A few years ago, inbound marketing was on the cutting edge of brand promotion. It was the new and innovative tactic. Now, with a new year right around the corner, inbound strategies stand poised to enter the mainstream and become more popular and widespread than ever before. Which, in many ways, is a good thing. It means that the old, ineffective marketing tactics are finally going the way of the dodo. The future is content.
On the other hand, now that the novelty is wearing off, the whole inbound process is becoming old hat. Companies are just going through the motions of what’s worked for others, rather than innovating new strategies. Inbound marketing is getting into a rut. And when this happens, not only do your inbound campaigns become less effective, they become downright boring. So here are four ways to have a more exciting inbound marketing plan in 2014.
- Measure Inbound Success by Sales Conversions. How many hits did your blog get last month? How many visitors came to your site? How many views does your latest YouTube video have? Now here’s the key question: Why does any of that matter? It’s important, sure. But why? Only as a means to an end. The goal of your content marketing campaign is to increase your sales. So when you measure your success, are you focused on that? Or are you patting yourself on the back because of how many people listened to your podcast this week? When you measure your success by your conversion rate, it will help motivate and inspire you to make more sales.
- Generate Customer Insight. How do you convert viewers to leads to sales? By knowing who they are and what they want. The more information you have on your audience, the better you’ll be able to target them. The best way to generate customer insight is by looking at the types of content they’re going after. You can track demographics, social media data and more, but the content people are downloading tells you what aspects of your company they’re interested in. And that’s the most important thing you need to know. Make it a point to track and analyze content consumption more carefully in 2014.
- Personalize Your Marketing. The main reason why outbound marketing doesn’t work is because it’s not personal. How is a billboard or an ad on television relevant to you personally? Inbound marketing allows for targeting people based on their interests. So take it a step further. As much as you can, personalize your inbound tactics for the individual. Send personal e-mails to leads and past customers with products they might like based on past activity. Follow up with customers after their purchase to make sure they got what they wanted. Treat them like real people, not like potential dollar signs.
- Use Content Intelligently. The main key to improving your marketing innovation is to understand your content. Understand not only what kinds of content you’re using, but why, and what effects that content is having. Why is a blog more effective in one situation and a podcast in another? How does your audience respond to each, and what results do they produce? The better you understand your content, the more effectively you’ll be able to use it in 2014 and beyond.