What is Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a facet of content marketing utilized by your online digital marketing team to organically reach your target audience through content that is meant to attract, engage and delight your audience.
What differentiates inbound marketing from outbound marketing
The major differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is in the methodology involved. Outbound marketing is intrusive to the target; it interrupts their online activity: YouTube, Facebook feed, Twitter feed, Quora feed, or whatever. You are pushing yourself and your services/products out there to potential users.
On the other hand, inbound involves the direct opposite: your potential clients come to you. Their queries and need for answers bring them to your site; they landed on your website of their own volition. You did not intrude on them; they sought you out, perhaps indirectly, but they sought you out nevertheless.
The three pillars of inbound marketing: Attract, Engage, Delight
Your prospects land on your site when they type in a specific search query and your page appeared among the top pages on the SERPs (search engine result pages). Your headline or whatever drew them in; it attracted them, making them click on your website.
This is the second step. If your target audience land on your page and it bores them, they’ll leave. If your page is filled with unreadable Industry jargon, they’ll not be engaged. At least, that much is obvious; they don’t understand these terms because they probably don’t work in your industry.
If your content is interesting enough and answers their questions, they become engaged and continue to read. If your content doesn’t answer their questions–in other words, it doesn’t engage them–they scroll away and head into another website.
Let me illustrate this with an example: in my early years studying digital marketing at different institutes, I also studied the work of top online marketers. One person in particular stood out like a wild rose in a field of plain white daisies: Neil Patel. He ranked both number 1 and 2 for so many keywords on Google. His content amazed me and blew my mind away; so what did I do? I subscribed to his newsletter; I followed him on LinkedIn and Twitter, plus Instagram. I made sure that everything he wrote I read, every video i consumed. . .that’s the power of delighting your audience.
Your audience becomes enamored of you. They become loyal followers and readers.
Using AED in services: answer questions.
Remember that your posts have to answer your audiences’ questions in as detailed a way as possible.
Furthermore, it has to engage them. If that’s done, then they’ll be delighted by you and sign up for your courses, or subscribe to your newsletter, or purchase your e-books, or book you to speak at their corporate retreats.
In your efforts, you have to ensure that in using the AED (Attract, Engage, Delight) in your services, you have to answer questions. You already know the questions your audience is asking: answer them. Be as detailed as possible. Hold nothing back.
Remember: if you think that by holding back, you are forcing them to come back for more, please think again. Your competitor will give them ALL the answers they seek and outperform you. Never forget that.
What will attract your buyers
What will attract your buyers if you are using the inbound methodology of marketing is not your professional qualifications. What will attract them is your knowledge about their problems and the solutions you show to them when they search for the answers to their problems. It is not all about writing blog posts; it’s about writing blog posts that address their problems and give them the answers to it.
Please note that in the current Information era we have found ourselves in, people want their information NOW. They are not interested in coming to your website and reading your fancy static scripts and the reel of the qualifications of your team. They are also not interested in reading verbose posts that is sprinkled with a heavy dose of technical jargon they can’t understand which merely skims the surface of what they are desperately searching for. That will make them click away from your website. . .fast. What they want is to read solutions to their problems. Simple. If they are wowed by your deft handling of the problem in a way that showcases domain expertise in that area, they click the Contact Us button and ask for your services.
Define your buyer persona
To get an idea of the type of people your company should be targeting their inbound content marketing to, it is extremely important to define your buyer persona. In other words, you have to ask these very pertinent questions: who are our target audience? What is their age range? Where do they live? What industries do they work in? Are they male or female? What is their income range?
Answering these questions with as much precision as possible, will help your content marketing team to streamline their inbound marketing efforts to these specifically targeted demographic.
What are your buyer persona searching for?
You are in business offering solutions or services that are geared towards solving a problem. If you are not solving any problem for your potential clients, then you have no business running your company.
Now, since you already know the problem you intend to be solving for your potential clients, you have to ask yourself this question: what is the problem of our company’s buyer persona that needs to be solved? Why would they bother to look for our type of company to handle their affairs? Are they a company looking for a Branding strategy? Or are they a law firm that have no digital presence and need help setting up their consulting law firm website?
If you are able to answer the questions above carefully, then you already know (or have an idea of) what your target audience are searching for. They are searching for answers to their specific problem. They are not searching the Internet to look for results of the best consulting firms in Lagos, or to read through the impressive professional qualifications of your team mates which are listed on your consulting website.
What your target audience is searching for is the perfect blog post that specifically answers their questions and targets their problems. Look at the queries below:
“How do I set up my law firm website in Lagos?”
“How do I make my hospital website to appear on the front page of Google when people search for specialist ophthalmologists in Lagos?”
“Why do people click away from my website immediately they land on it from a Search Engine?”
“How do I optimize my consulting firm’s website for SEO so that it can rank well on Google?”
“How do I make my law firm website’s blog popular?”
You can see that these queries are specific, and they require specific answers in the niche your target audience are looking for on the SERPs. Your inbound marketing materials should target them specifically and answer these specific questions. I know that it may be difficult to determine what the questions your potential clients are typing into Google, but ask yourself this question: what are the problems the clients I have worked with sought answers for?
There you have it; that can mark the beginning of your content marketing journey using the inbound methodology.
Learning inbound marketing
Much of Internet marketing in the past–and present–is outbound. It involves your company sending out marketing materials and messages across various media. It could be through pay-per-click adverts, or involve them buying banner ad space on popular websites which will then be shown to readers when they visit these sites or search engines. Bottom line is: it involves spending advertising money.
Inbound marketing on the other draws your readers and buyers inward to your landing pages and website blog. Your readers could land on your blog through a search conducted on Google which then brings them to a blog post that answers their question. Or they could land on your page when they see your professionally crafted piece on a subject they’re interested in from LinkedIn.
Whichever way they come, they come in to your digital portfolio or website through sources that consider your company site or blog authoritative enough to carter to the needs of your target audience. The process is inbound; your readers come in of their own volition. You didn’t interrupt their YouTube streaming time, neither did you get in their Facebook feed through intrusive ads. They came to your website because they’re searching for a solution and your content seems to be offering it to them.
Tying inbound marketing to your entire digital marketing efforts
Inbound marketing is important in your company’s digital marketing efforts. Marketing shouldn’t be all about disruptive advertisements that cost you money but may not perform and convert your leads to clients like you’d wanted them to.
Your content marketing team should devise a strategy that is based on proffering solutions to the problems of potential clients. Remember: your readers are not necessarily interested in your fancy degrees and knowledge. They are interested in how your knowledge is going to solve their problems using the solutions you create, and what better way to show the answers to their problems than by using the inbound marketing method to show them that you understand their unique needs and are able to solve it.
Do you need help plotting your content marketing strategy using the inbound methodology? Do you want great ROI on your content marketing efforts? Then mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
Is there any questions you’d like to have answered about inbound marketing? Then comment with your question below and we’d be glad to have someone from our team answer.