Inbound Marketing - A Game PlanAs thousands from across the US and globe descend on Boston today for @hubspot's Inbound13 it seemed an appropriate day to offer an apropos inbound marketing strategy recommendation.
Here's my killer suggestion - The best way to succeed is to meticulously plan the perfect content marketing program, enhanced with all inbound marketing embellishments until you create an overall integrated program certain to drive traffic, enable conversions, provide effective nurturing, support customer conversion and grow the business
Are we tracking so far?
And then, as the final and most important step, cut out half of the execution steps and then take your strategy to market.
Sound completely absurd? Of course it is....and it's exactly what many are doing today with their inbound marketing efforts.
Just blowing half of it offStill with me? OK. Here's what I mean. First, before you go straight to comment, please understand that I know there are many artfully executed inbound marketing programs built on valuable content and masterful execution.
BUT, I also know from experience that approximately half of the leads that are generated are simply ignored. That's fact. OK, maybe 41% or perhaps 54% depending on your case - but a huge number are wasted.
So let me ask. Are you sweating the small stuff (after all that's what successful inbound marketing is about) just for the thrill that you get from a chart showing progress up and right? Or are you doing the work in support of business growth.
Business growth. Of course. And yet you simply ignore half of your growth opportunity! Why? Because it seems too complicated? It's not feasible for your company? There are too many risks? I've heard them all before - and just like the lame excuses from traditional marketers for why inbound marketing isn't right for their business, most of these are equally vapid.
The word from the mountainBut maybe this is just a series of crazy rantings - disconnected from reality. Could be, but it's not.
David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) is one of the original proponents of inbound marketing - and perhaps one of it's most prolific content contributors. Guess what Scott has to say about inbound marketing and global business? Here are a few quotes from his most recent edition of "The New Rules of Marketing & PR".
"The marketplace is the outside world, not just your home city, state or country."
"This is the future for companies like us (says the founder of a Lithuanian inbound marketing success) You can be very small and occupy a niche and still sell your products all over the world. It's amazing, when we go into a new country, the amount of name recognition we have. The internet gives you opportunities you never had before. And it's not rocket science. It's pretty easy to figure out."
"We are witnessing a global phenomenon."
So maybe it sounds absurd, but the absurdity has some pretty noteworthy endorsement. Think it's worth taking a serious look for your business or do you know better?
One arm tied behind your back no more!End the silliness. Start today to view your traffic and leads as a broad source of profitable business growth and commit to a strategy that leverages the full value of your inbound marketing work.
Doing this requires a two-phase evolution.
First, accept that international business could very well offer profitable growth opportunities for your business. Acknowledge but don't get tied in knots about the transactional challenges. Then begin to engage international leads, but also analyze your traffic and conversion data. If you're generating more than 1000 visits/day you've got enough data to begin your small-scale global business intelligence 'big data' project.
See which countries visitors are frequent, what referral sources bring them, what areas of your site (specific products/services) they spend time exploring, etc. You'll start to build a good overview of where the "low hanging fruit" may exist.
Then conduct some market research. Consider relevant factors for your product (lifestyle, culture, cost, etc.) and the markets that seem active (demographics, disposable income, etc.) to identify discontinuity or alignment.
And with that information you can also identify other markets with similar profiles (remember we're talking countries or even major metro areas - not continents, and not just BRICs!)
Second, launch market specific localized international inbound marketing efforts. Now, I know this sounds like a big step. And it is. It means incrementally more work, and that work will potentially be even more demanding as it probably requires more research, culturally localized content, foreign language material and completely different key words, personas, etc. From administrative details like a multi-language CMS and multiple CC TLDs to artistic ones like imagery and colors, there are many important details.
And it's critically important not to simply blindly plunge into this effort. It may be that foreign language keywords will achieve much of what you need for instance. There's research to do.
Diversification, profits, tax breaks and moreSo if it takes you some time to move to phase two, or if you never do, in the meantime you'll be growing globally, profitably, presuming your foreign lead follow up in the first phase is executed correctly.
There are a myriad of reasons why export sales are beneficial for US SMBs, and many misconceptions about the challenges.
Stop wasting half your leads, seize on the international inbound marketing success that you already have, and go forth and grow!!