If you’ve been doing business online for any time at all, then I’m sure you’ve heard of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is also commonly referred to as content marketing. The old days of outbound marketing are fading into the wind.
The older, often ineffective outbound marketing methods include: buying print ads, purchasing email lists, buying TV slots, or other generally invasive ways to market and reach your customer base. On the other hand, inbound marketing starts with creating value from the very start of the interaction.
WHAT IS INBOUND MARKETING?
As we stated simply above, inbound marketing is using content to provide value and educate your readers before they become customers. Inbound marketing is all about creating and sharing content around the web.
The main methods used in this style of marketing include creating content and distributing it to the people who are going to benefit from it the most. This style of marketing is more helpful instead of being disruptive like most other methods. If done properly people will actually be happy to hear what you have to offer.
THE BENEFITS OF INBOUND MARKETING
Inbound marketing helps you to become an authority within your industry. It might be a slow climb, but it’s a climb well worth it. When people need information about your industry they’re going to start coming to you due to your high quality content.
Inbound marketing allows you to connect with and gain valuable information from your customers via social media platforms. When you distribute your content across these platforms you’ll also be growing your authority.
Beyond the content creation aspect of your inbound marketing strategy the costs are usually much lower. After all, if you create evergreen content which is valuable for a very long period of time, you’ll get an almost infinite amount of value from a one-time investment.
THE JOURNEY OF YOUR USER
One of the most important elements of building a successful content marketing strategy is understanding the route your customer takes. When a person comes across a piece of your content they’re going to be at a certain point along the engagement spectrum. Below you’ll find a breakdown of each phase. You’ll want to create content that addresses readers across each part of their journey.
1. The Attraction Phase
During this phase you’ll want to attract the right customers to your business. You’ll do this through blogging and other content outposts, SEO, having your website in alignment and executing a social media strategy.
2. The Conversion Process
Once you’ve attracted the right visitors to your website you’ll want to convert them into loyal customers or subscribers. The most common ways to do this are through optin forms on your website, effective calls to action, and using other elements like landing pages.
3. Closing The Deal
After you’ve attracted the right readers through content and social outposts and converted them into subscribers, it’s time to close the deal and turn them into happy customers. There are several ways to track what’s working, but the most common are as follows:
- Use the power of a CRM system to keep track of customer data so you can optimize the sales process over time.
- Use an email autoresponder system with calls to action, and analyze data to increase your conversations over time.
- Use the power of marketing automation to feed different styles of content and information to users depending on how they found your company.
Continuing The Interaction
Inbound marketing really shines in your ability to delight and astonish your users. A lot of companies simply forget about their customers the moment they make a sale. However, once the sale is complete this can be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
You can use inbound marketing methods to continually educate your customers and find ways to serve them in deeper ways. For instance, you can use surveys to uncover hidden niches within your current market.
Inbound marketing covers the entire life cycle your customer, from attraction all the way through building a lifelong relationship, and it all begins with quality content.