What is Inbound Marketing?
We have all heard about the importance of being online and engaging with your customers. So where does Inbound Marketing come into play and what does it even mean?
Inbound Marketing is the use of marketing to bring potential customers to you rather than have your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects and keeps them coming back for more. (Hubspot)
Traditionally, marketing or outbound marketing was driven by companies instigating interactions with their customers. This style of marketing was based on the hard sell, regardless of whether your customer was even aware that they needed this product or service, or not.
Outbound marketing methods often interrupted the customer, forcing the customer to acknowledge your company’s presence. Some of these methods include television or radio advertisements, print advertisements (e.g. newspapers, flyers, brochures, catalogs etc.), as well as cold calls and generic mass email blasts.
What’s The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
- Outbound Marketing is based around companies seeking out their potential customers hoping to sell something, whereas Inbound Marketing is built around the customer seeking a solution, to resolve an issue that they have identified. This when your company can present themselves as a solution, for their consideration.
- Outbound marketing typically has little yield, meaning in a poor return on the budget invested. Many people are opting out of many popular outbound marketing methods, by choosing to watch television on demand, using ad blockers and joining ‘Do Not Call’ lists. Inbound marketing employs a higher level of control over your spend as well as a higher yield. By creating content for the different stages of the buyer’s journey you are going to see an increase in qualified leads. Inbound Marketing is driven by content creation and ensure that your budget goes further gaining a better return on investment in the long term.
Instead of providing the customer with useless information and scripted sales pitches, give your customers content that they will want to read, engage with and return back too. Creating great content for your potential leads not only help them discover you but it also helps to build brand awareness and develops a sense of trust with you customers, who will think of you as an expert in your area!
By adopting the inbound marketing methodology, businesses can create the right content, in the right place, at a time that is relevant and helpful to your leads. These leads can then be nurtured, helping them become customers.
Image Source: Hubspot
How Does The Inbound Marketing Process Work?
The Inbound marketing process demonstrates the many steps that a customer goes through before converting and outlines their relationship with the organisation as they go through this process. This process is designed to help businesses identify customers at the different stages of the customer journey and nurture them through to a conversion and then becoming promoters of you and your brand. This process is similar to the sales funnel and they can be used in tandem or independently.
- Attract – The process of attracting not just any visitors to your site, but the right visitors. The people who have a problem that you can solve, who are more likely to convert into happy customers.You can attract these people to your site by blogging about educational topics. Ensure that your site and content are search engine optimized and that you are targeting the right keywords, posting regularly on social media and sharing great content.
- Convert – Once you have attracted the right people to your site you need to get their contact information. To do this you will need to offer them something of value in return, like an eBook or a white paper.Some tools for converting visitors into leads are Calls To Actions (CTAs), forms and Landing pages. It is important to gather all of these contact details into one database and gather relevant information that helps assign these visitors to personas and marketing segments.
- Close – Now you need to transform those leads that you have gathered, into customers. So how do we do this?Both the marketing team and sales team will need to work together to ensure that your leads are contacted at the right time and nurtured until they are ready to convert. To do this you can use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to maintain your customer lists and marketing support systems to maintain segment and report on your customer lists. Hubspot’s CRM and marketing platform provides Closed-Loop Reporting, this accesses data from both the sales and marketing efforts, to establish which marketing channels and campaigns are attracting the best leads and producing the best ROI. This allows sales and marketing to work together to focus budget and effort on channels and campaigns that produce the best results.
- Delight – The final stage of the Inbound Marketing Methodology is to delight your existing customer with remarkable content to upsell to those customers and turn them into promoters for the brand. This can be done through Surveys, Newsletters, and social monitoring.
Dotdynamic is a Certified Inbound Marketing Agency with Hubspot.