A Fresh, Client-Focused Approach that Benefits Your Brand
With so many online opportunities and an abundance of information available at their fingertips, buyers today are more empowered than ever before.
They can search for reviews, detailed specs, pricing comparisons, and product features at any time of the day with just a few clicks.
And thanks to social media, they’re encouraged to share their feedback anytime, from anywhere around the world.
Markets are saturated with the endless options available to users. Because of this, the attention span of the average user has decreased significantly, making it harder to stand out from the competition.
It’s never been more important to highlight your brand’s expertise, authority, trust, and reputation—and that starts with implementing an inbound marketing strategy for your business.
A Shift to Smarter Marketing
Traditionally, outbound marketing tactics focus on desperately grabbing the customer’s attention, even if that meant irritating ads, obnoxious popups, flashy content, or other cheap attempts at a sale.
These methods were and are erratic, annoying, and interrupted the buyer’s journey, making a purchase less likely.
What’s appealing about inbound marketing is that it allows a business to target precisely what the customer is looking for seamlessly and without unnecessary interruptions. Instead of desperately demanding attention, businesses have the power to help point the customer in the right direction and answer any questions they may have when it comes to the products or services they want.
No gimmicks, no shady tactics. Pure and simple.
When you make the journey less intrusive with no interruptions or hoops to jump through to get from point A to point B, it builds trust.
Ultimately, you’re increasing the likelihood that they will buy what you’re selling because they’re more likely to trust you over other brands. You’ve educated them and made their journey enjoyable, and that’s the most important part for a customer.
Here’s an overview of then versus now marketing:
Business marketing strategies have evolved from an “all about me” approach into something more customer-centric.
Where things were once all about promoting how great and awesome and amazing a brand was, the modern approach is to focus on the customer first, engaging with them in a less direct manner.
Don’t get us wrong, though, we’re not trying to say these businesses aren’t awesome—it’s just that their approach suffers from too narrow a focus on their own backyard.
Really, it should be about showing a customer you understand their situation, the challenges they face, and how you can provide a meaningful solution.
After all, emotions dictate our decisions, so if you’re prioritizing the needs of your audience, you’ll prove to them that you’re vested in how they feel.
Building a relationship with your buyers is the most important tactic you can implement in your overall strategy. Rather than short-term blasts of personality that are often perceived as a transparent ploy, engage and foster a real connection with people.
It’s also crucial to utilize many channels to ensure your business outreach is expanding as far as possible. Don’t just spend your time isolated on a few channels or you’re going to miss out!
Relying on a third-party for your data comes with its shortcomings. It can lead to ineffective decision making due to irrelevant, unavailable, or unclear data.
But big data is different.
Far from a buzzword, big data refers to the info you gather through your day-to-day marketing and the services you provide.
Extracting and analyzing big data reveals patterns, behaviours, trends, and helps businesses learn how to strategize effectively. When you understand human behaviour and how real people (not bots or personas) interact online, you can see where your opportunities are and make fact-based decisions.
Think of outbound marketing as a giant megaphone or speaker making noise in attempt to get attention. Inbound marketing is more like a fine-tuned magnet attracting customers.
The way you engage with your customers can make or break your sale, not to mention your business. There’s been a much-needed shift away from demographic-based mass advertising, largely because this approach isn’t terribly effective.
Consumers know cookie-cutter approaches when they see them.
When they spot these approaches, they’re most likely to walk away or ignore them outright. These approaches leave customers feeling misunderstood or unrepresented at best and outright frustrated at worst.
Engaging customers starts with targeting individual behaviours observed through big data. Sounds like a challenge, right? The good news is it’s easy to develop a strategy based on behaviour trends when you have the right tools—or a certified team of experts at your fingertips.
What is Inbound Marketing?
How It Works
In order for inbound marketing to work, the methodology is made up of three crucial stages: attract, engage, delight.
Each stage is designed to foster trust, credibility, and authority when it comes to how the outside world views your brand. It’s about taking your customers on a journey and adding value every step of the way.
From a business perspective, it’s the best shot you’ve got to make your customers legitimately happy (or delighted) and, as a result, grow your business based on their loyalty and referrals.
Three Pillars of the Inbound Marketing Methodology
Getting traffic and leads is great, but you know what’s better? Quality leads from the right traffic.
How do you get them, though?
It starts with developing your buyer personas and strategizing appropriately based on behaviours, feelings, pain points, and desires. Think about the tactics that were done with outbound marketing and how they’ve been adapted to reflect the change in how we shop today.
Rather than casting a wide net to attract a large group of random people who may not be quality leads or potential customers, it’s about focusing in on that one quality prospect and marketing to their needs.
When creating quality content, sharing that content on social media, and ensuring you’re following the best organic search practices every day, you’re bound to attract the right customer who will be with you for life and refer you to their network.
Tools to Attract
- Content Strategy
- Social Media
So you’ve attracted high-quality leads to your site—what now? It’s like coming across a majestic buck on your morning hike and wanting to take a photo; you need move just right, or they’ll get spooked, bolt, and be gone forever.
When it comes to engaging your buyer in hopes of converting them, you need to develop engaging conversion tools like CTAs, lead flows, and forms to curate their information while they’re on your site. You need to give them a reason to want to offer this information to you. Offering an incentive like a tutorial video, eBook, guide, free trial, or other useful information will motivate them to provide you with their contact information.
This is also where the trustworthiness of your brand comes into play and whether your prospects think you have what they need.
Nurturing loyalty begins with engaging prospects and creating lasting relationships with them on their preferred channels – email, chat, bots, messaging apps, and social media. Opening the door to communication to gather as much information from them as possible will help you better understand their needs.
Demonstrating how you understand their interests and needs is the cornerstone to inbound marketing.
Tools to Engage:
- Newsletter campaigns
- Guides & training modules
- Free tutorials
The delight stage is all about continuing to offer exceptional service and experiences for your customers.
From communication and smart, memorable content to helping your customers succeed, it’s so important to take the necessary strides to delight your customers after a sale.
If they notice a positive difference in how they’re treated post-purchase, they’ll have a much higher opinion of your business. And as a result, they’ll likely buy more, become loyal customers, and refer your business to their friends and family.
Picture this: You’ve just bought a snowblower online and a few days later you receive an email from the same company promoting their line of snowblowers. It’s clear they don’t pay attention to their customers and the journey they took to make the purchase. The last thing you want to do is make a sales pitch to someone who just bought something from your business.
Now imagine you’ve just purchased a snowblower online and you receive an email in your inbox a few days later thanking you for your purchase, asking you how you like your new product, and whether you have any feedback , suggestions, or questions for the supplier. They’re making a lasting connecting with you and showing you they care by not spamming you with cookie-cutter emails that don’t pertain to you or your place in the buyer’s journey.
The goal here is to develop smart content and calls-to-action to your prospects and customers who are in various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Tools to Delight:
- Email marketing
- Chats and bots
You can also delight them by creating memorable content in various formats like video, graphics, gifs, stories, infographics, and more. With memorable, engaging content, your customers and prospects will want to share your content with their network. The more memorable your content is, the more they are willing to share, resulting in more leads to your business.
Maintain your role as an empathetic business with authority and expertise in the field to continue to delight your buyers.
5 Elements of A Strong Inbound Marketing Strategy
Effective search engine optimization strategies put you on the map, set you apart from your competition, and keep you one step ahead of the game.
But organic SEO strategies will only work if they follow the rules and guidelines set by Google. And even then, there are often unforeseen factors that can negatively impact your rankings. Following basic industry standards isn’t enough sometimes.
Your website structure, design, content, and social presence need to emphasize user experience and the journey a customer experiences when navigating through your website, landing page, and social channels.
Read More: Locally Sourced SEO Success
The number one rule set forth by Google is to prioritize the user. If you’re not thinking of the user, you can expect lower rankings on leading search engines.
We all know what happens if you’re not on page one or two of Google – you’re not going to get any business.
“There are many aspects of SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply the matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand,” – Moz.
When thinking of SEO, it’s important also to consider code and link-building and not just keywords.
When search engines crawl your site, you want them to encounter as few issues as possible – and that’s achieved by executing excellent code and ensuring your links are structured, purposeful, and organized.
While the organic SEO approach to attract and engage prospects is a big part of the inbound marketing methodology, PPC (Pay-Per-Click marketing) play a significant role here too despite being a paid tactic
Both SEO and PPC are integral elements that make up a strong marketing strategy; one fosters long-term results through an organic approach while the other guarantees a spot on the first page for a defined period of time. Together they will yield the highest volume of quality leads to your site.
Read More: Using PPC To Amplify Your Message
PPC ensures your ads are visible to your audience and give you more control over viewing results, where you appear on the search results page, and whether a tweak in Google’s algorithm will wipe you from the board.
As one of the most powerful tools for any marketer, PPC must be incorporated with your inbound marketing strategy.
3. Content Marketing
This is the heart of inbound marketing. It’s what fuels the journey that turns strangers into leads into prospects into buyers into loyal customers. Content is the most crucial aspect of your marketing strategy and can make a significant difference in what results you get from your efforts.
It’s more than just producing content, you must break through the noise and have your unique story heard, shared, and understood. You also need to tell your story in a way that resonates with your audience and sparks their curiosity.
Aside from adhering to the basics of writing good content – like ensuring readability, proper grammar and vocabulary – your content needs to engage, inspire, educate, and entertain your audience all while effectively keeping branding and tone uniform.
Content that truly speaks to your audience evokes emotion – and when it does, they’ll remember your brand. And if you’re lucky, it may even get a laugh or two, or probably just a quick, shallow exhale through the nostrils.
But hey – at least that’s something!
Where to Begin
- Case Studies
4. Social Media Marketing
Unfortunately, you can’t just have a website and a landing page or two and call it a day. You must be active on social media and have a presence in your community that speaks to your unique audience.
Attracting new and returning prospects is achieved by sharing and promoting your content on various social channels that make the most sense for your brand and the audience you’re trying to reach. What’s the point in making exceptional content when no one is around to notice?
Making sure your content reaches the right people is where social media comes into play. Your audience is likely on the most popular social channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn – it’s up to you to determine which platforms are the most relevant and where you should be focusing your efforts.
Tending to your social channels is kin to tending to your garden. If you neglect one channel, you’ll lose trust from your audience which causes your engagement, shares, and followers to plummet. You need to constantly nurture your social channels regularly with high-quality, engaging content that sticks to a schedule.
5. Landing Pages
Whether they’ve clicked on your call-to-action or they’ve performed a specific search for something you can offer, landing pages are a highly sophisticated element of digital marketing. They need to be concise, to the point with a considerable emphasis on performance and UX/UI.
If your landing page isn’t intuitive, lacks creativity, or has a few design or content errors, you risk jeopardizing potential conversions.
The key to a successful, profitable landing page campaign is to build it based on focus, relevancy, and design.
Focus – This is achieved by asking yourself what the goal of this landing page is and clarify its single purpose. Is it to sell a product? Get people to sign up for a newsletter? Whatever the purpose may be, focus your landing page on harnessing that goal.
Also, ensure your CTAs hit the mark and are visible above the fold and throughout the page (but don’t get spammy!).
Relevancy – Just as you want to have a unifying focus, your landing page also needs to be relevant to the purpose or call-to-action. For example, if your prospects visit your page from an ad or search about shoe repair, you wouldn’t want to send them to your landing page about tailoring services.
Design – As the most important factor involved when it comes to engaging visitors and keeping them engaged, your design must meet industry standards and go through various quality assurance testing and A/B testing to ensure your landing page is reaching its potential. Use formats like images, videos, trust signals, review and rating badges, and testimonials to boost the quality of your landing page.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Adopting the inbound methodology will help you build a trustworthy brand. As we’ve said before, when you prove to your audience that you are an expert, an authority in your field, and trustworthy, it yields long-term, tangible results and growth for your business.
Here are a few ways your business will benefit from switching to inbound marketing:
- Build trust
- Increase brand awareness
- Get quality leads
- Strengthen and support your ongoing SEO efforts
- Have a better understanding of your audience and what they want
- Generate shares on social
- Effectively communicate with your audience through various channels
- Promote customer engagement with your brand 24/7
- Boosting your inbound links
Top 5 Inbound Marketing FAQs
Can I Pick and Choose Various Elements as I Go?
Yes, though it’s not advised if you want the best results. Your marketing strategy should incorporate all moving parts that work together as a whole. Elements like content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media – we know each part plays a significant role, but they’re stronger if they support each other.
Think of this as a hockey team – if you have only one or two star players who hog the puck you’re not likely to win any championships. Whereas if your whole team works cohesively as one, you’re sure to bring home the big win.
How Does Inbound Marketing Impact ROI?
Inbound marketing is less costly than more traditional marketing efforts. Spending less on strategies that strive to build brand awareness, drive traffic, convert leads, and strengthen your brand means you can focus your resources on other areas of your business.
What is certain is that the long-term health of your business is directly correlated by your brand’s authority in the industry and whether you’re able to retain customers while building trust and credibility with new ones.
Can I Just Use One Social Platform, Like Facebook?
No. Engage with all audiences across various social platforms to get your unified message across as effectively as possible. The most effective social channels for both B2B and B2C marketers are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Other channels such as YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. are also effective depending on your products and services and the needs of your audience.
Can I do this myself?
Yes, you can hire your own marketers, but the benefit of employing an experienced agency like SEO TWIST is that you have an entire team of certified professionals from every department – social, content marketing, design, development, SEO, etc. – who are working together to get results for your business.
When Will I See Results?
There are so many factors at play that’s it’s hard to definitively say when you’ll see results after switching to an inbound marketing strategy.
Your industry, your website performance, how often content is produced, the engagement and quality of that content, and so many more elements play a role in your results. It’s best to think of inbound as a marathon-approach to your marketing strategy that will yield effective, consistent, long-term results.
It’s clear that the shift from outbound marketing to the inbound methodology has a greater potential to yield long-term results for your business.
In the world of inbound, quality is the name of the game, and whether you’re on board or not, your prospects are leading the way. Take the plunge to inbound and boost your brand’s trust, authority, and expertise to show the world who you really are.