Machines need to be fed. The engine in your care needs gas and oil. Factory machines require raw materials to produce finished goods. Your inbound Marketing Machine has to be fed too. What you put into the machine dictates the quality and speed of what comes out.
Not sure what should be coming out of your machine? LEADS!
But what should you be feeding your inbound Marketing Machine to generate leads? Here are a few options. Consider using them all, in some form, to create an optimized inbound Marketing Machine.
A Variety of Educational Content – Your prospects are hungry for educational content. Buyer behavior has evolved from simply learning about your company and its products. Today's buyers want to learn how to make a safe purchase decision. Regardless of whether you're a B2B or B2C company, your buyers want to be guided through their purchase cycle and they don’t want to be sold to.
What this means for business owners, CEOs, and marketing professionals is that you have to create a steady stream of educational information to stay in front of your prospects. By feeding this content into your Marketing Machine you ensure that your prospects are always getting helpful information from your company. Once that relationship is established, you continue to be their trusted source for educational info.
In a Variety of Formats – Not all buyers are the same. Some like to read. Some like to watch. Others like to listen. These are important differences. As you start to feed your inbound Marketing Machine with content, you have to know your target prospect and tailor the content to their learning style. If you are selling services to engineers, I would suggest sharing research studies, white papers and data sheets. If you’re selling to business owners, perhaps a series of videos, podcasts or infographics would be more effective.
In many cases, a well planned blend of formats is the right answer. Regardless, keeping your content formats varied helps feed your machine a more balanced diet.
New Friends, Followers, Connections, Contacts and Viewers – We are talking about your social media networks. The people who like you on Facebook, connect with you on LinkedIn or follow you on Twitter. These networks are important corporate assets and they should be treated that way. You should be actively growing these lists. Just like you collect email addresses, you should be collecting likes, followers, connections and viewers. The bigger these numbers, the faster your Marketing Machine runs.
New, Interesting, Compelling Stories – You can’t keep telling the same story about your business over and over again. Your prospects will start to tune you out. You need a series of interesting, compelling and emotional stories to be distributed regularly over the course of the entire year. Now you know that day after day, week after week, month over month your target prospects are hearing something interesting about your business. This is where your blog, email marketing, social sharing, press releases and events all combine to make sure you always have something new to talk about with your prospects.
Test New Tactics In Small Spoonfuls – Just like you feed your inbound Marketing Machine, you can try new marketing tactics as long as they are in small bit-sized chunks. That is, until those new programs have proven to work. Once your new tactics have been proven to succeed you can start increasing the portions as part of your full blown Marketing Machine.
Here is an example. Facebook advertising offers micro-segmentation, pay per click or pay per impression. But instead of starting with $1,000 a month in Facebook advertising and a hope that it works, we started with $50 a week for a four week trial period and adjusted our campaign weekly until it was highly optimized. The result was an increase from 300 likes, to 800 likes in just four days. Once we are sure its optimized completely, then we'll roll it out and really drive the numbers. Consider using a similar approach for your business.
The more you feed the machine, the more chances you have of getting found, getting leads and growing sales.
Start Today Tip – Take a look at your Marketing Machine. What condition is it in? Is it an old rusted out clunker or a high performance speedster? Identify what improvements are necessary to upgrade its performance. Get an action plan together that includes improvements in the areas of content, conversions and contacts. Most importantly, formulate an idea of how to continuously feed your new inbound Marketing Machine.
If you feel like you need to talk with an expert, consider posting your questions to the blog and I will respond personally. If you prefer a one-on-one conversation, our inbound marketing strategists are here to help.
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