What is inbound marketing? Tips and strategies
Whatever your website sells, you need to attract customers. You won’t last long without them.
One way to do that is through inbound marketing: creating content that attracts people to your website.
Before we dig into lots of ways to do just that, let’s get clear on what we’re talking about.
What exactly is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is sometimes called:
- Organic marketing
- Pull marketing
- Content marketing
It’s different from advertising, which is another way to bring traffic to your site, because you don’t have to pay for clicks on or views of your inbound marketing content.
Inbound marketing can involve all sorts of different types of content – it’s definitely not just about blog posts! Your inbound marketing might include social media posts, ebooks, or other downloadables, webinars, videos, and more.
Why opt for inbound marketing?
You could simply use advertising to drive traffic to your site – but inbound marketing is likely to cost you much less, even when you’ve factored in the cost of producing it.
The content you create is also likely to help cultivate leads and nurture prospects through the buying journey, as you’ll have the opportunity to make a real connection with them by providing something useful and/or interesting.
4 different ways to make inbound marketing work for you
There are lots of different ways to approach inbound marketing. Here are four strategies to try, with a key tip for each. You can pick one or mix several together.
#1: Create content that will resonate with your potential customers
Don’t leap straight into creating content that you think will be interesting or useful. Instead, work out what your potential customers are likely to want.
For instance, if you run a health food company, you might think that your potential customers would be interested in a detailed guide that explains the exact nutritional makeup of your foods. You might find, though, that they’d be much more likely to download a user-friendly, easy-to-follow guide on weight loss or fitness.
One good way to find out what your potential customers want is to survey your existing customers: let them know that you’re deciding what type of free content to create, and ask them which of your options they’d be most interested in. Social listening is also an effective way to find out what your potential readers or customers are talking about related to your niche and uncovering common questions you can answer with in-depth content and other resources.
Tip: Don’t stick to the idea of just one ideal customer – create avatars (or personas) for different customer groups that relate to your key products or services.
#2: Track How Your Posts Do on Social Media
If you’re using social media as part of your inbound strategy – and virtually all companies will be! – then it might sometimes seem like no one’s paying any attention.
It’s important to keep track of how your social media posts are doing. Are some types of post getting more likes, comments, or shares than others? Figure out what’s working, and do more of that.
Tip: On any network, posts with an image tend to do better than those without. (On some networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram, you have to post an image.) Don’t underestimate the importance of an image that makes an impact. There are dozens of free image creators that make it easy to create stunning graphics, even if you’re graphic design-challenged.
#3: Use inbound marketing in conjunction with remarketing
If someone comes to your site, checks out a blog post or two, then leaves, you might think they’re gone for good.
Through “remarketing” or “retargeting” advertising, you can invite that person back to read more content that you know they’ll likely be interested in (based on what they viewed before).
Tip: It’s easy for advertising to eat up your budget fast, so keep an eye on what you’re spending and what types of content are proving most effective in terms of converting browsers into buyers.
#4: Keep marketing to people you’ve already engaged
As HubSpot explains, inbound marketing is about attracting people to your site – which in itself, isn’t enough. You also need to “engage” and “delight” the people you’ve attracted:
“Inbound marketing is just one part of a larger movement in the business world. It’s the foundation for the idea that it’s not enough to just attract people to your website; you have to continue to help, support, and empower them well after they become a customer.”
Tip: Build on the content you’ve created for your inbound marketing campaigns. For instance, you might take a blog post and write a more detailed guide that people can download by entering their email address. This is known as a “content upgrade”: a lead magnet specifically designed to be promoted from a particular blog post or page.
Inbound marketing is a great way to draw people into your website, without being pushy, and without spending lots of money on advertising. Done well, it creates a win-win situation where your potential customer gets valuable information or entertainment for free, and where you gain plenty of new leads and paying customers.
Staying in touch with current customers, prospects, and previous visitors is key for maintaining continued engagement. Growing your social media following may sound like a monumental task, but our social media follow buttons make it easy. They’re so easy to install, you can be up and running in minutes – so you can start growing your audience today!