Continuous improvement. The term is fairly self-explanatory, but essentially it’s about continually improving your business, your processes and your ways of working - one bit at a time.
No matter what industry you’re in, continuous improvement is vital if you want to stay ahead of the game. No company survives in the long-term by sticking to the status quo.
For those that really get inbound marketing, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that inbound marketing is a continuous improvement approach to marketing.
Inbound marketing helps you get found by people looking for what you do. But the market your business operates in is changing all the time. As are the interests, habits and needs of your customers and prospects. And your inbound marketing strategy needs to be able to respond to these changes.
All that work you did at the start of your inbound marketing journey; the brand and buyer persona development, content planning and the website you poured hours into. They can’t just be wrapped up as a done deal. Your strategy should be a long-term process. It needs to be reactive, and adaptable.
It needs continuous improvement.
So how do you incorporate a continuous improvement methodology into your inbound marketing approach?
Tracking results to inform improvements
Continuous improvement is impossible if you first don’t understand how your business is currently performing. As a B2B marketer, tracking and analysing data is part of the gig.
The most effective inbound marketing programmes take an agile approach to continuous improvement, scheduling in time to analyse and improve performance on a monthly, and even weekly, basis.
But what exactly should you be looking to improve?
Blog post views
Tracking the number of views you get per blog post is one aspect you should be measuring. Find out what’s working and what’s not working, and use this insight to plan out your next few weeks of content.
If posts around a particular topic are consistently viewed more than others, write more of these. If list posts are particularly popular, write more of them. Equally, don’t be afraid to let things go that aren’t working. By keeping an eye on blog performance, you can make adjustments to improve your results.
CTA click-through rates
Take a look at how your CTAs are performing. The metric you should be paying most attention to is the click-through rate (i.e. the number of people who clicked on the CTA). If you’re using HubSpot, they have a handy CTA tool that allows you to do this easily.
It’s also worth considering A/B testing to compare two CTA versions against each other. If one consistently performs better than the other, you can include it on other pages or blog posts on your site.
Email click-through rates
What about your click-through rates for email marketing? Again, if you use HubSpot, this data will be available to you within the platform. This helps you get a sense of what your customers and prospects like to read by email.
Analyse the best performing for topic, tone, and clarity. Based on what you discover, improve future emails by incorporating some of the tactics that proved successful.
Landing page conversion rates
Lead conversion is arguably one of the most important metrics for B2B marketers to pay attention to. This is what inbound marketing is all about - converting leads.
So which landing pages have the highest conversion rates? Why are they successful? Identify what attributes make visitors to your site happy to give away their contact details and apply them to other landing pages to improve your chance of conversions.
Measuring traffic is equally important, and should be part of your weekly routine. If you see a sudden dip in any source of traffic - organic, referrals, social media, email marketing, direct traffic, paid search or other campaigns - you’ll know you need to do something about it.
Is anything broken? Have you optimised for keywords? Or is it time you reviewed your value proposition and buyer personas to make sure you're content is matching up? The point is to keep monitoring and refining your assets until you see a boost to your traffic.
Are there pages on your site that are underperforming? Pages that have little or no traffic, or where CTA click-throughs are non-existent? A continuous improvement methodology would dictate that you take time to address these challenges.
There may be obvious opportunities you are missing that provide easy wins for improvement. It could just be that anchoring your copy around another keyword with a higher search volume could help you see more traffic. Or, adding or changing a CTA could see you drive more conversions.
With inbound marketing, there’s always room for continuous improvement. Success doesn’t come without experimenting, testing, tweaking, adjusting, modifying, adapting and refining your approach on a regular basis.
Hopefully, this blog post serves as a helpful reminder of the on-going things you can do to keep getting the most from your inbound efforts.