Dear Inbound Marketing, why do you take so long? From I'm Bored Now.
'Here's to waiting', the sign off to my all time favourite ad 'Guinness Surfers'.
Turns out there is something in it. Waiting or delaying gratification is associated with greater wealth, low levels of substance abuse, a smaller waistline and for B2B technology companies inbound marketing that brings in a steady flow of leads.
For someone however, who is firmly in the Veruca Salt camp of 'I want a pony and I WANT IT NOW', I know waiting can be excruciating. While poor little Veruca is widely despised, I've always had a lot of empathy for the dear. I understand that for Veruca (read me) waiting can be a tortuous journey through the hell of uncertainty. 'Will I get a pony? Won't I get a pony? If I wait will I get that lovely grey pony with the fringe or will I end up with the funny mottled brown one?'
So for those of us who are patience challenged we need to calm ourselves, take some deep breaths, maybe even do a downward dog or two and have faith that.....
When it comes to inbound marketing - Good things come to those that wait
AND EXACTLY WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? I hear ye of little patience bellow. You are waiting for precisely 3 things.
1) An increase in web visitors- those lovely people peeking around your website looking to solve their B2B tech problems. The peeps that like to hit good content, feel satisfied that you have helped them and in turn want to buy from you.
2) An increase in leads - friendly email addresses that are given to you when you create premium long form content on topics that are insightful and address the main concerns of your prospects.
3) An increase in sales - once you have a lead, pop them into an automated workflow or email campaign. Warms them up like little mittened hands near a fire. Once leads start opening all your emails, stalking around your site you are getting closer to sales time. (Ok sales are never that easy but you get my drift).
The longer this 3 step process has to run, the better it works, which means more traffic, more leads, more sales. 'Oh tiiiiiime, you say TIIIIIIIME. HOW MUCH TIME?' 6 months to start seeing results. 12 months to hit its stride and from then it just keeps on building.
The first 12 months of a B2B inbound marketing program.
Assuming your website is gorgeous, insightful and works like honey to a bee to your potential prospects, in month one you start all the prep work for running campaigns.
- Integrate marketing automation software. We love Hubspot.
- Integrate marketing software with your companies CRM.
- Run a comprehensive workshop with key stakeholders to uncover insights into business and customers used for creating personas and long and short form content.
- Create personas - Create a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on internal and customer research to create insightful, relevant content.
- Keyword analysis - Find high volume keywords that your customers are using to search with the lowest competition.
- Goal setting - set for visits to website, contacts to CRM or customers for the year, quarter or month.
Building for Campaign 1
- Build your long form content - the piece that will enable you to capture those all important email addresses. It will come in the form of an eBook, a slide share, a video, a whitepaper or something meaty enough to part someone with their details.
- Landing page - create the page that prospects are being sent to through advertising or blogs where your long form content can be downloaded.
- Thank you page - create an email to be sent out thanking contact and providing them with a PDF of long content.
- Workflows- create all the little friendly pieces of content that are to be sent as part of your email marketing.
- Load long content pieces on website - A long content piece put in an obvious area on website means visitors can download if they come into your web page through Organic search and email can be captured.
- none, yawn.
Months 2 - 4
- Launch your first campaign. Whooo hoo!
- Release a blog every week.
- Advertise your long content piece.
- Post daily / weekly on social media (your own and curated content).
Website traffic increases.
- Leads start appearing in your CRM.
- You can see leads opening workflows and moving around pages of your website.
- Slight uplift in business.
Months 4 -7
- Build for campaign 2.
- Launch campaign 2.
- Follow actions as per first campaign.
- The website visits rise to a level where you start to feel a bit excited.
- Leads are coming in. You have enough leads to know what workflows are working and what is triggering them to call.
- You'll start to notice an increase in the quality of leads that come through.
Months 7 -10
- Build for campaign 3
- Launch campaign 3
- Follow actions as per first campaign
- The numbers of visitors start to increase again because you have more content for more people to view which means organic search is rising.
- Brand awareness begins to increase as prospects are seeing more of your content getting familiar with your name and associating high quality information with you.
- You start to get a build up of keywords and Google is starting to sit up and take note. More of your web pages begin ranking and showing up in important results pages.
- A steady flow of new leads are coming in for you to nurture.
Months 10 -13
- Build for campaign 4.
- Launch campaign 4.
- Follow actions as per first campaign.
- Search results start to dramatically lift due to blogging with the right key word phrases, social media activity and link building.
- A steady flow of high quality leads are coming in.
- Because of the quantity of leads coming in lead scoring becomes a necessity which means only highly qualified leads will go through to the sales team and conversion becomes easier.
- Finally and most importantly, there will be a marked improvement in your business performance.
So there you have it, the tortoise named 'Content Marketing' after a long but sure 12 month stroll, stands proud on the podium, neck stretched out to bask in the glory of slow and steady wins the race. Next to him poor old hare is looking at his feet, kicking the dirt..... 'Come on hare' I'd say as I wrap a maternal arm around his shoulders. 'I've been there. Let's leave these partying reptiles, sit down for a quiet Guinness and practise waiting until it settles. Maybe patience will smile down on us tomorrow'.