Are you a newbie to the world of inbound marketing desperate to see that lead board set alight?
Or perhaps you’re a seasoned pro that wants to revitalize your content strategy and boost your performance and results? Either way, you’re in the right place.
We’re all looking for the best outcomes for our inbound activities. But inbound marketing is a long game and considerably more convoluted than other types of marketing. It’s all about adopting the right approach.
This article will talk you through the best ways to establish your goals and objectives so you can hone in on the KPIs that will pave your path to inbound success.
We’ll look at some of the most effective areas of inbound marketing such as content marketing, customer journey, and lead gen, and offer tips on how you can enhance your campaigns and adapt your approach to get better results.
Inbound might be one of the most challenging areas of marketing, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Let’s get started getting the results your team and your brand deserves.
Focus on the right inbound marketing KPIs
The primary goal of inbound marketing is to get more business — not more Marketing Qualified Leads. If you’re only looking at MQLs, you’re missing the bigger picture, and potentially creating more work for poor results.
Don’t worry if this is how you have been approaching inbound marketing so far — it's a mistake that plenty of marketers make. There are dozens of ways to measure your marketing performance and it can be tricky to decide on which metrics and KPIs to focus on.
Even when you have your KPI strategy firmly in place it’s still a good idea to revisit your goals and objectives on a regular basis and make sure you are clear on what inbound marketing success looks like for you.
If the very mention of spreadsheets and performance tracking makes you run to the hills, we’ve got your back. Once you’ve fully digested this article and had a suitable break, head on over to our blog on how to set and measure effective inbound KPIs.
Now to the fun bit — let’s take a look at some straightforward, actionable, and proven ways to boost your inbound marketing performance.
How to get better inbound marketing results
Inbound marketing is a journey. To get from A to B you have to be able to navigate every part successfully. Let’s break this particular expedition down into manageable chunks; content, customer journey, and lead generation.
Naturally, they all feed into each other but viewing them as standalone entities are really useful for understanding which elements and activities are working and which need some work.
Inbound marketing content
Boosting your inbound content marketing results is all about reaching your prospective customers at the right time, with the most valuable content for that specific point in their customer journey (more on this later). At Foleon we believe that a lot of that value comes from offering the content for free.
Some businesses prefer to focus on a heavily gated content strategy, but that’s not the approach we take. We believe in nurturing leads until they turn into handraisers.
We don’t want to risk alienating them just when they are warming to our brand, people, and products. Ultimately, this might lead to fewer leads, but they are much higher quality leads. One of the best places to start is to…
Identify places where you can improve your content
You might not have enough hours in the day to do a complete content audit, but try to set aside some time to review your blog content. Your blog articles are one of the strongest links in your buyer journey. But often we are so focused on getting as much content to market as possible we forget to give each blog the time and space to fulfill its potential.
Take a look at which of your blogs are working well and select some for repurposing and optimization. This could be a handful of the best-performing articles that could do with an update or reformatting into a downloadable e-guide or video. Or it might be content that underperformed the first time around but could benefit from better keyword targeting or more amplification on social media or paid advertising.
This is also a great opportunity for burrowing back through your archive and checking for any time-sensitive material that could do with modernizing. Those “Ten best wotsits for 2020” articles that did pretty well on social media are definitely worth updating with this year's wotsits, for example.
In a similar vein, now is a good time to put a process in place to update your CTAs as you create new content and take a look at where you can replace static content with engaging interactive experiences.
Today’s marketers are blessed with technology and tools that allow us to create immersive, personalized, and scalable content with little or no technical ability. Head on over to our website to see how it works.
With your content creation in hand, don’t forget about social media. How are you growing your audience on your preferred channels? Is your strategy to post unique, conversational content that brings the right people to your website working?
Social takes time, we know. But it remains one of the most effective inbound marketing channels. We’ve found that if you can dedicate a specific time to posting, amplifying, and monitoring your social activity on a daily or even weekly basis, it quickly becomes part of your routine. Plus, the audience insights should more than make up for the extra time spent.
One of the best ways to improve your inbound marketing results is to create a great customer journey. Customer journeys are not always linear and they will vary considerably depending on which buyer persona you are trying to attract.
The important thing is to make sure the route you set out is as intuitive as possible for the customer and that you mitigate any risk of them dropping off (BTW, this is something that Foleon can also help with).
Here are some tips for getting better inbound results through your customer journey:
- Create a customer journey map to help you understand the needs of your customers at each stage. You can then structure your inbound marketing plan around the different stages and make sure they have access to the right content at the right times.
- If you have lots of content around specific topics why not collate them into a pillar page? Pillar pages can significantly improve your website structure, are great for SEO and user experience and clearly demonstrate your expertise. What’s not to like?
- Does your content link through naturally to your final (conversion) destination? Have you consistently given your lead reasons to continue their journey and broached any barriers to the sale?
- Analyze your internal linking structure. Is everything connected in a way that makes sense for your audience? Do you have processes in place to keep your internal linking up to date?
- Set up automated reports in your chosen analytics package to alert you to weaknesses in your customer journey or to areas that are performing well so you can capitalize on the successes.
We won’t go into SEO in detail in this guide — it’s a big ol’ topic and requires a big ol’ section to itself. Just a quick mention in relation to the customer journey as it’s one of the most effective ways of driving high-quality traffic to your website. When you are auditing your content, make sure that each of your web pages has a clear search internet and keyword strategy.
Google should be able to understand straight away what your page is about and why it is valuable to your visitor. Getting this right means more high-quality leads and higher SERPs so it’s well worth spending some time on.
Lead generation from inbound marketing activities
Lead gen can be one of the hardest parts of inbound marketing to get right. It is comparatively more straightforward to get someone interested at the top end of the sales funnel — they need information and have an open mind to their potential supplier. The hard work comes when encouraging them to make contact or to offer up some of their personal data.
Gated content is a popular go-to for many marketers seeking to boost lead gen. But, as we mentioned earlier, this approach risks putting customers off. Autofill or no auto-fill, many of us just don’t want to give up our details for a guide that might not be that useful anyway.
Consider where gates are helping or hindering your audience and adjust your approach accordingly. You could even do some A/B testing if you aren’t sure. For more information on this topic and to help you decide whether and when to remove gates take a look at our article on rethinking content gating strategy.
You’ve made it to the end!
No doubt you are full to the brim of ideas and inspiration on how to get better inbound marketing results.
Don’t forget that you’re in it for the long haul and you might not see the fruits of your labor right away. In fact, it can take some time. If you need some tips, take a look at our blog on how to deal with slow ROI on inbound marketing which will put you on the right track.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. Decide what your priorities are and what is achievable by who and when. Keep a note of the tasks that should be done regularly as part of your general content hygiene regime, and which things are one-off changes that could have a high impact.
We suggest only making one of these changes at a time so you know what’s making an impact on your performance. Be patient, but attentive. Creative, but pragmatic. Ask for help and listen to your customers.
When you need inspiration, think of all the marketing activities that you’ve integrated seamlessly into your schedule; the martech tools you swore you would never master that you are now your office’s go-to person for advice. All the recommendations we mentioned above will become just another worthwhile feature on your daily, weekly, or monthly list of tasks — and some that are likely to bring significant rewards.