inbound marketing

Inbound marketing: A guide to 21st Century Marketing

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So you want to know more about the inbound mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy so you can use it to build your busi­ness? You’ve come to the right place. On this arti­cle we’ll put our focus on the inbound mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy which is the most effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy in today’s world.

Mar­ket­ing has changed in the last sev­er­al years with inbound mar­ket­ing tak­ing over the mar­ket­ing sphere. Gone are the days of using tra­di­tion­al out­bound mar­ket­ing where­by com­pa­nies focused most of their time try­ing to reach out to cus­tomers by cold call­ing, using direct mail, hard sell­ing, etc.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound Mar­ket­ing is about cre­at­ing use­ful con­tent on your web­site or blog to help peo­ple learn more about a par­tic­u­lar aspect of a ser­vice or prod­uct. This means you are attract­ing them to your web­site or social chan­nel.

Once they reach your web­site or social chan­nel you start engag­ing  with them know­ing well that they are your prospects. You could also use pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tools such as emails to inter­act with them once they reach your site.

While out­bound mar­ket­ing focus on the old tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing of using news­pa­pers, tele­vi­sion and radio ads and oth­er print adver­tis­ing. This method use to work well in the past, but it didn’t give cus­tomers any con­trol.

With inbound mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant con­tent that can add val­ue to cus­tomers and draw them towards their busi­ness web­site to learn more about their ser­vices or prod­ucts at their own time.

In today’s world con­sumers want to learn first before they buy a prod­uct. And it also gives them the option to opt out or block the con­tent if they need to. The more poten­tial cus­tomers feel that they are in con­trol the eas­i­er for all par­ties involved.

Prospects now go online to research about the prod­uct before decid­ing on buy­ing it. Com­pa­nies that use inbound mar­ket­ing see more results or get a high return on invest. Anoth­er added advan­tage is that inbound mar­ket­ing cost less com­pared to out­bound mar­ket­ing.

inbound marketingA com­pa­ny web­site or blog is the first place they would go to with the help of search engines. But if they already know the com­pa­ny web­site there is no need to take the search engine route. They can just go direct to the require web­site url to read more about that prod­uct.

This might take a while though if your web­site is not well opti­mized and unknown to the prospect. Which is why you should under­stand the four stages of inbound mar­ket­ing to turn prospects into buy­ers.

Inbound mar­ket­ing was coined by HupSpot founders in 2005 at MIT and they called it a strat­e­gy to attract, con­vert, close and delight cus­tomers. It was’t until 2012 where  most peo­ple start­ed apply­ing it and start­ed grow­ing mas­sive­ly. The inbound mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is now used by many major com­pa­nies world wide.

Inbound method­ol­o­gy stages include:

  • Attract
  • Con­vert
  • Close
  • Delight

Attract

This is the first step of inbound method­ol­o­gy and it involves attract­ing poten­tial cus­tomers to your site that you can turn into leads. You can attract poten­tial cus­tomers by cre­at­ing valu­able con­tent that can be easy for those prospects to find.

Engage

The sec­ond step is to engage with your site vis­i­tors by cap­tur­ing their con­tacts which they should do it will­ing­ly. This turns them into your leads and you will con­tin­ue send­ing them valu­able infor­ma­tion.

Close

You then con­tin­ue to engage with your leads by send­ing them infor­ma­tion in the form of newslet­ters, arti­cles, videos, pod­casts, and more.

Delight

While you con­tin­ue giv­ing the free con­tent in the form of newslet­ters, pod­cast, etc, you then up sell to them one of your offers. This time you had already built trust with your leads and then you turn them into delight­ed cus­tomers who pro­mote your prod­uct.

Inbound marketing includes the following types of marketing:

Content Creation

The first strat­e­gy for inbound mar­ket­ing to work well is to cre­ate a lot of con­tent. When it comes to inbound mar­ket­ing, con­tent cre­ation and con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is very impor­tant.

The aim should be to cre­ate con­tent that will draw in poten­tial cus­tomers. Peo­ple are con­sis­tent­ly in need of con­tent that will help them.

Con­tent cre­ation for mar­ket­ing should be the type of con­tent that will add val­ue to the peo­ple. The con­tent should also be arranged for dif­fer­ent plat­forms. Upon com­ple­tion it should be dis­trib­uted accord­ing­ly based on the needs of dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Some­one who likes watch­ing videos would appre­ci­ate the con­tent in the video for­mat. While some­one who likes read­ing would appre­ci­ate to con­sume the con­tent in e‑book for­mat. So if you are real­ly apply­ing your inbound mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy you would arrange your con­tent mul­ti­ple for­mats.

Your con­tent should be cre­at­ed for mul­ti­ple traf­fic sources. It should be dis­trib­uted to free traf­fic sources and paid traf­fic sources so you can reach a wider audi­ence.

Blogging

The easy way to cre­at­ing more con­tent and be able to share it in one place is through blog­ging. Blog­ging is good way to dri­ve traf­fic to your web­site and your busi­ness. By start­ing a blog you increase your chances of being found on google and oth­er search engines.

Most com­pa­nies that blog often on their web­sites get traf­fic much eas­i­er com­pared to those who don’t. Blog­ging stats at hub­spot have shown that busi­ness­es that blog receive 55% more traf­fic, more back­links and more leads. Search engines need reg­u­lar con­tent and they reward it if it keeps com­ing. The con­tent should be rel­e­vant and most impor­tant­ly inter­est­ing to the users.

Tar­get long tail key­words in your blog­ging

For you to write inter­est­ing con­tent you have to do a prop­er key­word research before writ­ing arti­cles. You should tar­get key­words that peo­ples use to find your prod­ucts when blog­ging. That way you will be uti­liz­ing your inbound mar­ket­ing to attract poten­tial cus­tomers.

If your blog con­tent is good enough you will get many back­links and recog­ni­tion from oth­er blog­gers. That will result in more traf­fic for you and your busi­ness.

Video Marketing

Videos are one of the good meth­ods to attract cus­tomers to your busi­ness. With online video mar­ket­ing you can send traf­fic to your web­site or blog. The video trend is now being used by most social net­works. Web users are now con­sum­ing a lot of video con­tent and every­one is get­ting use to it.

Use YouTube

But the num­ber one video social net­work is YouTube. In 2017 YouTube videos were receiv­ing over 4 bil­lion views per day. Some of the videos are the busi­ness relat­ed videos. Users have now turned to YouTube to solve their prob­lems.

By cre­at­ing YouTube videos and embed­ding them on your web­site or blog, you are increas­ing your con­tent. You should also opti­mize your videos so that they rank well on Google and oth­er search engines.

Social Media

Busi­ness­es are invest­ing their resources on social media Through social media you can dri­ve traf­fic to your web­site and gen­er­ate leads. Social media pro­vides mul­ti­ple social net­works which can be used for engage­ment with cus­tomers. You can also tar­get rel­e­vant cus­tomers and build cus­tomer rela­tion­ships.

More peo­ple spend their time on social media and that’s where your busi­ness should be as well. A busi­ness that does not have a social media pres­ence is loos­ing a lot of cus­tomers. Social media enable most busi­ness­es to attract more cus­tomers through inbound mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

A list of social networks you should have a presence on

Facebook

This is the lead­ing social net­work in the world with over 2 bil­lion users. Face­book is the main social net­work for most busi­ness­es. With a good face­book mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy you can dri­ve traf­fic to your web­site.

It also allows you to gen­er­ate leads and engage with your poten­tial clients or cus­tomers for free. But Face­book also has the low­est cost of social media adver­tis­ing com­pared to all social net­works.

Through Face­book ads you can tar­get your poten­tial cus­tomers base on their inter­est, their friends inter­est. This goes down to geo­graph­i­cal loca­tions, their age, their gan­der and more.

Facebook marketing allows you to enhance your inbound marketing so that you can receive maximum traffic. You can do the following things with Facebook.

  • Per­son­al brand­ing
  • Page pro­mo­tion
  • Choose mul­ti­ple ad options
  • Use a call to action
  • Engage with fans
  • Do video pro­mo­tions
  • A/B Test­ing

Twitter

This is a microblog­ging plat­form that allows you do cre­ate small mes­sages of up to 140 char­ac­ters. Twit­ter is cre­at­ed to spread the mes­sage much faster using short mes­sages. Build­ing your twit­ter pro­file and being active by post­ing tweets on dai­ly bases increase your chances of build­ing a fol­low­ing.

Your twit­ter page can be brand­ed or cus­tomized accord­ing to your needs and look pro­ces­sion­al.

The tech­nique that will set you apart from your com­peti­tors is to pro­vide val­ue on your tweets. A mix­ture of tweets with images and videos on some cas­es makes huge impact.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media for busi­ness­es, pro­ces­sion­als and job seek­ers. It has all the nec­es­sary fea­tures of a social net­work. There are sev­er­al things that you can do with LinkedIn the include:

You can use it for per­son­al use, and be able to build your per­son­al brand. It can be use­ful for any one man show where by you are just pro­mot­ing your­self.

Build­ing a con­nec­tion with like mind­ed peo­ple and helps you find mutu­al friends that you can con­nect with. You can con­nect with for­mer class­mates and for­mer col­leagues.

You can use LinkedIn to mar­ket your busi­ness. This include busi­ness to busi­ness mar­ket­ing and busi­ness to cus­tomer mar­ket­ing. By cre­at­ing a LinkedIn com­pa­ny page you make it easy for poten­tial cus­tomers to find your. You can add every­thing, a full descrip­tion of your busi­ness, a logo, images, videos and web­site url.

You can also share some of your arti­cles from your blog which will lead to your web­site. That will allow you to receive traf­fic to your web­site and pos­si­bly more cus­tomers.

SEO

Search engine opti­miza­tion should be one of the meth­ods you use because it plays a vital part in inbound mar­ket­ing. You should opti­mize all your web pages so that you get found on all search engines but most­ly on Google.

SEO include two types of opti­miza­tion, that is on page seo and off page seo. Is very impor­tant that you apply both of them so that you can dri­ve traf­fic to your web­site. Even though you will not get tar­get­ed traf­fic to your site with seo, is still very impor­tant that you do it.

If you want tar­get­ed traf­fic you should look at paid search mar­ket­ing. You will have to opti­mize your pages and your posts so that you don’t loose traf­fic. Your home page is the first page that you should focus on since vis­i­tors tend to go to it first.

With on page seo your focus is on the inside of the pages and this are the main things that you should focus on:

Post/Page Title — Your title can be a one line with which tells your read­ers and search engines what your page is about. It has to be pow­er­ful and include your focus key­word

Url — Your url should be read­able and include the focus key­words.

Meta descrip­tion — The meta descrip­tion is very impor­tant because it gives a brief expla­na­tion to search engines on what your page is about and it is dis­played on the SERP’s.

Body — The body should include sub­head­ings and bold high­light­ing.

Images — Your images must be named accord­ing­ly and also the alt tag and the descrip­tion.

And with off page seo your whole focus is on build­ing inbound links. This are the links that point to your web­site. Back­links are very impor­tant but they have to be qual­i­ty because quan­ti­ty wont be enough for search engines. Find web­sites that have high author­i­ty. Get back links though social net­works by adding social share but­tons.

You can also post your con­tent on social net­works every time after writ­ing a post on your blog. Oth­er ways you can get seo back­links is through guest blog­ging, post com­ment­ing, in forums, niche sites and more.

Call To Action

A call to action is required when doing your online mar­ket­ing, it enables prospects to take action. This can work well for you if you want to cap­ture their con­tact details such as email address­es.

Landing pages

A land­ing page pro­vides you with the mes­sage and include the call to action. You can have ded­i­cat­ed land­ing pages for each top­ic on your site, your land­ing pages should be com­pelling. Cus­tomize it so that the user know exact­ly what they need to know and what action to take. Your land­ing page can include either a video or bul­let list of expla­na­tion or both.

Analysis

Ana­lyz­ing every traf­fic source in your inbound mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy gives you a full insight about their per­for­mance. If you don’t analyse your strate­gies then you wont know which one is doing well and which one needs improve­ment. One of the best tools to use the google ana­lyt­ics which can help you see your web­site traf­fic. You should be able to see which pages bring more traf­fic. Also look at which devices your vis­i­tors use most, mobile or desk­top. Their geo­graph­ic loca­tions is also impor­tant and what real­ly inter­ests them.

Com­bine all that infor­ma­tion so that you can cre­ate a much bet­ter one, that will attract even more cus­tomers. By doing so you will be able to lever­age your inbound mar­ket­ing to a dif­fer­ent lev­el.

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