You are an expert. You know more about your business and services than anyone else. But maybe you don’t feel like an expert on ways to promote your company…well, I’m going to break inbound marketing down into the simplest terms possible. Think of this as Cliff’s Notes for inbound!
What is inbound marketing?
- Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that marries content with context. Instead of buying ads, email or call lists, you produce educational content that will attract prospects to your business’s website.
- Once on your site, they can learn more about your product or service on their own terms, when they are ready.
- This approach attracts more qualified leads who are truly interested in your products, and they will be naturally led through your sales funnel.
Why use the inbound marketing approach?
In this era of caller ID and DVRs, interruptive marketing (such as cold-calling or TV commercials) is easy for consumers to dodge. And since the advent of the internet, today’s buyer has the world at their fingertips…thank you, Google! In short, people expect information and entertainment to be on-demand…what they want, when they want it. Inbound marketing acknowledges these facts.
With the inbound philosophy, we strive to earn our prospects’ permission to market to them by aligning the content we are producing with their interests. The elimination of unwanted content supports our role as trustworthy experts providing valuable information. The ultimate goal is for the prospects consuming your great content to become customers and then delighted promoters of your product or service.
With inbound marketing, your company’s website should be the central cog in all of your marketing efforts. All traditional and digital marketing (blogs, SEO, ads, tradeshows, social media, e-blasts, PR, etc.) should drive people to content on your website. Once you have successfully attracted people to your site, you want to convert them into leads with an actionable offer…download an ebook, a whitepaper, or an infographic, for example…nurture them into customers with helpful content (maybe a case study or a free trial), and then delight them into promoters of your brand through continued personalized touchpoints.
Which tools do I use for inbound marketing?
You have a full toolbelt for beginning an inbound marketing program–social media, keywords/SEO optimization, e-blasts, calls-to-action, online contact forms, and more–but chief among them is blogging. Blog entries are one of the most effective ways to attract potential customers to your site. And, unlike ads, which generate zero leads after they expire, blog entries generate leads via search engines for months, even years, after they are posted. If you need more convincing: companies that blog generate 126% more leads than non-blogging companies. So get your blog on!!
If you are thinking, “I don’t have anything to blog about,” think again. You are an expert on your business, your products and services, so share that knowledge with your prospective customers via your blog. If you need inspiration, Hubspot has a great Blog Topic Generator tool that will give you a week’s worth of blog topics based on your business’s keywords.
Like attracts like
At its heart, inbound marketing is based on the Laws of Attraction (no, not the movie with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore) –when you are your authentic self sharing your expertise…then you will attract the right prospects to your company’s website. Once they are on your site, you can woo them with valuable content so they are persuaded through the buying process and delighted to the point that they are shouting from the rooftops (or on social media) about how wonderful your product or service is. It is a courtship that can lead to a blissful marriage!