We attended INBOUND14 – An online marketing conference in Boston.
Inbound14, a magical event where thousands of marketing professionals get together to listen to speakers like Simon Sinek, Malcom Gladwell, and Martha Stewart as they talk about how marketing is changing from an in your face experience to a more organic, inbound, welcoming experience. But what does that mean, exactly?
It means that the REALLY good marketing (the stuff that you don’t mind seeing now) is going to start shifting from commercials and billboards and pop-ups. It means that the websites you visit are going to have personalized content just for you.
We’ve seen this start to happen already, with websites like Amazon, which show you recently viewed and related results that you might also like. With this, the same website is a little different for each person, depending on their buying preferences.
The same is going to happen with websites. Once the user gives some information to a particular website the magic can start to happen.
Let’s take a business news website for example. Let’s say a user fills out an optional form to improve their web experience and it asks for their email, name, and role at their business. Once that form is filled out, that information can be stored for that user and be used to change the content that appears on the website when that user continues to browse. Now instead of general news, they see valuable management advice, techniques, and more.
It’s also worth noting that the other content doesn’t just simple go away in most cases, it’s just not served to you up front on home pages or landing pages. So if you want to dig, you can still dig.
The point of inbound marketing is to use this to allow for a more organic approach to the conversation between a potential customer, and a product or service. The keystone to this idea is that it is non-interruptive. When done right, there are no pop ups, or forms with too many questions. Just enough information is asked for that the user feels comfortable giving in return for higher value content.
The best way to accomplish this is to create a landing page on your website that has personalized content for users, based on what type of client they are for you, that offers a White Paper, premium video, or some other value up front that you give in exchange for their name, email, and role at their company. It’s important to note that you can ask for any thing. If it were helpful to the experience, you could ask for the number of employees in the company, or what the average revenue of the company was last year. Whatever you think will be helpful to help shape their experience in the future.
Should you be concerned about giving away your information to these websites? Not really. Give what you’re comfortable giving, and don’t fill anything out that you think is too personal. Filling out an email form will almost guarantee that you will receive marketing emails from the company, but you can always opt out of those emails, and it’s probably a small price to pay for whatever premium content you’re getting.
So, get ready for better web experiences, less diving around for what you’re looking for… and less digging!