The future of inbound marketing is now. Companies with a customer-centric digital marketing model are increasing touch-points along their buyer’s journey, and they’re using the extra data they gather to improve the customer’s experience. More data means more intelligence and more intelligence means enterprises have a leg up on the competition. It’s the difference between launching a generic digital campaign and personalizing your marketing message. Which one do you think your customers prefer?
Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of having to gather more data. Yes, we live in a world of real-time data acquisition. It’s never-ending. Every single moment is captured. Everything we do online, and everything we communicate through our mobile devices is retained, enriched, and leveraged. More companies are embracing the constantly-changing world of big data marketing for a reason. It's time you do the same. How can you get started?
1. Don’t Be Overwhelmed
All that data can be overwhelming for marketing professionals. It’s easy to get lost trying to understand how to use the vast amount of data that is collected. However, don’t despair. Analytics, metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) are the solution to managing a constant stream of incoming data. They allow you to zero-in on the data most important to your buyer personas, while empowering you to ditch the rest. The idea is to eliminate the noise. Focus on what matters and identify which data helps to increase customer engagement.
2. Have a Real Inbound Marketing Strategy
Having a personalized and tailored marketing message requires planning. It requires a thorough understanding of each of your buyer personas. It means you know what interests them, what concerns them and what motivations they have for connecting to the brands they love. It’s not enough just to be present online. The best enterprises have a go-to market strategy that uses time-tested digital strategies while leveraging emerging approaches.
3. Invest in Data Enrichment and Data Management
If you’re going to gather that data, then you better have the means to enrich it and put it to use. Increasing your speed of response is critical. There are all kinds of software platforms available that will empower your digital marketing team. If the goal is to drive customer engagement with thought-provoking content and enticing digital offers, then data management software is exactly what you need. There is simply no way to manage the influx of data from today’s customers with manual processes like excel sheets. Your team must be able to turn that data into actionable plans and they must be able to track the success of those plans in real-time.
4. Personalize Your Buyer’s Journey
Understanding each of your buyer personas isn’t enough. You must take your analysis a step further and not just focus on the front-end or back-end of the buyer-seller relationship. It’s the points in-between that need to be personalized. Granted, a good hook to get a potential customer interested is always a must, and having a convincing closing argument is also important. However, the best enterprises personalize the buyer's journey throughout the journey. What time-tested strategies are they using?
Email Marketing: Use this strategy as a means of keeping your customers informed with different offers, solutions, information, and value propositions throughout their journey. That means sending them how-to videos and other step-by-step process documents once their order is placed. It means following up on buyer personas who’ve taken certain actions but have yet to purchase. It means keeping them up-to-date on your products, solutions and everything they deem important.
Content Marketing: Recommit yourself to a better content landscape. Your competitors are producing content at breakneck speed. In fact, content abounds. It’s everywhere. Fortunately, not everyone is taking content seriously enough. They produce content for the sake of producing content. There’s no planning, no initiative and no effort to connect to their audience. Avoid this entirely by keeping abreast of emerging trends and using the data at your disposal to produce content your customers want.
You can immediately upgrade your content strategy by planning your content pieces ahead of time with a content calendar. Use your company's internal resources to appeal to each of your buyer personas. Create different content pieces for different stages of your buyer persona’s journey. Combine the written word with short, concise, and engaging videos. Include images and info-graphics. Back up your claims with verifiable facts. Understand what your buyer personas want and need and then give it to them.
Social Media: No, social media isn’t just a me-too solution, and no, its importance isn’t waning. It works because it provides that all-important personal touch. It allows customers to directly engage the brands they love. However, just having a social media channel isn’t enough and just going with the most obvious social platform rarely works. You need to have multiple channels and multiple approaches to capitalize on each stage of your customer’s journey.
Re-target Marketing and Keyword Research: Digital advertising will never go away, and while the methods and approaches may vary and evolve over time, the same basic principles apply. First, embrace keyword research. Understand which keywords work best for each of your buyer personas and use those keywords in your digital strategies. Second, experiment with different keywords and keyword-combinations. The idea is to isolate the best performing colloquial phrases and keywords. Third, capture lost leads with re-target marketing. This is a great way to remind interested prospects of your offer.
5. Ditch the Gut Instincts and Follow Your Customer’s Lead
Your customers will lead the way. Over time all that data will paint a picture of what your customers want, why they want it and when they need it. Do away with all your assumptions and opinions. Digital marketing success happens when companies connect the dots on the data that’s provided to them. They use analytics and metrics to pinpoint what customers need and how they need it. You may know your products and how they help your customers, but you can’t possibly know your customers better than they know themselves. Ditch the gut instincts and allow your customers to guide you with the data they provide.
Speed of response has never been more important. Keeping pace with the constantly-changing business landscape requires a read-and-react strategy. It comes from embracing big data marketing and using that data to increase customer engagement. Once you've defined which data is most important to you, then the rest merely involves improving upon your approaches.
If you need to improve the effectiveness of your existing digital strategies, while keeping abreast of emerging ones, then contact us.