inbound marketing ideas

inbound marketing

Last week, Sanchit Malik, the founder and CEO of Townscript, hosted an insightful webinar for us, on the importance of inbound marketing for businesses.

View the webinar recording

Here’s a breakdown of the riveting Q&A session that followed the webinar!

Q1. How we can use blogs and whitepapers for inbound marketing, and what kind of tool you suggest to curate in other places?

 Creating content that is of value to your prospects is the essence of inbound marketing. It enables your prospects to come to you, instead of the other way round.

Blogs and whitepapers are amongst the many formats of content (others include e-books, webinars and videos) that you can create as a part of your inbound marketing strategy.

While both blogs and whitepapers can help you build your thought leadership and brand credibility,

  1. Blogs help you rank higher in search engines, for the ‘terms’ that your customers search for. For example, if you run an MBA institute, you can write on topics such as ‘full time v/s part-time MBA’ or ‘MBA loans’, so that students searching for this information land on your page.
  1. Whitepapers are usually gated. This means that they are accessible only when the prospect fills out a form (typically asking for their name and contact details). Hence, B2B marketers can use them to capture leads.

If you’re looking for content to curate, check out BuzzSumo. If you’re looking for a tool to manage curated content, can be a good option.

Q2. How can I convert a user into a lead, after he lands on our site?

 Firstly, make sure users do not land up on your home page when they follow a specific offer placed by you. For example, let’s say you ran a Google ad for the keyword, ‘buy Titan watches online’. Now if your ad redirects to the home page of your e-commerce website, you will end up failing the user’s expectations and confusing him, and hence the chances of conversion will be low.

Instead, for specific offers (whether on your blog, website, or ads) such as the above, create distinct landing pages that talk about that specific offer. For example, in the above case, the ad for ‘buy Titan watches online’ should redirect to the Titan watches page on your e-commerce portal.

Here’s the one secret behind great landing pages!

Now, on landing pages as well as home-pages, it is important to have a call-to-action or a CTA button, which encourages visitors to enter their information (name, email, etc.) to access a free trial, or a webinar, or an e-book, or any other item of value. This ensures that your website/blog visitors are captured as leads.

Q3. What are the ways I can avoid emails from ending up in the receiver’s spam?

 You can find this topic covered in depth in this post on email deliverability tactics.

Q4. How can we generate more leads for a B2B software company?

 Inbound marketing is a great strategy for generating more B2B software leads. For example, at LeadSquared, we regularly write detailed, valuable blog posts on the topics relevant to our target markets – real estate, education, financial services, software, etc. Besides, webinars such as this one are a critical part of our inbound strategy. More recently, we’ve also been dabbling with videos. You can check out our first video on viral marketing, here.

We also generate leads through outbound efforts such as market research (cold-calling and cold-emailing suitable prospects), PR, physical events, etc.

In fact, we’re coming up with an intensive guide on generating B2B software leads next week, as a part of our series of leadgen checklists. We’ll definitely let you know when it’s up! 

Q5. Great webinar. Wanted to know how one can validate whether the content written is quality or not? 

Before publishing the content, you can estimate its quality by trying to experience it from the perspective of your target reader.

For example, if you’re writing a post for a prospective student, ask yourself the following questions before publishing it on your blog :-

  1. Is the title of the post click-worthy enough to attract your target students?
  2. Is the first paragraph of the post engaging enough for your target students?
  3. Does the body of the post provide concrete value to your target students?
  4. Does your post have a CTA? Is the CTA persuasive enough to drive action from your target students?
  5. Would your target students want to share your post? Shares are social currency, without which any post will have only limited outreach.

However, these can only be ‘estimates’ of quality. You’re only going to find out whether a piece of content works or not, by putting it up and vigilantly analyzing the results. Define what metrics (likes, shares, downloads, hits, etc.) are most important for you. Then, keep track of how they change when you change certain things in your post. Slowly, you’d begin to understand what works and what doesn’t, and that will give you your definition of quality.

 Q6. We are a digital marketing start-up. How can we create brand value and generate leads?

 Creating brand value as a start-up would be a multi-pronged task. You’ll have to do a lot of things simultaneously.

Firstly, make sure you participate in the start-up ecosystem – that’s where most of your clients would be. Go to start-up meets, workshops, networking events, co-working spaces, etc. This will help you get your name out, and build critical relationships.

Secondly, go for inbound marketing. Since you are a digital marketing start-up, creating content about digital marketing tips, tricks, campaigns, expert interviews, etc. can attract potential clients to you. However, this is a long-term strategy and will not show immediate results.

For more immediate results, and to get the business running, try ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Bing, etc.

Focus tremendously on PR. PR is a great tool for building brand visibility on a shoestring budget. Get to know journalists who cover your beat and cultivate strong relationships with them. 

Q7. What are the good tools for retargeting other than AdWords and Facebook?

 Twitter and Bing have retargeting options, like Facebook and Google. Besides, in Adwords itself, Google has now rolled out identity-based advertising, so you can use that as well.

Q8. How effective is inbound marketing for service industry and how can we implement it? 

Inbound marketing is a great strategy for service businesses as well. If you check out the websites of the major consultancy firms in the world, such as Bain and Company, BCG, etc. –  you will see that most of them have well-maintained blogs, lots of freely accessible, highly pertinent research, and various other forms of content. This is all done to bring their target audience on their website, and build credibility with them.

In fact, inbound marketing is all the more helpful for pure service firms than it is for other types of businesses. For example, if you’re a career counselor, you can run a career advice blog, wherein basic and applicable-for-all insights are freely available, but customers can purchase packages if they want personalized consultation. Here, you don’t need to take any extra pains for your inbound marketing strategy – you can simply offer a basic level of your service, for free. Additionally, people will directly see a glimpse of your service from your content, which will help them convert faster.

Q9. How increase the conversion rate from Google Display Campaigns? We are getting upto 5-6 leads per day, but the conversion rate is really low.

 In general, the conversion rate of leads obtained from Google Display Campaigns tends to be low. Such campaigns are best used either for brand awareness, or for retargeting – and not for the sole purpose of capturing unique leads.

If you need to capture leads, use Google Search Ads, Facebook Lead Ads and Twitter Lead Ads instead. 

Q10. How to target my app users and website users in facebook remarketing? 

Facebook allows you to remarket to your website visitors, simply by installing a snippet code on your website. To know more, check out this instructive post by Facebook itself.

Facebook does not directly allow you to remarket to your app visitors. However, you can create ads for past visitors to your app. Here’s a post from Facebook on how you can do this.

 Q11. How to increase the number of followers for my company’s Linkedin Page?

LinkedIn is a terrific platform for B2B marketing and employer branding. Here are a few ideas to help you increase your company’s LinkedIn following :-

  1. Share useful/ interesting updates, regularly. Most companies on LinkedIn limit themselves to sharing internal updates or job openings, which is why they garner little interest.
  2. Make sure your LinkedIn activity is not one-way. Ask questions, conduct interesting surveys, invite participation.
  3. Encourage your employees to post regularly on LinkedIn Pulse, with a link to your company page.
  4. Unlike Facebook, groups on LinkedIn tend to be much more active and responsive. Encourage your team to participate regularly in relevant industry groups on the company’s behalf.
  5. Try LinkedIn Ads.

Q12. I would like suggestions for inbound marketing where the target audience is not on twitter/FB/Linkedin. They are only on SMS and WhatsApp. These are builders and contractors. One thing we are already trying is to make how-to videos and share them on WhatsApp.

A very interesting question!

Firstly, even SMS and WhatsApp can be used for inbound marketing. For instance, you can send short tips, statistics, or news about the industry through biweekly SMSs or WhatsApp messages. In fact, you can even create a WhatsApp group and build a community for industry professionals, where you share content (videos, images, audio recordings, text) that is relevant for them. You can also encourage members to participate and grow together.

More importantly, you should focus on educating your target market and bringing them online. If they have WhatsApp, they have a smartphone; and if they have a smartphone, there’s essentially nothing stopping them from becoming a netizen, except for a lack of awareness.

For instance, you can share links to your blog/videos on WhatsApp or SMS. Make sure the accompanying copy and CTA is persuasive, and make sure the pages you take them to are nicely designed and mobile-friendly. You can even ask them to like your Facebook page to get more updates, once you’ve gained sufficient credibility with them through WhatsApp and SMS.

Two more things :- 1) Do explore the option of email-marketing, and 2) Make sure that the how-to videos you circulate on WhatsApp carry your brand identity and have a strong CTA.

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