Exactly what are inbound marketing channels and why should you care? Today I want to explain how you can save money while getting better longterm results, by focusing your efforts on the right marketing strategy.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing strategies focus on attracting customers to your business by providing useful content.
This differs from the outbound strategy, which is often spent looking for potential customers with advertisements that entice them to sign up or buy products.
The key difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that, with inbound, prospects come to you rather than having to go find them. In other words, if someone finds an interesting blog post about something they are looking for online, they may click through to your website or store.
Inbound marketing is more about retaining customers while outbound marketing can help you acquire new ones faster, but in the long-term it’s about which one will provide a better ROI for your business.
In most cases, though, companies that use both strategies are able to generate higher profits.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing typically involves cold calling, or advertisements that entice customers to sign up or buy products.
The key difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that, with inbound, prospects come to you rather than having to go find them. If outbound marketing is successful, the prospect will take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for something.
Outbound marketing is generally more expensive than inbound because you are paying to acquire customers.
Outbound marketing is also less labor-intensive because you are not continually generating new leads, but rather focusing on converting those who have already come to your site.
This means that outbound marketing can be a valuable strategyfor small businesses with limited resources and time.
However, while it’s possible to get some results from outboundmarketing, it’s usually not enough on its own unless you have a unique way of standing out from the competition.
Inbound marketing is different in that it focuses on attracting prospects and leads who are actively looking for your product or service, rather than going to find them. This means that it requires more planning and effort upfront, but once those channels take hold and then your efforts begin to compound over time.
What are inbound marketing channels?
Inbound marketing channels are where people find information about your business.
There are many types of inboundmarketing channels, which fall into three categories: organic search (including SEO), social media and email. Organic search is the main driver for most businesses’ traffic, as it includes listings on Google and other sites that rank well in searches.
We can go deeper into how to use each inbound marketing channel, but it’s important to decide on which content formats you want to use.
In my business I use a mix of content formats including blog posts, videos and podcasts. I’ll explain how to create content later on.
We also need to know what type of content to use at each stage of the sales funnel, so I’ll briefly cover funnel design in this article.
Social Media As A Marketing Channel
Why social media marketing? Social media is an excellent marketing tool because it allows you to talk directly with people who are interested in your product or service.
You can provide information about the company and generate interest through social media posts, videos, images, blog articles and other content. People will share this type of content on their own timelines as well which can lead to additional reach.
Social media marketing is a cornerstone of inbound marketing. It provides a way to build your brand and reach prospects in an organic, non-intrusive manner.
Social media is one of many channels that can be used for inbound marketing. It offers the ability to interact with potential customers on a more personal level.
Marketers may use social media to push content and interact with followers in order to improve brand awareness. When done well, it can lead to greater engagement on the long-term goals of a business (such as increasing traffic or conversions).
Social media needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
SEO As A Marketing Channel
Search Engine Optimization, often referred to as SEO, is a technique that helps websites rank higher in search engineresults pages.
SEO can be done through the creation of high-quality content (such as blog posts) and by making sure webpages are fully optimized for keyword searches.
Search engines like Google use algorithms to determine how well each webpage will rank in search results.
A webpage’s ranking is determined by how well it satisfies the user’s need – not just with keywords, but also content and design. This is another cornerstone of the inbound method.
SEO can be a very valuable marketing channel for any business that has an online presence or wants to establish one. So it should play a role in your marketing effort too.
Email Marketing As A Marketing Channel
Email marketing is one of the most powerful channels for generating leads. This is because email messages are being opened by a lot more people than other types of content, such as text message or social media posts.
The purpose of an email marketing campaign is to get your subscribers interested in what you have to offer and then convert them into paying customers.
One of the most important things when it comes to email marketing is making sure that you’re using a professional looking template. This can help your business look more credible and trustworthy, which will in turn make people take you more seriously.
However, you need to test this because some markets respond better to plain text emails.
In addition, always include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each message.
The email marketing channel is one of the most popular inbound marketing channels out there because it’s been around for so long and people are used to getting emails from businesses they’re interested in.
The Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is made up of a series of steps that a prospect goes through from the moment they’re first introduced to your company. When it’s well-designed, you’ll know which stage people are in and what their next step is based on past interactions with them.
A basic marketing funnel has three core stages.
– Top of funnel. The first stage is when prospects come into contact with your company. This can happen through channels such as search engine optimization, paid advertising campaigns, social media marketing, or any other form of online exposure.
– Middle of funnel. This is all about lead generation. When a visitor becomes a lead and enters the second stage by filling out an email newsletter subscription form, they receive valuable information about your company and your products or services.
You can also provide a value-based incentive to encourage them to do so, such as an ebook that they’ll receive when the form is submitted.
– Bottom of funnel. When prospects are at this stage, you’re close to converting them into customers because they’ve just experienced a clear demonstration of how your company can benefit them.
One of the best ways to reach this stage is by following up with prospects after a webinar or presentation, where you may have provided information about your company and its products or services.
Creating Useful Content
Creating good content doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember, it’s not the best content that gets discovered but the best marketed.
Here are a few tips to help you make it easier:
– Research thoroughly. The more information and knowledge you have, the better your content will be.
– Keep things simple – don’t get too technical or complicated. Your readers want helpful advice from someone who understands their problem, not an encyclopedia entry that takes hours of research to understand.
– Write in the first person to connect with your readers and create a personal connection. Trust is important – if you’re too impersonal, people won’t want to work with you or buy from you.
Your content marketing strategy should include either blogging, video, or podcasting.
– Blogging is a simple way to produce more valuable content regularly without it taking up too much of your time or energy. Once you have blog posts written, share them on the major social networks for maximum exposure.
If you’re new to blogs, try creating an editorial calendar – set deadlines so that your blog posts are always on time, and you can spend the rest of your time focusing on more important tasks.
– Video marketing is a powerful way to communicate with prospects in an entertaining and memorable way. Be sure that any video content features what you do best – if it’s too long or doesn’t focus on one thing, people will lose interest and stop watching.
– Podcasting is a great way to reach out and touch prospects in an intimate, personal way – it’s just you talking with your customer about their business problems.
If you’re not the most confident speaker, record yourself on video and then have someone transcribe what you said for listeners who prefer reading over listening.
Every piece of content you produce should have a Call to action (CTA). Your goal should be getting people onto that next step as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Importance Of Analysis & Testing
It’s important to test your campaigns to see which inbound marketing channel is most effective.
Conducting A/B tests on the subject line and content of an email, for example, can show you what draws more people’s attention–and ultimately gets them to convert into leads or customers.
You should be testing every component of a campaign, especially your CTA. A/B tests can be as simple as changing the colour of a button to see how it affects click-through rates.
However it’s important that you don’t get too hung up on minor changes like colours – your focus should be on crafting high impact copy.
Your copy should be simple and clear, and you should have multiple versions for testing – and will eventually make you a better marketer.
So to sum up, what are inbound marketing channels exactly?
Inbound marketing can be defined as the use of content to attract and retain customers.
This type of strategy generally involves publishing valuable, educational content that informs your audience on a particular topic or industry. When you publish this information online, it will often rank in search engine results pages (SERPs), which means more people will see your site when they’re looking for related topics like yours.
You may also decide to share some of these posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And of course email marketing is a cornerstone of the inbound marketing method.