The main technique of inbound marketing has to do with setting traps. It’s like a kind of marketing jujitsu. You use the customers’ own motivations to bring them into buying from you. You create a need in the fertile soil of customers’ imaginations. You are there where your potential customers are. You become the authority on subjects in which your customers are interested. They turn to you and your products to find out more and you engage them. Then you bring them close to the products and services that can answer their needs. All the choices are theirs.
In his book, Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online, (Wiley, 2014), Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan describes how the basic technique inbound marketing technique is to engage customers meaningfully instead of dreaming up new ways of interrupting your way into their lives.
…attract, engage and delight…Inbound marketing focuses on the width of your brain, not the width of your wallet, and entrepreneurs have more remarkable ideas than anyone I know.
Get active outside your website:
One of the principles of inbound marketing is that you and your brand have to get well known among people likely to visit your site. Look for interest groups, sigs, discussion groups, and other online communities in which you have contributions to make and get active. Many advocate arranging public events, appearing on as an expert on media like radio, cable television or in magazines, newspapers and other print media. These kinds of media appearances are usually easy to arrange because the media are hungry for interesting content. Although you will not be able to promote your brand directly, you will be able to add your website address or other information to enable readers or listeners to access your site for more information.
Produce content that educates, inspires and entertains:
The content should be useful, factual and interesting. Use all the knowledge and skill you have acquired in running your business. Recruit the knowledge of others to provide useful authority. Don’t make your content into a sales document right away. Instead try to spark dialog and discussion with your content.
Make your website into a hub, not a megaphone:
Your company and your brand needs to be seen as being at the center of conversation and a source of valuable resources. Make your website into a discussion group that brings people together in the field you feel most comfortable contributing to. Add free tools and advice that visitors can use. These things can convert casual visitors into prospects, and prospects into leads.
The inbound website is wired:
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of producing massive volume of content without remembering to include a sales funnel. The sales funnel has embedded active decision points and internal links that bring visitors closer to making sales choices. They are also tied to software counters which make diagnostics of the sales funnel and metrics of user interest possible. The site should include interactional sections for the collection of some information about visitors. This information allows your marketers to assess interest by demographics or visitor profiles. Visitors that enter a sales funnel are converted to leads at a rate nearly 20 times higher than visitors that don’t.
Use pointers to the guide visitors to action:
How would you feel if a visitor goes to your site, is delighted by it, but then doesn’t know what to do next and simply leaves? The website needs to contain specific signposts showing your visitors where to go next. If someone comes to your website, make it easy and seamless for them to subscribe to read similar articles, leaving only enough information for you to add possible prospects to a follow-up list and aid in your demographic metrics. Optimizing your search for action is as important as SEO.
Use engaging graphics:
In some ways, the collected wisdom of years of conventional advertising can still be useful in the age of inbound marketing. We know from advertisers’ experience that the average attention span is no more than about eight seconds. It’s the headline and lead sentence in a newspaper article that has to do the job of nailing a reader’s attention. The billboard on the roadway has to put its message into the mind of passers-by in just the time it takes for them to pass it.
Engaging visual images cut through the clutter of words. You can find visuals that tell your story without major expense. Young photographers and artists are anxious to provide you with custom graphic materials. You can make them yourself using your cell phone to make photos or short videos to enliven your site. Each graphic should carry its weight however. You should only use visual content that serves a business function. Avoid vacuous decorative images. The graphic has to grab the attention of visitors for the purpose of leading them into the rest of your content.
Prepare for an altered marketing perspective by hiring experts or outsourcing wisely:
You will probably need some extra expertise to build and regularly update your inbound marketing website. You may need help with analysis of the data your website yields. Most of the time in-house staff does not have the skills to do this.
Starting an inbound marketing approach will involve a corporate change in the way the company perceives marketing. Make sure your staff is oriented to the changes and aligned with new approach. Your sales staff will have new prospects who should be contacted promptly. Marketing should be focused on applying the metrics you obtain to modify and test on-line strategies. The team must be well equipped and comfortable with the technology.
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