What's Trending in Culture, Brand Strategy, and Marketing

inbound marketing marketing automation Jan 01, 2021

We’re all vaguely familiar with the story of Rip Van Winkle. He was the main character in a short story published by Washington Irving in 1819.

Good-old-boy Rip fell asleep for twenty years. 

When he awoke, he had missed the American Revolution, the death of his wife, the marriage of his daughter, and the birth of his grandson. At least he didn’t have to face the wrath of his wife!

If we fell asleep for even three years, we would have missed these five significant shifts.

Mobile Dominance. Most likely 60% to 80% of traffic to your organization’s website comes from tablets and mobile phones. In 2015, in a truly apocalyptic move, Google launched “Mobilegeddon,” changing its rankings to give preference to mobile- friendly websites.

If you snoozed through that, your website rankings lost.

Not only that, mobile is changing the way the masses search. Increasingly, people are asking Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa for answers.

And they’re asking in complete sentences. In 2013, Google launched “Hummingbird,” an update that ensures an entire search phrase is taken into account, and not just a singular word. Sites can improve rankings by providing immediately clear, crisp, and helpful answers to key phrase searches.

Social Platform Fatigue. In the good old days (before Rip fell asleep three years ago), you could post on the social platforms (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.), and a large portion of your followers or friends would see the post in their data feed. Not so anymore.

One reason may be the decline of time spent, for example, on Facebook. Another reason is the changing algorithms of social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, which predict (often times wrongly) whose data you want to see. Still another reason your voice is lost is the sheer number of posts or Tweets (Twitter) vying for attention. One last reason: the rise of Snapchat, the social platform of choice for most people under 30.

I run a fly fishing podcast (2guysandariver. com) and when I post new articles or podcast episodes on Facebook, for example, only 10% to 15% of those who have liked my Facebook page will actually see the post. To get more of them to see the post, Facebook wants me to “boost” the post – ergo, to create an ad so my own followers will see the post. It’s simply harder and more costly to arrest attention of one’s social followers.

Marketing Automation's Rise. Back in the day, every organization had a “house” email list. It was one big list. And everyone on the list got the same message. Today, there are legions of marketing automation platforms, such as Pardot, Marketo, SharpSpring, Hubspot, and many more.

They essentially “sit on top” of your database (SalesForce, for example), connect into your website, and can send highly targeted emails based on geographic data, demographic data, website behavior, and other kinds of profiling data.

Few firms seem to be harnessing the full power of marketing automation. If you’re still sending one message or the same newsletter to a large email list, you’ve been asleep for 15 years.

The Follower's Lead. I will devote an entire edition on this soon, but there tends to be confusion about the difference between a marketing lead and a sales lead. When does a marketing lead become a sales lead? What triggers the sales process?

Some of the confusion may be a recent (fifteen years ago or so) entrant into the conversation called a “Follower.” A Follower is, perhaps, a quasi-marketing lead (for sure it’s not a sales lead). It is simply someone who has raised his or her hand, and requested to hear from your organization, whether a university, technology firm, or financial services company. Perhaps the person discovered your website, downloaded a white paper or listened to a podcast or read a post, and then joined your email alerts for future content.

Is she a marketing lead?

For example, one of our clients publishes a blog on financial trends. When someone external to their client list found their website and subscribed to the email alerts, one person asked, “Should we send an email to them asking for a meeting?”

Absolutely not. She is a Follower. She explicitly gave permission to the firm to send her more great content. And yes, at some point, the firm should invite her to a webinar or event. But not immediately. Trust needs to evolve and mature.

The Integration of Everything. Social, marketing automation, SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), content marketing, and data – today, it’s all integrated. The newer word is “inbound marketing.” Inbound is all about harnessing every possible way to drive traffic to your site. The goal is to create Followers, and, a pool of prospects for future marketing efforts – and thus sales, whatever it is your selling.

Social media is only one means of driving website traffic and, ultimately, new followers. At the hub of inbound marketing is great content. Not just good content. But content that is relevant and speaks clearly and specifically to the needs of your ideal prospects. If they have a question, they’ll be searching for it. And you want to be at the top of their search.

Sign up to receive Dave's latest thinking for entrepreneurial leaders!

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.