Inbound Marketing Trends & Best Practices
Marketing strategies can generally be divided into two: “pull” and “push”. Traditional marketing relies on pushing content to customers: tactics such as advertising or direct marketing, are used to tell the customer about the brand. Yet in today’s market, consumers have access to information all the time, and their rate of response to outbound / push marketing tactics is falling consistently.
“Pull” marketing on the other hand, is based on the notion that if we build content that is relevant and engaging for the customer – then the customer will come, whenever he/she needs our products and services the most.
This is what Inbound Marketing is all about: a content marketing strategy which aims to provide value to the consumer, in order to create leads and drive sales.
Because this type of content consumption is based on the relevancy to the customer, marketers should specify who this customer is, in order to determine the best tactics to approach the customer, including form, format, content, distribution method and timing: first, ask yourself if you wish to approach another business or a single consumer? Why would this customer look for the content – what kind of decision does he/she need to make? In what industry do you operate? Does the customer want to be entertained or informed at this point? Where are they in the purchase cycle – before, during, or after the purchase? Where are they in the customer lifecycle – acquisition, retention, or conversion? Then, decide on the relevant distribution platform and tailor your content to that platform.
Tactics include any type of content that the company can produce, which may be valuable to the consumer. This includes many forms, among them:
- e-books, white papers, case studies, infographics, podcasts and webinars
- blogs, social media content, videos, mobile content, games and entertainment
- Useful tools such as calculators, mobile apps, communities and reviews
To get content to as many customers as possible, marketers often rely on content sharing. This works both ways, as marketers also curate, share and re-tweet consumer content. For instance, personal stories were a major theme in the last couple of years in content marketing.
The effectiveness of Inbound marketing is measured differently by marketers in different geographies, but generally, KPIs include website traffic, social media sharing, sales leads, SEO ranking, customer feedback, and sales. And, as far as lead generation goes, HubSpot claims that inobound leads cost $135 in average, compared to $346 per lead in outbound marketing. It is also said to be more effective, generating 54% more leads compared to outbound marketing.
But sales are the ultimate parameter, and content monetization is the holy grail of content marketing. To generate sales from published content, relevant products and services can be displayed natively and organically; also, in-content links to products, and other self- -service tools can be used (to read more on the subject, go to our Self Service Trends & Innovation presentation).
Our advice is to keep concentrating on the consumer/ customer, and the rest will become simple:
- Content – relevant and engaging or – funny and entertaining. Relevancy requires personalization and customization;
- Formats – try to use various tactics (video and infographics are among the most rising tactics) and measure effectivity;
- Platforms – wherever your target is most likely to search for content at the current stage of purchase.