As a digital marketing company, we look at websites all day every day. Some websites are great, some are abysmal, and most are somewhere in between.
Recent Posts by Erin Durham
So you’ve started building your content marketing strategy, and you think you’ve got it all pulled together. You know what product or service you're hoping to sell, you've set up your story, and you know what social media platforms you're looking to use. You've set up your Instagram account, and you’ve brainstormed a list of blog topics based on keywords you need to target.
You’re ready to start writing and watch the leads roll in!
Here’s the question I have for you:
Who are you talking to?
Oh I know — you’re talking to your readers. Your target market. The people who are interested in the solution you provide.
But who are they?
We talk a lot about content marketing, that is, creating content to nurture prospective buyers through their research process in order to educate them about their problem, the available solutions, and the best providers of those solutions.
We also talk about creating lots of different types of content to market on multiple platforms. This makes sense, right? Different people absorb information in different ways, so having a good mix of web copy, video, etc. is a good idea.
People also go looking for information in different places, so it’s only logical to create content suitable for LinkedIn, which needs to be different from content suitable for Twitter, which is different from Instagram, which is different from your company blog, which is different from your website home page, and so on.
That’s a lot of different types of content, so you may be wondering, “What’s so special about Premium Content? What makes it ‘premium’?”
So, you’ve gotten on the Inbound Marketing train, and you’re slowly but surely getting the giant machine rolling. You bought the HubSpot subscription and you’re getting familiar with the software. You’ve been pouring all of your blood, sweat, and tears into creating what you think is great content — content that you’re sure people can’t wait to engage with you about!
Then you look at your engagement data. *crickets*
What’s this about? Your content is amazing! Why is your HubSpot content failing you?
We’ve talked a lot recently about all the work that goes into Inbound Marketing, from the initial research and strategy development to actually executing all the many, many moving pieces. One thing we’ve alluded to, but not really discussed yet, is analysis, reporting, and adjustment.
Inbound Marketing relies heavily on marketing automation, so it may seem a bit paradoxical to have to stay so hands-on throughout the entire process, but the reality of the situation is that Inbound Marketing is not a Crock-Pot—there is no set-it-and-forget-it option!
Reporting and analysis are vital parts of your marketing strategy—parts that are easy to overlook—and they are the corners that are the easiest to cut when your marketing manager is overwhelmed.
You can drive and drive all day long, but if you’re not following your map, you could have taken a wrong turn 6 hours ago and ended up somewhere completely different from your intended destination—and you’ve wasted a lot of time and gas.
Inbound Marketing works the same way. You can spend tons of time developing personas, identifying goals, and creating and executing a strategy, but if you’re not generating the leads, then all that time and effort is wasted.
To keep your marketing strategy rolling on the track that will accomplish your goals, you must stop and evaluate your progress at regular intervals, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your strategy.
The following issues are signs that you need to correct your course before you go too far off track:
1. Artificial Intelligence is going to revolutionize marketing.
I’ll be honest: I’m not much of a tech geek. I don’t often get excited about fancy features and functionality. However, listening to the folks at HubSpot talk about what they’re doing with AI right now, even I got excited about how we’re going to be able to reach our clients’ target market where they are. We’re going to be able to deliver the information they need in the way that they expect it — AI is going to open up completely new avenues of communication. It’s going to be really cool to see how things shake out over the next couple of years.
Waypost Marketing has been in our industry for almost 15 years, watching it grow from the all-you-need-is-a-website stage all the way to today's competitive-on-every-imaginable-platform phase.
We have a level of perspective and experience that many other digital marketing companies just don't have, giving us a unique ability to follow the current trajectory and see where digital marketing is headed from here.
If you've read our blogs in the past, you'll likely already be familiar with the ZMOT (if you're not, you should be!). You'll understand what we mean when we talk about the New Buyer Mentality, and the way that old-school sales tactics just don't work any longer.
Your strategy must be authentic, your selling process organic, and you must be participating in the Buyer's Journey from the beginning of the research process until long after your prospects have made their decision.
Inbound Marketing is the only option.
From time to time, we run across people who are skeptical of digital marketing, Inbound Marketing, and marketing automation. They feel like they tried all of that and it didn't work for them. They gave it a go, wrote a few blogs, tweeted a little, and they couldn’t point to any demonstrable success.
Maybe you feel the same. Maybe you’re reading this piece, and you’re asking yourself…
Whether you’re reading our content or having face-to-face meetings with us, you’ll hear us throw around the term “sales funnels” a lot. I’d like to take a minute to break this term down for you, in case it’s not something you’re familiar with already.
I look at websites all day every day, and one thing I run across fairly often when looking at small business sites built by local firms is that there is no discernible sales funnel.
Maybe this sounds nitpicky, like I’m looking for any little thing to criticize.
Sure, this is a subtle weakness. What many people don’t realize, though, is that the absence of a sales funnel can actually cripple your online presence and make your whole site a giant waste of money!
Even a great-looking site with the most modern functionality is severely handicapped without this important feature!
So what am I talking about? I am talking about your website’s ability to do its job.
We’ve all gotten those emails. The ones that say “Hello first.name, my name is Carol and I create SEO-optimized blog posts for companies just like YOURS!”
If you’ve been thinking that you need to get a company blog going, or you’ve tried to get one off the ground and you just can’t find the time, this might seem like a great option. These services are usually fairly inexpensive, and they seem like an easy way to check a big item off your to-do list.
If these thoughts sound familiar, I’d like to ask you to think about why you believe you need a blog in the first place. I’m not saying you don’t; in fact, the odds are good that you do. But what is your reason for needing one?
If your answer is “Well, don’t most companies do this sort of thing now?” or “I heard somewhere that keeping ‘fresh content on my website’ will help my site rank well on Google,” then go on ahead and respond to that blog factory’s email.
However, if you’re serious about wanting to use your online presence to generate serious, qualified leads and ultimately grow your business, then take a look at the following reasons why engaging a blog factory is not going to be in line with your goals.
If you’ve inherited the job of trying to figure out how to take your marketing to the digital space, you’re probably finding that there’s way more to it than you originally anticipated. Whether you’ve never done any sort of digital marketing, or if there have been a few starts and stops by other people along the way, you’ve probably discovered you have a mess to sort out… and you don’t quite know where to start.
How wonderful is it, then, that there are companies who will help you sort through the mess? Someone will take a look at your branding, your resources, your assets, and your current activities, and put that into some sort of framework for you. Then they will provide you with a roadmap to digital marketing success. How could you possibly pass this up?
Before you go trusting random strangers with the growth of your business, let’s run through a few things to be mindful of going in.