What is Inbound Marketing? And How it Works to Attract Customers
Today’s competitive and consumer-driven market has compelled businesses to overhaul their marketing strategies. It’s no longer enough to reach out to your target audience using television commercials, print ads, hoardings, etc. Such techniques are often perceived as overly promotional and intrusive. That’s why businesses constantly look for alternatives to traditional outbound marketing.
New-age marketers are increasingly focusing on building long-term relationships with their potential and existing customers. Their marketing strategies are all about addressing pain points, offering solutions, and providing value through insightful and engaging content. It’s not surprising that most businesses have switched from conventional advertising to inbound marketing.
Understanding Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is an umbrella term for marketing techniques that let you attract potential customers towards your brand. It encompasses a wide range of techniques such as content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and email marketing. Unlike outbound marketing, it doesn’t involve blowing your own trumpet. Instead, you have to grab your audience’s attention using valuable content and personalized experiences.
Image via WordStream
Simply put, inbound marketing requires you to sell a solution instead of selling your products. Let’s say you’ve developed an SEO analysis tool. Your target audience likely includes digital marketers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Such people will weigh the pros and cons of your product and compare it with your competitors before making a decision.
Instead of directly pitching your product, you attract your audience with useful, relevant, and informative blog posts and infographics. After grabbing their attention, you can further engage with them with insightful newsletters, e-books, webinars, etc. It lets you earn their trust and convince them that your SEO tool is the right solution to their problems. Finally, as you convert leads into customers, you have to provide impeccable help and support to retain them.
Typically, inbound marketing involves the following stages:
Image via LYFE Marketing
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing relies on strategies that let your customers discover your brand rather than bombarding them with promotional content. One of the biggest advantages of inbound marketing is that it strengthens your reputation and credibility. It positions your brand as one that values its audience. This, in turn, helps you win their trust and convert them into paying customers.
Additionally, it’s a great way to establish your brand as an industry authority. When you regularly create helpful and valuable content, your audience perceives you as an expert in your niche. It gives you an edge over your competitors and helps you cut through the noise.
Inbound marketing also lets you build an enduring relationship with your customers. When they feel valued and cared for, they might consider purchasing other products from you as well. They will also likely recommend your brand in their networks. This, in turn, improves brand awareness and reputations even further.
It’s also worth mentioning that inbound marketing often generates more qualified leads than outbound marketing. This is because it lets you target consumers who are actively looking for information related to your products/brand. They have an urgent need that you can fulfill by positioning your product as the solution.
Moreover, inbound marketing delivers a high ROI. This is because it leverages digital marketing techniques like SEO, social media marketing, podcasting, etc. These are more cost-effective in comparison to their outbound counterparts such as print ads, TV commercials, etc. This makes inbound marketing a great choice of every business, irrespective of its scale and niche.
Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing isn’t just about creating a handful of random blog posts, newsletters, and infographics. Like any other marketing technique, it requires meticulous foresight and planning. The key is to put your audience’s needs first and provide effective solutions to their problems. In other words, you have to handhold them at every stage of their journey from a prospect to a loyal brand advocate.
There isn’t a concrete formula to create and execute a successful inbound marketing strategy. It depends on your various factors such as your niche, product/service type, target audience, budget, etc. Here are some useful tips to build your inbound marketing strategy:
1. Define Your Goals & KPIs
Your end goals influence the type of marketing techniques and distribution channels you use. If you want to increase brand awareness, social media marketing and podcasting might be more useful than email marketing. On the other hand, webinars and e-books are great tools to nurture your leads. It is, therefore, crucial to set measurable, attainable, and trackable goals and assign suitable KPIs (key performance indicators) to them.
2. Know Your Audience
You can’t build a marketing strategy without knowing who your potential customers are. It’s essential to identify their struggles, aspirations, spending habits, online behavior, etc. It’s also crucial to define distinct personas for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
3. Identify Your Keywords
Keyword research isn’t just an integral part of SEO. Identifying the most popular keywords in your niche lets you understand what your audience is looking for. This, in turn, lets you create content that directly addresses their needs and pain points.
4. Create Excellent Content
High-quality content is the backbone of your inbound marketing strategy. Irrespective of where a consumer is positioned in the buyer’s journey, you have to provide them with useful content. It is, therefore, crucial to outline an effective content strategy. The first step is to identify the topics, subjects, and formats you’ll work with.
It’s essential to segment your content strategy based on different stages of the buyer’s journey. For instance, podcasts and infographics are useful when a consumer is getting familiar with your brand. Likewise, tutorials and free demos can help convert leads into customers. It’s also crucial to identify the right distribution channels to reach your audience at every stage.
5. Focus on Relationships
Your marketing efforts shouldn’t end once a customer has purchased your product. If you abandon them at this, they might never return. Instead, you should provide them with flawless customer support as they start using your product. It’s also crucial to make them feel valued with personalized content, loyalty programs, surveys, etc.
Inbound marketing has become the norm for today’s businesses. It’s instrumental in building your brand and helping you create a community of loyal customers. The key is to attract your audience with valuable content and provide solutions for their problems.
WriteForMe can help you navigate your inbound marketing strategy and provide relevant content that will boost your conversions! Give us a shout and we’ll create a FREE content marketing playbook for you!