Inbound marketing consists of online tactics that attract visitors to your website through links or search. The customer comes to you instead of you going to the customer (outbound marketing). These tactics include: search engine optimization (SEO), link building, improving copy to include keywords, appearing higher in searches and online page ranks, etc. (these tactics often overlap and complement each other). Effective inbound marketing is always partnered with outbound strategies, but we’ll get to that later. For an introduction to inbound marketing it goes something like this:
1. Make your website easy to find and easy to access by using inbound tactics.
2. Potential customer finds your website.
3. Website contains some kind of opt-in content so you can collect their contact information and potentially market or sell to them in the future.
Although the steps are simple, it’s a process that requires a balance of tactics and a clear understanding of your target audience. Knowledge of your audience is key to identifying useful keywords (they may use these in their online searches), hot topics of interest (to create opt-in content and build your email list), industry publications (offer free articles or interviews as content), and additional opportunities (local events to attend or sponsor, industry leaders to reach out to, etc.) With this knowledge you can begin crafting your inbound strategy.
An inbound marketing strategy should focus on achieving certain goals. This may be to increase the number of leads, increase brand awareness, increase the number of inquiries, etc. Whatever your goals are there should be a way to measure their success. This kind of closed-loop marketing is key to identifying what works and what doesn’t so you can adjust it and make it more successful. If you are new to marketing, this kind of ‘editing’ is necessary in order to find your organization’s ‘sweet spot’ with your target audience. By tracking and measuring the results you can monitor the improvements as they happen and understand even more about your target audience. So how does this connect to inbound marketing?
Every organization will employ an inbound marketing strategy that is unique to their organization. There is no cookie-cutter solution, but each solution does employ similar tactics in differing proportions. Creating an inbound marketing strategy and implementing it can be similar to piecing together a complex jigsaw puzzle – each piece contributes to the whole and should be executed together for a full effect.