Inbound Marketing helps startups use a proven methodology to attract website visitors and convert them into customers. With all the advice on the Internet competing for our attention, I often only listen to individuals talking about what they have done vs. what you should do.
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah founded HubSpot (B2B software startup) and successfully scaled it to over a billion dollars using inbound marketing techniques. Through analyzing HubSpot and other successful startups who have used this methodology, I developed several actionable strategies you can implement and determine if inbound marketing is for your startup.
Enhanced User Experience
AnswerDash experienced a 60% month over month lead growth and 10% increase in website traffic within 60 days of using HubSpot for inbound marketing.
First impressions matter. Here are several factors you should consider to optimize your website user experience.
- Create a responsive website design to give an excellent mobile experience to site visitors
- Optimize your site based on Google page speed test to avoid being penalized
- Make sure your content is written taking your customers’ pain points into consideration
- Strategically place call to actions—CTA’s—on your landing pages and blog posts to increase your conversion rates
Build Brand Awareness
In a world where digital marketing is the new norm, every entrepreneur should develop their online personal brand to humanize their startup. By increasing brand awareness, you can expect your company to become a leading authority and improve its customer retention.
No one knows this better than App Lango, who’s brand awareness helped them attract over 25,000 customers. Some key inbound marketing strategies they used include:
- Identifying a group of influencers who their customers trusted and building win-win relationships with them
- Monitor brand and industry keywords on social media to increase organic reach
- Consistently write content optimized for Google search engine
Generate Quality Leads
Often when I work with startup founders, I ask them about their primary marketing goals. Nine times out of ten, the answer is to increase website traffic and online sales. If you fall into this category, I want to help you change your mindset. Before sending traffic to your site, you need to determine how visitors should flow through your site and convert into a lead.
Irish startup Boxever experienced this problem before creating an inbound marketing plan. Within one year of revising their strategy, they experienced a 400% increase in website traffic and 50% increase in click through rates.
- Shorten your sales cycle by writing content around your most common objections
- Develop landing pages for gated content offers
- Build email campaigns that provide value in the form of content
Improve Free Trial Conversion Rates
The majority of Saas startups offer free trials to minimize the friction associated with having a product breaking into a new market. If this is part of your sales process, then you must spend time perfecting email marketing, and you’re in-app experience.
Bigcommerce is a leading eCommerce software provider that was facing the challenge of converting their free trial users into paying customers. Through using the following inbound marketing strategies, they were able to increase their free trial sign up to paying customers conversion rate by 14%.
- Use data points from signup forms to analyze conversion rates
- Segment free trial conversions by persona to identify which ones turned into customers
- Create visual dashboards to target trailer’s with the highest customer lifetime value (CLV)
Nurture Qualified Leads
Increasing your website traffic generating leads—sign ups, free trials, email subscribers—is a great milestone for a startup, but now isn’t the time to celebrate. If your leads don’t convert into purchases, then all of your marketing efforts are wasted.
If you have a hard time, you’re not alone. Golf Genius experienced this exact problem and decided to develop an inbound marketing game plan. They were able to triple their website traffic, generate 114% more leads, and most of all drive more revenue to Golf Genius’s bottom line. By implementing the following inbound marketing tactics, you can integrate marketing and sales to get similar results.
- Manage and score leads based on where they are in their purchasing decision
- Setup workflows based on leads interaction with website pages, emails, and blog posts
- Integrate SalesForce and HubSpot to provide sales with more data to monitor leads
Simplify Your Sales Process
Whether going from 0 to 1,000 or from 1,000 to 100,000 customers, growth comes with unique challenges for startup founders. After they gain traction, the best startups stay true to The Lean Startup methodology and look for ways to stay agile.
Shopify turned to HubSpot CRM after seeing how it sped up the sales process and made their sales department life easier. Here are some strategies Loren Padelford of Shopify recommends to close more deals.
- Use email templates based on each step in your sales process
- Review metrics to identify bottlenecks for skill development opportunities
- View how leads interact with your company through their entire purchase decision
The buying process has changed, and consumers now have more purchasing power, so sales teams must learn to adapt. Focus on providing value in the form of educational content instead of using traditional sales tactics.
Establish Trust with Investors
As a startup founder, if you have been able to receive funding, then you know you must please both your customers and investors. UrbanBound founders Michael Krasman and Jeff Ellman turned to HubSpot COS—content optimization system—to solve this problem and ramp up their inbound marketing efforts.
UrbanBound experienced a 124% growth in website traffic, landed 14 new customers, and increased the quality of their leads by 100%. As well, they were able to impress investors by being able to do the following:
- Create a buyer’s persona that clearly identified who’s their ideal customer
- Redesigned website by making a framework around their buyer’s journey
- Providing content that answers their buyer persona’s main questions
Now Take Action
Go use the HubSpot ROI calculator to see projections of your startup annual revenue and potential inbound leads you can generate to see if inbound marketing is a long-term investment that makes sense for you. Within six months, if you try implementing some of the recommended inbound marketing strategies to improve your startup, your likelihood of increasing your inbound leads and conversion rates will go up dramatically.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.