Ask a landscape lighting contractor or massage therapist what inbound marketing is, and chances are, you may get a blank stare. They may not know the term. But the two small business owners are likely using inbound marketing to promote their businesses.
Inbound marketing is any marketing tactic that involves earning someone’s interest in your product or service, rather than buying their interest. Prime examples include SEO (search engine optimization), social media, blogs, and ebooks. Traditional “outbound marketing,” (the opposite of inbound marketing) involves activities like direct mail advertising, TV and radio ads, banner advertising and cold calls.
Why should you care about inbound marketing?
Companies traditionally relied on TV, billboards, magazines and email advertising. But consumers are ignoring these outbound messages in droves:
►200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list
►86% of people skip television ads
►44% of direct mail is never opened
You’ve got to cut through the clutter to be heard. The best way to do that is with an inbound marketing strategy. When you can offer something of value at the right time, to the right target audience, you’ll have a much better chance of converting prospects into customers.
Outbound marketing is all about pushing your marketing message at the consumer. Inbound marketing takes the opposite strategy. It’s about providing useful information to your prospect. You want them to like and trust you. Then they’ll be more likely to buy from you when they need what you’re selling.
Developing an inbound marketing strategy
Before you launch an inbound marketing plan, you’ve got to develop your strategy. The first step should be to determine your target market. Then, figure out the best way to reach them. Let’s take our landscape lighting contractor as an example. His target market is most likely married women, homeowners, between the ages of 30-50, with an annual family income of $75,000 and above. How should our contractor reach her? This is where the strategy comes in. Inbound marketing works best with a variety of techniques.
It all starts with the website. It should be fully optimized so your prospect can use a search engine to find you. The website also needs to have content that addresses your prospect’s needs. Our landscape lighting contractor needs a home page that demonstrates clearly why someone should hire him. He also needs a service page, an FAQ page, and a photos page. One of the primary elements the website needs is a lead capture device. Once the prospect submits their email address, you have permission to contact them.
This is where email marketing comes into play, or more specifically, a lead nurturing campaign. An autoresponder series should be set up to educate the person about your company’s products. You can then send an enewsletter with useful information related to your company’s products and industry. One way to get material for the enewsletter is to write a blog. The blog should be attached to your website. Adding fresh content will help your site’s search ranking. The blog articles can also be promoted on social networking sites.
Since Facebook and Pinterest are popular with women, our landscape lighting contractor should develop a presence there. He can post content that will appeal to his target audience. And the material should encourage engagement in the form of likes, comments, and shares.
If you’d like to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help your business, contact me today for a free consultation.