inbound marketing tips for beginners

Inbound marketing, or content marketing as it is also called, has been getting a lot of attention lately. As businesses move away from interruption marketing tactics they are gravitating towards more permission based marketing efforts.

Just as most businesses were asking, “What is social media and do I really need it?” a few years ago, the question, “What is inbound marketing?” is starting to be said over and over.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the art and science of attracting the right customers to your business. It is a way of effectively spending your marketing dollars (and time) to get your message in front of prospects who are interested in what you have to say.

The old ways of marketing are dead or dying. Nobody looks at ads in the newspaper anymore. Consumers skip over commercials when they are watching TV. If you want to grow your business inbound marketing should be the cornerstone of your advertising efforts.

Inbound marketing is essentially a sales funnel, wherein the aim is to collect qualified leads. You can cast your net wide and capture as many leads as you can, qualifying after, or you can qualify your leads as you walk them down the path to becoming a lead. In either case, the end is a qualified lead that you can convert into a sale. When they are qualified and ready to buy, you hand them over to your sales team.

Here are three main components of any inbound marketing strategy.

1. The Offer

In order to generate leads for your company you need to offer your prospects something of value so they will feel justified in handing over their contact information. This offer could be an ebook, white paper, free webinar or even a free sample or consultation. Please note that whatever you offer must have value to the prospect. Look at your offer through their eyes, and offer real value.

The offer is a genuine bargain for them, so they are not hesitant to offer their contact info in exchange.

2. Call To Action

The greatest offer in the world will not produce the leads and conversions that you desire unless there is a strong (and direct) call to action (CTA). It is surprising how many businesses ignore flub step. They may assume that the customer will know what to do, or use weak wording that results in wishy washy leads or none at all.

Your prospect is busy. He or she is probably multi-tasking while looking at your offer, and may even be viewing your site on their smartphone or tablet – if your CTA does not stand out they will most likely miss it.

Determine exactly what you want your prospect to do and then spell it out for them. Say something actionable like, “Click here to download your FREE ebook,” or “Fill out this form to sign up for our FREE webinar.” Every element of a successful inbound marketing campaign has to lead the prospect down a path that eventually turns them into a customer.

3. Follow Up

Depending on your industry you may have a very long sales cycle so it is important to nurture these leads as they move through that cycle. Someone who downloads a free ebook may not be ready to buy just yet.

Follow up with automated emails that will show the prospect how your product or service will solve their problems. The follow up is all about getting the right information to them at the right time so that when they are ready to buy you will know it and be there to make the sale.

Check out our series on hiring a Content Marketing Agency:

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