Inbound marketing can be summed up as the umbrella term for everything we do: attracting visitors to your brand and converting them to leads and sales with quality content marketing.

In other words, inbound marketing is a more natural way to pull in customers than traditional “outbound” marketing or buying email lists and leads and then “cold calling” people. Inbound marketing organically attracts the visitors searching for products and service to brands’ sites with helpful information designed to entertain, inform, and address problems. It’s the optimal way to build trust and confidence in a brand.    

Essentially, you’re creating an entire “customer experience” with your content marketing, first by attracting strangers to your site and converting the curious into subscribers and then potentially into buyers and loyal brand followers.

The first stage is to attract the customer. Think of this is as your meat and potatoes—your content. A company blog (like this one!) is one of the best ways to consistently produce content and to answer customer questions.

In fact, 84 percent of businesses said in a survey blogging still produces strong results.

Of course, there are numerous other content types you can produce with the right content strategy, such as video, infographics, and white papers that you should share on social media channels your audience is likely to congregate in.

Then, you’ve got to convert the customer. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Just use a call-to-action like a pop-up that captures email addresses for a newsletter or an online form that the visitor can fill out. Offers, such as ebooks, white papers, and sales promotions can also get visitors to trade their contact information for a free download for a useful report or piece of in-depth content.

Use language like “Subscribe”, “Sign-Up”, “Share”, “Follow”, and people, more often than not, will respond, especially if they like what they read or see. And they’ll share it—61 percent of respondents in a survey said they like to share things that are interesting, especially if it makes them look smart or funny.   

Okay, now you got emails, which means you got leads. What next? You nurture the leads with specific, entertaining, and educational content, distributed regularly, often via email newsletters (there will be 4.1 billion email users by 2021—leverage that!) or other targeted means, that they will care about and respond to. This starts a relationship between you and the potential customer, where your content helps build trust and authority and keeps your brand top-of-mind until they’re ready to buy.

Repeat the above enough times and you’ll increase your customer base. To keep customers, you must keep them engaged. Produce new, consistent content, discuss topics related to your brand on social media, and continue to solve their issues and requests with prompt, transparent, and smart customer service. Keep this up and your brand will continue to gain credibility and loyalty.     

And don’t forget to keep track of the traffic on the pages that do the best, and axe aspects of your strategy that don’t yield any results. Trends change like the tide, so certain tactics that seem like gold today may not work tomorrow. Basically, be nimble and pivot often. Monitor your performance and adjust your approach where necessary.

Content marketing can be a challenging endeavor, but this simplified cheat sheet should provide a basic framework for your inbound marketing plan. And for more insights on inbound marketing or answers to any questions you may have, please contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

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