Inbound Marketing 101


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In a nutshell, Inbound is what's replaced traditional, costly broadcast advertising with an adaptable model where customer behaviour is made visible, results tangible and effectiveness measurable.

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Inbound Marketing 101

  1. 1. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide
  2. 2. Inbound, where an unknown business problem becomes a known business opportunity What is inbound? Inbound is essentially what’s overtaken old school, above-the-line broadcast advertising, replacing huge spends and variable measurability with the ability to guide unknown visitors to your website. In the process, they’ll become known individuals in defined business sectors, undertaking a journey that could well result in a sale. Without the principles and practices of inbound, prospects probably won’t find you online. They will, however, find some of your competitors, and will buy what they need from one of these. Using inbound effectively, you can tease relevant information out of unknown visitors, exchanging this for information they’ll find useful. You can also use analytics to improve the performance, efficiency and effectiveness of your demand generation activity. This could be a long description of inbound marketing: the continual process of attracting unknown prospects, converting them to known contacts and optimising channels to improve programme performance. Majority of marketers integrate inbound with corporate strategy 81% of inbound strategy is at least somewhat integrated with broader goals 5% This could be a short one: inbound makes marketing more effective to unknown contacts in specified target audiences. Not integrated Somewhat integrated 34% 0 Somewhat unintegrated 47% 90% of business buyers say when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. 8% Completely integrated 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Source: DemandGen Reports (2012) Share 2
  3. 3. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide As one-third of a demand generation triangle, using inbound means your audience can find you when they are ready, but you have to earn their attention. Guides, articles, eBooks, videos, calculators and digital tools are just a few examples of content that can help you to earn attention by meeting your audience’s need for information. It’s not rocket science. It is, however, a bit of a leap of faith. You have to trust that what you’re offering will resonate with prospects looking to fulfil a business need. Which, perhaps, goes some way towards explaining why over two-thirds of marketers don’t yet feel that inbound is fully integrated into their communications activity. 93% of business buyers use search to begin their journey. Source: Marketo Share 1 The challenge To get the attention of people who don’t know who we are, or aren’t ready to buy from us. Content The answer n Content engine to deliver relevant content n Asset library n Guidance in content marketing 2 1 The challenge People don’t find us, or what they’re looking for from us, online. The answer n Greater online visibility n Make relevant information easily available n Ask them to give us some information about them 3 2 The challenge Giving them the right information at the right time to move them towards purchase £ 3 The answer n Understanding their needs n Marketing automation process n Personalised communications Inbound Nurture 3
  4. 4. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide 8% 7% 8% Direct Mail 8% 8% Trade Shows 8 9% 10% 12% 13% 10 PPC 5% 6% 6% Traditional 5% Telemarketing 2 Blogs 4 Email Marketing 6% 6 0 Share 14% 12 14% 14 Social Media Sticking to traditional selling strategies doesn’t achieve the bottom line benefits available now. Every piece of communications activity has to be purposive and justifiable. A demand generation strategy with inbound at its core provides exactly that. 16 12% Modern marketing using demand generation makes marketing budgets work harder, messaging more flexible, and results more quantifiable. The internet is largely responsible for fundamental changes in buyer behaviour. Today, your prospects go online to source the information they need – this will include other customers’ experiences with the product or service being considered. Social media, SEO top both lead sources and 2013 budget allocations 14% A complex process, and with higher value purchases at stake requiring stakeholder buy-in at various levels, broadcast advertising to a B2B audience has always been difficult to entirely justify. Marketing spending closely tracks lead generation rates SEO A bit less push, a few more pointers 4
  5. 5. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Search and social – the power behind inbound marketing When someone wants something these days, they do a search. In fact, 93% of buyers begin their journey with an online search and 88% click on organic search results. Your goal here is to appear high enough up the search engine’s rankings for this someone to click on your link in their quest to find what they want. Organic, search-driven leads even have the highest leadto-close rate at 15%. Yet, proportionally, spend is low on SEO and search engine marketing, being only 4% of a given annual budget. Source: Hubspot and B2B barometer People perceive high search rankings as a sign of trust, credibility and authority. So it’s worth picking up all the information you can about how to reach the top of the search engine tree. First up, what search isn’t. It isn’t a one-off activity in launching web pages with tags and metadata. It’s an ongoing process with over 60% of page rank now determined by off-page factors. In effect, how search engines view your website’s relationships with other websites, not just web pages that you control. These factors include referral links and social signals and are growing in importance. Keywords In order to optimise your website and web pages, the first step is to identify exactly what words you want to rank for and be associated with. You should have a limited set of keywords to optimise your website for, and a specific for each web page linked to the theme of each article. Authority As with traditional PR, leading journals and journalists carry more weight, more authority. Companies with unique, interesting stories and news gain more coverage. The same is true for the web. So, even if you have good on-page SEO, leading domains may have more authority than you and will rank higher for your desired search terms. Growing authority is fundamental in increasing organic search traffic. So how do you grow authority? Authority is given by domains linking to your website. They pass you link juice. The more authority they have, the more link juice is passed to you. It’s not the number of links, but the value of each link that’s important. In order to attract links from reputable sources you have to earn it – they won’t give you credit or authority for nothing. Having unique, valuable content is the most effective way to drive link-baiting. Keywords are about how your audience will search for something you can help with, not what terms you want to promote. Always do keyword research to identify preferred search terms, not the terms you’d like them to be. Share 5
  6. 6. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Broadening your reach – social Social media, in all its guises, is connecting people in ways never imagined before. Be a part of it, and it exponentially increases your ability to be found via online communities. These communities and the people who make them can become spokespersons for your brand and spread your reach beyond known contacts, identify prospects you can actively nurture and even boost search performance. Larger, slower-moving or more traditional organisations have been reluctant within many B2B markets to embrace social media. Common reactions to using have included: ‘it doesn’t deliver ROI’, ‘our audiences don’t use it’ or ‘we don’t have the resources available right now to manage it’. Simply put, this isn’t true. In addition to lead acquisition, social media is replacing PR and traditional forms of earned media, in enhancing brand image, perceived reliability and thought-leadership. 94% of business buyers’ state C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image, with 77% saying they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. The fact is, four out of five of your own employees trust your company more if the CEO uses social media to communicate to them! With social media as with search, the more people linking to you, the greater positive impact on search results. Once again, you must earn this. People won’t link your website to their communities without something worthwhile to share. One of the most effective ways of enhancing keywords on your website and building backlinks is blogging. This requires continual creation of newsworthy material that people want to share socially and link to from their websites. B2B companies that blog have even been found to generate on average over 50% more leads per month than non-blogging organisations. Source: Socialmedia B2B Share 6
  7. 7. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Amplifying your message Social provides a free channel and a platform to distribute your messages and content, expand your reach beyond existing contacts, and enables customers to become third-party advocates and objective, external brand ambassadors. If someone shares something about you, you reach new audiences with earned credibility. Just like word-of-mouth being the strongest form for endorsement offline, online it is word of the web. The key is providing something people want to share; a fantastic experience, timely and downtime-saving support, a great product or a guide. Once again, content is seen as a driver. However great your product, without content you’re an empty vessel, unlikely to engage customers and do your sales potential justice. Identifying and nurturing prospects Social media provides a flexible, cost-effective, trustgenerating channel to reach new audiences, enhance relationships with customers and enrich brand personalities. When viewed like this, who wouldn’t want a piece of it? Customers have better visibility of you, and you have the ability to nurture prospects through the buyer cycle. Marketing now has the tools in place to demonstrate tangible ROI with social channels, not just click-and-follow metrics. Prospects acquired, customers acquired and increased loyalty – all and so much more is down to the intelligent, creative use of social. In complex B2B markets, it’s neither fair nor realistic to think that engaging an audience via social media will immediately lead to a flood of sales. The decision process will involve multiple stakeholders, and will take place over an extended period of time. In fact, only 27% of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated. source: MarketingSherpa Share 7
  8. 8. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Search and social Mobile and Generation Y As web sophistication increases, social is seen to play an ever-rising role in search. 64% of marketers now see only strong content (82%) more important to search rankings than social media. Let’s play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and say that your audience isn’t socially engaged right now. Broad adoption of smartphones (usually company phones) are blurring the lines of work and personal space. source: BtoBmagazine The launch of Google+ with personalised results, and Facebook search graph only act to demonstrate the converging mutual relationship between search and social. Now consider the impact as Generation Y enters the workplace and progresses to more senior roles with decisionmaking responsibilities, and the native digital world begins to become reality. Social will be embedded as one of the definitive communications vehicles at marketers’ disposal. Get in now, and you’re ahead of the game. 82% of CEOs already acknowledge smartphones as being the primary device for business searches. source: Forbes Yet already, 9 out of every 10 internet uses on mobile is a social channel. source: Microsoft Share 8
  9. 9. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Unknown to known Mutual benefit Long buyer cycles, multiple decision makers and complex channels – it’s common for B2B purchases to be complicated. Stimulating organic or social traffic may only have limited impact if these visitors remain unknown to you, especially with pressure to justify marketing spend and demonstrate ROI. Even a ten-fold rise in web traffic may not convince the board of success unless sales or customer retention dramatically increase. An exchange of information which offers mutual benefit is the simplest way of finding out who they are. The primary currency you have to exchange for their contact information is content; eBooks, webinars, guides, demos, reports and tools are just a few examples. If someone isn’t ready to purchase but has shown interest in your company or service, you need to know who they are in order to help nurture them towards a sale. One thing is clear, the prospect who remains unknown to you is neither useful nor productive. Share The level of content should also reflect the level of customer data required. For a detailed report you may want full information, but for a simple online tool it may just be a social @handle. But without something of value to your audience, engaging and converting a visitor to known is rarely possible. 9
  10. 10. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide 7% 7% Diect Mail Blogs 9% PPC Trade Shows 0 Email Marketing 2% Social Media 4% SEO 12% Trade Shows Telemarketing 12% Traditional Direct Mail 12% 6% Telemarketing 15% 16% PPC Blogs SEO 10% 8% 11% 12% 10% 8% 15% 0 13% 12% 24% 25% 20% 5% 16% 14% 27% 25% 15% of marketers say SEO delivers above average sales conversion 15% 30% Email Marketing 62% of top performers indicated the top reason to implement inbound marketing was to increase sales from target segments. Conversion 27% of marketers report below average CPLs for both email and social media 27% Justifying the investment in inbound is proving a challenge to the marketing community, with 25% of marketers concerned with proving their bottom-line results, even though these survey results show that inbound is more than capable of looking after itself where the numbers are concerned. Social media, email deliver lower average CPLs Social Media The cold hard cash source: Gleanster Share 10
  11. 11. Inbound Marketing 101 Guide Inbound elements deliver 4/5 of the lowest sources of cost per lead. And provide the highest-2-close to sale rates 30% 5% 0 Finding an executive sponsor 10% Training my team 15% Hiring Top Talent 20% Targeting content 25% Controlling technology Nearly 95% of [European marketing] companies are already practicing inbound marketing, and all plan to increase their inbound marketing spending by 2015. 25% of marketers concerned with proving bottomline results Securing budget When brought together under one banner, inbound marketing, content marketing and marketing automation make a whole that’s worth more than the sum of its parts to your bottom line, with the marketing automation element providing the analytics that feed continual improvements into your inbound ands content marketing efforts. Proving ROI tops challenges faced by inbound marketers Providing ROI It doesn’t do, however, to view inbound in isolation. In the same way that a company blog doesn’t constitute an inbound strategy, an inbound strategy alone doesn’t represent a commitment to demand generation. source: Sirius Decisions Share 11
  12. 12. Resource Centre You may also enjoy reading: Download Marketing Automation 101 Guide B2B Social Media and Engineering Communities Download Download 10 Steps to Content Marketing Success Download About Ledger Bennett DGA Telephone: +44 (0)8458 383883 Email: Milton Keynes: Ledger Bennett DGA Tungsten House, Warren Road Little Horwood, Milton Keynes MK17 0NR London: Share Ledger Bennett DGA 1st Floor Centric House 390-391 Strand, London WC2R 0LT We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses sales and marketing know-how to help customers increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing and Marketing Automation strategies. Our highly focused Demand Generation programmes drive our customers’ business performance, helping them to: n Generate more opportunity n Convert that opportunity into sales n Retain customers and grow their value Using more measurable and cost effective techniques than traditional full service marketing agencies we are able to maximise business revenue in the modern world where the internet has fundamentally changed the behaviour of the buyer.