An inbound marketing strategy is designed to provide potential customers with useful advice, in an effort to gain their business. To accomplish this, business owners publish online content that will be found by potential customers when they search the internet for information about their problem. Here are the steps business owners can take to conduct this type of marketing successfully.
Step 1: Identify a Specific Problem Facing Potential Customers
A content-driven marketing campaign aimed at a general audience is sure to fail. There is simply too much information already available online that answers general questions. Because the advice is already available, search engines will not give much weight to new articles providing the same information. For example, a pet groomer would have little success publishing an article on “how to groom a dog” because so many articles on this topic have already been written. However, an article on “how to clip the toenails of a German Shepherd” would fare much better.
Step 2: Brand Yourself as an Expert on Solving that Problem
Once a business owner has identified specific advice needed by potential customers, it is important to convey expertise on that specific topic. This step is critical because it is rooted in the entire idea behind inbound marketing – to gain the trust of potential customers by displaying knowledge about their problem. Returning to the previous example, the pet groomer could build trust by explaining that in her 25 years as a groomer she has worked with hundreds of German Shepherds and routinely advises clients and veterinarians on how to care for their toenails.
Step 3: Give Expert Advice through Online Content
Learning to convey information as an expert is not enough. The next step is to begin a routine of publishing the advice on the internet. For many professionals and small business owners, this step is the most challenging, because it takes them away from their core business. And it is true, time spent writing a blog post
or recording a YouTube video does not immediately impact revenue. But while the benefit of this form of marketing is gradual, it is also cumulative. Measurable success will result from a sustained effort of producing and publishing quality content.
Step 4: Use Proper Keywords so Potential Customers Find Your Content
To be found by potential customers, content must rank high in internet search results. Of the many techniques for improving search engine ranking, proper keyword usage is perhaps the most important. This involves determining the actual words that customers type into search engines, and using those exact terms in the content. Returning again to the example of a pet groomer, there are many words that mean hair cut (clip, trim, sheer, crop, etc.). The owner will need to research which terms are most often used by her customers, and use the same terms in her content.
Many businesses have recognized the effectiveness of inbound marketing, and are implementing advertising strategies aimed at attracting customers with online content. But as with traditional marketing, not all strategies are equally effective. After following the proper steps and achieving successful results, it is important to continually measure, analyze and refine these techniques.