WordPress Inbound Marketing Automation

Matt Fenn on Marketing automation,

Inbound marketing is generally understood as a term to describe marketing activity designed to generate well defined traffic through blogging, SEO and social media.

Surely if that's all there is to it WordPress would be the ultimate inbound marketing tool? With a powerful feature set and a wealth of excellent plugins to extend SEO and Social capabilities what could possibly be missing?

When you take a careful look at the features included in software such as HubSpot, website publishing and blogging sit alongside a wide range of integrated email marketing, marketing automation and Contact management functionality.

Why? Well, generating traffic is only the first step in a complete inbound marketing process, once we have attracted visitors to our website we need to convert them into leads and perhaps most importantly of all - nurture them into customers.

So when it comes to using WordPress to attract our inbound traffic; if we're going to do this properly we'll need to add some marketing automation magic to deliver personalised and relevant marketing designed to move our visitors through the stages in our sales funnel.

Today, we're going to use Jumplead to do our lead crunching and marketing automation heavy lifting, because that's what it's built to do and it doesn't require any extra app subscriptions to do its job.

Align marketing activity with your sales funnel

To be completely effective inbound marketing requires a process for aligning the content you create to the needs of your buyers and delivering it in a way that progressively nurtures and qualifies over time.

Within marketing automation this is done using lifecycle stages which allow you to structure your marketing communication, delivering messages at each stage designed to move your contact to the next (more qualified) stage.

Once a visitor has converted and becomes a contact, behavioural information from analytics, email marketing and conversion forms are used to trigger automations to help deliver marketing communications designed to move your contacts through your sales funnel.

Automations are important, they allow a specific 'Action' made by your contact to 'Trigger' one or more marketing responses, from starting an auto responder sequence to changing a sales stage to issuing a sales team notification.

This part of inbound marketing is less well understood but makes a significant difference in how effective the overall process is. Luckily Jumplead is designed specifically to deliver inbound marketing automation - the marketing automation processes that support inbound activity within WordPress.

Let's get Strategic

If you haven't read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, do it now (I'll wait.. ). It'll give you an excellent understanding as to how the web and access to knowledge has empowered consumers and what that means to marketers like us. It's the thinking behind marketing automation and subsequently what has become inbound.

Before we start to break down a process for attracting visitors to our website, converting them into contacts, then walking them through increasing levels of education and qualification until they are ready to buy from us - let's turn the tables and think the process through from our buyer's perspective.

Solve your buyer's problems

Our buyers have problems that we can solve, they just need to understand how what we have will help them.

They'll begin by researching their requirement to understand what their options are, and what other people have done to solve this problem for themselves. They'll also be looking for someone they can trust, someone they can feel comfortable with.

First, they'll find us.. because we're doing inbound (Blogging and Social). And when they arrive at our website they'll find enough information to give them confidence, plus the ability to subscribe (by email) and get access to some high quality information (through conversion forms and downloads etc) which will help them get a perspective on their requirement and also frame their purchasing decision.

Earn permission

It's important to remember we're not actually selling here. We're using education to make it easier for them to make an informed purchase decision (and gaining permission to be in contact with them). If your material sounds like it's selling you'll lose valuable credibility.

Heads up! It's what happens next that's important.

Then get smarter

The process outlined above is a super basic inbound flow. You could do this much and tweak your conversion forms and be happy that you are doing inbound with the cool kids. But to get the best out of inbound we can get much smarter than that.

Let's really understand our customers

Given that we are planning to create marketing that people will love, we need to understand our buyers very very well. Only when we fully understand our buyers can we anticipate their needs and reservations throughout the content and communications we create. This understanding is fundamental to the effectiveness of how you implement your inbound marketing.

Using Buyer Personas

The importance of taking time to create buyer personas can't be overstated. By using Buyer Personas you can flesh out the different types of people that buy from you and be clear about what is and isn't important for each. This understanding will help you to create more effective content, offers and steps in your nurturing and qualification process.

A good buyer persona will help you to create marketing materials that connect with people and show a real understanding of their needs.

Now is also a good time to think about the questions you would want to ask within your conversion forms in order to segment your contacts against both their buyer persona and level of sales qualification.

Build a Nurturing Process

In an ideal world, buying cycles are short. The people engaging with you have permission to buy with the budget already signed off. Plus, they've got nothing else going on in their lives to distract them from making that purchase.

Unfortunately this is very rarely the case.

So we need a process that will steadily educate, encourage deeper engagement and persist over time. Allowing those within the process to choose when they want us to reach out to them. And giving them the space to engage on their terms.

We can also use automations to change our contact's stage, segment them or issue sales team notifications based upon their website visit activity.

It helps to break this process down into a sequence of lifecycle stages that we can use to broadly map out our buyer's journey:

  1. Subscriber
  2. Lead
  3. Marketing Qualified
  4. Sales Qualified
  5. Customer

Once we have these distinctions, we can be clear about the buyer behaviour that relates to each stage and the marketing activity we plan to use to move our contacts further along our stage based sales pipeline.

To illustrate the use of these stages, this is how we break them down at Jumplead:

1. Subscriber

For us a subscriber is someone who has subscribed for Newsletter updates on our website, these aren't specific to any particular ebook, but we have been given permission to stay in touch.

A subscriber might also be interested in any one of a number of ebooks or our free account.

When someone subscribes for Newsletter updates we use an automation to add them to our subscriber stage, and to send a follow up email sequence.

2. Lead

We use the lead stage to describe someone who has downloaded one or more ebooks, if this is the second or even third interaction the conversion form will check to see which qualification questions have already been asked (progressive profiling) and move down the list to ask fresh questions.

Again, there is a stage change and autoresponder automation.

3. Marketing Qualified

Due to the volume of Free Accounts created for Jumplead we classify a new account as being Marketing Qualified rather than Sales Qualified.

There are of course welcome and help emails that are sent as part of an autoresponder sequence (as well as the stage change of course).

4. Sales Qualified

Once an account has been created we also use our API to trigger automations for when tracking code is added (to say congratulations!), and to send reminders (if tracking code isn't added or email sending hasn't been enabled).

Engaging with the Free Account enough to set it up will then move our contact into a Sales Qualified stage.

5. Customer

Upgrading from a Free Plan to a paid plan will then move our contact into the customer stage (Step 4 - Profit!).

Make it work for your buyers

Exactly which contact activity relates to which lifecycle stage should reflect the marketing process you create to encourage easy steps of ever deeper engagement.

There are no right or wrong answers, just the process of streamlining how you engage and nurture opportunities.

Email Broadcast Segmentation

When it comes to creating email broadcasts, your opportunities for creating very targeted lists for one off campaigns is fantastic.

For example; Want to create a campaign to re-engage people that have downloaded a specific ebook but not taken a trial? Or reached your marketing qualified stage but need an incentive to become sales ready?

Simply create a broadcast list using lifecycle stage, activity or even the values in contact fields captured from conversion forms to create insanely personalised marketing.

After all that's what inbound marketing is all about.

Images courtesy of Net Atlantic, Barn Raisers, Mashable.

Share this post