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Prediction #11 — Website Optimization Advances With Inbound Marketing

The Big Website Redo Project Is Finally A Thing Of The Past

The big website project is becoming less and less popular. Ongoing, regular website optimization is now a mandatory part of any progressive inbound marketing effort. This is a trend that you need to be looking for in your inbound program or ensuring is included in any agency program. If you’re not optimizing your website marketing strategy every month, you’ll be disappointed in your lead generation results.

Ongoing conversion optimization is one of the biggest missing elements we see when we’re evaluating an existing inbound marketing effort. While the website is typically front and center around optimization, optimization activities should be deployed around content creation, search engine optimization, email marketing, lead nurturing campaigns and social media marketing. The only way to ensure you’re getting optimal results is to optimize all aspects of your program every month.

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Prediction #10 — Influencer Marketing Helps Amplify Inbound Marketing

Using Influencers As Part Of An Inbound Marketing Campaign Accelerates Lead Generation

We’ve been doing influencer marketing for years now and it’s great when it works. However, it still takes a lot of energy to get it working right and it doesn’t always produce results. Influencer marketing, as a part of content marketing, should take the next step in 2017 and become a more predictable, scalable tactic in the inbound marketing playbook.

The downside of this trend is that the “influencers” have all the power. Two or three years ago, the content providers had the power. This means influencers get to pick and choose who they work with, and some of them are opting to only pick people who pay them to influence. This has made influencer marketing more complex and more time-consuming.

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Prediction 1 - Video Becomes Prominent In Content Marketing And Inbound Marketing

Video Becomes Mandatory Within Inbound Marketing Campaigns

No earth-shattering revelations here. Video marketing is already insanely popular as a content type, but going forward short, homemade snippets for use on social, web, mobile and email are going to be much more popular as vehicles to carry your story and engage your prospects.  

The major change that has been going on and will continue to go on is that video is becoming much more mainstream. No more need for expensive production resources, professional video resources or complex shoots. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place for the professional corporate video. However, when it comes to inbound marketing and content creation, the homemade variety of video can produce results with only a small investment — making the ROI extremely attractive.

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An Early Holiday Gift Filled With 2017 Inbound Marketing Predictions

Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales Accelerate The Pace Of Change Next Year

While I’m not going to tell you I know exactly what’s going to happen next year, I do have enough experience to give you some insight into the trends and challenges we’ve seen this year that are setting up to have major impacts on what might transpire in 2017.

They key for you is to be aware of what’s going on, understand the speed at which the transitions and evolutions are progressing, and then make decisions based on these changes. I’m a big believer in having a plan A, plan B and, in some cases, a plan C.

If for some reason cold-calling became hyper effective (don’t worry), at least we would be prepared to start moving some effort into this suddenly highly effective tactic. But if I have no idea it's coming, I would be ill-equipped to make that move. Consider the next 12 predictions as a “heads up” as to what might be coming in the foreseeable future. Enjoy!

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How To Create Better Bottom-Of-The-Funnel Offers To Drive More Inbound Leads

It’s Time To Graduate From Demos, Free Trials And Contact Us Offers

Leads! They are the lifeblood of any good inbound marketing program and every company wants more leads. Unfortunately, if online lead generation was easy, more people would be proficient at generating them. Instead, you have a lot of people searching for the right combination of marketing program tactics to create a scalable, repeatable and predictable lead-generation effort.

There is good news. Over the past couple of years, we’ve applied enough testing, experimentation and program optimization to know exactly what you need to do to drive website conversions and sales-ready leads. The trick comes in the execution.

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Why Everyone Thinks Inbound Marketing Is Content Marketing

Because Content Marketing Is Simple And Inbound Marketing Is Complex

A quick look at Google Trends data on the searches for inbound marketing vs. content marketing shows that content marketing has been consistently more searched than inbound marketing. In fact, it's usually by a factor of 2 to 1.

In 2012, both phrases started gaining popularity, but content marketing continued to get many more searches than inbound marketing. I was curious — what would cause that? Why would content marketing be more popular and what’s contributing to keeping this trend consistent over the past four years?

Back in July of this year, I wrote a blog article titled "Content Marketing Vs. Inbound Marketing: What’s The Difference?" that remains the number two ranked page for the phrase "content marketing vs. inbound marketing." But the differences don’t explain why one piece remains more popular than the whole.

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Inbound Marketing Blog Boring? 6 Ways To Make Bland Blogs Bold!

White-Hot Blog Articles Drive New Visitors And Turn Visitors Into Leads

The blog on your website has quickly become the focus for your inbound marketing effort. When implemented and optimized properly, it has an impact on both getting found and getting leads, but it can feel like you’re writing about the same topics over and over again.

However, blogging for blogging’s sake is silly. If you’re not getting new blog subscribers, views, shares, leads and links from your blog, then you need to consider your entire blogging strategy. If your blog is set up properly, it should be extremely easy to get this data.

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Top 10 Blog Metrics You Need To Drive Leads With Inbound Marketing

The Data Is In: Companies With Active Blogs Get More Leads

At Square 2 Marketing, we blog every single business day. Just yesterday, one of our blog subscribers emailed me with a request to talk to them about an inbound marketing program for their business. Don’t you love it when a good plan comes together? Yes, we got a sales-ready lead, which turned into a legitimate sales opportunity, directly from our blog. You can have that too.

But it’s not as simple as it sounds. We’ve been blogging, and cultivating and nurturing more than 5,000 blog subscribers, for years. We’re actively tracking the performance of our blog, blog articles, subscribers’ behavior and rankings for keywords as a result of our blog. You need to take the same data-driven approach to your blog.

Here are 10 inbound blog metrics that you should be tracking weekly.

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Applying A Hub-And-Spoke Model To Your Content Marketing Strategy

This is an updated version of a blog article that was originally published in September of 2014.

Everyone is talking about content marketing.

It’s obvious that you need content in order to connect with your audience, pull them into your website, educate them on a topic and eventually help them make a smart purchase decision by working with your business.

The content strategy development process is complicated: What content do we create? In what format? How often? How do we promote it? How do we optimize it? How does each piece of content inform the next? How do we ensure it turns visitors into leads? The questions are endless.

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Inbound Marketing Website Design vs. Traditional Website Design

This is an updated version of a blog article that was originally published in June of 2013.

I recently had a prospect ask me: “Is there a difference between a traditional website and an inbound marketing website?”

While I answered emphatically, “Yes!,” I thought it would be good to translate (a revised set of) best practices around inbound marketing website design and position them against traditional website design practices.

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