I write this as I glance across your furrowed brows while you complete the Google Analytics IQ certification exam (sorry the keyboard is so loud). The nice thing is that you just completed the hardest part of the course, besides the AdWords exam, that’s really tough, and the bi-weekly blogging, which I grade more critically as the quarter progresses. Anyway, congratulations.
Next week we’ll have our first of many discussions around inbound marketing, pretty much the backbone of digital marketing, particularly in the B2B space, where many of you will eventually end up. What is inbound marketing? It’s the radical idea that firms shouldn’t waste money BROADcasting their promotional messages to people who have no interest in their products or services. With inbound marketing, firms create an ecosystem that encourages potential customers to actively insert themselves into the firm’s sales funnel. A good introduction to inbound marketing is this graphic I once received from noted WWU alumnus @andrewdumont.
Like it says, inbound marketing is “all the FREE ways to earn traffic”. For class, there are a few things I’d like you to read about inbound. First, read this new blog post from Marketo on the “Efficacy of Inbound Marketing”. Was it convincing? Next, make sure you have a free log-in from HubSpot and watch the three videos from the first unit of HubSpot Academy “Essentials of an Effective Inbound Strategy” Finally, here is a Harvard Business School case on HubSpot. (It will cost you $3.95 to download. Considering I’m not making you buy a textbook, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. You’ll have to register with HBS Publishing to access it.) We’ll discuss all of this on Tuesday.
On Thursday, we’ll review the concept of A/B Testing. Why is A/B testing so valuable in digital marketing? For one reason, we take the guess work out of our decisions. What should our website look like? What content should we publish? Where should we invest our paid media dollars? Should the sign-up button be green or red? It’s no longer a decision based on the HiPPO, we let our users decide. One of the leaders in the A/B testing industry is a company called Optimizely and like any good digital marketer, they’ve created educational content as part of their inbound marketing strategy like this guide that you should read for Thursday “What is A/B Testing?”. Digging a little deeper, please review the case studies from the Optimizely site. You should read a few that you find intriguing, but in particular look at the headlines and write about in your blog what are the common marketing objectives that Optimizely and A/B Testing help marketers achieve. In class we will discuss these case stufies, as well as other examples of A/B Testing that you discovered in your research for your blog. Finally, we will chat with Brian Boyd, a DigiMark alumnus who uses A/B testing today in his job as a digital marketer. Have a great weekend.
Your Obedient Servant,
P.S. I was listening to this as I walked to Haggard this morning.