We’ve been talking about inbound marketing for a while, and yet the more widely the term is used, the greater the number of clichés that seem to be attached to it: it’s expensive, you need a lot of content to have real results… If you follow us, you’ll know just how much we like to examine these myths in order to debunk them!
One of the most common things you hear about inbound marketing is that it’s a complex strategy that takes a long time to generate results. But just because it’s a long-term strategy doesn’t mean that you can’t generate results quickly!
Something we see all the time when our customers implement an inbound marketing strategy: when that strategy is aligned with a company’s means and resources, it is entirely feasible to start quickly producing results.
Before we get into the specific actions you can take, let’s look at what inbound marketing aims to do: what sorts of results can you expect to see by implementing an inbound marketing strategy?
These are tangible results that you will be able to track and measure using marketing automation software. They will depend on the different elements that you implement as part of your inbound marketing strategy.
- Increased traffic to your website by creating content to improve your SEO ranking;
- An increased number of leads generated with a website optimized for both inbound marketing (e.g. calls to action, forms, and landing pages) and lead conversion;
- A reduction of your customer acquisition cost;
- An improved ability to identify new prospects and sign up new customers.
These are the results that most companies monitor because they are both tangible and quantifiable. However, an inbound marketing strategy will also have a number of other effects on your business.
These results are harder to measure, but also come from having implemented an inbound marketing strategy. Often, they can help you see the positive impact of the strategy you have put in place.
These can include:
- Improved brand awareness, which can be monitored on social networks but also by receiving feedback from prospects and customers;
- More time available for the marketing team that uses tools and implements processes informed by inbound marketing;
- More time available for other teams like sales, who no longer have to waste time on unqualified leads. Instead, they can deal with prospects who are more ready to buy and have plenty of information at their fingertips to close a sale or acquire new customers;
- More reactivated leads or indirect opportunities as a result of making content available on your website and the lead nurturing actions you have implemented.
We’ve noticed that many companies actually often tend to stop keeping track of leads once they have been rejected or “closed”, and that’s entirely reasonable. However, inbound marketing can often be full of surprises. And the content you make available to visitors can be used to organically nurture prospects during their decision-making process.
Content can also be used to nurture prospects generated by cold prospecting or a marketing campaign but who are not yet ready to purchase your product.
And finally, content is also highly valuable for reactivating leads: a prospect identified during an online event or brought to your website through SEO can come back to the site after a sponsored campaign.
2. How can you start generating results quickly?
So how can you ensure that your inbound marketing strategy starts delivering both direct and indirect results as quickly as possible? Here’s a short guide to do just that.
Actions you should implement to maximize your chances of success
To generate more traffic
First, you should identify which specific queries you are able to address. There will probably be a lot of competition for the highest-ranking keywords in your industry and, unless you’re ready to shell out some money, you’re unlikely to appear 1st on a search engine’s results page like this.
At this point, your best bet is to target specific questions that your customers and prospects actually ask themselves.
For example, let’s say you’re in the recruitment sector. If the keyword “recruitment” has 34,000 searches per month, it will be very difficult for you to rank number 1 for this keyword. However, the key phrase “How to write a recruitment ad” has only 40 searches per month. By writing an article on this subject, along with several other articles on the same topic using this key phrase format and creating links between them, you will see traffic to your website grow – and it will be better qualified.
Do you want to get started creating content, but still a little lost? We’ve been there too!
The results? According to our B2B inbound marketing survey, our customers generate more than 40% more traffic to their website after using Plezi for only 3 months.
To generate more leads
Generating leads is the great mission that drives any marketer. It can be tempting to start feverishly creating content in order to start a conversation with prospects and to be able to offer them a whole range of information. It’s tempting, but don’t wear yourself out!
Developing content that is tailored to your prospects’ needs, and which enables you to convert them into customers, requires you first and foremost to think about the whole buyer’s journey of your prospects. What exactly do they need?
Then, you need to showcase your content: make sure your website has calls to action (CTA), along with effective forms and landing pages to better assist prospects throughout their journey.
You should also create leads magnets (e.g. white books, webinars) that complement your blog posts. At Plezi, we also use content clusters to ensure that our articles reinforce our SEO ranking.
And to make sure that your content receives all the attention it deserves, don’t forget about distributing it using different channels, including social networks and via email.
It can also be worthwhile to put some money into sponsored campaigns to achieve some more obvious short-term results to start with. But you should keep a careful track on your customer acquisition cost if you do so.
One of our customers, Lemonway, implemented a step-by-step content strategy that has been highly effective. The results they have seen from this are proof that focusing on a few pieces of content with high added value can really pay off.
By cleverly linking articles targeted to their buyer personas and published throughout the year with four lead magnets, they have produced some impressive conversion rates.
But they aren’t alone! According to our B2B inbound marketing survey, our customers increase their number of leads by an average of more 100% in the first 6 months of using our software.
To assist your prospects in the sales cycle
Our advice is don’t put lead nurturing on the back burner. By putting in place even small actions from the moment you start regularly generating leads, you can ensure that no prospect escapes you and that you can offer them a complete user experience.
You can keep things simple to start with. Depending on the time and in-house resources you have available, you might want to look at:
- a monthly newsletter, to keep in touch with your leads. This is something that’s easy to do with marketing automation software like Plezi. It lets you create a newsletter template and then automate its distribution making use of your most recent blog posts. At Plezi, it’s incredible: as soon as we send our newsletter out, the number of visits to our website and the number of downloads skyrockets!
- small scenarios (workflows) implemented at specific times to effectively address leads, such as at online events or webinars;
- setting up a smart campaign, even if you don’t have much content, to start nurturing your prospects. One of our customers, Digora, launched a smart campaign as soon as they started using Plezi to sign up 2 new customers as a result of marketing efforts in just 2 months.
Our recommendations for quickly seeing an ROI
Starting an inbound marketing strategy can actually be much simpler than you think. The most important thing is not to try and run before you can walk. This might seem counter-intuitive, but limiting your actions to those that are absolutely necessary will actually enable you to get the best results.
Recommendation #1: Implement actions that align with your resources.
To implement an inbound marketing strategy, it’s essential that you have:
- a website that highlights your value proposition with calls to action and forms to convert your visitors into leads;
- some content to help you convert them, with a realistic editorial calendar (2 articles a month, for example).
By attempting to create too much content, to redesign your website immediately, to undertake a huge amount of work, you risk creating a bottleneck. If they’re caught up in a mad rush to create content, your marketing team won’t be able to undertake all the actions they need to in order to generate results.
On the contrary, a realistic and well-planned goal for creating content will let you create a virtuous circle and slowly increase the pace of content production.
Recommendation #2: Focus on the right actions
Once again, don’t try and simply reproduce what you see elsewhere without taking the time to ask yourself if this is really necessary for you and for your prospects.
Analyse the results of each of your marketing actions and identify the key drivers and actions that you need to spend more time on. Because time is a real resource for your team, and you need to budget for it. Make sure that you take it into account and identify those actions that will produce results and solutions which save you time.
And finally, don’t worry about trying to perform “the perfect action”. Inbound marketing is a strategy that is meant to evolve: with you, with your prospects, and with your day-to-day routine. Get something done, assess how it went, identify what needs to change, and start again! That’s how you will make real progress with inbound marketing.