Are you considering launching an inbound marketing strategy for your MSP in 2017?

Wondering how the process of attracting new leads directly through your website looks like in practice?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that helps companies attract, convert, and retain customers. And hey, we’re using it at GMS Live Expert too.

And in this post, we’ll walk you through the process of launching an inbound marketing strategy in an IT market.

Sounds interesting? Then let’s get cracking.

BONUS: Download the inbound marketing checklist that will help you quickly launch a successful inbound strategy for your MSP company. Get it here >>

Why Inbound?

Having worked with inbound strategies for quite a while, we could say a lot about how effective they are.

But I think the best way to highlight the importance of inbound marketing to today’s IT businesses is by sharing proof of its effectiveness.

For example, according to the latest “State of Inbound” report, inbound organizations are 4X as likely to be effective. What this means is that companies that have implemented inbound marketing are more satisfied with growth and sales.

Also, leads you generate with inbound strategies cost 61% less on average than outbound leads, generated by sales or advertising. (Source)

Crazy, huh?

So, how do you generate leads with inbound marketing?  

The inbound process is spread across THREE main stages:

  • You first need to attract your target customers to your website.
  • Then, you need to convert them into subscribers or appointments.
  • And finally, follow up with the right messages (nurturing them along their decision making path) to persuade them into doing business with you.

So, let’s go through those steps in detail.

Step 1 – Attracting Potential Customers to your Website

Key asset: Blog

The content you publish on the blog (or another section of the site) works as the focal point of your inbound marketing strategy. Its primary goal is to attract new users, win their trust and establish your business as an authority in IT.

We’ve talked about launching a blog already (if you’ve missed the post, check it out here) so here are some ideas to make your blog a success:

Post More Often:

According to Hubspot, an unquestionable authority on all things inbound, businesses that publish more than 16 posts in a month receive 3.5 times the traffic compared to the ones who post less frequently.

Create and Promote Quality Content:

The content must provide some value – solve a particular problem your target audience experience or deliver insight they lack.

Identify and write about your customers’ pain points. Keep your content relevant to your core offering too. For example, if you provide cloud management, then write on topics related to cloud computing, information security, etc. Writing about how to solve the latest virus threat isn’t going to attract IT decision makers who are authorized to buy your services.

Also, update your social media profiles on a regular basis. Mix your own content, curated content, and graphics. Let the world know just how smart and up to date you are!

Use Paid Advertising:

We recently published a post on how to optimize your posts to achieve top rankings. The trouble with SEO though is that it takes time before you see any results.

To speed up your traffic growth, consider promoting the content using paid channels as well.

Paid advertising strategies, such as PPC ads or Facebook ads, is the quickest way to get potential customers to visit your website.

Also, consider promoting your posts using the sponsored content on LinkedIn. Advertising on this social network allows you to reach users based on their Job title, Company Size or Industry.    

Linkedin targeting

Step 2 – Getting Visitor Contact Details

Key Asset: Lead magnets, landing pages, and calls to action

Although customers typically need 6-8 interactions with a company to become customers, they convert into leads on a first visit.

According to research by Straight North, 84% of customers sign up for mailing lists, etc. during their first visit to a site.

first visit conversions

(Image from Straight North’s Slideshare presentation)

That’s why the second step in the inbound process isn’t to make a sale but gradually build the trust and relationship required for the sale.

Here’s how:

Create a Conversion-Focused Signup Process:  

As the first step, you need to optimize your content to generate leads. Here are some ways to do that:

Create landing pages that include more information about your offer along with a signup form. Here’s an example of a landing page from Hubspot:

landing page

Place a clear call-to-action (CTA) with an enticing offer in your content. You don’t have to move all your traffic to a landing page to convert them. You could also place various calls to action, from under the content banners to popups on each blog post to allow visitors to sign up directly from there.

Here’s a list of various calls to action you could use to convert blog visitors into leads.

Give Visitors a Reason to Sign Up:

Let’s be honest about something here – no one’s going to sign up to your list unless you provide them with a good reason to do so.

And unfortunately, “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Get a free Quote” is not enough anymore.

To generate leads, you need to offer visitors a value exchange that they can not resist. It can be as simple as a content upgrade or a small service that you can offer for free (like we do on this blog in the yellow boxes).

 Lead magnet offer example 

(Image source)

You can also consider using aggressive tactics like welcome mat or popups to ensure that visitors don’t miss your offer. But, please use these with caution you can easily get to a point where you are hurting rather than helping your conversion rates and brand. 

Try Remarketing Ads:

Remarketing Ads enable you to retarget your website visitors even if they have not shared the contact details.

Remarketing platforms allow you to tag website visitors with a small cookie in their browsers. And then, engage with them by displaying relevant banner ads on other websites they visit.

For example, today, using remarketing, Amazon reminds me of the office chairs I viewed on their site yesterday:

remarketing

Step 3 – Follow up to Close the Deal

Converting a visitor is half the battle.

As a final step, you need to follow up with them with the right message to convince them to become clients.  

This process is called lead nurturing, and it involves a number of interactions to close the deal.

But it’s more than worth to go through this step.

According to a recent study, lead nurturing resulted in a 50% increase in sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.

How to Nurture Your Leads

Customize Your Message to The Lead’s Stage of the Buying Cycle

Look, the rule of lead nurturing is simple:

The more customized the message you send to prospects, the greater your chance of getting the response.

And to ensure you’re sending the right message, you first need to establish the stage of the buying cycle of your lead.

Here, let me illustrate this with an example:

Imagine three visitors landing on your site.

The first visitor lands on your service page and performs the desired action, say, fills in a contact form.  

user website action

(Image Source)

The second one browses your blog and downloads a lead magnet.

The third visitor, though, reads a blog post and then leaves without signing up.

Based on their behavior, you can establish that:

Visitor no. 1 is sales-ready. They’ve inquired about your services, indicating their interest in doing business with you.

The person no. 2 is sales-qualified. They’ve signed up for your list and provided some personal details. But you need to nurture them before they become sales-ready.

The third visitor is marketing-ready. You need to bring them back to the site again to get them to sign up.

And so, you must contact all three of them with different messages to get the best results.

Obviously, the above is just an overview of the entire inbound strategy. However, it should give you a good indication of what’s involved in attracting, converting, and generating leads from inbound marketing. If you are considering testing this out we strongly suggest engaging a professional. If you pick the right partner what you spend on their time will far outweigh what you would have spent reinventing the wheel.

Interested in putting this strategy in practice?

BONUS: Download the inbound marketing checklist that will help you quickly launch a successful inbound strategy for your MSP company. Get it here >>

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