Kiss - Keep it Simple, Stupid!
This is one of my favorite sayings. It in itself is simple. The problem is, for us as people, this is one of the most difficult things to do. I am not sure why. We as a people, for whatever reason, like to make things complicated. I am not sure if this is to validate ourselves or to give us a yardstick to measure ourselves against others. In a way that is exactly what we do. Let’s look at how this pertains in the marketing world. In a world that is exceptionally competitive, each and every company is looking for what will give them an edge over their competition. Part of this of course is having a better product, better quality, better delivery and better service. Once all of this is in place, then you set out to capture market share. And the widely held belief is that will all things being equal, the company who markets better and sales better will have the advantage. In today’s world, technology is supposed to help us make it simple. But what actually happens is that technology allows us to become efficient and hence frees up our time to go and find other ways to become competitive.
Are You Making the Most of Your Inbound Marketing Budget?
No doubt in a perfect world you would use every marketing channel available, but in every case money is the limiting factor. One of the big questions is how much are you allocating to your marketing budget, but the bigger question is how you can maximize the results for the money you spend. Where are you going to get the most value? This is where inbound marketing comes in. First of all, inbound marketing allows you to track your return on your investment directly, unlike any other type of marketing.
Secondly, it allows you to keep it as simple or as complex as you would like. The concept of inbound marketing is quite simple, it is permission based marketing. In other words, you are only marketing to people who agree to be marketed to and who can opt out at any time they no longer wish to be marketed to. By its very nature this is a much more targeted approach. The people who are open to you marketing to them are interested in your products and are at a very minimum at the top of your sales funnel.
In its simplest form, the goal is to bring visitors to your website and then migrate them through the funnel to become a lead and then to a customer and ultimately to a promoter. HubSpot has a great image of this process – Inbound Marketing. There is no doubt that the more effort that you put into your marketing process the greater the return. The key here is to make sure that you put it into the correct areas.
Quality versus Quantity
One of the first areas of discussion is quantity verses quality. While again it is great to put out a lot of content, it is super important that the content that you put out is of high quality. At the end of the day if you produce content that no one consumes then it is a waste of time. You need to put out content that resonates with your audience. Content comes in many forms and functions. There are emails, whitepapers, slide shares, eBooks, checklists and the like. You content needs to have value, that value can be answering questions that your customers have, it can be entertaining or it can be strictly adding knowledge that your customers didn’t know that they needed.
If your customer perceives value, then they will embrace the marketing and you will migrate into the role of being a thought leader in the industry. This is exactly what you want. Not everyone is going to be ready to buy at this point, the goal is to get them to think about your company when they need the service. You have spent all this time working on creating great content, the next thing that you need to do is to get it to as many people as you can. If you are an established business there is a good chance that you have a list that you can market to. The goal is to have a prospect rich list.
Who are You Really Marketing To, Anyway?
Many times people end up marketing to their customers. While this is a good thing, marketing to your customers is very different than marketing to prospects. HubSpot’s new COS allows you to do this better than any other tool on the market. Marketing to prospects will help you grow and diversify your business. In order to find new prospects you need to distribute your content to multiple channels. Now many people feel like using twitter and Facebook is good distribution. While they are a piece of the puzzle they are by no means all of the puzzle. You need to look to industry publications where you can help them with created content. Many of these publications have both a print and an online addition and are continually looking for content. Reaching out to them and building a relationship with them will again help you to become a thought leader in the industry.
Inbound Marketing can remain simple as long as you put your emphasis on what is going to generate the most return with the minimal cost and effort. Remember that having the right tools in place can also minimize the effort that you need to exert.Juliana Coutinho via photopin cc