Marketing March 30, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 673 Reads share

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Guide for Business

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What does the term “inbound marketing” mean to a small business?  What is the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing strategies?  Experts say all marketing tactics revolve around wanting to increase web traffic, visitors, leads, conversions, buyers, fans and customers.

Inbound marketing wants the same things as now traditional outbound marketing; the difference is not what a business wants from marketing but how it goes about wanting it. Inbound marketing is about getting permission to contribute to the “awareness” and “consideration” steps in a buyers funnels while outbound marketing is focused on interrupting  (via ads, CPC, direct mail, sales calls) these same steps.

Both inbound and outbound marketing complement each other and even the inbound marketing king – Hubspot uses outbound marketing.  Outbound marketing activities like lead generation and lead nurturing using sales people is becoming a forgotten art with too many companies relying solely on inbound marketing to drive the sales engine.

That said, inbound marketing has become the main driver in getting a business into buyers awareness and consideration steps when looking for a product mainly due to the non-interruption aspect of inbound marketing.

Here are eleven tips in using inbound marketing to attract people to a business; inbound marketing is more about sharing than selling, helping not hyping.  The great thing about inbound marketing is that it works so well for any business regardless of size in any market.  A word of caution is inbound marketing does take a bit of time to get going, however, once the results start happening they are better qualified and less expensive than harder outbound tactics.

The foundation stone of inbound marketing is “Content” and publishing quality content alone will go a long way to increase traffic and leads for a business or website.  But there is more to inbound marketing than publishing content; inbound marketing also includes social selling, article sharing, social networks conversations, social media influencers, article seeding, forum participation and chat.

So follow these inbound marketing tips to improve your Inbound Marketing results

#1. Have a WHOLE inbound marketing plan.

Inbound marketing includes blogging, articles, whitepapers, social networks engagement, social selling, lead generation, traffic and social media conversations. Which of these tactics can be improved?

#2. Implement all inbound marketing tactics.

A business should never rely on one or two tactics even if you are getting good results from current inbound marketing tactics, implementing all tactics will drastically improve desired results.

#3. Don’t forget the “awareness phase”.

Social media using content as the lead is where people become aware of your business and they delight in the quality of the content being read. The awareness phase is where you engage customers and prospects for future purchases and opportunities, even in B2B marketing. A business needs to have blog posts that delight, social media content that engages and messaging that keep customers or clients coming back. Before you get a lead or a sale, you need to build awareness.

#4. Share the content.

Simply posting a new article or blog post and then leaving it to chance that it will be picked up by search traffic or prospects are wasted opportunities. Social media networks opens up the ability to immediately collect traffic and leads based on a new article published not to mention the long tail SEO impact. There is more to sharing content than posting to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Sharing content takes time and effort, share across all social networks, forums, groups, while seeding the article on relevant sites like Reddit, Scoop.it etc.

#5. Love your social media accounts.

Spend time attending to all your social media account, yes they are fantastic broadcast channels but also more importantly a place to build relationships. Have a constant presence and it need not take a huge chunk of time. Share content from other sources, like other articles, reply to messages, engage with conversations and give regular updates.

#6. Stay on top of changes.

Stay tuned in as Inbound marketing, social media marketing and SEO are in a constant state of change. What is the latest social platform, the coolest social network, what type of content (words, images, videos) are best of which audience? To keep inbound marketing firing on all cylinders, marketing teams have to stay on top of changes and make sure to adjust to new opportunities while refining old ones.

#7. Embrace analytics and reporting.

The numbers produced from marketing tactics are the key to what is working and what is not. Data and numbers should be checked against goals on a regular basis be it daily or weekly. Ensure all the metrics and KPI’s are in aligned to goals, actions and activities. By viewing the numbers, a business can see where it needs to make adjustments to improve results.

#8. Solicit feedback.

Chat to customers, other departments (sales), prospects and industry peers about inbound marketing. Where do they go to be made aware, what delights them, and why do they consider one over another? Also sometimes we can fail to understand how integrated inbound marketing can be with other aspects of the business, from outbound marketing campaigns to sales calls to social selling and customer retention for future purchases. How else you can use inbound to get great results?

#9. Write quality content.

Content marketing in the inbound marketing mix is the main conduit in bringing in search traffic and leads. While content will bring in a level of traffic regardless of the content quality, the bounce rate will be high and the consideration rate low. In a digital marketplace where everyone is sharing content, every blog, article or whitepaper needs to be specific, well researched, well written and above all informative. Search the web for blog ideas and to see what social influencers are reading (and interview them to get in-depth information for future social posts)

#10. Commit time and resources.

Inbound marketing takes time, if it is a real marketing strategy for your business, then investment in time and resources to make it happen is a must. Do not let other activities take priority. Every business that is successful with inbound marketing takes the time to follow through on all tactics, methodologies, strategy and implementation; otherwise inbound marketing contribution to the business is just a wish.

#11. Give to get considered.

Once awareness levels rise (traffic, reads, likes), start to give more to get into the buyers consideration phase. Offer more giveaways, free trials, deeper white papers, studies and reports. Make it easy for them to consider you, use landing pages, webinars, free samples, and contact us forms so you can move the prospect to a qualified lead

So as you have read, there is more to inbound marketing than a 500 word promotional blog and posting it on LinkedIn. Words sometimes don’t come easy, but words are powerful, funny, enlightening and engaging. If someone told you a stream of words constructed into quality content and published as articles could drive your whole business strategy, would you be interested?

Feel free to connect with myself or indeed anyone you know in inbound marketing to help get the answers you need to get going. One thing for sure, inbound marketing works as you are reading this article right now!

Images: “Inbound Marketing Commerce Content Social Media Concept/Shutterstock.com

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Brian OConnell

Brian OConnell

Brian O’Connell is based in Dublin, Ireland, Working as a hands on business enabler with senior sales and marketing manager experience in companies like Dell, Oracle, Apple and J2 Global. He has worked with or founded companies in digital media, productivity software, social media software, educational software, business software and SaaS business models. Now focused as a business enabler or growth hacker to growth orientated companies.

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