As inbound marketers, we know the ultimate purpose of inbound marketing is to attract new prospects, engage them with insightful content and delight them by delivering expert advice, products, and services. All without annoying or interrupting them. If this is news to you then consider checking out our ultimate guide to inbound marketing for an overview.
Of course, there is a fourth step every inbound marketer should follow . . . Improve! Regardless of how well our latest campaign is doing it's never too early to be thinking about how we'll improve upon it next time. After all, inbound should be an iterative process where we learn from our successes, failures and most importantly each other. With this in mind here are my top 5 tips to help you improve your inbound marketing campaigns in 2019. Of course, we'd love to hear your advice for fellow marketers too so be sure to leave your top tip in the comments!
1. Ensure your buyer personas are up to dateBuyer personas are in my opinion the most important step in creating an inbound marketing campaign, and yet you'd be surprised at how many marketers either don't update or haven't created buyer personas to focus their campaigns around! Buyer personas (also known as marketing personas) are semi-fictional representations of your perfect customer and are key to ensuring our marketing campaigns are effectively targeted and speak to the right people. If you've yet to create any buyer personas for your business then this great tool from HubSpot will help you through the process.
Before starting work on any new campaign (or tweaking an old one) you should take a look at your buyer persona and ask yourself: Is this still relevant? Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself when revisiting an old persona -
- Is the persona still relevant to your business, do they buy from you regularly?
- Has their demographic information changed or expanded?
- Have their sources of information changed? Do they still read that industry magazine or are they getting their news from blogs and social media?
- Is their job more or less in demand than before, has this changed their income or purchasing power?
- Is their purchasing process still the same? Are there any new objections to the sale?
- Are their challenges and pain points the same? Have recent industry developments created new ones or resolved old ones?
Considering these questions and updating your personas accordingly is key to keeping your inbound marketing campaigns as targeted and efficient as possible. This is a relatively quick process and should be done before creating any new campaign. After all, if your customers have changed then your message should too!
2. Answer your customer's pain points
Nobody's life is perfect despite how they may appear on Facebook and your customers are no different! Pain points are specific problems your prospective customers have and hopefully ones that your product or service can solve. If you're unsure what your customer's pain points are then I strongly suggest taking a step back and rethinking your buyer personas.
The best pain points aren't small niggling issues that would be 'nice to solve', but big glaring issues that NEED fixing. Our job as marketers is to reach out and offer a solution to solve these problems and so they should play a core part in all of our campaigns. They generally fall into one of four categories -
- Financial - Your prospects are either spending too much money on current solutions or struggling to make enough to cover their costs
- Productivity - Your prospects are wasting too much time and want to make more efficient use of their time
- Process - Your Prospects want to improve their current internal processes and boost overall efficiency
- Support - Your prospects aren't receiving the support they need to complete a task
If we're not offering to solve a problem for our customers then why should they buy from us? Instead of continuing to produce content around the features of your particular product or service, consider addressing their most painful problem and helping them to overcome it. If you can deliver a solution to their problems better than anyone else then you'll have won a customer for life!
3. Have an effective email collection strategy
What is the single most important piece of information you collect for your business? Chances are it's email addresses. As inbound marketers, we know that an email is more than just a way to spam prospects with emails advertising our products and that it should never be used as such! It's the stepping stone between someone being a visitor on your website and a customer. If you're driving traffic to any page on your website, be it through social media, paid advertising or organic search it's essential you offer them the chance to share their email address with you. Without it, the ball will always remain in their court.
With this in mind having a robust effective strategy for collecting emails is key to any inbound marketing campaign. Different businesses and sectors approach this in different ways but the most effective is with a strong lead magnet. Lead magnets are offers that websites make to their visitors to entice them into sharing their contact details through an online form. Some examples of these are -
- A coupon for a discount on your first purchase
- A free PDF checklist or guide on a topic you know they'll be interested in
- A place on a free webinar related to their industry
- A free eBook download they'll find insightful
- A free trial of your product or service
While these are the most popular examples of lead magnets the list is almost endless. If it has value to your visitors then it can act as a lead magnet. The most important word there is 'value'. If our offer isn't valuable or useful then people won't we willing to hand over their emails in exchange for it. Their information is valuable to you so your offer should be valuable to them!
4. Make use of popular blogs
We've all heard the saying 'Content is King' but let's be honest here, creating new and exciting content is not just hard but time-consuming, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Sure you could spend the afternoon writing that new blog post but you'll have to put a dozen other things on the back burner to make it happen! So what's the solution? Recycle and reuse your older content.
If an older blog post is still relevant and useful to your customers than why not re-promote it? Chances are the whole world didn't read it last time so there are plenty of people who can still benefit from it. Twitter is the perfect platform due to the short half-life of tweets but there's no reason not to share them on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms as well. If on the other hand, your old post is looking a little dated then don't be afraid to spruce it up. If best practice has changed then update your post to reflect that. If the whole post is looking worse for wear then why not strip it back to the bones and start afresh.
If you're looking to create a new lead magnet such as an eBook or PDF then your old blog posts are a great place to start as well. Consider compiling existing blog posts across different topics into an 'Ultimate Guide', just be sure to add something new for your avid readers, keep the copy's tone consistent throughout and proofread it thoroughly.
If you've yet to start blogging or haven't created enough articles to start reusing them, it might be worth reading our post on 5 quick and easy blog post styles you can use to boost traffic to your site.
5. Never forget the power of delighting customers
Is your job as an inbound marketer finished when you hand off a lead to sales or when a lead becomes a customer? You bet it isn't!
Delighting our customers is one of the three stages of any inbound marketing campaign and ensuring that every touch point a person has with our business is remarkable is the key to standing out from the crowd, even if they choose not to buy from us. Why? Because the power of delighted customers and prospects should never be underestimated.
Regardless of whether it's in person or online, word of mouth is still a force to be reckoned with in the world of marketing; if anything the rise of social media has made it easier than ever for people to discuss companies, products and services that have had an effect on their lives. Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know and a recommendation from a friend makes someone four times more likely to make a purchase. Those are some powerful stats! Of course, word of mouth is a two-way street and it's easier than ever for negative reviews to impact the bottom line of our campaigns. Consider this: would you buy something from a Facebook Ad if all the comments and reactions were negative?
So how do we keep on our customer's good side and encourage them to be advocates for our brand? Simple, deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Every time! There's no point sending discount codes for dog food to someone who only has a goldfish. It's too easy to think that if an email isn't relevant to someone they'll just delete it but every time they do so they grow further from your brand and feel more like a number in your CRM than a valued customer.
With this in mind, before pressing go on any of your marketing campaigns consider this: Is this relevant to every last person I'll be sending it to? If not it may be worth creating another variant.
Want to learn more about improving your inbound marketing? Download our Ultimate Guide and be sure to share your own top tips in the comments below!