Inbound marketing is often considered the higher-status alternative to outbound marketing. However, the lines between the two have blurred since the algorithms took over traffic delivery to content (and vice versa).
In this article, you will learn more about the "how and why" of inbound marketing best practices alongside some insights that will spark ideas for content and more efficient inbound marketing. So let's get started!
1. Know that Inbound does not mean Effortless
Outbound marketing can seem hectic, as can outbound sales. Inbound can seem relatively effortless to people with experience in both marketing types. But just because you're not spending time chasing down leads doesn't mean no energy is required on the inbound front.
You make up for the lack of chase by producing content worth chasing. Unless you have no competitors, you cannot create a body of posts and let it generate perpetual traffic for you. Google and other search engines prioritize freshness, meaning new posts covering topics you have already covered can get better visibility. Content creation for inbound marketing has to be constant.
2. Know your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Creating a large body of content can help you gain visibility on SERPs. However, the volume doesn't always equal visibility, so knowing your SEO is crucial. You need to update your blog posts and create new content constantly, and you also have to earn backlinks and fill specific content gaps to get initial visibility.
SEO can be seen as the "distribution" side of your content, even if your content is published on your own website. SEO is the messenger that makes your website visible to the world. SEO can be tricky because search engine algorithms can change, as can the type of content being primarily consumed. To make sure your lead flow keeps growing, you need to re-tweak your content to be up-to-date with Google's (ever-changing) best practices.
Given that Google is the biggest search engine in the world, knowing what it penalizes and what it rewards is worth the effort. There was a time when keyword stuffing was a good practice, but now it will get your website thrown to the bottom of the search results.
3. Target Visibility to Attain Volume (and Vice-versa)
The content volume is essential on the duty side, and traffic volume is vital on the results side. To get more traffic, you need to be more visible. SEO can make your website visible to an audience actively looking up specific questions.
But what about people who aren't using internet search but might buy from you? They are on social media. You can add another traffic source by making your brand visible on social media. And when SEO-driven traffic gets added to social media traffic, you get a much larger pie. The way the pie is cut depends on the market and the niche. Generally, the pie is bigger and better from having multiple segments.
Better visibility of content produces a higher traffic volume. And higher content volume produces better visibility across different media. This can become a self-feeding cycle.
4. Maintain Quality to Improve Engagement
Just because you need more blog posts doesn't mean you can compromise on quality. Quantity and quality are not mutually exclusive. You have no choice but to maintain quality because when your content doesn't offer enough value, it can result in a falloff or traffic bounce.
Falloff happens when your social media content isn't of a high-enough quality, and traffic bounce occurs when your website content or landing pages are suboptimal. Social and search algorithms, respectively, lower your content visibility as a result of this.
Maintaining quality entails figuring out what is working from the insights tab of your social media app or the analytics dashboard of your website. Once you know what's working, all you have to do is double down on it.
5. Tiktokify your Content to Maximize their Session time
Pure SEO marketers would cringe at how that is phrased, even though billion-dollar tech companies are pivoting toward the TikTok phenomenon. But TikTokifying your content doesn't entail making TikToks. It means taking a page out of TikTok's playbook so you, too, can maximize your audience's session time.
When someone lands on your website, does he get drawn in to the point of losing track of time? If not, there's room for improvement because TikTok has already proved that people get drawn into a perpetual scrolling session.
The apps' algorithm and settings can do this on social media. People who engage with your content more will see more of it. So you can just rely on volume and quality to keep people hooked. But when it comes to your website, you need to pair internal links with curiosity-inducing lines to keep your readers visiting one page after the other.
6. Divide your Traffic Sources from an 80/20 Perspective
There are two choices for inbound marketing: social media content and content that ranks high on search (organic traffic). Even within social media, there are different apps. If you find all of these overwhelming or simply think you could do better on fewer channels if you could collect your focus, then you should use the Pareto principle.
The Pareto distribution dictates that 80 percent of the results are usually caused by 20 percent of the factors. In this instance, 80 percent of your traffic probably comes from 20% of your actions. And knowing what those actions are can help you proportionate your efforts.
7. Double Down on what Works (but also Test what Could Work)
Doing more of what works is an excellent medium-term strategy. However, things stop working eventually because of the changes in various factors. That is why corporations have R&D departments. Your inbound marketing should do its own Research & Development by market-testing different ideas. Testing ensures that you know what works and make the most of what can work.
8. Help 99% of the Way
The last thing worth remembering is to help people 99% of the way. Too many marketers hold back too much. Consequently, your audience has too many questions, which are then Googled, taking traffic away from your site and gifting it to your competitors.
Pro tip: Read this post on content gaps so you can give your website visitors everything they could need around the subject.
After you've given 99% away for free, the final (and the vital) 1% should be replaced with a call to action. If you give them everything, they might not need to buy from you. But if you earn their trust by giving them plenty of information and content for free, they'll sign up to get to the finish line.
Inbound marketing can be summed up in various of the "build, and they shall come" dictum. When it comes to inbound marketing, you must build and then make sure they come.
For search, you leverage SEO, and for social media, you use popular trends and content that works. Regardless of what medium you pick, you must make your content engaging and your offer compelling. (Related: 12 Inbound Marketing Tools to Help You Double Your Website Traffic)