10 Critical Components of Your CSB Inbound Marketing Engine
By Dave Zwicker
When is inbound marketing truly a growth engine for a cloud services broker business? Is it enough to "check the boxes" for all of the Internet marketing activities you perform? After all, you regularly update your company blog, post to your social media accounts, include keywords on your website to optimize search engine rankings and use landing pages to collect Web leads. So you're all set, right? Well, not really.
The difference between an inbound marketing checklist and an inbound marketing engine is the integration of its critical components into a system that can be measured and a process that can be tuned to optimize performance. Here are 10 critical components of a CSB inbound marketing engine. How many of these components are part of your inbound marketing campaigns? How efficiently does your inbound marketing engine perform?
1. Understand Your Business Goals
Do you have a growth plan? An inbound marketing engine is meant to drive business growth. So the first critical component is to understand your business goals. Where do you want your business to be in three years? Your inbound marketing engine should power that growth.
2. Align Your Marketing Targets
Are your marketing targets aligned with your business goals? Your funnel metrics (leads, conversion rates, deal values) should drive the revenue and margin results projected by your growth plan. Visit www.csbexcellence.com for some business modeling tools to calculate them.
3. Define the Buyer Persona & Journey
Textbook inbound marketing requires a knowledge of your buyer's pain points, decision process and trigger points. Without a precise definition for each target buyer, your inbound marketing campaigns will probably miss the mark.
4. Assess & Baseline Your Website
If your inbound marketing is an engine, then your website is the engine block. As the foundation for your Web traffic, site conversion and lead nurturing efforts, make sure it is fully search engine optimized and you have baseline performance metrics to build on.
5. Audit & Categorize Your Content
Content is the fuel for this engine. It must be highly relevant to the buyer's persona and mapped to each stage of the buyer's journey. If you haven't done so already, audit your content and categorize its use for top, middle or bottom of funnel campaigns.
6. Create Your Inbound Marketing Plan
The first five components should now come together in your inbound marketing plan. What campaigns require what content for what buyer personas? What performance targets will fill the funnel? And most important, who will own what parts of the plan?
7. Build Lead-Generation Campaigns
This is part 1 of the development phase: Design and build your inbound marketing campaigns. What problem are you trying to solve? More traffic? Higher conversion? Better lead quality? Create campaigns that will address your marketing priorities.
8. Develop Compelling Content Offers
This is part 2 of the development phase: Create content offers that will be used in your campaigns to convert website visitors into leads. Based on the offer and the response, your leads will either be in the awareness, consideration or purchase decision stage.
9. Drive Your Inbound Marketing Engine
Now that you have developed your campaigns and content offers, you are ready to drive the engine on a daily basis. This is where a lot of companies fall down. After launching their campaigns, they fail to execute with consistency and commitment on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
10 Measure & Optimize Everything
Continuous improvement requires continuous measurement and optimization of content, strategy, campaign design and workflow. Leading marketing automation platforms like Hubspot provide a dashboard with an at-a-glance measurement of key performance metrics.
These steps will guide you through a critical thought process. They explain the importance of content that is relevant to your buyer personas and their stage in the buying process. They provide a perspective that inbound marketing covers a broad set of disciplines that must work together like components of a high performance engine. They will get you thinking about key performance metrics and managing your campaigns for continuous improvement.
Yes, there is some real engineering involved here, but once you build your engine, it will dramatically drive growth for your business. If you want to know more about the 10 critical components, download the e-book, "Fill Your Sales Funnel With Qualified Buyers of Cloud Services." It will provide insights and ideas for taking your inbound marketing engine to the next level.
Dave Zwicker co-founded CSBcommunity.com, an online business-building center for cloud service brokers (CSBs). The CSBcommunity.com website is operated by CSBexcellence, a consultancy also co-founded by Zwicker, which offers an inbound marketing tool kit for CSBs. The CSBexcellence team guides channel partners through a structured methodology for creating a scalable and profitable CSB business and implementing a “lean" inbound marketing engine for fueling the sales funnel and driving business growth. During a successful marketing career spanning three decades, Zwicker has held executive assignments with leading technology companies offering voice/data systems, security solutions, application performance management software and managed voice services.