Content can be a powerful tool for a business when used strategically, and that’s how inbound marketing has become an effective method of capturing leads and increasing traffic.
Top marketing priorities
Marketers are leaving 2016 behind, and their top priorities for the year ahead are:
- converting leads into customers
- growing traffic to their website
- increasing revenue from existing customers
- proving the ROI from their marketing activities
All these priorities have to do with the effectiveness and the profit coming from their marketing efforts. As competition increases, it is becoming more important to find the tactics that will boost a brand’s goals, and inbound marketing has played a key role in this attempt.
Top inbound marketing priorities
According to Hubspot, inbound marketers are much more likely to be satisfied with the tactics their organisations are prioritizing. Ranking their priorities for the past year, the growth of SEO and their organic presence was their main focus, while content creation and distribution were next.
Another interesting priority was marketing automation: there seems to be a growing interest in the best ways of including automation in a marketing strategy.
Moreover, blog content doesn’t seem to be the only concern, as marketers also included interactive and visual content among their main priorities.
All these priorities demonstrate the complexity of inbound marketing and how each organization interprets it differently, depending on their goals and their plans.
Top marketing challenges
Inbound marketing is not just about great opportunities, but also about big challenges, ranging from finding effectiveness to budget and training.
It’s not easy to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, and the main challenge for marketers is to generate traffic and leads from it, while justifying their activities through ROI is also a big concern.
Moreover, as content evolves, so does the need for a bigger budget. This is a challenge that small businesses understand, especially when they’re trying to compete with bigger ones.
Adding new content distribution channels
A good way to overcome the challenges in inbound marketing is to explore new content distribution channels. For this reason, marketers are ready to focus more on Youtube, Facebook videos, Instagram and messaging apps, as these seem to be the biggest trends in content marketing.
Moreover, podcasts are still among their preferences when trying to reach a different audience, while Medium is also an interesting choice in terms of simplistic content consumption.
Their first three choices for 2017 indicate that visual content and video, in particular, is a key choice for the coming months, and as it seems to increase engagement, we can expect more businesses to try it out this year.
Inbound vs Outbound
When it comes to marketers’ primary approach to marketing, Hubspot’s State of Inbound shows that 73% of respondents pick inbound marketing over outbound marketing.
Although both aspects are important, the preference over inbound marketing proves how the rise of content turned it into a powerful weapon for every marketing strategy. Despite the challenges and the budget limitations it may occasionally bring, the consistency in inbound marketing can lead to great long term results.
Inbound marketing in 2017
It’s an interesting time to explore inbound marketing, as content creation and distribution reaches new levels of maturity. This means that more businesses will be able to find the desired ROI when embracing inbound marketing techniques as part of their bigger marketing strategy.
Although marketers are aware of the challenges that come with inbound marketing, they seem to be focused on finding the best ways to make it work along with their goals.
The best way to start exploring the benefits of inbound marketing is to analyse your existing content and explore its potential and how it can affect your marketing and sales goals.
Inbound Marketing Strategies Even a Small Team Can Manage
We won’t beat around the bush. Successful inbound marketing strategies take a lot of time and effort. Even for the largest teams. From that perspective, inbound marketing might not seem feasible for your small marketing team to take on.
The good news is inbound strategies won’t cost all that much. The bad news is the amount of time needed to execute them well can make that small investment feel much higher. So, how do you get the most inbound value with a small team?
It’s all about quick wins. And we’ve got a few inbound strategies to get you started.
When large teams plan their inbound strategy, they can develop different levels of activity and a timeline to accomplish them. Certain initiatives might take a whole quarter, a month, or some might be finished within the week. But with a small team, you need to focus on what you can do today. Identify small scale, large impact tasks and coordinate your team members time toward those activities.
However, developing a strategy and sticking to it is often the hardest part for a small team. It’s impossible to plan for the future when you’re constantly caught up in the day to day. But, it’s extremely important to devote a portion of your free time to strategy. And don’t worry, we’re here to point you in the right direction.
Okay, so you don’t have content that was created with inbound best practices in mind. But you do have content somewhere — product information, press releases, etc. With a small team, you can take that content and turn it into helpful, educational pieces for your prospects. In other words, top of the funnel blog content!
Once you have a few posts under your belt, it’s time to move farther down the funnel. Consolidate blog posts into a premium content offer around a similar topic. Then, use that PCO as a conversion point on your website to drive lead generation. For a small team, your content strategy should be all about repurposing content for quick wins.
Social Media Strategy
For the biggest impact with social media, strictly focus on publishing the new conversion points you’ve developed. Don’t try to take on all social media channels at once. Start with one channel and test things out there. Find what times are the most popular for posting. Figure out what style of content works well. Armed with that info, you can pump out quick win after quick win.
But, you have to keep something in mind. Without an underlying social media strategy linked with new asset creation, it will be hard to get ahead. Building out a long term social strategy, where you’re not just posting day to day, is a tough feat for a small team to accomplish. After testing the waters of social media on your own, it might be time to consider hiring a new team member or outsourcing that work to a marketing partner.
Even with a small team, you can make great strides toward search engine optimization. For quick wins, look a foot ahead and set micro goals. Use free tools to identify optimization opportunities (keyword research) and fix errors on your site (technical SEO). We’ve put together a short list below.
Recently, there’s been a focus on reporting and how to move forward strategically using insight. If you don’t have a data analyst on your team, or someone who is focused on looking back it will be hard to move forward.
Information is everything. You can accomplish a lot day to day, but proving what you’ve accomplished over time involves analysis and iteration. For this one, we unfortunately don’t have a quick win. However, a new team member, an integrated growth stack, or an outsourced marketing partner are all great options to consider for your analytics needs.
Tiny but Mighty
Your team members are likely jack of all trades. Identify the skills they have to build your quick wins AND inbound strategies around them. Make time in your day to think about propelling your team further.
Small teams typically don’t think about analysis and iteration. They have a number on their head. They can’t take a step back and assess. Lift your team above the rest and start your inbound success.