What’s more attractive: a doomsayer screaming on a street corner about the latest product for sale or discovering the perfect artifact after following the clues on a treasure map with your good friend Indy?
That’s the significant difference in the worlds of outbound and inbound marketing. Instead of unleashing a barrage of ads, tweets, and spammy LinkedIn messages, you’re letting people discover their own path to you, learning, and having fun along the way.
Inbound marketing is the treasure map that can kick off this journey, whether it starts on search, social, or word-of-mouth. Video can serve as the perfect guide, delivering a personal touch that humanizes your brand and builds trust, when done right.
So, here’s your guide to building a smart map and how to use it as effectively as possible.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is essentially any marketing you use to attract people to your website through content — like this blog post you’re reading right now.
Inbound marketing is generally a strategic content strategy designed to attract people looking for your solution because they have the problem you solve. For example, optimizing your site for search can increase your search results rankings and deliver more people actively looking for that topic to your website.
You want to help people who are looking for what you offer, even if they don’t know the name of it. Inbound is an education strategy, and many of its tactics can be achieved with the same content. For example, a high-quality blog post that answers frequent questions about your industry not only demonstrates your value to readers, but it can have the SEO work necessary to get you high in search results.
Plus, it can generate three times as many leads per dollar compared to traditional marketing. That same study notes that 70% of your audience would instead learn about you through information and content than an ad.
What Are Some Examples of Inbound Marketing?
Content is the key to inbound marketing, and the best examples of what’s happened in the past are different elements that target stages of the buyer’s journey. So, let’s look at the stages of the buyer’s journey and see how different pieces of content can be part of inbound marketing for each stage.
Remember, inbound marketing is all about the people who are coming to you looking for answers, so keep things helpful!
- The Awareness Stage
In the Awareness stage, you’ve got potential customers actively searching for you or what you offer. They may or may not know about you already, so much of this search is around what you do. At the same time, you want to focus on people who are the best fit for you, so your efforts must be tailored to your core audience. Inbound content for this stage can include:
- SEO on your website to help you place well for target keywords and questions.
- Blogs on the general topic or answers for big-picture questions.
- Video interviews with experts to explain a topic or frequent problem (give yourself a significant SEO boost by writing out a transcript and making it available on the page!)
- eBooks and white papers that dive deep into a subject and ask the reader to exchange their email for access.
- The Consideration Stage
Once the prospect has learned about their issue, they start to look for ways to solve it. Now, the person on your site is looking for specifics on the solutions you and others offer. They’re weighing many approaches to determine what they think is best for their concern. Inbound plays a role here, too with content that might include:
- Blogs that provide detailed steps in how your solution works and expert guides.
- Blogs that compare you to competitors. They’re usually most successful when you highlight your benefits and those of your competition.
- Pro-cons comparison charts.
- Videos demonstrating a product or process.
- Case studies that address specific company sizes, industries, or needs.
- Live chat representatives or conversational bots that use your knowledge base to answer questions.
- The Decision Stage
Here is where your inbound strategy is a little more limited because the buyer is ready to finalize their decision. You’ve made your best case in Stage 2, and now you’ve just got to get the information a buyer needs to their fingertips. This is primarily done with:
- Landing pages.
- Product/service comparison lists.
- Vendor comparison lists.
- Trial software options.
A Quick Note on Social Media and Inbound Marketing
Depending on the inbound marketing guide you use, you may or may not see social media content in the mix. We didn’t include it above because there’s so much variance in what you can post and when, that your mix will vary significantly from the company next door.
Social is much more “push” oriented marketing than inbound traditional is. You’re broadcasting out into the crowd and hoping to reach people.
The reason that it can be included, however, is that social posts can share the content you’re using for inbound purposes. Because social channels have search elements — both direct search and the use of hashtags as a way to “search” for a topic — social can follow some of your inbound tactics.
If you are going to promote inbound content on social, the best thing to do is treat it like a snippet on your site that would get someone to click-through. Highlight the questions the content answers, some of the stats or takeaways, and anything else that your audience might find useful. Minimize the branding or leave it off (besides your account name) altogether.
Inbound is educational at its core, and your social messages should be too.
Videos and Inbound Marketing
Video is creating stiff competition among marketing teams. Nearly 90% are using it online because roughly 65% of consumers who buy something online are willing to do so if they see a branded video about the product.
Brightcove even notes that video can increase organic traffic from search results pages by as much as 150%. Video is also proven to increase conversions on landing pages by up to 80%!
The role of video in your inbound marketing is its capability to engage with your audience directly. Blogs and social posts can be a little flat. SEO is either subtle enough not to be noticed or garish enough to drive people away. Plus, adding a video to a blog post gives your audience another way to engage — some studies say up to four times as many customers want to watch a video about a product compared to reading about it.
Video, GIFs, and high-quality images give the audience something to interact with more and can make it easier to pictures ourselves using your product or solution. We can see ourselves in the struggles you’re showing instead of just stating via text.
In a more strategic sense, video is highly applicable to your inbound marketing and the buyer’s journey. Video can increase the SEO of the pages it is on, clickable elements can take users right to sales pages, and video is a perfect way to help people understand an issue or troubleshoot something.
Here’s a more detailed look at video usage in the buyer’s journey steps:
Stage 1: Answer questions and educate buyers about the problems they’re facing. Videos here shouldn’t sell, but the CTA can be to ask for the viewer to rate the answer or to share it with others facing similar problems.
Stage 2: Showcase the solutions to the buyer. Demos are a terrific way to explain your service and note comparisons. Your customers will appreciate it when a video discusses multiple options, especially when some of those aren’t yours. Don’t forget that often “doing nothing” is a barrier that viewers will need to overcome. Good CTAs for videos and the pages that host them are to ask viewers to sign up for an in-depth demo or to contact you to receive answers for specific/custom questions.
Stage 3: Video can help prospects choose the best solution from your options here. Answer specific questions and share testimonials to help customers feel like you’re an established choice. At this stage, some companies like HubSpot also share “About Us” videos to help humanize the brand and create a deep connection to encourage a sale.
At the heart of those elements is the ability for video to address different needs in the journey. You can tailor the content to increase engagement as well as brand activation in each successive step. Based on past actions of people, you can promote or directly send them a different video customized to their place and business.
That’s the start of personalized video content for your business.
What’s Personalized Video Content for Inbound Marketing?
Personalized video is any video built for a custom segment of your prospects. Despite what the name sounds like, this could mean a video for a single individual, or something that targets a large subset of your total audience.
The personalized video concept is as much about the video as it is the way you share it with the audience. So, if I address you by your first name in a video, that’s personalized to you. However, it’s also a personalized video if you click on an industry type on my landing page, such as manufacturing, and then I show you a video that specifically shows my products in action for manufacturers.
Both are useful and valid in your inbound and outbound strategies.
You can create plans using either or both depending on the size of your marketing team and the budget you have. Thankfully, it’s getting easier to create custom videos and share them with your audience.
Think about your most important interactions and look for opportunities large and small to insert videos and photos. You can even use a GIF with someone’s name on a landing page to give the buyer journey that personal feel.
Here are a few fun examples, but remember, you don’t need to get this detailed or complex. Personalized videos can be short and sweet when you’re using the right software.
Getting Started with Personalized Video Software
Not sure how to start? Zight (formerly CloudApp) is here to help.
One of the best things you can do is to create a video about your service or product, demoing its best features, and answering questions as you go. This will keep your buyers moving through your funnel and can have a significant impact on sales.
When you’ve got one entertaining video, there are multiple ways to personalize around it. Here are just a few that you can use Zight (formerly CloudApp) features to achieve:
- Record a 10-second intro that’s separating calling your prospect by their first name and saying you thought this video was perfect for them. If you don’t write the name on the screen and stick to first names, you can use the same video for multiple prospects. (Plus, a single video can work for every “Jeff” and “Geoff” without us G’s getting annoyed that someone spelled our name wrong)
- Use screen recordings as tutorial videos. You can also annotate screenshots with Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s snippet tool.
- Or go the text route and create a GIF that welcomes people to your site. If you’ve got their name or photo, you can use Zight (formerly CloudApp) to create these kinds of welcomes and generate custom URLs to give to your visitors.
- Annotate a video to highlight what’s most relevant to your audience. You can show what is most important to manufacturers versus shippers versus sales teams thanks to overlay text, arrows, lines, emojis, and more, while always using the same underlying video.
- And you can deliver that and more directly to your customers in “Thank you” emails, follow-ups, or even through task management and communication tools that we integrate with directly.
The buyer’s journey can lead to great memories when you’re a good fit
If you’re still in that learning, awareness stage, Zight (formerly CloudApp) is here to help you too.
Check out our blog page to find great information on the science of colors in marketing, customer service metrics you can use to see where you might need to change things or help on your specific customer lifecycle. Or, check out this demo to see how we can support you in your sales cycle and your inbound marketing.
Personalized video can make a significant impact, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to create. So, let’s keep it stress-free with your tools too. Get started for free and give Zight (formerly CloudApp) a try. You’ll have a blast, your customers will love the personal touch, and you just might land a few sales before you spend a penny.