Inbound marketing Tablet

The Last Inbound Marketing List You Will Need (Until Next Year)

Nobody likes a seller anymore.

If you want to sell to the modern consumer, then the right inbound marketing techniques will help your business more than an entire room full of new sales agents. Podcasts, blogs, video marketing and proper product placement with good distribution is the secret to the sauce. No matter your industry, inbound marketing is the answer.

How do you incorporate inbound marketing into your advertising program? Here is the last listicle that you will need for inbound marketing, at least until the next list comes out next year!

Leverage Your Online Profiles to Your Advantage!

Your online presence needs to move past the notion of a single landing page. You must appeal to the social media that your audience prefers, and if your audience is cross-sectional, then you will have to create more than one social media profile or landing page.

Finding the social media “soup” that comprises your audience may take a bit of work, but you can speed up the process. Take a look at the social leaders on each site. If these weathervanes of popularity fit your target market, chances are that the audience of that social media site will fit your target as well.

Create only as many pages as you are able to maintain in a workday. Less is more. Each page must keep itself up-to-date in order to be effective in the intra-web of pages that you are trying to create. Once you have established each page individually, create your own web through the connection of all of your pages to each other. Ideally, this will increase the overall stickiness that your potential customers have on your websites.

Start a Blog and Contribute to Top Blogs in Your Industry.

Content marketing is king today, and it will be king for a long time to come. Starting a blog becomes harder each new day that you wait. Literally thousands of blogs make their way onto the Internet each day, and even if those blogs are not in your industry, they create noise that may take away the time your target market has for your content.

Your blog should establish you as an expert in your field. This is the essential branding component that you will need to begin a comprehensive inbound marketing program. Not only will your human visitors begin to trust your brand more, but the major search engines will pick up on your efforts as well. Blogs are perhaps the best way to help increase your website rank for keyword phrases.

Make sure your keyword phrases are localized longtail keywords. Focus them on your target audience. Use the free tools that Google gives away to find the keywords that are relevant. Good research will reveal laggards in your industry that leaders in the industry have not bid up the price on quite yet. This is your opportunity; seize it with fervor and will find more visibility within your intra-web of pages (as long as you made sure to connect your blog to the rest of your social media pages).

Continue to build your link profile through guest blogging opportunities on industry-leading blogs. Once you have created a small name for yourself, larger bloggers may contact you because of the audience that you have gathered to yourself. However, do not be afraid to contact them as well. If you truly have an independent and unique perspective, top bloggers will gladly co-opt your expertise to make them look good. Make sure that you negotiate focused anchor text and one-way links back to your content as part of your agreement to write for these blogs.

If you do not have an in-house writer, you can outsource the content to a professional for virtually peanuts. Imagine building your link profile every day without having to ward off carpal tunnel from typing! Look into the power of crowdsourcing if you have not done this yet.

Upgrade Your Content Across the Board.

The links that you are constantly building must link to something relevant, hard-hitting, focused and modern. You are not linking back to a conversion page if you are smart. Savvy businesses these days link to podcasts or entertaining and informative videos that increase the brand of the product in the mind of the customer.

What you are looking for is total time spent on your content, not a quick sale. If you go for a quick sale, you are likely to completely turn off the modern consumer. They will simply move towards a brand with more visibility and more money put behind the marketing campaign. People today need to find out about who you are and what you stand for just as much as they need to find out what you make.

If you do not have anyone in house with the personality to pull off a blog, a video or a podcast, you can outsource this talent as well. Do not let anything stop you from creating modern content that will appeal to younger, more digitally minded consumers. This is the only way that you will be able to establish your brand in the coming years as the major search engines continue to clamp down on direct sales efforts.

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3 Ways to Calculate the ROI of Your Inbound Marketing Efforts

No matter where you look, you see the statistics: “Companies who use inbound marketing increase lead generation!” “Inbound marketing costs less per lead than its alternatives!” “Nurtured leads make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads!” But how do you know whether your own inbound marketing efforts are worth the effort? How can you determine whether your strategies approach the undoubtedly desirable results above?

Calculating the return on your inbound marketing investment – but it’s far from impossible. Here are three methods that help you do just that, helping you (and other stakeholders) understand just how valuable your efforts are.

1) Goal Value

Let’s begin with the most straightforward method of calculating  ROI. If you’re truly invested in inbound marketing, your sales funnel will be relatively straightforward: web visitors become leads, who are nurtured to become customers. Knowing your funnel allows you to do a relatively simple background calculation.

If you know your average purchase amount, you can use that amount to calculate your cost per lead by using yield rates. For example, if you know that your average customer buys products worth $50 from you, and about 40% of your leads turn into customers, you know that your average lead is worth $50 x 0.40 = $20.00.

You can even take this calculation one step further, by calculating how much each of your web visitors is worth through your conversion rate. Staying with the example above, if a lead is worth $20.00 and 5% of your web visitors turn into leads, you know that each web visitor, on average, is worth $20.00 x 0.05 = $1.00.

Once you’ve arrived at these numbers, you can begin to calculate your inbound marketing efforts against the desired amount. A Facebook campaign that costs $100.00 and generates 10 leads for a total worth of $200.00 will have brought in twice its cost, resulting in positive ROI.

2) Attribution Modeling

Of course, as you can imagine, the above example may be too simplistic for your inbound marketing – especially if you rely on multiple, simultaneous campaigns to bring in visitors, leads, and customers. Even in the above Facebook example, your audience may have chosen to become leads not only of your social media ad, but because of an email they received simultaneously. That’s where attribution modeling comes in.

Put simply, attribution modeling means assigning worth to the various touches you have had with your audience. As this business2community article summarizes, you may choose to assign most (or all) value to your first touch with potential customers, your last touch, all touches equally, or all touches based on recency.

Picking the best attribution model depends entirely on your individual audience and marketing philosophy, and is not an exact science. For example, you may find that most of your customers place emphasis on the first time they remember hearing about you, assigning all of your marketing’s value to this specific point in time. But in most cases, multi-touch attribution will be the most relevant to determining your ROI.

Once you understand the multiple touches between your marketing efforts and your audience, you can begin to assign values to it that are a split of the calculations in the Goal Values section above. Now, you will have a better understanding of the individual worth and ROI of your social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, blogging, and other inbound tools.

3) Customer Lifetime Value

Of course, both of the above methods may sell your marketing success short. As you probably know, most of your customers aren’t interested in one-off purchases only to never return for additional business. The goal is to turn them into brand loyalists, which means that they will be worth much more than the average price of a single purchase we mentioned above.

If you’re in the subscription business, you already know the concept of customer lifetime value. For everyone else, allow us to elaborate.

As the name suggests, customer lifetime value marks the total worth of a customer to you throughout the entirety of their existence as a customer. Calculating this value is difficult, but not impossible. You need to know 3 variables: average purchase value, average number of purchases during a regular interval, and number of intervals during the customer’s lifetime.

KissMetrics has a great infographic on this calculation, using Starbucks as an example. If the average coffee purchase is $5.90, the average customer visits Starbucks 4.2 times a week and the average customer lifespan is 20 years, the average customer value is:

20 (years) x 52 (weeks per year) x 4.2 (average weekly visits) x $5.90 = $25,771.20

In other words, it’s a heck of a lot bigger than the $5.90 you would have used in step one.

Of course, that difference isn’t nearly as large for businesses who can’t count on the average customer staying on for 20 years. Still, calculating customer value allows you to get a better idea of what it truly means to get a new customer, which will make calculating your inbound marketing ROI more accurate.

Pop quiz: why do you want to calculate your return on investment? Sure, it’s a great way to evaluate and inform your individual marketing efforts. But let’s be honest – it’s at least as important to convince higher ups that what you’re doing is worthwhile, and deserves a larger budget.

Unfortunately, many inbound marketers don’t ever get that far, simply because they don’t know how to calculate their ROI.

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7 Critical Strategies for Inbound Marketing

The main technique of inbound marketing has to do with setting traps. It’s like a kind of marketing jujitsu. You use the customers’ own motivations to bring them into buying from you. You create a need in the fertile soil of customers’ imaginations. You are there where your potential customers are. You become the authority on subjects in which your customers are interested. They turn to you and your products to find out more and you engage them. Then you bring them close to the products and services that can answer their needs. All the choices are theirs.

In his book, Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online, (Wiley, 2014), Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan describes how the basic technique inbound marketing technique is to engage customers meaningfully instead of dreaming up new ways of interrupting your way into their lives.

…attract, engage and delight…Inbound marketing focuses on the width of your brain, not the width of your wallet, and entrepreneurs have more remarkable ideas than anyone I know.

Get active outside your website:

One of the principles of inbound marketing is that you and your brand have to get well known among people likely to visit your site. Look for interest groups, sigs, discussion groups, and other online communities in which you have contributions to make and get active. Many advocate arranging public events, appearing on as an expert on media like radio, cable television or in magazines, newspapers and other print media. These kinds of media appearances are usually easy to arrange because the media are hungry for interesting content. Although you will not be able to promote your brand directly, you will be able to add your website address or other information to enable readers or listeners to access your site for more information.

Produce content that educates, inspires and entertains:

The content should be useful, factual and interesting. Use all the knowledge and skill you have acquired in running your business. Recruit the knowledge of others to provide useful authority. Don’t make your content into a sales document right away. Instead try to spark dialog and discussion with your content.

Make your website into a hub, not a megaphone:

Your company and your brand needs to be seen as being at the center of conversation and a source of valuable resources. Make your website into a discussion group that brings people together in the field you feel most comfortable contributing to. Add free tools and advice that visitors can use. These things can convert casual visitors into prospects, and prospects into leads.

The inbound website is wired: 

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of producing massive volume of content without remembering to include a sales funnel. The sales funnel has embedded active decision points and internal links that bring visitors closer to making sales choices. They are also tied to software counters which make diagnostics of the sales funnel and metrics of user interest possible. The site should include interactional sections for the collection of some information about visitors. This information allows your marketers to assess interest by demographics or visitor profiles. Visitors that enter a sales funnel are converted to leads at a rate nearly 20 times higher than visitors that don’t.

Use pointers to the guide visitors to action:

How would you feel if a visitor goes to your site, is delighted by it, but then doesn’t know what to do next and simply leaves? The website needs to contain specific signposts showing your visitors where to go next. If someone comes to your website, make it easy and seamless for them to subscribe to read similar articles, leaving only enough information for you to add possible prospects to a follow-up list and aid in your demographic metrics. Optimizing your search for action is as important as SEO.

Use engaging graphics:

In some ways, the collected wisdom of years of conventional advertising can still be useful in the age of inbound marketing. We know from advertisers’ experience that the average attention span is no more than about eight seconds. It’s the headline and lead sentence in a newspaper article that has to do the job of nailing a reader’s attention. The billboard on the roadway has to put its message into the mind of passers-by in just the time it takes for them to pass it.

Engaging visual images cut through the clutter of words. You can find visuals that tell your story without major expense. Young photographers and artists are anxious to provide you with custom graphic materials. You can make them yourself using your cell phone to make photos or short videos to enliven your site. Each graphic should carry its weight however. You should only use visual content that serves a business function. Avoid vacuous decorative images. The graphic has to grab the attention of visitors for the purpose of leading them into the rest of your content.

Prepare for an altered marketing perspective by hiring experts or outsourcing wisely:

You will probably need some extra expertise to build and regularly update your inbound marketing website. You may need help with analysis of the data your website yields. Most of the time in-house staff does not have the skills to do this.

Starting an inbound marketing approach will involve a corporate change in the way the company perceives marketing. Make sure your staff is oriented to the changes and aligned with new approach. Your sales staff will have new prospects who should be contacted promptly. Marketing should be focused on applying the metrics you obtain to modify and test on-line strategies. The team must be well equipped and comfortable with the technology.

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