Digital Marketing Archives - Page 3 of 7 - Klaxon

7 Core Steps to Inbound Marketing

Ever wondered what exactly inbound marketing is or how to do it?

It’s a much used term these days and b2b marketers all over the planet have been switching on to inbound vs outbound marketing.

The basic principle is straightforward: create compelling content that attracts your target customers to your business when they are ready to buy.

Contrast that to the more traditional outbound marketing strategies where you broadcast your marketing messaging at your target audiences, often with no intelligence as to where they are in the buying cycle. This is batch and blast, numbers based b2b marketing.

The principles may be simple, but in practice inbound marketing requires some smart thinking to be effective. The last thing you want is to waste your resources churning out content that’s missed by 99% of your audience.

To help you think about building inbound marketing into  your b2b marketing mix, take a look at our 7 core steps to b2b inbound marketing:

1.  Build your Buyer Personas

Sounds easy right? Frankly it should be.

Start off by developing an understanding of your customers buyer personas: who are they, where they work, what age brackets and experience they typically have, what industries are they in, which journals they read, what are the typical challenges they are faced with, do they have purchasing authority… the list could go on.

All these great tit bits of information that will help you to understand who your customer is. You can see a really great example of this in practice from email marketing company mailchimp here.

Just in case you’re thinking what I’m thinking, the answer is yes. This actually applies to all marketing and not just inbound.

2. Create Great Content

Now that you have a clear picture of who your customers are,  you will need to create content that meets their needs and answers their questions.

How?

Start off with an editorial plan and calendar that aligns your content to your buyer personas. If your customers are seeking easier ways to manage their enterprise information, create content that answers questions such as:

> how can I best manage my business information, or

> what ECM solutions are best suited to banks (assuming you are targeting banks)

Create content in formats your customers are likely to respond to. For example, should you be targeting IT buyers working in banks, a blog or a Linkedin Group is more likely to reach your audience than a YouTube video or a facebook page.

You should get the idea by now, but get in touch if you want to talk about creating an editorial or content plan for your business.

Be careful to create content that answers you target customers questions, in a format that are likely to engage with and will share where they hang out online.

3. Optimise for Search Engines 

Now that you have defined your buyers and created compelling content, you need to make sure it can be found and ranked well by the search engines.

This takes a bit more work and you may want to consult an SEO expert to help you setup your website optimally. A good starting point is to think about the keywords your target customers are likely to use and worthwhile focussing on with your inbound marketing. Google’s keyword tool is great for this.

By the way, if you’re website is based on WordPress you might find this simple WordPress SEO Checklist we created useful too.

4. Capture Leads

Inbound marketing is not a cheap tactic but it should be more efficient than outbound. However it will only work if you create enough points to capture your target audience’s information.

What do I mean by that?

Essentially you create compelling, high value content that your audience is willing to exchange their contact details for in order to receive. You will be no stranger to calls to action like ‘complete the form to download your report’ I’m sure.

Not all of your content should be hidden behind a lead capture forms. Blog posts for example should be freely accessible, as should demo videos or podcasts.

But if all roads eventually point to a lead capture form, you will start to see web visitors convert into sales leads.

5. Nurture 

It’s all too easy for marketers to think there job is done once the lead form is filled. But it’s not. You need to nurture your leads at every stage in the buying cycle until they are suitable qualified to pass onto your sales team.

We do this with lead scoring based on how visitors interact with our site (and for our clients too). You can read more about this here.

Yes this is likely to mean creating content that aligns to stages in your buying cycle.

6. Seal the Deal

As soon as your sales team close the deal with a client, it’s time to get your inbound marketing hat on again. Ask yourself ‘how can I nurture them for cross-sell / up-sell opportunities, or can I create a compelling case study or a testimonial with this customer?’

All these traditional marketing tactics and assets make great materials to pour back into your inbound marketing machine. This is nothing new for any marketer, just the delivery mechanic has shifted to online.

7. Monitor, Evaluate & Adjust

The classic feedback loop. It’s no different with inbound versus outbound, just you will have a lot more data to review and from which to make informed decisions. Your website analytics package is likely to be the starting point, but if you have a marketing automation system setup you can drill down a lot more into individual decision makers or key accounts.

Analyse what content is working and either create new assets or re-purpose the existing to stretch your budget, for example:

> turn that blog post on business intelligence into a slide deck

> repackage that slide deck into a short animated video, or recording of your VP delivering the talk

Also look at what channels are working for getting traffic and importantly conversions. Spending all your time pouring content out via twitter or Linkedin but not seeing any website traffic, or ultimately conversions, suggests your message is wrong or your audience isn’t on twitter.

And that’s it, 7 Core Steps to Inbound Marketing for b2b marketers. Let us know how you have been getting on with inbound marketing for your business in the comments below. 

Simple WordPress SEO Checklist

We created a WordPress SEO checklist to help our clients get the most out of every blog post. After all the objective of blogging is to attract your target audience and that means search engine optimisation.

WordPress SEO Checklist

We thought you might find it useful too. Here is our 10 point WordPress SEO checklist for what to do when publishing content to your WordPress blog:

1. Before you start writing, create a post objective e.g. to educate, entertain or engage your audience.

2. Identify the target keyword that supports your objective.

3. Write your copy for human consumption i.e. not search engines.

4. Make sure your copy starts with the punchline, explains your argument / story and then closes with the punchline again.

5. Choose a relevant image(s) for the post.

6. Edit your copy to factor in your target keywords, highlighting the relevant keywords throughout the post including:

> early in your post title (which should be your H1 heading)

> opening sentence (which should be your H2 heading)

> the body copy

> the image title, alt tags and description

> the post’s permalink

Note: don’t go crazy, only add your keywords where it makes sense and doesn’t detract from the human reading experience. A couple of times per post is fine.

7. Link to another post on your blog or category on a related subject, like blogging.

8. Setup  your SEO plugin with appropriate title, meta description and keywords – we recommend the  WordsPress SEO or All in One SEO Pack plugins.

9. Add keyword tags in your WordPress post settings.

10. Select an appropriately named category.

With all this done and after you have proof read your post a few times, hit publish and share widely across your social media accounts and all your communications.

And that’s it, our simple WordPress SEO checklist for getting maximum eye balls to your blog posts.

If you want some advice on how to setup your blog to attract search engines in the first place, you need to read this excellent post from Joost de Valk, the WordPress search engine optimisation expert.

Let us know in the comments if there are other tactics you use to optimise each blog post to attract traffic. 

Digital Marketing Case Study

One of our clients was recently interviewed by Jon Buscall for his excellent Online Marketing & Communications podcast.

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What’s the Difference Between a Hard and a Soft Bounce?

email bounce rates beach ballIf you’re asking this question I would bet you have just started out on the email marketing road. You are probably looking at a campaign report and wondering what a hard and soft bounce is and whether it matters. A bounce is a bounce is a bounce right? Wrong.

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Email Marketing’s Most Staggering Statistics

Mike May from email marketing provider Real Magnet shares some of the latest statistics and best practices on email marketing in this useful webinar.

For example:

  • Did you know that every $1 invested in email marketing generates a return of $40?
  • Did you know that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign team used split testing to identify which subject lines performed the best from a fund raising perspective – the difference was a $2m chasm. Ever wondered if you should be trying split testing?

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Is Linkedin the Ultimate Business Social Network?

Linkedin business social networking guideLinkedIn now boasts a phenomenal 200 million members from more than 200 countries. It is one of the most widely used business social networks. But is it any use for b2b marketers, other than those looking for a career change?

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Interview: Mark W Schaefer on Blogging

LBM AudibleAt Klaxon we started blogging back in 2006, just before blogging became a fashionable marketing and communications platform. Not long after that we started running a little known community of bloggers called the London Bloggers Meetup (affectionately known as LBM).

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B2B Marketing Best Practice Guide to Pinterest

Pinterest BPGEarlier this year I was approached by B2B Marketing Magazine to write a chapter for another of their Best Practice Guides, this time the guide to using Pinterest.

The guide book was recently released and it’s an excellent all points guide for any B2B marketer thinking of adding Pinterest to their mix. There are chapters covering the basics of Pinterest, practical challenges, best practice case studies and a look at what’s coming next for the platform.

My chapter is all about assessing whether Pinterest is actually right for your B2B marketing in the first place.

I always enjoy writing for B2B Marketing magazine, not just because they have a smart editorial team, but also because it’s nice to be in the company of some intelligent writers too… this guide has been co-written by:

Matt Gierhart, Global head of social, OgilvyAction – Introduction to Pinterest
Catherine Nolan, Consultant, Base One – Using Pinterest
Cathy Druce, Social media manager and planning executive, Tangent Snowball – Practical Challenges
Rob Hurst, Head of social media, Omobono – The Future of Pinterest
Hannah Rainford, SEO and social analyst, Jellyfish – Case Studies

 

Is Pinterest Right for my B2B Marketing?

I was asked to deliver a workshop at the B2BMarketing Annual Conference yesterday in London all about Pinterest. Thanks to Joel, Gemma and Saba for inviting me along. It realy was a great conference, lots of good sessions, most of which centred on the idea that B2B marketers need to get better at telling stories. Less what, more why.

You can see my slides below which I’ll also be delivering as a webinar for B2B Marketing too. Also some useful links for background reading here.

Any thoughts, questions, comments, start a conversation in the comments below.

Pinterest: US v UK

I came across this really useful infographic from Visual.ly for marketers thinking of looking at Pinterest. Interesting that on this side of the Atlantic Pinterest attracts a much greater male audience, with interests more aligned to b2b than consumer.

The source of the data is Google AdPlanner and with data from December 2011 it’s likely the demographic will have moved on somewhat, but useful as a reference point none-the-less.

Pinterest: USA vs UK