Every business would prefer to attract new leads instead of having to invest time, effort, and labor hours into cold calls — and that's why many have embraced inbound marketing to achieve their goals. Inbound marketing can achieve long-term business growth in a way traditional (outbound) marketing cannot.
But, where do you start? Today, we’ll explain inbound marketing in plain English and cut out the jargon, so even if you’re a beginner, you can get some clear direction on how to execute your strategy correctly.
Inbound marketing is the practice of attracting new leads in a way that goes beyond outbound marketing (which includes online ads, cold calling, and email blasts).
Instead of interrupting your potential customer's life with ads they don't want, inbound marketing uses non-intrusive techniques to build trust with them. By meeting your audience where they are and providing value to them from their first interaction with your brand up through conversion, you’re walking them through the process without ever having to make the hard sell. This approach results in a more natural-feeling sales funnel where you can more readily convert your target audience into repeat customers.
Here are some reasons why inbound marketing is better than traditional outbound methods:
Every inbound campaign consists of three main steps:
Executing a successful inbound marketing strategy requires you to be smart and agile, and consider the following:
The first step in inbound marketing is understanding your target audience and their needs, wants, fears, frustrations, etc., to create content that will attract them in the first place.
Creating content that has value can take many forms. Blogging is a fantastic way to both improve your SEO and draw in your target clientele by answering questions they have and creating a voice of authority in your niche. Search terms that they are already looking for will come back with your articles, leading them into your site because they want to know more about what you have to say.
In addition, video content that covers topics your audience is interested in can be used across multiple platforms (social media, forums, etc.) as a diffusion network to draw your audience in through visually engaging content.
Audible content is another great strategy for many businesses, utilizing the popularity of podcasts and providing an easy way to engage when your audience is occupied with other tasks.
Everything from your brand's identity to your customer support strategy must fit within the context of an overarching inbound marketing strategy in order for it to be successful.
Set a schedule for when you'll be publishing content, sending emails, etc., to help your audience know what to expect from you. Promote your content and announce your new posts so that you can engage with your audience in real-time. You can even set times to engage with your audience right after a video goes live so you can interact with them in an immediate and salient way.
This might sound contradictory, but inbound can be easier than outbound because inbound doesn't involve pressuring people into purchasing your product (which can be a turn-off and make them less likely to buy).
The hardest part of creating inbound content is redefining how you think about it — instead of thinking in terms of "I have to create an ad" or "I have to cold call,” think in terms of "what would help my target customer feel confident about buying?” and “how can I solve their problems and gain their trust?"
After creating inbound content, the next step is distributing it in a way that attracts new leads.
You do this in two ways:
Inbound marketing is often context-dependent — meaning what works in one industry or market won't necessarily work in another (if this were true, companies wouldn't be spending billions of dollars on advertising every year). Don't worry about copying tactics someone else used — in fact, it's usually a bad idea, as they might not work well in your specific situation.
Instead, focus on your target customers' needs and wants. Then, use your available resources to develop inbound marketing strategies that will help you build more inbound leads and convert them into customers.
While inbound might be a great way to make your company stand out from competitors in your industry, you can't forget about other forms of marketing, such as in-store presence, print advertising, and other methods to reach the broadest possible audience.
Make sure your content strategy aligns with all your other marketing plans, so there's no disconnect between channels when they're implemented.
At Stoute Web Solutions, we do not sell marketing. We promote growth. Most agencies prioritize foosball tables and downtown views over results and action.
We are not that agency.
Sure, we like to have fun. And we do! But we never put our Ping-Pong skills ahead of the people who keep us in business: our clients.
Our decisions impact thousands of businesses around the world. More importantly, there are real people counting on us to grow their business. We’ve been providing a wide range of services to clients from different sectors, which include Website Design & Development, Website Hosting, AdWords Management, SEO, and PPC Campaign Management right here in Portland.
It is a responsibility and a privilege we take seriously.
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