Imagine you're shopping for a new suitcase since you're planning a vacation shortly. You start searching on Google for baggage choices and come across scores of ads, but none of them stand out. “Inbound Marketing”.
A week later, while using your preferred social media platform, you come across a little video advertising a brand-new suitcase company that has just gone on sale. You care about the environment, so the brand's focus on sustainability appeals to you.
You go to the company's website and read a blog article that describes how recycled materials are used to make the company's suitcases. You go back the next day and buy one of its carry-ons.
This illustration shows how inbound marketing works.
Instead of using traditional advertising, public relations and content marketing presented a narrative that built brand affinity and trust. When you were prepared to make a purchase, you took the initiative and sought it out based on what you had learned.
That’s the power of inbound marketing.
Even though inbound marketing won't address all of your business's problems, done correctly, it may significantly affect your bottom line. Inbound marketing techniques can be used by any size business to increase the number of customers they have by attracting them rather than the other way around.
Even though it may take more time and money upfront, when done properly, it may have long-term benefits.
The greatest inbound marketing strategies are covered in this book to help you maximize your marketing efforts.
What is inbound marketing?
Essentially, inbound marketing is a strategy (comprising a variety of approaches) that attracts your target audience to your business. Since it draws a different kind of customer than those who click on banner ads and paid search results, inbound marketing is becoming popular with small businesses and ecommerce vendors.
Inbound marketing often entails leveraging top-notch content on your website and other digital channels to spread awareness of your brand and its products. Following their discovery of your brand via this content (which is often obtained through search or social), you work to turn them into paying customers.
The most effective inbound marketing efforts often include four steps: attract, convert, close, and delight.
This stage of inbound marketing entails Increase traffic to your website or online business. Hosting valuable content on your website, such as blog articles or embedded videos, is an excellent way to do this. Improving your search engine optimization abilities, which will help you appear in organic search results, is also important. A robust social media presence with many connections to your products and services can also help in attracting new potential customers. Many businesses now use TikTok and Instagram to increase traffic to their websites.
While breaking through the noise might be challenging, inbound marketing is still quite successful in persuading potential customers to test your products or services.
This phase starts when visitors come to your website. Getting search engine traffic is one thing; getting it to convert is quite another.
The approach begins with providing potential customers with usable, relevant landing pages. The next step is to invite them to participate by sending calls to action (CTAs), such as signing up for a mailing list. You may also encourage customers to try the product by offering discounts or free trials. The goal is to make the most of their visit to your platform since it may be difficult to get them to return. At the end of the day, your ability to convert is directly tied to your inbound marketing efforts.
It's now time to clinch the deal and try to develop a vendor-customer relationship. Customer relationship management (CRM) software may help a lot in this area by supporting you with email marketing and tracking customers’ shopping carts. You may also keep track of all your clients' purchases as well as any personal information they offer, such as their geographic location.
All of this data helps small business owners understand who is shopping with them, what sorts of products and price points appeal to them, and what type of marketing resonates with them.
Most small business owners want to cultivate long-term customers who really value their products and services, not just win a single customer transaction. Plan to follow up on your marketing efforts by offering an excellent customer experience to please a client and create a long-term relationship. This includes the includes:
- high product quality. The goods and services provided by your organization should meet or exceed customer expectations.
- Customer service that is dependable Troubleshooting answers should be readily accessible to your customers. Product returns and refunds should be simple and fair. If the organization uses chatbots, they should deliver relevant information and only appear when necessary.
- surveys to be conducted in the future. Brands should track their customers' shopping experiences to see if they met their expectations. They may do this with multiple-choice surveys that provide opportunities to suggest changes.
- Discussion on social media Some customers choose to communicate with brands via their social media platforms. To meet customer expectations, brands should reply quickly to social media inquiries, treating them with the same professionalism as a traditional customer service ticket.
Recognize your target audience. You can generate better content and products and ultimately give a higher level of service if you truly understand who your target audience is.
Inbound vs. outbound marketing
Inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing, which is used by many traditional marketers.
- How they’re similar: Inbound and outbound marketing both seek to bring potential customers to ecommerce platforms. The goal is to convert interested customers into paying customers.
- How they’re different: Inbound marketing lets interested customers discover you, but outbound marketing involves actively pursuing customers, even if they aren't actively looking for your goods or services.
- How they’re similar: Both inbound and outbound marketing need an active online presence and the upkeep of a current website with professional-grade landing pages and ecommerce features.
- How they’re different: Inbound marketing success begins with the creation of useful content libraries, search engine optimization, and networking via social media, podcasts, and word of mouth. The goal is to achieve organic reach. Outbound marketing includes traditional advertising strategies such as TV advertisements, direct-mail flyers, telemarketing, and website banner ads. Outbound marketers engage potential customers directly and suggest products and services, regardless of whether those individuals are looking to make a purchase.
- How they’re similar: Inbound and outbound marketing both aim to drive business and create dependable, long-term customers.
- How they’re different: Inbound marketing aims to provide organic long-term reach. It focuses on a specific audience via useful content offers and then attempts to convert them into customers. Outbound marketing tactics, on the other hand, may reach a wider range of consumers, but they do not always target those who are actively shopping.
7 Inbound marketing strategies that drive success
You may shift your digital marketing presence to inbound marketing with hard work and a sound strategy.
Here are seven strategies to get you started.
1. Create great content
Customers may be introduced to your brand by consuming valuable content (such as a blog post, podcast, or online video) that connects their interests to the products and services you have to offer. For example, many content marketing professionals have a blog that covers topics of interest to their customers that are relevant to their business.
As we continue to live in a content-first society, one of your inbound marketing strategies should unquestionably include the creation of high-quality content, which can be distributed through your website and social media.
2. Optimize for organic search
An SEO strategy is a plan to naturally drive visitors to a business's website, which starts with your site's major landing pages. If those pages include the terms that potential customers use to search for your products or services, your page may rank higher in searches on platforms such as Google (the major search engine) and Bing (the runner-up).
Aside from keyword optimization, you may ensure that all of your site's landing pages have a relevant title and that your site is rich with metadata terms relevant to your target audience. Optimizing your content for SEO can help your content go a little further in attracting potential customers to your site.
3. Build your organic social media presence
Traditional marketers work to increase brand awareness on social media because of the broad influence it may have on customer communication. Small business owners without a formal advertising budget may still benefit from social media.
While you can undoubtedly spend money on social media advertising to create desired results, creating a profile on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Snapchat is free.
However, cutting through the multitude of voices and bringing awareness to your products does take patience. To do this, a company's social media profile should include the following:
- Network with other pages for cross-promotion.
- Engage in online discussion via comment threads.
- Reply to private message inquiries from other users.
- Provide interesting, relevant content like videos and photo collages.
4. Provide an array of multimedia offerings
You may raise your company's profile by building a content library on YouTube or via podcasts. According to a 2022 report from HubSpot and Wyzowl, online interaction with video and podcasts will continue to expand at a rapid pace. Building a presence in these locations can help you reach customers who are less inclined to read print blogs.
5. Solicit backlinks and affiliate links
A backlink is a URL link that links to your site from another web page. Search engines like Google value websites that are connected to or from other sites.
Planting links may be difficult. In many circumstances, you must personally request that other website hosts or professional influencers link to your page. You may have to pay for this or do your own cross-promotion, but it's a potential way to enhance your position in Google's algorithm. You may also create affiliate links.
These are URLs that websites may publish, and if a user clicks on that URL and purchases anything, the referring website receives a small fee. This financially motivates other digital retailers to work with you.
6. Offer a newsletter
Email newsletters are prevalent in the media, with prominent newspapers and magazines sending out daily emails to interested subscribers. These newsletters serve as a marketing tool, to direct readers to the company's site through content or links. Small business owners may follow this approach by compiling an email list and sending out occasional newsletters to their most loyal customers. Newsletters may include a variety of content, including:
- Product announcements. This might include sneak peeks at new goods and services that your company will be releasing.
- Special sales. If your company is running a special deal, make sure your email subscribers are aware of it.
- Calls to action. A call to action encourages your readers to take action, such as subscribing to a podcast feed, leaving a review, or joining a social media group.
- Valuable content. Some of the finest newsletter content has nothing to do with business. Brands keep customers interested by delivering articles, essays, videos, and podcasts around a common topic of interest. Filling a newsletter with valuable content fosters goodwill with your customer base, which may drive them to make further purchases in the future.
7. Network and cross-promote
Sometimes the best way to spread the word is to network the old-fashioned way. Consider exchanging promotions with comparable businesses: you might request guest blog posts on your site, or you could invite some of your peers to come on your podcast as guests. You may reciprocate by doing the same for them.
Each brand is exposed to the customer base of the other brand, making this a win-win situation. You may also network with end users by attending live events and making yourself available both offline and online. The more you spread the word about your business, the more people will be able to recommend you on a personal level.
Defining your inbound marketing strategy: Final thoughts
The idea of inbound marketing is that, although it takes a significant amount of upfront effort, your content and search engine optimization may pay you for years to come.
They may drive website traffic without paying for pay-per-click advertising. Even if you decide to pursue an outbound marketing effort as well, you can set yourself up for valuable organic reach by developing and implementing an inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing strategies FAQ
Understand your target audience. Create content that is both relevant and valuable. Optimize your website and social media platforms for conversions. Make use of strong CTAs. Assess your performance.
Creating relevant content for your blog or social media accounts Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of producing high-quality content to get traffic from search engines. creating social media video content. running interesting ads.
Ultimately, for inbound marketing to work, you must invest in creating relevant content designed for your target audience and sharing that content in places where your target audience will see it. For long-term success, you must also test and adapt your inbound strategy regularly.