You'll no doubt have encountered the argument around metrics and measuring success at one point or another. The metrics we use to report on should be very much informed by our unique goals and strategies.
Whilst some marketers take high site traffic as an instant positive and a sign of success, for example, others would argue those are merely vanity metrics. After all, what is a flurry of site visits if ultimately none of them impact your bottom line?
Even more interesting is the finding from HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report 2016 that 74% of marketers indicated their top priority was converting leads to customers. This is a marked change from the previous three years, highlighting a focus not merely increasing the number of leads, but their ultimate conversion to customer.
It would appear that the eye has shifted to the end goal of the business, rather than ticking boxes in order to hand over to sales and sign off the campaign as ‘done’, regardless of lead quality.
Is the rivalry between sales and marketing hindering your ability to convert and close new customers?
Source: HubSpot's State of Inbound 2016
It might not be time to sign off the content strategy just yet
The report also took a look at the specific areas marketers are focusing on in order to hit this conversion priority.
Despite our resolutions to increase a quality pipeline of leads that actually convert to customers, 65% stated that their top marketing challenge was actually generating traffic and leads in the first place. Never far from a list of marketing challenges, calculating ROMI was also important, with 43% of marketers struggling to prove their worth.
So whilst the long-term aim is definitely honing marketing effectiveness, many of us are struggling to get our inbound marketing strategy off the starting line and as a result find it difficult to attribute business growth back to marketing (never mind prove a return on marketing spend).
Source: HubSpot's State of Inbound 2016
Despite all the will in the world, something is stuck. We have a conversion rate problem.
The conversion rate problem: what are we doing wrong?
Looking at the State of Inbound, marketers have indicated that in order to reach the overriding goal for customer conversions they will predominantly focus on organic presence through SEO (66%) and blog content creation (60%).
Now let’s switch mindset for a moment and look at another report released by HubSpot earlier this year. The Future of Content Marketing surveyed over 1,000 global internet users to see what the consumer trends are saying.
It would appear that whilst we focus our time on the broader themes of increasing web presence and content marketing strategy, consumers are becoming more and more discerning about the type of content they spend their time on.
If you're struggling with lead generation and need to start seeing results, perhaps you're not paying enough attention to your audiences.
Don’t panic yet, this certainly doesn’t mean you should delete your articles and enslave yourself to the Twitter timeline. Skimming content certainly doesn’t render it void of value, instead highlighting a need for creating relevant, standout content that differentiates you from competitors to keep the reader interested.
Just because someone is considering your product area, it doesn’t mean you've automatically earned their interest
These results seem to point to a growing trend for our audiences wanting value from their content rather than the same themes and style of posts that crop up all over the internet on a regular basis.
News, research, and educational content are all up there amongst the ranks of those capturing attention. Become thought leaders in your industry, educate your prospects and become their go-to for information. It’s far more likely to put you first in their minds over a competitor blogging about more generic subjects.
How to give your potential buyers what they want and boost conversions
1. Different departments in your business could be your biggest asset. Set up internal meetings and draw together ideas for content from across the company (customer services, sales, marketing, operations, etc). Everyone will be having conversations at different stages in the buyer journey — you'll be surprised with the level of useful insight.
2. Ask your customers what they want! Create a survey to find out what topics are the most sought after and the format they prefer to consume it in. Not only will you gather valuable information but you'll be setting yourselves apart by involving them in the process and tailoring your marketing to be helpful.
3. Make sure that you pay as much attention to the presentation as you do the content. The Future of Content Marketing reports that your articles and long-form content are being skim read, so you need to make sure they're visually interesting enough to encourage people to get to the end.
BONUS: Audit your current blogs to see how you could reformat them. Can you skim read them and still finish with some key takeaways? Discover how to do a content audit.
4. Test and iterate. Published content should never be ticked off as 'done' and left. Things change, best practice evolves, and even more importantly, some things just won't work out how you intended them to, so you need to make sure you're paying attention to avoid it becoming a waste.
Digging further into the conversation rate problem
The State of Inbound 2016 revealed a host of interesting insights this year, with the main drive being that inbound marketing plus sales equals business growth. We all belong to the same company and should be focused on that same goal of revenue success.
The subject of marketing and sales alignment is definitely one for another article but when 74% of marketers are prioritising an increase in customer conversions we can definitely start working on how we can help kick start that.
Learn more about how you can solve the conversion rate problem and improve the performance of your inbound marketing campaigns by downloading our free ebook below.