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Prediction #3 — Shortcuts On The Creation Of Inbound Marketing Tactics Impact Performance

There Is No Easy Button When It Comes To Inbound Marketing, So Stop Looking For It

I get it; people are always looking for shortcuts. However, I’ve seen a major influx of new services, software and apps that appear to be cutting too many corners.

No, I don’t want an e-book created simply by having you look at my website. That’s not going to produce leads; it’s only going to give me a crappy e-book to give to prospects. The e-book will likely disappoint them and not get them to feel safe and hire me.

Resist the urge to cut corners next year. No, we can’t build you a 50-page website in two weeks if you want the site to support your prospects' buyer journey and get them to convert into leads for your sales team.

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Prediction #2 — Marketing Strategy Remains A Missing Element From Inbound Marketing Programs

2017 Continues With Companies Skipping Inbound Marketing Strategy And Executing Disconnected Tactics

I write about this every year hoping it will change, but it never does. Companies don’t value strategy, don’t want to pay for it, don’t want to work on it and don’t even want to talk about it. Yet its quality and presence within an inbound engagement is a direct predictor of inbound lead generation success.

So many factors contribute to this habitually absent element of almost every inbound marketing program that we’re asked to comment on. I recognize the complexity of attempting to get a company to change its messages, tell different stories and actually operate in a remarkable way. But if you want leads, it’s not an optional element — it's mandatory.

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A Look Back At 2016 Predictions Around Inbound Marketing — Part Two

We had so many predictions about 2016 that it's taking me two articles to cover them all. If you missed yesterday’s article, check it out. It covers half of the 14 predictions we made at the end of last year about 2016 and, honestly, I’m batting about .300. I guess that’s not too bad considering I did attempt to go all-out with some fairly aggressive predictions.

In this article, we’ll cover the remaining seven predictions from last year and evaluate my performance again. As you start to think about your plans for 2017, try to keep these trends and predictions in mind. You want to take advantage of these trends and be prepared for them. You don’t want them happening to you; you want to have them happen for you.

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How To Predict Inbound Marketing Results

If You Ask The Right Questions, Predicting Inbound Results Is Doable

Everyone and anyone associated with inbound marketing is seeking the Holy Grail. How do we know what to expect and when to expect it? What results will we get from our inbound marketing effort? Should we expect a 10% increase or a 20% increase? If we blog more, will we be able to achieve 35%? Everyone wants to know.

This is by far one of the most challenging aspects of inbound marketing, but probably not for the reasons you might expect. We actually know what the lift is for proactive off-site search engine optimization. We know how many more visitors a well-designed, well-written on-site SEO website will produce over what period of time, and we also know the impact that blogging, content, social media, influencer outreach and ongoing optimization have on program performance.

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Inbound Marketing Prediction #3: Website Redesign Dies A Quiet Death

Lean And Agile Killed The Major Website Development Project

If you’ve recently relaunched a website, you know the pain that typically comes with this kind of project. A short while ago, I wrote an article that outlines all the challenges associated with this historically horrible process. It takes too long, and the result is rarely what both the client and the agency had in mind.

If you’re planning website upgrades or think you need an entirely new website in 2016, you should not be looking at anything that resembles a four- to six-month design, development and delivery process. Instead, the world is moving to an Agile approach, one that turns your website into a project thats NEVER completed.

Here are the advantages of this inbound marketing thinking in website design and development.

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Inbound Marketing Prediction #2: Social Media Is The #1 Visitor Source

Inbound Marketing’s Use Of Social Media Fuels Website Visits

Today, over 7 billion (that's billion, with a B) people are on social media sites. This research shows the breakout of users on major social sites and a handful of smaller app sites, like WhatsApp. The major takeaway here is that these people are active and engaged. Some might argue that these people are more engaged than those searching for information on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

So, in today’s inbound marketing prediction, we’re going way out on a limb: In 2016, social traffic to your website is going to match or even pass visitor traffic from search engines.

Here’s how you need to adjust your marketing to take advantage of this trend in social.

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Inbound Marketing Prediction: Questions Pass Keywords In Search

Inbound Marketing Sets The Table For Contextual Search

Back in April, I found this amazing article on the future of search. Aaron Friedman shares how search, mobile and our fascination with apps are driving the future of inbound marketing and, more specifically, how we get our information from the Web.

So, our first prediction for 2016 is that context will finally pass keywords as the main methodology for how you create content, optimize your web pages and get prospects to experience your business. Understanding how potential customers will be interacting with your content is the first step toward getting ready for this context revolution.

Here’s how this bold prediction should be influencing your marketing and sales strategy in 2016.

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The Biggest, Boldest, Brashest Inbound Marketing Predictions For 2016

Inbound Marketing Continues To Gain Momentum

We’ve never been shy to share our opinion on where the inbound movement is headed. In December of last year, we shared some bold predictions for 2015, and we’re happy to say that we hit the nail on the head.

But, what we did last year only scratched the surface. So this year, we’re going ALL IN.

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How Do I Know If Inbound Marketing Is Going To Work?

How do you know if any of your marketing is going to work?

Ever gone to a trade show and come home with much fewer leads than you expected? Ever run an ad and received no response? How about that direct mail postcard that was supposed to deliver 2% return and only did .2%?

Any of these scenarios sound familiar? I have hundreds of stories like these from clients who, despite our advice, ran traditional marketing campaigns  only to regret the cost and labor that went into their efforts.

Is inbound marketing any different?

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How To Project Inbound Marketing Performance In 2015

You feel good about your inbound marketing planning for next year. You’ve been reading, thinking, strategizing. And now you’re excited to start executing in January.

But one piece of the puzzle is bothering you. You’ve made some commitments to the sales team regarding the number of leads, and you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Since the beginning of time, marketing people haven’t wanted to be accountable for delivering leads, so your lack of comfort might be genetic. Today, the more progressive inbound marketing professionals are happy to be accountable, using a blend of industry and company-specific metrics to do their projections.

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