The whole conference was in buzz and excitement of the innovations and progress the Inbound Marketing community has been making over the past year. Over the years the systems and methodologies of Inbound Marketing have evolved from a very basic small system to a complex, inner-connected and strategic system.
As described by the conference, the future of Inbound Marketing strategy lies in dynamic personalization of content, offers and information for each individual person. Having a website that will automatically adapt based on each user and that users likes, dislikes and interests is the future of not only marketing but also the web.
With the general overview of where Inbound Marketing sees the future of web, let's now dive into 14 amazing takeaways from Inbound 2012.
Blogging is more than writing about sales, updates or for SEO
For any of you who are already in the Inbound Marketing sphere, this probably sound like a no brainer, however, I chose to list this because many of the Joomla extension developer websites I've seen apparently have not gotten this message.
Your blog offers you an amazing opportunity to communicate, interact and develop a relationship with customers and potential customers. If you already have a blog, you're at least on the right path, but look at your current blog. Does the content on your blog speak to who and what your company is about? Does it communicate your expertise while educating the reader? How are you establishing a relationship with the reader and showing transparency?
Yes, posting content related to promotions or product updates are good to do. And yes, posting blogs that are targeted to specific keywords are good to do, however, if these topics make up the majority of your content on your blog, you're in some serious trouble and aren't making the most out of this great opportunity you have.
The More Good Content You Publish, The More Leads You'll Get
There's been an on-going debate in the Inbound Marketing world about quantity over quality. Which is better, spending a great deal of time perfecting a perfect, big content offer or write a handful of smaller, good content offers. In Maggie Georgiva's (of Hubspot) speech she cited a Hubspot's research project and provided a definite answer.
In 2011, Hubspot researched content offers in correlation to leads of 4000 of their customers. What Hubspot found is that the more content offers that were given, the more leads that were generated. Now, I'm not telling you to go create 50 crap offers, this will probably hurt you. The content offers still need to be good quality, however, the point is that your time is better spent creating five good content offers on different subjects than spending the same amount of time creating and perfecting one big offer.
I was fortunate enough to sit in a wonderful speech by Pamela Vaughn, the blog manager at Hubspot. The speech was titled, "Blog Marketing: A Plan to Get 100K Subscribers" and for those who know who Hubspot is, they definitely have the right formula. Here are just three of the amazing takeaways from Pamela's speech:
Leverage Pinterest Boards to Promote Blog Posts
With the rise of Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook Photo App, the social world has quickly exploded into a very visual world. However, as visual as it is, you can still promote written content in these visual areas. This can be done by carefully and strategically selecting an exciting and engaging graphic or picture to complement and draw people to your blog post. With amazing visuals, you can then create a Pinterest board dedicated to posting these visuals along with a link to the blog content these visuals accompany.
Simple Trick for Boosting Shares and Engagement
Here's a great trick to help really boost sharing and engagement of your content on social media networks. Hubspot did research on their social media posts they were making and found out that photos they posted were being shared four times more than links to content! What Hubspot is doing is they post the engaging and compelling visual of the blog as a photo on their wall and then in the description of the photo they are writing an engaging statement about the blog with a call to action and link to read the blog.
See the difference that your fans will see?
Google's Views on the Social 3.0 Concept
If you're reading this and you're a business owner, there's a good chance that you have social media accounts. Have you ever thought about the future of how social media will be integrated into your business? Tim Reese, head of mobile and social platforms in the USA at Google, gave an interesting perspective on where social is going in his "Social 3.0" innovation track speech at Inbound 2012.
Tim, and Google, explained how currently we see social media as a destination to send people to. We direct people to visit our facebook page or twitter account, however, in the Social 3.0 world this will not be the case. Tim explained on how in the future social will be the backbone in which every other web operation is integrated and built within. There will be no "destination" to send people to, rather people will be constant social state no matter where or what they are doing on the web.
This is an interesting concept to think of and as we see how quickly social networks are working to integrate with other web products and networks, it makes sense. For us Joomla developers, this integration is something to keep in mind while developing future projects to ensure that we are ahead of the curve in the social world. Look at your extensions and try to figure out where social can be integrated.
Personalizing the Web Experience
At the conference, Hubspot made some exciting announcements about the new Hubspot 3.0 platform they would be rolling out and how it will elevate Inbound Marketing to a whole new level. The general theme is personalization of the web for each specific user. How can your Inbound Marketing offers, CTA's, copy, graphics, emails, etc. dynamically and automatically change based on user preference, interests and engagement levels so they are almost creepily dead on to what your lead is looking for.
We are already seeing hints of this personalization on the web. Some examples include the "Suggested Movies", "Product's You May Like" and "Search Plus Your World" on Netflix, Amazon and Google. What we're seeing now is just the very beginning and this topic is much deeper and much more personal than what were seeing now.
Next month I'm going to write an in-depth article on this topic and issue a challenge to the Joomla community. Personalization is the future of the web and needs to be on the mind of innovators in the Joomla community. Stay tuned for that next month.
Creating the Perfect Lead Nurturing Strategy
For those of you who have been following my blog or articles on JCM, you are probably familiar with Lead Nurturing campaigns (if you're not, read this). Many business owners and marketers are misguided about how exactly to create an effective lead nurturing campaign.
The science behind lead nurturing campaigns stems off two things:
- The persona (learn what a persona is) that particular lead fits into
- The step of the inbound marketing funnel your customers are in
Each offer that the lead converts on will give you a general idea of the stage of the Inbound Marketing funnel that lead is in. From here, put yourself in the leads shoes and think of common questions, objections or areas of interest that lead may have in that particular stage. If you happen to have a sales team, you can talk with them to try and fill out this information on this persona. The answers you come up with make amazing subjects for lead nurturing emails. Then you will need to create multiple lead nurturing campaigns for different personas because many times they will be asking different questions and have different goals.
Next, talk to your sales team and find out what the average sales cycle is for that particular persona. You can then use this number and span the length of your lead nurturing campaign around this. Think of when those questions we discussed above pop into your persona's mind and try to schedule the emails to send accordingly. Then test, measure and improve on these until you find the perfect combination.
One of the keynotes of Inbound 2012 was given by one of the top SEO pioneers in the world, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. Rand took the conversation of SEO in a whole new direction I had never thought of, speaking about the irrational biases people have when they perform search and how this limits and effects the results and ability to find what they are looking for. Here are a few key takeaways from Rand's speech at Inbound 2012.
What's The Best Ranking in Google Your Joomla Website Can Get?
Which is better, the first or second spot? I can almost guarantee you answered "the first" and you are both right and wrong. With the recent adoption of Microdata by Google and Bing, rich snippet search engine results have seen a dramatic increase in click though rates over those listings that do not.
So even if you're ranking third in the search results, you can actually dramatically out perform the number one listing for clicks. Here's an example, which draws your attention more?
True or False, You Have to be Actively Link Building to get Good SEO?
FALSE. You do not need to be actively pursuing thousands of links to rank well in SEO. The key word in that phrase is "need". Rand explained that if you are providing great content, great resources or great tools your links will be generated organically from others linking to your great content. So rather than spending countless hours chasing the web for links, put that time into creating amazing value in your website via amazing content, extremely helpful resources or useful tools and that will not only bring in tons of amazing links, but also add to your customer experience and establish your company as an expert over your competitors.
Extremely Simple and Quick Ways to Produce Traffic to your Joomla Site
Most people think that gaining traffic to your website is a long journey and I would agree with you, however, Rand pointed out that this isn't always the case. He cited three ways that you can really easily produce more traffic to your website.
Increasing website speed can not only improve the customer experience, but also increase the number of pages the Googlebot is able to crawl thus increasing the number of pages being ranked and increasing the chances users searching will find your content.
Cleaning up all your 404, 500 and 302 errors on your website is a very simple way to dramatically influence the number of visitors coming to your website. Although not always a simple process, it's extremely important to minimize these errors and redirects.
Lastly, repositioning your website's focus has been shown to increase traffic by 12-15%. This could mean opening up a new section of the website for a new niche or industry that your products and services can be used for. This could also mean changing the focus of your Joomla website from standard website development to a mobile or ecommerce focus.
These were just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of amazing takeaways from this year's Inbound 2012 conference. To see the level of thought, strategy and methodology behind expert Inbound Marketing is jaw dropping. The level these marketers are working on makes traditional marketing look pre-historic. To put it in Joomla context, Inbound Marketing is like Joomla 3 and traditional marketing is like a hosted GeoCities website.