To get the most out of inbound marketing you must first understand the digital landscape, and understand that the tools available such as social marketing and email marketing are part of a much wider ecosystem which must be understood in order to reap the rewards.
You cannot use one part of this digital marketing ecosystem and expect to get excellent results. It is like owning a car without an engine and expecting it to move. For this to happen you must use it in combination with the wheels, the axle, and the gearbox. And this is how it is with inbound marketing.
This article will explain what inbound marketing is and how to get the most out of the digital marketing ecosystem.
Digital tools and services
The main tools that exist within the landscape are; email marketing, lead capture forms, landing pages, CRM software, SEO, online advertising, social media, conversational marketing, and analytics software.
Many companies engage with digital marketing in one of the following ways:
· Send out 1 or 2 emails a month, run analytics on website
· Send out a few emails a year, post fairly regular or social media
· Run analytics on their website but very little email marketing
· Use a lead capture form on their website but only get spam emails
· Run a Google Ads campaign that links directly to their website
· Have an ongoing SEO campaign and paying for ads
You will probably be able to identify with one of the methods above. This approach is however ineffective, and can end up being very expensive if you are engaging with SEO and paid advertising – your expenditure will likely be much higher than your ROI.
Understanding the digital marketing ecosystem
The correct way to look at inbound marketing is to see the digital ecosystem as a whole, where every part of that system operates as part of another to make the whole thing function together for the good of the user.
Using the analogy of a car, website content creation is the engine that sits at the centre of the vehicle, it is the powerhouse that provides the energy to drive the whole vehicle forward.
Your social media platforms and your website are the spark plugs that make the engine come to life, they exist purely to make it function.
This is the first misunderstanding most businesses make, they believe that their website, or their Facebook or LinkedIn activity is to be the centre of all things good and great, but without a content strategy these platforms are ineffective.
So, your content should feed your social media channels, and your website, but to what end? There must be an output!
This is the second mistake most businesses make. Engaging in lots of online activity but with no real purpose. The content you produce must have a reason for it existing, and that reason should be for SEO purposes, or for your target audience to overcome whatever objection they have at that particular stage of their customer journey.
Once you begin planning your content around campaign goals that have a clear set of objectives you will begin to see an increase in prospects engaging with your content.
This leads to the third mistake most businesses make, they don’t know who is engaging with their content. It is vital for any digital marketing strategy to capture as much data as you can. Data is the oil that goes into the engine, it is through the capture of data that you can learn where the weak points of your strategy and sales process are and how to overcome them.
Landing Pages then should be used as reference points to capture data from prospects who have engaged with any high value content, this engagement signifies they have moved on in their customer journey and are now a step closer to purchasing from you. As a result, this information should be then fed into your CRM Software so the prospect can be re-marketed to through Email Marketing at a later date.
Your website should be fully optimised for search engines through SEO procedures to attract organic traffic from search engines, as well as visitors that have arrived through linked content from other channels. When prospects land on your website you should have functionality that allows you to engage with them in real-time, giving you the ability to listen and understand their needs. All of which is captured and also fed back into your CRM for re-marketing at a later date. This cyclical approach of capturing data, and feeding it into your CRM for re-marketing through e-mail is the axle that turns the wheels.
Once you have built the barebones of your own digital marketing ecosystem, with the key purpose of attracting visitors, collecting prospect data, and re-marketing for lead nurturing, you need something to make the whole thing go. Online Advertising is the gas in the tank. For as long as there is gas in the tank the engine will run and the wheels will turn.
Running an online advertising campaign without having all the prior pieces in place is like pouring out petrol all over the forecourt. And this is why many businesses have had bad experiences with online ads and see them as a waste of money, because they missed the petrol tank altogether. Petrol should be poured into the engine, which is the content you have created – this then alights the spark plugs which turns the axle, which turns the wheels.
A well thought out, planned paid ad campaign that is centred around quality content, that has been created with a purpose of addressing potential buyers’ objections has the power to completely revolutionise your business and put it into the fast lane.
The final piece of the ecosystem is Analytics. Analytics is the body work of your car. Your car can work without it, but analytics make it better, it defines the performance, the aerodynamics, how much mileage you get per litre of fuel. Through analysing the data of each separate entity that exists within your own digital marketing ecosystem you are able to refine and optimise every part of your campaign. Feedback from website visitors, email open rates, landing page conversions, ad click’s, and social media reactions all help to shape the bodywork of your car and make it run faster and for longer, with more efficiency and better performance.
Hopefully this has given you a deeper understanding of how inbound marketing works, and how you can use it to get more leads, get more customers, and make more money!