Inbound marketing can be your most effective lead generation strategy, if you understand how to follow the rules.
Content-driven marketing attracts new business by engaging prospects with information they truly want. The challenge in creating an effective inbound marketing campaign is knowing how to apply the right strategies to attract, entice, and convert new sales leads.
According to HubSpot’s ROI Report, companies increased leads by 54 percent with inbound marketing programs, and 82 percent of marketers reported significant ROI from their inbound marketing programs. Forty-eight percent anticipate increasing their budget for inbound marketing strategies. Clearly, inbound marketing works well if you understand how it functions and how to maximize your return on content.
Here are seven strategies that have been proven to make your inbound marketing program more effective.
1. Use a call to action – Every single content element you use as part of your content marketing program should include a call to action to promote web visitors and convert them. You use the content to drive attention through social media and other channels, creating a trail that leads back to your web site. You need to give followers a reason to visit your web site, and more importantly, to agree to be contacted.
2. Understand your followers –You need to know your target audience, including who they are and what interests them. You can use buyer personas to help you identify your audience and your niche markets. Once you understand what drives your followers, you can create custom content that appeals to them. If you have multiple target customers, then use different personas to map content to their interests.
3. Build a connection – Content is created to connect with your prospects. You want to build a relationship of trust so followers will trust your content and return looking for more insight. When developing content, remember that followers are selfish; they don’t care what you have to offer but they do care about how you can give them information they want. So if you are going to write about your company or products, be sure to give the reader what they want, not what you want to sell. Keep in mind that the role of content is to engage, not to sell.
4. Know where content fits in the sales process – Your content marketing strategy should be a clearly defined step in your sales process. Once you have created a call to action and enticed visitors to your web site, how will you capture their contact information? What is your next step to promote engagement? Content marketing delivers soft leads at the top of the sales funnel. Once you attract those followers, you will want to use more content to solidify the relationship and continue to nurture those contacts until they are ready to buy. Remember that it takes from 7 to 13 online touches to close a sale.
5. More content is better – How much content is too much? According to HubSpot, companies with 20 or more blog entries per month generated more traffic and more leads. Companies with 31 landing pages and over 400 indexed web pages also generated the most traffic, and more leads. How much content you can handle is up to you.
6. Better quality content means more conversions – The quality of the content you create has a direct relationship to the number and quality of sales conversions. You have a lot of online competition for readers’ attention, so you have to offer more interesting material to keep their interest. Quality content always trumps quantity.
7. Measure the results – Be sure to measure campaign results to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Use Google Analytics and other tools to determine what content and channels are driving the most traffic. Also monitor for search words and search phrases to improve the ROI on your content program.
Inbound marketing can be the best tool and the most cost-effective strategy in your marketing program, if you are smart and use it effectively. Know and respect your followers by giving them quality content that has value for them. Engage and invite them to step forward as sales prospects, rather than trying to convert them with a hard sell. If you engage with them again and again and build their trust, your followers will not only become customers, they could become your biggest fans.