How to Get Started With Inbound Marketing
There isn’t much of a point of putting together a great product or service if you aren’t able to get it in front of the people that need it. This is the whole idea behind marketing. However, the way we think about marketing has evolved over the last decade.
Inbound marketing is a means of creating engagement with potential customers or clients. It differs from traditional methods of marketing in that it is based around the idea of attraction.
Traditional marketing — TV commercials, billboards, pop up ads — focuses attention outwards. It puts the company’s message in front of the consumer.
Inbound marketing, however, creates a framework that offers meaningful interactions that provide a benefit to the consumer before a transaction is even completed.
This has been shown to be a more effective marketing method in the current environment of heavy internet use. Marketing agencies are no longer focused on catchy gimmicks to steal the attention of the consumer. Instead, their efforts are aimed at creating something worthwhile that will organically draw them toward the product or service.
But how do you integrate this method of marketing into your company’s strategy? What can you do to set yourself up for success once your inbound efforts are launched?
Here are 5 things you can do to get a successful inbound marketing strategy off the ground:
- Put Together Buyer Personas
- Study the Market
- Use This Information to Shape Your Strategy
- Implement Your Strategy
- Be Patient
Put Together Buyer Personas
You need to know who your customers are before you start tailoring your strategy toward them. And the best way to do this is to create buyer personas. As stated by Hubspot:
“Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service).”
These personas can be created through an investigation into your sales records, any available market research, and even direct interviews with your customers.
Speak to your sales team. Have they noticed any overarching similarities in their customers? What generalizations can be made from these observations?
Any patterns found in this information can be used to create these fictionalized personas. Separate them by similar demographics and motivations.
Who are these people and why do they connect with your service?
Compile similar attributes into individual personas. Name them something easy to remember. Use alliteration. For instance, an athletics company marketing toward high school athletes might use “Soccer Sally” to represent a section of their customer base.
These names might seem silly, but they make it much easier to solidify your messaging toward certain groups of potential customers.
Study the Market
Now that you have a better understanding of your ideal customers, you need to understand the environment surrounding them. This includes industry trends, competitor performance, and effective methods.
What’s working for your competitors? What isn’t? How are your ideal customers most effectively engaged?
This information can be used to point you in the right direction as to where you should apply your efforts.
What types of content create the most engagement? How do your services compare to those of your competitors? How do you set yourself apart from them?
Use This Information to Shape Your Strategy
Inbound marketing takes a lot of different forms. One of the more common forms is to create an informative and frequently-updated blog. This is a great way to create explanatory content relating to your industry that provides immediate benefits to your visitors while also setting you up as an authority on the subject.
Ebooks are another great way to accomplish this, but the written word is only one way inbound marketing creates engagement. Videos and social media campaigns are also extremely popular methods.
Combine what you learned from your market research with your buyer personas to figure out how to best connect with your potential customers.
Implement Your Strategy
Now that you have an informed strategy, it’s time to bring it to life. Put together a team that can provide quality content — whether this includes content writers, social media specialists, or videographers.
Create quality content and put it out according to a schedule.
Blogs should be frequently updated. Social media channels should receive attention every day. Create and post videos to be included in both blogs and social media posts.
The success of these strategies can be easily tracked. Watch the amount of visits to your website, but pay attention to what they do after they are there.
Do they quickly click off your website, leading to a high bounce rate? Do they explore your website without making a purchase?
Or do your leads show a steady increase?
These trends can be used to alter your inbound strategy over time.
Inbound marketing strategies rely on a gradual build-up of quality content. You aren’t likely to see an immediate, large spike in visitors to your website.
That being said, you should see a positive trend, even if you aren’t rocketing to the front page of relevant search queries.
Red flags can be addressed and corrected, but a successful inbound marketing strategy will take time to mature.
Focus your efforts on creating and sharing quality content and pay attention to how people are interacting with it.
Inbound marketing is a rewarding and effective means of connecting with your customer base when it’s done correctly.