Most companies are using inbound marketing tactics to generate and nurture leads, convert prospects, and more. From blogging to email marketing, landing pages, white papers and ebooks, SEO, social media, and more, the inbound landscape encompasses a multitude of commonly used marketing tactics that have helped many businesses bootstrap their way to the top.
Of course, some inbound marketing tactics are more effective than others, but it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. Inbound marketing is crucial for every business, but the ideal inbound strategy might look considerably different from one industry – even one company – to the next.
Are there some inbound marketing tactics proven to produce a greater return on investment (ROI) than others? To find out what today’s inbound marketing experts consider the most productive in terms of revenue, we asked a panel of inbound marketing pros to weigh in on this question:
“Which inbound marketing technique or tactic provides the best ROI?”
To find out where you can get the biggest bang for your buck with inbound marketing, read on to learn what our experts shared below.
Meet Our Panel of Inbound Marketing Experts:
Haris Mumtaz is currently associated as the Digital Marketing Strategist with one of the leading VPN service providers in the industry, PureVPN. He is an avid learner and loves reading and spreading awareness about online privacy and security. Mumtaz is a music lover with much higher aims in life.
“One inbound marketing technique that offers great ROI is…”
There’s this concept of Influencer Marketing which is not used by many companies. It’s a bit of a long process but it offers quite amazing ROI once executed effectively. If your brand is not a giant, your reach can not be as much as an influencer or someone with a huge list of followers. Try building relations with an influencer whose followers are relevant to your industry. Once you’ve built a successful relationship, your brand will be endorsed by that influencer, ultimately reaching millions of audience members in no time. You can not achieve this type of ROI with other means in my opinion.
Furqan Tafseer is the Digital Marketing Strategist at PureVPN and a Hubspot certified Inbound Marketer. Apart from having interests in cybersecurity, online privacy, website optimization, content marketing and technology, he is a huge fan of the NBA!
“Out of all the inbound marketing strategies, I would vote for…”
Content Marketing in terms of ROI. The main reason is the fact that content creation and distribution plays the most substantial and primary role in the inbound methodology. Also, an accurate distribution plan can significantly increase lead generation and lead nurturing. Also, content marketing also plays the most crucial part in attracting visitors which further leads to brand awareness among the masses, especially for B2C. So, I think that content marketing definitely provides the best ROI by attracting the visitors and improving lead generation and nurturing. Although all the tactics in inbound methodology do play a crucial role, my personal experience suggests that proper content distribution coupled with SEO provides the best ROI!
David Ferguson is a serial entrepreneur with a strong technical background and a passion for online marketing. Effectively leveraging technology and smart marketing has allowed David to grow multiple businesses faster and more cost efficiently in B2B industries that are dominated by larger, well-funded competitors. The purpose of Tech Smart Boss is to help other business owners learn how they can implement the same strategies and technology to grow their business on a D-I-Y budget.
“The highest ROI in inbound marketing is…”
To write blogs on topics that your target audience is searching on Google and the other search engines. What I have learned is that this typically falls into the categories of: cost of, best of, x vs. y, review of, pros and cons, and how-to articles. These types of articles will be the top of the funnel articles that bring people to your blog, and then you should have some lead magnets or downloadable assets like resources guides, checklists, ebooks, and other useful items that relate to the blog topic which will give visitors the incentive to convert to subscribers. Once you build up your subscriber list you can add in more thought leadership or product/service specific articles for lead nurturing, but initially the focus for the highest ROI of inbound marketing is bringing visitors into your site. Writing the types of articles described above will provide a lot more ROI than buying traffic via paid ads.
Chasen Nick is a Digital Analyst on behalf of RAMS Home Loans, one of Australia’s largest providers of home loans for first-time home buyers.
“As we move into 2017, it will become even more critical for businesses to invest in…”
Search engine optimization for their websites. I believe SEO has the highest return on investment, because as more and more companies advance into the digital marketing space, website ranking and visibility will become increasingly competitive. If you plan on reaching your audience through your newly designed and developed website, make sure you invest the time and money into SEO as well. Do your research and select a company that employs “white hat” strategies and tactics, and your return on investment should be desirable.
Richard Graves is an entrepreneur, marketer and angel investor with a background in telecom and technology start-ups. He currently is founder and CEO of BKON Connect.
“The inbound marketing technique that produces the greatest ROI is…”
Inbound proximity marketing, which is enabled by the Physical Web. It represents a shift in proximity marketing from outbound to inbound, broadcast to closed-loop, one-way to experiential, and interruptive to inviting.
Distributing digital content to the Physical Web doubles the value of a brand’s existing content.The Google-inspired Physical Web utilizes existing web content (using URLs) to persuade, inform, entertain, or enable the ability to take action in key moments of a customer’s journey.
By producing content valuable to consumers, then “attaching” it to relevant locations or products, marketers are able to incentive consumer engagement in-store. Because it begins with product and location, content can be made highly relevant. Further, because inbound proximity marketing interactions on the Physical Web are consumer initiated, they are positioned to fulfill needs and build loyalty.
Now available in both browsers and apps, inbound proximity marketing through the Physical Web provides discovery experiences that let customers self-qualify as prospects as they connect with brands.
Matt is an accomplished executive with a proven track record of driving exceptional results across multiple functions in e-commerce and consumer finance with particular strength in profitably growing businesses. Currently Matt is the VP and Head of Marketing at Adigica Health, parent company of BioClarity.
“The inbound marketing tactic that provides the best ROI is…”
Utilizing coupons within our social media strategy. The reason for this is because the social landscape is highly apt at sharing content within their personal networks, which helps increase our brand awareness at no additional cost to us. Furthermore, given that our business operates on a subscription-based model, offering a substantial discount on first time orders is only a small percentage when considering the lifetime value of our customers.
David Hoos is a Content Marketing Strategist at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.
“In terms of the inbound tactics producing the biggest ROI, we have observed that…”
Guest posting with brands in related niches shows great returns. It brings together some of the best elements of influencer marketing (the influence of other larger brands), thought leadership(showcasing your expertise on a bigger platform), SEO best practices (frequently earns quality backlinks for your website), and branding (further associating your brand with other brands in your niche and beyond).
Sean Zinsmeister crafts the positioning, messaging and overall go-to-market strategy for Infer’s next-generation predictive platform. Once a satisfied Infer customer himself, Sean joined Infer from Nitro where he developed and led an award-winning global marketing team. Sean holds advanced degrees from Suffolk Sawyer School of Business and Northeastern respectively in strategic marketing and project management.
“It’s important with any inbound marketing strategy that…”
Market teams continue to be focused on segmentation and qualification to ensure they are sending the best leads to Sales. Most businesses are after two things:
1) How do I make my sales team more productive?
2) How do I make my marketing team more effective?
These go hand in hand, and all start with how well you are segmenting and qualifying prospects throughout your funnel. Don’t focus on downstream vanity metrics like content downloads; instead, focus on your ICP (ideal customer profile) and how many of those types of prospects your team was able to land. Whether you are leveraging Marketing Automation or predictive analytics platform, the value of improving segmentation and qualification is like making sure you’re building a house on a sturdy foundation. If you’re building on a swap, whatever tactic you employ thereafter is surely to sink.
Brandon Welch, PhD is the owner of Doxy.me, which is a free telemedicine solution that thousands of clinicians and patients currently benefit from
“One of the best ways to capitalize with inbound marketing is through…”
Blogging. This is where inbound marketing begins, and a blog is extremely effective in attracting new visitors to your website. It’s important to create educational content that speaks directly to your audience and answers their questions. This is one of the keys to being found by your target audience. Remember, you don’t just want to attract any traffic to your site, you want to attract the right traffic – the kind that will be more likely to become qualified leads.
Wesley Flippo is the Co-founder and CMO of Spire Drones and is an expert in digital marketing.
“The most effective way to get the biggest ROI from inbound marketing is to…”
Create keyword-focused content pages. From an inbound marketing standpoint, any new content pages on your site should be built after an extensive keyword research project. The goal should be to create pages that cover topics in your industry that people are already searching for. In addition to the information provided to the user, you should include call to actions that are relevant to your site to convert this traffic into leads.
This strategy has the best ROI because combines the best of SEO and content marketing to not only improve the depth of your site with new pages, but also attracts new visitors by creating content that answers the questions
people are currently searching for.
There are a few great tools to complete this keyword research. If you have an Adwords account, Google has a keyword planning tool that provides ideas and the search volume for any number of keywords. Ahrefs.com also has a
great keyword planning tool as well.
Finally, there is a tool we love to use called Answer the Public that provides questions and keyword ideas through an easily digestible, visual format.
Bob Clary is an inbound marketer who helps client’s grow their online business at Intellibright, a pay per sale marketing agency.
“I’ve been involved with many inbound campaigns over the years…”
And I could on and on about the various tips about driving more traffic. But, I seem to always run into a big problem on many websites I look at, and that’s the lead capturing tools. Sure, everyone has a contact form on their website, but most have not been tested with their audience to determine what actually works and what doesn’t. So, my tip is to always be running conversion testing on your contact forms.
Once you get desirable people to your website through an amazing inbound campaign, are these visitors actually converting? Different people, at different buying stages, have different wants. So continuously testing your forms to increase conversion rate is cheap (conversion tool plus your time) and will have a huge impact on your ROI. In one specific example, we tested an auto-focus field with a client’s website, so that a blinking cursor showed up on the first name field to catch the user’s attention. That slight changed produced a great uptick in our conversion rates.
In the end, conversion testing your contact forms is an easy way to possibly dramatically increase your website conversions.
Kris Johnson is the Marketing Strategist for The Gantry Restaurant & Bar , one of the best waterfront restaurants in Sydney.
“The best way to increase ROI from inbound marketing is to…”
Utilize social media. My personal favorite is to create a call to action button on your company’s Facebook page. You can make it say something like “Sign Up” and the button will appear on the top of the page, right inside your cover photo. With our
company Facebook page, we utilize a button, but the call to action is “Book Now.” Same idea though. This is a great opportunity to drive visitors to your page, while driving current Facebook fans to a landing page that has similar copy which calls the visitor to “Sign Up.” This is a tried and true way of generating new leads. Make sure you’re offering something to your visitors in exchange for their contact information. This could be something like a free download, an ebook, a tip sheet, or anything else that would be interesting and valuable to your visitors that isn’t readily available for free elsewhere. Social media is constantly growing and evolving, and this is a great tool to help businesses grow along with it.
Steven Shelton was a real estate investor who took it upon himself to learn SEO. He was so good at it he started his own company and now guarantees his clients a first-page presence on Google searches of their chosen keywords or their money back.
“The inbound marketing tactic with the biggest ROI is obvious…”
Search Engine Optimization provides the best ROI of any inbound marketing technique. Now, I’m not talking about the SEO experience that most businesses have experienced. You know, the kind of SEO where a salesperson who has never ranked a website locks a business owner down for 3-6 months with no guarantee of success. Then, when the term is up, the owner notices no difference in traffic or sales, so they cancel and go back to Adwords.
I’m talking about real SEO that actually gets your website not just on the first page of a Google search but at or near the top of page one. There’s no such thing as a keyword that is impossible to rank on the front page of Google.
Don’t believe me?
Google anything…find the most difficult keyword you can think of…what do you see? You’ll see that 10 websites already made it to the first page. The problem is most SEO “experts” know that they cannot compete on a professional level. Just like most college athletes will never graduate to the professional level, most SEO experts never move past simply knowing a few tactics and terms.
Real SEO never stops paying.
When you run an ad that works, you have to keep paying or it stops working. When you do SEO right, and you make it to the top of a Google search, and then you get so far ahead of the competition that they can’t easily catch you, your website continues to receive high-value, targeted, free traffic indefinitely.
Pay once, profit forever.
Is there a better ROI than that?
Jesse McDonald is the Director of SEO at Geek Powered Studios in Austin, TX. He has a background in graphic design and applies his artistic abilities towards crafting powerful digital marketing campaigns for clients. He was also a speaker at Pubcon Las Vegas 2016.
“With Inbound marketing, there isn’t one thing that may work over the other…”
It all really depends on the company and that company’s demographic. A company with a younger audience will probably have larger ROI while focusing more on social media efforts. If a company has a bit older of an audience they might want to work on more email campaigns. Each company is unique and should do testing to figure out where to focus their efforts to see the most return.
One thing that all companies can invest in is conversion rate optimization. This can be incredibly beneficial and is only a time investment besides the cost of the CRO tool of your choice, in turn creating a high ROI.
Ying Huang, a digital marketer in New York City, has worked in various industries, including hospitality and consumer goods. She is now the Director of Marketing at Block O’Toole & Murphy, a premier personal injury law firm.
“The inbound marketing technique that offers the best ROI in my book is…”
SEO, particularly for conversional keyword phrases. This obviously depends on the industry, but I found that investing in lower-funnel keywords where customers are ready to buy/sign up brings great wins for the business. There is fierce competition for these phrases, as Google has been prioritizing ads above the fold for keywords where there is a strong intent to buy. However, when you are capturing visitors via these keyword phrases, the conversion rate on the site is usually better. This means doing what we can to ensure that we’re ranked high in local map results, organic blue links, and more.
David Brown is a blogger who offers science-based weight loss tips at leanhigh.com.
“The one technique that literally tripled my sales was…”
Switching from driving my website visitors directly to the sales page to sending them to a free opt-in newsletter first. Instead of asking for a sale straight away, sharing actionable and useful advice with my readers first (through an email autoresponder sequence) and only asking for the sale afterwards increased my sales by more than 200%. That’s without changing absolutely anything on the sales page.
Jo Trizila is founder & chief executive officer of Dallas-based TrizCom Public Relations and Pitch PR. Founded in 2008, TrizCom PR is a full service public relations firm. In TrizCom, organizations ranging from corporations to nonprofits to startups gain a team of savvy PR professionals who think creatively and develop truly innovative communications ideas that build buzz and raise brand awareness. TrizCom is the difference between PR that is box checking and PR that’s groundbreaking.
“For inbound marketing, content is king, but…”
Content creation is a tactic and must-have a strategy to back it up. I am amazed at how many companies don’t place their news releases, news stories, bylines, etc. on their website. An optimized press release is an outbound marketing technique, but once you turn it into content and place it on your website (preferably in your news room), share it on social, or share it in a newsletter or blog, it becomes an inbound marketing technique. The same thing goes for news articles written about you and your brand. The ROI on placing these items in your newsroom, social networks, newsletters, email marketing campaigns should be extraordinary – as they were created for one purpose but are being used for another purpose.
Garrett Smith is the Founder of InboundMD.
“The inbound marketing technique that will generate best ROI is…”
Claiming and cleaning up your citations. Your business is mentioned all over the web. If you can verify that the information is correct and increase the number of citations you have compared to your competitors, you’ll see greater results with your local search traffic and in increase in business.
Derric Haynie is CEO of SplashOPM – a social media marketing agency. He’s regularly seen speaking and blogging about startups and growth marketing in San Diego, San Francisco, and across the universe.
“So, of course, there’s no way to identify one inbound marketing technique that will produce the best ROI across the board…”
You just have to test each tactic yourself and see what works for you, but to give you some ideas on tests to run, I’d say the best techniques would be to do a LinkedIn Google, or Facebook search of people matching your ideal customer profile. Friend them on Facebook or LinkedIn, and then message them about what problems they might be having that you can solve. Essentially, just go and test some 1:1 marketing with people you believe would love your product. As you do this, you will start to figure out:
- Who your most ideal customer truly is
- How to message and chat with prospects and close them
- Which channels are offering the best ROI (or return on time in this case)
From there, consider moving into targeted advertising or using automation to scale the process.
John Turner is CEO/Founder of QuietKit which provides guided meditation for beginners for free.
“The best inbound marketing tactic for the greatest ROI is…”
Reaching out to people and helping them on social media. Start by figuring out where your most likely customers would be, and once you figure out those places, start searching around for anyone with a question or problem related to your space.
Often, these are things that can be automated to give you updates or a pipeline, and then you can reach out to these people publicly to help answer their questions. By doing it publicly, not only will you be helping that original person, but others will see what you have to offer and will investigate what your company does and has to offer, leading to more and more interest from people searching out your specific solution. It won’t lead to huge levels of traffic, but it will lead to highly relevant traffic, traffic that’s more likely to convert.
David Schneider is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach, an innovative new Blogger Outreach software for marketers. He writes about business and entrepreneurship and enjoys travel.
“For us, the inbound marketing tactic producing the best ROI has been…”
Content marketing. Specifically, we have found a lot of success with producing large, ultimate link round ups such as:
Published in May, this sent us over 7,500 visits last year and received hundreds of shares. It also accounted for 21 trial sign ups and dozens more email subscribers.
We felt it could be very successful because it involved a ton of influencers, and we executed an outreach campaign around the content after it was published to get it in front of everyone who was mentioned. It ended up ranking in Google and getting featured on several websites, which helped boost its authority too.
The end-to-end process was effectively:
- Coming up with a list of target keywords that were relevant to our product and also for which we felt we could gain traction, in this case Traffic Generation Case Studies
- Producing epic content featuring over 100 influencers
- Promoting that content to those influencers
- Linking to that content in important guest poss that we wrote afterwards, for example, boostblogtraffic.com/traffic-hack/
- Optimizing it for sign ups (we’re using SumoMe’s Welcome Mat on that page)
This strategy has been very effective for us and we’ve replicated it in other articles, although this was the most popular.
Jason Parks is a proud Buckeye and the owner of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency based in Columbus. Jason has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Inc., Yahoo News, Search Engine Watch, The Columbus Dispatch, and Entrepreneur.com. Jason has assisted in launching successful digital campaigns for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies to medium- and small-sized businesses that have gained national attention.
“If you just invest the time and resources to get your website to populate organically towards the top of Google…”
It can be one of the most profitable inbound marketing tactics for your business.
For our marketing agency, we rank towards the top of Google for Columbus SEO Company. If I were to bid on that keyword through a paid advertisement, it would cost me $35. Since I’ve earned that placement organically, it doesn’t cost me anything (aside from my time and expertise) which results in a great return on investment.
Most business owners are impatient when it comes to SEO because it can take over a year in some instances to reap the benefits. It can be one of the most rewarding inbound marketing efforts though!
Amit Kumar is a small business owner who spends a lot of time in Email marketing, promoting his business – Online Food Ordering System.
“The inbound marketing technique generating the highest ROI for marketers is…”
Email marketing. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI and gives marketers the broadest reach of all the channels available to them.
Despite the surplus of tools available to marketers, email marketing is simply the best for business growth, especially for startups. Email is the currency of the web, and anybody who is online has an active email address.
So when it comes to connecting with my prospects and customers personally, there’s no channel with a wider reach than email.
The reasons why I prefer email marketing are :
- Email has larger reach
- Email delivers your message
- Email drives conversions
- Email has a higher ROI
- Email is the preferred communication channel
- Email is an open platform
- Email will be around forever
Swapnil Bhagwat is Senior Manager – design & digital media and implementing social, digital, marketing, design and web strategies for the group companies. He is an MBA graduate with work experience in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. Swapnil has worked for more than a decade across a range of businesses for the global markets.
“ROI is a tricky term and it has to be evaluated in both the long-term and short term, especially when it comes to inbound marketing…”
Whether a business would target long-term or short-term ROI would depend on the strategic goals and the need for cash flow. It’s also a fact that marketing strategies depend on the execution of it. In general terms, inbound marketing includes paid advertising, SEO and content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. Paid marketing works, but the moment you stop paid campaigns, the conversion rate falls.
Email marketing has been perceived as the highest ROI-generating inbound marketing technique. According to the surveys conducted, 67 % of businesses rate email marketing as the highest in terms of ROI. The returns of email marketing is high owing to the low cost of sending emails, but optimizing the returns on investment from email marketing depends on how well it is executed. In order to keep the ROI high in email marketing, the list growth rate should also be high and it depends on many other factors and marketing techniques adopted. This would ensure that it has a long-term benefit as well that accrues increased conversion rates and higher ROI.
Alex Novkov is Marketing Expert at Kanbanize where he specializes in content marketing and social media.
“The inbound marketing tactics producing the highest ROI depends on whether you are in a B2B or B2C space…”
B2B marketers tend to focus on SEO and content because it leads to the highest returns. Most of our website visits are from organic search. The technique we have been implementing to perfection is optimization for exactly three keywords and constantly creating valuable content. Since starting this practice, the conversion rate from visitor to a customer has been increasing exponentially in time. Without a doubt, this has brought the best ROI.
Alex is the owner at Third Temple Digital. He is a Digital Marketer, involved in inbound marketing strategy, lead nurturing, marketing data research and analysis, and Search Engine Optimization, specializing in lead generation and brand awareness development. Alex addresses clients from various industries such as trades, food, education and others.
“One very good tactic for getting better ROI is…”
Pay-per-click advertising. Although it seems counter-intuitive to list pay-per-click ads as inbound marketing, they indeed are an inbound marketing technique as they do not interrupt the flow of the user’s online activity; they simply emphasize certain points of the search. PPC does not even have a bad reputation among customers, like pop-up ads for example, so people are less averse to opening websites advertised this way. The good thing about PPC also is that there is the possibility to simply go under the radar during the periods that have less potential for profit so as not to spend money on unprofitable clicks. With some clever SEO, and not overly flashy names and catch-phrases for the website, it is easy to improve ROI.
John Macaulay is the Founder & CEO of Biz Zen, an online marketplace that connects owners who want to sell their businesses with buyers looking for new opportunities.
“One hugely successful inbound marketing technique in terms of ROI is…”
Offering free guides and whitepapers. People are much more willing to provide their information when you give them something useful in return. Not to mention, if you provide them with useful, quality resources, they will be more likely to regard you as a thought leader and think of you in the future. In my experience, not only will this help you gather more subscribers and contacts, but the content can be reused again and again on different platforms, maximizing your efforts and resources.
Andra Zaharia is the Marcom Manager at Heimdal Security. A hands-on, all-around Marketing & Communications Specialist with a soft spot for cyber security and startups, Andra likes to combine tech knowledge and communication experience to create better relationships between users of the WWW and beyond.
“I’m a strong believer in the real value of inbound marketing, and I’ve used many inbound tactics to grow the brand I’m working for in the past 2 years…”
From what we’ve experimented with, I’ve found the following techniques to be the most effective:
- Blogging (by following the 10x and Skyscraper Techniques)
- Email marketing (by alternating between plain text emails and nicely designed emails, depending on the need)
- Educational products (email drip courses, PDFs)
These top 3 techniques have enabled us to double our blog traffic over the past 12 months, increase downloads for our free products, get great PR and great backlinks, and create a community around the brand.
We focused on delivering utility content, on nurturing relationships with our readers by always replying to their emails and by showing them that there are actual human beings behind the screen.
Although email marketing is still underrated, I think it’s an amazing tactic that can really help you reach the ROI you’re aiming for, if done right. The same goes for blogging.
Mark is a digital marketing manager for Wealth Club, a high net worth investment service in Bristol, UK, and previously a content marketing pioneer at UK investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.
“This deceptively simple inbound marketing tactic provided our best lead gen conversion rate…”
If your main activity is generating leads, the following tactic helped me generate thousands of qualified prospects interested in moving their pension (IRA) savings to a new provider.
It’s really quite simple.
First, you need a lead magnet – an information product to give away, such as a free report that people will want to read, with a compelling title.
Second, you need an article that covers the main benefits of claiming the lead magnet, without giving away all of its contents. The call to action should be well placed both early in your content (teaser) and towards the end (the big hitter for qualified leads).
Third, you need a content distribution strategy. For me, Outbrain and Taboola worked very well.
This is the crucial bit:
Make the headline you use on Outbrain/Taboola exactly the same as the name of your lead magnet. The user intent then follows through really well from the initial click.
Congratulations – with this simple tactic you’ve just created a real psychological need for your readers to get your report, making it much more likely for them to leave their details and become a lead you can follow up.
(Bonus tip: And even for those that don’t, you can build a remarketing audience and reach them again through other channels later).
Melih Oztalay is the CEO of SmartFinds Marketing. He is a digital marketer, guest author, speaker, and subject matter expert on radio shows with our 20+ years successful experiences. As an early adopter of new ideas and technology, my clients are able to benefit from imaginative and effective programs keeping them ahead of their competition.
“Inbound marketing starts with…”
Content development to attract your target market. Your content will be focused on answering their questions and addresses their needs. For this reason, you need to know and understand your target audience.
Content distribution in which social media marketing is a significant force in order to get your target market to engage with you. If they find the content valuable they will take action by engaging with you and re-share your content with their network. Any visual marketing channel is important and on the rise of importance for your marketing program.
Be sure you reply to your audience once they have started engaging with you. You’re developing a relationship not only with them but their network too. Take the opportunity to invite them to give you an opinion, view a video, join a webinar, sign-up for your newsletter. You want to keep the relationship development moving forward.
None of this works unless you measure, report, analyze and interpret your results. There is no end point. Set aside ongoing daily time for your inbound marketing activities. Based on your results make changes to keep improving the results.
Martin is Head of Search at Orb Online, a digital marketing agency specializing in online marketing for ecommerce businesses. He also offers online SEO training through his site Digital Made Easy and is hoping to speak more at industry events in 2017.
“By far the best inbound marketing tactic is…”
VALUE! Offer as much value as possible to people, for free. This maybe via extensive guides in the form of blog posts or free downloadable PDFs. For example, if you offer online marketing services, write a guide on exactly what you do and how you do it. You’re offering free value so that people can go and do it themselves, but a lot of the time people will see how much work is involved and that’s it’s not as easy as they’d hoped. At that point many of those people will just hire you to do it for them.
Eirini Kafourou handles communications for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores.
“One of the best inbound marketing techniques we found to work best for us is…”
Updating our blog with informative and educational content. Indeed, some of our most viewed articles are the ones that try to educate the readers about ERP and retail. To give a precise example, some time ago we created an ERP guide that still brings us a great number of trial accounts for Megaventory. Moreover, it lands our website on the first page of Google results, when people are searching for ERP guides. So our advice would be: When doing marketing, try to think what your readers would find truly valuable for their business, rather than just talk about yourself and what you do as a company.
Jordan Choo is managing partner at Kogneta, a digital marketing agency that helps franchises and multi-location businesses attract and retain customers. With over 11 years of hands-on experience in the digital marketing industry, he’s helped develop and execute marketing strategies for a wide variety of enterprise companies in the financial, automotive and quick-serve industry.
“The inbound marketing technique that provides the most ROI is, hands-down…”
Email marketing. Why email?
- The individuals or companies subscribed to your email list have already shown explicit interest in the product(s) and/or service(s) that your company provides.
- You have permission to market to them.
- You’re able to provide a personalized experienced by segmenting your list which has proven to increase ROI.
- Studies have even shown that email has provided the highest ROI for businesses.
- It allows marketers to reach customers directly via their inbox.
Hannah Ash is a marketing communications specialist with IT visualization provider Graphical Networks.
“It’s not exactly glamorous, the results don’t come overnight but…”
Blogging is a tried-and-true stand-by.
Our approach is to craft quality content first, SEO later. ‘Build it and they will come,’ is our philosophy, and by building we mean high-quality, relevant articles that people actually want to read. It works for us.
Eveline is managing partner & growth strategist at growthagency.co, a data-driven growth marketing agency.
“One way to get more ROI from inbound marketing is…”
Content creation is a time-consuming task. That is why we try to repurpose our content as much as possible so that it feels more native on different channels.
For instance, if we write a blog article, we try to transform it into a SlideShare presentation, an infographic, and maybe a short video too. This way, we get traffic from all those other sources like YouTube, Vimeo, SlideShare,
Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too.
Nick Rubright is the founder and CEO of Dozmia, a music streaming service currently available on iOS. He has a passion for helping musicians understand various marketing concepts, and creating the perfect playlist.
“In terms of the inbound marketing technique offering the best ROI, I’d definitely have to say…”
Blogging, which by my definition includes publishing high-quality articles along with some SEO work.
This method generates a huge long-term ROI because if you can publish a great, detailed, high-quality article and get it to rank in Google for a popular search term, it will continue to generate traffic over time. It’s a somewhat passive marketing channel that works really well if executed correctly.
Here’s a repeatable execution plan for blogging and SEO, and how to generate leads or sales with it:
- Search for high volume, low competition keywords. If you have a low budget, you can find keyword volume using Google’s Keyword Planner, then use Moz Bar to check search result competitiveness. Otherwise, if you have about $100/month to spend, Ahrefs is the best SEO tool to use for this. They give different search terms a competitiveness score, and tell you how many links you’ll need to get into the top 10 search results.
- Check out what content already exists for those keywords. Read the top 10 results in Google, then put together something better.
- Build links to your new content by promoting it to the right people. This will help it rank higher in Google search results and drive some referral traffic You can use Ahrefs to see who linked to the current search results and send them your new, better article, as they might replace the link. This is known as the Skyscraper Technique, and you can find more info on that here. You can use guest posting, resource page link building, and broken link building.
- Convert your blog traffic into email subscribers. SumoMe offers a variety of tools to help with this, and they have a free tier that’s worked very well for me.
- Send your email subscribers new content every time it’s published with a call to action at the bottom of the email. Not only will this generate more business, but these people want to hear from you, already love your content, and are likely to share it which will further grow your blog traffic.
This is the method I’ve been using to grow my blog from the start, and we’ve grown 100% month over month for 4 months in a row.
Tyler Moore is the marketing director at App Press, a software company that gives anyone the power to create apps without coding.
“In my experience, you can get the best ROI from…”
Content marketing. With the right approach, content marketing opens up a valuable, repeatable channel that won’t dry up when your advertising budget shrinks. Creating useful content addressing specific pain points felt by your target audience can provide long-term visibility for your brand, and improved organic traffic to your marketing site. Spending time and resources on creating and distributing useful content – including blog posts, white papers, case studies, videos, slide presentations and so on – can continue to drive traffic and conversions for years after publication.
The best approach is to establish yourself as an authority in your space – talk about the problems facing your customers or clients, not about the specific solution you provide. Have an opinion – talk to your existing customers, find out why they chose your company over one of your competitors, and use this as a basis to establish the voice of your brand.
Bob Bentz is the president of mobile first digital agency Purplegator and the author of RELEVANCE RAISES RESPONSE: HOW TO ENGAGE AND ACQUIRE WITH MOBILE MARKETING. His company owns the 84444.com text message marketing site.
“If you can only do one thing in mobile, it should be…”
SMS text message marketing. It is the workhorse of mobile marketing. Since text message marketing is opt-in marketing, you will need to create a database of opt-ins. This is usually done through an interactive text message marketing campaign. Once a consumer participates, your business can now send them broadcast text messages in the future. While creating a list of opt-ins may seem to be a daunting task, it is precisely why text message marketing works so darn well – people are ASKING to receive your advertising!
Scott Pierson is a 12-year SEO Consultant, speaker, and trainer. His blog provides low-tech, elucidating perspectives on SEO that all executives should know. He works with businesses large and small and provides both training and hands-on expertise in all white hat best-practices to improve rankings.
“As a 12-year Search Engine Marketing consultant, I can tell you that…”
The far majority of small/medium business websites I see are designed and built with little or no regard for search engine visibility. The cost to maximize web visibility can sometimes be immediately recouped. Take, for example, the results of optimization work we conducted and then posted as a case study. Using metrics from Google Analytics, we created a snapshot prior to the work, then compared the same metrics one month after the work was completed:
- Organic Site Visitors per month: 2,820 to 12,640
- # of pages ranking on Page 1: 42 to 765
- Organic Monthly Revenue: $5,941 to $21,560
The work consisted of keyword research and on-page optimization on over 2,400 pages and took six months at $3,500 per month or $21,000.
Many websites, like this one, have immediate ranking opportunities. Some can be maximized only to the degree that their current constraints will allow. Constraints, for the most part, have to do with their competition and how well they have implemented all eight components of SEO. In order to determine if there is any low-hanging-fruit, it takes an in-depth assessment or audit. The results of the audit can identify relevant keywords that could rank highly if a new page or blog post was optimized on it. The results would also tell the company where they stack among their top competitors and what needs to be done to overtake them on the most desirable keywords.
The truth is that for most companies, SEO requires some full-time knowledge. In addition to rolling up my sleeves and doing the work, I spend a considerable amount of time training my clients to the point where they have knowledge in the best-practices and ownership in the process.
So, in many cases, I am confident that SEO is the inbound marketing technique that offers the best ROI, but it takes an assessment to find out.
Gina Hutchings is a Senior SEO Consultant at Receptional, a U.K. digital marketing agency. Gina specializes in the gaming, IT, and manufacturing sectors as well as consumer retail marketing.
“The inbound marketing tactic producing the best ROI is…”
Search engine technology is moving fast. Your website is your shop front in the online market place, and to stand out in your niche you’ll need to get to the top of search engines – and stay there.
Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy must be well planned in order to allow you to get the maximum return on your investment (ROI). In SEO, ROI is less immediate, but generally greater and longer lasting that other online channels.
First, both measure and attribute all your online leads/sales using an analytics platform.
Next, work on improving your search visibility for the keywords that drive your most profitable leads/sales, this means you’ll see ROI much faster.
Finally work on your website’s user journey and sales funnel by making small, incremental improvements in order to better your conversion rates.
Once you’re at the top for your most profitable keywords, and converting the greatest number possible, repeat the process for the next most profitable area, and you’ll make your search marketing both profitable and sustainable.
Chris Gregory is a managing partner and founder of Jacksonville, Florida-based DAGMAR Marketing, a digital marketing agency. He is a Market Motive-Certified Master SEO and provides strategic direction for clients’ inbound marketing campaigns. DAGMAR won the prestigious Landy Award for best local SEO in 2016.
“The best inbound marketing technique to provide positive ROI is…”
Creating content that encompasses the buyer’s journey, start to finish, for each target audience/persona, content that satisfies them each step along the way. Too often, marketers focus on the end of the funnel, trying to convert traffic into buyers, when in fact most buyers aren’t yet ready to buy when they come to your website. What podcast or video, for example, can you create to help the curious site visitor who is still in the awareness stage? What white paper can you make available to assist those in the consideration stage? Do these help people flow from awareness to consideration to the decision stage? If not, what’s missing and what can you create to fill in those crucial gaps?
AJ Saleem is the Director of Suprex Tutors Houston, a leading private tutoring and test prep company based in Houston. AJ has created a big dent in the private tutoring market by offering well-trained, highly qualified teachers who are also dynamic instructors. The company also operates in New York and Chicago.
“I have used advertisements and flyers, but in my experience, you get teh best ROI from…”
Search Engine Optimization. We are currently in the age of the internet, so most consumers are using the internet now, especially Google. By targeting your audience through blogs and reporters, you are getting an advantage.
Justin is the Founder of Cave Social, a digital marketing agency based in South Florida. He is passionate about marketing and hosts the weekly YouTube series, In the Cave.
“The one tactic that produces the best ROI in inbound marketing is…”
Retargeting was identified by 46% of digital marketers as the most underused form of digital marketing, and I couldn’t agree more.
Customers are 70% more likely to convert on your website if they’ve been retargeted with display ads, making your return on investment very attractive. The ads see 10 times the click through as regular display ads and can help you
increase your ROI quickly and affordably.
John Rowa is the VP of Marketing for Lemonade Stand, a digital marketing agency based in Southern California.
“There isn’t necessarily one inbound marketing technique that offers the single greatest return on investment for every business…”
Your industry matters, your pitch matters, and even the location of your customers matter.
One of our clients is a party rental business. Their best source of inbound marketing is the engagement they receive from moms on Facebook liking and sharing party ideas. However, a lawyer in Palm Springs is going to rarely see direct leads from social media – nobody wants to share the latest fads in estate planning. Our attorneys see their greatest ROI using Paid Search Marketing (Google AdWords or Bing Paid Ads) because it’s at the bottom of the sales funnel and targets people specifically looking for their services.
Really great campaigns don’t just target one source of inbound marketing but engage multiple channels with each contributing to an overall lower cost per conversion and higher ROI. For example, a plumbing company can target a homeowner on Facebook for months without making a sale, but when that homeowner’s water line bursts and they search on Google for a plumber, they’re going to be much more likely to recognize the company that has been
targeting them for months on Facebook.
Kayla Kozan is the Director of Marketing at Ideal. Ideal’s AI Screening technology helps high-volume recruiters instantly identify who to interview. Kayla’s work has been featured on HubSpot, TechVibes, Ambition, and more. She is a big fan of brunch and road trips.
“Time and time again, one tactic has been extremely valuable for us…”
Creating how-to guides. Since we write them on very niche topics, such as AI for Recruiting, we are able to publish them very quickly. We keep the writing in-house to preserve the quality and use one piece in multiple ways. Over the course of a month one piece usually translates to an ebook, white paper, social media updates/photos, a blog or two, a case study, and an infographic. Inbound leads flow in through lead forms and blog traffic. Tried and true.
Sean Dudayev is the CMO of InsureChance Inc. and Founder of The Thinker’s Tantrum, an expert content platform. Currently Sean spends his time consulting dozens of young entrepreneurs in the art of marketing with limited resources. Sean is passionate about building start-ups the bootstrap way.
“From my experience, the best ROI by far compared to other inbound marketing tactics is…”
SEO. The only caveat is it must be done right. Getting to the top of the search engines costs nothing more than sweat equity form your marketing person – as long as you’re practicing White Hat SEO efforts. Once you’re at the top of the search results, you will enjoy a consistent flow of inbound customers without a continued investment. It is a long-term strategy in comparison to most marketing tactics, but it is also the most sustainable and most profitable when done by best practices.
Leslie Handmaker is a digital marketing fanatic specializing in SEO and conversion rate optimization.
“To get the biggest ROI, the best inbound tactic is…”
When performed correctly, keywords with both high user intent and high search volume can be exploited and the result is a strong lift in inbound website traffic. Well-written articles that are rich in data and useful information will obtain links and social shares to extend the awareness even further. ROI can easily be measured with proper analytic tracking, including goal conversions, in place.
Chris Piper is Sensory Brand Strategist/VP of Customer Success. He is a Speaker and Trainer on Promotional Products’ Impact on Brand/Company Image.
“Promotional products can provide strong ROI for inbound marketing campaigns…”
They can be used alone or integrated with other media, there are virtually limitless ways to use them. Popular in-bound promotional marketing programs cited most often by promotional consultants are business gifts, orientation programs, corporate communications and at trade shows (Lead Gen: pre – onsite – posts campaigns) to generate booth traffic and qualified leads.
Furthermore, promotional products succeed when businesses introduce new products or services as well as marketing research for survey and focus group participants. The goal is motivating the recipient of the promotional products to take a desired action!
Additional uses include dealer/distribution programs such as co-op programs, company stores, generating new customers or new accounts, non-profit fundraising, public awareness campaigns, and for promotion of brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Mark Goetze is the Co-Founder of Motion RC. Motion RC is a leader in radio control (RC) aircraft, offering a wide selection of electric planes, helicopters, drones and more.
“Remarketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques…”
For a small business looking to further their digital marketing efforts. A remarketing campaign typically requires only 10% of the budget of a search/display PPC campaign. For small businesses looking to get the highest possible ROI on a smaller budget, we recommend allotting a larger percent of your ad budget to remarketing to get better bang for your marketing buck.
Remarketing ads are targeted at users who have previously visited your site. They appear when past visitors browse other websites that are part of the Google Display Network, and as they search terms related to your products and services on Google. This is a great way to reinforce your brand message with past website visitors and a second chance to drive conversions and potentially secure a sale from an interested customer.
Alayna Frankenberry has worked as an inbound marketer and content writer and has managed accounts for many clients, including Fairtrade America and Astroglide. She’s currently the Manager of Content Strategy for BlueSky ETO.
“ROI grows as great content ages…”
Everyone knows that SEO content is one of the pillars of inbound marketing. But in an effort to churn out content, many content creators develop articles and blog posts that won’t stand the test of time. Posts mentioning current news items and trends may attract visitors in their first month, but if the post becomes irrelevant or sounds dated after a few weeks, the crowds disperse, the traffic is gone, and those opportunities for SERPs are gone with them. That’s why long-form, in-depth content that’s evergreen provides the best ROI.
Don’t just create evergreen pages on your site; go back and audit posts you’ve made in the past. A post titled The Best Marketing Tools for 2016 can be updated to gain new life, new visitors, and new keyword rankings. Make that content work for you and watch its ROI increase from year to year!
Chelsey is a Digital Analyst for a San Francisco SEO Company who is dedicated to improving organic traffic and implementing off-site marketing strategies for a variety of clients. When she’s not buried in data, she loves to spend time rock climbing with her daughter.
“I think the best marketing technique that increases ROI is…”
Social media. Nowadays, consumers spend more time on social media than they do actually texting or calling. It seems as if everyone hears about new products, businesses or even viral videos through on social platforms and then they tell their friends about it. Then, that friend is inspired to tell another friend and so on and so forth.
According to this study, word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Knowing this, there’s no doubt that businesses who can come up with a good marketing tactic like product/service reviews, engaging content/videos or even going live on Facebook will have the best chance of increasing their ROI. Overall, Influencing others and word of mouth is starting to become the new Yelp review that everyone trusts which is something that businesses need to start paying attention to if they want to run a successful company.
Eric is currently a partner in a digital agency, Birst Group, focused on delivering integrated communications and marketing for technology companies. 20 years of growth-oriented tech industry leadership spanning marketing and sales management, strategy, business development, corporate development, enterprise sales, board membership and equity. He’s an industry veteran of large enterprise tech companies including IBM and Oracle together with multiple startups.
“The best results of inbound marketing are achieved using…”
Native advertising and informative content. The information targeted to the right audience using advanced segmentation strategies will generate higher conversion rates in rate of 5% to 10%.
Alex Bungener is a 4-time entrepreneur who started Digital+, LLC, an internet marketing firm specializing in SEO, over 5 years ago to help small businesses grow. Alex lives on Cape Cod with his wife of 26+ years and their beautiful mostly spoiled Bichon.
“The best, most consistent ROI comes from…”
Search Engine Optimization. There might be a promotional short term campaign that may return a higher ROI, but for consistent year long ROI SEO can’t be beat – especially for small local businesses. The advantage that SEO has over any other marketing is its passive nature. Instead of forcing your business in front of people, SEO has the business waiting until someone is looking for their service or product. Then it pops up and says, “Hi.” Here is a great local business that can take care of what you need. I think this is why SEO (excellently done) delivers such a high ROI. The business is investing money to get in front of the HOTTEST PROSPECTS – those people needing what the business sells / provides.
Say you are a plumber and your average customer is worth $1,200. All it takes is 2 or 3 new average customers – for the WHOLE YEAR – to cover the SEO expenses for the year. Every new customer above the 3 becomes pure ROI. Hence a 500% to 1,200% ROI is quite reasonable. And this can happen consistently year after year. I have service businesses that now get 30% of their business from people that find them online.
Shana Haynie is the co-founder and creative director for a social media marketing agency called SplashOPM. She is passionate about helping companies build contagious brands and create passionate fans using killer social media and content marketing strategy.
“Inbound marketing has become very popular over the past few years because of its ability to wildly effective when done right…”
And one of the best content marketers out there, “The Sales Lion” Mr. Marcus Sheridan, preaches the use of customer-focused content. This type of content is created only for the purpose of answering customers’ real questions and is based 100% on providing value at the time when the customer needs it most.
Examples of this type of content would be an extremely transparent look at your company pricing. Or sharing a list of your industry competitors and telling the reader who does what well, potentially even pointing people away from your site to a competitor’s site.
While this may seem counter-productive, I can assure you that it is not.
The fact is that you can no longer expect that consumers won’t find the information they are looking for out there somewhere. It might as well be on your site. And if it is something that has a high search volume, you can bet that with the right keyword research, strategy and implementation, your content will rank well, maybe even in the number one spot on google.
Now, all of a sudden, people are coming to your site to get the information they need. Your traffic, brand awareness, and trustworthiness in the eyes of your audience has increased, and you didn’t even have to spend a dime. Sounds like good ROI to me.