Inbound marketing is an ideal channel to grow a low-margin business like eCommerce. Traditional user acquisition strategies like PPC can be expensive and make online retail enviable. Inbound marketing is sustainable and has the potential to bring in a steady stream of new customers at very low cost. This article touches upon a few pointers for marketers looking to set up an inbound marketing campaign for their online store.
Identify target demographic
An outbound marketing technique like PPC targets consumers who are looking to buy your product at that very instant. It does not usually matter if the buyer fits your demographic profile or not. However, with inbound marketing, the objective is to make your business seen by your target demographic (also called personas). An eCommerce store selling handbags would typically target women in the 20-50 age range with inbound marketing. With PPC, personas are not taken into consideration as the potential buyer is targeted through when searching for keywords that ads were bought for such as ‘buy leather handbags for women.’
Once you have identified the demographic to target, the next step in an inbound marketing campaign is to find ways to add value to this prospective customer. Content marketing through blogs, videos and ebooks is an extremely effective means to bring in prospective customers to your website. The idea here is to publish content that can reach your target demographic through search engines and third party networks (like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram).
Establish a sales pipeline strategy
Being seen by your target audience is just the first step in an inbound marketing campaign. The bigger question is, how do you plan to convert these leads into customers? Marketers need to establish a well-structured sales pipeline that will nurture these visitors into leads who will then buy from your website down the line.
To begin with, identify a ‘lead magnet’ that can help your business capture the email and other contact details of your prospect. This could be an ebook related to your industry that the visitor can access after signing up for your newsletter. You could also create short microsites that solve specific problems in your industry. For instance, Shopify launched a marketplace to buy/sell eCommerce sites. Interested buyers visiting this microsite are then asked to sign up to receive a list of trending stores every day.
Once you have captured your prospect’s email address, it is important to nurture your leads by routinely engaging with them. Over time, you may reach out to these nurtured leads with your products to lead to a sale. There is a lot of trial and error involved in establishing an ideal sales pipeline strategy. Monitoring your pipeline and tweaking the scripts is a full-time job.
Promoting your content
Once you have your inbound marketing content ready and sales pipeline set up, the final step is to begin promoting your content. It is not uncommon to advertise your ‘lead magnet’ content using PPC or social media. Unlike regular PPC advertising, these lead magnets are long-tail campaigns and are therefore not as expensive. This makes lead acquisition cheaper.
SEO is another trusted way to bring visitors through inbound marketing campaigns. Building an authority site helps your blogs and ebooks rank high in Google search. This brings a steady stream of new visitors to your content pages, and these visitors can then be channeled into your sales pipeline through lead magnets.
The time and effort required in establishing a successful inbound marketing campaign can seem a lot higher than advertising your ‘money keywords’ on Adwords. However, one must also remember that customers acquired through content marketing are a lot less fickle than users acquired through direct advertising. The average order value (and repeat purchasing) is higher, making inbound marketing a more lucrative marketing channel for eCommerce businesses.
Guest Blogger – Benjamin S. Powell
Benjamin S Powell is the founder of DSA Global, a Thailand-based marketing automation company. He has recently launched AdSoup, a sales CRM that unifies email, messaging and live chat.
If you would like to learn more about inbound marketing. Download our free ebook, An Introduction to Inbound Marketing, here.