What Inbound Marketing Service Do You Really Need?
Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.
How do we get more customers from our website?
That's a commonly posed question from Small Businesses to Fortune-500s.
No matter the size of the organization, customer acquisition is something that must be continually reevaluated, and refined as time goes on.
According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Study, marketers now prefer inbound marketing over outbound at a ratio of 3:1. This could be because inbound marketing services generally cost 62% less than outbound marketing services while generating three times as many leads.
Though the reasons for businesses and marketers increasingly choosing inbound are multifaceted, it mostly comes down to this: We are all tired of hearing sales pitches!
What Kind of Inbound Marketing Service Do You Really Need?
A reported 73% of major organizations are now hiring someone to manage their content marketing strategies. Unfortunately, a significant portion of those organizations are not getting the results they had anticipated.
They overlooked the amount of work involved in the many moving parts of Inbound:
- Lead magnet creation
- List segmentation
- Social media
- Graphic design
- Growth Driven Design
- The list goes on...
Many companies inevitably turn to marketing agencies for additional support. Undoubtedly, a reputable agency can help companies craft content strategies, fill in talent gaps, and achieve faster results.
But how can you be sure you're hiring the right inbound marketing service?
And how do you know which inbound marketing services they should focus on to deliver the results you need?
The 3 Most-Common Marketing Needs
For the remainder of this article, we'll outline the three most common marketing issues along with the corresponding solutions that address those needs.
Issue #1 - You Need More Customers
As previously mentioned, most businesses begin strategizing by looking at the most obvious problem: Needing more customers. Unfortunately, from an inbound perspective, they are actually starting backwards. Let me explain:
Acquiring customers is considered a "Bottom of Funnel" goal.
The classic marketing funnel is divided into Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU) and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU). By the time a lead reaches the bottom of the funnel, they are essentially "ready to buy."
Studies show buyers are already between 60-70% through the decision-making process before they ever speak with a salesperson.
If content marketing isn't generating enough customers, ask these questions:
How well do we really know our audience?
Inbound success ultimately rests on speaking with the right people, about the right subject matters and at the right times. Get the buyer persona wrong, and nothing else you do will work.
Unfortunately, many businesses:
- Make a lot of assumptions about their audience that are downright wrong.
- Incorrectly assume a surface-level understanding of their audience is enough.
Thus, an experienced inbound marketing agency will help you delve into those key demographics, psychographics, and drivers. It could mean conducting surveys with past clients to learn exactly what they were thinking during each stage of the Buyer's Journey.
The point is to get specific down to the exact phrasing and language they use. Once you have that information, you can begin creating more nuanced content.
What kind of lead nurturing system do we have in place?
If you're not gaining enough customers from your website, you're probably not generating enough leads.
If you have quality leads coming through your website but are having difficulty closing them, it is likely your inbound sales process needs work, too.
While what constitutes a "quality lead" will differ from business to business, prospects become leads once they essentially, "raise their hands" to be contacted by you.
That could mean signing up for an email newsletter, downloading a white paper, or taking some other sort of requested action. If your website already has a method for capturing prospect information, but no one is taking the bait, you don't have a "customer problem."
You have a lead generation problem...
Issue #2 - You Need More Leads
Though it may seem obvious, it bears mentioning: It's hard to get customers when no one is showing interest in your products or services. And, if no one is showing interest in your products or services, you need to evaluate your MOFU marketing efforts, ask:
Are our lead magnets on target?
Our friends at Digital Marketer describe a lead magnet as: "An irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information." Notice the word irresistible. Now, look at your website's current lead magnet. If you were your customer, would you feel compelled to sign-up?
If your lead magnet is not addressing ONE relevant problem or desire, that answer is probably no. Contrary to popular belief, lead magnets don’t have to be lengthy, complex or especially time-consuming to develop. Below are some types of lead magnets worth experimenting with, along with the most important guidelines to follow:
Types of Lead Magnets:
- Guides and reports
- Cheat Sheets and checklists
- Resource lists
- Video trainings
- Free trials
Guidelines for Lead Magnets:
- Offers extraordinary value within 5 minutes of the opt-in.
- Highly specific in the problem or desire it addresses.
- Complemented with benefits-related copy.
Is our website designed to facilitate the Buyer's Journey?
Like it or not, the first impression your website renders will leave a lasting opinion among prospects. Dated, slow, and complicated websites certainly lower the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
However, it's important to understand that the flashiest sites don't usually perform best; the sites that generate the most revenue utilize clean design, effective copywriting and compelling CTAs.
Your website visitors should immediately know:
- What you do
- why you do it
- Who you serve
Additionally, your website architecture should be designed in such a way that it takes prospects on a clear path for finding answers to their questions. Again, it all goes back to truly understanding your Buyer Personas!
Without having conducted in-depth persona research, you won't know how to structure your site for optimal customer and lead-generation experiences. A good inbound marketing service can help evaluate sitemaps, design, and content to produce higher lead conversion rates.
Issue #3 - You Need More Traffic
This is the primary issue most companies have when they approach Lean Labs. They might also have a customer acquisition problem, or a lead generation problem, but those are hard to test when there is no traffic.
While paying for traffic is always an option, we've obtained significantly better long-term results driving organic traffic methods.
How? A specific blend of content marketing strategies.
Does our content marketing strategy have any holes in it?
Publishing useful, on-target content is the backbone of inbound marketing. Companies that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive Inbound Marketing ROI.
Whether that content takes the form of blog articles, videos, infographics, SlideShare or something else entirely, it needs to be compelling, relevant and frequently released. Here are our best pro content tips:
Pro Content Tips:
- Correlate your content calendar with defined business goals, such as new product launches, cross-selling opportunities, and internal sales goals.
- Aim to publish new content at least twice a week.
- Create content based on thorough keyword research.
- Create anchor pages around 3-4 aspirational keyword goals.
- Internally link to said anchor pages and internal articles.
- SEO optimize every piece of content you create.
- Promote content via social media, email newsletters and bookmarking.
Of course, to get the most "bang for your buck," you'll want to ask yourself:
Is our website optimized for organic search?
Properly optimized websites contain several elements, including:
- Anchor pages built around target keywords;
- SEO topic clusters that correspond with anchor pages;
- On-page SEO protocol (i.e. meta descriptions, URLs, page titles); and
- The elimination of extraneous data for super fast loading times.
Fill In Gaps & Get More Customers
As you know "getting more customers" is more complicated than throwing up a new website. Inbound marketing isn't as simple as promoting blog articles on your social media accounts, either.
While we know this in reality, we often forget the many steps in between.
The biggest reason for the discord? Talent gaps.
Finding a full-time employee who is great at content marketing, graphic design, coding, and lead nurturing is like looking for a unicorn in Oklahoma... it's just not going to happen.
The easiest way to fill in those gaps, and start making progress again, is to partner with an inbound marketing services provider. Lean Labs can function as an extension of your existing sales and marketing team.
We work closely with clients to fine-tune every stage of the funnel so they can attract more traffic, convert more leads and close more deals.
Want to chat about your marketing goals? Engage us here.