The Math Behind Inbound Marketing Success
I’ve always believed that as inbound marketing evolved, it would transform marketing from an art into a science. This means that we’d finally know exactly what to do and when to do it in order to drive marketing results for our businesses.
And, it goes even deeper than that. Since each action we take has a definite and clear reaction, we've started to use data to predict the inbound marketing results associated with a specific set of inbound marketing tactics.
Translation: There’s a formula for inbound success.
However, before we go too far down this path, it would make sense for me to give you some background information on why inbound is so mathematical.
Inbound Comprises A Lot Of Marketing Tactics
Gone are the days of doing one or two marketing tactics and expecting them to drive revenue. If you hire an SEO expert, PR firm or website design company to do your website, you’re taking the wrong route. Today, marketing consists of almost 20 different tactics that must be working together at the same time.
The importance of all these tactics is primarily driven by the changes in buyer behavior. Now, you need to create an immersive experience for your prospects. It should start when they first hear about your company and continue when they visit your website, download something, receive ongoing communication, attend a webinar, read a case study, come back to your website and see reviews about your company online.
This elongated experience affords you the opportunity to help your prospects get to know, like and trust your company. And, believe me, no one is doing business with you until they know, like and trust you. Previously, you needed salespeople to help achieve this level of comfort, but prospects today don’t want to talk to your salespeople. So, you need marketing to deliver the same level of comfort. If you don't have all of your marketing working to deliver this type of experience, you’re not marketing properly.
Inbound Requires These Tactics To Work Together Seamlessly
Marketing has become exponentially more complicated and much more complex. As you can see from the description above, we’re executing more tactics, more frequently and over a longer period of time. This execution has to be flawless, and the same message must be delivered regardless of the delivery vehicle. What prospects read on your website needs to be present on your blog, in your email marketing, on your social media sites and in your educational content.
Make any mistakes in messaging, delivery or follow-up, and you run the risk of making your prospects anxious, nervous or distrusting – the polar opposite of how you actually want them to feel (safe and secure). People make purchase decisions emotionally. They have to feel safe in order to move forward. If you can’t make a prospect feel safe, you’ll never get anyone to buy.
Inbound Demands A Continual Optimization Effort
Knowing what works only gets you so far. The true secret to inbound is constantly optimizing what you’re doing based on the actual performance of the program. The difference between achieving massive improvements and only modest ones is understanding what to look at, what to adjust, when to adjust it, how long to let it run before you adjust it again, what to expect with each element of the program and how to act quickly.
This means having people with the experience to analyze a program, review the most important elements, respond with a plan to elevate performance and take the necessary action to implement those improvements. It also means allowing that team of people to run this cycle of “Analyze, Review, Respond, Act” as many times as possible, and understanding that the more often they cycle, the better your results are going to be.
The Basis For Optimization Is Data, Not Opinion
Opinions are free. Everyone has one. Historically, this was extremely relevant because the performance of advertising was fairly subjective: “We think the advertisement worked well. We heard people saw the ads and liked them.”
Today, the subjective perspective on advertising and marketing is dead.
Often, we run up against two different opinions on the task at hand, so our response is, “We should test it.” This results in making data-driven decisions that move our programs forward week over week and month over month.
Like other scientific discoveries, great power comes with great responsibility. While we have unmatched insight into what works and what doesn’t, every client program performs differently. This is due to the nuances from company to company, industry to industry and, most important, person to person. Since each client has a number of people involved in their engagement, their individual contributions (positive and negative) impact the performance of the marketing.
I may be able to predict the specific outcomes of directed marketing tactics at Square 2 Marketing, but that’s primarily because we control all of our own behaviors. The same experience applies to our clients. When I look at our Hall of Fame clients, those businesses that have grown dramatically, sold their companies or overachieved on their sales and marketing goals all have one characteristic in common: They took our advice and followed it to a T.
I’m not saying that we have every answer to every question regarding inbound sales and marketing, but I am saying that we have the experience and data to know exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it to help your business get found, get leads and drive revenue.
Start Today Tip – Are you in agreement that today’s marketing is scientific? The sooner you understand the formula, start applying it and begin using the continuous optimization efforts required to get you results, the sooner you’ll see leads from your marketing effort. To move in that direction, you need to organize all of the analytics, strategy and inbound tactics required to run a full inbound program. Based on our experience, this could take as long as six months. Start your strategy and planning work today so you don’t have to wait until June or July of 2016 before you start seeing results.
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