Eric Postma: Today, I'm going to give you four tips on how to get started with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a method of drawing your customers to your company's products or services with content, social media, and search engine optimization. Inbound marketing, it's not just the latest fad or some new digital tool, inbound marketing is a way of transforming how you think about all your sales and marketing activities. At its heart, inbound marketing is about combining content with context. It's about meeting your customer on their terms and providing valuable and educational content so that you can build a relationship between your company and your customers in a digital world.
With inbound marketing, your aim is to provide the right content in the right place at the right time. Your customers will find and engage with that content, which will help you generate and nurture new leads.
How do you become more inbound in all your marketing activities?
Tip #1: Start by defining your goals.
In "Alice in Wonderland", the Cheshire Cat tells Alice, "If you don't know where you want to go, then it doesn't matter which path you take." This piece of advice also rings true for marketing. Without goals, all your plans and actions will be meaningless. You need to have a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve to help frame all your marketing tactics. This goal could be to increase sales, generate brand awareness, get more phone calls or more visits to your store.
Tip #2: Understand your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients based on actual research and information. This includes demographic information like age, location, and income, but also psychographic information like, "What are their challenges? What keeps them up at night? What are they looking for?" With a clear understanding of who your ideal customers are, you are able to create content that will excite them and publish that content in places where they will find it.
Tip #3: Focus on the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey is the path that your clients take from awareness to consideration and finally decision. Understanding the buyer's journey is understanding what are the questions that your buyers are asking at each stage. By knowing this, you can feed relevant content that addresses those questions and moves people closer to a purchase decision. The buyer's journey takes your buyer personas to the next level. You need to understand what the problems and the challenges and the opportunities that your customers are facing at each stage of the buying cycle so that you can provide content that will help move them along towards a purchase decision.
Tip #4: Have patience.
Creating an inbound marketing plan is kind of like a retirement savings plan. You must keep contributing and building up that content bank before you can really see results. With a savings plan, the interest you earn at first is small and may be insignificant, but as you grow your savings the interest earned becomes a sizable source of income. With inbound marketing, it can often take months before you'll start seeing new leads roll in from your efforts. You need to work hard to establish that bank of content so that you can earn dividends. Once you get momentum, your efforts will pay off.
Now, take a breath and remember the four tips for getting started with inbound marketing. First, start with your goals. Second, understand your buyer personas. Third, focus on the buyer's journey. Fourth, have patience. Now take a look at your organization, think about how you can become more inbound with your marketing plan.