In our last post, Are you Ready to Invest in Paid Marketing? we shared a list of areas to evaluate before starting paid ads. A big part of the conversation included evaluating your inbound marketing efforts. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into what inbound marketing is. Why it’s so important. And how you can start using inbound marketing tactics today.
Inbound marketing, also commonly referred to as organic marketing, is a marketing method that attracts, engages, and delights your audience. The audience can be current customers, prospects, advocates, or simply strangers. The great thing about inbound marketing is that it reaches your audience at whatever stage in the customer journey they are in.
Unlike outbound marketing, which targets an audience that may not be seeking your offer at the time, inbound marketing can engage, attract, and delight anyone — regardless if they just became aware of your brand, are considering purchasing, or are loyal customers.
Inbound marketing can look like a search engine optimized website, helpful blogs, encouraging social media posts, email newsletters sharing solutions to problems, and much more. You’ve likely been leveraging inbound marketing tactics since you started your business!
When you attract, engage, and delight your audience consistently over time, you build trust, gain customers, and create brand loyalty.
If you understand your customer (or client) journey, you’re able to understand what support they need at every phase and create tailored content to support them through it. By answering their questions, solving their problems, and providing support — all for free — you’re building loyalty and showing potential customers you want them to succeed.
Inbound marketing typically generates warmer leads than outbound tactics since potential customers have had time to interact with your content, learn about your offers, and build a level of trust. When they convert to a lead, they are ready for a sale.
There are four general stages in inbound marketing to gain organic business growth:
Outlining these stages before diving into actual strategies helps set the stage for why each of these tactics is important in your customer journey. Let’s dive into various ways you can implement inbound marketing across the customer journey.
Is your website search engine optimized? Having a website that shows up in search engines when people look for your content is one of the most common ways to attract an audience organically.
Then, when people get to your website, does it connect with them? This can be done through thoughtful branding and design, clear calls to action, engaging copywriting, and testimonials for social proof. Having a website that is discoverable on search engines and connects with your audience helps achieve the first stage of attracting your audience through your content.
Content creation is something most business owners are familiar with. It includes blog posts, videos, freebies, infographics, e-books, case studies, social media posts, and more. Ideally, this content is helpful for your audience, is engaging, attracts visitors to your brand, and ultimately helps convert visitors into leads.
The key to effective content creation is for your content to resonate with your audience and provide value. Your content will look different depending on the stage of the customer journey you are trying to connect with, so be sure to create a variety of content that will resonate with people all along the way.
Email marketing supports nurturing leads into customers. Those who subscribe to your email list are telling you, “I want to hear from you!” It’s then your job to build a relationship with them and convince them that you have the solution to the problem they came looking for in your content. Email marketing is a great way to share valuable content, client testimonials and transformations, and build trust, so the audience sees you as the person to go to for ____ (<– insert what you do here).
In the virtual world, these are often done through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These events are for the community you’ve already built through organic marketing tactics. Delighting your current audience (and current customers) with valuable content and free support builds a network of brand advocates and repeat buyers. It’s essential to never forget about your existing community and not get lost in pursuing a constant growth of new followers. Consistently serving your current audience is necessary for sustained business growth.
Creating and maintaining a holistic inbound marketing strategy takes a lot of thought, effort, research, and analyzing what’s working and what’s not. While nobody should feel like they need to do everything at once, over time most business owners will realize the gaps in their customer journey can be filled through some new strategic inbound marketing tactics or by further optimizing their current inbound marketing efforts.
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