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A Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing

January 15, 2014 Molly Garvey

Consumers no longer tolerate interruption. Think about it…we DVR our favorite TV shows to fast forward through commercials, research information online about products we’re interested in and only pick up 800 numbers when we forget to look at the caller ID first. So, how are we, as businesses, supposed to capture and engage our audience?

The answer lies in inbound marketing.

What’s Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing uses creative content that drives online search results and web traffic.

But you don’t care about every website visitor—just those who are qualified to become leads, and eventually customers. Unfortunately, you can’t pick out the winners without doing a little work. Inbound marketing is about steadily building those relationships—and weeding out the others—through content like blogs, whitepapers, videos and case studies.

How to do Inbound Marketing

Last year we became a Hubspot-certified agency to support our inbound marketing capabilities. Hubspot describes inbound marketing in four steps: attract, convert, close and delight.

  1. Attract: A first-time visitor isn’t likely to download a 20-page whitepaper right off the bat. It’s more likely he arrived at your website after searching for a relevant keyword that you ranked highly for, such as “creative web design.” Attract visitors to your site by using keywords in your blog posts and social media campaigns.
  2. Convert: You want to convert your visitors into leads. The best way to do this is to collect their contact information via a form on your website. Create calls to action (CTAs) that garner attention. These clickable CTAs will take visitors to a landing page where they can download a whitepaper or case study by filling out a simple form. This is where you get their contact information, and voila—like that, your visitors become contacts.
  3. Close: Now you need to close the deal and turn leads into paying customers. This is where you sort through your leads and develop the appropriate messaging for each, depending on their lifecycle. Maybe one lead has downloaded a whitepaper and case study—you might want to follow up with a series of emails containing links to blog posts on similar content. If other leads have visited various pages of your website multiple times but don’t look like they’re ready to seal the deal, change your messaging—and frequency of contact—so you don’t seem pushy.
  4. Delight: Congratulations, you’ve successfully converted multiple leads into paying customers. But that doesn’t mean the fun is over. Loyalty building is key. Continue to delight your customers by providing them with information that can help their businesses. This may be through targeted emails, newsletters or social media campaigns.

In the age where content is king, inbound marketing can’t be ignored. The content you provide for potential leads positions you as a thought leader in your industry or trade. It builds your credibility and naturally draws visitors to your company.

Note: This blog is not intended to diminish the importance of traditional PR. We recommend incorporating inbound marketing into your overall plan, while still focusing on those media outlets that continue to bring you exposure and new business. Read more about this hybrid relationship here.

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