An inbound marketing strategy is how you attract visitors to your website, convert them into leads, nurture them into customers and inspire them to become advocates and unofficial promoters of your brand. While tactics will vary from business to business and even campaign to campaign, once you have goals in place certain other things remain a constant.
Here are four vital components that should make up your inbound marketing strategy, no matter what your digital business objectives:
As the best way to organically attract leads to your website, creating high-quality content should account for a significant chunk of inbound marketing strategy. Content can come in a number of formats, including:
- Vlogs (video blogs)
- Social Media Posts
- Downloadable eBooks & eGuides
- eCourses & Webinars
- Content Hubs or Libraries
- Surveys & Quizzes
These are only a few forms of content, and the types that are best for you depend on how your customers and target audience prefer to digest information. And there's more to the big picture content than content format. Ultimately, you must conduct research, including developing personas to determine exactly how the content you produce will fit into the custom journey, and what role it will play in delivering tangible results.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Even with the best possible content, your digital marketing efforts will fall short if the content isn't effectively optimized for search engines. Low traffic to your website can put the brakes on leads, conversions and sales. Conventionally, short- and long-tail target keywords in content factors heavily into SEO. But the latest research shows that keywords are a less important factor than they used to be in Google's algorithm.
The search marketing experts at SEMrush found the most important SEO ranking factors are now:
- Website visits
- Time spent on site
- Pages per session
- Bounce rate
- Referring domains
SEO is an ever-evolving discipline that touches on all facets of digital marketing, and some SEO-related tactics have less to do with the substance of content and more to do with website design, which can play a huge role in things like user experience, bounce rates and the amount of time visitors spend on your site.
Many brands and companies pour time, effort and money into creating content, but overlook the need to amplify it. In our crowded and information-packed world, 'build it and they will come' won't cut it as a strategy. In addition to focusing on SEO, you also have to promote your content on the channels where your audience spends time.
Some effective ways to amplify content are:
- Social media posts
- Email newsletter distribution
- Guest blogging
- Influencer marketing
- Platforms like Outbrain, Taboola, revcontent and Sharethrough
- Direct publishing to sites like LinkedIn and Medium
- Answering relevant Reddit and Quora questions with facts drawn from your content
- Repurposing content into different formats to reach new audiences
- Lead Generation
Creating, optimizing and amplifying great content will draw traffic to your website, but it's lead generation that will help convert your visitors into honest-to-goodness leads.
One approach to lead generation that has been proven effective is producing "gated" (or "premium") content offers, through which you provide access to people who provide you with their contact information (i.e. e-mail address). Whitepapers, eBooks, special reports, product trials and other freebies are often used as gated content offers.
To optimize lead generation and drive conversions, always:
Ensure all the content you create and promote links to a premium content offer.
Remove all website navigation, outbound links and others distractions from landing pages.
Take a "less is more" approach in information request forms for content offer.
Promote your premium content offers as much as amplify your standard content.
No matter what you hope to achieve in online business, without clear, measurable goals and an inbound marketing strategy based on these four elements, success will be hard to come by. So, when plotting your course, use them as the foundation for a solid plan to set yourself up for smooth sailing ahead.