

People like to know that the person they’re following, interacting with, and trusting is the real deal. The internet, and especially Twitter, is full of spam and parody accounts that exist as a way to satirize actual celebrities and brands. The Twitter verification badge allows users to know which accounts are real, and which ones are fake. All they have to do is spot your badge, and they know that they are following a credible account instead of one of the many “troll” accounts.

It Gives Your Brand Credibility

It also lets your followers know that your brand is established enough to qualify for a badge. There are some businesses out there who have yet to receive a blue verification badge, which can make them seem like they aren’t a credible account, and can’t be trusted. There’s nothing more important than giving off a sense of credibility to your customers.


Before this new verification, verified Twitter accounts used to be a lot more exclusive. Although this is now changing, verified accounts are still a pretty exclusive club, consisting of well-known brands and celebrities such as Kanye West, NASA, President Barack Obama, Target, Rolling Stone Magazine, etc. Getting verified puts you in the same category of influence as other verified accounts, and, again, makes you seem more trustworthy to consumers.

Great For Connecting With Customers

Think about this for a second: say you’re on Twitter looking through your timeline when all of a sudden you get a notification saying that such-and-such business has sent you a direct message (or DM). You look at their profile and notice they don’t have a verification check mark. Do you respond to them? Would you trust them, knowing that they might be trying to hack and steal sensitive info?

This is how most customers would approach the situation if they see you’re not verified. This makes it even harder to connect with your consumers, and interact with them the way social media was intended. A blue verification badge gives your customers the peace of mind they need to trust you if you ever need to reach out to them personally.

Twitter verification is now easier than ever, and as you can see, can be greatly influential on the success of your business.

If you’re ready to get your Twitter account verified, just click here to fill out the application form!

Tips For Avoiding A Crisis At Work

A crisis at work is oftentimes unavoidable. Let’s face it, your company isn’t invincible, and it definitely isn’t free from the critical eyes of your customers. Inevitably, something will go wrong. Whether it’s an angry customer who you charged way too much to for a product, or losing profits in an unforgiving economic recession, a crisis is going to happen.

But I’m not here to scare you away from your own business! On the contrary, at FGmarket, we want to help you learn how you can overcome a crisis when it does occur. Check out some of our tips below.

Assess The Situation

The first step in solving in solving a crisis is to assess the situation and identify all of the contributing factors of the crisis. You have to find the epicenter of the earthquake. Was it a salesperson who accidentally charged a customer’s credit card too much? Or maybe they were rude to them on the phone and now the customer is upset? The crisis could also be totally out of your control, but you still have to pinpoint the problem in order for steps to be taken for its resolve.

Figure Out The Chain Of Command

Who needs to be notified of the crisis now that you’ve identified the source? It could be a manager or supervisor, but it could also be someone with very good communication skills, and someone that will be able to efficiently assess a situation and find the best solution. Whatever the best decision is, you must figure out who to go to first when a problem arises.

Keep Your Cool

Keeping your cool in bad situations is one of the most important skills to remember and practice. It helps you to keep a level head and be able to solve problems without making it worse. Show panic in any way and you could further escalate a delicate situation.

Apologize Where Necessary

The old saying “The customer is always right” has always made me question its truth, but in many cases, it can be trusted as sound advice. It doesn’t literally mean that the customers is always right, but giving them the illusion that they are right will really work to your advantage. You’re supposed to be courteous to your customers, and if you really have made a mistake, apologized to them profusely. You can even give them a special discount as a consolation for your error. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and are more likely to continue shopping with you because of it!

It’ll Get Better

If you feel discouraged, remember that usually a situation will eventually correct itself and get better. All it takes is a little encouragement and a lot of crisis management to make a sour situation turn into a positive situation that will advance your business. If nothing else, you’ll learn from your mistakes and become a better business because of it.

Communication Apprehension: What It Is And How To Get Over It

Talking with your coworkers or your boss can sometimes be an intimidating thing to do. Building up the courage to speak with someone you don’t know, especially if your personalities don’t necessarily click, can cause a great deal of stress. This is what is referred to as communication apprehension. It’s a common problem in many workplaces, and often leads to goals not being met, tasks being looked over, and sometimes it can cause strife between coworkers.

But, thankfully, communication apprehension is a non-life threatening disorder that can be cured without medicine or therapy; it just takes a little work by the person suffering from the apprehension.

It’s Not Easy Being New

It’s not easy being the new person at a job (assuming your apprehension is caused by A) you have a new job and B) you don’t know anyone at this new job). You’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t speak to people, though. That’s why communication is one of the most important things you have to work at when you start a new career. If you have a breakroom at work, sit with someone you don’t know for lunch. Work in a space with other people? Talk to them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know how to do something.

Nothing Gets Accomplished Without Communication

Communication is key. That’s an old phrase that holds a lot of truth. Nothing ever gets accomplished without communication, especially in the business world. How would your customers feel if you were too scared to talk to them, and never helped them when they had questions? Without communication, goals aren’t met, and problems arise.

It’s Not As Scary As It Seems

“Oh come on, they aren’t going to bite your arm off.” That’s what my dad would say to me every time I complained about having to talk to someone I didn’t know. I was a very shy kid. But his words of wisdom were 99% accurate; most people are friendly, and happy to speak with you (there’s always that 1% though…) At any rate, don’t be afraid to speak to a coworker, because they are definitely not as scary as they might seem.

Your Coworker Could Be Feeling The Same Way

Sometimes, the reasons that you might come up with in your mind to not talk to somebody is also felt by the person you’re scared to approach! I find this happens more often than you would think. With that in mind, it’s always easier once you know that you’re not the only one who’s afraid to start a conversation, or ask a question. Take encouragement from that, and use that encouragement to speak with that intimidating coworker.

You’ll Be Better Off After Taking The Plunge

Once you start building a highway of communication, your ride will be way smoother. You’ll find that communicating with that coworker you were scared to approach is much easier, and less awkward. You’ll never know until you take the dive.

Here’s How To Write Better Email Subject Lines

Emails aren’t always the most exciting thing to see in your Inbox. I mean, sure, every once in a while you’ll see an email that catches your eye, based on the subject line alone, and you feel inclined to open it and see what’s hiding inside. But most of the time, we’re more inclined to read the subject line, decide if it interest us or not, and then immediately hit the Delete icon.

That’s what happens to most emails. Most aren’t even opened. Why? Because your subject line stinks, and it doesn’t interest your audience. Just like at common open rates for sales and marketing emails and you’ll see that this is a common problem.

So, what do you do to improve your open rate, and get more people to buy your products, visit your website, and stay loyal customers? Improve your subject lines with these simple tips!

Keep Them Short

People like their information to be quick, simple, and to the point. The same goes for your email subject line. Don’t write an overly long sentence that forces the receiver of the email to search for the important stuff. Two to five-word subject lines give more than enough info to people. Plus, longer subject lines will often get cut off in someone’s inbox (especially if they’re looking at their email on a mobile device).

Ask A Question

Want to score a deal? Looking for more sales? Want your emails to shine?

Of course you do. Everyone wants these things. When you ask a question in an email subject line, you’re inviting the receiver of the email to ask the question to themselves, thus convincing (or not convincing) them that they need to open your email and see what you’re offering.

Tease Them

Don’t give away everything in the subject line. That’s like placing Christmas presents under the tree without wrapping them! There’s got to be a little bit of suspense and intrigue involved with your emails. Says things like “You Won’t Believe This Deal…” or “You Have To See This!” These might be considered “clickbait” on blog posts (don’t every do them there), but for subject lines, they work great for enticing customers.

Don’t Sound Too Sale-sy

Sure, okay, you’re sending out a sales email to make, what else, a sale. But, a lot of times when you write a very sale-sy sounding subject line, you run the risk of getting marked as spam in someone’s email. Avoid using words like “Buy This Now!” or words like “Free.” Also, try not to use a lot of exclamation points. This is a big red flag for spam emails.

Talk To People Directly

People like to be talked to directly, as if you, the company, have a personal connection with them. Use words that convey directness when composing your subject line, such as “You Need This Deal,” “Hey, We Thought You’d Like This,” and “An Offer Made For You.”

Use Urgency

Urgency in your emails is a great way to make people believe that they have to act right away on something, or they’ll miss out. Use the same urgency strategy in your subject lines to convey that same feeling to customers.

Emails are a powerful marketing tool. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your subject lines to get better open rates, and more sales!

Overcoming Your Workplace Fears In 3 Simple Steps

Everyone fears something. It’s part of human nature to be afraid of something. That doesn’t change in the workplace, where fears such as not getting that expected promotion, speaking in front of coworkers during a meeting, and even the fear of being fired surround many people each and every day.

It’s not easy living in fear of your workplace; after all, with 8-hour work days, 5 days a week, we spend most of our waking hours at our jobs!

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to overcome these fears. Because if you don’t, they can make your life miserable, and hinder you from moving on to bigger and better things in your career.

Here are a few tips that can help you get out of a metaphorical rut that’s holding you down, and back on your feet, conquering your workplace fears!

Find The Cause

There’s always a cause for your workplace fear, even if it’s not immediately clear upon the first inspection. In order to get over your fear, you have to first learn how to identify it. Are you afraid that another coworker is going to get promoted before you, even though you have more experience and you’re a harder worker? Do you think that you’re not reaching your full potential in the eyes of your superior? These are common fears that many of us face, but you’ll have to root all the cause of your fear before it can be conquered.

Make a list of things that worry you, or seem to cause tension when you’re at work. It might even be certain people that you work with who are causing strife. But it’s always best to first identify the cause of the problem.

Talk To Coworkers

Have you talked to your coworkers about your fears? Chances are, you’re not the only one who faces difficulties at work. Many employees find themselves suffering from the same workplace fears (especially if the cause of the fear is a common overbearing coworker or boss). Problems always seem to work themselves out whenever people share their thoughts and feelings with each other. If nothing else, you’ll find an ally in your coworker who shares the same fears as you, and you can help each other get through them!

Find Solutions

Of course, whenever you figure out the cause of your fears, the next big step is to solve the problem. I’ve already mentioned talking with coworkers and seeing if they face the same fears as you, but this is just one solution. Other solutions could be something as simple as removing yourself from a place of fear by listening to calming music, or drinking herbal tea, or something more extream such as finally pushing yourself to speak and lead an important meeting. If your problem is a coworker, maybe you can find a time to finally sit down and sort out all the concerns you have with how they’re treating you. Not in a judgemental way, mind you, but in a way that comes off as caring, with a sense of “I just want to get along.”

If you feel like certain things at your workplace are causing you to be unhappy and fearful, you have to take steps in order to solve the problem. Be courageous, and face your fears! Your life/work balance will thank you later for it.

How Often Should You Publish Blog Posts?

Managing your own personal blog post, or a blog for your business, it a tough job. There are so many different variables that you have to take into consideration in order to ensure that your blog is successful.

Should I post today? What should I write about? Am I posting too much? Too little? Does anyone care about the things I’m writing about? How do I know if my blog is working?

While I don’t have the answers to every question, I can at least give a little insight into how often you should publish blog posts.

Have A Few Articles Already In There

First off, before we get into the actual frequency of your posts, we need to briefly go over your current blog situation. When you start promoting your blog to your customers, you want to come at them with a reasonable amount of articles already published on your blog. Why? It gives your blog a sense of credibility because you don’t have just one post in your blog. When people go to your blog, they often will browse around and look at other articles. If you don’t have other articles for them to look at, you’ll quickly lose their interest. Having at least 5 or 6 blog posts already in your blog when you launch it to the public is a good number to start off with.

Frequency of Posts

As for the frequency of your posts, it all depends on how you want to use your blog. Are you looking to be an informational resource for customers who are interested in topics related to your product/service, or are you simply keeping a blog to give people an inside look into your business, and keep them updated with news? This is an important distinction that you will base the number of posts you publish in a month, week, and even day.

For those using a blog as a resource for customers, posting at least once a day (if you have the time) is a good practice. This keeps your blog fresh with new articles, and it also lets customers know that you are active in your writing. This also gives you great content for your social media accounts, allowing you to also post at least once a day on those mediums as well. Once-a-day posts are great for their ability to keep you constantly in the public eye and are great for marketing yourself to potential customers.

Now, if you’re only using your blog for a news and “here’s what we’re doing at (insert business here)” you can probably limit your posts to once a week, biweekly, or even once a month.

Balance Is Key

The main thing you need to remember is that you can’t post too much or too little; you have to find a balanced sweet spot.

Post too much, and you run the risk of annoying your consumer base. Post too little and people will forget that you even exist.

For FGmarket, we try to post an article on our blog at least once a day, sometimes more. We assist hundreds of businesses all across the country through our online tradeshow, so we know they expect to see us active online, on our blogs and through social media.

Your blog is a crucial marketing tool that can either positively or negatively affect you.