At this very moment, every marketer in the world is trying to find a better way to generate quality leads. Unfortunately, you can't always solve lead generation problems by implementing a new strategy or completing a new plan. Much of the time, it's about how you execute those plans and find ways to improve over time.
While today’s marketing automation software and tools can provide nearly any metric you could ever want, focusing on those that help drive your key performance indicators (KPIs) such as marketing ROI, sales revenue and SQL conversion rates is key. “Vanity metrics” like site visitors or Twitter followers will do little to boost your business performance.
Here, we’ll review how inbound marketing execution should work, why your team may not be getting it right and, of course, what you can do about it.
Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Inbound Marketing Performance
1. Revisit Your Content Strategy
A shortfall in quality website traffic and lead conversions can be boosted by taking a fresh look at how you deliver your content. It may be tempting to think you just need to publish more often or find the right keywords. That may be true, but does the data back it up?
It’s definitely important to publish relevant content on a consistent basis, but what if you’re already doing that? If it’s not organized in a way that is most helpful to visitors, it can result in high bounce rates and low conversion rates.
If that’s the case, look for clusters of your existing content that focus on a specific topic and compile them into a single pillar page. For example, if you’re a B2B financial institution, you may have several individual articles that talk about business loans (e.g., types of loans, what to look for in a lender, building credit, etc.). Organize all that content into a single, authoritative web page that serves as a one-stop resource for visitors. Doing so will help boost your SERP authority and attract more qualified traffic.
2. Commit Human Capital to Your Inbound Marketing Efforts
Getting the most from your inbound marketing plan depends on the involvement of all stakeholders at your company, yet we’re still amazed by companies that delegate their entire inbound marketing program to one person on their team. Worse, that person often lacks the authority or experience to really make things happen.
Inbound marketing needs to be a commitment by the entire organization. The best content often comes from subject matter experts throughout your organization who know all the answers to the questions your prospects and customers ask every day. Bloggers, advanced content creators and social media promoters can be sourced from every department. Depending on their skill sets, they may be able to write their own content or you can conduct interviews to glean their knowledge and write it for them.
3. Build In Staff Expectations for External Engagement
If you've made a company-wide commitment to inbound marketing, then creating buy-in from employees needs to be a priority. In a best-case scenario, every employee — from your marketing managers to your plant managers — will be an ambassador for your brand and the content and messaging that drives your inbound marketing strategy.
Of course, you’ll post blog articles and news to your company’s various social media channels, but employees can help expand your reach to their vast network of connections through social sharing. Encourage them to do so!
One way to create more employee buy-in is to include social posts about your culture, company events, employee milestones and community involvement. Employees are more likely to share this kind of content. This not only shows your investment in your culture but also shows prospects that your company cares more about people than products and, once again, builds trust.
4. Look for Quick Wins Along the Way
There are some companies that sign on to an inbound marketing program expecting to see immediate results. They clearly didn’t work with an inbound agency that was up front about expectations and outlined the path to inbound success. This path can be more like a long and winding road rather than a fast track to the finish line. There’s a lot of work on the front end to establish buyer personas, optimize website functionality, adopt marketing automation and more.
We know it’s not always what companies want to hear, but inbound marketing is about creating long-term results through a steady pace of content creation and nurturing that builds trust and authority with an audience over time. With that said, there are still a lot of quick-win opportunities to help fuel your inbound program going forward. It starts by identifying marketing KPIs that might not be hitting on all cylinders, such as quality website traffic or lead generation.
A few quick-win suggestions include looking for web pages and articles you already have that may currently rank in the 5–20 position in SERP and optimizing them to help them rank higher. You could also implement a retargeting campaign, or run a re-engagement campaign to nurture cold leads and stay on their radar. With just a little refinement, your inbound marketing results can look substantially different in a very short period of time and allow you to focus on larger initiatives at the same time.
5. Borrow From Your Competitors and Do It Better
There’s nothing wrong with learning from your peers or even borrowing topics to write about in a smarter, more relevant and helpful way. Savvy inbound marketers should regularly benchmark their efforts against leaders in their industries and adjust accordingly.
Often, the most effective tactics aren't content-based at all. Sometimes it might be that your competitors are using effective tools or technologies that you haven’t discovered or may have previously considered unnecessary.
If you’re a HubSpot user, look for ways to evaluate competitors using the competitive analysis tool kit to show where gaps may exist in content, branding, product offerings, social media and more. Also be sure to use other helpful marketing analytics tools to provide insights into your visitors’ behaviors. Then, adjust accordingly.
Meeting KPIs Requires Monitoring & Agility
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Don't fret. The beauty of inbound marketing is that you can quickly identify what’s working, what's not, and move forward. This approach is the same methodology surrounding web design these days. Instead of having a set-it-and-forget-it approach, agile marketers are creating growth-driven design websites that can adjust easily and quickly respond to changes in your industry (or to the algorithm-du-jour of Google).
Wondering if a growth-driven design approach can have a positive impact on your inbound marketing KPIs? Take a look at our checklist below. The reason we have KPIs is to make sure our goals are on track and continuously improve — so keep troubleshooting, keep testing, and keep reaching higher towards the results you want.