Importance of Inbound Marketing for Precise Targeting.
In the middle of a workaholic’s business hours, a phone rings suddenly that says, ” Hello Sir, I am Ashwin from Killcare pesticide services, would you like to have a pest control.” And the phone is cut without even hearing what Ashwin had to offer.
A youngster of ’20s who was visiting a musical instrument site to know more about acoustic guitars, became irritated when he saw Killcare’s display ads covering most of the screen space. He was annoyed to the extent that he marked the ad to be ‘irrelevant’ when Google displayed the reasons for closing the ad.
The above experience that Ashwin and the display ad of Killcare pesticide services received is a hindrance faced by almost all small business owners and start-ups while marketing.
The problem in both the cold calling and display ad situations was that they were outwardly trying to push the brand, product, or service to the people in the hope of generating leads or customers to a broader section of the audience. Marketing messages delivered in this manner are rarely remembered or precisely are ignored and have lower chances of generating leads. Generation of leads and expanding the customer base is the ultimate motto of any business. For this, the marketing messages should be designed to draw visitors and potential customers, than random cold calling and putting display ads on irrelevant websites to the uninterested audience.
Designing marketing and communication strategies to attract customers who are actively looking for your solutions online by the creation of valuable content experiences that are tailored to the relevant audience is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing establishes connections with the audience who are looking for your services and solves problems that they already have. Inbound marketing happens in three stages:
With relevant information and conversation drawing the right set of audience and position your company to be a trustworthy one by using tools like SEO, content marketing, and videos, etc.
More than selling the product, we should sell solutions through inbound marketing that aligns with customer pain points. In the second stage, we try to convert the visitors into leads by using well-placed call to action, landing pages, and forms. Also, provide valuable content like e-books, whitepapers, infographics, and webinars, etc.
providing help and support to empower your customers to find success with their purchase.
Why should one use inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing works well with businesses, particularly those that have a long sales cycle, whose target audience takes time to research different offerings and weigh the pros and cons of each. Hence, here inbound marketing plays a pivotal role as it builds to help brand awareness and trust. For instance, let us say you run a new B2B company where you offer cybersecurity solutions. Through your product, the customers can detect any anomalies or deviations in network behaviour to identify any future attacks. Investing in cybersecurity solutions cannot be an impulse buy. Potential buyers will ensure to check the competitors and pricing, educate themselves as much as possible before making a purchase. Inbound marketing here will help to cultivate a brand that would want the prospects to know they can seek help to clear doubts and solutions when they want to. We need to demonstrate value.
Benefits of inbound marketing
Reach new markets and audience
Because inbound marketing is done purely online, it allows us to reach new audiences and markets by diversifying the reach by running different types of campaigns. Say for example Killcare pesticide services wants to market itself as a provider of pest care services that uses less harmful chemicals. With inbound marketing and running native ads, in particular, you can target people by including keywords like’ less chemicals pest care’ or ‘no smell pest care’ in your content. People who type such keywords will be able to see your ads. Thus, it is more targeted and relevant marketing, unlike traditional marketing where the sample size is large and not sure if they are interested in buying your products and services.
Unlike traditional marketing that involves short-term marketing or campaign, inbound marketing is a continuous process that requires building a brand online, creating content, and conducting successful campaigns.According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, businesses consistently reported that the cost per lead for inbound marketing is 60 percent lower than the cost per lead for traditional marketing. It gives better ROI than traditional ways.
Build brand awareness and visibility
The blog posts, videos, website, presence in social media, whitepapers that we create helps in spreading the word and make your brand known. For example – If Killcare pesticide services come up with a blog post or video on its website or social media about controlling cockroaches in moist and damp rooms. It is then imparting knowledge to the visitors as well as establishing itself as not a usual pest care brand. In this way, we can bring the brand in front of thousands of prospects and educate them about the company, and subtly try to shape their opinion about the business. If someone is looking to buy a product online, they find your website searching Google for that product, where they read your content that has everything they need to know about that product. Based on the reading, the prospects begin to trust your store as being reliable and safe and purchase the product from you.
The problem with ad blockers
It often happens that when we are visiting a site, big banner ads suddenly pop up that occupy the maximum of the screen space. The banner ads are generally cost-per-click ads and are particularly suitable for targeting potential customers in the awareness stage of the marketing funnel. But for many users, display ads are a big source of distraction while viewing, and to dodge display ads from popping up they install ad blockers. Ad blockers are simple software programs that prevent ads from being shown on websites. According to Marketing Sherpa, the reason people install ad blockers is that display ads cause the webpages to load slow. Also, a study from Page fair says that they found the display ads to be an intrusive and hidden threat of virus/malware. Ad blockers are a challenge since display ads form a major chunk of inbound marketing, and we need to think of alternate ways to reach our target audience.
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
-Peter Drucker, founder of Drucker Institute
Do’s to make customer click you
Here are the do’s small business owners should keep in mind while designing inbound marketing:
Content that stands out
Human’s attention span is only eight seconds. We have numerous small businesses on the internet who are competing for that eight-second slot for audience attention. How many of them get noticed? Place yourself in the customer’s shoes. It is not just enough to produce content. The content created must educate, inspire, or entertain the audience. Instead of speaking about the brand or product often, include interesting dialogue and discussions with your content.
Include a call to action
It is indeed a herculean task to get traffic to your site. Imagine a visitor who has come to your website after reading the blog, after which he is unable to find or doesn’t know where to go next or what to do next once they visit. The call to action is a sign that directs the visitors where they should go next. If visitors have come to your company’s DIY videos or blogs, we should direct them to subscribe for more such similar content by providing a suitable call to action.
If great content is the hero, then banners are the villain.
-Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group
Strategies for inbound marketing
Inbound marketing houses numerous tactics, below are some of them:
There are certain things that the audience might not understand just by reading content. A webinar is a highly engaging internet discussion, that has lecture-style content from the experts of your company to reach an exclusive web audience. The expert will guide, provide valuable information, discuss the pros and cons, clear misconceptions, etc. Through webinars, we target those leads who have passed the awareness stage and are in the process of solving a problem. Webinar induces conversational engagement among the audience as they can voice questions, present opinions, and chat. Businesses can also generate leads while registering for the webinar as people will use their email id and phone number to receive the link. Thus, with this, they have highlighted themselves as lead and will be curious to know the future topics to be discussed in webinars. Webinars are particularly suitable for B2B companies where the buyers would like to understand more about the company, its people, and offerings. For instance: Net monastery, a cybersecurity solutions provider, organizes regular webinars for the corporates to let them know more about advanced cyberattacks and how cloud security management can safeguard your corporate data.
Remember how our grandma used to tell us stories with the line ‘Once upon a time’, which used to raise our attention and also submitted ourselves. Through podcasting, we can attach a personality to our content. Storytelling through audio is the oldest medium of communication that has no boundaries. The human brain processes information faster through audio than video. Podcasting triggers emotions, stirs memories, paints pictures, and motivates people into action. Podcasting might appear to be expensive and labour intensive, whereas one can create digital audio files with a couple of good mics, a laptop, and a good voice. Sharing of digital audio files can be on various social media platforms and its website. More and more people are turning to podcasts for reflection, knowledge, and entertainment. Podcast is suitable for businesses who are in sectors like -education, health, finance, fintech, mental wellness, and banking etc.
Not everybody has the patience to read long-form content. Generation Z prefers more video content than millennials. In such cases, divide your most long-form content into short video series to be published on the internet. For example- a company like Killcare pesticides has a product range of pesticides in the form of tubes and sprays for domestic pest care. Now imagine, a long-written content will be mundane for the audience. If Killcare comes up with a 5-min DIY video series on ‘how to control pests using Killcare product’ that will be more useful for the audience.
Display ads make the audience reach ad fatigue, a stage when they stop paying attention to ads. Native advertising here comes as a boon. Native advertising is a paid ad with the difference being its appearance. It seamlessly aligns with the publication or a site’s editorial design and style in terms of colour and font and seems like regular content. Native ads are difficult to identify as it blends in with organic content making it unobtrusive to viewers. The content can be topped with a catchy title that entices the viewers to click on it. Native ads appear as infeed ads on social media (Facebook or Twitter), as search and promoted listings on google search results, and also appear as content recommendations just below the article read.
In-app advertising is presenting the users with ads in the middle of using the apps. Gaming apps like Candy Crush allow ads to appear in return to get bonus rewards or life to advance in levels. Advertising on various music streaming apps like Spotify and Gaana prove to be an effective monetization strategy. Research from Spotify shows that 81 per cent of listeners have taken action after hearing audio ads during a podcast. After hearing the ad, they have researched a product online, connected with the brand on social media, or talked about the brand with others. Thus, in-app advertising is a vital marketing channel for brands. With sophisticated data tracking of GPS location, device type, operating system, gender, and age, the in-app environment allows us to reach the right set of consumers precisely. Also, ad blocking technology cannot block the in-app mobile ads.
To the recipe of inbound marketing, content is the main ingredient. Without fresh and useful content converting leads will be difficult to convert leads. The content should come in multiple forms to help your audience answer a question or solve a problem and break through the content clutter. Below are some ways to ace content marketing:
Blogging and newsletters
A quality blog is an effective way to answer the pain points of the prospects. A blog is a hub to keep your audience informed and prove that you are a thought-leader in your industry. For example, Swiggy has come with Swiggy diaries that is their official blog that publishes informative content that ranges topics from the technology used at Swiggy to various food blogs. Similarly, newsletters help to educate prospects about the happenings of the industry.
Create eBooks and whitepapers
Whitepaper and short e-books are an in-depth, well-researched piece of educational content that sets a formal tone than the blogs. It will develop your brand as an authoritative resource of actionable and insightful information. If one is interested to download you may collect the lead’s contact details like email id in exchange for downloading the free whitepaper or e-book.
Case studies and customer testimonials
Case studies empower prospects with confidence that someone similar to them was facing the same problem and availing the product or service has solved it all. It demonstrates to the people on the fence that your product or service has done wonders for people just like them.