The days of in-your-face marketing tactics (traditionally known as outbound marketing) being the most effective way to reach people are coming to a close. Placing your company’s needs before the customer's just won’t work in the business landscape of 2019. Today’s marketing, known as inbound marketing, takes a smarter approach that is informative, value-focus, and highly effective.
In this post, we’re going to outline some inbound marketing examples and highlight the best inbound marketing tools to show you how they can transform the way you reach potential customers.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing strategy is the practice of connecting with prospects through content that resonates, adds value, and drives them to keep coming back to you in order to learn more about a given topic or what your business has to offer.
There are three major steps to inbound marketing.
If you create informative content that speaks to your prospect's needs, you’ll be one step closer to building a relationship with that customer that keeps them coming back again and again and again. How do you find out what they need? Research.
You should have buyer personas that tell you exactly who your target customer is. You’ll most likely have several personas as a part of your content marketing strategy, each with different needs. This means you’ll need to create content that caters to each of these different personas.
After you’ve attracted your ideal audience, you’ll want them to stick around and ultimately convert. To do this, you’ll need to implement call to actions (CTA). This can be as simple as a “download the white paper” button at the end of a blog post. This is the process known as lead generation, and it’s a central element of inbound marketing.
When your ideal customer does that, you’ll have their contact information and will be able to nurture them through email marketing. From there, they’ll be pushed through the funnel and ultimately convert to a paying customer. We’ll say more on email marketing later.
At this stage, you’ve delivered quality content that encouraged your audience to want to learn more, you’ve gotten their contact information, and they’ve become a customer.
This is critical: the process doesn’t end here.
You need to keep your new customers happy and continue to deliver quality, informative content. Offer feedback surveys so that you know exactly why the customer is happy and set up referral programs to make it easy for them to refer you to their friends (and throw some incentives in there to really sweeten the deal!) Building effective and consistent habits that delight customers will not only retain people over the long haul, it’s also likely to generate some new leads.
Now that you know the purpose of inbound marketing, here are some examples of inbound marketing that you can start using today.
Inbound Marketing Examples That Work
1. Blog Posts
Blogging is the easiest way to get in front of your ideal customer. It also has a huge impact: companies that blog are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI). Companies that create high quality, strategic blog posts each month receive a higher number of quality leads.
It’s not just enough to blog; you need to blog consistently and provide content that meets real needs that your audience has and that they find useful. Post educational content and you’ll be seen as a thought leader in your industry, becoming a trusted source of information.
2. Social Media
It’s easier than ever to reach potential customers through social media. Like blogging, you want to provide content that piques the interest of your target audience and ultimately encourages them to follow you. This top-of-funnel engagement helps draw in prospects, which is one of the first steps in their journey to become a customer.Consistent monitoring and interaction across your social media accounts, particularly when responding to comments and posting content, is what will give your prospects a reason to stick around.
Webinars are going to be a bit more informative than a blog or social media content and typically contain content that hot leads seek out. If they take the time to sign up for your webinar, attend, and stick around for the entire thing, you know you’ve got their attention. At this point, it’s critical to maintain prospect engagement, which brings us to the next point.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years. Gone are the days of buying prospect lists and hoping the numbers game works in your favor. Instead, effective email marketing now revolves around nurturing prospects who opted to receive communications from you.
By following up with an email after an event like a webinar, you’ll be able to both thank your prospects for attending and provide them with more valuable content (like a white paper that complements the content they just watched.) This thoughtful exchange will position your business as a trustworthy expert in your prospect’s mind, increasing the possibility of a purchase in the future.
5. Case Studies
Case studies are an excellent way to show potential customers how deep your expertise runs. Let them hear about the success others have achieved from using your services or products. Your existing customers should be your best advocates and promoters.
A case study serves the purpose of showing prospects how people and businesses similar to them benefited from your expertise. If you sell products, case studies also give insight into unique ways of using your product that different customers have applied.
The driving force of inbound digital marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). This technical process is what allows prospects to find your business on the internet and applying good SEO practices to your marketing strategy is the only way to get your content on the first page of Google. Ranking highly in Google is the best way to position your business as an authoritative voice and industry leader to searchers and prospects.
SEO tailored content is complex: practically it solves searchers problems and provides a wealth of information that they’ll return to again and again and again. But creating this kind of content means finding relevant, best-performing keywords that reflect your prospects’ search intent and coupling those keywords with expert insight that only your business can provide.
When done well, SEO is what will elevate your business above the thousands of other competing voices vying for prospects attention.
Inbound Marketing Tools
In order to integrate these inbound marketing campaign best practices into your business, you’ll need the right tools. Here are some of the best tools out there to make executing your inbound marketing campaign easier.
Hubspot’s marketing automation tools enable you to create a complete inbound marketing experience that includes content optimization and promotion, lead nurturing, and reporting. We love it!
The Hubspot Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools help manage the relationships you form with website visitors, leads, and clients. This inbound marketing service tracks all interactions your business has with customers so you can better understand them and continue to meet their needs, even as those needs change over time.
Having a combination of CRM and automation capabilities for lead nurturing all in one place makes Hubspot one of the best tools you can have for inbound marketing purposes.
In order to run a successful inbound marketing campaign, your business needs to target the right audience and provide them with the right content. BuzzSumo is a software that helps find topics that will resonate with your target audience.
Enter any topic and you’ll get a comprehensive report on how well that topic is performing online and how many times it’s been shared on social media. You can also see how well your competitors' content is performing in relation to that topic, giving you insight into what you need to do in order to surpass them.
No inbound marketing effort is complete without a great reporting tool. Reporting tools like Databox show you how well your marketing efforts are performing overall.
Databox pools all of your data into one place so you can track performance and view insights in real time. Practically this means you spend less time gathering data and more time analyzing it. Having comprehensive analytics at your fingertips will help you make more data-driven decisions for your business, a crucial element of a successful inbound marketing campaign.
In order to get the most out of Search Engine Optimization, you’ll need different tools to accomplish different outcomes. The tools we use to help our clients get the best results are Clearscope, SEMrush, and MOZ. Each of these tools has a different specialty and function that we use to create a holistic, high-impact SEO content strategy.
Lucky Orange is a great tool to learn what your website visitors are actually doing on your site. On any website and page we can deploy detailed heat-mapping, scroll maps, session tracking, and several other UX analysis tools- all from a single interface.
Additionally, we love how seamless their integration with Hubspot is - you can check out what specific contacts are doing on your website all within their contact record in the HubSpot CRM, pretty cool!
When it comes to selecting tools for your inbound marketing strategy, there are tons to choose from. Our list represents a small portion of what’s available out there.
Inbound Marketing Success
Integrating the inbound marketing examples we’ve covered into your marketing efforts will help establish your business as a thought leader in your industry and keep your audience coming back for more. These inbound marketing practices are also cost-effective, long-lasting, and ultimately help build brand awareness.
Interested in learning how you can start incorporating inbound marketing examples into your business? Schedule a call with us today, and we’ll show you how to take the first steps toward inbound marketing success.