Inbound marketing attracts customers by focusing on creating content that your ideal buyer is looking for in order to create engagement and to build relationships. This stands in contrast to outbound marketing methods that go for the "hard sell." Although inbound campaigns may require more effort and patience, this approach has been shown to be 10 times more effective than outbound marketing.
You can get marketing tips from just about anywhere, but to truly maximize the potential of today's inbound techniques, utilize the methods that top experts are using. These five (5) habits used by top marketers can jump-start your business and get you on the road to inbound marketing success.
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1. Map Out a Strategy
Every good inbound marketing campaign starts with a plan based on the objectives of your business. Failing to lay out a solid strategy can leave you scrambling to reach customers with time-sensitive messages and may cause you to implement ideas that won’t give you the best result.
Lay out your content calendar several months in advance, noting important holidays and other dates that require specialized or aggressive marketing techniques. We find our sweet spot is 3 months in advance but you may need to plan longer for very large campaigns or events. Also plan out your lead nurturing campaigns, email campaigns, required landing pages and all other assets that you’ll need to meet your goals.
You also need to be prepared to make changes to your plans if a technique you relied on in the beginning turns out to be less effective than you hoped. Good marketers tweak their approaches as they go along in response to changing customer needs.
2. Pick the Perfect Platform
A user-friendly content management system, or CMS, along with a marketing automation platform, or MAP, helps you handle the high volume of content required to maintain your inbound strategy. Choose something easy to learn that integrates with the other productivity tools your company relies on. Linking collaborative platforms with your CMS or MAP keeps all departments connected and on track.
One of the biggest benefits of a marketing automation platform is the ability to automate your marketing efforts. Setting up responses triggered by specific customer reactions can increase your revenue by 10 percent or more in just 6 to 9 months. These responses may include emails, retargeting ads, limited-time offers or exclusive deals.
Our favorite platform that we use is HubSpot. It is an all-in-one platform that integrates a sales CRM system with your marketing automation platform. It includes your website pages, landing pages, email system, social media publishing and monitoring, blogs and newsletters, while keeping track of all your contacts, leads, conversions, SEO, web performance and more. All in one place. As simple as that. Headache averted.
3. Make Marketing an Experience
What today's customers really want from businesses are relationships and experiences, not hard sells. Understand who your customers are and what they are searching for during their buying journey. Then provide them with the information they need to help them make a buying decision.
That means you need to fully understand the type of information they need at the beginning, middle and end of their decision-making process. Using a platform such as HubSpot that can track your customer throughout their sales funnel is a great way to know what works and doesn’t work.
In addition, consider how the techniques you use in every campaign come across to your customers. If you find something annoying or invasive, chances are that they will also. Work on streamlining the delivery of your message, and always give customers an option to opt out if they desire.
Incorporate tools such as Smart Marketing that changes the customer experience when they come back to a page on your site or complete another form. For example, if you ask them questions on a form, make sure the next time they complete another form on your site that you don’t ask the same questions again. It’s a great opportunity to ask new questions that will give you more information about the visitor so you can offer them just the right service or product.
That’s called smart marketing because…well it’s smart.
4. Be Open to New Ideas
Because something is always changing in the marketing world, you need to be willing to learn more every day and recognize great new ideas and opportunities. Buddy Scalera from Ogilvy CommonHealth says that he listens "to at least one podcast a day" to help him "contextualize industry news and trends." Ally Greer from Scoop.it adds that "Twitter is honestly the best way to find out about the newest things before they're posted or discussed anywhere else."
Blogs, podcasts and Twitter accounts are just a few of the channels that you should be keeping an eye on for marketing guidance and inspiration. Influencers and thought leaders are constantly offering insights through content of their own, including white papers, eBooks and webinars. Seek out the most relevant sources, and monitor them each day to stay on top of the latest inbound trends.
5. Always Be Analyzing
Jason Miller from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions says, "How do you know your content is relevant? Increased social traffic, social engagement and higher-quality leads." This highlights the importance of consistent analysis. You need to pay constant attention to:
- Customer behaviors and interests
- Chatter about your brand
- Campaign lead and conversion rates
- Click-through and bounce rates
- The most active times of day for consumer engagement
These numbers help you to personalize content, a marketing tactic that's becoming more important every day. Personalization segments your target audience into groups and delivers content designed to meet their specific needs.
More than 60 percent of buyers report that this type of content makes them more interested in purchasing from the companies they interact with, making it one of the most important parts of any marketing strategy.
Continue to Perfect Your Strategies, Customer Experiences and Analysis
Recurrent analysis and testing of these marketing tips will reveal which are the most beneficial for your business. Be consistent, stay focused and keep the customer at the forefront of your mind at all times to create the best possible inbound campaigns. Let consumer behavior be your guide as you navigate the complex world of marketing, and you'll stay on target with all your promotional efforts.
Curious to know how you compare to your competitors in the digital marketing arena? Get a free competitive analysis to discover where you are excelling and where you need to improve.