As marketers look forward to 2017, many B2B marketers are considering using inbound marketing to reach their business objectives. With a longer sales cycle and unlimited options, brands are planning to use inbound marketing to bring customers to them rather than using outbound tactics and fighting for customers’ attention.
But simply implementing an inbound strategy and tactics doesn’t guarantee results. For those just getting started with inbound marketing, there are a few elements that can make a campaign sink or swim.
Here are five things B2B marketers need for a strong inbound campaign that will pull in customers.
Content, content, content
Inbound marketing campaigns need great content – valuable, relevant and interesting – that will draw users to your website and spur interaction once they get there. However, it can often be difficult to determine whether your content is valuable to your target audience.
That’s why before creating even a single call-to-action, your inbound marketing program must start with the creation of one or more buyer personas. These are fictional individuals developed through a series of interviews and research to help you understand who your customers are and what their pain points are.
Once you have your buyer personas built, you need to create content that’s educational and addresses those very problems your personas face. Use your personas to determine where your customers are looking for educational content, and position yourself where they are sure to see you – whether that’s email, social media or even a pay-per-click display ad.
A website that addresses your marketing lifecycle
Even your most loyal customer and brand advocate first came to your website as a stranger. They likely had little to no familiarity with you, but eventually they became a warmer lead after learning more about your brand and what you have to offer.
People who visit your website will be at different points of the buying cycle and need a variety of different types of experiences. Providing a wide range of resources and assets or using calls to action that speak to the various types of visitors will make the site stickier and make prospects more likely to revisit when they need additional information.
When you walk into a clothing store, a sales associate can automatically note your style, height, gender and any other key information needed for them to suggest clothes for you. But on a website, this opportunity is unavailable. You need a mechanism for visitors to share who they are so that you can better help them meet their needs.
By using a marketing automation system such as HubSpot, you can provide a very specific experience to the user based on the information they provide, and the persona they match up with. For instance, in the Security Industry a Chief Security Officer is going to want more of a high-level overview of your solution and how it helps minimize risk exposure for their company, compared to an IT director who might be more interested in the features of your products. Marketing automation does this by matching up previous information the user provides with specific content loaded into the system for them.
Another way to personalize content is by using progressive forms for each time a user visits a landing page and downloads content. Rather than asking for the same information constantly, you can gather a little bit more information each time they return. While your initial interest lies in getting basic information such as their company name and email address, there are certainly other questions you can ask later in the lead nurturing process to further classify them and help to address their specific needs.
For instance, are they actively in the market for a solution? If so, how much are they willing to spend? Questions such as these will help you qualify your prospect and allow the marketing team to do some of the heavy lifting for sales.
Repurposing is everyone’s favorite buzzword and for good reason. You need to reach your prospects no matter where they are across a variety of devices and a variety of platforms.
Inbound marketing isn’t about which tactics you’re using. Rather, it’s a strategy that aligns your goals and objectives with your marketing activities. To effectively deliver your message, think about every digital channel – blogs, video, email, social media, etc. – and be sure to keep tablet and mobile in mind. Remember too that the tone will need to change between channels.
Integrates with other disciplines
Your digital assets need to work together to drive customer engagement. But beyond that, consider how digital and social content integrate with your public relations and advertising strategy.
The lines are blurring between the different marketing disciplines. PR no longer works in a silo as it once did. Influencer and media outreach are critical vehicles to boosting your search efforts as quality backlinks will help boost the organic traffic of your site. Without having someone actively pitching your content, you will have a harder time getting the results you’re looking for.
Advertising is far more measurable today than it was in the past. Whether you’re running paid social, PPC or a retargeting ad, your goals are more quantifiable than ever before.
When all aspects of your inbound program are working together, your digital program will be a lead generating machine and make your website your best salesperson.