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Storytelling: The Lost Art In The Science Of Inbound Marketing

            Poor Results? It Might Not Be Your Tactics; It Might Be Your Message

Marketing can feel very militaristic with campaigns, targets and email as air cover and sales as the ground attack, but the reality is you’re attempting to talk to people. Thinking about your potential prospects as people and not targets is likely to produce a different result. Once you realize marketing strategies need to be a human-to-human effort, you might rethink what you’re saying to them.

For example, if you’re talking about yourself, people might not care as much. Instead, try to craft a message that’s more about them. If you’re talking about the features and benefits of what you do, it’s likely your prospects won’t remember many of these details. It’s not that those details aren’t wonderful, it’s just that our brains aren’t wired to remember stuff like that.

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Why Templates Won't Help You Improve Inbound Marketing Lead Generation

Marketing Strategy Can’t Be Packaged Into A Web Form Template

Everyone is looking for shortcuts. Be careful, because you might get what you’re asking for. Today, a wide variety of worksheets, templates and preloaded, automated strategy tools are designed to make the planning aspect of inbound marketing easier.

Even the marketing automation tools are starting to include modules that help you think out your content, nurturing and search strategy. There’s only one problem: I’m not sure these are going to help you produce results. They’re going to help you check off the action item. Strategy? Check! But that’s about it. In our experience, strategy is a lot more complicated than filling out a template.

Continue reading to learn why prepackaged strategy tools might not be the right path for your inbound marketing strategy.

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Is Inbound Marketing Quickly Going 'Out Of Style'?

Has Inbound Marketing Lost Ground To Demand Generation And Other Approaches To Marketing?

Has inbound marketing run its course? Has it been run over by more traditional approaches to marketing like all-out advertising, mass emails and demand generation tactics? If it has, why? What should you be doing about it (if anything)? But more importantly, are external factors putting extra pressure on inbound marketing?

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Direct Mail Gets An Upgrade From The USPS: Digital Marketing Plus Or Minus?

Whether Youre Doing Inbound Marketing Or Demand Generation, This Should Get Your Attention

It’s called Informed Delivery™ and it’s a new service from our friends at the USPS. The way it works is participating consumers receive an email containing grayscale images of the outside of their household’s letter-sized mail pieces that will be arriving soon.

The U.S. Postal Service is calling this an unprecedented opportunity to engage users through an integrated mail and digital marketing campaign that generates additional consumer impressions, interactions and insights.” I’m looking at this from both sides (their side and the direct marketer’s side), but I’m also looking at this from the consumer’s side. This might just be my opportunity to block all that unwanted junk mail.

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If Your Inbound Marketing Agency Doesn't Ask About Your Story, Find A New Agency

Marketing Strategy Must Include A Conversation About Your Stories, Or Else Your Lead Generation Is Dead On Arrival

Here I am talking about marketing strategy again. But do yourself a big favor and read this article, because you’re not going to want to miss it. I’m talking about strategy again because it continues to be the key to successful lead generation and the most overlooked, under-delivered part of every inbound marketing engagement.

Think about your own inbound marketing program. How much time did you or your inbound marketing agency spend on strategy? A couple of hours in an initial meeting? A day or two? Maybe a week? I know, you did personas, which took you a couple of days or maybe a week to create. Then what else did you do? Did you map out each personas buyer journey?

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What Is Marketing Strategy When You're Talking Demand Generation?

Is It Different Than Marketing Strategies For Other Types Of Marketing, Like Inbound Marketing?

You’ve sat down with your management team to assess your current market, competition, target prospects and business goals. You’ve discussed your options, which include inbound marketing, account-based marketing and demand generation. You’ve decided that demand generation is right for you and your team agrees.

Now what? Are you ready to jump in and start with the paid advertising, email outreach, website redesign and sales calls? I’m going to suggest that there’s one important step before you hit the street with your marketing. Regardless of the approach you want to take with your marketing, putting the time, energy and investment into your marketing strategy is going to produce a 10x improvement in whatever results you end up generating.

Instead of 10 leads a month, you could be looking at 100 leads a month. That should be enough incentive to slow down, read the article and consider applying some of the thinking here.

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Why Marketing Strategy Remains A Missing Link For Killer Lead Generation

Inbound, Outbound, Account-Based And Demand Gen; Marketing Strategy Makes It All Much Less Complicated

With all these different types of marketing flying around today, it’s hard to know what the right approach is for your company. Some of you are trying inbound marketing, others are doing demand generation and then we have an entire set of companies putting all their eggs into account-based marketing.

On top of that, companies are dipping their toes into search marketing, email marketing and content marketing. In all honesty, we still hear from companies that have tried it all and haven’t seen any results.

Unfortunately, if you skip the inbound marketing strategy and jump into the tactics, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. When we diagnose a prospect’s current marketing situation, it’s almost always the root cause for lack of results. They didn’t take the time to build out the personas, define the stories and messages, create compelling differentiation and plan their marketing attack strategy. They just jumped in and started doing stuff.

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Content Marketing Is The Fuel For All Types Of Marketing Strategies

Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation, Account-Based Marketing, Email Marketing And Influencer Marketing All Need Content To Drive Results

Over the weekend, it occurred to me that with so many marketing strategies available to marketers these days, it’s very hard to figure out which methodology, tactic or combination of tactics is right for your company. That got me thinking about how content is the one consistent thread across all these types of marketing systems.

Inbound marketing needs content to convert visitors into leads. Demand generation needs content to create awareness. Account-based marketing needs content to engage prospects. Even search engine marketing needs content for the search engines to find, rank and present content to people searching.

If these diverse marketing methodologies are the engines that drive leads, new customers and revenue, then it seems apparent that content is the fuel. An engine without fuel won’t run, an engine with the wrong fuel will run sporadically and an engine without enough fuel will run inconsistently.

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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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How Inbound Marketing Drives Results With Ingenious List Segmentation

The More Personal Your Marketing, The Better Your Response; Inbound Marketing Gives You New Tools

CMO.com study conducted last year shows that "personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them." The study also shows that "60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial."

Here are some more findings from the study. "Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests." Also, "in-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales."

Now that we all agree personalization works, let’s talk about how inbound marketing and thoughtful marketing strategy enable us to look at our lists and segment our contact databases in a proactive way to deliver the personalized messages our prospects are looking for.

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