Posts Tagged ‘inbound’

Four startlingly obvious ways to segment your B2B email marketing lists

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Email marketing statistic

Consider this: The reason why 40% of email subscribers mark email as spam is not because they did not know who sent it, but because what was sent was irrelevant to their needs.

With such high levels of email being marked as spam the need for well segmented email marketing lists is clear. In order to get the attention of your recipients you will need to give them something relevant to their personal situation, goals or challenges. After all, when you have put so much effort in to building your email marketing database through inbound marketing, it would be a shame to then be marked as spam and blocked. (more…)

Infographic: Powerful social calls-to-action to increase engagement

Friday, July 5th, 2013

When you want someone to do something, the best thing to do is ask. This has long been the case and it is just as true in marketing as it is for children with messy bedrooms. Dan Zarella, HubSpot’s social media scientist in residence, recently carried out some research seeing just how much influence calls-to-action had on content engagement. The results were quite surprising.









Three Tips on Effective Lead Nurturing from HubSpot’s Best Practices

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

If you’re involved in marketing, chances are that you’re constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of your lead generation campaigns. While there are many methods of achieving this, nurturing the leads already in your pipeline can be a great way to turn more of your leads into customers.

Lead nurturing requires effective communication and building a relationship with customers. It takes practice. In their time creating tools for other marketers’ lead nurturing campaigns, HubSpot has built an impressive lead nurturing program of their own. HubSpot’s Product Marketing Manager, Jeffrey Russo, shared with us their in-house lead nurturing best practices.

1. Create content that customers will love and want to share.

Successful marketers are moving away from a self-centred strategy, and adopting a more customer-centric one. Why is this a key to success? Customers will actually want to see emails directing them to your carefully thought out, well-written content that is useful and benefits them in some way.

A great example of content that does exactly this is HubSpot’s The Marketer’s Field Guide to Salesforce. Upon realising that many of Salesforce’s customers were also suitable target customers for HubSpot, they created a document for marketers, covering just about every aspect of Salesforce they needed to know — including methodology and best practices.

HubSpot Field Guide to Salesforce

The Marketer’s Field Guide to Salesforce

This document was downloaded nearly 8,000 times, even though it barely even mentioned HubSpot. Why? Because the information was valuable to the customer, and it wasn’t overly promotional. If you want to keep your prospects moving along the funnel, it’s important to create content that is genuinely useful for your customer base. Doing this helps build trust with the prospect and shows that you’re interested in more than simply closing a sale.

2. Segment your leads to better serve them.

Segmentation is another crucial component to effective lead nurturing. To effectively nurture leads, it’s important that you send tailored messages that speak to your prospect. And segmenting your leads is one way to make sure that the right message reaches the right person.

While creating logical and effective segmentation can seem like a daunting task for many marketers, it’s important to do if you want to see better returns on your campaigns. HubSpot divides their lead nurturing campaigns into two groups: persona and lifecycle stage.

Personas fall into separate categories, as well, and each of these categories is responded to (by HubSpot) differently. Here are some examples of personas they often see:

Example of Buyer Personas

Meanwhile, a lifecycle stage is where the contact is at within the customer lifecycle. This requires really honing in on the customer’s needs and responding to them based on that. Here is an example of a HubSpot campaign aimed toward Marketing Mary, who they know is actively considering a purchase:

Workflow step-by-step

3. Utilize tools other than email.

Having a focused email marketing strategy can be a great asset to marketers. But it’s not the only option, and sometimes it’s hard to see past something that is working well. There are many other points of contact on your site that prospects can get to in many different ways. That’s why it’s important to create personalised Calls to Actions (CTAs) to your site visitors. HubSpot has created a SmartCTA tool that allows them to create and place CTAs based on their segments. This way, certain CTAs are only seen by the specific segment that HubSpot wants to have see it.

Effective lead nurturing takes time and practice, but the important thing for marketers to remember is that quality lead nurturing takes time to develop. And if you try to take on everything at once, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the size of the task at hand.

To keep from becoming overwhelmed, HubSpot recommends that you start with your biggest groups of leads first and then work from there. By starting with your biggest group of leads, you can quickly gather feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Then you can apply these lessons to future programs as you scale up your lead nurturing efforts. Once you figure out what works for you, then you can focus on the minutia and optimise your lead nurturing campaigns.

What other lead nurturing tips do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This is a guest post written by softwareadvice.com

Is PPC part of the inbound marketing methodology?

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Pay-Per-Click isn’t inbound marketing, is it? In recent weeks there has been much discussion around what is and what is not inbound marketing. This discussion really took off when SEOmoz rebranded as Moz and Rand Fishkin laid out the difference between inbound marketing and interruption (outbound) marketing as he sees it. In this blog I would like to tackle a few of the talking points that came up as I watched the discussion unfold online.

How does Rand see it?

In this infographic Rand has laid out what he sees as being inbound vs interruption marketing. In the red corner we have interruption marketing which seeks to interrupt people and grab their attention as they go about their daily activities. We see outbound sales calls, TV & radio advertising, print ads, purchased email lists, banner ads, display ads, trade shows etc. In the blue corner we have inbound marketing which seeks to earn people’s attention “organically without interrupting anyone’s path.” This includes opt-in email lists, press & PR, blogging, content creation, public speaking, influencer outreach, pay-per-click advertising…

That’s right. PPC is inbound marketing.

Much of the discussion in recent weeks has centred on PPC and whether or not it is truly inbound marketing. After all, is inbound marketing not about producing high quality content that gets found in search and via social and speaks directly to your audience, convincing them to exchange details for premium content and then nurturing your newly found leads to a sales-ready point? Well, yes, it is. This doesn’t mean it is exclusively through owned media channels though.

You see, inbound marketing is a process and a methodology that hinges on getting your content in front of people to produce leads at the lowest possible cost. This doesn’t mean channels that have to be paid for should be ignored. Quite the opposite. If using PPC proves to be the cheapest way of getting your content in front of people who are searching for the keywords you are chasing, it makes perfect sense to do that.

It’s how you use it that counts

The argument about PPC not being a valid form of inbound marketing appears to depend on how the pay per click campaigns are delivered. If I target keywords such as “Britain’s Got Talent Live Tour” to send people to my Introduction to Inbound Marketing eBook, then we could rightly argue that I’m not earning people’s attention “organically without interrupting anyone’s path.” Quite the opposite, in fact, as they want pictures of Simon Cowell being egged rather than an eBook focused on generating new leads.

On the flip side, if someone searches for “inbound marketing for beginners” and I get their attention with my free eBook advert, I am merely paying to jump the queue within the search results; the user’s end goal of finding content they are looking for is still achieved and we still hit our goal of generating a new lead. So, as I see it, and as Martin MacdonaldLarry Kim and Rand Fishkin see it, PPC is a perfectly valid part of the inbound marketing mix. It just helps move things along a little quicker.

Paid media, owned media, earned media… it doesn’t matter media!

If we want to demonstrate that inbound marketing is an effective method for getting found, engaging visitors, converting leads and analysing results we have to ensure the method works for all businesses. SEO is a big part of the process but it often takes time to get the desired outcome; this is where PPC comes in. PPC needs to be used for some businesses because they don’t have the right infrastructure to be able to succeed through organic search results alone. Over time you would look to reduce this by developing an SEO strategy but in the short term, paying for those clicks will suffice.

Outcomes matter. Methods less.

What inbound marketers are actually looking for is leads and sales. In the world of converged media where users seek information online and don’t mind whether they find it through advertising, editorial or your own website so long as the content is relevant, PPC is just another way of getting your content in front of people. Once they’re in your database, it’s time to segment, target, personalise and automate… as is the inbound way. With all that said, I think there is a bigger question to ask around the phrase inbound marketing; I think inbound marketing will be ditched in the near future in place of the much simpler term of “marketing”.

Radical, it ain’t.

By Martin Broadhurst









Must have features for your B2B website

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

There are some essential features that your website will need to incorporate in order to take advantage of all the different tactics involved in B2B digital marketing. Most visitors to your website will not be ready to make a purchase at the time they visit; instead, they will be seeking out solutions to their problems or comparing your services against the competition. Your job is to ensure those visitors engage with your organisation and enter your marketing funnel to ensure a deeper dialogue with them can take place.

In order to do that, your website must have the following features:

Calls-to-action

These are the visual aids that will help guide your visitors to the areas you want them to visit. They help to signpost your visitors towards your offers and closer to a point where they will exchange some useful data with you. Make them bold, snappy and compelling so that your visitors simply have to take up your wonderful, generous offer.

Landing pages

These are your conversion hotspots and should be designed with the single goal of converting website visitors in to leads. Your landing pages you will need to have some data capture, a headline that sells your offers, body copy that reinforces your message and an image that shows what people will be getting. It’s important that your process is seamless, so consider investing in some marketing automation software to ensure your follow-up process, CRM and website analytics are joined up to provide high quality insights into your website visitor and lead behaviour.

Analytics

While this might sound exceedingly obvious, having a good analytics package on your website is vital. That is only half of the story though as a good analytics package is only useful if it is regularly used. Create some benchmarks for your website, look at your organic search traffic and find ways to optimise your content to increase your visibility for long tail keywords. I’ll a write a more detailed blog post on this in the near future.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Blog

When something is important you will find time to do it. It’s very rare that you will find a business who doesn’t rank chasing debts as an important task for their organisation so when blogs are so effective at increasing reach and visibility, why is it that marketing departments still struggle to find time to blog regularly? With pageviews, bounce rates and ranking opportunities being so important for marketing managers these days, it really is essential to have an active blog.

Social Media

Being able to keep a conversation open with your website visitors, leads and prospects via social media is important, right? Well, if it is so important, you have to make sure your social media profiles can easily be found. Add links to your social media profiles and use your social media profiles to share your blogs and links to your landing pages. Maybe I’m teaching Grandma to suck eggs by saying that but I see too many B2B firms tweeting nothing but pleasantries and product pages.
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Inbound marketing 101: landing pages explained

Friday, March 15th, 2013

In order to start converting website visitors into leads, you are going to need landing pages. They are an important cog in the inbound marketing machine where we convert our leads into prospects; gain more insight into our existing leads; capture important lead data and position our brand as experts in our field. Read on for the full low down on the importance of landing pages…
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