Recently I’ve been having a number of conversations about inbound marketing and the same question tends to come up again and again: What exactly do you mean by “inbound marketing”? Tt turns out that, despite a lot of discussion about this relatively new trend in marketing, people still don’t quite know what inbound marketing really is.
Inbound Marketing Basics
At its core, inbound marketing boils down to attracting people to a website or a landing page with a strong offer and call to action to convert visitors into leads. While, in all reality, there’s a lot more to it, that’s the general principle. When inbound marketing is done effectively, it can be incredibly powerful but how do we actually execute an inbound strategy?
Attracting People to Your Website or Landing Page
There are a number of methods of which marketers take advantage in their inbound marketing campaigns, here are some of my favorites:
- Social Media: Using platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, you’re able to connect directly with people who fit the demographic of your target audience. The general idea here is to create shareable content like blogs, infographics, etc and share them through your social media properties to build a following and drive traffic back to your website or landing page.
- SEO: At this point I’m sure that the idea of SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t much of a mystery anymore. You put your website or landing page through a development process to make Google and other search engines rank you higher when people are searching online. It’s pretty simple in theory – someone does a search, the search engines recognize your site as an authority worth showing people and the searcher clicks through to your site. In practice, however, SEO requires a great deal of knowledge and understanding of search algorithms. The results, however, are much more sustainable than other methods when you dial them in.
- Paid Advertising: Paid advertising is the fastest path to results, but not necessarily sustainable results. The challenge with paid advertising is that when you turn off the money, the traffic flow stops. That said, it can be a great way to feed into your other traffic channels. By running Facebook ads, you’ll see your “like” count increase (if only slightly) and your Google ads can inform your SEO efforts. Typically I like to start my inbound campaigns with paid advertising through Facebook and Google to start seeing results on my KPIs quickly and then parlay those results into less long term expensive areas like SEO and social media marketing.
The Landing Page
There are countless ways to build landing pages and plenty of platforms to do so. Mission Suite has a landing page builder built into our platform, which plenty of our clients use to integrate their forms, CRM and automation into one platform. There are other platforms out there with great landing page builders as well and you can always integrate your signup forms into them. Typically I like to go out and find a landing page template and design that really lands with me and then recreate that form in my template builder.
Assuming that your landing page is well built, you’re going to need to come up with an offer that your visitors are going to find valuable enough to exchange their contact information for it. Exactly what that offer is will depend on your industry and your customers but make sure that it’s a good one. Remember “Try it for free” only works with massage chairs – give your visitors something that they’ll actually value.
The Call to Action
This is where the rubber meets the road. Your call to action needs to be impactful and compelling. Tell your visitors what you want them to do – “Download the Whitepaper”, “Send Me a Sample”, “Schedule My Coffee Meeting” – whatever you do just make sure that you use something more than “Submit”. Try doing some A/B testing and experiment with some different calls to action to figure out how you can keep your conversion rate creeping upward.
Inbound marketing is certainly an effort worth making but, like everything else, it really only works with proper planning and execution. Spend the time and you’ll see the results.