New to inbound marketing? Or, have you been randomly creating content without quite knowing why it’s a requirement for inbound marketing?

Inbound and content marketing pull prospects toward you instead of having you and your firm relentlessly hunt them down. In this model, the customer is in control. They check out their options and only make contact with a seller when they are ready to buy. To ensure that your product is the one that they choose, you need to lead them through the buying phases with inbound methodology. The steps along the way:

Research

Before you write a single piece of content, know who you are writing to. Begin by identifying your best prospects. Learn demographic information like their age, income and other data. Study their online habits. It can help to create buyer personas, which are semi-fictional composite characters that represent people who may buy your brand.

Start developing a list of keywords your potential customers may search. This is a list of likely keywords that users search when they hit Google to look for products in your industry. It should be updated frequently. Include search popularity information as well as related keywords. Don’t necessarily worry about hitting every one. With Hummingbird’s semantic search, synonyms and near matches are likely to bring in traffic, as well.

SEO isn’t everything, but, search engines remain one of the best ways for your business to be found. By starting with the terms surfers use most, you can increase your chances of your content indexing high in the search results.

Creation

Over half of all purchases start with a search engine query. Ensure that your site comes up in the results by creating relevant, useful keyword-rich content.

Blogging is the quickest and most basic place to start. Create content that educates and answers prospects’ questions. You should also be posting to social networking platforms. This can include links to your content, as well as content designed specifically for your social media account.

As you branch out, your content should include a variety of types of media: blog posts, articles, infographics, photos, social media posts, ebooks and white papers are all potential examples. The right mix for your brand will depend on your product and your audience.

Engagement and Conversion

Once the prospect is on your site, it is important to capture some information to continue with the buyer’s journey. Put premium content behind forms so that you can capture contact information. The forms should be easy and painless to fill out; otherwise, impatient readers may bounce.

Entice visitors to sign up for email offers and updates. This makes it easy for you to keep in contact and nurture the lead. Email series and regular newsletters are both great options for keeping your business in prospects’ minds as they work toward a buying decision.

It frequently takes many touches to close a sale. Create content that addresses all stages of the buyers journey so that you can be there with them as they continue to research and narrow down their choices.

Closing

This is where your lead becomes a client. Create landing pages for offers that are clear, compelling and end with a precise call-to-action. Once a decision is made, make buying as friction-free and easy as possible.

Keep track of the details about your customers using good customer relationship management (CRM) software. This allows you to develop a better idea of who your buyers are, which allows you to make content that is more personalized and directly addresses their needs.

Delight

Do everything in your power to ensure that your customer is happy. Check in with customer satisfaction surveys. Monitor social media so that you can respond quickly when a customer posts there with an issue or a gripe. Delighting your customers doesn’t just bring them back. It makes them advocates on your behalf, bringing you new prospects you may not have encountered without them. By always delivering an excellent product and service, you turn happy customers into advocates and champions of your brand.

Lara Stewart

Lara is a freelance writer and marketer who focuses on digital marketing, personal finance, health and wellness and entertainment. Hire her to write blog posts, articles, ebooks and white papers through her website, The Small Business Blogger.


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