It’s that time of year again: time to wrap up your 2019 marketing plan (or, if you’re like some, time to start your planning). Since traditional marketing alone is no longer effective in reaching or compelling today’s buyers, today, many marketers who haven’t embraced inbound will be reviewing their goals and coming to the conclusion that, in order to address the gap between their goals and plan, they need to adopt some inbound marketing practices in 2019. Or, you might be noticing that your competition is using inbound marketing and you need to remain competitive. According to the HubSpot 2017 State of Inbound report, 76% of marketers in North America use inbound marketing approach as their primary strategy—meaning, if you aren’t currently doing inbound for your business, three of your competitors likely are.
How to Get Started with Inbound Marketing
It should first be noted that inbound marketing isn’t a bunch of assorted, independent tactics you can choose from and plug into a traditional marketing strategy; inbound marketing is a methodology of attracting and nurturing leads, using integrated components (your website, content, social media, email marketing, sales enablement, customer service and others) that work together for optimum power. That being said, you can begin the transformation from traditional marketing to inbound by “dipping your toe in the water” with some inbound principles and practices.
If you’re evolving from traditional to inbound marketing, or if you simply want evidence of the power of inbound to generate and close leads, incorporate these 3 important components of inbound into your 2019 plan:
Content should answer questions they’re asking about cost, performance, lifespan, durability, maintenance and other topics. That content will be in the form of blog posts and advanced content, which we’ll talk about below. To get the advanced content (guides, tip sheets, ebooks, etc.), you’ll ask prospects to fill out a brief form (typically email, industry and title). Once they fill out the form, they’re a lead in your CRM and you can follow up with additional offers of content (more about that below, too). And, because you’ll be publishing content that Google will “see,” prospects will be more likely to find your site when they're searching online.
2. Publish a Blog and Advanced Content
The way to get prospects to your site is by writing regularly on topics of interest to them, and the best way to do that is through a blog. This is “top of the funnel” content because it’s free — no form required to read it. It establishes your credibility, demonstrates your expertise, shows that you “get” prospects’ challenges, and satisfies Google that you’re a good resource.
At the end of your blog articles, you’ll put a call-to-action (CTA) button that offers related advanced content — the content they can read only if they give their contact information. Advanced content is more in-depth and provides even greater value than blog posts, and that’s why visitors are happy to give you their contact information in exchange.
3. Utilize Email marketing
Once you have prospects’ email addresses (from those forms they filled out), you can send them offers of additional content. For example, Weidert Group sends weekly “Blog in Review” emails to our subscribers; these recap the week’s daily posts, giving our prospects and clients additional opportunities to read articles they might have missed, and increasing the opportunities to convert on another piece of content.
Just by doing these three things — making it possible for visitors to convert as lead on your website, creating a blog and downloadable content to convert them, and marketing all this content via email — you’ll have some of the most powerful elements of inbound working hard to generate and convert leads. If you have analytics in place on your website you’ll also have metrics to demonstrate how well these tactics work. Next year (or sooner!) you can add social media as a content promotion channel, along with other tools that are part of a complete inbound program.
This post, by necessity, makes these 3 tactics seem simple to implement, and admittedly it’s not this simple. But it is doable, especially if you partner with experts who can help you develop a step-by-step plan and help execute it. I’d also caution you that these 3 tactics alone don’t constitute an inbound marketing methodology, and will result in only a sliver of the success you could have when implementing a comprehensive integrated program. But it’s a start, right?
Posted by Meg Hoppe Meg provides creative vision to all client projects and serves as the agency's chief content writer. She has extensive experience writing for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare. Meg started in advertising and has become a thought leader in digital content creation and inbound marketing.