A Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing has been effectively replacing traditional marketing tactics for some time now. It’s an affordable and unobtrusive marketing tool. And it helps companies generate interest and boost conversion rates faster than ever.
How inbound marketing differs from the outbound approach
Inbound marketing offers multiple benefits compared to traditional, outbound strategies.
In traditional marketing, companies rely on adverts to get their message across. The focus is on the company and the brand or alternatively the company’s products.
Inbound marketing uses social media, blogs, SEO, and live events to boost brand awareness and revenue. The focus is on the customers and their needs.
In outbound marketing, sellers assert themselves upon the audience. They basically fight for people’s attention, often interrupting the receiver’s activity in the process. The approach is non-selective. Both interested and uninterested individuals are exposed to the message.
In inbound marketing, businesses use more subtle ways to attract qualified leads. By creating relevant and helpful content, they let the audience come to them. The approach is highly targeted and aimed at specific user segments.
Why is inbound marketing gaining speed?
We live in a world where information is abundant and easily accessible. The amount of data generated each day is astounding. It only takes a few minutes to find anything we need on the web.
As a result, the mindset of the typical buyer has changed. Before we decide to buy, we do research. And that’s very easy to do. We have instant access to prices, reviews, brand reputation, and competitor products.
In essence, inbound marketing shifts the power from the seller to the buyer. We no longer sit idly by, waiting to be amazed by an advertisement and make the decision to buy. In fact, our minds are pretty much made up by the time we contact a sales person.
Key steps in your inbound marketing strategy
Inbound marketing revolves around fresh and relevant content, delivered to the right audience. And it doesn’t have to cost a bundle. You just need to be creative and dedicated.
Let’s look at what you need to focus on when designing your inbound marketing strategy.
Attract the right audience
To drive quality traffic to your site, you need to know your target audience. What are their habits, needs and issues? What can you do to help?
Next, you have to create content that addresses these issues. Your content must always be perceived by your audience as something of value.
Convert visitors into leads
Once you’ve attracted site visitors, you need to convert them into leads. Start by collecting their contact details. The best way to do this is to place contact forms on high traffic locations throughout your website.
Offer people something enticing in exchange for their contact details. Consider a helpful how-to guide, a free webinar or an eBook. Make sure the gift is consistent with the content they are viewing.
Convert leads to customers
At this stage, you have to do your best to nudge your leads in the right direction – that is towards purchase. Here are some ways to boost your conversion rates:
- Use case studies and testimonials from satisfied clients to emphasize the benefits of your product. Talk about all the businesses that have benefited from using your product. Reassure people that your product is the best option for them.
- Tailor your messages to match different categories by segmenting your contact base. You can use various segmentation criteria depending on your business. For instance, demographics, past purchases, amount spent, web behavior, etc.
- Consider a free trial. Letting businesses try your product risk-free will reassure them and alleviate their concerns.
Keep your customers happy
Customer acquisition matters. Customer retention matters even more. Satisfied clients can spread the word about your awesome product and customer support. They can also do some serious damage to your brand if they feel neglected or unappreciated.
Make sure that you consistently deliver value and fresh content. Use social media and surveys to learn what people need and how you can improve their experience.
The best deployment channels for your inbound marketing strategy
You can’t execute a successful inbound campaign by using a single approach. Inbound marketing is a multichannel effort.
Marketers often use several independent, yet complimentary tactics. This includes blogging, social networks, SEO, and content marketing. You tactically deploy your content wherever your audience likes to spend time online.
Overall, a successful inbound marketing campaign should include at least a couple of channels. Let’s look at the most important ones.
The most commonly used way to attract visitors and nurture leads. Make sure to keep your posts educational and valuable. Otherwise, people will take one glance and leave immediately.
What you want are returning visitors that know you have the answers to their questions. These are people genuinely interested in your product i.e. your prospective customers.
Posting quality content will also position you as an expert in your domain. Your site will be the place people and businesses go to when they need reliable industry news and advice.
Good SEO is key to driving inbound traffic and ranking high in search results. Simply put, to be found, you have to do your best to appear in people’s search results.
Keyword research is an integral component of SEO. Your content has to include key terms that your audience is searching for. Keyword research is a continuous process. Update and expand your list regularly.
Use longer, more specific terms that drive the right people to your site. You don’t need just any visitors to your site, you need the right visitors. Make sure these keywords fit naturally in your content and avoid keyword stuffing.
Due to their global reach, social networks are a great addition to your inbound tactics.
They are the perfect medium to share information, promote your brand and attract visitors. Use them to strengthen your relationship with your audience, influencers and brand promoters.
You can also use discussion forums to gain fresh insight into what people share and talk about. This can help you understand your audience better. It can also spark new content and product ideas.
Another awesome tool in your inbound marketing box. Granted, webinars do require more time and resources. But they can really boost your conversion rates if done right. And since people need to register for attendance, you get lots of leads with minimum effort.
Webinars are great for conveying large amounts of information. You can convey in an hour what it would take people a day to read in an eBook. And busy professionals value their own time.
Most webinar platforms include question and polling options. This gives you a chance to interact with your audience and gather valuable info.
Successful lead generation requires a dynamic convergence of different efforts
At DemandZEN, we use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing efforts to deliver the best results.
From expert cold calling and closed loop marketing to awesome PPC campaigns, we cover it all. Our teams can help you create smart and effective marketing strategies. This will allow you to convert interest into purchase in no time.
We can also help streamline your SEO, social network and content creation efforts. And what’s best, DemandZEN’s lead-gen activities integrate seamlessly with your existing business tools and strategies.
Are you ready to add fuel to your marketing engines? Contact us today so we can discuss the best ways to make your business shine.
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