It’s been just over a month since our team attended HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference in Boston, and we’re still just as excited about all the big takeaways today as we were in the moment. They’re all coming back to us now in the midst of annual marketing planning season too.
One of the major themes of INBOUND 2018 was the introduction of HubSpot’s Service Hub and the new “growth flywheel” which puts customers at the center of all marketing, sales, and service activities. The general idea is that, in the traditional marketing and sales funnel that we’ve all grown accustomed to, customers were seen as an output of marketing and sales. However, in today’s day and age, customers should really be an input; our marketing and sales activities should be customer-centric.
Simply put, our customers should be our biggest advocates. They are the proof points for what we’re selling, and their real-life experiences with our product or service — good or bad — can and should help influence the way our prospects are thinking during their buying journey.
After all, it’s nearly the end of 2018. We live in a world that is more connected than ever, with access to information at our fingertips whenever we want it. Think about the last time you made a purchase — whether for your business or for yourself. If you’re like most people, you likely sat down at your computer or pulled out your phone to look at reviews prior to making that purchase.
In his keynote address, Brian Halligan mentioned that when it comes to consumer trust, word of mouth is an incredibly powerful channel — even more so now that the world is so connected. He described his experience with HubSpot customers and shared that “it went from being sales and marketing being the loudest voice in their head to word of mouth being the loudest voice in their head.”
So what exactly does this mean for us as B2B marketers and salespeople? No, it’s not time for us to throw our marketing plans to the wayside, but it is time to enhance our marketing efforts with the best possible customer experience. After all, when your prospects are considering their options and are hungry for reviews, you want your customers and the stories they tell about their experience with you to back you up.
As I mentioned, this doesn’t necessarily require a total overhaul to your marketing activities. Here are some simple ways to supplement your marketing and content creation efforts with a focus on customer feedback in order to harness “word of mouth” in your marketing:
Start by creating case studies that tell the stories of how your customers benefited from your product or service. If possible, try to capture these case studies in video format. Not only will videos help to humanize both your customers and your brand, they’ll help to hold your prospects’ attention as well.
Ask your customers for testimonials that you can place on your website. These testimonials could essentially be short snippets of the case studies you created, but having a few sentences summing up their experience with you, in their words, placed on key pages will keep the referral top-of-mind for customers as they navigate your site.
Encourage customers to leave a Google review of your organization. Google features reviews as part of the information sidebar when someone conducts a search for your business, and you want to showcase positive experiences from the get-go, before a visitor even makes it to your site!
Above all, make sure that your company is fully equipped to offer the very best possible customer experience and truly delight your customers — after all, if your customer experience isn’t worth raving about, then it won’t do you any favors when it comes to winning over prospects. HubSpot’s Service Hub has several features that help you achieve this, including Knowledge Base, Tickets, and Feedback.
Inbound marketing has always been about helping your prospects solve problems and make buying decisions on their terms. With the growth flywheel concept in mind, marketers can carry this helpful mentality throughout not only their prospect’s buying journey, but the entire customer experience — and then harness those experiences into marketing content fuel.
Posted by Laura Sheptoski
Laura is a detail-oriented consultant and project manager, with a background in public relations, social media engagement, and client content creation. Prior to her time at Weidert Group, Laura managed PR for an industrial services company, and maintains a strong focus on earned media within our inbound marketing programs.