Lead generation is top of mind for every business today, whether large or small. While there's no magic bullet for filling the pipeline, marrying your outbound marketing to a solid inbound marketing plan will help drive the right people to your organization and increase revenue. The secret is in utilizing the "core four" — search marketing, content generation, PR, and social media — that allow marketing organizations with any size budget to build an empire.
Of course, you’ll want to house all the content you generate in a central location and that’s where having a solid digital asset management system is key!
The Inbound Marketing Relationship
At the heart of your inbound marketing program, is your website. It should be your core – the brand, the message, the unique value proposition — and the source where it all begins. Start with your core brand message and take it to market. Get the word out and let people know who you are, what you stand for and why they should care. You can draw people in and out of your website and the central brand story through inbound and outbound marketing.
The "Core Four" for Success
You’ll want to start by reaching those in the mode. People who want and need your product and service. They might not know exactly what they need yet, but they’re out there searching. It will be important to use the core four together, as using them in isolation will not yield the best results. It’s a group effort.
1. Search Marketing
Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Use pay-per-click ads to get people on your website today. You can create even a small amount of mindshare when people are not actively looking for what you’ve got, but they identify with you. It’s essential that you’re able to reach people when they’re in the mode and ready to buy or engage, so learn what keywords people are searching with to find services like yours and use them to point people to your organization.
2. Content Generation
Perhaps the most important element of the core four is content generation. It feeds the other three elements. If your website can’t be the hub, then you better have a blog. If you think of your website as the organization, then a blog is the people of the organization to the world. This is where you can share different voices, perspectives, and messages that align back to the organization. It’s like you’re writing an email, but you’re not afraid to cc everyone. It’s a source for social media, PR and more.
It’s important that you always think about how you can repurpose your content. Take the best of the best and share it through other tools in ways that are relevant to other audiences. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you create content in one form for one purpose. Digital asset management is imperative here as a catalyst for easy housing and resharing of vital information.
Here’s an example of repurposing content:
We created a webinar for colleges and universities to learn more about DAM. We were able to repurpose the body copy from one email invitation across multiple communications.
- Three promotional emails (one sent each week) before the webinar event
- Pre-event blog post (shared with partner companies, marketing associations and other events or places where your targets frequent)
- Follow up email blast to attendees
- Post-event blog post with links to the recording
- Landing page on our corporate website to download content (with a form in front of it, so we could capture contact information)
- Two to three white papers/articles repurposing the content from the webinar into multiple forms
Once you draw people in, be prepared to cultivate a community by being present on all social channels. Capture their attention enough to notice you and you’ll validate your brand with them, then people will follow you. This sets the foundation for building a community around the brand. Keep in mind that it’s okay to start with family, friends and vendors and draw those who will buy from you later.
Look, listen and understand what people are saying about products and services, what they are searching for, what they’re asking about, and how they’re responding to conversations. Social media is about raw information and being genuine. Unplanned and truthful moments in a social environment will help you reach people when they’re validating what they’ve learned or starting a new search. Be patient and be there. Your target audience will eventually be ready to buy and you want to be top of mind when that happens. Targeted advertising can also be done on social, so you should experiment with that.
4. Public Relations (PR)
Many people want to overlook PR or think it’s a thing of the past, but that’s not the case. You’ve got to reach the influencers because they can help transforming your outbound marketing efforts to inbound. Any analyst who covers your industry has to carry your message and understand your unique value proposition. Their reach is greater than any brand can do on their own and their coverage matters. Their feedback is incredibly valuable – almost as much as your salesforce feedback. Your PR sources need to tell the story of the value of your organization. Customer stories are the most powerful things that can be shared through PR and should be a part of all your content. Think of PR sources as a social listening device who sees and hears what messages get read and which get responses.
After the core four are in place, a lot of things start working together.
You should be able to identify a group of subject matter experts at your organization for the press to utilize and for influencers to latch onto and spread the word. These thought leaders will become influencers themselves.
If people identify that they want to get more information from you, then email marketing is good.
- Company newsletters
- Regular follow up
- Email automation to fuel more content
- Share how-to information with tips about what people should do. Actionable information.
Something like a Salesforce.com to house your database, track every contact/campaign/event and see dashboards and metrics is a necessity.
Leverage marketing analytics tools to see where you’re seeing results and with who. Have that in place, so you can track and assess all along the way.
This is the creepy/cool side of marketing. We’ve all seen them – the ads that follow you around to remind you that an organization is out there. They may be creepy, but they reassure people that they want to be aligned with you. It’s not saying, “buy from us”; it’s simply a reminder for people when they’re ready and helps you stay top of mind. One note, this only works for people who have been to your website already.
Placing advertising on the blogs and websites that your targets might read.
Together, the efforts add up and that’s where you start to build your empire. Suddenly you are everywhere and the people you want to attract are reaching out to you, instead of you cold calling them. To get started, there are some simple things you can put in place and grow over time.
Things you can do right away:
1. Identify your advocates. Those customers who follow your social networks, who engage with you, who show added interest, who refer business to you.
2. Keyword research. Do the research to see what terms people really use when looking for your service. Use the Google keyword tool + analytics. Look at your Google Analytics at least once a week to see who went there, what pages they visited and where they came from.
3. Be social. If you don’t have an account yet with every major social tool, get one and play around. It doesn’t have to be some big social strategy right away. Have fun! And, be true to each social channel. For example, don’t be all serious business on Facebook. You’re reaching people when they want to get away from business.
4. Just do it. Start with one thing and keep going. You’ll make mistakes along the way and that’s okay, but don’t be afraid. Jump in today.
5. Create content. Build content to meet the keywords people are searching for, so Google will find it and point people there. Repurpose it across your social channels. If you’re going to invest time in creating content, repurpose it in all relevant forms and share it across other channels. You can become a thought leader just by sharing relevant information on LinkedIn and Twitter once a day.