Happy New Year, folks! I’m starting off 2016 with a quick list of 16 must-try inbound marketing tactics. Check them out below.
- Use images on LinkedIn. Images work well on most social networks, but I don’t see many companies sharing pictures yet on their LinkedIn page. That’s a missed opportunity. According to LinkedIn, images generally result in 98% higher comment rate compared to other forms of content. Sharing interesting and thought-provoking images is a good way of increasing engagement on your LinkedIn page.
- Expand the variety of content you produce. Creating top-of-the-funnel content isn’t enough. Be mindful of the different types of content you need in order to not only capture the attention of your target audience, but to convince them (and other stakeholders in their company) that they need your solution.
- Work closer with your sales team. If you’re serious about using content to improve your inbound marketing strategy, a closer relationship with your sales team should be a priority. The wonderful people in your sales team are a great source of insight into the type of content that your prospects will find useful.
- Use Pixar’s formula for storytelling. At this year’s #INBOUND conference, author Daniel Pink shared how using Pixar’s storytelling framework could help sales people sell more. It’s an easy-to-understand formula—something to consider in all aspects of your content marketing.
- Pay attention to your quality score. When advertising online, most platforms assign a quality or relevance score to your ads. Increasing this score will lower your costs and boost your ROI. Every increase of 1% in post engagement will decrease your cost per engagement by 5%, said Wordstream founder Larry Kim at this year’s #INBOUND conference. The easiest way of boosting this score? Find content that’s already naturally gaining traction online—and them amplify them using social media advertising.
- Try LinkedIn Slideshare’s new lead forms. Slideshare is the quiet giant when it comes to B2B social media marketing. Create attractive visuals for this platform, and try out the new lead forms. Hubspot saw increased conversion rates on Slideshare as a result of this new feature.
- Optimize your bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content. According to Debbie Farese, director of sales enablement and lead nurturing at HubSpot, 78% of business software buyers begin their evaluation with a web search. It’s critical that when these buyers go on the web, they find your content. Make sure your BOFU content is optimized for SEO and include the keywords buyers use.
- Repurpose your existing content. Instead of constantly looking for new content topics to produce, get more ROI from what you already have by creatively using your existing content. Write blog posts out of ebooks. Produce Slideshares out of your top blog posts. Organize a webinar covering a popular report. Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, recommends a modular approach to repurposing content—a strategic way of organizing your content sources and transforming big content pieces into smaller ones (or vice versa).
- Work with influencers. Another great tip I heard from Lee was adding “bacon” to your content marketing “burger” by working with influencers. He recommends connecting with influencers to capture “ingredient” content (quotes, tips, stats and examples) to add some POP to your repurposed content. He also suggests asking your influencers to share your content at the same time to give your campaigns more momentum.
- Optimize your old blog posts. Don’t let your top blog posts rot. Identify your most popular articles, and make sure they are optimized for conversion. Add fresh data and new information to them to keep them relevant and timely. Also, update the call to actions to make sure they match the keywords that people use. (You could even consider updating the date to surface up the blog post as “new.”) This approach has resulted to increased conversions for HubSpot, according to Pamela Vaughan, principal marketing manager of optimization at HubSpot.
- Focus on growing your email database. As an inbound marketing tool, email still beats social. Think of ways of converting your social media audience into email subscribers.
- Write to one person. Want to create more compelling content? The key is to understand your target audience well. In an infographic released in early 2015, Ann Handley, founder of MarketingProfs, says marketers should write to one person. “Imagine the one person you’re helping with this piece of writing. And then write directly to that person (using you, as opposed using people or they.)”
- Upload Facebook videos. Media companies like BuzzFeed already know this: Native videos are huge on Facebook. A recent study found that videos posts average 62% more engagement than photos, although most companies post more photos than videos. Using videos is still one of the most underutilized Facebook growth tactics.
- Optimize your content for social media sharing. If you’d like people to share your content, then you need to make sure your blog posts, landing pages and other parts of your website are optimized for social sharing. This includes making sure that the best picture, the right headline and a great description are rendered when people share your content.
- Invest in long-form content. One of the key tactics to creating epic content marketing is to go longer. Studies show that blog posts that are more than 2,000 words in length get more social shares, inbound links and organic traffic. Publishing research-heavy, comprehensive blog posts is a tactic worth trying more in 2016.
- Create better case studies. Case studies are one of the best things you could arm your salespeople with. They can demonstrate to your prospects—in a tangible way—how your product or solution can help them. To create effective case studies, advisory firm SiriusDecisions recommends preparing “multiple examples across industries” that are aligned to “both the buying cycle and internal sales process.”
What inbound marketing strategies and tactics are you trying this year?