Before, it was limited to SEO, content marketing, and other organic methods.
However, now, it includes a much broader range of marketing strategies, from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to social media strategies and beyond.
Even today “inbound marketing tactics generate 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing methods”.
But one thing stays the same — inbound marketing is still about attracting customers to your business. It is a way to bring them to the top of your sales funnel, even if they never make a purchase.
If you want to make the most of your inbound marketing efforts, you have to have the right strategies in place — and invest in the right CRM. And Hubspot, as we know, is one of the best CRMs for inbound marketing. But unfortunately, its subscription model can be pricey for smaller businesses.
As a large agency or a vetted consultant splurging $800-3,200 per month on a Hubspot subscription is worth it. But for someone running a small business, it’s a hefty price to pay.
Additionally, any small business that has just started off cannot even think about splurging so much on a HubSpot subscription
No need to worry – there are plenty of great Hubspot alternatives that cost far less than Hubspot. And all of them offer some great features. Some alternatives to consider include:
Read more about the best HubSpot Alternatives for small businesses.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Once you have a budget-friendly CRM in place; you can focus on the actual inbound marketing strategies. Here are 32 effective strategies that you should consider:
Double-down on SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the foundation of inbound marketing. SEO helps potential customers find you in the first place.
To maximize your SEO efforts, you should start by researching long-tail keywords relevant to your services or products. Once you have identified these keywords, create content focused on them.
This content can be blog posts, website pages, infographics or any other format. Now, you have to use these keywords in the titles and meta descriptions of these pages. This will help search engine crawlers understand the context of your content.
Focus on website design
Now, this might not be a marketing strategy in the traditional sense of the word, but it is an important part of your inbound marketing strategy.
Make sure that your website is responsive and user-friendly. People are more likely to engage with your website if it is clear and easy to navigate.
All the important information is easy to find, and all the links work without any hiccups.
Work with a reputed web design company to ensure that your website is up to the mark.
Embrace zero-click content
Zero-click content is content that meets the needs of visitors without them needing to click to learn more or take any action.
For example, if someone searches for “what is an eCommerce store”, they should get the answer to their query right away.
Your inbound marketing strategy should try to create zero-click content. This could be in the form of blog posts, infographics, diagrams, etc. This will help you generate more leads without additional effort.
Optimize for voice search
Per Oberlo, 40.2 percent of the United States population uses voice search features.
This means that if you aren’t optimizing your content for voice search, you are missing out on a large chunk of potential leads
To optimize for voice search, you should make sure that your content is written in a conversational tone, and keep your keyword list exclusive to phrases and questions that people would ask if they were talking directly to you.
Leverage social media
Social media can be used for inbound marketing in a few ways. Some top methods to leverage social media for inbound marketing include:
- Establish a presence on relevant platforms: Take the time to develop and optimise accounts on platforms where your target audience is engaging.
- Create valuable content: Develop content that specifically speaks to the target audience and encourages them to follow, engage and share.
- Utilize relevant hashtags: Research and select relevant hashtags to ensure your content appears where it is most likely to be seen.
- Participate in conversations: Follow relevant conversations, use the hashtag and engage by responding to comments, etc.
- Run targeted ads: Reach a wider audience through targeted ads on social media platforms.
- Develop influencer partnerships: Contact relevant influencers to discuss how you can collaborate to reach a new audience.
- Track performance: Keep track of how your social media efforts are performing. This includes tracking likes, comments, shares, reach and more.
- Use social listening tools: Social listening tools can help keep track of conversations, trends and conversations you may have missed.
Related reading: Social Media Tools: The Ultimate List (82 Free And Paid Tools)
Nail down brand voice and storytelling
Brand voice and storytelling are oft-overlooked aspects of inbound marketing. But they are crucial to building a connection with your leads and customers.
Your brand voice is what will help to differentiate you from the competition and give you an edge in your marketing. It's the unique combination of words, tone, and personality that gives your brand identity and clarity
To nail down your brand voice, define your audience and your goals, and then start to see what type of language resonates with them. Keep an eye for patterns in the words customers use and create a list of adjectives, verbs, and phrases that fit with your brand's persona.
Also consider the various types of mediums you may use in your inbound marketing: blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. These different mediums will require different voices, so be sure to consider the context in which each medium is used.
Once you have a solid concept of your brand's voice, you can start to create stories that will help to convey it. Use the brand voice to tell memorable stories that will drive home your message and improve customer engagement.
Good stories draw people in and make them feel connected to your brand. Keep the stories simple and focused on core values — and try to use interesting visuals to help paint the picture.
Create a lead magnet
Lead magnets are offers that you give to potential customers in exchange for their contact information. They are effective in getting leads to sign up for your list.
You can offer anything from discounts to whitepapers, eBooks, reports and more. If you have an eCommerce store, you can offer free shipping. Make sure to create a lead magnet that is customized to the interests of your target audience. Tips to create effective lead magnets are:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Offer something valuable
- Create customized offers
- Don’t forget to promote the offer
- Offer something that won’t take a lot of effort to deliver
Use email marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool for inbound marketing. It lets you reach out to leads and customers directly and build relationships with them.
Send regular newsletters with relevant content, offers and promotions to keep leads engaged. Create trigger-based emails that are sent to customers based on their behavior.
In addition, consider segmenting your emails to ensure that the content resonates with the target audience. This particularly helps in boosting open rates and improving conversion rates.
Related reading: 16 Email Marketing Metrics To Track Or Measure The Success
Create a content calendar
Content calendars are a great way to stay organized and plan out content in advance.
It helps you create content consistently and share it on the right platforms at the right times.
Create an editorial calendar with specific timelines for content creation, review, editing and publishing. This will ensure that your inbound marketing content is always up-to-date and relevant to your target audience.
Think of content calendars as efficiency boosters for marketers, as it helps to streamline the content-creating process.
Leverage influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a great way to build a larger audience and create content that resonates with your target audience.
Reach out to influencers who are relevant to your niche. Offer them free or discounted products in exchange for reviews, testimonials or even video campaigns. When they promote your content, it will reach a larger and more relevant audience
This will help you get more organic leads and convert them into customers with ease.
Lay out a distribution strategy
Simply uploading content isn’t enough. You need to lay out an effective distribution strategy to ensure that your content reaches your target audience and encourages engagement.
Identify the channels where your target audience is most active. Then create content specifically for those channels, and promote it through ads and organic methods
Finally, measure and track the performance of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if a certain type of content is performing better on certain channels, you can create more content in that style.
Create more video content
It’s 2023, and we know for a fact that video content is here to stay. According to Statista, 82 percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2021.
So if you’re not leveraging video content already, now is the time to start.
Video content is more engaging and helps you get more attention from your target audience. You can create explainer videos, interviews, demo videos and more. You can also use Live Video Streaming services such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live. This will help you to engage with your audience in real-time and get instant feedback
Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are key to optimizing your content for search engine rankings
These are longer, more specific keyword phrases that have less competition but still get a lot of searches
For example, instead of using the keyword “content marketing”, use a long-tail keyword such as “how to use content marketing for inbound leads in 2023.
This will make your content more relevant to the searcher’s intent, and help you rank higher in search engine result pages.
Make sure to use a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords in your content, as both of them are important for improving your SEO rankings.
Use CTAs sparingly
CTAs or calls to action are like the bread and butter of inbound marketing.
But if you use too many of them, you risk overwhelming your customers and turning them away.
Effective CTAs help the customer take the desired action, but too many of them can be annoying and off-putting.
The best way to use CTAs is to have a few of them sprinkled throughout your content and in your emails. Make sure that the CTAs make sense in the context of your content and add value to the customer experience.
Automate as much as you can
Automation is a great way to save time and effort when it comes to marketing.
From email campaigns to social media posts, you can automate almost every aspect of running your inbound marketing campaigns.
Using automation, you can create personalized drip campaigns, schedule social media posts, automate customer service tasks, and much more. Automating your marketing processes helps you focus on other important tasks and be more productive.
Even for content, you can use notion + webflow to create and update content quickly.
By automating mundane tasks, you can free up more time to create more meaningful content and focus on your core tasks.
Make use of PR
Pitching your story to the press can help you reach a broader audience and generate more brand awareness
By leveraging public relations, you can get your brand and content in front of potential customers, and get featured in industry-specific magazines and websites
Research and identify the right publications for your target audience and reach out to them with a compelling story. If you want to get your content noticed, make sure to create content that is relevant, up-to-date, and useful for your target audience.
Answer questions on forums
While there are lots of ways to share your content with your target audience, answering questions on forums is a great way to increase user engagement.
By responding to questions and offering useful advice, you’ll be able to reach more users and generate more leads.
Forums are a great way to interact with customers, uncover the needs and problems of your target audience, and show that you’re knowledgeable about your industry.
Quora, for example, is a great place to answer questions and engage with potential customers. Reddit is another forum you can use to reach out and help solve problems.
Per Campaign Monitor “31% of B2B marketers say that sending email newsletters is the best way to nurture leads”
Email newsletters are still one of the best ways to engage your target audience.
You can create newsletters to promote your latest content, share industry updates and insights, and notify them about updates to your products and services.
Make sure to keep your newsletters engaging and relevant to your target audience. Provide valuable content and useful insights, and keep the focus on the reader.
Also, be sure to use segmentation to personalize your emails and make them more targeted to the recipient.
Don't miss out on FAQ content
FAQ content is an important and often overlooked component of inbound marketing.
Having FAQ content helps your customers and users find the answers they need quickly and easily. You can add FAQ pages to your website, create FAQ videos, and even include them in your marketing emails.
Make sure to include questions that customers are likely to ask and consider adding follow-up questions and answers to elaborate further. This will help them get the most comprehensive answer to their question.
Podcasts for the win
Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing forms of media in the world today.
According to Statista, the number of podcast listeners worldwide is projected to reach around 830 million by 2025
Podcasts are great for reaching a larger and more targeted audience, and for engaging with them on a more personal level
To get started, create a podcast that is tailored to your target audience. You can feature experts in your domain, talk about industry trends, or simply answer customer questions
Once you have your podcast up and running, you can promote it on your website, other podcast networks, and social media sites
Events, be in-person or virtual, is a great way to engage with your target audience and generate new leads
Organizing an event helps you to build relationships with your target audience, establish your brand as an authority, and increase brand awareness
You can host webinars, live streams, and even virtual conferences. Offer valuable content, interesting discussions, and thought-provoking topics that will draw your audience in.
Be sure to promote your event on your website, emails, and social media. You can also use influencers and other industry experts.
Communities are like the bedrock of inbound marketing — they help foster relationships and create meaningful engagement with your target audience.
Creating a community around your brand or product helps create a sense of loyalty, trust, and camaraderie.
Online communities offer you the opportunity to connect with potential customers, listen to their feedback, and stay up to date with industry trends.
Platforms like Slack, Discord and Telegram are ideal to create a space for discussion, knowledge sharing, and reaching out to potential customers.
Be sure to moderate the conversations, provide valuable content and resources, and engage with members as much as possible.
Use heat maps
Heat maps are a great way to uncover areas where customers are struggling while using your website or product.
Heat maps help you visualize how your customers interact with your site, what pages they visit, and how they navigate through your website.
By using heat maps, you can get a better understanding of their user experience and optimize accordingly.
You can use the insights gained from heat maps to make design changes and adjust the content on your site for better customer engagement.
Dabble into affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great option for inbound marketing. It is an inexpensive and effective way to reach potential customers and bring them to your website.
With affiliate marketing, you can partner with other websites or businesses and have them promote your products or services on their website.
This can help you to expand the reach of your inbound marketing efforts, increasing your visibility and potentially generating more leads and sales.
Additionally, affiliates often offer incentives to those who purchase goods or services from them, helping to further entice potential customers to try your products or services.
Related reading: Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? Or Rather, Change Its Shape Entirely?
Future of inbound marketing
The future of inbound marketing looks promising; as technology advances, marketers will have more freedom to be imaginative and explore cutting-edge ways to connect with their target customers.
Inbound marketing will continue to be dominated by content marketing, social media, and SEO as businesses attempt to build experiences for their target customers rather than merely advertising to them.
In order to customise their efforts and improve success, marketers will need to rely heavily on analytics and data-driven insights.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools will play a bigger role in helping marketers carry out their marketing strategies efficiently. Customer experience (CX) is also expected to grow in importance in inbound marketing as businesses work to give their clients a consistent experience throughout the buyer's journey.
Inbound marketers will ultimately need to stay on their toes to make sure they are reaching their audience in the most appropriate fashion because the future of inbound marketing is certain to be full of innovation and experimentation.
Additionally, inbound marketing will still be a brilliantly economical strategy, especially when compared to conventional outbound techniques.
With a focus on using technology, data, and personalisation, inbound marketing efforts' return on investment is only expected to rise, making them an excellent option for businesses to maximise their resources.