What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a method to attract potential customers by investing time and resources in the creation of value added content and providing personalized tailored experiences .
Contrary to the outbound marketing methods, where an audience is more often distributed with not relevant content or content they do not require, inbound marketing on the other hand attempts to win customers by focusing on customer issues and problems, forming relations and helping them out.
How can we make inbound marketing work?
1. Email List Segmentation
Your recipients’ inboxes are filled to the brim with messages from brands like you. You need to give them a good reason to open your email, read it, and act on it.
Always remember that generic messages don’t work for most of your customers. You first need to understand your target audience and learn more about their needs, preferences, and problems to understand what kind of content they expect to get from you. You could even directly ask them what their content preferences are and how frequently they would like to get emails from you.
Use customer data to segment your audiences. You could classify them into smaller groups, based on a wide range of factors, including:
- Their demographics
- Purchase history
- Online activity
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Abandoned forms and shopping carts
- Their satisfaction level
- Types of products they have purchased
This way, you will make your emails more personal and relevant to your audiences. You will connect with your audiences on a more personal level, keep them engaged, and turn them into loyal brand advocates. Many brands are using this approach. For example, Uber segments its email list by customers’ location. Their recipients are receiving emails from an account manager in their region.
2. Diversify your Content Strategy
Never assume that traditional blog articles will work for all website visitors. Different content formats resonate with different audience segments. Precisely because of that, you should diversify your content strategy. Here are a few types of content that will help you deliver value to your audiences.
Research claims that 99% of marketers that are investing in video marketing will keep doing so in 2020. Video content is highly engaging and interactive. It lets you tell your brand’s story in a more engaging way and connect with customers on a personal level.
Now, there are different types of content you could create, depending on your niche and business type. Live videos remain one of the hottest content marketing trends in 2020.
People love them because they are shot in real-time. This is what makes them more natural and relatable. You could also create culture videos that explain your brand’s values and missions, thought leadership videos that educate your audiences, emotional videos that trigger users’ nostalgia and emotions, demo videos that show your product in use, etc.
Infographics earn more likes and shares than other content types. Combining graphic design and content writing skills, they allow you to present complex facts in an engaging and easily understandable way. Always break the infographic into logical sections, write informative headings and subheadings, and focus on balancing design elements and the text. You should also brand your infographics by using your brand elements consistently.
Ebooks are a valuable content marketing source for a few reasons. First, they let you repurpose your previous content, both textual and visual. For example, you could merge your articles around the same topics and turn them into a comprehensive piece. Second, this is an opportunity for you to emphasize your industry authority.
This is exactly what Radomir Basta, CEO of the Four Dots digital marketing agency did with his book on SEO. Ranked #1 bestseller, the ebook helped the author validate his industry authority, gain loads of positive reviews and testimonials, and build trust with potential clients.
4. Case Studies
Unlike customer testimonials that briefly emphasize customers’ insights, case studies are more detailed. They explain what problems a customer faced before hiring you and how you helped them. Case studies should also explain what methodology you used, what goals you set, and what results you achieved. Precisely because of that, you should include actionable statistics and data to back you up.
Half of the population has already listened to a podcast. This is not surprising at all, given that podcasts are one of the most flexible content formats. Users can listen to them irrespective of their location.
For you, hosting a podcast is an opportunity to attach some of your brand personality and start building relationships with your target audiences. You will also be able to repurpose your blog content.
For example, you could turn your evergreen article or an ultimate guide into a podcast episode. Finally, if you are inviting authoritative guests, this is an opportunity to reach their audience and earn a link from their website.
3. Strengthen your Technical SEO
Technical SEO is one of the most significant segments of your inbound marketing strategy. Only by knowing how well your website performs will you be able to fix all problems on time and drive more qualified traffic.
For starters, you need to run comprehensive website audits at least once monthly to ensure everything works well. You will need to invest in a solid tool, like Google Search Console that is the nerve center of your technical SEO. It provides you the details about any problem with your website, as well as tips on how to fix them. Most importantly, it is free.
Another awesome tool you should consider is SEMrush’s site audit that provides in-depth website audits. It scans your site for more than 130 technical and SEO mistakes. It segments problems into “mistakes,” “warnings,” and “notices” and provides detailed tips on how to solve them.
By investing more in your technical SEO, you will first improve user experiences. By ensuring that your site works spotlessly, you will motivate people to spend more time on it, browse through your pages, and convert. Above all, user engagement and retention are clear indicators that your content is relevant and well-optimized, telling Google it should rank it higher.
Actionabl SEO Tips:
- Voice Search SEO: Everything You Need to Know
- UX Audit: An Ultimate Guide For Beginners
- Search Intent: The Most Important Ranking Factor In 2020
- ECommerce UX Design - Best Strategies and Principles
4. Optimize your Web Design
Website design goes hand in hand with your content marketing efforts. When a visitor lands on your website, they don’t want to scroll for years until they find the desired information. Instead, they expect your site to be intuitive and easy to consume.
1. Focus on your website navigation
First, focus on your website navigation. No matter if you are running a fashion magazine or an ecommerce store, the navigation bar is the first thing a user will see once they land on your site.
Keep it simple and logical. Reduce the number of categories in a navigation bar and classify them in a logical manner. Focus on other navigation functionalities, too.
For example, add a search bar to make it easy for users to find a specific product or brand faster, include filtering in your search, and add breadcrumbs that inform users where they are on your website.
2. Invest in content design
Second, invest in content design. Choose on-brand design elements and use them consistently across your website. Make your blog posts easier to use. Use informative headings and subheadings and bulleted lists to make your content easier to navigate through. Break the text up into smaller paragraphs. Use fonts that are legible on all devices.
3. Keep your site responsive
Finally, keep your site responsive. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or similar tools to analyze how responsive your website is. Your goal is to ensure that your site loads fast and looks great on all screen resolutions.
Many tools can help you when designing your website. This is where using website analytics tools, as well as heat maps and scroll maps can help. The idea is to understand what pages perform the best and which ones frustrate customers the most.
This way, you will be able to act on your data faster and make your design more user-centric. Of course, you should also collect feedback directly from your users, be it social media polls or on-site surveys.
5. Improve Conversations Using Chatbots
Chatbots can improve user experiences and conversions on multiple levels.
Chatbots provide real-time customer support
First, they provide real-time customer support. Today’s customers want brands to be available to them 24/7. Once a user asks a question, a chatbot will provide them with instant feedback. Above all, it will ask relevant questions to continue the conversation and convert a customer faster.
Chatbots simplify customer journeys
Second, it simplifies customer's journeys. Namely, they don’t need to fill out long checkout forms or verify their order. Complicated checkout processes are one of the major reasons why people leave their shopping carts.
With a chatbot, this process is easier. They are natural, intuitive, and interactive, helping people find the right products through meaningful conversations.
Lyft, for example, allows you to request a ride via their AI bot on Messenger, Amazon Echo, or Slack. The bot also builds trust with a customer by sending them a driver’s license plate and the car model.
Chatbots provide personalized user experiences
Third, chatbots provide personalized user experiences and help users find the desired products faster. Sephora’s Messenger bot, for example, asks customers about their needs and preferences and, based on them, recommends products.
It even lets users upload their photos and try out different products until they find the right one.
Chatbots humanize interactions with customers
Finally, chatbots humanize interactions with customers. You just need to hire amazing content writers that will write engaging and fun chatbot scripts for you.
For example, remember National Geographic’s Einstein bot that talked to users in a witty manner. It answered both the questions about the famous scientist’s private life and those about the Genius show it was supposed to promote. It even mastered the use of gifs.
Over to You
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is customer-centric. It doesn’t focus on maximizing sales fast and aggressively. Instead, it helps you build deeper relationships with your target customers through relevant, helpful, and interactive content.
That’s why we can say that inbound marketing is an investment in the long-run.
And, I hope these tips will serve as your solid starting point.