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The 4 Basic Elements of Inbound Marketing
Posted on August 19th 2014
We’re going back to basics! As an agency that follows the principles of inbound marketing, sometimes we forget that not everyone out there is drinking the inbound Kool-Aid. So this week, we’re taking a step back and looking at the basic elements of inbound marketing that guide us through everything we do for ourselves and our clients.
If you’re new to the concept of inbound marketing, or you’re looking for a quick and dirty rundown of its elements, then this blog is for you. Whether you hire an agency or undergo the process on your own, here are the four main goals of inbound and the associated services that you can expect to find in a solid inbound marketing plan.
Goal 1: Generate Qualified Website Traffic
Associated Services: Content Marketing (Blogging!), Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Sharing
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new bike. Perhaps you’ve seen some ads in the paper, or on television, but you’re the kind of person who does their research, so you turn to the trusty Google. You type in “Best Bikes for City Biking” and come across a wonderful blog article about various types of bikes that are great for city biking. After you finish the article, you notice that the site hosting the blog has a lot of other blogs about biking, bike maintenance, bike tires, etc., and you start to think, "Hey, these people really know what they’re talking about, they’re bicycling experts!" Suddenly you feel affinity towards that brand; you might even want to buy a bike from them. Boom. Inbound marketing at work.
Search algorithms are becoming increasingly smart about content and context. When you write relevant content that answers your customers questions and addresses pain points you set yourself up to attract more qualified website traffic. When you blog and share those blogs on your social media channels, you establish yourself as an expert, build awareness, and gain credibility for your brand online.
Goal 2: Convert Website Visitors into Leads
Associated Services: Call-to-action (CTA) buttons, Landing Pages, Forms
Part of being a successful inbound marketer is turning qualified traffic into qualified leads. To do this, you need to use premium content pieces, calls to action, and landing pages.
Creating more in-depth premium content pieces and offers like eBooks, Webinars, Free Demos helps you generate leads when you place them behind a form. When you ask a website visitor to fill out a form in exchange for a free piece of your premium content, you turn that visitor into a lead and obtain valuable data that allows you to guide them down the sales funnel.
Goal 3: Turn Leads into Customers
Associated Services: Email Marketing, Sales Consulting
Generally speaking, prospects don’t have a tendency to just call out of the blue and say “I want to buy something from you!” Even if they are interested in your brand, most people need a little more convincing before they’re willing to shell out the cash. That’s why we utilize the process of lead nurturing to guide prospects down the path to purchase. Utilizing email marketing is a great way to accomplish this.
Remember that premium content offer we talked about? The person who downloaded it might also be interested in an ebook or webinar on a similar topic. In order to market to this individual, you would set up an automated email campaign that sends a series of emails suggesting various top-of-the-funnel, middle-of-the-funnel, and bottom-of-the-funnel offers to keep them engaging with your content and your brand.
Eventually, when your sales person gets on the phone with this individual, they have an exact idea of what the prospect is interested in and how to best accommodate their needs. It’s the farthest thing from a cold call.
Goal 4: Measure, Analyze, Interpret & Refine
Associated Services: Marketing Automation Software, A/B Testing, Misc. Analytics Tools
If you’re going to put in the effort to create a killer inbound campaign, it's important to make sure that what you’re doing is actually working. Marketing automation software, like Hubspot, provides you with an integrated platform to facilitate and analyze all of your inbound marketing efforts.
One easy way to gauge results is through the use of A/B testing. For example, with A/B testing you can try different text on a call to action to see which performs better. You might determine that more people are likely to click on a CTA that says “Get Your eBook Today!” as opposed to “Download Now.”
Utilizing analytics helps to fine-tune your campaigns and offerings, allowing you to replicate successes in the future and dispose of the occasional failed effort as quickly as possible.
To stay competitive in this changing marketing landscape, you must create campaigns that place your brand directly in front of your target audience. You need to be able to answer questions, address pain points, give expert advice, and entertain with fresh, original content.
Applying these core elements of inbound marketing methodology, you too can create a campaign that will attract more qualified visitors, generate more leads, and convert more leads into customers. Happy marketing!
inbound marketing / shutterstock