Updated June 12, 2023
Introduction to Inbound Marketing Strategy
Most people think marketing is a cost-intensive effort involving booking ad space in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio and ensuring physical presence through hoardings, leaflets, and flyers. The birth of the digital age and rapid penetration of the internet has now enabled marketers to get customers to come searching for their products and services at perhaps a much lesser cost. Welcome to the world of inbound marketing, where your content will drive traffic to your website and social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, and other media. Or it could be your guest postings on other websites and mobile sites.
Inbound marketing strategies have been deployed by many during the past decade but only getting more noticed now. Among the reasons cited could be recessionary trends worldwide, increased competition, and squeezing in margins in the industry, perhaps causing companies to economize on brand marketing activities.
Effective and Popular Media
Here are the effective and popular media through which inbound marketing strategy is being done.
With the growing internet penetration worldwide, the best strategy to reach potential customers is to have a website. Many companies advertising in print media, electronic media, and hoardings now emphasize their website addresses to let customers log in to the concerned websites for more information. Putting content, pictures, videos, and other information on a company website requires careful consideration. Apart from product descriptions, images, and videos, the details of promoters, location of manufacturing facilities, distribution network, new products launched, a forum to submit feedback and complaints regarding products, a toll-free number to connect to customer service, online chat facility, online product ordering facility among other features would attract new visitors to the site.
The visitors could be people who have heard about the company from somewhere and wanted to know more; it could be from people who have searched in Google for a particular product or service and have landed on your page. For such visitors, the relevance of the information provided, their importance for the customer, the brand image of the product, the credibility of the information, the design and layout of the HTML pages, and page loading times all will have an impact on how the consumer perceives the company and the brand. A simple, elementary design with smooth navigation between sections would go a long way in visitors returning to the site for information, leading to sales inquiry and conversion. With the growth of social media, websites stand to be promoted better if they have been linked to social media pages that are updated regularly.
People have been blogging for a long time, mostly to write about personal thoughts or specialized topics to share with the public. Some people have made reasonably good income through blogging by arrangement with Google for Adsense. However, now corporate attention is more focused on using blogging as a business promotion tool. Inbound marketing strategy blog sections are now regularly updated on company websites. They could be written by in-house content writers, subject experts, and analysts, which adds value to the site.
Sometimes, a company’s expert may also write blogs run by independent people or groups for business purposes and have a large following. This also adds credibility to the company in its inbound marketing strategy efforts. It could be about new technology, new research findings, or it could be about the relevance of some new product launched.
For a company that wants to start blogging without any investment, WordPress and Tumblr offer a user-friendly platform to begin posting articles, photos, and comments and share them on social media to gain more mileage. Using info-graphics in blogs would go a long way in making inbound marketing strategy content attractive, especially if it is related to marketing, technical or scientific topics.
3. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn Until a few years ago, social media was only a marketing strategy used to complement traditional marketing efforts by companies. However, analysts have predicted that social media is emerging as a medium like a website. It can be gauged from the search engine leader Google’s arrangement with Facebook and Twitter. It is easy for an individual, an organization, or a corporate entity to start a social media page. However, better results are obtained when paid services of such inbound marketing technique platforms are utilized for enlarging the reach and exposure to the potential buyers.
There is also how much effort, time, energy, and money has to be devoted to various options that have to be worked out based on the company’s area of operation, products, and services. FaceBook would be ideal for more images and pictorial content to be published. For the media, news, scientific, and technical products, Twitter and LinkedIn may be more appealing. Fashion, entertainment, beauty, food, and consumer products could focus more on FaceBook. A landing page is always good for visitors to reach for more information through FB and Twitter to register or buy a product or service.
If a good landing page is not provided, visitors may get confused and leave social media pages without liking, sharing, or following, as is often the case with Twitter. Social media is also helpful in creating event posts, sharing necessary events appointments within the company, product launches, getting customer feedback, and so on. The more likes and shares your social media page receives, the greater the brand awareness created and, as a result, the higher the potential for sales conversions. Organizational marketing can be best done through LinkedIn, a professional networking forum. New appointments, new product launches, and opinions on strategies and trends in the market can all be discussed through Linkedin Posts and LinkedIn Pulse.
YouTube has emerged as a popular medium for sharing videos by the fashion industry, music, film industry, motivational speakers, corporate training firms, market research, market news, analysis and advisories, nutrition, health, fitness, sports, art, dance, news media and variety of other professions. People search for or share YouTube videos that are three to five minutes long based on how interesting or relevant the topic is to a large audience. People have uploaded and shared all kinds of videos on YouTube and social media without any limit.
Steps in Inbound Marketing Strategy
Below are the steps in the inbound marketing strategy:
The first step in the inbound marketing strategy is to attract potential customers to your company. All the media outlined above- Websites, Social media, blogs, and YouTube- must be optimized with relevant content. The quality of the content, its relevance to your target audience, the authenticity of information, design, and appearance aesthetics add to the appeal of the content to attract the audience.
It is not sufficient to attract the audience to our website or social media page; they must stay longer on the page and also be able to interact with the company. It should contain forms to fill, a call-to-action such as downloading an app, or a white paper, attending a seminar, a landing page to capture the information, and email details to get back to the visitor. Enabling inbound marketing automation on-site would make it easier to follow up on inbound email marketing. If they are followers on Twitter and Facebook, appropriate follow-up action can be done through those platforms too.
3. Closing the sale
The first two inbound marketing strategy steps of attracting and converting must culminate in the sale’s closing. For this purpose, various inbound marketing techniques and tools are available. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool helps keep track of all the contacts, companies, and deals in the pipelines, which enables easier connection with the right prospects. A robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) at the backend would provide the support needed for CRM to work. Closing the sale may require sending a series of focused emails.
4. Creating buyer personas
As in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, creating buyer personas or fictional profiles of potential customers is essential to prepare content and other information that is relevant to them. Apart from buyer personals, little research on low-impact, high-impact keywords (long-tail keywords) will help get more clicks, conversions, and sales.
This strategy is to push specific Pay Per Click ads to customers according to their browsing history. A person who visits a cosmetics company page will start seeing Facebook ads from companies that sell cosmetics, beauty services, and hairdo services. Inbound marketing strategy specialist Peter Cartier states that reminding customers to continue their journey without being aggressive in their sales pitch is an effective strategy.
Why will Inbound Marketing Strategy become more Popular in 2016?
Following are some reasons why it will become more popular in 2016:
Digital marketing has found Adblockers to hinder their promotional efforts on websites and social media. Advertising being an outbound promotional effort, is also costlier. Adblockers have become popular because people dislike ads popping up on a site when they eagerly seek useful information or book some service or product online. Despite the creativity and technology, such as animation and 3D, that goes into an online ad, viewers may shut it off with Adblockers, thus denying its reach to a vast audience. Therefore, it makes sense to pursue passive outbound marketing, which attracts the audience on its merit rather than trying to catch their attention by intruding into the viewing experience.
There is a compelling reason for corporations to focus on inbound marketing strategy. Compared to outbound marketing, its cost-effectiveness is the main advantage. Earlier studies have shown that an inbound marketing strategy is about 60% cheaper than a traditional one. Popular websites have very high Pay per Click (CPC) rates, and there is no guarantee of converting clicks to sales. Moreover, display ads on websites and social media have lower click-through rates than text ads.
It establishes better credibility among existing and prospective consumers as the focus doesn’t appear to be directly on gaining business. Here the company is showing its expertise, products, technology, human resources strength, and research capabilities to a large audience. An all-out effort to persuade and sell the product through a pure-play outbound strategy will not be sufficient to create credibility among the public.
Inbound strategy in marketing has been around for a decade, and many have gained a better return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing. The US financial crisis of 2008 unleashed recessionary trends that spread across Europe, Asia, and Africa, causing the current situation. Achieving better results should not consider a one-off operation; it requires sustained effort. So the fact that some people have liked and turned customers doesn’t mean it will happen forever. Therefore, the companies need to engage them, delight them and make them promoters of the products through word-of-mouth or shares through the digital medium. To achieve these surveys, intelligent calls to action, clever text, and social monitoring must be done regularly.
We can give customers survey questionnaires to gather their feedback and determine what new products they are seeking. There should be smart calls-to-action- register, vote, or signup for an event, product, or service. The existing inbound marketing technique platforms- website, blog, and social media should continue to have compelling inbound marketing strategy content tailored to the interests and requirements of the audience.
This should help them find a solution to their problem and achieve their goals by introducing new products and ideas. The inbound marketing strategy content need not be to sell or market, sometimes it can just be to inform and make consumers aware of their rights, or in the case of the health and nutrition industry, it could be about how to overcome the trauma of a disease, how to keep healthy, how to choose the right nutrition mix for age and so on. If it is the paint industry, it could be some tips on how to keep the exterior and interior walls fungus-free, moisture-free, and termite-proof or related issues. A company that has the problems of the consumer paramount than selling its product will establish better credibility and brand value. It will enable them to outpace the competition in the long run.
This is a guide to Inbound Marketing Strategy. Here we have discussed the top 5 effective and popular steps in the inbound marketing strategy. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –