Typically, marketing and sales departments use a lot of traditional and digital means to reach audiences, but they miss out on important opportunities available through inbound marketing. If you don’t know the specifics of inbound marketing, or more importantly its value, know that there are effective tactics for generating leads and converting them to brand evangelists for you via this method. Here’s a quick tutorial.

Inbound 101
Inbound refers to the incoming traffic your brand is getting or wants to get. It’s customer-centric, as opposed to traditional/interruptive marketing, so you must create content that users want and need. No shade to traditional, but inbound works more efficiently for those who want to build trust with customers. An inbound methodology educates consumers in a way that makes them see their need for your product or service according to these phases: attract, convert, close and delight. Lets explore these.

Attract
Everyone knows the significance of identifying audiences and buyer personas. So, let’s skip to the meat. Know your ideal buyer, target them, help them, buy them ice cream … you get the picture. Turn these strangers into friends by providing engaging content. Like what, you ask? Blogs, whitepapers, social media and other educational content that creates awareness.

Convert
You’ve created awareness, and the prospect is nearly ready to take the plunge. What’s next? Create a place where visitors become qualified leads, such as a landing page. Once visitors know their problem, they look for a solution. You have an answer, so make an exchange—give them a clear call to action in exchange for their email address. Don’t forget a thank-you page to help foster that close connection. Build up some digital real estate! But I digress.

Close
If the landing page is optimized and beautiful, you potentially gain a qualified lead that you can nurture via email. Double check that the leads you garner are the right fit for you as a company, and then send them a personalized note. If you have an email newsletter, make sure it’s full of content that eases their pain points. Be human-centered. You can always throw in a free product demo or case study that applies to them if you are unsure of relevant content.

Delight
You’ve made it. They are a customer. Don’t stop here. Be innovative, communicative and educational. Continue to learn from them in order to provide a better customer experience. This is a great time to evaluate and empower your employees as well—the face and backbone of your business needs to be solid and happy. After that, conduct surveys, analyze feedback and follow up with the customer.

None of this can happen without great content. If you need some more details, I'm here to help. Just remember the content Golden Rule—focus 80% of content on persona’s interest, and 20% on your own interests and sales-related materials. Don’t let all of this marketing speak take away from creativity and intuition, but use it as a guideline to smart marketing. Good luck!