By Eric Keiles, EO Philadelphia member and Chief Marketing Officer at Square 2 Marketing
“A consistent, inbound lead-generating marketing program is the ‘holy grail’ for business owners, CEOs and marketing professionals.”
This age-old marketing mantra is one I’ve heard countless times from business owners. As the owner of an inbound marketing firm, I’ve lived this creed and learned the importance behind its message by constantly perfecting our methodology. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when a marketing program generates so many leads that the sales team can’t keep up, it’s no longer just a “program.” It turns into what I call a Marketing Machine™. In the past 11 years, my team and I have helped transform hundreds of companies with our inbound marketing methodology. Along the way, we came across some invaluable lessons learned.
Here are 10 that can help you in your inbound marketing efforts:
1. Marketing Strategy: Every successful inbound marketing program starts with a strong strategic foundation. This means you need detailed buyer personas, targeted messaging, key performance indicators (KPIs) and remarkable differentiation from the get-go if you want to lay a powerful marketing foundation.
2. Website Design: A website must connect on an emotional level with prospects, and do so quickly. You have three seconds to jolt visitors’ emotions and grab their interest before they hit the “back” button. Let’s just say I’ve learned to give up the stock chess piece and mountain climber photos when it comes to website design.
3. Blogging: Blogging gives businesses an opportunity for thought leadership. Countless clients have told me that “the blog is what sets your company apart from the competition.” By regularly sharing informative and relevant content with your audience, you instill the invaluable sense of trust that is the basis for every successful relationship. Plus, it works like gangbusters for search engine optimization (SEO).
4. Webinars: This is your chance to connect directly with prospects on a human level. Try to keep it educational and informative. I’ve found that including a client in your presentation helps stave off any “sales pitch” feel, and gives your prospects a real person with whom to identify. Have them share their situation, their challenges and how you helped them.
5. Content Creation: The most successful content marketing is diversified across platforms— videos, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, etc. When brainstorming content ideas, I always start with my prospects’ most common pains. If you’re an IT-consulting company and you know your prospects are struggling to understand how “the cloud” impacts IT infrastructure, create a whitepaper; i.e., “10 Ways Small Businesses Leverage the Cloud.”
6. Source Content: Put your content where your prospects are— blogs, email lists, trade sites and social platforms. I’ve seen remarkable success sourcing content through LinkedIn. With thousands of groups out there, your prospects are likely members of a few. Sharing content with these groups delivers it to thousands of prospects with a single click.
7. SEO: Quality content is useless if it’s not search engine optimized. That said, we have a saying in my business: “Write for your audience, not for your search engine.” Integrating keyword research is crucial here. We get to know what terms our prospects are searching for online, which are often different than what we initially think.
8. Social Media: Don’t “just post.” Start a conversation, educate and engage. Remember, you’re writing to and for people. I’ve also found it important to target your social presence to only the most relevant platforms. For example, B2B businesses thrive on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Google+ is also proving competitive. For B2C businesses, Facebook and Twitter are the basics, with YouTube and Pinterest adding social lubricant.
9. Video Marketing: Most people are visual learners, so video makes up about half the content we create for our clients. This includes genuine client testimonials and short videos with helpful advice. Don’t forget to tag and post your videos everywhere, including YouTube, your website, email campaigns, social media and as sales support tools.
10. Lead Nurturing: A “lead” does not equal “sales opportunity.” That conversion doesn’t happen until a client knows, likes and trusts your company. Lead nurturing is all about the ongoing sharing of educational content with your prospects to guide them through your marketing funnel (which also helps shorten the sales cycle).
I get asked all the time about inbound marketing’s secret formulas and magic solutions. To be honest, there are none. There is, however, a commitment to “strategy before tactics” that is required to construct an effective Marketing Machine. Take it from someone who’s tried everything— once you integrate these 10 tactics, you’ll be on your way to reaching a new level of leadership.
You can read the original article on Octane