Inbound Marketing - Foxtail Marketing

7 Critical Strategies for Inbound Marketing

The main technique of inbound marketing has to do with setting traps. It’s like a kind of marketing jujitsu. You use the customers’ own motivations to bring them into buying from you. You create a need in the fertile soil of customers’ imaginations. You are there where your potential customers are. You become the authority on subjects in which your customers are interested. They turn to you and your products to find out more and you engage them. Then you bring them close to the products and services that can answer their needs. All the choices are theirs.

In his book, Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online, (Wiley, 2014), Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan describes how the basic technique inbound marketing technique is to engage customers meaningfully instead of dreaming up new ways of interrupting your way into their lives.

…attract, engage and delight…Inbound marketing focuses on the width of your brain, not the width of your wallet, and entrepreneurs have more remarkable ideas than anyone I know.

Get active outside your website:

One of the principles of inbound marketing is that you and your brand have to get well known among people likely to visit your site. Look for interest groups, sigs, discussion groups, and other online communities in which you have contributions to make and get active. Many advocate arranging public events, appearing on as an expert on media like radio, cable television or in magazines, newspapers and other print media. These kinds of media appearances are usually easy to arrange because the media are hungry for interesting content. Although you will not be able to promote your brand directly, you will be able to add your website address or other information to enable readers or listeners to access your site for more information.

Produce content that educates, inspires and entertains:

The content should be useful, factual and interesting. Use all the knowledge and skill you have acquired in running your business. Recruit the knowledge of others to provide useful authority. Don’t make your content into a sales document right away. Instead try to spark dialog and discussion with your content.

Make your website into a hub, not a megaphone:

Your company and your brand needs to be seen as being at the center of conversation and a source of valuable resources. Make your website into a discussion group that brings people together in the field you feel most comfortable contributing to. Add free tools and advice that visitors can use. These things can convert casual visitors into prospects, and prospects into leads.

The inbound website is wired: 

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of producing massive volume of content without remembering to include a sales funnel. The sales funnel has embedded active decision points and internal links that bring visitors closer to making sales choices. They are also tied to software counters which make diagnostics of the sales funnel and metrics of user interest possible. The site should include interactional sections for the collection of some information about visitors. This information allows your marketers to assess interest by demographics or visitor profiles. Visitors that enter a sales funnel are converted to leads at a rate nearly 20 times higher than visitors that don’t.

Use pointers to the guide visitors to action:

How would you feel if a visitor goes to your site, is delighted by it, but then doesn’t know what to do next and simply leaves? The website needs to contain specific signposts showing your visitors where to go next. If someone comes to your website, make it easy and seamless for them to subscribe to read similar articles, leaving only enough information for you to add possible prospects to a follow-up list and aid in your demographic metrics. Optimizing your search for action is as important as SEO.

Use engaging graphics:

In some ways, the collected wisdom of years of conventional advertising can still be useful in the age of inbound marketing. We know from advertisers’ experience that the average attention span is no more than about eight seconds. It’s the headline and lead sentence in a newspaper article that has to do the job of nailing a reader’s attention. The billboard on the roadway has to put its message into the mind of passers-by in just the time it takes for them to pass it.

Engaging visual images cut through the clutter of words. You can find visuals that tell your story without major expense. Young photographers and artists are anxious to provide you with custom graphic materials. You can make them yourself using your cell phone to make photos or short videos to enliven your site. Each graphic should carry its weight however. You should only use visual content that serves a business function. Avoid vacuous decorative images. The graphic has to grab the attention of visitors for the purpose of leading them into the rest of your content.

Prepare for an altered marketing perspective by hiring experts or outsourcing wisely:

You will probably need some extra expertise to build and regularly update your inbound marketing website. You may need help with analysis of the data your website yields. Most of the time in-house staff does not have the skills to do this.

Starting an inbound marketing approach will involve a corporate change in the way the company perceives marketing. Make sure your staff is oriented to the changes and aligned with new approach. Your sales staff will have new prospects who should be contacted promptly. Marketing should be focused on applying the metrics you obtain to modify and test on-line strategies. The team must be well equipped and comfortable with the technology.

Inbound Marketing

Using the Authenticity of Personal Referrals in Inbound Marketing

To many people, the idea of inbound marketing just seems contradictory.  Isn’t reaching out to customers the very nature of marketing?  Don’t you need to find new people who might be interested in your product or service?  Don’t you have to identify those customers and inform them about the nature of your product or service?  If you don’t take the time to find and inform these people, then who’s going to do it for you?  Inbound marketing does seem to turn all these ideas on their head.  It’s a completely new way of understanding the process of marketing.  Plus, it also has practical applications that you can make use of immediately.

Word of Mouth Referrals

There are many ways in which people learn about new products or services.  For example, I was helping my sister look for an apartment the other day.  We went to look at an apartment share and the other girl who was staying there told us about this internet service through which she orders groceries.  She praised the quality of their produce lavishly and said it was a much better option than having to walk all the way to the grocery store and lug her groceries back with her.

Now, this girl had never met us before and she wasn’t allied with the online service she was praising.  She was just another person who had used this service and genuinely liked it.  This is the reason why her recommendation struck me so forcefully.  The fact that she wasn’t employed by the service to provide word-of-mouth advertising made her recommendation seem genuine.  And I decided to try the service myself.

Online Referrals

Now I’m generally a cautious person and I don’t like to try many new things.  But when my friends recommend something, I tend to listen.  Usually, they tell me these things in person but there are also times when I see them recommending things on social media.  Given that I know these people, I’m sure that they’re not just recommending those things because they’re getting money from those companies; they’re recommending them because they genuinely like them.

Similarly, when I buy a book on Amazon, I also tend to look up its reviews, either on Amazon itself or on Goodreads.  There are certain reviews which you can tell are written by paid reviewers.  These are the ones that run into several paragraphs but don’t say anything bad about the book.  On the other hand, there are the genuine ones, which are a paragraph or two at the most.  And the reader generally tells you what they liked as well as disliked about the book.

The Authenticity of Personal Referrals

What do all the above methods of receiving a referral have in common?  They have a feeling of authenticity about them.  When you see an advertisement on TV or in a magazine, you know that that channel or that magazine is being paid to display that ad.  They’re not praising that product or service because they’ve actually used it.  On the other hand, when your friends or family recommend things, you know they’ve actually used those things.

When you get a referral from someone who actually has experience with a product, it counts for a lot, especially in an age when we’re being bombarded with tons of images and content.  We see so many advertisements everyday that it’s pretty much impossible to make up our minds about what products and services to use.  Just because an advertisement looks good doesn’t mean that the product it’s recommending is going to be good as well.  Sometimes, we may even find that products which aren’t widely advertised work better than products which are.  In this type of commercial milieu, we tend to grasp at personal recommendations.  And once we’ve received a recommendation of this sort, we look up the product or service ourselves and take a stab at using it.

Changing Your Marketing Strategy from Outbound to Inbound

From the point of a view of a company who is making a product or providing a service, it’s necessary to understand the customer’s mindset when it comes to referrals.  This will enable you to change your strategy to fit in with the current state of outbound marketing.  Rather than joining the rest of the companies who are continuing to bombard customers with images and content, it’s a better strategy to use inbound marketing methods.

With inbound marketing, you’re not trying to get the word out about your product.  The customer hears about you, either through a personal or online referral.  And they look you up yourself.  Your job, then, is to impress them with your online presence, which can be done in the following ways:

  • First Impressions. Create a stylish but practical website.  Use beautiful images that will catch your customer’s eye.  Make sure that your company logo is easily readable.  There are times when websites take too long to load or look too boring.   You might genuinely be interested in the product but you can’t suppress a yawn when you look at the dull colors and amateurish layout.  Make sure that this doesn’t describe you.
  • Keep Your Website Organized. When someone clicks on a link, expecting to navigate to a certain page, they should be able to navigate to that page.  There shouldn’t be any dead ends or broken links.  Your “contact us” tab should contain contact information and not the content that should have been on your “about us” page.
  • Knowledge Is Power. Give your customer all the information they might need about your product.  And when you’re done with that, give them some more!  Tell them about what’s going on in your field and how you’re on top of it.  Let them know that your company is more than just a business venture for you—it’s something you feel passionate about.
  • Make Buying Easy. There shouldn’t be any glitches when your customer is ready to buy what you’re selling.  Make sure your website is ecommerce enabled.  Give them the option to order your product on the phone.  Or make sure your retail outlets are stocking the product.  The best option is to do all three.
Content Marketing Blog

3 Easy & Effective Tips That Will Boost Your Business Blogging

It takes so much time to run a business blog. You may be asking, is it really worth it?

Yes, business blogging is a smart investment that pays dividends. But, here’s the secret: if you aren’t following the tips below, then you are most likely wasting your time.

You see, when it comes to content marketing, the math is a little weird. 30% of the work won’t give you 30% of the results. You may only get 5% results from 30% of the work.

On the other hand, if you do it 100% correctly, you will see 100% of the results.

So, how do you do that? Luckily, it’s not so complicated. Being at 100% doesn’t mean writing perfect content. It really just means avoiding the productivity-sucking mistakes that so many content marketers.

Without further ado, here are three tips that are guaranteed to boost your blog.

B2B Guide to Social Media

The B2B Guide to Social Media Advertising Part 3 – Imagery

There are four things to focus on when it comes to implementing good imagery into your social media advertising campaigns. Those include an image, ad copy, the call-to-action and the value proposition. With these four things, you want to help your target audience see the value of the product or service you are promoting. You want them to imagine themselves with that product or service in their life. Not only that though, you want them to see how that product or service will give them what they are looking for. If they can’t see this, then they wont be interested.

Ultimate SEO Checklist & Guide For 2015

Even in today’s marketplace, Search engine optimization can make or break a business. Whether it’s a newly launched website, a redesign, or a new marketing push, implementing an SEO strategy is a key part to ensuring long term success for any organization. This on-site SEO checklist & guide is set up to help with each one of those initiatives. By providing not only a checklist, but explanations and a list of tools and resources, this will be your ultimate guide to becoming an on-site SEO master in 2015.

I’ve split this SEO checklist into easy to read sections so you can check off each attribute as you go along. I focus on proven search engine fundamentals, but also include insider tips from successful campaigns that we’ve seen at Foxtail Marketing. Read, learn, and enjoy.

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