Expensive outbound marketing isn’t the only way to approach prospective clients.
Instead of reaching out, you can use inbound marketing to attract them to your business organically. Inbound marketing is a marketing approach that takes a customer-centric or buyer-driven perspective.
This means that businesses that practice inbound marketing focus on attracting customers through content and engagement. Since inbound marketing relies heavily on organic search engine optimization (SEO), it’s much more cost-effective than traditional outbound marketing strategies like paid advertising.
10 inbound marketing tips to follow
With quality content marketing and effective digital marketing strategies, inbound marketing is about building authority in your business area over time. You provide your prospects with valuable information and solutions, address their pain points, and solve their problems. Therefore, you build trust with your prospects and convert them organically into paying customers.
With inbound marketing widely implemented by many companies, you may need more than just an optimized blog to outshine your competition. When done right, inbound marketing offers more lead generation opportunities than any outbound marketing activity.
For someone new to the idea of implementing inbound marketing, here are ten tips that you should follow:
1. Strategize a marketing workflow
Before you even start creating content for your inbound marketing campaign, the first step should be strategizing your workflow. You need to define your goals and plan your marketing strategies based on what you’re looking to achieve.
Let’s take a look at Hubspot’s 3-step workflow to get an idea of a strategic marketing workflow.
Attract: Create valuable content to draw your audience to your website or social media network through blog posts, videos, and more.
Engage: Find a way to create a lasting connection with your visitors by capturing information about them. For example, collect their emails through sign-up forms or landing pages.
Delight: Provide trusted information and relevant content to the right people, making them loyal customers and, eventually, promoters. This can involve being in touch with your audience through regular emails or social media interactions
With these three stages in mind, your first step is to understand each phase and develop a strategy for it. Depending on your offer's products or services, you need to create an overview of how you plan to attract and engage your target audience.
2. Create detailed buyer personas
The initial step in the inbound marketing workflow is creating compelling content to attract your prospective customer. However, to create relevant content for your audience, you need to understand more about that audience. It requires in-depth research and analysis to identify prospects who’re likely to buy from you.
You can create a detailed buyer persona by answering the following questions:
Who are they? Their gender, age, marital status, designation, and so on.
Where do they reside? Do they stay in small cities or metropolitan areas, or mostly travel?
What type of problems dothey have that you can solve?
What will interest them in your content?
Which platform are they likely to be on?
Here are a few more effective ways to find answers to these questions and identify your ideal buyer persona.
Use social media Insights
You can get a clear idea of creating a buyer persona by leveraging your existing social media channels. Review platform insights to learn more about the people who’re engaging with your content. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, this process has become quite a breeze.
Create a survey
If you already have a customer base or an email list, try surveys to get more information on them. Ask about their needs, problems, expectations, and so on. This not only gives you a detailed picture of your ideal customers but also lists specific pain points. This can help you create content around these problem areas.
Direct customer interaction
Interact with your customers in person or remotely to get in-depth insights into your customer base. Ask them about their struggles associated with your business and how you can help resolve their issues and overcome them. This information can be your gold mine for creating relevant content tailored to your audience.
Usage of non-intrusive chatbots
If you already have a functional website, you can use chatbots to receive real-time customer feedback. This information can help you improve your services and create more focused and targeted content.
3. Lead with a content marketing strategy
With the buyer persona defined, all you need to do is deliver valuable content to your target audience to drive engagement with a content marketing strategy.
Although inbound marketing isn’t limited to creating unending content, content creation is crucial. You need to produce relevant, comprehensive, and helpful content for your readers to demonstrate that you’re the one who can help solve their problems by providing useful solutions. It takes patience, dedication, and persistence to build that trust with your audience, so they keep coming back to you.
For this, you need to develop a working content marketing strategy by strategically planning the types of content that you’ll create for your target audience. It all depends on what your audience prefers.
Here are a few things to consider while leading your content marketing:
How does your audience want to get the required information? Via blog posts, videos, or audio?
What are their pain points, and how can your business solve them? Niche your content areas around these vulnerabilities.
Understand the customer journey and create content for each phase. For example, create diverse content that focuses on new, existing, and repeat customers.
Start a blog on your own website or on a public blogging site. Once you set up a blog, work on informative content that’s beneficial and valuable for your ideal audience. Make sure your content is based on what your business offers and what your customers need. This will help you build a robust brand identity and establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Some common types of blog posts that you can create as part of your inbound marketing strategy include:
Personal or customer stories
In the fast-paced digital era, not everyone enjoys reading long blog posts. Videos are now much easier to consume and can be a good way to get your audience hooked onto your brand.
As part of your integral content marketing strategy, work out videos for any content you produce. From informative posts to tutorials, videos offer a good reach than other similar forms of content. People love watching quick go-to videos instead of spending time reading the textual form of the content.
This is where video marketing comes in. You can leverage the power of video by investing in video marketing campaigns. Consider making quirky and unique additions like adding subtitles to your videos, as many people watch videos silently on most video marketing channels. Make sure your videos have subtitles or other infographics that make them understandable even without audio.
Social media marketing
Social media is one of the best ways to generate leads through inbound marketing. You need to build a strong customer base by creating useful content that benefits your target audience.
To make your social media marketing efforts successful, identify the social media platform that your audience spends the most time on. Instead of wasting time and resources being active on all social media platforms, focus on those where there’s a higher chance of finding your ideal audience. Social media marketing can be the best way to establish authority in your industry.
After creating relevant inbound marketing content, think about how you can diversify its use. Customers prefer credible content in the form of visual images and videos rather than plain text. Try repurposing your top blog posts into infographics or video tutorials. You can also use snippets of your videos on your social media network. This will help you make the most out of the existing content while saving precious time.
Content curation for better inbound marketing
Content curation should also be a part of your inbound marketing strategy. Unlike content marketing that involves creating content from scratch, content curation involves finding various relevant content in your area of expertise and republishing it to make it significantly more appealing to your prospective customers.
You can gather many content pieces around a specific topic and organize them for your target audience. Additionally, try creating summaries with infographics and other engaging forms of content. Content curation plays a vital role when it comes to getting inbound links from high authority websites.
4. Distribute and promote content
The inbound marketing process doesn't end with content creation. Developing content is just one part. Your content is as good as a pile of useless documents if not properly distributed. Your primary goal should be to distribute your content in a way that lets your target audience find it with ease. Content distribution is one of those key inbound marketing strategies that can make or break your business’ online presence.
Search engine optimization plays a crucial role in improving the visibility of your website by helping search engines and your target audience find your website. Ranking is a critical SEO factor. You should focus on optimizing your content to rank higher on these search engines and answer a searcher's query in the easiest way possible.
A perfectly optimized site can easily attract a very targeted group of people who’re more likely to become paying customers.
Some important factors that contribute to creating optimized content:
Using appropriate metadata
Including keyword variations
Adding internal and external backlinks
Creating competitive content
One of the important methods of inbound marketing, always in the light of ambiguity, is pay-per-click (PPC). PPC is widely viewed as an outbound marketing practice as it’s mostly paid. However, modern marketers consider it an effective inbound marketing strategy to provide exactly the information your target audience is looking for. With good user-friendly content, PPC ads can give your brand better visibility and help generate more leads.
Social media is an essential platform for content distribution. Social networks have made it easier for people to interact, socialize, and communicate with each other. They promote inbound marketing by connecting people through various tools and features such as messaging, video, and audio chats
5. Build an intuitive website
An intuitive and user-friendly website is the backbone of inbound marketing. Of course, social media and other avenues work too, but all of your efforts can be in vain without a quality website. A website is your business’ online home and knowledge base that acts as the first point of contact between you and your visitors, attracting prospects and converting them into customers.
Maintaining a website in today's competitive market is not an easy task. How will you make your website stands out from the sea of other similar business websites? It needs to be unique and intuitive regarding navigation and design, with easy access to information about your business.
6. Leverage marketing automation
Using marketing automation tools can help you save time and streamline your marketing funnel, making it more effective. You can use many marketing automation tools for certain repetitive marketing tasks.
Some of the critical marketing tasks that marketing automation tools can help you automate:
Setting default responses on social media, emails, and website
Creating specific templates and marketing campaigns
7. Optimize for search engines
As discussed above, search engine optimization is one of the most crucial aspects of your inbound marketing strategy. Search engines like Google and Bing play a significant role in bringing you organic traffic.
No matter how good your content is, it’ll be difficult for people to find it if you don’t optimize your content for search engines. When a searcher enters a specific search query related to your industry, your blog post or content needs to appear well above on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) for people to click on it.
In addition to well-researched keyword usage, many other factors affect SEO. Some of them are:
Website’s user interface and user experience
Site navigation and architecture
8. Convert prospects with email marketing
Capturing your prospects’ emails is another crucial part of inbound marketing. Unlike social media, blog posts, or videos, emails are a more personalized way of connecting with your audience. With email marketing, you stay in regular touch with your prospects via newsletters, product announcements, and so on. When prospects receive regular emails from your business, they tend to remember your name when the need arises. So you use an indirect approach to showcase your business to your prospects and demonstrate that they can contact you for relevant solutions.
9. Align sales and marketing
In inbound marketing, sales and marketing are the two main pillars that form a foundation for your business. For inbound marketing to work, these two departments need to work in sync as they play a major role in converting leads into profitable customers.
Always start with your sales goal in mind. Of course, most of your inbound marketing strategies don't involve direct advertising for your products or services. Instead, you build authority and trust with your audience by providing valuable information and solutions that match your sales goals. This way, you ensure that all your inbound strategies generate a good return on investment (ROI).
10. Record customer feedback using Voice of the Customer (VoC) tools
VoC tools are used to collect and record customer feedback about your products, services, or business in general. These tools help evaluate if customers are happy with your services and where to improve in terms of quality of service, delivery time, promotional offers, and so on. VoC tools aid customer retention.
3 real-life inbound marketing campaigns we love
Inbound marketing techniques, if executed correctly, work well for businesses of all sizes. Let’s take a look at some incredible inbound marketing campaigns that worked wonders for these companies.
1. Runner's world
Runner's World is a website with articles, blogs, and other information about running. They rank in the top 10 for the most popular running-related keywords such as "running tips” "running a marathon". They use SEO perfectly to their advantage. Runner’s World designed an easily navigable website and optimized it well so that the users can easily navigate and find valuable content without getting overwhelmed. The best part is that they appeal to all levels of a particular audience - the people who run.
Unbounce is a popular platform for creating landing pages. They use an inbound marketing strategy to attract potential customers by offering an extensive library of resources covering everything about landing page-related ideas. These are not advertisements talking about their tools, but rather they provide extensive knowledge of all aspects of using and utilizing landing pages to benefit your business.
With effective SEO techniques, they attract people looking for details on how to create landing pages. They use opt-in resources to capture lead information, interact with them frequently, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.
HubSpotgenerates the majority of its leads through inbound marketing. Their website has numerous blogs and articles that offer all kinds of information about the digital marketing realm. Besides effective SEO tactics attracting search engine users to their website, they offer several resourceful incentives that lead magnets to capture emails. Their incredibly strategic email marketing process continues to turn these visitors into customers.
Strengthen relationships with a customer-first approach
With all this said, inbound marketing is an effective customer-first approach that puts the customer first to generate leads for your business. It's about understanding your customers, creating content for them, and using this process to build trust in your brand, converting them into evergreen customers.
Outsourcing your marketing tasks and campaigns? Set expectations, create deadlines, and manage payment terms with a premade marketing template.
Create a robust marketing experience
Use marketing automation software to centralize and automate your marketing tasks.
Caroline Lee is the co-founder of the electronic signature development company
CocoSign. Caroline loves sharing different insights about marketing, business management, remote work, and leading software trends.
Create a robust marketing experience
Use marketing automation software to centralize and automate your marketing tasks.