In the world of marketing, the land of the free and the home of the brave is in inbound country. Inbound marketers understand the marketing landscape has significantly shifted, not just in the last decade, but in the last year. (To use the word revolution would be an understatement.)
And marketing will continue to change as more and more advanced technology is introduced.
So as we in the States celebrate the Fourth of July, here are a few unalienable marketing rights that have been endowed by ever-evolving technologies:
Remember the days when you would send out one email blast per month, probably a newsletter, to all of your contacts? Well, those days are over. Advanced segmentation allows you to communicate relevant information to the right contacts with shorter targeted messages. Because these messages are more appropriate than one giant blast, you won’t have contacts forget about you when they only receive an occasional touch, or worse, be turned off because they are receiving something that doesn’t apply to them.
Moreover, regularly developing automated drip email workflows allows you to keep the conversation going with a lead who converts or takes other specific actions on your website. These workflows are designed to tell your marketing story, while staying on top of buyers minds based on an action they took, not one you instigated.
I’m just going to say it: Anyone chasing keywords is wasting their time and anyone encouraging you to chase keywords is wasting your money. Beyond the fact that most of the keywords that drive traffic to your website are hidden (75 percent of our search traffic comes from unknown keywords), SEO is trending in two directions, both of which are away from keywords.
First is toward connecting content up with the human writers. That means it’s more important to become an expert in your industry than it is to produce mass quantities of content for content’s sake. This will also allow you to build your social network online, from Twitter to Google Plus, to take advantage of the social signals that inform and guide search engines.
Second is structured data markup that provide specific signals about what type of content is on your site. If you’re having an event or simply want to make clear what type of business your are, then Schema.org compliance is the focus of your technical SEO going forward.
The word “campaign” is obsolete in inbound marketing. While we used to focus on making a big splash with a flashy campaign, today consistent, quality marketing you build on overtime has a much more significant impact on marketing KPIs than simply focusing on the old idea of a campaign.
Want proof? Here’s a chart showing leads generated by a company using HubSpot that focused on campaigns:
Now here’s a chart showing leads generated by a company using HubSpot that focused on long-term growth:
Freedom from the idea of a marketing campaign allows you to focus on the big picture, while continuously improving on the tactics that are driving leads to your website.
With the exponential growth in mobile web traffic, it’s time to rethink how you’re approaching mobile. For many years, marketers were forced to use separate mobile websites if we wanted to provide any sort of mobile experience. Now mobile is no longer a separate entity from your other marketing activities. Instead you can develop a responsive website that can be used on any device. This way your content can be displayed on any size screen and ensure that the website visitor has the same experience however he or she visits your site.
And while we’re at it, throw out all those mobile apps that don’t really have a practical, product/service-related purpose. Sure they’re neat, but chances are they’re part of a campaign—and all you have to do is read the section above to know how that turns out.
Here’s one of the biggest challenges any marketer faces: What do I report to prove ROI? Making the problem even worse is all the data that is available for reporting. Well, as I like to say, there’s good data and there’s bad data. Good data is actionable information you investigate with the big marketing picture in mind; bad data is pulled simply within a specific context without any reasoning except that you can get it.
The baddest of the bad data? Tactical over-reporting. When stakeholders ask how many sales qualified leads came from a single email blast, or even a single piece of content, they aren’t taking into account the often numerous other actions a prospect has taken before he or she raises a hand to talk to sales. A person may have downloaded a specific whitepaper from an email blast, but they also read your blog posts, opened other emails and downloaded case studies, all before finally becoming a sales qualified lead (possibly months or years later).
Keeping the primary reporting on agreed upon marketing goals prevents you from having to place an asterisk next to every data point in your report. And any tactical reporting can then focus on the specific goal at hand, which, in inbound marketing, is usually simple demand generation.
Today is our independence day! As an inbound marketer, what marketing freedom do you enjoy most?
photo credit: Express Monorail
Dan Stasiewski is Technology Director at Kuno. When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan viaTwitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.