I n these new, strange times of social-distancing, self-quarantining and remote working, businesses that leverage digital marketing are going to be the ones that thrive. More business is moving virtual (read – online) and people are spending more time consuming digital content as they are isolated to their homes.
In a previous column, I spoke about successful inbound marketing strategy. Here’s a recap of the six essential steps for success:
1. Set inbound marketing goals.
2. Define your brand consistently.
3. Understand your audience with personas.
4. Do journey mapping like a boss.
5. Perform SEO keyword research and optimization.
6. Research the competition.
Now, let’s talk about just a few of the tactics you can use to connect with leads online.
Attract leads with quality content
The inbound theory on blogs is simple: create non-salesy content that provides value to your customer. Your customer finds your blog, learns something of value, believes you are the expert, begins to trust you and now is part of your sales cycle. While the goals of blogs have remained consistent, the types of blogs have evolved. The following three are the most relevant types of inbound blog tactics at this time.
1. Short-form articles — Good, old-fashioned blogs still work. In fact, strategies that include blogging drive 67 percent more leads than those that don’t. Pick a topic that is valuable to your personas and post regularly.
2. Long-form content articles — The most effective long-form articles typically run 2,000 or moe words, are evergreen in topic, and are chock-full of data and high-value content. This can include e-books, case studies and the like. For the most part, long form kicks short form’s butt in generating inbound leads, and here’s why:
• People read, link and share long-form blogs 153 percent more than shorter content.
• Valuable long-form blogs rank higher on Google search.
• Long-form content establishes you as an expert in your persona’s eyes.
• Long form works. In an extremely meta turn of events, my guess is you are reading this post, which in itself is a long-form blog.
3. Guest posts for inbound — While it may be tempting to horde all your creative blog content for yourself, getting your blog posted to other influential sites in your industry is also extremely effective. Not only will your brand, your content and your solutions reach new users, all backlinks you land (when others link back to your content) can help boost your SEO.
Engage potential leads with video, infographics and podcasts
While stellar written content is a must, sometimes it’s better to show than to tell when it comes to inbound. Remember, as with every inbound tactic, killer content is key.
1. Inbound marketing video ideas — It’s no secret that people love video, especially on the internet. Video accounts for 85 percent of search traffic and more than half of executives prefer watching a video to reading text. If you aren’t engaging users on this level, you are most likely leaving money on the table. Try these three simple inbound video tactics:
• Produce a video series.
• Host a webinar.
• Facebook Live
2. Infographics for inbound marketing — Infographics allow you to present a lot of complicated, descriptive and (let’s face it) potentially snooze-inducing information in an appealing format. Don’t skimp on design — well-crafted infographics increase leads and are shared at three times the rate of other content.
3. Podcasts are an inbound marketing strategy, too — Podcast listenership is at an alltime high, and growing. You can start your own branded podcast or do branded guest spots on others. Doing so will not only raise brand awareness, but increase the likelihood that users view you as an expert.
Use traditional marketing methods
According to Forbes Magazine, print materials and publications offer your customers and prospects a brand experience that can’t be replicated online. Newspapers, trade publications, brochures and other print materials are tangible and capture a different dynamic of the marketing mix when compared to digital content, and it’s still an incredibly useful medium for brands and businesses. Don’t forget TV, radio, and direct mail as additional strategies to support digital marketing efforts.
Take your inbound marketing strategy to new heights
Take the time to listen to customer needs, address persona pain points and build that trust. Before you know it, you’ll be writing long-form articles about your successful inbound marketing strategy, which ranks high on Google and draws in more leads … those leads become customers, then brand advocates writing about your strategy, which draws in more leads, and those leads … you get the idea.
Adam Kraus is a digital marketing specialist at Imaginasium.