by Roni Davis
Everyone is looking for a magic bullet this time of year; the “one” marketing strategy that will take their company to the next level; the outsourced CMO that will slide the company from the red to black within two weeks; the marketing tool that reorganizes the entire company’s content silo into one neat machine that pumps out long-form content with a snap of a finger.
Unfortunately, that’s not how marketing works. Great marketing takes time to mature, starting somewhere as a little marketing seed it grows until ready to burst forth with bountiful blossoms of cash, baby. Okay, marketing isn’t that cool, but you get the point.
What is cool is Inbound Marketing. Why? Because it works. Time and time again, no matter how the marketing wind blows, content will continue to reign supreme. Inbound marketing is simply a form of content marketing that has been shown to yield a high amount of conversions.
So, without further ado, let’s get into inbound marketing…
The Ins & Outs of Inbound Marketing
First coined by marketing software titan HubSpot, “inbound marketing” refers to the process of coaxing candidates with free content (i.e., lead magnets) before guiding them through a conversion funnel.
This form of marketing leans heavily on original, deliverable content for top-of-funnel activity. When employed properly, inbound marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that quickly turns a prospect into an advocate. Let’s look at the three phases of inbound marketing:
The attract phase is top-of-funnel activity, the place where you’ll put your free content and lead magnets. Your lead magnets are pieces of free content that are gated by some sort of information capture, like a phone number or email address.
Capturing either is important because the point of the attract phase is to create a channel of communication where you can begin to pitch your product or service. But you also don’t want to constantly throw CTAs at your audience, so always lean more towards free, valuable content than the kind meant to convert.
After a prospect has devoured your free content and converted it into an email subscriber, you now have a channel of communication where you can continue to provide value.
An email newsletter is an excellent tool for this phase of inbound marketing. You can repurpose recent blog content, write a few pieces exclusive to the newsletter, all while occasionally nudging your prospect towards the next stage of your value proposition.
If you’re promoting a course or webinar, mention it in a story or give the first lesson away for free to your subscribers.
Remember: your goal is to keep giving away great content to build brand loyalty and awareness with your audience. When it comes time to sell something, you’ll already have established authority and should have no problem pushing through to the conversion.
The goal of the delight phase is to turn your customer into an advocate through an increased level of interaction, service, or both. How do you do that exactly? Well, it depends on your offering.
If you’re a SAAS company, you might grant live chat service to your most valued customers. Tutorials or educational modules of some sort are a great addition to your website and can even be gated behind a membership.
Speaking of memberships, have you tried growing an invite-only community? Start a Discord with your best customers and continue feeding them content that only they’re privy to. Build a Notion page, fill it with exclusive links and content, then invite members to enjoy your treasure trove of knowledge and resources.
Whichever way you decide to go, just remember to measure, optimize, and always lean heavily towards free value over CTAs. If you have an outsourced CMO on the team, ask them if they’re familiar with inbound marketing and how you could try integrating it into your current marketing campaigns. Do that, and 2022 might be your best year yet.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.