Not too long ago your company’s products and services weren’t available online.  The only way that someone could find out about you was most likely through a salesperson.  The “information scarcity” helped traditional methods like telemarketing, trade shows and direct mail flourish.  Nowadays, you’ll still see some of those outbound techniques but for the most part, they aren’t as effective as they were (certain mediums are up for debate).   Partly because of the convergence of dozens of marketing channels that consumers are influenced by and interact with on a daily basis.   Partly because we have the world at our finger tips…soon to be our eyes.   But MOSTLY because the buyer mentality has changed.  Consumers have complete and utter control over the buying process now.

Inbound Marketing Confusion  

The concept of Inbound Marketing can be confusing for the non-digital native CMO.  There’s more to Inbound Marketing than hiring your nephew to write tons of witty blog posts.  The correct integration of Inbound strategies into your organization will make you a marketing hero, allow you to lower the COCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition), will tighten the relationship between sales and marketing as well as give you better piece of mind when presenting to the C-levels.

Here are 4 ways to become a better Inbound Marketing CMO.

Find the right software.

If you’re a medium to large organization, you need to purchase a marketing software to measure and consolidate everything that you’re doing.  Make sure it has easy reporting, source attribution, multi-user logins, email marketing, IP tracking, lead scoring, seamless integration with your CRM, keyword tools and website health checks.  (I’ll reserve another post to explain the many options in this space. ) If you’re actively looking for a marketing software, do several Google searches for “marketing automation software” and you’ll get a huge list of places to start.

Create Content for Each Stage of the Buying Cycle

Fact: Most people that come to your site, aren’t ready to buy.  Fact:  Most people that come into contact with your Inbound Marketing will never be a customer.  As a marketer, you have to create content that touches everyone at the very top of the funnel as well as each part of your particular buying cycle. You also need to GIVE these prospects VALUE in order to submit their name and email address so you can nurture to them over time.  By “carpet bombing” the people at the top of your funnel and using an intelligent strategy, you’ll start to recognize the prospects that fit your ideal prospect (lead scoring).

Once these prospects raise their hand, you need to know where your prospects are in the buying cycle in order to give them the most relevant content.   What are your prospect’s biggest pain points?  What are their most common questions? What are the things someone at the beginning of the buying cycle may be interested in vs someone towards the end?  You must have all of that content listed in easy to find areas on your site, have Calls to Actions to capture their information as well as have it optimized through the search engines.

Closed Loop Reporting

Having a tight integration with your company’s CRM is also a best practice for effective Inbound Marketing.  Once a lead closes to a deal…..before you take the sales team out to the local pub for burgers and beer…you should know what happened THROUGHOUT sales cycle with this particular deal.

For example:

New Closed-Won Deal

6 months ago:  The prospect finds site through a blog post, views 6 other website pages then disappears.

2 months ago: The prospect downloads a whitepaper

5 days ago:  The prospect fills out a contact form and connects with a sales rep.

In this specific case, the fact that your blog post brought this prospect into your site can later be referenced as attributing to the revenue that you have to report to your CEO.  Closed loop reporting along side your Inbound Marketing strategy will help you be able to know which marketing channels and what specific content it is at the top of the funnel thats attributing to all of your leads and closes.  Smart marketers then assign revenue to these specific channels and start creating more content similar to the content that’s attributing to the revenue.

(below is a screenshot from my Hubspot marketing software that shows where the lead came in and what content they interacted with)

Hiring an Inbound Marketing Team

A lot of the inbound content writing, strategies, tracking and implementation can be done in house.  I’ve also seen a lot of successful situations where 3rd parties were able to help create and manage content.  So, what should your Inbound Marketing team look like?  Well, if you’re a medium sized company, you probably already have a couple mid-level marketing managers and maybe an intern or two.  I suggest having one person take on the roll of coordinating everything inbound marketing related.  Because there are so many moving parts it takes a full time employee.  They should be good with managing time, coordination, able to think creatively but also be good with analytics.  I would also recommend having one person on staff that has a background in copy-writing/ publishing in the field that your company is in.  It will come in handy when writing the more technical pieces of content.

Of course, this is only part of becoming an awesome Inbound Marketing CMO.

What have you found to help you or other marketing professionals become more successful with Inbound Marketing? Please comment below.