4 min read

The Inbound Marketing Survival Guide

The Inbound Marketing Survival Guide

Summer in Wisconsin means spending the three warmest (and least likely to have snow) months outdoors taking advantage of the beautiful weather. As a kid, one of my favorite activities was my family’s annual camping trip to Door County. 

Complete with a four-hour road trip in an eight-passenger van, a massive tent, nightly campfires, and plenty of gear, the trip was quite the undertaking. There were lists (thanks, Mom!), weeks of organizing and packing, and lots of planning.

Like those camping trips, creating successful inbound strategy for B2B businesses also requires a number of essential elements. I’ve assembled the essentials here in the form of an Inbound Survival Guide, just like we created for our summer camping trips.





Your website is like your tent.


If there’s one thing you’re going to take with you while camping, it’s a tent. In the same way, the one thing your company’s marketing needs today is a website. It’s the only way to track how successful your B2B inbound marketing truly is, who’s coming through your site, how they’re converting, and what happens next. A website is essential to your business, so make sure you’re covered.



Content is like a campfire.


Content is everything that’s written, said about, or produced about your company - including everything you’re producing online. Content starts the fire of interest from a prospect, and keeps that interest growing. This includes “kindling” like blogging and social media, and “firewood” like white papers, ebooks, and website pages. All are necessary for the content fire to keep fresh, and keep your prospects warm and engaged.

Landing pages are also part of content, like the fuel to the fire. And, they are the way that your prospects are giving you permission to contact them. A variety of landing pages with offers appealing to each stage of their buyer’s journey will lead to successful conversion on your site - which is why it’s there.



SEO keywords are like food for camping.


Utilizing SEO, or search engine optimization, through keywords and key phrases on your site is what feeds prospects that are searching for information online. It’s a major part of your site’s success, since it’s what gets them to your website in the first place. After that, the design of your site, the content that’s there, and educational rich media will do the rest.



Growth-driven design is like your canteen for water.


If the content is the campfire with SEO as the food, then the design of your site is definitely the water. It needs to flow, sustain the prospect, and ultimately quench their thirst for knowledge. The design of your site will keep a prospect’s interest while naturally leading them to more information and ultimately, a landing page to trade their contact information for a download.



Buyer personas are your lantern.


Just as campers require a lantern to light the way after dark, inbound marketers need established buyer personas to help them navigate the way to the best leads as they come in through the website. Buyer personas represent your most targeted leads and help you to understand them. You’re then able to build the best design, content, and communication for your personas, attracting more of the best leads to your company through your website.



Rich media are like a utility knife.


Rich media include video, images, infographics, live streaming, gifs, podcasts, and essentially any form of media that adds an elevated experience to your content. Like a utility knife, rich media is used for a variety of purposes, and while it may take up comparatively small space, it packs a huge punch and is very efficient at accomplishing the goal.

Video in particular is incredibly powerful to the success of your B2B inbound marketing program. Take, for example, Hubspot’s recent infographic about using video in marketing. They say that 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. And, 90% of buyers say that product videos are helpful to the decision-making process. ⅓ of all online activity is spent watching video; if you’re not utilizing this tool, it’s time to do so, today.



A content plan is like having sturdy boots to walk on.


While camping, outdoor activities are a given. Hiking, biking, and other -ikings are a must for a successful camping trip, and to do them, you’ll need sturdy hiking shoes. A content plan is like those sturdy shoes. A content plan gives you the footing you need to successfully meet the goals you’ve set for lead generation, prospect engagement, and lead nurturing through your content.



Your B2B inbound marketing strategy is like a map.


To know where you’re going on your camping adventures, you’ll need a map (cell reception is spotty, so your GPS won’t work while camping). An inbound marketing strategy is like a map to meeting your marketing goals. It uses the tools of the buyer personas (flashlight) and the content plan (sturdy shoes) to help get you there, but it guides your actions, helps determine which paths to take and choices to make, and sets the course for your B2B marketing plan of attack.



Data analytics is like binoculars.


Data analytics is like utilizing binoculars during your camping trip. Data allows you to see everything that’s happening from a top-level perspective to an in-depth look, and see why it’s happening that way. Access to data and the ability to analyze it for patterns, gaps, and potential issues is essential for a complete inbound marketer.



Social media is like communicating with walkie-talkies.


Social media, like walkie-talkies, is all about the communication and access to your community that social media can give you. According to a post by Webbiquity, B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value. Buyers feel a much closer personal connection to their B2B brands than to consumer brands. (LinkedIn Pulse) In addition, 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help make purchasing decisions. 74% use LinkedIn, and 42% use Twitter. (Marketing Think) The impact that social media has on your site visit numbers, the conversation with your followers, and ultimately the buyers you want to interact with, cannot be overlooked.



Calls-to-action operate like a fishing pole.


To catch the prospects on your site and lead them to a landing page, you’ll need calls-to-action equipped with lures to get their attention. These can take the form of buttons, images, or interactive pop-overs on your site. Drive engagement through these tools.



PPC & paid social are like your marshmallows for roasting over the fire.


Paid social and pay-per-click campaigns (such as Google Adwords) are nice to have, but not absolutely essential to your inbound campaign. However, they definitely have a place in driving prospective buyers to your site, and can be used to increase visitors and leads. Your content, design, landing pages, and downloadable pieces will do the bulk of the work once the visitor is on your site.

Did you enjoy our Inbound Survival Guide? We’ve created a guide to our insider secrets, as well. Check it out today for more tips on how to turn your outbound efforts to measurable, data-driven inbound ones.


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