By 2022, we thought we'd have flying cars. Sadly, nobody has started a flying car company. Yet. We'll just have to keep waiting for the Tesla/SpaceX mashup. But once such a company exists, we know one thing they'll most likely rely on: Inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing strategies maximize time, money, and resources while building trust with customers and leads. Consider this: given the innumerable quantities of information out there today, most consumers are already aware of what they need to solve a given problem, or scratch a given itch. What they’re searching for is a brand they can trust to deliver the solution. In 2022, make sure that brand is yours. But how?
Your 2022 Action Plan for Inbound Marketing Success
When it comes to typical New Year’s resolutions, good intentions often fizzle out for lack of planning and follow-through. We're only human, and we can't rely on AI for everything yet. However, with a little bit of Googling, anyone can discover that the best way to achieve success is to clarify your goal(s) and then set short-term and long-term goals that allow you to start seeing and measuring progress faster.
So, let’s start with short-term actions that you can take with your business starting January 1st. These will reap benefits that will help you build and maintain momentum.
If you have not done so already, take the time to get specific and nail down your goals. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals are popular for a reason. What is it exactly that you want to accomplish? Now’s not the time for vague statements such as, “Let’s increase sales.” Be more specific. “We want to increase sales through the website by 25% by Q2 of 2022.” Or, “We’ll boost conversion rates for CTA X by 10% in the first six months.” Whatever your goals, make them quantifiable, figure out what metrics you will use to measure them, and assign a target date.
Answer Customer Questions
If you take the time to develop customer/lead personas (and you should), you have a clear idea of what your customers need and want. You know who they are, what they care about, what they need, and, most importantly for your inbound marketing goals, what they have questions about. Follow this basic commandment of inbound and content marketing: answer thy customers' questions. Develop content that addresses their questions and provides clear answers. Often, the lack of leads simply indicates your website is not doing its job in answering the right questions. Fortunately, this is an issue you can fix quickly.
Integrate Inbound Marketing with PPC
While inbound marketing is gaining in relevance and efficacy, it compliments the role of well-planned outbound strategies, such as pay-per-click. When used in tandem, they can produce turbocharged results in terms of lead generation.
PPC is designed to draw visitors to your website: it cannot be successful if the content is not relevant, well-designed, and easy to find. This year, tighten it up. Both your PPC and your inbound strategies. First and foremost, make sure your site is sound. Are you quickly and clearly telling your visitors what you do? Is it understandable? Can they navigate easily to the information they want? Or do they have to search around? Is the interface intuitive? Does the content resonate with them? And so on and so on. Drive it home.
After you've tightened that up, and when you're planning PPC ads, make sure each ad lines up with a landing page that directly relates to that ad. Sending visitors to your homepage is not going to cut it. Start by targeting people at the middle and top of your sales funnel: the people at the awareness and interest stages. Then be sure to capitalize on those in the decision stage. When you promote stellar content and choose the right keywords, you can help move these consumers along the cycle more efficiently.
These actions will help you see gains in the short run. For long-term success, consider implementing the following tips:
Measure Your PPC Success - and Improve
When you launch your PPC ads, pay careful attention. How does your audience react to certain messaging? Offers? Content pieces? Do you hit the nail on the head with some segments of your audience but fail with others? Do some landing pages or keyword sets garner more click-throughs? Use this data to tweak your ads and implement more effective ones. Remember, in your initial PPC ad runs, you can use A/B testing (i.e. run different versions of the same ad to see which word/layout/CTA works more effectively). This data can be invaluable.
Set a Mission and Use Visitor Data to Validate It
Does every single page on your website have a clear mission and purpose? It should. Some may be intended to increase awareness among those at the top of the sales funnel, and so your content and CTAs should align with that function. Other pages may be targeted at the bottom of the funnel and require information that helps consumers make a decision and CTAs that encourage direct action.
When you identify each page’s mission, analyze the content and layout. Does every element help achieve that goal? And what does your visitor data say? Are they exiting at critical points? Are they bouncing around and then out? Use this intel to make key changes that help you accomplish your goals.
Create an Inclusive Environment
In other words, create a content environment that your prospects and consumers do not have to leave. Such a site helps raise awareness and answer entry-level questions at top of the funnel, it explains brand differentiation and value at the middle, and it guides decisions at the bottom. Your website should include everything that prospects need to make the journey from cold lead to hot lead to customer, without having to venture offsite for information. This means you need strategic design and relevant content.
In 2022, we are only going to see more savvy customers who do their research and gather information before seeking out a solution. If you can help them at this stage, if you can build trust and deliver answers, then it is much more likely they will stick with you and continue on their journey up the sales funnel. Inbound marketing is one new year's resolution that you can’t afford to break.