It’s that time of year again. The eighth installment of HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound 2016 Report was recently published by the Boston-based inbound marketing automation software provider. Even though I read it every year, what I found particularly intriguing about this current offering is its generally brand-agnostic methodology. The vast majority (85%) of the study’s 4,500 global respondents (from over 132 countries) are actually non-HubSpot customers with marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses. Moreover, nearly one-quarter (24%) of survey respondents named “outbound marketing” as their company’s primary approach to marketing. This unique methodology offers marketers and SMBs relatively unbiased insight into prevailing inbound marketing norms and best practices the world over, and how they compare with more traditional outbound methods.
Marketing Technology for Growth
Topics: Inbound Marketing
Believe me, I get it. An inveterate slacker who tends to view any sort of change with a wary eye, I understand how difficult it can be to embrace new technologies, especially as a small business with limited resources. But we’re halfway through 2016 and the world has clearly gone mobile, yet almost half of U.S. small businesses still have not.
Topics: Web Development and Design
This post is not meant to dis Millennials. In truth, I’ve had my fill of Millennial-bashing comments and commentaries in recent years, often promulgated by the not-so-silent ranks of disdainful Boomers and disgruntled Gen Xers, much of it undeserved. The largest demographic group in U.S. history, the Millennial generation (aka Gen Y) already has and will continue to cast a long shadow, shaping societal mores and influencing marketing budgets for years to come. With all due respect to this current generation, it’s time for marketers and businesses to begin preparing for the next one, Generation Z, an ethnically diverse lot of full-fledged digital natives who, in their tendency to favor IMs over emails and customer experiences over brands, in many ways represent the full flowering of behavioral trends sown by their Gen Y forerunners.
A colleague once asked me to come up with a simple formula for success in online content marketing. After pondering the question for far too long, I came up with this response: Write as yourself. Write for your audience.
Topics: Content Marketing
The internet is a magical place. I often find myself lost deep within it's walls, browsing website after website looking for what, sometimes, I don't even know. One thing I can tell you is that, if you spend enough time roaming through its labyrinthine corridors, you're bound to notice (and possibly become dulled by) the fact that websites start to look very similar at times.
By my reckoning, the history of digital technology can be broken up into four distinct epochs. So far we’ve experienced three, but the fourth, virtual reality, is just around the corner. It all began with the personal computer, a paradigm-shifting platform that added efficiency to our daily lives and reordered how we do business. Then along came the Internet and social media, novel technologies that connected an isolated patchwork of individual computers together to form a global network of information exchange and human interaction that proved to be greater than the sum of its parts. Not long after we had smartphones and tablets, which imbued our networked lives with a newfound mobility and gave birth to the attendant notions of proximity, relevance, and convenience. Here is where we sit today. Next up is virtual reality, a digital technology that, by holding the promise of creating fully immersive experiences that will fundamentally reshape how we socially interact with (and even conceive of) the world around us, may prove to be the most significant of them all.
At least Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook would have us think so.
Perhaps the best piece of evidence that a given marketing technology has reached maturity and broad-based consumer acceptance lies in its ability to drive conversion actions at every stage of the buying cycle. According to Criteo’s Q4 2015 State of Mobile Commerce report, mobile apps are doing just that, at least for U.S. retailers. By providing online shoppers more detailed and relevant product information and a clear path to the purchase, mobile apps are trumping mobile web browsers and even desktops to become the preferred method of online—and specifically mobile—commerce.
So you’ve adopted the methodology of inbound marketing and started producing content to share with your target audience. Although you seem to be on the right path, you may still experience shortcomings in the form of visitors, leads, and customers. But how could that be happening? You’re creating quality content; why aren’t your prospects consuming it? Not to worry, I have some quick tips for you that may help.
Are you getting a handful of visitors to your site, but having a hard time converting those visitors into leads? Maybe it’s time to revisit the structure of your call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Are they clear, concise, and relevant, or are you confusing the viewer by not providing a straightforward path? With 55% of visitors spending less than 15 seconds on your website, it’s crucial that your calls-to-action draw attention and interest to those viewers in the snap of a finger. Check out this infographic to see how you can create high-performing and lead-generating CTAs!