As a business, there is a myriad of ways that you can improve your reputation and attract customers to your site – without competing for ad space, jostling for your customers’ attention or spending a big chunk of your marketing budget. Inbound marketing can help achieve this.
What we talk about when we talk about inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to drive prospects towards your website, rather than outwardly pushing your products or services through advertising.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting people to your site and blog through helpful and relevant content: it’s all about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on your customers and your business.
Whilst traditional marketing methods relied largely on cold-calling, email lists, paper advertisements, and direct mail, inbound marketing content can come in the form of blogs, social media, and your website.
Not only does this type of content typically cost less to produce than traditional advertising, but it also tends to generate a greater return on investment (ROI).
This is largely because disruptive outbound marketing techniques – whereby companies interrupt someone in order to get their attention – are rapidly dying out.
The rise of ad blockers, Netflix and premium channels prove that people place a high value on the ability to avoid ads – with many willing to pay extra for this choice.
These days, people want experiences – not just poorly targeted ads. People expect to be addressed on their own terms, with content that they are genuinely interested in. For this reason, brands are increasingly shifting their budget away from traditional advertising and towards customer experience.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, avoids intrusion and creates an experience out of the marketing process. It invests in improving communicational touchpoints and works to optimize the customer journey.
In a nutshell, inbound marketing is about providing value-filled content for your customers. Instead of simply selling, you are starting conversations and providing solutions to potential problems.
Tips for great inbound marketing
Unsure on where to get started? A helpful way of looking at the process is to remember that inbound marketing guides an approach to doing business in a human and helpful way. You’re looking to engage new customers, build trust and ultimately cultivate a long-lasting relationship with them. To do this, you’ll need to create quality content.
It’s worth noting, however, that your content also needs to be creative and engaging in order to stand out. As Stephen Reilly, Head of Content at Fifty Five and Five, says:
The best companies know their customers inside out and can tailor content to meet their target audience’s needs. This might mean creating content that is focused on an industry, job role or a highly specific problem a customer faces
Quality content can come in the form of:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Webpage copy
Let’s unpack these now.
Blogging is a brilliant way to generate organic inbound traffic. Just consider the example of marketing giant HubSpot who release new blogs each day.
This is because they believe producing content that attracts visitors to their website content will generate better quality leads at a lower cost than traditional outbound marketing.
Your blog is essentially a hub to keep your audience informed and to demonstrate that you are a thought leader within your industry.
What’s more: blog posts drive traffic to your website, encourage inbound links and make for great social media content.
It goes without saying – there’s no point in creating quality content that nobody can see. Fortunately, social media lets you talk to millions of people around the world – for free. It also allows you to circulate your content online, which in turn helps to attract new or returning customers.
Creating a good plan for distributing your content is key. You’ll need to consider the kind of content that works best on specific channels and ensure that your posts are always engaging.
Use imagery and eye-catching language, and be sure to keep your posts relevant to your audience’s interests.
Finally, your website. Very much in line with what we’ve discussed so far – your website is yet another tool to help you position yourself as a thought leader. Your website is ultimately space whereby you can provide relevant and helpful information for your audience.
Attractive design and simple navigation are features that will lure people to your site and – importantly – keep them there. Responsive design will ensure that your site can be accessed on various screen sizes and devices, whilst relevant, high-quality content will keep readers engaged.
Just like your social channels, your site can help people get to know your brand, values, and products better.
Recognizing the value of strong inbound marketing at Fifty Five and Five
We are passionate about great inbound marketing at Fifty Five and Five. As an agency, we work with a range of Microsoft Partners, and every year we compile a detailed report that recognizes those businesses for their marketing excellence.
The Digital Marketing Excellence Top 50 Report surveys tens of thousands of partners from across the globe – in turn providing a wealth of insights into the world of digital marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network.