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Science Reveals The Complexity Of Inbound Marketing Demand Generation

Data Tells You Everything You Need To Know About How Marketing Produces Leads

We had an excellent kick-off meeting on Friday with our newest client, Stagen Leadership Academy, and one of the sessions included me showing them the science of search and its impact on demand generation. Stagen’s business is advanced leadership training for CEOs with a passion for becoming better leaders.

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Why Perseverance Is Key To Getting Results From Inbound Marketing

Even If You Have All The Inbound Marketing Tools, Putting Them Together Correctly Might Take More Time And Energy Than You Expected

Look up the word perseverance and you get the following definition: "Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." There’s an important aspect to generating inbound marketing results that plays out over and over again: You must be in it for the long term.

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How To Know If Your Team Is Able To Drive Inbound Marketing Results

Eliminate All The Other Variables And Inbound Marketing Results Comes Down To The People

Inbound marketing has been around for a few years now and more people have experiences with it than ever before. The challenge is that only about half of those people have had positive experiences with inbound. The question then becomes this: Is there something flawed about the methodology, or is the weakness inside the team delivering (or attempting to deliver) the inbound program?

If businesses are realizing true value, lead generation, revenue acceleration and company growth from inbound half of the time and the methodology is consistently applied, then the issue isn’t the approach, but rather the people responsible for delivering it. I’ll also assume for this article that the program is planned, built and optimized properly, that the company gives it the appropriate amount of time to gain traction, and that the level of investment is aligned with the expected results.

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What To Expect When You're Expecting Results From Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Works ONLY When You Give It Every Opportunity To Work

I was curious as to how many articles on expectations around inbound marketing results there are on the web. The answer: three-and-a-half pages of blog articles, whitepapers and e-books on expectations, timing, results and inbound marketing. That’s roughly 35 listings from 29 different agencies, including an article we wrote in March 2016.

Clearly, this is a hot topic for people running inbound marketing programs and the inbound marketing agencies helping people to execute inbound campaigns. The top-ranking article from our friends at GuavaBox is right on the money. They relate moving to inbound marketing like training for a marathon; it takes time, dedication and expertise to get it right.

They also included some insightful research data from an MIT study of HubSpot customers. The research found that more than 92% of customers saw an increase in website traffic and leads as a direct result of inbound marketing, while 49.2% saw an increase in sales.

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Want Leads From Inbound Marketing? Agile Marketing Is Your Only Option

Data-Driven Marketing Requires You To Respond Quickly To The Data; Agile Is The Only Way To Deliver

Never before in the history of marketing have people had access to the quantity and quality of marketing program performance data available today. This data and the opportunity it offers us is forcing inbound marketing agencies to assess how they deliver and come up with new delivery models.

Agile marketing and Scrum is an example of how the way agencies work with clients is changing dramatically. But this change is also a signal to internal marketing teams that they need to change, too.

Long-term planning is dead. Twelve-month marketing plans are dead. Six-month content calendars are dead. Waterfall project management is dead. Today, if you want to generate results for clients, you need to be able to review real-time data on program performance on Monday, come up with an action plan on Tuesday, get that plan in play on Wednesday and start watching the metrics on Thursday.

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Inbound Marketing: Myth Or Proven Methodology?

If You’ve Never Seen Inbound Marketing Work, I Can Understand Your Disbelief

The other day I posted an article on LinkedIn about the differences between demand generation and inbound marketing. The article got its fair share of likes and a comment or two, but one of the comments caught my attention.

Here is a direct quote of the exact comment: “To me, inbound marketing is a myth. It is complete nonsense.” The comment got me thinking that I don’t believe in bigfoot, despite the huge amount of grainy and questionable video footage, because I’ve never seen an actual bigfoot.

Could inbound marketing be a myth to everyone who has never seen it in action? Just like bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs, if you’ve never seen these, it’s going to be hard to believe they exist. That brings me to the point of this article. Let’s debunk the myth with facts and figures from actual inbound marketing engagements.

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Why Inbound Marketing Is So Challenging

Marketing Used To Be Easy; What Happened To Make It So Hard?

This is a great question to kick off 2017. Marketing used to be easy. You bought some ads, you went to some trade shows, your sales team made some phone calls and you sent out letters from time to time. The results were cloudy, but you did see people responding and your business grew. You might not have known exactly why, but it worked. I know because this is how I used to run marketing at a $20 million software company.

But over the past 10 years or so, things have changed. The way people buy has changed. The way people make their decisions around purchasing has changed. From multimillion-dollar purchases to $50 purchases, it has all changed. It’s this change that has complicated marketing so dramatically, and while inbound marketing matches today’s buyer behavior, the process of delivering that match is complex.

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Prediction #8 — Science Of Inbound Marketing And Sales Breaks Through

The Formula For Lead Generation Is Created Using Inbound Marketing As The Foundation

I’m most excited about this prediction; after all, I’m an inbound scientist. I believe, with all my experience, that there is now a way to mathematically predict inbound marketing results based on the program features in your own inbound marketing. Once this is published, you’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it and what results to expect. It’s a game-changer.

The real challenge with this is not creating the formula but testing it. You’ll need tons of data to test the formula enough to make sure it produces the right results consistently. You’ll need to test the formula under a variety of conditions, in different industries, with different types of clients, with big programs and with modest programs. It will be a lot of work. It's likely that only a large inbound marketing agency would have the data and the experience to create such a formula.

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Prediction #5 — Novice Inbound Marketing Vs. Expert Inbound Marketing Will Be Measured By Results

All Inbound Marketing Results Are Not Created Equally

As inbound marketing gains speed, more and more people are trying to do it. That means more and more novices are attempting to get results from inbound. The question is this: As they fail, will inbound take the brunt or will people recognize they need actual inbound experts to get results? We’ll consider this and reveal the trends.

We’ve noticed a trend over the past few months. More companies are contacting us with a similar story. The story goes something like this: “I’ve been working with an inbound marketing agency for the past 12 months and now that we’re coming to the end of the engagement, we’re not sure it’s working. We talked to you 12 months ago, but went in a different direction because of price. Can you look at what we’ve been doing and give us some guidance?”

Our response is: “Yes, we’re happy to review what you’ve been doing. We’ll look at your inbound marketing assets and with access to your HubSpot account or Google Analytics, we should be able to identify if anything was missed or executed differently than we’d do it.”

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It's Always The Agency's Fault If Your Inbound Marketing Isn't Working

Does It Matter Whose Fault It Is Or Does It Matter Why It’s Not Working?

The headline was meant to get your attention. It’s very rarely the agency’s fault even though that’s usually where the blame gets placed. When you think about it, how could it be the agency’s fault? If the people at the agency didn’t know what they were doing, they wouldn’t have any clients. So, they must know something.

But what I don’t understand is why it matters whose fault it is and why blaming anyone is productive. Instead, let’s put our energy into identifying why your inbound marketing isn’t working and what we need to do to fix it, and then get it back on track delivering leads and new customers for your business.

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