Inbound Marketing Strategies Can Differ But Still Be Effective
There once was a time when all marketing efforts were categorized as what is now known as outbound marketing. That is, marketing was conducted by pushing information out to the consumer through various channels like print, radio and television advertising, public relations, and outdoor media. Messages were placed in materials that consumers viewed, and consumers were subjected to the messaging regardless of their preferences. However, the Internet, search engines and social media have changed the dynamics and paved the way for Inbound Marketing Strategies.
With Inbound Marketing the consumer is in control, instead of pushing messages onto the consumer, inbound marketing allows the consumer to pull in the messaging they wish to receive. There are several marketing tactics that can be utilized with inbound marketing. ?Here are a few examples of recognizable companies that have created inbound marketing strategies that are so successful they are like an ?Internet Conversion Machine.”
Inbound Marketing Strategies-Starbucks: Coffee and Connections
The world?s most popular coffee chain was built on a brand that included friendly, knowledgeable baristas. Starbucks’ cozy shops featuring comfy socially-oriented seating and d?cor promote a deeper connection with the world we live in. Starbucks was a social company long before the recent explosion in social media. Therefore, it seems only fitting that Starbucks continue to leverage the social appeal of their brand with an inbound marketing campaign that utilizes social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
To date the company has received nearly 34 million Facebook likes. The company also launched a mobile app that generated $110 million in sales loaded on customers? Starbucks cards through mobile transactions.
That’s consumer engagement! ?
That’s what we liked about the Starbucks site. ?From an Inbound Conversion perspective, we felt that there could be stronger Calls To Action (CTA’s) placed in the valuable real estate above the fold on the home page. ?The site does have??top drawer videos in this locale, but the stronger conversion CTA’s are several clicks into the navigation map.
Inbound Marketing Strategies-Redbull: Content with Wings
For being one of the first big brand energy drinks, it’s remarkable that their content messaging is so low key. ?At first glance, the Red Bull site isn’t an overt Inbound Marketing effort because the content is geared toward customer connection at a much deeper level than mere data collection. For content strategy & creation based on deep knowledge of customer personas, Red Bull can’t be beat. The content is all about the consumer.
Red Bull established its unique identity with stylish and quirky cartoons in which the energy drink supplied wings to help characters out of challenging situations. In recent times Red Bull has continued to evolve its marketing strategy with exciting content, in written and video formats, that positions the drink as a champion of the extreme.
The company?s website features compelling content cleverly placed behind a button titled ?JUST EPIC” that visitors have logged substantial time viewing and sharing. The channel includes various footage of extreme sports and stunts ? the kind of stuff that looks like you need wings (and a touch of insanity) to pull off. Because branding is such an important part of the Red Bull marketing agenda, it could be said that…
conversion is taking place simply by such a strong focus on creating targeted consumer dwell time…
with persona based information of interest. ?The transition to product benefit content is frictionless, yet the CTA’s are not necessarily the strongest they can be. ?However, Red Bull pulled off a content marketing home run with the bases loaded recently when Felix Baumgartner completed his history-making skydive from ?the edge of space.? The live broadcast of the Red Bull Stratos stunt received 366 million views on YouTube alone. That’s customer engagement!
Inbound Marketing Strategies-Cisco: Personal and Powerful Videos
The Cisco home page makes excellent use of the above the fold space and is on of the few sites we’ve seen that uses “sliders” correctly. ?These are pictures that rotate in the header which are often wasted effort, but in Cisco’s case, a strong CTA button such as?”Register Today” or”Start Free Evaluation” is?associated with each image creating a compelling conversion opportunity.
To reinforce a more ?human? image, the network equipment vendor has produced a collection of My Networked Life video documentaries. The videos, promoted as “true stories from a connected world” are featured on the company?s website and promoted via social media channels. The purpose of the presentations is to relate the “personal” and “powerful” features that detail how a diverse audience of consumers, including students, families and professionals, are using Cisco?s connected technology. ?The blog is set up as a newsroom with an impressive display of social media conversion buttons that seem to invite exploration. ?The “How To Buy” menu tab demonstrates how well the site addresses each of the four levels of Inbound visitors:
- Those just browsing
- Interested information seekers who are researching
- Visitors already shopping with competitors
- Those who are ready to buy now
Although their products, services and target audiences vary greatly, the companies mentioned above have all managed to create an inbound marketing strategy that converts. Cisco shifted their focus away from traditional outbound techniques and tapped into a system that is based on customer engagement and subtle opportunities for data collection along the way.
Inbound marketing is the way more and more customers will communicate with brands to determine what they want to purchase or use. It’s not always necessary to be formulaic in your approach to Inbound, as demonstrated here. ?If you don?t have a successful inbound marketing strategy, a great place to begin is with our comprehensive Inbound Assessment which will provide a baseline for future measurements.