Inbound marketing is a tricky concept for many music retailers. There are lots of moving parts to an inbound plan, and it can be hard to bring them all together into a cohesive strategy. But it’s a worthy project, because inbound marketing can bring 54% more leads than traditional marketing at 61% lower cost.


Octave Media is here to help you set up a digital marketing plan with this quick reference guide to inbound marketing. Here’s a step-by-step approach to inbound marketing for a music retailer.


Why Inbound?

Inbound marketing is actually a refreshingly simple concept: It gives people what they want. Let’s look at exactly what that means, and why inbound is so important in the modern marketing landscape.


Inbound marketing is a method of drawing people into your brand through tempting techniques like content creation, social media management, and search engine optimization (SEO). Unlike traditional advertising, which is more of a push approach, inbound marketing is a pull approach that draws people in naturally.


A traditional method, like a TV ad, places a commercial in front of maximum eyeballs and shouts your message at the world. An inbound marketing approach, like an SEO-friendly blog post, slyly attracts a niche audience of your best potential customers. Both routes can be effective, but the inbound approach is better at speaking directly to your core audience.


Research shows traditional advertising is far less effective than it used to be. More than 200 million people are now on do-not-call lists, 86% regularly ignore TV ads, and 44% of direct mail goes directly in the trash. People are tuning out traditional ads.


Inbound marketing is effective because:

  • It works with human behavior, rather than against it
  • It’s technology-based, which fits our world
  • It’s cost-effective
  • With some basic learning, anyone can do it
  • When done well, it supports a great customer experience
  • It can used to build both audience and revenue

Into the Funnel

You may have heard about the marketing funnel before – It’s the marketing model where you winnow down all potential consumers into your very best clients. The marketing funnel turns an audience of everyone in the world into our paying customers.


Keep in mind that 70% of all clicks on the internet are on organic – not paid – content. This means as people are moving through the world of the internet, 70% of their actions are based on natural behavior, not pay-to-play messages from advertisers.


Inbound marketing is terrific at naturally moving people down through the marketing funnel, without a giant financial investment on your part. A strong inbound strategy works like a magnet at the bottom of your funnel, attracting an endless stream of fresh, happy customers.


A Bird’s Eye View of Inbound

Even the most basic inbound marketing plan must have both content and context. It should create messages carefully, with both humans and technology in mind. You’ll need to balance everyday human desires with the needs of the all-important search engines like Google.


Your plan should include all or most of the following:

  • Social media
  • Search engine optimization
  • Local search strategy
  • Keyword analysis and development
  • Content creation: blogging, videos, podcasts, ebooks
  • Personas and personalized messaging
  • Lead nurturing for conversion
  • Web design: calls-to-action (CTAs), forms, landing pages, thank you pages
  • Email marketing
  • Analytics and strategic planning

Launching an Inbound Plan

Knowing all this, the first step to starting an inbound marketing plan is to focus. Choose a niche to focus on, and drive all your efforts toward that audience.


For example, perhaps your research shows significant potential for renting more stringed instruments to local school children. This means all your inbound efforts, for the time being, should focus on this group of youth stringed instrument players and their parents.

From there, you can develop specific inbound strategies that focus on your goal. To continue the example, you could implement inbound efforts like:


  • Persona research that clarifies what stringed instrument renters are like, and what their desires are
  • Social media efforts to connect with schools, parents, and stringed instrument fans
  • SEO strategies that use keywords related to stringed instrument rental
  • Local search efforts that attracts internet searchers looking for a local retailer that rents stringed instruments
  • Content development of blog posts, ebooks, and videos that speak to this group
  • Web CTAs that catch their eye and convert them into customers

Measuring Your Success

Zig Ziglar was famous for saying, “You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” That’s never been more true than now, with inbound marketing and the internet. You must have a clear target in mind, so you can tell whether you’re hitting it.


As you implement your plan, take time for analysis and revised goal-setting. Observe the sources of your traffic and what the behavior of your audience is. Are you getting most new leads online, or in your store? At the checkout, ask them – What interested you in stopping by today? Pay close attention to which of your blog posts are getting more traction than others.


Take all of this important information and boil it down to some key points you can use to further refine your inbound marketing plan. Do more of what’s working.


Set increasingly more ambitious goals, as you become more of an inbound expert. This includes conversion goals, which show how effectively you’re converting new paying customers. If you’re using Hubspot, you can set conversion goals right within the platform, or you can also use Google Analytics to observe how things like blog posts and emails are performing for you.


Tips & Hints

At Octave Media, our customers often ask for tips and tricks that will help them implement a new inbound marketing strategy that’s effective for their music business. So we’ll leave you with some best practices that will help you launch a solid inbound plan.


Invest time in keyword planning. It’s key to attracting the attention of search engines, which drives traffic to your business.


Create high-quality content. Always use excellent grammar and spelling. Don’t just blog to blog; Do it with a topic plan in mind. Speak directly to your customers’ needs and address all three stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, and decision).


Stay consistent on social media. Too many retailers launch a social media plan, then trail off over time. Your audience notices this and it ruins their good impression of you. Post on social media relentlessly, and you’ll see positive results for your online reputation.


Be on-brand, but human. All of your inbound messages should speak with a consistent brand voice, but this voice should be warm and friendly. Avoid automated messages and insider lingo that comes across as cold and uncaring.


Respond fast – really fast. People are no longer satisfied with slow and bland one-way messages from companies. They want two-way conversation that happens within moments. Answer social media messages and online reviews within hours. Respond to emails and phone messages within 1 day.


Educate, don’t sell. Consumers are tired of hard-sell approaches. Inbound marketing is about adopting a helpful, educational tone. Be a problem-solver for your audience. When you can educate a music customer, you’ve made an appreciative friend for life.


Keep Learning

Octave Media specializes in teaching music retailers how to use inbound marketing to build new audience. We’ll do a free 5-Point Website Marketing Inspection that shows your potential to drive new traffic to your business. Connect with Octave Media now to launch a new inbound marketing plan.


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