Are you leveraging the power of an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 2019?
If not, you need to focus your efforts on “Inbound Marketing.”
Traditionally, marketers have sought consumer attention by “Interrupting.”
The idea being, that once the brand has gotten in front of enough consumers, they’ll be interested in becoming a customer.
Commonly referred to as “Outbound Marketing,” this strategy consists of T.V. Advertisements, Billboard Ads, Cold-Calling/Telemarketing, Radio Ads, and Direct Mail.
But is this disruptive form of marketing really the most effective way of creating loyal customers?
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report, 45% of marketers cited inbound marketing as their primary source of lead generation versus outbound (22%).
HubSpot also reported that 46% of marketers said inbound marketing produces a higher ROI.
Contrast that with the 12% of marketers that said outbound marketing produces a higher ROI, and it’s pretty clear where your efforts should be focused.
These numbers are indicative of a growing trend in consumer behavior.
Traditional outbound marketing tactics simply don’t generate the return they once did.
Instead, consumers are more attracted to brands that offer relevant, interesting content.
Consider the following:
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
- 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
- 84% of 25-to-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
This clearly demonstrates that modern consumers are more likely to respond positively to inbound marketing.
Using inbound marketing, brands can build relationships through targeted, engaging and relevant content.
By publishing helpful and valuable content consistently on an SEO-friendly website, brands will see increasingly better results over time.
As a result, consumers are far more likely to become paying customers.
Inbound Marketing Definition:
Inbound marketing is a multi-faceted approach involving organic search traffic, great content that attracts people to your site, and “lead captures” (e.g. Contact Forms and Landing Pages).
The term “Inbound Marketing” was originally coined by HubSpot in 2006, and consists of four stages.
1) Attract visitors to your site with great content that helps you appear in search engine results.
2) Convert visitors into leads.
3) Close those leads, turning them into a customer.
4) Delight your customers by continuing to provide great content & delivering value.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create a kick-ass inbound marketing strategy.
Let’s get started.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting prospective customers to your business by providing engaging, interesting, informative and valuable content.
This helps increase brand awareness and builds trust with consumers.
Compared to outbound marketing, inbound marketing works on a significantly greater scale because you aren’t blasting your message to a broad audience.
You’re creating content that will resonate with your target audience, and bring them to you.
What Are The Benefits of Inbound Marketing?
- Build Trust
- Attract Prospects
- Establish Credibility
- Increase Sales
- Consistently Drive Growth
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Stage 1 – Attract
Outbound Marketing is essentially a scattershot approach targetting anyone and everyone.
In contrast, inbound marketing attracts people to your business and provides value to them.
Consistently providing value builds trust and keeps you top-of-mind with prospects.
This is why you need to identify your customer persona.
When you understand your customer persona, you can create content that’s tailored specifically to them.
Once you’ve identified your target customers, you’ll be able to produce content such as blog posts, videos, slideshows, infographics, e-mail campaigns, etc.
Your content needs to inform and educate your prospects or provide solutions to their problems.
Identify Pain Points
It’s important to identify the pain points experienced by your customers and the problems they’re trying to solve.
What are they trying to accomplish when searching for your product or service?
This is an important insight.
Understanding customer pain points enables you to craft a message that speaks directly to your prospects.
Reason & Emotion
Having identified customer pain points, you’ll be able to deliver a message that targets both reason and emotion.
Your content offers solutions to their problems, as opposed to assumptions. Leave the assuming to your competitors.
Provide genuine solutions to their problems, and you’ll differentiate yourself from your competition.
Stage 2 – Convert
Now that you’ve attracted visitors to your website, it’s time to convert them into leads.
It’s as simple as asking for their contact information in exchange for something of value.
Common offers include E-Books, Case Studies, Cheat Sheets or Checklists, Phone Consultations, Etc.
Converting website visitors into leads involves using:
1) Calls to Action
2) Landing Pages
3) Contact Forms
The “Call-to-Action” entices visitors to take a desired action.
For example, “Sign up for our FREE Webinar.” When visitors click the Call-to-Action they are brought to a landing page.
A Landing Page is a special page on your website with a very specific purpose, capturing leads.
Your landing page is where visitors can learn more about your offer.
Inputting their contact information grants them access to your offer.
It also adds them to your leads, granting you permission to interact with them.
Stage 3 – Close
After you’ve captured leads, they need to be nurtured in order to convert them into paying customers.
At this point e-mail marketing allows you to further educate your leads.
An effective e-mail marketing campaign will guide your leads further down your inbound marketing funnel.
You still need to be careful not to scare prospects away.
Just because they’ve given you their e-mail address, doesn’t mean you should bombard them with content or offers.
A lead may have come across your website when they weren’t prepared to make a buying decision.
Perhaps they have questions or would like more time to determine if your product or service is right for them.
Whether or not you’ve converted them into a customer, your job isn’t over.
Keep your leads warm by continuing to provide value.
This way, when they are ready to buy, you’ll not only be top of mind, but you’ll be a trusted adviser.
Email marketing is a great tool for nurturing leads.
Segment leads based on the action they took when giving their contact information.
Create campaigns that deliver tailored and relevant messages to your leads at specified intervals.
Stage 4 – Delight
Inbound Marketing is more than just attracting visitors and nurturing leads until you close the sale.
Aim to delight your customers at every stage of the process, including and especially after the sale.
Take advantage of the plethora of tools available that allow you to continue engaging with customers after they buy from you.
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of delighting your customers.
People love to recommend products or services to their friends and family.
Especially when the business proactively engages with customers and provides value.
Think about the last time you had an amazing experience with a brand.
I doubt you were thinking “WOW, brand XYZ is incredible, I’m not telling anyone about this amazing company.”
It’s in our nature to share positive experiences with people.
Delighted customers can easily become evangelists for your brand, happily spreading the word.
Furthermore, delighted customers are likely to become repeat customers.
2 Steps to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy
Developing an effective Inbound Marketing Strategy in 2019 requires planning.
Haphazardly piecing together your inbound marketing strategy would be a mistake.
It’s not something you put together in a night either.
Take your time. And keep in mind, your strategy isn’t set in stone.
This is an iterative process.
You’ll be fine-tuning and tweaking your strategy as you test and evaluate.
Begin by setting goals that will allow you to track your progress.
Follow these steps to Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 2019 that delivers results.
Step 1) Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
For your inbound marketing strategy to work, you need to set benchmarks.
These allow you to measure the effectiveness of the different areas of your strategy. This requires setting goals.
Randomly setting goals and expecting results will leave you sorely disappointed.
A popular approach for goal setting is a methodology known as “S.M.A.R.T.” SMART is an acronym, that provides criteria to guide in the setting of goals.
What does S.M.A.R.T. mean?
A Business goal such as “Get more leads” is good in principle.
However, it’s far too broad and unclear.
Your S.M.A.R.T. Goals need to align with your business and provide clarity regarding next steps.
Here are two examples of S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
The first is for growing an existing business, and the second for a new business or startup.
Growing an Existing Business
Existing businesses have very different goals than a new business or a startup.
An existing business may already be growing and have an audience.
At the very least, a steady stream of visitors to their website.
It’s those website visitors that are already interested in your content that you want to convert into leads.
Vague & Unclear Goal Example: “I want to get more Leads”
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: In the next 8 weeks I want to increase website traffic by 5% using Facebook Ads, and Google Adwords as well as sign 4 new clients.
Growing a New Business or Startup
If you just started your business, your focus should be on building brand awareness and informing prospective customers about your products or services.
This requires getting your target audience to visit your website, where you can let them know about your business, products or services.
Vague & Unclear Goal Example: “I Want to Increase Website Traffic”
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Produce four blog posts on keyword topics A, B, C, & D. Then attract 1,500 website visitors using Social Media Marketing in six weeks.
Step 2) Identify Key Metrics
Inbound marketing is not a “Set It & Forget It” strategy.
Monitor your efforts to see which areas of your campaign are producing results.
Depending on the performance of your campaign, you can adjust and optimize to improve performance.
Tracking and measuring KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) will provide a clear picture of what is, or isn’t working.
KPI’s will help you determine the best next steps when optimizing your inbound marketing strategy.
What KPI’s should you be tracking?
The following are key metrics you should keep an eye on.
Monitoring and tracking these KPI’s will increase the likelihood of success with your inbound marketing strategy in 2019 & beyond.
Effective inbound marketing strategies are built around content.
And not just any content.
But Great content.
Promoting your content to your prospective customers is essential.
You could have the greatest content in the world, but if no one knows about it, then it doesn’t matter how great it is.
Tracking the number of visitors to your site is incredibly important.
This KPI provides insight into the effectiveness of your inbound marketing.
If an area of your strategy isn’t working, you can adjust and optimize accordingly.
Attracting visitors to your website is great, but it’s also important that you know where your traffic is coming from.
People can arrive at your site from organic search, social media, e-mail, direct, etc.
Monitoring your site’s traffic sources allows you to see which marketing channels are performing best.
This helps in measuring the ROI of each marketing channel.
Use this data to better allocate resources towards the most effective channels.
When a prospect exchanges their contact information for something of value, they become a warm lead.
Common offers include e-books, checklists/cheatsheets, special reports, access to webinars/training, a monthly newsletter, etc.
It’s important you track visitors who “Opt-In” to receive your offer.
This tells you which pages are capturing the most leads.
Using that information, optimize your other lead captures or landing pages to improve performance.
An extremely important KPI, conversion rates tell you how many visitors are becoming leads, and how many leads are converting into customers.
Regardless of whether you’re using dedicated landing pages, or calls-to-action throughout your site, focus on increasing your conversion rate.
“Split-Test” landing pages and Calls-to-Action to see which are most effective.
Commonly referred to as “A/B” testing, this is a simple yet powerful way to optimize specific areas of your website.
A/B tests randomly show visitors slightly different versions of a web page or call-to-action.
These tests allow you to fine-tune your lead capture system.
Using Split-Tests you can determine the effectiveness of button color, headline copy, images, etc.
Tracking customers gained through your inbound marketing efforts let you know which efforts are paying off.
Tracking your paid customers is the best way to truly measure the ROI of your inbound marketing strategy in 2019.
It’s the best indicator of the success or failure of your inbound marketing.
Let’s Create A Kick-Ass Inbound Marketing Strategy for 2019 & Beyond
Now that we’ve covered how to plan an inbound marketing strategy for 2019 & beyond, let’s create one.
Stage 1 – Attract Visitors
Stage 2 – Convert Visitors into Leads
Stage 3 – Close Leads with a Sale
Stage 4 – Delight Customers
Let’s look at each stage in detail.
Stage 1 – Attract Visitors to Your Website
Inbound marketing only works if you’re attracting the right people to your site.
Produce content that brings your audience to you.
Here’s how you attract your target audience.
Define Your Customer Personas
An effective inbound marketing strategy needs to be created with your customers in mind.
Before you start creating content or promoting your business, there’s a critical step.
Define your target customer.
Developing content that your audience finds valuable, and engages with requires clarity.
You should be clear on…
- Who you are marketing to.
- What challenges they are facing.
- What problems they are trying to solve.
- What’s their job/profession.
- Their goals and/or objectives.
- Where they look for information.
- What their objections are.
- Where they ‘hangout’ online.
What makes your customers tick?
Get inside the mind of your ideal customer.
Adopt their perspective to identify their thoughts, problems, desires, behaviors, pain points and needs.
In case you’re wondering, “Why the hell would I need to know all this about my target customer?”
The answer is simple.
When you know the problems, pains, desires, etc. of your target audience, you can create content that solves their problems, alleviates their pain, and fulfills their desires.
Take the time to develop your customer personas.
It takes the guesswork out of creating content.
Consumers want to be informed and to be able to learn about the products or services they’re considering.
Creating buyer personas will help you identify these problems.
Once you’ve identified a problem, you can create content that helps the consumer solve it.
HubSpot has a free “Make My Persona Tool” that walks you through creating customer personas.
Your entire inbound marketing strategy is predicated upon your customer personas.
Modern marketing requires a hyper-personalized approach.
- Building relationships with your target audience will increase the likelihood they’ll convert into paying customers.
- Providing content that educates, informs, and/or entertains, builds trust. Thereby, making it easier to do business with you.
- Attracting consumers to your brand instead of forcing your message on them puts them in control and removes any pressure to buy.
Inbound marketing provides a much better return on your marketing efforts.
Additionally, it sets you apart from your competition.
Conduct a Content Audit
The backbone of your inbound marketing strategy is content.
Therefore, it’s important to conduct regular content audits.
Conducting a content audit allows you to see how your content is performing, and how it’s being delivered to your target audience.
Determine which pieces of content are delivering the best results.
This tells you what’s resonating with your audience.
Focus on creating content around topics your audience is already engaging with most.
Create complementary content around your best-performing pieces. (e.g. creating a video that elaborates upon a blog post that performed well).
Newer businesses that haven’t produced a lot of content yet should focus on what they’ll be producing moving forward.
Look at similar businesses in your industry.
What content is performing best for them?
Reverse engineer their content marketing.
Are there pieces of their strategy you could adapt for your own business.
Develop a Content Production System
Producing great content is time-consuming.
Not to mention, overwhelming and intimidating.
Creating content requires focus and deliberate effort.
The best way to ensure your target audience finds your content interesting is to craft it using your customer personas.
You’re producing content to build your brand, increase awareness, and drive traffic to your site.
And not just any traffic, but traffic that’s likely to convert.
Attracting the right people to your site requires a clear vision of who’ll be consuming your content.
Types of Content
- Blog Posts
- Cheat Sheets
I can’t tell you which content to produce.
Certain types of content will come more naturally to some people.
I like writing long-form content that goes in-depth into a subject.
Play to your strengths, it will make your life a lot easier.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the best way to get free, organic traffic to your website.
Keep in mind that SEO is by no means a quick strategy for attracting visitors to your site.
That being said, optimizing your site for search engines can deliver serious traffic to your site.
In order to rank at the top of Google’s search results, you need to ensure that your website is SEO friendly.
For a more in-depth look at SEO check out this article: “SEO Trends You Should Leverage to Stay Ahead of Competitors in 2019.”
I bring up SEO because it’s an essential part of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are in the business of providing searchers with the most relevant and valuable content related to their search query.
Therefore, your content needs to be high-quality, providing as much value as possible to visitors.
The more high-quality and valuable content you produce, the better your chances of showing up in organic search results.
Roofing SEO: How To Get Your Roofing Website To Rank #1 On Google
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Local SEO Marketing: How To Get Your Website To Rank #1 on Google
Stage 2 – Convert Visitors into Leads
Attracting visitors to your site is important, but it’s just the beginning.
An effective inbound marketing strategy requires a system for capturing leads.
When a visitor arrives on your site, you want them to exchange their contact information for a piece of content or similar asset.
Once you’ve captured their contact information, they’ve entered your lead nurturing pipeline.
From here, you continue providing informative, educational, entertaining, etc. content to increase trust and stay top-of-mind.
This way, later on when they’re ready to make a purchase, you’re able to convert them into a customer.
Converting a visitor into a lead involves an exchange of value.
You provide them with an asset in exchange for their contact information.
1) Live Chat
These have become commonplace on websites, and for good reason.
A “Live Chat” box on your site lends credibility to your business, making you look more legit.
Seeing as most people seem to communicate entirely through texting, a Live Chat feature takes advantage of peoples propensity for thumb-to-screen interaction.
A Live Chat feature on your site is a great way to engage visitors and increase your conversion rates.
Someone visiting your site may not be able to find the information they’re looking for.
Live Chat has been found to increase conversions by more than 45%.
Benefits of Using Live Chat
- Visitors can get answers to questions that previously would have led to them leaving your site.
- It provides visitors with an opportunity to give direct feedback about your site’s content.
- You can personalize messages based on a visitors’ location & welcome back repeat visitors.
- Remove objections and convert them into leads in real-time.
Take advantage of Live Chat to boost conversions regardless of the size of your business.
2) Exit Intent Popup
Popups have been around for a while, and personally, they drive me crazy.
Especially when they take up the whole damn screen and there’s no clearly visible “X” or “Close” button.
That being said, I use them on my website. Hypocrite, I know…
I use them for good reason.
They work! “Exit Intent Popups” are extremely effective lead capture tools, as long as you implement them properly.
As the name implies, when a visitor tries to leave your site by clicking “Back” or “X,” closing out of the tab or browser, a popup overlay is triggered.
3) Close Leads with a Sale
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site and converted them into leads, you enter the lead nurturing stage.
This is a critical part of your inbound marketing strategy.
Nurturing your leads involves providing leads with relevant, informative, valuable content.
The content you’ll send them is determined by their stage in the customer journey.
This stage of your sales funnel is best to develop relationships with your prospective customers.
The aim of this process is to guide your leads further down the sales funnel eventually leading to them becoming a paying customer.
As your inbound marketing strategy delivers leads to your sales funnel, you’ll better understand the immense value of having a strong lead nurturing process.
Fewer than 10% of your inbound leads make a buying decision impulsively.
Therefore, you’ll have to nurture the other 90% if you hope to get them to buy from you.
Lead Nurturing Strategies
- Personalized E-mail Campaigns
- Targeted Content
- Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing
- Great Follow-Ups
- Lead Scoring
- Sales & Marketing Alignment
Keep in mind, steady traffic along with great content may help you capture leads.
But that’s only half the battle.
You need to have a system in place for nurturing leads.
It’s the most important aspect of your inbound marketing strategy.
Stage 4 – Delight your Customers
At this point, you’ve brought your customer through their entire journey, but your work’s not over.
Aim to delight your customers at every stage of the process, including and especially after the sale.
Take advantage of the plethora of tools available to you.
Support customers after they buy from you, and continue providing value and engaging with them.
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of providing a great customer experience.
Social Media has become every customer’s personal megaphone.
People are obsessed with sharing every aspect of their lives.
Take advantage of your customer’s need to share.
Everyone loves to recommend products or services to their friends and family.
Especially when the business engages with their customers and provides value.
It’s in our nature to want to share positive experiences with others.
It gives you social clout to be the person who recommended a brand that delivers an amazing customer experience.
Delighted customers easily become evangelists for your brand and will happily spread the word about your company.
Furthermore, delighted customers are likely to become repeat customers.
Just remember to continue engaging them and providing them with as much value as possible.
This will serve to keep you top-of-mind, increase trust, and increase the likelihood your customers will recommend you to their friends and family.
If you aren’t convinced by now that you absolutely need an inbound marketing strategy in 2019, then have a conversation with one of our team members.
Or let us know in the comments below.
Here at Cre8tive Digital Media LLC, we practice what we preach. As an Arizona SEO & Digital Marketing Agency, there is plenty of competition in the digital marketing space.
To help us differentiate ourselves from our competition, we leverage the power of Inbound Marketing to attract new prospects and leads and establish our authority.
If you’d like some help putting together your own Inbound Marketing Strategy, Get In Touch.
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