Level Up Your Inbound Marketing Game
Ideas and strategies for boosting your inbound marketing strategy
By now, we all know that inbound marketing is an extremely effective strategy for any business. If you don’t, you might want to look into it. Content marketing brings in three times the leads of paid advertising, and marketers that utilize tactics like blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI.
But what makes it so effective? Why do businesses of all sizes and almost any industry see a positive ROI in marketing efforts such as blogs, webinars, and podcasts? The answer is pretty simple. It’s why most person-to-person relationships are successful too.
Businesses are listening to customers and fulfilling their needs. And it’s working for both sides. Customers are getting what they need from businesses, and businesses are seeing increased profits and loyal customer bases.
Whether you’re just getting started with inbound marketing or you’re an old veteran, it’s vital to understand why it works so you can improve and keep building. Let’s explore the makings of the secret sauce and how you can improve your recipe.
What’s the secret ingredient?
Like we said, inbound marketing works because it addresses customers’ questions and problems, even those they haven’t thought to raise yet. That doesn’t mean companies are mind readers; it simply means they’re paying attention. A quality strategy walks customers through three key stages: attract, engage, and delight.
Attract customers by putting out the high-quality content they’re searching for. Engage them by moving the customer from “I’m just looking” to “I gotta have it!” This requires a deeper knowledge of their needs and interests, so you can keep surprising them with helpful material.
Congratulations on making it to the delight phase! This means you’ve made the sale. Now, you just have to entice the customer to remain loyal, sing your praises, and never ever leave you. Easy, right?
Newsletters, rewards programs, and special offers keep customers updated on your business and encourage them to keep coming back for more. As you evolve your business, keep sharing with your customer base, so you become an industry expert and the go-to for information.
What else is in the recipe?
You understand the importance of inbound marketing and even the basic timeline it should follow. But now what? How do you put it into practice? Taking inbound marketing from theory to strategy will vary from business to business, but there are some fundamentals that almost any organization can use to take them to the next level.
1. Do some recon
You probably have a few typical customer types who frequent your business. It could be wealthy, single, middle-aged white men; young, married, stay-at-home moms; or any other combination of characteristics. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to really dive into these personalities to identify your buyer personas.
What do they like and dislike? What are their goals in interacting with your business? What’s their preferred method of communication?
Use Google to research keywords and phrases that your customers are searching for, so you can create relevant and attractive content based on those terms. Eighty-one percent of customers research a product or service online before purchasing, so you must have a strategy in place to show up when and where they’re looking.
Each buyer is looking for different information in different ways. You can also survey your current customer base to get more insight into their preferences and buying habits. By understanding their needs and goals, you can craft your inbound strategy to meet them where they are.
2. Create content you would want to see
As wonderful as it would be to simply write a few blog articles and be done with it, inbound marketing is a bit more nuanced than that. Customers and yet-to-be customers need different content to address their specific needs at the time they are looking.
Brand new prospects are often seeking basic information like “How do I keep my fern alive?” or “How do I get a wine stain out of the carpet?” Content aimed at this audience should be educational to spread awareness and knowledge.
Leads are people who have shown interest in your company but haven’t bought anything yet. Content at this stage should still be educational but should start to introduce your business as an expert in this field and as the solution to the lead’s problems.
Hot leads are standing on the precipice of buying, they just need an extra push. They are looking for specific content about the benefits of going into business with you and why it’s the smart decision to make.
3. Be where your customers need you
There are dozens of types of content you could use, but not everything needs to be used by everyone. As you feel out your customer base, you’ll learn what works for them and what’s bringing more traffic to you.
Blogs and case studies are usually the pillars of an inbound marketing strategy for a few reasons. They provide searchable content to customers while easily answering questions and encouraging them to take action. They provide your website with plenty of keywords that, if paired correctly with a solid SEO strategy, will boost you to page one of Google. And they position you as an expert in your industry.
White papers and webinars are more specialized content designed to train customers or give them a higher understanding of a particular subject. They allow businesses to show specific examples of their service in action.
Videos are the jeans of content marketing; they’re extremely versatile and can be used for almost any occasion. Create small video snippets for social media. Create longer-form videos going into depth about certain aspects of your product or service. Create videos of your staff and office to personalize your company. Many customers need to see something to understand it.
Social media is another touchpoint for you to interact with customers, understand them, and bring your business to life. Use all of the content mentioned above as individual posts to get extra mileage out of it. As you gain followers, pay attention to your metrics so you can learn about your fans and how they’re interacting with your content.
You’ve created a library of beautiful content, but you’re not out of the woods yet! Part of the strategy is getting it out into the world so customers can find it.
Tactics like pay-per-click (PPC), display advertising, and social media advertising, although they’re paid, are based on the content you’ve created. Hopefully, you did your research beforehand and created content that speaks to a certain customer base. These advertisements simply put your content in an ideal place for customers to see with targeted parameters and a budget. You can pause, increase, decrease, and reactivate these ads at any time to make them work for you.
The most important part of inbound marketing is setting specific goals for yourself from the beginning. How else will you know if all of this is actually working? But we’ll save that for another time. The next part of this series will focus on the importance of analytics, what to measure, and how often to do so.
To say that crafting and executing an inbound marketing strategy is a lot of work is a huge understatement. That’s like saying leather pants are just a bit uncomfortable or grilled cheese is pretty good. Inbound marketing is not easy, but it’s well worth the effort.
If you need help coming up with your marketing recipe or simply don’t have enough cooks or ingredients to pull it off, try adding some bacon! ContentBacon can help you brainstorm, create, and post content so you can attract, engage, and delight your ideal customer base. Check out our services and contact us today!
How's your current content plan?
We're offering a no strings attached content assessment. Have our experts provide you a free evaluation of your content plan and we'll provide you some free strategy on how to optimize. On the house (really).