How consumers interact with brands is changing fast. In this age of digital marketing, it is easy for consumers to avoid adverts and other marketing messages. In response, marketers are turning to inbound marketing strategies. Here is the lowdown on what inbound marketing can do for your business in 2021 and how to get started.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing refers to a series of methods that attract customers to a brand by creating content that is valuable to them. Marketing messages may provide information potential customers are looking for or help them solve problems. Inbound marketing strategies also include experiences tailored to potential customers that only your business can offer. The idea is to establish a relationship and create a bond before making a sale.

On the other hand, traditional marketing – aka outbound marketing – relies on interrupting your audience. TV commercials are perhaps the most obvious example of outbound marketing. Whilst this may have been a useful strategy when consumers had to sit through commercials, it does not work well in a digital environment.

Why is it important?

In 2021, consumers have learned how to tune out interruptive marketing messages. Instead, they prefer to learn about a product or a service on their own terms. This includes conducting their own Google searches, reading articles and watching videos.

According to Demand Metric, 70 percent of consumers would rather read an article about a business than watch an advertisement. Millennials are considered to be virtually blind to digital banner adverts.

More importantly, though, inbound marketing will help you achieve more with your existing marketing budget. Generating leads through inbound methods is 61 percent cheaper than outbound leads.

Inbound marketing strategies for 2021

The goal of inbound marketing is to attract your target audience with content that is useful to them. By offering insights and solutions to potential problems you engage potential customers and establish trust. Being trusted will make customers more likely to buy from you. Inbound marketing does not stop with a purchase. The most successful marketers provide support to enable customers to get the most out of the product.

Here are some of 2021’s top inbound marketing strategies:

1. Blogs

Long-form blogs remain one of the top strategies to attract customers to your brand in 2021.

Blogging drives traffic to your website. Consistent blogging will help build your brand and establish you as an authority in your field. However, it does take time to establish an audience if you do not already have one. In that case, consider guest blogging.

Being featured in an established and popular blog exposes your brand to a wider audience. It also helps you drive qualified, relevant visitors to your own website.

2. Videos and live-streaming

Live-streaming and video messaging exploded in 2020 due to social distancing restrictions. Whilst this development may have started out of necessity, many brands have recognised the potential of explainer videos and digital events.

Not only does video allow your brand to connect with potential customers worldwide. It also helps save costs associated with in-person events, whilst creating some of the same buzz and atmosphere.

Live-streaming allows your audience to ask direct questions or give feedback. It is a powerful tool when it comes to creating customer relationships.

Whilst video marketing has been growing for a number of years, short-form videos are proving especially popular. If your business is not yet using video as a format yet, it is certainly worth exploring its potential.

3. Earned social media

Social media followers have chosen to connect with your brand. Continuously providing relevant and useful content is a great way to keep them engaged.

However, listening is just as important. Making a point of rewarding customer feedback by taking it seriously is one way of achieving that. Responding to comments and enquiries thoughtfully and timely is another.

4. Limit forms – consider chatbots instead

Inbound marketing is about creating connections with potential customers.

Using forms to ‘gate’ access to a white paper, for example, may result in potential customers looking for the information elsewhere. Few users are happy to part with their personal details before you have given them at least some valuable content.

For years, gated content worked very well for digital marketers. However, they are producing fewer conversions in 2021. Alternatives include shorter forms, requiring only a person’s email address. Another option are chatbots, simulating a conversation to create a connection with a potential customer. A live-chat system allows people to connect with you when it is convenient for them or they need your help. It eliminates the need to wait for a response.

Inbound marketing can help stretch your marketing budget further and entice customers to seek you out. As opposed to traditional interruption marketing, these methods help build relationships between businesses and customers which convert into sales. These relationships tend to last longer and lead to higher lifetime sales.