Guest post by Brian Halligan, CEO and Co-founder of HubSpot
Marketing is on the threshold of yet another transformation. It used to be that developing your online presence as a business was sufficient to stand out from the competition. Now your survival is increasingly dependent upon your ability to draw insights from your audience and leverage them in a smart way.
This was the crux of the discussion I recently had with George Hu, EVP platform, marketing and operations at salesforce.com, in a webinar titled “Social Revolution: Connecting with Today’s Customer
.” In order for businesses to grow and innovate, they need to become like Amazon and Netflix for their industries. What do I mean by that?
Amazon is wildly successful because it has added new layers of value to its products. The store isn’t simply offering books, movies, games and electronics. It’s providing unique product suggestions and reviews based on one’s purchase history and shopping habits. As I’ve noted before
, Amazon is leveraging the wisdom of the crowds to create a more personalized user experience that increases customer conversion dramatically.
That is also how businesses today need to think about marketing segmentation. It’s this type of granular information that will help you focus on the needs of each individual customer and provide her with a delightful experience. It’s this type of personalization that will set you apart from the competition.
“Amazon has made a science of user engagement,” noted Tim O’Reilly in his 2005 article
“What Is Web 2.” Collecting information around individual transactions has enabled the company to build “collective intelligence,” draw patterns and match them in a way that improves customer experience. Clearly, this recipe has proven successful for the giant Amazon, which ranks seventh in Compete.com’s world rankings of sites with the most unique visitors.
So how can you become the Amazon and Netflix of your industry? It’s really a two-step process:
1. Become a ToFu Titan
Start thinking about your business as a publisher and become a ToFu titan. We, at HubSpot refer to ToFu as Top of the Funnel, which basically means creating remarkable content that will attract a lot of people and generate leads for your business. You might be publishing blog articles, releasing industry reports, producing videos and presenting on webinars. All and any of these content pieces will help you rank high in search engines, become a thought leader in your field and earn the trust of your audience.
For instance, Netflix has 798,000 pages on its website, and each page acts as an asset to pull customers in. So start asking yourself how you can create a massive content creation factory. The answer to this question will open up the top of your funnel and help you start collecting valuable information about your prospects.
2. Start Practicing MoFu Magic
In order for ToFu to bring in real business results, it needs to be accompanied by the sophisticated marketing segmentation I mentioned earlier. I call this Middle of the Funnel (MoFu), which means intelligence to help you nurture prospects, stay engaged with them
, analyze their behavior and provide them with what they need at the right time.
Your visitors come to your site carrying a ton of “baggage,” such as history of page views, blog comments and social media profiles, and you can transform all this valuable data into a delightful user experience. This ecosystem will empower you to increase conversions dramatically and leave your competition in the dust.
If you didn’t have a chance to attend the Social Revolution webinar live, you can still watch it on demand
. Hope you will enjoy it and don’t forget to send me a tweet or two with your thoughts on it. Twitter handle: bhalligan