While the term "Inbound Marketing” is becoming more and more popular, the way many are throwing it around reminds me of the way “SEO” was used in the early 2000’s. As an Inbound agency, I get it. Inbound is one of the most effective ways to generate leads. Not only that, it’s also extremely cost effective. According to Hubspot, $20K is the average companies save per year by investing more in inbound marketing vs. outbound. With more and more companies investing in Inbound, how can you set your strategy apart to ensure you not only generate leads, but revenue as well? The answer is personalization.
Overview of Personalized Marketing
Personalized marketing starts with a focus on the individual. While this term is usually connected with smart technology, which does play a big role online, it starts with the focus on creative a human touch to your marketing efforts. At it’s core personalized marketing is about connecting individuals to resources and solutions that meet their specific needs. This flies directly in the face of the mainstream traditional approach of mass marketing. While personalized marketing does take a little more time of the front end, the results far outweigh the mass reach approach.
Going Beyond Buyer Personas
If you have been in the marketing community at all in the last few years you are probably familiar with the term “Buyer Persona.” For those who aren’t, here is the “academic” definition. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The problem is, many agencies and businesses don’t go deep enough in their research and base too much of their marketing actions on assumptions.
Personalized marketing forces you to go deeper, not just in analytics and data, but into the psychology and sociology of the individuals you are trying to reach. One of the best tools available for this type of research is the Empathy Map, created my Xplane. The Empathy Map walks you through not just the day-to-day basics of your personas life, but how they think, feel, act and speak. The more human we can be in our research, the more authentic we can be in our marketing (Tweet This). To see a step by step walk through of the Empathy Mapping tool, check out this article.
Tools of the Trade
When it comes to executing a personalized inbound marketing and sales strategy, having the right tools is a must. You need the technology to reach your audience in the right way, at the right time and with the right content, and a system in place to help you nurture and close them into customers.
When it comes to delivering a personal experience to each visitor that comes to your site, BrightInfo is by far the best I’ve used. BrightInfo’s algorithm continually and dynamically analyzes your audience's behavior patterns. Then, it analyzes your site's content and displays the best matches between the two for each individual. What makes this so powerful is that it happens in real time.
BrightInfo analyzes anonymous prospects’ online behavior and interests based on three key criteria.
This tool helps you to create a more human experience with your audience on your site and deliver the content that will not only benefit them, but move them through the buyer's journey faster.
Using smart text analysis technology, BrightInfo is able to “understand” the key terms in your content and thus profile audience interest in your business through the decision journey. This amazing tool not only helps your marketing efforts but supercharges your inbound sales as well.
Another great tool we use is Hubspot. The smart content built right into the platform makes it easy to insert dynamic content into your site, blogs, landing pages and email. This takes your personalized message to a whole new level. Smart content allows you to personalize the entire buyer's journey. This helps to build trust through the whole process, which increases the likelihood of the sale.
A second, and just as important aspect, to using Hubspot is the power contact profile. The contact profile in HubSpot allows you to identify where your leads have been on your site, what forms they have filled out, and much more. This tool is extremely helpful in researching your leads, but also is a useful feature for identifying who your best customers are. The timeline feature allows you to see every interaction a person has taken on your site, with your emails, on social and more. Even more, it connects to the CRM so that your sales team has all the information they need when talking to an SQL.
The Impact of Personalized Marketing
Trust is essential. If your visitors don’t trust you, if they don’t connect with you, they will leave. Personalized marketing not only helps build trust, it helps you connect in a more human way. Before we integrated a personalized marketing strategy with our Inbound efforts we were generating on average 19 leads per a month. Now we are a generating on average 50 leads per a month. That’s an increase of over 160%.
After seeing the success with our own marketing efforts, I made the move to use this strategy for all of our inbound clients. Across the board, content engagement is up over 80% and conversions are up 68%.
But what about sales? I’ve said it before, what good is your business website if you don’t generate leads. Well, I am adding to that. What good is generating leads if you don’t close more sales? Not only have we driven more leads, we’ve driven higher quality leads to our site and learned more about them and their needs. This has allowed for us to “humanize” the sales process and build relationships with our leads. As a result, our monthly revenue is up 133%.
At the end of the day, what matters most is ROI. The Inbound method has pretty much proven itself over the last few years. There are a number of case studies that show how effective Inbound is at both generating leads and growing revenue. Because of this, more and more businesses and agencies are promoting inbound services. While the market is getting crowded, I believe there is still a ton of room for everyone to grow. As I have pointed out, the advancements in tech allows us to target and segment on a personal level. Embracing and executing a personalized approach to inbound will increase your reach and your revenue.
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
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