Yesterday, we talked about key indicators that might alert you to the fact that your inbound marketing program is underperforming. Click here to read that post.
Today, we want to spend a few minutes talking about adjustments you should make today to get your program moving in the right direction: toward lead generation.The first step in fixing your inbound marketing effort is to properly diagnose the problem. What appears to be performing below expectations? Is it leads or website visitors?
If the website traffic numbers are the issue, here are a few upgrades for you to make to pick up the pace on new visitors to your site.
Take a look at the sources of your visitor traffic. You need to be optimizing all sources, including social media, direct traffic, referral traffic, visitors from email marketing and organic search traffic. If one or more of these is lagging, you're missing some opportunities to drive visitors. The issue is usually related to the programs that support these sources of new visitors.
If you're seeing low numbers of people that find you organically from search engine optimization, you might need to pick up the pace on your blogging. Blogging is directly related to your organic ranking and your total organic traffic results. If your number of organic visitors is down dramatically, you may have inadvertently violated some of Google’s latest content rules.
Remember, you are competing with everyone else in your space, and your competitors are executing their own search engine optimization. So, just because you were number two last month doesn’t mean you are going to stay there this month – which has more to do with them than it does with you. Make sure you’re looking at on-site SEO in terms of your site's content and the way it was built. Small changes in these areas sometimes result in major improvements in the rankings.
Social media is often a weak spot when it comes to driving new visitors to your site. Make sure that all of your social sites are fully optimized with current graphics, messaging and offers, and be actively engaging with your friends and followers. Sites that are half-baked or left unattended rarely drive new visitors. Share your content on your social sites and your website, and you're bound to see a dramatic upswing in new visitors.
Another area to address in terms of increasing new website visitors is referral sources. It’s possible that your content is too focused on the people you know and not getting out to those you don’t. Consider ramping up your outreach to other sites frequented by your best prospects. If you get permission to post blog content, educational content or even some of your video assets, you’ll be able to drive your website numbers up quickly and easily.
Now, let’s talk about leads. Sure, website traffic is important, but think about it like the top of the sales funnel. Leads are usually more important. If you have good website visitor numbers but you’re not turning them into leads, your issue is with your content.
You should be planning to add one piece of industry-leading, authoritative and educational content at least once a month. If the piece is well written, professionally designed, implemented with a dedicated landing page (that's been properly developed) and delivered using best practices, you should be converting website visitors into leads at a sitewide rate of between one and three percent.
If you’re executing at this pace and still struggling with lead generation, you have to break down the content creation exercise at a more granular level. One of the issues might be your call-to-action buttons. If they’re not compelling, visually appealing and placed on the page properly, your visitors might not know you have educational content for them.
Check your analytics to see how often people are clicking on those buttons. If they are selecting them, going to the landing page and then abandoning them, you have a landing page design challenge. Click here to see some of our best practices for creating landing pages that turn visitors into leads.
It’s also possible that the content you are creating is not aligned with the content your prospects need to make a solid purchase decision. This is a marketing and strategy problem – one we work with clients to resolve early on in the process. If you find out late in the game, you've likely wasted a lot of time and money that could have been avoided with some solid planning up front.
To check on your content plan, get a list of questions that your prospects ask throughout the sales process – at the beginning, in the middle and right before they make their decision. Your content should help answer these questions. If they do, you're good to go. If they don’t, it might be time to restart your content planning process.
Finally, don’t panic if results are down for one month or two. If they're down for three months, there's a trend happening, and something needs to be done about the decline. If you are actively managing your inbound marketing program daily, weekly and monthly, you shouldn’t end up with too many down months, but it does happen, even to the best of us.
Take a step back, diagnose the issues, make a list of adjustments and then start tackling them one at a time, starting with those you think will make the biggest impact. Watch the results: You should see a rebound. If you're looking at the right numbers, you're likely to notice the rebound within days, not weeks or months. If you still have challenges, consider bringing in an expert. Experts have more experience and are better equipped to diagnose your issues, recommend adjustments and get you back on track quickly.
Start Today Tip – If you are struggling, make some of the recommended adjustments today. Don’t wait. With real-time access to information on the performance of your inbound marketing program, there is no reason to stall. At the same time, don’t panic if your results are down. Seasonality, the days of the month and general conditions (like weather) actually affect your results. If you see a sustained decline, it’s time to take action. Make one change at a time, track the results and methodically work your way through the options until things turn around. Chances are it won't take long.
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