Inbound Marketing is a fast changing discipline and a definite challenge to keep up with. It's therefore essential that every B2B organization stays on top of the continuously evolving trends, tools, and topics and adjust their Inbound planning accordingly.
Just by following last years marketing game plan, you may fall behind your competitors who are following the trends closely and moving on.
So what are some of the Inbound tools and strategies that forward-thinking B2B companies should embrace this year?
1. High Quality UX Inbound Focused Websites
Old, clunky, unappealing business-to-business websites with a bad user experience (UX) and no thought for Inbound, mobile or the lead conversion process should now be obsolete.
If your website is the core of your brand experience, your Inbound Sales & Marketing activities, and key to delivering quality buyer journey conversions, then cookie-cutter templated themes and older IT-based over engineered content management systems (CMS), will not deliver what you need.
On the other hand, a well-designed, custom website using an innovative content management system (CMS) will not only increase conversion rates, but also show your clients that you take them seriously and that you really care about their experience when they interact with your brand.
A website that’s custom-designed from scratch, that follows the principles of your buyer persona's journey and matches the content appropriately, will invariably match your brand and its unique needs better than someone else’s off-the-shelf template theme. So designing an original website that truly stands out from your competitors is a prudent (and probably a long-overdue) must-have investment.
2. Make Sure Your Quality Content Converts
Most companies using Inbound Marketing are aware of the fact that okay content converts, and that quality content converts best. In fact, according to research by Hubspot, 41% of marketing budgets were spent solely on content in 2019.
However, not all content is created equal, and determining the type of content that will drive your visitors to engage and convert should be a top priority.
Low level content on a website ends up generating little value and exudes unprofessionalism, and a embarrassingly large number of B2B marketers fail to accept this fact, opting to create sub-par content that isn’t underpinned by any strategic Inbound Marketing principles.
To increase conversions, generate qualified leads, and grow sales, it’s imperative that marketers create content that is on strategy, with purpose and substance.
What are your visitors looking for? Monitor your search data, know the keywords they're looking for, understand their personas and their buyers journey, and analyze the traffic on your pages, then offer these website visitors the insights about your business they can’t find elsewhere.
B2B content, in particular, needs to offer as much value as possible for the least amount of effort, so don’t bore your clients with endless articles about well-known topics that are well covered elsewhere.
Use your industry expertise and thought leadership to give them valuable insights and the help busy professionals seek, and you will win the content game.
3. Don't Forget About The Power Of Video Content
Video content has been on the rise in the past few years, as it has become much easier to produce quality video content with new technologies such as Vidyard and Wistia.
Video is good for business because it allows you to offer in-depth insights into of your products and services, create tutorials for your products, and even promote upcoming launches and demos in a more engaging and friendlier manner.
And let’s not forget about live webinars; they’re an important tool for creating genuine engagement with your followers as users can click on reactions or ask questions about your products in real-time.
4. Personalized Communications
Personalization is one of the most impactful ways to make your company stand out and accelerate conversion rates.
In fact, The Salesforce.com State of Connected Customer Report 2018 revealed that 72% of business buyers expect communications that are personalized to their individual needs.
It’s safe to assume that these buyers are likely to switch brands unless this need is met, so personalization goes beyond driving sales – it also plays a critical role in lead generation and ongoing client retention. Customers who feel that their unique identities and preferences are taken into account in ongoing communications are less likely to take their business elsewhere.
Personalization will help you stand out to potential clients and create better experiences for your existing ones.
5. Consolidating Your Martech Stack
In the past few years, the marketing landscape saw a proliferation in new marketing technologies that were supposed to make marketers’ lives easier through automation and analytics – and for the most part, it has.
Within a few years, the number of marketing technology companies expanded from approximately 150 to over 8,000, and this number is still growing.
However, many B2B companies are finding it more difficult to work with several different technology tools to manage marketing and this is becoming tedious, creating tech incompatibility problems, and this also can get expensive.
Martech consolidation is the answer to the problem of operating too many disparate platforms - that's why we recommend HubSpot as the ideal core marketing automation platform on which other technologies can be added.
If you find yourself fumbling with too many marketing software solutions, maybe this is the year to step back and look for one solution that encompasses multiple functions within your campaign management and marketing automation process.
Aside from streamlining your martech capabilities, you’ll spend less time training new people to use multiple solutions, as well as get a clearer picture of your campaigns when all data comes from a single source.
6. Chatbots Are A New Communications Channel
Customer service representatives (CSRs) are the unsung heroes of every industry. They deal with disgruntled customers and they have to do it with a smile. The only problem is that one representative can deal with no more than one caller at a time.
Because of that, chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming an increasingly viable option for many businesses that want to reduce their customer service team’s workload.
- Help prospects and customers with common issues by pointing them toward relevant content.
- Offer them additional information about your business that might move them down the funnel.
- Redirect them to a representative if further help is needed, or with an email, engage them later.
Not only do chatbots save precious time for your sales and customer service team, but they also improve customer experience and speed up resolution times.
In short, chatbots are a must-have feature and can be strategically used for Inbound Marketing and Sales.
7. Email Marketing Is Still Valid Today
To the untrained marketer, email marketing is like shooting at the stars and hoping for a hit, emails seems out of date and no longer able to engage.
We know inboxes are more crowded than ever – so much so, that many email providers send promotional emails to a separate inbox.
However, this sentiment doesn’t quite define the state of the Inbound Marketing industry.
According to Validity’s State of Email Marketing report, email marketing is holding steady and is still delivering positive results for most companies.
Email marketing performance is also linked to increased revenue, even though companies report struggles with catching their leads’ attention and email deliverability.
While email marketing is ostensibly a relic of the past, it still remains a powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal.
Rather than abandoning or significantly cutting back on it, marketers should be optimizing its effectiveness by:
- Continually A/B testing subject lines, content, and delivery time.
- Strategically segmenting email lists in order to create personalized content that resonates with each unique segment of your target audience.
So What Does All This Mean?
Marketing Technology has changed dramatically over the past few years thanks to the proliferation of new marketing tools and apps - but if this diverse range of technologies is becoming a management issue, then consolidating your technologies onto one platform - such as HubSpot is well worth considering.
As part of your ongoing Inbound programming we recommend building smart Inbound websites, using quality content, videos and chatbots, crafting personalized email campaigns, setting up buyer journey automation workflows and sequences - all as part of any innovative B2B Inbound marketer’s toolbox.
If you have any further questions about the the latest trends with Inbound Marketing - please contact The Brit Agency today - we would be happy to help. Our team of HubSpot and Inbound certified experts will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.