Why do so many people break New Year’s resolutions that they were so excited and motivated to accomplish? One reason is that they expect to achieve a year’s worth of progress in a few days or weeks. Anything less can be de-motivating. If, however, you have your eye on the long-prize, progress builds and gains momentum. When it comes to inbound marketing, start 2017 out on the right foot. Set realistic goals, employ sound strategies, and trust that the small, steady steps will lead to significant changes.
The Foundation of Effective Inbound Marketing
Relevant content is the heart and soul of inbound marketing, and, for maximum impact, your brand must supply relevant content that is targeted to people at each stage of the buyer’s journey - from awareness to consideration to decision. It is easy to become overwhelmed - it is a lot of content, and requires a great deal of research and knowledge to integrate into your overall marketing platform. The best advice is to keep it simple. Remember: small steps. These steps include:
Focusing on Top of the Funnel Visitors
Given the unprecedented levels of competition in the business world today, building awareness with your target audience is a must. You have to wave a banner - metaphorically - and tell potential customers that you’re out here, ready and able to provide the solution for which they have been searching.
Folks at the top of the funnel are looking for answers, data, reviews, etc., concerning a problem, challenge, or need. Now is the time to provide top-quality ebooks, whitepapers, webcasts, podcasts, videos, blog posts, articles, and social content that provide value to them as they conduct their research and become aware of potential solutions-providers.
At this juncture, pay careful attention to your SEO, keywords, social content and ads, and PPC as they can all be effective methods for attracting top-of-funnel visitors to your website.
Thinking Like a Customer
The buyer’s journey circa 2017 is customer-focused, not brand-focused. In other words, a sales pitch won’t sell much these days. Customers want the information they need to make their own decisions. Give it to them. Provide visitors with content that establishes you as a trusted authority in your space. To do this:
- Develop content for every step of the buyer’s journey.
- Format your content in a variety of ways (e.g. articles, blog post, videos, etc.).
- Seed content via social, email, and other channels.
- Encourage customer reviews and post these prominently. Customers trust other customers more than they trust you.
Overall, use your content to answer visitor and customer questions and establish a connection between them and your brand.
Tighten Your CTAs
Providing relevant, educational content is step one: now what? You need to craft CTAs, or calls to action, that clearly tell visitors what you would like them to do. Buy. Sign up for our enewsletter. Contact us for a quote. Whatever you want them to do, ask.
Depending on how prospects interact with your website, you can gauge their readiness to buy. Lead scoring programs are another way to take much of the guesswork out. But be sure: ask. If people are ready to purchase, great. If not, what other information can you provide to them? Keep that connection alive regardless.
These are three small steps that can lead to success; stay committed, and inbound marketing will help 2017 become more brightest year yet.