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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, May 8, 2017 11 min read

How Does Inbound Marketing Play In A Demand Generation Marketing Strategy?

Today, Most Companies Are Executing A Blend Of Inbound And Outbound Tactics

Inbound Marketing for Demand GenerationWhen it comes to life and revenue generation, the answer is rarely white or black but rather many shades of gray. Most businesses today are deploying a blend of inbound marketing and outbound tactics, and theyre seeing positive results.

The mix of inbound and outbound really comes down to your budget, your goals and your timeline. When your budget is tight, you might have to wait a little longer to see results because you simply don’t have the resources to move the needle quickly.

But when you invest at the level matching your own business goals, a lot of inbound and outbound tactics come together to produce dramatic revenue-optimization results.

Here’s how to blend both inbound and outbound tactics to drive revenue.

Please Start With Strategy

It’s going to sound redundant if you read this blog regularly. You know we’re a strategy before tactics agency. We know the difference between amazing results and mediocre or even disappointing results is marketing and sales strategy.

If you’re doing anything without a solid marketing strategy (including personas, messaging, differentiation and compelling emotional stories), you’re flying without a net. If you don’t have a documented sales process that everyone in the company is following, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Get both sales and marketing strategy done and shared across the company before you do anything else.

Use Account-Based Marketing For People Who Are Not Searching

Lots of people who could benefit from your product or service are unaware that your company even exists. Sorry, but it’s true. By targeting the people at these companies and proactively reaching out to them with an interesting story and engaging content, you can bring them into your ecosystem and start showing them what they’re missing. For more information on account-based marketing and how it might work at your company, check out this page.

Use Search Optimization For People Who Are Searching

The others who are looking for what you do should be able to find you. They must be able to find you on Google, social media and other influencer sites. Anywhere they are, you need to be. This is going to take some time, but it won’t cost you any money to be found. The key to this element of your marketing is to select the keywords, phrases and questions people are using without selecting the most competitive ones. The ones that everyone is using will take a lot longer to work. Having the right mix is the key.

Use Paid Ads For People Who Are Searching And People Who Are Not Searching

Getting found by paying to be visible is definitely a shortcut, but it also requires an ever-increasing level of investment. What costs you $200 today might cost you more tomorrow, since most of the paid advertising on the internet includes a bidding situation. While the targeting is based on search and demographics, you still need compelling messaging to cut through all of the clutter.

Focus On The Website Experience For Everyone

Website Experiences for Lead GenerationAll roads lead to your website. Google research reports that 90% of your potential customers will visit your website before they call or click. If you give your new visitors an amazing experience, they’ll convert.

If you give them a mediocre experience, remember that the back button is a click away. More bad news: You have only 10 seconds to deliver that initial experience. And with mobile you need to deliver two amazing experiences, one for your customer’s mobile device and one for their laptop.

This is also an area where a lot of our new clients need major upgrades. You need to tell a story on your site. You need a simple, emotional and compelling story with educational content for all stages of the buyer’s journey. This usually means making fairly significant upgrades to their existing websites. Once you start thinking about it as an experience instead of a website, your perspective might change.

Focus On Ongoing Optimization For All Of The Identified KPIs

You probably redid your website a few years ago, or maybe you’re in the middle of a website rebuild right now. That mindset has to change. You need to be working on your website every month. You need to be making changes that help the site get found, so more people visit. You need to be making changes so more people convert from visitors into leads and you need to be making changes so the quality of the leads improves. Set numeric goals, measure performance and increase the numbers month over month.

Use Content Marketing For Leads

The more you blog, the more visitors youll see as Google ranks your blog content. The more content you publish on your site, the more leads youll generate as your visitors request the content. This is another spot where today’s marketing gets tricky. Your content needs to help in search, in the experience and in the conversion strategy. As a bonus, you can use this content in the sales process too. That allows you to increase your conversion rates at all stages of the sales funnel.

Use Lead Nurturing For Engagement

Not everyone is ready to buy today. In fact, our research shows that up to 90% of all leads are NOT ready to buy today. This means you need to spend a significant amount of time, energy and money on making sure that the conversation post conversion is consistent, action-oriented, disruptive and engaging. The better the ongoing conversation, the more people at the top and middle of the funnel will turn into bottom-of-the-funnel, ready-to-buy-today leads.

Use Sales Process Redesign To Increase Close Rates

Now that your leads are converting, if you don’t continue the experience deep into the sales process you’ll see long sales cycles and low close rates. Sound familiar? To fix this, experience-map your sales process and make it WOW! Sales process improvement is the first step to seeing real revenue acceleration. Content, insightful communication, video and customer participation in the process all help you shorten the sales cycle and increase the close rates. The improvements are dramatic.

Use Customer Advocacy To Shorten Sales Cycles

Customer Advocacy MarketingYou might not be completely familiar with customer advocacy programs, but they are quickly becoming one of the best ways to shorten the sales cycle and help you close more new business.

Consider how impactful it would be for a prospect to get an unsolicited email from one of your current customers telling them how amazing it is to work with you. It’s a no-brainer — new customer closed.

If this seems like a lot, it is. Plus, these are only the basics. We’ve deployed an entire list of other marketing and sales improvements for clients, all with the goal of improving key metrics, driving efficiency and improving revenue growth.

Planning, orchestrating and optimizing all of these tactics at the same time requires a new set of skills. It’s not enough to be a generalist, an email marketing expert or a UI/UX designer. Today, you’ll need your marketing team to conduct an entire orchestra of marketing tactics and they’ll have to do it every single day.

They’ll also need to blend more demand generation tactics like pay-per-click, banner ads and ABM with more earned attention tactics like content creation, organic SEO and influencer marketing. The secret — it’s all about the numbers. Today, you get real-time data on the performance of your marketing. You’ll see what’s working and what’s not working. Your team also must have the skills of a scientist to analyze, respond and create tests that uncover the insights you need to drive revenue.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.