The first time I heard the phrase ” Inbound Marketing” I thought it was just another wave of Buzzword or à la mode amongst marketers. Little did I know that the practice of inbound marketing has been in existence since the advent of the world wide web.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Simply put, inbound marketing is the practice of attracting potential customers using online marketing techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and social media marketing. Furthermore, Inbound marketing provides information, an improved customer experience and builds trust by offering potential customers information they value via company web contents, sponsored newsletters, blogs, and entries on social media platforms.
Inbound Marketing: A System of Attraction & Conversion
One of the main tenets of inbound marketing is to attract targeted audience based on their specific expressed needs and converts them to leads or customers. In other words the simple math behind inbound marketing is: Attract > Lead > Convert >Customer. This powerful conversion process is what makes inbound marketing the most preferred system of marketing amongst marketing professionals. The difference between inbound marketing and the traditional type of marketing is that inbound marketing creates opportunities through bidirectional communication between brand and consumers, thus, it is a customer-centric, relationship-based, and dynamic form of marketing.
There are four primary objectives of inbound marketing systems according to the book Inbound Marketing For Dummies by Scott Anderson Miller. They are given as follows:
Inbound marketing attracts visitors to you where you greet the prospective customer on their terms.
It engages your website visitors through meaningful relevant content so visitors become leads
Inbound marketing encourages a lead to take action that can eventually be monetized (purchase, donations, referrals etc)
It re-engages previous customers, causing reactions, resulting in repeat customers while fostering a loyal fan base.
The whole idea of inbound marketing is to address the needs of prospective customers (give customers what they want). Think of inbound marketing as catching a fish with a bait.
How do you attract (bait) qualified customers to your website?
You can use the following techniques to attract potential customers to your website; convert, re-attract and retain:
There are series of events that happen from the time a potential customer lands on your website right until they leave. These events are connected to the customer conversion chain (see diagram below).
When you have a website that resonates well with your site visitors in every aspect ( content, recognition, expectations etc) — that could be termed as inbound marketing, because, there is a 90% chance of converting these site visitors into customers.
Implementing a strategic inbound marketing plan
First off, you need to have a measurable business objective and goals, know your consumer personas (profiles). Perform a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats) and include SMART goals ( specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound). If you don’t set goals, there is no way you can measure success.
A well developed inbound marketing starts with knowing the products and services you will be offering and what would really motivate your potential customers to buy from you.
Say for example you are a Mortgage Agent, in this case having a mortgage calculator will be a valuable tool on your website to engage your site visitors. Once a visitor lands your website, the first event kicks off It’s either they engage with the contents of your website or they bounce off your website to another site.
You have probably heard the phrase “Content Is King”. Well, a large part of inbound marketing deals with content. Having the right type of content on your website will attract the right type of customer which better your chances of making a sale. Consequently, research your consumer personas (discover their needs looking at their search queries), categorize them into groups and develop contents to target each group. You can use Google Analytics and Search Console to discover these data.
Having a well designed and optimized CTA map will provide a fluid path to conversion. Ensure your CTA map is wired to take your site visitor through each step of the buyer’s journey — purchase funnel.
In other to make the path to conversion simple and smooth, your website’s user experience (UX) structure and intuitive user interface (UI) has to be top notch. Nobody wants to spend time on a website that is not appealing and complicated to use.
The Power of a Blog
Blogs help to attract targeted customers to your website and a good resource to convert site visitors into customers. They also help in SEO ( generating backlinks which eventually helps to bump up your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Marketing Automation Software
It is imperative to have an automated system installed on your site in other to collect useful data that can be used to follow up on clients where they left off in the purchase funnel. There are various softwares you can integrate into your site like infusionsoft to collect data.
You need to collect and analyze data, hence, why connecting Google Analytics to your website is essential. Otherwise, you will be missing out on useful data and insights that would help you improve the performance of your campaign and make informed marketing decisions.
As you attract your buyer persona to your website with targeted content, device a mean to re-attract them in case they don’t convert immediately. You can re-attract them by installing email opt-in form on your website. You can do this in two ways: a) ask them to opt into your marketing communication i.e promotions, news etc. b) offer a valuable content (ebook, freebies, reports case studies) in exchange for their emails — often known as “Gated Content“.
Social Media Integrating
Social media platforms make it easy for people to share contents across the internet, thus, it a great way to attract more visitors to your website, increase your traffic and the number of leads. Curate content for your buyer persona to engage them and increase your audience on social media.
Optimize the content on your website in other to attract and be found by your buyer persona. Ensure that your website can be found in the first pages of search results for your niche keywords in other to increase your organic traffic.
landing pages are essential for your inbound marketing success, simply because they are the focal point of conversion — where site visitors turn into leads. Thus, having an effective landing page (well-structured UX, UI, CTA Maps, relevant, and optimized contents) is crucial to inbound marketing. Preferably hire a conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist to create effective landing pages for your website.
How do you know if your inbound marketing efforts are paying off if you don’t measure it? Like I said earlier, you must have measurable goals. Define your most important conversion Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) or metrics from the very start before implementing your inbound marketing plan. You can use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to set up goals, track, measure and report on the performance of the inbound assets. Tip: set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics and integrate a marketing automation software to your website to analyze and measure results efficiently.
Apparently, inbound marketing is the most effective online marketing strategy if done properly. There is a lot that can go wrong with inbound marketing, as a matter of fact, many inbound marketing plans have failed and potential revenue is left on the table as a result.
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