When it comes to distributing, promoting, tracking, and optimizing marketing content for an inbound marketing program, HubSpot is head and shoulders above other platforms, in my estimation. That’s why we are a HubSpot Certified Agency Partner, and one of the top HubSpot agencies in Colorado. But the company is about more than just managing content—they have some great strategies for creating it. Their Content Marketing Hacks guide includes insights from content experts within and outside the company. I share some of the ones that we have found most useful at 30dps below. If your team isn’t using these hacks, and others in the guide, you should be!
This evening, looking for a place to buy some mailing envelopes, I dropped into a Postal Annex mailing service near my home that I had never patronized before. As I approached the door, being sensitive to the fact that it was late, I immediately saw that the store hours clearly indicated that they had been closed for 30 minutes.
As I turned to leave, someone inside the store hastened to unlock the door. I assumed at the time that he was going to apologize and explain that they were closed (the typical "courteous" response to such a situation). To my surprise (and delight), he immediately, said, "Yes, we're closed, but please come on in!"
Laura is shopping online for a new mountain bike. She arrives at a company’s website and is immediately wowed by what she sees. The page design, the crystal clear photos of beautiful bikes, the clever copy. She’s hooked. And she spends almost 30 minutes browsing the site. Brad’s looking for a bike, too. He goes to the website of a different company and is immediately irritated. The homepage is ugly, it takes 15 seconds to load, and the product descriptions are confusing. He’s disappointed. And he spends exactly 22 seconds browsing the site. Company A just sold a $900 mountain bike. Company B just lost another potential customer.
By definition, a prospect who downloads and reads a white paper, case study, or other piece of content has “engaged” with it. And that engagement, even in its simplest form, is definitely a good thing. But what marketers are becoming increasingly focused on is taking engagement to new levels, because the more engaged a prospect is, the more likely he or she is to become a customer.
The “Customer Journey.” It sounds very philosophical, maybe even a little grandiose. But it’s more than an abstract concept that deep-thinking marketers ponder as they swirl their glass of wine. Rather, it’s a thoroughly studied and well-defined psychological path that prospects follow between first learning of your products and services and ultimately purchasing them. And understanding how to effectively move your prospects from start to finish can have a dramatic effect on the success of your marketing efforts and your company.
You may believe that your customers and prospects see your company in their mind’s eye as a lushly painted, very detailed portrait. After all, you’ve gone to great lengths to “see” them through market research, the creation of buyer personas, etc. However, they have not done the same. In fact, what they see is simply a set of dots. These dots are what we call customer “touchpoints,” and they are all your audience knows about you. That bears repeating: these touchpoints are ALL your audience knows about you.
For all the advances in the way we share information digitally, people still love talking with people. It’s in our nature. Webinars are a great way to meet that need for human connection and form a bond with your prospects or customers.
Let's face it, on some level most of us resent generalizations of the characteristics of an entire generation, especially when it is our generation that is being generalized. I'll certainly admit that I resent the definition of my age group as a near technology-illiterate bunch, especially given that I often challenge the younger ones around me to check out advances in technology.
But the truth is, those generalizations can be extremely helpful, especially when trying to provide a service to a subset of the populace. I mean, how can you hope to appeal to them, if you don't understand how they [generally] think. And while quite different in nature, establishing buyer personas (an extremely important marketing practice) is all about thoughtful, informed generalizations.
From the time I was old enough to look out a car window, my dad was playfully saying "Check out that blonde, son!" which of course "delighted" my mom to no end. In fact, that might have been my first introduction to the concept of shopping. It took me a "few" more years to realize that it wasn't I that was in control of the situation, i.e. it ultimately became clear that it was I that needed to have something to offer. But by then I had been indoctrinated to the theories related to blonde, brunette, and redhead personas. (Okay, I may not have been familiar with the term personas at that time, but stick with me.)
If you've ever been to a nude beach (not that I have or anything, just sayin'), you probably noticed a few things... okay, maybe MORE than a FEW things. But it occurs to me that the world of content is a lot like (what I imagine it would be like) visiting a nude beach. There may be too much to take in all at once, but let's face it, you really can't help but look.
Wait! I thought the customer is ALWAYS right, you say. Well, the truth is, while the customer is always the customer, they aren't always right. So what DO you do when your customer is wrong? This has long been a problem for folks (like me) who are absolutely committed to consistently creating an amazing customer experience, and/or as in my case, tend to avoid conflicts, especially with the folks who pay the bills.
This blog will likely be more painful to pen than most, as integrity and transparency are standards whose definitions don't allow for partial accomplishment.
Integrity speaks to the adherence to moral and ethical principles of honesty and forthrightness. Wikipedia adds: "a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistently moral and ethical standards." It is that "consistency" that gets most of us (and I'm certainly no exception, darn it!).
Transparency is essentially operating your business in such a way as to demonstrate a willingness to share information so that it is easy for others to see your actions.
In an insightful article in Entrepreneur magazine, Jason Ankeny interviewed some visionaries to get their take on where business is going in the next five years. Of particular interest to us here at 30dps are the panel’s thoughts on the future of the customer experience.
On our wedding anniversary this year we checked into the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel in Denver. A beautiful hotel, the service is always exceptional. In fact, after making the reservation online, I was very impressed that they not only sent us a confirmation email, but also followed up the day before with a thank you letter, directions for getting settled in, and announcements for the goings-on for the Independence Day celebrations.
While there are certainly more than six types of custom apps for your website, our hope is that this list will stimulate your creativity and encourage you to explore how YOU can develop a custom application that will elevate your inbound customer experience.
Because an inbound customer experience is the quality of interaction someone has with your brand online, surely there are few marketing efforts that are more critical to your success today. If you are in a small- to medium-sized business, the odds are that your website and social footprint are two of the most crucial branding and marketing tools you possess. So how important is your inbound customer experience?
A total stranger casually entered our shop the other day, and without saying a word, poked around and looked at everything. You’d have thought he owned the place. In spite of several “Can we help you?” offers, the stranger just kept looking around, ignoring our requests for him to identify himself or give indication of his reasons for being there. Eventually, he just left, never saying so much as a “thank you.”
Did you know...?
While we all know a great customer experience when we witness one, many marketers have yet to make this critically important aspect of branding and marketing a key focus of their efforts. I continue to be baffled by marketers that have been doing marketing and advertising essentially the same way for the last 50 years, as if fashioning oneself after Mad Men's Don Draper will reverse the trends of the last 20. Not only is this a wildly inefficient way to spend limited marketing dollars, it ignores some of the most compelling new data on the profitability of customer experience engineering.
Did you know that consumers will not only demonstrate dramatically higher customer loyalty, but will also pay more for a great customer experience?