The right content – words, videos and infographics – on your site will bring you a huge audience and the sales that follow. So how do you do this?
- What is inbound marketing?
- Why is inbound marketing so powerful?
- How do I get started with an effective strategy ?
What is inbound marketing?
Content or inbound marketing is a strategy of using really useful or engaging content to draw customers in organically, by providing value to them initially (e.g. instruction on how to do something) so as to develop a relationship and build trust, leading to conversion later. Inbound marketing differs from outbound by providing attractive useful content and waiting for people to engage rather than trying to grab their attention with a powerful poster on the tube.
What are the main types of inbound content ?
- Videos (including product demos)
- Blog posts
- Mobile apps
- Pillar pages and topic clusters on your website
- Social media posts
- Press releases
- White papers
HubSpot, offers a great deal of information on inbound marketing and has research to show that companies with blogs ( a collection of inbound content ) produce 67% more leads per month than those without.
Why is inbound marketing so powerful?
Think about your own time on the internet researching the purchase of a new product or service for your business.
You look for information: ‘What kind of service or product will solve my problem?’
You don’t want to be sold at this stage – you want unbiased information. You might look at reviews if choosing a restaurant on Tripadvisor, for example. You might look for potential problems with what you are considering. You might want to see comparisons of different products.
Gaining your prospect’s TRUST at this stage is incredibly powerful and is why inbound marketing is so effective.
Inbound marketing also comes without a bill from Google or other media such a newspaper or radio station
Creating content may be something that you can simply add to the daily tasks in your business – effectively making it free. Unlike other forms of advertising, you own the website that it lives on so nobody sends you an invoice.
If you don’t believe any of this, how about looking at ONE BLOG POST THAT RAISED OVER $9MILLION IN REVENUE?
Marcus Sheridan was the owner of a struggling swimming pool company when he wrote a blog for his company website. Nobody else in the industry was writing honest, useful content. Nobody was telling the truth upfront – they were hoping to persuade people to spend $50k on a pool with a persuasive sales call. It didn’t work.
Marcus wrote an article titled: ‘ How much does a swimming pool cost?’ and filled it with information to help people understand all the factors that would determine the cost of their pool.
That article started to produce huge volumes of buyers within a few months and because he has tracking set up using Hubspot on his site, he can see that it has formed the sales journey for over $9 million of swimming pools.
OK. I’m in! I want to use inbound marketing. How do I create great content?
- Create a learning centre or similar
- Write 3 helpful articles a week
- Use the BIG FIVE
- Follow the golden rule
- Make videos
- Create a Learning Centre
You must have a place on your website where people know the content is not about selling. This is vital. Your content must not mention your sales offer, not mention you at all. There’s plenty of space for that elsewhere!
We use the term ‘blog’ to describe a group of articles of any length that sit together and can be tagged or categorised to help the reader. Inbound marketing should always include videos and perhaps white papers to download.
Write 3 helpful articles each week
We didn’t make up the magic number 3. It is the simple product of watching companies that do it and those that don’t. Google’s algorithm update in November 2021 seems to be putting even more focus on regular content updates.
How do I know if my articles are helpful ?
Simply answer questions you know people have about your service area or product type. Your sales team will know what questions or concerns people have when they are selling the product and make a great place to start. It may feel strange but you should teach people how to do what you do.
An Example: You are selling bathroom equipment via a website – sinks , toilets etc.
You could write a series of articles telling people how to create their perfect bathroom with lots of hints and tips that your experience provides. Equally you could produce comparisons of the pros and cons of various types of sink. You’d have to be very honest though – EVERYTHING has cons – even your wonderful products.
Use the big 5
The ‘Big 5’ categories were coined by Marcus Sheridan in his book ‘ They Ask, You Answer’
How much does a product or service cost and if you cannot give the specific price then what factors influence the cost.
What are the most common problems in the area. What issues will people hear about if they research yoru service or product. Get them out now. Your offer is not for everyone and by sharing this truth you will win huge trust among those who you are right for.
In the example above the bathroom supplies company wrote an article comparing different types of sink. You can do this for almost anything from legal services to restaurants to coach companies!
Everyone loves reviews so make sure your happy clients leave reviews – use Google, Trustpilot or simply your own website to garner this important information.
Compare products or services in your area – never include yourself. An honest survey of five competitors can be incredibly powerful. People will find them anyway and the fact that you shared their details adds immeasurably to your credibility.
Remember to always be honest, always tell the whole truth and never ever sell in your content pieces.
Best way to manage your inbound content
- Hire or assign the role of Content Manager within your organisation to ensure your content is managed properly. Without one person responsible it will be very hard to make it work.
- Publish around 3-5 pieces of new or repurposed content (e.g. blog posts/videos/ebooks) per week.
Repurposed content is content that is reworked for a different format, e.g. using a blog post as the basis for a video or webinar.
- Create a schedule so you have an organised plan of what to publish and where – a content calendar is great for this.
Backlinko has some great advice about creating a content calendar.
- Storing blog posts in a learning centre or library on your website, will build up a collection of useful and easy-to-find information that will continue to draw people to it.
- Get your teams on board with content production, either by writing or feeding useful ‘industry expert’ information to share with your audience.
What are the 4 biggest problems faced by content marketers?
- Not assigning enough time and priority for the content.
- Writing from the perspective of the business, rather than answering the questions that consumers are asking.
- Continuing to avoid addressing real issues, such as price and comparison with competitors for fear of losing customers.
- Not getting their staff on board and involved with the content creation process.
Here at the Ambitions Agency we are the UK’s only Certified Coach for ‘They Ask, You Answer’, the powerful process mentioned above. Find out more here