Over the last few weeks, I have taken a hard look at our content marketing strategy, our inbound strategy, and our email marketing strategy. My conclusion is they can all work to some degree, but they all have their issues. As a result, I am going to be making some changes over the next few months.

I was using HubSpot the last two years and it is a very good product. The issue I had is it drove people to an alias of my website for best results. This isn’t a sustainable approach over time. In addition, Hubspot had a good interface to build landing pages and email marketing templates, but the time involved in making these items look professional was substantial in my mind and I don’t have a full-time person assigned to Hubspot to make this process work effectively.

Over the past three years, I have really worked at building content. In 2016, I cut back on content quite a bit and went more for quality versus quantity. It actually helped me focus more on specific topics and I think it helped me become more effective as a writer. Content is still important, but there is much more with respect to the whole marketing/sales process.

Here is my summary of where I’ve been.

I’ve read countless books and articles from people who work with these tools, but the truth is these same people are only in charge of marketing companies and they do not represent those of us who look at sales figures and new accounts on a daily basis. These people tell me what metrics to look for, but somehow these figures do not match up nicely with the way our clients and processes work at our own company. This is where my real struggle is putting all of this information together.

Where do I go from here?

I am currently reevaluating marketing tools. I want marketing tools to work for me and I need them to be simple to use and easy to measure. It may seem like an oversimplification, but if those two requirements are met, I am convinced I will actually see more results than I am currently seeing.

Also, I have been tracking the setup of new accounts for the past 3-4 years and the number one reason that people find out about our company is a referral or word of mouth. This information really tells me that if I can get on people’s radar and I create a brand where people are able to see us, I will have a pretty good success rate. Basically, I need more exposure. I can no longer rely on a website, advertising or trade shows. I need to have information that is accessible and I need to make sure our company stands out in a crowded world. For this reason, I am going to find ways that get our brand name out there in the local community, the national mix and on social media. At trade shows, I need to find ways to get our booth noticed.

Become part of the experience

In addition, I need to make our brand name more personal. People need to see myself connected more to the brand name. Brands that can be associated with a person are much more recognizable and it brings a sense of personalization to the brand. Today, this can really work in my favor. As companies continue to buy, sell and merge, their message is getting lost and they are quickly using their ability to connect with their audience. This is where the opportunity really exists. I am really seeing this first-hand on social media. In the past, I have tried to separate my personal profile from our brand, more out of fear, but now I think it is a necessity.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

Word-of-Mouth is making a comeback and I believe it is the area I am going to concentrate on going forward. It seems like every time I begin to write off the power of referrals and word-of-mouth, it quickly becomes the area where I see the most potential.

Time to get more in the game and build on this concept going into 2017.