Everything You Need to Know About Inbound Marketing

What is Inbound Marketing?

In short, Inbound Marketing is customer-centric marketing aimed at leads you know are interested. Not product or service focused marketing.

So what exactly does that mean?

To employ Inbound Marketing, having your customer’s wants, needs and concerns should be at the core of your marketing messaging and strategies. You answer your customer’s questions, you fulfil their wants and needs. You target them while they’re searching for you, or find them on their favourite platforms when you know they’ve shown interest.

The opposite of Inbound Marketing is Outbound. Think cold calls, handing out flyers, and big billboard advertisements. These types of marketing have a time and place, but they’re far less targeted – you’re essentially taking a stab in the dark, hoping that whoever gets you call, or flyer, or sees your billboard will be interested in what you’re offering. Most of the time, they won’t be.

Why is Inbound Marketing So Good?

You might be thinking, that Inbound just sounds like another buzzword and a silly way to spend more money trying to get customers to notice you.

But here’s the thing about Inbound Marketing:

Customers who are targeted by persona-driven marketing are more likely to convert, with SEO driven leads having a 14.6% close rate and outbound leads only 1.7% closing rate.
When businesses started implementing inbound methods of advertising they saw 3X MORE LEADS per dollar than traditional methods.

How to Start Inbound Marketing for Your Small Business

If inbound Marketing Sounds appealing to you, your first step has to be understanding your business and more importantly the customers you are trying to target.

The best way to understand your business is to ask yourself specific questions about your goals, who your company is and what you stand for. Write them down and keep them in mind.

The best way to understand your customers is, ideally, to talk to the ones you already have. Otherwise, put yourself in their shoes and write down their headspace, what are they concerned about, what triggers them to look for the product or service you offer, what barriers to they face along the conversion journey? Turn it into a one-page persona. See if you can even plot out their buyer’s journey, from finding out about you to becoming a customer.

When you have a clear picture of your business and your customers it’s easy to jump into Inbound Marketing activities.

Inbound Marketing Activities

When planning out the Inbound activities you want to undergo, it’s important to build out a strategy behind them. Each tactic should have a purpose and a goal to accomplish. Don’t just create content for the sake of it, don’t just run adds without a plan. Consider your target audience and your goals and focus on the activities that make the most sense for what you want to achieve.

Some Inbound Marketing activities you could consider are:

  • Produce content that answers your customer’s questions and concerns

Create helpful blog content and landing pages that answer the common questions that your target audience ask, particularly the general, high-level, awareness stage content. This goal of this content isn’t to convert but to be there when customers are looking for help, especially considering that these day’s it takes 6-8 interactions with a contact before they’re willing to convert.

To get as much out of these content pieces as possible, it’s key to work with google’s algorithm in mind. While we don’t know exactly how the algorithm works, there are definitely several things you can do to optimise your content for search (aka SEO – Search Engine Optimisation). For example, select specific keywords and work them into your content naturally (but don’t keyword stuff!), link to relevant high-quality sources, get other websites linking back to your posts, use meta tags and alt text properly, consider listicles and contents lists at the start of your post.

Google organic search doesn’t drive as much traffic to websites as it used to. 49% of searchers never click – because of Google’s featured snippets. So, keep that in mind, and make sure you create high-quality unmissable content that people can’t help but click on.

  • Target them while they’re searching for you

When someone searches for something in Google, they do so with intent. They have a goal in mind. Finding an answer to something, looking for a service in their area, buying or comparing a product. They’re actively looking to purchase or engage with brands and companies. That is why it is so important to show up when users are searching for something related to your company, and with Google processing more than 40,000 searches every second, there are plenty of opportunities. But, getting your content to show up organically in search is hard work, especially considering there are 4 million blog posts published on the internet every day. That’s why you should support your content efforts with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – the ads you see pop up in Google almost every time you search for something.

You can target people based on locations and keywords with search, the platform they’re on with display, or retarget people who have visited your site before. Google Ads has so much power and potential, it is definitely worth the investment!

  • Find them on their favourite platforms

While social media users don’t have as much intent while they’re scrolling through their favourite feeds, Social Media Marketing (SMM) is still a great way to attract and target potential customers. Like Google, building a following through organic content is difficult, but genuine content is key, just posting blog posts and 3rd party content is not enough. This is where understanding your brand is vital. You need to communicate your brand’s personality on your social channels. Through your imagery, messaging, and content.

Don’t feel like you need to be on every single platform either, find the ones that work best for your brand and your goals. And don’t be afraid to try out all the features of your chosen platforms – make sure you take advantage of each one’s unique features (don’t just repost the same stuff everywhere!)

You can also expand your social media reach through paid ads across all of your key platforms. In social media advertising, you can target people based on location, interests and demographics, retarget website visitors, use lists, and lookalike audiences. Get specific!

  • Delight them into becoming advocates

One of the best Inbound Marketing strategies is turning your pre-existing customers into advocates. Word-of-mouth will always be the biggest converter. We trust the opinions of the people around us more than anything a company might say. So make sure you delight your customers with great service and response times, with offers and helpful content. Go the extra mile for them! And then ask for feedback – you can send an email or a text asking them how your company did and try to seek a review or encourage them to refer a friend!

Inbound Marketing is a huge area of potential for all small business owners but can seem a little overwhelming at first. So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to grow your business embrace it and take it one step at a time, every bit helps!

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