Inbound Marketing’s Second Act: 4 Things Every Inbound Marketer Should Do in 2017. The Second Act of Inbound Marketing How to Get Found in 2016 (or, Why Google Is Now Ask Jeeves) Back in 2006, Google helped buyers find the answers to their questions by serving up links to relevant information. Quick answer boxes are not the only way Google is changing. I’d suggest using your ad budget to boost quality content that has already done well on social media. How to Create Compelling Content in 2016 (or, Why the Silent Movie Is Back) The way people find answers and discover companies is changing, but so is the format of content itself. Now, it’s social media + video content. At least 50% or more of your marketing content next year should be in video format, either hosted natively on social or created with social distribution in mind. How Buyers Buy in 2016 (or, Why Uber Wrecked Your Website) Ten years ago, your website augmented your sales rep. Throughout the entire buying process -- from your ads, to your website (mobile and desktop), to your live chat service -- buyers expect personalization. 2017 marks the second act of inbound marketing.
2016 marks HubSpot’s 10th anniversary. When my co-founder Dharmesh Shah and I first started talking about the concept of inbound marketing, it wasn’t an evolution — it was a revolution. Instead of big brands beating small companies with expensive TV commercials, massive billboards, and other types of outbound campaigns as a foregone conclusion, content and search marketing equalized the playing field. Marketing became much more about the width of your brain than the width of your wallet.
Fast forward to today. While the fundamental tenets of inbound marketing still ring true, many of the specific channels and methods prospects are using to find, evaluate, and purchase products are different than 10 years ago.
Even the supply and demand dynamics have changed. In 2006, prospects had an average of four to five choices for any product or service they were looking to purchase. In 2016, I’ve found that that number has spiked to approximately 14 or 15 different vendors — and this holds among most industries. Choices that once occupied a few inches on a shelf at a retail store now expand endlessly on the infinite shelf of ecommerce sites.
Supply is way up, and demand is relatively flat. The increased competition means understanding how your prospective buyers research and buy is even more critical.
I’ve spent the last year studying the changes in prospect behavior, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re looking at another revolution — which heralds the second act of inbound marketing.
Here’s what that means for you, your prospects, your business, and your 2017 marketing plan.
The Second Act of Inbound Marketing
How to Get Found in 2016 (or, Why Google Is Now Ask Jeeves)
Back in 2006, Google helped buyers find the answers to their questions by serving up links to relevant information. Increasingly today, there’s no click needed — Google just gives searchers the answer directly through a rich answer box. The numbers vary on this but research has found that between 20 and 35% of searches performed today result in a quick answer box populated on the SERP itself.
Need an answer fast? Just ask. That’s right, Google has finally fulfilled the original Ask Jeeves promise. In our own research we’ve found that clickthrough rates from these answer boxes are also higher than traditional links. RKG Merkle saw a 516% increase in sessions when a client’s page captured the snippet box.
To adapt, companies should start to create content not just intended to rank in search, but also to be pulled into Google’s quick answer box, and educate your buyer directly on the SERP. Here’s a blog post on how to do this.
Quick answer boxes are not the only way Google is changing. Ten years ago, paid AdWords results took up about 50% of the screen “above the fold.” Today, because of a layout shift Google introduced earlier this year, AdWords ads have moved from the right column to the center and take up nearly 100% of the “above the fold” space on both desktop and mobile.
All of which means: If you have the budget, it’s worth integrating ads into your inbound strategy. But how do you run ads in an “inbound” way? Well, bad ads are still useless. If you…