Inbound marketing has become exceptionally popular, and for good reason. Bottom line, it works. In fact, inbound marketing works so well that now everyone is using it. With so many companies embracing the power of inbound, standing out from the crowd has become a real challenge. Does that mean you should abandon inbound for the next hot trend? Of course not.
Your inbound marketing can still deliver the same value it always has, and more. Extracting that value will simply require some updates to your inbound lead generation strategy. It's not enough just to be present. Your inbound marketing needs to offer real value to prospects, target a specific audience, and constantly improve over time. Follow these three simple hacks to update your inbound lead generation strategy for the realities of today's market.
Get Specific When Developing Buyer Personas and Target Business Profiles
There's nothing revolutionary about targeting a specific demographic with your marketing. Advertisers have been doing it for centuries. The difference is that today you can target your marketing much more precisely. Instead of targeting large, faceless groups, you can now focus on specific buyer and business types. Buyer personas and target business profiles are just the tool for the job.
When crafting buyer personas, don't stop at the ideal age, education level, and job title. What websites does your target read? What do they do for fun? Going into detail forces you to consider every aspect of your target, which ultimately leads to better marketing.
The same basic concept applies to creating a target business profile, though traditional numbers like revenue and business size should still hold considerable weight. In addition to the basics, consider the company culture of your target business. Targeting an established, buttoned-down business will require different tactics than targeting a start-up run by young, hungry grads.
Promote Lead-Generation Offers through Blogging and Social Media
With content marketing, the first priority is typically to inform your audience. You want to offer real value, to keep them coming back for more. That doesn't mean you have to abandon promotion completely, however. The trick is to include lead generation offers that have some connection to the content itself.
One common but effective promotional blogging tactic is to outline a problem in your content, offer some valuable tips, then close with a lead-generation offer for one of your company's solutions.
A lead-generation offer is only valuable if it lands in front of the right prospects and customers. Social media is the perfect place to spread the word about promotions. If there's one thing people love to share more than pictures of their pets, it's a fresh link to a good deal.
Balance is important with social media and blogging. If promotional offers are all you share, you'll quickly lose the attention of your audience. That's why it's so important to share valuable content, and get involved in the community of the sites you use for social marketing.
Constantly Optimize and Iterate Your Process Based on Analytics
Marketing is constantly evolving. The tactics that set you apart from the competition today might not offer the same advantage six months or a year from now. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to continually optimize and iterate your inbound lead generation strategy. Your analytics will be the tool that allows you to constantly improve your process, and adapt to the ever-changing market.
Every element of inbound marketing is connected to the others. If your social media presence is suffering, for example, it will have a negative impact on your blog readership. Fewer blog readers means fewer people see your lead-generation offers, and so on.
Analytics allow you to isolate problems, identify solutions, and track the effectiveness of those solutions over time. If you want to keep your inbound funnel healthy, every element needs to be operating at maximum efficiency.
Analytics aren't just a diagnostic tool. By understanding the data behind the trends, you also gain some insight into how things might evolve in the future. Your analytics tell you just as much about what's working as they do about what's not.
The real secret here is that each of these hacks is related to the others. Creating buyer personas and target business profiles will improve the quality of your blogging and social media efforts. Your content introduces prospects to your lead-generation offers, which turn those prospects into customers. Your new, satisfied customer shares their experience through social, and the process repeats. Through it all, your analytics guide you to optimal, data-based decisions. When creating an inbound lead generation strategy, efficiency is the name of the game.