Marketing is changing for the better. The old system of broadcasting messages down one-way channels is being replaced by conversations, values and relationships. Inbound marketing is all about engaging with your audience to make people want to come to you. It leads to better business relationships and keeps customers loyal for longer, and at a significantly lower cost per lead than traditional outbound marketing. In our last article we talked about the ways that outbound marketing is losing its effect on a public who are increasingly advertising aware and advertising averse, and how it can actually isolate you further from your audience. Let’s be more positive this time around, and think the best strategies to help you can build an inbound marketing strategy that encourages meaningful interaction and positive, lasting engagement.

A Hub Not A Spoke

You can unlock great power from your website if you stop thinking of it as a channel, and think of it as a hub. Rather than overloading a potential customer with blunt information and sales messages, use the space you have to draw them in, educate them and demonstrate why they should choose you. If your content is informative and entertaining, prospective customers will return to your website because they enjoy spending time in your company, putting you first in line to pick up their business when they need you. Offering exclusive content (videos, downloadable reports or specialist articles, for example) is a great way to build up your email database for future leads. Your website is also infinitely tweakable; use Google Analytics to show you who is interested in which parts of your website and maximise the impact of your content.

Give A Little Bit

In order to make the most of your new customer hub, you need to make sure your content is showing you in the best possible light. Customers want to feel secure in your knowledge and to trust that you have the answers to their problems, so look to create content that positions you as a thought leader. Make sure your contributions are valuable to your audience. Shed light on aspects of your business that can intrigue and delight interested parties and aim to be helpful instead of looking for sales; you will become your audience’s first port of call when they’re looking for something to enjoy, something to learn and someone to help.

A Host Of Opportunities

Inbound marketing is all about the art of conversation. There is no better way to get a really good understanding of the people you are working with than to talk to them face-to-face, and by hosting your own brand events you can gather an audience on your terms to discuss how you can work together. Events don’t have to be expensive to be valuable, and can be a great way to use your local network. Try getting friends and colleagues to cater, lend you space or help run your event on the day in return for the opportunity to make new contacts. Let your audience see who you really are!

Content Curation and Audience Engagement on Social Media

So you have your great content and you’ve put together a fantastic event, but how do you make sure you use the resulting momentum? Social media is the thread that ties the whole strategy together. Use your social accounts to put your insightful content in front of a bigger audience, follow up events by sharing photographs and carrying on conversations, and keep your customers aware of what you are doing next. Social media interaction delivers your content, helps you find more topics for discussion, and allows you to dig deeper into your audience’s wants and needs, either through conversation or data analysis. On top of that, linking your content through social media is fantastic for SEO, which will make it go even further.

Inbound marketing, with its emphasis on conversation, relationships and positive interactions, is a strategy that pays incredible dividends for customers, brands and marketers. Rather than aggressively hunting down leads and pushing messages, emphasising shared knowledge and interests builds lasting business relationships, delivers invaluable feedback for marketers and helps develop truly positive brand perception. When you add in the great return on investment there really is no contest. Make inbound marketing your strategy of choice and see for yourself!