DIY Inbound Marketing

Your current direct sales force is expensive and un-scalable. What you really need are some online leads. So how do you grow your 250 visitors per month (and < 1% conversion) to… well much more?  Can you do it on your own? Here’s a short checklist to get you started.   Even if you’ll need some help with some of the steps, this may help you ask your vendors the right questions.

Step 0 – Set your expectations

You’ll find many online resources about how inbound marketing is much more cost effective, measurable and so on.  But keep in mind that it’s still a process. Just like your top sales person did not get the PO on the first phone call, your inbound marketing efforts will take some time to mature.

Step 1 – Evaluate your existing online content

Before you invest in bringing in more prospects to your site, how about making sure you have the right content, so your visitors don’t bounce off before converting?

  • Content quality. Even though you already have some content – consider that it was supplemented, expanded, and explained by your sales force, at events, and during meetings. Not anymore.  Your online content is all your prospect has before reaching a decision. It needs to be focused, clear, and deliver the right message.
  • Keep it simple. Speak the language of your audience, minimize the technical jargon, and eliminate the buzzwords that don’t mean much.  (Does ‘revolutionary’ or ‘next generation’ ring a bell?)
  • Be different.  Just like your sales person has a ‘competition’ slide in the deck, your web copy should communicate your differentiation. Here’s a small test – if you place your copy on your competitor’s site – would it still work?
  • Less is more. No one has time to read lots of copy.  “You need better content not more,” is the way Wendy Clark, VP of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Coca-Cola, phrases this.

 

Step 2 – Analyze keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).

Before revising or generating new content, make sure you’re using the right keywords to bring in traffic. Not the phrases you think customers are using, but rather those terms that actually have search volume.

Use the Google keyword tool to search for different variations and combinations of keywords, and examine the search volumes for each and the competitiveness. This step is obviously a bit more complex, but you can still perform a quick analysis to optimize your content. More about this in a future post.

Step 3 – Fine-tune your content

Based on the previous two steps, revise your web site’s content (using the optimized keywords). This may mean web copy, product demos, written/video case studies, etc.  Where should you begin, and how should you prioritize, with only one (or no) writer? That depends. But start with items you believe are most important and interesting to your prospects, that would make theme leave their contact details. See next step.

Step 4 – Implement content to convert visitors to leads

Bringing in traffic to your site is only the start. What you really want is to turn qualified visitors into sales leads. You should generate premium content that provides useful data (rather than sales content) to your visitors, and for which they’ll be willing to give you their contact details. For example, offer a white paper that provides tips and advice for overcoming problems, or reaching decisions (as opposed to a white paper explaining your technology…). Or offer a webinar that provides insight into an industry survey, showing how other companies are handling your customer’s problem.

Step 5 – Start blogging

Yes, this is requires commitment.  But keep in mind – B2B companies that blog report 55% more website visitors and 67% more leads than those that don’t.

  • Non-marketing content. Your blog must be interesting and useful to your target audience. If it simply contains more marketing & sales pitches in a more friendly voice, then you’re missing the point.
  • It’s a joint effort. Blog content should arrive from multiple roles in your company. Marketing, sales, R&D, and the CEO. Get suggestions for blog topics from all members and have one person coordinate the effort and edit the content.
  • Keywords. Like on your web site, make sure to use the keywords from your analysis, and place them in the headings of your posts, as well as within the copy.
  • Blog location. For optimal SEO benefits, most experts agree you should place your blog as a sub directory, rather than externally (or a sub domain).

 

Step 6 – Promote content and interact with prospects and customers

Next is to promote your content via mutlliple channels –  LinkedIn, Twitter, PPC & landing pages, and relevant online forums and sites. More about this in a separate post.

Step 7 – Test, measure and revise

Only by measuring your results you’ll know whether you’re in the right direction. Like with many a-bit-more-complex projects, it’s best to start small. Track your visitors, sources, and conversion on an ongoing basis and see what works and what doesn’t.

Image courtesy of Flickr – Dark Botxy

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