Over the last 20 years, as technology and the internet has developed, so too have our buying habits and the way that we consume information. This has also lead to a significant shift in the way we advertise to customers. Customers no longer want to be interrupted, they want to be helped, guided and advised. Traditional advertising methods are no longer trusted by the majority of customers who have come to expect false claims and undelivered promises from adverts.
Inbound marketing helps you to earn trust by providing educational content in order to draw customers to your website where they can learn more about you on their own terms. 54% more leads are generated by inbound marketing than by outbound marketing.
Did you know: 90% of internet users browse for or research products online?
Buyer behaviour has changed dramatically over the last few years and, if you don’t keep up, you’re going to be left far behind your competition.
Inbound marketing consists of two key elements:
Content: create online content in the form of website pages, blogs, and social media messages and optimise them for search and social media in order to be seen online by your potential customers.
Context: you must understand who your customers are and what types of content are going to push them through your sales process in order to personalise your messages and promotions for each of your customer personas.
So, inbound marketing is creating the content that your customers WANT to consume.
How does Inbound Marketing Work?
Attract customers from various online sources and direct them to your website.
Provide relevant and interesting content to convert prospects into leads.
Close leads into customers through lead nurturing
Delight customers to turn them into promoters of your brand
Where do I start?
Define your Strategy
To start with, inbound marketing is no different to any other marketing strategy. You need to define your business goals and decide what you want to achieve and when. Conduct market research to find out more about your industry and your competitors to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable. You also need to know who your target audience is in order to create relevant content.
How do customers find my content?
Once you know who your customers are and what they’re looking for, you can start to create a strategy. The first step with any inbound marketing strategy is keyword research. You need to know what your customers are searching for before you can start optimising your website and content.
The second step is SEO and optimising your website. Make sure your keywords are included on the relevant pages and your on-page and off-page SEO is optimised correctly. If you need more help with optimising your site for SEO, take a look at our guide (link to blog).
If you want to go one step further than SEO, you can invest in PPC in order to get your message in front of an audience that is actively searching for your product or service. To find out more about managing PPC campaigns on a shoestring, we have created a quick cheat sheet to help you get started.
By now, you should know what your customers are looking for and the keywords you need to target in order to attract them. But, before starting to write content, create an editorial calendar and map out the next three, six or twelve months. This will make the process much easier and help you to schedule your content at the right times and to help you tie your content in with current events.
Sharing the content on the relevant channels will also be key to your success here. There’s no point creating great content if you don’t share it! Use social media to get your messages out there, it’s a great awareness building tool!
Great, how does this help me to generate leads?
Creating ‘premium content’ which provides value to your target audience such as ebooks, webinars, whitepapers and case studies are a great way to generate leads. This is the type of content that customers are willing to exchange their contact details in return for. Once you have their contact details, you can nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
In addition, content which educates your prospects about your products helps them to make buying decisions. Case studies and social proof such as reviews and testimonials prove that your products work and help to comfort customers, telling they’re making the right decision by buying from you.
Landing pages are the perfect medium for sharing premium content. Direct prospects to them through PPC, SEO and social media to capture information and generate leads. A good landing page is well-designed and tells the customer the information they need to know quickly with few distractions.
A well written call to action can mean the difference between success and a low conversion rate. Make sure any content or adverts you create include a strong call to action and let your customers know what you want them to do next.
Why aren’t these customers buying from me?
Now that you’ve got the details of all of these prospective customers, you need to nurture the leads in order to close the sale. Email marketing is one of the best ways to do this. It allows you to segment your data lists based on interests and the stages of your sales process to help push your leads further through. Implementing a lead scoring system will help your sales team to know when it is time to actually contact the lead.
As well as being good for sharing content and generating leads, social media is also a great way to keep in touch with them until they’re ready to buy from you. You could also invest in remarketing ads to follow them around with your brand messages.
How do I keep my customers coming back for more?
Once you have a solid base of customers, you can turn them into brand advocates. Their journey doesn’t stop at the sale!
Keep providing your customers with additional content through your website, social media channels and email. Now that they have your product, how do they get the most out of it? Does it have any hidden features? These messages give you the opportunity to up-sell or generate repeat custom.
Why not use social media to engage with influencers and brand advocates? These are the people who will help to strengthen your presence and build trust with prospective customers.
Through the whole process, never forget to keep checking your analytics data. Gone are the days of sending out direct mail and having no idea how many people looked at it. The beauty of all online channels is that they provide information about who, what, where, when and how, helping you to find out which of your strategies do and do not work. Use these tools to ensure your budgets are being used effectively and to strengthen your overall strategy.
If you want to know more about how inbound marketing could help you to grow your business, please contact us to speak to one of our team.