It’s hard to believe, but just a few short years ago, we knew next to nothing about inbound marketing. What we did know, however, was that marketing was changing. Methods that had worked for decades were no longer effective. The marketplace had changed. The way people did business had changed. The more we learned about inbound marketing, the more sense it made. So we changed too. Shifting to an inbound approach has had a dramatic impact on our business—and on the businesses of a number of out clients. And you know what? We’re still learning—and changing. I recently thought about some of what we’ve learned over the last three years. Here are three of the most significant lessons we’ve learned.
1. Generating leads is easier than moving leads into customers.
Over the last 3 years we’ve done an excellent job of increasing our lead volume as well as increasing the number of clients we have. We’ve been able to grow! But we could have grown a lot faster if we had realized that we needed to put a larger emphasis on converting leads into customers. What I’m really talking about is follow-up. Building a relationship with a new lead takes work. Sending personalized emails and making follow-up calls takes some time, effort, and thought. Automation is great, but it only goes so far. Not everything is cut and dried. People are different and require at least some degree of individual attention. 2014 will be the year we focus on customer conversion.
2. More blogging really does bring more traffic.
When we started out we were posting eight blogs per month on our website. We thought that was a lot. But we discovered that the more we posted, the more traffic we generated. We now post 30 blogs per month. What happened? We saw a 96 percent increase in website traffic and a 139 percent increase in organic website traffic. That was huge! But let me throw in a caveat here: We also focused on the quality of the posts. The content you put out needs to be accurate and helpful. Content may be king when it comes to online marketing—but you have to make sure that the king’s crown is made of gold!
3. Strategic social media promotion is the best way to bring in new prospects and leads.
Here’s what I mean by “strategic.” We get a much higher conversion rate and a higher volume of leads from a blog post when the topic we cover is highly specific and when we promote that blog/topic to a specific audience. For instance, if we talk about how builders and remodelers (highly specific audience) can use their websites to generate leads, and post a link to that blog on LinkedIn (a specific site where we know builders and remodelers look for content), we get much better results. The other thing we do that stimulates response is to make sure we include a lead generation offer in the post (a call-to-action) so that readers engage with us. We don’t just “shotgun” our content. We target specific audiences and write content specific to their needs, and publish it where our audience is on social media. By the way, we still do general posts about general topics, but we get better responses when we get specific.
Over the past three years we’ve discovered a lot about inbound marketing. Some things we feel like we have “under our belt.” Other things, we’re continuing to learn. And we try to share what we’ve learned to help others be more successful. If you’d like to learn more, I’d encourage you to download our free Inbound Marketing 101 e-book. It’s a great way to get started.
We hope you’ll come learn with us in 2014!