In the good old days of marketing not so long ago, the number of platforms that brands had to access in order to convey their messages were limited. They could reach their target markets through a few television stations and radio outlets, some newspapers, and a handful of magazines.
But today’s audience is much more scattered and fragmented by the proliferation of media sources—tv stations, millions of websites, and a plethora of social networks. And by and large they have become inured of traditional marketing tactics.
Rather, brands today need to adopt a digital marketing strategy that attracts customers, meeting them where they are and engaging their attention. They need to be www.
Whereas traditional, outbound marketing pushes a single message to the masses, inbound marketing targets the individuals that populate this digital world and pulls them in—turning strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers, customers into promoters.
According to leading inbound marketing solutions provider Hubspot,
“inbound attracts and converts visitors into customers through personalised relevant information and content…and [follows] them through the sales experience with ongoing engagement.” In order to adopt inbound strategies successfully, brands must, according to Hubspot, “weave inbound’s content-rich customer-focused strategy through all [their] business practices.”
To learn more about how inbound marketing works download the free inbound marketing guide.
If you want to step up your marketing efforts and boost your ROI, here are three digital marketing strategies you can employ.
Invest in your website
According to Hubspot’s “2013 State of Inbound Marketing” report, SEO delivers the biggest bang for marketing budgets and is the top source for leads. While the marketers surveyed reported 14% of their leads came from SEO, it accounted for just 12% of budgets. Compare that to trade shows, which generated just 8% of leads, but accounted for 10% of marketing budgets.
But you should think beyond SEO when evaluating your website. Ask yourself whether your website functions as an online brochure or as a trusted resource to your audience. If you answer the former, you’re not making full use of your site. As Mike Volpe writes on the MarketingProfs blog,
“Most websites today act as digital brochures or a brand silo, offering little substance. Even if a website has a good balance of design and utility, few companies are building websites that serve their primary purpose: to attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers with rich, relevant, and valuable content.”
Amp up on social
The same Hubspot report found that, like SEO, social media brings in leads, generating 14% of marketers’ total. And marketers reported that, among the social media outlets, Facebook led to more customers, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and Pinterest. In addition, 27% of marketers report that social media delivered below-average cost per lead.
Like all of your digital content, however, it’s critical that you test the effectiveness of your social media messages. Hubspot found that 36% of marketers support monthly testing. As the report found, “Ongoing testing tells your company what you don’t know and allows your company to make business decisions based on facts, not opinions.”
Reach out with email marketing
Email marketing can be a very effective tool in your inbound marketing kit. Email came in just behind SEO and social media in the Hubspot report, generating 13% of leads, while taking up just 12% of budget allocations. In addition, it tied social media among marketers for below-average cost per lead.
But not all email marketing is equal and not all email marketing is www. A generic mass email will produce fewer leads and conversions than a targeted email, tailored to individual customers and based on lead scoring.
Moreover, certain subject lines work better than others. According to the most recent annual survey of email marketing by Adestra, the words “alert” and “breaking” performed best in B2B emails. The words “reports,” “forecasts,” and “intelligence,” appear to have outlived their attention-grabbing usefulness.
Inbound marketing is increasingly becoming the dominant paradigm. As Bryan Heisenberg of Eisenberg Holdings told Hubspot, “inbound marketers who focus on developing content that meets their customers’ needs and invest in doing so for the long term nearly double their conversion rate.”
Focusing on the effectiveness of your website, social media, and email marketing is sound strategy. These digital content platforms deliver maximum ROI and provide the greatest opportunity for your brand to attract and engage loyal customers and referral business.
Now it’s your turn
What do you consider your most effective digital marketing strategy? Share your successes in the comments below.