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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistFri, May 8, 2015 13 min read

What Inbound Marketing And The Avengers Have In Common

Inbound Marketing SuperherosWouldn’t it be great if you could press a special button and have an inbound marketing superhero fly down from the sky to help your business get more leads and close more new customers?

It would also be great if someone strolled into your office and handed you a briefcase with $1 million. But, it’s highly unlikely that either of these scenarios is going to take place.

With that in mind, you need a solid Plan B. The good news is that there is a collection of marketing tactics that, when teamed up, produce solid lead generation and new revenue for almost any business in almost any industry.

Here are the inbound tactics that team up to produce superhero-like results.

Marketing Strategy And Planning – Captain America

Every group needs a leader, someone who has a plan and helps the rest of the team stick with it or adjust it if circumstances change. You simply can’t be successful with inbound if you don’t have a plan. I’m talking about not just a tactical plan that includes editorial calendars and keywords, but also a well-thought-out strategic marketing plan.

This plan needs to include detailed personas, but even more important, it needs to support the strategic messaging that emotionally connects with your target market. What stories about your business are people going to share? These need to be created by your marketing effort. Why did you start this business? What is the real reason you’re in business? People connect with this “why.” If you think you don’t need one, or you think the “why” is to make money, you’re sadly misinformed.

Without this back story and a compelling set of differentiated business values, it won't matter how many blog articles you write, how great your website looks or how many webinars you hold. You’re never going to create the kind of Marketing Machine and generate the level of inbound leads you need to aggressively grow your business.

Inbound Marketing Website – The Hulk

Someone has to do the heavy lifting, and your inbound website has a mighty task to support. It has to tell your story in just 10 seconds. It has to work on all devices, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never takes a vacation. It has to draw your prospects in and help them emotionally connect with your business on the very first page. It has to load quickly and run smoothly. It needs the perfect balance of copy, imagery and visual elements. Too many words turn people away, but write too few, and people might not know what you do.

Your website design must strategically guide visitors through the perfect set of pages based on their role, their company, their pain and their position in their own buyer journey. Each page on your site needs to tell a story, generate a feeling and then drive a specific action. If you’re not thinking about your site in this way, you’re definitely NOT capturing all of the qualified prospects who are visiting your website right now.

Finally, your site has to be a team player. It has to support your blogging efforts, include well-designed landing pages that turn visitors into leads and have creative call-to-action buttons that help visitors find those landing pages. It needs to include multimedia and appeal to both kinds of visitors: those who want to read and those who want to watch. It must support visitors who are early in their buyer journey (in the awareness stage) and visitors who are later in their buyer journey (in the decision stage).

Blogging To Get Found – Hawkeye

A team of superheroes needs the one person who can achieve their overall goals with a single shot. Your marketing needs the same type of high-value asset. With a single blog article, you can find your company on the first page of any search engine in just a day or two. This same effort could also put you on a major industry site, trade site or even on the front page of LinkedIn. Just one two-hour blog creation project could drive thousands or even tens of thousands of new visitors right to your front door.

But, this obviously takes practice, talent, skills and expertise. You’re not going to wake up today, write your first blog article and find it on Google tomorrow. You need to start with a keyword and search strategy that’s based on research. If you want to rank on the first page for “insurance” (a highly searched and hyper-competitive term), you might need years of blog articles on insurance to get there. If you're planning on ranking on the first page for “rental insurance for students in college park md” (a less competitive keyword that's a longtail phrase), you have a much better chance.

Make sure you create your blog article copy with search in mind, but never forget that you’re writing for other people. Write for people first and search engines second.

Conversion Optimization – Black Widow

The Black Widow is a master at interrogation techniques. She gets people to do and say things that they might not want to do or say. You need someone on your team who is an expert in the art and science of turning anonymous website visitors into new leads for your business. Conversion optimization, and the conversion strategy that goes along with it, is 50% science and 50% art. You need to know what tests to run, how long to run them and what to do as a result. This takes much of the guesswork out. Instead of thinking, "This landing page design is going to work," we’re saying, “Let’s test it.”

You want to apply this "test it” philosophy to almost everything in your inbound program. Since the data is available in almost real time and the data is plentiful, today’s marketing is now a science based on quantitative data instead of qualitative opinions. Take advantage of this major shift and start reviewing the performance data daily, weekly and monthly to fully optimize your lead-generation efforts.

Content Creation – Iron Man

This guy has a ton of cool gadgets and tools he uses to execute his mission. Content marketing works in a similar way. E-books, whitepapers, videos, infographics, webinars, workshops, podcasts, blog articles and interviews are just some of the tools that content marketing brings to the table. When applied properly, all of these different types of content contribute to driving leads. The more content you create, the more leads you get for your business.

They key is how to apply them. You need to strategically think through your entire content marketing strategy before you jump in and start writing or producing anything. Content has to be applied carefully and in context. What questions are your prospects asking, and at what stage of the buyer journey? You need to know the answer to these questions if you want to provide the perfect piece of content at the perfect time.

Once you know these questions, create the content that answers those questions. Strategically distribute this content on your site and then build it into your inbound sales process to continue the educational experience for prospects who move from the marketing phase to the sales phase. This smooth transition is the best way to create a truly remarkable experience for your prospects. It gets them to know, like and trust you quickly so they feel safe and comfortable hiring you and your company.

Lead Nurturing – Thor

It would be great if every single lead was ready to buy right now, but that’s not reality. Most of your leads are NOT going to be ready to buy immediately. In fact, that number might be as high as 90%, meaning nine out of 10 leads won’t be ready on day one. So, you need a way to nurture those leads like you’re a hammer-wielding god of thunder, lighting, storms and strength.

Set up regular monthly emails that go out to everyone in your database. Take the extra time to segment that list into as many micro-segments as possible. Highly segmented lists typically deliver performance increases of between 20% and 40% in both open rates and click-through rates.

Then, build content or action-specific lead-nurturing campaigns. Based on what your prospect downloads or what action they take on your website, create a series of more personal emails that are delivered at regular frequency (the longer your sales cycle, the longer the frequencies) so that you continue the conversation and a remarkable experience. Don’t jump the gun and try to sell, close or schedule an appointment UNLESS they ask for it. Instead, continue to provide highly personal, educational information that helps your prospect get smart and feel safe choosing your company.

The Avengers are stronger together than they are apart. Inbound marketing works in a similar way. Email marketing, your website and content marketing are all fine on their own. But, if you team them up, put a plan in place to drive their actions and empower each of them to do what they do best, incredible outcomes are just around the corner. More visitors to your website, more leads for your sales effort and more revenue for your company are results that everyone can appreciate.

Start Today Tip - Getting the plan together and building the inbound tactics so that they work perfectly isn’t easy. If you’ve never done it before, you should consider getting help. If you never jumped out of a plane before, you would go with a trained skydiver the first time. This is similar. If you get help, you’re going to skip the mistakes, get results sooner and spend less money in the process. Look for an agency that has experience planning, building, implementing and optimizing an inbound marketing program, and make sure they’ve done it many, many times before. You don’t want them learning how to do it on your dime.

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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.