In the past ten years or so, marketing has changed drastically, and traditional outbound marketing simply doesn’t work as well as it did in the past. People block ads in their browsers, fast forward through TV commercials, and unsubscribe from email lists. How, then, do you attract customers in this climate? You have to get them to come to you. Inbound marketing through a company blog, ebooks, and other resources will help build trust with your customers and ultimately lead to sales.
Of course, just like any other type of marketing, there are right and wrong ways to employ inbound marketing for your business.
Your content needs to be strong, you need to attract the right type of lead, and then you have to nurture that relationship in hopes of eventually turning that lead into a customer.
Adhere to the following inbound marketing best practices to get a good start.
Create Compelling Content
The first thing you need when setting up an inbound strategy is content. This is key because the goal is to create a relationship with each prospective customer that comes to your site. This content needs to be genuinely helpful to your target customer. Don’t try to sell them something with every post. Brainstorm your content calendar by looking at what types of information a customer might trust coming from you. For example, a brand that sells healthy snack foods could position itself as an expert on healthy eating. Every post doesn’t have to be directly relevant to the brand’s products, but each post should serve the goal of positioning it as a thought leader in healthy eating.
Once you know what you want to write about, you need to look at how it should be written. All the normal best practices of internet writing apply here. Don’t be too wordy; between 500 and 1,000 words for a post is ideal. Use images and graphics to pique readers’ interest. Use subheads and bullet points to break up the text, and match the vernacular with the target audience.
Distribute Your Content
Customers aren’t just going to come to your blog or website immediately once you start posting content. You have to find them where they are and make that content available. Start with social media. Your company should already have an account on most major social media networks -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Sharing each blog post to networks like these with relevant hashtags so interested people can find you is a great place to start.
You’re also going to have to get into the SEO game -- optimizing your site and content so search engines will rank your content higher is essential to potential customers finding you. You should also link to other posts on your company’s blog within each post. Customers can click through and find more posts and resources they’re interested in, which strengthens their trust in your brand.
Use Effective Call-to-Action Language
When a customer comes to your site, you’ll want to gently guide them to the content you want to show them. You can do this through personalization as well as through calls to action. You want your potential customers to gladly give you their contact information, and there are a few proven tactics you can use. The easiest and least intrusive is a call-to-action button at the bottom of your posts. The call-to-action should be customized to fit with what you think will connect best with the target demographic. You can also require readers to sign up for certain premium content, like downloadable PDFs, webinars, or ebooks.
If you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management) system, which is the best way to easily convert leads to customers, acquiring an email address will trigger your automated drip marketing campaign. This campaign should cater to the customer’s wants and needs based on how you brought them in. For instance, if they gave you their email address in order to download an ebook, you can have an immediate email set up with a permalink to the ebook and more content, like a video or an exclusive blog post.
Done effectively, this type of nurturing campaign has a strong likelihood of converting leads into customers.
Ready to begin your inbound marketing journey, or revamp existing efforts? Let's talk