What percentage of your company’s marketing is inbound marketing? For most, inbound makes up a small percentage, while outbound marketing is the major focus of most marketing budgets and resources. Digital marketing is all about inbound marketing and in my opinion, should be the crux of any marketing strategy.
Let’s back up a minute; what is inbound marketing anyway? Inbound marketing is defined as marketing that earns customer interest, rather than buying it. Some examples of inbound marketing: email marketing, social media marketing, and blogs.
In a nutshell, inbound marketing is all about being visible online, attracting interest, and converting into customers. Rinse and repeat.
In today’s marketing world, the majority of marketers focus on outbound (read: paid) marketing. Marketers today need a shift in marketing: the customer relationship is so much more powerful when they discover your brand, are delighted by your content, and are naturally driven to purchase and become loyal brand champions.
Inbound marketing costs less, provides more quality leads, and focuses on the most important relationship: the customer. Brands have always known that nothing is more powerful than customer loyalty (or, the lack thereof) and inbound marketing creates that bridge through nurturing, communicating, and educating.
While the specifics of any inbound marketing plan varies on your target audience and the communication vehicles you use, the general strategy is the same:
1. Know Your Customer: generalized content doesn’t work. Specialized content geared towards your specific target markets appeals to the emotional side of the customer and creates that initial connection and bond to the brand.
2. Customer Life Cycle: this is the crux to any marketing plan. You must know where your customers are on the customer life cycle, and know how to reach them at whichever stage they are in.
3. Communication Vehicles: in today’s world of Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Yelp, Quora, LinkedIn, and more, it can get overwhelming. Know where your customers hang out and focus your efforts there.
4. Analyze and Adjust: no marketing plan is perfect in the first iteration. Be able to change and adapt quickly to how your audience is reacting (positively or negatively).
A sample inbound marketing strategy plan:
1. Attract and inspire customers with emails, social media, infographics, online video, white papers, blogs and SEO.
2. Convert with dedicated landing pages, forms, transactional emails, and calls-to-action.
3. Turn leads into customers with email marketing, CRM integrations, and specialized content.
4. Continue to delight and excite your customers with responsive customer service, follow-up emails, customer surveys, analytics, and social media.
How does your brand practice inbound marketing? Do you plan to increase focus on inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing?