The mindset of today’s customers is ever-changing. Lately, people are seeking more valuable and knowledgeable content rather than just marketing sell-outs. A brand is trusted and considered reliable based on the quality of the content rather than the various marketing gimmicks used to attract customers. The content delivered should not be force-fed into the minds of the audience, rather it should be enjoyed and appreciated by the clientele.
This is what inbound content marketing is about. 80% of decision-makers prefer to get their hands on information via blogs or other content formats over an advertisement. The entire process of inbound content marketing focuses purely on actively engaging with the right customers, and delivering high-quality, valuable, and actionable content. Such a brand is welcomed with open arms by customers, which further helps them build brand credibility and a valuable rapport with the audience.
An effective inbound content marketing plan not only helps in generating organic traffic and building credibility but also improves brand awareness and helps in establishing your brand as an industry expert and a thought leader – not to mention boosts revenue and invariably swells sales.The key to achieving these aspects through inbound marketing lies in the foundation of knowing your target audience. It is paramount that you as a brand study and understand your target audience and how to reach them. Let us guide you through the process by first understanding how inbound content marketing works and how to make it work for you.
How Does Inbound Content Marketing Actually Work?
Inbound content marketing works in a way that is slightly different from the customary marketing strategies. Inbound content marketing is delivering the right content at the right time to the exact target profile. By doing so, you are ensuring that customers seek your brand rather than the other way around. As with any marketing strategy, inbound content marketing also requires a proper plan. This plan requires a proper audience analysis and thought process. Typically, inbound content marketing involves a cycle of stages.
The first stage is understanding your audience and having an awareness of what they need and how to deliver the right content. This is followed by the Evaluation stage – in which your audience will wonder whether they want to purchase your product or service. To make a concrete decision, they’d like to dive deep – which is why it’s important to create in-depth content in the form of whitepapers, case studies, webinars, etc. Now as important as meeting your customers at the top and middle of the funnel is, it’s equally important to create content that helps convert the ones at the bottom of the funnel. After all, your main goal is conversion. From product demo to sign up, you need to make sure that you have relevant content pieces in place to convert your audience into paying customers.
Throughout each stage, content must be delivered promptly to ensure the plan is working. There are some focus areas with your inbound content marketing plan which need to be addressed to ensure that the whole campaign is a fruitful one. We have collated these focus points to act as a principle guide for those starting out on their content marketing journey. Let us now review these focal points.
How to Make Inbound Content Marketing Work for You?
Following are the seven steps businesses should consider to knock their content marketing efforts out of the park:
- Formulating Your Goals & Setting KPI Targets
- Analyzing & Understanding Target Customer Profile
- Devise Customer Personas
- Establish Which Distribution Channels Work Best
- Determine the Different Content Types
- Curating Personalized Content & Refreshing Old Pieces
- Focus on Content Distribution
Formulating Your Goals & Setting KPI Targets
The building block of any marketing or non-marketing strategy is understanding the why and how of a plan. Understanding the basics of what you are looking to achieve with this content marketing plan is the key element to ensuring you achieve the goal. The goal may be to generate more sales leads or to increase brand awareness, but once you have identified the intention, the rest of the process is fairly clear-cut and easy. Whatever your goal may be or how simple or complicated it is, it is important to have at least one KPI per goal to analyze how well you are doing and how to work further toward the target.
Analyzing & Understanding Target Customer Profile
The most important step of an inbound content marketing strategy is identifying who your target audience is and what they want from you. This step is the groundwork for your entire content marketing plan. Since inbound content marketing almost entirely depends on the audience, it is crucial to deliver the right content to the right target audience. In inbound content marketing, the audience is the chauffeur, and it is important to be the right guidance to guide them to your brand. Dive deep into your target audience’s demographic like opinions, way of thinking, level of education, job position, and more to create a robust content marketing plan.
Devise Customer Personas
A customer persona or profile is a detailed interpretation of the analysis of the target audience that shares a common aspect which would help in brands tailoring curated content for this particular customer profile. By identifying customer personas, you will be able to understand and distinguish what their preferences are and how to deliver the right content based on their preferences. This will help in creating personalized content matching their preferences hence benefiting both the target audience as well as the brand. 71% of businesses that exceed their revenue and lead generation goals have documented their customer personas. And you should as well.
The key to building personas and using them is the fact that you are delivering exactly what the target audience needs and wants. While the interests and preferences across various demographics are hugely variable and difficult to categorize, personas identify the key aspects that help in creating personalized content for the appropriate target audience. Thus, it is a key marketing tool that helps in creating content that is for everyone.
Establish Which Distribution Channels Work Best
Identifying the digital channels where your content will do best and where all your customers frequently engage is the apt way to ensure your content plan is lucrative in all terms. It would be beneficial to start with the channel where you already have a strong online presence and build from there. It is also important to know which channels your competitors are using. These are the channels you need to establish your presence across.
Knowing key indicators about your audience in various distribution channels such as how your audience is reacting and engaging with the content, how many people visit the site, and how they discover the channel is important to know where to present your content.
Determine the Different Content Types
Deciding which type of content would reach the target audience is an e but effective task. Not every type of content is appropriate for your target audience and may not even do justice to representing your brand in the right way.
The content created also depends on varied factors of the marketing funnel stages and understanding when and where to deliver content and which type of content to deliver on which platform can help the brand reach the big leagues through inbound content marketing.
Curating Personalized Content & Refreshing Old Pieces
While we have mentioned how personas are used in inbound marketing, using personas to create personalized content is a great strategy to make customers seek your brand in large numbers. Getting to know what your customers want is one thing but living in their shoes and creating content from their point of view is a sure way to make customers pursue your brand. From a brand’s point of view, you are delivering content that is most valuable and relevant to the right target audience.
Curating personalized content delivered to the audience at the right time is an assured way to generate more organic traffic which will eventually turn into high-quality leads. Reviewing your content constantly helps improve your overall strategy over a period of time. Analyzing which posts are doing well and which type of content is most appreciated by the audience helps you gain insightful knowledge. The performance analysis of existing content can help see the big picture and help in building a stronger digital presence with your content.
Focus on Content Distribution
The final stage of the content marketing plan is analysis, research, devising the content, and distributing it on various suitable channels. Once you have a clear understanding of your intent the next step is researching the right keywords and implementing tools such as SEO in your content plan. The right research will ensure your content is constantly discovered by the right target audience.
Now that you have your content ready to rule the world, the next step is to get it out there. Promoting your content in the right way is important. Since through inbound marketing customers will seek you, you have to distribute content in a way that is not overbearing or it loses its charm and purpose.
Inbound content marketing is an effective strategy to gain organic clientele who value and appreciate your content. This high-quality organic traffic eventually leads to higher conversions thus boosting sales naturally.
The key point that brands often miss is understanding the target audience and creating the right content delivered at the perfect time. Understanding what the audience wants and delivering content accordingly is the crucial factor that makes an inbound content marketing strategy successful in all terms. Keep in mind the audience is the chauffeur, and you have to guide them with your content.