Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that naturally pulls people toward a company, product or service. While inbound marketing is a valuable and highly productive element of the marketing mix, it cannot stand entirely on its own. In today’s marketing ecosystem, integrating inbound marketing with outbound marketing mainstays – like direct mail, advertising, public relations and social media – is essential to boost your results and foster growth.
If you’re struggling with the effectiveness of your inbound and outbound marketing and searching for ways to optimize your programs, here are the top five elements you should keep in mind:
1. It’s more than software – When constructing or evaluating your inbound marketing program, it’s essential to realize that inbound marketing is so much more than purchasing and deploying marketing automation software. While the software platform lets you publish to and interact with an audience, it’s simply the vehicle that allows for the aggregation, publishing, distribution and tracking of content.
2. It begins with marketing strategy – A precise and defined strategy is essential to success. The more specific the goal, the clearer the persona, the more attractive the content that you produce. Before embarking on that journey, be sure to evaluate your current strategy and that of your primary competition to determine what’s working and what’s not. Consider all options when looking to lure traffic as there are many ways to promote good content. According to a recent study by Smart Insights, 82 percent of businesses have a defined strategy for digital inbound marketing.
3. Messaging matters – Once your brand position and marketing strategy is clearly defined, it is vital to develop messaging that includes a compelling brand story and a comprehensive keyword strategy to speak to key internal and external audiences. A well-crafted messaging platform that defines specific content, brand voice and tone will ensure consistency across the variety of content elements your team will produce. Remember that all content is branding. Emphasize the benefit to consumer, not just the specific data.
4. Content is king – One of the most important elements of an integrated inbound marketing program is content. Unique and original content should be developed on a regular basis and published to your website and other digital properties. Content can take many forms, including:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Press releases
- Social posts
5. Integrated practice makes perfect – Putting integrated inbound marketing into practice means creating an intelligent mix of content. It may take some time to find the right collection and cadence of elements, but consistent review and optimization as you work through your campaigns will ensure a better outcome every time.
Designing and implementing a holistic campaign can be a bit daunting to the beginner. Start with the basics and add features as you go. And don’t forget to ask for help – it could very well be that the most effective means is to partner with an experienced agency like STIR.