The blueprint for using your website to generate more sales leads and customers requires a sound inbound marketing strategy. It's our experience with our clients and with our own marketing that solid inbound marketing strategy is based on four pillars. Those pillars are:
- Driving traffic
- Converting leads, and
- Winning customers
Let's look at each of these four pillars and discuss why they are important and how you can solidify your inbound marketing strategy with them.
1. Reporting, tracking, and analytics
Most companies think of measurement last, so it might be counterintuitive for us to list this one first. But to know where you're going, you have to know where you've been by establishing a baseline. Before we start most inbound marketing campaigns, we like to collect at least one month of data to establish a baseline measurement of key performance indicators.
For this task, we've found no better reporting tools then a combination of HubSpot and Google Analytics. HubSpot reports which marketing activities, channels and campaigns are producing traffic and results. Google Analytics helps us dig into more technical data, such as the percentage of users of our website that are on mobile devices.
I also need to mention that research goes into a successful inbound marketing strategy. We use HubSpot's Keyword tool and Wordstream to do keyword research for planning blog posts and website content. Both are paid tools, but we feel they have the best data and integration capabilities. We also use HubSpot's Competitors report to run competitor comparisons so we know where competitive gaps exist in our clients' marketing.
2. Driving traffic
If you're going to drive more traffic to your website, you have to be deliberate about planning it. We feel the most foundational tactic to driving new traffic to your website is business blogging. You might be surprised to know that even in niche industries like civil engineering and advanced manufacturing, blogs are extremely successful tools to drive new traffic to your website.
We've covered how to find time for blogging, reasons to start a business blog, and how to find ideas for your B2B business blog, so consult those posts if needed. Armed with this knowledge, be sure to conduct keyword research so you know how your customers are talking or searching for your product or service. Try to use those keywords in the title and in the blog itself.
When you write and publish blog posts, be sure to share them on social networks, including Twitter and LinkedIn. We also found some success with Facebook, again for the niche industries that you might not expect Facebook to be a good fit.
If you need an immediate bump in traffic or if you have some special event that you like to advertise, paid search can be an effective promotional tool. Be careful, however, to monitor your spend to make sure you don't blow through your budget in a short period of time.
Finally, you can also drive traffic to your website with email. Emailing blog subscribers each time you publish a post is a great way to drive traffic to your website. In addition, emailing and staying in touch with all of your contacts on a periodic basis is a smart move. You may also find that renting a targeted list may help business development efforts, but be careful to track the effectiveness of those lists and be very specific with your promotion or offer. Make sure your email has only one topic designed to get your prospect to take action.
3. Converting leads
The most effective way to convert leads on your website is to simply optimize your website for lead generation. We often find that we can double the amount of leads a website produces simply by optimizing it. Optimization includes looking at your conversion paths -- creating calls to action that lead to landing pages. Make sure your offers are relevant for the content of the web pages that you place the calls to action on.
We start most inbound marketing programs with a page-by-page assessment of the website, and you can do the same. Identify content like brochures, whitepapers, sales presentations, etc. that you already have, but may not be posted to your website. Then create calls to action that lead to landing pages to download those materials.
Once your website is optimized, don't stop there. Create new content for your website on a regular basis that helps solve customer problems or answer their questions.
4. Winning customers
Of all of the pillars of a solid inbound marketing strategy, this is always the most neglected. Many B2B companies use their website to generate new sales leads, but then leave those leads in the sales funnel. To be successful at winning customers through your website, you need to use tactics like automated email lead nurturing campaigns.
There's no real formula for winning customers once you acquire them as a lead. Businesses are different and require different sales approaches. One business may find that they need to follow up with every lead by phone as they come in. Others may evaluate leads as they come in and contact some selectively, while placing others in an automated lead nurturing sequence that may help the prospect becomes sales ready through further education about their products or services. Other businesses may use automated lead nurturing and sales follow-ups to determine how qualified each lead is.
Whatever the case may be, using content to win customers is a smart choice. Using content cannot only position your company as the leader in your industry, but can also shorten your sales cycle and improve your customers' perception of your company. It can also help you generate referrals from existing customers.
How will use these 4 pillars in your inbound marketing strategy?
Use these four pillars to build your own solid inbound marketing strategy. Write them down and write down tactics and activities that you can use in your own sales process.