inbound marketing dayOn June 4, 2014, I attended “Inbound Marketing Day,” in Milwaukee, WI. Hosted by Savvy Panda and the Milwaukee Business Marketing Association, the full immersion into inbound marketing at the day-long conference provided idea-sparking insight and practical strategies from marketing thought leaders.

Here are some of the top takeaways I brought home from Inbound Day to apply to our marketing programs.

1) Myth vs. Truth

The morning kicked off with “Inbound Marketing and the Science of Social,” a presentation of social media marketing research and data from Dan Zarella, HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist. Zarella’s exploration of user behavior on social networks led to debunking some common myths.

Myth: Engaging in the conversation is the most important thing.
Truth: Engaging does not build reach. Publishing interesting content does.

Myth: Don’t call yourself a social media guru.
Truth: Identify yourself authoritatively in your profile (ie: as an official, or founder). Then STOP talking about yourself.

2) Conversion Centered Design

The sole purpose of a landing page is for an anonymous website visitor to become a lead, usually by filling out a form on the web page. To convert visitors most effectively, designers must minimize the attention ratio of landing pages by making landing pages that focus on conversions, said Oli Gardner, Co-Founder of Unbounce, a landing page creation tool. Calculate attention ratio by counting up all the links on a landing page – all the things a visitor can do – and dividing by all the things you want the visitor to do – fill out the form.

3) The purpose of marketing is to elicit a behavior

What’s the purpose of marketing, asked Luke Summerfield, Director of Inbound Marketing at Savvy Panda, a Milwaukee marketing agency? To generate qualified leads for the sales department, and to build trust and brand awareness among prospects were a couple responses from the audience. At it’s core, the purpose of marketing is to elicit a behavior – to drive to the store, make a purchase, call or click.

4) The Marketing Trust Bank

What is the secret ingredient of inbound marketing? Trust, according to Ezra Fishman, Director of Marketing at Wistia.

Marketers have a bank where the build trust in their brand, he explained. Companies put credits into their trust bank in the form of information that visitors want. If visitors find the information helpful – if the company is talking about their needs – their trust account grows.

But companies also debit their trust bank accounts by focusing on their own needs rather than what their prospects care about – pushy salesmen, company-centered information, machine-like nurturing and poor quality content.

5) The sales process needs to shift

In today’s world of online research, customers, not sales people, are in control of their own buying cycle, and sales departments must adapt to survive. Andrea Tarrell, Director of Marketing at HNI, a Milwaukee based insurance brokerage, described how to sell a sales team on inbound marketing, and shared the challenges and success they’ve had with the new marketing and sales process. Here’s what they’ve discovered:

  • Buyers are skeptical and more educated. They do not want to be “sold,” they want to be “helped.”
  • One size marketing campaign does not fit all. Use inbound marketing to personalize and nurture individual leads with information that matches their needs.
  • Always be nurturing. Continuously help cultivate leads with more helpful information.
  • Don’t pitch. Diagnose the pain.
  • Don’t close. Prescribe the solution.

6) Think backwards

Website visitors are using a treasure map, and your business is the treasure, said Marshall Ponzi of InboundInFocus. Along the way they follow links and other clues to find the information they seek, slowly forming opinions and making decisions about the content they view from the brands they feel are most credible. Most businesses lose business because they do not get discovered early enough on the adventure.

Instead marketers should think backwards to figure out what goes on in a customer’s mind that leads them to make a purchase. Ponzi suggested developing detailed customer personas to help create content that discovers:

  • What pains do customers have?
  • Were they looking for answers?
  • Who do they trust for information?
  • What steps do they take to find what they’re looking for?

Follow #InboundDay to see notes, pictures and videos from the day.