It’s been 13 years since HubSpot coined the term “inbound marketing” and changed the digital marketing conversation. Inbound marketing is a revolutionary system of digital marketing techniques that turn lead chasing into lead generation. It reverses the processes of chasing down prospects by using content to lure qualified leads to you and priming them for conversion along the sales funnel.
However, like any other methodology, inbound marketing relies on an ensemble of tools and tactics to deliver maximum ROI. When building an inbound marketing campaign (or evaluating the performance of an existing one) there are six fundamental areas that should always have your attention. These are the core elements of an inbound marketing strategy built to produce consistent results.
Search engines like Google are like the directories for every website on the internet, except they sort websites by relevance and not by alphabetical order. Search engine optimisation is a set of tactics that use the content on your website with the right keywords to get your pages to the top of search engine result pages. More than 90% of online experiences start with a search engine query and 75% of users don’t scroll past the first page of search results. If your website isn’t search engine-optimised, your inbound strategy is starting at a crawl while others sprint ahead.
2. Content marketing
Content is king and a critical component of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Firstly, it allows you to grow your website through SEO blogging, which gives Google more pages to index and boosts your website's relevance in organic searches. Secondly, it delivers useful and impactful information to your prospects that turns curiosity into interest, interest into desire and desire into buying intent. The more information you provide to your leads, the more credible and trustworthy your brand becomes. Content directly drives conversations and acts as an automatic filter that delivers actionable marketing- and sales-qualified leads.
3. Social media
All the content you create for your website can be found through organic search, but that’s not enough. You need to boost the reach of your audience by sharing your content on your social media channels. This isn’t disruptive “outbound” marketing because your audience on social media is made up of people who have chosen to follow your brand online. They want to hear from you. Social media can also be used to promote paid media and ads using advanced targeting that will ensure that your marketing messaging reaches only your ideal customers.
4. Landing pages
Landing pages are where most of the conversions in your inbound marketing strategy take place. Someone clicks on a CTA, link or paid ad and arrives at your landing page where they quickly convert, right? Not necessarily. Landing pages need to be optimised to encourage the highest number of conversions. This is the final step before a lead submits their details, requests a demo or downloads an asset, so relevance and clarity are important.
Forms should ask for only the details they need right now or they might alarm your prospects. And above all else, your landing page should have an intuitive design, prominent CTAs and persuasive copy to drive those conversions across the finish line.
5. Email marketing
More than half of marketers say that email marketing delivers the most ROI of all their marketing channels. Email marketing can be a powerful tool when used strategically. An email campaign is one of the strongest ways of nurturing leads that aren’t ready to close yet. It’s an incredible tool for business-to-business marketing, and case studies such as OneDayOnly illustrate that email marketing fatigue in business-to-consumer marketing isn’t as definitive as marketers believe it to be.
There are several ways to avoid the spam filter, such as personalisation, offering valuable content through regular newsletters, and structured email workflows with triggers at critical conversion points. A remarkable 99% of consumers check their email every day – this isn’t a marketing channel any brand can afford to overlook.
6. Go-to-market plan
So you have your high-quality and SEO-backed content, you’ve built your landing pages and you’re ready to start pushing content out on social media, email and through paid media. What’s missing? A masterplan. Your go-to-market plan determines when your strategy is ready to go live and how and when you will deliver your content and ads. You have to devise a content calendar for a minimum of one month that covers themes, blog ideas and the channels on which the content will be shared.
A content calendar goes hand in hand with a promotional plan that details all of your paid media campaigns (Google Display Network, Google Search Ads etc.), including when they will start, how long they will run for and what budget will be allocated to them. This is your masterplan and it brings all the other five elements together to create one killer inbound marketing campaign.
For a deeper understanding of inbound marketing and how it fits into the digital marketing toolkit, download our digital marketing brochure.