As marketers, we’re always looking for innovative new ways to present our products, services and brands to consumers. However, most regular – or outbound marketing – methods mean running after your audience. Unfortunately, chasing leads is time-consuming and rarely effective. Inbound marketing means generating leads.
It’s not a new concept, but many businesses and professionals are still unaware of this powerful marketing tool. So, what is inbound marketing, and how can it change the way you generate business? To start, let’s take a closer look at the methodology and how it works.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
HubSpot supposedly coined the term in 2006, but it’s only in recent years that it’s been gaining a lot of traction. Interestingly, many businesses are already using elements of the methodology in their strategies.
However, without combining these into a unified strategy, it’s far less effective. The power of inbound marketing lies in how it unifies several different types of advertising. The result is one efficient plan.
It works on three main principles:
Instead of chasing your viewers, you entice consumers by offering them valuable and intriguing content. It’s your goal to become a trusted advisor or business that’s worth engaging with.
There are various forms to engage with your audience, and they’re all critical in one way or another. Consumers want to feel important. By engaging and providing insights and solutions that solve their unique problems, the interaction is more likely to result in a conversion.
The days of sell and forget are long past. Your clients won’t hesitate to take to online platforms to share their positive or negative experiences with their brand. It’s now your duty to delight and satisfy them long after their purchase. That way, you’ll turn these customers into brand advocates rather than just “people who bought from us before.”
How You Can Implement Inbound Marketing
The method fits into the modern concept of integrated marketing and strategic communication. As a result, it’s an essential part of any marketing strategy. The trick lies in using forms of content that thrills your audience rather than disrupting their experience.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When most people hear search engine optimisation, they consider it only applicable to blogs. The truth, however, is that SEO covers a massive range of platforms. You can optimise images, website pages and even social media content.
There’s also the matter of finding the right keywords and researching trends. SEO is an ongoing process that requires frequent analyses and updates. It often needs a dedicated resource or SEO professional over a long period.
Blogs and Articles
Creating meaningful, optimised blogs are a great way to attract potential customers. That’s especially true if they address your target audience’s pain points. They’re a fundamental part of any marketing plan.
Keep in mind that, even at the minimum rate of one article a week, it can take up to 12 – 18 months before you’ll see significant traffic growth. Consistency is critical, and a dedicated publishing schedule will do wonders.
Creative and Engaging Content
Whether content is visual or written, the key is to make it engageable, informative and exciting. The goal of inbound marketing is to create content that your viewers will want to interact with.
Generating curiosity is often the first step in the process. That evolves into interaction, engagement and, finally, buying intent. Facilitating that process in an as smooth and enjoyable way as possible is vital.
Social Media Promotion
Although the goal is always to generate organic traffic, paid promotions do have a place in inbound marketing strategies. However, the goal shouldn’t be promoting an advertisement that pushes a product or service. Instead, focus on informing and delighting your prospects. Even promoting humorous posts, free ebooks, and blog articles can have a more significant effect than a regular ad.
Remember, the goal is to excite consumers rather than disrupting their online experience.
Although we could easily have left video under other categories of content, it truly deserves its own section. Video has become one of the most popular forms of online content. Statistics show that it might make up roughly 80% of all internet traffic by 2021.
Education is one of the top reasons viewers watch video content. If you want to thrill your viewers, consider product or service demos, testimonials, case studies, vlogs and webinars.
Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is still relevant today, but the way we use it has to change. Messages need to be informative. When possible, make the information personalised. Alternatively, break your subscription list up into “sections of interest” and send out targeted emails.
With inbound marketing, the process doesn’t end once the sale’s been made. Instead, have a system in place where you cultivate these relationships. Respond to complaints, compliments and queries quickly and as helpfully as possible.
By keeping your customers happy, they’re more likely to become brand ambassadors. They’ll spread the word of their experiences, generating more consumer curiosity and buying interest on your behalf.
Inbound Marketing is Your Secret Weapon
Are you interested in increasing your brand reach, interactions and conversions? Start by optimising your content and establishing consistent posting schedules. Share posts and videos that are informative and engaging. However, don’t shy away from “old-school” marketing methods like emails and newsletters. Finally, remember that a post-sales relationship is just as important as the sales process itself. It’s a vital component of inbound marketing. By combining it with other elements, you can create an effective strategy that’ll grow your business and bottom line.