Content marketing. Lead nurturing. Email marketing. In 2013, when I discussed marketing goals for the year, a good amount of time was spent talking about all of those tactics. However, as is commonplace in marketing these days, things changed quickly. In just one year, the conversation changed from how often you should blog to how good a blog post should be. Discussions about segmenting those B2B contact lists and how to use those lists for better communication became the norm. And continuous improvement of lead nurturing campaigns became a standard practice.
So what’s next for your inbound marketing program? No matter what size company you’re working for, here are five marketing goals you should strive to achieve in the next 12 months:
Inbound marketing used to be about filling the top of your funnel with as many leads as possible. But whitepapers, eBooks, infographics and videos shouldn’t be used to attract every possible buyer. Each buyer has his or her own needs.
Get serious about finding out what specific problems each potential buyer has through interviews with customers, internal stakeholders and even lost opportunities. Then spend the time creating content you can utilize in targeted demand generation programs. This brings me to goal number two...
For even the best inbound marketers, simply relying on search and social isn’t enough anymore. Not only have sites like Facebook made it harder for brands to connect with current and potential fans, but too much focus on the low cost of inbound marketing means missed opportunities for companies without serious demand generation budgets.
The good news, however, is advertising platforms are smarter than ever. And you can take targeted content and get it in front of the right buyers. The combination of targeted content and advertising allows you to spend your money more wisely, which is actually a much better value than spending no money at all.
Blogging for business used to be about creating a vast quantity of posts to improve your search visibility. With many recent changes to SEO, it’s much more important to focus on vast quality. While you shouldn’t just stop blogging all together, take the time—be it once a month or once a quarter—to write a blog post of considerable length with the same focus on helpful, problem solving content.
The current research indicates that articles less than 1,000 words have little chance of appearing in this result. But other factors, like establishing yourself as a reliable publisher (don’t forget publisher markup!) and social signals, help determine if your content can make the cut as a truly high-quality, informative post.
So rather than creating another eBook, create a long-form blog post. In the long run, you may get more value out of that article than another download.
We’re all used to personalizing emails, but that’s not enough anymore. Landing pages, web pages and thank you pages can all include personalization these days. Moreover, you can use almost any piece of information about a lead you have in your database to make sure a buyer’s journey is as personal as possible.
While personalization involves a good amount of strategy, you can get started by personalizing the basics of your buyer’s web experience. Saying “Thanks for downloading, Dan” is much better than simply saying thanks. And “We hope this helps Kuno Creative…” makes a bigger impression than just saying, “your company.” From there you can start to personalize content offers and web copy, specifically for the individual visiting your site.
Personalization, of course, is only as good as your database. And your CRM, more so than even your marketing software, has loads of valuable information about leads, opportunities and customers you can use to segment lists and personalize messaging.
Why your CRM software and not simply your marketing software? Well, the reality is most people on the other teams in your organization don’t want to use more than one piece of software to manage contacts. Whether it's sales or support, if they are putting information into your CRM, that data instantly becomes valuable to you as a marketer, as well. Upsells, churn prevention and simple customer happiness all rely on your CRM and your marketing software working in tandem.
So you’ve seen our suggested goals. What are you planning to accomplish in the next 12 months? Let us know in the comment section below.
photo credit: _becaro_
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