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Marketers are drowning in content

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(Posted on Jul 9, 2014 at 03:59AM by William Cosgrove)
Author: Jessica McGreal, digital content manager, B2B marketing
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B2B Marketing’s 2014 Content Benchmarking Report reveals marketers are struggling to harness the power of content because of the increasing volume being produced. Jessica McGreal investigates

Content marketing is popular. Period. However, with popularity comes great power, a power the majority of marketers surveyed in B2B Marketing’s 2014 Content Benchmarking Report cannot seem to measure, or harness.

Only one per cent of the B2B marketers that took part in the research said content has ‘limited or no importance’ in their activity. For the other 99 per cent content plays a key role in their overall marketing efforts, with 61 per cent of senior management supporting it.

Due to its great popularity, inbound marketing now takes up 40 per cent of marketers’ time and 29 per cent of the department’s budget.

Andrew Davies, COO and co-founder of IDIO, explains why content has become the holy grail in B2B: “As a B2B marketer myself, I search out content that solves my needs, and have very little time for interruptive messages that come from vendors. Content rules in B2B marketing because it allows me to pull what I need, when I need it; to be served not sold to.”

Under pressure
As a result of its popularity, 86 per cent of marketers have been creating more content over the last 12 months. Impressively, this has been achieved without any notable increase in time and budget; growing just one per cent and three per cent respectively.

Ilona Hitel, MD and founder of The CommsCo, believes this may be down to content being repurposed: “I can see a new world where budget goes a lot further than it used to; once quality content has been created, it can be re-used multiple times. A good idea that used to be a single piece of content can now be optimised to suit a multitude of channels and audiences, meaning marketers can effectively create more content.”

Yet, Brendan Farnell, vice president of strategic accounts at Regalix, believes there might be a more worrying reason behind these stats: “Marketers are still living in a world where feeding search engines with low quality and high quantity content is considered an SEO strategy. But search engines are getting smarter and so must marketers. Search results from ‘content farms’ are now being pushed off from page one and Google is giving more value to original, educational content.”

This paints a bleak picture of marketing teams under pressure to create an abundance of content to reach targets, rather than business goals.

It is unsurprising then that 84 per cent of marketers agreed ‘standing out from the crowd’ was a main challenge. To overcome this issue 42 per cent said their teams needed to produce ‘more relevant/commercially useful content’, 19 per cent said ‘using the right platform for the audience’ would overcome the problem and 13 per cent felt creating ‘original’, ‘tailored’ content would help. 

This may mean producing fewer pieces of content, focusing instead on larger projects tailored to prospects’ needs and pain points. Marketers need to follow Hitel’s advice and repurpose content. For example a research report can be recycled to create an infographic, a video and a series of blogs.

Content overdrive
So, as marketing teams go into content overdrive, what formats are they focusing on?

The research revealed the most popular types of content are blog posts, (frequently used by 61 per cent of marketers), followed by press releases (47 per cent) and case studies (45 per cent). However, this is in contrast with the most effective content types: video (47 per cent), case studies (46 per cent) and whitepapers (39 per cent).

Going forward, it is essential marketers begin to use the best type of content for their intended goals. The report showed the best type of content to generate the most leads is whitepapers. Reports, whitepapers and case studies generate most revenue. Whereas blog posts are the best at driving traffic to websites.

Planning matters
Creating effective content also means preparation and planning. While 68 per cent of brands have a content marketing strategy, 63 per cent of brands do not have editorial guidelines.

“Without a good set of guidelines you risk wasting a lot of time and energy on an expensive marketing discipline without a foundation on tone of voice, style and purpose, you are doing no more than ‘hit and hope’,” says Steve Kemish, managing director ofCyance. “A good set of guidelines shouldn’t be more than one or two sides of A4, so there should be no excuse.”

Guidelines should address the main objectives and features of the content marketing campaign. Forty-five per cent of marketers said the key feature of a successful programme was ‘relevance to audience’, 24 per cent listed ‘engagement’ and 19 per cent said ‘appropriate channel use’.

Oddly, only one per cent said creating ‘memorable content’ was a key feature of a successful campaign. This adds to the argument brands are creating an abundance of ‘one hit wonders’ when it comes to content, rather than creating useful, interesting and valuable pieces their prospects will remember and keep in mind when it’s time to buy.

Crowded marketplace
Creating successful content is only half the battle, ensuring it reaches the right people is the other. To do this 95 per cent of marketers use email to distribute content, followed by company website (93 per cent) and social media (91 per cent). 

With nearly all B2B marketers utilising these channels, brands have begun shouting messages at their customers rather than creating a two-way dialogue. In order to break through the noise and differentiate in a busy marketplace, practitioners should be looking further afield at new technologies and traditional channels that are currently less popular. For example, only 28 per cent said they distributed content via direct mail, 19 per cent via third party blogs and 17 per cent via a mobile or tablet apps. These less busy channels could be exploited.

Subsequently, trying to be heard above the noise of competitors is a continuing problem in B2B, with ‘engaging target audience’ listed as the number one challenge 37 per cent of marketers are facing, followed by ‘measuring ROI’ (34 per cent) and ‘generating leads’  (29 per cent).

Only three per cent of those surveyed said they could measure ROI on their content activity ‘all the time’ (an increase of a mere two per cent since 2013). While 38 per cent said they could only measure ROI ‘some of the time’, another 15 per cent admitted they could ‘rarely or not at all’ calculate ROI.

It is worrying that ROI still remains a problem as 63 per cent of senior management teams prefer their marketing departments to demonstrate ROI, and a further 21 per cent have a ‘strong emphasis’ on it.

Marketers seem to be stuck when it comes to proving the value of their content activities, which may result in budgets being cut in the future. Farnell explains: “ROI attribution across channels has always been a problem and content will be no exception. The risk for marketers is that the lack of ROI tracking will result in a decrease in content marketing spend.”

Overcoming challenges
All three of these challenges could be overcome by the proper implementation of analytics. While over half (55 per cent) of B2B organisations said they utilised data analytics, only 22 per cent said it played a ‘critical’ role when creating effective campaigns.

Jon Myers, VP and MD EMEA at Marin Software, argues: “Running analytics on your content can help reveal valuable insights into audience interests. The more data you have, the better. Discover where you get the most viewers, what types of content they’re consuming, when they’re accessing it, and what information sparks their interest or leads them to convert. This kind of data can be used to influence aspects of your future content – content type, post time, channel of distribution, etc. Many people are surprised at just how data-driven content marketing is.”

Some 54 per cent of those surveyed used web analytics, 31 per cent social analytics, 27 per cent marketing automation software and 25 per cent CRM. Of the 27 per cent utilising marketing automation platforms, four per cent said they made ‘little or no use’ of the features, 57 per cent made ‘some use’ of the features, and only 17 per cent said they made ‘full use’ of the software.

This shows marketers are not taking advantage of the technology available. Without setting out goals that can be measured by analytics, marketers will remain lost – creating content that is of no value. This needs to change if brands want to engage with customers, prove ROI and generate real leads.

B2B Marketing’s 2014 Content Benchmarking Report proves the popularity of content is still on the rise. But it also contains a stark warning: marketers need to take full control of their content efforts to overcome the major problems that remain with engagement, ROI and leads.

5 Lead Generation Trends to Boost Your Business

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(Posted on May 28, 2014 at 06:07AM by William Cosgrove)
PictureWhether you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, you have the same goal for your business: getting paying clients. Lead generation is the process for gathering leads in hopes that some (or all!) become paying clients. As well as being the first stage of the sales process, lead generation is probably the most essential part. Having leads in your pipeline ensures you have potential clients – and business survival – down the road.

Lead generation occurs in one of two ways:

Outbound: People become leads as a result of being contacted by someone from your company. Examples of outbound marketing include engaging on phone calls; appearing at events, tradeshows, or other live events; sending printed company collateral through the mail; conducting face-to-face meetings.

Inbound: People become leads as a result of finding your business online and indicating their interest through online means. Examples of inbound marketing include using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to optimize your website(s); creating content in the form of blogs, images, and/or web videos; building a following, then engaging them on social media; or emailing content about your company.

Your business may prefer using one or both of these lead generation methods as a way to gather quality leads. Which one is better? Only you can answer that question, and your final decision doesn’t have to be set in stone. Factors such as budget and staffing resources, as well as personal preferences, usually weigh into these decisions. And sometimes a little old-fashioned trial-and-error helps, too.

Have you hit a lull in your business or maybe just need more clients? If so, it’s time for your business to start bringing in more leads. These are 5 of the latest trends companies of all sizes are using for accomplishing successful lead generation – inbound, outbound, or both.

Inbound Lead Generation Trends1) Content creation and distribution…they’re still ruling as “king” and “queen”The content marketing trend isn’t new, but content strategy changes regularly due to activities such as Google algorithmic updates.

“Content Marketing is an emerging trend that’s utilized by 78% of B2B marketers. This practice of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and infographics to attract, acquire, and engage new customers is seen as the future of B2B marketing.”

http://www.mediahorizons.com/blog/item/260-b2b-lead-generation-trends-for-2014

Content creators need to generate high-quality articles and posts which make their blogs stand out from the millions already out there. To top it off, they must also create quality content that search engines love. It’s not easy, but certainly worth it when your efforts pay off in the form of lead generation.

2) Don’t rule out social media for lead generation…yet92% of marketers in a recent Social Media Examiner report think social media is important for their business. With this high of a percentage, it’s probably safe to say that most marketers want to get better at using social media.

Within the same survey, 89% of the marketers indicated they wanted to master social media skills so they can best engage with potential clients through the platforms.

3) Why Using Marketing Automation Software Isn’t a Bad IdeaMore businesses have started using marketing automation for their more mundane sales-related tasks, such as email. Once businesses begin automating, they realize how efficient – and effective – marketing automation can be for lead generation. As well, when they automate those mundane tasks, they have more time to focus on those activities which require human engagement.

The following stats, as originally listed in a recent article for the Callbox blog, show promising data for using marketing automation for lead generation:


  • Companies using marketing automation source 45% more pipeline than those who don’t use marketing automation – Marketo
  • 70% companies declare that marketing automation met or exceeded ROI expectations – Focus
  • Full deployment of marketing automation reduces close rates from 1:221 to 1:20 – Marketo
  • 350% return on investment and 100% annual revenue growth while saving $400K and generating $2MM in incremental gross revenue – Acteva
  • Marketing automation provides 225% increase in prospect volume that convert to sales opportunities – ShipServ
  • Using marketing automation causes 3x more leads passed to sales after one month – Marketo
  • Marketing automation reduces ignored leads from 80% to 25% – Bulldog Solutions
  • Companies that automate lead management see over 10% increase in revenue in 6-9 months – Gartner Research
  • Marketing automation-generated personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates over 10% – The Aberdeen Group
Outbound Trends4) Newer technology makes executive events, conferences, and tradeshows a lead generation win-winHosting and attending executive events, conferences and/or tradeshows never goes out of style. People still crave the lure of face-to-face networking, not to mention the swag. Virtual events, such as webinars, provide the same benefits as real-world events, but without the hassle of traveling or crowds.

For real-world events, companies are seeing easier and faster lead generation through innovative, new technologies such as NFC (near field communication). Remember the old-fashioned fishbowl approach, where you dropped your business card into it for a chance to win a prize? On the flip side, someone had to go through each of those cards and either call or email each person in hopes of generating a lead.

NFC simplifies and speeds up the process…with the swipe of the attendee’s wrist, you gather the data they provide at registration in a matter of seconds. You know right away whether you have a quality lead and prospective client. And attendees still walk away with plenty of swag.

5) Cold calling and telemarketing are still hot ways to generate leadsNot many people enjoy making cold calls, but no one has died from it. An even better argument for picking up the phone? Results prove that phone calls and telemarketing are among the most effective means of lead generation.

Tips for cold calling include the following:


  • Study and rehearse your scripts; improvise when necessary
  • Know rejections aren’t personal
  • When possible, research prospects before calling them
With practice and experience, you’ll be a cold calling pro in no time.

Which lead generation trends do you think are here to stay? I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments below.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BY JENNIFER HANFORD

Also Read Social Networking At Its Best

It's Time to Redirect Your Marketing Budget To Include Inbound Marketing

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(Posted on Mar 31, 2014 at 09:17AM by William Cosgrove)

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. – Lao Tzu

With Q1 about to come to a close, it’s time for businesses to begin the process of analyzing quarterly results. This means diving into the numbers and evaluating how business is going. For many small business owners this can be a painful process particularly if business results are in the toilet and the sales pipeline has slowed to a trickle.

Are your revenues stuck in neutral or declining?

As the old Dylan song says, “The Times, They Are A-Changing’.” It’s no longer business as usual. The internet, Google and social media have rapidly shifted the playing field and for those companies that have been slow to It’s Time To Redirect Your Marketing Budget To Include Inbound Marketing image Revenues Declioningadjust to these new dynamics, it may seem like business has become difficult overnight.

While it is convenient to blame your business woes on macro-issues like the politicians in Washington, the poor economy or global climate change, it’s possible there may be a simpler and more painful reality.

Your marketing strategy really sucks!

Many businesses quite frankly are stuck in an outdated mode of thinking when it comes to marketing their businesses, using traditional marketing techniques suited to a bygone era.

Traditional marketing, or outbound marketing, is comfortable because it’s conventional, safe and has worked in the past. Included in these “legacy” tactics are:

  • Yellow Page Ads
  • Brochures and Flyers
  • Coupons
  • Door Knockers
  • Cold-Calling
  • Direct Mail
  • Radio
  • TV Spots
  • Telemarketing

Sure, it’s still possible to reach a great deal of potential customers with these “shotgun” methods aimed at any potential customer that can fog a mirror. However, chances AREN’T good that a random recipient of your marketing collateral is just sitting around waiting to purchase your product or service, particularly if they were not searching for it in the first place.

For many businesses, good money is being thrown at these strategies with little to no tangible results.

Buying Behavior Has Most Definitely Shifted

While traditional marketing methods have remained the same for many companies, buying behavior has changed drastically over the last decade. Cold-calling is perceived as a rude intrusion, and direct mail is intercepted by gatekeepers and thrown away before it’s even opened.
It’s Time To Redirect Your Marketing Budget To Include Inbound Marketing image Buyers Have Changed
The most significant trend however, is the ability for buyers do their own research online prior to stepping foot in a showroom, or prior to scheduling an appointment with a sales person. The internet is the “great equalizer” that has tilted the sales process in the favor of the purchaser.

60% of the research and decision-making is done prior to you knowing that a prospect is in the market for your goods or services, and if your website is not optimized to
capitalize on this trend
, your business is in serious T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Inbound Marketing Allows You to Connect With Your Ideal Customers

In order to respond to this dynamic shift in behavioral patterns, inbound marketing has emerged as the new paradigm for savvy companies of all sizes to transact business in the digital age. Inbound marketing allows you to interact with businesses and consumers during the research and decision making process and capture the attention of your most coveted prospects along their journey from problem identification through purchase: their “Buyer’s Journey.”

By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects to your business, nurtures them, helps turn them into customers and if executed flawlessly, keeps them coming back for more.

Some of the most important tools to attract your ideal customers to your site and show how much you care as businesses are:

Blogging- A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors to your website. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.

Premium Content- Premium content development includes eBooks, white papers, slide shares, Infographics, videos, podcasts and webinars. These items provide quality information that educate, inform and guide your prospects through their journey.

Social Media Engagement- You must share remarkable content and valuable information on the social web. Social media engagement, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest have become the go-to methods of engaging with prospects. These tools allow you to put a human face on your brand. It is necessary to interact with your prospects where they hang out online.

Keywords- Your customers begin their buying process online, usually by using a search engine to find something they have questions about. To make sure you are appearing prominently when they search, you need to carefully and analytically pick keywords, optimize your pages, create content, and build links around the terms your ideal buyers are searching for.

Pages- You must optimize your website to appeal to and speak with your ideal buyers. Transform your website into a beacon of helpful content to entice the right strangers to visit your pages.

It’s Time to Redirect the Marketing Budget

Talk to any small business owner and they will tell you that this shift in consumer behavior is easily recognizable. Just go to a restaurant or coffee shop and take a look at the people glued to their mobile phones, laptops It’s Time To Redirect Your Marketing Budget To Include Inbound Marketing image ItsTimeStackK on 123 Mand tablets. Intuitively we know that things are different than they were even just a few short years ago, and for all but those few with their heads in the sand, this radical shift is evident.

Understanding this trend is the easy part, but knowing what to do about it is an entirely different matter. It’s a tall order for many business owners to shift away from marketing tactics that have provided great results in the past, and moving towards this unknown world. However, for those that wish to survive and thrive in the coming years, this move is necessary.

It’s time! In the midst of THIS quarterly review, DIVE into the numbers and look at where the majority of your marketing dollars are flowing.

An inbound marketing budget, particularly for B2B businesses will contain line items such as:

  • Collateral development and production
  • Content development specialists
  • Email programs
  • E-newsletters
  • Graphic artists
  • Market research
  • Marketing software
  • Metrics/data analysts
  • Mobile marketing specialists
  • PPC
  • Printing
  • PR specialists
  • SEO/keyword research
  • Social media specialists
  • Special events
  • Sponsorship
  • Website development/re-engineering

If your budget contains none of these items, and you are still throwing the majority of your money at trade shows, advertisements, entertainment and dining and a whole host of offline other marketing tactics, you have some work to do.

Why?

Because right now, your ideal clients have a problem that your business is ideally positioned to help them with. While you are reading this article, they are searching online this second to understand their problem, and they are looking for “great” companies to do business with.

The question remains.

Are They Going To Find You? It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work! What’s in your budget?


By David Cuevas

Don't Push Me?

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(Posted on Feb 17, 2014 at 02:57AM by William Cosgrove)
Most of the actions we take in marketing are oriented in two directions: First we present our products / services for users to find us when they make a spontaneous decision and perform an action that had not been raised in advance or the Push strategy (Outbound Marketing).  Secondly using content to draw someone with content when they have a need to search to get information is what is referred to as the Pull strategy (In bound Marketing.)

Outbound marketing strategies are carried out to provide the products / services to potential customers. E-mail marketing is a big part of this technique, but gradually promotions and discounts using tweets or Facebook posts have been displacing traditional e-mails. Whatever the technique, the Push Marketing is boosting buying action through promotions and discounts.

Today, inbound marketing offers a higher probability of conversion, as it is the customer who is drawn to you with relevant content providing information pertaining to what they need or are looking for. Inbound marketing happens with the consent of the prospective buyer who has given prior permission for you to send advertising, typically through a contact form, mailing lists or newsletter.

Brian Conlin recently shared this in a recent article “It’s no secret that content marketing has become ubiquitous. After all, 93 percent of B2B marketers use it, a bump of 2 percentage points from 2012. However, just how effective content marketing is might surprise you. Despite costing 62 percent less than traditional marketing, content marketing generates about three times as many leads.” 59 Killer Content Marketing Stats: 2014 Edition—via B2C.

Today, people prefer to be informed and educated with relevant content that relates to their interest on a particular product or service they are researching and the ones with the most relevant content in their inbound marketing now will have the best chance of being contacted to begin the communication process with the intention of eventually winning their business.

Although both outbound and inbound marketing should be a part of your overall mix, the days of pushing your message to gain people’s attention is quickly fading and inbound marketing is taking prominence and statistics are showing the benefits that Inbound marketing offers.

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk

A Business Owner's Guide To Better Lead Generation in 3 Steps

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(Posted on Aug 19, 2013 at 10:46AM by William Cosgrove)
The way your buyer's purchase and your competitors are going to market is changing rapidly and fundamentally. Many business owners are finding their tried and trusted lead generation techniques and tactics are failing to yield sufficient results.

But knowing you need to change and knowing how to change and specifically how MUCH to change sits at the heart of the challenge.

Understanding the buyer's journey lies at the centre of good lead generation practices. Marketers should allow the journey their buyers go on...


  • from uninterested and unaware in their products or services, 
  • to defining their problems and their need,
  • to expressing interest in your solutions,
  • to purchasing and becoming a loyal customer
...to inform every action, every campaign, and every piece of content.

Funnel maths - Measuring Your Lead Generation EffectivenessTraditionally, one of the major issues business owners face is not being able to measure the financial return on their marketing investments. There was no way to gauge the real impact on revenue of say, print advertising or direct mail. Even knowing some data, such as email open rates isn't sufficient to understand the dollar return on that particular marketing investment.

However, a new era is upon us. An era where “Smart Marketers”, armed with the right tools, have the ability to calculate real marketing ROI. We refer to this as "knowing your funnel maths.”

Say you have 1000 visitors to your website in a given month (ie the top of the funnel). You target those visitors and turn them into leads by providing content that best suits their needs. Of those initial 1000 visitors, 50 of them become leads and enter your lead nururing campiagn (middle of the funnel). Of these 50 leads, 8  of them become sales ready leads, of which 2 of them become customers (bottom of the funnel.) The two delas are worth $5000  in new revenue to your business.

Smart lead generation is knowing the "leakage rate" of each stage in their funnel(how many propects you lose along the way) knowing the lag time from first engagement with prospects to the time they become a loyal customer. Armed with this valuable information, together with their current and planned revenue goals and average selling price,organisations can model their lead generation funnel accordingly.

Why is this important? Because it means business owners and their marketers now know the velocity they need to run their funnel to meet their revenue goals.

They know how many visitors and contacts they need at the top of the funnel in order to drive revenue at the bottom of the funnel. Now that's smart!

Employ a digital, inbound marketing methodologyEmploying a lead generation strategy using digital or inbound marketing strategy saves business owners time and money. On average an inbound lead is 62% cheaper than an outbound generated lead.

Good inbound marketing attracts buyers to your site via carefully selected tactics that highlight the problems and challenges your buyers are facing in their business. Nurturing those leads using relevant targeted messages further deepens the engagement.

Now, instead of your sales team caught up cold calling or email spamming, they can establish and develop a credible and trustworthy relationship with buyers who are educated and motivated.

But perhaps the single biggest benefit of an inbound marketing approach is the ability to measure your lead generation funnel at every step of the process and then adapt your approach and retest to evaluate the success of the change. This incremental, iterative, adaptive approach yields much better and faster returns.

Use content to nurture your leadsNow we now know that people commence online searches and visit websites for a solution to a problem. What’s the most effective way to engage? Provide content such as an eBook, current industry trends or a more technical whitepaper. Nurture your lead through their buying process. If your prospect is “sitting on the fence” provide more relevant information such as product demonstrations, free trials and video testimonials to enhance your reliability whilst educating and informing buyers too.

According to Hubspot here's how your offer types change as the buying process progresses.

 

Picture
Posted by Joe Fell
By focusing on these three key elements:

  • Your funnel maths
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content that speaks to buyers
Business owners will be well on the way to revitalising their lead generation activities and providing the right volume and quality of leads to sales. If you would like to read more about this topic please feel free to download this complimentary ebook
Posted by Joe Fell

DealerNet Services

Refresh your marketing - Build a lead generation engine using your website

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(Posted on Aug 6, 2013 at 09:57AM )
Why should you refresh your website for the purpose of inbound marketing?

  • Because it's cheaper - a lot cheaper - than other marketing 
      (up to 61% cheaper 
    according to research)

  • Because it can be measured - "What, I can measure real ROI on my 
    marketing? You're kidding!" No we're  not.

  • Because it's where you can influence most of your buyers. 
      We are in the "era of the buyer" where 
    the buyer is searching for information  online, all day every day, if you're not 
    there they won't find you. It's that  simple. Over 85% of B2B buyers start their 
    purchasing journey online through  outlets like social media according to research from 
    Forrester
    .

Additionally, digital marketing is evolving at lightning speed, making it difficult for most of us to keep pace, let alone stay ahead of the curve. And,the result of all these advancements is that most marketers are overwhelmed.

Regardless of the rate of change, one indelible fact stands head and shoulders above the rest, it's incredibly important to recognize that simply having a website is not 
enough
.

In today's world, B2B marketers must adapt their website and turn it into an  
inbound marketing lead generation machine. That may seem a lofty goal. 
So, your website will need to wear many hats. A website needs to perform and 
not just  exist
. Your site needs to attract visitors, educate them and  convince them to buy.


In most cases, the traffic you drive to your website from blogs, social media 
sites, as well as organic and paid searches ends up converting into leads or 
sales. Without your website acting as an online "home base," it would be 
difficult to attract new business. This is why having an effective website is 
so  crucial – and why it's so important that it contains powerful key elements 
to  drive more traffic, leads and sales.


Whether you have some experience in inbound marketing and just want to brush 
up your skills or you know you need to evolve your current marketing, take our  
B2B Marketing Health  Check to find out your starting position. "Auditing" where you are now 
is  the first crucial step in building a plan for moving forward.


1) Getting found by your buyers
Let's face it, it's not going to be much of a website if no one visits. 
Therefore, your first mission is to get found online
covering the very top of your inbound  marketing strategy funnel. Building 
inbound links, discovering the secrets to on page SEO 
and how to create effective meta tags  are all essential ingredients. 



2) Investing in good design and usability
Let's assume you're really gaining traction – getting found online. Your next 
focus is to get that traffic to stay and not stray
Remember, you only have one chance to  make a good first impression.


Make sure your website reflects your brand and positions your company as 
trusworthy and credible. Don't underestimate the power of good design, 
including: navigation, fonts, colours, images and branding consistency.


But don't get caught up on the need to "look pretty", and instead focus on 
the functionality of your site. How easy is it for people to find what the are 
looking for? Equally important, is your message blisteringly clear? 
Really? I mean really! Or are you disguising your ability to genuinely help 
your  buyers under layer upon layer of corporate double speak and product 
gobbledygook  about why you are the best game in town?


3) Building content
With the rise of inbound marketing, content has become front and 
centre
 in the minds of marketers.  It is what search engines and 
potential customers are looking for. It's what  drives visitors to your site and 
turns prospects into leads. There is no  disputing that content is king.


However, while search engines are getting smarter and smarter and buyers are 
becoming more and more selective, it is quality content that 
is  king. When it comes down to it, your buyers' reaction to your content will 
be  the ultimate test. Does your content generate leads? Do you have a content 
marketing plan that fuels your lead generation engine? 


4) Converting at each funnel stage
Now that you've increased traffic to your website, it's time to convert prospects to 
leads
. Don't let visitors leave your  website without providing 
them with valuable information or you'll lose the opportunity to nurture 
them
 until they are ready to buy.


Landing pages are one of 
the most important elements of  effective lead generation. Building powerful 
landing pages allows you to direct  your website visitors to targeted 
information, present them with robust calls-to-action and 
capture leads at a much higher  rate.


5) Measuring results
By measuring your inbound 
marketing
 you get to see what is and is  not working and then you 
can change where you invest your precious marketing  time and dollars. Small 
incremental tuning of your inbound marketing engine  produces significant 
overall improvement in the quality of leads on which your  sales team can 
feed.


If your business is struggling to adapt to new marketing strategies or, you 
simply haven't been able to generate a real impact in your chosen market, it may 
be time to conduct a marketing audit.
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