What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a type of marketing where you are creating valuable content. This content helps your potential customers understand their problems and provides them with the ideal solution. As a result, it makes more people aware of your brand. Ultimately, it turns more leads into customers and improves your sales. Also, it creates trust, builds credibility and grows your business consistently.
To create a successful inbound marketing strategy, you need to gather certain information. For instance, you need to know your target audience. Moreover, you need to define the purpose of your content and how it aligns with the buyer’s journey. This guide will help you put the proper inbound marketing plan in place for your organization.
1. BUILD YOUR BUYER PERSONA
To develop content that your audience finds value in, you’ll have to know who they are. In short, a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. It allows you to understand exactly who you’re marketing to. This will help you craft messaging that truly resonates with your ideal customers. In addition, you will be able to further tailor your content specifically for them. When creating content that resonates with them, you will inspire trust and convince them to engage with you. Thus, it’s important to understand the characteristics and motivations of your buyer personas. Accordingly, you will have a better direction and purpose. Which will, ultimately improve your inbound marketing strategy.
2. SET YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY GOALS
The next step is setting your inbound marketing goals. Start by assessing your website’s current ability to attract traffic, convert leads and close business. All of these objectives relate to and will influence sales and revenue. Some of the key performance indicators may include:
- Number of unique website visitors per month
- The number of times a specific call to action was clicked
- Number of inbound leads/month
- Sources of traffic – PPC, SEO, Blogging, Social Media, Email
Either way, focus your strategy on improving leads from PPC, SEO, blogs, social channels or email. Once you’ve chosen your metrics, select the following parameters. A conservative improvement, a successful improvement and a beyond-your-wildest-dreams improvement. Against these, you will be measuring your inbound marketing strategy’s success. To measure the ROI of your inbound marketing activity you have to identify what you want to achieve. Moreover, you need to define when do you expect to see the results.
When setting your goals, use the SMART goal framework. Have in mind they should be:
3. OUTLINE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ MARKETING TRIGGERS
Next, identify pain points in your customers’ lives that cause them to seek out products like yours. Knowing these marketing triggers will allow you to craft a highly targeted and relevant messaging. Moreover, it will help you determine which topics you should create content around. Ultimately, understanding their barriers to action will allow you to create the solution to their problems. A trigger example can be a growing family creating the need for a bigger house.
4. CREATE A LIST OF KEYWORDS
Next, figure out how people are searching for information about your services. Keyword research will show you the search volume of a keyword or phrase by internet users. These will be estimated by location and how difficult it is to rank for certain keywords. Accordingly, it will estimate the cost of purchasing search traffic through pay-per-click advertising. Afterward, you can create a list of key terms and phrases to create content about. Consequently, this will ensure you are attracting the right people at the right time. Ultimately, it will improve your content’s performance on search engine results pages (SERPs).
5. ALIGN CONTENT TO THE BUYER’S JOURNEY
Your buyer’s journey is consisted of 3 phases and leads typically fall into one of them:
- Top-of-the-funnel: Awareness
- Middle-of-the-funnel: Evaluation
- Bottom-of-the-funnel: Buying decision
Top-of-the-funnel is a place your leads are searching for general information about a subject. Thus, the goal of the first phase is to create rich and informative content. This content should attract as much awareness as possible and convert your visitors into leads. For example- social media tips, blog posts, video marketing, white papers and infographics. Identifying your buyer personas’ online preferences will help you decide which channel to prioritize.
Middle-of-the-funnel or the phase of evaluation should introduce your leads to your brand. Moreover, at this phase, they should learn what it’s like to do business with you. Hence, position your product to those who have passed through the previous phase or your repeat customers. Focus your content on providing additional value to your audience. Furthermore, explain your brand further to them. For example, use targeted newsletters, blogs, ebooks, case studies, branded webinars, white papers and email campaigns.
Bottom-of-the-funnel is focused on the buying decision. During this phase, your leads are looking for information that communicates the benefits of your service. Bottom-of-the-funnel leads have shown signs that they’re interested in your service offering. And now, they are serious about doing business with you. Hence, offer them a free trial, a live demo, a discounted deal or a free consultation.
Ultimately, you should focus on providing quality content for all phases. Otherwise, you won’t move leads through your sales cycle. Thus, it’s important to understand the questions, concerns and objections that each of your buyer personas. Having this in mind during all three stages will help you formulate a content strategy that converts.
6. CREATE A LEAD NURTURING PROCESS
Next, automate your lead-nurturing process and continue providing enough information to your leads. This could be via a series of automated emails sent at predetermined times. That way reminding them that you can offer something of value. It could be a phone call when you notice that a lead has returned to your website.
Also, it could be retargeting advertising, where your online ads target visitors. Perhaps those who have visited your site over the past month but didn’t complete a specific conversion. This will encourage leads to re-engage with your content and move further down the inbound funnel.
Moreover, plan the content of your automated message via the funnel. Top-of-funnel automated messages should answer the most common questions during the sales process. Consequently, this will make your leads more receptive to further information about what you offer.
As leads progress to the middle of the funnel you can begin to position your service. To illustrate, you should deliver brand-specific information that positions your brand as the answer. For instance, you can include a series of emails that address common questions about your business.
Once a lead has acted on a bottom-of-funnel offer they are considered to be sales qualified. At this point, leads should be contacted directly and closed into paying customers. At the bottom end of the funnel, your leads are sales-qualified. They’re interested in the solutions you’re providing. However, now you have a strong chance of converting these leads into customers.
Inbound marketing is the most effective way to increase visitors, leads, and buyers. To attract customers, you need to understand their needs, aspirations, and struggles. Using that data, you can craft relevant content that answers their questions. Moreover, include SEO best practices so that customers can find you through search engines. Afterward, convert those visitors with free content and influencer marketing that drives leads. With a proper inbound marketing strategy, your brand can consistently deliver value.
Moreover, it can help you improve your website copy and attract the right customers faster. Ultimately, you will make progress at each stage of your customer’s journey. Forming a proper inbound marketing strategy starts with effective planning. It allows you to set the right goals and also track your progress. However, inbound marketing requires a very diverse, yet specific skill set. Depending on your in-house expertise and the size of your budget, you might consider hiring professionals in this field.