By Eric Dickmann

June 10, 2021

Inbound Marketing

Can inbound marketing help your business? Yes.

How can inbound marketing help your business? We will tell you how.

In a basic sense, inbound marketing establishes connections with customers by giving them immediate and long-term solutions that will help them solve their existing problems. Compared to outbound marketing, where businesses try to target all groups of people, inbound marketing aims to engage with a specific niche and guide them in their buying process. To be effective with your inbound marketing approach, you have to be very creative in creating content. The first step in creating powerful and moving content is building a content marketing strategy. The common failure that many marketers face is that they don’t follow or even create a content calendar. After they publish content that gains a thousand reads or so, they get stuck up with the question of- What should we write next?”

Benefits of Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

To give you a clearer picture of inbound marketing, Weidert Blog lists the differences between inbound and outbound marketing:

Inbound Marketing

  • cheaper compared to outbound marketing
  • has a higher return on investment (ROI)
  • more directed and interactive with the readers
  • aims to inform
  • content can be seen on websites, blogs, SERPs, social media, and opt-in emails

Outbound Marketing

  • more costly compared to inbound marketing
  • uncertain return on investment (ROI)
  • targets all group of customers
  • aims to sell
  • content can be seen on TV, radio, billboard, newspapers, tabloids, and all traditional platforms
Company's top inbound marketing priorities

Creating an Inbound Marketing Plan

Choosing to have an inbound marketing strategy is a smart move for you and your business. However, if you want to be effective with your approach, you’ve got to learn a lot of skills to make your audience stay on your site and stay interested in whatever you wish to offer. Some of the specific skills you have to familiarize yourself with are content creation, SEO, social media management, website design, lead conversion, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, etc. If you are completely oblivious to these terms, don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of these tasks alone. It is essential for you to have a team of content creators, social media specialists, and salespeople to help keep your content alive and flowing! HubSpot shares with us the five steps in creating an inbound marketing plan:

  1. Define Your Buyer Personas- Before you start to do anything, know who your target market is first. Many businesses fall into the trap of casting a wide net, assuming that every person who comes across their ads will buy from them. That is not how it works! For instance, if you are selling microfiber towels or car cleaning supplies, obviously, your ideal buyer personas are car owners. It would be absurd and a waste of resources to spend your dollars on advertising to those who don’t have cars! Defining your buyer personas will save you more time and allow you to create compelling content that resonates with your audience.
  2. Set Your Inbound Marketing Goals- Set attainable goals! Listing your inbound marketing goals will enable you to identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses. In this stage of creating your inbound marketing plan, you and your team are able to see your current position and what you wish to attain in the future. Not to mention, you, as the business owner, can monitor who is in sync with your vision and who’s not. Don’t be frustrated if all your team members see things differently because diversity makes your company more open-minded and motivated to drive results! Creating a defined set of goals can help create a series of scenarios and measure the results for potential outcomes.
  3. Outline Your Content Strategy- Creating content can be overwhelming, especially when you are in the so-called “zone.” Before you dive in and create your website articles or design your social media posts, it is crucial to identify the keyword trends, hot topics, and desired length of your content. You don’t want to end up composing lengthy blogs that are unappealing to your target audience. Depending on your organization’s goal and purpose, you can create content that is not only informative but is also intriguing and easy to read. Ensure that the content that the article or graphics you are writing, editing, or even recording serves as an introduction for your next post and can serve as a good point of reference in the future.
  4. Create a Conversion Focused Blogging Strategy- Aside from providing value to your audience and establishing yourself as an authority in a specific range of topics, it would be better to see it as your goal to convert traffic into qualified leads. Each of your posts must support an exclusive content offer by answering your buyer persona’s common questions or encouraging them to access your latest content. Inserting a call of action (CTA) in between your blog posts or audio and video content can give your audience an insight into how you can help them in the long term.
  5. Consult Inbound Marketing Experts- You must not only rely on your in-house team to run the processes. From time to time, you should also consider reaching out to marketing professionals who are not affiliated with your organization to give you a different perspective on things. Getting guest writers to post on your website or social media handles is a great way to show your readers that you are open to new insights.
Types of Content that Marketers use

The Inbound Methodology

Now that you have understood the five steps in creating an inbound marketing plan, it is also essential for you to learn the three stages of the inbound methodology: Attract, Engage, and Delight. According to Fit4Market, consistently applying the inbound methodology to your marketing strategy can help you to convert prospects to brand advocates.

  1. Attract- The first step in the inbound methodology is to draw the audience to your website or social media handle. Establishing a good first impression by using good content and initiating a lively conversation with site visitors can keep people interested and willing to engage. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of competitors out there who also want to stand out. The key to outrank your competition is through creative content.
  2. Engage– Once you are able to attract your prospects, it should now be your objective to engage your potential customers by providing them with a consistent flow of information. If customers feel that you can give them clear and practical solutions through your content, there is a high possibility that they will close a transaction with your business.
  3. Delight- Empower your customers in every stage of their buyer’s journey! Giving them the facts and technical aspects is important, but you’ve also got to note that people are highly inclined to transact with companies that are fun to work with and have always something interesting up their sleeve!
Inbound Marketing Methodology

What are the Ways Inbound Marketing Can Help Your Business?

Consistency is the key. You don’t want to suddenly stop creating enticing content while your readers are hooked to your page and waiting for your latest posts. Building up your SEO content and editing your audio or videos takes time. Trends change, and you and your team have to learn how to adapt to these changes and turn them to your advantage. WebFX shares the six ways inbound marketing can impact your business:

  1. It strengthens your company’s reputation
  2. It produces qualified leads
  3. It lets your customers reach you on their terms
  4. It provides a wealth of information for your target market to utilize
  5. It builds lasting relationships and a chain of referrals
  6. It effectively moves leads through the sales funnel

Where Do We Come In?

In building your business, you need experts who can guide you along the way; this is where we come in. The Five Echelon Group offers strategic marketing advisory services to small and medium-sized businesses to help you achieve your business goals. With years of experience in market planning and implementation, we can help your business develop and execute your inbound marketing strategy effectively and systematically. Learn more about FiveEchelon and the kinds of services we offer!

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Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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