Ok, reality check. Inbound marketing is hard. I know I’m not meant to say that in a blog written by a guy whose company does this for a living, but it’s true.
Despite the best efforts of Hubspot, Marketo, and other inbound marketing platforms, inbound marketing takes time, patience, determination, and a lot of trial and error. Even the most seasoned inbound marketers will agree that the process of developing a strategy, personas, content, CTAs, landing pages, and launching a campaign can be excruciatingly frustrating.
Hours upon hours are spent perseverating over the right content and how best to position it, then you launch, and BAM . . . the silence can be deafening.
Your colleagues and clients stare at you with a look that screams, “Do you really have any clue what you’re doing? You promised that this would work!”
Okay, okay, I get it, you’re upset, but in my defense, I never promised that any marketing program is guaranteed to work. (Always a good idea to acknowledge people’s pain. I’ve been told it makes them feel better.)
Perhaps I can write so personally about this experience because, like many of you (I’m guessing), I lived it. I’ve seen this movie before.
But there are ways—and one in particular—that can help jump-start your inbound efforts and get you on your way to delivering exceptional content that will delight your customers and move them along the buyer’s journey and convert them into clients.
And believe it or not, it’s one of the oldest traditional marketing methods ever.
The venerable old trade show. Yep, that’s right. Trade shows can be one of the most effective ways to engage with your potential customers—it’s a chance to give them plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more. Because you can continue to offer them the tools and knowledge they need, delivered to them from you, long after the show is over and the lights of Vegas have faded into the background.
Our sister company, Nomad Press, is a publisher of children’s educational books. Our audience consists primarily of teachers, librarians, and school districts. Sure, there are plenty of lists available to purchase and trade journals to advertise in, but they have proven to be expensive and not an effective means of advertising. What we did know was that these various groups spent a lot of time attending conferences and trades shows. We knew we needed to be at these events. The challenge we were having is that we would often return from these shows with great leads, plenty of business cards and contacts, but after the initial follow-up we had nothing left to say or offer to them. Essentially, we were dead in the water.
Enter Inbound. By attending trade shows and conferences with the goal of developing intel on our customers, understanding our audience (their likes, dislikes, what shows they attended), and developing detailed personas based on actual real-live data, we were able to start a dialogue with show attendees that wasn’t based on an immediate sale but to demonstrate our knowledge as thought leaders on issues that are important to them. Our brand has become known as a key leader in our industry because we combine our trade show success with focused, intelligent inbound marketing campaigns.
In the short span of 16 months, our web traffic has grown 400 percent, our sales have increased 35 percent, and our conversion rate hovers around the 35 percent mark.
We have a well-oiled team that is crushing it.
The trade show—the secret sauce of Inbound marketing. Who would have thunk?