The harsh truth is that your ideal customer doesn’t care about your business. They don’t care how long you’ve been in the industry. They don’t want to see your awards. (Yet)
What do they care about? They want value and answers to their questions. Instead of hearing about how great you are, they want your knowledge. If you provide them value, they will come to you. This approach to lead generation is called inbound marketing.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is customer-oriented and customer-driven. Simply put, inbound marketing starts with valuable content that your target audience wants, instead of just advertising your services. In a traditional marketing model, you would simply “spread the word” about your business through print or online ads. With inbound marketing, you instead focus on providing valuable information or items your customers can use. For example, you might start with an ebook, a quiz, a checklist or a blog that your ideal customer might find useful. You dangle that content offer to get nibbles in exchange for a form fill or phone call, and then follow-up with more direct advertising.
Inbound Marketing Examples You’ll Want to Try
If you don’t want to do much heavy lifting to create content, eBooks are the way to go for inbound marketing content. eBooks may seem daunting to put together, but they’re a lot easier if you can leverage existing content. Take a look back at some blogs you’ve done – a simple eBook idea is to take a few blogs you’ve written on the same topic and compile them into one larger eBook. eBooks are also popular downloads from a visitor perspective because they provide more information than can typically found in articles.
2. White Papers
The terms “white paper” and “eBooks” are often used interchangeably, but in a technical sense usually describe two different types of content. An eBook is generally more high-level and longer, whereas a white paper is more concise but more in-depth. For example, an eBook might be “Inbound Marketing 101” whereas a white paper might be “How to Build an Inbound Campaign Along the Buyer’s Journey.” Both cover similar topics, but that latter is much more granular and research-based.
3. Case Studies
People like to see real-world examples for any service or product. You should already have case studies or a portfolio readily available on your website, but consider creating more long-form case studies to use as inbound marketing hooks. Case studies show prospective customers what you’re capable of.
Gone are the days of huddling around a magazine and taking quizzes to find out which member of a boyband should be your husband, but quizzes have found a resurgence online. Quizzes don’t just have to be about fluffy topics, they can also be used as valuable information mining tools. At BizzyWeb, we’ve used quizzes in the past to entice people back to our website. You can create targeted quizzes related to your industry and gate the results – simply have people enter their email before they can see their results. Quizzes are unique content offerings in that they’re interactive and allow you to mine more information about your leads before you meet with them.
Get Started With Inbound [Free Guide]
Everyone is busy and everyone is looking for ways to ease their workload. Templates or worksheets are a fantastic way to deliver content to your audience that they can use. Best of all, these content pieces will be used again and again. Start with a process that’s important in your industry and work from there – for BizzyWeb, we could create a blog template or a marketing budget worksheet. Think of similar everyday processes in your own industry that could translate into an actionable worksheet.
Santa isn’t the only one who loves lists – checklists are an important way to stay organized. Checklists are also valuable tools for your audience. A checklist can help someone new to a process or concept navigate through it with ease. Checklists are also very simple to create as they’re typically only a few pages in length. Another benefit to checklists is that they streamline nicely into an inbound marketing campaign – you can send follow-up emails with other content like blogs for each stage on the checklist.
7. Webinars & Video Series
Video should be a vital part of any marketing strategy, but they can also make valuable gated content. Try creating a webinar about a topic that you’re knowledgeable about. You can then work this into an inbound marketing campaign by gating the video – requiring visitors to fill out a form or RSVP online before they are given access to the video. You can also create a video series and offer the first video as a hook while the rest are gated behind a form.
Podcasting is more popular than ever – why not try it for your business? You can produce a podcast that’s readily available or one that’s gated behind a form. Whichever approach you take, a podcast is an excellent way to make yourself an authority in your industry while giving your brand some personality.
All of these content pieces can become the core of a powerful inbound campaign. If you build it, they will come.
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How Do I Get Started with Inbound Marketing?
All you have to do is follow the guide! Download the The Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing to get started!
In this download you’ll find:
- A step-by-step guide on how to create an inbound marketing strategy, including building buyer personas and setting SMART goals
- Sample lead magnets to use in your inbound marketing campaigns
- Step-by-step instructions to create a lead capture form
- A checklist for creating an effective landing page
- Instructions for building automated emails
- Actionable tips for marketing your campaign to a new audience
- Steps for optimizing your campaign for search engines
Need a new digital marketing or web design plan? We are a Minneapolis SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, web design and HubSpot inbound marketing agency. Stop on by and get started – and while you’re here, pick up a free honey stick (yes, we love our bee-related theme).