What is Inbound Marketing? How Do You Use It?

Inbound marketing strategiesInbound marketing is a collection of marketing strategies and tools that is focused on visibility and attention that brings leads (prospects) and readers to you and your website.

Sounds great, right? No more hunting readers and potential customers down. They come right to you.

This is the idea behind inbound marketing.

But, how do you do this?

It’s pretty straight forward and there are three core elements to this process.

1. Visibility

The first and most important element to inbound marketing is to generate attention to you and what you’re offering. This is done through:

  • You must have a website, and it needs to be focused on your niche / topic.
  • You have to blog regularly. And, your posts need to be informative – they need to help (be useable) or entertain the reader.
  • You need to employ SEO strategies to be search engine and reader friendly. This goes for your website and the content on it, including your blog posts.
  • You absolute must use social media marketing. Share your posts to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and any other ones that you find work for you.

Tip: Don’t spend too much time on social media sharing and engagement. It can be a time zapper. Find one to three networks that work for you and work them.

2. Turn visitors into potential customers / clients.

You obviously don’t want to spend all that time on generating visibility and attention with great content only to have the prospect never take action. To avoid this situation, you need to have certain elements in place to ‘convert’ that visitor into something more.

This is where your call-to-action (CTA) comes in.

You need to have an email service provider. This service will provide you with the optin box code that will allow the visitor to input her email address and get onto your mailing list. It’s this list that is key to conversion (the process of a visitor going from reading to buying).

CTAs come in a number of formats and can be in your website header, sidebar, at the end of your blog posts. They can also come in pop-up and slide-in formats.

Usually, to motivate the visitor to become a subscriber, you need to offer a great ‘freebie.’ This is your ethical bride.

To determine what your audience would greatly appreciate, think of what you would want. Or, you might ask on your social networks. If the freebie isn’t valuable enough or even worded right, you’ll have trouble getting subscribers.

Just be sure that the new subscriber can quickly and easily get the gift you promised for signing up. This entails creating a Thank You landing page that has the link to the download.

3. Email marketing

At this point, you created a great freebie and you’ve gotten subscribers. This has pretty much been the whole purpose of numbers one and two above.

But, now what? How do you get your subscribers to convert to customers?

You’ve got to provide ongoing ‘actionable’ content that the subscribers can use in their own journey. It’s this content along with CTAs to your services or products that will eventually motivate conversion.

One of the best ways to take advantage of email marketing is to create an autoresponder of eight to 10 emails that will go out automatically once someone signs up to your mailing list. The emails should be spaced around 3 days apart and the very first one should be a Welcome message.

These emails should be highly focused on the type of content the subscriber signed up for. Each one should have a CTA, even if it’s to connect on social networks.

After the initial emails, you still need to provide great content on a regular basis. Once a week or every other week is good. Less than that, and the subscriber may forget who you are and why they signed up in the first place.

If you honestly set out to help your subscribers, they’ll appreciate it. This builds a relationship and trust.

There you have it, the three core elements of inbound marketing. If you’d like to learn more about each element, I have a power-packed four week eclass through WOW! Women on Writing. Check out all it offers:

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