So, you religiously send out e-mailers to your consumers? But are you sure that your potential consumers do not choose to spam your emails? As spam filters block mass emails, chances are that many of your target consumers don’t read your emails. In fact, many of them simply block your emails. Quite naturally, email doesn’t prove to be a great marketing practice any longer. But email isn’t the only traditional outbound marketing tactic that is proving to be ineffective. With increasing technological advancements, a plenty of other such marketing tools too are failing too. For instance, TiVo eliminates TV ads, Caller ID blocks your cold calls and tools such as RSS have made display and print advertising helpless.
With traditional marketing tactics not being that valuable as they once were, an ever increasing number of marketers are now taking resort in inbound marketing, which is the sheer opposite of what outbound marketing stands for. As against the traditional, interruptive practice of using television ads, cold calls and print ads, inbound marketing uses videos, microsites, quiz, blogs, emails and other forms of effective and educational content to reach out to and connect with potential customers.
To create a business blog for people who will subscribe and, therefore, actually read your blogs is a much better and way cheaper than buying display ads in newspapers and magazines. Similarly, creating useful content for prospects who are interested in information is preferred today over traditional cold calling.
While there’s a fair share of startups that still haven’t awaken to the power of inbound marketing, there are many others who are already using inbound marketing and methodology to generate leads, convert consumers and boost their bottom line.
Why Startups Ignore Marketing?
Most startups feel that they do not need marketing to promote their brand, products and services. Instead, they choose to focus more on building something unique that people will eventually love to buy. Sadly for many start-ups, marketing and brand promotion comes only after the final product development process. But this attitude usually does not work well for most startups. In fact, a number of surveys reveal that startups that underestimate the value of marketing and promotion miss vital opportunities and succumb to competitions.
In addition to cash crunched startups, a fair share of startups operating in the stealth mode also usually do not take marketing activities seriously. They don’t go for marketing activities as they fear that if they indulge in marketing activities their secret new idea might get stolen for leaked. Such fears are misplaced. And then there are startups that usually refrain from marketing activities, thinking that they are not ready to take the plunge.
On the contrary, it makes sense to start marketing the day you have sourced a professional site, a custom logo design, started your blog and are ready with your products. Remember in an age where everything is digital, you’re just a click away from oblivion. So do well to start promoting your new business on all platforms with whatever small budget you have, and you will reap benefits soon. And yes, refrain from old school marketing methods for they aren’t going to do any good.
Inbound Marketing Methodology
Hubspot reveals that inbound marketing methodology comprises of 4 different stages – attract, convert, close and delight. This inbound marketing methodology can help startups effectively obtain visitors, generate leads, turn their leads into customers, and finally, make them happy promoters of their company. Remember, the main objective of your inbound marketing drive is to bring quality traffic to your site. To thrive the competition, you would need to attract people to your site, turn them into customers and make them happy promoters of your business. But how can you effectively do this? Well, you may start by creating blogs. Remember, you’ll need to create content that resonates well with your prospects and customers. And to ensure that your blogs are read by people, you’ll need to carefully pick keywords, optimize your blogs and build links around the terms your ideal buyers are searching for. Share your content on the social web to ensure a wider reach. Also do well to ensure that you evenly promote your valuable content by sending regular, personalized e-mailers to your audiences.
Inbound Marketing Challenges
Over the years, the overload of static blogs, emails and display ads have made consumers insensitive and non-responsive to them. A slew of businesses continue to market their static blogs in the hope of gaining some attention of people. Such startups think that search engine optimization will take their websites to top search rankings. However, with the fierce fight on the web and overabundance of keyword optimized blogs, SEO is no longer as effective as it once was in getting top web page ranks. Moreover, you will need to spend enough money and time to get right keywords that ensure decent search volume. Here, you may argue pay-per-click ads could be one good option to drive traffic. But pay-per-click does not guarantee an increased traffic to your site. In fact, a study by Search Engine Journal reveals that 70% of the links search users click on are organic and 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads.
In addition, if you had been email marketing, you would be surprised to know that that 21% of email recipients report email as spam, even if they know it isn’t. Considering these stats and such tough competition on the web, what do you think will set apart your startup brand from others? Well, the answer is simple, Interactive Content!
Inbound Marketing + Interactive Content = Success
Inbound marketing is all about providing value to your audience rather than just forcing your content on them, even when they are not interested. But how will you ensure that your content is providing value? It is when users visit and revisit your site, share your content and spread word about your content on the social media. Remember, the rule of this game is simple: you’ve got to get—and hold—the attention of your target audience. And when it comes to capturing the attention of your visitors right from the get go, nothing works better than interactive content. In fact, blogger Henny Kel reveals in one of his blogs that interactive content has become one of the most important pillars of success for businesses.
But How to Attract?
Consider a rule of thumb that happy people make loyal customers. If your content can make visitors happy, then they are more likely to share it with others on social site. Their experience in using your content must be no less then awesome. So, create useful content by giving them information they were seeking. Solve their problems with interactive content that’s interesting and engaging. Some of the most popular types of interactive content that can help startups attract and engage visitors, generate leads and turn their visitors into customers are microsites, videos and quizzes. Author, Campbell Joef explains that the startups must focus on producing content that can encourage dialogues and give target audience a reason to like and share it with others.
Microsites – Interactive microsites immerse users in an entertaining digital experience. Some companies use microsites to highlight their product or services. Others use it to inspire users into clicking on their call-to-action buttons. Microsites have immense viral potential as they are easy to read, understand play around. A classic example of such microsites is Designhill’s Interactive Guide to Famous Logos and Their Hidden Meanings. Within just a few days of going live, this microsite garnered more than 10K likes, tweets, shares, and over 39K views. Now, this aptly shows the tremendous potential of microsites.
Videos – Videos are yet another powerful medium of enhancing the reach of your new business. Create interactive videos to educate people on how to use your products and services. You should also use videos to let people know about users’ reviews of products. Insert links in videos to take viewers to your website. Dollar Shave Club’s viral video is the best example of interactive videos. This video fetched the company over 12,000 subscribers within the just 48 hours.
Quizzes – Quizzes have become increasingly popular amongst marketers and businesses owing to their ability to market content efficiently and drive traffic. A majority of businesses have incorporated this tactic in a big way in their inbound marketing plan. The reason why quizzes are popular is that you can quickly put the user right in the middle of a quiz without any risks of sidelining or ignoring their needs or questions. Moreover, quizzes allow you to get valuable information from users about their backgrounds and get a detailed insight on what they think of your business and products in the most interesting and engaging way. Buzzfeed is a popular website that uses different types of quizzes to drive in traffic.
These are just three of many popular types of interactive content that can be used to drive traffic, and generate leads and covert strangers into buyers. Interactive white paper, interactive infographics and brackets are other popular types of commonly used interactive content.
No matter what type of content you plan to publish, it’s important to ensure that your website has a fast loading time. According to Kissmetrics, 50% web visitors essentially demand a loading time of 2 seconds or less and if the loading time is more than that, they tend to abandon the site. Also, it makes sense to invest in a responsive website design. But finding responsive website that can capture the fancy of your target audience from get go might sound too daunting and too pricey. However, with the ever-growing list of crowdsourcing platforms, it’s not that difficult to source a responsive, creative website design in a nickel and dime. For example, responsive website design by Designhill artists enables you to have one single setup that is flexible and compatible with all devices – regardless of the screen size and type of device.
Remember, your startup is fairly unknown to your target audience. Therefore, do well to publish engaging and interesting interactive quizzes, microsites, videos and other content often. Remember, if you don’t publish your content regularly, readers may think that you aren’t serious about your business. This creates a negative impression about your business. Moreover, they may switch loyalty to your competitors who publish content on regular basis.
You must also learn the art of effectively distributing your useful content. The best way to enhance reach of your content is to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. When posting a blog, give users access to sharing buttons so that they can tell others about your content. Also, try to get more followers on your Facebook and other social sites. To do so, give them some value for becoming your followers. Avoid automation, link-bait content and buying likes to get fans.
How to Convert?
When people visit your website, be prepared to convert them into buyers. The one thing you should ensure is to implement call to action buttons on your website. Ensure tempting and exciting CTAs such as ‘BUY NOW’, ‘SIGN UP FOR FREE’ to lure visitors into clicking on the buttons.
Wrapping It Up!
Inbound marketing can help you convert strangers into customers. It enables startups to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight promoters. There are plenty of free tools and resources if you want to try your hand at inbound marketing for your startup. So if you’ve not yet devised inbound marketing plan for your startup, now’s your chance. Go for the change. It’s never too late to get your startup back on track.