For some small to midsize businesses, marketing tends to get pushed to the back-burner, letting it run on autopilot with minimal time to sit and focus on marketing plans and strategies. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we recommend companies of all sizes let the New Year bring in new marketing discussions surrounding budgets, goals and projects.
Setting time aside to review past marketing efforts will start you on the right track. Whether you have very few or a plethora of marketing initiatives to review, use this conversation as a guide to research what efforts could have the biggest bang for your small marketing budget buck. Your company may already be writing blog articles, publishing infrequently to social networks and sending e-mails to prospects here and there, but nothing is consistent. Maybe you already have an inkling that you need to ramp up inbound marketing efforts, but just aren’t sure you’re ready to pull the trigger.
Here are 5 Signs Your Small to Midsize Business is Ready to Increase Inbound Marketing Efforts
1. You Sense a Need to Move Away from Outbound Marketing
There’s a chance your company is still utilizing traditional marketing tactics – sending direct mail pieces, using billboard space, purchasing ads in the Yellow Pages or buying call lists. These tactics have been around for a while, but are you able to measure their success in driving leads? HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound Marketing reported that more than twice as many respondents cited inbound (45%) as their primary source of leads versus outbound (22%).
Not to mention with inbound marketing, you are able to track what source your leads are coming from - are they searching on Google, finding you on social media or did they receive an e-mail from you? It gives you an advantage to reallocate marketing budgets to focus on the successful lead-generating channels.
2. You’re Ready to Dive Into the Buyer Persona Discovery Process
While most companies have a general idea of who their buyers are, there is a chance that you’re missing opportunities by not knowing them completely. Interviewing your internal sales department and reaching out to current and past customers can allow you to refine your buyer journey based on buyer persona. You’ll learn what their pain points are, the type of content that appeals to them and where their online watering holes are.
While the buyer persona discovery process may be lengthy, it’s a worthwhile investment. It will prevent you from guesswork down the road, ultimately saving you time and money, all while bringing you insight about your buyers you wouldn’t otherwise know.
3. Your Website Isn’t Ready to Convert Leads
If your current website has no way for a lead to reach out to you, then chances are you’re ready for a redesign. It’s becoming the standard to provide opportunities for prospects to connect with you via your website. Your website should act as a salesman 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This doesn’t mean only having a contact us form, it also means providing visitors with other ways to convert. Offering eBooks, guides, checklists and case studies in exchange for a visitor’s basic information like first name, last name and e-mail address is a common practice in inbound marketing. Before you know it, you’ll be creating a database of quality leads that you can bring down the sales pipeline with additional content that appeals to your buyer personas.
4. You Understand the Importance of Content, But Don’t Know Where to Start
Let’s admit it, creating content can be overwhelming. It’s hard enough to find time in the day to sit down in front of a Word Document for a couple hours, let alone come up with topics to write about. This is where your buyer persona discovery process will benefit you. You’ll want to begin content mapping – making a list of what content would appeal to each buyer persona at each point of the sales funnel. A general rule of thumb is to let your content answer common buyer questions and address their pain points.
Unfortunately, there really is no work around to dedicating time to actually writing the content, but at least you’ll have generated topic ideas for blog articles and more lengthy pieces of content that would be worthy of putting behind a form.
5. You’re Ready to Dig Into the Data
One of the biggest bonuses of inbound marketing is digging into the data, and then using it to your advantage. Your website is constantly collecting information for you. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster provide reports including total website visits, visits from mobile versus desktop, web browsers used to view your site, keywords used to bring in traffic and what elements of your website visitors click on the most. Using the data can help you improve your inbound marketing strategy to focus on what is working and begin changing what isn’t.
Connecting the dots of inbound marketing isn’t an overnight project. It’s going to take time to fully implement an inbound marketing strategy that works for your company. Oftentimes, the hardest part of ramping up your inbound marketing is not knowing next steps. If you have any questions about the inbound marketing process, feel free to reach out to the team at LyntonWeb.