Inbound marketing is an umbrella term for forms of marketing that pull visitors to your site. This is in contrast to outbound marketing that focuses on actively trying to recruit customers with paid ads. Inbound marketing includes strategies such as content and social media marketing with the overall goal of attracting the target audience to your product.
The general aim of inbound marketing is to attract visitors, gain quality leads and convert them into customers. Startups have mastered the art of inbound marketing by creating a diverse array of relevant content.
For small businesses, inbound marketing will give you the best bang for your buck. In fact, statistics from Invesp show that “the average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing.” This is absolutely the smartest way to invest your time.
Understanding where to start can be difficult, so we’ve compiled 5 tips to get you on track. Keep reading to learn how to generate more traffic, gain quality leads and make more sales with inbound marketing.
5 Inbound Marketing Strategies:
- Understand the target audience:
In order to attract people to your site, you need to have a solid understanding of who your target audience is and what they are looking for. You can begin to do this by looking at your current customer base. You should be looking for the customers who spend the most money and those who return to purchase again. Find the common thread that leads them to your product.
Think about how your product benefits people and what problems it solves. Understanding this can give insight into who is seeking the product or service. Build out a list with all of the benefits your product provides along with any unique features.
Now, what demographic will gain the most from the benefits of your product? This is your target audience. Keep specific demographics in mind. For example:
- Income level
- Geographic location
A great way to get a grasp on your target audience is by looking at who the competition is targeting. This doesn’t mean you should go after the same audience. In fact, you should use this information to further mold your brand for a niche market. Researching your competition should help further clarify any gaps that your product can fill.
Here are a few easy research tools that can help you identify your target audience:
- Surveys: One useful tool for understanding your customer’s needs is through surveys. You can do this by sending a simple survey to your email list. Use this survey to understand the issues and struggles your customers face. This information can be used to create content that addresses common problems and questions that your target audience has.
- Facebook Insights: If you have a Facebook page for your business, you can easily access your customer demographics. Just click on the “Insights” link and then click on “People” in the sidebar. This will give you an idea of the demographics that apply to your company. You can use this information to attract potential leads.
- Google Analytics: Who better to learn from than Google? Google Analytics can give you a clear idea of who visits your site the most. This tool will identify visitors to the site according to age, gender, lifestyle, and what products they’re likely to purchase.
Remember, your target audience is out there, it’s up to you to do the research and identify them. If you put some time and effort in here, your inbound marketing strategy will be more effective and successful.
- Create quality content:
Once you get a good idea of your target audience, you need to create the appropriate content. The content you create is the foundation for attracting leads and making conversions. Your content should be highly informative and genuinely useful to your audience. You can create blogs, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and eBooks. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Step-by-step guides and tutorials
- Product reviews
- List articles
- Interviews with experts
- Product comparisons
You should be conducting research to understand what’s trending in your niche. Address these topics with valuable, informative content. Obviously, this means your content should be created for your site and not taken from somewhere else. In fact, Google’s algorithm will rank a site quite low for posting copied content. It also means your content should be unique.
That’s where niche content comes into play. A niche topic is a segment of a larger category that appeals to a specific part of the population. Creating a niche guarantees you attract the right people to your site.
Think of it this way: the more niche your content is, the less competition you have and the more valuable your site becomes. So how do you find your niche? Here are some pointers to get you started:
- Choose a topic you know. Sure, it’s possible to research topics you know nothing about, but your content will come across more knowledgeable if you have some background experience.
- Figure out if your topic is profitable. Use Google Analytics to understand search trends related to the topic. If it’s in decline, then head back to the drawing board.
- Can you get smaller? How many search results come up with your topic? If you can narrow it down further, while staying profitable, do so.
- Use a keyword tool. A keyword tool can give some information on how often a key phrase is searched. This is a great way to find a niche that gets a decent search volume without heavy competition.
Okay, now that you have a niche for your content, it’s all about creating great content. Offering content that is actually useful will give your site more authority in the field. Visitors will be more likely to look to your site for advice and you’ll gain more quality leads. The following tips will help you craft excellent content for your site:
- Craft a great headline.
- Stay organized and relevant.
- Give actionable advice.
- Offer a clear solution to a problem.
- Use trustworthy data.
- Use compelling images.
- Avoid too much fluff.
Guides and tutorials are a great way to start attracting visitors. People are attracted to this type of content because they offer a direct answer to a problem. People turn to Google for answers and if your content can provide that, you’ll get more traffic.
Creating a steady stream of original content can be a hefty task. If you’d rather not write your own blog posts, or if you need some help, turn to Upwork or Fiverr to find freelance writers.
- Build a great home page:
You’re doing yourself a huge injustice if you have a subpar home page. Your home page is probably the most important factor in keeping visitors on the site and converting them into leads. There is no point in doing the work to attract visitors if your home page is mediocre.
A web design survey by Good Firms clearly demonstrates the most common mistakes made by small businesses. The number one mistake that is made is a crowded web design. In fact, 84.6% of the designers reported seeing this mistake most often.
Another common error in homepage design is unclear navigation. According to the same survey, 30.8% of website designers found that complicated navigation is a sure-fire way to drive visitors away from the site.
A good home page doesn’t overwhelm the visitor. When someone visits your site, it should be clear what they can gain, why they should trust you, and what they should do next. Use plain language and a minimalist design to achieve this. There a few basic features that all good homepages should have:
- The headline: this should let the visitor know what the site is about.
- Your company logo: Your brand should always be on display at the forefront of the website.
- Website navigation: Visitors should be able to find their way around the site with ease. Include a search bar if necessary.
- Call to Action: Include multiple calls-to-action to guide the visitor through the buying cycle.
- Testimonials: Customer reviews, awards, and testimonials add credibility to the site.
Remember, the first thing the visitor should see is what you offer. This should be accompanied by a quick blurb describing what the product does. Lastly, it’s always great to have a quick line describing your qualifications. SiteGround has an excellent example of what a great home page should look like.
- Establish customer relationships
Gaining the attention of the target audience is certainly a challenge, making it that much more important to keep their attention once you have it. Here’s the deal: the vast majority of marketers struggle with lead generation. One major reason for this is not following up with leads in an effective way.
Luckily, an email list is an easy fix to this problem. A report published by Return Path shows that 85% of executives believe “email marketing performance is increasing,” with more than half saying performance is increasing at a significant rate. This data reflects a general consensus that email marketing is one of the best ways to connect to the lead and increase conversions.
Building an email list is a solid way to build a relationship with leads and existing customers. Do this by offering an e-book or exclusive content in exchange for contact information. Here’s how to run a successful email campaign:
- Use a great email marketing service for helpful management.
- Don’t spam your contacts with useless information.
- Create exclusive content for your contacts.
- Encourage the customer to engage by clicking on links.
Email campaigns have proven to be incredibly valuable for converting leads and keeping customers interested. This is especially true if you use it for an extended period of time. So, stick with it and it will pay off.
Email campaigns are just the tip of the iceberg here. Social media will be your best friend when it comes to establishing customer relationships. A company that takes the time to respond to comments and direct messages from customers will really stand out.
The reason why social media is such a valuable tool for small business all comes down to one important factor: customer engagement. This relates heavily to inbound marketing because customers and leads will turn to your social media page for answers. A study by Sprout Social shows five key reasons customers may visit your social media page:
- A comment about an offline experience.
- A comment about an online experience.
- Praise for the product or service.
- An issue with the product or service.
- A question for the company.
As you can see, social media gives you the opportunity to create a positive interaction with your customers. How does this benefit your business? People who are satisfied with their social media interaction are more likely to become a new or return customer.
At some point, it may become overwhelming to manage customer outreach by yourself. Just like content writing, you can enlist the help of others for customer service. Online gig websites can help you find the right person for the job. As your business grows, don’t forget to use software to help manage a team.
- Understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This is the core of successful inbound marketing. SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the process of creating web pages that rank organically in a google search. So how does this relate to inbound marketing? The answer is simple: if you want to attract people to your website, you’ll need to rank high in the search results.
According to a survey by Databox, 70% of marketers found that SEO leads to more sales than PPC. This is a testament to the power of SEO and inbound marketing. So how exactly do you implement SEO? While there are several factors that influence SEO, the solution lies largely with keywords and key phrases.
Keyword research is the process of finding optimized keywords and placing them within your content so that it ranks higher on a search engine results page. If you have a niche for your site, this is where you’ll start your research. As you choose keywords, look for words that are not too general but still generate a good search volume. Focus on keywords that will bring in the right audience.
If that sounds complicated, there’s no need to worry. Luckily for you, there are several tools out there to help you with keyword research. Using SEO software can make your life a lot easier, and your blog more successful. Here are a few popular options:
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer: This software can help you find new keywords and phrases and learn how often they are searched. It will also help you understand how difficult it is to rank with a specific keyword. This tool is great for Google, Amazon, YouTube, Bing and more.
- Surfer Keyword Chrome Extension: This free chrome extension will provide you with additional keywords, search volume, ranking details, and recommended keywords for Google.
- Google Keywords Planner: This is a tried and true solution to keyword research. It can help you discover more effective keywords and search volume. In addition, you’ll also learn how competitive each keyword is.
Tips for Success:
- Guest Posts: Writing regular guest posts on other blogs gives you more authority in your area of expertise. Make sure to contribute to sites with active readers to get the best returns.
- Offer free content: offering an e-book or valuable information in exchange for customer information is a great way to attract visitors and gain quality leads.
- Never stop researching: The quality of your content should come from research on your end. Your content should be data-driven and informative rather than self-serving. Even if you’ve found the perfect niche, it’s important to stay relevant and informed about your field. Long, well-written, illuminating content is what you should be striving for.
- Diversify your content: Reach out to a larger audience by utilizing several types of content. Creating videos, blog posts, and social media posts can help you reach people who respond to different types of media.
Inbound marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem. In fact, you’ll save money and be more successful in the long run if you start utilizing these strategies. Focus on creating relevant, informative content for your target audience. Create beneficial content that solves problems, answers questions, and guides your target audience.
Understand how SEO works so that your hard work is visible. Start with a keyword research tool to optimize your content and rank higher. Lastly, nurture your leads and continue to offer valuable content so that they keep coming back for more. If you’re a small business, inbound marketing can have a profoundly beneficial impact on your success.
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