Frequent readers of this space know about the importance of inbound marketing for any business. Through tactics like social media and SEO, you attract your target audience to your website organically. While there, they convert to leads, which you can nurture towards becoming customers. It's a natural process that flows better, and is better integrated with your audience's preferences, than its traditional 'push' marketing alternatives.
Our library of content is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the basic concept of inbound marketing and its various tactics. Still, as more and more businesses across industries adopt the inbound marketing concept, it's time to aim higher. Simply offering content that is similar to your competitors is no longer enough. Instead, consider these 5 advanced tips to leverage the full power of inbound marketing, and go beyond the basics.
1) Take Advantage of New Content Types
First things first: it's time to think of content-based marketing as more than just a blog, social media, and some whitepapers. Two thirds of all businesses have a blog, and Facebook alone is home to more than 65 million company pages. In that crowded environment, it's difficult to stand out. So why not seek an avenue with less noise?
The possibilities for content continue to expand. For instance, podcasting has spent the last few years entering mainstream, and could be a perfect thought leadership vehicle. Webinars are easier to produce than ever before, and can act as natural lead generation tools. And it doesn't end there.
Live video quietly spent 2017 moving from the 'next best thing' to an everyday reality on social media. VR videos have risen similarly fast. None of these content types should lead you to give up on your blog or traditional Facebook posts. They should, however, present an opportunity to take your content marketing beyond what all of your competitors are doing.
2) Maximize Your Personalization Capabilities
Even beginning inbound marketers know: personalization is key to success in inbound marketing. The more your audience feels that you're speaking directly to them, the more likely they will convert. But how truly personal is your messaging?
Simply using your recipients' first name in a nurturing email is no longer enough. True personalization means making sure that the content you publish is actually customized to each member of your audience.
That might seem impossible, but is actually becoming more and more viable. HubSpot's Smart Content tool, for instance, allows you to show different versions of web pages to leads based on the information you have about them. Many email clients now allow for the same type of customization.
3) Take Your Nurturing Efforts Beyond Emails
Too often, the inbound marketing concept of lead nurturing is synonymous with emails. And sure, electronic messages delivered to Yahoo or Gmail and still form the backbone of welcoming new leads and gently nudging them toward becoming customers. But that doesn't mean you have to stop there.
Instead, consider taking the same multichannel approach to lead nurturing that applies to your lead generation efforts. Supplement your emails with text messages, and perhaps even personal phone calls. Offer long-form content exclusively to your existing leads. And of course, you can take advantage of list-based social media and search engine advertising to show nurturing messages only to contacts already in your database.
Email remains a powerful marketing tool, but you don't have to limit yourself to it. A great nurturing strategy should aim to reach your audience through more than just their inbox. Subtly insert yourself into their online experience through a number of channels to maximize lead-to-customer yield.
4) Score Your Leads for Maximum Efficiency
How do you know which of your leads should advance to your sales department? In other words, what's the perfect point to stop nurturing and start with a sales pitch? It's an age-old questions that many businesses simply cannot answer. They time their lead nurturing efforts and hope that when the workflow has run its course, the lead is ready. But that's not always the case.
Instead, consider a more strategic answer to the question: lead scoring. Assign individual point values to every type of engagement your lead has with your content and marketing outreach. Higher engagement means higher likelihood to actually become a customer. When a lead reaches a certain threshold, it's ready for a sales call.
Lead scoring is especially popular in B2B contexts, but can be applied to B2C situations as well. Email opens, clicks, and additional sign up conversions all show varying degrees of interest in your brand. Once you dynamically score your leads, you increase your chances of hitting the perfect point for a pitch. A MarketingSherpa study found that marketers who use lead scoring see a 77% increase in lead generation ROI compared to those who don't.
Inbound marketing is never over. If you are only using the concept to increase your customer base, you are wasting at least some of its potential. Instead, it pays to consider the concept as a holistic philosophy that optimizes both customer acquisition and retention.
All the same benefits related to gaining new customers also make sense in retaining them. Nurturing new customers increases their chances to become repeat buyers. Valuable content keeps them engaged with your brand until they need your product or service again. Their lifetime value skyrockets, and your revenue grows accordingly.
HubSpot has a great guide on using inbound marketing tactics to improve your customer retention. The messaging might change, but the general strategy remains the same. From timely follow-ups to building a loyalty program, you can take these steps to leverage inbound marketing into sustainable business success.
Don't limit yourself to the basic concept of inbound marketing. The beauty of the philosophy is the fact that you can expand it to go beyond your competition. With these advanced tips, you can maximize its potential, and improve your marketing and business growth strategy as a result.
To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call at 661-702-1310!