Inbound marketing is all about attracting new users by publishing useful, engaging content. In contrast to outbound marketing, which uses interruptive techniques, inbound seeks to provide users with content that is timely and relevant to them.
Because inbound marketing keeps the challenges, needs and preferences of customers front-and-centre throughout the customer journey, it is more disposed to building trust and boosting conversions. In fact, according to HubSpot, inbound marketing is three times as likely to secure positive return on investment than outbound campaigns.
Clearly, inbound marketing has a role to play in a successful marketing plan; but what are the core elements of a strong inbound marketing strategy?
- The Attraction Stage
The first stage of the inbound marketing methodology is attracting qualified traffic to your website. This is important because genuinely interested prospects are more likely to convert and eventually become customers. There are a variety of ways to drive higher quality traffic to your website.
- Blog content
Producing informative, engaging blog content is a great way to attract qualified leads, who are genuinely interested in your product and industry. According to HubSpot, companies who publish blog content 11 times per month can increase their number of leads by 3-4 times, compared to those who publish content only 0-4 times during the same time period.
You can also produce informative free downloads such as whitepapers, eBooks and guides.
- Search engine optimisation
Success at the attraction stage is not just about creating the right content; you also have to ensure that your work can be found by the right people. That’s where search engine optimisation (or ‘SEO’) comes in.
Optimising your website for search engines helps improve your ranking for relevant search terms. A study conducted by Advanced Web Rankin showed that the top result on the search engine results page receives more than 25% of clicks. The higher your ranking on search engines, the more likely your content is to secure those all-important impressions and clicks.
- Social media
According to HubSpot, 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content. That makes Facebook and other social media platforms an ideal place to distribute your content. Incorporating regular blog updates, useful infographics and links to downloads in your social media content calendar can yield very positive results.
- The Conversion Stage
The next stage in the inbound marketing methodology is to convert the prospect. You should offer users free value-added content, such as eBooks, webinars, videos and tip sheets, in exchange for details such as the user’s name, email address, company, industry and phone number. At a minimum, you should aim to capture the prospect’s name and email address.
On your landing pages, remember to include strong call-to-actions and utilise on-site forms, where visitors can request a call-back or sign up to your email mailing list.
- The Closing Stage
In the closing stage, your lead finally becomes a customer. It is important to remember that it can take a number of brand interactions before your lead is ready to become a customer. In the meantime, you should maintain contact with your leads through targeted email content, distributed to carefully curated databases. Be sure to maintain the relevance of your communications, to avoid irritating your leads with mailings perceived as ‘spam’.
For maximum results, automate your email marketing and target leads with relevant offers. For instance, if a user has downloaded a particular eBook, nurture the lead by providing an offer relevant to the content they have consumed.
- The Delight Stage
Inbound marketing is all about fulfilling the needs of your prospects, leads and customers. Subsequently, your work as a marketer doesn’t end once a lead has transformed into a customer.
You hold a wealth of information about your customers - so use it! You should continue to nurture customers post-purchase using targeted emails and special offers tailored to their interests.
- Customer surveys
Create surveys to measure customer satisfaction. Not only will requesting feedback show the customer that their individual experience matters to you, but the insights your surveys provide will help you to optimise the customer journey and maximise delight at every stage.
- Social media monitoring
Social media monitoring helps you to discover conversations about your brand or business and establish a dialogue with potential (or current) customers. Engaging with prospects and customers on social media shows that you are invested in your customers, whilst allowing you to answer queries and resolve issues with ease.
Inbound marketing can be an effective way to gain new prospects, convert users into leads and ultimately, turn leads into customers. To learn more about inbound marketing, download our eBook, or get in touch with our team of experienced marketers today.