The best marketers know that they need to be fearlessly creative to get their brand noticed.
With inbound marketing, marketers are revolutionizing the way brands present themselves by creating unique content that drives potential customers to them, instead of just paying for expensive ads and hoping for the best.
Nearly every business can benefit from inbound marketing and imbue their unique personality into these marketing efforts.
Keep reading as we’ll cover everything you need to know about inbound marketing and how to maximize your creativity to captivate audiences.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a form of modern marketing for the internet age where you create meaningful content that attracts and engages website visitors.
Instead of competing with countless other websites for a customer’s attention, you provide valuable content and experiences tailored to your audience that incentives them to visit your website.
With this digital marketing strategy, you can deliver solutions with high-quality content and experiences that customers actively seek out through search engines.
Inbound marketing can take many forms: you may deliver content that informs, delights, and helps people solve their problems.
These marketing efforts will help you build long-term relationships with your potential and current customers while allowing you to gain credibility as an authority in your field.
Inbound marketing should always be relevant to your business because you do not want to attract visitors who are not likely to become potential customers.
For example, a pottery school will have nothing to gain from posting content about auto care. Instead, the pottery school could create engaging how-to videos on pottery techniques.
With high-quality pottery videos, viewers will see how knowledgeable the pottery school’s instructors are, making them more likely to seek out additional pottery content the school produced, visit the school’s website, and enroll in their pottery program.
What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?
When many people think of marketing strategies, outbound marketing techniques usually come to mind. However, inbound and outbound marketing could not be more different!
While inbound marketing is centered around serving customers with content that engages and empowers them, outbound marketing leaves people feeling like they were force-fed content that they never asked for.
Outbound marketing interrupts people with interactions such as cold calls, obtrusive billboards, app ads, catalogs, and TV commercials. This marketing techniques comes with a number of drawbacks because it is expensive, impersonal, difficult to analyze, irrelevant, and annoying to many.
According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 68% of inbound marketers said that their strategy is effective, compared to just 48% of outbound markets who have faith in their strategy. These results are not surprising, especially considering that another survey revealed that 86% of customers have “banner blindness,” which means that they automatically dismiss ads.
Benefits of inbound marketing
Even if your website is optimized to perfection with beautiful images and intuitive navigation, you will miss out on countless customers and sales if you don’t utilize inbound marketing. The is plenty to love when it comes to inbound marketing:
- Versatile: From photographers, to mechanics, pet sitters, and coffee shops, virtually any business can benefit from inbound marketing.
- Customer Control: Since your inbound marketing efforts will have brought customers to your website from search engines, they will feel like they are in control, instead of feeling like they are having products and services pushed down their throat.
- Cost: Inbound marketing can cost as little or as much as you make it. Whether it’s just a few hours of your team’s time or you outsource creation to a freelancer, you are in direct control of how much inbound marketing costs.
- Information Gathering: Many websites will deliver visitors free content to visitors after they submit basic information such as their name, email, and interests in exchange for your valuable content.
- Increase Sales: By distributing information, customers can better understand your product or service and see how it will directly benefit them, thereby driving leads, and inciting conversions.
- Retain Customers: With meaningful content, you can maintain and strengthen relationships with existing customers.
- Immediate: Through inbound marketing, visitors can access your content whenever they want, even during 2 AM Google searches. This way, potential customers won’t have to wait for a representative to email or call them for information they can instead access on-demand.
- Increase Brand Awareness: With truly exceptional, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to share content, people are more likely to post your content on their social media, effortlessly giving you countless impressions.
- Build Trust: By creating content that showcases your authority in your field, you will build trust with visitors who can learn from your industry expertise.
- Long-Lasting: While an outbound marketing ad will eventually be replaced with another ad, valuable content will always be in demand as long as there is an interested audience. Plus, the longer a meaningful piece of content stays on your website, the greater potential it has to become a major source of inbound traffic.
Creative inbound marketing strategies
As customer needs are always growing, there are countless creative inbound marketing strategies to try out. Below are some of the most widely used inbound marketing techniques:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is key to attracting people to your website. By capturing specific keywords related to your business, your website will rank higher on the search engine results page and increase visits from your target audience.
There are countless SEO educational resources, tools, and agencies to help you master SEO and build keyword strategies to implement throughout your website and imbue in future content.
With live chat, you can directly connect with your website’s visitors and help them learn about your brand, product, and services while answering any questions they may have.
Live chat makes it easy for sales teams to interact with customers and develop relationships with them. Many live chat services will keep records of past conversations that are easy to reference to help best serve customers as they move through the sales funnel.
Plus, some customers prefer the convenience of online conversations over having to go out of their way to make a phone call.
Hands down, blogs are the most widely used and effective inbound marketing technique. By uniting quality content with SEO keyword strategies, your content will rank higher on the search engine results page.
Blogs can truly cover any topic and be as brief or as long as you want them to be. For example, an athletic shoe store can create listicles of “The Top 10 Running Sneakers” and “The Best Nike Sneakers of 2020” to help customers make informed purchases while capturing relevant keywords.
According to a HubSpot survey, websites that prioritize blogs are 13 times more likely to get positive ROI (Return on Investment). Also, blogs that publish content at least 16 times a month get 3.5 times more website traffic and 4.5 times more leads in comparison to websites that only update their blogs a few times a month.
Who doesn’t love getting stuff for free? By offering a free trial of your service, customers can get a hands-on look at your premium product and experiment with it to see how it directly benefits their business. Free trials can range from heatmaps, analytics tools, and productivity trackers.
You don’t need to feel the pressure of creating the next viral video sensation to create a video that people will enjoy. A personal trainer can attract potential athletes with exclusive exercise videos only available to their subscribers to showcase their range of expertise.
Podcasts are the modern age’s return to radio with countless on-demand shows for every niche. Since podcasts are less labor-intensive than videos, they are an easy way to show off your brand’s personality and insights.
Your podcasts can be a round table discussion with your team, interviews with experts, and topical discussions that listeners can download and enjoy wherever they are.
From Facebook, to Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, and countless others, there is a social media platform for everyone.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans use social media to share information.
Think of social media as a conversational tool where you can inform, engage, and delight followers with posts ranging from alluring product shots, exclusive offers, and inspirational images that keep people coming back to your social platforms for more.
You can present weeks, months, or years worth of data collecting it all into one easy to digest and beautiful graphic that it easy to share.
Not only will people benefit from your research, but they will also feel prompted to share it with others, further spreading your brand’s authority.
These lecture style videos are held in real-time, making viewers feel directly connected with speakers no matter where they are.
With webinars, you can showcase your team’s expertise as you educate viewers on topical subjects and allow for interactive participation through chat boxes and Q&A sessions.
Whitepapers are in-depth, authoritative documents that unites expert knowledge and research to help readers understand an issue, make a decision, or solve a problem.
Whitepapers are typically data-heavy and filled with exceptional industry knowledge that demonstrates a business’ expertise as they educate readers.
Less formal than whitepapers, eBooks are electronic books that can cover any subject and vary in length.
For example, a vegan cookbook author can create an eBook that is a 30-day guide for new vegans filled with meal plans, easy recipes, and must-have kitchen tools.
Newsletters are incredibly versatile and can consist of a round-up of your website’s best content for the week, curated news from around the internet, coupon codes, customer testimonials, event invitations, pre-sales, and product reviews.
Inbound marketing with HubSpot
I’ve referenced several of HubSpot’s findings throughout this article for good reason. HubSpot is an absolutely authority when it comes to inbound marketing. Thanks to their advanced software that helps businesses grow their marketing, sales, and customer service, inbound marketing with HubSpot becomes easy.
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub service help businesses run successful inbound marketing campaigns that grow traffic, convert leads, and retain customers. Some of Marking Hub’s best features include:
- Content creation tools that span landing pages, blog posts, and email templates optimized for every device.
- SEO tools with real-time suggestions to drive organic traffic.
- Chat boxes for creating human connections with website visitors.
- Intuitive A/B testing.
- Connecting with popular CRM software, such as Salesforce or HubSpot CRM, to track and organize customer interactions.
- Social media engagement analytics and publishing tools.
- A built-in feedback system to gain insight on customers’ experiences.
Best of all, HubSpot offers a free version with some of these amazingly powerful tools. After trying Marketing Hub out for yourself, you may want to consider upgrading to their premium version that comes with even more tools and support to revolutionize your inbound marketing game and attract more business than ever.
Even if you do not want to spend a penny or try out their software, HubSpot has you covered with tons of free content like a 4-hour video lesson on inbound marketing, a downloadable SEO starter pack, a blog idea generator, and countless blog posts. These free resources that HubSpot offers are another example of inbound marketing!
Now that you have become a master of inbound marketing, are you ready to craft your own inbound marketing strategy? Before diving a marketing plan, take some time to consider what makes your brand unique and what meaningful resources can you offer your audience.
While you do not need to try out every inbound marketing idea we shared, test out a few and see which responds the best. As long as your creativity is boundless, so are your inbound marketing ideas. Which inbound marketing ideas will you test out today?