Many businesses look at inbound marketing as a “nice to have” component of their branding strategy, but not as essential. A few years ago, that may have been true. Today, inbound marketing should no longer be seen as an option. You will need a deep understanding of inbound marketing in order to attract and keep customers.
According to HubSpot, these are just some statistics that should have you concerned:
- 91% of users see ads as more intrusive today than in the past
- 73% of users detest pop-up ads
- 4 out of 5 of people have left a web page because of a pop-up ad or auto-starting video
- 72% of users say they have a lower opinion of a company if they employ pop-up advertising
- 70% of people say they despise mobile advertising
The Challenges of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing consists of various efforts that include telemarketing, email blasts, paid search adverting, and other efforts. Essentially, these practices cast a wide net trying to get a company’s message out. In many respects, it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. That said, traditional marketing tends to have highly predictable outcomes and returns on investment. Nevertheless, users find online advertising, in all forms, to be intrusive. Moreover, they have been figuring out ways to get around them with ad blockers, caller ID, spam filtering, and more.
Consequently, many companies have radically changed tactics. Rather than pushing themselves on people who are trying to block them out, they work to “get found” by those actually looking for information about the products and services that the business sells. A website should no longer be seen as an online flyer, but more as the centerpiece of your marketing effort, which attracts organic and natural traffic using organic search, blogging, and social media.
Fundamentals of Inbound-Marketing
Effective inbound marketing will allow you to break through all the online noise and capture the attention of consumers at every stage, build trust and authority, and make your company the obvious choice. You are offering them information based on their needs, educating buyers, and driving demand. Would that be of benefit in your situation?
The most popular and effective inbound marketing strategy will include content creation, often identified as content marketing. Using blogging and social media, companies are producing unique, useful, helpful, and entertaining content so people will find them, develop leads, and converts website visitors into customers. Brands are connecting with their target and customers, building followers and an audience, and winning exposure for their brand.
Essentially, the internet has placed the power in the hands of consumers, and it is up to your business to adapt. While traditional marketing is not dead, it is a shadow of its former self. It is not a one or the other scenario between traditional marketing and inbound marketing. Rather, inbound marketing is much more focused on context and providing the right information at the right time. While traditional marketing will likely never die, companies must use it synergistically with inbound.
Developing a Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing will bring customers to your doorstep through blogs, videos, email newsletters, videos, social media, and other methods. Rather than buying advertising, cold calling consumers, or sending out unsolicited marketing emails, inbound marketing will bring customers to you. The following steps will build your customer pipeline.
1. Make Use of Online Profiles. – While your website should be the centerpiece of your marketing efforts, don’t make the mistake of thinking it is all you need. Your online presence requires leveraging social media platforms. This will help drive traffic and increase the size of your audience.
2. Develop a Blog – While a new blog can take some time before you see a return, it will help establish your brand as trustworthy and reliable. When thinking about what articles to write, consider the needs of your ideal customers. When you share the information they are looking for, it is more likely that prospects will find you.
3. Guest Post on Relevant Websites – This is very similar to writing blog articles for your own website, and does require a time investment. Regardless, finding an industry website that accepts guest articles will help identify you as an expert and expose you to your target audience.
4. Share Success Stories – It is important to show off your successes. When people are researching companies, they want to know that you do good work. Maintain a portfolio on your website, share before and after photos on social media, and create videos.
5. Include Testimonials – It is a fact of marketing that people will trust reviews more than your own messaging. When a person writes a positive review on Facebook, Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, or another site, you can amplify it by adding it to your website or blog.
6. Your Content Must Be Remarkable – You are competing with over 640 million websites, all creating content of their own. In order to break through the noise, your content must educate, excite, and entertain your target. If you spend all your time trying to sell, people will tune out.
7. Create Strong Calls-to-Action – Every page on your website needs to have an expected outcome: social share, newsletter sign-up, quote request. The design of your website and the content should guide the reader to this action.
8. Hire Wisely – No matter if you are hiring someone as your in-house marketer or contracting with a marketing agency, make sure they are well-equipped with the skills needed to meet your goals and can continually adapt to conditions and data.
Do you have any questions? What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about tips and tricks for a successful inbound marketing strategy, or a related topic, please leave a comment below.