As the name implies, inbound marketing are those marketing strategies that aim to bring customers to you, rather than actively having to intrusively prospect for new customers.
If you’re a local business you’re always on the lookout for new ways to generate more sales or work. Inbound marketing can be a great way to continually generate leads without physically having to be active. That’s not to say that once you’ve started your campaign you can leave it to run on its own. You’ll still have to put in some work, but it will be far less than an outbound strategy.
The key to any of your inbound marketing activities is to set clear and precise goals that can be tracked through your various analytics. This is one of the greatest things about inbound marketing. You can see what is working and what isn’t. You can determine what to change to get better results and what is simply a waste of time and resources. It means that everything you do should be aimed at achieving some sort of goal, no matter how big or small.
Your goals could be as simple as achieving 10 qualified leads a month.
Or to increase your website traffic by 10%
Or to gain a 5% increase on the conversion rate of your business.
But how do you go about achieving these goals?
Who is your target audience?
As a business, this is something that should already be clearly determined. It shouldn’t just be defined for the purpose of your inbound marketing but your marketing and sales in general. To make sure that all your inbound marketing strategies are targeted towards the right people you need to think about who your ideal customers are. Ask yourself, what problems are your customers looking to solve? What can you help them with?
This could be done through simply asking your current customers or looking at frequently asked questions within your industry. Your customers will be searching for specific answers on topics and if you can provide detailed answers you’ll greatly increase the traffic to your business’ site, thus increasing the amount of traffic that you are able to turn into sales. Inbound marketing is a numbers game.
Once you’ve determined who you’ll be targeting with your inbound marketing campaign, you need to figure out how you’ll reach them.
Where are your ideal customers gathering?
In other words, where is the best place to get in front of your customers? This could be topical forums or groups about your industry or products. Create a list. Don’t just quickly skim over this, take the time to create a really detailed list. This will be important later on because this is where your audience goes to get information about your industry. These are the places that you’ll need to get marketing materials seen in order to have them make the most impact.
Start by doing an internet search and find the top websites and blogs related to your business. Go to social media and find those groups that are having open discussions – these will also be a great source for finding your customers pain points within your industry. Which brings us to our next point…
Identify Key Customer Questions and Pain Points
By the time you’ve trawled through the web you should have a list of between 50 – 100 key places that your audience are visiting.
And if you’ve done it correctly, you’ll have a nice bank of sites where your customers are asking questions and mentioning problems. This is a great resource for your company, it gives you direct access to your potential customers minds.
Answer their questions. Look at their problems and see how you can help. You know exactly what information they like and want. Make a list of these too; they’ll help you to create topics for the content that will be the foundation of your inbound marketing campaign. And while you’re in there get involved with these websites and online communities by commenting. Who knows, before you’ve even fully implemented your inbound marketing campaign you could have generated some leads.
Apart from commenting on these forums and groups, you need to take full advantage of those sites that already exist. Building relationships with key companies and influencers within your industry is a great way to grow your online company persona. These influencers already have established audiences. An audience that you want to, and can, tap into. An audience you can draw into your own site.
You can build relationships with those existing brands or people simply by reaching out and asking if you can blog on their site or ask them to guest post on your site. However, don’t go in blind. Do some research, pitch to them a topic or an idea that they have some experience in or have already written about in the past – they may have a new take on it that you can feature on your site.
Follow them on social media; share their content. If they have a comments section on their articles, comment there, but make those comments relevant and useful. Do.Not.Spam. By providing informative comments it can bring you to the attention of the website owner, and when you reach out to them for a guest article they may already know who you are, making it more likely for them to accept. If they accept, make sure to keep in touch.
However, to take full advantage of these existing influencers, you need to have content. Not just any content. Content that grabs your potential customers by the shoulders and shakes them awake and makes them want to take action, visit your site and converts them into lead or sale.
Create Great Content
You’ve built a solid collection of research. You’ve noticed that your industry’s community are looking for specific answers to specific questions. Questions that you can use to base your content around. Use the questions and pain points to build each article. If you’ve you’ve noticed that your customers are looking for questions on ‘how to do X’, provide them on a details article about how to do it.
But how many articles do you need. That’s entirely up to you, but break it down into terms like this.
How often to you want to put out articles? Once a month? Once a week? Daily?
This will determine how many topic ideas you need create. Let say you want to release your articles weekly. That means you need 52 articles a year. You then need to determine which day of the week want the articles to go out.
What days and times are your community most active on the groups and forums? These are the days you should release your article.
Whether it’s your ‘Contact Page’, ‘About Us’ or blog articles. You need to make sure that your content is using the terms that will allow your ideal audience, and search engines, to find your content. When we say ‘optimise’ we don’t mean for you to create content loaded with keywords in an effort to trick search engines into placing your content in the top of the search results.
By optimise we mean, use the keywords your audience and industry will be searching for, but do it naturally and through content that provides genuine value to the people you want to read it. And to do this, you need to know your audience, which should be easy as you have already done your research and identified your ideal customers. You know where they hang out online and should by now have a good idea what keywords and terms they are using.
You can then put these keywords into a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, which will tell you how many people are searching those keywords. You can then determine which ones are the most popular and should be included more prominently in your content over the one that are searched less.
This will increase the chance that your articles being found by the right customers.
Get Your Content Out There
Simply building it doesn’t mean that they will come. Eventually, your content will start to rank but it won’t magically be found by your customers. Start by utilising those relationships you’ve built. Ask if some of your content can be shared on their site and social media channels.
And those forums you’ve been active on, you can link to your article to answer the specific questions covered in your content.
Separate to this, there are multiple ways to get your content out there, such as email marketing, social media, affiliate marketing and pay per click advertising. Each of these strategies requires a detailed plan of action to carry out. And we’ll go into these in other later articles. But each of these strategies are aimed at reaching your target audience separate to your organic search results.
No matter what the goal of your inbound marketing campaign, it’s a great way to have your marketing. Because even when your not a work your customers can be coming to your site.
What are your thoughts on inbound marketing? Let us know in the comments below. Or to talk to the miamedia team about your inbound marketing strategy, click here!