How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing

by Anum Hussain

Date

October 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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We talk to people all the time that are totally sold on the inbound marketing methodology, but there's just one thing standing in their way from becoming a full-fledged inbound marketer ... they can't convince their boss they can switch to inbound marketing without experiencing a painful blow to their current marketing.

It makes sense -- change is hard, and honestly, nobody is going to let you waltz in and, with the snap of your fingers, totally change the way your business and marketing department functions. If someone came up to you and said that the proper way to cut paper is by grinding your teeth on it because it results in higher levels of efficiency than traditional scissors, would you make the swap? Of course not. Even if it was true. (Note: it's not.)

That means if you're really interested in transitioning your company to inbound marketing, it's time get a little sneaky. It's time to integrate your inbound marketing campaigns with your company's more traditional marketing campaigns. Over time, you can not only prove the value of inbound marketing as your campaigns start to generate staggering ROI -- numbers tend to do the convincing for you -- but you'll already have that gradual transition towards more inbound-friendly methods underway! So let's start that transition to inbound marketing together, right now, step-by-step ... here's what to do.

Merge Inbound Tactics with Outbound Campaigns

Many marketers have already started fusing online and offline marketing techniques. According to Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe using online data to optimize the offline experience is important. Furthermore, 73% of company marketers say they will be using a cross-channel marketing strategy over the next few years.

Clearly a large population of marketers are comfortable with weaving online marketing tactics with their traditional campaigns. So let's start there. Kindly request to make inbound tactics a part of the outbound promotion. Here's a few examples.

Connect Your Commercials with a Social Media Campaign

If you work for an organization that uses commercials to advertise their business, ask if you can get social media in on the action just a little bit. Perhaps something small, like a hashtag? Just look at this screenshot from an Audi commercial, for example.

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This inclusion enables you to unify your online messaging with your advertising campaign, and gives you the opportunity to go to town with social content revolving around the hashtag. Use it in quotes, to start Twitter chats, when citing stats ... anything that can help unify the messaging from your commercial and the content you're publishing to social media.

Attach a Landing Page to Your Print Advertisements and Direct Mail

Your print advertisements may get you noticed, it's the call-to-action part that's difficult. In other words, is there any way to get someone to actually take action when they're inspired by your print ads? Well, when your team sits down to put together their next print ad, ask them for a little space for some copy that points readers to an online destination. This could be through a QR code like Gucci did below, or by simply including a URL.

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This allows you to create a customized landing page just for this advertisement -- you know, something a little more personalized to the reader and the ad you created than just your homepage.

Simulataneously Run Inbound Campaigns Alongside More Traditional Campaigns

Now that you've started to integrate digital and print campaigns, ask if you can run a few additional "inboundy" campaigns of your own. Make this easier by promising you'll still complete your routine tasks -- these additional campaigns will be tests you're running in addition to those. While this will require more of your time for a bit, it won't require more of your budget, making it easier to sell your boss and colleagues on the subject. Here are some quick campaigns you can run to include in your ultimate portfolio for convincing your team.

Repurpose Existing Content to Create Some Lead Generation Offers

If you've been in business for a while -- even just a year or two -- you've likely accumulated a bunch of content and expertise without even knowing it. And if you want to do a test drive of an inbound marketing campaign, you're going to need that content and expertise. Gather your current sales and marketing collateral -- case studies, testimonials, brochures, whatever you got -- and start reworking it to spin it into offer content that you can put behind a form, and/or share across social media channels.

Set Up CTAs and Landing Pages

See if your boss would be alright with you making some website tweaks. You're not going to redesign the skin or anything, but you could improve upon what's already there ... and make some key new additions.

First, create a call-to-action that lives right on the homepage. It's easy, you can even make them in PowerPoint! That CTA should lead to a new landing page that houses one of those awesome new lead generation offers you just created. Make sure you consider what type of offer visitors to your home page might be interested in -- if the bulk of your traffic is coming in on branded keywords, for example, something a little further down your sales funnel, like a case study or product-focused whitepaper, might be most appropriate. When your sales team starts to see people "raising their hand" to talk about purchasing your product or service, you can bet they'll want to try more of that inbound marketing stuff.

Create Visual Social Media Content

Put on your creative hat and think of a cool new idea for increasing engagement on your social media channels. Can you create a series of memes around a common industry fad? Can you create a few visual representations of important stats and data in your field? You don't need Photoshop to do this, either. Just head over to memegenerator.net or use PowerPoint to whip up some visuals that can be easily shared, helping you generate more fans and followers and increase your overall social reach.

Create and Share Your Blog Content Strategically

Start writing posts on your company blog -- and if you don't have one, set one up! But be strategic. You can't just write a post and hope the world stumbles upon it. Instead, start sharing that post with advocates of your brand or others who would find it valuable. And yes, that includes your social media fans and followers. You also need to make sure search engines can find it by writing about topics germane to your company and industry. It would also help to start writing guest blog posts for other related sites so you can get some of those coveted inbound links that help your site rise in the search engine rankings!

Collect and Compare Metrics

Now that you've got some campaigns up and running, you can start collecting metrics that speak to their effectiveness. Collect every metric humanly possible. Generate reports that show you the number of times your hashtags were mentioned on Twitter. Look at your website analytics to see how many users were sent to your customized landing pages or landed on your website because of your blog posts. See which keywords drove the most traffic to your website. You know, see what didn't work, what did work, and what really, really worked. These metrics will show impact you can tie directly to business goals like generating revenue and closing new business.

Then it's time to organize all your results into a clear, succinct, and educational presentation so you can prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your team. And when you use data based off of recent campaigns -- data that you can tie directly to leads and customers generated -- you don't have that difficult of a case to make!

What tactics have you used to convince your boss and colleagues to invest in inbound marketing?

Image Credit: IT Tech News

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