We realize it's New Years day and most of you are probably still feeling a bit rough from last night's escapades, but grab a strong coffee, rub the sleep out of your eyes, and let's get cracking.
If you've been following us for the past week, we've been doing a bit of a review of what we found to be the most important things that business owners and marketers need to be focusing on in order to improve their marketing campaign. Some of it may be a bit of a review for you folks, but we've shared some new tips and words of wisdom as well so that we can all start off this new marketing year as best as we can. So where did we choose to start off? We began with:
Creating Detailed Buyer Personas
Before you can even attempt to piece together any sort of a marketing campaign, you need to know who’s buying from you. Buyer personas are the greatest gift that you can give to your business. They can take a bit of time piecing together, but they’re well worth it.
There are a number of different strategies that you can use to create a buyer persona, with our favorite being interviewing your customers, leads, and referrals. But you can also get information from co-workers, family, friends, and even people on your social media lists. Note things like their demographic information, their education, and their background. Dig into what drives them, what bothers them, what their goals are and then think about how your products and services can benefit them. Even pick up on common terms, phrases, and buzz words that they use so that your sales team can use those same words when speaking with them (this can drastically improve sales!). We often tell our clients that the final step of creating a buyer persona is to actually draw a picture of that buyer so that it will have a more lasting and memorable effect.
More Personalized Email Marketing
Next stop: Email marketing. We love email marketing and are saddened by just how poorly it has been done in the past. Email marketing’s gotten a pretty bad rap, but the good news is that people are still opening and reading emails, as long as they feel that the email actually pertains to them. We’ve talked about segmentation before, but now we want everyone to take it up a notch.
Segmentation and the rules that you create to segment your leads is what can really make or break not only your email marketing campaign, but your entire marketing campaign. When you segment leads into smaller buckets, like we talked about briefly in our “Lead Nurturing Through Marketing Automation” blog, you’re going to see a far higher CTR, a far higher open rate, and your unsubscribe and opt out rates are going to plummet.
Personalizing emails isn’t easy if you don’t have the right tools at hand, and if it’s not obvious by now, we’re in love with HubSpot’s tools. The email marketing tool really is a dream come true though, integrating the list segmentation with your CRM databases and allowing you to fully customize a ton of different fields, as well as have your offers automatically change based on your lead’s actions and segmentation… as you can maybe tell, we’re pretty excited about it. And speaking of “Smart CTAs”…
The release of HubSpot 3 earlier this year got us all excited, and for a good reason. As the title of this blog post suggests, it allows anyone with any level of marketing experience to produce really smart, intuitive content. It goes beyond their Smart CTAs which we mentioned previously. Their Smart Lists and Segmentation (yep, there that word is again) makes following leads and nurturing them along the sales funnel an absolute dream.
Every message, every action is followed, traced, and relayed back to HubSpot’s software so that it continues to segment your leads based on what actions they’ve taken online, and how they’ve engaged with your company. Landing pages can all be controlled from one central hub, the forms that leads see and the information they provide will never be duplicated, and HubSpot has now gone completely mobile. You can literally run your inbound marketing campaign from your bed.
Sales & Marketing Alignment
If there’s a war happening in the office, it’s almost always between the sales and marketing team. Sales thinks that marketing is sending through bad leads, while marketing thinks that sales just isn’t trying hard enough. Though we’ve explored the differences between the two in our eBook “The Expert Guide To Aligning Sales & Marketing”, we revisit the importance of defining a “Marketing Qualified Lead”, or an MQL.
When both sides can agree which leads are worth trying to nurture and sell to, then it makes the whole process of deciding which leads sales should be handling and which leads they shouldn’t a whole lot easier.
There are things that the marketing team can be doing to help improve the number of qualified leads they have coming through, too, such as using HubSpot’s “Workflows” tool to follow a lead’s behavior so that dynamic content that speaks to the lead can help move them along the sales funnel, and hopefully land them right on the sales team’s front doorstep.
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about closed-loop reporting, and it definitely won’t be our last. Sure, getting stats that tell you how many visitors came from what channel can be valuable, but like the example in our blog post, that doesn’t mean anything unless you know who’s converting. Whether its visitor to lead conversions, lead to customer conversions, or anything else, it’s these stats that will tell you which marketing channels are bringing in the cash, and which aren’t.
What does this mean for you? That you will now where to better allocate your marketing budget, something which I’m sure you’ve already been thinking about given that it’s the start of the new year. Really dig into your inbound software and sort out where you want to invest more money in, and whether or not that poorly performing marketing channel is worth investing in, or if it’s worth letting go. With your software, you’ll be able to make a more educated, sound business decision that will lead to a higher ROI sooner than you’d likely believe.
Lead Nurturing Through Marketing Automation
We know that business owners hate the words “marketing automation”, but we want to set the record straight on this topic. The reason why these two words have become taboo is because people have been doing it wrong. They aren’t using the right software, they aren’t fully utilizing the tools at their disposal, and as a result they’re getting poor results.
We challenge every business owner and marketer to try out HubSpot’s “Workflows” software and the other tools that they have to offer. This software is so intuitive that it brings the personalization back into marketing automation. As we mentioned before, this software can actually see a lead’s behavior even when they’re not on your site, which you can then use to your advantage. You can quickly get a feel for their likes, dislikes, and what you might be able to offer them in return.
As we say, the path through the sales funnel will be different for every single lead. They can’t be forced to fit the one pathway that you may have initially envisioned your “buyer persona” taking. But with intuitive inbound marketing software, you can let them choose their own path while making gentle yet compelling suggestions along the way that they choose your product and service for the solution to their problem.
Well, that wraps up another year. 2012 was a great one for us here at IMPACT and we hope that you had a great year too. Make sure that you follow us for regular news and blog updates that can help you make your 2013 the best and most profitable year for your business yet!