Successful inbound marketing requires a hand in a number of different marketing channels, from blogging , to social media, to email, SEO, PPC, and even live events. But because there are so many different channels at an inbound marketer's disposal, what often happens is a marketing strategy that doesn't call for any integration or cross-channel promotion. Don't keep your marketing contained in individual silos -- integrate it!
Individual marketing channels that work in tandem to promote an offer, promotion, or even a full-blown campaign can give you the oomph you need to generate even better results. Here are 8 ways you can give your marketing more leverage with a more integrated approach to the channels you're likely already working with.
1. Email and Social Media
For many marketers, email is one of the most powerful tools in their inbound marketing toolbox. That's because most lead generation efforts collect a very vital communication staple -- email addresses. Therefore, marketers' databases are often the most robust asset at their disposal. But did you know there's a way to reach even more potential customers than just your email list? It's all about social media.
Adding social elements to your emails enables you to expand the reach of your email sends beyond just your direct recipients. Be sure you're adding social media sharing buttons (e.g. 'Share on Facebook!' 'Tweet This!' 'Share on LinkedIn' '+1 This!') to every email you send so recipients are encouraged to share your email content with their personal networks. You'll have access to a whole new audience! In addition, use your email to increase your social media following by adding social media follow/subscription buttons (e.g. 'Follow Us on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+!') so you can touch potential customers through social channels, too!
2. Email and Blogging/Social Media/PPC
Treat the new offers you create like mini campaigns that you're launching. You probably spent a good chunk of time writing, editing, and formatting that awesome new ebook . Make sure you get the most out of it! If you've scheduled a dedicated send to your entire database to promote your new ebook, align that promotion with other channels such as your blog, social media accounts, and PPC campaigns.
On the same day that your dedicated email send goes out, consider doing the following: Pull a particularly blog-appropriate excerpt from the ebook and post it on your blog with a call-to-action to download the full ebook. Make sure you're promoting the new offer through your social channels by posting updates with links to the ebook's landing page to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Support your efforts with a pay-per-click campaign featuring the offer. Eliciting the power of multiple channels will equate to greater success (more downloads, and more leads!) for your offer.
3. Email ...and Other Email
A lot of marketers mistakenly lump all the different types of email they send into one category, but different types of email have some starkly contrasting purposes. For example, you could be sending automated emails to blog email subscribers and leads who have been entered into a lead nurturing campaign , weekly/monthly newsletters highlighting your top content, or individual dedicated sends just to promote your new offers. What this adds up to is a whole lotta email. And when you have different people managing each of these types of sends, what happens is multiple, isolated email strategies that don't talk to each other. In other words, bad news.
Get your act together, and integrate your various email marketing efforts. Create a master email planning document, which could be as simple as a shared Google spreadsheet, so you can make sure you're spreading out your various communications and not hitting the same prospects and leads with too much email in a short amount of time. Furthermore, segment your email database by demographic and behaviors (using lead intelligence and information from form completions) so you can be sure you're sending the most appropriate emails to the right segments.
4. Social Media and Blogging
Like email and social media, blogging and social media can also have quite a symbiotic relationship. Social media can serve as an effective promotional vehicle for business blog content and help drive traffic to your blog, and your blog can provide fresh content that can be used to keep social media accounts updated regularly and consistently to engage and grow your business' social audience. So if you're not integrating your social and blogging efforts already, you're missing out on a great cross-channel relationship.
Make sure every blog post you publish includes social media sharing buttons so readers can easily share your content with their social networks. In addition, feature social media follow buttons on your blog so blog readers can easily follow your social media accounts. If your marketing team has a dedicated social media manager, make sure he/she communicates with your team's blogging manager so your blog's top content gets the social media face time it deserves. Consider automating some of your social media so blog posts automatically get published to your social accounts .
5. SEO and Blogging
One of the main benefits of business blogging are the rewards it can deliver for your business' search engine optimization . That being said, just blogging won't be enough if you really want to leverage the tool for increased search rankings.
Make sure your SEO and blogging strategy are well-aligned and that you're optimizing your blog content with the keywords for which your business is seeking to rank high in search engines. And if you're currently pushing to rank for a specific keyword, your blogging strategy should support that. For example, if you're a unicorn breeder and your current SEO project is to rank on page 1 for the term ' unicorn breeding ,' your blogging efforts should support that. You should be creating content about 'best practices for unicorn breeding ' and 'the best food to feed unicorns to promote healthy unicorn breeding ,' and you should be optimizing that blog content using the ' unicorn breeding ' keyword.
6. Online & Offline Events and Social Media
Live online and offline events can be made much more successful when social media is involved. Whether you're running a webinar online or a hosting a conference or another live event, effective integrations of social media can help you generate buzz before, during, and after the event .
Create a hashtag for your event, and start promoting and using it as you're promoting and collecting registrations for the event. This will enable people to follow the conversation happening about the event and help you drive more registrations prior to the event. During the event, make sure your audience knows about that hashtag to enable them to have conversations with both fellow attendees and those sitting at home who aren't able to attend. After the event, continue to use the hashtag to share post-event, downloadable content (e.g. an archived webinar or recorded presentations from live events).
7. Mobile and Everything!
You can't deny it -- mobile adoption is only growing , and a business that stays on top of it is a smart business. Integrating mobile into your marketing strategy is a full post in itself, since you can integrate mobile with your other channels in a number of different ways. At the very least, you should make sure your website and your emails are mobile-friendly. Luckily, we've got a great guide for this .
If you've covered the basics and are looking for more creative ways to integrate mobile into your other marketing channels, the cool thing is that there are a number of great things you can do. For example, you could leverage QR codes to merge offline and online marketing. Add a QR code to some print collateral that brings scanners to a relevant landing page on your website, and distribute it at trade shows or through print advertising. You could also leverage mobile check-in applications like Foursquare to merge mobile and social media marketing. If you're a brick and mortar business, offer coupons and discounts to your most loyal check-ins.
8. Analytics and Everything!
While analytics isn't exactly a channel , it should absolutely be integrated with the rest of your marketing. The most successful inbound marketers measure absolutely everything about their marketing -- every individual marketing channel, how each channel affects another, whether certain channels yield better results than others, etc.
The most effective way to make sure you're getting the most telling insights out of your analytics is to use a tool that integrates with your other channels. It should provide you with not just an understanding of the results each individual channel produces, but also how integrated campaigns perform. Furthermore, it should provide you with closed-loop data to analyze how effective your channels are at generating not just leads, but also customers . Make sure you're regularly tracking and measuring the performance of your marketing channels and campaigns. Then use the insight you gather to make adjustments and improvements to your marketing programs.
Don't let marketing silos inhibit the potential of your marketing strategy. In what other ways have you effectively integrated your marketing channels to achieve better results?
Originally published Jan 25, 2012 4:43:00 PM, updated July 28 2017