you get out what you put in TimexWhat makes the difference between modest Inbound Marketing success, and really spectacular results?

Lots of work. We often tell clients that deciding you’re going to take an Inbound Marketing approach is like buying a membership to the gym: you’re only going to see results if you get there regularly and work up a sweat.

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently released a study, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America,” and in it were findings that support our adage, “The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out.”

The study shows that best-in-class B2B content marketers – those seeing increases in web traffic, quality and quantity of leads, a broader reach of their messages, and an increase in sales – are putting more effort into most every element of Inbound Marketing:

  • They’re spending a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • They’re using more Inbound Marketing tactics and distributing content on more social networks
  • They’re tailoring content to meet the needs of specific profiles/personas much more frequently

Our experience shows that the most successful clients are also:

  • Blogging more often. Your industry and product/service will influence the frequency of blog posts, but generally we recommend no fewer than 2 posts per week – with the caveat that more is better. Every post is an opportunity to deliver value, reinforce your message, share with a target looking for solutions, and direct readers to additional content on your site. It’s also a new page of content that search engines note and index. Every day that goes by without a blog is a missed opportunity.
  • Sharing more frequently during the day. Most B2B organizations will find their greatest source of traffic and leads through LinkedIn, but whichever platforms are your most fruitful, you should be updating your status, promoting blogs, and checking feeds twice daily. Successful Inbound Marketers also dedicate time to engage in LinkedIn discussions, connect with others, give and ask for recommendations and provide endorsements regularly.
  • Changing up offers more frequently. If you’ve been promoting the same offers of content for more than a year, it’s time to breathe new life into your website and social media interactions. Adding new content is not just good for SEO, it also tells your target that you’re an expert with plenty of useful information that can help him or her resolve their challenge, and when created to align with the needs of different phases of the purchase cycle, will help draw them down the sales funnel.
  • Checking analytics more often. A platform like HubSpot provides real-time analytics with data that helps you determine whether or not you’re reaching your target. By reviewing regularly, you’ll discover trends and actionable data if you’re checking these metrics:
    • Daily: site traffic, prospects and leads. How does traffic change when you increase your Inbound Marketing efforts? Who’s visiting your site? What content is most magnetic to them? Is the number of leads increasing each month? Which prospects are returning, and what are they viewing?
    • Weekly: blog analytics, traffic sources and visits by page. Which topics are getting the most views by your targets? Where are your visitors coming from – social media, organic, linked domains? Is your most important content being seen?
    • Monthly: keyword tracking. Are you ranking for your most important keywords? What landing pages are the best converters? Have key competitors made changes, or progress?

The difference between moderate effort and strong performance can be quite significant. Below is an example of two companies doing Inbound Marketing (real ones, with real numbers). Company A is putting in the less-than-recommended level of activity in terms of content creation and promotion; Company B is performing at a better-than-average level for both. Results show increases in each of the metrics one year after implementing Inbound Marketing.

inbound marketing results

Follow the lead of the best-in-class B2B companies doing Inbound Marketing: get to the gym, get on a machine and put yourself through a workout. You WILL see results!

One of the best ways to keep the conversation going with your best prospects is through your blog. And one of the best ways to keep its value and vitality strong is by downloading our Free Tip Sheet, “Keep Your Blog Stocked With Great Content.” Get your copy now!

Photo credit: Timex Ironman

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