Inspired by Inbound 2016, I've prepared this list of truths that all companies need to accept in order to stick around in the years to follow.
1. The cold call is dead
Stop harassing people, nobody like to get a call from a stranger trying to sell them stuff they don't care about. Relationships don't work that way. Companies who rely on cold calling as their growth strategy, and hope to generate meaningful cooperation's, will not be around for long (if you're trying to steal people's money by calling them and misleading them – cold calling is not dead. But who are you and how do you sleep at night?).
2. Email is alive
Email open rates have dropped dramatically during the past few years. Unicorns such as 90% open rates don't happen anymore. That doesn't mean you shouldn’t be using emails for your sales and marketing. It means you need to craft personal and relevant emails. It's all about the context. And no, adding a personalized name token to your emails is not what this is about. People aren't idiots. Here are 6 pro tips for creating an email marketing strategy.
3. Enough with the ABC
Always Be Closing is a state of mind you can't afford. You should Always Be Helping. You need to add value to your prospects and to keep adding value to them once they are customers. If you ignore that you'll be disrupted.
Understand who your buyer personas are and start adding value to them, gently pushing them down the buyer's journey and helping them to choose you when they are interested to come back for more value.
4. A taste is more
As we've established, people expect to get value from you. They expect to get this value before they decide to purchase from you. Let them. Provide them with a taste of your offering, be it a free trial, a freemium or any other model that will show them the real deal. If you're afraid people will not want to buy from you after getting a taste – you have bigger problems on your plate. Go fix your product or service and come back when you're ready to play.
5. SEO = HEO
In order to win at SEO, you need to master HEO – Human Enjoyment Optimization. It's not enough to get people to visit your site. You need to want them to engage with your website, view pages, and stick around long enough to get excited. Make every interaction with your company an enjoyable one.
6. Prospects talk with your customers
Like it or not, your prospects are speaking with your customers and making decisions based on those conversations. 74% of prospects decide based on word of mouth and 46% decide based on customer references. Make sure they're acquiring praises and not in a race to close customers and ditch them. Retention is key.
7. It's a terrible time to be a huge company
Huge companies have a hard time adapting to trends. Change is their enemy. The fortune 500 list is constantly changing. This means:
8. It's a terrific time to grow
If you company befriends change, identifies trends and stays ahead of the game, hey, you just might end up on the list yourself. Find out where your target audience is, and make sure to be there. I hope this list will inspire you:
9. Inbound is mandatory
It's time to stop interrupting and start attracting prospects by offering them value. Inbound is not longer that vague term marketers like to use to sound smart. It's a necessity. Create content, match it with your customers’ needs and preferences and naturally start attracting inbound traffic that can be converted, closed and delighted over time.
Summing things up
Stop interrupting, befriend changes, provide value, and nurture relationships. It's about quality not quantity, and it's up to you to shine. No excuses.
If you found this useful, and you're curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting Inbound Marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an Inbound Marketing strategy.