If you've been reading our blog, then you are familiar with the term inbound marketing. It's the term used to describe the kind of marketing that uses content to attract prospects to your website, turn them from visitors into leads and then nurture those leads until they become new customers.
But is inbound marketing right for every business, in every industry? Probably not. So how do you know if inbound marketing is right for your business and your industry?
Here are some ways to check:
- Do your prospects use the web to research and learn about your industry and businesses like yours?
- Do your prospects spend time on social media participating in discussions related to your industry or businesses like yours?
- Do your prospects spend time on other industry sites, association sites or trade sponsored sites?
- Do your prospects spend time actively learning about your industry, your business or your competitors' businesses before they make a purchase decision?
- Do your prospects download and read eBooks, whitepapers and tip guides or watch videos to learn ways to improve their businesses?
- Are your prospects members of any industry or business-related LinkedIn Groups?
- Do you have a sales cycle that takes more than a few minutes?
- Do you have a complex sales cycle that requires multiple people to sign off before you get a new client or customer?
- Are your sales people finding that they aren’t sure how to stay engaged and connected with prospects?
- Are your customers telling you that they “didn’t know you provided that service?”
- Have you found that traditional advertising like print, trade shows and direct mail are delivering decreasing returns?
- Are your competitors ranking higher than you when you search on Google, Yahoo or Bing?
If you answered YES to most of these questions, then inbound marketing is definitely right for your industry and your business. In fact, you have probably been wondering why your marketing isn't working better.
Even if you answered YES to only a few of these questions, inbound marketing is probably right for your industry and your business. In fact, those NO answers might change when you look into these questions a little bit further. Ask a few clients or prospects how they actually behave. Their answers might surprise you.
If you answered NO to all of the questions, then it’s possible that inbound marketing isn’t right for you. However, I would challenge you to make sure that your understanding of your prospects' behavior is accurate.
The facts are hard to deny. Almost 70% of people report having a deep understanding of a product or service BEFORE ever asking to engage with a sales person. They found this understanding on the web through search, social media or downloading educational materials.
If this change in buyer behavior hasn’t hit your industry yet, it's going to over the next few years. The better you can prepare to switch your marketing away from interruptive outbound to engaging inbound marketing, the better you will be prepared to attract and convert new leads for your business.
Start Today Tip – The first step towards fixing a problem is recognizing you have one. Take the quiz above and see whether your industry is a fit for inbound marketing. If you find that it is, it might be time to connect with someone who understands the complexities of inbound marketing, has deep experience adding inbound marketing tactics to a company’s existing marketing and has a proven track record of implementing inbound marketing that delivers real results.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing and Inbound Marketing Revolution!
Inbound marketing does more than just fill up the top of your sales funnel. It also moves prospects through the middle of the funnel so they close faster. This is one of the benefits of inbound marketing: by integrating marketing and sales, it provides your prospects with a seamless experience that makes them feel safe all the way though the sales process.
Today, the sales funnel looks more like the picture to the right. People don't slide through the funnel like they used to. Today, they move down and around the funnel as they become more educated, consume new content and move through their own internal purchase process.
There are a number of ways to leverage inbound marketing — and the educational content generated by a well-constructed inbound marketing program — to create a remarkable experience for your prospects and help them move smoothly through your funnel.
Don’t sell – In case you missed it, people don’t want to be sold to anymore. Think about it...How do you feel when you meet with a sales person? Defensive? On guard? Wary? These feelings are the opposite of what you want your prospects to experience. The only way to change that feeling is to NOT SELL.
Educate instead. Give your prospects information. Make them feel smart and safe. Get them talking about their business instead of talking at them about yours. If you want more information on this approach, our book Fire Your Sales Team Today! goes into great depths on the changes in buyer behavior and how your marketing and sales efforts need to change in response.
Continue to use content – The reason you have leads is simple: you created educational content, displayed it prominently on your website, shared it on social media and leveraged it to get found on all the major search engines. Don’t stop sharing content with prospects once they become active in your sales process. You have to continue to use educational content to answer their questions, make them feel safe and get them emotionally connected to your company.
Map content with their questions – If you’re not sure what content to use when, there are some simple ways to figure this out. I wrote a blog post about mapping content a few weeks ago. Click here to read that post. The best way to approach content mapping is to think about the questions your prospects ask during the sales process and create content that answers those questions. For instance, most prospects want to know about costs and pricing toward the bottom of the funnel, so create a document that compares your pricing and value to other options in the market. Give it to them before they ask, so they see you as proactive and helpful.
Leverage video content – Prospects always want to talk with references toward the end of the process. Here is where a Reference Reel with video testimonials solves a lot of challenges. First, it eliminates the need to bother your customers with reference checks and it eliminates the scheduling challenges between prospects and clients. Second, it gives the prospects exactly what they want; a chance to hear from other people. If you ask the right questions in the video and capture the right answers, you just might eliminate the need for references completely.
Co-create their solutions – When you are putting together the final set of recommendations, you should know that the prospect is going to sign off on it without any changes, modifications or questions. How do you know this? Easy—you have been working together to co-create the perfect set of recommendations.
You asked them so many questions during the process that you know exactly what they want, when they want it, how much they want to spend and how you are going to work together. If there are any doubts this far into the process, then you missed a few opportunities to ask questions and clarify with them.
The lines between marketing and sales are grayer than ever before. Where marketing stops and sales picks up is very blurry and primarily driven by your prospects. They want the same experience all the way through the process. They don’t care who is talking to them, they want help and they don’t want to be sold to.
Start Today Tip – This is a great time to look at what your sales team is doing and make sure it's aligned with your inbound marketing effort. If your marketing is educating but your sales team is selling, it’s going to make your prospects uncomfortable and might even send them to your competitors. Start looking at these two processes as one and get the people responsible for these functions working together to deliver a remarkable experience. This will shorten your sales cycles, increase average revenue per client and help you grow your company.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing and Inbound Marketing Revolutions!
If you want to drive more traffic to your website, then one of the best ways to achieve this is through blogging. Not any old blogging, but inbound marketing blogging with a sound marketing strategy behind it.
Don’t take my word for it either. HubSpot recently reported that 66% of companies who blog weekly get customers as a result of their blogging efforts.
Here are nine reasons why your blog, combined with an overall inbound marketing effort, helps your business get found.
1. The search engines have changed their algorithms and they are now rewarding businesses who blog and businesses who blog frequently. Specifically, the search engines are looking for businesses who are updating their websites on a regular basis. The more you blog, the more indexable pages you add to your site and the fresher your content.
2. Blogs are one of the most clicked on pages. That’s right. Google reported recently that website visitors click on the blog link 78% of the time before they click on any other link. This is because they want to hear your voice. They want to see what you are talking about and be a part of your conversation. If you don’t have an active blog on your site, then your site is only an electronic brochure and today’s visitors just don’t want that.
3. Your blog posts are easily shared with everyone in your social media networks. I know it’s fun to blog, but the real fun comes from sharing it with all your friends, connections, followers and viewers. Then watch how your website traffic increases after you share your posts.
4. Better yet, join a few LinkedIn groups that your prospects are in and share your blog posts with those groups. Now you are talking to people who could be your perfect prospects.
5. Make sure your blog posts take a stand. Better yet, take a controversial stand. The more contrarian you are, the more people will talk about your post, share your post and stop by your website to see what you are all about.
6. When you create your blog posts they must be search engine optimized. That means your keywords need to be included in the image tags, meta tags, meta descriptions and (most importantly) in the title of your post. If you leave these out or use the wrong keywords, your post will never rank and you will never drive new visitors to your website.
7. The copy has to have keywords in it as well. But don’t write for the search engines. Keyword stuffing (using your keywords in ridiculous ways just to get them in the post) is frowned upon by Google and other search engines. So write for your readers first and search engines second. But do your best to get your keywords in your post four or five times and in the first sentence if at all possible.
8. Check out the industry sites, association sites or trade magazine sites that relate to your business. If they have a blog, consider asking their blog editor if you could guest blog for their site. It’s likely that your invitation will be accepted and now you are able to take your blog content (edited slightly—don’t copy it verbatim) and post it to their site, with a link driving new visitors back to your business.
9, Keep track of your posts and watch how many people view each one. Track how many people share your posts, tweet your posts or like your posts. Focus your blogging efforts on those posts with the best results. Your readers are telling you what they like and what they don’t like. The more you concentrate on what they want, the more new visitors you will drive to your website.
In summary, blogging might be the single most important inbound marketing tactic in your arsenal, helping you drive more visitors to your website.
Start Today Tip – This is an easy one. Start a blog. If your current website doesn’t have the ability to support a blog, consider adding a plug-in or migrate your site to a marketing automation software platform like HubSpot that includes blogging tools.
This is critical. DON’T GIVE UP. Don’t start blogging and in a couple of days or a few weeks get tired and stop. You have to blog three or four times a week for six months to see the results, but the results will come and you will be happy you kept up with it when new visitors turn into leads for your business.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing and Inbound Marketing Revolutions!
Inbound marketing comes with its own unique set of questions and challenges: What tactics drive website traffic? What do you need to change on your website to get more leads? How does social media connect with other inbound marketing tactics? What type of planning is needed to execute a successful inbound marketing program? Finally, what results should you expect from an inbound marketing effort?
When you are responsible for marketing a technology company, these challenges are amplified. Competition is fierce, you have to educate your clients before they buy and your sales process has to be flawless.
Today, business owners, CEOs and marketing executives at technology companies all over the world are coming together on a webcast to learn the secrets behind inbound marketing for technology companies.
In this webcast you will learn:
- Innovative techniques to help your business get found on both search and social media platforms
- How to avoid common marketing mistakes technology companies typically make
- How to build a prospect database and then nurture those prospects to move them through your sales process
- How to use “offers” and educational content to turn website visitors into leads for your business
- The importance of building a “remarkable” business
- How to create an inbound Marketing Machine for your technology business
Past attendees have provided the following comments after attending our webcasts.
“Square 2 Marketing’s webinar changed the way I thought about my company’s marketing. Now I know how buyers want to be marketed to and how to adjust my marketing to help us get found, get leads and grow our business."
Everett Katzen, President - Springboard Media
“Inbound marketing is challenging, but after an hour with the Square 2 Marketing team I have a much better understanding as to what I have to do, when I have to do it, and how to do it.”
Rooney Gleason, President – Gleason Technology
“I’ve attended two or three webinars, downloaded a number of white papers and still didn’t really get inbound marketing. After attending this webinar my understanding was crystal clear. I saw the benefits and was able to start planning for our own inbound marketing campaign the next day.”
Rob Zelinsky, VP Sales and Marketing – R Squared
Put aside an hour and attend this “must see” event today at 1PM EST. Click the link below to register or click on the Register Here icon at the top of the page. This hour will change the way you think about marketing, forever.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing Revolution!
When I was a kid, I always fantasized about being able to predict the future. I wanted to know the winner of the upcoming Super Bowl. I wanted to be able to buy the next hot stock before it became Google.
Today, I have seen the future and it's inbound marketing.
Even more specifically, the future of marketing is being able to impact lead generation with the click of a button. Take a look at the picture to the right. This is an actual snapshot from my iPhone.
In seconds, I can see the number of leads generated by our inbound marketing program as compared to last month, last year, a rolling three months and compared to a goal we established for our company.
I don’t have to wait for reports to be generated or data to be aggregated. With the click of a button, I see marketing performance in real-time. The implications of access to data like this are game changing.
If we see website traffic is down, we increase our efforts to publish and share existing educational content, increasing the amount of visitors to our website.
If we see that traffic is up, but leads are down, we create new educational content and put it on our website to convert more visitors into leads.
We have an active inbound marketing strategy that guides our content marketing efforts, ensuring that the educational content we create appeals to our target market and is synchronized with our ongoing lead nurturing and blogging activities.
The results from this proactive vs. reactive approach to marketing have been astonishing. Overall website traffic is up by a factor of ten. Each month our website sets new traffic records. Leads which were around two to three a week just 12 months ago are now pushing 50 per week.
There is a saying, “what gets measured, gets done.” We have found this to be true. Once we started tracking inbound marketing program performance, our key performance metrics like website traffic, conversion rate and leads generated started increasing month over month.
Everything we do internally and as part of our client engagement is driven by metrics. We establish baseline performance measures for each client at the start of the engagement and plan for modest growth month over month. We measure our performance against those goals and adjust each month.
We don’t always get our predictions exactly right, but we know exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Honestly, some months we over-achieve—making the next month just a little easier.
Over time, the continuous improvement aspect of inbound marketing starts to accelerate the results exponentially. As more people subscribe to your emails, your blog, your social media networks and start to read your educational content, the inbound marketing machine you created takes on a life of its own.
The results in year two are far more significant than in year one with the same or even a lower investment required to sustain it. But yes, you do have to sustain it. If you stop creating content, sharing content and nurturing your leads, the results retract to pre-program levels and you will have lost any momentum gained from previous efforts. You don’t want to do that.
Look around. People won't start watching commercials, reading direct mail and paying attention to advertising. Inbound marketing is ONLY going to get bigger and more effective. You have an opportunity to see the future, take advantage of this insight and start planning for your company’s inbound marketing effort.
Start Today Tip – Take a few minutes to dream. Would you like to have all the leads you need come directly to your company? Would you like to have sales people who sift through the leads and decide which ones offer the best opportunities? Would you like to automate the communication to your best qualified leads, so that each of them hear the perfect stories about your company? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to compete on price? What about the money you invest in marketing, don’t you want to know exactly how many leads and revenue that investment generated? Today, inbound marketing allows you to do all of this and more.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing Revolution!
If you have accepted that you need to create educational content to drive your inbound marketing effort, then you might be wondering what to write about and when to deliver it to your prospects.
This concept is called delivering content in context and it helps your inbound marketing effort to accelerate lead generation because it puts your content in the hands of your prospects at exactly the right time in their buying process.
The easiest, fastest and most effective way to do this is by mapping your content to your prospects' buying processes. This can be a complicated exercise but here is a simple and fast way to do it.
If you read our blog post on content mapping, you might remember we showed a buying process with six steps. For today, let’s look at one with just three: early, mid and late.
For prospects in the Early Stage, it’s likely they are doing research and might be just starting their search for a company like yours. It’s also reasonable to assume that the person doing this search might not be the decision maker, but that doesn’t make this company any less of a lead.
For prospects in the Mid Stage, it’s likely they are aware of the competition, they have probably talked to a few of your competitors, they might have already downloaded other educational materials and they are trying to wade through it all to make a good purchase decision. It’s more likely that the actual decision makers are now involved.
Prospects in the Late Stage are spending a lot of their time looking at the details of the purchase including specifics like pricing, delivery options, payment terms and contract details.
To effectively map educational content to each of these stages in the buying cycle, document the questions your prospects ask during each of these phases.
Early Stage – How much does your service cost? How do you compare to the competitors?
Mid Stage – Who would I actually be working with and do they work in your office, at home or overseas? Do you offer any controls or guarantees if something should go wrong? What is the specific process like, if we work together?
Late Stage – Can I speak with some references? What other businesses in my industry or my size do you work with?
Then, through the magic of Reality Marketing and inbound marketing, these questions are transformed into titles for free reports, tip guides and eBooks that help your prospects feel good about your products or services.
Early Stage –
- 5 Tips For Figuring Out What I Might Cost You to Outsource Your Payroll
- An Insider’s Guide To Payroll Services – What Every Business Owner Must Know
- Is An Outside Payroll Service Right For Your Company? – A 10 Question Quiz
Mid Stage –
- The Three Secrets Large Payroll Provides Don’t Want You To Know
- The 8 Questions You Must Ask Before You Select Your Payroll Provider
- Uncovering The Required Checks And Balances To Deliver Correct Payroll Every Time
Late Stage –
- A Case Study – How ABC Restaurant Improved Employee Moral By Outsourcing Payroll, HR And Benefits
- A Case Study – How ABC Company Saved $10,000 A Month By Using An Outside Payroll Service
- A Reference Reel With Video Testimonials From Real Customers Telling Real Stories
Now you know what material to send to your prospects depending on where they are in the sales process. You also know, based on what a website visitor downloads, exactly where in their own buying process they might be. If visitors are downloading case studies or watching your Reference Reel, they are probably pretty far into the process. If they are downloading the Insiders Guide, they are probably just starting out.
Both are going to be good leads, but now your sales teams know how to proceed in guiding them through the process.
Start Today Tip – Collect these questions for your business and your sales process. This is an incredibly easy process. Just ask your sales people what they hear from prospects during each of the three stages. Then answer those questions with your educational content. The rest works on its own. Now prospects will convert more readily which means more leads for your business. Start today so you see the results tomorrow.
Square 2 Marketing - Leading The Reality Marketing Revolution!
This is the last post in our inbound neuromarketing series, so we decided to present it a little differently than the usual static, text-based blogging format.
We say over and over that the only way to survive in this fast-moving, competitive marketplace is to stay on top of the latest and greatest marketing advances. That means always refreshing your knowledge of the newest technologies, valuable information and effective methods to connect to the modern, savvy buyer.
So in an effort to practice what we preach, today's inbound neuromarketing nuggets are presented to you via Prezi: a cloud-based presentation software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas. With huge potential for information dissemination, user-friendly interaction and company personification, this is a platform you can’t ignore if you want to stay on top of your marketing game.
So, without further ado, we’ll let Prezi take it from here. Simply click the button below to access the Prezi, and then click through the arrows to view (and interact with) the presentation.
And remember: For more in-depth inbound neuromarketing information, make sure to download our ebook, The Grey Matters Of Neuromarketing: What Is It & Why Does It Work?
We’re continuing the conversation on neuromarketing: the scientific marketing approach that leverages the latest neuroscience technologies to assess what really makes your prospects tick -- why they like what they like, why they buy what they buy and why they’re really choosing whether (or whether not) to do business with your company.
Using cutting-edge brain scanning and 3D imaging, neuromarketing digs below the cortical folds of consumers’ grey matter, beyond their own conscious awareness, to show marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs how to better align sale and marketing techniques with their targets’ buying brains.
Let’s be realistic here.
Your marketing budget most likely doesn’t account for expensive functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG) machines. You can’t afford to conduct high-level brain scans and neural studies on your prospects.
You’re not a Fortune 500 enterprise with big bucks to throw at neuromarketing research. But the good news is that you don’t have to be. You don’t need access to fMRI and EEG machines to take advantage of neuromarketing. All you need is awareness of the research that’s being done and the common sense to apply it to your own marketing.
“The fact of the matter is anyone can do neuromarketing without ever scanning a single brain.”
-- Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding
THE REAL DEAL: Applying neuro know-how to your inbound marketing program.
- Be bold and shake things up.
“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” This quote is famous amongst motivational speakers, leadership trainers and business consultants… and even more so amongst those who occupy all three of those categories.
And it’s popular for a reason. Breaking industry standards and shaking up patterns, when you’re basing these changes on calculated strategy, is the only way to survive in this innovation-obsessed marketplace. Doing the same tactic over and over again, especially when it generates less-than-remarkable results, just isn’t smart.
Grey-Matter Mission: Fully commit to delivering an exceptional experience to your prospects, one that gets them talking about your company to friends, families and strangers online. Fully commit to being remarkable.
Dr. A.K. Pradeep, CEO of leading neuromarketing company NeuroFocus and author of The Buying Brain, conducted a study on the experience of eating yogurt. He asked volunteers to imagine the process of eating yogurt -- starting with seeing the container, picking it up, opening it, inserting the spoon and stirring up the fruit, smelling it, eating the first spoonful, then another, etc. -- and asked which step they thought would be most engaging to their brains.
Most people chose the “insert spoon and stirring” part, with “tasting the first creamy spoonful” being a close runner up. But the EEGs that the volunteers were hooked up to when eating the yogurt told a different tale: The most stimulating part of the process, as far as the volunteers’ emotional brains were concerned, was grasping and removing the foil covering over the top of the container.
Grey-Matter Mission: Don’t assume that the obvious product characteristics or service offerings are the only important ones. Put some thought into the aspects of your products, services, company culture and methodologies that have the potential to peel back that “foil covering” and spark your prospects’ emotions.
Remember: Your prospects aren’t numbers, demographics or statistics. As inbound marketers, we’re all about quantifiable results, monitoring analytics and marketing with metrics in mind, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that your prospects are people. On a conscious level, they’re grasping at the straws of logic to rationalize their buying behaviors, but it’s their subconscious emotions that are really behind the wheel when it comes to purchasing decisions.
Start Today Tip: To start applying neuromarketing to your business, spend 15 minutes evaluating your sales process. If you find that your sales people are making your prospects feel like they are getting “sold," it's time to stop those old-school, hard-sell tactics. If your prospects don’t feel safe, they won't like and trust your company, let alone do business with you. For example: long, detailed contracts and proposals laden with legalese send anxious triggers to the brain. When your prospects' stress centers ("fight or flight") are lighting up, they're far less likely to engage in any type of business with you. Probe your processes from your prospects' perspectives and make the necessary trust-boosting, brain-soothing changes.
Can’t wait for our next post to soak up more neuro-knowledge nuggets? Click the button below to download our detailed neuromarketing ebook: The Grey Matters Of Neuromarketing: What Is It & Why Does It Work? and learn more about the inbound-neuro connection.
It’s not your prospects’ responsibility to know what they want and need. As marketers, CEOs and entrepreneurs, it’s our job to not only know our prospects pains, but also to show the rational and emotional reasons that our products and services solve or ease these pains. Welcome to the third post in our ongoing neuromarketing blog discussion.
At this point it's time to really dive deep into the "neuro" part of neuromarketing and explore what makes your prospects’ brains make purchase decisions.
Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding, talks about the difference between what we think and what we think we think: “Our conscious minds are designed to think up stories to try to explain and make meaning of the hidden forces and hardwired neural programs that guide our behavior.”
This is called “confabulation.” It’s an adaptive function that promotes self-confidence and prevents information overload.
How does confabulation apply to your inbound marketing program?
Your prospects are making decisions based on underlying brain processes that they’re not even aware of. And then they’re offering up whatever evidence that comes to mind: any reasonable explanation -- a confabulation -- that makes their decisions seem logical.
Here’s an example:
The limbic system digs smelly marketing.
In a study on the sense of smell and its effect on purchasing decisions, volunteers were shown two pairs of Nike sneakers. Each pair was placed in a different room. One room was unscented and one was pumped with a light floral scent. By 84%, the subjects reported that they preferred shoes in the floral-scented room -- saying not only that they were more likely to buy the shoes, but also that they’d pay more for them. However, these pairs of shoes were identical. The only distinguishing variable was the scent of the room.
When asked why they were more likely to buy the one pair of shoes over the other, the volunteers offered up remarks about more pleasing shoe design, better color combinations and comfort factors.
Now, remember: The two pairs of shoes were identical. So these remarks the volunteers made were completely confabulated. These post-rationalizations were their conscious minds’ way of offering up some logical explanation for a smell-based preference that only their subconscious brains (their olfactory bulbs) were “aware” of.
Neuromarketing is not about manipulating. It’s about understanding.
This isn’t about using sneaky strategies to control your prospects and customers. Today’s buyer is far too savvy and empowered to fall for the marketing manipulations and subliminal advertising that vilified the industry in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Neuromarketing is about understanding the real way your prospects think, decide and purchase so you can create more likable, more effective and less costly marketing.
Does your company have an olfactory opportunity?
Businesses in the coffee and culinary industries clearly have an advantage in this aromatic area, but you’d be surprised at how much a little creative thought about “smelly marketing” boosts the effectiveness of your company’s inbound marketing strategy.
Start Today Tip: Think outside the box of our usual sensory stimuli, like effective design and emotional verbal messaging. How can you capitalize on your prospects’ sense of scent? Gather some particularly creative members of your team -- or, better yet, hire an inbound marketing agency known for its bold methodology and remarkable results -- and find out how the olfactory sense may be functioning in your prospects' buying and decision-making processes.
Want more knowledge nuggets on this exciting new field of neuromarketing? Click the button below to download our detailed neuromarketing ebook: The Grey Matters Of Neuromarketing: What Is It & Why Does It Work?
Yesterday, we introduced you to a recently budding subculture in the marketing arena, neuromarketing: the process of researching brain patterns of consumers to reveal their genuine, immediate responses to particular advertisements and marketing messages.
Quick recap: The overarching goal behind neuromarketing is understanding how your customers’ brains are responding to your marketing. This means gaining awareness of how their brains are truly reacting to your marketing on the neural level… not just what they say they’re thinking and feeling.
It’s not a new way to market, but a new way to think about your marketing.
You may be thinking: “Great, just more time, resources and effort I have to add to my marketing.” Well, you’ll be happy to hear that this is not the case. While it leverages the latest innovations in neuroscience -- functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG) technology -- that represent completely unchartered territory for most business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers, neuromarketing is completely consistent with the founding principles of strategic inbound marketing.
In other words: If your company is committed to inbound marketing, or is open to working with a strategic inbound marketing agency, then you’re already in line with the basic tenets of neuromarketing.
The following summary of a study on the neural components of effective marketing in the financial sector proves the undeniable correlations between neuromarketing and inbound marketing strategy.
Neuromarketing takes on the economic recession.
What do you do when your industry becomes a societal villain? This is what happened in 2009, when our economy was clobbered by a recession and skyrocketing distrust of the financial sector. But with the help of calculated neuromarketing research, many banks and financial consultants managed to hold it together.
NeuroFocus, Inc., a subsidiary of Nielson and the global leader in neuromarketing research, performed an extensive study for the financial sector services: “diving deep into test subjects’ subconscious minds to discover their hidden, unspoken beliefs and feelings about financial institution brands.”
Using Subconscious Resonance tests -- electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors, pixel-level eye tracking, and galvanic skin response (GSR) -- the neurological testing experts identified the most neurologically effective brand positioning and marketing approaches that should be used by financial institutions to reclaim consumer trust and affinity.
Eleven of the study’s 40 key findings:
- Clutter-free, humanized web interaction with refreshing and differentiating design aspects scored the highest.
- Overall aesthetics significantly impacted whether a website visitor would return.
- Usability and functionality of website design and strategy scored higher than more complicated architecture with lots of offers, click options, widgets and gadgets
- Poor website navigability and poor overall design greatly affected the website visitor’s willingness to engage and do business with the company.
- Images that evoke comfort and stability, like photos of families, solid structures, “clarity in chaos” and light in darkness, scored best in consumers’ subconscious.
- Blog postings, a strong player in the SEO and content sourcing game, were deemed to be the most effective, accessible and trusted form of written advocacy among consumers.
- Responsible employee blogging scored high despite any preconceived notions about it being planned and generated.
- Multimedia video posts, such as YouTube videos and other forms of interactive social media marketing, scored the highest in consumer advocacy.
- YouTube videos featuring CEOs, employee comments, information and advice scored better than many other interactive mechanisms.
- Content marketing strategy that emphasized “experience,” “understanding,” “compassion” and “empathy with the consumer” scored well.
- Messaging that focused on the institutions’ “sacrifices” and “hard work” did not score as well as those that emphasized understanding “consumer pain.”
Do these findings sound familiar? Of course. They’re completely consistent with a strategic inbound marketing program. The only difference is that neuromarketing explains the why and how behind the success that inbound marketing brings to businesses. It dives into your marketing’s effects on your targets’ brains, showing you how and why they’re connecting (or not connecting) with your company’s marketing messages.
Note: The study’s authors made it a point to express the universality of this study, beyond the financial sector. Remember, a large population of consumers can turn against any industry, or even a specific organization, at any time. So everyone has something to learn here: Marketing at the neural level gets you out of messy marketplace misfortunes.
So what exactly are those neuromarketing factors that explain the why and how behind a successful inbound marketing strategy? What was making the brains of those volunteers in the NeuroFocus study light up the way they did? Stay tuned: That’s the grey matter we’ll be dissecting in tomorrow’s blog post.
Start Today Tip: The NeuroFocus study proved the effectiveness of "responsible employee blogging." Is your team on board with rotational employee blogging? Each member of your team has the opportunity to present a unique perspective and skillset to your company's messaging strategy -- while preserving the consistency of your company's voice, of course. Get a blog-brainstorming group together and start doling out some potential blog topics.
We’re diving deep into neuromarketing this week, but we’ve only just scratched the cerebral surface. Click the button below to download our in-depth neuromarketing ebook: The Grey Matters Of Neuromarketing: What Is It & Why Does It Work?