This morning, I read a great post about 5 marketing tactics that tanked in 2014: the QR code (no surprise there), auto-posting (argh, yes - that was a problem in 2014), viral videos, over optimizing (hint: focus more on your human reader) and responsive web design (which I don't agree with).
But there is even more chatter about Inbound Marketing trends for 2015 and Hubspot even has created their crystal ball! Go ahead, check it out, I will wait here.
Okay, great - you are back! I knew you would be.
The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. - Professor Albus Dumbledore
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As already Professor Dumbledore said, predicting the future is very difficult, but I will try anyway. Here are my top five trends for Inbound Marketing in 2015:
1. Human2Human Marketing: Personalization matures into personal interactions
You don't need a crystal ball to predict that marketers who send mass email blasts and do not use any personalization will be left behind.
The statistics on email marketing speak for themselves: According to a 2014 study by MarketingLand, emails that are tailored to the recipient have a "29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than anonymous mass emails.
For triggered email campaigns, personalization resulted in double the transaction rates compared to non-personalized triggered emails." However, today's marketers still do not allow users to chose the frequency (only 35% of marketers do ask) and the type of emails they wish to receive (only 40% of marketers let recipients choose).
But the personalization reaches far beyond just email alone. It touches all aspects of social media, your website and even the interactions your customer gets with sales.
2. Contextual Marketing: Smart Content Adapts As It Learns About The Visitor
Thanks to cookies, we know a lot about the people who come visit our website. We can track how they found us, who referred them, what device they are using, the country they are in and what language they speak. With marketing automation, we also know other information about people visiting our website as long as they have self-identified themselves once. We can track how many offers they downloaded, what pages they visited and what emails they opened or clicked on
With marketing automation, we also know other information about people visiting our website as long as they have self-identified themselves once. We can track how many offers they downloaded, what pages they visited and what emails they opened or clicked on
With marketing automation software like Hubspot, we also know other information about people visiting our website as long as they have self-identified themselves once. We can track how many offers they downloaded, what pages they visited and what emails they opened or clicked on.
So why not use that information that we collect and customize our website, our content, our landing pages, call to actions and thank you pages to enhance the user experience of our visitors?
Contextual marketing does just that!
3. Progressive Profiling
In order to learn more about our visitors, we ask them some questions in forms on our website. However, there is a Catch-22: The more we ask, the longer the form. The longer the form, the higher the likelihood, the person will not fill it out, and we learn nothing at all.
However, there is a Catch-22: The more we ask, the longer the form. The longer the form, the higher the likelihood, the person will not fill it out, and we learn nothing at all.
Well, not anymore.
Progressive profiling allows marketers to create smart forms that behave differently depending on how much we know about the person already.
Let's say I already know a person's first and last name as well as their email address. Once this person comes to a landing pages and wants to fill out the form to download my latest eBook. The form will not show these questions anymore, but instead pull up a couple of previously queued questions.
This will not only allow the marketer to learn more about this person. But it also makes it less frustrating for the person filling out the form as they do not have to fill out the same information several times.
4. Inbound Sales: More informed, personal sales process
Now that we have tailored our visitor's user experience, provided some context to our content and learned more about the people we talk to, we can hand over better-qualified leads to our sales team.
However, in more and more businesses, inbound is not only practiced by the marketing department. Today, also sales, professional services, recruitment, product development and even research and development and IT align themselves with the inbound methodology.
Inbound sales will be a big trend and differentiator in 2015.
As we collect more data about our leads, it only makes sense to get to know them better, align our sales tactics to their stages of the prospect's stage in their buyer's journey. This transforms the sales process from a one-size-fits-all, ready-or-not pressure pitch into a consulting-oriented, low-pressure almost non-selling approach.
5. Roi and Attribution Reporting
One of the most important reasons why Inbound Marketing is so successful is the ability to attach a return on investment to everything you do.
With a marketing automation software, like Hubspot, you can exactly show how much traffic your latest blog post created, how many people have clicked on the call to action, what your best traffic sources were and which contacts converted into leads and customers. You can do the same for every landing page and web page.
So instead of spending five digit numbers on billboard and hope people see it, invest in inbound marketing where you KNOW what you are getting in return.
What are your Inbound Marketing Predictions for 2015?
Do you have thoughts about what inbound marketing will look like next year? Please share them with us in the comment section below. We would love to continue the conversation.