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Proving the ROI from Inbound Marketing

Bob Ruffolo - Founder and CEO of IMAPCT Branding & Design

Bob Ruffolo
Founder & CEO @BobRuffolo

John Bonini - Marketing Director at IMAPCT Branding & Design

John Bonini
Marketing Director, @bonini84

Natalie Davis -   at IMAPCT Branding & Design

Natalie Davis
Process Development Manager, @YesItsNatalie

Design & Layout by Bobby Kane (@bobbyjkane)


Inbound Marketing is no longer a secret.

As marketers and business owners continue to increase their inbound spending – according to HubSpot, 60% of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies this year – two things occur:

  1. Consumers are more delighted from more targeted, contextual marketing messages
  2. Everyone else is catching up

Most businesses understand that, in a post-outbound world, having a blog is critical to success. They also understand the importance of implementing an engaging social media strategy.

So now that everyone else is catching up, where does that leave you?

We put together this helpful guide in order to provide you with more advanced tactics in order to master the attract, convert, close, and delight stages of inbound marketing and effectively separate your company from the pack.

Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas

Each stage of attract, close, convert, and delight ties back specifically to your buyer personas, and the success of each stage will hinge heavily on their accuracy.

Therefore, it’s essential not only to have them developed, but to develop them correctly.

Using the steps below, you can fully develop these essential keys for your marketing.

Conduct Persona Interviews

Nobody can explain your buyers better than, well, your buyers. Take some time to conduct interviews with your customers who are your ideal buyers.

This can be done through a phone call, email, questionnaire (we suggest using Google Forms), or any method that is most convenient for your buyers in order to ensure you receive useful data from them.

Use a Buyer Persona Template

Utilize one of the many templates out there to create an outline of your ideal prospects demographic and behavioral characteristics. Using the data you collected during your interviews, lay out the information in a way that can be shared amongst everyone in your company.

These can be done in a simple word document or presented in PowerPoint format.

Download Buyer Persona Kit

Compiled into an all inclusive kit, our tools will help you develop your own buyer personas, while providing a sample reference to ensure you’re on the right track.


Attracting your ideal audience isn’t just about getting them to visit your website, it’s about providing the kind of content that resonates specifically with their unique needs.

Think about what type of content your buyer persona would enjoy and share. What would assist in their purchase decision?

If your buyer persona is named Marketing Mary, ask yourself, would Marketing Mary like this? Would she share it? Would she tell more Marketing Mary’s about it?

Utilize Your Evangelists

If you’re in business, chances are you have a solid network of people you’ve developed relationships with during your time in business.

Utilize this network in order to expand your reach and gain more traction with any content or resource you produce.

Using your contact database, identify the evangelists, segment them into a static list, and utilize these relationships in order to ask that some of your content be shared through their own networks.

This is a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing. Your evangelists sharing your content carries far greater weight than if you were to do it yourself, as their following trusts their endorsement.

Create Videos With High “Shareability”

Create high shareable videos In order for any marketing video to gain significant traction, it needs to have great replay value.

Would a viewer tell their friends and family about it?

It needs to be extraordinary. Consider using humor or emotional context in order to really drive a reaction from the intended audience. Include a CTA at the end of your videos to help convert after you’ve attracted.



Having trouble coming up with infographic ideas? Start by identifying your most popular blog and premium content in order uncover possibilities.

By repurposing some of your most popular blog content into a more visual medium, you’re ensuring resonance with an idea that has already worked previously.

Inbound Infographics


Implement Guest Posting Guidelines

The benefits of allowing other industry influencers to guest blog for you is two-fold, as it opens new traffic channels and also furthers your credibility by having other professionals essentially endorse your blog by contributing.

Develop guidelines to ensure any guest post aligns with your audience and editorial process, as this will ensure everything resonates and runs smoothly.

Allow Customers to Submit Blog Content

The best scenarios here are win-win, as often times a customer who guest blogs for you will expand their company’s reach by opening a new traffic channel.

It also supplies your marketing team with quality content.

As long as it aligns with your target audience, blog posts written by customers can be extremely successful.

Identify Guest Blogging Opportunities

Guest blogging drives traffic

What are the big traffic-driving blogs in your industry?

Chances are you already have a few in mind, if not, use Alexa in order to identify other blogs that generate a high volume of traffic.

Once you’ve identified the ones that would align with your audience, start opening these new traffic channels by working with their editorial teams to submit posts. Chances are they will have strict editorial guidelines, follow these closely in order to ensure a quick and easy process.

After all, you’ll want to be invited back to write again, as these can be major contributors in driving new traffic.

Co-Marketing Opportunities

Attracting your ideal audience doesn’t have to be done alone. Think about what companies you can team up with to co-market your brands. Is there a product or service that would do better when combined with yours? Can you co-market with a company to create a new product?


When you combine your efforts with another company, you benefit from reaching their audience and network, as well as the potential of enhancing your product for your customers.

Content Submission to Mainstream Influencers

What mainstream outlets influence your buyer personas?

For IMPACT, our personas learn about marketing on the HubSpot blog and Social Media Examiner among others.

What outlets would work for you? Think Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.


Inbound Interviews

Either offer to be interviewed on websites where your persona’s hang out or interview an influencer of your persona’s on your blog. The goal here, again, is to be introduced to a whole new audience of your target personas.


Develop a Persona-Centric Marketing Experience

To create a persona-centric marketing experience, analyze your style-guide, graphics, images, icons, web design, etc., to make sure they all attract and speak to your personas.

How can you customize these aspects of your marketing to better appeal to your personas? What will they like? What will encourage them to stay on your site? What can you say or display visually that portrays confidence in your brand?


In order to improve the conversion rates for your buyer personas, consider the type of offers that would act as a resource in solving their specific problem.

Again, would this offer excite Marketing Mary? Could you imagine Marketing Mary being willing to complete a form for this offer? Would she tell more Marketing Mary’s about this offer?

Strengthen Your CTAs

Tailoring the content and visual component of your calls-to-action to align with the behaviors of your personas can greatly increase click-through and conversion rates and drive more traffic to your landing pages.

Some ways to strengthen your CTAs include:

Perform a Past Blog Post CTA Analysis

Technology moves quickly. As a result, a specific call-to-action can get stale if you don’t update it from time to time.

Take some time to go through your old blog posts that are still driving traffic and replace old CTAs with newer, more relevant, CTAs.

Also, take the time to review the content, update it, and make the connection between the content and the new CTA. As these blog posts continue to drive traffic, you’ll improve your traffic to lead conversion rate from these posts.

Diversified Premium Offers

As inbound marketing continues to evolve, more businesses are offering ebooks and whitepapers as their primary form of offers.

Add diversity to your premium content strategy by introducing more interactive, engaging content that supplements the traditional ebook and whitepaper.

Other types of offers to consider:

We also recommend trying to offer lead generation opportunities that require contact information as part of a registration process, such as webinars. This way your content doesn’t seem gated, but rather, part of the normal process to participate.

Assessments, Surveys, & Reports

This offer is actually two-fold. You can use participation in the survey / assessment as a way to convert leads, but more importantly, you offer the results from a survey / assessment as a report.

You can then use data from the report to drive traffic by tweeting stats or quotes you’ve generating or by creating and promoting an infographic.

Think about what type of data would be relevant to your audience, and send out your own questionnaires and feedback forms. Use this information to develop unique and convincing offers and reports that will effectively convert your audience.


As a lead is approaching the closing stage of your sales process, it’s important to ensure the elements are in place to effectively nurture them closer to a sale. Even a few minor adjustments and additions to your process can mean the difference between closing a sale and having a lot of leads right on the edge who never take that next step.

Improve Your BOFU Page(s)

Improving your BOFU landing pages by making some simple tweaks can have a significant impact on conversion rates. Try some of the following:

Create Case Studies that show ROI

Inbound Case Studies

Nothing is more effective at closing a sale than customer proof.

Arm your sales team with the requisite case studies and testimonials in order to shorten the sales process and make their jobs much easier.

Consider including 3-4 case studies that will resonate with each of your specific buyer personas.

A good case study should include a background of your engagement with the customer, results accomplished, and a testimonial from the customer.

A good idea would be to build out a customer proof section on your website in a blog format to make it easy to add / update case studies on a regular basis.


Personalized and Timely Automated E-mails

“If you follow up in seconds versus hours, you are thousands of times more likely to be successful.”
- Mark Roberge.

Scheduling Emails
Set up emails that follow up with your leads at the appropriate times starting from when they first download a relevant offer. Consider what time frames will work best on your buyers, and schedule the emails to go out accordingly.

Making Emails Personal
When sending automated emails to your leads, make sure the copy is personalized and relatable. If the email looks generic and cookie-cutter, this can drastically affect your open and click-through rates, rendering your efforts wasted.

Take a look at the form fields that your leads have filled out, and think about how you could pull those fields into your emails for a personal touch. (ie. Name, Company, Location, etc.)

Create Blog Content that Helps Close Opportunities

One of the many benefits of inbound marketing, and the internet, is that you can make your efforts go so much further.

Rather than draft lengthy emails in order to help close a deal, create a blog article, or slideshare presentation, or even a whitepaper or infographic if you have the means, that appeals to a more general audience but also makes the same point.

Then share that content with your prospect and take a few minutes to personalize how that content relates to them. It takes a little longer, but the benefits include:


When delighting your customers, you should be answering the following questions:

  1. How can I better listen to my customers so I can improve my product or service for them and future customers (and not become a dinosaur)?
  2. How can I provide information or assistance to help my customers more value out of my product or service?
  3. How can I get my customers love me forever and remain loyal to my company?
  4. How can I turn my customers into promoters and brand evangelists so they spread the word and generate more referral business?

Keeping these questions in mind will help direct you towards how you can delight your customers. Some ideas to get you thinking out of the box include:

Get Your Customers to Share Your Content

Chances are, you have loyal customers that fit the persona of your ideal buyer, and they know a lot of other people who might fit that persona as well.

Create content that will delight your customers enough that they share it with their network via email and social media, or even better, they talk about it at their next meeting or cocktail party.

We’ve all heard about a great article through a friend or co-worker, and that’s what we’re talking about here. Remember, always tie the content back to your company, so when it’s shared, you can be found.

Customer Follow-up

Simply following up with a client after “the selling process” to see how things are going can go miles in terms of delighting your customers.

It shows them you didn’t forget about them, and you actually do care if they’re happy with your product or service. Consider a phone call, email, or even stopping by to check in depending on the nature of your product or service.

Thank You video for becoming a customer

Having a thank you video for your clients once they become customers does two things.

One, it shows you appreciate their business, and two, it gives them something to share.

Make a video that is genuine and connects with the mindset of your clients, whether that’s a serious tone or funny one, make it something they will appreciate.

When creating a video, follow these general guidelines:

Once created, you can embed this video on your thank you pages, send it to your customers in an email, or place it wherever you believe your customers will be sure to see it.

Feature Customers in Marketing

Featuring your customers in your marketing simultaneously helps your customer as well are your company.

Your customers will appreciate the added exposure, and the fact that you’re posting about them will give them a stronger appreciation for your company.

In turn, your customers will likely share this article to their networks, providing your company added exposure as well. Consider featuring your customer’s success story, successfully tying their product into your industry.

Referral Program

Is there something you can offer your clients in return for referring more business? Think about what would be beneficial to your clients. A free month of service? A discount on another product? A free upgrade? Implementing an incentive-based referral program provides value to both parties.


Create a Community Forum

Creating a community forum provides your customers a place to go and provides great value in the form of:

Tools that can be used to create a community: Linkedin, Uservoice, Google Groups, Facebook Groups.


Advanced Training Videos

Advanced training videos will delight your clients by showing them how they can get more out of your product or service. Think about what would be of value to your clients once they already have your product or use your service.

Client Only Newsletter

Creating a client only newsletter can be a great platform to update clients on new company products, industry updates, or anything that would be of value for your customers. Make sure it isn’t all selling based, but more educational and informative so your customers appreciate your updates and enjoy being part of this “exclusive” email.

Turn these tips into Actual Results

How Can You Improve Your Inbound Marketing and Achieve Your Business Goals?

In your free assessment, you'll receive:

  • A 30 minute conversation with an inbound marketing consultant.
  • An evaluation your current website and marketing strategy.
  • Suggestions for improvement.
  • Ideas on how to measure the return on your marketing investment.
  • Real solutions to achieve your business and marketing goals.

This is not a sales call and you'll have no-obligation to buy anything. If after the assessment you feel IMPACT can help you achieve your marketing goals, we'll schedule a second call to start developing your inbound marketing strategy.