Each new year excites us with fresh possibilities, and 2022 is no exception. While marketers have prepared for the new year by reviewing outbound and inbound strategies to help develop or revise their campaigns, this article focuses on inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing strategies rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the search rankings of a company’s content. They utilize social media marketing, search engines, and customer data to do this. Let’s explore the top inbound marketing trends for 2022.
Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing strategies focus on directly reaching target audiences — many of whom are not interested — via advertisements and sponsored content, emails, and cold calls. In contrast, inbound marketing strategies take a more subtle approach. Inbound marketing intends to attract users to online content without directly reaching out to them and converting leads by developing and nurturing customer relationships.
Inbound marketing strategies focus on attracting consumers via content that engages them with the solutions, insights, products, and support they actively seek to get them to do something, such as providing contact information or purchasing products. Inbound marketing takes a while to work because the marketer must build trust before developing beneficial relationships.
Outbound Marketing Strategies Cost More
- Paid ads
- Direct mail
- Cold calling
Inbound Marketing Strategies Rely on SEO
- Customer targeting
- Social media marketing
- Blogs, videos, podcasts
- SEO-optimized content
Inbound Marketing Trends For 2022
1. Content Is Still King
Content is key to successful inbound marketing. SEO-optimized online content helps consumers find you by raising your content’s profile on the search engine results page (SERP).
70% of people prefer to get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional advertisement.
Writing quality, targeted and unique content for websites is less expensive than outbound marketing efforts.
Google “looks” for high-quality content or E-A-T, which means websites must demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
SEO-optimized long-form text, blog posts, articles, email newsletters, case studies, videos, photos, white papers, and podcasts are types of inbound marketing content used today to generate leads.
Posting effective social media content increases your reach by engaging customers who then share it with others, making an investment in social media content even more effective.
2. Short Videos, Lasting Effects
Video content for inbound marketing is often placed on TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and other platforms.
51% of marketers using short-form videos plan to increase their investments in 2022.
69% of people prefer video over text when learning about a product or service.
- Short-form videos are more effective than longer videos for increasing brand awareness.
- While long videos delve deeper into a subject, consumers prefer to watch shorter videos to grasp the main points.
- Videos needn’t be expensive, and they produce the second-highest ROI for consumer brands (second only to influencer marketing).
3. Social Media Deserves A Share
Social media personalizes brands, can increase the number of followers (potential buyers) and allows marketers to interact directly with their audiences.
- Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most common social media platforms used by marketers.
- 60% of businesses plan to increase their Instagram budget, and almost half plan to do the same for Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Do your research and post on the platforms most often used by your audience.
Short videos are the best way to engage your target audience on social media. Also, consider interesting stories, contests, and Q&A formats.
Using an influencer to promote your products makes social media outreach easier; the right influencer is already “speaking” to your audience.
Pay attention to likes, shares, and comments to determine if customers are engaging with your content and revise content as necessary.
4. Podcasts Are Popular
Audio content such as podcasts, audiobooks, and talk shows can increase brand awareness. Podcasts are a perfect way to educate and engage consumers, especially older adults.
- 60% of people prefer podcasts to television, and 96% prefer podcasts to newspapers.
- 74% of people listen to podcasts to learn something new.
Host a podcast and mention it on social media, blog posts, and videos; find guests who appeal to and engage your audience.
Volunteer to be a guest on others’ podcasts. Talk about a range of subjects in addition to your brand.
Helpful, entertaining, and well-researched content will retain and gain listeners; angry rants will not. And don’t neglect the preparation and editing!
Make your audio content easy to listen to by using a quality microphone and recording in a quiet location. Add music and sound effects as appropriate.
4. Mobile Apps: Good To Go
Mobile app marketing connects your brand to your customers and helps boost sales of your products. Building the app is not enough; you must get users to download and install it, activate/use it, and make it a regular destination.
In 2021, 92% of mobile time was spent using apps.
Consumers spent $143 billion via mobile apps in 2020, an increase of 20% from the previous year. Mobile apps are predicted to generate over $935 billion by 2023.
Mobile apps are an easy way to collect data about your customers, such as email addresses and phone numbers, particularly when required for download.
Offering an incentive to download mobile apps often works, but to keep consumers using your mobile app, you must provide reasons for them to continue the practice.
Successful retention strategies include discounts, coupons, app-only content, personalized offerings, and push notifications based on customer information.
5. Featured Snippets Are Big
Google extracts the best text snippets — those that clearly and concisely answer the searcher’s query — and places them prominently at the top of the organic search engine results page (SERP) along with a link to the relevant content.
19% of SERPS have featured snippets, and 7.3% have double featured snippets.
70% of featured snippets are paragraphs, while smaller percentages consist of lists, tables, and videos.
A featured snippet takes up half of the real estate on a mobile screen.
When researching keywords, include long-tail keywords that directly address the information you believe your audience is seeking.
Write in-depth, high-quality, and easy-to-read content that answers specific questions—format content into paragraphs, “how-to” sections, Q&As, lists, or tables.
Use headers and break long-form content into smaller sections, limiting each unit to 40 – 50 words.
Analyze competitors that have achieved featured snippet status to determine which keywords work for them and optimize your content similarly.
6. Cookies Are No Longer Smart
In response to consumers’ privacy concerns, Google’s Chrome browser, which accounts for two-thirds of the browser market worldwide, will stop using third-party cookies in 2022. What happens next?
In 2021, 51% of senior marketers stated that third-party cookies were essential for their marketing strategies as they were the source of most of the data used by their companies.
44% of marketers expect that they will have to increase spending by 5% – 25% to reach their 2021 goals.
23% of marketing experts plan to invest in email marketing software due to Google’s policy.
Prepare to increase your reliance on customer relationship management (CRM) software to track customers’ information.
Use first-party cookies and forms, surveys, or other interactive formats to collect information about customers and visitors to your website.
7. Doing Well By Doing Good
What does your brand stand for, besides profits? Today’s consumers want companies to act on social issues and conduct business socially responsibly.70% of consumers say that brands taking a stand on social and political issues is essential, up from 66% in 2017.
90% of consumers are likely to give highly transparent brands a second chance after a bad experience.
Ensure that your company’s mission is to adopt green practices, act pretty, and donate generously to charity. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) improves your image in the eyes of customers and the public and boosts employee satisfaction.
Focus your advocacy efforts on issues that interest your customers and target audience as well as your employees. Encourage employee participation in your causes.
Don’t neglect your product marketing for social marketing but be sure to let consumers know what you stand for, how you support your community, and how you’re making the world a better place.
Regardless of how well your past inbound marketing strategies have worked, this is not the time to rest on your laurels. Changes are coming in 2022 — and that means that a reassessment of your marketing plan is in order. If your current strategies do not align with the trends, modify them to build on your recent success.
Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency. He has helped startups, middle-market firms, and Fortune 500 companies improve organizational structure and grow through his expertise in process conception, task automation, and internal project management.