The first post in this series introduced the idea that Outbound Marketing should be replaced by Inbound Marketing. The second post introduced the concept of an Inbound Marketing Automation system. This post covers the 5 steps you can take to implement Inbound Marketing Automation in your company.
The Resource Section of our Website contains a great deal of information to assist you with each of these 5 steps.
STEP 1: Shift from Outbound to Inbound
Turn your website into a prospect magnet, and stop interrupting people with Outbound messages. Here’s how:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Start by developing your online brand identity: Your keyword strategy. Find those keyword phrases that you can compete on, which will minimize “bounce” and maximize conversion. Optimize the content and structure of your website around those keyword phrases. Create meaningful external backlinks to your site, to boost your site’s authority and thus its rankings on search engine results pages. Successful SEO is a marketing exercise and a technical one; so before the techies begin, make sure you have the marketing strategy defined well.
- PPC: If needed, use this same “keyword identity” to compliment your SEO strategy with PPC ads.
- Create the right Content Strategy: Show off your company’s knowledge leadership in your industry by creating the great content which inbound prospects want. Publish this content as whitepapers, videos, and webinars. Make it free and downloadable, provided prospects identify themselves and give you permission to communication with them 1:1. Map your content to your persona’s buying-cycle, so that you can feed prospects with valuable information at each stage of their journey.
- Integrate Outbound Campaigns with Inbound Marketing Automation: Some outbound campaigns – like tradeshows and direct contact programs – may still be delivering ROMI. (Return on Marketing Investment). By using customized landing pages on your website, you can bring those traditional outbound campaigns into the efficient inbound world of integrated analytics, CRM integration, and automated sales lead management.
STEP 2: Automate to cope with the volume and need for speed
With your Inbound approach generating more website visitors, your people may be swamped by a spate of inquiries. Studies reveal that delays in responding to these inquiries result in poorer conversion rates.
By using Inbound Marketing Automation to manage the routine repeatable tasks like lead generation and management, your system will handle all incoming inquiries, 24/7, according to your best practices. This automation frees up marketing and sales people for activities which are better performed by people, such as new campaign design or marketing analytic analysis, or negotiating and closing deals).
STEP 3: Get Analytics on your side
Now you can transform marketing from art to a science. Inbound Marketing Automation captures and processes massive amounts of information, developing better insight into your market and individual prospects. And the system makes it all available in real time.
- For a macro view of your market, you can use Google Analytics, a free program. This yields macro insight, but does not “put faces” on individual visitors.
- The real power of Inbound Marketing Automation analytics is in the way it captures the profile and digital footprint of every prospect visiting your website. When the system is integrated directly into your CRM system, you can equate the actual Sales Opportunity value of each prospect back to the campaign which sparked it, thereby calculating the ROI of each campaign.
- Multivariate testing allows the effectiveness of different marketing messages, landing pages, and campaigns to be compared in real time. And measured against set objectives. And then repeated with slight changes to see if this performance improved, declined or remained constant. In other words, to use Continuous Process Improvements to increase ROI.
STEP 4: Participate in the Online Discussion
According to a HubSpot survey completed in 2012, more than 86% of businesses in North America are active in Social Media.
- Join-in on the Conversation: Find the key forums, communities, and, especially, the blogs in your industry. Listen to industry issues, trends, and concerns. You have a unique perspective – you are after all the expert. Voice your opinion and point others back to your valuable content and website. This allows you to build backlinks, boosting your site’s credibility with search engines.
- Create your own blog. Blogging is a great way to increase your SEO effectiveness by adding pages which use your keywords.
- Give your market a way to express itself: Empower your prospects and customers by giving them a forum to discuss issues of relevance. Give them the tools to build their own content. Create a portal that functions as a “water cooler” for customers and prospects. To marketers schooled in Outbound techniques, this is a risky proposition, but to Inbound Marketers it’s an opportunity to show leadership, add value to the industry, and it strengthen your connection to your market.
- Hidden in the last point is a tremendous potential benefit to your company. You can use the feedback you get from the community to help you design and develop your next products! For more, please see our blog, Product Development and Inbound Marketing.
STEP 5: Make it easy for your visitors and customers
This step may seem low-tech, but at the core, this is really what Inbound Marketing is all about.
- Consider the entire prospect and customer online experience. Trace it through the complete interaction lifecycle – from first contact, to training and after-sales support. Now remove any barriers or impediments to this cycle.
- Think Buying, not selling. Empower the Buyer by giving him or her all the information needed to make the decision. Make the purchase process itself as easy as it can be. Watch people interacting with your site. Fix places where the person halts in confusion or goes back to try again.
- Remember, as a B2B marketer, your customers must buy. Many B2C purchases are discretionary, but B2B customers need your solution to keep their own businesses running. It’s not just a want; it’s also a need. Often what determines whether they buy or not, is how easy you make it for them to do so.
In other words, make it easy for prospects to become customers, and then make it easy for them to remain one, and you’ll have a customer for life.
By implementing an Inbound Marketing Automation system, you, too, should see large increases in the volume and quality of sales leads, and triple digit increases in your conversion rates.
Please see our Resources to download white papers or tools to help you assess the opportunity. If you would like to learn more by talking to an expert, please contact us to arrange your free, no-obligation, one-hour consultation to explore your marketing options.
Bit-by-Bit #65, from Eric.