Inbound Marketing is a marketing campaign that drives traffic to your site and increases your sales based upon the principle that people don’t want to be sold to. This is a new-age business model that realizes that with technology, customers can now block as many ads as possible. Think about your own life. How many shows do you DVR so that you can skip commercials? How often do you groan when a commercial interrupts your Pandora flow?
As a society, we have become numb to the constant bombarding of advertising. It’s everywhere and has been for so long that now we just ignore it. So, inbound marketing takes that into account. Instead of standing on a street corner shouting about your company, product, or service, you should show what makes you and your business different. This builds trust with customers, and that leads to long-term clients who are willing to spread the word about your product.
However, inbound marketing is a long-term strategy because you have to constantly provide your customers and potential customers with current, relevant information. If not, they’ll get it from somewhere else and you’ll lose their business. For the best results, your business needs a clear content marketing strategy. This content will help your customers look to your business as an authority in your field worthy of their trust and business.
Goals of Inbound Marketing:
When coming up with your inbound marketing strategy, you need to set clearly defined goals to maximize your results. Otherwise, you’ll just be posting blindly, unsure of where each post fits into the greater context of your strategy. Based upon research by MarketingProfs, the most important goals of inbound marketing are:
- Improve Lead Quality: By creating strong content based upon each stage of the Buyer’s Journey, you are providing an opportunity to funnel your clients along the buying process. This allows you to provide a diagnosis of your customer’s problem and offer a solution by giving answers and not bombarding them with sales. Structuring your content properly allows you to vet your leads by leading them along the buying process.
- Increase Sales Revenue: This is the primary goal of all businesses everywhere. How do we grow sales? By improving the quality of your leads, and by vetting them along the sales process, you will cut costs and increase revenue because you’ll be spending less time explaining a customer’s need and the solution your business provides.
- Increase Conversion Rate: Turning leads into customers is one of the biggest obstacles for a small business. By choosing to focus on increasing your conversion rate, you will have more qualified leads which will increase sales.
- Increase Lead Quantity: Especially at the beginning of an inbound marketing campaign, you will not be able to properly improve your lead quality because you will still be fine-tuning your inbound strategy. Therefore, a good beginning goal is to generate an increased quantity of leads so that you can properly analyze how they were obtained and how to improve your inbound strategy.
- Increase Website Traffic and Brand Awareness: Inbound marketing combines many different content avenues (Blogs, eBooks, Social Media, Email Marketing, Pay-Per-Click, and more) to spread the word about your business. If this is your goal for your inbound marketing campaign, a structured content strategy is all the more important, as is guest blogging and other options to increase the amount of links to your site from others.
Aspects of Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing employs your website as a sales rep for your company, driving traffic and generating more leads. In the process, each piece of content will have it’s own goal along the buying process.
- Getting Found Online: This is all about your content strategy and promoting that content. The most successful content is direct and provides useful content to visitors.
- Converting Visitors and Leads: This is the ultimate goal of any marketing strategy. Use Hubspot’s Buyer’s Journey to funnel visitors from one step to the next with offers and Calls-to-Action (CTA).
- Analyzing and Improving: Your first campaign will not be as successful as you like, which is why having a plan and goal from the beginning is so important. Luckily, almost everything people do online is trackable, offering plenty of data on what aspects of your campaign are working and which need improvement. Some important metrics to track are:
- Traffic to Leads
- Cost per Lead
- Leads to Customer
- Cost per Customer
Inbound Marketing and Your Business
According to B2B Content Marketing Survey by Marketing Profs in 2016, 32% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy. 53% of the most effective marketers have a strategy, and 40% of the least effective marketers don’t have a clearly defined content strategy. Having a plan and sticking to that plan is one of the most important aspects of inbound marketing, but means nothing if you don’t promote it and analyze it.
Hubspot’s Lindsay Thibeault recommends to “spend as much time on content promotion as you do with creating a piece of content.” Inbound marketing is a long-term process that does not offer immediate results. However, for the best results, you need to come up with a strategy, follow through with it, and analyze the data.
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Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017