Inbound Marketing Blog

Ben Schultz Ben joined the Tribute team in 2014. He holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara. In addition to writing content for Tribute Media, he is a regular freelance contributor to *Boise Weekly’s* music section.

4 Tips for Brainstorming Blog Topics

Posted by Ben Schultz on Mar 13, 2017 4:30:55 PM

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Very few things are more frustrating than writer’s block. You just sit at your desk and stare at your desktop screen. Your mind is a total blank—it’s like you’ve forgotten how to link words together to form a coherent sentence. Meanwhile, your word processor’s cursor blinks at you mockingly. (Can you tell I’m writing from experience here?)

The Email Marketing Equation: Low Cost + Results = High ROI

Posted by Ben Schultz on Jan 3, 2017 9:12:00 AM

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It’s no secret that emails have become a major tool in marketers’ arsenals. According to research, marketers sent out more than 800 billion emails in 2013 alone.

But many question the validity of it:

  • Does email marketing actually accomplish anything?
  • Do people actually pay attention to the stuff piling up in their inboxes?
  • And if they do, do those emails persuade their readers to take action?

These are fair questions to ask. And the simple answer is: yes, email marketing works, as long as you follow email marketing best practices. And it works very, very well.

What Business Owners Should Know About Their Website

Posted by Ben Schultz on Dec 14, 2016 4:07:19 PM

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Sometimes, business people think of their website as an ornament or an accessory. Everyone else seems to have one, so they decide to get one too.

They build the website—or they hire someone like us to build it—and once they have gone through it with a fine-tooth comb and analyzed all the minute details to make sure it is absolutely perfect, they take it "live." The average length of one of these website build projects is about 12-16 weeks, though sometimes it can last much, much longer.

After the site languishes on the internet for a year or two or five, these business owners might decide to update it. So they start from scratch (trends and user behaviors change a lot in half a decade). They throw away the old and start the whole 12-16 week process over. The new site goes live again and and sits for another stretch of time. And then the process starts all over again.

As you may have sensed already, there are some major problems with this approach to web design. Here are some things you should know about your website and what it means for your business.

3 Things You Didn't Realize You Already Knew About Web Marketing

Posted by Ben Schultz on Dec 2, 2016 2:30:00 PM

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Who’s Afraid of Web Marketing?

When the subject of web marketing comes up, some people might get that glazed-over, deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes. And when terms like “search engine optimization” or “conversion rate optimization” start getting tossed around, those same people might start feeling like the apes freaking out over the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The basic concepts of web marketing really aren’t that hard to grasp, though. In fact, it’s pretty easy to take old-school marketing approaches and ideas and apply them to the process of building your online presence. Let’s take a look at the similarities between web marketing and traditional marketing.

Writing for the Web (Part V): Know Your Subject

Posted by Ben Schultz on Jul 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Bluffing Hipster Blues

Some of you may remember the joke that Jimmy Kimmel played on Coachella attendees a couple of years ago. He had a camera crew ask these people about a bunch of bands that didn't exist. The interviewees pretended to know all about these groups and how awesome they were.

It's a really funny bit. In a way, though, it's also a little painful. Some of you may have tried bluffing your way through a conversion on some topic you didn't know anything about. I've done it myself, so it makes me wince to see those folks get caught doing it.

Writing for the Web (Part IV): Use the Right Tone

Posted by Ben Schultz on Jun 19, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Justify Your Thug

A friend who works at a record store told me this story.

A customer came in one Sunday afternoon. This was one of those "special" customers (i.e. the kind that make clerks hide in the back office until he leaves). He strutted in decked out in full hip-hop gangsta attire--baggy jeans, baggy shirt, white basketball sneakers, chains around his neck. He headed straight to the Hip-Hop section and started barking out questions to my friend--"HEY YO, YOU GOT ANY [insert random underground rapper name]?"

Writing for the Web (Part III): Less is More

Posted by Ben Schultz on May 20, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Have you ever been on a date with someone who won't shut up about themselves? They barely take time to breathe between talking about their job, their cat, their car, their exes, blah blah blah. They chatter so much that you can't get a word in edge wise.

If you've been unfortunate enough to get caught in one of these experiences, you know they're excruciating. They're enough to make you want to run screaming from the restaurant, bar, etc.

Writing for the Web (Part II): Know Your Audience

Posted by Ben Schultz on Mar 25, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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Sometimes, people may think that good writing simply involves proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and so on. Certainly, that's a big part of it; you might have written the Great American Novel, but it probably won't seem that way if your book reads like an I Can Has Cheezburger meme.

However, truly effective writing--indeed, effective communication in general--goes a step further: It takes the person who will read the content (the blog, the webpage, the article, etc.) into consideration. Simply put, a good writer knows his or her audience.

Writing for the Web (Part I): Use an Active Voice

Posted by Ben Schultz on Feb 25, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Whether you're writing for print or the web, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style has plenty of good rules and principles you should follow. Point 17, "Omit needless words," is one of the best--you might not have a word limit on your blog or webpage, but no one will want to read 1,000 words when 300 words could get the message across as well or better. Point 2--which advocates the use of the "serial comma" or "Oxford comma"--is more flexible, but you'll appease the grammar Nazis if you follow it. (If you don't know what a serial comma is, consult your local grammar Nazi--they'll probably be more than happy to tell you.)