Recently, I attended (can I use that word if I didn't go anywhere?) a webinar hosted by HubSpot. The topic was "The New Age of SEO", about the new pillar content strategy that is overtaking SEO. You can read more about that here, in relation to our Baltimore SEO pillar content campaign. I already had a basic knowledge on this topic, but wanted to see what else I could learn.
Hubspot, being an inbound marketing agency, always follows the inbound methodology for its campaigns. What is the inbound methodology? It looks something like this:
For succesful inbound marketing, any content you produce should fit into one of the four stages: attract, convert, close or delight. The first two categories are marketing-centric, the third sales, and the last belongs to the category of customer satisfaction. After a very nonscientific analysis, it was determined (with the help of Adam, boss of all things inbound) that this was an awareness-stage event on Hubspot's end. Stay tuned to here more about the awareness stage, and how this webinar fit the bill.
The awareness stage is when a consumer is experiencing a problem. He or she is trying to put a face to the problem by researching. This is before you can try to sell anything- they don't even know what it is what they need yet. For the awareness stage, you'll want to focus on creating helpful content like blog articles, webinars (case in point) and e-books, have a good social media presence and utilize good SEO practices.
- The Ad: A sponsored post (AKA an ad) about the webinar appeared on Adam's Facebook feed.
Facebook ads make it easy to choose a target group of people who will see your ad (hello, buyer personas). Chances are that Hubspot targeted people who had viewed content related to SEO. The ad reads, "The SEO experts at HubSpot are hosting a live event and workshop to help you stay ahead of the latest changes with search marketing". That wording resonates with people who have an interest in the SEO world. They may have a problem that the old SEO techniques that they have been employing are not yielding results. HubSpot puts a name to their problem by telling them that they will help you stay ahead of the game.
- The Content: The first half of the webinar was devoted to an overview of the new pillar content strategy for SEO. I have already been exposed to the idea, so it was nothing too novel for me. However, for someone who is trying to put a name to their problem of their SEO techniques not working, the content was perfect.
- The Call-to-Action: The second part of the webinar was devoted to reviewing the SEO practices of three websites that had been previously submitted. At the end, the hosts invited others to contact HubSpot to get a similar evaluation. My educated guess is that once a company does contact HubSpot with that request (which is likely that many will, as it's a great offer), they will guide them towards HubSpot's tools, all while giving useful advice.
HubSpot is great at what they do. After examing this campaign, I have learned a thing or two about catering to prospects in the awareness stage.
1. Know who you are targeting and target them correctly. Personas are a fundemental part to inbound marketing. Whether or not you make an official persona (which is recommended), always have a target audience in mind, like HubSpot did with their Facebook ad. It's better to get a smaller amount of interested prospects than wasting money advertising to huge audiences who don't have the problem that you are offering a solution to.
2. Offer help, not products. HubSpot is great at this. If this is the first time someone is hearing about pillar content strategy, they are not ready to buy a product yet. In fact, by pushing a product before prospects are ready, you risk losing potential clients by scaring them off. Instead, show that you know what you are talking about by sharing helpful advice that gives a name to their problem, and provide an oppurtunity for prospects to follow up. If they feel that what you have is valuable and a solution to their problem, they will follow up, and ultimately convert into customers.
Note that it is OK to mention your products (towards the end of the webinar, the presenters did mention HubSpot's pillar strategy tool). Just make sure it is not the focus and not off-putting.
Watch the recorded webinar here