An effective inbound marketing plan is made up of many individual parts that all work together toward the end goal. Each “stepping stone” of your inbound marketing plan serves a specific purpose in guiding your prospect through the sales cycle, or keeping an existing customer on the line. Leave out or neglect one of those parts, and the whole system will suffer as a result.
Getting inbound right is worth the effort. Your inbound marketing can be a major asset, as long as it's properly executed. Here are three indispensable tactics that will help deliver the growth you're looking for from your inbound marketing.
There are people online, right now, looking for information related to your industry, no matter what products or services you sell. In order for the rest of the inbound process to work its magic, you need a way to draw those people in. By offering quality content, you can turn those information-seekers into customers. Content is the lynchpin of most successful modern marketing plans, and it's especially important for inbound.
For content marketing to do its job, the content you produce needs to offer genuine value to potential customers. That's where the “information” part enters the picture. Don't post content just for the sake of posting it. Instead, use your and your employees' industry expertise to offer useful, actionable information related to what you sell. Information is currency in the digital age, and customers will respond when you offer value.
Offering clear, useful information enhances your trusted adviser status in the eyes of your potential customers. If they know they can count on the accuracy of your content, they're more likely to trust you with their business. They'll also be more likely to share your content, or recommend your company to a friend.
Those referrals and shares generate some of the best qualified leads you'll find anywhere. Content also generates leads because it encourages prospects to engage more directly for further information, especially if your content is welcoming and accessible.
Simply having a website isn't enough, anymore. Even a site that's packed with useful information is of little interest to prospects if the site is slow to load, difficult to navigate, or packed with intrusive ads. Your web design makes a major difference in how long people stick around after clicking through to your site, and how likely the will be to share your site through digital channels.
A responsive website is an adaptive website. That means your site needs to fit the many screens people will use to access it. Mobile users are especially sensitive to site responsiveness, since a poorly scaled site is often impossible to browse on a small screen.
You'll also want to make navigation as simple as possible. If someone wants more information on a topic, make it easy to find. If they want to move from browsing to buying, make that easy, too. The easier you make it to take those steps, the more likely your prospects are to make the leap.
Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategy
The line between sales and marketing is more blurred now than ever, thanks in large part to social media. Still, some companies treat sales and marketing as independent entities, only working together in the indirect, big-picture sense. That line of thinking is a sure way to limit the efficiency of both teams and make your sales goals more difficult to reach. Sales and marketing should work together, share information, and operate with a single, overarching strategy as their guide. With each side aiding and informing the other, your inbound marketing will operate at peak effectiveness.
An integrated strategy is great, but only if it's followed in practice. Encourage your teams to work together by making it simple for them to do so. Set up channels for easy communication, and provide the reference resources your teams need for guidance. Show your people how collaboration will benefit them directly, and it will be easier to get them on board with the plan.
Involve both teams in your overall planning. Sales can help marketing pinpoint the exact type of prospects they're looking for, while marketing can show sales the most effective ways to reach those targets.
Inbound marketing really does drive sales, but your inbound plan needs a strong foundation if you expect to the reap the benefits. That means avoiding shortcuts, and paying careful attention to each individual element of your overall plan. Get it right, and your sales team can focus on converting the quality leads your inbound process generates instead of wasting time chasing the shaky leads so often produced by outside sources or half-done marketing.