Very few businesses understand how to implement an effective inbound marketing campaign. Most simply publish a website without putting any thought into their design. And then, 6 months later, they are wondering why in the world nothing is happening?
Effective Inbound Marketing
In order to have an effective inbound marketing campaign, you have to understand the entire workflow from beginning to end. Meaning, from the moment a new prospect sees your content in social media or Google, and all the way through to becoming a new customer, there’s a strategic method at work that will dramatically increase metrics such as:
- visitor to lead ratio
- lead to customer ratio
- visitor to customer ratio
All three of these metrics are fundamental in the effective implementation of inbound marketing – regardless of the scope and size of your business.
5 Stages to Effective Inbound Marketing
Let me lay out the 5 stages of inbound marketing first, and then I’ll go a bit more in-depth with each stage:
- Growth driven website design
- Content production
- Consideration / evaluation
Growth driven website design
There’s a new paradigm in the world of website development called growth driven design.
The concept can be boiled down to the following principles:
- minimalist design, focusing on key action elements within your website.
- data driven – meaning, you track the behavior of visitors on your site and continually update the site to optimize for conversion.
Growth driven design focuses on removing the noise from your website, and focusing on the key elements and information that maximizing visitor engagement and conversion. After all, when someone lands on your website, you have about 5 seconds to get their attention. If your visitors don’t see what they like, or what they’re looking for, they are gone. Even worse, if the visitor leaves your site without engaging with you, you may never have another chance to connect.
All of this is where the idea of growth driven design comes from, and the idea is to build a website that maximizes the “visitor to lead” ratio.
The best inbound marketing strategies begin with content production. In most cases, especially when first getting started, this means running a blog from your website.
Business blogging is arguably the most effective strategy in growing your brand and converting new customers.
Seth Godin really says it best in this short video that answers the question “Why Blog?”
With awareness, we are now getting into the first most critical objective in inbound marketing which is creating awareness of your business, products, and services.
If you focus your blog content on a very niche topic, such as your business category, you will inevitably attract visitors to your website that are already searching for, or interested in your type of business.
This initial contact (i.e. visitor) to your website is how you drive the awareness factor in your business. The more visitors your drive to your website, the more awareness you’ll build for your business.
Consideration / Evaluation
As you continue to build the awareness factor, you’ll eventually start to elevate to the stage of consideration and evaluation.
This is when your visitors start to consider purchasing your products or services.
Another key step in the consideration phase is “lead generation”. Lead generation happens when a visitor to your website takes an action such as:
- subscribes to your blog
- requests to download a white paper
- requests a consultation
Basically, anything that results in a visitor sharing their email address with you is considered a conversion. And in most cases, the visitor has elevated into the consideration and evaluation phase.
This is the best stage of the entire inbound marketing pipeline. When someone moves from consideration / evaluation to decision, they have made a decision to do business with you.
The most important thing to remember in the decision stage is to track the analytics.
It’s critically important that you know the key metrics associated with the decision stage. Again, the key metrics to track are:
- visitor to lead ratio (or… awareness to consideration ratio)
- lead to customer ratio (or… consideration to decision ratio)
- visitor to customer ratio (or… visitor to decision ratio)
Bringing it all together with inbound marketing
Finally, once you have the data in place, you can start to analyze what’s working and what’s not. Iterate and expand upon the things that are working, and eject what’s not working. This optimization process pays dividends in not only increasing your key metric conversion ratios, but ultimately in growing your business.
At the end of the day, the most valuable inbound marketing strategy is one that exponentially grows the business.