The concept of “inbound marketing” was introduced to the marketing world by Hubspot in 2006 as an exciting and effective alternative to outbound marketing. With over a decade of real-world application, this marketing concept has proven to be a powerhouse in driving traffic and generating leads. Keep reading to understand how inbound marketing is different and what strategies you can incorporate into your advisor business today.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
Both outbound and inbound marketing are designed to attract and retain clients. With outbound marketing, your business’s marketing efforts are designed to disrupt the consumer’s life. Types of outbound marketing strategies include television or Youtube advertisements, billboards, emails (if the address was obtained by a paid email list), pop-up ads or any other type of unsolicited offer. While it can be effective, this marketing approach often appears spam-like to the user, can be expensive for your firm and often casts a wide, untargeted net yielding unqualified leads.
Alternatively, inbound marketing is the idea of allowing the user to seek you out, rather than the other way around. You’re making yourself visible to your targeted audience and drawing them in by providing important information, offers or services they may be interested in.
Inbound marketing is comprised of four main components: attract, engage, convert and delight. Within these four steps, inbound marketing is designed to take users through the necessary steps to go from total strangers to satisfied clients who advocate and promote your brand.
Inbound Marketing Goals & KPIs
Before building any of the strategies we’ll discuss below, you’ll want to carefully consider your goals for these inbound marketing campaigns. This will dictate what aspect of the campaign you should dedicate most of your time and resources too. Types of goals to consider could include increasing social shares, tripling your number of email subscribers or increasing Ebook downloads.
Whatever you choose to focus on, your inbound marketing goals should be SMART:
Once you’ve created some SMART goals, determine what KPIs (key performance indicators) will work best for measuring your success. These could include your number of social shares, keyword rankings or site traffic.
Tips for Successful Inbound Marketing Strategies
Implementing inbound marketing strategies is important, but keeping the following tips in mind can help you make your strategies more effective in driving traffic and converting clients:
- Strategies should work in tandem: Instead of focusing on one or two specific areas, create a complete, well-rounded inbound marketing campaign. Working alone, any one of these strategies may not be nearly as effective as they are when combined with others. It’s about consistent, relevant exposure to your message.
- Commit to constant trial and error: Content marketing is never set in stone. This offers both good and bad elements; meaning you must be fluid in strategy and stay diligent with best practices, but it also means if something isn’t working out, it can easily be changed. If your initial strategy is yielding less than desirable results, move on to plan B.
- Define your target persona: You can’t begin to target specific users if you can’t tell who those users are. Before you write your next post, determine who your “ideal” client is. Build a persona for them, and be specific. From age range and profession to net worth and family status, the more detailed the better. Keep this persona in the forefront of your mind while focusing on each strategy.
- Analyze the competition: Maybe you’re not the only financial advisor in your area specializing in retirement planning. See what your competitors are doing and focus on producing better content. Don’t think about how you can copy their strategies but rather improve upon what they’re already doing.
- Create a solid brand identity: Before you create the map for where you want to go, it’s important to understand who you are today. Figure out your position as a company and where your values and intentions lie. Throughout all of your inbound marketing efforts, make it clear what you’re going to give clients and then deliver on those promises.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Below are seven inbound marketing strategies designed to draw in traffic, raise brand awareness and generate leads.
Content creation stays steadfast among the top factors for driving traffic to a site. Craft content that provides valuable information that’s relevant to your target audience. If you’re looking to attract pre-retirees, produce posts pertaining to retirement planning topics. By addressing your target audience’s pain points, you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative voice on the subject matter and targeting keywords relevant to potential clients.
Make sure your content is unique because Google frowns upon duplicate content. If creating informative, targeted, unique content sounds tedious to you… you’re not alone! But the key to a successful return on content is consistency.
Again, consistent content yields results.
Whether you choose to post once a week, biweekly or every month, stick to it. Content is all about long-term investment. Expect to see an increase in traffic after about a year to a year and a half of consistent posting.
The good news is, all of that unique and valuable information can be used again in your newsletters and email blasts to clients and subscribers.
2. Advanced Content
Part of the reason you want to produce valuable and insightful blog posts is to establish yourself as a source of knowledge within your particular niche. A great way to further show your expertise and establish credibility is to produce advanced content – Ebooks, white papers, presentations, checklists or in-depth how-to guides. Use these types of offerings as lead magnets on your site, meaning the user is required to provide personal information in order to access the content.
Offering extended versions, checklists or variations to a topic covered in your blog lends itself perfectly to a CTA (call to action) that’s relevant and intriguing to the reader. As part of your inbound marketing strategy, it’s important that you use this gated content to take the user further down the sales funnel towards capturing leads.
3. Influencer Outreach & Off-Site Content
To reach a larger target audience and increase site visibility, consider contributing content off-site. This could include correspondences as a guest author on other blogs or as a quotable expert in online journals or publications. This is an effective method for increasing inbound links and establishing yourself as an authority within the community.
Consider connecting with other influencers in your niche to exchange posts or social media shares. These types of interactions are often beneficial to both parties because they create a wider audience base.
If we’re talking about content marketing, it should come as no surprise that SEO is a part of the conversation. Inbound marketing is all about having your target audience find you. This means your site needs to be visible, which can not be done without a proper SEO plan in place. While there are a number of ways to increase your visibility and rankings in Google through SEO, for inbound marketing purposes stay focused on keywords.
As you create content, utilize the important keywords you want to rank for most. As users are searching for them in Google, they can find your site organically. Therefore, an effective SEO strategy can boost inbound traffic.
5. Social Media
Social media is an effective tool for inbound marketing because it offers you a space to steadily build up an audience. It’s an especially important platform for encouraging engagement with your followers, from likes and comments to shares and retweets.
We recommend posting regularly on your social media channels and encouraging staff members to share on their personal pages as well. Provide a mix of new posts and old posts to re-engage users with content that may not be getting enough views. In addition, sharing relevant and informative third-party links can help build your credibility and provide more engagement opportunities for followers.
6. Email Subscribers
While obtaining emails through a paid email list is considered an outbound marketing tactic, building up a base of email subscribers is a great way to share content and nurture leads. This list of subscribers have already entered through the top of the sales funnel are interested in what you have to say, so sharing relevant information will ensure they revisit your site regularly.
Create an automated email marketing campaign that sends highly targeted information designed to move your email audience through the funnel based on their previous interactions with your site. This type of lead nurturing is a highly effective way to keep your business relevant to potential clients.
7. User-Focused Website Design
Website design has evolved and changed a tremendous amount – even within the last 10 years! Gone are the days of creating sites that mimicked the pages of a binder, book or brochure. Instead of trying to cram as much relevant info as possible on the homepage, we need to be focused on the user experience. Design your website – from the sitemap to specific CTAs – to instead guide the user to the information that is most relevant to them.
An avalanche of information won’t benefit anyone. Today’s readers are reliant on skimmable content, which means they won’t spend the time to sift through a poorly designed website. Instead, present the viewer with an easy-to-navigate roadmap and pepper your pages with plenty of opt-in forms to help qualify leads.
Success with Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is an advantageous alternative to outbound marketing thanks to its focus on quality content, organic traffic and user experience. Pick and choose what strategies may work best together to meet your specific goals and needs.