As a B2B professional, you’ll have heard everything there is to know about the value of inbound marketing. Attracting prospects with enticing content that addresses their specific needs. Using content that will position your brand as an industry expert make your prospects’ lives easier – and prompt them to hand over those all-important contact details.
But do you know what makes an effective inbound marketing programme?
Nail the big four challenges below and marketing will soon be passing on to sales what they crave most – high-quality leads.
1. Refine your strategy, and then refine it some more
Inbound marketing delivers a clear return on investment, and it’s tempting to jump right in. But like any business initiative, you will go further with a clear strategy.
Start by defining your target personas. Work out who in your prospects’ organisation is most likely to buy your product, and then establish what they’re trying to achieve – and what’s stopping them from getting there.
You can do this a number of ways.
Online research and industry forums will reveal what your prospects are struggling with, and make sure to survey your existing clients. But don’t flood them with too many questions. In fact, a single question like “What’s the biggest challenge you are facing today?” makes it easy for them to answer and gives you a clear picture of the issues your content should address.
Now that you know who to target and what challenges to address, you are ready to decide what type of content you are going to create, who should be involved in creating it, and where to place it so prospects find it.
2. Create content that will be liked – in other words, helpful content
Let’s get straight to the point. Creating content isn’t about selling. Not explicitly, anyway. It’s about playing the long game. It’s about building a relationship by saying to prospects: “That thing you’re struggling with – we can help with that.”
And remember, creating high-quality content can’t be down to marketers or your marketing agency alone.
Sure, they will play a big part in shaping your programme – like suggesting the kind of topics and formats that will resonate with your prospects.
But for your content to really hit home, you’ll need the buy-in of your techies and your C-suite.
Because only by tapping in to their expert insight can you create detail-rich, authoritative content that speaks your prospects’ language – and convinces them you’re a company worth speaking to.
3. Drive traffic to your website – then direct that traffic
There are a lot ways to drive prospects to your website. Social media, ads, video, blogs. Whatever format you use, you can expect a bump in web traffic.
But driving prospects to your website is only half the battle – keeping them there is another challenge.
So, make it easy for each of your target personas to find content that addresses their specific needs. Make sure your proposition is crystal clear. Optimise your most important pages so they show up in search. Pepper your pages with calls to action (CTAs) that move your prospects along the conversion path.
Remember, people are time-poor and have little patience. If they can’t find what they came for, there’s every chance they’ll bounce straight off your website (possibly straight into your competitors’ arms).
4. Get your sales team on board
Before the internet came along, researching a product took a lot of time and effort, which often led to buyers taking a sales rep’s word at face value. But in the digital age, buyers can simply go online to read reviews and compare one product with another.
That shift in power puts the buyer in control of the sales conversation. Which means sales has a different role to play – today, it’s all about being a trusted adviser. Because what buyers are looking for is expert insight to guide them on their buying journey. And this is where high-quality content comes in.
Sales reps need marketing to produce content that arms them with industry knowledge, so they can have well-informed conversations with buyers and advise them on what’s best for their business.
And it’s these conversations that help foster long-term relationships – and ultimately result in sales.
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