In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the concept of inbound marketing, and explained the differences between inbound marketing and traditional outbound marketing. Now in Part 2, we’re taking a look at the processes involved in running an inbound marketing campaign. In the third and final part, we’ll take a look at the most important activity in inbound marketing: measuring and tracking everything.
Inbound marketing is a process that starts with driving relevant traffic to your website. From there you convert that traffic into leads by capturing the site visitor’s contact information. Then you nurture the leads in various ways and convert those leads into sales, which is the ultimate goal.
Driving Relevant Traffic
So how do you drive relevant traffic to your website? There are a few ways you can do this.
One very effective way is blogging. Blogging in this sense means creating articles that are relevant to your target audience. The point of blogging here is not so much about “joining the blogosphere” or any other catchy phrases like that, but to establish yourself as an expert so when people go looking for answers to questions or for more information about a product or service they’ll turn to you for that information. And when you’re a trusted source of information, they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to buy.
Another way to drive traffic is through search engine optimization. “If you build it, they will come” works for baseball diamonds, but not for websites. With over 650 million websites on the Internet, you need to do at least some SEO to have even a chance of being found in search results. Search engine optimization in this context is about including lots of high-quality, relevant content on your website so that search engines understand your website and see you as a reliable source of information, so that when the search engines send people to your website they’re sending the right people.
A third way is social media. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage with your clients and with people who may become your clients. You can have a dialogue with them on social media, you can share your blog articles and other relevant pieces of content, you can reply to their comments on your blog. It’s all about getting your name out there and raising awareness for your product, service, or brand.
Converting Traffic into Leads
So now you have all this traffic on your website. What to do with it? Now you want to convert that traffic into leads. You do that by putting a couple of different things on your site.
You start by creating some attractive offers so whenever these visitors get to your site they see these offers that they’re interested in and they want to download. This could be an e-book, this could be a webinar, it could be a coupon for a discount or a free service like some form of loss-leader, or whatever you think your target audience is going to be interested in.
From there you have landing pages and forms to collect their information so that whenever they download these offers that you created you actually get their contact information from that. Landing pages are different beasts from most pages on a website, because you need to use a specialized design which highlights just the offer and the form, and minimizes the visitor’s opportunity to click away to another part of your website.
And then what you also want to have on your website is a call to action.
Here are some examples of calls to action. The idea here is to entice the visitor to download your offer. It creates a sense of urgency and it tells them exactly what happens if they click on it: they’re going to get that e-book or that offer that you created for them.
Convert Leads into Sales
So once your website is optimized to attract relevant traffic and ready to generate leads, the next thing that you want to do is turn these leads into sales.
There are a couple of different ways that you’re going to go about doing that, starting with lead management. If you already have some form of lead tracking software, that’s great; if not, there are many inexpensive online services which do lead tracking.
The point is that you have a way to store your leads so you can do some lead segmentation, which means separating those leads into categories based on their needs or goals. And how do you know what their needs or goals are? By looking at whatever content they downloaded from your website, you can tell what they’re looking for or what type of lead or category they would fall into.
From there you would take those segmented leads and do what’s called lead nurturing. The most common way to do this is by setting up an email drip campaign through an email service provider like Constant Contact or Mailchimp, where you schedule certain emails to go out to them at certain times. These emails provide additional content, maybe answer some of their questions, and really push them down that sales funnel to contacting you directly or becoming a sale.
Stay tuned for Inbound Marketing Part 3: Measure Everything.