Before we kick off with our top tips and tricks, let’s address the basics. What exactly is inbound marketing?
For the easiest explanation, we’ll start with what it’s not. Inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing, which is (put simply!) the traditional practice of advertising to as many people as possible, in the loudest way possible.
Instead of this one size fits all approach, inbound marketing is much more subtle. The aim is to organically attract people who are already interested in the kind of thing your business offers. So, though you are focusing on a smaller net of people, you are much more likely to attract and actually convert customers. It’s all about building a strong brand image and skilfully enticing customers, rather than actively selling to them.
What’s more, over the last decade it has become clear that inbound marketing provides a considerably higher return on investment. According to Search Engine Journal, inbound leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate. Pair that with the fact that outbound marketing costs 61% more per lead than inbound marketing and you’ll quickly see our point!
So where do you start?
Our top 5 inbound marketing techniques
Understand your customers with UX research
First things first, you need to understand exactly who your potential customers are and what they want from a business like yours. You want to be able to create several customer personas which you can then target tailored marketing messages towards.
To begin building these personas, start by surveying your existing customers, or do a deep dive into any data you can get your hands on online. The kind of information you want is things like income, family dynamic and age, as well as preferences that are more specific to your business – such as which sector specific publications they read.
Attract an audience with SEO
Once you have defined your customer personas, the next step is to start attracting those imaginary customers and turn them into real website visitors. Without doubt, the best way to do this is through a refined SEO strategy.
Begin with extensive keyword research to find topics and phrases that people search for when looking for things related to your business. Then come up with a plan of how you will incorporate those keywords onto your site. Before you start actually putting the plan into action, you will also want to carry out an expert technical audit, to make sure there aren’t any issues that could hold you back.
Provide solutions with content marketing
Content is your best friend when it comes to inbound marketing. To entice customers you need to consistently produce helpful, interesting and relevant content, which you can then share on your website or via social media and email. By showcasing your expertise and insight, you are persuading potential customers that you’re the business to give their custom to.
Start by doing a full content audit of your site, then look at your customer personas and SEO keyword research to help you start thinking of ways you can create content to provide answers and solutions. Remember content doesn’t have to be just long-from written copy, it could also be videos, podcast episodes, guides or practical information. If you’re hosting anything on your website, ensure it has been optimised to include those all-important keywords.
Engage with customers and industry leaders
Once you’ve grasped the basics and started producing great content, it’s time to make sure it reaches the right people. Of course SEO will help with website traffic, but you also want to think about growing your presence on social media and within leading circles in your sector.
The goal here is always to showcase what you can do to potential customers. Some ways you might like to go about this are through guest blogging or speaking with recognised sector-specific publications, engaging with your customers in conversations on social media and working with influencers to help spread the word about your brand.
Keep people coming back
If all things go to plan, the above four tips will see you converting a load of great new customers. So now you just need to keep them! It’s so much easier to sell yourself to an existing customer than to a totally new one, so never forget to keep delighting the people you already have on your books.
Perhaps consider applying a loyalty discount to customers making a repeat purchase, or offer a membership scheme where customers get exclusive access to sales and new products before anyone else. You also want to make sure that your content strategy includes ideas designed specifically to appeal to existing customers, not just new ones.
We have a sneaky suspicion that many of you reading this post will already be using some of the inbound marketing techniques we’ve covered here. That said, it’s often hard to find the time to dedicate resources to every area of marketing equally, and let’s face it, there’s always room to do more.
So if you could use some help streamlining your inbound marketing strategy, or simply need support producing content or carrying out an SEO audit, get in touch to find out how we can help.