What is Inbound Marketing?
As a business that is trying to grow and get fresh leads, your responsibilities and roles are constantly evolving and changing. From researching ways to get new business to taking care of current customers and more, the list goes on and on.
Out of everything on your to-do list, your marketing strategy is one of the highest priorities. For decades, the traditional marketing plan has dominated business models. Flooding consumers’ lives with annoying, irrelevant paid advertising and direct sales. With inbound marketing, you can establish your company as one that genuinely cares about the interest of the public and organically generate a stronger customer base.
Today, we will teach you about the ins and outs of inbound marketing. Specifically, why this logical tactic is the only marketing strategy you should be using for your business.
Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing
When you think marketing, whether you realize it or not, your mind most likely jumps to the outbound marketing strategy. This plan includes, but is not limited to, billboards, paid advertising, snail mail, and repetitive, intrusive email lists.
For decades, this has been the only strategy put into play by marketers. The modern consumer, however, is a far different shopper than the shopper of 20, even 10 years ago. The development of the public’s need for incessant stimulation has made it easier than ever for the consumer to tune out annoying and irrelevant advertisements.
This is where inbound comes into play.
The inbound marketing strategy isn’t based around paid advertising or shoving product in the consumer’s face. This methodology is about making yourself a relevant, informative source on a specific topic. It is about establishing yourself as an industry leader through the creation of high-quality content that your audience wants to read, share, and keep coming back to you for more. It is about creating quality, organic conversations, not stuffing a feed full of promotions.
So what does this strategy look like in practice? Through these specific steps and tactics, you can implement the inbound marketing plan into your business model and generate more high-quality leads and customers.
The Basics of Inbound
Inbound marketing is unlike any other strategy you may have seen implemented before.
Instead of the traditional plan of outbound marketing, which relies on cold calls, email lists, and more, the inbound strategy positions your company as an industry leader by providing shareworthy content your audience is genuinely interested in. This is where a good inbound marketing agency can help reduce your learning curve, or you can learn and implement these steps with your own team.
While traffic, in general, can be great for your site, you should be looking to acquire a specific kind of traffic. Traffic that is drawn to your niche and has the potential to turn into leads, and more importantly, loyal customers.
There are several tools you can use to attract more traffic to your site:
- Blogging: Arguably the most important weapon in your arsenal, this is the home base of inbound marketing. Creating high-quality, shareable content that speaks to your audience and educates them in a helpful and original way makes you a valuable member of the online community.
- SEO: While your blog can be Pulitzer-worthy, no one will find you if your content and website aren’t optimized properly. This includes a smart and efficient use of keywords, and even optimizing the images within your blog post.
- Social Media: Your audience can’t share your content if they never see it, which makes an active social media side a key to success in most industries. Promote your content through various social media channels and engage in quality conversations with people interested in your niche. The more human you can make your brand, the better you will fare in the long run.
It’s not enough to just get the traffic to your site. Once you get them there, the next step is making the conversion from visitors, to all important leads.
Getting contact information from these visitors is crucial to getting leads, and eventual sales. There are a variety of ways you go about acquiring this information:
- Calls-to-Action: CTA’s are a valuable tool to gain contact information from your visitors. These can come in the form of a promotional social media post, or a link on a blog post they may be reading. Your CTA should entice the visitor to download exclusive content on your site, such as a helpful guide or attending a webinar on your site.
- Landing Page: When your visitors click on your CTA, it shouldn’t automatically download for them. This is where you acquire contact information. Your landing page should be simple, and easy to understand. On this page, they can enter their contact information to download the guide, attend a webinar, or obtain whatever piece of content you have enticed them with.
Once you have acquired the necessary contact information from your new leads, you can keep them together in a spreadsheet or more advanced database and track who you have contacted and how you have contacted them. The best tools even automate certain outreach activities for you and help nurture leads into customers over time.
You’re halfway through the pillars of inbound, and well on your way to establishing a successful marketing strategy. Now comes the important revenue generating part of the process- closing the deal and turning your leads into customers.
The closing process requires a team effort on all fronts, from the sales staff to the social media marketing team:
- Customer Relationship Management: Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) effectiveness determines the sales you are able to close. This process of keeping your important data together, making sure the sales team is contacting the right leads, and follow-ups are happening when they need to, will all help close sales with leads.
- Email: Once your leads have downloaded their free guide or attended a webinar from your site, consistent contact is key to closing them into sales and making them loyal customers. Relevant, targeted email marketing that is client-focused is essential to making the lead feel special and providing them with the kind of information they are looking for.
Once you have converted a lead into a sale, you want that customer to keep coming back for more, right? Right.
This is where you must make yourself worth coming back to, by delighting the customer and getting them to believe in your product or service so much that they refer you to their friends or share your company on their own social channels.
- Targeted CTAs: Your customer’s stage of life or business won’t always be the same. Which is why the same CTA won’t work over and over again. Sending them targeted CTA’s related to their stage in the Buyer Persona will show them you are paying attention and they will be more likely to stay for the high-quality customer service aspect.
- Social Monitoring: Keep the human connection with your customers through your brand by continuing conversations with them over social media. The more you can make yourself trustworthy, knowledgeable, and share relevant content with them, the better.
- Smart Text: Stay connected with your customers by sending them high-quality content with them which related to their interests, needs, and provides a helpful service to them in some way. This will help you become an industry leader and they will be more inclined to share the content in their own social circles.
In order to take your business to the next level, the right businesses should implement inbound as soon as possible into your marketing strategy. Check out our next post to see if inbound is a good fit for you.