Inbound marketing is an alternative marketing strategy that works by inspiring potential clients to come to you on their own. Instead of constantly throwing advertising in the face of your prospects, you create and share content with a goal of drawing people and businesses in to your funnel.
Although the concept of inbound marketing isn’t brand new, many businesses have yet to wrap their heads around how it works, and more importantly, how to make it work for them. In order for your inbound marketing campaign to be successful, it must cater to your specific needs and help you solve the particular obstacles that your business is facing on a daily basis.
There are four main actions required in order to employ a successful inbound marketing campaign:
The first goal of any inbound marketing campaign is to attract traffic to your website or online application. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re attracting the right audience vs. just an audience. High traffic to your website is great, but high quality traffic is even better. So, before you set out to attract customers, you’ll need to make sure you know who your ideal customers are, and what is important to them.
Once you’ve established your audience’s needs and preferences, you can attract potential clients through strategic blogging, on-site and on-page website SEO, and also through your social media channels. In order to attract the right customers and keep them coming back for more, you’ll need to spend some time putting together a content marketing strategy, and of course, creating awesome content.
Once your visitors arrive on your website, the next step is to convert these visitors into leads. One of the most common ways of converting visitors to leads are by using forms that your visitors fill out and submit. The shorter and simpler your forms are, the better. You’ll want to be sure to at least get each visitor’s name and email address. Beyond that, you can collect physical addresses and phone numbers, but you may want to make those fields optional.
If you want your visitors to fill out a form for you, you’ll need to provide something of value to them. Many businesses offer free eBooks, whitepapers, checklists, and other types of downloadable content that customers can access for free after submitting their content information. You’ll want to have different types and forms of content available based on each different buyer persona.
Be sure to create calls-to-action wherever possible, so your visitors know what you want them to do. Once a visitor clicks on a call-to-action button, such as “Download a Checklist”, or “Get Your Free Whitepaper”, they should be taken to a landing page. Landing pages are a way to say “Thank you” to your customers for submitting a form, and to provide them with whatever content was promised. Don’t forget to keep track of where your visitors came from, what they clicked on, and how they converted.
The next step is to turn your leads into paying customers. Since you’ve been tracking your conversions, your sales team should have access to all the important information about your leads, such as what types of products/services they’re interested in, and where they’re at in the sales funnel. One of the best ways to keep track of lead information is in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There are a variety of great CRMs out there to choose from, each offering different benefits and features.
Once you have quality leads that have shown a high level interest in your company, you’ll need to continue to educate them about what you do, how your products work, and why your business is better than the competition. Marketing automation through email marketing and other channels will allow you to create and deliver the right messaging to each of your buyer personas at the right time.
Even after you’ve converted and closed a customer, you’ll need to continue to provide them with valuable information and positive customer experiences. Ask existing customers how you’re doing with surveys and other methods of providing feedback. Provide personalized content that is relevant to their specific interests and needs. You can also introduce customers to other products and services you offer that may be of interest.
Be sure to check your social channels regularly, as they are a great way to listen to your customers about what they are interested in, as well as questions, issues or complaints they are sharing with others. Join the conversation and address issues and concerns wherever possible. Most importantly, let your customers know you’re there to help, and that you’re listening to what they have to say.