So, you’re interested in beginning your inbound marketing journey. Before you get started, there are a handful of terms that are necessary to know – You don’t want to get overwhelmed with unknown terminology before you even begin the process!
We’re here to help. Here are 16 simple definitions of key terms used in the inbound marketing world.
This is one of those terms that we KNOW you’ve heard before – but are you aware of what a blog can really do? Blogs aren’t just for updating strangers about what you ate for lunch or about what shoes you’re wearing. They are long-form, informative content that relate to your business or industry, that you want to share with customers or prospects. They are regularly updated, and are usually written in an informal, conversational tone.
Blogging is an integral part of growing your business through inbound marketing. It’s often what drives traffic to your website, and in turn, helps convert those strangers into frequent visitors.
The buyer’s journey is how buyers make decisions. Everyone goes through this process in their mind, whether you’re buying a candy bar or a brand new car. There are three stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.
- Awareness: this is where you recognize that you have a problem that needs solving. Maybe you’re hungry. Maybe your car is breaking down. Either way, you’re realizing that you have a problem and it needs to be fixed.
- Consideration: you’ve now clearly defined your problem and are starting to research possible solutions.
- Decision: after researching possible options, you’ve narrowed down your choices and are ready to make a decision on how to solve your problem.
According to HubSpot, buyer personas are “fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.” They help us target our ideal customer, as well as “relate our customers to real humans.” For example, some of the personas we use at Modthink are “Business Owner Bob” and “Marketing Pro Madison.” If you are writing for one specific buyer persona, it makes developing content much easier.
Campaigns are ways to organize all of your blog posts, social media posts, web pages, and keywords into one cohesive plan. Campaigns focus around the 10-4-1 rule (mentioned below). You can set goals in your campaign, and the organization makes it easy to see if you achieve your goals.
As described in the Buyer’s Journey definition, a Call-To-Action is vital for converting your visitors into leads. A Call-To-Action, also known as a CTA, is an opportunity to reach your customers by having them fill out their contact information. You want these to be attention grabbing and visually appealing. Make it easy to notice and keep your persona’s taste in mind.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
Having a CRM is crucial to staying organized. You are able to effectively manage your contacts and know exactly what stage they’re at in the buyer’s journey. This software will gather data, keep track of interactions, and build an easy-to-read snapshot about your prospects and existing clients.
We know that marketing is changing drastically. We don’t solely rely on TV commercials or the newspaper to get new customers anymore. We use the internet, social media, and other methods to draw customers in. We rely on the Buyer’s Journey, as outlined above, to bring customers IN, instead of traditional marketing going OUT to find customers.
Inbound is a very targeted approach to marketing. You’re educating prospects every step of the way, and when they are ready to make a decision, they trust your company. Inbound marketing is reaching the right people, at the right place, at the right time. Rather than just putting out a billboard or newspaper ad and HOPING the right person sees it, you use an extremely targeted approach and are reaching consumers who are looking for information and ready to buy.
This is what makes inbound marketing, inbound marketing. It’s the process we use to ATTRACT our visitors, CONVERT them into leads, CLOSE the deal, and DELIGHT our customers. These are the 4 steps that make up inbound methodology.
- Attract visitors: Do this through blogging about relevant content, optimizing your keywords, and utilizing your social media channels to reach wider audiences.
- Converting leads: Once you have your customer biting the bait, use Calls-To-Action, Landing Pages, and Forms to get their information and stay in contact with them. From here, continue to build the relationship, and eventually convert them into leads.
- Close: This is where you formally transform your leads into customers. Solidify their interest in your business and seal the deal through workflows and emails.
- Delighting customers: The process is not over when you gain the customer! Keep your existing customers engaged with new content and information. They’re part of your company’s family now, make them feel special!
Keywords are the words your target audience use when they are searching on Google and Yahoo. Take some time and put yourself in your customer’s mind. What words would they use to find your business on the internet? Do some research and find which keywords your business should be targeting.
A landing page is a web page with the sole intent of capturing the customer’s contact info. There are typically no distractions or opportunities for the viewer to stray from the requested information. Want to see an example??
In short, a lead is a potential customer. It is a visitor to your website that has shown interest in your product or service and given their information to you. Once you have converted a visitor into a lead, your next step is to convert them into a customer.
Although often overlooked, nurturing your customers is a very important part of having inbound marketing success. Once you close the customer, your interaction with them shouldn’t stop. Continue to nurture them by providing them with relevant content, checking in on them, and delighting them. Your customers want to feel cared for! Show you care by nurturing them through their journey.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a process your content should go through to rank higher in organic search results on sites like Google and Yahoo. There are a lot of things you can do to your content to make it more “findable,” including adding meta descriptions, alt text to pictures, including keywords, and a lot more. Over your head? Don’t worry. We make it easy to optimize your content and consider ourselves SEO experts.
Similar to social publishing, social syndication is all about getting your message out across all of your channels – your website, your blog, your Facebook, your YouTube channel, etc. If your focus for the month is pushing a certain product, make sure that messaging is communicated effectively across all channels. Be consistent with your social publishing.
As your business garners more attention, you’ll start getting slightly overwhelmed with everything you have to keep up with. Putting your prospects into workflows makes it easy and automatic. You can set up a workflow for just about anything. You can put people into a certain list, you can automatically send them an email, you can classify them as a lead. It’s all about sending the right message at the right time, and workflows do this automatically.
This is the general rule of thumb that we follow when creating campaigns. For every 10 pieces of shared content from an external source (such sharing a magazine article), you should be sharing 4 original blog posts, and have 1 call-to-action, encouraging someone to do something. This ratio keeps your content fresh and interesting, and keeps your readers coming back for more.