Build your brand with inbound marketing.
Do you need a secret brand-building weapon? Inbound marketing could be the answer. This blog shows you how.
For inbound marketing techniques think blogs, infographics, podcasts, webinars, photos and videos – shareable, entertaining or educational content that offers something of value to potential customers.
Inbound marketing is a more subtle, less obtrusive approach than traditional, outgoing marketing (typically print, radio or tv advertising). It attracts people when they’re looking for, or are receptive to information, rather than interrupting them with blatant, disruptive advertising messages (which are all too often ignored).
And because it offers something of genuine value, rather than just shouting brand messages, it draws potential customers in, keeps them engaged, turns them into brand advocates and promises to deliver much greater returns.
Get inbound marketing right and your customers will come to you. Time and time again.
This post shows you 5 ways that successful inbound marketing will build your brand – and how to do it.
1. Builds brand personality.
In his influential and inspirational Creative Advertising book, Mario Pricken says doodles have three advantages:
Strong brands need strong brand personalities and inbound marketing is the perfect approach for building and communicating brand personality.
Space. Opportunity. Control.
Inbound marketing techniques such as blogs, webinars, infographics, eBooks, photos and video content all give you the ‘owned’ space and opportunity to really build and demonstrate your brand personality, whenever and however you want.
With your own brand platforms, you are in control of the format and look and feel of your content. There’s no need to worry about undesirable or unexpected clutter around your brand and which of your competitors will have a presence opposite your paid space, as can be the case with traditional print media.
Whether you’re a professional services firm creating thought leadership and ‘how to’ guides, a DIY store with a coffee-break style weekly interior and lifestyle blog, or even a mortician using YouTube to help people talk about the taboo subject of death (with more than 49,000 subscribers Caitlin Doughty’s doing something right), creating regular content gives you the opportunity to build and reinforce your brand personality over time.
JWI top tip: Be consistent and always keep your brand personality in mind, whether you’re creating eye-catching imagery or video, engaging written content, recording a series of webinars, or even (especially) when you’re responding to comments or questions from followers or customers. Make sure everyone involved in content creation knows and uses your brand’s tone of voice.
2. Builds brand credibility.
By creating informative, entertaining or innovative content you’re able to
demonstrate your brand’s expertise, position your brand as a market leader, earn a solid reputation as an authority in your field and gain a following of warm leads and potential new customers.
Get it right and you’ll turn your warm leads into brand advocates and promoters who actively seek and share your content, and buy your products or services.
Content is king. Successful inbound marketing relies on brilliant content marketing – the creation of great content that resonates perfectly with your target audience.
It’s shareable content with a multichannel approach – content that people want to share, even ‘show off’ with (‘look at me, I follow this great brand and this is what they’re saying’), and is designed to be easily shared across a range of online and social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, email and blogs for starters.
JWI top tip: You know your stuff, so don’t be afraid to show it. What may seem obvious to you will be something new and enlightening to others. Be clear on what you do, stick to what you know and make sure your content reflects your experience and expertise. Don’t try and be something you’re not.
3. Builds brand engagement.
Inbound marketing channels such as blogs and social media encourage two-way conversation. The option to post comments and give opinion on content means you’re no longer just shouting as best and as loudly as you can, but part of meaningful conversation, discussion and debate. Use this feedback well and it’s another way to learn and understand your audience.
Plus, by giving people something of value and interest, you are helping your brand become a useful and relevant part of their daily life.
If you really get it right you become an essential necessity, a ‘can’t do without brand’. At that point, people will actively hunt for your content and sign up for regular updates into their inbox or newsfeed.
JWI top tip: Think quality not quantity – don’t turn people off with spammy content – their anti-advertising detectors will spring into action and they’ll stop listening and engaging. If you really make the spam-o-meter swing you’ll do more brand damage than good.
Invest time and effort creating good quality content that people will love and want to share with friends and colleagues. Mix it up using a variety of formats to keep the delivery from growing stale and predictable.
4. Builds brand affinity – or a loyal customer base.
By offering something of value, and demonstrating a shared understanding of your audience’s issues and experiences, you’re helping people love your brand.
And who doesn’t want to be loved?
We all want more customers and there’s no shame in that. It’s absolutely what marketing and business all comes down to. Building brand love is one of the best ways (if not the best way) of creating a long-term customer growth strategy for your brand.
Building a marketing strategy that entices and engages people through perfectly pitched content, and an understanding of what makes them ‘tick’, rather than chasing them down the street with a giant billboard, means greater brand love, greater engagement, greater brand affinity – and ultimately more customers.
JWI top tip: Research your audience. Be clear on who your potential customers are, what interests and concerns them, what information and answers they are seeking and build a content plan with them in mind.
Content which clearly demonstrates your understanding of their needs, wants, and issues will resonate and win you loyalty points, whilst inspiring, educational, entertaining or insightful content will keep people interested and coming back for more.
6. Builds brand (or website) traffic
Thanks to searchable and shareable content, successful inbound marketing means that people find you (and your website), rather than you hunting to find them.
Content is easily found because you’ve mastered your SEO and written or designed it to meet your audience’s needs with relevant, natural language. It’s useful content that perfectly answers their search terms and clear and simple links easily direct people to your website landing page.
The process is cyclical too, meaning that providing valuable and relevant content gives people a reason and opportunity to become willing, independent and unbiased promoters and brand advocates, sharing your content across social networks so it’s seen by friends, colleagues, followers – people with shared interests – your new potential customers.
Plus, the more it’s shared and viewed, the higher up the search rankings your content will go, making it even easier to find, raising the visibility and profile of your brand, increasing the likelihood of the people liking or following your social media platforms, visiting your website, engaging with your brand and becoming a customer.
JWI top tip: Include ‘call to action’ links to landing pages, directing people to the pages and web content you want them to see. Make sure to have sign-up forms on landing pages to capture visitor interest, turn them into leads, and, with appropriately targeted email campaigns, turn them into customers.
One final word: As with all brand communications, establish some form of quality control to ensure you deliver consistently good content that your audience will enjoy or find useful. If it doesn’t make the grade, don’t publish it.