It’s certainly possible to find examples of inbound marketing that existed before the internet. Experts wrote books or aired infomercials with the intention of informing consumers and hopefully, convincing them that the author or publisher was somebody they wanted to do business with.
Why Inbound Marketing Works for Consistent Online Lead Generation
However, the internet is uniquely suited to inbound marketing because the technology expedites rapid and 2-way communication.
Getting found and establishing a connection with consumers are some of the core benefits of inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Gives Consumers What They Want
What’s the primary reason that inbound marketing works so well? Done right, the methods behind this effective kind of marketing can deliver solutions to problems that consumers already seek answers for.
This all ties back the way that buyers make purchasing decision these days. They research online.
Consider some statistics from Adweek about what the majority of buyers do before they purchase:
- Before making a purchase, 81 percent of shoppers will research online.
- Before making a purchase, 61 percent of shoppers will read reviews.
- Before making a purchase, 60 percent of shoppers begin researching by using a search engine.
In some cases, people may already know what they want to purchase an item and just want to find the best brand or price. In other cases, consumers may have a problem and are looking for a solution without really knowing where to turn.
In the case of certain products, consumers may simply be looking for some entertainment.
Marketers learn how their own customers are likely to find them and then make sure that they get found. Some tactics that inbound marketers could use to get found might include:
- SEO: Make sure internet platforms have been optimized to rank well when users search. Searchers may use the major search engines, like Google, but they also search on video sites, social networks, and so on.
- Internet marketing platform: Create an online marketing platform. This platform might include your business website, local and industry blogs, online forums, social networking websites, video sites, review sites, and other internet properties that are likely to attract your potential customers.
- Content: Offer content that engages online searchers and supports your overall business goals. You might place this content on your business blog, social networks, and so on.
- Promotion: Inbound marketing may not eliminate the need to advertise. For instance, you might find that you can expand your audience if you promote your content. Instead of advertising your products and services, you might find it useful to advertise the helpful information that your company wants to offer consumers.
Before you sign up for your fist social network or decide to redesign or build a website, you need to create a marketing plan.
You may hire a marketing company to help you with your plan and your campaigns. Even so, those marketers will be able to help you better if you already understand how their efforts can help support your business.
Before you can establish marketing goals and develop a marketing plan, you should make sure you understand your business goals. This might sound trite; however, according to a recent study by Staples, 80 percent of small business owners did not track business goals and a large percentage really didn’t have any set goals at all.
Inbound Marketing Plans Should Support Business Goals
Typical business goals include increasing profits, improving brand recognition, enhancing customer service and customer retention, and even having a positive impact on the company’s community or country.
Inbound marketing campaigns can provide you with the tools to help achieve these goals and many more.
Once you have clearly defined your goals, everything else will start to fall into place; however, if you don’t know what you hope to achieve, you really have no way to measure your results or even know if you are heading in the right direction.
What Should You Include in Your Inbound Marketing Plan?
Once you have your company’s goals in mind, you can begin to complete your marketing plan by including this kind of information:
- Buyer personas: These are simply semi-fictional descriptions of your idea of an ideal customer. You might base these descriptions upon your experience, company sales data, or industry research. A description might loosely describe something about that ideal buyer’s family, education, income, location, and even hobbies.
- Tactics: What kind of content will help you achieve your goals. For instance, you might wish to develop videos to post on social media sites, encourage reviews on popular review sites, or create a white paper to give away in exchange for email addresses. As you develop tactics, you might also explore the demographics of different social sites to see which are likely to attract your ideal buyers.
- Marketing goals: Now that you’ve considered your business goals, you might consider the goals that you have for an inbound marketing campaign. For instance, you might hope to gather more leads to help move people into your sales funnel and increase sales. If your company is new, you may just hope to achieve better recognition for your brand.
- Marketing budget: You may choose to invest in better SEO for your business site, content to post on blogs or social networks, and so on. While you devise your inbound marketing plan you should also set a budget.
- Metrics: You need to track certain metrics to tune and test your campaigns and ensure that your investment is paying off. For instance, you might track clicks, conversion rates, and reach. Automation software can help you track and report upon performance at all stages of your inbound marketing plan. It’s a good idea to include these metrics in your marketing plan.
- Consider your overall business goals.
- Create a plan that documents the actions you can take to use inbound marketing to help achieve those goals.
- You may decide to work with a marketing company to work out and implement the details, but that company can serve you better if you understand and communicate your goals.