What’s your inbound marketing strategy? Don’t have one? Well, you’re not alone. Inbound marketing is one of those trendy concepts that generates a lot of marketing buzz but rarely gets done well. This is a shame because inbound marketing has the power to turn your content into a revenue generator and blog posts into fuel for your online marketing strategy.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is about using great content to get the attention of prospects and to reel them in to you website. It’s about taking a strategic approach to content creation. Out goes ‘post and hope’, and in comes using content to politely take prospects by the hand and escort them through your sales funnel. They then emerge as engaged fans of your brand, primed to become loyal customers.
Inbound marketing works best as a multilayered strategy, with different types of content fed to prospects at different stages of their journey:
Stage 1 – Awareness
The first step in an inbound marketing strategy is to attract people to your website. You can achieve this with blog posts, press releases, service focused web pages, videos and eBooks. The trick is being able to throw out links to this content like a net so you can reel in prospects to your website.
How can you throw out content far and wide? After you hit publish, take these steps:
- Syndicate your content using RSS. There are WordPress plugins you can use to syndicate your posts to web 2.0 sites, bookmarking sites and social networks to spread your content and attract visitors.
- Post updates to all your social networks about the new post, making sure to tailor the message for each audience.
- Bookmark your post in Delicious, Reddit, Stumbleupon and other bookmarking services. You get out of these sites what you put in, so it’s worth spending time bookmarking posts of other users to get their attention and to encourage them to bookmark yours in return. It also looks spammy if you only bookmark yourself, leading to the sword of Damocles to be dangled over your account.
- Comment on blogs covering the same topic. Remember to add to the conversation and to say something relevant. Spammy comments are obvious and won’t win you any friends or links.
- Start a new discussion in relevant forums. Add some thoughtful commentary and ask for feedback before posting your content’s URL.
- Add a link to the post in your email signature
- Add the content to your next newsletter.
Stage 2 – Generate interest
Once you’ve attracted some visitors to your website, you need to get them subscribed to your content. Offer them something valuable in exchange for their email address, such as a case study, webinar, free sample, eBook or brochure.
Few people are ready to buy the first time they first your website. Getting people subscribed enables you to maintain contact and develop the relationship long after they’ve left. There’s a saying in the affiliate marketing world that ‘the money is in the list’ – in other words, you will generate more sales over time from people subscribed to your content than random visitors to your website.
Stage 3 – Convert leads into sales
Once you’ve got them subscribed to your content and created a line of communication, you can build a relationship over time. Continue sharing with them thought leadership, insight and valuable information to earn their trust.
Once you’ve got them feeling comfortable, give prospects that extra little nudge towards becoming a customer. Use flagrant bribery to get that first sale. Offer them a free trial, free demo, an assessment, consultation, estimate or anything else you can offer for free that gets them talking and ready to take your relationship to the next level.
Even after you’ve got a sale, inbound marketing doesn’t stop. Remember that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an old one. Keep the content machine rolling to ensure customers are engaged, retained and buying for a long time to come.
Final tip – If you’d like to streamline the timing and delivery of content personalised for each customer, take a look at marketing automation software by HubSpot, Marketo or Eloqua.
Add inbound marketing to your copywriting services
So there you have it. Yet another reason why copywriters are indispensible for gaining attention and converting prospects into customers online. The majority of businesses are still acting stuck in the dark ages of ‘post and hope’. But without an inbound strategy, firing off blog posts is like throwing fishing hooks into a pond without the reel attached.
So if you’re a copywriter, why not contact your existing clients with details of your inbound marketing package, comprising off blog posts, press releases, eBooks and videos all lined up and primed to convert more browsers into buyers. The beauty of inbound marketing is that it’s a strategy that never ends, earning you a nice retainer for your copywriting talents along with your inbound marketing expertise.
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