How Valuable Is Inbound Marketing?

Currently: Mourning the end of the Seahawks season. Listening to “Parachute” by Christ Stapleton (he was on SNL this weekend and totally killed it). Anyways, I’m still depressed about the playoffs so lets just jump into it.

Inbound Marketing: HubSpot says that Inbound Marketing is all about empowering potential customers. Essentially, rather a company than being in your face with their marketing content, they’re putting it out there (and hoping that you’ll come by it). An immediate example that comes to mind is a sponsored Buzzfeed post like this one, by Dunkin Donuts.

Essentially what we need to know as digital marketers, is that it’s all about content. Marketo shows us that 55% of their respondents agree that online articles are a huge factor when it comes to making purchasing decisions! I have to agree on Marketo’s insights about posting content to drive an audience. I’m the content and social media manager at my eCommerce job, and in a week where I’m too swamped with school to keep up with our company blog, ebay blog, twitter/fb, other online content, you can really see a drop in page views. I can pull up some numbers on this later in the quarter — it’s actually pretty interesting to see the correlation between no content and lots of content. It makes a difference, and you never know when something will go viral (I’ll talk about a post going viral in a later blog, I’m sure.).

However, Marketo makes it seem *easier* than it is to do this. While you can post as much content on the interwebz as you’d like, it’s about the quality of your promotion/content. “marketers should invest in a content marketing strategy if you want to see high returns for a relatively low investment.” This isn’t always going to work out. And misleading a content manager or someone who is trying to promote their small business by making it sound easy can leave them feeling extremely frustrated. It takes time to build a brand personality. You can’t just post a blog and expect to see a spike in your traffic and macro conversions or even engagement. It takes a village! A very attentive, determined, and committed village. But once your village has a readers attention, the likelihood of them returning is a lot higher. Which is great if your content (I’m thinking eCommerce here) drives sales! It’s also great for other microconversions, like subscription to a blog.

“Sample Sally” is an interesting concept. I’ve never actually used this tactic when trying to create a target market profile, and I’m glad that HubSpot gave me this idea. I am always trying to come up with a new way to reach my promotions target market. This can be really tricky with eCommerce (because the company I work for sells a variety of products — there is no real ideal segment). Creating multiple “Sample Sally” profiles would be really helpful for me – although I don’t know if I have the resources to go beyond taking demographic and interest information from GA. How does a small business go about creating a well defined and effective sample profile?

Unfortunately, the Harvard Business Case Study isn’t working for me, so I’ll have to cover that on my next blog post.




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