Now that we know the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, let’s take a closer look at some inbound marketing strategies to get your business really humming.
Who Are You Talking To?
If you’re a new business startup, the first step is determining your target audience.
It does no good to start the conversation with customers if you don’t know who they are, what they need, or why they might be interested in what you have to offer. Once you have this information, you’re ready to begin in earnest.
But where do you start?
It’s almost a given now, your business has a website. The most comprehensive strategy, and a cornerstone of your inbound marketing plan, is creating content for your website. It is vital this content is interesting, informative, original to your industry, and easily accessible. The more detailed you are through blog posts, infographics, videos, and downloadables, the more engaged visitors to your site will be.
Website content is also perfect for cross-posting to your social media, but we’ll get there in a moment.
This isn’t to be confused with blog posts and articles you create for your own website, though it’s similar in nature. The question to ask yourself is: how can you reach new eyes and get new clicks?
By getting attention on other sites.
The best possible way to achieve this is through media publications, but there are other places where you can post, depending on your industry. One of the most popular is the website Medium, where members post quality content in the field in which they’re expert. It’s not for sales pitches or advertising, but for genuine conversation with a greater body of readers than one can get from their own site. Getting your business noticed on Medium will send viewers to your site, virtually guaranteed.
Another useful way of producing off-site content is to affiliate your brand with another company, which may be related to your products or services. By cross-posting on their website, and allowing them to post on yours, you’re tapping into their market as they tap into yours. Both companies benefit from wider audiences, and the relationship can spark more buzz together than each could do individually.
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Social Media Marketing
This is the one everybody thinks of when they think of online content.
Despite the volume of voices using social media, it remains one of the most important strategies for gaining visibility. Almost anyone in the world is at your fingertips through social media, and the conversations there can be short or long, depending on your platform choices. The content can be visual or verbal.
The best part is you can use bits and pieces of your website and off-site content for social media platforms to drive traffic to your site. By posting excerpts of your blog posts on Facebook, or photos on Instagram, you can entice people into seeking more information about your products or services. The more you get people talking about your brand, the wider your reach. Strategic use of hashtags, both original to you and trending, can help you find new avenues of interaction and be involved in a bigger conversation.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The best content in the world will not get people to your site if they can’t find you when searching for things related to your business.
The quickest way to become a ranking page in relevant searches is your high quality content with focused keywords related to the things people ask. But it’s also about the links, both on your website and off-site from places like media outlets, affiliate cross-posting, and sites like Medium. In fact, two of the top three ranking factors in Google’s algorithms are listed as quality content and inbound links. Staying up-to-date- with technology is also important. Most searches are conducted through mobile devices, so if you’re not optimizing your content for mobile views, you’re already behind.
SEO doesn’t work instantly, but over time, you build more credibility, and it pays off in the long run.
This one straddles the line between inbound and outbound marketing, mainly because you’re putting your content directly in consumers’ hands rather than providing content they seek out.
However, in a way, they do seek it out, because they’ve signed up to receive emails from you, and the content within the newsletter is designed to get them to click through to your website.
It’s also not just about selling to them.
You can use newsletters to say all kinds of things; include product related information, conduct surveys, offer giveaways and discounts, and more. If you’re participating in a local event, let your local email subscribers know where to be and when so they can see you face-to-face.
Carefully segmented email lists can be one of the easiest, most effective tools in your inbound marketing arsenal.
Working With Influencers
It’s not just your voice that matters. In fact, consumers build more trust in your brand if it’s not you touting your products and services.
Similar to affiliate partnerships, if you can develop a relationship with someone whose voice has weight within your industry, or on a particular social media platform such as a YouTuber or Instagrammer, the sway they hold can bridge the trust gap between your brand and your target audience. People listen to recommendations from trusted friends on social media, and that can improve your reputation and help you diversify your audience as well. The most difficult part is identifying which influencers might help you most, and convincing them to engage with your campaign.
Last but definitely not least, your brand is your bread and butter. It permeates all your inbound marketing from logos to site content to which partners and influencers are the best fit to work with. It sets the tone your brand uses, whether that’s something humorous or heartfelt, and distinguishes you from your competition and other businesses vying for the same attention online.
Additionally, by tying your company to a cultural or value mindset, or affiliating with like-minded brands who share your ethos, you can amplify the type of business you do with a few keywords, hashtags, and where you post your off-site content. It’s also about being real.
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not just to reach a large segment of a community. Consumers can smell a con fifty pixels away, and the hit to your reputation is not worth it if your strategy falls short.
A lot of this may seem repetitive, but crafting a savvy inbound marketing strategy that works multiple angles at once for a cohesive message across many channels will only help you. The more you know it, inside and out, the better off you’ll be.