Published: 27 March 2016
In traditional marketing businesses would find ways to get a potential customer’s attention. This typically involved print, radio, or TV advertising designed to interrupt the viewer and grab their attention. It is a shotgun approach that is hard to track effectively. This also means it’s hard to calculate a true ROI for your efforts. Inbound marketing by contrast earns the attention of the viewer by presenting potential customers with useful, interesting, and entertaining content. Specific groups are identified as potential customers and accurately targeted through content creation, search marketing, and social media. The results are carefully tracked and analysed, allowing you to find more qualified leads and optimise the performance of your sales funnel.
There are key 5 steps to create and maintain your inbound marketing engine. Follow these steps to create content, get found by your customers, find leads, convert leads into customers, and monitor and optimise your inbound marketing engine.
To get started your inbound marketing engine is going to need some content to attract potential customers to your site. This is often called content marketing and is a key part of the inbound approach. Your content should be useful, interesting, and entertaining to get maximum attention, but for some subjects this might be a tall order. If that’s the case focus on getting a good mix of content on your website that fulfils the requirements. Content can be a range of different medias, including blog posts, videos, audio, pictures, white papers, and animations. Before you start investing in content you should always perform some keyword research. You want to produces content that your target audience are looking for, be sure to use the same language that they are using in their search terms.
This usually involves a combination of search marketing and social media to promote content and ensure your potential customers can find it. Search marketing is a blanket term that covers search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO). With SEM traffic is bought through paid search listings, with SEO organic search traffic is gained through a combination of on page optimisation and link building.
Now that you’ve got lots of content on your website, and a steady stream of interested potential customers, you need to start converting them into leads. Build a landing page where potential customers can share their contact details with you. You can also use the landing page to find out what your visitors are interested in. Use a call to action to tell your visitors what you want them to do next and lead them to the landing page. As you build up your database of contacts you can start to nurture the relationships through marketing emails and social media.
Your landing pages should target people at all stages of the buyer’s journey. With inbound marketing you can focus your sales efforts on those people towards the end of their buyer’s journey, who are ready to make a purchase. Use marketing automation to streamline communication with people who are at earlier stages of their journey. By targeting your viewers in this way you can reduce the effective cost of your sales and marketing efforts, and improve their effectiveness.
Once you’ve got some data to work with you can start to analyse the performance of your inbound marketing campaign. Use this analysis to make adjustments to your campaign and optimise its performance. Check for any problems, like leads getting ‘stuck’ in the sales funnel. With a good monitoring and analysis plan you should be able to pinpoint any problem areas and tune your content and offers for the best effect.
Inbound marketing is an ongoing process that requires constant nurturing. It will not deliver quick results, but over time it is the most cost-effective marketing method. If you invest the time to build up your expertise, and produce a competent ongoing inbound campaign, you will find that it generates a constant stream of qualified leads for your business.
Now that you know what inbound marketing is why not get started. Head over to HubSpot and sign-up for a free account. They have some great tools, tutorials, and lots of free resources to help you get your inbound marketing campaign off the ground.
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