We recently checked in with Brian to get his advice on inbound marketing and how brands can be using their marketing data more effectively. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us about GoBeyond SEO. How do you help your clients go beyond with their marketing strategies?
At GoBeyond, we help our clients shift their focus from the “vanity” metrics that can be confusing to people outside digital marketing – like impressions, bounce rate or cost-per-click – to the important metrics that create ROI for them, customer acquisition cost and the value of a customer. Our team of analysts focuses on the details so our clients can focus on the big picture.
What is your marketing and business philosophies?
From both a marketing and overall business perspective our philosophy is to always add value. Consistently asking yourself the question, “How can we add value here?”, puts you in a position to help both your prospects and your clients. Adding value to a marketing campaign by educating prospects or adding value to a client relationship with strategic suggestions are both opportunities we look for to add value.
How has inbound marketing evolved since you started your career?
Inbound marketing has evolved a lot since I began my marketing career. Back then Google was the primary entry way for relevant traffic to a website. Successful content had a very heavy, SEO first approach. Since then, social media has come to play a much more significant role. As social signals have increased and people, not bots, play a larger role in discovering content, successful content needs to have a people first approach. And we see Google adjusting its algorithm to better align with that people-first perspective. You still have to please the search engines but you have to, dare I say, add-value, for the user first.
What inbound marketing headlines, trends or innovations are you following right now? Why do they interest you?
The inbound marketing trend that I’m following the most right now is the effort to more closely align sales and marketing. Traditionally these roles have clashed, with sales teams demanding more leads and marketers telling sales to close the ones they’re already sending. In today’s world you’ve got to have alignment between marketing and sales. Marketing needs the sales team’s insight and the sales team needs to lean on marketing to know the prospect’s journey to the sales call. People are typically way further down the funnel when they reach out to sales than they have been in the past because prospects now do so much online research.
Where should businesses start when building their inbound marketing strategies today?
Business need to start with real goals. Way too many companies come to us and say “we need SEO” or “we need social media” and even “we need a website,” but when we ask them why, they don’t really know why. Something is off in their marketing and they can feel it but they’re not sure what it is. That’s why you have to get clear on your goals before you can create effective solutions.
How can brands determine what strategies will be most useful to their business?
The best way to determine the right strategies is to interview or survey your existing clients. When you can discover why your current clients came on board – and often the answers are very different than you might think – you can develop strategies to attract new customers.
How should brands be using data to inform their marketing strategies? How shouldn’t they be using it?
One of the best ways brands can use data today is to gain insights on what their market is thinking. If you can’t interview or survey your customers, you can still use social monitoring data and keyword data to “see” what prospects want in your market. Even using an easy tool like BuzzSumo to see what articles are getting the most social traction in your market can tell you what topics are resonating with your prospects.
What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see brands making with inbound marketing?
The most common mistaken assumption I see when it comes to inbound marketing is that many companies think it’s something they can “set and forget.” Successful inbound marketing, even if they hire an agency, will always be a collaboration between the marketing team and the audience. And that’s a very hands-on proposition.
What brands do you think handle inbound marketing especially well. What can we learn from them?
One of the brands that handles inbound marketing very well is Hubspot. In fact, they invented the term, so their pretty good at it. Some more traditional brands that have done well with inbound, or content marketing, are Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Both have shifted major dollars online and are creating content that resonates with their audience. Coke continues to grow around the world with content campaigns in dozens of countries and McDonald’s continues to combat perceptions of fast food with their Our Food. Your Questions. campaign.
What advice do you find yourself repeating to clients over and over?
The advice I often find myself repeating is to ask our clients to be more transparent. Most of our clients are B2B companies and they are understandably fearful of either looking unprofessional or divulging too much information. But commerce, even in a digital world, is a personal experience and brands need to effectively tell their stories so prospects can get to know and like them. Rigid communication and a culture of playing close to the vest can hamper a brands ability to connect.
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