Most companies strive to maximize their appeal to niche market audiences, but that doesn't mean this appeal must always revolve around the product or service in question. Inbound marketing is a concept that aims to draw visitors in, rather than sending marketers out to deliver the message to prospective customers. That all sounds pretty ideal, but how does one actually apply this concept in an age where consumers are bombarded by information 24/7? Here are the top seven ways to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal.
If you want to draw your audience in, you have to at least meet them halfway. This means maintaining a solid presence on the same websites, social media platforms, and real-life locales that your target audience frequents. Don't limit yourself to just the major, obvious options. Instead, cast a wide net by exploring less-conventional platforms, and experimenting with audiences on the fringes of your target market. You might be surprised by who takes the bait, as well as how it reflects on your brand's reception.
An effective inbound marketing strategy caters specifically to its target audience, but maintaining a healthy dose of universal appeal can have a massive effect on your overall exposure. For instance, certain current events (the Presidential election, perhaps) have such a mass appeal that including these subjects into your campaign can similarly boost your brand's appeal. Remember that even exposure to those outside of your target market could lead to a valuable third-degree connection.
Today's consumers are savvier than ever; and in an age of ad-blockers, commercial fast-forwarding, and spam filters, consumers have the upper hand when it comes to avoiding ads. Although consumers are increasingly avoiding ads, they are still buying products, so how can companies bridge this gap? Providing valuable content via inbound marketing is one effective strategy, but it should prioritize the value of the content over the bottom line. Ironically, this has shown to be more effective in making the sale.
Measuring the efficacy of outbound marketing is somewhat limited—you experiment with different ad platforms, look at sales, and make inferences from there. With inbound marketing, you get a much more nuanced picture of your campaign's success. Even standard versions of Google Analytics can detail valuable information like who's clicking the ad/content, how long they're engaged in the content, whether or not the content is shared, and what ultimately leads to a sale. Although Google Analytics is one comprehensive starting point, more in-depth research, and content marketing specialists are necessary for a complete picture.
Your marketing campaign should always be guided by concrete data, but even a one-year-old statistic can be out of date. If you think you understand the values and interests of your target market, think again. Although there are often varying value systems and interests within a single target market, there are regular shifts and developments that occur over time. So if the research you're using doesn't produce the results you want, conduct some of your own real-time research from your target market to constantly gain a better understanding.
A weighted ETV model can help ensure a complete understanding of positive social metrics and positive link data. For example, you can aggregate social interactions across multiple social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. This model allows you to segment the data by platform, which provides a deeper understanding of exactly how each social channel is contributing to the amplification of your message. For example, if your original content was published on YouTube, but the top-performing item shows up on Facebook, this can help you tailor your campaign to more effectively accommodate the habits of your target audience.
TopRank Marketing Agency recently reported that 82% of consumers trust a company more when the CEO/leadership team are active social media users. Note the emphasis on the word "active"—it's not enough to simply have a Facebook page or Twitter account. You have to regularly update these accounts with relevant, high-quality, and valuable data that consumers can see for themselves. Considering we live in an era where news articles include bylines that estimate the time it will take to read a certain piece, consumers probably won't spend a lot of time perusing content from a source they aren't familiar with. Because of this, social media can allow you to send out small bites of information in hopes of building trust and ultimately making a sale.
Although the strategies outlined above help to offer insight and understanding of how inbound marketing can benefit your campaign, it's clear that a lot of work, research, and expertise is required for effective application of these principles. This is where we come in. At Splash Omnimedia, we strive to keep all of our clients as informed as possible about our process and the theories behind it, while providing the labor and expertise necessary to execute these concepts in the most effective way possible.
Although these principles apply essentially across the board, we also recognize that each case requires unique attention depending both on the nature of the company and the response of the campaign thus far. Our personalized approach is part of the rationale behind keeping our clients informed about our theory and process. This strategy enables a dialog that allows us to develop the subsequent marketing campaign in accordance with how the brand has been situated thus far and the kinds of strategies that have worked in the past.