inbound marketing

Inbound VS Outbound Marketing: What’s Better for You?

Your marketing strategy is not something that you should take lightly. After all, the success of your business, whether it’s big or small, is going to depend on your ability to generate customers. Without effective marketing, it’s going to be very difficult to grow your audience, not to mention your customer base. However, if you do just a little bit of research, you’ll quickly find that there are two main types of marketing: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. The question is, which should you use for your business?

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is the more traditional form of marketing. The main strategy of an outbound marketing campaign is to get your company’s message to an audience that consists of potential customers. For instance, running commercials on TV or radio, placing ads in magazines or newspapers, or putting up billboards outside. These are all forms of outbound marketing. The idea is that people who need your product or service are, hopefully, exposed to your ads and will come to you as a result.

Benefits Of Outbound Marketing

  • Reach potential customers who were not aware of your brand
  • Successful outbound marketing can boost short-term sales

Drawbacks Of Outbound Marketing

  • Most outbound marketing tactics are expensive
  • Targeting a broader audience will usually result in a lower ROI
  • May reach potential customers who aren’t ready to buy
  • Forcing message onto the audience, which can put them off

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Whereas outbound marketing involves forcing a message to an audience, inbound marketing focuses on putting your business in the position to be found by your audience on their own time. Most inbound marketing efforts are digital. For example, setting up a website and a social presence, writing content aimed at your target audience, and optimizing your content for SEO (search engine optimization). The idea is to make your brand easy for potential customers to find or stumble upon when searching for relevant information online. Once found, you can then nurture them through the sales funnel at their own convenience.

Inbound marketing can also be used in email marketing. Read more here.

Benefits Of Inbound Marketing

  • Higher ROI. Your marketing efforts live forever (unlike outbound marketing), which means they can continue to see results in the future.
  • You can reach more people. Billions of people use the Internet, giving you potential access to a much greater audience.
  • Inbound marketing allows you to target specific buyer personas with greater ease, leading to better results.
  • Inbound marketing is much more affordable.

Drawbacks Of Inbound Marketing

  • You won’t see overnight results. Inbound marketing requires a lot of long-term effort.inbound outbound

What Type Of Marketing Should You Choose?

Which type of marketing better suits your business is going to depend on various factors, such as what your budget is and what your goals are (are the more short-term or long-term?). However, as a smaller to mid-sized business, inbound marketing is going to be your best bet. It’s much more affordable and allows you to steadily grow your business over the long term. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore outbound marketing. Outbound can still be incredibly effective, despite the fact that some mistakenly think that it has become obsolete with the advent of inbound.

Outbound marketing tactics can still be incredibly useful. There’s a reason why businesses still run large ad campaigns in magazines or on TV. There’s a reason why it’s so expensive to run a commercial in a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl. That reason is that outbound marketing still works. It’s a great way to increase brand exposure if you know what you’re doing.

Even if you don’t have a massive budget to work with, outbound marketing can still be effective, especially if used in conjunction with your inbound marketing strategy. After all, you can use outbound to market your online presence. For example, you can put your website or social media handles up at the end of your commercials, on your print ads, or on your billboards. You can even put QR codes on your print ads that people can scan with their smartphones.

The primary reason why advertising your inbound efforts on your outbound efforts is so effective is that most people are using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop while they are watching TV — or have one on hand when they pass by a billboard or are flipping through a magazine.

Build A Marketing Strategy Using Both Inbound And Outbound Strategies

There’s no reason to choose just one. Both inbound marketing and outbound marketing strategies have their pros and cons. Inbound tends to be a more long-term strategy, while outbound is more short-term. As such, using them together allows you to run a more comprehensive omni-channel marketing strategy. The more complete your marketing efforts are, the greater the odds of success will be.

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

Perfect Your Inbound Marketing Strategy With Lead Nurturing

When it comes to marketing, many businesses focus on trying to attract as big of an audience as possible. The more awareness you generate, the more potential customers you’ll have, after all. However, it’s crucial that you don’t skip a step when it comes to generating leads. Just because your marketing efforts have successfully attracted new leads doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically convert into sales. Most of the leads you generate will need to be nurtured before they’ll convert into customers. As such, no inbound marketing campaign is going to be complete if you don’t implement a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy.

What Is Lead Nurturing?

People who discover your brand are going to be doing so at various points of the sales funnel. Everyone is going to be in a different place. For instance, some leads will be in the awareness stage, which means that they are still doing research about their problem. Others may be in the consideration stage, which means that they are looking for solutions to their problem. Then there are those that are in the decision stage, which means that they are comparing solutions from various brands and are in the process of making a purchasing decision.

Lead nurturing is all about meeting the needs of your leads. The goal is to present them with the information and guidance that they need to move through the sales funnel. However, lead nurturing is also about building a relationship through your marketing and communication efforts that not only educates leads and builds trust with your brand, thereby creating a connection that lasts beyond the first sale.

Lead nurturing is an important aspect of marketing. Read more here.

The Benefits Of Lead Nurturing

It’s not just about moving your leads through the sales funnel so that you can close a sale. The following are a few of the additional benefits of a strong lead nurturing strategy:

  • Increase ROI of marketing efforts – Leads that are nurtured are more likely to make a purchase. As such, your marketing efforts are going to result in a greater return if you implement a lead nurturing strategy.
  • Build brand authority – By presenting content that addresses the needs of your leads at every stage of the sales funnel, you’ll establish yourself as a brand authority, which will boost your brand reputation and trust.
  • Generate loyalty – Customers that were nurtured throughout the sales process are going to have a deeper connection with your brand than those that weren’t. As such, they’ll be more likely to remain loyal and may even refer your business to others as a result.

lead nurturing magnet

Ways To Nurture Your Leads

The following are a few tips on how you can successfully nurture your leads through the sales funnel:

  • Develop buyer personas – Your leads all have different needs and motivations. To be able to build relationships with your leads, you will need to understand who your audience is. Develop buyer personas so that you can target every part of your audience.
  • Create high-quality content – Avoid over-promotional content. Instead, focus on creating content that educates your leads. Make sure that you create content that not only addresses every stage of the sales funnel, but that also targets each one of your buyer personas.
  • Personalize emails – Email marketing is a great way to nurture your leads since it allows you to directly send them content that can nurture them. However, it’s essential that you make sure your emails are relevant. You can do this by personalizing them. For instance, segment your email list using the information you’ve gathered on every lead (such as the data provided in your opt-in forms and from their purchasing history).
  • Use email drip campaigns – Email drip campaigns can nurture leads that you’ve captured over a specific period of time. They are designed to slowly nurture leads through the sales funnel by sending emails over a few weeks to encourage leads to make a purchase.
  • Implement lead scoring – Using a lead scoring tool allows you to track at which point in the sales funnel your leads are. This is incredibly useful as it gives you the opportunity to engage your leads at the right time so that you can successfully nurture them through to the next stage.

Implement A Lead Nurturing Strategy Today

Effective lead nurturing is the best way to increase your chances of converting new leads into customers. It’s also important to note that it is essential to building long-term relationships with your customers. The more time and effort you put into developing leads, the more likely they’ll be to return as repeat customers.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips
public relations inbound marketing efforts

How a Strong Public Relations (PR) Strategy Can Benefit Your Inbound Marketing Efforts

Inbound marketing focuses heavily on increasing brand awareness and building brand trust. As such, people sometimes confuse inbound marketing strategies with public relations (PR) strategies. After all, public relations is about maintaining the integrity of your brand. However, they are actually different from one another — although they do depend heavily on each other for success. The following is a breakdown of the differences between inbound marketing and PR and how they can work together.

The Difference Between Inbound Marketing And Public Relations

Inbound marketing is a multi-faceted strategy that consists of a range of tactics for promoting products and services as well as for educating consumers. The ultimate goal of inbound marketing is to attract and convert more leads in order to generate more customers. The goal of PR isn’t to generate and convert leads and customers. The goal of PR is to maintain and improve the public perception of your brand. Basically, a good PR strategy will help you build a favorable reputation. Unlike inbound, PR focuses as much on targeting shareholders and employees as it does on potential and existing consumers or clients.

How Good PR Can Benefit Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

Trust is vital to your ability to convert new leads. The more brand trust you generate, the easier it becomes to close new sales. As such, a good PR strategy can supplement your inbound strategy. When it comes to PR, it’s not just about putting out good publicity and improving your reputation — it’s also about preventing a bad reputation.

PR requires that you get on top of situations that can damage your rep. For instance, if customers are leaving bad feedback on your social media pages, you can’t just ignore it or it will hurt your public perception. As part of a successful PR strategy, you would address poor feedback. Show that your brand cares about the experience of its customers. In fact, if you handle such feedback effectively, you could even turn it into a win that actually boosts your brand trust.

PR also includes publishing notices about new products and services, or about upcoming events. These announcements double as promotional content for your business. This can pique the interest of your target audience, thereby bolstering your inbound marketing capabilities.

Improving your inbound marketing strategies can be difficult, even during a pandemic. Read more here.

inbound marketing efforts

Public Relations (PR) Strategies That Can Boost Your Inbound Marketing Success

The following are a few of the public relations (PR) strategies that can go a long way towards improving your inbound marketing efforts:

  • Publish high-quality content – PR is a form of content creation. As such, you’ll want to make sure that whenever you release a press release. Make sure it is well written, properly optimized, and targeting a specific audience. Your PR content can double as inbound content, after all.
  • Focus on executives – Putting a face on your brand can help improve brand trust. As such, use your executives for interviews and quotes when releasing new PR content. Doing so can also help establish the people behind your brand as thought leaders, thereby increasing brand authority.
  • Promote award wins – When your company or the people in your company win industry awards, be sure to announce those wins. Such content will showcase your company’s expertise, which will improve your reputation as well as your authority and trust.
  • Publish press releases – Your press releases can help drive new leads to your inbound marketing or sales assets (as long as those press releases are of high quality).

Implement A PR Strategy As A Part Of Your Inbound Marketing Efforts Today

A good PR strategy can help you control the public perception of your brand, thereby ensuring that you maintain a good reputation. Such a reputation is vital to building brand trust and, as such, can help to bolster your inbound marketing efforts.

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

5 Types of Landing Pages To Increase Your Lead Conversion Rate

Are your company website’s landing pages converting as many visitors to leads as you’d like? One problem may be that you are not using the right kinds of landing pages. Landing pages have several purposes: to collect important information from visitors, to begin building a relationship with visitors, and, ultimately, to convert visitors to leads. Some companies only have one or two types of landing pages, and as a result, their lead conversion rates suffer. Here are 5 kinds of landing pages that are sure to increase your lead conversion rate.

Email List Opt-In Landing Page:

It’s been proven that the most effective place to put your email opt-in form is on it’s own dedicated landing page. An email list opt-in landing page gives you more room to tell visitors exactly how they stand to benefit from filling out your form with their personal information. By removing pesky distractions, like navigation, a landing page urges your visitors make a decision: opt-in or miss out on quality content and offers.

Product Detail Landing Page:

A product detail landing page is common in the retail industry. Product detail landing pages are located on the company’s main website, and contain the information regarding the product for sale such as features, specifications, and customer reviews. A benefit of product detail landing pages is that there is no extra work or cost required when it comes to creating a separate page. Another benefit of this landing page is it applies to visitors who are in the awareness or the consideration stage.

Read more on Driving Website Conversions During Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey

Coming From [social network] Landing Page:

These type of landing pages can be applied to every type of traffic that your website generates. Most likely, any landing pages attached to your social media accounts bring visitors to your home page. This is a start, but it’s not the best option. You should make your landing page more customized and personal. A good social network landing page addresses where the visitor is coming from and provides information the visitor is probably looking for. Information such as background about the company as well as how to get in touch.

Content Guide Landing Page:

Inbound marketing revolves around content. If your company blogs, you can extend the reach of your content by organizing it with its own landing page. The blog page on your website is useful, but it probably shows only the latest content. By creating topic-specific content landing pages, your best quality work is being showcased to your visitors.

Lead Capture Landing Pages

These pages are often referred to as “squeeze” pages. They don’t contain any exit paths or distractions such as links or navigation tools. A lead capture landing page should include one thing: a button that takes visitors to a form where they are encouraged to submit their personal data. In order to coax visitors into filling out the form, offer an incentive, such as eBooks, whitepapers, or webinars.

  25 Website Must Haves For Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales

4 tips to keep sales & marketing on the same track

4 Tips To Keep Sales & Marketing On The Same Track

Sales and marketing are usually thought of as being separate. However, with inbound marketing both departments or teams need to work together to achieve their common goal: revenue. Inbound marketing is all about helping and informing the consumer throughout the various stages of the buying process, so they ultimately decide to purchase from you. This type of nurturing cannot happen unless sales and marketing work seamlessly. Here are 4 tips to keep your sales and marketing teams on the same page.

Keep constant communication

Read more

b2b email marketing

6 Email Marketing Tips (Expert’s Advice)

Millions of people have email accounts. Email marketing is a popular form of marketing still today. When sending emails, it is important to make sure it looks good. It is important because people receive many emails a day. In order to have your email opened and read, it needs to stand out. Here are 6 email marketing tips.

1) Right person, right time

Before sending an email, it is important to determine who the audience is of the email. Segment your contacts by buyer personas. This way you know who each group of your contacts is and what emails they should be receiving. Make sure you are sending out your emails at the right time. It is best to determine what time the people you are reaching are most likely to check their emails.

2) Content

Content is highly important and has so much value. If an email doesn’t have value then it shouldn’t be sent to people. A good way to determine if your email has value is to ask the question, “Would I be excited to read this email?” If the answer is yes, then the email has value.

3) Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospects with the goal of earning their business when they are ready. This process involves a series of emails. With lead nurturing, the goal is to turn a lead into a customer. Email marketing is a great way to nurture leads.

The Right Lead Nurturing Strategy Can Help You Stay Top of Mind 

4) Title

The title is what the people are going to read first. Usually, if the title is interesting and eye catching, the email will be opened up. If the title is boring, it will be passed over and not opened. Therefore, the title needs to be attention grabbing and interesting so that the email will be opened.

5) Personalization

Make sure each email you send it personalized. By personalized I mean at the beginning of the body of the paragraph, include “hello” followed by the person’s name who is receiving the email. What this does is that instead of the person being on an email list and just another name getting an email, it is directed specifically to that person and that person will most likely be more pleased with the email they are receiving.

6) CTA

Emails are a great place to include a CTA or call to action. By including a call to action with a link to relevant information regarding the email, you are providing a link back to your company website.

As you can see, these are just a few tips to help emails. These tips can help you execute some great emails to those people you are trying to reach. Something to remember, whenever you receive an email, think, “What is good and bad about this email?” That way you can evaluate emails.

email marketing program

case study questions

Top Benefits of Using Case Studies For Your Business

Consumers are a lot less susceptible to fancy sales pitches in this day and age, which is why the use of case studies can be very effective in building brand trust. Many consumers will ask friends and family for recommendations or look up online reviews before doing business with a particular brand. They do this because they simply trust other consumers more than they are willing to trust a brand. It’s due to these reasons that you should consider using case studies. We’ve gone over the case study questions you should ask, but the following is some information on what they actually are and how they can benefit your marketing efforts:

What are Case Studies?

Case studies are similar to testimonials in that they provide audiences with an account of previous customer experiences with the brand. However, testimonials are typically basic interviews that function as little more than positive reviews. Case studies are more in-depth and concern the entire process that the customer went through. Basically, it’s a depiction of their buyer journey and how your business helped to fulfill their needs from beginning to end. This allows for an element of storytelling that’s much more engaging

What are the Benefits of Using Case Studies?

Although case studies require a lot more effort to put together than the typical testimonial, it’s well worth the time and resources required. Many businesses will even produce their case studies as video content that their audiences can watch. The following are just a few of the benefits of creating case studies:

Build brand trust

Case studies are extremely effective in building trust because of the very fact that they represent the viewpoint of your previous customers. Instead of you telling your audience how great your brand is and how effective your products or services are, you’re having your customers do it for you. Not only do audiences trust other consumers more than they trust companies, but by allowing your previous customers to tell their stories, they are basically endorsing your brand, which gives your business more credibility.

Engage through storytelling

Simply having customers tell the audience that your product is great is just a basic customer testimonial. It’s not that interesting, nor is it very engaging. Case studies are more concerned with telling the story of the customer. The customer is the hero, their problem is the conflict and your brand’s solution is the resolution. The use of storytelling helps to make a brand much more relatable and will allow your audience to see how you fulfilled that customer’s need at every stage of the buyer journey.

Click here to learn about the differences between storytelling and storybranding.

Identify brand evangelists

To find the subjects of your case studies, you’ll need to speak to several clients or customers and request that they participate. Those that are willing are your brand evangelists. They are offering to tell their story because they believe in your brand. Knowing who your brand evangelists are is helpful because they can help improve your brand reputation through word-of-mouth marketing.

Assist your sales team

Having an assortment of case studies available on your site can be hugely beneficial to your sales team. This is because they can recommend prospects to watch specific case studies of previous customers who may have had similar problems. This, in turn, can help them close deals.

As you can see, case studies can be very beneficial to your marketing efforts. Don’t forget to read up on the important case study questions you should ask, and be sure to take a look at some of the marketing tools that we offer for download at Stevens & Tate.

Learn The StoryBranding Process

smart goal examples

How To Incorporate Smart Goals Into Marketing Plan Development

Now, most of us have heard about how to develop SMART goals. But, how do you incorporate them into your marketing plan development?

A quick recap: SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. This format makes it easier to see where you need to go and how to measure your progress. That’s why it’s perfect for your marketing plan development.

Making Your Marketing Plan SMART

Every plan must have at least one objective. In the world of marketing plans, the objectives usually include building demand for a product or service, maintaining current demand or shortening the sales cycle. The actual plan you put together works towards obtaining those objectives.

Setting high objectives sounds great on paper. But, when they are not specific, measurable, attainable, relevant or time bound, they become nothing more than marks on a page.

To avoid making paper goals, your marketing objectives themselves must be SMART. For example, let’s say your objective is to gain a 50% increase in market share in the next 12 months. That is definitely specific and measurable, but may not be attainable due to lack of resources or stiff competition. Relevancy depends on the size of the available market and how fast it is growing or not. Being able to grow that much in 12 months may or may not be possible depending on the market.

5 Smart Goal Examples For Business Development

Making Your Marketing Plan SMART

All of your objectives should be stated in SMART terms. Let’s say you want to increase the number of visitors to the Thingamajig product page on your website.

  • Specific: To increase the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page by 25% over last quarter’s total.
  • Measurable: The total visitors last quarter was 2000, so the goal this quarter is to achieve a total of 2500 or more visitors.
  • Attainable: Increasing the number of visitors is definitely doable with increased spending in PPC ads and referral incentives for existing customers.
  • Relevant: The Thingamajig is our most profitable product. Ten percent of visitors to the website ultimately end up placing an order. Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page has the potential of increasing the number of orders by 25% or more.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is to have this achieved by September 30th, so that we are ready to enter the Christmas season with a larger share of the Thingamajig market.

Going from a general objective to a detailed one is a major change. Here is what just happened:

  • General objective: “Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page”
  • Detailed objective: “Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page by 25%, or 500 more visitors, in the 3rd quarter, in order to generate 25% more orders and to obtain a larger share of the market during the upcoming Christmas season”

Applying SMART goal thinking to our marketing plan development will make all the difference in moving things forward. How can you incorporate it into your next campaign?

DOWNLOAD OUR GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL TRADE SHOW MARKETING
how to have a successful blog

How to Have a Successful Blog (Expert Tips)

You might be wondering, how can my company have a successful blog? Blogging has become a great way for companies to write about content that relates to their company. Content can include tips and advice on any topic that relates back to what the company knows. Topics for blogging can range from “What a Good Landing Page Looks Like” to “How to Start Your Own Business in 10 Easy Steps”.

How do you make sure that your company has a successful blog? Here are 6 expert tips to help your company with a successful blog.

Make Your Topic Something People Care About

The first step in having a successful blog is to have a topic that people are going to want to read about. Find a topic that you find will be useful, and then research your topic to make sure you are providing reliable information to your readers, and then you can write about your topic. Make the topic interesting, and something worth reading.

Make the Formatting Easy To Read

When you are formatting your blog, it is ok to have multiple paragraphs. These paragraphs can be small. It is better to have many small paragraphs, instead of a few really lone paragraphs. A blog is something that people are going to want to be able to read easily. When writing a blog for your company, include offers and promote other blog posts as well.

Have an Attention Grabbing Title

As you are reviewing your blog, go back to the title. This title is important and needs to be clear, specific, and most importantly, attention grabbing. Titles should also be between 50 and 60 characters. If it goes over 60, the end of the title will be cut off in the search engine.

Pictures Are Fun to Look At

A blog without pictures can be boring. Add a picture or two to your blog. These pictures can be relevant to your topic, and they can also just be a part of a blog as long as they fit. For example, if your blog is directed towards an audience of readers who are business people, you could include a picture of someone wearing a suit. Pictures are a nice addition to the blog. Do not forget to cite pictures if they are not yours.

A successful blog includes links to other relevant articles, as well as a CTA (call-to-action). A CTA is an eBook or guidebook that people can download. It is additional information on the topic that the customer is looking for.

Share on Social Media

Once you have written your story, it is time to share it. You can share your blog through a multitude of social media platforms including LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Read more on 8 Tips on Social Media Best Practices For your Business

Be Consistent and Frequent

The most important thing to remember is consistency and frequency. Blogging is more than one post. It is multiple posts. When you are in charge of blogging for your company, it is best to post a minimum of two blogs a week.

Blogging can be fun. Follow these steps to ensure that your company has a great blog.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

buyer personas

Why Are Buyer Personas So Important?

Creating buyer personas is an essential part of an inbound marketing strategy because they help define your target audience and help you tailor your advertising towards that audience. When developing content, consistently referring back to the attributes of the buyer persona will help ensure that the content resonates with that audience. Buyer personas are an important part to attraction marketing.

Establishing a buyer persona can be a creative process as well, as it encourages marketers to think back to their childhood mindset and generate imaginary people. Of course these imaginary thoughts are far more sophisticated now, and are used to create what an individual that represents your target audience.

Read more