Inbound marketing is strategies and tactics you use to attract or “pull” your target audience to your brand. A strong inbound marketing strategy can help you earn the attention of prospects, making it easier for them to find you and buy from you.
In general, there are three phases involved with inbound marketing: to attract traffic to your website, convert your website visitors into buyers of your products and services, and turn these first-time buyers into loyal repeat customers.
Inbound marketing focuses on providing information that may be valuable to a prospect in your target audience. This information tends to be educational rather than promotional. It aims to establish you as a respected authority on the topic at hand. The underlying premise is as the prospect gains more knowledge, he will also become more curious and interested in your product or service solution.
There are many types of inbound marketing, but three strategies can help you boost sales quickly. These three strategies include press releases, affiliate marketing and website articles.
The great thing about press releases is they generate a big buzz that you otherwise would not be able to do, no matter how large your budget. The bigger and more appealing the story is, the greater the opportunity for journalists to write stories about your company to their audiences.
Moreover, these stories are more believable and trustworthy than promotional messages in advertisements. They can sway your audience and help them form a positive opinion about your company.
Press releases are just one part of a public relations campaign. Yet, they are the central link that gets your story out. Your biggest challenge is to create newsworthy stories. Here are a few ideas on how you can do this:
Every community starts local. It’s no different in business. Community events are newsworthy stories that can draw the press to attend and write about in their publications. The more creative you can get with regards to the event, the more publicity you can earn.
Take for instance what Duracell did following Hurricane Sandy. They held community events under the campaign “Power Forward”. Many towns, homes and businesses had no electric power for weeks following the super storm. Duracell delivered much needed power resources to several communities in need. Through their community relations efforts, Duracell won the support and cooperation of people, organizations and communities at the moment in time they needed help. As a result of their service, Duracell won the 2013 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence Winner for Community Relations among Business Products.
When integrated in your overall product promotion strategy, cause marketing can stir interest among the media. Cause marketing is about getting behind a movement that can change lives.
Finding a cure for breast cancer is among the biggest causes in healthcare today. Amy Erickson was one of the original Roastmasters for Caribou Coffee, the second-largest premium coffeehouse. She died in 1995 after losing her battle to breast cancer. Now, each October Caribou Coffee promotes and sells “Amy’s Blend” of coffee to help raise money for a cure for breast cancer. In 2012 its campaign was a huge success, which is why the Public Relations Society of America awarded Caribou Coffee with the Silver Anvil Award for marketing consumer products.
Special Events and Observances
Special events can create a huge buzz when you conceive the right idea involving a fast and large trending social issue. This was the case surrounding what FedEx did in 2009.
If you recall, this was a time during a great recession with high unemployment and lack of jobs. FedEx decided to support the unemployed/underemployed population to enhance loyalty and demonstrate its improved customer service. They did this with a campaign for “Free Resume Printing Day” at over 1,600 Print and Ship centers throughout the United States.
FedEx publicized the event via traditional and social media channels. They donated over 850,000 resume copies to over 23,000 customers. There were over 2,000 media placements that contributed to more than 404 million impressions. Plus, they got coverage in all priority media markets. As a result of their campaign they won the 2010 Silver Anvil Award.
Affiliate marketing is a long-term strategy that can help you build your web presence. You reward a third-party business for sending a prospect to your website. The more affiliate partners you have, especially companies with high volume traffic that fits your target audience, the more visitors to your website you can expect.
The biggest challenge is to find affiliate partners with traffic that meet your target audience’s characteristics. Once you do, you provide them with coding for a button they install on their websites that links visitors who click it to go to your website.
Neil Patel of Quicksprout suggests the first question you need to ask yourself when developing an affiliate network is,
“What products or services would you advertise on an affiliate network?”
This is important because you must think about what your partners would be attracted to and what would compel your audience to act.
You also need to determine how much it will cost and how much revenue you can earn before deciding to start your own affiliate network. You can also choose to join a reputable network already in existence, but this will take much due diligence.
Of course, it always helps to do a small test to see if your affiliate program will be profitable before you spend the time and cost to build your network.
If you provide your affiliates with high commissions, then you can increase the amount of traffic to your website. As a result, you can increase your revenue. That’s what happened to Mike Geary from The Truth About Abs after he joined Clickbank’s affiliate network. After he increased the commission rate, more affiliates wanted to join his network. When they did, they drove more traffic to his website.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is you only pay per transaction. So you only spend money when you make money. Therefore, affiliate marketing is ideal for small businesses with limited resources.
Website Blog Posts and Articles
Website blog posts and articles are among the best drivers of traffic to your website. Your audience can find your website when they do a search for keywords and click on the link to your article that shows up in the search engines.
Blog posts and articles build your credibility as the expert in your field. As you build a reputation, you also build trust and confidence among your audience. Over time your audience will see you as a rich resource of information. Blog posts can stimulate comments from your readers that in turn can compel your audience to share the content with their social network.
The key to a successful blog post is to continually and regularly create and publish original content that is relevant for your target audience.
There are several different types of content for blog posts that can drive more traffic to your site than others, according to an April 2014 report on Social Media Examiner. These content types include how-to’s and tutorials, videos, lists that streamline information, interviews, reviews and infographics.
You can also drive traffic directly to your blog post with certain types of tactics, according to a November 2013 report in Forbes. These tactics include:
- Citing social influencers in your blog
- Adding a link to your blog through tweets
- Share your blog on other social media sites
- Optimize your blog for search engines
Your organization can choose to have one blog writer or multiple writers of content. Just come up with a list of topics relevant for your audience.
Inbound marketing is essential for building a web presence and generating sales. Press releases, affiliate marketing, and web articles are three types of inbound marketing. Make it your priority to start pursuing these strategies as part of your marketing mix.