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What is inbound marketing?

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Picture this - after months of researching hulls, biminis, engines and swim platforms, you bought your first boat. Now, it's time to purchase insurance for it. You go online and search for "boat insurance". Several results come up, but let's focus on the first two. Company A is promoting the lowest cost insurance with a price match guarantee. Company B doesn't mention price, but you recognize their name because you saw their social media ads and read their blog about boat safety when you were researching your new boat.

Which company's link would you click on? If you said Company B, then their inbound marketing is working.

Developing an inbound marketing strategy

Inbound marketing is the practice of understanding you ideal customer, the journey they go on before purchasing your product or service, and then making your brand visible to them - in a relevant way - throughout that journey.

Going back to that boat you just bought in the example above. When you drive it into the harbor for the first time there are several buoys guiding you away from danger and towards the safety of the dock. By adding these buoys (their inbound marketing efforts), the marina is showing you that they are experts in the area and can be trusted to provide valuable information all before the customer (you, the boater) even knows they need to go into the harbor (buy their product).

When developing an inbound marketing strategy, start with outlining who your ideal customer is. Not all of your potential customers, but one specific customer. Focus on attracting them and people like them, and then you can move on to other customers.

Once you have your ideal customer defined, work through what their journey would be leading up to purchasing your product or service. Think about what they think, say, feel, and do as they go on that journey. How can your brand add value? What expertise can you share with them to help move them along in their journey?

Applying your inbound marketing strategy

Now that you have your ideal customer and their journey defined, it's time to create valuable content and post it where they can consume it along their journey. This could take the form of a blog, infographic, paid search, social media posts, etc. Remember that any content you create should be customer-focused and help them advance on their journey towards purchasing your product or service.

Analyzing your inbound marketing efforts

Since most - if not all - of your inbound marketing efforts will be digital you will have no shortage of metrics. Focus on the ones that tell you how your ideal customer progresses on their journey. Which people:

  • Saw your content (impressions or brand awareness)

  • Liked or shared your content (engagement)

  • Took an action with your brand (website visits)

Continue to promote the content that is working while looking for new opportunities to connect with your ideal customer.

Still have questions? Email Kellie at Violet Clover Consulting with your specific questions or to set up a meeting.

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