Inbound marketing is the practice of marketing your business with podcasts, videos, newsletters, eBooks, SEO, pay-per-click ads, white papers, social media marketing, social bookmarking, content marketing, and anything that can reach potential customers and entice them to move through the sales funnel. Even blogs can be used as an inbound marketing tactic, but what you are about to read talks about how to use inbound marketing to encourage people to visit your blog so they can potentially be converted into customers.

As for that sales funnel mentioned a few lines ago, it is a marketing system. It is the customer experience that you intend for customers have as they move from being a prospect to a lead and then a lead to a customer. After they become a customer, you want them to become a repeat buyer.

Why You Need Inbound Marketing

The purpose of inbound marketing is to make it easier for leads to find your website or blog. This is important since you want them to know about you so they turn into a customer. In other words, this form of marketing increases brand awareness. It can also create a higher preference for your brand because you have entertained and interacted with a potential customer before they have even thought about spending their money with you. You can build trust with people before they are ready to buy, increasing the chances that they will choose your product or service when they are ready. Sometimes, you will grab the attention of someone who is ready to buy right that moment and they will if you appeal to them in the right way.

Gaining More Leads for Less Money

Inbound marketing is also a way to gain more leads for less money. Being that inbound marketing isn’t always an instant marketing solution, it is a long-term process that builds over time. While this may seem like it will produce more frustration than anything, it can be highly rewarding when you start seeing the results. Instead of pulling customers in through traditional marketing methods that capture a potential customer’s attention for a brief period, inbound marketing captures them for a much longer period of time. This increases the chances of the customer becoming a repeat customer because it’s all about building trust. Repeat business is the most profitable form of business.

So when leading leads to your blog, it is very important that you make sure the content you are leading them to is something that will capture the trust that you need them to have so they become repeat customers.

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Building the Inbound Marketing Plan

Now that we’ve made it this far, it’s time to mention that sales funnel again because it’s a great tool to use as a guide. First, imagine you have a funnel in front of you and you have to move people through it:

  1. At the top of the funnel, you are attracting people to your blog or website and they are stepping inside. You don’t want them to climb out at this point. Instead, you need them to keep moving through the funnel until they come out the bottom as customers.
  2. Convert those that just entered the funnel into leads.
  3. Build a relationship with your leads so you can instill trust.
  4. Learn from your leads and customers about what they want so you can keep moving them through the funnel.
  5. Turn the customers into first-time customers.

Then you want them to become repeat customers and you do this by giving them a great buying experience and the continuance of your inbound marketing tactics.

Move Leads through the Funnel with this Strategy

The first thing you want to do is create a theme every month that you are going to focus on. This is not a theme that surrounds a product or service, but something you have found that interests your customers. In other words, you aren’t going to try to hard sell them. Prospects aren’t big fans of the hard sell because it makes them feel pressured. They want information before they want anything else. Giving them that will earn their trust, but you are going to have to be consistent with this theme in order to capitalize on that trust.

Secondly, any content that you produce will be based around that theme. You can write one large blog post surrounding that theme so you can market that post throughout the month. You can then supplement it with at least three or four shorter blog posts per week. Submit these to social bookmarking sites, create a pay-per-click ad campaign on your chosen site (google, Facebook, Bing, Pandora, etc.), create a podcast, and/or have visitors sign up for a newsletter. There are many elements you can integrate into your theme-related activities.

Third, make sure you regularly post on your social media accounts. However, you don’t want every post to be linked to your content or you are going to wear your audience out and make them unfollow you. Have a variety of theme-related posts so you can maintain the attention of your audience. This is especially important with Facebook since the more recent algorithm changes focus on the quality of posts so users stay engaged. It isn’t so much about the quantity. The average half-life of a Facebook post is 3.2 hours, so consider that when scheduling posts.

Fourth, at the end of the first week, you want to analyze your results so you can tweak the content you are delivering if necessary. There is a lot of trial and error, but you learn from it. By using a tool, such as Google Analytics, you can see how certain pieces of content are performing, the amount of traffic being drawn in, where the traffic is coming from, which pages visitors are leaving the most, and much more.

Lastly, you can use an editorial calendar to make all of this easier for you. This is a tool that is used by bloggers and businesses to keep track of and control the content they post across the Internet. You can use it to brainstorm content ideas and where to publish them. You can pinpoint when content is going to be published, as well as use it to assign certain topics to anyone writing your content for you. There is actually a WordPress Plugin called “Editorial Calendar” that will allow you to easily manage your entire blog.

Inbound Marketing Can Make You Rather than Break You

As you can see, inbound marketing is an effective tactic. It is one that is used every day by marketers to produce higher quality traffic to their websites and blogs. Many times, the blog is the recipient of the most traffic because it is the blog content that can build trust in the brand. Just make sure you remember the sales funnel and the five steps outlined above so that you can build a solid inbound marketing plan that will make you more profitable.

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