One of the first presentations came from Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of Hubspot. As one of the people who literally wrote the book on inbound marketing, it makes sense that he would give us his vision of the future of inbound marketing. He didn’t disappoint!
Shifting the Funnel
Brian began with a review of inbound marketing and its effects on marketing. In the beginning, he said, sales reps had all the power. They controlled the information flow with catalogs and collateral. If the buyer wanted information, they had make the sales rep part an integral part of the buying cycle.
Not anymore. The sales process (more often than not) now begins with an Internet search. The buyer has all of the information and, therefore, the power. This has shifted the sales funnel and requires a new approach, since the buyer now keeps the seller at arms reach.
Top of the Funnel
Inbound marketing 1.0 was about expanding the top of the sales funnel. By creating remarkable content, optimizing it for search, promoting it via social media and building effective landing pages, businesses can expand the top of the funnel. It’s not just about generating more visits – it’s about generating more qualified visits. Good inbound marketing achieves exactly that.
Middle of the Funnel
Where inbound marketing 1.0 is about expanding the top of the funnel, version 2.0 is about improving the conversion rates throughout the funnel. Halligan spoke about the gaps in the funnel and losses from them:
The aim of inbound marketing 2.0 is to reduce those losses as much as possible and to improve the conversion rates throughout. So how do we do that? Like so many other answers to business questions, it’s “Do what successful companies are doing.” Halligan points to companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix as examples. What’s one secret to their success? Personalization. The more you use their services, the better the user experience becomes and the more value users gain from it.
The inbound marketing takeaway is to keep track of every activity your lead takes on your site and personalize that marketing experience. The more I use your website, the more personalized it gets. The more personalized it gets, the more valuable it is. The more valuable it is, the more likely I am to convert to a customer. One example he offers is the “percent complete” profile builder on LinkedIn. “It’s irresistible!” Halligan insists.
And he suggests you incorporate similar marketing profiles into your websites. The entire goal is to segment the crap out of your leads toward the ultimate goal, which I think is absolutely brilliant: