Friday, 16 December 2016

Inbound Marketing Isn't Fluffy

Inbound marketing is based on data

Hands up if you've ever referred to marketing as the "fluffy" stuff or the "airy fairy" part of business. Maybe once upon a time you might have been partially right, but not now, and especially not when it comes to inbound marketing.

Marketing isn't a Science Either

On the other hand, I'm not going to tell you marketing is a science. It clearly isn't. It involves human beings. Science is when you drop a packet of mentos into a bottle of coke and it explodes, and then you take a different packet of mentos and a different help-people.pngbottle of coke, in a different location on a different day at a different time... and exactly the same thing happens. 

Now think about a man, 6 foot tall, aged 35, with brown hair and blue eyes, seeing an advert. For one reason or another, it resonates with him and he takes action and buys the product being advertised. The next day, another man, 6 foot tall, aged 35, with brown hair and blue eyes, sees the same advert. He does nothing. Human behaviour cannot be predicted accurately, so anything that depends on people making free choices is not a science. There are no cast iron guarantees. 

It is Informed by Data

Before you panic and slash your marketing budget, let me reassure you. The wonderful internet has made everything more predictable and more measurable, moving towards the science end of the scale and away from the fluff.

When we put together an inbound marketing strategy, we start with cold, hard data. We research the keywords that are being used in your field. We analyse your website. We analyse your competitors' websites. We look at their search engine rankings. We look at your search engine rankings. We find areas where you can compete. 

We also look at your goals - normally in terms of the number of new customers you want your inbound marketing to bring you. We calculate the number of leads you will need, based on your sales team's conversion rate. We then calculate the number of visits your website needs to get those leads. We even have a lead generation calculator that does the sums for you. Calculators, sums... it's beginning to sound like maths!

Strategy First, Tactics Next

We often find that our clients are impatient, keen to crack on with the tactics. "What are you going to DO?" is something we hear a lot! The thing is, we don't want to waste anyone's budget DOing the wrong stuff. We are very strict about this. We need to understand the data, and we need to understand who you are targeting before we can even start putting together a plan of action. What if we immediately started creating an amazing explainer video, only to discover that your core audience for that service all live in rural areas with terrible broadband, and, therefore, don't watch videos! That's a chunk of your budget wasted right away.

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So we develop your buyer personas first. We discuss these with you, and do some research and create a very clear picture of a typical buyer, so that we can build campaigns around their information needs. We also find out how these people make decisions - how they progress from not knowing anything about you, to being a customer.

Act and Measure

Hooray! Once we understand your goals, your ideal customers, your keywords, your competitors and your online priorities we can start implementing. But, sorry to disappoint you, even then it's not very fluffy.

We do spend time choosing images for your website, blog and other content, but not just to make them look pretty, but to increase engagement. And we know that images in social media help attract attention.

And all that blog writing... what's that about? Actually, it's often a hard-nosed attempt to target specific keywords while supplying the ideal customers we identified with the precise information they need before they move further down your sales funnel. (not fluffy, sorry!)

Ah, but how about the social media? Surely that's fluffy? Well, no, actually. Using HubSpot (or similar content systems) means that every single tweet is monitored and measured, and we can tell which contacts arrived at your door because of social media, and how many of them converted into customers. 

Use Your Budget Wisely

We will always advise you on the best uses of your marketing budget, based on your lead generation goals, even if that means advising against some of the more fun marketing tactics. Yes, they might be good for awareness, but if they're not targeted at your buyer personas, and they aren't as cost effective as other ways of generating leads, then we will be the party poopers and suggest other courses of action instead. Probably ones you can measure. 

By all means call us spoilsports. Just don't call us fluffy! 

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