With digital marketing growing every day, most startups tend to burn cash on online advertising and outbound marketing with little knowledge about ROI and sustainability.
While outbound marketing is great and needs to be done, you have to understand and pin point the sources which are going to get you customers on a long term basis.
If spending X amount of money gets you Y amount of customers, the equation might look good in the beginning, but as soon as your funding dries up or a new entrepreneur builds something as good as your product/service, you can get in trouble.
The definitive answer to long term sustainable traffic, users and repeat customers: Inbound Marketing
Here is how you can use inbound marketing to build sustainable traffic and customers for life.
What is inbound marketing ?
Very simply put, inbound marketing is a set of activities that brings customers in rather than you reaching out to them in the form of cold emails or ads.
Building great content, webinars, free whitepapers and e-books are all forms of inbound marketing that can help you build credibility as a business and get more customers.
The inbound marketing funnel
Hubspot.com sums up inbound marketing in a very simple fashion
Let us break down this funnel and understand how you can implement it at your startup.
Providing valuable content to your audience is something you should always be focused on as an inbound marketer. Content could be delivered in the form of
- Blog posts on your website
- Videos and webinars
- Guest posts on other websites.
How to write content that your audience would love?
For this, let us jump into Google Keyword Planner
- Case 1 : Your business is an e-commerce site selling ethnic fashion and lifestyle products for women.
Now taking a cue from the keywords, you can easily come up with a post that revolves around these keywords and sounds something like
- 7 Indian wedding dresses you need to try in 2016
- 5 designer wedding dresses to try this summer
Case 2 : A B2B company that sells a SaaS platform for recruiters
In this case you can see that social recruiting is a popular search. So drafting an in-depth post about how to recruit using social media networks would be a good point to start with.
Once your content generation and promotion is settled, you need to put a hook on to everyone who comes in to view your content.
Here is how the guys at Hubspot make sure that I give them my email ID
At the end of almost every blog post, they have a valuable resource ( like this eBook) that they give away in lieu of an email.
In our above examples, you could create guides that cover ethnic fashion trends and recruitment practices and give that away for free in lieu of an email.
Most startups would start selling in the first go as soon as they get an email ID. The user gave his/her email ID for your content and not for your products. You need to understand that very well.
In the next set of emails to the user , you need to setup a drip email campaign that provides similar content that he or she might be interested in.
Understand the ones which interacted with your emails in a continuous fashion.
Only after a couple of interactions on email should you try and sell your product or service to these people who are engaged on a consistent basis.
There is so much to learn from your existing customers. Most startups are focused on new user acquisition and forget on understanding their existing customers.
Here is how you should go ahead
- Ask questions from your existing customers with feedback forms powered by Survey Monkey or good old Google forms.
- Learn about what they love about you and what they think you should change.
- Segment the most engaged customers and try to upsell them without being annoying. Getting money from a customer in the first go is extremely difficult. But upselling can grow your business if done in a scientific way.
- Use the power of referral marketing. The strongest source will always be word of mouth. Use email marketing and offer an incentive to people for referring more people to you.
Conclusion : Inbound marketing is a long term activity and doesn't show results overnight. However the earlier you invest, the better it is. At the end of the day, what is going to survive your business is users who come in on their own and talk about you.
Have you tried inbound marketing yet? I'd love to know
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)