Inbound marketing: the basics

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Inbound marketing: the basics

Inbound marketing refers to the methodology that ‘invites’ visitors to your website. So, a combination of content (such as blogs, videos etc.) and channels (e.g. social media, email and marketing automation, and conversation bots).

It requires a tight strategy that is informed by personas (based on your best or ideal customers), which should identify:

  • What your ideal customer wants to know
  • The problems they are looking to solve
  • How they are most likely to engage with a business in that industry

Here are some of the tools you could use in your inbound marketing process:

inbound marketing cycle: attract, engage and delight

What you say is important!

As is always the case, your messaging is crucial to the success of your inbound marketing efforts. Think about what you expect to learn about a business when you’re first introduced. And then think about how much (or how little) time you want to invest in the initial contact points. Chances are, your attention span and patience isn’t at its maximum.

The initial touch points should be clear and concise, positioning your business as trustworthy and a credible leader who will solve problems.

Identify your key service or product pillars and how they solve your best customer’s pain points. Next step is to consider how you can replicate that. The best way to do this is through creating user personas (this is a standard part of our research and analysis for any digital marketing project).

What’s a user persona and why does my business need to do them?

The cornerstone for a successful marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer. You need to know how to effectively communicate with them: what you should be saying and the tone of voice.

If you haven’t created any, have a think about your best customer:

  • What is their job title?
  • How did they find you? (e.g. recommendation, google, social media, trade show)
  • How do they engage with you? Do they prefer phone calls, emails or are they avid social media users?
  • What are their main pain points, and how did your business solve them?
  • What motivates them to make a decision?
  • What kind of relationship do you have? Can you have a joke with them or is it more professional?

Through answering these questions, it’ll help you identify not only tone of voice, but the channels your best leads are most likely to engage with.

Your personas inform your content

In turn, this will help you form an idea of what your leads want to read. Rather than assuming knowledge gaps, you’ll have an educated guess as to what they know, what’s interesting and what turns them off.

It’s crucial to do your research each time you create content! If you’re going to position yourself as an industry leader, you can’t just bluff your way through. Whether it’s you, a member of your team, a digital marketing agency or a freelancer creating your content, a solid brief is essential.

Your personas will also help you decide which marketing channels to use.

The pool of marketing channels is so much larger than simply Facebook, LinkedIn, email and Google. It covers all means of communications:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Commerce
  • Apps
  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Press releases
  • Webinars
  • SMS marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC

And that’s just what’s available in the digital realm!

We often recommend digital content marketing over print and direct, as it’s trackable. It’s much easier to measure your ROI (return on investment) with the plethora of tools available these days than print consumption.

Drilling down on social media marketing, for example, there are many channels, all differing in approach and audience. If you’re in B2B, you’ll no doubt find LinkedIn and Twitter best for conversion than Instagram and TikTok.

For example, when we worked with Flexgenius on their new business acquisition, we approached it in the following way:

  • A series of social media campaigns on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram
  • Google PPC
  • Retargeting
  • An email strategy to nurture the new leads, converting them to enquiries

Content structure for lead generation

In addition to getting the tone of voice and the channels right for your leads, the type of content you share with them is of equal importance. Using a lead scoring tool on your website is one simple way of segmenting your leads. You can then create a marketing automation workflow based on engagement. You can create a content structure that looks something like this:

Intrigue

Lead score: 0 – 10 points

Content: blogs, videos, hints & tips.

Light content that doesn’t require too much time or attention. That said, it provides a good insight into who you are, what you do and how you can help them.

Discover

Lead score: 11 – 30 points

Content: whitepapers, guides, resources.

Slightly heavier content that introduces your leads to your ways of working and inspires them.

Consider

Lead score: 31 – 49 points

Content: product features, case studies

This content should showcase your success stories. Talk about how you have helped relatable customers achieve their goals.

Decide

Lead score: 50+ points

Content: pricing, demos, sales interactions, book a meeting

In theory, by this point, these leads have done a lot of research and may be ready to make a decision soon. Now is a good time to schedule a call, demo, meeting or an event where they can engage directly with your sales leads.

What about using inbound marketing in combination with paid advertising?

Digital strategy: social media ads

Both have their own merits. Having the foundations set and ready to go will serve organic and paid leads well. It means there will be plenty of content available to educate them on your offering.

Organic inbound marketing tends to be lower cost but more time intensive.

Paid advertising, as suggested in the title, will cost money. You can scale your campaigns to suit your budget, and if executed well, reaps rewards much quicker than organic marketing.

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

Summary

Inbound marketing is a highly effective way to raise awareness of your business and generate leads, if planned and executed well. It’s essential to create customer personas first, so you know not only who to target but where and how.

Interested in taking your inbound marketing up a level?

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