In a time where consumers are accessing content more often in digital formats, you might think it would be hard for a rare bookseller to increase its following and grow its customer base.
But for Charleston, South Carolina’s Books Tell You Why, a streamlined inbound marketing plan was all it took to increase traffic, leads, and new customers.
This case study from HubSpot details how the antiquarian book store incorporated marketing automation, content creation, email marketing, customer segmentation and a CRM to effectively grow its business.
By leveraging blog content, social media marketing, landing pages, forms, and email workflows, Books Tell You Why generated 80% more traffic, increased leads by 158%, and saw an 18% rise in new customers.
So, what can you do to craft a killer inbound marketing strategy this year? Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Figure out the basics
Just like all forms of marketing strategy, inbound requires that you have three things down pat. You must:
- Know your brand
- Know your competitors
- Know your target audience
Before implementing its successful inbound marketing plan, Books Tell You Why correctly pinpointed its brand positioning and understood the needs of its target audience. The book seller realized that people were increasingly using electronic devices to read for information, but the appeal of books as collectible objects had been on the rise.
Books Tell You Why began using website analytics and data to learn from customers and deliver targeted offerings. This also allowed the retailer to reduce dependency on pay-per-click advertisements as a traffic generator and focus on the prospects that were most likely to purchase a rare first edition.
With a little research and creativity, a knowledge of your brand, and a pretty good understanding of your competition, you can use metrics and analytics to tweak your buyer personas to more effectively identify and cater to your target audiences.
2. Determine whether your website is the asset you need it to be
Since your website may be the place your target audience goes to get their all-important first impression of your company, you must ensure that what they encounter upon arrival is what you want them to see. This involves paying close attention to such things as:
- Responsive design and website optimization
- Ease of navigation
- Eye-pleasing colors, fonts, and beautifully rendered images
- Fast loading speed on landing pages
3. Use great SEO techniques
While the term search engine optimization (SEO) has been used ad nauseam in the marketing world, there can be no denying the fact that SEO still matters. When choosing your keywords, think like your audience thinks. When a customer is searching for a solution to his or her problem, what words and phrases will that customer type into a search engine?
Finding the answer to that question is the basis of good SEO. Once you establish your keyword strategy, use keywords in your page headers, your blogs, your meta descriptions, and everywhere else you can do so naturally.
Avoid keyword stuffing, as search engines do not appreciate the practice any more than your customers will. Remember that keywords are important, but relevant content is even more important for good SEO.
Link to other posts or pages on your site and on outside sites to build rich content that your target audience will appreciate. Provide premium content in the way of whitepapers, eBooks, and other long-form content that gives readers in-depth understanding of relevant subject matter and establishes you as an authority in your field.
4. Nurture your leads across all channels
Inbound marketing is about using a multi-channel approach to pull your audience in. Make good use of social media platforms to keep your brand in the forefront of the minds of your target audience.
Books Tell You Why found that many of its best customers were Google Plus users, and the bookseller now utilizes that platform to get the most involvement from its followers. Depending on your organization, you may find your contacts prefer to engage with your content most on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or another social media platform.
Encourage sharing by displaying social media buttons prominently on your content. Let your audience begin to do some of the marketing for you.
5. Provide excellent service after you seal the deal
If you want to experience consistent, explosive growth, it is essential to continue to nurture your customer relationships long after conversion. Inbound marketing involves a steady, consistent stream of relevant content, segmented according to stages of the customer lifecycle.
One of Books Tell You Why’s stated goals was to increase customer loyalty. One of the ways that the retailer did this was through email nurturing and targeted messaging. Knowing that a customer preferred a certain type of literature allowed them to send messages tailored to those specific interests, rather than unrelated topics. This approach helped boost click-through rates and goodwill with contacts.
Your nurturing efforts must be targeted, relevant, and continual. In this way, you build not just a one-time sale, but a customer for life — a loyal brand advocate who will remain a customer and help you convert other customers over time.
6. Measure your efforts
Consistency does not mean that you will continue to do the same thing over and over again, however. Rather, it is important to analyze how your inbound strategy is working and make continual adjustments where needed.
Prior to embracing an inbound marketing approach, Books Tell You Why struggled to verify the success of its email campaigns. With inbound marketing tools, however, the book seller has been able to better segment its lists and follow up with customized messages to thousands of prospective customers.
Inbound marketing is not a paint-by-the-numbers endeavor. It is a truly creative process that flows with market trends and keeps pace with the customer journey. Appropriate analysis of your ROI will help you not only understand which efforts are driving success, but will give you a better understanding of your customers’ needs and wants.
If you are interested in learning about how other organizations have implemented successful inbound marketing strategies, visit the HubSpot website for additional case studies from a wide variety of industries.
Your website is a key component of a successful inbound marketing strategy. Download our Growth-Driven Design Playbook to see how you can update your website based on visitor data and inbound insights.
This article originally appeared on the Inbound 281 blog and is republished with permission.
6 Ways You Can Use Inbound Marketing To Grow Your Business