brand development process

Five Inbound Marketing Resources Every Marketer Should Know About

If you’re tuned in to inbound, you’ve surely found some valuable resources on the internet. There are some failsafe, go-to websites out there that can help you hone your marketing skills. They can also help you develop better content, and drive traffic more effectively. Here are some of our favorite inbound marketing resources:

HubSpot

Arguably the world’s leader in inbound marketing software, HubSpot has more than changed the game of online marketing. As a matter of fact, they practically wrote, broke, and authored the rules of inbound as we know it.

From HubSpot’s comprehensive blog covering everything from marketing to sales and everything in between to the highly lauded HubSpot Academy, there’s something for every marketer. For instance, HubSpot has an interactive course dedicated to content marketing that can provide you with a big picture view of everything you need for a successful content marketing strategy. Subscribe to their updates, and you’ll have access to free webinars, marketing kits, and endless tools as they evolve.

One of HubSpot’s most valuable tools is it’s Website Grader. Enter your website and email, and the Grader will score your website in four categories: performance, mobile, SEO, and security. Use this as a starting point to improve your site’s visitor experience.

Content Marketing Institute

Great content is the cornerstone to any inbound marketing strategy, and the Content Marketing Institute is a must-visit for any inbound marketer looking to pump out quality work. The CMI has pooled together many industry experts to create a comprehensive white paper and ebook library. These are full of techniques for how to engage readers, keep them connected, and tell better stories.

Read More: About 8 Important Questions To Ask When Hiring Inbound Marketing Agencies

Moz

Creating excellent content is a great start to establishing expertise in your field and against your competition; however, attracting folks to your page is a whole different idea all together. Moz is the SEO-focused expert on the internet and their endless SEO learning library has comprehensive information, data, and research for how to improve your SEO game.

Canva

Canva is a free website which allows you to design visually appealing cover photos, social media posts, and presentations. It is used throughout the industry by some of the biggest names in inbound. Canvas also holds a complete library of how-to’s for all things Canva and design related.

The resources available through Canva can help you generate infographics, Facebook cover photos, posters, and more without guessing what dimensions you should work with. Canva’s pre-sized canvases optimize your content for the end digital user without skewing graphics or pixelating fonts.

Social Media Examiner

Once you’ve published your content, created some stylish Canva graphics, and SEO’d your blog posts, turn to Social Media Examiner for helpful tips on how to get your content in front of your social media followers.

As SEO trends and Google’s algorithms constantly change, social media has updated its algorithms. If you’re doing it alone, you’re taking shots in the dark, but thanks to Social Media Examiner, you can stay ahead of the constantly changing world of social media.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers

homebuyer persona template

How to create a buyer persona template for the homebuilder market

When it comes to marketing to your target audience, using basic demographics, such as age, married status, income, and geography is no longer enough. That kind of information, while helpful, is still too general. Your home building services are going to appeal to certain types of buyers, which means you’re going to need to pinpoint who those buyers are in order to market your brand effectively. To do this, you’ll want to develop a customer persona (also known as a buyer persona).

A customer persona is a representation of everything that makes up your ideal customer. This persona does include some of the information that businesses typically use, such as basic demographics. However, an effective customer persona needs to go beyond just age and geography. The following is a customer persona template to help you better identify who your target audience is:

1. Collect Customer Data

The best way to put together your customer personas is by turning to your actual customers for information. Speak with 5 to 10 of your previous and existing customers. Don’t just speak with customers for whom you built homes. Speak with customers who you may not have completed a deal with, but who you had a good relationship with despite that. In fact, it might be easier to just ask previous and existing customers if they would fill out a survey for you. This way, you can create a survey that asks questions that will provide you with the information you need. Some of the information you should ask these customers include:

  • How old they are
  • Why they are (or were) looking to build a new home
  • What kind of features they were looking for (such as an open floor plan or a garage) and why they needed those features
  • Whether they’ve owned homes in their past
  • What they do for a living
  • What income level they belong to
  • How often they use social media (and what platforms they typically use)
  • How they found out about your company (this allows you to identify what channels to target)

In addition to gathering information from your current and previous clients, you can also find a lot of helpful data through your social media channels by studying the behavior of your followers. What kind of questions are they asking? Who else are they following? What kind of content do they share?

2. Create a Personality for Your Customer Persona

Once you’ve collected your customer data, you’ll want to organize it, merging the information you have into distinctive personalities. While you’re going to find that some information is similar (for example, you could find out that the income levels of your customers happen to be very similar), some of it will be different. Because of this, you’ll need to create multiple customer personas.

With multiple customer personas, you’ll be able to personalize your marketing to more effectively target the different parts of your audience. Each customer persona that you create in essence represents a different group of people. Because they’ll potentially have different backgrounds, different goals and different needs, you’ll need to adjust your marketing strategy for each one. Give your buyer personas names to help shape their personality, thereby making a stronger customer persona template.

Some customer persona templates also recommend going beyond demographics and personal background to develop a personality for each persona. For example, some homebuyers may carefully think over every decision they make, while others make more impulsive decisions.

Last, but not least, you should give each persona a name, an age range and a picture. This helps make it easier to figure out ways to reach this persona since it will make you feel like you’re trying to reach an actual individual and not just targeting demographics. This alone should allow you to be more effective at personalizing your marketing efforts.

How does one use buyer persona’s in senior living marketing? Click here!

3. Define the Goals and Needs of Your Customer Persona

As a homebuilder, one of your main priorities should be to position yourself to meet the specific goals and needs of your customers. The goals and needs of your customers are a big part of your customer persona template. Different buyers are going to have different needs. For example, some buyers may be looking to build a home to raise a family in, while others may be looking at the home building process as a short-term investment.

What’s important to understand about your audience is that goals and needs are going to vary depending on certain factors. These factors are often found in the demographics of each customer. For example, different generations tend to have different goals and needs. Someone in their mid-30s that’s just starting a family is likely looking for a house that they can raise their children in. Someone in their 60’s is likely to look for a home that they can age in place in, meaning that it’s designed for convenience and accessibility.

4. Identify the Challenges of Your Customers

Knowing what the challenges of your audience are will allow you to more effectively present your services as a solution. This means understanding what customers didn’t like about previous homes they lived in, what changes they want to make and what their personal preferences are. For example, maybe their last home had a yard that was too big for them to maintain, but they still want to be able to spend time outside on their property. Or maybe the challenge is financial — they have a limited budget to work with, but are expecting to expand their family in the future when their careers are further along. Realizing what these challenges are will make it easier for you to craft a clear and concise brand message to your audience

Understand that a customer persona template isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution — it’s meant to help you better understand who your customers are so that you can identify the homebuyers that would benefit most from the types of services you can provide as a homebuilder. Real estate marketing, after all, is about connecting the right customer to the right property.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

Social Network Social Media People Meeting Communication Concept

Social Media Campaigns for Attracting Prospects and Generating Leads

Becoming a part of the conversation in today’s evolving social world is not only a smart marketing tactic, it’s absolutely essential. It increases awareness of your brand, builds relationships, facilitates outside interaction, allows you to stay connected with your customers and leverage brand advocates, promotes your content online, and so much more. But how does it fit into an Inbound Marketing strategy? Read more

b2b branding

Using Your Brand Story To Reach Millennials In Business

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today and they’re taking on important leadership and decision-making roles. In fact, nearly half of all B2B researchers are Millennials.

As a group, Millennials change jobs much more frequently than previous generations. So every six months, you may find yourself having to reintroduce your brand to a whole new group of buyers.

How do you convey your brand’s core values and competitive advantages in the best light to reach this younger generation of buyers?

In order to connect your brand with today’s prospects and customers, make storytelling a part of your content creation and messaging. Effective storytelling can help share your brand’s values with Millennials in a meaningful way.

Stories Are Memorable

A good story creates lasting impressions of your brand. Stories distinguish your brand from the competition, and consumers are going to remember emotion, characters, and conflict from a story longer than they will remember facts about your product or service.

To put it simply, if you tell a good story that emphasizes who your brand is and what your brand believes in, people will remember it.

Stories Are Easy To Understand

Brand stories are effective, because they inform in a format that readers already know and understand. Stories are made up of three basic components: beginning, middle and end. When developing a brand story, think about those components in terms of the past, present and the future. The past highlights the challenge or the problem that your brand set out to solve. The present showcases how you solve that challenge. And the future demonstrates your success and suggests continuation of that success moving forward.

Click here to learn all there is to know about telling your brand’s story.

Stories Create Trust

Millennials are more likely to connect with a brand when they believe in that brand’s core values. When Millennials are researching a purchase, they are looking at dozens of different companies, each time wondering, “Why should I buy from you?” If you engage those buyers, and answer that question with a story that is built around your core values, then you’ve built an emotional connection and the trust of that customer. 

Stories Show Your Brand’s Personality

Is your brand fun and quirky? Serious? Hip? Thought provoking? Innovative? Intellectual? Dedicated? Whatever it is, your story should reflect that.

Your story should highlight your personality and showcase what is different and unique about your brand. It should demonstrate your values and what motivates and inspires you. This will bring your brand to life and create a human element that allows customers to develop an emotional connection to your brand.

Stories Are Sharable

Strong brand stories will spread through social media. Enhancing your story with visuals and videos will expand the reach of your story and make it even easier for others to share.

Current research shows that 62 percent of Millennials are more likely to buy if a brand engages them online. Sharing your brand story will help build relationships between your brand and the growing group of Millennial buyers.

story branding

How To Nurture Your Leads With Email Marketing

How To Nurture Your Leads With Email Marketing

Despite some claims that email is dead, it is still a highly effective way for marketers to connect with consumers. It is an integral part of inbound marketing as well as attraction marketing, and is a great way to send nurture leads throughout the buying process. Here are a few email best practices that will help nurture your leads.

Segmentation

The segmentation of your contacts database will help define your audience into categories. If you are unfamiliar with buyer personas, read about them here, as they will be extremely useful in segmenting your contacts. Segmenting be done in terms of geographic location, company type, role within that company, behavior, marketing intelligence, or any other category that could be valuable to your company. Use segmenting to your advantage by targeting those different groups with useful content based on their specific needs.

Read more

mql vs sql

Web Design Tips to Generate More Leads Online

Building a website for your company is great, but building a website that doesn’t generate any leads online is, well, not so great.  Fortunately designing a site that brings in leads doesn’t have to be too hard or overwhelming. Follow our tips below on how to design a user-friendly website that will draw people in and convert them on the spot.

1. Know Your Audience

The first step before designing your site is to know your audience. You’ll want to create a persona that is a fictitious person that encompasses the characteristic of your typical customer. You can include demographics like age, gender, interests, purchasing habits, online behavior, job positions, hobbies or any other characteristics that you think will influence your target audience’s purchasing decisions. Once you have your personas developed you will be able to create your content based on what would be interesting to them.

This will save you a lot of time and effort that would have been wasted going after people that have little to no interest in what you have to offer. You wan to provide value with your content so it should be centered on how you solve the challenges and problems of your persona so that when they’re looking for solutions they find you.

According to HubSpot, using marketing personas can make your website 2-5 times more effective.

2. Make sure your website is well optimized

That last part brings us to our next tip – optimizing your website. Your audience is researching solutions to their challenges online way before they ever contact you. Website optimization or SEO is how they find your website when conducting their research.

To get the most out of your SEO you’ll want to design your content around your audience and not around search engines.  Publishing content without value to your audience is not going to get you anywhere.  Look for your target audience’s pain points, what they are searching for, and what terms or keywords are they interested then match the keywords in your content to the same terms. You’ll want to look for:

  • Keywords with a high number of searches
  • Keywords with a low competition

Download our guide for more on website optimization techniques.

3. Have compelling CTAs

Driving leads online to your site that don’t convert is essentially useless so you’ll want to capture their contact information.  In order to push your website traffic to the sales funnel you’ll want to have compelling CTAs on pages that cause users to take a specific action. Your call to action must offer your user something they would want in exchange for their information.  This will allow you to follow up and nurture the site traffic into customers long after they have left your site pages. The most compelling CTAs that cause users to convert include:

  • A visible position
  • A clear offering
  • An image or other visible component to grab attention
  • A link to a landing page where they will fill in their information to receive offer
  • A landing page that matches what the CTA had to offer
  • A simple form on the following landing page
  • A strong follow-up email

4. Add Testimonials and Case Studies To Your Website- Video is Best

Testimonials are a great way to attract and convert more leads. People love to see success stories and would be more compelled to contact you if they see that you helped solve problems for companies that were facing the same challenges they’re facing. Video testimonials are the best way to convey your success stories as they put a face and voice behind your success and instantly become more believable. Seeing the face of a happy smiling customer will make you seem trustworthy in the eyes of your potential customers compelling them to want to work with you to achieve the same results.

5. Measure and Test, Test, Test

This is a simple step but sadly often overlooked. Be sure to test everything on your site for bugs as nothing can make your audience flee faster than a broken link or bad user experience. A/b test different website page or content offers to see which one is more of interest to your visitors and consistently add new content to your site to improve your site.

Keep these tips in mind when designing your site and you’ll have an online “salesperson” that drives in qualified online leads ready to convert.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers

call to action phrases

How To Use Targeted CTAs To Increase Lead Conversion

Lead conversion can prove a tricky mistress, but inbound software has changed the way marketers interact with their prospective clients. They now reach customers through clever virtual workflows and smart targeting. Specifically, targeted CTAs can help convert the visitors to leads 42% more often than standard CTAs. A good CTA is a part of attraction marketing. Let’s look at how to use targeted CTAs to increase lead conversion.

What is a “Smart” CTA?

Targeted or smart CTAs convert visitors to leads by tailoring the content to a specific user. They’re based on segmented lists and what stage of the customer lifecycle they’re in. Basically, based on the data your lead generation software is provided, a smart CTA changes dynamically enabling your pages and calls-to-action to be more effective and targeted.

Read More: 3 Helpful Tips To Improve Your CTAs To Generate More Leads

Slice Up Your Contacts: Use Segmented Lists

If you’re not already using segmented lists, you may as well be throwing darts at an indiscriminate and undefined dart board. In other words, if your contacts occupy one single list or a small handful, then you’re really not leveraging your lead conversion software to the max.

Start by creating filters that help define your buyer personas. For example, you may want to create a filter to put “C” level managers with 100-300 employees in a 3-state area in a specific list or perhaps you want to simply create a list where follow-up emails can be generated. In either case, making your lists and your leads more specific will definitely increase the effectiveness of targeted CTAs.

Get Personal: Design and Copy

Finally, let’s talk about getting personal with your leads’ CTAs. Not in a weird way, but in a way that can actually close some sales! Smart CTAs have the ability to change the copy on a CTA button or change the design based on the end user.

If you’re selling chocolate candy bars to a potential customer, perhaps you want them to click the “Get a Free Sample Here” CTA at which point they become a lead and potentially a sale. On the other hand, however, your website may be entertaining an existing chocolate buyer who already loves your product. As a result, giving them a sample won’t necessarily get the job done nor further the value of your expertise as a chocolateer.

This is where smart CTAs show their beauty. Instead of offering a sample, a smart CTA would show your existing customer the “There’s S’more to Chocolate” CTA. Here, they can learn about how to use your product to their advantage. While the example may seem silly, the fact of the matter is that both the design and copy can be altered based on the input of your CRM.

MAXIMIZING YOUR MARKETING BUDGET

smart goal examples

Examples Of How Smart Goals Should Align With Your Business Goals

One of the most important things a company can do is set regular business goals. They point the business in the right direction and keep activities focused on achieving specific objectives. Now, writing down a general goal is a good start, but to make them happen, you must take action. And that is why your SMART goals must align with your business development goals.

You have more than likely heard of SMART goals. They are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Here are a couple of SMART goal examples to get you started.

5 Smart Goal Examples For Business Development

Example #1: Expanding your wedding business’s regional footprint

Let’s say you want to expand your wedding business’s geographic footprint to open up new markets and to increase revenues. Here is an example of how a SMART goal would align with this business goal.

  • Specific: I will lease a 2000 square-foot storefront in downtown Chicago.
  • Measurable: The lease will be signed no later than January 15th.
  • Attainable: I will contact three leasing agents who specialize in storefront properties in downtown Chicago and make a trip specifically to the area to find the ideal property.
  • Relevant: I have bridal customers and consultants from the Chicago area asking if I would open another location in their area to make it easier for them to shop. This opens up a new market and customer base, with a high probability of successful growth.
  • Time-Bound: All of this must be done by January 15th, to allow for the store to open in early February, near the start of the Spring bridal season.

Example #2: Lower Shipping Costs

Let’s say you want to lower your shipping costs but want to do it without lowering customer satisfaction. Here is an example of a SMART goal that aligns with this business objective:

  • Specific: I will switch all of my shipping from UPS to Fedex.
  • Measurable: I will complete the transition to Fedex by July 1st.
  • Attainable: I will contact Fedex and set up a new merchant account to start the process. I will also order the appropriate labels and software updates to make this transition as easy as possible.
  • Relevant: Fedex’s rates for shipping to the region of the country where most of my customers are is 20% lower than UPS. They also deliver within 3 to 5 business days, which is the same as UPS. The lower cost and same delivery time should maintain customer satisfaction levels while lowering costs.
  • Time-Bound: I will make the change by July 1st to coincide with the beginning of the new quarter to allow clean tracking of the impact this change makes to shipping costs and customer satisfaction.

These SMART goal examples should help you develop your own. When you align your actionable goals with your broader business goals, you will see progress. Can you give any other SMART goal examples that align with your business objectives?

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers