While these classic disciplines still survive today, they are largely lumped into what is called “traditional media,” with an ever evolving collection of social media, digital video, smart phone apps, and even virtual reality tactics have grown to form what is known as “new media.” The point is, the past couple of decades have seen advertising evolve at a rate with which it is difficult for most brands to keep up.
As if the Traditional/New media split wasn’t enough, there’s recently been growth in a new type of marketing called Inbound Marketing.
Most paid advertising (from radio and billboards to online banner ads) have traditionally pushed a message out in an “outbound” fashion. They have been intentionally disruptive, all but forcing a prospective consumer to hear a message and consider the advertiser’s product. While this type of advertising, when done strategically, is still important for growing brand awareness, it is increasingly becoming critical that it be combined with Inbound Marketing tactics.
Inbound Marketing refers to a deliberate collection of content that is designed to draw prospective consumers into your website organically. As they learn about your brand, your product, and its benefits, they progressively are moved down a funnel that converts them into customers and ultimately brand loyalists. It has a critical place in any company’s brand publishing strategy. It’s also not completely a new idea, but a new name for a collection of lead generation tactics which have been in use for some time.
A classic advertising campaign from the 1960s is the Volkswagen “Think Small” campaign. How would this campaign work in the modern era of Inbound Marketing?
Imagine a modern consumer hearing a radio commercial for a Volkswagen car. In today’s world, they may go online and search for things such as “Volkswagen reviews,” or “Volkswagen models compared.” When they conduct these searches, they may find a whole collection of articles, informational videos, downloadable brochures, and other content related to Volkswagen. This is helpful information that the prospective Volkswagen customer sought out on their own.
Perhaps they also follow the official Volkswagen social media pages, and sign up for their newsletter. Soon, Volkswagen sends them a helpful list of dealers in their area, and the prospect begins seeing more and more targeted social media ads featuring testimonials of real Volkswagen drivers. It’s only a matter of time before this prospect purchases a Volkswagen vehicle… maybe one day to be featured in a testimonial video as a Volkswagen owner himself! And so, the Inbound Marketing cycle repeats.
It’s a lot of additional steps in the process to be sure, but modern day tools like HubSpot allow for most of the process to be automated, quickly and routinely optimized, and reported on.
So how can your brand embark upon forming an Inbound Marketing strategy? Make sure you implement these six key components.
1.) Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Strategy
Remember all of the content our prospective Volkswagen buyer found online? Through its Brand Publishing effort, Volkswagen creates intentional, useful content to engage with prospects and draw them in. Brand Publishing refers to any content your brand produces and distributes, including the content related to your Inbound Marketing strategy. This content is part of the brand’s broader Inbound Marketing strategy and can include a mix of formats like blogs, articles, whitepapers, ebooks, and videos. By tailoring the content to meet prospects’ needs at various stages of the buying cycle, Volkswagen can guide them towards a purchase. For example, initial research phase prospects might prefer high-level content like a vehicle brochure, while those closer to a decision may find an infographic highlighting Volkswagen’s reliability and fuel economy savings more persuasive.
2.) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Inbound Marketing
Without SEO-friendly content, our prospective Volkswagen owner might never have discovered Volkswagen’s valuable resources. SEO-friendly content follows best practices for keywords, links, and formatting, making it more likely to appear in relevant search results. Crafting effective content can be complex, which is why utilizing an SEO plugin for your CMS or a tool like HubSpot can be helpful. By implementing these suggestions, your blog posts and articles can meet the standards of search algorithms and ultimately reach a wider audience.
3.) Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for Inbound Marketing
Though Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a paid tactic, it is still a critical component of an Inbound Marketing strategy since it targets an audience that is actively searching for information. SEM can be used to speed up your SEO efforts by effectively buying your way to the top of the search engine results page. Since this is a paid tactic, it’s important to do ample keyword research using tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Spyfu, or SEMRush. This will ensure your SEM buy is as cost effective as possible.
4.) How to Grow Traffic with Social Media
If you’re looking to increase your website traffic, leveraging social media can be an effective strategy. To generate web traffic with social media, start by building a strong presence on platforms where your audience is active. Share valuable, engaging content that encourages likes, shares, and follows, and optimize your posts with relevant hashtags and keywords. Encourage user-generated content and engagement by hosting contests or responding to comments and messages promptly. Additionally, consider using paid social media advertising to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your website. By incorporating these social media tactics into your overall digital marketing strategy, you can increase your web traffic and engage with potential customers more effectively.
5.) Landing Page Best Practices
When it comes to converting website visitors into customers, landing pages play a crucial role. To make the most of your landing pages, it’s important to follow best practices that encourage engagement and conversions. Start by crafting a clear, concise headline that communicates the value proposition of your product or service. Use eye-catching visuals and keep the design simple and uncluttered to make it easy for visitors to navigate. Include social proof such as testimonials, case studies, and reviews to build trust and credibility. Optimize your landing page for relevant keywords, and ensure that your call-to-action is prominent and compelling. By incorporating these landing page best practices, you can increase conversions and ultimately drive more business. Like your content strategy, your landing page strategy should match up with the Inbound Marketing funnel, moving prospects progressively down the line.
6.) A Champion Brand
The last key component of an Inbound Marketing strategy is perhaps the most important — your brand! The best content, the most sophisticated tactics, and the most beautifully designed landing pages won’t help you if you don’t have a well-defined brand positioning, clear differentiators, and powerful rational and emotional benefits to your brand. Conducting research with current and prospective customers, as well as your internal staff, can help you identify all of these points and develop a strong brand positioning to guide every aspect of your marketing.
Need to develop a Champion Brand, as well as an Inbound Marketing strategy? Dovetail is a full-service brand communication agency that can help you Champion Your Brand® through an integrated approach to branding. Remember the importance of landing pages? Visit ours where you can sign-up for a Complimentary One-Hour Consultation with Dovetail. We’ll help you solve your biggest marketing challenges, click below to sign-up.