Inbound marketing for some, is like the promised land from where honey and milk flows: it promises cheap costs per lead, high return on investment and all in all great happiness.
Inbound marketing has proved its worth : inbound practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices, customers average a total of 9,100 leads after 1.5 years of inbound marketing and inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
However, to get to the promised land, marketers need to walk the miles. When it comes to practicing inbound, you cannot expect to get amazing results just because you blog once or twice a month. The truth is, inbound marketing takes commitment and dedication. It takes a lot of hard work, creativity and perseverance for a company to get to the place where it can experience the joys of the inbound promised land.
Here are the 10 commandments of Inbound Marketing – these will guide you on the path of high number of leads, conversions and sales!
1. You shall attract, not interrupt
Inbound marketing is all about creating content that invites readers in and leads them to want your products/services. Practicing inbound marketing means you do not get to interrupt your prospects with your messages in forms of TV ads, direct mail and calling. It means you invite your target audience to pay attention to what you have to say through tweets, blog posts, articles, e-guides, etc.
2. You shall serve your audience
Inbound marketing is about knowing your target audience, helping them out and ultimately making them happy! What are the burning questions your prospects have got ? What information are they after? What tips would enable them to better themselves ? Think about it and then go and write content, create videos, take pictures, all for the purpose of making your audience happy and keeping them interested in what you have to say and offer.
3. You shall measure all your activities
34% of businesses cannot or do not calculate inbound marketing ROI in 2013. If you are the 66% of marketers who measure their activities: Well done ! If you are among the 34%, things must change. If you want to continually improve your marketing strategy you must know what works and what doesn’t which is why you have to analyze closely every marketing effort. Take every individual activity in your marketing plan and analyze the following: Does it bring in visitors, leads and ultimately customers? If it does – do more of that, if it doesn’t, you know that it is not beneficial to your business, therefore not worth your time.
The two most used tracking platforms are Google Analytics and Hubspot.
4. You shall nurture your leads
Inbound doesn’t stop at lead generation. Just because a visitor has downloaded your ebook doesn’t mean he/she is ready to make a purchase. You’ll need to continue to build a solid relationship with those leads in order to transform them into customers. Why go this extra mile? Because nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. and companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.
5. You shall do – A LOT OF – blogging
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” and I think that it applies to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about pulling customers in. If you do not create fresh, relevant content on a regular basis how do you expect prospects to find you? Research shows that 43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog this year, and blogging requires roughly 9% of marketers’ total full-time staff dedications and 7% of their total budget which means that blogging is a great marketing tool and doesn’t take extreme amounts of time or money!
6. You shall use the mighty power of Search Engine Optimization
SEO is used to ensure that a website is listed as close as possible to the top of relevant search results. Research shows that 78% of Internet users conduct product research online whilst the Search Engine Journal found that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results . What does this mean for you ? It means that in order for your prospects to find out about your company they need to find your website first. So use SEO wisely because it can aid your chances of being found and in the online world that is vital for any business.
7. Do not ignore the powers of email marketing
Email is probably the lowest cost channel with only 2% of marketers said leads generated from email marketing were costly. When obeying this command, you must remember: content is king. If you have some interesting relevant quality content to send across to your subscribers do it. However, if your email isn’t of value to your readers don’t expect them to be interested in your email.
8. You shall use social media wisely
You shall not talk about you and your company like your are the most exciting topic in the world. You shall post valuable information, spark conversation, encourage questions and sharing! Social media has a lot of power when it comes to generating leads, but beware of too much self promotion on social media, because fans/followers can sniff that from miles and they will be put off.
9. You shall not cold call
The stats for cold calls are not encouraging:
doesn’t work 90.9% of the time (Harvard Business Review)
costs at least 60% more per lead than other methods (HubSpot, The State of Inbound Marketing)
By cold calling you run the risk of closing doors which you could have slowly opened, had you approached them in another way.
10. You shall work hard !
Inbound marketing is all about working hard for your leads and earning them through the content that you post. So rather than attracting your customers through paid marketing, you should entice them with great content .
What are your tips for inbound marketing? Please leave a comment below!
*This is a guest article by Alexandra Burnett*