Increasingly, inbound marketing has become a popular method for promoting brands, products, and services. It is not surprising why. More traditional marketing tactics work to convince an unfamiliar audience that they need a product or service, and where to buy it. These methods are generally intrusive, interrupting a person's activity with advertising, cold calls, spam emails, autoplay videos, pop-ups, and more. On the other hand, inbound marketing is a magnet which attracts the most likely and potential consumers by providing value and earning trust. Inbound works based on an understanding of how consumers actually research products and services, providing educational material and online content.
Every business needs to use marketing. The only real question is, "What kind of marketing will you use?" The rise of online media has negatively impacted traditional marketing methods, and consumers have become sceptical of self-promoting messages. Every day, there are thousands of new websites and millions of new content pages. Add to that the bombardment and saturation of advertising on television, magazines, radio, and billboards. Consumers have simply become aggravated by it all. They use ad blockers and spam filters online, caller ID and call blocker apps to avoid cold calls, and toss mailers straight into the trash. However, companies who use inbound will attract leads by creating content that directly speaks to their ideal customer's needs, wants, interests, and goals.
HOW INBOUND MARKETING WORKS
Inbound works by using a systematic approach that attracts, converts, closes, and delights visitors. A business will develop a content library for customers at every stage of the consumer life-cycle. Some blogs, videos, and social media posts are specifically for attracting and introducing your brand to new visitors and building an audience. Nevertheless, all content is designed to guide consumers to conversion events, such as becoming a social follower, subscribing to a newsletter or blog updates, or requesting a quote. Therefore, you are capturing information so that you can more directly market to leads. Additional content will nurture leads, helping to close the deal and convert them into active customers. Finally, inbound will publish other content that will delight your active customers, having them become promoters and brand activates.
MASTERING THE BASICS OF INBOUND MARKETING
There are many parts to a successful inbound marketing strategy. With so many tactics to explore, a small business or entrepreneur can easily become overwhelmed and frustrated. Nevertheless, in order to stand out and break through all the online noise, you need to discover your voice. This is the only way to build a following, produce leads, and grow sales. The good news is that the basic fundamentals of inbound marketing are not complicated. The following is a step-by-step guide that will help you create a solid inbound marketing plan.
You can also download our Inbound Marketing Workbookfor added insight:
Step 1: Buyer Personas - Have you ever heard the vital few? While the actual number is different based on the business or industry, the vital few are often described as the 20 percent of customers responsible for 80 percent of your sales. Essentially, these are your regular and most active customers. Creating buyer personas is a way of understanding your customers beyond simple demographics, These insights help you can create content that speaks to their needs, wants, interests, goals, and values.
Step 2: Your Website - A successful inbound marketing strategy requires a well-designed website as the focal point. Consequently, user experience optimisation is vital. Your website is not an advertisement; it is a communications tool. Even if you have a great looking website, there needs to be a focus on good site structure, navigation, mobile friendliness, social integration, and other elements that make your website useful for visitors.
Step 3: Content Is King - Many small businesses and entrepreneurs believe writing a large volume of content is the key to success. This is just wrong. Think of your website and social feeds more like television channels. What is going to get people tuning in every week? In order to beat out the competition, you need to publish content that is both unique and valuable. This means either providing new information or presenting old information in a new way. A large library of generic content is useless.
Step 4: Add More Landing Pages - On many small business websites, the only way they collect lead contact information is with a "contact us" page. However, there have been a number of studies that show landing pages are essential for inspiring conversion events. What is a landing page? While they look very similar to other content pages, landing pages are designed for the sole purpose of collecting contact information, allowing you to market to a person more directly and personally.
Step 5: Optimizing Calls-to-Action - Every salesperson knows that you won't get what you don't ask for. Every piece of inbound marketing content should be designed with an expected outcome in mind. However, despite this, don't assume that your visitors will know the "natural" next step. A call-to-action is a clear sign to your visitors of where they should go next. If the content's intent is for attracting new visitors, a call-to-action can lead them to subscribe to your blog updates, newsletter, or social feed.
Step 6: Build Email Subscriptions - When done correctly, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods available, especially when it is personalised or tied to a consumer's actions. Once you have captured a lead, you must nurture them. Email marketing can help guide consumers deeper into your sales funnel, expand content distribution, and increase engagement.
Step 7: Social Media Marketing - Improving your social media presence is one of the best ways to connect with and build an audience. Moreover, consumer trends have shown that social media conversations and reviews are becoming a prime source for consumer decision-making. That said, it is vital that you provide a consistent consumer experience across all social channels. Basically, if your social feeds don't "sound like" you or aren't properly aligned to your brand image, your social marketing will not come across as authentic and will not be effective.
Step 8: More Video Content - Some experts are projecting that video will account for 88 percent of all web traffic by 2020. Nevertheless, anyone who has spent any amount of time on social media does not need a study to tell them that videos are receiving the most shares, likes, and comments. Videos grab the attention of users in a way that text just cannot. Any company that is not leveraging video is missing a tremendous opportunity. If you have not utilised video content in the past, now is the time to start.