You probably got to this page on our site because you’re interested in making the most of inbound marketing — maybe you’re not generating the number of leads you want, or you’re working with an agency but think they could be doing more to get better results. You’ve come to the right place, because this page is all about taking your efforts to the next level… getting better results, faster.
We’ve broken this page into categories, each of which answers questions we frequently get about the different topics; we’ve also provided links to related resources for each so you can dig deeper to learn more. Our goal is to help you understand why you’re not getting great results, and show you how to get them.
“Inbound isn’t right for every business — or, put another way, not every business is right for inbound. Our agency focuses on complex industries, and we can tell you that it’s been highly effective in even the most challenging of them. But how do you know if it’s going to work for your business and industry? There is a formula of sorts that you can apply to gauge how effective inbound marketing could be for your industry, and it’s explained in the answers below, and in the related resources.”
You could be asking yourself this question because your results aren’t what they should be, leading you to wonder if the whole approach is just “wrong” for your business or industry. Prospects are often surprised when we tell them the types of clients that have had unmitigated success with inbound: manufacturers of above-ground steel storage tanks; of commercial food ingredients; of construction services; of modified shipping containers, and dozens of others you might not expect.
The common thread is that inbound works really well for companies that sell what are called “considered purchases” — purchases that require the person making (or influencing) the purchase to look into and compare all available options, ask questions to understand more about each, look at pros and cons, view ratings and recommendations...in other words, purchases that have the buyer doing some online research. “Content is king” in the inbound marketing approach, and it’s in your content (blogs, website copy, and downloadable pieces) that buyers will find the information they need to guide them towards a purchase decision.
Simply put, it’s very likely that if, during the process of buying your product, the buyer wants and needs more information in order to make the final decision, your product is “right” for inbound marketing.
Yes, and what it takes to improve results depends on where you are in your inbound journey.
With newer inbound programs — those in their first year or two of being launched — there are some critical foundational pieces that must be in play for you to get the best results. These are fully developed prospect personas, thoughtful nurturing strategies, a strong marketing/sales alignment, well-articulated buyer’s journeys, company/product positioning, and more (you’ll see a link to some content specifically about a few of these components below). Without this strategic foundation your entire program will be compromised, and the results won’t be there.
For more “mature” programs, growth typically comes from continually (and frequently) publishing and optimizing blogs, adding new and valuable downloadable content offers, focusing on search engine optimization (SEO), improving the rate at which you’re converting visitors into leads (called conversion rate optimization, or CRO), and undertaking smart ongoing website improvements based on actual user data, an approach called Growth-Driven Design, or GDD.
Whether your inbound strategy and program are relatively new or more established, inbound will continue to attract quality leads to your website if you’re doing the right things aimed at the right prospects at the right time. A thorough review of the components of your program and how they’re integrated for maximum effectiveness could reveal gaps and opportunities.
“You may be wondering how you can quickly start seeing improved results from your existing inbound assets — your blogs and content, your website, your landing pages and more. Sometimes improving results doesn’t mean you have to do something new… it could be that you just have to tweak what you already have. In this section we’ll dig into some of the simple steps you can take to improve the effectiveness of the tactics you have in place today."
So...you’re getting traffic, but those visitors aren’t turning into leads? There are a number of things you can do to get those people to engage so they’ll be turned into leads you can nurture.
First is conversion rate optimization, or CRO. This process involves looking at where you’re placing form fields, the mechanisms you’re using (forms, chatbots, etc.), what you’re asking in those fields, what content you’re offering in exchange for those fields, and what you’re doing next time those visitors arrive on a landing page.
You can also improve conversion rates by looking closely at exactly where visitors are “dropping off” — where they leave a page or the site. Using heat mapping software, we can see where that point is and determine what the cause might be — maybe the content isn’t answering their question or it’s too sales-y or it’s not particularly compelling.
Another tweak that can help improve conversions is a chatbot. Chatbots are automated “Can I help you?” dialogues that pop up when you’re on a web page. The purpose of chatbots is to allow you to ask a question, and they’re often timed to pop up when a visitor has been on the page awhile, which could be an indication that they’re not finding what they want. They can also be used to alert people who are about to move off the page that “you can’t leave now — there’s much more information below,” or that instead of staying on the page to read they can simply click to download all the content on that page.
To boost results quickly we also look at the layout of calls-to-action (CTAs) and the landing pages they’re promoting: Is the offer compelling? Does it sell the material being offered? Is the value clear? Often landing pages are rather dull, and sometimes just making them more engaging and descriptive improves conversions.
Leads and qualified leads are two very different things, as you know; just getting tons of traffic to your site and new contacts into your database isn’t necessarily a “win.” To be effective, your program has to attract (and convert) the right leads. And there are several things we focus on to do that.
First, we make sure your search engine optimization (SEO) is always up-to-date (it’s a continuous improvement process) and accurate. SEO is the art and science of ensuring that the things your best prospects are looking for are presented on your website, in a natural way. Your editorial and content strategy must be built on the knowledge of your prospects, the problems they’re experiencing, what they’re searching for, and the general topics that are most important to them. In other words, it’s about providing them what they want to know — not necessarily what you want to say. There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page, and both contribute to the “findability” of your site.
You also need to analyze where your marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) come from, then look for strategic tactics that double down in those areas. For example, you may be getting a lot of leads from an industry publication that links to your site. If that’s the case, you want to put additional effort into those kinds of referral tactics. If they’re coming from a blog you published about topic XYZ, you need to do more blogs on that and related topics.
Another way to get more qualified leads into your sales funnel is to review your form strategy to make sure you’re asking the right questions to accurately qualify them! Too many fields will turn people away, and the wrong questions will make it tough for you to identify them as being worthy of outreach or further nurturing.
Maybe you’re getting a lot of MQLs, but not enough sales-qualified leads (SQLs). Or you’re getting SQLs but they’re not turning into opened deals. Both of these are common pain points when you’ve been doing inbound for a bit.
In the first case, you want to look at your lead nurturing workflows so you can optimize the email campaigns you have in place. If your MQLs aren’t developing into SQLs, maybe you’re not sending emails often enough — or maybe so often that you’ve become a pest. Or it might be that the nurturing emails and the content they link to aren’t aligned well enough with what your buyers are interested in.
If you’re getting plenty of SQLs but you’re not able to turn them into Opportunities, look at the flow of information on your site, the actions you’re taking in your workflows, and at how you’re attempting to connect with prospects, making sure that at every point you’ve removed the friction that could be working against your efforts to engage them. You can also assess the quality and value of your bottom-of-the-funnel offers — are those offers truly valuable to prospects? Is it compelling enough to encourage them to act?
Finally, you should be reviewing your Marketing and Sales alignment to make sure these two critical teams are working together towards a common goal, and that expectations and roles are very clearly defined and committed to. If not all members of those teams are in sync, your results are going to suffer. A crucial piece of this is having a clear service level agreement (SLA) between Marketing and Sales.
“There’s no better or more powerful sales tool than your company’s website. It should be working 24/7 to attract your best prospects, answer their questions, tell them how you can help, and give them reason to leave their contact information so you can nurture them into customers. If it’s not doing that today, changes need to be made. There are many factors that contribute to an effective website, and this section reviews many of features that play a critical role in making your website a high-performing asset.”
Maybe, maybe not — how’s that for an answer? If your site doesn’t include all of the essential elements of a good inbound website (and you can read what those elements are, below), if your site doesn’t clearly communicate your value proposition, or if it doesn’t accurately represent your brand, you either need a makeover or a completely new website.
Another consideration as you look at potentially building a new website is your content management system (CMS) — does it support all the elements of inbound, and do it in an integrated way? For optimum inbound performance, content publishing, SEO, email, nurturing, social media and other components should all be easily accomplished through your CMS.
Traditional website design has a distinct beginning and end, and the budget — which is significant — is “fixed”... yet scope creep often causes it to skyrocket. It’s a lot like constructing a building: it starts with scoping out everything you want the site to be and do, and the budget is set based on a comprehensive design/build plan. And, like construction, the site build almost always takes longer and costs more than planned because more needs and wants always surface during the process. Once finished, the team is relieved to declare it “Done,” and won’t touch it for 3-4 years, until it’s declared obsolete again. The sad reality, though, is that site effectiveness starts to deteriorate within months, because customers, competitors, and the world aren’t standing still — things change, and your website and its content should reflect that.
When you take a GDD approach to web development, on the other hand, you’re taking a systematic “evaluate and modify” process that begins with what’s called a launchpad site — a “minimal viable product” site that’s a beginning point from which to continue to build and improve. Once the launchpad site is live, rather than waiting for the effectiveness of the site to expire, regular modifications are made based on insights gained from visitor/user data generated by the site. This approach means your site is always in a state of optimization.
The best way to “clean up” a clunky, cobbled-together website is to take a Growth-Driven Design (GDD) approach. With GDD, you gradually improve your site, with modifications being made based on actual user data. Rather than scrap your site and start over, you’ll look closely every month at what pages people are visiting most, what they’re not looking at, where they drop off, how they navigate through the site, and dozens of other data points that tell you what to change in order to create the best, most effective experience.
Utilizing the GDD method, your site “right out of the gates” is what’s called a launchpad site. Rather than attempting to develop and launch the most comprehensive website presence you possibly can, you start by identifying the 20% of pages on your existing site that generate 80% of the traffic and leads, then use that as a guide to develop your launchpad site. Essentially, it’s a “minimum viable product” site that features all the important assets and attraction devices that you know are working well. Once user data starts to come in on the launchpad site, you begin adding to it (and modifying where needed) in continuous improvement cycles.
And don’t worry too much about what happens to your number of visits or overall search ranking as you work on your site; both will dip a bit when you first launch a new site because Google will see changes and have to use its algorithms to re-evaluate how relevant your new site is to searchers. Once it’s been up and running for several weeks, the site will have been thoroughly indexed by Google and your numbers will continue to improve.
After that, you’ll use continuous improvement cycles — which could be every two weeks, every month...whatever makes the most sense based on your traffic volume — to tweak the site to optimize its performance. Some types of changes you make might are adding content, adding conversion opportunities, redesigning CTA buttons to be more visible...the list is almost endless.
Well, there are two kinds of website refreshes: one that’s “design only,” and one that goes beyond the look and improves navigation, content and other features. Visitors may stay on your site a bit longer after you do a design update, but if you change nothing else it’s doubtful that you’ll also see more visitors turn into leads and customers.
On the other hand, if you study the metrics of your site and focus on making improvements guided by the data when you refresh your site, you’ll improve performance. Several crucial elements should be looked at during a refresh — among them, search engine optimization (does your site make use of the keywords your prospects are using during search?), the user experience (does the site naturally guide the visitor through the site toward a decision?) and conversion opportunities (do you have plenty of easy ways for them to become a lead?).
When you evaluate and improve these and other aspects of your site — and then execute a new design — you’ll improve the power of your website to attract and convert visitors, and thereby see an attractive ROI.
What you say, and how you say it, play a huge role in attracting and converting leads. Along with the look of your site, your message is the key to giving visitors confidence in your ability to solve their problems.
Your message should be based on your positioning in the market (what you stand for, and to whom — your “stake in the ground”) and your competitive advantage (what you do better than any competitor, why your best customers choose you). These are essential strategic elements that become foundational. They’ll guide your website and content messaging, framing it for the prospect so he or she better understands what you can do for them. Once you’ve taken those steps, review existing content to make sure that when the visitor is done reading it, they’re clear on what you do, how you do it, and why you’re the best solution to the challenges they face.
The key is to be clear, intentional, and consistent with all your messaging, weaving it throughout everything you publish and promote — blogs, videos, ebooks, tipsheets, website copy… everything.
“Some organizations manage and execute inbound programs on their own... so why shouldn’t you? Well, it comes down to two questions you need to ask yourself: Do you have the resources — meaning people and time — and do you have the expertise needed in each of the elements of inbound? Most organizations find that it’s less costly and far more effective to have an inbound agency on their side. We’ve got years of experience, we have a broad field on which to test new methods and ideas, we’ve got specialists in every one of the disciplines of inbound, and we have the support of the entire inbound ecosystem to apply. Learn more about our approach below.”
One big reason for not getting the success you want or expect from inbound is that you’re not being strategic – you may be checking all the boxes, but you’re not digging deeply into the issues, and you may not have the right insights to resolve them.
Working with an agency that’s well aligned with your business and industry and has experience getting results could be a game-changer for your inbound program. If you’re using HubSpot, it’s also important that you work with a leader among HubSpot agencies (to learn more about the different HubSpot Partner tiers and what they mean, check out this article); these teams know the software inside and out and leverage the different components to get maximum results.
Beyond that, it’s important to understand the agency’s process for tackling client challenges. It’s not enough to just “do inbound” — it takes a significant amount of foundational work to set the stage for the right strategy (not just any strategy) and to use that knowledge to successfully execute a program.
We’d love to show you what we do! Some examples are listed below. If you’re looking for specific examples of work we’ve done in your industry or related to a specific challenge, reach out to Nicole Mertes so she can walk you through relevant work we’ve done and answer any of your questions. She can also connect with clients who’ll share their perspectives on our abilities and the results we generate.
There are lots of good inbound agencies out there, and which you choose will depend on a number of factors, such as fit with your own culture, experience with industries like yours, and demonstrated expertise. Each of these is important to the long-term success of the partnership — and of your program.
There are three primary ways Weidert Group differs from other agencies, and those differences translate to better results and stronger growth for our clients:
If what you’ve read has led you to think Weidert Group might be able to take your inbound marketing to a higher level, then the next best step would be to have a conversation about your needs and goals — a no-obligation discussion that’ll help us learn more about you, and vice versa. Fill out the form and Nicole Mertes, our VP of Client Services & Business Development, will reach out to set up a time that’s convenient for you.