5 Things to Expect From The First 6 Months of Inbound Marketing
You did it. You finally joined the bandwagon and have committed to this crazy program called Inbound Marketing. Trust me, you made the right choice, but be prepared that the change won’t come overnight and you may not see any major improvements for the first six months or even year after onboarding with an inbound program. So be patient and persistent, and don’t forget to celebrate the little wins!
1. Define your Target Prospect/Buyer Persona
Almost everything you do from here on out will be shaped by your buyer personas including your blogging content, content offers, site design, and your funnel. The better you know who you are reaching out to, the more valuable your content will be for your prospects.
2. Shape Your Buyer’s Journey
Depending on your product or service, your buyer's journey will vary in length, which will affect when your company will start to see results with Inbound Marketing. It may be helpful to initially base your buryer’s journey on that of your competitors or similar companies in your industry until you so that you can later refine your journey and goals on your own company’s results. Inbound Marketing takes time and patience, but knowing your target audience and tailoring your content to those people will bring the right kind of traffic to your site, potentially speeding up the buyer's journey.
3. Site Redesign
According to BluLeadz, it takes 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion on your website, meaning your homepage better be clean, concise, and catchy. Redesigning your website with a fresh new look and purpose is crucial for both attracting prospects to your website and smoothly guiding them through the buyer’s journey via your website. Sure, redesigning your website may be the last thing you want to worry about as it takes a good chunk of time, effort, and creativity, but Inbound has a few tricks to simplify this process.
Growth Driven Design: Inbound has refined and simplified how a company launches a new site or redesign by focusing on concrete results and continuous improvements by learning from and evolving with the needs of your visitors, leads, and clients. Rather than having an entire website overhaul every couple of years, your website should be continuously evolving with current trends in short time frames ensuring your content stays relevant. Here are the 3 main stages of GDD:
4. Get in the Groove of Constant Content Creation
Often one of the most difficult challenges of Inbound Marketing is committing to creating content on a regular basis-- blogs, CTAs, Advanced Content, Webinars, Social Media etc. However, when your prospects have questions or concerns, they’re going to be utilizing search engines to find answers, and you want to be on the top of search engine results, ready and eager to answer their questions. Blogs are a key way for prospects who have never heard of you to land on your website in search of an industry specific answer to their questions or needs. Once you figure out a system for brainstorming, and delegating topics for employees to write about, it should become part of your daily/weekly/monthly process, and remember this is not one person’s job, but should be taken on by your entire team.
5. Prepare for a Huge Increase in Traffic
Prospects who had never heard of your company are now flocking to your website in search of answers, and you’re probably a bit overwhelmed. Make absolute sure that you continue to nurture each of your leads as they make their way through the buyer’s journey and make the transition from marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales qualified leads (SQLs). At the same time, don’t forget the other components of our Inbound strategies, like content creation, because 60.8% of businesses attribute this massive leap in growth to blogging, SEO, and social media from the first 6 months of Inbound.
The 6 Month Mark
You’ve made it this far, and your team is getting in the flow of this new inbound program of regularly creating content, understanding where leads are in your buyer’s journey and what content they are interacting with, and you’re starting to see a nice increase in leads and maybe even MQLs.
According to HubSpot, all customers indicated a 2.6x increase in attracting website visitors and a 1.8x increase in generating leads after actively using HubSpot for 6 months. And after 1 year, they indicated a 3.3x increase in attracting website visitors and a 3.5 increase in generating leads with HubSpot. Now let's see whaty you can expect for the second half of the year.
5 Tips for the Second 6 Months of Inbound Marketing
Phew, it’s been a rapid 6 month roller coaster ride onboarding with your new inbound marketing program. Hopefully, you’ve acquired a large influx in website traffic and have began qualifying leads as they come through your buyer’s journey. Now that you have generated some statistics and benchmarks, now you can refine, adapt, and evolve to set and reach goals suitable for your company, such as number of visitors, contacts, qualified leads, conversion rates, customers, email opens, clicks, traffic, etc.
1. Refine Your Goals Based on the First 6 Months
It’s about time your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) become important! These let you know what areas are improving or falling behind, informing you what areas you need to focus on based on the results of your first 6 months.
2. Evolve Your Website
Now that you’ve redesigned your website, well, continue evolving various aspects of your website. This is not an every 2-3 year redesign process; it’s an ongoing, process that, in the long run, will save you time and money. Here are the areas to focus on for GDD:
3. Continue Adapting the Content Creation Process
From brainstorming topic ideas, then delegating the topic with a deadline, to creating CTAs and advanced content, creating content can be exhausting, but here's a few tips to simplify the process and keep consistent.
Brainstorming: After 6 months of creating content, you’re probably wondering where in the world you’ll keep coming up with relevant, informative blog topics for your co workers to write. One of the best resources for brainstorming blog topics is looking at other blogs in your industry to see what’s being written about. Also, consider rewriting an old blog to make it relevant or repurposing old content. Get your team together for a 30 min brainstorming session and require that each person brings 3 ideas to get the ball rolling. Have employees specialized in a specific topic write about what they know best or have the designated blog writer interview someone with an expertise in the topic to ensure you’re blog is consistently high end and answers the questions your prospects are asking
Blogging: Once you’ve collaborated with your team to develop new topics, delegate those topics a few weeks before their deadline to give people time. Make sure your blogging efforts work well with your team and that it is a team effort. Here’s a little incentive from HubSpot to continue blogging: “Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
CTAs: CTAs should be strategically placed throughout your website and content to continue attracting, nurturing, and closing visitors on your website. Common functions of CTAs include: generate leads, social sharing, lead nurturing, content offers, closing the sale, promoting an event. Here are some CTA Best Practices.
Advanced Content: These are content pieces that are more in depth and specific than blogging, but could be the combination of several blogs or content pieces. They can come in the form of vlogs, how-to guides, white papers, eBooks, webinars, case studies, and tutorials. Your CTAs should lead to landing page where visitors can then download your advanced content in exchange for more information about them.
4. Bring Your Marketing & Sales Teams Together Like Never Before
Now that you’ve generated new leads, you must develop a plan for transitioning MQLs to your sales team and an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a great place to start! The SLA conversation will help your team establish some guidelines for your teams roles, responsibilities, process, targets, and accountability. Sometimes it’s best to wait and have this conversation now once your marketing team has developed enough leads for sales to pay attention.
5. Keep Nurturing Your Leads
Studies show that 50% of leads are qualified but are not immediately ready to buy, however, by nurturing your leads through the sales funnel, you can improve your response rate by 4-10X that of a regular email blast. Above all, remember that Inbound Marketing takes time and TLC. Be sure to keep positive, patient, and persistence, and you'll continue to see results!