The internet has changed how businesses approach sales and the vast majority now prefer to generate leads and sales through inbound marketing, rather than the more direct, pushy approach which is often off-putting to the buyer. In fact, a whopping 93% of companies now use inbound techniques to increase traffic, which of course turns into leads and eventually, sales. This relies heavily on content, SEO and digital marketing activities that ensure that the customer feels that they found you/your product, rather than direct selling.
Top 10+ SuperPowers of Marketing and Blogging for 2014
However, whilst many companies use inbound marketing techniques, not all get it right, so today we’ll be looking at the most effective techniques to ensure inbound success.
1) Ability to Create Content While Sleeping
While it's certainly been overused, the old saying is still very true - Content is King.
Every time Google shifts the way it ranks websites, great content becomes even more important when it comes to increasing your traffic. That’s a trend that’s sure to continue.
However, it's not just about getting more people to visit your website, even though that's how it started out in the beginning. It didn't take long for inbound marketers to realize that website traffic doesn't really mean much without the type of visitor engagement that converts those visitors into customers. That type of content doesn't create itself, which is why inbound marketers specialize in creating content in their sleep.
Inbound marketers face a never-ending demand for great content, so they never take a break; even waking up with one awesome idea after another.
2) A Torrid Love Affair With Analytics
Inbound marketers can never get enough of the facts and figures that go along with analytics. They're constantly running through the data in their minds, and coming up with new keyword combinations that will give their websites better results. With all of these calculations and the tools that are available to help them find out which elements work the best to improve their rankings, their infatuation results in a torrid love affair.
The challenge comes with knowing which types of analytics will improve their bottom lines the most, and with the sea of data that's available to them, they must maintain a close relationship with these figures in order to ensure good results.
Gaining this superpower is not impossible, it just takes time with the numbers. Dive right in muck around for a bit... Don’t worry, you can’t break the internet. The more time you spend with these numbers, the more the meanings will become clear.
3) The Ability to See a Blog Post Lurking Anywhere
In addition to creating great content for the static pages of a business website, inbound marketers have to be able to consistently create awesome blog posts.
Blogging has become an essential part of a good inbound marketing campaign, but what happens when there's just nothing else to say about a specific subject or set of keywords? For an inbound marketer, this is never a problem.
Why? Simply because of their ability to find a potential blog post lurking anywhere.
Honestly, everything is fair game. From that burned pancake to a TED talk they listened to on a jog -- everything can turn into an inbound marketing story, image, or idea.
The only way to gain this power is to do it. This talk tells you how to be a god in this arena. It’s not clear if it’s better to be a “god” or have a superpower, but either way you’ll be much better at blogging if you blog every day.
4) The Ability to Match Pictures to Text
1 jpg > 1K words.
The original non-mathy version of that saying might be an old one, but it's never been truer than it is today.
People want their content to be presented to them in ways that are easy to digest, and pictures help in every way.
It takes a great deal of skill to be able to pick out a picture that will accurately get your message across, and excellent inbound marketers seem to have a knack for doing just that. Their pictures evoke emotions, spark curiosity, and provide the necessary platform for engagement that they need in creating successful content.
In fact, according to a report, "40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text." The proof is in the fact that inbound marketers have seen a tremendous increase in the growth of their clients' businesses once they started using the right images.
6) Ability to Become "Besties" with a Website
That might sound a little bit crazy, but it's true. For an inbound marketer, websites are their best friends for quite a few reasons.
You may not talk to your best friend every day, but you visit with your site every day.
You tell your best friend all the good stuff, but you share that and more with your website readers. That’s why “transparency” is such a big deal these days, right?
You can fight with your best friend, but nobody else gets to say anything bad about your friend or there’ll be trouble. Same goes here: You can fight with your site to get the headers just right, or whatever, but if anyone else bad-mouths your site you’ll defend it vigorously.
Your best friend is there for you when it counts, as is your site, which is the single best way to get customers in the door whenever the internet switch is turned on.
6) No Fear in expression
In the business world, it seems as though most professionals try to keep their interactions with others as professional as possible. However, inbound marketing is different because it's all about creating a persona for a business that their customers will be able to identify with.
A good inbound marketer isn't afraid to grow their relationship with their clients because the more they learn about those businesses, the easier it is to create a website that reflects the owner's personality. Just like in social media, people long to engage with a business when they're visiting a website.
Those opportunities for engagement happen because someone took the time to create a site that adequately reflects the business owners themselves. It's the personal touch that people respond to, and a good inbound marketing professional does it well.
7) Knowing the Mood on the Street
You ever watch the news and see an anchor at a desk looking into a TV set at a reporter in some far-flung place? Seems like the question they always ask is: “What’s the mood on the street there in Springfield?” (Or wherever.)
They should ask an inbound marketer.
People who are great at inbound marketing are great at seeing signs and hidden meanings in everything. "People seem more friendly and talkative today," they think, and then act on that hunch. They make today the day to launch a new theme in the social media networks or blogs.
The ability to sense social trends and create marketing strategies at pivotal points can be very handy and sometimes seems to border on predicting the future!
8) The Ability to Read Minds
It is the job of an inboun marketer to know what we want, before we even know what want.
Being a psychic could help with this. But more likely, good inbound marketers are good listeners.
They are able to listen to their audience, listen to the data, and listen to themselves. When still and quiet, they can synthesize the information and then predict where the trends are going, what the market is doing, and what will be the next hottest thing.
While it may seem to be in the realm of the paranormal, it’s really just good listening skills.
9) Keywords Come Easy
In the beginning of every inbound marketer's career, it's essential to spend a great deal of time researching the various tools that are out there to determine how to find the right keywords for their clients or for their own site.
Of course, since Google is the main search engine out there, the Google Adwords Keywords Tool is probably the best one to start with.
Even so, understanding the right way to use this tool, and knowing how to choose right keywords from the lists of available options takes a little bit of finesse. After a while, an inbound marketer might become a specialist in this niche or that industry, and they've put together marketing campaigns for the same types of clients over and over again.
Once that happens, and even once they've gained some experience in the industry in general, keyword selection just comes easy.
10) Incredible Navigation Skills (i.e. Knowing a Website Like the Back of Your Hand)
There's nothing worse than going to a website only to find that it's nearly impossible to navigate. You do a Google search for your keywords, and you choose a site that's near the top of your list of results, just like anyone does.
Once you get there, you can't find a list of products, or a link to the contact page. It takes some major searching to navigate the page, and it isn't long before you give up and go back to that original list of site options.
The fact is, if a site isn't easy to navigate well, people will move on to one that is. When it comes to inbound marketing, they understand the need to create websites that are simple to understand, with prominent links and buttons that are easy to find. It's all a part of knowing how to maintain your website visitors, and keep them happy enough to convert to customers.
11) Ability to Attract Leads
The purpose behind an awesome business website is to generate leads. People love free stuff, and for an inbound marketer, they know how to get the free stuff out there in a way that will give them the information they need to develop leads for their clients. It's all about knowing how to create a call-to-action that people simply cannot resist.
A fancy button on website's homepage that offers "6 Secrets to Grow Your Business" in the form of a white paper, or another link that allows a visitor to sign up for a "Free Webinar on Writing Killer Blog Post Headlines.”
Inbound marketers not only know how to place these buttons and links, but they're also great at knowing which free stuff is going to get the most responses.
12) Magical Ability to Turn Visitors into Leads
While nurturing leads was once strictly the province of sales, we are now in an era of smarketing, where sales and marketing meet.
The numbers don’t lie. More visitors interested in your site becomes more leads, more leads into more sales.
So the weird skill here is only weird from the outside. It looks like pictures on the site, the messaging, the calls to action and much more keep changing, and they do, but it keeps changing in service of finding the perfect combination that will get visitors turned into leads.
Remember, part of that superpower is getting more comfortable with numbers.
Society is becoming more and more quantified, and people also love seeing numbers and how it affects them. Correlating these real life studies and numbers into their marketing strategies is a great skill.
Consider, which of these two headlines would you be more interested in?
a) New Data Analytics Results Show Best Method For Increasing Clicks
b) Some Thoughts That I Have About How To Increase Clicks
Now, you have to actually have that data and be willing to share it, but if you do have it you then need to be able to translate it.
A great inbound marketer knows that the numbers aren’t just numbers, they represent real people taking real actions. That’s a great superpower that you can have with a bit of time and practice.
13) Ability to Draw on an Unending Pool of Resources
If the Avengers movie teaches us anything, it’s that superheroes do need to help each other.
Being able to provide a customer with what they need, or knowing where to go in order to obtain it quickly is one skill that every inbound marketing professional excels at.
Every customer is different, and where one business might benefit from having a website that's filled with excellent blog posts and a few well-placed white papers, another may have customers who are hungry for infographics.
Knowing how to determine what a site needs, and what the customers want is only part of the challenge. Knowing where to get these resources, or how to develop them and make them available as quickly as possible is hard for most, but it’s a weird skill that all great inbound marketers share.
14) Understanding the Power of Words
Words are powerful, and no one understands this as well as someone who specializes in inbound marketing.
According to an article on the CopyBlogger website, "On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
Inbound marketers get that, and so they carefully craft each headline, and then craft the post to live up to the headline.
If you think about the Google searches you've conducted yourself, it's pretty easy to identify which articles catch your attention, and which ones don't. Take this article title for example. It becomes a different article altogether if you take out the word "Weird" doesn't it?
If you came across this article because of a Google search, would you even look at it if there wasn't something "weird" about it? Our guess is, probably not. Inbound marketers study the effectiveness of words, and they're good at knowing which ones will entice a reader to delve into the article, and which ones won't.
Great marketers, by the way, aren’t always great at everything and they may not be that great at actually writing the posts. They know, however, that they can hire a blog writing service to do the job for them.
15) Knows How to Juggle
No, not juggle time or tasks. Juggle, for real.
You might be surprised. Ask an inbound marketer if he or she can juggle and you might be surprised how many “yes!” answers you get. True, this is a “busker” power more than a superpower, but you get the idea: Inbound marketers are smart, and they know that juggling improves the connections between neurons.
And even if the inbound marketer doesn’t actually know how to toss chainsaws around, he or she knows how to do several things at once, like being an astronaut and singing David Bowie songs. Research, social media, blogging (or hiring a blog writing service), strategizing, learning -- all inbound marketers need to do all this every day. Sounds a lot like juggling.
However, the 15 tips we’ve covered here are the most important, especially the research and planning stage which should also be an ongoing and fluid process. It may be difficult at first to properly identify your target audience, but again, analytics will help you to refine this process and should be used for the site and social media for the best results.
Email marketing also shouldn’t be discounted as it’s still very effective and gives an opportunity as a further distribution point for your content. The latter should also always be the best that it can be if you really want to compete, so don’t skimp on the budget like many businesses do – the ROI on cracking content can be substantial. [ A few data are collected from Scott Yates, Donna Moritz and Kerry Butters]