Inbound marketing in 5 simple steps

Traditional outbound marketing is starting to lose its appeal for many consumers. Still, many marketers strategise about finding new leads and prospects, scouring outside lists and third party data for a new audience. But in order to reach today’s consumers it takes something more, which has led to a rise in the popularity of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing allows you to communicate with warm leads rather than relying on cold calling and mailing, allowing you to connect with prospective customers through the channels that most appeal to them, with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) blogs, webinars, video, podcasts and social media adding new layers to an inbound marketing campaign.

To run an effective inbound marketing campaign, consider the following steps.

  • Create a plan. Make time to decide the goals and objectives of your inbound marketing campaign, and ensure they’re measurable. Remember, preparation is key.
  • Create engaging content. I would recommend setting up a Digital Asset Management or Content Management System to tag and better organise your content.
  • Optimise your SEO. Take time to choose the best and most effective keywords for your online campaign to ensure you are paying for the keywords that best drive traffic.
  • Place your campaign. As you launch your campaign you will need to decide where it should live online, whether it’s guest blogs, YouTube videos, social media etc.
  • Measure your campaign. An effective analytic measurement program will help you to tweak your inbound marketing campaign for the current campaign, while the learnings will help inform future ones.

Prevent inbound marketing missteps

With any effective inbound marketing campaign, it’s important to ensure that the customer experience is engaging when prospective customers view your owned media. Quality content is vital to this. Understand how someone has found your media will help you to customise the landing page and ensure the viewer sees a relevant call-to-action. After all, this may be the first experience they will have with your brand. Call out specific products or features that are relevant to the customer. Offer more information or ask them for more information to help you make their experience on your page more meaningful and relevant.

Done well, inbound marketing can deliver a more personalised experience, but you must deliver on people’s expectations for it to be effective. Testing will help you to measure your progress and your success. Test different creative and landing pages to see which is the most effective, and study your customer’s path to better understand their experience on your site. This will tell you what led them to purchase, or what led them to abandon altogether. It will also help you better understand what helped you acquire your most valuable customers.

Ask yourself what you hope to gain from testing. Does SEO lead to one-off customers? Does blogging create long-term customers? Do people respond better when we give them information or ask for information? Accurate testing will give you the answers to any questions you have and help to ensure future success, and uncover what works for your brand.

All this ensures that inbound marketing is the complete package. It has the power to engage new customers and drive them to your brand, once you’re ready to deliver on the experience they expect and they deserve.