Friday, May 18, 2018
Thursday, May 17, 2018
When executed correctly, an inbound marketing strategy can increase your returns and grow your business. But in order to properly implement your strategy, you first need to have some fundamentals in place. We've distilled these necessities into three essential elements: well-defined buyer personas, a sales-ready website and a properly configured marketing automation platform.
1. Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers built with an understanding of the challenges they're facing and how your company solves them. A set of properly defined buyer personas is the true foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, as they inform every later stage of the process. At the start of the inbound buyer's journey, your goal is to attract these ideal customers to your website through content they find interesting and educational, and at the end of the journey, your goal is to demonstrate how your company provides solutions to their pain points.
With buyer personas in place, you can easily create content that resonates with your ideal buyer and identify gaps in your content marketing strategy to better nurture them down the funnel. Without the holistic insight afforded by this foundation, your inbound marketing strategy will lack focus, which will detrimentally affect your content, website, leads, sales and, ultimately, your ROI. Therefore, the first step of any successful inbound strategy is to create buyer personas and put them at the center of the rest of the strategy.
2. Sales-Ready Website
We have a saying here at New Breed: Your website can no longer be just a digital brochure about your business; it needs to act as your first, and best, salesperson. Think about it: buyers have all of the power today, so in order to not miss out on an opportunity to connect or sell, your website needs to evolve to take on more of those conversations. Even the best-planned inbound marketing strategy will go awry if it's bringing visitors to an unresponsive and ineffective website. To move past the era of digital brochure, your website needs to dynamically tailor each experience to a prospect by offering relevant content that speaks to their specific audience (your buyer personas!). By providing this content, keeping form and conversion strategy in mind, as well as using inbound SEO best practices, your website will become truly sales ready, acting as a more efficient customer touch point and an opportunity for your company.
3. Marketing Automation Platform
As your new sales-ready website starts bringing in more leads, your marketing automation platform also needs to be properly configured. When set up correctly, your platform will streamline your operations, enable your marketing and sales teams to be successful and offer you full visibility into your marketing funnel. Most importantly, a well-built marketing automation platform provides context, and context is integral to a quality inbound marketing strategy. With more context, the more you are able to segment your contact database and set up even more relevant nurture campaigns that will bring more prospects down the funnel and eventually help them become customers.
It's critical to properly define your buyer personas before the start of any inbound marketing strategy. While it's a common misconception to think of these personas as simply a target industry or target position within a company, true buyer personas will track back to those aspects while also pulling together a fuller understanding of the human element, by considering challenges, pain points and how your company solves for them.
Next, ensure your website can speak to each of your buyer personas wherever they are in the buyer's journey — and optimize it for conversions. The more conversation your website is able to handle, the more insights it can provide your sales team when they continue the discussion with prospects.
Lastly, the right marketing automation platform can enable your marketing team to optimize processes for growth. When properly aligned with these processes, a good platform can quickly pinpoint problems in your funnel to ultimately convert more prospects into customers and grow your business.
Access the webinar "The Three Essential Elements of Effective Inbound Strategy" to see if your inbound marketing strategy is up to par.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
The process of identifying and weighting marketing touch points is critical to effectively implementing a marketing attribution strategy. Moreover, it can enable marketing teams to gain a holistic view of their marketing and sales funnel in relation to the customer journey. By unifying the customer journey map with your marketing touch points, you can identify and capitalize on the most valuable elements of your current marketing ecosystem, and, in turn, drive growth for your organization.
Before you can begin mapping your touch points to the customer journey, it is important to understand the different types of marketing touch points in relation to your marketing and sales funnel. A marketing touch point is any interaction between your company and a potential buyer. This could be any activity from viewing your content mentioned on social media to stopping at your company’s booth at an in-person trade show. At New Breed, we use four different types of marketing touch points to configure our marketing attribution models: First Touch, Lead Creation Touch, Opportunity Creation Touch and Closed Won Touch.
True to its name, a first touch is the very first time a prospect encounters your company. This touch point is the way someone becomes aware that your company even exists, and, more often than not, this touch point does not include any type of conversion.
For example, if a prospect hears about your company by word-of-mouth, that would be considered a first touch point. Because these first touch points don’t usually involve any type of conversion, they are typically weighted the least in many revenue attribution models. However, first touch points are essential for brand awareness and act as the jumping off point for your company’s relationship with a potential customer.
The Lead Creation touch occurs at the first time a user converts on your website or becomes a lead by some other means. This touch point could potentially manifest as an opt-in to a newsletter subscription or a form fill to access a premium content offer. This touch point represents the first time a prospect voluntarily provides a piece of their contact information, and it is a critical first step toward their becoming a customer.
The Opportunity Creation touch point occurs at the point immediately before an SQL converts into an opportunity. Think of this touch point as the action that nudges them into the next lifecycle stage. Oftentimes these touch points occur on Bottom-of-Funnel (BOFU) content offers like demos or free trials.
Similar to Opportunity Creation touch points, Closed Won touch points occur immediately before an opportunity converts into a customer. Prior to becoming closed won, this deal is in the conversation stage of the sales cycle, where the prospect is deciding whether or not to do business with your company. In this stage, touch points on resources like case studies, testimonials and demos are likely to make or break the decision to become a customer, so consider them carefully in your evaluation.
By mapping the touch points detailed above to the customer journey, revenue teams can gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire sales process and identify which touch points are contributing to revenue — and perhaps more importantly, which are not.
To map your marketing touch points to the customer journey, you must first identify the proper marketing attribution model for your organization. The right marketing attribution model can assign revenue credit for a customer based on the touch point(s) that influenced their decision to buy. The most common B2B marketing attribution models are: First Touch, Last Touch, Linear Multi-Touch and Time Decay Multi-Touch.
Consider the following factors when picking your marketing attribution model:
- Size of your marketing and sales teams
- Length of sales cycle
- The tech stack in place (marketing automation, CMS, Business Intelligence (BI) Tools, CRM)
- Reporting needs from the C-Suite or board members
For more information on the selection process, check out this post on choosing a marketing attribution model.
Depending on your choice of marketing attribution model, the touch points discussed above will be assigned different values based on their position in the customer journey. Though this is not true for every revenue attribution model, oftentimes, touch points nearest to the closed won stage will be weighted as attributing the most value. Conversely, touch points nearest to the beginning of the sales cycle will be weighted as attributing the least revenue.
By placing varied values on the different types of marketing touch points, marketers can better identify any gaps that may create fall-off in their marketing and sales funnel. Conversely, they can determine which touch points and their respective content are generating the most contribution to revenue, enabling them to further capitalize on those points.