Let us begin with a clarification. Startups seldom have ample funds and thus investing a lot of money or even small sums in myriad strategies is not within the realms of possibility. When we say that startups need to invest in inbound marketing, it isn’t money we are talking about. Investment can be in the form of time and effort. Startups don’t have an established following online, the customer base is substantially limited and the resources available are also scarce. In such a scenario, startups need any and every avenue that would be affordable and effective. Inbound marketing is both.
What is Inbound Marketing?
They very term ‘inbound marketing’ is self explanatory. To further illustrate what it means, the entire process and all activities that would entice people to check out your website, get some due attention or spread your presence in the virtual and by extension in the real world is called inbound marketing.
Let us segregate inbound marketing and traditional marketing to understand the purpose and the various ways one could employ. Traditional marketing is all about advertising and sales sprinkled with promotions and branding exercises. The basic purpose of traditional marketing is to talk about the product or service and trying to get the customer to buy or to sign up. Inbound marketing is not focused on advertising and sales. The eventual purpose is the same but the approach is different. In a way, inbound marketing can be considered as indirect sales or indirect advertising.
What one does essentially is create or produce content that would share some valuable information with the prospective audience. The content must be helpful for the relevant people. These people would feel enlightened or get benefitted with the valuable content and thus would be interested in checking out a company, its products or services. Inbound marketing is a subtle way of displaying that a company cares for its customers or target audience and that it is worthwhile to consider the products or services that the company offers.
Methods of Inbound Marketing
Direct marketing or traditional sales have very well laid out methods. You could put up a billboard, large banners, circulate brochures, advertise online and through other mediums, have a network of salespeople, probably set up telemarketing campaigns and there are many other ways. Inbound marketing wouldn’t use any such methods. It must be noted that none of these traditional methods are free or cheap. That is primarily why startups should work on inbound marketing.
There are certain mediums or platforms that you can use for inbound marketing. Social media is an amazing platform. You need to engage with people or your target audience on social media to get them interested in your company, products or services and thereby you must get prospective customers to get to your website. Search engine optimization is another very effective inbound marketing tool. Whether it is article marketing or video marketing, you can always generate content that is helpful for your target audience and then get them enticed enough to click on the links and then get redirected to your website. Obviously your website must be optimized, there should be landing pages and optimum calls to action so you can capitalize on the traffic. The good old email marketing is also an integral strategy. Newsletters, updates or any kind of content that would be helpful for your customers should be shared through emails and the audience will get enticed to check out what your company has to offer.
How to get started?
First, prepare your website. Optimize the content, have landing pages, ensure that navigation is convenient and come up with a seamless and quick browsing experience that would make purchasing or signing up a cakewalk for people. Without such measures in place, inbound links or redirected traffic will not be capitalized on.
Now, you must use various mediums at your disposal to share valuable information. You can choose a format or type of content depending on what you are comfortable with. Some companies opt for blogs, articles and emails while some opt for eBooks, webinars and videos. You should use how-to articles, list-based articles, FAQ articles, info-graphics, press releases or white papers, guest posts on major websites and you should have a consistent presence on social media sites so your target audience knows that you are there.
Come up with new content every week, if every day is not possible, and reach out to your audience. Every piece of content you publish is going to be there so the impact is going to be increasing and eventually exponential. Find new ways to be of help. Come up with intriguing topics and content that would really help the customers in a given scenario. People appreciate valuable information and would always reward that company, at least by visiting the website once.