Inbound marketing strategy: A beginner’s guide to 21st Century Marketing
Marketing has changed in the last several years with inbound marketing taking over the marketing sphere. Gone are the days of using traditional outbound marketing whereby companies focused most of their time trying to reach out to customers by cold calling, using direct mail, hard selling, etc.
Outbound marketing focuses on the old traditional advertising of using newspapers, television and radio ads and other print advertising. This method used to work well in the past, but it didn’t give customers any control.
How does inbound marketing work?
With inbound marketing companies create significant content that can add value to customers and draw them towards their business website to learn more about their services or products at their own time.
In today’s world consumers want to learn first before they buy a product. And it also gives them the option to opt out or block the content if they need to. The more potential customers feel that they are in control the easier for all parties involved.
Prospects now go online to research about the product before deciding on buying it. Companies that use inbound marketing see more results or get a high return on investment. Another added advantage is that inbound marketing costs less compared to outbound marketing.
A company website or blog is the first place they would go to with the help of search engines. But if they already know the company website there is no need to take the search engine route. They can just go directly to the required website url to read more about that product.
This might take a while though if your website is not well optimized and unknown to the prospect. Which is why you should understand the four stages of inbound marketing to turn prospects into buyers.
Inbound methodology stages include:
This is the first step of inbound methodology and it involves attracting potential customers to your site that you can turn into leads. You can attract potential customers by creating valuable content that can be easy for those prospects to find.
The second step is to engage with your site visitors by capturing their contacts which they should do willingly. This turns them into your leads and you will continue sending them valuable information.
You then continue to engage with your leads by sending them information in the form of newsletters, articles, videos, podcasts, and more.
While you continue giving the free content in the form of newsletters, podcasts, etc, you then up sell to them one of your offers. This time you have already built trust with your leads and then you turn them into delighted customers who promote your product.
Inbound marketing includes the following types of marketing:
The first strategy for inbound marketing to work well is to create a lot of content. When it comes to inbound marketing, content creation and content marketing strategy is very important.
The aim should be to create content that will draw in potential customers. People are consistently in need of content that will help them.
Content creation for marketing should be the type of content that will add value to the people. The content should also be arranged for different platforms. Upon completion it should be distributed accordingly based on the needs of different people.
Someone who likes watching videos would appreciate the content in the video format. While someone who likes reading would appreciate the content in ebook format. So if you are really applying your inbound marketing strategy you would arrange your content in multiple formats.
Your content should be created for multiple traffic sources. It should be distributed to free traffic sources and paid traffic sources so you can reach a wider audience.
The easy way to create more content and be able to share it in one place is through blogging. Blogging is a good way to drive traffic to your website and your business. By starting a blog you increase your chances of being found on google and other search engines.
Most companies that blog often on their websites get traffic much easier compared to those who don’t. Blogging stats at hubspot have shown that businesses that blog receive 55% more traffic, more backlinks and more leads. Search engines need regular content and they reward it if it keeps coming. The content should be relevant and most importantly interesting to the users.
Target long tail keywords in your blogging
For you to write interesting content you have to do proper keyword research before writing articles. You should target keywords that people use to find your products when blogging. That way you will be utilizing your inbound marketing to attract potential customers.
If your blog content is good enough you will get many backlinks and recognition from other bloggers. That will result in more traffic for you and your business.
Videos are one of the good methods to attract customers to your business. With online video marketing you can send traffic to your website or blog. The video trend is now being used by most social networks. Web users are now consuming a lot of video content and everyone is getting use to it.
But the number one video social network is YouTube. In 2017 YouTube videos were receiving over 4 billion views per day. Some of the videos are business related videos. Users have now turned to YouTube to solve their problems.
By creating YouTube videos and embedding them on your website or blog, you are increasing your content. You should also optimize your videos so that they rank well on Google and other search engines.
Businesses are investing their resources on social media. Through social media you can drive traffic to your website and generate leads. Social media provides multiple social networks which can be used for engagement with customers. You can also target relevant customers and build customer relationships.
More people spend their time on social media and that’s where your business should be as well. A business that does not have a social media presence is losing a lot of customers. Social media enables most businesses to attract more customers through inbound marketing strategies. You can optimize your social networks to help you increase traffic.
A list of social networks you should have a presence on
This is the leading social network in the world with over 2 billion users. Facebook is the main social network for most businesses. With a good facebook marketing strategy you can drive traffic to your website.
It also allows you to generate leads and engage with your potential clients or customers for free. But Facebook also has the lowest cost of social media advertising compared to all social networks.
Through Facebook ads you can target your potential customers based on their interest, their friends interest. This goes down to geographical locations, their age, their gender and more.
Facebook marketing allows you to enhance your inbound marketing so that you can receive maximum traffic. You can do the following things with Facebook.
- Personal branding
- Page promotion
- Choose multiple ad options
- Use a call to action
- Engage with fans
- Do video promotions
- A/B Testing
This is a microblogging platform that allows you to create small messages of up to 140 characters. Twitter is created to spread the message much faster using short messages. Building your twitter profile and being active by posting tweets on daily bases increase your chances of building a following.
Your twitter page can be branded or customized according to your needs and look processional.
The technique that will set you apart from your competitors is to provide value on your tweets. A mixture of tweets with images and videos in some cases makes a huge impact.
LinkedIn is a social media for businesses, processionals and job seekers. It has all the necessary features of a social network. There are several things that you can do with LinkedIn the include:
You can use it for personal use, and be able to build your personal brand. It can be useful for any one man show whereby you are just promoting yourself.
Building a connection with like minded people and helps you find mutual friends that you can connect with. You can connect with former classmates and former colleagues.
You can use LinkedIn to market your business. This includes business to business marketing and business to customer marketing. By creating a LinkedIn company page you make it easy for potential customers to find you. You can add everything, a full description of your business, a logo, images, videos and website url.
You can also share some of your articles from your blog which will lead to your website. That will allow you to receive traffic to your website and possibly more customers.
Search engine optimization should be one of the methods you use because it plays a vital part in inbound marketing. You should optimize all your web pages so that you get found on all search engines but mostly on Google.
SEO includes two types of optimization, that is on page seo and off page seo. Is very important that you apply both of them so that you can drive traffic to your website. Even though you will not get targeted traffic to your site with seo, it is still very important that you do it.
If you want targeted traffic you should look at paid search marketing. You will have to optimize your pages and your posts so that you don’t lose traffic. Your home page is the first page that you should focus on since visitors tend to go to it first.
With on page seo your focus is on the inside of the pages and this are the main things that you should focus on:
Post/Page Title – Your title can be a one line which tells your readers and search engines what your page is about. It has to be powerful and include your focus keyword
Url – Your url should be readable and include the focus keywords.
Meta description – The meta description is very important because it gives a brief explanation to search engines on what your page is about and it is displayed on the SERP.
Body – The body should include subheadings and bold highlighting.
Images – Your images must be named accordingly and also the alt tag and the description.
And with off page seo your whole focus is on building inbound links. These are the links that point to your website. Backlinks are very important but they have to be quality because quantity won’t be enough for search engines. Find websites that have high authority. Get backlinks through social networks by adding social share buttons.
You can also post your content on social networks every time after writing a post on your blog. Other ways you can get seo backlinks is through guest blogging, post commenting, in forums, niche sites and more.
Call To Action
A call to action is required when doing your online marketing, it enables prospects to take action. This can work well for you if you want to capture their contact details.
A landing page provides you with the message and includes the call to action. You can have dedicated landing pages for each topic on your site, your landing pages should be compelling. Customize it so that the user knows exactly what they need to know and what action to take. Your landing page can include either a video or bullet list of explanations or both.
Analyzing every traffic source in your inbound marketing strategy gives you a full insight about their performance. If you don’t analyse your strategies then you won’t know which one is doing well and which one needs improvement. One of the best tools to use is google analytics which can help you see your website traffic. You should be able to see which pages bring more traffic. Also look at which devices your visitors use most, mobile or desktop. Their geographic locations are also important and what really interests them.
Combine all that information so that you can create a much better one that will attract even more customers. By doing so you will be able to leverage your inbound marketing to a different level.