There was a time when you had a product and you’d reserve a marketing budget for it. Then you contacted agencies, who’d conceive you big print, TV and radio campaigns. Those would interrupt people in their daily lives with noise, imagery and one liners that would generate affection towards your product, or annoy.
This is not the case anymore. Marketing is changing with the emergence of inbound and content marketing to the scene. This is happening, because we, as consumers use the internet to search information about products and services, and do so on average 12 times before making the actual purchase decision.
To serve those search intents, inbound and content marketing have emerge to help, educate, inform and/or entertain us through blogging, engaging us in social media and measuring the impact of our activities with analytics.
From the sellers point of view, compared with expensive advertisement campaigns, inbound marketing is almost a cost free way to reach your customers. All you at minimum need is a blog (first year cost around 100 USD, after that even less) and social media accounts (zero cost if you do not calculate the cost of your time).
Marketing is changing to serve information searchers
So what’s going on?
First of all, PCs, digital devices and the Internet has enabled us to search out information on our own terms and connect directly with brands when we are ready to interact. Indeed,
- 70% of people say they’d rather learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising.
- Only 19% of buyers rely on salespeople for purchase decisions anymore (State of Inbound, year 2016 results)
- Also, researchers perform 12 searches on average prior to engagement.
- People look for helpful information, not advertisements.
- All this creates three billion searches daily in Google. You want some of that attention.
Each of those searches produce a Search Engine Result Page (SERP), a dynamic digital high street of product and service providers. You as a marketer can get your content among the top results if you
- know your ideal customer,
- know the keywords they use to look for information and
- recognize the phase the customer is in his/her Customer Journey.
Marketing is changing from paid campaigns to blogging
Research also shows that
Inbound efforts can achieve a higher ROI than outbound and can overall bring in more website visitors and leads:
- Blogging only can bring 55% more visitors compared with companies that don’t blog (but you’d have to blog regularly around the rate of ten blog posts per month)
- Reaching a higher ROI can be 13 times more likely with blogging (but this really is dependent on how much value to your customers can you deliver with your blogging)
- Blogging also drives every other form of online marketing, generates new leads, increase website visitors, improves SEO and increases inbound links more compared to those companies that do not blog.
- Take the blogging for your business as a long term investment, because that’s what it is. If you manage to create good quality digital assets, i.e. insightful and actionable articles that help, educate or entertain your customers, the blog posts will have a chance to generate traffic for years to come.
More ROI related results available in State of inbound marketing report, year 2015 results.
Marketing is also moving in-house, because
- Agencies can be slow and stuck on advertising
- You want to own the customer relationship and the related data, because you know your customers best.
However, if you are a big company with a large budget, native advertising may still be worth it if your brand can be aligned with a high-authority publisher to reach the right niche audience. In case you do want to use an agency, do it for the right reasons. They are
- They know your specific industry and understand your customer
- Can they provide a mix of paid and inbound or only push campaigns?
- Do they measure vanity such as Click Through Rate, Follower Count, and Impressions or can they evaluate their impact on your pipeline and sales?
- Do you need to manage them or do they take weight off of your shoulders?
Marketing is changing and you need to change with it
- Inbound and content marketing create valuable digital assets that you own yourself (compared to e.g. posts in Facebook or any other tool that keep changing the way content is displayed).
- With your limited resources, you want to maximize your presence. If you blog, the articles stay there as your digital assets and you can later reuse the content.
- Also, your content constitutes continuity that paid campaigns don’t provide. If you blog and if you do it right (by considering both the readers and the search engines) your blog posts work for you day and night with your oldest content being able to outperform the more recent content.
- You need to blog.
- But you also need SEO.
- And perhaps also pay.
- AND you need to consider your complete web presence, not just Google.
For the very latest, check out this
Search: not anymore dominated by Google. Google does bring visitors through SERP links, whereas Facebook search is about people and Amazon’s about product searches.
SEO is changing to HEO, Human Engagement Optimization. Technical SEO still has its place, but the emphasis should be on bringing only relevant visitors to your website and providing them a rich engaging experience while they’re at it.
Facebook has the best CPM (cost per thousand impressions) value, by being able to get your content in front of the right audience with a mere 5 USD.
Analytics are providing a lot of facts for tactical decision making, but a good creative still builds a brand.
Only highly relevant keywords should be ranked for.
Google is moving to mobile-only world, because mobile access has grown bigger than desktop usage.
Mobile search brings more traffic: 20 industry niches out of 24 see mobile as their first source of traffic.
So get your website optimized for mobile usage.