Inbound MarketingHow Inbound marketing is the game changer for your business and how it leads to business growth.
Inbound Marketing – It Just Makes Sense!
one are the days of creating content just for content’s sake; publishing it to your website and social feeds in the hope of increasing your website traffic and sales. These days your target audience is bombarded with millions of advertising messages every week through all sorts of channels especially the channel made of metal and plastic that sits in your pocket or handbag. In fact, you’re probably on it right now.
Side Note: Seriously, next time you are in your Facebook feed take note of your second, sixth and eleventh (or thereabouts) post as it’s guaranteed to be an advertisement for a product or service you are interested in.
Irrespective of your industry, its sector or your product the Inbound marketing methodology can, and will, apply to your business.
In this post we’ll be, I’ll provide an all-encompassing rundown of (Inbound Marketing), including an explanation of why (Inbound marketing) is important, how to implement simple and effective inbound marketing practices in your business.
What is Inbound Marketing and Why Does it Matter?
Inbound marketing, as its name suggests, is all about getting your ideal audience, prospects and clients attention and drawing them “inwards” to your branded content and assets with the primary objective of engaging with them and getting them into your sales and marketing funnel.
Cloud-based Inbound marketing and CRM company Hubspot is primarily responsible for its rise to popularity and built its entire empire out of its methodology and principles.
Although their inbound marketing philosophy has just recently changed, from using the marketing funnel of comprising the 4 stages of Attract, Engage, Convert and Delight to that of the Flywheel their definition of Inbound Marketing hasn’t changed at all. The Hubspot definition is
Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.
Inbound marketing at its core is about helping your ideal customers and prospects solve issues or pain points in a business concept that are important to them in the form of highly relevant and educational content.
Providing this relevant and helpful content in a manner which is easily consumable and educational is important because it positions you and your business as one that understands their problems and can ultimately assist solve them.
Employing the inbound marketing methodologies within your business and the content it is creating builds trust; lowers client acquisition costs, and in most situations positions you as an authority in your area of expertise.
Inbound Marketing versus Outbound Marketing – what’s the difference.
As previously stated, inbound marketing is about drawing potential clients inwards towards your business through the use of relevant and educational type content. It is also categorised as owned and earned media.
The fundamental difference is understanding your ideal buyer persona or target audience. Through this understanding, you are better equipped to create the content that is relevant to them and you are also able to target them more effectively.
Inbound marketing: Owned and Earned media
Owned media is the media that you and your business has full control over.
Some examples of a business or persons owned media can include:
- social media channels
- email databases
- videos and,
- basically your entire brand
Earned media is the direct result of your content, it’s marketing (including PR) that gets coverage in the media such as articles, editorials in newspapers, other blogs, social media mentions, and special tags. Basically, it when your business/ brand or product gets some attention externally.
Inbound Marketing: Paid media
Paid media in this context is also relatively straightforward – It’s the content that you have paid to be promoted and is most notable related to marketing and advertising. Some examples you may have seen or heard about include:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) and Display advertising such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc
- Sponsored content – paid emails or advertorials, TV, etc
- Out of Home Advertising – Billboards, Flyers
Note: The successful implementation of paid and owned media through social and digital channels has proven to be very effective and lucrative. Examples of this are the boosting or promoting your content through PPC Social media is a great way to get more visibility of your content with your ideal audience or buyer persona.
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
The benefits of inbound marketing in for your digital marketing objectives far outweigh the benefits of outbound with regards to long-term marketing strategy and costs.
By focusing on your target audiences (buyer persona) specific needs and creating content that is useful to what they are searching for is key. By providing them with useful information they require reliably – without the pushy sales pitches will position you in good stead for the next time they require similar information.
Reduced Advertising Spend
By creating highly relevant and engaging content tailored to their needs optimising it with search engine optimisation (SEO) you can reduce the amount of money you spend on advertising to reach the same audience. Makes sense, right?
Scalable Content Distribution
By not solely relying on one specific channel to publish your content you have multiple channels at your disposal, therefore, mitigating any potential risk of your content not being seen or found.
What are some examples of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is about generating quality content that delivers highly targeted leads into your businesses marketing funnel. And as such, there is almost no limit as to how to you can implement this. But I’ve listed a few common examples below.
Example 1: Blog Content
Example 2: e-Books
Example 3: Infographics & Visual Content
Example 4: Webinars
Example 5: Training Courses
Example 6: Checklists
Example 7: Whitepapers
Example 8: Case Studies (Customer Showcase)
Example 9: Video Content
Example 10: Search Engine Optimisation
How to measure your Inbound Marketing
No marketing activity is worth the time or money if you’re not going to measure its effectiveness backed by data and insight. Seriously, are you still using your gut instinct on campaigns?
Seriously though, measuring the effectiveness of your inbound marketing is relatively simple as long as you have the basic tools you need set up from the get-go at your disposal.
Here’s 3 Metrics To Measure The Effectiveness Of Your Inbound Marketing Campaigns.
Metric 1 – Website/ Blog Traffic
The easiest way to ascertain whether your content is working and getting traffic to your website and blog content is through the use of Google Analytics. Once you’re in the Google Analytics interface you are able to see exactly how many visitors have reached your blog and its individual posts.
If you’re not getting as many visits as you’d thought, you might need to review your on-page SEO and relevancy of your content. A cool tool to see what your visitors are doing on your website pages is called Crazy Egg. It uses a variety of technology to see how users interact on your site including Heatmaps, Scroll maps and Click Reports.
Metric 2 – Conversion Rates
Once you have your highly qualified traffic on your website, it’s important to try and convert them from a stranger to a subscriber or member of your community by signing up to your newsletter or by downloading a piece of content (a.k.a a lead magnet) such as a checklist or ebook.
If you’re able to work your way around google analytics you can measure your conversions via the set up of Goals. Once your goals have been set up, tested and working properly you’ll be able to measure your conversions via the Conversion Reports in your Dashboard.
Metric 3 – Engagement Rates
Now that you’ve created your highly relevant, engaging and valuable content it’s time to measure it’s resonating with people and getting some good, if not great engagement.
To get a good understanding of the social media performance it is critical to look at the posts engagement over its reach as core metrics.
Post engagement will ultimately improve the posts reach in itself, but by looking at engagement we can immediately determine how the content itself is resonating with your audience.
By looking at the post insights from within different the different platforms and combining it with content performance using a tool like BuzzSumo you can gauge whether you need to amend or drastically change the content of your content.
Analysis and Refinement of Inbound Marketing
Like all forms of marketing, inbound marketing is not an exception to providing a cost-benefit analysis, especially when you need to choose where to spend your scarce marketing resources dollars.
Remember, Inbound Marketing takes time to prepare, design implement and see the long-lasting effects, which is why its viewed as a long-term marketing strategy.
By reviewing your contents’ relevance and its performance you will be able to update, amend and improve it via minor adjustments over the course of the months and hopefully years.
As a rule of thumb, it’s good practice and it’s good for SEO if you review and update your content regularly. In the marketing world, things are changing so rapidly that you will need to review your channels regularly anyway to ensure you are placing your content in front of the right people at the right time.