inbound marketing", through discussions, blogs and articles that just happen to make my read list. In fact, I have been considering the basic elements of inbound marketing over the past year but have never put a "label" to it. Many of these ideas were validated last month when I saw Bill Halligan of Hubspot discuss inbound marketing and the way it is transforming marketing and customer relationships. Of course, the concept around inbound marketing has been around for a number years, and indeed Hubspot has been promoting it as a means of attracting customers for a while (a great slideshow presentation from 2010 is included below). Now that I have been able to formalize it, I thought I'd share a few marketing trends to watch for in 2013, all of which we are considering in our marketing strategy at Wild Creations.
- Turn Up The Noise: I'm a podcast and blog junkie, and right now, I feel overloaded with content. We are, however, just witnessing the beginning of online content production. One of the foundational concepts of inbound marketing, after all, is to create content to drive customers to you, so as more businesses start to employ this, finding and producing useful and relevant information is going to be increasingly more difficult.
- Relevancy: In order for content to be heard above the "noise", creating relevant and informative (and arguably entertaining) content is a must. Not that every blog or tweet will need to introduce a revolutionary business idea, but the content will have to be much more tailored for your target readers and customers in order to compete for they eyeballs.
- CEO of SEO: Search engine optimization will become more important and even more difficult to stay ahead of. While there are thousands of SEO companies (as the number of email solicitations I receive would lead me to believe), maximizing your SEO is actually easy to do yourself. With that said, as more people become adept at SEO, and search engines continue to alter their algorithms, it will be increasingly important to stay ahead of the game.
- Power to the Customers: Creating (good) content (often) is not easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult. Because of this, customers will begin playing a key role in creating content. This will be accomplished by promoting feedback in social media circles and even partnering with valued fans to write reviews, blog posts, etc. Offering to reciprocate will help you to diversity your content and increase your visibility.
- Going Mobile: The statistics for mobile use is awesome and undeniable. As the proliferation of smart phones and tablets continues, mobile usage for research and purchases will skyrocket. Because of this, reaching your customers (effectively) via mobile is going to be key for a successful marketing strategy.
- Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words: Because so much noise is being created, visual marketing is going to increase. The use of informational videos, interviews and podcasts will allow you to reach customers without giving them "reading headache". The purchase of Instagram by Facebook for $1B (billion) also demonstrates the growing importance of visual cues (pictures) to reach eyeballs.
- Real Time ROI: Gone are the days of the adage, "50% of my marketing efforts work ... I just don't know which 50%". Because the impact of an online marketing campaign can be so readily tracked, there is really zero reason why marketing campaigns can't measure the return on investment and make changes quickly.
- Relationships vs Campaigns: The ability to utilize data instantaneously and personalize marketing efforts will allow businesses to tailer campaigns down to the individual level, creating real relationships with customers ... even if through impersonally scheduled emails and posts. This is yet another vital way to assure the effectiveness of every marketing dollar spent.