Inbound marketing is a strategy that can help you get more business, increase your conversion rates, and generate more revenue. But how does it work? In this blog post, we will take a step-by-step approach to inbound marketing so that you know everything there is to know about the process! From understanding what inbound marketing really means to knowing how to create an effective strategy for your company – we’ve got you covered!
With nearly two million blog posts published every day – it’s no wonder that most businesses are struggling to make an impact with their marketing.
What if you could get people to come to your site, rather than trying to find them? Take a deep breath: Inbound marketing is a process that has been proven to work.
Imagine what you could achieve with a strategy that helps you get more business, increase your conversion rates, and generate more revenue! But how does it work?
Following is a step by step guide, inspired by many, many hours of personal experience, research and interviews with the leading industry experts.
Step One: Plan Your Strategy
What are your goals? What are the most important things that you want to achieve with your inbound marketing strategy? If you’re not sure, then just think about what’s keeping you up at night.
So, you need to set your goals. Here is what to do:
Create an avatar for your target audience
To have an inbound marketing strategy is great, but it is useless without the correct buyer personas.
What is a buyer persona? It’s essentially your avatar. This is a fictional representation of your customer, typically based on demographic data and behavioral information about real people. It will help you identify with your target audience in order to create the most effective strategy possible.
Take some time now to think about who your customers are, and what their needs are.
To create an avatar for your target audience:
- Write down your target customer’s demographics, such as gender and age.
- Create a name for them – it can be their real name, or you can make it up!
- Write down some of their interests, hobbies, things that they like. For example, do they love politics, hiking, fashion, or natural living?
- Write down some of the things that they dislike. Is it animal products, or carbs? What gets on their nerves?
- You can create a picture or two of what your customer might look like.
The better you understand who your customer is, the more likely it will be that you can create a strategy to meet their needs and wants.
Research your competitors
It’s important to know who your competition is so you can understand what they’re doing right (and, sometimes more importantly, wrong).
Learn from their success, but also be on the lookout for any mistakes they might be making. Use the information you find to create a plan that sets your company apart from the others.
To research your competitors, you can do any or all of these things:
- Read their blog posts to get a sense of what they’re talking about.
- Look at your competitors’ social media accounts, and see what they post on a regular basis.
- See how their site is laid out and organized, then use this information to check yours .
- See how your competitors’ ads are set up, and then check yours to see if you’re following the same format.
- Read their press releases to see what they’re announcing, and also to get a sense of the language that they use.
- Find out how your competitors are ranking in the search engines.
How you decide to research your competitors will depend on what information you’re looking for and how much time you have.
Whatever you do, make sure that your research is thorough and helpful to understanding the best way for you to proceed with your inbound marketing strategy.
Important Hack: Brand monitoring tools can also make it easy to see what your competitors are up to in real time based on the domain names they register.
End of Step 1: Only when you know what’s important can you plan a winning strategy that will help generate leads, convert prospects into customers and grow revenue!
Step Two: Create and Publish content your audience will discover, engage with, and share
As a lead-generation strategy, inbound marketing starts with content. Content creation is the process of writing original articles, blog posts, videos and other media that will attract a new audience to your company, brand, and products.
There are three main types of content that you should be creating to maximize the impact of inbound marketing for your company:
Paid media includes anything that you pay for, including advertising on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This type of content is typically created for the purposes of generating leads, but can also be used to generate brand awareness and increase traffic.
Owned content includes your company’s website, blog and social media accounts. Owned content is created by you or for you, so it costs nothing to create. But it’s very valuable to your inbound marketing efforts because you control the content and its distribution, which can reach large audiences at a cost that’s a lot lower than that of paid content.
User generated content:
Earned media is created by your customers or other people who are talking about you. This type of content is typically free for your company, but it’s not easy to control (reason why you need a brand monitoring tool to help you keep tab on your mentions).
It’s a good idea to put aside some time each week for content creation and promotion, otherwise you won’t be able to keep up with the amount of content that your audience is expecting.
Create Your Content Strategy
Create a content strategy to make sure that your company will be producing great content on a regular basis.
It’s important that your strategy includes the following:
A content calendar is a good way to keep your inbound marketing strategy on track. Make sure that you include the following:
- The types of content that you want to produce;
- When the content will be published (daily, weekly or monthly);
- The frequency with which your content will be published;
- A plan for responding to comments.
Create Your SEO Strategy
One way in which successful inbound marketing strategies are created is through search engine optimization. This will help get your content in front of the right people and increase organic traffic to your website!
The first step in this process is selecting keywords that you want to rank for on Google, Yahoo or Bing.
Content Writing(creation) and SEO optimization
The next step is making sure that you are optimizing your content for those keywords so they’re highly relevant to the search terms and will appear on the first page of results.
- Ensuring the keyword appears in the title tag
- Using the keyword in appropriate places throughout the content
- Including relevant keywords as tags and headings on pages
You should also optimize your website for search engine by following these steps:
- Load pages with a small number of words that are concise and easy to read
- Make sure that your images are relevant to the content
- Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
- Keep meta descriptions short and concise
- Include website navigation that’s easy, logical and intuitive for visitors
- Ensure that your website loads quickly and doesn’t contain any errors or broken links
NOTE: When it comes to SEO, your main goal should be to rank on the first page of results for relevant keywords so that people can find your content more easily.
Social Media Strategy
Inbound marketing strategies are also helped by a strong social media presence. Make sure that you have an online strategy for using major social media platforms where your target audience is most likely to hang out.
This is something that you should plan on doing consistently, with a goal of posting at least once or twice per day. Your social media strategy should include a mix of posts that are curated and those that are original content, which will help your followers engage with you and provide you with valuable feedback.
You can also use social media to ask questions, post curated content or promote your blog posts and other pieces of content that really resonate with your audience.
Paid Traffic (Pay Per Click)
Another effective strategy for inbound marketing is to focus on pay-per-click advertising. This can be done through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads.
The goal of pay-per-click advertising is getting your website in front of people who are actively searching for you. The most effective way to do this is by targeting specific keywords.
You can also use the data from your pay-per-click campaign to see which keywords are performing best and then focus more on those terms in your SEO strategy and PPC campaigns in order to increase conversions.
End of Step 2: Remember that a successful inbound marketing strategy includes many different channels of putting out your message! Utilize as many as you can effectively manage including SEO, Social Media, And Paid means.
Step Three: Acquire and nurture leads into customers
The previous steps involved creating relevant content your audience would see. This step deals with activities that would propel browsers into action (typically into leads) and ultimately into paying customers.
A lead is a qualified opportunity, a potential customer who is interested in your business. They have indicated that they want to do business with you by filling out an inquiry form, downloading a white paper, providing their contact information or signing up for your email list.
Leads are usually the initial step in an acquiring customer, not the final destination. The next steps are to convert them into customers by providing more information or incentives such as discounts on your products or services.
Here are some basic rules for acquiring a lead and converting them into your customer:
- Create and offer an irresistible lead magnet.
- Keep the sign up form on your website short and sweet.
- Provide only the necessary information
- Provide a clear and compelling call to action. You want them to know what they are signing up for before hitting that “submit” button.
- Keep in touch with your leads i.e. lead nurturing: Send them an email (or appropriate communication channel) to follow up about their inquiry or download, and a monthly newsletter.
Important Hack: Send visitors to relevant landing pages – create unique landing pages for different groups of audience based on geo location, demographics, interests, etc.
End of Step Three: Remember that your lead magnet or content may not be enough to convert a visitor into an actual customer. Provide more incentives or information (e.g. discounts) in order during the nurturing phase to convert your lead into a customer!
Step Four: Keep Customers
Once you get a customer, the next thing you need to do is keep them coming back.
Retaining customers can be done by:
- Providing great customer service
- Offering discounts or free products and/or services on a regular basis
- Sending out a monthly newsletter
- Providing them with perks they can’t get anywhere else
Important Hack: Find out what product or service your customer likes the most and provide them with more of it to keep them coming back!
End of Step Four: Remind your customers that they are receiving the best customer service and that they are being offered with more discounts or free products.
Step Five: Measure Your Success
A successful inbound marketing strategy is all about continual improvement!
Measure your success by reviewing analytics to see if you are seeing an increase in traffic, conversion rates or any other metric. If not, review what changes need to be made and try again with a new plan of action. The more data the better – it will help make adjustments when necessary.
Test Your Campaigns And Optimize
Testing is key when it comes to any marketing strategy. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t so you can optimize it!
The most important thing about testing is that you’re not measuring your campaigns against one another, but rather as individual components of a larger process. This will help generate the best results for your business by identifying opportunities or mistakes in specific components of your strategy.
End of Step Five: Measure your success by reviewing analytics and taking into account what changes you need to make based on such data.
Step Six: Keep the Process Going!
A successful inbound marketing strategy needs to be a continuous process, not just something that is done for six months at a time with intense focus. It requires steady attention to your website, content and campaigns. Keep track of new trends and get creative in order to stay ahead of the game!
End of Step Seven: Make sure that you have a continuous process for your success with inbound marketing strategy.