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The Inbound Marketing

By Asiphile Qulu · Oct 30, 2020
The inbound marketing picture

Inbound marketing helps business and brands grow. No matter how big or small a business or brand is, inbound marketing enables it to attract potential customers, convert them into buying customers, retain existing customers, generate leads, and increase sales. 

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Today I will be discussing with you about the inbound marketing. It is one of the best digital marketing technique that you can use to take your business to the next level.   

Inbound marketing can help you grow your business or brand at a low cost. With Inbound marketing, businesses are able to attract relevant customers, convert them into buying customers, retain them, build trust and loyalty, and to increase sales.  

 What is Inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a marketing technique that is used for attracting customers to products and services through SEO, SEM, content Marketing, and SMM. This marketing technique helps in improving customers experience and builds trust and loyalty by offering information they value through websites, blogs, and newsletters.

The Inbound marketing consists of the following techniques;

  #1  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising the quality and quantity of websites from search engines with an aim of improving the quantity of website traffic to a website. SEO targets organic results rather than direct traffic.

SEO is one of the Internet marketing strategy that considers how search engines such as Google and Bing work. It considers the computer programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behaviour, what internet users search for, the actual keywords they type in search engines, and which search engines are preferred by the targeted audience. 

SEO is used by businesses or marketers to enable their websites to receive more visitors from search engines with an aim of converting these visitors into customers. When SEO is performed well, websites rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) and this allows a website to receive more visitors that can be potentially converted into customers.

SEO techniques can be divided into two categories, namely; white hat, and black hat. White hats are techniques that search engine companies recommend as part of good design, and black hats are those techniques which search engines do not approve. Here is an example, if a business or a marketer uses SEO technique that adheres with search engines’ guidelines and does not involve any deception, that SEO technique is considered as white hat. But if it involves deception and does not conform to the search engines’ guidelines, it is considered as black hat. Businesses that use black hats, their sites stand a change of being banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines finds out about what they are doing.

SEO alone is not always an appropriate strategy for every website because it only focus on unpaid priority ranking in search results. With SEO, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms can change, and therefore, there are no continued referral guarantees.

  #2  Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing which marketers use for promotional website purposes by improving their visibility in search engines results pages (SERP) via paid advertising.

SEM may be performed with SEO concurrently, which rewrites website content to gain a higher ranking in SERP to enhance pay per click (PPC). SEM can also be used as a method of business analytics which aims at providing relevant and useful information for organisations to identify business opportunities and generate profits. It can help businesses improve their performance and maximize their growth by helping them optimize their marketing and gather more audience and create more customers.

Business consulting or digital agency firms find SEM as a way to help businesses create and edit their websites so that search engine rank them higher than other pages. With that being said, SEM should be also on keyword marketing or PPC. Today, technology allows advertiser to bid on specific key words and ensures that bidder’s advertisements appear with the search results of search engines.

Advertisers may place their bids for ads on web-based advertising utensils such as AdWords. AdWords adopts keywords that can deliver adverts explicitly to web users searching for information in respect to a certain product or service. Due to developments with this system, the competition is getting high and prices are growing.

Many businesses or advertisers prefer to expand and increase their services, including increasing search engines and adding more keywords. When they pay more for clicks, they get the benefit of ranking higher for advertising, which leads to more traffic. Bear in mind, advertisers pay for these clicks, and pay-per-click (PPC) comes at cost. The higher position is estimated around $5 for a given keyword, and around $4.5 for a third place. A third advertiser earns less than the top advertiser.

A business that applies SEM can be easily found on search engines and it can get a higher ranking than a business that only relies on SEO. SEM is strictly connected to SEO in order to pay promotion and get found out in the first search page. SEM is a powerful marketing tool that should not be taken for granted because it can help in attracting relevant website visitors that can be converted in to customers over time. A business can only be able to convert its website visitors only if it has a great content. It must give a content that is valuable to its visitors to an extent that the visitors are willing to seek out and consume it. Companies also use social networks to reach their target audience, drive traffic to their websites, engage with customers, gain loyalty, and attract potential customers. Social media can also help organisations to be found in the internet.

  #3  Social Media Marketing (SMM)

SMM is the use of social media platforms to promote a product, brand, or loyalty.

Today, most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools that can enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of their ad campaigns. Social media allow individuals, businesses, and other organisations to interact with one another and build relationships online. Businesses and brand get to find out what customers are saying about them and get to know where they need to improve.

Social networking websites are focused on building virtual communities that allow customers to express their need, wants, and values online. They are able to connect audiences to businesses that share the same values, needs, wants, and thoughts. Through social media, businesses can interact with their followers, and customers can ask questions directly. This helps businesses to retain existing customers, reach out to more potential customers, and most importantly, to build brand, and to gain customer trust and loyalty. The leading social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

  • Facebook

Big businesses and small medium enterprises use Facebook as a promotional technique, and as a method to engage and interact with their customers. Facebook enables businesses to gain valuable insights on their products or services, they get to know whether the product or service is accepted by their target audience or not. This is done through encouraging customers to give feedback on products or ideas.

A business can engage with its audience by posting proactive content. Proactive means posting new online content regularly. It represented through posting digital photos, digital videos, text, and having conversations with customers. Businesses can also engage with their audience through reactive conversations, by interacting with customers who reach out to their Facebook page through commenting or messaging.

Facebook has become a very important social media platform for businesses to gain customer interest in products and services. This allows businesses to identify buying behavior, and eventually build customer participation and brand reputation. Businesses or marketers use sponsored ads to reach out to a targeted audience, to attract potential customers, to promote brand, to sell services or products, or to increase sales.

  • Twitter

This social media platform allows businesses to promote their brand, products, or services. Businesses use short massages known as tweets which appear on followers’ timelines. These tweets can contain photos, videos, Hashtags, texts, Animated GIFs, Emoji, or links to other websites or social media profiles. Many companies use Twitter to provide customer service, and some of these companies offer 24/7 support system with an aim of improving brand loyalty. 

Businesses place ads through these leading social media platforms to reach a targeted audience and to build their brands.

  • LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional business related networking social media platform. Companies use LinkedIn to create professional profiles for themselves, and this allows them to network and meet other businesses. On LinkedIn, businesses promote their different social networking activities, such as Facebook pages and Twitter streams to promote their brand, products, or services, and to be able to engage and interact with their customers

  • Instagram

Instagram help companies to reach their target audience through a visual environment. This social media platform offers a great platform for a company and a user to connect and interact.

Instagram has is a powerful platform for businesses or marketers to reach their existing customers and attract the potential customers. Now, many of the world’s largest brands use Instagram as a marketing tool to attract potential customers, expand their brand exposure to the public, and to target the younger group. Businesses reach their customers through sharing pictures, videos, and brief massages. Instagram can influence the customer’s buying behavior and help in gaining customer’s trust and loyalty.

There are two strategies that are used in social media marketing, namely; active approach, and passive approach.

Most companies use an active approach.  Social media can not only be used as a direct marketing tool, it can also be used as a communication channel to target specific audiences with social media influencers and social media personalities as effective customer engagement tools. This tactic is widely known as influencer marketing. This type of tactic allows businesses and brands to reach their target audience through using social media influencers to advertise their brand, product, or service. 

Businesses or marketers target the most influential people on social media, people with more social media likes, followers, posts engagement, and recognised as being opinion leaders to send massage to their target audience and influence the audience’s perspective about the product, brand, or service.

Some companies apply a passive approach. Social media is a very great and useful source of distributing information and to hear what customers say and think about the brand, product, or service. Through social media, businesses are able to analyse the customer voices and feedback and improve where they need to improve. Social media marketing is inexpensive and can be used by marketers to track and identify opportunities, and identify problems that are affecting the business performance and growth.

It is evident that social media can be used as a method of shaping the content of the brand, and to build customer loyalty. A great content can help the marketer to engage and interact with customers easily and establish potential customers.  

  #4  Content Marketing

Content marketing is an inbound marketing technique that is focused on creating and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Businesses use content marketing with an aim of attracting attention, increasing online sales, generating leads, expanding their customer base, increasing brand awareness, and interacting with potential customers online.

Content marketing attracts potential customers and transforms them into customers by creating and sharing a content that is valuable for free. This type of marketing helps businesses in creating sustainable brand loyalty and provides valuable information to consumers so that they may be willing to purchase from the company in the future.

Content marketing has the power of influencing the behavior of customers. Bear in mind, content must be consistently updated and proper electronic channels must be used in order to identify, forecast, and satisfy the content requirements of a particular audience.

When a business applies or performs content marketing, its main focus should be of the customers. There  are various ways that businesses can present their information. Businesses can use various digital tools to present information such as websites, e-books, email newsletters, case studies, blogs, podcasts, social media, etc.

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