Q&A: Inbound marketing strategies to maximize lead generation
A recent report from HubSpot cited that 54 percent more leads are generated by inbound marketing tactics than traditional paid marketing and twice as many marketers say inbound delivers below average cost per lead than outbound method. Companies today can maximize awareness and lead generation by integrating a combination of inbound strategies such as social media, blogging, website content, interactive tools/ videos, SEO and PPC, with outbound strategies.
Inbound marketing works to help companies attract new visitors that can be funneled into the pipeline as fresh leads to be nurtured and eventually converted to customers. We sat down with Kelly Morris, VP, marketing at Solutionreach, a provider of innovative patient relationship management products and services, to hear about how they have successfully implemented inbound marketing programs. Here, Kelly shares best practices and tips for success when creating an inbound lead generation program that works in tandem with their outbound marketing efforts.
Dodge: How has Solutionreach executed an inbound marketing strategy to attract new prospects?
Morris: At Solutionreach we say, we deliver the right message to the right patient at the right time and an inbound marketing strategy is similar; it’s about delivering the right information at the right time in the right place. Inbound marketing is about engagement, generating momentum and trust with a goal of educating prospects about your company to create more sales as well as building connections with your customers so they stay your customers.
To attract new prospects we use various inbound marketing channels – for example, social media, blog posts, SEO, PPC, video, eBooks and white papers, WOM/advocates, webinars and email.
On the Solutionreach blog we have Marketing Monday and Tip Tuesday– we use our blog to educate, show thought leadership and highlight events at SR like our annual Month of Charity, where last year we raised more than $50K for the Utah Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
On social media channels like Facebook and twitter we use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the content we share is thought leadership, education and sharing relevant posts/tweets from people in the healthcare industry. The other 20% is about Solutionreach – our company culture, an animated video testimonial or a shout-out for someone’s achievement.
It’s also important to note that inbound marketing programs can take time – SEO programs take time and need attention but once you achieve high Google rankings and increased traffic due to those rankings, it’s all worth it.
Dodge: What are some of the successes you’ve seen with your third party email campaigns?
Morris: We’re fortunate to have a good house list of prospects to occasionally use as a “test kitchen” for a new promotion/call-to-action. Since we own the list, it’s an inexpensive way to test. If a new idea does well, we are more inclined to use it on a 3rd party email campaign.
We use unique CallRail numbers for our email blasts for better tracking. We get feedback from our sales team and vet what they hear over the phone from prospects. We create custom landing pages and consistent forms. We test various CTA incentives, subject lines and placement of buttons, images, phone number etc.
Through our process of launch & iterate, we’ve achieved enviable open and click-thru rates in many instances and even achieved a few days where we inadvertently overwhelmed the sales floor! In 2015, our lead gen efforts were 129% of goal and our top lead gen sources were web, email and events.
Dodge: What’s your follow-up process for these new inbound leads?
Morris: One of our follow-up tactics to get a prospect to call us right away for a live demo is to send them an immediate email with a double-down offer (Call right now and get a $20 Starbucks card instead of a $10 Starbucks card).
We also use time as a motivator – we’ll offer the incentive for 48 hours and the landing page will have a QVC-type countdown clock showing them how much time they have left to take advantage of the promotion. In addition, we’ve built a library of dozens of pre- and post-demo email with assets (i.e., video, white papers and ebooks) for our sales team to use.
Last but not least, Dodge has been a great partner for us – they’ve provided effective strategic and tactical recommendations and actions for our lead nurturing campaigns and boosted the overall performance of our Pardot instance.
Dodge: Can you share any tips or best practices for choosing which types of third-party email subscriptions to leverage?
Morris: Our CEO gave everyone on the executive team a copy of Great by Choice (Jim Collins). It validated things we were already doing with some additional ideas on how to improve.
One validation/best practice was the concept of “Fire bullets then cannonballs” – in essence, it’s testing your plan (firing bullets) to get empirical validation before going all in (firing a cannonball).
At Solutionreach, we called that “Failing Fast”. We’re lucky to have the support from our C-level executives to test to see what works and what doesn’t. We test, analyze, iterate, repeat and continually improve. And we trust the data. There are times when we don’t personally like a design or subject line but if it’s generating more qualified leads, it doesn’t matter if we like it; it matters that it’s working.
Dodge: Why is it important to have a marketing strategy that includes more than just outbound marketing?
Morris: At Solutionreach we believe in a holistic marketing approach. The marketing team’s main objective is to generate qualified leads and we accomplish that objective through implementing inbound and outbound marketing programs. Outbound might cost more and inbound might take longer but we use both to attract prospects, retain customers and to keep making a difference in healthcare.