The Basics of Inbound Marketing and Why You Need to Know Them

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inbound-marketing

A lot of businesses use the term inbound marketing but have little understanding what it is exactly, how it can benefit them, and what it takes to market successfully.

What is Inbound Marketing?

The goal of all marketing is to increase traffic, leads, and sales. Traditional marketing relies on blasting one’s brand or message to as many people as possible. Traditional marketing methods–TV commercials, newspaper inserts, magazine advertisements, etc–require large amounts of money. Because they interrupt individuals who are engaged in other activities, only a small percentage of those who see the marketing respond to it. That’s why fast-growing companies have discovered ways to use consumer data made available to them can be used to better target their message, and only react to sales opportunities with the highest probability of success.

Inbound marketing strategies focus on attracting customers by providing valuable content. Instead of companies reaching out to their audience, their audience searches for them.

Why is Inbound Marketing Important?

Consumer habits are changing. How customers shop today is completely different than how they shopped 10 years ago. That means businesses must change the way they market and sell to match the way people actually want to shop and buy.

Hubspot’s 2017 State of Inbound Marketing Report highlights several statistics helpful to inbound marketers.

  • 63% of marketers identify their biggest challenge as generating traffic and leads. Bash Foo delivers more traffic and more sales for small businesses.
  • 78% claim their marketing and sales are not tightly aligned. When alignment becomes a problem, focusing on customers gives way to focusing on problems caused by the “other guy.”
  • 26% claim that managing their company’s website is their biggest marketing challenge. Bash Foo will focus on your website so you can focus on business.
  • 48% of businesses are looking to add YouTube and 46% are looking at Facebook video as a part of their marketing strategy in the upcoming year.
  • 75% of salespersons spend at least 30 minutes a day entering data.
  • 40% of companies state that marketing automation is one of their top priorities. Judging by the amount of time their sales teams are spending entering data, that percentage should be higher.

Bash Foo has transformed creative web design, search engine optimization, and marketing automation from a business into an art form.

The Key to Successful Inbound Marketing

To create and implement a successful inbound marketing campaign, you must know your target audience and you must provide valuable content for that target audience.

Think about the last time you used the internet. Perhaps you were trying to fix a leaky faucet? Maybe you were looking for help with your son’s math homework? Regardless of what you were searching, you clicked on something, most likely on page 1 of your search. If the content solved your problem, you stuck around.

And the next time you have a similar problem, where are you going? Probably to the same site that solved your problem the first time.

Now, what if that site that’s so good at solving your problems and providing value offers you a free e-book and all you need to do to get it is to give them your email address Sounds good, right? Soon you get emails that provide even more value and the occasional offer, an offer that would solve even more problems.

That’s the essence of inbound marketing: You find them. They give value. You request more value. They provide it. You need something they sell. You buy it. Your brother-in-law has a similar need. You refer him to the same website that solved your problem. And the process begins anew.

The Components of Inbound Marketing

Although valuable content forms the foundation for successful inbound marketing, it’s a little more involved than cranking out a blog post twice a week with an occasional Facebook post or YouTube video. You’ll need to master the following as well:

Search Engine Optimization

It doesn’t matter how great your content is if nobody sees it. Getting your target audience to your website means understanding what they want and what words they use when looking for it. It’s more than keywords, however. You need to deliver a superb experience that includes quality information, visual content, and information security.

Web Design

If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’re losing about 40% of your business before it even reaches your site. Imagine if 4 out of 10 retail customers turned away right as they were about to enter your store because the doors opened too slowly. That’s what having a slow website does to your inbound marketing. Use responsive web design and easy navigation to attract and keep website visitors.

Lead Generation

What do visitors do once they reach your site? Getting them to qualify themselves and take action turns them from a curious onlooker to a qualified lead. Lead generation hinges on your ability to provide enough value to get them to take action and provide contact details.

Lead Management

Great! You have a lead. Now, what do you do? Well-structured lead management includes educating prospects at different stages of the buying journey; segmenting audiences based on their actions; and coordinating sales and marketing communication.

Content Creation and Distribution

Content forms the backbone of inbound marketing. Content takes the following forms.

  • Blog Posts. A good blog post provides value to the intended audience and a call-to-action.
  • Videos. Explainer, promotional, and how-to videos solve problems for your target audience.
  • Social Media Posts. Start looking at your social media content as an opportunity to provide value for your followers.
  • Images. The cliche is true. A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Infographics. Infographics show visitors a lot of relevant facts at a glance. Because your audience will share your infographic via social media, be sure to identify your brand on it.
  • Ebooks. Lead magnets often take the form of an eBook.
  • Webinars. Here’s your chance to engage your audience, provide value, and get your audience to take action.

Inbound Marketing Takeaway: You need an inbound marketing strategy, but incorporating all the pieces–creating content, adding an automation platform, analyzing website trends, generating leads, creating a social media campaign–is a ton of work. It’s the type of work Bashfoo loves to do.

Bash Foo is a digital marketing agency that builds the online reputations of small businesses in affordable and inspiring ways through creative web design, search engine optimization, and online marketing. Contact Bash Foo and discover how they can help your business reach its marketing potential.

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