Picture this. It’s a Friday night, and you’re deciding where you want to eat dinner. As you walk down the street, you’re overwhelmed by an abundance of options. Storefront posters shout weekly specials, stapled flyers advertise happy hours, promoters beckon passersby into newly opened spots, all merging into a blur of sensations.
But then, you hear it, your favorite song playing amidst the thrum of the busy street. You follow the sound to a restaurant you hadn’t noticed on the first pass, where the music continues to bump along on outdoor speakers. From the patio, you catch the smell of fresh food leaving the kitchen, getting your stomach growling and enticing you further. Stepping inside, a waiter passes by, carrying your favorite dish to a nearby table. Taking in the room’s ambiance, you turn to your friends and proclaim you’ve found tonight’s spot.
Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve had you go through this foodie fantasy with me. Part of it might be that I’m writing this blog around lunchtime and can’t help but steal glances out the window at our neighborhood sushi spot while I type. But more importantly, it serves as a perfect analogy to illustrate the value of inbound marketing and what it can do to improve lead generation for your business.
So What IS Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a methodology centered on drawing potential customers to your brand instead of trying to push your brand out in the market. Rather than utilizing external marketing tactics like TV ads, billboards, and flyers, an inbound marketing strategy seeks to attract customers by creating valuable content and experiences catered to them. Put broadly, outbound marketing brings your offering to your prospects, while inbound marketing brings your prospects to you. In doing so, you guide potential customers to your website with a pre-established positive impression—making it more likely that they’ll go with your product or service when they’re ready to buy.
Inbound marketing is content-led and hinges on providing potential customers with content that is genuinely meaningful to them. Because of its content-led nature, inbound marketing boosts SEO and organic traffic acquisition and builds trust and credibility in your brand by positioning your company as a thought leader in the market. Throughout the customer journey, the goal of inbound marketing is to add value. To be successful, you must attract users to your website with relevant and high-quality content, engaging with them and clarifying your value proposition. You must also delight users by acting as a reliable partner with a vested interest in their long-term success.
Building Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Proper planning and optimization will be critical to the success of your inbound marketing program. Creating compelling content is about strategic planning and commitment rather than budget. You can’t just throw money at content creation and expect to come away with something compelling, you have to put your head and heart into the work. With that in mind, here are some thought-starters to create and maintain your inbound marketing strategy.
Know Your Audience and Space
Defining your business goals and buyer personas should be the genesis of any inbound marketing effort. You can’t write content to inform your customers until you’ve identified your target audience and learned all you can about them.
In the same vein, choosing the right platforms to distribute your marketing materials on will be critical in ensuring your content reaches the right prospects. Determine the best way to reach your target audience, whether through Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere, to ensure your content gets to the right prospects.
Create a Journey Worth Taking
With effective inbound marketing, there should never be a dull moment in the customer journey, from impression to engagement. Aim to provide content across the customer experience. Preemptively answer the questions prospective customers will likely have at each stage of their buying journey. What makes you unique? Why should they listen to what you have to say? Successful inbound marketing tells prospective customers a unique and compelling story about your brand from first sight to final sale.
Consistency is Key
Inbound marketing is a game of consistency. Maintaining a constant stream of content tailored to your market’s current pain points and questions supports you in staying relevant and building your brand’s perception as a trusted thought leader. To effectively support your inbound marketing strategy, prioritize creating and executing on a content calendar without fail. A set schedule ensures relevant content will consistently engage your audience and keep your brand fresh in consumers’ minds. And in case you need more convincing, a 2021 Hubspot study found that brands who publish blog content at least 16 times a month generate 3.5x more website traffic and 4.5x more leads than companies that only update their blogs a few times a month.
Measure the Metrics that Matter
There’s a plethora of metrics to choose from when measuring the success of your inbound marketing strategy. From analyzing SEO rankings to measuring inbound links, these resources give valuable insight into how your campaigns perform. Prioritize regular auditing and analysis of these metrics while managing your inbound marketing to understand how effective your efforts have been and see how they can improve. If particular topics are gaining the most traction with viewers, concentrate on these areas and find unique ways to expand upon. If certain content is not generating or retaining enough attention, there is your sign to pivot.
Now that you’ve got your strategy set and these best practices behind you, here are some examples of engaging online content to fuel your inbound marketing efforts.
A mainstay of content creation, blogs are the perfect way to answer your prospects’ pressing questions or pique their interest with accessible long-form content. According to HubSpot, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to get a positive ROI than those who don’t.
Imagine that you’re the owner of a growing business in the market for a piece of cybersecurity software that you’re unfamiliar with. You sort through an endless stream of ads and webinars talking about concepts and capabilities that all fly over your head, leaving you utterly lost. But while browsing through one company’s website, you come across a case study telling the story of a company eerily similar to yours. Reading their testimonial and hearing how transformational the software has been for them, you can’t help but think that it could do the same for your business. Emboldened by the relatable success story, you confidently choose to purchase the cybersecurity software.
That’s the power of a case study. Allowing you to focus on different customer personas in your market, case studies sway fence-sitting customers with highly-tailored promises of success.
As helpful and engaging as written content can be, people don’t always have the patience to sit down with 1000 words about humanized homepages. Often, prospective customers just want a quick snapshot of insightful data packaged in an easily digestible and aesthetically pleasing format.
It isn’t always easy to inject your brand’s personality into written content. While more informal content like blog posts have some wiggle-room, highly polished pieces like whitepapers and case studies often lose the human voice behind your brand.
That’s where webinars come in. Webinars-an internet seminar presenting lecture-style content to an exclusive audience-create the feeling that your brand is in direct conversation with prospective customers. They let consumers connect with the people powering your company rather than interfacing with an impersonal business entity. Additionally, the ability to request information from prospective customers for entrance to the webinar serves as a phenomenal lead generation tactic.
It’s no secret that video content is an enormous part of marketing. It’s engaging, constantly growing, and makes up the majority of content audiences across industries are digesting on platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. But a key trend to capitalize on with your video content lies in its size.
While written content benefits from long-form structure, video content functions best when bite-sized. While things can vary based on platform or user persona, a general rule is that social media users will lose interest in videos longer than a minute or two.
No matter what path you decide to take your inbound marketing strategy down, Bluetext offers expert advising and cutting-edge capabilities to ensure you’ll have everything you need to succeed. Contact us to learn how inbound marketing can grow your business.