Understanding inbound marketing

Understanding inbound marketing

The traditional marketing process follows a simple formula to attract, convert, sell to and retain consumers. This simple four-step process encompasses a wide variety of selling tactics, from sending direct mail to using word-of-mouth to spread awareness for a brand. While the process has remained generally unchanged for decades, the impact the Internet has had on the marketing world cannot be denied. Companies that primarily use the Web to try and reach consumers practice inbound marketing, a tactic that throws a 21st-century spin on the four steps, according to HubSpot. There are many ways by which brands can use the Internet to their advantage during the marketing process, including:

Using content marketing to build your consumer base
Having a pool of potential consumers is integral for attracting new business. One of the best ways by which companies can build a loyal customer following is by optimizing their websites through the use of content marketing. Companies can keep a blog or news feed on their sites that remains frequently updated with the latest information pertaining to their industries. These posts should be ripe with keywords, or words and phrases that are relevant to the field in which they work. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, frequently read these websites to determine how high up they should be featured on a search results page. By tailoring a site to search engine optimization (SEO) content, businesses can ensure that their sites are being seen by a wider pool of consumers.

Keeping an updated blog or news page is also important for customizing content for one specific audience. By building a reputable news source that your consumers know they can visit to find the most recent industry happenings, you are ensuring that your content is reaching the exact demographic your product is targeting.

Finding ways to generate leads
While attracting visitors to the website may be easy, getting them to interact with the brand might be more difficult. However, businesses have a number of ways by which they can ask consumers to give information about themselves. For example, content on the blog could feature links to whitepapers, downloadable forms or videos that require an email address to unlock. Finding ways to get consumers to give email addresses, phone numbers or social media site connections is essential for generating your lead list, especially since the consumers who take the time to connect with your brand are the most likely to purchase from it.

Turning those leads into customers
Changing site visitors to buyers can be tricky, but the process is much easier with inbound marketing. Unlike other forms of traditional advertisement, online forums allow for two-way communication between the parties involved in the business transaction. This means that companies can reach out to their audience, whether by sending emails that feature coupons or happenings in the company, or by displaying information on a social media site. Once the consumer has provided his or her contact information, the business can send out links to products, one-on-one support and information that may be relevant to making the sale.

Keeping your consumers happy
Once the lead has been converted into a customer, the company's first priority should be keeping the buyer happy. Since inbound marketing is largely digital, businesses can use their online forums to stay in contact, whether by social sites like Twitter and Facebook, or through personalized email communications. Additionally, companies can consider purchasing promotional products to distribute to loyal customers. Consumers respond positively when they know they are being recognized by corporations, whether they're receiving thank you cards or customized magnets.

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