photo

Over the last several years, there has been a marked shift in the way companies attract people to their products and services. In our digital age, traditional marketing strategies of yesterday have become largely obsolete.Traditional marketing strategies, including television and radio ads were once the pinnacle of marketing techniques. However, this is no longer the case. In this tech-driven world, people seeing products and services are more likely to go online and research those products and services themselves, rather than waiting to hear about the next best offer. This modern marketing process is known as inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is a business methodology that is used to attract customers and clients to companies, and the products and services they offer. What’s different about inbound marketing as opposed to more traditional means is that rather than pushing products and services on potential customers, companies instead must find new ways to attract the customers to them. This is achieved through the use of various techniques including SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, branding, and more.

The rise of inbound marketing has marked a fundamental shift in the way companies do business in the tech driven, hyper-connected world of today. In this article we will discuss some of the basic methods, techniques and processes involved with inbound marketing. Keep reading to learn more.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO is a strategy that involves utilizing search engine best practices to improve the visibility of a website.

Search engines such as google, use A.I. bots called crawlers (affectionately known as spiders) to find pages with content that is relevant to algorithmic search results. Proper SEO practice ensures that these crawlers can fully read and index pages in order to determine the relevance of websites or webpages to targeted keywords. Some websites host millions of pages, and each of these pages, and the content on them should be designed with SEO in mind. By implementing proper SEO techniques, companies can improve their website’s ability to get all of it’s pages indexed by a search engine, and in turn, improve their ranking in SERPs.

Relevant Readable Content: SEO isn’t the be all end all though. When proper SEO practice is imple mented along with quality onsite content, crawlers can more easily determine the relevancy of a website or webpage for a particular set of keywords. Improving content quality in terms of  readability and relevance allows companies to increase the relevance of their website for specific keywords and thus improve their keyword rankings and visibility within the search engine results page.

 Credibility: Search engines determine a website’s relevance and credibility based on the internal and external links across the internet. Backlinking is an SEO practice that involves linking relevant keywords on other websites that lead back to your website or a specific webpage on your site. These backlinks further help search engine crawlers associate a website with a particular set of keywords, thus improving the relevance of your website or webpage for those specific keywords.

4 Stages of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is about attracting customers and clients to your company organically. Whereas traditional marketing methods largely involve buying the attention of would be customers through television, radio, print ads, and other promotional material, inbound marketing centers on earning your audience’s interest. There are 4 steps to this process.

Attract

As with any sort of relationship, the first step to inbound marketing is attraction. The goal is to draw in individuals who may potentially become customers. These individuals are known as buyer personas, and they are at the center of your inbound marketing efforts.

Attracting your buyer personas requires a focused inbound strategy that begins with with creating effective and engaging content. This content should not only reach out and grab the attention of potential customers, but also compel them to transition to the next step of the conversion process. The best ways to accomplish this goal is through blogging, maintaining an active social media presence, utilizing keywords and optimizing your webpages through SEO.

Convert

Once you have attracted your potential buyers, the next step in the process is to convert them into MQL’s (marketing qualified leads). In order to accomplish this, you will need to obtain the contact information of your site visitors. This contact information is a marketer’s bread and butter.
But how do you go about getting this information from potential customers? The answer is to offering something of value. Generally, if you want something, you need to offer something in return. This rule also applies to the marketer who is  seeking to get contact information from targeted consumers.

The most crucial aspect of the conversion phase is to offer something of value to potential buyers in order to get them to share their contact details. One idea is to offer them some form of exclusive content in exchange for their information. This content can take the shape of e-books, whitepapers, blog posts, webinars, deals and coupons, etc.

Close

This step of the process is fairly straight forward. It involves “closing”  MQL’s and turning them into customers. The end goal of this step is consumer-focused. And the process is typically a joint sales and marketing effort. The intention and the end goal is to convert your MQL’s into  SQL’s (sales qualified leads) so that they are ready to buy by the end of this step.

Delight

Once your customer has made a purchase, you don’t want to simply abandon them. Ideally, you want each customer to be one who will return and do business with you again. One of the peripheral goals of inbound marketing is to create return customers. To accomplish this, a company must show customers that they are valued.

This end result can be achieved by continual customer engagement through the use of highly targeted calls-to-action, interaction on social media, and email and marketing automation.

By delighting customers, companies can create even greater opportunities for sales. Return customers who are happy with your products and services will likely tell others about them as well, meaning that every satisfied customer can help draw more business to your company.

An inbound approach to online marketing is an effective method for drumming up sales. It also provides your company with a significant advantage in an increasingly competitive digital market.