We’re coming down the home stretch for 2014 and that means it is time to finish thinking about New Year’s resolutions. For business or career resolutions we think an extremely useful approach called inbound marketing is worthy of taking a first, and even second look at in your 2015 marketing plan.
Inbound marketing is the act of bringing visitors to your website rather than pushing out to them. It is positioning your company to be discovered instead of actively reaching out to your target customer. Once you have their attention, then you have the opportunity to convert them into a customer.
According to a study completed by the marketing gurus at HubSpot, marketers experience an average of 54% more leads using inbound tactics as opposed to only traditional outbound or paid search marketing. Another surprising statistic from the study states that companies saved an average of $20,000 per year by investing more in inbound vs. outbound.
This approach can be compared to an online dating site like EHarmony.com or Match.com. With an end goal of meeting someone you are required to take a quiz and disclose what you look for in a person, then you build a profile and the site connects you with like-minded people. Inbound marketing is similar to the quiz and profile building experience.
The three inbound marketing trends we expect to see blossom in 2015 include adaptive databases, cross-channel personalization and using data to earn future sales leads.
What are adaptive databases?
Adaptive databases are lists with specific information that continually adjusts to various changes over time. Databases for inbound marketing typically consist of names, contact information and other items that may be useful to marketers.
A popular way marketers attract potential customers is through email marketing and we all know that the success of this endeavor depends on the strength of the contact list. Marketing Sherpa asserts that email marketing databases degrade by around 22.5% each year due to staffing changes, retirement and other factors. If your company’s newsletter reached 1,000 subscribers in 2014 then you can expect to lose at least 200 within a year.
Keeping databases fluid and continuing to add information will strengthen your ability to earn repeat customers. This in addition to the next two trends is a major step toward turning customers into ambassadors of your company.
What is cross-channel personalization?
Cross-channel personalization is the practice of creating unique content that adapts to the person looking at it across various communication vehicles. The best example of this is with Facebook advertising. Each time you logon to your account, the side banner ads change based on your activity history. For instance, if you recently searched for Spartan Races then Facebook’s algorithm will adjust to show you an advertisement for the next race in your area.
A 2013 study by Monetate/eConsultancy reports that in-house marketers who personalize web experiences see an average sales increase of about 19 percent. That number is pretty staggering. There are a number of ways to execute cross-channel personalization but it starts with defining customer segments and then you move onto determining decision points and selecting items to personalize.
How will using data measurement help me gain more leads?
Big data is here to stay and taking steps to track specific patterns throughout the lifecycle of marketing campaigns can provide short-term and long-term benefits. There are an incalculable number of ways to collect data but several of the most common things tracked by marketers include website referral traffic, website visitation rates and time spent on certain pages.
Careful preparation and setting measurable goals will help fend off “paralysis by analysis” because having large chunks of data can leave you feeling weary. With this in mind, we have created a cheat sheet for you to quantify your existing sales and marketing efforts.