Businesses have been hearing about inbound marketing since 2006 when Hubspot coined the term. In contrast to outbound marketing strategies such as advertising or direct mail used to interrupt prospects to grab their attention, inbound marketing focuses on tactics that earn it.
How are businesses earning the attention of their prospects? Earning attention from prospects is a four-stage process:
1. The first step is to create compelling content and personalized experiences to attract a steady stream of qualified people interested in your business.
2. The second step is to convert people who visit your website or business. This step is about getting people to make their interest in your business known. On a website, every time a person submits a contact form, clicks on a specific call-to-action, or visits one of your targeted landing pages, it can be counted as a conversion.
3. The third step is closing the deal and turning those interested prospects into customers.
4. The fourth and final step is called delight, and it’s about keeping your customers engaged after they make a purchase. There are many ways to do this, for example, online surveys or royalty programs.
Driving people to your website is not enough. After prospects get there, you need to keep their attention, provide support, encourage them to take action, and help them connect with your business. The end goal of inbound marketing is to pay close attention to those interactions and create opportunities to connect with your audience.
To build compelling content, every business needs to have an in-depth understanding of its target customers. This is what marketers refer to as the process of creating a target persona, and you can do this by reviewing all the data you have about your customers, from website analytics to sale records.
After you have a clear understanding of who your audience is, you will be ready to get started making the necessary adjustments to strengthen your inbound marketing strategy:
1. Claim your local listings. The way people find businesses now is primarily online. Make sure your company invests the necessary time to claim and manage your business’s website with online directories like Google My Business. It’s important to pay special attention to the accuracy and consistency of your listings to make sure prospects can easily find and reach your business.
2. Make the most of your website. According to Clutch.co, two-thirds of small businesses rely on their website to connect with their customers. Keep your company’s website updated with relevant and useful content. Use multi-media content, like videos, blogs, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, and success stories to attract searchers and rank well on search engines.
3. Access your inner writer and blog. Companies who blog receive 97% more leads to their websites than companies that don’t, according to SevenAtoms. The best blogs are those that contain engaging and informational content that speaks to your target audience and answers their questions. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
4. Engage with social media. The relationship between social media and search engine rankings is not clear, but what most marketers have concluded with their research is that it does matter. In addition to helping with your website’s visibility, it’s essential to build a loyal fan base. More than half of businesses who have been using social media regularly for two or more years have been able to establish thought leadership. Sharing engaging content on social platforms, and quickly responding to customer concerns and feedback is a great way to start and keep the conversation going.
5. Be exclusive with email. When all of your best efforts start to pay off in visitors, fans, followers, and downloads, integrate them with an outbound strategy, like email marketing. Continue to deliver relevant content and exclusive offers as new relationships with prospects develop and convert to sales.
Inbound marketing delivers solutions and opportunities to attract and convert prospects. Need help formulating or executing your inbound marketing strategies? Contact American Speedy Printing – Marketing Print Mail location today!
Joe is passionate about helping SMBs. He’s spent the last 30+ years building the American Speedy Printing Marketing • Print • Mail – and sharing best practices and marketing trends with his customers. Through research, in-person visits and this blog, he hopes to engage with and empower local business owners and marketing professionals.