It’s 2018, and it’s time for everybody to make their New Year resolutions. That doesn’t just mean those plans to join a gym (and stop going by February), or to cut down on the cakes, it also applies to your inbound marketing efforts and how you can generate more leads for your business by following the inbound marketing New Year resolution list.
Consumer behaviour, and inbound marketing itself, is changing, and it’s time to say ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ to meet these developments. We will take a look at the trends and strategies you need to be aware of in an upcoming blog, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to stop focusing on.
Ah, the old reliable eBook: The carrot at the end of the stick you use to entice consumers to share their contact details with you. It’s long been used as a way to not only generate leads, but also show your expertise and offer value. That, however, is changing, because people simply aren’t looking online in the ways they used to.
How many people read eBooks on their mobile device? Very few. Bearing in mind that mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage (a trend that is unlikely to be reversed), it’s time to jettison those long, wordy eBooks in PDF format. If they are even downloaded, chances are the consumer will not scroll down to the end, where it is likely that you have placed the juicy content, i.e., your contact or offer details.
Instead, create content in the form of quizzes, surveys, interactive landing pages, video and online animation to present helpful, relevant and entertaining material your audience will actually want to look at and complete.
Quantity Over Quality
When it comes to blog writing, we tend to focus on getting as many articles out there as possible in order to prove our expertise in, and knowledge of, a wide array of subjects relevant to our industry. That means that room full of monkeys typing away endlessly (or that small team of content creators) is going to great lengths to produce content non-stop, day after day.
However, we have reached the stage where the internet is saturated with content. Search for anything online and the chances are you will be met with page after page of results. The route to success is not to make sure you are included amongst these, but to ensure you are on the first page, because that is pretty much the only page people are going to look at.
Consumers want quality content that is relevant to them and their challenges, and they want to find it quickly, which is why that first page ranking is so important.
Focus on one subject matter per blog post, and importantly, make sure every blog has a specific purpose, such as driving leads to a gated piece of content, or supporting a recent campaign. Writing for the sake of it will get you nowhere.
Email Workflows With No Personalisation
If you send out a series of emails that will apply to a large contact list, you really shouldn’t expect to see high engagement rates.
Today, it’s all about personalisation, so you need to send a targeted email personalised with relevant content based on the contact’s demographics, online behaviour and recent engagement level. Remember where your audience is on the buyer journey, if they are even on it, and create the content most likely to drive them along the conversion path.
Complicated Lead Scoring
Leads are good, but qualified leads are better, and we want to attract these to our business to ensure we focus our efforts on the right people, at the right time. To do this, we tend to create lead-scoring algorithms that define how likely a lead is to become a customer. But we can take this too far, and an overly complex algorithm just slows down the conversion process and creates more work for us.
Simplify your lead scoring system based on demographics and behaviour to avoid too many combinations of point values, and eliminate assigning negative point values (which create needless complications). An algorithm based on 0-100 with increments of 10 points should be more than adequate to reveal who is worth pursuing and who is not.
Organic-Only Facebook Strategies
The many changes to Facebook’s algorithms have divided opinion, but one thing is a fact: Organic reach on the social media platform has crashed through the floor, with only 2% to 6% of followers likely to see your posts.
Creating organic content on Facebook is, therefore, unlikely to bring you any real benefits. The social media colossus may not have started out with the business plan it now has, but the way it works currently means that to stand any real chance of having your audience see your content, you need to put some resources into boosting it through Facebook Ads. It is an extra cost, but you will have to consider using boosted posts and advertising to increase your reach and get your content in front of the right people at the right time.
Overloading on Marketing Automation
The emergence of AI and automation is changing the inbound marketing industry dramatically, and while we all need to get smart about this development, we must also avoid jumping head first into using it across all of our strategies.
There may come a time when the robots take over, but that time has not yet come, and there is still room for human involvement in what we do.
Marketing automation should be used primarily to help with internal marketing activities, and used sparingly for external marketing activities.
Yes, chatbots will be an essential part of the inbound marketing machine because they will help with immediate engagement with consumers and potential clients, but they will not replace the traditional salesperson just yet.
Using Only Email to Reach Decision-Makers
Instead, use account-based marketing to target a defined set of people with personalised content. If you are using the HubSpot CRM, the handy Integration Terminus enables you to deliver different messaging and creative ads to each persona at your target accounts.
Relying on a Text-Only SEO Strategy
Consumer behaviour has changed so much in recent years, and today, your audience is all about multimedia, not just the traditional text content. The need for good images and the popularity of video is well known, but audio is also gaining ground.
In what will be an interesting development, the emergence of Google Lens, which will allow people to search using their camera phone, means having eye-catching visuals is going to become even more important if you want to rank well in search.
This means that optimising the text on your website will no longer be enough – you now have to take your SEO strategy to your videos, images and audio files, to make them easier to find in search.
While we may be reluctant to stop using the inbound marketing strategies and techniques that have served us well in the past, the landscape has changed so much in recent years that it has become necessary to evolve. As we start 2018, now is the perfect time to get rid of those old strategies and ensure that your business or agency has a very Happy New Year.
Find out how you can generate more leads in 2018 by downloading our Lead Generation Survival Kit: