Inbound Marketing programs use search-optimized website pages, high-value content and digital experiences that follow permission marketing principles to attract website visitors and nurture and convert these visitors into qualified leads using relevant buyer lifecycle content.
Content is central to an Inbound program. A ‘shiny object’ – content (e.g. white papers, eBooks) that is valued by prospects, will drive web visits and conversions. To provide leverage, content can be designed as ‘evergreen’ and updated periodically. These assets are typically gated using an optimized landing page and lead capture forms. Sellers follow permission marketing principles by offering an “equitable exchange” of value – providing the high value content asset to the buyer in exchange for contact information and permission to engage.
Content that is more promotional in nature may not justify a gated form, but may still offer valuable support for a prospect’s self-sell journey. Examples include service brochures, fact sheets or introductory content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO helps make pages more visible to visitors searching on key topics. Web pages and content are optimized for keywords and site quality performance using current standards as outlined by major search engines like Google.
A blog will increase website’s usefulness and search engine visibility. Programs will publish original and evergreen content at regular intervals. The volume should align with resources and ability to execute. While, higher blog post volumes help increase search search visibility, any consistent program schedule will present opportunities for content amplification on social media and prospect engagement. Evergreen content that does not lose its relevance and value offers additional leverage as it can be updated periodically and maintain the same permalink URL.
Paid Search and Paid Social
Paid Search programs include advertising on search engines using pay-per-click (PPC) and Display ads. Retargeting can also be used to stay top of mind with visitors that did not convert. Paid Social (e.g. advertising on social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) offer a similar strategy that leverage the deep targeting capability provided by social media. Paid strategies are built around the prospect’s journey and are sent to conversion-optimized landing pages. Programs are optimized for ROI and cost-per acquisition considering the lifetime value of a lead.
Social Media amplification and engagement starts with social profiles that are up to date, optimized, and branded consistently. Social profiles are an additional brand outpost or touchpoint and are often at the top of a search engine results page. With profiles optimized, social posts can be developed for publishing and engagement and social channels like LinkedIn can be used for 1:1 engagement. Blog posts and other content can be amplified on social media and using hashtags will help expand audience for targeted topics.
Marketing Automation, Calls to Action & Forms
Website conversions use calls-to-action and forms along with email automation. Progressive profiling helps get more information from return visitors. A number of marketing automation and sales technology platforms provide this functionality including HubSpot and SharpSpring, Pardot, Act-On and Marketo. When no effective platform is in place, an objective approach can be used to select the right solution. SharpSpring is a strong choice for SMB due to its rich functionality and price-performance advantages.
For subscribers and prospects that have provided permission to receive emails, email marketing programs are an excellent way to keep in touch, nurture relationships and trigger calls to action. Emails also help progress a prospect through their journey and can be segmented and customized by audience and persona. Emails are designed and branded to optimize the visual experience and to drive click throughs and conversions.