Today the consumer is in control.
They have the tools at their disposal to do their own research and make their own informed purchasing decisions.
Accordingly, online marketing has shifted towards pulling customers IN with engaging content rather than blasting messages OUT to the masses with advertising.
Why Inbound Works
And although most startups have blogs, they don’t use their content to bring customers in and gain traction.
Having engaging content will also impact your businesses SEO, PR, email marketing, targeting blogs, community building, offline events and business development.
When it works, it drives in customers like magic.
It’s also cost-effective, which is critical for a bootstrapped startup business. Most of your media space is owned, whether it be your social channels, website blog or affiliate sites that your content is being syndicated on.
How Inbound Works
So if the old playbook is broken, so let’s look at some of the key principles and rules of an inbound marketing playbook.
1. Attracting attention is smarter then interrupting attention.
The biggest problem with outbound is that it fights for peoples attention by interrupting them, immediately you’re faced with an uphill battle.
Your blog is the starting point for any inbound strategy. It’s your stage to demonstrate your thought leadership and will most likely be your consumer’s initial interaction with your brand.
2. Start with a blog post then diversify your media.
For example, a single blog post can be turned into a series of graphics/infographics, videos, podcasts and finally e-books. The idea is that we’re taking traffic and moving them down our funnel to convert them to names in our database.
At this point we can begin to nurture these contacts, engage them with more content and finally offer them a product to purchase.
3. There is a standard funnel structure an inbound marketing campaign follows.
It looks a little like this:
- Attract visitors in with your web & blog content – What questions are they asking? Go online to Reddit/Quora to find out.
- Convert leads with personalised content experience – They’re searching for the type of research and information they need to inform their decisions.
- Close Customers with personalised marketing automation (using CRM – Agile, Hubspot etc.) – They will need more detailed information about your pricing.
As the consumer moves down the funnel the content will need to change to stay relevant to their buyer’s journey. Setting up milestones/goals to gauge what stage the buyer is at will help automate this process while.
4. Your marketing is owned space.
You’re no longer paying rent on someone else’s house, your content and the leads it generates is yours for life (as long as you remember to pay your domain fees…).
Although there is still a space for outbound paid marketing like Adwords, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn they will stop being effective once your billing cycle is over, whereas content can generate your business leads for years to come.
You want owned content over rented content. With owned content, your marketing team can go on holidays for a month and still generate you the same amount of leads if your processes and structure are set out properly.