So what is inbound marketing? Inbound Marketing is the best way to turn strangers visiting your website into customers and promoters of your business or products. Its proven to be one of the most effective way of doing business online since 2006 when the inbound methods of marketing were first developed.
Instead of using the outbound sales & marketing methods of old (such as buy adds, buying email lists, cold list calling) then hoping for a return on your investment, with inbound marketing the focus is creating quality content that leads and pulls people towards your business and products. Through methods of aligning the published content on your web platforms with your customer’s interests and needs, we can naturally attract traffic that can then be educated, converted, closed and delighted.
If you have been researching into internet marketing in general, you will have come across this term being used to describe a method of attracting customers through the use of Quality Unique Content and On-Page Best Practices.
The best way to look at this methodology is by using the famous inbound methodology graphic that Hubspot developed.
Let’s look at this graphic and break it down. Along the top we have the four main actions – attract, convert, close and delight. These actions are required by an inbound business to obtain visitors, leads, customers and then turn those customers into promoters.
Along the bottom we have the tools that business use to accomplish these actions. The actions may be used in other section as well but as an example, email communications is used in most stages of the methodology.
As you can see inbound marketing is about using different marketing tools to bring potential customers to you rather than having to go out and fight for attention through traditional marketing efforts.
By sharing content with the world and creating content specifically designed to appeal to your ideal customers, inbound marketing will attract qualified prospects and keep them coming back for more.
Five Major Themes of Inbound Marketing
Content Creation & Distribution
Targeted content created by you to answer potential visitor’s or customer’s basic needs & questions, then sharing the content on social media or on other platforms. Sharing is caring so share, share, share!
Personalisation of Content
Tailor your content to the wants and needs of the actual people who are viewing it. The use of Buyer Personas will allow you over time to learn more about your leads so you can better personalise your content to your customer’s specific needs. If you want to learn more about how Buyer Personas work, read our excellent blog post one it here, or if you want to start creating your very one we also have an excellent blog on Creating a Buyer Persona for you as well.
Inbound Marketing by sheer nature is a multi-channelled beast. This is because it approaches people where they are and it engages with them on their own turf. It interacts with them in the channel they prefer and feel comfortable using.
Integration – Don’t Limit Your Reach
Research, content creation, publishing and analytics all need to work together like a symbiotic organism. This in turn will allow us to publish the right content to the right people at the right time. Many tools work in conjunction with each other so be sure to look into all of them as some are better than others depending on the channels.
Lifecycle Marketing – How to Get a Promoter
Clients come in strangers to your website, then get converted to visitors, then to contacts, then to customers but how do we covert these customers to promoters? By using inbound mythology marketing actions and tools! Now you have an idea of the process from taking a stranger through a promoter, lets delve a bit deeper.
There are four Inbound Marketing actions to consider:
Attracting the right traffic to our website is essential. We don’t want a flood of traffic that bounces straight away – we want traffic that will consume the content we have. This is the type of traffic that will most likely turn into leads and subsequently become customers.
So who are the right or ideal customers? By using buyer personas that describe our ideal customer, we can produce content to appeal to their goals, challenges, pinpoints and common objections to services or products.
Blogging– This is the corner stone of content and still the best way to attract new visitors to your website. The best content is education content, as it will speak to your customers and answer questions and their needs.
SEO – To convert a stranger a visitor, your website need to be found. Search engines are the key to getting found online so the use of carefully identified keywords in your content, as well as optimised pages and link building around and back to your content is essential.
Social Publishing – So we have your content and so distribution is the next key step to take in attracting visitors. Social media publishing is a great please to share your content with your ideal customer. It not only allows you to share content but also engage with your prospects by adding a human element to your business or brand.
So you have attracted your new visitor to your website and so the next step is to convert that visitor into a lead by gathering their contact information. Contact information is valuable and most people won’t hand it over easily. You need to offer a premium form of content as “payment” for that information that your customers seek. This premium content offered can be infographics, eBooks, Whitepapers, Tip Sheets – the list goes on. The main thing to remember is it must be of value to the persona and your ideal customer.
How Do We Accomplish This?
Calls to action are buttons, banner or links that encourage your visitors to take an action like,” Downloading a Template” or “Attending a Free Webinar”. Call to actions will only work if there exciting and can draw people in. If they are not enticing, then they will no generate leads. Make sure to checkout our upcoming blog on CTA’s and how to make a good one.
After the visitor has clicked on the call-to-action, they will then be sent to a Landing Page. A landing page is where the offer in the CTA is fulfilled. The visitor will submit the necessary information required to download your premium content. At this point the visitor has become a contact. This information can then be used by your sales team a conversation with the contact, or your marketing team to nurture the contact till they are ready to make a purchase. To learn more make sure to checkout our upcoming blog on What is a landing Page and why do we use them.
In order for a visitor to become a lead, they need to fill out a form and submit their information to you. We are not talking massive amounts of information, it can be just their email address and name, or more depending on how much value you perceive your offer has to the visitors.
You have attracted the right visitor they have become a lead, it’s now time to make those leads into customers. This bit of magic can be accomplished by using certain marketing tools, these will allow us to focused on the right leads at the right time, and allow us much greater close rate.
The three best tools are.
CRM – Customer Relationship Management systems facilitate sales by making sure you have the necessary information to better engage with your leads across all channels. This is essential for keeping track of your contacts and the deals you have in the pipeline.
Email – So you have done everything right. You attracted the right person, they clicked on a CTA, and they filled out the form on your landing page, downloaded your offer, but there still not ready to become a customer? This is where we can nurture them through email. These should be focused on useful, relevant content and allow us to build trust with the lead, making them ready to buy your products or services.
Workflows – Workflows are a concept where we focus in on related content that will nurture the lead more. This should be done by sending an email with related offers or blog post in line with what the lead has been engaging with. Building trust and further educating. Having a marketing automation system like Hubspot can very much make this job of creating and make maintaining workflows much easier.
The inbound way is this. Provide remarkable quality content to your users, it doesn’t matter what stage of the buyer’s lifecycle they are at. It doesn’t even matter if they are a customer, keep developing content for them. Continue to engage with them. Seek to delight them. Once a customer is delighted by you they are always happy to be a promoter of your business.
Surveys – One of the best ways to find out what a user wants are to ask them. Feedback and surveys can be used to ensure you are providing them with what they actually are looking for.
Smarter Content – Personalise the content for your buyers is dependent on which lifecycle stage they are at. Provide your potential buyers with content tailored to their interests and challengers. Try and help them to achieve their goals, introduce new products that might further help them or interest them.
Social Monitoring – Listen to your customer’s questions, comment, likes and dislikes. If a user has an issue listen to them, and help them this will. Not only will this build trust with that user but all other users viewing the interaction.