4 Ways to Get Better ROI through Inbound Marketing

ROI With Inbound Marketing

According to HubSpot’s ‘State of Inbound 2014’ report, more than twice as many marketers (45%) cited inbound marketing as their primary source of lead generation versus outbound (22%). But the question is, how do you make inbound marketing work for your business?

Here Are 4 Things You Can Do For Better ROI  

Creating a Buyer Persona

Buyer persona

A buyer persona can be created with the help of demographic information, challenges, goals and objectives of your target customers. Your target audience can be your existing customers and prospective customers. This can be done by interviews, surveys and research. Here are some practical ways of creating your buyer persona:

  • Uncover trends, by looking into your database, about how your leads find you and how they consume your content.
  • When creating forms for your website, use fields that record important information. For example, if your personas vary based on geography, make sure to ask each lead about their geographic location in the form.
  • Speak to your sales team and consider what they have to say about the leads they are speaking to the most. Are there are observations they have made about the leads?
  • Get feedback from your current and prospective customers. Analyze what they have to say about your products and services.
  • There is no definitive number of people you should interview. But once you can accurately predict what your interviewee is going to say, we’d say it’s time to stop.

How to use your information to create a persona

  • Fill in your personas demographic information.
  • Share what you have learned about your personas motivations. Tie it all together to show how your company can help them.
  • Prepare your sales team for conversations with the personas. Create a list of concerns your customers had and prepare the team to answer these questions if they come up.

Choose The Right Platform

Social Media

Whatever social platform you choose; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ your social presence and engagement is responsible for creating a good brand. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself, to find the right platform for your business.

  • Who are the present users?

For example, Pinterest is dominated by the female demographic. Of its estimated 10.4 million users, 80 percent are female. Nearly 30% are between the ages of 25 and 34, with the average user spending nearly 98 minutes a day perusing the site. Ask yourself if this audience is a relevant target for your business. Do not try to fit your business model to suit a social platform.

  • What type of content do they like to share?

Are your products and services popular with the trending topics on a particular site? Do they have similar interests? Facebook and Twitter are on top when it comes to sharing content. But for business audiences, LinkedIn or any such industry specific social sites might be a better choice. It provides wonderful networking opportunities with others in your industry.

Understanding the difference in social sites will help you choose the right one for your business.

  • How much time do you require to participate in a social site?

You need to make sure you do not have too much on your plate. You will get better ROI if you choose a few key networks and put the required effort to utilize its full power. Leading social sites have made sharing fairly easy. But the key is to have quality content ready to be shared on these sites.

Designing a Successful Campaign

successful online campaign

Marketing campaigns aren’t just for product launches. You need to treat every single marketing activity as a marketing campaign. Here is how you go about doing that:

  • Start by identifying your audience. The demographics, values, challenges, objectives etc.
  • Set attainable goals. You should know where you want to reach before you start. For example, generate 5000 leads who are interested in search engine marketing by December 2015.
  • Zero-in on the keywords you want to rank for as a result of the campaign. Use them across your headlines and your content. Do not stuff your content with keywords. Be consistent in keywords you use to optimize for search.
  • Create landing space and offers. Create offers to attract prospective customers and landing pages to convert those visitors. Make sure you include the keywords that you decided to rank for.
  • Get the word out. Send an email. Write related blogs. Share content on social media.

Marketing Automation

marketing automation

Once you have leads, it becomes very important to nurture these leads. Marketing automation helps in doing so. Here is how:

  • Set specific targets. Targeting a group of buyers with relevant messages increases the likelihood of purchase. Do not limit yourself to their job titles and demographics. Hone in on how they responded the previous campaigns or what they do when they visit your site. Jupiter Research compared untargeted campaigns with targeted campaigns finding that conversion rates can be up to 400% higher for the latter.
  • Nurture leads till they are ready to make a purchase. This is the biggest advantage of marketing automation. When people first visit your site they are not ready to make a purchase. But eventually, they will be. Marketing automation lets you set up a series of communication designed for different stages of the marketing funnel.
  • Get personal with your customers. Having access to a high level of data about your customers and prospects, it will be easier to personalize communications and services to your customers.

 

Use these steps for your inbound marketing and it will improve your brand value, customer satisfaction, and retention. All in all, it will hike up your ROI through inbound marketing. Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

How Investing In Developing An Online Presence Early Can Reduce Your B2B Sales Costs Later

One of the top reasons decision makers in B2B businesses put off social media marketing and spending on activity which can help create a web presence is “no instant ROI”. The logic: why pay someone to blog, publish content, share content, comment on others websites and spend time on social networks all day when it doesn’t instantly result in sales? It’s just an ongoing cost which can run for months without a directly proportional result in terms of sales that can be tied directly to this activity.

Most traditional business development decision makers would rather spend on advertising campaigns, email marketing campaigns, telemarketing or buying peoples attention rather than earning trust by building a relationship through social media which can be a much longer process. You wouldn’t be wrong to think social media and the content marketing approach is a slower path to converting attention to sales so it can be put off. However, it would be short-sighted.

You see, developing a content ecosystem and a social media presence is a long term investment much like brand building and not a short term marketing campaign spend like a telemarketing campaign.

So when you look at the term ROI on activities like blogging, sharing, content development and others related to developing an online presence, you need to look at it standing far back thinking what it can do for you several years down the line rather than looking at it up close like a 2 month advertising campaign where you count spend and conversions over this short period. Social media is a long term investment in creating brand pull around your business and that’s the perspective it needs to be seen in.

Real life case illustration

A couple of years ago  I was involved with the demand generation team for a B2B service. When it was launched, there were two major components to the customer acquisition process. An inbound marketing lead (just myself) and an outbound pre-sales team of 4 that would run email campaigns combined with outbound telemarketing campaigns to identify potential customers that supported a 5th sales manager that would actually close sales resulting in conversion when a hot lead has been identified by the pre-sales team.

Working of the Outbound Marketing Team

Outbound Marketing

4 resources costing the company $3000 (made up figure) a month each at a total cost of $12,000 a month.

Together they generate approximately 120 phone calls each day reaching about 50  a day of which 2 warm leads would emerge. That’s about 10 warm leads a week of which about 1 would convert into a customer. This team of 4 would consistently deliver about 4 customers a month which was not bad considering this was a service where a single customer would be high value and contribute significant revenues.

The process was linear and the cost of sales constant. The only way to increase sales would be to increase costs.

Working of the Inbound Marketing Effort

inbound marketing

1 resource costing the company $3000 (made up figure) a month total cost of $3,000 a month.

As a 1 person inbound marketing resource for a small business, I would spend my hours each day creating a compelling blog post, developing engaging content around the service like slideshare presentations, ebooks, PDFs etc. Promoting and sharing this content across social bookmarking sites, interacting with others on relevant communities across Linkedin groups, doing guest blog posts with industry thought leaders, building a following on Twitter, link building and developing awareness for the service and company.

The first two or three months there was very little traffic, a hand full of inbound leads mainly from decision makers stumbling across conversations and learning about the company. In the next three months we were reaching about 150 inbound visitors a day resulting in about just 10 form fills a month but converting into about 4-5 sales a month since the inbound leads were more qualified and came looking for what we offer. This was at par with the 4 person outbound team.

As the activity continued at the same pace, towards the end of the first year traffic grew steadily towards the website, form fills started to increase and inbound leads were continuing to show steady progress. Conversions were much better on these inbound leads since they came from visitors that had come across us online through our content or conversations, heard about us, reviewed and done most of their evaluation on the website with content provided there and then asked us to get in touch with them since they were interested.

By the end of the second year, the number of inbound leads from the website as a result of the social media and content marketing activity had far exceeded anything the 4 person sales team could come up with who were still at 4 sales a month.

The process took time and effort to yield anything. Once it did, however, it scaled and beyond a point, the returns far outweighed the costs.

 

Developing an online presence is not going to yield instant results but great brands were not built overnight. They were investments made with the vision that people will connect with them and when they finally did they paid off. Social media and online outreach is an investment. Invest early, reap the benefits long term!