Top 5 Teachings from the State of Inbound Marketing Report

The inbound marketing game has received much attention of late, mainly due to its successes at capturing qualified leads. In fact, Forbes labeled inbound marketing as “downright essential” in 2016.

What can we learn from the success of this strategy? Like its name suggests, inbound marketing captures the attention of your customers and draws them in as potential clients. This differs from an outbound model, where emails or content may be blasted out to a wide list.

With a little help from data sourced from HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, we’re sharing the best teachings from inbound strategy. Use these tips to up your digital game and gain high-quality leads.

1. You Can Be Too Eager

Don’t make the fatal first-date mistake of coming on too strong in your introduction. The failure of much outbound content is a perceived “intrusion” on browsing. For example, 70% of consumers have a lower opinion of brands that use pop-up ads. The popularity of ad blockers has risen as well, growing 90% year-over-year.

In a sea of so much content, volume takes over the advertiser’s message and annoyance prevails. The sheer amount of content sent to prospects is also a problem; the number one reason people unsubscribe from lists is they were sent too many emails (78%). Info given to prospects needs to be incredibly relevant, with buyer types meticulously researched and mapped — and your prospect should demonstrate interest in your product through their browsing behavior. The day of the catch-all email has passed.

2. There Are Still Ways to Shine

state of inbound report

68% of customers say they’re fine with seeing ads as long as they’re not “annoying.”

Buyers want to do research first and connect with sales later — the highest percentage (60%) would prefer to speak with a sales rep only when they’ve researched all options, narrowed down their choices, and are in the consideration stage.

In terms of awareness, the number-one preferred channel during the first awareness stage is still a search engine (68%), followed closely by the business’s official website. That means that efforts need to be focused on SEO visibility, and figuring out a content path that makes sense for visitors who find the site because they’re interested.

3. It’s Time to Diversify

Type of content is important. While blog posts are great to boost your thought leadership within the industry, browsers are more likely to skip long form business content. Stats show that people consume videos, social posts, and news articles more often — in fact, 45% of users want to see more social media content. Even business research is conducted on social media; consumption increased 56% on Facebook in the last two years.

state of inbound marketing report

For the ultimate reading experience, blog posts should be structured into “skimmable” form, while content should be dispersed on social media more often. Diversifying into video is even better, as video is the format users pay the most attention to throughout. Over 55% of video watchers say they consume the format thoroughly.

4. Mobile Matters for SEO

88% of search experts believe mobile friendliness will have the greatest impact on Google’s algorithm over the next year. It’s no wonder when you consider that 33% of users spend the most time on their smartphone to access the internet, and use technology like voice search and Siri at least monthly. Search is moving away from traditional SERPs, while search engine providers are even building conversational search into their product plans. If your mobile presence isn’t in tip-top shape already, it’s time to get a move on.

5. The Future is Bright (And Increasingly Automatic)

HubSpot’s reports note that users biggest challenge in using CRM were both manual input of data and lack of integration with other tools (17%). Automating repetitive tasks like emails and social media posts lessens the burden on marketing managers.

However, marketing automation technology is continually being refined. The possible future for automation includes the ability to predict workflow results and offer full-circle recommendations for the best strategy (TechCrunch). And while automation on social media is predicted to grow far past Facebook chatbots, Relate still notes the importance of mixing the technical with “thoughtful human oversight.” While we marketers can continue to take advantage of awesome automation opportunities, it’s still important to shine a spotlight on the authentic, human voice of our brands.

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