While inbound marketing remains one of the most powerful lead generation tools marketers have at their disposal, it’s a challenge to make it as personal as outbound marketing channels can be. Marketing automation and data enhancement, however, are transforming the inbound marketing experience for leads, not only giving them greater personalization but also helping marketers get to know them better. Seeing your prospects as whole people rather than as unconnected data points is key to earning their business.
Seeing the Forest and the Trees
There’s no shortage of articles about the impact big data has had on marketing. Everywhere you look, you’ll read about how big data leads to deeper insights and better predictive capabilities for marketers, and it’s all true. What sometimes gets missed in the enthusiastic embrace of big data is how it affects leads on the smallest, most individual level – yet that’s where marketers can gain a significant edge over their competitors. Big data isn’t in opposition to a personalized view of leads; it goes hand in hand with a better understanding of your prospects as people. Zoom out on big data applications, and you see the shape of the overall forest. Move in, and you’re able to see the beauty of individual trees within the larger landscape too.
The Care and Feeding of a Lead
See how big data has highly individualized applications, let’s look at one of the most important inbound marketing channels: organic search engine traffic. Big data will tell you volumes about keyword choices, optimal density, and other SEO essentials, but it also helps you predict what incoming leads want once they get to your site so you can serve them more of what they’re most interested in finding. With that knowledge in mind, you’re then able to start building a custom experience around your new visitors.
Marketing automation systems play a major role in customization and personalization because they let your site itself respond to choices leads make. If, for example, a lead spends the most time on a particular page of your website, the content offers he or she receives via email can relate to that subject specifically. Home pages and landing pages can also serve tailor-made content so each subsequent visit to your site becomes relevant to your lead. Even images can change to meet an individual prospect’s preferences.
Worth a Thousand Words
Why do custom images on website pages, email, and direct mail matter? People are highly visual, and more than half our brains’ sensory processing centers are devoted to the sense of sight. Give people relevant content to look at, and they’re far more engaged than they would be when seeing plain text or unrelated images. Personalized messages backed up with the innate emotional appeal of relevant imagery pack a greater punch than a generic image. Combine that customized set of visuals with content chosen to meet your individual lead’s needs, and you have a potent combination of inbound and outbound marketing working together to create a completely customized experience for your prospects.
A successful lead gen strategy is one that’s able to adapt itself to any number of leads and meet their needs in ways the competition can’t. Use marketing automation and customization to treat every lead as an individual, and you’re on your way to earning their business over the long term.
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