Author: Richa Rajput
Digital Marketing Professional
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a customer focused business approach to generate leads by attracting qualified prospects, drive sales and grows your business. It’s is all about being a part of the conversation and sharing relevant problem solving content with the world and create marketing that people love. It starts with a marketing offer – something valuable and relevant for your audience that you promote through your marketing channels.
Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing
Inbound is changing the way companies do marketing and sales. Instead of buying TV commercials, digital marketers create videos which potential customers want to see. Instead of making print ads, they create business content that interest the prospects so that they can contact them when they want more information.
Outbound marketing is expensive because they are usually broadcasted to a mass audience even if they aren’t in your target demographics.
According to Emarketer, the Inbound Methodology is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. Now that you know what the effectiveness of inbound marketing is, let’s have a look at the methodology involved. It consists of four stages i.e. Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.
Contact information is the world of inbound currency. At the very least you the need the email address of your visitors. In order to give your customers this currency you need to offer them something in return and that can be in the form of offers like ebook downloads, whitepapers or tip sheets.
Inbound marketing continue to engage and delight your customers turning them into promoters of your products and services. Just because someone is already a customer doesn’t mean you can forget about them. So, its mandatory that you engage your customers even after they have made purchases.
How to Initiate Your Inbound Marketing
Use Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas are semi fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
How to create Buyer Personas
Start by conducting Persona Research which must be based off actual research and not assumptions. Sample Persona research can include details like buyer’s role, organization, goals, challenges, watering holes and shopping preferences. Remember to start interviewing from your current customers, both good and bad customers as they are the ones who are already engaged with your company.
Now that you have conducted initial research it’s time to look out what’s trending. The final step is to compile this persona research and create Persona Profile Stories which should include information like background, demographics, identifiers (Buzzwords and Mannerism), goals, challenges and common objections that they might have from your product or service.
Use the Buyer’s Journey
Every interaction your persona has with your organization should be able to tell where they are in the buyer’s journey. Buyer’s Journey is the active research process that someone goes to leading up to a purchase.
Create valuable and problem solving content
When creating content keep it educational i.e. not educating your buyer personas on who you are and what you do but educating them on their problems and solutions to those problems. Don’t forget, your content is your marketing tool kit. So it’s not enough to write a blog post or send out an email. Either it should be based on a correct context i.e. who you are creating content for. After all you don’t want any traffic to reach your website but the right traffic i.e. your ideal customers what we call as buyer personas.
Leverage your content via Distribution
Distribution makes your content relevant. The right distribution technique gets the right content in front of the right person at the right time. Distribution channels can be website pages, social media, business blogs, landing pages, call to action and marketing emails.
Developing a Search Engine Optimization strategy
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website for search engines so that it attracts more visitors. Search engines needs to find the most useful and trustworthy answers. They send “spiders” through the web searching for that content. From that data, they create a list of results. Then they rank the results in order of the popularity and authority of the websites. The more visits your website gets, the higher it will rank!
As marketers and business owners, your goal is to be in the top organic results because most searchers, infact 94% of them click on the first few results that they see.
SEO Best Practices
Doing ON Page SEO using Keyword Research
Keywords are the words typed into the search engines. They’re the topics that searchers are trying to learn more about. Categorize keywords by the stages of buyer’s journey. Awareness stage includes Problem based keywords, Consideration stage includes solution keywords, and finally Decision stage consists of Branded keywords.
Now you might be thinking how you will get to know what’s the best keyword for you. You can do that by expanding your keyword list and searching the web for alternatives. Type one of your keywords into your search engine and see what the results are.
There is one last thing I would like to mention about keywords and its relationship with SEO and rankings is that, it takes time to develop credibility online and earn traffic you want to receive. So tip is to be consistent in your approach!
Create Content around your keywords
Now that you have identified your keywords, it’s time to start developing content around those keywords. Search engines are getting smarter and smarter. They don’t just understand keywords, but they try to understand the searcher’s intent.
Don’t stuff or unnecessarily repeat keywords. Instead focus on delighting searchers with great user experience and answering their queries. Its okay to target multiple terms and phrases on a single page so long intent is the same.
Optimize content around a primary keyword
Use the keywords naturally throughout the page. Add keyword to the page title and URL. In case you are using a long tail keyword separate by using dashes, Example: “inbound-marketing-fundamentals”. Next, add keyword to the body, headers and image alt-text which allows your image to be found in the search engines. As search engine can’t read images, using Alt- text allows it to understand what image is all about.
Place the primary keyword in the meta description. Each page should have a unique meta description, no more than 160 characters.
Promote your content
Promote your content using various distribution channels like website pages, social media, business blogs, landing pages, call to action and marketing emails.
If your business is location specific, create a Google+ Local Listing Page. This will tie your business to a specific location, which Google will use in its search results.
Earn links to your content through OFF page SEO
Include relevant internal and external links within the content. Including external links is even encouraged by Google as it gives your reader with more useful resources to explore. Hyperlink text with keywords that you’d like to rank for. Search engines follow links between pages to see how they’re related to each other. Links coming into your website are called “inbound links.” They help search engines analyze how authoritative your website is.
Make sure your website is easy to browse. Finally, optimize your website for mobile so that it can be viewed on any screen size as about 80% of the readers are now smart phone users.
Now moving on to some inbound marketing strategies you can adopt to enhance your inbound marketing efforts:
- Running Google Adword paid marketing campaigns.
- Running Email marketing campaigns on targeted audience.
- Including appropriate call to action in every e-campaign that brings prospect to landing page as it ultimately helps to increase your leads and sales.
- Always try to turn customers into your promoters through tools like surveys, smart content and social monitoring.
- To be successful in inbound marketing, businesses need to introduce a disciplined approach to content creation, introduce marketing automation tools that can help them nurture and score leads, and optimize how these leads flow through the sales pipeline.
Conclusion: Make Inbound Marketing Work For You!
Today’s businesses are realizing that outbound efforts alone are not enough to produce profits. Instead, inbound marketing techniques need to be utilized in order to attract more leads and foster better brand preference.
An inbound approach to online marketing will undoubtedly give your company a lasting competitive advantage.
Start your inbound marketing strategy today!