Inbound marketing is all about influencing people to come to your site naturally. Instead of using ads and marketing messages to persuade customers to your brand, you’ll be making your brand more naturally appealing, drawing potential customers to your site like moths to the flame. Inbound marketing includes a number of different online channels, including content, SEO, and social media marketing, but all these strategies can be grouped together because of their shared “inbound” intentions.
That being said, putting an inbound marketing campaign into place isn’t enough to guarantee consistent returns over the long term. Like any marketing strategy, you need to set specific goals, strive for those goals, and make adjustments over time as you learn more about your audience and your competitive niche. To get things started, here are the three most important goals for any inbound marketing campaign:
Though inbound marketing does include a number of different strategies, content is at the center of all of them. As a front line, in-demand content encourages people to come to your site to read it. If you share it on social media, you’ll get more social traffic. If you optimize it for specific queries relevant to your industry, you’ll get more search traffic. There’s no downside to content provided you prioritize its quality, which leads me to this important ongoing goal—always strive to make “better” content.
What do I mean by “better” content? Better is a subjective term, but here, it refers to your content’s ability to appeal to new visitors, attract new links, increase your rank for various queries, and make a bolder impression with readers. That sounds like a lot, but there are only a handful of key qualities significant in supporting those functions. Original content is good, so the more unique yours is the better. Valuable content is good, so always find topics that people will find practical or insightful. Detailed content is good, so always do research and be as thorough as possible. Creative content is good, so always write in your unique brand voice and do what you can to incorporate images and videos.
Shoot to make each new post a little better than the last, and never rush a post out if it means compromising its quality. If you remain on this upward trajectory, your performance in all areas—from attracting initial traffic to converting your repeat visitors—will increase.
If all other factors remain equal, getting more people to your site is going to mean more conversions, more revenue, and more long-term fans for your brand. Once a high-quality content strategy is in place, every new person who visits your site will be a valuable addition, so one of your highest-priority goals should be maximizing the people who can find your site.
The first step of this process goes back to goal one—creating better material with which to attract people. But a good inbound promotional strategy should go a step beyond that, optimizing your performance on various channels to help more people see that content and more people click through to your intended destination.
Take advantage of as many platforms as possible. Establish a presence for your brand on several different social media channels and syndicate your posts there regularly, engaging with your audience and responding to any comments you might receive. The more channels you leverage for your strategy, the wider the audience you’ll have to work with and the more people will see your links. You can also do competitive and keyword research to find the highest-traffic terms that your site could support, and refocus your content to focus on those areas.
More traffic is always a good thing, but what happens if you have thousands of visitors going to your site but not taking any meaningful action? Your final main goal should be getting more conversions. What you define as a “conversion” is up to you—usually, it’s the purchase of an item or the completion of a form, but the end result should be revenue (or a strong chance at getting revenue) from a user.
Optimizing for conversion is a lengthy and complicated process. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts or surefire formulas that work for all brands in all situations. Instead, you have to run with the basic best practices, then gradually make tweaks and conduct experiments to see what works and what doesn’t. Start by introducing highly visible calls to action on as many pages of your site as possible, and call users to action in the body of your blogs. Use strong, concise headlines and appealing designs to captivate your users’ attentions, and make the process of conversion easier to coax more users to follow through.
Beyond that, your conversion optimization will rely on experimentation. Try different colors, different fonts, different sizes, and different copy. You’ll be amazed at how some random small decisions can make a huge difference in your bottom line numbers.
No matter what other goals or intentions you have for your marketing campaign, these three should be at the center. If you can consistently ratchet up your performance in these three key areas (making better content, attracting more people, and converting more visitors), you should have no trouble maximizing the return on your investment. Even a modest budget, when applied effectively, can create a positive ROI in an inbound setting.