If you’ve ever tried focusing on traditional marketing routes for your business – cold calling, TV advertising, etc. – you may have found that you’re not finding the success you have in the past. The days of interrupting customers to bring their attention to your business are coming to a close, and companies are focusing more and more on inbound marketing.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound focuses on attracting customers to your business by offering them content that is both relevant and valuable. By providing helpful information that potential customers are looking for, you are able to begin a relationship early on in the buying process and introduce your brand when the time is right. Through the four stages of the inbound methodology, you are able to bring strangers to your website and eventually turn them into promoters of your brand.
Attract: Bring strangers to your website through blog posts and other content, turning them into visitors. Utilize keywords and social media promotions to bring more traffic to your content, ultimately leading to a higher turnover rate.
Convert: Once potential customers visit your page, your goal is to get some information about them which you can utilize to turn them into customers. By offering ebooks, products, or other exclusive content, visitors will respond to forms and calls-to-action.
Close: Now that you have leads (the visitors who offered some information about themselves and showed interest in your offerings), you can utilize different forms of communication to advertise your products. If you use this relationship effectively, you can turn the leads into customers.
Delight: Once you have these customers, your goal should be to create a great experience and turn them into promoters. Utilize surveys to monitor the customer experience, and continue to provide smart content that meets their needs.
Once you understand the inbound methodology, you are able to begin strategizing how to turn strangers into promoters! The main steps of inbound marketing are: define your marketing goals, develop your buyer personas, create content to attract your buyer personas, post and promote your content, and then evaluate it!
1. Define your marketing goals.
Why are you selling your product? How does it help your customers?
Knowing what your business is aiming to accomplish will help you define the path for your marketing strategy. If you never decide what your marketing goals are, you won’t know if your tactics are successful!
2. Develop your buyer personas.
Who are the people you are trying to attract?
Create definitions of your ideal customer so that you can better target them. Research your current customers and make some assumptions based on your product and its purpose. Figure out your customers motives for buying your product, and you will be able to create content that attracts the right people to your company.
3. Create content based on your buyer personas.
What are your ideal customers looking for? How can you help them?
After figuring out who your customers are, create content that will bring in the people who you want to interact with your business. Based on the buyer personas you’ve created, decide what problems your potential customers may be facing, and create content that will be helpful to them. The goal of your content shouldn’t be to promote your product, but to genuinely help potential customers. Once you’ve provided useful information, you will be able to build a relationship with your customer through continuing to provide content.
4. Publish and promote your content.
How will potential customers come across your content?
Once you’ve published your content to the platform of your choice, make sure you are getting it in places your customers will see it. Spend some time researching and working on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that your content can be found via search engines. You can also utilize social media to promote your posts, but be sure to engage with customers through these platforms as well.
There are many other ways to promote your content – utilizing influencers, mass emails, and paid advertising. Be sure to look into and utilize several options, since your ideal customers will be found in more than one place! Once you’ve started publishing and promoting your content, you will be able to evaluate the success of the different methods and consider ways to improve them.
How successful is your inbound marketing strategy? Did you meet your marketing goals?
Take a look at the performance of your content and posts and evaluate its success. You can tweak your marketing strategy at any point in the process – is your content not reaching the right buyer personas? Were your promotional efforts unsuccessful? Were you unable to turn visitors into leads?
Consider each step in the inbound strategy and how you can improve going into the future. If you’ve been successful with reaching your marketing goals, figure out how you can mimic this success with your next campaign. The great thing about utilizing content in marketing is that the content typically exists for an infinite amount of time, so you can continually update and promote promising content.