Inbound marketing has changed the way you market to a consumer. Unlike interruptive outbound marketing techniques, inbound focuses on meeting customers where they are. With inbound methodology you can target customers who are already looking for you. Inbound marketing uses content to attract, engage leads and finally convert them. According to 99Firms, inbound marketing is the primary marketing method for 74% of marketers worldwide. In addition, content marketing ranks as the most effective inbound marketing strategy.
Customers often find interruptive content annoying. They don’t like being marketed or advertised to. With inbound marketing you can reach consumers who are looking for the type of products or services you offer. Consumers like engaging with content that gives them the relevant information they are looking for. It influences consumers and helps them decide whether to invest in your business or not. So, instead of advertising your products, you offer consumers content that gives them a solution to their problems. In this article, we will discuss everything about inbound methodology that can help you get started with creating your own strategy.
What is Inbound Marketing?
According to HubSpot “Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating content and experiences tailored to them.” With inbound marketing, marketers can attract and nurture customers by sharing relevant and informative content. It helps businesses build valuable and long-term relationships with their customers.
Inbound methodology can be used in three ways:
Attract: In this stage you can generate valuable leads using relevant content that is engaging.
Engage: Giving them solutions that help achieve their goals or solve problems. This influences them to invest in your business.
Delight: Providing any assistance needed to your customers after they have purchased from you.
Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is a type of marketing that involves activities where businesses initiate a conversation with their audience by sending them messages. Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing is interruptive. Outbound marketing includes traditional forms of marketing like cold calling, advertising on TV, newspapers, or radio. Consumers are also sent cold emails or text messages.
Inbound marketing includes content marketing, blogging, opt-in emails, PPC advertising and SEO. Leads will only come across content and advertising when they are looking for specific products or services. Whereas in outbound marketing, audiences are sent messages without consent and shown product ads that they are not looking for. There is more cost involved in outbound marketing. According to 99Firms, inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. In inbound marketing you can implement SEO and content strategies that help you generate organic lead without the need to spend.
Moreover, outbound strategies are hard to track. Businesses implementing outbound strategies may have trouble tracking their return on investment (ROI). As people do not appreciate receiving cold calls or emails, there are more chances they will end up blocking you. It is not good for a company’s reputation to end up in spam folders. Outbound strategies usually bring in low results as compared to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing targets quality leads that have a potential to convert.
Along with outbound strategies, organizations can see more successful results by incorporating inbound methodology.
Why Do You Need Inbound Marketing?
Here is how your organization can benefit from inbound marketing.
Generate quality leads
Inbound marketing aims to create brand awareness and target leads that are valuable to your business. With relevant content you can target leads who are already searching for that information. Using the right keyword in your content can help you target your potential customers. Creating content based on the search queries your audiences are looking for can enable you to reach them and lead them to your website. With relevant content you generate relevant leads.
Build trust and credibility
Informative and relevant content helps your target audience to trust your business. They see you as a thought leader in your industry and see you as a credible source of information. More trust in your business means that they are inclined to invest in it. Inbound marketing is a great way to build authority for your website and establish yourself as a credible source of information in your industry.
Inbound does not entail spending too many resources in building and implementing your strategy. Online ads may incur some expenses. However, content strategy and SEO can enable you to generate leads. These expenses are low as compared to other outbound strategies.
Overall business growth
Inbound marketing can enable your business to grow. It can help bring in more qualified leads that are willing to convert. This type of strategy will create sustainable relationships with customers and increase your revenue. From a content perspective, when you build content, you get a chance to increase your network through link building and guest blogging. This helps you build your network in the industry.
How to Create an Inbound Marketing strategy?
The first step to create an inbound marketing strategy is to set goals. Goals act as a map that directs you to where you want to go. Any marketing strategy requires you to set goals so that you know where you are headed. Set goals that are realistic, accurate, measurable and time bound. Define the KPIs that will allow you to track the progress of your inbound marketing strategy. Assess your industry and competitors to help you set your goals.
Create buyer personas
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your target audience. With buyer personas you can determine the goals, needs and challenges of your target audience. Conduct an in-depth research of your target audience. Find out their demographics, interests, hobbies, problems, buying behavior and more. Buyer persona can help you understand your audiences better so that you can create personalized content and experience for them.
Not sure how to get started with a buyer persona? Here is a simple guide that can help you.
It is important to know what information your audiences are looking for so that you can provide them with the relevant content. Before building your content strategy, keyword research is important. Find out the type of keywords or search queries your target audience looks for. Use keyword research tools to find out different variations of keywords that are used by your audience. Also, look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for to get more ideas.
Using the right keywords helps your content rank better on Google’s search results page. It makes it easier for your audience to come across your content. Relevant keywords can enable your audiences to discover your content and engage with it. Keywords are important for your SEO efforts, so that your website is visible to your target audience. Do a thorough keyword research to help identify relevant keywords that form the foundation of your content strategy.
Set up a blog
Blogging is an important part of your content strategy. With blogs you can attract traffic to your website. Once you do your keyword research, you know what type of topics your target market is searching. Use these search queries as blog topics. Blogs can give relevant information to your leads. If you provide them with educational content, they see your website as a credible source of information.
Write and publish blogs regularly. Blogs can help leads discover your website and engage with your website. You can also set up pillar pages and topic clusters to focus on specific topics. This can help you in your SEO efforts.
Search engine optimization or SEO is important for any business with a website. SEO can help your website become more visible. To start off with on-page SEO by optimizing your content. Use the targeted keywords in the title, meta description, URL and throughout the content. This makes it easier for search engines to find your website and present it to the audience looking for it. Add internal links to your content. Internal links are hyperlinks that link to other relevant pages of a website. Internal links make it easier for search engines to index your website pages. Moreover, it also covers a certain topic in-depth as you provide relevant links in your content.
After you have on-page SEO covered you can also implement other SEO strategies. These include link building, local SEO, guest blogging and more. With search engine optimization you can ensure that you are visible on the search results page and improve your domain authority.
Create content based on buyer’s journey
Inbound marketing is all about using content to attract, engage and delight your target customers. It is not just any content, but content that your audiences find valuable and relevant. Content should be personalized based on the stages of a buyer’s journey. Every stage is different, and you would need content specific for each stage. This content can help provide useful information to the lead and solve their problems.
Here is what an inbound funnel will look like:
Top-of-funnel (Awareness stage): these leads are looking for general information on a subject.
Middle-of-funnel (Evaluation stage): the leads in this funnel need to be made aware of your brand.
Bottom-of-funnel (Decision stage): the leads in this funnel are looking for information about the benefits of your products/services to make a final decision of whether to invest in your brand or not.
There are different types of content you can use in each stage. You can use social media, blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. to spread more awareness. Middle-of-funnel content begins to position your product or service. Webinars, catalogs, FAQ sheets, brochures can be used to introduce your brand. Leads at the bottom-of-funnel are evaluating your product or service. Giving more information about your product or services, offering consultation or estimate can encourage them to invest in your brand.
Align sales and marketing
Although marketing plays a major role in inbound strategy, sales teams are also important and should not be overlooked. Marketing team sets the foundation of the inbound strategy and creates content. Once leads are attracted based on this content, they are nurtured further to influence their buying decision. When leads are ready, they are willing to talk to you. This is where the role of your sales team is important. Sales teams communicate with your potential customers. They nurture the leads to push them down the funnel and convert them.
Marketing and sales teams should be aligned. Sales teams need to be aware of all the strategies implemented. This can help them gather information to make their sales calls successful with the leads. Sales team can also offer ideas on content topics since they know their customers better.
Create relevant landing pages
Landing pages is where your leads end up going after they click on certain call-to-action, content, or ads. Landing page can be a product or services page, content download page or have a form to fill. Any page that converts the lead is an important landing page on your website. This page should be relevant to the purpose of it. It should be structured in a way that encourages the visitor to act and convert.
Focus on creating a page with a pleasing layout, appropriate color scheme and font. It should create a good user experience for your audience so that they engage with this page. Poor user experience may increase bounce rate as audiences exit the page immediately.
Leverage social media
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you generate traffic to your website. These platforms can also enable you to build connections, get to know your target audiences and reach out to them. Build a good reputation for your business using your social media platforms. Share your blog post and other content on social media to engage your audience. Use social media platforms that your target customers are on.
With social media you can also invest in PPC ad campaigns and sponsored posts to increase your reach. It is a great tool to increase brand awareness and send more traffic to your website. With social media you can reach a wide range of your target market that are looking for the types of products or services you offer.
Keep customers engaged
Even after a customer has converted that does not mean you don’t engage them with quality content. Audiences are always looking for educational and informative content. Keep sharing educational content through emails to keep your customers engaged. Monthly newsletter or eBooks can be a great way to provide some interesting information to your customers. These insights could be data, statistics, industry news, etc. Something that gives them more information about your products and industry. You can also share any business updates to let your customers know the ongoing changes in your business.
The goal of this is to help retain your customers and make them loyal to your business. When customers receive these updates from you, they feel valued and know that they are not forgotten. This is a great way to build long-term relationships with your customers. These delighted customers would even consider investing more in your business.
Monthly reporting is a good way to analyse all the progress you have made. Look at the goals you have set in the beginning. See if you are meeting those goals. Discuss these KPIs with both sales and marketing teams. Analyse what improvements are to be made. This can help you refine your inbound strategy and get maximum results.
Inbound marketing is all about providing a personalised experience to your target customers. Implementing this strategy can help you double your results and build long-term relationships with your customers. Consider these important steps discussed above when you are planning your inbound strategy. It gives you a good idea about all the important steps that you should not leave out to create a successful inbound marketing strategy.
Found this helpful? Check out more interesting articles from our blog.