Gone are the old days of publishing blog posts which talk about you. Seriously, your visitors don’t want to read about how great you are, what awards you have won, where your office is moving to or anything else that is ‘you’-orientated.
Nor do users want to use old fashioned websites that are stuffed full of boring content, and over-optimised with keywords in the hope of manipulating Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). This is the old way of handling SEO and website content. It's old and it's no longer effective.
What users do want is to find useful content that helps them to solve a specific problem.
"Useful content that solves a specific problem"
This is great news. It puts you in an exciting position as a modern thinking marketeer. If you understand this simple concept you're already on the road to success by considering a content driven inbound marketing strategy.
This blog article will cover some basics on 'How to get started with Inbound Marketing' and includes useful links that will point you in the right direction.
So what is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing can be defined as:
Positioning your brand in front of a potential customer at the time when they are searching for your product.
This may include:
- Content marketing - blogging, website landing pages, downloadable content, whitepapers, infographics
- Social media
- Video marketing
Should I be using inbound marketing?
If your customer acquisition strategy includes a digital marketing plan, then yes. Inbound marketing is crucial to any digital campaign.
How can I get started?
As with any marketing strategy, your efforts must be based on research.
- Start by gaining an in-depth understanding of your target market. Talk to your current customers and find out what they would find valuable from your business.
- It’s a really good idea to use this feedback to develop user personas in order to bring your different types of customer to life.
- Identify their pain points and develop solutions to their problems. This information can then form the backbone of your inbound marketing communication.
- Know your audience - think about where they spend their time online. What are they most likely to respond to? For example, a fashion brand with a fairly young target market might choose to focus on social media, specifically visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. A B2B company like an accountancy firm could get better results by creating informative blog posts about tax efficiency.
Your goal should be to provide something useful to your target customer and help them to solve a specific problem. Over time you can nurture them as a new prospect and move them closer to becoming a customer.
What are the most important aspects of inbound marketing success?
1. You need a well designed website
- Your website is the hub of any digital strategy - after all, you need somewhere for all those new prospective customers to land.
- We’ve previously discussed how building a website is only a piece of the puzzle, and you can think of it as the foundations on which everything else rests. Make sure that when you design your website you have your customer persona in mind.
- Think about your conversion rate (how many new visitors download your valuable online resources?). Remember to signpost those visitors. Where do you want them to go? What action do you want them to take?
2. Great content
- Make sure anything that you publish has been carefully planned. Your style should be regular and consistent, always maintaining a high quality. It’s far better to put out one excellent blog post than twenty that don’t appeal to your target audience.
- Content that you publish should either inform or help to solve problems for your reader. Make it relevant to your customer persona.
3. Measure what works and what doesn't
Finally, you must regularly analyse the impact of your inbound marketing.
- Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and monitor your campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. For example, if you’ve been focusing on social media and it’s getting you plenty of traffic but no customers, something’s gone wrong - it could be that your message isn’t aligned with your audience’s requirements, or your website isn’t telling the same story.
- By experimenting with your approach and constantly monitoring results, you can work towards the most effective inbound strategy possible.
Developing an Inbound Marketing plan is an exciting jouney. I hope that this article gets you thinking about how to approach inbound, and highlights some of the benefits you'll see by putting a proper digital marketing plan in place.
If you're still working with an agency that is trying to do SEO in the old fashioned way, mention Inbound Marketing to them and ask them to consider how it might bring you a better flow of visitors to your website.