3 Inbound Marketing Questions With HubSpot Academy's Nick SalCreating really educational information that millions of companies consume is something that Nick Salvatoriello knows something about. Nick Salvatoriello, or "Nick Sal" for short, is the Principal Inbound Professor at HubSpot Academy, which offers a plethora of useful internet marketing training and certifications.

I recently asked Nick Sal a few inbound marketing questions that we are often asked, and here are his responses to three of them.

1. What are some website optimization tips that marketing managers can use to improve conversion rate and lead generation?

Website optimization comes back to buyer persona research. Think about the topics and phrases that your favorite clients (or prospects) actually use when they seek to do business with you. Split your keywords into 3 buckets:

  • Those that generate awareness of your industry, those that describe what organizations like yours does, those that are educating the market on the problems you're trying to solve.
  • Those that help prospects consider which of your industry's solutions they might want to go with (included are "branded" keywords and industry jargon).
  • Those that prospects might use if they were looking to decide on working with you (names of individuals in your organization, reviews of your services, product and pricing specific terms and actions).

Put each page of your website into one of these buckets and match up a keyword for each page. You need to do the same with each of your content offers and conversion paths. We at HubSpot Academy call this optimizing for the buyer's journey. For example, put calls to action for "consideration stage" offers on web pages that are optimized for the consideration stage of the buyer's journey.

This is how you would design your entire website to improve conversion rate and lead generation, because every page is designed to perform along a specific point of your ideal buyer persona's journey towards making a decision.

2. What helpful tips can you share about creating lead generating content (not just traffic driving content)?

Two words - Content Audit. As business professionals in the internet age, we all create content every day. It's just that for many of us the content we create is in 1-off emails, presentations, documents and conversations. Most businesses that have been around for more than 6 months -- if they really took stock of ALL the content they have created -- would find pages and pages of expertise to draw from. The rest is locked up in the heads of the employees and business partners.

Audit everything your company has every written, sent, shared, published, presented, debated, discussed internally and externally. Use this simple content audit worksheet as your guide.

I would use a lot of that content you find there first.

Next, think of the best customer your company has ever had (or perhaps ever dreamed of having). Audit your entire sales process to that customer (one you actually successfully closed, or imagine your ideal customer). What would they do first? What would you do first? What would they ask for at which point in the process? What would you offer or say at each point? Follow that audit all the way through to the point where they actually become your customer and your organization starts delivering value through whatever product or service you offer.

You should document that ideal sales process and create content to serve your prospect at each step. This is not an optional step -- this is how you build a sales and marketing machine for any organization that desires fast growth.

3. What are some inbound marketing website mistakes that B2B companies make?

The biggest mistake is not focusing 100% on the prospect. Your website is a tool to help your customer be better off for having visited. It's there to solve their problems. It is their tool. Far too often, the website is still being viewed as a brochure or a trophy case for a company. These are websites that seem to exude the message, "We're great, we're doing great, we have the best products/services, you should buy from us. Are you ready to buy from us? Here's where you go to get started."

For every website, page one MUST answer the questions, "What goal/challenge for our prospect is this page designed to help with? What question is it answering?"

Then you must provide the answer. How is this the BEST website page on the internet for answers on that goal/challenge?

You've got to have answers for those two questions if you expect your website pages to drive a good deal of quality visitors who convert into contacts in your database that you can build relationships with. People are selfish. You're selfish. I'm selfish. Make a website for selfish visitors that buy from companies in your industry.