Hannibal had elephants, the Trojans used a wooden horse and Queen Victoria had a Navy. Hannibal’s elephants weren’t so effective, but the Trojan strategy was a success and for years the sun never set on the British Empire. It goes to show that the way you equip yourself determines the success of your endeavours.
Marketers are fighting a different kind of battle online. But rather than world domination, marketers are fighting to create content that cuts through the noise and produces results.
Creating effective content is only half of it. The only way to tell if your content marketing efforts are successful is to equip yourself with a tool that can accurately measure the reach of and response to your content.
At Articulate, we decided it was time to suit up and so we equipped ourselves with the HubSpot Marketing Tool and it has changed the way we write, share and view our content marketing strategy.
(Full disclosure: we use HubSpot to market our own business and we are HubSpot resellers but this article is about our experience with the software and how it has influenced our thinking, not a sales pitch.)
Adopting a strategy: inbound methodology
It doesn’t matter if you win the battle if you’ve lost the war. You may be getting page views, but your content must engage site visitors and move them through the buyer process.
- Attract visitors to your site.
- Convert those visitors into leads.
- Close leads.
- Delight customers.
HubSpot marketing and the inbound methodology allows us to knowledgeably strategize content at every stage of the buyer process.
Converting people to your cause: filling the funnel
Realistically, not every lead becomes a customer, but your task as a marketer is to fill the funnel. This is achieved through HubSpot’s conversion process.
- Call-to action. On each page of a company’s blog, there should be an image that serves as a call-to-action containing an offer that holds value to your ideal buyer and encourage them to click through.
- Landing page. Clicking on a call-to-action leads visitors to a landing page where they fill out a form with their contact information to receive the offer.
- Thank you page. Once your visitors hit ‘submit,’ they receive the offer. But at the same time, their information is stored in the Hubspot tool. The visitor has successfully been converted to a lead.
- Follow up email. The thank you page and follow up email that is generated is an opportunity to lead the contact further down the funnel.
Not all leads that come into the funnel are ready to buy at the beginning or may never become a customer. A content marketing strategy uses content to coax leads toward becoming a customer.
Content is your battle cry
We are writers who market, so writing quality content has always been important to us, but HubSpot has changed the way we think about our writing.
Buyer persona. The focus of each piece of content is no longer the product, service or the company, but instead the needs and interests of buyer personas, fictional characters we create to represent the ideal buyer.
Instead of one effort on one platform, one piece of content now generates a series of several specific activities. These activities and promotions are woven throughout your blog and across all the platforms your ideal buyer is engaged in and ties in with other pieces of content that address the same type of ideal buyer.
Content is no longer a one-off pitch. It’s one part of a long-term strategy to build trust between buyer and brand. HubSpot allows us to run and monitor these campaigns and track their effect.
The battle won: the bottom of the funnel
With HubSpot, content is a part of every part of the strategy. Once we’ve used content to attract leads, we still have to move qualified leads toward the bottom of the funnel and convert them.
Segmented marketing. You wouldn’t send a start-up entrepreneur a piece of content that tells them how to climb the corporate ladder if you could help it.
HubSpot allows you to divide your leads into lists and nurture them based on your buyer personas. This way, you put the right content in front of the right people to lead them closer to the end of the funnel.
Assigning value to your content. Knowing when a lead has reached the bottom of the funnel is defined by the value of the offer they have signed up for.
For example, a lead who has signed up for a whitepaper is not as invested in what your company has to offer as a lead who signs up for a webinar or a free consultation.
HubSpot as a new kind of ally in sales
Understanding the value of content helps us identify when leads are ready for the hand-off. But the beauty of the inbound methodology is that marketing still has a role.
Marketing is no longer a linear process. Once sales has closed the deal, that customer is back in the hands of marketing.
It’s estimated to be six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one and it’s the job of marketing to continue to delight those customers.
Evidence of victory
Before HubSpot, there was disconnect. We could see which blog articles were popular or which Facebook posts received the most likes, but we could not tell how many leads were generated or sales made as a result of that effort.
Now, HubSpot tracks and stores that information for us so we can head into battle equipped with the tool that will help us win the war for people’s attention.
See also: what is marketing
Related service: Marketing Strategy