Inbound Marketing and WordPress

In the past 18 months, I’ve spent a lot of time understanding Inbound marketing. For those that don’t know what inbound marketing is, the basis is advertising a company, product or service through blogs, podcasts, screencasts, eBooks, and many more. There’s 4 typical actions to inbound marketing, attract, convert, close, delight.

Attract

The first action to an effective Inbound Marketing campaign is that we need to attract the correct customers. We ultimately want these people to become leads and finally happy customers. So who do we find these right customers? Who are they? We build what is called a buyer persona. These personas are what makes up our target markets.

We need tools to attract these right visitors. Some of the important ones are blogging, social media, keywords, and pages. The first and last make total sense. But let’s look at keywords a second.

When someone starts to search for a product or service, unless they know of the product or service they are looking for, they are going to a search engine. A starts out by typing in some keywords to what they think they want. So optimizing our blog posts and pages to match the keywords visitors are searching for is key.

Social media is simply a means of sharing our content, engaging with potential users. If people like what you have to say, they are going to share your content. They will help pass your content around.

Convert

The next action is to convert. As we start to get visitors to our site, visiting our content, we need to convert them. At this point we are only converting a visitor into a lead. It’s important to make sure that we get our visitors as a lead. We convert these users by gathering information about them. This is our digital currency. In the most basic information we need is their email address. We need to get them on some sort of list so that we can start to offer them new content gearing them up towards our product or service.

Some tools we use to convert users to leads are calls to action, landing pages and forms. Calls to action are buttons or links that encourage your visitors to click over to a landing page. It’s purpose is for them to take an action of some sort, like downloading an ebook or watching a webinar.

Landing pages are where visitors are sent from clicking a call to action. A landing page is where our offer — for that new ebook or webinar — is located. The visitor is going to read some information about that offer, and then they are going to fill out a form. When they fill out that form, they become a lead.

Close

We’re off to the races so far and we’re getting leads. Now it’s time to transform them into customers. How we can effectively accomplish this? At this point in the cycle there are certain marketing tools we can use to close these leads. The biggest tools are marketing automation and email.

Marketing automation is a process that involves creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs of each lead. For example if a lead downloaded an ebook and then visited a certain page on your site, you might want to change the messaging to reflect those interests.

Emailing useful and relevant content is still a foul-proof way someone can build trust with a prospect and help them become ready to buy.

Delight

After someone becomes a customer, our next action is to delight our users. We want to make our users our cheerleaders. We want them to recommend our products or services to their friends, their family members, their communities. Word of Mouth still carries a lot of klout with consumers. There’s not a time where I won’t ask people what their experience is with a brand or with a specific product or service. Continuing to use email, marketing automation, other calls to actions for upselling products or services will help keep engagement with your customer base.

*Note: Actions was taken from HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing page, and broken down to smaller chunks for the purpose of this post.

How does this relate to WordPress?

Simple. There’s some WordPress companies that get it. Let’s look at iThemes. iThemes gets it. They seem to be the only one currently doing Inbound Marketing right.

Notice the sidebar with a Call to Action to receive a free ebook.
Notice the sidebar with a Call to Action to receive a free ebook.

This is genius! Their call to actions is to receive a free ebook that helps users get started with WordPress. They know part of their audience is beginners. These people are just getting started with WordPress. Knowing enough about inbound marketing, I can say that they are going to position their plugins, their themes as great tools to help new WordPress users get their sites up and running. What is great is that iThemes has a huge offering to someone. They offer various plugins, themes, and training for new WordPress users alike.

Below is another example of their calls to action.

There's two separate Calls to Actions at the end of their posts.
There’s two separate Calls to Actions at the end of their posts.

So far I can tell they are doing the first steps. They are realizing people coming to their site are beginning WordPress users. They are looking for products that iThemes has. So they are targeting those users with a great ebook offer called ‘Getting Started with WordPress.’

WordPress Tools

As a WordPress developer, I of course want to use WordPress as much as possible to handle any inbound marketing tasks. Sure there’s HubSpot, which I’m sure at least a handful of people have used before. I went looking for a WordPress solution and I found a ton of crap. So much crap that I spent 10 minutes trying to find them again to link to here, just so you could see, that I’ve given up. That brings us to what I found that’s good.

*Update: Last night after I published this I somehow stumbled upon the app I was looking for. It’s called Orbtr. It’s not free, seems to be pretty bulky, but I can’t get past it’s website. There website looks like a sleezy marketing company, and their plugin does not follow WordPress Admin standards. So those two things right there, just make me think I would hate this product.

Enter Inbound Now

Inbound Now is a great tool lead by a former HubSpot marketing consultant named David Wells. I love that they (HubSpot employees) realize how cool this inbound marketing stuff is and have started to build tools that would help users, in this case WordPress users, do Inbound marketing correctly. Inbound Now offers 3 plugins currently, Landing Pages, Calls to Action, and WordPress Leads. They are all free! And they are packed full of features that would make any inbound marketer wet their pants. I don’t want to go into too much of them in this post but I want to take a couple of posts to talk about this topic that I’ve become very passionate about. I love inbound marketing, and have some interesting tidbits to share over the coming months as I start to use inbound marketing for a few new services I’m launching.

2 thoughts on “Inbound Marketing and WordPress”

  1. Hey AJ,

    We are a bit bummed you find our design sleazy, but everyone has different tastes. We’ve been really focused on improving our feature set and still are, but in the next month, we’ll be making refinements to the dashboard so that features are grouped into campaigns. It will be a big refinement for usability.

    We look forward to learning more about what you enjoy about Inbound Now and maybe it will help us improve our product too.

    Also, we are curious as to what you mean by WordPress Admin standards.

    1. I suppose “sleazy” might be a little harsh, but just trying to find features and understand what it is your product/s do is hard. The design lacks white space, and has way too much text for me to skim and get a good understanding of what the product does. Take examples like http://hubspot.com or http://inboundnow.com. You’ll see prime examples of how laying out a page can be easier on your visitors so that you can get a better sense of understanding of the purpose of each page.

      The other issue, was the admin area. You’ve taken a different approach to the admin, one that is truly against WordPress’ best practices. When I recommend a product to a client, I want them to have the best possible experience. If the screen looks different and has a different menu system, colors are different, etc. then that usually throws the client off. So it’s been my experience that plugins that follow their own convention to handling of their admin pages, are already marked down because of the training that needs to be associated with using the plugin.

      Thanks for you comments though! I do love to see new companies take on the task of inbound marketing with WordPress. 🙂

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