Why You Need an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 2016
If your business is stuck on outbound marketing and cold calls, you’re doing it wrong.
Your customers are exposed to countless amounts of marketing materials and information. Most of that information they don’t want. I’m not a fan of cold calls and sales pitches. I unsubscribe from emails that aren’t adding value to me and skip commercials when I watch TV or YouTube videos.
This is an increasing trend. Your consumers are blocking unknown numbers and avoiding your brand at seemingly all costs. Make a shift in your strategy and focus on inbound marketing. According to HubSpot, inbound campaigns have a higher ROI than outbound and outbound marketers think their own tactics are overrated.
When you embrace inbound marketing to acquire more customers, you have to be consistent. And you have to be patient. It could take many months before your business sees traction or a payoff from an inbound approach.
On a very basic scale, what is Inbound Marketing?
Through online initiatives, it’s a way to leverage your brand to get found by customers. In a more practical sense, inbound earns customers and attracts attention without interrupting a conversion path by way of ads.
In an article on Marketing Land, they see the premise of inbound on education. In the article, Dan Faggella explains, “The most likely to buy are the ones who see you as the figure responsible for educating them, coaching them and helping them the most.”
There are an abundance of techniques that if used effectively, can enhance your marketing efforts and accelerate the growth of your business.
Which methods should you be focusing on in your strategy?
As a more cost-effective marketing strategy, you’ll have more actionable intel at your disposal where you can analyze the data, see which strategies are working for your brand and what needs to be adjusted. Here are ways in which you can deliver value to your audience.
One of the most critical aspects of your inbound marketing strategy is to create a buyer persona. Who are you trying to target? Your strategy begins with a fully developed buyer persona. The persona created is a sketch of your ideal customer.
Think about your business, the types of people you attract, and put yourself in their shoes. What are their interests? How do they find your company? What kinds of content do they interact with? How about their demographic and personal information?
The correct persona captures the goals of your company while addressing the challenges and pain points that make your brand stand out. Once you have your ideal persona (or multiple personas), talk to them through the following strategies.
There are many aspects included in your content marketing strategy, each of which can become one of your strongest inbound marketing initiatives.
How are you adding value to the user experience? Most of this is done in some form of content. Whether that’s blogs, videos, podcasts, or guest posts, your audience is looking for trust and value.
They’ve landed on or chose to interact with your business. How will you retain their attention? You don’t have much time.
Establish a content marketing strategy that is useful and propels action. You need to stand out. In the words of WordStream’s founder Larry Kim, the goal is to be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys.
Offer helpful information that intrigues your buyer persona, making them more likely to reach out to you for further information.
An optimized blog that focuses on one core keyword to drive traffic will help your content rank well for relevant searches and drive traffic to your blog. Users want helpful and valuable information. Establish trust and connect with your personas through written and spoken word. It leads to authority and is one of the most effective inbound techniques.
There is also tremendous value in guest posting. It takes relationship building and dedication, but can bring your unique content in front of eyes that wouldn’t find your content had it been published on your own site. Working for a nationally recognized search engine optimization agency, I guest contribute to an industry-leading blog, Search Engine Journal. This leads to a larger audience reading my work and builds a personal brand while gaining further recognition for my company.
Increase relevance, recognition, and brand importance with a dedicated content marketing strategy.
While it is true that many people frequently unsubscribe from emails, the appropriate campaign also helps retain customers. If you attract your persona to your blog or podcast, and they sign up for your email list, you’re already on their minds.
The goal of email marketing is to bridge the gap from prospect to client, from lead to buyer. Unsolicited emails will result in trimmed list as your unsubscribe rate grows, but when your customers sign up to receive further content from you, you better make it valuable.
Keep your audience engaged, attract them back to your website, and keep your brand in their minds. When it comes time to make a purchasing decision, use email marketing to complement your other inbound marketing initiatives.
It’s more than the optimization of your website content. It’s the optimization of your website design, structure and your brand as a whole.
When you build relevant backlinks, target converting keywords, and use the right coding to create a unique experience, you’re strengthening your website and growing its value. Make sure the keywords you’re targeting for your inbound campaign have search volume and attract your buyer persona.
Incorporate intriguing headings, landing pages, meta descriptions, and title tags that establish what your page is about. If you can’t be found on the first page of the search results, your inbound marketing strategy won’t be effective.
Social Media Marketing
A step further than SEO, social media and networking is on the outer edge of your strategy. Its goal is to keep your audience engaged, and you’ll rarely see any ROI from amount of Facebook likes or retweets.
Still, there’s a high chance are your customers are active on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are frequently interacted with by your potential customers. Before conducting business with you, these customers will find you on a preferred social media channel, follow you, and interact with you.
Show your business in a personal manner. Your customers want to see the human behind your brand. Engaging with them, responding to their concerns, and tweeting at them establishes trust. Determine which platform is most relevant to your target personas, and make sure your content is being shared and promoted to attract more followers.
Having a fine-tuned strategy that ties your content marketing with your social media marketing leads you closer to a sale and new clients.
Putting It All Together
Inbound marketing begins with content marketing, but your strategy will never be effective without the complementing factors. It’s all a way to keep your audience exposed to your brand, so you’re at top of mind when they need the services or products you’re offering.
The best strategies include many forms of content that speak to your customers. Turn strangers into customers and continue to promote your business without cold calls and sales pitches. Add value to your marketing strategy through creation, distribution, multichannel promotion, and creative calls to action.
Generate long-term business growth at a fraction of the cost of outbound. Continue to build momentum with quality content that leads to conversions.