What To Expect After a Year of Inbound Marketing6 min read
Each of the clients I've worked with has a different set of marketing chops.
Some are small teams jumpstarting their company's first year of growth. Others are established businesses with hundreds of employees; they're simply looking to diversify their over-arching marketing strategy with inbound.
But there are some common themes I see as time goes on in an inbound marketing strategy––no matter the size and resources of their company. The three big wins we're talking about below are common across most of our clients as they approach the end of their first full year of a solid inbound marketing strategy.
And as you begin planning and implementing your inbound marketing strategy, you can see similar wins over the next 8-12 months.
Now I can't make any pinky promises as to your exact growth percentages––they'll be unique to you, ya unicorn!––but you'll still be able to bask in the glow of your hard work paying off as you see the charts rise over the next year:
Increased Conversion Rate
Now, when I say "conversion rate," I don't just mean overall website conversion of traffic --> leads. Yes, your overall website conversion will grow as your strategy lays the groundwork. However, it's not just a magic switch we flip to make traffic turn into leads at a higher rate.
Your increase in conversion rate will come as you use data-focused inbound methods to improve the conversion of individual pieces of your website, like:
- Landing pages: If you have some converting at a poor 3-5%, you can increase their conversion by optimizing them for keywords, usability after UX testing, simplifying forms, and implementing smart content based on persona.
- CTAs: When was the last time your CTAs got a branding refresh? Have you tested them against the data Google Search Console tells you brought users to your page? Both of these things can show you how to vary and test CTAs to drive up the conversion to a landing page.
- Blog posts: We just helped a client nearly triple the conversion rate of their individual blog posts because we helped them create specific, highly-relevant offers the were direct next steps to the information in the posts. It took more time and commitment, but it obviously paid off. How could you use this idea to boost your own blog post conversion rates? Which top-performing posts could you create a specific offer for?
- Workflows: Your job isn't done when you set these nurturing bad boys live. You can constantly work to improve workflow conversion rate by adding and subtracting emails, testing subject lines, testing timing, and even creating if/then branches based on opens.
- Emails: Similar to workflows, an email's metrics are fluid. A solid inbound strategy will give you lots and lots of interesting content to share in segmented blasts and sales emails. You can always improve on open/click rates and engagement with tweaks and tests.
As you start to increase the conversion rates of all the pieces above, your overall website conversion rate will start to climb. As you begin blogging with relevant offers, your visitors will convert at a higher rate. And as you tweak and optimize those CTAs, you'll see that conversion rise even higher.
Next, smart forms and segmentation on your landing page can increase the number of people who actually download your offers.
And later, your workflows will move these leads to more and more offers relevant to their needs. As you tweak each workflow email to be at its best possible open and click-through rates, you'll ensure qualified leads move down your funnel to reach your sales team educated and ready to take action.
Take this example from a recent case study we published:
"The Avast Mobile Enterprise team wanted leads. They wanted to engage with prospects who had a higher level of understanding of their security needs, and they wanted contacts to be more and more informed before they even got to sales. It was the perfect storm for inbound website + gated content to work together to increase the overall lead generation of the site and make all leads more qualified for sales conversations.
By creating a more efficient, reader-optimized website, we were able to help Avast achieve a 3.0% website conversion rate [in 9 months]. This is over 300% higher than their initial conversion of traffic --> leads. No matter how much traffic they received each month, it was converting at 3x the rate it was before implementing their lead generation and inbound website strategy."
Better Movement and Engagement from Leads
Even if you're not yet using HubSpot, you hopefully have a contact database of your leads––both online and off. But do you even know how "hot" or "not" those leads are? Could you map out how full all areas of your marketing funnel (Awareness, Consideration, Decision) are? Are your contacts getting stuck somewhere that you could un-stick?
These are all questions you could answer when you implement an inbound strategy. Because that strategy starts with research and audits of your leads and existing content, you'll get the big picture of where you need to start to generate some real movement and engagement from your existing leads.
The main way we do this is by building out an inbound marketing funnel with pieces of content that speak to your leads at all stages of their buyer's journey:
You need content for the early researchers who can't even identify their problem yet. But next, you need to provide them with value and incentive to consider your product as a solution to that problem. And finally, you need content that engages them with sales and gets them to close into a deal.
Using list segmentation and workflows that you create in the first 2-8 months of your inbound implementation, you'll make this movement seamless and automatic. You'll free up your sales team from manual lead qualifying and reaching out.
Instead, HubSpot does the work for you––moving leads in and out of lifecycle stages and engaging them with content that they actually really want to read.
In this time, you'll be able to trust you're doing everything you can as a brand to meet your leads where they are, provide them with the most value you can, and give them opportunities to reach back out to your team.
You've gone from passively collecting emails to actively working to move leads down your funnel! Any engagement you see here are things you definitely would have missed had you not spun up workflows, segmentation, and other inbound nurturing.
Consistent, Intentional Content
Can we just take a pledge here, inbound friends? Please raise your right hand, and repeat after me:
"I do solemnly swear to stop blogging for blogging's sake."
"I will stop publishing crap curated content that just links out to other thought leaders."
"I promise to think carefully about my formatting, links, and CTAs before I hit 'publish.'"
Coolio. Now that we're all on the same page:
Remember the days when you would see the date, think, "It's already the 7th??", and scramble to get a post out that day? Yeah. We've all been there.
This is no longer an issue with a thought-out strategy. An inbound marketing calendar includes researched, intentional content––and lots of planning ahead. When you set a strategy like this, you make it easier for you to stick to a plan because you know the plan.
You see where the car is going on the map. You don't just sit in the passenger's seat for hours with no concept of where you're going. You can plan ahead, know what's coming next, and avoid the "scramble" temptation.
Your content also becomes more optimized for the buyer path because you have started creating gated content as a next step.
You begin writing your blog posts around the awesome new offers you're publishing. Every "next step" seems more natural and intuitive than before. And you know topics weeks in advance because your new premium content often serves as your campaign.
Whereas you might have once published, "10 Steps to Take to Make a Killer Content Calendar Before 2017," you now also have a kit download called, The Ultimate Premium Content Guide to Fill Your Content Calendar This Year. You've created more intentional blog content, and it's all leading new visitors down a path on your website that qualifies them (or shows they're not qualified) for your sales team.
Ready to Start Putting Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Together?
Hopefully these potential results are ones that you want to see for your company. When you're ready to start uniting your marketing efforts and delivering real inbound results, see how it all fits together in our eBook, How to Implement an Inbound Marketing Strategy.
In it, you'll see the complete layout of an inbound campaign, learn how to attract more visitors and move them down your funnel, and compare in-house execution versus working with an agency.