2019 MnSearch Summit Team Takeaways

Self-proclaimed SEO Geeks from far and wide gathered in St. Paul at the 2019 MnSearch Summit, including the Lake One Team. A non-profit organization founded for and by search marketing geeks, MnSearch aims to speak directly to the search marketing professional and raise the standards and awareness of search in Minnesota.

Didn’t attend the conference? We’ve got you covered in the best TLDR summary of the summit; our key takeaways.

2019 MnSearch Summit

Rachael’s MnSearch Favs

I’ve attended conferences in the past where keynotes were snoozefests and sessions turned out to be not very relevant to my role. However, as a MnSearch first-timer, I’m thrilled to say, that was not the case with the Summit. Here are my top 3 takeaways from the day. 

#1. SEO is a Long-game

I attended the Search Presence Intelligence session with Stephan Bajaio and he opened the session with an analogy comparing Paid Media and SEO to day trading and a 401k. It’s relatable and easy to understand which is precisely why it makes my list. 

Here’s why that analogy makes sense:

  1. SEO is long-game just like retirement.
  2. Your odds of retiring off of day trading alone isn’t very high and neither is achieving all of your digital marketing goals with paid media alone. 

In our work as digital marketers, our clients’ SEO knowledge ranges from beginner to advanced and this analogy is a great one to add to our toolbox when explaining the law that is Google to clients.

#2. Tie PR Activities to Branded Keywords

Often times when reviewing organic keywords and traffic, we pull out the brand-related terms because we are focused on additional keyword terms and phrases related to the buyer’s journey, product offering, etc. However, Will Scott brought up a great point about using branded keyword traffic patterns to help attribute PR efforts.

Of course, we all know that when it comes to PR, merging offline media mentions, mentions without linkage, and other digital efforts can get a little messy and sometimes difficult to attribute. But Will Scott said something impactful. When using branded keyword traffic (or insert any metric here) if there is a significant enough of a correlation in the data, then you can infer causation. So for example, if you are quoted on the local tv news talking about a brand offering and you see a significant spike in direct traffic for that time frame and on the topic of the mention – you can infer causation. Because likely what’s happening is that a user is hearing your brand/offer and typing it directly into Google.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about UTM parameters, but in the event that a custom link wasn’t placed or it’s not part of the deal, a branded terms breakout is a helpful tip. 

#3. Personas Simplified 

Personas. You either love them or you hate them. If you don’t buy into the naming, the persona stories, etc. Kevin Indig had a super simple way of explaining personas and getting down to the nitty-gritty in 3 sentences (or less, depending on your phrasing ;))

I am a ……
Who wants to ….
So I can …..

For example: I am an HR Recruiter who wants to attract and retain top talent to my company so I can reduce turnover and fill open positions quickly with quality candidates.

The above is the bare bones. At Lake One, we prefer to go a little deeper with our personas to fully understand their pain and questions, but for those who can get lost in the weeds, start with the easy guide.

Danielle’s MnSearch Favs

#1. Google Your Company and Specific Pages

It’s hard to attribute this takeaway to any one speaker. Almost every single one touched on it in some way or fashion. You should be Googling your company, and not just for the reasons you think like rankings. Run searches on your individual blog posts to look at your meta descriptions and how your post appears in the results. 

By doing so, you’ll see what your posts and pages look like in the search results. There might be something awry in how it displays. An abbreviation from “do not” to “do”, for example, can turn an intelligent blog to utter nonsense at first glance in the results. 

Also, by searching for your specific pages, you can see if your results appear anywhere else in the results that is not a standard blue weblink. You might have gotten the Snippet position, showed up in the map pack, or potentially even lost your #1 seat to a barrage of other knowledge graphs and Google answers. The best way to find this out is to run the searches yourself. 

And don’t forget to do it on mobile too! 

#2. Intent Rules the Roost

As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in keyword volume and the opportunity therein. So it was nice to have a refresher on search intent with Jenny Halasz. Search intent is the difference between searching “Cardiology” and “Cardiologist.” 

Cardiology = Intent to find answers on the topic: the profession, procedures, or definitions. Results will likely be pages similar to WebMD.
Cardiologist = Intent to find a medical professional “near me”. Results will likely be a map pack and clinics/specific doctors. 

So, when ideating for your keyword targets, make sure to take intent into consideration. Your results will be more relevant and have a higher possibility of ranking when you’re matched with the answer the user hopes to find. 

Furthermore, we also learned about considering Google’s intent. In almost every session I attended, the speakers addressed how Google is shifting from being a search engine to an answer engine. Their intent is to provide an answer to the user as soon as they can without navigating off of the SERP page. For marketers, that means creating content that serves this purpose

#3. Make Conversions Easy

The last breakout session I attended was with Roger Dooley, author of FRICTION. He talked about removing friction from the buyer’s journey at every step. In short, the easier it is to convert, the more likely people are to do it. Furthermore, when something can be done easier than the other options available, loyalty is built. An example of this is 1 click buying through Amazon or having to sign into a lengthy registration page to buy the same thing from another retailer.

The inbound way usually has an offer (eBook, checklist, webinar, guide…) gated behind a form. We trade contact information for access to our content. So before you blow up your forms with every little nice-to-have piece of information, think about the UX. Do you really *need* to know company size and revenue and favorite color in that awareness ebook form? Probably not. Scrap it and remove the friction to converting. Read more on that, here.

Ryan’s MnSearch Favs

Sometimes “Advanced SEO” means focus on the essentials

Portent CEO Ian Laurie ran a session on advanced SEO. Rather then a bunch of techno mumbo jumbo he pointed out that being advanced often means focusing on the essentials. He outlined 8 principles of advanced SEO. These were my faves: 

#1. Just Fix It

rel= canonical, 301, 302 redirects, url exclusions and so on often are band-aids for seo hot messes. Or, as Ian puts it – abstractions. Essentially they’re an attempt to tell Google: 

via GIPHY

Instead, Ian argues JUST FIX IT. Novel idea – right? 

#2. Find a Source of Truth

We all like to consider ourselves data-driven marketers. We come bearing our tools and data ready to wield insights and put together strategies. Ian points out that when it comes to search, some of the tools don’t quite measure up. When trying to diagnose major problems, you can’t argue against the source of truth. He shared some great methods at reviewing log files. More on that here.

#3. Look at The SERPs

Lastly, you just can’t beat looking at how actual search results are showing up. With how rich the results are now between links and snippets, taking some time to look to see what kind of information Google is actually choosing to share for your query can help inform your overall strategy. 

To be honest, throughout several sessions the “Look at the SERPs” was a constant and present reminder. 

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Smarketing in Action: A Real-world Example

Hubspot provided a definition to smarketing in 2014, and that hasn’t changed. The gist is a process by which your sales and marketing team get on the same page around goals and communicate regularly. The results can be huge. A 2016 LinkedIn report found nearly 60% of teams that reported sales and marketing alignment saw customer experience improvements, and a 2013 report from Marketo found companies with sales & marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue.

For a deep dive into driving sales and marketing alignment, check out our comprehensive guide on the topic. But today we’re going to take a look at smarketing in practice; there’s plenty on the internet that can define smarketing. What we’re going to look at is real-world examples of the impact it can have on your sales and marketing operations. 

This review will follow key topics touched on through past posts on sales and marketing alignment. 

smarketing action

Commit to Smarketing from the Top Down

In order for any smarketing effort to be effective, you have to commit to it throughout your organization – starting by leading from the top. 

Over the past year, our work with a client who believed in this from the C-level to the front lines has seen significant benefits from tight sales and marketing alignment. 

But how do you measure the benefit of sales and marketing alignment commitment? This isn’t a scientific, double-blind survey, but on average, our client whose leadership team not only buys into smarketing alignment but drives it forward, has seen faster time to marketing traction and ROI. This is especially impactful for inbound which on the short end can take 9 months or even up to 18 months to start showing in the numbers. 

If the anecdote above leaves you wanting more sales and marketing alignment proof, keep reading. We share some down and dirty numbers that back up our smarketing claims.

smarketing example

Establish & Track Key Measures

Knowing what and how to measure smarketing alignment can sometimes be a challenge. The two teams are often coming to the table with only their view of the funnel. But at the heart of a harmonious sales and marketing alignment, lies marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

You may have a program that with your first pass at an MQL definition is driving good volume, but when push comes to shove, your marketing contributed revenue isn’t all that great. 

The benefit of this is when your best-educated guesses go wrong. We have a favorite saying at Lake One, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” – multiple sources

Over the past 12 months, our unified sales and marketing alignment with our client resulted in increasing marketing-sourced revenue while actually flattening the volume of MQLs.

smarketing example

Wait, what? MQLs flatlining? It truly is about quality over quantity. Fewer, better quality MQLs could only be accomplished because of regular communication, and in two quarters of work, we saw a little over two times the marketing sources impact on revenue. 

smarketing example

Get Acquainted & Communicate 

Just saying we’re going to agree to a few measurables isn’t enough to drive an aligned sales and marketing organization. You need to develop a sales and marketing plan for regular communication and alignment checkpoints. 

Two heads are better than one, a whole group of heads – that’s magic. With the client we’ve been mentioning throughout this post, our smarketing alignment is tied into all of our marketing program meetings. Sales is represented in every meeting so we get to hear weekly what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming up. This kind of immediate connection between two teams that don’t traditionally work together opens up lines of communication. Both teams feel comfortable lobbing ideas over the fence in between those meetings. 

Ideas that have lead to optimizations seeing traffic nearly quadruple and leads nearly double in 6 months. 

smarketing example

Smarketing Results and You

This is just one example from one client of how smarketing can drive impact throughout the funnel on an organization. Every organization is different, but with so much attention, smarketing or sales and marketing alignment or whatever you want to call it is getting we thought it was worthwhile taking a look at how bringing the two teams responsible for revenue closer together – can actually make a measurable impact. 

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B2B Sales Enablement: What it is and the Role Marketing Plays in Making it Happen

We often discuss the age-old battle that can go down between sales and marketing. The tale of two disparate teams. Well in case you didn’t know, now it’s all about alignment. And… enablement.

Sales enablement according to HubSpot, is the technology, processes, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. And brace yourself for this one: marketing plays, or should play, a key role in the sales enablement process for B2B companies.

Whether the above sentence has you ready to fall out of your chair or stand up and clap, read on. We’ll cover why sales enablement should matter to marketers and their role in B2B sales enablement execution.

B2B Sales Enablement

Why Sales Enablement Should Matter to Marketers

Today’s modern buyers are different from buyers of old. The sales process is heavily led by the buyers and dictated by the market. Who specializes in the buyer’s journey and converting leads to customers alongside sales? Marketing.

A Seismic article quoted Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, as saying the following on an episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast, “If you’re in B2B marketing today and you’re not thinking every day about sales, what the pipeline looks like, or how close the organization is to hitting the number, then you’re not nearly as integrated in strategy – let alone tactics or activities – as you should be.” Yaaaasss. 💯

We created a guide to make sales and marketing alignment easier. Click here to get it.

This quote really says it all. If the company isn’t making money, more than just the sales team will be in hot water. The above just drives home the fact that strategy, goals, alignment, and yes sales, should be driving teams company-wide.

Successful sales are everybody’s business, but marketing has the skill set to enable sales to be successful and propel growth.

Marketing’s Role in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey. It results in an empowered sales team that sells at a higher velocity which ultimately equals happier customers.

B2B Sales Enablement

With that being said, there are several ways marketing can move the needle and enable sales.

Lead Qualification

Reporting needs vary from company to company, but one constant is the need to qualify leads. Every B2B company has to have some type of lead qualification process. Marketing’s role falls under the Sales and Marketing SLA, but more specifically, the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) process. [Read more about SLAs here.]

At a high level, MQLs are leads that are ready to be qualified by the sales team. Once the criteria are set and agreed upon, marketing can help with the implementation and qualification process. When marketing does some of the qualification and heavy lifting up front (digitally of course) it ensures sales are talking to leads that are ready to be talked to. It’s a win for everybody including the buyer.

Lead Scoring is a way to put your qualification process into action. Download our guide to learn more.

Content

A major component of sales enablement is arming the sales team with information they can use when selling. Don’t let your brain pigeonhole you into a sales deck. Information can range from internal best practices to customer-facing sales sheets. According to the TOPO blog, regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.

Content Audit

Speaking of easy to use, have we mentioned content audits? Content audits at Lake One are a living breathing workbook that houses all of the client’s content (both internal and external facing). The workbook also notes what part of the buyer’s journey that piece of content serves, the location of the document, the persona, if it is a fit for a workflow, etc.

The best part of the document, though, is the collaboration tab where sales can add content ideas. Think repeat buyer questions, a need for a case study, and more. Marketing can pull directly from the tab to help fill the content calendar.

Email Templates & Automated Sequences

Marketing teams should be pros at nurture sequences (if they’re not, contact us) and pros at moving buyers through the buyer’s journey from a lead to an MQL.

That precise expertise applies to the email template and automated sequences of sales enablement.

How do those differ from marketing based workflows? The email templates and automated sequences can be used pre-marketing qualified lead state or even as a way to qualify MQLs to a sales qualified lead.

Despite the differences, the same basics of sending personalized tailored emails to the buyer still apply. Marketing can leverage their knowledge of lead engagement and automation to enable the sales team.

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Key Takeaways

  • A successful sales team should be everyone’s business
  • Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey which leads to an empowered sales team selling at a higher velocity.
  • Marketing contributes to sales enablement in the following ways:
    • The definition and implementation of marketing qualified leads.
    • The creation of content that supports sales and in turn, the buyers.
    • The creation and implementation of email templates and sequences.

6 Common Misconceptions about Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses all of the different marketing techniques that take place online. It can include any of the following, and more:

  1. Websites/Landing pages
  2. Social media marketing (SMM)
  3. Inbound marketing
  4. Content marketing
  5. Email marketing
  6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  7. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  9. Affiliate & Influencer marketing

There are all kinds of digital marketing companies and experts, critics and avid fans, so there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there. Here are 6 common misconceptions about digital marketing.

 Misconceptions about Digital Marketing

1) Digital marketing is best suited for large businesses.

A major goal of digital marketing is to increase brand awareness and grow a business. Most small businesses have big aspirations- they’d like to become more well-known with strong desires to find and help their ideal customers. Digital marketing creates opportunities for small businesses that may not be possible with an offline-only presence.

Think an inbound digital strategy might be right for you? Click to find out.

Digital marketing allows you to reach potential customers both far and wide. Many successful small businesses have used digital marketing to grow and scale on a global level even without having a physical location. Moreover, social media provides a means to highlight important information and allows you to have one-on-one or one-to-many conversations, often without any money spent. It’s one of the more cost-effective ways to spread the word about the good work your company is doing. In many ways, it provides an equal opportunity to businesses of all shapes and sizes. You can start small and as you start seeing results, increase the time and money you put into it to increase your returns.

2) Digital marketing doesn’t need to play a part in company-wide goals.

Whatever your larger sales and company goals are, digital marketing should be a part of it. That is to say, it should be included in your overarching company strategy, aligned with your goals, brand, and vision from top to bottom. Sometimes marketing as a whole (not just digital) is put into a corner left to fend for itself. However, we know from experience that the most successful programs are aligned with the rest of the company and aimed at the same goals. Learn more about how you can align sales and marketing here.

3) Digital marketing is basically just creating a website.

If you spend time creating a stunning, interactive website and don’t do anything to promote it, how will people possibly find it? There are thousands of new websites popping up every single day; digital marketing is how you drive traffic to your website.

SEM/SEO paired with a solid content strategy, if done right, allow your information to be found when people are searching for what you offer. Once people actually reach your website, digital marketing efforts will continue to motivate people into a purchase or bottom of funnel action such as submitting a contact form. 

misconceptions about digital marketing

4) It’s too difficult to measure and track digital marketing’s ROI.

There are hundreds of affordable and easy to use tools and methods to track and measure your digital marketing efforts. Many of these platforms are essentially plug-and-play and can be implemented without tech expertise. Even if you need to pull in IT, tracking clicks, conversion rates, site traffic, etc. is far easier than tracking the effectiveness of a radio ad, for instance.  

No matter the method or tool utilized, one of the most important things is to be organized in the beginning and set definitive goals for your different digital marketing efforts. If you start with a SMART goal in mind including specific factors that point to success, along with a timeframe for when to evaluate, that starts you off on the right foot to track how things have gone since the beginning.  

5) Once digital marketing is set, you can forget it.

One of the most exciting and potentially difficult things about digital marketing is the fact that it is constantly evolving and shifting. What was once converting yesterday may not work tomorrow. For instance, short video content (15-45 seconds) was all the rage, but now 1:30-3 minute videos seem to be consumer preference. 

The constant change in the field means that you will need to keep your information and methods up to date or risk falling behind and getting lost in the shuffle. Another example is how Google updates its search algorithms continually. They won’t disclose what is actually included in the algorithm, but we do know that their algorithm values fresh, new information including info on your blogs and websites.

If you don’t have the time or desire to keep up with digital marketing methods or maintain fresh, new information, there are many effective digital marketing companies dedicated to doing that work for you.  

6) Digital Marketing needs to be perfect before launching.

One of the greatest things about digital marketing is it’s different for every company and even every initiative. Your company and offerings are as unique as your customers, and the best way to find what works for how to reach them is through trial and error.  

Here at Lake One, we believe in progress over perfection. So, don’t be afraid to try new things, keep track of what you’ve tried, and the results of those efforts. Put more effort into utilizing the methods that work well and simply let go of the things that don’t.

B2B Smarketing Check: How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

Sales and marketing misalignment can lead to a domino effect of problems such as internal tension, inability to achieve goals, and even revenue loss. Yikes.

But in order to grow and move forward, it’s crucial to assess and understand where you’re at currently with your smarketing efforts. How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

B2B Smarketing

Here are 8 must-ask questions to understanding your company’s B2B smarketing state of the state.

Interested in some mind-blowing sales and marketing alignment stats? Check out this post.

B2B Smarketing Question #1: Are Teams Speaking the Same Language?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first areas for assessment is verbiage and definitions. Communication is key but can be extremely difficult if teams aren’t speaking the same language or starting from some place of commonality.

Questions to ask:

  • Do your teams have a common definition and understanding for the following terms?
    • Marketing Qualified Lead
    • Sales Qualified Lead
    • Disqualified Leads
    • Lead Status
    • Contact Lifecycle Stages
    • Deal Stages
    • Traffic Sources (direct, referral, search, etc..)

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the sales and marketing alignment terms, but it’s a start. At a minimum, it should get you analyzing the common ground (or lack thereof) between the two teams when it comes to defining the sales and marketing process.

B2B Smarketing Question #2: Are Teams Targeting the Same Buyers?

We have stressed time and time again the importance of buyer personas. Buyer personas (in conjunction with research) should drive your strategy and be another common denominator among your sales and marketing teams and really, the company as a whole.

Questions to ask:

  • Are buyer personas defined?
  • Did both teams have influence in their creation?
  • Are the personas still relevant or do they need to be updated?

B2B Smarketing Question #3: Are Teams Working Towards the Same Goals?

Sales and marketing can be impactful independently, but joined together and working towards the same goal? Teams will achieve much more.

Nothing sets you on the fast-track to success like SMART goals.

Questions to ask:

  • Do the teams separately have SMART goals?
  • Are the goals well-known among the two teams and agreed upon?
  • Are the goals measured and tracked?

In need of a SMART goal refresh? Then this worksheet is for you.

B2B Smarketing Question #4: Are Teams Promoting the Same Products/Services?

Not all products and services are created equal. Through defining your buyer personas or crafting your smart goals, you likely surfaced key areas of focus whether it be new product offerings, key industries, revenue generation, etc.

For example, if demos have been unsuccessful but consults are effective, marketing likely shouldn’t be pushing demos as their bottom of the funnel offer in the nurture sequences.

Questions to ask:

  • Is sales aware of the products/services that marketing is promoting and vice versa?
  • Are both teams in agreement on the best direction?

B2B Smarketing Question #5: Are Teams Creating Content Together?

Although content creation doesn’t necessarily fall under the job descriptions of the sales team, sales should have an influence in content topic selection. Why? Because they are the front lines and literally the voice of the customer inside the company. Pairing sales’ insight with marketing’s keyword research skills is a great start to creating valuable content for your buyers.

Insider tip: We like to take it one step further and create what we call a content audit. It’s a living document that houses links to all of the content created and breaks it down by buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey. There’s also a tab for content requests that’s a direct line into marketing’s content topic queue. Here are some additional smarketing best practices to help.

Questions to ask:

  • What processes currently drive content topic selection?
  • Does sales approve?
  • Is there a way for sales to communicate content requests to marketing?
  • Does marketing have an audit document or something like it?

B2B Smarketing Question #6: What is Marketing’s Lead Handoff Procedure?

Marketing curates leads through inbound or paid media and then at some agreed upon point, the leads need to be passed to sales to be contacted and qualified. There are a few ways to accomplish the handoff. Our favorite is using marketing automation software (HubSpot) to do the heavy lifting. However, software aside, aligned smarketing teams should be able to answer the questions below.

Questions to ask:

  • At what point in the process does marketing handoff a lead to sales? What triggers it?
  • How is sales notified of the lead?
  • What is the follow-up expectation from sales? (i.e. how many days do they have before they make contact, how are they contacting the lead, etc.)

B2B Smarketing Question #7: How Does Sales Provide Feedback on Lead Quality?

In order for marketing to continue to deliver the sales team quality leads, there needs to be a feedback loop. Sales needs to communicate through lead status- the quality of the lead. This ties back all the way up to the first question about definitions.

Questions to ask:

  • How does sales communicate a rejected lead? (marketing automation software or otherwise?)
  • Does sales have a way to communicate why leads were rejected? (Poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • What does marketing do with the rejected leads? Where are the leads at now?

B2B Smarketing Question #8: Do Teams Have Regular Meetings?

Actually meeting in person, having conversations, and building rapport are critical to sales and marketing alignment success. It’s so much easier to work as a team when you have a strong foundation to work from.

So how do you build rapport? Meetings. But let’s be clear, quality of meetings should be prioritized over quantity. Nothing disengages teams like pointless meetings.

Questions to ask:

  • Do teams have monthly and/or quarterly meetings?
  • Do teams have a way to easily communicate outside of meetings? (Like Slack or Skype)

The trick to these meetings are to make them engaging, yet structured. Here’s an article with some great tips for doing just that.

B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment

B2B Smarketing Key Takeaway: Communication is a Must

Do the questions above have your head spinning or wondering where to even start to begin to achieving sales and marketing harmony?

Start with communication. If there is one commonality that leads to the improvement of sales and marketing alignment, it’s communication. It fuels defining the terminology, the buyer personas, content creation, and the entire smarketing process. Whether facilitated through technology or happening in regular scheduled meetings, it’s critical.

Need a little help with your sales and marketing alignment? You’re in luck because that’s our specialty. Contact us here.  

5 Signs Inbound Marketing is Right for Your Business

You probably already get the gist of inbound marketing if you’re reading this (here’s a refresher if you don’t). But how do you know if it’s right for your business? Here are five telltale signs that inbound marketing is right for you.

Inbound Marketing is Right

1) Your (Potential) Customers are Online

Let’s be honest, your customers are online. Even the majority of B2B purchase decisions are made online now. The expectation of all users is that you have a website that is not only easy on the eyes and simple to navigate but also answers their questions and provides value. Inbound marketing is a way to meet your consumers where they already are (online) rather than trying to find them via hit and miss traditional methods like radio or print.

What do you need to get started with inbound? Grab our checklist.

2) You’re Not Getting Enough Leads

The biggest complaint from salespeople is usually that they aren’t getting enough leads. Understandable. No leads, no sales. Inbound can be a great solution to that problem.

The inbound method aims to move buyers through the funnel at three different stages: awareness (top), consideration (middle), and decision (bottom). You can read more about those stages in this post. While there are many different ways you can help buyers along this journey, they usually involve collecting information from a user in exchange for whatever you’re offering. This is called lead generation. Once you have the contact info of a user, you can market to them personally via things like workflows to help nudge them along into becoming a customer.

is inbound marketing right

3) You’re Not Getting Enough Website Traffic

Perhaps you’re getting leads through things like cold-calling, word of mouth, or repeat business, and the problem is that your website is a wasteland. This is a big sign inbound might be right for your organization. I’ll try to stay at a high-level here, but the way that inbound moves people along the funnel as mentioned above is by offering useful, informative content that your potential buyers want. This information should be targeted to answer your buyer’s questions, make them feel empowered, and show how your product can solve their problems. So how does this help traffic?

Well, people are actively looking for their answers online. In theory, the content created through an inbound strategy (blogs, webinars, ebooks, etc.) will be filled with the keywords and phrases your users are putting into Google to find your type of solution. By creating content that matches these search queries, your content/website will start ranking higher and higher in the search results.

A bonus to inbound is that search engines favor sites that post fresh content regularly. Therefore, posting new blog content frequently in and of itself can help your search rankings.

4) Your Competitors are Beating You

is inbound marketing right

How can they beat you? Let me count the ways. It could be that your competitor’s website is a work of user-experience art, smartly crafted to guide users into a purchase while yours is… not. Or maybe it’s that they rank higher on every search term than you do, getting all the clicks you wish you had. OR maybe it’s that your competition is encroaching on revenue that used to be yours after they started buying up ad space you didn’t know was even available.

Inbound? Yeah… it can help with all of those things.

5) You Want to Generate Thought Leadership and Authority

Another sign that inbound marketing might be right for your company is that you want to generate thought leadership or be known as an authority in your field. Thought leaders are, “the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise.” Inbound inherently generates thought leadership (assuming you do in fact know your industry and are able to produce high-quality content) by the sheer volume of content you produce. Your content naturally gives you a platform to show off your industry knowledge and expertise.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways that Inbound Marketing Might be Right for You

  1. Your would-be customers are online (but you’re missing them).
  2. You’re not generating enough leads to make sales happy.
  3. Your website traffic isn’t good enough.
  4. The competition is smoking you.
  5. You want to be a thought leader and authority in your industry.