Online Marketing is More Than Facebook and Monthly Email Newsletters
If you're hearing more and more about inbound or content marketing, that’s because your peers are figuring out that it’s the most efficient way to go about online built environment marketing. Nearly 60 percent of all marketers use inbound marketing techniques, according to a HubSpot report, recognizing that customers not only listen to but like, that approach.
Inbound marketing is a direct response to how the Internet and social media changed the way customers interact with companies. Consumers don’t take your word for it that you’re the best architect, interior designer or design-build firm; they research your business before deciding. They expect personalized interactions, and in the online places, they prefer to hang out. They don’t allow us to buy their trust or loyalty; we have to prove it.
So, What Is Inbound Marketing Exactly?
It involves creating valuable online content that brings customers to us, not the other way around. Key strategies include blogging, search engine optimization, social media posts, interactive websites, white papers, blogs, videos and email marketing. The goal is to create interesting content that people want to read.
For example, an interior designer might post a blog counting down the year’s top 10 design trends. When a person interested in learning about the topic finds the blog via a web search or social media and finds it helpful, the designer has made a connection with a potential customer. The person might share the blog with friends, join your email list and consider you when it comes time to hire an interior designer. It’s a more natural, organic way to go about built environment marketing.
Interruptive built environment marketing, on the other hand, involves pushing your messages onto people and hoping they stick. TV and radio commercials, print advertisements, billboards and flyers all fall under this category. There are still uses for outbound marketing, but its effectiveness is diminishing as consumers increasingly tune out these messages.
Mastering Inbound Built Environment Marketing
Inbound marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing and we use Hatchbuck for inbound marketing. According to the same 2013 HubSpot report, marketers say 34 percent of their leads come from inbound efforts, compared to 22 percent from outbound. Of course, some expertise is required to convert your inbound marketing into leads. Here are some tips:
Produce great content - The success of inbound built environment marketing involves creating blogs, social media posts, white papers and other content that is actually interesting and valuable to potential customers. Think about what they want to read. The more you help them, the more you build a reputation as a trusted brand.
Be sincere - Your content should come off as authentic and relatable. Be authoritative but conversational. Don’t try to pass off advertising as advice; it will be obvious. You can talk about the merits of your services, but don’t be pushy.
Incorporate SEO - Search engine optimization, or getting your content to rank high in search results, is crucial to your inbound built environment marketing strategy. You might have a great blog, but if it’s difficult to find in search results, your marketing will have little reach. If you don’t understand SEO, hire someone who does.
Use calls to action - These clickable buttons or links prompt potential customers towards a landing page and contact form. Invite them to join your email list, take advantage of a special offer or book a free consultation. Encourage them to act, and they just might.