Here we are - the last part of our five-part series in which we asked 49 experienced and well-known bloggers in the online and SEO industry for their advice on organising a digital marketing strategy (and then added our own half).
Take a look at them before reading the last instalment, or dive straight in here to see what industry experts advise as best practice for organising a great content strategy for your online marketing.
We also appreciate your shares and comments, so give us your feedback at the bottom of the page.
When I write a new blog post, I do this:
Part 1 - Get traffic on demand to your website.
- Write an epic post (the higher quality of your post, the higher is the chance that the influencers will share it)
- Promote it to the influencers I know (the post needs to be a great fit for their audience)
- Promote it on social media
- Promote it on forums and Facebook groups (that are aligned to my topic)
Part 2 – Get targeted people on your email list
This can be done through having a feature opt-in box, two content upgrades in the post and an exit on intent popup.
Part 3 – Email sequence
This is all about connecting with your readers, listening to what they want and delivering awesome content. After you have built a good relationship with them and given them tons of value, you can offer them your product / services in a natural non-sleazy way.
You might be thinking “Okay, Tor. Cool beans, but does that stuff really work?” Good question.
I have done it several times.
My first roundup post included 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts, and it generated:
- 20,231 page views in 6 days
- 1500+ social shares
- 86 comments
- 185 new email subscribers
This post is ranked as #3 on Google for the keyword “productivity tips”.
Tips for beginners:
- 1. Hire a coach
- 2. Listen to your coach and apply massive action
- 3. Write epic content
- 4. Network with influencers through blogger outreach
- 5. Promote the content like your life was depending on it
- 6. Have a great lead-magnet so you can get subscribers”
Steven J. Wilson
I best organise my inbound marketing activities by first starting with my offer. Your offer can be your sales page, lead magnet etc.
Knowing exactly what and how you will offer it will allow you to create a funnel driving visitors to your offer from your pages and blog post.
Now it is time to create content that will drive visitors to your offer. You don’t want to randomly create content hoping visitors will just take the next step.
Put in a little time to strategically create content that will get you the best results.
I would recommend using an editorial calendar to help you strategically put it all together. Since you know what you are offering you now have to create content that directly relates to your offer.
Interlink the content you create to other content and pages that also point to your offer.
The best advice I can give to beginners is to not get discouraged with your initial results. The moment you click publish you may be so caught up in getting quick results. That is seldom the case.
Realistically, it can take several attempts to make changes to your offer, sales page, call to actions, etc, before you start seeing results!
First and foremost, marketers (and business owners alike) need to have a better understanding of their target audience.
Once you have figured out what makes them tick, what challenges they have and how your product or service may best serve them, that’s when you can craft a strategy for attracting, converting, closing and delighting them.
With Lure Agency, our passion is leveraging the inbound marketing methodology for the hospitality industry. For example, we recently identified a target audience of newly-engaged couples and determined that it’s an overwhelming process to plan a wedding.
We crafted an eBook designed to offer insider tips for planning a wedding in San Francisco (where the client - a potential wedding venue - is located). The eBook is helpful, timely and non-salesy - and is designed to attract new leads for the property.
In order to gain access to the eBook, prospects must opt-in through a landing page, after which they will be added to an email series with additional tips for planning a wedding, with a small mention of the property as an option.
Once you have a “marketing offer” crafted and an email series set up, you can then use various amplification platforms such as social media, public relations, paid ads and blog content as a way to promote it.
Customers these days have all the power and 90% of the time, the sale has been made before anyone speaks to a sales rep. With the shift in power, it’s all the more important to build relationships that deliver long-term value.
Brand enthusiasts do not buy a specific product because of a one-time sales-driven touch, they buy because a relationship has been curated over an extended amount of time and that’s the magic of inbound marketing.
A case study from California Psychics - 400k per week new customer referrals up from 20k simply by rescaling content efforts and content strategy - including people, processes and technology.
Learn what makes your audience tick. Provide content of interest to your target audience optimised around the way they search for a solution.
Create content pillars - keywords and topics around product or services of interest. From this list, you'll have a baseline of content and can create a domino effect of sub categories and similar topics which all fall under one key umbrella.
From this, figure out which content types are most effective: blog posts, info graphics, tutorials, images, gifs, user stories, webcasts and the like. Use comments as posts and content topics, too
Curate content by setting up google alerts on topics of interest and use a service I've experimented with called Passel which organises, updates and tracks your posts.
Inbound marketing for me is creating content that my audience wants and then making sure they see it. Then, I leverage this audience to make sales of products or services I offer. This simple definition of inbound marketing by me actually is a cycle of process that involves
- Knowing my audience and understanding their needs
- Creating content that they need (not what I want)
- Optimising my content so that it reaches the maximum number of people
- Walking the readers through a lead funnel where they eventually turn to buyers, an
- Re-engage them until I sell them something new
Now, let us go through these steps in detail:
1) Knowing my audience and understanding their needs:
In order to make sales or even practice inbound marketing, you need to know who your audience is. What are their pain points? And, how you can solve them. It is only then that you can sell them something.
To know your audience, you have to know your audience demographics. You should also research places where they hang out to see what topics interest them the most. Try to identify their pain points.
2) Creating content that they need:
When I first started my blog DigitalGYD, I posted random content about technology, cell phones and random news. But after knowing what my idea clients wanted, I started writing content that would help them. That they are searching online.
I wrote content that would help them reach more people on social media and boost their sales online. This is a strategy you need to apply in order to be found by your clients or prospects.
3) Optimising content for maximum reach:
I know, content is king; but the king can’t rule the world alone. You need to optimise your content for search engines and social shares. I prefer perfect on page SEO for my blog. These strategies helped me increase my rankings in SERPs.
Now, whenever a potential business searched something online, my post pops up. This way they visit my site and some eventually hire me to manage their content strategy.
4) Walking the readers through a lead funnel:
This step is very essential and crucial results from inbound marketing. All the visitors and potential leads mean nothing if you do not have a system where you can convert them.
On my blog, I have numerous call-to-action buttons and forms that help me funnel my leads.
But, what if I do not have any product or service to offer?
Not everyone has a product to sell. But, that should not deter you. You can write product reviews. These do not have to be random. Instead, search for products that your readers or subscribers need and write reviews and tutorials on them. Beware to write honest reviews and not motivated my sponsored posts.
Since my ideal audience consists of small business owners who are struggling to make an online presence for them, I review and write tutorials of products that help them in building better websites and in marketing.
5) Re-engage them until I sell them something new:
Now that you know a complete cycle of inbound marketing, it would be foolish to let it go. The trick here is to keep your visitors and leads, retain them in the sales funnel and sell them new products.
This is very essential if you want a recurring source of revenue. You can engage the audience by providing them with free content or using content upgrades.
This is the exact procedure of inbound marketing, that I use to get leads and generate sales. I’d advise the same to newbie bloggers.
In my own business, I rely primarily on inbound marketing to grow my customer base and following…and what I teach clients to do as well!
Here are the 5 successful steps you can take to foster your own inbound marketing efforts:
- Write SEO (search engine optimisation) keyword rich blog posts. One of my favourite tools is the Yoast SEO plugin for Wordpress – a free plugin I use to analyse each blog post’s content, helping me to write better content and produce SEO rich posts.
- Name your images accordingly, so that they show up on search engine searches. Name your images what they are. So before you upload your images for your next blog post, be sure to change the name of the image to match the name of your image and/or what you’re posting about.
- Write blog posts that your ideal target customer would find of value, so that they come back to your company/blog again and again. One of my favourite tools is Google Analytics – a free tracking tool that tells me which blog posts my readers like the most. Note: They are the blog posts with the most traffic/readership!
- Pin your images from your new blog post to your Pinterest boards, so that people on Pinterest will see them, hopefully click on them and be driven straight to your website/blog posts.
- Shout out your recent blog post on social media platforms, so that you make people aware that you have a new blog post available to read.
Inbound Marketing is built around the sales funnel of attracting, converting and closing customers. It is a strategy that attracts targeted traffic through information.
Follow my 5 steps to increase your inbound marketing… and you’ll start seeing your website traffic numbers increase!
Create a culture of the relationship building and populate your CRM with everything you learn about the customer, and prospect from the first touchpoint to the last... especially via social listening tools, so anyone else in the company who touches that customer has access at any time.
Be certain to make this information available on your work management tools, especially when those tools are a touchpoint for your customers…
Workfront has a great platform for this kind of need. This kind of information gathering should be an integral part of your workflows, so everyone is armed with the kind of information that helps facilitate human-to-human connection.
In order to make this work your employee communications need to be as open as possible. As far as your customer is concerned, from marketing to sales to customer service — the entire customer journey needs to seem connected.
There’s nothing worse than trying to deal with a company where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing... and this is so often the case.
Having the right information available to everyone who interacts with your customers can make all the difference in their perception of your brand, and it’s one of the best ways to build loyalty and advocacy.
Empower your Employees with the desire to know and share everything all the time, and they will power your brands connection with the inbound opportunities.
When organising your inbound marketing, it is important to have goals properly tracked in Google Analytics so you know what is and isn’t working. Some areas won’t necessarily have a high ROI but are important to do so potential customers can see you are active.
We then focus on the most effective traffic sources. There’s no point trying to master every traffic source. Focusing on 3-5 of the best converting is better than trying 20 different methods and not being good at either.
Once you know what works, it’s then important to track everything carefully. We keep a separate Excel sheet in Dropbox for each part of our inbound marketing to track progress and share within the team.
Where we have a particular process that works, we’ll document that into Word/something similar so the process can be followed by anyone in the team without needing training.
This is an effective way to scale and means you can expand a team quickly.
Here at Ahrefs, in terms of inbound marketing, we focus on two things only:
1. Creating amazing content for our target audience and making sure that it ranks in Google for some popular keywords
2. Networking with top people in our field and making them talk about our company (and bring us new customers).
I don't think I can tell you anything new about creating awesome content and making in rank in Google. Tons of articles, tutorials and case studies have already exhausted this topic.
And as for networking - the key is to proactively monitor what people are talking about online.
We have a great tool at Ahrefs called "Alerts", which is basically a better alternative to Google Alerts.
With the help of this tool I monitor about a dozen keywords related to our industry ("link building", "backlink research", "check backlinks", etc) as well as any mentions of our competitors (SEMrush, Searchmetrics, BuzzSumo, etc).
Whenever someone mentions one of these words online - I can immediately reach out to this guy and make a connection.
This web monitoring is absolutely amazing for networking, because you can connect to people who are interested in what you have to offer in this very moment.
I highly recommend you try monitoring your niche.
We thought we might round it off with a little contribution from ourselves - an extra half to go with the previous 49, so here it is…
For me it’s super simple: fail to plan and plan to fail. Sure, it might sound a little nerdy, ok so a whole lot nerdy, but I live by spreadsheets! So there is an annual strategic plan which is then broken down into individual weeks on a tactical basis. Each of those tactical elements has a KPI that overshoots the longer term strategic objective, that’s what I call my "Life Buffer". Front and centre in my mind is always:
- Who is my customer? Where do they hang out?
- What problem do I solve for this customer?
- How can I add a tonne of value upfront and show them exactly how to solve their problem to build credibility? This way they come to me later to have me do it for them.
- What examples do I have in my own business of how this works for me? That is, how can people repeat the method that drove them to me to drive their customer to them!
- Do I execute at 110% each and every day? Was my calendar full this week? I live in Evernote so having added to that keeps me accountable and proves that I’m speaking to enough people and developing a pipeline of businesses to help. Not to mention all of the pipeline metrics I can delve into through HubSpot’s CRM.
And that’s it! The last of our 49.5 great blogger tips on organising your content strategy. We hope you enjoyed the series, but would love to hear what you think, so feel free to share your thoughts, and your own great advice, with us.
Want to get all of the great tips from all 49.5 expert bloggers featured in this series in one handy eBook? Well, you can here.