Paid advertisements are typically relegated to the world of outbound marketing, but this can be a major marketing mistake. Paid advertisements, when properly executed, are not only able to compliment an inbound marketing strategy but are vital to its success.
Inbound marketing is a term (and strategy) founded by HubSpot, one of the leading SaaS (software as a service) developers. They are even the only current provider of inbound marketing certification. Per their website:
“Inbound marketing is about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business… You attract prospects and customers to your website and blog through relevant and helpful content… You engage them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value… You delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert.”
Outbound, on the other hand, tends to cast a wide net over a group of prospects who are loosely targeted. One notable example of a traditional outbound marketing technique are cold calls, which many know as telemarketers. Sometimes they have your number because you filled out a form stating you were interested. Many times, your information was sold, and these callers are simply hoping you may be interested. It is a more “interruptive” technique, where you place your company in front of individuals versus drawing them to you.
HubSpot also nicely sums up the difference between these two:
“Unlike outbound marketing, with inbound marketing, you don’t need to fight for your potential customers’ attention. By creating content to address the problems of ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects…”
Although paid advertisements are often thought of as an outbound marketing technique, they provide real value to an inbound strategy. The difference in how these two are used is subtle, so slight alterations in the way you’ve used paid advertisements previously for outbound campaigns can make them effective for your new strategy.
Below we discuss some of the most effective ways you can ensure your paid advertisements adhere to the inbound marketing strategy while still garnering results.
For starters, you’ll want to use paid advertising platform’s audience targeting metrics to hone in on your specific audience. Instead of simply targeting all users between the age of 18 and 60 in a 30-mile radius of Tampa, Florida, you would need to zero in on that a little more.
In this same scenario you might decide to target consumers between the ages of 25 and 45, who live in a 30-mile radius of Tampa, are female, and who own a dog. By zeroing in on your ideal customer base, your message is still getting to the right people – hopefully at the right time.
Instead of using paid advertisements on their own, focus on using them as a complimentary marketing method for specific things. For example, if you have a post which is already doing exceptionally well on your Facebook page you could boost that post. Why? Because if it does well with your current audience, chances are high that your potential audience would also find it of value.
You can also use paid advertisements on search engines to help increase traffic to well-performing blog posts, landing pages, or other valuable content. This will help you to reach a wide group of people who still fall within your defined target audience. As such, you are still providing helpful, valuable content that wouldn’t be considered disruptive.
Here is where you may find that the worlds of outbound and inbound overlap. Consider focusing at least some of your paid advertising campaigns on specifics – such as products or services. While all of your content is geared towards these, placing them in front of your audience in an obvious manner is sometimes a good way to remind them what the content is being provided for.
This isn’t to say you should focus all your energy on disruptive techniques – but they can play into an inbound campaign just as easily as an outbound one when properly executed.
Where should you start focusing? Begin with your top two or three best-selling products or services. Since a wide portion of your customer base is purchasing these, it is safe to assume that those you are trying to attract will also be interested.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, your next few campaigns should focus on those products or services which are your lowest-selling two or three. They may only be the lowest because your customers have not yet been introduced to them.
Despite being relegated to the world of outbound marketing, paid advertising can be an effective, viable part of an inbound strategy as well. When properly executed paid advertisements have the potential to bring value to your target audience and assist in converting them without being disruptive. It takes only a small shift in your original outbound techniques to make this work for an inbound company.
Do you know the difference between inbound and outbound marketing? Do you know which of the two is considered more natural and avoids interrupting the flow?
Hopefully, you already know the answer, but it’s okay if you don’t.
Outbound marketing — also referred to as “interruption marketing” — is when you try to capture the attention of your audience. You are essentially interrupting the natural flow of things, hence the nickname. This includes content like banner and display ads, outbound sales calls, pop-up advertisements or windows, press releases, billboards and more.
On the other hand, inbound marketing is when you capture the attention of your audience more organically. You allow your audience to come to you. This means engaging with them in ways that encourage seeking out your brand. This can be done via things like opt-in email lists or newsletters, public speaking events, video content, blogging, earned social media and more.
Inbound marketing is responsible for more than 90 percent of the clicks on the web, while outbound marketing accounts for less than 10 percent.
So when you have the option to choose between the two, you should almost always go with inbound marketing. But how do you implement these principles for your site and your brand? What should you consider before doing so?
The first step is to identify a goal you’d like to achieve. This will allow you to create a strategy and tailor it to said goal.
For example, let’s say you want to generate 100 leads per month for your sales team. That’s an excellent start because you can use it to create a plan of attack. It’s specific, but most importantly it’s viable.
Since inbound marketing is more natural, you need to have this end purpose — this goal you are trying to achieve. It will allow you to focus on what’s important and create a personalized strategy. Before you do anything else, figure out what it is you want your marketing strategy to accomplish.
Next, you need to know who you are marketing to. To create an effective inbound marketing strategy, you need to target a specific audience. Remember, the end goal is to convince them to come to you — not to interrupt their normal flow of engagement. To do this, you need to understand who they are and what they want.
Build a buyer persona to better understand your ideal client.
It’s not enough to know who you’re targeting or what they want. You also need to understand the journey they will have, as they are led to your site.
Where will your ideal buyer come from? What problem will they be looking to solve? When will they convert to an actual buyer?
The journey can be broken up into three stages:
During the awareness stage, customers experience a problem and begin researching it. During the consideration stage, customers have already identified a problem and understand how to solve it. However, they only know they’re committed to finding a solution and have not decided what they will do.
The decision stage is where potential clients have actually decided how they’re going to solve a problem. The best example involves purchasing a product as a means to an end. You should tailor your content and your marketing strategy to meet these different stages.
For instance, you might provide a free e-book for customers in the awareness stage, letting them know what the problem is and how they can solve it. This would push them to move into the consideration stage and finally the decision stage, where you can have other content ready to deal with the shift.
By understanding this journey, you can better understand your buyers, allowing you to choose an appropriate call to action.
At some point, you’ll need to sit down and hash out the length of the journey your buyers will experience. You’ll want to know how much time, resources and manpower will be required to get them to that point.
How do you know you’ve achieved your goal? How long will it take to get there? Answer these questions and then use them to identify the requirements specific to your marketing strategy. Will it cost a certain amount of money? Will you need to continue working for a certain period of time? Is there something else you can do to shorten that journey and convert a buyer sooner?
Once you know the ideal persona to target, it’s time to decide what channels you will be using to market your products or brand. Which outlet will offer the most effective inbound strategy?
Did you know the life of a Tweet is about 18 minutes, as opposed to the life of a status update on Facebook which is about 5 hours? If you want to content to be visible longer, Facebook is the channel you should be choosing.
There are many channels to choose from. They include things like:
These are just a few examples, but choose a channel that works for you. The goal is to find something that will lead potential customers back to your site. What will entice them to visit? What will get them interested in your products?
Once you’ve outlined a particular strategy or plan of attack, you need to commit to it. This means scheduling time to ensure you are working toward your goal every day. Stay consistent and continue to go through the motions.
If your strategy is to post social media content on a daily basis, then keep it up. Don’t give up because engagement ratings seem low or let another responsibility take precedence. You need to fully commit to your inbound marketing strategy.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Many website owners are under the impression that all that is required in order to attract website traffic is to use niche-appropriate keywords. This is not always an effective practice though, as some niches are either extremely competitive or there simply aren’t any appropriate keywords and phrases that can be used. However, there are a few other ways to attract organic traffic to your website.
Regardless of whether niche-related keywords exist or not, creating content that is valuable and provides site visitors with answers to questions they may have remains one of the best methods of bringing in organic site traffic. When it comes to creating compelling content, many site owners forget that this process actually begins with the title of the post. Your content can be the most engaging in its niche; however, if you have not created a title that encourages site visitors to want to read on, you are wasting your time. Once the title and content have been created, it is also a good idea to create sub-headers that are just as compelling, as this will keep readers hooked until the last sentence.
Although social media provides an ideal opportunity to keep in touch with friends and family, it also provides the perfect means to reach out to your website visitors, as millions of people log into these platforms each day. When using social media accounts to attract organic traffic, it is essential to engage with your audience regularly, as this will ensure that they remain interested enough to return and in turn promote your content to their social media contacts. It is also recommended that you join Facebook groups or other related social networking communities, as this will also enable you to share content with as many potential people as possible who could become site visitors.
Although it may take a long time to build a mailing list of a decent size, this is well worthwhile if you want to attract more website traffic. Each time you would like to boost traffic levels, all you will need to do is send an email to each of the contacts on your list. This will not only raise site traffic levels; it will also increase sales of any products that you are promoting substantially. To build a successful list, you will need to provide site visitors with tempting offers or freebies, a decent opt-in or squeeze page that will help you collect email addresses legitimately and an email service like AWeber or MailChimp that will enable you to send out large batches of mails to your subscribers.
While this is an effective method for attracting site traffic, it is one that requires a lot of time and effort. However, when you link to similar sites in your niche and connect with the blog owners, chances are that at least a few of them will be happy to let you guest post for them. I know what you are thinking, didn’t Google drop the hammer on guest posts? It did…sort of. Being a contributing writer on like-minded industry websites will always be a good thing. If you offer lawn care services being a contributor to a site selling baby clothes is not going to work. Keep it relevant. It will also be necessary for you to spend time on other niche-related sites so that you can comment appropriately on the content there, while building a few additional backlinks for your own site at the same time. The more often your name is published with guest posts, the more chance you will stand of attracting visitors from these sites as well.
As you can see, keyword usage is not the only way to attract website traffic. Using a combination of the above mentioned methods will also go a long way towards increasing your site traffic to acceptable levels.
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.
The goal of your site and blog is to be discovered on the Web so you can generate sales or just share your valuable content with the world. When people search for your topic, you want to land at the top of search engine results and to invite massive traffic and information exchange to your blog. Keeping up with search engine optimization is a constant challenge, however, because the major search engines are always changing their algorithms.
Inbound marketing strategies are currently the most successful ways to increase search engine rankings and build traffic to your web and blog sites. Using the methods of SEO consulting expert Neil Patel along with some effective strategies of our own, Stride was able to boost our blog traffic by 30% within 60 days – and so can you!. We’ll tell you how. Let’s start with an understanding of inbound strategies.
Inbound marketing strategies are techniques and methods designed to draw people in. Trust eMedia defines inbound marketing as “a marketing strategy where businesses implement tactics to ‘get found’ … by customers.” These tactics may include email marketing, posting of quality content, establishment of a reputation for thought leadership, sales and advertising campaigns and activities designed to build brand awareness, social networking, improvement of search engine optimization, and other creative ways to build credibility with customers and gain their trust.
Inbound strategies attempt to attract prospect attention and bring them on board in a credible, trusting relationship. People buy from those they trust – but first they have to find your blog. To be found and continue to increase your traffic, you’ll need to use the following strategies.
For his work on the TechCrunch site, Neil Patel, of Quicksprout and Kissmetrics, ensured that the tags and links on the site pages were properly formatted in accordance with current SEO standards. Search engine crawlers look for title tags and headlines that match and include prominent keywords. Also, you should include ALT tags and meaningful, keyword-rich file names on all pictures as Patel did. With regard to links, external linking to relevant pages whenever possible builds your credibility and authority as a source of useful information.
High quality, original content is the new metric for search engine optimization. Guest blogging is a content strategy that takes your current blogging efforts to the next level. Guest blogging is publishing your articles as an invited guest on other websites, with a strategy of selecting blogs that are quality, have a high following are relevant to your niche, and including a link back to your own blog. This not only builds linked interconnectivity with other blog sites but also helps you to reach new audiences and build your prospects and makes it simple for them to find out more about you.
Be selective and strategic about the blogs you choose to guest blog for. Offer to guest blog for sites that are authoritative are read by a large following of the prospects you want to attract. The more followers, the better. For example, if you find a site with 100,000 followers who would be interested in your product or service, offer to guest blog on the site and be sure to include that link back from the article to your own blog.
The moment your guest blog post lands on the page, you are granted the audience of those 100,000 new prospects. If your post is interesting enough, compelling enough, provides enough valuable information, and contains a strong enough call to action, you will both add value to this site, and draw in more followers and expand your credibility as a thought leader and go-to resource, and thus increase quality traffic to your blog.
At one time, site builders could reach the top of search engines by simply filling their pages with the most popular keywords as less sophisticated web crawlers searched for quantity of keywords rather than quality. Sometimes the keywords used had nothing to do with the business of the site – they were simply used as a means to lure people in. Other tricks, such as “hiding” text on the page by making it the same color as the background, were also used. Now these tactics bring penalties. The more high quality, pertinent information your blog contains, the higher you will rank in search engine queries.
To draw more attention to your site and improve your ranking, you should review your content and remove any duplicate content and misleading keywords. Patel and his team also sought to eliminate duplicate content which can preclude correct indexing by web crawlers. Repeating the name of your blog within page titles and using the same meta description on every page of the site can be reported as duplication errors by web crawlers and they will fail to recognize and index your individual pages. Review each page, clean up your keywords, and create a unique meta descriptions for each page.
Forum participation is another excellent way to use content management to get your site noticed. By sharing expertise and advice on discussion forums, you develop rapport and earn respect from other forum participants who share your interests. By providing helpful and valuable content to discussions, other participants become intrigued to hear more of what you have to say and will begin to seek further information and contact with you on your website or through your blog.
Patel’s team implemented XML sitemap instructions so that search engines would know how to index the TechCrunch site correctly. They included links to additional references related to the information on each page, thus increasing the index quality while providing site visitors with more information and raising the engagement level. Additionally, TechCrunch has a number of international websites that were not effectively linked together. The team also improved the internal link scheme between TechCrunch’s pages to create and build cross-referential authority. Also, If you have a number of domain properties, be sure to create strong inter-connectivity between them.
TechCrunch already had a strong social media network on which to build. If your social media skills are lacking, now is a good time to learn because social media is a powerful driver of website traffic. Patel and his team found that they could manage the places where TechCrunch’s content could be shared by being selective about which media share buttons to place on specific sites in strategic locations. They also focused on engaging the most active contributors on popular media sites so that the contributors’ responses created a much broader reach and in turn drove new traffic back to TechCrunch assets.
Another way to use social media networking to build traffic is to host contests and entice strong contributors to endorse your articles. By offering a good value proposition in a contest or valuable information in an article, you can greatly extend your reach as the active participants do the work of spreading the word. The key to your success with social media is engaging and strategic networking with power users online.
Although we may find our inboxes inundated with emails, an email marketing campaign is still a very effective way to disseminate information and build a mailing list of prospects. Hubspot also reports from the Social Media Examiner that 83% of marketers believe social media is important for building business.
Drip campaigns are a series of pre-written, strategically planned emails that subscribers receive over a set period of time. Your objective with a drip campaign is to keep reminding your prospect of your presence and to build rapport and trust. As time goes on, the prospect reading your emails is “getting to know you,” becoming familiar with your brand, and learning more about your product or service. By the time you make your sales pitch, and sources vary as to how many contacts you must make beforehand, your prospect is hopefully ready to buy.
Mike Kamo is the VP of marketing for Strideapp. Stride is a Cloud-based CRM and mobile app that helps small to medium sized agencies manage and track leads, as well as close more deals. They can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
There are a lot of online marketing strategies you should employ to gain Internet visibility. With the ever-increasing competition in the World Wide Web arena, it is imperative that you employ sustainable Internet marketing strategies to rise above the competition. Without these strategies, your website will soon fall in the abyss of poor page rank.
Most people employ inbound marketing, content marketing, and SEO as part of their marketing strategy. However, using these strategies is not an automatic guarantee that your website will gain its rightful place in the Search Engine Return Page (SERP).
Most starting companies I know prefer to do their marketing effort in-house, which basically means that they handle their entire Internet marketing strategy by themselves. They might be relying upon their own personnel or personal knowledge acquired from researching the web or reading other sources.
The problem with this decision lies on how volatile and dynamic Internet marketing is. What are acceptable SEO practices today may not be the same tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. SEO is basically a complicated topic that even experts still are trying to cope up with.
Take Google for example. Google is no doubt the most used and popular search engine today accounting for more than 70 percent of the searches made each day. So basically, if Google changes something in their algorithm, everyone will be affected, including your website.
Most websites today program or customize their website’s content according to the preference of Google. Thus, Google is a game-changer and sometimes really unpredictable when they perform upgrade or changes on their algorithm. The same happens when they launch the Hummingbird, which basically rocked the world of SEO and sent SEO experts reconsidering their strategy.
What is the point I am making here? I am pointing out that Internet marketing strategies should be delegated to professional and expert SEO specialists. There are many benefits that you can acquire from hiring a third party company to manage your marketing effort compared to doing it yourself.
Since SEO specialists already have the tools, software, and even the network, they can easily help you maximize your budget to gain the best results. Not to mention that they are completely dedicated to provide excellent SEO services to you.
Now think for a second: if you are going to perform SEO yourself, there is a big chance that you can’t give SEO your one hundred percent since you has other aspects of your business to take care of. In addition to this, you might not have the right sources to know about the updates and latest trends in Internet marketing.
There is a big difference if you hire a group of people who will purely dedicate their time and effort to performing your SEO strategies. As a result, you’ll surely get the most of your investment and be sure that you are employing the best available methods of SEO.
Karrie Morton . Karrie is a freelance writer and social reformer where she writes about things that inspires or gets notified in the society. She has been writing for Integrity Media Corp. about current hot topics such as technology, internet marketing, and social media. You can connect with Karrie through her social media accounts.
The common misconception is that advertising leads to sales but the truth of it is that most of the advertising doesn’t work. You need to be smart about it. Inbound marketing is a popular concept of marketing for businesses online. The key for such businesses to attract visitors is good, quality content. The reason why successful businesses online emphasize on top notch quality content is because they want to brand themselves and have an online presence.
The phrase ‘going viral’ has caught on and it means being the next ‘in’ thing on the internet. Inbound marketing channels will aid you to make your content go viral. People now are interested in what inbound marketing channels are there and how they can help them with their businesses.
SEO is an excellent example of inbound marketing. Instead of going out to attract new customers, the customer comes to you when he’s need of a product you are selling. SEO’s have embraced inbound marketing to do better marketing. As majority of the traffic is generated by search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, e.t.c.) to make your website work for you, to get higher visibility and to eventually go viral, you need SEO strategies. You can produce good quality content but proper skills are still needed to structure the website in a way to fit well with new lead generation.
Social media is a great channel to make your posts go viral. Whenever you like something you post it on Facebook or Twitter and if you dislike a product/service you do the same. Social media platforms give you the chance of posting your content and making it go viral. To manage your online presence using social media is highly important.
Slide deck is a great way of presenting information and attracting traffic to your website. Having the same old, boring layout may avert visitors your site. To mix things up, using slide deck can prove to be an engaging treat for your visitors. And if you succeed in making your slide desk entertaining enough, it has decent chances of going viral as they are easily downloadable and shareable.
Do you know which online tool is still the most effective in generating sales? I hope you guessed it right because it’s E-MAIL! People sometimes oversee content on social media but they check their e-mail every day. This means when people subscribe to your website, they actually want to view your content and if they like it they’ll forward it to their contacts list. The main goal of inbound marketing is getting people to your website and e-mail marketing does that.
If you want to attract newer audiences guest blogging has been proved to be successful. Whenever I buy a product I always read the reviews of the product on the website. People naturally get attracted to products/services if the guest commenters review it positively. To encourage guest blogging always remember to give positive feedback to your guest bloggers.
“Learning by ‘talking’ is more powerful for most people than learning by reading.”-Anonymous
Forums are a great place for marketers to get information regarding your needs and the market needs. As a forum is a discussion area or a bulletin board people share their views, insights and experiences here. Forums are usually used for attracting relevant traffic to your website. Because of the fact current trends are usually discussed in online forums , setting up a well-managed forum is useful to make your content go viral.
The aim of public relations is to spread awareness and to generate sales. PR is now using articles published online more often to add an educational tinge to their publications instead of just writing an opinion piece. Carrie Morgan in her article “How to Integrate Inbound Marketing Tactics Into Your PR Strategy” said that Inbound marketing and public relations have something in common – helping your clients be found. This proves that PR is one the navigators of current trends and your content will only benefit from positive PR.
Inbound marketing have two goals: visibility and awareness. And these channels will surely help you in obtaining the online presence you seek.
About the Author
Marry is a passionate blogger who is in love with online digital marketing. She is currently representing ebrandz.com – SEO Company India