Who here has changed a key piece of their marketing strategy in the past 5 years?
Technology, the buying process, expectations of potential customers, how people look for products or services has all completely changed. And because of that, they way we have been doing marketing for decades isn’t going to work anymore.
And what do these all have in common? Their purposes is to push messages onto people, with the hope that 1% of the people you contacted might want your product. But guess what? Instead of focusing on that 1%, think about that 99% who you just annoyed. Are you building a good relationship with them that could lead to future purchases? No – absolutely not. Because today, we the marketers don’t drive the buyingprocess. The consumer does.
But don’tworry. There IS an answer – itjustrequires us to think about marketing a little bit differently. Wecan’tthink about how wecansendour messages out, and hopethatat least one person cares.
Instead, weneed to think … okay, what DOES mytargetcustomer care about? Whatdoeshe or sheneed to know? How can I help her (not necessarilywithmyproduct, but in general). And by havingthatmentality – reallyfocusing on givingconsumerswhattheywant. Helpingthem. Givingthemsomethingtheywill love, youwillnaturallyattractcustomers to you. You’re the honeynow.
So what IS inbound? It’s holistic, meaning it takes the whole buying process into consideration. It’s data-driven, because we want to collect information about the person, that makes it easier to serve them. If you come to me looking for beach front properties, than damn it, I better not waste your time with areas in the mountains. And because you’re focusing on value. You can first attract them to you business, and then convert them from an anonomoys person, to a unique person with a name, email, phone number who you can do business with.
And as you can imagine, the tools are completely different! In order to be more attraction-based, you need to have a completely different mindset too. >> Go thru each of the items in the list.
We also believe there are two primary ingredients to really solid inbound marketing, first, most obviously being content, (and we’ll have a whole section on content today.) Content is so important, because that most likely will be the vehicle that you use to drive value for your potential customers in order to attract them. >> GO through each one.
And here’s the second ingredient: context. This is often the piece that marketers have the most difficult time with – but I’ll explain it through an example. Say one day a potential rental prospect comes to your website, looking for those beach properties again. She comes to your website because one of your blog posts on 10 of the most beautiful beach homes ranks well. She reads the post and clicks through to a few other beach-related articles, but in this instance, she doesn’t request for more information on rental properties or to have a sales call. But what she does is download an ebook of yours called “Rental Guide: Five up-and-coming beach front areas” You now have her email which she opted-in to give you. In two weeks, a lot of properties in one of the features beach front areas opens up. You send her an email to let her know. Boom, she’s in and she is THANKFUL for the help.”
But that isn’t the only formula for how inbound marketing can work! There are many tools and channels that can be used to build a full inbound marketing campaign. >> Go through options.
But at the end of the day, this is the marketing funnel you will build. >> Go through each stageTRANSITION>> So I’m asking a lot of you. I’m asking you to flip your marketing on its head. I’m asking you to listen a bit closer to your customers’ buying experience, I’m asking you to create content! And this also takes time. But there’s good news …
This will help you generate more business. That means if you get 100 leads a month today using traditional marketing, after building an inbound strategy you could potentially see 154 leads per month. That’s huge. And if the potential business increase along wasn’t worth it …
It costs less too. And if you think about it, it makes sense. All those traditional marketing tools cost some serious money. If you are creating direct mail pieces that can be thousands of dollars for a single campaign– and for what? For people to throw it into the recycling bin? That’s a shame! Why inbound is especially so phenomenal is it just takes some thoughtful ideas and good old fashioned effort to make it work. And this is even better for smaller businesses. Previously, you needed some serious cash even to get noticed. Now it’s not about cash – it’s about your ideas and the value you’re able to drive for your target customes.
How you doing, you with me? Great. Well enough with the theoretical. I want to make sure you can turn around and start executing on some of this stuff as soon as you get back to your offices. So the next few sections are all going to be able the critical things you need to apply this to your own work. And the first is something that makes the inbound marketing world go round – it’s your content.
This is how marketers used to look at content. They used to look at it as stuff that other people wrote – not them, like news reporters, eventually bloggers, etc. And then, if we were lucky (and had some money), we could see if we could put something around that content. That way, when someone comes to read this interesting article that someone else wrote, they might see something about my product. Well guess what! They aren’t here to learn about you. They’re here to read the article. So here’s an idea for you all …
What if it was YOU who wrote the article. And I don’t even mean it needs to be content you give the NYT Bits blog to be published on their website. I mean, imagine a world where your writing, your writing on your own website and your own blog, is so valued that people choose to come to it on their own. And now, you don’t need to put ads on someone elses’ content. You ARE the content. And now, because they have directly come to you, it’s easier to make a more natural progression to your own products. Because most likely, the reader will be curious and wonder .. “Who is this organization that wrote this helpful information”
And then what you can do, when you are the content, is you can put your own little mini ads – or calls to action images on your content. Except now it doesn’t cost anything, because the content is yours!
So what that means is you need to start thinking about yourself as a publisher. Build a blog if you don’t have one. You can have it be yourwebsite.com/blog whatever you want – but make sure it’s on your domain (we’ll explain why in a minute), and think about if you became an amazing publication for your target audience, what would you write about? How could you help them, teach them, or entertain them.
The best way to answer these questions for yourself, is to think about what your current and prospective customers are already asking you. If these are things they want to know – don’t limit to telling them in person or on the phone only. Educate and help a larger audience by writing it in blog form. I’ll give another example: I was recently at a fisheries conference, talking about this very concept. And the fisheries' target market were fishermen! And as we discussed the concept of blogging, a gentleman in the front excitedly got up and said: I have been doing this for years, and it’s worked great! And what he was working to build was the best “fisherman magazine” possible. And he wrote about water conditions, fishing tricks, fish prices – all these things that really mattered to fishermen. And he was incredibly successful.
The other piece to blogging is frequency. Because as you can imagine, if that fishieries marketer posted one helpful article, and then waited 2 months to post another, the fishermen are going to forget about it. A magazine would never do that! Especially because many people like to subscribe to blogs, knowing the frequency you’re subscribing to is important to drive that momentum. This data shows that 82% of those who blog daily see positive results from their overall inbound efforts. That’s HUGE!
So why are those people blogging daily seeing such strong value? Well frequency helps with another key channel within inbound marketing – SEO. Each post you publish is piece of content that is added to the sea of websites Google collects. Think of it like the lottery – the most tickets you have in there the higher likelihood that you’ll be picked. But fortunately, there’s a lot more than just luck that goes into performing well in search engines and ranking near the top.
Google use two primary things to decide where to rank a post in it’s search engine results, and those are context and authority. Context is the topic of the post, and is used to decide where in google to categorize an article. For example, to go back to the beach house story, a post about the best beach house properties should probably be categorized under beach house properties, not mountain view homes. Marketers can help Google categorize the post in the right place by using the key words that the article is about and a searcher will use to find the post.
The other component Google to use to decide where to rank a post, is it’s post’s authority, and authority is mostly determined by the number of links in a post. I like to compare this to a thesis paper. A grad student’s thesis will most likely reference many other articles in his or her work to make the thesis stronger, and the student only wants to use credible and helpful sources Now, imagine an entire class of grad students all writing about marine biology. There’s a good chance that many of them will reference the same article, because it was so helpful and said exactly what the students needed. -- Now let’s take it a step further. The school’s librarian starts to notice that so many students are using and referencing this article. She wants to make sure as a library, they are being as helpful as possible – so she put the article on display in the section! Now it’s even easier for more people to find.
That’s how SEO works, in the simplest of terms. And at the end of the day when you’re building your SEO strategy, it’s more important to work on being that amazing resource so you can grow your authority than to maniacally focus on your keywords and thus categorization of your post. Authority is much more important.
And it turns out, blogs get 97% more links than a simple website. And it makes sense! Blog articles offer specific helpful information that is more likely to be referenced by someone. A homepage doesn’t change, by nature isn’t as valuable to others, and thus wouldn’t.
First, focus on being helpful. And there’s a key piece I really want to drive hope – most often being helpful means answering important questions, offering information that either helps your potential customer do their job better, learn something new. What helpful often is not, is talking about yourself. Writing about your product is only valuable to people who want your product already. But guess what – we want people to care about you who might not want your product yet, because we’re working off their schedule, their buyer path. In that case, you need to write about what they care about now: their jobs, their careers, their lives, their industry.
In order to rank well in search engines, you need to generate links. And in order to get links, you have to be the MOST helpful person on the block. This is another reason why you should make sure you’re not just blabbing on about yourself. Who wants to link to a post of the 10 reasons why your product is awesome. Probably not as many people who might link to “10 Ways to Get the Apartment Rental Price You Need in the Area You Want.” Am I right?
Next - really make sure you’re blogging frequently and consistently, like a solid publication would do. Remember, you want people to anticipate your next big post – so give it to them! Use your frequency to build momentum.
And finally, turn anonymous visitors to your content into a list of people with names and email addresses. Make sure each piece of content has some sort of next step that allows potential buyers to guide themselves through the buying process, and make sure it fits contextually to the topic of the content where it lives. Now everytime someone visits your post, you have a chance to lead them to a landing page where they can become a potential lead.
Awesome – so we discussed the concept of inbound, and how we need to build a strategy that focuses on giving value than pushing your messages out. Then we discussed how to be content creators and bloggers, and use our blog content as vehicles to offer that value. Now it’s talk about how that fits into social media and generating leads who you potentially can do business with.
And let’s begin by answering the age-old question: Is my audience using social media? To help me answer this question, I dug into Pew research and found this great chat that is looking at social adoption over time by age group. And there’s a few really interesting things you can see here. First, social usage across all age groups is increasing. In 2005, it was very low.Reference:http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/March/Pew-Internet-Social-Networking-full-detail.aspx
So what are they using? Well, a large portion of that social media consumption comes from Facebook. Facebook is the largest of the social networks considering active users. 71% of online adults are using Facebook on a regular basis (Pew Research)
Then in another study, we asked users via which channels have they been able to acquire a customer, and 52% used Facebook, and not far behind were LinkedIn and Company Blog.
So it turns out, social media is really easy once you’re already producing such strong content. Using social media is all about making strong contributions and sharing information, messages, and links to content that you think your target audience will enjoy. If your blog is a magazine, then social media are the coffee shops where you are dropping off your magazine copies, and while you’re there, you’ll probably see what other people are reading, shake a few hands, and connect. So for you: this means making sure you have these different channels built, and then create a schedule to share your content, other people’s content, and interesting messages to this channels on a regular basis.
What will start happening, is people will view you as a social account that shares interesting things, and people will start following you. And now that they’ve followed you, you have a larger audience of people to view your social content, click on your links, and come back to your website.
You can also do things on your website to fuel your social growth. And one of the most easy is having share buttons on your content. Think about it! If you post a blog article to Facebook, some one clicks the link and comes to the post, reads it and enjoys it – you better have a really easy way to let them pass it on. This also helps you, because now you have two people sharing your content. The share buttons also do another cool subconscious thing for readers: 1, it reminds them TO share and 2, it can serve as social proof. If a post has a lot of shares, people will especially perceive it as valuable.
And then finally, make it really easy for folks to follow you when they learn about you. Add your social profiles to your business cards, as a follow me module on your website. Use every web visit as an opportunity to invest in your reach.
This is where the magic happens. We are investing all this time in energy into creating content that attracts visitors, and promoting it on social media so folks can discover it and find value from it. But … interesting fact!
Only 4.4% of first-time visitors convert into a sale. That means 95.6% of people won’t ever buy from you … unless they come back to you. That means, as soon as the first visit to your website, you need to find a way to get some value out of that first visit, in order to make sure that visit is a good bye for now, not a good bye forever. We need to find a way to get them to come back on their own, and continue through the buying process. So how the heck do we do that?
Well! We do that with a little thing called an offer. And what an offer is is a piece of especially valuable content, information, something incredibly useful to the visitor that you can offer in return for the visitor to unmask himself. This offer is your key to help your visitor go from being an anonomoys person, to a real human with a name and an email. And the way that that works …
Is that receiving the offer is a transactional process. In fact, the way that they get this valuable piece of content, is by filling out some sort of form. And in that instance – the person has a choice AND their prior experience with you is very critical. If they have developed some sort of trust like say, they read your blog already, or perhaps they have interacted with you on LinkedIn, there is a higher chance they will fill this out. They need to decide if the price of giving you their email address is fair enough. And if they fill out this form – they are now a lead, and you can use this information to follow up when relevant.
Now, let’s go through how literally this would happen via a social channel …
Now, really important – will the people who you are sharing your content LOVE it. That’s how you know you are being Inbound focused and are focusing on helping vs. promoting. Remember, think like a customer-centric helpful person vs. a capitalistic marketer. Because at the end of the day, being helpful makes you more money anyway!
Finally, let’s do this path one more time but through an actual HubSpot example that we’ve done …
Make sure CTAs are everywhere – remember you are guiding the buying process but letting your prospective leads make their own path. Your CTAs across your content will lead to landing pages like this, where someone can choose to fill out the form in order to receive the offer. And that is good for you, because now the person isn’t an anonomoys visitor, he is a person with an email who you can potentially do business with.
Now is your chance to nurture with email. And this is different than outbound focused email, because it’s a follow up to an opted-in person. Use the information you know about the person to make this as valuable of a communication as possible. You can use the information they put into the form to customize the email. You can use the subject matter of the original download to customoize the email. Remember – using context is absolutely key both to the quality of their experience as well as the liklihood of its effectiveness.
Then, when it makes sense – integrate sales related content. We give our leads the chance to grab a demo of our marketing software after we’ve seen they have taken a certain amount of investigation. And we also work hard to relate it back to what they care about – so they can see that perhaps this software is also a thing of value that relates to their needs. But! We’ve very conscientious about when, to make sure the sales process has developed enough to make sense for the person.
And finally, it’s all about measuring what’s worked and learning what to improve. How is your traffic from Twitter converting into leads? How much of your Facebook traffic are filling out your forms. You recently did a huge LinkedIn push – did it work? Did your traffic increase from that Source? Use analytics tools to make your marketing work as smart for you as possible.
And as we near our close, let’s review Inbound one last time, returning back to that woman who was interested in beach font properties. At first, Jenny was a stranger to the company. Until one day, a friend of her’s tweeted a blog post of yours about the “10 Most Beautiful Beach Homes”. She clicks on the link and visits your website. And now she’s a visitor. She reads a few more articles and stumbles upon a CTA for “Rental Guide: Best Beach Front Properties” clicking that CTA leads to a landing page with a form. She thinks about it for a minute – but thinks, what the heck. I am looking for a new rental, and I really liked their blog content so this must be great as well. She downloads the ebook and now is a lead for your company. Then, two weeks later a unit in one of the beach rentals opens up. You have context about her and know she likes beach homes, so you send her an email inviting her to check out the listing. She is delighted, it’s exactly the kind of area she was hoping for. She works with a realtor and she makes the close. From there, you still keep in touch with Mary and make sure to share content with her on social that she values. And because of that, now she’s a promoter – just like the Mary, the friend who had tweeted the blog post that she had clicked in the first place. And that’s Inbound! A happy place where we are serving our prospects like they are our customers already, and because of that – they are happier and we are more successful.
How to Transform Your Lead Generation via Inbound Marketing and Social Media
How to Transform Your Lead
Generation via Inbound Marketing
and Social Media