Inbound marketing is an essential component of any marketing strategy, especially with organic reach diminishing on social media networks. Inbound marketing is essential to get your company's webpage to show up on search engines, to bring in potential new customers, and then to keep them.
We caught up with Chris Strom, CEO of the marketing company ClearPivot, who shared some valuable expert inbound marketing pro tips to help you shape the ultimate marketing campaign!
You talk about inbound marketing being central to ClearPivot's discipline. With the changing scope of the internet, why is good content more important than ever?
You have to ask yourself: what do you see getting shared? It's the content that people like the most or find the most useful. It is no longer just about "good" content, it is about creating "great" content - multiple times better than any other similar content out there. Skip the "shovelware" content approach. Great content is what gets you shares and helps to build the SEO authority you reference.
Great content is not only content that people want to share, but it must be accessible and agile to allow for easy mobile and social shares. If a company does not have all of these things working together in concert, then they are looking at the possibility of a good-not-great piece of content not paying off for them the way that it could.
If you honestly can't say that the content piece you're about to publish isn't multiple times better than all the other content already published on the same subject matter, then seriously reconsider it before publishing it.
Is this hard and expensive? Yes. But the hard work and expense that it takes is precisely the reason why most of your competitors won't go that extra mile and will settle for the same old shovelware content that everyone else produces. This will be your competitive edge.
Can you share a couple of tips on creating clear, original, actionable content, and what that might look like?
Some of our best content pieces have come from questions that our clients have asked. If our client is asking the question to us, we know other people similar to them have the same questions. Answering questions like this helps us to maintain relevant content while keeping it clear and actionable so that our clients, prospects, and site visitors can put the information into action immediately.
Additionally, we have worked hard on mapping our target personas and developing ClearPivot's unique value proposition to connect with them. This helps to shape how we voice our content and ensures that we are relating directly to the people reading our content.
Could you give an example of what some useful metrics are to help measure a marketing campaign's success?
It's not the whole enchilada, but one key metric for us is measuring conversion rates on our landing pages. A conversion rate lets you know how important people find the content they have read, the CTA they see and the content offer you are providing. It also allows you to determine if you are making content accessible enough for people.
For instance, we realized that many of our landing pages convert better if we only ask for an email address rather than asking for first name, last name, company name, etc. This is especially true with mobile visitors; who wants to fill out a 5-field web page form on their phone?
After modifying many of our landing pages to only ask for this one information piece, we are now seeing a 40% conversion rate on many of our landing pages. The key is determining if you are willing to give something away for just an email address, and if you are willing to do the work to get the rest of the information after their initial conversion to make that person a viable lead.
In today's busy business climate, marketing automation is a fact of life. What are some reoccurring actions that might be automated, and what kind of time and money might someone save by implementing them?
Initial form submission follow-ups are great. If a person submits information to download a piece of content, then we send them that piece immediately. We also assign a marketing automation workflow to share additional content with them that may follow in their interest area. This helps build our relationship with them and further establish our expertise.
We can additionally use this information to identify and score the most important leads from the less important leads. The people who respond to our e-mails and repeatedly return to view or download multiple pieces of content are much better leads for us than someone who converts once and then never comes back again.
How can content creation and inbound marketing help create a devoted customer base?
As discussed before, one of the easiest ways it to build a strong relationship with your audience is to produce content that answers their questions, gives them new insights, and helps them do their own job better. When the content you produce makes their lives better, they are willing to share and interact with the content and your business. This applies as much to your current customers as it does to your prospects - which is something that many people forget!
When your customers see you continually maintaining your standing as a thought leader and continue to see you demonstrate your expertise in your field, they will see you as a trusted advisor rather than just a vendor - and they'll never want to leave you because of that!
How can inbound marketing help convey what a company is passionate about, and how can it help someone stand out against their competitors?
When a company is passionate about what they do, that is the first step in standing out against everyone else. People can instinctively feel when a content piece is written or produced with passion behind it versus when the author is just "going through the motions." When a company is planning their marketing calendar, they should plan out things they are passionate about. However, they need to ensure that the content they are passionate about relates to their audience. If a company plans to address what they are passionate about, then the content they produce will ooze passion. As the passion shines through, readers will see that these people are different from everyone else (in a good way).
You talk about "high-value content" such as e-books, blogposts, etc. Why is high value content such a good idea these days? Why should people think beyond only a website or a blog?
For us, high value content is more than just blog posts or e-books. We consider items like Slideshares, webinars, videos and infographics, to name a few, as true high value content as well. While these may take additional work to put together, they serve a long-term purpose. The content of these pieces is much more in-depth, which provides more value to the viewers than a typical blog post oftentimes does. We believe that high value content pieces are key in helping businesses establish themselves as thought leaders in their market place.
For instance, if a company creates an infographic related to their vertical and it gets shared across the internet, people will not only be aware of their business, but they will also be drawn to seeking out additional information from the company and follow them for more releases.
Additionally, "high-value content pieces" are oftentimes the best assets to use for conversion opportunities. Few people will be willing to share their name and email just to read a 400-word blog article, but they're much more likely to share their information to sign up for an in-depth webinar on the subject, or to download an in-depth whitepaper on a topic, or even sign up to view an embedded video or Slideshare on the topic.
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