Inbound marketing is a great way to attract new customers and increase sales. But, what is inbound marketing anyway?
What Is Inbound Marketing? Inbound Marketing Definition
Inbound marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on attracting customers through the creation of valuable content, SEO, and building lasting relationships with them. It is essentially a strategy that brings customers to your website with the goal of familiarizing them with your brand and product.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
What is outbound marketing? In contrast to inbound marketing, which pulls customers to your website, outbound marketing is a strategy that brings your products and services to customers. It refers to traditional paid advertising in media.
The main difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is how you make an impression. With inbound marketing, you guide your audience to your website and give them a deeper understanding of your brand and product. This will hopefully give them a good impression of your company. Meanwhile, outbound marketing tends to interrupt people, as they don’t always appear when and where your audience wants them to. In some instances, people may even find ads to be annoying, and you don’t want your audience to associate this feeling with your brand.
That being said, outbound marketing is not inherently bad. It can be a very useful marketing strategy for businesses of any nature, especially when combined with inbound marketing.
Four Stages of Inbound Marketing
There are four stages of inbound marketing: attract, convert, close, and delight. When utilized properly, these stages can help you boost your company’s lead generation efforts.
The attraction stage is when you find and attract your target audience. You will need to figure out how people can find your website easier. This includes using relevant keywords in your copy and blog posts. Adopting such a tactic will help your website rank higher on search engines. You can also utilize targeted hashtags on social media posts to reach your target audience.
Conversion is the end-all-be-all of marketing. This stage involves the use of sign-up forms and calls to action to convert leads. To get more people to subscribe or sign-up for your newsletter, give them an incentive to do so (like a discount code or a freebie). Calls to action should also be imaginative and effective to really work.
The third stage is all about closing. Sign-up forms and CTAs can only do so much. If you want to convert a lead into a paying customer, automation is where you should turn. For instance, there are programs available that detect when a customer has abandoned their cart. The program then sends that person an email reminding them of the items still in their cart. Although it may seem small, this action may just be the nudge some people need to make a purchase.
Finally, we have the delight stage. This stage is, quite literally, where you would delight customers by rewarding them for patronizing your business. A simple thank-you message can do wonders, though you can take things up a notch by offering a discount to a returning customer, too. This is also the best time to survey customers and get valuable feedback that can help your business improve.
Sample Inbound Marketing Strategies to Use
When you’re new to inbound marketing, or just marketing in general, it can be challenging to come up with the right strategies to use. If you find yourself at a loss, here are some of the best ones to include in your inbound marketing plan.
1. Survey Current Customers
What is inbound marketing? It’s all about leading customers to your website. But, you can’t do that if you don’t know who your customers are and what they want. The best way to understand your target audience is by conducting a survey.
While there are plenty of questions you can ask, the one you should never leave out is, “What do you struggle with the most?” This will give you a better idea of the problems your target audience is facing. That way, you can tailor your content to directly address those problems.
2. Share Quality Content
Creating and sharing content is one of the best inbound marketing examples you will find. After all, customers spend 20% of their time online on content. But, it’s not enough to churn out blog posts every month. They have to be quality content, too. Generic content that doesn’t offer anything of value won’t attract customers. You need to put in the work, do your research, and craft content that compels your audience.
While you can insert a CTA in your content here and there, it should never be all about that. Remember that inbound marketing is about creating lasting relationships with your customers. If your blog posts come across as self-serving, you’ll more likely scare people away.
Although your content should be high quality, you won’t get customers to click if you don’t have an attractive headline. You can go negative with your headlines, but don’t overdo it. The content itself should be in-depth and data-driven, too. Your blog posts should have something of value to offer to your audience.
3. Go Mobile
The whole point of inbound marketing is to bring people to your website. But, considering more than 270 million Americans own a smartphone, companies should make an effort to shift to a mobile-friendly platform. Websites should be seamless, intuitive, and responsive when viewed from a mobile browser. By not jumping on this now, you could lose out on countless conversions and thousands (perhaps millions) in revenue.
4. Optimize Keywords
Another inbound marketing strategy that every business should use is keyword optimization. After all, how are you going to get customers to visit your website if they don’t even know it exists? By optimizing your content and using long-tail keywords, you can help your website rank higher on search engines. And, the higher you rank, the better your chance of getting those clicks and conversions.
5. Emphasize Visuals
People are inherently visual creatures. Therefore, it makes sense that visuals make for a more effective inbound marketing strategy. Break up large blocks of text with photos and other visual aids. Use an infographic in your content every once in a while. Visuals help to retain the attention of readers and give you a better chance at converting leads.
6. Make Use of Influencer Marketing
If you want to introduce your website to a large number of people at once, influencer marketing is a good way to go. Look for an influencer with a follower base that matches your target audience. There are influencer marketing agencies that exist to help companies find the best influencer that suits their market and goals.
What Is Inbound Marketing? Answered!
When it comes down to it, inbound marketing presents a lot of benefits to companies, especially newer ones that have yet to establish a reputation in the market. But, inbound marketing is not always easy to accomplish, which is why many businesses seek help from professionals.
Tanner Grey offers web design and digital marketing services to businesses of all kinds. Call us today at 844.500.1339 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you.
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