Inbound Marketing 101: The Foundational Blocks of Inbound Marketing Strategy

Inbound Marketing 101: The Foundational Blocks of Inbound Marketing Strategy

According to a behaviour survey, 68% of the buyers use sources such as blogs to evaluate the product even before considering it. Before buying a product, we do a lot of research to learn more about the product through communities, blogs, social media, or videos. Offering educational content to attract relevant potential customers to your website organically without paid media ads is inbound marketing. 

What's great about inbound marketing is that the buyers are not persuaded directly to buy the product. Instead, you are letting them understand its know-how and educating them. This strategy effectively opens a door to attracting more visitors to your website.

Enticing more strangers, converting them to leads, closing deals, and finally creating brand advocates can be easily achieved when you optimize your foundational blocks under the inbound marketing method. They are, i) understanding and defining your target audience, ii) mapping the buyer's journey, and iii) serving value through content.

Why create a buyer persona?

Spending time crafting quality content without defining your target audience, is a big no. 
Develop a buyer's persona by identifying, and defining target audience, leveraging data based on demography, challenges, and goals.

It helps you to think from your customers' perspective to understand their challenges and thereby figure out how your solution can help bridge the gap. It is easy to create a buyer persona by simply analyzing  this few pro-questions categorically. 
  • What is the name of the persona? A pro tip: Naming the persona along with the role helps to remember the person's role throughout the process
  • What age does your persona fall under?
  • What gender?
  • What is your persona's educational qualification (mention the highest degree earned by your persona)?
  • What is the persona's role?
  • How much does your persona earn per annum?
  • What type of organization and where does the persona work? (mention its growth)
  • What are the goals and objectives of the persona? (List at least two) 
  • What makes this persona successful in the role?
  • What are the persona's challenges?
  • What tools does your persona use?

 A final outlook would look similar to the persona I have created above. Analysing the answers helps in identifying where your solution best fits and you can tailor your message accordingly. If you are unsure of matching your customer's perspective, then you can interview your customers or prospects to get answers to your questions. 

What are the different stages of the Buyer's journey?

Knowing where your audience is in the pipeline helps you figure out the content that best suits them and eventually paves the way in product sales. Customer journey or buyer's journey what  tracks your customers' conversion path and optimizes strategy based on their status in the marketing funnel. The buyer's journey is divided into four stages. 
Discovering stage:
This is the beginning or the phase  where your audience is in search of solutions to their business problems. Providing 'how-to' guides and informative blogs resonate well with your audience and attracts new leads to your website. Don't pitch your product or service here. 

For instance: Let's say a user is looking for an ideal solution to manage his contacts. He is looking for contact management. To capture the user's interest, you can suggest they read a blog that explains the importance of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
Considering stage:
During this phase, your audience wants to learn more about your product or service that might fit their needs. Prompting them to download an ebook or whitepaper as a takeaway allows you more information about your buyers.
If the user proceeds to download a suggested resource such as an ebook, the marketing team can follow up with an invite to a webinar or workshop to learn more about the product without being pushy. 
Finalising stage:
This last phase is also called the revenue-creation stage where the buyer decides whether to choose your solution or not. Regular follow-ups at right intervals maximize the chances of conversion.
After gauging the user's interest, the sales team pitches in with an offer of a  demo tailored to the user's needs. Showcasing the ability to address the user's problem with your product or solution is crossing 90% of this bridge. Patience and showing you understand and value the users's needs is key here. 
Promoting stage
Happy and satisfied customers will be your brand advocates and help in promoting and recommending your product or service to their peers. 93% of B2B businesses can easily convert a referral to a customer when your brand advocates recommend them. Also, there is a good chance of cross-selling the product to your loyal customer base effortlessly.
Once your deal is closed, it doesn't stop there. You have to assist the customers when required, constantly follow up and support them in their growth phase. This paves the way in building your brand champions who will bring in quality leads.

Why to capitalize on content marketing - the backbone of inbound marketing

Today we live in an information-dense world and it is no surprise that content is the key. Content marketing is a strategy to create and deliver contextually relevant information. It can be blogs, newsletters, landing page, emails, videos, social media - everything that serves information or shares content. Communities, blogs, and social media are widely considered the best platforms to share and promote content. 

Communities are networking spaces for a peer group with common interests to connect, learn, and share experiences, build expertise, and make contacts. Communities inspire trust and help build credibility for a brand. When content is shared or opinions are expressed, it endorses a brand and validates the thoughts of users and therefore influences buying decisions greatly.

Blogging gives you a space to publish content that attracts visitors to your website. It opens up a world of knowledge that has made it a sought after medium to learn new things.

Simple tips that can go a long way in blogging:
  • Choose a long-tail keyword topic as it is SEO friendly and more specific.
  • Ensure your title is not more than 60 characters because the google display screen is 600 pixels.
  • While drafting blogs, address the industry, not your business 
  • While formatting, have a lot of white space for easy navigation and include images, gifs, and videos wherever necessary 
  • Optimize your content for SEO, including your long-tail keyword in title, body, URL, Alt text, and meta description
  • Your blog posts must be mobile friendly.
Social media
On average a person spends 142 minutes a day on social media. Social media marketing became and continues to be the hub to spread content and create brand awareness to attract more users, and drive growth. There are a lot of social media platforms. Choosing your ideal platform extends better reach and visibility. 

For example, If you want to increase your engagement rate, you can give Instagram a shot as its engagement rate is 10 times more than what Facebook and 80 times more than what Twitter gives you.

If you want to know more about your target audience or build a leadership portfolio, Linkedin is the right platform. 

Best social media strategies to increase your overall engagement rate:
  • Always keep a tab on your social media performance. Continuous monitoring helps to spot the areas that need more attention.
  • Don't focus on the likes. Other crucial parameters define the quality of the content such as shares, comments, and followers.
  • Identify your optimal time and optimise the posts further. 
  • Captivating user-generated content creates more engagement and builds credibility.
  • Using relevant hashtags bring more traffic. Don't use generic hashtags as the search results are high in volume.

Each social media platform is different and unique in its purpose. Identifying which social media handle your audience spend more time on, helps tailor the content that is more relevant and meaningful in delivering the message.
Pro tip: Perform social listening. Social listening tools surf the social media to find out if someone mentions you, and notifies you instantly. There are free tools for social listening such as google alerts and Zoho Social to monitor mentions and also analyze your social media performance.
Whether it is blogging, communities, or social media marketing, content marketing is core to all these mediums, and great content marketing is the art of delivering value without selling. 

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