Inbound Marketing Strategy Definition
Inbound Marketing (also known as Pull Marketing) is a strategy that focuses on gaining long-term results by providing relevant and helpful content to your customers on regular basis. Applying this strategy effectively grows your traffic, SEO ranking, conversion rate and places you as the expert in your niche.
What sets Inbound Marketing apart from other marketing methods is the focus on the long game. The slow and steady development of the brand’s voice and expertize can even take 4 to 6 months to come into effect. However, DemandMetric explains that Inbound Marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and produces 67% of all leads each month. So all in all, it’s definitely worth the energy and time it requires.
Setting the base for your Inbound Marketing strategy
Just as with anything big and successful, you need a solid foundation to build your Inbound Marketing strategy on. Creating such foundation takes two steps – fully developing a solid brand foundation and getting to know your target audience. With these two elements, you will be able to have a strong base for your strategy that will help it develop and expand successfully. So let’s get started!
Building a solid brand foundation
Every solid brand foundation is made out of four crucial elements. Let’s look at each one individually to get a clearer idea of how it all works.
To have a truly strong base for your brand you must decide what your key brand messaging will be. This will communicate to your prospects the most essential information of who you are and what you do. Try to answer these questions:
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are your core values?
- How is your company different from your competitors?
Now that you have your brand messaging done, it’s time to match it with a logo. After all, your logo will work as a visual stimulus to help people remember your company. Keep in mind that everything has a meaning behind it – the color, the shape, even the font. Then answer these questions to help you develop with a perfect visual identity:
- Does this logo visually represent who we are as a company?
- Does this logo look good in various sizes?
- Will this logo look good a few years from now?
Create a website based on your brand messaging and logo. Make sure it represents your company well and is consistent with the color scheme and other visual elements found in your logo. As for the content, check that it has your brand messaging woven into it through and through. This will be where your prospects will go to become your loyal customers – make them feel welcome.
Now that you have your solid brand foundation, integrate it into everything and everyone in your company. Stay consistent with it in every single aspect of your business. Doing so will make your brand look well-rounded and authoritative. It will radiate confidence and authenticity – exactly what your potential customers look for.
Getting to know your target audience
The second crucial step towards a successful Inbound Marketing strategy is getting to know who your target audience is. And what is a more accurate way to research something than by looking at your existing data?
Of course, if your company is brand new, you won’t have any substantial data yet. In that case, you should create an Ideal Customer Avatar. However, if you’ve been around for a while, here are the tools you can use to hone in on your target audience by using data:
- Google Analytics
You can look at the demographics, interests, and locations of your website’s visitors. A great way to find out who your main type of visitor is.
- Facebook Insights
Similar to Google Analytics, Facebook Insights let you see what kind of users are most active on your Company’s Facebook page and what type of content they share most.
- Twitter Followers Dashboard
This tool can help you look beyond basic demographics and really see what kind of interests and topics all of your Twitter followers have in common.
- User surveys and feedback forms
What better to get to know your audience than by asking them to tell you themselves?
Now that you have your base strong and ready, it’s time to begin working on your Inbound Marketing strategy.
How to create an Inbound Marketing strategy
The absolute best way of creating an effective Inbound Marketing strategy is by following The Inbound Methodology created by HubSpot. It focuses entirely on the audience’s journey from a prospect to a customer and specifies how you can help them go down the sales funnel smoothly.
Stage One: Attract
So you have your brand messaging and logo sorted and your website ready. It’s time you introduce it all to an audience. At this stage of the Inbound Marketing strategy, you should focus on attracting visitors to your site. Think about how will you generate those valuable prospects, and how will you persuade them to come back for more.
Blogging is by far the best way to produce relevant and useful content that would interest your prospects. By providing valuable information on a regular basis you are not only giving them a reason to come back for more, but also proving your expertize and credibility. As HubSpot explains in their statistics, “B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.”
Focus on your target audience and think about what kinds of problems they face that are relevant to your industry. Then regularly produce lots of articles that tackle those problems. Do your best to be truly helpful. This is how they will begin to trust your brand.
- Social Media
Do a social audit and find out which social media platform your customers are hanging out on the most. Then build a profile for your company on those platforms, and start interacting. This will put a human voice to your brand and in turn build more relationships with your prospects. As Ambassador specifies, “71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.”
Make sure to share useful and relevant content on your social media channels that was produced by someone else too. Otherwise, if you share only content published by you, it will feel to salesy and your followers will lose their trust in you. We believe that splitting the content that you share into 50% guest posts and 50% your own is the best and most effective ratio. However, it works differently for each brand. You’ll have to experiment and find your sweet spot.
- SEO Your Website
Keep your target audience in mind and look up keywords that they search for. Then implement those keywords into your website’s content to make sure that your site appears when a potential prospect types their question into a search engine.
Stage Two: Convert
So now that you have attracted your prospects it is time to turn them into valuable leads. Ultimately, your main aim is getting their contact information. Doing so will not only give you a chance to use the information to fine-tune your target audience but will also allow you to put them on your email marketing list. Also, by inputting even the smallest amount of information your prospects are already making a small commitment to your brand, and that is always a good thing! Here’s what you can offer in return:
- Premium Content Offers
You can always try to entice your prospects with a variety of valuable offers that will be hard to say no to. Make the offers feel prized as this will increase its value. Doing so will also make your leads feel more special for receiving them, and who doesn’t like that in exchange for an email and a name?
The types of premium content you can offer can be white papers, e-books, checklists, case studies, even free trials, and coupons. The best option always comes down to what services your company provides.
- CTAs (Call-to-action)
CTAs can come in many forms (such as linked images, buttons, and fill-in forms) and they are a very effective tool for persuading your visitors to take action. As long as they are relevant and lead to something valuable, they can definitely prompt your prospects into giving up their information.
Not sure how to make your CTAs effective? Read this awesome guide and you’ll be a pro in no time.
Stage Three: Close
Now that your prospects have turned into leads, they are clearly interested in what you have to offer. At this point in the Inbound Marketing strategy, it’s your job to close the sale. Think about what techniques you could use to help your leads move through that sales funnel and become happy paying customers. Here is what you need to concentrate on:
Lead Nurturing Campaign
At this stage of your Inbound Marketing strategy, a properly made lead nurturing campaign can be the exact thing your leads need to be gently coaxed into becoming a customer. According to HubSpot, there are 7 effective tactics you can use:
Create a variety of targeted content based on their interests, goals, objectives, and marketing triggers of your target audience.
2. Multi-channel lead nurturing
Go beyond email. Utilize marketing automation, social media, paid retargeting, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach as well.
3. Multiple Touches
It can take ten touches for a prospect to become a paying customer. Make sure you use the opportunity to employ as many of them as you can.
4. Timely Follow-Ups
A timely reach out to your prospects within the first hour of their visitation to your website can make a huge difference. Often a simple followup by a call or an email can make a huge difference to the way your company is perceived.
5. Personalized Emails
Personalized emails are much more effective than generic ones. Fact.
6. Lead Scoring
Scoring your leads can really save you a lot of time and energy. When you prioritize the leads that are most likely to make a purchase, you don’t waste your time with the ones that won’t’.
7. Sales and Marketing Alignment
No better way to increase your sales opportunities than by having your sales and marketing departments put their heads together to create something wonderful.
Stage Four: Delight
So you now have successfully converted some of your prospects into paying customers – congratulations! However, your work does not end there. It is now time to make sure your customers feel valued. They are engaged and happy, and they will come back for more. Perhaps, even bring their friends too.
- Customer Engagement Campaigns
Create email campaigns sent only to your existing customer base and offer them something of value. Something only the “insiders” get. E.g. discounts, exclusive premium content, perhaps even a chance to participate in something that is closed off to the public.
- Social Engagement Campaigns
There is a variety of ways you can use social media to delight your existing customers and benefit from it. Think along the lines of creating a hashtag and asking your customers to use it when talking about your product. Or running a contest where your followers can share and promote your products with a chance to win something.
Time to get to work
Keep this guide handy and use it to make your very own Inbound Marketing strategy. You have the knowledge – you have the power. By investing just a little bit of energy into this you can have your company growing and flourishing in no time. And if you ever get stuck at any point, give us a shout. We love to help you guys out.