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How To Get Started With Inbound Marketing

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Sep 19, 2013 9:42:00 AM

This is a 7 minute read.

Getting started with inbound marketingHave you been wondering how to get started with inbound marketing?

That means that you're ready to embrace a different approach for attracting visitors to your site, converting them from visitor into lead and eventually into customer.

In other words, you are ready to dump outbound marketing tactics in favor of a gentler, more practical trust-building approach for connecting with customers.

Any Lingering Doubts About Getting Started with Inbound Marketing?

If you still have doubts about getting started with inbound marketing take a look at this video from INBOUND13 with Dan Sally, Inbound Marketing Specialist at HubSpot, former Comedy Central standup comedian, HuffPo author (see Everything I Know About Fatherhood I Learned from Darth Vader) and host of INBOUND13, as he explains what makes outbound marketing so memorable and valuable for forming lasting relationships... in a bad way, right?

(To watch this 2:53 min video on YouTube, click on INBOUND 2013 - Outbound Anonymous with Dan Sally.)

Now that you've banished doubts about inbound marketing, let's explore in more detail what inbound marketing is about and nine tips for getting started.

What is Inbound Marketing all About?

Rather than interrupt and irritate prospective customers, inbound marketing focuses on attracting, converting, closing and delighting.

  • Attract through remarkable content on your website and blog, while making sure your content has been optimized so it is easy to find online via web search, and deliberately focusing on keywords that make sense for your business and your visitors. Don't forget to promote your content via social networks
  • Convert visitors into leads through educational, relevant and valued content offers. The forms you use with your offers enable you to learn progressively more about your visitors so you can better answer their questions and qualify them as potential customers.
  • Close leads into customers by nurturing the relationship over time with email workflows that deliver relevant content which matches your leads' purchase process. This develops credibility and trustworthiness - making for happier customers!
  • Delight customers so they become promoters of your business because you and your business are transparently and intensely focused on your customers (personas) and committed to their success.

Throughout the inbound marketing process, you analyze your marketing activities on an ongoing basis to understand what works and what doesn't so you can continuously improve.

HubSpot represents the Inbound Marketing methodology with this visual:inbound marketing methodology

Nine Tips For Getting Started with Inbound Marketing

1. Assess where you are. Conduct an audit of your online and offline content. (See How To Audit Content: Yours and Your Competition's and 22 Inbound Marketing Assessment Questions.)

2. Review how well your website is performing from an organic search perspective. (See How Organic Keywords Help You Get Found Online.)

3. Have you identified distinct personas for your business? How does one differ from the other? How does each progress through the buying cycle? (See Developing Personas for Content Marketing.)

4. What questions do your personas/prospects have about the solutions you provide? Have you integrated those questions and words into your content (i.e., into your keywords. See Getting Found Online: Keywords) and matched that content to your buyers' purchase process? (See Website Content and Your Buyer's Purchase Process.)

5. How are you currently attracting visitors to your business and website? Think about in-person activities as well as what you do online. Do you use a blog? (See How Business Blogging Fits Into Inbound Marketing.) Have you developed ebooks and offers that prospects have told you are helpful? Which professional and social networks do you find most valuable?

6. How are you converting prospects into customers? How do you communicate with prospects and customers over time? Have you created lead nurturing workflows? Do you use marketing automation? (See Online Lead Generation: Art + Science and How To Create Email Marketing Customers Welcome? Show Respect!)

7. How do you delight customers? How do you maintain customer relationships? (See Getting More Customers By Articulating Expectations.) What role do social networks play and how involved are you? 

8. What role does your website play in educating prospects? How do you update web content and how frequently? (See Website Redesign Mantra: Avoid Visitor Irritation and Aggravation!)

9. What tools do you have available to analyze, optimize and stay focused on what's important to your business online? Are you examing your site's analytics, email marketing stats, blog stats, keyword progress and other data programmatically to determine how well all of these help you convert visitors into leads and customers? (I use HubSpot because all of the tools are integrated, including monitoring social conversations.)

Ready Now to Get Started with Inbound Marketing?

A successful inbound marketing strategy includes a deep commitment to customers, content, and technology.

When you explore how you currently interact with customers, you'll most probably discover a treasure trove of material - much of which may be sitting in file cabinets. With inbound marketing, you can put those content assets to use online so your website truly functions as a silent sales and marketing assistant, available 24/7 at the convenience of your prospective customers, educating them and guiding them until they are ready to become your customer. Inbound Marketing helps you build trust as you generate leads.

Furthermore, those remarkable and relevant content assets will help prospective customers find you when they begin their purchase process online, at a search window researching, educating themselves and looking for resources they can trust. (see Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?).

So why not embrace a marketing methodology which helps you connect with the right customers?

Go. Get started and let me know what you would add to this list. 

Download Inbound Marketing 101 to get Found Online!

Topics: How Do I Get Started?, inbound marketing

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