Much of the emphasis of inbound marketing is attracting the attention of people to your website who need your products and services. However, establishing a strong and positive brand reputation remains integral in building credibility within your marketplace. The more familiar people become with your company and product brand, the greater your ability to make a positive impression on them.
The following strategies contribute to establishing a powerful brand image using inbound marketing methods.
Make Your Message Personal
Search engine optimization and massive content volume dominated the early days of content marketing. However, in a competitive market, you need to create highly customized and personalized messages that resonate with a particular prospect base.
To succeed in content marketing, you need first to understand the traits, motives, and preferences of each buyer persona. Only by understanding the deep problems and frustrations faced by particular prospects can you craft a message that speaks to their emotions.
After building thorough buyer profiles, formulate your mix of content, including copy, images, and video, and present it in a concise way. Buyers use the Web to research solutions to their business problems. The more precise your answer, the more your brand resonates as a go-to source.
A previous article titled “Inbound Marketing Brings Your Brand Alive in the Human Era“, is a summary of a presentation by branding firm Hill Holliday. The presentation by their CEO describes how their company is transforming the message and advertising of large enterprises to project their human side. Inbound Marketing provides the same powerful methodology for small to medium sized firms.
Take the Smart SEO Approach
Search engine optimization remains an important component of online branding based on the volume of buyer search activity. To achieve success, though, think about how prospects search and emphasize quality content that Google algorithms prefer since Google now focuses on your search intent rather than purely keyword-based search results.
People tend to search “smarter” than they used to. Rather than entering two or three keywords, many people now enter a search query like, “How to improve Salesforce adoption?” Not only can this awareness help you in targeting the right long-tail keyword phrases, it prepares you to develop content that answers this query or problem. Blog articles are a common place where marketers need to optimize for search since they are the entry point of most visitors to your website. Learn the best practice for optimizing a blog for search with this previous article.
Engage Through Social Media
Just being present on social media and promoting content won’t do much to build your brand. Instead, develop a well-defined strategy that emphasizes the use of a few core tools that align with your audience’s habits.
In many high-tech and financial services industries, LinkedIn is a high-priority platform for networking and building a brand. Your company can use a business page and leaders can create personal profiles that project a consistent brand image. Use your profiles to outline core points of differentiation for your company and its solutions.
Other tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, offer their own branding opportunities. Engagement on Twitter includes looking for and responding to comments related to your brands. If you sell a particular software solution, for instance, look for Tweets from people struggling with the problem your solution addresses. It takes time to engage and build your brand on social media, but the synergy and momentum that comes from consistent activity is often high.
Understand Your Buyer’s Life Cycle
Speaking of synergy; consider the long-term implications of developing an army of loyal followers who help spread your brand like wildfire. To succeed in getting positive word-of-mouth and referrals, get to know your buyer’s life cycle.
The first stage of a buyer’s journey is an initial contact with your brand. Blogs, white papers, and video content are common inbound marketing tools used to create this initial encounter. Over time, your company needs to monitor the communication flow that leads to conversions and loyalty, and those that cause failures.
The next step is to have a plan for engaging prospects that take your initial call-to-action and visit your website. A positive user experience that includes easy navigation and usability is critical to your brand. Beyond that, continue the education of a now interested prospect with more in-depth resources, demonstrations and trial offers.
The real key to building your brand, though, is to transform a satisfied customer into a brand messenger. Follow-up to ensure ongoing success in the user experience, and seize opportunities to acquire testimonials. Encourage customers to endorse your company with a “recommendation” on LinkedIn, for instance. As you manage relationships with loyal buyers, you gain potential impressions via e-mail, social media and face-to-face mentions.
Use an Integrated CRM & Inbound Marketing Solution
Customer relationship management software is a major support tool for managing and measuring the buyer’s journey from initial contact through becoming a customer. It allows salespeople and marketing to capture data that leads to better interpretations of what inbound marketing strategies influence your customers the most and which lead sources provide the best prospects.
As you gather profile and behavioral data, you can use predictive analytics to gain perspectives that aid in continuous process improvement. Data helps you figure out which prospecting methods attract attention, and which marketing and selling strategies drive conversion and loyalty. After converting prospects into customers, sales reps can implement automated communication plans with customers that allow constant experience monitoring and additional sales opportunities.
Take a Multi-Channel Approach
One of the most important factors in branding through inbound marketing is implementing a multi-channel approach. Just as companies use broadcast, print, support and digital media in a traditional campaign, an assorted mix of inbound tools extends the reach of your brand message.
Companies that perform the best with inbound marketing normally include extensive content marketing, SEO, social media and e-mail in their plans. Presenting your message across all of these channels helps you reach more people, and create multiple impressions within high-priority market segments.
In the digital age, meeting prospects on their preferred turf is vital to inbound marketing effectiveness.
Conclusions – Content Strategy is King
Building a brand through inbound marketing requires a well-defined and multi-faceted strategy. Identify the deep needs of each specific buyer type, and then tailor content and social messaging to match. Use available technology to strengthen insights on the buyer experience, and to continually enhance the emotional appeal and precision of your messages
You can use our Inbound Marketing Buyer Persona Worksheet to begin to define your target audience. A content strategy that is very well aligned with your target buyer is the best approach to learn which content will attract and convert the ideal prospect to your business.