The ultimate guide to inbound marketing

I find ample information online about SEO strategies and guides but is it everything that you need for your website/business to become successful?

I would say NO!

Well, if you say that getting visitors to your website is what you want, you need to rethink. Every business sustains on conversions and you ultimately want your visitors to convert.

There are a lot of strategies, techniques and methods that needs to be adopted and followed to make your business an overall success.

In this post, I would discuss about everything that you need to learn to reach your marketing goals which is otherwise encompassed in the term “Inbound Marketing”.

What is Inbound Marketing?

As the term suggests, Inbound means incoming. This form of marketing is customer oriented, unlike traditional marketing strategies like cold calling, cold emailing, Offline advertising etc. which were purely marketing oriented. In simple terms, Inbound marketing is a mixture of SEO, Blogging, Social Media Optimization, Email and Conversion Optimization and Customer Satisfaction. Basically, it is an end-to-end process of creating targeted content through proper market analysis, converting visitors into leads and driving sales ultimately following customer oriented strategies.

Why adopting Inbound Marketing is essential?

People hate spam! It has become essential for marketers to understand and create marketing methodologies that people appreciate. Now, people prefer to read online reviews or research before purchasing a product rather than visiting the company website of a product and inquiring about them. People love to hear about your products from others and you need to help them make the right choice. The style of purchasing products have changed. So, you need to employ tactics which can bring customers to you, i.e, by going inbound. Below is a diagram from HubSpot which explains Inbound Methodology very clearly. Inbound methodologyAs the diagram depicts, it is essential to think of ways to convert strangers to leads and customers. The 4 important stages of Inbound Marketing are:

1. Attract:

At this stage, the first and foremost activity is to create a buyer persona for your business by conducting research. A buyer persona is a profile which suits to that of a ideal customer and includes specifics about them like job roles, demographics, preferences, common dilemmas, objections etc. This may not be easy but is imperative to understand your target market and customers. You could execute this by querying some of all types of your existing customers or prospects at start or by conducting surveys. Once you collect all the personas, you need to identify common traits between your customers to create an ideal persona. Once you identify your customers and understand what they want, what they want to see and what challenges they have, you need to create targeted content on your blogs with proper keywords and publish them on social media platforms. This is the stage where you convert strangers to visitors of your blog or website.

2. Convert:

Visitors start coming to your blog or website and it isn’t enough. You need to convert the visitors into leads. Primarily, you can grab leads by offering them free ebooks, tools or any specific information that you have withheld on your blog. This can be done by creating special Calls-to-action(CTA) buttons, attractive landing pages and motivating text. The offers should be enticing enough for the visitors to leave contact information like Name, Email etc which you can grab in a form.

3. Close:

Building email lists have always been extremely important and once you create a contact list, you can move on to convert these leads to customers. Again, keep in mind not to spam your leads. You need to build trust and establish a relationship with them by helping and sharing useful information. You will lose leads if you start pitching sales offers from day 1. Communications can happen either through email marketing or calls(if you collect phone numbers). Email Marketing is another essential component of inbound strategy where you convert your leads to customers by letting them know about you slowly.

4. Delight:  

This is the stage which most of the marketers fail to pursue. Remember, Inbound is customer centric. You need to keep in touch with the customer even after sales which can help to amplify the satisfaction of your customers and can help in spreading the word of mouth. You need to monitor your brand socially to find any bad mentions and take efficient steps to get in touch with the customer to find the cause of dissatisfaction. Note: It’s easy to keep an existing customer satisfied than bringing in new customers. Here are some statistics to better understand the importance of going Inbound.

Components of Inbound Marketing Strategy:

SEO:

Search Engine Optimization is definitely an essential component of this strategy. Search Engines are bots and you need to optimize your webpages to be friendly with them. Likewise, you attract more visitors from Google which is the first step in Inbound methodology.

How to be Search Engine Friendly?

You need to provide content that search engines want to find. Understand how you search a query on Google. You type a question and you search for answers. Likewise, if you reverse engineer it, you need to provide relevant and useful answers to those queries. Your website needs to establish an authority in the search engines to get found. Some of the basic SEO strategies which you need to follow for your website are:

  1. Targeted Keyword Research to attract your buyer personas.
  2. Create Shareable and informational content to keep visitors engaging.
  3. Detailed On Page Optimization for primary keywords and inclusion of LSIs naturally.
  4. Sharing and Promotion of your content on popular social media platforms.
  5. Increase your reach by building links and being found in search Engines.

 

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Think about the queries you will use to search a solution and come up with interesting titles incorporating your keywords. Find long tail keywords and be super targeted to maximize the potential. There is no such keyword which has absolute 0 competition. So, it’s essential for you to identify and use long tail keywords with decent amount of searches.

If you are a local business, setup a Google Business Page and be part of online directories.

Tip: Mould your actions in a way that they are beneficial to reach your goals.

Example: If you want your visitors to call you, make sure to leave your contact information visible in a prominent way in your website.

Content Curation:

Now, you know market trends, what people search for and have optimized the website, you should focus on making a strategy for content too. It’s not creating content anymore but you should be able to create, edit and maintain the content with time. Content may be of several formats and should be targeted depending on your business type and buyer persona. Content is the essential ingredient on which the whole inbound strategy functions. It is the parcel and parcel of all the stages of the inbound methodology. Whether you write blog posts or emails, the pivotal role is played by the written content. Remember, People search for content online before becoming your visitors. To convert them to leads, your content must be informational, influential and eye catching to grab their attention. Stop writing content abruptly.

Things you need to keep in mind for creating content:

  1. Challenges faced by your buyer persona.
  2. Effective solutions to the challenges faced.
  3. Liaise with people on popular forums and news platforms to understand the issues and gather ideas.
  4. Finalize on primary keywords and LSIs.
  5. Don’t be outright promotive. Try to provide solutions to the issues by educating the customers.
  6. Make the content simple and easy to understand.

 

Below is a depiction of the different formats of content that you can plan and create for your visitors:

content marketing formats

Social Media Marketing:

After creation of the content, you need to promote it. Make sure to have social share icons on the website so that visitors can easily share your content. The traditional way of content curation is over. Just creating awesome content won’t fetch you visitors. By online promotion, I definitely mean social media. Check out the article on Brandwatch on latest social media statistics to understand the large customer base at your disposal for promotion. You need to place the content in front of the right audience. Get in touch with some industry experts through outreach and include their views in your content to get shared by them. Related Content: How Does Social Media Help to Improve Search Engine Rankings

Important points to note for social media marketing:

Everyone is doing social media promotion. What do you need to do different to stay unique in your inbound marketing strategy? Check out the below points:

  1. Identify the platforms where your buyer personas hang out. You don’t need to do a blind promotion on every social media platform.
  2. Set specific goals to achieve. Example: Email lists, inbound calls, visitors to your blog etc. and form a promotion strategy accordingly.
  3. Identify time when your ideal customers be active on those platforms and post during those times.
  4. Promote interesting content. Social media can be tricky. People don’t really come on social media platforms for information. Have a comic side to the story you promote.
  5. Target viral content and promote via social media.
  6. Curate content specific to each platform. Example: I may promote a link on Facebook but will prefer a eye catching infographic on Pinterest.
  7. Publish consistently. You will lose audience if you are not publishing repeatedly.
  8. Check Brand mentions and respond to them to connect with the users.
  9. Make unique images and videos for you social media campaigns.
  10. Link to targeted pages from the social media posts to increase its relevance and drive in visitors.

 

Effective Conversion Rate Optimization(CRO):

Your website has visitors but you don’t get sales. You have very less customers who convert into leads. What do you need to do? Conversion rate Optimization is the process of converting your visitors to leads or customers. It’s important as you ultimately want sales. Businesses can’t survive on visitors. 😛 This section of inbound marketing would encompass several components like CTAs, landing pages, thank you pages and other template creations. It is your primary objective to make the visitors stay for a longer time on your website, Experts rightly say. This can be effectively carried out by identifying the trends of your visitors, pages most visited and identifying clicks they made. Crazyegg can help you to make an effective analysis checking out your analytics data.

Ways to increase Conversion Rate Optimization:

Optimizing the website to take actions and increase your conversion rate would be fruitful in the long run. You need to follow several guidelines to achieve it. I am outlining some ways which can improve CRO:

  1. Create eye-catching calls-to-action buttons. It is the point where the conversion process starts and if it doesn’t grab eyeballs, the process becomes stagnant.
  2. Write converting text without being promotional to bring in attention.
  3. Include target keywords or other important ones like Free, Limited etc depending on the offers being promoted.
  4. Place offers at appropriate positions like sidebars, after-post, overlay etc and on targeted pages.
  5. Conduct A/B split tests to identify successful traits. Be sure to test one change at a time to understand the impacts.
  6. Ask users to take actions through the CTAs.
  7. Offer additional information on Thank you Pages to add value to keep the customers engaging.
  8. Target Offers specific to the information being imparted.
  9. Identify goals and show relevant landing pages.
  10. Test the CTA’s, landing pages and all other templated using them at first. Sometimes, visitors face bad experiences due to technical difficulties.
  11. Emphasize on the value you add through the landing page.
  12. Enable social sharing on landing pages to maximize reach.
  13. Add multimedia attributes like images, videos etc to increase visual performance.
  14. Make the description short, targeted and converting. Writing too much on the landing page won’t be beneficial as the user who clicked on the CTA is willing to take the offer and wants to undergo through the process.
  15. Format the text properly to make it good looking.

 

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Tip: You understand your visitors well and you can make them convert or go away! Employ actionable strategies to stop your visitors leaving the website.

Email Marketing:

After content curation, reaching your customer is another important activity. You could pursue email marketing to achieve this. Well, yes, Email Marketing is old but still effective. Analyse some of the statistics of emails to understand why it’s still working. People tend to consider reading emails as one of the important activities on the internet.Email marketing

Effective Email Marketing Strategies to adopt

To maximize the potential of emails and increase conversions, it’s essential to monitor and track the email performance of your campaigns. Your leads have to be converted finally and you can do that through your email marketing campaigns. Listed below are some of the important strategies to adopt for creating converting email campaigns:

  1. Optimize emails for mobiles. Statistics say that 40% of the email users view mails from mobiles.
  2. Refrain from having subjects that are misleading and overly promotional.
  3. Stick to the primary information that your leads want to find.
  4. Perform tests and determine the right emails to send at the right times.
  5. Nurture your subscribers to become your customers.
  6. Promote content that the users love which impart information like blog posts, research analysis, videos etc.
  7. Use proper email templates, fonts and formats.
  8. Gather feedbacks through emails and improve your services.
  9. Use real identities while emailing. You need to build trust and fake identities won’t do any good.
  10. Automate post-purchase and thank you messages. Likewise, you won’t fail to welcome anyone who starts subscribing to your website.

 

Tip: Email Marketing is sensitive. If you spam or promote bad content, people will start unsubscribing you and you ultimately lose customers.

Sales:

Once your leads start converting, you start making sales. This is the “Close” stage of the inbound methodology. The marketing team should get in touch properly with the sales team and they can work together to convert the leads to sales easily. A common goal can be made which will increase the company’s output. The persona profiles can be shared which will benefit the sales team to get a full knowledge about the background of the lead. Before contacting a prospect, it is essential to do a background analysis which can help during the contact.

Ways to increase sales of your products through Inbound Marketing:

The traditional method of selling is outdated and the new method of sales demands several traits from sales executives. I am listing down some things to keep in mind to increase sales of your products:

  1. Understand your buyers and propose solutions. Don’t blatantly promote your products.
  2. Change the way of approach to prospects. Be humble and try to refrain from taking up a blind call. Rather send a mail to the prospects asking for a suitable time and do follow ups.
  3. Research the buyers prior to the call and talk their language keeping in mind their interests. You can check analytics like which pages they looked at, what they browsed and downloaded to get an idea.
  4. Be ready with answers that highlight how your product is unique and different from others. Highlight the value you add to your customers.
  5. Build a rapport with the customers and become friendly.
  6. Don’t jump to pricing and sales too fast. Explain descriptively the solutions offered to create the brand image in customer’s mind.

 

Tip: The customer is always 70% ready to purchase before you contact them because they were your leads. If you give the extra push, they will convert easily. 🙂

Delight/Customer Satisfaction:

Ah! You made hefty sales and you are quite happy. To keep the business flowing and get recurring funds, you need to maintain the satisfaction of your customers. Even after sales, you need to keep in touch with them constantly and hear out from them. It is also essential to take a post sales feedback to highlight the care and importance of them and to improve upon your products.

Delight your customers to get recurring commissions:

Post sales closure, keeping in touch with the customers is vital. Here are some of the tips which you can take into consideration in this regard:

  1. Ask the customer if they were satisfied with your product or service and take valuable feedback.
  2. Monitor social media channels for brand mentions and resolve customer issues if reported promptly.
  3. Provide further tailored solutions to their needs and assist in recommendations.
  4. Recommend them subtly to mention you to friends and colleagues.
  5. Promote content regularly as usual you did before sales.
  6. Engage with your customers on social media platforms and respond to them.
  7. Build trust by interacting regularly. Every interaction takes you one step closer or away from the customer.

 

Tip: You make your brand and you can destroy it easily. Customers are to be nurtured from start to end for a business to run effectively.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Will wait for your constructive feedback and queries in comments. 🙂

Amit Acharya

Amit Acharya



Hello, I am the author of Top Earning Strategies. I am an avid blogger and a digital marketer. I love to learn and write about making money online, SEO, Blogging and any new tips and tricks.
Amit Acharya

2 Comments

  1. Sanket July 15, 2016 Reply
    • Amit Acharya July 15, 2016 Reply

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