Want to develop a killer inbound marketing strategy for your business? Here are the 8 must-have elements of an effective inbound marketing plan.
Successful business owners know that the key to effective marketing is connecting with your consumer base in ways that are meaningful, helpful and that ultimately position the business as the solution to a problem the consumer is trying to solve. Behind every successful business is a successful marketing strategy.
As the world becomes more connected via the internet, effective digital marketing has become more important than ever. The digital marketing industry has exploded in recent years (at the writing of this article, the United States has already spent over $99 million in digital advertising in 2019.) If you’re not already investing in these marketing strategies, you can bet that your competitors are.
If digital marketing is the future, then inbound marketing represents the bleeding edge of that new reality. In this post, we’ll walk you through the 8 elements of an effective inbound marketing strategy. But first, let’s go a little deeper and define what we’re talking about when we say “inbound marketing.”
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Traditional outbound marketing strategies have been around for decades, and most likely you’re already familiar with them. TV ads, mailing flyers, physical advertisements, and traditional marketing channels like these represent all that marketing used to be. These strategies were loud, intrusive, and have not meshed well with the evolving needs of customers.
Inbound marketing has been around since 2005, when HubSpot founder and CEO Brian Halligan first coined the phrase, and has become an increasingly common online marketing methodology for any business looking to increase growth.
At the most basic level, inbound methodology consists of four phases: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. If you successfully guide a customer through each phase, you’ll turn random website visitors into an engaged audience, if not your strongest promoters. By taking full advantage of the digital tools available to your business, inbound marketing can be a more effective and cheaper solution to a traditional outbound approach.
What makes Inbound Marketing so unique? Check out this description from SMA
Want to learn more about what inbound marketing can do for your business? Check out this article that details why inbound marketing is a good thing for businesses.
1. Refocus Your Brand On Your Customer’s Needs
A brand, in essence, is a business’s personality. It is the voice and image that your business presents to the rest of the world, and it’s a crucial component of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
By refocusing your brand to center around the needs and desires of your customer, you’re setting your business up for success in the world of inbound marketing. Your brand becomes the sage-like guide on the journey your potential customers are on, making you a valuable resource in the customer’s search for success.
In refining your brand to revolve around potential customers solving real problems, you’ll lay a foundation for attracting qualified leads who would actually benefit from your products and services.
Lone Fir recently revamped the way we position our brand and work with clients. It transformed our agency for the better. Read more about what we learned, how we grew, and how you could apply it to your own business!
2. Create a Relevant Content Marketing Strategy
The second element of an effective inbound marketing strategy is to offer content that is relevant to your audience.
Relevant content has these qualities:
- It add values
- It meets the real needs of your audience
- It builds trust so that you can eventually invite your audience to action
A relevant piece of content at the right time can totally change your customer experience.
Imagine a potential customer visiting your website. They click on one of the case studies that you’ve offered that outlines a very similar problem and situation to what they’re experiencing. They download it, it’s immensely helpful, and the potential customer is able to make a meaningful purchase decision that helps them solve their problem. They can’t wait to buy from you again, and they’re telling all their friends. That’s the power of a focused content strategy.
To help your business create more relevant content for your audience, try creating a buyer persona. Here's a free template from Hubspot to get you started.
By focusing your content creation on adding value to your audience, you’re taking an important step in your overall inbound marketing strategy.
3. Design a Landing Page
When you promote a free product or ebook through your content strategy, send your prospects to a landing page. On that landing page, include a form where you can exchange your free offer for your customer’s name and email address.
The key to an effective landing page is making sure that it is focused only on the original offer, and isn’t cluttered with other offers. Your landing page should be clear, organized, and require an exchange of your prospect’s information before your product is given away.
Once you’ve captured that information, send your new prospect an email where they can download your offer. Effective landing pages are a hallmark of inbound marketing strategy: they help your business connect with the right people and increase lead generation.
4. Nurture Leads with Email Marketing
Lead nurturing is the one thing you absolutely have to get right for your inbound marketing strategy to be successful. Within the inbound methodology, the most effective way to lead nurture is through email marketing.
Once you’ve got your leads, you can put them on an email drip campaign that connects leads to relevant blog posts, videos, seminars, and events. These email journeys should be set up through marketing automation software (like Hubspot!) that allows the nurture campaign to run on its own whenever a lead is generated.
(They don't always have to look this crazy, but workflows and automation tools can really help!)
Email marketing allows your business to build a relationship with your prospects and creates a meaningful connection point that revolves around adding value. Over the long haul, email marketing will build trust with potential customers, and improve conversion rates for your business.
5. Prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies
Everyone wants their website and content to rank highly in Google, but pulling that off isn’t easy. In order to rank in popular search engines and connect with more potential customers, it’s important to include SEO as a part of your inbound marketing strategy.
At the most basic level, SEO utilizes specific keywords and phrases that online users might search for in order to get web pages to rank higher. It's up to websites like yours to sensibly and usefully use those keywords in the content you publish. As search engines sort through your content, they will notice that your content is giving online users what they want.
The reward for relevancy is better ranking in search engine results for your website and content. This better ranking will increase your organic traffic, generate new leads, and ultimately land your business new customers.
6. Practice Responsive Social Media Habits
Love it or hate it, social media entrenched in our personal and professional lives. Because so many people live their lives on social media channels, it’s important that your business lives there too.
A major advantage of social media is that it’s a helpful tool for maintaining consumer loyalty. There are stats to back this up: answering a social media complaint well can increase customer advocacy by 25%.
When integrating social media into your inbound marketing strategy, it’s important to see these mediums as more than just additional channels to post about your content. The real value of social media is in your interaction with your target audience. Your responsiveness and your dedication to serving their needs will help your business stand out, be seen as trustworthy, and win new customers.
7. Use Analytics to Track Successes and Failures
Regardless of the individual inbound marketing strategies that you integrate into your overall marketing plan, it’s vital that you measure their impact. Metrics let you know what’s working, what’s not, and can provide insight into where your business’s marketing efforts could improve.
The blog post you wrote isn’t worth much if you don’t know if your CTAs are working, and your email marketing campaign is only as good as it’s conversion rate.
Software systems like Google Analytics can show you when your published content is engaged online, how it’s engaged, and what the results were. Tools like Hubspot CMS can give detailed reports on the impact of your content, email marketing, and a host of other services.
Taking note of successes and failures (and making calculated adjustments in response to what you learn!) will ensure that your inbound marketing remains effective and improves over time.
(We use the data reporting tool, Databox to track everything. Check them out!)
8. Call In the Professionals When You Need Help
It can feel overwhelming to implement an inbound strategy on your own. Working with experts can alleviate the stress of this transition and help ensure the success of your inbound marketing strategies.
If you or your team feel overwhelmed by the strategies listed above, don’t worry! There’s a reason that professional marketing services are available.
Make the Most of Your Business's Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing strategy comes down to your business’s ability to understand its ideal customer and then craft an experience that is both helpful and delightful for potential customers. There are tons of ways to get there, and the more you learn about inbound marketing, the more you’ll see that there are strategies within strategies. Hopefully, the big takeaway from this article is this: inbound marketing is important to your business’s success.
If you find that your business needs professional services to develop and implement a stellar inbound marketing strategy, let’s talk. If you want to learn more first, you can start by checking out our digital and inbound marketing services or by setting up a planning session here.