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What The Bachelorette Can Teach Us About Inbound Marketing

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Brooks Forester Fan Club
Brooks Forester Fan Club

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with crappy reality TV, particularly the ABC goldmines The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I try to rationalize my love for the shows, but I've come to the conclusion that they're just sick addictions.

Needless to say, when I looked at the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Conference agenda and saw a session titled “Inbound Marketing Lessons from The Bachelorette,” I knew that I had to go. However, I was so set on going that I failed to read the session's description and notice that Brooks Forester, one of the top three finalists from the most recent Bachelorette season, was hosting the session. You can imagine my inner freak-out when I saw the contestant grace the stage.

For those of you who are not part of Bachelor Nation, let me give you a little background on Brooks. Brooks, a sales representative for Salt Lake City-based inbound marketing company Fit Marketing, was a frontrunner from the very beginning. Gossip sites like Reality Steve declared him the winner before the show even started, and Bachelorette Desiree revealed that Brooks was “the one” early on in the show. But after making it to the final three, Brooks shocked America by leaving the show and engaging in what he describes as “the longest breakup in television history.”

Rather than shy away from Brooks' journey to find love, Fit Marketing embraced it. The marketing company uploaded a YouTube video portraying how Fit Marketing copywriter Nathaniel Freeman “coped” with Brooks' absence the day after the show premiered. That one video transformed into an entire series highlighting different employees' coping mechanisms. Fit Marketing posted these videos every Tuesday—the day after The Bachelorette aired.

Gossip blogs like Reality Steve and Wetpaint picked up the videos and embedded them on their sites. Dave Bascom, owner and CEO of Fit Marketing, reported that the video series generated approximately 52,900 views (more than 96,600 minutes watched) from May 31 to August 18. Not only did these videos generate views, but people were also so amused by them that they generated business, as well notes Bascom.

As Brooks' fame and video views grew, Fit Marketing noticed that its website traffic and referral traffic were escalating. But it wasn't its target audience who was visiting the site; instead, Fit Marketing was drawing “women who watch The Bachelorette and men who say they don't watch The Bachelorette but do” who were on the hunt for Brooks. Bascom adds that Reality Steve, Wetpaint, and Facebook became Fit Marketing's top referral sites.

Understanding that not everyone was visiting Fit Marketing's site to check out its SEO practices or brand identity services, the company created a landing page that welcomed people to the site and asked them what their intentions were: a marriage proposal, help with your marketing, media requests, or other. Fit Marketing also posted Bachelorette-themed marketing content, including tips from Brooks, on its blog and Facebook page and hosted Twitter polls. Owner and President Owen Fuller even became president of the Brooks Forester fan club—a Facebook page dedicated to the contestant featuring videos and pictures from The Bachelorette, blog posts, and personal pictures and tidbits about Brooks. The fan club currently has more than 1,400 likes. In addition, Brooks' personal Twitter followers jumped from 2,000 at the end of May to more than 38.4 thousand today.

“They really engaged, and that's the whole point,” Brooks said to the Inbound audience. “This is typical in the sense that there are ways to get exposure and you never know when those opportunities are going to come....As you're producing your content, realize that it could go somewhere.”

Although Fit Marketing is pleased with its results, Bascom acknowledges that the company probably could have seen more success had it started reaching out to Bachelorette fans sooner.

Now that the show is over, Brooks is embarking on his own rebranding effort. To prove that he's more than just the guy who left the show, Brooks uses his social networks to show him doing non-Bachelorette related activities, such as hiking or interacting with coworkers.

And while not all marketing organizations have the luxury of leveraging a reality TV star, Fit Marketing owner Fuller encourages marketers to be ready for unforeseen opportunities.

“Be ready, for me, means be sure that everything you put out to the public is something you can be proud of,” he said. “Be bold. Be radical.”

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