Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Your 2016 Inbound Marketing Strategy Has Come a Long Way - But Is That Far Enough?

Ah, the power of the New Year's resolution. Back at the beginning of 2016, you likely made several resolutions, both personally and professionally. The end of the year is always a great time for marketers to look back on what has been accomplished and make big plans for the next year. But now that you are well past the mid-point of 2016, how are you doing with your inbound marketing strategy so far? Are you riding the trend train or still stuck at the station?
Inbound marketing strategy Is your inbound marketing strategy on track, or stalled at the station?

Trend One: The Rise of Relationship Marketing

Taking a quick look back at the first of the year, there were several predictions that may have had an impact on your inbound marketing strategy. For instance, Hubspot's "7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends to Tackle in 2016" predicted the rise of relationship marketing, stating: "The goal of relationship marketing is to focus on building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than on quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales. This helps companies develop strong, emotional customer connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation."

Have you embraced this trend? Is building a true relationship with your customer a guiding goal of your inbound marketing strategies? If so, you are definitely on the right track. As consumers become more and more accustomed to a personalized marketing message, only those marketers who effectively build customer relationships will thrive and prosper.

Trend Two: Showing Off Your Analytical Side

Forbes' "The Top Ten Marketing Trends that Will Define 2016" predicted that big data would become increasingly important to your inbound marketing strategy this year, stating: "Big data, which includes social and unstructured data, is a goldmine for marketers...2016 will be a banner year for incorporating big data and perhaps more importantly, analytics into marketing decisions."

Are you using your analytics to inform your inbound marketing strategy? One way to do this is through incorporating growth-driven design into your website. Making continual adjustments to your website and to your marketing campaigns based on patterns and trends you define from your analytics is increasingly important since customers are eager for a more targeted, relevant marketing approach.

Trend Three: Social Media Marketing Kicks It Up a Notch

Entrepreneur's "Top 10 Customer-Centric Marketing Trends for 2016" made this comment about social media marketing: "In 2016, make sure your social-media marketing messages are accompanied by the ability to have short in-the-moment conversations with the people you reach with your social marketing. That means using social-media monitoring tools to respond to social engagements and opening up further dialogue with customers who demonstrate a need to be serviced or sold."

Is social media marketing an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to interact with your target audience across multiple channels, or is there significant room for improvement in your social media marketing campaigns?

Trend Four: Introducing New Capabilities and Technologies

Just this year alone we have seen significant new advances in many different areas.  Video comes to mind immediately on how producing high quality video content no longer costs big bucks.  From whiteboard animation to explainer videos, new video capabilities are making it easier for every organization to look professional.  Connection Model has even rolled out a new capability in Personalized Videos, making the entire video process as personal communication vehicle.  Very powerful.

But there are several other significant impacts that hopefully you are taking advantage of...

  • Calculators - for many businesses, proving ROI is a big component to closing the deal.  Building a customized interactive ROI calculator can be an incredibly powerful selling tool.  Check out our really cool example
  • Heatmapping - knowing what your visitors are viewing on your website in aggregate enables you to put content in the right place to positively impact user experience.

Trend Five: Marrying Traditional and Inbound Methodologies Together

2016 is also proving to be a year for a more integrated approach to marketing. As consumers become more and more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a careful blend of traditional and inbound marketing tools will have a significant impact on the success of all of your marketing campaigns.

Since brand recognition and brand loyalty are the twin goals of all your marketing efforts, it makes sense to integrate your marketing message across all channels, bolstering your brand in the process. How are you doing with this type of integration marketing?

Inbound marketing strategy

Still Time to Catch the Train

Looking back over the first half of 2016, you will likely see areas where your inbound marketing strategies have helped you to reach some of your goals. However, you may also see areas where your strategy leaves some room for improvement.

With almost half the year yet to go, there is still time to tweak your campaigns and make the most of this year. Would you welcome an objective assessment of your current strategies and your likelihood of reaching your year-end goals? Contact us today to request an assessment, and we will work with you to finish 2016 with your marketing strategy on track for continued growth.


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