How Do You Implement an
Inbound Marketing Program?
What is Inbound Marketing?
The basis of inbound marketing is that the best time to sell a product to a customer is when they have identified a problem and are actively searching for a solution. The Internet has over 4 billion users and is one of the most popular places to look for answers. Plus, 5 billion mobile users can seek answers at any time, no matter where they are.
Inbound marketing is effective because it sends the message that you are in possession of a solution to someone’s problem, helping lead those customers to you. Rather than shouting out a message in the traditional outbound marketing manner, inbound marketing avoids interrupting people by making solutions available to your customers so they can use it right when they need it.
It’s All About The Customers
Recently, the concepts behind inbound marketing have changed to be customer-centric, placing them at the center of all marketing efforts.
The goal of inbound marketing is to provide value to your target market. Once customers have identified what they need to solve their problem, they will want to know how your product or service can help and how easy it is to acquire it. Good content marketing provides that kind of information by helping buyers solve problems, eliminate pain points, and navigate their options to find the best fit available.
The goal of inbound marketing is to provide value to your target market.
People will gravitate toward companies that provide a value or service to them. When a customer types a question into a search engine and a company or organization can answer that question and offer an item or service that supports that answer, that company provides value. Being valuable is the cornerstone of good marketing.
Inbound marketing reaches prospects at critical stages of the buyer’s journey. Creating valuable content that is tailored to all stages of the buyer’s journey does three things: it entices and educates prospects, moves them closer to the purchasing stage, and gives sellers more options for next steps and follow-ups with prospects. In turn, this can drive sales for your business while costing less and producing a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing methods.
People will gravitate toward companies that provide a value or service to them.
Your Inbound Marketing Program: Where to Start
Every successful inbound marketing program starts somewhere. There are four components that are key to any inbound program.
Identify the members of your target audience and their traits. Look for details like:
- Demographics – Age, gender, ethnicity, parenthood, income bracket, recreational activities, goals, etc.
- Finances – budget, repeat or one-time buyers, etc.
- Location – geographic location, physical visits or online, shipping costs, etc.
- Need – niche market, broad audience, etc.
Understanding your audience will help you define the voice and message you’ll be using throughout your inbound marketing program.
- Valuable Content
Valuable content helps a visitor and establishes you as a trusted source. Consider your audience to determine what type of content will be most valuable for your business to provide. Keep reading to see what kinds of content you might consider providing.
Identify what your company does, then communicate it to customers. No one should ever have to guess what you do. A successful inbound marketing program clearly communicates the most important details about your company that prospects need to know.
Market your company on a regular basis. Make sure you frequently update the content you exhibit, like creating regular blog posts. Ideally, once you begin marketing, it should go on forever. You will see a positive ROI and your advertising will literally start paying for itself!
Essential Elements for a Successful Inbound Marketing Program
The elements of your inbound marketing program are what make it strong and effective. An inbound mindset understands the aspirations and challenges of prospective customers and uncovers a variety of ways to help.
Posting high quality and valuable content on your website or in your blog that aims to provide solutions will organically attract the prospects you are looking for.
Valuable marketing content can be in the form of a blog post, a download, a video, or whatever fits best with what you have to offer. You can also work it into email marketing, white papers, case studies, e-books, and features articles.
Posting high quality content that provides solutions will organically attract prospects.
The content you provide can be in the form of gated or ungated content. Gated content is made accessible to your prospect after they provide some contact information, which you can later use for future follow-up. Content that is gated is more commonly referred to as a marketing offer. Ungated content is available to everyone without any requirements.
An increasingly popular way to combine gated and ungated content is to provide content that is ungated on the website but then provide it in the form of a download that is gated. This shows your audience that the content you are providing is in fact valuable, so they are more likely to download and save it in the form of gated content. This generates leads and proves to prospects that your goal is to provide solutions for them, not just market to them.
Social media and inbound marketing go hand-in-hand. Social media is where potential customers are, where they talk about products and services in your industry, and where you can listen, learn, and engage with your audience to understand what they need.
Develop creative content for your social media channels that provides authentic help for your prospects, and consistently post that content on the platforms you are using. Consider using a social media calendar to keep it all organized.
Social media is a place where you can listen, learn, and engage with your audience.
Not sure where to start with social media? Learn more about the elements of a successful social media marketing strategy, or connect with us to learn about our social media marketing services.
Creating a Sustainable Inbound Marketing Program
Inbound marketing is a perfect program for a budget-conscious business. It’s also one of the most effective ways to market a business in the information age. You don’t need to throw tens of thousands of dollars into your inbound marketing efforts.
There are plenty of ways to do inbound marketing that are budget-friendly and simple. A few examples are:
- Repurpose blog posts. Blog posts can have a long shelf life because information is constantly updating. Edit, repost, and reshare old blogs that have been updated with the most current relevant information.
- Share helpful or enlightening content from other sources. Since inbound marketing is all about offering solutions to customers, don’t be afraid to share content from other sources. Find relevant content from the thought-leaders in your field, and post a link to your social media with an intro describing how it is relevant to your followers.
- Start email marketing. Email marketing is a terrific low-cost technique for staying connected to your current customers, in addition to prospecting for new business. We love MailChimp for its freemium, easy-to-use email marketing software. The free service plan lets you keep and segment an email list of up to 2,000 contacts, and you can create hyper-targeted segments of your contacts so you can send tailored emails or ad campaigns to your subscribers.
Inbound marketing is an effective way to market a business in the information age.
Outsourcing Your Inbound Marketing Efforts
Inbound marketing requires dedication and consistency. It can have a lot of parts that act as pieces of the inbound puzzle.
If you are interested in an inbound program for your business but aren’t sure you have the time, consider outsourcing to a marketing agency. Expert marketers know how to fit each of the marketing strategy pieces together to complete the inbound puzzle, start offering solutions to prospects, and turn them into dedicated, lifelong customers.