Your Guide to Inbound Marketing Best Practices

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Your Guide to Inbound Marketing Best Practices

  1. 1. [ Maximize your inbound marketing campaigns ] Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Campaigns A white paper by PardotPardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  2. 2. Executive Summary Getting your marketing message to resonate with your target consumer in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace is one of the greatest challenges facing marketers today. The internet and related technologies have revolutionized the face of today’s marketing arena, creating consumers that are more empowered and markedly more sophisticated than their predecessors. Traditional outbound marketing campaigns have lost their efficacy as more sophisticated inbound marketing efforts have taken over. In this white paper, you will learn how to best utilize inbound marketing campaigns to maximize your company’s marketing efforts.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  3. 3. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Marketers used to engage consumers with more outbound messaging and directed one-sided conversations. In the past, marketing was straightforward and much less interactive. Television commercials, print ads, radio spots, direct mailings and billboard signage are typical examples of outbound marketing. The logic behind outbound marketing is simple: hit target consumers with your advertisement with enough frequency and they will eventually take your desired action. In essence, it was possible to ‘buy’ consumer actions via such media spend to illicit the targeted action.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  4. 4. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Consumers now drive marketing conversations. Today consumers’ ability to interact with the internet has spilled over into their receptiveness to outbound marketing messages and hurt the overall efficacy of those kinds of campaigns. The face of today’s savvy and cynical consumer is markedly different from the consumer of yesteryear. Today’s consumers grew up on the internet, are used to being inundated with endless chatter in their everyday lives and have mastered the art of ‘tuning out’ marketing messages. As such, traditional outbound marketing campaigns have been losing ground to a more sophisticated marketing landscape.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  5. 5. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Consumers demand personalized and consistent messages across channels. Bob Dylan once sang “the times, they are a changin,” and he was right when it comes to marketing in today’s technology-loaded world. Technology has shifted today’s marketingKeys to Effective Messaging conversations from ones dominated by companies, to ones that are lead by consumers and their quest to find information. While today’s internet is largely driven by commerce, it initially began as an information vehicle and remains a major source of information for Don’t overcommunicate consumers today. Keep messages short Integrate communications Today’s customers initiate many of their conversations with marketers and brands. They Provide value search for information on their own, and take action when they are ready to. More often than ever before, they do so without even leaving their homes. Their hot pursuit Personalize your messages of information has also raised their expectations surrounding the availability of it. They demand easily accessible information exactly when they are looking for it. They are no longer tied to typical business hours, and will access your product information at whatever time is most convenient for them. Consumers today demand personalized, consistent information across communication channels.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  6. 6. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Consumer now have to deal with information overload. While access to information online has certainly sped up consumers purchasing and educational abilities, it has also lead to a new challenge for marketers: consumer information overload. The easy access to information has lead to consumers overburdened with so much information that they resent being approached my marketers and have grown cynical towards typical marketing campaigns. Consumers now require meaningful, useful communication with companies, on their own terms. In response to this shift in consumer expectations, shrewd marketers have started turning away from outbound marketing efforts and started leveraging the same channels that their prospects use in order to grow their inbound marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing is buoyed by on the idea of being “found” by consumers rather than intrusively introducing your company to them. Consumers now expect these kinds of meaningful interactions that provide value, rather than traditional sales attempts. The most competitive companies are proactively building their inbound marketing initiatives using social media and content marketing. Inbound marketing tools like Facebook, YouTube, blogging, content, and podcasts have emerged as powerful and efficient customer acquisition streams.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  7. 7. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Social media dominates today’s inbound marketing efforts. Social media vehicles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are leading today’s inbound marketing efforts. While Facebook originally started as a way for students to gossip about college professors and fellow students, it is now a powerful marketing engine that connects brands and customers. With over 750 million users, it is virtually impossible to ignore Facebook and its place in your integrated marketing plan. It represents the very best of inbound marketing, and it can be a robust tool when leveraged correctly. In the past, marketing teams led dialogue with consumers regarding product pricing, new product lines and product feedback. Today, the norm is having consumers control these conversations. Consumers are dictating what new product features they want, how they want them laid out, and how much they want them to cost. Social media helps companies reach out to consumers on an individual or community-level and fosters personalized connections.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  8. 8. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Content driven marketing has emerged as a driving force behind inbound marketing.Content Marketing Examples The other major component of inbound marketing is content marketing. Creating valuable content that is meaningful to your customers is a way to generate lots of additional leads and website traffic. A great piece of content might be a white paper, podcast, or blog post White papers about something especially relevant to your industry or company. The most downloaded Podcasts and shared white papers are those that serve to educate and inform customers by Blog posts providing in depth information about a particular topic, rather than strictly selling a eBooks product or feature. These ‘thought leadership’ articles are especially compelling and resonate with your potential buyers. Infographics Fresh, relevant content marketing not only serves to inform your customers, it also helps improve your organic search engine ranking which helps drive more traffic to your site. Great content pieces can spread virally, quickly shared between people, and even be picked up by larger websites that have millions of visitors. Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  9. 9. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips Learn how you can generate your own inbound marketing campaigns with our Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 1. Create meaningful content The key to creating meaningful content for your visitors is to understand their needs and wants. Are most of your website visitors already customers looking for advanced insight into product features and new roll outs, or are they newbies that need hand holding and introductory ‘how to’ guides? Perhaps a lot of your web traffic comes from people that found you by one of your display ads targeting industry veterans. Each of those unique visitors is looking for content that is customized to what they are searching for, and should have content tailored to their needs. Reach out to your company network for new content ideas, as great new content can come from all parts of your company. For example, your sales team can be a great source of information regarding common customer questions, competitive positioning, and product improvements – all of which would make meaningful new content ideas for your website.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  10. 10. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 2. Optimize it for the search engines Creating new content for your website is not enough - you also have to optimize your content for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is easier that you might think. Start with researching your key industry/product terms (keywords) that you think generate the most searches in Google, and then create content around those keywords. Be sure to sprinkle those key terms throughout your content (including your page’s navigation name) in order to encourage search engines to rank your content higher than your competitors. Do not use your keywords excessively or you risk getting flagged by Google and penalized. Including keywords in your page name, title tag, header tags, and image alt tags are great ways to increase your keyword load on your targeted page without going overboard. When writing web copy, it’s important to remember that while keeping SEO tactics in mind is valuable, it is even more important to write quality content that your visitors will find compelling. If content isn’t interesting and easy to read, no one will share it or take action on your content.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  11. 11. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 3. Share your content Once you have all your sexy new content, it’s important to share it. Promote it through social media campaigns, emails, webinars, newsletters, even paid search and display ads – without being intrusive! Launching your new content can be both soft (i.e. placing a link at the bottom of one of your email campaigns or a placement on your home page) or hard (a Facebook update or Tweet alerting your followers to it). For things like white papers, you can even use a fresh display ad or a paid search campaign to drive downloads more aggressively. It’s important to monitor paid advertising like display and paid search carefully so that don’t overspend or fail where your ROI is concerned. While it’s fantastic if 20,000 people download your new white paper on “Paid Search Best Practices,” you’ve missed the mark if none of those leads turn into paying customers. Capping frequency in your campaigns is an easy way to make sure you’re not inundating people with your message over and over, and keeping your spend in check. Adding a “ShareThis” button to your website is one way to make it easy and simple for people to share your content.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  12. 12. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 4. Start a company blog Starting a company blog is great way to position your business as a thought leader. Your blog can become a wonderful resource to those looking for more information about your industry, which in turn leads to new prospects. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with those customers that are most likely to be your product evangelists. One of the keys to maintaining a positive online reputation is by keeping your product evangelists happy. By posting frequently, and keeping those posts relevant and succinct, you’ll be on your way to effectively blogging. As you explore other industry blogs, you’ll see that the most popular blogs are the ones that keep their posts fresh, updated, and short. Blogger and Wordpress are two great (free!) blog publishing tools that are easy to set up and simple to use.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  13. 13. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips Tip Sheet: How to Attract New Blog Followers Promote it - send out an email to your colleagues, friends, and customers letting them know about your blog. Additionally, commenting on other people’s blogs and linking back to a relevant post on your own blog are great ways to get new eyes on your blog. Write frequently (it may seem obvious, but writing a blog post 2 or 3 times a week, versus once a week, dramatically increases followers). Submit your blog to sites like Google, “YaBing”, Technorati, Blogged.com, and FuelMyBlog so that they can start crawling your blog and including your posts in their search results. Optimize your blog posts for the search engines (keyword rich copy, proper titles, etc). Follow other blogs! Don’t be afraid to comment on other blogs that you find interesting (never leave a negative post though! That can lead to all kinds of negative ramifications). Add a ‘ShareThis’ button and an RSS feed to your blog posts so that it’s easy for your followers to share your content. Enable following in your blog so that others can easily subscribe to it. Add a link to your blog in your email signature.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  14. 14. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 5. Engage your customers with social media There are more than 750 million people now using Facebook and another 360 million on Twitter. You can be sure that somewhere in one of those billion+ accounts, your current and potential customers can be found. As an inbound marketing tool, social media can help your company or products be found when someone is looking for them. It can also help your company engage with key influencers in your space, interact with customers, generate leads and of course, promote your new content. A great way to boost your social media productivity is by scheduling your posts in advance. Marketing automation tools and social media dashboards allow you to create Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts in advance and schedule them to go out when you want them to.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  15. 15. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 6. Build your community All too often, new social media users start off strongly and then quickly flatline. With all the other things you’re juggling, it’s easy to see how that can happen. However, it is important to keep your momentum and use social media regularly to stay engaged with and build your online community. Facebook and Twitter can be paramount for discovering who your product evangelists are, and those relationships can be key to controlling your online reputation. When you use your social media accounts frequently, you organically create a community surrounding your company and products, helping you stay top of mind, and creating a positive user experience. Use your Facebook or Twitter accounts get feedback about your products or services, ask for feedback about new features or answer common questions that your core customers have. Remember that social media is a great vehicle for listening and responding to your key product evangelists, so don’t simply push information on to your followers.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  16. 16. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips Tip Sheet: Social Media Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when you’re using your social media accounts as business tools. Remember to be helpful – answer common questions, showcase your website’s FAQ page, or ask for feedback regarding a new feature. Use social media to post information about upcoming events like product launches, speaking engagements, or company webinars. Fill our your profiles thoroughly (including a photo as it inspires trust and legitimacy). Find other industry leaders, related groups, and other fan pages, and add them to your network (don’t forget to comment on their posts!). Use social media to research the people you’ll be speaking with on your next sales call. Try to glean some kind of personal information and use it during your call (are they a Red Sox fan? Do they have a photo of their dog online? (But remember, don’t be creepy - no one likes a stalker!) Keep your personal information exactly that - personal! Make sure your settings for your personal photos, status updates and tweets are set to private. Reward your followers. Recognize those that comment on your posts with personalized responses, a casual thank you, or even some kind of freebie endear you to followers. Keep it short and sweet. Both Facebook and Twitter have character limits, so get to the point when posting. Engage your community with questions related to your business, but also other more personal questions like “Who are you rooting for during the Superbowl”.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  17. 17. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 7. Don’t forget about video Sharing video content about your company is another great way to generate website traffic and leads while interacting with your target customers. Videos can be uploaded to sites like YouTube and Vimeo quickly and are great ways to deliver personalized interactions with your customers. With over 3 billion views of YouTube videos each day, it’s clear that people are watching. A couple of easy and quick video ideas that you can use are customer testimonials and product demos. You can set up accounts and upload your videos to YouTube and Vimeo in just a few minutesPardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  18. 18. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 8. Use your office Utilizing Google places, sites like Yelp, and iPhone apps like FourSquare are great trust-builders for your business. An actual office location adds credibility to your business while the resulting link helps your SEO ranking and website traffic.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  19. 19. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 9. Remember your ultimate goal Be sure your content focuses on your ultimate goal - generating your Key Performance Indicator (KPI), which is typically a sale or lead. Optimizing your content for SEO is important, but optimizing it for your KPI is even more important. Be sure to include a call-to-action (C2A) to remind your prospects what you want them to do once they’ve absorbed all your new content. Your goal and the type of campaign you’re running will determine what C2A you want to use. You might use buttons that say things like “Click Here to Learn More” or “Download this white paper now” if you want your prospects to read one of your white papers. Conversely, if you’re driving a free trial of a product or a direct purchase, you might want to use C2As like “Start Free Trial Now” and “Buy Now”.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  20. 20. Best Practices Guide for Inbound Marketing Top 10 Winning Inbound Marketing Tips 10. Measure, track, measure again, grow Measure your results – develop benchmarks, test and learn, and grow. And then test again! Creating all of your fresh new content without tracking in place is equivalent to playing Russian roulette. Tracking results helps your organization develop benchmarks that can fuel additional growth and efficiencies. You should have tracking on all of your web pages, marketing campaigns, and social media efforts. That key success metric can be as simple as tracking ‘shares’ or ‘retweets’ or diving deeper and analyzing how much time a visitor spent on a particular web page (stickiness) on your site before leaving the page (bounce rate). When you discover what content is the most successful, it becomes easier to create even more relevant content and build on those insights. Was a revamped product page visited more often than the old one? Was a certain white paper downloaded more frequently than your other white papers? Did a Facebook survey generate more responses than your last email blast? With analytics in place, you’ll be able to track and report on those kinds of results. Most website analytics are simply snippets of javascript that you add to your web pages. Google Analytics is a free tool that provides robust reporting metrics perfectly suited for most small and mid-sized companies. Be sure that your marketing automation suite can fully integrate with your marketing analytics tool.Pardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  21. 21. Conclusion Marketers have to work harder and smarter today to keep pace with more sophisticated consumers. By 2005, blogs had become main stream and emerged as sources “people could not ignore”* and less than 2 years later, it was video that was driving millions of views a day. Now of course, Facebook and Twitter are positioned as the leaders of social media and inbound marketing. These shifts have meant marketers have to work harder, and smarter, to get and keep a prospect’s attention today. With effective inbound marketing tactics in place, your marketing team will be able to maximize your lead generation and sales opportunities while minimizing costs. *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bloggingPardot.com | 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300, Atlanta, GA 30326 | P - 404.492.6845 | F - 887.287.8952 | © 2012 Pardot LLC. | All rights reserved worldwide.
  22. 22. [No hassle marketing automation]About Pardot Contact UsPardot is an on-demand marketing software company that increases sales and Tel: 877.3.B2B.ROImaximizes efficiency for companies with complex sales cycles. Tel: 404.492.6845 Fax: 877.287.8952Pardot offers an industry-leading marketing automation product that Online: www.pardot.commanages prospect interactions such as site visits, email, forms, and more.The on-demand suite solves the integration challenges faced by B2Bmarketers today by allowing you to control formerly disparate online and Pardot LLCoffline marketing tools one central interface. Pardot syncs with select CRM 950 East Paces Ferry Rdvendors and is available on the salesforce.com App Exchange. Pardot was Suite 3300founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta, GA 30326

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