Inbound marketing is never easy to tackle. It’s a hot topic in B2B marketing, which is why our upcoming Sales & Marketing Forum on 16 June will be focused on it exclusively. Here, our Head of Inbound shares some expert advice on how to keep on top of it, and maximise its value. For further discussion on the subject, make sure to register for the Forum today.
Why: Broken links are all too common between the sales and marketing processes – and it takes just one to sabotage all of your hard work. Picture it as trying to fill a leaky bucket. Yes, you’re getting great opportunities through your inbound marketing efforts. But, an opportunity will be all it ever is if you haven’t captured their details on your website because the form is too cumbersome.
How you make this happen: Take a look at the four key stages in the customer journey outlined below. Inbound fits in to the first stage, but its effectiveness is dependent on the stages that follow. Identify which stage is causing an issue, and make any relevant alterations.
Why: Too often reports are churned out without the ‘so what’ being considered. We’ve had this many views on a blog… but so what? What do we want to do with this information? Does it match our objectives? The abundance of available data perpetuates this issue – and wastes huge amounts of time and resource pulling in stats that won’t deliver business gains.
How you make this happen: Keep it simple. Think about the objectives of your activity. What do you need to know to find out if it’s on track?
Take this example. Your business has an objective to deliver £10 million in pipeline in the next six months. To succeed, you firstly need to identify the marketing objectives that will get you there and plan your activity accordingly (see below for an idea of how to do this).
Next, consider what ‘good’ looks like against each of those metrics and set benchmarks for success.
Finally, look at how you need to set up the report to demonstrate this. This may involve tracking your most visited pages for insight on what your audience are consuming on your website. You can then use this knowledge to turn these interested visitors into known users by gating the content to these pages.
Why: Always remember, “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). Having a channel or content strategy is a sure-fire way to do a lot of ‘stuff’, but half of it won’t be needed. Do you need a content strategy? A social strategy? A search strategy? No. You need a single core strategy. How you use content or channels can, and should, all align to this.
How you make this happen: Start in the same way you would anything else – articulate the business challenge. Research and develop your audience personas and their core responsibilities through the likes of social listening or market research. Consider how you will address the business challenge, and build a strategy from there. Don’t think of your inbound strategy as a selection of channels or feel constrained by what you think a channel can do. If you understand the audience well enough, almost any channel can be used in a way to deliver your objectives. However, also realise that you don’t need to be on every channel to deliver your objectives. Avoid diving head-first into creating a presence for yourself on new platforms without a complete audience understanding. Like these guys.
Why: Like any other activity, inbound needs to be part of an integrated journey. By relying too heavily on one area (e.g. calling), you are opening yourself up to risk.
How you make this happen: Look at your marketing mix from a 70:20:10 point of view. Focus 70% on what has worked well to date, 20% to optimise that activity (e.g. different methods of targeting within an existing programme) and 10% to entirely new testing (which may be introducing inbound, but could just as easily be something else).
This really just scratches the surface of the possibilities and misconceptions about inbound marketing – if you’d like to dive further into the subject along with other senior sales and marketing professionals, remember to register for the Forum while spaces still remain.