My post last week introduced the idea that Outbound Marketing techniques are no longer cost-effective in reaching B2B buyers, and suggested that we use Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation to replace it.
This post provides a brief overview of what Inbound Marketing is, and then outlines the software techniques used to automate it. The third and final post in the series, coming soon, will provide 5 steps you can take to implement Inbound Marketing Automation in your company.
Inbound Marketing Overview
The major thrust behind Inbound Marketing’s success, is that done right, your ideal prospects come knocking on your door and give you permission to sell them something. It’s a lot like the Field of Dreams: If you build a great website, the buyers will come. And because the buyers may number in their hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions), you will need some software tools and techniques to manage it all. But please note: This is an all or nothing approach. Automating a part of the whole process, is akin to speeding up the flow of water in the middle of a river. It makes that part rush for sure, but the overall throughput doesn't change. In the case of Inbound Marketing, there are a great many tools and approaches already on the market and new ones arrive daily. But the mechanics of the process remain the same and the basic set of tools you need is not beyond your reach – albeit, perhaps, with help. How much help depends on your comfort zone with technology moving at this pace. If you’re hesitating to take the plunge, think of the huge increase in conversion rates and reduced cost. Imagine visitors, attracted by your excellent keyword and SEO strategy, arrive on your site. They find your amazing content and register to get it. They read it and hustle back for more. From their first visit, till the moment they pop up as a red-hot prospect in the sales CRM system, these people are managed automatically. Nurtured and cared for, according to your best practices; flawlessly, repeatably and 24/7. And with each automated drip-mail element of every campaign, provided with just the right response to nudge them to the next step in the sales cycle.
Components of Inbound Marketing Automation
1) Your Content. A subject unto itself, but the whole process depends on having content that makes your site the destination of choice for people interested in your field. Tools here help create it, display it, play, disseminate, promote and catalogue it. Our blog offers some ideas on how to create such content (website details at the end).
2) SEM Tools. Search Engine Marketing includes tools for Organic Search (SEO) and those for Pay-Per-Click (PPC). There are tools to help you devise the right Keyword strategy; others to assist in developing your advertising campaigns; yet more tools score your website, analyze its traffic share, determine your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking, assess incoming and outgoing links, and on and on.
3) Reputation Analytics monitor the social networks to determine the “buzz” around your products/services and company. These tools help you to find the most authoritative or influential blogs and websites for your area. The better tools not only point these out to you, but automatically scan them all each night and give you a count of how many mentions you earned, and then use their natural language ability to determine whether the sentiment is positive or negative so that you can focus your attention in the right places.
4) Demand Generator packages capture, score and grade visitors on their profiles and digital footprints, and then nurture them from cold leads to hot prospects. 5) The hot prospects feed into your CRM system and your sales people place those effective sales calls. Next week I’ll give you the 5 steps you can follow, to implement these exciting techniques in your company. Our website introduces Inbound Marketing Automation, and through its glossary of terms, white papers and tools, details the way it works, its advantages and cost benefits.
Eric Goldman is CEO of Gossamar Inc.