Inbound marketing has a fair number of benefits that make it largely favorable over outbound marketing. Of course, to each marketer his own. However, with the way both marketing and advertising industries are set up—especially in terms of digital, online landscapes—inbound marketing strategies just seem to give better results with much less input.
With that said, inbound marketing is still pretty tricky. It’s affordable, cost-efficient, and resource-friendly, but only if done right. And there are ways to tell if it’s done right.
We’ve got six listed out right here:
Increased Content Conversions
You’ve probably put out a couple pieces of free content for download already—whitepapers, x-step guides, free monthly newsletters, printable sheets, etc. Let’s say your free content gets about three to four downloads every week. Not bad, but a little more couldn’t hurt.
If, after implementing your inbound marketing strategy, that number shoots up to the dozens a day, with more and more people filling up forms to access your free e-book or sign up for your weekly newsletter, then you’re definitely getting your name out there.
However, those free downloads don’t benefit you as much until they turn into actual sales. And that’s where the magic happens.
The ideal scenario plays out like this: someone sees your free e-book offer. They enter their details and download it. You send them a couple emails inviting to check out similar content on your website. They take your advice. They like what they see and end up purchasing your products and/or services. They have officially been converted from a lead into a solid sale.
If this ideal scenario used to happen twice or thrice a month, and now—post-inbound marketing strategy implementation—they happen once or twice a week, then your strategy is definitely working.
Increase in Organic Traffic
This metric is the easiest way to tell that you’re doing something right. Open up your website statistics and check the visitor count over the last couple days. If that number jumped by a couple hundred new visitors who are all organic (i.e. you didn’t pay for views, visits, etc.), then people have definitely noticed your content.
There’s more; the more visitors you get thanks to your content, the higher the chances of Google recognizing you as a credible, valuable source of information. Once that happens, the likelihood of your ranking on Google’s SERP going up two or three notches also increases—which means even more organic visitors.
Yep; it can be a pretty sweet loop if you get it right.
Of course, you want this increase to be consistent. If the visitor count only shot up for one or two days before slowly plummeting to normal or lower-than-normal numbers, you should definitely check your strategy.
Increase in Organic Leads
Visitors are great for things like SERP ranking and building brand authority/credibility. But for sales? You want to look for convertible leads i.e. visitors who might actually become paying (and hopefully loyal) customers.
Statistics show that 93% of organizations that invest in inbound marketing strategies see a visible increase in lead generation. If you’re part of that lucky 93%, then definitely stick to what you’re doing.
If you’re part of the smaller 7%, carefully review your tactics and weed out potential weak links.
Decrease in Website Bounce Rates
A bounce rate refers to the number of times people visit your site but then hit the back button in less than a minute. In other words, they didn’t actually spend time on your site—they kind of just … drove by. Hence the word bounce.
When this happens, search engines like Google take it one or two ways; either your site is not the one they’re looking for (misspelled address, similar brand names, etc.), or they were not happy with and/or interested in what they saw on your page. Either way, it doesn’t look good for you.
The more this happens, the higher your bounce rate. Higher bounce rates translate to lower SERP rankings. Therefore, if your bounce rate drastically decreases within a week or two of implementing your new inbound marketing strategy, then keep at it.
You can tell how well an email does using several easy-to-measure metrics: your subscriber list, the open rate, and the click-through rate.
Your subscriber list lets you know how many people are interested enough in your brand and the content you put out that they want to actively receive updates from you via email. Your open rate refers to the people on your subscriber list who actually open the emails to read them (in which case, they really love your content or you’re really good at writing compelling subject lines). The click-through rate (CTR) refers to how many people actually click on the content or offer in your email.
If any or all three of these metrics show drastic improvement, your strategy is definitely working.
Increase in Online Social Engagement
Social media marketing can play a crucial role in inbound marketing—especially in terms of building and nurturing existing brand-consumer relationships. People actively engaging with your brand online can be counted as convertible leads. What’s more, since most social media platforms and search engines draw up recommendations and rankings based on what people are talking about (aka, what’s “trending”), then an increase in your follower’s activity can draw interest towards your social pages and online presences in the best way.
To check if your social engagement has improved, keep an eye on your active organic followers, comments on your posts, number of times your posts have been shared, and general visibility (likes versus views). If any or all of these KPIs show a significant increase, then congratulations. Your inbound marketing strategy is obviously highly effective.