Three years ago, I started a blog as a writing outlet for my passion with online marketing, business, and entrepreneurship. As time went on, I began receiving inbound leads from the content I was generating. The inbound leads ranged from individual business professionals to CEOs of startups and small to mid-size companies. With the influx of these leads, I was able to pick and choose the clients I truly wanted to work with. I was also able to push for a set required minimum spend, ensuring that I worked with clients who were serious about taking their marketing initiatives to the next level.
More recently, I decided to give outbound telemarketing a try, and was incredibly disappointed with the less than desirable results. Why? From the recipient’s perspective, information is so readily available now more so than it has ever been. Hearing from someone you don’t know who’s trying to sell you their products and/or services not only interrupts your work day, but it is an annoyance. From the business’ perspective, implementing outbound marketing (i.e. cold calling or cold emailing) becomes very costly and difficult to scale in the long run.
More importantly, pay close attention to these stats:
- Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing.
- 57% of B2B buyers are through the purchase decision before engaging a sales rep.
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company.
With the proliferation of digital technologies, the immediate need for getting in touch with a sales rep to get more information is no longer a major necessity. Therefore, ensuring you have a solid inbound marketing strategy nailed down will further help you with the following:
- Transitioning from interruption marketing into creating relevant content that resonates with your buyer personas, making it easier for them to take action to learn more about how you solve their pain points.
- Being customer-centric by executing personalized marketing campaigns to each of your personas. In other words, no more spraying and praying.
- Knowing exactly which digital channels are yielding the best conversions and retention rates.
- Humanizing your brand and building deeper connections with your target demographic through content.
- Shifting your thoughts from selling to being helpful and educational.
Moreover, here are 5 ways inbound marketing will help your business grow…
Content is at the heart of it all
Content is also the the biggest driver behind organic growth and with generating leads, sales and growing retention. A key factor with seeing success via content marketing is to ensure that collaboration is front of mind company-wide, so the responsibility doesn’t just fall on marketing. This will push your teams to work together and not in siloes. Success is a result of shared vision, shared mission and teamwork, so create a winning cultural belief out of that.
Also, put in the time to understand the type of content, CTAs (call-to-actions), and messaging that will attract and retain customers. Doing so will set you on a clearer path to achieving any milestones or business objectives set in place.
To dive in a bit deeper on content marketing, refer to these previous blog posts:
- How to Track the Performance of Your Content Marketing Efforts
- Expanding the Lifecycle of Your Content Marketing Assets
- Getting the Most Out of Your Content Marketing Efforts
Build trust and credibility
Gaining domain authority comes with the ability to connect with people in a way that they feel they can trust you. That trust stems from your ability to sell yourself and what you have to offer by being helpful. For example, from the very beginning, HubSpot made content a priority such that they provided useful tips, guides, webinars, white papers, etc. to help small to mid-size businesses learn more about how inbound marketing is key to inbound marketing success. They have an entire library of free resource that’s helped tremendously with lead generation and with fostering sales, enabling them to grow by over 6,000%.
Also consider the following:
- Executing a strong PR strategy and plan. Positive media coverage in well-respected publications are endorsements for your brand. Today’s communications programs are about getting the right coverage from the right person (whether that person is a journalist, a blogger or a social media influencer). With that in mind, building a media list isn’t about beat or publication anymore, but rather about how that person’s influence can move your brand story forward. (Source: Meltwater)
- Look at becoming an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau within your region. Not only will this help with SEO (i.e. local and links), it will add trust and authority in the eyes of search engines as well as website visitors.
Show, don’t just tell
Diversify your content creation and promotion efforts around the needs of your target customers with videos, tutorials, one-page guides, SlideShare, memes, how to’s, etc. For example, Neil Patel does a great job writing extensive blog posts that illustrate tests he’s implemented, his learnings and how he’s able to achieve high conversions. His blog posts are mixed in with both images and text, providing methodologies that can be adopted as well as tested.
Additionally, leverage these two tips highlighted by Business2Community for help:
- Customer testimonials – write up case studies, do interviews and video testimonials to show how your product/service have positively impacted them.
- Action words – use verbs to tell your story and balance out between stating the fact and painting a vivid picture.
Remember, inbound marketing isn’t just about generating leads and sales, but it’s a way to incorporate community building through social interactions. Being proactive in how you get feedback from your customers and prospects will help you improve your inbound marketing executions. Again, this also goes back to building that trust and credibility. You don’t do it by pushing sales on every interaction, but by being helpful and showing that you care about solving problems. For example, Moz does an amazing job with building and retaining their community of SEO + digital marketing enthusiasts. Every Friday, they push out videos with tips on how to improve on certain aspects of digital marketing and many of the topics they cover are discussions that have happened or are happening within their community.
Having a feedback loop also means you also take analytical data points seriously. For instance, analytics can help you understand things like the top performing landing pages on your website, the best times to post your content on social media, to what happens when people get on your website. Once understood, all of these metrics can be used to rework current implementations to help increase conversions or with pushing out content that better aligns with the needs of your customers and prospects.
Optimize and automate
Both free and paid analytics tools are available, so not taking advantage of them is only hurting your business. Break out your inbound marketing efforts and understand the major KPIs you plan to track within each area, as well as the goals you want to achieve. Then, research the right tools to help integrate your efforts as cohesively as possible (recall per CMO Council: CMOs who manage and integrate technology are achieving measurable business and operational gains with 51% achieving greater revenue contributions).
Here are a few tools to check out:
- One-stop shops: HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, LeadSquared
- Email: Customer.io, Mailchimp, Drip, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft
- Social: Buffer, Hootsuite, Snip,ly, IFTTT, Cyfe, Quintly
- Content Creation and Management: Fiverr, Copify, CoSchedule
- Content Promotion: AdRoll, Facebook Advertising, Google Adwords
- Landing Pages: Unbounce, LeadPages, Instapage
Next post, I’ll walk you through all of these tools in more detail and highlight some of my favorite inbound marketing and automation tools. Stay tuned!