No longer is having an inbound marketing campaign an option for most businesses. If you want to be found and generate leads online, an online marketing strategy is absolutely critical. A successful inbound marketing strategy will attract customers and generate leads by providing value…which turns into trust…ultimately increasing the likelihood someone will buy from you.
The traditional way of marketing, or outbound marketing, is when businesses sent ads and other solicitations to people without even knowing if they needed or wanted their product or service in the first place. Consumers today have better ways of finding information for what they need and want, so they are much less tolerant of pushy salespeople. How often do you receive those bulk ads in the mail and just pitch them in the recycle bin? And if you actually read them, it’s very likely you’ll go online to do a little research before purchasing anyway.
That’s where you need to change your marketing strategy to incorporate inbound marketing. Focusing more on building awareness of your brand and developing relationships with customers will generate leads in today’s internet world. The new consumer goes by the old adage, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” They are turned off by badgering; they want to be the ones making the decision on their own time. To attract your target customers, you’ll need to make sure they find you before they make the buying decision. If you’re lucky enough to be in their finalists list, you then need to convince them that you’re better than your competitors.
There are a few ways to incorporate inbound marketing into your overall marketing plan:
Providing useful and interesting content is arguably the best way of attracting and retaining customers. The two terms of content marketing and inbound marketing are sometimes used interchangeably; however, that is incorrect. Content marketing is actually a subset of an inbound marketing plan.
Some examples of where content can be effective:
You’ll need to make sure the content is relevant to what customers want and expect and that you optimize it for optimal SEO results. It’s a balancing act; you can’t just stuff content with keywords and expect it to rise to the top. The search engines are getting too smart for that. They are getting savvier about the specific queries searchers are inputting and want to give them the best and most relevant results.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels are great resources for getting your message out. We’re not talking about the paid ads here. Posting information about you and your company’s products and services can help you appear more relatable. Including videos, photos and links in your posts can increase engagement and promote sharing of content, thereby reaching a wider audience for your brand.
Customer personas are characteristics of your typical customer. Creating these can help you direct your content to those people who are more apt to need or want your products or services. Some elements of a buyer persona include:
If you set it up while optimizing your site, you can audit your website using Google Analytics to monitor the number of visits, page views, retention rate per viewer and which leads being generated are most valuable.
You can’t just rely on the old-fashioned hard sales techniques to get business any more. You have to realize today’s consumers are more knowledgeable about how to get information about the products and services they need and want. The days of keyword-stuffing your content to get the search engines to rank you higher is no longer effective. Incorporating the concepts of inbound marketing will help your business keep up with the ever-changing needs of today’s online marketing success.