Want to know how to successfully draw people in, show them what your business is all about and form long-lasting relationships that can lead to sales? Two words: inbound marketing.
Unlike traditional marketing tactics like advertising and sponsorship, where you pay to push your message out, inbound marketing changed the game by letting businesses create their own assets like articles and videos for people to discover online. For a full briefing on the benefits of inbound marketing, check out our comprehensive guide.
Inbound marketing can be cost-effective and powerful for your business, but you’ve got to do it right. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of proven inbound marketing examples – to show you what works best and get you thinking about how you might apply some of these tools yourself.
Let’s see why so many people use inbound marketing and explore some of the top inbound marketing examples.
Why Inbound Marketing is Catching Fire
The idea behind inbound marketing is fairly simple. Someone searches for a piece of information on the internet, and they find a link that leads to you. They visit your website or landing page, provide their email address or other information in return for something of value, and just like that, the relationship begins.
Inbound marketing is the process of aligning the content you publish with a prospect’s interests. Whether you’re sharing information via a blog post, an eBook, a YouTube video or an Instagram story, the goal is to make a connection with the viewer and work towards converting and delighting them as customers.
Companies gravitate towards inbound marketing because it’s organic, low-cost, and way less intrusive than outbound marketing (hello, pop-up ads). Inbound marketing generates traffic and high-quality leads, helps people get to know your brand, and once users share some information, provides data to help you meet the customer’s needs.
There’s no one formula for success. Figure out where your audience is, what they care about, and craft your inbound marketing strategy around them.
Do you have an effective Inbound Marketing Strategy? If the answer is NO, it’s time to get serious about it!SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION SESSION
Here are 13 inbound marketing examples that all types of businesses use to build awareness and generate new leads.
1. Blog articles
According to HubSpot, 57% of businesses surveyed have acquired a customer through their business blog. When your blog articles explain a topic, show people how to do something or answer a question, people will come to your site to read. Your article attracted the reader to your site, and now you have an opportunity to market to them.
If you haven’t yet embraced SEO, it’s time to join the party. People find your blog articles and web pages through search. The keywords you include is what brings them to your blog.
HubSpot is considered the original inbound marketing company. Their blog has a wealth of information that brings in a ton of organic traffic. The articles answer the most important questions their target audience wants to know, which has made the blog an inbound marketing machine.
Let’s say you’re an expert in a specific field. Maybe you’ve even got a series of articles that cover a specific subject that’s useful to readers. You’re now ready for the whitepaper.
If you’re not familiar, a whitepaper is a well-researched piece of educational content. When you write it, you need to be prepared to go in-depth and deliver value in the form of original research or new insights.
DocuSign, one of the pioneers of digital signatures, use whitepapers to get more technical and break down complex issues like government compliance and data security. They take what they’ve learned and pass it on to customers, who in the process learn more about their products. If you have a deep understanding of a topic, this can work for you too!
If you want to cover a topic that requires more than an article to explain, eBooks are an excellent alternative. Unlike a whitepaper that is usually more data-driven and academic, eBooks are a way to show your expertise as well as your brand personality.
Your potential customers can download the eBook in exchange for their email. If they find it valuable, they might share it within their network — turning an inbound content piece into an outbound campaign!
Moz knows SEO and they use eBooks to help marketers improve their own organic search. Their Beginner’s Guide eBook was actually created from a series of articles that they had written prior. It provides readers with a detailed introductory lesson on how to use SEO to grow your business.
4. Case studies
When someone is researching a service or product, there’s nothing more compelling than hearing from another customer in a similar situation. A case study features examples from real customers who used a product or service.
Case studies should be written in a way that enables the reader to easily follow the customer as they present a problem, find a solution (ideally your product), implement it and reap the rewards. Case studies are often used as “bottom of the funnel” content, for when you’re ready to make a sale.
Asana’s case study from the team at StyleHaul looks and reads like a creative story. To make it even more relevant to the reader, the story is told from the perspective of the customer. The case study is like a customer testimonial with the bonus of showing real results.
Video continues to gain popularity with digital marketers and more importantly, consumers. It’s incredibly engaging and it boosts SEO and brand authority.
According to Wyzowl research, 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. Here are a few tips to up your video inbound marketing game:
- Post videos with a transcript (it’ll be rich in keywords), turning the video into a resource for users and increasing your SEO value.
- On your video page, provide clear information about the video so people can judge if it’s what they’re looking for.
- Shorter videos with text perform better on Facebook as most videos on that platform are viewed without sound.
- Longer how-to videos, tutorials, and unboxing videos do best on YouTube.
- Consider posting other short videos that don’t necessarily need to be archived on Twitter’s Periscope and Snapchat
- In your videos, find a balance between being friendly, approachable and informed. It’s okay to show your personality and be a top authority at the same time.
They highlight some of the well-known areas of conflict between SEO and content marketing in a clever way and end up showing why SEO and content are really the perfect couple.
Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past few years. There are more than a million podcasts and more than half of all households are podcast listeners. From a marketing standpoint, podcasting is also generating healthy search engine optimization (SEO). You can list episodes as a page on your site just like your blog, and include all the SEO elements like titles, meta information, and transcripts. So yes, podcasts can be an important inbound marketing channel!
B2B messaging solution, Tyntec, does this brilliantly by creating an entire section on their site dedicated to their podcast. Their episodes cover things that their customers care about, like featuring startups and industry leaders championing mobile technology.
According to InsideSales’ Optimal Lead Generation Methods report, 73% of B2B marketers say webinars are the most effective way to generate high-quality leads. GoToWebinar’s Big Book of Webinar Stats clocked 93% of B2B Marketers saying the same thing.
Webinars create a two-way conversation between marketers and their customers, providing an in-depth virtual walk-through of the product, its features and benefits. There is, of course, specific guidance for those attending the webinar, especially when a Q&A session is offered.
In addition to hosting regular live webinars, record them and schedule them to play at repeated intervals, meaning you’ve always got something ready for new leads to sign up for and watch.
Remote IT support company, TeamViewer, has built a library of webinars where visitors can watch them on demand like videos.
8. Virtual events
The pandemic has changed the way people conduct conferences and events. Instead of meeting in-person, virtual events have become the norm. While a webinar format is usually about giving a presentation followed by a Q&A or discussion, virtual events are broader.
You can have a fireside chat, an expert panel or even a networking event all done online. The e-commerce billing software, Cleverbridge, has embraced this approach by hosting a series of online events including panel discussions where several experts come together to share their perspectives.
9. Interactive Infographics
One way to show your expertise in a category is to provide stats and data points for others to use and learn from. If you want to take your statistics a step further and boost engagement, you can make your information interactive.
Check out the “What’s Your Pay Gap?” visualization by the Wall Street Journal. It highlights the issue of pay discrepancy. The interactivity lets you plug in your profession and calculate how much you make compared to the opposite gender.
10. Interactive Calculators
When people need custom information that involves math, interactive calculators can be powerful. They can present custom data to customers in a simple format, capture business data, and in turn provide insight to your sales team.
Some examples of inbound marketing calculators are:
- ROI calculator
- Revenue-gained calculators
- Mortgage financing calculator
- Savings calculator (like the one below)
The website Investment Calculator is a great place to get inspired for your own interactive ideas.
Calculators don’t have to be just about money. They can work for several types of businesses. For example, a cleaning company could create a calculator to show its customers how much time they can save by outsourcing the cleaning of their home while a personal trainer might use one to show clients the health and fitness returns they’ll receive from calorie-cutting and athletic activity.
11. Solution Generators
In the same way, calculators provide custom data and an interactive experience, there are a slew of other interactive tools you can build to provide solutions. In the world of SEO and content, many companies provide idea generators like content headlines or keyword suggestions.
Marketing tool, CoSchedule, built a headline analyzer on their site to determine how well it will convert. It’s a neat and interactive way to engage people while providing valuable suggestions. You simply put in your title and the analyzer reports back with an overall score out of 100.
12. Online Courses and Communities
New technology platforms are making it easier for businesses to set up online courses and communities to provide valuable educational and networking opportunities. Inbound marketing is all about people discovering your brand by providing value.
When you offer free courses and certification programs, you’ll attract people who are looking for ways to advance their careers and develop their skill sets. And once they take your course, invite them to stay connected through a community group of fellow students.
Email marketing platform, MailerLite, offers a free email marketing academy for anyone who wants to learn and receive a certification. If you are not a current customer, it’s still free.
13. Social Media Inbound Content
Social media has a lot of benefits. You build followers, promote your content and share updates. It turns out that social can also be an effective inbound marketing channel.
Hubspot comes through again with the research to support the use of Social Media in Inbound Marketing. 67% of B2C businesses have landed new customers through Facebook, 57% through LinkedIn, and another 42% through Twitter.
Wondering how much time should you dedicate to Social? About 7 in 10 marketers surveyed reported a substantial increase in quality leads spending as little as 6 hours per week on Social Media. Check out these fun ways to interact on social media.
From February to March 2020, streaming consumption increased 73% as the United States began to adopt various quarantine measures.
Facebook alone saw a 50% increase in the number of users watching a variety of live stories from kitchen tutorials to workout sessions during this time period.
Live streaming is great because you can interact with your audience in real-time. It allows you to report breaking news, host live Q&A sessions, or highlight recent developments on video.
During the lockdown, Washington nursery Molbak’s Garden + Home found an opportunity to stay connected to their current customers and connect with new ones. They shared gardening tips and advice while emphasizing their click and collect program.
Instagram stories allow you to engage your audience in creative ways. Every Thursday, Buffer uses Instagram Story Polls to quiz their followers on their social media expertise, and they give out prizes for each quiz.
Don’t forget to use Instagram Stories Highlights to archive your most important content. Keeping those Stories stocked at the top of your profile enables new visitors to discover what you’re all about and helps others online find relevant content.
The average person spends 144 minutes a day on social media. People are looking for information, distraction, and maybe a few laughs.
It’s not surprising that companies on social media are using memes to communicate ideas and attitudes. BarkBox keeps this in mind as they share silly memes with their dog-loving customers.
The posts are memorable and the platform enables the community to interact and enjoy themselves.
Which Inbound Marketing Examples Will You Try?
You have a lot of options for your next inbound marketing campaign. The bottom line is that you need to create content that your potential customers are craving and deliver in a way that is unique to your brand. When someone finds you on their own because they like what you have to say, you are setting the stage for a long-term customer relationship. That’s the magic of inbound marketing!