Inbound Marketing 101

Bringing Customers to You                               

inbound marketingRather than focusing on finding customers via traditional outbound marketing practices, such as cold calling, print advertising and mail outs, an inbound marketing strategy reverses these techniques by drawing ideal clients directly to a business. By creating unique, quality content that potential customers want to see, inbound marketing practices reverse the previously outbound relationship and allow the customers to do the “finding” themselves. This shift from outbound to inbound makes for a more productive and effective marketing process.

A core component of inbound marketing is original, quality content. This kind of content involves, for example, videos that prospective customers actually want to see, subscription-worthy blogs and informative eBooks. Inbound marketing techniques also effectively utilize social media marketing, mobile marketing and email marketing. Essentially, inbound marketing is about curating quality content that attracts not just people, but people who want to become consumers of a business’s service or product.  By strategically aligning quality content with prospective clients’ interests, inbound marketing will organically increase inbound web traffic that a business can eventually convert into happy customers.

An effective marketing process using inbound tactics involves five main actions:

1. Draw the right kind of traffic.

The right kind of traffic consists of visitors who are likely to become customers, and a business that publishes original, relevant content is likely to attract not just people, but potential customers.

Inbound marketing tools for attracting the right visitors:

  • Blogging: The most effective blogging method is to provide educational content that is relevant, helpful and relatable.
  • Social Media: Create a presence on social media networks and share noteworthy and useful articles and content. Interacting with consumers via networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allows a business to appear more human and relevant. For optimum effectiveness, operate within a strategy that ultimately directs users somewhere specific, such as a landing page on your business’s website.
  • Keywords and Pages: Most customers will begin their purchasing process via the Internet, so a business needs to ensure that its website makes it to a prime position in search engine results. To achieve this, carefully optimize the site’s content around the keywords and terms that potential customers might use when searching online.

2. Convert visitors into leads.

Lead conversion largely depends on obtaining contact information. In order to get a site visitor to leave this information, such as an email address, a business needs to offer something of interest in return, such as eBooks, tip sheets or videos.

Conversion tools:

  • Contact Forms: These make the process quick and simple.
  • Contact Database: Using a centralized marketing database to keep track of leads allows a business to then make future interactions so effective that prospective customers will continue to be attracted to a company or brand.
  • Calls-to-Action and Landing Pages: Calls-to-action are buttons on a website that encourage a visitor to do something, like click to download an eBook. Correspondingly, when a visitor clicks on a call-to-action, the site will take them to a landing page where the transaction is completed. Then, the visitor becomes a lead by submitting their contact information.

3. Close the transaction by turning leads into customers.

Transitioning inbound traffic from prospective customers into happy customers requires an effective closing strategy.

Efficient closing tools:

  • Email: Continuing to interact with potential customers via useful and thoughtful email content can provide a sense of trust and familiarity, prompting prospects to then make purchases.
  • Marketing Automation: This strategy allows a business to tailor its email marketing and lead nurturing to individual prospects. Depending on how a visitor reached a business’s website, such as through Facebook or via a blog post, marketing automation can alter follow-up messaging based on those unique interests.

4. Turn customers into promoters.

Even after a customer has made a purchase, the inbound marketing process continues by shifting happy customers into a business’s promoters. Maintaining contact with customers through social media and email marketing, for instance, provides a business with a plethora of opportunities to provide real-time customer service, address changes in the buyer persona, and present new products and features.

5. Recycle and repurpose quality content.

Rather than constantly creating new content, a business can recycle and repurpose existing information. Recycling content can be an excellent way to save both time and money, as well as provide valuable opportunities to revisit and update responses to relevant customer issues.

By implementing the inbound marketing methodology, a business can take more control of the marketing process by utilizing the relevant tools outlined above to attract not just people, but people who actually want to be consumers. 

By Kelli Wilkinson

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