Marketing is hard, and it keeps getting harder. Competition is fierce, customers are more demanding and tactics that worked in the past no longer do. But hey, no one said it’s going to be easy!
The good news is, there is at least one marketing tactic that stood the test of time and still brings significant benefits – inbound marketing.
Provided you have an effective inbound marketing strategy in place, of course! Before we move into discussing how to improve your inbound marketing strategy, let’s start with a short definition.
Inbound marketing definition – what is it exactly?
Traditional marketing (also known as outbound marketing) is all about grabbing prospect’s attention with some in-your-face tactics like advertising, direct mail, trade shows, etc.
Inbound marketing doesn’t broadcast to customers or prospects but focuses on creating reasons for customers to come to you. It’s much less invasive than outbound marketing; in fact, it’s not invasive at all.
It’s about delighting customers and prospects by providing value rather than fighting for their attention.
You cannot create an effective inbound marketing strategy without understanding the inbound marketing methodology.
The inbound methodology involves three stages. You start by attracting prospects to your website, but not ANY prospects, only the high-quality ones, those who will eventually become your customers.
After your prospect becomes a lead, you’ll need to work towards turning them into customers by applying different marketing tactics like email marketing, conversational bots, etc to keep them engaged.
When they finally become your customer, you’ll need to focus on delighting them. Ensuring your customers are happy should be part of your inbound marketing strategy. Happy customers are easily turned into brand promoters, and nothing works as well as word of mouth marketing, but you probably know it already.
3 reasons why you should have an inbound marketing strategy in place
1.It works, plain and simple
Inbound marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics you can use. It produces 54% more leads than outbound practices and costs 61% less.
2. It’s a great brand differentiator
Let’s face it, most products are alike. And it’s very hard to compete based on features solely. Frequently, what matters is how a brand makes you feel, how good the support is and how product value is communicated. Inbound marketing allows your brand to shine!
3. It doesn’t annoy your leads and customers
We live in a very crowded and noisy world. People are tired of constant broadcasting… Do you remember the last time you watched your favorite movie or TV series and way too often were disturbed by completely irrelevant commercials?
Did it feel nice? I don’t think so. Believe it or not, but your prospects feel the same. Inbound marketing is relevant, it creates personalized experiences that your customers and prospects appreciate.
What inbound marketing tactics can you use in your inbound marketing strategy
There are a lot of inbound marketing tactics you can implement; I’ll share a few to get you started.
Here is a shocking statistic: adding a blog to your website can increase your traffic by as much as 434%! How come?
It not only allows you to create SEO content which answers your prospects’ queries and attracts them to your website but it also helps you build expertise. And expertise plays a key role in building brand authority.
What’s more, blogging gives you an opportunity to show off your personality. Words are a powerful weapon and often are way more seductive than product features.
If your prospects like your content and trust your expertise, high chances are, they’ll eventually get interested in your product. You should treat blogging as a great lead generation opportunity, companies who blog get 97% more leads than those who don’t.
Smart marketing heads say that the future of content marketing is all about video. Visual content often better resonates with people, but not in every case. It’s worth remembering that there are different kinds of learners, i.e. people absorb information differently. Some are visual learners, while others are auditory.
Video is more personal. And it’s best used to communicate simple ideas or provide a commentary on interesting issues – like Dave Gerhardt from Drift. It doesn’t have to be professional, casual videos humanize brands and are more persuasive.
According to HubSpot’s research, over 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content.
You might think we’re overloaded with emails these days (and it’s not untrue), but email marketing is still KING with an ROI of 4400% and $44 for every $1 spent. It’s a great inbound marketing tactic for lead nurturing – think about engaging your leads and turning them into customers.
You can use a newsletter to nurture your content leads or use email to activate your newly acquired customers.
Have you heard of the Marketing Rule of 7? It says that a prospect must hear your message at least 7 times before they decide to buy your product or service. But what do you do with prospects who do not return to your website or blog?
You target them with ads! It’s a good strategy to engage prospects who aren’t too keen on marketing newsletters.
Making your inbound marketing strategy more successful with surveys
Use surveys to develop or enrich your marketing persona
Creating an inbound marketing strategy should start with building your marketing persona. It’s essential to know who you want to attract.
Marketers tend to use a lot of tools to make their jobs easier and more effective (luckily). While extracting data from:
- Google Analytics – to learn about your audience demographics, time spent on a page, most popular content, etc.
- Full Story – to check how visitors absorb information
- MailChimp – to learn how your content resonates with your leads or customers
- Intercom – to see what language your prospects/customers use, what product problems they face, etc.
is a good starting point for developing your personas, it will leave you with a few information gaps. But you can easily fill the blanks with surveys.
Survey your current customers. Ask why they bought your product, what they appreciate about it, what they dislike, what their pain points are.
You’ll know what to focus on – communication-wise, and what to improve to attract more leads in the future.
Use surveys to improve your content
Content marketing is a brilliant lead generation tactic, provided that you create content that your prospects want to read.
Sometimes keyword research isn’t enough. I am not saying “ignore keyword research” but try to create content that is likable by both uncle Google and your prospects. Check Google Analytics to get a basic feel for what kind of content does the job, and work from there.
You can ask your prospects, leads, and customers what they would like to read about with a survey. To survey your prospects you can use a targeted website survey (TWS), which will be triggered after a prospect finishes reading an article, or on exit intent (if you use Survicate, that is 😉 ).
Let your visitors select from a few predefined topics, instead of asking them to come up with their own. This will require less effort and, as a result, increase your response rate.
If you’re curious to know how your article is performing beyond Google Analytics, then I encourage you to use an NPS survey asking your readers to review it.
When it comes to your customers and prospects you can email them a survey. Survicate lets you embed the first question in the email, to boost your completion rates. You can also survey them via Intercom. They’ll be able to answer your questions without ever leaving the chat (pretty sweet!).
Good inbound marketing strategy relies heavily on content marketing, therefore, it’s your job to adapt the content to your readers’ needs. Here are a few questions you can ask in your survey:
- What topics would you like to read about?
- What’s your preferable content format?
- What’s your preferable content length?
- How would you like to hear from us?
Try to stick with closed-ended questions, to avoid survey fatigue.
Use surveys to choose optimal communication frequency
Deciding how often you should communicate with your leads can be challenging. Now that I think about it, it looks a lot like dating. You don’t want to become a nuisance and scare away your suitors (or leads) but you also don’t want them to forget about you and go elsewhere!
So how do you find balance?
The truth is, you can’t please everybody. People are different – which is one of the reasons our job is so difficult, yet so exciting.
The eager ones will want to hear from you once a week (I am so glad you exist!), others will be happy to hear from you just once a month.
This is why it’s worth asking your subscribers how often they would like to receive your emails. It’s best to do it at the point of subscribing to the newsletter, just add one more field to your contact form. Alternatively, you can include a short survey in your subscription confirmation email.
You can then segment your readers based on their preferred communication frequency.
Use surveys to optimize your website
How do you decide what to include on your website? Let me guess.
You talk to your product and customer success teams to agree on the main benefits and features and do detailed keyword research to ensure it’s SEO friendly. I bet you also spy on competition which is good practice by the way, as it not only helps you spot any info gaps but also helps you with differentiation.
The main problem with this approach is, you include information which YOU think will appeal to your visitors. It’s assumptions based, hence risky!
If your website doesn’t convert, it might be worth including a short targeted website survey, asking: did you find everything you were looking for, or what’s missing from our website.
You can use the answers to optimize your web content and boost your conversion.
Fellow marketers, I know from experience that coming up with an inbound marketing strategy is not an easy task, but I hope this article has given you a few ideas to make your strategy more effective.
You can use surveys to:
- enrich your marketing persona by filling any information gaps you have
- optimize your content by asking the right questions like, what topics your prospects are interested in
- decide on your communication frequency
- figure out if there is any information missing from your website
Now it’s time for some testing, good luck!