We practice more than one “discipline” in marketing at WebDirexion LLC — “Inbound Marketing”, and “Content Marketing”, guided by proven Marketing Communication and Publishing principles. The first looks at methods to get people to your website, while the second has at its core creating relevant and compelling posts, media and other forms of content. These two disciplines overlap in a number of ways, so in the interests of integration, I’ll add the umbrella term, “Connection Cycle Marketing”, wherein the authentic connections leading to sales are king. I mention this, because as we discuss emerging trends it is useful to think of first, ways to get prospects to your website, then how content engages them when they arrive, and finally how this process persuades these site visitors to become customers. Then you do it all again — that’s the “cycle” part. With that in mind, let’s look at the three “Inbound Marketing” trends now.
“The average outbound lead costs $373. The average leads via inbound marketing cost $143.”
- Click the graphic for a good overview of “Inbound Marketing” by Voltier Digital
Inbound Marketing Trends 1 – Inbound Marketing offers better results than Outbound Marketing
- HubSpot, the internet marketing company that offers both marketing analysis and software tools, reports that “The average outbound lead costs $373. The average inbound lead costs $143.” For “outbound,” think old-school with collaterals like brochures and direct mail being produced by MarCom professionals and being sent out of your company to engage prospects. “Inbound Marketing” involves all of the strategies and tactics for engaging prospects online and pulling them to your site — including SEO, SEM (Search Engine Marketing which often involves PPC), and Social Media Marketing — SMM. Whew… there are all those TLA’s again (Three Letter Acronyms). Once you get visitors to your site, you need to have engaging and compelling content, then use testing and engagement tactics including CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) and VBO (Visitor Behavior Optimization) — sorry… more TLA’s.
- What this Means: MarCom professionals now need to think about ways to pull in prospects instead of focusing on pushing out messages to them. This applies not only to old-school printed marketing materials, but also in new social venues, where a lot of marketers are perpetuating a similar mistake and simply pushing messages out there too.
- Tactics: I’ve mentioned a number of tactics above, but I would sum them all up as using these tactics in your continual “Connection Cycle Marketing” practice, which of course is another TLA… CCM. Bind all of these together with solid business outcome goals for your key performance indicators in your Analytics program, and make each tactic prove itself for ROI. Used well together you will have a very powerful synergy for your Marketing efforts.
Avoid the “content bot” approach — auto posting just links to your content in social venues – where possible. Business social is about creating relationships — the emotional handshake that leads to sales, and for these you must be “authentically present”.
- “Inbound Marketing” gets prospects to your site. “Content Marketing” engages them. “Connection Cycle Marketing” covers both, plus how you optimize for leads, then nurture these new connections as they become customers.
Inbound Marketing Trends 2 – PPC becomes more important for both SEO and Testing
- PPC — Pay Per Click ads — are becoming much more important for your connection cycle marketing work, in part because it is so easy to test value propositions, and also because Google has recently announced that it will no longer report the organic keywords used to reach your site — but it will continue to provide PPC related keyword reports. Google said it is doing this for privacy concerns, but the net result will probably be more revenue via its PPC platform — Google Adwords.
- What this Means: You’ll turn to adwords keyword reporting when you are looking for keywords that are proven to engage your prospects.
- Tactics: Here are two tactics to use PPC in your overall Connection Cycle Marketing strategy:
- Test your value proposition (ie. My Service Saves Time, versus, My Service Costs Less) in headlines in PPC ads, then also in A/B tests on your landing pages (make sure your landing page messaging coordinates with the ads you place)
- Look for long-tail key phrases in PPC that are often more affordable (ie. if you are an HVAC contractor, a “longer tail” phrase would be “Air Conditioning Cost Reduction, Houston”, versus just “Air Conditioning Repair”). When you find them, write compelling blog posts focusing on those key phrases.
Inbound Marketing Trends 3- SEO and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are merging
- Google has announced it is factoring “Social Signals” into its famous, never published, always updating ranking algorithm. Of course Google+ will play a prominent role (hint: get a Google+ account now — there are already thousands of prospects on the serve totalling over 60 million users).
- Rand Fishkin, CEO of the respected SEOmoz, commented on Google+ recently that, ” Content, search, social and conversion are all connected, and I don’t think any web marketer can be successful without combining these practices.” He said that, “For many years, I thought I could just be an SEO.” Not anymore.
- What this Means: The concept of “SEO” — Search Engine Optimization — changes as Google, and other search engines add new elements to the formula, and as each element becomes more important. In this case, Google can count what posts and other content people are liking, G-plusing, and social bookmarking.
- Tactics: Set up goals and track specific referrals from social media venues, then how they track through to desired outcome goals (ie. download a whitepaper, fill out a lead form, etc.) at your site. Avoid the “content bot” approach — auto posting just links to your content in social venues – where possible. Business social is about creating relationships — the emotional handshake that leads to sales, and for these you must be “authentically present”. Since you can’t be in several places at the same time, you need an efficient tactic for your Social Media presence.