S1: E3 Inbound marketing and getting your messaging right

Welcome back friends to the marketing mindset club podcast. This is Episode Three of the first season. If this isn’t your first visit to the club thank you so much for coming back, it really makes my heart smile to know that you’re here, again, and this is making a difference for you. And if it’s your first time here You’re so welcome pull up a chair, and make yourself comfortable.

The aim of this podcast if you’re not already familiar is to bring together marketers entrepreneurs and business owner managers from all industries and all levels of expertise to learn new things and support each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in marketing, or if you’ve never studied it before, whatever your level of knowledge or expertise is.

This is the place to learn new stuff and develop your skills. It’s such a turbulent time right now in most industries it’s more important than ever that we stick together, and that we share what we’ve learned from the marketing we’re doing right now. I’m currently working in an agency. So, now, more than ever, we’re having to adjust to changing consumer behaviours and client demands. It seems that every day, something is changing in the responses that we’re seeing.

For instance, in our paid media at the moment we’re seeing levels of competition in some industries start to rebound from the declines, they had at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s all just so fluid. I figured this was the best time to start a podcast for marketers who can come together and share what we know.

If you haven’t been here before each episode is split into three bits.

  • The digital news bit, and what matters about the top stories
  • The learning bit where I’ll deep dive on a tool or technique or strategy that you can take away and use.
  • And the real life lessons bit, which is the stuff I’m learning from what I’m doing right now.

So, let’s get going.

The digital news bit

So first up in the digital news is a story about messaging in the travel sector. According to a study recently run by the king’s Business School, the messaging about staying safe is resonating with consumers, at the moment, as opposed to other USPS of destinations. So, as I was reading this piece, the, the research was undertaken outside the context of the coronavirus pandemic. So, I couldn’t find out if the safety message that they were referring to was specifically related to health and cleanliness, or whether the safety message was deliberately nonspecific in order to allow interpretation, but the study did find that for risk averse travellers, the safety message really resonated, it would be safe to assume that the proportion of travellers who are now more risk averse and before the pandemic has increased.

So there’s some potential useful insights there if you are in the travel and tourism sector. If you’re doing destination marketing, it might be worth thinking about switching from traditional USPS, such as location orientated stuff sites or value messaging and switching to a more safety first orientated message. We’re seeing that destination and establishment cleaning has moved from a behind the scenes activity to having front and centre coverage, which seems kind of logical, given the current situation but also something that you wouldn’t usually expect to see front and centre on a travel brand. So, for instance, Hilton have recently announced a partnership with Lysol and data to create my quote industry defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection in Hilton properties around the world. In a first for the hospitality business Hilton will collaborate with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol and consult with the Mayo Clinic to develop elevated processes and team member training to help Hilton guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay from check in to check out. Aside from the fact those sentences are so long I can’t even read them out. It’s really unusual to see this kind of messaging, so prominent, especially from a premium hotel brand was still completely uncertain in the UK here about whether foreign travel is going to be even possible this summer, it seems that some days it is and some days it isn’t.

And it seems that in the news this week even staycations might not be possible. But assuming that they are these kind of safety messages will work really well for destinations across the country and across the world I would imagine for many travellers as I was saying that they’re going to be more risk averse than they were before so safety and cleaning and hygiene is going to be really prominent in their thoughts.

Other news I’ve seen this week is that kids ages four to 15 now spend an average of 85 minutes a day watching YouTube videos, compared with 80 minutes a day spent on Tiktok. Now this stat came from an article on TechCrunch, and you can find the link in the show notes on the website. But the thing that struck me first was the ages of the kids involved, ages four to 15. In a that just that just really stuck with me to start with the thought that kids that young could be spending that amount of time on social media and it’s not, it’s not each it’s collectively so 85 minutes a day on YouTube and 80 minutes a day on Tiktok, it’s no wonder that these platforms are among two of the fastest growing for consumption and time spent. For those who don’t know what Tiktok is, it’s a rapidly growing video based social media platform that is particularly popular with teens. It’s entirely video based and users record themselves or others, often using shared or popular audio while miming or dancing. I’ve been testing it out a bit. And it’s weirdly addictive. But there’s also some seriously weird stuff on there. I quite like their algorithm in that it’s, it’s pretty good at showing you content that you might like. And consequently, I get to see a lot of horses, cows, sheep, I love watching animal content people with their pets, absolutely great. So Tiktok’s been quite addictive. For me, I can completely understand that younger children are attracted to this because it’s presented in a constant stream of content as often from their peers. So not only are they getting a huge dopamine hit from the infinite scrolling, they get strong feelings of belonging by being part of the tribe, the data in this study came from 60,000 families in the UK the US and Spain, so it’s not a small study, and it was conducted right at the beginning of a pandemic so it’s hard to say whether or not any of the children were still attending school at that time, or whether they were already at home because they weren’t able to go to school anymore, but my concern about the, the data and the age range is that both YouTube and Tiktok have a minimum age of 13 years for someone to hold an account so for kids in the majority of this age bracket they’re going to be watching content through other people’s accounts, whether that’s siblings or parents, and you kind of have to wonder how the algorithms would cope with dealing with an account that has such varied age ranges in it you know how, how the algorithms going to determine what content is appropriate and relevant when you’ve got two very different age ranges consuming content through it.

My opinion of it is that even if screen time has been pushed up on naturally by COVID-19, it’s unlikely that it’s just going to revert back to the levels, it was before the pandemic so Tiktok also recently released itself serve our platform so if you’re trying to reach a younger audience as a marketer, it’s definitely something that should be in your strategy to try out, and I’ve noticed brands are starting to appear in there I’ve noticed ads from eBay from Apple, there are some also not very noteworthy ones. You know I can’t even tell you what brand they are, which shows that you know they’ve not done such a great job, but it’s something that is worth experimenting with if you’re looking to attract a younger demographic also reported this week, marketing budgets, as a percentage of company revenues and spend have risen to a record high during the pandemic. According to marketing week, and it’s due to brands, looking to retain customers and also build brand value. In the first episode this season, we talked about how during the pandemic. The focus of certain ad campaigns would need to change, and that some strategies wouldn’t be appropriate during this time. So you’ll see a lot of the bigger brands switching to strategies that help maintain engagement helped grow their brand value. And you can see that in the recent campaign that Budweiser have launched they’ve gone back to there was a concept that is from a few years ago and they repurpose that for now, because they know that people are really anticipating the return of football, and they know that they want Budweiser to be synonymous with that anticipation, and that involvement. It’s also been a time when we as marketers have had a captive audience in all of the social media platforms and all of the streaming platforms, because a vast majority of the population have been either working from home, or have been furloughed so for the next few months at least have still got the advantage of people probably spending more time on their screens than they would usually.

The learning bit

Moving on to the learning bit. Today I want to talk about the concept of inbound marketing. So inbound marketing by its name suggests that your marketing strategy is focused on attracting customers into your ecosystem, you are pulling customers towards you rather than pushing your products towards your potential customer.

So you can think about it in terms of creating useful resources that attract the people that you’re interested in talking to and engaging with rather than pushing things like TV advertising or direct mail or anything that is a push action that pushes your product in front of an audience, rather than it draws them in and engage them. So inbound marketing is much more about building meaningful relationships and creating value for your prospects, rather than advertising to them.

You want to create value on the journey to becoming a customer, but also once a prospect becomes a customer, you want to build on that trust that’s been created in the lead up to that moment. And that’s how you build advocacy, and so on.

Source: Hubspot

So, one of the companies that I’m a huge fan of who have pioneered this approach is HubSpot. I’ve been following them for years, and in fact I was in the very first cohort of the inbound marketing university course. So kudos to HubSpot for always being ahead of their time and always giving us a masterclass in content. So, according to HubSpot the inbound methodology can be applied in three ways. And the best way to think about this is not as a funnel, or process. They call it a flywheel, but it’s essentially a circle. So, everything about this is cyclical as we know from our own behaviours online and the way that we interact with different brands and through different devices. We know that the traditional model of a funnel doesn’t so much exist in our world anymore. So the fact that we can think about inbound marketing as a cycle that prospects and customers will depend on out at various phases allows us to be more flexible and more responsive in our approach to creating content and creating engagement activities that are relevant for the audience needs right now. So as I said HubSpot have identified three ways in which the inbound methodology can be applied and it’s in this cyclical arrangement so it’s divided into these three sections attract engage and delight.

So, there are elements in there, of a customer journey and the progression through a relationship. But, as we all know, we can dip in and out at any point in this journey.

So let’s start with attract attract is about drawing in the right people with valuable content and conversations that establish you and your brand as a trusted adviser with whom they want to engage. So, The kind of content that you’ll be creating in order to attract people into your ecosystem could be blog content, it could be offers. It could be guides on how to use your product. It could be information about how your solution solves a particular problem. It could be customer testimonials. And there are multiple ways that you could distribute this content but at this point in the flywheel, you are. You’re trying to reach quite a broad audience, you haven’t yet identified who these contacts are so you need to use whatever targeting is available to you. For instance, if you are using paid ads through social you can narrow down who your content is being targeted at, but it’s about attracting as many of the relevant people into your ecosystem with something that they see as valuable and from a trusted source, attracting your audience members on a deeper level through inbound marketing can be done by thinking about SEO in conjunction with your content. As we know, SEO doesn’t stand alone without content, but you also need to make sure that your SEO is consistent relevant and up to date with the content that you’re producing by having an SEO strategy that runs concurrently with your content strategy, you’ll be able to ensure your content appears organically where you want it to, which will, if you’ve done your research hopefully be on the phrases that your target audience and potential customers are using to find information about your business or brand.

Moving on to the engage part of the flywheel when you’re using inbound strategies to engage your audience, ensure you’re communicating and dealing with leads and customers in a way that makes them want to build a long term relationship with you try to inject information about the value your business will provide them with and do it in a way that is personal to them. And quite often the way to do personalisation is to have some awesome technology behind it, as well as a fully maintained and up to date customer database, which is why something like HubSpot works so well in this instance, their CRM functionality is is super awesome, whatever scale of business, you’re using. I’m not associated with HubSpot in any way I’m just a huge fan specific engagement strategies may include how you handle and manage your inbound sales calls. So, do you have a particular strategy. Do you have something, an offer, or a, an invitation that you give to your leads in that early stage of the relationship. One thing I’ve seen organisations focus on in order to improve their engagement rates, is that how the customer service representatives, manage those initial contact stages, it’s still all about providing value and establishing yourself as a company with which this prospect wants to do business, and it’s always better when you’re thinking about engagement strategy is to think about the solution that you’re selling rather than the product. And this, this comes down to being customer centric all the time as you should be in your marketing, but think about how what you sell solves the challenge that your prospect is facing, and how you’re going to make their life better by solving that problem for them. And then we move into the delight part of the model so at this point you have acquired the customer they have purchased from you or they’ve signed up for something. And this is where I think a lot of businesses struggle to make that transition. you’ve gone from acquisition into retention and engagement and you need to delight them along the way in order to make sure they stay happy and satisfied and supported. So, strategies that you’ll use here involve team members becoming advisors and experts who can assist at any time. It might also include chat bots, and virtual assistants that can answer specific product questions, or if not can direct somebody to a human being who might be able to help with an answer. It’s also the time to gather feedback and continually listen to how your customers are feeling so short surveys or any kind of feedback mechanism, whether that’s, whether you’re using Net Promoter Score, whether you’re using a short survey whether using a single question to pop up in an account area of the website however you’re doing it. It’s really important that you’re collecting that feedback and you’re listening to your customers. And the reason I mentioned chatbots and virtual assistants, is that if you are selling a product that is quite complex it might take time for somebody to learn. They’re going to have specific questions as they go along that aren’t necessarily going to be answered or even known up front. So, a chatbot, that is, well set up and well configured can really quickly provide the answers that a customer might want, and avoid any frustration or need to phone, a contact centre for support, social media listening is another part of how you can gather feedback, and he understands it helps you understand as a brand, what your customers are talking about the questions they’re asking the feedback they’re giving. and it also helps you to understand how those interactions are being responded to. So, you can make sure that every single person who interacts with you at that point they become a customer knows that you care about them. And this is where the inbound marketing strategy really comes into its own because the flywheel will continually turn. So, if the customers that you’ve acquired stay customers and continue to buy from you, then this cycle is only turning into an upward spiral which is only going to grow your business, you’ve got these three key points attract, engage and delight, that you need to consider. And you need to make sure that there is content available for prospects and customers at different stages in their journey that they can dip in and out of, but that is always positioning you as the trusted voice in the space. Now I’ve used this model recently to put together a marketing strategy for one of my UK clients. And we’re also combining that with the hero hub and help content model which I’ll talk about in the next episode, but I’m finding it really useful, especially in today’s environment where consumer behaviours are changing so fast. The traditional funnel model seems less relevant than ever at the moment so to have this cyclical approach of creating content, listening creating more content in each of those different phases in order to attract customers, and then delight them. Is it seems really logical and I’m finding it a really useful way of thinking about it. If you want to see the flywheel or you want to find out more about it, just google it you’ll find the HubSpot resource. I’ll also link to it from the show notes on the marketing mindset club website.

The real life lessons

Moving on to the real life lessons bit for this week. This is about conversion rate optimisation. So, if that’s not a term you’re familiar with I’m just going to break it down for you really quickly, a conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete an action that you want them to, which is in other words, a conversion. And you calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors, or the total audience size, and then times by 100 to get the percentage. If you’ve got 100 visitors, and you’ve got 10 conversions. That is a 10% conversion rate, and it’s one of the key measures of efficiency, and it’s often a key metric in understanding how well your website or your lead magnet, or anything that you want the customer to do it’s a key measure of understanding the efficiency of that mechanism.

So when we talk about conversion rate optimisation, it’s very simply the actions that we take to try and improve the efficiency of that conversion mechanism, so we’re trying to get more people to do the thing we want them to do. And we recently been running a set of test campaigns for a b2b technology client.

And now they have some challenges, they know that their website is not as good as it could be the content is not as up to date as it could be. The platform is not very flexible. The design is not very flexible. And we know we’ve got external factors as well. So, you know, hello COVID pandemic.

So, the first test that we ran was using a set of digital paid media channels, including paid search and social to drive traffic back to their website using a fixed amount of budget, in order to create the benchmarks for conversion, because they’ve never really run any paid media activity before, with the aim of lead acquisition. We knew that it probably wouldn’t be hugely successful because of all the limiting factors. And that turned out to be accurate. What happened, crap conversion rate 0.67%. And so there was our starting point, not a very high bar to reach. But there was somewhere to start.

So, moving on to the first test that we ran. We then we created some separate landing pages that were outside of the usual flow of the website because they didn’t have a great customer journey. We were able to control the content, and we were able to control the messaging and the layout. We were able to answer just enough of the questions that a potential prospect would have on these landing pages without confusing them with all the other information that was on the main website. We also reduced the form length, they on the website had quite a lengthy conversion form that you know I had a hunch was just putting off most of the people who would otherwise fill this in. And that test actually worked really well. The conversion rate went up to 1.1%. Still not huge but it’s a decent increase on last time. But we knew we still had some challenges, the form in my opinion was still too long, what we’ve decided to do is to move the conversion point off the website so we’re taking that out of the picture completely. We’re creating a custom report to use as a lead magnet in lead generation form so we’re going to start with LinkedIn and use the lead gen app types.

And now we wait, this test is running at the moment so I will come back to you when we know in other real life lessons

Following on from the news about Tick Tock I’ve been experimenting with the platform. And I’ve put up four videos so far. And what really astounded me was the first video I put up was a short dance mine video to one of the tick tock dances and I overlaid it with some text, And I posted it with some hashtags, too, to see what the reach would be like and I’ve been absolutely staggered that it’s had 131,000 views and over 1,000 comments. Now, I can’t say whether it’s just the first video, that’s, you know, as a first video on the account that’s had that kind of effect, I don’t know, but my second, third and fourth videos have had a decreasing number of views so you know and they’re all have similar content they’re all mine videos backed by audio. But it’s really interesting to me that that first video had such an enormous reach and for the first sort of two weeks, I was replying to every single comment that came in, and I think that helped. I haven’t done that on the other videos and they have had 5000 views or two and a half thousand views and 1.1 thousand views, and I don’t really have any takeaways for you on this yet, other than I’m still experimenting with it to see if I can replicate the, the effect of that first video, but I’d be really interested to hear what your guys’s experience of TikTok has been so far.

I’m not really sure how to leverage it unless you are using the app format. I’ve seen a whole range of content from small businesses on there, particularly artists who seem to do very have varying levels of success with sharing their art and the things that they make, but I’d be interested to hear from you.

What you’re trying, and whether it’s working for you so head over to the Instagram at marketing mindset club and leave me a comment on this episode or send me a DM and just let me know what you’re doing with TikTok and whether it’s working for you or not.

And that’s all I have for you this week. Thank you so much for being part of the marketing mindset club, it really means the world to me to have you here, and that you tuned in. Don’t forget to rate review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts because it really helps me out and it really helps me reach more people and grow this club. I’d love to hear your thoughts as always. So head over to Instagram at @marketingmindsetclub. Drop me a DM or a comment and I will see you next time.