As we have previously stated, digital marketing and inbound marketing differ in terms of their final objectives. While digital marketing is aimed at increasing your website’s online visibility and driving web traffic, inbound marketing tactics identify potential leads from the traffic influx and convert them into customers.
New businesses that are seeking to gain a footing within a competitive marketplace can rely on a well-crafted digital marketing strategy: a strategy which is a mixture of the right digital marketing tactics -such as blogging, SEO and PPC - designed primarily to make customers aware of their services and presenting themselves as a reliable authority in their niche.
There comes a time when the business will need to look beyond the bounds of digital marketing. At this point, the focus moves to generating, converting and nurturing leads, and generating sales: in other words, inbound marketing. With effective inbound marketing strategies in place, your business starts pulling in quality lead traffic and generating successful sales. However, inbound is a long-term process that will need to be scaled over time. This means that it will eventually become near impossible for your team to manually screen leads, identify which leads are sales-ready, and to nurture them through to successful conversions. You’ll need to find some way to maximize your results without taxing your sales and marketing teams: you need inbound marketing software.
So, how can you tell that it’s time to start automating your inbound marketing efforts? First off, what is marketing automation? In the simplest terms, it is a technology that automates marketing tasks with the aim of boosting a company’s revenue generation and improving their operational efficiency. With inbound marketing, automation supplements smart tactics such as lead scoring and lead nurturing, and other components to convert quality leads into paying customers.
What Should an Inbound Marketing Software Solution Feature?Some necessary features of automated Inbound Marketing software include:
- Visitor Tracking to monitor activity and behavior on your website
- Sales Alerts to inform sales teams when leads are sales-ready
- Lead Management including lead scoring, lead nurturing, and lead assignment
- Forms and Landing Pages to capture information and guide the leads down the sales funnel
- Trackable Calls-to-Action to measure and optimize conversion performance
- Dynamic Smart Content and Blogging platforms to create relevant, engaging and conversion-optimized content offers
- Lead Nurturing Workflows
Do You Need Inbound Marketing Software? Let’s Find out.
1. Your Website Doesn’t Generate Enough Leads
As an inbound marketing agency, we are often approached by clients who are desperate to increase their sales. However, a closer look at their marketing campaigns reveals that the issue is actually a lack of quality leads pouring in through their primary channel: their website. Even though their site has a “Contact Us” page, it only serves as a draw for spammers.
This means you’re losing contact with potential leads. The consideration stage is a crucial phase of the buyer’s journey, and marketers should be using this phase to capture information from potential leads by offering premium content in exchange for contact information. So, you’ll need a quick landing page creation program and a call-to-action generator to help you execute this.
2. Your Leads Aren’t Converting to Customers
Even with a landing page and CTA in place to pull in quality leads, it can still be extremely taxing for your marketing and sales teams to follow up on every single one of them. They will need to work on each with persuasive tactics, hoping that they will eventually convert to customers. This is not only ineffective, but also wastes valuable sales and marketing resources when they can and should be focusing on hotter leads.
With marketing automation, you can set up a lead nurturing campaign for your offer that incorporates a workflow. This campaign involves: a thank you e-mail when the user initially fills out the form, 3-4 evenly spaced follow-up e-mails, and finally, an e-mail inviting the lead to try out a demo, free trial or consultation. Your sales team is only alerted when the lead has worked their way down the workflow, at which point they become SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads).
3. You Are Overwhelmed by the Amount of Contacts Being Pulled in
Segmenting your incoming leads into discrete and relevant groups is an imperative part of an effective inbound marketing campaign. This is because your customers don’t all fall into one single category; they are at different stages of the buying cycle. As such, they will need a different kind of communication and will require different lead nurturing strategies to push them down the sales funnel.
If you are unsure about the best way to go about segmenting the contacts you’ve collected in your CRM, then marketing automation software can make it easier for you. You can create intelligent audience segmentation lists and create relevant workflows for each of these segments.
4. You’re Losing Track of Metrics
If you’re unsure of what metrics and analytics you should be tracking or have been relying solely on analytics such as page views and conversion rates to track your performance, you’re missing out on a much larger and detailed picture: one which you can only get from marketing automation software.
This is because, unlike anonymous data presented by web analytics platform like Google, a marketing platform can create social profiles for every user that visits your website, and give you deeper analytical and behavioral data, both in terms of the page’s performance and the activity of the users on your page. Automating software presents this data in detailed reports, broken down for every marketing asset you use: landing pages, e-mail campaigns, social media and CTAs.
5. You’re Struggling to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
A while back, we talked about why an alignment between your sales and marketing teams is important for a company’s growth. Even though there is a difference in perspective in the way the two teams focus on leads, there still needs to be transparency between them to ensure that the process of taking a lead from CTA to sale is seamless.
With marketing software’s lead scoring component, you can ensure that both teams agree on lead qualifying factors, allowing them take the right actions depending on where the lead is currently on the buyer’s journey.
6. Measuring Your Landing Page and CTA Conversion Rates Is Hard
If you have been creating good content and have a number of landing pages for offers, you’re on the right track to increase your lead generation. However, what should matter to you as an inbound marketer is how many leads generated by those pages successfully converted into customers. The conversion rate is crucial to your campaign, so that you can make the necessary tweaks to your landing pages to increase conversions.
With an automation software dashboard and A/B Testing, you can test variations of your landing pages and view a detailed breakdown of each page’s performance, and replace the poorly performing variations with better ones. The same concept applies to your CTAs, where you improve your CTRs through insights gained from your marketing software.
7. You Need to Know Where Your Leads Are Coming from
An inbound marketing campaign is composed of multiple marketing assets, each aimed at generating quality lead traffic. But, how do you know which one is really working and which ones are not? How do you determine which ones work well at generating traffic, contacts and leads?
Automated inbound marketing software can do just that: it can break down the traffic sources so marketers can assess their efficacy, and ramp up efforts on those that work or improve/discard those that don’t.
8. Your Blogging Efforts Are Stalled
The pluses of having a blog are manifold, especially when it comes to drawing traffic and establishing your authority in your domain. Unfortunately, content is too often just blurbed out for the sake of production and lacks context, value and appeal.
Deciding on a topic for your blog every week can sometimes be difficult. A keyword research tool can help immensely in identifying ranking opportunities and also, show your current ranking performance for existing keywords.
Using this knowledge, you can create content around keywords you haven’t used before. Alternatively you can add a new post for a keyword you’re ranking really well for to maintain your position. In both cases, you get to know what your target is searching, which gives you an edge when you offer answers.
9. You’re Finding It Hard to Keep Up with Your Competitors
Do you feel like you’re being left behind in the competition, where it appears that they always seem to come up with great ideas, receive a higher rate of shares and linkbacks in comparison to your own performance? Then, chances are they have invested in automated software - which should be reason enough to invest in one for yourself.
But, if that isn’t convincing enough, you can track their performance against your own with a competitor report generated an all-in-one platform. With this report, you can gain a clear idea on what works for them and make the necessary changes to your own marketing efforts.
10. You’re Dealing with far too many Marketing Applications at once
Integrating and synchronizing all these applications and tracking the data into one place is an unnecessary hassle and waste of investment and resources. An automated marketing system consolidates all marketing and sales functions into one single unified platform that can be accessed by everyone in your team.
This also means all your marketing channels and data are in one place, allowing for transparency between teams and making report generating a breeze.
With marketing efforts being so customer-centric as they are today, inbound marketers need all the information they can get about their customers and their behavior, and they need to keep an eye on the ball at all times. This allows them to meet their customer at the right time with the right tactics to generate a successful conversion. An automated inbound marketing system can, not only do just that, but also save resources and time investments.