You may have heard the term “inbound marketing” thrown around recently. As an internet marketing agency, we use inbound marketing tactics daily, for our clients and for our own internal marketing efforts. But what is “inbound marketing”, anyway? And how does it differ from traditional marketing techniques?
Traditional marketing techniques involve things like advertisements, billboards, and cold calling which can be costly and often ineffective. Since your message is going out to all sorts of people who don’t necessarily want your product or are not ready to buy, traditional marketing can often feel like a shot in the dark.
Inbound marketing instead focuses on targeted techniques such as content creation, search marketing, and social media that help potential buyers find your business when they are ready to buy. This brings better, more qualified leads into your sales funnel. And although inbound marketing does involve effort, the cost is significantly cheaper than traditional marketing -- with much better rewards.
5 Essential Steps to Inbound Marketing Success
1. Create compelling content for all stages of the buying cycleBefore potential customers can find you, you must first create valuable content that will attract potential customers to your site. Often this is called “content marketing” because it uses content as a way to attract visitors and increase traffic to your site. What kind of content? Think blog posts, white papers/eBooks, infographics, even videos. Any content that your audience would find valuable gives you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
You'll want to create content offerings that appeal to people at all stages of the buying cycle - just looking, considering a purchase, and ready to buy! A lot of companies only pay attention to the people in the last stage, and they lose out on an opportunity to connect with all the people who are looking for a trusted resource to help them make their purchasing decision.
2. Get found by people who need your products & servicesOnce you have great content in place, the next step is to let people know about it! Using advanced search marketing techniques and optimizing keywords targeted to your desired audience will ensure your content is found by web users who are actively searching for the information you are providing. Sharing your posts on social media and utilizing relevant hashtags is another effective tactic to drive traffic to your content.
3. Convert visitors to leads and nurture the relationshipLanding Pages. Utilizing effective landing pages is an important strategy to capture internet marketing leads and continue them through your sales funnel. A landing page allows a website visitor to share their contact information with you, and helps you identify the type of content they are interested in.
Calls to Action. Let your visitors know what you want them to do with strong, well-designed calls to action that direct them to the landing pages you've created.
Lead Nurturing. As you build a list of people who are interested in your content, you can further nurture the relationship through social media and email marketing - providing additional offers customized for their specific interests.
4. Convert qualified leads to customersA lot of websites only have ONE call to action - Call now, Contact us for a Quote, Request an Estimate - which inspires people to act, even if they are just browsing for free advice & information. As a result, you may end up talking to a lot of people who weren't really ready to make a purchasing decision, which can be time consuming for businesses with limited time & resources for sales.
With inbound marketing, your offers and landing pages are tailored to people at all stages of the buying process - which means that you can spend your valuable sales time talking to people who are at the bottom of the funnel (i.e. ready to buy), and automate communication with people who are earlier in the process.
5. Analyze and adjust your marketing tacticsThe final step of successful inbound marketing campaigns is to monitor your results and make adjustments to your strategy. Are your leads getting “stuck” somewhere in the sales funnel? Proper monitoring and analysis will help you pinpoint the areas where you may need to adjust your offers and content.
Inbound marketing is an ongoing process which requires consistent care and feeding in order to keep your business growing - when executed effectively it also creates a system that consistently and repeatably generates qualified leads for your business.