I read an article yesterday in MarketingProfs, presenting the results of a survey regarding B2B inbound marketing done by Ascend2. At the sight of these graphics, I couldn’t help but see a connection between the results obtained in this report, as objectives, tactics and most importantly, challenges cited by respondents (270) and, those of our clients.
The most important tactic, but also the most difficult to achieve
I was not surprised to see this complex but easily explainable fact. Most of our clients are very skeptical when we tell them that if you want your inbound marketing strategy to be effective, an average of two blog articles should be published weekly (if this kind of content is chosen). Such a frequency of new content, with targeted keywords, improves their position on search engines (SEO) and allows them to acquire prospects who have qualified themselves on the website or retain existing customers.
In general, most customers do not believe that there is enough activity within their business, or even their industry, to achieve and maintain this publication frequency. However, this is wrong. When content strategy is developed properly and oriented towards the proper targets, the editorial calendar is built seamlessly and sometimes, there’s not enough time or budget to do it all!
In addition, some clients believe that their specialists are the best people to write articles. Although some have good ideas, they usually do not master the best practices in web writing. They don’t have the time to integrate this writing time in their already loaded schedule. At first, they find the time, but soon the pace of writing decreases until it’s altogether extinguished.
For this tactic to be effective, the participation of a content creator, who supports specialists by correcting their text or writing the article from a simple phone interview, is a wise investment. Regardless of the type of industry and topics that should be considered, like a journalist, they master the subject and write quality articles in partnership with the client. In this case, these are the experts at our clients’ who sign the articles as bloggers, and it is the content creator who ghost writes it.
Increase conversion rates and improving their quality are the most important goals
It’s obvious that when a client invests a budget into an inbound marketing strategy, they expect to achieve results and sometimes, even reduce their marketing expenses. And the ultimate goal of this approach is to increase sales. Deployed tactics should help to attract qualified visitors to the website and get them to fill out a specific form or pick up the phone. Moreover, it is very important to demonstrate the added value of its products or services so that visitors give their consent for future communication. It is therefore important that this data is compiled in a CRM in order to measure the ROI and optimize inbound marketing strategies based on the results obtained.
Also, it is important to note that the rate of conversion in B2B depends on the type of industry (Source: Marketing Sherpa, 2012). So, for companies involved in manufacturing, an average conversion rate of 4% is considered powerful as they are in and around 5% in the technological equipment area.
The conversion rate is calculated by taking the number of visits to the web site for a given period and dividing that number by the number of completed forms. It’s pretty simple, but it’s necessary that these are quality sales leads because the amount alone does not guarantee it and their treatment requires time, and time is money.
Inbound marketing strategy
The challenge: develop and implement an effective strategy
The lack of an effective inbound marketing strategy ranks first among obstacles to its success according to respondents. In practice, clients are often eager to begin operations of inbound marketing by selecting tactics, but without a prior strategy.
Inbound marketing strategy
Would you go to war or coach a football game without a well thought out strategy? I doubt it. It’s the same in marketing.
An effective inbound marketing strategy must be developed based on the business goals of the company. Without these objectives, it is impossible to develop a winning strategy and select tactics that will have the greatest impact to achieve the desired results.
Furthermore, it is important to consider the marketing basics, that is to say, define the target client as well as the purchase process and analyze the competition. The strategy of inbound marketing then focuses on three central elements: content, SEO and social networking. The timing and the necessary actions to achieve the objectives complement the budget strategy so that it is optimized from time to time, based on the results obtained.
And there is no magic recipe. A different strategy is needed for each client.
Because I am curious by nature, I would like to know the objectives, tactics and challenges that are part of your inbound marketing strategy for the coming year. Are they the same as those specified in this survey?