From the ancient Egyptians to the Tumblr generation, the human race has been captivated by the furry little
demons angels we call cats. Even though we’re really their pets (come on, be honest with yourself), we get along just fine. However, did you know that cats have been hiding a splendid secret from us? No? Well, the truth is, cats are amazing marketers. They’ve finally decided that human beings are worthy of knowing their ways, and I’ve discovered 20 inbound marketing tips by studying their elusive behaviours.
1. Inbound methodologies are ineffective when forced. This ping pong master kitty is having a great time! It gets to hang out on a delightful table, play with the net, and spike balls at will. The kitty has chosen to engage with the presented activity; don’t forget that it could easily ignore its surroundings. Your visitors and customers choose to engage with your content at will, so don’t expect every piece of your content to magically go viral within seconds. Furthermore, do not give in to the temptation to constantly spam your followers via the likes of newsletters in order to get more popular. Such attempts defeat the whole purpose of the inbound philosophy.
2. Create quality content that people find interesting, useful, or helpful. This kitty’s care cup is clearly empty. Why would it bother to care about some stupid strawberry? There’s no context behind it and no use for it, so the berry gets the boot. Your content should have a real-world purpose; don’t sell strawberries to cats. They like milk, catnip, and ignoring you when you wish to pet them.
3. Don’t be confusing. Nobody knows what the owners of this silly kitty were thinking when they decided to use a piece of bread as fashion accessory. I mean, do cats even know what fashion is? As a marketer, you cannot assume that your leads are interpreting your content in the same way as you. Aim to ensure that your messaging is clear, concise, and highly targeted to your buyer persona. You need to give yourself the best chance of being understood in order to actually be understood.
4. Keep things fun and simple. Aww, this sad little kitten doesn’t have enough time to fill out an incredibly long landing page for the legendary “1001 Ways to Ruin Furniture” eBook. Bummer! Whoever created that landing page should have really considered these handy tips from Unbounce.
5. Engage with your audience, and give them a reason to continue the conversation. All aboard the magical floor-cleaning train! These kitties have discovered the coolest and hippest place around the house and are having a great time together. They’ll probably tell all of their cat friends because it was so much fun. You should aim to produce the same effect with your marketing methodologies by encouraging calls to action and producing quality content.
6. Don’t go looking for fights. Ouch! These kung fu kittens may look cute, but as you just saw, they can be vicious creatures. The kitty that fell may never get back up, and the same thing can happen to your brand if you decide to crack your whip. Negative feedback and reviews will affect your business for sure, but address them constructively for the best customer experience. As HubSpot points out, it’s not very hard to be nice to your audience.
7. If you dig a hole for yourself, you’ll stay there. Oh no! Looks like this kitty got a little too curious and has suffered the foolish fate of being gobbled up by a treacherous box until the end of time. Perhaps this poor cat was bad mouthing other brands or customers on social media, or maybe it constantly hissed at its followers. Don’t ever do what this because your brand will most likely not recover.
8. Don’t trap your customers. Another curious cat, another cruel fate! Your customers and leads never want to feel like they’re being suffocated by your marketing efforts. They can always navigate away from your site or landing page, just like our kitty could get out of the box. However, leads should be nurtured instead of getting frustrated. The negative sentiment could spread and contribute to your brand’s downfall. Ensure that your site has no intrusive elements (e.g. annoying pop ups) or extremely long forms to fill.
9. You work will crash and burn if you spam. Holy smokes, these horrible marketers are just throwing product after product at this unlucky kitty! Their methods are extremely ineffective, and this kitty clearly has anti spam filters installed in its soft paws. If you’re unsure whether you’re spamming or not, feel free to consult this great tips list from Inbound Marketing Agents.
10. Your leads are smart and can discover all sorts of uses for quality work. Just because you’re the marketer does not mean that you’re somehow smarter than your targets. If you come up with a really clever idea but think it will go over people’s heads, you’re in the wrong mindset. If these adorable kitties can find a way to fit inside that box, any quality work you produce will serve some sort of purpose, even it’s a bit different from its original intention.
11. Plan, plan, PLAN! Looks like our favorite predator kitty quickly became the prey. It’s a good thing that the gif ends when it does because the rest would not be suitable for all viewers. This kitty did not consider the food chain (everyone knows that sharks eat cats!) but your business should. Inbound marketing can sometimes be very reaction and situation based, however, there must be a plan in order to be successful. For example, if you want to have a whole bunch of blog posts on your site, create a content calendar which will detail the expected post dates. Of course, leave some room for those time sensitive topics that are bound to pop up.
12. Always adapt. This smart kitty was ready for a kiss from its loving owner but realized that it would get enveloped in a grotesque cloud of garlic breath. So it simply moved away. Your marketing strategy should also adapt to trends since you won’t be able to generate and nurture leads if they see you’re out of touch (e.g. intrusive banner ads). Inbound methods are simply more effective than outbound methods, but connecting with your leads is critical in order to be successful.
13. Go for quick wins but follow your long term vision. Thirsty kitty saw an opportunity and took it, and now it’s no longer thirsty. However, that shower will not remain running forever and our creative creature will need to find another source of delicious water. The same applies to your inbound strategies. If you see an opportunity for a quick like/share or shout out, don’t be afraid of exploiting it as long as you keep your long term plan in mind. There are many ways get some quick wins, but don’t consistently rely on them.
14. Be patient. This determined kitty is training hard for the next Furrlympics. It knows that the hard work will eventually pay off and that the glorious gold medal will be there for the taking. This cat must have been an inbound marketer in one of its nine lives; it realizes that results can often be phenomenal though not instantaneous.
15. Don’t let things snowball. This kitty obviously did not respond to customer feedback and issues, and now it’s going to get chomped up by everyone! The same thing will happen to your company if your followers go ignored. Don’t be afraid of addressing key issues because they will not go away. Offer solutions to unsatisfied customers and consider making changes to any malfunctioning internal processes. As Search Engine Land puts it, ignoring negative feedback will not make it go away. Take that notion to heart.
16. Anything is possible with friends. These kittens are egging each other on in order to climb the towering Mt. Legverest. The same group mentality applies to fans of your brand, and it’s your job as the marketer to encourage such behaviour. For example, CTAs are a great way of making your fans active. The power of social proof cannot be underestimated.
17. Always do your research. Unfortunately, this kitty attempted to use a slipper without ever knowing what one is and made a fool of itself. Don’t follow this cat’s example with your marketing strategies because the end result will be the same. It only takes a few seconds for someone to fact check whatever you say, so make sure that you know what you’re talking about. It’s OK if you’re not an expert about a specific topic, but in that case, don’t pretend to be one.
18. Try something different. Cats aren’t known to be phenomenal tank drivers, but that didn’t stop our heroic kitty from going for a test drive. Your company shouldn’t be scared by new types of marketing methods, within reason of course. For example, Giant Bomb has been doing long form video content about the gaming industry since 2008, even though such a method was only starting to get popular back then. They established themselves as leaders in their industry by recognizing media consumption trends and by leveraging their in house talent.
19. Don’t be afraid of failure. This kitty failed to vanquish its evil opponent, but it will surely try again (and perhaps with a different tactic). Sometimes you may create uninteresting content or use an ineffective method. It wouldn’t be truthful to say such scenarios are completely avoidable. However, it is important to analyze why something failed in order t learn something for the future. Was your CTA too wordy? Did your blog post contain a bunch of dead links? Always ask yourself a million questions because there are a million ways of testing any page.
20. Stay mobile. This kitty is a genius! It gloriously responded to the dire situation and achieved its goals of reaching the magical floor of cat happiness. As demonstrated by the National Post, mobile devices are taking over our daily lives. There’s no excuse for not optimizing your website for mobile anymore, and responsive web design is a great way of achieving this goal. Responsive design is so awesome that it doesn’t just help your mobile presence, it ensures that your site is always in tip top shape on any platform.
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