With an ever-increasing number of people selling their services or products online, the competition to win new business via an inbound marketing campaign is growing.
As a selling strategy, inbound marketing frequently saves money, leads new customers to your business, and can help to make even a subtle change in business direction a lot easier. However, campaigns often fail, and while this is usually down to really quite simple reasons, it can discourage people from persevering with the technique.
In our 10-Point Checklist for Launching Successful Inbound Marketing Campaigns, we have brought together our most useful pieces of advice, based on experience gained from running multiple campaigns. Read on, and check whether you have missed anything!
Think about your business goals
Creating an exciting offer that will substantially grow your customer base in a new direction requires some thought into the overall strategy of your business. See this offer as a first step towards the direction you would like to see the business going in five years time, and plan accordingly.
As well as putting time into making sure the offer will be attractive to new customers, think about the amount of resources (defined in time or money) you are prepared to invest in determining the success of the deal.
What kind of customers are you trying to reach?
If there is a specific audience you want to target, first think about the kind of offer that would tempt them most.
It is helpful to think about the lifestyle and user habits of the desired customer, in order to make an informed decision on what would be tempting to them. For example, is this a person who would be more attracted to a lower priced product or a free item with every sale?
Framing the offer on your website
Once you have decided on the offer that will draw new customers in, spend some time brainstorming different ways to frame the deal on your website.
Within your team, test out a variety of landing pages to come up with a version that persuades the visitor to continue with their offer purchase.
This is best done through trials of copy language and tone, and most importantly – images.
Make it as easy as possible for the customer
If the offer looks difficult to access, is poorly communicated, or is hidden on the landing page then potential customers can easily be dissuaded from continuing to sign over their details. There are also some easy search engine optimisation techniques, such as adding in certain keywords, which will boost your page to searching customers.
Promoting the offer
Most of the hard work has been done – but now you need to make sure the offer gets enough attention. The easiest way to do this is to blog about the offer, both on your website, and any other sites with which you have associations or direct partnerships. It might sound obvious, but within all the blogs posted on external websites, make sure that you provide direct links to the offer landing page, and always test out the links to ensure that they are not broken. Review the existing content on your own website – can any old posts be quickly updated to include links to the new offer?
Share, and share widely
Many people hear about offers through links shared by their friends or followers on social media.
If social media channels have not previously formed part of your online strategy, then it’s definitely time to get connected. You can easily synchronise the posts on your website to automatically publish across different networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Before you create multiple accounts however, think about which social media channels your target audience are likely to be using – and concentrate on those. To be successful on social media, do not solely market your offer, but put it in the mix with other content.
Make sure you have some analytics tools in place to track how many referrals to your site come in via the new channels, and use this information to work out what types of messages share best.
While the offer is running, do not post content twenty times one day, only to then have a gap that stretches into the following week.
Remember that, at any one time, only a fraction of the people you are trying to reach are likely to be online, so schedule your posts or social media content to match the hours when your target customers are probably surfing the net.
Do not rule out paying for additional online promotion
Most of the tips so far on this checklist have required minimal additional financial outlay, but there are options out there if you want to guarantee landing page views. Whether you invest in paid search advertisements that link through to the offer, or try promoted content on social media channels, sometimes these more traditionally commercial approaches can save a marketing campaign that is not performing as well as expected. You are not usually locked into paying continuously for these options either, so with even a small budget you can experiment with what works for you.
Are your inbound marketing processes integrated into a daily, weekly or monthly diary?
Choosing an offer and marketing it well is not a difficult task, especially if you are following our 10-Point Checklist!
However, consistency is key to a successful inbound marketing campaign – and many of these tasks, such as writing a blog post or navigating social media, can be incredibly time consuming. To make sure that your campaign meets its promotional targets, try making an outline of the shape of your average working week, and identify particular time slots which might work best for different activities.
Many people find that first thing in the morning is the time at which they concentrate most, so if this sounds familiar, why not schedule a difficult task for then? If you are working with a team of people, think about how you can delegate various responsibilities across the project lifespan.
Have you created specific materials to follow up with visitors to your site?
Hopefully, following the techniques above will bring a lot of new traffic to your website via the offer landing page, but the art of successful inbound marketing is not just about selling the offer. Remember that the campaign began as a way to create a new customer audience – and think about creating a strategy to turn new visitors into repeat customers.