No matter the nature of your business, you have one primary goal: growth.
There are plenty of ways to nurture the growth of your company, from launching in new markets to research and development of new product lines. But there’s also a way to market your business to foster expansion. That’s inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective and, quite simply, one of the easiest ways to ensure the growth of your business. Haven’t yet started to develop an inbound marketing strategy? Here are 11 tips to help get you started toward the growth of your business.
Researching for your inbound marketing strategy
The first three tips for growing your business with inbound marketing all pertain to research you’ll need to conduct. There are very few aspects of your company that doesn’t require research, whether you’re doing market research prior to a product launch or scientific testing prior to the release of medication.
In the same way, you’ll need to think ahead just a little before you begin creating your inbound marketing strategy.
1. Study your industry
It goes without saying that knowing your industry well will give you a head start on the competition. Following industry trends and becoming an expert in your field is the key to your success as a company and as a business owner.
This knowledge of your industry and of your competitors is the starting point for your research. Ask yourself: what is the competition doing, and how are you doing it differently.
2. Define your business
Once you’ve determined what your business is doing in a superior way to the competition, put that into words. Additionally, take some time to jot down your goals. What does growth mean to you? What do you envision for your company in 5 years? 20?
Defining your business, and what your company does well, is the second step to developing your inbound marketing strategy.
3. Identify your customer
Everything you do is for the benefit of your customer. Without your consumers, you literally have no business. It’s time for you to identify your current customer. Think of the demographics, the lifestyle choices and the desires of that customer.
Then, consider whether your current customer is your ideal customer. For instance, if you largely cater to Baby Boomers, would you rather begin to market to Millennials? Be as specific as you like. Your ideal customer may be as specifically defined as unmarried, pregnant women between the ages of 25 and 35.
Developing your SEO and content strategy
Now you’ve got a clear idea of your ideal customer, the goals of your business, and the fluid trends within your industry. The next 3 tips relate to the development of the content for your inbound marketing strategy.
4. Create topic clusters
You’re familiar with your consumer, your product, and how your product assists your consumer. It’s time to think about what information your consumer might be searching for.
Brainstorm with others to create topic clusters. A topic cluster is a group of closely related articles. In other words, it’s several articles that fall under a larger “umbrella” topic.
Let’s imagine you’re a criminal defense attorney. What might your clients search for online? Criminal defense, sure. But under that umbrella might be breaking and entering, assault, or identity theft.
Topic clusters allow you to address each question your website visitors might have without overloading them with too much information. Need a little help developing topics that fall under the umbrella? Do a little keyword research!
5. Conduct keyword research
You can use programs like Google’s Keyword planner to populate a list of keywords that are relevant to your industry. When you do this, be sure to use both short tail keywords (“criminal defense”) and long tail (“San Diego defense attorney for identity theft”) keywords.
Keywords should be used a few times in each article, but it’s more important that your articles be well-written, interesting to your readers, and informative. The goal is to provide useful content that your readers will come back to and will share.
6. Use keywords wisely
It’s absolutely imperative that you don’t “stuff” your article with keywords just to get ahead in the SEO game. Instead, know where to use your keywords.
Again, they should be used a few times in each article. But you should also use keywords in your ALT tags, your metadata, and your article titles.
Providing your reader with quality content
You’ve created your topic clusters and done your keyword research. Now you’ll need to make sure you’re providing your readers with content they want to consume.
Your blog is a conversation you have with your consumers. Make sure that conversation conveys what you truly want to say. The following two tips pertain to providing quality content to your reader.
7. Create a content calendar
There’s little more confusing than a blog that’s all over the place. A criminal attorney who blogs about the Royal Wedding isn’t likely to get too many return visitors.
Create a weekly or monthly calendar to outline exactly which topics you’d like to cover in your blog… then cover them! Think of the questions your consumers and prospects will ask, and use your business blog to answer them.
8. Include calls to action
Every single blog post you publish should include a call to action. Not familiar with CTAs? They’re simply requests for your reader to do something.
In each post, you could ask your reader to subscribe to your blog or to share your content. You could offer a free ebook (in exchange for an email address) or you could simply ask them to comment on the post itself.
A call to action doesn’t necessarily mean a “call to buy.” However, a CTA is an important step in the sales funnel, leading your customer one step closer to buying from you.
Continually growing your lead base
Even the best blog is guaranteed to get a few unsubscribers. That’s why it’s important to continually nurture your leads; growing your marketing list is critical to your inbound marketing strategy.
Our final three tips can be summed up quite simply: delight your customers. Use your inbound marketing strategy as a tool to interact with your consumer, to build your brand and to perpetuate the perception that you’re the expert in your industry. Consistently delighting your readers is the single most effective way to nurture your leads.
9. Put the customer first
Don’t create self-serving content. The goal of your content isn’t to write 700 words about how great you are. Instead, it’s to provide useful information to your consumers.
Don’t tell them to buy your product. Instead, show them why they should. No one will believe you if you tell them your product is the best – your customer wants to see for herself how your company can serve her needs.
10. Use caution with emails
As you’ve nurtured your leads, you’ve grown an impressive email list. Do not, under any circumstances, spam your readers.
Your subscribers followed you because they want to learn more about your product. Maybe they’re already customers. Or perhaps they’re thinking about buying from a competitor but want to check you out first.
Carefully timed emails that are informative, to the point, and not salesy are important to the success of your inbound marketing strategy.
11. Always strive to improve
Use analysis tools like MailChimp to determine what your customers are and are not responding to. Then, refine your marketing efforts to cater to their wishes. Your customers are your business – always strive to serve their needs first.