Have you ever scrolled through a social media feed, a blog post, or maybe just your search engine results and completely ignored the advertisements? If you have, you’re not unlike a lot of consumers. In fact, 82 percent of Americans ignore online advertisements. That is because people are not online for ads. They are there for the content. So, with this many people ignoring the advertisements, how is your company supposed to get the message out?
You become what your consumer searches for. This is the essence of inbound marketing and why it has been shown to generate three times more leads per dollar compared with traditional methods of advertising. With inbound marketing, your brand provides the content that your potential customer is searching for. You are not interrupting their online experience. You become their online experience. If you want more bang for your buck, you will want to start an inbound marketing strategy. And, if you want an inbound marketing strategy, you will want to know these five elements that will make it as effective for your business as possible.
For inbound, you must know your customer/potential customer inside and out. Remember, you are attracting customers by providing something of value to them. You need to know what that is. There are a few ways to go about getting this information.
You want to use the data collected above to inform the type of content that you are going to create. Creating valuable content is an absolute necessity when you have an inbound marketing strategy—as in, without it, you don’t really have one. Creating content is about providing “value.” All this really means is that you want to provide content that is extremely helpful/entertaining to your potential customer.
Your content is not about directly promoting your company. Remember, consumers are not on the internet to see advertisements. You can make references to your products and services, but the bulk of the content should not be about promoting it. There are many different types of content that you can provide:
What you provide exactly should be tailored to what you learned about your customers from your interviews and surveys.
If you are creating blog or video content, SEO is very important. SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and optimizing for search engines helps your content appear in search results. There are three basic components of SEO for search engine ranking:
We have already been over content, so let’s move on to keywords. Keywords are what searchers type into a search engine’s search bar. You want to optimize your content for “long-tail keywords” (three or four words), as they have less competition than “short-tail keywords” (one or two words) and are more likely to be specific to your product or service.
Backlinks are links from other sites to your site’s content. This tells search engines that your site is trustworthy and will help you climb the rankings. You can gain backlinks by earning them naturally and through guest posting on other blogs, among many other methods. These are the basics. There is a whole lot more to SEO than what is discussed here. If you plan on taking SEO seriously, you will need a lot more information. Moz’s SEO guide is a great place to start to get in-depth information on SEO.
This may seem counterintuitive to an inbound marketing strategy, but paid promotion is a great way to get more clicks on your content and sell more of your product or service. There are a few ways that you can go about this:
As you build those relationships, you can start to ask them to promote your content and product/services by sponsoring them. Consider using affiliates to guide people to your site as a method of word-of-mouth marketing. You can automate this through affiliate marketing software that monitors, analyzes, and tracks your whole program.
All right. Getting people to consume your content is all well and good, but what about actually converting them to customers? This is where a solid CRM and email software come in. MailChimp is a popular option that many businesses use.
You can entice potential customers to sign up for your email list through a solid piece of content—maybe an e-book or a white paper. In exchange for their email, they get the content. This gives you a direct line of communication to convert those potential customers into actual customers. Furthermore, it keeps them happy customers because you can keep providing valuable content through their email.
That is it. Your five essential elements of your inbound marketing strategy. Use this as your starting point, continue to adapt and improve your strategy, and you will be well on your way to acquiring customers for less.
As the name implies, inbound marketing involves you as the target instead of the consumer. Previously, more traditional forms saw companies trying to grab the public’s attention by describing the product or service they offered. These days, inbound marketing has reversed the tables by creating content that the user will actively seek out instead. Here are a few techniques which can boost your corporate success in today’s modern age.
One of the easiest ways to attract customers is by offering to teach them new skills and knowledge. Over the net, there are a number of ways to achieve this including:
By offering some insider knowledge for free, you’ll attract new customers, encourage word-of-mouth advertising and promote yourself as an industry leader at the same time.
Example of our eBook:
One of the new big things these days is social media. It is here where you have the best opportunity to interact with the public. Dell does this to good effect by asking questions and getting customer feedback on its Facebook pages. You can do the same by hiring a full-time social media manager who can update your pages, answer fan inquiries and deal with any complaints that come up. An active Facebook page or Twitter feed is a sure-fire way to attract even more customers, especially if you regularly update it with new content.
While most of the focus is online, it’s also important to think about the real world and how you can attract people to your virtual content. One of the most effective methods is placing QR codes on your print material. Using online flyer printing is a great way to have a huge impact on your clients especially with these online/offline bridges. Scanning of QR codes has increased by a whopping 1400% in recent years so adding them to your print material is a smart choice regardless of your industry.
While written content is all well and good, nothing gets the message across like an online video. Create something professional through the following advice:
Example of our instructional video:
Embed these clips on your website and also create your own YouTube channel. In this way, you’ll expand your possible marketing channels and give the public more opportunities to view and share your videos. You’ll also show off your knowledge and present yourself as an authority figure.
Lastly, something would be amiss if we didn’t mention the usefulness of mobile apps here. Studies have shown that user centered apps are highly effective at increasing interest in the product or service being offered. If you focus attention on the user (as is typical with inbound marketing) and offer them a personal connection with your brand, you’ll then be more likely to generate a sale out of the interaction. Additionally since almost everyone has a smartphone these days, you’ll be right there in their pockets waiting to offer them worthwhile content in a few taps of the screen.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inbound marketing. As the field is fast becoming one of the most effective advertising solutions in today’s corporate world, you can be sure there are always new techniques being uncovered. If your marketing team has the creativity to produce the right content, customers will come to you in a natural manner.
Inbound marketing is still a relatively new idea for many companies to accept. Some just stumble over their own feet while others run on 12 cylinders. Although many are starting to really embrace an inbound strategy there are still many businesses that have yet to enter the digital space to execute their marketing efforts.
Inbound marketing works best when there is a proper strategy in place for execution. Marketo put out this great infographic piece discussing the strategy process to create a strong inbound marketing process.