Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable, tailored experiences for your customers for them to have a positive experience. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing forms connections with your target audience and solves the problems they have. You could have an amazing website and provide great products and/or service, however, how do you get this message across to your target audience without an effective inbound marketing strategy.
What is an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
An effective inbound marketing strategy consists of a number of channels and content types to attract and retain your target audience. It is also split into four parts; Attract, Convert, Close and Retain. You need to create content that is going to provide value to your target audience and then attract them to your website. Once you have attracted them to your site, you then need to convert them into lead using a call to action. Closing a lead can be a long process. You should prioritise them and then take them through the sales process. After a purchase, you should continue engaging with customers to ensure they are happy, satisfied and supported so that you retain them and they become long-term customers.
How to attract customers to your website
You first need to create buyer personas to understand exactly who your target audience is so you can decide how to attract them to your website. There are a number of different types of content you can create to attract your target audience. They include writing blogs, creating vlogs and/or podcasts, infographics or Ebooks to name some. You need to ensure that the content you are creating is providing value to your target audience and solves their problems. This will then lead them to visit your website.
When creating your content, you should ensure that it is optimised for search engines (SEO). With over 4 million blog posts being published every day in 2019 and 75% of people never scrolling past the first page in search results, it’s important you work to ensure you appear at the top of page one of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
How search engines’ algorithm updates affect your content
Search engines have changed over time and are becoming more advanced in understanding users’ intent and the context around the search query. The first big algorithm update came in 2013 with the release of Google’s Hummingbird update. The update allowed Google to parse out phrases, rather than focusing just on keywords. In 2015, Google then launched the RankBrain update. This update allowed Google to understand the context of a user’s search query. More recently, Google launched the BERT update in October 2019. This update built upon previous updates and now, instead of looking on a word by word basis, the search engine is able to look at the entire phrase to provide more relevant results.
Search engines have evolved and become more advanced to match how users are now searching. We not only now search in Google the way we talk, but we also now talk to Google to ask questions. Voice search has grown in popularity with the introduction of Alexa, Siri and Google Home. This is why it’s no longer possible to focus just on short-tail keywords but the need to also focus on long-tail keywords in your content.
The importance of SEO when creating content
So, you are at the first step of your inbound marketing strategy and are looking to attract your target audience to your website. You need to create enticing content that is going to help your target audience and give them a reason to visit you. However, you may be thinking how can you create content for your target audience when you don’t know what they are searching for?
This is where keyword research can help. Using keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush, you are able to find out what your target audience is searching. You can also look at long-tail keywords to create content around answering questions they have. The content should have the keywords you are looking to target within it as well as linking to relevant pages on your site that can offer more information. But making it easier for users to navigate your website, you are able to provide them with more content to lead them to become a customer. Keeping users on your site for longer and making it easy for them to navigate will also help with your SEO score and see your rankings increase.
One way of ensuring your content consists of relevant links and making it easy for users to navigate is by creating Topic Clusters. Topic clusters consist of a pillar content – which outlines a broad topic – which links to and is linked from a number of related pieces of content which targets more focused keywords. Topic clusters are also great for SEO. Linking relevant content to a pillar content will give the page more authority on the topic which will be rewarded with a higher place on the SERPs. This is because it will show search engines that you understand the topic and are a useful resource. Another benefit of topic clusters is that if one piece of content performs well, the other pages in the cluster will also get a boost as well.
If you want to discuss your Inbound Marketing strategy, the bolt team would love to hear from you and support you in planning your strategy for 2020.