By Alexandra DeFelice
The session by Alan Vitberg, owner of Vitberg LLC marketing agency
, and Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, founder and president of bbr marketing
, addressed several game changers in the accounting profession, but content marketing took center stage of the conversation with audience members.
People are moving away from "interruptive" outbound strategies, such as telemarketing, e-mail, and radio ads, toward permission-based methods, such as free tools and trials. "Inbound marketing is earning someone's interest," Vitberg explained.
That doesn't mean outbound marketing is dead, but it's taking a back seat to inbound methods. And the trend is likely to continue, with 54 percent of B2B marketers saying they'll increase their content marketing spending in the next twelve months, according to a 2013 survey the presenters cited.
Inbound marketing consists of four main steps:
- Attraction – Takes place through blogging, social media, and keywords that bring visitors to a firm's website.
- Conversion – Brings calls to action, such as filling out forms, asking for contact information, and directing visitors to content-specific landing pages thereby creating leads.
- Closing – Converts those leads into customers. This is where analytics, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other tools help marketers see a clearer picture of the pipeline.
- Delighting – Calls to action specifically targeted for smaller audiences, whose attention you already have, turning them into promoters. Once you have the right audience, the marketing process can be automated to continue to delight and sell to them.
Focusing on the issues affecting clients, such as new regulations, and thinking of your content from the eyes of your readers are the keys to successful content marketing versus talking about how great your firm is and all the things it can offer.
Vitberg and Ruszczyk explained that content marketing exploits your unique position in your markets to generate valuable insight and advice on issues (not services) your clients and prospects care most about (their priorities, not yours).
Remember, you can get multiple uses from the same content. For example, an article can turn into a blog, a tweet, or even a webinar.
Last but not least, have a plan. What are your objectives? Who is your audience? What's your focus? How will you promote it and how often? How will you measure it and justify it to your partners? What does success look like? If you don't define it, you might get there but not realize it.