1) Use Buyer Personas
Inbound Marketing is about 'marketing with a magnet, not a shotgun' and in order to attract customers into your marketing machine using helpful content, you'll need to understand them and their pain points more deeply...
That's why, as Inbound marketers, we prefer to talk about 'buyer personas' rather than 'target market' or 'market segments'. 'Buyer personas' describe groups of people in a 'human' way that's more useful for marketing and sales people.
"A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better." - HubSpot
For more on this, you'll enjoy "What I wish I knew about Buyer Personas when I started inbound marketing"
Building trust with prospects and customers is fundamental to an Inbound Marketing plan and helpful blogs addressing your target personas and their pain points go a long way to do so.
“80% of business decision makers prefer getting brand information through an article series versus advertising" - Content Marketing Institute
It's important to note that the content & writing style employed in blogs used for Inbound Marketing strategies is different from traditional product/service focussed articles.
Let's consider a fictional tech company, APPtitude, selling software that makes creating mobile apps simpler...
Before APPtitude embraced Inbound Marketing principles & methodologies, blogs were mostly about the unique features APPtitude's framework offers. APPtitude used a lot of skippable YouTube ads to advertise them.
After embracing Inbound Marketing APPtitude broadened the scope of their blogging topics to include more widely appealing headlines like, 'Best 11 examples of innovation thinking among App developers' and also comissioned production of a video series (vlog) about trends impacting App stores. They use social media to syndicate the content (organically and using targeted promotions).
As you can imagine, the Inbound Marketing content is immensely more interesting and sharable for APPtitude's buyer personas, so if done professionally, will get a lot of 'free' advertising worldwide. And that's not to say it's pointless to have content focussed on how APPtitude's software functions, it's just important to understand that to create mass-appeal, the inbound marketing approach is profoundly more effective.
3) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
You can blog and create advanced content all you like, but if you haven't got the SEO to make sure it's seen, there won't be much point to it all.
Making sure your content is found organically starts with keyword research and a well-defined keyword strategy. A strategy that's aligned with what your target personas are likely to be searching.
Key to making content that's optimised is understanding your market personas' pain points so you can address them directly. For example, keywork research might show you that your market is searching, "How to improve IT infrastructure reliability." So a good response to that, in terms of SEO, could be a blog titled, "11 tips to improve IT infrastructure reliability." If this blog offers genuinely good advice, it will be likely to attract relevant search volume for your business.
There are of course many more technical factors affecting your websites SEO performance such as: meta descriptions; user experience (UX); alt-tags (image labels); writing structure, format and brevity. And if you choose to work with us on your content strategy, you can be sure it will all be SEO optimised.
4) Growth Driven Design (GDD) Websites
You don't have to be a web developer to upload search engine optimised blogs anymore. Website dynamism driven by modern, user-friendly interfaces like HubSpot make it really simple for your staff to make well-crafted blogs. A GDD website also allows you to track behaviour using an automatically generated insights section, which empowers you to know what to do more and less of.
If you'd like to know more on this, we recommend our blog on Growth Driven Design and How It Can Improve Your Next Website Redesign
5) Social Media Marketing
Brilliant content means nothing if it's never seen. And while your SEO will greatly improve over time as you consistently add appealing content, it's very important to promote blog articles/videos on social media immediately because that's when it's most relevant.
For the sake of brevity, we're just going to say that having a professionally managed social media presence is imperative, particularly for brands offering more complex products/services or brands with influential competitors. But we've got a lot more to say on the topic of social media and how to use it to deliver measurable ROI (leads, not likes) and we cover it in our latest Executive Guide eBook about how to adapt your business to social media trends in 2019.
6) Video Marketing
"By 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic."
In terms of engagement and building trust with prospects, video marketing absolutely rules the digital landscape right now.
"59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text."
Inbound marketers use video a little differently too (because there a lot of brands making boring videos for the sake of video nowadays). Over and above a well written script and an execution refined with classy animation - a renowned tactic of ours is to make content that's broadly appealing while still being relevant. IE. video content that's not just about the features & benefits of the brand but rather more helpful, interesting content which includes information about the industry as a whole. This tactic results in the content that's shared a lot more, delivering greater value for money.
"Inbound Marketing is about adding real value before asking for anything, thus gaining more trust from prospects and establishing grounds for deeper relationships."
7) Advanced, Gated Content Creation
Developing advanced content pieces not only generates new contacts but also drives existing contacts further down the sales funnel. This content takes a deeper dive into which ever blog your prospect is reading and comes in various forms such as eBooks, Infographics, tip sheets, how-to guides and whitepapers. We call this content gated because prospects have to submit their info on a form in order to access the download. These offers are ideally promoted at the end of blog articles and are seen in the form of call-to-actions (CTA's) such as the example below:
A well-constructed email marketing strategy is an essential inbound marketing tactic because it allows you to build relationships with new prospects by hitting them with the right content at the right time. Effective email marketing also enables you to fortify relationships with older subscribers by promoting new, relevant blogs and news, keeping your brand in their mind.
Encompassing email marketing, automated workflow infrastructure and strategies allow you to automatically send targeted content to specific contact lists or segments of a list comprising of people that have been qualified for the content in some way...
9) Marketing Automation Using Automated Workflows and CRM's.
The best way to build a solid relationship with prospects is to hit them with the right content at the right time, and this can now be automated. Key to what makes automation work is context-based serving of content. In other words, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, such as HubSpot helps you ensure that content sent via automated email is relative to what a particular contact has digested in the past. This is a game changer because once your automated workflow and email sequence is set up, it qualifies and moves people down the sales funnel automatically, saving your sales force tons of time and giving them powerful information about a contact's track record on your website.
Inbound Marketing Tactics Conclusion
There are many proven-effective tactics surrounding inbound marketing and we hope you have seen the value of the 9 we mentioned in this blog.
If you'd like help improving your marketing ROI, get in touch with us because we'd like to know more about your business and ambitions.
For a deeper dive into Inbound Marketing, download our Executive Guide below: