7 Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies

July 18, 2018

Inbound marketing strategies that help engage your target audience include applying the "80/20" rule to your content, using emotionally charged headlines, and investing in video for email marketing. 

Consumers like to control their purchasing decisions.

In 2016, Searchmetrics measured purchasers online behavior. It found:

  • 92% of B2B purchases start with an internet search
  • 81% of B2C shoppers research online before buying
  • Consumers progress close to 60% of the way through the buying process before they ever engage with a sales rep.

Because customers conduct their search process on their own, your business needs an inbound marketing strategy to engage them during the purchasing process. 

Inbound marketing is a digital marketing approach focused on attracting a targeted audience and helping them through the buying process using websites, search engines, blogs, and social media.

This article shares 7 inbound marketing strategies you can use to attract your target audience, convert visitors into subscribers and leads, and close more sales.

1. Apply the Pareto Principle to Your Content Publishing

The Pareto Principle, also know as the "80/20 rule," is widely used in the business world. This rule states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The 80/20 rule can be used to guide and improve your content marketing efforts. Content marketing is a technique that involves creating and sharing valuable relevant and consistent content. Content marketing is an essential component of your inbound marketing strategy and works to attract a target audience.

You can use the Pareto Principle as a benchmark for your publishing efforts over time by keeping track of which of your web pages generate the majority of your traffic.

With this information, you can make informed decisions about the type of content you should focus on creating.

Specifically, by updating content that already performs well on your site, you can generate more targeted search traffic to your website.

Here's how it works:

Step 1. Login to Google Analytics. Go to the Behavior tab -> Site Content -> All Pages.

Site Content Analytics Tab

Step 2: Set your timeframe for the last six months.

Google Analytics Timeframe

Step 3: Look at the total number of Pageviews and multiply that number by .8. The answer represents 80% of your total Pageviews.

Starting with the pages with the highest number of pageviews, add each page’s views until you reach the 80% of your total views. These are the pages that generate 80% of the traffic to your website. 

Step 4: Determine how well your top pages rank. Do this by searching the main keywords or terms of each article using a tool like ahrefs

If your web pages don't rank in the top 3 on target search engine results pages (SERPs), evaluate the competing web pages that rank in the first 3 SERP positions and look for ideas to improve your rankings.

This will help inform how you can improve your articles by making them more informative and valuable (for example, by providing step-by-step instructions). Make sure you republish using the same URL and let your social network know about your new and improved post.

Improving and republishing content helps to retain the traffic that your webpage currently receives from search and increases the chances that it ranks for target keywords. Ultimately, this approach can result in more traffic back to your website.

2. Focus on Medium-Tail Keyword Topics Over Long-Tail 

Google uses a machine learning system called RankBrain to interpret language and understand what you’re asking.

According to Bloomberg, RankBrain is now the 3rd most important ranking factor behind links and content.

RankBrain is designed to do 2 things:

  1. Interpret search queries that people are searching
  2. Measure how people interact with the result

The importance of RankBrain means businesses need to optimize content around broad, core topics. Broader topics allow you to cover several specific subjects and key terms within the same article and makes it easier to write in-depth, long-form content that provides a ton of value to multiple audiences.

Optimizing around core topics also means optimizing your web pages around medium-tailed keywords.

Medium-tailed keywords are search terms that are not highly focused or incredibly broad. Their search traffic is fairly low, like long-tailed keywords, but, they're not so broad that they get a wide variety of audiences, which can make it next to impossible to rank.

Here's how to find medium-tailed keywords:

Step 1: Use Google Keyword Planner and search a broad seed topic like "digital marketing," and sort the results by average monthly searches. 

Google Keyword Planner Average Monthly Searches

Step 2: Find a medium-tailed keyword topic such as "what is digital marketing."

RankBrain understands search query relationships and shows similar search results for these related searches. This means that writing an article on “What is digital marketing” and including a section about “business to business digital marketing” provides your article an opportunity to show up on both SERPs.

Optimizing your content around medium-tailed keywords gives your articles the ability to rank on an array of related search terms, driving more traffic to your website.

3. Write In-Depth Content

Publish content that is at least 2,000 words. That way you cover everything a searcher needs to know about a topic.

A Backlinko study found that longer-form content, such as buyer's guides and long-form blog posts, outrank short articles in Google.

Content total word count vs. Google position

Searchmetrics also found that the average “dwell time,” or time that searchers spend on a page before returning to SERPs, for a top 10 Google search results is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

This means you should write in-depth content (2,000+ words) that provides utility and motivates visitors to stay on your page longer.

4. Emotionally Energize Your Headlines

There are 2 million blog post written every day. Because of this content overload, if you are unable to make an emotional connection with your headline, people will skip over your article

To create an effective headline, I suggest using the Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer from the Advanced Marketing Institute. 

This program calculates the "Emotional Marketing Value" (EMV) of a headline by comparing the words of your headline with the words from an EMV "Impact" list.

In addition to the EMV score, you will find out which emotion your headline makes the most impact with. For example, the EMV score for a CrossFit headline example: "25 Delicious Keto Diet Foods to Try Today " is a 37.50% with an emotion classification of “Spiritual.”

Emotional Marketing Value Headline score

This score indicates that your headline has a total of 37.50% Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) words.

For comparison, most professional copywriters' headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines. The higher your score is, the more of an emotional impact your headline will make with readers.

If we changed the headline to "Keto Diet: 25 Tasty Meals to Try Today", we would record an EMV score of 50% and an emotion classification of both “Intellectual” and “Spiritual”.

5. Use Bucket Brigades

Bucket Brigades are words and phrases that keep people on your webpage. They make your visitors want to continue reading. Use them wherever you want to grab your readers' attention.

Examples of bucket brigades include:

  • Look:
  • Bottom line?
  • I can’t emphasize enough:
  • Here’s the deal:
  • But there’s a catch.
  • What’s the real story?
  • How can you actually use this?
  • The best part?
  • What does this matter?
  • That’s not all...
  • For example

When you read bucket brigades, it opens up a little information gap in your mind, and you can’t help but read the next sentence.

6. Use "Expanded Content Offers" to Drive Subscriptions 

If you want to convert website traffic into subscribers, then you need to provide your visitors with a "next step" offer.

Offers can be as simple as providing a bonus tip about a topic that you cover in a blog article. I call these “expanded content offers.”

Expanded content offers can maximize the number of subscribers you get from your blog content.

Here's how to do it.

Step 1: Write an in-depth blog article or guide that provide utility around a medium-tailed keyword, for example,  step-by-step instructions on how to use your product or service.

Here’s an example of a piece that I recently published, titled “What is Inbound Marketing?

What is Inbound Marketing Definitive Guide

This article provides step-by-step instructions on inbound marketing using medium-tailed keywords.

Step 2: Turn your article into a PDF that you can email to readers who would like to get a copy. If you’ve written an in-depth article (2,000+ words) that provides a ton of utility, your readers will want to get a copy of the article emailed to them for future reference. All you have to do is turn your article into a downloadable PDF, and you have an offer that can be used to convert website traffic into subscribers.

Step 3: Add a “Call Out Box” to showcase your offer. You can encapsulate the background in color to make it stand out.

Call Out Box example

Add your call out box near the top of your blog post to inform readers how to quickly get a copy of the guide emailed to them with the included bonus

We have found expanded content offers to work exceptionally well, and your audience will be delighted to hear from you when you have another helpful article to share on a related topic.

7. Include Video in Your Emails

Video helps establish a personal connection with your audience. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider using video to boost your inbound marketing efforts:

  • According to Clum Creative, embedded videos in website content can increase traffic by up to 55%.
  • Additionally, adding a product video to your landing page can increase conversions by 80%.
  • Including a video in your email and mentioning "video" in your subject line boosts open rates by 19%.

The point is, everyone gets text emails every day. Adding a personal video to your email will make you stand out from the crowd.

Use Google Chrome’s extension called "Loom" to create a personalized video for your email communication

Step 1: Download the Loom extension.

Loom Extenstion

Once you download, the small square icon below should appear in your extensions. 

Step 2: Click the Loom icon and start recording.

Here's an example of a Loom video that I use in my email signature:

Loom Video Screenshot

Loom videos are great for making an introduction, training videos, and providing customer support. 

You can use loom in your follow up emails to make a personal connection, provide a quick demo, or explain and show how something works, all of which will help you to improve your sales process.

Use Inbound Marketing to Attract, Retain, and Convert Target Audiences

Consumers investigate your content as part of their buying decision by using search engines and social media to seek recommendations from peers. They do this at their leisure without needing to speak to a sale rep.

Use the tips and techniques provided in this article to improve your inbound marketing efforts so that you can engage them during this process. 

Successful companies have recognized these new buying behaviors. They use inbound marketing to get found by providing helpful educational content optimized for search and social, converting visitors into subscribers and leads, and by nurturing sales leads through the buying journey.

About the Author

Keith Gutierrez Headshot

Keith leads the Modgility team. He's an inbound professional and certified HubSpot trainer. Keith is proficient in SEO, SEM, CRO, and social media. He enjoys helping business leaders and marketers transform their businesses and drive profitable growth with inbound marketing and sales.