Posts Tagged ‘Inbound Marketing’

I have read some discussion about the value of getting a Hub Spot Inbound Marketing Certificate and there is never a single correct answer for everybody. I guess the best way to figure out is to try it yourself. That’s what I am going to do. Any commitment can bring some positive results. If you just simply don’t have a set of time for the commitment yet, you can then read through this post and see what knowledge you may get from the course before making your decision.

Now I have finished the whole course and got the certificate by passing the first test with a score of 92. Here are some points I have learned from the process.

Inbound Certificate for Ying

Essentials of an effective inbound marketing strategy

  • Consumers don’t want to be sold to, but to be educated.
  • First, understand your buyer persona (background, demographics, identifiers, goals, challenges, how we help, and common objections) by interviewing your current customers, and identify the pattern.
  • Second, understand your buyer’s journey (awareness stage, consideration stage, decision stage), and create educational content to help them solve their problems, instead of just talking about your product and services.
  • Third, create value: content (problem solving) + context (the right audience).
  • Finally, leverage content via distribution: website, blog, social media, landing pages, calls to action, marketing emails.

SEO for your website

  • First, find out the keywords you have the best opportunity to rank for.
    • Keyword research: who your buyers are, what goals they have, what problems they face, a list of keywords they will search for, what are the common questions sales guys get from consumers
    • Use buyer persona language
    • Check which keywords people are using to find your site by using Google Webmaster or Hub Spot sources
    • Use more specific called “long-tail” keyword: High search volume with a low competition
  • Second, create content around selected keyword
  • Third, optimize your website around a primary keyword: page title, url (dash to separate words), image alt-text, meta description (no more than 140 characters)
  • At last but not at least, increase the number of links and citations to become more authoritative. Also, set up a page on the top online directories and yellow pages.

Create Content with a Purpose

Content is the fuel that powers a successful inbound strategy: in attract, convert, close and delight stages.

Inbound Methodology

Remember, you are fighting for attention instead of physical space in this post-internet era. Remarkable content is solution based, not product based. It is about your customers, the problem they are having and the answers they are searching for.

How to create remarkable content?

  1. Content Plan
  • Purpose: to get more visibility or to convert leads
  • Format: case studies, videos, infographics, whitepapers, eBooks, research reports, checklists, webinars, SlideShare decks, etc.
  • Topic
  • Identify buyer personas
  • Identify topics that matter by checking keywords, internet forums, popular industry news, sales/support FAQs, your personas’ goals and challenges
  • Identify the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision stages

Buyer's journey

  1. Create Content
  • Focus on your persona and the buyer’s journey.
  • Keep it short.
  • Keep it educational, not promotional.
  • Focus on informational part first and worry about design last.
  1. Content Distribution
  • To get the right content in front of the right person at the right time.
  1. Content Analyzing
  • Number of visits
  • Leads generated
  • Social proof, share-ability
  • Inbound links: to build authority
  • Content performance by author, topic, format
  1. Repeat

The fundamentals of blogging

Successful story: How did Marcus Sheridan save his company by informational blogging? @TheSalesLion via @nytimes http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/business/smallbusiness/increasing-sales-by-answering-customers-questions.html?_r=1

Pick a topic and a title: answer questions that customers are searching for, write about your industry, not your company, specific but short

  • Do keyword research
  • Pick one topic to focus on per post
  • Include a long-tail keyword in the title
  • Make the value of the post clear
  • Shorten the title to under 60 characters because Google cut off the rest from search engine result

Format and optimize the post

  • Use whitespace: to make the content more digestible
  • Use section headers, bullets to break up information
  • Include Images
  • Optimize the post around the long-tail keyword in the page title, url, post title, image alt-text, body and headers

Promote your offers

  • Feature calls-to-action: trial request, download more, subscribe blog
  • Link internally to blog posts
  • Share posts on social media: repeat as long as it is still valid
  • Promote posts via email

Analyze the performance

Amplifying Content with Social Media

Social Monitoring

  • Set smart inbound goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely
  • Monitor for the right terms: listen and join a real conversation, not to create a conversation
  • Segment your audience: twitter lists for segmentation, Facebook group, LinkedIn group
  • Personalize response

Social Publishing

  • Customized content for each social media
    • Twitter: 140 characters with a link and an image
    • Facebook: 250 characters and showcase your brand’s personality
    • LinkedIn: professional
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Publish on a consistent basis

Social Reporting

  • Establish benchmarks: compare your business results to other businesses in the industry
  • Calculate ROI: how many views? How many shares? How many leads are generated? How much revenue?
  • Check results at least once a week

How to Use Calls-To-Action

  • Include keywords consistent with offer & landing page
  • 1-2% CTA clicks-to submissions goal is good, 10% is successful
  • Make one small change and see how it performs, like color, texts, etc.

How to build a successful Landing Page

Call-to-Action -> Landing Page -> Thank You Page

Goal: 20% conversation rate

Best Practices

  • Write a clear, action-oriented headline (download, watch, request, etc.)
  • Explain the offer and place visual emphasis on the value
  • Remove the navigation menu and links
  • Include a relevant image, animation or video
  • Add social media share icon

How to Use a Thank You page

Best Practices

  • Deliver promised content offer or set specific expectations (when and how to contact)
  • Provide additional content (linked to relevant case studies, blogs, etc.)
  • Move leads into the buyer’s journey (another CTA)
  • Include social options

Email Marketing

Send the right email to the right people at the right time: content in the context

  • Determine your audience and where they are in the buyer’s journey
  • Segment contact database: by role, by behavior
    • Awareness stage: videos, blog posts, Slideshares, free tools
    • Consideration stage: webinars, case studies, FAQ, whitepapers, third-party reviews
    • Decision stage: free trials, ROI reports, demos, quotes
  • Send the right email at the right time
    • Responsive templates
    • Minimum font size 12,5
    • Goal setting, personalization, sending from a real person,
    • Focus on engagement: use actionable language
  • Nurture your lead into a customer

The Power of SMarketing

  • Speak the same language: use the same definition of Lead
  • Implement a service level agreement
    • Marketing -> Sales: How many leads does a sales rep need to make quota?
      • Revenue/avg.revenue per customer = # customers needed
      • Customers/avg.lead to customer close % =# leads needed
      • May vary by quality of lead
    • Sales -> Marketing: how many call/email attempts to engage should a sales rep make to every lead to not waste lead?
      • X leads and Y hours/month
    • Set up a closed-loop reporting
    • Rely on data: use dashboard to analyze
    • Maintain open communication

Marketing and Sales collaboration

Sales and Marketing SLA

The Pillars of Delight

Customers who are delighted will become promoter of your business.

  • 58% of companies say they are just now developing a strategy for delivering an integrated customer experience.
  • Customer Experience is the new marketing. – Steve, CEO of Mercedes Bens

How to delight your customers

  • Delight team members: hire for character, train for skill
  • Educate team members: every small interaction makes a difference because they create the larger experience
  • Empower team members with organization principles
  • Listening: use social monitoring as a listening tool
  • Ask questions to learn more about customers’ problem or goal
  • Educate with content
  • Follow up: email right after purchase, survey

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