I was invited by Kalibrert.no, a local inbound marketing agency I admire greatly and work closely with every week, to speak at a breakfast seminar on inbound marketing. I thought I would reflect a bit this morning over a cup of coffee.
I hear a lot of entrepreneurs pitch their growth plans on a weekly basis.
Somehow what I hear most — even in this Digital Age — is the classic (dated, rather) growth plan of X salesmen = Y revenue.
Working the rolodex, pestering people with LinkedIn messages, attending conferences, “networking”, etc. — whilst effective at times and can indeed produce good hits — these methods do not scale predictably or quickly.
I do not care how hardcore B to B your proposition is. I do not care how deeply technical your product is. If you want to truly grow your business today, you must have an inbound marketing plan.
What is Inbound Marketing? Simply, a customer who comes looking for you rather than your going to chase him or her. And this customer who comes looking for you is a much more valuable (read: convertible) lead than the one you pestered into submission.
What you need to drive inbound marketing today is Content + Distribution.
I am Acting Head of Marketing for Vimond.com, a worldclass OTT video platform born out of TV2 Norway, and we have developed a monthly content marketing formula that goes something like this:
Now, to be honest, we have failed to deliver on all of those points every month but we get most of it out and most of it is in fact decent reading or viewing.
And getting it mostly right works. You do not need to be perfect. The marketing industry is filled with frustrated perfectionists (or perhaps filled with people who are realists but are told by higher ups that they must dot every i and cross every t and are thus highly frustrated).
Marketing today is about inspiring the customer, not “educating” the customer on all of your features.
Marketing today is about rewarding the customer for her curiosity, not about informing her of all of your various technical specifications.
I view educating the customer and informing the customer as the salesman´s job, not marketing´s job.
I view marketing´s job as generating the inquiry, not answering it.
So now you are producing content on a daily, weekly and monthly basis according to a formula that is mostly manageable — well done you. You will be amazed at the wealth of content that builds up in just a few months.
But who is going to read it? How do you get the word out?
Two options: Organic and Paid.
Organic comes from people who are searching on your company by name or through your FB and LinkedIn network when you post an article.
Paid comes through buying media — be it a keyword search on Google or an advertisement on Instagram.
Organic can be frustrating to generate in fact although I know that sounds highly counter intuitive— but the reality is (or my reality is) you beg, plead and cry with frustration in trying to get your company employees to share posts to their enormous collective social networks. But at the end of the day it´s the same few people each week who loyally do their part to get the word out. Every week we leave behind a treasure trove of potential customers, untouched, uninspired, lost, neglected — unconverted.
Paid is a straight up Numbers Game, however, so I love it.
First, run tests on various platforms to find your click rate. It will vary from platform to platform.
Then see what your conversion rate is from those clicks.
Have simple call to actions on your website — Want To Learn More? buttons.
Run your campaigns for a month or two or three and see what the conversion rate is from somebody clicking on your ad or promo (which means they are visiting your website) to actually asking to receive more information (or a call from a salesman).
That is your conversion rate into an inbound lead. The higher your conversion rate, the better your content (or is it vice versa?).
It´s that simple (and it´s that difficult).
Then it´s up to the salesman to convert that lead into a sale. That´s not your job as a marketing man.
You can just celebrate having inspired somebody to ask about your company, because that is a huge feat in and of itself.
Now back to the entrepreneur trying to grow his or her business.
My two cents: There are only two ways to truly scale. 1) word of mouth and 2) your inbound marketing formula.
If you´re about to pitch for investment (be it to an investor or to your company´s CFO), do yourself a favor and Nail #2 before you enter the room.