To reap the benefits of a successful inbound marketing strategy, there are many different things to master – from social media to SEO and analytics to content management, there’s a multitude of channels to explore. When done correctly, the influx of quality leads and sales will consistently be knocking at your door.
The beauty of inbound marketing is how it continues to pay off long into the future. This is because you have put things in place that allow your targeted buyers to find you with ease and you then help them through all of the processes involved in purchasing from you.
Recall in a previous blog post titled, 7 Content Marketing Ideas to Help You Acquire Customers, I talked about the importance of content marketing (an essential component to all of marketing in general) – so in this blog post you’ll find additional inbound marketing ideas you can implement to foster a holistic strategy.
1. Establish a Clear Strategy
In order to successfully execute inbound marketing, you must have a clear strategy that lays out what you’re trying to accomplish, how you will go about achieving your goals and when you forecast results will be seen. Recall the following stats I highlighted in my blog post on 5 Ways Inbound Marketing Will Help Your Business Grow:
- Inbound marketingdelivers 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 that in mind, make sure you have the following items in place:
- S.M.A.R.T goals identified. Doing so will help create alignment between sales and marketing by working towards a collaborative objective. (E.g. “We want to increase generated leads by 20% in the next 90 days; sales will work towards having a close rate of 70% or higher).
- Competitive analysis. Keep a tab on your competitors to understand what they’re doing that’s working well (i.e. taking business away from you) and where there are major gaps that you can fill in.
- Budget properly. Here’s the thing, it takes money to make money, so be realistic in terms of how much you’ll need in order to be effective with your executions.
2. Case Studies
Online reviews or customer testimonials can have a real influence on your business and the sales you generate. For instance, 90% of buyers are typically swayed by positive reviews.
You can incorporate positive reviews in ways such as:
- Asking a client to be a guest speaker in a webinar.
- Placing client logos on your website, email signature and blog.
- Utilizing social media to demonstrate positive feedback; i.e. posting them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Since infographics are liked and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content, you should make an effort to repurpose popular blog posts by turning them into infographics. They present ideas, selling points and important information in an engaging illustrative way that is far more understandable.
Also make sure your infographics are easy to embed, especially if influencers come across them and want to reshare on their own blogs. Doing so will create backlinks to your website which help with rankings and also with more website traffic.
4. Content Repurposing
You may already have a successful blog but trying to find fresh content all the time can be difficult, which is why recycling what you already have can help to save time and money. It can help you reach out to more potential customers, will reiterate the message you are trying to get across and will allow you to evaluate what content engages more customers.
Here are a few ideas as to how you can repurpose your content with ease:
- Turn a blog post into some content for social media platforms
- Produce a blog post that details what your latest webinar is about
- Turn your content into newsletters
- Change it to visual content, i.e. a video, infographic or eBook
(Tip: Check out Expanding the Lifecycle of Your Content Assets to get more ideas on how you can repurpose your content pieces)
Analyzing all of your executions is essential when trying to learn what works and what doesn’t will aid with making improvements along the way. In fact, utilizing analytical data has helped 65% of businesses increase their revenue by over 10%.
You can use it across all of your marketing implementations to monitor email performances, content marketing, social media efforts, PPC results, banner advertisements, SEO and more. Doing so will also help you understand which channels are driving the best conversions that then lead to the best customers. Know that the initial sale is great, but you also want to identify the avenues that are great for retention too.
6. Email Marketing
Email is seen as the most effective marketing channel by 59% of B2B marketers; and, the average return on investment is $44.25 on each $1.00 spent on email marketing. These stats just demonstrate how cost-effective and efficient this method of inbound marketing can be, when done correctly.
Email is a great way to nurture leads that are not yet ready to become paying customers. For instance, you may find that one visitor has been to your website and downloaded an eBook, while another has subscribed to your podcast – therefore, you may want to adapt the message and tone of the email to reflect the interests of these customers.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Chances are your customers are going to use a search engine during their buying process, so you need to ensure that you’re appearing highly in these searches. In order to do this, you’ll need to analyze your keywords, produce content, create links and optimize pages that are centered around what your buyers are looking for.
The importance of a strong SEO strategy is shown by recent research which indicates that the closing rate of SEO leads is 14.6%, compared to just 1.7% from outbound leads like print advertising or direct mail.
For example, Practical Ecommerce’s strategy shows how long tail keywords can work for smaller businesses. They focused on optimizing “A/B testing tools for small business” and when you remove all of the paid advertising, they rank top of Google.
Having an effective PPC campaign in place can be one of the ways you generate leads and fast. When your ad appears in someone’s results, it’s because they’re looking for a service or product that you offer. Therefore, you need to provide ads that will get to the top, which will involve a lot of research into what people are searching for and what keywords they’re using.
Additionally, because a lot of B2B buyers will carry out a lot of comparison shopping before buying, you’ll need your adverts to provide them with information. Include white papers and case studies in your campaigns instead of the “buy nows” that you’d find in B2C.
Remarketing is also something that can be tied in with PPC campaigns and offers a highly effective inbound marketing method. Remarketing involves targeting people through your ads who have already visited your website or app and involves creating lists of these people that you want to target again. This allows you to refine who you are targeting and also offers an effective way of getting your brand back in front of them (adding to your brand recognition) and is a great way of re-engaging them.
9. Strong Calls-to-Action
A strong call-to-action (CTA) will be found on your website in the form of a link or a button that will encourage a visitor to perform an action, e.g. “Download Our Guide” or “Click Here.” If there aren’t enough of these on your site or they don’t entice the viewer, it won’t produce website conversions. CTAs can also be used as way to funnel visitors through your website and further tracked to help you understand which ones convert the most.
In fact, 70% of websites operated by small B2B businesses don’t have enough calls-to-action, which makes it very hard to generate leads from website traffic.
10. Content Marketing
Content marketing is used by 86% of B2B marketers yet only 38% believe their strategies are effective. Therefore, putting an effective approach in place can help you to get to the top and this involves meticulous planning, research and documentation of your strategy so you know what methods are working.
It also requires all of your team being on the same page so they can help to generate ideas, share your content on social media and provide feedback. Use your content to engage your client base through storytelling, answering questions and placing experts in front of them.
What’s more, once you have done all of the hard work and have researched and produced all of your content, e.g. infographics, white papers, eBooks etc. it is vital that you market this to your customers. Find the best places to get this content in front of your customers, i.e. social media, so this content can be easily found and used to generate further leads for your organization.
11. Landing Pages
When requesting a call-to-action from your visitors, they should then be taken to a separate landing page. This allows for the visitor to fulfill the call-to-action and for you to start conversing with them. Over half of the traffic directed to your website from a link will be sent to a landing page, not the homepage, so it’s crucial that this uses as much engaging content as possible to help you convert these leads.
The importance of having targeted landing pages can be seen in the following statistics:
- Landing pages are used by 68% of B2B businesses in order to generate further leads and to provide conversion.
- When increasing the number of landing pages from 10 to 15, companies find that their leads increase by 55%.
Therefore, establishing landing pages that are relevant to your targeted customer base and implementing these on your website will further add to the number of generated leads you receive, whilst also providing you with further content to aid your search rankings.
12. Guest Blogging
Another great way of reaching further with your content is through guest blogging. By producing blogs which are published on other websites you’ll be targeting a larger audience; building your brand and creating important and powerful backlinks to your website.
It can also add to the kudos of your company as successful guest blogging campaigns on websites such as Huffington Post, The New York Times etc. will allow you to place “as seen in…” logos on your website which will add to the integrity and power of your brand.
13. Monitor Social Media
Having a presence on social media is all well and good, but it’s also important to keep track of what is being discussed on your social media channels. This will provide you with priceless information as to what your customers like and dislike whilst also adding to the humanistic side of your company when you answer their questions and help them overcome any challenges they may have.
By appearing where your customers are looking, you’ll have a presence amongst them that will encourage conversations, allowing them to talk to you and to establish you as the go-to expert that they need when it comes to their product / service.
The most lead generating social media platform is LinkedIn, with 44% of B2B marketers securing leads here; followed by 39% on Facebook and 30% on Twitter.
14. Pop-up Forms
One of the fastest ways to secure more leads is to incorporate opt-in forms, in which your visitors will fill in their details and submit this to you. Whilst many profess not to like pop-ups there are settings that can be introduced to control how often they appear so as to not affect the user experience and they do prove to be very successful for many B2B companies.
Use them to promote things like weekly newsletters, eBooks you may offer and webinars you’re running. Usertesting used their banner to advertise their free CRM guides, which promptly became their third largest lead generator with 25% of all those who clicked on the banner becoming a lead!
15. Visual Content
Having powerful images and visual content isn’t just important for engaging clients on social media but is also a powerful SEO tool too. Utilizing alt tags on the images that are included within your web pages and blog will help to make sure you appear as image search results and will increase the click-through rates to your website.
Adding visual content to your website doesn’t just mean using videos and / or images, but you can also add gifs, memes, infographics, presentations and screenshots. All of these different visual elements will to the layers of intrigue and interaction you have created on your site, thus increasing engagement and lead generation.
16. Marketing Automation
This strategy involves nurturing your leads so you can turn them into sales in a quicker time frame; decreasing the number of sales that are lost and the amount spent on marketing. Statistics indicate that companies who have a successful automatic lead management program in place see a 10% or more increase in revenue.
In order to nurture your leads in the most effective way possible, you’ll need to have a strategy that will ensure you target your customers in the best way. Having some form of customer management in place, i.e. a CRM or email database will help keep all of your leads’ details together and will demonstrate your customers’ behavior. You can then segment your customer base with automatic score leads, which will define your customers into categories so you can target them effectively and with relevant content.
Make sure you also implement lead scoring which will help with understanding which workflows leads and customers should go in well into understanding the buying journey. Doing this will help you stay organized with qualifying leads who are ready to speak with sales and also with those who need more nurturing.
Having these strategies in place provides your company and your sales team with appropriate methods that will reduce the sale cycle as everything is in place to make an effective sale. Sales teams that follow-up on 75% of marketing-generated leads are employed by 46% of marketers who are classed as having mature lead management in place within their company.
Another great way of creating content that is engaging and informative but is contained within a fun and quirky format is by using presentations. Tools like SlideShare also mean you can incorporate these presentations into social media and emails and you can even convert them into GIFs to make this even easier. SlideShare also offers free analytics, a lead generation tool and is mobile-friendly.
For example, Rand Fishkin’s SlideShare on “Why Content Marketing Fails” offers helpful advice on what no to do with your content marketing strategy but in an easy to digest presentation.
As you can see, there are a number of different ideas and tools that can help you to implement successful inbound marketing techniques.
Your Two Cents
What’s worked for you? Share them with me in the comments section below or simply send me a message.