Chasing after prospects and keeping expensive paid advertising campaigns going is no way to scale your business. If you really want to see success, you need to begin using inbound marketing practices to bring in new prospects. There are seven key pieces to the inbound marketing puzzle. Let’s review them.
#1 Your Website
Your website is at the core of your inbound marketing strategy. With that in mind, there are a few key considerations you must make in order to get the best results. Really, these aspects are connected to the quality and direction of your website overall.
The biggest mistake a person can make when building an inbound website is forgetting about the target audience – or the “who”. In other words, they don’t have a clear definition of who their website is supposed to be speaking to. There is a saying in the marketing world “If you’re talking to everyone, no one is listening”.
Therefore, defining a target market and buyer personas is a key step. Then, you can determine what your content needs to be about. The answer to this question relies on you figuring out what your target audience actually wants. You have to break through the “noise” that’s currently in your niche by offering extremely high-quality content that offers real value to readers.
Additionally, you need to avoid the traditional approach of jumping straight for the sale. Most websites only feature call to actions, (CTAs), which are only optimized for readers who are already in the ready to purchase stage. What about those in the learning stage? What about those shopping around? You need to balance your content so that it caters to every phase of the buying cycle.
Generally, the buying cycle is broken down into three stages, which are: the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, and the end of the funnel where the sale is made.
#2 Content Marketing
After you have built your website’s foundation, you can begin the process of content marketing. Content marketing is actually something that dates back well over a hundred years when John Deere, Jell-O, and countless other early brands began using it to reach consumers and educate them about their industry.
When done correctly, content marketing will poise your business as an expert in your field. Readers will gain real value from the content you have up for grabs and, by offering this value for free, you are going to gain their trust. Ultimately, they will have them coming back for more information and, with time, you will be able to market to them so that they turn from a loyal reader into a true brand advocate (and repeat customer).
Content marketing involves the use of multiple forms of content, whether it’s a video walkthrough of leading software that can help your audience get their jobs done quicker, or an article explaining the latest in relevant trends. Whatever the case may be, content marketing isn’t necessarily about marketing your business through content. In other words, it’s not one big sales pitch.
Rather, content marketing is about marketing your business’ authority through high-quality content that fulfills the needs and interests of your readers. Again, this goes back to knowing your target audience and what they are after.
#3 Social Media
Many companies get scared at the daunting task of managing social media profiles for their business. However, it really isn’t hard at all. Content marketing actually takes care of this for you, because it gives you all the things you need to be posting and then some.
For instance, you can take that video that you just put on your website and re-upload it on Facebook. Alternatively, you can create an exclusive-to-Facebook follow up that will help you gain traction in your field. Repurposing your content for use on social media is a great way to get the word out and share high-value information. However, you’ll also want to create some unique content for social media from time to time.
Taking readers behind-the-scenes of your operations and engaging with followers are integral parts of your inbound marketing strategy. It shows that you care and that you are responsive. More than anything, it shows that there are humans behind your company, and that goes very far in today’s world.
Having a team that’s always ready to tweet responses to customer questions and responds to questions through social media is great. You should also just encourage them to engage and interact regularly through polls and friendly questions. That helps to engage people with your pages, and it can also help you collect key info about your audience in a fun way.
Your blog is where all the written aspects of your content marketing strategy will go. Your blog should also incorporate images and video where relevant since that helps break up the “wall of text” and makes your content more engaging, and shareable. The content you generate for a blog becomes a key aspect of your inbound marketing. The added content from your blog posts allows you to target additional keywords for SEO, offer valuable information to your prospects, establish yourself as an industry expert, it becomes regular news to share on social media and gives you a source of additional links to your website.
Speaking of sharing, you should always share snippets of your latest posts on social media to help get some initial traffic to new articles. Use a mix of both long-form content and short blog posts to cover a variety of topics that your target audience is interested in.
Even more importantly, be sure that you are posting regularly. You need to achieve a balance between quality and quantity. When you get on a regular posting schedule, it encourages readers to come back frequently to check in for new content that they can engage with. This helps encourage loyalty and it increases your brand recognition greatly.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is something that ties directly to your website and blog. SEO is definitely a tricky subject with algorithms that are constantly changing. With that said, it’s not that tough to get everything set up so that your website begins to rank.
The key is to offer high-quality content. In turn, visitors will stay longer on your website and be more engaged with your blog. The user behavior they exhibit when reading a high-quality article will then show Google that you are offering great content and great value to those who visit. That encourages them to rank your site better.
In addition, creating highly shareable content will lead to “social signals” and that strengthens your ranking and authority too.
#6 Lead Magnet
Ever wondered how you can build an email list? Typically, a lead magnet is involved. A lead magnet is a free report or guide that you give away in exchange for a person’s email address. They get huge value for nothing more than their email while you get the permission to follow-up with them, and a better chance to turn them into a lifelong customer.
The thing about lead magnets is that they also factor into your content marketing strategy. While you have a subscription wall blocking access (i.e., no one can see it without first putting in their email address), your lead magnet can also help build your authority so long as it’s all about helping your audience do something rather than just selling to them.
#7 Email Marketing
Once you begin to build an email list for your company, the next step is email marketing. This helps you market to people and hustle them through the buying process. When done correctly, email marketing in itself can end up being the primary way that you make sales for your business. No more paid campaigns! As long as you have new emails coming in thanks to the other tactics on this list, you could feasibly use email marketing to close all your deals.
Email marketing, again, combines with all of the above tactics. You are going to use your content on your website and blog and send that to your subscribers in a digest. This will help point them from their inbox to your site, increasing your website traffic (great for SEO) and also giving them real value, which is good for your authority.
Additionally, your email marketing campaigns are going to help give individualized sales assistance to each customer. You can get very in-depth with categorizing and filtering to figure out who signed up when and what stage of the buying process they are currently in. That information will help you tremendously and it will also help you tailor-fit a strategy to each lead you get to signup to your list. Wondering how to do this? The best way is to use an email marketing web app like MailChimp, which will empower you with the tools you need to manage an email subscriber list, email designs, and analytical data on your subscribers and email campaigns.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, email marketing is extremely effective, especially when it lines up with your overall inbound marketing strategy. In the end, the key to inbound marketing isn’t perfecting one single process, it’s about figuring out how to fit all seven pieces of the puzzle together. Once you do that, you’ll see that things move very smoothly. It’s just a matter of time before you begin reaping the benefits of increased organic traffic and higher lead conversions.
Start at the top and work your way out as you build your own inbound marketing strategy for your company. On the other hand, if you require some help to get your inbound marketing system established – get in touch with us, we would love to help!